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NEWS of the Lodges

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.


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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Written by Barbara Nathan
Photos by Brian Nathan
Following a long-standing tradition, B'nai B'rith First Lodge welcomed Chief Rabbi designate Ephraim Mirvis into its membership, as it had done with the previous incumbents of this key role in the UK and Commonwealth.

In the presence of a large gathering of B'nai B'rith members representing many lodges, Rabbi Mirvis was inducted into the 103-year old premier lodge during a ceremony hosted at Norrice Lea Synagogue in London's Hampstead Garden Suburb, on Tuesday 23rd July.


SPAIN - Barcelona

Teaching the Holocaust in schools

 Left to right : Yessica Sanroman, Department Holocaust & anti-Semitism Sefarad-Israel Centre in Madrid, Marlemy Colmenares, Director Education Promotion at the Municipal Institute for Education, Manuel Medeiros, Manager of the Municipal Institute for Education,
Dr. Simon Emergui, President of the Nahmanides Lodge of Barcelona

The lack of knowledge about Jews and the ignorance of the Holocaust in Spain (that is not included in the official school curriculums) is a cause for concern of the Nahmanides Lodge of Barcelona. Spain was a “Judenfrei” country from the 15th to the 20th centuries, first because of the expulsion of the Jews and later because of the Inquisition.
During the Second World War the Fasciste regime in power for 40 years, pronounced itself “neutral” while maintaining a State Religion that presented a negative image of anything that concerned Judaism and the State of Israel.


B'nai B'rith France is supporting four students of the Bar-Ilan Medical Faculty in Galileo
Esther Eberstark, Erez Grinbaum, Nir Hochwald et Ronit Witztum extend their thanks to the Sisters and Brothers of B'nai B'rith France
My name is Esther Eberstark-Landau.
loge1"I am married and mother to two wonderful boys.
In Belgium I studied Optometry, but due to our leaving for Israel I stopped after the second year. Here, I decided it was time to achieve my real dream and become a physician.
I witnessed from close how a friend's daughter was saved by heart surgery at a very young age and that was my point of realization that my future will hopefully be in cardiology.
Without the support of donors it would have been much more difficult to be able to study, work and care for my family"

My name is Erez Grinbaum
loge2"I am a first-year medical student in a four-year program at Bar-Ilan University School of Medicine in Safed campus. I'm 27 years old and I'm writing this letter to express my deepest thanks for your recent donation to Bar-Ilan University's Medical School. Generous gifts from donors like you provide financial and moral support needed to continue towards our goal to become a professional in the medical field".

My name is Nir Hochwald.
"I am married to Hila and we have four children. I earned my bachelor's degree at Ben Gurion University in Emergency Medicine (Paramedic)
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support that helps me study medicine at Bar-Ilan University"

My name is Ronit Witztum
loge3"I am glad to have the opportunity to thank you personally for your generosity. Without donors like you, many students would be unable to pursue the career of their dreams.
I am originally from Haifa. I earned both a BSc and an MSc in Biology from the Technion - Israel institute of Technology.
My future plans include pursuing a career in neurosurgery. I am very interested in the human brain"

Report from José Iacobescu
On March 18th, 2013, at the Presidential Palace, the president of Romania, H.E. Mr. Traian Basescu, decorated a number of leaders of the Jewish Community, personalities of the European Rabbinate and people of art and culture.
During his speech at the decoration ceremony at the Cotroceni Palace, the president of Romania said: „Those whom I have decorated today are leaders of the community, people who are equally involved in supporting the community's cause as well as in supporting Romania. Those are the people I wish to thank, on behalf of all the Romanians, for their attachment towards this country. These are individuals who did nothing more than being good citizens of the Romanian state or fair sustainers of the Romanian state. Today's ceremony is not dedicated only to those who did something for their community, for Romania and our culture but at the same time it is also a symbol of my respect for a community who knew how to forgive."



Henri Jones - Brussels

Article by Joëlle Perelberg (translation Aline Brandon)

News 01.13e

H.E. Mr Jacques Revah, Israeli Ambassador in Brussels and Ms. Revah, Mr Gregory Berkowitsch

In collaboration with the European Sephardic Institute, the Henri Jones Lodge in Brussels organised a "Book Fair » on November 25th, 2012, with the profit for Meir Panim, a charitable organisation for needy children.The Fair took place in the prestigious premises of the Art & Glass Gallery, Place du Grand Sablon, kindly offered to the organisers by its Director, Mr. Gregory Berkowitsch. Surrounded by a beautiful collection of paintings by Calder, Magritte, Delvaux, Picasso, Folon, Chilida etc. and by some exceptional pieces of glass and crystal, 25 French and Belgian writers, including Rabbi Guigui, Chief Rabbi of Belgium, presented their books. Such a Fair is an opportunity for the public to meet and discuss with the authors, buying their books while doing a « mitswa », since the profits were earmarked for this charity. The contribution of the well-known bookshop "Filigranes" greatly helped the success of the sales. About 500 visitors came to the event to meet the authors of books on many subjects such as Judaism, Israel, history, novels and contemporary poetry. Notable visitors to the Fair were H.E. Mr. Revah, Israeli Ambassador to Belgium and his wife as well as Baron Julien Klener, President of the Belgian Jewish Council.

The success of this venture will allow for a significant contribution to be made in favour of needy children in Israel.

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