Shorts: U.S.

Robertson’s apology accepted by Israel

new york (ap) | Israel has accepted the apology of the Rev. Pat Robertson for implying that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was struck down by God for giving up the Gaza strip, Ambassador Daniel Ayalon said last week.

After Robertson’s written letter to the Sharon family, Ayalon said, “Israel respects Rev. Robertson and accepts his apology, which reflects his true friendship and support for the state of Israel.”

The apology came after Israel vowed to cut business ties with the outspoken evangelist. Robertson is leading a group of evangelicals who have pledged to raise $50 million to build a Christian tourism center in Israel’s Galilee region.

In a letter marked for hand-delivery to Omri Sharon, the prime minister’s son, Robertson wrote: “My concern for the future safety of your nation led me to make remarks which I can now view in retrospect as inappropriate and insensitive in light of a national grief experienced because of your father’s illness.”

Jesse Jackson: Blacks and Jews struggled together

washington (jta) | Rev. Jesse Jackson chastised religious conservatives who he said use a “perverse theology” to justify racism and anti-Semitism.

“It is that perverse theology that justified slavery,” Jackson said last week in a speech at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. “At the very heart of it is a racist, anti-Semitic view of the world.”

Jackson spoke at a commemoration of the work of Martin Luther King Jr. The event was sponsored by the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism.

Blacks and Jews “have both known slavery, we’ve known exile, we’ve known the hand of God as keys to survival,” he said.

Awards were presented to Richard Womack, assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO, and Carolyn Goodman, a civil rights activist whose son was murdered while working for civil rights in Mississippi in the 1960s.

Amazon pulls link to ‘messianic Haggadah’

new york (jta) | Amazon.com pulled a link that recommended users who purchase a Haggadah aimed at Orthodox Jews also purchase a “messianic Jewish” one.

The link was pulled this week, following questions to the e-retailer posed by JTA.

Before the change, the Messianic Passover Haggadah was recommended for those visitors to the page where the “Family Haggadah: Haggadah Shel Pesah” produced by Artscroll is listed.

Explained Rabbi Jerome Epstein, the executive vice president and CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, “Messianic Jews pretend to be Jews but their values, their practices, their ideology is anything but Jewish” because they believe in Jesus as the Messiah.

Figure skater wins U.S. championship

los angeles (jta) | Figure skater Sasha Cohen is the new American champion and will represent the United States at the upcoming Winter Olympics.

The 21-year-old skater clinched the championship Saturday, Jan. 14 in St. Louis.

Another Jewish skater, Emily Hughes of Great Neck, N.Y., came in third and normally would have been named to the Olympic team. However, the judges decided to give the spot to Michelle Kwan, who was unable to compete because of injuries, if she recovers sufficiently to skate in Turin during the Feb. 10 to 26 Olympics.

Hughes was named an alternate to the Olympic team.