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Obituary for Simone Veil

Obituary for Simone Veil

Obituary for Simone Veil JEWISH CULTURE 287 By Gilberte JACARET"It rests on the principles that you affirm and, against all…

 B'nai B'rith Europe Mourns the Loss of Shimon Peres

B'nai B'rith Europe Mourns the Loss of Shimon Peres

B’nai B’rith mourns the loss of Israeli elder statesman Shimon Peres, who died on Sept. 27 at the age of…

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…

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…

Working brunch with fellow Jewish organisations in renovated offices

Working brunch with fellow Jewish organisations in renovated offices

Yesterday, 1st October 2015, B'nai B'rith Europe held a working brunch in its renovated office with several organisations that were…

When a B'nai B'rith delegation meets with the Pope

When a B'nai B'rith delegation meets with the Pope

A multinational delegation of B'nai B'rith leaders met privately with Pope Francis on June 25 at the Vatican,the meeting came…

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…

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…

Bridges of Tolerance

Bridges of Tolerance

A report of the event in Romania 3-5 June 2015

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,…

Launch of Young Profesional group in the UK

Launch of Young Profesional group in the UK

Vice-President of BBE Valerie Achache attends the launch of the new 25 to 45 group.

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Welcome to the B'nai B'rith Europe website

Catholics should not try to convert Jews, Vatican says in landmark document

Pope francis

Catholics should not try to convert Jews and should work with them to fight anti-Semitism, the Vatican said Thursday in a major new document that drew the Church further from the strained relations with Judaism of the past.

The document, "A Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic-Jewish Relations," was issued by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and approved by Pope Francis. It says Christianity and Judaism are intertwined, and that God never annulled his covenant with the Jewish people.

"The Church is, therefore, obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views," it said.

"In concrete terms, this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed toward Jews," said the document, adding that there was a "principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission."

It also said Catholics should be particularly sensitive to the significance to Jews of the Holocaust and pledged "to do all that is possible with our Jewish friends to repel anti-Semitic tendencies."

"A Christian can never be an anti-Semite, especially because of the Jewish roots of Christianity," it said.

The document coincided with the 50th anniversary of a revolutionary Vatican statement that repudiated the concept of collective Jewish guilt for Jesus's death.

Until about 1960, prayers at Catholic Masses on Good Friday, the day commemorating the death of Jesus, labeled Jews "perfidious" and called for their conversion.

That prayer was eliminated from general use after the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council introduced a new missal, or prayer book used at Masses.

In 2008, former Pope Benedict further reformulated the prayer used by the traditionalists to remove language Jewish groups found offensive, such as "the blindness of that people."

Thursday's document said Catholics should "bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews," but that they should do so in "a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God's word..."

Rabbi David Rosen, the International Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, welcomed the new Vatican document.

Rosen and Dr. Edward Kessler of Cambridge University were invited to provide Jewish responses to the document following the approval of the document in the Vatican.

They joined Cardinal Kurt Koch and Father Norbert Hoffman, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, in addressing reporters.

"Nostra Aetate revolutionized Catholic teachings about Jews and Judaism," said Rosen.

"The new 'Reflection' document clearly repudiates replacement or supersessionist theology and expresses an increasing appreciation and respect for Jewish self-understanding, reflected in recognizing the place of Torah in the life of the Jewish people," said Rosen.

However, the rabbi expressed disappointment that the new document fails to acknowledge "the centrality that the Land of Israel plays in the historic and contemporary religious life of the Jewish people," and the groundbreaking role of Nostra Aetate in leading to the diplomatic accord between the Vatican and Israel.

"The establishment of full bilateral relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See – very much guided and promoted by Saint Pope John Paul II – was one of the historic highlights on the road since Nostra Aetate, reflecting more than anything else the fact that the Catholic Church had truly repudiated its portrayal of the Jewish people as condemned wanderers to be homeless until the final advent," Rosen said.

"Without Nostra Aetate, the establishment of these relations would surely not have been feasible," Rosen added.

He praised the new document's emphasis on the responsibility of educational institutions, particularly those that train priests to integrate into their curricula both Nostra Aetate and subsequent Holy See documents pertaining to Jews and Judaism.

"This remains the most notable challenge in taking the achievements from their Olympian heights down to the grassroots universally," he said.


JEWISH CULTURE 219 by Gilberte Jacaret

Israel unveils 1,700-year-old mosaic

The Roman-era mosaic, discovered during the building of the visitor center in Lod, opened for public viewing mid-November.

A 1,700-year-old mosaic floor uncovered in Lod was opened for public viewing for the first time on Monday. The mosaic was discovered during the building of a visitor center meant to display another mosaic that had been found in the same place 20 years ago.

The discovery is part of a villa that was revealed during excavations undertaken by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) between June and November 2014. The dig took place in Lod's Neve Yerek neighborhood which was originally, according to the IAA's director of the excavation Dr. Amir Gorzalczany, "part of a neighborhood of affluent houses that stood here during the Roman and Byzantine periods.


