May 8, 2008
Briefs: Big results and rewards at Big Sunday, Former Weiss deputy enters Fifth District race
(Page 2 - Previous Page)-- Staff Report
Sinai Temple Acknowledges Rescuers
In his Yom HaShoah presentation at Sinai Temple, Douglas Greenberg, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, focused not only on the victims of the Holocaust but also on their rescuers.
Even before the Holocaust, "murdering Jews had become a participant sport in Christian Europe," Greenberg said.
Nonetheless some 20,000 people are known to have helped to save Jews, prompting the question: "Why did anybody rescue Jews?"
Greenberg identified four major reasons. First, some rescuers were paid for their services. Others were motivated by "authentic Christian values." This group was comprised largely of Catholic priests and nuns, many of whom hid children and even entire families in monasteries and convents. A third group was partisans, who welcomed Jews into their ranks. It is generally known that many of those who fought the Nazis with the underground throughout Eastern Europe as well as with the "Maquis" in France were Jewish. Similarly, communists and other groups who themselves were hunted by the Nazis also took in Jews. Finally, for some felt simply that they must help.
In response to Rabbi David Wolpe's question "How does one instill moral courage?" Greenberg answered that it develops in families where children see the right thing being done.
-- Peter L. Rothholz, Contributing Writer
Get Protection Before Marriage
Mazal Tov! You're getting married! You've gotten the flowers, the liquor, the orchestra and pictures (FLOP), but have you prepared for the get? Yes, the Jewish divorce.
The upcoming conference on May 18, "Wedding Preparations for the Orthodox Marriage: What Every Bride and Groom Must Have Before the Chuppah: Gett Protection" will address the question of why it is necessary for Orthodox couples to think about divorce while preparing for a wedding.
The four-hour conference, sponsored by JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance ), will be broken into three sessions. First, there will be a screening of "Mekudeshet," a documentary film following three women in Israel each trying to obtain a get. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, founding chief rabbi of Efrat, will discuss how the agunah problem came to be, about the "chained" women who cannot obtain a Jewish divorce.
The third session, titled, "How Can We Protect Ourselves, Our Families and Our Community Before the Wedding Ceremony?" will be presented by local attorney Alexandra Leichter, a longtime agunah activist, and Susan Aranoff, a professor of economics and a founder of AGUNAH International Inc.
"All the issues basically come with kedushin,"said JOFA board member Gail Katz, referring to the Jewish wedding ceremony.
The activists will discuss possible prenuptial agreements that might make obtaining a get easier. The conference is not just for potential brides and grooms, but the entire community. "A prenup needs communal support," said Katz, noting that in a community where couples get married young, they rely on their families, educators and rabbis. "It's hard to put the boundary [only] on that couple."
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