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Man storms pro-Kurdish party office in Turkey's Izmir, kills woman

Haaretz - 7 hours 54 min ago
HDP said the 20-year-old woman was covering a shift for her mother at the office

Sarah Silverman wishes Ilhan Omar’s ‘Squad’ of lawmakers included a ‘progressive Jewess’

JTA - 7 hours 55 min ago

(JTA) — Would Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman join “the Squad,” the outspoken group of progressive House representatives that includes Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

Probably not, she said — but she wishes a “progressive Jewess” was part of the group.

On Tuesday, Omar posted a photo of the women of the Squad — the others are Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Cori Bush of Missouri — on Twitter. Another member, Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, was not pictured.

The next day, Silverman commented: Love this group!! You give me hope!” and added “Wish there was a progressive jewess in there … someday.”

“You could run and join us,” Omar responded with a smiley face.

Silverman’s response: “[M]y skeletons have skeletons.”

Silverman campaigned for progressive flag-bearer Bernie Sanders during the Vermont senator’s two presidential runs and often comments about antisemitism on her self-titled podcast. In a recent episode she lamented what she sees as a lack of public figures standing up for Jews in the wake of antisemitic attacks triggered by the latest Israel-Gaza conflict.

Omar, the second-term congresswoman from Minnesota, has been embroiled in her fair share of antisemitism accusations over several of her public comments, including a recent tweet that said Israel and the U.S. have committed “crimes of humanity” comparable to those of Hamas, the militant group ruling Gaza that the U.S. labels a terrorist entity.

Silverman praised Omar’s apologetic op-ed in The Washington Post in 2019 in response to the storm of criticism to the lawmaker’s tweet on the AIPAC Israel lobby that many found antisemitic. Silverman’s sister Susan, a prominent Reform rabbinical leader, took some issue with Omar’s comments at the time.

Moderate Jewish Democratic lawmakers have expressed frustration with the Squad and the U.S. progressive movement’s broader proclivity to harshly condemn Israel and call for a conditioning on funding to the Jewish state.

Omar, Tlaib and Bush are the only members of Congress who endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The post Sarah Silverman wishes Ilhan Omar’s ‘Squad’ of lawmakers included a ‘progressive Jewess’ appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Nili Lotan, designer labeled as Gigi Hadid's 'secret weapon,' embraces her Israeli roots

Haaretz - 7 hours 57 min ago
Vogue called her ‘Gigi Hadid’s secret style weapon.’ Jennifer Aniston says her designs would have been loved by her fashionista 'Friends' character Rachel Greene. New York designer Nili Lotan is quietly building an empire – and she has big plans for Tel Aviv

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene celebrates director Zalmen Mlotek

The Forward - 8 hours 2 min ago
Mlotek is turning 70, and the Folksbiene – 106!

Gazan who crossed border, stabbed Israeli guard charged with terrorism

Haaretz - 8 hours 5 min ago
24-year-old Imad Sufi acted out of 'political, religious, nationalistic and ideological motives' during the latest round of Israel-Hamas fighting, the indictment argues

Erdogan says he told Biden Turkey is not shifting on S-400s, state media reports

Haaretz - 8 hours 51 min ago
Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defenses has strained ties with the U.S. and NATO allies over concerns that the systems are not compatible with the alliance's defenses and may threaten U.S. F-35 fighter jets

The secret Jewish history of birdwatching

The Forward - 8 hours 59 min ago
Birdwatching can be traced all the way back to Noah’s Ark. It’s a tradition that also includes modern-day birdwatchers like Franz Kafka and Ab Cahan.

Jewish causes, groups get big bumps in California and Florida state budgets

The Forward - 9 hours 24 sec ago
California and Florida budgets allocate money for Holocaust education and to fight antisemitism

Naftali Bennett is progressive Jews' most unlikely champion

Haaretz - 9 hours 13 min ago
Israel's ultra-Orthodox politicians are throwing curses at the 'evil crook' who now occupies the prime minister's seat. In the Jewish identity wars, Naftali Bennett is their nemesis, the greatest threat to Jewish fundamentalism

Lively Jewish festival in New York suburbs signals the comeback of in-person Jewish life

JTA - 9 hours 15 min ago

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. — David Harris grew up in a Russian-speaking home in New York and was raised to hate communism.

In 1974, he was among a handful of Americans allowed to live and teach in the Soviet Union — an experience that left an indelible mark on his life. It set Harris on a career arc that eventually would land him atop one of American Jewry’s most storied and powerful organizations, the American Jewish Committee.

“In December 1987, Gorbachev came for his first visit to the U.S., and we had 36 days to prepare a demonstration. We met him with 250,000 people in Washington,” Harris recalled of his early days as an activist. “The next day, Gorbachev met Ronald Reagan in the White House. Reagan said, ‘Let them go.’ Within a year or two, the doors were open and more than a million people left.”

Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, was speaking Sunday under a big white tent in leafy Westchester County, one of a dozen lecturers, musicians, authors and rabbis at Limmud FSU’s first face-to-face North American event since 2019.

