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by SA JEWISH REPORT STAFF | Jul 06, 2016

Australian leaders’ final pleas to Jewish voters


CANBERRA - Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten made last-minute pitches to the Jewish community just days before the Federal election last weekend.

The Liberal and Labour leaders spoke of a robust and resilient Jewish community, which has shaped the Australian story and made the nation a better place.

Acknowledging that Australian Jewry faces particular security concerns and promising to “always act to ensure your protection”, Turnbull said he and his wife Lucy have lived in the heart of Sydney’s Jewish community in Wentworth all their lives, and are “grateful that they have taken us to their hearts as well”.

“As the Federal Member for Wentworth I have been welcomed into your homes and your synagogues, your schools and your community centres,” he said.

“I have celebrated simchas and chagim.”

He said there were only a few communities as robust and resilient as the Jewish community and that many survivors of the Holocaust sought refuge in Australia after they escaped Europe.

Meanwhile, Shorten said the Jewish community had made “a lasting contribution to Australian business, academia, culture and politics”.

“From Saul Same to Frank Lowy and Sidney Myer - the Jewish community has shaped the Australian story and made our nation a better place,” he said.

Declaring that Labour is “resolute in its support of the people of Israel” and committed to supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Shorten added that a Labour government would continue to strengthen trade and economic ties between Australia and Israel. - Australian Jewish News


Israeli-Slovenian rowing duo making waves


TEL AVIV - The number 1 Israeli and Slovenian rowers allowed their oars to drag back. They flexed their arms forward and leaned back as they exhaled as one.

With Dani Fridman at the bow and Gaspar Fistravec at the stern, the two glided down the Yarden River at Daniel Rowing Centre, training for their doubles race in the Henley Royal Regatta earlier this week.

The Henley is the most renowned rowing tournament the world has to offer.

This race wasn’t always the plan, though; Fridman’s tattoo, which faces the water as he rows, can tell that story. It consists of five oars bent into circles and intertwined into the shape of the Olympic rings, representing his dream since he was a teenager.

Both Fridman and Fistravec want to compete in the Olympics. They each lost in the qualifiers during the weekend on May 22.

Fistravec, racing for Slovenia, was in fourth place throughout the entire single sculls. Fridman, representing Israel, almost won. He maintained the lead through 1 750 metres before his speed dropped from 4,7 metres per second to 3,8.

He had suffered a back injury training for the semifinals. He was unable to fight through it and slipped from first place to fourth, not good enough to qualify. He was clearly frustrated when talking about it. - Jerusalem Post


Call to investigate Corbyn’s conduct regarding anti-Semitism


MANCHESTER - A Jewish group has called on Labour to investigate Jeremy Corbyn’s conduct during last week’s launch of the report into anti-Semitism in the party.

Solicitors acting for Jewish Human Rights Watch wrote to Labour’s central office objecting to the party leader’s remark in which he compared Israel to hardline Islamic states.

In a speech at the media conference unveiling the report, compiled by Shami Chakarbarti, Corbyn said: “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for the self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”

JHRW said the remark was “demonising and delegitimising” of Israel “in a way wholly consistent with modern anti-Semitism”.

The fact that he chose to make the remark on the release of the report, “serves only to underscore the reality that Mr Corbyn has no interest in fighting anti-Semitism whatsoever”, JHRW said.

JHRW also complained that Corbyn had failed to act when a Jewish Labour MP fled the conference in tears after being verbally attacked by a hard-left activist.

Ruth Smeeth became upset after she was accused of colluding with the Daily Telegraph.

Robert Festenstein, of RHF solicitors based in Manchester, wrote the letter on behalf of JHRW.

The solicitor, a member of the Labour Party himself, said: “I was appalled that not only did Jeremy Corbyn fail to respond to what happened to Ruth Smeeth, Chakrabarti failed to respond to the harassment of a Labour MP as it happened in front of her.

“She said she wanted the Labour Party to be a place where everyone was welcome, but in light of the evidence it is something to the contrary.” - Jewish Chronicle, London


Land-based Jewish centre in Canada


TORONTO - More than 200 people came out on June 26 to celebrate the opening of Bela Farm, a 46-hectares centre for sustainable, land-based Judaism.

