World news

Sex tapes rock the Orthodox

By Paul Berger, December 23, 2009

Recordings of sexually explicit conversations, apparently between a strictly Orthodox rabbi and a woman he was helping convert to Judaism, are rocking the entire Orthodox world.

New York Rabbi Leib Tropper resigned earlier this month from the organisation he founded, Eternal Jewish Family (EJF), after posters appeared in Orthodox neighbourhoods of Jerusalem insinuating that he had committed sexual indiscretions.


Demjanjuk 'not fragile', say experts

By Toby Axelrod, December 23, 2009

The war crimes trial of John Demjanjuk has resumed and is no less bizarre than when it started three weeks ago.

Demjanjuk, 89, is charged with being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews, as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in 1943. Each day he is rolled into the Munich District courtroom in a wheelchair or on a gurney, wrapped in a blanket. But medical expert witnesses have assured the court he is neither frail nor senile, but simply old.


Jimmy Carter: 'Sorry for stigmatising Israel'

December 23, 2009

Former American President Jimmy Carter has offered an apology for “any words or deeds” of his that have stigmatised Israel.


Auschwitz thieves show how they stole sign

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Three men who have confessed to stealing the Arbeit Macht Frei sign from the entrance gates of Auschwitz have re-enacted the theft for police.

Police found the 16-foot wrought-iron sign cut into three pieces on Sunday evening in northern Poland and arrested five men, aged in their 20s and 30s.

It had been stolen before 5 o’clock on Friday morning and had been unscrewed on one side and then wrenched off.


Brittany Murphy dies at 32

By Robyn Rosen, December 21, 2009

Brittany Murphy, the 32-year-old halachically Jewish actress and star of Clueless and 8 Mile, has died.

Ms Murphy, whose mother, Sharon, is Ashkenazi-Jewish, was reportedly transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles yesterday morning after collapsing in the shower, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

In May 2007, Ms Murphy married British Jewish screenwriter Simon Monjack in a small Jewish ceremony in Los Angeles.


Stolen Auschwitz sign found

By Robyn Rosen, December 21, 2009

The “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign which was stolen from the entrance gate of Auschwitz has been found, cut into three pieces.

The 16-foot wrought-iron sign was recovered last night in northern Poland by police who arrested five men, aged in their 20s and 30s.

It had been stolen before 5 o’clock on Friday morning and had been unscrewed on one side and then wrenched off.

Andrzej Rokita, district police chief in the city of Krakow, said: “We can say that none of the five are members of a neo-Nazi group. Their intent was undoubtedly robbery-related.”


Auschwitz sign stolen

By Jessica Elgot, December 18, 2009

The wrought-iron sign above the entrance to Auschwitz with the infamous slogan ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ has been stolen.

The sign, which is believed to have been stolen before 5 o’clock this morning using a ladder, had been unscrewed on one side and then wrenched off.

The theft is the first major act of vandalism to be committed on the site, which stands as a memorial to the six million Jews and other miniorities murderd by the Nazis.


Reform is too frum for us, say members

By Sue Fishkoff, December 17, 2009

For the past decade, the American Reform movement has been engaged in a re-evaluation of traditional rituals, from Shabbat to kashrut. There is more Hebrew in the services, more yarmulkes, more interest in using mitzvot to bring holiness to the mundane.

But now, a small group of mainly older Reform Jews is resisting. They say this growing interest in ritual observance is a betrayal of Reform’s original rationalist approach to faith, and is putting the movement on the slippery slope towards Orthodoxy.


Lieberman causes uproar over Obama health bill

By Nathan Guttman, December 17, 2009

Full page ads in Jewish newspapers and banners popping up on Jewish community websites made it clear that Senator Joseph Lieberman, once an icon of Jewish politics, is now at odds not only with his former Democratic Party, but also with his own Jewish community.


Roger Cohen - new target of New York Jews' fury

By Paul Berger, December 17, 2009

It’s been quite a year for Roger Cohen. The British-born New York Times columnist has been called a “self-hating Jew” and accused of attempting to “undermine American solidarity with Israel”. The editor of America’s largest Jewish paper, the New York Jewish Week, even wondered whether his heart had “become brutal”.

Mr Cohen’s crime: a succession of columns sharply criticising Israel and presenting an alternative view of Iran.

“I don’t set out to be provocative,” Mr Cohen says, from his home in Brooklyn. “I set out to write what I believe.”