New York State Agriculture Department Dismisses Its Kosher Law Enforcement Inspectors

New York state, which represents the largest kosher market outside of Israel, announced in a January 3 statement that its 85 food safety inspectors will assume the responsibilities of the Division of Kosher Law Enforcement. The statement came two days after the 11-employee kosher law enforcement division was whittled down to just its director, Rabbi Luzer Weiss. The Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees the division, says that the layoffs will save the state nearly $1 million this year.

Israeli Anti-Missile System Faces Fire at Home and Delays in U.S. Funding

It has been promoted as a cutting-edge technological marvel and marketed as the ultimate solution to the misery Israeli civilians experienced facing rocket attacks from Gaza militants. But as the Iron Dome rocket defense system moves into its final stages of development, Israelis are questioning its effectiveness, and American lawmakers are seeking assurances that the system they are poised to fund will indeed be used to protect citizens in the battered Negev city of Sderot, close by Gaza, and not just used to defend military bases.

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Limmud at 30: How a Tiny U.K. Conference Became a Worldwide Movement

When Réka Bodó was 13, she presented her mother with a choice. A rabbi had offered Bodó a bat mitzvah at a Jewish summer camp in Hungary. She told her mother that she could either have the ceremony there or in the city of Budapest, where her mother would be able to attend. Although Bodó’s mother, a non-practicing Jew, disapproved of her daughter’s interest in religion, she was a proud guest at the ceremony in the city’s Frankel Leo Street Synagogue.

HRW Targets Businesses on the West Bank

For the first time, a Human Rights Watch report on the West Bank is calling on businesses to withdraw from there if they find themselves part of what the study describes as a “two-tier system of laws, rules and services” that favors Jewish settlers at the expense of Palestinians. This is a new move for the organization, whose officials acknowledged that the recommendation shared some unintentional “overlap” with the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, or BDS, as the campaign is known.

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Double Marker: A Gay Jew in the Navy

Will the law allow return, Korrie Xavier wonders, for gay former military service members like her, who left the service only because they had to? Just five years after her bat mitzvah, Xavier joined the Navy as a seaman recruit. She was trained to maintain and fire weapons systems on the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship based in San Diego. She liked the structure, the camaraderie, and sailing to ports from southeast Asia to Abu Dhabi. Barely in her 20s, the Michigan native became the nerve center of Jewish shipboard life — all while hiding her sexuality under her Navy uniform blues.

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