24 May 2017 - 28 Iyyar 5777 - כ"ח אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ז

In a landmark visit to Asia, the Chief Rabbi of France, Rabbi Haim Korsia accompanied by this wife, made an official first visit to the region and spent a weekend with the Hong Kong Jewish community in early June.

He was warmly greeted, especially by the large and diverse expat French Jewish community. A special Friday-night Shabbat dinner was held in his honour on 3 June. Rabbi Korsia also gave an address during the Shabbat morning service at the Ohel Leah Synagogue.

His trip also included an opportunity to meet the wider expat French community of Hong Kong, at a reception organised by the French consulate and other associations.

In June 2014, Rabbi Haim Korsia began a seven-year term as the leader of France’s Jewish community. He was born in Lyon, France, to parents who had emigrated from Algeria, and his father was also a rabbi. The Jewish community in France is the largest Jewish community in Europe, with about 475,000 members. It is the third-largest Jewish population in the world, behind only the US and Israel.

In a tight
schedule, Rabbi
 Korsia sat down
with Jewish Times 
Asia to explain
his role and objec-tives as the Chief
Rabbi of France.
 In his capacity
as chief rabbi, he
makes several trips
around the world
to meet French communities in all regions, including French-speaking nations in Africa and the Caribbean and having dialogues with French nationals residing in many countries.

“I am the Rabbi of French Jews globally,” Rabbi Korsia explained. “I want to take care of them, especially the young families. I am also the bridge between all parts of the overseas communities.”

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Australian Trademarks Office turns down “McKosher” moniker E-mail

An Australian lawyer who claims he is of Scottish-Jewish descent has failed in a bid to register the trademark “McKosher”.

Trademark applicant Mark Glaser has an office based in the northern North South Wales town of Maclean, which prides itself on being the Scottish capital of Australia and even boasts tartan telegraph poles. He claims to have ancestors with surnames such as McKosher, Zimmerman and Rosenthal, the Australian Broadcast Company (the ABC), reported in May.

Glaser reportedly wanted to open “a Scottish and Jewish restaurant bearing the name McKosher”. This led to a trademark fight with fast-food operator McDonalds. A hearing in New South Wales involving the Australian Trademarks Office was told that the Jerusalem rabbinate is in negotiations with the international McDonald’s headquarters, requesting the use of the name “McKosher” for the chain’s kosher-certified branches in the city, to avoid confusion over those that are not kosher.

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Hainan Airlines begins Beijing-Tel Aviv route E-mail

China’s Hainan Airlines has begun operating a direct Beijing-Tel Aviv route in April, joining Israeli airline El Al as one of the only two airlines operating an Israel-China route.

“We want to be ready with the best aircrews for our flights to Israel,” said Li Liang, the general manager of the Hainan offices in Israel, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. “Today Israel is a very important destination for us.”

Currently Hainan will only operate the route three times per week, using Airbus A330 jets, which can carry around 250 passengers. Eventually the airline expects to include a flight route from Shanghai and Hong Kong through its sister airline, Hong Kong Airlines.

During the ceremony celebrating the first flight, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin described the importance of China for Israel, and said his office will increase the annual marketing budget for China from 1 million to 15 million shekels.Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz also added that the new flight route will strengthen ties between the two countries, reduce the cost of flights from Israel to China and boost the tourism sector.

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ZAKA assists in burial request E-mail

Zaka, the Israel-based humanitarian volunteer organisation, reported in May that its legal department had received a request from a family whose brother died in Thailand.

The niftar (the deceased person) had left a will in which he requested to be cremated as he did not wish to be a burden to his family by compelling them to cover the expense of having him buried in Israel.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry was brought in to express the family’s objections to the cremation and its desire to take the body to Israel for burial.

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Israel’s popuation increases by 2.2% E-mail

Israel’s population has grown 2.2% since last year’s Independence Day, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported in May.

Israel’s population has risen to 8,522,000. The population has grown more than tenfold since Israel was established in 1948, when the country had 806,000 residents. The Central Bureau of statistics sees Israel having a population of 11.3 million by 2035.

Israel’s population is comprised of 6,377,000 Jews (74.8%), 1,771,000 Arabs (20.8%) and 374,000 others (4.4%) including non-Arab Christians.

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