Latest global update

coollogo_com-23172872In the latest of our well received global news round-ups:


Poland: The city of Olkusz in southern Poland has decided to set up security at its Jewish cemetery and build a high wall around the site after an Israel Hayom report exposed vandalism and anti-Semitic graffiti defacing some of the headstones.

Israel Hayom reported on April 7 that the old Jewish cemetery in Olkusz had been the target of vandalism. Dozens of headstones were smashed, some were burned, and others were sprayed with graffiti, including the Polish words for “Jews out.”

The report sparked a backlash in Poland, where many expressed anger that the cemetery was unprotected. When the criticism reached Olkusz Mayor Roman Piasnik, he announced that the situation was unacceptable and decided to take immediate action to protect the cemetery from anti-Semitic gangs.

Read more here.

France: French police are investigating an attack on a 53-year-old Jewish man on his way out of synagogue Saturday afternoon, the French edition of The Local reported Monday.

One of three assailants pulled out a knife and the others urged him to stab the Jewish man, saying, “Go on, stab him, Jew,” the victim of the attack told Le Parisien. The incident took place as the man was leaving the Saint-Ouen synagogue in the Seine-Saint-Denis area, north of Paris.

The victim, who owns a supermarket and has lived in the area for 15 years, told the French media the first assailant went for the knife after repeatedly calling him a “dirty Jew” and spitting at him.

Read more here.

Ukraine: The head of the European Jewish Congress donated $100,000 to strengthen Jewish communal security in Kiev, the country’s chief rabbi told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Speaking by phone, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich thanked EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor for the grant, which he said has allowed for constant coverage of institutions in the Ukrainian capital.

Kantor has done “great things,” Bleich said, explaining that since the 2013-2014 Euromaidan Revolution “there have been issues and problems, and he was forthcoming in helping the Jewish communities strengthen their security infrastructure and maintain round-the clock security for the schools and synagogues in Kiev.”

“We have gone from the height of insecurity after the [revolution] to a very calm and serene atmosphere where parents feel safe sending their children to school and where young people feel safe coming to synagogue because of the security that we have implemented,” he said.



Read more here.

USA: As tension between religious groups grows throughout the world, one community in Southern Bronx is trying to bring more peace between the various faiths by joining together to renovate a synagogue.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim volunteers recently came together to restore the “Shul in the Mosque,” a synagogue housed inside of a mosque, located in an area of the Bronx that is home to an Islamic community, according to CBS News.

The doors between the communities opened when Young Israel Congregation was hosting a drive for needy families a few years back, and Masjid Al-Iman founder of Sheikh Moussa Drammeh offered a donation.

The Parkchester neighborhood was once Jewish, but over the years the dynamic has changed due to an influx of African immigrants. Drammeh is also originally from Gambia.

The synagogue and mosque were both in dire need of repair. This encouraged friend Rabbi Bob Kaplan, founder of the New York City Center and Coalition of the Jewish Community Relations, and Drammeh to unite the community. The goal was to teach volunteers and witnesses the value of shared space and working together with other religious cultures.

“We decided to bring together students from the Riverdale Y, from the synagogue, from the mosque here, and from Manhattan College to come together – Christians, Jews and Muslims coming together to make a more beautiful place for folks to pray in,” Kaplan said.

As one volunteer said to News 12, “We live in a time of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, and what today could be seen as ordinary becomes special because it’s against that horrific backdrop.”



Read more here.

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