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BBE sponsors portable school shelter for elementary school in Israel

BBE sponsors portable school shelter for elementary school in Israel

During last summer’s Gaza conflict, the BBE executive committee organized a Solidarity trip to Israel. As part of the program,…

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Unveiling Ceremony of the plaque in memory of Erika van Gelder z"l

Unveiling Ceremony of the plaque in memory of Erika van Gelder z"l

On Sunday 3rd July, on the occasion of a reunion of the BBE Executive Committee and a visit from BBI executive, BBE…

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B’nai B’rith Meets with European Commission Coordinator to Combat Anti-Semitism

B’nai B’rith Meets with European Commission Coordinator to Combat Anti-Semitism

B'nai B'rith Europe President Daniel Citone, B'nai B'rith Europe Vice-President Valerie Achache and B'nai B'rith International Director of EU Affairs…

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A delegation of B'nai B'rith leads MEPS on a mission to Israël

A delegation of B'nai B'rith leads MEPS on a mission to Israël

B’nai B’rith International led several members of the European Parliament on a five-day visit to Israel. This trip promoted the…

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B'nai B'rith Young Professionals' Trip to Luxembourg

B'nai B'rith Young Professionals' Trip to Luxembourg

B'nai B'rith Europe and B'nai B'rith Young Professionals (BBYP) UK took a group of over 40 people to Luxembourg from…

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President of B’nai B’rith Europe visit in Auschwitz

President of B’nai B’rith Europe visit in Auschwitz

President of B'nai B'rith Europe visit in AuschwitzSerge Dahan, President of B'nai B'rith Europe and Member of the Executive Committee…

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Press Release B’nai B’rith Europe

Press Release B’nai B’rith Europe

B'nai B'rith Europe co-organised a conference in the European Parliament for the International Women's Day. B’nai B’rith Europe co-organised with…

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Welcome to the B'nai B'rith Europe website

MOURNING MASTER SERGEANT SHLOMI COHEN

B'nai B'rith Europe joins the Friends of the IDF mourn the loss of Master Sergeant Shlomi Cohen, who was killed on the Lebanese border on Sunday, December 15th. May his memory be blessed

IDF

FRANKFURT SCHÖNSTÄDT LODGE CELEBRATES 125TH ANNIVERSARY

At a Gala Dinner in Frankfurt on Sunday, 1st December 2013 the members of the Frankfurt Schönstädt Lodge, together with numerous guest personalities, looked back on the illustrious history of B'nai B'rith in Frankfurt and, indeed, in Germany.

B'nai B'rith was founded in New York in1843 by German Jewish immigrants, but it was not until 1882 that the first Lodge was formed in Germany itself, in Berlin. Six years later, in 1888, a B'nai B'rith Lodge was formed in Frankfurt, the 20th to be created in Germany. Its President was Charles Hallgarten. The objectives of the founders were that the lodge should be the centre of the spiritual life of its members, that it should care for their welfare and that it should work towards strengthening the Jewish community. This remains the central objective of the Frankfurt Lodge to this day.

FRANKFURT LODGE

The Lodge grew in importance and numerous leading personalities were initiated. It created a body to fight against anti-Semitism (already a growing problem in 1890), it defended the interests of Jews being persecuted in Russia and Romania, and it created the basis of what was later to become the central Jewish charitable organisation in Germany.

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OPENING INTERNATIONAL LODGE IN ISRAEL

The New International Don Isaac Abravanel Lodge opens in Israel

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BRIDGES OF TOLERANCE IN SLOVAKIA

Bratislava, Slovakia, 2nd December 2013

by Eva Salnerová, President of B'nai B'rith Tolerancia Bratislava
On December 2, B´nai B´rith Tolerance in Bratislava, Slovakia hosted the Bridges of Tolerance (MOSTY TOLERANCIE) project. The event took place in the old historic building of Pisztory Palace which was confiscated in the past by the Communist government and turned into Lenin´s Museum. Among the invited guests was the Senior Vice-president of B'nai B'rith Europe, Erika van Gelder. The first event was a discussion entitled „Bridges of Tolerances versus Antisemitism". The guests were prominent personalities from Slovak political and cultural life. Member of Parliament and head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, František Šebej; a historian specializing on the war-time Slovak State, Ivan Kamenec, and a political analyst and director of the Institute of Public Affairs, Grigorij Mesežnikov. The moderator of the debate was Ľuba Lesná, a writer and journalist, member of B'nai B'rith Tolerance.

