A UK-based campaign committee called Article 116 Exclusions Group is challenging Germany’s decision to reject over 100 citizenship restoration applications from descendants of Jews who fled during the Nazi regime. Article 116 Exclusion Group takes its name from German law that provides for the restoration of citizenship to refugees and the descendants of those who fled during Hitler’s rise to power. The Association of Jewish Refugees, a UK charity, has joined the fight, appealing to the German government to recognize “a strong moral argument for the law to be liberalized.” Those applying for citizenship were alive because their ancestors escaped the Holocaust, the AJR said, stating, “In many cases, other relatives who did much to contribute to German society and development were murdered.” Ulla Jelpke, from Germany’s Die Linke party, who has taken up the cause alongside Gitta Connemann from the ruling Christian Democrats, said, “ Just as it was wrong that people had to leave Germany, so it follows that the descendants of those who fled the Nazis have a right to be reinstated as citizens…I’m calling for a clarification of the law, which would recognize that all descendants of Germans who were stripped of their citizenship by the Nazis either for political or racist reasons have a right to the restoration of that citizenship without exception.”
Anshe Emet, a synagogue in Lakeview, Chicago, has discovered a 3,000-pound safe while doing construction on their parking lot. A locksmith they hired was unable to penetrate the mysterious artifact’s 18-inch-thick door. Synagogue officials have decided to let the safe be and are making no further attempts to break it. Experts said the safe was likely manufactured around 1906 and believe it to be an Ely-Norris cannonball safe. The unopened safe, which has made national headlines, remains at the construction site.
A group of bipartisan senators is introducing a bill called “The Never Again Education Act” to fund educational programs, resources, and training for teachers so that they will be able to better educate students about the Holocaust. “The Never Again Education Act” will be supported by private donations and the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund in the U.S. Treasury. “There is overwhelming evidence that anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States and across the globe,” said Senator Jacky Rosen, (D-Nev.), one of the lead sponsors, who is also Jewish. “To ensure that an event like the Holocaust never again occurs, we must take concrete steps to address this growing epidemic of hate, and that begins through education and understanding of one of the most horrific chapters in history.” Some of the lead sponsors include Sens. Kevin Cramer, (R-N.D.); Richard Blumenthal, (D-Conn.); and Marco Rubio, (R-Fla.) A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives has 204 co-sponsors led by two New York representatives, Carolyn Maloney (D) and Elise Stefanik (R). Organizations including Hadassah, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, and StandWithUs support the passing of this bill.
Thanks to the suggestion of Yael Robinson, a high school student from Zichron Yaakov who is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor from Libya, Yad Vashem has modified its Yizkor prayer on Yom Hashoah to include Jews in Arab countries. Robinson attended her local Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony and was disappointed to hear that the Kel Malei Rachamim prayer did not reference the large number of Holocaust victims from North Africa. Yael’s grandfather, Kalfo Janah, is a survivor from Tripoli. Robinson wrote to ceremony organizers, who forwarded her feedback to the Yad Vashem. The original prayer asked G-d to remember “all the souls of all the communities of Beit Israel in the European Diaspora” who died in the Holocaust. The amended prayer no longer contains the word “European.”
The Academy of the Hebrew Language published a list of 1,400 new words to replace English ones used in common legal jargon. Among the phrases approved was the Hebrew hatara lefee hahok meaning “permitted under law” instead of the English word “legalization,” and the Hebrew term for “illegally obtained evidence,” rayaa habaa b’avera, instead of a Bible-inspired phrase meaning “fruit of the poisonous tree,” an idiom borrowed from American law. The AHL also encourages the use of new common words such as sovevan to mean a train-turning device, mehonat mimkar meaning a vending machine, and ma’arechet gomlin meaning an ecosystem. Mohal is another one of the new words, and it has its roots in Talmudic texts. The word was added at the request of environment activists, to refer to the waste generated by extracting oil from olives, which has been polluting rivers in the central region of the country. AHL is Israel’s official state regulator of the Hebrew language. The dictionary has been worked on for the past 30 years by the Academy’s Committee for Legal Terms, which counts among its members Supreme Court justices.
The Dublin City Council has announced that it will reopen Ireland’s oldest Jewish cemetery, which was closed to the public for over 40 years. The council took ownership of the cemetery after the Dublin Jewish Board of Guardians could no longer afford to maintain the property. The cemetery is surrounded by high walls and contains 200 graves and 150 headstones dating as far back as 1777. One of the most impressive tombs is that of Lewis Wormser Harris, who died a day before he was to take office as Dublin’s first Jewish mayor in 1908. The cemetery is one of the earliest surviving Jewish burial grounds in the United Kingdom and merits consideration for National Monument status, according to a conservation and management plan commissioned by the council. It was in use from 1718 until the end of the 19th century, when the Jewish community moved to the south side of the city and established a new cemetery near Dolphin’s Barn.