Iconic church decoration in Germany traced back to local synagogue

(JTA) – German scholars believe that a large candelabrum in a cathedral in Erfurt was originally a Torah stand made for a local synagogue in the 13th century.

The team of researchers from the University of Erfurt, a city 150 miles southwest of Berlin, found that the Dom Cathedral candelabrum, in the form of a life-sized man with upraised arms, probably depicted Aaron. They also believe it was made in the same Erfurt foundry that produced the Sabbath lamp of the city’s synagogue, the news site jenapolis.de reported Friday. [Read more…]


Rivlin: Reconnecting brethren lost in Spanish Inquisition is ‘vital’ task

(JTA) – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin praised activists who are working to reconnect the descendants of Sephardic Jews with the Jewish people.

Rivlin said this in a letter he sent last month to Reconectar, a non-profit that last week launched a its website in English, Spanish and Portuguese in the hope of reaching out to non-Jews descended from Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity during the 15th and 16th centuries in Portugal and Spain, during the Inquisition – the name for religious persecution of Jews. [Read more…]


In rare rebuke, Netanyahu schools Cameron on eastern Jerusalem

(JTA) – In an unusual rebuke, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his British counterpart forgot basic facts when he criticized Israel’s construction in eastern Jerusalem.

“My friend David Cameron, who is without a doubt a friend of Israel, apparently forgot a few basic facts about Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said in a speech in Ofakim on Thursday, following statements by Cameron the previous day, in which he condemned Israeli construction in the eastern part of Israel’s capital city. [Read more…]


Trump hit on Israel ‘neutrality’; Sanders opens up on Jewish pride

(JTA) – In a stinging debate exchange, Donald Trump’s professions of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict became a front-and-centre campaign issue.

All four of the real estate magnate’s rivals for the Republican U.S. presidential nod took him to task Thursday night on the debate stage in Houston for his position on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, which he says requires being an honest broker.

Separately, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., vying with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic U.S. presidential nod, in a Chicago town hall gave one of his most expansive answers so far during the presidential campaign on his Jewish identity. [Read more…]


Kenyan president visits West Bank kibbutz, roiling Palestinians

(JTA) – Kenya’s president was validating Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem with his visits there on his first official trip to Israel, Palestinian leaders said.

Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said Thursday that the Palestinians plan to complain to the African Union and other regional organizations about Uhuru Kenyatta’s trip this week, The Associated Press reported. Kenyatta did not visit any Palestinian cities, further roiling the Palestinians.  [Read more…]


Plan to bring 9,000 Ethiopians to Israel on hold pending budget allocation

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A plan to bring to Israel some 9,000 Ethiopians who claim Jewish descent has been put on hold after no money was budgeted for it.

The director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Eli Groner, sent an email to the team in charge of the plan’s implementation saying the airlift of the remaining Ethiopians, or Falash Mura, will be suspended until the nearly $1 billion required to fund it is allocated, Ynet reported. The email said the government approved the plan without allocating a budget.  [Read more…]