China’s obsession with Hitler

The cast of "Hitler's Belly" (Tablet Magazine)

(Tablet Magazine) — A Chinese Hitler, dressed like a mall cop, mopes in an underground bunker in 1945 as his empire is collapsing around him. But it’s not all bad news. “My stomach hurts, and it’s bigger. I’m pregnant!” Hitler exclaims, stroking himself mindlessly. “Hitler’s Belly,” a hit play… Read more »

Palestinian who once stabbed Israeli soldiers uses football to push for peace

Twenty-four Israelis and Palestinians came together as a “Peace Team” to play Australian-rules football. (Jonathan Davis/JTA)

      SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Sulaiman Khatib is an ordinary Palestinian with an extraordinary past. Born in the West Bank near Jerusalem, he grew up as a “freedom fighter,” as he describes it, fighting against the Israeli occupation by throwing stones and preparing Molotov cocktails. But in 1986,… Read more »

For French Jewry, ‘community’ uncomfortable concept

It’s hard to think of a more innocuous word for most American Jews than “community.” But in France, things aren’t so simple. France’s national ethos frowns upon displays of ethnic difference. So for many French Jews, the word “community” conveys a sense of separatism and insularity that clashes with… Read more »

Local’s Maccabi experience: tennis and history in Vienna

Tucsonan Bobby Present, right, defeated Barry Danser of London, left. (Courtesy Bobby Present)

Tucsonan Bobby Present competed in the Maccabi Games in Vienna, Austria, this summer, playing in the masters tennis men’s 55+ category — and doing well until an injury forced him to default for the first time in his tennis career. “It was unfortunate timing,” he told the AJP, because… Read more »

Maccabi Games in Vienna reflect pain and hope for one local survivor

Alfred Schreier returned to Vienna in 2009 for the 100th anniversary of the Hakoah Sport Club (above), and again this summer for the first European Maccabi Games to be held in a German-speaking country since 1945.

Alfred Schreier was proud to be among the 2,000 athletes representing 37 nations at this year’s European Maccabi Games held July 5 to 13 in Vienna, Austria. A Sahuarita resident, Schreier, 82, was born in Vienna, where he returned after the Holocaust to become a successful teen athlete in… Read more »

As London burns, riots spread to Jewish communities

Passers-by glancing at looted stores in a London neighborhood, Aug. 9, 2011. (Creative Commons)

(JTA) – While some Jews in London marked Tisha b’Av on Tuesday by lamenting the burning of the Holy Temples on that day some two millennia ago, other London Jews watched as their city burned amid widespread rioting. “Everyone is shocked,” Joel Braunold, a lifelong Londoner, told JTA in… Read more »

With $52M investment, German city banks future on unearthing Jewish past

Onlookers peer at the archeological dig and planned museum site on the Rathaus square in downtown Colgone. (Alex Weisler)

COLOGNE, Germany (JTA) — This city in western Germany is banking its future on its Jewish past. But at present, the investment is exacting a heavy price: $52 million, to be exact. Following a divisive decades-long battle, Cologne’s municipal government voted recently to allocate that sum toward the construction… Read more »

At Maccabi Games in Vienna, symbolism — and girls

VIENNA, Austria (JTA) — The symbolism was unmistakable. Four thousand Jews stood just a few hundred yards away from the spot where a quarter-million Austrians cheered Adolf Hitler in March 1938 as he announced Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria. This time, however, the Jews had come to celebrate, as… Read more »

In Dutch shechitah ban, Jews see sign they’re unwanted

Luuk Koole, the manager of Holland’s only kosher butcher, says a proposed shechitah ban would make doing business more expensive. (Alex Weisler/JTA)

(Amsterdam) – A few streets over from the bookstore where Anne Frank bought her famous diary, the only kosher butcher shop in Holland is bustling. Two employees man the long counter at Slagerij Marcus, pausing from chopping meat to sell customers a bit of this or that for Shabbat… Read more »

Israeli ex-pats flocking to Berlin for the culture and the passport

BERLIN (JTA) — Aviv Russ stands behind a console with his headphones on and speaks into a large microphone. “We’re here: ‘Kol Berlin,’ the German-Israeli radio program. Shabbat shalom!” says Russ, 34, an Israeli expatriate. Russ has been on the radio in Berlin nearly every Friday for about three… Read more »

Norway killer espoused right-wing philosophy

Flowers and candles outside the Domkirke Cathedral in Oslo serve as a memorial to bombing and shooting victims, July 25, 2011 (Alex Weisler).

BERLIN (JTA) — The confessed perpetrator in the attack in Norway that killed at least 76 people espoused a right-wing philosophy against Islam that also purports to be pro-Zionist. Anders Behring Breivik is charged with detonating a car bomb outside Oslo’s government headquarters, which houses the office of Norwegian… Read more »

Jewish leaders condemn, Argentine officials welcome Iranian offer

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, left, was among those at a Buenos Aires ceremony commemorating the 17th anniversary of the attack on the city's AMIA Jewish center, July 18, 2011. (Leonardo G. Kremenchuzky)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Jewish leaders are doubting the sincerity of an Iranian offer to help solve the Buenos Aires Jewish center bombing, while the Argentine government has welcomed the proposal. Following a ceremony Monday marking the 17th anniversary of the attack on the AMIA Jewish center, which… Read more »

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 »