Posted Pavel Pustelnik- Cardiff
In the United Kingdom the news from Iran have been present in media but their importance has been blurred by the growing tensions in relation to Falklands. Once again Argentina seems to be in a mood for war. The Brits are still proud of Margaret Thatcher who won the previous war and would definitely push the current prime minister David Cameron to act decidedly if the situation worsened. How about Iran? Is the UK ready to oppose illegal nuclear power proliferation and appease to a potential threat?
It might well be that Iran is just playing with the international community and the political elites know well that the Islamic Republic already is another trouble spot on the nuclear map. However, as long as the information is not made public we tend to underestimate the consequences. I truly doubt whether the society would strongly oppose to Iran becoming a nuclear power officially. The political correctness and involvement in the ‘occupy’ movement are both harmonically playing the first fiddle. Nevertheless there might have been an answer from pacifistic environments, the general public would remain thoughtfully silent. Why should we risk if we are not at risk – this could be an argument. The reaction to the attacks on the British embassy in Teheran was laud, but not many specific steps have been taken. The uneasy relationship has remained bruised as always but still keeps going on.
As usually when it comes to controversies related to obtaining nuclear power in the Middle East, the Jewish milieu would be more inclined to share concerns. In this particular case of Iran the answer should be more determined. However, given the fact that the calls to stop construction of the nuclear power plants in Iran were not answered, the further appeals might not be equally strong. Even though the situation is more and more complicated it does not really seem that lay Jewish public is ready to oppose forcefully to the situation taking place in Teheran. Diagnosing the passiveness is an uneasy task but I would be inclined to believe that being silent can be read as being on alert to act if the things went really wrong.
( This article also on http://www.ajc-access.org/index.php?option=com_lyftenbloggie&view=lyftenbloggie&category=0&Itemid=176)
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February 12, 2012 | 9:00 am
Posted Dana Hadadi/ Israel/Europe
-Where do you come from?
-Ah, I know a guy down there. Actually Uri is here, he has relatives in Eilat. Don’t you know Uri? Tell them what’s the name of that cousin of yours?
- I’m a senior. I`ve stopped working. I can afford myself to travel a lot. I enjoy my free time.
- You know, in my age I could have become a senior by now. But I don’t want to.
-Yes, but he worked really hard, Haim. For many years.
- I’m still considered to be relatively young.
-Ha, everything is relative.
-So, everybody’s here?
-Whoever’s not here- so he’s not here. Ha ha.
-He’s the guy with the… coat.
-The guy with the coat? Sure he’s not the one with the head? Ha, ha.
-Not all here are couples. Here, there’s a single man over there, we should fix him.
36 Israelis straight out of the fresh delivery of the latest hot travel agency’s deal get on a bus in the coldest time of the winter of Europe, to explore Berlin. Berlin of the time they knew is quite different kind of deliveries, and also to explore some Berlin of the time of today. (Shopping time).
Everywhere in the world Israeli will try to make themselves feel at home.
Maybe after years of exiles we developed a ‘strangerophobiya’. We just cannot bear not to own the place. You either move there to open the next Falafel place, or simply tour it, but with a bag of ‘Bamba’ snack in your hand.
In this case, it was not so far from the truth. Berlin serves perfectly the need of the Israeli to claim it. It does it by wearing a big invisible coat of guilt.
Israelis say: “B’Ktana”, which means- symbolically like, not biggy- just a hint. So, Berlin is very tasteful with its demonstration of guilt.
Here, B’ktana- golden stones integrated in the pavement with names on it in some streets where you go. There, B’ktana- some signs indicate couple of the most significant Nirenberg rules. And did you know here, where there’s an elementary school, used to be a synagogue. No Jews now, but pupils still must write a biography of a selected Jew in order to graduate.
Quietly and modestly but shameless, Berlin will show you how it faces its disgraceful history proudly, like intellectuals do. They reconcile by living in between the monuments, so they could “think about what they did”. Berliners of today are afraid of nationalism (not big fans of flags, and never say: “I’m German”), so how could a collective state of mind be changed in less than 3 generations?
They say Germans love the system. They say they are loved to be told what to do.
Maybe this is the new system of what they are supposed to do?
Is it possible Germans never had whatsoever actual feelings for Jews? As they were following voices who called for their culture’s destruction now they obey the voices that call for Jews’ culture preservation?
