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December 17, 2017 - The stone foundation for the synagogue in Podgorica was laid

The Presidents of the Jewish communities of Belgrade and Zemun, Danilo Medić and Nenad Fogel, were the only representatives from Serbia (and EX YU space) who attended the laying of the foundation stone in Podgorica, the first synagogue to be built after the Second World War on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

Report from the RTCG site (in Serbian)
Video from thw FaceBook page of the Jerusalem Posta(57 min)

Lazio will send fans on educational trips to Auschwitz after anti-Semitic graffiti

In an attempt to combat repeated anti-Semitism from its fans, Lazio president Claudio Lotito announced Tuesday that the Italian club will organize “an annual trip to Auschwitz for 200 Lazio fans to educate and make sure we don’t forget certain episodes.”
Lotito announced the initiative at an event at a Rome synagogue two days after Lazio fans littered the Stadio Olimpico stands with anti-Semitic graffiti during the club’s Serie A game against Cagliari. The fans left images that depicted Holocaust victim Anne Frank in a jersey of local rival Roma, and posted anti-Semitic slogans. Lazio shares the stadium with Roma.
Lazio also announced that, in addition to the Auschwitz initiative, the club will wear jerseys with an image of Anne Frank on them for its Wednesday game against Bologna.
The Italian soccer federation also announced that a passage from Anne Frank’s diary will be read before matches this week in the wake of the Lazio fans’ behavior. A minute of silence will also be observed before this week’s games...
More at the the Yahoo Sport site (October 24, 2017)

Israeli race car driver wins European NASCAR championship
Alon Day made history when he became the first Israeli to win NASCAR’s European circuit

Israeli race car driver Alon Day became the first Israeli competitor to win a NASCAR series Sunday, placing first in the American motorsports giant’s European circuit.
“It is such an amazing feeling! We were trying so hard the past three years to win this title, we won so many races but never the championship,” Day said after winning the Whelen Euro championship in Belgium, Motorsport.com reported.
“Finishing the season like this is the sweetest thing I can ask,” he said. “We finally made it. I have no words right now.”
Day, 26, from Ashdod, topped the Whelen Euro standings after finishing fourth in Sunday’s race. He had only needed to complete one lap to secure the title. The Israeli driver finished second and third, respectively, in the European circuit’s previous two seasons. He has also won the Asian Formula Renault Series and the FIA GT Championship.
More at the the WIN site (October 18, 2017)

World's Oldest Man, Holocaust Survivor Yisrael Kristal, Dead At 113

Yisrael Kristal, the world’s oldest man, died Fridayin Israel, local mediareported. He was 113.
Kristal was born to a Jewish family in 1903 in Poland and became an orphan when his father was killed near the end of World War I, his mother having died in 1910. He moved in with his uncles and opened a candy shop with one of them in the city Lodz, in central Poland. But then Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, marking the beginning of World War II and Kristal was moved to a ghetto in the city with his wife, Chaja Feige Frucht, and their two children.
His children died in the ghetto and he and his wife were sent to live in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, where she was killed. Kristal survived the ordeal and moved permanently to Israel in 1950 with his second wife, Batsheva, with whom he had a further two children.
Last year, Kristal made headlines after finally getting to celebrate the bar mitzvah he missed out on in 1916. With his mother dead and his father drafted into the Russian army, there was no one for the boy to celebrate with. Instead, Kristal was able to celebrate his bar mitzvah and 113th birthday with his two surviving children, nine grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren, The New York Times reported...
More at the Yahoo Site (August 11, 2017)

Congregation at oldest US synagogue reviewing legal options

The Rhode Island congregants who worship at the nation's oldest synagogue are reviewing their legal options after a federal appeals panel ruled the nation's oldest Jewish congregation in New York owns the building and a set of ceremonial bells worth millions.
A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Congregation Shearith Israel on Wednesday. It found that under terms of an agreement from 1903, the New York congregation owns Newport's Touro Synagogue, which was dedicated in 1763 and is a national historic site.
"We are disappointed with the panel's ruling and are reviewing our legal options going forward. We remain committed to preserving Touro Synagogue, the nation's oldest synagogue, as a place of public worship for Jews, and Jeshuat Israel, the congregation that has prayed there for over a century," Gary Naftalis, who represents the Newport congregation, said Thursday...
More at the ABC Site (August 3, 2017)

