JTA NEWS
24 May 2017 - 28 Iyyar 5777 - כ"ח אייר ה' אלפים תשע"ז
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Disabled youth in Myanmar enjoy soccer programme E-mail

An educational therapeutic football programme for children with disabilities was held in Myanmar from 5 to 10 December.

The “Game of Life” project was a joint effort of MASHAV, the Israeli aid agency; Mifalot: Sport for Education, Development and Peace, and the Myanmar Paralympic Sports Federation.

The course educated football trainers from all over Myanmar about how to use football as a method of therapeutic education for youth with disabilities. Around 27 male and female coaches participated, along with 20 youngsters with cerebral palsy. Israeli coaches included Yael Paz and Nadav Dagan.

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One good deed will bring another E-mail

How many pairs of Tefillin are ordered on the occasion of a boy’s Barmitzvah? Usually the answer would be one. Sometimes two or three pairs if Dad and Grandpa want to upgrade their own sets.

How then did it happen that over 20 sets of Tefillin – complete with a Talit and embroidered bag – were ordered on the occasion of just one boy’s Barmitzvah?

It all started with the desire of Hong Kong resident Benjamin Greenstein to make his Barmitzvah something more than just visits to the Rabbi for Barmitzvah lessons, the detailed planning of the celebrations, and the co-ordination of guests who would be flying in from overseas.

All of that certainly did happen, but in the case of Benjamin’s Barmitzvah, there were some other important things going on in the background. A seemingly chance visit (at just the right time) by Rabbi Chaim Danzinger, the Chabad Shliach to Rostov Russia, turned into a campaign to provide Tefillin for the boys of that impoverished community.

When Benjamin heard that the boys in Rostov all shared just one pair of Tefillin because they couldn’t afford their own, he decided to do something about it. Emails were soon sent out to friends of the family asking for their assistance in lieu of Barmitzvah gifts. A fundraising sports day on a Sunday afternoon in December was organised to encourage his friends to take part in the project. A goal of HK$50,000 was set. Donations, big and small, started to come in from friends in Hong Kong and abroad, and the initial goal was soon met. And the donations kept coming. So many people were touched by this beautiful initiative of a young boy.

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Comparing the Jewish diaspora and overseas Chinese E-mail

The Hong Kong Friends of Tel Aviv University (TAU) hosted a fascinating talk at the Jewish Community Centre on 12 December. Well over 120 people attended the evening’s event, including local Hong Kong Chinese and Jewish community members, TAU alumni, business leaders and academics.

Also present were Sharon Ser, Chairperson of Friends of TAU; Michal Mor Shtorch, Executive Director of Friends of TAU; Sagi Karni, Israel Consul General to Hong Kong, and Meir Buber, Head of Resources Development in English Speaking Countries TAU.

The guest speaker was Professor Roger King, the Founder & Director of the Tanoto Center for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University.

In his talk, titled “Overseas Chinese & Jewish Diasporas: A Comparative Study”, Professor King explained that there are many similarities between the overseas Chinese and the Jewish diasporas. Both communities are close-knit, self-reliant, hardworking wealth accumulators, and they value education and family. And both have at times had to survive discrimination, prejudice and atrocities in their countries of residence.

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IsCham Shanghai branch launched Print E-mail

The Israel Chamber of Commerce launched its Shanghai branch on 30 November, with the aim of strengthening bilateral business ties.

IsCham is a non-profit organisation established to represent and assist the Israeli business community in developing commercial relations between China, Israel and the Jewish world. IsCham strives to promote Israeli businesses in China and to serve Israeli companies and individuals in China. It was launched by former Israeli president Shimon Peres in August 2008 during the Beijing Olympics.

Yuval Ben-Sadeh, Chairman of the Israel Chamber of Commerce in China commented: “Our goal is to make the Chamber a home for all the people who want to know Israel, to all Israeli who want to know China, to all the people who want to co-operate about culture, business and tourism and to meet friends,” he said.

(Issue Feb 2017)

 
AJC delegation visits Myanmar and Vietnam E-mail

An AJC delegation led by AJC Asia Pacific Institute (API) Director Shira Loewenberg and API board member Cliff Goldstein concluded an eight-day visit to Myanmar and Vietnam in December.

In Myanmar the 15-member delegation met with, among others, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander in Chief of the Defense Forces; Mr U Aung Ko, Minister of Religious Affairs, and Lieutenant General Sein Win, Minister of Defense. The delegation also met with Israeli Ambassador Daniel Zonshine and US Ambassador Scot Marciel.

In Vietnam the delegation met with Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Dinh Quy and other high-level Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials. The delegation met with US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, and was hosted by Meirav Eilon Shahar, Ambassador of Israel to Vietnam, at her residence in Hanoi.

Topics discussed in both countries included bilateral relations with Israel and the US, regional developments in Southeast Asia, and support for Israel at the UN and other international foray.

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