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Daniel Barenboim Holds 'Peace Concert' With Arabs

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 07:53

Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim performed a free outdoor “peace concert” in his native Argentina with an orchestra he co-founded featuring Israeli and Arab musicians.

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Uniting Jewish Heritage Sites Across Czech Republic

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 06:00

No Jews have lived in Nova Cerekev since the Holocaust. But driving into the nondescript little town 80 miles from Prague, you still can’t miss the synagogue.

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$50K Reward for Info on Miami Rabbi Slaying

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 17:39

The Jewish community of Miami is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of two suspects in the murder of Rabbi Joseph Raksin.

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Barenboim performs free ‘peace concert’ in native Argentina with Arab-Israeli orchestra

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 17:13

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim performed a free outdoor “peace concert” in his native Argentina with an orchestra he co-founded featuring Israeli and Arab musicians.

Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra performed a program of Vivaldi’s music on Sunday before a crowd of thousands at a neo-colonial bridge connecting Buenos Aires and the city of Valentin Alsina.

Saying he doesn’t speak during concerts or play music during talks, Barenboim told the audience, “But I want to say to you that I grew up in Argentina and some lessons remain inside me. I learned here that you can be Jewish, Polish, German, Syrian, Turk, and there is no problem here about multiple identities; you can be any of this and also an Argentinian.”

Barenboim, who in 2008 received Palestinian honorary citizenship, co-founded the orchestra with the late Palestinian academic Edward Said.

On Tuesday, Barenboim and the orchestra played Wagner at the Colon Theater, the main opera house in Buenos Aires. Barenboim’s performances of Wagner in Israel have been controversial because of the composer’s anti-Semitic views and because of how Nazi Germany made use of his music.

Prior to the Colon performance, Barenboim declared, “The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is very sensitive to the situation in Middle East. The musicians have relatives on both sides, the sides that are killing each other and, despite this cruel war, there is no Arabic or Israeli musician who has canceled his participation in this concert for peace. This is also a gesture to Argentina.”

Miami Jewish community offers $50,000 reward in Rabbi Raksin killing

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 16:03

(JTA) — The Jewish community of Miami is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of two suspects in the murder of Rabbi Joseph Raksin.

The reward was reported on Sunday by the Miami Herald.

Raksin, 60, an Orthodox rabbi from Brooklyn, was shot and killed on his way to synagogue services in North Miami Beach on Saturday morning.

The funeral was set for Sunday afternoon, according to the Miami Herald.

Raksin reportedly was in town visiting his granddaughter and other relatives. He was walking to the synagogue, Bais Menachem, when he was confronted by the two young males being sought.

Police said Raksin was shot several times following an altercation, though witnesses told NBC reporters that there was no altercation and the assailants were African-American males. Raksin was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center, where he died.

Police said the shooting likely was a robbery gone bad.

“At this time there is no indication of this being a hate crime,” Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Elena Hernandez said in a statement, according to the Miami Herald.

A nearby synagogue, Torah V’Emunah, was the target of vandalism on July 28, with swastikas and the word “Hamas” spray-painted on the front pillars.

 

Rabbi Slain on Way to Services at Miami Synagogue in Apparent Botched Robbery

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 07:00

An Orthodox rabbi was gunned down in broad daylight as he walked to Shabbat services at a Miami synagogue — and cops are hunting two suspects.

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Police Probe Dan Markel Link to 'Get' Extortion Rabbis

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 15:35

Police probing Dan Markel’s murder have looked into his link to rabbis accused of shaking down men who refused to grant divorces. But it is unlikely to be the motive for his slaying.

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Orthodox Educator Elimelech Meisels Sued Over Sex Assault Claim

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:45

Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, who runs four religious seminaries in Israel for young Orthodox women, is being sued for sexual assault and fraud.

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The December Project

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 12:02

Sara Davidson is a best-selling writer and journalist who confesses she felt completely unprepared to face the reality of her own mortality. In 2009, she met Jewish Renewal founder Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. They spent every Friday together for two years discussing what the spiritual teacher believed helps one prepare for death. The rabbi died this summer on July 3 at the age of 89. Their conversations culminated in Davidson’s book The December Project, named for what Reb Zalman referred to as the December of life. “When you feel you’re coming to the end of your tour of duty, what is the spiritual work of that time,” he asked, “and how do we prepare for the mystery?”

The post The December Project appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Orthodox educator Rabbi Elimelech Meisels sued for sexual assault

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 11:10

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, who runs four religious seminaries in Israel for young Orthodox women, is being sued for sexual assault and fraud.

The civil suit was filed Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of four parents with daughters signed up for Meisels’ haredi Orthodox seminaries for the 2014-2015 school year. The parents are seeking to recover their tuition deposits.

The suit alleges that Meisels would lure girls under his charge “into late night coffee meetings and other private settings and then sexually assault them.” It says he threatened to ruin girls’ marriage prospects if they told and would “intimidate his victims by telling them that no one would believe that a rabbi and author with his reputation would have done such a thing.”

Meisels denies the allegations.

“The allegations are completely false,” Meisels told JTA in an email. “My attorney has advised me to pursue legal action against all those who are wronging myself and the seminaries.”

The seminaries named in the suit are Peninim, Binas Bais Yaakov, Chedvas Bais Yaakov and Keser Chaya.

The complaint said that seminary attendance has had negative impacts on the marriage prospects of the Orthodox women who have gone there. The parents involved in the lawsuit allege that Meisels is committing fraud by misrepresenting the seminaries as institutions that help Orthodox girls become upstanding Jewish women. Aside from Meisels, other administrators at the seminaries are named in the suit.

The matter was initially brought to the attention of the Chicago Beit Din, a Jewish religious court, which concluded that “students in these seminaries are at risk of harm and it does not recommend that prospective students attend these seminaries at this time,” according to the lawsuit. Following the Beit Din determination, two institutions that offered college credits to students attending Meisels’ seminaries suspended their affiliation with them.

Though Meisels claimed to have sold his seminaries following the Beit Din ruling, the Beit Din did not accept the sales as legitimate, according to the complaint.

Though the schools are based in Israel, Meisels and the other defendants named in the suit are U.S. citizens, and the non-profit organization that processes funds for the seminaries — Peninim of America — is a nonprofit charity in the United States, according to the complaint.

Luring Young Boston Jews With 'Beer Mitzvahs' and Shabbat in Bars

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 07:46

Welcome to Riverway Cafe, a program of Temple Israel of Boston to reach out to millennial Jews. The program is an outgrowth of the Riverway Project, which brings Jewish events to unconventional settings, like Shabbat services in bars.

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Athens Chief Rabbi Dies at 76

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 09:42

Rabbi Yaacov Arar, who served as Chief Rabbi of Athens for over four decades, has died.

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After 5 Attacks, Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs Ponders Future

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 07:09

After the latest attack on his home, Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs sat down on his couch, picked up the phone and made three calls.

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Prague Jews Elect David Peter as Chief Rabbi

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 17:50

The Jewish community of Prague elected Rabbi David Peter, a native of the Czech capital, as its new chief rabbi.

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'Magic in the Moonlight' Isn't That Bad and Neither Is Woody Allen

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 16:34

Reviewing Woody Allen’s ‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ Ezra Glinter said the director should have quit while he was ahead. Jay Michaelson finds the argument morally and aesthetically wrong.

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Rabbi Attacked by Thugs at Australia Mall

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 07:53

A visiting rabbi from Jerusalem was threatened and verbally abused by a gang of youths in a shopping mall in Western Australia.

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Palestinians riot at Temple Mount for second morning

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 06:34

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Masked Palestinians attacked police at the Temple Mount with stones and firebombs for the second morning in a row.

Israeli security forces arrived at the scene of the incident at the Mughrabi Gate on Tuesday morning and pushed the protesters back into the Al-Aksa Mosque at the site. Twelve protesters were arrested and several police officers were injured.

The incident occurred on the morning of the fast day of Tisha B’Av, as thousands of Jewish worshippers gathered below the Temple Mount at the Western Wall for special prayers for the day of mourning, which marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.

The Temple Mount was open to visitors after the incident. Extra security measures were put in place in the old city for the fast day, according to police.

 

Visiting Jerusalem rabbi attacked at mall in Australia

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 06:10

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A visiting rabbi from Jerusalem was threatened and verbally abused by a gang of youths in a shopping mall in Western Australia.

Rabbi Avraham Shalom Halberstam, known as the Stropkover Rebbe, is visiting Australia on a lecture tour. On Monday he and his assistant were set upon by up to six pro-Palestinian youths at a major mall near a Jewish suburb, according to an eye-witness.

Danny Mayer, a modern Orthodox Jew who went to pick up the two ultra-Orthodox Jews, told JTA Tuesday: “I’m a bit shaken from yesterday. I’m the one who pretty much rescued the rebbe.”

He added: “They were surrounding him so I raced over to get him into the car and they surrounded the car screaming, ‘You are killing babies in Gaza.’”

Mayer said the teenage gang got “very agitated” and started banging on the car and spitting on it.

“I’ve been in Israel for seven years,” added Mayer, “and it wasn’t too far from being in an Arab village and trapped in a car. We absolutely felt threatened.”

“The Rebbe is shaken but OK,” he said.

When Mayer started taking photos on his phone the youths ran away, he said. “The wider community needs to know that Jews around the world are being affected because they are Jews,” Mayer said.

The incident has been reported to police and closed-circuit TV footage is being checked.

The incident comes less than two weeks after the walls of Perth’s only Jewish school were painted with graffiti that read “Zionist scum.” It also comes in the wake of police confirming a Perth-based Islamic preacher who described Jews as “filthy rapists” won’t be prosecuted under the state’s race hate laws.

Ian Britza, a state lawmaker in Western Australia, told JTA: “I was absolutely horrified. I condemn it in the highest possible terms.” The state government should publicly condemn it and even offer the rebbe a public apology, he said, adding “I’m not ashamed to be a friend of Israel.”

Halberstam, who runs several yeshivas in Israel, leads the Hasidic sect that originates from Stropkov, a town in Slovakia.

All God’s Griffins Got Wings at Cleveland Synagogue

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 06:00

Winged lions and Orthodox temples don’t usually go together. In the midst of a renovation, Cleveland’s historic Green Road Synagogue ponders removing the griffins for aesthetic reasons.

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