Briefs

UNESCO Honors Israeli Sites

07/18/2008
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.

Furor Over The Fuhrer

07/25/2008
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.

Fifteen Minutes Of Fame In Slovakia

08/01/2008
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.

A Jewish Presence In The Jerusalem Of The North

08/08/2008
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.

Records For Israeli Swimmers, Medals For Americans

08/15/2008
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.

Only The Memories Are Golden

08/22/2008
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.

Reptile Romance In Jerusalem

08/29/2008
Staff Writer
How do you get a 55-pound turtle out of her shell — her social shell, that is? You turn her into a living skateboard. That’s what they did at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo the other day. Arava, a 10-year-old African Spurred Tortoise, arrived a few months ago from a petting zoo in southern Israel. Paralyzed in her hind legs for undetermined reasons, she was depressed, lethargic and immobile, even by turtle standards, zoo officials said. She had no suitors.

A Triple Play On The Bima

09/05/2008
Staff Writer
Over the last 18 years Rabbi Anchelle Perl has officiated at some 300 bar and bat mitzvah celebrations at Congregation Beth Sholom Chabad in Mineola, L.I. But last week was a first. The Matuszak triplets, brothers Alec and Ian, below left and right, and their sister Sydney, below center, marked their religious coming of age together. Alec and Ian have cerebral palsy. Using walkers, they stood on the bima, made the blessings for their aliyot, read sections of the week’s Torah portion and delivered short speeches of thanks.

Starting Aliyah With A Blast

09/12/2008
Staff Writer
The month of Elul, which precedes Tishrei and the High Holy Days, is accompanied by a shofar blast in many synagogues during morning services. Some new Israelis got a personal concert on Monday. Adam Mayer-Deutsch, above left, part of a delegation of 235 Jews from North America who made aliyah under the auspices of the Jewish Agency and the Nefesh B’Nefesh program, blew the shofar as part of a welcoming ceremony on the Ben Gurion Airport tarmac.

Greenpeace Paints Its Message in Ashkelon

09/19/2008
Staff Writer
The Greenpeace slogan: “Come to Israel, be arrested with friends.” Fourteen activists in the environmental organization, aboard the Rainbow Warrior ship, were taken into custody by Israel’s Coast Guard in the Ashkelon harbor last week when they spray-painted the words “Quit Coal” on the side of the cargo ship Cape Heron, which was unloading coal bound for an existing power plant.
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