Category: Blog

‘No one survived the Holocaust’ say those who lived

89 year old David and 88 year old Eti reject the idea of being called Holocaust survivors, David always repeated the mantra “No one survived the Holocaust, those who perished in the death camps, and those who kept on living long after, we all died in Europe.”

David is not the only one uncomfortable with the term. I had never thought of this, but many of those who witnessed the horror of WW2 Europe never fully recover. Some suffer nightmares which wake them up  at night, sweating. Others weep when they are alone and keep it to themselves. And most simply appreciate life a lot more, while some are just angry.

Every time I watch my grandfather looking at the tattoo on his arm, with the serial number the Nazi’s gave him, X-4130, I can see the sad look in his eyes slowly turning to rage. He stares at the number as if it is about to pop out of his arm and disappear into history. He then turns to me and shares another story from the Holocaust.

My grandmother on the other hand, would never speak of her experience. I cannot blame her for not wanting to talk about it but I wish she would have so I could learn from it. I’m discovering stories that I never knew about from her relatives, never from her. The only thing she ever told me was how she kept thinking, ‘I am going to have to take a stand.’ But she never did, and because of of this she never stopped blaming herself for the loss of her sister, mother and father.

My grandparents have had long lives. Only now, in the past few years, have I been trying to piece together how the traumas of their lives have shaped me, my parents, and our entire family. The answer is multifaceted, and I don’t feel I’ve even scratched the surface. My grandparents are caring, loving people, but they were considerably scarred, and in numerous ways their scars have been passed on to the next generation.

Yet, most of the time, I can go through my life without thinking of this part of my family’s past. I am starting my own family. I have a mortgage to pay, meals to make, a job to keep me busy, and messes to clean. I have been fortunate in this life. In countless ways, I live a life of joy. And although I care deeply about the Holocaust generation, I can – and will – move on beyond the dark place my grandparents are trapped in.

I look at my grandparents, two people, living past and present at the same time, one part of them was and will always remain in hell on earth and the other one is proud of what they have built: The country and the family. Which side is more dominant it depends on the day, but one thing is for sure – The Holocaust generation is almost gone, and it will be our job to share their story to future generation. Their story is our story and will forever be. They survived the Holocaust so the memory of them and the loved ones that dies will live on in our collective memories.

Written by: David Carmel

Remembering a journey to Poland – and its lessons for life

To be honest, my journey to Poland rarely crosses my mind anymore. I guess it’s only natural, since it’s been over eight years now since I participated. In those years I’ve grown, collecting and processing experiences. From the eight-years-removed-perspective, and after learning a thing or two about “the way things work”, it’s easier to place the journey as a part of my own personal maturation process, and without a doubt-one of the most shaking experiences of my life.

This Thursday, 21 January, the world will mark 71 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On days like this those memories and experiences are more prominent, and the need to share them more obvious.

For many teenagers growing up in Israel, the Journey to Poland (taken towards the end of high school,) is an irreplaceable piece in the becoming-a-proper-citizen puzzle. It’s not just the intimidating, unnatural and electrifying exposure to death in its most horrible forms. It’s also, or mainly, the process leading up to that exposure: the talks, the meetings and the discussions that take place before the journey itself.

Unlike some, I was lucky enough to choose who to go on this journey with, and without a doubt, it was a game-changing element in my own personal experience. The main focus on my journey was not death but hope. We talked a lot about the Jewish resistance to the Nazis, resistance in the form of armed rebellions in the Warsaw Ghetto and youth movements educating Jewish children in Lodz and resistance in the form of poets and writers who expressed the lust for life in a lost world. This way we were able to understand the story of the Holocaust, during which the Nazi systematically murdered six million Jews, not just as a story of death, but as a story of life.

Even so, death was always present during the journey. Even when standing without word in front of the ash mountain in Majdanek concentration camp, or walking silently through the narrow paths between the barracks of Auschwitz, one can’t fully digest the scope of the horror. For me, those extermination camps were not the place I felt the Jewish tragedy in the clearest way. It was in the forests; Just a few miles from the nearest village, within eyesight of the main road, or from the village Bakery. The silence was present, and with it death. There is no mark of the tragedy, no wall used for executions or supporting gas chambers.

In the forests, where people were shot for being Jews, there are only small copper signs, laconically indicating the act of murder. And there, in the silence of the trees, I felt death in its most terrifying form. Just within eyesight of the nearest village.

