Tag Archives: religion

South Korea pastor tests positive amid virus spike at church

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A conservative South Korean pastor who has been a bitter critic of the country’s president has tested positive for the coronavirus

SEOUL, South Korea —
A conservative South Korean pastor who has been a bitter critic of the country’s president has tested positive for the coronavirus, health authorities said Monday, two days after he participated in an anti-government protest in Seoul that drew thousands.

More than 300 virus cases have been linked to the Rev. Jun Kwang-hun’s huge church in northern Seoul, which has emerged as a major cluster of infections amid growing fears of a massive outbreak in the greater capital region.

Officials are concerned that the virus’s spread could worsen after thousands of demonstrators, including Jun and members of his Sarang Jeil Church, marched in downtown Seoul on Saturday despite pleas from officials to stay home.

Jang Shi-hwa, a disease control expert in Seoul’s southern Gwangak district, said Jun was tested Monday morning at an area hospital, which reported to her office that he had tested positive but did not exhibit any symptoms. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Jun was being transferred to a hospital for isolated treatment.

South Korea reported 197 new cases of the virus on Monday, the fourth straight day of triple-digit increases. Most of the new cases in the past few days have come from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people.

Churches have been a constant source of infections, with many failing to require worshipers to wear masks, or allowing them to sing in choirs or eat together.

Health workers have so far linked 319 infections to Jun’s church after completing tests on about 2,000 of its 4,000 members. Police are pursuing some 700 church members who remain out of contact.

Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip urged anyone who participated in the weekend protest to come forward for testing if they experience fever or other symptoms. Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there’s concern that the outbreak at the church could spread nationwide through its members’ activities.

“We believe we are in the early stage of a major outbreak,” she said.

President Moon Jae-in’s government has strengthened social distancing restrictions in the Seoul metropolitan area — a move it had resisted for months out of economic concerns — and urged residents to avoid visiting other parts of the country for two weeks.

Jun’s church has become South Korea’s second-biggest virus cluster, behind a branch of the secretive Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southeastern city of Daegu that was tied to more than 5,000 cases following a surge of infections in the region in late February and March.

The country managed to stabilize the outbreak in the Daegu area by April after bringing medical resources and personnel to the region from other parts of the country. Health workers were able to quickly ramp up testing and aggressively trace contacts by extensively using cellphone location data and credit-card records.

But the resurgence of the virus in the greater capital area — which has 10 times more people than Daegu — has been a rude awakening for a country that had been eager to tout its gains against the virus.

While health workers were able to contain the outbreak in Daegu, where infections were mostly tied to the Shincheonji church, they’re now struggling to track transmissions and predict infection routes in the Seoul region, where clusters have been popping up from churches, restaurants, schools and other places.

Moon’s government is pressing charges against Jun for allegedly disrupting disease-control efforts by ignoring orders to self-isolate, discouraging worshipers from getting tested and under-reporting the church’s membership to avoid broader quarantines.

Jun’s lawyer, Kang Yeon-jae, denied the accusations during a news conference Monday, insisting that he only received self-isolation orders after returning home from Saturday’s rally.

During Saturday’s protest, Jun, who is known for provocative speeches that are often filled with bizarre claims, said the outbreak at his church was a result of an attack, accusing an unspecified opponent of “pouring” the virus onto the church.

Prosecutors pushed for Jun’s arrest, asking a Seoul court to revoke his bail.

Jun was indicted in March on charges of violating election laws ahead of April’s parliamentary elections by allegedly asking participants at his rallies to vote against Moon’s party, which would be illegal because the official campaigning period hadn’t yet started. Jun’s bail was granted on condition that he doesn’t take part in rallies that could be related to his pending case.

Shincheonji’s 88-year-old chairman, Lee Man-hee, was arrested earlier this month over charges that the church hid some members and under-reported gatherings. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they’re cooperating with health authorities.

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Saints owner denies team had role in clergy sex abuse list

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The owner of the New Orleans Saints says the NFL team played no role in determining which priests would be named in the list of “credibly accused” clergy published by the area’s Roman Catholic Church

The owner of the New Orleans Saints said Monday that the NFL team played no role in determining which priests would be named in the list of “credibly accused” clergy published by the area’s Roman Catholic Church.

Gayle Benson, a devout Catholic who has donated millions of dollars to church causes, also said in a lengthy statement that she has never “contributed nor will ever make payments” to pay for legal settlements to the victims of clergy abuse.

“To suggest that I would offer money to the Catholic Church to pay for anything related to the clergy-molestation issue sickens me,” she added. It was not clear who had made that suggestion.

