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Reform synagogue commemorating Tisha B’Av with service – Sun Sentinel

Posted By on July 21, 2017

Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland will host what is anticipated to be an enlightening and moving Erev Tisha B’Av service on July 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Tisha B’Av is an annual holy day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. It has been called “the saddest day in Jewish history” and it also one of general mourning for the numerous catastrophes that have coincidentally befallen Jews on the ninth of Av.

Cantor Malcolm Arnold of Kol Tikvah, a Reform synagogue, will lead this upcoming service. Arnold said the congregation began hosting this Tisha B’Av service eight years ago and that it is something most Reform synagogues don’t observe. As far as the look of the service, he said it won’t be much different than a Friday evening Shabbat service.

“I will be leading the service by myself, both doing the music and readings, but what we’ve done is we’ve incorporated a lot of the traditional ingredients of a Tisha B’Av service. Because it’s not an Orthodox type of service, we don’t observe some of the customs of sitting on the floor or on boxes as if you’re in a house of mourning. We do dim the lights and we do minimize the socializing in that it is a sad holiday, but it is a sad holiday with a message of reconstruction of almost celebrating the fact that despite the numerous tragedies that we’ve faced as a people, we are still here, which is quite unique.”

Arnold said there are several things that people can take away from attending the service.

“I think we need to show respect and empathy for those who have died in honor of Judaism or by just the fact they were born to be Jews and suffered consequences at the hands of history. I think it’s important to remember that.”

Arnold continued, “It’s also a significant holiday on the calendar, whether we believe in all the ambitions of the holiday to rebuild the Temple.

We don’t particularly believe in that, but we do see that it’s worth immersing ourselves in. It is the same way in which we study the Book of Leviticus, which is mostly information dealing with the temple cult. It doesn’t exist anymore but we still study it because it’s part of who we are and part of our history.”

Arnold concluded, “We need to look at this holiday in the perspective of Reform Judaism.”

Jennifer Levin-Tavares, the congregation’s executive director, said, “Holding a Tisha B’Av Service does set Kol Tikvah apart because most Reform congregations don’t actively mark this holiday.”

“Judaism is about remembering moments in our history and giving them meaning in modern times,” she continued. “Recalling the destruction of the original Temples can be related to the desecration and destruction of sacred places that is happening in many parts of the world today.”

Levin-Tavares concluded, “It is important to be mindful of these tragedies because it helps us appreciate what we do have, to be empathetic and understanding towards others who are suffering, and to be motivated to help repair the world (tikkun olam).”

Arnold noted, regarding the importance of hosting this service with the current rise of anti-Semitism in the world, “It certainly brings to mind that this is nothing new and the fact that we see that again, we’re still here despite the animosity and prejudice that has been shown to Jews over the centuries and that the bigger picture is that we seem to be protected by our God and that we have a mission.

We hope that through education, people will understand our message and perhaps reach peace with other people.”

Call the congregation’s office at 954-346-7878 or visit for more information. Kol Tikvah is located at 6750 North University Dr. in Parkland.

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Reform synagogue commemorating Tisha B’Av with service – Sun Sentinel

Netanyahu visited a Budapest synagogue. Here’s what happened. – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Posted By on July 21, 2017

BUDAPEST (JTA) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a visit to a Budapest synagogue praised his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban, for speaking out against anti-Semitism and standing up for Israel in international forums.

I think its very important that countries stand against this delegitimization of Israel, which is the delegitimization of the Jewish people, and I thank you, Prime Minister Orbn, for standing up for Israel in these forums against this new form of anti-Jewish agitation, Netanyahu said Wednesday night at the Dohany Synagogue.

He also said he appreciated Orbans words the previous day in which he spoke out against the Hungarian governments involvement with the Nazi regime.

You spoke yesterday very strongly against anti-Semitism in Hungary. You spoke about it in its current forms, and you spoke about it also in its previous forms the sins, as you say, performed by previous governments. You were very open it, including in our conversation, Netanyahu said.

I think this is important. I think this is something that the world has heard. And its very clear to me that this something that the world should hear continuously.

