Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

June's People

By: Gad Nahshon

Senator George J. Mitchell said at the Tanenbaum Center's recent press conference that 80% of the population of Northern Ireland supported his Good Friday agreement. He explained that the new problems originated in the inability of the Irish leaders to follow the details of the agreement.

He explained that the churches over there cannot play a role of third party. His agreement was not executed. Father Alex Reid, who attended this meeting, expressed deep pessisism as to the ability to solve the problem and bring lasting peace to Northern Ireland.

Senator George J. Mitchell, Howard P. Milstein, RW Dr. Roy Magee and Father Alex Reid received awards by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in an armory which took place April 14, 1999 at the Park East Synagogue. This center was established by Georgette Bennett in order to preserve the legacy and heritage of a pioneer in brotherhood of man, Rabbi Marc Tennebaum.

The idea of this ceremony was to award these leaders who have contributed to the peace in Northern Ireland. Many celebrities participated in this prestigious ceremony: John Roberts, the M.C. of the evening who replaced Dan Rather, John E. Zuccotti, William J. Flynn, Bill Moyers, who lectured on this evening about "Reflections on the Millenium."

The Reassional Emerald Society Pipe Bank and the Memorial Baptist Church Ministry Choir contributed to the success of this ceremony. Among the guests were: David Dinkins, Marc Green, Sister Rose, Bary Robinson, Rabbi Arthur Schnier and Israel's Consul General, Shmuel Siso. Dr. Georgette F. Bennett, Rabbi Tanenbaum's wife has dedicated her life for brotherhood and she fosters interreligious understanding in order to prevent conflicts.

The number of those activists who devote their life to the survival of the Yiddish culture in America has been increased in the last decade. The epitome of this trend is the success of the new International Associations of Yiddish Clubs (IAYC).

Among the patriots are: Melvin Rogov, Sabell Bender, Morrie Feller, Professor Henny Lewin, Dr. Louis Friedhandler, Professor Eugene Orenstein and many others who carry the torch of the Yiddish heritage into the next century.

Israel's national singer, Ran Ebran, sang about the founder of modern Zionism and the World Zionist Congress, Benjamin Zeev Herze, at the Annual Award Dinner of B'nai Zion, a 90 year old Zionist organization in America which has followed the heritage of Herze and had dedicated its energies to support the State of Isreal.

Its Executive Director is "Mr. B'nai Zion," Mr. Mel Parness and its President, Alan Hevesi, the New York City Comptroller (and perhaps the next mayor of New York City. The dinner took place recently at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan.

In the ceremony, the followin celebrities received awards: Ruth Popkin and Congresswoman Nita Lowey. The following celebrities spoke and praised the winners as well as the unique achievements of B'nai Zion: Raymond Pat, Michael Lazar, Honorable Alan Hevesi, Ambassador Shmuel Siso and Senator Charles Schumer.

Many guests enjoyed the event, among them: Hadassah's President, Merelin Post, Zionist activist, Moshe Dvorkin, Ambassador Moshe Peer and his wife, Danny Uziel and Ruth Goodman, the directors of the Israeli Dance Institute in New York City, and many other dignitaries. In memorium: a moment of silence for the late B'nai Zion executive: Edna Maadazzi

"The division inside the Israeli society is very dangerous to the well-being of the country. We need a united front since we still do not have peace in the Middle East," said General (Ret.) Avigdor Kahalany, Israel's Minister of Domestic Security (Police) who was recently the guest of honor of a Friday Dinner which was organized by the Jewish-Yemenite Federation of North America.

The guests prayed, sang and enjoyed the Yemenite homemade dishes of Habait restaurant in Queens. It was a beautiful Yemenite-style event.

All of the participants praised the achievements of General Kahalany and expressed support. They should help him to be elected on May 17, 1999 again to the Knesset. We need him over there!

Among the prestigious guests who attended the event: Dr. Afraim Isak, "Afi" Nagar, Benny and Hanna Levy, Dalia Krinsky, Yoel Sharaby, Yuhai Azany, Danny Vahab and many other friends and celebrities.

The following is a letter which was sent to the Honorable Madeline K. Albright by New York Senators Charles Schumer and Daniel P. Moynihan.

"It is now almost seventeen years since Zachary Baumel, a citizen of the United States serving in the Israeli military forces, was taken prisoner in the June, 1982 battle of Sultan Ya'akub in Lebanon. The fate of Mr. Baumel remains uncertain to this day as does the fate of Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, Israeli soldiers captured in the same battle, and Ron Arad, an Israeli pilot captured in 1986.

We write in response to recurrent reports that the State Department and United States intelligence agencies may have information pertaining to the capture and status of these Israeli MIAs.

We understand that the Baumel family has made repeated requests to inspect these files and we hope that a procedure can be established to allow a full and comprehensive review to allay the fear that these files might hold crucial evidence that might help bring closure to these cases.

Congressman Martin Frost (TX-24) today was appointed by Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, the governing body of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Council is comprised of 55 Presidential Appointees and 10 Members of Congress, 5 from the House and 5 from the Senate.

Frost previously serviced on the Council in the 103rd Congress. Frost is currently Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and ranks third in the House Democractic Leadership, making him the highest ranking Jewish Member ever to serve in the House of Representatives.

"I am deeply honored by the appointment to the Holocaust Memorial Council," said Front. "I intend to be a strong steward of this vital Memorial insure it continues its essential mission of educating current and future generations about the tragedy of the Holocaust."

