From long-forgotten Chinese synagogues to Jewish TV channels pipping Christian rivals, it’s all here once again in our round-up of world Jewish news – dated 23 June 2014.
The Jewish Agency says aliyah from France will surpass 5,000 by the end of 2014, meaning that 1% of the country’s 500,000-strong Jewish community will have moved to Israel. If the forecast pans out, it would the biggest-ever proportion of a Western Jewish community made to make aliyah in a single year.
New York’s UJA-Federation has reached out to the Jewish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community after a survey showed 5% of Jewish households had an LGBT individual in them. The organisation convened its first community meeting to assess ways in which it could show support.
The Chinese city of Harbin has reopened a 105-year-old synagogue after a year’s restoration. The Main Synagogue on Tongjiang Street, closed for 50 years, was founded after thousands of Jews fled persecution in Europe and Tzarist Russia, establishing one of the largest Jewish communities in the Far East.
Berlin’s Jewish museum has appointed a non-Jew as its new director of Jewish Studies. Peter Schafer, a German academic who led Princeton University‘s Judaic Studies department, will begin in September, succeeding 88-year old W. Michael Blumenthal, a German-born Jewish former U.S. treasury secretary.
A Dutch Jewish TV channel has won the first prize for original production at a festival for religious broadcasters from across Europe. Joodse Omroep, which documents Jewish life from around the world, won ‘best production’ at the European Festival of Religious Programmes, beating the Christian favourite.
Lithuania’s Parliament has voted to recognise Holocaust-era rescuers of Jews as freedom fighters, entitling their families to special state pensions. The law passed by a majority last week. The country’s Jewish community said it recognised ‘humane and heroic acts, performed while looking death in the eye’.