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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘anniversary’

15th Anniversary of 9/11: Volunteering to Cope With Loss

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

By Ilana Messika/TPS

Sometimes, tragedies like the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are hard for individuals to comprehend. Some would explain this to be the result of a defense mechanism to protect us from being overwhelmed by sheer atrocity.

For one New Yorker, dealing with his 9/11 loss has manifested itself by helping others.

Nancy Morgenstern was a serious cyclist with a passion for travel and a devoted Orthodox Jew. She had been working for Cantor Fitzgerald, a Wall Street investment bank, when the first plane slammed into the northern tower of the World Trade Center, a few floors below the company.

“My wife and I were on our way to Israel.” recalls Yaakov Morgenstern, Nancy’s brother. “Her job at Cantor’s was quite recent so I had forgotten that she worked there. When I eventually reached my parents I expressed relief that nobody we knew worked at the World Trade Center, to which my father answered, ‘Yaakov, Nancy works there.’ We only received a definitive call [that she had died] six months later.”

Fast forward 13 years, to the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge. Morgenstern, a physical therapist, started to get involved with organizations devoted to helping victims of terror. He felt a strong connection to wounded soldiers after Protective Edge, and an intense feeling that he needed to do more.

“After my sister died, I had to deal with my own feelings with years of therapy to figure out my own mind and attempt to move on,” Morgenstern explained. “During Operation Protective Edge, a reserve soldier, Col. Amotz Greenberg, was killed by terrorists exiting a tunnel in Gaza. He was the same age as me, with a 7-year-old son and I immediately identified with him, like being hurled by a catapult.”

The first IDF soldier Morgenstern met was Ron Halevy, who lost his leg in Protective Edge. A year later, Halevy, a professional kayaker, participated in the Milan Kayak World Championships of 2015.

“I bonded with him, both as a physical therapist and a terror victim.” said Morgenstern. “I was amazed by how he overcame this terrible experience by refusing to let his disability hold him down. We spoke about therapy, injuries, and loss. It was an extremely therapeutic experience,” he described.

“It is definitely part of a coping mechanism to deal with the loss of my sister but it also represents much more. After somebody dies, there is nothing positive left for them to accomplish, and all that remains is the legacy one leaves behind. My sister always used to help, even, or perhaps especially, in the smallest things. I am perpetuating who she was by promoting the values she applied, like my parents do through the memorial fund.”

The Nancy Morgenstern Memorial Fund was created by Nancy’s parents, by using the US government’s financial compensation, to support charitable causes in her memory.

Each life represents a whole world for those who are involved in it. When this life is lost, all the related people lose their balance, like a planet disappearing with its gravitational pull. Morgenstern’s involvement with those whose lives he affects does not end with a specific meeting or discussion. He keeps in touch with hundreds of people, creating a community of its own, supporting life after tragedy.

Elisa Gutowski, a 16 year old French girl who lost her uncle in the Hypercacher attack in 2015, participated in an event with Morgenstern.

“We exchanged stories during lunch, and later that day he added me on Facebook. We have been exchanging messages ever since,” she explained. “He brought me the comfort and support of a community when mine could not understand or care enough.”

“He also said there was a connection between all the Jews in the world,” Gutowski recalled.

For Morgenstern, that connection is the best memorial for his sister’s memory.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Iran Celebrates Anniversary of Nuclear Deal by Firing Ballistic Missile

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

One year almost to the day after the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers, and in blatant violation of UN Resolution 2231, Tehran tried to launch a ballistic missile using North Korean technology, Fox News reported, citing intelligence officials.

The test failed when the missile exploded after liftoff, on July 11 at night, outside Saman, a city west of Isfahan, at a site Iran has used before to conduct ballistic missile tests. This is the latest attempt in the year since the signing of the nuclear deal.

The test rained on President Obama’s parade, who said on Thursday, the actual anniversary of the deal, that “over the last year, the Iran deal has succeeded in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, avoiding further conflict and making us safer.”

