World’s oldest man dies at 113 – The Herald

Yisrael Kristal

Jerusalem. Israeli Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, certified last year by Guinness World Records as the worlds oldest man, died last Friday aged 113, Israeli media reported.

Since he was an observant Jew, his family could not be reached on Friday evening, the onset of the Jewish sabbath.

Yisrael Kristal . . . died on Friday a month before his 114th birthday, Haaretz daily reported in its online edition.

News site Ynet said he was survived by two children, nine grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.

The World Jewish Congress noted his passing in a brief Twitter statement.Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal was the oldest man in the world. Yisrael passed away today. May his memory be a blessing.

Kristal, originally from Zarnow in what is now Poland, was born on September 15, 1903 three months before the Wright brothers first successful powered aeroplane flight.

Guinness World Records recognised him as the worlds oldest man in March 2016.In September he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah after a century-long delay.

Usually marked at 13 for boys and 12 or 13 for girls a Bat Mitzvah in that case it marks the transition into someone responsible for his or her actions.

Kristal was unable to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in 1916 because his mother had died three months earlier and his father was a soldier in the Russian army at the time of World War I.

My father is religious and has prayed every morning for 100 years, but he has never had his Bar Mitzvah, his daughter Shula Koperstoch told AFP last year.

After World War I, Kristal moved to Lodz where he worked in the family confectionery factory, married and had two children.

But his life was disrupted when the Jewish quarter of the city became a ghetto under Nazi occupation during World War II and Kristal was sent to the infamous Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Around 1.1 million people, most of them European Jews, perished in the camp between 1940 and 1945 before it was liberated by Soviet forces.

His wife and two children died but Kristal survived, weighing just 37 kg at the end of the war.

He then moved to Israel, where he opened a sweet shop.

Guinness World Records website said that on receiving his certificate at his home in the northern Israeli city of Haifa last year Kristal offered no explanation for his longevity.

I dont know the secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why, he said. AFP.

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Auschwitz survivor who was world’s oldest man dies at 113 – The Guardian

Israel Kristal, the worlds oldest man who lived through both world wars and survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, has passed away just a month short of his 114th birthday, his family have said.

Oren Kristal, a grandson, said he died on Friday. He managed to accomplish a lot. Every year he lived was like a few years for somebody else, Oren told the Associated Press.

Last year Guinness World Records awarded Kristal a certificate as the worlds oldest man.

Kristal was born to an Orthodox Jewish family near the town of arnw in Poland in 1903. When he was a child during World War I in Poland he was a helper for a booze smuggler; he used to run barefoot in the snow through the night many kilometres with a heavy package on his back at about 12-years-old, smuggling alcohol between the lines of the war, Oren, his grandson, said.

He used to walk very fast until he was very old faster than me and he used to tell me that when he was my age if you didnt walk fast enough your feet would stick to the frozen ground, said Oren.

Kristal was orphaned shortly after the first world war and moved to Lodz to work in the family confectionery business in 1920.

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Kristal was confined to the d ghetto and was later sent to Auschwitz and other concentration camps. His first wife and two children were killed in the Holocaust. Six million Jews were systematically murdered by German Nazis and their collaborators during the second world war.

He used to tell us whenever we were mourning someone that we should consider that they are being buried in the land of Israel, most of the people he knew did not get to be buried in a grave when they died, Oren said.

Kristal survived the second world war weighing only 37kg (about 81 pounds) and was the only survivor of his large family. He later married another Holocaust survivor and moved with her to Israel in 1950 where he built a new family and a successful confectionery business.

He was a very hard-working man, a lot of energy always running from one place to another doing something, Oren Kristal said. He said his grandfather participated in one of his grandsons bar mitzvahs just a few weeks ago.

An observant Jew, Kristal himself only celebrated his bar mitzvah last year, a hundred years later than usual. He missed his bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony held when a boy turns 13, because of the first world war.

Kristal is survived by two children, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to media reports.

