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  • These rabbis have no idea why they’re on the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s ‘blacklist’

    NEW YORK (JTA) — In 2012, Rabbi Jason Herman wrote a letter to Israel’s Chief Rabbinate certifying that a friend of his who wished to get married was Jewish and single. The letter was declared invalid. But several months later Herman, spiritual leader of the Orthodox West Side Jewish Center in Manhattan, obtained a license…

  • American Orthodox rabbis are ambivalent about Western Wall controversy

    NEW YORK (JTA) — American Orthodox leaders have a message for their non-Orthodox friends: Take a deep breath. When Israel’s cabinet voted twice to further empower the country’s haredi Orthodox religious establishment last month, Reform, Conservative and non-Orthodox Zionist leaders were outraged. They cancelled meetings with Israel’s prime minister. They gave an on-camera statement with…

  • Chief Rabbinate says list of rabbis is not a blacklist

    (JTA) — The Israeli Chief Rabbinate says that its list of foreign rabbis has been misconstrued, and that the list does not imply that those rabbis cannot be trusted to vouch for the Jewish identities of their followers. On Saturday, JTA reported on a list of some 160 rabbis whose efforts to confirm the Jewish identities of immigrants were rejected by Israel’s…

  • Reporter who broke Chicago Dyke March story removed from reporting duties

    (JTA) — The journalist who first reported the ejection of three Jewish women from the Chicago Dyke March has been relieved of her reporting duties. Gretchen Rachel Hammond, an award-winning reporter for the Windy City Times, a Chicago LGBT newspaper, has been moved full-time to the paper’s sales desk as of Monday. Hammond was the…

  • Here is the Chief Rabbinate’s ‘blacklist’ of American rabbis

    (JTA) — The Israeli Chief Rabbinate has a list of some 160 rabbis it does not trust to confirm the Jewish identities of immigrants. To get married in Israel, immigrants must prove they are Jewish to the Chief Rabbinate, often via a letter by a congregational rabbi attesting to the immigrant’s Jewish identity. This list…

  • 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…