Under unprecedented security, Netanyahu arrived at the downtown synagogue, the headquarters of the Hungarian Jewish community. In addition to Hungarian police officers visible throughout the area, surrounding streets and squares were closed to the public, preventing tourists from visiting the citys old Jewish Quarter.

Orban and Andras Heisler, president of Mazsihisz/the Federation of the Hungarian Jewish Communities, greeted Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, in the back courtyard of the synagogue. Robert Frolich, the chief rabbi of the Dohany Synagogue, led the guests inside the building and showed them around. The group paid tribute to Hungarian Jewish victims of the Holocaust at the Emmanuel Memorial Tree, which was named for the father of the late American actor Tony Curtis, whose Jewish family once lived in Hungary.

In his speech, Heisler emphasized that the relationship between the Jews and the Hungarian government is good, but there are always disturbing things, like the issue of the unpaid Jewish compensation, or restitution, and also the recent propaganda-campaign provoking anti-Semitism.

Some Jewish leaders said the recent government-led billboard campaign against American billionaire Hungarian citizen George Soros over his support for welcoming immigrants fomented new anti-Semitism and created fear among Hungarian Jews. Israel rejected the campaign, then issued a clarification saying the statement was not meant to delegitimize criticism of Soros, who continuously undermines Israels democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.

Heisler praised Orban for telling reporters on Tuesday that he would see to it that the countrys Jews are protected.

It is OK what Prime Minister Orban said, that they will defend us, Hungarian Jews, but it would be even better if there were no hatred in the Hungarian society towards us, he said, adding: We want to be proud Hungarian Jews, whose majority want to live and stay here.

Heisler said the countrys Jews felt as if a cold shower was poured on us when Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the withdrawal of the Israeli ambassadors condemnation of the [anti-Soros] poster campaign. He called on Netanyahu to help to protect the Diaspora. We want to support Israel, being proud Jews at the same time.

Orban emphasized the importance of the meeting earlier Tuesday with three other Central European prime ministers, known as the V4 group, and Netanyahu.

Jews who live in Hungary, they are part of the Hungarian nation, he said, noting that the Hungarian Jewish community, the sixth largest in Europe, was the birthplace of Theodor Herzl, the spiritual father of Zionism, very near to the place where we are now.

Orban praised Netanyahus idea presented at the V4 meeting to set up a regional anti-terrorist training center with the help and training of Israel.

In attendance at the meeting were Jewish leaders from throughout the country, as well as Dr. Jnos VilmosFonagy, the only Jewish Hungarian government minister and the mayor of Budapest.

Netanyahu in his address also invoked Herzl as the modern Moses of Israel. He praised Orban for organizing the Visegrad meeting. There was no mention of Orbans recent praise for Miklos Horthy, a wartime ally of Adolf Hitler.

Some in the Jewish audience rejected Netanyahus praise of Orban.

I liked Heislers speech, but I was not impressed by the speeches of Orban and Netanyahu, one Jewish leader told JTA. Unfortunately both prime ministers did not pay attention and did not reflect on any of the suggestions of President Heisler.

Netanyahu also met Wednesday afternoon with the Hapoel Beersheba soccer team visiting from Israel, which played the same day in Budapest against a Hungarian club. Netanyahu played with the Israeli team during their training in Budapest just before their game started.

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Netanyahu visited a Budapest synagogue. Here’s what happened. – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Beachwood Synagogue Vandalized –

Posted By on July 21, 2017
Beachwood Synagogue Vandalized
BEACHWOOD, OH Police are investigating vandalism at the Green Road Synagogue. A ball bearing appears to have been shot at an office window at the building, breaking the window. Read on for more information on that incident and others from the …

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Beachwood Synagogue Vandalized –

Movie Review: ‘The Women’s Balcony’: A synagogue is divided when a balcony collapses – The Providence Journal

Posted By on July 21, 2017

By Pat PaduaThe Washington Post

Set in an Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, “The Women’s Balcony” centers on the literal breakdown of a synagogue. Structural damage to the women’s seating section results in a social conflict one that resonates well beyond its specific milieu.

After a balcony in a moderate synagogue collapses during a bar mitzvah, the congregation’s rabbi falls ill. While plans are being made to renovate the house of worship, his replacement, the younger, more conservative Rabbi David (Aviv Alush), comes in with ideas that divide the community along gender lines.

Rabbi David insists that married women cover their hair, a proposal that is largely met with resistance. After the women raise enough money to reconstruct the balcony, he further insists that the money be used for a new bible scroll instead of balcony repairs.

“The Women’s Balcony” immerses the viewer in a culture whose rules may seem unusual to outsiders. One example is the debate over whether it’s acceptable to employ a “Sabbath Gentile” (that is, a non-Jew who is allowed to use a flashlight when the power goes out).

In the face of this particular orthodoxy, husbands and wives sometimes find themselves at odds. But in society at large, whether secular or religious, such contentious climates are becoming an increasingly unfortunate reality.

The film itself seems divided. While director Emil Ben-Shimon and writer Shlomit Nehama appear to side with the more moderate camp, images of the neglected synagogue including a broken window that was never repaired suggest that, just as the structure has been left to decay, so have its traditions.

Although the film ultimately strikes a celebratory tone, the stark divisions it reveals offer an unsettling look at the state of public discourse. Despite that broader message, it may be hard for some outsiders to feel fully invested in the central conflict. In the end, the solution offered by “The Women’s Balcony” to end the rancor feels unearned.


“The Women’s Balcony”

Starring: Avraham Aviv Alush, Yafit Asulin, Orna Banai

Rating: NR, contains nothing objectionable.

Running time: 1:36

In Hebrew with subtitles.


Movie Review: ‘The Women’s Balcony’: A synagogue is divided when a balcony collapses – The Providence Journal

In Moldova, a synagogue with a terrible history is for sale on Holocaust Street – The Times of Israel

Posted By on July 21, 2017

EDINETS, Moldova In a small town in northern Moldova, a former synagogue is for sale on Holocaust Street.

The building, where some 90 Jewish townsfolk were executed during World War II, is being offered for 65,000 euros ($75,000) by a Moldovan owner who said he wasnt aware of its history.

The owner did not wish to give his name, and asked that this journalist not take photos inside the crumbling synagogue or in the yard, which he currently rents out for approximately $100 per month to a car junkyard.

The small street where the synagogue stands was renamed Holocaust Street in 2003 in memory of the people who were executed inside the synagogue, said Iurii Zagorcea, a former city councilor from the Socialist Party who was behind the name change, along with his school administrator wife, Tatiana.

A small plaque bearing the name Holocaust Street hangs right on the wall of the former synagogue. A ghetto was also located on the same road during the war.

The originally suggested name was, The street dedicated to the memory of Holocaust victims, Iurii Zagorcea explained. However, to fit the name on street signs, the city required that it be shortened to one word. So it was shortened to Holocaust Street.

It doesnt sound quite right, but we made it shorter so that it would be easier for people to name the street, Tatiana said. No one is confused about it. No one has bad feelings about living on the street. People understand it correctly.

Tatiana Zagorcea and her husband Iurii are dedicated to preserving the memory of Moldovans who perished in the Holocaust. (Julie Masis/Times of Israel)

About 90 Jews were executed inside the synagogue in 1941 by Romanian fascists after they ran there to seek shelter, said Iurii Zagorcea who has interviewed eye witnesses.

When the executions started, the people went there for protection from God, they went there to hide. Christian peasants also hid in their churches, he said.

When the executions started, the people went there for protection from God, they went there to hide

When the fascists entered the town of Edinits in 1941, they immediately began executing Jews, according to Iurii Zagorcea who heard the story from his mother and aunt. In the first two days, about 650 people were killed, he said.

My mother told me that the corpses lay unburied like sheaves of wheat, he said. There was a horrible smell of corpses in town. An aunt told me that since that time, she had never seen such big flies.

More than 7,000 of Edinetss 10,000 residents were Jewish at the end of the 19th century. Now only 17 Jews remain, according to data from Moldovas latest census from 2014.

After WWII, the former synagogue was nationalized by the government, remodeled inside and used as an office of a textile manufacturer. Now the building is in poor condition and needs extensive renovation.