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Yisrael Kristal, World’s Oldest Man Who Survived Two World Wars & Holocaust Dies Aged 114 Years –

Yisrael Kristal, the man who survived two world wars and Hitlers Holocaust against the Jews passed away at the age of 114.

He was the oldest man as well, recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records. Yisrael died a month before his 114th birthday.

As per the report by Jewish News, Kristal was born in September 1903 in Poland and he started in his family business by 1920s. He operated his business despite Nazis forcing Jews into the ghettoes, where Kristal lost two of his children.

In 1944, he was deported to Auschwitz, where his wife, whom he had married at 25, was killed. In 1950, he moved to Haifa in Israel with his second wife and their son. He started working as a confectioner. In addition to his son and daughter from his second marriage, Kristal has numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Guiness Book Of World Records had recognised him as the oldest living man in 2016. Asked about the secret of his long life, Kristal had said, I dont know the secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why. There have been smarter, stronger and better-looking men than me who are no longer alive. All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost.

Last year, when he turned 113, about 100 family members celebrated his bar mitzvah, a century after he missed it due to the upheavals of World War I.

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The stitched Torah: Toronto tapestry project inspires volunteers from around the world – National Post

ByAlison Broverman

An agnostic Jewish woman. A Mormon fire chief. A Muslim immigrant from Turkey. A Mother Superior at a church in the English countryside. These are just a few of the hundreds of people who have lent their fingers to Toronto textile artist Temma Gentles ambitious project Torah: Stitch by Stitch. As the name would suggest, the goal is to cross stitch by hand the first five books of the Bible.

There are over 300,000 letters in the Torah. To write them out is considered a mitzvah and it can take up to a year and a half for a scribe (or sofer) to complete the task by hand. To cross stitch each character takes even longer.

The five books are divided into 1,464 sections. Volunteers are sent a kit containing a piece of high quality canvas and enough black thread to complete their assigned portion. This is the best canvas in the world, the best threads in the world, says Gentles. Theyre really archival materials.

Each section contains four verses. I wanted the stitchers to be aware, as they progressed from verse to verse, that they were honouring, at least in their head, one of the matriarchs Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca and Leah, explains Gentles. The only thing weve added thats not in the Torah is the punctuation, the colons at the end of a verse, so theyre aware of when theyre moving from verse three to verse four. But otherwise it has to be absolutely word perfect if its not perfect, we correct it.

(Gentles is proud, however, that most of the sections that have been returned to her have been mostly correct.)

Stitchers have to commit to returning the finished portion within six months (a volunteer working with Gentles is the unofficial noodge, who does their best to keep the stitchers on deadline).

The first book, Genesis, has been assembled and is hanging on display at the Congregation Darchei Noam in Toronto until December. (Exodus and Leviticus have also been fully stitched, but have yet to be assembled for display. And the project is still accepting volunteers to finish stitching portions from Numbers and Deuteronomy.)

Gentles is shocked and delighted that the project has attracted so many far-flung volunteers. I thought, Maybe 30 of my friends will sign up, she says. Fortunately, shortly after she had conceived the project, Hadassah magazine profiled her, and she was able to advertise that she was looking for stitchers. It was a four-line quote, you know, looking for stitchers, and it went viral.

Ultimately, stitching the Torah feels like an appropriately biblical activity, lengthy and meditative. And the activity has had a meaningful impact on the volunteers who signed up to stitch. Gentles has received countless messages from her stitchers around the world, many discussing how moving and spiritual they found the experience of stitching their Torah portion. A woman named Amy signed up to stitch after spending most of her life ignoring her Jewish heritage and avoiding going to synagogue. She found the experience so spiritually transformative that Gentles received an invitation to Amys adult bat mitzvah. And with so many volunteers from other faiths, Torah: Stitch by Stitch has become a meaningful cross-cultural project as well.

