Valerie Sassyfras: a musical phoenix emerges


By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

On a cloudy and rain-threatened afternoon, Valerie Sassyfras is dancing behind a multi-colored scrim at Melba’s, a St. Roch neighborhood daiquiris and fast food eatery. Trance-like, she is moving to a track of her own previously-recorded vocals, reaching out to a small audience eating fried food through her tightly-closed eyes. Above all else, she is joyous and full of song.

Sassyfras has few worries as she alternately plays the keyboard, accordion, washboard and foot tambourine while harmonizing with her laid down vocal tracks.

Continue reading


Body believed to be missing yeshiva student found

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A dead body believed to be that of Aaron Sofer, a yeshiva student from New Jersey who went missing in the Jerusalem Forest, reportedly has been found.

The body has yet to be positively identified.

Hatzolah announced via Twitter late Thursday afternoon that the body of …
Continue reading


It has been a little over a week that celebrated star of stage and screen Robin Williams took his own life, the result of severe depression and many years battling the pressures related to alcohol and drug abuse. But we know far too well that clinical depression – a recognized disease – has far-reaching consequences for millions of Americans that may result in suicide in a few cases, but impacts their lives and their loved …
Continue reading

Netanyahu: Hamas ‘begged’ for cease-fire

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas did not achieve any of its demands in the wake of Israel’s operation in Gaza and “begged” for a cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu, speaking Wednesday in his first public statements since an open-ended cease-fire went into effect the previous evening, also said the Israeli military …
Continue reading

Israeli civilian injured by Syrian mortar on Golan Heights

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli man was wounded when a mortar shell fired from Syria struck Israel’s Golan Heights.

The mortar was believed to be part of the battles between Syrian rebels and government forces from the country’s more than 3-year-old civil war.

The man, 52, was taken to the hospital. He was …
Continue reading

State Dept. calls for due process for U.S. citizen held in Israel

(JTA) — The U.S. State Department called for the speedy resolution to the case of a U.S. citizen being held in an Israeli jail.

Mohammed Abu Khdeir was arrested on July 28 for allegedly throwing fireworks at Israel Police. He is a cousin of a Palestinian teen by the same name who was …
Continue reading

Click for past articles >>