(Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, 2020)—“Oyneg Shabes” — or “Sabbath delight” — is usually associated with a joyful social gathering. But, from 1940 to 1943, the phrase also served as the name for a brave group of Polish Jews who clandestinely gathered materials to chronicle the life of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, in the hopes that it would reflect their true history. In the winter issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine, Beryl Lieff Benderly tells the story of this daring group and how its wish – to preserve the record of the persecution of the Jews of Warsaw– was fulfilled, in her cover story, “Secret Shabes: How the “Sabbath Delight” Hid an Astonishing Archive.”
Also in this issue: Scattered across Eastern Europe are Jewish cemeteries that, for decades, were ravaged and forgotten. Read about the individuals and organizations working tirelessly to locate and restore these cemeteries in the feature story, “Unfinished Business: Restoring Eastern Europe’s Desecrated Jewish Cemeteries.”
Before and after World War II, American diplomats visited Poland following reports of targeted attacks on Polish Jews, only to dismiss or explain away the violence. Hugh Gibson in 1919 and Arthur Bliss Lane in 1946 both saw their primary role to be supporting Poland and ignored the suffering of Polish Jews. In his feature, Kenneth D. Ackerman exemplifies the challenge of recognizing what is legitimate public discourse and what is just a convenient excuse for anti-Semitism.
In his President’s Column, Charles O. Kaufman shares his vivid memories from his first visit to Israel in 1980 and reflects on how Israel has grown and developed from the 1948 declaration of independence, to his first visit to today.
B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin marks the upcoming 125th anniversary of the seminal pamphlet Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), written by Theodor Herzl, through an exploration of B’nai B’rith’s long history of contributions and dedication to a strong, united Jewish State.
Read those stories and so much more in the winter issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine, available here.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.