At Darchei Noam, the display is visually impressive, with tapestries lining the walls of more than one space. But its not until you get up close that you see the details that make the project so inspiring. In addition to the verses, each portion of stitching has an allotment of free space where stitchers can include their own designs. Often these feature illustrations of the stories from the respective sections for example, Josephs coat of many colours, or Noahs ark and pairs of animals. Stitchers are also encouraged to include a decorative border, and some people have thrown in little visual puns, or secret references that are meaningful to them.

Currently, only Genesis has been assembled and is available for viewing (along with a few sections from Deuteronomy, which were stitched as an act of faith that the project would be completed eventually), but the project is ongoing, and Gentles has high hopes that the completed tapestries will eventually be displayed and toured to museums around the world.

For more information on how to sign up to stitch, or to visit the exhibit at Darchei Noam, visit

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Candy Gigi Presents: Becky Rimmer’s Bat Mitzvah! – The List

It’s Becky Rimmer’s Bat Mitzvah. She’s got the sparkling rhinestone frock, 90s tunes on the decks and everything’s going to be great. But only if her mum Gaye stops crying, dad Mervyn quits sleeping with men, and her ‘boyfriend’ Benjamin actually turns up. As we’ve come to expect of Candy Gigi, this is an absolute riot (almost literally) of a show and, as ever, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart as she pushes interactive clowning to its extremes, way beyond the comfort zone.

There’s plenty of audience participation (this reviewer made a hash of ‘performing’ as both Becky’s mum and her hated friend Sarah) as Gigi / Rimmer bullies all of us into doing something. That said, there’s a weird camaraderie of us all being in this together. No matter how terrifying she is, we still want to get involved.

There are plenty shocking moments to be enjoyed this year: impertinent questions of a downstairs nature, botched surgical procedures and a lot of fake blood. Plus Gigi has brought a car-full of inventive mad props both old and new; there are naked suits, merkins with penises attached, plus sheets with holes, and something pink and fluffy with eyes: we’ll leave you to guess what that might represent.

What takes this a notch above Candy’s previous work is that in among the gore and the grotesque, the most monstrous of whom is the spoilt party girl herself, there’s a surprisingly poignant depiction of adolescence. This is particularly evident in the songs about an impatience for her first period to arrive. Gigi captures something of that delicate age where girls begin to transition into women, yearning to grow up yet still being little girls in so many ways. Magnificently insane.

Heroes @ The Hive, until 27 Aug (not 13 & 14, 22), 1.15pm, 5 or Pay What You Want.

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Help Send a JYEP Family’s Daughter to Seminary – Jewish Link of New Jersey

The post high school gap year in Israel is known to be a transformative experience of spiritual development and growth. I believe spending the gap year in Israel is an invaluable experience for both young men and women. It is a time of personal growth and self-actualization, said Debby Rapps, director of the Jewish Youth Encounter Program, a program that offers Judaic schooling to Jewish children (most of whom attend public school) who want to increase their Jewish knowledge.

A JYEP students sister, AR (she wishes to remain anonymous), recently began a journey of growth in her own spirituality, which culminated in her wish to attend seminary. Her religious journey started when, after years of attending public school, she made the brave decision to enter a Jewish day school, selecting the Abraham Joshua Heschel School as the school that would help her connect to her Jewish roots. With her supportive parents by her side, she decided to explore and learn more about the Jewish culture. Describing her first year in a Jewish school as a massive exploration, AR told The Jewish Link that the new practices in which she engaged (such as prayer and learning Judaic studies) unveiled an entirely new future for her.

At age 15, AR was ready to celebrate her bat mitzvah, which had been overlooked three years prior. It was a mutual decision of AR and her parents for her to have a bat mitzvah, as her parents realized how important this milestone is in a young Jewish girls life. The bat mitzvah, which took place in Israel, was especially meaningful in that ARs parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had never had bar/bat mitzvahs of their own since the family had lived in the former Soviet Union at a time of heightened Jewish persecution. As high school continued, religion became a staple in ARs life. After exploring different denominations within Judaism, she ultimately found her home in Orthodoxy.

