Uzbekistan-born diamond mogul Lev Leviev announced late in August that his company, Africa-Israel, was drowning in debt of more than $5.5 billion that it could not repay. Over the next two days, shares in the company’s stock plummeted by more than one-third. It was relentless bad news for one of the world’s richest men. His holding and investment company had lost $1.4 billion since 2008, mostly due to failed real estate investments in the United States.
A celebrity face-off over Israel at the Toronto International Film Festival in September marked the latest skirmish in a long-percolating Palestinian effort to promote an artistic and cultural boycott of Israel.
When Daniel Sokatch was tapped last year to lead San Francisco’s Jewish Community Federation, he was heralded as a breath of fresh air in a federation world struggling to re-establish its relevance. Having made his name as the founder of the liberal Los Angeles-based Progressive Jewish Alliance, Sokatch was widely seen as a bold — if somewhat risky — pick to head a consensus-driven, establishment federation.
Religious Jewish women, the primary cooks in Orthodox families, have long ruled kosher kitchens and served as crucial, informal kosher watchdogs for their families and guests. But those women are rarely trusted with the even more powerful, formal task of professionally supervising the production of kosher food.
The city of Tel Aviv received flowers for its birthday — half a million blooms, to be exact. A gift from the city of Brussels, the 500,000 dahlias were flown from the Belgian capital September 16 as part of ongoing festivities to mark Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary, a celebration that kicked off in early April and is set to continue in the coming months.