Dramatic questions were asked during the journey. For example, the question of why it happened. By “happened” I don’t mean only the death camps, but also the presence of cruelty and brutality just a few miles from a civilized culture. What allowed this death machine to exist was human cruelty. Blind cruelty fuelled by ignorance and propaganda. But the existence of the death pits in the woods was allowed by a much more dangerous human attribute – apathy. It was the apathy of those who saw murder and humiliations on a daily basis, yet chose to ignore it, which enabled it.

Apathy is much more dangerous than cruelty, because it makes it possible. It normalizes cruelty to a level one can live with. The cruelty of one is possible thanks to the apathy of many.

I remember coming back from the journey determined to make a change. From an eight-year perspective, this journey shaped my choices, including decisions like joining a youth movement, enlisting in the army, and volunteering and help others in need. The trip convinced me that one can choose not to be cruel, to reject apathy and to embrace care and compassion as worthy values. Sometimes, during the eight years since, I neglected those values. I allowed others to take their place. But even though the experience of the journey is not present in my everyday life, it’s always in the back of my head, and in almost imperceptibly ways, it influences my life.

Written by: Atar David

Germans once again sell ‘Mein Kampf’ – Hitler’s manifest

As the provocative and much-discussed book authored by Afolf Hitler hits the stores once again, there is one print edition that grabs the eye: an annotated, critical version which provides the reader with the right questions and information to put the book – roughly translated as “my struggle” – in the right context.

“At this stage it is hard to say who bought the annotated edition so far,” Othmar Plöckinger, co-author of the newly available version of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampftold The Times of Israel in an interview.

While we don’t do this often, the ISCA team recommends you read this article.

The interview describes the history of the book, as well as the (somewhat) surprising success from a sales point of view following its reentering of the market, decades after being banned. Here are a few short paragraphs from the original piece, which is worth a read.


The new edition of the book — published in Germany last Friday for the first time since World War II — sold out within hours, leading the publisher to quickly order several thousand reprints.

Despite the controversy surrounding the reappearance of Hitler’s anti-Semitic screed, the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich was surprised by the success of the two-volume annotated version of “Mein Kampf,” which contains more critical commentary than the original text.

“We were surprised by the great demand of the book, as the originally planned 4,000 copies prove,” acknowledged Austrian historian Othmar Plöckinger, who co-edited the new edition. Still, he told The Times of Israel in an email interview, in the Internet era, it was “an illusion” to believe that people could be prevented from reading this or any other work. And far better, he said, that they read “our annotated edition” than the original version.


Written by Hitler between 1924 and 1925, mostly while he was in prison for a botched putsch, “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle” in German) was translated into 18 languages and sold more than 12 million copies before 1945. After the war, the book’s publication was outlawed in Germany. But according to German law, a book enters the public domain seven decades after the author’s death, which enabled its re-publication last week.

A personal take on some charming ignorance

“But you Jewish people seem to just be everywhere!”

At the time, I didn’t know what to make of this comment. In perspective, I’m happy I was there to hear it- I believe it to be a pretty well representing example of a very popular point of view among non- Jews, worldwide, used as a platform to promote anti-Semitic ideas among those that do not know much about Judaism.

It was August 2012 and I’ve just made my way down to Florida after yet another incredible summer at A Jewish overnight summer camp in Georgia. I was invited to spend Shabbat in Coral Springs Florida, at a beautiful house of a dear friend. Around the Shabbat dinner table were two families and some other guests- a total of just under 20 people, all of which were enjoying some great food, a lovely atmosphere and most importantly-some intriguing conversation about religion, economics and politics that almost each and every one of the dinner participants were a part of, including a woman named Melony.

Melony was a non-Jewish, African-American 40 year old lady that was at dinner primarily as the care taker of a 90 year old grandfather of the hosting family, yet accepted, of course, as a full family member and a big part of the grandfather’s ongoing good health. She was nothing but polite, easy going and talkative, though clearly not in her comfort zone as much as she probably is around her own Christian family down in Miami. However, Melony became the center of the conversation that revolved mostly Theology and religious practices, as she was describing how comfortable she feels around the Jewish Families she works with in south Florida.

