Pope Francis I is no stranger to us. In recent years he attended many inter-faith events co-organized by the WJC and our regional affiliate, the Latin American Jewish Congress. I personally met with him in Buenos Aires in June 2008. He always had an open ear for our concerns. By choosing such an experienced man, someone who is known for his open-mindedness, the cardinals have sent an important signal to the world. I am sure that Pope Francis I will continue to be a man of dialogue, a man who is able to build bridges with other faiths.
During the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, Catholic-Jewish relations reached unprecedented levels. This was due to the determination of the pope to continue the work of his predecessor, John Paul II. We are convinced that new pontiff will continue on this path, that he will speak out against all forms of Antisemitism both within and without the Catholic Church, that he will take action against clerics who deny or belittle the Holocaust, and that he will strengthen the Vatican's relationship with Israel.
In November, then-Cardinal Bergoglio was the keynote speaker at B'nai B'rith's Krystallnacht commemoration in Buenos Aires, where he helped light the menorah.
"We welcome Pope Francis I to his new role as leader of the Catholic Church," B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. "Catholic-Jewish relations had remained a focus of Pope Benedict XVI and we look forward to continuing the solid foundation that already exists for interfaith dialogue...more
On Dec. 26, 2004, Mark Weingard awoke to find gigantic waves rushing toward the bedroom of his beach house in Phuket, Thailand. Weingard raced to the roof, where he looked on as the Indian Ocean tsunami swallowed the contents of his home.
By the time the sea subsided, about a quarter of a million people were dead; many bodies were never recovered. Weingard, thankful that his home had been built on stilts (albeit for aesthetic rather than safety reasons), looked to the sky. “What do you want me to do now?” he remembers asking.
As a teenager, Weingard honed his leadership skills in the Jewish youth organization B’nai B’rith. At 19, he moved to London, where he eventually landed a job at Chemical Bank (which later became part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)). By 29, Weingard was a top trader; by 32, a multimillionaire...more
by Zach Pontz
Several Jewish organizations have responded to a UN report that contradicts claims made by several news outlets and human rights groups following the death of an 11-month-old Palestinian baby killed during Israel’s conflict with Gaza terror group Hamas last fall.
Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner he wasn’t surprised that the media got the story wrong, but felt that this incident in particular was especially egregious. “We have all become inured to the serial bashing of Israel, but this incident borders on blood libel,” he said.
B’nai B’rith International echoed the sentiments of the ADL and Rabbi Cooper, telling The Algemeiner: “This is, yet again, more evidence that too much media reporting is inherently biased against Israel. There is a pre-disposition to believe the worst about Israel which colors reports and results in the spreading of false information.”
The statement continued: “It’s especially unfortunate since most people will never read a correction, even in the limited cases where news outlets actually admit to errors and bother to correct their inaccurate reporting. Falsehoods are carried on page 1. Corrections are buried inside the paper...more
Carolina Albojer tenía 13 años cuando una mañana se despertó con un fuerte dolor en la parte derecha del abdomen. “No te preocupes, debe ser que no habrás ido al baño”, le dijo su madre para tranquilizarla. Casualmente, esa misma tarde la joven tenía que ir al Sanatorio Impasa para realizarse una operación de obstrucción en los cornetes nasales. Como el dolor persistía, decidieron aprovechar la visita al centro de salud para hacerle una ecografía. Esperaban encontrar una apendicitis, pero en su lugar hallaron un tumor que le recubría el ovario derecho, tan grande que no entraba en la pantalla del ecógrafo. Cáncer, dijeron los médicos, pero Albojer estaba lejos de vislumbrar el significado de aquella palabra maldita. Ese mismo día la abrieron del ombligo a la pelvis y le extirparon el ovario.
El paso siguiente, sostuvieron los galenos, era hacerle radiación, lo que iba a implicar que la joven no pudiera tener hijos. Su madre se negó de raíz a dejar sin esa posibilidad a su hija si tenía a mano la chance de encontrar otra solución. Ella y su marido pertenecían a la Filial Massada de la organización judía B’nait B’rith, cuyo fundador –y director de Punta Carretas Shopping– Jacobo Wolkowicz los puso en contacto con el oncólogo Luis Alberto Ney Castillo, actual regente del Servicio de Hemato Oncología Pediátrica del Hospital Pereira Rossell. “El salvador Castillo’ como le llamábamos, nos recomendó una clínica en Minneapolis (EEUU) donde se hizo el contacto y nos fuimos para allá”, comentó Albojer, hoy una elegante escribana de 37 años que reside en Pocitos.
