The latest and greatest Jewish news from around the world:
Rio de Janeiro’s 40,000 Jews in Brazil have celebrated the launch of the community’s first eruv. Located in Copacabana and Ipanema, two southern areas famous for their beaches, it extends four miles along the coast and was certified last week by Kolel Rio, a Jewish religious seminary.
Research has revealed that Cardinal John O’Connor, the late Archbishop of New York referred to as the ‘Prince’ of the Catholic Church, had a Jewish mother. Dorothy Gumple converted to Catholicism in 1908. Ab Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said: ‘Once a Jew, always a Jew.’
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law making Holocaust denial illegal. Denying Nazi crimes or misrepresenting the Soviet Union’s role in World War II will now be punishable by up to five years in jail or a $14,000 fine. Russia already bans public display of Nazi symbols.
Jewish author Mark Dapin of ‘Spirit House’ has been short-listed for the prestigious Ondaatje Prize. His book depicts life in the labour camps of the Burma railway during World War Two. Scotland’s Esther Woolfson, who studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is also short-listed.
Police in Brussels used water cannon to disperse a crowd that included the controversial Frenchman Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Jewish groups called the gathering an ‘anti-Semitic hatefest,’ with far-right politician and outspoken anti-Semite Laurent Louis among the speakers.
Tunisians are embroiled in a heated debate over allowing Israeli tourists into the country. Tunisia does not recognise Israel, but Israelis have been quietly visiting the country for years. However last month dozens of Israeli tourists aboard an American cruise ship were denied entry.