I remember clearly sitting at the table together with the host and Melony, long after the children and most of the guests have left the table, when he asked Melony: “What do you think it is about the Jewish families you work with that makes you comfortable?” Melony had an easy time answering that one. “Our cultures are very similar” she said. “To both African- American and Jewish cultures everything is about family. I get that, that’s the way it should be and therefore I feel at home”. Then she paused, thinking for a moment, then adding: “Also, there are so many Jews here around Miami. I’m used to it by now. It (Jewish culture) doesn’t seem weird anymore. Okay, I thought to myself. “Not weird” could even seem like a compliment when it comes from non-Jews sometimes. But that was not what the father of the hosting family- Albie- found most intriguing about Melony’s comment. “How many Jews do you think live in greater Miami?” he asked softly, wondering about Melony’s perspective. “A couple million” She replied with confidence. “A couple million?? So how Many in the US? How many in the world??” For these questions Melony had to take a moment and think. “Well, all I can do is guess and you’ll correct me if I’m wrong. I’d say- maybe about 50 million Jews in the US and like 250 million in the world’ Israel included. I can’t be that far off, can I?” She said, with little awareness as of how off she really was. “Just a bit off” said Albie, then telling her the real statistics. Melony was speechless. I’ll never forget her facial expression when hearing the real numbers, to which she replied by saying: “But you Jewish people seem to be everywhere!”

Yes, it might seem like that when the media reports events in Israel pretty much on a daily basis, or when a large number of Hollywood starlets and stars are known as members of “The Tribe”- but it was clear to me the though Melony has had many encounters with Jewish people in South Florida over the years, what kept her from being even remotely close to the real numbers was the fact that the widespread talks about Israel, Jewish Holidays and culture in the US creates a false image in people’s mind- caused mainly by innocent ignorance that enables antisemitism to flourish, in places with large or small Jewish populations alike. Melony had an overall positive view of Jews and Judaism due to spending time with Jews that she had something in common with. But what of those who know even less, do not have Jewish friends but are obviously still exposed to hostility towards Jews on social media, for example? What keeps them from strengthening possible wrong assumptions about “Jews being everywhere” that can very easily lead to thinking that Jews are not only “everywhere” but also “behind everything”? Just the mere fact that a wonderful women such as Melony can be so off- shows how dangerous ignorance about Jews can be.

That alone holds enough ground to easily justify combating the widespread hate towards Jews that almost anyone can run into on social Media, where ignorance is used to promote hostility and every bully with a keyboard can turn innocent yet wrong assumptions into radical hate and racism. While combating antisemitism online, we should be finding the ‘Melonys’ out there, and make sure that we highlight what we have in common, teach about our culture, share some statistics and keep a flow of conversation that can preserve true friendships.


Written By: Daniel Levy

October in Jewish History

1187: Sultan Saladin captured Jerusalem from the Crusaders. While the Crusaders had held Jerusalem, they had barred Jews from living in the city – Saladin allowed them to return.


1830: Creation of the state of Belgium – Jews are first reported to have lived in what is now Belgium in the first century when they settled their as part of the Roman Empire.  The first phase of the Jewish community ended in the 14th century when the Jews were killed or forced to leave because of their alleged role in the bringing of the Black Plague, they returned in the 16th century – when the modern state of Belgium was created.


1789: George Washington transmits the proposed Constitutional amendments to the States for ratification. The First Amendment had particular for the small America Jewish community and has loomed large for the growth of the modern Jewish community – the Amendment opens with the following declaration “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” In other words, the government would not establish a state religion and at the same time, the citizens were free to practice whatever religion they individually chose.

Credit: Wikipedia



1933: In a bid to control the media and drive the Jews from German cultural life, the newly empowered Nazi government promulgated the Newspaper Editors’ Law. It made Aryan origin a prerequisite for anyone editing a German newspaper.


1940: The Warsaw Ghetto was “opened” on this date, which was Rosh Hashanah on the secular calendar.  The Nazis ordered 150,000 Jews to move into the ghetto.


Credit: Wikipedia


1940: The French government at Vichy adopted the definition of a Jew established in the Nuremberg Laws.  The Vichy government was eager to be part of Hitler’s New Europe and willingly sacrificed Jews living in France to show their loyalty. Vichy’s anti-Jewish laws, the first “Statut des Juifs”, are modeled on the German Nuremberg Laws, and, like them, are widely accepted.


1941: The Bulgarians enforced an extraordinary measure that prohibited the Jews of Macedonia from engaging in any type of industry or commerce. All existing Jewish businesses had three months to transfer ownership to non-Jews or sell their assets and close down
1943: The first Jewish paratroopers from Palestine landed in the Balkans. Many of them had been chosen because they were born in the region and spoke the languages of the land like natives. These Jews agreed to help organize non-Jewish underground units on behalf of the British war effort. The British agreed to let them aid other Jews once they had completed their primary mission. The British also made it clear that they would not offer support for this secondary part of the mission.


