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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Yom Kippur’

A Little Closure on an Unspeakable Tragedy

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

On the anniversary of an event chilling even by Holocaust standards, the notorious Babyn Yar (“Babi Yar”) massacre that left an entire Jewish community dead or dying in a forest outside one of Ukraine’s largest cities – and under the noses of its remaining residents – a memorial ceremony was held at UN Headquarters, jointly hosted by Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko, US Ambassador Samantha Power, and Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon.

Ambassador Power shared eye-witness accounts. She described how victims, after being told to dress warmly and gather belongings, were marched beyond city limits to a nearby forest where they were instructed to leave their possessions in a pile and undress.

“The German soldiers then formed a gauntlet through which the Jews had to pass,” she told an audience made up mostly of members of the diplomatic community. Power described how naked men, women and children were whipped and beaten with sticks as they barreled through the human corridor, trying to fend off the blows with their hands.

“When they finally emerged they found themselves beside a deep ravine. Other groups of soldiers instructed them to either stand on the edge of the ravine, where they awaited their moment to be shot and tumble into the abyss, or to climb down and lay on top of already dead bodies, where they waited to be shot as bodies and dirt fell around them.”

Although the Nazis, and their collaborators, worked diligently and systematically from 10am to 6pm, they were not able to get through the tens of thousands of Jews in one day. “And so,” explained Power, “thousands more were locked in a warehouse overnight, left to contemplate their fate while the soldiers got a good night sleep, in order to be well rested for the job ahead tomorrow.”

Ambassador Danon thanked all who came to pay tribute, and conveyed the significance of the massacre. “The Jews of Kiev woke up in their homes on September 28, 1941. By the next day – Erev Yom Kippur of 1941 – 33,771 of them were dead or buried alive.” The events at Babyn Yar represented the first stage of the Holocaust explained Danon, “the deliberate, organized mass murder of six million Jews. Genocide.”

He invoked the words of a former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau. “Rabbi Lau believed that Babyn Yar was a test conducted by Hitler to see how the civilized world would react to such an event,” said Danon. “After all,” he continued, “it didn’t take place hidden away in a concentration camp.”

Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko also spoke at the ceremony, describing Babyn Yar as a dark point for Ukraine and for humanity.

In videotaped testimony, Babyn Yar survivor Raisa Dashekevich described how she ran naked through the gauntlet as fast as she could, clutching her baby in an attempt to shield him from being cut by a whip, all the while frantically looking for her own mother, who she’d become separated from in the chaos. She passed the last soldier in time to see her mother shot, then fall into the pit on top of other writhing bodies. Raisa held her baby jumped.

“People kept landing on us,” she recalled, “it became so dark and cold, there was so much weight on us. There was screaming, and dirt thrown over us, and terrible smells.” She remembers going in and out of consciousness, then at one point during the night, realizing her baby had gone cold. But Raisa couldn’t find any bullet holes. She realized that he hadn’t been shot, he had been crushed to death, most likely by herself. She left him there and climbed up through the layers of bodies out into the moonlight. She found her way, filthy and bloody, to a nearby farmhouse where she was saved by the kindness and bravery of the farmer’s wife.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed the assembly through a recorded video message, saying that although Babyn Yar was primarily a tragedy for the Jews, it was a catastrophe for all mankind. “It remains one of the hardest memories and deepest wounds for our country,” said Poroshenko, “a reminder of the terrible price that can be paid for political shortsightedness.” In what may have been a veiled reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he added, “It is a reminder what can happen when you condone the aggression of paranoiac dictators.”

As the ceremony drew to a close with a short and somber chamber music concert, the audience was reminded that Jews weren’t the only victims of the infamous ravine. In all, over 150,000 people were murdered at Babyn Yar.

The evening dedicated to remembering ended with a final reminder by its hosts: Please. Don’t forget.

Stephanie Granot

13 New Souls Arrive in Israel on Yom Kippur

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

During the holy day of Yom Kippur, Carmel Medical Center in Haifa reports that 13 new souls arrived in the Land of Israel.

Five baby girls and eight baby boys came into the world, including one premie at Carmel.

Welcome to Israel!

Hana Levi Julian

Thousands Needed Help From MDA on Yom Kippur

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Magen David Adom (MDA) reported Wednesday that over the 26-hour period of the holy day of Yom Kippur, paramedics treated 2,326 people.

Of those, 136 women in labor were brought to hospitals via MDA ambulance.

For less positive reasons, at least 249 people fainted or were otherwise dehydrated during the fast; 220 more were hurt in non-vehicular accidents involving wheels – bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, scooters, etc.

MDA paramedics also treated 20 people for injuries due to violent events.

