Friday Five: Andrew Calof, Jan Fischer, Chuck Hagel, Elyakim Rubinstein, Moshe Friedman


Andrew Calof scores a hat trick — in OT

Princeton hockey player Andrew Calof picked up his first collegiate hat trick in rallying the Tigers from a two-goal deficit to a 3-2 victory over Harvard last week. The third goal came 58 seconds into overtime. Calof, who will represent Team Canada in the 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel in November, led Princeton with eight goals and 12 assists through 16 games. Now that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has helped save the professional hockey season, maybe Calof can show him his tricks.

Jan Fischer chases Czech presidency

Jan Fischer has a good shot at emerging as one of two finalists for the Czech presidency after the first round of voting on Friday and Saturday. The son of an Auschwitz survivor who re-embraced his Jewish heritage after the fall of communism, Fischer is a statistician who formerly headed the Czech Statistical Office and briefly guided a caretaker government. He occasionally prays at a Chabad synagogue in Prague. “He’s like our Joe Lieberman,” said a local Jewish leader. “Whether or not you support him, you can’t help but be proud he has come this far.”

Chuck Hagel sparks nomination debate

Love him or hate him, Chuck Hagel has commanded Jewish attention like no one else this week. Even before the former Republican senator from Nebraska was formally nominated to be the next U.S. defense secretary, Hagel’s past statements about the “Jewish lobby,” opposition to unilateral sanctions on Iran and willingness to engage with some nasty regimes were being cited as evidence that he is unfit for the job. But plenty of prominent Jews and several Jewish groups have rallied to the defense of Hagel, a Vietnam War hero. The question now is how big a fight his nomination battle will turn out to be.

Elyakim Rubinstein monitors election ads

Israeli elections are far shorter and cheaper than their American counterparts. This week, the chair of Israel’s Central Elections Committee, Elyakim Rubinstein, showed that they’re also more intensely refereed. Rubinstein blacked out a portion of one political advertisement he deemed racist, invalidated another for disgracing symbols of the state, and requested that a third be pulled because it was insensitive to Russian Israelis and denigrated the conversion process. The request was granted.

Moshe Friedman forces school integration

Few people get under the skin quite like Moshe Friedman, the haredi Orthodox Brooklyn native known for opening the door to Holocaust revisionism and befriending Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Friedman’s activities have gotten him excommunicated by Jewish communities in Vienna and Antwerp, and no school would willingly admit his children. So it was with a bit of relish that Friedman landed a counterpunch this week, winning a court order requiring an Orthodox Jewish girls school in Belgium to admit his two young sons. On Monday, dropping his boys off at the Bnoth Jerusalem school, Friedman claimed he was taking a stand for gender equality.

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