1943: The Danish people rescue about 7000 Jews, only 500 of whom are captured by the Germans. The 500 seized by the Germans are sent to the Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, camp – all but 77 will survive the war. The Danish government will persistently check on the health and welfare of the Jews who were sent to Theresienstadt, enabling almost all of them to survive to war’s end.


1945: The Jewish Resistance Movement was an alliance of the Zionist paramilitary organizations Haganah, Irgun and Lehi in the British Mandate of Palestine. It was established in October, 1945, by the Jewish Agency and activated for some ten months, until August, 1946. The alliance coordinated attacks against the British authorities. The Zionist Movement had high hopes for the new Labour administration in Britain, newly elected after the war. However, it continued to apply the policies laid down in the White Paper of 1939 which included restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine.


1952: The Jerusalem Post reported that the overwhelming majority of the 34,000 immigrants who arrived in Israel from October 1951 to the end of September 1952 were members of Oriental communities. There were 9,800 immigrants from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, 3,800 from Libya, 1,350 from Egypt, 5,800 from Iran, 1,000 from Iraq, 650 from Turkey, 6,800 from Romania, 650 from Bulgaria, 160 from Poland, 170 from the US and the rest from other countries. This rapidly growing Sephardic population would eventually change the demographics of the new state.


1956: The Suez Crisis, also named the Tripartite Aggression, and the Kadesh Operation was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, followed by Britain and France. The aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser from power. After the fighting had started, the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations forced the three invaders to withdraw. The episode humiliated Great Britain and France and strengthened Nasser.

Credit: Wikipedia


1973: The Yom Kippur War, was a war fought by the coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel from October 6 to 25, 1973. With the exception of isolated attacks on Israeli territory on 6 and 9 October, the military combat actions during the war took place on Arab territory, mostly in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. The war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions in the Israeli-occupied territories on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism.

The war had far-reaching implications. The Arab World, felt psychologically vindicated by early successes in the conflict. In Israel, despite impressive operational and tactical achievements on the battlefield, the war led to recognition that there was no guarantee it would always dominate the Arab states militarily – These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process.


1980: A bomb hidden in a motorcycle saddlebag detonated outside the Synagogue on the Rue Copernic in France exploded killing four people and wounding twenty others. Among the dead was Aliza Shagrir, 42, the wife of Micha Shagrir, a well-known television, film and documentary producer who lives in Jerusalem. The bombing was part of a string of attacks by Arab terrorists aimed at the Jews of Europe.


1986: Lieutenant Colonel Ron Arad, born 5 May 1958, presumed dead, was an Israeli Air Force weapon systems officer who is officially classified as missing in action since October 1986, but is widely presumed dead. Arad was lost on a mission over Lebanon, captured by Shiite group Amal and was later handed over to the Hezbollah.

On 16 October 1986, Arad and pilot Yishai Aviram were on a mission to attack PLO targets near Sidon, Lebanon. A bomb dropped by their F-4 Phantom II apparently exploded prematurely, causing damage to the aircraft and forcing both crewmen to eject. Aviram was located by an Israeli Bell AH-1 Cobra a few hours later, and escaped by clinging to one of its landing skids as it flew away while under heavy enemy fire, but Arad was captured by the Lebanese Amal.


1991: The Madrid Conference of 1991 was a peace conference, held from 30 October to 1 November 1991 in Madrid, hosted by Spain and co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union. It was an attempt by the international community to revive the Israeli–Palestinian peace process through negotiations, involving Israel and the Palestinians as well as Arab countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.


1994: The Israel–Jordan peace treaty was signed in 1994 – Jordan was the second Arab country, after Egypt, to sign a peace accord with Israel. The treaty settled relations between the two countries, adjusted land and water disputes, and provided for broad cooperation in tourism and trade. It included a pledge that neither Jordan nor Israel would allow its territory to become a staging ground for military strikes by a third country.

Credit: Wikipedia

2001: Rehavam Ze’evi, Israel’s tourism minister, was assassinated at shortly before 7:00 am on Wednesday, 17 October 2001, at the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem by a squad of Palestinians assassins acting on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant organization. Ze’evi was the first Israeli minister to be assassinated since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and the most senior Israeli person to be killed by militants during the entire Arab–Israeli conflict.


