Beit RaMBam


Tishri 5778


Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Día Internacional de la Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

Fundación Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo and Beit Rambam organized a candle lighting ceremony in memory of the victims. Varda Fiszbein y Moisés Hassan Amsalem, members of our community, hosted part of the ceremony.

Día Internacional de la Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

Varda Fiszbein appears on Canal Sur television program for a roundtable program dedicated to Reflections on Holocaust.


Thursday, January 29th , 2015

Beit Rambam, Casa Israel Sefarad, Library of the Deportation and
Fundacion Tres Culturas commemorated an act together in Memory of
Victims of the Holocaust.





Wednesday, January 28th , 2015

Beit Rambam
was invited to participate in the
Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust
together with other Andalucian Jewish Communities
that took place in the Andalusian Parliament.



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lag B’Omer: a key date

ל‘‘ג בעומר

Between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot, we count 49 days, Sfirat Ha-omer, thus connecting the memory of the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt and receiving the Torah in the Sinai desert.

They are solemn days, in which introspection and spiritual preparation are a key in readying for the event celebrated in Shavuot.

The 33rd day in the count of Omer, which in Hebrew is written with the letters lamed and gimmel (lag is the acronym), falls on the 18th of Iyar and there are several reasons that make this a joyful date.


One historic reason is that during the rebellion against the Roman Empire, called the Second Judeo-Roman War, which lasted from the year 132-135 CE, on the 18th of Iyar of 133 (3893 in the Jewish calendar), Bar Kochba’s troops won an important victory over the invaders.

The religious reasons are twofold: the first is that, on this day in the second century, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) passed away. He was a beloved disciple of Rabbi Akiva and was considered by some to be the author of the Zohar, the Book of Splendor, a jewel of Jewish mysticism, although others point to the author as Rabbi Moises de Leon.

Before his death, Rashbi specifically requested that this day become one of great festive celebration.

The second religious reason for joy on this date is that, during an epidemic in which more than 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva died, on the day of Lag B’Omer, the deaths ceased.

Rabi Akiva ben Joseph

The date is celebrated going to forests and lighting bonfires. Many people in Israel and elsewhere go with bows and arrow, a custom that reminds us that during the Roman dominion over ancient Israel, Torah study was forbidden, so students went to the forests with bows and arrows so the soldiers thought they were going to hunt instead of study.

In Israel, also, thousands of people go on a festive pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who is buried in the Galilean city of Meron.


Sunday, May 4/Monday May 5th, 2014

Two very significant days

Yom Ha-Zikaron
יום הזכרון

Yom Ha’atzmaut
יום העצמאות

The 4th of Iyar, which in the year 2014 coincides with May 4th, is Yom Ha-Zikaron, the date established in 1963 by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as a day of national mourning for those fallen in wars of Israel and acts of terrorism.

This day remembers the sacrifice made by nearly 24,000 people who lost their lives to achieve and maintain the independence of the State of Israel. During the official ceremony all are named. This day precedes Yom Ha’atzmaut, Day of Independence of Israel, celebrated on the 5th of Iyar, because on that same date in 5708, (May 14th 1948), the British troops retreated from the territory they called Palestine, ending their Mandate which had lasted for 26 years, from 1922 through 1948.


A Jewish state

In November 1947 the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York approved Resolution 181, recommending a plan to resolve the conflict between Jews and Arabs in the region of Palestine, under British Mandate. The plan was voted on by the UN member countries, in the following manner:

  • In favor: Australia, Belgium, Belorussia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Holland, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, South Africa, Soviet Union, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.
  • Against: Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.
  • Abstenciones: Argentina, Colombia, Chile, China, San Salvador, Etiopía, Honduras, México, Reino Unido, Yugoslavia. Thailand was absent.

The plan proposed dividing the western part of the territory in two states: one Jewish and another Arab, maintaining the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem under international control. However, the British government was unable to implement the plan; whereas the Arab countries of the area rejected it, declaring the first of the wars against Israel.

