U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Kamenetz built bridges and more
U.S. dedicates embassy in Jerusalem amid jubilation and violence
The United States dedicated its newly established embassy in Jerusalem in a high-profile ceremony attended by prominent Trump administration officials. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin pronounced the “Shehechyanu” prayer during the May 14 ceremony, which is said when one is thankful for a new or unusual experience. “Today we officially open the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Congratulations it’s been a long time coming,” President Donald Trump said in a video greeting. “Israel,” the president added, “is a sovereign nation with the right like any other nation to determine its own capital.” The dedication came as Gaza’s Health Ministry reported that Israeli defense forces had killed at least 50 Palestinians during protests by tens of thousands of Palestinians who were massed on the territory’s border with Israel. Thousands of Palestinians also marched in protest in the West Bank. Among the administration members attending the ceremony were Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Assistant to the President Jason Greenblatt, who serves as Trump’s special envoy to Middle East negotiations. Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was also in attendance, along with his wife, Ivanka Trump, who also serves her father as a top presidential advisor.
Olesker on Kamenetz
When the awful news arrived suddenly last week about Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, I immediately telephoned Ted Venetoulis to commiserate. The two men had a friendship, both personal and political. But now Kamenetz was gone, a fit, youthful 60, and Venetoulis struggled for words. “To run for governor while you’re county executive,” he said. “The sheer exhaustion …” And then his voice trailed off. But he remembered. Forty years ago, when he was Baltimore County executive, Venetoulis ran for governor of Maryland. The process was absolutely exhausting, but he’d been a much younger man than Kamenetz. Now, four decades later, Kamenetz returned from a late-night political gathering, awoke in the dark in cardiac arrest, and died before sunrise. His death saddens and stuns not only his family but an entire metropolitan area, including those championing his bid for governor.
Study says Polish neighbors betrayed many more Jews than previously thought
According to new research done in Poland, two thirds of the local Jews who hid there from the Nazis did not survive the war, mostly because of the actions of their non-Jewish neighbors. The figure comes from a two-volume work of 1,600 pages that historians from the Warsaw-based Center for Research on Holocaust of Jews have compiled over the past five years. It covers nine out of Poland’s 13 regions, the Tok FM radio station reported. Arriving amid a polarizing debate in Poland over a law that limits rhetoric on Polish complicity in the Holocaust, the study suggests Poles are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths by Jews in the Holocaust — a figure that is significantly higher than previous estimates. The findings of the research were published earlier this year in a Polish-language book titled “The Fate of the Jews in Selected Regions of Occupied Poland.” They pertain to the fate of more than one million Jews who went underground to avoid being killed in Operation Reinhard — Nazi Germany’s campaign of annihilation of 3.3 million Jews in occupied Poland. The issue of Polish complicity in the Holocaust is highly controversial in Poland, where the Nazis killed three million non-Jews in addition to about four million Jews. In January, the right-wing government passed a law criminalizing blaming Poland for Nazi crimes. Protests by Israel, the United States and Jewish groups over this law prompted what observers say is a wave of anti-Semitic hatred with unprecedented intensity since the fall of communism in Poland. The government is also leading a campaign that celebrates the actions of Poles who risked their lives to save Jews. The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum has recognized more than 6,000 Poles for such actions – the highest number of any nation.
Minnesota Vikings owner to be named chair of Jewish Federations of North America
Mark Wilf, a real estate developer and owner of the Minnesota Vikings football team, is expected to be named the incoming chair of the Jewish Federations of North America. Wilf has held numerous leadership positions, both nationally and locally, including National Campaign chair, National Young Leadership Cabinet co-chair, and president of his community’s Federation. He also has served as co-chair of JFNA’s National Holocaust Survivors Initiative, where he has helped raise millions in funding for struggling and indigent survivors. Wilf is an attorney and a partner in Garden Homes, a New Jersey-based real estate development firm. Wilf, along with his brother Zygi, has owned the Vikings since 2005. He is a member of the board of 70 Faces Media, JTA’s parent company. Jodi Schwartz of New York is expected to be named vice chair, and Harold Gernsbacher of Dallas is expected to be named treasurer. The nominations will be brought to the JFNA Board of Trustees at its annual meeting at the organizations General Assembly, which will be held this year in Tel Aviv from October 22 to 24.--JTA
NFL star Antonio Brown’s mansion has a synagogue in it
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown owns an enormous mansion in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Inside, along with the dozen bedrooms and private movie theater, sits an in-home synagogue. Brown isn’t Jewish, but he showed off the house (more accurately, one of his multiple houses) and impressive sneaker collection in an interview with Complex magazine on May 7. “I got a lot of Jewish friends, and a synagogue is where you bless up,” he said when asked about it. He may have Jewish friends who frequent the synagogue, but the house was originally built by Yizhak and Liat Toledano. Brown bought the property from Yizhak, an Israeli-born real estate developer, in 2016. The house also contains a station for ritual hand washing, or netilat yadaim, connected to a dining room, and three kitchens, which according to The Times of Israel were kept kosher under the Toledanos’ ownership.
J-Word of the Day:
Meaning: Gentle, sensitive, modest
Usage: He is so eydl, everyone loves him.