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  • In defending Israel, new strategy calls for embracing critics and cheerleaders

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Oppose the settlements? You’re one of us. Believe Israel should control the West Bank indefinitely? Come right in. Criticize Israel’s Chief Rabbinate? Welcome home. Think Israel should privilege Orthodox Judaism? Sure, why not? That’s the approach advocated in a new strategic plan, released Thursday, to combat Israel’s delegitimization: Get more people…

  • JCC bomb threat probe hindered by tech disguises

    NEW YORK (JTA) — A person calls a Jewish institution, makes a bomb threat and hangs up. The call lasts no more than a minute, the caller’s voice is disguised and the call is made to look as if it came from inside the building. How do you catch the culprit? That’s the question the…

  • This is what a JCC bomb threat sounds like

    (JTA) — On Tuesday, for the third time this month, a string of Jewish community centers across the country received bomb threats. Many of the 17 JCCs that received the calls evacuated their facilities and contacted law enforcement, which is investigating the threats. JTA has obtained a recording of one of the bomb threats made…

  • Did Shabbat keep Jared and Ivanka in the dark about ‘Muslim ban’ crisis?

    (JTA) — Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been called the two most influential Jews in America, owing to their proximity to Ivanka’s dad. But is Shabbat preventing them from having the president’s ear? That’s the contention of an article in Vanity Fair, which claims that Jared and Ivanka were unaware of the growing protests over…

  • In rare unity, Orthodox and liberal denominations are critical of Trump refugee ban

    (JTA) — Two large groups representing Orthodox Jews responded to President Donald Trump’s executive order barring migrants from seven mostly Muslim countries and refugees from around the world by warning against policies that would place any limits on immigration based on religion. With the combined statement by the Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America, all…

  • After Trump ban, Chicago-area synagogue turns from welcoming refugees to protesting

    CHICAGO (JTA) — Taylor Clearfield went to the airport Friday to welcome a Syrian refugee family. The next day, she returned with a sign to protest the ban on refugees entering the United States. President Donald Trump had enacted the prohibition via executive order on Friday afternoon, between Clearfield’s two trips. She had anticipated the development, but hearing…

  • Conservative movement proposes allowing non-Jews as synagogue members

    (JTA) — Responding to a rising number of interfaith families, Conservative synagogues will be voting on a measure from their umbrella body that would allow congregations to admit non-Jews as members. Currently, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Standards for Congregational Practice restrict synagogue membership to Jews. But the new language, which congregations will vote on in March,…

  • Twitter account tells tragic tales of Jewish refugees killed after US turned them away

    (JTA) — In May 1939, as the Holocaust was beginning, the United States turned away the M.S. St. Louis, a ship carrying 937 mostly Jewish refugees from Europe. Returning to Europe, 288 were taken in by Great Britain; of those trapped in Western Europe when Germany conquered the continent, 254 died. Now a Twitter feed is recalling…

  • Jared Kushner’s college rabbi recalls a snow-shoveling student mega-donor

    (JTA) — Jared Kushner was already a regular at the Harvard Chabad when he walked in one day, took a crumpled piece of paper out of his jacket pocket, put it down on the table and walked away. It was a personal check for $18,000. “’I have some deals that really went well, so I…

  • Trump draft order temporarily barring refugees decried by Jewish groups

    (JTA) — Several liberal Jewish groups have decried a leaked draft of an executive order from President Donald Trump that would temporarily bar refugees and immigrants from some Muslim countries from entering the United States. The draft, which was leaked to the media Wednesday, bars the entrance of noncitizens from certain Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq,…