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NEWS - Lodges and B'nai B'rith updates

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During a ceremony held on March 5th at the Palais d'Egmont in Brussels, in the presence of Prince Philip of Belgium, President Shimon Peres presented 22 Belgian citizens with the diploma and medal of « Righteous Among the Nations »
 

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Jerusalem Winner Marathon

Mrs. Miri Ziv, Israel Cancer Association Director General, and Mrs. Tamar Safar of Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, started the runners in the Jerusalem "Winner" Marathon. This highly popular event is coordinated by the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) in collaboration with the Jerusalem Municipality and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank.
 
The beautiful weather, the breathtaking Jerusalem landscape and the 3.000 cheerful participants – cancer patients, survivors, families, teenagers, schoolchildren and soldiers – all helped to create a memorable event. Among the runners were some members of the "Yad Lehachlama" (Reach to Recovery) cancer support group, breast cancer survivors who support those diagnosed with the disease, and included the very enthusiastic 82 year old volunteer Naomi.
 
Guest of Honour at this third International Jerusalem Marathon was Professor Bikles a senior Director of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre and a consultant to the ICA.
 
For more information about ICA, please contact:
Ms. Noëmie Rubinsztejn, International Relations Coordinator
Tel.: +972-3-572.16.58 - E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
Briefing Note on the visit to Brussels of the President of the State of Israel
 
Shimon Peres President Shimon Peres will be visiting Brussels from today until Thursday, March 7. This State visit will be addressed both to Belgium and to the European Union Institutions and representatives.
 
On Tuesday, President Peres will be meeting Belgian Officials and President Peres will honour the 22 Belgian Righteous Among the Nations at the Palais d'Egmont in the presence of Jacques Revah, Ambassador of the State of Israel to Belgium, Prince Philippe of Belgium and Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders. President Peres will be speaking later in the evening at the Royal Academy of Belgium. Among other speakers at this event Mr. Peter De Crem, Belgian Minister of Defense.
 
Wednesday and Thursday will be dedicated to the European Union Institutions – the European Parliament, the European Commission the European Council and NATO. President Peres will be opening an exhibition on the Saving of Bulgarian Jews in the European Parliament, and will be meeting President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy and NATO Secretary General, Anders Rasmussen. On Thursday, President Peres will be giving a conference with President José Manuel Barroso on Business for Peace at the European Commission. President Peres will be returning to the European Parliament to address the European Parliament Plenary Session on Tuesday March 12 in Strasbourg.
 
President Peres will be discussing the issue of Hezbollah, the peace process and Iran and in a different context to discuss the role of global companies in changing the social landscape in the Middle East.
 
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On Sunday, 3rd February 2013 a plaque was unveiled jointly by Frank Honigbaum, Maurice's son, and Ralph Hofmann, President of B'nai B'rith Europe. The unveiling ceremony took place in the Executive meeting room in the presence of members of the Honigbaum family and the members of the BBE Executive.
 
Frank spoke eloquently about his father's life. Maurice was born in Warsaw in 1923 into a middle-class family, in the hosiery business, an orthodox Jewish family with strong Zionist tendencies. Maurice's father and mother each had ten brothers and sisters and six of these families survived by emigrating to France, Portugal, Belgium and Palestine. Maurice's parents emigrated to Metz in 1929 following two brothers who had moved there earlier.
 
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Maurice quickly integrated into French Jewish life, becoming a keen Boy Scout (EIF). During the war he and his parents moved to Montpellier and there, with the Jewish Scouts, became involved in rescuing Jewish children, helping them to cross into Switzerland near Geneva. One of these children was Elie Wiesel.
 
Maurice remained in Geneva in 1944, studied at the University there, met his wife, Rachel and married her in 1946. After obtaining a degree in sports, Maurice worked for the children's rescue organisation OSE in Strasbourg and in Brittany.
 
After returning to Metz to help his parents he became closely involved in fund raising for the new state of Israel and also with the local Jewish community. Frank and his sister were born in Metz. In 1959 he moved to Nice for business reasons and became an active member of the fast growing Jewish community where he founded a union of Jewish organisations in the city with the aim of creating more weight in his dealings with the city authorities. He remained President of this organisation for ten years and a member of CRIF for over 20 years.
 
He joined B'nai B'rith in the mid 1960's, later becoming President of the Cote d'Azur Lodge. He was elected President of District 19 in Monte Carlo.
 
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"When I think of my father"says Frank, "I remember a man of action. Whenever a Jew was in pain, or threatened, he felt involved. And above all, the survival of the State of Israel was absolutely essential. It is very difficult to say how special he was to me, he was my father, and that means all".
 
Story by Ernest Simon
 
"What can you remember of the train journey?"
 
