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Guitarist of Jefferson Airplane finds his Jewish roots

Guitarist of Jefferson Airplane finds his Jewish roots

NEW YORK — Jorma Kaukonen, who played guitar in classic rock bands Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, has just released “Ain’t In No Hurry,” his first solo album since 2009.

While Kaukonen’s guitar skills are legendary, few people know that he bought his first electric guitar by cashing Israel Bonds he received from his Jewish grandmother.

On the eve of Jefferson Airplane’s 50th anniversary, the 74-year-old Kaukonen, who lives in Athens, Ohio with his wife, a Jew-by-choice, talked to JTA about his Jewish family roots, the Torah scroll his great-grandfather worked on and why so many blues guitarists are Jewish.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 March 2015 11:01 )

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"24 Days:" new film retells the brutal murder of Ilan Halimi

“24 Days” is not a film for those seeking light-hearted comedy or a nostalgic view of a time gone by. It’s a film that tells the horrific story of the 2006 kidnap, torture and subsequent murder of an engaging, attractive young Jewish French man, Ilan Halimi. The film doesn’t hide from the raw emotions of Halimi’s family. This is a film, particularly in the context of rising anti-Semitism in France, which everyone should see.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 March 2015 11:00 )

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Getting the lay-up of it

Getting the lay-up of itFormer Maccabi Tel Aviv coach leapfrogs (like LeBron) to Cavaliers WASHINGTON — With the clock winding down on a recent game here, Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt was still barking out instructions to his players despite enjoying a late 40-point lead over the Washington Wizards. Things didn’t come quite as easy early this season for the rookie NBA coach and his team, which had great expectations with the return of four-time MVP LeBron James via free agency from the Miami Heat....
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Leonard Nimoy: Mr. Spock, and more

Leonard Nimoy: Mr. Spock, and moreThis article was originally published in 1991. In the wake of Leonard Nimoy’s Feb. 27 death, the piece is republished with the permission of the author. LOS ANGELES — As a struggling young actor in the early 1950s, Leonard Nimoy, inspired by the rebirth of the Jewish state and childhood memories of Zionist rallies in Boston Garden, considered making aliyah to join Habimah, Israel’s national theater. Upon cooler reflection on the huge language barrier he would face, Nimoy dropped the idea...
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Will 'Ida' take home best foreign film?

Will 'Ida' take home best foreign film?LOS ANGELES — For the past few decades, Holocaust films have been common — and often victorious — fare at the Academy Awards. But this year, the Polish nominee in the Foreign Language Film category ventures into the less frequently explored territory of the Holocaust’s aftermath. “Ida,” writer-director Pawel Pawlikowki’s stark black-and-white film, is an unsparing look at the discomfiting void left behind after the obliteration of Poland’s Jews. Set in 1962 Poland, the film te...

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 February 2015 09:26 )

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JTA News

Whooping cough warning issued in Brooklyn’s Orthodox communities

Gabe Friedman The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has issued a warning about an increase in cases of pertussis, or the “whooping cough,” in the Orthodox communities of Williamsburg and Bor... [Link]

What you need to know about New York’s proposed education tax credit

Uriel Heilman A proposed education tax credit program for New York could deliver tens of millions in public money to cash-strapped Jewish day school families. ... [Link]

Op-Ed: From ‘Bring Back Our Boys’ to ‘Unity Day’

Gabrielle Birkner A year ago, the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens brought Jews together in unprecedented ways. Now their parents have joined forces to create a prize, and a worldwide holiday, in their hono... [Link]

Rocket sirens sound in southern Israel

Gabe Friedman Rocket sirens and at least three explosions were heard in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip. ... [Link]

Israeli embassy slams ‘outrageous’ Dutch textbook

Cnaan Liphshiz A Dutch history book for vocational high schools omits Arab atrocities against Jews and describes Israel’s establishment as result of widespread murder of Palestinians. ... [Link]

Poland’s ombudsman calls to make kosher slaughter illegal for export

Marcy Oster Poland’s ombudsman Irena Lipowicz filed her request last year with the country’s Constitutional Tribunal, asking it to make kosher slaughter legal only for the use of the Jewish community ... [Link]

Judge orders opening of 1950 testimony that implicated Ethel Rosenberg

Marcy Oster David Greenglass recanted his testimony seven years after he gave it, saying that he gave false testimony after prosecutors threatened him saying they would go after his wife, who may have assisted Ju... [Link]

Bernie Sanders to make 2016 presidential bid official

Gabe Friedman Sanders, 73, who was born in Brooklyn to Polish immigrant parents, will officially launch his 2016 campaign at an event starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in Burlington, Vermont. ... [Link]

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