U.S. Report

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America criticized mega-philanthropist Michael Steinhardt for spoofing fervently religious Jews.

David Zwiebel, executive vice president of the Agudah, voiced anger in a commentary this week over Steinhardt's appearance at an April event at which he dressed as a Chassidic rabbi.

According to the New York Jewish Week, which reported on the dinner, Steinhardt said he "spit" on his former self and predicted that "the days of Moshiach must be near."

Zwiebel called the act "a bizarre spectacle" and questioned how Steinhardt, "a champion of Jewish continuity," could "publicly mock the dress, language, lifestyle and beliefs" of Jews who "successfully transmitted authoritative Jewish identity and pride" through generations.

AJCongress challenges Commandments display

NEW YORK (JTA) — The American Jewish Congress has filed a legal brief in the Alabama Supreme Court challenging a public display of the Ten Commandments.

The group says the chief judge's assertion that the Ten Commandments denotes the "Judeo-Christian" origins of American law omits important faith differences between Christians and Jews and among different Christian denominations.

"Can we assume that Muslims, Buddhists, atheists and other faiths will find no justice in Alabama's courts?" asked Marc Stern, the group's chief counsel.

Anti-Semitic flap mars New Jersey race

NEW YORK (JTA) — An election campaign for the New Jersey legislature sparked a letter blasting statewide teaching of "phony 'Holocaust' education."

Chuck Haytaian, a Republican candidate for re-election to the state assembly, told the Newark Star-Ledger that he received a letter last month from a supporter of his primary race opponent.

Assemblyman Michael Doherty, charging: "You helped shove phony 'Holocaust' education down everyone's throat to help your Jew friends lie to our children and waste our tax dollars."

Federation umbrella nominates chairman

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Robert Goldberg, an Ohio Bank president, is poised to become the next chairman of the United Jewish Communities, the federation umbrella group.

The nominating committee of the UJC tapped Goldberg last week to succeed James Tisch as the top federation lay leader.

Morton Plant, UJC's treasurer, was nominated to succeed Goldberg, who held the No. 2 federation lay position as chairman of the executive committee.