The sign marking Holocaust Street in Edinets, Moldova. (Julie Masis/Times of Israel)

It is one of the two remaining synagogues in a town which had six Jewish houses of worship before the war, Iurii Zagorcea said. A portion of the other surviving synagogue and a former Jewish hospital is being used as a town museum.

A few years ago, Iurii Zagorcea put a plaque on the former synagogue to inform passersby that Jews were executed there during the war. But someone probably the previous owner of the building, he says removed it, probably out of fear that the building might be returned to the Jewish community or that a potential buyer might not want to purchase it.

When I was younger, I wanted to make that kind of museum to explain what happens during war and conquest

Zagorcea also had a vision about turning the former synagogue into a museum. One part of it would be dedicated to the Holocaust in Moldova, another part to Stalinist terror and a third section would deal with the hunger that Moldova suffered after the war in 1946 and 1947 because of Soviet agricultural policies. But he abandoned the idea when he realized that no one was interested in funding or supporting the project. There is currently no Holocaust museum in Moldova.

When I was younger, I wanted to make that kind of museum to explain what happens during war and conquest, to help society, to educate the future generations so that it doesnt happen again. That was my goal, Iurii Zagorcea said.

Interestingly, the former synagogue and the Holocaust Street are now in a Roma (Gypsy) part of town, with a beautiful Roma home just across the street from it. Members of the Roma community also attended the ceremony when the street was renamed from Zavodskaya (which means Factory Street) to Holocaust Street.

Moldovan Roma were also murdered during the Holocaust, but there is currently not a single monument to Roma Holocaust victims in Moldova, Tatiana Zagorcea said.

A beautiful Roma home across the street from the defunct synagogue where 90 Jews were murdered during the Holocaust in Edinets, Moldova. (Julie Masis/Times of Israel)

The owner who is selling the former synagogue and the adjacent structure said he is skeptical that anyone from the Jewish community might be interested in buying the property if a story about it appears in an Israeli newspaper.

I dont think the Jews would buy it. Especially not the Jews, they are cheap, he said.

The synagogue in Edinets, Moldova where 90 Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, now up for sale. (Julie Masis/Times of Israel)

The synagogue in Edinets, Moldova where 90 Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, now up for sale on Holocaust Street. (Julie Masis/Times of Israel)

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In Moldova, a synagogue with a terrible history is for sale on Holocaust Street – The Times of Israel

Cool off with Shabbat Sababa at Ohev Shalom – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Posted By on July 21, 2017

It’s been a long, hot summer so far. But don’t let the dog days get you down-there’s a chance to cool off. On Friday evening, July 28, at 7:30 p.m., Congregation Ohev Shalom will host Shabbat Sababa, a laid-back Erev Shabbat service with the emphasis on “cool.”

“Florida in the summer is the perfect time take it easy,” says Rabbi David Kay, who will coordinate the service. “We already declared this month ‘No-Tie July.’ It’s hard to relax and focus on the joy of Shabbat when it’s 90 degrees and humid. So, we’re dialing back the formality and turning up the chill.”

“Sababa” is what Israelis use for “cool” or “great.” The Shabbat Sababa Friday night service captures the full range of meaning of the word. Besides the casual atmosphere (and air conditioning), Shabbat Sababa is a chance to get in touch with the spirituality of Shabbat.

“We listened to what people said about services,” Rabbi Kay explains. “They want to feel engaged, to participate, to connect with the liturgy and each other.”

Hebrew can be a barrier to achieving all that. On the other hand, the traditional language of Jewish prayer is a powerful symbol that transcends space and time. “Hebrew prayer links you to Jews in every generation of our history, and with Jews in our time in every part of the world,” Rabbi Kay observes.

Shabbat Sababa will use Siddur Lev Shalem, a recently-published prayer book with a wealth of explanation and commentary, as well as extensive English phonetic transliteration of the Hebrew prayers. The service will also feature a few opportunities to learn a bit about the key prayers, and to ask questions. And then there’s the singing.

“The oldest and most inspiring instrument in human history is the voice,” Rabbi Kay insists. “You don’t need to be a trained singer. When a community, no matter how large or small, raised its voices together, the effect is immediate and inspirational. The whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.”

