World Briefs: Volodymyr Zelensky named ‘Time’ magazine’s ‘Person of Year’ and more


Volodymyr Zelensky, the Jewish president of Ukraine, was named Time’s “Person of the Year” on Dec. 7 for galvanizing “the world in a way we haven’t seen in decades,” in the words of the editor-in-chief, reported JTA.

(Philip Reynaers/Pool)

“From his first 40-second Instagram post on Feb. 25 — showing that his Cabinet and civil society were intact and in place — to daily speeches delivered remotely to the likes of houses of Parliament, the World Bank and the Grammy Awards, Ukraine’s president was everywhere,” said Edward Felsenthal in explaining the choice. “His information offensive shifted the geopolitical weather system, setting off a wave of action that swept the globe.”

Zelensky is the fifth Jewish person to claim the honor in the nearly 100 years that the publication has been awarding it.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg won it in 2010, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Ben Bernanke in 2009, former business executive Andrew Grove 1997 and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger earned the award in 1972.

Israeli archaeologists say 2,200-year-old sling bullet possibly linked to Chanukah story
Israeli researchers discovered a lead projectile dating from the Hellenistic period in the ancient palace at Yavne, an archaeological site in central Israel, reported JNS.

The 4.4-centimeter-long (1.7 inches) projectile was designed to be launched from a sling. It is estimated to be 2,200 years old, placing it at the time of the battles between the Hasmoneans and the Seleucid Empire.

The story of Chanukah, celebrated this year between Dec. 18-26, commemorates the recapture of Jerusalem from the Greeks-Seleucids in the second century BCE.

USDA launches webpage listing kosher foods for those in need
After a year of advocating, the Jewish Federations of North America said it welcomed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to create a webpage listing items that are kosher in the Emergency Food Assistance Program, reported JNS.

In September 2021, Jewish and Muslim members of Congress sent a letter to the USDA urging the department to expand options for kosher and halal food. The USDA subsequently invited faith institutions to talk about the dietary needs of their respective communities.

Starting in January, the USDA will increase available kosher-food products under its TEFAP program by 50%.

The program, which provides surplus items to food banks, recently launched a new website that lists kosher food, and gives guidance and information on kashrut.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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