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August 29, 2016 / 25 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘immigrants’

Pope Francis Blesses Righteous Christian Polish Gentiles at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Pope Francis visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp this weekend, a powerful experience made even more meaningful for the pontiff by his meeting with 25 Righteous Gentiles Among the Nations — Christian Poles who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.

The meeting was arranged for this past Friday by the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, a New Yorker whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from Poland.

The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous offers financial support to the 200-plus “Righteous Among the Nations” who are still alive in Poland.

For some time, Schudrich has contemplated what kind of spiritual gift he could give these precious people who were so willing to risk their lives for the souls of Jews.

“I thought a special blessing from the pope would make them feel honored because of their unbelievable morality and humanity,” he told Associated Press.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli National Service Program Incorporates 120 Young French Female Immigrants

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

By Ilana Messika/TPS

A total of 120 French women, aged 18 to 23, have immigrated to Israel in 2016 through a specialized program, called Shlomit, which coordinates and finds Israeli citizens placement in national service, also known as Sherut Leumi.

French immigration increased from 1,900 immigrants in 2012 to 7,800 in 2015 and French immigrants make up 25% of all immigrants to Israel. However, the year 2016 has seen a particular upsurge of French women deciding to immigrate through the Shlomit organization and particularly through one of its branches, Shilat, which is specifically for religious women.

Shlomit was the first organization to extend national service opportunities to all Israeli citizens, regardless of sexuality, race, or financial status. The group’s mission is to enable every young Israeli citizen exempt from military service to serve the country and to make a significant contribution to the advancement of Israeli society.

“We endeavor to construct the best-suited combination between the particularities of the applicants, such as their specific skills, capabilities, place of origin, and languages, and those who could best utilize their services,” Shilat Director Osnat Tzadok told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

Most of this year’s applicants are from the area of Paris, but some have also emigrated from Marseilles or northern France. They tend to settle in Jerusalem in particular, but many of them also reside in Raanana, Netanya, Ashdod, Ramat Gan, and Tel Aviv. Program participants volunteer in a wide range of sectors, including hospitals, hospices, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and special education.

“It is not easy to immigrate to Israel, to integrate oneself within a new culture and country without one’s family, and to be disconnected from all that is familiar,” explained Tzadok. “Our program makes it easier by allowing participants to better familiarize themselves with the Israeli mentality, fostering confidence, creating new relationships and friendships, and learning Hebrew,”

As of the end of July, most Shilat participants will already have completed most of the administrative steps that immigration to Israel entails and are expected to start their year of service in September, but some will still be in the process of filing various necessary documents and arranging exemptions from military service.

Shilat helps the women get through that bureaucratic process and provides the women with benefits equivalent to those of lone soldiers, such as an apartment, an internet connection to reach family members, funds for transportation, and some assistance in everyday expenses. The program helps the women with the psychometric exams for academic studies after their service and offers Torah courses to enrich their religious knowledge.

Salome Benichou, a Shilat participant originally from Saint-Brice, told TPS that “Sherut Leumi for French Olim is complicated due to the fact that there is no forum to formally guide us through the process, to centralize the opportunities, and to actively make contact with French people and institutions while also providing support.”

“Shilat provides both professional and personal assistance through coordinators that are always available yet it allows for enough independence for immigrants to find their own place in Israeli society. It is an excellent medium to materialize the strong brand of Zionism I was brought up in,” she added.

Leaders of the program report that it has been very successful in integrating French women into Israeli society and that it has had a virtually nonexistent dropout rate. Participants in the program say that the success is a consequence of both the importance of Zionism in Jewish culture in France and of the efficacy of the program itself.

“What we need to understand about the immigrants from France is that many of them spend a year doing Israeli national service after having already done a Masa program for a year while their counterparts in France and the rest of Europe have already finished their degree. That is a pretty significant concession for both French young women and their parents to make in favor of Zionism given the French mentality,” concluded Liora, who is currently completing her second year of Sherut Leumi.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Report: Between 700 and 900 Immigrants Died at Sea Last week

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

“We will never know exact numbers” of drowned refugees fleeing the Middle East and East Africa for safe haven in Europe, Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) tweeted Saturday, estimating that as many as 900 had died last week. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Sunday that more than 700 had drowned.

