The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem will host, next week, three leading Uruguayan artists in Israel: dancer and choreographer Federica Folco, actress and singer Alicia Alfonso—winners of the B'nai B'rith Uruguay "Premio Fraternidad" for 2012 and 2015, respectively—and actor Massimo Tenuta. The three will visit Israel for the first time, arriving on Sept. 4 and staying until Sept. 12. "Premio Fraternidad" has been presented by B'nai B'rith Uruguay for the last 30 years to acclaimed artists at events held at the B'nai B'rith Hall in Montevideo, with government ministers, artistic luminaries, civic leaders and hundreds of members in attendance.
Federica Folco is a dancer, choreographer and dance teacher. Her work focuses on Tango as a social phenomenon and on the relationship between mind, body and movement. She has been the director of the Periferico Dance Company since 2009, and has created routines by herself and in collaboration with local and international artists. Folco has participated in international festivals in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Spain and Venezuela. As a teacher, she promotes experimentation and reflection on creative energy, and has conducted workshops in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Spain.
Alicia Alfonso graduated from Mario Galup Acting School in 1993, and has thirty years of experience in dramatic arts. She is a company member of "Teatro El Galpon," a historic theater in Montevideo, Uruguay founded in 1949. She was nominated five times for the Florencio Award—a prestigious artistic award in Uruguay—and won it twice: in 2010 for supporting actress in "Agosto," and in 2015 for her lead role in "Horror en Coronel Suarez." Alfonso has appeared in about 40 plays for adults and children throughout Uruguay, and in international festivals in Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala and the United States.
The principal prize in the "Premio Fraternidad" is an all-expense paid trip to Israel, where the B'nai B'rith World Center is responsible for crafting and executing an intensive and significant program of professional encounters and touring. In the course of their visit, Folco, Alfonso and Tenuta will meet with principals at Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre and at Habima, Cameri, Gesher and Haifa theatres, and will view performances or rehearsals by Bat Sheva dance company, Inbal Dance Company, Nehara Dance Group, SOL Dance Company and the Kelim Center. They will tour Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea and Galilee.
For interviews and further information, please contact Alan Schneider, director, B'nai B'rith World Center Jerusalem 052-5536441 firstname.lastname@example.org
B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman has been elected as a member of the Zionist Executive. On Aug. 22, Saltzman was chosen at the meeting of the Presidium of the Zionist General Council. The Zionist Executive is the executive arm of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), which encourages aliyah, promotes Hebrew language proficiency and Zionist-Jewish education, combats anti-Semitism and sponsors Zionist programming in Israel.
The Zionist General Council enacts resolutions made by the World Zionist Congress and the Zionist movement. B’nai B’rith International’s roster of deputy members on the council was also elected at the Presidium meeting, along with representatives of other member bodies. B’nai B’rith International has been a member of the WZO since 1989, and, since then, B’nai B’rith delegations have taken an active role in the Zionist movement.
Saltzman is also due to be elected to the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) Board of Governors at the next meeting in Jerusalem on Oct. 20-31. JAFI—established in 1929 as an extension of the WZO to ensure the establishment of the state—is today the major link between Jewish communities in the Diaspora with the State of Israel, promoting Jewish attachment to Jewish identity and the Jewish state. Saltzman participated in the Board’s last meeting held in June in Paris.
“These two organizations promote all the wonderful things Israel has to offer, and I am proud to serve on both,” Saltzman said. “Now, more than ever, we need to promote Zionist-Jewish education and continue to aid those who need protection from anti-Semitism.”
B’nai B’rith Sends Letter To UNESCO Director-General To Urge Addressing Reported Threats To Iraqi Jewish Heritage Site
B’nai B’rith International sent a letter to Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova advocating that she help support the preservation of the Tomb of Nahum. The tomb is located in Alqosh, Iraq, and not far from its location sits an encampment of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists, known for destroying virtually anything in their path, regardless of historical or religious value.
The tomb is a significant Jewish heritage site, also venerated by Christians, Muslims, Yazidis and others. The Hebrew prophet’s tomb rests inside a synagogue that is falling apart after years of neglect; most Iraqi Jews fled the country decades ago. The Tomb of Nahum has not achieved World Heritage status, which recognizes and aims to protect important cultural heritage sites around the world.
In their letter, President Gary P. Saltzman and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin write: “Given UNESCO’s forefront role in the preservation of prime historical and cultural assets, we ask you to help bring urgent attention to an ancient heritage site in danger. Recognition of the importance of Nahum’s Tomb, and the threats posed to it, by UNESCO could be an important step for the organization in acknowledging and honoring Jewish history.”
Click here to read the full letter.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International strongly condemns the terrorist act in Gaziantep, Turkey. The attack has killed more than 50 people and wounded at least 69, who were gathered at a wedding celebration.
That terrorist organizations would target people in such a reprehensible way sadly demonstrates, once again, their total disregard for human life.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is opening its Disaster Relief Fund to provide aid to the victims of the flash flooding that swept through southern Louisiana, which started last week. The catastrophic flood has destroyed about 40,000 homes, displacing thousands of Louisianans, killing at least 13.
So far, about 30,000 people have been rescued, and some are calling it the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. Watson, La. received 31 inches of rain on Aug. 16, and 19 inches fell in Baton Rouge, La. on the same day.
The B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Committee is reviewing proposals to assist those who have been impacted most by this natural disaster. These funds will be used to bring assistance to those in need by working with contacts in other agencies to provide immediate and long term rebuilding projects.
B’nai B’rith has regularly provided disaster relief at the local, national and international levels since 1865. In spring of 2016, we opened our Disaster Relief Fund for the wildfire victims in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada and for the victims of the earthquakes that occurred in Ecuador and Japan.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Louisiana.
