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Hostage family visit the community who have been praying for their uncle every week – The Jewish Chronicle

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Muswell Hill Synagogue has welcomed the family of their adopted hostage, Michel Nisenbaum.

The 59-year-old Brazilian-born Israeli, who was taken captive by Hamas terrorists,was adopted by the shul in February as part of the adopt-a-hostagescheme launched by the Board of Deputies.

The community has been sayingprayers for the missing grandfather ever since. Its part of the tefillah [prayer service] now, saidDaniel Shaw, chair of the synagogue.

Sixth months on from his capture, Michels family stopped to look at a photo of him on the bimah, Its very emotional. It's a feeling of warmth to know youve adopted Michel, saidMichels niece, Ayala Harel, 42.

Michal's family are shown the Muswell Hill ark by Daniel Shaw

Its like hes part of the family, Michels nephew, Shai Shojat, 44, remarked.

Over one hundred synagogues are taking partin the Boards scheme. Muswell Hill Synagogues Board deputy Judith Prinsley said: Its imperative that the hostages are not forgotten and that thescheme kept the human stories of thehostages at the forefront of the communitys mind. At Muswell Hill, a seat is left for Michel at all communal events.

Michel, an energetic grandfather of six, worked as a computer technician and tour guide. Ayala fondly remembers his frequent visits for coffee. He would pick up his grandchildren once a week and give them dinner and he loves the songs of Shlomo Artzi, she told the JC.In 2018, he stayed in Golders Green and visited national landmarks on a trip to the UK.

Michel visited Windsor Castle in 2018 with his sister Mery

On October 7, he was on his way to collect his four-year-old granddaughter when, somewhere along the now notorious Route 232, he vanished.

His oldest daughter, Chen, saw a video of terrorists in Sderot, where he lived, and tried to call him, Ayala explained.

After 15minutes, Hamas picked up the phone and shouted: Hamas, Hamas, were in Israel. They called her back and said: Is this is your father? and then:Were from Gaza;we came to Israel;were Hamas.

Two hours later, the terror group published a video of Michels driver's license and MDA volunteering card. Since then, the family has heard a recorded phone call that Michel made to the police, which went unanswered.

His car was found burnt out, without any trace of a body, and after two weeks, the IDF informed the family that Michel was in Gaza.His tablet was traced to the Palestinian territory.

Shai Shojat, Shai's daughter Mia Shojat, Ayala Harel and friend Bar Messer at Muswell Hill Synagogue

Unlike most of the hostages who were taken in groups, Michel was alone and has not been seen by any released hostages.

His sixth grandchild was born four months ago, so hes never met him, Ayala said.

Michels two daughters both have young families, so the task of advocacy has fallen on Ayalas shoulders, and she isback in the city she called home when she worked in London between 2002 and 2007.

The mother of three lost friends on October 7 and relives the trauma every day: We are not post-traumatic yet, we are still in it [...] I wake up every morning and I realise I cant go back to 6 October. My life is stuck, changed forever.

She avoids news of a hostage deal.Theyre a roller-coaster, where you get your wishes up and they are destroyed.

Ayala Harel looks at a display board of the hostages in Muswell Hull Synagogue that draws attention to the plight of her uncle Michel Nisenbaum

We heard that Elad Katzir was murdered in January. Hostages saw him [in Gaza]. He was alive and now he is not. We dont have time, she said.

Ayala is concerned about her uncles health he has Crohn's disease and has not received any medical treatment in Gaza.

He did so much for me, so I have to do everything I can for him, she said. All I can do is share his story and keep it alive.Along with the adopt a hostage scheme, Ayala is shedding light on the stories behind the posters of the missing hostages.

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Hostage family visit the community who have been praying for their uncle every week - The Jewish Chronicle

Shaare Shamayim votes to move – Northeast Times

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Congregations of Shaare Shamayim members voted 152-19 on Sunday to proceed with a sale of the synagogue, 9768 Verree Road in Bustleton.

The synagogue has been on Verree Road since 1963 and had no plans to leave.

However, the Block Church which has sites at Sprinkler Fitters 692 in the Far Northeast, the old FOP Lodge 5 at 1336 Spring Garden St. and in Port Richmond and Roxborough made an unsolicited offer.

Though executive director Jacques Lurie declined to give a sale price, sources say the offer was for about $5 million.

The synagogues executive and general boards unanimously voted to recommend a sale.

The congregation made up of about 300 families needed to give the final approval, which it did during a meeting Sunday at the synagogue.

Shaare Shamayim is expected to move to the site of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel known by most as KI at Township Line and Old York roads in Elkins Park.

Shaare Shamayim would use the space occupied by Melrose Bnai Israel Emanu-El, which is merging with another synagogue.

Lurie said negotiations are ongoing with the Block Church and leasing details are being worked out with KI.

There were about 15 speakers at Sundays meeting, which was open only to members. Lurie said synagogue leaders were transparent with the process. He and Fran Gabriel, president of the synagogue, were among the speakers.

Lurie described the back and forth as meaningful dialogue, with everyone respectful. While Lurie said the sale and relocation are difficult issues, the infusion of money will dramatically extend the life of the congregation. The money will be used for operating costs, including payments to KI.

There is no date yet for settlement. Once the move is made, Shaare Shamayim will provide transportation assistance for members who live near the current site. Lurie, who lives in Northampton Township, said there arent many members who live in the Elkins Park area.

After the move, Shaare Shamayim will remain in the Northeast Kehillah while also being a member of the Old York Road Kehillah.

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Shaare Shamayim votes to move - Northeast Times

Rabbi Romain to leave Maidenhead Synagogue after 44 years – The Jewish Chronicle

Posted By on April 11, 2024

One of Britains best-known rabbis, Dr Jonathan Romain, is to retire from the pulpit in summer after more than 40 years as spiritual leader of Maidenhead Synagogue.

The author of 19 books and a regular voice on broadcast media, he will take up his new position as convenor of the Reform Beit Din at the end of July, before he turns 70 the following month.

His successor will be Rabbi Dr Rene Pfertzel, who has led Kingston Liberal Synagogue for seven years.

While the congregation was founded in the 1940s, Rabbi Romain was its first rabbi when he arrived in 1980.

Explaining his career path, he said Normally newly ordained rabbis, as I was back then, start with a small community, move on to a larger one and then progress accordingly. But the congregation here began to grow rapidly and I found myself looking after an ever increasing shul and I stayed with it.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, who is leaving Maidenhead Synagogue after 40 years as its spiritual leader

We had the lovely problem of constantly outgrowing our building and have had to either move or rebuild four times, with Prince Edward coming to open our current premises.

He attributes the congregations huge growth during his tenure, from 72 householdsto 947, to the rebranding of the synagogue from a house of prayer to a community centre.

I honestly dont care if people come to services on a Saturday, the film evening on a Sunday or the walking group midweek, he said. Its coming that counts and being part of the community in whatever way they feel comfortable.

Rabbi Dr Ren Pfertzel, who is leaving Kingston Liberal Synagogue to take up the pulpit at Maidenhead Synagogue

He was a pioneer in outreach to mixed-faith couples, encouraging communities to find ways to welcome rather than exclude them, and was recognised with an MBE in 2004.

He has written on Anglo-Jewish history, Reform Judaism and the theme of recent books, Confessions of a Rabbi and The Naked Rabbi his rabbinic experiences. For more than 20 years, he has contributed to the JCs Rabbi I Have a Problem column.

His TV appearances include one Songs of Praise filmed at the synagogue.

Beyond the Jewish community, he is chair of Dignity in Dying, which campaigns to legalise assisted dying, and has chaired the Accord Coalition, which believes faith schools should admit pupils from other religions than their own.

His fundraising for the RNLI has included a sponsored jokes event and a sponsored non-sermon, when people in the High Street had to donate to stop him offering them a sermon.

More recently, he has been involved in finding homes and organisinghelp forUkrainian refugees.

Rabbi Pfertzel said, It is an honour and privilege to follow in the footsteps of a rabbi of the stature of Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain. I am very much looking forward to joining the thriving and vibrant community of Maidenhead, and to add my stone to this beautiful edifice.


Rabbi Romain to leave Maidenhead Synagogue after 44 years - The Jewish Chronicle

German synagogue attacked with incendiary device – Euronews

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Antisemitic attacks in Germany and elsewhere have surged since the start of the Israel Hamas war on 7 October.

An incendiary device was thrown at a door of a synagogue in northwestern Germany on Friday but caused only minor damage, police said.

The incident in the city of Oldenburg happened early Friday afternoon. The fire caused by the device was discovered quickly and didn't spread, and the fire service didn't need to extinguish it.

No event was taking place in the building at the time, and no-one was injured.

Police said they were searching for the perpetrator, but had no information on a motive.

Andreas Sagehorn, President of the Oldenburg Police Directorate, condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms".

"The police will do everything in their power to clarify the background to this cowardly act and to identify the perpetrators," he said in a statement. "We will take this attack as an opportunity to immediately increase the security measures at the Oldenburg synagogue until the circumstances of the offence have been clarified."

Like many other countries, Germany saw a large increase in anti-Jewish incidents following Hamas' attack on Israel in October, and Israel's subsequent attacks in Gaza.

However, there have been a number of antisemitic incidents and attacks launched by German far-right groups in recent years.

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German synagogue attacked with incendiary device - Euronews

Residents of German city march in solidarity with Jewish community following attack on synagogue – European Jewish Press

Posted By on April 11, 2024

European Jewish Press, Europe's sole Jewish news and information service.

Launched end 2005, the European Jewish Press is the sole online Jewish news agency in Europe. The privately funded Brussels-based outlet is an independent media body. It aims to provide both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences around the world with balanced, up-to-date and reliable news reports on issues of concern to the Jewish communities worldwide. European Jewish Press news are read by individuals, officials, experts, journalists and many others. European Jewish Press is an affiliate of Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) and collaborates with EU Reporter.



Residents of German city march in solidarity with Jewish community following attack on synagogue - European Jewish Press

First Jewish sheriff of Nottingham, office of Robin Hood fame, sworn in at his synagogue – Haaretz

Posted By on April 11, 2024

News Life and Culture Columnists and Opinion Haaretz Hebrew and TheMarker Partnerships, the online English edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel, gives you breaking news, analyses and opinions about Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World. Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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First Jewish sheriff of Nottingham, office of Robin Hood fame, sworn in at his synagogue - Haaretz

Members of Congress introduce bill calling for coordinated federal efforts to counter antisemitism – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on April 11, 2024

A group of bipartisan, bicameral members of Congress will introduce the "Countering Antisemitism Act" on Wednesday, which aims to increase federal efforts from the White House to the Department of Education to tackle the rise in antisemitism across the country.

The bill is sponsored by the co-chairs of the Senate and House Bipartisan Task Forces for Combating Antisemitism Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and James Lankford (R-OK) along with Reps. Kathy Manning (D-NC), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Randy Weber (R-TX).

The bill will establish a National Coordinator to Counter Antisemitism within the White House who would serve as the president's principal adviser on countering domestic antisemitism and chair an interagency task force. The National Coordinator will also conduct an annual analysis of the spread of antisemitism online and provide recommendations to Congress on how to counter it.

Under the bill, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center will have to jointly produce an annual threat assessment of antisemitic violent extremism.

The bill will also establish May as "Jewish American Heritage Month" in federal law.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who spearheaded the bill, said in a statement that since October 7 there have been countless disturbing stories of Jewish families accosted and assaulted on streets, Jewish businesses and places of worship vandalized and desecrated and Jewish students threatened at colleges and universities.

In the statement, American Jewish Committee Ted Deutch said an AJC report found 63% of American Jews feel the status of Jews is less secure than one year ago more than a 20 percentage point increase in just one year. One in four reported they were the target of an antisemitic incidenta physical attack, remark, vandalism, or messagingin 2023, and 46% reported changing their behavior out of fear of antisemitism in the past 12 months.

"My bipartisan legislation would establish a National Coordinator to Counter Antisemitism for the first time ever and take other much-needed steps across the federal government to fight anti-Jewish hatred, bigotry, and violence in the United States," Rosen said.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said the bill would work to combat antisemitism by establishing roles to provide transparent oversight, address Holocaust denials and distortions, counter discrimination on college campuses, and designate May as Jewish American Heritage Month.

Julie Platt, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, said the Federation is proud to support the bill.

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the bill is the largest legislative package ever considered to combat antisemitism.

"This legislation is a significant step in protecting American Jewry and combating the oldest of hatreds," Daroff said in the statement.

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Members of Congress introduce bill calling for coordinated federal efforts to counter antisemitism - The Jerusalem Post

Senators introduce bill to address antisemitism and create federal coordinator – WICZ

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Sen. Lankford said, In America, we have the right to have a faith and to live that faith. No American should live in fear that they will be attacked simply because of their religious views. As the number of acts of antisemitism continues to rise, Jewish communities across the US deserve action to protect this basic freedom.

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Senators introduce bill to address antisemitism and create federal coordinator - WICZ

Opinion | Seeking Answers on Israel and Palestine – The New York Times

Posted By on April 11, 2024

To the Editor:

Re The Two-State Solution Is a Fantasy, by Tareq Baconi (Opinion guest essay, April 7):

Coursing through Mr. Baconis essay about the impossibility of a two-state solution is the notion that Jews have no legitimate presence in the Middle East to begin with, and that their presence there represents only the last gasp of the dying British colonial empire.

This argument turns history on its head. Jews and Judaism are of course indigenous to the region (when we end the Passover Seder in a few weeks, we will recite, as Jews have for millenniums, next year in Jerusalem) and the partition approved in 1947 was an attempt to provide for the legitimate claims of two peoples to a land to which they had each been long attached. The Zionist leaders of 1947 accepted this partition. Tragically, the Arabs of the region rejected it.

The war that Hamas began on Oct. 7 was not in pursuit of a future state in which Jews and Arabs would coexist. It was a violent expression of the idea that Mr. Baconi expresses in more polite but nonetheless clear terms, that the presence of Jews in their ancestral and historical homeland is fundamentally illegitimate.

Neil Schluger Bronx

To the Editor:

Tareq Baconi argues against a two-state solution, considering it a ploy for continued Israeli domination. Yet he fails to articulate an alternative amenable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

Rather, he alludes to a situation in which one merely replaces Israeli domination with Arab domination. How will that end the bloodshed? How would the Israelis ever agree without being killed or expelled?

Each side must compromise; each side will be disappointed. But the only way to avoid another Oct. 7 or another nakba (Palestinian catastrophe), isnt a forced marriage in which one side dominates the other, but a structured divorce in which each side has its property and rights recognized by the other.

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Opinion | Seeking Answers on Israel and Palestine - The New York Times

What the bid for a Palestinian state at the U.N. means and whats next – The Washington Post

Posted By on April 11, 2024

The Palestinian Authority is pushing for global recognition of a Palestinian state by asking the U.N. Security Council to reconsider its application for full membership.

We sincerely hope after 12 years since we changed our status to an observer state, that the Security Council will elevate itself to implementing the global consensus on the two-state solution by admitting the state of Palestine for full membership, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, told reporters Monday.

The application is set to be considered this month. Under international law, statehood requires a defined territory, a permanent population, a government and an ability to enter into international relations.

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What the bid for a Palestinian state at the U.N. means and whats next - The Washington Post

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