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November 25, 2014 / 3 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Austria’

More Beautiful than Everest

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Last week, I drove with my wife toward the coastline to do a little seaside touring. As we were driving there, she mentioned that someone in her family was going for a vacation to Austria.

“Austria?” I blurted, nearly losing control of the wheel. “Why would any Jew in Israel want to go to Austria?”

“For the mountains and the scenery,” she answered.

At that very moment, we reached the intersection of Highway 4, just before Tel Aviv, leading north toward Haifa. Coming out of the turn, the first thing you see is the mountain of garbage – the municipal dump that has long been a landmark on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

Every time, I see it, its beauty overwhelms me. To me it is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, just behind Mount Moriah, Mount Herman, and Mount Tabor. The sight of it is literally breathtaking.

Soon, it will be even more majestic, now that they are converting it into a grass-covered national park, ironically named after Ariel Sharon. But, right now, it’s still Garbage Mountain.

“Why go to Austria when we have magnificent and holy mountains here?” I asked my wife. “Just look! Can anything be more beautiful than a mountain of Jewish garbage in the Holy Land? It has to be one of the natural wonders of the world. Let’s stop and take some pictures!”

“We’re on the way to an outing,” she said.

“I know,” I answered. “What a wonderful place to start!”

I am absolutely serious. In my eyes, the mountain of garbage overlooking Tel Aviv is more wondrous than Everest. After two thousand years of exile in foreign lands, not only has the Almighty given us back our cherished Homeland, He has given us such an overabundance of blessings that we have an abundance of refuse too! A whole mountain of excess trash. If Moses were here to see it, he would crawl up to its summit on his hands and his knees, kissing every piece of litter on the way to the top! Who needs Austria and the Alps?

Later that evening, I was so moved by the memory of the Garbage Mountain that I picked up my notebook and scribbled a poem.

ODE TO THE MOUNTAIN I LOVE
O holy Garbage Mountain, I love you so greatly.
In my wonderstruck eyes, you look so noble and stately.
Even though you aren’t the tallest on earth,
You fill my heart with rapturous mirth.
Everest, Rushmore, and the Alps are sublime,
But for all of their grandeur, they’re simply not mine.
Even though you are only a mountain of zevel,
Compared to you, the rest are all hevel.
Though your slopes are made of refuse that people don’t want to eat,
Each time I pass by you, your aroma smells sweet.
For you are a holy mountain of garbage in Israel and that makes you blessed,
Placing you head and shoulders over all of the rest.

PS – anyone interested in purchasing a poster size blow-up of the Holy Garbage Mountain, can order through this blog. We will also be happy to arrange shipments of its trash overseas via Zim Lines. Two month delivery guaranteed. Price is $80,000 per 200 kilos. It’s the perfect addition to your living room planter, front lawn, or Diaspora garden.

Iranian Money Laundering Network Running through Vienna

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

According to reports in the Austrian news magazine “Profil” and the British “Telegraph,” the Iranian regime uses Austrian banks to launder money in order to circumvent the sanctions and to provide technology for its nuclear program. A representative of the Iranian Center for Innovation and Technology Cooperation (CITC) has been in Vienna as recently as September. CITC is closely related to the office of President Ahmadinejad and has been sanctioned by the US due to its direct involvement in Iran’s nuclear and missile program.

Stop the Bomb, a European coalition which works towards the enactment of economic and political sanctions against the Iranian Islamist regime, has criticized the lack of action by the Austrian authorities: “Apparently, the authorities knew about the years of excessive traveling of a representative of the CITC, without taking an interest,” says Simone Dinah Hartmann, STB’s spokesperson. “We demand that this case and the general involvement of Austrian banks be fully investigated and conclusions be drawn. The latest reports prove that only a solid EU travel ban for all representatives of the Iranian regime can prevent Iran from continuing to procure critical components for its nuclear program and laundering money in Europe,” Hartmann added.

