World news

Top prize for 'Hitler' at Australian school

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

The head teacher of an Australian school has issued an apology after awarding a child dressed as Adolf Hitler a prize for best costume.

At a fancy dress event at the Catholic primary school in Perth a pupil arrived dressed as the Nazi leader. Staff judged the costume, complete with swastika, as worthy of first place in the competition.

After parents complained about the decision the school sent out a letter of explanation, describing the costume and prize as “inappropriate.”

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Glee's Lea Michele: 'too ethnic'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

Lea Michele has revealed that she was told she was “too ethnic” when she went to auditions.

The Jewish star, who plays the lead in Glee, also said casting directors told her she was not pretty enough.

But the 23-year-old said it was her admiration of another Jewish singer that helped win her the part of Rachel Berry.

“I met Ryan [Murphy, Glee’s creator] and we just had a great night talking about Barbra Streisand and our shared love for her.”

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Appeal for shul vandalised with pig's head

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

A businessman from London has launched a charity appeal after extremists left a pig’s head with a star of David carved on it at a Lithuanian synagogue.

Moshe Katz, who runs an IT company in Wimbledon, is hoping to raise enough money for CCTV equipment to guard against future attacks.

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Daniel Pearl's father: don't build mosque

By Jennifer Lipman, August 26, 2010

The father of a Jewish journalist murdered by terrorists in Pakistan has voiced his opposition to the plan to build a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks.

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Analysis: The West is downplaying Iran's reactor at its peril

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, August 26, 2010

Last week's feeding of fuel into Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor came as a surprise. For years, Russia dragged its feet and found recurrent excuses to delay the completion of the Bushehr project. The ceremony marking the start of the reactor last Saturday indicates the last obstacle has now been removed.

Why Russia decided to proceed is open to debate - though one can surmise that Moscow wished to register its discontent with the autonomous sanctions that the US, Europe and other Western countries recently adopted against Iran's energy sector.

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Amnesty head calls Israel 'scum state'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010

The chairman of human rights organisation Amnesty International in Finland has described Israel as a “scum state”, prompting a call for him to resign.

Frank Johansson made the comment on a blog the Finnish tabloid newspaper Iltalehti.

The phrase used by Mr Johansson was “Israel on nikkimaa”, which one Finnish blogger also translated as meaning “punk”.

Referring to discussions with a friend who had lived in Israel for several years, he added: “he has come to the conclusion that 'Israel is a scum state.'

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Hoffman, Streisand, Stiller film together again

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010

Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller are to be reunited on screen.

The trio are all set to appear in Little Fockers, the third installation in the successful Meet the Parents series.

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Anne Frank tree lives on

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010

The chestnut tree which comforted Anne Frank while she was in hiding from the Nazis may survive despite being toppled by a storm.

The teenage diarist could see the tree from her family’s Amsterdam hiding place, and in her two years she spent there before being sent to Bergen-Belsen she wrote of admiring it “nearly every morning”.

Anne wrote: “As long as this exists...I cannot be unhappy."

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Extremists target Lithuanian synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, August 24, 2010

Lithuanian Jews have expressed their shock after vandals left a pig’s head with a star of David carved on it outside a synagogue in the city of Kaunas.

Community leaders said they believed it was left there by a neo-Nazi organisation.

The head, discovered on Shabbat, was left under a black Hasidic hat with peyot (sidelocks) attached to it. Police said they have launched a formal investigation but do not yet have any suspects.

The synagogue, which dates back to the 1870s, is still in use although Kaunas’s Jewish population has fallen to less than 500 people.

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Justin Long's not very kosher film

By Jennifer Lipman, August 24, 2010

Actor Justin Long has revealed the kosher conundrum at the centre of his new film Going the Distance.

Scenes from the comedy film, which also stars Drew Barrymore, were shot at the home of an Orthodox Jewish couple from Queens in New York.

But the script called for Mr Long’s character to eat a hamburger at their dining room table.

“The prop guy was making the burgers on the grill that they owned. They found out about it and got very upset because it was not kosher food.”

However he said the studio replaced the grill and utensils after the shoot.

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