Friday, June 8, 2012

Students, Women’s League Rally Behind Campus Program

$225k program may be cut as Conservative movement struggles with shrinking membership.

Stunned by the revelation that the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s trustees might be on the verge of defunding Koach,  its college program, students have begun a petition drive and fundraising effort to convince them to change their minds at their meeting Sunday.

And the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, which raised $35,000 to subsidize last February’s Koach convention, known as a kallah, has already started receiving donations to help reduce the cost of next year’s scheduled kallah in Philadelphia. One hundred and fifty students participated in the kallah this year, compared to 75 the previous year.

“Women’s League decided that Koach is important,” explained Sarrae Crane, the group’s executive director. “I think there will be resistance [to defunding Koach]. It’s likely there will be people who come up with some funding. The question is what will United Synagogue do, and what will other people do. Will the movement allow Koach to fall apart?”

The budget committee of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism is scheduled to recommend to the board of trustees Sunday that funding be halted for Koach because of the movement’s budgetary constraints. --Stewart Ain, NY Jewish Week

To read more, click here.

Conservatives Give Gay Wedding Guidance

Rabbis Adopt Two New Frameworks for Same-Sex Marriages

By the Power Vested in Me: Rabbi Menachem Creditor marries Margee Churchon and Kate Smallenburg in Berkeley, Calif. Conservative rabbis are grappling with how to adapt a traditional Jewish wedding for same-sex couples.
Photo by Alison Yin and Adm Golub
When Gerald Skolnik, the president of a group of 1,600 Conservative rabbis, was asked to officiate at a gay wedding last year, he didn’t know where to start. “I was flying by the seat of my pants,” he said. Should the wedding look like a heterosexual ceremony, or something else entirely?

Now he has guidelines to turn to. After years of deliberation, the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly has provided guidance to rabbis for performing same-sex marriages.

On May 31, the assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards approved templates, culminating a six-year-long process that began in 2006 when Conservative leaders first officially sanctioned gay relationships. Created by Rabbis Daniel Nevins, Avram Reisner and Elliot Dorff, the ritual guidelines detail two types of gay weddings, as well as gay divorce. “Both versions are egalitarian,” said Nevins. “They differ mostly in style—one hews closely to the traditional wedding ceremony while the other departs from it.”

The guidelines passed on a vote of 13 to 0 in the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, with one rabbi abstaining. -- Naomi Zeveloff, Forward

To read more, click here.

Women in wheelchairs ‘Push’ boundaries in real life, TV

Mia Schaikewitz.
Photo courtesy of the Sundance Channel
Mia Schaikewitz parked her shiny black Mitsubishi Eclipse in front of her graphic design office in Pasadena, looking glamorous in her black leather jacket and purple eye shadow with matching fingernail polish. Then she opened her car door, lifted out a wheelchair and assembled it in 20 seconds flat. The chair was sporty, like her car, with a leopard-patterned seat that matched her purse. “I’ve got another chair at home that’s red and silver — it all depends on my mood and what I want to wear — it’s almost like an accessory,” she said, breezily....

The 34-year-old graphic designer is one of four women — all paralyzed from the waist or neck down — profiled on the Sundance Channel’s new documentary series, “Push Girls,” created by producer Gay Rosenthal (“Ruby”) and premiering this week. Schaikewitz, who is Jewish, has used a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in her spinal cord when she was 15; her good friends Angela Rockwood, 37, Auti Angel, 42, and Tiphany Adams, 29, were all paralyzed in car accidents more than 10 years ago.


To read more, click here.

Women's rights group pushes halachic pre-nup

Solving the Agunah Problem
Photo: Mavoi Satum


Women's rights group says that using private rabbinical court instead of a state one even more effective solution to avoid "agunah" scenario. -- Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.


Sports Teams from Italy, Netherlands pay solemn visit to Auschwitz

The Italy and Netherlands teams took breaks from their European Championship preparations Wednesday to make solemn and emotional visits to the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps.

All 23 Italy players, coach Cesare Prandelli and team staff toured the system that Nazi Germany operated during World War II. They were escorted by three Italian survivors of the Holocaust - 81-year-old Samuel Modiano, 84-year-old Hanna Weiss and Piero Terracina.

At Birkenau, Italian players sat on rail lines once used to bring prisoners in as the survivors explained their experiences of horror and survival after their families were exterminated. Moved to tears, players then embraced the trio one by one.

