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AISH

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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 16 May 2017, 4:35 pm

Three years after its libel against Israel, the medical journal sets things right.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller 
The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, is currently featuring a special edition devoted to Israel’s world-class medical establishment. As well as being an informative issue, this latest issue is also a remarkable act of atonement for a terrible wrong the journal did to the Jewish state three years ago.
This unusual story starts in July 2014 when, after enduring near-constant rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel’s army (the IDF) fought back, destroying missile launchers and other military targets in several weeks of fierce fighting that were dubbed Operation Protective Edge. During the conflict, nearly 5,000 missiles rained down on Israeli towns. 66 Israeli soldiers were killed, as were six Israeli civilians, including children. Israeli forces also discovered a network of terror tunnels leading from Gaza into the Jewish state. Hamas positioned its rocket launchers in civilian areas, including Al-Shifa Hospital. When Israeli forces dropped leaflets warning civilians to flee areas that were identified as military targets, Hamas ordered them to stay. Gazans, unsurprisingly, suffered large numbers of casualties: about 2,127, among both Hamas fighters and civilians.
The letter glorified Hamas, describing it as committed to resolving political conflicts “without arms and harm”.
During the fighting, The Lancet, Britain’s premier medical journal, decided to take the highly unusual step of entering the fray. In their July 30, 2014 edition, they published an “Open letter for the people in Gaza.” The letter, written by five prominent physicians and signed by 19 more, shocked many with its vicious tone and biased perspective.
Dr. Karl Skorecki, a senior staff member at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, was one of many physicians in Israel and across the world who was appalled by the letter’s hateful tone. In an Aish.com exclusive interview, Dr. Skorecki recalls it as a “one-sided, mean-spirited, ill-based attack that came from a place of hatred… It accused medical professionals in Israel of complicity in inhumane activity. It was demonizing.”
Making no mention of Hamas’ use of human shields, deliberate targeting of civilians, and practice of hiding missile launchers and weapons in schools and medical centers, the letter accused Israel of lying to creating an emergency, of “massacre”, and of harboring the bloodthirsty aim “to terrorize, wound the soul and the body”. The letter bizarrely glorified Hamas, describing it as committed to resolving political conflicts “without arms and harm”. Israel’s Ministry of Health described the letter as “bordering on blood libel”.
In the weeks after The Lancet published this screed, NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog group, revealed that the letter’s authors had links to anti-Semitic groups. Two had shared a video of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, railing against Jews and Israel. One author had forwarded a message claiming that Jews and Zionists were behind the Boston marathon bombings; another author travelled to Gaza in a sign of solidarity during the fighting.
Prof. Richard Horton
The Lancet’s editor, Prof. Richard Horton, announced that while he “deeply regretted” the “completely unnecessary polarisation” the letter caused, he stopped short of condemning the letter itself, and kept it up on The Lancet’s website.
Invitation to Israel
Jewish doctors across Britain wrote to The Lancet. In Israel, medical school professors resigned from advisory boards associated with the journal. At Israel’s prestigious Rambam Hospital in Haifa, the staff, too, were outraged, and sent a letter of their own to The Lancet, which went unpublished. Instead of resigning themselves to anger, however, Rambam’s doctors and staff decided to take a different approach.
“Let’s invite him,” suggested Prof. Karl Skorecki, Rambam’s Director of Medical and Research Development, speaking of the editor responsible for publishing the letter. As Prof Rafael Beyar, the Director General of the hospital recalled, the staff liked Prof. Skorecki’s idea. “It seems like he doesn’t known man facts about this region,” the doctors noted. “He needs to see the reality of medical life in Israel.”
READ MORE http://www.aish.com/jw/me/The-Lancet-Admits-Its-Error.html?s=mm

Raising Our Kids on Vampires, Satanism and Zombies
What’s capturing your teen’s imagination?
by M. R. (Rhonda) Attar 

Do your kids enjoy fantasy adventures? What’s their vampire IQ? You might be shocked by their prowess.
Books, movies and computer games today are filled with occult, witchcraft, Satanism, paganism, vampires, zombies, Greek mythology…all under the innocuous title of fantasy adventure.

As parents we may be thrilled that our teenager is actually reading, but what values are impressionable minds ultimately absorbing from such content? A treasure trove of fantastic personalities, legends and esoteric mysteries can be found within Jewish tradition, history and Torah, so why aren’t we providing alternatives for our youth based on Jewish content and values?

I created the Elisha Davidson trilogy to inspire the imaginations of our teens to our phenomenal, life-enforcing Jewish heritage.
Because I wanted to inspire the imaginations of our teens to our phenomenal, life-enforcing Jewish heritage rather than steep it in violent occult darkness, I created the Elisha Davidson trilogy.
Do we really want our kids fantasizing through an entire series about gruesome zombies or Greek gods?
When the books on Jewish bookstore shelves don’t capture their imagination, is it any wonder they turn to Vampire Academy, Zombie Apocalypse, Percy Jackson and similar fantasy books that do offer what they crave?
As a career television executive, I’ve launched 10 television channels in as many as 120 countries and subscribe to the industry adage that ‘Content is King’ for successful entertainment. Our Torah heritage is a massive, untapped reservoir of spectacular content, and it is up to us to create the medium that will showcase our captivating content. I believe the Elisha Davidson Trilogy does this. Some reviewers have heralded the Elisha Davidson series as a new genre; others have labeled it the ‘Jewish Harry Potter.’ I’m not particularly enamored by the latter categorization, but I am thrilled to see reviewers, teens and parents alike quickly get the point and turn into avid fans.

The adventures of Elisha Davidson first came to life in my living room before Harry Potter was a household name. For years I hosted a Shabbat afternoon story-telling group for my children and their friends. I would read Torah stories, tales of the Sages and just about anything really interesting and Jewish that I could get my hands on. As time went on I wanted to forge a stronger bond between the kids and the content. I wanted to ignite their imaginations, so I made up my own story about a young boy named Elisha Davidson living in modern-day Jerusalem. His mysterious adventures were interwoven with stories from Torah, Talmud and Medrash. The kids were spellbound and continued coming to the group well into their late teens. I wanted to write the stories down, but as a working mother time eluded me. Fast forward a few years, and a lot of writing, and now thanks to Menorah Books, a years’ worth of Elisha adventures have been published as the Elisha Davidson Trilogy.

The overall plot of Elisha Davidson is fantasy, but instead of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry or the never-ending variations of Transylvania High, the backdrop is Jerusalem’s eternal Old City. Elisha is a 6th grader at North Temple Mount Academy, and the magical and captivating characters surrounding him include Torah legends and personalities. Each page was crafted with meticulous adherence to traditional Jewish sources which are so wondrously compelling in their own right, they naturally fit right in.
Can Torah-sourced content compete with the allure of the Dark Arts? You decide: Elisha discovers a powerful
READ MORE http://www.aish.com/ci/a/Raising-Our-Kids-on-Vampires-Satanism-and-Zombies.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 11 May 2017, 10:38 pm

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/10-Little-Known-Facts-about-Einstein.html?s=mm
10 Little Known Facts about Einstein
Including what he considered to be his greatest day.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Albert Einstein is known for his famous theory of relativity, his iconic formula about the intensity of energy E=mc2, and for being one of the most brilliant scientists of all times.
Many of us know the basic outlines of Einstein’s life: he was born into a Jewish family in Germany in 1879, achieved fame at a young age for his groundbreaking work on particle physics, and fled Nazi Germany in 1933, arriving at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in the United States where he taught until his death in 1955.
Here are ten less well-known facts about this brilliant physicist which might surprise you.

1. His parents worried that he didn’t talk as a child.
A number of myths flourish about Einstein. It’s often said that he didn’t talk until he was four and that he failed math as a child. It is true that Einstein’s language development was delayed – one nursery school teacher told his parents he’d never amount to much – but by the time he was two years old, Einstein was beginning to learn to speak, much to his family’s relief.
As for failing math, in 1935, a rabbi in Princeton, New Jersey, where Einstein was on the faculty, showed Einstein a newspaper clipping that claimed of him “Greatest Living Mathematician Failed in Mathematics.” Einstein laughed, correcting the column. “Before I was 15 I had mastered differential and integral calculus,” he explained.

2. He was intensely religious as a child.
Einstein’s family wasn’t religiously observant; in fact, growing up in Munich, young Einstein attended a local Catholic school. (He later recalled helping his classmates with their religion homework.) When Einstein was nine years old, however, he developed a love for Judaism. He started keeping kosher, observing Shabbat and even made up prayers that he’d sing on his way to school.
While he didn’t maintain this level of observance into adulthood, Einstein always was proud of being Jewish. In 1933, one month after Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany, Albert Einstein and his wife Elsa left Germany for good.

3. A visiting medical student sparked his interest in science.
Einstein’s parents continued a long-standing Jewish custom of inviting a poor student for a meal each week. When Einstein was a young child, his family hosted a Jewish medical student named Max Talmud for dinner each Thursday.
It was Max Talmud who first introduced Albert Einstein to science books, of which there were none in his parents’ home. The ten-year old Einstein devoured works by Charles Darwin, raced through the five-volume classic series “The Cosmos – Attempt at a Description of the Physical World” by Alexander von Humboldt, and read the twenty volume popular “Science for the People” series by Aaron Bernstein. Albert’s lifelong love of science was born.

4. He gave away his Nobel Prize money to his ex-wife.
Einstein travelled to Switzerland for college, where he attended the Zurich Polytechnic. The only woman in his physics classes was a young Serbian woman named Mileva Maric. They married in 1903, when Einstein was 23. Their union was unhappy and Albert soon offered Mileva an unusual bargain: if he ever won the Nobel Prize, Albert promised her he’d give her all the prize money. In return, he asked for a divorce. Mileva thought it over for a week, then agreed.
Years later, in 1921, Einstein won the Nobel Prize in physics and turned over the prize money to Mileva.

5. Einstein fought racism.
After fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933 for the United States, Einstein took up the cause of opposing racism in the United States. He became close friends with actor Paul Robeson; together this unlikely duo formed the American Crusade to End Lynching. In 1937, when the famous Black singer Marian Anderson was turned away from a hotel room in Princeton, New Jersey, where the Einsteins lived, Einstein and his wife Elsa invited Ms. Anderson to stay with them. From then on, whenever Marian Anderson passed through Princeton, she stayed with the Einsteins.
In 1946, Einstein issued a challenge to the citizens of his adopted country: “What...can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed….” Throughout his life, Einstein set an example, counting Black Americans as friends, lecturing at traditionally black colleges, and speaking out against racism.

6. The “greatest day” in his life came in Israel.
In 1921, Einstein and the chemist (and later first president of Israel) Chaim Weizmann travelled to the United States to raise funds for an audacious new plan: the establishment of a new Jewish university in the Land of Israel. “I feel an intense need to do something for this cause,” Einstein wrote to a friend.
Two years later, Einstein visited Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, where the new university’s main campus was being built. He was invited to speak from “the lectern that has waited for you for two thousand years.” Overcome with emotion, Einstein later wrote “my heart rejoices” as Hebrew University grows.
Albert and Elsa Einstein toured the land of Israel and was mobbed everywhere he spoke. “I consider this the greatest day of my life,” Einstein announced at one venue.

7. He was featured in Nazis’ anti-Semitic propaganda.
After fleeing Germany in 1933, a month after Hitler’s election as Chancellor of Germany, Einstein spoke out against the barbarity of the Nazis.
Nazis circulated a pamphlet in Germany decrying the Einsteins’ flight as an act of ingratitude and deceitfully speaking out against Hitler. The pamphlet ominously finished up by describing Einstein as "unhanged" – hinting that he would be put to death were he ever to set foot back in Germany.

8. Einstein shocked other scientists by insisting that God exists.
Einstein insisted that his scientific research and understanding enabled his belief in God, instead of undermining it.
Once, sitting at a Berlin dinner party, Einstein stunned the table with this following statement: “Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature,” Einstein told the stunned guests, “and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable.”
Years later in Princeton he explained his persistent belief in God in simpler terms. When a sixth grader wrote to the Einstein asking if scientists prayed, he made time to write her back, noting, “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit if manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble….”

9. There could have been a “President Einstein”.
Of Israel, that is. Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel, a largely ceremonial role as head of government in the Jewish state, twice. Both times, he turned down the honor.
The first time was in 1948, when Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Abba Eban, called Einstein to offer him Israel’s premiership. Einstein smiled and refused, replying, “I know a little bit about nature but hardly anything about human beings.”
He was asked again in 1952. This time Einstein wrote a formal letter, explaining he lacked the experience to help govern, and also that “advancing age” was “making increasing inroads on my strength.”

10. His last words were about the Jewish State.
At the end of his life, Einstein became even more outspoken for Zionist and Israeli causes. At the age of 73, looking back on his life, Einstein declared that “my relationship with Jewry had become my strongest human tie once I achieved complete clarity about our precarious positions among the nations.”
On the morning of Wednesday, April 13, 1955, Einstein met with the Israeli consul to go over a televised speech he was planning to celebrate the 8th anniversary of Israel’s founding. He penned a sentence about the prospects for Israel to make peace with its Arab neighbors, then broke off. Einstein's health faltered, and he died five days later. His speech, the last words he ever wrote, remained unfinished.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Mon 01 May 2017, 11:40 pm

LOVING THE WRONG PERSON
And how to make it right.
by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff
http://www.aish.com/f/m/Loving-the-Wrong-Person.html?s=mm
Why do so many people struggle with feelings that they’ve made a poor choice in marriage?
In his recent New York Times’ piece, Alain de Botton explains why so many people end up marrying the wrong person. We find it difficult to draw close to others. We mask our idiosyncrasies and appear normal until others get to know us well. One of the first questions we should ask on a date is: “And how are you crazy?”

Getting married involves taking a gamble. We think we know each other sufficiently well by looking at old photos and getting to know friends and family, and feel comfortable enough to commit to a life together. But the truth is we have no idea what is waiting down the road. We are hopeful, committed, but no one really knows how they will act and react under the microscope of marriage.

We are not yet complete. The nuances of our hearts are still being molded and shaped. We are a rough draft in the making. When facing our flaws some of us go into silent mode. Others blame partners and walk away from the relationship. We remain with the perception that we are the ‘right’ ones, and simple to set up life with. It’s everyone else who is wrong.

After falling in the emotional swirl of love, replete with a romantic sunset, deep conversations and buzzing excitement about the future, ordinary life eventually intrudes with a white picket fence, long days in the office and kids who overwhelm us.
Instead of passion we are left with the lingering doubt: Did I make the wrong decision?

Marriage is supposed to be forever even though those initial romantic feelings are not. What happened to the passion? Instead we are left with the lingering doubt: Did I make the wrong decision? Now what?

“The good news,” de Botton writes, “is that it doesn’t matter if we find that we have married the wrong person.” There is no such thing as that perfect person we’ve dreamed about or imagined from the time we were young. None of us are flawless. We don’t need to contemplate divorce when we feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, annoyed, and even incomplete. We have adopted this romanticized version of marriage that has destroyed the truth we must face when living with another. Disney love is meant for theme parks and big screens. That the partner we chose cannot shield us from difficulties, sadness and heartbreak does not create a strike against our life together.
Contemplate what really counts in marriage. It’s the spouse who can best live with our differences who becomes the ‘perfect partner’. A generous heart and forgiving nature are the best ingredients to achieve love. We can right the emotions of imperfection that we fear when our relationship doesn’t work out as we thought it would.

Judaism and Seeking Love

When Abraham sought a wife for his son, Isaac, he sent his right hand man, Eliezer, to search for the girl in his home country. How would Eliezer recognize a woman worthy to become the next matriarch of the Jewish people?
It is not the romance that will sustain the marriage; it is good character.
Eliezer knew that if he would meet a woman who displayed incredible kindness, she would be the proper match. Waiting at the well, Eliezer meets Rebecca. She was not only dignified and gracious, she demonstrated her true character of chesed, deep-rooted kindness. Rebecca offered to draw water for both Eliezer and all his ten camels. She did so without complaining, without hesitation, without expectations. Rebecca was unrestrained in her goodness.
For love to flourish we must give love wholeheartedly. We cannot measure, we cannot hold back waiting to see if our spouse will match our actions. Too many petty arguments snowball when we question our giving versus the amount our spouse gives. We limit ourselves and make our love seem small.

