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Idaho governor recognizes 125th anniversary of state’s Jewish community

JTA - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:46

(JTA) — Gov. Brad Little of Idaho recognized the 125th anniversary of the founding of his state’s Jewish community.

“We recognize the resilience of the Jewish community in the face of great adversity, and we stand in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors in opposition to all forms of hate and antisemitism,” Little said Monday after signing an official proclamation.

Idaho’s Jewish community was established in Boise in 1895 by Moses Alexander, who went on to become the capital city’s mayor and later Idaho governor. He was among the first elected Jewish governors in the United States, serving from 1915 until 1919.

The state’s first synagogue, now named Ahavath Beth Israel, was completed a year later. It is the oldest synagogue in continuous use west of the Mississippi, the Idaho Press reported.

Idaho also has Jewish communities in the cities of Sun Valley, Pocatello, Moscow and Coeur d’Alene, according to the report.

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Hank Azaria says he will no longer voice Apu on ‘The Simpsons’

JTA - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:43

(JTA) — Hank Azaria said he will no longer voice the character of Indian convenience store manager Apu on “The Simpsons.”

Azaria has been the thickly accented caricatured voice of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, manager of the show’s Kwik-E-Mart convenience store, for 30 years.

“All we know there is I won’t be doing the voice anymore, unless there’s some way to transition it or something,” the comic actor told the entertainment industry news website SlashFilm.

Azaria began rethinking his contribution to the character after a 2017 documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” which highlighted the stereotypical presentation of the character.

In the wake of the documentary Azaria, who voices several other characters on the long-running animated series, told late night host Stephen Colbert that he would be willing to step aside from the role because “The idea that anybody, young or old, past or present was bullied or teased based on the character of Apu, it just really makes me sad.”

The decision to remove Azaria from voicing Apu was mutual, the actor said, according to SlashFilm.

“We all agreed on it,” he said. “We all feel like it’s the right thing and good about it.”

It is not known what will happen to the character. Series creator Matt Groening has said that Apu would still be on “The Simpsons,” according to SlashFilm, which suggested that the show could cast an Indian actor with an authentic voice.

“What they’re going to do with the character is their call,” Azaria said. “It’s up to them and they haven’t sorted it out yet. All we’ve agreed on is I won’t do the voice anymore.”

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Wisconsin man arrested for vandalizing synagogue as part of The Base hate group

JTA - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:30

(JTA) — A Wisconsin man with Jordanian roots was arrested for vandalizing a synagogue as part of his involvement in a white supremacist and neo-Nazi hate group known as The Base.

Yousef Barasneh, 22, was arrested Friday as part of a nationwide investigation into the extremist group. Six other men were arrested on Thursday and Friday for their involvement in the group amid fears that some of them planned to travel with firearms to a pro-gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia, being held Monday.

Barasneh is accused of spray-painting a swastika and other Nazi imagery, as well as the word “Jude,” German for Jew, on the building of the Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in Racine in September.

He is charged in a federal criminal complaint with planning other acts of vandalism against minority residents with the hate group, which has been active in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

Barasneh’s father immigrated to the United States from Amman, Jordan. His mother was born in Wisconsin, and the family lives in Oak Creek, located about 10 miles from Milwaukee, Ynet reported, citing the father’s Facebook page.

Barasneh was charged with one count of conspiring to violate citizens’ rights to use property free from threats and intimidation. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the newspaper.

In November, an 18-year-old New Jersey man was arrested for ordering the vandalism of the Racine synagogue, as well as a synagogue in Michigan, which was attacked a day before Beth Israel Sinai. He allegedly said he planned the attacks as part of nationwide campaign he called Operation Kristallnacht, a reference to the 1938 pogrom against Jewish homes, synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses in Germany and Austria.

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Wisconsin man suspected of neo-Nazi ties arrested for vandalizing synagogue

The Forward - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:30
Six other men were arrested last week for their involvement in the group.

Pope Francis condemns ‘barbaric resurgence’ of anti-Semitsm

JTA - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:25

(JTA) – A week before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Pope Francis renewed his condemnation of anti-Semitism, decrying its “barbaric resurgence.”

Francis was addressing a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center that met with him at the Vatican on Monday.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed in Italy and throughout the world on Jan. 27 – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in 1945.

“If we lose our memory, we annihilate the future,” the pope said. “May the anniversary of the unspeakable cruelty that humanity learned 75 years ago serve as a summons to pause, to be silent and to remember. We need to do this, lest we become indifferent.”

