World news

Beard ban for Orthodox Jewish inmate

By Jennifer Lipman, September 2, 2010

An Orthodox Jewish prisoner in New Hampshire has been banned from growing his beard longer than a quarter of an inch, despite claiming that it is his religious right to do so.

Albert Kuperman, 25, had argued that New Hampshire State Prison’s grooming policy went against his constitutional right to freedom of religion.

But a federal judge ruled that the First Amendment did not extend to facial hair.

Judge Steven McAuliffe said that the prison’s hygiene and security policy came first.


Pregnant woman dies in Hebron shooting

August 31, 2010

At least four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, are reported to have been shot dead in the Hebron region.

Their car came under fire from a passing vehicle at the Beni Naim junction on Highway 60.

Security officials describe it as a well-planned ambush. The attackers are said to have paused to confirm that the victims were dead before fleeing.

Security forces and Magen David Adom ambulances rushed to the scene. Palestinian security forces were also told of the attack, which took place just as the Ramadan fast was ending, and are looking into the incident.


Dita Von Teese sues for antisemitism

By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010

Burlesque artist Dita Von Teese has filed a lawsuit against her former landlord for making antisemitic remarks - despite the fact that she is not Jewish.

Ms Von Teese said the comments came after she told her landlord she was leaving the property and wanted her £3,200 deposit back.

According to court documents filed in Los Angeles, the landlord "went on Mel Gibson-like antisemitic tangents, personally attacking [Ms Von Teese’s] Jewish managers and business managers.”


Holocaust-era deportation archives to be opened

By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010

Records of Jewish people who were deported from France during the Holocaust are to be revealed following a landmark decision by California legislators.

The French state train company SNCF is expected to place a bid to construct a high-speed railway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

But last week, in a bill sponsored by Jewish lawmaker Bob Blumenfield, the California state legislature ruled that all companies bidding for the project had to disclose whether they had a direct role in Holocaust transportation between 1942 and 1944.


Wiesel calls on France to stop Roma deportations

By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010

Elie Wiesel has condemned the French government’s decision to expel Roma immigrants but cautioned that a comparison with the Nazi round-ups was not appropriate.

The Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor described the repatriation of Roma people from France to Romania and Bulgaria as unacceptable.

As a former refugee, Mr Wiesel expressed his solidarity with the Roma and called on French president Nicolas Sarkozy to stop the crackdown.

But he also said: "It is necessary to be careful with the language.

“These Roma are sent to Romania, to Hungary, not to Auschwitz.


Mumbai's terror-hit Chabad House rebuilt

By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010

Work has started on a Chabad House in the Indian city of Mumbai to replace the one damaged during the terror attacks” of November 2008.

At the new centre there will be a memorial to the six people who were killed in Nariman House when Islamist terrorists went on a murderous rampage.

The Chabad emissary Rabbi Gavriel Holztberg and his wife Rivka were killed, along with four visitors to the house. The couple were murdered just days before their infant son’s second birthday.


9/11 mosque opponents ‘demonising Islam'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 30, 2010

The Anti-Defamation League’s national director has criticised opponents of the Ground Zero mosque for using it to justify scare tactics and as an excuse for “outrageous comments about Islam”.

Abraham Foxman, who has previously said the mosque and Islamic centre should be built elsewhere, warned that the controversy was being exploited by some “to demonise Muslims”.

But writing on the Huffington Post website he also said that supporters are wrong to label their opponents as bigoted.


German banker in 'Jewish gene' controversy

By Jennifer Lipman, August 30, 2010

German chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised one of the country’s most influential bankers for his inflammatory remarks about Jewish people.

Jewish leaders called for Thilo Sarrazin to lose his seat on the board of the Bundesbank (German Federal Bank) after he said: “All Jews share a particular gene […] that differentiate them from others."

The 65-year-old, who said the same about Basques, is a polarising figure in Germany because of his right wing views.


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.”


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.”