Full Text JBuzz Transcripts April 30, 2014: President Barack Obama Announces May As Jewish American Heritage Month

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President Obama Announces May As Jewish American Heritage Month

Source: JP Updates, 4-30-14‎

President Barack Obama issued Wednesday a Presidential proclamation announcing the month of May as the Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM).

 

A national month of recognition of the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture, JAHM acknowledges the achievements of American Jews in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service.

For thousands of years, the Jewish people have sustained their identity and traditions, persevering in the face of persecution. Through generations of enslavement and years of wandering, through forced segregation and the horrors of the Holocaust, they have maintained their holy covenant and lived according to the Torah. Their pursuit of freedom brought multitudes to our shores, and today our country is the proud home to millions of Jewish Americans. This month, let us honor their tremendous contributions — as scientists and artists, as activists and entrepreneurs. And let all of us find inspiration in a story that speaks to the universal human experience, with all of its suffering and all of its salvation.

This history led many Jewish Americans to find common cause with the Civil Rights Movement. African Americans and Jewish Americans marched side-by-side in Selma and Montgomery. They boarded buses for Freedom Rides together, united in their support of liberty and human dignity. These causes remain just as urgent today. Jewish communities continue to confront anti-Semitism — both around the world and, as tragic events mere weeks ago in Kansas reminded us, here in the United States. Following in the footsteps of Jewish civil rights leaders, we must come together across all faiths, reject ignorance and intolerance, and root out hatred wherever it exists.

In celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month, we also renew our unbreakable bond with the nation of Israel. It is a bond that transcends politics, a partnership built on mutual interests and shared ideals. Our two countries are enriched by diversity and faith, fueled by innovation, and ruled not only by men and women, but also by laws. As we continue working in concert to build a safer, more prosperous, more tolerant world, may our friendship only deepen in the years to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2014 as Jewish American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to visit http://www.JewishHeritageMonth.gov to learn more about the heritage and contributions of Jewish Americans and to observe this month, the theme of which is healing the world, with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

JBuzz News April 10, 2014: National Library of Israel acquires rare Montefiore Haggadah

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National Library of Israel acquires rare Montefiore Haggadah

Source: Baltimore Jewish Times, 4-10-14

The National Library of Israel has acquired a rare Passover Haggadah that once belonged to well-known philanthropist Moses Montefiore, Israel Hayom reported…READ MORE

JBuzz News February 26, 2014: So What is Post Holocaust American Judaism?

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So What is Post Holocaust American Judaism?

Source: Boulder Jewish News, 2-26-14

The Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder together with the Department of Religious Studies and Naropa University are beginning a series of events that will examine Post Holocaust American Judaism, which is quickly becoming….READ MORE

JBuzz News January 21, 2014: UNESCO exhibit on Jewish ties to Israel rescheduled for June

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UNESCO exhibit on Jewish ties to Israel rescheduled for June

Source: Times of Israel, 1-21-13

UNESCO's Director General Irina Bokova poses with the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Marvin Hier and a poster for the exhibit on the Jewish people's 3,500 connection to the land of Israel which she subsequently cancelled. (photo credit: Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center)

UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova poses with the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier and a poster for the exhibit on the Jewish people’s 3,500-year connection to the land of Israel, which she subsequently cancelled. (photo credit: Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center)

UN body had faced storm of criticism for canceling ‘People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land’ show under Arab pressure, claiming it could ‘endanger peace process’…READ MORE

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World political and religious leaders mark the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht

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This Saturday evening, Nov. 9 overnight into Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” in 1938, which was the official start to the physical and systematic persecution of the Jews…READ MORE

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Seventh-century treasures discovered at foot of Temple Mount

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Gold and silver coins and jewelry dated from the seventh century were discovered at an excavation at the foot of the Temple Mount, Hebrew University researchers said….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 30, 2013: March on Washington a reminder of black-Jewish relations at their best

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March a reminder of black-Jewish relations at their best

Source: Washington Post, 8-30-13

For many Americans, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was a time of broad themes, of big-picture talks about race and economic justice. But for some, the events of the past week stirred specific memories — some good and others not — concerning relations between African Americans and Jews….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 28, 2013: On 50th Anniversary of March on Washington, Recalling Jews’ Singular Role

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On 50th Anniversary of March on Washington, Recalling Jews’ Singular Role

Half Century Later, Civil Rights Struggle Binds Two Peoples

 

Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

Source: Forward, 8-28-13

As we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and the majestic “I Have a Dream” speech, we should reflect on the singular role the Jewish community played throughout the civil rights struggle and, in particular, remember with pride Jewish participation in the March on Washington itself….READ MORE

JBuzz Transcripts August 1, 2013: President Shimon Peres’s speech at the Ponar Memorial ceremony in Lithuania

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Presidential address at the Ponar Memorial ceremony in Lithuania

By SHIMON PERES

Shimon_Peres_Ponar_Ceremonyiv>

‘Painful memories are etched in our hearts’ the President said at Valley of Slaughter in Vilnius, where the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators murdered some 70,000 Jews.

