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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Denmark’

The Giraffe Mezuzah

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Here’s an interesting question. In Denmark they banned Shechitah – the humanitarian method of slaughtering kosher animals for food, while simultaneouslyslaughtering two perfectly healthy, beautiful giraffes – because the giraffes were “unsuitable for breeding”.

As JewishPress.com readers probably already know, the giraffe is actually a kosher animal, and the myth that we don’t know where to cut it along the neck, is just that, a myth (anywhere is fine).

Here’s the question: Would Denmark have permitted the kosher slaughter of the giraffes which they brutally and pointlessly murdered because they were inconvenient?

I ask the question because Professor Zohar Amar of Bar Ilan University managed to recover and restore the ancient method of processing giraffe hide to turn it into kosher parchment, according to a report in Makor Rishon, a method that was lost to all Jews, except those from Yemen (those guys remember everything).

Giraffe hide is particularly thick, making it perfect for transforming it into parchment and writing Mezuzot (plural of Mezuza) and Torah scrolls.

According to the Rambam and Rabeinu Tam, the kosher animal does not even need to be slaughtered by Shechitah in order to be used as a kosher parchment, so the researchers at Bar Ilan used a giraffe from the Ramat Gan safari that had died for the purpose of their research.

US Jewish-Muslim Delegation Press Denmark on Slaughter Ban

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

A joint delegation of observant Muslims and Jews made the case to the Danish ambassador to the United States that his country’s ban on ritual slaughter was harmful to its reputation.

Leading the 10-person delegation to meet Peter Taksøe-Jensen on Feb. 27 were Rabbi Marc Schneier, the president for the Fonmdation for Ethnic Understanding, and Dr. Sayyid Syeed, the director of the Islamic Society of North America.

“One can only wonder if the Danish government is seeking to make life so difficult for Muslims and Jews that many will decide to leave the country,” Syeed said in a statement released prior to the meeting.

Schneier told JTA after the meeting that it went well, and Taksøe-Jensen pledged to relay its message to his government.

“He was not aware of the magnitude of the damage this has caused Denmark’s reputation,” Schneier said.

Denmark’s ban on kosher and halal slaughter went into effect last week.

The ban’s proponents say that ritual slaughter, which does not allow for stunning prior to killing, is cruel.

Danish Jewish Leader Disputes Report of Ban on Kosher Slaughter

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

The president of Denmark’s Jewish community has disputed a government minister’s claims that new regulations would outlaw all kosher slaughter in the country.

“We find this an odd statement,” Finn Schwarz, the community’s president, told JTA on Thursday about statements made earlier in the week by Agriculture Minister Dan Jorgensen to the Ritzau news agency.

Jorgensen was speaking about slaughter without prior stunning — a requirement for kosher certification of meat in Jewish Orthodox law and for halal certification of meat for observant Muslims. Jorgensen said, “I am in favor of religious slaughter, but it must be done in a way that does not bring pain to the animal. This can be accomplished only by stunning.”

Danish Jews already agreed in 1998 to the certification as kosher of meat from cattle that were stunned with non-penetrative captive bolt pistols, Schwarz said, adding that the decision was made in consultation with the British Chief Rabbi’s office. The new regulation will not ban the slaughter of animals after stunning with non-penetrative captive bolts, he added.

The new regulations, regardless of how they are interpreted, do not directly affect Denmark’s 6,000 Jews because there are not kosher slaughterhouses in the country. All kosher meat is imported.

The European Jewish Press reported Thursday that European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg told a Jewish leader during a meeting in Brussels that the new Danish legislation regulating ritual slaughter in the country contradicts European laws that ensure the right of religious groups to perform ritual slaughtering.

Jewish Orthodox law and Muslim law require animals be intact and conscious when they are killed. Non-penetrative captive bolts were permitted because they do not wound the animal, which is slaughtered immediately after being knocked on the head.

Rabbi Yitzi Loewenthal of Copenhagen said the agreement on the use of captive-bolt, non-penetrating pistols may have applied to post-cut stunning, a procedure in which the animal’s head is knocked immediately after its neck is cut. Some rabbis have allowed the procedure elsewhere in the world. However, because shechitah is not regularly performed in Denmark, some issues regarding the procedure are not immediately clear, Loewenthal said.

Denmark’s Boycott Bank Linked to North Korea-Iran Ballistic Missiles Sales

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

When JewishPress.com reported on Denmark’s Danske Bank’s “boycott” of Israel’s Bank HaPoalim, we pointed out the curious fact that Danske Bank actually doesn’t do any business at all with any Israeli bank, leading one to wonder about the motivations for their announced boycott.

You may now stop wondering.

David Goldman of Pajamas Media uncovered a 2009 Wikileaks cable in which it exposes that Danske Bank provided financial services to Tanchon, a North Korean company that sold ballistic missiles to Iran.

FOR DENMARK ONLY: — We previously raised with you in March 2006 our concern (REF L) that Tanchon Commercial Bank maintained a correspondent account with Den Danske Bank AS- Copenhagen. According to April 2009 Bankers Almanac information, Tanchon still maintains that account.

The US State Department had warned Danske Bank about their providing services to Tachnon in 2006, and the bank apparently chose to ignore it, despite the “legal and ethical” issues it raised.

Only in 2010, did Danske Bank state that it finally stopped doing business with Iran.

Nothing we’re aware of, about them not doing business anymore with North Korea.

Either way, so much for that moral high ground they were claiming.