STB points out that the laxity of the Austrian authorities as well as the suspected involvement of Austrian banks in the circumvention of the sanctions stand in the tradition of Austria’s previous policy towards Iran. Back in 2006, the president of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Ali-Naqi Khamoushi, named Austria the “gateway to the European Union” for Iran. STB states that the recently passed EU sanctions that were supported by Austria, in particular the prohibition of the import Iranian natural gas, are steps in the right direction. However, these sanctions are hardly enough to stop the regime in Tehran from continuing its nuclear weapons program and the brutal repression of the Iranian people. Austrian companies, in spite of all previous sanctions resolutions, are continuing to do business with Iran in the extent of hundreds of millions, STB reports. While exports are declining slightly, imports have exploded in the first half of 2012 and several hundred of Austrian companies are still active in Iran.

Despite of the massive criticism, which has been voiced by STOP THE BOMB and numerous Members of the European parliament, including its Vice-president, as well as two democratic members of the US senate, the Austrian MEP Josef Weidenholzer (SPÖ) will still partake in a trip to Iran planned by the “Delegation for relations with Iran” of the European Parliament. Simone Dinah Hartmann stated: “We continue to call for the cancellation of this courting of the Iranian regime. Dialogue, as being preached by politicians like Weidenholzer, only buys the Iranian regime more time to work on its nuclear program and undermine the efforts of the Iranian opposition. Weidenholzer should follow the example set by Belgian social democrat Kathleen van Bremt who has withdrawn her participation from the Iran trip publicly.”

Winners of “Face of the German Tourist” Contest Arrive in Israel

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

An Austrian couple is enjoying the sites in the Holy Land after winning an Israel Government Tourist Office competition for “the face of the German tourist in Israel.”

Some 350 couples registered to compete for the Grand Prize – a 10-day visit to Israel and participation in a film for the German tourist campaign, designed to encourage tourism from Germany, Switzerland and Austria to Israel.

The winners are Barbara and Roman Egger, a Christian couple from Salzburg, Austria, aged 38 and parents to  a 4-year-old girl.

In their application, the couple wrote “Whether it is in the desert, at sea, at the Western Wall or the Galilee, Israel has fascinated us for a long time. We are eager to visit and hope our smile will pave the way for our journey.”

Upon their return to Austria, the couple will hold a press conference and will participate with the Israel Government Tourist Office for a year on various advertising campaigns.

During the first half of 2012, approximately 132,000 tourists from Germany arrived in Israel, a 4% increase over the same period last year.

The Circumcision Debate in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Monday, July 30th, 2012

A German regional court held at the end of June that circumcision of males, practiced by Jews and Muslims, is a “bodily injury” of the child and punishable as a crime. German political leaders reacted against the opinion, and the probability that it would portray today’s Germany in a negative light. The court order will likely be nullified definitively by the German parliament and constitutional court, but anti-circumcision policies have spread to Switzerland and Austria as well.

A month later, on July 20, the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, passed a resolution calling for the protection of the rights of Jewish and Muslim parents to circumcise of their male offspring with medically-qualified personnel. A draft law guaranteeing these religious liberties has been proposed for introduction this autumn.

The action by German politicians was followed, however, by news that two medical institutions in Switzerland, the Children’s Hospital in Zurich and the St. Gallen teaching hospital, decided temporarly to suspend circumcision of infants unless medically necessary.

Then, on July 24, came an order by Markus Wallberg, governor of the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg, also prohibiting the circumcision of males for non-medical reasons in all public hospitals, pending clarification of the German situation.

The Cologne case originated in November 2010, when a four-year old Muslim boy was circumcised at a clinic in the city, on the request of his parents. After two days, because the child was bleeding, the parents took him to the emergency room at the University Hospital of Cologne.

The public prosecutor in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia filed a complaint against the doctor who performed the procedure. The lower, district court determined in June 2012 that the doctor was blameless, and the doctor was acquitted. The district court held that circumcision was a form of “bodily injury,” but was justified by the approval of the parents, the cultural prevalence of circumcision among Muslims, and evidence of medical advantages among circumcised males.

Medical researchers have affirmed that circumcised males are less susceptible to sexually-transmitted diseases and to penile cancer. Der Spiegel acknowledged that “It remains undisputed that circumcision leads to better hygiene and can also be helpful in preventing some forms of cancer,” but noted that while common in the U.S., Israel, Muslim countries, and elsewhere, male circumcision is less widespread in Europe. Currently, about 55 percent of newborns in the U.S. are circumcised. Only 11 percent of German males are circumcised.