Don’t know the melodies? Not to worry-some of those will be taught in the service, too. Rabbi Kay calls it a “value-added Friday night service”. “All the elements of the traditional liturgy are there,” he says, “plus a few extra that make it more inclusive and comfortable. So feel free to dress casual!”

Congregation Ohev Shalom is at 613 Concourse Parkway South in Maitland, FL. For more information, email RabbiKay@OhevShalom or visit the Ohev Shalom website at

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Cool off with Shabbat Sababa at Ohev Shalom – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Holocaust Rhymes And Lamborghinis, A Jewish Rapper Breaks Taboos In Germany – Worldcrunch

Posted By on July 21, 2017


Watching the music video for SpongeBOZZs latest single Yellow Bar Mitzvah, it is not immediately clear what is really going on.

The first 15 seconds are a hodgepodge of menacing images and deafening noise. The video opens with a shot of a Hannukah menorah flickering in a dimly-lit room. As the frame widens, grainy footage comes into view of Orthodox Jewish men dancing to a spirited rendition of Hava Nagila. The camera then pans to a scantly-clad woman pushing a wheelbarrow full of cocaine before quickly zooming in on an arm clad in a Nazi-era yellow Star of David patch.

Yellow Bar Mitzvah carries on like this for four minutes, a bizarre mix of drug paraphernalia, Judaism and Nazi references. The creator of this oversaturated potpourri is Dimitri Chpakov, a Russian-born Jewish rapper who previously performed under the pseudonym Sun Diego. Now, as SpongeBOZZ, Chpakov dances alongside the doe-eyed Spongebob Squarepants as he boasts about owning sports cars and shooting his enemies.

When SpongeBOZZ released his latest album Started from the Bottom / KrabbenKoke Tape last month, it quickly shot up the German hip-hop charts, reaching the number two spot. For a musician who has gained most of his fame on YouTube, SpongeBOZZ’s success has so far been modest.

But the 28-year-old is a significant addition to Germanys small but lively hip-hop scene, and is the only Jewish rapper to have gained any sort of notoriety. While Chpakovs Jewish heritage was known before the release of Yellow Bar Mitzvah, his latest record is bold in its recognition of his cultural background.

Post-War Germany has tended to tread carefully when dealing with its Jewish community. This may be why few critics have ventured to critique Chpakovs latest work, particularly his facetious take on Judaism. But the few who have commented, have lauded the artist. One critic writing for the Berlin-based daily Die Welt went so far as to call Chpakov the best rapper in Germany at the moment.

The general lack of conversation surrounding the themes of Yellow Bar Mitzvah is surprising. The song and music video should be fodder for cultural commentators as it so crudely confronts the Holocaust. At one point, Chpakov calls out other rappers for “posing” like drug dealers although theyve never been in the ghetto like [his] grandma Sofia.

As in the United States, where racial epithets and images are seemingly permissible if used by an artist of the target race, SpongeBOZZs Jewish heritage has made it possible for him to flippantly refer to the Holocaust alongside sex and drugs without serious backlash. But SpongeBOZZs irreverence is telling, part of a growing tendency to treat the events of World War II as impersonal, distant history.

With the passing of each generation, Germans have felt increasingly disconnected from their countrys troubled past. In one study conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation in 2015, 58% of Germans over 18 said they would prefer to put the Holocaust behind them. There appears to be a risk that the murder by Nazi Germany of 12 million innocent people including six million Jews, alongside Roma, Slavs, homosexuals and other minorities is slowly exiting the German conscience.

German hip-hop is widely seen as a hotbed of xenophobia

This trend is made more apparent with the perceived rise in anti-Semitism across Europe over the past decade. A study published in June by the University of Oslo found that the perception of growing anti-Semitism has reached such heights that one in four German Jews has considered leaving the country. A recent scandal reported in Suddeutsche Zeitung, involving a Jewish student in Berlin who was bullied over several months, has underscored this disturbing new tendency.