"The image that stuck in my eyes was when they showed us their tattoos, the numbers on their arms,'' Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini said. "And the way they told us about being taken away from their families right there on those tracks. I think their stories touched all of our hearts.''

As Italy walked out, the Netherlands squad arrived for a similar visit. Wearing dark vests and coats, grim-faced Dutch players moved from room to room in a solemn procession. Some with hands stuck deep in their pockets, others snapping pictures of the austere surroundings as they were led around by a guide, the Dutch visit almost coincided with that of the Italians.

`'I just wanted to go because it is a part of your education and I wanted to see it with my own eyes,'' coach Bert van Marwijk said. -- Raf Casert in Krakow and Vanessa Gera, Associated Press via Sports Illustrated

To read more, click here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

British Jewish leaders pay tribute to the Queen on her Jubilee

British Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks with the Queen,
whom he praised for her “friendship across faiths”
on the eve of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Jewish leaders paid tribute to the Queen on the eve of her Jubilee celebrations this weekend in Great Britain. The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks heralded her “friendship across faiths” as he opened a debate on the role and contribution of faith communities in Britain and the Commonwealth in London’s House of Lords on Tuesday.

“It is not easy for any society to undergo change, least of all when that change touches on such fundamental markers of identity as religion, ethnicity and culture. It’s even harder in a country where there is an established church to make other faiths feel welcome, valued and at home. But that is precisely what Her Majesty has done,” he said, speaking of Britain’s transition into becoming a multi-cultural society during the Queen’s six-decade reign.

Speaking in his role a Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, he commended “Her Majesty’s kindness to us and to others” on behalf of the Jewish communities of Britain and the Commonwealth, as he joked “this is something of a miracle in itself since Jews almost never agree on anything.” -- Shari Ryness, European Jewish Press

To read more, click here.

Also see
Israeli President Peres toasts the Queen as British embassy celebrates her Diamond Jubilee

Click here to read. 

East End Jewish treasure resurfaces for its second diamond jubilee

Synagogue in Spitalfields unearths long-lost velvet cloth richly embroidered for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897 -- Maev Kenney, Guardian, UK
The embroidered bimah cover for Queen Victoria's diamond jubillee celebrations in 1897,
found in pristine condition in the Sandys Row synagogue's cellar. Photograph: jeremy Freedman
Click here to read more.



Muhammad Ali attends grandson’s bar mitzvah

The grandson of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali became a bar mitzvah at a Philadelphia synagogue.

Jacob Wertheimer, the son of Khaliah Ali-Wertheimer and Spencer Wertheimer, was called to the Torah on April 28 at the historic Congregation Rodeph Shalom in front of 150 people including the boxer, the Sweet Science boxing news website reported last week in an article by Ali biographer Thomas Hauser.

Ali's daughter, who was raised Muslim, told the website that "No one put any pressure on Jacob to believe one way or another. He chose this on his own because he felt a kinship with Judaism and Jewish culture,” and that it "meant a lot to Jacob" that Ali was there.

The bar mitzvah theme was diversity and inclusiveness.

Ali was raised a Baptist and converted to Islam in the 1960s. -- JTA

Israel Chief Rabbi to speak at Paris Mosque following anti-Semitic surge in France

the Chief Imam of Paris, Hassen Chalghoumi, with Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger in Jerusalem on Monday.
Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Yona Metzger, has initiated plans to speak at one of France’s largest mosques. -- European Jewish Press

To read more, click here.

Toulouse massacre encouraged more French anti-Semitic attacks, report says

The recent massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse "triggered an explosion” in anti-Semitic attacks across France, according to the French Jewish community's protection service.

The Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive, or SPCJ, made the observation in a statement about its report released Monday, which documented more than 90 anti-Semitic incidents in the 10 days that followed the March shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse that left four dead.

In total, the ministry recorded 148 anti-Semitic incidents in March and April. Forty-three of those incidents are classified as violent.

The SPCJ report was released two days after the violent anti-Semitic attack on June 2 against three Jews at Villeurbanne near Lyon.

The report relies on data compiled by the French Interior Ministry since the March 19 Toulouse shooting, in which Muslim radical Mohamed Merah killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school.

In March and April, the French interior ministry listed 24 and 19 violent anti-Semitic attacks respectively, compared with four and 10 incidents in the corresponding months of the previous year.

Authorities also recorded 69 instances of anti-Semitic intimidation and threats in March and 36 such incidents in April, compared with 17 and 37 in March and April 2011.