With a love of learning Torah, Talmud and Jewish philosophy, AR recognized that the more she learned about Judaism, the greater connection she had to it. When asked why she wants to attend seminary, she gave several primary reasons. She is seeking a greater breadth of Jewish knowledge and, through that, she hopes to gain an increased spiritual connection. In addition, she noted, I think it is tremendously meaningful to be surrounded by a community of women who are also so devoted to living and learning Judaism as I am. She added that it would be an incredible opportunity to live and grow in Israel for a year. Despite her wish to attend seminary, there was one obstacle preventing her from doing so: finances.

As AR continues to embark on this journey, she wants to go to seminary so she can fill the gap of knowledge that has held her back in her growth process. Because she was not raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, she feels that there is a certain absence of knowledge that, when not attained, makes practicing particular customs very difficult. The seminary that she believes can help her fill this gap is Nishmat. To her, Nishmat strikes a balance of what she is looking for in a seminary. While Nishmat allows for Israeli immersion, it also offers a rigorous learning program with English options. Also, Nishmat is located in Jerusalem, the perfect place for her to meet people who share similar passions.

AR made a point to note that she could not have travelled this road without the people who have motivated and inspired her to continue. Her mother, mentors, first-ever Limudei Kodesh teacher in school and rabbi all helped her hone that passion for discovering and growing. She highlighted her mother in particular since, although the concept of Orthodoxy is foreign to her, she has continued to support and encourage her daughter.

As AR picked up more religious customs, she discovered a strong connection to two mitzvot: tefillah and Shabbat. When she was first exposed to tefillah, she found it to be like no other experience. She realizes tefillah is a platform to communicate with God, to reflect, to be grateful and to be hopeful. Although she comes from a non-Shabbat-observing home, she developed a meaningful connection to Shabbat, not only because of its biblical and historical context, but also because of what it gives to hera day to think, reflect and relax.

When asked about ARs journey, Debby Rapps commented, I know, just from seeing her passion and observing all that she has accomplished in a short amount of time, that she should certainly be encouraged to grow in her spirituality, and anything we can do to help her meet this goal will certainly be rewarded many times over.

AR is extremely humbled by the donations that have come in thus far, and appreciative to everyone who has contributed, but noted that she is still shy of her goal. Often, the Three Weeks and Tisha BAv inspire many to work on themselves spiritually. Tisha BAv may be over, but what remains are the opportunities to help others and better serve God. Helping AR attend seminary is one of those opportunities. To help send AR to seminary, visit her gofundme page at

Chani Shulman, a rising sophomore at Manhattan High School for Girls, is a summer intern at The Jewish Link.

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Counterpoint Israel – The Jewish Standard

Yeshiva Universitys Counterpoint Israel Program kicked off its 12th consecutive year with a communal bar mitzvah ceremony in the Old City of Jerusalem for 13 boys from the development town of Kiryat Malachi.

The immersive service-learning program, which ran from July 4 to 24, brought 30 handpicked YU students including five from Bergen County to run programs helping 200 underprivileged young Israelis in Arad, Dimona, and Kiryat Malachi shore up their self-esteem as well their English competency and computer literacy.

Counterpoint Israel serves teens from impoverished homes, and the program has become an educational lifeline for the campers and their families, said Gabi Sackett, director of the Counterpoint Israel Program. While many of the young women in the program had celebrated a bat mitzvah over the last year, many of the incoming male campers had skipped over this very important milestone in their lives.

The bar mitzvah event was organized together with Afikim, an Israeli nonprofit group that works to enrich the lives of families in need in Kiryat Malachi.

We saw this as an opportunity to connect the campers with their Jewish roots and lay the groundwork for responsible and motivated Jewish adulthood, Ms. Sackett said. It was really the perfect way to start the summer, because it put an emphasis on Jewish identity and education.

