Friday, November 2, 2012



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Conference sessions suggest new fundraising model, praise Israel-Diaspora cooperation

Delegates to the Jewish People Policy Institute conference proposed a new model for Jewish communal fundraising and stressed the importance of cooperation between Israel and Diaspora Jewish communities.

At a conference session on how the global Jewish community spends its funds, former CBS executive and Fox News founder Mark Pearlman suggested that the community shift in part from focusing on umbrella Federation funding, and instead emphasize funding based on causes -- though he noted the importance of Federations to American Jewish communal life.

He also said that Jewish communities should develop better online fundraising, and set up an organization that can monitor fundraising groups and direct donors to specific causes.

"It's not about auditing," he said. "We need to continue to support the federated system but we need to promote a marketplace like this to get funding to solve causes."

The conference, taking place Tuesday and Wednesday [Nov. 6 & 7] in Jerusalem, is called "The Conference on the Future of the Jewish People" and brings together more than 120 Jewish leaders and experts from around the world. The Institute is a think tank focused on developing policy for the Jewish world. -- JTA

To read more, click here.

Weaving their way to employment

Photo: Dotan Goor Arye

What began as an idea to help Arab farmers market olive oil is realized today at Sindyanna, with further goal of empowering Arab women. -- Tali Hardevall, Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.

Jewish leaders to discuss future of Israel, Diaspora


More than 120 major decision makers, scholars and leaders from around the Jewish world to attend conference in Jerusalem. -- Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.

UNICEF to use ICL-made water purification tablets in Syria

Israel Chemicals given special authorization to have subsidiary sell tables to UN mission trying to rehabilitate war-torn country's water sources -- Avital Lahav, Ynetnews

To read more, click here.

Top French firefighter makes aliyah

Impressive 35-year experience in firefighting (archives)  Photo: AP

Frank Louie, a senior firefighting officer in Paris, had everything he needed. And yet, upon retiring, he decided to immigrate to Israel and volunteer at Eilat Fire Department. 'This is the place for Jews,' he says. -- Yair Sagi, Ynetnews

To read more, click here.

The lemony secrets of an ancient garden

An ancient garden on the outskirts of Jerusalem yields a fascinating find about what was growing 2,500 years ago.
An aerial view of the ancient garden site
An intriguing archeology site perched on a hill two miles from the Old City of Jerusalem suggests that ancient powers at the time had a thing for opulent and exotic gardens. The discovery of an ancient royal garden a few years ago at Kibbutz Ramat Rachel stirred up the imaginations of researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Based on the intricate network of pools and irrigation channels, the researchers concluded that the 2,500-year-old site was home to an ancient and splendid royal garden. Since then they have been trying to figure out what was planted and growing in the garden.

The problem is that trees and plants don’t live through centuries. If pollen was preserved at the site, there just may be clues to what kinds of assemblages of trees and plants were present in this garden. But an early look at the pollen trapped in ground sediments proved to be futile. The pollen was oxidized and could not be studied.  -- Isarael Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jewish community bears impact of Hurricane Sandy

The main building at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn.,
sustained damage on Oct. 29, 2012 when Hurricane Sandy
sent a 100-year-old tree slicing through the roof.
(Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center Facebook)
According to figures released by The Long Island Power Authority on Tuesday, more than 930,000 families -- 90 percent of all island residents -- are without power after Hurricane Sandy wrought havoc Monday night across the northeastern United States. Among those 930,000 are an estimated 139,000 Jewish households. --  Adam Soclof, JTA

To read more, click here.

Storm Keeps Long Island Jewish Shelter Short of Men for Prayers

Moshe Najjar is having a lonely wait as the South Shore of New York’s Long Island prepares for Hurricane Sandy to arrive. The only Orthodox Jewish man at a specially created Kosher shelter, he is a minyan of one, lacking the rest of the 10-man minimum required for many important prayers.

Evacuated from his home in Cedarhurst, one of the largely Orthodox Five Towns on Long Island’s southern Atlantic coast, Najjar, 47, said today he was pleasantly surprised by the religiously appropriate shelter in the West Hempstead High School, where men and women can bunk separately and Kosher meals are served on paper table cloths....

Officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation of Long Island’s Nassau County coast as Sandy’s winds, combining with a nearly full moon and high tides, are expected to send water surging up to 8 feet deep across the Atlantic Coast and 11 feet or more on the North Shore, from the normally placid Long Island Sound. With 230,000 Jews, the fourth largest Jewish population in the U.S. according to the North American Jewish Data Bank, Nassau County opened the Kosher shelter to encourage people who might not otherwise have a place to stay.  -- Peter S. Green, Bloomberg Businessweek

To read more, click here.

