Shorts: World

India’s Chabad chief: Center will be rebuilt

India’s Jewish community, thrown in the spotlight after it was targeted in the Mumbai attacks, will rebuild the damaged Chabad-Lubavitch center, the group’s country head said on Dec. 8. Nariman House, which was nearly destroyed in a siege that killed 171 people in Mumbai, including the center’s Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, will be rebuilt and opened again shortly, Dov Goldberg said.

“We are very determined to rebuild because the activities of the Chabad-Lubavitch have to continue and we cannot let this attack stop that,” he told Reuters. “We will rebuild on the same site for now, and will look to expand the center and its activities. Certainly, we will have maximum security.”

Nariman House, home to the Mumbai chapter of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish movement, was one of 10 sites attacked by gunmen on Nov. 26. The six-story house is tucked away in a narrow lane in a bustling market in the Colaba neighborhood.

“There is support from the community around the world to continue the work of the Chabad House in Mumbai, so we are very determined to make a new beginning,” Goldberg said. — jta

Anti-Israel caroling at London church

An Anglican church in London hosted an evening of anti-Israel Christmas carols. The “Bethlehem Now: Nine Alternative Lessons and Carols for Palestine” event, sponsored by a group called Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and Open Bethlehem, took place Nov. 26 at the St. James Church in Picadilly, in London’s West End.

According to British media reports, the “Twelve Days of Christmas Carol” was rewritten as: “Twelve assassinations / Eleven homes demolished / Ten wells obstructed / Nine sniper towers / Eight gunships firing / Seven checkpoints blocking / Six tanks a-rolling / Five settlement rings / Four falling bombs / Three trench guns / Two trampled doves / And an uprooted olive tree.”

After complaints from the current and past Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as from Jewish groups, the church’s rector said he would “think twice” before hosting a similar event. — jta n

Kiev’s new deputy mayor is Jewish

Yevgeny Chervonenko, a prominent Ukrainian Jewish leader and an aide to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, was appointed Dec. 4 as a Kiev’s deputy mayor. He will be responsible for preparations and hosting the Euro 2012 European football finals in the capital city.

Chervonenko, 48, is a former chairman of the Ukrainian National Agency for Euro 2012. He is a member of board of trustees of the World Jewish Congress and a special envoy of the European Jewish Congress. In 2005, he became the first Jewish official in Ukraine to affix a mezuzah to his government office. — jta

Czech Republic wants better E.U.-Israel ties

The government of Czechoslovakia says it will work to improve ties between Israel and the European Union. The Czech Republic will assume a six-month presidency of the European Union in January and will ask E.U. members to approve the effort, Israel Radio reported, citing comments by Czech Foreign Minister Karl Schwarzenberg.

Several E.U. member countries and the Palestinian Authority are opposed to upgrading relations between Israel and the European Union in several areas, including economic, scientific and security, until Israel lifts its blockade of the Gaza Strip and eases restrictions in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, the European Council, made up of foreign ministers of European nations, decided at a meeting Dec. 8 to strengthen its ties with Israel. That will mean closer cooperation on several issues and regular meetings between government ministers. — jta

Jewish leaders in Russia praise police

The Chabad-run Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia has lauded Russian law enforcement for its efforts to catch perpetrators of hate crimes. The praise came in response to last week’s arrest of a suspect in a 3-year-old arson case.

A statement also pointed to two other arrests made this year in cases of synagogue vandalism. “These positive developments show that the state is demonstrating real determination to combat xenophobia and anti-Semitism,” the statement said. — jta