Shorts: U.S.

Friday, March 9, 2007 | by

Reconstructionists elect lesbian rabbi

The Reconstructionist movement tapped a lesbian rabbi to head its Rabbinical Association.

Rabbi Toba Spitzer of West Newton, Mass., will be formally elected at the movement’s March 11-14 convention. Spitzer is a 1997 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pa., and has served Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, a Reconstructionist congregation in West Newton, for the past 10 years, officials said.

Her election continues the Reconstructionist movement’s progressive tradition on gay and lesbian issues. In 1984, Reconstructionism became the first American Jewish movement to ordain gay rabbis, a move followed by the Reform movement in 1990 and possibly by the Conservative movement in the coming months. — jta

Where’s a kosher eatery? Just use your cell phone

A new company will provide a text messaging service that lets people use their cell phones to locate synagogues, kosher restaurants and even prayer times.

The company, Linguistic Agents, announced the launch this week of its new service, InfoJew. Information will be available on kosher restaurants, synagogues and mikvahs in major travel destinations in Europe.

The times of services, Shabbat and holidays, as well as information on local rabbis, Jewish tourist sites and Chabad houses, will be added eventually. — jta

Pistons owner gives Hadassah $75 million

Hadassah received a $75 million contribution for a new inpatient tower at its Jerusalem hospital. William and Karen Davidson gave the gift on behalf of Guardian Industries Corp. of Auburn Hills, Mich., of which William Davidson is president.

Davidson, who owns several sports teams, including the Detroit Pistons, said he was impressed by the way Hadassah treats patients of all religions and backgrounds. Hadassah will name the new facility at the Hadassah Medical Center the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower in memory of Davidson’s mother, who was a founder of the organization’s Detroit chapter.

The $210 million tower will be a 14-story structure with 500 beds, 20 state-of-the-art operating rooms and 50 intensive-care beds. — jta