Archive for the ‘Jewish’ Category

New York Giants player shows Jewish pride on and off the field – The Times of Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) As a rookie in the National Football League, New York Giants offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty is splitting most of his time before the season starts in September between grueling practices and long team meetings.

To lighten the mood, veteran players ask the newbies each preseason to sing in front of the team. Bisnowaty figures that when its his turn, hell go with Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.

Bisnowaty, 23, is Jewish a rarity in professional football and comfortable talking about it with his teammates.

One of the first things I tell people is that Im Jewish, he told JTA. People dont meet a lot of Jewish football players, so I always like to bring that out and just open up, so its nice and easy.

Bisnowaty who stands 66 (almost 2 meters), weighs about 300 pounds, and sports long, curly brown hair has become a minor celebrity in Jewish circles after a New York Post article from last month revealed that he has a large Hebrew tattoo on his left arm. The tattoo translates to I am what I am, a phrase God says to Moses when the latter asks what to call him.

The Jewish food company Manischewitz heard about Bisnowaty and sent him an array of snacks, from boxes of matzah to potato pancake mix.

The matzah provoked curiosity in his teammates.

I promised them Id bring in the snacks and let them have a go at them, Bisnowaty said.

He hopes the matzah will help him do more than ingratiate himself with his teammates. Bisnowaty was a four-year starter at the University of Pittsburgh, his hometown school, and is projected to snag a spot on the Giants roster this season but nothing is certain. Some say he could be an immediate starter, others say he might make the team but not be active, or listed as eligible to play, for most games.

The beefy lineman is among several 300-pounders tasked with blocking defenders from hitting veteran quarterback Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and brother of future Hall of Fame signal-caller Peyton Manning. Heading into Aprils NFL draft, scouts said Bisnowaty compensates for a lack of raw athleticism with his size, strength and positive attitude. The Giants traded up to select him in the sixth round.

Adam Bisnowaty at a New York Giants training camp practice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, July 30, 2017. (Evan Pinkus/via JTA)

Like most professional sports leagues, the NFL is not exactly full of Jewish players. Brothers Mitch and Geoff Schwartz both offensive linemen were in the league at the same time from 2012 to 2016. Mitch is a Kansas City Chief; Geoff, who played for the Giants in 2014 and 2015, retired in 2017 after seven seasons in the league. Bisnowaty said some of his teammates like to say We got another Schwartz in here!

Other notable active Jewish players include star wide receiver Julian Edelman in recent years he has embraced his Jewish background and backup safety and special teams ace Nate Ebner, both of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

What makes Bisnowaty even more of an NFL aberration is his Israeli heritage. His father grew up in the Jewish state and ended up staying in the US in his late 20s after having a kidney transplant there. Bisnowatys uncle David is the first Israeli to become an elected parliament member in the southeastern African nation of Malawi.

Although the family celebrated the major Jewish holidays growing up, the divorce of Bisnowatys parents along with his time-consuming interest in football eventually pushed Judaism mostly out of his life. He told JTA he wants to rekindle his interest in the religion, and he may have a bar mitzvah at some point.

Geoff, left, and Mitch Schwartz are the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923. (Olivia Goodkin and Lee Schwartz/via JTA)

Football, especially at the college level, is heavily influenced by religious Christianity, including coaches and ministries that cater to athletes. But Bisnowaty said he has never been the target of anti-Semitic slurs or bullying in his football career. As he sees it, players asking him to wear a yarmulke to team meetings are just breaking the ice and having a good time.

Still, Bisnowaty was aware of how rare a Jewish football player is when he got the Hebrew tattoo. He said it was an opportunity for him to show his Jewish pride.

But flashing a tat in the locker room is one thing. It took a bit of courage to show it off in another setting.

I wanted to hide it from my mom, he said with a laugh, so she didnt find out about it right away.

Adam Bisnowaty at a minicamp practice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, May 25, 2017. (Evan Pinkus/via JTA)

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Hebrew U. conference explores history of Jewish names – The Jerusalem Post

Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky.. (photo credit:Courtesy)

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is hosting an international conference on the history and origin of Jewish names.

The 13th biannual International Conference on Jewish Names, which takes place today at the Mount Scopus campus, features 20 lecturers and academics from Israel, Poland, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Canada, Italy and the United States all of whom study Jewish onomastics, or name studies, in their country of origin.

The conference was founded in 1991 by Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky, an expert in the field of Jewish names. Demsky organized the event together with the 17th World Jewish Congress and the faculty of Jewish Studies and the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University.

According to Demsky: This conference is a reflection of the interdisciplinary nature and relevance of Jewish names from multiple disciplines as well as the wide-ranging history of Jewish names from biblical times to modern Israel.

The conference will also place emphasis on Jewish communities in the Diaspora facing questions of identity… ones name speaks volumes and an immigrants relationship to his birth name especially when it is different or strange reflects his relationship to his old and new cultures, old and new identities.

The conferences content is presented in historical chronological order and is divided into six sections, starting with names in the Bible and Rabbinical literature, then early Diaspora Jewish communities in Italy and Spain, followed by early Ashkenazi communities in Germany and Poland, plus lectures highlighting the meanings of names in communities in Morocco and Baghdad.

The latter half of the program focuses on the 18th and 19th centuries, and introduces the works of gentile scholars who are interested in the study of Jewish names, said Demsky.

For many of these speakers, this is the first time they are coming to Israel, he explained. This conference is not only about academics, but about building connections and making ties with gentile academics with an interest in this field of research.

Section five looks at contemporary Jewish names in the 20th century and how the establishment of Israel and revival of the Hebrew language allowed for the introduction and reintroduction of a whole new set of names for the Jewish and Israeli experience.

The event will conclude with a lecture by Israeli author Haim Beer, who will discuss how he chooses the names of his characters. Bringing the conference full circle, Beer compares his process of naming characters to one of the first stories in the Bible.

Exactly like Adam, whose first act after his creation was to give names to all animals, birds and living creatures around him, so I, too, must face repeatedly the same dilemma: What name should I give to the characters of the novel that is taking shape in my mind? Name giving is an act that is more mysterious and obscure than revealed and obvious, said Beer.

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Cape Verde lists Jewish cemeteries as heritage sites – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

WASHINGTON (JTA) The government of Cape Verde listed the island nations Jewish cemeteries and some other structures as heritage sites.

A Washington-based group, the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project, announced the June 29 designation of the sites as part of the countrys National Historical Patrimony this week in an email to its members. The designation means that the cemeteries may not be destroyed and that a number of buildings with Jewish associations may not be altered, the groups president, Carol Castiel, told JTA.

CVJHP will continue to work hand-in-hand with the government based on our memorandum of understanding (Protocolo) signed in September 2016, to identify, restore, preserve and maintain these important monuments to Jewish heritage, the statement said. Castiel told JTA that the sites may eventually be marked as a Jewish heritage circuit for tourists to the island.

The islands Jews have all but disappeared, although many of its families are aware of their Jewish ancestry, as are some Cape Verde emigres who have settled in New England.

There were two waves of Jewish immigration to the former Portuguese colony about 300 miles off Africas west coast. The first was of secret Jews who came with Portuguese colonization in the 15th century.

That immigration is difficult to track because of the Jews secrecy, and the cemeteries and other sites are relics of a wave of Jewish immigrants to the island from Morocco and Gibraltar in the mid-19th century.

The Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project has been working since 2008 with municipalities particularly Praia that are known to have had a Jewish presence. King Mohammed VI of Morocco has been a benefactor of the project.

Earlier this month, Cape Verde announced that it would no longer vote against Israel in the United Nations. The announcement came following a meeting two months ago between Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cape VerdesPresident Jorge Carlos Fonseca on the sidelines of theEconomic Community of West African States conference in Liberia.

