On Veteran's Day 2014, B'nai B'rith International is reminded of the tremendous sacrifice given by military men and women to ensure the freedom of future generations.
This is a long-held position by B'nai B'rith, which has worked closely with the military to ensure that the service men and women, as well as their families, were given the resources necessary to adjust to life after combat.
One such effort was made by the National Service Committee for the Armed Forces and Veterans (S.C.A.F.V.) in October, 1950, in response to the outbreak of war in Korea. The resolution approved by the committee called for:
"...the members of B'nai B'rith and all our fellow citizens to participate actively in civil defense as individuals and as groups in our communities and to support and strengthen our civil defense machinery, local, state and federal."
Put into practice, B'nai B'rith raised funds for active military personnel, veterans and their families, partnering with the USO and Veterans Affairs to ensure the resources were routed where they were needed most.
These projects included sending special kits and supplies to soldiers fighting on the front lines in Korea, sponsoring community farewells for draftees, entertaining GIs in training before deployment, serving patients in 150 veterans hospitals through entertainment and supply distribution, furnishing more than 70,000 tuberculous kits to ill veterans, collecting books and magazines, distributing The National Jewish Monthly and mobilizing volunteer workers in every major city.
In June of 1951, military brass lauded the contributions of B'nai B'rith to the support effort, as covered by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and The National Jewish Monthly:
One particularly impressive statement came from G.C. Marshall, Secretary of Defense:
"I was glad to learn that B’nai B’rith, through its National Service Committee for the Armed Forces and Veterans, has resumed its programs of religious, recreational, and personal services for the benefit of the men and women in our armed force.
"In World War II similar services of B’nai B’rith won the praise of the men and women in uniform, and gained official citations and recognition both of the Army and the Navy.
"I feel confident that the same high standard of service so characteristic of B’nai B’rith will be maintained during the present emergency."
B'nai B'rith continued with the S.C.A.F.V. program, earning additional praise from the military after the conclusion of the conflict.
Via The Jewish Telegraphic Agency on March 6, 1956:
The Veterans Administration has presented a certificate of appreciation to B’nai B’rith for ten years of continuous voluntary service to hospitalized veterans across the nation.
The presentation was made at the annual meeting of the B’nai B’rith National Service, Committee for the Armed Forces and Veterans which took place here yesterday at the Hotel Statler.
Dr. William S. Middleton, chief medical director of the VA, made the presentation to Philip M. Klutznick, world president of B’nai B’rith, in connection with the tenth, anniversary of the organization of the Veterans Administration Voluntary Service to be observed during National VAVS Week, April 15 to 21.
Plans for continued B’nai B’rith participation in volunteer work at military and veterans hospitals, with the Ground Observer Corps, civil defense and the Red Cross were outlined at the sessions of the National Service committee.
On Tuesday evening, B'nai B'rith Argentina held its annual recognition ceremony for the Human Rights awards recipients. Embassy representatives from Germany, Brazil, Greeze and Bulgaria joined B'nai B'rith and community leaders attending the event.
This year's four winners are: Beatriz Pellizzari from The Plant, a project dedicated to helping people with disabilities to have a better life; Rabbi Alexander Avruj and Father Jose Maria (Pepe) Di Paola for the work they have done combating homelessness and hunger over the last decade; and Dr. Fernando Polack from the Infant Foundation, working to prevent infant and adolescent deaths through disease prevention and education.
The event has been covered extensively by Vis A Vis in tweets and articles (links here and here), highlights of which can be found, below (Spanish):
B'nai B'rith International contacted The Heinz Endowments, expressing dismay and deep concern over a grant previously given to Pittsburgh eatery Conflict Kitchen, which has served anti-Israel propaganda to diners as part of it's "Palestine" campaign.
The Heinz Foundation responded, denouncing the kitchen's current campaign and clarifying the timing of its one-time $50,000 grant (given in 2013).
The release was covered in articles run on The Algemeiner and the Jewish News Service. Read highlights from those reports, below:
The European Union's new Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini will make Israel her first destination in office.
This comes one week after B’nai B’rith International hosted the EU’s Israel Relations Chair Fulvio Martusciello at the World Center in Jerusalem.
According to an article in the Times of Israel, this is a return trip for Mogherini, who visited the country as Italy's foreign minister during the height of Operation Protective Edge this summer.
Read more about her visit and views in the article's highlights, below:
On November 1, Federica Mogherini will succeed Catherine Ashton as the union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. Less than a week later, she is scheduled to arrive in Israel for her first official visit, sources in Jerusalem confirmed Tuesday.
Mogherini — currently Italy’s foreign minister — will arrive in the region on November 7 and stay for two days. She is expected to also visit senior Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah.
“It’s very important that Ms. Mogherini comes to Israel on November 7. It’s her first official visit,” said Fulvio Martusciello, a member of the European Parliament from Italy and the new president of its delegation for relations with Israel.
Having known her for a while, he believes she understands Israel’s many predicaments, he added, but refused to elaborate.
“I hope we will be able to work together,” Martusciello, who is currently visiting Israel at the invitation of B’nai Brith International, told The Times of Israel Tuesday during an interview in the Knesset.
Mogherini is a member of Italy’s center-left government led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is known to be generally friendly toward Israel and tough on Iran’s nuclear program.
B'nai B'rith Argentina announced the recipients of their 2014 Human Rights awards, which will be bestowed on four individuals in a ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 4 in Buenos Aires.
The announcement was featured in a blog post on Vis a Vis, and can be seen below in its entirety (Spanish):
For nearly 20 years, B'nai B'rith International has operated legal missions to Cuba under the auspices of the Cuban Jewish Relief Project.
Through our partnership with the Maimonides lodge we have initiated the Tzedakah Project, providing direct gifts in small amounts to assist 120 elderly Cuban Jews across the island.
Our mission participants have also carried down thousands of pounds of religious material contributions to enhance the ability of the Jewish population in Cuba to practice their religion, as well as medicines and other necessities, while building personal friendships to last a lifetime.
Look at images from the October, 2014 trip to Cuba:
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