18 February 2020 - 23 Shevat 5780 - כ"ג שבט ה' אלפים תש"פ
Yad Vashem receives rare Purim manuscript E-mail

This years Purim Megillah reading from the Book of Esther held at Yad Vashem Synagogue in Jerusalem on 16 March featured a scroll that survived Krakow Ghetto.

The Megillah scroll written in elegant calligraphy and estimated to be 300-450 years old, was discovered by Professor Kazimierz Kowalski during the Holocaust among a pile of rubbish in the courtyard of a Jewish school in the Kazimierz district in Krakow.

Beryl Shore, a survivor from Krakow and a member of the Association of Cracowians in Israel, brought the handwritten scroll to Israel a few years ago, and delivered it to Yad Vashem for safekeeping. The Megillah was displayed during the Purim event in which the Director General of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Professor Jonathan HaLevy read from the scroll.

Also in attendance were survivors from various organisations and students at the Midreshet Moriah seminary.

Purim evening at the Ilia camp in Transylvania in 1943 was a very difficult one. Conditions were unbearable and spirits were very low.

Zvi Hershel Weiss, a prisoner at the camp, decided to write a text for the holiday to uplift the mood of his fellow Jews imprisoned Zlongside him. Recently, Zvi’s son, Shmuel Yitzhak Weiss donated the manuscript, written in Yiddish, to Yad Vashem as part of the ‘Gathering the Fragments’ campaign.

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President Peres receives Spirit of Davos award E-mail

Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel was honoured at a unique ceremony at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January at a ceremony attended by hundreds of business and public leaders from across the world.

President Peres was awarded the Spirit of Davos award for his work in furthering peace, economics and technology in the world.

The Founder and Chairperson of the WEF, Mr. Klaus Schwab said, “A great leader in my definition has brains, he has vision, he has a soul and he has values and he has a heart which means passion and compassion. You have it and you have shown it again. In this spirit, and very exceptionally I have the great honor to give you an award for global leadership.”

“We felt we must do something special so have a Golden Bell and the text is President Shimon Peres a unique visionary and global statesman for tolling the bell of peace and harmony.”

President Peres thanked the WEF for the award and said, “This is the product of the Israeli effort, I am the humble recipient of it on behalf of the Israeli people. We have to use it in the Middle East to call the people to peace.”
Before the award ceremony President Peres took part in a special plenary with Mr. Klaus Schwab during which he addressed the major issues on the agenda in the Middle East today.

When asked whether Iran is serious about giving up its nuclear weapons programme, President Peres responded, “It will be serious if they didn’t build nuclear weapons but just saying so isn’t serious. Iran doesn’t need the P5+1 to stop the nuclear programme, noone forces Iran to build nuclear missiles. No-one forces Iran to support Hezbollah, which is today the greatest killer in Syria. If Iran continues with its current actions then they will see that the world won’t accept this dangerous behaviour.”

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Guinness World Record achieved for lowest altitude formation flight over The Dead Sea E-mail

Breaking records at the Dead Sea: 12 pilots flying six aircraft have been officially awarded a Guinness World Record for formation flying at the lowest altitude n the lowest place on earth, flying in an arrowhead formation over the Dead Sea, 422 metres below sea level.

This record breaking initiative was lead by Lt. Col. Dan Shion, a pilot and former fighter squadron commander of the air force. Following his army service he continued to fly as a hobby in a variety of ultralight aircraft. Shion decided to take up the challenge of entering the Guinness World Record with the flight recorded in Israel.

In order to achieve a Guinness World Record, a formation flight lasting more than one minute must be achieved at more than 355 feet below sea level.

Formation flying is when multiple planes are arranged geometrically flying close to each other in one route destination and accurately perform all the functions. It requires a high skill level of the pilots as even the smallest path deviation can result in an accident.

In addition to the risks incurred in formation flying at regular altitudes, there were also risks in his choice of destination, over the Dead Sea.

Flight over water often creates distortions in vision and perception about height and distance from the sea which again could lead to a disastrous mistake.

In order to accomplish this complicated flight a group of pilots were selected from the Israel Ultralight Association, and all barring one pilot were senior air force pilots and three of them served as combat wing commanders in the air force.

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