Thursday, November 22, 2012



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Great American Deli Rescue

Bringing Jewish Eateries Back From Oblivion
Wise Sons: Evan Bloom (left) and Leo Beckerman serve up nouveau deli in San Francisco.
Courtesy Evan Bloom

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the American deli was in dire straits. The last quality holdouts, like the iconic Katz’s Deli in New York and Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles, were still going strong, but the deli landscape overall was rather desolate. Even in New York — dotted with as many as 3,000 to 4,000 delis only a few generations ago — just a handful of vibrant eateries remained.

For three years, writer David Sax visited delis in America and abroad to bear witness to an institution that was holding on for dear life. In his 2009 book, “Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen,” he describes feeling alternately hopeful and despairing. Delis faced “tremendous odds,” he wrote.

Today, there is a deli renaissance afoot.  -- Devra Ferst, Forward

To read more, click here.

Montreal gets its first Jewish mayor

Michael Applebaum
Photo from
The job may be temporary, but Montreal has its first Jewish mayor.

Michael Applebaum, 49, won a City Council vote to serve as interim mayor for a year, with a promise not to run in the next municipal election, which is slated for November 2013. He also is the first Anglophone mayor in a century of the predominantly French-speaking Canadian city.

Applebaum, who was elected to the City Council in 1994, replaces Gerald Tremblay, who resigned last week in a corruption scandal that linked him to graft and organized crime.

Elected to City Council in 1994, Applebaum is the first Jewish person to assume the office of mayor. The highest ranking Jewish official in municipal history was Joseph Schubert, who served as acting mayor of the city for three months in 1927 in a role that would be more accurately be understood today as deputy mayor or mayor pro tem.

Bilingual, though with rusty French, Applebaum was seen as a dark horse to succeed Tremblay. But he built support among his council colleagues.

"Mazel tov, Michael, on becoming the first Anglo-Jewish temporary interim mayor in Montreal history!" joked longtime Montreal Gazette columnist Josh Freed. The city's Jewish Twittersphere, he added, "is filled with jokes celebrating the unexpected victory, like one that said: 'Who's Montreal's most powerful new figure? Applebaum's mother.' " -- JTA

Harvard limits non-Jewish access to kosher meals

Harvard University Dining Services has moved to curb the number of non-Jewish students at Harvard Hillel who eat at the kosher dining hall.

A sign posted Nov. 9 at the entrance of the dining hall limited entry to “a member or an invited guest of Harvard’s diverse Jewish community,” The Harvard Crimson reported.

“The most important part of Hillel’s mission is hospitality,” Harvard Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Jonah Steinberg told The Crimson. “[The restriction] creates conflict with our inclusive and welcoming environment, but I understand HUDS’s concern about its budget.”

According to Steinberg, who has been in contact with HUDS, kosher meals at Hillel cost twice as much to prepare as meals in other dining halls.

“I don’t know how you could visually single out individuals as belonging or not belonging in a community,” Steinberg said. “I just hope we will work out a way with HUDS to make Hillel both a cost-efficient and a welcoming institution.” -- JTA

Israel fighting off millions of cyber attacks

Israel has repelled some 44 million cyber attacks on government websites since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, a government minister said.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told reporters Sunday that all the attacks have been thwarted except one, which brought down a website for a short time.

On Saturday, the online terror group Anonymous announced that it had brought down 700 Israeli private and public websites, including the websites of several Israeli government offices, such as the Foreign Ministry and the Kadima Party. It did bring down the Foreign Ministry's Mashav department website, which coordinates Israeli aid missions to foreign countries, and the Kadima website remained down as of Sunday night.

The group also said it erased the database of the Bank of Jerusalem, though the bank's website is operational. It also released the personal information, including national ID number and e-mail, of at least 35,000 Israelis.

"For far too long, Anonymous has stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people in the so called 'Occupied Territories' by the Israel Defense Force. But when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand," Anonymous said in a statement.

“We are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch. To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once. Do NOT shut down the Internet into the 'Occupied Territories,' and cease and desist from your terror upon the innocent people of Palestine or you will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous.”

