Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Blog Page 390

Israel Broadens Economic, Travel Ties with South Korea

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Korean ambassador to Israel Kim Il-soo took part in the first-ever Korea-Israel Creative Economy Forum last week, lauding the Jewish state for its ingenuity in developing an “economic powerhouse.”

“Israel is very good at generating new and different ideas which evolved into game-changing technologies. In Korea we are very good at manufacturing, and our creativity has helped enhance and grow our manufacturing capacity,” said Kim.

Among the Korean companies with a strong presence in Israel is Samsung, which currently employs more than 50 engineers in its two Israeli facilities. The Israeli sites are the only Samsung research and development centers located outside of South Korea.

“Each company has been growing in different directions, and cooperation will further enhance and grow each economy,” Kim added. “In this case, the results will definitely be greater than the sum of its parts.”

The comments came as Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin signed an agreement with his South Korean counterpart to allow citizens of each nation to travel more easily between the regions.

The agreement will, for the first time, grant tourists out of Israel and South Korea the ability to combine leisure and business travel. No other East Asian government has signed such a deal with the Jewish state.

UN Head Makes Historic Visit to Auschwitz

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Ban Ki-Moon toured Auschwitz today, marking the UN general secretary’s first visit to the notorious Nazi camp.

Accompanied by Marian Turski, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, and Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Ban spent time viewing public exhibits and barracks, stopping to lay a wreath in front of a wall where Nazi prisoners were systematically shot and killed.

“I stare at the piles of glasses, hair, shoes, prayer shawls and dolls, and try to imagine the individual Jews and others to whom they belonged,” Ban said. “I stand in disbelief before the gas chambers and crematorium — and shudder at the cruelty of those who designed this death factory.”

“Auschwitz-Birkenau is not simply a register of atrocities. It is also a repository of courage and hope. Today I say loud and clear: Never again,” he added.

Auschwitz is arguably the most nefarious of the Nazi death camps, with 1 million Jews killed along with 100,000 non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi protestors.

“I pay my deepest tribute to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, a most terrible horror in human history,” the UN head wrote in the memorial book at the site’s museum.

“The United Nations is strongly committed to the vital work of Holocaust remembrance and education, and to building a world of equality and dignity for all.”

Ban is just the second UN leader to visit Auschwitz—Boutros Boutros Ghali also visited in 1995.

Ban made the trip after a visit to Lithuania, which currently holds the rotating half-year seat of the EU presidency. He will spend three-days in Poland, making an appearance at the UN climate talks in Warsaw and meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronislaw Komorowski.

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5 Thematic Hanukkah Gift Ideas

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Click through the slides to see Jspace’s Hanukkah gift ideas

So you’ve left your Hanukkah shopping until the last minute, have you? We don’t blame you–nobody could be prepared for Hanukkah beginning in November. Before the inevitable Thanksgiving food bloat leaves you comatose, try these easy Hanukkah gift ideas and get your shopping done.

Apple to Purchase Israeli 3-D Company for $345M

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Apple is reportedly purchasing Israeli 3-D sensor company PrimeSense to the tune of $345 million.

The news broke yesterday by the Calcalist business daily, though insiders say both Apple and PrimeSense are expected to confirm the deal within the next two weeks.

Over the summer rumors also swirled that the software giant was in talks to acquire PrimeSense, a tech company that developed the Kinect 3-D platform for Microsoft. That deal eventually fell through.

Now, media is reporting Apple wants to pick up the company to advance its rumored smart TV project, known colloquially as iTV. As part of the venture, Apple allegedly wants to incorporate a 3-D interface.

“We do not relate to rumors about our customers and partners,” PrimeSense’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, Yaniv Vakrat, told VentureBeat over the weekend.

“We are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and natural interaction to the mass market in a variety of markets such as interactive living room and mobile devices,” a spokeswoman for PrimeSense added.

“We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors.”

If true, this would mark Apple’s second purchase of an Israeli company, after it acquired flash storage chip maker Anobit last year.

Hollande Reaffirms Support for Israel on Iran's Nuclear Program

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French President Francois Hollande spent much of his time in the Jewish state this week discussing issues like the Iranian nuclear program with his Israeli counterparts.

“France considers [Iran] to be a threat to Israel, and it is clearly threatening to the region and the world,” Hollande said upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport yesterday.

“France will not give up or compromise on nuclear proliferation, and as long as we are not completely sure that Iran has given up nuclear weapons, we will continue to maintain our position.”

The comments came as the P5+1 world powers, an alliance including the US and France, sought new negotiations with Iran over its nuclear proliferation. France stonewalled a proposed deal that would have seen an easing of economic sanctions on the Islamic republic, the only one of the P5+1 allies to vote nay.

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“France, like Israel, aspires to a stable, moderate Middle East in which the peoples live in peace with each other, in security and mutual respect,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a welcome ceremony for Hollande, calling France a true friend of Israel.

“You, Mr. President, have taken a resolute stance regarding Syria, and in the face of Iran’s relentless attempts to arm itself with nuclear weapons, which would endanger not just Israel, but regimes and countries throughout the Middle East; it would also endanger France, Europe and the entire world.”

Meanwhile, Israeli President Shimon Peres hosted a welcome dinner at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, also thanking Hollande for France’s tough stance on Iran’s nuclear program, which the Jewish state considers an existential threat.

“The citizens of Israel are full of gratitude to France for standing by our side in times of difficulty; we will never forget it,” Peres said.

JFNA Panel Calls for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Jewish Life

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A panel of disability experts called for the Jewish community to create a more inclusive environment for persons with disabilities.

The panel, part of the Jewish Federation of North America’s (JFNA) General Assembly held last week, encouraged groups to abandon old models that encourage separate programs and segregation, and challenged community leaders to find new ways of including people with disabilities into regular programming.

Eric Rosenthal, executive director of Disability Rights International, said he has found that current disability funding often goes to outdated programing that keeps persons with disabilities apart from the Jewish community.

“Many of the people acting out of the principle of hesed, who think they are helping, may indeed be hurting if they perpetuate segregation by giving money to programs that separate people from society who can be part of society,” he said. “We now know all people with disabilities can be part of society.”

Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, added that the segregation of persons with disabilities represents a larger issue of how disability is seen without the Jewish world.

“The problem, I think, in general with the Jewish community, is that we look at disability as a fringe issue, as an outside community and not one that’s part of all of us,” he pointed out.

Ruderman, whose charitable trust is a major source of funding for disability programming in the Jewish community, also stressed that by allowing a “community that deals with exclusion,” the Jewish community was turning away young people and others who are motivated by social justice.

“[It] is not an attractive community for younger people to join,” he insisted. “Unless the Jewish community changes its nature and becomes more inclusive, you turn away the people you’re looking to attract.”

Simon Cowell is Embracing Judaism

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“The X Factor’s” Simon Cowell is planning to embrace Judaism in deference to his Jewish baby mama, Lauren Silverman.

Silverman is pregnant with the couple’s first child. British tabloid The Mirror (quoting a source close to Cowell) reported this week that the former “American Idol” judge and his lady love also intend to make a secret trip to Israel.

Cowell is no stranger to Judaism. His father Eric was Jewish, though the 54-year-old music mogul was raised Roman Catholic. Cowell has never spoken about any apparent interest in religion before, but a source close to him told The Mirror that he is “open to reason on the subject of religion and the faith in which his son is brought up.”

The source added, “But he is naturally inquisitive and really wants to visit Israel so that he can make a more informed decision.” The source also reports that Cowell and Silverman’s child, a boy, is due on February 28, 2014.

The new parents have been staying private about specific baby details, like the child’s first name, but Cowell has revealed that the boy’s middle name will be Eric, after Cowell’s father.

Last month, the “X Factor” creator was a guest at the Friends of the IDF Western Region Gala in Beverly Hills. Friends of the IDF is a non-profit organization that was established by Holocaust survivors in 1981 and is dedicated to helping soldiers serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, as well as providing support for their families. Friends of the IDF operates in 17 regional offices throughout the US and Canada, and at the gala, Cowell helped the cause by donating $50,000 to the organization.

Expect photos of Simon Cowell in various V-neck T-shirts at the Western Wall, the Dead Sea and Masada any day now.

J-Connection: Simon Cowell is Jewish on his father’s side and his baby-mama, Lauren Silverman, is Jewish.

Hollande Tours Holocaust Memorial with Netanyahu, Peres

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French President Francois Hollande landed in Israel yesterday, using a sizable portion of the state visit to tour the Jewish state’s Holocaust memorial.

