September 12, 2012
Year in review: Highlights of 5772
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After threatening a lawsuit and making national headlines, a Jewish high school in Texas is permitted to reschedule a state basketball tournament game that conflicts with Shabbat. The Robert M. Beren Academy team goes on to prevail in its semifinal tournament game before losing in the final. The tournament’s organizer, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial schools, had denied Beren’s requests to reschedule.
President Obama tells the annual gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that there is still time to use diplomatic means to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. Obama adds that that the military option remains on the table.
In a New York Times op-ed, journalist Peter Beinart calls for a boycott of Israeli goods produced in the West Bank, or what he calls “undemocratic Israel.” Beinart, the author of “The Crisis of Zionism,” launches a bitter debate while coming under withering criticism for his proposal, despite repeated assertions that he loves Israel and was acting in the country’s best interest.
A Brooklyn cooperative grocery rejects an effort to boycott Israeli products. The Park Slope Food Co-op votes overwhelmingly to reject the measure, which had been championed for years by members who wished to protest Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
A gunman on a motorcycle opens fire on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, killing four people: Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two young sons and the young daughter of the school’s principal. The shooter, Mohammed Merah, later dies in a standoff with French police. The massacre shocks the French community and thousands march in memory. Two months later, three Jews are attacked in southeast France, and a report by the French Jewish community’s protection service comes out saying that the massacre encouraged more French anti-Semitic attacks.
The owners of the Washington Jewish Week submit the winning bid for the Baltimore Jewish Times, a venerable Jewish publication that had gone bankrupt. Route 95 Publications bid $1.26 million for the Baltimore paper.
Mike Wallace, the veteran correspondent for the CBS news program “60 Minutes,” dies at 93. Wallace was born Myron Leon Wallace to Russian Jewish parents who had shortened their name from Wallechinsky.
The Beastie Boys are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The pioneering New York rap trio’s members — Mike D (Michael Diamond), MCA (Adam Yauch) and Ad-Rock (Adam Horo-
witz) — are all Jewish. Yauch dies the next month at 47.
Benzion Netanyahu, a noted historian and the father of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dies at 102. Netanyahu was an expert on the history of Spanish Jewry whose hawkish views were said to have a significant influence on his son’s policies.
Netanyahu forms a broad unity government with the Kadima Party, avoiding the prospect of early elections. The new coalition includes 94 lawmakers, the largest governing coalition Israel has had since 1984.
Celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon dies at 84. Sassoon, who grew up in a Jewish orphanage and fought in Israel’s War of Independence, established a global network of hair salons and was committed to fighting anti-Semitism.
A sellout crowd of 40,000 Charedim Orthodox Jewish men gather at a New York City baseball stadium to hear rabbinical leaders decry the corrosive impact of the Internet. In speeches in English and Yiddish, the rabbis from Charedim communities describe the Internet as impure, a threat to modesty and a distraction from Torah study.
Maurice Sendak, author of the beloved children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are,” dies at 83. The son of immigrant Polish Jews, Sendak had said that he spent his childhood thinking about the children who died in the Holocaust in Europe. “My burden is living for those who didn’t,” he told the Associated Press.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and widows of the murdered athletes and coaches at the 1972 Munich Olympics launch a one-minute video campaign after the International Olympic Committee officially rejects a request to hold a moment of silence for the Munich 11 at the London Games this summer.
President Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, Madeleine Albright and Bob Dylan, all Jewish, among other recipients.
Israeli protesters attack Africans and smash windshields at an anti-migrant demonstration in Tel Aviv and a week later, violent demonstrations continue. U.S. Jewish groups condemn anti-African violence and the riots, which end with 17 arrests.
Obama proclaims May as Jewish Heritage Month and discusses the perseverance of Jewish Americans in overcoming adversity and hostility in order to reach success in America.
After the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak during an uprising more than a year ago, Egypt holds the first round of voting in its presidential election. Mohamed Morsi of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood goes on to win the presidency.
At a concert in Israel launching her world tour, Madonna appeals for peace in the Middle East and beyond. The American singer donates 600 tickets to Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. Madonna has performed twice before in Israel and has visited personally with her children as part of her devotion to the study of Jewish mysticism.
