World news

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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Uganda rabbi hopes to be first Jew in parliament

By Jennifer Lipman, November 26, 2010

A Ugandan Jew who grew up under Idi Amin is aiming to become the first member of his community to be elected to the country's parliament.

When Ugandans go to the polls in February Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, 41, hopes to be chosen to represent the mostly Muslim area of Bungonkho North, in the city of Mbale.

Rabbi Sizomu, whose brother served two terms in regional office, has already been endorsed by Uganda's main opposition party and has the support of several leading politicians.

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Three charged over Auschwitz sign theft

By Jessica Elgot, November 26, 2010

A Swedish man with alleged neo-Nazi ties has been charged with stealing the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign from Auschwitz.

Anders Hogstrom was extradited to Poland in April. He has been charged alongside two Poles, who have been identified as Andrzej S. and Marcin A.

Prosecutors in Krakow said all three men had already confessed and agreed to serve sentences of around two-and-a-half years. If the court accepts their plea bargins, they could be sentenced immediately without trial.

Hogstrom is expected to serve in a Swedish jail if convicted.

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US blasts Israel on religious freedom

By Paul Berger, November 25, 2010

The State of Israel discriminates against non-Orthodox Jews and non-Jews, according to a US State Department report.

The critical assessment is included in the department's Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, released last week.

Among the many criticisms, the report found that Israeli state funding favours the Orthodox and that the government puts greater resources into Jewish holy places than other religious sites.

Eight countries - Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan - gave the US most cause for concern.

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Doughnut eater scores Facebook hole-in-one

November 25, 2010

There is a new cult activity on the internet - watching how many doughnuts a Chanucah-obsessed Israeli can eat.

Elie Klein, a 30-year-old father-of-two from Beit Shemesh, has Facebook users from all over the world following his doughnut consumption, and pledging big money to charities for each fried 500-calorie snack he eats.

On Wednesday, after around a week of doughnut-eating and with six full days to go before the first Chanucah light, he had already eaten 30 doughnuts and was raising 322 shekels - more than £50 - for each.

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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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Finally, Britain to end arrest threat to visiting Israelis

By Martin Bright, November 25, 2010

Measures to stop magistrates issuing arrest warrants for foreign politicians and military figures accused of war crimes could be introduced as early as next week.

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Matisyahu takes on Adam Sandler with new Chanucah song

By Jennifer Lipman, November 24, 2010

The Grammy-nominated Orthodox Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu has released a Chanucah song Jewish kids can “be proud of.”

The new tune Miracle is one of the tracks that can be heard on Festival of Light, the musician’s fifth Chanuach compilation.

It has been produced by Kool Kojak, who has worked with stars including Katy Perry and Ke$ha.

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Dirty Dancing star triumphs over Sarah Palin's daughter

By Jennifer Lipman, November 24, 2010

Despite the efforts of her mother’s supporters, Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol lost out to Jewish actress Jennifer Grey in the final of the popular American reality series Dancing With the Stars.

Ms Grey, best known for her role as shy Jewish teenager Baby in the 1987 hit Dirty Dancing, gained full marks from the programme’s three judges to win the top spot.

Critics had said previously that Ms Palin, 20, had stayed in the competition because of a campaign by fans of the former vice presidential candidate.

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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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