Friday, May 4, 2012

Israeli President To Fly Air Canada To U.S.

Shimon Peres
Israeli President Shimon Peres has booked tickets on Air Canada rather than pay the $4,700 fee El Al demanded for the oxygen tank he must carry with him, according to Israel’s Channel 2.

The station reported that travel regulations for public officials require Peres’ personal paramedic to bring along the oxygen tank. Peres is 88-years-old.

Peres’ office refused to pay the El Al fee and called Air Canada, which charged “significantly less” for the president’s trip and offered to carry the oxygen tank for free. When El Al officials learned what happened, they called Peres’ residence and offered to carry the oxygen for free. Even EL Al CEO Eliezer Shkedi reportedly tried to correct the blunder. But Channel 2 said Peres’ office said it was too late because tickets on Air Canada had already been bought.

In posting the Channel 2 report, The Times of Israel pointed out that although El Al is generally known to be more expensive than its competitors, its security is second to none and it offers only strictly kosher food on all flights.

An El Al spokeswoman in New York had no immediate comment on the report. -- Stewart Ain, Jewish Week

With an eye on Twitter, StandWithUs releases app for pre-fab pro-Israel messages

To celebrate the 64th anniversary of Israel’s founding, StandWithUs released a new social media application that the pro-Israel educational nonprofit hopes will help expand its impact on Twitter and Facebook.

ShareIsrael, an app designed for iPhones, iPads and devices running the Android operating system, is intended to promote pro-Israel messages in the social media landscape. Using the new app, people can take readymade messages and like them on Facebook or post them to Twitter.

Critics of Israel often use social networking outlets to spread their messages, StandWithUs Israel Director Michael Dickson said, and the group hoped its new app would help counterbalance those critical messages with supportive ones.

“They are able to get their tags to trend,” Dickson said of Israel’s online critics. “That’s something that we certainly want to counterbalance.” -- Jonah Lowenfeld, Jewish Press

To read more, click here.

London Jews’ Labour Problem

Ken Livingstone, the once and perhaps future London mayor, has made a string of anti-Semitic remarks. Why do his party’s leaders indulge him?
Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London, during annual Labour party conference
on Sept. 25, 2011, in Liverpool, England. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)
London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone—whose political future will be determined in today’s election against Conservative incumbent Boris Johnson—has a Jewish problem. He’s called a Jewish reporter a “concentration camp guard,” likened Israeli leaders to Nazis, and accused Jews of being too rich and selfish to vote for the Labour Party. And yet, despite the dubious record of “Red Ken,” as detractors have long called London’s former mayor, the Labour leadership has indulged him. Regardless of whether Livingstone wins the office again, his very presence as Labour’s candidate for mayor of the country’s capital is a bad sign of the party’s unwillingness to stand up for Jews. -- James Kirchick, Tablet

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Once a cultural hub, Israeli modernist icon is left to languish

Today Kfar Warburg’s auditorium is dilapidated and too big for the moshav to maintain on its own.
Photo by: Yael Engelhart 
The auditorium at Kfar Warburg,a hybrid between the International style and early Israeli modernism, is waiting a savior. -- Noam Dvir, Haaretz

To read more, click here.

Opinion: Inciting Genocide Is a Crime

Even if Iran's radicals could be deterred from attacking Israel, their actions are already illegal under international law.

Many of Iran's crimes are well-known to Americans and observers world-wide. The Tehran regime wants to build a nuclear weapon despite being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; it supports the brutal crackdown of Syria's Bashar al-Assad against his own people; it is the leading state sponsor of terrorism, killing innocents from Argentina to Lebanon, Afghanistan and beyond; and it is engaged in massive domestic repression. Less recognized, however, is the legal significance of Iran's genocidal anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric, which constitutes one of the most serious crimes under international law. -- Robert Bernstein, Irwin Cotler and Stuart Robinowitz, Wall Street Journal

To read more, click here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Anti-Semitic incidents ‘negligibly’ down in Canada

Stubbornly high levels of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada show a "sustained undercurrent of anti-Jewish bias" in the country, B'nai Brith Canada said.

