Friday, September 7, 2012

Can Holocaust Trauma Affect 'Third Generation'?

Studies Debate Impact on Grandchildren of Survivors
Memory 3-G: Experts debate whether having a grandparent
who survived the Holocaust amounts to trauma.
Universal Pictures
Is learning about the Holocaust from your survivor grandparents more traumatic than learning about it from“ Schindler’s List”?

Apparently not, according to a new study by Perella Perlstein, herself an ultra-Orthodox granddaughter of Holocaust survivors.

That wasn’t the result Perlstein expected when she began the study, conducted while she was a graduate student at Hofstra University. Her work examined the responses of ultra-Orthodox grandchildren of survivors to psychological tests designed to measure symptoms of secondary Holocaust trauma.

Perlstein’s results, published in July in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Traumatology, found that these survivor grandchildren responded no differently from other members of the ultra-Orthodox community when it came to the Holocaust.

This is just one entry in a growing, hotly contested field of research into the psychological impact on the so-called “third generation” — the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. -- Josh Nathan-Kazis, Forward

To read more, click here.

"I am a refugee" campaign puts Jewish refugees from Arab countries on world agenda

Many Jews who had lived for generations in Arab countries were driven from their homes as a result of antisemitism and anti-Jewish riots arter the declaration of the Jewish state. Between 1948 and 1952, 856,000 Jews from Arab countries became refugees.
"It is time to correct an historic justice and deal with the Jews who were forced out of Arab countries."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is launching a new international campaign this week entitled "I am a refugee". The campaign, spearheaded by Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, will be presented in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English. Its purpose: to increase international awareness of a little-known refugee group - Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

Many Jews who had lived for generations in Arab countries were driven from their homes as a result of antisemitism and anti-Jewish riots that broke out in the Arab countries following the declaration of the Jewish state. Between 1948 and 1952, 856,000 Jews from Arab countries became refugees.

The "I am a refugee" campaign is being conducted online and on Facebook. On the Facebook page can be found personal stories of Israelis from Arab countries who were expelled from their homes and their countries, but not before their property was confiscated and their rights were taken from them by the rulers. -- Deputy Foreign Minister's Bureau via Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To read more, click here.

First Temple period public water reservoir uncovered in Jerusalem

The extraordinary water reservoir, exposed in recent weeks, was treated with several layers of plaster, and probably dates to the First Temple period.
The newly uncovered water cistern
Photo by Vladimir Naykhin
A large rock-hewn water reservoir dating to the First Temple period was discovered in the archaeological excavations that are being conducted in the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden at the foot of Robinson’s Arch. The excavations at the site are being carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority, underwritten by the Ir David Foundation and in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority. -- The Israel Archeological Authority Spokesperson via Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To read more, click here.

Last shul in Egypt to stay empty on Yom Kippur

Protest in Alexandria (archives)
Photo from AP

For first time in years, last active synagogue in Alexandria will likely not open for prayer services on High Holidays due to security concerns. 'This means the end of Judaism in Egypt,' says Jewish organization chairperson. -- Roi Kais, Ynetnews

To read more, click here.

Holocaust Museums in Israel Evolve

A model of the Treblinka camp at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum.
Credit: Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times
It isn’t only the history of the Holocaust that you see on display in Israel’s Holocaust museums. It’s also the history of the history of the Holocaust. There is an archaeology of trauma to be found if you look closely, and in its layers and transmutations you see how a nation has wrestled with the burden of one of history’s immense horrors.

Through examining how Israeli museums treat the Holocaust — including the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum here, in a kibbutz in the far north of the country, whose founders included survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising — we can see how visions of that past are changing, sometimes in unsettling ways.

One museum on another, smaller kibbutz, for example, was described in the newspaper Haaretz as “Warsaw-Ghetto Disneyland” for its new emphasis on sound and lighting effects, including a simulation of a cattle car heading to a death camp. The director of the museum at the Ghetto Fighters’ House said that it would increasingly emphasize the broadest lessons of the Holocaust: an “ethical imperative” of “tolerance” that could “influence Israeli society.” And when Yad Vashem in Jerusalem reworked its main exhibition in 2005 — creating the most powerful exposition of this history I have seen — it too modified its approach, with a new focus on feelings and individual stories. -- Eddward Rothstein, NY Times

To read more and see slide show, click here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

At U.S. Open, ball boys keep their heads in the game and their yarmulkes on their heads

Four boby pins work "magic" to keep
Donny Steinberg's kippah in place
as ball boy at the U.S. Open
Richard Van Loon
There are very few occupations where having your yarmulke fall off could cost you your job. But that was definitely on the mind of Donny Steinberg, a 16-year-old who decided to try out as a ball boy with the hopes of making it to the U.S Open. He made the cut, and the rookie is excited. So far, his blond hair and yarmulke have stayed in place.

