National

Rand Paul’s Jewish outreach finds receptive if wary audience

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaks at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference in March. (Gage Skidmore)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Can Rand Paul woo his party’s Jews? The Kentucky senator and likely candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is stepping up his Jewish outreach. In recent weeks, Paul chatted with rabbis on a conference call and proposed legislation to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority… Read more »

Donald Sterling’s dollars: Charities face dilemmas with tainted donors

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is pictured with V. Stiviano to his left at a 2013 basketball game. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

When Donald Sterling’s racist rant hit the news last week, you could practically hear the jostling at the microphone by those eager to denounce the Los Angeles Clippers owner. For the beneficiaries of Sterling’s largesse, the denunciations took on a special imperative as a means of distancing themselves from… Read more »

Should Jews pack their bags for Detroit?

(JTA) — Sure, the news from the city of Detroit seems endlessly grim: bankruptcy, crime and so for  But the metro area, whose northwest suburbs host a panoply of Jewish amenities, is the most affordable place in the United States to raise a “committed Jewish family,” at least according… Read more »

Campus divestment votes surge, but pro-Palestinian activists don’t get many wins

NEW YORK (JTA) — On Twitter, pro-Palestinian activists dubbed it “DivestApalooza.” Student governments at three Southern California public universities all voted on divestment resolutions targeting Israel in a single day. The April 23 votes were part of a surge in student governments at American universities voting on divestment resolutions.… Read more »

Anonymous interview shows U.S. frustration with Israel after talks’ collapse

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem on March 31, 2014. (Amos Ben Gershom/Israel Government Press Office/FLASH90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Now that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have screeched to a halt, U.S. officials are apportioning blame, and a big share is going to Israel. In an interview with Nahum Barnea, a veteran diplomatic affairs writer for the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot, anonymous members of the U.S. negotiating team… Read more »

Fact-checking J Street and its critics

J Street's president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, addresses his group's 2013 national conference in Washington. (Courtesy of J Street)

(JTA) — The vote is over, but the debate rages on over the recent rejection of J Street’s application to join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Depending on where you stand, the 22-17 vote rejecting the application was either about J Street’s own missteps or… Read more »

Sterling banned for life from Clippers, NBA for racist remarks

(JTA) — Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was banned for life by the NBA and fined $2.5 million for making racist comments. Under the punishment laid down Tuesday by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Sterling may not associate with the team or the league after it… Read more »

After peace talks collapse, experts counsel a wait-and-see approach

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The best move for the Obama administration on the Middle East peace front may be to take a few steps back. That’s what some observers are advising in the wake of the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The Palestinian unity talks mean that President Obama and U.S.… Read more »

Obama pointing finger at ‘both sides’ for peace impasse

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A pox on both your houses, but when you want a cure, we’re still here. That’s the message the Obama administration is sending Israel and the Palestinians amid the deepening crisis in peace efforts. “What we haven’t seen is, frankly, the kind of political will to… Read more »

Hillels offer new outreach to college bound

Hillels in North America have a new resource: www.JCollegeBound.org enables high school seniors to share their names and email addresses with the Hillel at the college or university they plan to attend. The Hillel director at the student’s new school will automatically be notified and will reach out to… Read more »

After his hunger strike, Alan Gross’ backers ramp up calls for U.S. action

Supporters of Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned in Cuba since 2009, rally outside the White House on Dec. 3, 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alan Gross did not warn his family he was launching a hunger strike, but hearing the news, they understood why: The U.S. government subcontractor languishing in a Cuban prison feels forgotten. Gross,  a 64-year-old Jewish father of two from Potomac, Md., is currently serving a 15-year sentence… Read more »

In Kansas City, targeting a community’s beating heart

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (JTA) — Every Friday at noon, my 2-year-old daughter and I rush through the doors of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City here to meet my father for lunch. We are usually late, and the JCC’s Heritage Center, catering to active seniors (and their… Read more »

Kansas City shootings highlight threat of ‘lone wolf’ attack

A policewoman and police car are seen at the entrance of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan., following the fatal shootings there, April 13, 2014. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The suspect in deadly shootings at two Jewish institutions in suburban Kansas City made no secret of his hateful views, but nobody anticipated the attack that claimed three lives on Sunday. The shooter was identified as Frazier Glenn Miller, a 73-year-old white supremacist. The attack illustrates… Read more »

As U.S. tries to save talks, Kerry touts past progress, says ‘fight is over process’

Secretary of State John Kerry testifies during aSenate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on April 8, 2014. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration is sticking with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process for now despite a crisis that has threatened to scuttle talks. That’s the message U.S. officials were peddling as a top State Department team was in the region turning over the engine attempting to restart the… Read more »

Pollard, settlement freeze, prisoners in the mix amid peace talks crisis

Israelis calling for the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard during President Obama's visit to Jerusalem, March 19, 2013. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

 WASHINGTON (JTA) — Possibilities raised during efforts to resolve the current crisis over Israeli-Palestinian peace talks include freeing Jonathan Pollard, a partial settlement freeze, guarantees that Palestinians won’t push for international recognition and a mass prisoner release.  Officials close to the talks confirmed to JTA that U.S. Secretary of… Read more »

In Hobby Lobby contraceptive case, arguing about kosher butchers

Demonstrators rally ouside of the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby March 25, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — For 20 or so minutes last week, the issue of religious freedom was cast as a struggle between working women and Muslim and Jewish butchers. The pointed questions posed March 25 to the Obama administration’s chief lawyer by three U.S. Supreme Court justices got to the… Read more »

In Vegas, GOP Jews focus on Israel, while contenders focus on Adelson

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, March 29, 2014. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (JTA) — The GOP Jewish faithful descended in force on Sin City, turning out in record numbers and striking a feisty, combative tone at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference. According to organizers, some 400 people attended the gathering, where they were feted with poker and golf… Read more »

U.S. scrambles as prisoner release, Jewish state issues threaten to sink talks

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Obama administration is scrambling to salvage Israeli-Palestinian talks threatened by disputes over core identity issues for each side: recognition of the state’s Jewish character for Israel, the release of prisoners for the Palestinians. Martin Indyk, the peace process envoy for U.S. Secretary of State John… Read more »