BBC; revolutionary Israeli procedure that rebuilt a wounded Syrian’s face

The_logo_of_rambam_health_care_campus_cIn February 2015 the BBC ran a remarkable article on a revolutionary procedure carried out by Israel’s Rambam Hospital to rebuild a wounded Syrian farmer’s face, using a titanium jaw created via a 3D printer.

The procedure was the first of its kind in Israel, having been pioneered only a few years previously in Europe.

The Haifa based Rambam hospital treats around one fifth of the total number of wounded Syrians who come to or are sent to Israel for treatment.

To read the entire article and view the video report, click here.

By |2016-01-30T23:04:16+00:00January 30, 2016|Israel, News items|0 Comments

UK based JCORE support for resettlement of refugee minors

JCORE_logo_to_use_inhouseThe UK-based Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) released a statement welcoming the UK government’s decision to resettle unaccompanied refugee minors from the Middle East to the United Kingdom.

While welcoming the move, JCORE also appealed to the government to expand the plan to include minors currently living in camps all over continental Europe, citing the precedent of the Kindertransport rescue efforts which saved over 10,000 Jewish children just before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Unlike in the Kindertransport, when the UK was alone in its offer of sanctuary, today we need to see the UK work with the rest of the world in finding realistic resettlement solutions to protect these vulnerable children. For those that are resettled here, it is crucial that proper resources are made available to local authorities to cater for their needs.

JCORE have a long history of supporting refugees in the UK. Their past initiatives have included a program to help mentor refugee doctors to assist them in becoming qualified to practice medicine in the UK, and petitioning the government to implement a resettlement plan for Syrian refugees, in addition to initiatives on providing free legal aid and health care to asylum seekers.

By |2016-01-29T21:29:56+00:00January 29, 2016|News items, United Kingdom|0 Comments

Auschwitz survivor Gene Klein; “make a human connection to today’s refugees”


Gene Klein, Holocaust survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp and author.

Gene Klein is a resident of Florida, and a survivor of the notorious Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in which over a million Jews were murdered. He is a frequent speaker and author (with his daughter) of the book  “We Got the Water: Tracing my Family’s Path through Auschwitz.”

The San Diego Jewish World website republished an article by Mr Klein, calling on Americans to put aside “presidential candidates fanning the flames of fear” who are “falling over themselves to outdo their rivals’ xenophobia”, and instead “make a human connection to today’s refugees”.

To Mr Klein, the fact that Germany, the country that in the past was responsible for his suffering and the murder of 100 of 107 extended family members, is today welcoming refugees from Syria, is proof of the possibility that “the world can change for the better”

imagine, if you found yourself in their situation, what it would mean to be welcomed to a new country where you could live once more in peace and safety. Like me, you would be devoted to your new home. You would be honored to serve in this country’s military, be eager to work hard to make a contribution to your community, and be forever grateful for the opportunity to raise your children to uphold the values of freedom and tolerance.

Mr Klein relates his own history as a prisoner of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and subsequently as a refugee fleeing Soviet territorial expansion into his homeland of Hungary. After two years displaced to Austria, Mr Klein and his relatives were allowed to seek refuge in the USA.

Still recovering from the deprivations of the concentration camps, and the poverty of the displaced persons’ camp, I was stunned when I opened [a relatives’] refrigerator. To this day I keep a photograph of the well-stocked shelves.

To read the entire article click here.

By |2016-01-27T23:36:00+00:00January 27, 2016|News items, USA|0 Comments

Toronto Jewish school sponsoring Syrian refugee family

ppdjds-logo-v2Times of Israel has a remarkable article on the efforts of the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School in Toronto, Canada, to sponsor a Syrian refugee family for resettlement to Canada. The school is working with the JIAS, a local sponsorship agreement holder, to help resettle a family of four.

With a student body of just 143, the school managed to raise $36,000 to fund the sponsorship effort. With the family expected to arrive in Toronto soon, students have been busy creating welcome cards, some even going so far as to look up phrases of welcome in Arabic.

To read the entire article click here.

By |2016-01-26T10:56:24+00:00January 26, 2016|Canada, News items|0 Comments

Thank you Am Israel, from a Syrian Refugee

Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that”. For Syrian refugees, these are very dark days indeed. Driven from their country by a brutal war fueled by regional and sectarian ambitions, displaced Syrians find themselves thrown into a world where the environment has over the past year become increasingly hostile towards refugees and asylum seekers.

But while wars and conflicts tend to bring out the very worst in human beings, dark days such as these have also given rise to amazing acts of compassion and humanity. Turned away from Arab countries, increasingly unwelcome in Europe, Syrian refugees have found support, aid and assistance from the last place they could have expected; Israeli and Jewish organizations and individuals.


