The Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies was established in 1984. It is a non-profit, educational institution devoted to the history and culture of Polish Jewry. It is an associated institute of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.
The Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies was established to:
Letters of Condolence after the
12 April 2010
On behalf of myself, our President, Sir Sigmund Sternberg, and the whole Council of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies I wish to express our profound sadness at the horrible catastrophe that has robbed Poland not only of her highly esteemed President, but also of so many distinguished and important figures who have contributed so much to the happiness and prosperity of Twenty-first Century Poland.
It is doubly distressing that this appalling loss should have occurred when the delegation was on its way to what would have been a fitting commemoration of the brutal murder of 22,000 Polish officers at Katyn.
Poland is an infinitely resourceful Country and will find a way to surmount this truly devastating blow. Meanwhile we can can only express our deep sorrow and grieve with the families, friends and colleagues of those who have been so tragically taken from us.
Please let me know if there is anything we can do to assist at this sad hour.
Ben Helfgott M.B.E.
Chabad of Bloomsbury
13 April 2010, 29 Nissan 5770
HE Ms Barbara Tuge-Erecinska
Dear Madam Ambassador,
In addition to sharing in the general grief, I also feel a personal grief as the late President Kaczynski was a wonderful friend of the Jewish community and I also had the honour of meeting his wife on her visit to London last year. Many of the others on board the fateful flight were also people who, like the late president, worked tirelessly toward the goal of uniting the various communities and cultures that comprise the Polish people, as well as building bridges to different communities and cultures outside of Poland. Their presence and their participation in this crucial effort will be sorely missed.
In the Torah portion which we read last Saturday, on the day of the tragedy, we read about a tragedy that befell Aaron, the High Priest, with the death of two of his sons. The Torah records Aaron’s reaction for posterity, teaching us an important lesson in dealing with tragedy. The Torah tells us “Aaron was silent”. He did not attempt to explain the tragedy and he certainly did not attempt to justify it. We cannot fathom the ways of the Creator. At the same time we are told that this silence is not a passive one, it speaks of a deep, inner power which drives us to action, to rebuild and to resolve to continue in the good work and precedent established by those who perished - to determine to work even harder at building bridges and bringing people together in harmonious existence.
I extend our heartfelt
condolences to Your Excellency the ambassador, to the Polish
community in the UK and indeed to all of the Polish people. Our
thoughts and prayers are with all of you and we pray that G-d grant
you the strength to cope with this tragedy, to come together as a
people with a strong resolve to rebuild and to continue in the good
work of those who perished, thus using this tragedy as a springboard
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