2002: Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli-American psychologist notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioral economics, for which he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (shared with Vernon L. Smith). His empirical findings challenge the assumption of human rationality prevailing in modern economic theory.

Credit: Taub Center


2003: The Maxim restaurant suicide bombing was a suicide bombing which occurred on October 4, 2003 in the beachfront “Maxim” restaurant in Haifa, Israel. 21 people were killed in the attack and 51 were injured. Among the victims were two families and four children, including a two-month-old baby. The restaurant, which is located at the seafront near the southern boundary of the city of Haifa, was frequently attended by both Arab and Jewish local populations, and was widely seen as a symbol of peaceful coexistence in Haifa.


September in Jewish History

1320: Pope John XXII issues a bull against the Talmud. Calling it “the damned initiatives of the perfidious Jews,” he orders that “the plague and deadly diseased weed (of Judaism) must be pulled out by its roots.”


1871: Décret Crémieux, named for Adolphe Cremieux, conferred French citizenship on all Jews living in Algeria, which had been a department of France. Arabs and Berbers were not made French citizens which meant that there was a reversal in the centuries old relationship between Moslems and Jews.


1917: The British cabinet formally discusses the document that will be known as the “Balfour Declaration”.  While most ministers favored the declaration, Edwin Montagu a Jewish member of the cabinet spoke out against the declaration –  he feared that the declaration of Palestine as the Jewish National Home would undermine the progress that British Jews had made on the road to full acceptance in their English homeland. As secretary of state for India, Montagu claimed that the pro-Zionist statement would inflame the Moslem population of India.


1929: The Fifth Aliyah refers to the fifth wave of the Jewish immigration to Palestina (Israel’s name before the official declaration of independence) from Europe and Asia between the years 1929 and 1939, with the arrival of 225,000 to 300,000 Jews. The Fifth immigration wave began after the 1929 Palestina riots, and after the comeback from the economic crisis in Palestina in 1927, during the period of the Fourth Aliyah. The end of this immigration wave was with the start of World War II.

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

1939: Second World War, was a global war that lasted from September 1st 1939 to 1945, though related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the world’s nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries.

In a state of “total war”, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust (during which approximately 11 million people were killed) and the strategic bombing of industrial and population centers (during which approximately one million people were killed, including the use of two nuclear weapons in combat), it resulted in an estimated 50 million to 85 million fatalities.

These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history.

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia


1941: The Germans test Zyklon B for effectiveness at Auschwitz.  The tests were declared a success as all of the “subjects” were killed.  Cyclon B will be the extermination weapon of choice for the Final Solution.

Empty poison gas canisters found by the Allies at the end of World War II. Credit: Wikipedia.

Empty poison gas canisters found by the Allies at the end of World War II. Credit: Wikipedia.

1942: Lódz (Poland) Ghetto’s Jewish Council leader, Chaim Rumkowski, acquiesces to Nazi demands for deportation of the community’s children and adults who are over the age of 65. During the action which will last until September 14, Germans fire randomly into crowds, execute individual Jews, and invade Jewish hospitals. They deport approximately 15,000 people.


1944: The Frank family, including sisters Margot and Anne, were put on the first of the three final trains at Westerbork concentration camp that shipped its human cargo to Auschwitz.
1945: World War II officially ended as Japan signed the terms of surrender on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri.


1946: “A Flag Is Born,” a play promoting the creation of a Jewish State in the ancient land of Israel opened on Broadway. The cast included Paul Muni, Celia Adler and Marlon Brando. Hollywood’s most successful screenwriter, Ben Hecht was the playwright and was directed by Luther Adler with music by Kurt Weill.


1951: After meeting with David Ben Gurion, Mr. Warburg, General Chairman of the United Jewish Appeal announced that the UJA would work to raise 35 million dollars to pay the cost of moving 60,000 Jews from Eastern Europe and Moslem countries to Israel by the end of the year.


1951: Israel was facing the worst food crisis that has confronted the Jewish state since its birth three years ago. Except on the black market, fruits and vegetables have been all but unavailable on the local market.  The meat ration has been canceled for the last three weeks and there was no sugar ration available during August.  The cause of the shortage is the continued flow of new immigrants to the country which means that the food supply is always outstripped by the ever-increasing demand.

1972: The Munich massacre was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, on eleven Israeli Olympic team members, who were taken hostage and eventually killed, along with a German police officer, by the Palestinian group Black September. Shortly after the crisis began, they demanded 234 prisoners jailed in Israel to be released.

