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NYU Students Get Mock Eviction Notices

Students for Justice in Palestine delivered the flyers to campus dorm rooms

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(New York University)

Mock eviction notices were delivered to students living in New York University dorm rooms this morning. “We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in three days,” the notices, which were delivered by the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, read. “If you do not vacate the premises by midnight on 25 April, 2014 we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings.”

The New York Post and the Times of Israel report that Jewish students were targeted with the flyers, which are intended to resemble eviction notices delivered to Palestinian homes in parts of Israel. Students for Justice in Palestine denied the claim on their website, saying they distributed more than 2,000 flyers throughout two dormitories. (more…)

Israel To Teach About Holocaust in Kindergarten

Education Ministry releases new curriculum in advance of Yom HaShoah

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Entrance to Auschwitz. (JACEK BEDNARCZYK/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli schoolchildren will start learning about the Holocaust in kindergarten as part of a new curriculum released by the country’s Education Ministry. JTA reports that the kindergarten curriculum was designed by a team including experts from Yad Vashem, educators, and psychologists.

According to the Education Ministry’s website, which announced the new curriculum in advance of Yom HaShoah on Sunday, “The education system is working to educate children starting from a young age about the legacy of the nation, its history and culture, and about her holidays and memorial days, as an integral part of the educational experience.” (more…)

Katy Perry Does Bar Mitzvahs Now, Too

The pop star dresses up as bar mitzvah DJ Yosef Shulem in new music video

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Katy Perry as bar mitzvah DJ Yosef Shalom in her new music video.(YouTube)

Pop star and diva extraordinaire Katy Perry has traded in her notorious neon-blue hair and food-inspired outfits for an even more perplexing get-up: tacky bar mitzvah DJ. In the “ridiculous” music video video for her new single “Birthday,” Perry goes to real birthday parties dressed as five of the ‘world’s worst birthday party entertainers.’ One, apparently, is bar mitzvah emcee Yosef Shulem. (more…)

Read Students’ Letters to Holocaust Survivors

A seventh-grade class responds to our feature on survivors living in poverty

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(Jason Florio)

In January, Tablet published a multimedia presentation on the lives of nine Holocaust survivors living in difficult conditions in the New York area. Many of our readers wanted to know how they could help. But one reader, Carolyn Martone, was moved to respond in another way. She is a teacher at the Cathedral Chapel School in Los Angeles, and she’d recently started her 7th-graders on their study of the Holocaust, reading Elie Wiesel’s Night together and visiting the Museum of Tolerance.

Our article helped give “a voice and a face” to the people they were reading about, she said—so much so that Martone decided to have her students write letters to the survivors. In anticipation of Yom HaShoah on Sunday, following are a few uncorrected excerpts from their 30 letters, which were sent along to the addressees. (more…)

Seth Meyers Is ‘Jewish Enough’ For the Jews

The comedian explains he’s not actually Jewish, everyone just thinks he is

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I had a friend in college who everyone thought was Jewish, and for a time, I did too. Then I asked a mutual acquaintance, just to be sure. “He’s Jewish, right?” I inquired nonchalantly. Her response: “No, but isn’t that so odd?” Seth Meyers, newly minted host of the Late Night show on NBC, is one of those odd people who everyone assumes must be Jewish, but actually isn’t. Last night, reflecting on a yarmulke he’d recently received as a gift from a guest, Meyers set the record straight.

“I’m not Jewish,” he told the audience. “Not everybody thinks I’m Jewish, but every single Jewish person thinks that I’m Jewish. And it’s not their fault because they think that–they come to that conclusion–because of my face and my name and everything about me.” This sometimes puts him in an awkward position. “I don’t want to say, ‘oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club,” he said, “and I love the idea of being Jewish.”

You can watch the entire monologue–which includes the story of how Meyers came to be accepted by his genuinely Jewish in-laws–below: (more…)

American Journalist Held in Ukraine Freed

Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky was taken by pro-Russian forces in Slovyansk

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Simon Ostrovsky en route to Donetsk after being freed in Ukraine on April 24, 2014. (Jean-François Bélanger/CBC)

Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky has been released after being held for two days by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk. CBC News reports that the journalist is en route to Donetsk.

“The CBC’s Nahlah Ayed, reporting from Donetsk, said Bélanger was driving in a CBC car when he spotted Ostrovsky walking along on a street “with his belongings in a plastic bag.”

Bélanger stopped, got Ostrovsky into the car, and headed toward Donetsk.”

(more…)

Five Hasidic Men Arrested in Brooklyn Beating

Assault charges filed in December attack of gay black man in Williamsburg

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Five Hasidic men were charged today in the December beating of Taj Patterson, a 22-year-old student who was attacked while leaving a party in Williamsburg, the New York Times reports. While the NYPD initially investigated the attack as a bias crime—Patterson, who is gay and black, alleged he was assaulted by a group of ultra-Orthodox men who shouted anti-gay slurs at him—the suspects were ultimately charged with assault, gang assault and unlawful imprisonment.

The five men charged, all of whom pleaded not-guilty and were released on bail, were named as Aharon Hollender, 28, Abraham Winkler, 39, Mayer Herskovic, 21, Pinchas Braver, 19, and Joseph Fried, 25. The Daily News reports that at least two of the men charged were members of the Williamsburg Safety Patrol Unit, known as the Shomrim, a Jewish neighborhood watch group. (more…)

Israel Halts Peace Talks After PA-Hamas Pact

What it all means for the peace process

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a press meeting on April 22, 2014 in Ramallah, West Bank. (Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images)

In response to the unity deal between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Israeli Cabinet has just voted to freeze peace talks. The vote was unanimous and included moderate Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni. The move comes after the Fatah-Hamas pact came under criticism from the United States and reflects a broad consensus in Israel that by joining forces with Hamas—which is labeled a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union and whose charter advocates the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews—PA President Mahmoud Abbas has jeopardized chances of reaching a two-state agreement.

