The next journey begins CHINA!!

The next journey begins CHINA!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Erev Shabbat

July 27,
My bag is packed and I have said most of my goodbyes.  I shared a lovely erev Shabbat dinner with my cousins Zev and Zippora.  The olympics will begin here in a few hours, and fitting it seems that this part of my journey will close with the coming of a solemn day in the Jewish calendar Tisha B Av. A day that commemorates many tragic events that occurred on this day: the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians and the Romans, as well as the day Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. A bit of trivia is that the "Medussa" or jelly fish that plague the waters in the Mediterranean this time of year always disappear on Tisha B Av!   I saw them in Tel Aviv weeks ago and today on the beach in Ashdod- not one!

I will be spending some time reflecting on this amazing trip and will post again.. I always struggle after these programs to assimilate back into my life and then realize my life does change with the new knowledge, the new friends and the scope of what more I hope to achieve. I have learned that the obstacles I face both personally and professionally is what fuels the flames that burn inside of me. There are things worth fighting for and things more important than the ABC's
Shabbat Shalom, Kol Ha Kavod
שבת שלום, אני עוזב את הלב שלי בירושלים, התקווה שלי לבוא לכאן שוב. שלום,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

At the beach!

July 26

I have not given myself much reflection time and will probably do so once I get back to New Jersey. But for today.... it was sun and sand.  Where else can I walk 15 minutes to the beach- free of charge- water temps about 75F and make instant friends with a woman from Paris and two beautiful girls from Russia! The common language???? HEBREW!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ashiri siblings

Went to a Moshav, Bet Oved, where
my sister and I were many years ago and enjoyed Shabbat with our cousins Rachel and Eliezer, the parents of Z'Ev, Devorah and Ari. I met Devorah and Ari today. My family grows! The old photo is Devorah's weddng. Z'ev and Ari are in the photo as well. The old photo is the grandfather of these Ashiri siblings he was in the Russian Army
The photos are of her mother, herself, her brother, the family that helped her, and what she looked like in 1970, and today