B'nai Brith Canada's annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents, released April 30, show there were 1,297 anti-Jewish occurrences in 2011 -- a "negligible decrease" of 0.7 percent, or nine cases, from 2010.

It was the first time in the last few years that the audit did not reflect an increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the previous 12 months.

Of last year's reported incidents, 916 were cases of harassment, a decrease of 5 percent over the year before; 362 involved vandalism, up by 14.2 percent; and 19 cases of violence were reported, down from 24 in 2010. Reports of web-based hate were down to 528 from 568.

Despite the marginal decrease last year, the past decade has seen an almost threefold increase in anti-Semitic incidents, B'nai Brith said.

Two regions in Canada experienced increases in anti-Semitic incidents. There were 303 incidents reported in Montreal, a 9.4 per cent rise over 2010; and in Manitoba, there were 78 such cases last year, compared to 60 in 2010.

B'nai Brith and other groups monitoring racist behavior believe that as many as one-third of all hate crimes go unreported.

Last month, Statistics Canada reported that in 2010, more than half of the 204 hate crimes prompted by religion were against Jews, though it represented a decline of 38 percent.

Despite the findings, Canada is still "one of the best places in the world for Jews," said B'nai Brith Canada CEO Frank Dimant. -- JTA

Pope Benedict and the Society of St. Pius X

Despite the conciliatory efforts made by the Vatican toward the group, the Society has remained committed to its belief that it is correct, and that the established Church is the heretical institution.

Photo: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Recent news reports indicate that the reconciliation talks between the Vatican and the radical traditionalist Catholic group, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), have accelerated and are nearing their climax. The group, whose members include the notorious Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson, was originally put into schism in 1988 and since then has operated independent of Vatican authority.

Recently Pope Benedict XVI has made a strong effort to heal the schism and bring the group back into the Church.

As one French Vatican analyst has noted, “Pope Benedict has staked a lot on his attempt to heal this breach; it will be one of the things that will mark his pontificate.”

Despite the conciliatory efforts made by the Vatican toward the group, the Society has remained committed to its belief that it is correct, and that the established Church is the heretical institution.  -- Mark Weitzman, Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.

In Belgium, national rupture spreads to Jews

Antwerp's Jewish district has somethingof the feel of a modern shtetl.
(Ben Harris)
Few Jewish couples define their marriage as “mixed” just because bride and groom were born and raised 30 miles apart in the same country.

But Linda and Bernard Levy live in Belgium, a country whose long experiment in fusing two distinct cultures recently has been showing signs of breakdown. With the Dutch-speaking Flemish half of the country increasingly at odds with the French-speaking part, Belgium’s corresponding Jewish communities are finding themselves at loggerheads as well. -- Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA

To read more, click here.

Ex-congressman Sam Gejdenson tapped for U.S. religions commission

Sam Gejdenson, a former congressman who is the child of Holocaust survivors, was named to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The U.S. Congress appointed Gejdenson to the panel this week.

Gejdenson, 63 and a Democrat, represented Connecticut in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 2000. He was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany, and during his years in Congress helped pass legislation targeting human trafficking.

"He will make significant contributions to our work on behalf of the cherished right of freedom of religion or belief and its fuller integration into U.S. foreign policy and national security," Leonard Leo, the USCIRF chairman, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Gejdenson has been active with the American Jewish World Service, a relief body in the Jewish community.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent body, has members appointed by leadership in both houses of Congress.

Gejdenson was named by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House minority leader.

