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Britain's new chief rabbi faces task of uniting Jewish community

By Belinda Goldsmith LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's new chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, who has vowed to remain traditional by barring women rabbis and same-sex marriage, was sworn in on Sunday to face the challenge of uniting the nation's polarized Jewish community. About 1,400 guests, including Britain's heir apparent Prince Charles, attended a ceremony at a north London synagogue as Mirvis replaced the respected Jonathan Sacks after 22 years as the leading spokesman for British Jews.

Liberal Jewish women activists blocked at Western Wall

By Allyn Fisher-Ilan JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Several thousand ultra-Orthodox protesters effectively blocked Jewish women activists campaigning for equal worship rights at the Western Wall from holding a monthly prayer session on Monday at the holy site. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said members and supporters of the Women of the Wall group were escorted by police to a spot a short distance from the Western Wall "to make sure there would be no incidents".

Women's prayer tests ultra-Orthodox hold on Western Wall

The singing rises through the early-morning cool which still covers the esplanade in front of the Western Wall, the holiest site at which Jews can pray. A mother and daughter pray entwined. A young woman clutches a tiny infant of just a few months to her chest. Another almost disappears under a prayer shawl embroidered with red flowers as if to protect herself from the invective of the ultra-Orthodox worshippers on the other side of the police barrier separating them from the section of the plaza reserved for women.

Israel's Orthodox women seek to infuse modesty with style

Wearing a sleek black dress topped with a taupe bolero and long stiletto-heeled boots, Nathalie Benhaim cuts an elegant figure. For her, Orthodox Judaism's rules of modesty have never been synonymous with austerity. "I'm always made up and have my hair done, I never let myself go. It's important for me and for my husband," explains this mother-of-four who has just opened a bakery in Jerusalem.

'World's oldest' Torah scroll found in Italian archive

The world's oldest complete Torah scroll has been found in a university archive in Bologna, according to an Italian professor who said the text could be from the 12th century. The precious lambskin scroll had been classified by the university library as being from the 17th century and was named simply "Scroll Number Two". But Hebrew Studies professor Mauro Perani told AFP on Wednesday he noticed that the text did not conform to key changes in Torah writing brought about in the 12th century.

Vandals target Western Wall woman activist

The stairwell and door to the apartment of a woman active in promoting egalitarian prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall were vandalised by unknown assailants, who scrawled threatening messages found on Monday. "This is disturbing, scary, sad," the activist Peggy Cidor told AFP. "Women of the Kotel (Wall) are evil", "Peggy your time is up" and "Jerusalem is holy" were among the slogans sprayed in black paint at her Jerusalem apartment.

Arrests mar landmark Jerusalem women's prayers

Jerusalem police were on Friday holding five ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who tried to disrupt landmark prayers by women Jewish activists at the Western Wall plaza in the Holy City. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that 1,000 ultra-Orthodox men were kept away from a large group of "Women of the Wall" activists conducting their monthly prayer using prayer shawls, after a court ruled they could do so. "Police arrested three ultra-Orthodox men and detained another two" for public disturbances," Rosenfeld said.

French Jewish body to meet over grand rabbi scandal

The body governing France's Jewish congregations will meet Thursday for an emergency session over a plagiarism scandal involving the country's Grand Rabbi that has made waves at home and abroad. Gilles Bernheim -- France's highest Jewish religious authority -- last week admitted to plagiarism in his 2011 book "Forty Jewish Meditations" following revelations in French news magazine L'Express.

French Jewish body to meet over grand rabbi scandal

The body governing France's Jewish congregations will meet Thursday for an emergency session over a plagiarism scandal involving the country's Grand Rabbi that has made waves at home and abroad. Gilles Bernheim -- France's highest Jewish religious authority -- last week admitted to plagiarism in his 2011 book "Forty Jewish Meditations" following revelations in French news magazine L'Express.

Archaeologists find 2,000-year-old ritual bath in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Apr 10 (EFE).- Archaeologists discovered here a 2,000-year-old ritual bath that used a highly sophisticated system of water collection to comport with Jewish law, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday. Uncovered during preparations to build a new road in Jerusalem's Kiryat Menachem neighborhood, the ritual bath, or "mikveh," goes back to the period of the Second Temple.
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