It's too expensive to be Jewish

This spring, my son, Nathaniel, turned 12. It was time to get serious about preparation for his bar mitzvah, which usually happens when a Jewish boy turns 13. We needed to hire a tutor because at the twice-a-month hippie Silver Lake Sunday school my kids attend, Hebrew isn’t part of the curriculum. And most bar mitzvah ceremonies include saying blessings on the Torah in Hebrew.
My first call was to the father of a woman I met through taekwondo. Between ax kicks and knife defenses, I had discovered he was a cantor. I figured since she was warm and well-spoken, her dad was probably a good guy. Indeed, he sounded like a mensch. Just what I was looking for. After all, I wanted this to be a positive experience for Nathaniel, not a dull exercise in rote memorization. If things went well, I hoped we would use the same tutor for our daughter when it was time for her bat mitzvah. Then I asked what he charged: $140 per hourlong session...
More at the LA Times Site (July 30, 2017)

Britney Spears Causes Chaos in Jerusalem

Britney Spears’ arrival in Israel has caused quite the commotion. It’s the pop star’s first visit to the country and a tour of the holy sites in Jerusalem on Sunday was described by Israeli news outlets as a veritable mob scene.
While Spears’ security detail was substantial, the Western Wall is mainly accessible by foot. This presented a challenge for the “Make Me…” singer and her team as they made their way through mobs of fans, press, and onlookers (see video below).
Spears is scheduled to perform at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on Monday night, the same outdoor venue where Justin Bieber and Aerosmith recently headlined and where Radiohead is due to take the stage on July 19.
There has also been some hubbub concerning a possible meeting with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to Ynet, Spears canceled a supposed visit, but it has also been reported that the meeting was never confirmed, a belief which the PM’s office seemed to acknowledge.
More at the Yahoo News Site (July 2, 2017)

Israeli-American man arrested in connection to bomb threats against Jewish centers

A 19-year-old Jewish man who is an Israeli-American dual citizen was arrested early this morning in Israel in connection with a series of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers and Jewish schools in the United States and other countries, police and sources told ABC News.
The suspect's father has also been arrested for the same charges, an Israeli government official said.
Police believe the man made fake bomb threats in New Zealand and Australia and against scores of Jewish institutions across the U.S.
He also allegedly called in fake bomb threats to two Delta flights at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2015, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. The threats grounded the flights while passengers were evacuated and luggage was rescreened.
The suspect was arrested early this morning in his family's home in the southern city of Ashkelon after a monthslong investigation that included the FBI and European law enforcement agencies, Rosenfeld said. The teenager resisted arrest, Rosenfeld said, explaining that the teen moved toward one of the arresting officers in what is believed to have been an attempt to grab the officer’s sidearm, but the teen never reached the gun.
More at the Yahoo News Site (March 23, 2017)

Poland confirms Minnesota man as Nazi commander

Poland will seek the arrest and extradition of a Minnesota man exposed by The Associated Press as a former commander in an SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and killed civilians in World War II, prosecutors said Monday.
Prosecutor Robert Janicki said evidence gathered over years of investigation into U.S. citizen Michael K. confirmed "100 percent" that he was a commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion.
He did not release the last name in line with privacy laws but the AP has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, from Minneapolis.
"All the pieces of evidence interwoven together allow us to say the person who lives in the U.S. is Michael K., who commanded the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion which carried out the pacification of Polish villages in the Lublin region," Janicki said...
More at the Yahoo News Site (March 13, 2017)

Holocaust survivor: 'I became B-1148 instead of a human being'
By Steven Shapiro

Michael Bornstein was a small child when Nazi soldiers sent him and his family to one of the most evil places the world has ever known. “From what we’ve been told, children my age, about 4, survived about two weeks at Auschwitz.
I was able to survive a much longer time,” Bornstein, who is now 76, told Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga about his time in the notorious death camp.
In his new book, “Survivors Club,” Bornstein recounts the details of his painful past, which, for decades, he has largely kept to himself.
“My siblings and I tried to ask questions,” says Bornstein’s daughter, Debbie Bornstein Holinstat, a veteran journalist and co-author of the book.
“We certainly knew the tattoo was there. We knew he was a survivor. We knew he was at Auschwitz. But for the longest time, he wouldn’t talk.”...
More at the Yahoo News Site (March 7, 2017)

Rabbi loses job over spat with billionaire benefactor

A holy war between the billionaire benefactor of an Upper East Side synagogue and the temple’s longtime rabbi has cost the clergyman his job.
The battle between the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation — chaired by its namesake’s 82-year-old widow, Lily Safra — and Rabbi Elie Abadie began brewing at the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue on East 63rd Street when Abadie’s contract expired eight years ago.
He continued to be paid $700,000 a year and allowed to live in a $3.5 million condominium rent-free, said the foundation.
During contract negotiations, the foundation offered to continue paying his salary and benefits on the condition that he commit to a certain number of teaching hours at the synagogue, according to a Dec. 28 letter the foundation sent to the congregation...
More at the nypost.com Site (Jan 15, 2017)

Why Did Japan Treat Jews Differently During World War II?

During World War II, why did the Japanese refuse orders from Nazi Germany, its wartime ally, to kill all the Jews within its borders? A new book from Academic Studies Press, “Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Japan and the Jews during the Holocaust Era” addresses this question. Its author, Dr. Meron Medzini, former director of Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) and also the author of “Golda Meir: A Political Biography,” was born in 1932. After working as spokesman at the GPO for the prime ministers Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, and Yitzhak Rabin, Dr. Medzini taught modern Japanese history in the Department of Asian Studies of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Israeli foreign policy at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. Recently, “The Forward’s” Benjamin Ivry discussed with Dr. Medzini the subtleties and complexities of Japanese policies towards Jews before and during the Second World War.
More at the Forward.com Site (Jan 11, 2017)

Anne Frank may have been discovered by chance, new study says

World-famous wartime diarist Anne Frank may have been discovered by chance and not because her hiding place was betrayed, a new theory suggests.
The Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam believes the address could have been raided over ration fraud.
Researchers say the police who found the secret annexe may not have been looking for the eight Jews there.
The raid on Prinsengracht 263 saw all of those in hiding transported to the Auschwitz death camps.
Summarising its findings, the Anne Frank House said: "The question has always been: Who betrayed Anne Frank and the others in hiding? This explicit focus on betrayal, however, limits the perspective on the arrest."
Shortly before the raid, an anonymous caller supposedly revealed details of the secret annexe to the Sicherheitsdienst or SD (German Security Service) - but the study's authors have questioned this account...
More at the BBC Site (Dec 9, 2016)

Who Is Adolf Burger? Nazi Camp Survivor, Who Was Forced To Counterfeit Cash, Dies At 90 In Prague

Adolf Burger, the last concentration camp inmate forced by Nazis to produce fake pound notes, died Tuesday at the age of 90 in Prague, media reports said Thursday. Burger was part of an elaborate Nazi plan titled "Operation Bernhard" that sought to disrupt Britain’s economy by introducing millions of fake bank notes. Burger escaped in the confusion when the Allies stormed Berlin in 1945. After the war, he settled in Prague where he reportedly headed a taxi company and also wrote several memoirs about his time as a Nazi prisoner. Nazi Germany’s Operation Bernhard involved Luftwaffe airplanes dropping counterfeit notes, amounting to over 130 million pounds, over the United Kingdom. The plan was abandoned but it is considered one of the largest attempts at financial sabotage. The plan needed several craftsmen, bankers, at least one professional counterfeiter and book printers like Burger.
Burger, who hails from present-day Slovakia, was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 for forging baptismal certificates for Jews to help save them persecution at the hands of Nazis. He was sent to Auschwitz with his first wife, Gisella, who was killed in the gas chamber...
More at theInternational Business Times Site (Dec 9, 2016)

‘Godfather’ Co-Star James Caan Tells Facebook Followers: ‘You Gotta Come’ to Israel

Movie star James Caan, who played Sonny Corleone in the classic 1972 film “The Godfather,” was full of praise for Israel on Thursday, telling followers via a Facebook video clip: “You gotta come here, you just gotta come here.”
Caan, whose parents are Jewish immigrants from Germany, took a five-day trip to the Holy Land with his son in July as a guest of the Ministry of Tourism and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His first stop was the Western Wall, where he lay tefillin (phylacteries), prayed and placed a handwritten note in a crack between the ancient limestones. He also enjoyed a tour of the tunnels that run beneath the Wall and marveled at the ancient construction.
He described his visit to the holy site as surreal, explaining that he had always thought of it “like a prop,” a backdrop shown in movies or on television...
More at the Algemeigner Site (Dec 4, 2016)

Jewish singer Bob Dylan has accepted his Nobel prize
Dylan says Nobel left him 'speechless': Swedish academy

London (AFP) - Bob Dylan has finally accepted his Nobel prize for literature, the Swedish Academy that awards it said Friday, breaking his silence on the win that he said left him "speechless".
Asked "if I accept the prize? Of course", the US singer-songwriter said in a call to the academy this week, around a fortnight after he was named laureate on October 13.
"The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless," he told the academy's permanent secretary, Sara Danius. "I appreciate the honour so much."
Dylan had not responded to repeated phone calls made by the academy following the prize announcement, nor had he made any public statement, prompting one academy member to call him "impolite and arrogant".
The academy said Friday that it had not yet been decided yet if Dylan would visit Stockholm to pick up his award.
More at the Yahoo News Site (Oct 29, 2016)

