The Jewish Observer,

Los Angeles


24-30 Shevat, 5777                                              Feb. 20-26, 2017 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES  --  596th Web Ed.




Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, recently responded to the last report on anti-Semitism in Britain compiled by the Community Security Trust (CST), which registered a record level of anti-Semitism in the country. The CST, a charity that has monitored anti-Semitism and provided security for the UK Jewish community since 1984, said 1,309 anti-Jewish incidents were recorded nationwide during 2016, up 36 percent from the previous year.

Lauder said: “The 36-percent rise of anti-Semitic acts recorded by the Community Security Trust in 2016 is alarming and truly shocking. Such levels of anti-Semitism are unacceptable. It is clear that the problem lies increasingly with some elements of civil society.

“We welcome the commitment made by the British government to do more to fight hatred against Jews and to upgrade safety measures for Jewish institution across the country, including the attribution of more resources, and we know that ministers are aware of the problem.

“A particular effort needs to be made to combat verbal abuse and anti-Semitic incitement on the internet.
“As we have seen in France, where anti-Semitism fell last year, it is possible to achieve positive results in this field if the problem is tackled with the necessary political determination,” declared Lauder.
Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, responded to the report by saying:
“While the UK remains a very good place for the Jewish community, these highest-ever figures are deeply worrying, particularly in light of the fact that there was no single trigger event in 2016.
“It is clear that combating anti-Semitism will take a concerted effort by the country’s political leadership, government and civil society.
“In these uncertain times, we should strive to make the UK a beacon of a society that abhors racism and champions respect between all its citizens,” Arkush said.

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.


Cont'd from Home Page

The Limmud FSU Europe conference featured a special centennial celebration of the Balfour Declaration. The declaration, dated Nov. 2, 1917, was sent from U.K. Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, and expressed the U.K.’s support for the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Israel.

Limmud FSU Europe marked the first time in its decade-long history that Limmud FSU was not geared toward Russian-speaking Jews of a specific city or country. More than 250,000 Russian-speaking Jews currently reside in Europe, making it one of the world’s largest Russian-speaking Jewish communities.

The U.K. conference featured more than 100 lectures, workshops, presentations and discussions by leading figures including British members of Parliament; Israeli members of Knesset; former Ambassador of Israel to the U.N. Ron Prosor; Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar; Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein; Genesis Philanthropy Group President and CEO Ilia Salita; American businessman and philanthropist Matthew Bronfman, who is chairman of Limmud FSU’s international steering committee; and Limmud FSU President Aaron Frenkel.

“This unprecedented continental gathering brought together major Jewish leaders and the Russian-speaking Jewish communities of Europe to celebrate the Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for the formation of the modern State of Israel,” said Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler and Co-Founder Sandy Cahn. “Our first extra-territorial Limmud FSU was also our first nomadic conference, convening Russian-speaking Jews from across Europe in the continent’s informal capital.”

Limmud FSU Europe was held in partnership with the Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), a private foundation with the mission of developing and enhancing a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews around the world. 

In this way, Limmud FSU strives to foster the next generation of young Russian-speaking Jewish leadership and so revitalize Jewish communities in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and in countries with Russian-Jewish communities, wherever they may be.

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Bnei Menashe community arrived in Israel earlier this month. Photo credits: Laura Ben-David. Video credits: Rachel Kachlon.

TEL AVIV, Israel – Seventy-two members of the Indian Bnei Menashe Jewish community  arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport today. A total of 102 members of the Bnei Menashe were brought on Aliyah this week by Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based nonprofit that aims to strengthen ties between the Jewish people and descendants of Jews around the world.

The new immigrants all hail from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, which borders Burma and Bangladesh and is home to the second-largest concentration of Bnei Menashe in India after that of the state of Manipur.  This marks the first time since Jan. 2014 that Bnei Menashe are making Aliyah from Mizoram. The first 30 of this week's 102 new immigrants arrived in Israel on Tuesday, Feb. 14. They all plan to settle in Nazareth Illit, Israel, which already has a flourishing Bnei Menashe community.

The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire. So far, some 3,000 Bnei Menashe have made Aliyah thanks to Shavei Israel, including more than 1,100 in the past four years. Some 7,000 Bnei Menashe remain in India waiting for the chance to return home to Zion.

Shavei Israel is a nonprofit organization founded by Michael Freund, who immigrated to Israel from the United States with the aim of strengthening the ties between the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the descendants of Jews around the world.

The organization is currently active in more than a dozen countries and provides assistance to a variety of communities such as the Bnei Menashe of India, the Bnei Anousim (referred to by the derogatory term “Marranos” by historians) in Spain, Portugal and South America, the Subbotnik Jews of Russia, the Jewish community of Kaifeng in China, descendants of Jews living in Poland, and others.