"Yad Vesham" or the Israeli Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority is looking for new data and facts about each Jew who died in the Shoa era. It disseminated a special form called "page of testimony" for its holy hall of names.

Dr. Yoseph Burg is the International Council Chairman of "Yad Vashem", Dr. Yitshaq Arad is the Vice Chairman. The Director General is Ishi Amrani. The "Boss" of Yad Vashem is Avner Shalev.

Also at the "top" are: Yohanan Blin, Professor Yehuda Baur and Professor Israel Gutman. Lisa Davidson reported about the new project:

"A mega-database of the names of Holocaust victims, a central pool for the jewish people and the entire world is set to become a reality on Yad Vashem's computer system, or ultimately, on the internet.

Until now that has been a distant ambition, but can now become reality. To be able to track the final journeys of lost generations by piercing together events in their lives as the were cruelly persecuted by the Nazis will also be an achievable goal.

The preparatory stages of this scenario are those accounting belonging specifically to victims of Nazi persecution during the Holocaust.

The $8 million implementation costs of the project have been funded by the Swiss Bankers' Association along with various Jewish organizations, Israel Singer, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, Zvi Barak, former World Jewish Restitution Organization Co- Chair; and Jewish Agency and World Jewish Restitution Organization Chair, Avraham Burg have pledged themselves to active involvement in the project to ensure that ultimately justice are playing an active role.

Most of the 3 million names willhave been computerized by the end of March 1999, and the matching, to be carried out in Switzerland, should be completed towards the middle of the year when it is anticipated that up to 15,000 accounts will have been located, giving encouragement to heirsand survivors.

Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Directorate, has maintained that Yad Vashem will do all it can, in its capacity as the central point of memorialization to the victimes of the Holocaust, to hasten the completion of the project with...

A new successs to the Camera Theater's Executive Director and its artistic director, Omri Nitsan: Many Israelis are going to see the new play by Israel's greatest internationally acclaimed playwright, Hanoch Levin.

The name of the play is "Ashkava." The Israeli critics praised the play which was also directed by Levin who suffers from poor health. Some defined the new play as a new holiday for the Israeli theater, a new poetry. The stars of this play which has a universal message are the two veterans of the Hebrew stage:

Zaharina Harifai and Joseph Carmon. But others, such as Gali Amrani (the "Horse") acted in a superb manner. The thesis of this play is: "we made a terrible mistake. We wasted our life on nonsense and now itstoo late...."

"We must never forget those righteous gentiles who risked their lives in order to save Jews during the darkest age of Europe," said Israel's Ambassador, Shmuel Siso, Consul General in New York, in a ceremony for Yom Hashoa which took place in Manhattan.

Siso came to honor Anna Block and Miron Svisch who saved jews in the Holocaust. Siso awarded them in the name of Israel and Yad Vashem wish special medals. Tatiana Gutkina accepted the medal on behalf of Miron Svisch and told his story of heroism in Odessa and Henry Lazowski accepted the medal on behalf of Anna Block.

Many people came to this official ceremony which was MC'd by Consul Ofra Farhi. The event was organized by Rafi Gamzou, Consul for Cultural Affairs. Chagit Glazer played the cello and Magda Fishman sang the famous song of Mordecai Gvirtig "Es Brent" ("The Shtitle is Burning").

The documentary "Because of That War" wa screened at the end of the ceremony. It is about the life of the famous Israeli singer Yehuda Poliker whose father from Salonica, Greece, lost his family in the Holocaust. "I am the only survivor out of my family of 50 people," the father said.

When describing his story during the Holocaust, the father also said that often the victims cry out: "Where is our God? Where is our God? But God did not save us, men, women and children, all perished in Auschwitz. I think that God then was not Jewish, he wa a goi." It is a great film because its goal is also to discuss the survivors and their Israeli-born children, the second generation in Israel.

One of the most important groups in the field of Jewish music is the legendary Klezmer Bank, The Klezmatics.

Recently, The Klezmatics performed at the Bottom Line Club in the Village. And, as usual, it was a special celebration for the New Yorkers, Jews and Gentiles alike.

The Klezmatics play soul-stirring Jewish roots music, performing klezmer with a modern edge and a reverential joy. The band has uplifted sold-out audiences around the world since 1986.

In recent years, The Klezmatics have collaborated with artists from Itzhak Perlman to the Master Musicians of Jajouca to Ben Folds Five. The Village Voice calls The Klezmatics "New York's greatest party band: raucous, impatient, sexy, full of surprises" and Time Out New York wrote, "nothing has ever been more New York than The Klezmatics.

The Klezmatics have most recently teamed up with the Israeli vocalist Chava Alberstein.

Betty Friedan and Grace Paley were the guests of Yale University's four day conference entitled: "Cherut: Jewish Women and Freedom." They discussed with 200 participants such topics as "Women in the Jewish Resistence During the Holocaust" or: "A 21st Century Agenda for the Israeli Feminist Movement." Also, a tribute to Bella Abzug took place over there.

Many American Jewish organizations such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles expressed satisfaction from a British precedent: Anton Sawoniuk, a Nazi war criminal from Byelorusia was convicted in London of murdering Jews during the 1940's. Sawoniuk emigrated to Britain afer the war.

He denied the charges but a witness who saw the criminal in action, a murder of a Jewish woman, influenced the British jury to convict Sawoniuk. The defendant told him then to keep him to bury the victim's body. The witness was then only 12 years old but the jury believed him and accepted his testimony. Sawoniuk is the first Nazi criminal who was convicted in Britain.

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