One year ago, Anonymous launched a cyber attack on several Israeli government and military websites, including government ministries, the Mossad and the IDF, after Israel intercepted Gaza-bound ships attempting to break the naval blockade. -- JTA

Alumni of Canadian college angry over honorary degree for Carter

Queen's University in Canada is facing a backlash from some Jewish alumni over its decision to confer an honorary degree to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a strong critic of Israel.

Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, told the National Post newspaper that his organization has received about 50 "angry and frustrated inquiries" from Queen's graduates concerned that the university in Kingston, Ontario, will confer the degree on Carter, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has described Israel as an apartheid state.

"It's just a huge lightning rod for distress and disappointment," Fogel told the Post. "[Carter] simply doesn't meet the test of somebody that is seeking to offer a constructive contribution towards advancing peace. And it's in that context that we'd express real disappointment that a leading institution like Queen's would further legitimize or validate him by conferring on him this kind of award."

Carter, 88, and his wife, Rosalynn, are expected to attend the Queen's convocation in Kingston on Wednesday to accept honorary degrees paying tribute to "their philanthropic and advocacy work in areas such as housing and mental health," according to a statement from Queen's principal Daniel Woolf on the university website.

It will be Carter's first honorary degree from a Canadian university.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs pointed to Carter's 2006 book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," in which the former president characterized Israel as an apartheid state and questioned its commitment to a two-state solution. Three years later Carter apologized to the American Jewish community for "stigmatizing Israel" and asked for forgiveness.

While he's sure Queen's intended to honor Carter for his human rights work alone, Fogel said the university "failed to do their due diligence that would have flagged [his views on Israel] as problematic." -- JTA

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

US Jewish paramedics arrive in Israel to volunteer with MDA

Fourteen Jewish paramedics from New York will arrive in Israel on Friday afternoon to volunteer with Magen David Adom, MDA said on Friday.

They will be the first of dozens of paramedics scheduled to arrive from all over the world in the upcoming days to join and assists MDA paramedics in the South. --Jerusalem Post

More details to follow. See the Jerusalem Post.

Around the world, rallies held for and against Israel’s Gaza operation

Rallies in support of and against Israel's ramped-up military operation in the Gaza Strip were held throughout the world.

In Australia, about 4,000 Jews in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra joined in solidarity with Israel on Sunday in what rallies that were dubbed as “Code Red” by the Zionist Federation of Australia. The participants, many dressed in red, heard the 15-second “code red” siren that has echoed across Israel this week as Hamas continued to fire rockets across the Gaza border.…

Several European cities, including The Hague and Brussels, have seen protests against the Israeli offensive. -- JTA

To read more, click here.

Opinion: Rupert Murdoch’s Tweet About the ‘Jewish Owned Press’ Is Dumb and Offensive

Peter Beinart

Murdoch’s tweet that the press is ‘Jewish owned’ is downright dumb and offensive. Peter Beinart on the remarkable amount of idiocy and nastiness stuffed into 140 characters. -- Peter Beinart, Daily Beast

To read more and view related video, click here.

Rupert Murdoch Slams 'Jewish Owned' Media Bias

Media Mogul: Jewish Outlets Criticize Israel Too Much 
Rupe Tweets: Rupert Murdoch accused Jewish media outlets of being too critical of Israel.
getty images
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch slammed ‘Jewish owned’ media outlets for being too critical of Israel in its confrontation with Gaza.

The News Corp. chief Tweeted his feelings Saturday, but did not explain which outlets he was referring to, Politico reported.

“Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti- Israel in every crisis?” he asked on Twitter.

Murdoch, who portrays himself as a strong supporter of Israel, did not elaborate. But he did mention some media groups by name in another Tweet. -- Forward

To read more, click here.

Opinion: Facebook and the War from B'nai Brith Canada

As a recent convert to the world of Facebook, I am overwhelmed by its content and the extent to which individuals reveal their innermost emotions via the social media.

With the Jewish State, finally responding to the numerous missile attacks on its civilian population and, in return, much of Israel coming under a new barrage of the Iranian weaponry, Facebook seems to be an ideal petri dish for ideas, thoughts and feelings on the serious issues of the day.

