News Briefs, the Week of May 25, 2017

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Tourism to Israel Breaks Monthly Record in April

April saw 349,000 tourists visiting Israel — a 38 percent increase from April 2016 and the most ever in any month since the nation was established in 1948, JNS.org reported.

In addition, 1.1 million tourists entered Israel between January and April, a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2016 and 22 percent than in 2015.


The report said the tourists helped infuse $1.7 billion into Israel’s economy.

“When there is clear policy, we see results. Every month, we are witnessing exceptional statistics that illustrate the progress we are spearheading in the tourism industry and its tremendous contribution to the Israeli economy and workforce,” Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said.

According to the report, the increases came despite higher travel costs related to a strengthening of the shekel currency.

Hillel International Expands Ezra Fellowship to Penn State

Hillel International announced that it is expanding its Ezra Fellowship program to 15 college campuses this fall, including Pennsylvania State University.

Ezra fellows “are young professionals with a passion for Jewish education who, through the full-time, paid fellowship, receive up to three years of training in pluralistic Jewish education, including seminars in experiential Jewish education and professional career coaching,” the organization said in a news release.

While working on campus, the fellows are tasked with infusing their Jewish knowledge into day-to-day programs and interactions. That might include informal conversations with students, launching new programs or organizing Shabbat dinners.

Philadelphia Native Honored by Nefesh B’Nefesh

Professor Benjamin W. Corn, who heads the Institute of Radiotherapy at Tel Aviv Medical Center, received the 2017 Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Award.

The award recognizes immigrants who impacted the state and Israeli society.

Corn is a Philadelphia native. He has headed the Institute of Radiotherapy for 14 years and has 30 years of experience treating tumors with radiation therapy.

He chairs the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group’s international committee; the organization now has more than 50 member countries. He also chairs Life’s Door, an organization he founded with his wife, Dvora, which aims to integrate spirituality into health care.

RRC Student Among Leaders of March on Harrisburg

Michael Pollack, a soon-to-be graduate of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, is the founder of March on Harrisburg, a nonpartisan movement to decrease corruption in Pennsylvania state government.

The 10-day march began in Philadelphia on May 13 and culminated May 22 with planned civil disobedience at the state Capitol.

Pollack said he organized the march to lobby the state legislature to end unlimited gifts, eliminate gerrymandering and create automatic voter registration.

Pollack said his rabbinical studies moved him to orchestrate the event.

“It’s deep in our tradition as Jews. We have a strong sense of community,” he said.

On May 22, 23 of the protesters were arrested and face charges of disorderly conduct, the Associated Press reported.

Shippensburg Man Changes Last Name to Hitler

A white supremacist living in Shippensburg received approval from a New Jersey court to change his surname to Hitler, The Jewish Press reported.

Isidore Heath Campbell changed his name to Isidore Heath Hitler.

The man has made headlines since 2008, when a New Jersey ShopRite declined to make a birthday cake in honor of his son, named Adolf Hitler Campbell, the paper said. A Pennsylvania Walmart later baked and inscribed the cake.

His children were placed in foster care after there were reports of parental violence. In 2013, he entered a New Jersey courtroom in a Nazi uniform, seeking visitation rights to his youngest son.

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