News Briefs: Israel to Launch Rocket to the Moon, Jewish Deli Opens in Alaska, and More


Israel to Launch Rocket to the Moon

Israel will try to become the fourth country to reach the moon, JTA reported.

The nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced July 10 that they will attempt a December rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to land on the moon on Feb. 13.

The $88 million project will feature a spacecraft that weighs a mere 1,322 pounds, which would make it the smallest craft to ever land on the moon. The only nations that have landed on the moon are the United States, Russia and China.

The project is largely being funded by private donations, including from American businessman and Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson. In addition, SpaceIL President Morris Kahn contributed about $27 million.

If the spacecraft reaches the moon, it will take photos and video of the landing site and measure the moon’s magnetic field for a Weizmann Institute scientific experiment.

“I regard the launch of the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon as an example of the amazing capabilities one can reach in civilian space activity,” IAI CEO Josef Weiss said.

Germany Ups Funding for Holocaust Survivors

Germany will increase its social welfare services funding for Holocaust survivors by $88 million.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced July 10 that it negotiated the increase — which takes 2019 allocations to $564 million — in Washington, D.C. German officials heard from survivors and also toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during negotiations.

The increase means 55,000 Holocaust survivors in Central and Eastern Europe will see an increase in pensions. Meantime, additional child survivors living in hiding or under a false identity will be eligible for payments.

Jewish Deli Opens in Alaska

The first Jewish deli in Alaska has opened in Anchorage, JTA reported.

Mo’s Deli and Catering is the brainchild of Jason Ellis, who grew up in Alaska, although his family originally was from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ellis does face some challenges in operating a deli. The food imported to him takes weeks to arrive, as it is first shipped to Seattle, then placed on boats headed for Anchorage.

“On the other hand, they are serving up locally sourced sockeye salmon lox to accompany their bagels and cream cheese — some uniquely Alaskan Jewish fare,” JTA reported.

Northernmost JCC Opens in Russia

A Jewish community center opened in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk — 750 miles north of Moscow — making it the world’s northernmost JCC, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The three-story building opened July 2. It took four years to build, and its $3 million cost was raised from private donors.

Arkhangelsk is a fishing and logging town that was home to two synagogues prior to the Communist revolution. Those synagogues closed in the 1920s.

In addition, construction is underway in Kaliningrad for what will be Russia’s westernmost synagogue. It is designed to be a replica of the Konigsberg Synagogue. That large, domed building was destroyed in the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms. 



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