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Welcome to the B'nai B'rith Europe website

YOUNG LEADERSHIP SEMINAR FRANKFURT

B'NAI B'RITH EUROPE RUNS SUCCESSFUL YOUNG LEADERSHIP SEMINAR IN FRANKFURT

In close cooperation with the Frankfurt B'nai B'rith Schönstädt Lodge B'nai B'rith Europe organised the first Young Leadership Seminar this year from 18th to 20th October. Some 50 young people from many parts of the world participated (France, Turkey, Switzerland, Israel, Russia, Germany and even 4 delegates who came specifically from Argentine.)

One of the major reasons for the success of this seminar was the all-round support provided by our Treasurer Brother Kurt de Jong, and the organising team expresses its sincere thanks to him.

The proceedings began on Erev Shabbat in Frankfurt's main synagogue, followed by a Kabbalat meal in the rooms of the Frankfurt Lodge, where the participants were welcomed by Ralph Hofmann, John Reeves and young lodge members Sister Dr. Toni Singer, Jewgenij Singer, Vice-President of the Frankfurt Lodge and Dr. Adrian Strack, Lodge Council member. Participants were welcomed in every one of their languages, leading to a good deal of laughter. Allan J. Jacobs, President of B'nai B'rith International was present throughout the seminar. Sacha Stawski, Director of Honestly Concerned and organiser of this year's Israel Congress in Berlin, addressed the group on the subject of press reporting on Israel.

A Shabbat morning service was organised in the lodge premises, led by Rabbi Soussan, Rabbi Friberg and Beni Marokko. The serious part of the seminar began after the Kiddush with a discussion on "How do you build up the interests of young people in the lodge?" led by the younger lodge members Dr. Adrian Strack, Jewgenij Singer and Kirill Boguslavski. Lunch was followed by a discussion on the anti-Semitism prevalent in the various countries, in Russia, in Turkey and in France. Rabbi Soussan spoke of the difficulty encountered by many young Jews in finding a suitable partner.

A Question and Answer session, involving Allan Jacobs and Ralph Hofmann, produced some interesting questions such as:
• What was your route to the Presidency?
• How do you think lodges can attract young people?
• Do you think that lodges should have quotas on matters of gender?
• Should lodges have age limitations for their Council members?
• What is your view of Jewry in the diaspora?
• How do you see the relationship with the State of Israel?

Jewgenij Singer had put these questions together. The two Presidents gave their views which showed up some of the different standpoints between USA and Europe.

Participants were particularly impressed by the talk by Stephan Kramer, General Secretary of the Central Committee of Jews in Germany. His subject was "Lobbying" and he emphasised the vital need for Jews to speak with one voice if one wished to achieve results.

The Havdala ceremony, led by John Reeves, and accompanied on the piano by Marina Lebenson, was particularly moving. Dinner was followed by party time on a party boat, "King Kameah Boat", with all sorts of music, including Israeli music, and entertainment, lasting well into the early hours. Despite the late night, everybody turned up next day at 11-30 for the concluding discussion which contained one important message: the number of participants for such a seminar – 50 people – is absolutely right to enable people to get to know each other and to establish worthwhile contact.

The weekend concluded with a fascinating sightseeing tour led by Rabbi Andrew Steinmann visiting old Jewish Frankfurt. The old ghetto of Frankfurt was the oldest of Europe and traces remain to this day.

GROUPE SEMINAIRE FRANKFORT
                                 A Happy Sightseeing Group

This was a seminar for young people, run by young people, who found the whole experience very worthwhile. The Frankfurt team has decided to repeat the exercise next year, again limiting the numbers to about 50. They deserve our appreciation and congratulations.

Summary of a report by Simone Hofmann

B'NAI B'RITH COMMEMORATES KRISTALLNACHT

B'nai B'rith pauses to recognize the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht—the Night of Broken Glass.

Across Germany and Austria on Nov. 9-10, 1938, at least 96 Jews were murdered; more than 1,000 synagogues were set on fire, nearly 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed, and countless community centers, libraries and homes were attacked, looted and destroyed. About 30,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

These horrific acts marked the beginning of the Nazi genocide against the Jews of Europe.

We must work to ensure the passing of time never undermines the memory of what occurred.

BRIDGES OF TOLERANCE IN ROMANIA

Bucharest, Romania - 20-22 October 2013 By Erika Van Gelder

The project Bridges of Tolerance was extremely well received by the Romanian public (Jews and most importantly by non-Jews), by the government, by the Romanian Parliament, by the Press and by National Television. None of this would have been possible without our brother, colleague and friend Jose Iacobescu, President of the Forumul Dr. Moses Rosen, Bucharest. His extensive network helped to open the doors of the Parliament, of the Ministry of Culture, of the Institute of Romanian Culture, of the Mayor of the city of Bucharest, of the General Director of the Romanian Athenaeum and of many others, too numerous to mention. These were the co-sponsors of the project. I must also mention the two Jewish organizations, the Federation of the Jewish Communities, Romania and the Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania "Elie Wiesel" who assumed the responsibility of organizing and sponsoring one workshop each.

The opening ceremony

The opening at the Romanian Athenaeum was amazing. If you are interested in a virtual tour you could go to: http:// tour.fge.org/ro. It seats 800 people and it was completely full. After opening speeches by Jose Iacobescu, by myself and by the President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament, Valeriu Zgonea, the Romanian Doctors Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of the Romanian Symphony performed for more than one hour. After the concert, champagne and hors d 'oeuvres were served for 800 people. The TV was also present and took interviews. The realization of such a grandiose event was made possible through the sponsorship of the Romanian Parliament, the Philharmonic Orchestra George Enescu, the Institute of Romanian Culture (among others). 

valeriu-zgonea-bucharest-oct-13
Valeriu Zgonea
   
There is a DVD about the whole event you can watch hereunder.
 