By |2016-01-25T11:29:13+00:00January 25, 2016|Commentary|1 Comment

Saskatoon Jewish congregation & Islamic association join to sponsor Syrian refugee family

Congregation Agudas Israel

Saskatoon’s The Star Phoenix has a very uplifting article on the joint efforts of the Congregation Agudas Israel and the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to resettle in Saskatchewan, Canada. The two organizations have formed the Children of Abraham Refugee Sponsors of Saskatoon to work through the private sponsorship process.

Omaer Jamil, president of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, is quoted as saying;

“One of the things is to break down the stereotypical idea of Muslims and Jews not being able to get along,” he said.

“The other is to help bring in a Syrian family — it’s just a good thing to do, a benefit for everybody involved. There are people suffering. If we can help them in any way, we’d love to do it.”

Harold Schiffman, president of Congregation Agudas Israel mentions past history, and the difficulty some European Jews had in seeking refuge in Canada during the Second World War.

“From a personal perspective, one of the difficult things is, I know there were opportunities for more Jews to come to Canada during the Mackenzie King era and some boats were turned away. I don’t want to see that sort of thing happen again,”

To read the entire article click here.

By |2016-01-12T07:36:29+00:00January 12, 2016|Canada, News items|0 Comments

Israeli Defense Forces’ medical treatment of wounded Syrians

Photo by Joshua Mitnick for the Toronto Star.

Photo by Joshua Mitnick for the Toronto Star.

The Toronto Star’s Joshua Mitnick has an intriguing firsthand look at the Israeli Defense Forces’ medical assistance to Syrians wounded in the conflict. The article describes the initial apprehension many of the wounded Syrians have at being treated by a medics from an “enemy” state. Coordination of the transfer of wounded is done with groups opposed to the Syrian regime.

“We know them from wars. They are an enemy country. But, like every country, you have to distinguish between extremists and you have the innocent,” said [IDF] Sgt. First Class Jonathan Achituv.

Of particular interest is the case of “Ahmed”, a former regime soldier so previously die-hard, he had a tattoo of deceased president Hafez Assad on his chest.

“I expected to see terrible things. I expected disgusting treatment,” said Ahmed, who declined to give his real name because getting treatment in Israel could put him at risk back in Syria. “The (soldiers) said, don’t worry, we will take care of you and we’ll fix your hand.”

To read the entire article click here.

By |2016-01-12T06:50:06+00:00January 12, 2016|Israel, News items|0 Comments

Israeli volunteers aiding Syrian refugees in Serbia

natanHaaretz has an article on the efforts the Natan International Humanitarian Aid organization’s Israeli volunteers who are providing medical aid and assistance to Syrian refugees in Serbia. The article also details the many ways the refugees are exploited by unscrupulous con-men and taxi drivers on their way across Serbia.

After enduring days of hardships and danger, the refugees are all to happy to finally met sympathetic aid workers who speak their language, an advantage volunteers from Israel have when interacting with refugees from the Middle East.

“It’s as if you are rescuing them from a hole in the ground,” says Kafa Joubran, an Israeli Arab social worker for Kafr Rameh, in the Galilee. “In a moment, they feel secure, a bit of the stability that they once had returns.  We translate for them, help them with the paperwork, and that helps them a lot.”

To read the entire article click here.

By |2016-01-09T21:10:20+00:00January 9, 2016|Europe, Israel, News items|0 Comments

Vancouver based Temple Sholom sponsoring two Syrian refugee families

temple-sholom-vancouver_CBC News has an article on the efforts of Vancouver based Sholom Temple, a Jewish congregation, to sponsor two Syrian refugee families to resettle in Canada. To date members of the congregation have raised over CND $40,000 towards the sponsorship effort.

Rabbi Dan Moskovitz is quoted in the article;

It says 36 times in the Bible in the Old Testament to love the stranger…You don’t repeat something 36 times in the Bible unless it’s really, really important, and this is our obligation to see ourselves as them and to do what we can to save lives

While acknowledging that some members of the congregation had concerns about the sponsorship effort, considering the decades of hostilities between Israel and Syria, and the wide prevalence of antisemitism in the Middle East, Rabbi Moskovitz expressed his hope that the “effort will also work towards peace between Jews and Syrians.”

One by one, family by family, we can build bridges of understanding and hopefully reduce, at least on the micro scale, the conflict between the peoples

To read the entire article, click here.

By |2016-01-08T21:49:36+00:00January 8, 2016|Canada, News items|0 Comments
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