Israel's biblical vultures under threat

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

Scientists believe that a bird species mentioned in the bible is under threat of dying out because of farming methods in northern Israel.

The number of griffon vultures in the Golan Heights is thought to have dropped to under ten, due to the illegal use of pesticides to prevent wolves and jackals from attacking farm animals.

Oll Spiegel, a scientist whose Phd thesis is on the species, has blamed the decline on the use of poison to deter wolf attacks on cattle.


Plane Stupid protesters sentenced

By Robyn Rosen, August 25, 2010

Three Jewish protestors have been sentenced after being found guilty of breach of the peace when they staged a protest that forced the closure of Aberdeen airport.

Dan Glass, 26, Mark Andrews, 26, and Tilly Gifford, 24, all from north London and six others from climate action group, Plane Stupid, stood trial in Aberdeen High Court in June.

The group were originally charged with vandalism, which was later dropped, after they took part in an anti-aviation protest last March which caused the airport to shut for two and a half hours delaying 10 flights.


Jonathan Safran Foer boosts Jerusalem culture

August 19, 2010

Two of America's leading young Jewish novelists, husband and wife Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, have spearheaded a cultural initiative in Jerusalem: the revival of the Jerusalem Fellows at Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

Mishkenot, a cultural hub in the shadow of Yemin Moshe, the capital's famous windmill, used regularly to host artists, writers and musicians when the late Teddy Kollek was mayor of Jerusalem.


Sewage row on Tel Aviv's beaches

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 12, 2010

This has been one of the warmest Israeli summers in memory but almost daily, some of the most central beaches on the Mediterranean coast have been closed due to pollution.

So far this year, the Health Ministry has ordered the closure of 15 public beaches due to the excessive amounts of waste and sewage discovered in the water.

Environmentalist groups have accused the local authorities of not investing sufficiently in modernising sewage treatment works, instead relying on pipelines pumping excess sewage into the sea whenever the antiquated systems are close to overflowing.


Son fights to move mother from Christian cemetery

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

A bereaved son has described his frustration after an unsuccessful three-year battle to have his mother's body moved from a Christian cemetery to a Jewish resting place.

Eugene Linder's late mother, Biba Skodnik, is buried in Finland. He has pleaded with the country's Prime Minister and President to allow him to reinter her in Switzerland, where his family now lives.

But despite the assistance of London-based Rabbi Aba Dunner of the Conference of European Rabbis, Mr Linder has failed to receive permission from the Finnish authorities to move her.


New president of League of Jewish Women

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

The new president of the League of Jewish Women lists her top priority as the organisation's survival over the next 10 years.

Marilyn Brummer, 68, identifies a need for a re-energised membership, but acknowledges that changing women's priorities are making recruitment difficult for a voluntary work organisation.


Israel’s biblical bees came from Turkey

By Jennifer Lipman, June 8, 2010

Israel has long been known as a land flowing with milk and honey, and now scientists have discovered exactly where the bees came from.

Researchers at the Hebrew University have found that the biblical bees almost certainly came from Turkey and were transferred hundreds of miles to Israel. The findings, the earliest examples of bringing animals such a long way, suggest the ancient Israelites were involved in sophisticated agricultural practices.

In 2007 scientists came across the remains of clay beehives dating back 3000 years in the Jordan Valley.


Phones recycled in aid of Pesach food parcels

April 1, 2010

The United Synagogue has been helping to turn mobile phones into matzah over Pesach.

Supplementing the US's postal appeal in support of food parcels, the organisation's social arm, Project Chesed, asked people to donate unwanted mobiles to be recycled for cash.

To date, 80 have been handed in, ranging from BlackBerry phones to some chunky relics from the past.

Proceeds contributed towards the distribution of nearly 500 festival parcels to US members struggling to meet the extra cost of Pesach observance.


David de Rothschild's plastic bottle boat

By Jessica Elgot, February 5, 2010

British environmentalist David de Rothschild is planning to sail the Pacific on a boat made of 12,500 drinks bottles.

Mr de Rothschild, 31, the youngest son of renowned financier Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and part of the de Rothschild banking dynasty, will sail his 60-foot catamaran Plastiki from San Francisco to Australia in March.

Mr de Rothschild, a keen explorer and renewable energy campaigner, will use the voyage as a bold publicity stunt to drawn attention to the waste that plastic creates and how little it is recycled.


'Ethical' food, not kosher, is priority for US Reform

By Sue Fishkoff, November 26, 2009

For the past few years, the American Reform movement has been edging toward a re-examination of kashrut. Those tentative steps were diverted somewhat at the movement’s biennial convention in Toronto earlier this month.