Buenos Aires — In the good years, Marcela would begin her Passover shopping a few weeks before the seders. The usual matzah and wine and fish, new clothing for her two children, some coins to be hidden around the family’s apartment for the afikoman search. “Everything,” she said.
This year, nothing. No clothes, no coins.
Buenos Aires — Ten years after a terrorist bomb destroyed the Israeli Embassy here and shook the confidence of Argentine Jewry, the Jewish community commemorated the tragedy that took 22 lives. And Jewish leaders, both local and from the United States, despite a declaration by Argentina’s president of his interest in the perpetrators’ capture and conviction, criticized the government for a decade of inaction in the case.
Nearly 40 years ago, Rolf Hochhuth’s play “The Deputy” accused Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII of moral cowardice and indifference while millions of Europe’s Jews were being murdered.
The German playwright’s work triggered a worldwide wave of anti-Pius XII criticism, prompting the Vatican — in an unprecedented move — to unlock some of its secret wartime archives in an attempt to refute the charges, arguing he worked behind the scenes to save Jews and did not speak out for fear of a backlash against Catholics and Jews.
In her first visit to the United States since becoming Austria’s vice-chancellor last year, Suzanne Riess-Passer had expected to meet with an official of the Anti-Defamation League and to receive plaudits for her government’s decision to put $210 million into an escrow account for 150,000 Nazi-era slave laborers.
Instead, she said in an interview here, she was snubbed by the ADL when it inexplicably cancelled her meeting.
James Besser |
Monday’s mini-summit between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat in the Israeli leader’s home provided another lifesaving jolt to the gasping peace process.
But in Washington, where high-level talks resumed this week between the parties and American negotiators, there was little optimism about a complete recovery.
Since returning to Poland last June to serve as chief rabbi of Warsaw, Rabbi Michael Shudrich has been busy trying to resolve the country’s Jewish past, and also secure its future.
One moment he’s ensuring that the community has kosher food. The next, he’s trying to save abandoned Jewish cemeteries and mass grave sites left in ruins after World War II.
Perhaps most importantly, the short, bearded 45-year-old Bronx-born and Patchogue, L.I.-raised rabbi is trying to help Poles with Jewish roots return to Judaism.