(Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2020)--On the occasion next week of the Shloshim (30th day) after the untimely passing of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, renowned scholar, author, teacher and former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, the B’nai B’rith World Center released an audio recording and transcript of the 12th B’nai B’rith World Center “Jerusalem Address” delivered by Sacks on June 17, 2010.
In the address, entitled “Torah V’ Chochma: Judaism in the World,” Sacks presented a brilliant exploration of the dichotomy between Torah and secular knowledge and argued eloquently for the necessity to promote both in contemporary Jewish life.
Download the recorded Address here.
See the printed Address here.
The event was held in partnership with the Jerusalem Great Synagogue with a crowd of more than 1,000 packing the synagogue hall. Drawing a connection between Sacks and B’nai B’rith, the late Fred Simon Worms, OBE, chairman of the B’nai B’rith World Center International Board of Trustees, noted in his introduction that Sacks committed himself to a life in the rabbinate while on a trip to New York on a B’nai B’rith scholarship. On that trip, during a visit with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe told the young Sacks that he should become a rabbi.
Commenting on the loss of Sacks, B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz said that “Rabbi Sacks’ towering intellect, so extraordinarily articulated in his Jerusalem Address, was a source of great Jewish pride. Rabbi Sacks was a strong defender of the Jewish faith – as reflected in his many books and lectures – but was also a fearless defender of Jews, as seen in his courageous stance against anti-Semitism in the Labor Party that he addressed forcefully in the House of Lords. He will be sorely missed by Jews and non-Jews alike who appreciated his sharp intellect and deep moral conviction.”
The “Jerusalem Address” was established by the B’nai B’rith World Center in 1985 as its most prestigious forum for addressing fundamental issues pertaining to Israel and the Jewish people. The Jerusalem Address has consistently hosted some of the most outstanding minds of our times including: Abba Eban: Reflection on Heritage (1985); Professor George Steiner: The Dissent from Reason (1986); Rabbi Dr. Lord Immanuel Jakobovits: Religious Responses to the Holocaust (1987); Professor Shlomo Avineri: Glasnost, the Jews and Soviet Policy in the Middle East (1988); Seymour D. Reich: The Challenge of Jewish Unity (1989); Bernard-Henri Levy: The Intellectual and the Struggle for Liberty (1991); Amb. Dr. Max M. Kampelman: Negotiating Toward a New World: The Art of Conflict Resolution Through Diplomacy (1993); Harvey M. Krueger: Israel in a Global Economy as a Foundation of a Transfigured World (1995); Professor Bernard Lewis: The Middle East Toward the Year 2000 – Patterns of Change (1996); Jack J. Spitzer, Naphtali Lau-Lavie, Professor Yehezkel Dror: Redressing the Past: Chapters in Jewish Restitution and Material Claims (1997); Professor Edward N. Luttwak: The Future of Israel-U.S. Relations (1999); Melanie Phillips: The War Against Israel: the Defining Issue of our Time (2011); Howard Jacobson: When will Jews be forgiven the Holocaust (2013).
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.
(Washington, D.C., Nov. 12, 2020)--As it does each year, B’nai B’rith Latin America commemorated the anniversary of Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of the Broken Glass and the 1938 November Pogroms, during the month of November. Despite the ongoing health and economic crises across the globe, many Latin American countries marked the tragic event virtually.
B’nai B’rith members, the local Jewish community, and invited government officials and guests noted the 82nd anniversary of the attack on Jews in Germany and Austria with virtual events and one in-person ceremony.
In a joint effort B’nai B’rith in Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic and Venezuela hosted a joint virtual event on Nov 8th, which featured writer and journalist Professor Julian Schvindlerman.
B’nai B’rith Argentina, B´nai B´rith Chile, B'nai B'rith Brazil and B’nai B’rith Venezuela also co-hosted a commemorative virtual event on Nov. 9th and Nov. 11th.
B’nai B’rith Uruguay held the only in-person event, with 140 authorized people in its event hall. The event was simultaneously live-streamed. The President of Uruguay Luis Lacalle, the Vice President Beatriz Argimon, ministers, ambassadors and congressmen attended. The event was broadcasted by all networks in Uruguay.
The keynote speaker Rector of ORT University Jorge Grunberg said: "It is a mistake to believe that the Night of Broken Glass is a tragedy only of the past and disconnected from our time. Even though each historic event is unique, those who create such events are always back again. Intolerance, discrimination, indifference, the killings reached the unbelievable under the Nazis, but such criminality also exists in our time: the AMIA bombing.”