But according to The Hill, the Republicans used the one-year anniversary for several largely symbolic measures to undermine the deal. “We need to look no further than Iran’s dangerous and destabilizing activities to see the disaster that the Iran nuclear agreement has been over the last year,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a statement.

In UN Resolution 2231, Iran is “called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

According to Reuters, a confidential report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that Iran’s ballistic missile program is “not consistent with the constructive spirit” of the nuclear deal. The Security Council is due to discuss the Ban Ki-moon report on July 18. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi announced that “Iran will strongly continue its missile program based on its own defense and national security calculations.”

Secretary of State John Kerry, who meets regularly with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said this week that “Nobody pretends that some of the challenges we have with Iran have somehow been wiped away. There are other real issues, and we will continue and are continuing to focus on those issues.”

Which means the US is content to permit the Iranians to defy the UN and the Western allies in working on long-range missiles, which should be ready to carry nuclear payloads as soon as the temporary limit on Iran’s development of a nuclear device is removed, in 2025. And with its newly thawed billions of dollars, what would stop Iran from buying the device from North Korea, its favorite shopping spot?

In late June, North Korea succeeded in launching its home-grown Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile, which flew a distance of 250 miles to the Sea of Japan, this after five earlier failures.


Thousands Mark Anniversary of Hamas Kidnapped Jewish Boys in Nature Preserve Created in their Memory

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

With a stirring ceremony in the presence of family members of the abducted three youths taken by Hamas murderers in July 2014, the Head of Gush Etzion Council Davidi Perl and thousands of local residents celebrated their memory at the Oz v’Gaon Nature Preserve on the hill above Gush Etzion Junction in Judea. The nature preserve was established in the memory of the three youths.

The event, conducted by Women in Green, which launched the preserve project and has been running it as a site for education, tourism and camping, was opened by Yehudit Katsover, one of the heads of the movement, with the story of how the decision was made to go up to the preserve on the very night in which the bodies of the abducted youths were found. Katsover told the audience that this is the way of Zionism: development and growth emerge out of pain. But she added that “it could also be otherwise; we could and should cut off the enemy’s hope by applying Israeli sovereignty” in Area C of Judea and Samaria (to start, at least).

Oz v'Gaon

Oz v’Gaon

“Without the backing of the people, the parents, the council, the IDF and the various other bodies this would not have succeeded, and this is why we came to say Thank you,” said Nadia Matar, Katsover’s partner in leading the movement. Matar listed the activists and donors who contributed to the event as well as to the two-year-old nature preserve.

Katsover gave the family members of the youths a memento, symbolizing the preserve – a small JNF bench with a dedication.

Uri Yifrach, father of Eyal, Hy”d, read aloud words that Eyal wrote just a few days before he was abducted and murdered, in which he related to the value of having difficulties and pain on the way to achieving a goal. “The path is the value, and without the path, you will not arrive at the destination,” Eyal wrote. “We would be glad to do without the path, and get to the goal, but God put us on the path. We must understand that if the path takes time, this is the will of God. The path will exact casualties, it is difficult and grueling but it takes us closer to the goal. Every step on the path creates life, and when you are on the path, give it your all, take advantage of every moment of your life as if it were your last.”

Bat Galim Shaer, mother of Gil-Ad, spoke of the poem “My life is in your blood” that was heard at the event, and “became for us a daily reality, from the pain and bereavement we strive to grow towards life and activity, and Yehudit and Nadia are examples for us.”

She went on, emphasizing the uniqueness of Oz v’Gaon as a place of daily and continued activity and not a one-time memory or event, “a living, growing and breathing place every single day.”

