Friday, January 15th 2021   |

National

RRA elects openly gay leader in convention here

(JTA) — The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) has elected an openly gay rabbi to lead the national rabbinic organization. Rabbi Jason Klein, the executive director of Hillel at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (since 2006), was elected to lead the RRA during its 39th annual convention here, which concluded on Wednesday.

It is the first national rabbinic association of one of the major Jewish denominations in the United States to...

Retract Zionism slur, U.S. lawmakers urge Turkey’s Erdogan

ASHINGTON (JTA) – Eighty-nine members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter calling on Turkey’s prime minister to retract his comments blasting Zionism.

The lawmakers, representing both houses of Congress and both political parties, sent the one-page letter to Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday to express “our grave disappointment with the statement you made at the United Nations-sponsored conference in Vienna last month equating Zionism — the foundation of the Jewish...

American Jews protest in solidarity with Women of the Wall

WASHINGTON (JTA) — American Jews held solidarity rallies in several U.S. cities to protest Israeli limitations on women’s prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

On Monday, some 125 demonstrators gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and additional demonstrations were held Tuesday in New York and Cleveland. San Francisco supporters were planning a rally for March 19.

The rallies were timed to Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the new Hebrew month,...

Giffords to received Kennedy ‘Profile in Courage’ Award

(JTA) — Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Giffords, who survived a shooting that killed six people, was recognized for the “political, personal, and physical courage she has demonstrated in her fearless public advocacy for policy reforms aimed at reducing gun violence.”

The award is presented each year by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Caroline Kennedy, JFK’s daughter, will present...

Alleged hit and run driver that killed hasidic couple turns himself in

(JTA) — The man identified as the driver of the car that killed a young hasidic couple in New York, whose newborn baby later died, surrendered to police.

Julio Acevedo, 44, of Brooklyn was arrested in the parking lot of a convenience store in Bethlehem, PA on Wednesday afternoon. Acevedo told police where to find him and turned himself in. He will be extradited to New York to face felony...

State of Ohio purchases record $42 million in Israel bonds

(JTA) — Ohio has bought $42 million in Israel Bonds, reportedly the largest single government purchase of Israel Bonds in U.S. history. The March 1 purchase increases the total amount of Israel Bonds in the state’s treasury portfolio to more than $80 million; the Cleveland Jewish News reported it as the largest such buy in U.S. history.

“We believe this is a sound investment for the taxpayers of Ohio and...

Senator Carl Levin won’t run again

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), a veteran Jewish lawmaker who for years was a major influence in defense policy, will not seek reelection.

Levin, 78, was quoted Thursday by The Associated Press as saying that his decision was “extremely difficult” but that he wanted to serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in 2014, without “distraction.”

Levin heads the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, and in that...

Obama to Jews: Peace essential, but prospects bleak

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama believes prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace are “bleak,” but he still will urge both sides to avoid unilateral actions that might further damage a process he hopes will be back on track within a year.

That was the message Obama delivered Thursday in a meeting with about 25 Jewish community figures at the White House to discuss his planned trip to Israel later...

Empire halts production for a day leading to fears of kosher chicken shortage

(JTA) — Empire Kosher shut down production of kosher chickens for one day, leading to fears of a shortage for Passover.

The plant in Mifflintown, Pa., was scheduled to resume production on Monday after closing down on Feb. 28, Haaretz reported. Empire, which has a regular production schedule of Monday to Thursday, is the largest kosher poultry producer in the United States.

Company spokesperson Elie Rosenfeld told Haaretz that the...

Pollard clemency petition reaches 103,000 signatures

JERUSALEM (JTA) — More than 103,000 people have signed a petition calling on President Obama to free imprisoned spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard.

The petition, which appears in Hebrew and English, was placed online Feb. 11 and will be hand delivered to Obama during his visit to Israel later this month, according to the Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization.

The organization is aiming for 150,000 signatures before Obama arrives in...