Grepevine: Yad Ezer L’Haver and ICEJ join hands

THE INTERNATIONAL Christian Embassy Jerusalem participated in several special ceremonies International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Haifa.

Holocaust survivors 521 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Holocaust survivors 521
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
■ THE INTERNATIONAL Christian Embassy Jerusalem sometimes puts the Israeli authorities to shame – certainly in matters relating to providing for the needs of Holocaust survivors. The ICEJ is particularly involved with the welfare of Holocaust survivors living in Haifa, and last Friday on International Holocaust Remembrance Day participated in several special ceremonies in Haifa in which survivors were honored.
More than 100 Holocaust survivors attended the ceremonies, which included the dedication of a memorial in their honor, as well as the ground breaking for a new museum that will tell the story of those European Jews who survived the Nazi genocide.
The ceremonies were held at the Home for Holocaust Survivors operated by the Israeli charity Yad Ezer L’Haver and funded by the ICEJ. Among the dignitaries present were cabinet ministers Daniel Hershkovitz, the son of Holocaust survivors; and Yossi Peled, who was a child Holocaust survivor; Deputy Minister Leah Ness; Deputy Mayor of Haifa Oded Donitz; and the deputy ambassador from Germany.
A torch was lit in memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and a monument entitled Hand to the Survivor was unveiled. In addition, the cornerstone was laid for the Hand to the Survivor Museum, which will house a historic collection of exhibits, photographs and personal memorabilia that tell the story of those who endured the Nazi Holocaust and lived to tell about it.
The museum will be named in honor of Albert Buehler, father of Dr. Juergen Buehler, executive director of the ICEJ. During World War II, Albert Buehler was forced to serve in the German army on the eastern front and was taken captive by the Red Army early in the conflict. He was one of only 5,000 German POWs who survived the war in the Russian camps, thanks to a Jewish doctor and a Jewish farmer who nursed him back to health. After the war, Albert Buehler became a well-known Evangelical pastor throughout Germany and instilled in his sons a deep love for Israel and the Jewish people.
“I did not expect this tribute to happen, but it is a great honor,” said Dr. Buehler.
“My father taught me to love and respect the Jewish people.
In his youth, even amid the Nazi craze, Albert Buehler set an example to stand up for justice by refusing the SS demands that he join their ranks and by refusing to use the “Heil Hitler” greeting.
Over the past two years, the Christian Embassy has been sponsoring a special project to expand an assisted-living facility in Haifa for impoverished Holocaust survivors, operated by Yad Ezer L’Haver and originally housing 14 survivors. The ICEJ has provided funds to purchase and renovate two more apartment buildings on the same street, with the enlarged facility able to accommodate up to 125 residents, as well as feed and provide medical and dental care to other survivors in the Haifa area.
■ AFTER A lot of pressure from members of the Labor Party to have its headquarters move back to Tel Aviv, party leader Shelly Yacimovich – for whom Tel Aviv is preferable, as she’s a resident of the city – finally acquiesced. Towards the end of last month, the party inaugurated its new premises at 55 La Guardia Street. According to a message sent out by Labor Party Secretary-General Hilik Bar, even though the new, somewhat modest headquarters are now located in Tel Aviv, the rent is cheaper.
The party has also opened a new membership recruitment office in a more central Tel Aviv location at 16 Zamenhoff Street. One of the posters on the wall is a word play on the name of the party’s leader: Mitpakdim le’avoda bereshut sheli, which translates as “Joining Labor under the leadership of Shelly.” But sheli in Hebrew means “my” or “mine.” So the slogan can easily be interpreted as “Joining Labor under my leadership,” which sends the message that any new member has a chance to be a leader.
After all, it’s only since November 2005 that Yacimovich entered the political arena, leaving her career as a radio and television journalist to run in the Labor primaries.
In a little under six years, she rose in the ranks from being a novice politician to being the leader of the party.
■ FOLLOWING THE terrorist attack in March 2011 on the settlement of Itamar in the West Bank in which five members of the Fogel family were stabbed to death, the residents of Itamar have a much more serious attitude towards learning martial arts as a means of self-preservation.
Yediot Aharonot this week ran a story about martial arts teacher David Stern, 31, a former self-defense instructor in the US Marines, who has been studying and practicing martial arts since he was seven years old. After completing four years of service in the Marine Corps, Stern went to Japan and trained with a Ninjutsu master, from whom he received a 5th-dan black belt.
While in the Marines he met a rabbi who persuaded him to give more thought to his Jewish roots, and over the years Stern gradually became religiously observant. He settled in Israel seven years ago, and after a stint in Safed moved to Itamar.
Yoav, one of the murdered Fogel children, had studied martial arts with Stern for a time but stopped to immerse himself more in his religious studies. Since the terrorist attack 11 months ago, adults and children in Itamar have shown a greater interest in what Stern can teach them.