Shorts: U.S.

Jewish groups make top U.S. charities list

new york (jta) | The United Jewish Communities was the top Jewish group on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of the top 400 charities in America. But the UJC, the umbrella group for North American Jewish federations, fell from 25th last year to 42nd on this year’s list.

More than 25 Jewish groups made the list. The top five Jewish groups include the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee at 60, the Jewish Communal Fund at 82, the UJA-Federation of New York at 83 and the Jewish Federation/Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago at 133.

Also making the list were Yeshiva University at 192 and Brandeis University at 239; along with Hadassah at 183, the P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds at 229, American Society for Technion-Israel Institute of Technology at 247, the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science at 263, the Anti-Defamation League at 302, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews at 325 and the American Jewish Committee at 357.

Congressmen launch ‘Jewish’ month

washington (jta) | Two Jewish congressmen announced plans to launch the first annual “Jewish social action month.” Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) will launch the initiative this week.

A release said the month is aimed at promoting “Jewish unity, peoplehood and social justice programs in Jewish communities throughout the world.” It will culminate Nov. 30 at the residence of Israeli president.

Prison Web site: Pollard slated for 2015 release

washington (jta) | The U.S. Bureau of Prisons projects a 2015 release date for Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. navy analyst convicted of spying for Israel.

The release date, on the bureau’s Web site, is the first indication that the United States plans to release Pollard, who was convicted in 1986 and is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison. U.S. administrations have consistently rejected appeals to grant clemency for Pollard, whose supporters argue that he was subjected to a disproportionately harsh sentence.

Pollard’s wife, Esther, dismissed the report, saying the release date is merely theoretical and that U.S. authorities have ignored other guidelines when it comes to Pollard. However, Ha’aretz, the Israeli newspaper that first reported the release date this week, said other convicted spies have their sentence listed simply as “life” with no release date.

Florida terror suspect rests case

miami (jta) | The lawyer for a Florida professor charged with assisting Palestinian terrorists rested his case without calling witnesses.

After nearly five months of testimony from more than 70 prosecution witnesses, the lawyer for Sami Al-Arian surprised observers with his move this week, the Associated Press reported.

Attorneys for Al-Arian’s three co-defendants were presenting defenses on behalf of their clients. The defendants face a 53-count indictment charging that they used a think tank, charity and school as fronts to raise funds for Islamic Jihad.

The prosecution’s case centers on transcripts of wiretapped phone calls and fax transmissions that it says shows that the defendants raised money for suicide bombings. The defendants deny that they supported violence.

Woman kills teenager, self in Texas temple

dallas (jta) | A woman shot to death a teenager teaching kids in a temple in Amarillo, Texas, and then killed herself.

Police said Eloise Evans, 50, walked into a classroom in Temple B’nai Israel on Sunday, Oct. 30 and told two young children to leave. She drew a handgun and shot Zachary Weir, 15, multiple times and then turned the gun on herself.

Police are uncertain as to Evans’ motive, but ruled out a hate crime. They said Evans was acquainted with Weir’s father.