Riga, Latvia — This gray city with a distinctive European flair just a few miles from the Baltic Sea had never seen anything like it. Reporters from all over the world descended on this capital city of 2.4 million last week to record the first distribution of money from the Swiss humanitarian fund to needy Holocaust victims. But it wasn’t the money the survivors were primarily interested in, it was the international attention focused on their plight, according to survivor Jane Borovska.
They won a landmark federal court ruling eight years ago, reversing New York State’s century-old kosher laws, which had favored Orthodox standards of kashrut.
But it wasn’t enough to keep the state out of the kitchen, so to speak. The government is allegedly continuing to inspect kosher establishments to ensure that only kosher products are sold.
With tens of millions of people watching YouTube daily, a Long Beach, L.I., rabbi has decided to use it to post mini-sermons to his congregants and others.
“People are sick and tired of reading rabbis’ articles,” said Rabbi Eli Goodman, spiritual leader of the Bachurei Chemed Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue also known as the Bach Jewish Center. “Snail mail is outdated; we’re trying to focus on e-mails. And we have a Web site, bachyouth.com.
The leader of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the “largest organized anti-Semitic black militant group in America,” according to the Anti-Defamation League, led what a Jewish attendee called a “hate rally” last week at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“It was the most terrifying thing I ever experienced,” said Noa Zilbering, 25, a Jewish faculty member, of the Feb. 17 speech by Malik Shabazz. “It was a hate rally; he was supposed to talk about [black empowerment in] education.”
Moscow has now become the “world center for Holocaust denial” despite the fact that more than half of the estimated 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis were from the former Soviet Union, according to Ilya Alexandrovich Altman, founder and president of the Russian Holocaust Foundation.
The chairman of the newly privatized El Al Israel Airlines, Izzy Borovich, is up in the air on whether El Al will fly on the Sabbath.
“The issue of Shabbat, besides being a religious issue, is an economic one,” he told The Jewish Week. “We’re studying the issue.”
Three days after 9-11, a professor from Israel’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology walked through security at Baltimore-Washington International Airport carrying two pounds of an extremely powerful explosive in his bag. He went unchallenged. The explosive, the same type used by the so-called “shoe bomber,” Richard Reed, went undetected because it is made with acetone and hydrogen peroxide and not nitrogen, which all conventional airport detectors are designed to spot.
Although Buckingham Palace is said to be considering offers by Jewish groups to take Prince Harry on a private tour of Auschwitz after he wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel said cryptically, “He is not worthy of it.”
Just three days after Palestinians elected a new leader who called for an end to attacks on Israelis, a bomb exploded near an Israeli military jeep patrolling an Israeli settlement in Gaza, killing a civilian constructing a security fence and injuring four soldiers in the jeep.Gideon Rivlin, 50, and the father of five, was killed while constructing the fence near the hothouses of the southern Gaza settlement of Morag. Two Palestinian terrorists reportedly from Islamic Jihad carried out the attack and were shot and killed in the firefight that followed.
Preventing a potential parliamentary crisis, the Knesset on Wednesday approved the first reading of the 2005 budget bill after members of the Likud Party against the disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank decided to support the measure. The bill passed 64-53. Sources close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned that had the bill been rejected, Sharon would call new elections. The second and third readings are in March.