World news

Australia elects Jewish politicians

By Jennifer Lipman, August 23, 2010

As Australia faces its first hung parliament since the 1940s, three Jewish politicians are celebrating their election to the country’s federal parliament.

Michael Danby and Mark Dreyfus are among those who have won seats for the Labor incumbents, while Joshua Frydenberg was elected for the Liberal opposition.

Mr Frydenberg, a former banker who attended Jewish schools and studied at Oxford University, won the safe seat of Kooyong in Melbourne.

Kooyong has never been held by a Jewish politician before, while there has not been a Liberal Jewish politician in nearly two decades.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal's hysterical new film

By Jennifer Lipman, August 20, 2010

Hollywood actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is to star in a film about the invention of the vibrator.

In the upcoming film Hysteria, the Jewish actress will play the daughter of a doctor whose specialty is curing women of hysteria – in an unorthodox fashion.

The script is based on a true story, and follows a love affair between her character and one of her father’s assistants.

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Menorahs in the mist: Uganda's lost Jews

By Simon Rocker, August 19, 2010

When Ros Eisen planned a trip to see the rare mountain gorillas of Uganda, little did she know that it would turn into a one-woman aid mission to one of the world's most remote Jewish communities.

The Jews of Putti village set up on their own a few years ago because the Abayudaya community of eastern Uganda was not Orthodox enough.

Ms Eisen, a retired businesswoman from Belsize Park, north-west London, wanted to spend a few extra days in Uganda at the end of her safari. "I starting fiddling on Google and found the Putti Jews - I knew absolutely nothing about them," she said.

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Australian candidates battle for Jewish vote

By Dan Goldberg, August 19, 2010

A London-born, Oxford-educated Catholic who once trained to be a priest, or a Welsh-born, unmarried woman who is a self-confessed atheist?

That's the choice facing Australians - among them 110,000 Jews - this weekend in a federal election that polls predict will be a photo finish.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose bloodless coup toppled Labor leader Kevin Rudd two months ago, is pitted against Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party leader once nicknamed the "mad monk" after a slew of brutish remarks.

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FBI arrest Orthodox 'fraudster'

By Paul Berger, August 19, 2010

An American property developer who allegedly defrauded British Jews out of millions of pounds has been arrested by the FBI.

Eliyahu Weinstein, 35, lost a civil case earlier this month against London property tycoon Berish Berger, who had been swindled out of £23 million.

At least two members of Stamford Hill's Jewish community continue to pursue multi-million pound lawsuits against Weinstein in the US, following property deals that went sour.

Last week, FBI agents arrested Weinstein, who lives in the Orthodox enclave of Lakewood, New Jersey.

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Israelis help Romania after baby unit fire

By Jennifer Lipman, August 18, 2010

An Israeli medical team has launched an emergency mission to help save the lives of seven Romanian babies injured in a fire.

Ten Israeli doctors have arrived in Bucharest following a fire in a children's hospital which left four babies dead.

Seven others are critically ill with up to 80 per cent burns on their bodies after the blaze spread through an intensive care unit.

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English prof in Starbucks bagel broiges

By Jennifer Lipman, August 17, 2010

A New York English professor taught a Starbucks barista a lesson because, she complained, she had been asked about what she wanted on her bagel in a grammatically incorrect way.

Lynne Rosenthal, an academic at Mercy College with a Phd from Columbia University, was forcibly removed form an Upper West Side branch of the coffee chain for allegedly calling the barista “an a***hole."

The 60-something had ordered a toasted multigrain bagel, but would not specify her non-choice of topping.

She was told: “You're not going to get anything unless you say butter or cheese!"

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Mazel tov from Obama, Schwarzenegger and the Queen

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

It would have been a guest list like no other, had all those invited to Travis’ barmitzvah been able to attend.

Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth and the late Charlton Heston were just some of the big names who made the list.

Sadly all the politicians, statesmen and celebrities who were sent invitations to the party in August 2007 by Travis’ father Gregory declined.

But 41 at least had the courtesy to reply and, after seeing another web user boast about a wedding message from the president, Travis has posted the responses online.

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Pot and prayer: rabbi’s cannabis plan

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

A rabbi and his wife are attempting to set up the first medical marijuana centre in Washington DC.

According to Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn, decriminalising use of the drug “is an important religious issue.”

He and his wife Stephanie, a nurse, have applied for a licence to open the “zen-like but simple and classy” Takoma Wellness Centre in America’s capital.

And rather than a traditional marijuana leaf motif to identify their shop, the Kahns want to use the Middle Eastern hamsa symbol as the logo.

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'Mossad man' free to leave Germany

By Jennifer Lipman, August 13, 2010

A man alleged to be a Mossad agent has been released on bail by a German court and is free to return to Israel.

Uri Brodsky, arrested in Poland in June on suspicion of involvement in the killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai, will not stand trial in Germany.

A Cologne court said the case would now be dealt with by written proceedings and added that Mr Brodsky would probably face a fine rather than a jail sentence.

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