According to Reuters, some 14,000 refugees have been rescued since last Monday, but there have been reports of at least three boats sinking. The number of dead is estimated based on survivor testimonies. These included Saturday interviews with immigrants at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, resulting in accounts of a large, motorless fishing boat that capsized on Thursday with a large crowd of women and children on board.

According to testimonies, when the boat capsized, 25 passengers swam to the towing boat, and as many as 90 others were saved by 3 boats with MSF rescue personnel. 15 bodies were recovered, which means that at least 550 died, according to the UNHCR.

The rescued refugees last week included Eritreans, Sudanese, Nigerians and other West Africans. The boats have mostly left from Libya, where many women said the smugglers had beaten and raped them.

On Friday, an Italian Navy ship collected 45 bodies and rescued 135 people from a semi-submerged rubber boat, which normally carries about 300.

David Israel

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen: No More Ethiopian Immigrants

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, founder of and judge in the conversions office of the Chief Rabbinate, director of the Zomet Institute for the interface of halakhah and technology, and the editor-in-chief of the annual halakhic journal Techumin, is calling on government to refuse to bring to Israel yet another group of 9,000 Falash Mura from Ethiopia.

Writing in the website Srugim, Rosen says he’ll never forget the assembly of Beita Israel in a shack that served as synagogue in the middle of a forest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was visiting there in the late 1990s, as head of the conversions office, and now recalls that for the rank and file members, prayer constituted only one word: Urshalim (Jerusalem). That, according to Rosen, was an effort to bring home thousands of real Jews, who have since been integrated with varying degrees of success. But those Ethiopian Jews have little in common with the Ethiopians waiting to reach Israel these days.

The reason for the new wave of immigrations has little to do with the plight of Jews, according to Rosen, and much to do with Likud MK Avraham Neguise, an Ethiopian Jew, who, together with his comrade in arms MK David Amsalem, managed to squeeze out of Prime Minister Netanyahu a promise to fly in those 9,000 non-Jewish Falash Mura, in exchange for their voting with the coalition again. Herding 61 cats in his one-vote majority government, Netanyahu has had to do without those Neguise-Amsalem votes, which lost him several key bills during the winter session. Which is why the PM has pursued with such vigor his new coalition partner, Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu).

And each time MK Neguise, or foreign governments, or righteous lobbyists ask for another quota of Ethiopian immigrants who are Christian, not Jewish, they promise this is the last time. As in these 9,000 Falash Mura — it’s the last time.

Except that every time 9,000 Ethiopians board the planes out of Addis Ababa to Israel, 20,000 more take their place in the relocations camps. And Rabbi Rosen believes there are already more non-Jewish than Jewish Ethiopians in Israel. And more will keep coming.

The Falash Mura were unknown until Operation Solomon in 1991, when a number of them attempted to board the Israeli planes and were turned away. The Falash Mura said they were entitled to immigrate because they were Jews by ancestry, but the Israeli officials there saw them as non-Jews, since most had never practiced Judaism and were not considered by the Beta Israel as part of the community. In fact, even today, many in the Israeli Ethiopian community object to MK Neguise’s shenanigans.

Back in the 1990s, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) provided aid to the Falash Mura in Addis who had been left behind during Operation Solomon. Except that when all this food and medical care became available, more Falash Mura left their villages for Addis Ababa and overwhelmed the NACOEJ. The Joint Distribution Committee agreed to provide additional assistance on a humanitarian basis, without recognizing the Falash Mura as Jews who are entitled to immigrate to Israel.

A committee headed by Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban decided the Falash Mura should not be allowed to enter Israel under the Law of Return, but recommended that those refugees who were already in Addis Ababa would be allowed to come in on humanitarian grounds. But the humanitarian gesture only invited more Falash Mura to arrive with expectations of one-way tickets to the holy land. Israel estimated that fewer than 10,000 Falash Mura would be seeking immigration, but the number ballooned to more than 30,000, conditions in the relocation camps worsened, and Israel was embarrassed into taking many of them in.

JNi.Media

Exclusive: German Source Warns Jews in Danger as Anti-Migrant Movement Grows Violent

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

German Jewry is beginning to worry about anti-Semitism again, and according to a local source, it’s long past due time that they did.