Too many wars

1948: War of Independence
1956: War of Suez
1967: Six Days War
1968/ 1970: War of Attrition
1973: War of Yom Kippur
1982: First Lebanon War
2006: Second Lebanon War
2008/ 2009: Gaza Strip Conflict

To the open wars Israel fought, we must add the Iraqui missile attacks dropped in 1991 prior to the Gulf War, the different conflicts with Syria over the Golan Heights, and the First and Second Intifadas in 1987 and 2000.

The various negotiations and peace initiatives undertaken over the years, such as those celebrated in Oslo in 1993 and Camp David in 2000, unfortunately did not prosper.

In favor of peace

The Israeli writer and peace activist, Amos Oz, upon receiving the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras (Prince of Asturias Award in Literature), in 2007, made a memorable speech, entitled “The woman in the window”, of which we reproduce some fragments:

I believe imagining the other can be an antidote to fanaticism. (…) Part of the tragedy between Jew and Arab is the inability of so many of us, Jews and Arabs, to imagine each other. Really imagine each other: the loves, the terrible fears, the anger, the passion. There is too much hostility between us, too little curiosity.

Jews and Arabs have something essential in common: they have both been handled, coarsely and brutally, by Europe´s violent hand in the past. The Arabs - through imperialism, colonialism, exploitation and humiliations. The Jews - through discrimination, persecution, expulsion, and ultimately mass murder on an unprecedented scale.

One would have thought that two victims, and especially two victims of the same oppressor, might develop between them a sense of solidarity. Alas, this is not the way it works, neither in novels, nor in life. Some of the worst conflicts are indeed between two victims of the same oppressor; which is exactly the case between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. While Arabs regard Israelis as latter-day crusaders, an extension of white, colonizing Europe, many Israelis regard the Arabs as the new incarnation of our past oppressors, pogrom makers and Nazis.

This situation charges Europe with a responsibility for the solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict: instead of wagging their fingers at either side, Europeans should extend empathy, understanding and help to both sides. One no longer has to choose between being pro-Israel and being pro-Palestine. Europe should be pro-Peace.

Alluding to people any tourist can see when visiting a foreign country, the author mentions an imaginary woman staring out of her window, he continues:

The woman in the window might be a Palestinian woman in Nablus. She might be a Jewish Israeli woman in Tel-Aviv. If you want to help make peace between these two women in the two windows, you had better read more about them. Read novels, dear friends. They will tell you much.

It is even time for each of these women to read about each other. To learn, at last, what makes the other woman in the window frightened, angry, or hopeful.

I have not suggested to you tonight that reading novels can change the world. I did suggest, and I do believe, that reading novels is one of the best possible ways to understand that all the women, in all the windows, are at the end of the day, in urgent need of peace.

Beit Rambam agrees with Amos Oz in that there is much ignorance about the Arab-Israeli conflict, which he summarizes masterfully with his metaphor of each of the women at their own windows.

And we add our hope that peace finally comes to one of the most conflicted regions of the world, that of Israel and its neighbors.

It is our fervent desire that this be the last year in which Yom Ha’atzmaut is celebrated without at the same time being able to celebrate the definitive peace, as we also wish that next year in Yom Ha-Zikaron, there are no new names to add to the already too-long list of victims of war.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yom HaShoah

יום השואה

In spring 1943 rebellion broke out in the Warsaw Ghetto. A handful of poorly armed Jews stood up to fight and were able to cause havoc for several weeks to the occupying Nazi army, the best equipped and most powerful army in Europe.

Mordejai Anilevitch

Mordechai Anilevitch
belonged to the Zionist movement Ha-Shomer Ha-Tzair
and was the commander of the Organization of Jewish Fighters
- Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa-,
also known as ŻOB.
He was only 23 when he led the uprising.

In the days prior to the heroic rebellion, he and other leaders tried to sway the indecisive, trying to convince them of the need to fight: “then we were slaves to Pharoh, what is the difference? Today we are slaves to Hitler…”

It was the right slogan… It was the month of April… Pesach was approaching…

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the historic date commemorated on Yom HaShoah, is emblematic, but it was not the only act of rebellion of Jews during the Second World War. They fought in forests and cities, in concentration camps, work camps and extermination camps: everywhere, whenever there was a possibility to do so…

Today we proudly remember our six million brothers and sisters, both the fighters and those that went to their end without resisting.

