Pope denounces rise of anti-Semitism

Pope Francis strayed from his prepared remarks on Nov. 12 to denounce the rise of anti-Semitism and also spoke against new persecutions against Jews, JTA reported.

“I would like to make a separate note. The Jewish people have suffered so much in history, they have been chased away, they, too, have been persecuted,” he said.

Francis, the former Jorge Bergoglio, has frequently recalled experiences with Jewish friends during his childhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“In the last century we saw so many brutalities against the Jewish people, and we were all convinced that this was over,” the pope said. “But today the habit of persecuting the Jews, brothers and sisters, is here reborn. This is neither human nor Christian. The Jewish people are our brothers, and they should not be persecuted. Understand?”

Earlier this year, the pope sent a letter to the Argentine Jewish political umbrella organization DAIA ahead of the 25th anniversary of the attack that killed 85 people at the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

NASA renames cosmic body to avoid Nazi connotations

The most distant object ever explored by a spacecraft was renamed by NASA after informally nicknaming it with a term with Nazi connections, JTA reported.

Scientists had called the icy rock Ultima Thule, but it was officially named Arrokoth, which means “sky” in the Native American Powhatan language.

Ultima Thule — which comes from classical and medieval literature — means any distant place located beyond the “borders of the known world,” but the term was used by Nazi Party forerunners and some extreme right groups use it as part of their mythology.

Extreme right occultists in German believed in a historical Thule (also called Hyperborea) that was the ancient homeland of the Aryan race. The Thule Society founded in 1918 later became the Nazi Party.

Amazon.com now available in Hebrew

Amazon announced that it has made its international website available in Hebrew, becoming the eighth language offered, JTA reported.

The Hebrew site launched Nov. 11 and provides prices that are listed in shekels. There also will be customer service available in Hebrew.

Among the other languages offered by Amazon are English, Chinese, German, Spanish and Korean.

Amazon already had a local sales platform that hosts Israeli merchants for Israeli customers.

Yeshiva U. creates two special education degree programs

The Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University announced it has created two new degree programs in special education.

The programs cover different ages. One 47-credit program is called Teaching Students with Disabilities (Birth-Grade 2), while the other 46-credit program is Teaching Students with Disabilities (Grades 1-6).

The curriculum includes courses in childhood development, pedagogical practice, differentiated instruction and inclusive practices.

Graduates will receive a master of arts and be prepared for an initial certification exam as well as certification in special education.

“These culturally sensitive programs are rooted in the values of social justice and equity and will provide opportunities for students who are specifically looking to work in Jewish educational settings as well as secular environments,” said Joan Rosenberg, the program’s founding director. JN

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