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  • How Michael Bloomberg is defying Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Following the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, Michael Bloomberg is coordinating a group of American governors, mayors, universities and businesses that remain committed to fulfilling the United States’ obligations under the deal. The media mogul and former New York City mayor also pledged 15 million to the United Nations’ efforts…

  • Jared Kushner: What you need to know about the scandal engulfing Donald Trump’s son-in-law

    (JTA) — Jared Kushner was once hailed as the key to Donald Trump’s surprise election victory. Now Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser is at the center of the biggest controversy plaguing the administration: its ties to Russia. Kushner is facing heat following reports of two meetings with figures close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Democrats…

  • More synagogues are getting rid of their mandatory dues

    NEW YORK (JTA) — “Voluntary dues” may sound like an oxymoron, but the idea may soon be coming to a synagogue near you. According to a new study by the UJA-Federation of New York, the number of non-Orthodox synagogues nationwide that have eliminated fixed annual dues has more than doubled in the past two years. Instead…

  • There’s an Orthodox version of ‘Shark Tank’

    NEW YORK (JTA) — At the opening of the most recent season finale of “Shark Tank,” the ABC reality show about startup entrepreneurs, a male model stripped and posed in front of a group of investors, showcasing a business that combines drinking wine and painting pictures. At the beginning of a takeoff of “Shark Tank” in…

  • Jared, Ivanka and that Friday night flight: Experts respond

    (JTA) — Last week, Politico reported, citing a “White House official,” that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump got special permission from a rabbi to fly to Saudi Arabia on Shabbat as part of President Trump’s first foreign trip. My coverage earlier this week tried to suss out who that rabbi was. But readers’ responses have focused on…

  • Jared and Ivanka’s rabbis don’t know who gave them permission to fly on Shabbat

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Which Orthodox rabbi gave Jared and Ivanka permission to fly on Shabbat? We don’t know who it was, but we know who it wasn’t. It wasn’t Haskel Lookstein, who oversaw the First Daughter’s conversion to Judaism. It wasn’t Marvin Hier, who gave the invocation at President Donald Trump’s inauguration. It wasn’t…

  • Orthodox Union asks women clergy to change their titles

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Following its rabbinic ruling prohibiting synagogues from hiring female clergy, the Orthodox Union is pressuring synagogues that have hired the women to change their titles. In February, the Orthodox Union, an umbrella Orthodox Jewish group, issued a Jewish legal ruling by seven rabbis that bars women from serving as clergy or in…

  • 5 ways to celebrate Shavuot — without (necessarily) studying Torah

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Shavuot is the “Rodney Dangerfield of Jewish holidays,” says Rabbi Shira Stutman of Washington, D.C.’s Sixth and I synagogue. Meaning: It gets no respect. Considered by Jewish tradition to be on par with the fall and spring festivals of Sukkot and Passover, Shavuot is sometimes ignored because it is six days shorter…

  • A Jewish hipster haven in the heart of Chabad’s Brooklyn territory

    NEW YORK (JTA) — Soon after Nechama Levy moved to Brooklyn five years ago, she opened a bicycle repair shop. The spacious, high-ceilinged store was just down the street from a new pub with exposed brick walls. Like many who have moved recently to the rapidly gentrifying borough, Levy, 33, was drawn to the area’s relatively…

  • US national security adviser declines to say whether Western Wall is part of Israel

    (JTA) — H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, declined to say whether the Western Wall was part of Israel. “That sounds like a policy decision,” McMaster told reporters on Tuesday. The question was raised after a U.S. consular official reportedly told an Israeli official that the wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, “is not…