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  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Jewish juror spares life of Oklahoma bomb abettor

    NEW YORK, Jan. 13 (JTA) — Growing up in northern Idaho, Niki Deutchman had no idea that she would one day play a pivotal role in one of America’s most infamous trials. But she did have an inkling that she would become a Jew. Deutchman was the forewoman of the jury that was unable to…

  • Jewish network chronicles ‘Mitzvah Mouse’ adventures

    NEW YORK, March 16 (JTA) — The answer to the Jewish continuity crisis? Turn on your television and travel through Jewish history with Mitzvah Mouse, says Jay Sanderson, the head of the Jewish Television Network. Mitzvah Mouse is a purple, Muppet-like puppet who sprinkles sparkly “magic matzah meal” around to take two puppet pals, Rachel…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Proposal on gay marriage dividing Reform rabbinate

    NEW YORK, March 29 (JTA) — The Reform movement”s rabbinical organization is gearing up for a controversial vote on whether to sanction religious marriage ceremonies for lesbians and gay men. The issue is already creating deep and painful divisions within the Reform rabbinate, and some fear it could further alienate the Reform movement from other,…

  • Israel lifts ban on rabbi, but he won’t go there now

    NEW YORK, April 9 (JTA) — An American rabbi who was banned from Israel more than two years ago says that even though the ban has been lifted, he has no desire to visit the Jewish state. “I would not go now, not for any reason,” said Rabbi Abraham Hecht, who was banned from the…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES Orthodox women learn that knowledge is power

    NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (JTA) — Knowledge is power — and Orthodox women are applying the maxim to their lives in unprecedented numbers. Across the Orthodox world, women are turning to Judaism’s most sacred texts to understand for themselves the foundations of their faith. “It’s all over, like poppies pushing up in a winter field,”…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS No end to conversion crisis as two competing plans surface

    New York, Jan. 27 (JTA) — They set out to save the unity of the Jewish people — but only created more confusion. Architects of two proposals intended to defuse the long-simmering crisis over conversion to Judaism in Israel this week created more chaos than clarity. Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews continued to fight over the…

  • Crown Heights sentence still leave void for family

    NEW YORK, March 31 (JTA) — For the family of Yankel Rosenbaum and the Jews of Crown Heights, the sentencing of Lemrick Nelson to 19 years in a federal prison isn’t a conclusive end to the saga they have endured. The judge in the case tacked on an extra five years of probation for Nelson…

  • As performer and as Jew, Patinkin has strong views

    NEW YORK, April 20 (JTA) —One Jewish celebrity missing from last week’s star-studded Hollywood tribute to Israel’s 50th birthday was Mandy Patinkin. The quintessentially Jewish performer has a strong point of view when it comes to his Jewish life. In this case, it was politics that kept him away. He declined an invitation to participate…

  • A new Orthodox dilemma: What to call a female ‘rabbi

    NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (JTA) — Rabbanit. Morateinu. Poseket. Congregational intern. Torahnot. There’s a whole new vocabulary evolving in the Orthodox world. It’s springing up around the increasing number of Orthodox women who are serving in positions — as teachers of men and women and as interpreters of Jewish law — that even a few…

  • FOCUS ON ISSUES As Reform rabbis debate issue, female couple marries under chupah

    NEW YORK, June 16 (JTA) — When Sue Levi Elwell and Nurit Shein stood together under a chupah in their Philadelphia backyard on Sunday, they were sanctifying their six-year relationship as a marriage. Elwell, a Reform rabbi, and Shein, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army who serves as the executive director of the…