In recent years, the commission has been plagued by allegations that its conservative majority targets mainly Muslim nations and China, and pays little attention to abuses in a number of other countries.  -- JTA

Opinion: Jewish refugee rights is an unsolved human rights issue

The issue of Jewish refugee rights is not a spanner in the works. It remains a key, unresolved human rights issue. -- Lyn Julius, Haaretz

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Integrated school for students with and without autism

Visit Yad Hamoreh elementary school on a Friday morning and you’ll hear Shabbat songs, smell pizza and challah rolls baking in the oven, and see autistic children enjoying both activities with “regular” peers.

“This school has been incredible,” says Alana Goldstein, whose autistic fourth-grader recently won second place at a peer-judged “A Star is Born” talent show at Yad Hamoreh. “These are low-functioning kids with behaviors that are not easy to deal with. And the regular children actually grow up with them. They learn to see the autistic children as part of their society.”

Yad Hamoreh (“Teacher’s Hand”) is a one-of-a-kind Jerusalem public elementary school. Founded in 1998, today it integrates 187 normal first- through sixth-graders with 49 severely to moderately autistic peers. Mostly separated for academics, the kids do everything else together, from eating to swimming. Regular kids even join in therapy sessions involving games, sports, music, animal care and horticulture.

Because hers is a model school with no exact counterpart anywhere, Principal Ana Goren often hosts visiting educators from other Israeli municipalities as well as Eastern European countries, South America, China and the United States.

Zvi Shamir, uncle of an autistic niece and father of three normal daughters who have all attended Yad Hamoreh, explains that the first- through sixth-grade school was a parent-led initiative.

“It was based on a system developed by a kindergarten nearby that merged regular and autistic children,” Shamir tells ISRAEL21c. “This is a unique experiment in the world, we believe.”

Judging by the enthusiasm of his second-grader, Lia, the experiment is a success. “What do you like about your school?” ISRAEL21c asks, and Lia Shamir breaks into a grin. “Everything,” she says.

Like a private school -- Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c

To read more, click here.

Leading Egyptian presidential candidate: Camp David Accords are ‘dead’

Amr Moussa, the leading candidate in Egypt's presidential race, called the Camp David peace accords "dead and buried."

Moussa said Sunday during a rally in southern Egypt that the document belongs "on the shelves of history," Haaretz reported.

He differentiated, however, between the accords and the peace treaty that was signed in 1979, a year after Camp David. The Camp David Accords called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state as a goal.

"This agreement is dead and buried. There is an agreement between Israel and Egypt that we will honor as long as Israel honors it," Moussa reportedly said.

Moussa served as foreign minister under ousted President Hosni Mubarak for a decade.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on Egypt to control the instability in the Sinai Peninsula in order to keep the peace between the two countries.

"We urge Egypt to contain the lawlessness in the Sinai Peninsula -- this is imperative in order to keep our two nations firmly on the path of peace," he said Monday during an address to the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem.

The unrest has grown since Mubarak was overthrown more than a year ago. The gas line running between Egypt and Israel has been attacked no less than 14 times, and terrorists have infiltrated into Israel from Sinai. -- JTA

U.K. union bars Israeli expert from conference on conflict resolution

Union members who were to take part in class objected to participating in a workshop with an Israeli expert.
Israeli expert Moty Cristal.
Photo by: Ofer Vaknin
A master-class on conflict resolution that was set to be given by an Israeli lecturer in Manchester next week was canceled by the British National Health Service, after trade union members who were to take part in the class objected to participating in a workshop with an Israeli expert.

Moty Cristal, an Israeli expert on negotiating skills and crisis-management, was to have taught a class entitled The Role of Negotiation in Dealing with Conflict, as part of a workshop on conflict resolution for health-trust managers and union officials. The workshop is being organized by Manchester Mental Trust, part of the NHS. -- Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz

To read more, click here.

Israel constructing security wall on Lebanese border

Israel started building a security wall along its border with Lebanon.

The work, which began Monday and is expected to last several weeks, is being carried out with the coordination of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, and the Lebanese army, according to reports.

Its purpose, the Israel Defense Forces told the French news agency AFP, is "to avoid friction on the border."