The public prosecutor in North Rhine-Westphalia appealed and the case was moved up to a regional court. The regional court also rejected the charge against the doctor in the matter, ruling that the “grey area” of legal uncertainty about male circumcision left the practitioner innocent. The judges, however, reaffirmed that, as a precedent for the future, circumcision was a form of “bodily injury” that was not justified by the parents’ wishes, and was unnecessary for the health of the child.

The regional court determined that the child’s “right to physical integrity” was more important than the constitutionally-guaranteed religious rights of the parents. The judges held that the religious freedom of parents, and their right to decide how to raise their children, would not be restricted if they were compelled to wait until the child himself decided whether he wanted to be circumcised. As described by the German weekly Der Spiegel, the court concluded that “a child’s right to self-determination should come first.”

The regional court opinion did not apply to the whole of Germany. But the Berlin Jewish Hospital announced that in accord with the law, it would suspend circumcision for religious purposes.

The controversy brought universal condemnation of Germany by Jewish and Muslim representatives, who were joined by Christian religious leaders in condemning the court action. Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the criminalization of circumcision could make Germany a “laughing-stock” of the world. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle pointed out that it would harm Germany’s efforts to present itself as a tolerant country. Many commentators agreed that the court opinion was especially problematic because of Germany’s history of anti-Jewish genocide during World War II.

Religious leaders were more severe in their comments. Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, called the court decision the worst attack on Jews in Germany since the Holocaust. Noting that the opinion was based on the ostensible rights of the child, Rabbi Goldschmidt warned that “the language of the human rights” is a new medium for anti-Jewish prejudice.

Beyond Politics: Inspirational People of Israel

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Title: Beyond Politics: Inspirational People of Israel
Author: Ronda Robinson
Publisher: Mazo Publishers

Beyond Politics: Inspirational People of Israel is a compact introduction to decency. Its eighteen personality profiles illustrate how Israelis from all walks of society improve the Holy Land’s quality of life, and then some. Author Ronda Robertson is a freelance journalist who decided to offset mainstream media’s negative stereotyping of today’s Israelis with a book. She did an outstanding job of presenting the goodness of Israel to the world at large in a mere 144-page paperback.

Unlike formulaic biographies from popular publishing houses in the Orthodox Jewish world, Beyond Politics is not predictable. The vignettes of individual men and women who trekked through Ethiopia and Sudan, flew in from Austria, India, and Algeria, or were born on Israeli soil are gritty, adventurous, and heartwarming.

Robinson lets her readers see, hear, and taste the efforts that her subjects undertook to become part of Israel. Shlomo Malla rose from being an illiterate desert dweller who walked 485 dangerous miles to become an Israeli and later a highly educated politician; former Algerian Sara Lanesman made aliya to unify Israel’s deaf citizens with a sign language they can share, ending the confusion of multiple signing dialects in one tiny country; Dr. Lior Sasson leads the way in healing indigent children around the world of heart defects – at no cost to their families; terror attack survivor Liora Tedgi helps people cope with tragedy with her Terror Victims Support Center. Each of them explains the gut-wrenching moments that changed their lives forever, and how they chose to help others to cope with fear, social alienation, life-endangering illness, and grief. Other people lift just as vividly off the page to inspire you and the information-challenged critics of Israel’s Jewish population.

Younger readers will have material for book reports as they marvel over Chicken Lady Clara Hammer, docent Rena Quint, skateboard king Elchanan Davidson (he’s far more accomplished in amazing ways) and shepherd/diplomat Yisrael Avidor. Adults will also appreciate peace-promoting teacher Miri Flusser, Azerbaijan-born violin maker Lev Strinkovsky, biblically-inspired chef Moshe Basson, Scottish-born Sam Greene, therapist Davina Davidson, happily married Joe and Marion Goodstein, Hevron’s beloved tzabarit leader Sarah Nachshon, plus Faydra Shapiro and her pro-Israel education of non-Jewish tourists. Completing the inside look at Israel are interviews with story-teller Rabbi Hanoch Teller and founder of world-famous B’erot Bat Ayin holistic school for women Rabanit Chana Bracha Siegelbaum.

