Shorts: Mideast

Modesty court rules on clothes kashrut

The strictly Orthodox sector has established a new modesty court to grant kashrut certificate to women’s clothing stores

Lycra has become an issue, as it has grown in popularity among haredi women in recent years. The fabric stretches over the body and, according to rabbis, exposes parts that should be concealed.

The ultra-Orthodox newspaper Bakehila reported that an assembly of rabbis gathered at the home of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the “great posek” (arbiter of Jewish law) and formed the modesty court.

Court representatives will examine the garments sold in stores and will grant kashrut certificates to vendors. — ynet

Forest dedicated to Coretta Scott King

Americans and Israelis joined Thursday, April 31 in Washington to dedicate a Galilee forest in memory of Coretta Scott King.

The Biriya Forest was destroyed by Hezbollah rockets during last summer’s war. The dedication ceremony focused on themes of reforestation and cultivating the environment, derived from the Jewish teaching of tikkun olam, or “repairing the world.”

Sallai Meridor, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, and U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and Artur Davis (D-Ala.), members of the Congressional Black Caucus, attended a ceremonial cherry-tree planting near the entrance of Faith Tabernacle United Holy Church. — jta

Israeli firm buys Times building

An Israeli conglomerate is buying the New York Times building.

Africa Israel Investments Ltd. announced this week that it would buy the midtown Manhattan landmark for $525 million. The newspaper’s staff is expected to relocate in July.

According to Ma’ariv, Israeli investors hold nearly $4 billion in prime New York real estate. Africa Israel plans to have other investors join the deal, which is expected to be signed in June. The company plans to rent out the building after investing $170 million in its renovation. — jta

Yad Vashem urges Darfur action

Israel’s Holocaust memorial urged the United Nations to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Yad Vashern Council Chairman, Yosef Lapid, wrote in an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “As the heads of the Jewish people’s central organization for commemorating the Holocaust — a genocide that took place while the world was silent — we feel a special obligation, as we discussed with you during your recent visit to Yad Vashem, to raise the alarm on Darfur.” — jta