“You definitely don’t want any sudden movement or anything that would interrupt a point or distract a player,” said Steinberg, who attends David Renhov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys in Woodmere, L.I. “Someone asked me how I keep my kipa on, and if it’s magic. I told them it was just four bobby pins.”

Steinberg originally thought that getting the job required connections to the United States Tennis Association, but he learned about the regular tryout. After about five hours of waiting, he had 90 seconds to show he could throw the tennis ball across the court on a bounce, run quickly and show a positive attitude. A second tryout had about 20 minutes of evaluation, and then he had to prove himself in the qualifying rounds prior to the beginning of the U.S. Open, which is now in its second week. -- Alan Zeitlin, NY Jewish Week

To read more, click here.

Western Wall is just fine, test of its stability shows

The Western Wall checked out fine in a test of its stability by engineers.

The office of the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, said there were no abnormal findings in Tuesday's test. The check was made less than two weeks before the start of the High Holidays, when hundreds of thousands of people visit the Western Wall Plaza.

Previous tests have found stones that broke during bad weather. -- JTA

German state of Berlin declares circumcision legal

Berlin became the first of Germany's 16 states to declare the practice legal following a Cologne court ruling in June that non-medical circumcisions on children amounted to a criminal offense, according to the German news agency DPA. National legislation is pending to legalize circumcision.

The state of Berlin has authorized only doctors, and not mohels, to perform circumcisions; the national legislation could authorize mohels. The state also required that parents be informed of the procedure’s medical risks before consenting, and that doctors do everything possible during the procedure to reduce pain and limit bleeding.

June’s court ruling has led many doctors to stop performing circumcisions in order to avoid being prosecuted. Two rabbis have had complaints brought against them based on the ruling, though one complaint was dropped last week. -- JTA

Quebec Trade mission to Israel and West Bank

Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay addresses the media
about his forthcoming trip to the Middle East
as Israel Consul General Joel Lion looks on.
Montreal May Gérald Tremblay has a book to recommend to local entrepreneurs: Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.

That 2009 bestseller by Dan Senor and Saul Singer has been the Montreal mayor’s bedtime reading as he prepares to lead an economic mission to Israel and the West Bank Sept. 8-14, in co-operation with the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

Close to 50 representatives of Quebec businesses, universities, professional firms, and agencies are joining the mission. It marks the first time in more than a decade that a Montreal mayor has visited Israel. -- Janice Arnold, Canadian Jewish News

To read more, click here.

European Jewish Congress: Rabbis, imams must compromise on religious rites

The president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, urged dozens of imams and rabbis to accept “compromises” in negotiating religious liberties in Europe.

“We are ready to compromise in dialogue with European leaders,” Kantor said Tuesday at a event attended by dozens of Muslim and Jewish religious leaders in Paris. Recent compromises are “a good model to build on,” he added.

Kantor referenced a controversial deal recently reached in the Netherlands on ritual slaughter. Ratified in June by the Dutch Senate, it set a time limit on how long an animal is left to die after its throat is cut in ritual slaughter, among other stipulations. Judaism and Islam require animals be fully conscious when slaughtered -- a practice that animal rights activists call cruel.

Though other rabbis approved the deal, the chief rabbi of Amsterdam, Aryeh Ralbag, and other prominent rabbis criticized it as “interference” by the Dutch government. But Kantor said that “I hope this model will be adopted by all countries of good will.” He added that Muslims and Jews "should never agree to change their faiths."

EJC organized the event, the Second Gathering of European Jewish and Muslim Leaders, with the Great Mosque of Paris and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. At the conference, extremism and “attacks against religious expression across the European continent” will be discussed, EJC said in a statement.

The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, said that “Historically, Islamophobia is connected to the twin bombings of 2001, but it found justification in the book of Samuel Huntington, 'Clash of Civilizations.' ” He added that Muslims must reject extremist Salafites.

