Your First Read For Sep 27


NY philanthropists donate $20 million to improve Jewish day camp infrastructure

(JTA) — New York philanthropists Jack and Shirley Silver have donated $20 million to the UJA-Federation of New York to improve Jewish day camp facilities.

The legacy commitment gift announced on Monday is the largest given to the UJA during the donor’s lifetime, the agency said in a statement.

The gift is directed to the UJA’s new Jewish Day Camp Centennial Signature Initiative, established to renovate the infrastructure of the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, the largest Jewish day camp system in North America, according to UJA.

Kiryas Joel resident faces 21-month prison term in kidnapping-murder plot

A resident of the Orange County chasidic village of Kiryas Joel, who pleaded guilty in July to a single count of conspiracy to commit extortion, faces at least 21 months in prison for his role in an alleged plot to commission the kidnapping and murder of another chasidic man who had refused to grant his wife a divorce, the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday.

Shimen Liebowitz, 26, has been held without bail since his arrest a year ago.

Despite BDS, Israeli films play at Palestine Film Festival

Five Israeli films were screened at the recent Toronto Palestine Film Festival in spite of calls from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to boycott all projects that involve Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Three high-profile feature films from Israel were shown at the festival: “In Between,” about three Israeli Arab women living in Tel Aviv; “Personal Affairs,” about an Israeli-Arab family; and “Junction 48,” about the Palestinian rap scene.

Turkish president may halt rapprochement with Israel

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey has threatened to halt steps being taken toward normalization with Israel if it does not end its support for an independent Kurdish state, according to JTA. He made his comments yesterday, the day after a non-binding referendum by Iraqi Kurdistan on whether to seek independence.

Turkey and Israel are working on repairing ties that were broken after an Israeli raid on a flotilla trying to break the naval blockade of Gaza in 2010 left nine Turkish activists dead.

London man convicted of cursing at synagogue-bound Jews

A London man has been found guilty of “hurling anti-Semitic abuse” at Jewish families as they made their way to synagogue for Shabbat morning prayer in March, the city’s Metro newspaper reports. According to the paper, Glenn Okafor, 32, shouted at worshippers in the Stamford Hill neighborhood, “We will wipe you out … F*** you Jewish people. You should go back to your own country.”

He was found guilty of two counts of racially or religiously aggravated harassment and two counts of using threatening or abusive behavior to cause alarm or distress.



Restaurant fined for alternative kashrut certificate

The Chief Rabbinate yesterday fined a Jerusalem restaurant for illegally presenting itself as kosher, despite a High Court of Justice ruling that recognized the legality of other types of kashrut certificates, Haaretz reports.

Pasta Basta in the capital’s Mahane Yehuda market was fined 2,000 shekels ($567) for presenting a kashrut certificate issued by the alternative kashrut organization Hashgacha Pratit. The High Court had ruled that business owners could present a true declaration of the standards and supervision of their kosher observance.

Veteran DC rabbi dies at 98

Rabbi Joshua Haberman, rabbi emeritus of the Washington Hebrew Congregation and founder of the Foundation for Jewish Studies, has died at 98, JTA reports. The veteran, an advocate of adult education, had represented the Jewish community during the memorial service for the victims of 9/11 held at the National Cathedral.

He served as clergy in several Reform synagogues before becoming senior rabbi at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in 1969. He retired in 1986, becoming rabbi emeritus, and remained active in the congregation as a teacher and spiritual leader.