Business briefs 9.27.19

Julia Berg

Rabbinical student Julia Berg will join Congregation Or Chadash for the High Holy Days and monthly for Shabbat services through May. Berg is a second-year student at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Berg spent her undergraduate career at the University of Michigan where she… Read more »

Homeless man pleads guilty to burning down Minnesota synagogue

A homeless man pleaded guilty to burning down a historic Minnesota synagogue earlier this month. Prosecutors have indicated that they intend to ask for probation for Matthew James Amiot, 36, The Associated Press reported. He could have faced a maximum of three years in prison. Amiot pleaded guilty to… Read more »

Jewish and Arab astronauts head to space together

The first Arab to visit the International Space Station launched there on Wednesday with the daughter of an Israeli father. Hazzaa al-Mansoori, 35, of the United Arab Emirates and Jessica Meir, an American, took off on the historic trip from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on a Soyuz rocket. They will remain… Read more »

How the late French president Jacques Chirac started France’s reckoning with the Holocaust

PARIS - MARCH 11: French President Jacques Chirac attends a media conference for Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (not shown) in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace March 11, 2004 in Paris, France. Prime Minister Qurei is on an official visit to Paris. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

VIENNA, Austria (JTA) — Jacques Chirac, the former French president who died on September 26 at age 86, had only been in office two months when, on July 16, 1995, he delivered a speech that began a vital reckoning with one of the darkest aspects of France’s recent history.… Read more »

Israeli minister: Promoters of the Israel boycott movement are anti-Semitic

Israel’s public security minister presented a report at a conference in Brussels on Wednesday that includes 80 examples of what he called anti-Semitism by key European promoters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. In one example from April, Jenny Tonge, a lawmaker in the upper chamber… Read more »

Amar’e Stoudemire is now an undergrad, goes to his campus Hillel and wants to boost black-Jewish relations

Amar'e Stoudemire is leading an initiative to connect Jewish and African-American students at Florida International University. (Courtesy of FIU Hillel)

(JTA) — Despite his serious thoughts about an NBA comeback, Amar’e Stoudemire is taking a little break from basketball to go to school. The former six-time NBA All-Star, who had never attended college, started this fall as a freshman at Florida International University in Miami. Though the semester just… Read more »

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on why she did not retire during Obama’s term

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a discussion during the Library of Congress National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Aug. 31, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — It was a blunt statement in the midst of a cordial conversation: “I’m wondering why you’re here.” That was Nina Totenberg, the NPR legal affairs correspondent, to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Sept. 18 Moment magazine awards dinner, where the justice had… Read more »

Netanyahu didn’t win Israel’s election. So why is he getting the chance to form a government?

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin presents Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, with the mandate to form a new government, at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Sept. 25, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(JTA) — As votes were counted following last week’s election in Israel, many saw the results as a loss for longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After all, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party won fewer seats than the Blue and White party of his main competitor Benny Gantz. So it came… Read more »

‘Why is it that I can’t say something against the Jews?’ Malaysia’s leader asks at Columbia

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Aug. 31, 2019. (Chris Jung/NurPhoto/Getty Images/JTA Photo Service)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The prime minister of Malaysia defended his past anti-Semitic statements and questioned the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust in a speech at Columbia University. “I am exercising my right to free speech. Why is it that I can’t say something against the Jews,… Read more »

What does ‘Jew down’ mean, and why do people find it offensive?

A 16th-century painting of a money lender by Dutch artist Quentin Massys (Francis G. Mayer/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images/JTA Photo Service)

(JTA) – “Jew down” seems to be making a comeback — or maybe it never left the lexicon. In April, a City Council member uttered the term at a meeting in Jeffersonville, Indiana. This month, council members in two New Jersey cities — Paterson and Trenton — used it in… Read more »

Netanyahu nominated to form Israel’s government

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will get his second try this year to form Israel’s government after talks aimed at creating a unity government broke down. President Reuven Rivlin tasked Netanyahu with forming a government on Wednesday evening even though his Likud party did not finish first… Read more »

Israel’s crackdown on foreign workers is driving some families into hiding

Mika and Maureen Velasco being arrested in August. (Courtesy of United Children of Israel/JTA Photo Service)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The woman approached with trepidation, fidgeting and glancing nervously over her shoulder as she sat down in a coffee shop here. A Filipino caregiver who has been living in Israel without a visa for years, the woman said her home had been raided by Israeli… Read more »

Israel’s national baseball team is going to the 2020 Olympics

(JTA) — In a first, Israel’s national baseball team has qualified for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The squad of mostly Jewish-American college players and some pros team defeated South Africa on Sunday in the Europe/Africa Qualifier tournament in Italy and finished the tournament with a record… Read more »

Woman injured by Gaza rocket fire nearly one year ago dies

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A woman has died nearly a year after suffering injuries in a rocket attack into southern Israel from Gaza. Nina Gisdenanova, 74, died last week at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, The Times of Israel reported Sunday. She was in an apartment building in… Read more »

Bulgaria opens 1st Jewish school in over 20 years

(JTA) — Bulgaria’s Jewish community opened its first Jewish school in over 20 years. The opening last week of the Ronald S. Lauder Day School in Sofia is a significant development for the some 6,000 members of the Jewish minority in Bulgaria. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish… Read more »

Vilnius, a hub of Torah study destroyed by Nazis, to get new yeshiva

(JTA) — A rabbi in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is opening there what he says is the city’s first yeshiva, or Jewish religious seminary, since World War II. The Vilna Yeshiva will have about a dozen students when it opens this fall, Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, the Chabad-Lubavitch… Read more »

My congregation prays at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Here’s how we are coping this Rosh Hashanah.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, right, holds hands with Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, who survived the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue, at Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church during a service for victims of the mass shooting, Oct. 31, 2018, Perlman's wife, the author Beth Kissileff, is seated to his left. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images/JTA Photo Service)

PITTSBURGH (JTA) — Our sages teach us that kol hatchalot kashot, all beginnings are difficult. This phrase feels especially resonant this Rosh Hashanah. The man who blew the shofar last year at my Pittsburgh synagogue, New Light, is not here to blow it now. He was murdered on Oct. 27… Read more »