22 September 2018 - 13 Tishri 5779 - י"ג תשרי ה' אלפים תשע"ט
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)

More B’nei Menashe make Aliyah E-mail

Last month 162 B’nei Menashe immigrants from India landed at Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel on two separate flights, as part of OperationMenashe.

The airport arrivals hall was the happy scene of multiple reunions of families who had been separated for years and even decades.

Organised by Shavei Israel, a non-profit organisation dedicated to assisting descendants of Jews and the Lost Tribes of Israel to reclaim their roots, OperationMenashe has now assisted more than 3,000 B’nei Menashe to make Aliyah. They are mostly located in Manipur and Mizoram in North east India.

However there are more than double that many still in India and “many have been waiting to come for decades”, explained Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund.

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Magen David Adom events held in Hong Kong E-mail

A number of Magen David Adom (MDA) events were held in Hong Kong in November.

Many Elsa High School students attended CPR training on 10 November, led by professional MDA paramedics. They learned about how to deliver compressions effectively, how to use a defibrillator, and what steps to take to increase the chances of a patient’s survival. The programme was run by Anat Rapaport, Chief Paramedic and Head of International Relations, MDA. The CPR session for the students was followed by a CPR training class for parents and staff.

Also visiting Hong Kong was Professor Eilat Shinar, the Director of Blood Services for MDA, who gave presentations about MDA Israel’s New Blood Center, at Elsa High School and at a JCC Shabbat Dinner event.

Professor Shinar runs the blood department of MDA that tends to 97% of the country’s blood needs. She is also the author of 84 scientific papers. Professor Shinar introduced MDA’s plans for a new underground blood bank that is to be built soon.

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