The emotions displayed by many of my Evangelical Christian friends, who have been posting photographs of religious Jewish soldiers praying at historic holy sites, fill numerous Facebook pages with deeply moving content.One can hear the anguish in their messaging and, at the same time, feel their total resolve and conviction that the Almighty will not abandon the Jewish people and that will once again be victorious.

Equally touching were the many messages from my Israeli friends and several within the Orthodox community here in posted. They, like the Christian Evangelicals, have complete faith and hope and trust in the Almighty that he will once again protect his people. Their comments, insights, rabbinical sayings and the images they post all give tremendous chizuk- strength.

My secular Zionist friends have been equally adamant in their support for Israel and angered at the outrage of those in the media who portray a false image of what has transpired, in the context of Israel’s need to respond to the ongoing hostility directed against it by Gaza’s terrorist masters.

Yet there is another element of life with Facebook that has simply surprised me.For many of my Facebook friends, life goes on as if nothing is happening to the Jewish people.Instead we see pictures of cute dogs and cats chasing balls and comments from people describing their fine dining experiences or simply what they ate for supper. Their Facebook photos show fresh smiling faces, which appear totally oblivious to the fact that there is a war in the world in which, once again, six million Jews are coming under fire. It seems to have slipped under their radar screen.

I recall the outpouring of community concern in 1967, and again in 1973, and although there was no Facebook at the time, I am confident that no self-respecting, caring Jew would be writing and posting about the cute new trick that their dog learned this past weekend while the fate of is being determined.In this respect I think Facebook clearly demonstrates a growing disconnect between great numbers of the Jewish community and the general community as to the welfare and future of the Jewish State.

Perhaps for the general community, it is just another skirmish somewhere in the world and they are certain will once again be victorious because, after all, it is portrayed as a giant in the .However, in terms of the Jewish groupings on Facebook, I am concerned that it seems to be business as usual, with all the day-to-day pettiness being posted for friends to examine and comment on.Indeed, there are dozens of comments on new recipes or on the ubiquitous photos of animals, while our brothers and sisters in run for bomb shelters in fear of their lives.
I am blessed that the overwhelming numbers of my friends on Facebook share the convictions that I have and the desire to bring the truth about the dangers faces to the world. As for the rest, perhaps Facebook reflects a disconnect with reality that should give us pause.

I am delighted that the ability to spread the word has become easier, but I despair when I think of all those individuals whose days and lives are not touched by events now unfolding throughout the .I pray that these individuals find it within their hearts to use whatever means is at their disposal – including Facebook – to speak up in defense of the Jewish people.

Our strength lies in unity. Now is the time to let your voice be heard. -- Frank Dimant, CEO, B'nai Brith Canada

Hamas detains foreign journalists in the Gaza Strip

Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit the Gaza Strip for Israel to do so. Among the foreigners being detained are nine Italian citizens, one Canadian, one South Korean, a French national and six journalists from Japan. In addition, two Turkish Red Crescent members have been refused exit.

This violation of the human rights of neutral foreigners is yet another example of Hamas’ attempts to manipulate and pressure the press.

For its part, Israel is keeping the Erez crossing into Gaza open, allowing passage to the foreign press, diplomats and humanitarian workers. -- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Monday, November 19, 2012

Has the High Commissioner for Human Rights gone mute?

Israelis do have human rights. The High Commissioner simply does not care about them. -- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To read more, click here.


From B'nai Brith Canada:

As the war against Israel continues to escalate, we in Canada can play an important part by standing up for accountability in our media.

Terrorism is a threat to democracy. The terrorist organization Hamas may have been elected in Gaza but that does not change the fact that it is a terrorist group.

Here are the facts:
1. Hamas was designated as a banned terrorist entity under Canadian law in 2002 by the Liberal Government
2. Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel, not peace. The Hamas Covenant states, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.'

There can be no equivalency drawn between Israel's right to defend its citizens on one hand and attacks carried out by terrorists on the other.

Demand that Canadian media outlets (television, radio, print and online) call it as it is -- Hamas is not a Militant group, it is a banned Terrorist group.

Here are some Canadian media outlets you can monitor and express your concerns to:





Editor-in-chief: Doug Kelly



Editor: Margo Goodhand

Please be polite at all times.  