The French leader’s visit to Yad Vashem also included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and first lady Sara Netanyahu, as well as Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The small group toured the towering Hall of Names and took part in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance. The visit was followed by a press conference, at which Netanyahu recalled lessons of the Holocaust as a driving reason for Israel’s historic responsibility of protection for the Jewish people.

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“We just came back from Yad Vashem. I am always moved when I’m there,” Netanyahu said.

“I was moved by the fact that you were so visibly moved,” the prime minister added to Hollande. “And you said, when you came out, that the experience of the Holocaust places a very special responsibility on all of us.”

“Francois, I want to tell you the burden it places on me, as the prime minister of Israel. It is my duty to prevent anyone from credibly threatening or executing another holocaust against the Jewish people. This is my obligation, but I also believe it’s our common obligation for the sake of mankind, for the sake of our common future.”

In return, the French leader expressed his sympathy for Jewish people’s persecution during the Shoah. Upon exiting the site, Hollande also penned a message in the Yad Vashem guestbook, writing, “Emotion and contemplation. The absolute tragedy that befell the Jewish people will mark us forever. It binds us.”

Israel Mission in Philippines Treating Hundreds Daily

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The Jewish state’s mission in the storm-ravaged Philippines has already treated hundreds of patients, averaging around 300 a day as IDF medics seek to offer aid in an area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

The work is part of a mission being called Operation Islands of Hope.

In addition to those treated, Israeli medics have also delivered 12 infants, most born prematurely. Other medical conditions seen regularly in the makeshift hospitals include dehydration and infection caused by lack of running water and electricity.

“I am not sure what would have happened if we had not been around,” said Lt.-Col. Dr. Ofer Merin, the medical manager of the field hospital in Bogo City.

The Bogo hospital launched Friday, after Israeli medics landed Thursday. That medical site has already become the central health facility serving the area.

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The IDF has sent nearly 150 individuals as part of its rescue mission to the Philippines, as well as 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies. Israel also delivered a suite of incubators to help care for the premature babies.

The IDF says it will likely remain in the region for two weeks to ensure residents receive proper medical care. In the interim, the IDF is live blogging news of the mission, including photos, videos and tweets from officials on the ground.

Col. Dr. Dudu Dagan, IDF vice surgeon general, said Sunday, “Today we delivered three babies in one hour. Moments like these are the ultimate experiences.”

Meanwhile, IsraAID, an Israeli disaster relief organization, has also sent a team of medical and trauma personnel to the city of Tacloban, considered by many to be ground zero of the humanitarian disaster that has claimed thousands of lives and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

A second IsraAID unit also flew out to the region Friday.

Oldest Jewish Site in North America Approaches 300th Anniversary

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The oldest Jewish site in North America is not Newport’s famed Touro Synagogue, or any other synagogue. Rather, it is a stone structure tucked away on the west side of the Hudson River, about 60 miles north of Manhattan.

Due to its multiple uses and inhabitants over the centuries, the Gomez Mill House—built in 1714 in Marlboro, NY—is one of the best-kept secrets in American Jewish history, and also holds a unique place in greater American history. With its 300th anniversary approaching, its story may very well become familiar to a much broader audience.

“Most Jewish visitors [to the Gomez Mill House] are surprised that the story is not about the Jewish religion or about being Jewish, but about the story of Jewish pioneering success in American and Jewish contribution to the founding of America,” says Ruth Abrahams, executive director of the Gomez Foundation for Mill House, a group of historic-minded citizens and descendants of the families that have owned the property.

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Luis Moses Gomez came to the Hudson Valley wilderness from Manhattan with two of his sons to expand his trading and commodities business. He built a trading post and a mill next to each other on a fast-flowing creek. Today, visitors can marvel at the original blockhouse trading post’s two-foot-thick stone walls and huge fireplaces at each end. While that original structure has been built up many times with oak floors, massive roof beams, a second story, and an attic, it’s not so much the building itself as what went on there throughout the generations that captivates visitor and historian alike.

Gomez, born circa 1654, is believed to have been the grandson of Gomez de Salazar, comptroller of the treasury for Spain’s King Philip IV. His father, Isaac, also a royal adviser, was forced by the Inquisition to leave Spain and moved to France, where religious liberty was guaranteed through The Edict of Nantes. Gomez married in France and moved to London with his father and other members of the extended family. After his first wife died, he moved to Jamaica, where many Sephardic Jews had settled, and married his second wife. Five of his six sons eventually married women of the West Indies and lived in America.

