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  • Israeli rabbinate ‘blacklisting’ American rabbis

    (JTA) — Some 160 rabbis, including several prominent American Orthodox leaders, appear on a list of rabbis whom Israel’s haredi Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate does not trust to confirm the Jewish identities of immigrants. Rabbis from 24 countries, including the United States and Canada, are on the list. In addition to Reform and Conservative rabbis, the…

  • The billionaire who founded Birthright has a private zoo

    MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (JTA) – When Michael Steinhardt strolls around his 55-acre backyard for 90 minutes every morning, one of his favorite animals to see is the scimitar-horned oryx, whose antlers sweep back from its head like the swords for which they are named. But Steinhardt didn’t much like finding out that a (literally) horny oryx…

  • Fed-up Reform leaders are thinking twice about their donations to Israel

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Daryl Messinger knows she’s going to visit Israel again. But the next time she flies there, it won’t be on El Al. Messinger, the chair of the Union for Reform Judaism, will be boycotting Israel’s national airline as part of her protest of the Israeli government’s two votes last week that…

  • Israel is losing support among minorities and millennials, study finds

    (JTA) — What do you think of when you think of Italy? Maybe you picture beautiful works of art set against rolling Tuscan hills. Maybe a steaming plate of spaghetti topped with  marinara sauce served with a deep red wine. Now what do you think of when you think of Israel? If you’re like most…

  • How these teachers learned to teach the Holocaust

    NEW YORK (JTA) — When Megan Corbin was in school, she learned about the Holocaust as an optimistic story. Her grade school, she said, “highlighted Anne Frank as the voice of hope, and that really wasn’t the reality.” Now, as an eighth-grade language arts teacher outside of Seattle, she teaches about victims, perpetrators and civilians…

  • Netanyahu’s office: We did not seek to blame liberal Jews for Western Wall crisis

    (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has flatly denied a report that it instructed diplomats to blame non-Orthodox Jews for the controversy over the Western Wall. Israeli diplomats in North America were told to blame the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements for the ongoing crisis in relations between Israel’s government and U.S. Jewry,…

  • Controversial Israeli conversion bill delayed for 6 months

    (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shelved a controversial bill that would have made the haredi Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate the only body authorized by the government to perform conversions in Israel. Netanyahu’s office announced Friday that the legislation will not be considered for six months while a “team” he will appoint comes up with recommendations for…

  • Israel’s controversial conversion bill would give the Orthodox rabbinate even more power

    (JTA) — Israeli politicians and Jewish leaders are fighting again over an age-old question: Who counts as a Jew? And who gets to decide? This week, Israel’s government inflamed simmering tensions over Jewish conversion when a Cabinet committee advanced a bill that would further empower the country’s haredi Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. The measure declares that…

  • Western Wall suit to come before Israel’s Supreme Court in July

    (JTA) — The Israeli Supreme Court will hold a hearing in July on the status of the non-Orthodox section of the Western Wall. The court will convene July 30 to discuss a petition from last year calling on the Israeli government to implement the Western Wall compromise passed in January 2016, according to Anat Hoffman,…

  • Netanyahu defends suspending the Western Wall agreement. Here’s how.

    (JTA) — American Jewish leaders are calling it a betrayal. They say that 17 months after achieving a historic agreement to provide a non-Orthodox space at Judaism’s holiest prayer site, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reneged in a Cabinet vote Sunday, effectively canceling the deal and caving to the interests of his haredi Orthodox coalition…