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  • Groups offer help to synagogues affected by Boston-area gas explosions

    BOSTON (JTA) — Jewish communal and religious organizations are offering assistance to synagogues and Jewish residents in three Boston-area communities affected by a massive series of gas explosions and fires that has killed at least one man. The explosions on Thursday afternoon also resulted in at least a dozen injuries and widespread evacuations overnight. On…

  • Harvard’s Jewish president wants to restore faith in higher education

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (JTA) — Harvard University Jewish students take note: You may want to be on your best behavior during High Holiday services. Lawrence Bacow, who began his new position as the Harvard president on July 1, and his wife, Adele Fleet Bacow, plan to spend some of the High Holidays at religious services at the Ivy…

  • Son of ADL legend Leonard Zakim loses upstart bid in Massachusetts race

    BOSTON (JTA) — Josh Zakim, son of the late Jewish civil rights leader Leonard Zakim, fell short in his upstart bid to unseat longtime Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin. On Tuesday, Galvin won 67 percent of the vote in the Democratic Party primary to 32.7 percent for Zakim. Still, it was the toughest primary challenge…

  • New children’s books: A magical shoebox and animals from everywhere   

    BOSTON (JTA) – From an African warthog to swinging orangutans, animals from all corners of the planet are featured in two stories among a new crop of children’s books at the Jewish New Year that also includes a lyrical poem of the biblical story of Creation and a magical story about an ordinary shoebox. And…

  • A Jewish atonement ritual (not the chicken one) gets an eco-friendly makeover

    SOMERVILLE, Mass. (JTA) — On the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Eliana Jacobowitz will lead her congregation on a walk to the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse on the Mystic River for tashlich, a centuries-old ritual when Jews symbolically discard their sins from the past year into a moving body of water. But instead…

  • Tufts students say ‘Colonizing Palestine’ class demonizes Israel

    MEDFORD, Mass. (JTA) — Pro-Israel students at Tufts University say a new course on Palestine is one-sided and demonizes Israel, and violates the university’s own policies on taking political stances. The course, taught by Thomas Abowd, a faculty member in the American Studies program, was first reported by Jewish News Syndicate. The JNS story sparked…

  • Boston’s Hebrew College sells its campus to shore up its future

    BOSTON (JTA) — Sixteen years after moving into a gleaming, light-filled new structure full of promise and pride of place, Hebrew College is selling the distinctive building. School leaders say the move will allow the nearly century-old educational institution in suburban Boston to shed its burdensome debt. On Thursday, the Hebrew College Board of Trustees…

  • Unique museum tells story of Polish family murdered for hiding Jews during Holocaust

    This story is sponsored by the Polish Cultural Institute New York. MARKOWA, Poland — Memorial plaques bearing the names of Poles killed for rescuing Jews line the pathway leading to a small, austere structure built into a hillside in this rural village in southeastern Poland. In the center courtyard, a large slab is inscribed to the memory of…

  • Century-old Boston synagogue receives $500,000 in city funds for historic preservation

    BOSTON (JTA) – A century-old synagogue in Boston that now serves as a Jewish cultural center will receive $500,000 from the city for historic preservation. On the recommendation of Mayor Martin Walsh, the City Council last week unanimously approved the grant for the Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture, under the Community Preservation Act….

  • The fight over the oldest synagogue in the US is headed to the Supreme Court

    BOSTON (JTA) — The legal fight over ownership of the country’s oldest synagogue is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week denied a petition filed by Congregation Jeshuat Israel, which worships in the historic synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, for a rehearing of a ruling from August…