Shorts: U.S.

Jews try to influence divestment poll

washington (jta) | Jewish activists are trying to influence a poll asking whether churches should divest from Israel.

A flurry of e-mails urges Jews to vote no in an online poll of the Christian Science Monitor, which shows 60 percent of voters favoring a church boycott of companies that do business with Israel.

The poll comes amid heated debate over the issue since the Presbyterian Church USA voted in July to drop its investments in companies that do business with Israel.

In November, the Episcopal Church’s governing board voted to look into the church’s corporate investments and take appropriate action with “companies that contribute to the infrastructure of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” as well as “companies that have connections to organizations responsible for violence against Israel.”

Orlando residents in dark about Auschwitz

new york (jta) | Nearly two-thirds of the residents of Orlando, Fla., do not know that Auschwitz was a concentration camp, a new survey found.

According to the poll conducted by the Orlando-based International Society for Sephardic Progress, 63 percent of respondents could not identify the notorious Nazi death camp.

The study comes on the heels of a recent survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation that found 45 percent of British adults had never heard of Auschwitz.

“We were stunned” by the BBC results, said Shelomo Alfassa, the Sephardic group’s executive director. “The Orlando findings, 63 percent, were even more discouraging.”

The new survey, conducted among 840 Orlando residents between Dec. 5 and Dec. 26, had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.