The last violent incident recorded in the interim report occurred April 30 in Marseille.

A Jewish man and his friend were assaulted by people who self-identified to the victims as Palestinians and promised to “exterminate” the Jews, according to the report.

The perpetrators assaulted the man, causing him internal bleeding.

SPCJ called the situation “deeply worrisome” and added that it reflected "empathy" on the part of some attackers toward the actions of Toulouse shooter Merah. -- JTA

ALSO 3 hurt in apparent anti-Semitic attack in France--Jerusalem Post

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New York Jews First to Go Ashore in France During Invasion

On June 6, 1944, 160,000 allied troops arrived at Normandy marking D-Day for WWII. Lt. Abraham Condiotti and Robert "Bob" Halperin -- two Jewish troops from New York -- were among the first ashore.
Photo: Invasion. Carrying a full equipment, American assault troops move onto Utah Beach on the norther coast of France. Landing craft, in the background, jams the harbor. 6 June 1944. Photographer: Wall.
A 22-year-old Jewish officer from New York, Lt, Abraham Condictti, who comes from a Sephardic Jewish family, was the commander of the first wave of small assault boats in the invasion landing between Cherbourg and Le Havre, while another New York Jew, Robert Halperin, was one of the first Americans perhaps the very first - to go ashore in France, it was reported here today from the invasion front. -- Archive, JTA, "New York Jews First to Go Ashore in France During Invasion." Jewish Telegraphic Agency 8 Jun 1944.

To read more, click here.

CUNY: No Jewish faculty designation

The City University of New York denied a report that it had created a special minority designation for Jewish faculty.

Rather, a university spokesman told JTA, the university simply had responded to requests by Jewish faculty members to be recruited for focus groups aimed at boosting the recruitment of minorities to serve on the CUNY faculty -- part of the university's new Demographic Action Plan.

The original report about the Demographic Action Plan appeared in the New York Post on Sunday and was picked up by JTA, among other news outlets. The Post quoted faculty members, Jews and non-Jews, objecting to the demographic designation of White/Jewish.

The article in the Post "mistakenly suggests that a new special category for Jewish faculty has been created," university spokesman Michael Arena told JTA. "CUNY undertook a comprehensive review of its ongoing efforts to enhance its leadership role in recruiting and retaining a highly qualified and diverse faculty. Focus groups were organized with faculty volunteers serving as participants for a variety of diverse groups. The focus group of Jewish faculty came explicitly at the request of Jewish faculty. No one ever contemplated adding a religious faith to the data categories."

The university's new Demographic Action Plan was issued last month by CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. -- JTA

'Food in Israel 20% more expensive than OECD'

Fruit and vegetables Photo: Thinkstock/Imagebank
In final report, Kedmi Committee on food prices blames market concentration for dramatic increase in food prices.

The Kedmi Committee submitted its final report on the food market on Monday, recommending that the government work to restrict the market share of leading suppliers and retailers, encourage small businesses and remove import barriers.

The committee, headed by Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry director-general Sharon Kedmi, was established by the government one year ago, following a consumer revolt against dairy manufacturers Tnuva, Strauss and Tara.

Israeli consumers paid 10-20 percent more for food in 2008-2010 than their counterparts in the rest of the OECD group of developed economies, the final report concluded. It said Israelis paid 10-20% less than the OECD average in 2005, but that prices have since risen more rapidly here than in other developed economies. -- Nadav Shemer, Jersusalem Post

To read more, click here.

Max Fried, 18, drafted by Padres

Max Fried, an 18-year-old high school graduate from Los Angeles, was selected by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft.

Fried, a left-handed pitcher, was chosen seventh overall in Monday's draft.

The teen, who wore the number 32 at Harvard-Westlake High School in honor of Jewish Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, told the Los Angeles Times that Koufax is his baseball hero. His curveball is also similar to Koufax's.

Fried was a member of the 2009 gold medal-winning USA 18th World Maccabiah Juniors baseball team.

The newspaper predicts that it will take about $3 million to sign Fried, who had committed in November to play for UCLA. -- JTA

Australian lawmakers urge Olympic moment of silence

Australia's prime minister signed a letter calling for a moment of silence at the London Olympics in memory of the 11 Israelis killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Julia Gillard is joined by Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Foreign Minister Bob Carr, opposition leader Tony Abbott, New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, as well as Jewish federal lawmakers Michael Danby and Joshua Frydenberg in signing the letter addressed to the  International Olympic Committee. The missive was launched last week by the Australian Jewish News.