Oz v'Gaon

Oz v’Gaon

Raheli Frenkel, mother of Naftali, Hy”d, drew a parallel with the murder of Hallel Ariel, Hy”d, on Thursday in Kiryat Arba. “We woke up in the morning and the only thing we wanted to do was to embrace the Ariel family and the memory of Hallel, our lost princess. I heard Rina cry, ‘My life is in your blood,’ and this morning became a song in praise of life for those who choose to live here, of the joy that fills this place with energy, with wonderful youth and with visitors who come from all over the world.”

Frenkel expressed the hope that the Jewish youths of the area and throughout Israel will continue to stream to the preserve, to be joyful and complete the dreams for summer vacation that Hallel Ariel, Hy”d, had, dreams that were not fulfilled.

Davidi Perl drew a connection between the weekly Torah portion of Korah, and the growth and renewal that are apparent to all those who come to the preserve. Perl mentioned the saying about the prophet Samuel, who was a descendant of Korah’s offspring who did not die. “From the pit arose the flowering of prophecy, renewal and the prayer of [Samuel’s mother] Hanna,” he said.

Oz v'Gaon

Oz v’Gaon

“Two years ago, a deep chasm opened with the murder of the three youths and we all fell together into the abyss,” Perl said, adding that “with the spirit of Oz v’Gaon this place was born anew. A call went out from here for a renewal of growth, a flowering of life with great depth on the crossroads between Jerusalem and Hebron. In the place that symbolizes this connection we have put down deep roots, two years of yearning and challenges in which we have lost other victims, two years in which the junction became a symbol of heroism and determination, of the people saying that we will stand for our rights and for our demand for full sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel, as our right and not as a gift of kindness.”

The event concluded with a walk to the observation point overlooking Gush Etzion Junction, which had undergone renovation and new artistic decoration in recent weeks. In the presence of the Head of the Local Council, the recently improved path connecting the junction to the nature preserve was dedicated. After words of blessing and thanks, the ribbon at the path was cut and hundreds of blue balloons were released into the air.


Painful Lessons from the 75th Anniversary of the Farhud

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

June 1-2 is the 75th anniversary of the Farhud, the 1941 pogrom by pro-Nazi Arabs attempting to exterminate the Jews of Baghdad. Hundreds were murdered and raped, and many Jewish homes and business looted and burned during a two-day orgy of hate and violence orchestrated by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

In Arabic, Farhud means “violent dispossession.” This forgotten Holocaust-era pogrom was the first step toward the extinguishing the 27 centuries of Jewish life in Iraq. It led to the eventual mass expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from Arab lands into Israel, penniless and stateless.

To mark the anniversary, I will be helping to lead commemoration ceremonies with Jewish groups and senior Israeli diplomats in four cities spanning three continents. It was the next logical step after the inauguration of International Farhud Day, which was proclaimed in an official event at the United Nations last year.

The first ceremony begins the morning of May 31 in the U.S. House of Representatives. A program of sorrow—and a cry for recognition—will unfold in the presence of members of Congress, Israeli diplomats, and American-Jewish and Iraqi-Jewish groups. Witness accounts reliving the 1941 massacre will be read by Maurice Shohet, president of the World Organization of Jews from Iraq. Special statements will be delivered by Jewish leaders. Haim Ovadia, the Iraqi-Jewish rabbi of Magen David Sephardic Congregation, will chant Iraqi songs. A congressional letter will express solidarity with the victims and the surviving generations in Israel.

Then 27 candles will be lit, one for each of the centuries of Iraqi Jewish existence abruptly terminated by the mass expulsion of Jews shortly after Israel was created. Then the candles will be abruptly snuffed out. Eight and a half shofar blasts will follow, symbolizing the 850,000 Jews forcibly evicted from Arab lands, mainly into Israel. The event culminates with a declaration of the pivotal role of Israel eloquently offered by Ken Marcus of the Louis Brandeis Institute, the lighting of a sole candle representing Israel by Josh Block of The Israel Project (which publishes The Tower), and concluding with the singing of “Jerusalem of Gold.”

