web analytics
October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Amsterdam’

New Anne Frank Theater to Open in Amsterdam

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

A new theater dedicated to the story of Anne Frank is slated to open in the Dutch capital ahead of the 70th anniversary of the teenage diarist’s deportation and death.

The new theater, which is in the final stages of construction, was first shown to media on Wednesday and will feature a permanent show titled ANNE that was developed at the request of the Basel-based Anne Frank Foundation — a not-for-profit organization founded in 1963 by Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank. The Anne Frank Foundation is the sole owner of copyrights of writings of the Frank family including the hugely famous diary of Anne Frank from her days in hiding in Amsterdam.

The play, which is set to debut in May, will feature a cast of approximately 20 Dutch actors and simultaneous translation to seven languages, according to Ilan Roos of Imagine Nation, the commercial Dutch firm which produced the show and built the new theater.

The new Theater Amsterdam seats 1,100 people in 4,000 square yards of floor space.

Roos declined to disclose how much money the company has invested in the project. Yves Kugelman of the Anne Frank Foundation said royalties from ticket proceeds, which will sell for $50-$100 dollars, will go toward the foundation’s educational work and charity projects for Jewish and non-Jewish causes. The foundation did not participate in production and building costs, he said.

“The play is the first one which is based on all original documents and writings of Anne and Family Frank,” Kugelman told JTA. The foundation developed the script and supervised its historical accuracy, he added.

The new theater is located 1.5 miles northwest of Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House — a separate outfit which runs a museum at the address where the Franks hid until their arrest and deportation to German concentration and death camps in 1944. The Anne Frank House was not involved in the new production.

A special ferry will transport spectators from Amsterdam Central Station to the new theater, producer Kees Abrahams told reporters.

The play, which is being produced by Abrahams and Broadway producer Robin de Levita, is the second theater dramatization of Anne Frank’s diaries that has been performed under supervision of the copyright owners, according to Kugelman.

The first adaptation was written by the American couple Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and opened in 1955, and was later re-adapted into a movie.

“They did a marvelous job but wrote the play in a different time and based on a selection of materials made by Anne Frank’s father,” said Leon de Winter, the Dutch Jewish novelist who wrote the new show’s script with his wife, Jessica Durlacher. “Jessica and I were privileged to gain access to many additional materials, the entire archive, and to broaden the scope to include what happened before and after the deportation.”

Germany to Pay Amsterdam Jews for ‘Voluntary’ Ghetto Labor

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

More than 1,000 people have applied for new compensation of a one-time payment of $2,700 from Germany for labor performed in Amsterdam’s Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust.

The compensation is offered to people who lived in three districts of the Dutch capital that served as ghettos for the city’s Jewish community during the German occupation and performed voluntary labor there, the ANP Dutch news agency reported.

The distribution of money for the labor was announced this week by the Dutch Union for Holocaust Survivors, which is known in the Netherlands by its Dutch-language acronym, VBV.

Some 1,200 applicants have submitted requests for payment as compensation for labor performed in the so-called Jodenbuurt in central Amsterdam, the Rivierenbuurt area in the capital’s south and Transvaalbuurt, east of the center, according to VBV.

“Dutch Jews were driven out of their professions and forced into ghettos before their deportation to concentration camps,” VBV Chairwoman Flory Neter told ANP. “In the ghettos of Amsterdam they often did random chores such as sewing bags to feed their families. It wasn’t forced labor but they were coerced to live in the ghettos so it wasn’t voluntary either.”

VBV has negotiated for years with the German government to obtain the compensation and lost a lawsuit against Germany, but was able to obtain the payments in further talks.

Among those eligible for payments are Holocaust survivors who worked in the ghettos as children, Neter also said.

Amsterdam Falafel Joint Takes Israelis for a Non-Kosher Ride

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

By the time they end up at Baba’s Grillroom in central Amsterdam, Israeli tourists tend to be somewhat distracted.

Situated near the famous Rembrandt Square, this popular and veteran falafel eatery is literally surrounded by pot-selling coffee shops that help make Amsterdam one of the top holiday destinations for Israelis — and especially for the young craving a cheap and top-quality high.

