Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Asaf Elia-shalev


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  • ADL faces Wikipedia ban

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Jun 28, 2024

    (JTA) — Wikipedia’s editors have voted to declare the Anti-Defamation League “generally unreliable” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding it to a list of banned and partially banned sources. An overwhelming majority of editors involved in the debate about the ADL also voted to deem the organization unreliable on the topic of antisemitism, its core focus. A formal declaration on that count is expected next. The decision about Israel-related citations, made last week, means that one of the most prominent and longstanding Jewish advocac...

  • How do Biden's new sanctions affect Jewish charities that donate in Israel?

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Mar 1, 2024

    (JTA) — When the Biden administration announced new sanctions meant to stop the flow of U.S. donations to extremist Israelis, many watchdogs assumed that one charity would be especially concerned. But the Central Fund of Israel says it is unfazed by the new sanctions, which were announced amid a push by the White House to rein in violence in the West Bank. The sanctions came alongside a warning against funneling money to nonprofits that promote violence. The Central Fund is a New York-registered charity that distributes tens of millions of d...

  • Genesis Prize CEO Stan Polovets accused of drugging and sexually assaulting woman

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Sep 29, 2023

    (JTA) – Stan Polovets, an oil industry executive who used his wealth and connections to help establish one of the most prestigious awards in the Jewish world, has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman he took out on a date. The woman, identified only as Jane Doe 1, made the allegations in a civil lawsuit filed against Polovets, the CEO of the Genesis Prize Foundation, in Manhattan last week. She is demanding financial compensation whose amount would be determined in court. S...

  • Lawsuit alleges illegally approved 'antisemitic' curriculum

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Sep 22, 2023

    (JTA) — Several Jewish groups are suing a large school district in Orange County over an ethnic studies curriculum they allege is antisemitic and was approved covertly in violation of California law requiring public participation in decision making. The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Anti-Defamation League, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the American Jewish Committee and Potomac Law Group, with support from StandWithUs, seeks to bar the Santa Ana Unified School District from implementing the recently approved c...

  • Germany agrees to record $1.4 billion in annual Holocaust reparations as survivors age

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Jun 23, 2023

    (JTA) - Conditions didn't seem favorable in early May as Stuart Eizenstat entered annual negotiations with the German government over reparations for the estimated 240,000 remaining Holocaust survivors around the world. Eizenstat had served as the special negotiator for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany since 2009 and had analyzed the country's economic and political landscape: high inflation, spiraling fuel costs and unprecedented government spending on defense to support...

  • $65M deal to sell American Jewish University's LA campus collapses, throwing school's finances into question

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Jun 23, 2023

    (JTA) – The financial future of American Jewish University is in flux again after a plan to raise a reported $65 million by selling its 22-acre campus in Los Angeles to a Swiss education company fell through. Nine months after the university announced a deal had been reached to sell the property, the prospective buyer, EF Education First, said it was pulling out and abandoning its plans to establish a language school for international students at the site because of the opposition of r...

  • Half of America's 25 most generous philanthropists are Jews - few give to Jewish groups

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Feb 17, 2023

    (JTA) — Jews made up nearly half of America’s biggest philanthropic donors last year, according to a calculation by Forbes of who gave the most money away in 2022. In a year that saw their fortunes take a hit amid declines in the stock market, America’s 25 “most generous givers” donated a collective $27 billion, up from $20 billion in 2021, for a lifetime total of $196 billion, according to Forbes. They included 12 billionaires with Jewish backgrounds — a dramatic overrepresentation when compared to the proportion of Jews in the overall U.S...

  • How to find newly released Israeli immigration records from 1919 onward

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Jan 20, 2023

    (JTA) - The genealogy website MyHeritage posted 1.7 million Israeli immigration records online this week, making accessible a trove of ship and plane passenger lists stored in bound tomes at the Israel State Archives. The records cover arrivals to the country for about 60 years starting in 1919. They include details such as the name of immigrants, country of origin, birth year, date of arrival, destination city and the name of the vessel they arrived on. MyHeritage is billing the records as the...

  • Anti-Defamation League acquires Jewish investment watchdog to fight threats to Israel on Wall Street

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Nov 18, 2022

    (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League is bolstering its advocacy on Wall Street by absorbing JLens, an organization known for rating companies on their alleged support for the Israel boycott, according to an announcement on Thursday by the ADL. Founded in 2012, JLens was for years one of the only groups pressing pro-Israel positions in the growing environmental, social and governance movement, known as ESG, which advocates for a form of corporate decision-making in which profit is not the only priority. Over time, JLens managed to raise a...

  • Prosecutors charge New Jersey teen whose Islamist manifesto threatened synagogue attack

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Nov 18, 2022

    (JTA) — Federal prosecutors have arrested and charged a New Jersey teenager with extremist Islamist views with making the threat that led to a sweeping FBI warning for the state’s synagogues last week. Omar Alkattoul, 18, of Sayreville, New Jersey, is charged with one count of transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce for an extremist manifesto he shared on Nov. 1 on an undisclosed social media network. He faces up to five years in prison. Alkattoul had pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS and researched how to obtain fir...

  • Stanford U apologizes for discriminating against Jewish applicants in the 1950s

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Oct 21, 2022

    (JTA) — An official investigation by Stanford University released Wednesday confirmed longstanding suspicions that university administrators acted to limit Jewish enrollment in the 1950s while publicly denying that they were doing so. In tandem with the release of the report, Stanford’s president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, apologized to the Jewish community on behalf of the university. “This ugly component of Stanford’s history, confirmed by this new report, is saddening and deeply troubling,” Tessier-Lavigne wrote. “As a university, we must acknow...

  • Progressive Jewish group launches think tank to counter spread of right-wing ideas

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Oct 7, 2022

    (JTA) – Progressive Jewish leaders have launched a new think tank meant to counter what its founders see as an effort by a few billionaires to flood the Jewish world with conservative ideas. Emor, the Institute for Bold Jewish Thought, is a project of T'ruah, an advocacy organization of rabbis dedicated to promoting human rights and social justice. In Hebrew, "emor" is a directive meaning "speak." The think tank will fund research, host events with scholars, and publish essays that draw on J...

  • With climate bill passed, Democrats deliver on top policy concern for American Jews

    Asaf Elia-Shalev|Aug 26, 2022

    (JTA) — The passage of a milestone climate bill in Congress on Friday means major progress on a policy issue that American Jews rank above all others in recent surveys of voter priorities. While climate change is not often pegged as a Jewish issue, a set of poll results suggest concern about it is nearly a consensus in the community. Already eight years ago, a survey from the nonpartisan group Public Religion Research Institute found that a far larger percentage of American Jews believed that climate change was a concern than Americans as a w...