Coloring contest runner ups.

Coloring contest runner ups.

(JTA) -- The following reviews the highlights in North America from the Jewish year 5779.

September 2018

Leslie Moonves resigns as CEO of the CBS network after six women accuse him of sexual misconduct. 

Rabbi Rachel Cowan, a pioneer in the Jewish healing movement, dies in New York at 77. Cowan was among the founders of the Jewish Healing Center and served for 14 years as director of the Jewish Life and Values Program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York.

Ari Fuld, an American-born Israeli activist, dies after being stabbed outside a shopping mall in the West bank town of Efrat. A father of four, Fuld chases his attacker and shoots him before collapsing. Fuld was well known for his social media posts defending Israel and its military.

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, become the biggest spenders in American politics, having donated $55 million to groups helping to maintain Republican Party control of the House and Senate in the midterm elections, according to a New York Times report. 

October 2018

In the deadliest attack ever on an American Jewish institution, 11 people are killed and another six injured when a gunman opens fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh during Shabbat morning services. Shortly before the attack, the alleged gunman, Robert Bowers, made a post on an online social networking website accusing the Jewish immigrant group HIAS of bringing “invaders” into the United States. Top officials in the United States and abroad condemn the attack, which President Donald Trump calls “pure evil.”

An explosive device is found in the mailbox of the New York home of Jewish billionaire George Soros, a major donor to left-wing causes and often a right-wing target of conspiracy theories. The police bomb squad detonates the device. 

In a reversal of a 1972 ban, the Conservative movement’s religious law authorities move to allow its rabbis to attend intermarriages. 

The nearly century-old Hebrew College in suburban Boston installs its first female president. Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld had served 12 years as the dean of its pluralistic rabbinical school. 

November 2018

The online home rental service Airbnb says it will remove listings of rooms and homes for rent in West Bank Jewish settlements. 

In what is believed to be the largest gift ever to higher education in the United States, the billionaire Jewish businessman Michael Bloomberg announces a $1.8 billion gift to Johns Hopkins University to eliminate student loans and financial aid packages for incoming students. 

The Reform movement’s rabbinical wing appoints Rabbi Hara Person as its first female chief executive. 

Data released by federal law enforcement authorities show that hate crimes against Jews in the United States rose by more than a third in 2017. The FBI further shows that Jews were targeted in 58 percent of religion-based hate crimes. Overall, hate crimes increased by 17 percent in 2017. 

Stan Lee, creator of the comic book franchises Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and the X-Men, dies in Los Angeles at 95. 

More than 75 percent of Jewish Americans cast their ballots for Democrats in midterm congressional elections, according to polls. The election, which returned Democrats to the majority in the House of Representatives, brought eight new Jewish members into that body and two Jewish candidates to governorships. In Colorado, Jared Polis became the state’s first Jewish governor and the first openly gay man elected governor.

Michael Kadar, the American-Israeli man convicted of making hundreds of bomb threats to Jewish community centers and Jewish schools in the United States in 2017 is sentenced to 10 years in prison in Israel. 

The New York City Health Department warns of an outbreak of measles in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, where vaccination rates are lower. 

Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, one of the founders of the Women’s March, apologizes for causing harm to the movement’s Jewish members and being too slow to fight anti-Semitism.

December 2018

The American Civil Liberties Union announces a lawsuit against the state of Texas over a 2017 law prohibiting government contractors from engaging in boycotts of Israel. 

Political commentator Marc Lamont Hill apologizes for calling for “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” during a U.N. event in solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

The Congress passes bipartisan legislation named for the late Elie Wiesel that aims to improve the U.S. response to emerging or potential genocides. 

January 2019

Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots owner, is named the winner of the $1 million Genesis Prize, the so-called Jewish Nobel. 

The Forward announces it will be ceasing its print edition and laying off its editor in chief and 20 percent of its staff. 

Prominent Democrats launch a pro-Israel group to counter the party’s drift away from Israel.  

