Briefs

Heat Damages Israel’s Etrog Crop

09/21/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s unusually extreme summer heat has seriously damaged this year’s etrog crop, growers say.

Strong heat and winds caused many more of the fruit, one of the four species required for the Sukkot holiday starting Wednesday night, to fall off trees prematurely, a grower told Haaretz.

In addition, while in most years 10 percent of the harvest is designated of highest quality, this year only 1 percent received the designation, another grower told Haaretz.

Vandals Attack Seattle-Area Jewish High School

09/21/2010

(JTA) — A Jewish high school in Washington State was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.

The epithets in orange, blue and gray paint on the Northwest Yeshiva High School on Mercer Island included swastikas and references to gas chambers, The Seattle Times reported. The attack occurred late on Sept. 16 and was discovered the following morning, on the eve of Yom Kippur.

Labor Zionist Spokesman Nahum Guttman Dies At 97

09/15/2010

Nahum Guttman, a longtime Zionist leader in the United States who worked with many leaders of both Israel and pre-statehood Palestine, died on Rosh HaShanah, Sept. 9, in his Upper West Side home after a long illness. He was 97.

Mr. Guttman grew up in Brooklyn and Minneapolis, and served as First National Secretary of Habonim, director of public relations for the National Committee for Labor Israel, and editor of The Jewish Frontier.

Kapparot Rite Is Foul, Rabbi Says

09/15/2010

(JTA) — A leading Israeli rabbi has come out against using a live animal for the kapparot ceremony.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the chief rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Beit El and the head of the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, issued a religious ruling suggesting that it was better to give money to the poor rather than wave a live chicken over one's head and transfer one's sins to the animal in order to achieve atonement for sins in advance of Yom Kippur.

Google To Purchase A Second Israeli Start-up

09/15/2010

(JTA) — Google reportedly will acquire a second Israeli start-up company.

The Israeli business daily Globes reported Monday that Google is paying "several million dollars" to purchase Quiksee, also known as MentorWave Technologies. Other reports put the purchase price at $10 million, though neither Google nor Quiksee has responded to the reports.

Israel Reportedly OKs U.S.-Saudi Arms Deal

09/15/2010

(JTA) — Israel has privately signed off on a proposed arms deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia, a Washington columnist reported.
At $60 billion, the deal is the most expensive arms deal ever. It will be spread out over five to 10 years.

Syndicated columnist Douglas Bloomfield reported Tuesday that Israel has privately blessed the sale, citing U.S. congressional, Israeli and lobby sources.

Indian Nanny Granted Honorary Israeli Citizenship

09/15/2010

(JTA) —The Indian nanny who saved the young son of the Mumbai Chabad emissaries during a terrorist attack was granted honorary Israeli citizenship.
Sandra Samuel was honored Monday in a ceremony at the Interior Ministry presided over by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who gave Samuel an Israeli identity card.

"I would give my life, heart and soul for Israel," Samuel said during the ceremony.

Activists Heckle Actors During Performance

09/07/2010

(JTA) — Three activists, including an Israeli lawmaker, heckled actors during a performance at a theater in Tel Aviv.

Monday night's disruption was a protest of the more than 50 Israeli theater professionals who signed a petition in late August saying that they will not perform in the new Ariel cultural center in the West Bank when it opens in November. The activists included Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari of the National Union Party.
Both the playwright and the director of Monday night's show at the Cameri Theater signed the petition.

Conversions Performed by IDF Questioned

09/07/2010

(JTA) — The conversions to Judaism of perhaps thousands of Israeli soldiers that were performed by the military rabbinate are not valid, a state attorney said.
The state prosecutor told Israel's Supreme Court justices on Monday the rituals were not approved by the Chief Rabbinate and often were conducted by rabbis not recognized as religious court judges.

D.C. Interfaith Summit Denounces Anti-Muslim Bigotry

09/07/2010

(JTA) — An interfaith summit of Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders denounced anti-Muslim bigotry.

In a statement released by the group, which represented the majority of the country’s Jews, Muslims and Christians, participants announced that they came together Tuesday in Washington, D.C., “to denounce categorically the derision, misinformation and outright bigotry being directed against America’s Muslim community.”

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