First Read For Jan. 18
News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are waking up to today.

First Read For Jan. 18

Ben Rhodes gets plum post; the end of German guilt? Noah Rubin faces childhood tennis idol…

Noah Rubin during a men's singles match at the 2016 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, January, 2016. Getty Images
Noah Rubin during a men's singles match at the 2016 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, January, 2016. Getty Images

The Jewish community hasn’t heard the last of Ben Rhodes.

An Upper East Side native who angered many Jews two years ago by vigorously defending the controversial U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, as an aide to President Barack Obama, Rhodes was this week appointed by the outgoing president as a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

Rhodes, who is Jewish, also was responsible for explaining the administration’s recent decision to abstain on a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlements as illegal, according to the Times of Israel. In a New York Times profile, Rhodes was portrayed as “bragging about misrepresenting the nuclear accord to shape American public opinion,” the Israeli paper reported.

A former graduate student in New York University’s creative writing program, Rhodes decided to enter the realm of public policy after witnessing the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After spending some time in the Washington think-tank world, he became a foreign policy speechwriter for candidate Obama in 2007 and remained a staffer in the White House.


Police have dropped charges against Deandre Charles, a teenager who had been the accused of being involved in the high-profile 2014 robbery and murder of Rabbi Joseph Raskin, a Brooklyn resident, the CBS television station in Miami reported.

While a witness had placed Charles at the crime scene, a judge last deemed the evidence flimsy and granted bail.

The 60-year-old rabbi, a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch chasidic movement, was in Miami visiting relatives.

Since Charles’ indictment in December 2015, prosecutors said circumstances have changed, and they don’t have “sufficient circumstantial evidence to prove the Defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” Prosecutors also said cellphone records did not end up showing Charles’ phone in the area of the murder scene and was actually in the possession of his brother Julien Charles at the time of the murder.


Has the statute of limitations for admission of Germany’s guilt for the Holocaust been reached?

A German politician says so.

Bjoern Hoecke, a leader of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, said he wants to end the country’s decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past, according to Vos iz Neias.

Hoecke, who leads the party in the eastern state of Thuringia, said Germany needs to perform a “180-degree turn” when it comes to remembering its past. He called Berlin’s Holocaust memorial a “monument of shame.”

He told party supporters in the eastern city of Dresden that no other country would erect such a memorial in its capital and called instead for Germany to take a “positive” attitude toward its history.


Noah Rubin, a Long Island native who qualified for this week Australian Open tennis tournament, faced Roger Federer, his childhood idol, in a second-round match yesterday.

Rubin, 20, played competitively against the Swiss player, one of the greatest tennis players in history, but lost in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3), USA Today reported.

“If you don’t know them they know you better,” Federer said of Rubin. “He played well. He’s a great fighter and has great legs.”

Rubin won Wimbledon’s junior championship in 2014. The same year he won the 2014 U.S. Tennis Association’s Boys 18s National Championships in both singles and doubles.

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