The letter comes in the wake of International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge's rejection of Israel's suggestion that the 40th anniversary of the Munich tragedy should be recognized during the opening ceremony of next month's Games. Rogge said he would attend a special service in London and IOC officials would attend memorials organized by the Israelis.

"Silence is a fitting tribute for the athletes who lost their lives on the Olympic stage," the letter says. "Silence contains no statements, assumptions or beliefs and requires no understanding of language to interpret." -- JTA

Planned Wagner concert stopped at Tel Aviv U

Tel Aviv University put a stop to a planned concert of music by German composer Richard Wagner.

In a letter denying the request to hold the concert in a campus auditorium, the university said that Yonatan Livni, founder of the Israel Wagner Society, concealed the organization's name and its desire to play Wagner when he requested last week to rent the auditorium, Haaretz reported Monday.

Wagner's music traditionally has been boycotted in Israel. The forerunner to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra stopped performing his music in 1938 following Kristallnacht.

Wagner, who reportedly held anti-Semitic views, was Adolf Hitler's favorite composer.  -- JTA

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New York’s annual Israel parade paints Fifth Ave. blue and white

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were among the dignitaries who marched in Sunday's annual Celebrate Israel Parade in the Big Apple.

They joined tens of thousands of marchers who paraded up Fifth Avenue under blue, sunny skies amid a sea of blue-and-white Israeli flags. The parade, now in its 48th year, is America’s biggest annual show of support for Israel by the numbers. Marchers included Jewish day school contingents, the Chai Riders motorcycle club, non-Jewish marching bands, and a contingent from Israel Guide Dogs for the Blind, among some 200 organizations. Israeli consuls and some government officials also marched.

The theme of this year’s parade was “Israel Branches Out."

The parade was preceded by a four-mile Celebrate Israel run through Central Park. --  Uriel Heilman, JTA

Apple gobbles Anobit

The MacBook Air is just one of Apple’s hot devices that will benefit from Anobit technology.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)
The world’s leading computing company takes a big bite out of an Israeli startup that can offer it juicy returns. -- Avigayil Kadesh, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To read more, click here.

Aboriginal leader looks to Israel as role model

Chief Ron Evans
[Shelley Faintuch photo]
Two years ago, Ron Evans, the former grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the current chief of Norway House Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, visited Israel for the first time.

Although he had to cut his trip short after just three days because of a family emergency, Evans was inspired by what he saw. “In Israel, I saw such a young country that has come so far in just a few years,” he said.

“The Jewish People are an ancient people who have overcome tremendous adversity and have become very successful. They have been able to maintain their culture and heritage while, at the same time, embracing the modern world. Our youth have much to learn from that.”

Evans was determined to share his Israel experience with his community. To that end, in co-operation with the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, he organized a Young Leadership Mission to Israel from Norway House, a community of about 5,000 to 6,000 people 456 kilometres by air north of Winnipeg. -- Myron Love, Canadian Jewish News

To read more, click here.

Opinion: Ten Reasons I Admire Israel

David Harris
In the daily news coverage, as they say, if it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead. The larger story of Israel, therefore, is rarely told.

And the steady barrage of anti-Israel assaults -- from the UN's Arab-led automatic majority to the boycott-sanctions-divestment crowd; from some PR-savvy NGOs to the red-green (extreme left-radical Muslim) alliance -- doesn't always leave much room for the bigger picture, either.

But the larger story of Israel is well worth telling. Indeed it is, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, one of the great chapters in the annals of history. -- David Harris, Huffington Post

To read more, click here.

China holds its first Limmud

Jews living in Asia gathered near the Great Wall of China for the first-ever Limmud event in the world most populous nation.

Sunday's program, run by Limmud International, drew nearly 100 Jews from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Israel, Britain and the United States.

Limmud, the open Jewish learning program, has held events in some 60 communities on five continents.

Sessions at the China event included Torah and Talmud text study; the role of women in Jewish community life; Chinese interest in Jews and Jewish communities; the history of the Bene Israel in India; the future of Jewish life in Asia, and a workshop on Asian-Jewish cooking.

There are an estimated 20,000 Jews living in East Asia. In China, up to 6,000 Jews live on the mainland and 4,000 Jews live in Hong Kong. Asia is made up both of long-standing, organized Jewish communities like those in India, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and newer smaller communities comprised largely of business people and diplomats. Many Jewish organizations are active in Asia, and hte China Limmud was supported by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

“This inaugural Limmud event in China is a powerful tribute to the determination of Jews throughout Asia to engage with Jewish learning and with Jewish community, overcoming vast distances and other hurdles,” said Limmud International Co-Chair, Helena Miller.

