June 19, 2008
Pico-Robertson named a Top Ten ‘hood, Court upholds SS guard’s deportation
Top 10 Jewish Neighborhoods Named
California had two neighborhoods listed among the top 10 Jewish neighborhoods in North America. North/West Berkeley and Pico-Robertson made the list compiled by Jewish Living magazine.
The magazine, in a story written by Lisa Alcalay Klug, said size and amenities were not the only criteria.
"We have identified neighborhoods across the continent that are growing, rebuilding, reinventing themselves, unifying their disparate parts and exploring our traditions in unconventional ways," Klug wrote.
Other communities on the list are Aventura, Fla.; Boulder, Colo.; Lower Merion, Pa.; McGill Ghetto, Montreal; North Dallas, Texas; SoHo/TriBeCa in New York City; University City in St. Louis, Mo.; and West Seattle, Wash.
MIA's Family Snubs Olmert
The family of a missing Israeli airman canceled a meeting with Ehud Olmert in protest of a likely prisoner swap with Hezbollah.
The Israeli prime minister was scheduled on Tuesday to visit relatives of Ron Arad, who bailed out over Lebanon in 1986 and disappeared into captivity, but the family called off the meeting. Political sources said Olmert planned to inform the Arads of his government's offer to free Samir Kuntar, a jailed Lebanese terrorist, as part of an upcoming deal with Hezbollah in which it would repatriate two Israeli soldiers abducted in 2006. Kuntar was sentenced to life in prison for a 1979 cross-border attack in which three Israelis were killed, and has since become a Hezbollah hero.
The Arad family has long argued that Israel should insist the Lebanese terrorist group provide information on the missing airman's whereabouts as a condition for Kuntar's release. Hezbollah says it knows nothing about Arad.
Obama to Make Pre-election Israel Visit
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) reportedly plans to visit Israel before the U.S. presidential election in November.
The Democrat's likely candidate announced this week that he will tour Iraq and Afghanistan ahead of his showdown with the Republican's likely nominee, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Citing sources in the Obama campaign, Yediot Achronot reported Tuesday that the candidate also will come to Israel for talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other top officials.
Obama is seen as anxious to burnish his national security credentials, especially given his rival's rich military record.
More Indirect Israeli-Syrian Talks Set
Israeli and Syrian peace envoys will hold two rounds of indirect negotiations next month, their Turkish hosts said.
After two aides to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wrapped up a second mediated meeting with Syrian counterparts in Turkey this week, Ankara voiced satisfaction at the progress and said follow-ups had been scheduled.
"Yesterday and the day before, the negotiations went very successfully and more importantly the calendar was set for the next two meetings, which will be held in July," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told reporters. "I do not wish to elevate expectations because this is a very complicated matter, although compared to the Israeli-Palestinian issue it is not as complicated," he said.
Jerusalem officials have voiced hope that the talks, launched last month, could soon be upgraded into face-to-face meetings between Israelis and Syrians. But Damascus has made clear it first wants concrete Israeli commitments on returning the Golan Heights under any future peace accord.
Young Innovators Convene in Jerusalem
Young Jewish leaders from around the world are meeting in Israel to network. The third annual Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators opened in Jerusalem on Sunday, with 120 participants from 28 countries.
Over four days, the delegates will discuss their fields of expertise as well as ways to harness their talents to bring Israel and the Diaspora closer together. The summit is an innovative project of the Center for Leadership Initiatives (CLI), in partnership with Taglit-Birthright Israel. CLI was founded by American Jewish philanthropist Lynn Schusterman.
Court Upholds SS Guard's Deportation
Josias Kumpf, 83, of Racine, Wis., failed in his appeal to the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals to overturn an immigration judge's 2007 deportation order, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday in a release.
Kumpf served as an SS guard at the Sachsenhausen and Trawniki camps in Germany and Poland. He has acknowledged participating in "Operation Harvest Festival" in November 1943 in eastern Poland, during which 42,000 Jewish adults and children were murdered over three days. His job was to shoot to kill any prisoners attempting escape.
He has said he never actively participated in murder and that German authorities forced him into SS service when he was 17. However, in stripping him of his U.S. citizenship, American judges have ruled that Kumpf violated rules that ban naturalization for individuals who "personally advocated or assisted persecution."
Kumpf, born in Serbia, immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1956 and was naturalized in 1964. He could be deported to Germany, Serbia or Austria. It is not yet clear whether Kumpf planned to appeal the decision.
Doctors Quit Over Orthodox Patient
Two more doctors have quit working at Grace Hospital in Winnipeg rather than obey a court order to treat 84-year-old Samuel Golubchuk, a Jewish man on life support.
One of the doctors publicly stated his refusal to "torture" Golubchuk by keeping him alive. Golubchuk's Orthodox family has cited Jewish law in their decision to keep him alive, arguing that removing him from life support would be tantamount to murder.
In February, a judge ordered the hospital to continue treating Golubchuk, who has been on a feeding tube and ventilator since November, until a hearing to decide his fate was held. The case is set for court in mid-September.
Reform Movement Digitizes Torah
The Reform movement has digitized the Torah as downloadable sound files. Cantor Alane Katzew, director of Music Programming at the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), headed the 22-month project, which will enable people to download all 5,845 verses in the Torah to their digital music players.
Twenty-three chanters, most of them Reform cantors and cantorial students from the New York area, chant all the Torah and Haftorah portions using the same cantillation and tone, to provide listeners with a standardized version of Torah trope, or chanting.
The project was completed June 6, two days before Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah at Sinai.
This is the first time the Reform movement has tried to standardize Torah trope, Katzew said, adding that within a few months, the project will be available for downloading on the URJ Web site.
-- Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.