LGBT activist Edith Windsor dies:

Edith Windsor, the gay-rights activist whose landmark Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and granted same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time and rights to myriad federal benefits, died yesterday at 88, the New York Times reports.

Ms. Windsor, a member of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, in 2016  was one of 90 Jewish LGBTQ activists who signed a letter saying that anti-Israel protesters who forcibly shut down a reception at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference displayed “dangerous” behavior.

The youngest of three children of James and Celia Schlain, Jewish immigrants from Russia, she was the lead plaintiff in what is widely regarded as the second most important Supreme Court ruling in the national battle over same-sex marriage rights.

Trump appointee has anti-Semitic past in Nixon era

The Trump administration intends to appoint Frederic Malek of Virginia as a board member and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington Post reports. A prominent Republican who once worked in the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, he gained notoriety for counting the number of Jews working in the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the request of Nixon, who was worried about a Jewish “cabal” there.

While denying that he had conducted anti-Jewish activities, Malek resigned as the Republican Party’s deputy chairman on Sept. 11, 1988.

Malek, who told the Post that Nixon’s notion of a “Jewish cabal” that was out to get him was “ridiculous” and “nonsense,” later became active in Jewish and pro-Israel philanthropy. Abraham Foxman, then-national director of the Anti-Defamation League, “granted indulgences” for Malek’s “mistake.”

Israeli court strikes down yeshiva exemptions

Israel’s High Court of Justice yesterday struck down the law exempting haredi Jews from compulsory military service while they are studying in yeshiva, Haaretz reports. The court said the ruling would take effect within a year.

Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union party welcomed the ruling, tweeting: “Equality, gentlemen, equality. Miltary, national or civilian service for all, without schticks and tricks. You can keep the yeshiva world without granting full exemptions to everyone.”

The Movement for Quality Government said it hoped that after a battle for 17 years for equality in military service, the draft law would now be applied equally to all Israeli citizens, without discrimination. Knesset member Menachem Eliezer Moses of the United Torah Judaism party said, “The High Court of Justice once again proves how cut off the it is from Jewish tradition and how deep is its hatred for anything dear to those who study Torah and the guardians of religion.”

Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union party welcomed the ruling, tweeting: “Equality, gentlemen, equality. Miltary, national or civilian service for all, without schticks and tricks. You can keep the yeshiva world without granting full exemptions to everyone.”

Documentary about Polish-Jewish filmmaker wins Venice award                                                                       

A documentary film about a Polish-Jewish filmmaker has won an award at the Venice Film Festival, according to JTA. The Polish-German co-production, “The Prince and the Dybbuk,” by Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski, received the Venice Classics Award for Best Documentary on Cinema.

The film traces the life of Moshe Waks, who was born into a poor Jewish blacksmith’s family in Kovel, in what is now Ukraine, and went on to become a director and Hollywood producer who made more than 40 films, working with stars such as Sophia Loren and Orson Welles.

As a director in pre-World War II Warsaw, he directed one of the most famous Yiddish films: “The Dybbuk.”

German court drops case against Auschwitz medic

A German court yesterday dropped a case against a 96-year-old former medical orderly at Auschwitz because he suffers from dementia, ending one of the last high-profile Nazi prosecutions, the Times of Israel reports. Wheelchair-bound Hubert Zafke had faced 3,681 counts of being an accessory to murder at the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

The decision to end the proceedings was widely expected after prosecutors last month said the accused was unfit for trial and the case should be dismissed. Two independent psychiatrists had confirmed the diagnosis, finding that Zafke was incapable of following a discussion or retaining information “for more than a few minutes.”