The statement marked Benson’s first remarks since The Associated Press reported last month about hundreds of confidential Saints emails that allegedly show team executives did behind-the-scenes public relations damage control amid the archdiocese’s clergy abuse crisis — communications the Saints have gone to court to keep from being made public. A hearing is scheduled in New Orleans next week to determine whether they may be released.

Benson’s statement acknowledged that Greg Bensel, the Saints’ senior vice president of communications, helped the Archdiocese of New Orleans “prepare for the media” surrounding the November 2018 release of a list that named dozens of clergy members whom the church deemed “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

Benson, who inherited the Saints and New Orleans Pelicans following her husband’s 2018 death, said Bensel urged the church to be “honest, complete and transparent.”

“We are proud of the role we played and yes, in hindsight, we would help again to assist the Archdiocese in its ability to publish the list with the hope of taking this step to heal the community,” Benson said.

Attorneys for about two dozen men suing the church have painted a different picture of the team’s role, alleging in court filings that the confidential emails show executives joined in the church’s “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes.” The attorneys contend that included taking an active role in helping to shape the archdiocese’s list of 57 credibly accused clergy, a roster an AP analysis found was undercounted by at least 20 names.

Plaintiffs attorneys John Denenea and Richard Trahant said in a statement Monday that “it is obvious that Gayle Marie Benson has not read the e-mails the Saints are hiding from the public, or even re-read her own e-mails. If she had read them, she could never have made some of the false claims asserted in her statement today.”

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India to permit vacationers again into locked-down Kashmir

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Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir will enable vacationers again into the area two months after ordering them to depart due to safety considerations amid an Indian crackdown, an official stated Tuesday.

However vacationers are unlikely to expertise regular life within the disputed space or have the ability to use cellular web or cellphones, which stay reduce.

Native authorities spokesman Rohit Kansal stated the choice was made after a evaluation of the scenario. Safety restrictions “have now been withdrawn nearly solely from all components of Jammu and Kashmir,” he stated.

He stated the restrictions on the entry of vacationers might be lifted on Thursday.

The federal government instructed vacationers and Hindu pilgrims to depart on Aug. 2, three days earlier than India stripped the Muslim-majority area of its statehood and decades-old semi-autonomy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led authorities additionally despatched tens of hundreds of further troops to the area, already some of the militarized on the earth. It imposed a harsh safety clampdown, chopping nearly all communications.

Indian troops arrested hundreds of anti-India in addition to pro-India activists, together with some Kashmiri leaders who’ve traditionally accepted Indian rule over the area, within the days main as much as and after the revoking of its particular standing.

The strikes touched off widespread anger, as one of many revisions permits anybody to purchase land within the territory, which some Kashmiris worry will end in an inflow of Hindus who would change the area’s tradition and demographics.

Authorities have since eased some restrictions and inspired college students to return to high school and companies to reopen, however Kashmiris have largely stayed indoors to point out their defiance of Indian rule.

They’ve launched a marketing campaign of refusal to renew their regular lives, confounding India at the price of financial losses for themselves. Outlets have adopted new, restricted hours of operation within the early morning and night.

Some vacationer operators expressed shock over the federal government’s determination.

“When every part is shut, what sort of vacationer will take a threat to come back right here with out primary facilities like telephones and public transport?” stated Bashir Ahmed, a vacationer operator whose enterprise has been shut since August.

India “has all the time tried to make use of tourism as an indication of normality,” stated Nazir Ahmed, a Kashmiri schoolteacher.

Kashmir’s pristine mountainous panorama, ski resorts, lake houseboats and apple orchards have lengthy made it a vacationer attraction. Nevertheless, a full-blown armed rise up has raged within the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir since 1989 searching for a united Kashmir — both underneath Pakistani rule or impartial of each nations.

About 70,000 folks have been killed within the rebellion and an Indian navy crackdown. India accuses Pakistan of coaching and arming the rebels, a cost Islamabad denies.

Simmering tensions over Kashmir have additionally threatened to erupt into open battle between India and Pakistan after New Delhi imposed the heavy restrictions within the space it controls. Kashmir is split between the 2 nuclear-armed rivals, which each declare it in its entirety. They’ve fought two wars over its management.

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Confirmed Ebola deaths close to 2K, circumstances over 3K in Congo

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Police in Congo have detained the previous minister of well being amid an investigation into using Ebola funds as confirmed Ebola deaths rose to close 2,000 and confirmed circumstances of the virus exceeded 3,000 within the sprawling African nation.

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Former Minister of Well being Oly Ilunga was taken into custody, police stated in an announcement Saturday.