The wall, slated to be about a mile long, will protect the northern border town of Metulla from attacks from the Lebanese side of the border.

Israel and Lebanon technically remain at war. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006 against the terrorist group Hezbollah, 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis were killed. -- JTA

MLB suspends Delmon Young over anti-Semitic altercation

Delmon Young, the Detroit Tigers outfielder who was arrested in New York for allegedly attacking a group of men and making anti-Semitic remarks, was suspended without pay for seven days.

The suspension is retroactive to April 27, when he was placed on the restricted list. His loss of pay amounts to more than $250,000, according to the Detroit News. Young will not contest the suspension.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced the suspension Monday night, saying that "Those associated with our game should meet the responsibilities and standards that stem from our game's stature as a social institution. An incident like this cannot and will not be tolerated. I think that Mr. Young is regretful, and it is my expectation that he will learn from this unfortunate episode."

Young is facing a misdemeanor aggravated harassment hate crime charge stemming from the April 27 incident outside the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where the Tigers were staying before the start of a series with the New York Yankees that night. He is scheduled to appear in court in New York on May 29 and faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

According to reports, a group of tourists staying at the hotel were approached by a panhandler wearing a yarmulke. Young yelled anti-Semitic epithets at the group. Young also reportedly shoved one of the men, who sustained minor injuries. Young was taken to the hospital after the incident.

A New York Police Department spokesman told the New York Post that it was unclear whether the alleged victim, described as a 32-year-old male, was Jewish.

Young, who endured a 50-game suspension in 2006 for throwing a bat at an umpire, apologized for the New York incident in a news release.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement saying it was "deeply disturbed" by reports of the player's outburst. "Bigoted words are unbecoming for any professional sports player and anti-Semitism certainly has no place in the game, either on or off the field," the group said.

Tigers chief executive officer, president and general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News that some of the allegations reported in the media are untrue, but would not elaborate on which ones. -- JTA

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Noted historian Benzion Netanyahu, father of Israel’s prime minister, dies at 102

Benzion Netanyahu, a noted Jewish historian and Zionist thinker, and the father of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has died.

Netanyahu died early Monday morning at his home in Jerusalem. He was 102.

Benjamin Netanyahu visited his father for the last time on Sunday evening, according to a statement issued Monday from the Prime Minister's Office.

Netanyahu was born Benzion Mileikowsky in Warsaw in 1910, and immigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1920.

Netanyahu studied at the David Yellin Teachers’ College and later at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His research focused on the history of the medieval Spanish Jewish community and the history of Zionism. Among his books are a biography of Don Isaac Abravanel; a history of the Spanish Marranos; and his major work, "The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain." He also authored "The Founding Fathers of Zionism," about the lives of the founders of political Zionism -- Leon Pinsker, Theodor Herzl, Max Nordau, Israel Zangwill and Ze'ev Jabotinsky.

Netanyahu was the editor in chief of the Hebrew Encyclopedia for more than a decade beginning in the 1950s. He served as a professor of Jewish studies at various universities in the United States, concluding his academic career as professor emeritus at Cornell University.

From his time as a student in Jerusalem, he was involved in public Zionist activities. Netanyahu was a supporter of Ze'ev Jabotinsky and edited a newspaper that also featured Joseph Klausner and poet Uri Tzvi Greenberg on its staff.

In 1939, Netanyahu traveled to London and persuaded Jabotinsky to relocate to the United States and from there mobilize support for the Jewish state. Jabotinsky died shortly after their arrival in the U.S.; Netanyahu continued to raise support for the Jewish state throughout the war and afterward.

In this context he met with many U.S. Jewish leaders of the period, as well as lawmakers, writers and other leaders. Upon the establishment of the State of Israel, he returned from the United States and moved with his young family to Jerusalem's Talpiot neighborhood.

Netanyahu's political views were "relentlessly hawkish," the New York Times said in its obituary.

He believed that Jewish history is one of persecution and holocaust, and that Arabs are fundamentally the enemy of the Jews and that they would not be able to compromise in order to make peace with Israel. He told the Israeli daily Maariv in 2009 that a “vast majority of Israeli Arabs would choose to exterminate us if they had the option to do so.”

Many believe he has had an undue influence on the decision making of the prime minister.

He was predeceased by his wife, Tzila, with whom he was married for more than 50 years, and a son Yonatan, who was killed during a hostage-rescue operation at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Along with Benjamin, he also is survived by a son Ido, a doctor, author and playwright. -- JYA

Israeli High Court decision on conversions welcomed by advocacy groups

Religious groups come out in favor of the High Court decision that affirmed thousands of conversions previously in danger of being overturned.
By Yair Ettinger, Haaretz

To read more, click here.

Tigers outfielder arrested after shouting anti-Semitic remarks

Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young was arrested outside a New York hotel for allegedly attacking a group of men and making anti-Semitic remarks.

Young was arrested early Friday morning outside the Hilton in Midtown Manhattan, where he was staying before the start of a series with the New York Yankees on Friday night.

According to The Associated Press, a group of tourists staying at the hotel were approached by a panhandler wearing a yarmulke. According to the New York Post, Young yelled anti-Semitic epithets at the group. Young also reportedly shoved one of the men, who sustained minor injuries.

Young faces a misdemeanor aggravated harassment hate crime charge. He was taken to the hospital after the incident, as he was believed to have been intoxicated, a New York Police Department spokesman, Det. Joseph Cavitolo, told the Detroit Free Press.

Cavitolo declined to specify what Young was accused of saying, though the New York Post reported that he said "F--king Jews! F--king Jews!"

He told the newspaper that it was unclear whether the alleged victim, described as a 32-year-old male, was Jewish.

Young endured a 50-game suspension in 2006 for throwing a bat at an umpire. Young is not listed in the starting lineup for Friday night’s game against the Yankees.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement saying it was "deeply disturbed" by reports of the baseball player's outburst.

"Bigoted words are unbecoming for any professional sports player and anti-Semitism certainly has no place in the game, either on or off the field," the group said.

The statement expressed hope that Young would "take the necessary steps to apologize and ensure that his alleged anti-Semitic words do not reverberate and do lasting harm." -- JTA

Iranian student deported from India for spying on synagogue, Chabad

Police in Pune, India, deported an Iranian doctoral candidate for "undesirable activities," which reportedly included spying on a local synagogue and the Chabad house.

It was discovered through intercepted e-mails that Hamid Kashkouli, who was studying for his doctorate at the University of Pune, was an undercover agent for the Iranian government, the Pune Mirror reported. Kashkouli was deported to Iran from Delhi last month.

He reportedly collected information about visitors' movements at the Chabad house and at Pune's Rasta Peth Synagogue, and had made regular visits to the Iranian Consulate in Mumbai.

Kashkouli had not submitted a progress report of his research during his time at the University of Pune and visited his research adviser only sporadically, the Pune Mirror reported. He also did not have a student or research visa, according to the report, which cited police sources. -- JTA

Major British Supermarket Chain Tightens Boycott of Israeli Goods, Companies

An Israeli visitor tasting cherries grown in Gush Etzion.
Exports from this and all other Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria
have been boycotted in England since 2009.
Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash9

The Supermarket chain Co-Operative Group, Britain’s fifth-largest food retailer, is the first major European retailer to stop buying from companies that export produce from Israeli settlements east of the Green Line.