Danish Jews angered by request not to display Israeli flag

The organizers of a Copenhagen event celebrating diversity asked Danish Jews refrain from displaying the Israeli flag “for security reasons.”
The request came during preparations for the city-sponsored Mangfoldigheds festival held early last month, according to the Copenhagen-born Jonas Herzberg Karpantschof, former chairman of the European Union of Jewish Students.

The Danish Zionist Federation displayed the Israeli flags despite the requests. Several verbal confrontations occurred in front of the federation’s stand but they did not escalate into physical violence, Karpantschof wrote in a report for the website of CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jews. Karpantschof said that “in reality, it [the request] was an attempt to block the group’s participation.”

Other groups also displayed country flags at the event, the Copenhagen Post reported, and had not been asked to refrain from displaying them.

One of the event organizers, Pernille Kjeldgaard, told the Post, “It is not that there is a flag policy. Specific associations were asked not to display their flags as a safety precaution.” His group, TaskForce Inklusion, had been tasked by the municipality to organize parts of the event.

Max Meyer, head of the Danish Zionist Federation, was quoted as saying, “It is a shame that one group is discriminated against, especially at a diversity celebration." -- JTA

In the festival, participants were supposed to offer visitors food and culture connected with their ethnicity. The festival featured a Kurdish stall and three Palestinian organizations, Meyer wrote. Jews, Muslims and Christians shared one stall at the event.

It was the first time that the Danish Zionist Federation participated in the festival.

Zubin Mehta Speaks Out

Israel Philharmonic conductor Zubin Mehta in Madrid on Oct. 26, 2009.
(Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

The maestro slams artistic boycotts and Israel’s Palestinian stance as his Philharmonic visits Carnegie Hall -- Judith Miller, Tablet

To read more, click here.

Wallenberg made honorary citizen of Montreal

Swedish war hero Raoul Wallenberg was made an honorary citizen of Montreal.

Mayor Gerald Tremblay bestowed the rare honor at an Oct. 25 ceremony at City Hall that was witnessed by local residents who owe their lives to Wallenberg.

"We render homage to a man of exceptional values, a hero [who] represents for always, in all circumstances, a model and a source of inspiration for all Montrealers," Tremblay said.

A non-Jew, Wallenberg was dispatched to Budapest in the dying days of World War II to save Jews. He established safe houses that flew the neutral Swedish flag, issued forged passports and persuaded the Nazis to call off the destruction of Budapest's Jewish ghetto.

In all, he is credited with saving the lives of some 100,000 Jews.

Wallenberg disappeared into Soviet custody in early 1945. He was not heard from again, and several international commissions of inquiry have concluded he lived well beyond 1947, the year the Soviets said he died of a heart attack.

This year marks Wallenberg's 100th birthday.

The Canadian Jewish News reported that Tremblay was "uncharacteristically emotional" after listening to the testimony of Agnes (Lörinczi) Kent, a Hungarian Jew rescued by Wallenberg. Now 84 and living in Montreal, Kent and her mother survived thanks to being sheltered in one of the safe houses Wallenberg set up in Budapest.

"My heart today is brimming with gratitude," Kent said.

Wallenberg was made Canada's first honorary citizen in 1985. -- JTA

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First flight in last Ethiopian aliya lands in Israel

Operation Dove's Wings will bring remaining Ethiopians to Israel by March 2014, first flight to bring 240 to Israel. 
Photo: Ruth Eglash
A charter flight of some 240 Ethiopian Jews landed at Ben-Gurion Airport Monday afternoon, marking the beginning of the final stages of aliya from Ethiopia.

Monday's scheduled flight marks the beginning of Operation Dove's Wings, an  government initiative to bring the remainder of the Falash Mura -- Ethiopians whose ancestors converted from Judaism to Christianity -- to Israel by March 2014. -- JTA, JPOST.COM STAFF

To read more, click here.

‘Free To Be You and Me’ Turns 40

The project had feminist underpinnings, a message, and Jewish support -- Adam Chandler, Tablet

To read more, click here.