Ilunga resigned in July to protest President Felix Tshisekedi’s resolution to take over the administration of the response to the world’s second deadliest Ebola outbreak, which is ongoing now in japanese Congo, from Ilunga. As he resigned, Ilunga deplored the dearth of cooperation between him, the president and the prime minister in response to the lethal Ebola outbreak.

Police stated Saturday that Ilunga had been arrested lower than a month in the past for misdemeanor offenses involving the mishandling of funds and he was launched. He has since made plans to journey to the neighboring Republic of Congo, they stated, including he was taken into custody to verify he wouldn’t keep away from authorized proceedings.

Congo’s Nationwide Ebola Response Committee launched the most recent Ebola numbers Friday after a dialogue in Goma by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church about efforts to assist stem the unfold of Ebola in communities. A distrust of well being employees and widespread safety points nonetheless threaten the combat in opposition to the Ebola outbreak in a area the place armed teams have fought for many years over the mineral-rich land.

The committee reported there have been 3,002 confirmed Ebola circumstances with 1,974 confirmed deaths.

The World Well being Group stated Friday they recorded 40 new circumstances of Ebola — the bottom weekly incidence of Ebola since March 2019 — however stated it was unclear if this constructive development would proceed.

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No new measles instances reported in fading US outbreak

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U.S. well being officers say there have been no new measles instances reported final week, an indication the nation’s worst epidemic of the illness in 27 years may very well be in its remaining phases.

The present epidemic emerged a few 12 months in the past. It took off this 12 months, with many of the instances reported in Orthodox Jewish communities in and round New York Metropolis.

It began with vacationers who had develop into contaminated abroad however unfold shortly amongst unvaccinated folks in america. Within the spring, 70 or extra new instances had been being reported every week. However new instances tailed off in the summertime. To date this 12 months, 1,241 instances have been confirmed.

Measles outbreaks are usually declared over when 42 days cross with out a new an infection.

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UN: Reconstruction of landmark Mosul mosque to start in 2020

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The United Nations’ cultural company UNESCO introduced Wednesday {that a} landmark reconstruction of Iraq’s al-Nouri mosque in Mosul, which was blown up by the Islamic State group in 2017, will begin in the beginning of subsequent 12 months.

The timeline of the restoration plan of the 12th-century monument, famed for its leaning minaret, was hammered out throughout a gathering in Paris between UNESCO Director Common Audrey Azoulay and several other Iraqi officers, together with Iraqi Tradition Minister Abdulamir al-Dafar Hamdani, and Mosul’s regional governor, Mansour al-Mareed.

First launched in 2018, the mosque restoration plan would be the most eye-catching a part of a $100 million UNESCO-led heritage reconstruction of Mosul.

“Revive the Spirit of Mosul” is the biggest restoration plan in Iraqi historical past, and comes two years after the outdated metropolis’s destruction by the hands of extremists.

“As we speak we agreed on a calendar, a exact calendar and plan of motion to be mobilized on the bottom in Iraq. … The continuing section of structural consolidation and the essential section of site-clearing and mine-clearing (has) to be achieved from now to the top of the 12 months,” Azoulay instructed reporters.

“We have additionally agreed on a timetable that may see the reconstruction begin within the first semester of 2020 for the mosque,” she added.

IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate from the al-Nouri mosque in the summertime of 2014, just for IS extremists to blow it up in June 2017 as Iraqi forces closed in.

Two years after IS was evicted, Mosul is a metropolis nonetheless very a lot in ruins with no significant worldwide effort to rebuild — one that’s nonetheless fighting primary companies like electrical energy, water and well being care. The U.N.’s improvement program is working to revive non-public homes within the historic Outdated Metropolis. Most of its residents nonetheless reside in camps.

The UNESCO initiative goes far past the mere restoration of the mosque, and can see the money be used to rebuild church buildings, faculties and a road in Mosul’s Outdated Metropolis, which was well-known for its bookshops.

The United Arab Emirates is offering $50.four million to finance the venture, specializing in the restoration of the mosque, with the European Union offering $24 million.

The choice to pick Mosul, versus different Iraqi cities, for a revamp owes to its specific historical past as a melting pot metropolis.

“We have chosen Mosul as an emblem as a result of Mosul was earlier than the battle a metropolis of variety, a metropolis of tolerance – greater than tolerance – a metropolis the place folks lived collectively and knew one another past communities, past non secular belongings,” Azoulay mentioned.

She pressured that she’s requested that among the $100 million go towards the rebuilding of a synagogue and Christian non secular websites.

———

Related Press author Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.