"How did you feel when you were saying good-bye to your parents?"
 
"Did you know why your parents sent you away?"
 
"Do you hate the Germans?"
 
These were just a few of the many questions which I had to answer after my talk on the last day of the annual Northwood Holocaust Memorial Day Events between end January and early February.
 
I spoke of my personal memories of the Kindertransport to an audience of about 120 teenage boys and girls, aged between 16 and 18, from Goffs School in Hertfordshire. My talk started with some information about my origins in Eisenstadt, Austria, well known as a place which welcomed Jews from the 17th Century onwards primarily because of the influence of the Esterhazy family. Eisenstadt had its ghetto, with a chain at each entrance to the ghetto to maintain the peace and calm of the Sabbath Day. Our life as relatively orthodox Jews in Eisenstadt was comfortable.
 
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The Anschluss of March 1938 changed all that. The Nazi's objective was to rid Eisenstadt of all Jews and in September 1938 we were compelled to leave our home and belongings and move to a small rented flat in the 2nd District of Vienna – the "Jewish area" – from where my father tried to obtain a visa for either the USA or Palestine or England. The events of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, added urgency, so that when the opportunity arose of sending me to England on a Kindertransport, my parents were faced with this incredibly difficult decision – do we send him and risk never seeing him again or do we keep him with us and risk his fate at the hands of the Nazis? I was 8 years old and in January of 1939 I was taken to the Vienna Westbahnhof and put on a train to England. My wife and I have often wondered whether we would have had the courage to take such a step with our eight year old son.
 
Happily my story, unlike that of so many other Kindertransport children who never saw their parents again, had a happy conclusion. My parents together with my younger brother managed to get to England one month later and we were re-united as a family by 1941, after my father was interned on the Isle of Man for a year, after my brother and I lived with (very kind) foster parents and then in a hostel for refugee boys. We were alive and had every reason to be grateful to the British government which had allowed in some 10.000 children from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia at a time when the rest of the so-called civilised world – USA, Canada, Australia, etc. – turned their backs on the plight of European Jews.
 
Tuesday January 29th saw the start of the thirteenth annual Northwood Holocaust Memorial Day Events, which now takes place over five days. It is organised jointly by Northwood United Synagogue (NUS) and Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS) and has the support of their respective Rabbis, Rabbi Moshe Freedman (NUS) and Rabbis Andrew and Aaron Goldstein (NPLS).
This is the largest event of its kind and it continues to grow each year. For the first time the events were extended for an additional day in Northwood to enable smaller workshops and to accommodate 2300 students from 40 schools in the London Borough of Harrow, Hertfordshire County Council and the London Borough of Hillingdon. This is a 20% increase in participants in these unique sessions and brings the total to over 28000 students who have attended these events since its inception.
 
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On the first day at NUS, students from Watford Grammar Boys School, Berkhamstead and John Lyon, Harrow, heard from Harry Spiro who survived the horrors of the "death march", while at NPLS students from Emmbrook School, Wokingham heard of Bob Kirk's and his wife, Ann's, escape from Germany on the Kindertransport after that pogrom that became known as Kristallnacht.
 
At all sessions students participate in a workshop which enables them to form a valuable link between the historical facts about the Holocaust and its impact on contemporary issues such as racism, discrimination, bullying, persecution and citizenship. The timing of this year's event marks the seventieth anniversary of what was probably the peak of the Holocaust, a year after the Nazis decided on the "Final Solution" at Wannsee in January 1942 and before the War turned decisively against them at the battle of Kursk in 1943.
By taking inspiration from the past, celebrating difference and ensuring respect for all people we can "Build a Bridge" in our communities and help to create a safer, better future.
 
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Ziggy Schipper, together with, from l. to r. the Mayor of Harrow, Chairman of Watford Council, Rabbi Moshe Freedman, the Mayor of Hertsmere and the Mayor of Hillingdon
 
I had spoken on previous occasions about my Kindertransport experiences, both to adult organizations such as Rotary Clubs and also to schools under the auspices of the Holocaust Education Trust, but this was my first time as one of the speakers of the annual Northwood event. The experience is memorable from a number of points of view:
- There is a calm efficiency about the team of volunteers and facilitators
- They are absolutely devoted to the cause of Holocaust education
- The students are totally absorbed in what they hear and ask excellent questions
- This is an operation run jointly by Northwood United Synagogue and Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue.
 
After each talk and question session, the pupils are handed a postcard and asked to address a few words to the speaker whom they have just heard, expressing their thoughts and feelings about the subject. What they have to say is generally very instructive. Here are a few such cards chosen at random.
 
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I hope that I shall have the opportunity of being part of this for many years to come.
  

BOOK FAIR

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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