As one of his last acts in 1943 before he was forced into Majdanek, the Nazi extermination camp near the Polish city of Lublin, Joseph Sapir, a wealthy Jewish banker, placed all of his bonds, stock certificates and cash into a small suitcase and sent it to France for safekeeping by his son, Yehuda.
The shooting spree last week at Virginia Tech that killed 32 students and faculty members has convinced leaders of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement that a Chabad Student Center is needed there immediately, according to Rabbi Yossel Kranz, executive director of the Richmond-based Chabad of the Virginias.”
Vandals scrawled a half-dozen swastikas and anti-Semitic obscenities this week on outdoor playground equipment at Congregation Etz Chaim in Commack, L.I.
Rabbi Raphael Wizman, spiritual leader of the 125-family Orthodox congregation, said the swastikas and obscenities were found on the swings and on a large toy castle in the children’s playground. He said the vandals apparently scaled a 5-foot high fence that enclosed the locked playground and also broke two Plexiglass school windows.
The presidents of Argentina and Brazil last week signed a petition condemning anti-Semitism and calling on the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution denouncing anti-Semitic acts.
Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress, said the presidents signed the petitions as part of an effort his organization is leading to convince as many countries as possible to sign the petition before the UN vote, which could come as early as this fall.
Iran is demanding that Britain, Germany and France support its efforts to obtain nuclear technology for both civilian and military purposes, alarming Western nations and bolstering American efforts to impose UN sanctions on Iran.
The Iranian demand was reported this week shortly after the London Sunday Times wrote that Israel had prepared and rehearsed a plan to destroy Iranian nuclear reactors, especially the one being built in Busheh.
Israel’s proposed $58 billion budget scheduled for government approval Sunday would split the country into two states, one rich and one poor, two prominent Israelis from opposite ends of the political spectrum warned this week.
Rabbi Adam Mintz, whose contract as spiritual leader of Lincoln Square Synagogue was not renewed following a power struggle with the leadership of the 600-member Orthodox congregation, has formed a new congregation with a group of his supporters that meets for Sabbath services at the Dorot Building at 171 W. 85th St.
Israeli officials and analysts expressed surprise and confusion over Bush administration statements this week critical of Israel, with some speculating that the remarks may have been triggered by domestic politics.
On Monday, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the U.S. was “deeply concerned” about the thousands of Palestinians left stranded by Israel’s decision to close the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. The Reuters news agency called it “an apparent rare rebuke of the Jewish state.”
Sergio Della Pergola is one of the world’s leading demographers and a specialist in world Jewry. A former chairman and professor of population studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he now holds the Shlomo Argov Chair in Israel-Diaspora Relations at the university.
Della Pergola, 57, is also a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, an independent think tank in Jerusalem. He has published numerous books and hundreds of papers on such things as Jewish identification and population projections in the diaspora and Israel.