Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by David I. Klein


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  • Execution delayed just before president dies in crash

    David I. Klein|May 24, 2024

    (JTA) — An Iranian Jew who has been sentenced to death has reportedly received a one-month stay of execution after a global pressure campaign that included calls for prayer in Persian Jewish communities around the world. The stay came as Iran was plunged into political turmoil when a helicopter carrying its president and foreign minister crashed under unclear circumstances. President Ebrahim Raisi is known by the nickname “Butcher of Tehran” for his role in overseeing executions in the country, whose top official is the supreme leader Ayato...

  • As Netanyahu flies to London, the UK's chief rabbi calls for 'Jewish unity' around the world

    David I. Klein|Mar 31, 2023

    (JTA) — Ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to London, the United Kingdom’s chief rabbi is calling for “Jewish unity” in Israel and around the world in response to dramatic protests against proposed changes to the Israeli judicial system. “I never thought that we would witness a time when citizens of Israel, including respected leaders, are openly speaking about the possibility, God forbid, of civil war,” Ephraim Mirvis wrote in a short op-ed in the Jewish Chronicle, the U.K.’s oldest Jewish newspaper. “At...

  • Frankfurt cancels Roger Waters concert

    David I. Klein|Mar 10, 2023

    (JTA) — Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd bassist who is a leading proponent of the movement to boycott Israel, has been blocked from performing in Frankfurt after the city called him “one of the world’s most well known antisemites.” Waters had been scheduled to perform May 28 at Frankfurt’s Festhalle, which during the Holocaust was the site of the deportation of 3,000 Jews to their deaths just after Kristallnacht. The city of Frankfurt noted the historical significance of the concert hall, which it partly owns, in announcing that it was canceling...

  • In the Netherlands, a majority do not know the Holocaust affected their country

    David I. Klein|Feb 24, 2023

    (JTA) — A recent study of the Dutch population conducted by the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany showed an alarming lack of education around the Holocaust in the Netherlands. For one, a majority of Dutch respondents, across all age groups, did not cite their own country as a place where the Holocaust took place, despite the fact that the Netherlands was the setting of the world’s most widely-read Holocaust memoir — Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl,” which has been translated into over 70 languages. About 75 percent...

  • In speech to EU parliament, Israel's president says questioning Israel's existence is not OK

    David I. Klein|Feb 17, 2023

    (JTA) — In a speech to the European Union parliament tied to commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said that criticism of his country, which has drawn renewed international scrutiny over its new right-wing government, is legitimate. Questioning Israel’s right to exist, he added, is “antisemitism in the full sense of the word.” “It is, of course, OK to criticize the state that I head. It is OK to criticize us, and it is OK to disagree with us, just as it is OK to criticize you and your states,...

  • Israel sends aid to Turkey and Syria in wake of earthquake

    David I. Klein|Feb 10, 2023

    ISTANBUL (JTA) — Israel is sending aid to Turkey and Syria in the wake of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has left over 2,000 dead as of Monday evening here. Israel will send medication, tents and other supplies to Syria, its neighbor that it considers a hostile state, according to Hebrew language media. The Israeli military will also send rescue teams to both countries, the Israeli embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. That embassy was only recently formally re-established after years of diplomatic t...

  • In Turkey, Orthodox drama 'Shtisel' is being adapted for a Muslim audience

    David I. Klein|Jan 27, 2023

    ISTANBUL (JTA) — “Shtisel,” a TV series about haredi Orthodox Jews that became an international phenomenon after Netflix picked it up in 2018, is getting a Muslim makeover for Turkish audiences, according to Turkish media. A new show titled “Ömer” has begun production and will premiere sometime in 2023 on Turkey’s STAR TV, Turkish media reported. Not much is known about the show’s plot. A trailer depicts the protagonist Ömer, played by Selahattin Paşali, standing at the precipice of a m...

  • Number of Russian Jews down sharply in last decade, pre-Ukraine war census reveals

    David I. Klein|Jan 27, 2023

    (JTA) — An exodus of Jews from Russia since President Vladimir Putin invaded neighboring Ukraine has drawn widespread attention over the last year. But according to statistics released recently by Russia’s official statistics bureau, the country’s Jewish population had fallen sharply long before the tanks began rolling. The statistics, published last month by Russia’s Federal State Statistics Service, showed that just 82,644 people identified themselves as Jews on the national census, conducted in 2021. Another nearly 2,000 people identif...

  • German zoo gets $26 million from widow

    David I. Klein|Jan 20, 2023

    (JTA) — The zoo in Cologne, Germany, has gotten its first check from the $26 million gift promised by the widow of a Holocaust survivor who credited the city’s residents for saving him during the war. Elizabeth Reichert willed the funds to the Cologne Zoological Garden in 2017 in honor of her husband Arnulf, who died in 1998. Both Reicherts were born in Cologne and met during World War II, when Elizabeth was part of the local anti-Nazi resistance network and Arnulf, a German Jew, was in hiding with the network’s help. “They only survive...

