Newsletter Issue # 62 – January 9, 2013

A cache of 1,000-year-old documents written by the Jewish community in Afghanistan and unveiled in Jerusalem provides unprecedented insight into medieval Jewish community in central Asia. The collection was reportedly discovered by chance in a cave inhabited by foxes two years ago in northern Afghanistan. The dry climate of the cave preserved the papers, keeping them in excellent condition.

Nearly two years after being critically wounded in a mass shooting, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has met with families of victims in last month’s shooting that left 26 people dead inside an elementary school. Giffords was accompanied by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, at the private meeting in Newtown that was also attended by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Manhattan’s 16th Street Synagogue is facing eviction. According to a report, the National Council of Young Israel sold its headquarters on West 16th Street in Manhattan to a real estate developer with the hopes that the two synagogues occupying the first two floors would get permanent rights over their respective homes.

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said with regard to the issue of haredi enlistment in the army on yeshiva students who are studying Torah should be allowed to continue their studies and not be forced to enlist in national service programs. Bennett added that his party would fight against legislation which would coercively draft yeshiva students.

Is Talmud Art Kosher? Art is in the eye of the beholder. Pages from old books are placed in glasses, and voila they become art. Old printed books contain words from ancient rabbis, and voila they become sacred. And so we have a Talmudic dispute about Talmud art and according to the artist, yes Talmud art is Kosher.

Whenever asked if the Jewish holidays are coming early or late this year, I promptly answer that they’ll be coming on time. And that’s partially true. But the Jewish holidays will be coming early this year and already people are realizing that the first night of Hanukkah 2013 takes place on Wednesday, November 27, 2013, which will actually be the night before Thanksgiving.

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