Our world Jewish news round-up this week takes us all the way to Outer Mongolia via the murky world of Iranian state TV and Russian land grabs. But first: who’s really a Jewish beggar? Times are tough when it’s tough to tell…

United States

The New York Post revealed that a group of non-Jewish beggars made a small fortune over Passover by dressing up as Orthodox Jews, learning Hebrew and Yiddish phrases and asking for money in food markets around Jewish holidays. One man, who claimed to have made $750, hailed his targets as ‘very righteous’.

Iran

Jews are sorcerers, according to a respected Iranian cleric who appeared on state TV to talk about genies. Valiollah Naghipourfar, a mullah who also lectures at Tehran University, said Zionists deploy genies to undermine the Islamic Republic, adding: ‘The Jew is very practiced in sorcery. Indeed most sorcerers are Jews.’

Brazil

A public school north of Rio de Janeiro has been accused of forcing a Jewish child to say a Christian prayer. The child’s father has filed a police complaint after his son vowed not to return to class the incident. However the school says the session, during which all pupils recite the Lord’s Prayer, is voluntary.

France

Over 700 people attended a mass pre-aliyah party in Paris, signalling the recent and rapid emigration of French Jews to Israel. Last year immigration to Israel from France rose by a third, and this year that figure has doubled again. Jewish Agency officials say anti-Semitism and a stagnant economy are the reasons.

Ukraine

Israel’s chief rabbis will not attend a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Crimea this week, despite claims to the contrary by organisers. Jewish Ukrainian leaders said the Russian-sponsored event was ‘a cynical use of the Holocaust for political ends,’ after Moscow annexed the Ukrainian peninsula earlier this year.

Mongolia

A Jewish-American author says an exhibit from a Mongolian ambassador helped inspire her new book of poetry about love. Lenore Weiss’ collection, called ‘Two Places,’ includes poems about the wife of Genghis Khan and uses stories and narrative to explain her family background and Jewish heritage.