World news

Airline stop rabbi for 'suspicious' shofar

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 2, 2010

An Israeli rabbi narrowly escaped arrest after being stopped by security officers at Munich airport for carrying a shofar.

Airport officials pulled aside Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, who is in his late 50s, and asked him to explain the religious article while arriving on a flight from Tel-Aviv on Monday night. Rabbi Halperin was visiting his daughter Esther Chitrik who lives in Nuremberg and works as an Chabad emissary in the city.

"He was in a bit of a panic," said Gigi Mechlowitz, a fellow Jewish passenger from Manchester, who stopped to help.

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The Chasidic fashion label

By Paul Berger, September 2, 2010

Christina Højris Ottosen is sitting in an artist's studio in a former industrial area on Copenhagen's waterfront.

Spread across a table in front of the 27-year-old fashion designer are images of a male model in tight black trousers, billowing, knee-length frock coats and a variety of wide-brimmed hats.

The inspiration is quite obviously Chasidic. The clothes are anything but modest.

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Australian Jews boycott 'anti-Israel' newspaper

By Dan Goldberg, September 2, 2010

Incensed Jewish leaders in Melbourne have severed ties with the city's major broadsheet newspaper, accusing it of "clear and consistent vilification of the world's only Jewish state".

Jewish Community Council of Victoria president John Searle and Zionist Council of Victoria president Dr Danny Lamm issued a joint statement last week accusing The Age newspaper of pursuing a continued "war of words against Israel".

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Bangladesh's Muslim Zionist on trial

By Brian Sacks, September 2, 2010

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury certainly stands out in his native Bangladesh: he is a Muslim Zionist.

But unlike several other Zionist dissidents from Muslim countries, like the PA's Walid Shoebat, who converted to Christianity and now lives in the United States, he has not renounced Islam and he has not moved to the West.

Mr Choudhury believes that he can fight for his cause most effectively from within Islam and within his own country, and rejects the offers of political asylum that would guarantee his own safety.

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Berlin shul's money problems

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

German authorities have stopped the flow of public funds to the country's only independent Jewish congregation, reportedly due to the failure to submit audited accounts covering 2001-2006.

Adass Yisroel, a traditional congregation in Berlin, is also facing a demand by the Berlin Senate that it repay about 204,000 euros in state subsidies.

Almost every German congregation, of every denomination, belongs to a "united community" structure, which in each city hires and fires rabbis and maintains old-age homes, schools and education programmes.

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Obama's Israel record is mid-terms issue

By Nathan Guttman, September 2, 2010

Israel has become a major factor in the upcoming mid-term elections, with Democratic candidates being forced to defend President Obama's Middle East record and occasionally dissociate from him entirely.

It first became clear that Israel was going to be a weak spot for the Democrats several months ago, when Congressman Henry Waxman, undoubtedly the senior and most powerful Jewish lawmaker in the House of Representatives, published a piece in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal denying that the president had mistreated the Jewish state.

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New rabbis for German Jewish community

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

Two young rabbis were ordained in ceremonies in Leipzig on Sunday, in another sign of the revival of Jewish life in Germany.

Shlomo Afanasev and Moshe Baumel, students of the Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin, received their semichah in ceremonies at the historic synagogue of Leipzig.

They are the second pair of rabbis trained at this Orthodox school, a programme of the US-based Ronald S Lauder Foundation, which is under the supervision of Rabbi Chanoch Ehrentreu of London.

Both new rabbis were born in the former Soviet Union, reflecting the demographics of Germany's Jewish community.

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New Israel Fund may drop anti-Zionist donors

By Nathan Guttman, September 2, 2010

The New Israel Fund is examining new grant-giving guidelines following a barrage of attacks from Israeli right-wing groups.

One of the key clauses being considered by the board and key donors would compel non-profit groups that wish to receive grants from the Fund to accept, to a certain extent, the principle of Israel being a Jewish state.

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Controversial German banker claims Jews share gene

By Toby Axelrod, September 2, 2010

The author of a new book on the future of Germany has caused a major stir by claiming that all Jews share the same genetic make-up and espousing theories of racial superiority, according to which Jews are among those who have high-class genes.

Jewish and Turkish leaders have decried the doomsday book, Deutschland schafft sich ab ("Germany abolishes itself"), which also blames the country's problems on Muslim immigrants.

There have been calls for the author, former Berlin finance minister Thilo Sarrazin, to resign from his current position on the board of Germany's central bank.

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Beard ban for Orthodox Jewish inmate

By Jennifer Lipman, September 2, 2010

An Orthodox Jewish prisoner in New Hampshire has been banned from growing his beard longer than a quarter of an inch, despite claiming that it is his religious right to do so.

Albert Kuperman, 25, had argued that New Hampshire State Prison’s grooming policy went against his constitutional right to freedom of religion.

But a federal judge ruled that the First Amendment did not extend to facial hair.

Judge Steven McAuliffe said that the prison’s hygiene and security policy came first.

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