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July 18, 2014

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 18, 2014 Putin thanks rabbis for communities' fight against N00zi revival MOSCOW (JTA)--Rus- sian President Vladimir Putin thanked senior rabbis from Israel and Europe for what he called their help in Russia's fight against the revival of Nazism. Putin made the statement on Wednesday during a meeting in the Russian capi- tal with more than a dozen Binyominn Jacobs, the chief interprovincial rabbi of the Netherlands, and David Moshe Lieberman of Antwerp. "I want to thank the Jewish community, nongovernmental organiza- tions that are both active and courageous; we see it in today's world--how a struggle is being uncompro- prominentrabbis, including misingly waged against all Berel Lazar, a chief rabbi of Russia, and Yitzchak Yosef and Israel Meir Lau, Israel's chief rabbis. "Of particular concern is the revival of Nazi ideas," Putin told the delegation of rabbis, which also included manifestations of the Nazi ideology and any attempts to revive it." A Kremlin transcript of Putin's address at the meet- ing did not specify where he saw Nazism being revived. In the past, Putin has called the leaders of the revolution that toppled the regime of Ukrainian Presi- dent Viktor Yanukovych "Nazis" and "neo-Nazis," and cited what he said was their anti-Semitism to justify Russia's actions in Ukraine since March, when it annexed Crimea from its western neighbor. Many Ukrainian Jewish leaders and the country's government have dismissed his assertions, saying the claims about anti-Semitism are being made for political purposes. Putin also spoke out against Holocaust deniers, calling them "not only stupid but also shameless." The meeting took place ahead of an annual Ho- locaust commemoration event scheduled for Thurs- day in the Crimean city of Sevastopol. The ceremony, which is organized by the lo- cal Jewish community, is in memory of over 4,000 Jews killed by German troops in July 1942 and has been held since 1992. This year's will be the first since the an- nexation. Noting that the Kremlin has shown an interest in Holocaust commemorations for the past 15 years, Rabbi Boruch Gorin, a senior aide to Lazar and chair of Mos- cow's Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, added, "There's no denying that President Putin and the Kremlin want to demon- strate that anti-Semitism is not accepted and that everything is all right with the Jews there. And we don't dispute that. We do our work. "If it is used for diplomacy or propaganda, depends whom you ask, we're not necessarily opposed. We think Jews in Crimea need to feel at ease and safe and stable, and prefer to stay out of politics." Russian President Vladimir Putin EL AL Israel airlines offers unique in-flighlL family entertainment this summer NEW YORK--With Is- rael experiencing an all- time high in tourism, EL AL Israel Airlines is making it more affordable and fun for the entire family to travel this summer. EL AL has revamped the popular ELALCHIK program, which offers children a selection of amusing in-flight entertain- ment. All these activities will take place on select flights from Tel Aviv to New York during the months of July and August, creating a fun- filled environment for both parents and children. Upon boarding an ELAL- CHIK flight at Ben Gurion International Airport in Is- rael, ELAL passengers will be greeted by a whimsical clown who will entertain during the flight and provide a variety of in-flight activities including cockpit tours, games, comic books and more. The clown will also tell stories, share riddles and assign children en- joyable tasks. The first 50,000 children on an EL ALCHIK The Back to School Issue... IS ACK00 Publication Date: August 1, 2014 Advertising Deadline: July 23, 2014 flight will receive an activity case with coloring books and pencils as well as puzzles that are all branded by the beloved Israeli children's TV character, Little Michal. In addition, the clown and cabin crew will appoint "Dayalchiks," young flight attendants adorned in Little Michal aprons, to assist with distributing goodies to other children. Ten children who complete the tasks will be invited to visit the cockpit and receive a souvenir personal- ized by the Captain. Children can also enjoy EL AL branded board games, such as "Chutes and Ladders" and "Around the World," as well as watch special Little Michal videos on an in-flight entertainment channel. From the USA, special EL AL family fares are available on select flights for children between the ages of two and 12 years old travelling with their parents. In addition to the regular menu offered on any flight, child-friendly meals can be ordered at least 48 hours prior to departure by calling ELAL at 800-223 -6700 or any travel agent. The special lunch or