Vatican invites rabbi to speak; IDF using Facebook to catch draft dodgers

The Vatican for the first time invited a rabbi to speak at its World Synod of Bishops.

The Oct. 6 address by Shear-Yashuv Cohen, the chief rabbi of Haifa and the co-chair of the Israeli-Vatican Dialogue Commission, marks the first time that such an invitation was extended to a non-Christian. Cohen will lead a one-day discussion of the Scriptures.

The three-week synod ends Oct. 26.

Cohen told the Catholic News Service that the invitation “brings with it a message of love, coexistence and peace for generations.” He added, “We see in [the] invitation a kind of declaration that [the Church] intends to continue with the policy and doctrine established by Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, and we appreciate very deeply this declaration.”

Yad Vashem Gets Shoah Foundation Videos

Yad Vashem has taken possession of copies of nearly 52,000 Holocaust video testimonies, giving it the world’s largest collection.

The USC Shoah Foundation for Visual History and Education, which was started by famed director Steven Spielberg, provided the latest testimonies to Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem.

The videos from the foundation at the University of Southern California supplement Yad Vashem’s existing archive of 10,000 filmed testimonies. The cumulative 200,000 hours of video are publicly accessible.

“The testimony of the survivors who personally experienced the horrors of the Shoah are the legacy that they impart to us,” said Avner Shalev, Yad Vashem’s chairman. “Their testimony has crucial educational and moral importance. It allows us to have meaningful Holocaust remembrance for generations to come, and represents an essential vehicle for imparting the memory of the Shoah.”

The Shoah Foundation videotaped testimonies of Holocaust survivors from 56 countries in 32 languages from 1994 to 2000.

IDF Using Facebook to Catch Draft Dodgers

Israel’s army is using Facebook to track down draft dodgers.

The army visited the Facebook account of a teenager who was dismissed from army service after declaring she was religious despite attending a secular school, and discovered that she did not lead a religious lifestyle, Ynet reported.

Pictures on her Facebook account showed that she did not dress in a style acceptable to the religious community and that she attended parties on Shabbat. The army has since drafted her.

The teen appealed the decision but was turned down.

Some 44 percent of Israeli teenage females do not enlist — 53 percent on religious grounds, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.