Amid Murdoch scandal, Israel backers worry about muting of pro-Israel media voice

The scandal engulfing media giant Rupert Murdoch, shown speaking May 24, 2011 in Paris at a gathering of Internet and digital industry leaders, is causing anxiety among some Jewish leaders over the possible effects on his empire's pro-Israel coverage. (Aaron Fulkerson via CreativeCommons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Pro-Israel leaders in the United States, Britain and Australia are warily watching the unfolding of the phone-hacking scandal that is threatening to engulf the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, founder of News Corp. Murdoch’s sudden massive reversal of fortune — with 10 top former staffers and… Read more »

Chabad royal wedding in Moscow

MOSCOW (Tablet) — Blumi Lazar’s wedding was not an intimate affair. A thick white dek tichel completely covering her face, Blumi stood under a massive raised chuppah of indigo velvet and gold fringe, swaying ever so slightly next to her groom, Isaac Rosenfeld, before some 1,500 invited guests. Among… Read more »

‘Never Better’ in Krakow?

A DJ samples Jewish music from the Bimah as, at about 1 a.m., crowds visit an exhibit in the Old Synagogue on the Night of the synagogues. (Ruth Ellen Gruber)

KRAKOW, Poland (JTA) — Jews in Krakow have a new slogan — “Never Better.” The catchphrase is deliberately provocative, a blatant rejoinder to “Never Again,” the slogan long associated with Holocaust memory and the fight against anti-Semitic prejudice. It may be counterintuitive, acknowledges Jonathan Ornstein, the American-born director of… Read more »

Meet Australia’s Aborigine who is president of her Orthodox shul

Lisa Jackson Pulver, a Jewish member of the Aboriginal tribe called the Wiradjuri. (From "Hand and Hand: Jewish and Indigenous people working together" by Anne Sarzin and Lisa Miranda Sarzin.)

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Lisa Jackson Pulver is not your average Australian Jew. Yes, she is one of this country’s 110,000 or so Members of the Tribe, but she is also a member of another tribe: an Aboriginal clan called the Wiradjuri. Jackson Pulver says she’s not the only… Read more »

Member of two tribes: Aussie Aborigine is Orthodox shul president

Lisa Jackson Pulver, a Jewish member of the Aboriginal tribe called the Wiradjuri. (From "Hand in Hand: Jewish and Indigenous People Working Together" by Anne Sarzin and Lisa Miranda Sarzin)

      SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Lisa Jackson Pulver is not your average Australian Jew. Yes, she is one of this country’s 110,000 or so Members of the Tribe, but she is also a member of another tribe: an Aboriginal clan called the Wiradjuri. Jackson Pulver says she’s… Read more »

In Buenos Aires, mayor facing Jewish challenger taps rabbi to lead party list

Rabbi Sergio Bergman (with microphone) speaks as he stands with Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri (left) and two other politicians at a May 23 event introducing the PRO party’s candidates for municipal elections. (Eliana Krumecadyk/JTA Photo Service)

Rabbi Sergio Bergman, already one of Buenos Aires’ most prominent spiritual leaders, has become one of the Argentine capital’s most highly visible political candidates. Bergman was tapped by the city’s incumbent mayor, Mauricio Macri, to lead his PRO party’s list for the municipal legislature. As the top candidate on… Read more »

BDS brouhaha threatens to taint Limmud Australia

Hip-hop artist Y-Love presents at a session in Australia of Limmud-Oz 2009. (Shalom Institute)

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Legitimate criticism or illegitimate dissent? Censorship or free speech? Fighting for a democratic Jewish state or sleeping with the enemy? These are some of the vexing questions Australian Jewry is grappling with in the wake of a controversy surrounding Limmud-Oz, the Australian arm of the… Read more »

Months after tsunami, Jewish groups and Israel still helping Japan

Dr. Gilat Raish (far, left), an Israeli post-trauma expert, guides Japanese teachers through a recovery course in Watari, Japan, sponsored by IsraAid. (Nofar Tagar for IsraAid)

In northeastern Japan, the area hardest hit by the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a team of Israeli post-trauma experts guided local teachers and officials through their lingering pain. One kindergarten teacher broke down in tears as she related how another teacher saw the great wall of water… Read more »

Landmark study provides snapshot of new Jewish identity in Central Europe

Scene from inside the "Balint Haz" Jewish Community Center in Budapest. (Ruth Ellen Gruber)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (JTA) — A generation after the fall of communism, Jews in Central Europe feel comfortable where they live but are concerned about anti-Semitism. They like to visit Israel but don’t want to move there. And they feel that they don’t have to be religious to be a… Read more »

