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Briefs

November 16, 2000 | 7:00 pm

Weiss Shakes Up British Jews

It hasn't taken Rabbi Abner Weiss long to make waves in his new London post.

The former spiritual leader of Beth Jacob Congregation, a leading centrist Orthodox synagogue in Beverly Hills, takes up most of the front page of Britain's Jewish Chronicle, with a large color photo and the bold headline, "Top rabbi: 'British Jews failing Israel.'"

The South African-born rabbi migrated to England last summer to take up his duties as principal of the London School of Jewish Studies and "minister" of the Western Marble Arch Synagogue.

Weiss, the paper reported, "advocated a determined response to demonstrations by Muslims. He also urged that the community adopt an increasingly visible profile, whatever the security risks."

In addition, the rabbi described the British Jewish community as "insecure and afraid of being politically incorrect... We should stand up and be counted," he said, "Jews should not be ashamed of being Zionists."The militant words were met coolly by Britain's cautious Jewish establishment.

"We believe Israel has a valid argument and that the most important thing is to put it across in a 'sophisticated' fashion," declared a spokesman for the community's Emergency Co-ordinating Committee, which deals with problems arising from the Middle East crisis. "I don't think people would want to take to the streets in demonstrations." - Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Furrow Trial Postponed Again

The trial date for white supremacist Buford O. Furrow Jr., accused of killing a postal worker and of wounding five persons in a shooting rampage at the North Valley Jewish Community Center on Aug. 10, 1999, has been postponed once again.

Originally set to start Nov. 16 of last year, the trial was initially put over until Feb. 6, 2001.Now, both prosecution and defense lawyers have asked U.S. District Judge Nora Manella to move the trial date once more to April 24 of next year.

Drawing out preparations for the trial is the government's decision to seek the death penalty and the possibility that the public defenders representing Furrow will claim that he was mentally impaired, and therefore not legally responsible, at the time of the crimes.

In a joint statement, both sides declared that "given the nature of the charges, the complex nature of potential mental health issues and the amount of discovery, the parties feel that it is necessary to adjust the deadline" for a trial date. - Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Statewide Anti-Hunger Conference

For the third consecutive year, MAZON ("food" in Hebrew) convened the California Nutrition Initiative conference to explore the most effective ways to assist millions of low-income Californians, many of whom have made the transition from welfare to jobs with wages too meager to sustain their families.According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 31 million Americans, including 12 million children, are hungry or living at the very edge of hunger. More than 2 million children in California live in poverty.

"In an era of unprecedented abundance, it is a scandal that so many Americans still know the pain of hunger," said Susan Cramer, executive director of MAZON, a national nonprofit organization which allocates Jewish community funds to provide food, help and hope to hungry people of all faiths and backgrounds.

"The conference enables anti-hunger advocates and food providers throughout California to participate in our efforts to achieve tzedakah, or justice, for hungry people," said Cramer.

Organizations participating included Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Regional FoodBank, San Diego Hunger Coalition, Grupo de la Comida in San Francisco, Jewish Family & Children's Services in San Francisco, Familia Center in Santa Cruz, FoodBank of Santa Barbara County and Inter-Faith Ministries of Greater Modesto. All of the nearly 50 hunger relief organizations represented at the conference receive funding from MAZON. - Staff Report

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