Taiwan’s Jewish Community Breaks New Ground

While the Republic of China is home to a Chabad house and a small, rented office space used for Jewish communal activities, by the end of the year the island’s Jews can expect to have a building of their own. Yaakov Schwartz reports:

The construction of the 22,500-square-foot Jeffrey D. Schwartz Jewish Community Center of Taiwan began in 2020, and is on track to be completed by December 2021. The $16 million complex will include a synagogue with a seating capacity of over 100, a mikvah (ritual bath), Taiwan’s first kosher restaurant and kitchen, a 300-person banquet hall, a kindergarten and classrooms for adult-education programs, a library, spaces for group and individual study, and a Mediterranean-style courtyard for outdoor events.

A private collection of nearly 500 rare Judaica and Jewish art objects belonging to the center’s namesake will also be on permanent display there.

According to the community’s spokesperson Glenn Leibowitz, who has lived in Taiwan for 30 years, the island has an estimated 700 to 800 Jews, half of whom are active community members involved in Shabbat meals and services, Jewish holidays, and other events.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Chabad, East Asian Jewry, Mikveh, Synagogues, Taiwan

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy