Two Jewish teenagers told police they narrowly escaped an attack near Paris by a hatchet-wielding man and three others. The incident occurred last week and was reported by JTA.

The attack occurred late at night on the holiday of Shavuot (June 4), treat in Romainville, a northeastern suburb of the French capital, according to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA.

The teens, aged 14 and 15, said they were walking to the Lilac Synagogue with their grandfather to attend Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a custom in which scripture is studied all night. While crossing the town’s Market Square, the two boys and their grandfather, all wearing kippahs, said they were followed by a tall man in his 20s wearing a long beard. They described him as having an athletic figure and an Arab appearance.

Producing a hatchet, the man began to chase the two boys, according to the BNVCA report, then whistled to three other men who joined the chase. The boys and their grandfather filed complaints with police, BNVCA President Sammy Ghozlan wrote.

Last month, BNVCA and SPCJ, the watchdog of France’s Jewish communities, documented two suspected anti-Semitic beatings of Jews in the Paris suburb of Creteil. Also last month, police received a report about three men who were filming the entrance to the local Jewish school of Creteil, Otzar Hatora.

In March 2012, France saw a sharp increase in anti-Semitic acts following the murder by an Islamist radical of four Jews at a Jewish school in Toulouse, also named Otzar Hatora.

On May 24, four people were killed in an armed attack at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in central Brussels.

French and Belgian police believe they were shot dead by Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old Frenchman whom French authorities said fought in Syria with jihadists last year.

By Arutz 7

Anti-racism activists vowed Monday to file a criminal complaint against the far-right National Front’s founder Jean-Marie Le Pen after he used an apparently anti-Semitic pun about ovens to dismiss one of his Jewish critics.

In a video clip posted on the French National Front’s website and later removed, cialis Le Pen, prostate 85, order lashed out against several of his critics, including the former tennis champion Yannick Noah and the pop star Madonna. When questioned about the French singer Patrick Bruel, who is Jewish and has been critical of the National Front, Le Pen said: “We’ll include him in the next batch.” In the comment, Le Pen used the French word “fournée,” which refers to a batch of bread to be baked, and was interpreted by his critics to be a reference to crematories at Nazi death camps.

The far-right National Front, which campaigns against immigration and the European Union, received more votes than France’s mainstream parties in recent elections for seats in the European Parliament and has also become a political force in France’s regions. Its leader, Marine Le Pen, who is Jean-Marie Le Pen’s daughter, has been seeking to rebrand the party as a mainstream organization, in part by distancing herself from the party’s anti-Semitic past. Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has several convictions for inciting racial hatred, has previously described the Nazi gas chambers as a “detail” of history.

On Sunday, Marine Le Pen said that her father had made a “political error” in making his latest remarks, even as she told Le Figaro, the French newspaper, that the “meaning given to his comments is a malicious interpretation.”

On Monday, Jean-Marie Le Pen appeared to chastise his daughter, saying that several leaders of the National Front had seemed to condone “the phantasmagoria evoked by our enemies.”

“It is they who have made a political mistake, not me,” Jean-Marie Le Pen told the French broadcaster RMC.

The comments threatened to widen an intergenerational rift in the National Front, which has been tugged in one direction by hard-liners on the extreme right like Jean-Marie Le Pen and in a different direction by a newer generation under Marine Le Pen’s leadership, which is seeking to give the party a softer image.

Other members of the party were more forthright in criticizing Jean-Marie Le Pen. Louis Aliot, the vice president of the party who is also Marine Le Pen’s boyfriend, told the French media that if Jean-Marie Le Pen had used the word “fournée,” then the comment was “politically stupid” and “dismaying.” Jean-Marie Le Pen said his words had been misinterpreted, and had contained no anti-Semitic connotation.

“If there are people in my camp that have interpreted it in this way, they are nothing but imbeciles,” he told the radio broadcaster France Info.

The outcry over Jean-Marie Le Pen’s comments comes amid growing concerns among France’s 500,000-strong Jewish community about anti-Semitism, fuelled by the rise of the far right as well as by recent episodes of violence against Jews.