“The power, experience, resilience, courage and passion of Jews from the Soviet Union that I have met over the last 47 years is needed today here in the United States by the American Jewish community more than ever,” Harris said. “We are facing an entirely new situation in this country. Things are changing here rapidly and we need your voice. We need your fearlessness.”

The gathering, held at a forested Girl Scout retreat about 45 minutes north of New York City, attracted more than 150 Russian-speaking Jews for a full day of Jewish learning and artistic performances. Among the featured speakers: Yehuda Sarna, chief rabbi of the United Arab Emirates; Peter Weintraub, board chairman of Friends of the IDF; Christian pastor Dumisani Washington, founder of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel; Israel Nitzan, acting consul general of Israel in New York; Zohar Vloski, KKL-JNF Israel emissary for education in the USA; and Menachem Kaiser, author of the book “Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure.”

Among other highlights of the day: a Russian-Hebrew songfest by Gera Sandler and Ronit Asheri, and a concert by the nine-piece klezmer band Romashka, which concluded with Inna Barmash’s rousing rendition of “Bei Mir Bist du Schein.”

The one-day festival was a sign not just of the strength and breadth of Russian-speaking Jews in the Northeast, but of a return to a semblance of normalcy after more than a year of pandemic limitations, said Limmud FSU’s chairman, Matthew Bronfman.

“This is our second first,” he said. “Last month we returned to face-to-face programming in Moscow, and this one-day event in New York is an important step on our path to a full return to annually impacting thousands of Russian-speaking Jews.”

Another festival is scheduled for later this month in San Francisco.

“It was great to get together, to finally be outside and enjoy the atmosphere, especially after the self-isolation of the pandemic,” said Tatyana Segal, 49. “I felt liberated. I liked seeing friends I knew, meeting new people and enjoying Israeli music.”

Segal, originally from the Ukrainian town of Khmelnitsky, immigrated to the United States in 1989 via Vienna and Rome and now lives in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. As an attorney specializing in elder care, she helps low-income clients with housing and health care issues.

Estee Bardanashvili moved to New York in 1995 from Batumi, a Black Sea resort in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The Queens resident is a senior director at Sesame Workshop, which produces the kids’ TV show “Sesame Street.”

“I love Limmud events in general, but particularly today’s because the topics were so interesting and diverse,” she said. “It was so meaningful to me because after a year and a half of COVID we could finally be together.”

Since the first conference in Moscow 15 years ago, Limmud FSU has put on over 75 events by 13 volunteer teams. Chaim Chesler and Sandy Cahn founded the organization, which has been led by Bronfman and President Aaron Frenkel since its inception. In all, some 70,000 Russian-speaking Jews across the globe have participated in the group’s events.

Presenters and participants at a Limmud FSU event in New York on June 13, 2021, from left: Tom Blumberg, Zohar Vloski, Diane Wohl, Chaim Chesler, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, Matthew Bronfman, Sandy Cahn and Stewart Cahn. (Yuliya Levit)

Sarna, the UAE rabbi and executive director of New York University’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life, sounded a positive note at the event here speaking about the recent normalization of ties between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.

“Changes have been on slow boil for the last several years, but the Abraham Accords are dramatically changing the Middle East,” Sarna said.

About 1,000 Jews live in the UAE, according to Sarna, nearly all in the country’s two main emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In February 2019, the government announced the construction of an Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi to consist of a church, synagogue and mosque, all the same height. In addition to the complex, which is set to open in 2022, the UAE now has a permanent Holocaust exhibition at Dubai’s Crossroads of Civilization Museum — the first of its kind anywhere in the Arab world.

“This is rooted not only in a desire to understand the Jewish community, but also to combat Islamic extremism,” Sarna said. “For the UAE, tolerance is not just a value but a matter of national security.”

Seeing so many people gathered at the weekend festival was a powerful communal experience, said Marina Yudborovsky, CEO of the Genesis Philanthropy Group. The Genesis Philanthropy Group was among the event’s donors along with the Claims Conference, the Jewish National Fund (KKL), UJA-Federation of New York, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, philanthropists Diane Wohl and Tom Blumberg, and others.

“Limmud FSU is a unique model of Jewish engagement through meaningful conversations about Jewish culture, heritage, art, science, history and modernity powered by volunteerism,” Yudborovsky said. “After a pause due to the pandemic, it is incredibly exciting to see it revived.”

The post Lively Jewish festival in New York suburbs signals the comeback of in-person Jewish life appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Hamas chief meets party leaders in Morocco visit following anti-Israel protests

Haaretz - 9 hours 26 min ago
Ismail Haniyeh arrives in Morocco for a four-day visit to meet with Islamist PJD, the biggest party in the governing coalition, and several other parties, in a move meant to demonstrate Rabat's commitment to the Palestinians

Republicans want to censure Ilhan Omar. These Jewish lawmakers think it's a bad idea

Haaretz - 9 hours 34 min ago
The Minnesota Congresswoman was criticized by Republicans for her comments on Israel and Hamas. But Jewish Democratic lawmakers, including one who was "pained" by the quote, say punishing her is the wrong response
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