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Jackie Walker in Edinburgh: cheers and a standing ovation – Jewish Chronicle


Jewish Chronicle
Jackie Walker in Edinburgh: cheers and a standing ovation
Jewish Chronicle
Ms Walker, who claims mixed Jewish and African heritage, raised the “African holocaust”, saying: “Millions more Africans were killed in the African holocaust and their oppression continues to this day on a global scale in a way it doesn't for Jews, and
Far-Left Activist Jackie Walker Gets Standing Ovation for Antisemitic PlayAlgemeiner

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Got a Jewish novel in your drawer? Now might be the time to pull it out – The Times of Israel

Author Sharon Hart-Green spent nearly a decade writing her debut novel, Come Back For Me, about the the lives of first and second generation WWII refugees and Holocaust survivors in Canada and Israel. It was a well wrought work of fiction a real page-turner filled with the struggles and secrets of characters dealing with the pain of memory and loss. But it looked like no one would ever get to read it.

As the former University of Toronto professor of Hebrew and Yiddish literature worked on her book, she discovered the frustrating reality for writers of new Jewish fiction today: It is extremely hard to get published. It is thanks only to the timely appearance of a new Canadian niche publisher, New Jewish Press, that Come Back For Me has seen the light of day. The new outfit chose the novel as its first fiction publication.

Gone are the days when Jewish novelists could think of submitting manuscripts to the Jewish Publication Society or Schocken Books, once the largest and best-known Jewish publishers in America. Neither JPS nor Schocken, bought by Random House in 1987 and an imprint of Knopf Doubleday, acquires works by new novelists anymore.

In the US, there is only one publisher focusing exclusively on Jewish literary works: Fig Tree Books, based in Bedford, New York. Another, Mandel Vilar Press, whose mission is to unite the works of the best writers of Central and South America with the leading ethnic and minority writers of North America, has a modern Jewish literature collection, which includes works by authors including Thane Rosenbaum, Nava Semel, and Andrew Potok.

Established writers like Dara Horn, Nicole Krauss, Nathan Englander and David Bezmozgis may have an easier chance of having their next novel accepted by a large, mainstream publishing house. But for first-time novelists like Hart-Green, it is nearly impossible to break in.

Author Sharon Hart-Green (center) with New Jewish Press co-publishers Malcolm Lester and Andrea Fochs Knight (Courtesy New Jewish Press)

Hart-Green was realistic about what she was up against. There are very few opportunities for Jewish fiction writers to get published these days, she told The Times of Israel.

The first-time fiction writer was fortunate that New Jewish Press came on the scene just as she shopped around her manuscript.

New Jewish Press is the inaugural publishing program of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. Launched in late 2015, it has five titles in its catalogue to date, including Come Back For Me. The press seeks to produce books on Jewish themes for a general reading audience, while complementing existing scholarly and trade publishing.

Our goal is to make outstanding books on Jewish culture, history, philosophy, and religion available to the broader Canadian and international community, said co-publisher Malcolm Lester, a veteran of the trade publishing business in Canada.

Come Back For Me by Sharon Hart-Green (Courtesy New Jewish Press)

Edward Trapunski, co-chair of the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards, agreed about the important role played by New Jewish Press, and praised Lesters eye for Jewish works with the potential to appeal to a broad audience.

This is a good time to launch New Jewish Press, because Canadian readers are more appreciative now of works from different cultures, both from around the world and within Canada, Trapunski said.

New Jewish Press can publish titles that may not have made it without this specialized press. It can take the risk because it is not a totally commercial enterprise, he added, referring to the fact that it is supported in part by charitable donations.

Prof. Anna Shternshis, director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre, praised Come Back For Me, reporting that it was positively reviewed by all members of New Jewish Press vetting committee. However, she said, she doubted the press would continue to accept fiction and poetry submissions going forward.

According to Shternshis, an expert in Yiddish studies and Soviet Jewish culture, the main idea behind New Jewish Press is to encourage university scholars to break out of the academic publishing mold and write in a more popular style about their research.

Prof. Anna Shternshis (Facebook)

Shternshis cited historians Irving Abella and Harold Troppers widely read 1982 book, None is Too Many, about Canadas restrictive immigration policy toward Jewish refugees during the Holocaust years as an example of the kind of works the press is looking to publish.

It was read by hundreds of thousands of people and changed the public discourse on the Holocaust, she said.

It appears that Hart-Greens novel may be a one-off at New Jewish Press. We dont have the knowledge among the group to evaluate fiction. We are a university and we are in the business of non-fiction, Shternshis said.

That leaves Fig Tree Books as the sole publishing company in North America devoted exclusively to literature reflecting the Jewish-American experience. Hart-Greens Canada- and Israel-focused novel, however, would presumably have not fit Fig Tree Books mission.

Fig Tree Books publisher Fredric Price told The Times of Israel he has received over 1,000 manuscripts since he began in 2014. Initially, more than 95 percent of them were fiction.

That changed after we published Abigail Pogrebins memoir My Jewish Year earlier this year, which has done very well. Now we are getting about 60-70% fiction and rest non-fiction, which is a good balance, Price said.

Abigail Pogrebin (Lorin Klaris)

Since establishing Fig Tree Books a few years ago, Price has published seven books, two of which are reprints of classic novels.

If I cant find a book of the quality Im looking for and that really says something, I wont publish it, he said.

Price said he welcomed all submissions meeting his companys guidelines, including those from from first-time writers of Jewish literature but only through an agent. It is not his express mission to publish debut authors, but he acknowledged that Fig Tree Books would be a more likely address for a newbies manuscript than for the latest book by an established writer, who may be able to get a good offer from a large publisher.

I will always be topped financially by the Random Houses of the world. Whatever I bid, theyll bid higher, Price said.

Nora Gold, publisher of the online journal Jewish Fiction.net, calls the current situation in Jewish publishing a crisis.

New writers of Jewish fictions face huge challenges. The digital revolution affected all publishing, but its been especially hard for niche fiction writers and publishers, such as those focusing on Jewish concerns, Gold said.

Nora Gold (Facebook)

Publishers are not willing to take a chance, leaving writers with almost nowhere to publish their work, she said.

Gold, who divides her time between Toronto and Jerusalem, provided a response to the problem by starting JewishFiction.net, the only journal in English (online or in print) devoted solely to Jewish fiction, in 2010. To date, she has published over 300 works in 18 issues from writers living all over the world (some of the work is translated from Hebrew and other languages). According to Gold, the freely accessible site has 70,000 individual readers in over 140 countries.

About a quarter of the authors Gold publishes are famous, like Aharon Appelfeld or A.B. Yehoshua. She devotes the rest of the journal to new writers. However, she only publishes approximately one in 20 submissions, first-rate fiction chosen through a process of blind peer review.

A published author herself, Gold feels the new writers pain. I never fail to be touched and impressed by the great work out there, and I know how hard it is to find a publisher.

Recognizing the quality of Hart-Greens writing, Gold published an excerpt from Come Back For Me on JewishFiction.net and was pleased that New Jewish Press ultimately picked up the novel.

Israeli novelist Aharon Appelfeld (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Her advice to new novelists is to shop their manuscripts around to a variety of high quality small presses. There are so few niche Jewish publishers that writers need to think about other niches their novels fit into.

For instance, if your novel has a feminist theme, then look for feminist presses, Gold suggested.

If your novel has a feminist theme, then look for feminist presses

Publishing stories and excerpts from novels in journals like JewishFiction.net is also important as a way of getting exposure and a foot in the door of the publishing world.

A lot of publishers are on my journals mailing list. Theyre always looking for the next hot thing, Gold said.

Recognizing that most Jewish writers fear being ghettoized and prefer being published by a mainstream publisher, Gold encourages them to try to get published wherever they can.

But some new novels may be the right fit for a niche Jewish publisher, and as of now there are still a couple of those left.

Many people dont want to be pigeonholed as a Jewish writer or a Jewish book, but if you dont have that hangup, I may be the only place to go, said Price.

Illustrative image of a Jewish cafe/bookstore. (Jessica Steinberg/The Times of Israel)

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How Jewish Athletes Defied Stereotypes Throughout History – Forward

Never Walk Alone: Jewish Identities in Sport At the Munich Jewish Museum Through January 7, 2018

The 1936 Berlin Olympics showcased the Nazi love of spectacle and buttressed the regimes international legitimacy. To avert boycott threats, the government temporarily muted overt manifestations of its anti-Semitic policies, removing discriminatory signage and toning down newspaper rhetoric. But it still barred most athletes of Jewish origins from its national team and demanded that winners offer the Hitler salute.