While different from previous years’ crowded ceremonies, B’nai B’rith Latin America was still committed to remembering Kristallnacht, noting that such a critically important event in Jewish history cannot go unnoticed. In fact, with the world facing such pain as COVID-19, remembering the pain of lost Jewish brothers and sisters felt especially poignant and important this year.
During the Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 pogroms in 1938, nearly 100 Jews were killed and more than 1,000 synagogues were set on fire. Nearly 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed and countless homes and community centers were looted.
B’nai B’rith to Honor Boston Red Sox and President/CEO Larry Lucchino with Community Achievement Award
B’nai B’rith International has selected the Boston Red Sox and club President/CEO Larry Lucchino to receive its Community Achievement Award, which recognizes the positive impact of key corporate leaders in their respective communities.
The award ceremony will take place on Nov. 17, 2015, at historic Fenway Park in Boston.
“The Boston Red Sox ownership group led by John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and their partners are known around baseball for winning championships and their successes off the field, positively impacting the greater Boston area. The Boston Red Sox and Lucchino are most deserving recipients of the Community Achievement Award,” B’nai B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.
Lucchino was instrumental in pulling together the ownership group that joined John Henry and Tom Werner in their successful effort to purchase the Red Sox in December 2001. Among all the potential suitors for the team, Henry, Werner, Lucchino, and their partners were the only ones committed to saving and improving Fenway Park.
Together, they oversaw a decade-long project of major improvements that have enhanced the fan experience while respecting the integrity of the park and its surrounding neighborhood.
Lucchino has been President/CEO of the Red Sox since February 2002, managing the franchise on a day-to-day basis with the active involvement of, and in collaboration with, Henry and Werner. Lucchino is a 36-year veteran of Major League Baseball and previously occupied the same roles for the San Diego Padres from 1995 to 2001, and the Baltimore Orioles from 1988 to 1993.
In addition to running championship franchises and setting attendance records, Lucchino has earned a legacy for creating ballparks that have transformed downtown areas and impacted the greater civic community. His vision for Oriole Park at Camden Yards—a traditional, old-fashioned, asymmetrical ballpark with modern amenities—ushered in an era of revolutionary ballpark architecture, while his leadership in building Petco Park saved baseball in San Diego and revitalized an under-utilized 26-block area in the city.
During their time with the Red Sox, the ownership group has established the Red Sox Foundation and distributed more than $77 million.
Embedded in the fabric of New England’s philanthropic community, the foundation emphasizes five cornerstone programs: the organization’s 62-year relationship with the Jimmy Fund in the fight against pediatric cancer; the Red Sox Scholars program, which gives college scholarships to academically-talented but economically-disadvantaged middle school students from Boston; RBI Youth Baseball and Softball programs; the Home Base Program, which treats veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who are facing post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries; and the team’s ongoing relationship with the Dimock Community Center, a leader in opioid treatment and provider of comprehensive health care, shelter, and security.
In November of 2010, the Red Sox Foundation received Major League Baseball’s first-ever Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence.
Since arriving in Boston, Lucchino, a two-time cancer survivor, has been a board member and co-chair of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s $1 billion “Mission Possible” Capital Campaign. He has also served on the board of Special Olympics International.
“As a baseball fan, it’s easy to see how ingrained teams are within their communities. The camaraderie that baseball builds within a fan base is one of the best parts of the game,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “B’nai B’rith is honored to bestow the Community Achievement Award on Boston Red Sox. It’s amazing to find a franchise that is so hands on, so passionate about building up the neighborhood and cities that surrounds this team. The team of Henry, Werner, Lucchino, and their partners are one of those extraordinary teams of executives, and I congratulate them and the entire team on this award.”
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith renews its long-held concern about the feasibility of a nuclear deal with Iran. The latest deadline overrun demonstrates once more Tehran’s inability to commit to some of the most important issues in any deal, including intrusive inspections of all of its nuclear facilities, especially military sites.
We reiterate our long-standing skepticism of Iranian intentions.
B’nai B’rith continues to call on the White House and the P5+1 (United States plus China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany) to stand firm on addressing such issues as plutonium enrichment, intrusive inspections and the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program.
It is difficult to overstate the global impact of Iran’s access to nuclear weapons. With Tehran-controlled proxies effectively running so much of the collapsing Middle East, an Iran with nuclear weapons is an alarming prospect.
As we noted months ago when an initial framework was reached: “Skepticism of Iran’s true nuclear intentions is natural, in light of the regime’s own words and actions.”
