Newsletter Issue # 85 July 17, 2013

For 15 years now, Chabad of the East Valley in Arizona, one of the fastest-growing states in America has been searching for a permanent home. They have based operations in such varied locations as a rented apartment, hotel rooms, boardrooms, the living room of a house, a local storefront, and the nearby Jewish Community Center and synagogue. None of these, however, has offered the continuity and sense of hominess that community members have been seeking for so long.

Jewish groups voiced outrage on Friday after Poland’s parliament rejected a government-backed bill that would have allowed slaughterhouses to produce kosher meat, angering Jewish groups who said the decision violated their religious rights.
Lawmakers who opposed the bill said they did so because kosher slaughter is cruel to livestock. Jewish groups said prejudice about their faith which is a sensitive subject in a country where occupying Nazis killed millions of Jews had played a part.

A kickstarter campaign from the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Poland has raised nearly $25,000 to convert the last Jewish home in the town of Auschwitz into a kosher vegetarian café. The new café adjacent to the Auschwitz Jewish Center hopes to provide for some of the tourists visiting the town. The site proposed for the café belonged to Szymon Kluger, the last Jew to live in the town of Auschwitz. He returned after the Holocaust and lived there until his death in 2000.

A train station in Prague from which tens of thousands of Jews were deported to death camps and ghettos is to be turned into a Holocaust memorial site by NGO Shoah Memorial Prague.
Bubny Station was the site of mass deportations during the final years of World War II. According to the NGO, the memorial is set to open in 2017. In June the organization held an exhibit entitled Kaddish the name of the prayer recited by Jewish mourners the first series of events to generate public interest.

Earlier this month the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project shared a video of Helen Yelen, who reflected on her time working in a factory alongside Ethel Rosenberg. Rosenberg’s Jewish identity was forged not by her childhood ties to traditional Judaism but by her political radicalism. The prison letters Rosenberg wrote suggest that, while she had an adequate understanding and appreciation of Jewish values and customs, she first and foremost saw herself as a martyr for political oppression.

We celebrated July 4th, a day that represents freedom in our American History. Nowadays,  we look forward to July 4th as a day when we gather with family and friends, enjoy the weather, maybe bbq and watch concerts and fireworks either in person or on television. We may lose sight of the events that took place which granted our country it’s freedom. In the torah portion Matot-Masei we read about the Israelites who are on the cusp of reaching the promised land of Canaan, they have been on a 40 year journey, through the desert, towards freedom.

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