Delegation Of Jewish Russian NYPD Officers Visit Israel To Show Solidarity With Israel’s War Against Terror

May 6th, 2014

nypdsA special group of 18 NYPD Jewish Russian speaking officers is visiting Israel in order to participate in an official ceremony in memory of the military and civilian victims of terrorism in Latrun, Israel.

The American policemen, who are members of the Russian American Officers Association (RAOA), are staying in Israel as part of a special program organized by the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry (WFRJ) and the World Zionist Organization.

The officers traveled to the southern Israel city of Sderot, got acquainted with the work carried out by Israeli police, visited sites of national and historical significance, and are scheduled to participate in a special seminar on management and leadership that will include a variety of trained animals within the frameworks of the program.

This visit serves as a means of strengthening the Russian-speaking NYPD officers’ support for Israel, as well as the Jewish State’s fight on terror, which New York police are unfortunately familiar with first-hand,” stated Alexander Levin, President of the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry.

(Source: EJP)

NY Conservatives Pan E-Cigarette Proposal

May 6th, 2014

ecigThe New York State Conservative Party is criticizing a proposal to bar electronic cigarette smoking in public places.

The party opposes a bill before the state Legislature to make restrictions on smoking in public areas applicable to so called e-cigarettes. The conservatives argue that people should make their own decisions and that the measure would continue the “Nanny State” role of government.

Proponents of the bans say they are aimed at preventing the re-acceptance of smoking as a societal norm, particularly among teenagers.

A New York City law making electronic cigarettes subject to the same regulations as tobacco took effect last week.

(AP)

Facebook Plans Campaign To ‘Friend’ Small Business

May 6th, 2014

fcbkFacebook is courting small business owners as part of its drive to increase advertising revenue.

The social media company’s operating chief and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg says the key is showing business owners how to find new customers by creating Facebook pages and by buying ads that appear on individual users’ pages. It’s announcing a campaign called Facebook Fit with workshops in five cities to show small business owners how to use Facebook as a marketing tool.

Facebook is also creating advertising products that Sandberg says will be affordable.

Industry analysts say Facebook needs more small-business advertising to compete with Google. But all Internet and social media companies have been finding small business a hard market to crack.

(AP)

General Assembly European Jewish Parliament In Kiev Cancelled Over Situation In Eastern Ukraine

May 6th, 2014

ejpA gathering of the General Assembly of the European Jewish Parliament in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, scheduled to take place later this month has been cancelled over the conflict in the country.

“Due to the political escalation into Eastern Ukraine, the authorities in Kiev have strongly advised to cancel the upcoming General Assembly as they cannot properly guarantee our safety,” the members of the parliament were told. The gathering was scheduled on May 19-20.

No new date and place of gathering have been set yet.

The European Jewish Parliament was founded in 2011 and comprises 120 elected members from 47 countries across Europe. Its Co-Chairman, Ukrainian Vadim Rabinovitch, is a candidate in the May Ukrainian presidential election.

(Source: EJP)

Brooklyn: Prosecutors Seek To Void 3 Convictions Tied To Detective

May 6th, 2014

jail3A lawyer says the Brooklyn district attorney’s office is seeking to void the murder convictions of three-half brothers who were convicted on evidence collected by a former homicide detective whose cases are under review.

The brothers’ lawyer, Pierre Sussman, tells The New York Times that prosecutors will ask a judge to vacate the convictions at a court hearing Tuesday.

The defendants, Alvena Jennette, Robert Hill and Darryl Austin, could become the first people connected to detective Louis Scarcella to be exonerated. Austin died in prison.

Prosecutors have cast a critical eye on Scarcella’s work after a judge threw out the conviction of a man accused of killing a Brooklyn rabbi in 1990.

Last year, prosecutors began a review of several cases that Scarcella investigated.

Scarcella has denied wrongdoing.

(AP)

Los Angeles: Man Charged With Hate Crime for Anti-Jewish Graffiti

May 5th, 2014

imageThe Los Angeles city attorney’s office has filed multiple hate crime charges against a man accused of vandalizing a Jewish-owned San Fernando Valley business with anti-Semitic graffiti multiple times.

City Attorney Mike Feuer announced the three counts of a hate crime and three counts of vandalism Monday against 49-year-old Amos Hason.

In two separate incidents last month, prosecutors allege that Hason drove to a Jewish-owned business in Van Nuys and painted swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti on the rear fence and dumpster, including praise of Adolf Hitler.

The incidents were captured on video surveillance. He was arrested over the weekend for the hate crime charges and other weapons violations.

Hason is being held on $68,000 bail. If convicted, he faces up to three years in jail and $15,000 in fines.

