Uma bonita cerimônia foi realizada na Sibra, em Porto Alegre, em um cabalat shabat em homenagem aos 80 anos da B’nai B’rith no Brasil. Participantes dos diversos grupos da B’nai B’rith no Rio Grande do Sul estiveram presentes à solenidade, que deu um brilho especial às comemorações realizadas em todo o país em 2012, marcando esta importante data. A B’nai B’rith, entidade judaica de Direitos Humanos, presente na ONU, OEA e em diversos outros organismos internacionais, foi fundada no Brasil em 1932. Durante o regime de Getúlio Vargas foi proibida de funcionar, mas já na década de 50 voltou às atividades e se cresceu por todo o país. Em 2013, outra importante comemoração marcará a entidade: os 170 anos de sua criação nos EUA, de onde se expandiu e hoje atua em cerca de 60 países...more.
by Raymond L. Smith
Some workers at local hospitals were given holiday breaks by volunteers from B'nai B'rith Mahoning Lodge 339. The service organization volunteered to work at gift shops and information desks at four area hospitals so staff members could spend their holidays with their family members.
Neil Altman, a co-coordinator of Operation Snowflake, said the local B'nai B'rith lodge has been doing this since 1978.
"We had about 20 volunteers at the four hospitals this year," Altman said. "Our volunteers really enjoyed themselves."
Operation Snowflake volunteers staffed shops at St. Elizabeth Health Center Youngstown and Boardman campuses, St. Joseph Health Center in Warren and Sharon Regional Health Systems, Sharon, Pa.
Altman said members of the lodge live in the four-county area that includes Trumbull and Mahoning county...more.
Volunteers of the Jewish faith pinch-hit on the job, so some hospital workers could spend Christmas Day with their families.
"Operation Snowflake" started in 1978. It continued this year with volunteers from B'nai B'rith Mahoning Lodge 339.
The Jewish service organization staffs the gift shops and information desks at four area hospitals so staff members can spend the holiday at home with their loved ones...more.
by Jim Fletcher
When superstar Christian author Donald Miller leveled a host of unsubstantiated charges against Israel in a blog post November 21 (www.storylineblog.com), many Evangelicals were caught off guard.
After all, how could “one of them” attack Israel in such a fashion and seemingly maintain his status among, primarily, 20-somethings? Miller’s post didn’t catch the members of a recent delegation to Israel off guard. A trend among younger Christians to identify with the Palestinians was one of the reasons a unique group met at a picturesque kibbutz resort outside Jerusalem.
Dubbed the Jerusalem Consultation on the Mainline Protestant Churches and the State of Israel, the meeting, held November 5-8, featured pro-Israel activists from around the world, including Assyrian and Coptic Christians, European pastors and Umar Mulinde, the Ugandan pastor burned in an acid attack outside his church in Kampala on Christmas eve, 2011.
The consultation was considered a breakthrough in the sharing of ideas and experiences and networking opportunities. Organized by Dr. Petra Heldt of The Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity, and Alan Schneider, director of B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem, the consultation featured addresses from the attendees and tours of the country...more.
by Ron Kampeas
On a wintry day at a small Iowa shul in November of 2003, John Kerry got all verklempt.
The man whose opponents had taken to depicting as aloof and patrician, whose campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination had been all but written off by that point, leapt onto the dais at Tifereth Israel synagogue in Des Moines. Kerry delivered an emotional account of his then-recent discovery that his grandfather was Jewish and recalled how, on a visit to Israel standing atop Masada, he had cried out, “Am Yisrael Chai!”
Daniel Mariaschin, who directs B’nai B’rith International, said he hoped that as secretary of state Kerry would show awareness of the uncertainties roiling the region, particularly in Egypt, where the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood has asserted control, and in Syria, which is mired in civil war.
“I would hope that as secretary of state, at least on questions related to Israel, he would take into account the fast-moving variables,” Mariaschin said...more.
by Nathan Guttman
A Jewish community strongly supportive of gun control plus Jewish lawmakers eager to enact new gun control laws may bring Jews into a lead role as the nation debates federal measures to rein in mass murders at its malls and schools.
The new openness to legislation and other measures following the slaughter of 26 elementary school children and school staff in Newtown, Conn. — plus the killer’s mother — is welcomed by most Jewish organizations, which have long supported gun control. But in recent years, with the prospects for progress on this front all but hopeless until the December murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, those organizations have been largely passive on the issue.
Now, activists are fighting to seize the moment and get gun control back on the front burner.
“There has been an ebb and flow of activism on this issue,” said Dan Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, one of the groups calling for legislation to limit the sales of assault weapons. “It is an issue we as a community care deeply about, but it didn’t find itself at the top of the agenda of Jewish groups.”...more.
Eduardo Kohn, director of B'nai B'rith Latin America, is interviewed.
by David Holzel
Friday's mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has drawn calls from Jewish groups for tighter gun control laws, along with words of sympathy for the families of victims.
B'nai B'rith called for reinstatement of the ban. At the time it lapsed, "1,100 police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country urged the law be renewed and strengthened. Other meaningful, enforceable gun control measures are also needed," its statement read...more.
by Holly Dutton
Real estate and supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis just wants what’s best for New York City.
And if that means him being mayor, he’ll gladly take it on.
“I started an exploratory committee,” he told guests at the B’nai B’rith luncheon Dec. 12, addressing rumors of a possible run...more.
From The Caucus blog:
The flurry of proposals for responding to the massacre in Newtown, Conn., have come from all quarters: the White House, members of Congress, advocacy organizations, religious leaders, governors and state and county legislators.
Specifics are hard to come by in some cases. But taken together, the suggestions for legislative and executive action foreshadow a broad political debate about assault weapons, ammunition, violent video games, shoot-em-up movies, gun shows, mental health services, and permits for concealed firearms. Much of the national discussion this week has focused on a comprehensive approach, rather than just new gun controls.
• Increase access to mental health services. Several religious groups have issued statements urging new laws or regulations, and some have been specific. B’nai B’rith International, a major Jewish organization, on Monday called for a new assault weapons ban. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs said in a petition that it wants, among other things, better access to quality mental health care.
> Read the full post here.