Jerusalem

Anger at rule on gender segragation near Kotel

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 1, 2009

A move by the rabbi of the Western Wall to gender-segregate ceremonies taking place near Judaism’s holiest shrine is causing consternation.

Officials at the Jewish Agency are considering changing the venue of the ceremony at which new immigrants to Israel are given their first identity cards. According to the decision of the Western Wall Heritage Fund, headed by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, women and men would be forced to sit separately and women would not be allowed to speak from the podium.

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Secularists fight Charedi housing plan

By Ben Lynfield, September 24, 2009

The Charedi community has scored a victory in the latest round of its conflict with secular residents over the future of the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem. Last week a Charedi group won a tender for a large housing project expected to further consolidate the growing ultra-Orthodox presence in the area.

The rapid influx of Charedim into the neighbourhood is being met with unusually vocal opposition from secularists, and the area has come to symbolise the larger battle over the character of Israel’s capital.

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Turn on and tune into a Yomtov service

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009

Reform synagogues have reported an encouraging response to moves to put High Holy-Day services online.

The web initiative was meant to be in preparation for a swine flu epidemic.

However, Finchley Reform Synagogue and Glasgow New Synagogue were among shuls that went ahead and streamed their Rosh Hashanah services over the web, linking to viewers across the world, including patients at the Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem.

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Arrest over threats to gays

August 13, 2009

A soldier in the Nahal Charedi battalion was arrested last Friday over suspicions that he had threatened members of the gay community in Jerusalem.

Shmuel Primark, 20, is suspected of sending threatening messages to gay centres and posting them on internet forums. Police say they do not believe he has any connection to the shooting in Tel Aviv last week in which two members of a gay youth club were killed. Police have yet to make arrests over the shooting and are investigating whether there was a connection to a fight at the club a few days previously.

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Date turns sour for Sex and the City star Kristin Davis

By Marcus Dysch, August 13, 2009

Playing the role of Charlotte in Sex and the City, Kristin Davis’s biggest concern was finding Mr Right. But this week she found herself at the centre of a bigger problem — an international row over West Bank settlements.

Ms Davis, whose character in the TV series converted to Judaism to marry lawyer Harry Goldenblatt, has worked as a goodwill ambassador for Oxfam since 2005, visiting HIV and Aids projects in Mozambique, Uganda and South Africa.

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Family of ‘starved’ child to seek refuge in Britain

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2009

The family of the three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem plan to move to London and be supported by British taxpayers “as soon as possible”, according to the toddler’s grandmother.

The woman said her son and pregnant daughter-in-law would “run to Stamford Hill” with their five children as soon as legal proceedings against the mother are concluded.

Once in Britain, the grandmother said the couple, both in their 30s, would seek housing benefits and the help of the Charedi community in Stamford Hill, where she and other family members already live.

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In east Jerusalem, an Arab PR coup

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 6, 2009

Two Palestinian families sitting on street corners in east Jerusalem in the sweltering August heat are at the centre of a media and diplomatic storm this week. The eviction from the homes they have lived in for 53 years has delivered the Palestinian cause a major PR coup.

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Two-thirds of Israelis want Temple rebuilt

By Jessica Elgot, July 30, 2009

Two thirds of Israelis have indicated they would like the Temple in Jerusalem to be rebuilt, including Israelis who describe themselves as secular.

The survey, conducted for Ynet and the Gesher organization, asked 516 Israelis if they knew the meaning of Tish B’Av and if they would like to see the Temple restored.

Ninety-seven percent knew the meaning of the fast of Tisha B’Av, that it was the destruction of the Temple, while only 2% said they did not know.

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Stolen scroll sheds light on exile days

By Simon Rocker, May 7, 2009

A 2,000-year-old papyrus fragment offering rare evidence of early Jewish history was seized by police in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Two men were arrested.

The 15 lines of Hebrew, written in the style of the Dead Sea Scrolls, contains a the phrase “year four to the destruction of Israel” — a reference possibly to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE or the Roman defeat of the Bar Kochba revolt nearly 70 years later.

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Man stole treasure found under home

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 30, 2009

Armed only with a bucket and spade, an industrious East Jerusalem householder excavated five ancient rooms under his East Jerusalem house, finding gold coins and many other archeological treasures, all of which he sold to dealers.

The 34-year-old resident of the Christian Quarter was arrested last week and is expected to be charged with selling antiques illegally and carrying out an archeological dig without permission.

The man admitted selling his findings to dealers in the Old City. When the police raided his home, they found only broken shards of pottery and two large jars.

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