World news

US Jews call for kindness

By Simon Rocker, November 11, 2010

A leading American Jewish organisation has launched a campaign to get Jews to speak more kindly to each other, alarmed by the fractious tone that has crept into community debate.

More than 150 rabbis and community leaders have signed up to the Statement of Civility issued by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), which wants to encourage a "respectful and healthy debate" without acrimony.

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Rally to mark 1,600 days since Gilad Shalit kidnap

By Jennifer Lipman, November 11, 2010

A rally is to be held in Washington DC today marking 1,600 days since Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas.

Organisers are hoping to attract at least the same number of people to the humanitarian rally for the soldier, who has been in captivity since June 25 2006.

His parents, Noam and Aviva Shalit, have been camped outside of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem since June, in an attempt to pressure the government into striking a deal for their son’s release.

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Controversy over anti-Israel Kristallnacht speaker

By Jennifer Lipman, November 10, 2010

The choice of a writer seen to be disproportionately critical of Israel as the speaker at a Kristallnacht memorial ceremony has been described as “unnecessary”.

German-French academic Alfred Grosser was invited by Frankfurt Mayor Petra Roth to speak at an event on Tuesday evening marking 72 years since the pogrom.

Members of the German Jewish community had warned that they might walk out of the talk in protest at his invitation but did not do so.

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Controversy over anti-Israel Kristallnacht speaker

By Jennifer Lipman, November 10, 2010

The choice of a writer seen to be disproportionately critical of Israel as the speaker at a Kristallnacht memorial ceremony has been described as “unnecessary”.

German-French academic Alfred Grosser was invited by Frankfurt Mayor Petra Roth to speak at an event on Tuesday evening marking 72 years since the pogrom.

Members of the German Jewish community had warned that they might walk out of the talk in protest at his invitation but did not do so.

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Brittany Murphy's mum writing biography

By Jennifer Lipman, November 10, 2010

The mother of the late Brittany Murphy has announced that she is to write a biography of her daughter.

Sharon Murphy, who is Ashkenazi Jewish, said the biography would be an accurate account of her daughter’s “life, loves, and career."

Ms Murphy, an actress famous for roles in Clueless and 8 Mile, died in December 2009 at the age of 32.

Her husband, British Jewish screenwriter Simon Monjack, died five months later from acute pneumonia.

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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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Rachel Weisz and Darren Aronofsky split up

By Jennifer Lipman, November 9, 2010

Hollywood couple Rachel Weisz and Darren Aronofsky have broken off their engagement after nine years together.

The Jewish actress and director, who have a three-year-old son, separated earlier this year but kept their break up quiet.

Ms Weisz, star of The Mummy and The Lovely Bones, has been linked to James Bond actor Daniel Craig by gossip website TMZ.

The pair worked together in February and March of this year on the film Dream House.

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New database to strengthen Holocaust research

By Jennifer Lipman, November 9, 2010

A database bringing together documents on the Holocaust from across Europe is to be launched next week.

The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI), which has cost more than £6 million, will collate archive and research material on the Nazis from Israel and 12 European countries.

The information, from millions of documents, will be searchable through 5,000 keywords.

Israel’s education minister, Gideon Sa’ar, will be in Belgium for the project's opening on November 16.

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Canadian PM: I will always stand up for Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, November 9, 2010

The Canadian Prime Minister has said that his country will support Israel “whatever the cost”.

Speaking at a conference on combating antisemitism in Ottawa, Stephen Harper said that while Israel may be subjected to “fair criticism”, there was a moral obligation to take a stand against “demonisation, double standards, delegitimisation.”

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Art buried since Holocaust to go on show

By Jennifer Lipman, November 8, 2010

Several pieces of artwork considered as “deviant” by the Nazis have been unearthed in Berlin.

The 11 sculptures, discovered when a construction team began digging a new railway line in the German capital, were thought to have been destroyed after the Holocaust.

But the terracotta and bronze statues, including one of a mother with her child and another of a woman stretching, were hidden underneath the site of a building destroyed in a fire in 1944.

The pieces were part of a collection of 15,000 artworks deemed to go against Nazi ideology or to contain degenerate sexual elements.

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