World news

Analysis: Kosher meat ban can affect all of us

By Henry Grunwald, June 24, 2010

I suppose Neville Chamberlain might have described New Zealand as "a small, far-away country" but New Zealand's new animal welfare code could have a major effect on this side of the world.

The code requires animals slaughtered for commercial consumption to be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated "humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge". Stunning disqualifies animals from being kosher and the code is an insult to shechitah, which is at least as humane as any other method of slaughter.


Legal challenge to kosher meat ban

By Dan Goldberg, June 24, 2010

New Zealand's Prime Minister appears to be heading for a legal showdown with the Jewish community over a new law that bans the kosher slaughtering of animals.

The crisis, triggered by the May 27 decision to outlaw shechitah, prompted Jewish leaders to request an urgent meeting with Jewish-born John Key in an attempt to resolve the crisis. But the 30-minute meeting in Auckland last Friday concluded with the six-person delegation informing Mr Key that the small community would be left with "no option" but to take legal action "if there was no solution forthcoming".


NY synagogue bomb plot 'a setup'

By Paul Berger, June 24, 2010

Four Muslim converts accused of plotting to blow up New York synagogues and shoot down US military planes could be freed in a matter of weeks.

The trial of the men, from Newburgh, New York, stalled last week after prosecutors released a report by a federal agent saying that the men never posed a threat.

Judge Colleen McMahon berated prosecutors for not releasing the information earlier and ordered federal lawyers to scour records for similar documents, a process prosecutors say could take months.


Young people don't want to affiliate, laments Reform head

By Paul Berger, June 24, 2010

The chief threat to the Reform movement in America is the reluctance of young Jews to join community institutions, says its outgoing head.

There is a "general process of non-affiliation" rooted in an "anti-institutional era in American life", according to Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism.

"We have to cope with a tide of modernity that has swept over our community. Young people don't tend to be joiners, much less have a tendency to affiliate with an institution. So we need to work hard to overcome those demographic and sociological realities."


Asian Jewry undergoing renaissance

By Jeremy Gillick, June 24, 2010

Erica Lyons runs Asia's brand-new Jewish magazine, Asian Jewish Life, from a small office in central Hong Kong. It is the region's "Jewish cultural headquarters", she jokes with her office mate, a journalist who presides over Hong Kong's Jewish Film Festival.

But while they may poke fun at their fledgling project, the magazine's launch this January is a symptom of real change in Asian Jewry. Whereas far-flung communities in places like India and China are often regarded as exotic relics of the past, Jewish life in the region is undergoing a renaissance.


Kosher meat boss is jailed for 27 years

By Paul Berger, June 24, 2010

The former manager of America's largest kosher slaughterhouse has been jailed for 27 years.

The sentencing of Sholom Rubashkin, a strictly Orthodox Jew, was always going to be controversial. But the severity of the prison term came as a shock to supporters.

Calling the sentence, "unfair, unjust, and excessive", Rubashkin's attorney Guy Cook said he would appeal.

"Twenty-seven years for a 51-year-old man is a life sentence," said Mr Cook. "A life sentence for a first time, white collar offender is beyond the pale."


Anne Frank's cousin slams 'sexed up' novel

By Jessica Elgot, June 24, 2010

Jewish Holocaust charities and Anne Frank's only living relative have criticised a new novel which suggests that Anne had a sexual relationship with the boy who was in hiding with her.

But the book's publisher, Klaus Flugge, hit back at critics of Sharon Dogar's Annexed, an imaginary diary by Peter van Pels which relates some of Anne's reflections, but from the boy's point of view.


Ex-Hasmo boy jailed for child sex assaults

June 24, 2010

Former Hasmonean pupil has been jailed in the US for five years after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting children.

Miles Esterson, 28, was arrested in July in Florida, along with convicted sex offender, 45-year-old Jerry Wiley.

Esterson, who worked at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls in Elstree until 2008 and lived in Finchley, north west London, was found guilty earlier this month of performing sex acts on three boys under the age of 12 over the past two years.


Irish government rejects Israel boycott

By Robyn Rosen, June 24, 2010

There is "no possibility whatsoever" that Ireland will call for trade sanctions and boycotts against Israel, its Foreign Minister has announced.

Members of the Joint Committee on European Affairs met in Leinster House, Dublin, on Tuesday to discuss Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which states that relations should be based on respect for human rights.

Foreign Minister Micheál Martin said he was a "consistent critic" of the blockade against Gaza, but believed that boycotting Israel would be futile.


The baby born on the Nazi camp train

June 24, 2010

Helga Weissova-Hoskova, a survivor from Prague, was recalling one of the Nazis' last acts. In April 1945, aged 14, she was being shunted on a train with several hundred women to the death camp of Mauthausen in Austria.

One woman tried to hide the child that had been born just before she boarded. Four others were close to giving birth. All knew that arriving in a camp with a baby almost certainly meant death.

But as Mrs Weissova-Hoskova retold those events in London's Wigmore Hall on Saturday, there was an interruption from the audience. A woman sprang out of her seat and announced, to