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Updated: 42 min 17 sec ago

"555 Days of Prayer to Save America" Team Joins...

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:40

Planners of "555 Days of Prayer of Save America," which has reached day 377, invite those who do not attend church, as well as those who have not recently attended, to plan to attend Easter...

(PRWeb March 16, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11674022.htm

Chicago’s Interfaith Voices to Provide Unity through Harmony

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:40

Anshe Emet Synagogue will host the "Sounds of Faith" Concert on April 6, bringing together the sounds and music of the three Abrahamic Faiths -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- creating...

(PRWeb March 13, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11660799.htm

Iran Chief Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen Dies at 98

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 09:22

The chief rabbi of Iran, Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen, has died.

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Hungary's Far Right Jobbik Party Hones Appeal With Jibes at Jews

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 08:19

To launch its campaign for Hungary’s parliamentary election, the far-right Jobbik party, accused by critics of anti-Semitism, chose as its venue a former synagogue with a plaque on the wall commemorating 500 local Jews killed in the Holocaust.

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Chief rabbi of Iran dies

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 07:41

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The chief rabbi of Iran, Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen, has died.

Hamadani died over the weekend and was buried in Iran on Sunday, the Hebrew-language website Kikar Shabbat reported, citing the rabbi’s nephew bearing the same name who lives in Israel.

The death was announced by the representative of the Iranian Jews in parliament, Siamak Moreh Sedgh, according to The Associated Press, which reported that Hamadani was 98. Hamadani, the head of Iran’s Jewish community since 1994, reportedly had been ill for many years.

Many Iranian Jews marked the rabbi’s death by changing their Facebook status to “our crown has been removed.”

Hamadani’s nephew told Kikar Shabbat that the Jewish community and the Iranian people respected the rabbi. He said he did not believe that the Iranian Jewish community would break down due to the loss of the rabbi.

“There are young men there who learn Torah,” the Israeli Hamadani said. “They are receiving assistance, but there are problems.”

Hamadani was known for his ties to the Iranian leadership. He met for the first time with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in 2000, and later hosted him at his Yusef Abad Synagogue in 2003, reportedly the first time a president of Iran had visited a synagogue since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

There are about 25,000 Jews living in Iran, according to AP, which makes it the largest Middle East Jewish community outside of Israel.

Hillel Balances Donors and Students on Campus

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 06:00

Some say Hillel is too beholden to right-wing donors and students should vote with their feet. One campus director says the last thing the group needs is fewer engaged Jewish voices.

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Houston Man Indicted for Synagogue Bomb Threats

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 14:44

A federal grand jury indicted a Houston man for calling in bomb threats to two city synagogues, a municipal courthouse and a private business.

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Houston man indicted for synagogue bomb threats

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 12:10

(JTA) — A federal grand jury indicted a Houston man for calling in bomb threats to two city synagogues, a municipal courthouse and a private business.

Dante Phearse, 33, was charged with two civil rights violations for “threat of force with an explosive device which allegedly obstructed members of the synagogues from enjoying the free exercise of their religious beliefs,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice issued March 27.

According to the indictment, Phearse called Congregation Beth Israel and Congregation Or Ami and threatened to bomb the synagogue buildings and harm its members, the Department of Justice said. He also called bomb threats to the City of Houston Municipal Courts building and a private business.

Phearse is facing a maximum of 20 years in prison for each civil rights violation and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each bomb threat. He has remained in police custody since his arrest.

 

 

In Search of a More Perfect Union

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 06:00

Rabbi Marc Schneier and Imam Shamsi Ali have co-written a book that shows similarities between Jews and Muslims.

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Obama renominates Bush appointee, Jewish educator, to broadcasting board

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:42

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama nominated for a second term a Florida Jewish educator President George W. Bush named to the board of directors for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Obama on Thursday nominated Elizabeth Sembler, the director Congregational Engagement for Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Fla., to a second six-year term.

Sembler is currently the vice chairwoman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a congressionally mandated private nonprofit that oversees how government funds are spent among public broadcasters, including PBS and NPR.

Bush nominated Sembler, a daughter-in-law of Mel Sembler, a major GOP donor, in 2008.

She from 2001-2010 the director of Jewish studies at the Pinellas County Jewish Day School and has been active in public television in Florida.

49% of Israelis Say Accept Reform, Conservative

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 12:50

Nearly half of Israelis surveyed said Israel’s Chief Rabbinate should officially recognize Reform and Conservative Judaism.

