World news

JFK speechwriter Sorenson dies

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Theodore Sorensen, John F Kennedy’s speechwriter, has died at the age of 82.

Mr Sorenson, whose mother Annis Chaikin was of Russian Jewish descent, died in New York following a stroke.
He joined the future president’s senatorial staff in 1953, when he was 25 and just out of law school.

He worked with President Kennedy during the 1960 presidential election and was one of the main figures in what came to be known as Camelot.

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Security high after Chicago synagogue cargo bomb threat

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

Security has been stepped up at Jewish organisations in Chicago following the attempt to mail two bombs to synagogues in the city.

Jewish groups across the United States are on high alert after two packages containing explosive material hidden inside printer cartridges were intercepted on planes coming out of Dubai and East Midlands airports.

John Brennan, the US deputy national security adviser, has cautioned that there might be more attempts of the same type.

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European spat over oligarch role

By Jenni Frazer, October 29, 2010

Three leading members of the European Council of Jewish Communities board resigned this week at the organisation’s Presidents’ Conference in Berlin, in protest at the nomination of Ukrainian oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky, as incoming leader of the ECJC.

Jaws dropped in the plenary session of the conference when the British-based president for the last six years, Jonathan Joseph, announced that the ECJC “had the opportunity to elect as our new president a person from the east — a man with the financial resources” to make the organisation viable once more.

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Hizbollah leaks signal Lebanon escalation

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 28, 2010

The detailed account of the Hizbollah missile shipments that appeared this week in Le Figaro is another indication of the escalation in the intelligence war being waged by the West against the Iran-Syria-Hizbollah axis.

According to the French newspaper, special Hizbollah units are operating in Syrian and Lebanon to prepare launching sites for an attack on Israel.

The report that appeared in Le Figaro on Monday was attributed to sources in the French Defence Ministry.

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Monopoly, Cluedo, Holocaust the board game?

By Jessica Elgot, October 28, 2010

A video-games designer has created a disturbing board game to teach players difficult lessons about complicity in the Holocaust.

Brenda Brathwaite, the creative director of Lolapps in San Francisco, is exhibiting her board game "Train" at US exhibitions and universities.

And now she is planning to demonstrate it in the UK next year.

The game is simple: players put human-shaped yellow figures into train carriages without realising until later that they are sending them to death camps.

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Fiddler on the Roof writer dies

By Jennifer Lipman, October 27, 2010

The writer behind the stage and screen versions of the musical Fiddler on the Roof has died at the age of 98.

Playwright Joseph Stein, who won a prestigious Tony award in 1965 for the Broadway hit, had been suffering from prostate cancer. He died in New York.

Born to Polish immigrants to New York, he worked with Woody Allen and Mel Brooks, and wrote for both radio and television.

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Ukrainian billionaire is European community leader

By Jennifer Lipman, October 26, 2010

A Ukrainian billionaire has been chosen to take charge of the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC).

Igor Kolomoisky was appointed as the organisation’s president at the annual ECJC conference in Berlin.

He succeeds Jonathan Joseph, the London-based businessman who has been ECJC president since 2004.

The ECJC represents Jewish people in around 40 countries, not only those in the EU but also some of the countries of the former Soviet Union.

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Chilean president makes Nazi gaffe in Berlin

By Jennifer Lipman, October 26, 2010

The Chilean president has apologised for writing a phrase associated with the Nazis in a message to the German government while on a state visit.

President Sebastian Pinera wrote in the government’s guest book the slogan “Deutschland uber alles" which translates as “Germany above all.”

The phrase was used by Nazi politicians during the Third Reich and after the Second World War was removed from the German national anthem because of its connotations.

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Catholic who took Jewish daughter to mass cleared

By Jennifer Lipman, October 21, 2010

A Catholic man from Chicago who took his Jewish daughter to midnight mass has been cleared of contempt of court.

Joseph Reyes's ex-wife Rebecca Shapiro applied for a restraining order in 2009 to prevent him from exposing their three-year-old daughter to any religion other than Judaism.

The couple was embroiled in a custody battle at the time.

Mr Reyes had previously arranged for Ela to be baptised and even sent his former wife a photograph of the ceremony.

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New York Shul attackers planned missile launch

By Paul Berger, October 21, 2010

Four Muslim converts have been found guilty of attempting to blow up two New York synagogues and to shoot down military planes.

After eight days of deliberations, a New York jury this week returned
a verdict of guilty on all eight counts against James Cromitie, 44, and David Williams, 29. The charges included attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Onta Williams, 34, and Laguerre Payen, 29, were acquitted of attempting to kill officers and other employees of the United States. They were convicted on the remaining seven counts.

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