German neo-Nazis gave the attackers logistical assistance. Police officers killed five of the eight Black September members during a failed rescue attempt. They captured the three survivors, who West Germany later released following a Lufthansa airliner hijacking. Mossad responded to the release with Operation “Spring of Youth” and Operation “Wrath of God”, systematically tracking down and killing Palestinians suspected of involvement in the massacre.

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

1978: The Camp David Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on 17 September 1978, following twelve days of secret negotiations at Camp David. The two framework agreements were signed at the White House, and were witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter.

The second of these frameworks led directly to the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. Due to the agreement, Sadat and Begin received the shared 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. The first framework which dealt with the Palestinian territories, was written without participation of the Palestinians and was condemned by the United Nations.

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

1993: The Oslo I Accord was an attempt in 1993 to set up a framework that would lead to the resolution of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It was the first face-to-face agreement between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The Oslo Accords were subsequently officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, in the presence of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, the then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and U.S. President Bill Clinton. The documents themselves were signed by Mahmoud Abbas for the PLO, foreign Minister Shimon Peres for Israel, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher for the United States and foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev for Russia.





My Real-Life Antisemitic Nightmare – Corey’s Story

I sat down with Corey Fleischer, 34-year old Owner of a Montreal-based power washing company, who told me about his real life anti-Semitic nightmare, and his mission to wipe off Antisemitism. Literally.

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August in Jewish History


317 AD: Birthdate of Constantius II, Roman emperor. Judaism faced some severe restrictions under Constantius, who seems to have followed an anti-Jewish policy in line with that of his father. Early in his reign, Constantius issued a double edict limiting the ownership of slaves by Jewish people and banning marriages between Jews and Christian women. A later edict (issued by Constantius after becoming sole Emperor) decreed that a person who was proven to have converted from Christianity to Judaism would have their entire property confiscated by the state.


Credit: Wikipedia


1909: First Jewish community organization is founded in Santiago, Chile – “Sociedad Unon Israelita de Chile”.  At the same time in Argentinian, a group of Jewish students founded “Juventud Israelita Argentina” which produces a journal entitled “Juventud”, which became a favorite among Argentinian Jewish intellectuals.

1920: Adolf Hitler gives a speech in Salzburg in which he asserts the importance of eliminating the Versailles Treaty and blames the Jews not only for the treaty, but for all of the problems afflicting Germany.

Picture 4 History


1920: Establishment of “Socialist Zionist work group” also known as “Gdud Ha’Avoda that its name from Joseph Trumpeldor”, the one-armed Russian soldier who died defend Tel Hai from attacks from the Arabs.


1929: The Palestine riots, also known as the Western Wall Uprising, refers to a series of demonstrations and riots in late August 1929, when a long-running dispute between Muslims and Jews over access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem escalated into violence. The riots were mostly attacks by Arabs on Jews accompanied by destruction of Jewish property. During the week of riots from 23 to 29 August 133 Jews were killed by Arabs and 339 others were injured, while 110 Arabs were killed and 232 were injured, most of them by the British police while trying to suppress the riots.


1933: The German Government announced that those East European Jews who will be deprived of their citizenship in accordance with a recent decree will be given the status of Staatenlose – men without citizenship in any country. This explanation is accompanied by estimates that 10,300 East-European Jews had been naturalized in Prussia alone since 1922.


1933: In Frankfort, Court imposes a two months’ imprisonment sentence upon a Jewish journalist for wearing a swastika, even though he contends that he renounced Judaism in 1922 and had applied for membership in the National Socialist Party.


1933: The Nazi Rhine officials issue an order prohibiting the employment of Jews as non-qualified labor in the entire Rhine district. Employers are warned of penalties if they employ Jews who do not produce a special card entitling them to employment.


1942: In the Warsaw Ghetto, German soldiers came to collect the 192 orphans and about one dozen staff members to take them to Treblinka extermination camp. The children were under the care of Janusz Korczak, the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit a Polish-Jewish children’s author, pediatrician, and child pedagogue. Korczak had been offered sanctuary on the “Aryan side” of Warsaw but turned it down repeatedly, saying that he could not abandon his children and insisted going with the. At the day of collection, the children were dressed in their best clothes, and each carried a blue knapsack and a favorite book or toy. According to a popular legend, when the group of orphans finally reached the Umschlagplatz, an SS officer recognized Korczak as the author of one of his favorite children’s books and offered to help him escape, but once again, Korczak refused. He boarded the trains with the children and was never heard from again.



