Friday, September 23, 2011

Jaffa's Flea Market Gets Hip

It's one of the oldest flea markets in the world, but now Jaffa's shuk hapishpishim is rapidly becoming the hottest as designers, artists and gourmands move in.
You can find anything at the Jaffa flea market, from the quirky to the fashionable.
Photo by Nicky Blackburn
Inexpensive and secondhand goods? Yes, they're still on sale at the Jaffa flea market, but this year-round bazaar is in the midst of a major makeover that's turning it into one of the hottest spots in Tel Aviv. -- Viva Press, Israel21c

To view accompanying video, click on image below.

Shelly Yachimovich Elected New Labor Leader

MK Shelly Yachimovich wins Labor primaries with 9% margin, receives 54% of votes compared to MK Amir Peretz's 45%
K Yachimovich (Photo: Avi Mualem)
MK Shelly Yachimovich was elected Labor party leader on Wednesday, defeating MK Amir Peretz in the primary elections. She received 54% of the votes, while Peretz received 45%. -- Roi Mandel, Ynetnews

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In Sicily, Jews Reach Out to Inquisition-Era Forgotten Jews

On her deathbed, Salvatore Zurzolo’s grandmother confided a long-held secret: Their family was Jewish.

Zurzolo, of Calabria in southern Italy, had been flirting with Judaism for years, ever since choosing to stay with Parisian Jews during a Catholic youth trip to the city when he was 18.

After his grandmother’s confession, Zurzolo contacted the central Italian Jewish community in Rome and asked to begin the conversion process.

“For 20 years I was told it was not possible,” Zurzolo said.  --Alex Weisler, JTA via Jewish Tribune Toronto

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Israel Police Get 1st Female Sapper

Gawi:  "I did it for other women.... I had to prove myself"
Photo: Noam Moskovich

The first female bomb disposal specialist joined the Israel Police Monday, after completing a grueling 10-month training program that included operational exercises, theoretical studies and field work. -- Omri Efraim, Ynetnews

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Food and Fuel from Greenhouse Gas?

With the help of algae, Israel's Seambiotic is turning carbon dioxide emitted by power plants into fuel and nutraceuticals.
Algae ponds capture carbon from power plants.
Algae -- that green, slimy stuff you wipe off the side of the pool -- could help save Planet Earth.  -- Karin Kloosterman, Israel 21c

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Op Ed: A New Israeli Voice Has Risen and Must Not Die

Here is a suggestion for female IDF soldiers: Sing. Sing with all your heart and lungs; Sing during the day and at night, in private and in the army's public areas. -- Fania Oz-Salzberger, Haaretz

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After Doctors’ Strike, Israelis Take Stock of Health Care System’s Woes

Israeli specialists holding their shoes during
a demonstration by doctors outside
Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, July 26, 2011.
(Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

Thousands of Israeli doctors spent the last four months engaged in a nationwide strike, using work stoppages, YouTube videos and a final hunger strike by disgruntled medical residents to protest their wages and working hours. Now that the doctors’ strike is over, Israelis are debating whether a raise in wages and shorter workdays can offset the deeper problems plaguing their country’s socialized health system. -- Jessica Steinberg, JTA

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Ahava London Flagship Store to Close over Demonstrations

The flagship London branch of Ahava cosmetics is closing, citing biweekly demonstrations that have hurt its profits.

The Ahava store located at Covent Garden, a busy shopping area in the British capital, will close at the end of the week, the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot reported. The company has other stores in the city, according to the report. -- JTA

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Agriprocessors’ Rubashkin Denied New Trial

Former Agriprocessors executive Sholom Rubashkin was denied a new trial by a U.S. appeals court.  -- JTA

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iTunes Categorizes Jewish Music as "Christian & Gospel"

Apple's online music store does not have a separate category for Jewish and hassidic melodies.
A woman uses her iPhone 4 for Web surfing
Photo by: REUTERS/Truth Leem
Apple Inc.’s popular online digital media outlet iTunes classifies many of the most well-known Jewish performers and their albums as “Christian & Gospel” material and does not have a separate category for Jewish melodies, The Jerusalem Post has found.  -- Michael Freund, Jerusalem Post

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jewish Supporters of the Confederacy Remembered