To help, donate online at our secure website by clicking here.
You can also call 800-573-9057 to make a credit card contribution over the phone. Or, you can send a check payable to the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund to:
B’nai B’rith International
Disaster Relief Fund
1120 20th Street NW, Suite 300N
Washington, DC 20036
The B'nai B'rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz and Director Alan Schneider issued the following statement on the passing of Bambi Sheleg:
The B'nai B'rith World Center is grief stricken at the untimely and shocking passing on Aug. 15 of journalist, author and civic activist Bambi Sheleg. She was 58 years old. Among Sheleg’s many activities, Sheleg served, since 2012, on the jury of the B'nai B'rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage in the Israeli Media—a volunteer position she undertook with the utmost determination and earnestness.
Sheleg was the winner of the award in 2011 for a special issue of Eretz Acheret—a magazine she founded and edited—on Israel-Diaspora relations. In May, Sheleg actively deliberated together with the other jury members: Asher Weill, Yehudit Auerbach, Shalom Kital, Eytan Bentsur and Gabriela Shalev—to determine the winners of this year's award, Amanda Borschel-Dan (Times of Israel), Allison Kaplan Sommer (Haaretz) and Ya'akov Ahimeir (IBA).
But by July, due to the illness that she succumbed to, she was unable to participate in the award ceremony alongside keynote speaker Ron Dermer, ambassador of Israel to the United States.
Sheleg was a woman of deep intellect and caring who could not allow injustice and arbitrariness to stand unchallenged in any of her pursuits; particularly as editor at Eretz Acheret, an intellectual journal dedicated to exploring the ever-evolving Israeli society and its fissure lines. She was an ardent supporter and eloquent defender of Jewish peoplehood, and of the Jewish right to a state in its historic homeland. At the same time as she did not shirk at raising constructive criticisms of flaws she identified in Jewish and Israeli contemporary life.
Sheleg immigrated to Israel at the age of 12 from Chile. After serving in the Israel Defense Forces and completing her studies at Hebrew University, she was among the founders of the Atzmona settlement in Sinai in 1978. She began her journalist career at Nekuda, the now-defunct publication of the settler movement and also published columns in leading Israeli dailies Maariv, Hadashot and Yedioth Ahronoth. By her own admission, the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had a profound effect on her. She founded Eretz Acheret five years later to analyze the accelerated changes taking place within Israeli society and its fissures, epitomized in the murder of a sitting prime minister.
Sheleg leaves behind her devoted husband, senior journalist and commentator Yair Sheleg and their three children. May her memory be a blessing and a sign that individuals can have profound, healing effects even in our polarized societies.
AEPi Also Provides Grant For B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Work
B’nai B’rith International partnered with Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) for a community service project in conjunction with the fraternity’s 103rd annual convention.
B’nai B’rith International coordinated the project in cooperation with the City of Ft. Lauderdale’s Neighbor Volunteer Office, bringing more than 100 AEPi brothers to Snyder Park in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to pull vines, mulch and weed in a competitive race. AEPi brothers also assisted with the set-up of the Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options’ annual summer barbeque and family reunion.
Also at the convention, B’nai B’rith received the second installment of a $100,000 grant from AEPi. The funds will be used for B’nai B’rith’s disaster relief program, which dates to 1865. AEPi bestowed the grant during a special convention luncheon with some 700 AEPi brothers and alumni in attendance.
“This generous grant will help our rebuilding efforts in communities around the world that are struck by a devastating disaster,” said B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman, an honorary AEPi brother, upon receiving the grant at the convention. “B’nai B’rith is grateful for our longstanding friendship with AEPi, and thankful for all of its support. It’s inspiring to see AEPi volunteers take the time to restore regions impacted by natural disasters.”
Eric Book, B’nai B’rith leadership chairman and AEPi brother, also attended the conference and joined Saltzman in accepting the distribution of the philanthropy commitment. Furthermore, we are proud that we were also present at the installation of Supreme Master Scott A. Cohon, whose family has a long history with B’nai B’rith.
In 2014, B’nai B’rith was one of 10 organizations selected during AEPi’s annual international convention to receive part of its new $1 million philanthropy initiative.
The B’nai B’rith-AEPi partnership also extends to Holocaust awareness, where the two groups unite for “Unto Every Person There is a Name” and “We Walk to Remember.” With the help of these programs, we teach about the Shoah and ensure that the victims of the Holocaust will never be forgotten.
“Our long and distinguished partnership with AEPi is one we cherish,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, also an AEPi brother, said.”From the young men who have accompanied B’nai B’rith on global diplomatic missions, to AEPi’s recognition of our disaster relief work, and Holocaust education efforts, we are grateful to collaborate in so many important ways.”
B’nai B’rith has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International condemns the Gaza Operations of World Vision, a humanitarian aid organization, for reportedly diverting millions of dollars to finance the terrorist organization Hamas. On June 15 Mohammed El-Halabi, manager of operations for World Vision in Gaza, was arrested at the Erez Crossing, which is near Gaza, and admitted to investigators that he is a member of Hamas. El-Halabi told the police that in 2005 Hamas ordered him to infiltrate the Christian humanitarian aid organization.
El-Halabi allegedly stole $10 million from World Vision that Israeli officials say was then used to acquire weapons for use by Hamas.
Non-governmental organizations located in Gaza must be more closely monitored. It’s deeply disturbing that funds raised under the guise of humanitarian aid would be used to dig tunnels or to buy weapons, which have already resulted in the killing of hundreds of Israeli citizens and tourists visiting the Jewish state.
We commend the Australian government’s decision to suspend its support of World Vision. For the last three years Australia has given about $5 million to the organization for its work in Gaza. Today, the Australian government announced that until the investigation is completed, it will no longer provide any financial assistance to the charity.