News Briefs: Jews Victims of Tire Slashings in Lakewood, New Jersey, and More

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California Legislators Symbolically Affix Mezuzahs to Office Doors

In support of recently passed legislation that prohibits landlords and homeowners associations from preventing tenants from hanging mezuzahs, Jewish California state legislators returning from summer recess attached mezuzahs to their office doors, JTA reported.

A bill was introduced when Jewish renters and condo owners were asked to remove mezuzahs because of apartment complex or building policy. The state’s Jewish Caucus of legislators pushed for the bill — known as the mezuzah bill — preventing that practice. Some secular, Catholic and Hindu organizations also supported the bill.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law during the legislative recess.

car wheels
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Jews Victims of Multiple Tire Slashings in Lakewood, New Jersey

Police are investigating the slashing of more than 100 car tires in largely Jewish Lakewood, New Jersey, JTA reported.

ABC News reported that all of the vandalized cars belong to or are used by Jews. It also aired security footage showing someone in a hoodie slashing the tires with a knife.

Police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.

Lakewood is home to a large Orthodox Jewish community, as well as one of the largest yeshivas in the nation. Its population has grown rapidly — from about 60,000 in 2000 to more than 100,000 by 2017.

Jewish Gene Prevalence in Hungary Doubles That of United States

About 7.5% of nearly 5,000 people tested in Hungary had more than 25% Jewish Ashkenazi genes — more than double that of people tested in the United States, JTA reported.

Gilad Japhet, the founder and CEO of MyHeritage, which did the testing in conjunction with the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, said the testing suggests that, excluding Israel, Hungary has the highest prevalence of Ashkenazi genes worldwide.

About 100,000 people in Hungary are considered Jewish, or about 1% of the country’s population.

Testing in the United States and Canada revealed that only 3.5% of those tested recorded Ashkenazi Jewish genes at a rate exceeding 25% of their genetic material. Greater prevalence of Ashkenazi Jewish genes than in the U.S. was found during testing in Russia, Argentina and Ukraine.

Former NBA Player Returns to Israel

After a decade in the NBA, Israeli Omri Casspi is returning to his native land to play for the Maccabi Tel Aviv team, the Algemeiner reported.

Casspi called the team, “the first, second and third option.”

During his 10 years in the NBA, Casspi played on several teams, including a championship season with the Golden State Warriors. He was injured this past season and was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies. He also played with the Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Over his NBA career, the forward averaged 7.9 points per game and 4 rebounds per game.

During an Aug. 14 interview with Israeli news site Mako, Caspi said he and his family were returning to Israel — he played from 2005-2009 with Maccabi Tel Aviv — because they “were looking for very specific things both as a family and on a professional level. One of the things that mattered to us was stability on both levels. We wanted a place that strives to win a championship or high-level competition.”

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Andy Gotlieb is the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent. He holds 31 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too. Prior newspaper stops include the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Tampa Tribune and the Philadelphia Business Journal. The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various times, business, politics, crime and government, among other beats. The final 2.5 years in that stretch was an editor at the Philadelphia Business Journal, where my responsibilities included complete control over a weekly section and working with both staff writers and freelancers. In late 2005, I switched gears and began working in public relations for the next decade. I learned the ins and outs of public relations -- including being on the other side of the media-PR equation -- and made numerous contacts. I rejoined the ranks of journalism in March 2016, starting as the managing editor of the Jewish Exponent.

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