I wouldn’t know.
I only know- on the same supermarket where the system listed for me how many cents per gram for every product listed in the shop, between the aisles, I had a small chat with one old lady, who didn’t know I don’t speak German. And she was looking at the box of the cookies I was holding in my hand, trying to develop a conversation as it goes: “Cookies in a box. Would you believe it? How marvelous”! Because eventually it all goes done to that.
*This review was written thanks to Ido Porat and Berlin Tours Leah
February 8, 2012 | 12:37 pm
Posted Katarzyna Odrzywołek/Poland
We will always feel robbed, empty and incomplete in the confrontation with the memory of the Holocaust, but the testimony offered by your presence here is the spark that lights up this abyss a little. (...)
Mark A. Rothman
On January 24th, 2012 year in the afternoon in the Auditorium of the Collegium Novum of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow a formal meeting of the Cracow Medical Society, organized on the occasion of 67 anniversary of the liberation the Auschwitz-Birkenau and the International Day for the Holocaust was held. The meeting was opened by Professor Karol Musiol, Rector of the Jagiellonian University and led by the TLK chairman prof. Igor Gościński. This year’s ceremony was organized with the cooperation of the Medical Society of the Krakow Jagiellonian University Medical College, Center for Holocaust Studies at the Jagiellonian University and the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau.
I feel robbed and filled with the optimism in the same time[...]
The Director of the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles, Mark A. Rothman started his speech with these words. Thanks to modern technology Royal City of Krakow joined with the City of Angels for about 20 minutes long videoconference.
Robbery was the key word there, it helped the speaker to describe the situation of complete chaos, which took place during and after the Shoah. Mark Rothman as he admits feels robbed, because due to the quickly passing time (67 years) he is still unable to answer the question embarrassing him - why? It is believed that the only way to understand the Holocaust is to take for granted the fact that we were robbed and we will never fully understand how and why the Holocaust took place. Rothman also pointed out that the work and lives of most people present in the conference room is devoted to moving these boundaries, exposing and maintaining the truth.
People endowed with the gift of history ...
In this way Mark Rothman has called all the participants of the conference who did not directly experience the atrocities of war, but got the great mission-the mission of transmitting history. By participating in these celebrations we have become the witnesses of the witnesses, we are blessed with a magnificent gift.
At the meeting we heard the stories of two witnesses, former prisoners of concentration camps. These were the people concerned with concentration camp traumatic experience and actively involved in helping the former prisoners . The first of them, Dr. Witold, MD, Krzyzanowski worked in France for the construction of the Atlantic Wall, then in Paris, he was a member of the Resistance actively involved as a member, unfortunately captured by the Gestapo, interrogated and beaten, imprisoned, he was put in prison in Bordo. Then in January 1944 he was sent to Buchenwald, where he got the number 44 320. In June 1946 he returned to Poland, and after six years (1952) completed his medical studies. He was awarded with the Order of Knight of the League of Honour and the Cross of Auschwitz. Another survivor was Dr. Thadeus Smreczyński MD. During the occupation he was deported to forced labor in Saxony, where he worked at repairing railroad tracks, but soon decided to run away. His escape plan to get through the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to Romania, then Hungary and from there to Britain failed : he was arrested while crossing the border. He managed to hid the fact of escape and thus was employed in the quarry, he decided to run away again, to get to Kraków, and helped the escapes of Poles who worked in the Third Reich. Arrested in December 1943 he was put in prison by Gestapo in Myslowice, then he was transported to Auschwitz, soon sent to Mauthausen sub-camp /Linz III No. 78 731/ .He did different jobs – for example he worked in the kitchen. After the war he returned home and graduated at the Medical Department of the Jagiellonian University.
The next stage of the conference was devoted to the camp artists. Auschwitz Museum staff discussed the work of Mieczyslaw Koscielniak and Janina Tolik, in turn, Prof. Assoc. B. Alexander, MD, Joseph Bau Skotnicka. The whole conference was enriched with a recital by Maria Slawek and Peter Rozanski of the Academy of Music.
February 2, 2012 | 9:36 am
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.
January 27, 2012 | 7:17 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 | 8:55 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 | 12:34 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 | 2:52 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/