July 24, I spent a lovely morning at the beach- a 15 minute walk from my cousin in Ashdod. The water was about 75 degrees! Yesterday We went to visit "Shiphrah" she has the same name as my mother. Her mother and my grandmother were cousins. Shiphrah is 88 years old and was born in the Ukraine. In 1941 all the Jews in her town were placed in a ghetto. Her father was sent to a labor camp and survived the war. She was in the ghetto with her 35 yr old mother and her 7 yr old brother. She recalled how she wore the yellow star and no longer went to school. One day several of her girlfriends from school (non Jews) came to see her and asked why she has not been in school.They insisted on taking her with them and removed her Yellow Star. She had blue eyes and blonde hair and did not look like a stereotypical Jewish girl. These girls may have known from their parents that a pogrom was to take place in the ghetto the following night. As a result, when Shiphrah returned home her mother and brother had been shot. She hid in the attic and heard a woman screaming as she was being killed. Shiphrah was 12. She was frightened, hungry and alone and thought the only way out was suicide. She tried but did not succeed. Her neighbor came to the house and found her alive after a dog found her and actually helped led her to the neighbor. The Nazis saw the neighbor and  the neighbor said that all the inhabitants of the house, including Shiphrah(who they were looking for) were killed and this little girl was his relative.The Nazi's believed him and said they would send her to a farm to work( They often sent Russians to work in Germany) where she would be safe. She was sent to Germany and lived as a Christian until the end of the war. The neighbor, who helped her told her never to say she was Jewish and gave her a ham to bring with her to the family that took her in. She survived the war.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22 Today I actually slept until 7:30! For those who know me that is very late. Now I am having a whole new experience in Israel: an immersion into local life. I went with my cousin Ette and 3 of her 4 children to a Moshav to participate in a three hour nature hike. It was coordinated by teenagers from the Moshav to commemorate the passing of one
of the members who was an 18 year old Israeli soldier who lost his life. They decided to make a yearly ( this was the first) nature hike for families to enjoy. Several times we had to stop and the children participated in an activity that mirrored the young man's beliefs in some way. Unfortunately for me, they spoke very quickly and I did not understad much of what was said. What was also interesting was a Baptist settlement that was also on the grounds in which we hiked. Today I went to a lovely park in Ramat Gan with Liat and her little boy. It was a large park complete with safari zoo. What I enjoyed most was just watching families have fun. people enjoying the day, being normal and free.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 21 Wednesday night we had our 'last supper" in a wonderful vegetarian restaurant near Ben Yehuda street. Speeches made, impromptu and planned, photos taken and tears shed. The following day I already posted on the speakers and the incredible insight, opinions, and experiences they shared with us both from a pedagogical approach to a personal view of the Holocaust and the situation in Israel today. I truly believe that one must visit this land in order to really appreciate the scope of the problems here and the tenacity of the people. We went to Oscar Schindler's grave and heard from two of the Schindler Jews who shared their story of survival and of everlasting love. A few of us had to have our last 'fix' of the old city, we had our falafal an shawarma, walked to Damascus gate, back trough Mamilla mall and to the hotel for a glass of wine. I took a cab- did not want to "shlep" my suitcase to bus station- to Ashdod o my cousins. I was proud of myself having once more have a conversation almost all in Hebrew with the driver. It was a lovely Shabbat. This morning I went with my cousin Liat and her little boy to the beach. The water was warm and the sun bright. I did not bring my camera! I am now back in Tel Aviv at my cousin Amir's house and will stay for one night. I hope I can slowly realize I am going back to NJ next Saturday. I will continue my post until I return home and try to assimilate back into my life.... maybe I won't ?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19 Incredible afternoon with Yehuda Bauer and his ideas on presenting Holocaust educati9n to students. The Highlight of the day was Efraim Zuroff, Just yesterday a Hungarian war criminal was arrested. Go to link Alleged Hungarian war criminal Laszlo Csatary leaves the Budapest Prosecutor's Office after he was questioned by detectives on charges of war crimes during WWII and prosecutors ordered his house arrest in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, July 18, 2012. (AP Photo) (AP) BUDAPEST, Hungary - A 97-year-old Hungarian man suspected of abusing Jews and helping deport thousands of them during the Holocaust was taken into custody Wednesday, questioned and charged with war crimes, prosecutors said. The case of Laszlo Csatary was brought to the attention of Hungarian authorities last year by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization active in hunting down Nazis who have yet to be brought to justice. In April, Csatary topped the organization's list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals. Prosecutors decided to charge Csatary with the "unlawful torture of human beings," a war crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Csatary's lawyer, Gabor Horvath B., said that a judge, acting on a request from prosecutors, ordered his client to be confined to house arrest for a maximum of 30 days. Horvath B. said he had appealed the ruling, which also opened the way for authorities to confiscate Csatary's passport. As he left a Budapest courthouse Wednesday afternoon following the house arrest hearing, Csatary walked slowly down a flight of steps, leaning on a companion for support. He wore a thin jacket and tried to cover his face from photographers and TV crews. He did not speak with reporters but appeared bewildered by the attention. Nazi war criminal, 97, allegedly found in Hungary Laszlo Csatary, Union of Jewish Students, nazis, war criminals, hungary Activists and sympathizers of the European Union of Jewish Students stand with joined hands in front of Laszlo Csatary's hideaway building, only few kilometers from his home in Budapest on July 16, 2012, during their protest against Csatary. (Credit: GettyImages) Tibor Ibolya, Budapest's acting chief prosecutor, said Csatary recounted his Holocaust-era activities to authorities during questioning, saying he was following orders and carrying out his duty. "The suspect denied having committed the crimes," Ibolya said, adding that during his testimony Csatary's "attitude toward some of his fellow men of a certain religion ... is not what we would consider normal." Prosecutors detained Csatary in an early morning sweep because they were worried he may try to flee. He has