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 SA JEWISH REPORT STAFF | Jul 08, 2015

World Jewish population reaches 16,5 million, report says

JERUSALEM - The number of Jewish people in the world is almost the same as it was before the Holocaust, according to Israeli think-tank, the Jewish People Policy Institute.

Before the Holocaust - in which six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis - there were 16,5 million Jews in the world.

Now, the institute - which presented its report to the Israeli Cabinet - has said there are 14,2 million Jews, with a further 2,3 million identifying as “partially Jewish”, including those with one Jewish parent.

The report attributed the rise to population growth in Israel, which has one of the highest fertility rates in Western countries.

It also attributed the growth to people identifying as “Jewish” if they have one Jewish parent.

According to the report, there are 6,1 million Jewish living in Israel, 5,7 million in America and 475 000 in France - which has the third-highest population of Jews in the world. – Jewish Chronicle


Promoting Jewish-Muslim understanding

MONTREAL - Representatives of the Montreal Jewish and Muslim communities have agreed to co-operate in areas of common concern and to encourage greater contact between their members.

At an initial meeting a group of 27 people, both clergy and lay, held a 2 1/2-hour discussion behind closed doors under the auspices of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), a New York-based not-for-profit organisation that, since 2007, has been trying to “build a global movement of Muslims and Jews who are committed to strengthening relations between [the two] communities”, said the programme’s director Walter Ruby after the meeting.

In the Greater Toronto Area, the FFEU has worked with the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims (CAJM) since 2008, organising annual “twinning” events between mosques and synagogues, and between Jewish and Muslim organisations, said Karen Mock, a human rights consultant and adviser to CAJM.

There were similar festive or social events run by local communities throughout the United States and many cities in Europe, under the FFEU’s aegis, Ruby said -  Canadian Jewish News


Warning: Holocaust can happen again


LONDON - BBC political editor Nick Robinson has urged young people to raise the subject of the Holocaust as much as possible in day-to-day conversation and on social media, “to make people remember”.

Robinson told teenagers at the annual conference for Holocaust Educational Trust ambassadors: “It is your job first and foremost to say that it did happen. This is not an argument, it is not a debate. It happened and it could happen again.”

Over 300 HET ambassadors - young people who have taken part in the trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project and run events and talks in their regions to educate others on the Holocaust, attended the conference.

They raised concerns about online anti-Semitic abuse and the pros and cons of using new technology in the future of Holocaust education. - Jewish Chronicle


Presidential award to rabbi who helps childless couples


JERUSALEM - In an impressive ceremony which took place last week at the presidential residence in Jerusalem, the chairman of the “Pri Chaim” Organisation, Rabbi Moshe Shlesinger, received the Honorary Presidential Volunteer Award for his long-standing activity in bringing respite, relief and smiles to childless couples.

The award was granted to Rabbi Shlesinger by the President  Reuven Rivlin, and the chairman of the committee for the presidential award, Dan Meridor.

Rabbi Shlesinger received the honour for his many years of activity within the framework of the “Pri Chaim” Organisation which assists childless couples to be blessed with offspring.

The committee’s decision stated that this award was being granted to Rabbi Shlesinger “for having toiled for over 30 years, without any monetary gain or imbursement, in assisting and guiding those who seek to establish families.

“He is available for telephone consultation in his home every hour of the day, as well as throughout the country and from Jewish communities all over the world. In the course of this long period, he has assisted some 30 000 couples to bring children into the world through his extensive connections with the top experts in the field.”

Many of these couples think of their children as “grandchildren” of Rabbi Shlesinger. Often, he has defied the pessimistic prognoses of doctors and forged ahead, seeking alternate solutions, different tactics, suggesting innovative and original ideas to circumvent the problems.” – “Pri Chaim”, the Fruit of Life


Jordan gets the lions’ share

JERUSALEM - Two lion cubs from Gaza are making their way to a new home in Jordan following a request by international animal welfare organisation Four Paws.

The cubs went through a security check at the Erez crossing before they were able to proceed into Israel.

The next stop for the young lions was the Allenby border crossing with Jordan, where they will live in a Jordanian animal treatment and rehabilitation centre.

Four Paws also facilitated the September 2014 transfer of three lions, including a pregnant lioness, from the Al-Bisan Zoo in northern Gaza to Jordan after the Strip's only zoo was heavily damaged during 50 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel.

The zoo in Beit Lahiya saw massive bombardments and airstrikes over the course of the seven-week operation, resulting in the death of over 80 of its animals. – Jerusalem Post


Jewish burial complex at Beit She’arim a World Heritage Site


BONN - A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation committee met in Bonn, Germany, and voted on including the Beit She’arim tombs in its list of sites notable for cultural heritage. The proposal passed with 17 votes in favour and four against.

Lebanon, Qatar, Algeria, and Malaysia opposed the motion.

The World Heritage List enshrined Beit She’arim because its catacombs contain a “treasury of artworks and inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew” and bear “a unique testimony to ancient Judaism under the leadership of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, who is credited with Jewish renewal after 135 CE”. - The Times of Israel



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