Enjoy the read. Buy Beyond Politics: Inspirational People of Israel to arm yourself with responses to the next nasty reporter who maligns Israel. And consider sending him or her a copy.

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The Purim Narrative At The Pardo Palace

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs. The palace was decorated with works of art that represented a variety of mythological and historical scenes, from Bartolomeo Carducho’s Agamemnon and Achilles to Francisco López’s Surrender of Boabdil, Sultan of Granada, to Ferdinand of Aragón and Isabel of Castile, January 3, 1492 (circa 1607-12).

Gallery of the Queen, Pardo Palace. Hall of the Biblical Joseph by Patricio Caxés.

But two series are particularly unusual. If one turns left immediately after passing through the ground floor’s main entrance, one arrives at the queen’s hall, which is decorated with a series on the biblical Esther by Patricio Caxés. And elsewhere on the ground floor, a series on Joseph by Jerónimo Cabrera can be found in the queen’s gallery. What was it about the stories of Esther and Joseph that was deemed so appropriate for Spanish queens? And why were subjects from the Jewish, rather than Christian, scriptures selected for the summer hunting palace?

The queen’s hall also contained individual works that portrayed Judith (with Holofernes’ head), Ruth, Deborah, Rebecca (or Miriam), Sara (or Naomi), Yael, and Rachel, but it’s clear that the program on Esther was given particular prominence. With Purim looming on the horizon, this article focuses on the Esther works and leaves Joseph for a different occasion. The Esther program, which appeared on the ceiling of the queen’s hall, includes the following scenes: Esther’s coronation, Esther reporting the assassination ploy to Ahaseurus; Esther standing with outstretched arms in front of other figures; Esther collapsing before Ahaseurus, Esther and Haman at Ahaseurus’ dinner, the insomniac Ahaseurus with attendants, Mordechai on the king’s horse, Haman pleading at Esther’s feet, and Mordecai counseling Ahaseurus.

Jerónimo Cabrera, Esther faints before Ahasuerus, Queen’s Room, Pardo.

Although a frequent scene depicted in biblical art, the only episode from Cabrera’s program that doesn’t appear in the Book of Esther is the fourth work—Esther falling before Ahaseurus. It’s reasonable to assume that Esther may have bowed before the king, but the biblical tale has Esther standing rather than prostrating herself. It’s worth noting that Mordechai had refused to bow before Haman earlier in the story, but clearly the bowing wasn’t the entire extent of the problem, as Joseph’s brothers bowed before him in Egypt.

Queen’s Room, Pardo Palace. Ceiling Frescoes of Esther by Jerónimo Cabrera.

In the most comprehensive English study on the subject of the Esther and Joseph works, “Old Testament images defined by the Spanish catholic empire: the story of Esther and the story of Joseph in the Pardo palace” (submitted to the faculty of George Washington University in 1996), Abby Krain locates Esther and Joseph within a framework of Christian symbolism. To Krain, Joseph and Esther represent ideal models for kings and queens, particularly for the patrons of the projects: King Philip III and his wife, Margaret of Austria. Esther, who epitomizes humility and obedience, is a stand-in for Mary, while Joseph’s honesty makes him a proxy for the Christian savior, Krain suggests. Although Krain makes a sound argument, it’s worth pondering whether there might have been something more colorful and provocative in the Pardo biblical commissions.

That the king and queen would have believed that figures from the Jewish Bible foretold the characters of Christian scriptures is undoubtedly true. But even if one concedes that point, Joseph and Esther are odd choices as regal role models. Joseph was clearly righteous, but he is also perhaps guilty of vanity, which, according to rabbinic traditions, one of the reasons he deserved to spend time in an Egyptian prison. And although Esther also emerges as a heroine in the Purim narrative, Mordechai rebukes her for seemingly caring too much about her own regal station rather than her people. This is not to incriminate Esther and Joseph, but there might have been more apparent role models that would have made more sense in the Pardo Palace.