Abraham knew exactly what was needed to bring light into the life of his son. A partner who would mirror his love of kindness that remains our nation’s legacy till today.

When seeking a spouse, let us follow in the wise path of Abraham as he contemplated a match for his son. He knew it is not the romance that will sustain the marriage; it is good character. Good heartedness, a forgiving nature and being kind build the bonds of love.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 14 Apr 2017, 10:31 pm

My Catholic Friend’s Question
Curiosity is the beginning of freedom.
by Rabbi Henry Harris
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I was 20 years old, living the good life as an exchange student in Madrid, and running late to meet Spanish friends at a club one Friday night.
“Where are you coming from?” one of the girls asked nonchalantly.
“I was at synagogue,” I replied.

At that point in my life, synagogue was not a typical hangout, but as a stranger in a foreign land, I was intrigued by the invite my Catholic house mother made to check out my heritage. (After discovering my Jewish roots, she actually tracked down and gave me the name, address, and phone number of the only active synagogue in Madrid. “Go!” she said, “it’s important to have a connection to your people.”)
I went once, liked the easy connection I felt with Spanish Jews, and chose to go to Shabbat services occasionally before going out Friday nights, which explained why I was late that night to meet friends.

“You’re Jewish?” my Spanish friend asked. “That’s so interesting.”
Then she dropped the question bomb.
“I’ve always wanted to know: what is the difference between Judaism and Christianity?”

In a split second her straightforward question revealed how little I knew about my own roots.
I had considered myself a reasonably literate, curious, and informed person, and in a split second her straightforward question revealed how little I knew about my own roots.
“Well,” I offered lamely, “I know that we don’t believe in Jesus.”
The question – and my ignorance – began to bother me. Clearly, I was missing something.

My Catholic 20-something friend knew she was Catholic, cared about its belief system and history, and was palpably excited to discover more about someone else’s religion. I felt her excitement in identifying with her roots. And I acutely felt my lack of connection. I was embarrassed. How could I not know something as basic as the foundation of my own identity? I realized, I was a Jew who had no idea what Judaism was.

I wanted to find answers. But where?
I began to seek “identity through osmosis:” more time with the Jews of Madrid, more young adults events at the community center, a Passover Seder with a traditional family from Morocco.
In Madrid with my mother
It was fun. It was cultural. It was sometimes exotic.` Yet returning to New York for my senior year at college, I still didn’t know what the essence of Jewish belief was. So I sought out more Jews.

One of my philosophy professors was a former kibbutznik. “You’ve never been to Israel?” he asked. “Get a taste of the Israeli commune. Explore the land. Try out the beaches at Tel Aviv.” Kibbutz, I discovered, qualified for student loan deferments. After graduating, I jumped.

Starting out as a volunteer at an Israeli munitions base, I was startled by what I found: two sets of dishes in the mess hall, mezuzahs on all the doorways, soldiers my age named Shimon and Dav-eed, and an inspiring, against-all-odds story of Jewish return to the land despite thousands of years of exile and massive Arab aggression. The Jews were not just an interesting identity; we were a nation with a way of life and a beautiful story. My Jewish identity was expanding outward – and arousing new questions.
Volunteering on Israel army base

If I loved being Jewish, did I need to move to Israel? If not, how would I express my Jewishness? I was a universalist at heart; was I ready to rule out the majority of the world’s women as marriage partners because they weren’t born Jewish? What about the abundance of hatred and persecution that had dogged the Jews throughout history? Wouldn’t it just make sense that Jews voluntarily assimilate and thereby put an end to anti-Semitism?

Travelling with fellow volunteers from the army base, we spent a weekend in Jerusalem’s Old City. We celebrated Shabbat dinner with a local family. We shmoozed with other Jewish travelers and we were having a blast. They recommended things to do and places to visit, including Aish HaTorah and the Discovery program. Aish HaTorah, they described, was a yeshiva, kind of a university for Jewish studies, but with programs for beginners – like us. Discovery was a compelling seminar that laid out the basics of Jewish belief.

This became my first encounter with a full-bodied, wide-angle, rigorous presentation of the meaning of being Jewish. I saw more clearly the miraculous nature of Jewish history, the depth of Torah wisdom, the joy and vibrancy of Jewish homes. I was beginning to find my answers. I stayed for a summer to learn more. I eventually changed grad school plans for a rabbinic degree.

Today I am fortunate to be an educator of Jewish ideas with a Jewish family of my own.
Studying at Aish HaTorah
And it began with a question in a Spanish bar.
The power of questioning is a central theme of the Passover Seder. The Haggadah starts by raising four questions and is designed to raise more questions throughout the evening. Why not skip all these questions and just get straight to point?
The Maharal of Prague explains that without a question, information remains irrelevant. A question creates a space, a vacuum that yearns to be filled and enables an answer to enter and take root.
For years I had walked around with opinions about Judaism but it had never occurred to me that I didn’t really know what Judaism was (certainly not with the sophistication I aspired to know what Plato, Karl Marx, or the Civil War was). My Catholic friend’s simple question about Judaism and Christianity created an opening for a beautiful journey.

Passover is a time for freedom, a time when the Jewish people unlock new worlds of potential. It begins with curiosity. Perhaps this is why the Talmud’s term for a Torah scholar is talmid chacham, a wise student – someone open to questions. This Passover, may we merit to be open to our own great, unasked questions and the wisdom journey they point to.
Click here to read more inspiring Passover articles.
http://www.aish.com/h/pes/
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Mar 2017, 9:07 pm

Why Are Jews a Small Nation?
by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein
Given its tiny numbers, according to the normal laws of history, the Jewish people should have disappeared through persecution or assimilation.
t is remarkable how Israel plays such a central and important role in world affairs. Given its tiny land area and population, Israel should be nothing more than a blip on the world’s radar. Yet it dominates attention everywhere; sometimes positively and sometimes, such as at the United Nations, negatively. Either way, its impact is completely disproportionate to its size.

But this is how it’s always been in Jewish history – we Jews are a tiny people with an enormous impact. And this is how it was always meant to be.
“Not because you are the biggest of the nations did God desire you and choose you but because you are the smallest of the nations,” says the Torah (Deuteronomy 7:7). In this crucial verse two very important things emerge.

First, that the bold prediction that the Jewish people would be amongst the smallest of the nations has been fulfilled. And second, that this goes to the heart of Jewish identity and destiny. Rashi, in his commentary, interprets the verse to mean that the very smallness of the Jewish people is crucial to our link to God. But this is puzzling. Why should smallness be so defining?

One dimension of the answer, perhaps, lies in the message of the miraculous nature of Jewish history. Given such small numbers, the Jewish people should, according to the normal laws of history, have disappeared by now through persecution or assimilation. For such a tiny nation not only to survive but to thrive and have an impact so disproportionate to its numbers makes its very existence a living testimony to God’s existence.

The story of Jewish history has been a story of miracles and wonder; a story of survival against all the odds; and a story of inordinate success against rational predictions. The modern State of Israel is the latest remarkable example of how small numbers have overcome large odds to be world-beaters in so many areas, such as technology, military might, agriculture and medicine. In general, the disproportionate Jewish contribution to all spheres of human endeavor is so remarkable that it is reflective of its supernatural Divine character.

The message carried with pride and conviction by the Jewish people and its small numbers is that this physical world is subject to the authority of the King of all Kings, God Himself, who guides and directs the affairs of mankind; through His Divine intervention time and again Jews have defied all the laws of history. This is a reminder to the world of the existence of one Almighty Creator, who is the Master of the universe and who is interested in the affairs of human beings and is the guiding force of human history. The Jewish mission is to carry this message, and we do so by our very existence.

The Triumph of Quality over Quantity
There is perhaps another message in this unusual phenomenon of the smallness in number of the Jewish people. It is a message of the triumph of quality over quantity, of spiritual over material. It is an eloquent declaration that we should not measure things in this world only in material terms, that the spiritual is much greater than the physical, and that the power of the human soul is greater than that of the human body, and the power of spiritual and intellectual creativity is greater than any force in the physical world. Jewish history preaches this lesson and teaches us the emptiness of the sole pursuit of materialism, the emptiness of a world measured by things alone, the emptiness of a world which is purely physical.

When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, He used two substances – the dust of the earth and the spirit of
God; that is body and soul. One of the most central teachings of Judaism and of the Jewish people is that the spirit, the soul, which is in every human being, is immortal and is far greater than the body. This lesson is taught by the pages of Jewish history, which recount how a nation small in physical numbers, but great in the spirit, has achieved so much. The small numbers of a mighty Jewish nation making a huge impact in world history is a reminder of the power of the spirit, of the neshama, the soul, and its importance, and the fact that it lies at the heart of human existence.

It is also a reminder that as human beings we will only be truly uplifted and satisfied, and only find true happiness, when we connect to the neshama, the soul. The Vilna Gaon, in a letter to his family, compares the pursuit of materialism to drinking salt water – the more you drink the thirstier you become. Pursuit of physicality and materialism, while necessary for the human condition, is not sufficient.

As human beings we need to take care of our physical needs. That is how God has created us. But fulfilling those needs is just the beginning and not the end goal, not the purpose of life.
The purpose of life is to connect to God and live with the spiritual power of mitzvot. A life of materialism only is ultimately as deeply unsatisfying as salt water. And people today are thirsty for spiritual connection. They are thirsty for a life of meaning. And Jewish destiny teaches the secret of quenching that thirst.
http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Why-Are-Jews-a-Small-Nation.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 9:44 pm

http://www.aish.com/h/pes/t/f/British-Museum--Evidence-of-Israelite-Slavery-in-Egypt.html?s=mm
British Museum & Evidence of Israelite Slavery in Egypt
A mud brick with straw, stamped with a royal seal that says “House of Ramses ll,” and other cool artifacts.
by Rabbi Yisroel Roll

The table of archaeological finds below, presented to me by Dr. John H. Taylor, the curator of the Egypt Department of the British Museum in London, reveals a mud brick with straw which is stamped with a royal seal which says: “House of Ramses ll”. The mud brick, seen on the left side of the photo below, is one of 20 held in the basement vaults of the museum, and not exhibited to the public. The brick has been carbon dated to the Israelite period of slavery in Egypt.

Dr. Taylor states that the Israelites did not build the pyramids as is commonly thought. The pyramids were built 100 years after the Israelites left Egypt. What they did build were cities. The Bible states in Exodus 1:11-14, “So they appointed taskmasters over it (the Israelite nation) in order to afflict it with their burdens; it built storage cities for Pharaoh, Pithom and Ramses…They embittered their lives with hard work, with mortar and with bricks…” The Bible further states in Exodus, 5:10, “The taskmasters of the people and its foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, “So said Pharaoh, I am not giving you straw. Go yourselves and take yourselves straw from whatever you find, for nothing will be reduced from your work.” In the close up photo of the brick below, one can see the straw and the seal which states, “House of Ramses ll”.

Below is a mural of slaves building a structure in Egypt dated from the Israelite period showing a pile of mud bricks similar to the brick displayed on the table above. Dr. John H. Taylor holds curatorial responsibility for ancient Egyptian funerary antiquities, amulets and jewelry. He also provides curatorial supervision for the departmental loans program. These items are sometimes loaned to outside museums and organizations.

Dr. Taylor then showed me a 12-foot iron snake staff found in a pyramid tomb. Shown below, the staff has a cobra head and is wavy and is evidence of the Egyptian magician’s staves mentioned in the Bible in Exodus, 7:11-12, “The magicians of Egypt did so with their incantations. Each one cast down his staff and they became snakes; and the staff of Aaron swallowed their staffs.” The entire snake staff can be seen at the front of the table in the first photo above. The staff is wave like and when placed on the ground and manipulated by a magician can give the illusion of snake like movement. Egyptian magicians were known to be illusionists.

The wicker basket below is dated to the Egyptian period of the Israelites and is evidence of the use of wicker baskets as recorded in the Bible, Exodus 2: 3, “She could not hide him any longer, so she took a wicker basket and smeared it with clay and pitch; she placed the child (Moses) into it and placed it among the reeds at the bank of the River (Nile). “

The copper mirrors at the far right of the first photo above are evidence of the existence of copper mirrors used by Israelite women to beautify themselves and to entice their husbands to produce children despite the dangers of bringing children into the world amidst a slave existence. These copper mirrors are referred to in the Bible in Exodus 38:8, “He (Moses) made the wash basin of copper and its base of copper, from the mirrors of the legions who massed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. “ The 11th century French Biblical commentator, Rashi, comments that the Jewish women used these mirrors to beautify themselves in order to entice their husbands to produce children despite the fear of bringing children into a life of slavery. This attests to the greater faith of the Israelite women than that exhibited by the Israelite men, which faith has continued to sustain Jewish continuity.

The organizer of this private tour to the British Museum is London educator and historian, Rabbi Aryeh Forta who organizes monthly private tours of the Jewish artifacts at the British Museum. Also seen on this tour was a 3500 year old matzah with finger imprints of the matzah maker and silver wine bowls from the palace of Achashverosh mentioned in Megillas Esther.
Visit Rabbi Forta’s site at http://www.livingjewishhistory.com/.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 23 Mar 2017, 11:12 pm

Responding to the Terror Attack in London
As our thoughts and prayers go to the victims and the people of Britain, what can we do in the wake of this barbaric attack?
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
On Wednesday afternoon, March 22, 2017, London’s Westminster Bridge was crowded with pedestrians. A grey Hyundai 4x4 suddenly careened off the road and plowed into the crowd on the sidewalk, mowing down whoever was in his way. Three people were killed, plus the terrorist, and over 40 people wounded, many of them seriously.

Among the victims were a group of French students from Saint-Joseph high school in the northern French town of Concarneau who were on a school trip visiting London. Three police officers who were walking across the bridge after a commendation ceremony were also hit. A group of students from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, Lancashire, in Britain were on a two-day educational trip to Parliament, and were also injured.


Once the terrorist reached the Houses of Parliament, he rammed the buildings’ gates, exited his car and stabbed to death Keith Palmer, a 48-year-old policeman, before being shot by police. Parliament, which was in session, was placed in lockdown.
As Britain reeled from this attack on its government and our hearts go out to its citizens, many of us are wondering what we can do in the wake of this murderous rampage. Here are four ways to respond.

1. Never Excuse Terrorism
The London attack came a year after terror attacks in Brussels, which claimed 32 lives. In the hours after the carnage in London, British authorities took the unusual step of calling it a likely terror attack. Although no official blame had been announced yet, in the hours after the attack ISIS supporters around the world celebrated the attack on Twitter, writing “Allau Akbar” next to pictures of injured victims lying on the ground, sending messages hailing the “blessed London attack” and pictures of the attack with smoke billowing out and the message “Our battle upon your land.”

If the attack does end being perpetrated by a radical Islamist, it will hopefully cause the many Brits who have excused and apologized for Islamist terror when directed against Jews and Israel to rethink their positions. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Labour, Britain’s main opposition party, is a cofounder of the Stop the War Coalition, which has organized virulent rallies attacking Israel, featuring chants glorifying terrorist organizations: “We are all Hamas now!” and “Victory to Hamas!” rang out in London when Britons protested Israeli military actions in Gaza.
The tragic London attack serves as a crucial reminder that we must stand firm against Islamist terror, wherever it strikes. Justifying or trying to excuse it when it targets Jews encourages terrorism and emboldens those who seek to harm us.

