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

Religious Action Center Welcomes New Leader Washington confab highlights Reform movement’s activism

Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rabbi David Saperstein (left), Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs (center) and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner. (Photo Pat Jarrett)

Though the Reform movement’s social action arm has a new leader, the goals of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism remain the same. Close to 400 clergy and Reform movement activists packed the DoubleTree hotel in Arlington, Va., April 26 during the RAC’s three-day Consultation on Conscience to thank Rabbi David Saperstein for his… Read More

Jewish Community Protests, Marches, Prays

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About 100 members of the Baltimore Jewish community marched and rallied in Baltimore City on Friday afternoon. Among the group was about a dozen rabbis from Baltimore and Washington, D.C.-area synagogues. The group, led by Jews United for Justice, merged with a march led by Casa de Maryland, who held a rally outside of City… Read More