French Jewish group fined for defamation

France’s largest Jewish organization defamed a pro-Palestinian charity by accusing it of financing Hamas, a French court ruled. The ruling against the CRIF umbrella group handed down by the Nancy Court of Cassation last month was first reported Sunday by the news site al-kanz.org. CRIF staff were ordered to pay the equivalent of $4,140 to… Read More

Is UNRWA an Obstacle to Peace?

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As the breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process grabs the latest headlines, a growing group of organizations are calling attention to what they believes to be a major obstacle in fostering understanding between Israelis and Palestinians: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). David Bedein, bureau chief… Read More

America’s Other Pastime

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For years, the clicking of the colorful tiles taunted Donna Beth Joy Shapiro. She wanted to learn the game, but she couldn’t find anyone to teach her. “It was the most mysterious thing my mother did,” said Shapiro of her mother’s regular mah jongg games. Finally, Shapiro attended an instructional event hosted by the Jewish… Read More

Mock Evictions Spark University’s Ire

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American universities have long been a place of political engagement, where rhetoric far from the sphere of mainstream political discourse is often the norm. But the recent suspension of a pro-Palestine student group has thrust Boston’s Northeastern University into a national debate on what constitutes free speech and what crosses into anti-Semitism and intimidation. The… Read More

What Happens in Vegas

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LAS VEGAS — The GOP Jewish faithful descended in force on Sin City, turning out in record numbers and striking a feisty, combative tone at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference. According to organizers, some 400 people attended the gathering, where they were feted with poker and golf tournaments and wooed by presidential hopefuls. “In… Read More

Striving for Unity

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From the moment he took the microphone at the 54th annual Interfaith Institute at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, it was clear that keynote speaker Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, senior pastor of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, meant business. This year’s topic was “When There is No Vision, Community Will Perish.” Connor began by referencing BHC’s… Read More

Searching for Community

The night Gidon Feen came out as gay at his Orthodox high school after-graduation party, he said he could feel his stomach boiling. While he had come out to his close friends in 11th grade, this was his entire high school. “Oh, by the way, I’m gay and I’m coming out tonight,” he said. And… Read More

Freedom at a Price

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High school and middle school students from the Bais Yaakov School for Girls gathered in the auditorium at the school’s Mount Washington location to hear famed refusenik Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch share his story of fighting Russian oppression from behind the Iron Curtain. Mendelevitch, whose “Unbroken Spirit: A Heroic Story of Faith, Courage and Survival” was… Read More

Survivors Haven’t Lost Their Rhythm

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Jordon Goodman (top photo) leads a drum circle with members of the Holocaust Survivors Social Club, who danced,sang and played a variety of percussion instruments. (Photos by Marc Shapiro) When Jordan Goodman told a room of about 30 seniors that he is a musician and they are musicians too, he got rounds of laughter. But… Read More

Matzah, Matzah Man

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For the past 28 years, starting just after Purim and continuing until one week before Passover, Rabbi Hillel Baron, director of the Chabad Lubavitch Center in Columbia, has been educating and entertaining between 50 and 150 children per day at his Model Matzah Factory. During his reign as “Matzah Man,” an estimated 40,000 children have kneaded,… Read More