2. In the Face of Terror, Act.
n the minutes after the attack, MP Tobias Ellwood emerged as one of the heroes of the day. The 50 year old Foreign Office minister performed CPR on a wounded policeman and tried to staunch the officer’s stab wounds for 15 minutes until help arrived.
MP Tobias Ellwood
Mr. Ellwood’s brother, Jonathan, was murdered in the Bali terrorist bombings in 2002, in which 202 people, including 27 Britons, were murdered by Islamist terrorists. Britain’s Middle-East Minister, Mr. Ellwood declared in Parliament weeks ago “that it is unacceptable for Israelis going about their business to be subject to some of the brutality and the murder we are seeing. Israel has the right – in fact, I would go further and say it has the obligation – to defend its citizens.”

3. Step up Protection
In the hours after the London terror attack, British police increased patrols in heavily Jewish parts of London. When a suspicious package was seen near the offices of a Jewish newspaper in the British city of Manchester later that day, police evacuated a bus and cordoned off an area to investigate.
This elevated caution isn’t misplaced. In recent months, ISIS has published a terror manual to teach would-be terrorists how to use trucks as weapons to “crush many victims” in attacks like those in Berlin and Nice. In the hours after the attack, ISIS supporters praised the London terrorist as a “soldier”. Given this risk to our safety and way of life, we each have to demand that our communities are given protection, particularly high-risk environments such as Jewish schools and synagogues.

4. Do Good in the Merit of the Victims
When things seem dark, the Jewish response is to search for ways to bring extra light into the world. Lighting Shabbat candles (or, if you already light candles, resolving to light them early) in the merit of those who were killed and injured is one way to fight the forces of evil who perpetrated this attack. Learn Torah or perform an extra good deed as a way of countering violence by bringing more goodness into the world.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 19 Mar 2017, 10:25 pm

http://www.aish.com/ho/p/Remembering-Pearl-Benisch.html?s=mm
Remembering Pearl BenischRemembering Pearl Benisch
The Jewish world has lost a towering hero.
by Rabbi Naftali Schiff
Holocaust survivor Pearl Benisch, who has died at 100 years-old, personified a greatness of spirit found among the most remarkable heroes of the 20th century.

Pearl's bestselling autobiography, To Vanquish the Dragon, ranked by Amazon among the top 300 Jewish books, is a stirring personal account of faith and survival against the odds which has informed a generation not only how to survive but how to live. Mrs. Benisch was a protégé of the famed Sarah Schenirer, who revolutionized women’s access to the deep intellectual well of Judaism.
We will soon celebrate Passover and read the famous line in the Haggadah. “In every generation a person is obligated to regard himself as if he had personally left Egypt.”

This is a powerful lesson in Holocaust education, in fact any education of history. We must remember the lessons from important events as if they happened yesterday, and then act upon those lessons as if we had been there ourselves. The idea isn’t merely to remember that our forefathers were once in Egypt, but to ensure the relevance and powerful lessons of historic experiences are never lost from us, our children and grandchildren.

Much of Seder Night is the story of the remarkable endurance of the Jewish people and the eternal quality of our national mission and destiny set in the crucible of the story of the Exodus. Similarly, the Holocaust needs to be transmitted to our children as more than a chapter of history. Rather it is a deep understanding of our national identity and commitment to life in the face of any adversary, the spread of good in the face of any evil and responsibility to the future despite our past persecution.

My close relationship with Pearl Benisch awakened within me a totally new appreciation of what Holocaust survivors can help us unlock. It led me to interview 100 survivors around the world on film and to start the educational organization JRoots. We have taken 10,000 young Jews to concentrations camps in Poland, embarking on journeys to discover the dormant Jewish fighting spirit within us all. JRoots also helped to republish Pearl’s book, read by thousands of people.
The last time I met Pearl Benish was a few weeks ago on her 100th birthday. Unlike many women who look disheartened in the mirror at their withering complexion, Pearl would leap. She celebrated each new wrinkle on her face as a symbol of old age she never dreamed she would achieve.

She is one of a unique group of heroes of the battlefield of life. Pearl is one of a quickly vanishing number of men and women who could have thrown down their values and run the other way. Instead, they stood firm and dreamed again. They rebuilt destroyed homes, gave birth to families and created entire communities.

Miraculously, Pearl Benish was a physical survivor, but even more she was a spiritual survivor who was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for her beliefs and who lived each day of her long life dedicated to her Jewish values and knowledge. She clung to her values in the face of the Nazis who obliterated her family and community in Krakow, while being driven her from the ghetto to Auschwitz, during a death march and in the hell of Bergen Belsen. She stayed true to her values in the free world where so many Jews walked away from Judaism. Pearl Benisch would not allow anything to defeat her spirit.

She was a small lady with a towering presence, a walking book of Jewish wisdom who was a force of positive teaching.
We can honor Pearl Benisch’s legacy by not only preserving her personal account but by delving into the values, beliefs and morals that she embodied, to embrace her spiritual legacy that gave her the courage and will to survive and thrive. As a Holocaust survivor, this is her enduring message for generations to come.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 17 Mar 2017, 7:11 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Irans-Distortion-of-Jewish-History.html?s=mm
Iran’s Distortion of Jewish HistoryIran’s Distortion of Jewish History
Iran’s Foreign Minister reminds Jews why it’s important to know Jewish history.
by Rabbi Chaim Willis

Just before Purim, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said to a group of young people: “In Persia, they wanted to kill us, but it didn’t work. Today too Persians are trying to destroy us but today too it will not work.”

Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran, disagreed with Netanyahu’s interpretation. In a Tweet and a follow-up, he said: “Once again Benyamin Netanyahu not only distorts the realities of today, but also distorts the past – including Jewish scripture….The Book of Esther tells how Xerxes I saved Jews from a plot hatched by Haman the Agagite, which is marked on this very day.”

Of course, we who read the Book of Esther every Purim know that Ahasheurus (the Jewish name for Xerxes) was fully on Haman’s side with regard to destroying the Jews until Esther and Mordechai, the real heroes, turned him around. But we see how Jewish history can be easily misinterpreted by our enemies.

Distorting the Torah is nowhere more evident than in this week’s Torah portion where we read the story of the Golden Calf. Forty days after hearing God at Mount Sinai, the Jews are busy building and dancing around a golden calf. What’s going on? How could they be doing idol worship so soon after they heard God?

According to some Christian scholars, there is a simple answer to that question. The Jews were incapable of doing the right thing! In fact, the Torah was only given to them to demonstrate that, because of original sin, human beings were incapable of keeping it – therefore, they needed the new covenant of Christianity, Judaism Lite.

From a careful reading of the Torah, and the indispensable Midrash, we see that it wasn’t so. The Jewish people thought that Moses was dead. After hearing God at Mount Sinai, they had asked Moses to get the rest of the Torah for them. Now, without Moses, they felt they needed some sort of intermediary to be able to communicate with God. The calf was a replacement for Moses, not a replacement for God. They looked at it as a tangible Kabbalistic symbol to focus their attention, to get what Jews later would get from going to the Temple, or Jews today get from going to the Western Wall.

The Torah tells us that, at our level then, it was a terrible mistake. We didn’t need anything physical; we should have been able to pray to God directly. The need for something physical, even though it wasn’t idol worship, was the start of a road that would lead to idol worship at a later date. That’s why God was prepared to treat their actions so harshly had Moses not prayed and lead them to repentance.

It is important today that we Jews know our history. When we don’t, we can easily be confused by falsifications of our history. No Jew who has gone through the Book of Esther will be taken in by the Iranian Foreign Minister who speaks for a country that wants to make Haman’s dream a reality. But how many Jews are there today who know less about the Purim story than Javad Zarif?

A must-read book for anyone who needs more knowledge about Jewish history is Rabbi Ken Spiro’s A Crash Course in Jewish History. http://www.aish.com/jl/h/cc/ We shouldn’t wait for our enemies to remind us of what we don’t know
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 07 Mar 2017, 9:26 pm

The Viceroy: Mordechai's Hidden Story by Rabbi David Fohrman
http://www.aish.com/h/pur/mm/The-Viceroy-Mordechais-Hidden-Story.html?s=mm
Why was Mordechai really defying Haman, and what can we learn from him?
PART 1

0:24

7:25
Click here to see more from Aleph Beta
PART 2

11:17

Wistia video thumbnail - Purim 5777 - Part 2 - Aish
PART 3

12:17

Wistia video thumbnail - Purim 5777 - Part 3 - Aish
PART 4

14:49

Wistia video thumbnail - Purim 5777 - Part 4 - Aish
PART 5

13:18

Wistia video thumbnail - Purim 5777 - Part 5 - Aish
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Mon 06 Mar 2017, 11:32 am

http://www.aish.com/jw/me/13-Facts-about-Israel--the-Middle-East.html?fb_action_ids=10152607832539989&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B508976725885731%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.likes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D
13 Facts about Israel & the Middle East13 Facts about Israel & the Middle East
Keeping these facts in mind will help prevent people from falling for Arab propaganda.
by Dr. Shmuel Katz
Anti-Semitism is alive and well, it’s just cloaked in its new garb: anti-Zionism or anti-Israeli occupation. Keeping these facts in mind will help prevent people from falling for Arab propaganda.
1. The Jews have a connection to the land of Israel for more than 3000 years, with continuous Jewish presence in the land of Israel in the majority of this time.
2. Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people for thousands of years. And recently, since 1850 the Jews were the ethnic majority of the city, except from 1948 till 1967 when the Jordanians destroyed the Jewish quarter, killed many Jews and expelled the rest. So how can the Jews be accused for occupying your own kitchens and back yards?
3. There was never an independent Arab State in the land of Israel.
4. 80% of the promised Jewish Homeland, as it was delineated in the Balfour declaration and ratified by the League of Nations, was given illegally, by the British Mandate, to the Hashemite Family from Saudi Arabia, to establish a totally New Kingdom of Trans Jordan. Practically, this was the first imposed “two state solution” in the Middle East.
5. In 1929, Arabs massacred 67 Jews in Hebron and expelled the rest, many years before the establishment of the modern state of Israel and before any disputed or occupied land became an issue.
6. In 1947, a new “two state solution,” which was proposed by the UN on the remaining 20% of the promised land, was accepted by the Jews, but was rejected by the neighboring Arab countries. Once Israel was established in 1948 the Arabs started a war to destroy Israel.
7. In 1967 the Arabs initiated another war to destroy the state of Israel, only to be defeated again.
8. On Yom Kippur of 1973 there was another failed attempt to destroy Israel, by force, by Egypt and Syria.
9. Despite the hostilities, generous offers to create a new Arab Palestinian State next to Israel were presented by several Israeli prime ministers, only to be rejected by the Arab leadership who continued their vicious anti-Israeli aggression.
10. They tried to destroy Israel by using indiscriminate terror attacks against innocent civilians.
11. They tried to destroy Israel using a rain of rockets on innocent civilians.
12. The Palestinian Authority is still allowing their children to be taught in school vicious hate and encouraging martyrdom.
13. As their attempts to destroy Israel by force fail, they are pushing a major international effort to delegitimize Israel, using the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement as their model.
What can we do? Stay informed and share your knowledge with as many people as you can. Together, we will make the world a better place for all of us and for future generations.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Mar 2017, 9:02 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Jews-and-Native-Americans-7-Fascinating-Facts.html?s=mm
Jews and Native Americans: 7 Fascinating FactsJews and Native Americans:
7 Fascinating Facts
Like Julis Meyer, aka Box-Ka-Re-Sha-Hash-Ta-Ka, which means “Curly Haired White Chief Who Speaks with One Tongue.”
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Herman Bendell, Superintendent of Indian Affairs
Would a Jewish Superintendent of Indian Affairs try to convert Native Americans to Judaism? Some feared that Dr. Herman Bendell, a New York doctor whom President Ulysses Grant appointed to be the Arizona Territory’s point man on Indian Affairs, would do just that. The newspaper The Boston Pilot fretted that Dr. Bendell would “undo” the work of Christian missionaries and start spreading Judaism among Arizona’s Native Americans.

In reality, Dr. Bendell’s Judaism was one of the reasons President Grant appointed him; he wanted to include someone who would not prioritize missionary work.
Dr. Herman Bendell as Indian Commissioner, 1871
Dr. Bendell quickly emerged as a champion of Native rights within the government, writing, “I feel it is a duty I owe to the people of the Country and the Indians under my charge to do something to relieve the pressures that surround them.” But after two years, intense opposition to Dr. Bendell’s religious faith made his job impossible. He resigned, returned to Albany, married his childhood sweetheart Wilhelmine Lewi, and practiced medicine.
When he died in 1932, few people realized that Dr. Bendell, longtime New York state ophthalmologist, had once worked to secure Indian rights in pre-state Arizona.

“Curly-Haired White Chief Who Speaks with One Tongue”
Julius Meyer was born in Prussia and moved to Omaha as a teenager in 1866, the year before Omaha was incorporated as a city and Nebraska was admitted to the Union as a State. He joined his older brothers Max, Moritz and Adolph who had founded a cigar store and a jewelry/music store.
Young Julius carved out his own business niche, trading his cigars and jewelry from his brothers’ stores with Native American tribes. He’d travel on horseback deep into Indian-controlled territory, living for weeks with Native American tribes and traders.

Julius mastered several Native American tongues, setting him apart from many European traders. He also treated Native Americans fairly, earning him the sobriquet “Box-Ka-Re-Sha-Hash-Ta-Ka”, meaning “Curly Haired White Chief Who Speaks with One Tongue,” a reference to his curly hair and also his straight, honest way of doing business.

Living with Native Americans for weeks at a time, Julius was also famed for another peculiarity: sticking to Jewish dietary rules. When he was invited to feasts with tribesmen, his hosts knew to serve him hard boiled eggs instead of the non-kosher meat that everyone else enjoyed.

Back in Omaha, Julius set up a popular “Indian Wigwam” store, selling Indian-made items. He died in Omaha’s Hanscom Park in 1909 at the age of 60 in highly mysterious circumstances. Ostensibly a suicide, it was reported at the time that he shot himself first in the temple, then in the chest, with his left hand, although Julius was right-handed. No alternative theory was ever put forward, and he was mourned throughout the American West as a tragic case of suicide.

Jewish Indian Chief
In 1869, Solomon Bibo, a teenager from Prussia, arrived in the tiny New Mexican town of Ceboletta to join two of his older brothers who’d come to the United States some years before. Like most Jews in the American West, the Bibo brothers worked as traders, but they were far from ordinary. Unlike many Europeans at the time, they quickly garnered a reputation for fairness and honesty when dealing with Native Americans.
Solomon Bibo quickly learned Queresan, the language of the local Acoma tribe, and immersed himself in their concerns, championing Acoma rights against Mexican and American ranchers, and against the U.S. Government, which Bibo and the Acoma accused of trying to cheat the Acoma out of their rightfully-owned lands.

In 1877, the U.S. Government offered the Acoma a treaty guaranteeing the tribe 94,000 acres of land, far less they felt they deserved. Determined to protect their remaining lands, in 1884, the Acoma leased their land to Bibo for 30 years, in exchange for an annual payment of $12,000 and assurances that Bibo would protect the land from squatters, ensure that coal on the tribe’s land was mined, and that the tribe would receive the proceeds.

Learning of the agreement, an Indian agent from Santa Fe, Pedro Sanchez, wrote to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, complaining about Bibo, “the rico Israelito” (rich Jew), and tried to get the lease invalidated on the grounds that the tribe as a whole had not agreed to the arrangement. Bibo found himself facing not only the loss of the Acoma lease, but the loss of his trader’s license as well. The Acoma nation quickly mobilized itself, providing a petition with a hundred signatures to the Bureau of Indian Affairs asserting they had confidence in Bibo.

In 1885, Solomon Bibo married Juana Valle, the granddaughter of Martin Valle, the Acoma Chief. He later became Chief of the nation himself, pushing for educational and infrastructure reforms. Juana began to adopt a Jewish lifestyle.