Each Counterpoint Israel camp is staffed by 10 Yeshiva University undergraduates who work together as educational teams to mentor the Israeli campers and teach them about Jewish history, heritage, and culture through trips, activities, teambuilding exercises, and English reading and writing. They also lead workshops in arts, fashion, music, dance, and sports.

Rafael, left, and Solomon Anapolle at Counterpoint in Arad.

For the first time in Counterpoints history, all the campers received continuing-education credit for their participation from the Israeli Ministry of Education.

Michael Elbaz, 23, of Teaneck and Liat Clark, 20, of Bergenfield were teaching partners in Arad.

Michael and I were thrown right into the intensity of the program from the beginning, Ms. Clark said. On the first day of camp, one of the girls in our English class got a call from her mom that her grandfather had passed away.

We decided that it would be a nice gesture to make a shiva visit to her family, even though we had just met. The family was touched, and our camper felt so special. The camper was incredibly shy on the first day of camp, but after we visited her she was a different person and she only grew closer to us from then on.

It has been unbelievable for us to be part of a program where the counselors work well past the 3 p.m. end of camp and go beyond what the expectations of them are on paper, Ms. Clark added.

Mr. Elbaz said that one of the highlights of the program for him was color war.

Michael Elbaz of Teaneck discusses anEnglish assignment with campers in Counterpoints summer camp in Arad.

What we thought was a failed attempt at teaching our class a team cheer in English was, much to our surprise, a huge success, he said. We only realized after class, at the beginning of our soccer competition, that the campers had been listening all along.

They gathered around us before the game, putting their arms around our shoulders and yelling with enthusiasm the chant that we had repeated several times in the classroom, falling on what we thought were deaf ears. At that point we realized how engaged the campers had been all this time, and the great effect we had had on them, and the greater effect they had on us.

The other Bergen County Counterpoint counselors were Rafael and Solomon Anapolle of Teaneck and Jonathan (Yoni) Mintz of Fair Lawn.

Rabbi Kenneth Brander of Teaneck, YUs vice president for university and community life and the founder of Counterpoint Israel, said the program is intended to break down the barriers that divide diaspora and Israeli Jewry.

He added that the program gives select students opportunities to take their Torah and academic knowledge and engage in service to the Jewish people and humanity, as well as an opportunity to realize their inner talents and the potential to make a difference.

Applicants go through a formal interview process. We choose young men and women who we believe wish to give back and will create a cohesive team, Rabbi Brander said. External evaluations have shown that this summer experience is quite successful. He believes the program remains relevant even 12 years after its founding, given that life in Israeli development towns has not improved much.

The South is a region of Israel that is still slightly detached from the rest of the country, he added. Often young people who live in development towns have little enthusiasm to be part of the larger Israeli society; they feel left out. Our goal is to allow them to take a second look at themselves, to bring to the summer camp young people who have gone through our program and have become productive members of society.

This years counselors in the Arad camp Michael Elbaz is second from left in the bottom row, Liat Clark is second from left in the top row, and Yoni Mintz is far right in the bottom row.

Mr. Mintz, a 23-year-old recent graduate of Yeshiva College, was head counselor of the camp in Arad. What we accomplished in those short three weeks was so much more than what we would have ever expected, he said. This was my second time participating on Counterpoint; last time being a counselor in Kiryat Malachi and Dimona. This new position made my experience drastically different.

In the past, my responsibilities included prepping lessons to work with my individual class and making sure that the campers are involved and enjoying activities after English classes. As a head counselor, I made sure counselors were prepared for their lessons, all supplies were available, that everybody received what they wanted for lunch, discipline issues were taken care of and, of course planning night activities for my counselors, among many other duties.

It was amazing to see how invested and hard-working my counselors were. I recall having several conversations with counselors past 10:30 p.m. in which they asked me for advice on how to interact with certain specific campers for various reasons including discipline or mental health issues.

Mr. Mintz recalled at one point a very reserved camper mentioned that she was having a dance recital after one of the summer camp trips.