Rep. Ilhan Omar disavows a 2012 tweet in which she said Israel had “hypnotized” the world, saying the term was “unfortunate and offensive.” 

February 2019

Al Vorspan, who helped organize the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and served as the longtime director of its Commission on Social Action, dies at 95.

Omar says in a tweet that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee pays politicians to be pro-Israel, a falsehood that draws quick rebukes from a number of her Democratic colleagues. 

Michael Cohen, the longtime lawyer for President Donald Trump, cites his father’s survival of the Holocaust to explain why he turned on his one-time mentor and employer. 

The U.S. Senate approves a bill that provides legal cover to states that target the movement to boycott Israel over the objections by several prominent Democrats..

March 2019

Jewish megadonor Michael Steinhardt is accused of a pattern of sexually inappropriate behavior by seven women.  

President Trump signs a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, making the U.S. the first country to recognize Israeli rule over the strategic plateau captured from Syria in the 1967 war. Israel annexed the territory in 1981. 

A Gallup poll finds that a majority of Americans sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians, but that the percentage is slipping.  

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee opens its annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., with a defiant refusal to be silenced in the fact of mounting criticism from the left. 

Trump calls Democrats the “anti-Jewish” party following a House vote condemning anti-Semitism. 

April 2019

One person dies and three are injured in a shooting at a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, near San Diego. 

Airbnb says it will reverse its decision to remove West Bank settlement listings from its website. 

The Anti-Defamation League says there were 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2018, a drop from the 1,986 reported in 2017 but still the third highest since 1979. 

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submits his resignation letter to Trump. Rosenstein had appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and was a key player in overseeing the probe that the president called a “witch hunt.” 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declares a public health emergency over a measles outbreak in Brooklyn’s haredi Orthodox community, ordering unvaccinated people living in four Zip codes there with heavily Orthodox populations to be vaccinated or pay fines up to $1,000. A week later, the city closes a yeshiva preschool in one of those neighborhoods, Williamsburg, for defying a Health Department order to provide medical and attendance records regarding measles vaccinations. 

May 2019

Herman Wouk, the best-selling Orthodox Jewish author whose literary career spanned nearly seven decades, dies at 103.

The Israeli eatery Zahav wins the 2019 James Beard Foundation award for outstanding restaurant. 

June 2019

Quebec passes a so-called secularism law banning certain public employees from wearing religious symbols, including yarmulkes and hijabs, at work.  

Ryan Braun passes Hank Greenberg to claim the record for most home runs in a career by a Jewish baseball player. The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder hits his 332nd homer in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez comes under fierce criticism for comparing migrant detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border to “concentration camps.” Multiple Jewish groups criticize the Democratic lawmaker’s Holocaust comparison. 

Gary Rosenblatt announces that he will be stepping down as editor and publisher of The New York Jewish Week after 26 years.  

The White House unveils the economic portion of its Mideast peace plan, which calls for $50 billion of investment in building infrastructure as well as other needs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

July 2019

A man is shot several times while waiting for daily prayers to begin at a synagogue in Miami.  

Canadian Jews are the most targeted minority group for hate crimes for the third straight year, a government report finds. 

Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau dies at 99. Morgenthau, an iconic figure, served from 1975 to 2009, a tenure that included the prosecution of numerous high-profile cases. 

Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein is arrested in New York on sex-trafficking charges. 

August 2019

Thirty-eight men file a lawsuit against the Yeshiva University High School for Boys claiming they were sexually abused over a three-decade period beginning in the mid-1950s and that the school did not act to protect them despite multiple complaints of abuse.  

President Trump says that Jews who support Democrats are being disloyal.  

An array of American Jewish groups condemns Israel’s decision to bar entry to two Democratic lawmakers critical of the Jewish state. The Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federations of North America and — in a rare statement of criticism aimed at Israel — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee all decry Israel’s refusal to grant entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America endorse the decision. 

William Daroff is named CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. 

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