Shorts: World

Kosher market opens in Kiev

A new kosher supermarket opened in Ukraine’s capital under the auspices of the city’s Chabad Lubavitch community.

The store is located on the property of the “Perlyna” Ohr Avner Day School headed by Rabbi Jonathan Markowitz, the Lubavitch emissary who leads the local community. Markowitz said that the store is not a for-profit venture that is trying to keep prices under control for consumers with low incomes. — jta

Report: Hate crime at historic levels

Violent hate crime is at historically high levels in Europe and North America, a watchdog reported.

The 2008 Hate Crime Survey, released last week by Human Rights First, examines the rate of violent hate crimes by motivation — racism and xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, anti-Muslim bias, anti-Roma bias and bias against other religious minorities — in the 56 countries that are members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The survey also reports that overall levels of violent anti-Semitic attacks against persons increased in Canada, Germany, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in 2007. Britain had the highest number of such assaults since monitoring began in 1984.

The Russian Federation is identified as a particular area of concern, with the proliferation of violent hate crimes directed against non-Slavic members of society and immigrants on pace to set a record for the fourth year in a row. — jta

Vatican invites rabbi from Israel to speak

The Vatican for the first time invited a rabbi to speak at its World Synod of Bishops.

Shear Yashuv Cohen, the chief rabbi of Haifa and the co-chair of the Israeli Vatican Dialogue Commission, will lead a one-day discussion of the Scriptures on Monday, Oct. 6.

The three-week synod ends Oct. 26. Cohen told the Catholic News Service that the invitation “brings with it a message of love, coexistence and peace for generations.” — jta

Germany increases funding for Jews

Germany’s growing Jewish community is slated to get more federal funds. German Interior Ministry spokeswoman Gabriele Hermani announced last week that the annual funds allocated to the Central Council of Jews in Germany would be raised by about $2.9 million, to a total of $7.3 million.

The council is the umbrella group representing some 105,000 Jews who are registered members of congregations. It is estimated that another 100,000 Jews remain unaffiliated.

Like Germany’s Protestant and Catholic churches, the Jewish community receives federal “religion tax” funds collected on its behalf from congregation members. But at least 75 percent of Jewish community members are new immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and many are low income, leaving them unable to contribute to the programs designed to help them integrate. — jta