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Yom Kippur In Uganda: An Easier Fast This Year

Oct 8, 2019

Before Yom Kippur begins at sundown Tuesday, members of Uganda's Namutumba synagogue will sit down to a festive meal to prepare themselves physically and spiritually for the Day of Atonement.

This Jewish custom of the seuda hamafseket is new for this community, whose members have often entered the 25-hour-long fast on empty stomachs owing to drought and food shortages.

As some may know, Cincinnati is the birthplace of Reform Judaism. In 1853, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise came here and enacted changes that drastically altered Jewish life, such as choral singing and seating men and women together in pews. His temple – now his namesake – still stands Downtown on Plum Street. In 1888, Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz started Manischewitz in Cincinnati, the famous kosher brand whose square matzoh (an unleavened bread) was revolutionary because it was made by machine (and thus no longer round). Manischewitz was based here until the 1930s, when it moved to New Jersey. 

A local organization is trying a new way to satisfy the community’s cravings for traditional Jewish food. Every other year, Temple Israel Sisterhood hosts the Art and Jewish Food Festival in Akron.

After nearly two weeks of review by the U.S. Attorney’s office, federal charges in the case of a Aug. 11 threat against Youngstown’s Jewish Community Center were unsealed Aug. 29.

James P. Reardon, 20, of New Middletown, Ohio, was arrested Aug. 16 and charged with one federal count of transmitting threatening communications via interstate commerce. Federal law allows for several weeks of investigation, officials said at a press conference Thursday at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland, and the ongoing investigation could result in additional federal charges.

President Trump doubled down Wednesday on his remarks that American Jews who vote for Democrats are disloyal to Israel.

"In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel," Trump told reporters outside the White House on Wednesday, "and only weak people would say anything other than that."

Last year, I was chatting with a colleague, Joe Palca, about what we did over the weekend. "I made gefilte fish," I said.

"Oh, my grandmother used to make it with tuna fish," Joe said.

My jaw dropped to my toes.

Tuna fish? From a can?

Yup. That's what she did. "I didn't care for it," Joe told me, although he couldn't remember exactly why. He was, he adds, a fan of non-tuna gefilte fish.

Friday evening marks the first Shabbat since the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre last weekend, and Jewish leaders want Americans of all faiths to come and send, "a resounding message that love triumphs over hate."

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is spearheading the effort using the #ShowUpForShabbat social media campaign. It is to both show solidarity for the 11 victims killed at the Tree of Life synagogue, but also to signal that the Jewish community will not live in fear.

Nick Castele / ideastream

The Anti-Defamation League says the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend has left Ohio’s Jews in a state of shock. While synagogues step up security measures, congregations have held vigils around the state to remember those killed at the Tree Of Life.

Ohio State Wexner Jewish Student Center

This weekend's mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, which left 11 dead and several others injured, spurred Jewish leaders in Central Ohio to step up their security measures.

Updated Oct. 31 at 4:34 p.m. ET

Eleven people were killed on Saturday when a gunman entered Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue and opened fire on the congregants. The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97; eight were men, three were women. Two of them were brothers, and two were a married couple.

Chuck Diamond was a rabbi at Tree of Life until about a year ago, and he remains a member of the community, living just around the corner from the synagogue. He knew many of the victims.

Updated at 12:14 a.m. ET on Sunday

Federal prosecutors have charged Robert Bowers, the 46-year-old suspected gunman who carried out a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, with 29 counts in the deaths of 11 people, The Associated Press reports.

"Please know that justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe," Scott Brady, the chief federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania, said at a news conference, according to the AP, describing the massacre as a "terrible and unspeakable act of hate."

Israel's parliament has passed a controversial bill defining the country as the homeland of the Jews — asserting Jerusalem as the capital, Hebrew as the official language and that the right of national self-determination is "unique to the Jewish people."

The government says the bill only enshrines into law what had long been integral to Israel's existing character, but the country's minority Arabs, which make up about 20 percent of the country's 9 million people, see the change as akin to establishing apartheid.

Passover is a holiday celebrating the Jews' exodus from slavery — and also a broader embrace of the coming spring, of fresh green shoots both literal and metaphorical. But the menu? More often than not, in America, you're talking stodgy winter foods like gefilte fish and brisket, seasoned (if at all) with heavy aromatics. These aren't dishes that point to the coming spring. They're dishes that come from the root cellar.

The Anti-Defamation League has released its annual report of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. for 2017.

Last year marked the largest single-year increase nationwide since the ADL began tracking incidents in the late ‘70s. Ohio ranked 19th in the nation with 26 anti-Semitic incidents reported last year. In terms of per capita incidents, Ohio ranked in the lower half of states at number 34.

M.L. Schultze / WKSU

Sunday marks the culmination of one discussion among Jews and Muslims in Northeast Ohio -- and the start of another one. The local dialogue predates Charlottesville, the Muslim travel ban and the election of Donald Trump.

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