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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘JEWS’

$10 Million Awarded to U.S. Holocaust Museum for Shoah Studies

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., received a $10 million grant from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.

The museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies will be renamed the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and will concentrate on Holocaust studies throughout the world. The center sponsors new Holocaust scholarship, training new scholars in the discipline.

“The Mandel family generously helped establish the museum in its early years, and now through this campaign gift they are helping us lay the foundation for the institution’s future, ensuring the permanence of Holocaust memory, relevance, and understanding,” said Museum Director Sara Bloomfield.

Morton Mandel, chairman and CEO of the Cleveland-based foundation, said in a statement: “Our Foundation is delighted to have been an ardent supporter of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum since its inception. We are pleased to place the Mandel name on the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, one of the world’s principal venues for Holocaust scholarship.”

Last month, the foundation announced a $13 million grant to Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

What Do Catholic Nuns Care about the Book of Esther?

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

A collaboration between an order of nuns and a British Jewish scribe to restore an ancient Hebrew scroll telling the story of Purim is drawing attention as a sign of progress in Catholic-Jewish relations.

Sofer (scribe) Mordechai Pinchas restored a megillah (scroll) of the Book of Esther and returned it to the Benedictine Tyburn Nuns at a London ceremony last week.

The parchment was written in Venice, Italy in the 18th century. It was donated to the order of nuns by Jordan and Lorraine Cherrick from St. Louis, Mo. The scroll is “a biblical artifact symbolizing ever-deepening Jewish-Catholic relations,” said Mother General Xavier McMonagle, according to the British Catholic Herald.

“It all shows something more than academic theological exercise. We get to know each other as real people. You can tell there is something deeper going on,” she said.

The Book of Esther tells the story of how Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai save the Jews from extermination by Haman, the royal advisor to King Ahasuerus of Persia. Jews around the world commemorate annually on the holiday of Purim, which this year begins after Shabbat on March 15.

According to McMonagle, the figure of Esther “has remained very powerful in Catholic Christian religion, devotion, and spirituality as a symbol, an image, and a model of powerful intercession with God to change the course of human events from bad to good.”

“The need for Esther’s example is ever present in our minds, whether we are Christians or Jews,” McMonagle said. “Esther is a memorial, a living point of confidence that God can change things for the better, and he can do it even by working miracles.”

Formerly known as the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre, the Tyburn Nuns received their nickname due to the location of their motherhouse, which stands next to the site of the Tyburn gallows. Their 105 canonized or beatified Catholic martyrs were executed during the Reformation era.

Tunisia Bars Jews on Cruise Ship

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Tunisia has barred Jews on a Norwegian cruise ship from leaving their cruise voyage and stepping foot in the country after theirboat docked in Tunis, according to B’nai Brith Canada.

“The cruise line has a responsibility to its passengers to advise them of this discriminatory policy in advance. Better still the cruise line should avoid ports that have such policies,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s chief executive.

Jewish passengers held on the ship said other passengers were enraged after they disembarked and only later learned that the Jews were not allowed to visit Tunisia.

National security forces have increasingly harassed and assaulted Jews, and one Muslim cleric has publicly called for “divine genocide” of Jews.

Tunisian Jews once enjoyed a compostable and safe life. Approximately 2,000 Jews still live on the Tunisian island of Djerba, home of the El Ghriba synagogue that dates back nearly 2,600 years.

Amid Crisis, Ukrainian Jewish Community Receives Rescue Efforts Training

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine – The current political crisis in Ukraine has propelled its Jewish community to request emergency training from Israeli emergency response organizations, United Hatzalah and ZAKA.

As the Ukrainian crisis developed during the past three months of anti-government protests, Ukrainian rabbis appealed for help in emergency response training. Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, the Ukrainian Chief Rabbi, and Rabbi Hillel Cohen of the Ukrainian Hatzalah made the request to ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav and United Hatzalah President Eli Beer. The men mobilized their organizations to work together to train the local team in only a matter of days.

United Hatzalah and ZAKA, in cooperation with the Isralife Foundation have worked together to train Jewish volunteers of the local Kiev Hatzalah. The Ukrainian participants received training in the latest emergency, rescue and search techniques in order to respond and provide aid to mass casualty emergencies should the crisis in the country escalate. The Ukrainian participants have also been trained to provide first aid in mass casualty emergency situations, and include protocols for CPR, treating suffocation, injuries and diseases.

Ukraine Training 2 “We were pleased to come to the assistance of the Ukrainian community during their time of need and provide the emergency training their volunteers need to handle local emergencies in an efficient and timely manner,” said Beer. “Both ZAKA and United Hatzalah each offered unique services and perspectives on emergency response and we were happy we could work together to help our fellow Jews.” “We are grateful to both organizations for responding so quickly and generously to help our community in this time of need. The events surrounding us require our community to be prepared with the latest training and techniques so we can respond to emergencies and help our people quickly in these dangerous times,” said Rabbis Azman and Cohen in a joint statement. In the Ukraine, much of the Jewish population is located in the country’s capital, Kiev while other sizable communities reside in Lvov, Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa. Since the early 1990s, 340,000 Ukrainian Jews have immigrated to Israel.