A portion of the 1,700-year-old mosaic uncovered in Lod. Photo : Israel Antiquities Authority)

"At that time Lod was called Diospolis and was the district capital, until it was replaced by Ramla after the Muslim conquest. The building was used for a very long time," Dr. Gorzalczany continued .

JC219 2

Archaeologists working on the mosaic in Lod. Photo : Israel Antiquities Authority)

JC219 3

A portion of the 1,700-year-old mosaic in Lod. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

The current excavations exposed the southern part of the complex that Dr. Gorzalczany is referring to. The finds include a large courtyard paved with a mosaic and surrounded by porticos, as well as portions of frescoes. According to Dr. Gorzalczany, "The quality of the images portrayed in the mosaic indicates a highly developed artistic ability."

The 11x13 meter mosaic will be available to view on Tuesday and Wednesday from 8am until 4pm and on Friday from 8am until 1pm.

Chanuka wishes from B'nai B'rith Antwerp

Hanouka sameah bb antwerp

Barouch Dayan Haemet: Our dear President Erika van Gelder has left us

We are deeply saddened to announce the parting of President of BBE Erika Van Gelder. All our thoughts and our prayers go to David, her husband, her daughters, Natalie and Sara, and her grand children.
She was a strong and determined woman, yet kind and very concerned for other people's well being.
She spent her life fighting against anti-Semitism and building bridges
She had a life live to the fullest.
She is, and will be sorely missed.
The funeral will take place on Sunday.

It started with some small incidents
"It's nothing, it's just a rogue",
They thought
Broken windows in Synagogues,
"Kids playing ball"
They thought...
Swastikas on Jewish tombs,
"They'll get those hooligans",
They thought...
Old men were beaten, young girls were raped
"It can't get any worst",
They prayed
Then, in the night the sirens blared
their names...
By dawn they were in Dante's flames.
Yet come the morrow,
Nothing was said and nothing was done...
Only the wind and smoke
Broke the silence
of their sorrow.

Erika van Gelder
Amsterdam, 22/5/2015


B’nai B’rith International and B'nai B'rith Europe are highly disconcerted that the European Union has approved and will soon publish guidelines that European countries can use to label Israeli products produced over the pre-1967 lines. The resolution introducing the guidelines was passed by the European Parliament in September and is an affirmation of the discriminatory goals of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

This latest anti-Israel measure rewards the Palestinians for their refusal to engage in constructive dialogue with Israel and puts off the possibility of resolution on this issue. It also encourages and reinforces the Palestinian narrative at a dire time when anti-Semitic incitement is thriving and there have been more than 60 knife, gun and car attacks on Israeli Jews.

The European Union would better spend its time encouraging Palestinians to get to the negotiating table, as these guidelines only prolong the process, rather than resolve it.

Also at play with this issue are the intellectual dishonesty and highly questionable intentions behind this decision. There are many other disputed regions in the world, but there is no movement to label products—making the double standard of this move apparent.

Congratulations to Gary P. Saltzman new president of B'nai B'rith International

B'nai B'rith Europe wishes to congratulate Gary P. Saltzman for his election by the Board of Governors as the new president of BBI.

Gary P. Saltzman, of Centennial, Colo., was elected president of B'nai B'rith International by the Board of Governors at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Saltzman immediately begins a three-year term leading the world's oldest and most widely known Jewish humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organization.

In 40 years as a member of B'nai B'rith International, Saltzman has demonstrated leadership and unwavering dedication at the local and international levels of the organization through an impressive range of roles and responsibilities.

"It is a unique privilege to add my name to the list of presidents who have served this venerable organization during its 172-year history," Saltzman said. "Throughout my decades of service to B'nai B'rith, I have been directly involved in all aspects of our core mission at the local and global levels: From advocating for human rights, to supporting Israel and fighting anti-Semitism, to speaking out for seniors and to providing aid to the victims of disasters. I am eager to honor the roots of this organization while advancing its mission in new ways."

In his recent capacity as chairman of the Executive Board of Directors, the No. 2 volunteer leadership position in the organization, Saltzman served as the direct liaison between staff and volunteers and represented B'nai B'rith in meetings around the world. Saltzman has dedicated his time, effort and attention to ensuring the international scope of B'nai B'rith clearly represents the core values that launched the organization and that generate respect around the world. World leaders welcome B'nai B'rith to meetings and seek our counsel because of our agenda and purpose. Saltzman notes: "This access allows us the opportunity to make a difference in the world; to be global agenda setters."

Saltzman has discussed the singular mistreatment of Israel at the United Nations directly with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He has been involved in one-on-one encounters with a wide variety of foreign ministers and presidents. He's traveled to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva to decry the chronic mischaracterization of Israel's human rights record. He was actively involved in the very special interfaith audience with Pope Francis to discuss attacks in the name of religion against Christians and Jews.

"Gary is a pro-active leader who turns ideas into action. His leadership, his command of the issues, his pragmatism and his embrace of change are essential characteristics for a successful president to advance the goals and ideals of our organization," B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. "I look forward to working closely with Gary."

