Your First Read For Sep 25


Rightist vote in German election worries Jewish community

Jewish groups in Europe and the United States expressed alarm yesterday at the far-right Alternative for Germany’s success in Germany’s parliamentary election and urged other parties not to form an alliance with the AfD.

Reuters reports that early projections gave the AfD 13.5 percent of the vote, allowing it to enter the Bundestag for the first time, as Germany’s third-biggest party. The AfD, which has surged in the two years since Merkel left Germany’s borders open to more than 1 million migrants mainly fleeing Middle East wars, says immigration jeopardizes Germany’s culture but denies it is racist or anti-Semitic.

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, called Chancellor Angela Merkel a “true friend of Israel and the Jewish people” and decried the AfD’s gains at a time when anti-Semitism was increasing across the globe.

The European Jewish Congress urged centrist parties to stick to their vows to avoid forming coalitions with the AfD. The Central Council of Jews in Germany said the election results had confirmed its worst fears and urged other parties to remain united in opposing the AfD.

Body of Mexican rabbi found in earthquake rubble

ZAKA volunteers from Israel who are volunteering in Mexico on Saturday found the body of Rabbi Haim Ashkenazi.

The rescue and recovery organization, among Israeli soldiers and civilian rescue workers, have been trying to locate victims and aid survivors since a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Mexico City last week.

Rabbi Ashkenazi was killed when the office building he was in collapsed, trapping him underneath the rubble. He served as the rabbi of the Kehillat Magen David synagogue and was an in-law of Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, chief rabbi of the Magen David Jewish community of Mexico.

RBG is surprise speaker at Rosh HaShanah service

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a surprise guest speaker during Rosh HaShanah services in Washington Wednesday night, the Times of Israel reports. She told worshippers that she believes being Jewish helped her empathize with other minority groups.

Ginsburg spoke mostly about her Jewish faith, acknowledging that the Jewish justices who have served on the court have shared some similar views, which she linked to their Jewish heritage. “If you are a member of a minority group, particularly a minority group that has been picked on, you have empathy for others who are similarly situated,” she said during about 20 minutes of answering questions from attorney Kenneth Feinberg at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. Worshippers were not told ahead of time that she’d be appearing.

Gal Gadot to host ‘SNL’

(JTA) — Israeli actress Gal Gadot, known the world over as Wonder Woman, will host Saturday Night Live.

Gadot is scheduled to host the October 7 episode of the show. She will be joined by musical guest Sam Smith.

Gadot informed her fans via a tweet. “No longer a secret, so excited to be hosting #SNL,” she wrote, retweeting an SNL graphic announcing the first three shows of the season.

It is the first time that Gadot will host the comedy sketch show, now in its 43rd season.

Oakland synagogue defaced on Rosh HaShanah

An Oakland synagogue was the target of anti-Semitic graffiti left on a wall of the building during Rosh Hashanah, San Francisco’s KPIX television news reports. Oakland Police said the vandalism took place at Temple Sinai—anti-Semitic slurs were discovered on an outside wall.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

Israeli soccer player to miss Scottish league fame on Yom Kippur

Ofir Marciano, a star soccer goalie from Israel,  has received permission to miss his team’s game in Scotland’s Hibernian’s Scottish Premier League game against Celtic on Yom Kippur this week, according to The Scotsman. Manager Neil Lennon said, “Ofir came to me a couple of months ago about it, … you have to respect a player’s faith. That’s more important than football.

“It is the full day of fasting and for them it is a bit like their Christmas Day, if you want to call it that, and we will lose him for the game against Celtic,” Lennon said.