The Confederate section of Hebrew Cemetery
at Fourth and Hospital streets on Shockoe Hill in Richmond
is the final resting place for
30 Jewish soldiers who died fighting for the Confederacy.
A year after the Civil War ended, Richmond's Jewish women came together to honor and mourn their own:

Marx Myers, killed at Manassas; Henry Smith, at Fayette Courthouse; Herman Hirsh, in Westmoreland County; Isaac Levy and Gustavus Kann, at Petersburg; Madison Marcus, Henrico County; and 30 other Jewish Confederates from around the South, dead in the defenses of Richmond.-- Katherine Calos, Richmond Times-Dispatch

To see the related video and to read more, click here.

American Billionaires Spark Israeli Media Furor

Sheldon Adelson and Ronald Lauder Push Pro-Bibi Line
Ronald Lauder
Getty Images

Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson has long been seen as a powerful force in Israel’s body politic. He’s the owner of Israel’s largest daily newspaper and so close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he sat in the front row of the Knesset’s VIP section for Netanyahu’s 2009 electoral victory appearance.

Sheldon Adelson
Getty Images
Adelson is also close to another American billionaire: Ronald Lauder, who co-owns Channel 10, one of Israel’s major TV outlets. Now, due to a humiliating apology that Channel 10 was forced to broadcast for an investigative piece on Adelson, his influence and connections are being decried as a threat to Israeli press freedoms. -- Nathan Jeffay, Forward

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Egypt Bans Lulav Exports to Israel, Diaspora

Egypt has banned the export of palm fronds to Israel and Jewish communities abroad, leading to fears of a lulav shortage for the Sukkot holiday.

Israel had previously imported about 700,000 palm fronds a year in the run-up to Sukkot, which is about 40 percent of the annual demand, Haaretz reported. Another 700,000 of the 2 million lulavs used in Diaspora Jewish communities also come from Egypt.

The palms are grown in the Sinai Peninsula.

Israel's Agricultural Ministry said in a statement that it is encouraging local palm farmers to increase their production. The ministry also has issued special licenses to import lulavs from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Spain. The holiday begins on the evening of Oct. 12.

While Egypt reportedly has not given a reason for banning the palm export, it is believed that the current unstable relations between the two countries is the cause. -- JTA

Honouring Jewish Canadian Forces with War Memorial

Groundbreaking honours Jews who died for their country while serving in Canadian Forces -- Daniel Horowitz, Toronoto Shalom Life

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Voting Causes Stress, Israeli Researchers Found

Voting causes stress, inducing measurable hormonal changes, researchers in Israel found.  -- JTA

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rabbi Roseanne?

Roseanne Barr:
She’s no Thoreau in “Walden.”
The Emmy-award-winning, working-class diva hosts Jewish meditation retreat at Isabella Freedman.

When one thinks of Roseanne Barr, “meditative” is hardly the first adjective that comes to mind.  -- Dvora Meyers, JTA via NY Jewish Week

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“Big Bang Theory’s” Mayim Bialik and her Search for an Emmy Dress: “Operation Hot & Holy”

Last week, I caught up with Mayim Bialik, who plays brainiac Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” which was up for best comedy series at the Emmy Awards on Sept. 18 (but lost to “Modern Family”).  On “Big Bang,” Bialik is the non-girlfriend girlfriend of ubergeek Sheldon (Jim Parsons, who on Sunday won his second Emmy for best lead actor in a comedy series, while competing against co-star Johnny Galecki).

During our interview—which focused on Bialik’s Judaism as well as her career—the topic of the Emmys came up, specifically the actress’ search for a red-carpet dress that could accommodate the aspects of modesty, or tznius, she has adopted since becoming more observant several years ago.  She jokingly referred to her search as “Operation Subdued Sexy (a.k.a. Operation Hot and Holy,)” a topic she has blogged about in a four-part series on  -- Naomi Pfefferman, Jewish Journal

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First Ever International Jewish News Network Ready for Broadcast

Jewish news network, Jewish News 1, to offer news to eight languages around the world. Begin broadcast on Wednesday, Sept. 21. -- Akiva Novick, Toronto Shalom Life

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ADL Supports World Trade Center Cross

The Anti-Defamation League said it supports the inclusion of the World Trade Center cross in the permanent memorial to 9/11 victims at Ground Zero. -- JTA

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Aliyah Now a "Career Move"

American immigrant Esther Loewy, second from left, and colleagues at their consulting firm.
As downturn grinds on here, more ambitious young professionals lured by Israel’s robust economy. -- Helen Chernikoff, NY Jewish Week

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Is This the Golden Age of Jewish Baseball?