Saltzman's leadership skills were flagged early in his B'nai B'rith work. In 1989 he was named a Label A. Katz Young Leadership Award winner, which is given to individuals under 45 who have demonstrated outstanding service to the totality of B'nai B'rith and have worked to achieve the goals of the B'nai B'rith Young Leadership program.

Over his years of service, Saltzman held numerous leadership positions, including president of the B'nai B'rith Denver lodge, president of the Western Frontier Region and president of B'nai B'rith District 2. Additionally, he was actively involved in the leadership of BBYO on behalf of B'nai B'rith International. He has served as a member of the international Board of Governors, and as a leader on such critical committees as the Futures Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and Budget Committee. He remains a member of the Denver Lodge board.

Professionally, Saltzman is a Certified Public Accountant with the Wenner Group, LLC and a registered investment advisor with Transitions Wealth Management, LLC.

Joining Saltzman are senior vice presidents Eric Engelmayer, Luxembourg; Shel Marcus, Morton Grove, Ill.; Sheila Mostyn, Toronto, Canada; Marvin Siflinger, Framingham, Mass.; Robert B. Spitzer, Seattle, Wash.; Eduardo Weinstein Gottlieb, Santiago, Chile; Treasurer A. Michael Gellman, Potomac, Md.; and re-elected Chief Justice William Peirez, Great Neck, N.Y.

Source: BBI press release

Jailing of a Jewish writer


Holocaust historians have hit out at the Austrian government after a Jewish writer, who catalogued the state's failure to return properties seized by the Nazis, was jailed in Vienna.

Stephan Templ, 54, has begun a one-year sentence for defrauding the state.

He was convicted in 2013 after omitting the name of an estranged aunt in an application on behalf of his mother for the return of property seized in 1938.

But legal experts said it was not his responsibility to find other heirs.

The lengthy case has drawn widespread condemnation amid allegations Austria has not done enough to return property looted under the Third Reich.

Historian Efraim Zuroff, renowned for his efforts at bringing Nazi war criminals to court, told the BBC on Tuesday the jailing of Templ was "absolutely outrageous".

Meanwhile, Templ's lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, described it as "outright injustice".

Vienna prosecutors have not commented on the case.

Templ, a leading critic of Austria's restitution record, caused controversy in Austria in 2011 with a book called Our Vienna: Aryanization Austrian-Style.

The book, co-written with historian Tina Walzer, documented properties in the Austrian capital - including apartment buildings, cinemas and even a ferris wheel - that were confiscated from their Jewish owners.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nazi soldiers and party members watch Jews being forced to scrub the pavements of Vienna in March 1938

One of the buildings was a sanatorium owned by Templ's relatives, Lothar Fuerth and his wife.

When Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany in March 1938, Lothar Fuerth was forced to clean the pavement in front of the hospital using toothbrushes as part of the mass persecution of Vienna's Jews. The couple later made their way back into the building and took their own lives.
Image caption Lothar Fuerth was made to clean the pavement outside the sanatorium

In 2006, Templ made a claim on behalf of his mother to a share of the property's value - but failed to specify the name of an aunt, who also had inheritance rights.

Templ told the Guardian: "Owing to the fact that the state stole the property from my family, the obligation should be on them to track down the relatives.

"My only obligation as far as I was concerned was to assure those deciding on the restitution that my mother's claim was bona fide."

Vienna's Regional Criminal Court originally sentenced him to three years in prison in 2013 after the government argued the aunt could have given her share over to the state. The sentence was later reduced to one year.

In September Austrian President Heinz Fischer rejected a request for clemency, saying the punishment was fair because the court had ruled that Templ had "damaged Austria" by his actions.
'Touched a nerve'

Critics have called the decision to jail the writer an "overreaction" and have suggested it may be linked to his criticism of the government's restitution record.

"A lot of people wanted revenge," said Mr Amsterdam, a leading human rights lawyer who defended Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

"A lot of people are angry at Stephan for the book."

Karl Pfeifer, a veteran Austrian journalist and a Holocaust survivor, has been quoted as saying: "The only reason Templ was prosecuted is that he touched a nerve with his book, which reminded the Austrians of how they stole Jewish property."

Speaking to the BBC after his client went to jail on Monday, Templ's lawyer described his shock that the jail sentence was being served.

"It was a difficult day for me not only as a lawyer but as a witness and a Jew," Mr Amsterdam said.

Templ revealed in his book that the ferris wheel in Vienna's Prater amusement park was seized from its Jewish owner who was killed at Auschwitz
Image copyright Getty Images
Templ revealed in his book that the ferris wheel in Vienna's Prater amusement park was seized from its Jewish owner who was killed at Auschwitz

Meanwhile Efraim Zuroff, one of 75 Holocaust historians who signed a letter urging the government to cancel the sentence, criticised Austria's handling of cases relating to the Third Reich - including the prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

"This a country that has a really very twisted way of dealing with Holocaust related issues," he said.

We invite all lodges to write to the local Austrian embassy.

Source: www.bbc.com

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