World Briefs: Biden the first president to appear at Maccabiah Games and more

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— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

Biden the first president to appear at Maccabiah Games


Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to attend the Maccabiah Games, also known as the Jewish Olympics, on July 14, JTA reported.

The audience at the opening ceremony of the 21st games showered Biden with affection as thousands cheered “Joe” repeatedly and shouted things like “we love you Mr. President” at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. Biden, flanked by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, waved a baseball cap emblazoned with the letters USA for several minutes as the crowd cheered.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog, President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid applaud and cheer as they attend the opening ceremony of the Maccabiah Games at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on July 14.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog, President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid applaud and cheer as they attend the opening ceremony of the Maccabiah Games at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on July 14. (Ronen Zvulun/POOL/AFP via Getty Images via JTA.org)

Biden, who wrapped up the Israel leg of his four-day visit to the Middle East, showed up at a bulletproof glass box installed for him there just before the announcers welcomed in the American delegation of athletes.

Organizers claim that the event is the third-largest sports gathering in the world, with 10,000 athletes from 60 countries.

But in a timing mishap, he appeared to leave before the U.S. delegation appeared. Biden and the Israeli leaders then returned to the bulletproof glass box to wave to the American delegation, who responded to him by bouncing up and down and blowing kisses in his direction.

Organizers claim that the event is the third-largest sports gathering in the world, with 10,000 athletes from 60 countries.

Barcelona gets world’s first Michelin-starred kosher restaurant

The typical menu at Xerta, a Barcelona restaurant that earned a coveted star from the Michelin Guide, reads like an haute-cuisine treyf banquet: non-kosher dishes such as lobster, squid and oysters, JTA reported.

Yet the restaurant has become a hotspot for Barcelona’s small number of kosher-keeping Jews. That’s because with a little advance notice, Xerta will prepare food according to Jewish dietary laws in a separate kitchen, under the supervision of a local Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi.

The restaurant pursued kosher certification, which makes Xerta the only Michelin-starred kosher restaurant in the world, largely to attract Barcelona’s rising numbers of Jewish visitors.

Ashes of around 8,000 Nazi victims found in mass grave in Poland

The burnt remains of approximately 8,000 victims of the Nazis were unearthed in a mass grave outside the town of Działdowo, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance announced on July 13, JTA reported.

It is believed that the victims were killed in 1939, and most were likely members of the Polish political elite, according to IPN head investigator Tomasz Jankowski.

A symbolic grave outside the town of Działdowo, Poland, where a mass grave of about 8,000 Geman Nazi victims from the nearby Soldau concentration camp was unearthed at the beginning of July (Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images)

During the spring of 1944, in an attempt to hide the extent of their crimes, Nazis ordered Jewish prisoners of the Soldau concentration camp, where Jews and non-Jewish Poles were imprisoned, to dig up and burn the bodies.

The estimate of 8,000 victims was based on the weight of the remains, a gruesome tally of more than 17 tons.

The camp outside Działdowo, which was renamed Soldau during the German occupation of Poland, was part of the Nazi plan to eliminate Jews, political opponents and members of the Polish intelligentsia.

Experts believe that approximately 30,000 people were killed at Soldau, but the true number has never been determined. A search is ongoing to determine if there are more mass graves in the area.

South Florida toddler dies after being left in a hot car outside a Jewish school

An Orthodox community in South Florida is reeling after a 3-year-old boy died when he was left in a hot car outside a Chabad-Lubavitch school, where both of his parents are teachers, JTA reported.

According to local reports, the boy’s father found him unresponsive in the parked car at 3:45 p.m. on July 11, after another staff member at the school in Miami Gardens remarked that he had not seen the boy all day. Paramedics performed CPR at the scene and he was pronounced dead at Jackson North Medical Center.

The Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be hyperthermia, or overheating, and ruled it an accidental death. The boy was identified as Sholom Tauber, and an ABC affiliate in Miami reported that friends of the family identified the boy’s parents as Rabbi Menachem Tauber and Nehama Tauber.

Miami Gardens Police confirmed to CBS4 Miami that the boy was left in the car by his father.

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