Sir Nicholas Winton organized eight trains that saved 669 children during World War II
By JAN RICHTER
PRAGUE (JTA) — A 105-year-old man known as the “British Oskar Schindler” — having saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis — received the Czech Republic’s highest honor Tuesday.
Sir Nicholas Winton was flown on a Czech military plane to Prague, where Czech President Miloš Zeman awarded him the Order of the White Lion. Seven of the 669 children he rescued were present at Tuesday’s ceremony, which coincided with the Czechoslovak Independence Day.
“I want to thank you all for this tremendous expression of thanks for something which happened to me nearly 100 years ago,” Winton said after receiving the award.
Nicholas Winton at a London event honoring him in September 2009. (Photo: Peter Maciarmid / Getty Images)
Winton was 29 when he first arrived in Prague in December of 1938. He was planning to go on a skiing holiday in Switzerland but changed his plans when he heard about the refugee crisis in Czechoslovakia.
In the following months, he organized eight trains that carried children, the vast majority of them Jewish, from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to safety in the United Kingdom.
“I’m delighted that so many of the children are still about, and they are here to thank me,” Winton said.
She is the second person to be killed in the Oct. 22 car attack. The first was a 3-month-old American citizen, Chaya Zissel Braun. At least six others were injured in the attack.
The driver was shot by police as he attempted to flee the scene and died later in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Abdelrahman Al-Shaludi, a Palestinian resident of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, was buried Sunday evening after delays due to Palestinian rioting throughout eastern Jerusalem.
The museum is part of a wider movement since the fall of communism to reconnect with the past
By RUTH ELLEN GRUBER
WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — In a Europe wracked by fears of rising anti-Semitism, and in a country whose Jews were all but annihilated in the Holocaust, a dazzling new “museum of life” celebrates the Jewish past and looks forward to a vital future.
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday jointly inaugurated the long-awaited core exhibit of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a more than $100 million complex first conceived more than 20 years ago.
A view of the reconstructed painted ceiling of the wooden synagogue of Gwoździec, a key installation in the core exhibit of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. (Photo: Ruth Ellen Gruber / JTA)
“It is not a museum of the Holocaust, it is a museum of life,” Rivlin, who was making his first trip abroad since his election this summer, declared at the opening ceremony. “It is the place that commemorates everything that is gone and will never return. And it reveals hope for a different future.”
Komorowski stressed the same hopes, declaring that the museum opening was a history-making event that bore witness to Poland’s development into a democratic state since the fall of communism.
“One of the central themes in our drive to freedom was to put right the account of history that had been corrupted, manipulated and distorted in so many ways during the non-democratic communist era,” Komorowski said.
A Shoah survivor, rabbi, teacher, businessman and philanthropist, he lived a long life full of both joy and tragedy
By MORDECAI SPECKTOR
Rabbi Marc Liebhaber began writing a column in the American Jewish World around 40 years ago. The popular feature was titled “From Friday to Friday,” and topics ranged from communal Jewish issues — local, national and global — to Israel.
The Jewish state was a frequent topic. Rabbi Liebhaber often reported on his travels to Israel, and relayed his concerns about social and political developments there.
In March 1980, Liebhaber, who had served in the pulpit of Tifereth B’nai Jacob Synagogue, in north Minneapolis, realized a longtime dream when he purchased the newspaper from Norman Gold and his partners. He ran the Jewish World — and continued to write his column — for 26 years, until he sold the paper to Minnesota Jewish Media, LLC, the current parent company of the AJW.
On Oct. 14, Rabbi Liebhaber died at his home in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 97. Funeral services took place this week in New York City.
Rabbi Marc Liebhaber speaks at the 2013 Liebhaber Prize awards ceremony in Jerusalem. (Photo: Mordecai Specktor)
David Ives’ play, New Jerusalem, engages the audience during a historic legal interrogation
By DORIS RUBENSTEIN
What do the portrayals of Wolfgang Mozart in Amadeus and Baruch de Spinoza in New Jerusalem have in common? In both plays, the main characters are child prodigies and they are both depicted as sort of wild and crazy guys.
Much more is known about Mozart’s early life than about Spinoza’s life. David Ives’ play, New Jerusalem, The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656, now on stage at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company’s Hillcrest Theater in St. Paul, attempts to fill in some of that gap.
The play’s mood is set before the houselights are even dimmed when the muffled voices of a sizeable crowd bleed through the sound system (creatively used by sound designer C. Andrew Mayer), melding with the voices of the audience that is just being seated. It’s a hint to those paying attention that they will become part of the play itself.
New Jerusalem’s main action takes place in the Talmud Torah Synagogue. It imagines what was a legal interrogation — not a religious one, per se, since it is not conducted by a beit din (rabbinical court) — by Talmud Torah’s administrative leaders, ex officio leaders of the Amsterdam Jewish community.
The object of the interrogation is one 22-year-old member of the community: Baruch de Spinoza. The audience is the Talmud Torah congregation, witnessing the “trial.”
Michael Hugh Torsch (Baruch de Spinoza) and Rachel Weber (Rebekah de Spinoza) star in Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company’s production of New Jerusalem, The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656. They are pictured with James Ramlet (Van Valkenburgh, far left) and George Muellner (Rabbi Mortera, second from left). (Photo: Sarah Whiting)
The 2014 Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival, formerly the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival, will bring the community together by featuring international award-winning feature films, documentaries and shorts from around the world on themes of Jewish culture and identity.
The festival, a partnership of the Sabes JCC and the St. Paul JCC, runs Oct. 23–Nov. 2.
Prior to the official opening, there will be a screening of Dancing in Jaffa 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19 at the Sabes JCC, 4330 Cedar Lake Rd. S., St. Louis Park. It will be followed by a tango dance lesson and reception.
Under the context of Israeli-Palestinian relations, Dancing in Jaffa demonstrates the powerful role that dance can play in enabling communities to overcome prejudice and build personal ties with one another.
Opening night will feature the Minnesota premiere of The Sturgeon Queens, a documentary of a famed New York fishmonger shop and deli, with guest appearances by the director and author. The festival will also include the Minnesota premiere of Above and Beyond, the true story of the volunteer foreign airmen in the War of Independence. That screening will feature guest producer Nancy Spielberg and honor local hero Leon Frankel, who is seen in the film.
The shortest poem in playwright, director and author Israel Horovitz’s new collection, Heaven and Other Poems (Three Rooms Press) is titled “A Dieter’s Prayer.” Here it is: “Bless you, Father, / For I have thinned.” This poetry collection should delight the lover of verse, and those averse to poetry. Horovitz […]