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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

Tel Aviv roads blocked off by protesting Ethiopian-Israelis, supporters

Marcy Oster The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv sent a message to American citizens in Israel to avoid the area of the demonstration due to the violent nature of last week’s Jerusalem rally. ... [Link]

Jimmy Carter calls for Palestinian elections following visit to Ramallah

Marcy Oster Carter completed a three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank without meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. ... [Link]

Body of missing Israeli hiker found in Nepal

Marcy Oster The body of Or Asraf, 22, must be extracted from a rocky mountainside in the remote Langtang area. ... [Link]

Protesters in Tel Aviv call for Israel to legalize marijuana

Ben Sales The march coincided with parallel events in cities around the world calling for marijuana legalization. ... [Link]

Jewish men attacked by gang in Paris

Marcy Oster The men, in the early 20s, were attacked on Friday afternoon by a pro-Palestinian gang of about 40 people, leaving them slightly injured. ... [Link]

Kerry: Israeli Israeli criticism Iran deal laced with “hysteria”

Marcy Oster In an interview with Israel Channel 10, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Israeli criticism of the framework agreement with Iran “hysteria” and said that the deal would be “... [Link]

Conditions ripe for genocide in Burma, U.S. Holocaust Museum report says

Marcy Oster Staff from the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide investigated threats facing the Rohingya people and found that many of the preconditions for genocide currently are taking ... [Link]

Congressmen call for sanctions to halt Russia missile sale to Iran

Marcy Oster Leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter to Obama concerning the proposed delivery of the S-3000 surface to air missile system to Iran. ... [Link]

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