Week in Review: Drake’s Bar Mitzvah, Japanese Anne Frank, Roe v. Wade Turns 41 and more!

January, 23 2014

Israeli security forces said yesterday that it had thwarted a series of al-Qaeda plots to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and other targets, in what experts have said was the first time the terror group’s leadership has been directly involved in planning an attack inside the Jewish State. “This is the first time that Ayman al-Zawahiri was directly involved,” said Aviv Oreg, a former head of a Israeli military intelligence unit, referring to the current al-Qaeda chief. “For them, it would have been a great achievement.” The Shin Bet also announced it has arrested three Palestinians in connection with this plot and other attacks. The U.S. State Department, however, would not confirm Israeli intelligence. “Obviously we’re looking into it as well,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. “I don’t have reason to believe it’s not true. I just don’t have independent verification.”

Israel’s Knesset has given preliminary approval to a bill that would criminalize the use of the word “Nazi.” The move is a response to an upsurge of casual invocations of the Third Reich and Holocaust symbols and what many see as a rise of anti-Semitism around the word. Critics such as Israeli writer Etgar Keret, however, say that “sometimes ‘Nazi’ is the right word.”

Pope Francis drew plaudits from members of the Jewish community after his longtime friend, Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires, suggested the pontiff would make good on a promise to examine Pius XII’s controversial role in the Holocaust by opening the Vatican archives.

JTA explores the Japanese fascination with Anne Frank, which has inspired a series of manga comic books and animated movies.

This week, The Wall Street Journal profiles Angela Warnick Buchdahl, who became the only Asian American woman to head a major U.S. synagogue when she was appointed rabbi of New York’s Central Synagogue earlier this year.

Drake hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend, using the opening monologue to reenact his bar mitzvah and perform a rap to the beat of Hava Nagila. “To my mom’s side of the family, I say shabbat shalom,” the rap star said in the monologue. “And to my dad’s side of the family, I say wassup? like the Budweiser commercial.”

This American Life takes a look at “chained women” unable to get a divorce from their husbands in its report on agunot in the Orthodox Jewish community.

The New York Times reports that it’s not only Jewish prisoners seeking kosher meals. Many non-Jews are also requesting kosher because they see it as healthier and safer than the regular fare.

From the Archives: Wednesday marked the 41st anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Read what our rabbis had to say about abortion in 2009 here, and for our columnists’ views, click here and here.

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