Giggly and thoroughly “mastoolim,” Hebrew slang for baked or stoned, they are likely to experience another dope-related phenomenon: The munchies. And that’s a problem for observant Jews in a city that is not exactly famous for its selection of kosher foods.

How fortunate, then, to chance upon the entrance to Baba’s place, with its promising signs in Hebrew and stars of David. Those sober enough to remain skeptical despite the Jewish symbolism are welcome to see Baba’s kosher certificate — a document signed by three rabbis from the United States.

The only problem is that one of the rabbis is deceased and the other two say they never certified any business in Amsterdam, according to a Jan. 9 report by the NIW Dutch Jewish weekly.

Acting on a tip, the paper sent one of its reporters, Jigal Krant, on an undercover mission that involved dressing up like an Israeli tourist and asking (in English) about the kashrut at Baba’s. Staff showed Krant a certificate signed by three rabbis. But the two living rabbis told NIW they had no idea their name was being used by Baba’s.

When NIW confronted the owners — two Egyptian Christians named Hanna Basta Tawadrous, 48, and Nermin Angali, 34 — they denied ever claiming they had a certificate, which NIW had photographed. Apparently, the new owners bought Baba’s approximately a year ago. To NIW they explained that their meat is kosher because it’s halal. (The NIW report did not investigate whether the meat is, in fact, halal.)

This article was written for JTA by Cnaan Liphshiz.

‘Most People Don’t Lie, and Liars Confess,’ Says Ben Gurion Study

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

A recent survey conducted by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Amsterdam found that most people tend to avoid lying, and people who do lie usually own up to it.

“The fact that participants who indicated lying often actually did lie more often in the dice test demonstrates that they were honest about their dishonesty,” says Bruno Verschuere of the University of Amsterdam. “It may be that frequent liars show more psychopathic traits and therefore have no trouble admitting to lying frequently.”

There are practical applications to the study.

“It is important to study the conditions leading people to lie, deceive, or engage in unethical conduct more broadly,” said Dr. Shaul Shalvi of Ben Gurion University’s Dept. of Psychology. “Such behaviors are rather costly from a societal perspective. Consider, for example, behaviors like lying when filing an insurance claim, reporting that the TV that was stolen from one’s apartment was just a couple inches larger than it really was. From the individual’s perspective, this seems like a minor lie. Insurance companies however, pay millions of dollars annually for such insurance ‘build-ups’,” Shalvi concludes.

Anne Frank Sapling Cut Down, Stolen in Germany

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

A sapling that came from the tree that stood outside the hiding place of Anne Frank in Amsterdam was cut down and stolen in Frankfurt, German police  said.

Unidentified parties cut down the 8-foot tree outside the Anne Frank School sometime between last week and Monday, according to a report Tuesday by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS. Police have no information or leads on the identity of the thieves or their motives, the report said.

The cutting was planted in 2008 outside the school named for the Jewish teenage diarist who was born in Frankfurt in 1929. Anne was killed in 1945 during the Holocaust after her family was caught hiding in the Nazi-occupied Dutch capital, where they had moved to escape persecution in Germany.

“It was, obviously, more than just a tree for us,” a spokesperson for Frankfurt’s Anne Frank School told NOS. “We grew it with the help of a landscape architect and with the loving care of several classes.”

The tree is not easily replaceable, as the original chestnut tree that stood outside Anne’s hiding place, and which is featured in her diary, was cut down in 2010 following a storm.

Dutch Christians’ Mega-Menorah Helps Jews Come Out of their Shell

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Amsterdam’s Chabad Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs lit the candles on the first night Hanukkah Wednesday on a 36-foot menorah with a six-ton base that was made with donations by Christian Zionists.

Klaas Zijlstr designed and built the menorah, in the shape of a Star of David, in his metal workshop in the northern tip of the Netherlands. Possibly the largest in all of Europe, the handiwork of a Protestant metal contractor is meant to be a sign of solidarity by Christian Zionists with the Jewish people.

“It’s exactly like the rabbi wanted,” Zijlstra said.

