JTA NEWS
20 April 2015 - 1 Iyyar 5775 - א' אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ה
JTA NEWS :
Students running to highlight global slavery E-mail

Last November as part of a global inititative, Hong Kong students took part in a charity race. The project called The 24 Hour Race by Running To Stop the Traffik is the biggest student-run charity organisation in Asia. Their vision is very clear – a world free from modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

The 24 Hour Race is an international youth-focused endurance event aimed to combat human slavery. Since 2010, the 24 Hour Races have engaged more than 1,500,000 youths in the fight against modern-day slavery, and raised more than US$300,000 for grass roots anti-human slavery charities in the process.

On 15 November from 9 am through to 9 am on 16 November more than 1000 students took part and ran simultaneously in Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to show their family, friends, colleagues and community that they care about fighting against human slavery.

Through their fund raising efforts the Hong Kong runners raised HK$2 million for their beneficiary charity, Freedom Matters, a UK registered charity, where most of the project work is currently conducted in Nepal fighting trafficking and modern day slavery. The charity’s primary focus is the rescue, protection and rehabilitation of children and young people from conditions of enslavement, violence or exploitation.

One of the participants was Sarah Davidson a student from Elsa High School. “Over the past few years I have learnt about and raised awareness for modern day slavery. There are approximately 27 million slaves in the world today; a number that I have yet to comprehend myself,” said Sarah.

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Shavei Israel re-establishing Kaifeng, China E-mail

Dipping an apple in a bowl of honey and blowing the shofar are two of the most iconic images of the Jewish New Year. But those customs are nothing short of miraculous when they take place so far from Israel or other large Diaspora Jewish communities that they are literally on the other side of the world.

This past Rosh Hashanah, Shavei Israel organised a gathering in Kaifeng, China, where the small Jewish community celebrated the coming of the New Year with the same vigor as Jews in Jerusalem, New York or Paris.

Jews are believed to have first settled in Kaifeng, which was one of China’s imperial capitals, in the 8th century, arriving there from Persia and Iraq as they made their way eastward along the Silk Route. In 1163, Kaifeng’s Jews built a large and beautiful synagogue.

At its peak, during the Ming Dynasty (13681644), the Kaifeng Jewish community may have numbered as many as 5,000 people. But, by the mid1800s, assimilation had taken a heavy toll and the Chinese Jews’ knowledge and practice of Judaism had largely faded away. The last rabbi of the community died in the early part of the 19th century, and the synagogue building was all but destroyed by a series of floods, which struck the city in the 1840s.

All of which makes the dogged perseverance by several hundred Kaifeng Jews to maintain their Jewish identity that much more remarkable.

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Anti-Semitic conference takes place in Iran E-mail

An Iranian conference devoted to promoting anti - Semitic propaganda – whose cancellation last year was attributed to the “more moderate” tone of the new government of President Hassan Rouhani – has gone on as planned this year, drawing a who’s who of Holocaust deniers and international antiSemites to Tehran.

The New Horizon Conference, which recently took place in Tehran in October as part of its 13th International Resistance Film Festival, has also drawn some high-profile American anti-Israel activists such as Medea Benjamin of “CODEPINK,” revealing a disturbing collusion between those activists and Iranian purveyors of anti-Semitic agitation and propaganda, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

“This conference provides yet another example of how the Iranian government facilitates the spread of global anti-Semitism,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Participation by an international assortment of Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites is de rigueur for these types of events. A disturbing new element in this anti-Jewish gathering is the appearance on the guest list of a few high visibility U.S. antiwar and anti-Israel activists who claim their positions are not motivated by anti-Semitism. It will be harder for them to make that claim now, given their open collusion with this event and its Iranian government sponsors.”

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