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by SA JEWISH REPORT STAFF | Apr 13, 2016

Syrian girl gets lifesaving treatment after clandestine mission

HAIFA - Israel's Secret Service joined forces with doctors to bring a bone-marrow donor across the border in a clandestine mission to treat a child for cancer.

A five-year-old Syrian girl is currently undergoing lifesaving bone-marrow transplant treatments at the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital on the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa.

Like almost all Syrians treated in Israel since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, this young girl and her mother made their way to the Syrian-Israeli border to seek medical help. The girl was caught in a firefight between rival militias.

Rambam doctors discovered that their young patient, though suffering light wounds, also had cancer. And they were not about to let her be discharged without proper treatment.

The doctors set in motion a search for a suitable bone-marrow donor - and found a match with one of the girl’s relatives, who lives in a nearby country designated as an enemy state.

Under Israeli law, residents of enemy states are not allowed to enter the country without special permission.

So, the Haifa doctors turned to Israel’s Secret Service to track down the relative and secure his entry into Israel. The mission was successful and the relative arrived in Haifa earlier this week. - Israel 21c


Calling Hitler 'greatest man in history' gets councilor suspended


LUTON - A local councillor has been suspended from the Labour Party over a series of anti-Semitic tweets.

Aysegul Gurbuz is alleged to have praised Adolf Hitler, calling him the “greatest man in history”, and said she hoped Israel would be wiped out by an Iranian nuclear bomb.

But Gurbuz, a 20-year-old student who became Luton’s youngest councillor when she was elected last year, denied she had written the tweets.

According to the Daily Mail, she claimed her sister had posted them.

The tweets, dating from 2011-2014, were uncovered by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA).

One message from January 2013 read: “The Jews are so powerful in the US it’s disgusting.”

Another, in October 2012, read: “Ed Miliband is Jewish. He will never become prime minister of Britain.”

The tweet describing Hitler as the “greatest man in history” was posted in October 2011. – Jewish Chronicle, London


A second lawsuit against former Australian teacher 


MELBOURNE – The former head teacher of Melbourne’s Adass Israel School, Malka Leifer, is facing a second lawsuit relating to child sex abuse.

Melbourne lawyer Nick Mazzeo confirmed to The AJN this week that his legal firm will represent the unnamed client, who is believed to be a former student of the ultra-Orthodox Melbourne school.

Meanwhile, Leifer, who was spirited away to Israel in 2008 by the school’s committee following reports about her molesting students, has already had major civil damages awarded against her in a lawsuit by another former Adass student, the current plaintiff’s sister. The names of both plaintiffs have been suppressed.

In Israel, a court case over an Australian application to extradite Leifer to face 74 criminal charges in Victoria is underway, with lawyers for Leifer claiming the mother of eight is too stressed to be extradited.

An Israeli judge has ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Leifer amid accusations she is faking her condition as a stalling tactic.

On September 16 last year, the Supreme Court of Victoria awarded almost $1,3 million in damages to the initial plaintiff, who was a student at the school when Leifer was employed there and was sexually assaulted by her on numerous occasions between 2003 and 2006. - Australian Jewish News


Daughter spots her teenage survivor mother in YouTube video


RICHMOND HILL, Ontario - Like so many of us, Evelyn Rochwerg was noodling around the Internet one night, on a Facebook group for children of Holocaust survivors. Someone had posted a YouTube trailer for a film called Every Face Has a Name, an award-winning 2015 Swedish documentary that attempts to track down and interview survivors of German concentration camps, seen in black-and-white archival shots, arriving at the harbour of Malmo, Sweden, on April 28, 1945.

The film trains its lens on elderly survivors’ reactions as they recognise themselves or relatives in the grainy, black-and-white footage of those arriving to safety in Sweden at war’s end. The film’s Canadian premiere will take place at the closing of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival on May 15.

Rochwerg, who lives in Richmond Hill, was always interested in locating long-lost loved ones. She clicked on the two-minute trailer - “I figured, what are the chances?” - and within 10 seconds, she “totally freaked out”.

There in the crowd, smiling broadly and waving between two grim-faced kerchiefed women on that spring day in 1945 was her 16-year-old mother, Lola.

“Oh my G-d,” I was screaming. I said: ‘My mother’s in the video!’ I didn’t know this existed. I never saw a picture of my mother as a child. I was on such a high,” Rochwerg, 58, told the CJN in an effusive interview.

After calming down, Rochwerg ordered the film and wrote to its producers, who have said they are eager to track down the stories of the people in the archival shots.  -Canadian Jewish News


Jewish pirates of the Caribbean


JERUSALEM - Ships called the “Queen Esther”, the “Prophet Samuel” and the “Shield of Abraham” once roamed the high seas.

In 1645 there were 1 630 “Portuguese” (a term then synonymous with Jews) living in Recife, Brazil, according to Dutch historian Franz Leonard Schalkwijk. In 1654, 23 of them escaped religious persecution by ship and arrived at the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam - today New York City.

Where did the other refugees flee to? Some returned to Amsterdam, including Isaac Aboab de Fonseca, the first American rabbi, and Moses de Aguilar, the first American cantor. Others disembarked at the nearby Dutch Caribbean colony of Curaçao.

Some of the escaping Jews sought shelter in Jamaica, the luscious Caribbean island that was then the home to several hundred Jews and Bnei Anusim (descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who converted to Roman Catholicism under compulsion).

Jamaica was only one among the many remote and distant locales in the New World where Jews and apostates sought a haven far from the rapacious inquisitors of Spain and Portugal.

According to Edward Kritzler’s Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, as early as 1501 the Spanish Crown published an edict that “Moors, Jews, heretics, reconciliados (repentants - those who returned to the church), and New Christians are not allowed to go to the Indies.”

Yet in 1508, the Bishop of Cuba reported that “practically every ship [arriving in Havana] is filled with Hebrews and New Christians”. Such decrees banning them, followed by letters home, complaining of their continued arrival being a regular occurrence. - Jerusalem Post


Miracle baby of Macedonia


JERUSALEM - Sculptor, painter, and Holocaust survivor Maty Grunberg is a well-known artist in Israel. This month, he returns to his birthplace of Macedonia for a very special exhibition at the Holocaust Museum in Skopje.

Opening just days after his 73rd birthday, Grunberg’s new exhibition, Haunted Memories, is a collection of paintings that memorialises this horrible period in Macedonia’s history, where Grunberg was the only baby to survive and nearly the entire Jewish community perished in Treblinka.

Haunted Memories is an astounding tribute to Grunberg’s story, and the fact that he is still here to tell it. He moved to Israel in 1948.

The exhibit opened March 10 and will be up for six months. A second, sculptural exhibit at Bitola’s Jewish Cemetery is in the works, with models and renderings currently on display. The Bitola cemetery exhibit will be a permanent memorial. - Jerusalem Post


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