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B'NAI B'RITH EUROPE HONOURS CARDINAL SCHÖNBORN

by Prof. Erich Leitenberger, Press Officer

As a signal of close friendship between Christians and Jews, "the Menorah for outstanding humanitarian achievement" was presented to the Archbishop of Vienna.

CARDINAL SCHONBORN OCT.13

Vienna, 23rd October 2013. On Tuesday evening, the Palace of Vienna's Archbishop saw the festive presentation of the B'nai B'rith Europe "Menorah for outstanding humanitarian achievement" to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. The Archbishop was greatly moved by this honour from a Jewish organisation. "There are many things which we want in common," he said, "such as the respect for freedom, the respect for the religious beliefs of every person". In this context Schönborn said that the discussions concerning circumcision had perplexed him greatly since this was a matter of freedom of religion and therefore one of the pillars of every democratic state. There are also many things which Christians and Jews together do not want" the Cardinal stressed. "We do not want to see anti-Semitism raising its head again, we do not want to see people being despised, we do not want to see the spread of violence and intolerance and we do not want to see a repeat of what happened on 9th November 1938 when synagogues were burning in Vienna." His links to the Jewish community are a part of his family history, explained Schönborn. His mother brought him and his siblings up "with a great love of Judaism and of Israel". That is why he now wants to continue the work started by his predecessor Cardinal Franz König in his efforts to build bridges between the two religions. In conclusion, the Archbishop of Vienna recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah: "From Zion goes out the law" (Isa. 2,3). In the Ten Commandments the Menorah lights the way for all people.

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HOWARD JACOBSON AT JERUSALEM ADDRESS

Jews will never be forgiven the Holocaust says Booker Prize Winning Author in Jerusalem Address

HOWARD JACOBSON OCT.13
L.to R. Dr. Haim V. Katz, Chairman B'nai B'rith World Center, H.E. Matthew Gould, British Ambassador to Israel, Howard Jacobson,Alan Schneider, Director B'nai B'rith World Center.

Award-winning British writer and columnist Howard Jacobson delivered on October 7 the B'nai B'rith World Center 'Jerusalem Address' entitled "When will Jews be forgiven the Holocaust?" in Jerusalem. The event was chaired by B'nai B'rith World Center Chairman, Dr. Haim V. Katz and concluding remarks were made by British Ambassador H.E. Matthew Gould.

In his address, Jacobson argued that anti-Semites sought to deny the Holocaust and hid behind criticism of Israel, to both disguise and excuse the guilt of their anti-Jewish sentiment.

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Mass escape of Jews from Nazi-occupied Denmark

By Ellen Otzen BBC World Service

PHOTO I ART.MELCHIOR

Seventy years ago this month, an extraordinary mass escape happened from Nazi-occupied Denmark. Tipped off about German plans to deport them to concentration camps, almost the entire Jewish population - several thousand people - fled their homes and left the country.

As he stepped onto the fishing boat that was meant to carry them across the Baltic sea to safety, 14-year-old Bent Melchior feared he might never see his home again.

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B'NAI B'RITH CELEBRATES GERMAN JEWISH FOUNDERS

B'NAI B'RITH CELEBRATES ITS GERMAN JEWISH FOUNDERS WITH DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER
Organization Celebrates 170 Years of Service to the Jewish Community and the World

RUTH WESTHEIMER

B'nai B'rith International will celebrate its German Jewish founders at a 170th-anniversary event honoring Dr. Ruth Westheimer on Oct. 22. The event, sponsored by Lufthansa German Airlines, will be held at the German consulate in New York City and will recognize B'nai B'rith's 17-decades of service to the Jewish community and the world.

The 12 German Jewish immigrants who founded B'nai B'rith on Oct. 13, 1843, at Sinsheimer's Café on New York City's Lower East Side were dedicated to positive Jewish contributions in their new home. Now 170 years later, B'nai B'rith International continues this mission as the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. B'nai B'rith is dedicated to fighting for human rights, combating anti-Semitism, providing disaster relief, advocating for Israel and supporting seniors.

Westheimer, best known as "Dr. Ruth," was sent by her German Orthodox family to safety in Switzerland at the age of 10 to escape the Nazi genocide against the Jews. Her family, left behind in Germany, perished in the Holocaust. After years in an orphanage in Switzerland, Westheimer immigrated to Palestine at the age of 17, where she joined the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces and fought in Israel's War of Independence in 1948.

B'nai B'rith will present Westheimer with an award entitled: "For a Life's Career of the Betterment of Humanity Throughout the World."

B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs noted: "On our 170th anniversary, we pay tribute to our founders' commitment to the betterment of humanity by recognizing Dr. Ruth and her enduring spirit."
The event includes both Israel and Germany's consuls general in New York, Ido Aharoni and Busso von Alvensleben respectively.

"After 17 decades, we are still following the noble vision that the Jewish immigrant founders set out for this organization—working to make the world a better place," B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.

Program details: Reception at 6:30. Program at 7:30. Dessert Reception at 8:15.
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany.
871 United Nations Plaza (First Avenue between 48th and 49th streets), New York City.

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