Briefs: Rabbi Visits Hometown of 200-Year-Old Torah, Rutgers Professor Punished, and More


Rabbi to Visit Czech Republic Hometown of 200-Year-Old Torah

Wesley Enhanced Living (WEL) Main Line Rabbi Meryl M. Crean will visit the Czech Republic town of Lipkin — the original home of the community’s 200-year-old Torah.

The Jewish Exponent wrote about the Torah in 2012; it was one of 1,500 that a London-based group known as the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust rescued from synagogues in Bohemia and Moravia during World War II. Many of the scrolls, including the one at WEL, are on permanent loan to congregations throughout the world. WEL has had the Torah for about 35 years.

The scroll was written in 1880 in a script called Beit Yosef-Marharal, a combination of Ashkenazi and Sephardi styles of writing that few scribes know how to replicate today. The Torah came from a Lipnik synagogue built in 1520.

Crean will visit Lipnik from Dec. 16 to 30 as part of an international education initiative. She will share letters from students at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy.

Rutgers Punishes Professor for Anti-Semitic Rants

Rutgers University Professor Michael Chikindas was stripped of his role as director of the Center for Digestive Health at the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health because of anti-Semitic and homophobic social media posts he allegedly made, reported.

Chikindas also will be required to undergo a cultural sensitivity training course and will not teach required courses. Rutgers said it is considering additional disciplinary action.

The Jewish Exponent wrote about Chikindas, although he did not return requests for comment. He has claimed elsewhere that his Facebook page was hacked, while admitting that he shared comments, images and cartoons that were anti-Semitic in nature, said.

Eligibility Age for Birthright Israel Increased

Birthright Israel is raising the age of eligibility from 26 to 32 to increase the pool of potential applicants, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The organization, which sends young Jews to Israel on free trips, was founded in 1999. Its program is designed to increase connections with Israel and increase Jewish identity. It was founded due to beliefs that the U.S. Jewish population might shrink because of increasing numbers of intermarriages.

ACLU Challenges Arizona’s Anti-BDS Law

A 2016 Arizona law that prohibits state and local governments from conducting business with companies that boycott Israel is being challenged in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), JTA reported.

The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of attorney Mikkel Jordhal — a provider of legal services to those in jail — who personally won’t buy goods and services from businesses he says support the occupation of Palestinian territories. He aims to extend that boycott to his law firm.

An ACLU statement said that political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment as free speech, as per decades old Supreme Court rulings.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here