In an exclusive interview with a peace activist from Germany, JewishPress.com learned this week that the threat to Jews in the country is rising steadily.

Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazi groups are increasing in popularity, albeit with their initial banner raised against the flood of refugees and migrants streaming into Germany from across Europe.

The activist, a German visitor to Israel, told JewishPress.com on condition of anonymity – is that a backlash is beginning among the German population which is starting to blame its “migrant population” on “the Jews.”

It has taken a while, but Joseph Schuster, president of the country’s Central Council of Jews also expressed the community’s concern in an interview published Saturday in the Sueddeutsche Zetung.

“The political mood in our society is clearly drifting off to the right,” Schuster told the newspaper, noting rising tensions over the steady flow of migrants into the country. Although Schuster told the paper he does not believe the Jews will immediately leave en masse, he did warn that many will “consider” it.

“It must be clear to the people that come to us that anti-Semitic behavior will not be tolerated,” Schuster said. He called on the government to teach the migrants – most of whom are Muslims – to recognize the State of Israel in their cultural integration courses “because among the refugees is a significant proportion of Arab people who have grown up with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel stereotypes.”

While it is true that many attacks on Jews in Europe over the past several years have been traced to Muslim immigrants, that has by no means ever been the source of anti-Semitism on the continent. Adolf Hitler was Austrian, not Syrian. Let’s not confuse the two.

According to the German source there have been weekly anti-migrant demonstrations by German native-born citizens in Leipzig for months already. On the secular New Year, when parties were going “full blast” the central downtown area was “empty, spooky, with no police coverage whatsoever because all the police were out dealing with attacks.

This New Year’s Eve, gangs of young migrant men sexually assaulted countless young women in mass attacks in Cologne and other German towns, according to France24 and myriad other international media. Last year Germany absorbed 1.1 million migrants and the nation’s citizens are reportedly livid with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open door policy for the refugees.

“That night saw hundreds of assaults – it was the first time the media could not hide the facts about migrant violence and German violence in response,” the source said.

Riots were also been carried out by an extremist group known to international police as the neo-Nazi “football hooligans.” The group has branches throughout Europe – in Sweden as well as in Germany.

In Leipzig two weeks later they seized the opportunity to start a rampage during a march by supporters of the anti-migrant Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.) The local Pegida group in Leipzig is known as Legida.

“Merkel take your Muslims with you and go,” read one of the placards at a Legida protest.

Also in January, at least 250 neo-Nazis traveled by car to the Leipzig suburb of Connewitz from “all over the state of Saxony,” according to the World Socialist Web Site, which described a scene of “fascist terror.”

According to a report posted by the Peipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ), the “horde of neo-Nazis” were “goose-stepping” through the district and then began a “rampage of violence” with large stones they had clearly brought with them.

Hana Levi Julian

Large Majority of Israelis Support More Benefits to New Immigrants

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

A vast majority of Israelis endorse the idea of offering new immigrants more economic and employment benefits — even at the expense of native Israelis.

The surprising information was revealed in a survey conducted by the Sampling, Consultation and Research Center, whose results were revealed Sunday at the weekly government cabinet meeting.

The news comes in light of an alarming wave of anti-Semitism that has struck Europe.

A whopping majority of 83 percent of Israelis in the survey expressed their belief that the State of Israel should take actions in the labor market that would grant special privileges to new immigrants.

Fifty-three percent of the survey’s respondents suggested that Israel provide financial benefits to employers who hire new immigrants.

Thirty percent recommended even requiring public agencies and large private business to set a floor benchmark of employment positions for new immigrants, even though such a policy would come at the expense of the native Israeli labor force.

Two- thirds of Israelis are concerned for the safety of Jews in the Diaspora, according to the survey.

Thirty-nine percent of Israelis believe that European Jews should escape the growing anti-Semitism in Europe by immigrating to the Jewish homeland.

Yaakov Hagoel, Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization revealed the results of the survey at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“In light of the concern for the safety of the Jews of Europe, we have established a committee to deal with immigration barriers and we asked to check the position of the Israeli public in this regard,” Hagoel explained.

At the same time, 46 percent of Israelis recognize that many Jews in Europe continue to live there for social and economic reasons.

“The results are surprising, even to us,” commented Hagoel. “Despite the difficult economic situation in Israel, the Jews are brothers to each other in every place in the world.”