(AP)

Arrangements for 40 Pediatric Cancer Patients to Visit Kever Rashbi

May 5th, 2014

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40 pediatric cancer patients will be transported in ambulances to Kever Rashbi in Meron due to the efforts of Lev Malka.

The operation will take place for a second consecutive year. Children who are wheelchair bound will be transported to the tziyun on Lag B’Omer free of charge, with each ambulance staffed with the required number of volunteers to assist the patient.

Rabbi Avraham Aberman explains the organization has received requests from sick children who dream of getting to Meron on Lag B’Omer. Since they cannot ambulate independently they are unable to make the trip so Lev Malka has stepped up to meet the challenge and turn their dreams into reality. The trip is especially difficult on account of the climb visitors must make at the end to make their way to the tziyun.

In addition, the Hachnasas Orchim Rashbi headed by Rav Carlebach will host the 40 children, providing them with a banquet following their tefilos at the tziyun. The Yeshivas Mekubalim Rashbi will also hold a special tikun for all of the children to have a refuah shleima.

Lev Malka officials point out for them it is truly an honor to host the children. Rav Aberman adds that with HKBH’s assistance, next year the children will get to the tziyun on their own, in good health.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Occupy Wall Street Activist Convicted Of Assaulting NYPD Officer

May 5th, 2014

ows2An Occupy Wall Street activist was convicted Monday of assaulting a police officer in one of the few still-lingering criminal cases that sprang from the protest movement.

Cecily McMillan was charged with deliberately elbowing an officer in the eye as police cleared people out of the movement’s home base, Zuccotti Park, at Occupy’s six-month observance in March 2012. Her defense said she was startled and knocked the officer accidentally after he grabbed her left breast from behind, leaving her bruised.

McMillan was ordered held without bail following the three-week trial in Manhattan. She faces up to seven years in prison at her May 19 sentencing, although she could get probation.

The 25-year-old graduate student’s felony trial became a rallying point for activists, and dozens came to a court to watch the opening statements. While more than 2,600 cases ensued from the protests over economic inequality, most involved misdemeanor or violation charges.

The city had evicted Occupy’s Zuccotti Park encampment four months earlier, but activists gathered there in March 2012 to celebrate the six-month mark. Around 11:30 p.m., officers told people to leave so the park could be cleaned, adding that they could return afterward, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain said during opening remarks.

She said McMillan screamed at police and refused to go, so an officer escorted her out with hands on the back of her shoulder. When he turned his head, she crouched, jumped up and hit his eye with her elbow, according to the prosecutor.

“Cecily McMillan thought she could get away with assaulting a police officer by shielding herself in the name of protest,” Strain said.

But McMillan’s defense says she left the park promptly when told to go and then was suddenly gripped from behind, unaware it was an officer touching her. Her supporters have said she later had a seizure or anxiety attack as police dragged her.

“Reacting to being grabbed by a stranger is not a crime,” said one of her lawyers, Rebecca Heinegg.

Defense lawyer Martin Stolar told the Daily News on Monday the judge committed numerous errors during the trial and that McMillan would appeal.

Manhattan prosecutors agreed to dismiss more than 78 percent of some 2,644 Occupy-related cases, most of them on the condition that defendants stay of trouble for six months. About 354 people pleaded guilty, 55 were convicted at trials, and 11 were acquitted, the DA’s office said. A few other cases were dismissed by judges.

(AP)

Is Modi’in Illit’s Mayor Defying Rav Shteinman Shlita?

May 5th, 2014

shtAccording to MK Rav Moshe Gafne, Modi’in Illit Mayor Rav Yaakov Gutterman is acting contrary to the wishes of Maran HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita. Gafne has turned to a local beis din claiming “the Degel Hatorah man” who serves as mayor is not complying with the rav’s directives.

Councilman (Agudas Yisrael) R’ Yehuda Freind has turned to a beis din headed by Rav Meir Kessler seeking to be appointed a deputy mayor. Freind feels Gutterman wanted to appoint him but the appointment was blocked by Councilman (Degel Hatorah) Mordechai Goldberg, who wants the position for himself.

After Freind turned to the beis din Gafne sent the dayanim a letter explaining everything that occurred was in line with the wishes of Rav Shteinman. Gafne explains that Goldberg was sent by Degel and anyone who has an issue should take it up with Degel, not Goldberg for he is not acting on his own. Gafne explains that he is aware that Gutterman wants to appoint Freind but Degel councilmen have been instructed to push for Goldberg for that is the wish of Rav Steinman and the party’s rabbonim shlita.

Gafne accuses Gutterman of acting independently despite agreement prior to the election.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Erlau Rebbe Shlita Released from Hospital

May 5th, 2014

erlThe Erlau Rebbe Shlita was released from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital on Monday afternoon, 5 Iyar. The rebbe was admitted for a number of days to address a cardiac issue.