dinner children's menu includes such offerings as chicken nuggets, corn and fresh fruit. For breakfast, pancakeswith syrup and fresh fruit are served. Circumcision From page 2A bans in Europe has not sub- stantially diminighed. "The trend is really moving against us in one consider- able way, and that's in terms of general European public op!nion in Northern and Western Europe, particularly Scandinavia," said Rabbi An- drew Baker, the American Jewish Committee's director of international Jewish affairs. Calls to ban circumcision gained momentum after the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution last October that called for a public debate on the "rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity." It lumped male circumcision with female genital mutilation and corporal punishment. The assembly, however, lacks power. In April, the council's leadership advised members that male circum- cision was "by no means comparable" to female genital mutilation and recommended against further attempts to target the practice. Nonetheless, children's ombudsmen in a number of Northern European countries have called in recent years for restrictions on the practice, as have medical professionals' groups. Jewish leaders say that as Northern Europe becomes increasingly secularized, its populace tends to place more value on freedom from religious coercion than on freedom to practice religion. "These are post-religious and post-ritual countries," said Rabbi Michael Melchior, the Israel-based chief rabbi to Norway's 800 Jews. "And the vast majority of the popula- tion don't have a clue what ritual is. They see ritual in general as something which belongs to some dark evil-- they have medieval concep- tions [of rituals] which have nothing to do with modern society," In one way, some Scan- dinavian governments have nodded toward circumcision opponents by including in their laws requirements that circumcision take place under medical supervision. Nor- way's parliament passed such a law last month. Norwegian Jewish leaders applauded the measure because it allowed the rite to be carried out under a physician's supervision. In Sweden, said Lena Posner-Korosi, president of the country's 20,000-strong Jewish community, circum- cision is permitted until two months, which effectively shuts out the Muslim com- munity, in which boys are often circumcised as toddlers. Anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe helps drive the anti-circumcision clamor, Jewish communal leaders say. If anything, sensitivities in Northern Europe about the 20th-century record on Jews are what has led governments to protect circumcision. "One of the important par- liamentarians told me it is convenient for us to put the Jews at the front of this issue," Melchior said. "Because in the public in Norway still, it is much more difficult to go out against the Jews than the Muslims." Jewish officials said that anti-Semitism, while a con- cern in other areas, is not a factor in the debate, al- though Jewish stereotypes have emerged in its wake. When pro-circumcision activ- ists in Germany cited Ameri- can studies showing that the practice was practically harm- less and had possible medical benefits, opponents suggested that American Jewish doctors had skewed the studies. The key to preserving cir- cumcision, according to Ervin Kohn, president of Norway's Jewish community, is lobby- ing the political class, which is sensitive to international image. "For most of the Norwegian people it is strange, so they believe all sorts of things and don't know too much and are easily impressionable," he said, regarding views on circumcision. "Those who know are the politicians-- they made the right decision." Jewish commufial leaders in the Scandinavian countries said that blunt intervention from abroad could backfire, noting the hackles that were raised when Israel's govern- ment issued dire warnings againstbanning circumcision after last year's Council of Europe vote. However, they welcome Forman's more subtle over- tures, saying that the Obama administration's signaling of its interest in ensuring a future for European Jewish communities has proven salutary. "I'm still on a high from presenting President Obama to the synagogue on Rosh Ha- shanah," said Posner-Korosi, describing a visit to Stock- holm last year during which Obama also honored Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who risked his life to save tens of thousands of Hun- garian Jews."It conveyed such a strong message, not just about Raoul Wallenberg but about anti-Semitism, about recognizing minorities." Looking out for minorities is the point, Forman said. "Our priority is to make sure these communities don't go out of existence," he said. "It would be a tragedy not just for the communities. Itwould be a tragedy for Europe, for these cultures."