The community was shaken earlier this month when it emerged that a man raised in France had been accused of an attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May, which resulted in the deaths of four people and which law enforcement officials have said was motivated by anti-Semitism. Last month, two brothers wearing skullcaps who were leaving a synagogue in Créteil near Paris were beaten by two unknown men with brass knuckles.

Aline Le Bail-Kremer, a spokeswoman for SOS Racisme, an anti-racism group, on Monday denounced Jean-Marie Le Pen’s comments and said that her group would file a criminal complaint against him. “Marine Le Pen calls this a political fault, but this is blatant anti-Semitism and it is scandalous,” she said by phone. “Calling for Jews to be sent to the ovens is not a political mistake. It is an incitement and a moral fault of the highest order.”

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, called on the European Union to strip Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is a member of the European Parliament, of his parliamentary immunity. He also called for the French authorities to charge Jean-Marie Le Pen with inciting hatred. “Le Pen has unmasked the true face of the far right of Europe days after their electoral successes in the European Parliament,” he said in a statement. “While some have tried to whitewash and mainstream these parties, Le Pen’s comments demonstrate that they still stand on foundations of hatred, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.”

Writing on Twitter, Bruel noted that Jean-Marie Le Pen had once again shown his true face and the true face of his party.

By The New York Times

Frank Dimant, the CEO of B’nai B’rith Canada, said he refused to meet South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu during his visit to Canada last week due to Tutu’s anti-Israel views.

Tutu, 82, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work against apartheid in South Africa, has become involved in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. As part of his visit to Canada, Tutu spoke at a conference opposing the Oil Sands project and Keystone XL pipeline in the Canadian province of Alberta, and addressed Aboriginal rights in the region.

“One need only look at the record of Archbishop Desmond Tutu to see that he is clearly not a friend of Israel or the Jewish people,” Dimant said in a statement.

Dimant added, “The Archbishop has, on numerous occasions, referred to Israel as apartheid and called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish state. Furthermore, his assertion that Zionism ‘has very many parallels with racism’ should not be acceptable to any rational person.”

Although B’nai Brith would not meet with Tutu, in a private meeting, Tutu met with CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel, CIJA Chair David Koschitzky, board member Berl Nadler, philanthropist Michael Dan and Bernie Farber, former Canadian Jewish Congress CEO.

Fogel said that the archbishop was “entirely unrepentant and unapologetic,” showing no willingness to amend his position, according to a report in the CJN.

“I clearly state that [CIJA] had every right to meet [Archbishop Tutu],” Dimant told the CJN, adding that “we’re just saying that we chose, in representing our constituency, not to meet with him.”


The gun that may have been used on the Saturday morning shooting on Parc Avenue corner Fairmount which left 1 man dead and 1 woman injured was found Sunday afternoon in the driveway of the Munkatch Shul at 1030 St Viateur O.

Police have cordoned off the area.

Further updates to follow.


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The Spanish government approved a draft law on Friday allowing descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the country in 1492 to seek Spanish nationality without giving up their current citizenship.

Although the law must be approved by Spanish parliament before it can become the law of the land, there was little doubt that it would be passed, with the ruling conservatives holding an absolute parliamentary majority.

“This law establishes the criteria for the concession of (Spanish) nationality for the Sephardic citizens,” Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said during a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Around 300,000 Jews lived in Spain before the ‘Reyes Catolicos’, Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, ordered Jews and Muslims to convert to the Catholic faith or leave the country.

The law, which was first unveiled in February, potentially allows an estimated 3.5 million Sephardic Jews whose ancestors settled in countries such as Israel, France, the United States, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina and Chile to apply for Spanish nationality.

Applicants must prove their Sephardic background through a certificate from the federation of the Jewish community in Spain or from the head of the Jewish community in which they reside, through their language or ancestry.

Spanish law does not normally allow dual citizenship except for people from neighbouring Andorra or Portugal or former colonies such as the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Latin American countries.