In 1898, Solomon and Jana moved to San Franciso in order to provide their six children with a Jewish education. Solomon died in 1934 and Juana in 1941. Their children said Kaddish for them in San Franciso.
Wolf Kalisher: Ally of Native Americans
Wolf Kalisher was born in Poland in 1826 and moved to Los Angeles, becoming a United States citizen in 1855. After the Civil War, Kalisher partnered with Henry Wartenberg in a tannery, one of the city’s first factories.

Kalisher quickly became an ally of Native Americans, going out of his way to hire Native American workers and championing Native American rights. He also became a pillar the developing LA Jewish community. He and his wife Louise raised their four children in the city, and helped establish one of the city’s first synagogues.

He became particularly close with Manuel Olegario, a leader of the local Temecula tribe, advising and assisting the Chief as he campaigned to protect his tribe’s land in San Diego County. Kalisher Street in Los Angeles memorializes Wolf Kalisher and his efforts on behalf of Native Americans to this day.

Jewish Genetic Link
Israeli cancer scientists have made an unexpected discovery: a group of Native Americans living the in Mesa Verde area of Colorado seem to have some genetic Jewish roots dating to the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492.

Researchers at the Sheba medical center near Tel Aviv studied various populations worldwide to identify carriers of the BRCA1 mutation, a genetic mutation that predisposes carriers to breast and ovarian cancer and is found in disproportionately in Jews of Ashkenazi origin. (Approximately 1.5% of Ashkenazi Jews carry the mutation.)

Noting that a group of Native American Colorado families who were descended from immigrants from Mexico carried the mutation, researchers conducted additional genetic testing, and identified a common ancestor: a Jew who came to South America from Europe about 600 years ago, about the time that Jews were forced out of Spain and Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. The mutation among the Native American population is identical to that found among Ashkenazi Jews, offering solid proof of a long-ago Jewish ancestor who came to present-day Mexico and intermarried with Native American tribes.

Supporting the Jewish State
Santos Hawk’s Blood Suarez, an Apache activist in New Jersey, brings fellow Native Americans to pro-Israel events and insists there are strong parallels between Native Americans and Jews. Both groups have lived in exile; Jews show that it is possible for a native people to return to their native land and revive their ancestral language, even after thousands of years. “I admire the people who” take a stand, Suarez explains: “That’s why I admire the people of Israel: They’re people who stand up to defend their homeland.”

Chief Anne Richardson is the first female Chief of the Rappahannock Tribe in Virginia since 1705. She’s also a strong supporter of the Jewish state. In 2013, she and another female Chief, Kathy Cummings-Dickinson of the Lumbee Tribes in North Carolina, visited Israel. Wearing their ceremonial robes, the Chiefs met with an Israeli Government Minister. “We are here to deliver a message to the residents of Israel,” the chiefs explained. “Stand firm and united against the threats and pressure… We want to encourage Israel not to give in to those who try to pressure them to give up parts of the homeland. Surrender to this pressure is not a recipe for peace, but rather war. We stand beside you.”

Celebrating Israeli Independence Day in Louisiana
Watching coverage of Israel’s 60th Independence Day festivities in May 2008 was a revelation for David Sickey, the Vice-Chairman of the Governing Council of the Sovereign Nation of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. After learning more about the Jewish State, he realized there were some incredible parallels between Israel and his own nation.

When Sickey presented his idea of fostering relations between the Coushatta nation and Israel, his co-nationalists were enthusiastic: “They took an interest because the Coushatta value sovereignty and nationhood much like the Jewish people, and autonomy is something to be embraced.”

David Sickey, right, visiting Zion Oil & Gas

The Tribe reached out to then Israeli Consul of Houston, Asher Yarden. Consul Yarden visited the tribe for an official ceremony to establish formal ties. “My visit to the Coushatta for the affirmation event was very emotional, and I would even call it a life-changing experience. It was a highlight, if not the highlight, of my 25-year career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he explained.

The Coushatta adopted May 14, Israeli Independence Day, as a holiday called “Stakayoop Yanihta Yisrael”, meaning “The Day to Honor Israel”.

A Coushatta delegation visited Israel in 2009 to foster economic ties. The tribe is currently the American distributor of Aya Natural, an Israeli Druze-owned company that produces olive oil-based cosmetics in the north of Israel. Israeli engineers are also aiding Coushatta fish farmers in importing high-tech Israeli fish-farming technology. Sickey said, “Israel is a very dynamic nation, and it makes sense for the tribe to partner with a very robust nation and the only democracy in the region.”

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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 09 Feb 2017, 8:34 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Fighting-Jew-Hatred-in-Chicago.html?s=mm
After a shul is vandalized, Jews, Muslims and Christians come together to stand against hate.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
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In the early hours of Shabbat morning, February 4, 2017, a masked assailant drove up to iconic Chicago Loop Synagogue, a high-profile synagogue in the heart of Chicago’s downtown business district. The vandal stuck two signs depicting swastikas on the front doors, then smashed the synagogue’s front plate glass window before driving away.

The Chicago Loop Synagogue vandalism was the latest in a relentless series of other assaults. The week before, local Jewish Community Centers were closed for the third time in recent weeks when anonymous callers made bomb threats. Swastikas had been found in schools, scrawled on the wall of our favorite local library where we take our kids, even found carved inside Chicago’s Holocaust Museum.
“Was all this hate here all along?” my husband asked in anguish. “Where’s it all coming from?”

The following day, passersby saw a curious sight: a young Muslim family with a five year old, a toddler and a baby in tow, bringing flowers and a homemade card to the synagogue. “With Love, Marwa, Sulayman, and Dawud,” the card read. They affixed the note to the building, along with the flowers. Soon, other cards and letters joined the wall, as Chicagoans left messages of love and support.
As calls and visitors poured in, the synagogue’s president, Lee Zoldan, knew she wanted to do something to connect with the many people who were reaching out to help. She invited all of Chicago to a meeting at midday on Wednesday, February 8.

When we pulled up in front of the synagogue half an hour early, a huge crowd was already milling about, reading the cards now pinned up behind the brand-new plate glass window. The atmosphere was electric, as more and more people from all corners of the city piled into the shul. The shul was packed and an overflow room was hastily organized.
I asked Barbara Burchjolla what had moved her to come. “I grew up in a very Jewish area,” she explained, “and hearing that a synagogue had been attacked with swastikas reminded me of what happened to the parents of some childhood friends who survived the Holocaust. The hate is so palpable in the country now.”
Barbara Burchjolla and Debra Shore
She came to show solidarity. “Everyone who lives here is part of the community.”
That was a refrain I heard over and over as I milled through the crowd. “The hate was always under the surface, but now it feels more empowered,” said Helen Lysen, a young graphic designer who’d come to take a stand.
One young Muslim mother, wearing a long dress and a headscarf, brought her young baby and stood in the hall, rocking and soothing him as he cried. Another young Muslim woman wearing a bright pink headscarf told me, “I’m here as a Muslim to say this is unacceptable and to stand in solidarity with my Jewish neighbors.”

Her children had brought one of the first notes to the synagogue the Sunday after the attack. “Last weekend, as my husband and I thought how we wanted to be neighborly after this attack and show support, our five-year-old son asked if he could make a card for the synagogue.”
I asked an elderly man what moved him to come to the Loop Synagogue. He was surprised by the question. “Love moved me." Turns out he was Rev. Myron McCoy, a prominent religious leader in the city and pastor of the church down the street.
Lee Zoldan, the synagogue president, recalled, “On the night of the attack when my husband and I stood on Clark Street in the middle of the night with only a policeman, we felt very alone. Now, we don’t feel so alone.”




http://www.aish.com/jw/s/From-Egyptian-Muslim-to-Defender-of-Israel.html?s=mm
From Egyptian Muslim to Defender of Israel
by Ronda Robinson
Hussein Aboubakr Mansour’s harrowing journey from oppression to freedom.
Hussein Aboubakr Mansour, 27, was born to a Muslim banking family in Cairo, Egypt, and today is a self-proclaimed Zionist. He endured brutal torture in his homeland before coming to the United States on political asylum in 2012 and leaving behind everything he knew.
It all started when he was a young teenager, seeking more information about the supervillain he had grown up learning to hate: Jews.

Hussein’s family rejoiced at news of the attacks on the World Trade Center. In their view, the infidels were being punished.
“We all get handed the narrative of who we are. The narrative I received was that I was a member of the best country. Anything not the direct product of our culture was inferior,” Mansour explained to a rapt audience on a recent night at Congregation Beth Jacob in Atlanta at a lecture sponsored by StandWithUs. “The main enemies were the infidel West who want to take our resources.”

On 9/11, for example, his middle-class family rejoiced at news of the attacks on the World Trade Center and called their friends to turn on the TV. In their view, the infidels were being punished.

The main antagonist in this narrative was Israel. In order to understand the enemy and “decode Jews’ evil plans to ruin our country and our civilization,” Mansour, a nerdy kid with glasses, decided to learn Hebrew on the Internet. To do that, he had to first teach himself English. A funny thing happened along the way. The more he learned, the more he began questioning the narrative.

Firsthand accounts he read told a different story about Jews and their history. For example, he was shocked to find out Jews were indigenous to the Middle East. The story unfolding about a hated, persecuted minority that people were eager to murder at every occasion contrasted with the narrative of the demon super-Jew.

“The biggest shock was when I started to examine Israel as a culture from up close,” he relates. “In Israel there’s an accepted standard of human decency. To my surprise, I found Jews have a much higher standard of tolerance and don’t focus on killing Arabs the way Arabs focus on killing Jews. This huge moral gap opened my eyes.”

Driven by curiosity, Mansour found a resource in his own backyard: the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo – a product of the 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. There, Mansour had a chance to speak Hebrew with someone. He started with the first Jew he ever met: the security guard at the center.
Like a child in a candy store, the 19-year-old Egyptian devoured comic books and novels in Hebrew, all the while breaking a cultural taboo by visiting a place inhabited by Jews and Israelis.

As Mansour left the center, someone called his name. It was a state security officer. “Your professor should have told you all Egyptians are banned from this place,” the policeman said threateningly.
The following week, the Israeli diplomatic mission called to invite Mansour to watch a movie in Hebrew. Minutes later, another call came in to Mansour’s phone from a blocked number. It was a state security officer. “Why are Israelis calling your phone? You’re from a family of bankers. You should study banking.”

Although he wasn’t doing anything illegal, Mansour says, his phone was tapped. Still, he continued to study Hebrew and kindle his knack for languages.
Every time I wrote something state security didn’t like, they came to arrest me.

An Israeli newspaper interviewed him and state security again threatened him. His family did an intervention, and he promised to stop his studies of Hebrew, Israel and Judaism. But as a member of the Muslim majority in Egypt, he had had an awakening about the other side. He also started to notice how Christians in his country were persecuted, and their churches burned. He started a blog about anti-Semitism and treatment of Christians and Muslim women.

Eventually the family disowned him as an apostate. He fell out with religion because it seemed to him a tool for control.
“Every time I wrote something state security didn’t like, they came to arrest me. I promised to stop,” he says. “They put me in a military prison for two months and and tortured me, stripping me naked, hitting me with belts and calling me a Jew lover. There was no trial, judge or lawyer. It was the worst time of my life.”

On Dec. 26, 2010, they released him from prison. A month later, the revolution began that led to the ousting of Egypt’s president. Mansour felt hopeful. But then the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, attacks on minorities worsened, and he started getting arrested again for writing about his hopes for peace with Israelis.

“If I were in Israel I wouldn’t have been put in prison for sending an e-mail to the wrong person,” he told the audience. “It’s the only decent country in the Middle East that offers humans a life of respect and decency. It’s that moral gap that makes me support Israel.”

Mansour managed to obtain a visa for the United States and has lived in California since 2012. Today he devotes himself to teaching Hebrew, educating people about Israel and helping students fight anti-Semitism on college campuses through the pro-Israel organization StandWithUs.

Mansour wrote, “I was born an Arab; I know how violent, hateful, intolerant and aggressive Arabs are. So I support the right of the free people of Israel to have their own independent country. I support the civilized man against the savage, I support honesty over dishonesty, I support life over death, I support freedom against slavery, I support intelligence over stupidity, I support rationalism over terrorism. Thus, my dear reader, I support Israel.”
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Distorting the Holocaust
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
The de-Judaization of the Holocaust renders it devoid of its major message.
Distorting the HolocaustDistorting the Holocaust
The de-Judaization of the Holocaust renders it devoid of its major message.
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
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Holocaust history has been obscenely manipulated in the past decades in many ways – efforts which completely diminish and distort the Holocaust’s true meaning, as well as the reason why it so desperately needs to be remembered.
One of them, ironically enough, was put forth this past Friday on the very day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the liberation of the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau.
The text of the American proclamation for this occasion, meant to put into words the message the world so desperately needs to learn from this modern descent into barbarity less than a century ago, recalled the crime but somehow failed to identify the victim. The horror of the Holocaust was the focus, but alas the word which never made it into the public statement ostensibly intended to ensure that genocide never again stains the pages of history was the word Jews!
MORE http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Distorting-the-Holocaust.html?s=mm


Jews and the Circus: 7 Fascinating Facts
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Did you know that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is owned by a Jewish family?
Jews and the Circus: 7 Fascinating FactsJews and the Circus: 7 Fascinating Facts
Did you know that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is owned by a Jewish family?
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has announced it will close in May 2017, after 146 years of operation. The owners, Feld Entertainment, a family firm, disclosed that declining ticket sales and high operating costs had made the circus unsustainable, particularly after they phased out the use of elephants because of concerns about animal welfare, in 2016.
Many fans were surprised to learn that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been owned by a Jewish family for nearly 50 years, longer than it was ever owned by the Ringling brothers, or by Barnum and Bailey themselves. Bought in 1967 by Irvin Feld, the father of current CEO Kenneth Feld, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been a family affair, with Kenneth’s three daughters, Nicole, Alana and Juliette, serving as executive vice presidents.
MORE http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Jews-and-the-Circus-7-Fascinating-Facts.html?s=mm


Dumbing Myself Down
by Lauren Roth
My boss said I should pretend to be less capable than I actually am.
Dumbing Myself DownQ&A for TeensDumbing Myself Down
My boss said I should pretend to be less capable than I actually am.
by Lauren Roth
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Dear Lauren,
I’m not a teenager but I see from your articles that this is the kind of question you might be able to help me with. I work as a technician in a doctor’s office. We just got end-of-the-year evaluations. The doctors all said I’m super qualified, super efficient, and an asset to the practice. But I’ve heard from the practice manager that my fellow technicians are jealous of me. I went to one of the doctors and asked him his advice about what I should do, and he said that I should act less capable in front of the other technicians and pretend to not know things that I really do know. To say things like, “I don’t know about that,” when I really do know, so that the other technicians won’t be jealous. I’m not sure his advice sits right with me – can you weigh in?
Oh, girl, did you come to the right address!
MORE http://www.aish.com/ci/teen/Dumbing-Myself-Down.html?s=mm


Super Bowl 2017: Meet the Two Jewish Owners
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
They both know the importance of being a mensch on and off the field.
Super Bowl 2017: Meet the Two Jewish OwnersSuper Bowl 2017: Meet the Two Jewish Owners
They both know the importance of being a mensch on and off the field.
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
This year’s Super Bowl features not only the NFL’s two most talented quarterbacks, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, but also two Jewish owners who both have close connections with Israel.
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, is hoping for his fifth championship since he took over the franchise in 1994. And Arthur Blank is trying for his first championship with the Falcons that he bought in 2002. The last time there were two Jewish team owners in the Super Bowl was in 2012 when the New York Giants, co-owned by Steve Tisch, won against Kraft’s Patriots 21-17.
Kraft, CEO of The Kraft Group, has generously donated to Jewish and Israeli causes for years, giving away more than $100 million to health care, education and local needs. Last November, he gave $6 million dollars for the building of the Kraft Family Stadium in Emek Ha’Arazim in Jerusalem. Robert grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts where his father, Harry Kraft, was a dress manufacturer and Jewish lay leader at Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline. The Krafts were an observant, Jewish family, and Harry wanted his son to become a rabbi.
MORE http://www.aish.com/ci/a/Super-Bowl-2017-Meet-the-Two-Jewish-Owners.html?s=mm