Among those affected by the ban was the champion high jumper Gretel Bergmann, who recently died at the age of 103. In a cruel tease, she was allowed to participate in the countrys Olympic trials, where she set a German womens record of 1.60 meters. But before the games, she received official notification that she was not good enough to compete. It was all a lie, of course, she later said.

Bergmann, who would settle in New York and take the name Margaret Lambert, affixed a newspaper account of her record-setting jump to the rejection letter, as though in refutation. And both that document and her poignant taped recollections of the snub, recorded in 1995, are featured in a provocative exhibition on Jews, Germany and sports at the Munich Jewish Museum.

Never Walk Alone: Jewish Identities in Sport examines the relationship between cultural attitudes and Jewish athleticism in Germany from the 19th century to the present. (The title is mystifying unless you know that some soccer fans have adopted Youll Never Walk Alone, from Rodgers & Hammersteins musical Carousel, as an anthem.)

The shows first gallery concentrates on individual athletes, while a second one looks at everything from rabbinical attitudes toward sport to Jewish fandom and a planned Munich memorial to the 11 Israeli athletes (and German policeman) murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics.

A German-language catalog, edited by lead curator Jutta Fleckenstein and co-curator Lisa-Maria Tillian-Fink, delves more deeply into the idea of sports as a route to belonging, as well as a means of female emancipation. Michael Brenners essay, Sport and Pride, touches on connections among athleticism, historical Jewish heroism and Zionism, and other essays focus on particular sports, athletes and time periods.

In defiance of stereotypes, many Jews in Germany excelled at activities such as boxing, fencing, soccer, swimming and tennis. When they could, they participated in mainstream sports clubs; when anti-Semitism intervened, they formed their own clubs, with historically resonant names such as Maccabee and Bar Kochba (after the legendary leader of an anti-Roman revolt).

Some Jewish athletes achieved national celebrity. The strongman Siegmund Breitbart (18931925), photographed bending an iron rod, considered himself an embodiment of muscular Judaism. The exploits of the great fencer and 1928 Olympic gold medalist Helene Mayer were advertised on posters and commemorated with souvenir statuettes. Mayer, who had a Jewish father but did not identify as Jewish, was permitted to compete in the 1936 games. When she received her silver medal, she controversially gave the Nazi salute a defining moment captured on film.

The Holocaust swept up even the most famous Jewish athletes. Alfred Flatow, who won three gymnastic gold medals for Germany in 1896 in Athens, at the first Olympic Games, was murdered at Theresienstadt in 1942. The exhibition does not specify how.

On the other hand, Emil Farkass athleticism probably enabled him to survive the infamous shoe runs at Sachsenhausen, in which prisoners were forced to walk dozens of kilometers a day, often with heavy loads, to test the durability of new shoes. (The ordeal killed many weaker inmates.) At Auschwitz/Jaworzno, Hertzko Haft was forced to box for the entertainment of camp guards. He, too, survived.

In displaced persons camps, Jewish survivors formed sports leagues, with soccer and boxing particularly popular. After emigrating, some pursued familiar athletic endeavors, while others gravitated toward new sporting interests, adopting American obsessions such as baseball and football.

In Israel, Emanuel Schafer managed the national soccer team, applying principles learned in Germany. The Polish-born Natan Grossman discovered a passion for basketball at an Israeli kibbutz, and brought it back to Munich. Bruno Roth, a mountaineer, took along his studded leather mountain boots when he immigrated in 1939 to the United States theyre in the show but he never used them again. Even so, he never stopped missing his beloved Bavarian mountains.

And then there is the new generation, Jewish athletes who have made a more welcoming and inclusive Germany their home. In 2004, the breaststroker Sarah Poewe (represented by her swim cap, featuring the national flag) became the first German of Jewish background since 1936 to win an Olympic medal for Germany.

The second-floor exhibition gallery concentrates on stories like these, putting them in historical context. Floor markings and zigzag rows of white tubes punctuated by cutouts of figures in a variety of athletic postures are meant to suggest the game of table soccer. Visitors must traverse the gallery to get to the exhibition start. Only then do the tubes become legible as vitrines, displaying letters, photo albums, scrapbooks and sports diaries, trophies and medals, advertising posters and souvenirs, sports equipment and (best of all) vintage audio and film clips.

The labels are economical and to the point, though the English translations are sometimes infelicitous. Metaphorically intended subtitles terms such as turnover, scoring and offside trap are baffling and best ignored, since the gallerys organization is fundamentally chronological.

The second gallery is something of a smorgasbord, with exhibits highlighting the composer Arnold Schoenbergs invented tennis notation, portraits and sculptures of boxers inspired by the gallery owner (and boxing enthusiast) Alfred Flechtheim, and equipment for Arctic exploration supplied by the sports-store owner Fritz Adam. One display touches cursorily on the intersections between cultural memory and sports.

Visitors should reserve time to walk through the museums spare, inventive permanent exhibition, Voices, Places, Times Jews in Munich. Avoiding the encyclopedic approach of many German museums, it touches on the history and rebirth of Jewish life in Munich, displays the fragmentary remnants of a largely obliterated past, and underlines the role of museums in preserving those traces.

Julia M. Klein is the Forwards contributing book critic and a longtime museum critic whose reviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review and other publications. Follow her on Twitter, @JuliaMKlein.

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Australia Bans Sydney Synagogue Over Islamist Attack Fears, Prompting Outrage Among Jewish Community – Newsweek

Australia’s Jewish community has expressed dismayafter a local council’s decision to prevent the construction of a new synagogue because of the possibility of it becomingthe target of a radicalIslamist attack.

The New South WalesLand and Environment Courtsupported the decision of the local council to prevent the building of the place of worship in the Sydney suburb of Bondi, near the country’s most famous beach. It said the risk assessment at the site was “inadequate” and that a “more sophisticated risk assessment process” may be required for the extremist threat that would face the site.

Radical Islamist groups and their supporters have called for attacks against symbols and sites of the Jewish community worldwide, and European jihadis have carried out several attacks against the Jewish communityin recent years.

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Religious leaders saidthe decision represents a blow to religious freedom and a victory for radical Islamists.

The decision is unprecedented, Rabbi Yehoram Ulman told news.com.au. Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organization should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism.

Police officers at Parramatta Court in Sydney on August 4. Two men were arrested by counterterrorism police during raids across Sydney on Saturday over an alleged plot that involved blowing up an aircraft. Mark Metcalfe/Getty

The court upheld the decisionshortly after Australian security services foiled a plot to bring down a domestic flight by gassing the entire aircraft, a plot authoritieshave since said was directed by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

The jihadigroup has continued to target Australia, which is a member of the U.S.-led coalition to defeat the group in Iraq and Syria.

The country has suffered several attacksby individuals whoauthorities believewere radicalized. In 2014, a man besieged a cafin Sydney, killing one person before police shot him dead. Another person died when a police bullet ricocheted during the raid on the caf.

In September, an Australian courtsentenced teenager Sevdet Ramadan Besimto 10 years in prison for plotting to attack an Anzac Day parade, a commemoration of the First World War landings at Gallipoli, in Melbourne. British security services had intercepted conversations between Besim and a British teenager regarding a plot to run over and behead a police officer.

Turkey has agreed to extradite Neil Prakash,one of the top Australian militants in ISIS’s ranks, said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbullin May. Canberra suspects him of involvement in the directing of plots on Australian soil and the recruitment of Australian citizens to join the jihadigroup.

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Plans for synagogue in Bondi scrapped over terror fears – Jewish Chronicle


Jewish Chronicle
Plans for synagogue in Bondi scrapped over terror fears
Jewish Chronicle
Members of Sydney's Jewish community have been left stunned after they were refused permission to build a new synagogue over terror and security fears. Plans for the new shul in the Bondi area were rejected by local councillors after a risk
Is Australia Caving to Terrorism?The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com
Jewish leaders condemn Bondi synagogue banThe Australian
Australian Jews Prevented From Building Synagogue Because It Could Be Targeted by TerrorismHaaretz
Algemeiner
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Cardinal Lustiger: 10 years after death, Jewish convert still looms over Church in France – Crux: Covering all things Catholic

When Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger died on August 5, 2007, his funeral Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral began with the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

It was an unconventional liturgy for a man whose tenure as Archbishop of Paris spanned almost a quarter-century, but it was fitting for a man whose life was marked by defying traditional norms. On the tenth anniversary of his death, its impossible to understand the French Catholic Church without reckoning with the indelible mark he left on it.

