Shorts: U.S.

Michigan divestment letter submitted

ann arbor, mich. | More than 40 professors and staff members at the University of Michigan presented a letter supporting divestment from Israel.

Submitted online and to university regents March 17, the letter argued that the school’s financial involvements in Israel posed “serious moral or ethical questions.”

Backers of divestment say the move will pressure Israel not to violate Palestinian human rights, but opponents say it ignores the reality that Israel is responding to Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Torahs buried in Louisiana

new orleans (jta) | Seven Torahs destroyed in Hurricane Katrina were buried in Louisiana this week.

More than 200 people attended the Sunday, March 19 ceremony near New Orleans. The Torahs belonged to Beth Israel, a 102-year-old congregation flooded during the August 2005 storm, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. According to Jewish law, Torahs that are damaged or destroyed must be buried.

LGBT study confirms affiliation problem

denver (jta) | A study in the Denver/Boulder area found that much of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community feels alienated by Jewish organizations.

Because of this, affiliation rates in the LGBT community are lower than for other Jews. The “overwhelming majority” of Denver/Boulder’s LGBT Jews — estimated at 5,000, out of a total Jewish population it sets at 75,000 — are unaffiliated or minimally involved, according to the study.

This is the first of three studies that Mosaic: The National Jewish Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity plans to undertake in the coming year.

Court denies Pollard

washington (jta) | The Supreme Court this week declined to hear Jonathan Pollard’s petition for access to classified information used to convict him.

A former Navy analyst, Pollard is serving a life sentence in prison for spying for Israel. A hearing would not have affected Pollard’s conviction.

Hillel names new president

new york (jta) | Wayne Firestone has been named the next president of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.

Firestone, 42, an attorney, academic and longtime Jewish professional who has been serving as the organization’s executive vice president since September 2005, will take over from Avraham Infeld on Sept. 1.