World news

Interpol issues notices for 16 more Dubai suspects

By Jessica Elgot, March 8, 2010

Interpol has released 16 more Red Notices for the assassins involved in the murder of Hamas’s Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

Twenty-seven notices, which are not the same as international arrest warrants, have so far been issued for the suspects. Instead, they give details of the accused, to be disseminated worldwide, and request that they be arrested.

Interpol’s website shows pictures of the 27 suspects it wishes to trace, with their offence listed as “crimes against life and health”.

More..

Jewish man's body found in Haiti

By Jessica Elgot, March 8, 2010

The body of a Jewish man has finally been recovered from the rubble of the Haiti earthquake, nearly two months after being reported missing.

Canadian Alexander Shmuel Bitton, 37, died after the Montana Hotel, where he was staying on a business trip, collapsed as the earthquake hit Haiti.

This week, Israeli rescue volunteers ZAKA recovered a body which carried Mr Bitton’s passport.

The body has been transferred to the United Nations facility in Haiti to be formally identified.

More..

The Oscars 2010: winners, and mainly losers

By Tom Tugend, March 8, 2010

If Hollywood is dominated by Jews, it sure let our side down.

The third time was to be the charm for Israel’s entry in the best foreign-language film competition. While the highly touted Ajami made it to the five finalists list, the prize went to Argentina’s El Secreto de sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes).

More..

Irish minister visits Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, March 5, 2010

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Micheál Martin has called the situation in Gaza “inhumane and unacceptable” after a visit to the region.

Mr Martin, who is the first European Union foreign minister to visit the Gaza Strip in over a year, has called on the EU to put pressure on Israel to end its blockade of Gaza.

Writing in the International Herald Tribune, Mr Martin said: “The tragedy of Gaza is that it is fast in danger of becoming a tolerated humanitarian crisis.”

More..

Hamas bans male hairdressers in Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, March 5, 2010

Hamas will ban male hairdressers from working in women’s hair salons in the latest bid to impose stricter Islamic law in the Gaza strip.

The Interior Ministry, which announced the new law, has warned of stern consequences for anyone found disobeying.

Islamic women are traditionally not allowed to show their hair to men who are not members of their family.

More..

Brittany Murphy’s husband to quit LA

By Robyn Rosen, March 4, 2010

The British husband of actress Brittany Murphy will be moving out of their £5 million Hollywood home after being left out of her will - which he says was his choice.

Ms Murphy, the star of Clueless died last year of pneumonia at the Los Angeles home she shared with Simon Monjack, 39, and her mother, Sharon.

This week it was revealed that she had left all of her assets, including her house, to her mother. She and Mr Monjack are now expected to relocate to New York and share custody of Brittany's Maltese puppy, Clara.

More..

Rabbi finance arrests may be 'down to ignorance'

By Ellen Tumposky, March 4, 2010

A string of arrests of Orthodox rabbis and leaders in the US, accused of financial crimes, has raised concerns in the community and sparked debate about whether a spirit of corruption or an other-worldy naivete about money underlies the apparent crime spree.

The arrests include that of Jewish school director Rabbi Milton Balkany, a prominent director of a Jewish school who is accused of trying to extort a hedge fund; the Spinka Grand Rebbe, who got two years for tax fraud; and five rabbis arrested in a New Jersey money-laundering scandal.

More..

Secular Judaism bounces back in US

By Sue Fishkoff, March 4, 2010

When Mark Neuman of Vancouver celebrated his barmitzvah seven years ago at the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture, he did not read from Torah, wear a kippah or say Hebrew blessings - he gave a talk on the psychology of Jewish humour.

That's how bar- and batmitzvahs are marked in the Congress of Secular Jewish Organisations, a loose-knit association of about two dozen North American communities that celebrate Jewish history and culture while disavowing Jewish ritual and belief in God.

More..

Turkish authorities stall rabbi election

By Sami Kohen, March 4, 2010

The Turkish Chief Rabbi, Isak Haleva, has complained to the government after it stalled for months on authorising elections for a new holder of the office.

Rabbi Haleva's seven-year term of office expired last autumn, but elections could not be held because of a row between the Turkish authorities and the community over the official title of the post.

The authorities refused, for reasons that were never explained, to allow the next holder of the post to be called "Chief rabbi of Turkey", and insisted instead on simply "Chief rabbi".

More..

Rabbi faces expulsion for ordaining woman

By Paul Berger, March 4, 2010

A rabbi faces possible expulsion from the world's largest Orthodox rabbinical organisation for ordaining a female Orthodox rabbi.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, of New York, conferred the title "Rabbah" on Sara Hurwitz last month.

One of Rabbi Weiss's employees told NY Jewish Week that the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) may now convene an ethics committee to decide how to respond.

The committee has the power to expel Rabbi Weiss from the RCA.

More..