Enough Already With Koufax

A new book argues that the roster of Jewish jocks includes matadors, weightlifters, and competitive eaters
Clockwise from top left: Benny Leonard, Renee Richards, Nancy Lieberman,
Dolph Schayes, Daniel Mendoza, Bobby Fischer and Howard Cosell.
(Collage Tablet Magazine; Benny Leonard and Dolph Schayes illustrations Mark Ulriksen, courtesy of Twelve;
Renee Richards photo Wikipedia; Nancy Lieberman photo Tim DeFrisco/Allsport/Getty Images;
Daniel Mendoza Wikimedia; Bobby Fischer Wikimedia; Howard Cosell Wikimedia)
At first glance, the appeal of an essay collection titled Jewish Jocks might seem limited to a small, if fervent, readership. In fact, the anthology, edited by former Tablet writer Marc Tracy and New Republic editor Franklin Foer, is lively and full of surprises, even for readers with no horse in this race. In essays by writers as varied as Simon Schama, David Bezmozgis, Emily Bazelon, and David Brooks, there are entries on the usual suspects, such as Barney Ross and Sandy Koufax. But the collection also includes profiles of lesser-known talents like Soviet weightlifter Grigory Novak, Brooklyn-born matador Sidney Frumpkin, as well as downright mediocre (but beloved to some) players like Mets right-fielder Art Shamsky. Finally, there are those included in the collection for the ways they elevated sport (Raiders General Manager Al Davis, sportswriter Robert Lipsyte) or, conversely, besmirched it (basketball point-shaver Jack Molinas, Third Reich-representing fencer Helene Mayer). Vox Tablet’s Sara Ivry is joined by Tracy and Foer to talk about how they determined whom to include and whom to leave out, and about some of their favorite contributions to the collection. -- Vox Tablet

Click here to hear program [Running time: 25:00.] .

Canada, Israel call for UN investigator's resignation

Allege bias against special investigator on human rights in Palestinian territories -- Associated Press
via CBS News
A report presented to the UN General Assembly
outraged Israel, the U.S. and Canada
after it accused Israeli-owned companies
of exploiting Palestinian resources.
Canada was among the nations that called
for UN special rapporteur Richard Falk's resignation.
To read more, click here.

Opinion: The Neurotic Middle East

Let us confess it: Many of the things that are bothersome in the world today originate in the Middle East. Billions of air passengers each year take off their belts and shoes at the airport, not because of fears of terrorism from the slums of Johannesburg or because the grandsons of displaced East Prussians are blowing up Polish diplomats. We put up with such burdens because a Saudi multimillionaire, Osama bin Laden, and his unhinged band of Arab religious extremists began ramming airliners into buildings and murdering thousands.

The Olympics have become an armed camp, not because the Cold War Soviets once stormed Montreal or the Chinese have threatened Australia, but largely because Palestinian terrorists butchered Israelis in Munich 40 years ago and established the precedent that international arenas were ideal occasions for political mass murder.

There is no corn or wheat cartel. There are no cell-phone monopolies. Coal prices are not controlled by global price-fixers. Yet OPEC adjusts the supply of oil in the Middle East to ensure high prices, mostly for the benefit of Gulf sheikhdoms and assorted other authoritarian governments.

Catholics don’t assassinate movie directors or artists who treat Jesus Christ with contempt. Jewish mobs will not murder cartoonists should they ridicule the Torah. Buddhists are not calling for global blasphemy laws. But radical Muslims, mostly in the Middle East, have warned the world that Islam alone is not to be caricatured — or else. Right-wing fascists and red Communists have not done as much damage to the First Amendment as have the threats from the Arab Street.

The world obsesses over Israel and the Palestinians because of the neurotic Middle East. -- Victor Davis Hanson, National Review

To read more, click here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

University study may lead to Alzheimer’s treatments

University of Haifa researchers discover a link between dementia and the activity level of a protein called eIF2alpha. -- Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, Jerusalem Post
Photo: Wikimedia commons
To read more, click here.

World’s homeland security experts to convene in Tel Aviv

The high demand for Israel’s cutting-edge security solutions has made this year’s 2nd International Conference for Homeland Security in Tel Aviv a hot ticket for defense specialists. Delegates from more than 50 countries will attend the November 11-14, 2012, event that will discuss today’s trends in cyber security, smart cities (urban security), protection of critical infrastructures and crisis management. The conference is a major networking arena with dozens of Interior Affairs and Homeland Security ministers, mayors, police chiefs, and heads of intelligence organizations, managers and executives of leading companies engaged in relevant fields as well as heads of major sporting events expected to participate. The who’s who list of attendees includes Defense Minister Ehud Barak; Prefect Claude Balland, Director of General National Police Commissioner, France; Mauro Miedico, Terrorism Prevention Branch, UNODC; Luiz Fernando Correa, Director of Security, 2016 Brazil Olympic Games Organizing Committee; José Hilário Nunes Medeiros, Security General Manager, FIFA 2014 World Cup; George N. Turner, Chief, Atlanta Police Department; Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy, Chicago Police; and Prof. Jürgen Stock, Vice President of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), Germany. Some 60 leading Israeli companies will present innovative homeland security solutions during the four-day conference. “The global homeland security market has significant business potential for Israeli companies and businesses. This is one of the world’s most rapid growing and changing markets in recent years, with an annual growth rate of approximately 6.5 percent, and an estimated global investment of approximately $188 billion in 2011, for manpower, training and technology acquisition,” said Ofer Sachs, Export Institute CEO. “It is estimated that by the year 2020, the worldwide expense for Homeland Security will reach $330 billion per year.” The event is organized by the Israel Export Institute in cooperation with the Israeli ministries of Industry, Trade and Labor, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Homeland Defense, Defense – SIBAT (Defense Export & Cooperation),the Port of Ashdod, and the Israel Exhibition Center -- Viva Sarah Press, Israel21c

Israeli-developed smartphone gives the blind new-found access to apps

Project Ray phone (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Project Ray offers ‘eye-free’ operation for the visually-impaired == David Shamah, Times of Israel

To read more, click here.