lived at least in two separate Budapest apartments during the last few months. "We took Csatary into custody at dawn from an address to which he had no connection until now," Ibolya said. "He cooperated with investigators." Csatary's lawyer said his client had moved to a new location because he was tired of being badgered. On Monday, 40 people held a protest outside one of Csatary's purported homes but he was nowhere to be seen. According to a summary of the case released by prosecutors, Csatary was a police officer in the Slovakian city of Kosice, at a time part of Hungary. In May 1944, Csatary was named chief of an internment camp at a Kosice brick factory from where 12,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps. Authorities said Csatary was present when the trains were loaded and sent on their way. Csatary "regularly" used a dog whip against the Jewish detainees "without any special reasons and irrespective of the assaulted people's sex, age or health condition," the prosecutors' statement said. As one train departed with some 80 Jews crammed into one railcar, Csatary refused a request by one of the Jews to cut holes in the walls of the wagon to let more air in, the statement said. "We took into consideration the severity of his acts, but we should not forget that the suspect is due the presumption of innocence," Ibolya said. "In our estimation, he will not be able to escape." Ibolya said considering Csatary's age, he was in good physical and mental condition, although experts had yet to examine him. Csatary was been convicted in absentia for war crimes in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and sentenced to death. He arrived in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia the following year, became a Canadian citizen in 1955 and worked as an art dealer in Montreal. In October 1997, Canadian authorities said the 82-year-old had left the country, apparently bound for Europe, before they had the chance to decide his fate in a deportation hearing. His citizenship had been revoked in August and the deportation order was based on his obtaining citizenship by giving false information. Canadian authorities alleged that Csatary had failed to provide information concerning his collaboration with Nazi occupation forces while serving with the Royal Hungarian Police and his participation in the internment and deportation to concentration camps of thousands of Hungarian Jews. Ibolya said the investigation into the Csatary case was continuing and that prosecutors were waiting for information from Israel, including the possible testimony of survivors, and Canada. "I expect this case to continue for months, even taking into account that we are treating it as one that we would like to conclude as soon as possible," Ibolya said. In Israel, Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center's Jerusalem office, applauded the arrest. "When you look at a person like this, you shouldn't see an old frail person, but think of a man who at the height of his physical powers devoted all his energy to murdering or persecuting and murdering innocent men, women and children," Zuroff told the AP. Zuroff, often described as the world's top Nazi hunter, was able to locate Csatary with the help an unidentified, paid informant. In 2002, he launched "Operation Last Chance," which offers rewards for information on suspected Holocaust-era war criminals and lobbies for governments to put them on trial. Hungarian prosecutors say Zuroff first told officials about Csatary in September 2011, meeting with them as recently as July 9 to provide more data about him. While prosecutors acknowledge Zuroff's role in the case, they have also criticized him for alerting the press in April about his findings. Ibolya, Budapest's acting chief prosecutor, said that by making the case public, Zuroff may also have put Csatary on alert, increasing the chance that he would try to escape and "greatly endangering the success of the investigation." A year ago, another elderly suspect uncovered by Zuroff's reward program, Sandor Kepiro, was acquitted of war crime charges by a Budapest court because of insufficient evidence. Kepiro died in September at age 97, while the ruling was being appealed.
July 18 Confronting the Phenomenon of Holocaust Denial. How do we define "denial" of the Holocaust? Holocaust revisionism, relativism, and reversal- definitions. Is Holocaust denial a new form of Antisemitism?From which countries does this emanate? How can we combat this phenomenon. These are the challenges we face today as educators. These issues were presented by Ephraim Kaye along with primary documents retrieved that can dispel any person who denies the Holocaust did not happen.Although the Nazi's seldom recorded or wrote actual commends of murder there does exist documents that were sent over wireless methods and decoded that clearly reveal the intent to murder the Jews of Europe. We also had a workshop by Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post about the Problems facing Israel today. This was very honest, open and somewhat unsettling as he talked about a situation without a resolution. What was the hope of the Oslo accords of 1994 and why have they failed to produce a peace agreement between PA and Israel? Is there any hope between Israel and the Palestinians? The fundamental issues that plague the region can be short lived solutions t exist but long term seems very allusive, The afternoon dealt with the Righteous among the Nations- those that risked their lives, their families in order to save Jews. We traveled to the nearby Christian cemetery to see Oskar Schindler's grave site and had a stirring ceremony by two Schindlerf survivors who met at Schindler's factory and are together over 60 years. Nachum and Genya Manor attribute their survival to Schindler, We were given a copy of the actual list in which Nacham showed us both his name and Genya's name on the list. We ended the evening with a beautiful farewell dinner at a lovely vegetarian restaurant Ticho House. We were treated to all kinds of salads, carrot and bro coli quiche, mushroom and pesto ravioli and dessert choices. We had to bid farewell to some people flying home today. This morning began with a lecture by Prof Rafi Israeli n the Antisemitism and the Global Jihad- very (unfortunately) apropos in light of the bombing yesterday inn Bulgaria of a tourist bus of Israeli's. Seven young people were killed in the name of Jihad. We were given an in depth explanation of the roots of Jihad that seems to be so fundamental that there is not room for negotiating when their belief is that Jews do not have a right to exist in the land of Israel. Quotes from the Qua ran that are used over and over again to show that Jews have sinned against Allah hence do not deserve to be in the Holy Land, however ignore all the positive quotes about Jews in the same holy book. We are on a break and will continue with the elite of the elite Yehuda Bauer on the topic of Current issues in Holocaust Education.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We do have fun too! Some of us had a fish pedicure. Very strange but very nice! Follwed by Shawarma; falafal, and glida (ice cream) fun night.

