Religious Books Rescued From New Zealand Chabad House


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Nearly 1,000 religious books have been rescued from the heavily damaged Chabad House in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Chabad House is located in the city's downtown, near the epicenter of the major Feb. 22 temblor that claimed more than 165 lives, including three Israelis. Days following the quake, a rescue worker, at risk to his own life, removed the Chabad center's two Torah scrolls.

When The ‘Arab Spring’ Meets The Seder

A Passover metaphor of the moment that’s too hot to handle?

Staff Writer

The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Boston, a secular liberal Jewish group, has been hosting an interfaith seder for Muslims and Jews for the past five years and writing a progressive Haggadah to go with it.

This year, seder organizer Alice Rothchild is tapping the zeitgeist to animate the ancient seder story — she plans to emphasize “the Arab spring.”

Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s democracy movement. getty images

Japan Jews Staying Put As Relief Funds Flow

Community leader says life goes on at Tokyo community center as U.S. Jews send millions for relief.

Assistant Managing Editor

In his 16 years living in Tokyo, Phillip Rosenfeld has seen a few earthquakes shake Japan’s capital.

But when the ground started shaking and buildings swaying on March 11, he immediately knew this one was different.

“This was much more severe than anything that happened for a very, very long time,” said the Cleveland native who runs a travel business based in Tokyo and was with a friend spending his first day in Japan. “When the earthquake struck I was walking down the street and just stood in place as the ground began to sway more and more.

Israeli medical personnel check on a baby near disaster area in Japan check. IDF Photo

Federations Raise $1 Million in Japan Relief


(JTA) -- Jewish federations throughout North America have raised nearly $1 million to help Japan recover from last month's massive earthquake and tsunami.

The federations' Japan, Hawaii and Pacific Relief Fund, opened immediately following the earthquake and resultant tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, has collected the money to support relief and recovery efforts in the damaged areas.

The Jewish Federations of North America, the umbrella group of the federation movement, has directly raised more than $187,000 through online, mobile and mailed donations.

U.S. Could Learn From Israel’s Health Care System, Study Suggests


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Intense cooperation among health care plans and physicians can improve health care, according to a new study that looks toward Israel’s health care system.

The study -- “What The United States Could Learn From Israel About Improving The Quality Of Health Care,” published Thursday by the peer-reviewed Health Affairs magazine -- suggests that increased coordination can improve monitoring standards in such areas as colon cancer screening and flu immunization.

Russian Billionaire Plans ‘Jewish al-Jazeera’


(JTA) -- A Russian Jewish billionaire plans to create an international news network that will present "real information" about Israel.

Alexander Mashkevich on Wednesday announced his intention to found a Jewish Al-Jazeera during an address at the Keren Hayasod – United Israel Appeal conference in Washington D.C.

Mashkevich told The Associated Press Wednesday that he had not yet decided what the for-profit venture would be called or where it would be based, but he ruled out Kazakhstan, the country where he made his billions.

Report: Palestinian Forces Harassing Journalists in West Bank, Gaza


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The severe harassment of Palestinian journalists by Palestinian Authority and Hamas forces in the West Bank and Gaza has had a chilling effect on freedom of expression, a new report by Human Rights Watch found.

The 35-page report issued Wednesday documents cases in which Palestinian security forces tortured, beat and arbitrarily detained journalists in the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to confiscating their equipment and preventing them from leaving the Palestinian enclaves.

Deal Gives Survivors Increased Home Care

German government makes historic multiyear commitment to needy Holocaust survivors.

Staff Writer

The German government has for the first time agreed to a multiyear commitment to fund home care for needy Holocaust survivors, thus assuring survivors and the agencies that care for them that funding will be available as survivor needs peak in 2014, according to Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

The announcement Tuesday came after a daylong negotiating session Monday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. It was the first time negotiations had taken place outside of Berlin.

Claims Conference’s special negotiator Stuart Eizenstat: Germans “convinced of the need” that exists.

Germany Ups Funds To Holocaust Survivors


The German government will increase funds given to Holocaust survivors by 15 percent.

U.N. Human Rights Council: Goldstone Report Stands


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The United Nations Human Rights Council said it will continue to use the Goldstone Report as written, despite its author's retraction of a key finding.

Council spokesman Cedric Sapey told the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot on Monday that the Op-Ed written by Richard Goldstone appearing in The Washington Post of April 2 was his personal opinion and not that of the rest of the committee.

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