Shorts: World

British Jewish school told to admit all faiths

A high-performing Jewish school in North London was ordered to admit children of all faiths.

The school will have to make it clear in its prospectus that it will admit children who are not Orthodox Jews. Most of the pupils at the Hasmonean High School are Orthodox Jews.

A new code issued by the British government, which came into effect in February, was designed to make school admission to parochial schools more fair and open to all pupils. All faith-based schools must make it clear that they will admit children from other faiths or no faith, according to the code. — jta

Black French Jew calls for black shul

A black French Jew is making his case for the creation of the first black synagogue in France.

At one of the events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first Conservative Jewish synagogue in France, Adath Shalom, Guershon Nduwa explained to a packed room why he thought France needs its first black synagogue.

“Judaism isn’t about the color of your skin,” Nduwa said in an interview Nov. 9. “But we feel excluded in synagogues, because they ask us why we’re there and to show our identification card. If you’re blond with blue eyes, that doesn’t happen,” he said. Nduwa believes his initiative will be met with positive results.

The minority French Masorti, or Conservative community, has been particularly welcoming to the black Jews, 250 of whom have been identified in Paris. They are either converts or of Ethiopian, West Indian or Israeli origin, Nduwa said. — jta

Rome’s ex-fascist mayor visits Auschwitz

The right-wing mayor of Rome, who began his political career in a neo-fascist youth movement, is leading a group of 300 Roman high school students on a trip to Auschwitz.

This week’s study and memorial trip guided by Gianno Alemanno to the former Nazi death camp in Poland continues a tradition started by his predecessor, Walter Veltroni. This year it coincided with the 70th anniversaries of both the Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany and the promulgation of anti-Semitic racial laws by the Italian fascist government of Benito Mussolini.

Speaking Nov. 10 at Auschwitz, Alemanno said the trip “allows us to comprehend the history of Europe and the darkest part of the human soul.” Its lessons, the right-wing mayor said, were “not only for the past but also for the future, and to reject any form of discrimination, intolerance and hatred.” — jta

Refugee’s son wins New Zealand election

The son of a Jewish refugee was elected prime minister of New Zealand. John Key’s conservative National Party swept to victory in the Nov. 8 election, snapping the nine-year reign of Helen Clark and her Labor Party.

Key, 47, said his party will form a coalition of 65 seats in the 122-seat parliament. Labor garnered 43 seats.

Key was raised by his mother, Ruth Lazar, in government-run housing after his alcoholic father died when Key was 7. Lazar’s aunt had arranged a marriage in Britain on the eve of World War II that enabled Lazar, her mother and several other family members to escape Austria in 1939.

A father of two children, Key does not practice Judaism but says he is “very respectful” of the Jewish faith.

Key, who spoke at a celebration to mark Israel’s 60th birthday earlier this year, said he hopes to visit the Jewish state, where he has cousins, and pay his respects at Yad Vashem. — jta

German parliament condemns anti-Semitism

Germany’s parliament agreed on a resolution that calls anti-Semitism a “problem in German society that still demands serious attention.”

The resolution asks the German government to establish a team of experts charged with reporting regularly on anti-Semitic crimes and on measures to combat anti-Semitism in Germany. It also asks the government to continue supporting the growth of Jewish life in Germany and offers unequivocal support for Israel, as well as identifies as anti-Semites those who burn Israeli flags and chant anti-Semitic slogans at demonstrations.

Meanwhile, the government released new statistics on anti-Semitic and right-wing extremist crimes that showed 800 anti-Semitic crimes registered in Germany through September and 14,000 right-wing crimes, up from about 8,000 in 2007. Twenty-seven people were injured in anti-Jewish attacks in the first nine months of 2008; in all of 2007 the number was 13. — jta

Moscow to build Dead Sea resort

The city of Moscow will build a resort hotel on the Dead Sea. The Russian capital also will subsidize flights and hotel packages for its residents, according to Israel’s Tourism Ministry.

Construction will begin on the 240-room luxury hotel in the coming months. Approximately 9 percent of the 2.3 million visitors to Israel in 2007 were from Russia. The level is expected to increase with Russia and Israel signing a visa-free travel agreement that took effect in September. — jta