Playing the Martyr
by Emuna Braverman
I’ve been violating every marriage and parenting principle I know.
Playing the MartyrMom with a ViewPlaying the Martyr
I’ve been violating every marriage and parenting principle I know.
by Emuna Braverman
I know better. I know that our husbands (and our children!) are not mind readers. I know that if I want something done I need to ask for it very clearly. I know that if I want a particular present I need to be very specific (emailing the link always helps). I know that I can’t take anything for granted and that, after expressing my needs, I should be appreciative when they are met.
Not only do I know these things but I have developed a whole series of classes on marriage, confidently telling new and not-so-new brides the importance of this insight.
Then why did I find myself yelling at my husband the other morning? “Why is it always me?” I complained. “Doesn’t anyone else notice that the dryer is full, the dishes need to be washed, the floor swept, the table scrubbed, the beds made?” I ranted. And I wasn’t finished. “It’s not fair,” I moaned like a two year-old, “I have to do everything around here. It’s unpleasant to wake up in the morning to all these chores…”
And, in fact, it is. But my tantrum didn’t help. Well, actually it did – briefly. My husband promptly made the bed (who knew so much creativity could be brought to bear in such a mundane activity?!) and emptied the dishwasher (yes, I’m lucky I have one) – that day. He’s been regularly tossing the clothes in the dryer, only to have me scream that those items were meant to be hung up! And he’s been trying to help. But of course I’m not satisfied – because it’s never enough. And I’m not appreciative – because why shouldn’t he do his share?
Okay, I exaggerate – but only slightly. I’m ashamed of my behavior. I’ve been acting like a spoiled brat. I’ve been violating every marriage and parenting principle I know. And I’ve been justifying it out of some misguided sense of self-righteousness.
MORE http://www.aish.com/f/mom/Playing-the-Martyr.html?s=mm

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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Remembering-Under-the-Clouds-of-Anti-Semitism.html?s=mm
Remembering Under the Clouds of Anti-SemitismRemembering Under the Clouds of Anti-Semitism
This year Holocaust Remembrance Day observances are mired in controversy in a number of European countries.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller

Fascist Rally Coinciding with Holocaust Remembrance Day
As Italians plan to observe Holocaust Memorial day, a major neo-Fascist rally is planned that same weekend in Milan. Forza Nuova, a far-right neo-Fascist political party, plans to demonstrate. Previous rallies by the party featured skinheads and posters declaring Europe to be a Christian continent.
The president of the national Union of Italian Jewish Communities and leaders of Milan’s Jewish community have protested the event and its timing. “We cannot allow those who trample the significance of memory and advocate racist and xenophobic theses to...assert their ideologies of hate.”
Opponents to the neo-Fascist demonstration who tried to block the event in the courts were thwarted when a judge ruled the rally could proceed.

Minimizing the Holocaust in Croatia
Croatia’s small Jewish community has announced they will boycott their country’s main Holocaust Remembrance Day event in the Parliament in Zagreb. They are protesting a new memorial erected in October 2016 in the town of Jasenovac which commemorates Croats killed in the Yugoslavia’s war between 1991 and 1995. The memorial includes a salute to the Ustasa Regime, the Nazi-backed government that killed millions of Jews, Gypsies and others during World War Two.
That memorial, supported by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, was the final straw for Croatia’s Jews.

Anti-Semitism at Swedish Holocaust Event
One of Sweden’s official Holocaust Remembrance Day events is being planned in part by an extremist political party with a history of targeting Jews.
The far-right Sweden Democrats, which hold 49 out of 349 of seats in Sweden’s Parliament, have had to discipline several members in recent months for making derogatory and offensive statements about Jews. In October 2016, MP Anna Hagwall introduced legislation against “control of media by any family or ethnic group”, specifically targeting the Swedish Jewish Bonnier family, which owns a number of media outlets. Also in that month, a Sweden Democrats official circulated a racist email making fun of Jews and others, and the party’s finance spokesman compared Jews to animals and joked about them being killed.
Local Jews published an open letter in the local Goteborgs-Posten newspaper explaining that they cannot participate in Holocaust Remembrance Day events alongside Sweden Democrats members. “That the Sweden Democrats, with their ties to both old and new Nazism and xenophobia, are invited to co-organize the memorial ceremony is more than an affront. It is extremely offensive to us as Jews and our history,” wrote Jewish residents Lisa Graner and Erik Nilsson. The letter was signed by 38 other Jews but they were too afraid to make their names public.

Anti-Zionism in Britain
Britain’s annual Holocaust Memorial Day observance this year features an official invitation to one of the country’s most outspoken anti-Zionists, Malia Bouattia, who was elected President of the National Union of Students in April 2016.
Ms. Bouattia has supported terrorism, telling a conference in 2014 “with mainstream Zionist-led media outlets...resistance is presented as an act of terrorism.” She is on record as criticizing peace talks between Israel and Palestinians, saying they bolster “the colonial project” and has called Britain’s University of Birmingham “something of a Zionist outpost” for having a robust Jewish student union on campus.
In October 2016, a Parliamentary Select Committee criticized Ms. Bouattia for not taking anti-Semitism on campus seriously, noting that some of her comments about Jews sound like “outright racism”. In January 2017, the Oxford Students Union called on her to resign unless she issues a “full and formal” apology for her comments. Ms. Bouattia has not done so, but she does plan to appear at Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Day events.

Rising Anti-Semitism in Europe
European Jews and others are warning of rising levels of anti-Semitism across the continent and beyond. At an early observance on Wednesday, January 24, 2017, Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Parliament, highlighted the growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and urged Europeans to learn from the past. Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, concurred, explaining that “Europe is in danger” and that “We shouldn’t forget that every global tragedy begins with attacks on Jews.”
Recent hate crimes statistics provide a chilling picture. In 2014, France’s Interior Ministry reported 51% of all racist attacks in the country targeted Jews, despite Jews making up less than 1% of France’s population. In Britain attacks against Jews spiked in 2016, with an average of three anti-Semitic attacks per day by the end of that year. In Germany, hate crimes against Jews rose 200% between 2014 and 2016, resulting in over 2,000 attacks against Jews in 2016; most were perpetrated by right-wing neo-Fascists, with Islamic radicals perpetrating the a large minority of the crimes.
With anti-Semitism rising and marring Holocaust Remembrance Day observances, our cries of “Never Again” gain a new urgency.

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My Son with Asperger’s
I have begun to see your life through the prism of Asperger's and my frustration is slowly transforming into understanding.
by G.L.
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You called me from your army base to tell me that your friend was fighting for his life after being stabbed multiple times outside of the Tel Aviv train station – five minutes from your father's office. You delivered this troubling news in the way you would tell me that it might rain today, in the same monotone that you used for everything.
My heart went into overdrive, praying for this boy I didn't know, trying not to imagine his family's own terror as they kept vigil by his bed.
I sat glued to local Israeli new sites as reports came in describing the attack. Your friend tried valiantly to keep his weapon from being taken by the terrorist. I pictured him walking to catch a train, the same regulation duffle bag you carry slung over his shoulder. Was it filled with homemade cookies his mother sent? Had she sent him off with a prayer like I would do as you waved goodbye on those early mornings when you would head back to your own base in the Negev?
A few hours later, the terrible news came. Your friend would be laid to rest at Mt. Herzl. We spoke about attending the funeral, consumed with the pragmatic side of things, like how you would get there. You didn't know if you should go, since he had been in the unit which you had left.
Your friend’s death was a reminder of your dream, which had also suffered a death of sorts. You had always wanted to be in a combat unit, gun slung over your shoulder. You managed to get through the demands of basic training, only to realize that your fear far outweighed your desire to fight. Your commanders extolled your virtues, telling us that you were one of the best and most hardworking soldiers in your unit. This didn’t stop you from requesting a transfer, something you regretted as soon as it was done. You chalked it up to another failure in your life, unaware that what brought you to that point was a natural ‘side effect’ of the Asperger’s. Your pain at walking away from something you wanted so badly mingled with the pain of losing your friend.
“He slept on the cot next to me,” you intoned, giving me a glimpse of a relationship that was as close as was possible for you. You had gone through the rigors of basic training together, something that turns strangers into life- long friends. You would bump into him at times as each of you made your way to your respective bases.
In the end, you ended up hitching a ride from your base and stoically stood as you paid your last respects. After coming home and asking how you were, all I got was, “I don't want to talk about it.”
But I needed to talk, I needed to help you during this traumatic time. Instead, I was shut out of your world and you went to your room to lose yourself in some technological pursuit to ignore the pain. I sighed and cried. I cried for your friend, and I cried for you, my son, who seemed to feel nothing – even now.
Over the next few days pictures of your friend were plastered all over the Israeli media. I cried at intervals even though you didn't. There was a picture of your unit taken at the Kotel at some point during basic training. As I looked at your friend in the center surrounded by the other boys (for that's what you all were) with their arms around each other, I spotted you in the background smiling, yet detached. Your face had a wistful grin as you looked on at your group of friends, as if you were wishing that you could be a part of things. It was as if you were appreciating their camaraderie, even if you couldn't join in. I zoomed in on your face, looking at that smile suspended in time, wishing I could make you feel more whole.
It wasn't until you finished the army that we continued to pursue what we had been searching for since you began elementary school: some type of diagnosis that would bring us a measure of clarity. We had done so many evaluations, and had met with an equal number of dead ends full of dashed hopes and misdiagnosis. At the suggestion of your therapist, we made one last attempt to try to get to the bottom of your depressive symptoms, your withdrawn mood – your fear of life. When it came, the diagnosis was like a life preserver thrown in the stormy seas that we had been navigating ever since you were a child: Asperger's.
Your father and I knew for a couple of months before we decided to tell you. Your reaction was one of shock and stupefaction: “I'm autistic?!” you cried.
I tried to comfort you, telling you that you were on the highest functioning part of the spectrum. I spoke to you about finally having that elusive road map, how we could finally begin our search for the answers that had been eluding us for the last 22 years.
You sulked around the house, feeling like 'damaged goods'. You lay on your bed, staring up at the ceiling, contemplating this new turn in your life you never asked for. I stood on the sidelines, feeling your pain, yet knowing that there was nothing I could do if you continued to shut me out of your world.
I used to think that people with Asperger's had no feelings and were devoid of emotion. I subsequently learned that the opposite is true. If anything, people with Asperger's feel too much. That is why you shut down the way you do. That is why even when your friend died you seemed more closed than usual. You couldn't handle the internal tsunami that threatened to swallow you in its wake.
I have begun to see your life through the prism of Asperger's and my frustration is slowly transforming into understanding. Your life long fussiness with food that even the army could not cure; all those times I thought you were lacking empathy when really the opposite was true; your lack of friends and self- worth – all of it – all of it is just the soot that is hiding the diamond that is you beneath the surface.
In the last few months we've begun to take baby steps. First, acceptance, followed by our incredible regret that we did not know about this sooner. Yet we believe that God has His ways, and for some reason this was the precise time that He wanted to reveal this information to us. Maybe you needed to be older to take ownership of your Asperger's instead of having us do the work for you. I really don't know. We must now focus on solutions instead of wallowing in the past. God has sent us messengers in different forms, giving us a compass for us to travel in the right direction.
There are times that I worry about the future, wondering if we will be able to overpower the fear of the unknown. There is much I don't know that I am hoping we will conquer, with God's help, with time and the right guidance. What I do know is that you have so much potential waiting to be revealed, and I hold on to the hope that one day you will see it too. And that your father and I love to the very depths of our being.
AISH http://www.aish.com/sp/so/My-Son-with-Aspergers.html?s=mm


Countering Hate in Montana
Neo-Nazis are planning a march against Jews in a small Montana town. Here's what you can do about it.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
It seems like something out of 1930s Europe, but an armed demonstration against Jews is scheduled to take place in the small resort town of Whitefish, Montana. (Originally planned for Sunday, January 15, 2017, city officials recently said the demonstration's permit application is incomplete, so organizers are currently vowing to reschedule in February and make their planned march "even bigger than before".)

Whitefish has a tiny Jewish population of about 100 residents out of a total population of 6,000. It is also the home of Rand and Sherry Spencer, whose son Richard has become a leader in the American white Supremacist movement. (He has appeared on neo-Nazi shows and sites and has promised to “secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”, at times using language echoing that of Nazi Germany.) The Spencers say they “deeply love” their son, though they “unequivocally do not agree with...extreme positions.”

Sherry recently complained that local human rights activists were pressuring her to disavow her son’s racist beliefs publicly and to sell a building she owns in downtown Whitefish and donate some of the proceeds to anti-racist groups. Her allegation was picked up by a white supremacist website which asked its readers to “troll” the “Jews targeting Richard’s Spencer mother”. Although the human rights group that allegedly pressured Mrs. Spencer was not a Jewish organization, the site identified three Jewish women who were active in it, publishing their names, their photos with Jewish stars superimposed, addresses, and family details online.
The women immediately were inundated with death threats and hate messages, and the threats and intimidation soon spread to other Whitefish civic leaders.
In this climate of hate and fear, Andrew Anglin, the leader of a Neo-Nazi website who has called Jews a “vicious, evil race of hate-filled psychopaths,” filed paperwork to hold a march “against Jews, Jewish businesses” and their supporters. “For the next phase of our plan,” he wrote on his site, “we are planning an armed protest in Whitefish. Montana has extremely liberal open carry laws, so my lawyer is telling me we can easily march through the center of the town carrying high-powered rifles.”
The plans for the march grew in frightening proportions. The planners announced they “will be busing in skinheads” from California for the event. Then it was announced that extremists from Britain, Sweden, France and Greece will participate. The planners also divulged that “a representative of Hamas will be in attendance, and will give a speech about the international threat of the Jews.”
Montanans have spoken out against the planned march. Montana Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, and Attorney General Tim Fox, a Republican, as well as other leading state officials from both parties penned an open letter declaring: “We offer our full support to the Jewish community, Montana families, businesses, faith organizations and law enforcement officers as they ensure the security of all our communities… We will address these threats directly and forcefully, putting our political differences aside to stand up for what’s right. That’s the Montana way, and the American way.”

Local anti-racism campaigners have also swung into action, holding a massive rally in Whitefish on January 7, 2017. Whitefish residents Jessica Loti Laferriere and Dominica Kau’ano Cleveras had watched with alarm as their town became embroiled in news reports about Richard Spencer’s repugnant views. Weeks ago they started planning an event in Whitefish called “Love Not Hate”.

“It was just my friend and I,” explained Ms. Laferriere in an exclusive Aish.com interview, “and we were concerned about all the news reports. We felt it wasn’t representing us, that we really are a more accepting and loving community than the way Whitefish was being portrayed.”

When the anti-Jewish march was announced, interest in the planned Love Not Hate rally skyrocketed. Residents donated their skills and funds, and local businesses supported the event. “So many people contributed and turned it into more of a festival,” Ms. Laferriere said. Despite sub-zero temperatures, 400 people attended the event. Francine Green Roston, a Jewish community leader in Whitefish, addressed the crowd speaking through tears, “In our darkest nights this winter, this state, our elected representatives...you all lifted us up… You let us know we are not alone.”