‪‪"Limmud in China would probably surprise most Jews in the world," said Clive Lawton of Limmud International. "Not least because one of the most popular sessions was a Chinese professor telling a group of Jews from at least six countries in Asia how wonderful the Jews are and how any Chinese person knows it. Naturally, this gave rise to much discussion which continued into lunchtime - also naturally including hummus and sweet and sour fish."‬‬ -- JTA

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eichmann trial anniversary brings prosecutor to face lost childhood

Justice Gabriel Bach, the prosecutor in the trial of Adolf Eichmann,
in front of the Vossius Gymnasium in Amsterdam.
(Cnaan Lipshiz)
Gabriel Bach knew he was Jewish and that the Nazis were a serious threat, but at 13, leaving his new school and home in Amsterdam proved heartwrenching.

What if, the boy wondered, he could stay just a few more weeks to finish the academic year?

Bach would come to powerfully understand the answer to his query. About two decades later he was the prosecutor in the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the annihilation of European Jewry.

Fifty years ago this week, on May 31, Eichmann was executed in Jerusalem. Bach, 85, completed a series of lectures this month in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States.-- Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA

To read more, click here.

A new heart from old skin

The Israeli team transformed stem cells into cardiomyocytes.
Be still your beating hearts: Making medical history, scientists from Israel have been able to transform human stem cells from older diseased patients into brand-new, healthy, beating heart tissue.

This could mean that heart disease might someday be repaired by using cells from a person’s own body, eliminating the need for risky surgical implants and transplants.

Using stem-cell technology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers from Haifa showed that their lab-produced cardiac muscle cells are also capable of merging into existing heart muscles.

The news is causing a media sensation around the globe.

“The good thing about it is that the research has increased public awareness to science that Israel isn’t only portrayed with hostility, but that it’s a country bringing good news for the world,” Prof. Lior Gepstein, head researcher in the advance, tells ISRAEL21c. --  Karin Kloosterman, Israel21c

To read more, click here.

Breaking The Biomed Glass Ceiling

Israeli Women Outpace Men in Booming Hi-Tech Field -- Nathan Jeffay, Forward

I Am Woman: Amal Ayoub, who founded a biotech company that produces injections
to help make cancer treatments more effective, believes her gender
and the fact that she’s an Arab have helped her become a leader in her field.
Courtesy of Amal Ayoub
To read more, click here.

Greener ties for Jordan and Israel

TRIDE brings together US, Israeli and Jordanian companies in joint ventures like producing renewable energy.
In wealthy Western countries, renewable energy developments are a source of progress, pride and smart business. For Israel and Jordan, two Middle Eastern countries severely lacking in water and energy resources, renewable energy is a matter of survival.

That’s why there’s been a new green twist to the Trilateral Industrial Development Foundation (TRIDE), founded in 1996 as a pilot project under the wing of the BIRD Foundation – the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation — to create joint ventures between Israeli, Jordanian and American companies.

The latest iteration of the cooperative project will support water, agritech and renewable energy companies in the two neighboring nations, which have a peace treaty but only limited dealings.

BIRD executive director Eitan Yudilevich explains that Jordan is supported heavily by USAID because US State Department considers it important to contribute to a stable and prospering Jordan for the sake of peace and economic development. TRIDE, run out of BIRD’s Israel office, gives matching grants of up to half a million dollars to three partners with mutual goals. -- Karin Kloosterman, Israel21c

To read more, click here.

New minority label at CUNY: ‘Jewish’

Something isn’t kosher about a CUNY scheme to single out Jews, angry professors charge.

Touting a move to make its faculty more diverse, CUNY administrators have broken out Jews into a separate minority group: “White/Jewish.”

CUNY insists “some faculty” want the label, instead of being lumped in as just white. But the theistic tag has outraged both Jewish and non-Jewish professors, and sparked a furor.

“This is, as far as I know, the first time a religion has been introduced into any affirmative-action document,” said David Gordon, a history professor at Bronx Community College and the Graduate Center. “What would the response be to a category ‘White/Methodist?’ Silly? Irrelevant?”