Rare, gold Roman coin discovered in Jerusalem

Jerusalem By Rob Verger Published September 14, 2016 FoxNews.com Facebook Twitter livefyre Email Print (Shimon Gibson) (Shimon Gibson) A rare and remarkable Roman coin made of gold and featuring the image of Nero has been discovered in Jerusalem, archaeologists announced on Tuesday.
Over 1,900 years old, the coin likely dates to the year 56 or 57 AD, around 13 years before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.
"The coin is exceptional, because this is the first time that a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig,” Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist and adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, said in a statement. “Coins of this type are usually only found in private collections, where we don't have clear evidence as to place of origin."
The archaeologists discovered it this summer during a dig on Mount Zion in Jerusalem; it was found in rubble near villas that might have been the homes of the wealthy Jewish residents of the time, possibly members of a well-to-do priestly class. At the site, the archaeologists have also found the rooms of a large mansion and even a ritual pool...
More at the Fox News (Sept 14, 2016)

Bones unearthed in Ashkelon at only known Philistine cemetery may reveal ancient mystery

"With this discovery we are close to unlocking the secrets of their origins," says archaeologist.
They were an enigmatic and idiosyncratic Mediterranean tribe, noted in the Bible for their hatred of the ancient Israelites.
Now, following the analysis of an unprecedented 30-year excavation in the port city of Ashkelon of the remains from the only Philistine cemetery ever discovered, one of the biggest mysteries in archeology and academia may finally be solved.
“Archaeologists and scholars have long searched for the origin of the Philistines, and the discovery of the cemetery is poised to offer the key to this mystery,” the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon announced on Sunday...
More at the Jerusalem Post site (July 7, 2016)

Israeli gymnastics team wins first international gold
By AFP Published: 06/20/2016

Israel's rhythmic gymnastics team made history on Sunday when they won a gold medal for the first time in an international competition at the European Championships.
The team won the gold medal in the clubs and hoops category and also won a silver medal for their ribbons routine at the competition being held in the central Israeli city of Holon.
The victory puts the Israeli team in a strong position ahead of the upcoming Olympics Games, due to be held in Rio de Janeiro in August...
More at the i24news.tv site (June 20, 2016)

A Young Jewish Leader Travels to Kosovo

Jared Sapolsky is a member of Tribe, a group that empowers young Jews to build community in the the great New York area. Below are his reflections on his first trip to Kosovo for the Interfaith Kosovo conference this past week.
I spent the last ten days traveling through Europe. Although my group managed to spend time in six different countries, our trip came about because of an invitation to the annual Interfaith Kosovo conference, which has been nurtured by Kosovo’s government. In short, it was incredible.
As Americans, we sometimes judge prematurely, without the fuller set of facts. Worse, we use a tone that suggests our opinions are interchangeable with the facts. In the days leading up to this trip, the New York Times ran a front page article that highlighted the influence that Persian Gulf countries had in Kosovo, and a tiny section of society that had actually joined extremist groups abroad. After reluctantly reading the piece, I decided to pay it no mind and see for myself.
More at the Huffpost site (June 5, 2016)

Israeli Wins 2016 Junior Figure Skating Championships

For the first time ever, an Israeli won first place at the 2016 Junior Figure Skating Championships this year.
Daniel Samohin 18, wowed judges and the audience at the 2016 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, in March.
He pulled off three quads to move from ninth place to the gold medal.
Canada came in second place and the U.S. was third.
Watch and see Samohin’s pride at representing his country.
You, too, will feel pride at hearing the Hatikvah – Israel’s national anthem – playing at the international event.
More at the United with Israel site (May 8, 2016)

Oldest US synagogue's congregation wins multimillion-dollar legal fight

The congregation that worships at the nation's oldest synagogue prevailed Monday in a bitter legal fight that threatened its existence, as a federal judge ruled it may now control its own destiny and decide what to do with a set of ceremonial bells worth millions.
The lawsuit pitted congregants at the 250-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, against the nation's oldest Jewish congregation, Shearith Israel in New York City.
U.S. District Judge Jack McConnell on Monday awarded Congregation Jeshuat Israel, of Newport, control of Touro, rejecting arguments from Congregation Shearith Israel that it is the synagogue's rightful owner.
McConnell also ruled the Newport congregation is the owner of a pair of ceremonial bells, called rimonim, and may do what it chooses with them. The bells are valued at $7.4 million...
More at the Fox News (May 15, 2016)

