I’ve been thinking about the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were murdered during the Munich Olympics 40 years ago. They traveled to the games in the olympic spirit, to perform and coach at their best and instead they were brutally murdered in an act of terrorism.
I am disgusted and saddened that International Olympic Committee staunchly refuses to allow even one minute – 60 seconds – of silence to acknowledge the tragedy, to remember the lessons (hopefully) learned from it and to honor the lives lost. One minute of a 3-hour opening ceremony is not a great sacrifice. Such minutes of silence have been done during opening ceremonies.
I encourage you to read an article in Tablet Magazine by scholar and professor Deborah Lipstat titled “Jewish Blood Is Cheap: The real reason the Olympic Committee refuses to commemorate the Israeli athletes murdered in Munich.”
A number of years ago, I had the honor of meeting Daniel Alon, Israeli Olympian and Fencer. A member of the ’72 Israeli team, he was in an apartment in the athletes village that was not immediately overtaken by the terrorists. He and a few others were able to escape from the hostage-takers and survive. Mr. Alon spoke at Miami University, sharing his story with students, faculty, staff and community members, telling of their horror, the loss of their teammates and friends, and the pain of the denial of the tragedy by the olympic officials. (Read more in the Miami Student report.)
I usually watch the olympics and cheer for the athletes. I admire their dedication, perseverance and talent. The olympic ideal of sport above politics has potential to make an impact on the world. How sad it is that the olympic officials themselves have chosen politics over the olympic ideals.
Because of the blatant disregard by the IOC for the spirit of the games, the dedication of the athletes and the importance of honoring all participants – – I will not watch these olympic games.
What happened in Munich
– Details of the events “Munich Massacre” (Wikipedia)
– “What Went Wrong in Munich” (Tablet Magazine)
Remembering the Athletes and Coaches
– The Fellowship
May the memories of those lost be an inspiration.
Today we celebrate the 64th anniversary of the formation of the modern State of Israel. May the year to come be filled with peace, innovation, inspiration, equality and freedom. May all the peoples of the country continue to create, strive and achieve. Israel 21c has an inspiring list of some of Israel’s recent accomplishments.
Ima on the Bima posted this week’s Haveil Havalim “Catchy Title Goes Here” – a great collection of blog posts written over the past week. Thanks Phyllis and shavuah tov to all.
Growing up in the United States, summertime equalled freedom. We were free from school, free to play, ride bikes, sit by the lake, free to spend much of our time in our imaginations. Celebration of America’s Independence Day on the 4th of July amplified the focus on freedom.
This year, more than the previous 2 years, my thoughts turned to Gilad Shalit as we celebrated American Independence Day. Gilad Shalit has not known freedom for 3 years. He sits in captivity, captured in a cross-boarder raid by Hamas. None of his family, friends or colleagues have heard from him in years. Hamas, the terrorist government of the Gazan Palestinian Authority does not allow even the Red Crescent, the Muslim version of the Red Cross to see him. This is in violation of international law and practice. (By the way, I wrote Gazan Palestinian Authority because the PA in Gaza does not get along with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank led by Fatah.) While he is not free, none of us are free.
Freedom is precious and cannot be taken for granted. I pray that Gilad will know freedom some day soon.
If you would like to learn more about Gilad Shalit, visit the website HaBanim.
(Quick follow-up to my last post on the Pope’s visit:)
Here is the text of the beautiful prayer he placed in the Western Wall (courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). View the prayer as well as a photograph of its placement in the wall.
Written prayer by Pope Benedict XVI
God of all the ages,
on my visit to Jerusalem, the “City of Peace”,
spiritual home to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike,
I bring before you the joys, the hopes and the aspirations,
the trials, the suffering and the pain of all your people throughout the world.
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
hear the cry of the afflicted, the fearful, the bereft;
send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East,
upon the entire human family;
stir the hearts of all who call upon your name,
to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him!” (Lam 3:25)
Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage visit to Israel is creating quite a bit of press coverage. Unlike Pope John Paul II visit a few years ago, Benedict XVI seems to be on a personal/church/religious mission rather than on a mission of interfaith understanding, bridge building and politics.
Many interesting stories accompany his visit:
Trembling Before the Pope (the story of the Latin Patriarch, Fouad Twal, and his view of Catholics in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip)
A Muslim cleric and head of the Palestinian Sharia court, Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi, gave an unscheduled speech today at an interfaith gathering attended by the Pope. Once the Pope heard a translation of the Sheikh’s remarks he walked out, perhaps fulfilling one of Patriarch Twal’s concerns. Read another take on this story on CNN.
The Pope’s comments after visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust musuem, instigated many comments. Read a few in Ha’aretz, al-Jezeera, BBC, the Forward and YNet.
I hope that the Pope’s visit leads to greater respect, understanding and peace between peoples and a willingness of all to turn away from hate and intollerance.
UPDATE: A Holocaust Survivor says that the criticism of the Pope is exagerated (YNet).
Israel21c has been publishing news about Israel that often goes ignored for years. They do amazing work. Recently, two pieces by an Israel21c reporter were on CNN. One is about some inspiring coexistence work in Lod, a city with many struggles. Watch the report here. The other is about how two scientists in Israel are making all of the world’s flowers more fragrant.
Watch and enjoy.
Shabbat’s usual rest and joy was, of course, overshadowed by the tragedy of the horrific terrorism in Mumbai. As of the writing of this email, at least 195 are dead and hundreds injured. The mourners are only just beginning to be able to be aware that their loved one is (or horribly in some cases loved ones are) dead.
Latest News Includes:
NYTimes – India Faces Reckoning as Terror Toll Eclipses 170
Ha’aretz – 9 Dead in Mumbai Chabad House Attack
Poingnat & Heartbreaking
BBC Video of Rabbi Holtzberg z”l and his son Moshe two months before the attack.
The death, destruction and human devastation of these attacks weighs heavily on my heart and spirit as we begin this new week.
Post from Baka Diary
With thoughts and prayers for all those affected by the Mumbai attacks.
Ynet story on the Chabad attack with pictures (some a bit graphic).
The news out of Mumbai, India, continues to be devastating. Sustained two days of terror attacks on the diverse people living in & visiting Mumbai. All accounts suggest that this terrorist attack has been long-planned and researched, resulting in the terrorists seeming to have the upper hand. My thoughts and prayers all with all people impacted by this terror attack.
A few news reports on the attack:
BBC Main Site on the Attacks in Mumbai (sub-sites from many perspectives as well)
Ha’artez – India Declines Assistance from Israel
Ha’aretz – 5 Hostages & 2 Terrorists Dead in Chabad Jewish Center
Ha’aretz – Mumbai Attacks Send Shock Waves through Chabad Community
Ha’aretz – Analysis – Israel Cannot Defend Itself Against Such Attacks
Chabad main website, Chabad blog on the Mumbai tragedy
The Israel Situation blog on the attacks
Jerusalem Post – 4 Israelis Rescued from the Oberoi Hotel
May Shabbat bring an end to the attack and may all those searching for loved ones hear good news soon.
Jerusalem Post – Background: Islamic Terrorism Helped Bring Together Israel and India
CNN site on the attacks
I’ve just heard on CNN that no one (except the youngest child of the Rabbi and his wife who escaped with his nanny earlier in the crisis) survived in the Chabad center. Baruch dayan ha-emet. May G-d care for their souls and be with their families.
New York Times (frequently updated) blog
Muslims Against Sharia Blog on the Mumbai Attacks