B'nai B'rith International denounced the United Church of Canada (UCC) for calling upon its two million members to boycott Israeli companies that do business in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Last week, the United Church of Canada's general council approved boycotts of Israeli companies Keter Plastic, SodaStream and Ahava. This is a continuation of a resolution passed by the church in August 2012 to boycott Israeli products exported from the West Bank and east Jerusalem. This time, the UCC has specific targets and plans to dissuade Canadian businesses from selling the products of the targeted businesses. The reasoning behind these actions, the church said, is its view that Israeli settlements are the "principal obstacle to peace in the region." ...more.
by Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International
Each time I hear “There’s a place for us” – the stirring plea for tolerance and acceptance sung by the ethnically mismatched lovers of “West Side Story” — I am reminded that it pinpoints a Jewish sensibility that influenced the show’s composer and lyricist. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s musical about prejudice transformed Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into an American classic.
May marks the observance of Jewish American Heritage Month, launched in 2006 by acts of Congress and a presidential proclamation. It’s a time to call out the many contributions Jews have made to this country from its very inception. Unless you know the origin of those who have contributed, you wouldn’t know or be aware of the Jewish connection that is so much a part of the American experience.
The first musical to address real life problems was “Showboat.” Its composer, Jerome Kern, was born in New York City, the son of an immigrant German-Jewish father, and a first generation Czech-Jewish mother. The father of “Showboat” lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II was also Jewish. They would produce hundreds of songs and shows over a period of several decades, but it was “Showboat” that changed the way Americans thought about Broadway musicals: its subject matter was serious, addressing racism, alcoholism and other issues. It melded music with real life situations, which put it way ahead of its time.
While it was an immigrant from Russia, Irving Berlin, who set in motion the great era of Tin Pan Alley, it was a succession of first generation Jewish American musicians and wordsmiths who “fine tuned” it and gave America its treasured 20th century songbook. The list is a long one, but George and Ira Gershwin would have to be at the top, followed by Richard Rodgers (Hammerstein’s longtime collaborator on so many Broadway shows), E.Y. “Yip” Harburg (“Over the Rainbow”), Irving Caesar (“Tea for Two”), Sammy Fain (“Love is a Many Splendored Thing”), Cy Coleman (“The Best is Yet To Come”), Sammy Kahn and Jule Stein (“Three Coins in the Fountain”) and of course Bernstein and Sondheim – to name just a few.
To that list, one could add songwriters of the rock/pop era, including Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (who wrote so many of Elvis Presley’s hits); Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus (“Save the Last Dance for Me”); Carole King (“You’ve Got a Friend”)—who fittingly this month was awarded the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song—and Neil Diamond (“Sweet Caroline”). As they say, if I’ve left anyone out, please accept my apologies.
Much of what’s been written has dealt with love and heartache, those two emotions that affect us all. But hundreds of other subjects have been given their due, including many patriotic tunes, from Berlin’s “God Bless America,” to Rogers’ “Victory at Sea.”
Was there something inherently Jewish in all of this? Surely the immigrant experience had some impact (Yiddish theater and musicals thrived in New York and other cities); the Klezmer tradition; and even cantorial influences are reflected in the work of many of these songwriters. But it’s not only that: the same composers and lyricists absorbed and incorporated musical styles, especially jazz, blues and folk, that we consider home-grown here in America.
There was something else at play here that found its way into so much of this music: the horn-of-plenty optimism that permeated the American Century. True, personal yearning and disappointment marked the lyrics of thousands of songs, but Berlin’s “Blue Skies” and Diamond’s “Coming to America” – and so many others – literally overflow with a cheery worldview that distills the essence of modern life.
No one expects that the next time someone hums along with “Rhapsody in Blue” or even sings along with “Hound Dog” one will think of who wrote the song or his or her near-immigrant origins. But during this month dedicated to Jewish-American heritage, when looking at the body of work of so many American songwriters with Jewish roots, it’s good to note the immense contribution they’ve made to the great American tapestry of culture and art...more.
by Brooklyn Lowery
Six groups have come forward with bids to develop the municipal parking lot on Austin Street in Newtonville.
According to the received bids document, B'nai B'rith Housing, Austin St. Partners LLC, Newton's Future Investment Trust, Metro West Collaborative Development, Newtonville Square Development Partners and New Atlantic Development submitted bids by the April 25, 2013, deadline...more.
KKL Belgium, along with other organizations, holds an Israeli cultural evening at the Place D'Espange as part of the Festival for Peace in Brussels.
As part of the Festival for Peace in Brussels, an Israeli cultural evening was held at the Place D'Espange on May 12, 2013. The evening was the initiative of several organizations, including KKL Belgium, Belgium Coalition for Israel, Kolonia, B'nai B'rith of Brussels, Magen David Adom, ORT Belgium, Meir Panim, Anet and Christians for Israel.
The evening featured Israeli song and dance, and there were information stands for participants to learn more about Israel and Israeli organizations...more.