A new generation of high-caliber Jewish major league players—including four All-Stars—takes the field.
When Hank Greenberg was born, his parents, Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Romania, dreamed that their boy would grow up to be a doctor or a lawyer. So they disapproved when, as he grew, his passion lay with baseball, not his studies. “Jewish women on my block…would point me out as a good-for-nothing, a loafer, and a bum who always wanted to play baseball rather than go to school,” Greenberg told the Detroit Jewish Chronicle in 1935. “Friends and relatives sympathized with my mother because she was the parent of a big gawk who cared more for baseball…than school books. I was Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace.” We all know what happened next. Greenberg “disgraced” his parents by signing with the Detroit Tigers in 1933, going on to become one of the greatest players of all time and the first Jew inducted into the Hall of Fame. -- David Elfin, Moment Magazine

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Could Muhammar Gaddafi Immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return? Is He a Jew?

Muhammar Gaddafi
Netanya woman claims he is her relative
A seventy five year old Jewish women , Guita Brown  and her daughter Sarah Brown of Libyan origin who live in Netanya have claim to be relatives of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. They say that  Gaddaf’s mother and grandmother were both Jewish but married Moslem men.

Guita Brown,  who has been extensively interviewed by Israeli media recently, told the  Winnipeg Jewish Review that she is Gaddafi’s second cousin (Brown’s grandmother was the sister of Gaddafi’s grandmother).

Sara Brown explained in detail: “Gaddafi’s grandmother was a  Jew who was  married to a Jewish man at first, and they had a child, but her huisband beat her and they got divorced and she was sort of shunned by the small Libyan Jewish community, and married a Muslim man. They had two children and one of them was the mother of Gaddafi.” -- Rhonda Spivak, Winnipeg Jewish Review

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London Philharmonic Suspends Musicians for Anti-Israel Remarks

IPO musical director Zubin Mehta
Photo by: Olivier Fitoussi
According to The Guardian, musicians sanctioned after they signed a letter condemning the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as an instrument of Israeli propaganda. -- Haaretz

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Apple Withdraws "Jew or Not Jew" app in France

Anti-racism group says it is illegal in France to compile personal data without an individual's consent, according to a BBC report.
"Juif ou pas juif" application
Photo: EPA
U.S. computer firm Apple has withdrawn a mobile phone application that allowed users to identify whether or not certain celebrities and public figures were Jewish, the BBC reported Thursday.

The "Jew or not Jew" application was removed from Apple's online store in France, after anti-racism group SOS Racisme complained, saying it is illegal in France to compile personal data without an individual's consent, the BBC reported.

Thirty-five-year-old developer Johann Levy, who is Jewish, said the application is in no way sinister, and instead described it as "recreational".  -- Haaretz

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Rockin’ Out to the Oldies at Jerusalem's Woodstock

You don't have to be a hippie to enjoy Jerusalem's Woodstock Revival show, an annual event celebrating the iconic Sixties festival.
Peace signs, tie-dyed clothing and love beads were in abundance at the third annual Jerusalem Woodstock Revival at Jerusalem's Kraft Stadium this summer. Fans of several generations come to hear covers of the songs made famous at the iconic Woodstock Festival at Yasgur's Farm in upstate New York in 1969.

"Everybody's, like, dressed in hippie clothes, and it's, like, we're leaving our troubles at the door," says Nadia Levene, one of the original organizers, as concert-goers rocked out to Beatles and Hendrix tunes.

