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Major Nazi-Looted Art Collection to be Returned

Germany recluse’s hidden stash includes work by Monet, Renoir, and Matisse

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(Photograph of the painting "Sitting Woman," by Henri Matisse)

A trove of Nazi-looted artwork worth more than $1 billion found in the homes of Cornelius Gurlitt will be returned to the heirs of its rightful owners, Reuters reports. Authorities found the stolen collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures while investigating Gurlitt on suspicion of tax evasion in February 2012. They raided his Munich apartment and discovered part of the massive collection, which includes more than 238 pieces of artwork in total.

Gurlitt wants to “return all (artworks) that have been stolen or robbed from Jewish ownership to each of their owners or descendants,” lawyer Christoph Edel was quoted as saying on Wednesday by Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Just last month, though, Gurlitt and his legal team filed a formal complaint against the seizure of the collection. (more…)

Russia’s Chief Rabbi Criticizes Ukrainian Jews

Attacks Jewish leadership for condemning Putin’s actions in Crimea

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Russia's chief Rabbi Berel Lazar attend a ceremony at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow, on June 13, 2013. (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar has come out criticizing Ukraine’s Jewish leadership for condemning Moscow’s actions in Crimea, JTA reports. We know how Lazar, a longtime friend of Putin’s, feels about the hostile take-over of Crimea, evidence by his vigorous clapping during last week’s annexation ceremony. But the Chabad rabbi took things a step further, insisting that all Jewish leadership share his approval of Putin’s actions.

“The Jewish community should not be the one sending messages to President Barack Obama about his policy or to President Putin or to any other leader,” Lazar said Monday in an interview. “I think it’s the wrong attitude.” (more…)

Video: French Attack Victim Describes Assault

Jewish teacher shows bruises, broken nose, and swastika drawn on chest

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Photograph of the victim. (Algemeiner)

The Jewish teacher attacked last week in Paris was recorded on camera describing the assault. The footage, which Algemeiner published today, features the 59-year-old man, identified only as David, recounting the attacked, which occurred as he exited a kosher restaurant on Rue Manin.

His nose was broken and a swastika drawn on his chest by the assailants, whom he described as three North African men, and who reportedly fled once the attack drew the attention of passersby.

Algemeiner translated parts of the video.

“They started to curse me out: ‘dirty Jew,’ ‘death to the Jews,’ ‘son of a b***,’ etc. Then they started to beat me up,” David says in the clip before breaking down in tears. “I was hit on my face, I got my nose fractured… And then one of them took something out of his pocket, I thought it was a knife… It was a marker… And this is what they did to me (showing his chest), a swastika as they were screaming ‘dirty Jew.’”

(more…)

U.S. Troops Get New Jewish Prayer Book

Military issues official siddur for the first time since World War II

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A Soldier holds a Jewish prayer book before a Task Force Marne Jewish Passover celebration and dinner, March 29, at the Freedom Rest, Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq.(U.S. Army)

Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis collaborated to create the first Jewish prayer book issued by the army since World War II, JTA reports. The siddur includes a foreword from President Obama.

In past years, Jewish chaplains have used a variety of different prayer books to lead services, but there has been no uniform text, which meant servicemen and women had to constantly adapt to new worship services as they moved between bases. The creation of the new siddur will hopefully eliminate this problem. (more…)

Tablet Nominated for National Magazine Award

Columnist J. Hoberman recognized for film criticism

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Tablet has been nominated for a National Magazine Award in the Columns and Commentary category for the work of our film columnist J. Hoberman. We’re thrilled for Hoberman, whose monthly columns combine a sharp sense of wit and sophistication, often offering insight into far more than just the films themselves. (more…)

The Man Behind the Music at WQXR

Graham Parker on soulful Jewish music and getting instruments into schools

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WQXR's Graham Parker. (Marco Antonio)

Graham Parker got his love of music from two different places growing up: the John Lyon School—a British private school—and his shul in Edgeware, in northern London. This dual musical identity has accompanied Parker throughout his life, from London to the studios of WQXR, New York’s classical music station, where he works as general manager and where I met him on a recent afternoon. He was wearing a dark corduroy jacket over a denim shirt, accented playfully with a pink plaid tie and pink jeans. Matching his jaunty outfit was a warm and bubbly personality. 

Parker credits the prestigious music program at the John Lyon School with inspiring his musical curiosity. “It was one of those classic stories of one music teacher who just changes your life—Mr. Goodwin. It wasn’t that he was a good teacher—he was a dreadful teacher—but you realize, my God, he taught me so much,” he said. But alongside his classical music training, Parker had been attending synagogue on his own each week since he was 11 years old. (more…)

Orthodox Jewish Tourist Attacked in Brooklyn (Updated)

The 65-year-old man was assaulted in Borough Park after a wedding reception

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Borough Park. (Wikipedia)

An Orthodox man visiting New York from England was attacked early Tuesday morning after leaving a wedding reception in Brooklyn, the New York Daily News reports. According to officials, assailants grabbed the 65-year-old victim’s face and “smashed his face into the concrete pavement.” The victim sustained a cracked lip and chipped tooth.

