News Digest — 10/5/22

Yom Kippur: Holocaust Survivor Tells Of Kol Nidre Prayer In Auschwitz

Judy Weissenberg Cohen, a Holocaust survivor, told her story of reciting the Kol Nidre passage during Yom Kippur in 1944.  Cohen told this story to students at the 1997 March of the Living event.

Kol Nidre is a prayer recited in synagogues across the globe that marks the opening of the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

When Weissenberg Cohen was 16, she recalled two older women in the barracks asking Kapos (high-ranking prisoners) for permission to recite the Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur Eve, which they allowed – but only for ten minutes.

In a barracks with 800 women, they received one candle and one siddur, Cohen said.  The group was composed of religious, atheistic, and agnostic Jewish women.  Meanwhile, the two kapos stood watch to check for any SS guards that would arrive.

Born in Hungary as the youngest of seven, Judy and her family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in June 1944.  Judy’s parents, along with four of her brothers and most of her extended family, perished in the Holocaust.

In regard to her own situation, Cohen said that incredibly, all of this happened in a place where we felt it appropriate to “question God for letting this happen.”

Cohen noted that the woman who recited the prayer in the barracks, did so slowly so that the rest of the women could repeat the words.

Instead of repeating, however, they cried.  “Our prayer was the sound of this incredible cry of 800 women,” Cohen said.  “It seemed to give us solace.”

The Kol Nidre was a reminder of their “former normal lives,” she said, even if they deep down felt that God did not hear their prayers.  “The opportunity to cry and remember together helped us feel better.”

In 1948, after spending two years in Bergen-Belsen and surviving a death march, Judy moved to Canada, where she married, had children and became an activist for Holocaust education and anti-racism.

“Even today, many decades later, every time I go to Kol Nidre services, I can’t shake it,” Judy concluded.

“That is the Kol Nidre I will always remember.”



Three Men Nearly Drown At Beach While Performing Ritual Immersion

Three men who came to a beach in the southern city of Ashkelon to perform a ritual immersion before Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) nearly drowned on Tuesday (4th): A 54-year-old man is in critical condition, a 19-year-old man is in moderate condition, and a 38-year-old is in mild condition.

MDA medics and paramedics treated the men and evacuated them to Barzilai Hospital in the city.  The medics performed CPR on the man that was in critical condition.

MDA Lachish region deputy director Paramedic Nachum David stated: “Immediately after receiving the call about several drowning victims, we went to the scene with a large force, which included intensive care ambulances, regular ambulances, and a specialized ATV.  One victim was unconscious by the water line, and two others were conscious.”

“We immediately began applying advanced medical treatment and CPR to the victim who did not have a pulse and wasn’t breathing.  We evacuated him to the hospital in critical condition.  The other two were administered oxygen at the scene and were taken to the hospital in moderate and mild conditions.”



Ahead of Yom Kippur, Gantz Warned All Who Wish To Harm Israelis

On Tuesday (4th), the eve of Yom Kippur, Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a situational assessment at the Central Command with the participation of IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar.

Commander of the Central Command Col. Yehuda Fox, head of the operations division Col. Oded Basiouk,  coordinator of government operations in the territories Col. Rasan Alian, Judea and Samaria division Brig.Gen.  Avi Blot, and head of the Civil Administration Brig.Gen. Fars Atila, were also present at the meeting.

“Whoever wants to carry out a shooting attack and kill Israeli civilians is in our crosshairs.  And whoever does –  we will put our hands on them,” Gantz said in a statement.

During the situational assessment, Gantz was presented with the extensive deployment and precautions being taken in the field for the holidays, with the aim of maintaining the security of the citizens of Israel in general and the residents of Judea and Samaria in particular.

“We are doing everything so that the terrorists will encounter soldiers and policemen – who will thwart their terrorist actions.  The forces will be wherever needed, with all the means needed,” he added.

“On the eve of Yom Kippur, I would like to wish to all the people of Israel and the citizens of the country to be signed and sealed in the book of life, and I express my appreciation and thanks to the soldiers and members of the security forces from all bodies who continue to stand guard,” Gantz said. 



PA Saves Israeli Women, Children From Mob Attack In Nablus

Two Israeli women who entered Nablus, in the West Bank, with their small children were caught by armed Palestinian militants before being rescued out of the city by Palestinian Authority officers on Tuesday afternoon (4th), Ynet reported.

The PA security team handed the women and their children over to Israeli forces, the report noted.

Nablus has been one of the hotspots during the past few months during the IDF’s Operation Break the Wave with intense gunfire by Palestinians against Israeli troops.  The Lions’ Den militant group, based in the city, has carried out dozens of attacks against Israelis and IDF troops.

The mothers are expected to be questioned by the IDF as to why they entered Nablus only hours before Yom Kippur and during heightened tensions in the West Bank, amid a 47% increase in shooting attacks reported over the last month by the Shin Bet.

To date this year, 18 citizens and 1 foreign worker have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks.



One Officer Injured As Arab Terrorist Rammed Security Forces Near Ofra

A Palestinian Arab terrorist on Tuesday evening (4th) tried to ram security forces who stopped him for a routine inspection near the town of Ofra.

“During a joint operation by IDF soldiers and the Israel Police a short time ago, the forces stopped for inspection a Palestinian vehicle near the town of Ofra,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.

“The suspect tried to flee the scene while accelerating his vehicle in an attempt to run over the officers, who in response opened fire at the vehicle.  A police officer was injured and was taken to Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital in Jerusalem for medical treatment.”

“The vehicle was caught at a nearby checkpoint with the subject in it, who was injured as a result of the security forces fire,” the IDF said, adding that the incident is being investigated.

During this week IDF soldiers apprehended four wanted individuals suspected of terror involvement in the towns of Ras Karkar and Safa, and in the city of Qalqilya. 

In the town of Bayt Ula, soldiers apprehended five wanted individuals suspected of terrorist activity.  Additionally, in the Jordan valley, two additional wanted suspects were apprehended.

A total of 16 terror suspects were apprehended and were transferred to security forces for further processing.