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  • Lakewood rabbis warn community that welfare fraud is ‘not justified’

    (JTA) — The Orthodox rabbinical council in Lakewood, New Jersey, responded to the arrest of community members on charges of welfare fraud by declaring “[t]here is no such thing as ‘justified’ theft.” The statement, issued Thursday by Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg in the name of the Lakewood Vaad, follows the arrests of at least seven couples in…

  • Jewish groups urge Senate to oppose health care bill

    NEW YORK (JTA) — A coalition of Jewish organizations led by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism urged members of the U.S. Senate to oppose the bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The letter sent to all 100 senators Tuesday, signed by 14 organizations, says that the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017…

  • Listen to ‘Despacito,’ Justin Bieber and Luis Fonsi’s megahit song, in Hebrew

    (JTA) — Attention Jews who love to dance to Latin grooves: There is a Hebrew version of “Despacito,” the first mostly Spanish-language song to become a number one Billboard chart hit in 20 years. “Despacito,” sung by Puerto Rican pop artist Luis Fonsi and which translates as “Slowly,” found success rather quickly: Released in January, by…

  • Reform movement launching first rabbinical school for Latin America, Spain and Portugal

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The Reform movement is launching its first school to train and ordain rabbis from Latin America, Spain and Portugal to work in those communities. The Ibero American Institute for Rabbinical Education of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, or WUPJ, will begin classes in August in Buenos Aires. “This project will transform the regional reality,”…

  • Bolivia’s leader calls rival Chile the ‘Israel of South America’

    (JTA) — President Evo Morales of Bolivia called Chile the “Israel of South America” ​​in condemning the expulsion of nine Bolivian officials on Wednesday. The officials were detained in Chile after being accused of smuggling, theft and illegal possession of weapons. They are to be expelled from the country within the next 30 days. Lashing out…

  • Polish human rights official under fire for saying his ‘nation’ took part in the Holocaust

    (JTA) — Poland’s human rights commissioner is being urged to resign after saying the “Polish nation” took part in carrying out the Holocaust — a controversial statement in a country whose government increasingly emphasizes that Poland never collaborated with the Nazis. Speaking Wednesday on the state-run TVP Info, Adam Bodnar said, “There is no doubt that the Germans were responsible…

  • Board calls for fire-ravaged Lower East Side shul to be demolished

    NEW YORK (JTA) — A historic synagogue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side ravaged by a fire last month may soon be demolished. NY 1 reported Thursday that the local community board approved a proposal to tear down the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue on Norfolk Street. The committee urged the synagogue’s owners to determine whether pieces of the building can…

  • Otto Warmbier’s Hillel rabbi recalls ‘one of the most intellectually curious people I’ve ever met’

      (JTA) – Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was detained in North Korea for over a year and died shortly after returning home in a coma, was remembered by friends and loved ones at a public memorial officiated by his college Hillel rabbi. Rabbi Jake Rubin, executive director of the Brody Jewish Center at…

  • Texas kayak company loses contract for slurring Jews, Mexicans

    (JTA) — The city of Fort Worth, Texas, ended ties with a kayak rental company that posted Facebook messages ridiculing white women, Jews and Mexico. Fort Worth Kayak Adventures, which rents kayaks at the Fort Worth Nature Center, wrote the offensive Facebook post while trying to explain why it recently had to double its rates, NBC 5…

  • North Dakota Jewish pioneer cemetery added to national register

    (JTA) — North Dakota’s oldest Jewish pioneer cemetery has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Sons of Jacob cemetery in Garske, in the state’s northeast, served a community of about 100 Jewish homesteaders from Eastern Europe. A group of descendants and locals applied to  the state historical society for the national register; their application was approved…