Italian President Giorgio Napolitano participated in ceremonies in Naples launching Italian observances of the annual European Day of Jewish Culture.
The pan-Europe event, now in its 14th year, took place Sunday in two dozen countries around Europe.
The European Day of Jewish Culture, or EDJC, is loosely coordinated by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage, a body formed by B’nai B’rith Europe, the Red de Juderias de Espana-Caminos de Sefarad, and the European Council of Jewish Communities.
Each year a common theme links EDJC activities, which include concerts, lectures, performances, food-tastings, visits to Jewish heritage sites, and book fairs. This year’s theme was “Jewish Heritage and Nature.”
Events were staged in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom...more.
B’NAI B’rith International’s executive vice-president Daniel Mariaschin will be visiting Sydney and Melbourne next month to celebrate the organisation’s 170th birthday.
Mariaschin, who is coming to Australia for the first time, said that all around the world B’nai B’rith is helping the elderly, fighting for humanitarian causes and advocating for Israel.
“This is an organisation that has been serving the Jewish people for 170 years,” Mariaschin said.
“We are a volunteer organisation, a member organisation, and our success comes back to our grassroots character.”
In 1843, 12 German-Jewish immigrants gathered in a cafe in New York to discuss the conditions for Jews in America...more.
by Nick Giannandrea
Pete Mehas' impact on the Fresno-area sports scene extended well after his playing days, above-and-beyond his time as a high school coach and was felt much deeper than the influence he had as an administrator in the Clovis Unified School District.
So say teammates, coaches and colleagues whom Dr. Mehas touched during a six-decade career as a civic and educational leader.
An athlete at Fresno High, Fresno City College and Fresno State, a coach at Roosevelt and Edison, and an administrator in Clovis before becoming a four-term Fresno County schools superintendent, Dr. Mehas died at Saint Agnes Medical Center early Saturday. He suffered a ruptured thoracic aortic aneurysm, family friend Mike Woods confirmed.
Even after Dr. Mehas left Clovis Unified, he remained invested in athletics in his work with the B'nai B'rith Student-Athlete Award scholarship and two decades of service to the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame...more.
by Ruth Ellen Gruber
If you're in Europe today -- Sept. 29 -- chances are that there are Jewish cultural events going on for you to visit.
Today marks the annual European Day of Jewish Culture, a pan-Europe festival that this year, with hundreds of events taking place in two dozen countries. The Day usually takes place the first Sunday of September, but was move to the end of the month because of the timing of this year's High Holidays.
Many synagogues, Jewish cemteries and other Jewish heritage sites are open, and there are concerts, exhibits, lectures, food and wine tastings, guided tours, and more...more.
Iton Gadol: ONU. Bnai Brith mantuvo encuentros en el marco de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas
En el marco de la actual Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, la Bnai Brith y otras organizaciones judías mantuvieron reuniones con importantes figuras de la política internacional. En diálogo con la Agencia Judía de Noticias (AJN), Eduardo Kohn, director para América Latina de Bnai Brith, contó sobre las reuniones y temáticas tratadas en las mesas de trabajo.
Kohn contó que la “Bnai Brith y otras organizaciones judías” mantuvieron un encuentro en el marco de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas. “Tuvimos reuniones con ministros, presidentes, primeros ministros, cancilleres de distintos países, tanto de América Latina, Europa y Asia. Yo participé en algunas como parte de la delegación de la Bnai Brith”, indicó.
“Mantuvimos un encuentro con el presidente de Paraguay, Horacio Cartez, con quien se trataron los temas del futuro del MERCOSUR”, indicó el dirigente. Asimismo resaltó que “también se habló del tema de Irán, que Paraguay posee una posición parecida a la de Colombia, Chile y Estados Unidos, con quienes también hablamos, en el sentido en el que la presencia de Irán en América Latina debe ser vigilada. Además tenemos el antecedente del atentado a la Embajada de Israel y la AMIA, y, para peor, la firma del tratado entre Argentina e Irán, que evidentemente ha abierto una brecha”...more.
Judaism is full of evidences about the Jews’ relation to nature, especially with the land, in particular the land in Israel. In Judaism, nature is a manifestation of the rule of God. The theme of nature as a manifestation of the divine greatness is a recurrent one in religious literature.