Denmark Bank Boycott: All For Show

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

The Danske bank of Denmark announced they plan to boycott Bank HoPoalim for its involvement in settlement construction.

They recently pulled their investments from Israeli real estate giants Africa-Israel and Danya Cebus.

It turns out that the Danish Embassy has an active bank account at Bank HaPoalim, and they have no intention of closing it down.

The Danish embassy said that the decision of Danske bank is a private one, and the government of Denmark has no say over their decisions.

It’s seems worthwhile to point out that Danske bank not only were not doing business with Bank HaPoalim prior to their announced “boycott”, but they don’t have any investments with any other Israeli bank either.

One might begin to suspect that settlements have nothing to do with their decision to not work with any Israeli banks.

Denmark Marks 70th Anniversary of Rescue of Jews

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Denmark on Sunday marked the 70th anniversary of the escape of 7,300 Jews during World War II to prevent their deportation to a Nazi concentration camp.

At Copenhagen’s synagogue, Jewish community leader Finn Schwarz told several hundred people it was “almost a miracle” that the October 1943 operation in Nazi-occupied Denmark avoided the German patrol boats and managed to deliver the Jews to neutral Sweden.

Denmark’s Jews were to be deported to Poland, but a German official tipped off Danish lawmakers who told Jewish leaders.

481 elderly and sick Danish Jews who couldn’t get out were deported to a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, where 53 of them died.

On Tuesday, a light show on the bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden will commemorate the escape.

‘It Can Be Done’: the Rosh Hashana 1943 Escape of Danish Jews

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

As the final minutes of Rosh Hashanah ticked away, 13-year-old Leo Goldberger was hiding, along with his parents and three brothers, in the thick brush along the shore of Dragor, a small fishing village south of Copenhagen. The year was 1943, and the Goldbergers, like thousands of other Danish Jews, were desperately trying to escape an imminent Nazi roundup.

“Finally, after what seemed like an excruciatingly long wait, we saw our signal offshore,” Goldberger later recalled. His family “strode straight into the ocean and waded through three or four feet of icy water until we were hauled aboard a fishing boat” and covered themselves “with smelly canvases.” Shivering and frightened, but grateful, the Goldberger family soon found itself in the safety and freedom of neighboring Sweden.

For years, Allied leaders had insisted that nothing could be done to rescue Jews from the Nazis except to win the war. But in one extraordinary night, seventy years ago next month, the Danish people exploded that myth and changed history.

When the Nazis occupied Denmark during the Holocaust in 1940, the Danes put up little resistance. As a result, the German authorities agreed to let the Danish government continue functioning with greater autonomy than other occupied countries. They also postponed taking steps against Denmark’s 8,000 Jewish citizens.

In the late summer of 1943, amid rising tensions between the occupation regime and the Danish government, the Nazis declared martial law and decided the time had come to deport Danish Jews to the death camps. But Georg Duckwitz, a German diplomat in Denmark, leaked the information to Danish friends. Duckwitz was later honored by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. As word of the Germans’ plans spread, the Danish public responded with a spontaneous nationwide grassroots effort to help the Jews.

The Danes’ remarkable response gave rise to the legend that King Christian X himself rode through the streets of Copenhagen on horseback, wearing a yellow Star of David, and that the citizens of the city likewise donned the star in solidarity with the Jews.

The story may have had its origins in a political cartoon that appeared in a Swedish newspaper in 1942. It showed King Christian pointing to a Star of David and declaring that if the Nazis imposed it upon the Jews of Demark, “then we must all wear the star.” Leon Uris’s novel Exodus, and the movie based on that book, helped spread the legend. But subsequent investigations by historians have concluded that the story is a myth.

On Rosh Hashanah – which fell on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in 1943 – and the days that followed, numerous Danish Christian families hid Jews in their homes or farms, and then smuggled them to the seashore late at night. From there, fishermen took them across the Kattegat Straits to neighboring Sweden.

The three-week operation had the strong support of Danish church leaders, who used their pulpits to urge aid to the Jews, as well as Danish universities, which shut down so that students could assist the smugglers. More than 7,000 Danish Jews reached Sweden and were sheltered there until the end of the war.

Esther Finkler, a young newlywed, was hidden, together with her husband and their mothers, in a greenhouse.

“At night, we saw the [German] searchlights sweeping back and forth throughout the neighborhood” as the Nazis hunted for Jews, Esther later recalled. One evening, a member of the Danish Underground arrived and drove the four “through streets saturated with Nazi stormtroopers” to a point near the shore.

There they hid in an underground shelter, and then in the attic of a bakery, until finally they were brought to a beach, where they boarded a small fishing vessel together with other Jewish refugees.

“There were nine of us, lying down on the deck or the floor,” Esther said. “The captain covered us with fishing nets. When everyone had been properly concealed, the fishermen started the boat, and as the motor started to run, so did my pent-up tears.”

Then, suddenly, trouble. “The captain began to sing and whistle nonchalantly, which puzzled us. Soon we heard him shouting in German toward a passing Nazi patrol boat: ‘Wollen sie einen beer haben?’ (Would you like a beer?) – a clever gimmick designed to avoid the Germans’ suspicions. After three tense hours at sea, we heard shouting: ‘Get up! Get up! And welcome to Sweden!’ It was hard to believe, but we were now safe. We cried and the Swedes cried with us as they escorted as ashore. The nightmare was over,” Esther recalled.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/it-can-be-done-the-rosh-hashana-1943-escape-of-danish-jews/2013/08/29/

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