The Rome Jewish community leadership gave a rousing send-off to journalist and former Italian parliament member Fiamma Nirenstein ahead of her departure for Israel on aliyah.
She was scheduled to move permanently to Israel over the weekend.
Born in Florence, Nirenstein was elected to Parliament in April 2008 as a member of the center-right People of Freedom ticket headed by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. During her tenure in Parliament, she was outspoken in support of Israel and in combating anti-Semitism.
Italy’s B’nai B’rith chapter presented her with its silver medal...more.
by Jeffrey Alderton
As an eight-year-old Pennsylvania Avenue kid, Kevin Ogle’s love for the game of baseball took him to every ballfield in South End for spontaneous pick-up games with neighborhood friends.
Ogle’s organized baseball activity began in the Pee Wee League under the late Coach Bobby Cavanaugh before he graduated to the Dapper Dan Cardinals under the late Coach James “Bromo” Ellsworth. In the Hot Stove League, Ogle played for the B’nai B’rith team...more.
by Ariel Ben Solomon
British author Dr. Qanta Ahmed spoke on Wednesday at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem about the difficulties for minorities in Islamic societies and how Israel is the only country in the Middle East that tolerates them.
The event was organized by Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem, and cosponsored by the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity as part of their joint Liaison Committee forum.
The forum serves as an informal initiative aimed at fostering better mutual respect and understanding between local Christians and Jews...more.
"One summer, I worked at the Central Missouri B'nai B'rith, it's the nation's smallest chapter." - Modern Family
Watch last night's episode of the ABC television comedy on Hulu at - http://www.hulu.com/watch/492291
B'nai B'rith is referenced at approximately the 9:14 mark.
Jewish News of Greater Phoenix: JFNA, URJ, B'nai B'rith announce aid efforts for Oklahoma tornado victims
Jewish News has received word today from Jewish Federations of North America, Union for Reform Judaism and B'nai B'rith International announcing their donation collections to provide help to the communities and victims devastated by the tornado that hit Oklahoma City suburbs yesterday (May 20). The death toll stands at 24 with whole neighborhoods leveled...more.
Prominent international Jewish organizations are coming to the aid of the victims of Monday’s devastating tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City region with wind speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, killing 24 people, including nine children.
Despite the area being home to just around 5000 Jews, local Jewish groups such as Chabad of Oklahoma City are doing its part to assist in disaster relief.
B’nai B’rith International has opened its Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund. This fund has helped victims of other major disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the earthquakes in Japan in 2011 and Haiti in 2010.
“No amount of advanced warning could have prepared the people of Moore for the horrors this storm has brought. We’re going to do our best to help these people get back on their feet,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said in a statement...more.
Albany Tribune: B’nai B’rith International Opens Disaster Relief Fund To Aid Victims Of Oklahoma Tornado
B’nai B’rith International said Tuesday it has opened its Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund in the wake of the devastating tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 24, injuring many more and flattening much of the town.
The death toll is still expected to rise.
The funds raised will be used to help the victims of the tornado to rebuild their town, which has been described by many as now resembling a war zone.
The tornado moved across a 20-mile stretch with winds of at least 200 mph. In the path of the deadly storm were a hospital and an elementary school, both of which were destroyed. Rescue workers labored throughout the night searching for survivors amongst the wreckage...more.
by Rich Kaipust
Ever since Tom Osborne launched TeamMates back in 1991 along with his wife, Nancy, he never has been able to devote quite the time he would like to the mentoring program.
Osborne was tied up with things like being the Nebraska football coach, serving in Congress, running for governor and then returning to NU as athletic director.
After June 30, it will be getting a larger chunk of his attention.
Osborne is the featured speaker for the annual B'nai B'rith sports banquet Thursday night at the CenturyLink Center. Several special guests also will be on hand to honor Osborne, who is speaking at the event for the second time...more.
Jewish groups are joining the effort to help those displaced by the tornado in suburban Oklahoma City.
B’nai B’rith International has opened its Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund...more.
The Scranton Times Tribune: Jane Oppenheim honored at B'nai B'rith's 61st annual Americanism Award dinner
by Steve McConnell
She defines the word "volunteer." On Sunday, her peers validated Jane Oppenheim's devotion to the community.
Amos Lodge 136 of B'nai B'rith, a Jewish community service and human rights organization, presented Mrs. Oppenheim with its Americanism Award.
"Jane has been an outstanding community leader," said Edward A. Monsky, co-chairman of the 61st annual Americanism Award dinner. "Jane really exemplifies that."
The dinner, held at the Jewish Community Center in Scranton, brought together dozens of prominent local figures who would round out the who's who list of Northeast Pennsylvania - all there to honor and support Mrs. Oppenheim, of Scranton...more.
The Iranian government officially agreed to establish a “truth commission” with Argentina to jointly investigate the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center.
Ali Pakdaman, the business attache of Iran in Buenos Aires, said Monday that Iran formally accepted the pact, marking the final step in making it operational. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed the agreement without a vote of his nation’s parliament.
In February, the Argentinian Congress approved the bill.
