New York

Bernard Madoff's son Mark found dead in suicide

By Jennifer Lipman, December 13, 2010

The eldest son of disgraced fraudster Bernard Madoff has been found dead after committing suicide at his New York home.

Mark Madoff, who was 46, was found hanged on Saturday. The New York City medical examiner has ruled his death a suicide.

After his father was arrested in 2008, Mr Madoff claimed not to have known anything about the multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

However criminal investigators have continued to explore the possibility that he and other family members, including younger brother Andrew, were involved.

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Court orders Orthodox woman to be cremated after three month battle

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

The body of a 105-year-old Jewish woman from New York who died three months ago will finally be removed from a mortuary after a judge ruled that she could be cremated.

Ethel Baar, who died on September 11, began following Orthodox Judaism late in life, and her great-nephew James Pollak said that she had wanted to be laid to rest in accordance with Orthodox tradition.

But in 1999 she also stated in her will that she wanted her body to be cremated, which is against halachah.

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Haringey recruits head

By Robyn Rosen, December 2, 2010

A Londoner who has been teaching in New York will be the first head of the cross-communal Haringey Jewish Primary, one of the new government-funded free schools, which is set to open next September.

Joint project leader Peter Kessler says Jo Sassienie was chosen for her "innovative attitude, her deep commitment to cross-communal Jewish education and her outstanding track record".

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Chanucah miracle as new dreidel record set

By Jennifer Lipman, December 1, 2010

In what could be termed a Chanucah miracle, a group of Jewish students have broken the world record for spinning a dreidel.

Students at Yeshiva University in New York successfully attempted to spin 618 dreidels simultaneously in an event they called the “Dreidel-Palooza”.

The current record for the Chanucah game was set in 2005, when a group in New Jersey spun 541 dreidels at once.

The result is expected to be confirmed quickly by the Guinness Book of World Records
The festivities also helped raise money for a scholarship fund.

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On the fifth floor is our Sefer Torah, and a goat

By Paul Berger, November 26, 2010

The fifth floor of a yeshivah in Queens is about the last place you would expect to find a typical Samarkand courtyard with Persian rugs, clay urns and a goat staring out from behind a chicken wire fence.

"When I look at it, I am surprised myself how one man did it," says Aron Aronov, the 72-year-old founder and curator of the Bukharian Jewish
Museum.

Mr Aronov's collection, which includes handwritten prayerbooks, a 400-year-old Sefer Torah, and hundreds of colourful shawls and robes, spills out over three rooms and a hallway.

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In heart of Brooklyn, a slice of living history

By Paul Berger, November 26, 2010

On a recent sunlit morning in Brooklyn, Leonard Petlakh drove me on a tour of the synagogues that pepper the heavily Russian-speaking neighbourhoods of south Brooklyn.

"Another congregation, happily dying," Mr Petlakh said, pulling up outside the Conservative Congregation Beth Shalom, where he was married 11 years ago.

"If you go down any street around here most of the homes are Russian," he continued. "But the synagogue's boards aren't interested in outreach to Russians."

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Murdered Mumbai rabbi's father sues Pakistan intelligence agency

By Jennifer Lipman, November 24, 2010

The father of the Chabad rabbi who was murdered by terrorists in Mumbai two years ago is taking legal action against the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI.

Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in a Brooklyn federal court.

The rabbi, whose son and pregnant daughter-in-law were killed during the two-day siege at the Indian Jewish centre in November 2008, is also suing the Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-E-Taiba.

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Mike Tyson in talks to open kosher restaurant

By Jennifer Lipman, November 22, 2010

Boxer Mike Tyson could be moving into the kosher food market.

The heavyweight champion is in discussion with Jewish businessman Moshe Malamud about launching a high-end kosher restaurant chain.

According to the New York Post the plan was discussed over a meal at Solo, a kosher grill in Manhattan.

A spokesman for the restaurant said: "They discussed the concept as well as the name, but nothing was finalised.”

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Fraudster Bernard Madoff's diamonds, rolex auctioned

By Jennifer Lipman, November 15, 2010

The worldly possessions of disgraced fraudster Bernard Madoff have been auctioned in New York for hundreds of thousand of pounds.

One bidder paid £342,000 for the engagement ring Madoff bought for his wife Ruth, while another buyer bought his vintage Rolex for £42,000.

More than 400 items were up for auction, including his monogrammed boxer shorts, slippers and socks, as well as Ruth Madoff’s diamond earrings and a broken leather foot stall which went for £2,000.

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Employees charged over £25 million Holocaust aid fraud

By Jennifer Lipman, November 10, 2010

Seventeen people have been charged with stealing more than £25 million from a Hardship Fund for Holocaust survivors in need.

Preet Bharara, the US Attorney overseeing the case, said there was evidence of a "culture of fraud" among some employees of the Conference on the Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

It was revealed that six staff members helped the fraudsters raid the non-profit aid fund by approving false applications for help and convincing residents, including Russian Jewish immigrants to New York, to apply even though they were unqualified for aid.

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