Community Briefs: Gun Violence Town Hall at Congregation Or Hadash Draws 200 and More

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Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness (Courtesy of B’nai Abraham Chabad)

B’nai Abraham Chabad Hosts Holocaust Film Series Starting April 17

B’nai Abraham Chabad at Fifth and Lombard streets will launch a spring film series beginning April 17 called “The Rescuers and the Survivors Who Were Rescued,” featuring Holocaust survival story films.

The first film, Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness, screens on April 17 at 7 p.m. This documentary shares the story of Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihari, who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Mark Halpern of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia.

The second film is Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers During WWII on May 1 at 7 p.m. This film paints a picture of those who hid Jewish children during World War II through interviews with those children. A discussion with Ruth Halpern, a hidden child during the Holocaust, will follow the screening.

The series ends with Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust on May 15 at 7 p.m. This film is about an Orthodox son of Holocaust survivors who is concerned that his sons are becoming intolerant. After the film, there will be a discussion with Philip A. Cunningham, a professor of theology and director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University.

Local Organizations Among Those Participating in Hakhel Conference

Area Jewish organizations were among 80 global Jewish communities participating March 28-31 at Hakhel, the Jewish Intentional Communities Incubator’s sixth annual conference in Connecticut.

Participants came from 25 countries across six continents to share best practices on decision-making models, mediation, social activism, fundraising and the diverse role of a community leader.

Local participants included the HDNA Galil community of Philadelphia, which has sprung up around the Habonim Dror summer camps. Alumni get together to share their lives and enjoy communal living enrichment.

Also participating was Rappers and Rabbis of Philadelphia, an educators’ community that believes in the power of the spoken word.

From left: Scott Charles and Amy J. Goldberg. (Courtesy of Temple University)

Temple Doctor Honored by CeaseFirePA

Temple University physician Amy J. Goldberg received the Lighting the Way Forward Advocacy Award on April 7 from CeaseFirePA for her advocacy work in reducing gun violence.

Goldberg, who is the George S. Peters, MD and Louise C. Peters Chair and Professor of Surgery at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, co-created the Cradle to Grave and Turning Point programs at Temple University Hospital with co-worker Scott Charles.

The former is a two-hour hospital-based violence prevention initiative that starts in the trauma bay and ends in the morgue, while the latter is an inpatient intervention initiative that reaches out to gun violence survivors and attempts to persuade them not to retaliate.

“As a trauma surgeon, I unfortunately see first-hand what gun violence does to a human body as well as the toll it takes on communities,” Goldberg said. “Even the loss of one life, one future, is one too many.”

RRC Rabbi Visits Mexican Border

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association in Abington visited the U.S.-Mexico border in late March as part of human rights delegation led by HIAS.

Wechterman joined more than 20 rabbis, cantors and activists to meet with asylum seekers, immigration attorneys and advocates, spending three days in El Paso, Texas; Ciudad Juárez; and neighboring communities.

The group visited an immigration detention facility in New Mexico, an El Paso shelter for migrant children and a Ciudad Juárez shelter for asylum seekers, among other facilities. They also crossed the border on foot and saw asylum seekers being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

From left: Moderator Dan Schwarz, U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean and state Rep. Ben Sanchez (Courtesy of Rabbi Joshua Waxman)

Gun Violence Town Hall Held at Congregation Or Hadash Draws 200

A town hall March 31 at Congregation Or Hadash in Fort Washington drew nearly 200 people to address the topic of gun violence.

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) and state Rep. Benjamin Sanchez (D-153) spoke of legislative efforts and initiatives on the federal and state levels. Legislation discussed included a bill passed by the federal House of Representatives that requires universal background checks for gun buyers; it awaits a vote from the Senate. They also discussed a recently passed state law that involves requiring anyone found to be a domestic abuser to turn in their firearm within 24 hours.

Numerous gun violence prevention organizations provided literature and shared information. Government officials from Upper Dublin, Jenkintown, Norristown, Lansdale and Abington townships were in attendance.

The meeting ended with a call to convene again in a year to address accomplishments toward the goal of decreasing gun violence.

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