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NEWS - News of B'nai B'rith

Ralph-HOFMANN-ChanukahDear Sisters
Dear Brothers
 
Several days ago Simone and I had the privilege of dining with our Frankfurt Community Rabbi Menahem Halevi Klein and his wife Chedva. We discussed a number of worrying problems. Rabbi Klein made the point, as we bid each other good bye, that the history of our people and our very survival is based on miracles. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah 90 when Isaac was born. Since that time our people has constantly been threatened with destruction and has not only survived but now has the State of Israel of which we can be proud.
 
The year 2012 has not been a good year for the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism in Europe and in the whole world has gathered pace in the most frightening manner, something which nobody could have expected. The discussions in Germany about circumcision have sent a false signal to other countries, and the general attitude in France has helped to foster anti-Israel outbursts.
 
One of the highlights of this year has been Gilad Shalit's participation at the recent Young Jewish Adult Forum in London, organised by BBE and BBUK. Look at the BBE website for the full story. One of the reasons why we run the YJAF in a different city each year is to make B'nai B'rith better known locally and to attract young people as BB members. This year's result in the UK has been most satisfactory since a good number of young people expressed interest in becoming members of a UK Lodge. Many of the participants of our Forum are young, busy professional adults, around 30 years old, and some of them living with a non-Jewish partner. It is clear that the Forum presents an excellent opportunity to find a Jewish partner. This whole question of mixed marriages is a worry to many parents. Hopefully, B'nai B'rith can do something to reduce the number of mixed marriages, both as a result of this type of Forum but also through the work which we should be doing in our communities.
 
I ask you also, Sisters and Brothers, to think of Tzedaka (of charitable endeavour) in your daily lives and in your work within B'nai B'rith. Jews are obligated to help those less fortunate than themselves. Chanukah is a good time to bear that in mind.
 
Together with my colleagues on the Executive Committee of B'nai B'rith Europe, I send you and your family my best wishes for Chanukah. We wish you good health, a happy Chanukah festival and we pray for peace in our beloved Israel.
 
With my fraternal greetings
 
Ralph HOFMANN
President B'nai B'rith Europe