B’nai B’rith International President Allan Jacobs said in a statement, “Given Iran’s deplorable judicial track record and its refusal to turn over those previously implicated in the bombings, there’s little reason to believe anything substantial will come out of this commission...more.
by Andy Boogaard
Bullard High's Alexandra "Ali" Teliha, who likes to surf, rode a wave of emotion unlike any in her 18 years Monday night upon receiving the B'nai B'rith Student-Athlete Award at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building.
"Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm standing up here," she gushed to a crowd of 500 after being announced as the winner by Rod Kraft, who received the award in 1973 out of McLane...more.
by Danielle Favorite
The B’nai B’rith Scholar-Athlete Award program, in its 50th year, will honor 22 of the Kalamazoo area’s top student-athletes at a reception at 7:30 p.m. May 21 at Congregation of Moses.
Kalamazoo College President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran will be the keynote speaker at the event, which is free and open to the public.
One senior female and one senior male from each of eleven schools – Comstock, Galesburg-Augusta, Gull Lake, Hackett, Kalamazoo Central, Kalamazoo Christian, Loy Norrix, Mattawan, Parchment, Portage Central and Portage Northern – has been chosen by their athletic directors based on leadership in academics and athletics...more.
by Sam Sokol
Hungarian senior prime ministerial adviser Zsigmond Perényi is set to arrive in Israel in late May for a series of meetings with Foreign Ministry officials on the issue of anti-Semitism in his country, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
At 100,000 members, Hungary has the largest Jewish community in Central Europe, and local Jews are worried over the rise of the far-right Jobbik party, now the third largest in parliament. The World Jewish Congress called on Hungary to outlaw Jobbik during its 14th plenary assembly in Budapest last week.
...the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Federations of North America among others, complained of both the “increase in violence against Jewish individuals and institutions... [the] proliferation of anti-Semitic materials in the media [and] attempted rehabilitation and glorification of World War II-era figures, who were openly anti-Semitic and pro-fascist...more.
CBS: Newseum Won’t Honor 2 Men Who Worked For Hamas-Linked News Organization Killed In Israeli Airstrike After Uproar
The Newseum in Washington says it’s re-evaluating plans to include two people on its Journalists Memorial honoring journalists who died last year while covering the news.
Several groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International and the American Jewish Committee, have objected to the inclusion of two people who worked for Al-Aqsa Television because it is linked to the Islamist group Hamas.
On Monday, the Washington museum plans to rededicate its Journalists Memorial. But the Newseum says it is re-evaluating its decision to include Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi. Their names won’t be added to the memorial wall Monday...more.
by Sarah Trefethen
The Witkoff Group is bullish on New York’s luxury residential market but sees question marks hovering over the city’s office segment, Scott Alper, a principal in the firm, told B’nai B’rith members at the group’s monthly luncheon last week.
“Goldman Sachs used to take a million square feet at a time, or they’d come and rent a building from us for a half a million square feet. You’re not seeing that,” he said. “All you’re seeing is contraction...more.
Michael Slattery, senior vice president for Research, Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) discussed "Midtown East Rezoning Proposal—A REBNY Perspective " at the B'nai B'rith Real Estate monthly luncheon meeting at the Cornell Club...more.
by Shushannah Walshe
Glenn Beck roused the National Rifle Association's annual convention this weekend with his attacks on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but he also aroused criticism by a major Jewish group for depicting the mayor giving what appears to be a a Nazi salute.
The head of the Anti-Defamation League called Becks' comments "deeply offensive on so many levels," and B'nai B'rith called for Beck to apologize.
"Glenn Beck, the keynote speaker at the NRA's annual convention, trivializes the Holocaust when he compares New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Adolf Hitler," B'nai B'rith told ABC News.
"The casual use of Nazi imagery or words serves to undermine the atrocities of the Holocaust. Glenn Beck should apologize," the organization said...more.
by Trevor Jones
Six different groups have submitted mixed-use development proposals for the Austin Street parking lot that could pump millions of dollars into a site the city has deemed surplus.
The bids were opened on April 25 and came with offer prices between $100 and $5 million. The projects range in scope and design, but each includes a variety of first-floor space for retail, a number of housing units and a public plaza...B’Nai B’rith Housing New England offered $1 million in its bid, which includes plans for 79 condominiums and space for three retail stores in a five-story, 116,000-square-foot structure...more.
Television personality Glenn Beck, who has been known for his staunchly Israel and conservative views, has aroused Jewish criticism for depicting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg giving a Nazi salute.
Speaking at the National Rifle Association's annual convention on Saturday night, Beck likened the mayor to a Nazi for his campaigns to limit the size of sugary drinks, salt intake, curb tobacco displays and gun control.
"Glenn Beck, the keynote speaker at the NRA's annual convention, trivializes the Holocaust when he compares New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Adolf Hitler," the Jewish B'nai B'rith organization told ABC News.
"The casual use of Nazi imagery or words serves to undermine the atrocities of the Holocaust. Glenn Beck should apologize," the organization said...more.
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