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April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Passover’

A New House in Time for Pesach

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Every Jewish mother wishes they could have a new house for Pesach, in order to minimize the amount of cleaning needed. Ofra, a woman from Dimona in Southern Israel, will see this dream become her reality, thanks to Meir Panim. After living in squalid conditions, the single mother and her five children will have a remodeled, freshly painted home, free of mold and leaks, with functional bathrooms and even new furniture.

This is just one of Meir Panim’s latest Pesach initiatives. As Israel’s premier poverty relief organization, Meir Panim has unveiled new programs to give aid and dignity to impoverished Israelis this Pesach. These are in addition to the regular programing and include a home renovations program, take-home seder meals and clothing gift cards for women.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand our reach, thanks to gifts from generous donors who have teamed up with us to provide support and warmth to thousands of families in need,” said David Roth, president of American Friends of Meir Panim. “Our programs, both new and old, aim to provide aid in unique ways, by empowering those who struggle and helping them feel their burdens eased. This is why we provide hot meals, food packages, gift cards, home renovations and clothing. We want everyone in Israel to enjoy the holidays as much as possible.”

This Pesach, Meir Panim will host 700 people in its public seders and hundreds of children will enjoy activities at the after-school clubs. With the help of social workers, the organization will distribute 2,000 pre-paid food cards to families to assist them in purchasing groceries for the holiday. An additional 1,000 food packages, packed with produce, frozen foods, juices and snacks, will be sent to families in need.

In another initiative, single mothers received vouchers worth $200-$300 at upscale clothing retail stores. The vouchers were distributed to the most needy with special instructions: that the money could only be spent on clothing for themselves. Meir Panim workers have heard wonderful feedback from these women, who feel reenergized and special. Meir Panim branches also are giving away new and gently used clothing to locals. In addition, several families, like Ofra’s, got a bigger treat: a remodeled home in time for Pesach. This project is dedicated to families living in intolerable conditions and is organized by local Meir Panim volunteers.

Also in Dimona, the Municipality and local residents are a hosting fundraising event to benefit Meir Panim. Celebrities, local VIPs and political figures have signed on to participate. Over 600 people are expected to attend.

All of Meir Panim’s programs are open to Israelis of all backgrounds, with the goal of alleviating the burdens of poverty and “lighting up the faces” of those in need. Since 2000, Meir Panim has served over 3 million free meals and provided countless other services to Israel’s impoverished population.

To contribute to the Pesach campaign, click here

Technion’s Rube Goldberg Machine Passover Seder

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Synagogue Worshippers in London Save Family from Burning Car

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Two worshippers in a synagogue on Passover saved a child from death in a burning car that exploded shortly after the rescue.

The worshippers rushed to the burning vehicle after hearing the family’ scream for help, and they found the toddler strapped in a car seat. The worshippers, Moshe Kupperman and a second man, identified only as “Shlomo” and an IDF veteran, survived the intense heat from the burning car while unfastening the child’s seat belt and freeing him.

Two other passengers fled on their own before the Peugeot 307 exploded, the London Evening Standard reported.

The family was taken into the synagogue to recover as firefighters rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire, which destroyed the car.

Michael Block, who worships at the synagogue, told the Standard, “The people in the car realized there was going to be a problem and tried to get out, then fire started coming out. The family in the car was beside themselves and in shock. Shlomo is a lovely chap and he hasn’t been in this country for very long…. He was very brave…. He is a well-meaning guy who saw there was a problem and went to try and help. He is definitely a local hero.”

Jews Ordered to ‘Register’ in Donetsk, Ukraine

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  For some Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on this Passover holiday of “freedom,” concern and even fear is lurking in their thoughts, making them wonder about the lessons of the past.

On the first day of Passover this week, three armed men in the eastern Ukrainian province of Donetsk distributed flyers warning Jews to “register” themselves and their assets with the new pro-Russian government, according to the novosti.dn.ua website.

The flyers were handed out next to a synagogue as people were leaving following holiday prayers. They read as follows:

“Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,

Due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported (Stepan) Bendery Junta, and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk, [the interim government] has decided that all citizens of Jewish descent age 16 and older, residing within the territory of the republic, are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register by May 3.

(Ed. Note: Stepan Bander was a Ukrainian nationalist leader in Kiev who fought with Nazi Germany in the 1940s against Soviet troops before switching sides and taking up arms against the German occupation.)

“ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles. Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revocation and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property. A registration fee of $50 is required.”

Pro-Russian separatists are occupying the building where the Jews were told the register.

The flyer was written in the Russian language and bore the symbol of Mother Russia at the top of the page and that of the Donetsk People’s Republic at the bottom. It was allegedly signed by Denis Pushilin, chairman of the Donetsk interim government but no ink signature is seen on the paper.

Donetsk was recently declared an independent “people’s republic” by pro-Russian activists. In response to a query by a Ukrainian Jewish website, Pushilin confirmed the flyers were indeed distributed by his organization. However, he was quoted by the tvrain.ru news site on Wednesday as denying any connection to the content, and called the flyers a ‘provocation.’

Nevertheless, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky told Voice of Israel government radio on Wednesday that aliyah from the Ukraine is likely to double by the end of 2014.

The flyer – authentic or not – constitutes the 17th anti-Semitic incident to have taken place in Ukraine since the beginning of 2014. Most were violent attacks. Several were aimed at Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and a few were life-threatening. Five took place in Kiev alone, according to statistics gleaned from the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism (CFCA) website.