Lustiger was born in Paris in 1926 to Polish-Jewish parents who owned a clothing shop on the Left Bank, where the family lived until moving to Orlans in 1939 to flee Nazi persecution. While Lustiger, along with his sister and father survived Nazi occupation, his mother was arrested and taken to Auschwitz where she was murdered in 1942.

These consequential teenage years not only exposed Lustiger to the evils of anti-Semitism, but also inadvertently introduced him to Christianity when he discovered a Bible in the home of his piano teacher.

At age 14, while visiting the cathedral in Orlans on Holy Thursday, he was moved by the rich symbolism of the liturgy he witnessed. He returned the following day on Good Friday and in short order announced he was converting to Catholicism.

Despite his fathers protests and attempts to have his baptism nullified Lustiger drank deeply from the waters of Catholicism. After studying literature at the Sorbonne, he enrolled in seminary in Paris and was ordained a priest in 1954.

One of Lustigers first assignments was as a student chaplain in Paris at a time when the universities were filled to capacity following the Second World War. It was here, during the first decade of his priestly ministry, that his student interactions instilled a particular zeal for young people in the Church.

It was also during this time as a Sorbonne chaplain that he was situated in ground zero of the 1968 student uprisings aimed at sparking a Leftist revolution. But if May 1968 proved to be a defining political experience for the nation, it was a religious one for the young priest as he sought to legitimize the Catholic faith as an antidote to the countrys existential crisis.

In 1969, he was appointed to a parish in Pariss sixteenth arrondissement, where he would spend the next decade engaged in local pastoral responsibilities. While this assignment kept him out of the national spotlight, it didnt keep him from being noticed in Rome. In 1979to his surprise and much of the French hierarchy he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as bishop of Orlans.

Back in Orlans, Lustiger quickly developed a reputation as an energetic bishop open to new ideas and a willingness to invest in individuals who would execute them. One of those individuals was Matthieu Roug, a teenager living in Paris at the time. He recalls reading an article in the daily French Catholic newspaper, La Croix, about a young upstart bishop who was quickly becoming known for his impressive communication skills. The article speculated that Lustiger could even become the next Archbishop of Paris.

Less than two years later, in January 1981, a fifteen-year-old Roug would be present at Pariss Notre Dame Cathedral for Lustigers first Mass as the newly appointed archbishop. In an interview with Crux, Roug recalled how Lustigers compelling personal witness of the power of the gospel and his ability to communicate it with such conviction would lead him to enter the seminary in Paris a few years later, eventually going on to serve as Lustigers eleventh priest secretary from 2000-2003.

Around the time Lustiger returned to Paris, President Franois Mitterand agreed to liberalize French broadcasting laws. Previously, radio had been confined to one national channel and a few select private channels, but with the new changes Lustiger seized this as an opportunity for the Church and founded Radio Notre Dame.

While Lustiger lacked a long-term plan for the radio station, he knew this expanding platform was one the Church must use to its advantage. According to Roug, Lustigers philosophy was pretty simple: a new opportunity in the world, meant a new opportunity for Christ.

And so began Lustigers engagement in the realm of communications, though this interest in the media wasnt merely one-sided. Since his appointment as archbishop, the Paris press had been fascinated by his Jewish background, which created an immediate audience for himand by extension, the Catholic Church.

Lustigers winsome personality and media savvy made him an instant favorite of journalists. He also made it clear that he considered it essential to engage the secular press and would go on to scandalize many traditional French Catholics by granting an interview with Libration, a prominent left-wing daily paper.

A decade later, as satellite and cable grew more popular, Lustiger argued against the wishes of many of his brother bishops that the Church should be a major player in the realm of television. In 1999, he founded KTO, Frances national Catholic television channel; its diverse programming, along with its professional broadcasting standards, represents Catholic television programming at its best. Philippine de Saint-Pierre, director general of KTO, told Crux that the ongoing success of the network is a result of Lustigers prophetic intuition.

Yet the reach of Lustigers influence on Church communications wasnt limited to France. While a young doctoral student at the Institut Catholique de Paris, Robert Barron would frequently attend Lustigers weekly 6:30pm mass at Notre Dame.

He was the John Paul II of France, he told Crux. He had that sense of a very vibrant, confident Catholicism that was in dialogue with modernity. As I understood Lustiger, he was always between standard left-right categories. He didnt embrace the fashionable Marxism, but at the same time he wasnt a restorationist, and Ive very consciously followed in that line.

Today, Catholics around the world know the work of Barron, now auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, who has been a pioneer in using film and social media as a tool for the new evangelization. Through Barrons Word on Fire, a global media ministry, every year millions of viewers are introduced to the faith through his videos, podcasts, and documentaries an ongoing attempt to continue Lustigers conversation between Catholicism and the modern world.

In 1980, John Paul II made his first apostolic visit to France and Lustiger had the idea that the Church should organize an event for young people. Members of the French hierarchy at the time were skeptical of any such effort, and were anticipating a small-scale event with one or two thousand young people.

Lustiger, not to be underestimated, booked what was then the largest stadium in Paris and managed to fill it to overflow capacity with 20,000 young people on hand to welcome the pope. The event would prove so successful that many have credited it as one of the inspirations for World Youth Day, which John Paul II would inaugurate in 1984 and has gone on to become the largest gathering of young people in the world.

In 1997, at the height of his time as Archbishop, Lustiger would have his turn to play host to World Youth Day once more defying a hostile French bishops conference and pulling off another smashing success with over 1.5 million people attending the final mass with John Paul II.

Because of his deep conviction that World Youth Day was one of the Churchs greatest programs, he would go on to serve as a mentor and a friend to future planners of World Youth Day. Father Thomas Rosica, who served as National Director and CEO of World Youth Day 2002, told Crux: I considered Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger to be a mentor and friend, a bold, courageous, passionate Church leader who was one of the most hopeful, forward-looking leaders I have ever known. He literally took me by the hand and taught me how to lead a World Youth Day in Canada in 2002 after his great experience in Paris 1997.

Despite his success in the realm of communications and his championing of World Youth Day, it is certainly his work in the area of Jewish-Christian unity for which Lustiger will long be remembered.

His epitaph, which he wrote, reads: I was born a Jew. I received the name of my paternal grandfather Aaron. Christian by faith and by baptism, I remained a Jew, as did the Apostles.

He once remarked that I was born Jewish and so I remain, even if that is unacceptable for many. For me, the vocation of Israel is bringing light to the goyim. That is my hope and I believe that Christianity is the means for achieving it.

Reflecting back on the many times he heard the cardinal preach, Barron puts it like this: He wasnt in any way repudiating his Judaism, he was calling on it. I think the recovery of the Jewishness of Christianity will be what hes most remembered for.

After being named Archbishop of Paris, Lustiger wrote a report on his vision for priestly formation. He would go on to ordain over 250 priests for the archdiocese, an impressive number given global averages during that time, and arguably a vindication of his approach to vocations.

The report was never made public and is held by Lustigers successor, Cardinal Andr Armand Vingt-Trois, but according to Roug, it effectively calls for a priesthood rooted in the belief that you dont have to choose between theological progressivism or traditionalism. There is another path of being deeply rooted in Jesus Christ which frees you to announce Christ to the world.

Lustiger died at the age of 80 after a long battle with lung and bone cancer, leaving behind a Church and a country that, despite at times having vehement disagreements with their varying constituencies, came together in unity to honor a man that tirelessly spent a lifetime doing just that.

Before Pope Francis started speaking of missionary discipleship, Cardinal Lustiger was modeling those words in his own life, Rosica told Crux. Like Pope Francis today, Cardinal Lustiger had clear sightedness, determination and passion in all he did. He knew of those who opposed him and sidelined him, but he also knew that in order for the Church to grow, it must go forward and not backward.

Anchored by ancient truths, yet aiming to chart a new course in a modern world, the unlikely legacy of Lustiger is at times one of contradictionbut also one of confidence that in Catholicism, theres room for the fulfillment of it all.