Rabbi Marc Schneier, founder of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, said that “since 9/11, American Muslims have been vilified and targeted.” American Jewry was the first to speak out against some expression of Islamophobia, he added. -- JTA

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue and meeting the challenges of modern Judaism

Dome of Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
from Sixth & I Historic Synagogue website
When I accepted a position at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, a very unusual Jewish institution, I spent quite a bit of time explaining to colleagues just what it was that I was hired to do. Sixth & I belongs to no denomination. It houses Orthodox tefillot (prayer) and intermarriages in the same building. Its two rabbis are not from the same movements, and their job is to enable kinds of Judaism beyond their own limits (neither of us are Orthodox, and intermarriages are not performed in my brand of Judaism).

The organization also spends as much time serving as a headquarters for secular thought and music not necessarily connected to Judaism as it does serving religious life. My friends still have not fit all the pieces together, and question why I would choose such a place instead of a more traditional synagogue.

Wedding of Susan Silverman and Steven Berkowitz
at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue March, 2011
Photo from L.T. Silverman

In truth, I think my generation of rabbis is just different. (I was ordained in 2008, quite happily, by the Ziegler School in Los Angeles.) And a different sort of rabbi looks for an unusual home. -- Scott Perlo,* Washington Post

*Scott Perlo is a rabbi at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in D.C.

To read more, click here.

A smarter inhaler for asthmatic kids

The Inspiromatic provides real-time feedback.
An Israeli father from Modi’in was so determined to find a better way to deliver his young son’s asthma medication that he started a new company to do it.

Inspiro Medical is now about to start clinical trials in Israel to test Inspiromatic, a device that mechanical engineer Nimrod Kaufmann dreamed up with Dr. Guy Steuer, senior pulmonologist at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikvah.

Kaufmann, who already had 10 years of experience in medical devices research and development, tells ISRAEL21c that he felt frustrated when using a bulky nebulizer machine to treat his preschooler’s asthma.

Nebulizers are effective, but they require the parent to prepare the dose of liquid medication and take a long time to deliver it to a squirming child. Kaufmann knew that dry powder inhalers do a better, faster job with less risk of error and contamination, but small children – as well as very ill people, the elderly and those with certain disabilities – cannot use them properly.

“You must inhale a certain volume, not too fast and not too slow. It’s not simple,” he says.

Kaufmann and Steuer joined forces to create a “smart” dry powder inhaler with several key advantages over existing models. Its internal microcontroller and flow sensor detect the right time to deliver the medication and automatically disperse the drug particles in the right size without need for forceful inhalation.

It provides instant feedback in the form of a green light or red light to indicate if the patient is inhaling correctly, and a beeper when the whole dose has been delivered.

In a boon for doctors, the Inspiromatic also stores information that takes the guesswork out of treatment decisions. -- Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c

To read more, click here.

Haredi N.Y. rabbis decry upcoming vote on consent waiver for circumcision-related rite

Haredi Orthodox rabbis in New York are accusing the city's Department of Health of "spreading lies" in order to pass a law mandating that parents sign a consent waiver in order to use a controversial circumcision-related rite.

The health department is scheduled to vote next week on the waiver for the use of direct oral-genital suction, known as metzitzah b'peh. The form would indicate that parents are aware of the risk of infection.

Some 200 rabbis have signed a statement alleging that the department “printed and spread lies  ... in order to justify their evil decree. It is clear to us that there is not even an iota of blame or danger in this ancient and holy custom,” the New York Post reported.

The controversy over metzitzah b’peh was reignited in March after it came to light that an unidentified infant died Sept. 28 at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center from “disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction," according to the death certificate.

Health department investigations of newborns with the herpes virus from 2000 to 2011 have shown that 11 infants contracted the herpes virus when mohels, or ritual circumcisers, placed their mouths directly on the child’s circumcision wound to draw blood away from the circumcision cut, according to a statement from the department. Ten of the infants were hospitalized, at least two developed brain damage and two babies died.

The rite is not used in most Jewish circumcision ceremonies, but many in the haredi Orthodox community still adhere to it. Haredi leaders have resisted calls to replace direct oral suction with alternative approaches used by some mohels, such as the use of a sterile tube or gauze to take the blood from the circumcision wound. -- JTA

Dagestan's 'Mountain Jews' Flee Chaos: After 12 Centuries, Violence Rips Caucasus Community Apart

Getting to Friday services in Makhachkala, the capital city of the Russian Republic of Dagestan, was complicated. Three giant bombs had earlier gone off down the road, and authorities had sealed off streets near the synagogue. En route soldiers seized our taxi on suspicion that we were aiding Islamic terrorists. They detained us until Sabbath prayers had long ended.

