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Internet guru silenced in Cuban jail

WASHINGTON — Alan Gross has been about communications all his life: The call-mom-everyday son, the family newsbreaker, the message guy for Jewish groups, the get-out-the-vote enthusiast for candidate Barack Obama, the technology contractor who helped the US government bring the world’s remotest populations into the 21st century.

Now, however, Gross, 60, of Potomac, Md., has been languishing for three months in a Cuban high-security prison and his rare conversations are monitored by Cuban officials.

“He spoke with my sister-in-law on a few occasions with someone standing by him,” Bonnie Rubinstein, his sister, told JTA in an interview on Monday, March 8. “He was guarded, he tried to impart that he was OK.”

In fact, not so OK, Rubinstein said, correcting herself:

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National

Rabbi Weiss backs down on ‘rabba’

Rabbi Weiss backs down on ‘rabba’NEW YORK — On the eve of a conference marking the expansion of leadership roles for women within Orthodoxy, the trend’s most prominent rabbinic proponent has backtracked from his near-ordination of female rabbis amid intense criticism. Rabbi Avi Weiss promised he would not ordain any more women with the title “rabba,” a feminized version of “rabbi” that had drawn widespread condemnation when it was conferred in January on Sara Hurwitz, a longtime member of the clerical staff at Weis...
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National

Big change on Armenian genocide

Big change on Armenian genocideWASHINGTON — A key Jewish lawmaker urged passage of a resolution recognizing the Ottoman genocide against Armenians. The endorsement by US Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, at the outset of his committee’s hearing on March 4 reflected growing Jewish, pro-Israel and congressional distancing from Turkey because of recent tensions with Israel. “Turkey is a vital and, in most respects, a loyal ally of the US in a volatile regio...
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Israel

PA Prime Minister Fayyad building the institutions of a state

PA Prime Minister Fayyad building the institutions of a stateJERUSALEM — Pundits and politicians have taken recently to comparing PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion. No less a figure than President Shimon Peres, one of Ben-Gurion’s foremost disciples, is the latest Israeli leader to offer the accolade. The reason is simple: Like Ben-Gurion, Fayyad is building institutions of statehood. In the 1920s, the Jews of Palestine under the single-minded Ben-Gurion established institutions for what they called the...
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Israel

Biden in Israel: no nuclear Iran

Biden in Israel: no nuclear IranJERUSALEM — US Vice President Joe Biden expressed America’s “absolute, total, unvarnished commitment to Israel’s security” at a press conference in Jerusalem following a meeting with Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, March 8. As such, Biden said, Washington was “determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and we are working with many countries around the world to convince Iran to meet its international obligations to cease and desist.” The cornerstone of ...
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Shabbat Times

JTA News

British Jewish school flunks tolerance test

Cnaan Liphshiz A British Jewish school failed government inspections on tolerance sparked by complaints that an emphasis on Islam in some public learning institutions has led to “a culture of intimidation.R... [Link]

Jewish school enrollment up 12 percent despite non-Orthodox declines

Uriel Heilman Enrollment in Haredi Orthodox schools us up sharply, while non-Orthodox schools are down, and New York and New Jersey have about 75 percent of all day school students nationwide. ... [Link]

Michael Jordan wades into the Obama-Bibi “sh*t” storm (sort of)

Ami Eden Obama’s on the receiving end this time — and from the most iconic athlete on the planet. ... [Link]

Pro-BDS Jewish group boycotts Brussels Jewish film festival

Cnaan Liphshiz A small, left-leaning Jewish organization pulled out of the Brussels Jewish Film Festival because of the involvement in the event of the Israeli and U.S. embassies. ... [Link]

Vietnam’s first Israeli film festival to celebrate 20 years of diplomatic relations

Cnaan Liphshiz A film festival in Vietnam will mark 20 years of diplomatic relations with Israel. ... [Link]

Court strips Dieudonne of damages for cancellation of anti-Semitic show

Cnaan Liphshiz A French appeals court nullified a lower tribunal’s award of damages to the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala for the cancellation of his show for its anti-Semitic content. ... [Link]

Ukrainian Jews satisfied with far-right’s crash in elections  

Cnaan Liphshiz Representatives of Ukraine’s Jewish communities said they were pleased with the stinging defeat of nationalist candidates in parliamentary elections. ... [Link]

Jerusalem activist recovering from shooting, doctors say

Cnaan Liphshiz Health officials said the condition of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the activist seriously wounded in a suspected terrorist shooting, is improving. ... [Link]

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