Tag: Judaism

House passes tax reform that critics warn could politicize houses of worship

(JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed major tax reform legislation along party lines that critics said effectively repeals an amendment designed to keep houses of worship nonpartisan.

The vote Thursday was 227-205, with 13 House Republicans joining all Democrats to oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Its passage represents the advancement of a key agenda item for President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, CNN reported.

The Anti-Defamation League said the bill constitutes a repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which bars tax-exempt nonprofits from endorsing or opposing candidates. For decades, the ADL said, the amendment “has protected…

4 Jewish things you need to know about Catalonia

(JTA) — After simmering for decades, national aspirations in the region of Catalonia in northeast Spain plunged that country into a major crisis with far-reaching international implications.

The current crisis began earlier this month when federal police clashed with voters over an illegal referendum on independence. But it came to a head Friday, when the region’s parliament in Barcelona passed a motion declaring independence from Spain despite the federal government’s warning to desist.

Madrid dissolved the regional government in a bid to block secession. But the independence project appears to be more popular than ever now among Catalans —…

A Jewish-themed beard balm for hipsters and Hasids

(JTA) — On a recent Friday, Eitan Press stood in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market offering to apply balm to the beards of passers-by.

Press was hoping they would get hooked on his product, an ointment that comes in a variety of Jewish-themed scents, including the popular Sukkot (myrtle, lemon, lemongrass and mint) and Havdalah (clove and cinnamon).

The founder of the Aleph Male beard balm company, Press estimates that he has “anointed hundreds of beards” since its founding in July.

“I’ve seen how it truly makes men’s beards look majestic and smell great,” Press, who sports an impressive red beard,…

Brazilian scholarship campaign for Jewish students collects $3.6 million in 2 days

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Donations to a Brazilian scholarship campaign to benefit Jewish students collected $3.6 million in two days, nearly three times above the target.

The amount contributed on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 by 3,056 donors, including Jewish billionaires Joseph Safra and Elie Horn, will assist students from all 15 Jewish schools in São Paulo.

“The fund is much more than financial support. It gives emotional aid and technical preparation so that families and students can actually leave a situation of vulnerability,” Esther Safra Dayan, president of the Beit Yaacov school, told the Tribuna Judaica newspaper.

Nicaraguan vice president welcomes Israeli diplomat as ‘hermano’

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Nicaragua’s vice president called a visiting Israeli diplomat “hermano,” or brother, seven months after the countries renewed diplomatic ties.

Rosario Murillo used the Spanish word for “brother” to speak of Modi Ephraim, head of Israel’s foreign ministry division to Latin America and the Caribbean, who is expected Sunday in Managua for a two-day mission including high-level meetings with local officials, reported El Nuevo Diario newspaper.

“Brother Modi Ephraim will be coming to our country in the upcoming days. He will work in a program developed by a bilateral commission, where we are emphasizing and prioritizing all the…