Records show that Gomez—trader, merchant, and possibly ship owner—became quite wealthy, and by 1703 he paid taxes in New York City. Papers of “denizenship” granted from England’s Queen Anne in 1705 provided special privileges for him as a non-Christian resident of the colony, including that of owning land without an oath of allegiance to the Crown sworn in the name of the Church of England. In 1714, he purchased 2,400 acres of land and built a fieldstone blockhouse into the side of a hill along a stream that became known as “Jews Creek.” Gomez chose to be near Algonquian Delaware Indians, as well as local residents and travelers heading north, so that he could trade with those groups. But it was timber and lime that drove the industry that he and his son Daniel conducted for more than 30 years.

Before the Revolutionary War, the Gomez Mill House was purchased by Wolfert Acker, a Dutch American who added a second story, as well as an attic with bricks made from local clay. Acker served as a lieutenant in the New Marlborough Company of Minute Men, chairman of the Committee of Safety and Observation, and Newburgh town supervisor while General George Washington was in the Newburgh area and his army was camped nearby at the Fishkill Depot. After the war, Acker established a landing on the Hudson, with a ferry to cross the river to the town of Wappinger and a packet line to carry freight.

In the 19th century, William Henry Armstrong made the Gomez Mill House his family’s home for four decades, adding a kitchen wing, porch, and stone walls. The property’s best-known owner in the 20th century was Dard Hunter, a craftsman and paper historian who built a paper mill on Jews Creek that resembled an English country cottage with a thatched roof. He made paper by hand, cut and cast type, and hand-printed his own books.

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Abrahams, the Gomez Foundation for Mill House executive director, tells JNS.org that Jewish visitors to the historic site are “impressed with the presentation of connecting stories” of the house’s five owners over the course of three centuries.

The house has “as many motivated visitors as our complex history inspires,” she says. Annually, roughly half of those visitors come from synagogues, JCCs, other Jewish community groups, and Jewish individuals and families.

“About 1,500 school children visit us per year, including 900-1,200 from the Newburgh School System 3rd grade, who come to fulfill the New York State requirement for a local history experience,” Abrahams says. “This latter program will be in its 17th year in 2014. The other 1,000 or so visitors come for the American history, Hudson Valley visits, or are paper enthusiasts interested in the Dard Hunter Mill and library exhibit. Our Sunday programs bring in about 500 additional visitors.”

For its 300th anniversary celebration, the house is planning special events and a fundraising campaign.

“Programs will include guest lectures by such Jewish scholars as [New York University professor] Hasia Diner and [award-winning journalist and author] Andree Aelion Brooks,” she says. “Other special events include a ‘Celebration of Paper Day’ that will bring Dard Hunter III to the site to make paper using the 100 year-old beater in his grandfather’s Paper Mill, a paper sculpture garden exhibit, and printing on an early 20th-century press.”

From July 20-22, the first official Gomez family reunion will be held in New York City and at the Gomez Mill House, with more than 200 Gomez descendants expected to attend from 14 U.S. states and around the world. Abrahams says she is planning a local and national public relations campaign for the tercentenary, with special outreach to the countries that trace the Luis Moses Gomez family history—Spain, France, England, and Jamaica.

Abrahams says that as head of the house’s foundation, she grapples with the challenge of “finding financial security for the site and its needs through the generosity of private donations and grants, and renewed leadership on the Board of Trustees, when there is a need to replace those who pass on or who must leave for other reasons.”

“All else follows when these are in place: site maintenance, restoration, renovation, improved and expanded exhibits and public information and access, more staff, and improved visitor facilities,” she says.

The foundation in 1997 restored the Dard Hunter Mill, in addition to the site’s dam and bridge. In 2010, these sites underwent a second major restoration. In 2011, Hurricane Irene swept through the area, washing away part of the road in front of the house and the site’s entire public spaces. The current parking lot has been repaved, and other improvements are underway.

After nearly 300 years—all starting with a Jew whose family, despite being advisers to the King of Spain, was expelled by the Inquisition—the house remains American history made manifest.

“Better than any single house and site in the history-laden Hudson River Valley, the Mill House symbolizes and sums up our regional and national history,” says Harry Stoneback, professor of English at the State University of New York at New Paltz, on the house’s website. “It is a most dramatic and absolutely irreplaceable incarnation of American history.”

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