Included in this week’s “not” news events are: 1. the President is not dead and 2. Israel is not on the U.S. terror watch list. But besides those two little blunders, here’s what did happen this week in Jewish news…
- South Sudan is declared an independent state and becomes the UN’s 193rd country. Israel expresses its congratulations to South Sudan, and Bith Thiyang, the informal consul of South Sudan to Israel, proclaims that “Israel is our best friend in the world.”
- The Obama Administration and various American Jewish groups urge UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, to resign after posting an anti-Semitic cartoon on his personal blog. The cartoon is of a Jewish dog (identified by a kippah and a Star of David) eating a bloody human body and urinating on Lady Justice. Falk’s mock apology states that “we should treat animals with respect.”
- I proudly gathered about Natalie Portman when her baby was born one month ago, and now I shall (a little less proudly) gather about her once more: Portman has officially announced her baby boy’s name: Aleph. Yes, Aleph, as in the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It also means “the primordial one that contains all numbers” in Kabbalah terminology. I’m sure he’ll fit right in with Bear Blu Silverstone, Apple Martin, and Moroccan Cannon in Hollywood pre-school.
- It seems as if pro-Palestinian activists are failing at anything ending in “tilla.” Most of the “Flytilla” (or “Flightilla”) activists have been deported back to their home countries. I hope the thousands of dollars spent on plane tickets were worth their 15 minutes of fame.
- Wikipedia (an often handy component in my gathering of news and other rummaging for quirky information) is having their annual conference, Wikimania, in Haifa this year. Israeli members of the Wiki team include a programmer on the language committee who is helping to make Wikipedia accessible to the blind.
- Greece has made the headlines quite a bit these days: economic crisis, flotilla policy, and now for hosting the Special Olympics. This year, Israel wins big in Athens as 85 Israeli athletes bring home 51 medals. The Israeli team also makes history by having the first Israeli Arabs compete in the Games and represent Israel.
- Feel disconnected from Judaism? “LaunchBox” may be able to help. In a competition for the “next big Jewish idea,” LaunchBox is set to be a monthly kit to help you connect with Jewish traditions and practice. Sounds like this innovation has potential, especially if some Jews mistake it for a Lunch Box.