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The Latest: NY ends religious exemptions to vaccine mandates

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The Latest on legislation to eliminate a religious exemption to New York state’s vaccine requirements (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation eliminating a religious exemption to vaccine mandates for schoolchildren in the face of the nation’s worst measles outbreak in decades.

The Democrat signed the bill Thursday soon after it was approved by lawmakers.

Similar exemptions are allowed in 46 states, though lawmakers in several of them are also considering the elimination of the waiver. Maine nixed its religious exemption earlier this year.

Hundreds of opponents of the bill, including parents of unvaccinated children, protested outside New York’s Capitol ahead of Thursday’s vote. They say the bill is an assault on religious freedom.

Supporters say misinformation spread by anti-vaxxers has created a public health crisis.

Health officials said last week that this year’s U.S. measles epidemic has surpassed 1,000 illnesses, the highest in 27 years.

———

6:15 p.m.

New York lawmakers have passed a bill that will eliminate a religious exemption to vaccine mandates for schoolchildren in the face of the state’s worst measles outbreak in decades.

The Democrat-led Assembly and Senate both approved the measure Thursday. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said he supports eliminating the exemption because public health comes first.

Similar exemptions are allowed in 46 states, though lawmakers in several of them are also considering the elimination of the waiver. Maine nixed its religious exemption earlier this year.

Hundreds of opponents to the bill, including parents of unvaccinated children, protested outside New York’s Capitol ahead of Thursday’s vote. They say the bill is an assault on religious freedom.

Supporters say misinformation spread by anti-vaxxers has created a public health crisis.

———

This item has been corrected to show that hundreds of opponents of the measure protested ahead of the vote, not proponents.

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4:35 p.m.

The New York state Assembly has voted to eliminate a religious exemption to vaccine mandates for schoolchildren in the face of its worst measles outbreak in decades.

The Democrat-led chamber approved the bill Thursday. The Senate plans to take up the measure later in the day.

Similar exemptions are allowed in 46 states. But lawmakers in several of them are also considering eliminating the waiver.

Maine nixed its religious exemption earlier this year.

Hundreds of parents of unvaccinated children gathered at New York’s Capitol before Thursday’s vote to protest what several called an assault on religious freedom.

Supporters say misinformation spread by vaccine opponents is creating a public health crisis and putting children who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons at risk.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he supports eliminating the exemption.

———

12:31 p.m.

New York state may soon eliminate a religious exemption to vaccine mandates in the face of its worst measles outbreak in decades.

The Democrat-led Senate and Assembly are expected to pass legislation Thursday that would eliminate the exemption, which allows parents of children to cite their religious beliefs to opt a child out of the vaccines required for school enrollment.

Similar exemptions are allowed in 46 states, though lawmakers in several states are also considering the elimination of the waiver.

Hundreds of parents of unvaccinated children gathered at New York’s Capitol before Thursday’s vote to protest what several called an assault on religious freedom.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he supports eliminating the exemption, saying public health is at risk.

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The Notre Dame Cathedral needs to be rebuilt. It is a symbol of human civilizati…

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The Notre Dame Cathedral needs to be rebuilt. It is a symbol of human civilization. This is an amazing example of people coming together to fund and support a cause. But what about the rebuilding of our natural resources, the rebuilding of our planet?
Start by finding out how to support local projects and initiatives or by implementing changes in your own home to be more environmentally conscience.
Individual, small actions can lead to global change.
#bepartofthechange
.
.
#Socialgastronomy #respectforfood #dontwaste #sustainiability #foodchain #inseason #thinkglobalactlocal #socialchange #habits #buylocal #miami #miamilocal #community #cheflife #volunteer #givingback #chesfroll #foodunites #culture #religion #union #notredame

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#Repost @recipesforchange with @make_repost ・・・ The Notre Dame Cathedral needs t…

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#Repost @recipesforchange with @make_repost
・・・
The Notre Dame Cathedral needs to be rebuilt. It is a symbol of human civilization. This is an amazing example of people coming together to fund and support a cause. But what about the rebuilding of our natural resources, the rebuilding of our planet?
Start by finding out how to support local projects and initiatives or by implementing changes in your own home to be more environmentally conscience.
Individual, small actions can lead to global change.
#bepartofthechange
.
.
#Socialgastronomy #respectforfood #dontwaste #sustainiability #foodchain #inseason #thinkglobalactlocal #socialchange #habits #buylocal #miami #miamilocal #community #cheflife #volunteer #givingback #chesfroll #foodunites #culture #religion #union #notredame

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Morocco is a trove of Jewish history if you know where to go

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With its mountains and desert, beach resorts and Berber villages, Morocco is a feast for travelers of all kinds, including those who want to explore the kingdoms deep Jewish roots.

