Sunday, May 9th 2021   |

News

At Jewish day schools, principals struggle with how to celebrate Lag B’Omer and commemorate the tragedy at Meron

By BEN SALES

(JTA) — After months of distanced learning, Sharon Levin was excited for her school to celebrate Lag B’Omer together on Friday with a day of outdoor activities.

The spring holiday, which is popular among students at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy near Philadelphia, was to include a picnic, a bonfire and a mini-color war, or tournament where students in blue and students in white faced off against...

Netanyahu declares national day of mourning as tragedy strikes during Lag B’Omer in Meron

(JNS) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a national day of mourning for Sunday over the disaster that took place at a massive Lag B’Omer gathering at the foot of Mount Meron on Friday morning.

Dozens of people were crushed to death in a stampede that broke out in the early hours on Friday, where more than 100,000 pilgrims, mostly haredi Jews, had gathered to honor Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a...

What is Israel’s Mount Meron and why were so many Orthodox Jews gathered there for the Lag B’Omer holiday?

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ

(JTA) — “If you haven’t seen the joy of Lag B’Omer on the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, you haven’t seen joy at all,” wrote the author Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Israel’s first Nobel Prize laureate.

That description reflects an aspect of the annual pilgrimage to Mount Meron in northern Israel that was underlined by the deaths on Friday of at least 45 revelers in a stampede:...

JPPI survey answers questions of the numbers of pilgrims at Meron

(JERUSALEM) – In light of the tragic loss of life at Meron on Lag B’Omer, the question of how many visit the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai there has been raised.

Several newspapers have regularly reported that “hundreds of thousands” of Israelis make the pilgrimage there, but some media have reported the figure as “half a million people.”

While there is no accurate way to measure the actual numbers,...

President Rivlin spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah, others after Meron tragedy

(JERUSALEM) – President Reuven “Ruvi” Rivlin spoke on the telephone today with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, who called to express his condolences on behalf of the Jordanian people following the massive loss of life and injuries sustained at Mt. Meron last night.

This is Israel’s worst civil disaster with at least 45 dead and more than 150 injured, some critically.

The president thanked the king and said...

ADL calls on Oregon university president to resign over firing of Jewish professor who alleged antisemitism

(JTA) — Criticism is mounting over the firing of a Jewish professor who accused his Oregon university’s leadership of making antisemitic comments, with the local branch of the Anti-Defamation League joining calls for the president of the school to resign.

Students as well as fellow academics are also protesting the decision by Linfield University, a Baptist-affiliated school with some 2,000 students, to fire Daniel Pollack-Pelzner. According to The Oregonian, the...

For the first time, a woman will lead an Israeli Orthodox synagogue

(JTA) — A woman will be the spiritual leader of an Israeli Orthodox synagogue for the first time. Shirat Hatamar, a congregation in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, elected Rabbanit Shira Marili Mirvis, 40, as spiritual leader on Monday with the support of 83% of its membership.

“I truly hold in my heart all of the women, across all of the generations, who are greater than me, and smarter...

Netanyahu backs down on Cabinet appointment of loyalist, averting a constitutional crisis in Israel

(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed down Wednesday from his attempt to install a loyalist as justice minister while he is being tried in court on corruption charges.

The last-minute decision by Netanyahu to allow his political rival Benny Gantz to assume the role of justice minister in a transitional capacity comes as the country awaits the composition of a new government following the national election in March. 

...

LGBTQ students sue Yeshiva University for discrimination

NEW YORK (JTA) — A group of students and alumni is suing Yeshiva University for discrimination, claiming that the university violated New York City’s human rights law when it refused to recognize an LGBTQ student club.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in New York County Supreme Court.

Over the last few years, the students repeatedly lobbied the university’s administration to formally recognize a Gay-Straight Alliance club. The university, a prominent...

Baptist-affiliated Oregon college fires Jewish tenured professor who alleged antisemitism

By BEN SALES

(JTA) — Linfield University, a small liberal arts school in Oregon, has fired a Jewish professor who accused the college’s president of making antisemitic remarks.

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, a tenured professor who taught English literature, has accused Linfield President Miles K. Davis of making multiple antisemitic remarks in recent years. The antisemitism, he said, was partly a backlash to Pollack-Pelzner demanding that the school do more to address...