May 28, 2024
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Safdie Wins Top AIA Award for Adelson’s Singapore Resort

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org)–The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has awarded the Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safie with its 2015 Gold Medal for his international work in planning structures in public and cultural spaces. The AIA Gold Medal is considered the most prestigious award in the field of architecture. Safdie was awarded the prize for, among other projects, planning the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore, which is owned by Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands company. Safdie began his career in 1967 by building Habitat 67, the beehive-shaped athlete’s village for the Montreal Olympics. The architect’s many notable projects include the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, the Khalsa Heritage Memorial, a museum dedicated to India’s Sikh people, the main branch of the Salt Lake City Library, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas.

Entrance to King Herod’s Palace is Found

(JNS.org)–Israeli archeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have announced the discovery of an elaborate entryway to the Herodian hilltop palace in Herodium National Park. The 65-foot-long, 20-foot-wide entrance was uncovered as part of excavations conducted over the past year to develop the site for tourism and features a complex system of arches on three separate levels, which allowed the king and his entourage to directly enter the Palace Courtyard.

Additionally, the excavations turned up impressive evidence from the Bar Kokhba Revolt period (132-135/6 CE) with hidden tunnels dug by the Jewish rebels as part of guerrilla warfare against the Romans.

“During the course of the current excavations, the original impressive palace vestibule, blocked when the corridor became redundant, was also exposed. … This appears to have happened when Herod, aware of his impending death, decided to convert the whole hilltop complex into a massive memorial mound–a royal burial monument on an epic scale. Whatever the case, the corridor was back-filled during the construction of the massive artificial hill at the end of Herod’s reign,” Hebrew University said.

Women Bench Chanukah Lecht at the Kotel

JerusalemMore than 120 women came to the Kotel and joined Women of the Wall in lighting 28 chanukiot on the third night of Chanukah. The first-ever women’s candle lighting was held as the candle lighting ceremony of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation ended in the men’s section. Women who wished to see the Kotel’s official candle lighting were forced to stand on plastic chairs and peer over the partition into the men’s section.

On November 17, 2014, Women of the Wall sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu to request that an equivalent menorah to that which stands in the men’s section be erected in the women’s section to provide women with the same opportunity to hold candle lighting. The Prime Minister transferred the letter to Vice Minister of Religious Affairs, Eli Ben Dahan, for reply, who passed the letter on to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. Rabinowitz decided that women will not be allowed to light the Chanukah menorah at the Kotel, nor will they be able to participate or witness the ceremonies, as they are held in the men’s section. Some chanukiot were confiscated by police when some women entered the Kotel plaza, but there were no incidents of disruption or violence as the women made their brachot.

Israeli Film About an Agunah is Nominated for Golden Globes

Israel 21c–After winning praise from critics in Israel and abroad, film-making team Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz are now celebrating a nod from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Their film, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, is a nominee for Best Foreign Film at the upcoming 72nd Golden Globe Awards to be broadcast in January.

“This is incredible! …We wrote Vivian’s story based the very simple fact that still today in Israel a woman must get her husband’s consent if she wants a divorce…,” Ronit Elkabetz, told the Hollywood Reporter. “The film asks that women be allowed to live their lives with dignity and basic human rights. This nomination is an incredibly important recognition of women’s struggle for freedom and independence, once and for all.”

The story is about Viviane Amsalem’s five-year fight to obtain her divorce from the Rabbanut. Viviane and her lawyer must face Elisha, the husband, who doesn’t even respond to the rabbis’ seruvim (convocations). When he is finally obliged to come to court, he keeps refusing the divorce (Gett) even though they’ve been separated for years. Witnesses are called, the procedure drags on, while Viviane is still unable to recover her dignity.

Netanyahu Releases
Names of Major Donors

By Rachel Avraham, www.jerusalemonline.com

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has raised around 15 contributions that sum 538.7 million NIS.  The heads of the Likud have raised contributions amounting 2.1 million NIS. 14 of Netanyahu’s contributors are from the US and one is from Spain. Among the contributors is Kenneth S. Abramowitz, Friends of the Likud in the US, and four members of the Pollack family. Each candidate competing for a spot in the Likud primaries recruited 11 contributions for a total of 261 thousand shekels. 10 of them are from donors in the US. Among the contributors are Vladimir Gusinsky, the former owner of Maariv, and Michael Mirilashvili.

French Jews Create Anti-Semitism Kit

The Organization of Jewish Europeans in France has created a kit to fight antisemitism. Using humor to deal with the recent surge of anti-Jewish hatred, the boxes contain honey candies, detox patches and the text of the hate-crimes laws in effect in France. OJE made up 10,000 boxes and sells them for 5 euros to raise funds to combat antisemitism. OJE head, Jean-Claude Zaret explained that the organization wanted to use comedy to stand up for the Jewish community. “We talk a lot about Jewish humor, so why not use it to protect the Jewish community?” he said.

 

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