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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 22, 2004 / 28 Teves, 5764

Giving new meaning to ‘Who is a Jew?’

By Debra N. Cohen


At major Catholic-Jewish meeting, Ukrainian chief rabbi makes emotional plea for Church to open Holocaust-era baptismal records



http://www.jewishworldreview.com | At a gathering this week of leading rabbis and some of the world's most influential Catholic cardinals, a Chassidic rabbi called upon the Catholic Church to open its baptismal records from six decades ago so Jewish children who were converted by their Catholic rescuers during World War II can know their true past.


Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, originally from Brooklyn and chief rabbi of Ukraine since 1990, made his remarks at a conference convened by the World Jewish Congress at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown Manhattan in a glass-walled room overlooking New York Harbor.


Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, meeting with Pope in 2001

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Dressed in their full religious regalia of red-buttoned black robes, bright red sashes, large crosses and red yarmulkes, a dozen cardinals — some rumored to be leading contenders to be the next pope — and as many rabbis each delivered papers over the course of the gathering on Monday and Tuesday. Many of the presentations were scholarly explications of the Jewish and Christian Bibles and of the respective religious perspectives on interfaith dialogue.


Amid this, Rabbi Bleich's impassioned demand stood out sharply.


"Thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — of Jewish children were saved by Catholics. Many were returned to the Jewish people. Some were not," he said. "The Catholic Church has the obligation to tell them and let them decide" which faith they choose.


"Until then, the souls of their parents cannot rest. Until then, their personal Holocaust continues," Rabbi Bleich said.


In an interview with The New York Jewish Week over lunch later, Rabbi Bleich said he would like to see a joint Jewish-Catholic commission be appointed to investigate the matter further and a database developed with information about the children whose physical lives were saved by Catholic rescuers but whose Jewish spiritual lives were ended.

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Rabbi Bleich said he raised the issue directly with Pope John Paul II during a gathering in Ukraine in 2001. A private meeting scheduled for the next day was called off by the pontiff's aides.


The Catholics are resisting his idea, Rabbi Bleich said, "because they believe they're saving souls. There are many parents who survived who could not get their children back. Thousands, for sure."


Rabbi Bleich's presentation was all the more poignant because sitting by his side was Jean-Marie Lustiger, cardinal of Paris, who was born a Jew and converted to Catholicism at age 14, just after the war. Cardinal Lustiger — born Aharon Dov — is one of the Pope's closest confidants, and would be considered a leading candidate to succeed him but for his age. He is in his late 70s.


Cardinal Lustiger's mother was one of thousands of French Jews deported to German concentration camps. She was murdered at Auschwitz. Cardinal Lustiger, who apparently still considers himself Jewish in some respects, goes to the death camp each year to recite the memorial prayer Kaddish and has signed letters to Jews with his Hebrew name.


At lunch on the first day of the conference, Cardinal Lustiger bantered in Yiddish with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, the noted Lubavitch writer and teacher of Chassidic philosophy and translator of the Talmud.


In an interview over lunch Tuesday Cardinal Lustiger called this gathering — "The World Symposium of Catholic Cardinals and Jewish Leaders" — "the most important meeting between Jews and Christians in the last many years. This has been a new and strange encounter," he said. "Very fruitful."


The cardinal motioned to his throat that he was losing his voice but continued to answer questions about the value of the gathering.


"This is not a political meeting," he said. "We meet as men of faith and have to learn to know each other. We trust the faith and sincerity of each other so we can frankly say what we think. When believers, Jews and Catholics, join their efforts they can perhaps better respond to challenges."


Asked about Rabbi Bleich's call to open baptism records, Cardinal Lustiger indicated that he had lost his voice and could answer no more questions.


At the next table was Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, said to be a candidate to be the next pope.


About Rabbi Bleich's call, Cardinal Schonborn said it involves "a practical question that has to be answered by people in Ukraine."


"I'd ask him to give us precise ideas and see how to put that into practice. The Catholic hierarchy in Ukraine is willing to do all it can" to resolve such open questions, said Cardinal Schonborn.


"But it is not only an issue of Catholics but also Orthodox Christians. How can we do such research? It is a local issue. It is not a general issue for the Catholic Church," he said.


Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman, a Holocaust survivor who himself was rescued by his Catholic nanny and baptized, has brought up the same issue directly with Pope John Paul on several occasions, according to a spokeswoman for the organization, Myrna Shinbaum. But there has been no direct response. Foxman did not participate in this week's conference.


On Monday morning the cardinals visited the Torah study hall at Yeshiva University.


"For us to meet a living, active, inspired and inspiring Jewish community, especially the Orthodox community, to see so many young people dedicated to their faith and to being fully involved in modern life, was very valuable," said Cardinal Schonborn.


On Tuesday afternoon the entourage visited Ground Zero. The conference concluded with the dissemination of a statement signed by participants acknowledging Pope John Paul II's contribution to Catholic-Jewish dialogue, and with a pledge to continue meeting, on different continents, "to address the challenges of general religious peace and to confront the rise of hate and anti-Semitism."


The meeting was historic because of the seniority of the participants in their respective faiths, said Elan Steinberg, WJC's executive vice president.


"This is the highest-level substantive dialogue that has ever taken place," he said. "The very fact that we can meet with this level of candor is testimony to the maturity of the dialogue."


The gathering was assembled fairly quickly with the help of Cardinal Lustiger, Steinberg said, partly because of the Pope's poor health.


"We are going to enter into a new papacy," said Steinberg. "It's inevitable. And one of the things we want is attention paid to constructive dialogue."


His organization made a point, he said, of inviting "those who will be shaping this next papacy."

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Debra Nussbaum Cohen is a reporter for The New York Jewish Week. Comment by clicking here.

© 2004, The New York Jewish Week