Briefs

Only The Memories Are Golden

08/20/2008
Staff Writer
Israel is still in the bronze age. A largely unsuccessful week and a half for Israel’s athletes in the Beijing Olympics, marked by several near-medal performances, improved when windsurfer Shahar Zubari, top right, finished third in his event, the same one that brought Israel’s first-ever Olympic gold medal, by Gal Fridman, in Athens four years ago. Zubari’s come-from-behind bronze medal performance was Israel’s only appearance on the winner’s podium by midweek.

Records For Israeli Swimmers, Medals For Americans

08/13/2008
Staff Writer
Some politics, some national records for Israel, no medals. Some drama, some world records for American athletes, several medals. That was the scorecard after the first days of the XXIX Summer Olympics at Beijing. Most of the action came in the pool. Canoer Michael Kalganov led the Israeli delegation, above, into Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium during opening ceremonies.

A Jewish Presence In The Jerusalem Of The North

08/06/2008
Staff Writer
Before World War II, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, was known as “The Jerusalem of the North.” The city was the center of Jewish scholarship, home to rabbis and radicals, businessmen and artists. The YIVO Yiddish research institute was founded there. The sage known as the Vilna Gaon lived there. Then came the Holocaust. Ninety-five percent of Lithuania’s 200,000 Jews were victims of the Final Solution. Vilnius became a setting of memories and memorials. Now Vilnius is a venue of Jewish renaissance.

Fifteen Minutes Of Fame In Slovakia

07/30/2008
Staff Writer
The most famous person with roots in the northeast corner of Slovakia is Andy Warhol, the late pop artist and avant-garde filmmaker whose parents came from the village of Mikova. The most famous Jews in the area are Franz Kafka, Golda Meir, Albert Einstein. They are among the 10 Jews in an exhibition of Warhol silkscreen prints, fittingly named “Portraits of Ten Jews,” at the Warhol Family Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce, a few miles from Mikova in the Subcarpathian foothills.

Furor Over The Fuhrer

07/23/2008
Staff Writer
Bad art or bad taste? Breaking an unwritten Israeli taboo that discourages humor in the depiction of Holocaust images, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem this week exhibited the works of a student who presents Adolf Hitler as an icon to be laughed at. Nir Avigad’s art installation, arranged on a large board on a wall of the school, features the face of the Third Reich dictator in various uncomplimentary or counterintuitive settings and themes — as a dog, as the face on a Russian babushka doll, as a bearded Theodor Herzl.

UNESCO Honors Israeli Sites

07/16/2008
Staff Writer
Most tourists know Israel as the home of the world’s major monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Israel hopes that visitors will now pay more attention to another religion based in the Holy Land: Baha’i.

HIAS’ Youngest Ambassador

07/02/2008
Staff Writer
Most of the recipients of scholarship awards from HIAS are college-age. Most have been in the United States for about five years. Most come to the award ceremony with their parents or grandparents. Naomi Grodsky brought her daughter Eliana, age 14 months.

Championships, Yidl League Style

06/25/2008
Staff Writer
It was a Catholic setting for some Jewish playoffs. For the fifth year, the New York area’s Jewish Community Little League, which calls itself the only Shomer Shabbat Williamsport Little League franchise in the country, held its playoff games at the Red Storm Field of St. John’s University in Fresh Meadows, Queens. Under sunny skies, in front of cheering spectators, champions of three divisions — intermediate, prep and junior — were crowned. Rory Lancman, who represents the 25th Assembly District, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Pride And Prejudice

06/11/2008
Staff Writer
Each year for the last decade Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade has marched through the streets of the Mediterranean-side city. Last week, for the first time, it began at a new municipal center for Israel’s homosexual community.

On Top Of The World

06/04/2008
Staff Writer
If only the Barts had scaled Mount Everest on the High Holy Days. Instead, the mother (Cheryl) and daughter (Nikki) from Sydney, Australia, were on the world’s highest mountain during Passover, part of a two-month expedition on which they reached the summit last week and made history. They became the first mother-daughter team to scale 29,035-foot-high Mount Everest, as well as the tallest peak on all seven continents.
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