Shorts: Bay Area

Human rights rabbi to speak in Bay Area

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel, will be making a number of appearances in the Bay Area.

Ascherman is currently awaiting trial for standing in front of bulldozers in an attempt to prevent two Palestinian homes without proper permits from being demolished by Israel. The former rabbi of Temple Beth Hillel in Richmond was arrested most recently for protesting at the site of the Israeli security barrier, where he alleges he was used by the Israeli army as a human shield.

Ascherman will be speaking 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., S.F.; 10 a.m. Thursday, May 13, at Congregation Beth Sholom, 642 Dolores Ave., San Leandro; 4 p.m. Sunday, May 16, at Congregation Kol Emeth, 4175 Manuela Ave., Palo Alto; 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 16, at Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley; and 8 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at Congregation Rodef Sholom, 170 San Pedro Road, San Rafael. For information, call (415) 789-7685.

Student charged in Hillel flag theft

A 19-year-old U.C. Davis student was arrested and charged with stealing the Israeli flag from the school’s Hillel house and leaving a threatening note at the site.

An anonymous tip led Davis police detectives to the dorm room of Jowad Bassam Younis on Thursday, April 29. The flag, which was reported missing in mid-April, was discovered in his possession, and he was additionally charged with previously stealing an Israeli flag from Hillel in August of 2003, according to police.

Younis faces counts of possession of stolen property, a hate crime of “national origin” as well as charges of petty theft, vandalism and an additional hate count stemming from last August’s incident.

Lawsuit delays cemetery plans

A planned Jewish cemetery in Contra Costa County is on hold again after a group of its would-be neighbors filed a last-minute lawsuit.

The Briones Hills Preservation Alliance filed suit on Wednesday, April 23, just beating a one-month window following the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors’ approval of the Gan Shalom cemetery plan.

The BHPA also moved for a re-hearing with the Board of Supervisors, citing new data regarding pollution of Pinole Creek by a potential cemetery.

Frank Winer, the president of Gan Shalom, Inc., expressed extreme frustration, stating he knew the cemetery’s potential neighbors would put up a fight, but he feels it has gotten out of hand.

Edward Shaffer, Gan Shalom’s attorney, was uncertain what sort of delay the lawsuit would entail.