What this augers for the long-term prospects of the peace process remains to be seen. (more…)

Kansas City Shooting Suspect Was Protected FBI Informant

Exposed fellow white nationalists in 1987 for lesser prison term and new name

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Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr., also known as F. Glenn Miller, appears at his arraignment on capital murder and first-degree murder charges at the Fred Allenbrand Criminal Justice Complex Adult Detention Center on April 15, 2014 in New Century, Kansas. (David Eulitt-Pool/Getty Images)

Frazier Glenn Miller, the 72-year-old suspect in this month’s Kansas City shootings, in which three people were killed, was a well-known anti-Semite and former Ku Klux Klan leader with a long, public history of hate. He was also, ABC News reports today, an FBI informant who struck a deal with authorities in the late 1980s in which he gave up information about fellow white nationalists for a reduced prison sentence, along with protection and a new name upon his release in 1990.

On April 30, 1987, Miller—who was wanted by U.S. Marshals after disappearing while appealing a conviction for criminal contempt—was discovered in a trailer with “hand grenades, automatic rifles, pistols and flak jackets,” and forced out by authorities. Facing a sentence of 20 years, he agreed to a plea deal with the FBI. (more…)

U.S. Journalist Being Held By Pro-Russian Forces in Ukraine

Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky has dual American and Israeli citizenship

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Simon Ostrovsky. (YouTube)

American journalist Simon Ostrovsky, a reporter for Vice who has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, was taken into custody by pro-Russian separatists yesterday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk. Ostrovsky has been reporting from Ukraine for the past few weeks, producing provocative videos for Vice about Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the growing tensions in the region.

TIME’s Berlin correspondent Simon Shuster and three other journalists were also detained, but have since been released. According to TIME, “The journalists were traveling in a car in the separatist-held town of Slavyansk when they were stopped at a checkpoint by armed separatists.” Local separatist leader Vyacheslav Ponomarev, who calls himself the “people’s mayor,” has confirmed that Ostrovsky is in his custody. (more…)

When a Famous Architect Is Also an Anti-Semite

I love Philip Johnson’s buildings not in spite of him, but to spite him

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Part of the closed New York State Pavilion is viewed as part on a tour during festivities marking the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair, which opened in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on April 22, 2014 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the opening the 1964 New York World’s Fair (and yes, that also means that Season 4 of Mad Men also took place 50 years ago, but we’ll get to that later.) In celebration of such an august anniversary, the beloved structures designed for the fair by legendary architect Philip Johnson in Flushing Meadows Park opened to the public for the first time in nearly three decades.

With people lined up around the block to see the crumbling but still imposing structures, it’s also a good time to point out some of Johnson’s less admirable achievements, notably his warm, and never renounced, embrace of fascism. As Matt Novak pointed out on Gizmodo, Johnson was an avowed anti-Semite, a man who referred to Jews as “a different breed of humanity, flitting about like locusts.” (more…)

Israeli Startup Lets You Spy on Your Cat All Day

Workplace productivity rates projected to decrease a trillion percent

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(Shutterstock)

Israel may have been the Start-Up Nation for a while now, but never was that title more deserved than right this second. That’s because an Israeli start-up has created something that might just completely change the way we see our world our cat’s world.

Cat2See appears to be a device that allows users to solve one of the most vexing questions of our era: what does my cat do all day long? It’s a roving webcam, feeding device, and toy, all of which can be operated remotely from a smartphone. Plus there’s a way to share photos from the webcam, because cats. (more…)

Abbas’s Choice

How reconciliation with Hamas reveals the PA boss’s true intentions

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a press meeting on April 22, 2014 in Ramallah, West Bank. (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a press meeting on April 22, 2014 in Ramallah, West Bank. )

Meeting with Israeli reporters in Ramallah yesterday, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which controls the West Bank, will end its seven-year feud with Hamas and form a unity government within five weeks.

“There is no contradiction,” Abbas said, “between the [internal Palestinian] reconciliation and the peace process.”

Let’s focus on the specifics of this curious statement. (more…)

Rapfogel Pleads Guilty To Met Council Scam

Admits to stealing more than $7 million from the charity organization

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Former Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty CEO William Rapfogel. (Michael Priest)

William Rapfogel, the former CEO of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty who was arrested in September 2013 on charges of grand larceny and money laundering, pleaded guilty today in New York’s State Supreme Court. The New York Times reports that Rapfogel, who led the organization for more than 20 years until getting fired in August 2013 during the investigation, admitted to stealing more than $7 million from the charity. (more…)

On Display in Tel Aviv, the Art of Secular Judaism

New exhibit showcases artistic depictions of various forms of Jewish study

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Photograph from the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art's 'Secular Judaism' Exhibit. (Roee Rosen)

Gazing out from a large photograph by Israeli artist Roee Rosen are 14 bearded men surrounded by books. That these exaggeratedly hirsute men might be anything other than rabbis is, at first glance, improbable. But a closer look reveals that the men aren’t wearing skullcaps, most of their beards look glued on, and some of their faces seem oddly familiar: Doron Rabina, Yair Garbuz, and Boaz Arad are icons of the Israeli art scene, and Adi Ophir and Moshe Zuckermann are Tel Aviv University professors. They are spiritual leaders, but of a decidedly secular sort. It’s no surprise, then, that this is the photo that greets visitors to Secular Judaism, an exhibit that recently opened at the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art in Tel Aviv’s quaint Neve Tzedek neighborhood. (more…)

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