Skating On Thin Ice?

Staff Writer
Turin, Italy It was quiet this week in Piazza della Repubblica. In the streets around Republic Square, the center of the growing Arab neighborhood in this city playing host to the Winter Olympics for two weeks, commerce reigned. In the winding alleys, in the warrens of an open-air market, in front of halal food stores and Arabic travel agencies, flocks of bundled-up tourists, some wearing distinctive blue-and-white Israeli warmup jackets, vied for space with TV crews.

To Take Or Not To Take

Staff Writer
A wealthy Jewish businessman makes aliyah and donates to a Jewish cause, but questions arise about the businessman's background and he threatens to withdraw his donation. Then the businessman reconsiders. Often this would take place behind closed doors, away from the public view. When the businessman in question is billionaire Russian financier Arcadi Gaydamak, however, when the donation is $50 million, when the recipient Jewish organization is the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, it's all been recorded in recent weeks in the Israeli press.

God's Welterweight

Staff Writer
This champ sees God in the speed bag, halacha in the heavy bag, and when he does his roadwork on the streets of Midwood, he feels the presence of the divine. And like the more famous Champ that came before him, one Muhammad Ali, this smaller, very Jewish champ can turn a phrase and deliver some lip. "Anyone who wants a good whuppin' from me is just going to have to wait until sundown [on Saturday]," says Dmitriy Salita, the "Star of David," as he's called in the boxing business.

Save The Nachas

Staff Writer
Geoff Blum's dramatic home run last week in Game 3 of the World Series had barely cleared the fence, lifting his Chicago White Sox to victory in the 14th inning, before Jewish sports fans began asking the eternal question: Is he or isn't he? The Internet was abuzz about Blum, a 32-year-old journeyman infielder who was inserted into the game as a late-inning replacement. His homer at Minute Maid Park in Houston snapped a 5-5 tie and sent the White Sox to a 3-0 Series lead over the Astros on their way to a sweep.

When These Beasts Feast, Hold The Yeast

Staff Writer
Ron Rubin, a professor of political science by vocation and a few-times-a-week jogger by avocation, never gave serious thought to running 26 miles, 385 yards in a single stretch until he turned his television to the New York City Marathon one Sunday morning about 15 years ago. He saw thousands of runners (world-class athletes and weekend schleppers) traversing the five boroughs and millions of fans cheering them on. He heard marching bands inspiring the runners. He signed up.

Changing Fortunes In Harlem

Staff Writer
In the next few days, upon his return from a weeklong business trip to the United States, Rami Sulimani will arrange meetings with the leaders of community projects in five Israeli cities. Sulimani, the head of a major social welfare agency in Israel that works with the country's at-risk youth, will tell the leaders to be more innovative. He will tell them to be more proactive. He will tell them to be more assertive in dealing with the government agencies and private foundations that support their activities.

Joining The Spiritual Conversation

Staff Writer
Rabbi Irwin Kula, Jewish scholar in Manhattan, received an e-mail message this week from a stranger in Albany, someone with a clearly non-Jewish name. The writer complimented the rabbi for a lesson about the symbolism of the glass broken at a Jewish wedding. The lesson came in a television show, "The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings with Irwin Kula," which was carried on Sunday on Albany's public television station.

'Now I Am A Ghost'

Staff Writer

Ten months after her son was kidnapped and tortured to death by young Muslim gang members in Paris (after her son became a symbol of anti-Semitic violence, and she began making public speeches about the type of hatred that took her son's life) Ruth Halimi brought her message of tolerance to New York City. "Ilan's tragedy was a humanitarian tragedy," not just a Jewish tragedy, Ruth Halimi told a lunch reception last week at the Anti-Defamation League headquarters in Midtown, her first appearance here.

Jewish Soul On Ice

Staff Writer
Quebec City, Canada: Number 45 charges into the corner of the hockey rink, beating the other players to the loose puck. Number 45 glides up the ice, a step ahead of his line mates. Number 45 takes a pass in front of the net, deflecting the puck past the goalie. The Quebec Remparts are not wearing numbers or names on their jerseys this morning, but the small numerals at the rear of his helmet, and his grace on skates, mark Benjamin Rubin as a natural.

Bethlehem's Disciple Of Peace

Staff Writer
The message delivered to a group of Jewish teens at the Yeshivah of Flatbush one afternoon this week was typical: study Torah, be proud Jews, speak up for Israel. But the messenger was a little unusual. Walid Shoebat was for several years, as he introduced himself to 500 day school students, "a Palestinian terrorist."
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