Month: January 2018

A Lithuanian town is building a memorial to its Jewish community. It’s because of an Arizona genealogist.

(JTA) — A memorial to the Jews of a small Lithuanian town is being constructed due to an Arizona genealogist.

Joel Alpert saw a black-and-white film portraying life at the turn of the 20th century in Yurburg, which today is known as Jurbarkas, during a visit to the Holocaust History Center in Tucson. Alpert recognized it as his grandparents’ hometown.

At a family reunion in 2001, a distant cousin of Alpert suggested a return trip to Yurburg “to show them that we survived,” the Arizona Jewish Post reported.

Records show more than 2,000 Jewish surnames listed in the town…

Naomi Cohen, scholar of American Jewish history, dies at 91

(JTA) — Naomi Cohen, a pioneering scholar of American Jewish history who was one of the first women professors of Jewish studies, has died at 91.

Cohen studied at Hunter College, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, where she wrote her doctoral thesis with the Jewish historian Salo Baron and the American historian William Leuchtenburg.

Cohen was one of the first female scholars in the newly recognized field of Jewish studies.

She was appointed assistant professor of history at Hunter College of the City University of New York in 1962 and by 1973 was named a full professor.…

Shira Goodman steps down as CEO of Staples

(JTA) — Staples CEO Shira Goodman abruptly departed as head of the retailer after a year and a half on the job.

The company announced Friday that Goodman was stepping down. Her successor was later announced as former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Douglas.

Staples went private less than a year ago after it was acquired by Sycamore Partners for $7 billion.

Goodman worked for the company in various executive roles for 26 years. She was named CEO in September 2016 after serving three months as interim CEO.

“Shira has played a critical role in the evolution of North American Delivery,…

Zionist group’s president visits Qatar, meets with its leaders

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The president of the Zionist Organization of America is the latest pro-Israel figure to visit Qatar and meet with its leader.

“They invited me to go a number of times – in September, October, November and December,” Morton Klein told Haaretz on Monday, confirming his visit earlier this month. “At first I refused because of their support for Hamas and the anti-Semitism being broadcast on Al Jazeera television. But over time, I saw that more and more Jewish leaders were going there, and I realized that at this point, they won’t be able to use me for…

Reconstructionist rabbinical school changes name to Reconstructing Judaism

(JTA) — The rabbinical school and umbrella organization for Reconstructionist Judaism has a new name: Reconstructing Judaism.

The name, announced Monday, comes along with a new logo of a sprouting tree as well as a new slogan, “Deeply rooted. Boldly relevant.” The rabbinical school in suburban Philadelphia, which serves 39 students, will be called the College for Reconstructing Judaism.

The name of the movement, however, will remain Reconstructionist Judaism.

“This new name reflects to the world that we always have been and continue to be engaged in creating active Jewish life,” said Rabbi Deborah Waxman, the school’s president, in a…