The Erlau Rebbe Shlita is viewed as the elder of the admorim as well as a member of the Moetzas Gedolei Yisrael of Agudas Yisrael.

A pacemaker was inserted in the rebbe during his hospital stay to stabilize his heartbeat.

The rebbe was received warmly upon his return to his home in the Katamon area of Yerushalayim.

The tzibur is asked to continue being mispallel for the rebbe.

רבי יוחנן בן טושנא לרפואה שלמה בתוך שאר חולי ישראל

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Congress Members Visit American Jew Jailed in Cuba

May 5th, 2014

alan grossFour U.S. House members have met with an American government subcontractor who is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba.

The delegation includes U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, Sam Farr and Barbara Lee of California and Gregory Meeks of New York.

Cleaver says they are hoping to start negotiations on securing the release of Alan Gross, a Maryland native.

Lee says it is time for both countries to “make a serious commitment” to serious negotiations.

The delegation also met Monday with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

Gross was arrested in 2009 after he was caught setting up hard-to-detect Internet networks for Cuba’s small Jewish community on a U.S. government contract. Havana considers such programs to be an affront to its sovereignty.

(AP)

Four Telshe Stone Youths Under House Arrest

May 5th, 2014

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Four youths from the community of Telshe Stone were remanded to house arrest for spray painting “price tag” and “Kahane was right” at a construction site. Two of the boys were remanded until Wednesday, 7 Iyar and two until Thursday. The four, ranging in age from 13-15 have admitted to their actions.

A 2,000 shekel bail was required for the defendants as well.

One report, from Yated Neeman, states the defendants “live near Telshe Stone” and are not resident of the Torah community.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Amazon Introduces Twitter Service

May 5th, 2014

twit.jpgAmazon wants to make shopping online as easy as a tweet.

The online retailer is introducing a service that lets Twitter users add Amazon.com products to their carts without leaving the social media site.

The service comes as Amazon seeks to make social media a bigger source for sales. Twitter also has been seeking new revenue streams beyond advertising services like promoted tweets.

Under the program, users must link their Amazon.com account with their Twitter account. Then they need to add the hashtag #AmazonCart when replying to a tweet that has an Amazon product link. The product will then be automatically added to their shopping cart.

Twitter users will get a reply tweet from @MyAmazon as well as an email from Amazon when the item is successfully added to their cart.

The service is for U.S. customers only, although U.K. users have a similar service with the hashtag #AmazonBasket.

“This is an example of the constant innovation both Amazon and Twitter are using to push social shopping forward, but I don’t think it’s going to be a huge needle mover for either company,” said CRT Capital analyst Neil Doshi. “More and more people are showing items they’ve bought on Twitter, so it might be a way for followers to buy something more quickly.”

Shares in Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. rose $1.63 to $309.64 in afternoon trading. Shares in Twitter Inc., which is based in San Francisco, rose 9 cents to $39.11.

(AP)

Stephen Levin And UJO Of Williamsburg Host Universal Pre-Kindergarten Meeting With Yeshiva Leaders

May 5th, 2014

imageCouncil Member Stephen Levin and the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg hosted a meeting with yeshiva leaders throughout Williamsburg this afternoon to discuss New York City’s new universal pre-kindergarten program. At the meeting, yeshiva leaders engaged representatives from the office of Mayor de Blasio, the Department of Education, and special guest Council Member Chaim Deutsch, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Non-Public Schools, on various aspects of the program. The deadline to apply to operate universal pre-kindergarten programming is drawing closer and today’s meeting was an opportunity for yeshivas interested in applying to receive important information and ask questions.

“Universal pre-kindergarten is critical in ensuring the long-term education and development of all of our children,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “It is crucial that our communities have access to Mayor de Blasio’s universal pre-kindergarten program and today’s meeting was an important opportunity to provide information about this new program with the yeshiva leaders throughout Williamsburg. I want to thank Council Member Chaim Deutsch, Avi Fink from the Mayor’s Office, the universal pre-kindergarten operations manager Chris McKay, and leaders from our local yeshivas for an informative discussion on how we can best provide access to universal pre-kindergarten for all the children of Williamsburg.”

Rabbi David Niederman, President of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, said, “It is well-documented that universal pre-kindergarten creates opportunity for our children that will last them a lifetime. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City is now implementing this game-changing program for all of our children. Our community is looking forward to the introduction of universal pre-kindergarten and our meeting today provided important information that will greatly help local yeshivas apply for this program. Today’s meeting featured leaders throughout government, including Council Members Stephen Levin and Chaim Deutsch, Avi Fink from Mayor de Blasio’s office, and Chris McKay, the operations manager for the universal pre-kindergarten program, and I want to thank each of them for attending today’s meeting and providing our community critical information.”

