Posted Dana Hadadi/ Israel- Europe
The writer would like to apologize on her last article referring certain affairs in the Jewish community in Budapest.
I should never assume people have any other interest for running and/or attending events in the community, rather than their genuine aspiration for closeness.
If my words offended some individuals or organizations by implying that their motivation is different than the defined above, it was merely because I might mixed them with my own perspective. They say: “Ha possel B’mumo Possel”, which means: flaws you find in others are just a reflection to yourself.
As for myself, I was, not once, forgetting the essence of spontaneous togetherness in my own organization. I’ve sinned against my members dictating for them events that were not for them.
No real Hanuka event was discussed on this article, for sure not one of a specific organization. The article itself was not aimed to put a negative light on the Jewish community of Budapest- I got my best friend for life form this community. I’ll forever feel it’s my family and the origin for all that I am today.
Maybe, that is the reason I feel I could describe the atmosphere there when comparing it to what I have learnt in Szczecin.
When you love your house very much, you wish for its residence the best, sometimes you come out harsh.
Israelis should know this better than everyone else.
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January 27, 2012 | 8:17 am
Posted Dana Hadadi Israel/Europe
Once being to Genova , the head of its community was continuously referring people there as: “my community” in such a warm way, I truly got jealous. It was only until later, when we sat with his friends in a bar in Milano, that they made a big joke out of it.
True, He didn’t hold any significant official position that defined him as one, and as far as I know, some won’t even count it as a community by the number of people there, but for me he was a leader. If you care enough to put on a Hanuka party to “your people”, (and they come) – you are.
In Budapest, that is considered to be one of the most active Jewish communities in Central Europe, I was attending too many Hanuka parties that were organized by different sources, barking on the same trees, trying to survive their monthly report to keep them on going to the next year budget. So instead of making some people happy, they made one community very confused.
This is why I couldn’t feel more joyful to find Przemek’s gang in Szczecin, Poland.
Przemek didn’t need to explain anything about his activity as we got right into it.
This guys, are first of all, my friends, he said, and this is exactly what I experienced; In Szczecin, young Polish Jews (Halachic or not) join Israeli students, living with other non Jewish foreigners in random spontaneous gatherings. Not because they are obligated to by any educational program, or due the benefit of some scholarship, also not because they’re looking for the right mingling into the Jewish local life. These happy Szczecin dudes were the most genuinely bonded group I was ever introduced to, as much as a bunch of strangers could be.
Not surprisingly, considering they are all orchestrated by an extremely pluralistic “collector”: an educator living a bit out of the city, though with roommates, still in a very familial country-house. Przemek leads his community with no exemptions: everybody chips in, and no begging for funds. Only this way we could keep it real. For Shabat dinner each gets to bring his dish- we do not need any “project” in order to enjoy each-other’s company.
And when it’s fun, it further drives the passion to search for a broader integration outside the city, in Wroclaw for instance or generally to investigate more about Jewish activities around, to inspire and get inspired. I most certainly did.
January 24, 2012 | 9:55 am
Posted J. Harvey Karp Israel
JERUSALEM – Rabbi Joel Landau, a congregational rabbi who made aliyah, used to promote Israel from his pulpit at Beth Jacob Congregation in Irvine, Calif. Now he helps produce film clips promoting Israel’s scientific and cultural achievements. Rabbi Landau’s involvement began when a congregant, J. Harvey Karp, took a trip to Israel in 2003 during the Intifada. The image of Israeli buses targeted in suicide bombings, Israeli security forces and the blood stained streets of the Holy Land were the only window afforded to those watching the news outside of Israel. But in Jerusalem, Karp saw a different side that wasn’t getting reported.
“On an everyday basis, Israel was making contributions to the world in agriculture, high tech, education, plus a meaningful amount of Arab and Jewish interaction. Yet none of this was covered, Rabbi Landau said. “People were getting a distorted picture about Israel. Based on the mainstream media, people would think that Israel was another Beirut.