Arrest of IMF chief, a top presidential contender, shakes France’s Jews

Until his arrest in New York on charges of sexual assault, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was seen as a leading contender for the French presidency. WTO via CC)

PARIS (JTA) — Shock waves continue to ripple throughout France as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, considered the likely Socialist Party candidate to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy in French presidential elections next year, remains in a New York City jail on charges of sexual assault. Saturday’s arrest of Strauss-Kahn appears to significantly… Read more »

Demjanjuk conviction hailed as long-awaited victory for justice

John Demjanjuk is wheeled into a Munich courtroom on Nov. 30, 2009 for the first day of his trial. The photo was taken by Sobibor death camp survivor Thomas Blatt. (Thomas Blatt)

BERLIN (JTA) — The guilty verdict pronounced May 12 against John Demjanjuk in a Munich courtroom was a long time coming. Following a trial that lasted a year and a half — capping more than three decades of legal drama — the 91-year-old former Ohio autoworker is now officially… Read more »

Spain builds monuments to Jewish past; motives quizzed

The Museum of Jewish History in Girona is housed in what is believed to be the Spanish city’s last known synagogue. (Ben Harris/JTA Photo Service)

Hidden among the maze of alleyways east of the Onyar River, the Museum of Jewish History stands as testament — if an inadvertent one — to the completeness of Spain’s destruction of its once-thriving Jewish population. Inside the museum, set in what is said to be Girona’s last known… Read more »

A Jewish leader who can’t be called to the Torah?

Alexander Oscar, 32, the president of Sofia’s Jewish community, speaks at a Holocaust day ceremony in the Bulgarian capital, March 10. (Ben Harris)

Under a cloudless blue sky, in a square wedged between the National Assembly and the Rectorate of the University of Sofia, Alexander Oscar, the young president of Sofia’s Jewish community, issued a blunt message to his countrymen. The occasion was Bulgaria’s Holocaust remembrance ceremony on March 10, a day… Read more »

Rise of French anti-Semite Le Pen’s daughter poses dilemma for Jews

Marine Le Pen says she has made clear there is no room in the National Front for “extremist subgroups,” anti-Semitic or otherwise. (Ben Harris)

On the second floor of the town hall in Paris’ third Arrondissement, leaders of France’s major Jewish institutions gathered to denounce the leader of the far-right National Front party and to assert that she remains unworthy of dialogue with the Jewish community. Last week’s gathering was precipitated by two… Read more »

Expanding its presence in heart of Africa, Chabad faces unique challenges

Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila, right, dances with Congolese officials at a gala dinner celebrating 20 years of the Chabad of Central Africa in Kinshasa, March 1. (Israel Bardugo/

Congolese President Joseph Kabila probably had other things on his mind last week besides the celebration in his capital city of Kinshasa marking the 20th anniversary of the city’s Chabad center. On Feb. 27, about 100 fighters armed with assault rifles and rocket launchers staged two simultaneous attacks in… Read more »

FSU Jewish women take women’s case to U.N., D.C.

Project Kesher activists Elena Kalnitskaya, Svetlana Yakimenko, Olga Krasko and Vlada Bystrova pose outside a U.N. workshop in New York on Feb. 25, 2011. (Project Kesher)

(JTA) — When Elena Kalnitskaya of Ukraine talked about her organization’s women’s empowerment projects at a United Nations conference last month, she was presenting the face of social progress in her country. And she was doing it as a Jewish woman — not unusual, perhaps, for an American participant… Read more »

New Zealand quake kills Israeli, destroys Chabad house

The Chabad House in Christchurch, New Zealand, before it was devastated by an earthquake on Feb. 21, 2011, had the city's only kosher cafe.

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — For the Jewish community, the devastating earthquake that hit New Zealand struck close to home. An Israeli backpacker is believed to be among the 65 people killed in Tuesday’s quake, and the destruction in Christchurch on the country’s South Island included the city’s Chabad house.… Read more »

The new German anti-Semitism

BERLIN (Forward) — Muslim teenagers in Hanover attack an Israeli dance troupe, reportedly yelling “Juden raus” as they hurl stones. German leftists march in Berlin with Muslims to protest the 2008–2009 Gaza military conflict. “Death to the Jews!” the marchers chant. At a soccer game between teams from the… Read more »