8 July 2015 - 21 Tammuz 5775 - כ"א תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ה

The Philippines and Israel reaffirmed their friendly relations when the governments of the two states issued on 29 January 2015 a joint stamp commemorating the Philippine rescue of Jews during the Holocaust.

The launching ceremony, held at the Community Hall of Rishon LeZion, came two days after International Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January.

The Philippine version of the stamp was unveiled by Philippine Ambassador to Israel, Neal Imperial, Post Master General and CEO of Philippine Postal Corporation, Maria Josefina M. Dela Cruz and Business Lines Department Manager Enrique V. Tagle. The Israel version of the stamp was unveiled by Israel Post CEO and President Haim Elmozino, Rishon LeZion Mayor Dov Zur and Israel Philatelic Service Director Yaron Razon.

The joint commemorative stamp features the national flags of the Philippines and Israel and the Open Doors Monument. The monument, which was unveiled on 21 June 2009 at Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, honours the humanitarian act of Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon in saving the lives of Jews fleeing the Holocaust from 1939-1942 through the issuance of around 10,000 visas. About 1,300 Jews reached the Philippines.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Imperial said, “This humanitarian act not only resulted in saving the lives of a large number of Jews and their succeeding generations; it no doubt influenced as well the Philippine vote in favour of United Nations Resolution 181 in 1947, which helped create the State of Israel. These two acts, almost a decade apart and pursued by two different Philippine governments, had one common denominator: a consistent commitment to provide a home for the persecuted Jews.”

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Japan’s Orchid Festival has Israeli presence E-mail

Israel’s Ambassador to Japan, Ruth Kahanoff represented Israel in Japan’s Grand Prix International Orchid Festival which was recently held in the Tokyo Dome.

The festival which ran from 14-22 February, is the largest orchid festival in the world. The festival has been held annually since 1991.

Israel’s orchid table display, was designed by Ambassador Kahanoff and contained an assortment of Judaica and Israeli elements such as a Menorah and an ancient vase. Her highness Princess Takamado, who is the patron of the flower show, paid a visit to the Israeli stand.

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Rabbi pleads guilty to filming women in Mikvah E-mail

Rabbi Barry Freundel, the former spiritual leader at a prominent Washington synagogue, Kesher Israel, in the US has pleaded guilty to 52 counts of misdemeanor voyeurism.

The plea means that Freundel could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of 52 years in prison and ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Sentencing was postponed until 15 May.

Freundel, 63, was arrested last October on six charges of voyeurism after investigators discovered secret cameras installed in the mikvah shower room and additional recording devices in his home.

The government requested that Freundel wear an electronic ankle bracelet. Prosecutors have told alleged victims that Freundel secretly recorded more than 150 women undressing at the mikvah. Women were videotaped as they used the National Capital Mikvah.

“I didn’t expect it to be over. I am glad it is,” said Jeffrey Shulevitz, the husband of Emma Shulevitz, one of Freundel’s victims. “The rabbi was a brilliant man, and he used it to harm people instead of making the world a better place.”

Civil suits have been filed against Freundel, the synagogue, the mikvah and the Rabbinical Council of America.

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Chabad to open in Angola E-mail

Chabad’s global geographical presence is truly immense. It has locations throughout the US, North America, South America, Europe, Asia & Africa.

Since the end of its civil war in 2002, Angola has flurried with foreign investment in its infrastructure, along with its minerals, diamonds, oil and land. In turn, the country’s Jewish population has grown exponentially. A decision has now been made to open up a permanent Jewish centre in Angola.

With their baby daughter, Rabbi Levi Itshak and Dvora Léa Chekly will be relocating from Paris to serve as Chabad representatives to Angola.

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Jewish gravestones desecrated again in New Zealand Print E-mail

Three headstones were vandalized last month in the Jewish section of a cemetery in Dunedin, New Zealand. A swastika was painted on one headstone and two others were broken.

Dunedin is the second largest city on the South Island of New Zealand with a population of over 124,000. “We find this type of vandalism not only to be ignorant and stupid, but also state that the underlying menace behind it is disturbing and worrying,” said Andrew Spiegel, a member of the Dunedin  Jewish Congregation.

This incident comes on the back of a previously reported desecration of headstones in 2012 at the Grafton Cemetery in Aukland. Three men aged 1923 were arrested and charged. More than 20 graves, all more than 125 years old and some dating back to the 1880s, were vandalised. Fourteen were spray-painted with large black swastikas, many had the numbers “88” – code for “Heil Hitler” sprayed on them and two had further anti-semitic obscenities.

(Issue march 2015)


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