At the time of the initial framework, we noted that Iranian General Mohammad Ali Jafari had recently said: “The range of (our) missiles covers all of Israel today. That means the fall of the Zionist regime, which will certainly come soon.”
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also sharpened his rhetoric, saying in recent months: “whether a nuclear agreement is achieved or not, Israel will be more insecure each day.”
Is this a regime ready to allow full and unfettered access to its nuclear sites? Is this a regime that has peaceful intentions for its nuclear research? Its history as the largest state-sponsor of global terror would indicate the answers are no.
B’nai B'rith Speaks Out At United Nations Human Rights Council Against Biased Report On 2014 Gaza Conflict
B’nai B’rith International was responsible for delivering two statements on June 29 at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, both relating to the council’s recent report on the 2014 Hamas-initiated Gaza conflict.
The first, delivered by B’nai B’rith representative to the United Nations in Geneva Klaus Netter, admonished the council for its refusal to even acknowledge the terrorist group Hamas by name in its resolution launching the investigation, let alone fully recognizing its true intentions to destroy Israel. Netter said: “Human rights mechanisms such as this Council often see their role as to name-and-shame human rights abusers. Unless the abuser is Hamas. In that case, the Council will ignore-and-obscure. We must ask: What it will take for this Council to pronounce the name ‘Hamas?’”
Netter noted: “There is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. As recently confirmed by a group of international military experts, Israel far exceeded the obligations of International Humanitarian Law in its counter-terrorism operations last summer. Hamas, on the other hand, dug tunnels into Israeli territory with the sole aim of carrying out horrendous terrorist attacks against Israeli farming communities near the border.”
In his statement, Netter focused on the lack of acknowledgement that Israel was defending itself against the “ruthless terrorist organization” that is Hamas.
Click here to read Netter’s intervention: http://bit.ly/1g2xdHs
Separately, in cooperation with JINSA (the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), Geoffrey Corn, a professor of law and the U.S. Army’s former senior expert on the Law of Armed Conflict, spoke under Agenda Item 7 about the flaws inherent in the report on the Gaza conflict.
In his intervention, Corn raised a number of objections to the validity and accuracy of the report. At one point, he focused on how Hamas terrorists hid fighters and weapons among the civilian population of Gaza: “Specifically, it omits assessment of how an enemy’s systemic failure to distinguish himself from civilians, and in fact deliberately exploit the perception of civilian status, impacts the reasonableness of attack judgments.”
Click here to read Corn’s intervention: http://bit.ly/1InXBGL
To watch these interventions, see Chapter 49 (02:03:18, Netter) and Chapter 53 (02:11:55, Corn) here: http://webtv.un.org/watch/item7-general-debate-34th-meeting-29th-regular-session-of-human-rights-council/4328108187001
Nadav Eyal (Channel 10), Sam Sokol (Jerusalem Post) Are Award Winners; Lifetime Achievement Award to Kol Israel
The B’nai B’rith World Center recognized the winners of the Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage at Jerusalem’s Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on June 8 with Harvard University professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz serving as the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
Dershowitz is a world-renowned jurist and is universally recognized as one of Israel’s most ardent advocates in the court of world opinion. He addressed the award winners and those in attendance by answering tough questions on Israel, American Jewry, the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and U.S.-Israel relations in a conversation with Liat Collins, editor of the International Jerusalem Post and weekly columnist.
“Whenever I debate BDS, I always throw out the following challenge to my students all over the world,” Dershowitz said. “Name a single country in the history of the world faced with internal and external threats comparable to those faced by Israel that has ever had a better record in human rights; a better record with compliance of the rule of law; a better record of concern for civilians? I have been asking that question now for 20 years, probably to a million people around the world, and I’ve never gotten a single person even to stand up and name a country, because you can’t do it.”
B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Haim V. Katz started off the evening with opening remarks that touched on the big issues facing Israel and the Diaspora.
“There has not been a time when someone somewhere has not been planning to do substantial harm to the Jewish people. We now face the iniquitous, disgraceful big lie of the BDS movement and those who will tarnish Israel with the slur of blood libel,” Katz said. “As the Passover Haggadah says ‘Every generation the Jewish People are threatened with annihilation and God provide salvation.’ In every generation God has emissaries who assist the Jewish people in its distress. One of them is professor Alan Dershowitz who is like a pillar going before the camp, defending Israel and the Jewish people.”
Winners of the award, named for Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf, were Nadav Eyal, Channel 10's chief international correspondent and Sam Sokol, Jewish World correspondent for the Jerusalem Post.