By The Jerusalem Post

Israeli President Shimon Peres arrived in Rome to take part in a “call for peace, viagra ” with Pope Francis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Peres arrived in Rome Sunday morning for the Vatican visit. During the main event with the three leaders as well as delegations of Jewish, sickness Christian and Islamic faith leaders, they will issue a joint call for peace to people across the world.

The peace event scheduled for 7 p.m. in Rome will incorporate all three religions and will include readings dedicated to each of the three religions that call for peace, according to Peres’ office.

The Israeli delegation includes rabbis, Druze leaders and Imams. The Palestinian delegation is expected to include Islamic and Christian leaders. Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Muslim professor Omar Abboud, two friends of the Pope’s from Buenos Aires, also are scheduled to attend.

The event is scheduled to take place in Vatican Gardens, where there are no Christian religious symbols.

On Saturday the Pope tweeted about the upcoming prayer service: “Prayer is all-powerful. Let us use it to bring peace to the Middle East and peace to the world.”

Vatican officials have called the service a “pause in politics” with no political intentions.

The pope made the invitation following the celebration of Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem during his visit last month to the Palestinian West Bank city.

In his invitation, the pope said, “I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.  …  All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers.”

Later, he added, “Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.”

The offer came a month after the collapse of nine months of U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Peres will leave office at the end of July.


A Canadian judge has last week invalidated the will of a man who left his estate to a U.S. neo-Nazi group.

A court in New Brunswick ruled June 5 that the National Alliance, cialis an American hate group, ailment may not inherit the estate of Robert McCorkill because such a bequest would run counter to Canadian public policy.

Even before he died in 2004, McCorkill, a one-time member of the National Alliance, left his entire estate to the group. His assets included a valuable coin collection, Nazi memorabilia and, reportedly, even a human skull.

In a 43-page decision, the judge voided the will, ruling that the written materials of the National Alliance were “racist, white-supremacist and hate-inspired,” and that the group “stands for principles and policies […] that are both illegal and contrary to public policy in Canada.”

While McCorkill’s bequest does not advocate violence, it “would unavoidably lead to violence because the NA, in its communications, both advocates and supports its use by others of like mind, such as skinheads,” the judge ruled.
The bequest, he added, is “repugnant” because the NA’s goals and methods “are criminal in Canada.”

A retired chemistry professor, McCorkill was recruited into the National Alliance in 1998. He later lived at the group’s compound in West Virginia, where he edited the final book written by its founder William Pierce, author of the infamous far-right screed, “The Turner Diaries.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, or CIJA, and B’nai Brith Canada were both interveners in the case. They argued that McCorkill’s collection, which included ancient Greek and Roman coins valued at some $250,000, would revitalize the Alliance.

It’s now “a severely diminished group barely holding onto its shrinking membership,” CIJA said in a statement. “The injection of about a quarter million dollars might have breathed new life into this dying organization. Let this decision stand as a stark reminder that we must remain ever vigilant in our efforts to not allow such hatemongers the oxygen to spread their toxic vitriol.”

This past Shabbos morning, decease congregants at the Mesivta Shul in the Mile End were taking the Sefer Torahs out of the Aron Kodesh when two police officers and a dog entered the Beis Midrash.

Most people inside the Shul had already heard about the shooting that at taken place around 2:45 that morning on the corner of Fairmount and Parc Avenue. The street had been closed off for most of the morning.

A 23-year-old man had been killed, find and a 21-year-old woman injured, when someone opened fire inside Le Cabaret du Mile End, a show bar where a musical group was launching their album.

The police officers explained that they already had a suspect in custody, but they were looking for his gun. Witnesses had spotted the alleged shooter, a 25-year-old man, get into his car and flee, and police eventually found the suspect a couple of blocks from where the scene of the crime.

Several members of the Shul guided the police officers through the Shul, the kitchen, and the back porch. The police officers then thanked the congregants and left to continue their search.

Police spokesperson Manuel Couture did not say whether the weapon was ultimately found.

By Zvi Hershcovich –

Ontario kosher consumers could have a locally produced source of chickens by the end of the year, according to a spokesperson for Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO), a producers’ group that regulates the provincial poultry quota under the authority of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. – See more at:

Ontario Kosher consumers could have locally produced source of chickens by the end of the year, according to a spokesperson for Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO), a producers’ group that regulates the provincial poultry quota under the authority of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture.

The CFO received a number of applications to produce kosher chickens to serve the Ontario market under a request for proposal whose deadline expired on May 30.

“We are expectant that we will have an Ontario partner to produce kosher chickens for the Ontario Jewish community, up and running this year,” said Michael Edmonds, director of communications and government relations for the CFO.

Edmonds declined to name the applicants or state how many there were. The CFO’s board will examine the applications and make a decision based “on the strength of the business proposal,” he said.

Edmonds said the CFO had agreed to increase the number of chickens in Ontario that can be processed to meet the kosher consumption needs of the Jewish community. Normally new entrants to the business must purchase the quota held by another processor.

Up until May 2013, kosher consumers in Canada were served by two chicken producers, Marvid, based in Montreal, and Chai, based in Toronto. Chai sold its quota last May to a halal producer, leading to a shortage of kosher chickens.

Marvid has stepped up production to meet consumer demand, but apparently not all Toronto consumers are satisfied with their birds.

“The community very clearly told us they’re looking for Ontario kosher chickens,” Edmonds said. “We’ve received numerous calls from consumers and retailers that there was not enough high quality processed kosher chickens in Ontario right now.”

By The Canadian Jewish News

In his book Kosher, seek Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food, and American author Timothy Lytton recounts an old rabbinic joke featuring two mythical creatures created by God at the dawn of time: the Behemoth, cialis a giant ox, and the Leviathan, a giant fish.

In the joke, a rabbi explains to his students that at the end of days, when the Messiah arrives, there will be a feast and God will slaughter the Behemoth to feed the entire world. The Leviathan will also be slaughtered at the same time, and it too will be used to feed the entire world.

“But rabbi,” one of his students asks, “if the Behemoth can feed the entire world, why also slaughter the Leviathan?”

“Because there will be those who won’t believe the Behemoth is kosher, so they will be able to eat fish,” the rabbi answers.

Clearly, disputes over kashrut go back a long way – and if there’s any truth to the joke, the Messiah’s arrival might not resolve the matter.

Lytton, a professor of law at Albany Law School, told The CJN that the current certification system in North America, in which a handful of big players effectively dominate the market, developed as a result of widespread corruption and uncertainty in the kosher food market in the early days of the 20th century.

Things then were so bad that people had no confidence that the food they might consume was actually kosher. Many kosher-observant Jews simply stopped eating meat, because they did not trust any certification.

Standards began improving 50 or 60 years ago, and today, industrial producers of all sorts of foods eagerly seek out kosher certification for entry into a desirable market.

But rivalries among certification agencies can have a negative effect, Lytton writes.

“Personal animus and institutional rivalries can skew judgments about reliability. Information networks and supply-chain influence can be used to poach clients and stifle competition.

“Too many rivalries and accusations can spill over and create a public perception and a consumer response that is bad for both sides.”

Kosher certification agencies, are “hostages of each other… If the competition gets too bad or nasty, it tends to degrade the reputation of kosher supervision overall. If the nastiness gets bad enough, the history of kosher certification suggests it will be bad for the public reputations of all the certifiers. There’s a long history in kosher certification of rabbis running each other down, and if they do it in public, the public won’t trust any of them,” he said.

One solution to infighting among certification agencies is being considered in Israel.

Naftali Bennett, the country’s economy and trade minister, who also serves as minister for religious services, recently announced plans to introduce a three-tier system that aims to make certification easier for restaurants and their patrons.

According to The Times of Israel, Bennett’s system would award food-producing establishments with one to three stars, indicating their level of adherence to Judaism’s dietary laws.

“Each business or company can decide how many stars it wants,” Bennett said.

The new approach would also revise the system of funding for certifications. Currently, food establishments pay for their own supervision, a practice that has drawn criticism for creating potential conflicts of interest for inspectors. The new reform proposes a third-party body that would handle the financial side of the kashrut supervision.

The Times of Israel reported there was plenty of criticism of the new government plan. Shahar Ilan, deputy director of Hiddush, an Israeli non-profit organization that promotes religious freedom and equality, said Bennett’s arrangement would maintain the state rabbinate’s monopoly over the kashrut system instead of opening it up to the free market.

He called on authorities to encourage kashrut liberalization, including non-religious, Reform, and Conservative kosher certifications, enabling consumers to choose to be kosher according to their own beliefs.

Lawrence Lax, a kosher consumer and an addiction counsellor by profession, has his own suggestions about reforming kosher supervision in Toronto. He suggests that the Kashruth Council of Canada, which administers the COR hechsher and is known by that name, faces “a conflict of interest” in its operations – though different than the one centred on the way mashgichim are paid.

“On the one hand, they have to be of service to the people they work with in the food industry,” Lax said. “On the other hand, they have to make it possible for us to have kosher food at good prices.”

He suggested that COR should use its market clout to negotiate better prices for meat.

Lax also suggested COR should transition into a community service organization; that it “age-out senior salaries” when older employees retire; and turn over most mashgiach services to young men coming out of yeshivas who wouldn’t command large salaries.

COR declined to answer The CJN’s questions. It published an “Open Letter to the Jewish community” in which it described itself as being “dedicated to serving our community. “COR is a not-for-profit organization and all fees collected go towards covering our operations and providing services to the community. In the food service division (i.e. restaurants and caterers) we actually operate at a financial deficit – our expenses are greater than our fees. We are able to marginally compensate for this loss from our other divisions. Customers choose COR because they know that we are reliable, we provide professional service and our prices are in line with the other major kosher certifiers,” COR’s open letter stated.

COR, however, has adopted the practice being criticized in Israel – it permits restaurants, caterers and suppliers to employ mashgichim directly, though they report to COR and are under the supervision of COR personnel.

Moti Bensalmon, a spokesman for Badatz Toronto, a kosher certification agency founded in 2008, said, “the conflict of interest whereby a mashgiach is paid directly by a business is finally going to end in Israel. Any agency allowing mashgichim to be paid by ownership loses its credibility in today’s world.”

Referring to other Israeli proposals for reform of its kashrut certification system, Bensalmon rejected the idea of a three-tiered approach.

“I believe a three-tiered system is bad here and in Israel. What we need to strive for is a solid one-tier system that is acceptable to everyone.This means that the haredim and modern Orthodox should negotiate unified minimum standards and apply them to everyone.

“If a restaurant or caterer wants a higher level of supervision, there are many reputable private hechsherim that can fill the void. What Bennett is trying to do is undermine the legitimate operations of the private hechshers and have the government be the sole certifier of kashrut.

“I believe the best way to move forward is for the Israeli Rabbanut to be more of a governing body for all hechshers. In order to provide kosher certification, the non-government hechshers would have to be accredited by the Rabbanut, meet certain standards, regulate their business practices and treat their mashgichim with fairness.

“This would also eliminate the back-room deals and put an end to agencies blocking each others’ products from entry into their establishments. This is the real solution, and it will open the hashgachah market up to more real and fair competition, which would eventually bring all prices down,” he said.

As to Badatz’s disputes with COR, Bensalmon said, “Everywhere there is a large Jewish community like Toronto, there are multiple kashrut agencies. It’s a fact of life that the COR must come to terms with. We harbour no ill will to the individuals running COR in any way. We would like to run our organization without interference from COR and vice versa.

“We have reached out to them multiple times and tried to have meaningful discussions centred on having two organizations operate by the same sets of rules in Toronto. Their position we were told is that the only solution is to join COR under their leadership and administration. As we see in other parts of the world, it’s difficult to reach an agreement with people who harbour those views.”

By Paul Lungen – Canadian Jewish News