A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to same-sex spouses. Many religious organizations, including the Orthodox Union, put out statements following the ruling. “We are grateful that we live in a democratic society, in which all religions are free to express their opinions about social issues and to advocate vigorously for those opinions," it stated. Others were quick to support the announcement. "As an Orthodox Jewish heterosexual married woman, I celebrate this new ruling. My only question is why it took so long," wrote Simi Lichtman at The Jewish Daily Forward. But there's still a long way to go toward equality, said Susan Esther Barnes at the Jewish Journal. "Now is the time to celebrate, but now is not the time to relax. Rather, it is the time to press forward in strength."
Pope Francis publicly condemned anti-Semitism this week.“Because of our commons roots, a true Christian cannot be anti-Semitic,” Pope Francis said on Monday. "Papal audiences typically are rich in formality, and, by necessity, devoid of significant policy conversations. But, with Pope Francis, there was an atmosphere of honest goodwill, assuring that the Catholic-Jewish relationship will continue to grow closer and stronger," wrote Noam E. Marans in The Jewish Week. A new book traces contemporary relations back to the 1930s.
Last week a Belgian newspaper called the private visit of Prince Laurent of Belgium to Israel "a new demonization of the State of Israel,'' according to reports. His visit was part of a sponsored trip by the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF). However, Le Soir described KKL as "a Zionist group which is subject to criticism for exploiting the villages deserted by the Palestinians.” Others in Belgium are on alert after a Jewish person was attacked for putting up a mezuzah.
Immigration reform is a hot topic this year, and some worry that tightened border security may result in the ejection of Israeli counselors who typically work at Jewish summer camps. A proposed Senate bill would make it harder to get a non-immigrant visa. Thousands of Israelis come over using such a visa, and camps would have to scramble to fill those slots on their staffs. However, House Speaker John Boehner could block the bill from passing if a majority of Republicans oppose it.
Ferris Wheel coming
A Ferris wheel is heading for Tel Aviv next spring. The attraction has hit big locations like London, Hong Kong, New York, and Paris in the past. It stands at 80 meters (263 feet) tall and will include 42 sealed and air-conditioned passenger capsules, which can hold up to six people each. Rumors from 2010 put the attraction in Jerusalem, earning blogger support: "It should be stunning!" wrote one at the time. Yet others were a bit nervous about the development. "Smart move? All I can think about is the security and the safety," said another.