Credit: Wikipedia



1944: After a kangaroo trial in Berlin that was overseen by Goebbels, Hitler hung several of the German officers and other conspirators who tried to kill him. They are hung on meat hooks with chicken wire around their necks. The butchery is filmed and sent to Hitler for review. Over the next several months many more conspirators would be sent to trial.


1944: Approximately 68,000 Jews remained in the Lodz Ghetto. This was the largest gathering of Jews outside of the camps left in all of Europe – 67,000 were sent to Birkenau. The shipment of Jews that began on August 7 lasted 23 days, finally ending on August 30. Once there, most of the Jews meet the usual horrific fate – selection, death by gas, and then the cremation of their bodies. Some of the crippled were specially selected by Dr. Mengele.


1945: The Atom Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The bomb certainly could not have been built without the help of several Jewish scientists. The project to build the bomb owed its start to the letter Einstein sent to Roosevelt in 1939. While views about the use of the bomb have grown over the years, the tens of thousands of Allied soldiers and sailors who were projected to die while invading Japan certainly were not bothered by the use of what some came to call “the Jewish bomb.”

Credit: The Vintage News

Credit: The Vintage News


1949:  In his will Theodor Herzl wrote he wants to be buried in a metal coffin next to his father, and to remain there until the Jewish people will transfer his remains to Eretz Israel – the coffins of his father, sister and of his close relatives will also be transferred there. When Herzl died he was interred in Vienna. Forty-five years later, Herzl’s remains were brought to Israel and re-interred in Jerusalem. The location of the burial site was selected by a special state commission in the top of a hill in West Jerusalem next to Military cemetery of Jerusalem. He was buried in 17 August 1949. A temporary stone marked his grave for several years until the site was developed into a national cemetery. Despite Herzl’s wishes, his daughter Pauline and son Hans were not originally buried beside him. Their remains were moved to Mt. Herzl in 2006.




1950: Birthdate of David Duchovny, the actor best known for his role as Fox Mulder in the “X-Files.” Duchovy’s father Amram, was a writer and publicist who worked for the American Jewish Committee.

1962: Actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home –she was only 36. Her death was ruled a probable suicide from an overdose of sleeping pills. Monroe had converted to Judaism when she married to the  playwright Arthur Miller.


Credit: The Daily Mail

Credit: The Daily Mail


2004: Gal Fridman, an Israeli windsurfer won a gold medal in the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics. He is the only Israeli athlete to win two Olympic medals, and the first Olympic gold medalist in Israeli history. His first name, Gal, means “wave” in Hebrew.

2013: Nobel Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton psychologist known for his application of psychology to economic analysis,  who escaped Nazi Europe and served in the Israeli army, was one of the people President Obama named as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

July in Jewish History

July in Jewish History
118: Hadrian, Rome’s new emperor, made his entry into the Imperial City. Regardless of how history remembers him, for Jews, Hadrian is the Emperor who helped to start the Third Rebellion against Rome. In this case it was the lead by Bar Kochba and supported by Rabbi Akiva. It lasted from 132 until 135. It was the last uprising against Rome and really marked the beginning of the end of a vital Jewish community in Palestine.


1555: Paul IV issued “Cum nimis absurdum”, a Papal Bull that “placed religious and economic restrictions on Jews in the Papal States. The bull renewed anti-Jewish decrees. It forced Jews to wear special clothing, to live in a ghetto in Rome and forbade them to own real estate or practice medicine among Christians. Jews were forbidden to practice any trade except rag picking, and were restricted to one synagogue per city. Since all property had to be sold, and was inevitably sold at below market value, the Bull, like most such ordinances was theft as well.”


1816:  Argentina declares independence from Spain. The first Jews probably came to Argentina as “conversos” following the Spanish Inquisition. Bernardino Rivadavia, Argentina’s first president gave support to policies that promoted freedom of immigration and respect for human rights, including the abolishing of the Inquisition. These changes in the social and political climate paved the way for a new wave of Jewish immigration.

Acta_Independencia_argentina_quechua (1)

1891: It was officially announced today that the Porte (the government of the Ottoman Empire) will only allow Jews to enter Jerusalem as pilgrims and will not allow them to emigrate there as settlers.


1902: Theodor Herzl visits Lord James in his quest to gain great power support for a Jewish home in Palestine.

