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Your Daily Spiel for August 20

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SodaStream products SCREENSHOT
SodaStream products SCREENSHOT

PepsiCo Inc. has brokered a deal to buy Israeli company SodaStream International Ltd. for U.S.$3.2 billion in the hopes of bringing the fizzy-drinks dispenser into the homes of more health-conscious consumers. SodaStream shares have jumped 49 per cent this month after the company boosted its forecast for revenue growth this year to 23 per cent and reported first-half figures that beat estimates.

Jewish Services of Canada, a volunteer-run organization that organizes Jewish programs for Canadian prisoners, is continuing to bring spiritual healing to inmates, a year after its successful conception. “A Jew in jail is a minority of a minority. They feel very marginalized. When they get a visit from someone from their faith group once a week, it really boosts their faith,” Rabbi Michael Csillag, one of the founders of the organization, recently said.

Barak Cohen, an attorney and political activist, recently leaked a list of private phone numbers belonging to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, and Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, among others. Cohen explained in a Facebook post that he believed that his actions were a “public service” and urged his social media followers to distribute the numbers “so that every citizen can benefit from accessible communications with his [public] servants.”

Almost 40 members of Uganda’s Jewish Abayudaya community will participate in their first ever Birthright Israel trip, starting tomorrow. Arrangements for the trip were made without publicity, with Taglit-Birthright refusing to disclose any information about it. This was allegedly because the question of the Abayudayas’ status as Jews, and consequent potential eligibility to immigrate to Israel, is the subject of dispute involving Israel’s Interior Ministry, the Jewish Agency and Conservative Jewish leaders.