“Harvey was always a supporter of Israel. I motivated him to ‘upgrade’ the nature of his support of Israel, to do something more involved than writing checks,” Rabbi Landau told the Jewish Tribune.
Thus, Karp, a retired commodities trader, set out to form Israel Up Close (israelupclose.org), a nonprofit production company dedicated to finding the stories beyond the headlines and finding space in the bad-news cycle for some positive news, unrelated to politics and reflective of real life in Israel.
Research has shown that the average person doesn’t care about the Arab-Israel conflict, media expert Jason Pearlman explains. “Therefore, if you try to explain the conflict, it falls on deaf ears,” he said.
But technology speaks to the average person that politics doesn’t because he perceives how it could improve his life.
Rabbi Landau sees Israel’s contributions to the world as the “Jews being a light unto the nations.”
He explains how Israel Up Close’s goals are twofold: to show what Israel is and to show its humanitarian side.
“It’s true that Israel has a nasty conflict with its neighbours. But it also has a wonderful side to things,” the Rabbi mentioned.
To date, Israel Up Close has produced more than 100 high-quality news videos, each giving a positive perspective on Israel and Israelis. Among the film clips are videos showcasing Israeli innovation such as a device that produces water from thin air, skyscraper mass evacuation and a mechanism that generates electricity from traffic.
The film clips have been shown on Israeli TV, CNN, and other international TV networks and websites.
Israel Up Close already has 20 clips in Arabic.
Rabbi Landau says that it will soon have an Arabic website. And he has future plans to create film clips in Chinese, Russian and Spanish.
“One of the jobs as a rabbi has been to motivate people and strengthen their connection to both Judaism and Israel,” Rabbi Landau said, “Therefore, this is a very important vehicle to connect people with Israel.”
January 19, 2012 | 1:34 pm
Posted Dana Hadadi Israel
2 big green eyes welcomed me in the most magical city of Cracow, Poland.
They belonged to a blond angelic girl name Sabina. Sabina is suffering from a rare syndrome of great hunger for knowledge, and this drives her in her continuous pursuit for spiritual challenges.
Once revealing Judaism is the origin of her belief in Jesus, she decided to know anything about the Torah of the Jews. She takes classes, she volunteers at the Jewish Community Center and she dreams of Israel. (I’m just ashamed I know nothing about Jesus, though I can’t regret my obligatory biblical high-school education.) Sometimes people ask her ‘what’s the deal’? Is she up for conversion, did she fall in love with a boy? Questions that reminded me narrow approaches from back home:
I like long skirts, but I couldn’t go with them in certain circles in Tel-Aviv without people assuming I’m religious. I’m not allowed to use an expression such as “Be’ezrat Ha-shem” (with God’s will) or “Baruch Ha-shem”(God Bless), which I consider to be taken from daily Hebrew, rather than to represent a cult, because my friends would get alert. Moreover, I get alert by the fact I was just perceived as religious. Why?
When I step confidentially into the Yoga studio down town do I think of conversion to Hinduism? Can’t a Jewish Israeli enjoy Jewish culture without observing “Shabat”? What about the non-Jews? Must I become a Viking In order to enjoy a good troll-story?
The Jewish community of Cracow offers the Poles a taste of Jewish culture, which is apparently recognized by the locals as a need- first time for me to face such embracement.
I shouldn’t have been surprised; JCC’s director, Jonathan Orenstein believes- “We should teach more about Jewish life in the place dedicated to the immortalization of Jewish death”.
He should know. Thousands of Israeli youth meet Jonathan every winter on their way to experience history as vivid as their educational program can target itself to. For me, it’s pure crime; Israel don’t put as much as resources on introduction of Judaism in the Diaspora as much as it puts it in Shoa horror stories.( It is not so Zionistic.) Tremendous effort is given to the justification of giving those 18 years old a year later- a gun. Why else would they cherish Nazis culture? The camps were not created by Jews. Jews created adorable inspiring cafés, some of which still play good old Klezmer music in the remarkable attractive Jewish quarter.
