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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘mezuzah’

Wild Bushfires Drive Some Australian Jews from Their Homes

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Wild bushfires ravaging Australia forced members of the Jewish community to evacuate their homes, some of which already have been destroyed by flames since the fires broke out Wednesday a week ago due to explosives used in army exercises.

David Lake, a traditional Sephardi Jew lost his home in the blaze at the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and was able to flee with almost no possession except a Kiddush cup and a mezuzah.

“All my possessions were incinerated,” Lake said. “It’s difficult and emotionally traumatizing.

“The Kiddush cup was completely blackened but I managed to restore it – it’s still useable,” he added. He said the mezuzah on the archway in front of his door was “still intact,” but others lying in the ashes were totally destroyed.

Lake has been living since Tuesday at a Chabad house in Sydney, which has 40 rooms available, along with a handful of other Jewish evacuees.

Other Jewish groups rallied to help the victims this week.

Our Big Kitchen, a Chabad-run community kitchen in Bondi, staged a cook-a-thon on Tuesday, preparing more than 1,000 meals for distribution to victims and firefighters.

“We pray that God Almighty has mercy and brings a swift end to this terrible catastrophe, comforts the bereaved and heals the wounded,” said Pinchus Feldman, the chief rabbi of Chabad in Sydney.

The Jewish House, a crisis center, is offering psychological help, as well as shelter for those with pets.

“We’re in touch with 25 families,” said the center’s CEO, Rabbi Mendel Kastel. “Most are all packed up and ready to run if they need to.”

Jewish Aid Australia launched an appeal this week. “Like all Australians, the Jewish community is deeply concerned by the devastation left in the fires’ wake,” said Jewish Aid Australia CEO Gary Samowitz.

Bush fires are akin to Australia’s frontline war. In 2009, bushfires killed more than 170 people and destroyed 150 homes in Victoria, the worst blaze in Australian history.

Two people have been killed, the latest being a pilot whose water bomber plane crashed in rugged country on the southern coast of Australia. The crash sparked another fire, one of more than 50 are burning across the state of New South Wales.

More than 200 homes have been destroyed, and one man died from a heart attack while trying to save his home.

Antwerp Police Laughed at Brutal Anti-Semitic Attack

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Publicity in Belgium and on Israeli television of police dismissal of a brutal anti-Semitic attack on a woman on her apartment has raised the rafters in Brussels where one Jewish leader said the incident “sounds like something from 1930s Germany.”

The police not only ignored the attack but also scoffed at it after neighbors attacked Cindy Meul in her apartment after they constantly harassed her and her girlfriend, former Israeli tennis champion Ruth Sverdloff and her daughters.

When the two women moved into their apartment, Sverdloff promptly put a mezuzah on the apartment door.

The neighbors then banged on the walls and shouted,” stinking Jews,” “we do not want Jews in this building” and other expressions that cannot be reprinted here, lawyer Mischael Modrikamen told the Jewish magazine Joods Actueel in Antwerp. They said they came “to finish what the Nazis started.”

The hate language turned to violence when two neighbors burst into the apartment on May 24 and beat up Meul, who was alone at the time, and broke her nose.

‘’When the ambulance took Cindy Meul at hospital, she saw a policewoman laughing and chatting with the aggressors,” Modrikamen told the Jewish magazine. Meul was hospitalized for 15 days.

When Sverdloff complained to the police in English, she was reportedly told by a police officer, “This is Flanders and you must speak Flemish.”

The police did not act on the complaints until the publicity nearly a month later.

Sverdloff was so concerned that she sent her daughter to her grandparents “because the child was too scared to stay here any longer.”

Joel Rubinfeld, the Brussels-born co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, said, “The reports concerning this case are extremely disconcerting: It sounds like something from 1930s Germany. Especially disquieting is the authorities’ apparent inaction.” The JTA reported.

Earlier this month prosecutors in Brussels decided not to file charges in a separate case from 2011, in which a 15-year-old Jewish girl who was identified in the Belgian media only as Oceane was attacked outside her school by five boys who called her a “dirty Jew” before hitting her repeatedly in the face. “A pattern of indifference emerges,” Rubinfeld said.

Mezuzah Arson Suspect Has Long Record of Crime

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Neither robbery, drugs, assault nor weapons can keep a man in jail and stop his appointed rounds of setting fire to mezuzahs containing verses from the Torah.

New York police are on  the prowl for Rubin Ublies, suspected of torching 11 mezuzahs in a Williamsburg apartment building on Monday, Holocaust Remembrance Day. He also is thought to have torched another mezuzah in the same apartment complex the following day.

Despite his Jewish-sounding first name, he is far from Jewish. An Hispanic, Ublies, age 35, also has a long record of crime, ranging from robbery, drugs, assault to weapons – and now arson, if he is caught and convicted.

The arsonist began his hate crime on Monday on the 13th floor and worked his way down to at least the third floor, burning the mezuzahs on the way while the residents were away.

Councilman David Greenfield is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Mezuzah Arsonist Strikes Again, Evoking Familiar Jewish Fears

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

A day after 11 mezuzahs were found burned in the Taylor-Wythe Houses in Williamsburg, shortly after 1 PM Tuesday, another mezuzah was found burned outside an apartment at 130 Clymer St., in the same housing development.

In both incidents the vandal started on the 13th floor, but this time he fled after burning just one.

NYPD released surveillance footage of him as a person of interest was described as a male Hispanic between 20 and 25 years old, wearing a purple do-rag, and a black jacket with an “NY” symbol on the shoulder and “New York” across the chest,” and lighting a match.

Local resident David Greenblatt told NYC Channel 2 News that the surveillance images came as a relief.

“Yes it is, because it means that we’re going to pursue such crimes, and hopefully, that will deter them,” Greenblatt said. “That’s what we need.”

Resident Pessie Gelb said, “I was a little bit shocked to see what’s going on again. The next building? What is it going to happen again?”

Her neighbor Lydia Pena said, “I think it’s real horrible. You shouldn’t touch nothing that doesn’t belong to you.”

There was an even more insightful reaction, from resident Raizy Fogel, who told Channel 2: “It’s devastating, it’s very sad and such things shouldn’t happen.”

Fogel said the attack on a specifically Jewish religious item was intended to send a message on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The message, Fogel said, is “that we are unwanted here, and I don’t know why.”

Give her another minute, another hour, another day – she’ll get the message…

Brooklyn Anti-Semites Mark Holocaust Day by Burning Mezuzahs

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Anti-Semitic vandals torched more than 10 mezuzahs on the doorposts in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn apartments Monday, Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is not known if the attack was carried by an individual or a group. The attacks took place on at least 10 different floors.

New York police are considering the arson as an anti-Semitic crime although officials said they did not know if the timing of the attack was coincidental or not. There was little damage to the apartments except for the burned mezuzahs.

“This was a brazen act of religious desecration,” Councilman Stephen Levin told The New York Times. “It’s hard to explain just how deeply painful this is to the religious Jewish community. It’s a blessing on a home. It’s a profoundly hurtful thing to do.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/brooklyn-anti-semites-mark-holocaust-day-by-burning-mezuzahs/2013/04/09/

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