In related news, a Ukrainian man was treated in Israel yesterday, Wednesday, March 5, after suffering severed damage to his left forearm from shrapnel in Kiev’s Independence Square during riots. Referred to as Alexander S., he was the first Ukrainian to arrive to Israel for treatment, following approval by Dr. Valeria Bivitzchik from Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center, who recently volunteered with the Ukrainian Red Cross and arranged for injured citizens to be flown to Israel for medical treatment. Alexander was brought to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot where he will undergo surgery to reconstruct the bones and repair the soft issue in his arm under the care of hospital’s surgical and orthopedic departments in the coming days.

Parkinson’s Study Will Look at Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Mutation

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

A study sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research will investigate a genetic mutation found more often in Ashkenazi Jews.

The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, a large-scale biomarker study, is expanding to study individuals with genetic mutations associated with Parkinson’s disease. Among those mutations is the LRRK2, which accounts for a greater number of Parkinson’s cases among certain ethnic populations and families, notably Jews of Eastern European descent.

The study will enroll 250 people with the LRRK2 mutation and Parkinson’s and a like number with the mutation but without Parkinson’s.

Genetic mutations account for 5 percent to 10 percent of all Parkinson’s cases, but a study of these individuals may reveal disease traits that apply to all Parkinson’s patients.

The Fox Foundation has secured 15 industry partners and co-funding sponsors for the initiative. They include Abbott Laboratories, Biogen, BMS, Covance, Eli Lilly, GE Healthcare, Genentech, GSK, Merck, Pfizer and Roche.

The study will take place at 32 clinical sites around the world.

Interfaith Group Sending $1 Million for Jews In Ukraine

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews said it will send $1 million to assist the Jewish community in Ukraine amid the country’s political upheaval.

The help, which will go toward security for Jewish institutions and for the elderly and impoverished, was announced Wednesday by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder and president of the fellowship.

“From the many conversations I’ve conducted this week with Jewish leaders in the Ukraine, we understood that the situation on the ground is critical,” Eckstein said. “Rabbis and communal leaders feel under threat and requested assistance with reinforcing the security around Jewish schools and communal buildings.”

The assistance is in addition to the annual aid that the fellowship sends to the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Earlier this week, the Jewish Agency said it was providing emergency assistance to increase security measures for the Jewish community in Ukraine hours after protests in the former Soviet republic forced President Viktor Yanukovych to flee Kiev.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Yuriy Sergeyev, told reporters on Monday that attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions are not widespread.

Acting Ukraine President Oleksander Tuchynov assured Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, the president of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and a chief rabbi in the country, at a meeting Tuesday night that he would work to keep the country’s Jewish community safe, Israel Radio reported on Wednesday.

Arabs Riot on Temple Mount ahead of Feiglin’s Debate on Jewish Prayer

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin may have single-handedly ditched  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework on Tuesday by brining to the Knesset floor a debate on the prohibition against  Jews praying on the Temple Mount.

In advance of the historic debate, the first time the issue ever has been discussed on the floor of the legislature, Arabs rioted and threw rocks at police, who dispersed them with stun grenades and tear gas and arrested three rioters. The violence forced the closure of the Temple Mount to Jews and tourists. Score one for the Muslims.

In Jordan, opposition leaders called on the monarchy to tear up the peace treaty with Israel.

The Temple Mount is the most untalked about core issue in the so-called negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The “status of Jerusalem” is a known basic issue, but there is simply nothing for negotiators on both sides to talk about when it comes to the Temple Mount.

It evokes more emotions than all other issues combined. The Oslo War, popularly called the Second Intifada, erupted after Ariel Sharon ascended the Temple Mount in his campaign for Prime Minister  in 2000. The violence was due to happen in any event given the refusal of Yasser Arafat to accept then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer for almost all of Judea and Samaria and most of the areas of Jerusalem that had been occupied by Jordan between 1949 and the Six-Day War in 1967.

Arab riots on the Temple Mount have become more regular as the “peace process” comes closer to another death, following the death of the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap, among other snake oil remedies..

The more Muslim clerics and Arab leaders claim that the Jewish Holy Temple never existed and that the Jews have no connection with the site, the more they are arming  themselves with hate and lies that spell “war.”

All it takes is MK Feiglin to set them off, and if Tuesday’s debate is his only accomplishment  in the current Knesset session, it will be far greater than almost all combined  acts of his 119 colleagues

Israel conveniently washed its hands of responsibility for the Temple Mount after the 1967 war and gave Jordan the right to be custodian through the Islamic Waqf.