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Cardinal Lustiger: 10 years after death, Jewish convert still looms over Church in France – Crux: Covering all things Catholic

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New York Giants player shows Jewish pride on and off the field – The Times of Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) As a rookie in the National Football League, New York Giants offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty is splitting most of his time before the season starts in September between grueling practices and long team meetings. To lighten the mood, veteran players ask the newbies each preseason to sing in front of the team. Bisnowaty figures that when its his turn, hell go with Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel. Bisnowaty, 23, is Jewish a rarity in professional football and comfortable talking about it with his teammates. One of the first things I tell people is that Im Jewish, he told JTA. People dont meet a lot of Jewish football players, so I always like to bring that out and just open up, so its nice and easy. Bisnowaty who stands 66 (almost 2 meters), weighs about 300 pounds, and sports long, curly brown hair has become a minor celebrity in Jewish circles after a New York Post article from last month revealed that he has a large Hebrew tattoo on his left arm. The tattoo translates to I am what I am, a phrase God says to Moses when the latter asks what to call him. The Jewish food company Manischewitz heard about Bisnowaty and sent him an array of snacks, from boxes of matzah to potato pancake mix. The matzah provoked curiosity in his teammates. I promised them Id bring in the snacks and let them have a go at them, Bisnowaty said. He hopes the matzah will help him do more than ingratiate himself with his teammates. Bisnowaty was a four-year starter at the University of Pittsburgh, his hometown school, and is projected to snag a spot on the Giants roster this season but nothing is certain. Some say he could be an immediate starter, others say he might make the team but not be active, or listed as eligible to play, for most games. The beefy lineman is among several 300-pounders tasked with blocking defenders from hitting veteran quarterback Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and brother of future Hall of Fame signal-caller Peyton Manning. Heading into Aprils NFL draft, scouts said Bisnowaty compensates for a lack of raw athleticism with his size, strength and positive attitude. The Giants traded up to select him in the sixth round. Adam Bisnowaty at a New York Giants training camp practice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, July 30, 2017. (Evan Pinkus/via JTA) Like most professional sports leagues, the NFL is not exactly full of Jewish players. Brothers Mitch and Geoff Schwartz both offensive linemen were in the league at the same time from 2012 to 2016. Mitch is a Kansas City Chief; Geoff, who played for the Giants in 2014 and 2015, retired in 2017 after seven seasons in the league. Bisnowaty said some of his teammates like to say We got another Schwartz in here! Other notable active Jewish players include star wide receiver Julian Edelman in recent years he has embraced his Jewish background and backup safety and special teams ace Nate Ebner, both of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. What makes Bisnowaty even more of an NFL aberration is his Israeli heritage. His father grew up in the Jewish state and ended up staying in the US in his late 20s after having a kidney transplant there. Bisnowatys uncle David is the first Israeli to become an elected parliament member in the southeastern African nation of Malawi. Although the family celebrated the major Jewish holidays growing up, the divorce of Bisnowatys parents along with his time-consuming interest in football eventually pushed Judaism mostly out of his life. He told JTA he wants to rekindle his interest in the religion, and he may have a bar mitzvah at some point. Geoff, left, and Mitch Schwartz are the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923. (Olivia Goodkin and Lee Schwartz/via JTA) Football, especially at the college level, is heavily influenced by religious Christianity, including coaches and ministries that cater to athletes. But Bisnowaty said he has never been the target of anti-Semitic slurs or bullying in his football career. As he sees it, players asking him to wear a yarmulke to team meetings are just breaking the ice and having a good time. Still, Bisnowaty was aware of how rare a Jewish football player is when he got the Hebrew tattoo. He said it was an opportunity for him to show his Jewish pride. But flashing a tat in the locker room is one thing. It took a bit of courage to show it off in another setting. I wanted to hide it from my mom, he said with a laugh, so she didnt find out about it right away. Adam Bisnowaty at a minicamp practice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, May 25, 2017. (Evan Pinkus/via JTA)

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Hebrew U. conference explores history of Jewish names – The Jerusalem Post

Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky.. (photo credit:Courtesy) The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is hosting an international conference on the history and origin of Jewish names. The 13th biannual International Conference on Jewish Names, which takes place today at the Mount Scopus campus, features 20 lecturers and academics from Israel, Poland, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Canada, Italy and the United States all of whom study Jewish onomastics, or name studies, in their country of origin. The conference was founded in 1991 by Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky, an expert in the field of Jewish names. Demsky organized the event together with the 17th World Jewish Congress and the faculty of Jewish Studies and the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University. According to Demsky: This conference is a reflection of the interdisciplinary nature and relevance of Jewish names from multiple disciplines as well as the wide-ranging history of Jewish names from biblical times to modern Israel. The conference will also place emphasis on Jewish communities in the Diaspora facing questions of identity… ones name speaks volumes and an immigrants relationship to his birth name especially when it is different or strange reflects his relationship to his old and new cultures, old and new identities. The conferences content is presented in historical chronological order and is divided into six sections, starting with names in the Bible and Rabbinical literature, then early Diaspora Jewish communities in Italy and Spain, followed by early Ashkenazi communities in Germany and Poland, plus lectures highlighting the meanings of names in communities in Morocco and Baghdad. The latter half of the program focuses on the 18th and 19th centuries, and introduces the works of gentile scholars who are interested in the study of Jewish names, said Demsky. For many of these speakers, this is the first time they are coming to Israel, he explained. This conference is not only about academics, but about building connections and making ties with gentile academics with an interest in this field of research. Section five looks at contemporary Jewish names in the 20th century and how the establishment of Israel and revival of the Hebrew language allowed for the introduction and reintroduction of a whole new set of names for the Jewish and Israeli experience. The event will conclude with a lecture by Israeli author Haim Beer, who will discuss how he chooses the names of his characters. Bringing the conference full circle, Beer compares his process of naming characters to one of the first stories in the Bible. Exactly like Adam, whose first act after his creation was to give names to all animals, birds and living creatures around him, so I, too, must face repeatedly the same dilemma: What name should I give to the characters of the novel that is taking shape in my mind? Name giving is an act that is more mysterious and obscure than revealed and obvious, said Beer. Share on facebook

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Cape Verde lists Jewish cemeteries as heritage sites – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

WASHINGTON (JTA) The government of Cape Verde listed the island nations Jewish cemeteries and some other structures as heritage sites. A Washington-based group, the Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project, announced the June 29 designation of the sites as part of the countrys National Historical Patrimony this week in an email to its members. The designation means that the cemeteries may not be destroyed and that a number of buildings with Jewish associations may not be altered, the groups president, Carol Castiel, told JTA. CVJHP will continue to work hand-in-hand with the government based on our memorandum of understanding (Protocolo) signed in September 2016, to identify, restore, preserve and maintain these important monuments to Jewish heritage, the statement said. Castiel told JTA that the sites may eventually be marked as a Jewish heritage circuit for tourists to the island. The islands Jews have all but disappeared, although many of its families are aware of their Jewish ancestry, as are some Cape Verde emigres who have settled in New England. There were two waves of Jewish immigration to the former Portuguese colony about 300 miles off Africas west coast. The first was of secret Jews who came with Portuguese colonization in the 15th century. That immigration is difficult to track because of the Jews secrecy, and the cemeteries and other sites are relics of a wave of Jewish immigrants to the island from Morocco and Gibraltar in the mid-19th century. The Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project has been working since 2008 with municipalities particularly Praia that are known to have had a Jewish presence. King Mohammed VI of Morocco has been a benefactor of the project. Earlier this month, Cape Verde announced that it would no longer vote against Israel in the United Nations. The announcement came following a meeting two months ago between Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cape VerdesPresident Jorge Carlos Fonseca on the sidelines of theEconomic Community of West African States conference in Liberia.

