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The most significant impending meeting between Jewish leaders and Pope Benedict XVI is being called off due to the Catholic Church’s recent decision to reconcile with four renegade ultra-conservative Catholics, including one who has a history of denying the Holocaust.
For Jews involved in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, Barack Obama’s inauguration is not just a historical watershed; it is a personal vindication of one of the central experiences in their lives.
Jewish communal activists are preparing to push a domestic agenda in the new Obama administration that seeks funding for health care and energy independence, support for toughened hate crimes legislation and stem-cell research, and some sort of compromise on government-funded faith-based initiatives.
During past presidential transitions, when pardons were in the air, many Orthodox Jewish activists set their sights on securing a pardon for Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned since 1987 on charges of spying for Israel. This year, though, members of the Orthodox community had another jailed cause célèbre to focus on: Sholom Rubashkin.
Just after 5 p.m. on January 16, Israeli Channel 10 News correspondent Shlomi Eldar answered his cell phone during a live broadcast — a phone ringing so incessantly, he suspected the call was urgent.