Francis said the world was witnessing a troubling resurgence of factionalism and populism, which provides a breeding ground for hatred.

“Even recently, we have witnessed a barbaric resurgence of anti-Semitism,” he said. “I do not tire of firmly condemning every form of anti-Semitism.”

The pope added, “However, in order to address the problem at the root, we must commit ourselves to tilling the soil in which hatred grows, sowing peace in it.”

Francis has frequently issued firm denunciations of anti-Semitism, and has met frequently with Jewish groups and delegations. He visited Auschwitz in 2016, where he engaged in silent prayer.

In his remarks on Monday the pope encouraged deeper Christian-Jewish cooperation and stressed the need to respect human dignity, which he said “is due to every person in equal measure, regardless of his or her ethnic origin, religion or social status.”

“It is extremely important to teach tolerance and mutual understanding, freedom of religion and the promotion of social peace.”

The post Pope Francis condemns ‘barbaric resurgence’ of anti-Semitsm appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Pope Francis condemns ‘barbaric resurgence’ of anti-Semitism

The Forward - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:25
The pope has frequently issued firm denunciations of anti-Semitism, and has met frequently with Jewish groups and delegations.

Transgender woman gives up legal fight to see her haredi Orthodox children

JTA - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:15

(JTA) — A transgender woman in England has given up her legal fight to see her five haredi Orthodox children.

The woman has not seen the children, whom she fathered when she was living as a man, since leaving a haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, community in Manchester in 2015.

At a hearing in London on Monday, she withdrew her application for an order allowing her to have contact with the children, The Guardian reported.

The family has remained unidentified in the British media.

The children’s mother has said in court that if the children had direct contact with the transgender woman, the parent body of their schools would not allow other children to play with them. The testimony of several community rabbis backed her assertion.

The children also could be denied places at good yeshivas and schools, be prevented from marrying into some families and the entire family could be shunned by the community, the court has been told.

In January 2017, a British high court judge in the family division ruled that the transgender woman could not see her children, then aged 3 to 13, citing “the upholding of the rights of the children to have the least harmful outcome in a situation not of their making.” She was allowed to indirectly contact the children with letters four times a year on Jewish festivals and their birthdays.

An appeals court later ordered the family division court to reconsider its decision. The father’s application was withdrawn before a new decision could be announced.

The post Transgender woman gives up legal fight to see her haredi Orthodox children appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Hillary Clinton slams Bernie Sanders: 'Nobody likes him'

Haaretz - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:11
Clinton piles on Sanders as the Vermont senator spars with former Vice President Joe Biden’s record on Social Security

Iran’s weak point

Haaretz - Tue, 2020-01-21 16:04

Iraqi forces kill one as anti-government protest takes over Baghdad highway

Haaretz - Tue, 2020-01-21 15:55
Meanwhile, outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi condemnes an overnight rocket attack on the Baghdad Green Zone

Welcome to the cosmos, as imagined by one Israeli artist

Haaretz - Tue, 2020-01-21 15:48
In his new solo show at the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion in Tel Aviv, Yonatan Vinitsky takes viewers on a surreal journey through contemporary culture

Economist Joseph Stiglitz goes analog to rebut Trump at Davos in real time

The Forward - Tue, 2020-01-21 15:40
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz got his rebuttal to Trump’s Davos address into the hands of attendees with the help of his wife.

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate officially recognizes Ethiopian Beta Israel community as Jewish

JTA - Tue, 2020-01-21 15:35

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has officially recognized the Beta Israel Jewish community from Ethiopia as Jewish.

The ruling issued in November, but first reported Sunday by the Kan national broadcaster, accepts the position of the late Sephardic chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who ruled in 1973 that the Beta Israel were Jewish, the first step in allowing for their immigration to Israel.

Since the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the Chief Rabbinate required the Beta Israel to undergo a symbolic conversion to remove all doubt, which included involving immersion in a mikvah, or ritual bath, and a declaration accepting Rabbinic law, which was not part of the isolated Ethiopian Jewish tradition. The requirement was insulting to Ethiopian Jewry, however, and eventually was dropped for Beta Israel.

The ruling does not apply to the Ethiopians currently waiting to come to Israel, known as Falash Mura. The Falash Mura claim to be the descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity generations ago under duress but now seek to return to Judaism.

The ruling comes as some in the haredi Orthodox community continue to reject the Jewishness of the Ethiopian community in Israel.

Some 8,000 Falash Mura in Ethiopia are awaiting permission to immigrate to Israel, most of whom have some family members there. Approximately 135,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel.

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