The following evening we finally made it to the imposing brick building. Shimi Dibyayev, the aged chairman of the community, squired us with a limp through the refurbished facility, whose windows on all three floors were smashed in December 2007. Rebels calling themselves the Shari’ah Jamaat had warned of an assault months prior, yet no one knows for sure who did it.

Dibyayev is ready to take on attackers. “I always carry a pistol and have seven more weapons at home,” he said. “When someone upsets a Jewish person, he goes with two guns.” I did a double-take, because Dibyayev has trouble seeing and hearing, but he assured me: “Of course I’m used to guns. I’m 85 years old, what do you think?” -- Judith Matloff, Forward

To read more and see the accompanying video, click here.

Takin’ it to the schools: Outreach efforts go public

Rabbi Adam Raskin of Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, Md.,
brings kosher subs to a local public high school to connect
with Jewish students there. (Rabbi Adam Raskin)
When Rabbi Adam Raskin arrived at Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, Md., last year, he was determined to reach out to teenagers uninvolved with the Conservative synagogue’s youth activities.

He approached the principal of Winston Churchill High School, also in Potomac, with a proposal to bring food to the school periodically, so he could schmooze with Jewish students during their lunch periods.

“I decided that the best way to connect with them is to go to where they are,” he said.

Raskin is not alone in that thinking. Jewish groups have long been reaching out to teens to fight post-b’nai mitzvah burnout. For several years now, some organizations have been taking Judaism directly to teens in their schools.-- Josh Lipowsky, JTA

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top 10 Israeli advances against Alzheimer’s disease

Prof. Moussa Youdim with the drug he developed.
The amount and quality of medical research coming out of Israel is quite astounding. Advances in treating cancer, asthma, diabetes, sepsis, neurological diseases such as ALS – Israeli scientists have made their mark in all these areas and many more.

So it’s not surprising that some of Israel’s best minds have been tackling the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a fatal and progressive brain disorder that is the most common cause of dementia worldwide.

AD affects about one in 20 people age 65 or older, accounting for 60-80 percent of dementia cases. In 2010, AD afflicted 5.4 million people in the United States, where it is the sixth leading cause of death. One in eight Americans will develop the disease at some point, while more than six million are affected in Europe. About half of AD patients also suffer from depression, and up to 40% exhibit symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease as well.

To mark World Alzheimer’s Month during September, here are 10 ways the small Jewish state is contributing to solutions for a huge worldwide problem. -- Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c

To read more, click here.

Stone Age figurines discovered at Tel Motza

Stone Age figurine of a ram
(Photo: Yael Yolovitch, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)
The two figurines - about 9,500 years old - in the image of a ram and a wild bovine, point to the existence of a cultic belief in the region in the New Stone Age. They might have been used good-luck statues to ensure a successful hunt. -- Israel Antiquities Authority via Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To read more, click here.

Conservative rabbi to deliver invocation to Democrats while Orthodox rabbi delivers invocation to Republicans

Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles will deliver the invocation at a session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Wolpe said his prayer on Wednesday evening will focus on the ideals animating the United States. The prayer will precede speeches by Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts, and former President Bill Clinton.

This year, Wolpe was named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by The Jerusalem Post. He is the author of seven books, and is widely known as a newspaper columnist and radio and television commentator.

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik delivered the opening invocation at the Republican National Convention.
“It is an extraordinary privilege to deliver an invocation at a cherished ritual of American democracy,” said Soloveichik of the invocation, which he is scheduled to deliver on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.

Soloveichik is the director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and associate rabbi at the Kehilath Jeshurun synagogue, both in New York City.

A frequent contributor to several publications, including the politically conservative Commentary magazine, Soloveichik also is a member of a prominent family of American Orthodox rabbis that includes his late uncle, Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, the former head of Yeshiva University.

In July, the Times of Israel reported that Soloveichik was being courted to replace British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks at the conclusion of the latter's tenure in September 2013. -- JTA

A Maronite revival in Israel

Photo by Judith Sudilosky

Members of the Christian community in Israel are bringing back an ancient language spoken by Jesus, and are finding fellow speakers in unexpected parts of the world. -- Judith Sudilosky, Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.

Anchor dons hijab for 1st time on Egypt state TV

Photo: Egyptian TV screenshot
An anchorwoman wearing a hijab head covering appeared on Egyptian state television for the first time in its 50-year existence on Sunday, sparking fears the move represents a further shift towards Islamism under the newly-empowered Muslim Brotherhood. -- Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Opinion: Why Heschel is relevant to modern Israel: An interview with Dror Bondi

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, second right, participating in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.,
on March 21, 1965. Photo from Dartmouth Department of Religion
Israelis who are satisfied with their situation — personally or nationally, socially or religiously — indeed do not need Heschel. Heschel is relevant only for seekers of change, only for those who cannot accept anymore what was relevant until today. In this sense, Heschel is not a rabbi, but a prophet: not one who engages in bequeathing the Jewish past — neither the religious, nor the national, nor the cultural — but one who calls for a renewal in the relations between God and Israel. -- Shmuel Rosner, Rosner's Domain blog via JewishJournal

To read more, click here.

Flashmob participants don kipot in Berlin in support of attacked rabbi and his daughter

Young Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as local celebrities and politicians, donned yarmulkes and participated in a flashmob in the streets of Berlin.

The gathering on Saturday came in response to an attack in Berlin last week on a rabbi and his 6-year-old daughter. He was identifiable as Jewish because he was wearing a yarmulke.

More than 100 young people took to the streets in Berlin wearing the ritual skullcaps. The flashmob came after  the Berliner Zeitung newspaper published a front page article and photo featuring famous Berlin residents wearing yarmulkes, under the headline  "Berlin wears a yarmulke."

Berlin's interior minister, Frank Henkel, condemned what he called the  “cowardly attack," during Saturday  night's "Night of Religions" event at which the flashmob took place.

The evening was also a response to a decision by the  Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, a seminary which trains Reform rabbis, to advise its students not to wear yarmulkes in public.

Germany's federal office for criminal investigation documented 436 anti-Semitic attacks across the country so far this year, according to Deutsche Welle. Most involved graffiti or verbal abuse. -- JTA

New Maryland elementary public school named for Holocaust survivor

A new public elementary school named after a Holocaust survivor opened in Silver Spring, Md.

The Flora M. Singer Elementary School, whose name was unanimously approved by the Montgomery County Board of Education on May 8, opened its doors to students on Monday.

Singer, who died in 2009 at the age of 79, spent three years hiding in a Belgium convent during World War II with her two sisters, according to Bethesda Magazine. A few years after reuniting with her father in New York City in 1946, Flora married Jack Singer and raised their two children in Silver Spring and Potomac, Md., where she taught in the public school system.

Singer, who frequently traveled to share her personal story, was reportedly inspired to action when she encountered a flier on her car suggesting that the Holocaust was a hoax.

“My mother said that she felt a cold chill down her spine when she saw that," said Singer's daughter, Sandra Landsman, in a YouTube video produced by Montgomery County Public Schools. "She felt it was very important to keep that memory alive and to let people know that she had lost family and she had lost friends." -- JTA

Jews in the Bible Belt’s small towns face curiosity, ignorance

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith, left, and her husband Rob Goldsmith,
in front of their synagogue, Temple Emanu-El of Dothan.
(Rob Goldsmith
In the Bible Belt, religion rules and Jesus is king, particularly in the small towns and cities that make up the region in the U.S. South. Jews comprise less than 1 percent of the population in the South, according to Louis Schmier, a professor of history at Valdosta State University in Georgia, with most living in large cities like Atlanta and Charlotte. Some so-called circuit rabbis travel hundreds of miles to different congregations, often with fewer than 50 members. One of the first questions a newcomer in the South is typically asked is “What church do y'all go to?” -- Holly Leber, JTA

To read more, click here.

Opinion: Israel must punish rabbis who preach hatred

The Jewish month of Elul calls us to evaluate our actions and mend our ways to avoid the same mistakes next year. An honest evaluation will reveal that this unprovoked attack on three Arab youths by dozens of Israeli teenagers is part of a phenomenon much broader than the character of these youths. It is the result of the chronology of prolonged Israeli government tolerance toward Jewish religious extremism and its manifestations, and of the government's tacit acceptance of racist incitement toward Israel’s Arab minority by certain members of Knesset and a number of extreme Orthodox rabbis. -- Anat Hoffman, JTA

To read more, click here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

IDF New Guidelines for Drafting and Integrating Haredim Includes Interaction with Women

Makor Rishon reports that the IDF has designed new guidelines for drafting Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Jews now that the Tal law has expired and no substitute legislation has been put in its place. The plan must take into account that the IDF will now draft and integrate thousands of Haredim into the army.

The first significant difference is that all eligible age Haredim that get their draft notices will no longer receive automatic exemptions or deferrals.

As a result of the change in the law, the IDF is putting together a number of subtracts specifically for Haredim, though no new “Haredi Only” divisions or brigades will be created. Some of the units have women serving in them, and the IDF says the role of women will not be negatively impacted by the introduction of Haredim who prefer not to interact socially with women beyond what is allowed by their community’s mores. --  Jewish Press

To read more, click here.

German Jews Warn Against Public Display of Kipah

After an attack on a rabbi in Berlin, Gideon Joffe, the head of the Berlin Jewish community, said he would "not recommend that any Jew go around in parts of Berlin with a kipah."

On Tuesday, Rabbi Daniel Alter of Berlin was violently attacked while picking up his daughter from a piano lesson. He currently is recovering from surgery for a broken cheekbone. The attackers, reportedly youths of Arab background, asked Alter -- who was wearing a kipah -- if he was Jewish before hitting him in the face. They then allegedly verbally threatened Alter's 6-year-old daughter.

Many Jewish religious leaders in the country advise congregants against openly wearing Jewish garb in public; men routinely wear baseball caps or other hats over kipahs when in public. Concern about openly wearing the skullcaps grew following an anti-Semitic attack on the Chabad Jewish kindergarten in Berlin in 2007. -- JTA via NY Jewish Week

To read more, click here.

The camp sent you home a 'new' kid. Here's how to keep him that way

Instructor John McCracken helps a child at Camp Arowhon in Ontario
(/Leon Muszynski).
As director of Camp Arowhon in Algonquin Park, I get a lot of phone calls from parents after camp. The other day, a mom called: “I can’t believe it,” she said. “You sent me home a new kid. He makes his bed, he sets and clears the table. He hangs up his clothes without being asked! What did you do to him?”

I get at least 20 of these calls every season.

The story is always pretty much the same. When kids get home from camp, their parents report a dramatic uptick in all those behaviours that we, as parents, long for.
Parents tell me that they received a different child from the one they sent us. The children who get off the bus do house chores without being asked. They keep their room tidy. And they chat at the dinner table – rather like civilized humans. -- Joanne Kates, Canadian Globe and Mail

To read more, click here.

Jewish Aleppo, Lost Forever

The Syrian diaspora in Israel watches its once-vibrant ancestral home fall to ruin in the country’s civil war
Jewish family in Aleppo (left) and the Aleppo Citadel seen from the southwest, c. 1910.
The original stereographic images have been altered into an anaglyph. When viewed through red-cyan glasses,
the above image will produce a stereoscopic 3D effect.
(Anaglyphs Tablet Magazine; original photos Library of Congress)
The northern Syrian city of Aleppo, once a pillar of Jewish existence worldwide, is slowly being destroyed by the fighting that has engulfed Syria for the past 17 months. Last week, a Free Syrian Army rebel warned that soon “there will be nothing left to destroy in Aleppo.” Imagine Rome or Paris destroyed by civil war in the social media age.

Coincidentally, Aleppo had already been in the news thanks to a new book and a lengthy New York Times Magazine article about one of the city’s most famous claims to recognition: the Aleppo Codex of the Hebrew Bible, said to have been complied in Tiberias in the 10th century and ransomed by the Jews of Cairo from the Crusaders after their conquest. After a short but monumental stay in the hands of Maimonides, it wound up in Aleppo, where it was kept hidden in a crypt lining the walls of the city’s great synagogue for the next 600 years. The codex, believed to be the oldest manuscript containing the entire Hebrew Bible, was smuggled out of Syria in the 1950s thanks to the courageous efforts of a handful of Aleppine Jews. Like a segment of Aleppo’s Jewish community, the codex found a home in Jerusalem, where it sits under lock and key at the Israel Museum. Joseph Dana, Tablet

To read more, click here.

Lob one over the net for coexistence

Ebraheem Fhmawi took part in the Freddie Krivine Foundation's
Tenacity program in Boston for young Arab coaches

An Israeli tennis philanthropy puts the ball in the courts of Arab communities, fostering not only sports prowess but also leadership and cross-cultural friendships. -- Rivka Borochov, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To read more, click here.