The presence of Jews in Morocco stretches back more than 2,000 years. Before the founding of Israel in 1948, estimates put their number as high as about 275,000, which was considered the largest Jewish community in the Muslim world, said Roy Mittelman, director of the Jewish studies program at The City College of New York.

Today, after vast waves of departures over the years, only about 2,000 Jews remain in Casablanca and about 500 elsewhere in Morocco, but the Jewish presence is still alive in a variety of sights. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism in suburban Casablanca, for instance, is the only museum on Judaism in the Arab world.

Jews of Moroccan descent, in Israel and around the globe, return to the North African kingdom often and some maintain second homes in familial regions. Jewish heritage tours to Morocco are abundant and easy to track down. Most cities have a mellah, which is an old Jewish quarter, along with Jewish cemeteries and synagogues.

Mittelman, who has spent 40 years absorbing the history, culture and religious practices of Jews in Morocco, leads groups of students on tours of Jewish sights as part of an advanced seminar. He said theres plenty to read ahead of a visit.

He recommends Shlomo Deshens The Mellah Society: Jewish Community Life in Sherifian Morocco for more on pre-colonial Morocco, based on the writings of 18th- and 19th-century Judeo-Moroccan sages.

To learn more about the spiritual history of the Jewish quarter in Marrakech, he recommends the travelogue of Bulgarian Jewish writer Elias Canetti, The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit.

Mittelman has honed his travel itineraries over the years. Here are some of his favorites and other sights:

CASABLANCA

The last Moroccan Jewish day school, Neve Shalom, is in Casablanca, which is the economic and business center of the kingdom. Watch the children playing outside in the yard, enjoy them singing Jewish songs and learn more about the schools Hebrew classes and Bible studies, Mittelman said.

Visit the Tahiti Beach Club, once a local Jewish hangout.

Among Mittelmans walking tours of Jewish residential areas in Casablanca are stops at the Beth El and Eim Habanim synagogues. Theres also a newer synagogue, David HaMelech, in the tony, beachside Corniche quarter not far from the beach club.

Casablanca has a traditional kosher bakery and kosher restaurants, as do other cities. The city is a good place to start for a grounding in Jewish heritage and history.

MARRAKECH

Just over 100 Jews remain in Marrakech, including a handful who live in the old Jewish quarter, Mittelman said, but the mellah is bustling.

Among the synagogues that remain is the tiny blue-and-white Lazama, along a narrow street. Ask a local how to find it. Visitors may enter for a small fee. Theres an inviting riad-style courtyard with a fruit tree and a few chairs for weary travelers.

The original synagogue dated to 1492 but it was later rebuilt.

The mellah isnt the only place for synagogues. Head to the citys newer section of Gueliz, with a heavy European influence, for shabbat services at Temple Beth El Synagogue. Any taxi driver should know how to get there.

For a day trip out of Marrakech visit the Jewish heritage sites at Essaouira, once a thriving Jewish center and a former Portuguese fishing town. It was also a stop for 1960s and 70s rock stars who made pilgrimages to Marrakech. The town, dating to the 1700s, has a synagogue, cemetery and mellah, with plaques indicating buildings where ancient, long-gone synagogues once stood.

FES

The city had a large Jewish community in the 17th century and has a well-known Orthodox synagogue, Ibn Danan. Once crumbling, it was refurbished in the 1990s with help from the World Monuments Fund and American Express. King Mohammed VI has committed to reviving Jewish sites around Morocco.

The mellah here is a maze within walls. You WILL get lost and thats half the fun. It was the first mellah in Morocco, dating to around 1438.

In addition to a Jewish cemetery, where a couple of eminent medieval rabbis are buried, theres a site in Fes that is considered sacred among women, the Tomb of Solika. With a last name that varies, Solika — as one retelling goes — was a Jewish woman of great beauty who was beheaded in 1834 for refusing to convert to Islam.

Maimonides, one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars in the Middle Ages, lived in Fes from 1159 to 1165. His stone home, with weathered engraving marking the location, is worth a stop.

Walk a few steps and youre bound to find somebody willing to guide you in Fes and elsewhere, but one who knows Jewish Morocco is harder to come by, Mittelman said. Do some research beforehand to find just the right drivers and guides if youre traveling independently.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

If you favor this style of traveling, Mittelman said you should have no trouble in small towns and villages tracking Jewish influences and history.

Find yourself the first 80-year-old and say, Do you remember Jews here? Chances are theyll say, Yeah and here are their names and that crumbling house over there is where they used to live.

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