This was the second year that her dance recital was the night of one of the trips, he said. Last year, she hardly had any friends from camp present at her performance as they were too tired to attend. My entire staff agreed that they would not let that happen again. After returning back from a long and tiring trip day, the counselors and I delayed eating our dinners for another two hours to observe our campers performance and join in her celebration.

After her dance performance, we greeted her with a bouquet of flowers. When the camper saw us, she was overcome with emotion and had a huge smile on her face. For the remainder of camp, similar to the other campers, she seemed much happier and was less reserved.

Stories like this have shown me that little actions can have a huge impact. People want to feel loved and cared about. If we give a little more of ourselves and go the extra distance, our actions can change the world, one person at a time.

Counterpoint Israel 2017 was supported by the Jewish Agency, Partnership2gether, Neals Fund in memory of Neal Dublinsky, Sharon and Avram Blumenthal, the Gamson Family, in memory of Dr. Bernard W. Gamson, and the municipalities of Arad, Dimona, and Kiryat Malachi.

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Green Music Center’s Schroeder Hall announces 10-concert season – Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Schroeder Hall at Sonoma State Universitys Green Music Center has announced its 2017-2018 season, featuring 10 concerts from October through May.

The new season, which is down from 13 shows last season, features the return of a seven-concert Sundays at Schroeder series and a three-concert Musicians from Valley of the Moon Music Festival series.

The Sundays at Schroeder series, which showcases up-and-coming musical superstars on Sunday afternoons, opens at 1 p.m. Oct. 8 with young Russian pianist Nikolay Khozyainov playing an all-Romantic program.

Violinist Alexi Kenney, winner of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, will perform in recital at 3 p.m. Oct. 29. American saxophonist Ashu will perform a recital at 3 p.m. on Nov. 26.

In the new year, piano duo Anderson & Roe will perform at 3 p.m. Jan. 21, while completing a two-day residency with the SSU Department of Music.

Stanford University organist Robert Hew Morgan will return with a concert entitled Variations on a Theme at 3 p.m. on March 18, and Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin will perform in recital at 3 p.m. March 25. The Dover Quartet will perform a program of Haydn, Borodin and Mendelssohn at 3 p.m. April 1.

Also performing in the new year will be the Musicians from the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, who will present music by Schumann and friends at 3 p.m. Jan. 27; a program of piano trios at 3 p.m. March 31; and a tribute to Schubert and his legacy at 3 p.m. May 12.

Tickets to each concert are $30; a subscription series of three Valley of the Moon concerts costs $70. Tickets to the Schroeder Hall 2017-2018 season go on sale to Mastercard cardholders and 2016-17 GMC Season subscribers at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15; and to the general public at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 17. To reserve: 866-955-6040 or

Now in its fourth season of programming, the 240-seat recital hall also hosts education and music events, such as the SSU Music Departments free Jewish Music Series, a seven-concert series through November that is part of the Survey of Jewish Music course led by Joshua Horowitz.

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First Read For Aug 11 – Jewish Week

Glen Campbell, Messianic Jew, has died at 81

Glen Campbell, the country music star who died this week at 81 from Alzheimers disease, was a Messianic Jew for the last two decades of his life, JTA reports. He and his wife Kim attended services at a synagogue near their home in Malibu, and they celebrated major Jewish holidays, such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah.

Messianic Judaism combines Jewish traditions with the idea that Jesus Christ is the coming Messiah. Some Messianic Jews want the movement to be accepted as a branch of Judaism, but mainstream Jewish movements believe the ideology is a contradiction.

Minneapolis JCRC reaches out to vandalized mosque

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota has supported affirmed the Muslim community in the wake of an attack on Saturday at a local mosque, JTA reports.

Following the bomb blast at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center, in which no one was injured, the JCRC of Minnesota and the Dakotas said in an ad in the Star Tribune that the Jewish community affirms its solidarity with the school, mosque, and local Muslim community.