Israeli rocker Libby, an American transplant, recalls that she had a ticket to the original festival that she kept hidden in a dresser drawer. When she went to retrieve it, she found an El Al ticket in its place. But missing the 1969 event hasn't dampened her enthusiasm for bringing back the tunes of Jefferson Airplane and Cream at the Israeli tribute decades later. -- Harvey Stein, Israel21c

Click on image below to view video.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Beyond the Feminist Seder

We lost a remarkable Jewish hero in June—E.M. (Esther) Broner, the novelist, poet, playwright and ritualist, perhaps best known as the inventor of the women’s seder and co-author of The Women’s Haggadah. Thanks to Esther’s bold yet respectful melding of Jewish tradition and feminist innovation, women all over the world have, for more than 35 years, been conducting their own Passover seders—for some an extra seder, for others their only seder—acknowledging women’s questions, women’s plagues and women’s contributions to the Jewish people.

Esther was a passionate Jew and a fierce proponent of gender equality. She dared to reimagine tradition in ways that elevated women’s roles and made us visible. For instance, she made everyone at the women’s seder introduce herself by her matrilineage. Each year, I would say, “I am Letty, daughter of Cyral, daughter of Jenny,” and grieve a bit as I listened to other women’s female lineage likewise dead-end with their grandmothers’ names.

Who were our foremothers, we wondered aloud? What were their lives like and what happened to them? With Esther’s gentle prodding, those of us in her original seder group and thousands more like us have reclaimed the “herstory” we were never taught in Hebrew school. We coaxed our female ancestors out of the silence, honored the women of the Bible who have no names, the wives in every generation who made soup out of stones, the anarchists and union leaders, peaceniks and activists. Our holy troublemakers.

Thinking about the enduring legacy of the women’s seder made me reflect on other enrichments of Jewish life that would never have materialized without the movement we call “Jewish feminism.” -- Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Momment Magazine

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Off-the-Beaten-Track Tourist Sites in Israel

An underground bullet factory, a series of prehistoric caves, beachside biking, an experiential museum - it's all here. 

Clore Science Garden (Photo courtesy Weizmann Institute of Science)
Israelis are the consummate explorers. Whether they're traveling overseas to exotic locations (Thailand, India and South America are today's hotspots), or inside the country, the people of Israel are passionate about digging up the most unusual, off-the-beaten-track adventures. And that enthusiasm is infectious: Given the country's small size, visitors to Israel increasingly want to go beyond the Israel Museum, Masada and the Tel Aviv boardwalk.

This almost mischievous devotion to sniffing out the next big thing is inculcated from a young age. Field trips are a regular part of Israeli school days, from first grade and on. By the time they've reached adulthood, some Israelis might even feel jaded, like they've seen it all.

Fortunately, Israel is chock-full of unusual museums, surprising hikes, hidden restaurants and even prehistoric caves just waiting to tempt the intrepid traveler. So off you go, into the wilderness of discovery. -- Ariel Blum, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Beekeeper’s Honey Benefits Jewish Community

Eric Korsten uses an enlarged picture of a beehive
when he makes a presentation.
At the left side of the photo is one of his beehives.
Photo by Edmee Rodriguez
Eric Korsten simply loves bees.

Korsten has been interested in bees since childhood. He was able to take that interest to a new level when in 2002, as a surprise, his brother, Gerald, enrolled him in a beekeeper class. With these new insights, Korsten was able to turn his intuitive love for honey bees into an almost full-time hobby.

Today Korsten shares his beekeeping skills with the Jewish community. He helped place a beehive at the Mitzvah Garden KC at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah, which he and other volunteers tend, and at Chabad House Center, where besides tending to the bees he gives demonstrations to the preschool children. The hives at Chabad House provide product for Yachad-The Kosher Food Pantry, the only place where the public might receive some of Korsten’s honey. -- Sandy Friedman, Jewish Chronical, Kansas City, KS

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S&P Upgraded Israel's Credit Rating to A+

The rating action reflects S&P view of Israel's improved economic policy flexibility as a result of strong growth and careful macroeconomic management.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) raised its long-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on the State of Israel to 'A+/A-1' from 'A/A-1'. At the same time, S&P affirmed the local currency ratings at 'AA-/A-1+'. Also, S&P's outlook is stable, and the transfer and convertibility (T&C) assessment remains at 'AA'. -- Israel Ministry of Finance via Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Southern Comfort--World World Kosher Barbecue Championship

Welcome to Memphis’ World Kosher Barbecue Championship, where thousands of participants get a chance to meld their Southern and Jewish traditions -- Daniel Fromson, Tablet

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