The Jewish community in Cracow taught me utopian reality in which Jewish culture is treated rightly by Jews, non-Jews, religious and seculars.
If it was up to me, I’ll vote for erasing the monuments of terror, in favor of more Jewish theater and restaurants.
January 18, 2012 | 3:52 pm
Posted Ian Shulman
Starting from December 2011, the nation of violent murderers of Palestinian children has also notoriously became the nation of women- and children-hating religious fanatics. And don’t forget, they used to kill Christian children and drink their blood back in the days before we kicked them out of Europe!
But seriously, we all hope everyone understands that spitting on the 8-years old girl and calling her ‘prostitute’ is not a part of Judaism, Jewish or Israeli traditions, but rather a disreputable action of a very specific and non-representative segment of Jewish religious society. But of course, everyone is perfectly aware of all the peculiarities of traditional Jewish rules and ethics. But of course, the whole world supports Israel in everything it does.
Although, why should one care what others think about Israel? Why should one care about Israel at all? Maybe because ‘Israel’ equals ‘a Jewish state’. After all, that’s how it was meant to be and is perceived. And Jewish ethics are equality ethics, where women always took a very important and special place. Their rights and duties are indeed different from those of men, but that only underlines their exceptional status. The core of those ethics lies in respect and dignity. Those are one of the values which Jewish culture is naturally striving to protect, both in own and often in the surrounding society. The freedom of religious expression, which was obviously the matter of this tragic case, should be protected too. And as rough as it made sound, the protection of religious groups means something for which they themselves strive too - an isolated life; which, in turn, protects the public from the groups’ radical actions.
I don’t intend to suggest the way to solve this old story. In fact, this way remains plain and simple - knowing and adhering to the core values of own religion or belief and putting it ahead of everything, especially ahead of the contradicting complications.
This and other articles by this author are also posted in his blog: http://ishulman.wordpress.com/
January 17, 2012 | 10:19 am
Posted Dana Hadadi
As a secular Israeli Jew, I see fears of the un-known minority dictate extreme measures, that to the naked eye might be perceived as liberal, but actually are violently depriving me natural interest of my own culture. (“Judaism is theirs and not mine”).
Many cases of governmental political actions drive me and my peers to shut-down to our Judaism due to scenes that sometimes are even provoked deliberately by the media.
(Pointing wars, not only sells more, but also deviates the mind away from serious issues like fare-well state and environmental dilemmas. Blaming the “strangers” for our misery is so old age it’s embarrassing.)
As a woman, I find myself offended un-countable times by the same aggressive agents of the media, advocating gender equality via the individual story of 1 insanely stupid man, to tell the story of a community, when violating my rights constantly with images that, though well accepted, are disgraceful to me. (No, I wouldn’t be happier if I buy this boob operation, and please don’t ask me in a job interview when do I plan to give birth.).
When I come to march for the place of women in the world, I address first issues that bother me in the environment I live in, before I go and fix the Islamic society in Iran, or the ultra-orthodox society in “Me’ah She’arim”. My hero will fight for “outing” of the un-defined closets. It’s too easy to force outing to those who wear their differences loud and clear.
People choose to live in a community that respects their needs. It’s a basic expression of free will. Coming against habitants not fully comprehendible to us is just playing righteous.
Everybody’s looking to live in a neighborhood where they can practice their belief peacefully. (If it’s an artists’ community, vegans’ community or a scientific community).
I wish we would choose the material we consume brightly;
As I know plain simple sugar in big amounts can hurt my teeth, I also know- too much graphical yellow ridiculous figures don’t nourish well my brain.
January 13, 2012 | 3:34 pm
Posted Dana Hadadi
Sarah, a 27 years old secular Hungarian Jew, is going to a Hanuka party in a synagogue in her town. She immediately feels at home: “These are my kind of people”, she declares, even though, most of them are complete strangers to her.