Germanys music scene has not been immune to this uptick in anti-Semitism. In fact, German hip-hop is widely seen as a hotbed of xenophobia, particularly against Jews. When SpongeBOZZs album rose on the German charts in June, he was only outranked by Bushido, Germanys best-selling rapper. The son of Iranian immigrants, Bushido, born Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi, has been widely criticized over the course of his career for his rude and abusive lyrics. In addition to recurrent complaints of sexism and homophobia, the 38-year-old rapper was accused of anti-Semitism in 2013 by the Israeli Embassy in Berlin after he changed his Twitter profile picture to a map of the Middle East in which the colors of the Palestinian flag replaced the State of Israel.

In early February, organizers of the Hessentag cultural festival narrowly voted to remove Kollegah, another well-known rapper, from its lineup of musical guests after the Central Council of Jews in Germany accused the musician of propagating anti-Semitism, homophobia, and violence against women. In response, Kollegah published an open letter to Facebook in which he accused the Central Council of being ignorant of his musical genre and pulling its allegations out of the air. Kollegah also noted that the accusations came just months after his visit to the West Bank as a self-anointed goodwill ambassador. Last November the 32-year-old rapper released an account of his journey in the form of a full-length documentary on YouTube. In it, he jokingly suggested that he should purchase shooter video games for Palestinian children living in a refugee camp near Ramallah.

Following his exclusion from the Hessentag festival, Kollegah and PA Sports, another German rapper, released a joint diss track targeting Chpakov, as well as a German online personality, Julien Sewering. The song, which is titled “Son of a Bitch-Holocaust” despite having nothing to do with the Second World War, features Kollegahs usual bout of sexism, homophobia, and violence. Chpakov later mocked the track on Facebook, calling its creators politically correct.

The government, local municipalities and school boards across Germany have set up numerous programs over the years to combat xenophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism. Yellow Bar Mitzvah is Chpakovs way of doing the same. But his attempt to fight anti-Semitism in German hip-hop does not reaffirm the resilience of European Jews. Instead, it cheapens their experience.

As of mid-July, the music video for Yellow Bar Mitzvah has surpassed five million views and had a “like” rating of about 90% on YouTube. In the comments section, one user wrote After [the line] rappers were never in the ghetto like my grandma Sofia I had goosebumps. Another responds Such a great line! No one else mentions the blatant allusions to the Third Reich in the video, as if the unmistakable Star of David patch stitched onto Chpakovs sleeve is just another prop like the Lamborghinis and bags of cocaine.

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Holocaust Rhymes And Lamborghinis, A Jewish Rapper Breaks Taboos In Germany – Worldcrunch

5 students celebrate belated bar mitzvah – Arutz Sheva

Posted By on July 21, 2017

5 students celebrate belated Bar Mitzvah at Vienna Chabad house

Joined by their families from Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, and Ukraine, as well as their friends and fraternity brothers from around the world, five young men from Vienna’s Lauder Business School celebrated their bar mitzvahs last month, reported.

During the celebration, the young men were called to the Torah for the first time. The next day, they prayed in their new sets of tefillin, then shared a celebratory meal.

For seven weeks prior to the celebration, the young men studied Judaism and Jewish practice, including the observance of tefillin, with the school’s Jewish Heritage Center Co-director Rabbi Boruch Sabbach and his wife Chaya Mushka.

The students were still savoring the experience weeks after they were called up to the Torah in the presence of 60 family members and friends.

The Lauder Business School, founded in 2003 with the assistance of philanthropist Ronald Lauder, is especially welcoming to Jewish students from Europe and abroad. Operating as a university of applied sciences in the Austrian education system, it is the one of the only universities in the European Union to be closed on Shabbat (Sabbath) and Jewish holidays. In addition, the Jewish Heritage Fund’s scholarship program grants stipends to students, covering up to 80 percent of their housing and dining costs.

Dani Markus of Hungary spoke about why he decided to have a bar mitzvah nearly 10 years after the traditional age of 13.

In my family, Judaism was never a core subject of conversation. But since I arrived at the business school, I felt that I needed to know more. During the preparation period held by the rabbi, we got to know the hows and whys of Jewish customs and traditions, Markus explained.

For Peter Vandor, also from Hungary, knowing about my roots and getting closer to them was the main purpose for participation in the program.