A New York Times report confirms long-held suspicions that Israel and the United States collaborated to develop a computer virus to derail Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Stuxnet virus was jointly developed by the Israeli military and the U.S. National Security Agency, according to the Times.
Israeli President Peres calls for the renewal of peace talks with the Palestinians after being awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. President Obama says Peres embodies Israel’s need to simultaneously defend itself and to seek peace.
The Genesis Prize, which is being touted as a “Jewish Nobel Prize,” is established to award Jews who win global recognition for their professional achievements, including in the world of science and the arts.
Anti-Israel billboards calling for a stop to U.S. foreign assistance to Israel are taken down in Los Angeles, and StandWithUs launches a pro-Israel ad campaign to counter the billboards.
Vandals damage a synagogue days after repeated attacks on mosques by Jewish extremists. Palestinian cars are also vandalized to protest the evacuation of several apartment buildings in the Ulpana neighborhood of the West Bank.
About 200 Israelis ride buses on Shabbat to show that public transportation is needed and wanted on the Jewish Sabbath.
Israelis protesting the absence of affordable housing and the high cost of living in Israel stage massive demonstrations. Moshe Silman, a protester who had set himself on fire during a rally in Tel Aviv while blaming the State of Israel for leaving him homeless and helpless, dies several days later from second- and third-degree burns.
A draft committee formulates a new law on Charedim Orthodox military service. Prime Minister Netanyahu later disbands the committee, and its draft law is rejected by Israel’s Knesset. In August, Israel starts drafting Charedim into the army.
Israel brings in remaining Ethiopian immigrants and builds a new absorption center in southern Israel.
A terrorist attack in Bulgaria kills five and wounds 33 Israeli tourists; Netanyahu says all signs point to Iran as the culprit.
Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, considered the most important authority of Jewish law for the non-Chasidic Charedim Orthodox community, dies at 102.
Germany’s government calls for a circumcision law after a district court in Cologne rules that the nonmedical circumcision of a minor is a criminal act.
Yitzhak Shamir, former Israeli prime minister, dies at 96. Israel’s leaders praise Shamir’s dedication and service.
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, American Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman wins a bronze medal and two golds, including an individual gold for her floor routine set to “Hava Nagila.” Israeli athletes fail to earn any medals.
Some 90,000 Jews pack New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium for the largest Siyum HaShas celebration in Jewish history. Celebrations throughout the world mark the completion of the Daf Yomi study cycle — the
7 1/2-year term needed to complete the Talmud’s 2,711 pages at the rate of a page a day.
A group of Jewish teenagers attacks an Arab youth in downtown Jerusalem in an incident police describe as a lynching. The attack comes amid other violent attacks by Israeli Jews against Arabs.
Kippah-wearing teen Edon Pinchot is eliminated in the semifinals of “America’s Got Talent.”
A district court in Haifa dismisses all charges against Israel in a civil suit brought by the parents of Rachel Corrie, the American pro-Palestinian activist killed in Gaza in 2003 after being run over by an Israeli military bulldozer.
At the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney accepts the GOP nomination and warns that President Obama’s approach to the Iranian nuclear issue has left Americans “less secure.” Romney accuses Obama of having “thrown allies like Israel under the bus.” Rabbi Meir Soloveichik delivers the opening invocation.
In a diplomatic coup, Iran hosts a conference of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement in the biggest international gathering in the Iranian capital since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Among the attendees are Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, and the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon.
Amid some booing during a hastily called floor vote, the Democratic National Convention amends its party platform to reinsert language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The language had appeared in the party’s platform in 2008 but disappeared in 2012. Later, addressing the convention, President Obama says the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security “must not waver” and that the world must unite against Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Rabbi David Wolpe delivers the invocation, and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recites the Pledge of Allegiance.
Canada closes its embassy in Tehran, lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and expels all Iranian diplomats from the country.
Young Jews, Christians and Muslims, including local celebrities and politicians, don yarmulkes to participate in a flash mob on the streets of Berlin in response to an attack on a local rabbi and his 6-year-old daughter.
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