A reader on the Israel Matzav blog warned in a number of posts that the situation in Ukraine is becoming extremely dangerous for Jews.

Wisely, a Jewish resident of Donetsk told Ynet that she does not intend to register, although she said that she had never encountered any form of anti-Semitism until she saw the flyer. “Though I take it very seriously, I am uncertain of its authenticity,” she said.

Kansas Shooting Suspect a White Supremacist, Indicted for Murder

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

The Missouri-born suspect charged in a pre-Passover shooting spree that left three dead outside two Kansas Jewish centers is a known white supremacist, media report.

Frazier Glenn Cross (aka Frazier Glenn Miller), 73, was charged with one count of first degree premeditated murder and one count of capital murder in connection with the shootings that took place on Sunday near Kansas City, Kansas.  He had three weapons in his possession when he was taken into custody on Sunday, according to police, after shooting at five people, none of whom he knew.

Of those, 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood and his grandfather, family practitioner Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69, were both Methodists. Reat was heading for an audition for a play to be held at the Jewish community center. Occupational therapist Terri LaManno, 53, a Roman Catholic, was on the way to visit her mother at the assisted living center.

Police investigators say the shooter’s actions were “unquestionably determined” to be a hate crime,” Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass told reporters. While sitting in the back of a police vehicle after his arrest, Cross was seen in a video filmed by CNN affiliate KMBC shouting, “Heil Hitler!”

Those who know Cross told CNN that he has ‘made no secret of his racist views, writing letters to newspapers and inviting people to white supremacist meetings at his home.’

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) watchdog organization reported that Cross was the founder and former ‘Grand Dragon’ of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and the paramilitary White Patriot Party.

Also according to the Center, Cross is a “raging anti-Semite” who has called Jews “swarthy, hairy, bow-legged, beady-eyed parasitic midgets” in posts on online forums advocating the extermination of Jews.

But although he was convicted on weapons charges and for plotting to murder SPLC founder Morris Dees, Cross spent only three years in prison. And he’s been publishing ‘The Aryan Alternative’ tabloid regularly, without interference, since 2005.

(Note the difference in how American ‘justice for all’ is meted out to a convicted would-be assassin such as Cross, and a Jewish spy for the allied nation of Israel, the man named Pollard.)

The abbreviated prison term for Cross came as the result of a plea bargain arranged with federal prosecutors in exchange for testimony against 14 white supremacists in Arkansas at a sedition trial in 1988.

(The plea bargain arranged with federal prosecutors for Pollard was suddenly abrogated at the bench during sentencing without warning, with no explanation and after Pollard had already fulfilled his part of the deal. He was instead sentenced to life in prison on a one charge of passing classified information to a friendly allied nation. The crime carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison – Pollard is now entering his 29th year.)

Cross appeared in court on Tuesday in a wheelchair wearing an anti-suicide garment to face the charges of murder: the first, for killing a boy and his grandfather outside the Jewish community center. Neither victim was Jewish. As he heard the other accusation for killing a woman visiting her mother at the nearby Jewish assisted living facility, he learned that in this case he had also failed: nor was his third victim a Jew.

Hundreds at Bangkok Chabad Passover Seder

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

More than 400 people sang their way through the Haggadah on the first night of Passover at the first seder held this year at the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand.

Dozens of children ascended special stage set up in the hall where the seder was held in order to sing the traditional “Ma Nishtana” – the Four Questions that launch the story explaining the reason for the celebration of Passover.

For those with slim budgets, the Chabad of Bangkok website stated clearly that everyone was welcome regardless of ability to pay. “Please contact the Rabbi in confidence if the charge is beyond your means,” the statement on Chabad’s “JewishThailand.com” site advised. “‘All who are hungry may come and eat’ is the theme of Passover and it will be our pleasure to host you regardless of financial ability.”

A seder for the second night was made available with the Kantor Family according to the announcement, sponsored by the Jewish Association of Thailand. “No charge but please RSVP,” the notice read.

Hebrew-language Passover seders were conducted in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui and Phuket.

President Obama’s Passover Statement

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014).

As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House.

Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world.

On Tuesday, just as we have every year of my presidency, my family will join the millions taking part in the ancient tradition of the Seder. We will enjoy the company of friends and loved ones, retell a timeless story, and give thanks for the freedom we are so blessed to enjoy.

Yet even as we celebrate, our prayers will be with the people of Overland Park, Kansas and the family and friends of the three innocent people who were killed when a gunman, just one day before Passover, opened fire at a Jewish community center and retirement home on Sunday. As Americans, we will continue to stand united against this kind of terrible violence, which has no place in our society. We will continue to come together across faiths to combat the ignorance and intolerance, including anti-Semitism, that can lead to hatred and violence. And we will never lose faith that compassion and justice will ultimately triumph over hate and fear.

For that is one of the great lessons of the Exodus. The tale of the Hebrew slaves and their flight from Egypt carries the hope and promise that the Jewish people have held in their hearts for thousands of years, and it is has inspired countless generations in their own struggles for freedom around the globe.

In America, the Passover story has always had special meaning. We come from different places and diverse backgrounds, but we are bound together by a journey from bondage to liberty enshrined in our founding documents and continued in each generation. As we were so painfully reminded on Sunday, our world is still in need of repair, but the story of the Exodus teaches us that with patience, determination, and abundant faith, a brighter future is possible.

Chag Sameach.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/president-obamas-passover-statement/2014/04/16/

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