But even in my wildest dreams, I never thought it would be this successful, he said. I feel like we, as five Jewish students, made a huge step forward with our Jewish identity. I give a huge shout-out to Rabbi Boruch for guiding us as our mentor and making this program possible.”

Although studies at the Lauder Business School are in English, the emotions associated with the event were distinctly European. Magdolna Vrkonyi, an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor who came from Hungary, wept as she described how moved she was to see her first great-grandchild, Benjamin Pretzer, have a bar mitzvah celebration.

Sabbach said the success of the program exceeded his expectations.

It was extraordinary to guide these five young men through this important Jewish milestone, he said. They showed a real commitment to the lessons, and their questions demonstrated a seriousness about the subject and their Judaism.

Equally important, he emphasized, was the impact on the participants families.

Several of the parents spoke about a new commitment to Judaism and a desire to send their younger children to Jewish schools, he explained.

Purchase of new tefillin was arranged by Sabbach with the help of the Chabad on Campus International Tefillin Bank. The bar mitzvah program is a joint project of Chabad on Campus International and the Alpha Epsilon Pi International fraternity.

Six students have already signed up for a similar program for next year.

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5 students celebrate belated bar mitzvah – Arutz Sheva

Genetic causes unveiled for population-specific diseases | Business … – Hindu Business Line

Posted By on July 21, 2017

Samples from over 2,800 individuals from 275 distinct South Asian populations analysed

Hyderabad, July 20:

When a person goes for medical surgery in Indian hospitals, doctors could often ask two questions is the person from the Vaishya community and is he/she allergic to Sulpha drugs.

While the second issue of allergic to drugs is under control, the known problems faced by Vaishyas, a trade and business community to anaesthesia, persist. Numbering around three millions, they are pre-dominantly in the South and are known to have traumatic response to muscle relaxants like Succinylcholine and Mivacurium, which are injected prior to surgery as anaesthesia.

Genetic variation

The reason for this, according to scientists, is that the genes responsible for producing enzymes which metabolise these anaesthesia drugs are hardly produced in people of this community. Therefore, they have to be administered a different set of drugs to facilitate surgery. The occurrence of such rare problems is due to the very little genetic variation over generations among the communities.

Terming them recessive diseases (which is passed down families through generations), a study published on July 17 in Nature Genetics, goes on to describe how the 1.5 billion people of South Asia are particularly vulnerable to such rare genetic diseases. The study was led by co-senior authors Scientist Kumarasamy Thangaraj of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and David Reich of Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute, Boston and Cambridge, USA, in collaboration with colleagues from many other institutes.

South Asia is inhabited by about 5,000 anthropologically well-defined populations, many of which are endogamous (marrying within a population) communities with significant barriers to gene flow due to sociological, linguistic and cultural factors that restrict inter-population marriage. Several diseases that are specific to these populations have been identified in the past. However, the genetic causes for the vast majority of population-specific disease are largely unknown.

Recessive diseases

Each person carries several mutations, which if found in two copies, would lead to serious recessive diseases. In South Asia, founder events, small numbers of ancestors carrying such mutations gave rise to large number of descendants. This in combination with endogamy causes these mutations to often be carried in two copies, leading to a higher rate of population specific diseases, explained Thangaraj.

The present study has been able to throw light on some of these trends. We have analysed samples from more than 2,800 individuals from over 275 distinct South Asian populations who belong to various social and linguistic groups from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh using about 600,000 genome-wide markers, Thangaraj.

The authors devised an algorithm to quantify the measure of the founder events in each group based on Identity-by-Descent (IBD) segments, large stretches of DNA shared from a common founder in the last approximately one hundred generations.

The study analysed genetic data of Gujjars, Baniyas, Rajus, Reddys, Kapus to identify gene mutations and the possible susceptibility to certain genetic diseases in India.

We found that 81 out of 263 unique South Asian groups, including 14 groups with estimated census sizes of over a million, have a strong founder event than the one that occurred in both Finns and Ashkenazi Jews in the West these are founder groups known to have large numbers of recessive diseases, said Reich.