A Lifetime Achievement Award in memory of Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky was also presented to Kol Yisrael—The Voice of Israel Radio—for its long-running program “Searching for Missing Relatives” now edited and presented by Izi Mann. A special citation for contribution to Israel-Diaspora Relations through the arts was presented to acclaimed singer David D’Or, who performed for the audience.
Eyal received the award in the broadcast media category for his hour-long program “Hate,” broadcast on Channel 10 on Oct. 7, 2014. The program deals with rising anti-Semitism in Europe and was filmed on location in Germany, England and Greece. The broadcast also aired earlier in the year as a four-part mini-series during the station’s primetime news program.
“The connection between the Diaspora and Israel is to be found at the mystery and at the source of the relationship between Israel and the Jewish world. I am very grateful that you found my work worthy of this award. ‘Hate’ tried to ask the question: What stands behind the hate? What motivates the hate? Why is the virus of anti-Semitism so immune and what [are] its sources? To understand anti-Semitism you have to go to the instigators of the virus. So we went to the instigators of the virus. We went to the anti-Semites themselves. And the answer that we brought to our viewers are the lies. The lies in the words of the anti-Semites themselves. The small lie and the big lie that they apply [to] groups. The lie is the source of the racism… And we see how the racism is always paranoid; it is paranoid about everyone, not only toward Jews. This virus assumes mysterious assumptions about minorities and knows no bounds.”
The award in the print media category was presented Sokol for a series of nearly 30 articles published in the Jerusalem Post from May to December 2014 focusing on the fast-changing situation of Jews in war-ravaged eastern Ukraine.
“I’m very, very honored,” said Sokol after receiving the award recognizing his reporting in Ukraine. “It’s very humbling and really feels like a vindication that people have appreciated what I’ve done, and that’s really gratifying.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Kol Yisrael for its “Searching for Missing Relatives” program, inaugurated in 1945 to help Holocaust survivors track down missing relatives. The program was broadcast continuously until 1969 and was re-launched in 2000 by Yaron Enosh in a new format that included interviews and investigative reporting. Over the years the program, and its English print iteration “Seeking Kin” by Hillel Kuttler, have brought together hundreds of Jews across the globe, locating and reuniting with long-lost relatives, friends and neighbors. The show is now edited and presented by Mann, who accepted the award on behalf of the show.
“I feel it is a big honor, but primarily a great calling, to hold in my hand this watch of ‘Search for Missing Relatives’ because every day I have the sense that behind the microphone I am touching the fragments of history that were created as a result of the circumstances of the Holocaust,” Mann said. “But it is not only the Holocaust, because with all modesty I feel that in many cases I am able to bind these fragments that connect families and friendships that were shredded. The wounds of the Holocaust are still felt everywhere and especially now, when families are growing, the need to complete the missing past suddenly arises. Now, when the Jewish people have ceased to wander and are building its homeland we suddenly realize to what degree the roots are missing and now we are trying to complete them.”
Since its establishment in 1992, the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism has recognized excellence in reportage on contemporary Diaspora-Jewish communities and on the state of Israel-Diaspora relations today in the Israeli print and electronic media. The award is widely acknowledged in the media industry as the most prestigious prize in its field in Israel. Its goal is to help shore up the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora by recognizing excellence in Diaspora-related reportage appearing in the Israeli print, broadcast and web-based media. It was established in recognition of the important contribution the media can make toward strengthening the relationship between Israel and world Jewry--so essential for the resilience of both--by encouraging quality reportage on Diaspora communities and Israel-Diaspora relations.
The distinguished members of the award jury are: Chairman Asher Weill, publisher and editor of “ARIEL”– The Israel Review of Arts and Letters from 1981 to 2003; Yehudith Auerbach, professor in the School of Communication at Bar Ilan University; Eytan Bentsur, former Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general; Sara Frenkel, former Diaspora correspondent for Israel Radio and Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2002; Shalom Kital, former director general of News Company and Channel 2; Gabriela Shalev, professor and chair of the Higher Academic Council at Ono Academic College, as well as a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations; and Bambi Sheleg, founder and editor-in-chief of Eretz Acheret, and a 2011 award winner.
The B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism is named for the late Wolf Matsdorf and his wife Hilda. Wolf was an editor of the B’nai B’rith World Center Journal “Leadership Briefing” and a journalist in Israel and Australia. Hilda was a pioneer in social work in both Australia and Israel. The Lifetime Achievement Award is named for Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky. The Award is made possible through donations from Daniel Schydlowsky, a professor and a member of the B’nai B’rith World Center International Board of Governors (Lima, Peru and Washington D.C.), and the Matsdorf family.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith welcomes a new Spanish law that would allow descendants of Sephardic Jews to apply for citizenship.