Hagoel was expected to discuss the need to reduce and remove the many barriers that new immigrants often experience in the employment sector.

Many new immigrants arrive in Israel as educated professionals with experience and potential to contribute to Israel but encounter bureaucratic hurdles. They are very often not recognized in their professional field. Professionals such as attorneys and doctors with certifications from abroad are not automatically recognized in Israel, but must instead go through a convoluted process to re-earn certification in Israel.

Hagoel was to present the establishment of a group of World Zionist Organization staff members who will work on removing the unnecessary barriers faced by new immigrants.

“There is no day more fitting than International Holocaust Memorial Day to raise this important issue to the cabinet,” Hagoel said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Jewish Grassroots Groups Seeking Support for Lower East Side Landmark Status

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

(JNi.media) Historian Joyce Mendelsohn, author of “The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited,” Elissa Sampson, who teaches Urban Geography at Cornell University, and many other scholars and groups on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, are advocating for the creation of an historic district whose boundaries will extend roughly from Delancey to Canal Streets, between Forsyth and Essex Streets. Although the legendary Lower East Side where a million Jewish immigrants thrived in the first half of the 20th century reached all the way up to 14th Street, the group suggests that, unfortunately, the blocks north of Delancey Street have lost their architectural integrity due to rampant development.

Friends of the Lower East Side (FOTLES) and Lower East Side Preservation Initiative (LESPI) are all-volunteer grass roots organizations dedicated to preserving the social, cultural and architectural legacy of the historic Lower East Side. They say they have been successful in gaining a landmark designation for the neighborhood’s significant historic relics, such as the Bialystoker Home and Center and the Seward Park Library. But they say there is a need to designate the complete Lower East Side/East Village Historic District, because although several other neighborhood buildings are already protected by individual landmark designations, you can only tell the full story of immigrant life on the Lower East Side by also preserving their neighboring tenement buildings.

The list of groups and individuals endorsing the initiative is very long, and includes the National Trust for Historic Preservation, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Victorian Society New York, Angel Orensanz Foundation, Art Loisaida Foundation, Congregation Kehila Kedosha Janina, and the Museum at Eldridge Street. They ask friends of the Lower East Side everywhere to add their name to the list of supporters, at the online contact page for Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan.

The letter the groups sent Srinivasan states:

“Manhattan’s Lower East Side is recognized as America’s iconic immigrant neighborhood with unsurpassed architectural, historical and cultural significance to our city, state and nation. Its great variety of age-old tenements, institutional and commercial buildings not only enrich the streets with architecture based on human scale and beautifully crafted ornament, but have given the community and its residents a cohesive and stable environment with a strongly identifiable sense of history and place.

“The only way to effectively preserve the historic streetscapes of this vital neighborhood is through New York City historic district designation. Therefore, we call upon the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark, without delay, the historically intact areas of the Lower East Side below Houston Street. We request that the LPC first target the Preliminary Proposed Lower East Side Historic District shown in the attached map (see below).

Landmarks of the LES

Landmarks of the LES:

Allen Street

1. Federal House, 143 Allen Street

Bialystoker Place (Willet Street)

2. Bialystoker Synagogue, 7-13 Bialystoker Place

Bowery

3. Edward Mooney House, 18 Bowery 4. Citizen’s Savings Bank, 54-58 Bowery 5. 97 Bowery 6. Bowery Bank of New York, 124 Bowery 7. Bowery Savings Bank, 130 Bowery 8. Germania Bank, 190 Bowery 9. Young Men’s Christian Association, 222 Bowery 10. Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery

Broome Street

11. Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue, 280 Broome Street

Canal Street

12. Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade 13. S. Jarmulowsky Bank, 54-58 Canal Street 14. Loew’s Canal Street Theater, 31 Canal Street

East Broadway

15. Jewish Daily Forward, 173-175 East Broadway 16. Seward Park Library, 192 East Broadway 17. Bialystoker Center and Home, 228 East Broadway 18. Isaac Ludlum House, 281 East Broadway

Eldridge Street

19. Eldridge Street Synagogue (Museum at Eldridge Street), 12-16 Eldridge Street

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-grassroots-groups-seeking-support-for-lower-east-side-landmark-status/2015/11/04/

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