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  • How Rachel Weisz learned to play a Holocaust scholar

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Before the most dramatic episode of her professional life became a movie, Deborah Lipstadt had some work to do. No, she didn’t have to make some last-minute changes to the script or take a crash course in acting. Her job: To teach Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz how to talk like a…

  • Israeli chief rabbi endorses top US rabbi’s conversions in aftermath of rejection

    (JTA) — Israeli Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau sent a letter urging a midlevel bureaucrat in the Chief Rabbinate to accept conversions certified by the head of a prominent American Orthodox rabbinical court. Lau “asked me to clarify to you once more that his position is to recognize the certifications given from the Beth Din of America and…

  • Orthodox rabbis’ group mandates prenup to prevent ‘chained’ wives

    NEW YORK (JTA) — The Rabbinical Council of America will mandate its member rabbis to require couples to sign a prenuptial agreement ensuring that husbands will not withhold a “get,” or Jewish writ of divorce, from their wives. The agreement, commonly referred to as a “halachic prenup,” generally penalizes the husband financially for refusing to give…

  • SEC charges NJ Jewish philanthropist with insider trading

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Leon Cooperman, a billionaire hedge fund manager and Jewish philanthropist from New Jersey, has been charged with insider trading. Cooperman and his Omega Advisers hedge fund were charged Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges that Cooperman made $4 million by buying into Atlas Pipeline Partners LP, of which he was…

  • NY bombing suspect’s Orthodox neighbors seem resigned to backyard terror

    ELIZABETH, N.J. (JTA) — Ahmad Khan Rahami, the man who police say planted four bombs in Manhattan and New Jersey — including one in the train station here — used to come to the One Stop Kosher Market to buy snacks. The market is a couple minutes’ walk down Elmora Avenue from First American Fried Chicken,…

  • One place swing-state voters won’t see Clinton and Trump this season: The rabbi’s pulpit

    NEW YORK (JTA) — When Rosh Hashanah came around last year, Rabbi Aaron Gaber wanted to grapple with an issue roiling the country. So he decided to focus his sermon on racism. But several members of Brothers of Israel, a 120-family Conservative synagogue in suburban Philadelphia, weren’t pleased. “Some of the feedback from some of my congregants…

  • 6 surprising findings about Chabad on campus

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Fifteen years ago, most Jewish college students had one game in town: their local Hillel, which offered a pluralistic, broad approach to Jewish programming. That has changed. The Hasidic movement known as Chabad-Lubavitch, present on only 30 campuses before 2000, now has a presence on nearly 200 with its brand of Judaism: aiming to…

  • US-run fund begins reimbursing survivors shipped to Nazi camps via French trains

    (JTA) — Payments have started issuing from a U.S.-run compensation fund for Holocaust survivors deported to Nazi camps via the French rail system. The $60 million compensation fund established in December 2014 has approved 68 claims and is processing an estimated 700 in total, Stuart Eizenstat, the secretary of state’s special adviser for Holocaust issues, said in a conference call…

  • 6 revealing stats about Jewish nonprofits and the people who work for them

    Jewish nonprofit workers are inspired, respected and challenged. They’re also stretched thin, lack regular feedback from their bosses and are itching to switch agencies. Those are some lessons from “Are Jewish Organizations Great Places to Work?” a study released Thursday by Leading Edge, a partnership of Jewish foundations and federations aiming to draw talented employees…

  • New Ken Burns film spotlights little-known Holocaust rescuers

    (JTA) — In 1940, as he was being transported to safety in the lower deck of a ship, the Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger asked Waitstill Sharp why the American Unitarian minister had bothered to rescue him from the Nazis. Sharp and his wife, Martha, had spent much of the previous two years smuggling Jews out of…