Jewish Couple Among Superstorm Dead

The main umbrella group for Jewish communities, the Jewish Federation of North America, will raise the money for recovery and reconstruction efforts.

It comes after the superstorm, which tore through the Caribbean, eastern United States and Canada this week, left at least 130 dead, including more than 20 in New York.

Among the dead were Jacob Vogelman and Jessie Streich-Kest, a young Jewish couple, who were killed by a falling tree in Brooklyn.

JFNA President Jerry Silverman said in a statement: “We send our support and prayers to those affected by the hurricane, and stand beside them during the recovery and rebuilding.”

The Union of Reform Judaism also started a relief effort to help communities struck by the devastating storm, with URJ chairman Steve Sacks saying: “This storm will require a long-term, coordinated recovery effort.”

The news came as the Jewish community on the east coast slowly began opening its doors once again. The Jewish Cultural Centre in Manhattan and the UJIA Federation of New York reopened on Wednesday after the closure of schools and businesses across the city. Jewish organisations in Long Island however remained closed due to power outages.

Earlier, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had led evacuation efforts, leaving the financial capital largely shut down.

On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama surveyed the city’s wreckage and described the disaster as “heart-breaking.”

The Republican Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, was among those praising the president for his handling of the crisis so far, calling it “outstanding.”

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Jewish Couple Among Superstorm Dead

The main umbrella group for Jewish communities, the Jewish Federation of North America, will raise the money for recovery and reconstruction efforts.

It comes after the superstorm, which tore through the Caribbean, eastern United States and Canada this week, left at least 130 dead, including more than 20 in New York.

Among the dead were Jacob Vogelman and Jessie Streich-Kest, a young Jewish couple, who were killed by a falling tree in Brooklyn.

JFNA President Jerry Silverman said in a statement: “We send our support and prayers to those affected by the hurricane, and stand beside them during the recovery and rebuilding.”

The Union of Reform Judaism also started a relief effort to help communities struck by the devastating storm, with URJ chairman Steve Sacks saying: “This storm will require a long-term, coordinated recovery effort.”

The news came as the Jewish community on the east coast slowly began opening its doors once again. The Jewish Cultural Centre in Manhattan and the UJIA Federation of New York reopened on Wednesday after the closure of schools and businesses across the city. Jewish organisations in Long Island however remained closed due to power outages.

Earlier, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had led evacuation efforts, leaving the financial capital largely shut down.

On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama surveyed the city’s wreckage and described the disaster as “heart-breaking.”

The Republican Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, was among those praising the president for his handling of the crisis so far, calling it “outstanding.”

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Prince Charles To Join Kinder Celebration

Three years after hosting a Clarence House reception for some of the refugees who fled to Britain before the outbreak of the Second World War, the heir to the throne will be among a host of dignitaries at the 23 November gathering – probably the last major event bringing together so many Kinder from around the world.

Guests will hear from among others Lord Attenborough, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and keynote speaker. Sir Martin Gilbert, who will recall a recent conversation with Lady Thatcher about the Jewish girl to whom she and her family gave a home in 1939.

Representing the government, Tony McNulty MP will also be among those descending on JFS, which was instrumental in helping to evacuate many of the Kinder from London where they arrived to Ely.

A Clarence House spokesman told the Jewish News: “The Prince of Wales is delighted to be invited to meet the remaining kinder and their families. The event recognises an important and noble point in British history.”

Part of a four-day reunion of Kindertransport evacuees, Sunday’s event will also feature a service of Remembrance, a Klezmer concert and a panel discussion chaired by Edwina Currie and featuring among others Lady Jakobovits and Reunion of the Kindertransport founder Bertha Leverton.

Erich Reich, chairman of the Association of Jewish Refugee’s Kindertransport committee, said: “We are celebrating one of the single most important decisions ever taken by the British government. Thanks to its intervention some 10,000 children, myself included, were saved from certain death.

“We believe this occasion will prove to be an exceptional celebration in the company of some of those young children who arrived on these shores so many years ago.”

The reunion – which follows previous such gatherings in 1988 and 1999 – will also include several visits in the lead-up to the centrepiece celebration including to the Imperial War Museum and the Kindertransport monument at Liverpool Street Station.

- If you are interested in attending the event, call the AJR for more information on 020 8385 3070.

The celebrity group are booking agents who provide speakers for a variety of functions. For more information visit http://www.celebrity.co.uk.

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‘I Loathe Those Who Perpetrated Shoah’

Ifraah Samatar, a former participant on HET’s Lessons from Auschwitz programme, broke down as she told diners of her visit to the camp and asked why genocide continues in the world today.

Recalling the experiences of survivor Joseph Perl, who was among the 500 guests at Banqueting Hall for the 20th anniversary dinner, the Skinners’ Company’s School for Girls pupil said: “He was imprisoned in the camps. He saw people being treated like animals. I was shocked when Jo told me he had forgiven these people and holds no grudge against them.

“When I was in Poland, Jo Perl’s words came back to me and I saw the places where these incidents occurred. I loathe the people who made the choice to carry out these inhumane acts.”

She added: “Auschwitz was horrific. People were given the power to commit mass murder. But people are still being tortured and killed today. When people in 60 years’ time travel to the sites of Rwanda and Darfur, will they ask the same questions that I asked of the Holocaust? How could people let this happen?”

So moved were they by the teenager’s passionate address that diner after diner, including Schools Secretary Ed Balls, flocked to thank and pay tribute to her, making her the unlikely centre of attention amid the star-studded gathering.

But embarrassed by all the attention, the modest student later told TJ: “I don’t deserve it. I just visited the place but these survivors who are here tonight, Elie himself, Joseph who I mentioned in my speech, they’re the celebrities, they are the heroes.”

Ifraah – who said it was recalling being back at the notorious site which caused her outpouring of emotion – added: “I’m just a little messenger who is saying what I felt from my heart.”

The evening – attended by the Chief Rabbi, actor Sir Antony Sher, historian Sir Martin Gilbert and a host of parliamentarians – raised funds for the HET’s new schools’ programme Think Equal.

Having already been piloted in inner city institutions as a response to current issues of racial tension, the Trust now aims to take the initiative nationwide to encourage youngsters across the country to reflect on their responsibility as citizens today and learn about the dangers of stereotyping.

Think Equal is just the latest in a series of HET projects, since the organisation was founded by the late Lord Merlyn-Rees and Lord Janner, whose contribution was acknowledged with a special award.

“It’s hard to believe that twenty years ago, the Holocaust was barely spoken about, let alone taught in schools,” said Balls in making the presentation. “It was Lord Janner’s passion and commitment to ensure the lessons of the Holocaust were passed on from generation to generation that enabled this great change in the education system. He has made an incredible contribution to this country and this cause and we salute him.”

He later told TJ: “The mark of leadership is to see a problem and a solution before anybody else.”

Lord Janner said he had “no intention of changing my way of life and stopping what I do”.

Guest speaker Wiesel, meanwhile, said the HET “is doing something essential to our understanding of the world”.

And the Holocaust survivor and nobel laureate – who was described by Lord Janner as one of our “rare human heroes” – added: “We must learn that whenever people suffer… we have a duty to say no to that injustice.”

The celebrity group are celebrity agents who provide after dinner speakers for a variety of functions. For more information please visit http://www.celebrity.co.uk.

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