According to Krain, the Persian King Ahaseurus selected Esther “for her beauty and, more significantly, for her obedience and loyalty to both her people and her adopted kingdom.” And not only would Phillip III have seen Esther as a role model for Margaret, but Krain also observes that there were political reasons why the arranged marriage between Esther and Ahaseurus was a parallel to the king and queen’s marriage, which “reinforced the exclusive control of the Spanish Empire by the Hapsburg family.” With Protestants questioning whether the divine endorsement of monarchical lines was passed from father to son, Phillip III may have marshaled the story of Esther as a response to the Protestants; just as God had selected Esther for royalty, the argument would have gone, so was Margaret, Esther’s contemporary protégé, selected by God to be queen.

‘Austria Will Never Forget What Happened To The Jews’: An Interview with Austrian Consul General Ernst-Peter Brezovszky

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Editor’s Note: Daniel Retter’s father, Marcus Retter, z”l, escaped from Vienna to England in 1938 on the Kindertransport. His father’s parents and sister were deported from Vienna to Riga, where they were murdered by the Germans and Latvians. He says that since his father should have been the one asking some of the following questions, the interview is dedicated to his memory.

Dr. Ernst-Peter Brezovszky has been a member of the Austrian diplomatic service since 1986, with postings to Dakar, London, Brazil, Krakow, and New York. He was appointed consul general in New York in October 2009.

The Jewish Press: How could the Austrians, such a cultured, educated people, turn so evil and cruel – exhibiting even greater anti-Semitism than the Germans, according to many who suffered at their hands?

Brezovszky: I am stunned and deeply sad about what you have rightly pointed out. How could they suddenly follow these Nazi barbarians, many enthusiastically? I will give you one straight answer: I do not know; it is still shocking and deeply saddening.

You said “these Nazi barbarians.” Was this an alien force from outer space that invaded your country?

No, no…

Actually, they were Austrian and German barbarians, not Nazi barbarians.

Yes, absolutely. Too many Austrians were willing to participate in a criminal regime. Too many Austrians, already weakened by a global fascist movement, a worldwide economic depression and lack of hope for the future, were willing to be part of the criminal Nazis. But still some Austrians, Christians, Socialists, Communists, Monarchists – 60,000 of them at least – were sent to concentration camps with their fellow Jewish citizens within days of Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938.

Kurt Waldheim, former secretary general of the United Nations, covered up his past as a Nazi military officer facilitating the murder of Jews in Salonika, Greece. Even after he was exposed, Austria elected him to represent it before the whole world. How did that affect relations between Austria and the Jewish community?

Waldheim was elected Austrian president in 1986. His presidency put a strain on the relations between Austria and the United States and Austria and the Jewish community for many years. Let me remark, however, that the UN reelected him twice and some people speculated that the intelligence services around the world certainly knew about his past. The discussion about his role in the German Wehrmacht, however, became a catalyst for Austria to finally admit to its moral responsibility during the war for the slaughter and annihilation of the Jews in Europe.

How does Austria view the situation in the Middle East?

Israel will exist forever. At the same time, we must find the solution for Palestine.

You make it sound as though jihadist Islam would disappear if there were no Palestine/Israel issue. Is this not a war of civilizations between the West and Islam, with Israel and Palestine, only a minor point?

Excuse me, but this is the core of these questions.

You think the core of the militant terrorism is Israel and Palestine?

No, no, no. The core issue is peace in the Middle East. This is the number one question.

If there were peace in the Middle East, do you think Islamists would disappear?

I must tell you, I am sure if you ask ten people you will get ten answers. We have been talking for a long time about the miserable economic situation among young people as being a major cause of the Islamist problem.

Where?

In Pakistan and Afghanistan there is a miserable situation among young people, which is helping the Taliban to recruit more people.

But look at Hamburg, Germany, where young Germans want to become Islamists, which has nothing to do with poverty at all.

Absolutely. Of course, there is a strong fundamentalist background to the whole problem. You saw the Time magazine article about the horrible scene of the mutilated young Afghan girl under the rule of Taliban soldiers. This must stop.