Animals are also a result of the blessing of God. Judaism teaches us that one must enjoy the beauty of nature and express that joy through prayer. God must be praised for the fragrant flowers, the trees, the grass, fruit, and animals. When seeing the miracles of nature, such as a lightning, the sunrise, falling stars, thunders, rainbows, the mesmerizing effect of flower blossoms, one should say a blessing.
Nature, whether it be trees, fruit and vegetables, animal products, during the change of seasons and the transition from one agricultural cycle to another, is a recurrent element, like traditions and rituals, for the celebration of Jewish feasts (Hagim). This blending between nature and traditional rites, typical for Jewish religious and secular feasts, is yet evidence that in Judaism nature, as God’s creation, has a place in the lives of Jews.
Launched in 1996 in the Bas-Rhin, in the French Alsace, the Jewish association B'nai B'rith, the day was progressively extended and became the European Day of Jewish Culture in 1999. From 2000 to 2003, this event was co-organised on the European level by four structures: the Agence de Développement Touristique du Bas-Rhin, B'nai B'rith Europe, the European Council of Jewish Communities and Red de Juderías de España (Spanish Jewish Network). Today, the event is organized by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ)...more.
Ted Cruz's speech voicing his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare was "technically not a filibuster" according to CSPAN since he was not delaying action on a bill, but it was still a long speech. Perhaps too long. When you starting comparing your opponent to Nazi appeasers, you probably have run out of intelligent things to say.
B'nai B'rith International has issued the following statement on the subject:
Nazi comparisons are never acceptable. No matter how one feels about this issue, or any issue, invoking Nazi imagery trivializes and undermines the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazi machine.
Nazi references and comparisons dilute the horror of the mass genocide that was the Holocaust.
To compare a U.S. law to anything out of Nazi Germany is unacceptable. We call on Cruz to apologize...more.
En el auditorio de la AMIA, B’nai B’rith Argentina festejó el 170º aniversario de la fundación de la institución a nivel mundial y el 50º de la Filial Unión de Buenos Aires, actualmente la más antigua activa en la República Argentina.
El acto, al igual que todas las actividades de la B’nai B’rith, se inició con el encendido del candelabro de siete velas, emblema internacional de la institución, por parte de ex presidentes de la institución y sus filiales; de los presidentes de la Filial Unión y de B’nai B’rith Argentina, Eva Strauss y Mario Wilheim respectivamente, acompañados por invitados especiales, entre los que se contaban los presidentes de la AMIA, Leonardo Jmelnitzky, y la DAIA, Julio Schlosser.
Al dirigirse a los asistentes, que colmaron el auditorio, Wilheim agradeció a las autoridades el haberle cedido el lugar para efectuar la celebración y a todos las instituciones y amigos que se hicieron presentes, para luego afirmar, entre otros conceptos: “En esta noche de múltiples aniversarios celebramos la vida de nuestra organización que desde 1843 ha hecho posible, con su trabajo y acción solidaria, hacer que este mundo sea más humano y habitable. En todo lugar donde transcurre nuestra acción, hermanas y hermanos de B’nai B’rith, que es el modo cómo nos reconocemos, decimos presentes y estamos dispues a actual en defensa de la dignidad del género humano”...more.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák on Monday in New York, met with representatives of two key Jewish organizations operating in both the United States and around the world - the American Jewish Committee and B'nai B'rith.
During the meeting, Minister Lajčák confirmed zero tolerance Slovak Republic to manifestations of anti-Semitism and active government support to fight them, as evidenced by the fact that the Slovak Republic is among the countries in the region with the lowest level of anti-Semitic incidents. "The Slovak Republic will continue the successful dialogue with the Jewish community and promoting its cultural activities, as well as the promotion of lasting remembrance of the tragedy of the Holocaust," said Minister M. Lajčák...more.
B’nai B’rith UK’s 13th annual European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage programme got off to a festive start on Sunday with synagogues opening up their succahs to the wider public.
With “Judaism and the Natural World” as its theme, it was an apposite opportunity to explain the significance of the succah, the lulav and the etrog.
There was an impressive turnout in Cheltenham, with 250 people at an open day. At Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation, local historian and guide Gordon Franks reported an attendance of 170. “There was a real buzz all day and many visitors stayed on to ask questions,” he said...more.