                                             SEBEJ               KAMENEC

                                                         Frantisek Sebej                                                        Ivan Kamenec

The discussion focused on the increasing number of antisemitic incidents across Europe, its manifestations, causes, consequences. Kamenec quoted pieces of legislation and statements during the Holocaust in Slovakia and drew parallels with the situation in Slovakia. Mesežnikov offered results of a survey dealing with attitudes to the Jews, stressing that hatred and intolerance of Jewish people has had a growing tendency all over the Europian Union. Šebej highlighted the fact that intolerance of Jews often hides behind anti-Israel sentiments.

In the evening a monodrama written by BB Tolerance member Ľuba Lesná was based on the story of Mahler´s niece Alma Rose who was a prisoner in Auschwitz concentration camp. It was followed by a presentations by two leading experts, Ján Vyhnánek and Adrian Rajter. Vyhnánek presented photographs and stories about Jewish musical life in Bratislava and Rajter, musician and son of a well known Slovak musician recalled the work and life of his father and his Jewish contemporaries.

The audience included many personalities from Bratislava cultural and social life. They showed great interest and took an active part in our event.

We would like to thank B'nai B'rith Europe, but especially Erika van Gelder for initiating the project. We would also like to express our appreciation to our sponsors the Hilleel Lodge Amsterdam and the Lodge from Copenhagen.

B'NAI B'RITH MOURNS THE LOSS OF NELSON MANDELA


NELSON MANDELA

B'nai B'rith is saddened by the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who will be remembered as one of the 20th century's leading figures and the man who led the transformation of his country from one of apartheid to majority rule.

Mandela, 95, died after years of failing health. Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was the first democratically elected president in post-apartheid South Africa, holding the position from 1994 to 1999.

As president, Mandela worked to create a multicultural society after years of minority rule. His new government in post-apartheid South African wrote a new constitution, investigated human rights abuses by the previous regime, tackled the issue of racism in his country and focused on helping the poor and disenfranchised.

EUROPEAN DAY OF JEWISH CULTURE IN BELGRADE

European Day of Jewish Culture 2013 in Belgrade

Article by Branko Snap, President of the B'nai B'rith Lodge Serbia

For the seventh time, the B'nai B'rith Lodge of Serbia organized and funded the celebration of the European Day of Jewish Culture. This year it was a concert given by the Jewish Chamber Orchestra and the Serbian-Jewish Choral Society of Baruch Brothers.

The Jewish Chamber Orchestra was founded in 2012 by Professor Ladislav Mezei in cooperation with the B'nai B'rith Lodge Serbia of which he is a member. The orchestra members are Jewish professional musicians and their friends. The orchestra is established with the aim to show to its environment the music of Jewish and non-Jewish composers who wrote on Jewish themes. Performances are related to the tradition, culture and history of the Jewish community of Serbia as part of Jewish Europe.

The Serbian-Jewish Choral Society Baruch Brothers from Belgrade was founded by the Jewish Community of Belgrade in 1879 as the Serbian Jewish Choral Society. After the Second World War, in 1952, the society renewed its work, adding to its name the memory of the three brothers from the Baruch family from Belgrade who perished in the Holocaust. It is believed to be the oldest active Jewish choir in the world, constantly performing both at home and abroad.

This year's concert was given at the Kolarac University, Belgrade's most prestigious concert hall. It was attended by over 800 people including the representatives of the Republic of Serbia, City of Belgrade, foreign embassies, celebrities and other public figures. All of the concerts have been free of charge.

Members of other lodges of B'nai B'rith Europe can enjoy this concert by watching the video hereunder




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

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