According to its statement, the Co-Op has not been purchasing goods from the settlements since 2009, but has been doing business with some 20 Israeli companies which sell goods produced in the settlements. -- Jacob Edelist, Jewish Press

To read more, click here.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Broken Gas Deal Reflects Tentative Future of Peace Treaty

Israeli soldiers patrol the Egyptian border.
Doubts have been raised recently
regarding the stability of Israel's peace treaty with Egypt.
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
According to a recent Reuters report, the Egyptian decision to halt its already erratic natural gas supply to Israel was not, as the Egyptian government had put it, due only to financial disagreements. The report cites shareholders in East Mediterranean Gas Co (EMG) who stated: “Any attempts to characterize this dispute as a mere commercial one is misleading. This is a government-backed contract sealed by a memorandum of understanding between Egypt and Israel that specifically refers to the (1979) peace treaty.”

The international shareholders further accused the Egyptian oil and gas companies of failure to protect the pipeline from attack, failure to repair it promptly and the grim fact that they have “delivered almost no gas to EMG since February 2011.”

The Egyptian oil and gas companies have incurred substantial penalties due to their failure to supply the gas, according the shareholders.Yori Yanover, Jewish Press

To read more, click here.

Israeli female scientist Naama Geva-Zatorsky named Europe’s top young researcher

Weizmann Institute biologist Naama Geva-Zatorsky
is the winner of the International UNESCO L'Oreal Prize
for Women in Science. (Naama Geva-Zatorsky)
She's young, smart and aims to help treat life-threatening diseases.

Naama Geva-Zatorsky, 34, is among a growing group of Israeli women scientists who are gaining recognition for their contributions to scientific research.

The Weizmann Institute biologist was in Paris last month to accept the International UNESCO L'Oreal Prize for Women in Science. Dubbed "Europe's top young researcher" by the prize committee, she received a two-year, $40,000 fellowship for her postdoctoral work at Harvard University.

The selection committee cited the "excellence and the originality of her work." -- Meredith Mandell, JTA

To read more, click here.

The enzyme that sharpens memory

Imagine never forgetting a single detail of your life — what you got for your 14th birthday, or the phone numbers of every one of your romantic interests. New science from Israel shows that this might be in the realm of possibility. The big question is: Would it be good for us?

The breakthrough Israeli-US research project, for the first time anywhere, has found a compound in the brain to enhance memory. Whether the enzyme responsible could ever be made into a “super pill” (like the one imagined in the science-fiction flick Limitless to boost brainpower) is quite speculative, says Reut Shema from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.

As a doctoral student, she looked for a way to enhance rats’ memories by altering a naturally occurring protein. Her surprising research findings, published in the prestigious journal Science, may pave the way for memory-enhancement drugs for people suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, or to modulate the effects of traumatic memories.

But perhaps most significant are the invaluable clues her research provides on how the memory mechanism really works. -- Karin Kloosterman, Israel21c

To read more, click here.

On the Cancer Gene Trail

How Roman Catholics of Native American and Spanish descent became carriers of the deadly breast-cancer gene long associated with Jews
(Illustration Tablet Magazine; source images Wikimedia Commons and Shutterstock)
In 1999, a young woman in Colorado named Shonnie Medina died of breast cancer. Tests revealed that she carried a gene mutation commonly associated with Jews—yet Medina was a Hispano, meaning that her ancestry was both Native American and Spanish, with no known Jewish background. Other family members similarly turned out to be carriers of this potentially deadly gene; some have died from or been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer.

How this clan of Roman Catholic Hispanos became carriers of this mutation is the subject of a new book by Jeff Wheelwright: The Wandering Gene and the Indian Princess: Race, Religion, and DNA tells Medina’s tragic tale as well as the story of how one specific genetic marker could have made its way from Ancient Babylonia to the contemporary American southwest. Wheelwright joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to talk about the resilience of the breast-cancer gene, and how the Jewish Diaspora can be traced by following the appearance of the gene around the world. [Running time: 17:07.] -- Vox Tablet

To hear the interview, click here.