We honor equally those who were responsible for acts of bravery and heroics, those who tried desperate acts of resistance and the many who did not understand what was approaching.

We admire the resilience of the survivors that made new lives and we understand and sympathize with those who were unable to bear the memory of the horrors.

And of course we cry for each of the six million Jews murdered. We say Kaddish for all of them!

Imre Kertész, survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald and Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002, in his book, A gondolatny csend, amig a kivégzöosztag újratölt. A holocaust mint kultúra: három elöadás, (A moment of silence in front of the firing squad. The Holocaust as Culture), clearly specified the absolute break from the values that had defined society to that point, thus manifesting the need to create a new imperative ethic:

“Our modern mythology begins with a gigantic negative point: G-d created the world but man created Auschwitz… It seems that the two great principles that energized European creativity, freedom and the individuality, are no longer immovable values. Auschwitz showed that we must radically change our view of man created by the humanism of the XVIII and XIX centuries.”

Warsaw Ghetto

The poet Aaron Glantz dedicated a poem to the boy in the image, titled in Yiddish, “A yingl, a kleins” (A little boy), the final verse is as follows:

And you Jewish boy: I kiss your face guiltily,

Your diaphanous and pure eyes.

And at the end of time, and during millions of years

Your children’s cry will continue to demand answers.


January 27, 2014

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust

Organized by Beit Rambam and Fundación de las Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo
(Foundation of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean).

Tres Culturas - Beit RaMBaM

With the passing of Resolution 60/7 on November 1st, 2005 during the 42nd plenary session celebrated by the United Nations Assembly, humanity took a great step forward, commemorating January 27th date which Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most cruel extermination camp known to humanity, was liberated.

Memory is in Judaism, a homeland in itself, a spiritual homeland, an intangible territory that always was and always will be alive: in the past, present and future of our people.

"We know that repressing memory, willed forgetting, is perhaps the greatest danger we face as a species."

S. Spielberg to the UN (January 2014)

Día en Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

The commemorative act for the victims of the Holocaust was led by Varda Fiszbein and Leonardo Faiersztein, members of Beit Rambam’s board of directors.

Día en Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

Graciela Kohan Starcman, researcher and Holocaust scholar, gave a conference:

“Why is it necessary to remember?”

Eight candles were lit, in memory of that many million human beings, victims of contempt, hate and collective insanity of Nazism.

Día en Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

D. Emilio de Llera, Counselor of Justice and Public Administration of the Junta de Andalucía (Andalusian Regional Governement), for the just among nations, all those people and groups that helped refugees in their flight from the Holocaust.

Día en Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

Da. Elvira Saint-Gerons, Director of Fundación Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo (Foundation of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean), for the memory of the Holocaust to serve in promoting Human Rights.

Día en Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

D. Moisés Hassan and his son Simón, in memory of the 6 million Jews, 2 million of whom were children, murdered in ghettos and concentration camps.

Día en Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

D. David Pozo Pérez, president of Beit Rambam, in memory of all the survivors who were able to rebuild their lives.

Thank you to the friends who lit the other candles in memory of the 250,000 homosexuals eliminated by the Nazi barbarism, the 500,000 gypsies annihilated in name of the racial purity imposed by Nazism, the 1,200,000 mentally and physically disabled murdered by the Nazi regime. May the memory of all the victims help us prevent acts of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

We dedicated the moment of silence in homage to the victims and listened to the special prayer for the victims of the Holocaust:

El Malé Rajamím אל מלא רחמים

Día en Memoria de las Víctimas del Holocausto

Recited in Hebrew by Maya Schniderman and in Spanish by Juan Carlos Encabo.The musical accompaniment on clarinet was the traditional melody of the Jewish service for the prayer for the deceased: the Kaddish.


In addition, during the morning, for the first time the Andalusian Parliament held an act in memory of victims of the Holocaust.

Beit Rambam was there, among the Andalusian Jewish congregations invited, represented by our president and treasurer.