Hana Levi Julian

Iranians Caught With Fake Israeli Passports

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Israeli intelligence agencies were updated during Yom Kippur that three Iranian citizens were caught in Italy with fake Israeli passports.

They were deported via Serbia to Turkey, according to a report Wednesday night broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 television news.

Security agencies are investigating the history of the trio to see whether any of the three have carried out terror attacks against Israeli targets in the international arena.

Hana Levi Julian

Black Crosses Spray-Painted on Synagogue In Dark of Night on Yom Kippur

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Anti-Semitism reared its ugly head at night in the heart of the holiest city in the world, on the most sacred day of the Jewish year.

Black crosses were spray-painted on the wall of the synagogue of Congregation Shlomo in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem during the night of Yom Kippur, sometime after the end of evening prayers, the Hebrew-language 0404 website reported.

This is not the first time crosses have been slathered on the synagogue walls by hate-filled vandals who work hard to hurt Jewish worshipers, according to residents who spoke with 0404. A similar attack took place two weeks ago, according to the report.

“We are sick of these attacks on Jewish life and on our feelings,” shocked worshipers said in response to the attack. “We are living in the capital city of Israel and look at this.

“If this were to take place at a mosque and it was a Jewish Star of David that was painted on the wall of the mosque, the police would be out in force, the president would be apologizing and the media would be screaming with headlines.

“It’s a disgrace that no one has even reported it.”

Hana Levi Julian

Alert IDF Force Near Ni’ilin Prevents Terror Attack on Jewish Town in Samaria

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Alert IDF soldiers near Ni’ilin prevented a major terrorist attack after the start of Yom Kippur, as Arab terrorists opened fire Tuesday night at an IDF force operating near the Arab village of Ni’ilin. No casualties were reported among the Israeli forces.

“Last night our observation post identified suspects near the fence in the area of Ni’ilin,” an IDF spokesperson told the Hebrew-language 0404 website. “The suspects opened fire at military forces who rushed to the area, but did not injure or kill anyone. IDF troops returned fire, and the suspects fled.

“Forces from the Ephraim Regional Brigade searched the area and captured a number of suspects, who were then transferred to security personnel for interrogation,” the IDF said.

According to 0404, the IDF observation post and battalion forces also prevented a infiltration and terrorist attack that was to be carried out by Arab operatives at a Jewish community in Samaria.

Hana Levi Julian

Before Yom Kippur, Israelis Pray for Syrian Neighbors

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Hundreds of Israelis gathered across the country on Monday to pray for the welfare of their Syrian neighbors the night before the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur. Prayer rallies were held in nine different locations including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Pardes Hanna, Beer Sheva, Tekoa, Ariel, Ma’ale Gilboa, and the Golan Heights, where shofars were sounded in solidarity.

According to UN estimates, over 400,000 Syrians have been killed in the past five years of civil war, including some 50,000 children according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Event organizer, Einat Kramer, 39, of the Galilee told TPS that a recent news report on Syria spurred her to organize the prayer gatherings. “I recently saw a news report that showed two Syrian children crying,” said Kramer.

“There was something about their crying that reminded me of the sound of the shofar [ram’s horn] that we just heard in the synagogue on Rosh Hashana. After seeing how the war has caused such terrible suffering for the Syrian people, I felt that during these holy days I had to something for our neighbors.”

Kramer said the nation-wide prayer rally was organized in less than five days. Volunteers across the country responded to Kramer’s Facebook posts and began planning prayer rallies in different locations.

“There was an overwhelming response. All the different sectors of Israeli society took part – from Orthodox Jewish volunteers in Jerusalem to the Reform movement in Tel Aviv, along with musicians, rabbis, and professors who took on active roles in the gatherings – leading the calls to wake up the world to the dire situation in Syria,” said Kramer, who describes herself as social activist.

“The one thing we can do is pray for the Syrian people and not ignore what’s happening. We cannot allow the tragedy facing our neighbors to continue quietly,” added Shivi Froman, 36, another event organizer. Froman is the son of the late peace activist, Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa in Gush Etzion.

“The human catastrophe in Syria keeps getting worse. The world cannot accept the slaughter of innocents and I hope our prayers open the gates of heaven tonight,” Froman told TPS.

Despite the terrorist attack that shook Jerusalem on Sunday, which left two Israelis dead and six injured, over one hundred people attended the prayer rally overlooking the walls of the Old City in Mishkenot Sha’ananim. One elderly religious couple, Gal and Uri Kaplun told TPS that they felt it was important to attend the event. “For us, this is about Jewish values and sharing our empathy for others through praying,” said Gal Kaplun.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/before-yom-kippur-israelis-pray-for-syrian-neighbors/2016/10/11/

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