Around the Jewish World

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A weekly summary of briefs on some of the top issues in the Jewish media worldwide brought to you by Jewish Report staff writers. The SAJR newsroom sees hundreds of stories every week – not all can make it into the newspaper as a major story, of course, but many of them are worth bringing to the attention of our readers. This is “Around The Jewish World” and readers who have a specific interest in any of these briefs can search more broadly for more.
by Sharon SAJR | Jun 10, 2015

Israeli wins half a million dollars at 2015 World Series of Poker

LAS VEGAS - Idan Raviv, 24, of Holon, finished first in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed tournament, a three-day competition at the Rio casino in Las Vegas. It was the second year in a row that an Israeli has won a World Series of Poker title. In 2014, Asi Moshe took the gold bracelet in the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event.

Raviv, an IT professional, defeated a field of 1,650 to take the $457,007 top prize. Last year he finished in 181st place. The World Series of Poker consists of a number of tournaments.

Raviv described himself as an aspiring “poker pro” who plays the game recreationally mostly while attending major events in Europe part-time, according to the World Series Poker website. - JTA and Times of Israel

Klimt portrait returned to Jewish family – and sold for £18m


LONDON - A Klimt portrait that a Jewish family were forced to leave behind when they fled the Nazis in 1938 is to be returned to them - and sold for up to £18million (R346 million) at auction.

Gertrud Loew was 19 when Gustav Klimt painted her portrait in 1902 as her father, Dr Anton Loew, was friends with the celebrated artist. 

The family were forced to flee Vienna after the Nazis seized power in 1938, leaving behind the painting and Gertrud's grand home, which eventually became a headquarters for the occupiers.

The portrait was acquired by one of Klimt's sons, Gustav Ucicky, a filmmaker who made propaganda movies for Nazi Germany and who kept it as part of a collection about his father's work.  

The painting of an ethereal Gertrude has now been returned to her descendants, who are to sell it at auction in an agreement brokered with The Klimt Foundation. 

Gertrud settled in America after fleeing Nazi persecution. Daily Mail




Canada's Wonderland won’t renew kosher vendor’s contract


TORONTO - Kosher consumers enjoying Canada’s Wonderland will notice one less attraction at the park this summer.

Howie T’s, the lone vendor of kosher consumables in the 330-acre venue in Maple, Ontario, north of Toronto, will not be back. Howie Rosenberg, the man behind Howie T’s Burger Bar, was told shortly before the amusement park opened on May 3 that his services were no longer required. Rosenberg had provided kosher hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and other items at Wonderland for the past two years.

Rosenberg is puzzled by Wonderland’s decision. He had been in talks with park officials for months about a new, high-traffic location for his food cart, as well as improvements that would make the provision of kosher food more convenient. 

But over the course of several months, talks went from discussions about improvements to his arrangement at Wonderland to notice that he would have to bid for the contract, to word that Wonderland would no longer have a dedicated kosher vendor. 

He was told that Wonderland was going in a different direction and that pre-packaged kosher food would be available at other restaurants in the park. - Canadian Jewish News


Naked sauna session rabbi apologises


NEW YORK - A rabbi accused of encouraging young men to undress and join him in the steam room, has addressed the allegations in a letter to members of his synagogue.

After an article published on May 29 in The New York Times accused him of improper conduct spanning several decades, Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt remained quiet for almost a week.

Last week Thursday, the rabbi wrote to his congregants: “I want to assure you, however, that it was never my intention to cause any harm, nor did I ever do anything that was unlawful.”

He added, however: “If any of you feel that my behaviour, even if innocent, was inappropriate, I apologise to those affected.”

His lawyer advised him not to comment on the allegations publicly. But in a statement given to the Jewish Week, he noted: “There is significant reason to believe that the attack on my reputation is being promoted by those whose real attack is on my beliefs and principles.

“The respected rabbi of an important congregation would, for some, represent a significant trophy in the predatory quest to discredit his ideas and, possibly, an opportunity to change the nature of the community he leads.” - Jewish Chronicle



‘Most HIV carriers hide condition from parents and employers’


TEL AVIV - Seventy per cent of HIV carriers do not tell their parents that they were infected with the AIDS virus, according to a survey of the homosexual committee carried out by the Israel Aids Task Force.

In addition, 30 per cent of HIV carriers remain “in the closet” generally, while only 7,4 per cent speak of their condition openly.

The voluntary organisation has opened a new centre for anonymous testing in the Florentin quarter of south Tel Aviv. Dr Zohar Mor of the Health Ministry and Tel Aviv University, conducted the survey for Gay Pride Week, at a time when the number of Aids carriers in the homosexual community has risen.

Some 300 HIV carriers and 1 300 whose blood tests were found to be negative (HIV free) participated in the survey.

More than 86 per cent of carriers do not inform their employers that they are carriers, the survey found. Two thirds of carriers have sexual partners who are not infected with HIV.

Sa’ar Maoz, co-ordinator of social services in the gay community, added that despite “the impressive medical advances in treatment for HIV carriers that has significantly extended their lifespan and provided a higher quality of life, the social stigma and ignorance still exists. - Jerusalem Post

Man charged over threat to kill 2 Jews in London


LONDON - A man has been charged with a racially/religiously aggravated offence after two Jewish men were allegedly racially abused and threatened.

The men, described as “visibly Jewish”, were approached while walking on the River Lea towpath in Hackney, east London, and subjected to a tirade of anti-Semitic abuse.

A member of Shomrim, the Jewish neighbourhood watch group, said: "A male suspect allegedly shouted 'f***ing Jews’ before walking right up to the victims, threatening them [and saying] ‘I'll f***ing kill you’ and ‘I'll f***ing break your neck’."

Police closed off the area of the towpath after the incident.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said that officers arrested a 27-year-old man “on suspicion of threats to kill and a racially aggravated public order offence”. - Jewish Chronicle



Technion to help build desalination plant in Jordan

HAIFA - Researchers from the Technion’s Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute in Haifa were part of a team that won a $125 000 honourable-mention grant in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Desal Prize competition.

The Desal Prize aims to incentivise the creation of an environmentally sustainable small-scale brackish water desalination system that can provide potable water for people and crops in developing countries.

The prize money will be used toward building the team’s wind- and solar-energy-powered Green Desal system to treat groundwater in Jordan.

“Hundreds of proposals from around the world were submitted in this competition,” said Professor Ori Lahav, head of the Water Research Institute.

“The water-treatment process was based on an innovative combination of three technologies - reverse osmosis, ion exchange and nano-filtration,” explained Lahav. “The challenge was to find a solution for problematic water characterised by particularly high concentrations of dissolved calcium and sulfate.” - Israel 21c

IDF drill in Israel’s south tests readiness


JERUSALEM - The IDF held an exercise in the Gaza-border region of the South last Sunday to test the readiness of its forces.

During the exercise, which lasted from 13:00 until the evening and included the outskirts of Sderot, there was heavy military traffic throughout the area.

“The event was planned ahead of time, as part of the graph of exercises for 2015, and is designed to safeguard the readiness of forces,” the army said in a statement, stressing that it was not in response to rockets fired into the area recently from Gaza.

Last week, the Home Front Command rehearsed civil defences and co-operation with emergency responders and local governments during a week-long drill simulating war on multiple fronts and heavy projectile fire on the country.

The Israel Air Force also held a series of drills last week, one of which was designed to test its ability to fire large numbers of precision-guided munitions at targets hidden in built-up areas in a short period of time.

The exercise also tested the IAF’s ability to maintain operations despite its bases being targeted by guided Hezbollah missile attacks. - Jerusalem Post



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