“It’s an insult and idiotic,” said Hershey Friedman, deputy chairman of the Finance and Business Management Department at Brooklyn College. “Most Jews are brown-skinned. We also have black Jews and Asian Jews. Once you mix religion with race you’re opening a Pandora’s box — and you look stupid.” -- Susan Edelman, NY Post

To read more, click here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Simon Wiesenthal Center honors uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

From left: Rabbi Marvin Hier; Jerry Bruckheimer; Emily Procter; Jeffrey Katzenberg;
Ron Meyer; and Rabbi Meyer May, Wiesenthal Center executive director.
The Museum of Tolerance held its annual National Tribute Dinner last week at the Beverly Hilton, with hundreds turning out to see the museum confer a humanitarian award on producer Jerry Bruckheimer, an entertainment industry titan best-known for expensive blockbuster franchises such as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “National Treasure,” along with a slew of successful television series, including “The Amazing Race” and the New York and Miami versions of “CSI.”...

As usual, the emotional crux of the evening came during the medal of valor presentations, honoring a mix of modern-day heroes including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and a group of elderly Tuskegee Airmen who were the subject of a 2012 film produced by George Lucas….

Actress Emily Procter, star of “CSI: Miami,” presented Bruckheimer with his award, but instead of focusing her remarks on the producer, she told an impromptu story about her first real-estate purchase. After a seemingly meandering tale about the obstacles to purchasing the home and the magnificent orange trees that sat in the backyard, it turned out the owner was a Holocaust survivor who, when learning of her appreciation for the trees, granted her the sale.

Visibly choked up, Procter said, “He planted those trees in honor of his family” — who perished in the Holocaust — “and he said, ‘I’ll sell you the house if you care for the trees.’ ” -- Danielle Berrin, JewishJournal

To read more, click here.

Opinion: Zionism and bigotry

In the wake of the festival of Shavuot, when Jews have been celebrating the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai from where he presented them to the Jewish people camped at its foot, I have been brooding over the fact that Zionism has become a dirty word in Britain and the west.

For many in these societies, Zionism has now become equated with racism. This group libel, once regarded with revulsion by decent people when the Soviet-Arab axis got the UN to endorse it in 1975, has now become the prism through which the BBC, academia, the artistic and theatrical world and much of the rest of the cultural establishment now frame all references to Israel.

This helps explain the attempted boycott of the Israeli theatre company Habima, playing Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice at London’s Globe theatre this evening in conditions of the tightest security (apparently the expected interruptions by bigots have so far been relatively minor). The profound malice and ignorance behind such reflexive demonisation of Israel are rendered all the more hallucinatory by the sanctimonious and unchallenged assumption of the moral high ground which these idiots believe they occupy.

This is as grotesque as it is terrifying. Melanie Phillips, MailOnline

To read more, click here.

Israel curbing Arab enrollment in medical schools, activists say

The rising ranks of Arab medical students have caused alarm and led to rules to discourage non-Jewish applicants, critics say. Schools dispute the assertion. -- Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times

To read more, click here.

Cannes Film Festival Cancels Film By Anti-Semitic French Performer

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the decision by the Cannes film festival to drop from the program an offensive film by the anti-Semitic French comic performer Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala.

The film, titled "The Anti-Semite" or "Yahod Setiz," was produced by the Iranian Documentary and Experimental Film Center.  It reportedly pokes fun at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, where an estimated 1.5 million Jews perished during the Holocaust, and features Dieudonne as a violent and alcoholic character dressed as a Nazi officer for a fancy dress party.  Robert Faurisson, a serially convicted Holocaust denier, also makes a cameo appearance in the film. -- Anti-Defamation League

To read more, click here.

Colorado Indians, Jews share genetic marker

Israeli geneticists have linked a Native American population in Colorado to Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition.

Geneticists at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv discovered the genetic mutation marker BRCA1 in a group of Mexican Indians who had emigrated from Mexico to the United States over the past 200 years and settled in Colorado, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

BRCA1 is found in Jews of Ashkenazi origin and leads to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancer.

Researchers say the mutation found in the Colorado Indians is identical to that of Ashkenazim, according to Haaretz, and dates to a period more than 600 years ago. Jews were expelled from Spain in the 15th century.

Researchers say this offers genetic proof that some of the Jews expelled from Spain who reached South America intermarried with the indigenous population, whose descendants later migrated to Mexico and then the United States, Haaretz reported.

Colorado’s Mexican Indians do not have any traditions that link them to Jews, according to Eitan Friedman, who headed the Sheba team. -- JTA