World news

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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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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