Seeing the Light

This aerial view shows the damage of a December 2014 oil leak in the Arava area of southern Israel, near where the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative is 
underway to reduce the world's reliance on petroleum.

TEL AVIV — In the sun-parched fields near where the largest oil spill in Israeli history poured millions of liters of crude oil into the desert on Dec. 4, an ambitious effort is underway to help reduce global dependency on petroleum for energy. Known as the Eilot Belt, the area is the site of Israel’s… Read More

On the Front Lines

University of Virginia students Pierce Eggan, Madison Orlow (center) and Patricia Garvey (right) participate in volunteer work on their campus.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Jewish campus groups were ready for the painful national dialogue that took place in the wake of murky rape allegations at the University of Virginia. That’s because organizations such as Hillel and historically Jewish Greek houses such as Alpha Epsilon Pi, Zeta Beta Tau and Sigma Delta Tau had been having the… Read More

Israeli Youth Movement

A student village built by Ayalim in the embattled town of Sderot will house 300 students next year.

LOD, Israel — He says he’s a leader of a “Zionist settlement” movement, but Raz Sofer’s home is no West Bank outpost. Sofer, 25, is the manager of a 100-member student village in this mixed Jewish-Arab city in central Israel. The village, comprised of several apartment complexes, offers students cheap rent in exchange for volunteer… Read More

‘Clear Choice’

For the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization J Street, the upcoming Israeli election is a moment of “clear choice.” Either Israelis will elect leadership that puts the Jewish state on the path of isolation and violence, say the group’s activists, or on a path toward a two-state solution that maintains both the Jewish and democratic natures… Read More

Bolton Street Sues Evergreen Association

Bolton Street Synagogue in Baltimore is suing the Evergreen Community Association over the synagogue’s future plans for an educational facility in the neighborhood. According to court documents filed on Nov. 10, two years after the synagogue purchased property at 212 W. Cold Spring Lane in October 2000, it signed an agreement with the neighborhood association… Read More

Gross to Receive $3.2 Million from Federal Government

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Alan Gross will receive $3.2 million from the federal government to cover expenses he incurred during his five years in a Cuban prison. The U.S. Agency for International Development announced Dec. 23 that it would pay the money under a contractual agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, USAID will make payment directly to Gross,… Read More

Sephardic Vogue

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ROTA, Spain — While setting up a synagogue at the American naval base where she works, Ahuvah (Amanda) Gipson made something of a bitter-sweet discovery. Rifling through a storage area at the sprawling American-Spanish military complex Naval Station Rota in 2012, Gipson, a former naval outreach professional who now teaches off base, found three dusty… Read More

‘A Miracle’

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Jewish communal officials the world over were gratified by the recent announcement by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) that social service agencies that provide assistance to frail, elderly and low-income Holocaust survivors will receive substantial increases in their allocations for 2015. In Baltimore, funding to Jewish Community Services will increase… Read More

Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Freundel’s Former Employers

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While the criminal trial of Rabbi Barry Freundel, formerly of the Kesher Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., on six counts of voyeurism has not yet begun, some women who allege they are Freundel’s victims have joined a class-action civil lawsuit against his former employers, seeking to be compensated for emotional injuries.   A team of… Read More

Good As New

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Congregants packed the halls of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: the chance to help repair a Torah scroll that survived the Holocaust and dates back at least 250 years. “It was great,” said Linda Speert, who helped write an aleph on the scroll the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 14. She wanted to bring… Read More