Risa Alyson Cooper, executive director of the grassroots Jewish environmental organization Shoresh, which runs the farm, located in Hillsburgh, Ontario, one hour northwest of Toronto, said she was “thrilled to see a very diverse group of community members” in attendance, from ultra-Orthodox to secular”.

For many who attended, Shoresh is “their only point of Jewish connection”, Cooper said.

Bela Farm, its design, goals and activities are rooted in Jewish values and practices, but open to all, she said.

 “Land-based Jewish tradition is unique in the community,” she said. “It speaks to people in deep and profoundly meaningful ways, and bridges Jewish tradition with ecological stewardship. It is an expression of Judaism that is meaningful and relevant.”

One of the largest Jewish community farms in North America, it’s the latest initiative from Shoresh, which also runs a pollinator garden at Wolfond Centre at the University of Toronto and a community garden in a private backyard at Kensington Market.

The opening also featured performances from a cadre of Jewish Toronto-based musicians, a mini farmers market and a locally sourced desert reception.

Sabrina Malach, Shoresh’s director of engagement, says the opening reflects “a vision we’ve crafted collectively over the years”.

While there’s currently a growing movement of Jewish environmental organisations, largely centred in the United States, Shoresh, Cooper said, is unique “in that it is an environmental organisation exclusively run by women”. - Canadian Jewish News


Jewish celebrities to get stars in Hollywood Walk of Fame


HOLLYWOOD - Comedian Sarah Silverman, actor Jeffrey Tambor, actress Goldie Hawn, Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban, and actor George Segal are all getting their own stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Their names were announced in the annual list put out by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce last week Tuesday.

Among the Jewish honorees all but Hawn were listed under the television category. Silverman is best known for her standup comedy but created her own Comedy Central series, “The Sarah Silverman Programme”, which ran from 2007 to 2010. She also performed on “Saturday Night Live” during the sketch show’s 1993-94 season.

Tambor has starred in dozens of films and shows since the 1970s but is most famous for his recent roles on the shows “Arrested Development” and “Transparent”.

Hawn, who got her start as a ditzy go-go dancer on TV’s “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, went on to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Cactus Flower” and appeared in a string of hit films in the 1970s, including “There’s a Girl in My Soup”, “Butterflies Are Free”, “The Sugarland Express” and “Shampoo”. In “Private Benjamin” she played a pampered Jewish girl who joins the Army.

Saban started the now defunct Saban Entertainment group, which distributed the popular children’s action hero shows such as “Power Rangers” and the American versions of “Digimon” and “Dragonball Z”. His estimated net worth is over $3 billion.

Segal is more famous for his film work, having appeared in classics such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Hot Rock”. But he has also appeared in dozens of shows, including the ABC sitcom “The Goldbergs”. - Los Angeles Jewish Times


Three woman lead the Forward into digital era


NEW YORK - Come November, we may find out that the presidential sweepstakes will become known as the Year of the Woman. At the Forward, that’s already happened.

For the first time in the nearly 120 years of this legendary Jewish publication, there are women overseeing all publishing and editorial functions.

“It’s far more than a cosmetic change. The new appointments signal our commitment to become the leading digital news outlet telling the American Jewish story, and our willingness to break the mold to achieve that ambitious goal,” said a Forward statement.

The most dramatic change is at the top, with the decision by Samuel Norich, who had been publisher of the English and Yiddish news organisations and president of the Forward Association, the not-for-profit governing body, to hire a new publisher.

Norich will continue as president and CEO, but he turned over the publishing duties to Rachel Fishman Feddersen, whose deep experience in digital journalism represents a generational shift in leadership and strategy.

Feddersen has worked in new media since 1995, at The Week,,, and other news and lifestyle publications.

Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, became editor-in-chief of the Forward in 2008, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national newspaper.

The other member of this new sisterhood is Rukhl Schaechter, who became editor of the Forverts upon the retirement of Boris Sandler in April, and she, too, represents a generational shift. - Forward, New York


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