France

'Kosher' gym takes off in Paris

By Michel Zlotowski, December 22, 2010

Finally, paris has what communities in many European cities have long yearned for: a place where the observant can keep fit and keep modest at the same time.

Kosher Gym, located in the heart of Paris's northern Jewish community in the 19th arrondissement, offers the facilities of "regular" gyms - including showers and locker rooms - but, as its creator, David Cohen, says: "There is no problem of tzniut because no male is around when women are in the gym."

Mr Cohen, who spent a year in a yeshivah near Paris learning Torah and playing football, loves to work out in his spare time.

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'Marine Le Pen? Chip off the old block'

By Michel Zlotowski, December 22, 2010

A regional leader of the Council of French Jewish Organisations (CRIF), Marcel Amsellem, has warned Jews not to be deceived by the National Front's possible new leader, Marine Le Pen, whose popularity is on the rise in France.

"Those who believed Marine Le Pen would be more acceptable than her father are unbelievably gullible and of bad faith," said Mr Amsellem.

A recent poll indicates that Marine Le Pen, 42, the youngest daughter of extreme-right wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, is due to get 12 to 14 per cent of votes in the 2012 presidential election.

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Ilan Halimi murderers retried

By Michel Zlotowski, December 22, 2010

The President of the Council of French Jewish Organisations, Richard Prasquier, said he was satisfied with the retrial of the self-proclaimed "Gang of Barbarians" who tortured to death Ilan Halimi five years ago.

A court of appeal handed stiffer sentences to the two main accomplices of gang leader Yusuf Fofana, who had their convictions increased from 15 to 18 years. The rest of the accused had their first sentence confirmed.

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How my Supernan took off

By Jennifer Lipman, November 25, 2010

A French photographer has transformed his 91-year-old Holocaust survivor grandmother into a superhero.

Sacha Goldberger, from Paris, began snapping grandmother Frederika in unusual costumes and poses three years ago to try to cheer her up.

He has since taken thousands of them and now has more than 2,200 MySpace followers. They have also been exhibited in a gallery.

Mrs Goldberger, who was born in Budapest in 1919, emigrated to France when Hungary was under Soviet control.

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Sacha Goldberger's super grandma

By Jennifer Lipman, November 24, 2010

Some of Sacha Goldberger's unusual photographs of his Holocaust survivor grandmother Frederika.

All photos: Sacha Goldberger

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Jewish graves in France vandalised

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Vandals have desecrated nearly 50 graves in a Jewish cemetery in France.

A passer-by noticed the damage to the Bar-le-Duc cemetery in northeastern France and alerted the police.

In total, 49 graves were found to have been knocked over or broken.

The attack was described as antisemitic by The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Antisemitism.

They said investigators should “take into consideration the racist character of the degradations in this old Jewish cemetery.”

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On this day: Alfred Dreyfus is arrested for spying

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

The Dreyfus Affair will go down in history as one of the great injustices in European Jewish history and as one of the events that spurred on the Zionist movement.

The French army were concerned that someone in their ranks was passing military information to Germany. Suspicion fell on a Jewish artillery officer, a graduate of the elite Polytechnic Grande Ecole, named Albert Dreyfus.

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Dovish? J Call Paris opens with a ruck

By Natasha Lehrer, October 14, 2010

The launch of the French arm of J Call, the European Jewish Call to Reason, descended into chaos last week after 30 men from the Ligue de Defense Juive, a militant right-wing Jewish group, infiltrated the meeting.

The group attempted to drown out the speakers with boos and shouts until the police were called to escort the men out of the hall.

J Call, a dovish Zionist campaign group modelling itself on the American
J Street, launched as a movement at the European Parliament in May.

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Fears for security of European Jews

By Ian Sparks and Anshel Pfeffer, September 17, 2010

Community leaders have expressed concern that European Jews are being targeted by terrorists after it was revealed that suicide bombers trained in Gaza had planned to bomb a community event in Paris.

"This would seem to be exactly the sort of threat that shows why CST and the Jewish community need to remain vigilant," said Mark Gardner, spokesman for the Community Security Trust.

He added that the organisation will seek to learn "every possible lesson" from the foiled attack and share these with the community and the police.

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East End star returns

September 16, 2010

Chazan Moshe Dubiner will make a sentimental return to London's East End to officiate on Yom Kippur at Fieldgate Street Synagogue in Aldgate.

The chazan began a career which has taken him to France, Israel and America at the Great Synagogue in Commercial Road.

Fieldgate Street's Raymond Singer said that news of the guest cantor had led the shul to anticipate a male attendance in excess of 40, more than double the usual number.

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