News Briefs: Auschwitz Vandalized, Puerto Ricans Hault High Holidays, Canadians Make Cannabis Kosher


Auschwitz Wall Spray-Painted With Graffiti by Israeli Student

Israeli high school students who visited Auschwitz in August will apologize after it was discovered someone in the group spray-painted graffiti on a wall, JTA reported.

A student from Ort Rogozin in Migdal HaEmek painted the school’s name, the date of the visit and a Star of David on a cell block.

“We are outraged by this incident, and we will handle it with all due gravity,” the school said in a statement. “We’ve established a special inquiry team, and we will take action based on the findings.”

Israel’s Channel 2 said Hebrew graffiti also has been found at the Treblinka camp.

Puerto Rican Synagogues Cancel Rosh Hashanah Services

The three synagogues in Puerto Rico canceled Sept. 20 Rosh Hashanah services because of Category 5 Hurricane Maria, which hit the island earlier that day, according to The Times of Israel.

The synagogues, which are in or near San Juan, taped up windows and carried their Torah scrolls to secure places.

“We were supposed to have services Wednesday night. That’s not happening,” said Yadhira Ramírez Toro, who heads the ritual committee at Temple Beth Shalom. “Nobody’s supposed to leave their houses. Right now, we’re just on standby.”

Puerto Rico already was dealing with the impact from Hurricane Irma the previous week.

New Jersey Music Teacher Arrested for Child Porn

Eric S. Komar, 46, of Hillsborough, N.J., was arrested Sept. 9 and charged with receiving and distributing child pornography, reported.

Komar is a singer-songwriter and music teacher who has performed for children at synagogues, camps, conventions and Jewish community centers nationwide. Federal prosecutors said he used a peer-to-peer file-sharing program to both obtain and distribute images and videos.

He faces a mandatory five-year prison sentence if convicted and could face up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

Kosher Medical Marijuana Now Available in Canada

A Quebec, Canada company has obtained kosher certification for medical marijuana, the National Post reported.

Hydropothecary Corp. received the certification by the Vaad HaKashrut, a nonprofit that determines if products conform to Jewish dietary law.

The company said the designation includes its “ready-to-consume activated marijuana powder product line,” as well as cannabis peppermint oil and dried pot buds.

“According to the Torah, according to the Talmud, this is something that if we are able to help them, that is my obligation,” Vaad HaKashrut director Rabbi Levy Teitlebaum said.

Teaching Nazi Salute Gets Vermont Substitute Fired

A substitute teacher in Georgia, Vt., was fired after accusations that she taught elementary students the Nazi salute on Sept. 21, WCAX-TV reported.

School Superintendent Ned Kirsch said immediate action was taken after the teacher — a longtime substitute — admitted she taught the salute. Kirsch said a guidance counselor will visit the classroom “to make sure the students felt safe and secure.”


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