B'nai B'rith International's Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief fund is featured in the Shalom TV story, "Jewish Orgs Aid Efforts in CO" -- http://youtu.be/Ok5LM-SKvV0?t=5m2s
Iton Gadol: B’nai B’rith pidió la renuncia del Presidente del Comité Olímpico por su boicot contra Israel (SPANISH)
La organización judía B’nai B’rith Internacional se manifestó “asombrada” de que el Comité Olímpico Internacional (COI) haya elegido a Thomas Bach como presidente y consideró que debería “renunciar de inmediato”, debido a que antes se desempañaba como titular de la Cámara de Comercio e Industria Germano-Arabe, una organización que realiza un sistemático boicot contra el comercio israelí.
Aunque haya dejado la Cámara de Comercio el 16 de septiembre, la asociación de Bach con “la discriminación anti israelí es inconsistente con los ideales olímpicos y se mezcla con una organización envuelta en escándalos y controversias”.
B´nai B´rith consideró que Bach no debería cumplir su mandato de 8 años, sino “renunciar de inmediato” para que alguien “adecuado al COI y a sus principios” ocupe el cargo...more.
by Shannon Caulfield
Township council passed a resolution to accept the Camden County Department of Homeland Security, Emergency Management Performance Grant Program Funding at last week’s meeting.
According to township communications director Bridget Palmer, the township applies for the grant every year. The township was awarded $5,000 to offset the costs of emergency management coordinator Kevin Seta.
The day the award was announced, Sept. 11, was not lost on anyone, with the presentation of two grants, adding to the township’s safety.
B’nai B’rith Couples Unit 5220 presented a $500 grant and the Saltzman House Social Club presented a $100 grant to the police department to purchase first responder kits for the patrol cars.
“These kits allow our officers to provide a higher level of medical attention and treatment at the scene of a critical incident,” said Lt. Sean Redmond of the Cherry Hill Police Department. “The equipment and training allow officers to initially treat more severe injuries temporarily until further life-saving techniques can be administered.” ...more.
Melbourne’s B’nai B’rith has released a special Raoul Wallenberg Stamp Sheet cancelled by Australia Post with a special postmark.
The B’nai B’rith Raoul Wallenberg Unit had been instrumental in suggesting that Raoul Wallenberg be made Australia’s First and Only Honorary Citizen which happened in early May when Governor General Quentin Bryce bestowed the honour at Government House, Canberra. At the time Julia Gillard was Prime Minister and Tony Abbott was Opposition Leader. Both spoke at the function attended by politicians and representative ambassadors from a number of countries including Canada, Hungary, Israel and Sweden...more.
by Eduardo Kohn, director of Latin American affairs at B'nai B'rith International
El genocidio que se está cometiendo en Siria hace más de dos años es un paso más de los enfrentamientos fratricidas entre chiíes y suníes, una división del mundo musulmán que hizo eclosión violenta casi sin pausa desde el siglo XVI.
Los alawitas (una secta chií) son minoría en Siria, pero gobiernan con puño de hierro el país desde 1970 cuando Hafez al Assad (padre del actual dictador) diera un golpe de Estado y se convirtiera, al igual que otros autoritarios de la región, en amos y señores de la vida y la muerte de sus conciudadanos.
El odio entre chiíes y suníes no es algo que Occidente va a solucionar ni política ni militarmente. Tienen diferencias históricas y doctrinarias que los llevan desde hace más de cinco siglos a una feroz disputa de poder político, económico y religioso.
El genocidio actual en Siria no exculpa ni mucho menos a ninguno de los dos bandos. El gobierno comandado por Bashar al Assad con el apoyo incondicional de los chiíes iraníes (dinero, armas, y entrenamiento) más Hezbolah, aunado al respaldo político, diplomático y económico de Rusia y China, se siente fuerte para asesinar, violando todas las normas de derechos humanos que alguien haya imaginado.
Pero los llamados rebeldes, los suníes no cometen menos violaciones y barbaries.
Cien mil asesinados, varios cientos de miles con heridas de todo tipo y millones de refugiados en medio de un país destruido, muestran la capacidad de criminalidad de esta guerra civil, donde vale todo de ambos lados.
