Archive for the ‘Just So You Know, Not Everyone Out There Is Jewish’ Category

Lutheran Nuns End Jerusalem Mission to Shoah Survivors

April 17, 2014

This article was originally published in The Times of Israel.

Sister Gratia (left) and Sister Yahalom in front of Beit Avraham at 10 Ein Gedi Street in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Renee Ghert-Zand)

Sister Gratia (left) and Sister Yahalom in front of Beit Avraham at 10 Ein Gedi Street in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Renee Ghert-Zand)

Residents of the Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood who have watched nuns in their white habits go in and out of a house at 10 Ein Gedi Street for the past half century will soon notice their absence. Beit Avraham (House of Abraham), as the sisters of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary call their home, is closing down.

Since 1961 it has served as a guesthouse for Holocaust survivors. But with so few survivors still alive — and those still living too frail to come visit — the nuns have decided their work has come to an end.

“We received our mission from the Almighty. The Almighty gives and the Almighty takes away. Our job has ended,” says Sister Gratia in a conversation with The Times of Israel in Beit Avraham’s reception room. Sister Gratia, 71, arrived in 1975 from Austria to help run the guesthouse.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

‘Survival in Sarajevo’ Focuses a Lens on Wartime Friendship

February 12, 2014

This article was originally published in The Times of Israel.

Haris Karalic, a Bosnian Muslim, bidding goodbye to his 13-year-old son Denis, who is leaving Sarajevo on a JDC rescue convoy, February 1994. (photo credit: Edward Serotta)

Haris Karalic, a Bosnian Muslim, bidding goodbye to his 13-year-old son Denis, who is leaving Sarajevo on a JDC rescue convoy, February 1994. (photo credit: Edward Serotta)

SAN FRANCISCO — Edward Serotta believes photographs he took 20 years ago during the Siege of Sarajevo are even more powerful today than when he first captured them. In a world in which sectarian violence continues to rage, the images he captured of Jews, Bosniak Muslims, Croatian Catholics and Orthodox Serbs helping one another survive in their sieged city continue to resonate

Serotta’s photographs were originally published in a 1994 book titled, “Survival in Sarajevo: Jews, Bosnia, and the Lessons of the Past.” Now, two decades after the Bosnian War, some of them are featured in a traveling exhibit (also titled “Survival in Sarajevo”), which is currently on display at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library until March 16.

The exhibition was produced by Centropa, a Vienna-based educational non-profit organization the American Serotta founded in 2000 to document the oral histories and family photographs of elderly Jews living in Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Sephardic communities of Greece, Turkey and the Balkans.

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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

The Times of Israel Launches Arabic Edition

February 8, 2014

This piece first appeared on the Forward Thinking blog at the Forward.

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For the past two years, increasing numbers of English speakers worldwide have been turning to The Times of Israel for news and analysis on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world. Beginning this week, Arabic speakers can do the same.

The Jerusalem-based online newspaper’s founding editor David Horovitz announced on February 4 the launch of The Times of Israel Arabic. “We’re not exactly sure how The Times of Israel Arabic is going to be received in the Arab world. But we do know what its goal is: to report Israel, the region and the Jewish world accurately and engagingly for Arabic readers wherever they may be — precisely as we have been doing for two years for English readers,” he wrote in an op-ed.

“This is really important. No one else is doing this,” Horovitz told me a day later. According to the editor-in-chief, the Arabic edition of his publication surpasses other efforts by Jewish Israeli publications to gain readership in the Arab world. “Yediot [Ahronot] published in Arabic for a short time, and i24 has an Arabic site — but they’re TV news,” he noted.

Horovitz is particularly excited by the fact that The Times of Israel’s popular blogging platform and its attendant open exchange of ideas will carry over to the Arabic edition. “There’s no other [comparable] Arabic site that allows people to blog,” he said. “We are really going to encourage Arabic bloggers to contribute.”

Click here to read more.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


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