In last week’s parasha, Vayechi Yaakov (And Jacob lived..) we learn about the death of Jacob, and his dying wish to be buried in the land of his foremothers and fathers.
For centuries Jews lived and died in Eastern Europe, where most of us get our Jewish backgrounds. In the wake of the holocaust the final resting places of those fortunate enough to be buried have taken on a new symbolic importance.
Unfortunately, the city of Vilna, once the most important city in Jewish Europe, is preparing to build a convention center on top of the historic Jewish cemetery.
For centuries, the city of Vilna (today Vilnius) was the center of Jewish life in what was then known as Polish-Lithuania. By the turn of the 20th century, the Lithuanian capital boasted over 100 synagogues, an array of Jewish newspapers, and scores of other cultural and religious institutions. It played host to the famed Gaon of Vilna, one of Judaism’s spiritual giants….One remaining vestige of the city’s illustrious past, however, is its old Jewish cemetery, in which “a galaxy of eminent European rabbinic scholars and authors” were buried, as one leading scholar put it. Yet compounding tragedy upon tragedy, the Lithuanian government, reportedly with European Union funding, is preparing to build a $25 million convention center on the site.
 
Sign the petition here, and share the link to all of your contacts.

Read the entire story on Tablet here:

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Giving Tuesday 2016

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PM Netanyahu speaks with Italian PM Matteo Renzi regarding UNESCO vote

22 Oct 2016

Prime Minister Netanyahu appreciates the leadership shown by Italian Prime Minister Renzi as a welcome process of changing direction in extreme votes against Israel in international forums.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over the weekend, spoke by telephone with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi after having sent him a letter following Italy’s UNESCO vote.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked his Italian counterpart for his remarks to the effect that Italy’s vote on the Jewish People’s link to Jerusalem was a mistake that would not recur. Italian Prime Minister Renzi said, “To say that the Jewish People has no connection to Jerusalem is like saying that the sun creates darkness.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that even the theater of the absurd has limits and noted that it was important that countries which respected both themselves and the truth not participate in it. He added that it was not a political question but one of historical facts.

Italian Prime Minister Renzi noted that in the future he would work to influence the positions of other European countries in similar votes and said that he would discuss the issue with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Prime Minister Netanyahu appreciates the leadership shown by Italian Prime Minister Renzi as a welcome process of changing direction in extreme votes against Israel in international forums. The change in UN institutions will take some years and will also entail disappointments but these are – without doubt – the first signs of a welcome change.

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Join Us for a Fifth U.S. Congressional District Election Forum!

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Federations Mourn Shimon Peres, z”l

0901316_one-third-promo_peres_418154_resize_1516__1_From JFNA. By Jerry Silverman is president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North AmericaIt is with very heavy hearts that we say goodbye to such an iconic visionary. His life and all he accomplished should be celebrated. Federations have been privileged to have had a longstanding relationship with Shimon Peres, z”l. At the 2013 General Assembly in Jerusalem, he reminded us that as a people, we have always had a vision—one that derives from the way we value life. And for decades, regardless of the political climate, his message remained the same: Peace is our goal.

After the presidency, he began to think about his retirement and he asked me what he could do to help Federations. Months later he visited Federations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami. His one regret, he repeated again and again, was that he did not dream big enough.

This afternoon I leave for Israel and bring with me the heartfelt condolences of our community and our Federation movement. May his memory be a blessing.
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Finding Their Voices: Children of Holocaust Survivors Stand Up to Speak Up

VoicesofHope_Color-LogoClick to HERE read this exciting article about JFACT Fund’s Voices of Hope members, who were featured on the front page of the Jewish Ledger after doing our workshop with Speak Up for Second Generation. Mazel tov to all of the participants!

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