Globe Briefs December 4

Globe Briefs December 4

Australia’s capital gets first official rabbi to lead Jewish community

The Jewish community in Australia’s capital inaugurated its first official full-time rabbi.

Rabbi Alon Meltzer, 26, of New Zealand will lead the Australian Capital Territory’s National Jewish Memorial Center in Canberra.

Meltzer was inaugurated last week by Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, and becomes the first rabbi in the community’s 63-year history. The Jewish Center houses Orthodox and Reform services.

“I realize that this is an appointment of national significance,” Meltzer said.

Canberra has about 1,000 Jews — some 300 are affiliated with the Jewish center.

Peter Wertheim of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry called Meltzer’s inauguration “a watershed for the community and also a wonderful positive development for the whole of Australian Jewry.”

Rabbi Shmuel Feldman runs the Chabad community in Canberra.

Mirvis, on his first official visit to Australia as chief rabbi, also broke ground on land earmarked for an extension to the Jewish Center.

The center also serves as a memorial to Jews who lost their lives fighting for Australia.

Far-right rally, concert held in Milan despite protests

A far-right rally and concert went ahead in Milan despite protests by the Milan Jewish community and other groups.

Reports said the event last Saturday drew far fewer participants than anticipated. No incidents were reported.

The Italian media said about 300 skinheads and other far-right militants attended Hammerfest 2014, which was held in a privately owned outbuilding in an outlying district of Milan. According to reports before the event, some 1,000 participants had been expected.

Many of the crowd had “shaven heads, swastikas and all the repertoire of the ‘Nazi look,’” the Italian news agency Ansa wrote.

The Milan Jewish community was among the organizations that had called on authorities to bar the concert, which Milan’s mayor criticized as “unacceptable.”  A similar concert was held in 2013.

New Dutch app offers original writings of Anne Frank

A publisher in Amsterdam released the first smartphone application to contain Anne Frank’s diary in its original language.

Uitgeverij Prometheus unveiled the Dutch-language app earlier this month at the Theater Amsterdam, a 1,100-seat auditorium that was built in the Dutch capital earlier this year for the show “Anne,” about the Jewish teenage diarist’s life.

The app, which costs approximately $8.50 to download, contains the international bestseller “The Diary of a Young Girl” — a version of Anne’s writings edited and brought to print by her father, Otto. It tells the story of the Frank family’s two years in hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam until their deportation to German concentration camps, where only Otto Frank survived.

But the app also contains several unedited versions written by Anne Frank, Uitgeverij Prometheus said in a news release.

The app also features two interactive timelines with photographs from World War II and the secret annex where the Franks hid. It also has video interviews with Miep Gies, who helped the Franks in hiding. It further contains the audio book of “The Diary of a Young Girl” read by Carice van Houten, the Dutch actress who portrays The Red Woman in the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

The Dutch-language app is the second app containing the diary, which is the intellectual property of the Anne Frank Fonds in Basel, Switzerland — a nonprofit foundation founded by Otto Frank in 1963. The first Anne Frank app appeared in English last year.

A team of 15 people made production of the second app possible, according to Yves Kugelmann, a board member of the Anne Frank Fonds. Kugelmann said the app “aims to make the Anne Frank story and its context accessible to a new generation of readers.”