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Religion & Jewish Life

Seth Galena and Hindy Poupko, at his right shoulder, celebrate the birth of their son Akiva at his bris, June 15, 2014. (Piha Studio)
Seth Galena and Hindy Poupko, at his right shoulder, celebrate the birth of their son Akiva at his bris, June 15, 2014. (Piha Studio)

After losing Ayelet, Galenas find joy with new baby, thanks to NIH breakthrough

NEW YORK (JTA) – Even before their daughter, Ayelet Galena, was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disease called dyskeratosis congenita around her first birthday, parents Hindy Poupko and Seth Galena knew they wanted to have more children. But once the diagnosis arrived, the couple had a dilemma: There was a fair chance their next […]

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Misha Gurbachov, deputy director of the Jewish Community of Chisinau, and Limmud Maldova co-organizer Julia Seinman in Chisinau, May 23, 2014. (George Omen/Limmud FSU(
Misha Gurbachov, deputy director of the Jewish Community of Chisinau, and Limmud Maldova co-organizer Julia Seinman in Chisinau, May 23, 2014. (George Omen/Limmud FSU(

For Moldova’s impoverished Jews, Limmud conference is big deal

CHISINAU, Moldova (JTA) — Standing opposite the house at Romana Street 13 in the Moldovan capital, a group of tourists is struggling to hear Irina Shihova’s account of the horrors that transpired here more than a century ago, but her voice is drowned out by a pop song playing on a nearby boombox. Ignoring the […]

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A "Bot-Mitzvah" depicted on the TV show "Futurama." (Via Hulu)
A "Bot-Mitzvah" depicted on the TV show "Futurama." (Via Hulu)

Should robots count in a minyan? Rabbi talks Turing test

NEW YORK (JTA) — Robots can hold a conversation, but should they count in a minyan? A chatbot at Britain’s University of Reading was heralded this week as passing the Turing test, showing a conversational ability that managed to fool people into thinking it was human. Using the fictional identity of a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy […]

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Left to right, Mariano Schlez and Paola Salem, with Damian Beker and Maxi Klein, organized efforts to bring together Jewish Soccer fans at the World Cup's seven sites in Brazil. (Courtesy Paola Salem)
Left to right, Mariano Schlez and Paola Salem, with Damian Beker and Maxi Klein, organized efforts to bring together Jewish Soccer fans at the World Cup's seven sites in Brazil. (Courtesy Paola Salem)

At World Cup, Argentina couple kicking Jewishness into high gear

(JTA) – When Argentina plays its opening-round matches in the World Cup, Mariano Schlez of Buenos Aires will be screaming his support from the stands. But taking in his home country’s matches in Brazil isn’t all that will be occupying Schlez for the first fortnight of the monthlong soccer spectacle. Also filling his calendar are […]

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Diamond minds: Baseball bonds generations of Shapiros

ABERDEEN, Md.  (JTA) – Standing on a hill on a glorious Sunday morning, Mark and Ron Shapiro are kvelling as they watch Caden Shapiro – son of Mark and grandson of Ron – pitching in a baseball tournament in this city near Baltimore after having been shelved for nearly two months by a broken ankle. […]

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Where Chabad’s lost boys go to find themselves

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (JTA) – The Bais Menachem Youth Development program in this northeastern Pennsylvania city is no typical Chabad yeshiva. The students wear flip-flops and T-shirts, not the typical black-and-white of Hasidic seminaries. In addition to Jewish law and Bible study, the curriculum includes improv nights, poetry slams and screenings of National Geographic nature shows. […]

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As Presbyterians again weigh divestment, Jewish groups lobby, warn and worry

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Which way will Presbyterians go this time? That’s a question Jewish groups and their Presbyterian allies are nervously asking as they work to head off divestment efforts within the church targeting Israel. The fear is the efforts could pass this time after a narrow defeat two years ago. A successful divestment vote […]

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Ian Kinsler is thriving in Detroit after being traded from the Texas Rangers. (Hillel Kutler, JTA)
Ian Kinsler is thriving in Detroit after being traded from the Texas Rangers. (Hillel Kutler, JTA)

Echoes of Greenberg: Tigers roaring with Jewish duo Ausmus and Kinsler

The rarity arose in the initial meeting of first-year Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and his second baseman Ian Kinsler, newly traded from the Texas Rangers: a Jewish player reporting to a Jewish manager. Ausmus was “raised the same way I was,” Kinsler learned, with one Jewish parent and an upbringing in which Judaism “wasn’t […]

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What does my mother-in-law have to do with my married life, columnist Edmon J. Rodman recalls foolishly asking soon after he was married 32 years ago. (Edmon J. Rodman)
What does my mother-in-law have to do with my married life, columnist Edmon J. Rodman recalls foolishly asking soon after he was married 32 years ago. (Edmon J. Rodman)

At Shavuot, celebrating the giving of the law — and the mother-in-law?

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — In the Ten Commandments, the Torah tells us to “Honor your father and your mother,” but on mothers-in-law, it’s mum. That is until we come to the two-day holiday of Shavuot and read the Book of Ruth, which records the relationship between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi. Since Shavuot celebrates the […]

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Equestrian show jumper and Olympic hopeful Danielle Goldstein practicing her routine in central Israel, May 12, 2014. (Ben Sales)
Equestrian show jumper and Olympic hopeful Danielle Goldstein practicing her routine in central Israel, May 12, 2014. (Ben Sales)

An Israeli Olympic equestrian? Danielle Goldstein aims for Rio Games

YAGUR, Israel (JTA) — The crowd was sparse and admission was free. Pop music from 10 years ago blared from loudspeakers. A few families sat on bleachers near the athletes, who hopped over a low fence when it was time to compete. The Israeli Equestrian Championships wasn’t the most obvious place to look for an […]

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