SHALIT: Israeli government leaders are tying any concessions sought by Hamas to progress on the soldier?s return.

Fighting in Gaza Pauses, but Campaign for Captured Soldier Continues

At first glance, the scene in central Tel Aviv the morning after Israel announced it was halting its military drive against Hamas in Gaza looked like one of celebration.

VICTORY LAP: Senior presidential aide David Axelrod exulted in exit poll results showing that 78% of Jews voted for Obama.

Axelrod Kvells, Debra Winger Glitters at Jewish Community’s Inaugural Party

The 2009 Jewish Community Inaugural Reception wasn’t a black-tie event. There was no dancing, and only a few traditional boldfaced names were spotted in the crowd. On the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, Jewish communal professionals and politicians celebrated the historic transfer of power by talking politics.

Lisa Kudrow’s Family Tree

The blondest of TV’s “Friends” is going to reveal her roots. Lisa Kudrow, who spent 10 seasons playing airhead guitarist/singer and massage therapist Phoebe Buffay on the hit NBC series, is taking a camera crew with her to Belarus to investigate her Jewish family background, the actress recently told Parade magazine. “It’s a historical documentary about how history shapes your family tree,” said Kudrow, who also revealed that her last name means “curly hair” in Belarusian.

What’s in a Name?

The United Kingdom’s largest insurance company is changing its English name to a Hebrew one. Sort of.

BIBLICAL TALE: Lauren Ambrose and Adam Kaufman star in the new movie.

Story of Leah, With a Twist

In a new television movie, Hasidic Brooklyn gets the Hollywood treatment. “Loving Leah,” filmed on location in New York, centers on a young widow whose life is forever changed by an obscure biblical law that requires her to wed her brother-in-law. Ultra-Orthodox Leah (Lauren Ambrose) and her secular brother-in-law, Jake (Adam Kaufman), agree to take part in a halitza, a ceremony that allows couples in their situation to avoid marriage; the halitza is still performed in some observant Jewish circles.