Friday, January 15th 2021   |

National

Will Republicans confirm Lew as Treasury secretary?

By RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Jacob Lew helped Orthodox observance reach the highest precincts of governance. But can a man that Republicans say “can’t get to yes” be confirmed as secretary of the Treasury? President Obama is likely to nominate Lew, his chief of staff, to the post on Thursday, replacing Timothy Geithner.

Lew is well known in Washington circles, but in some ways he is the polar opposite...

Steinitz, Geithner agree to establish joint forum monitoring Iran economy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz at a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner agreed to establish a bilateral forum that would periodically assess the effects of sanctions on Iran. Steinitz at the meeting Monday said Israel believed further sanctions were necessary along with a credible military threat to persuade Iran to shut down its suspected nuclear weapons program.

“It was agreed at the meeting that a...

Giffords meets with Newtown officials to discuss gun control

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords traveled to Newtown, Conn., to discuss gun control with local and state officials. Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, spoke with the officials last Friday about such issues as gun control legislation and identifying and treating the mentally ill, according to several news accounts of the 45-minute meeting. They also talked about the many forces in the United States that can...

Hagel likely Defense Secretary nominee

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama likely will nominate Chuck Hagel as defense secretary early next week, according to sources. Multiple sources in the national security and foreign policy communities, including two close to Hagel, confirmed reports Friday by NBC, Foreign Policy and Newsweek that Obama was poised to name Hagel to the post as early as next week.

White House officials have told the media that it would be premature...

Despite opposition, Obama signs anti-Iran, defense bill

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama signed a defense funding bill that included Iran sanctions he had opposed. Obama on Jan. 2 signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which would sanction entities that circumvent existing banking sanctions on Iran by paying for Iranian oil with gold and restrict dealings with Iran’s ports, among other enhancements.

Obama administration officials had argued that the new restrictions would inhibit efforts to persuade other nations...

Historic synagogues to meet in ritual objects spat

(JTA) — The leaders of two historic synagogues will hold a settlement conference over a set of ritual Torah decorations. A federal judge in Rhode Island will meet with the leaders of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., and Congregation Shearith Israel of New York on Thursday to discuss a set of 18th century Torah bells, The Associated Press reported.

Shearith Israel is the first U.S. Jewish congregation and Touro...

Israel to plant 3,000 trees to memorialize Newtown victims

NEW YORK (JTA) – More than 2,000 people have donated funds to plant a grove of more than 3,000 trees in Israel in memory of the victims of the Newtown shooting.

Hadassah has raised more than $61,000 toward the planting of trees honoring the 26 victims of the December 14 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The trees will be part of the Beersheva River Park, a 1,700-acre water,...

Post-Newtown slayings: some gun owners willing to consider curbs

By CHAVIE LIEBER

NEW YORK (JTA) — The day Eric Schaefer learned that a .233 caliber semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle — a type of weapon he owned — was used to kill 26 people in Newtown, Conn., he sold his rifle to local law enforcement near his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Schaefer, a 40-year-old commercial real estate agent, says he has been hit by an unshakable feeling of shame, and he...

U.S. Jewish groups welcome Netanyahu’s Western Wall initiative

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Three U.S. Jewish groups welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s initiative to review restrictions on women’s prayer at the Western Wall. The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), Hadassah and the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly greeted the move by Netanyahu, who this week asked the Jewish Agency and its chairman, Natan Sharansky, to come up with solutions to ensure that women are welcome at the Western Wall.

“It’s...

Fifth Circuit court rules in favor of Texas inmate over kosher food

(JTA) — A Texas prison inmate should be served free kosher meals, a U.S. appeals court ruled in overturning a lower court decision. Max Moussazadeh, 35, who is serving a 75-year sentence for a 1993 murder, has a sincere desire to keep kosher and his religious rights were infringed upon, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals here ruled earlier this month. The 2-1 ruling by the appeals court panel...