(YWN Desk – NYC)

Health Care Law-Holocaust Comparison Criticized

May 5th, 2014

A state Senator’s blog post likening the insurance requirement under President Barack Obama’s health care law to the forced deportation of Jews during the Holocaust drew swift condemnation Monday from leaders of both parties in Tennessee.

Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville wrote the comment in a post titled “Thought of the Day.”

“Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of manditory sign ups for ‘train rides’ for Jews in the 40s,” he wrote.

State Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney called the comment “ignorant and repugnant,” and called for an immediate apology to the Jewish community. Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron called the statement “outrageous, pathetic, and hateful.”

State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said Campfield’s comments were “extremely insensitive and crossed the line,” while fellow Republican state House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick called them “distasteful and classless.”

Campfield in a phone interview shrugged off the criticism, and said he stands by his comments.

“I think Jewish people should be the first to stand up against Obamacare,” Campfield said. “When you have government deciding who gets health insurance and who doesn’t, what services they get and what services they have to provide, they’re really deciding who lives and who dies.”

“It’s a slippery slope,” he said.

Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, called Campfield’s analogy misguided.

“Here’s the truth about using the Third Reich as your third-party validator: it ends serious consideration of your message,” Moline said in a statement.

Campfield, who is running for re-election this year, has a long history of controversial statements and legislative initiatives. In 2011, he was the sponsor of a failed bill that sought to ban teaching about gay issues in public schools. The next year, he drew fire after telling a satellite radio host that HIV and AIDS originated from a man having sex with a monkey and that it was nearly “impossible” for AIDS to be contracted through heterosexual sex.

Campfield said Monday he was unmoved by the criticism from the chairman of his own party.

“He never called me,” he said. “If he wants to apologize to Obama, he can.”

(AP)

Protest Expected At Monroe Town Board Meeting Over Kiryas Joel Land Extension Proposal

May 5th, 2014

kjThe following is a News12 article:

A controversial land deal to expand the Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel is still in limbo tonight.

Large crowds are expected to gather in protest of the proposal at a Town Board meeting in Monroe.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has extended two deadlines in deciding who will oversee the state environmental quality review, or SEQR, in a proposal to rezone 500 acres of land into Kiryas Joel from Monroe.

So far, the state has denied Monroe-Woodbury School District’s application.

Monroe and Kiryas Joel are vying for the position.

While the proposal is stalled, it’s created controversy among many in the community who are concerned what will happen if Kiryas Joel is allowed to double in size.

Amid the controversy, there has been talk the town attorney has resigned. While town officials were not available to speak on camera to News 12, they did confirm they have decided to “part ways.”

(Source: News 12)

Delta First When It Comes to Bag, Change Fees

May 5th, 2014

deltanTop 10 U.S. airlines in 2013 revenue from bag fees:

1. Delta Air Lines, $833.2 million

2. United Airlines, $624.8 million

3. US Airways, $527.6 million

4. American Airlines, $505.7 million

5. Spirit Airlines, $212.0 million

6. Southwest Airlines, $143.5 million

7. Allegiant Air, $112.5 million

8. Alaska Airlines, $96.0 million

9. JetBlue Airways, $74.3 million

10. Hawaiian Airlines, $70.0 million

Top 10 U.S. airlines in 2013 revenue from fees for changing or canceling a reservation:

1. Delta Air Lines, $840.1 million

2. United Airlines, $756.5 million

3. American Airlines, $521.0 million

4. US Airways, $327.3 million

5. JetBlue Airways, $146.4 million

6. Alaska Airlines, $90.0 million

7. Spirit Airlines, $32.5 million

8. Virgin America, $32.2 million

9. Southwest Airlines, $25.3 million

10. Hawaiian Airlines, $17.9 million

(AP)

Pentagon Confirms Spy Plane Was In Area During FAA Computer Problem

May 5th, 2014

u2A Pentagon spokesman confirms that an Air Force U-2 spy plane was conducting training operations in the area when an air traffic control computer failure grounded flights to and from Los Angeles-area airports last week.

Col. Steve Warren says, however, that it’s not unusual for a U-2 to operate in the region and the necessary paperwork and flight plan had been submitted. Warren added Monday that the high-flying spy plane’s operations were conducted according to plan.

Warren referred questions about Wednesday’s delays to the Federal Aviation Administration, and he says there’s no Air Force investigation.

The FAA has said there was a failure within the agency’s En Route Automation Modernization system at a facility north of Los Angeles. The system allows controllers to identify and direct planes at high altitudes.

(AP)