In a state with only 1,500 Jewish residents, the sole Orthodox presence in Montana is Chabad Rabbi Chaim Bruk, who often drives for many hours to visit far-flung communities. During these terrifying weeks, Rabbi Bruk has been a calming presence, listening to the fears of many of Montana’s Jewish residents.
“I think that historically when there’s anti-Semitism,” Rabbi Bruk said in an Aish.com interview, “it brings out the best in the Jewish community.” The Jew hatred in Whitefish has sparked a desire to do something constructive to stand up to hate. “I’ve seen a level of outreach and unity that’s unprecedented.”
Noting that Montana historically has been a very welcoming place for Jews, Rabbi Bruk explains that most of the trouble is being stirred up by outsiders. The few Jews in Whitefish and elsewhere in the state have not been granting interviews, hoping to deny the march organizers the attention they crave. Instead, some of Montana’s Jews are trying to counter the extreme anti-Semitism directed their way by strengthening their Jewish connections.
Within the past week, fellow Orthodox rabbis, including Rabbi Herzfeld of the National Synagogue in Washington DC, have reached Rabbi Bruk to find out what they can do to stand with Whitefish’s beleaguered Jewish community. They offered to come to Whitefish to march or demonstrate.

But the Jewish community in Whitefish made clear they don’t want any additional attention drawn to the planned march. Rabbi Bruk had a different idea. “The counter to darkness is light. We’ve been reminded of our Judaism by all this, and if we’re going to be reminded of our Judaism, we might as well experience that Judaism in all its glory.”
He proposed a Chumash campaign, raising funds to provide every Jewish household in Montana with a beautiful, English-language Jewish Bible complete with Jewish commentaries to make it easier to understand.
The results were immediate. Jews and non-Jews from across the country have contributed to the Chumash campaign. Rabbi Bruk characterizes it as an “outpouring of love”. Within days, supporters had pledged over 150 Chumashim. “We want to counter this hatred, so let’s do it in a constructive way.” Instead of weakening Jews’ connection to Judaism, the rabid anti-Semitism directed at Whitefish has sparked a surge in Jewish interest.
Whitefish community leaders and members of its small Jewish community are trying to avoid giving the anti-Jewish protestors any more attention. Instead, they are responding on an individual level, expressing tolerance and solidarity, and also participating in the Chumash drive.
“There are 1,500 beautiful Jewish households in Montana who are seeking yiddishkeit (a connection to Judaism),” Rabbi Bruk said, “and everyone is welcome to join the bandwagon and help them.”
For more information visit www.jewishmontana.com/chumashproject
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 11:13 pm

The Secret Jew & Incredible Survival of his Lost Manuscript
The amazing story of Luis de Carvajal, a secret Jew who was murdered in the 1500s, and the unlikely survival of his handwritten memoirs.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Nearly five hundred years ago, Luis de Rodriguez Carvajal, a secret Jew living in terror of the Spanish Inquisition, penned the following words at great risk to his life: “To practice Judaism is not heresy; it is the will of the Lord our God.”
The Jewish book he secretly wrote has been found and is on display for the first time in decades.

Luis de Rodriguez Carvajal and his family lived in the 1500s in Spain. Judaism had been banned in Spain in 1492 but many Jews, including the Rodriguez family, continued to secretly cling to Jewish faith and rituals, while living publicly as Catholics. The fearsome Spanish Inquisition ruthlessly hunted these secret Jews, torturing and executing anyone suspected of engaging in Jewish rituals.

In in 1580s, Luis de Rodriguez, his mother, father and siblings were invited to settle in the Nuevo Leon, an area in today’s Mexico governed by Luis’ uncle, Don Luis Carvajal. The family moved, and became close to Carvajal, changing their surname from Rodriguez and publicly embracing their powerful relative’s Catholic faith.

In “New Spain”, Luis de Rodriguez, now de Carvajal “the Younger,” continued to keep his Jewish identity as best he could. On Fridays before Shabbat, Luis’ mother and sisters washed the bed linens and prepared festive food, including a chicken dinner for Friday nights. The entire family wore their best clothes on Saturday, and the women of the household refrained from the sewing that customarily kept them busy (though they made sure to keep their sewing handy in case unexpected visitors dropped by).

Before Passover, Luis and other secret Jews in their Mexican community would slaughter a lamb, roast it and eat it, trying to recreate, as Luis described, the first Passover feast: “On foot, like people about to set out on a journey, staves in hands and loins girded”. Their community also secretly celebrated the Jewish holidays Purim and Yom Kippur.
READ MORE http://www.aish.com/jw/s/The-Secret-Jew--Incredible-Survival-of-his-Lost-Manuscript.html?s=mm


Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2016 Top 10 Worst Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Incidents
by the Simon Wiesenthal Center
With anti-Semitism raging on both sides of the Atlantic, here are some of the most troubling incidents targeting the Jewish people this past year.
1) United Nations Erases Jewish History
The most stunning 2016 UN attack on Israel was when the US abstained on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction. It reversed decades-long US policy of vetoing such diplomatic moves against the Jewish State. In 2011, a similar resolution was vetoed by US Ambassador Susan Rice “…this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides. It could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations…”, she said.
The resolution, in effect, identifies Jerusalem’s holiest sites, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, as “occupied Palestinian territory.”
READ MORE http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Simon-Wiesenthal-Centers-2016-Top-10-Worst-Anti-SemiticAnti-Israel-Incidents.html?s=mm



The Tenth of Tevet
by Rabbi Berel Wein
One day commemorates a variety of Jewish tragedies.
he Tenth of Tevet is one of the four fast days that commemorate dark times in Jewish history. The others are Tisha B'Av (the day of the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem), the 17th of Tammuz (the day of the breaching of the defensive wall of Jerusalem by Titus and the Roman legions in 70 CE), and the third of Tishrei (the day that marks the assassination of the Babylonian-appointed Jewish governor of Judah, Gedaliah ben Achikam. He was actually killed on Rosh Hashanah but the fast day was advanced to the day after Rosh Hashanah because of the holiday).
The Tenth of Tevet is viewed as such a severe and important fast day that it is observed even if it falls on a Friday.
The Tenth of Tevet marks the onset of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylonia, and the beginning of the battle that ultimately destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon, and sent the Jews into the 70-year Babylonian Exile. The date of the Tenth of Tevet is recorded for us by the prophet Yechezkel, who himself was already in Babylonia as part of the first group of Jews exiled there by Nebuchadnezzar, 11 years earlier than the actual destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem itself.
The Tenth of Tevet is viewed as such a severe and important fast day that it is observed even if it falls on a Friday (erev Shabbat), while our other fast days are so arranged by calendar adjustments as to never fall on a Friday, so as not to interfere with Shabbat preparations.
GREEK TRANSLATION
However, there are other commemorative days that fall immediately before the Tenth of Tevet and their memory has been silently incorporated in the fast day of the Tenth of Tevet as well. On the eighth of Tevet, King Ptolemy of Egypt forced 70 Jewish scholars to gather and translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Even though the Talmud relates to us that this project was blessed with a miracle -- the 70 scholars were all placed in separate cubicles and yet they all came up with the same translation -- the general view of the rabbis of the time towards this project was decidedly negative. The Talmud records that when this translation became public "darkness descended on the world."
MORE http://www.aish.com/h/10t/48960111.html?s=mm

Siege of Jerusalem
by Rabbi Noah Weinberg
The Tenth of Tevet marks Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem 2,500 years ago. What is the message for us today?
In Jewish consciousness, a fast day is a time of reckoning, a time to correct a previous mistake. What happened on the Tenth of Tevet that we have to correct?
On the Tenth of Tevet, 2,500 years ago, Nebuchadnezzar began his siege of Jerusalem. Actually, there was little damage on that first day and no Jews were killed. So why is this day so tragic? Because the siege was a message, to get the Jewish people to wake up and fix their problems. They failed, and the siege led to the destruction of the King Solomon's Temple.
Today we are also under siege. Much of the Jewish world is ignorant of our precious heritage. Children whose Jewish education ended at age 13 now carry that perception through adulthood. The results are catastrophic: assimilation in the diaspora, and a blurring of our national goals in Israel.
The siege was a message to the Jewish people to wake up and fix their problems.
So what's the message for us? Wake up and understand. What does the Almighty want? If there's a siege, hear the message now. Don't wait for the destruction.
If the Jewish problem today is a lack of appreciation of our heritage, then the solution is clear: increased love of Torah, love of Jews, and love of Israel and Jerusalem. The Almighty is telling us: The siege will not be lifted until you correct the mistake.
Responsibility To Teach
READ MORE http://www.aish.com/h/10t/48960291.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 05 Jan 2017, 10:22 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/Hard-but-Good.html?s=mm
Hard but Good
by Ilana Tatarsky
With rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, I've stopped expecting life to be easy long ago.
to be easy long ago.
by Ilana Tatarsky
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“You think you have no energy now? Just wait…” I am nine months pregnant with my first child and I'm scratching my head as to why this well-meaning person thinks this a helpful thing to say to me. And she’s not the only one. I’ve had dozens of lovely people tell me that life as I know it is over. I will never sleep again, etc. Are they worried I expect motherhood to be easy?
I smile politely at all of their advice but inside I am torn between annoyance and laughter. Many of them don’t know me well enough to realize that I stopped expecting life to be easy long ago.

When I was 21 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in all of my joints, as well as overall fatigue. Not long after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a syndrome in the same “family” as RA that causes muscle pain and tension, and, you guessed it, overall fatigue. There are other symptoms as well, but the bottom line is that I am never without pain and my energy levels are depleted quite easily.

So easy is not something I’m overly familiar with.
I wanted to hit the person who told me, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." But gradually I realized how empowering it really is.
The emotional and physical adjustments to these circumstances took me years to come to terms with. I started dating when I was 20, long before I was ready, and had a broken engagement when I was 26. This challenge was a blessing in disguise, as it got me into therapy with a wonderful therapist with whom I worked for several years. At the age of 31 I met my husband, who is incredibly supportive and essential to making my challenges much more manageable (and a terrific guy to boot).

We married a couple of months before I turned 32, and after several difficult medication adjustments, I got pregnant. I was incredibly grateful to get pregnant so soon after we started trying. But it has not been an easy pregnancy. Months of not being able to keep food down, increased pain in multiple areas, an even greater loss of energy and sleep…not easy.

But hard doesn’t have to mean bad. One of my favorite sayings is “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” Of course, the first time I heard it, in the midst of a painful arthritis flare up, I wanted to punch the person who told me it in the face. But gradually I realized how empowering it really is.

Now when I say gradually, I mean gradually. I remember about five years after my diagnosis, right after my broken engagement, I was in a dark place. I was still showing up to work, but only a few hours a day. The rest of my days were spent catching on the sleep I lost because of staying up all night watching tv. I’d watch anything and everything, whatever would block out my pain, both physical and emotional. And then one night, not even the tv could block out my agony (or maybe it was just that there was nothing good to watch. God works in mysterious ways). And I thought, Is this what my life is going to be from now on? Am I going to look back at my life as an old lady and see nothing but a series of television shows? Surely, I can do better than that? I have a lot to give if I can stop making it all about my pain.

I threw myself into giving to others, through my work at the nonprofit organization Jewish Learning Exchange. I started to really give my therapy a shot instead of just going through the motions. I found myself again when I put myself aside. There is a seemingly contradictory truth from the Torah that the way to self-actualization is through focusing on others. You give in order to grow. And when it’s hard to give, you give anyway.
With a challenge of this magnitude, you're never over it.
Life brings pain. All kinds of pain. But we have the freedom to choose our response to that pain. I can smile through it, laugh around it, and see the beauty in spite of it. I choose my focus. I often wonder how different a person I would be if I hadn’t been faced with these challenges. Would I have grown in the same way if I had had an easy, carefree life? I honestly doubt it. It is an interesting balance of praying that my difficulties get better and yet simultaneously doing all I can to rise above them.

I don’t believe with any challenge of this magnitude that you are ever really “over it”. I grow in my acceptance over time, but there will still always be days here and there when I am struck anew with the pain of it, the struggle, the loss. But those days pass, as again I remember, I choose my response. I am a happy person, and even those who know of my health issues don’t realize the full extent of them.
So motherhood. Another challenge. A different type of hard. Bring it on.

Postscript: My wonderful daughter is now 11 months old and a constant source of joy. Even when she’s screaming her head off and we’re crying together and my body feels like it’s falling apart, there is an everlasting ember of joy glowing in my heart knowing that I am a mother, after all this time.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 03 Jan 2017, 9:03 pm

Editor's Pick:
Daniel Kravitz and the Neo-Nazi
by Rabbi Shraga Freedman
The anti-Semite with a "Kill Jews" tattoo had no idea the store owner was Jewish.
Daniel Kravitz, the owner of a secondhand furniture shop in Denver, was taken aback by the customer who entered his store. The young man was dressed like a hoodlum, with a shaved head and bare arms covered with tattoos including the venomous message, “Kill Jews!” It was clear that he was a neo-Nazi.
Daniel was relieved that his kippah was concealed beneath a cap.
He spent the next hour assisting his customer. He took the man on a tour of the shop, helped him select a decent array of furniture, granted him a generous discount, and then helped the young neo-Nazi load his purchases into a pickup truck.
After looking the man over carefully to make sure he wasn't carrying any weapons, Daniel cautiously said, “Tell me, do you really feel what all those tattoos say?”
“You bet I do,” the man replied.
“Have you ever hurt anyone?” Daniel pressed.
“Yep!”
Daniel paused, then asked, “What do you have against the Jews?”
“They are thieves and liars!” The customer launched into a tirade, spewing out every imaginable anti-Semitic stereotype.
Daniel patiently listened until the man finished speaking. Then he removed his cap to reveal his kippah and said, “Are you aware that you have just spent an hour with a Jew? Haven’t I been honest, kind, and generous this whole time?”
The neo-Nazi gaped in disbelief. “No way! You can't be a Jew, man!”
Daniel motioned to the mezuzah on the door and then showed him a siddur (prayer book) on his desk. “You can see very clearly that I am Jewish, and I’m not at all like the image you have of Jews. You have been brainwashed. I can’t believe that your parents raised you with this kind of hate. You must be estranged from them,” Daniel surmised.
The neo-Nazi grimly confirmed his suspicions; he hadn’t spoken to his parents in ten years. Just then another costumer came in and Daniel wished the neo-Nazi a good day and turned to assist the other customer.
Daniel Kravitz in his store, Home Again Furniture
Six months later, the man returned to the store, this time with a full head of hair, decent clothes and long sleeves to conceal his tattoos. To Daniel’s surprise, the man embraced him warmly.
“I need to apologize to you and thank you,” he said tearfully. “You made me reassess everything I had believed. Thanks to you, I now know what a Jew is, and I’ve decided to turn my life around. I’ve even reconnected with my parents.”
Don't underestimate the amount of light one act can bring to the world.
This story was shared by Daniel Kravitz to Rabbi Shraga Freedman author of Living Kiddush Hashem and sefer Mekadshei Shemecha. Please email mifalkiddushhashem@gmail.com for a free download of sefer Mekadshei Shemecha and other resources.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 03 Jan 2017, 8:54 pm

Unsettling times for American Jews as dark clouds of anti-Semitism intrude.
by Elana Rabinowitz
I was in the classroom when I saw it. I thought it was the usual inkblot souvenir left by the rambunctious teenagers at the Middle school where I teach, but there was nothing typical about it. Etched on the cream desk was a dark blue swastika, about the size of gumdrop and about as big as anything I had ever seen. Do these children even understand what their graffiti represents?
When I was a child, I watched a lot of TV. A lot. Before cable, before DVR’s, I would sit in front of our Sony television set with the rabbit ears and turn the dial until I found something to satiate my prepubescent curiosity. Instead of getting stuck watching bowling, one afternoon, when I was ten, I found myself glued to a movie called, Playing for Time. Many of the scenes, the imagery – still haunt me all these years later
MORE http://www.aish.com/jw/s/The-Swastika-on-the-Desk.html?s=mm

Menorah Twisted into a Swastika
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
A family in Phoenix wakes up to find their 7-foot menorah turned into a swastika. The community fights back.
Naomi and Seth Ellis wanted to encourage their young sons to be excited about Chanukah.
“There are not so many Jews in our neighborhood,” Naomi explained in an Aish.com exclusive interview. Looking at all the holiday lights, Naomi’s boys, aged five, seven and nine, wanted to decorate their house with lights “like everyone else”.
Seth and Naomi’s solution: take their Jewish pride and their celebration of Chanukah outside. The couple perched a holiday Star of David on their roof and erected a large outdoor menorah outside their suburban home near Phoenix. The menorah was about seven feet tall, casting its warm light over the Ellis’ yard.
MORE http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Menorah-Twisted-into-a-Swastika.html?s=mm

Addicted to the Light
by Sarah Shapiro
My children were spared, but what about me?
Years ago when my children were children, there was one picture book I especially liked reading aloud: The Wretched Stone, by author and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg. In those days – the mid-1990s – my children didn't object to hearing it more frequently than their own favorites; it was one of the only bedtime stories that didn't put me to sleep.
The story's about the crew of a 19th-century clipper ship, who in the course of an ocean voyage come upon an island that doesn't appear on any maps. The sailors disembark to forage for provisions, and though they find nothing edible, do discover "a strange glowing
MORE http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Addicted-to-the-Light.html?s=mm

A Very Special Passenger
by Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein
Something extraordinary happened on my recent flight to Israel.