El 7 de octubre de 2011, el Consejo de DD.HH. de la ONU hizo una fuerte advertencia contra la matanza en Siria. Pero nada sucedió. Al revés: Cuba, Venezuela y Ecuador ya expresaron entonces su incondicional apoyo a Bashar al Assad y Venezuela felicitaba al gobierno sirio 'por su compromiso con los DD.HH'.
El 1 de junio de 2012 el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU votó una resolución condenando 'el deterioro de la situación de los Derechos Humanos en Siria', que reunió 41 votos afirmativos, 2 abstenciones y 3 negativos.
Las abstenciones fueron de Ecuador y Uganda, mientras que por la negativa se pronunciaron Cuba, Rusia y China. Y otra vez, retórica y cero medidas por parte de la ONU para frenar las masacres.
Un año después volvió la retórica, pero esta vez tuvo la publicidad mediática que no había tenido antes porque los que tienen derecho a veto en el Consejo de Seguridad comenzaron una disputa sobre 'atacar o no atacar Siria ya que se habían usado armas químicas'.
Para que haya una tregua (que será todo lo que podrá suceder algún día en Siria) entre chiíes y suníes, uno de los bandos deberá estar agotado y sin fuerzas para resistir al otro.
Y ese bando no parece ser el de al Assad. Rusia, China e Irán es demasiado apoyo.
Mucho más cuando por su lado, la retórica ya arrasó con cientos de miles de vidas humanas y dejó un país en escombros...more.
Kosovo’s deputy foreign minister urged American Jewish groups to press Israel for recognition of the country.
In a meeting Wednesday with Jewish officials in Washington, Petrit Selimi said his nation’s pro-American tilt and record of ethnic Albanians protecting Jews during the Holocaust made relations between the two countries a natural.
“With such a deep, historic link, it’s only natural to have Israeli recognition,” Selimi told JTA. “Israel is not just a a country, it is an important country, influential in the community of nations.”
NCSJ: National Conference Supporting Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia, convened the meeting with Selimi. Mark Levin, the group’s director, said Selimi raised the issue of Israeli recognition, but no commitment was made to press Israel on the matter.
Also present at the meeting were representatives of B’nai B’rith International, the Anti-Defamation League and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society...more.
by Valerie Bello
Over the past 14 years, the European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage (EDJCH), organised, co-ordinated and promoted in this country by B’nai B’rith UK (BBUK), have become an established feature in the UK Jewish calendar, and continue to enjoy great success.
The waves of Jewish immigration from 1066-1290 and from 1656 onwards have left traces of Jewish presence that can still be seen today, even where there are no longer Jewish communities.
Medieval settlements included London, Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds, Norwich, Northampton and Oxford, while during the 18th century Jewish migrants arrived in the West Country and pogroms and persecution from the mid-19th century brought Jews to the larger English cities and to more remote areas, as well as to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland...more.
Monsieur Patrick Maisonnave avait souhaité s’entretenir avec le président du B’nai B’rith France avant sa prise de poste en Israël. Cette rencontre a notamment été l’occasion de présenter notre organisation et le B’nai B'rith World Center de Jérusalem, lien essentiel entre Israël et les membres du B'nai B'rith, plaque tournante des activités internationales de notre mouvement.
Dans un dialogue ouvert et constructif S.E. l’Ambassadeur de France en Israël a manifesté un vif intérêt pour les actions du B’nai B’rith en faveur de l’image d’Israël en France et les propositions de lutte contre l’antisémitisme exposées dans le Livre Blanc du B’nai B’rith France notamment...more.
by Daniel S. Mariachin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International
Many people think of the United Nations as a forum of 193 member states, each of which operates as a free agent, and which coalesces around resolutions depending on national interest. That would be true, up to a point.
In fact, the United Nations is divided into regional groups and blocs that skew the voting, like the “Non-Aligned” nations (120 countries) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (57 countries). Such alignments often work against the notion of independent, fair policymaking by member states, and more in the direction of a herd mentality, which explains the routinely lopsided votes against Israel at the United Nations over the decades.
If all were right in the world, Israel would be a member of the Asia-Pacific Group at the United Nations (known until 2011 as the Asian Group), which includes such countries as Iraq, Saudi Arabia—and Iran and Syria. Cyprus is also a member, as are such countries as Japan, India, and the Philippines. Notwithstanding some friends in the group, Israel’s inclusion has been repeatedly blocked by its incessant adversaries. Until 2000 Israel belonged to no regional group. It was an orphan in an organization whose internal deliberations often center on being able to hang your diplomatic hat inside a group of your neighbors.