Rabbi Jacobs helped Zijlstra and a group called Christians for Israel design the nine-branch candelabrum so it could be used for the eight-day holiday, which began Wednesday night and which was lit in front of hundreds of Christians and Jews during a public ceremony in Nijkerk, not far from Amsterdam.

Though commonplace in the United States and even in Russia, public Hanukkah events are a recent and revolutionary development in the Netherlands. Here they signify the growing self-confidence and openness of a Jewish community whose near annihilation in the Holocaust left a deeply entrenched tendency to keep a low profile.

“Twenty years ago, this wouldn’t‎‎ have been possible,” said Arjen Lont, the Christian Zionist businessman who donated $40,000 to build and transport the menorah. “It requires a lot of openness.”

Lont says the purpose of the giant menorah, which can be used either with electric bulbs or oil lamps, is to send a message.

“After unspeakable suffering, the horrors of the Holocaust and most recently the attacks on Israel, Jews may feel they are alone,” Lont told JTA. “This is our way of saying you are not alone; we are behind you.”

The first public Hanukkah lighting ceremony in the country was organized in 1989 in Buitenveldert, near Amsterdam, by the wife of a Chabad rabbi, according to Bart Wallet, a historian of Dutch Jewry at the University of Amsterdam.

Today, such events are held annually in 19 municipalities, from the northern city of Leeuwarden, near Berlikum, to the southern border city of Maastricht, according to Rabbi Jacobs.

He said that public menorah lightings in the country signify the Jewish community’s confidence in asserting its place in Dutch society.

“Nowadays it’s also saying we are here; we are also a part of the fabric of religious communities and society,” he explained.

Dutch Jewish reticence toward public displays of faith dates back at least to the 19th century, according to Wallet, when Dutch rabbis decreed that no Jewish rituals should be held in the public domain. At the time, Dutch Jews were keen on integrating into a democratic society as equal citizens, and they considered it counterproductive to showcase religious customs that set them apart from their compatriots.

The tendency was greatly reinforced after the Holocaust, when three-quarters of Holland’s population of 140,000 Jews perished — a higher percentage than anywhere else in occupied Western Europe. Today, about 40,000 Jews live in the Netherlands.

Wallet says things began to change in the 1970s, when Dutch Jews began displaying greater activism around anti-Semitism and Israel.

Even today, however, many Dutch Jews retain a sense of reticence when it comes to public displays of religion.

“There’s nothing wrong with these Hanukkah events, but to me they don’t seem familiar,” said Jaap Hartog, chairman of the umbrella group of Dutch Jewry, called the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK. “To me, Hanukkah is more a holiday that you celebrate at home with your family. The public candle lightings are more of an American thing.

“On a personal level, I’m not too keen on participating.”

Initially, Chabad rabbis organized candle lighting ceremonies as part of their efforts to reach lapsed Jews, but today the menorah lightings are not organized exclusively by Chabad. Nathan Bouscher, a Jewish activist who is not himself religious, has co-organized candle lightings at the Dam, Amsterdam’s best-known square.

“It’s a way to build bridges between Jews and the non-Jewish environment, but also within the community and between Dutch-born Jews and the thousands of Israelis who live here and the tourists from Israel,” Bouscher said.

Back at Zijlstra’s metal workshop, his menorah is attracting attention from neighbors. During the test run last week, a few of them stopped by to admire his handiwork and congratulate him.

Holland Hebrew Bookstore Ex-Owners Move to Israel, Close Up Shop

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

One of Western Europe’s largest Hebrew bookstores has closed down in Amsterdam as its former owners prepare to move to Israel.

The Samech bookstore has been supplying Hebrew-language books to members of Holland’s Jewish community for nearly 40 years and possessed a stock of 100,000 books, according to the website of the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK.

The store, which used to be the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, belonged to Daan and Shulamit Daniel, who are planning to move to Israel. All their children had already moved out of the Netherlands in favor of “places with richer Jewish lives than Amsterdam,” according to NIK.

The store’s entire stock was sold or given away last month, the report by NIK said. Holland has a Jewish population of 41,000 -45,000, the European Jewish Congress reported.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/holland-hebrew-bookstore-ex-owners-move-to-israel-close-up-shop/2013/08/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: