World news

Prison kosher food ban ruled unlawful

By Jennifer Lipman, November 5, 2010

Jewish prisoners in an Indiana jail could soon be enjoying kosher meals after a judge ruled that only offering a vegan option was against the law.

Matson Willis, an Orthodox Jewish inmate at the state’s Miami Correctional Facility sued the prison last year when kosher meals were scrapped in a bid to cut costs.

But federal judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said the change was a breach of religious rights. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 90 prisoners were affected by the menu change.

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Berlin Orthodox deny rabbinical turf war

By Toby Axelrod, November 4, 2010

The head of the Berlin Orthodox rabbinical seminary, Rabbi Josh Spinner, has denied reports that he is engaged in an inter-denominational funding battle.

His statement comes after it emerged that the German Federal Ministry of the Interior was resisting the funding of Orthodox rabbis while continuing to contribute to the training of Reform rabbis.

Rabbi Spinner said that both the Reform and Orthodox seminaries are official, legal successors to Germany's two pre-war seminaries, which were shut down by the Nazis, and should get equal support.

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Analysis: A settlement boycott Palestinians don't back

By Nathan Jeffay, November 4, 2010

In May, the Palestinian Authority announced that it will become a crime for Palestinians to work in settlements. But all indications are that come the first day of the ban, January 1, Palestinian workers will be going to settlement jobs as normal and nobody will bat an eyelid.

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We were prepared, say targeted Chicago shuls

By Paul Berger, November 4, 2010

Like other Jewish populations around the world, Chicago's community is no stranger to threats of violence.

So when the Department of Homeland Security contacted the city's Jewish institutions last week to say that two bombs had been found in printer cartridges bound for local synagogues, there was little surprise.

"When we got the call we knew what to do," said Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. "We weren't surprised. But there was a lot of curiosity about the details."

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First German female rabbi after 75 years

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

A female rabbi has been ordained in Germany for the second time in the country’s history – and the first time since the Holocaust.

Alina Treiger, 31, officially became a rabbi at a ceremony in Berlin today, in the presence of Germany's president, Christian Wulff.

The Ukrainian born former music student will look after a liberal Jewish community in Oldenburg, in western Germany. She follows in the footsteps of Regina Jonas, who became a rabbi in 1935 at the age of 33.

Ms Jonas was ordained, amidst some controversy, as Adolf Hitler consolidated power over Nazi Germany.

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Praise for Israel supporters elected at mid-terms

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

The leading pro-Israel organisation in America has praised the re-election at the 2010 mid-terms of “many of the strongest friends and supporters of the US-Israel relationship.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) congratulated those elected to the112th Congress, which convenes in January.

AIPAC offered special praise for the three Jewish politicians voted in to congress for the first time, including Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal and David Cicilline, the new representative for Rhode Island and the third openly gay Jewish congressman in office.

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World's most powerful: Netanyahu, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg

By Jennifer Lipman, November 4, 2010

The Israeli prime minister has been named the 24th most powerful person in the world by Forbes magazine.

Last year Benjamin Netanyahu was placed at number 46 but he has risen in influence because “as leader of an undeclared nuclear power, [he] remains the biggest menace to Iran's nuclear ambitions.”

However Mr Netanyahu, the only Israeli on the list, is considered one place less powerful than Jewish politician and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who came in at number 23.

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US mid-terms: the Jewish winners and losers

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

It was a mixed result for Jewish politicians as America voted in the 2010 mid-terms.

In what appears to have been the worst results in decades for the Democrats, President Barack Obama’s party has lost its majority in the House of Representatives and suffered defeats in key senate seats.

Richard Blumenthal, despite a tough challenge from the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, and a scandal over his claimed Vietnam record, was elected as the new junior Senator for Connecticut.

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Jewish Republican Cantor set for majority leader role

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

The only Jewish Republican in Congress is set to become the new majority leader of the United States House of Representatives after the party made massive gains at the mid-term elections.

Eric Cantor, who won the Virginia seat he has held since 2000, has been the minority whip since 2008. The Republican landslide means he is expected to step into a more influential role.

The role is the second most powerful in the House leadership. Mr Cantor will take over from Democrat Steny Hoyer.

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Cartoon Kahane is comic book character

By Jennifer Lipman, November 2, 2010

An extremist right-wing rabbi has been made into a comic book cartoon, 20 years after his assassination.

Rabbi Meir Kahane is the "star" of “Miracle Man”, a 50-page graphic novel designed to educate children about his life and political ideology.

It has been published by the Jerusalem-based Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea, set up in 1987 by Rabbi Kahane and now run by his followers.

Its English director Levi Chaden said: “[The comic] is for those who never had the chance to meet him.”

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