World news

Rabbis say no to women rabbas

By Paul Berger, April 29, 2010

The world's largest Orthodox rabbinical group has officially said that women cannot be ordained as rabbis.

The Rabbinical Council of America unanimously adopted a resolution during its annual convention clarifying its position on female rabbis, a subject that has roiled Orthodox Judaism in America for months.

Noting the RCA's commitment to "sacred continuity", the resolution said the RCA "cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title."

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Meat-plant boss Rubashkin faces life after kosher fraud

By Paul Berger, April 29, 2010

The former CEO of America's largest kosher slaughterhouse was this week facing the prospect of life in prison.

A jail sentence was expected to be handed down on Thursday, drawing a line under a two-year drama that has shaken the kosher food industry and elevated ethics to a new level in the kosher world.

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Analysis: Why Obama suddenly loves Netanyahu

By Nathan Guttman, April 29, 2010

Last month, the Obama administration chose to go to an extreme when criticising Israel over its settlement activity. Now it is going to the opposite extreme in showing its love for the Jewish state.

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Anne Frank's diary returns to Amsterdam

By Jessica Elgot, April 29, 2010

The surviving manuscript of Anne Frank’s diary has been returned to the once secret annexe in Amsterdam where she and her family hid from Nazi occupation for two years.

The 15-year-old diarist died of typhus at Belsen concentration camp, but her diaries became a worldwide sensation.

Now the manuscript will form part of a permanent display, opened by Holland’s Queen Beatrix, to celebrate 50 years of the Anne Frank House as a museum, and to mark 65 years after Anne’s death.

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Mel Brooks' star, finally on the Walk of Fame

By Jessica Elgot, April 27, 2010

He has won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony award, but now, aged 83, Mel Brooks has finally won a coveted star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

The comedian, scriptwriter, actor and director, most famous for his comedies Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein, declared himself so happy to have won the award he burst into song on the podium.

He is the 2406th celebrity to be given a star on the famous Beverley Hills boulevard, which has been celebrating stars for 50 years.

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Goldstone invited to hold grandson's barmitzvah in California

By Jessica Elgot, April 23, 2010

A San Francisco rabbi has invited Judge Richard Goldstone to have his grandson’s barmitzvah in California, after Judge Goldstone agreed not to attend the barmitzvah in South Africa.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, of Beit Tikkun Synagogue in Berkeley, the founder of Tikkun Magazine, said that both Judge Goldstone and his grandson would be honoured at the barmitzvah in San Francisco.

Judge Goldstone authored the controversial UN report into Operation Cast Lead, finding both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes. He agreed not to attend his grandson’s barmitzvah because of possible protests.

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African 'Jewish' tribe displays its lost ark

By Moira Schneider, April 22, 2010

Members of an African tribe are displaying a sacred object they believe to be the Ark of the Covenant in a Harare museum.

The item is a ngoma, a sacred drum made of wood. According to oral tradition, a ngoma was carried from Israel by the Lemba, a South African tribe who believe they are descendants of Jews from the Middle East. After it burst into flame and was destroyed, another ngoma - the one currently on display - was constructed from the ruins.

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US warns Syria over Hizbollah missiles

By Jessica Elgot, April 20, 2010

Syria’s most senior diplomat in Washington has been summoned to the state department to explain the country’s “provocative behaviour” in apparently transferring scud missiles to Hizbollah.

Zouheir Jabbour, the deputy chief of mission for Syria in Washington, was told that the US condemned his country’s actions.

US state department spokesman Gordon Duguid said: "This was the fourth occasion on which these concerns have been raised to the Syrian embassy in recent months, intended to further amplify our messages communicated to the Syrian government.

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Analysis: How I decide which Nazis we must pursue

By Efraim Zuroff, April 15, 2010

Earlier this week, Israel and the Jewish world marked Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day.

This year, for the ninth time, we used the day to release our annual report on the worldwide investigation and prosecution of Nazi war criminals, and a "Most Wanted" list of Nazi criminals.

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Analysis: On Iran, at least, Bibi and Obama agree

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 15, 2010

Commentators have been competing with each other to come up with the best superlative to describe the apparent crisis in Israel-American relations, but it has gone almost unnoticed that on one very significant issue, President Barack Obama seems to be closer now to Israel's position that the Bush administration.

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