The incident is reminiscent of the series of “knockout” attacks that targeted Jews in New York City late last year, which included an attack on a 78-year-old and resulted in at least three deaths. (more…)

Jewish Clergy’s Newest Challenge: Single Motherhood

A new documentary follows four women on their journey to parenthood

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Felicia Sol with her two children. (Courtesy of Diva Communications)

Be sure to have a hanky ready should you watch All of the Above: Single, Clergy, Mother, a frank documentary about the pursuit of solo parenthood. If you’re at all a softie, you’ll cry despite the fairly corny title cards and occasional sunset vistas, and even though it’s clear from the start that for three of the four women featured there is a happy ending. Rabbis Felicia Sol, Julie Greenberg, and Lisa Gelber all now have children. Basya Schechter, a cantor and musician, is still on a path there. (more…)

University of Michigan Votes Against Divestment

The school’s student government rejects controversial proposal 25 votes to 9

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(University of Michigan)

After a lively debate Tuesday night that lasted until after midnight Wednesday, the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government, or CSG, voted to reject a controversial resolution calling on the university to divest from companies that the legislation’s proponents argue are complicit in violating Palestinian human rights. Widespread discussion about the resolution began last week after the CSG indefinitely postponed a vote on the matter, prompting a week-long campus sit-in by student supporters of the resolution.

Last night, in a CSG session with an unprecedented number of attendees and speakers, student representatives reconvened to reconsider their initial vote on the resolution, ultimately voting 25 to 9 (with five abstentions) to reject the proposal entirely.  (more…)

Tracking the Jewish Charitable World’s Finances

A new investigative report follows the money—all $26 billion of it

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(Shutterstock)

An important piece of investigative journalism quietly slipped onto the web this week when the Forward published Part 1 of a new series, “26 Billion Bucks: The Jewish Charity Industry Uncovered.” The series is the result of Josh Nathan-Kazis’ investigation into 3,600 Jewish charities, in which he identified and reviewed tax documents filed by these organizations, analyzing how they get their money and what they do with it. (more…)

At The Israel Museum, the Menu Mirrors the Art

The museum restaurant serves dishes inspired by artists like Jackson Pollock

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Jackson Pollock-inspired Chicken Kadaif at the Israel Museum's Modern restaurant. (Afik Gabay)

Whether you’re there to see the Second Temple Model or to catch the latest contemporary art exhibition, you can end your visit to the Israel Museum with a meal at Modern, which was opened by food entrepreneur Zafrir Ginsberg and his wife Avital in 2011 after the museum’s renovation.

Jerusalem’s Modern is part of an international wave of trendy museum restaurants like The Modern at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art or Georges at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Now, Jerusalem’s Modern is looking to the world of art for inspiration for its menu. (more…)

Ritz Crackers Makes Kosher Bacon a Reality

The company’s new bacon-flavored cracker is kosher-certified by the OU

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(Facebook)

Ritz Crackers’ latest foray into flavored crackers has yielded a rather unusual result: Bacon-flavored crackers. But though this delightful new addition to the cracker canon may taste trayf, they are 100 percent kosher—the coveted O.U. symbol will appear on the bottom left corner of every box, JTA reports.

But, like most things involving Jews and bacon, it wasn’t quite that simple. There was some serious debate over whether or not to give this bacon impostor kosher certification. According to Moshe Elefant, COO of the Orthodox Union Kashrut Department, the decision involved lengthy discussions.

“The reality is there’s nothing close to bacon in this product. There are artificial bacon flavorings that give the ‘bacon flavor.’ Nobody’s going to think this is actual bacon,” Elefant explained. (more…)

New Chilean Art School To Push Nazi Ideology

Posters advertising the school, which opens Friday, feature swastikas

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Ancúd, on the Chilean island of Chiloé. (Wikipedia)

Posters advertising Chile’s newest art school have a surprising symbol on them: a swastika. That’s not the only reason the school, which is named after a Chilean dictator and plans to open Friday in the town of Ancúd on the island of Chiloé, has sparked controversy among locals.

According to the Times of Israel, Godofredo Rodríguez Pacheco, the founder of ‘Art School, President General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte,’ has “described himself in the past as a purveyor of Hitler’s ideology,” and isn’t concerned by the Nazi association his newest enterprise has garnered. (more…)

Reading Maimonides With Sherwin B. Nuland

The surgeon and writer, who died this month, tackled life’s tough questions

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Sherwin B. Nuland. (Bob Child/File/The Associated Press)

Sherwin B. Nuland, the surgeon and writer whose 1994 book, How We Die, won a National Book Award and changed the cultural conversation about end-of-life care, never shied away from life’s tough questions. When he died of prostate cancer earlier this month, an outpouring of obituaries and remembrances attempted to come to terms with the death of the man who told us so much, and in such exacting detail, about that very subject.

“Dr. Nuland wrote that his intention was to demythologize death, making it more familiar and therefore less frightening,” the New York Times wrote. (more…)

Hamas Supporters Rally at Al-Quds University

Months after Brandeis University cut ties with the school over a similar protest

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Hamas rally at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. (Facebook)

Hamas supporters organized a rally at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem on Sunday, the Times of Israel reports. Members of the Islamic Bloc of Al-Quds University, a student organization associated with Hamas, wore black face masks and carried green banners and cardboard replicas of missiles like the ones recently launched from Gaza into Israel.

According to the group’s Facebook page, the rally was titled “Alerting the loyal–on the path of the great leaders” and was organized to commemorate Hamas leaders killed by Israel. (more…)

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