Amid the trees of Ponar, I can hear the words of Abba Kovner echoing the cries of our murdered brothers and sisters.

I quote: “We shall remember…

The city houses and the country houses.

The aged man and the features of his face.

The mother in her kerchief.

The young girl with her braids.

The child, The child, The entire assembly of Jews Brought down to slaughter on the soil of Europe By the Nazi destroyer, The man who suddenly screamed.

And while screaming died.”

Ponar, from where thousands of our fathers and mothers, our little boys and girls, were murdered.

They will never return.

They will never die in our hearts.

Seventy thousands of them were Jewish.

And thousands were others.

Why? What for? The pastoral scenery surrounding us here is misleading.

Its color remains green. But the ground is red.

The screams of the victims detonating from the damp soil will remain a disgrace to humanity.

Vilnius was considered the Jerusalem of Lithuania, where hopeful and vibrant Jewish communities built a life of their own.

And suddenly, a third of Lithuania’s Jewish people were slaughtered in these fields.

Only a mass grave remains in front of us.

Innocent men and women, babies and children were stripped and then pushed and thrown to the cold bottom of this pit.

Their bodies were tortured and burned at the sound of a short-range burst of fire.

In the massacre valley of Ponar, there were no gas chambers.

Just direct murder.

Physical.

Precise.

Just by pressing the trigger.

One after another.

Day in, day out.

Five hundred a day.

No interruptions.

No regrets.

No second thought.

No thought at all.

Killers.

Killing was their vocation.

History had known no such atrocities, ever.

Just few survived.

From the scorched bodies, only the spirit remained.

An eternal spirit. Facing evil. Our people remained humane.

The spirit of our moral call, Tikkun Olam – to better the world – was molded from the lead of the bullets.

Ponar is a warning.

For us all.

For the generations to come.

Never again.

Never, not even for a moment, may we weaken in our common mission against racism, anti-Semitism and mass destruction.

In Vilnius, there were 200 churches and 110 synagogues. Yet there is just one Lord in heaven.

So let us pray together, let us convert sword and war into brotherhood and friendship between peoples.

Let us pray for the freedom and peace of every person. For all nations. For posterity.

The State of Israel is a living triumph over the horrors of the Shoah.

A bastion of survivors.

A tribute to the hopes of six million Jews.

In spite of the Holocaust, Israel is the continuation of the interrupted dreams of one-and-a-half million children murdered at the dawn of their days.

We can never forget. And we shall always teach our children to withstand darkness.

Lithuania has undertaken this duty with responsibility and seriousness.

Madam President [Dalia Grybauskaite], we respect your efforts to memorialize and educate the youth about this shameful stain, so as never to allow it to happen again.

The newly created democracy of Lithuania is based on courage and tolerance.

On building a future for the free.

The Lithuanian people have learned that the key to raising a new, tolerant generation is in facing the horrors of history with courage.

The blood-soaking the soil of Ponar will not be atoned for until its lessons will become the legacy of humanity as a whole.

Painful memories are etched in our hearts.

Yet high hopes beat in our souls.

On our journey from the abyss of the past to the heights of the tomorrow, we remain determined as ever, to seek justice.

To offer peace.

Not to forget.

Not to forgive.

To pray for the future of our children.

To allow them to be free.

To enjoy peace.

To respect others.

Promising both to remember the shadows of the past and the light of the future.

The Lord who made peace in his Heavens will provide peace on the land.

JBuzz News June 13, 2013: Exhibition at Auschwitz-Birkenau Honors Children of Holocaust

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Exhibition at Auschwitz-Birkenau Honors Children of Holocaust

Janek Skarzynski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel found the name of Judith, the twin sister of his father-in-law, among the Book of Names exhibit at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Thursday.

Source: NYT, 6-13-13

A multimedia exhibition that tries to push visitors beyond their knowledge of the facts of the Nazis’ Final Solution was dedicated on Thursday….READ MORE