Con los fondos reunidos por la B’nait B’rith, en EEUU le hicieron estudios más completos y posteriormente se decidió realizarle quimioterapia en Uruguay, con el asesoramiento del equipo médico del país norteamericano. “Cuando entramos a la parte oncológica del hospital de Minneapolis había nenes sin pelo de todas las edades y ahí fue cuando le dije a mi mamá ‘si me pasa esto me muero’”. Pero, aunque se le cayó el pelo, Albojer no solo le ganó a la enfermedad sino que su caso sirvió como inspiración para la creación de las Jornadas Latinoamericanas Israelíes de Hemato Oncología Pediátrica, que del 13 al 15 de marzo van a celebrar su tercera edición en el hotel NH Columbia...more
/КРОСС/ Председателят на БСП Сергей Станишев се срещна с вицепрезидента на еврейската организация “B`NAI B`RITH INTERNATIONAL” Даниел Мариашин, който пристигна от САЩ на посещение у нас по повод честването на 70-годишнината от спасяването на българските евреи от Холокоста.
Двамата обърнаха внимание на единодушно приетата от Народното събрание преди дни декларация във връзка с депортирането на евреи от Македония и Тракия. Беше изтъкнато, че спасяването на българските евреи е една от светлите страници в българската история и че това е факт благодарение на силния обществен натиск върху тогавашната власт. Двамата изразиха тревога от нарастващите екстремистки и антисемитски тенденции.
Това не е първата среща между Сергей Станишев и Даниел Мариашин. Американският гост покани председателя на БСП при следващо посещение в САЩ да се срещне с представители на еврейски организации там...more
by Yossi Lempkowicz
B’nai B’rith International said it is "disappointed" to learn the European Union will not yet designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in the wake of the Bulgarian government’s findings that the group was behind the attack that killed six people, five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian in Burgas in July 2012.
In a press conference Thursday with visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barros said the EU will consider imposing sanctions on Hezbollah but does not yet have sufficient evidence of its activities in Europe to make a decision.
Barroso said Bulgaria was still finalizing its investigation into the Burgas bus bombing and had asked the Lebanese government for help...more
by Ben G. Frank
Call it the pearl of the Antilles, the Casablanca of the Caribbean, a tropical paradise.
Lie on its seductive beaches. Fish in its deep bays. Drive around its rolling hills and towering mountains. Meet kind people offering up infectious smiles and romantic Latin music. In size, this island is as large as Florida, where I live, but with its 11 million residents, it is nine million shy of the Sunshine State and only 90 miles from Key West, Florida, a 43-minute flight.
Welcome to Havana, the capital of Cuba, and the largest city in the Caribbean, with over two million residents. Welcome to a city which, although totally run-down, remains a masterpiece of architecture, especially Old Havana with its Spanish colonial structures.
THE AMERICAN Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) re-entered Cuba and helped revive the community. Today most of the money to support the synagogues, run the school, provide welfare funds, pay for medicines and cover the costs for the Shabbat meals comes from the JDC, and through the generosity of many Jewish visiting missions to the Jewish community of Cuba. Other organizations also contributed to help Cuban Jewry economically and spiritually including B’nai B’rith, World ORT, Hadassah, Lubavitch of Canada and US federations and synagogues...more
RSVP to attend the next B'nai B'rith Cuban Jewish Relief Mission on May 1-9, 2013 (PDF)
by Kevin Bohn
President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he will not engage in any "chest beating" over Iran's nuclear program, but plans to issue a "clear and direct" challenge to Tehran during his upcoming Middle East trip, according to sources familiar with his comments.
Obama said at a White House meeting with Jewish American leaders that he will still work toward a diplomatic resolution with Iran over its nuclear program, but repeated that no options are off the table, including military ones, one of the sources said.
Those in attendance included representatives of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, J Street and the National Jewish Democratic Council...more
US President Barack Obama believes prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace are “bleak,” but he still will urge both sides to avoid unilateral actions that might further damage a process he hopes will be back on track within a year.
That was the message Obama delivered Thursday in a meeting with about 25 Jewish community figures at the White House to discuss his planned trip to Israel later this month. Obama was especially engaged, participants said, when it came to discussing how he might best convey to the Israeli people his enthusiasm for Israel and its Jewish history.
In addition to the Orthodox Union, participants at the meeting included representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, J Street, Americans for Peace Now, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, B'nai B'rith International, the Conservative and Reform movements, the Anti-Defamtion League, the American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, the National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International, the National Jewish Democratic Council, the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center...more
by Matt Spetalnick
President Barack Obama hosted leaders of major American Jewish organizations at the White House on Thursday as he sought to smooth the way for his first presidential visit to Israel later this month.
The meeting was a chance for Obama to preview his agenda for the trip, which aides have said will include a heavy emphasis on efforts to curb Iran's nuclear program as well as discussion of deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian peace moves and Syria's civil war.
Among the groups represented on Thursday were the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, B'nai B'rith, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the American Jewish Committee and J Street. Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz and former Democratic congressman Robert Wexler were also present, the source said...more