Recently, 114 Nicaraguans stood before an Orthodox beis din in Managua and converted to Judaism. The group immersed in a mikvah, 22 couples wed in a Jewish ceremony, and males underwent bris milah. Jews have been living in Nicaragua since the 18th century with many tracing their ancestry to SephardicJews who were forced to convert to Christianity during the Inquisition. The conversions were facilitated by Kulanu, a, a NY-based nonprofit group that supports communities around the world seeking to learn about Judaism.
The Spanish Royal Academy, the leading linguistic authority in Spain, is planning to honor Ladino. The Judeo-Spanish language is still spoken more than five centuries after King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled Spain’s Jewish population from the country in 1492. The director of the RAE, Darío Villanueva, said it is miraculous that Judeo-Spanish was able to be preserved for so many centuries in so many countries. “Ladino is an extraordinarily important cultural and historical phenomenon that was overdue for having an academy of its own,” he said. Villanueva appointed nine Ladino specialists and professors to help establish a new institution based in Israel which will form part of the Association of Spanish Language Academies and will encourage the preservation of the dialect.
Sydney’s Waverly Council rejected proposals to build a new synagogue as a security threat, and the Jewish community is outraged, on the basis that this move rewards terrorism. The shul wanted to construct large blast-walls as a safety measure, but the council concluded that if such measures were needed, it would put the whole area, not just the congregation, at risk for potential terrorist action. “In today’s climate, many communities are required to take security precautions, as are public institutions such as police, emergency departments, government buildings and a range of other facilities,” Jewish Board of Directors Chief Executive Vic Alhadeff said. “The ruling sets a very dangerous precedent.” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, who is head of the local Jewish community in Sydney, said there would be “enormous implications. It basically implies that no Jewish organization should be allowed to exist in residential areas.”
For the first time in Israeli history, Israel has taken away citizenship from a 22-year-old Arab Israeli man who plowed his vehicle into a crowd last year, targeting soldiers, and then stabbed three people in a car-and-knife attack near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel. Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud was convicted of four counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 25 years in jail following the “nationalistically motivated” attack. Haifa Magistrate Court Deputy President Avraham Elyakim said it was the right move, saying, “We cannot allow an Israeli citizen to impact the lives and dignity of other Israeli citizens, and whoever decides to so in acts of terror removes himself from the general society of the country.”