Travel to the North

July 16 For several days I have not had internet since w were traveling. I will try to fill in the blanks. We had lectures about the Impact of the Holocaus on Jewish-Christian relations with Sister Gemms. Reviews of WWII developments in Jewish Christian relations as evidenced by key documents such as Noste Aetate and Dabru Emet. We examined the continuing controversy over the role of Pope Pius XII s a source of tension in the Jewish-Christian relations. Highlighting the theological insights and new lines of inquiry that have emerged over the past decades as a result of new dialogue between the two religions. Dr Pesach Schindler presented two different experiences both of Hasidim rabbis caught in the throws of the Holocaust . One in Budapest and one in Warsaw. The rare documented responses of Rabbi Kaloniymus Shapira, author of "Esh Kodesh" and Rabbi Yissachar Shlomo Teichthal author of "Em Habanium Semacha" (A HApy Mother of Children). We then traveled for two days to the North. We visited an 11th C Crusader Castle overlooking the Jordan river and border. We traveled around the biblical city of Jericho to Beit Shean. Seeing the Moav mountains, the Gilad and Golan Heights. On to Naharayim and Kibbutz Gesher built by Zionist pioneers who fought the war of independence having also survived the Holocaust. We had lunch at Kibbutz Eim Gev on the Kineret (Sea of Galilee) followed by a winery visit and spending the night at a Moshav Nes Amim. Following day was spent at the Ghetto Fighters House (Museum) and learned first hand from a survivor who was a Warsaw ghetto partisan. The kibbutz was founded soley by partisans of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Today is a self directed day at Yad Vashem we were free to do what we wanted. I opted to go to the visual center and wateched an awesome documentary on the Jews from Greece. Hope you can get the gist of the photos and where they are!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12 We learned about the Art exhibited at Yad Vashem. I would like you to read about Charlotte Solomon- who we focused on.As well as an artist Horst Rosenberg who used iconic Mickey Mouse to portray the opr3ession of the Jews.
Charlotte Salomon, a young Jewish artist from Berlin, worked feverishly between 1940 and 1942 to produce approximately 1300 paintings before she was arrested by the Nazis in 1943, transported to Auschwitz, and killed at the age of 26. The gouaches make up Life? or Theatre?, which through imagery and text tells the slightly fictionalized and theatrically imagined story of Salomon’s family. The story presented in Life? or Theater? is doubly tragic. It follows the mounting personal disasters of the self-destructive Salomon's (and the artist's attempts to understand and escape them), while also bearing witness to the closing net of the Holocaust in which she was eventually caught. The Contemporary Jewish Museum is the first museum on the West Coast to host this
exhibition. It features nearly 300 gouaches from Life? or Theater? from the collection of the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam.