World Briefs: UK chief rabbi to sleep at King Charles’s residence before coronation and more

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UK chief rabbi to sleep at King Charles’s residence before coronation
King Charles III wants to make sure that the United Kingdom’s chief rabbi can make it to his coronation ceremony next year — so much so that he’s letting the Jewish leader sleep over at his house, reported JTA.

King Charles III meets Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis during a reception with faith leaders at Buckingham Palace in London on Sept. 16, 2022. (Aaron Chown/Pool/AFP via Getty Images via JTA.org)

The coronation is scheduled for May 6, 2023, which falls on Shabbat. Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and his wife, Valerie, who are Orthodox, are not allowed under Jewish law to travel by car or use electricity on Shabbat.

Before he officially moves into Buckingham Palace, King Charles’s residence is Clarence House, a few minutes away. The sleepover allows the Mirvises to walk to the ceremony.

While the Telegraph reported that a member of the rabbi’s staff called the offer “an amazing gesture,” it’s not the first time the king has accommodated Mirvis’s religious observance.

Mirvis, 66, has been the chief rabbi since 2013, succeeding the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

KFC Germany apologizes for chicken promotion tied to Kristallnacht
The German branch of international fast-food chain KFC apologized to customers on Nov. 9 for a promotional message tied to the anniversary of Kristallnacht, reported JTA.

“It’s memorial day for Kristallnacht! Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken,” it said in German as part of an initial push notification message to customers, advertising its “KFCheese.”

A short time afterwards, the chain sent a follow-up in all-caps: “SORRY WE MADE A MISTAKE.” The company blamed the message on “a bug in our system.”

Reaction to that “mistake” came swiftly and harshly from leaders across the Jewish world.

Daniel Sugarman, director of public affairs for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, tweeted that the promotion was “absolutely hideous.”

Arsen Ostrovsky, the head of the pro-Israel legal group International Legal Forum, said he was “utterly speechless and repulsed.”

ADL acquires Jewish investment watchdog to fight threats to Israel
The Anti-Defamation League is bolstering its advocacy on Wall Street by absorbing JLens, an organization known for rating companies on their alleged support for the Israel boycott, according to an announcement on Nov. 10 by the ADL.

Founded in 2012, JLens was for years one of the only groups that worked to press pro-Israel positions in the expanding environmental, social and governance movement known as ESG, which advocates for a form of corporate decision-making in which profit is not the only priority.

Over time, JLens managed to raise awareness that Israel could get ensnared in ESG filters used by investors who wish to avoid doing business in conflict zones or with companies implicated in human-rights abuses.

As part of its mission, JLens also urges investors, especially Jewish organizations that have significant endowments, to prioritize Jewish concerns in deciding where to put their money.

JLens notes that more than 30 Jewish organizations to date have opted to invest nearly $200 million according to JLens guidelines.

Israel launches $17 million autonomous public-transport pilot
Israel’s Innovation Authority announced the launch of a two-year pilot program to study the viability of using autonomous public buses, reported JNS.

In collaboration with the Transportation Ministry and Ayalon Highways, the authority selected four groups to begin operating self-driving buses on public roads.

The state is contributing half of the $17 million required for the two-stage pilot.
The first stage will test tech viability from business, legal and safety standpoints. The second stage will operate autonomous bus lines on public roads with a range that will grow throughout the pilot.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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