Jewish Times Asia March 2015
Jewish Times Asia
Japan’s Orchid Festival has Israeli presence
Publisher & Founder Philip Jay
Israel’s Ambassador to Japan, Ruth Kahanoff represented Israel in Japan’s Grand Prix International Orchid Festival which was recently held in the Tokyo Dome.
Chabad to open in Angola
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Chabad’s global geographical presence is truly immense. It has locations throughout the US, North America, South America, Europe, Asia & Africa.
The festival which ran from 14-22 February, is the largest orchid festival in the world. The festival has been held annually since 1991. Japan’s Princess Takamado with Ruth Kahanoff
One of the exhibits, second place in the individual judging was Emerald Future ‘Perfection’.
Israel’s orchid table display, was designed by Ambassador Kahanoff and contained an assortment of Judaica and Israeli elements such as a Menorah and an ancient vase. Her highness Princess Takamado, who is the patron of the flower show, paid a visit to the Israeli stand.
The event attracts participants from around 20 countries. There are approximately 3,000 varieties of orchids, as well as around 100,000 orchid plants (tropical, temperate, oriental and Japanese orchids). The event included many prizes and awards for the best orchids by category.
Rabbi pleads guilty to filming women in Mikvah
Rabbi Barry Freundel, the former spiritual leader at a prominent Washington synagogue, Kesher Israel, in the US has pleaded guilty to 52 counts of misdemeanor voyeurism.
The plea means that Freundel could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of 52 years in prison and ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Sentencing was postponed until 15 May. Freundel, 63, was arrested last October on six charges of voyeurism after investigators discovered secret cameras installed in the mikvah shower room and additional recording devices in his home. The government requested that Freundel wear an electronic ankle bracelet. Prosecu-
tors have told alleged victims that Freundel secretly recorded more than 150 women undressing at the mikvah. Women were videotaped as they used the National Capital Mikvah. “I didn’t expect it to be over. I am glad it is,” said Jeffrey Shulevitz, the husband of Emma Shulevitz, one of Freundel’s victims. “The rabbi was a brilliant man, and he used it to harm people instead of making the world a better place.” Civil suits have been filed against Freundel, the synagogue, the mikvah and the Rabbinical Council of America. Freundel, who reportedly separated from his wife after his arrest, had refused to leave his synagogue-owned residence, and the congregation has taken the case to the Beth Din of
America. WTOP, a local news radio station, reported that he is now planning to vacate the house within two weeks. The synagogue and the mikvah issued statements following the plea hearing. “Despite this great betrayal by Rabbi Freundel and our communal pain, we have seen a community that has come together and whose members have leaned on one another for support,” Kesher Israel said. “As we move forward, we will continue to grow stronger and are committed to ensuring that our community remains a warm, welcoming, and safe place to gather, worship, and learn.”
The National Capital Mikvah noted in its statement that its staff was the first to alert police to Freundel’s crimes.
Jewish gravestones desecrated again in New Zealand Three headstones were vandalized last month in the Jewish section of a cemetery in Dunedin, New Zealand. A swastika was painted on one headstone and two others were broken. Dunedin is the second larg-
est city on the South Island of New Zealand with a population of over 124,000. “We find this type of vandalism not only to be ignorant and stupid, but also state that the underlying menace behind it is disturbing and worrying,” said Andrew Spiegel, a member of the Dunedin
This incident comes on the back of a previously reported desecration of headstones in 2012 at the Grafton Cemetery in Aukland. Three men aged 1923 were arrested and charged. More than 20 graves, all more
Since the end of its civil war in 2002, Angola has flurried with foreign investment in its infrastructure, along with its minerals, diamonds, oil and land. In turn, the country’s Jewish population has grown exponentially. A decision has now been made to open up a permanent Jewish centre in Angola. With their baby daughter, Rabbi Levi Itshak and Dvora Léa Chekly will be relocating from Paris to serve as Chabad representatives to Angola. As a rabbinical student, Chekly travelled on many occasions to Pointe Noire and Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo to lead services and Jewish activities. The couple speaks Hebrew, English and French, an asset to a population comprised of Israelis, Americans and Europeans. They will establish their base in Luanda.
Until now, the local Jewish community was served by visiting rabbinical students during the summer months and Jewish holidays. Priorities will include establishing a synagogue, adult education classes, a Hebrew School and kosher food availability.
Rabbi Levi Itshak and Dvora Léa Chekly
than 125 years old and some dating back to the 1880s, were vandalised. Fourteen were spray-painted with large black swastikas, many had the numbers “88” – code for “Heil Hitler” sprayed on them and two had further anti-semitic obscenities.
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Published on Mar 6, 2015
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