Several of the group will then head to New York City, where the ceremony will be repeated that same afternoon with some variation at the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue. Attending that second event will be David Roet, the deputy chief of Israel’s UN mission, and Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein, among others.

After the conclusion of the New York City event, without pausing, we will race to the airport to fly to London where we will repeat the ceremony at the Lauderdale Road Synagogue, under the leadership of Rabbi Joseph Dweck. Officiating will be Israeli Ambassador to Great Britain Mark Regev and several other London notables.

To complete the effort, the group will fly to Jerusalem, where the ceremony will be repeated one final time in the Knesset on June 6.

Clearly, many groups in three countries, supported by many others from around the world, have come together to cry out for justice for the victims of the Farhud. But when all the chants have been heard, the shofar blasts blown and the speeches presented, what will it all mean? Troubling and painful questions arise for the Jewish community and, indeed, for the international community.

Why did it take so many decades and the works of an Ashkenazi author (writing first in my 2005 book, Banking on Baghdad, and then later in my 2010 book, The Farhud—Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust), for the tragic plight of such a multitude spread across so many countries to be recognized? At a time when the tearful details of every Holocaust-era city, village and concentration camp continue to be illuminated, the Farhud and the subsequent creation of 850,000 Jewish refugees struggles for acknowledgement. Explanation: The victims were Sephardic.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has accomplished so much in the field of Holocaust memory, ignored the Farhud for years. The very topic conflicted with the museum’s mission statement, which defined the Holocaust as the attempt by the Nazis and their allies to destroy European Jewry. That injected a geographic test into the memory process that redlined the torment of Jewish victims residing just to the south and east. Sephardic victims had a right to be recognized, but only now are they are finding a molecule of recognition. Inertia has been overcome only after vigorous challenges by many in the Jewish community to evoke recognition by scholars, historians, and our communal leadership that Hitler’s war against the Jews was a global one, not one confined to the European continent.

A second inescapable reality arises. After the creation of the State of Israel, two types of refugees were created by the international community. The first were Jews from Arab countries, who were barely accommodated by existing international law governing refugee status and were forgotten almost as quickly as they were moved out of their tents into permanent housing and absorbed into Israel. The second was a sort of uber-refugee, Palestinian Arabs, who were granted generation-to-generation refugee status as a birthright, creating a mushrooming class today of some five million. Whereas Israel moved its Jewish brethren out of camps as quickly as the tiny state could muster resources, the Palestinians have maintained an almost eternal status of enhanced victimhood wherein hundreds of thousands still dwell in camps in cities completely controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The questions looms: Why is there a refugee camp in Ramallah, among many other Palestinian-controlled locations? As the son of Polish refugees now living in Washington, D.C., I am not considered—nor do I consider myself—a refugee. But a Palestinian neighbor who may have been born and raised down the street from me is given a special victim status and entitlement that theoretically lives on in perpetuity enforced by the world body. Not even the millions of Syrian, Iraqi or other Middle Eastern refugees now making their way to Europe enjoy the same status as a Palestinian born in the United States.

Every hour of the day we hear claims for Palestinian property. Yet, at no hour of any day is anyone reminded that some $300 million in Iraqi-Jewish assets were summarily seized through bigoted Nazi-style confiscatory legislation. The Iraqi totals can be multiplied by 10 or more to surmise the value of Jewish property seized across the Arab and Muslim world during the expulsions.

The word “justice” aptly appears in the name of many of the organizations participating in this 75th anniversary commemoration. But there can be no justice without recognition, without knowledge, without basic understanding. Therefore, the candles, shofars, and enunciations of the memorials in Washington, New York, London, and Jerusalem are just a small step along the long-obstructed road to recognition and understanding. Eventually, if the road is persistently traveled, it can lead to some measure of justice and compensation. But the final destination—a quantum of justice—will not emerge until all can be certain that the brutal experience suffered by Jews in Arab countries will occur never again.

