U.S. Report

BOSTON (JTA) — A Jewish scholar's view of the Bible won a $200,000 religion award from a Christian seminary in Kentucky.

"The Bible as It Was," by James Kugel, which deals with early interpretations of the Bible, won the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary's 2001 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Kugel is a professor of Jewish and Hebrew literature at Harvard University and a Bible professor at Israel's Bar-Ilan University.

Looted works of art may find way home

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An agreement reached between American art museums and a U.S. presidential Holocaust commission could pave the way for the return of some Nazi-looted artworks to rightful heirs.

Under the agreement, the museums must disclose on their Web sites the background of all art works acquired between 1933 and 1945 in an effort to determine whether their collections include Nazi-looted works.

Details of the agreement, which reportedly still needs to be finalized, are expected to be released later this month.

Conservative agenda: Combat intermarriage

NEW YORK (JTA) — In what it calls a major attempt to reduce intermarriage, the Conservative movement is spending $250,000 to double membership in youth groups, increase outreach on college campuses and enroll more students at its Jerusalem yeshiva.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism announced the new initiative at a board meeting Monday. The action follows results of a just-published study debunking the myth that most American Jews oppose intermarriage.

More than half of those surveyed disagree with the statement, "It would pain me if my child married a gentile," and 50 percent agree that "it is racist to oppose Jewish-gentile marriages," according to the American Jewish Committee's 2000 Survey of American Jewish Opinion.

Silicon Wadi swallows a Silicon Valley firm

SAN FRANCISCO (JPS) — The Israeli technology firm Optibase Ltd. in announced Monday that it has signed papers to acquire Viewgraphics Inc., a privately held company based in Mountain View.

The aggregate consideration will amount to roughly $30 million in cash and $1.37 million newly issued shares of Optibase's common stock, worth approximately $16.2 million at the agreed trading price of $11.80 per share.

The Herzliya-based firm provides products that enable the preparation and delivery of digital media over broadband networks and are used in such applications as real-time video streaming and digital video archiving.

Optibase, which operates through its wholly owned subsidiary in San Jose has seen its stock fall precipitously during the Nasdaq bear market, losing about 75 percent of its value and dropping from a company worth nearly $400 million to a company now worth around $100 million.

Because of the concentration of established technology companies and new start-ups in Herzliya, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel has come to be regarded as Silicon Wadi.

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