Home » Israel » Jewish World
A Very Special PassengerA Very Special Passenger
Something extraordinary happened on my recent flight to Israel.
by Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein
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The only clue that something extraordinary was happening on my recent flight to Israel was a half hour delay in boarding. Otherwise, everything seemed to be quite unremarkable as we buckled up, raised our fold-down trays and brought our chair backs to their full upright position prior to take off. Within minutes, roaring engines peeled us away from the ground. When the seat belt indicator dimmed just after dinner, I alighted from my seat and took a spin around the cabin to encourage the blood in my legs to reacquaint itself with the rest of my body and to rub shoulders with new and hopefully a few familiar fellow passengers.
As I approached the rear of the aircraft I could make out a hospital-blue curtain which seemed to hover above the last 5 rows of the center seats in the shape of a bathtub. Upon closer examination I could see all type of hospital gear attached to hoses, pumps and wires adjacent to what was a flying intensive care unit (ICU), complete with EKG monitor, feeding tubes and intravenous drip equipment.
My first instinct was to satisfy my curiosity and try to steal a look at the patient inside, but I suddenly recalled a talk given by my rabbi in which he underscored the enormous importance the Torah places upon respecting every human's right to privacy -- especially the ill -- and walked on past the impromptu ICU and into the aft galley of the plane.
MORE http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48894247.html?s=mm


Editor's Pick:
Daniel Kravitz and the Neo-Nazi
by Rabbi Shraga Freedman
The anti-Semite with a "Kill Jews" tattoo had no idea the store owner was Jewish.
Daniel Kravitz, the owner of a secondhand furniture shop in Denver, was taken aback by the customer who entered his store. The young man was dressed like a hoodlum, with a shaved head and bare arms covered with tattoos including the venomous message, “Kill Jews!” It was clear that he was a neo-Nazi.
Daniel was relieved that his kippah was concealed beneath a cap.
He spent the next hour assisting his customer. He took the man on a tour of the shop, helped him select a decent array of furniture, granted him a generous discount, and then helped the young neo-Nazi load his purchases into a pickup truck.
After looking the man over carefully to make sure he wasn't carrying any weapons, Daniel cautiously said, “Tell me, do you really feel what all those tattoos say?”
“You bet I do,” the man replied.
“Have you ever hurt anyone?” Daniel pressed.
“Yep!”
Daniel paused, then asked, “What do you have against the Jews?”
“They are thieves and liars!” The customer launched into a tirade, spewing out every imaginable anti-Semitic stereotype.
Daniel patiently listened until the man finished speaking. Then he removed his cap to reveal his kippah and said, “Are you aware that you have just spent an hour with a Jew? Haven’t I been honest, kind, and generous this whole time?”
The neo-Nazi gaped in disbelief. “No way! You can't be a Jew, man!”
Daniel motioned to the mezuzah on the door and then showed him a siddur (prayer book) on his desk. “You can see very clearly that I am Jewish, and I’m not at all like the image you have of Jews. You have been brainwashed. I can’t believe that your parents raised you with this kind of hate. You must be estranged from them,” Daniel surmised.
The neo-Nazi grimly confirmed his suspicions; he hadn’t spoken to his parents in ten years. Just then another costumer came in and Daniel wished the neo-Nazi a good day and turned to assist the other customer.
Daniel Kravitz in his store, Home Again Furniture
Six months later, the man returned to the store, this time with a full head of hair, decent clothes and long sleeves to conceal his tattoos. To Daniel’s surprise, the man embraced him warmly.
“I need to apologize to you and thank you,” he said tearfully. “You made me reassess everything I had believed. Thanks to you, I now know what a Jew is, and I’ve decided to turn my life around. I’ve even reconnected with my parents.”
Don't underestimate the amount of light one act can bring to the world.
This story was shared by Daniel Kravitz to Rabbi Shraga Freedman author of Living Kiddush Hashem and sefer Mekadshei Shemecha. Please email mifalkiddushhashem@gmail.com for a free download of sefer Mekadshei Shemecha and other resources.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 01 Dec 2016, 11:22 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/From-Baptist-Minister-to-Orthodox-Jew.html?s=mm
From Baptist Minister to Orthodox Jew
Moshe Boldor’s harrowing odyssey from hunted renegade in Communist Romania to freedom in the U.S. as an observant Jew.
by Ronda Robinson
Jean Boldor was an auto mechanic and driver for the Director of Mines in Romania, in 1983. He wanted to escape the Communist country where he was born and freely study the Bible. “In a Communist country, you cannot do anything you want,” he says.
The Romanian government forced citizens to celebrate Communist holidays. Boldor thirsted for more. “For whatever reason I was attached to the Old Testament,” he recalls, “and read about the people of Israel and the prophets. It fascinated me how God took the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.”

Always drawn to Biblical learning, Boldor didn’t know until much later that he had Jewish roots. His great-great-great-grandmother was Jewish. From there, the trail grows cold. The Jewish community in his native Lupeni was decimated during World War II, when Romania became a satellite of Nazi Germany and Jews lost their shops and citizenship. At the end of the war thousands of Jews fled Romania. It is estimated that by the end of the 1960s, the Romanian Jewish community numbered no more than 100,000

Wanting to share the joy he found, Boldor began to teach the Bible to young people. “The Communists did not look kindly upon my involvement, so I was taken to the police station many times to be interrogated, handcuffed and beaten – and given time to reflect on my activity.”
I was followed everywhere because I was considered a threat to Communism.
Lay people like Boldor were arrested for asserting their religious beliefs; they weren’t allowed to have Bibles. At age 20, he applied to emigrate to the United States where he could pursue Bible studies.

“From that moment on, I was followed everywhere because I was considered a threat to Communism,” he remembers. “When you applied to leave, they thought you were a danger.”
For five years Boldor lingered in Romania with no end in sight. Life was growing more difficult, so he decided to run away but was caught on a train headed toward the Yugoslavian border.

Military police put him under 24-hour arrest in a room full of screaming people with broken arms and broken feet who received no medical attention. They told him of being beaten with AK-47 assault rifles. After paying a monetary penalty, he was freed and went home.
Then in August 1988, Boldor and a friend, Ion, tried to flee again, going by train and on foot to the border. “I prayed to God to save me. I read Psalms when I had a few minutes. We went three days without drinking any water,” he says.
Villagers saw the two men and alerted the military who surrounded them. The soldiers began to beat them.

“Usually beatings were so bad that very few survived the next week,” Boldor says, “But one sergeant saw that I had a book of Psalms and ordered the soldiers not to touch me. Once again I saw the Hand of God and I thanked Him.”

He was put in military prison for two weeks. Then a friend in Austria sent Boldor $100 through his bank, which was used to bribe an Army captain to let Boldor and Ion go free.
They began plotting their third escape.

“I read in the Book of Esther that Mordechai and Esther fasted three days and three nights to save the Jewish nation from Haman, so I did the same. I fasted three days and nights and cried to God to help us this time succeed.”
I fasted three days and nights and cried to God to help us succeed.
Boldor’s prayers were answered. In September 1988 he and Ion took a train to the Yugoslavian border. They jumped out at a station close to the border and hid in a stand of hay. They slept by day and walked or crawled by night.

When they reached Yugoslavia they walked to Belgrade, about 500 km, 310 miles. In Belgrade they climbed atop a train to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, to avoid detection by the police.
From Ljubljana they hopped a train to Germany and Austria and at last arrived at a refugee camp near Vienna, their clothes full of dust and oil. Their treacherous two-week journey was over.

“It’s hard to describe what it means to be free and alive after such a long and dangerous trip. When we got there we found out that 180 people had been killed by the Romanian border. So God once again saved my life,” says Boldor.
He kept a promise to God to study the Bible if he survived. As a refugee from a Communist country, he obtained a visa from Canada, where he learned Biblical Hebrew and earned a bachelor’s degree in religious education at a Christian college. He also became an ordained Baptist minister.

Eventually Boldor married, had four children and moved to Seattle, Washington, where he started a small business taking care of seniors. It was during his first trip to Israel in 2004 and visiting the Cave of Machpelach in Hevron where the patriarchs and matriarchs are buried that the Baptist minister had a spiritual crisis. He had always believed Abraham was buried in Shechem, as the Christian Bible stated. Now he found otherwise. He started to compare the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and saw other discrepancies. Torah won him over.

“When I went to Israel I saw the beauty of Judaism and Shabbat. It was life-changing for me. The Torah passages came alive,” he says. He followed the murmurings of his heart as a child and decided to convert to Judaism.
Back home in Seattle he resigned his pulpit, began going to synagogue and learn Torah intensely, and started keeping the laws of Torah. The conversion process took 10 years. The former Baptist minister, who changed his name to Moshe, now keeps a kosher home and prays with a minyan three times a day.
Today Boldor makes Torah the center of his life.
His marriage didn’t withstand the changes. His wife didn’t want to convert to Judaism and the couple divorced. Three of their children converted, with one of the daughters making aliyah.
Boldor, 56, studies through an online yeshiva and makes Torah the center of his life. “It is really great to be part of the Jewish nation and follow in Avraham’s footsteps.” Today he owns and manages a nursing home in Seattle.
Moshe today, in Seattle

He transforms the hardships he endured to help others. “I am thankful to God because I was able to come home to Torah and Israel and I am trying to help other Jews. The time is not too late to come home and join the Jewish nation of Israel through following the Torah.

“Sometimes I cry living here in America. In Romania they handcuffed me, tortured me, put me in prison for reading and learning the Torah. Here we have freedom but sometimes it is wasted. My prayer is for God to use me to help other Jews appreciate the beauty of Torah.”
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sat 19 Nov 2016, 8:58 pm

God, Stay Where I Can See YouGod, Stay Where I Can See You
Shattered and made whole. Learning to trust God with everything.
by Lori Samlin Miller 
A decade ago, I began a journey toward Jewish observance together with my husband. I embraced performing mitzvahs and keeping Shabbat. I loved the holidays, and began to see through what I previously thought were random events, God’s loving hand in my life.
But all that changed when my husband became ill. Suddenly, God’s management skills came into question. How could this random, awful thing happen to my husband? I much preferred the God I had come to feel was directing my life and orchestrating events that made sense and showed us His love for us. How could I feel God’s kindness now?
My mind split into two screens. Showing in Theater One: Numbness. I was overwhelmed, paralyzed with disbelief, unable to process, accept or absorb the severity of this new reality, let alone confront the necessary steps we had to undergo to determine the choices we now faced. How could my husband – a kind, caring, selfless physician and surgeon who’d devoted his life to caring for his patients – be so sick himself?
READ MORE http://www.aish.com/sp/so/God-Stay-Where-I-Can-See-You.html?s=mm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Jews-and-Japan-7-Interesting-Facts.html?s=mm
Seven fascinating facts about Jewish links with the Land of the Rising Sun.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller 
Some of Japan’s biggest influences have come from contacts with Jews, and Japan in turn has influenced Jewish culture and history. Here are seven fascinating facts about Jewish links with the Land of the Rising Sun.
Early Jewish Contacts
Some of the first foreigners to sail to Japan during the Age of Exploration in the 16th and 17th centuries are thought to have been Jewish merchants and explorers in the employ of Dutch and British navies. Seeking to insulate the nation from foreign ways, in 1639 Japan closed its doors to the West, forbidding foreigners from entering the country for over 200 years.

This edict was lifted in 1853 and some of the first foreigners to settle in Japan were Jewish. By the 1860s, a Jewish community lived in Yokahama, near Tokyo, and established Japan’s first synagogue there. By 1895, 50 Jewish families called Yokahama home. Though small, the community was diverse; tombstones in the town’s Jewish cemetery are inscribed in Hebrew, German, French, Russian, German and Japanese. Soon, Jewish communities sprung up in Nagasaki, Kobe and Tokyo. Jews fleeing from pogroms in Russia made up many of these early settlers.

Jewish Hero in Kobe
The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 pitted the navies of the Russian and Japanese Empires, as Japan sought to check Russia’s eastward territorial ambitions. Over 70,000 Russian soldiers were taken prisoner in Japan, including nearly 2,000 Jewish soldiers.
Trumpeldor in 1917
One of these POWs was a Jewish war hero named Joseph Trumpeldor, who’d lost an arm in the war. Trumpeldor was raised in an assimilated family, but in his POW camp he met Jews from Poland, Lithuania, Bessarabia, Volhynia Podolia, Siberia, and other areas in Russia’s empire, and began to feel outraged at his fellow Jews’ experiences of anti-Semitism back home. Trumpeldor organized a Society of Jewish Prisoners of War, became its chairman, and in prison joined the cause to establish a Jewish homeland in Israel.
When he was released from his POW camp, Trumpeldor moved to Israel where he helped organize the Zion Mule Corp and build up the defenses of the nascent Jewish state. He fought in World War I, was wounded in the Battle of Gallipoli, and after the war formed a pioneering youth movement in Russia to prepare young Jews to move to Israel. Trumpeldor was murdered by Arab terrorists who attacked the Jewish town of Tel Hai, in Israel’s north, in 1920.
Chiune Sugihara, Righteous Among the Nations
In the summer of 1940, Japan’s representative in Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara, was packing: Lithuania had just been annexed by the Soviet Union, and foreign diplomats were leaving. Just then, a messenger came in and informed Sugihara that a delegation of Jews wished to speak with him.
Stepping outside, Sugihara met Zerach Warhaftig, a Jewish refugee who would go on later to become a minister in the Israeli Government. Warhaftig had a request: thousands of Jewish refugees had poured into Lithuania and were desperate to leave. Almost all the nations of the world were closing their borders to Jewish refugees. Only one country allowed Jews to enter – Curacao, a Dutch colony in the Caribbean. But Jews lacked transit visas to cross the Soviet Union and sail to Curacao. Would Sugihara issue the visas?
Moved by the Jews’ plight, Sugihara immediately started issuing visas. Within days, Sugihara was ordered to stop by his supervisors back in Tokyo. Years later, Sugihara’s wife Yukio recalled that her husband had sleepless nights. He was so anguished about disobeying orders but the sight of terrified men, women and children who had walked from war-torn regions, compelled him to defy official orders.
From July 31 to August 28, 1940, Sugihara began to grant visas on his own initiative. He would spend 18 hours a day writing over 300 visas daily, more than one month's regular quota. These were lengthy, hand-written documents. He refused to take breaks to eat, knowing that every moment was a chance to save another life. At the end of each day, his wife recalled massaging his swollen hands.
Sugihara issued approximately 6,000 visas to Jewish refugees. He continued to issue visas until he was forced to leave his post on September 4 when his consulate was dissolved due to the impending Nazi invasion.
Upon returning to Japan in 1946, Sugihara was fired from the Japanese Foreign Service for the “crime” of issuing these visas. In 1984, Yad Vashem honored Chiune Sugihara as Righteous Among the Nations.