What role is Austria playing to try to bring the warring parties together?

Just one example: In my former function as ambassador for International Organization Conferences, I organized for the Austrian federal president and the foreign minister a conference with the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, the former president of Iran, as well as religious leaders like Rabbi Arthur Schneier . There were a thousand people, but the big problem is “preaching to the converted.” Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger is working very hard to make Vienna an even stronger platform for peace and dialogue.

You served as consul general in Krakow. What were your thoughts when you saw Auschwitz and how has this visit affected your life?

I visited Auschwitz not just once but about 50 times. It was really the most touching moments of my four years as consul general in Krakow, when I officially visited Auschwitz in 2002 with the Austrian foreign minister. Austria feels a moral obligation and responsibility for what I saw and for the crimes of these times.

How did it affect you personally?

How did Auschwitz affect me? Auschwitz is, in “scientific” language, the industrialization of horrible murders; it never can be forgotten, and it will follow me until my last days. I saw so much hair on display behind glass, hundreds of children’s shoes when you see the cynical way they put things on suitcases, with names and destinations, which is heartbreaking.

Why did Austria consider itself to be a victim of the Nazis?

It should be remembered that the Moscow Declaration of October 1943, signed by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Joseph Stalin, sought to influence Austria to move away from Nazi Germany, and declared in the first paragraph of the Declaration on Austria that Austria was the first free country to fall a victim to Hitlerite aggression.”

Austria and many of its politicians have since then held this out as proving that we were victims. [But] Franz Vranitzky, the Austrian prime minister in 1993, spoke to the Knesset and said that “We share a moral responsibility because many Austrians welcomed Anschluss supported by the Nazi regime and helped it to function. We have to live up to this side of our history.”

As a result of this important speech, there was an end to the use and sometimes abuse of the Moscow Statement, since there were too many Austrians who had cooperated with Nazi Germany, too many who welcomed Hitler without a shot being fired during the annexation, too many who tolerated Hitler.

But on the other hand, if Hitler was so sure of Austrian cooperation, why did he come on March 12, 1938, rather than wait until the following Monday for the plebiscite to determine if Austria wished to be annexed by Germany? He was not sure about the Austrian vote, either.

At the Consulate, there is so much reading material available published by Jewish organizations in Austria dealing extensively with the Holocaust and Israel. Instead of your country trying to sweep away its terrible shame, Austria is willing to allow this shame to be remembered and discussed, and even placed right in the heart of the Austrian government’s presence here, in New York. For how long will Austria allow its activities during the war to be “publicized” in such a fashion?

The Austrian government is pledged and dedicated to the idea of “never again.” The Holocaust should never be forgotten, ever. This was the greatest crisis in human history; it must remain in our memories forever, it must not be forgotten ever. There is no date when Austria will stop discussing the Holocaust and what happened to the Jews. I must repeat the words of George Santayana – “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

What is Austria’s position on Iran?

We are a member of the Security Council and together with others on the council we have pushed for even harder sanctions. [Though] we are very much against military action . we are for even stricter sanctions against Iran; Israel must live forever and we must not allow any existential threat to it.

One might have assumed that if a country declared that another member of the UN should be wiped off the map, the Security Council would condemn and threaten to expel such a country from the UN. Why has that not happened to Iran?

The Security Council is trying to bring Iran along the right direction, and Israel’s existence has to be guaranteed as a member state of the United Nations. We must not allow for any double standards.

Describe your interaction with the local Jewish community.

I am very happy about my frequent meetings with members of the Jewish community and about setting up various conferences. Actually, we have a major memorial ceremony [scheduled for] November 10 to commemorate the pogrom of November 1938 – called by many “Kristallnacht,” but that is too “nice” a word for such a horrible night. Rabbi Arthur Schneier and I will be introducing Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg, the chief rabbi of Vienna, and the Austro-Israeli singer Timna Brauer at the Park East Synagogue. I have also met with Rabbi Niederman of the Satmar community to assist with protecting Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe by helping him with access to the relevant government officials in Austria.

Daniel Retter, Esq., practices law in New York City and is a feature writer for The Jewish Press.

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