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  • B’nai B’rith: National Gallery knew it displayed Nazi plunder

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (JTA) – When thousands of art enthusiasts viewed an exhibit of impressionist paintings at the National Gallery of Art here in 1990, little did they know Nazi plunder was hanging on the walls. The museum made no mention of that fact at the time. It also did not reveal the collector’s background….

  • House blocks plan to initiate school vouchers across nation

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (JTA) – The House of Representatives has dealt a setback to school-voucher proponents, voting down a plan that would have made public funding available for low-income students to use at private and parochial schools across the country. After hours of heated debate, lawmakers voted 228-191 against an initiative that had been a…

  • Swiss fund’s first payments to Holocaust survivors delayed

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (JTA) – Needy Holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe will have to wait a little longer. Jewish officials had previously indicated that the first payments from Switzerland’s Holocaust Memorial Fund would be made this month, but now they say it will be the end of November before the checks are in the mail….

  • Sanctions law backers dismayed by stance on French energy firm

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (JTA) – The Clinton administration’s decision to defer sanctions against a French energy firm that signed a multibillion dollar gas deal with Iran has raised serious concerns among Jewish groups. Faced with trenchant opposition from the European Union, the administration decided to delay imposing sanctions required by a 1996 U.S. law against…

  • WJC claims a third of Nazi gold looted from individual sources

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (JTA) – Nearly one-third of all gold looted by the Nazis came from individual victims and private businesses, according to a new report issued by the World Jewish Congress. The report, released Tuesday, claims that the amount of such privately held gold amounted at current valuations to $2.6 billion out of a…

  • Supreme Court upholds ruling on college graduation prayers

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (JTA) – The Supreme Court has rejected a constitutional challenge to Indiana University’s custom of having a clergy member offer prayers as part of its official commencement ceremony. The justices, without comment, turned away arguments Monday that the state school’s custom violates the constitutionally required separation between church and state. The high…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES New Supreme Court session includes case involving AIPAC

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (JTA) – After a tumultuous end to the Supreme Court”s last term, the next session could mean trying times once again for the Jewish community. In June, the court dealt the Jewish community its most stunning legal blow in recent years when it invalidated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that…

  • U.S. Senate moves to assure residency for religious workers

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (JTA) – The U.S. Senate has voted to amend U.S. immigration law to grant permanent residence status for foreign workers who come to this country for religious activities. If passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law, the Religious Workers Act would assure that yeshiva teachers, mohels, cantors, ritual slaughterers…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Rabbi goes to China, seeking freedom for imprisoned pastor

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (JTA) – Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein could not get Pastor Peter Xu Yongze out of his head. The leader of the underground house church movement in China, Pastor Xu was imprisoned by the Chinese government earlier this year for heading what the state has labeled a “heretical cult.” His Protestant church, located in…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Religious persecution measure poses dilemma for Jewish groups

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (JTA) – Republican leaders in Congress are pushing ahead in their campaign to fight religious persecution abroad. But it remains to be seen whether legislation now pending, which was inspired by the movement to free Soviet Jewry, will have substantial Jewish support. Some religious groups and lawmakers have been actively seeking that…