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Jackie Walker in Edinburgh: cheers and a standing ovation – Jewish Chronicle

Jewish Chronicle Jackie Walker in Edinburgh: cheers and a standing ovation Jewish Chronicle Ms Walker, who claims mixed Jewish and African heritage, raised the “African holocaust”, saying: “Millions more Africans were killed in the African holocaust and their oppression continues to this day on a global scale in a way it doesn't for Jews , and … Far-Left Activist Jackie Walker Gets Standing Ovation for Antisemitic Play Algemeiner all 2 news articles »

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Got a Jewish novel in your drawer? Now might be the time to pull it out – The Times of Israel

Author Sharon Hart-Green spent nearly a decade writing her debut novel, Come Back For Me, about the the lives of first and second generation WWII refugees and Holocaust survivors in Canada and Israel. It was a well wrought work of fiction a real page-turner filled with the struggles and secrets of characters dealing with the pain of memory and loss. But it looked like no one would ever get to read it. As the former University of Toronto professor of Hebrew and Yiddish literature worked on her book, she discovered the frustrating reality for writers of new Jewish fiction today: It is extremely hard to get published. It is thanks only to the timely appearance of a new Canadian niche publisher, New Jewish Press, that Come Back For Me has seen the light of day. The new outfit chose the novel as its first fiction publication. Gone are the days when Jewish novelists could think of submitting manuscripts to the Jewish Publication Society or Schocken Books, once the largest and best-known Jewish publishers in America. Neither JPS nor Schocken, bought by Random House in 1987 and an imprint of Knopf Doubleday, acquires works by new novelists anymore. In the US, there is only one publisher focusing exclusively on Jewish literary works: Fig Tree Books, based in Bedford, New York. Another, Mandel Vilar Press, whose mission is to unite the works of the best writers of Central and South America with the leading ethnic and minority writers of North America, has a modern Jewish literature collection, which includes works by authors including Thane Rosenbaum, Nava Semel, and Andrew Potok. Established writers like Dara Horn, Nicole Krauss, Nathan Englander and David Bezmozgis may have an easier chance of having their next novel accepted by a large, mainstream publishing house. But for first-time novelists like Hart-Green, it is nearly impossible to break in. Author Sharon Hart-Green (center) with New Jewish Press co-publishers Malcolm Lester and Andrea Fochs Knight (Courtesy New Jewish Press) Hart-Green was realistic about what she was up against. There are very few opportunities for Jewish fiction writers to get published these days, she told The Times of Israel. The first-time fiction writer was fortunate that New Jewish Press came on the scene just as she shopped around her manuscript. New Jewish Press is the inaugural publishing program of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. Launched in late 2015, it has five titles in its catalogue to date, including Come Back For Me. The press seeks to produce books on Jewish themes for a general reading audience, while complementing existing scholarly and trade publishing. Our goal is to make outstanding books on Jewish culture, history, philosophy, and religion available to the broader Canadian and international community, said co-publisher Malcolm Lester, a veteran of the trade publishing business in Canada. Come Back For Me by Sharon Hart-Green (Courtesy New Jewish Press) Edward Trapunski, co-chair of the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards, agreed about the important role played by New Jewish Press, and praised Lesters eye for Jewish works with the potential to appeal to a broad audience. This is a good time to launch New Jewish Press, because Canadian readers are more appreciative now of works from different cultures, both from around the world and within Canada, Trapunski said. New Jewish Press can publish titles that may not have made it without this specialized press. It can take the risk because it is not a totally commercial enterprise, he added, referring to the fact that it is supported in part by charitable donations. Prof. Anna Shternshis, director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre, praised Come Back For Me, reporting that it was positively reviewed by all members of New Jewish Press vetting committee. However, she said, she doubted the press would continue to accept fiction and poetry submissions going forward. According to Shternshis, an expert in Yiddish studies and Soviet Jewish culture, the main idea behind New Jewish Press is to encourage university scholars to break out of the academic publishing mold and write in a more popular style about their research. Prof. Anna Shternshis (Facebook) Shternshis cited historians Irving Abella and Harold Troppers widely read 1982 book, None is Too Many, about Canadas restrictive immigration policy toward Jewish refugees during the Holocaust years as an example of the kind of works the press is looking to publish. It was read by hundreds of thousands of people and changed the public discourse on the Holocaust, she said. It appears that Hart-Greens novel may be a one-off at New Jewish Press. We dont have the knowledge among the group to evaluate fiction. We are a university and we are in the business of non-fiction, Shternshis said. That leaves Fig Tree Books as the sole publishing company in North America devoted exclusively to literature reflecting the Jewish-American experience. Hart-Greens Canada- and Israel-focused novel, however, would presumably have not fit Fig Tree Books mission. Fig Tree Books publisher Fredric Price told The Times of Israel he has received over 1,000 manuscripts since he began in 2014. Initially, more than 95 percent of them were fiction. That changed after we published Abigail Pogrebins memoir My Jewish Year earlier this year, which has done very well. Now we are getting about 60-70% fiction and rest non-fiction, which is a good balance, Price said. Abigail Pogrebin (Lorin Klaris) Since establishing Fig Tree Books a few years ago, Price has published seven books, two of which are reprints of classic novels. If I cant find a book of the quality Im looking for and that really says something, I wont publish it, he said. Price said he welcomed all submissions meeting his companys guidelines, including those from from first-time writers of Jewish literature but only through an agent. It is not his express mission to publish debut authors, but he acknowledged that Fig Tree Books would be a more likely address for a newbies manuscript than for the latest book by an established writer, who may be able to get a good offer from a large publisher. I will always be topped financially by the Random Houses of the world. Whatever I bid, theyll bid higher, Price said. Nora Gold, publisher of the online journal Jewish Fiction.net, calls the current situation in Jewish publishing a crisis. New writers of Jewish fictions face huge challenges. The digital revolution affected all publishing, but its been especially hard for niche fiction writers and publishers, such as those focusing on Jewish concerns, Gold said. Nora Gold (Facebook) Publishers are not willing to take a chance, leaving writers with almost nowhere to publish their work, she said. Gold, who divides her time between Toronto and Jerusalem, provided a response to the problem by starting JewishFiction.net, the only journal in English (online or in print) devoted solely to Jewish fiction, in 2010. To date, she has published over 300 works in 18 issues from writers living all over the world (some of the work is translated from Hebrew and other languages). According to Gold, the freely accessible site has 70,000 individual readers in over 140 countries. About a quarter of the authors Gold publishes are famous, like Aharon Appelfeld or A.B. Yehoshua. She devotes the rest of the journal to new writers. However, she only publishes approximately one in 20 submissions, first-rate fiction chosen through a process of blind peer review. A published author herself, Gold feels the new writers pain. I never fail to be touched and impressed by the great work out there, and I know how hard it is to find a publisher. Recognizing the quality of Hart-Greens writing, Gold published an excerpt from Come Back For Me on JewishFiction.net and was pleased that New Jewish Press ultimately picked up the novel. Israeli novelist Aharon Appelfeld (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90) Her advice to new novelists is to shop their manuscripts around to a variety of high quality small presses. There are so few niche Jewish publishers that writers need to think about other niches their novels fit into. For instance, if your novel has a feminist theme, then look for feminist presses, Gold suggested. If your novel has a feminist theme, then look for feminist presses Publishing stories and excerpts from novels in journals like JewishFiction.net is also important as a way of getting exposure and a foot in the door of the publishing world. A lot of publishers are on my journals mailing list. Theyre always looking for the next hot thing, Gold said. Recognizing that most Jewish writers fear being ghettoized and prefer being published by a mainstream publisher, Gold encourages them to try to get published wherever they can. But some new novels may be the right fit for a niche Jewish publisher, and as of now there are still a couple of those left. Many people dont want to be pigeonholed as a Jewish writer or a Jewish book, but if you dont have that hangup, I may be the only place to go, said Price. Illustrative image of a Jewish cafe/bookstore. (Jessica Steinberg/The Times of Israel)

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How Jewish Athletes Defied Stereotypes Throughout History – Forward