“What do you think bonded you there”? Dana asks, “Must be the fact you were all gathered to lit the candles, I assume”.“No”, answers Sarah, “I do not get emotional by any symbolic ceremonies, as a matter of fact. It’s something else”. She continues:
“When I arrive to Jhony’s house party, everybody there are friends of Jhony’s. They attended the same school, or are going to the same work-place. The other way, they all remain in sects; no way to start a conversation with anyone if you are far from his closest circle. And as for myself, I do own some ‘Huzpa’”. “Will it be right to conclude, Judaism is a concept greater than Jhony in that case, that strikes down lines of educational background and social ‘clicks’?” “I wouldn’t say that. I would simply expect to find much more out-going chatty-like people when coming to explore the Jewish community in Budapest. Hungarians are known to be extremely touchy. Hungarian Jews tend more to take a joke”. “Why do you think that is”? “I don`t know for sure, but I guess it has something to do with the education. Not even. It is something transferred sub-consciously as you are brought up in a Jewish family, even if you don’t know it. After all, most of the Hungarian 3rd generation grew without any exposure to heritage influences. People didn’t light Hanuka candles or indicated Shabbat. The grandparents were obliged to hide their identities. (Some even changed their Jewish surnames.) Despite that, they came out to be some-kind of different persons. Do you see any children running around in a catholic church’s ail? You can see them in synagogues, though.
In the Jewish family childhood plays its role in the intrinsic dynamic. Kids’ voice matters, also the gradual responsibility they learn to accept. They therefore, grow up with a sense of confidence and greater ability to communicate with the world”.
As for Dana’s Hanuka, she spent one candle lightning evening with her favorite Hungarian family: Mom was the main chief of the brilliant cooking. Dad was managing the lovely ceremony, knowing every bit of Hebrew song perfectly, and little Shimi, was the head of our dessert: A fine game of spinning the draidle. All the grown-ups laid down their seriousness, and Shimi was giving orders- taking charge of our joy. Teaching us again the simplicity of playfulness.
Equality to me means also: our kids are no less important than out Rabies. They wave their curiosity over flags of big question-marks. Reminding us that reality we keep on fearfully put in little boxes of “facts” could be easily questioned. As we praise that, we let ourselves be enlightened by them, as they carry the most basic and natural intelligence of the “WHY”?
January 10, 2012 | 8:12 am
Posted Bożena Przewoźnik
Chmielnik the pre-war stetl in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains now takes many initiatives
to restore the memory about its former inhabitants. “Encounters with Jewish culture,” are organized there every year and Leopold Kozlowski - a world famous artist enriches them with his concerts.
On December 11th , 2011 a special ceremony was held : Leopold Kozłowski - an outstanding composer, pianist and conductor, and above all, “the last Klezmer in Galicia” got the title of the Honorary citizen of the Town by the resolution of the City Council .The event took place in the Chmielnik Cultural Center. It began with the multimedia presentation of the second part of the album ” Chmielnik – the memory, the people, the events”, then Mr. Kozlowski told a few words about himself , about being a klezmer musician and about his beloved town of Przemyślany.
The charming hero with his characteristic sense of humour and wit amused the audience. He did not hide his tears of emotion receiving from the hands of the Chmielnik Mayor, Yaroslav Zatorski, honorable title. In gratitude for award he played some klezmer tunes, for which everyone was very grateful and touched. Maestro, as he admitted himself - felt honored. He received many wishes from Chmielnik , representatives of Local Kielce City and neighbouring towns.
The title of Chmielnik Honorary Citizen is given to those who use their life and work for the benefits of the town and its community, leaving the sign of unusual activities, thus staying in the history of the town. At the moment Maestro Kozlowski is the sixth person with the title of Chmielnik Honorary Citizen.
The Board of Jewish Community in Cracow wants to congratulate
Mr. Leopold Kozłowski on this special occasion !