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Danish Zoo Killings Denounced by Rabbi as Hypocritical Amid Slaughter Ban

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 11:33

A Danish zoo’s slaying of healthy animals proves that animal welfare concerns are a false justification for Denmark’s recent ban on ritual slaughter, a prominent European rabbi charged.

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Poll: 49% of Israelis favor Rabbinate recognition for Reform, Conservative Jews

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:30

(JTA) — Nearly half of Israelis surveyed said Israel’s Chief Rabbinate should officially recognize Reform and Conservative Judaism.

In the survey of 500 adults, 49 percent “strongly feel that the Chief Rabbinate should officially recognize the Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism,” Walla.com reported, because this “will in turn strengthen the connection with American Jews.”

The poll, published Thursday, was commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation and conducted by Teleseker polling. It focused on how Israelis perceive the relationship between their countrymen and state institutions and U.S. Jews.

Asked about whether the views of American Jews on the peace process should be taken into account, 30 percent of respondents said “to some extent,” 22 percent said “to a great extent” and 18 percent said “not at all.”

Thirty-one percent of respondents said that Diaspora Jews should not be represented in the Knesset while 29 percent said Diaspora Jews should be represented “to some extent.”

The survey was conducted ahead of a trip to New York and Boston that the Ruderman Family Foundation is organizing for six Knesset members to learn more about U.S. Jewry.

Rabbi: Danish zoo killings show shechitah ban isn’t about animal welfare

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:20

(JTA) — A Danish zoo’s slaying of healthy animals proves that animal welfare concerns are a false justification for Denmark’s recent ban on ritual slaughter, a prominent European rabbi charged.

Citing the need to make room for new animals and prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed four healthy lions earlier this week and a healthy giraffe last month.

The killings, which prompted an international outcry, make it “more apparent that this [shechitah ban] is less about animal welfare, and much more about the politics of immigration and integration,” Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement on Thursday.

Denmark’s agriculture minister, Dan Jorgensen, issued a new regulation last month making it illegal to slaughter animals without stunning, posing a problem for Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter. He said the ban owed to animal welfare considerations.

Goldschmidt suggested that’s false.

“Since there is little or no religious slaughter in Denmark today, we can only assume that the ban represents a fig leaf intended to cover the country’s woeful record on animal welfare,” he said.

Last month the Copenhagen Zoo made headlines around the world when it killed an 18-month-old healthy giraffe and then publicly fed his flesh to the lion pack. The affair has refocused attention on the traditional whale hunt performed in Denmark’s Faroe Islands, where each year hunters maneuver hundreds of pilot whales to beach themselves, then butcher them in shallow lagoons.

“It seems so clear that this is a country with a great deal of work to do in this area” of animal welfare, Goldschmidt said, “yet all they have succeeded in doing thus far is offending faith communities.”

Do Orthodox Rabbi Groups Hold Too Much Sway Over Conversion — in Israel and U.S.?

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:58

The battle over conversion is heating up as the main American Orthodox rabbinic group says it cannot vouch for all conversions presided over by its members.

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Stolen Czech Ark Cover Returned to Prague Musuem

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 07:55

A 19th century parochet, or ark cover, originally from a Czech synagogue was returned to the Prague Jewish Museum.

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Phil Baum, Retired AJC Leader, Dies

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 17:33

Phil Baum, the former executive director at the American Jewish Congress, died at home in Riverdale, N.Y.

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Watch: ‘Pedestrians In Bars Eating Toffee,’ a parody of Seinfeld’s web series

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 09:34

From the music to the editing to the way the host paces himself and interrupts his guests, “Pedestrians In Bars Eating Toffee” (featured on CollegeHumor and Laughing Squid) is very much a spot-on spoof of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”

Oh, and this parody, featuring Gabe Oppenheim and Samuel Goldberg, also has that underlying New York Jew-y thing going on.

Our favorite moment: Mid-toffee munching, Jerry stand-in Gabe begins flossing. Samuel, this episode’s guest, doesn’t like flossing. It makes his gums bleed.

“What kind of torturous exercise do you think flossing is?” Gabe asks, after pointing out that gums bleed when they are unhealthy, not because flossing is bad.

“I’m Jewish.” Samuel offers up as a response.

Russia Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar Slams Vladimir Putin's Critics

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 08:02

Berel Lazar, a chief rabbi of Russia, criticized Ukrainian Jewish leaders for condemning Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

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Rabbi Performs Controversial Metzitzah B'Peh Circumcision Rite — Law or No

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 06:00

A rabbi performs a controversial circumcision rite, then proudly tells the Forward that he routinely ignores New York City’s law requiring parental consent.

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