{For further information, go to www.thefarhud.com}

Edwin Black

Pres. Rivlin Congratulates Delegation on Israel Bonds’ 65th Anniversary

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin welcomed a delegation of 140 Israel Bonds representatives from around the world, on Sunday, led by the organization’s president Izzy Tapuchi.

The president congratulated the delegation on the 65th anniversary of Israel Bonds.

“I have witnessed the miracle of seeing the ‘desert bloom’, and the ‘hi-tech boom,’ Rivlin said, noting “we could not have achieved all this without your support.

“Israel Bonds is not just a way to show support for Israel, it is a way to show faith in Israel; faith in our growth, faith in our development, and faith in our future.”

Rivlin spoke about the socio-economic challenges Israel faces against the background of changes in Israeli society and gaps between the different communities.

“The President’s Office is proud to be involved in a number of projects bridging the gaps,” he said, “in schools and on the sports field, in the classroom and in the workplace.”

Hana Levi Julian

Torah Academy Of Boca Raton Holds Anniversary Dinner

Monday, April 25th, 2016

The Torah Academy of Boca Raton Raton held its 17th anniversary dinner on March 31. A crowd of over 300 joined in the celebration. The beautiful ambiance was set by shimmering gold tablecloths, pink florals, and candlelight. The school paid tribute to benefactors Leon and Leona Brauser and Yanki and Lauren Hofstatter. In addition, the yeshiva proudly welcomed several members of the Boca Police Department, in recognition of their ongoing assistance with improving school security.

Rabbi Reuven Feinberg, dean, began the night with a heartfelt thank you to Torah Academy’s generous donors and community supporters. He asked the teaching staff to stand as the attendees acknowledged their daily dedication to each of their students.

Emphasizing the Jewish imperative of hakaras hatov, expressing appreciation, Rabbi Feinberg thanked the Boca Police Department for its close partnership and careful guidance. Chief Dan Alexander praised the Torah Academy’s commitment to the safety of all students and staff, and thanked the yeshiva for acknowledging their efforts to “protect and serve” at the highest possible level.


Boca Police Department receives special recognition at Torah Academy Anniversary Dinner.

Boca Police Department receives special recognition at Torah Academy Anniversary Dinner.

All in attendance were treated to Rabbi Netanel Chait and the Boys Middle School Choir’s sweet-sounding performance that added a special touch to the evening.

The formal dinner program concluded with an energetic video montage of the learning, special programs, friendships, warmth, and mission that all create the hallmark of a Torah Academy education.

This year, over 300 students are enrolled across four divisions, ranging from age 2 to eighth grade. Torah Academy features a comprehensive Judaic studies curriculum as well as a secular studies program fully accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). For more information, visit www.torahacademybr.org or call 561-465-2200.

Shelley Benveniste

Nepalese Mark Anniversary of Devastating 2015 Earthquake

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Diplomats, government officials and citizens gathered Sunday in sadness at a pile of remains from the once-proud Dharahara Tower in Kathmanda to mark the first anniversary of last year’s deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

The event comes just two days after Jews in Kathmandu celebrated the miracle of survival and escape from slavery at a festive seder on the first night of Passover.

Nine thousand people died in the massive earthquake and its aftershocks; even more were injured; it took days to rescue the wounded among the hills and valleys high in the Himalayas. In Kathmandu, 132 people died in the collapse of the iconic Dharahara tower on April 25.

Israeli rescue planes were on their way by the time a second earthquake – measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale – struck the country, killing 2,000 people.

United Hatzalah, ZAKA and IsraeLife as well as other agencies were among those who joined the IDF in the rescue effort.

Approximately 400 Israelis were in Nepal at the time of the disaster; many elected to stay and help in the rescue efforts. The earthquake was the worst to hit the country in 80 years.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/nepalese-mark-anniversary-of-devastating-2015-earthquake/2016/04/24/

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