Opinion:' The Jewish community could not exist for a day without its volunteers'

Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of
the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth 

As the closing date for the British Volunteer Awards approaches, Jonathan Sacks says voluntary work is an expression of one's morality and ethics.
-- Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth

To read more, click here.

Texas association in Shabbat hoops controversy with Beren Academy adopts new policy

Months after initially refusing to reschedule a Friday night game involving an Orthodox school, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools has changed its rules to accommodate the religious observances of all its members.

Known as TAPPS, the association was widely criticized for initially denying a request to reschedule a Friday night semifinal game in the boys basketball state tournament involving the Robert M. Beren Academy of Houston, an Orthodox school whose players do not compete on the Jewish Sabbath. TAPPS, the main association in Texas for private and parochial schools, changed the time of its games only after several players and their parents filed a lawsuit.

Beren won the rescheduled semifinal matchup before losing in the championship game for schools in their enrollment category.

The new policy, posted on the association’s website, states that religious accommodation “shall be the standard as TAPPS prepares for state competitions that are accessible to all member schools and the students that they serve through team activities.” The new policy is effective this school year.

The change has been in the works for months, and comes after the association began facing pressure from its members to become more inclusive of schools of all faiths. -- JTA

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Space center dedicated in Arab-Israeli city drops Ramon’s name

A space center that opened in the Arab-Israeli city of Taybeh was not named for the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon following opposition from city residents.

The Taybeh Space Center was dedicated Tuesday. It was to be called the Ilan Ramon Space Center. Instead, under the name of the center it will be inscribed, "To perpetuate the memory of astronaut Ilan Ramon."

Arab-Israeli Knesset member Ahmed Tibi led the opposition to the naming of the space center for Ramon, who died aboard the space shuttle Columbia when it crashed upon re-entry in February 2003.

Tibi, who lives in Taybeh, said in June that the Arab community would be upset with the dedication because during his service in the Israeli military, Ramon bombed civilian populations in Arab states. Ramon was a fighter pilot during the first Lebanon war and also flew in the 1981 airstrike on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor.

"Dedicating a center in his honor in an Arab community is a tasteless and unjustified move," Tibi said in a letter to Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz in June.

Hershkowitz at the dedication said that Ramon was the only Israeli astronaut and the center was established in his memory.

"I believe this center can increase cooperation and fraternity between Israelis and Arabs, and make science accessible to the entire population while narrowing the gaps in the Israeli society," he said.

The center is funded by the Prime Minister's Office and the Ramon Foundation, as well as the Taybeh municipality. -- JTA

TA: Thousands attend annual memorial for Rabin

Photo by Ben Hartman

Some 15,000 people attend rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square to mark the 17th anniversary of former prime minister's assassination. -- Ben Hartman, Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.

Police disconnect from Internet, fearing cyber war

Photo by: Reuters and Marc Israel Sellem

Officers ordered to be extra careful with computers following fears of an attack; unclear if breach was wide-scale attack or virus.

Investigators from the Israel Police information security branch are on the trail of a viral break-in of the national police computer system, which forced the police to take their operations off-line on Wednesday, and issue strict computer security guidelines to officers.
-- Ben Hartman, Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.

ADL Calls Court’s Ruling on Kountze Cheerleader Religious Displays Misguided

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called "misguided" a decision by a Texas District Court on cheerleader displays of overtly religious banners.  This highly problematic decision prohibits the Kountze Independent School District from banning cheerleader displays of banners containing Bible verses on the football field immediately before games. -- ADL

To read more, click here.

To read about this Texas District Court decision in an article from the NY Times, click here.

Israeli films honored at International Festival of Cinema and Religion

 Four Israeli films were honored at the 15th annual Religion Today International Festival of Cinema and Religion.

The festival, which took place in the northern city of Trento and several other Italian cities, was held Oct. 11-24.

“Sister of Mine” by Oshrat Meirovitch was awarded the prize for best short film. “Torn,” by Ronit Kerstner, was awarded the Interreligious Jury’s Dialogue and Identity Prize.

A special thematic jury awarded its Different Journeys Award to “My Australia” by Ami Drozd. In addition, the special student jury awarded an honorable mention to “Stand up!-Cabaret” by Asi Tzobel. -- JTA