Amid the revolutionary turmoil sweeping the Arab world, there is renewed interest in Washington in supporting the movement for human rights and democracy in Iran. The new atmosphere reflects a noticeable shift in the policy discussion in Washington. The Obama administration has, at times, been hesitant to embrace Iran’s opposition movement, wary of being seen as meddling in the country’s domestic politics and of undermining diplomatic efforts to engage the Iranian regime.3
The hubbub surrounding Cuba’s small Jewish community these days does not faze Yakob Berezniak Hernandez. Sitting behind a desk crowded with a typewriter, several cans of Lieber’s tomato paste and piles of loose foreign change, Hernandez, of Havana’s Adath Israel synagogue, waved away inquiries about Alan Gross, the 61-year-old American Jewish contractor sentenced to 15 years in prison March 15. Gross was found guilty of seeking to clandestinely distribute Internet satellite communications equipment to Cuba’s Jewish community on behalf of United States Agency for International Development.10
At Tifereth Israel Congregation, on the northernmost tip of northwest Washington, just before the District of Columbia brushes against Maryland, there is a new book group. Named for Carla Cohen, co-owner of an iconic bookstore in the nation’s capital, the Sabbath-afternoon group will be reading this longtime congregant’s favorite books in her memory.6
?I won?t bore you with tales of my genitalia,? said Padma Lakshmi, co-founder with Dr. Tamer Seckin of the Endometriosis Foundation of America, at the foundation?s third annual Blossom Ball, held March 18 at the New York Public Library. Lakshmi, a model, actress, award-wining author and Emmy-winning host of Bravo?s ?Top Chef,? credited ?advanced gynecological surgeon? Seckin for having ?changed my life.
A prominent Syrian rabbi?s recent guilty plea and a new tell-all book that probes the underside of his insular community appear likely to confront Syrian Jews once more with a scandal that just won?t go away.
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