After a sustained campaign over the course of several years, Israel, at the urging of the United States, was granted inclusion in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG, which includes the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, many of the European states and Turkey) – but only for meetings of the group in New York. Much was said at the time about this being a “first step,” with the assumption that Israel could later join the group for deliberations in Geneva, the site of the U.N. Human Rights Council, and other venues. That has not happened, as inclusion requires a consensus of the members, a few of which have blocked Israel from participating.
Being included is not just a matter of symbolism or prestige. Being at the table of fellow democracies (if not regional neighbors) when discussing policy positions on human rights violations in Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea or Syria is vital. Not being allowed at the table sends a message of exclusion, which fits in with the efforts of the Palestinians and their friends to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state.
Israel’s marginalization as an effective outsider in Geneva is particularly egregious because the Human Rights Council has been a constant center of Israel-bashing within the U.N. system. Israel is the only country for which a special agenda item (Item 7) is reserved at each Council session. That invective-filled agenda item is constituted of a basket of resolutions relating to charges of human rights abuses by Israel against Palestinians. All this despite past and current efforts to bring Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate an end to the conflict.
Moreover, the retention by the Council of Richard Falk, a self-promoter who among other things supports Hamas and incessantly directs vitriol at both Israel and the United States as Special Rapporteur and the Council’s initiation and endorsement of the now-discredited Goldstone Report on the 2009 Israeli counterterrorism campaign in Gaza, have served as political weapons against Israel, resulting in zero objectivity by the U.N.’s primary human rights apparatus when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian divide.
A year-and-a-half ago, Israel, having thrown its hands up in frustration over the cold-shoulder it regularly experiences in Geneva, decided that it would suspend engagement with the Council. By pulling back, it sent a message that it would not continue to be bullied by blocs of antagonistic U.N. members, some of whom would prefer a world without a Jewish state. One result of this pullback was a postponement of Israel’s taking part in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), an assessment of human rights practices which, under the terms of the formation of the Council in 2007, each U.N. member state undergoes – though democracies are frequently scrutinized more harshly than tyrannies.
The rescheduled UPR for Israel is now set for late October. A number of countries have urged Israel to reengage with the Council, and subject itself to the review process, notwithstanding what will surely be especially withering opprobrium. The thinking goes that under the review protocol, Israel has the right to respond, and could do so, as part of the UPR.
Those who opine that it is time for Israel to once again participate in Geneva, if they are to have credibility, should also advocate for Israel to finally be admitted as a full participant in WEOG deliberations in Geneva and be freed from the second-class citizenship that has been thrust upon it by being a group participant only in New York. They should also insist that Item 7 be eliminated. Why should Israel be the only country which is singled out for a special item at the Human Rights Council, while real human rights abusers, from Teheran to Damascus to Pyongyang, manage to wheedle their way through the system without such “special” treatment?
And even if Item 7 were not yet to be eliminated, given the heavy anti-Israel sentiment at the Council, what about pledges from European countries and other democracies not to participate in discussions and voting falling under this discriminatory category? Surely, such a commitment would send a message demanding fairness if the United Nations is to be taken seriously.
The next session of the Human Rights Council begins on Monday. Will it seize the opportunity to stop treating Israel as both an orphan and a pariah? Or will it remain a largely irrelevant, and sometimes damaging, global actor, ignoring the lamentable state of human rights in so many places, while focusing on its traditional punching bag, Israel?
We won’t be waiting long for the answer.
Read the story on TimesofIsrael.com.
by Joshua Mitnick and Stewart Ain
Congress must support President Barack Obama’s call for a limited military attack on Syria if Obama’s pledge to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear nation is to be believed.
That was the message from American Jewish leaders this week even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli leaders remained mum following Obama’s surprise Saturday announcement that he had decided to request congressional approval to bomb Syria for its use of chemical weapons against its own people.
Dan Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, said the international community is “pretty certain that the Iranians are moving at full speed to create a nuclear weapon. Making a statement here — should Congress approve — I think will have an impact on the calculation being made in Tehran and other places, too.”...more.
by Chuck Kaufman, senior vice president of B'nai B'rith International
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