He further said that this source of risk for recessive diseases is very different from that due to marriages among close relatives (consanguineous marriages), which is also a major cause of recessive disease in South Asia.

Personalised medicine

Explaining the significance of the study findings Rakesh K Mishra, Director of CCMB said it would lead to a paradigm shift, facilitating and accelerating predictive and personalised medicine.

A practical fallout of these findings is the development of the approach called Dor Yeshorim, a community genetic testing program among Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews, which screens students for common recessive disease causing mutations and enters the results into a confidential database. Matchmakers query the database whether the potential couple is incompatible in the sense of both being carriers for a recessive mutation at the same gene, said Reich.

(This article was published on July 20, 2017)

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Genetic causes unveiled for population-specific diseases | Business … – Hindu Business Line

GOP Senate candidate attacks Anti-Defamation League for ‘witchhunt’ on far right – The Hill

Posted By on July 21, 2017

An Ohio Republican challenging Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownGOP Senate candidate attacks Anti-Defamation League for witchhunt’ on far right Senate Banking leaders introduce flood insurance bill Major progressive group endorses Martha McSally challenger MORE (D-Ohio) for his Senate seat slammed the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Thursday as a “partisan witchhunt group.”

Josh Mandel took to Twitter to accuse the Jewish civil rights group of improperly singling out for criticism far-right activists and internet personalities such as Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec.

“Sad to see @ADL_National become a partisan witchhunt group targeting people for political beliefs. I stand with @Cernovich & @JackPosobiec,” Mandel, who currently serves as Ohio’s state treasurer, wrote.

Sad to see @ADL_National become a partisan witchhunt group targeting people for political beliefs. I stand with @Cernovich & @JackPosobiec

Mandel’s tweet came two days after the ADL included Cernovich and Posobiec on a list of figuresassociated with the alt-right, a primarily internet-based white nationalistmovement without a clear structure or organization.

In a statement to The Hill, Mandel’s campaign said that by releasing such a list, the ADL was venturing down a “slippery slope.”

“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors and as a Marine who defended our freedom, Treasurer Mandel believes the ADL is dead wrong for creating hit lists on American citizens,” a campaign spokeswoman said.

“Of all organizations, the ADL should know that making target lists of people based on their political beliefs is a dangerous practice and slippery slope.”

Cernovich and Posobiec are known for pushing the so-called “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which claimedthat Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonMueller asks WH staff to preserve all documents about Trump Jr. meeting: report OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won’t define 2018, so why not fix your party’s problems instead? Russian lawyer who met Trump Jr. represented spy agency: report MORE campaign officials were involved in a child sex trafficking ring operatingout of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant.

Cernovich, a blogger based in southern California, dubbed the ADL’s list as a “hit list of political opponents,” claiming in a blog post on Wednesday that the civil rights group is trying to encourage supporters to “murder those the ADL disagrees with politically.”

Mandel retweeted Cernovich’s messageon Twitter promoting that particular blog post.

Posobiec is a Washington correspondent for the far-right Rebel Media and was among theorganizers of “DeploraBall,” a gala held in Washington in January to celebrate President Trump’s inauguration. The event spurred controversy because of its association with alt-right personalities.

In a video posted on Twitter on Thursday, Posobiec warned the ADL against “making lists of undesirables,” before turning the camera to the main entrance of the German Nazi’s Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

“It would be wise of the ADL to remember the history of what happened the last time people started going around making lists of undesirables,” he said.

The @ADL_National would be wise to remember what happened the last time people made lists of undesirables

The ADL was initially founded to fight anti-Semitism and cites “Jewish values” as the basis of its work.

The ADL defended its listin a statement on Thursday, saying it was in line with the group’s mission to “call out those who preach anti-Semitism and bigotry.”

For more than a century, ADL has been guided by its mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and fight for equal justice for all not by politics,” the ADL said. “We call out those who preach anti-Semitism and bigotry regardless of their background, party, or standing. Ournew reportidentifies the major figures on the Alt Right and the Alt Lite and explains the differences between the various players in these emerging movements. We stand by our report.

Updated 4:45 p.m.

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GOP Senate candidate attacks Anti-Defamation League for ‘witchhunt’ on far right – The Hill

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