23 January 2018 - 8 Shevat 5778 - ח' שבט ה' אלפים תשע"ח

To honour the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Israel, the 19th China Shanghai International Arts Festival held an event titled “Israel Culture Week” from 11 to 18 November.

Organised by the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai and the centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival, Israel Culture Week presented the comprehensive and classical achievements of Israeli art, providing local Chinese people with a chance to embrace Israeli traditions and culture through events.

As part of Israel Culture Week, Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower was lit up in blue and white, the colours of the Israeli flag. The building is one of the world’s most famous structures and a landmark that is synonymous with the city.

The festival included shows by some of top Israeli performers such as Inbal Pinto’s dance troupe, world renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Yaron Kohlberg and songstress Ester Rada.

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US aircraft carrier gets a Torah scroll E-mail

Jewish sailors aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford now have a Torah scroll to use during their six-to-eight-month stints at sea.

The umbrella body for Jewish chaplains, the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, dedicated the scroll on 29 November aboard the ship in Norfolk, Virginia. It was dedicated to the memory Sgt. Jacob Kamaras, a veteran of the US Army Air Corps during WWII. On hand for the ceremony were his son, Philip Kamaras, a New York lawyer, and his namesake grandson, Jacob Kamaras, a journalist and publicist in Houston.

The Kamaras family helped pay for the US$36,000 scroll as part of the chaplains’ council’s “Torah for Our Troops” campaign, which equips chaplains with travel-size Torah scrolls. The scroll, slightly smaller than those used in most synagogues, is designed for use in the shipboard chapel.

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Canada issues first Chanukah postage stamp E-mail

Just in time to celebrate the eight-day Festival of Chanukah, Canada has issued its first Chanukah stamp in the 150-year history of Canada Post, its official mail carrier.

Described as part of an initiative to highlight the nation’s cultural diversity, the stamps from Canada Post feature two colourful geometric designs: of dreidels and the menorah. Each pattern also has an online explanation of their relevance to the holiday.

“In offering the great products, Canada Post is enabling our community to share the beauty and inspiration of Chanukah with all Canadians,” said Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

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Adolf Hitler waxwork removed from museum in Indonesia E-mail

A museum in Yogjakarta, Indonesia, which until recently had allowed visitors to snap selfies with a full-sized waxwork figure of Adolf Hitler against the backdrop of the Auschwitz death camp gates, has taken the figure down following a storm of criticism.

The De Mata De Arca visual effects museum has around 100 waxworks of celebrities, politicians and fictional characters, according to its website.

The figure of Hitler could be found standing between Star Wars’ Darth Vader and Indonesian leader Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. It was placed against a wall-sized banner depicting the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp with the notorious “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work sets you free”) sign.

The wax Hitler, which had been on display since 2014, proved popular with locals, who shared their selfies on social media platforms. The snapshots even showed some of the visitors doing the Nazi salute.

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Anti-Semitic sign posted outside a hotel in Poland E-mail

A very disturbing anti-Semitic sign, reminiscent of the Nazi era, was posted outside a Polish hotel recently. The sign read: “Entrance to Jews and all other thieves and traitors to Poland is prohibited.”

The hotel is located in the Polish village of Krzyzowice, which is in the Vratislav district near the Czech border.

According to Polish media reports, the hotel is owned by Peter Rebak, the leader of the Polish Right-Wing Radical extremist party. His party is an anti-Communist nationalistic party, and he burned the effigy of a Jewish person during a pro¬test in 2016.

Rebak was accused of hate crimes when he said that all Jews must leave Poland and head back to Israel.

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