Reform Biennial to Feature Presidential Hopefuls

“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd has been tapped to host a presidential candidates’ forum at the Union for Reform Judaism’s biennial in November. The NBC News political director will interview 2016 presidential candidates one-on-one and give the hopefuls an opportunity to answer questions from URJ leadership and biennial delegates at the event scheduled for… Read More

Where Freundel May Serve Satellite camp would be ‘real privilege’

Courtroom sketch artist 
William J. Hennessy completes his 
treatment of the Freundel sentencing 
on the courthouse’s front steps.

Where Rabbi Barry Freundel spends the next 6 1/2 years now lies in the hands of Senior Judge Geoffrey Alprin and the Board of Prisons. Joseph J., a Jewish former judicial official who served 181/2 months in federal prison for soliciting bribes from two attorneys, believes Freundel should push hard to be sent to a… Read More

Riding High Young pot entrepreneurs hope for potent business mixing Jewish, cannabis connections

Seth Wong (left) and JJ Slatkin have high hopes for their new marijuana testing business.

DENVER — Seth Wong’s place of work is heavily cluttered, with shelves loaded with moldy bagels, stale cake and fermenting carrots. There’s a not-so-faint smell of urine in the air. But if all goes according to plan for Wong and his new business partner, JJ Slatkin, their new office soon will have something else in… Read More

Dreams Derailed As Amtrak resumes service, communities cope with loss

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With mandated Federal Railroad Administration safety measures and rail improvements in place, Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor reopened Monday, just shy of one week after a deadly train derailment north of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station claimed eight lives and injured more than 200 people. Among the dead were two Jewish victims, Rachel Jacobs, 39, the CEO… Read More

Navy Midshipmen Killed in Derailment Was Dedicated Jew, Student Justin Zemser had his eyes on being a Navy SEAL

Justin Zemser pictured on June 27, 2013, at the United State Naval Academy, days after graduating from high school.

Richard Zemser, the uncle of United States Naval Academy midshipman Justin Zemser, couldn’t say enough good things about his nephew. “He did more things in his young 20 years than anybody can imagine,” his uncle said Thursday afternoon. He was taking a break from writing what he would say the next day at Justin’s funeral…. Read More

Jewish Midshipman and Tech CEO Confirmed Dead Despite carnage, commuters not deterred

Rachel Jacobs, with her husband and child.
Photo credit: JTA

A New York-bound Amtrak train originating in Washington, D.C. derailed Tuesday night in Philadelphia, killing at least eight and injuring more than 200 people, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said. Northeast Regional Train 188 was traveling at 106 mph as it entered the sharp curve, where the speed limit is 50 mph, according to the National Transportation Safety… Read More

Glory Days In L.A.’s Koreatown, Wilshire Boulevard Temple bets big on the past for its future

Steve Leder, senior rabbi at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, saw 
opportunity in the synagogue's 
deteriorating landscape.

LOS ANGELES — The time has long since passed when the Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s address on its namesake boulevard was considered glamorous. Now the surrounding blocks are the clamorous heart of Koreatown, with all its urban grit: traffic snarls, hulking office buildings, electronics shops, dentists, and banks with signs in Korean and some in Spanish…. Read More

The Debate on Policing Jewish organizations in position to help make change

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WASHINGTON — From roundtable discussions to protests and prayers to candid talks with law enforcement officials, American Jewish communities are joining in the debate about community policing in the wake of several high-profile deaths of unarmed black men while in police custody. Officials were short on specifics, but several said that protests in Baltimore following… Read More

Jewish Midshipman Dead, Tech CEO Missing in Amtrak Derailment

Rachel Jacobs, with her husband and child.
Photo credit: JTA

One Jewish midshipman was killed and a the CEO of Philadelphia tech company is missing after an Amtrak train derailed Tuesday night. Midshipman Justin Zesmer, from Far Rockaway, N.Y., was one of the seven people killed when Amtrak Northwest Regional train 188 derailed, according to reports. Another 200 were injured. Rachel Jacobs, the CEO of… Read More