Newsletter Issue # 21 March 14, 2012

13 israelis are part of the world’s billionaires list with Idan Ofer, director of Ofer Group leading the list of Israeli billionaires in the 161st spot, with an estimated fortune of $6.2 billion. Beny Steinmetz of Steinmetz Business Group ranked eight spots bellow Ofer, with a net worth of $5.9 billion. Another Ofer brother, Eyal, came in 173rd on the list, with $5.8 billion. Iscar founder Stef Wertheimer and his family ranked 255th with some $4.2 billion, while Bank Hapoalim’s Shari Arison was placed in the 288th spot with $3.9 billion.

Mormon leaders created a virtual firewall in their massive genealogical database that is programmed to block out anyone who attempts to access the names of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims which the church has agreed not to posthumously baptize. The move came amid criticism that the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hasn’t done enough to live up to commitments in stopping its members worldwide from performing the baptism ritual on Holocaust victims and other notable Jews.

Recent studies have shown that circumcised men may have a slightly lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who still have their foreskin. The World Health Organization already recommends the controversial procedure based on research that also shows that circumcision  lowers heterosexual men’s risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The common swift, which spends is entire life flying or sitting its nest, returns from wintering in South Africa to nest between the cracks in the ancient wall. For over 2,000 years, the crevices between the Western Wall’s massive limestone blocks have served as the perfect nesting location for the swift. This week there will be rejoicing as bird watchers and the religious welcome them home to Judaism’s most sacred site.

Bring the torah to life by teaching children the meaning of purim. Explore the four mitzvot of the day with your children. Memory games are fun, so are Guess Who games. Mention something in the Midrash such as “I did ___” and then describe an occurrence and have the children figure out who it was. Involve your kids in the mitzva of matanot la’evyonim directly. Discuss the tzedaka stories with them. Help them visualize what would it be like to be poor.

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s. This year is only the fifth time the date has aligned with Purim and the first since since the establishment of the Jewish Women’s Archive, so we have to address the significance. For those who are wondering, previous date aligned were in 1917, 1936, 1955, and 1974) International Women’s Day is self-described as a “global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.”

pJewishMisanthropy announced the world’s first Kosher Camera, which is a camera that allows you to erase women from images as you take them. A whole website waseven designed for the product. eJewish Philanthropy released a special, satirical Purim edition of their usual newsletter called pJewishMisanthropy. The whole thing is absolutely hilarious–at least it should be to any of us working in the Jewish communal world who read often-vague articles about the future of “peoplehood,” “Jewish innovation,” “leadership,” and “engagement” in the ever-changing Jewish American/Israeli landscape.

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