Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Center Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 20

Volume 4, Issue 20
February 26, 2008

Total Number of Visitors Since October 2004: 378,144

Third Annual "Elitzur" Lecture a Success

"Only Menachem Begin could link the heroism of the 1940s during the struggle against the British Mandate and the heroism of Soviet Jewry in the 1960s onwards for their right to go to Eretz Israel," said Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation when he opened this year's "Elitzur" lecture program. He quoted from Menachem Begin's speech at the first Brussels Conference on Soviet Jewry where he said in essence: "Our generation witnessed the renewal of Jewish heroism—in the cont inuous endangering of personal freedom and life in the Underground." And then he went on to pay tribute to the fighters in the Soviet Union.

"Even we who fought, the few against the many, acknowledge that far more difficult than our way is that of those who are fighting in Communist Russia, without arms, for Zion. … In the name of those who fought in days gone by in Eretz Israel, may I be permitted to say to you from far and near: We bow our heads before you, our brothers, heroes of the revival. … That was heroism of the highest order. We know from our history that when Jews are ready for Kiddush Hashem, they may not yet be victorious, but they become invincible."

Dr. Jonathan Friedman, the son of "Elitzur" Friedman, spoke of his father's role in the Irgun as a solider and officer in that organization. Members of the Friedman family and friends had come from the US for this occasion.

This was followed by the screening of a half-hour excerpt from the film Refusenik, which showed mainly Natan Sharansky and others who stood up to the Soviet regime until they and the wider community achieved freedom to leave.

L-R: Jonathan Friedman's two girls; Wilma Friedman; David & Miriam Krakow; Mrs. Estelle Friedman

One of the young refuseniks at the time - who is now a Member of Knesset and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein - described his own experience at the hands of the Soviet secret police until his tenacity obliged them to set him free. He was given a standing ovation by the audience.

The event was organized by Moshe Fuksman-Sha'al and his committee.

Gluck Family Honored in New York

Staunch supporters of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Eugen and Jean Gluck, were the honorees in New York on Monday night at a concert by the Israel Chamber Orchestra conducted by the well-known conductor Elli Jaffe.

The Glucks have sponsored the flag plaza at the entrance of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and are now also supporting the Endowment Fund. They are frequent visitors to Jerusalem and always visit the Begin Center to see its development and to hear about future plans.

Menachem Begin Yahrzeit

On Tuesday, 11 March, following the religious ceremony at the grave of Menachem Begin, a program of Remembrance will be held at the Begin Center starting at 5:30pm. The participants in the event will be Zvi Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation; Yechiel Kadishai, Chairman of the Public Council of the Begin Center; Prof. Moshe Are ns, former Minister and Ambassador; Knesset Member Efi Eitam; Herzel Makov, Chairman of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center; Yair Stern; the poet Eliaz Cohen; and the author Dr. Udi Lebel whose book On the Road to the Pantheon has just appeared in its second edition.

The formal program will be followed by songs performed by Shalva Barty.

The invitation (in Hebrew):

Farewell to the 1st Session of IGF

They were sad to leave, happy to have been here and proud of their achievement. This would sum up the mood at the farewell to the first group of Israel Government Fellows that spent half a year in the country under the auspices of MASA and the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

They had come to Israel on this new exciting project from six different countries—United States, England, Australia, Switzerland, Argentina and Hungary.

The farewell was conducted by Alon Shani who had worked with Tamar Darmon, the dynamic person in charge of the program.

Some of the students are returning to their homes and universities to pursue their careers and studies in their home countries, but in their hearts they feel very close to Jerusalem, Israel and the Begin Center.

Herzel Makov, the Chairman of the Begin Center, paid tribute to them and expressed pride in their achievement. Harry Hurwitz, Founder and President of the Menachem Begin Heritage Foundation, called on them to become ambassadors for Israel, for Jerusalem and for the Begin Center.

Other speakers were Tzachi Gavrieli, the former advisor to the Cabinet Secretary, to represent the government offices; Mrs. Rachel Gershoni, the National Coordinator of the Battle against Trafficking in Persons from the Ministry of Justice, representing the mentors who worked daily with the Fellows; a few of the students wished to express their gratitude for the program—Karen Smadja, Donna Benji, Shayna Fensten and Samuel Wecker; and finally, Tamar Darmon, Director of the IGF program.

The students were presented with a diploma and a copy of The Revolt by Menachem Begin in English from the Center, handed out by Herzel Makov and Harry Hurwitz.

The second group of 15 is already in the country and they have started their six-month program.