News

Timing, noodging advance new push for Jonathan Pollard

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A combination of timing, diplomatic considerations and, above all, good old-fashioned noodging has culminated in the biggest push in years to free Jonathan Pollard. Insiders associated with the push, which resulted last week in a congressional letter to President Obama asking for clemency for the American… Read more »

Lame-duck Congress jeopardizes school lunch program for poor, groups warn

Hillel members from several New York City universities interacting with the homeless community during a resource fair in New York, Oct. 17, 2010. (JCPA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The framers of an interfaith effort with the grand goal of halving American poverty in the next decade had a small but focused message this week: Keep those school lunches coming. At a meeting Monday on Capitol Hill at an event attended by congressional staffers, the… Read more »

In the lions’ den: Federation women cap week in the Big Easy

One of the "lions" at the International Lion of Judah conference helps a young New Orleans reader during the event's community service literacy project. (Bernie Saul for Jewish Federations of North America)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (JTA) — Just down the road from where the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America had concluded a day earlier, more than a thousand of the federation system’s most generous women found a philanthropic sanctuary of their own. At the Hilton Hotel here,… Read more »

Beck under fire over Soros comments

Some Jewish groups are saying that Glenn beck, above, went too far with his criticism of George Soros. (Gage Skidmore)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Fox News provocateur Glenn Beck spent several days taking aim at billionaire businessman and philanthropist George Soros, but so far — at least within Jewish circles — the barrage appears to be backfiring. On his radio and TV shows earlier this month, Beck portrayed Soros as… Read more »

Crossword puzzle clue to romance in Invisible Theatre’s “2 Across”

Janet (Maedell Dixon) and Josh (David Alexander Johnston) prove opposites do attract in “2 Across.”

In the romantic comedy “2 Across,” now playing at the Invisible Theatre, two strangers meet on a San Francisco BART train. They’re opposites: she’s a pragmatist, he’s a dreamer. She’s Catholic, he’s Jewish. And she does the New York Times crossword in pen, while he does it in pencil… Read more »

Obstacles on Mt. Kilimanjaro climb bring local woman, family closer to God

Nancy Kumble Fenn (left) and her daughter Melissa, 22, pause about halfway on their ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Nancy Kumble Fenn’s first outdoor adventure was biking up the coast of Maine in 1976 at age 16. Now the mother of three grown children, Kumble Fenn has traveled all over the world with her husband, Richmond Fenn, a mining engineer. In July, with nine members of her family… Read more »

At JFSA workshop, teachers explore power of self-reflection in Holocaust memoirs

Why read memoirs about terrible persecution? This provocative question was the focus of “Teaching the Holocaust: Diaries, Personal Correspondence and Memoir,” an in-service workshop for teachers held at the University of Arizona Poetry Center on Oct. 28. The workshop was organized by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Coalition… Read more »

UA Hillel Israel fellow’s journey to Judaism began in Russia

Max Rusinov

Max Rusinov is an adventurous guy. Born in Kirov, Russia, he knew nothing about Judaism at age 12, but at 24, he’s the new Israel fellow at the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation. Rusinov made aliyah — alone —at age 14 and has served in combat units in the… Read more »

Tucson’s synagogue gift shops: more than menorahs

Walk into most synagogue gift shops this time of year and you’ll find all manner of dreidels and menorahs, from traditional to whimsical, in materials ranging from glass and porcelain to metal and wood. But Tucson’s synagogue gift shops also contain unexpected items, hidden treasures tucked amid the essentials… Read more »

‘Selling the Fountain of Youth’ author to speak

Arlene Weintraub

The quest for the fountain of youth has become a fountain of profit for the anti-aging industry and a waste of money for the youth-seekers, says award-winning investigative reporter Arlene Weintraub, who will discuss her findings at Temple Emanu-El on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 10:30 a.m. Weintraub, a Tucson… Read more »

Jewish education tax credits aid THA, JCC, CAI

At Tucson Hebrew Academy’s Tikkun Olam Award Celebration on Oct. 24, guest speaker Rabbi Daniel Gordis, author of “Saving Israel,” drew a direct connection between Jewish education and the Jewish future. “There are challenges facing the Jewish people across the world … and Jewish education is so critical in… Read more »

UApresents to pair world-class clarinetist, pianist

Menahem Pressler

Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, a two-time Grammy Award winner, rejoices in the power of music written by the world’s greatest composers, “taking my turn to take those notes and turn them into life.” Stoltzman intends do just that when he performs with pianist Menahem Pressler and the New York Chamber… Read more »

Famed rabbi Joseph Telushkin to launch JFSA 2011 Campaign

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, named by Talk magazine as one of the 50 best speakers in the United States, will be the keynote speaker at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Campaign Kickoff event on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at Congregation Anshei Israel at 7:15 p.m. The author of “Jewish Literacy:… Read more »

Army converts are latest to be dragged into Israel’s conversion wars

The army conversion case of Alina Sardikov, shwon marrying husband Maxim earlier this year in a wedding officiated by ITIM director Rabbi Seth Farber, has gone to the Israeli Supreme Court. (ITIM)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — For years, army conversions were seen by many as a convenient solution for resolving at least part of the “Who is a Jew?” question that hangs like a cloud over the lives of tens of thousands of Israelis. In the Israel Defense Forces, under the… Read more »

The Chosen: Jewish members in the 112th Congress

NEW YORK (JTA) — The following is a list of the 39 Jewish members — 12 senators and 27 representatives — who are expected to serve in the 112th U.S. Congress, which is set to convene in January: U.S. SENATE Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)* Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)** Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.)… Read more »

17 arrested in $42.5 million fraud at claims conference

Gregory Schneider, executive vice presdient at the Claims Conference, together with the U.S. Attorneys Office announced the discovery of a $42.5 million fraud scheme, Nov. 9, 2010. Claims Conference)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York has arrested 17 people for participating in a $42.5 million fraud at the Claims Conference. Those arrested include former and current employees of the Claims Conference, which distributes more than $400 million per year from the German government… Read more »

As Feingold exits, Senate loses independent liberal

The political career of Sen. russ Feingold, shown on the campaign trail for Barack Obama in Eau Claire, Wis., in August 2008, was marked by a fierce independence. (Phil Freedman)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The speech that Russ Feingold gave to end his career in the U.S. Senate was much like his career itself: by turns crystal clear, obscure, ornery, defiant and gracious — and quoting a fellow Great Plains Jew to boot. “But my heart is not weary, it’s… Read more »

In the war on breast cancer, Israel leads

Participants in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure walk through the streets of Jerusalem on Oct. 28, 2010 to raise awareness about breast cancer. (Rose Inbal)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Irit Paneth, in and out of remission from breast cancer for more than a decade, was among the thousands who wound their way like a giant pink-and-white ribbon through Jerusalem’s streets in the first Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure held in Israel. “What’s… Read more »

First sign of the new U.S. political reality — Bibi’s swagger

Randy Altschuler, a Republican who holds a slim lead in his suburban New York congressional district, campaigning this summer with Rep. Eric Cantor, currently the only GOP Jewish lawmaker in the Congress. (Courtesy Randy Altschuler for Congress)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The sharpest signal of what last week’s elections meant for Jews came not from Washington but from New Orleans, Nova Scotia and Australia. In New Orleans, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech Monday calling for moving beyond sanctions to mounting a “credible military threat”… Read more »