The attack caused an estimated $95,000 worth of damage.

Endangered Iranian journalist arrives in Israel

Neda Amin, a Turkey-based, Iranian-born blogger forThe Times of Israels Persian website, arrived safely in Israel yesterday, and was met at Ben-Gurion Airport by Times of Israel editor David Horovitz, the paper reports.

Neda Amin, left, meeting The Times of Israel editor David Horovitz at Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Aug. 10, 2017. JTA

Amin, threatened with imminent deportation by Turkey, had feared that if no other country took her in, she would be sent back to Iran, where she feared for her fate.

After The Times of Israel alerted the Israeli authorities to her plight, government officials immediately responded and paved the way for her safe arrival in Israel.

Amin has blogged regularly for The Times of Israels Persian site. I felt we had an obligation to ensure her well-being, and I am very grateful to all the Israeli officials to whom I turned for assistance for providing it, immediately, said Horovitz.

In Poland, a Jewish wedding without Jews

A fake Jewish wedding was held on Saturday in the Polish village of Radzanw, 80 miles northeast of Warsaw, according to the Times of Israel.

Organized by the Radzanovia Association, a cultural group that promotes Polish heritage, the event featured a few dozen non-Jewish volunteers, men and women, dressed in traditional charedi costumes. Some men wore fake beards and side curls including ones that didnt match their natural hair color. The marital couple stood under a chupah, where they were wed by a fake rabbi in a show before villagers, whom the events organizers sought to teach about Jewish traditions.

Teresa Wroska, an actress from the Jewish Theater in Warsaw, choreographed the entire affair from the signing of the ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract) to the traditional Jewish music played by a band of locals and musicians from the capital.

Harvey Weinstein to film Mila 18 novel

Oscar-winning producer Harvey Weinstein is planning to make a version of Leon Uris novel Mila 18 next year, according to Haaretz. The book recounts a fictionalized version of the real-life Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II.Weinstein announced that he had developed a script for a film adaptation years ago, collaborating with his friend, the Iranian-born writer and director Hossein Amini. Weinstein added that he intended to direct the film himself and that he was now committed to making the film.

Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman and co-founder of Weinstein Co., at a Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. July 12, 2017. Getty Images

Israeli channel fined for excluding non-Orthodox Jews

Israels Channel 20 has been fined about $30,000 for failing to give broadcast time to non-Orthodox Jewish groups, Haaretz reports. The fine, imposed by the Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting, was preceded by several warnings following complaints on the matter.

The council examined the channels broadcasting in April and May of this year following the complaints, and found that there was no coverage at all of Reform or Conservative Judaism. Last month the Reform movement petitioned the High Court of Justice, but the council said it had completed its investigation more than two months before.

Israeli boxer wins bronze medal in youth championship

Israels Amit Mdah won a bronze medal this week at the IFMA Youth Muay Thai World Championships in Bangkok after his Palestinian opponent failed to show up for their quarterfinal match-up, the Jerusalem Post reports. Mdah, 16, from the Druze-Arab town of Kisra-Sumei in the western Galilee, was supposed to face Acbag Sultan, a resident of the Ramallah district, but the Palestinian teenager never appeared for their fight. Mdah eventually ended the age 16-17 under-54 kilogram competition with a bronze medal after losing to Ukrainian Andrii Mezentsev in the semifinals.The head of the Palestinian Association of Kickboxing and Muay Thai, Muhammad Ahmad Zeidani, told Palestinian news agency Maan that Sultan didnt face his Israeli opponent as there has not yet been an official Palestinian decision over whether to face Israeli athletes in any sporting event.

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Polish Villagers Hold Jewish Wedding Without Jews – Jewish Week

JTA Nostalgia for Jews is a well-documented phenomenon in Eastern Europe, with cultural and even substantial commercial aspects.

