Friday, July 30th 2021   |


Reform, Conservative leaders meet Pollard, call for clemency

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements met with convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard and renewed their calls on President Obama for his compassionate release.

Both movements said in a statement issued Monday that Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Reform’s Religious Action Center; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical...

Former congressman Eric Fingerhut tapped to be next Hillel CEO

NEW YORK (JTA) — Eric Fingerhut, a former U.S. congressman and chancellor of Ohio’s system of public universities and colleges, has been tapped to serve as the next president and CEO of Hillel.

Fingerhut’s hiring was approved Sunday in a unanimous vote by Hillel’s board of directors during a meeting in New York. He comes to the international campus organization after serving most recently as a corporate vice president at...

UPDATED: As Hillel prepares to hire new CEO, questions about how ‘open’ its tent should be


For 90 years, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life has provided what many call a “tent” welcoming students of every Jewish background and denomination on campus. But as Hillel prepares to nominate its next president and CEO, questions persist over how open that tent should be when it comes to opinions about Israel.

Hillel was created in 1923 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and was...

Matt Nosanchuk to be named Jewish liaison by White House

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House is set to name Matt Nosanchuk, a lawyer who has been prominent in advancing the Obama administration’s gay rights policies, as its new full-time Jewish liaison.

JTA learned Wednesday that Nosanchuk will replace Zach Levy, who has held the job part time since the last full-time liaison to the Jewish community, Jarrod Bernstein, left for the private sector in January.

From 2009 to 2012,...

Ron Dermer officially named Israel’s ambassador

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named Ron Dermer as Israel’s next ambassador to the United States.

The Prime Minister’s Office announced Tuesday in a statement that Netanyahu had decided to appoint his former senior adviser to the post.

“Ron Dermer has all the qualities necessary to successfully fill this important post,” Netanyahu said in the statement. “I have known him for many years and I know that Ron...

Ron Dermer bringing to envoy’s post loyalty to Netanyahu, history of abrasiveness


WASHINGTON (JTA) — “I was with him when” Ron Dermer laced his address to the 2009 American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference. Dermer used the phrase five times in the first five minutes of the speech — the “him” being Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I can shed a little insight into the mind of the Israeli prime minister,” Dermer told the crowd. “Because on that I’m something of an...

American Lois Gunden named Righteous Gentile

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Lois Gunden, an American Mennonite who helped save Jewish children in France during the Holocaust, was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

The Israeli Holocaust memorial made the announcement on Monday. Gunden becomes the fourth American to be named a Righteous Gentile.

Gunden will be honored posthumously at a ceremony to take place in the United States. Her niece Mary Jean Gunden will accept...

Camper Ethan Kadish’s condition still critical after lightning strike

NEW YORK (JTA) — Ethan Kadish, the only one of three campers still hospitalized after being struck by lightning at a Jewish camp in Indiana, remains in critical but stable condition.

The 12-year-old from Cincinnati requires help with his breathing and needs his chest cleared, according to his family, who set up a website to provide updates on his condition.

“Ethan continues to work with his medical team on recovery,”...

Tough congressional language limits Obama’s Egypt options


WASHINGTON (JTA) — When it comes to foreign assistance, American law couldn’t be clearer: A coup d’etat suspends funding, period. But that directive, which has persisted for years in federal appropriations bills, is now clashing with another congressional priority: the apparent desire to foster an alternative to Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s democratically elected Islamist president who was removed from power this week by the Egyptian military.

In recent...

Falling tree kills counselor at CA summer camp

(JTA) — A tree fell outside a dining hall at a Jewish summer camp in Northern California, killing one staffer and requiring four others to be airlifted to a nearby hospital.

Ken Kramarz, the executive director of Camp Tawonga, issued a statement Wednesday confirming the staffer killed in the accident was Annais Rittenberg. According to Kramarz, two staffers, Juliet Ulibarri and Anya Schultz, had been released from the hospital and...