Copy your correspondence to B’nai Brith Canada

The top 10 ways Israel hopes to beat diabetes

Photo by
The latest numbers from the World Health Organization indicate that one in 10 people has diabetes — more than 346 million people worldwide. Diabetes means the pancreas doesn’t produce or release the hormone insulin as it should, so the body can’t metabolize sugars properly. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes, is characterized by a lack of insulin production. Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin, often resulting from excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Left untreated, either form of diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness and kidney failure. Currently, it can be treated by injections of insulin, but there is no cure.

Despite its small size, Israel is a major player in diabetes research, with scientists searching for ways to provide better prevention, treatment, and ultimately a cure for this globally rampant disease. ISRAEL21c brings you the top 10 projects in the field. -- Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c

To read more, click here.

Dial H For Hebrew

Guilty Non-Jew: Alfred Hitchcock showed little interest in Jewish matters.
But guilt and blame certainly play major roles in his work.
Getty Images
Alfred Hitchcock’s reputation as one of the greatest film directors of all time is safely in the can, so all that’s left to deal with is the man himself. Two new films — “Hitchcock,” a biopic starring Anthony Hopkins, and the HBO film “The Girl,” about Hitch’s troubled relationship with actress Tippi Hedren — have attempted to do just that. These films attempt to humanize — or dehumanize or demonize — Hitchcock, depending on your point of view.

What neither of these films mentions, however, and what you probably won’t hear much about in the renewed discussion of Hitchcock, is the chapter of his career in which he lent his formidable directorial skills to the British army for what eventually became “Memory of the Camps,” a documentary consisting exclusively of footage of concentration camps in the days after their liberation by Allied forces. -- Seth Rogovoy, Forward

To read more, click here.

Pius Brotherhood leader rejects charges of anti-Semitism as "defamation"

The superior in the United States of the ultra-conservative Catholic breakaway group Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), Fr. Arnaud Rostand, has rejected as “defamation” charges that his group “teaches or practices anti-Semitism, which is a racial hatred of the Jewish people whether on account of their ethnicity, culture or religious beliefs." Rostand issued a statement to the ‘Catholic News Service’ in response to comments by Cardinal Kurt Koch, the top Vatican official in charge of relations with the Jews, who said the Vatican's reconciliation talks with the SSPX did not signal a willingness to accept priests or members who hold anti-Semitic positions. -- World Jewish Congress
To read more, click here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Could the BBC have done more to help save Hungarian Jews?

Nearly half a million Hungarian Jews were killed in a matter of weeks in 1944 soon after German forces invaded their country. Mike Thomson reveals how the BBC's Hungarian Service could have warned them of their likely fate in the event of such an invasion, but did not do so.

To read more, click here.

Superman is Jewish?: People of the comic book

Nothing is quite so purely American as the comic book, which is why it will come as a surprise to some readers to discover that philosopher Harry Brod regards Superman and Spider-Man and many other comic-book characters to be uniquely Jewish artifacts that offer crucial insights into the Jewish experience in America. -- Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal

To read more click here.

Opinion: If There Were No Jewish Newspapers?

Gary Rosenblatt,
the editor and publisher of The Jewish Week of New York
Media unites the community across religious and political lines. -- Gary Rosenblatt, NY Jewish Week

To read the article, click here.

Tel Aviv’s ‘Pita Nazi’

Oved Daniel serves sabich at his Givatayim shop. (All photos Doron Farhi)

Sabich, the ultimate Israeli street food, has made a legend out of quirky store-owner Oved Daniel -- Dana Kessler, Tablet

To read more, click here.

Opinion: Just Say No to Margarine

Jews have been hooked on fake butter for a century. It’s time to banish it from our kitchens.
Invented by a French chemist in the 19th century, when Emperor Louis Napoleon III demanded a form of butter suitable for the armed forces and lower classes, margarine has been laying it on thick to convince the public of its advantages over its more natural (and better-tasting) older sibling ever since.

The Jewish love affair with margarine started in 1911 when Procter & Gamble pushed Crisco (its new “scientific discovery”) on every housewife in America, sending free samples to grocers and having “Crisco teas,” a phrase that made me gag until I realized it was more like a Tupperware party to introduce the stuff to women rather than a new kind of drink. -- Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Tablet

To read more, click here.