JTA NEWS
16 July 2018 - 5 Av 5778 - ה' אב ה' אלפים תשע"ח
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Weddings in abundance for B’nei Menashe couples E-mail

Nine B’nei Menashe couples, all of whom immigrated to Israel from Manipur, India, last year, were married in a group ceremony late last year at Shavei Israel’s absorption centre in Kfar Hasidim. The ceremony took place under Jewish law in the wake of the immigrants’ formal conversion.

The couples were Batyah and Hillel Haokip, 23 and 25; Daniel and Mayah Haokip, 38 and 36; Gideon and Tehila Haokip, 42 and 37; Sara and Yoel Khongsai, both 25; Shimson and Hadasha Lhanghal, 29 and 26; Asher and Orit Lhouvum, 44 and 43; Avshalom and Galith Singson, 41 and 34; Eliazar and Tabitha Singson, 47 and 45, and Itzhak and Mala Vaiphei, 42 and 43. Some of the brides had their hair and makeup done and wore wedding gowns, while others wore traditional B’ nei Menashe skirts with white tops.

They were among 162 new immigrants who had arrived in Israel thanks to Shavei Israel. They all hail from the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, on the border with Burma, which is home to the largest concentration of B’ nei Menashe in India. The new immigrants all plan to settle in Tiberias, Israel, after they leave Kfar Hasidim.

“After realising their dream of making Aliyah and returning to the Jewish people, the B’ nei Menashe couples now have an additional reason to celebrate,” said Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund. “They have now been remarried in a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony which symbolises the new lives they are building here in the Jewish state. We wish them a hearty Mazel Tov and much joy, health and success here in Israel.”

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French children’s magazine calls Israel “not a real country” E-mail

A French children’s magazine has been withdrawn from newsstands after it admitted a “mistake” in writing that Israel wasn’t “a real country”.

The news editor for Youpi, a magazine for children aged from five to eight, told Associated Press that the January 2018 issue was being removed from kiosk sales in France and Belgium after writing that Israel was among a few states in the world that aren’t “real countries”.

Bertrand Fichou said he humbly apologised for the mistake and that his intention was not to challenge the legitimacy of the state of Israel.

He said: “I’ll blame myself for it all my life.” The two-sentence text caused an uproar on social media, and French Jewish group CRIF asked the publisher to remove the January issue from sale.

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United Nations International Holocaust Memorial Day observed E-mail

As in previous years, a special programme in Hong Kong to mark this year’s United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day was held on 25 January, organised by the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Resource Centre (HKHTC). The theme for this year was “Holocaust Remembrance: Resistance and Resilience”.

At the Sai Ying Pun Community Complex, the packed auditorium included a mix of Jewish community members, local residents, foreign consulate representatives, rabbis and government officials. In special attendance was Under Secretary for Home Affairs for the Government of Hong Kong SAR, Jack Chan, who also gave an address.

The MC for the evening was April Kaminsky, Director HKHTC, a very active figure responsible for Communications and Events at HKHTC since its establishment. The evening’s programme started with an address by April.

Karsten Tietz, Deputy Consul General of Germany, introduced Werner Reich, the key note speaker. In an emotional and moving address, he shared his incredible story. Weich and his family were residents of Berlin, Germany, when the Nazis came to power in 1933. The family moved to Zagreb, Yugoslavia, and in 1941, a year after his father died, the Nazis occupied the country.

In 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Theresienstadt and then AuschwitzBirkenau, where he was one of 89 who survived “selections” by Dr Josef Mengele most of the other 6,000 perished. Werner was later transferred to Auschwitz I. In January 1945, after a seven-day death march, he ended up in Austria at the Mauthausen concentration camp. After liberation in May 1945, Werner returned to Yugoslavia, and then to England, where in 1955 he married another survivor, one of the Kindertransport saved by Sir Nicholas Winton. They moved to the US, where he became an engineer. He has two sons and four grandchildren. His is a story of courage, resilience and survival.

Ahuva Spieler, Consul General of Israel to Hong Kong, provided an introduction of the Candle Dedications. The lighting of the Memorial Candles was performed by Consuls from Poland, The Netherlands and the US and other community members. A special candle was lit by Dr Emilie Tran, Cambodia survivor.

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Leading Indian business school opens “Israel Center” E-mail

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore has opened a dedicated Israel Center to serve as a focal point of academic co-operation between the two nations.

An inauguration ceremony was held in November, with Israel’s ambassador to India in attendance.

“The Israel Center at IIM Bangalore will lead to the upgrading of academic collaboration between India and Israel, and will make our countries and economies stronger,” said Ambassador Daniel Carmon. “This is a merger of our ecosystems.”

Prof. G. Raghuram, Director of IIM Bangalore, said the Israel Center “will provide the perfect platform for the two countries for the understanding of technology innovation, business strategy and history, government policies and culture, which in turn will lead to many more collaborations in the realm of academics, research, business, and beyond.”

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Irrigation experts in Myanmar Print E-mail

Two MASHAV experts, Shai Dotan and Ori Weiss, visited Shan State in Myanmar from 13 to 17 November to conduct an advance Irrigation in Vegetable Cultivation Training.

During the field trip, they visited three villages and installed family irrigation kits in vegetable gardens. They also demonstrated how to use the kits.

The training was organised co-operatively with MASHAV – Israel Agency for International Development, and MEDA, a Canada Aid organisation, as as part of IMOW project (Improving Market Opportunities for Women) of MEDA.

(Issue Dec 2017/Jan 2018)

 
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