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Am Echad weekly update for the week of July 3, 2022

Update summary: Rabbi of the Western Wall condemned the violence at the western wall, from "both sides", in a thinly veiled reference to the monthly demonstration of the "Women of the Western Wall" at the holy place. Concern grows over Russia's demand that the Jewish Agency will cease its activities for Aliyah In Russia. And in other Russia-related news, the Ukrainian ambassador informs the pilgrims to Uman that they will not be allowed entry this coming Rosh Hashanah; they must pray for it to happen. In the Highland Park shooting, a Jewish toddler lost both parents, and seven people, including three Jews, were murdered in the massacre. Palestinian activists are quarreling with the BDS movement and accusing it of ... cooperating with the Jews

  • Rabbi of the Kotel condemns violence coming from "all sides"

The Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, condemned all violence at the Western Wall this week. Without specifying names, he condemned actions by Women of the Wall on every Rosh Chodesh at the holy site. In his message, Rabbi Rabinowitz said that "the verbal and occasional physical violence that erupts among those coming to pray at the Western Wall, stemming from various extremist groups, desecrates G-d’s name, creates chasms between people, and harms the holiness of the site that unites the Jewish nation and world Jewry". Rabbi Rabinowitz mentioned that The Three Weeks of mourning, commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples, are near and called for “baseless love” and a bridge between Jews all over the world.

The Rabbi added, “I call upon all sides to remove disputes and demonstrations from this sacred site and preserve the Western Wall as a holy and unifying site in the spirit of Jewish heritage and tradition.” (Times of Israel)


Diaspora Relations

  • Russia to the Jewish Agency: stop your actions in the country

The Jewish Agency may soon be forced to cease its activities in Russia, after receiving a letter claiming that actions ahead of immigration are illegal. The Russian Ministry of Justice sent a letter to the agency's offices in Moscow stating that collecting private information on candidates for Aliyah is against the law of data retention and the law of information protection. However, no actual demand to cease operations and leave the country has been received at the agency's offices, and the organization hopes to resolve the issue through dialogue. Approximately 150,000 Jews reside in Russia today. The current waiting list for Aliyah candidates at the Jewish Agency is almost for a year from now. The demand to stop aliyah-related activities is reminiscent of the Iron Curtain period and raises serious concerns. (Times of Israel)

  • Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel: if you wish to come to Umman, pray

Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Kornichuk said that due to fear for the lives and safety of tourists in light of the Russian attacks, Ukraine does not currently allow tourists into the country. Accordingly, at the moment it seems that it will not be possible for worshipers to visit in Uman ahead of Rosh Hashanah. "On this occasion we turn to you, because your prayers are important to us," the ambassador said. "Please pray that before the Rosh Hashanah the war in Ukraine, which broke out due to blatant and cruel Russian aggression, will end, and pray for Ukraine's victory. We hope that the prayers will be fulfilled, and that Ukraine will return to being a country that receives generous visitors from Israel." (Ynetnews)


BDS and Antisemitism

  • A Jewish toddler is orphaned from both parents in Highland Park shooting

Two-year-old Aiden McCarthy lost both his parents in the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. A young local disguised as a woman opened fire on a 4th of July march just as the Jewish klezmer band started playing. Seven were murdered in the massacre, including three Jews. Irina McCarthy, a Jew of Russian descent and Aidan's mother, was murdered along with her husband Kevin. 88-year-old Stephen Strauss and Jacki Sundheim, life-long members of the North Shore Congregation Israel’s community, were also murdered. Aiden was transferred to the care of his grandparents and the members of the Levberg family. It was later revealed that the killer had visited the local Chabad center in the past. He was wearing a kippah and greeted security guards, but seemed out of place and left soon after that. (The Jewish Chronicle).

  • A twist in the plot: Palestinian activists attack the BDS movement

Palestinian activists are fighting among themselves, in an internal struggle within the global BDS organization. Palestinian activists have come out against the global BDS movement, after it renounced any connection to the Boston Mapping Project, which was set up by the Boston BDS branch. Palestinian activists accuse the global movement of renouncing the project only to avoid being investigated by the FBI, as well as due to their associating and surrender to liberal Jewish organizations, such as Adalah, JVP (Jewish Voices for Peace) and J-Street. (Jerusalem Post).