In Ukraine, so-called Jewish-themed restaurants with pork-heavy menus compete for tourists, while figurines of Jews are sold at markets as good luck charms. In Poland,graffiti reading I miss you, Jew have become a common sight.

Beyond the kitsch, Jewish cultural festivals draw large non-Jewish audiences in Krakow, Warsaw and Budapest.

Some credit this trend to a feeling of loss over the near annihilation of once-vibrant Jewish communities.Others trace it a desire to reconnect with the pre-Soviet past.

But even against this backdrop, the fake Jewish wedding that was held Saturday in the village of Radzanw, 80 miles northeast of Warsaw, stands out as a remarkable affair.

Make-believe Jewish weddings a regular educational event in Spain and Portugal, where nostalgia for nearly-extinct Jewish communities is also prevalent are rare in Poland (locals in the village of Bobowa organized one in 2013). Even rarer are enactments as well-produced as the one in Radzanow.

Organized by the Radzanovia Association, a cultural group promoting Polish heritage, the event featured a few dozen non-Jewish volunteers, men and women, dressed in traditional haredi costumes. Some men wore fake beards and side curls including ones that didnt match their natural hair color.

Portraying the groom was Piotr Czaplicki, a journalist for the Radia dla Ciebie station. Czaplicki, who is not Jewish, got under a chuppah the canopy used in traditional Jewish weddings together with his make-believe bride, Julia Brzeziska, a local resident. They were wed by a fake rabbi in a show before villagers, whom the events organizers sought to teach about Jewish traditions.

To Jonny Daniels, the London-born founder of From the Depths, which promotes Holocaust commemoration in Poland, events like the one in Radzanw are some kind of therapy taking place all over the country.

But the events producer, Agnieszka Rychcik-Nowakowska, sees it as a way of commemorating the hundreds of Jews who had accounted for approximately half of her villages population before the Holocaust.

We want to remember all those homes of all pre-war Jews, who lived a peaceful life punctuated by the rhythm of holidays, family celebrations and more mundane events, she told the news site Nasza Mlawa.

Jews first settled in Radzanw in 1710, and at their peak numbered about 500. By September 1939, when the Germans took over, the population had dipped below 300. Nearly all who remained would be sent to the Mlawa ghetto, never to return.

We remember those who lived here before us and entered the memory of our grandmothers and grandparents.It was so recently, saidRychcik-Nowakowska.

Elsewhere in Europe, Jewish-themed festivals are more common , bringing together hundreds of participants. There too, Jewish-themed events are held in the absence of a living, breathing Jewish community thanks to nostalgia and a desire to generate tourism revenue.

But in Spain and Portugal, for example, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were oppressed 500 years ago during the Inquisition, the passage of time has made goodwill gestures toward Jews less complicated than in the east. In 2013, Spain and Portugal even passed laws granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews a move whose generosity contrasts sharply with the refusal by Poland and other East European countries to offer even partial restitution for property that was stolen from Jewish communities.

At the fake wedding in Radzanw, organizers turned to Teresa Wroska, an actress from the Jewish Theater in Warsaw, to assure the weddings authenticity. She choreographed the entire affair from the signing of the ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract) to the traditional Jewish music played by a band of locals and musicians from the capital.

Even the POLIN Jewish museum of Warsaw was consulted in staging the event, according to Nasza Mlawa.

The wedding is not the only attempt by Radzanw locals to reconnect with their villages lost Jewish heritage. Last year, a high school student from the region, Cuba Balinski, initiated a project aimed at rededicating and reopening the villages abandoned synagogue a small but beautiful Moorish-style building that miraculously survived the Nazi occupation.

Balinski, who has secured the cooperation of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage inPoland for his project but is still looking for investors, is adamant about restoring the synagogue to a house of worship rather than having it turn into museum.

If there is no Torah in the synagogue, than it is still just a building, he told the news site Gosc Plocki. But if we bring the holy book back, it will come back to life.

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Polish Villagers Hold Jewish Wedding Without Jews – Jewish Week

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