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Sephardic News

Herzl's Sephardic Connection Revealed

August 14th 2007

World Citizens - Shelomo Alfassa headshot
Shelomo Alfassa

Over the many centuries, while the Jewish people were exiled from Eres Yisrael (the land of Israel), Jerusalem, Safed, Hevron and other holy cities, retained a sparse Jewish population, fed by a small but constant stream of pilgrims. A cursory examination of Jewish personalities demonstrates that Sephardim took it upon themselves to migrate to and fortify Eres Yisrael, driven by a sense of historic yearning for their ancestral home. Centuries later, Sephardim continued to not only settle in the land, but were key players in its modern development, although this fact has, regrettably, been often eclipsed in the historical narrative.

Few documents and small bits of history exist on Jewish national liberation and the development of Eres Yisrael, and how the country came to be with assistance and nurturing offered by Sephardic Jews. It is with tremendous ignominy that the Sephardim have been almost completely marginalized in the modern Zionist record of history. Whether they came from Spain, North Africa or the Middle East, what is fact and needs to be remembered is that Sephardim played a considerable role in the State’s origins and modern fruition. Through out their centuries in the Diaspora, Sephardim developed and devoted a sense of philosophical and spiritual nationalism that prepared the foundation for which modem Zionism stood on, and the resulting fruit which is the return of the Jewish people to their land. Read more ..


Ethnic Clashing

Congressional face off on Armenian Genocide Means Taking Sides with Horror

August 12th 2007

World Scenes - Armenian Genocide1 Bodies
Armenian genocide victims

Los Angeles–The Armenian Genocide debate pits moral values against realpolitik. For Jews, who know the horrors of genocide only too well it may be time to take sides?

The Turkish ambassador to the United States, Nabi Sensoy, dropped in at The Jewish Journal recently for an hourlong conversation with its editors. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian of the Armenian Church of North America recently stood on the bimah of Valley Beth Shalom, hugged its rabbi and called the occasion a turning point in Armenian-Jewish relations.

All the attention is flattering, but its underlying cause confronts the Jewish community with choices that — perhaps oversimplified — pits its moral values and sympathies against the realpolitik of American and Israeli policymakers.

At the root of the split is a wound that has been festering since 1915, when Muslim Turkey and its Ottoman Empire were fighting Russia, France and Britain during World War I. Charging that the Christian Armenian minority in eastern Turkey was collaborating with the invading Russians, Turkey deported, starved and brutalized much of its Armenian population.

According to the Armenians, backed by predominant historical analysis, between 1915 and 1923, Turkey killed 1.5 million Armenian civilians in a planned genocide. Turkey maintains that some 300,000 Armenians died, but that an equal number of Turks perished, and that both sides were victims of chaotic wartime conditions, disease and famine, not a predetermined extermination.

Turks refer to the wartime slaughter by the Arabic word mukapele, which Sensoy translated during a phone interview as “mutual massacre.” Read more ..


After the Holocaust

Ethel Black Inspired a Generation with Holocaust Survival

February 15th 2005

Auschwitz Selection

When 79-year-old Polish Holocaust survivor Ethel Katz died in West Palm Beach last week after a protracted illness, a profound legacy died with her. Ethel was born in Bialystok, Poland with the name Edjya Katz. For decades, her amazing story has been told and witnessed in newspaper and magazine articles, books, documentaries, TV presentations and lectures worldwide. Having personally seen the videos, testimonies, and confirmations from others, and also interviewed her in person ... one can only call her survival bone-chilling.

Her nightmare began in August 1943 in a shaking boxcar on its way to the Treblinka death camp.

As the 13-year-old Edjya squatted on the floor, hearing the thumping track below, it was impossible to comprehend the murderous plans for her and her family. At one point, her mother whispered to her, “You’re a skinny one, Edjya.” Her mother gestured toward the top of the boxcar, to the thin vent. Read more ..



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