Google Street View live in Israel

You’re just a click away from the Bahai Gardens in Haifa or the Kotel in Jerusalem, thanks to Google Street View which went live in Israel over the weekend. The Google application lets internet users explore places around the world… -- Israel21c

To read more, click here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Opinion: The Face of Mideast Feminism

In November 2011, Mona Eltahawy was assaulted by Egyptian security officials,
who fractured her wrists. She told her story in a series of tweets
at the time of her arrest and after her release.
(Dan Callister/Rex Features via AP Images)
The Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy is being smeared as an imperialist for calling out gender apartheid in the Mideast. She’s dead right. -- Sohrab Ahmari, Tablet

To read more, click here.

Catholic Charities honors N.Y. federation

Catholic Charities honored the UJA-Federation of New York for its longtime service to the Catholic group's agencies.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan presented the Good Neighbor Award on Wednesday night to John Ruskay, the federation's executive vice president and CEO, in recognition of the federation's long-term friendship and partnership with Catholic Charities. The federation was among two dozen award recipients noted for meritorious service to Catholic Charities agencies on behalf of New Yorkers in need and was the only recipient of this year’s Good Neighbor Award.

Both UJA-Federation and Catholic Charities were incorporated in 1917. Ruskay said in a statement that both groups "have become an essential safety net, providing critical services to the most vulnerable in both our respective communities and the city we proudly share. Our strength and our good work is at its best when we collaborate together.”

Last year, UJA-Federation’s annual campaign raised more than $135 million for its network of more than 100 health, human-service, educational, and community-building agencies serving more than 4 million people. -- JTA

Film Festival spotlights Jewish Hollywood, old and new

CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon:controversial report
In a recent 60 Minutes report, news correspondent Bob Simon said that Christian Palestinians are leaving historically Christian areas like Nazareth and Bethlehem due to Israeli security policies.

The report angered experts, including Christian groups, who said it was entirely inaccurate. “I find it incomprehensible for CBS to focus on one Christian population that is not actually shrinking and blame its troubles on the steps Israel is taking to protect itself from these same Islamic terrorists” who target Arab Christians, said David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

“They leave out the fact that the only Christian community that is thriving is the one in Israel,” Brog said, adding that Christians are routinely persecuted in Arab countries. -- Naomi Pfefferman, Canadian Jewish Journal

To read more, click here.

The clock is ticking: preserving the last stories of the Holocaust

Miriam Schlanger (left) and Miriam Gann
of the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program
collaborated on writing Schlanger’s memoirs.
(Photo: Suri Epstein)
Time is ticking for historians of the Holocaust. With the last generation of survivors now in their 80s and 90s, their stories are in danger of disappearing forever. In response to this urgent situation, an innovative memoir-writing program was launched by the Canadian philanthropic organization, the Azrieli Foundation.

The brainchild of Elin Beaumont, outreach and communications manager of the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program, the project paired 18 mature writing students with Holocaust survivors to record their personal histories.

Beaumont had an enthusiastic partner in the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University. To help facilitate the training workshops for the writing partners, she also brought in Dr. Paula David, an expert on aging Holocaust survivors from the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. -- Suri Epstein, Canadian Jewish Journal

To read more, click here.

Italian Nobel laureate Rita Levi Montalcini turns 103

Tributes have poured in to honor Italian Nobel Prize-winner Rita Levi Montalcini on the occasion of her 103rd birthday.

Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano was among those who sent birthday greetings on Sunday to Levi Montalcini, who was a joint recipient of the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1986. She was born on April 22, 1909 to a Jewish family in Turin.

During World War II, because of anti-Semitic restrictions imposed by the fascist government, Levi Montalcini worked secretly in a clandestine laboratory she built in her bedroom. She and her family fled Turin in 1941, first to a mountain village and in 1943 to Florence, where they spent the rest of the war in hiding.

After the war, she moved to the United States and eventually divided her time between the United States and Rome.

One of Italy's most admired women, Levi Montalcini was named a Senator for Life, one of Italy’s highest honors, in 2001.

She was quoted in the Italian media as saying that she did not want any big celebration of her birthday, but would raise a glass and maybe enjoy a piece of cake with close associates. -- JTA