Buoyed by the Chief Rabbinate prohibition of Jews praying or even ascending the Temple Mount because of several issues relating to Jewish law on the ruins of the Holy Temple, the Arab world tightened its enforcement against Jews trying to do so.

Many national religious rabbis allow Jews to walk on certain parts of the Temple Mount, and MK Feiglin has been doing so for years. He was barred from the Temple the past year until earlier this month, when he resumed his monthly habit of immersing in the Mikveh and visiting the holy site.

Prayers, of course are forbidden, lest Allah be upset over hearing the Shema Yisrael prayer. No prayer books are allowed, and police remove anyone who starts moving his lips. The Supreme Court has questioned the discrimination but has not issued any direct order that allows Jews to pray at the site.

Feiglin brought the issue to the Knesset after having easily secured the required signatures of 30 Knesset Members to debate the issue.

Tuesday’s discussion, was a debate and nothing more and nothing less, but it was more than enough for the Arab to press the riot button.

Arab MKs in boycotted the discussion, which may have been their best strategy since anything they say makes them look even dumber than they are.

The Arab paranoia of Jews ascending the Temple Mount stems from the same attitude that prompted Jordan to ban Jews from all holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria until the War in 1967.

Avigdor Lieberman Warns US Jews ‘You Are Facing a Catastrophe’

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

American Jews are facing nothing less than a demographic catastrophe, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserted on Tuesday in a speech at the Jerusalem meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

He quoted recent surveys that show that there are 6.1 million Jews in Israel and slightly less than 5.5 million in the United States, not including those who claim affiliation or identity with Judaism.

Lieberman emphasized that no Jew – whether in the Diaspora or in Israel and whether Reform Conservative or Orthodox – “is illegitimate and should be placed outside of the tent,” but he added. “There is a significant rise in those who have little or no Jewish content in their lives, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish.”

He pointed out, “The intermarriage rate has reached a high of 58% for all Jews, and 71% for non-Orthodox Jews, a huge change from before 1970 when only 17% of Jews intermarried.”

Attachment to Israel is markedly higher among older Jews, with only 32% of respondents under the age of 30 sharing the idea that “caring about Israel as an essential part of what being Jewish means to them.”

Lieberman then put the cards on the table and categorically stated they are stacked against the Diaspora.

“For many years, Israeli officials have called on our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, like many of you gathered here tonight, to donate your time, energies and funds to Israel,” he said. “However, I turn to you today and say that, while we are enormously and forever grateful for your assistance, we believe it is now time to concentrate on the challenges facing your own communities, especially those emanating from the dangerous trends in the Jewish community demonstrated in the recent survey.”

Lieberman was being kind. He could just as easily have said, “You American Jews sit as armchair generals for Israel, undermine our government’s struggle by deciding how we should deal with the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world while you don’t see that the ground in the Diaspora is crumbling under your feet.”

In more diplomatic language, he said, “Above all discussions on Iran and the Palestinians, your discussions with the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency should be focused on saving future generations.”

Lieberman stated that education is the key to fighting “assimilation, intermarriage and disengagement” but that “Jewish children are being kept from the Jewish classrooms because of the exorbitant and prohibitive costs of Jewish education in the United States.”

“On my last visit to New York, I met with a Russian Jewish family in Brooklyn,” Lieberman told his audience. “They told me that for their three children to attend good Jewish schools it would cost them around $100,000. They simply could not endure such costs. They are not alone. This situation is being replicated across the Jewish world, whether in the United States, Russia, France, Argentina, or elsewhere. If this situation persists, we will lose another six million Jews in a generation or two.”

He said that most Israeli diplomats abroad shun local Jewish schools and instead send their children to learn at international schools because the standard is higher.

“Sadly this is also reflective of the general Jewish population in places like the United States, where only around 12% of Jewish children attend Jewish schools, and when the Orthodox children are removed from the equation; it drops down to no more than a few per cent,” he added.

Lieberman proposed the creation of a global network of Jewish schools with a superior standard, and he committed the Israeli government to budget $365 million a year in matching funds for the project.

He also is looking forward to massive aliyah “The creation of an international network of Jewish schools is only the first part of my vision,” Lieberman declared. “In addition, my goal is to bring an additional 3.5 million Jews from the Diaspora in the next ten years so that the Jewish population in Israel will exceed 10 million.”

Jews are undoubtedly a major influence in American life, but the number of Jews who are Jewish “in name only” spells a dismal future for the Diaspora.

One of the most self-serving ways to deny the future is to accept the definition of a Jew as anyone who considers himself Jewish. That kind of identity is temporary, at best.

Jewish institutions and organizations maybe boasting larger numbers, but the meaning of Jewish is becoming emptier.

What Lieberman essentially told the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem Tuesday was, “Wake up. It’s later than you think.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/avigdor-lieberman-warns-us-jews-you-are-facing-a-catastrophe/2014/02/19/

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