This is an important gesture acknowledging not only the expulsion of Jews from 15th Century Spain, but also the importance of Jewish heritage to the country’s history.
In recent years, the Spanish foreign ministry has established Casa Sefarad to promote Sephardic Jewish culture worldwide. The organization describes itself as “a bridge between Spain and the Jewish world,” and has run important cross-cultural programs.
Citizenship will not be awarded automatically. Applicants will have to certify their Sephardic ancestry during the online application process, and will have to pass language and history proficiency tests. The law will allow applicants to retain their current country of citizenship.
We are pleased that Spain’s Jewish community will be involved in the process of vetting applications, as their participation can be helpful in optimizing the law’s implementation.
Click here to read B’nai B’rith’s analysis of this topic from May:
Click here to read “The Jews of Spain” from the winter 2014 issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine: http://www.bnaibrith.org/magazine-articles/the-jews-of-spain-once-many-now-few-and-under-the-radar
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International deplores a demand by Greek officials to remove of a Star of David from a Holocaust memorial on the eve of its opening.
The stunning demand by the mayor and city council of Kavala, Greece, to remove the very symbol that was used to separate Jews from the rest of the community during the Holocaust is beyond insensitive. This is an attempt to erase history.
The monument, set to open 70 years after the end of World War II, pays tribute to the 1,484 Kavala Jews murdered by the Nazis.
Nearly 90 percent of the Jewish population of Greece was murdered during the Shoa.
B’nai B’rith will be directly in contact with representatives of the Greek government and our friends in the Hellenic-American community to urge their immediate attention to this deeply troubling situation.
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
In the wake of the announced framework of a deal between the United States, its five negotiating partners, and Tehran on the Iranian nuclear program, B’nai B’rith International believes there are still many questions surrounding the outcome—questions involving the viability of the deal and whether the notoriously sinister and secretive Iranian government will honor the terms in good faith.
B’nai B’rith is skeptical of the agreement’s ability to increase Iran’s nuclear breakout time from three months to a year, given the regime’s unwavering determination to continue enrichment and its history of evading inspections. The current deal, negotiated by the P5+1 (United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom), follows more than 20 years of deception by the regime in Tehran. If it was truly negotiated in good faith, then why did Iran run out the clock as the deadline approached?
We thank Secretary of State John Kerry and his team for their hard work over many, many months. But we still remain concerned.
Iran’s credibility has already been severely strained by its track record of saying one thing and acting on the complete opposite. Iran has always opposed international “interference” in the Syrian civil war, all the while supporting the Syrian government with troops and supplies. In the current conflict in Yemen, Tehran has taken the same stance, while simultaneously backing one side. These are just a few of many examples of Iran’s deceitful and aggressive behavior, a list which also includes Iran’s many ventures as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.
The framework deal calls for a reduction of Iran’s installed centrifuges by two-thirds of its current capacity, but Iran’s actions during negotiations seemingly offer a clear blueprint for how it would act once a deal is in place. Even under the preliminary agreement, the regime has continued to enrich and stockpile uranium, build centrifuges, defy the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other inspection requests from the international community, pursue plans to build intercontinental ballistic missiles and hide the military dimensions of its nuclear program. Will Tehran truly allow for the transparency of its nuclear sites with comprehensive inspections by the IAEA? We also question whether the Iranians will actually convert their clandestine enrichment center at Fordow into a center for nuclear physics and technology research, or whether they will downgrade their heavy-water reactor in Arak.
While Iranian double-speak is a legitimate concern, what’s even more disturbing is the regime’s straightforward talk when it comes to Israel. Just a few days ago a commander in the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Reza Naqdi, said that erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable”—a horribly frightening statement as negotiations were in the penultimate stage.
The incendiary remarks, obviously, don’t stop there. Several months ago, Iranian General Mohammad Ali Jafari said: “The range of (our) missiles covers all of Israel today. That means the fall of the Zionist regime, which will certainly come soon.” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei even stated that same month: “Whether a nuclear agreement is achieved or not, Israel will be more insecure each day.”
With a June 30 deadline set for a final deal, B’nai B’rith will be monitoring the specifics of the deal that are released in the coming months. B’nai B’rith urges Congress to carefully and stringently review the agreement during that time as well. A nuclear-ready Iran has consequences that would resonate far beyond Israel and the United States. Given the uncertainties of the deal and the enormity of the stakes, we hope that both parties in Congress will make their voices heard, as both the administration and Congress must play an active role in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.