  • Moscow's former chief rabbi: ' The best option for Russian Jews is to leave'

    David I. Klein|Jan 20, 2023

    (JTA) - Pinchas Goldshmidt, the former chief rabbi of Moscow who fled the country earlier this year, said other Russian Jews should leave before it's too late in an interview with the Guardian. "When we look back over Russian history, whenever the political system was in danger you saw the government trying to redirect the anger and discontent of the masses towards the Jewish community," Goldschmidt told the Guardian. "We saw this in tsarist times and at the end of the Stalinist regime." He...

  • British chief rabbi is knighted

    David I. Klein|Jan 13, 2023

    (JTA) - Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth - commonly referred to as the United Kingdom's chief rabbi - can now add a "Sir" to his title. Mirvis will be named a "knight commander of the order of the British Empire," according to King Charles' New Year Honours list. Since 1890, the U.K. has announced new knighthoods and other chivalric honors only twice a year, on New Year's Day and on the birthday of the ruling monarch, which in the...

  • Lithuania passes law allocating nearly $40 million for Holocaust survivors

    David I. Klein|Jan 13, 2023

    (JTA) — Lithuania’s parliament passed a law this week to set aside over 37 million euros ($38 million) as restitution for Holocaust survivors and their heirs. Ingrida Šimonytė, Lithuania’s prime minister, introduced the bill in the Seimas, Lithuania’s national legislature in Vilnius, on Nov. 15, proposing to nearly double the money the government had already set aside for restitution claims in a country where 90% of its Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Today only 5,000 Jews remain in the country. The World Jewish Restitution Organizat...

  • Italian Jewish leaders condemn parliament president

    David I. Klein|Jan 6, 2023

    (JTA) — Jewish leaders in Italy had strong words for the president of the country’s parliament after he published a post on Instagram honoring the history of the Italian Social Movement, or MSI, a neo-fascist party founded in the wake of World War II. Ignazio la Russa, a senator from Cologno Monzese, a municipality in Milan, wrote alongside a picture of an MSI campaign poster: “In memory of my father, who was one of the founders of the Italian Social Movement in Sicily and who chose the path of free and democratic participation with the MSI t...

  • There's no beer at the World Cup in Qatar, but there are kosher bagels

    David I. Klein|Dec 2, 2022

    (JTA) - Qatar may have caused an uproar by banning alcohol at the World Cup soccer tournament in Doha this month, but for religious Jewish fans, some kosher offerings will be available, thanks to two rabbis. Rabbi Marc Schneier, from New York, and Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch movement's emissary to Istanbul, worked with Qatari officials to create a kosher catering program to provide for observant Jews who may attend the games. And despite a report that has echoed around the...

  • On the Turkish-Syrian border, a city's last Jews watch the ending of an epoch

    David I. Klein|Oct 28, 2022

    ANTAKYA, Turkey (JTA) - Jews have lived in the city of Antakya, known in ancient times as Antioch, for over 23 centuries. And the city wants visitors to know that. A symbol composed of a Star of David entwined with a Christian cross and Islamic crescent has practically become the city's logo, as it's plastered all over town, especially on restaurants peddling the southern Hatay province's patently spicy cuisine. "I was born in Antakya and I will die in Antakya," said Selim Cemel, a Jewish...

  • 26 Lev Tahor members arrested in Mexico

    David I. Klein|Oct 21, 2022

    (JTA) — As the Jewish new year was coming to a close Tuesday afternoon, Mexican Authorities raided a compound on the outskirts of Tapachula, a city on Mexico’s pacific coast about six miles from the Guatemalan border. There they arrested 26 members of the Lev Tahor Hasidic sect, which has widely been considered a cult around the world. The members, including a leader, Menachem Endel Alter, were arrested on charges of being part of a criminal organization, along with human trafficking, the Associated Press reported. The group, whose name means ...

  • War in Ukraine could put a crunch on 'shmura' matzah supplies

    David I. Klein|Apr 8, 2022

    (JTA) — On Feb. 24, two shipping containers laden with 20,000 pounds of shmura matzah were slated to head out of port in Odessa, Ukraine, on their way to Orthodox Jews in the United States. Two hours before they were to be loaded onto a ship, Russia invaded. The shipment was the last of 200,000 pounds of unleavened bread that Ukrainian matzah bakeries shipped to the United States this year, in addition to what they ship to Europe and Israel. Now, technically outside of Ukraine’s customs zon...

  • Manhattan's only vineyard is run by this 89-year-old Iraqi Jew

    David I. Klein|Sep 15, 2017

    NEW YORK (JTA)-Latif Jiji looks over this year's crop at Chateau Latif with an expression of satisfaction. If you've never heard of Chateau Latif, you're not alone. In fact, your favorite sommelier probably hasn't heard of it, either. It's not from the south of France, nor is it from Napa Valley. Rather, it's terroir is the Upper East Side of Manhattan. As far as he knows, Jiji is the only winemaker in Manhattan who grows his own grapes on the island. The "chateau" is the brownstone that Jiji,... Full story

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