Never Walk Alone: Jewish Identities in Sport At the Munich Jewish Museum Through January 7, 2018 The 1936 Berlin Olympics showcased the Nazi love of spectacle and buttressed the regimes international legitimacy. To avert boycott threats, the government temporarily muted overt manifestations of its anti-Semitic policies, removing discriminatory signage and toning down newspaper rhetoric. But it still barred most athletes of Jewish origins from its national team and demanded that winners offer the Hitler salute. Among those affected by the ban was the champion high jumper Gretel Bergmann, who recently died at the age of 103. In a cruel tease, she was allowed to participate in the countrys Olympic trials, where she set a German womens record of 1.60 meters. But before the games, she received official notification that she was not good enough to compete. It was all a lie, of course, she later said. Bergmann, who would settle in New York and take the name Margaret Lambert, affixed a newspaper account of her record-setting jump to the rejection letter, as though in refutation. And both that document and her poignant taped recollections of the snub, recorded in 1995, are featured in a provocative exhibition on Jews, Germany and sports at the Munich Jewish Museum. Never Walk Alone: Jewish Identities in Sport examines the relationship between cultural attitudes and Jewish athleticism in Germany from the 19th century to the present. (The title is mystifying unless you know that some soccer fans have adopted Youll Never Walk Alone, from Rodgers & Hammersteins musical Carousel, as an anthem.) The shows first gallery concentrates on individual athletes, while a second one looks at everything from rabbinical attitudes toward sport to Jewish fandom and a planned Munich memorial to the 11 Israeli athletes (and German policeman) murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics. A German-language catalog, edited by lead curator Jutta Fleckenstein and co-curator Lisa-Maria Tillian-Fink, delves more deeply into the idea of sports as a route to belonging, as well as a means of female emancipation. Michael Brenners essay, Sport and Pride, touches on connections among athleticism, historical Jewish heroism and Zionism, and other essays focus on particular sports, athletes and time periods. In defiance of stereotypes, many Jews in Germany excelled at activities such as boxing, fencing, soccer, swimming and tennis. When they could, they participated in mainstream sports clubs; when anti-Semitism intervened, they formed their own clubs, with historically resonant names such as Maccabee and Bar Kochba (after the legendary leader of an anti-Roman revolt). Some Jewish athletes achieved national celebrity. The strongman Siegmund Breitbart (18931925), photographed bending an iron rod, considered himself an embodiment of muscular Judaism. The exploits of the great fencer and 1928 Olympic gold medalist Helene Mayer were advertised on posters and commemorated with souvenir statuettes. Mayer, who had a Jewish father but did not identify as Jewish, was permitted to compete in the 1936 games. When she received her silver medal, she controversially gave the Nazi salute a defining moment captured on film. The Holocaust swept up even the most famous Jewish athletes. Alfred Flatow, who won three gymnastic gold medals for Germany in 1896 in Athens, at the first Olympic Games, was murdered at Theresienstadt in 1942. The exhibition does not specify how. On the other hand, Emil Farkass athleticism probably enabled him to survive the infamous shoe runs at Sachsenhausen, in which prisoners were forced to walk dozens of kilometers a day, often with heavy loads, to test the durability of new shoes. (The ordeal killed many weaker inmates.) At Auschwitz/Jaworzno, Hertzko Haft was forced to box for the entertainment of camp guards. He, too, survived. In displaced persons camps, Jewish survivors formed sports leagues, with soccer and boxing particularly popular. After emigrating, some pursued familiar athletic endeavors, while others gravitated toward new sporting interests, adopting American obsessions such as baseball and football. In Israel, Emanuel Schafer managed the national soccer team, applying principles learned in Germany. The Polish-born Natan Grossman discovered a passion for basketball at an Israeli kibbutz, and brought it back to Munich. Bruno Roth, a mountaineer, took along his studded leather mountain boots when he immigrated in 1939 to the United States theyre in the show but he never used them again. Even so, he never stopped missing his beloved Bavarian mountains. And then there is the new generation, Jewish athletes who have made a more welcoming and inclusive Germany their home. In 2004, the breaststroker Sarah Poewe (represented by her swim cap, featuring the national flag) became the first German of Jewish background since 1936 to win an Olympic medal for Germany. The second-floor exhibition gallery concentrates on stories like these, putting them in historical context. Floor markings and zigzag rows of white tubes punctuated by cutouts of figures in a variety of athletic postures are meant to suggest the game of table soccer. Visitors must traverse the gallery to get to the exhibition start. Only then do the tubes become legible as vitrines, displaying letters, photo albums, scrapbooks and sports diaries, trophies and medals, advertising posters and souvenirs, sports equipment and (best of all) vintage audio and film clips. The labels are economical and to the point, though the English translations are sometimes infelicitous. Metaphorically intended subtitles terms such as turnover, scoring and offside trap are baffling and best ignored, since the gallerys organization is fundamentally chronological. The second gallery is something of a smorgasbord, with exhibits highlighting the composer Arnold Schoenbergs invented tennis notation, portraits and sculptures of boxers inspired by the gallery owner (and boxing enthusiast) Alfred Flechtheim, and equipment for Arctic exploration supplied by the sports-store owner Fritz Adam. One display touches cursorily on the intersections between cultural memory and sports. Visitors should reserve time to walk through the museums spare, inventive permanent exhibition, Voices, Places, Times Jews in Munich. Avoiding the encyclopedic approach of many German museums, it touches on the history and rebirth of Jewish life in Munich, displays the fragmentary remnants of a largely obliterated past, and underlines the role of museums in preserving those traces. Julia M. Klein is the Forwards contributing book critic and a longtime museum critic whose reviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review and other publications. Follow her on Twitter, @JuliaMKlein.

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Australia Bans Sydney Synagogue Over Islamist Attack Fears, Prompting Outrage Among Jewish Community – Newsweek

Australia’s Jewish community has expressed dismayafter a local council’s decision to prevent the construction of a new synagogue because of the possibility of it becomingthe target of a radicalIslamist attack. The New South WalesLand and Environment Courtsupported the decision of the local council to prevent the building of the place of worship in the Sydney suburb of Bondi, near the country’s most famous beach. It said the risk assessment at the site was “inadequate” and that a “more sophisticated risk assessment process” may be required for the extremist threat that would face the site. Radical Islamist groups and their supporters have called for attacks against symbols and sites of the Jewish community worldwide, and European jihadis have carried out several attacks against the Jewish communityin recent years. Daily Emails and Alerts – Get the best of Newsweek delivered to your inbox Religious leaders saidthe decision represents a blow to religious freedom and a victory for radical Islamists. The decision is unprecedented, Rabbi Yehoram Ulman told news.com.au. Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organization should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism. Police officers at Parramatta Court in Sydney on August 4. Two men were arrested by counterterrorism police during raids across Sydney on Saturday over an alleged plot that involved blowing up an aircraft. Mark Metcalfe/Getty The court upheld the decisionshortly after Australian security services foiled a plot to bring down a domestic flight by gassing the entire aircraft, a plot authoritieshave since said was directed by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). The jihadigroup has continued to target Australia, which is a member of the U.S.-led coalition to defeat the group in Iraq and Syria. The country has suffered several attacksby individuals whoauthorities believewere radicalized. In 2014, a man besieged a cafin Sydney, killing one person before police shot him dead. Another person died when a police bullet ricocheted during the raid on the caf. In September, an Australian courtsentenced teenager Sevdet Ramadan Besimto 10 years in prison for plotting to attack an Anzac Day parade, a commemoration of the First World War landings at Gallipoli, in Melbourne. British security services had intercepted conversations between Besim and a British teenager regarding a plot to run over and behead a police officer. Turkey has agreed to extradite Neil Prakash,one of the top Australian militants in ISIS’s ranks, said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbullin May. Canberra suspects him of involvement in the directing of plots on Australian soil and the recruitment of Australian citizens to join the jihadigroup.

