07.06.05 Update

7.06.2005

Delegates to the United Church of Christ 25th General Synod voted yesterday, approving a resolution directing Israel to tear down security walls around Palestinian areas (see link here to the UCC's site regarding this resolution). Report from the AP here.

Israeli astronomers provided America with data on NASA's Deep Impact probe that struck a comet. (JTA) The Jerusalem Post reported Monday that Noah Brosch, director of the Wise Observatory in Mitzpe Ramon, said Israel is the only country from Australia to Western Europe with skies clear enough to obtain useful data. "We are at the right longitude to provide data," Brosch said. "China was a partner, but there was rain and they couldn't see anything. We, of course, have clear skies over Mitzpe Ramon at this time of year." Scientists say the data provided by the collision could reveal details about the origins of the solar system.

Pope Benedict XVI will visit the synagogue in Cologne, Germany in August and will pray in Hebrew, according to the AP.

Israel will not extradite to Poland Solomon Morel, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, who is accused of post-WWII crimes against German soldiers. Story from the AP here.

More than 250 U.S. rabbis encouraged lawmakers to consider judicial nominees who will uphold "religious freedoms" such as reproductive choice. (JTA) The 270 rabbis expressed concern about nominees whose judicial records display an "inconsistent commitment to upholding basic constitutional rights," they said in a letter, coordinated by the National Council of Jewish Women and sent to senators Tuesday. "It is imperative that nominees to the federal bench protect fundamental religious and personal freedoms, such as reproductive choice," they said. "Any infringement on these rights subverts the basis upon which our nation is built." The NCJW's president, Phyllis Snyder, said "the next nominee to the Supreme Court could shift its precarious balance and jeopardize many of our rights and liberties - including reproductive freedom - for generations to come."

The Jewish section of a Colorado Springs, CO cemetery has been vandalized. More from KOAA news here.

About 200 activists representing Israel's Ethiopian community met yesterday in Netanya to discuss what can be done regarding widespread broken family units and juvenile violence, alcohol consumption, and drug abuse. Story from Ha'aretz here.

Several Jewish groups joined a coalition of religious organizations calling for bipartisan consultation in the selection of a new U.S. Supreme Court justice. (JTA) In a letter sent Monday to U.S. senators and President Bush, the 29 groups said Bush and the Senate should engage in "nonpartisan and thorough debate" on the nominees' qualifications. The letter, organized by the Reform movement's Religious Action Center, also asserted that faith should not play a role in the selection process. "The confirmation process must also be free of the divisive and dangerous practice of using senators' and nominees' faiths as a wedge," the groups said. "An open and bipartisan consultative process is critical to ensuring that the act of nominating and confirming a Supreme Court justice is fair, legitimate, and beyond reproach." The coalition included some 11 Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and the Reform movement's Central Committee of American Rabbis.

Drawings made by children living in the violence-wracked region of Darfur went on display at New York University's Jewish student center. (JTA) The pictures will be on display at the Edgar N. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. The pictures were collected by Human Rights Watch. Jewish groups have increasingly taken a role in raising awareness about the situation in Darfur, a region in Sudan where government-backed militias have created a situation that former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called genocide. The pictures will be up at the center through Sept. 6; after that, they will travel to Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto and two cities in Germany.

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