Friday, September 30th 2022   |


David Rakoff, Jewish humorist succumbs to cancer at 47

WASHINGTON (JTA) — David Rakoff, a humorist who often wrote about American Jewish culture, has died. Rakoff, 47, died Thursday in Manhattan of cancer, a disease he has battled since he was 22, according to media reports. A frequent contributor to National Public Radio’s “This American Life,” Rakoff, a Montreal native, embraced his misfortunes with a cheerful negativity.

A book of his essays was named “Half Empty.” “Optimism is not for...

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman heading for Israel

(JTA) — Gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman has accepted an invitation from Israel Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein for her and her family to make their first visit to Israel. Raisman, who performs floor routines to the melody of “Hava Nagila,” won an individual gold medal in her floor exercise last week and a bronze on the balance beam after helping the U.S. women’s team take the gold.

The Jerusalem...

Haredi draft in Israel begins; no significant problems


TEL AVIV (JTA) – The controversy had sparked a national debate, raucous protests in the streets and the collapse of a historic government. That came in the months after the Israeli Supreme Court had nullified a law exempting haredi Orthodox Israelis from military service and given the government until Aug. 1 to draft a replacement law.

More than one week after the law’s implementation, the Israel Defense...

CCJN Exclusive: Latter-Day Saints find temporary home at Temple Sinai

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, known colloquially as the Mormons because the major book of their canon is the Book of Mormon, have had a quandary for much of the past year.  Plans for a church expansion in the 3600 block of St. Charles Avenue grew ever closer to fruition. The costly construction would put permanent pews into their sanctuary space and increase available seating...

Interview with Marvin Hamlisch

Editor’s note: In October of 2006,  prior to a fundraiser performance in Cleveland, I was fortunate to conduct a interview with Marvin Hamlisch. Through the courtesy of the Cleveland Jewish News, most of that article appears here.


Marvin Hamlisch’s credits read like American musical royalty, but, despite his many accomplishments, he is not content to sit on his laurels. He is happy when he is busy, and...

Israeli military begins drafting haredi Orthodox

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The Israeli military has begun drafting haredi Orthodox 18-year-olds without encountering significant protests one week after a new law requiring haredi military service took effect. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on July 31 ordered the Israel Defense Forces to compose guidelines for haredi army service within 30 days, and in the meantime implemented the Military Service Law of 1986 with regard to the haredi Orthodox. The...

Israeli Arabs charged with smuggling explosives for Hezbollah

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has charged eight Israeli-Arab citizens were charged with smuggling explosives into the country for Hezbollah. The residents of Nazareth and Ghajar, which is located half in Israel and half in Lebanon, were charged Wednesday in Nazareth District Court with smuggling nearly 45 pounds of explosives into Israel in June. They were arrested in July.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service said the explosives could have set off “a...

Sami Rohr, Tulane Chabad benefactor, dies at 86

(JTA) — Sami Rohr, a major philanthropist whose giving created and sustained hundreds of Chabad-Lubavitch houses around the world, including the Rohr Chabad Student Center at Tulane University, died at 86. Rohr, who died Sunday in South Florida and was buried Tuesday in Jerusalem, reportedly gave some $250 million to Jewish causes, especially Jewish education and culture, through his Rohr Family Foundation.

Rohr, a former Colombian Jewish real estate mogul who...

After rampage, Wisconsin Jews attempt to console Sikhs


(JTA) – Almost as soon as she heard the news about a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Elana Kahn-Oren’s phone started ringing. As director of the Jewish Community Relations Council at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Kahn-Oren fielded call after call from concerned area Jews asking what they could do to help.

“We have to make sure to be respectful of the Sikh community and to...

Sinai border attack seen as test in Egypt-Israel relations


JERUSALEM (JTA) – The attack this week along the Israel-Egypt border poses dilemmas both for Israel and for the new Egyptian president. Should Israel accede to pressure to modify its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt and allow more Egyptian troops into the Sinai to quell the unrest there?

For Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, will his crackdown on militancy in the Sinai be seen...