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Plans for synagogue in Bondi scrapped over terror fears – Jewish Chronicle

Jewish Chronicle Plans for synagogue in Bondi scrapped over terror fears Jewish Chronicle Members of Sydney's Jewish community have been left stunned after they were refused permission to build a new synagogue over terror and security fears. Plans for the new shul in the Bondi area were rejected by local councillors after a risk … Is Australia Caving to Terrorism? The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com Jewish leaders condemn Bondi synagogue ban The Australian Australian Jews Prevented From Building Synagogue Because It Could Be Targeted by Terrorism Haaretz Algemeiner all 19 news articles »

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Cardinal Lustiger: 10 years after death, Jewish convert still looms over Church in France – Crux: Covering all things Catholic

When Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger died on August 5, 2007, his funeral Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral began with the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. It was an unconventional liturgy for a man whose tenure as Archbishop of Paris spanned almost a quarter-century, but it was fitting for a man whose life was marked by defying traditional norms. On the tenth anniversary of his death, its impossible to understand the French Catholic Church without reckoning with the indelible mark he left on it. Lustiger was born in Paris in 1926 to Polish-Jewish parents who owned a clothing shop on the Left Bank, where the family lived until moving to Orlans in 1939 to flee Nazi persecution. While Lustiger, along with his sister and father survived Nazi occupation, his mother was arrested and taken to Auschwitz where she was murdered in 1942. These consequential teenage years not only exposed Lustiger to the evils of anti-Semitism, but also inadvertently introduced him to Christianity when he discovered a Bible in the home of his piano teacher. At age 14, while visiting the cathedral in Orlans on Holy Thursday, he was moved by the rich symbolism of the liturgy he witnessed. He returned the following day on Good Friday and in short order announced he was converting to Catholicism. Despite his fathers protests and attempts to have his baptism nullified Lustiger drank deeply from the waters of Catholicism. After studying literature at the Sorbonne, he enrolled in seminary in Paris and was ordained a priest in 1954. One of Lustigers first assignments was as a student chaplain in Paris at a time when the universities were filled to capacity following the Second World War. It was here, during the first decade of his priestly ministry, that his student interactions instilled a particular zeal for young people in the Church. It was also during this time as a Sorbonne chaplain that he was situated in ground zero of the 1968 student uprisings aimed at sparking a Leftist revolution. But if May 1968 proved to be a defining political experience for the nation, it was a religious one for the young priest as he sought to legitimize the Catholic faith as an antidote to the countrys existential crisis. In 1969, he was appointed to a parish in Pariss sixteenth arrondissement, where he would spend the next decade engaged in local pastoral responsibilities. While this assignment kept him out of the national spotlight, it didnt keep him from being noticed in Rome. In 1979to his surprise and much of the French hierarchy he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as bishop of Orlans. Back in Orlans, Lustiger quickly developed a reputation as an energetic bishop open to new ideas and a willingness to invest in individuals who would execute them. One of those individuals was Matthieu Roug, a teenager living in Paris at the time. He recalls reading an article in the daily French Catholic newspaper, La Croix, about a young upstart bishop who was quickly becoming known for his impressive communication skills. The article speculated that Lustiger could even become the next Archbishop of Paris. Less than two years later, in January 1981, a fifteen-year-old Roug would be present at Pariss Notre Dame Cathedral for Lustigers first Mass as the newly appointed archbishop. In an interview with Crux, Roug recalled how Lustigers compelling personal witness of the power of the gospel and his ability to communicate it with such conviction would lead him to enter the seminary in Paris a few years later, eventually going on to serve as Lustigers eleventh priest secretary from 2000-2003. Around the time Lustiger returned to Paris, President Franois Mitterand agreed to liberalize French broadcasting laws. Previously, radio had been confined to one national channel and a few select private channels, but with the new changes Lustiger seized this as an opportunity for the Church and founded Radio Notre Dame. While Lustiger lacked a long-term plan for the radio station, he knew this expanding platform was one the Church must use to its advantage. According to Roug, Lustigers philosophy was pretty simple: a new opportunity in the world, meant a new opportunity for Christ. And so began Lustigers engagement in the realm of communications, though this interest in the media wasnt merely one-sided. Since his appointment as archbishop, the Paris press had been fascinated by his Jewish background, which created an immediate audience for himand by extension, the Catholic Church. Lustigers winsome personality and media savvy made him an instant favorite of journalists. He also made it clear that he considered it essential to engage the secular press and would go on to scandalize many traditional French Catholics by granting an interview with Libration, a prominent left-wing daily paper. A decade later, as satellite and cable grew more popular, Lustiger argued against the wishes of many of his brother bishops that the Church should be a major player in the realm of television. In 1999, he founded KTO, Frances national Catholic television channel; its diverse programming, along with its professional broadcasting standards, represents Catholic television programming at its best. Philippine de Saint-Pierre, director general of KTO, told Crux that the ongoing success of the network is a result of Lustigers prophetic intuition. Yet the reach of Lustigers influence on Church communications wasnt limited to France. While a young doctoral student at the Institut Catholique de Paris, Robert Barron would frequently attend Lustigers weekly 6:30pm mass at Notre Dame. He was the John Paul II of France, he told Crux. He had that sense of a very vibrant, confident Catholicism that was in dialogue with modernity. As I understood Lustiger, he was always between standard left-right categories. He didnt embrace the fashionable Marxism, but at the same time he wasnt a restorationist, and Ive very consciously followed in that line. Today, Catholics around the world know the work of Barron, now auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, who has been a pioneer in using film and social media as a tool for the new evangelization. Through Barrons Word on Fire, a global media ministry, every year millions of viewers are introduced to the faith through his videos, podcasts, and documentaries an ongoing attempt to continue Lustigers conversation between Catholicism and the modern world. In 1980, John Paul II made his first apostolic visit to France and Lustiger had the idea that the Church should organize an event for young people. Members of the French hierarchy at the time were skeptical of any such effort, and were anticipating a small-scale event with one or two thousand young people. Lustiger, not to be underestimated, booked what was then the largest stadium in Paris and managed to fill it to overflow capacity with 20,000 young people on hand to welcome the pope. The event would prove so successful that many have credited it as one of the inspirations for World Youth Day, which John Paul II would inaugurate in 1984 and has gone on to become the largest gathering of young people in the world. In 1997, at the height of his time as Archbishop, Lustiger would have his turn to play host to World Youth Day once more defying a hostile French bishops conference and pulling off another smashing success with over 1.5 million people attending the final mass with John Paul II. Because of his deep conviction that World Youth Day was one of the Churchs greatest programs, he would go on to serve as a mentor and a friend to future planners of World Youth Day. Father Thomas Rosica, who served as National Director and CEO of World Youth Day 2002, told Crux: I considered Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger to be a mentor and friend, a bold, courageous, passionate Church leader who was one of the most hopeful, forward-looking leaders I have ever known. He literally took me by the hand and taught me how to lead a World Youth Day in Canada in 2002 after his great experience in Paris 1997. Despite his success in the realm of communications and his championing of World Youth Day, it is certainly his work in the area of Jewish-Christian unity for which Lustiger will long be remembered. His epitaph, which he wrote, reads: I was born a Jew. I received the name of my paternal grandfather Aaron. Christian by faith and by baptism, I remained a Jew, as did the Apostles. He once remarked that I was born Jewish and so I remain, even if that is unacceptable for many. For me, the vocation of Israel is bringing light to the goyim. That is my hope and I believe that Christianity is the means for achieving it. Reflecting back on the many times he heard the cardinal preach, Barron puts it like this: He wasnt in any way repudiating his Judaism, he was calling on it. I think the recovery of the Jewishness of Christianity will be what hes most remembered for. After being named Archbishop of Paris, Lustiger wrote a report on his vision for priestly formation. He would go on to ordain over 250 priests for the archdiocese, an impressive number given global averages during that time, and arguably a vindication of his approach to vocations. The report was never made public and is held by Lustigers successor, Cardinal Andr Armand Vingt-Trois, but according to Roug, it effectively calls for a priesthood rooted in the belief that you dont have to choose between theological progressivism or traditionalism. There is another path of being deeply rooted in Jesus Christ which frees you to announce Christ to the world. Lustiger died at the age of 80 after a long battle with lung and bone cancer, leaving behind a Church and a country that, despite at times having vehement disagreements with their varying constituencies, came together in unity to honor a man that tirelessly spent a lifetime doing just that. Before Pope Francis started speaking of missionary discipleship, Cardinal Lustiger was modeling those words in his own life, Rosica told Crux. Like Pope Francis today, Cardinal Lustiger had clear sightedness, determination and passion in all he did. He knew of those who opposed him and sidelined him, but he also knew that in order for the Church to grow, it must go forward and not backward. Anchored by ancient truths, yet aiming to chart a new course in a modern world, the unlikely legacy of Lustiger is at times one of contradictionbut also one of confidence that in Catholicism, theres room for the fulfillment of it all.

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August 4, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed


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