AUSTRIA - JANUARY 01:  Portrait Theodor Herzl. Photography. 1896.  (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) [Portrait Theodor Herzl. Photographie. 1896]

AUSTRIA – JANUARY 01: Portrait Theodor Herzl. Photography. 1896. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images) [Portrait Theodor Herzl. Photographie. 1896]

1906:  Colonel Alfred Dreyfus was finally pardoned, restored to his rank and returned to his regiment. The effects of the Dreyfus Affair did not end with the return of Dreyfus to active duty.  The Dreyfus Affair produced the modern Zionist political movement which in turn gave birth to the state of Israel.  The Dreyfus Affair also provided another dividing between the Left and the Right in both the French political and social scene and put another arrow in the quiver of right wing anti-Semites.  This would find full flower in the government at Vichy during World War II.


1933: In Germany, all political parties were outlawed except for the Nazi Party.


1938: President Roosevelt called for an international conference to consider the “displaced persons” problem. The negligible results highlight the passive role the Western world in the face of the Nazis. Roosevelt’s aims, some say, are to deflect American Jewish appeals to help the German Jews. Aside from Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, which want enormous sums of money to allow a small number of Jews to immigrate, the 32 nations attending the conference decide that they will not permit large numbers of Jews to enter their countries.


1941: Hungary invaded the eastern Ukraine. Hungary was an ally of Nazi Germany during the war. Hungary’s Jews suffered at the hand of homegrown anti-Semites. Later on, Eichmann arrived and the full weight of the Final Solution fell, first in the countryside in places like Sighet and later in the big cities, most notably Budapest.


1942: Anne Frank’s family went into hiding in an attic above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.




1942: Bendin (Poland) ghetto uprising, 1942. “The warning cry issued from Jews in Vilna spurred initial thoughts of ghetto revolts for thousands of young Jews, particularly members of the clandestine Zionist-pioneer youth movements. In ghettos such as Bialystok, Krakow, Bendin, Czestochowa, and Tarnow, rebellions and confrontations broke out during the final deportations. These desperate acts of resistance testified to the triumph of the Jewish and human spirit and constituted both a cry for life and a banner of hope for future generations.”


1944: Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest where he presented visas for 630 Hungarian Jews. Raoul Wallenberg was a great human being – He was a Swedish national who risked his life over and over again to save the Jews of Hungary. With only courage and a fair stash of cash, this man faced down the Nazi murder machine and made it give up some of its Jews. He is a living proof that one person can make a difference. In the end, the Soviets entered Budapest and took him away to a fate that is still unknown.


1948: Israeli forces launched Operation Danny, an offensive designed “to capture territory east of Tel Aviv” and then open the road to Jerusalem in a bid to break the Arab stranglehold on the city. The offensive was named after Danny Mass, the commander of “Convoy 35” and was under the command of Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin.  The undertrained and poorly armed Jewish forces were up against the Arab Legion, the elite British trained army of Jordan. The ultimate key to victory would in the need to capture the seemingly impregnable Arab position at Latrun. “Convoy 35” refers to an attempt made by a detachment of Haganah troopers to bring supplies to the Gush Etzion kibbutzim – Thirty-five died in the attempt and many of their bodies were mutilated beyond recognition.


1967: A young Kibbutznik got out of his jeep at Aalleiqa, an abandoned Syrian Army base on the Golan Heights, and became the first settler in the Golan. He would be joined by other secular Jews inthe next few days and they would form the kibbutz now known as Merom Golan.


1976: In Israel, the President, Prime Minister, and most of the cabinet ministers were among the thousands of mourners who attending the funeral of Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu (brother of current Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu), the 30 year old military officer who gave his life to insure the successful rescue at Entebbe.


1997: The opening of the 15th Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv was marred by disaster – as the Australian team walked across a bridge, the bridge collapsed plunging the team into the Yarkon River. Greg Small Elizabeth Sawicki, Yetty Bennett and Warren Zines lost their lives and 60 others were injured.



2008: The chief Nazi hunter of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, headed to South America in a final public campaign to locate the most wanted Nazi in, the world and bring him to justice. The search for Dr. Aribert Heim, 94, the former Austrian doctor also known as “Dr. Death” who tops the Wiesenthal Center’s list of “most wanted Nazis,” has spanned nearly half a century since his 1962 disappearance in Germany ahead of a planned prosecution for his war crimes.


2011: A senior Hamas official hinted today that captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is still alive, Channel 10 reported.


2013: Omri Casspi, the only Israeli hoopster to ever play in the NBA, will sign a two-year, $2 million (NIS 7.3 million) deal with the Houston Rockets.