Marseille synagogue to be converted into mosque

Marseille (AFP) - A synagogue in Marseille is to be converted into a mosque, reflecting demographic shifts in the southern French city, a Jewish leader has told AFP.
A Muslim cultural association, Al Badr, is to purchase the Or Thora synagogue, which is used less and less by the Jewish community, the city's top Jewish leader Zvi Ammar said Tuesday.
"For the past 20 years or so we have seen the shift of the Jewish community to other neighbourhoods," Ammar said, adding that he viewed the sale "positively".
"We all have the same God, the main thing is for this to proceed in harmony," he said.
The site near the city's main rail station was built as Jews flocked to Marseille from Algeria after the north African country gained independence from France in 1962 following an eight-year war, he noted.
More at the Yahoo site (April 27, 2016)

Sela Joins '20 Titles Club' In Shenzhen

ATPWorldTour.com pays tribute to Dudi Sela, who has become the second player to win 20 singles titles on the ATP Challenger Tour.
After 14 years on tour, Israel’s Dudi Sela has achieved a career milestone by recording his 20th title on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Competing this week in Shenzhen, China, Sela played flawless tennis throughout the tournament. He raced through the draw without losing a set and comfortably dispatched local favourite Di Wu in the championship match, 6-4, 6-3.
"I am so happy to win my 20th Challenger title in Shenzhen," said Sela. "Winning a title here is very important because I didn't play well after the Australian Open. The performance this week can boost my confidence for the rest of the year ."...
More at the ATP site (April 2, 2016)

Israeli hiker finds 'second of kind' coin

An Israeli hiker has found a Roman coin that is almost 2,000 years old and only the second of its kind found in the world, authorities say.
The coin, from 107 AD, bears the image of Emperor Augustus but was minted by Emperor Trajan.
The only other example of such a coin is held in the British Museum. The hiker, Laurie Rimon, will be awarded a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship, Israel's antiquities authority says. Ms Rimon, a member of the Kefar Blum kibbutz, was hiking with friends in the eastern Galilee when she discovered a shiny object in the grass.
The group's guide then contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), who arrived within two hours. Ms Rimon then handed over the find, but said "it was not easy parting with the coin".
"After all, it is not every day one discovers such an amazing object, but I hope I will see it displayed in a museum in the near future," she said.
More at the BBC site (March 14, 2016)

Vice-President of the Montenegrin Jewish Community visited communities of Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo

Jelena Djurovic, Vice-President of the Jewish Community of Montenegro (member of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress) visited Jewish communities of Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo. She met with Presidents of the Communities: Berta Romano Nikolik (Macedonia), Geront Koreta (Albania) and Votim Demiri (Kosovo). Jewish leaders were interested in the themes and topics that will be addressed on the next “Mahar” Conference, scheduled for last week of October 2016.
During the visit she also met with some government officials in Skopje, Pristina and Tirana and exchanged views on refugee crisis and shared mutual concerns. Also, in Pristina, Jelena Djurovic met with members of interfaith dialogue board: family Demiri, archpriest Srdjan Stankovic (Gracanica Monastery), pastor Artur Krasniqi, Catholic priest Kastriot Idrizi and Vedat Sahiri, principal advisor of the Grand Mufti of Kosovo.

Source: EAJC (March 1, 2016)

The Rabbi Who Can Bless Your Movie by Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter

[Rabbi Hier is] the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, America's first Holocaust museum, and overseer of its offshoot organization, the Museum of Tolerance…But he's also Hollywood's go-to guy when A-listers are in need of advice, spiritual or otherwise…
"To build a great constituency for tolerance that will be able to stand up to the bigots, the haters and the terrorists," is how he describes his life's mission — or his ability to marshal Hollywood talent to aid his causes. He may well be the most powerful religious figure in L.A. He's certainly the best connected…
As he recounts in his just-published memoir, Meant to Be, he developed a fascination with Jewish history, particularly the Holocaust, while growing up on New York's Lower East Side…
More at the Simon Wiesenthal site (Feb 28, 2016)

7,000-Year-Old Town Unearthed in Jerusalem

The oldest evidence of life in Jerusalem has been discovered after stone houses and artefacts in an ancient community dating back 7,000 years were unearthed during the building of a new road.
Before the road’s construction in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted a “salvation excavation” at the site that revealed two stone houses from an ancient settlement believed to have been built in the Chalcolithic period. This period, which dates back seven millennia, saw man begin to develop the use of copper ( chalcos in Greek) to enhance their stone tools.
The houses had “well-preserved remains and floors containing various installations” that showed the buildings “were used for a considerable time,” the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement released to Newsweek...
More at the Newsweek site (Feb 17, 2016)

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