A Jewish Yeshiva in War-Torn Japan
Of all the great yeshivas in Europe, only one survived intact throughout the Holocaust, the famous Mir Yeshiva of Lithuania. Thanks to Chiune Sugihara, about 500 students, rabbis and their families left Lithuania for Kobe, Japan in 1940 and 1941. Once in Japan, the Mir refugees found their entry visas to Curacao were no longer valid, and settled in Kobe, reestablishing their yeshiva and holding classes.

At first, the yeshiva’s Japanese neighbors were perplexed. Yeshiva students studied for 18 hours each day, and the sounds of the Jews’ loud singing and praying filled the neighborhood. Local officials were sent to find what was going on and came away impressed. The yeshiva received clearance to continue operating and its members were called “Holy Idealists” by the Japanese authorities.
n 1943, Japan relocated foreign refugees, including the members of the Mir Yeshiva, to Japanese-occupied Shanghai, restricting them to a ghetto within that city. Japanese authorities resisted pressure from their German allies to deport the Jews under their control, however, and the Mir Yeshiva continued to operate throughout the war. In 1946, the yeshiva was relocated to Jerusalem, where it continues to thrive, educating thousands of students each year.

Protecting Women’s Rights in Japan’s Constitution

Japan’s constitution provides some of the strongest women’s rights and protections anywhere in the world, mandating equality and freedom for all citizens. Less well known is that these ground-breaking provisions were written by a 22-year-old Jewish refugee, Beate Sirota Gordon.
Born into a Jewish family in Vienna in 1923, Beate’s father Leo, a famed pianist, moved the family to Tokyo when Beate was five to take up a position at Japan’s prestigious Imperial Academy of Music. Beate went to school in Japan, becoming fluent in Japanese, Russian, English, German, French and Spanish. A brilliant student, Beate left for college in the US when she was just 15 years old, in 1939.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Beate lost contact with her parents. Hoping to learn more about their fate, she joined the American war effort. She got permission from her college to study for her exams without attending classes and took a job at a US government listening post in San Francisco, monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts and writing radio propaganda encouraging Japan to surrender. (Despite her work, Beate graduated with a degree in modern languages in 1943.)
After the war, civilian travel to Japan was restricted, so Beate joined Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff as a civilian worker. She travelled with the general to Tokyo in 1946 and immediately went to her family’s home, which was a charred ruin. Beate eventually found her parents in an internment camp and nursed them back to health while working for MacArthur.

In February 1946, Beate was handed a top-secret assignment: help Gen. MacArthur draft a new constitution for post-war Japan. The only woman on MacArthur’s team, Beate was given the job of writing the Constitution’s articles on women and given seven days to complete the task. She was eager to help raise women’s status in Japan: “Japanese women were historically treated like chattel,” she later recalled, and here was her chance to change that.
Beate studied the constitutions of as many countries as she could, then drafted the following two articles in Japan’s constitution. Article 14, which asserts in part “there shall be no discrimination...because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin” and Article 24, which guarantees women’s rights in “choice of spouse, property rights, inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and other matters.”
Beate married a fellow Jewish staff member, Joseph Gordon, and devoted the rest of her life to introducing Asian arts and artists to the United States. She died in 2013.
Help after the Tsunami
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck northern Japan, triggering a devastating tsunami. As with many other tragic disasters, Israel was one of the very first, and largest, responders to the disaster.
As Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rushed to send the initial aid shipment of tens of thousands of emergency items to Japan, Japan’s ambassador to Israel at the time, Haruhisa Takeuchi, issued a public declaration: “I thank you, the crew of medical personnel, from the bottom of my heart, for volunteering to help in the aftermath of this tragedy and for carrying out this difficult mission.”
Israeli aid volunteers distribute supplies to Japanese survivors. Photo via IsraAID
Once the initial aid shipment was sent, Israeli groups established a long-term presence in Japan, training aid workers to help traumatized victims regain their mental health. Meirav Tal-Margalit, a volunteer with the international Israeli humanitarian group IsraAID, explained why Israeli volunteers were so effective: “Israel, sadly, is pretty much a trauma lab… We have extensive experience in this field, and the tools we use here (in Israel) have been proven effective worldwide. We make cultural adaptations, of course, but in the end we are all human and we share the same fears and the same dreams.”
Kosher Sushi
As Japanese cuisine has gained popularity worldwide, Jewish consumers have embraced it with a passion. According to the New York Times, Borough Park, New York’s largest Chassidic community, has 62 sushi eateries. According to Rabbi Elefant, the Chief Operating Officer of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division, 80%-90% of New York’s kosher restaurants serve sushi.

“It used to be that what defined a Jewish community was a synagogue and a kosher butcher… Then it was a kosher pizza shop,” Rabbi Elefant explained. “Now it’s a kosher sushi shop.”
The choice of kosher sushi, and other Japanese foods, is set to expand: both the Orthodox Union and Britain’s KLBD kosher certification have recently opened offices in Japan to help meet the growing market for kosher Japanese foods and drinks worldwide.
  Published: November 6, 2016
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Mon 14 Nov 2016, 1:20 am

http://www.aish.com/ci/a/Leonard-Cohen-Always-a-Jew-at-Heart.html?s=mm
Leonard Cohen: Always a Jew at HeartLeonard Cohen: Always a Jew at Heart
The influential musician had a deep connection with Israel and the Jewish people.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller 
Although Leonard Cohen, the influential, world-famous Canadian-Jewish musician, who died on November 7, 2016 at age 82, abandoned many aspects of his Jewish religion, he never forgot his connection to the Jewish people and Jewish homeland.

Born in Montreal in 1934, Cohen began playing folk guitar when he was 15, and became part of Canada’s avant garde musical scene. As a young man, he wrote novels and poetry, before devoting himself to folk music in the 1960s. Many of his beautifully-crafted songs recall his Jewish heritage. His 1974 “Who by Fire” was inspired by the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, he explained, and echoes the powerful U’Nesaneh Tokef prayer of Yom Kippur. “Hallelujah”, one of Cohen’s most famous songs, spoke about King David, author of the Book of Psalms: “Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord / That David played, and it pleased the Lord.”

Other songs commented on Jewish experiences. When Cohen was living in Europe in the 1980s, he wrote “First We Take Manhattan”, depicting the way he felt as a Jew, appreciating European life but keenly aware that Jews had been murdered in those very places: “I love your body and your spirit and your clothes / But you see that line there moving through the station? / I told you, I told you, told you, I was one of those.”

The Yom Kippur War broke out and Cohen booked a flight to Tel Aviv, wanting to help.
Cohen was living in Greece In 1973, when the Yom Kippur War broke out in Israel and he immediately felt that he wanted to do whatever he could to help the Jewish state. While many people might have watched the war unfold from afar, Cohen booked a flight to Tel Aviv. His plans were vague; he thought he might volunteer on a kibbutz to help fill the labor shortage as young men were called up to fight.
Cohen singing to Israeli troops.

Instead, he was spotted in a Tel Aviv cafe by Israeli singer Oshik Levi, who explained to Cohen that he was about to go to the Sinai Peninsula to entertain the troops and suggested that Cohen join him. Cohen did and spent several months travelling around Israel entertaining troops.
On his first day singing for the troops, Cohen found a quiet spot between concerts and wrote the words to one of his most moving songs, “Lover Come Back to Me”, a wish that Israel’s troops be protected: “And may the spirit of this song, / may it rise up pure and free. / May it be a shield for you, / a shield against the enemy.” In a concert in Tel Aviv in 1980, Cohen explained that the song was inspired “by the grace and the bravery of many Israeli soldiers at the front”.

The following years were at times chaotic for Leonard Cohen. He experimented with Buddhism, and in the 1990s even became a Buddhist monk though, at the time, he insisted “I’m not looking for a new religion. I’m quite happy with the old one, with Judaism.” His professional life was in turmoil during this time: his long-time manager Kelley Lynch started stealing from him, eventually taking millions from the singer-songwriter, leaving Cohen near-broke, and started a campaign of harassment, calling and threatening Cohen many times a day. (Lynch was eventually sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2012.)
In the midst of these troubles, Cohen was targeted by anti-Israel activists insisting that he refrain from performing in the Jewish state. After Cohen announced that would be performing in Israel in 2009, anti-Zionists started picketing his concerts, yelling at audience members, screaming outside concert venues, and holding up anti-Israel posters during Cohen’s concerts.

At first, Cohen tried to negotiate with those who criticized his decision to perform in Israel, taking his protestors at their face value. If the protesters who were hounding him and disrupting his concerts wanted Cohen to help Arabs, he was more than willing to do so. Cohen arranged a concert in Ramallah and even though he was in need of funds himself, asked Amnesty International to help him donate the proceeds of his Tel Aviv concert to peace groups.
Instead of welcoming these gestures, Cohen’s would-be partners rejected them outright. Amnesty International refused to work with Cohen. The Ramallah Cultural Palace, which was to host Cohen’s concert, cancelled, saying that Cohen would not be welcome in Ramallah if he performed in Israel, too. In the midst of the controversy, Cohen, by then in his 70s, collapsed onstage during a performance in Valencia Spain.

Undaunted, Cohen refused to give up. His September 24, 2009 concert near Tel Aviv sold out within hours and he played to a packed audience of about 55,000 Israelis. “May your life be as sweet as apples dipped in honey,” Cohen told his fans, and recited blessings over the crowd.
Though in dire need of funds himself, he took money from the concert, donating the $1 million to charity. Since Amnesty International refused to work with him, Cohen set up a fund of his own, calling it the Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace. One program Cohen funded was an Israeli charity that brings together Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones in terror attacks and war.

Cohen’s last album, “You Want it Darker”, a somber album confronting mortality, came out just weeks before his death. Its title track features background singing by Gideon Zelermyer, the chazzan, or cantor, of the Orthodox synagogue that Cohen belonged to in Montreal, and includes Cohen singing a translation of the Jewish mourner’s prayer. On Thursday, November 10, 2016, Cohen was laid to rest in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony.
Montreal’s Congregation Shaar Hashomayim released a statement that Cohen “was a beloved and revered member” and that “Leonard’s wish was to be laid to rest in a traditional Jewish rite beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.”
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Mon 07 Nov 2016, 10:21 pm

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Mel-Gibson-No-Apology-No-Forgiveness.html?s=mm
Mel Gibson: No Apology, No Forgiveness
The disgraced director isn’t expressing remorse for his anti-Semitism. He just wants us to forget about it and move on.
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
Mel Gibson is back.
After more than a decade as a pariah for his virulent anti-Semitic and racist pronouncements, Mel Gibson, the Hollywood icon who gained notoriety for telling a police officer that “the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”, is attempting a major comeback. How should we react to Hacksaw Ridge, the new film he directed which received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Venice film Festival?

The film tells the powerful story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the first “conscientious objector” to receive the U.S. Medal of Honor for heroically saving lives as a medic during the spring 1945 battle for Okinawa, and it is getting early Oscar buzz. Film critics are almost unanimous in praise. There’s no doubt that the movie is a significant artistic achievement.

But the question begs to be asked: Is art independent of moral considerations? Does it make a difference if the director of a film probing the most intense emotions of those who fought against the Nazi regime in World War II has consistently denied the reality of the Holocaust?

Not too many years ago, Mel Gibson announced that he would be doing a film about Judah Maccabee, possibly as an attempt to undo the damage to his image from his appalling portrayal of Jews in his infamously biased retelling of the crucifixion of Jesus in The Passion. That prompted the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance to say, "Casting [Gibson] as a director or perhaps as the star of Judah Maccabee is like casting Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or a white supremacist as trying to portray Martin Luther King Jr." Joe Eszterhas, originally hired as scriptwriter for the movie, subsequently pulled out with the explanation to Gibson that “I’ve come to the conclusion that you hate Jews” and the movie never got made.

But with Hacksaw Ridge now released it is relevant to remind ourselves of a famous and somewhat similar controversy in the early 80s. CBS produced the film Playing for Time, a moving portrayal scripted by Arthur Miller of Fania Fenelon, a French pianist, cabaret singer, secret member of the Resistance, and a Jew. Captured by the Nazis, she was sent to Auschwitz where she became one of the legendary orchestra girls who used music to survive the Holocaust. The Mädchenorchester von Auschwitz (lit. "Girls Orchestra of Auschwitz") was first formed in April 1943 as a pet project of SS chief supervisor Maria Mandel for the Germans who desired both a propaganda tool for visitors and camp newsreels, and a tool for camp morale. Fania survived because of her forced involvement in the travesty of musical performances in the heart of hell.

Cast in the lead role as Fania was the PLO sympathizer and vocal anti-Semite Vanessa Redgrave, someone who had been quoted as saying “Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth.”

Fania Fenelon was enraged – but she could do nothing about the identity of the actress who portrayed her. In the storm of protest aroused by this indecent casting, CBS took the position that Redgrave’s political sympathies could not be allowed to affect the producer’s judgment of her acting ability.

Allow me to highlight the ultimate irony: The whole point of Playing for Time was to convey the unspeakable tragedy of a barbaric era of recent history, yet its production repeated a fundamental error of outlook which made the Holocaust possible. Fania Fenelon was forced to play music as fellow inmates were marched to their death. It was the expression of German culture which saw no contradiction between music as civilized art and murder as national policy.

The orchestra at Auschwitz had a philosophical underpinning. The SS guard who snatched an infant from his mother’s breast, splattered his brains against the wall and then calmly picked up his violin to enjoy the strains of Beethoven believed the two actions were compatible. What Nazism preached in mid-twentieth century, after thousands of years of supposed progress for civilized man, is precisely what was used to justify Redgrave’s right to be judged solely on artistic rather than moral considerations – even as Germanic “Kultur” disassociated one from another.

At issue was not a role but rather a rationale for creativity. As an ideal of Western civilization, Andre Maurois perceptively told us, “Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more human world.” Was it mere coincidence, then, that the 30s first saw the creation of “life-is-a-cabaret” decadence immediately prior to the decline of the moral fabric of German society?

It was those who forced musicians to play as background music to genocide that left as their legacy the conviction that art has nothing to do with heart and that beauty – in spite of what Keats might have famously told us – has nothing to do with truth.

We ought to know better. Mel Gibson, sad to say, has not really changed from the man who proudly told us that his father, a notorious Holocaust denier, “has never lied to me.” To those who shrug off Gibson’s vile rantings of the past as vodka-induced aberrations, Christopher Hitchens perceptively pointed out that in vino veritas – in wine there is truth – and that “One does not abruptly decide, between the first and second vodka that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion are valid after all”.

It was in August of this year – not a decade ago but in 2016 – that Mel Gibson shared with Glenn Beck the diatribe that that “Jewish people” had stolen a copy of his Jesus movie more than a dozen years ago and used it to attack him and make his life hell before the film’s release.

In his words, “And then some Jewish people – I guess some rabbis or something, I didn’t get into it – somebody stole a copy of the movie before it was shown to anybody… And then they did a deal in The New York Times with all these rabbis trashing me as an anti-Semite. And I couldn’t believe it… Nobody was really upset that these guys stole the movie…’

So, as Glenn Beck tells us, The Passion of the Christ director is still blaming Jews for his troubles – and I guess crucifying him just as they did Jesus.

Mel Gibson is not expressing remorse and asking us to forgive him; he just wants us to forget about it and move on. Even worse, he is painting himself as a victim, telling late night host Stephen Colbert, “That moment in time shouldn’t define the rest of my life.” He’d like us simply to enjoy his new movie as a work of art.

But there can be no forgiveness without genuine remorse. And after the Holocaust I refuse to separate art from heart – or to confuse any passion for the artistic merit of a film with admiration for the hate-filled director of The Passion.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 03 Nov 2016, 10:40 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/The-Cubs-Win-the-World-Series--the-Coming-of-the-Messiah.html?s=mm
The Cubs Win the World Series & the Coming of the Messiah
Cubs fans waited 108 years to experience this elation. Jews have been waiting 5777 years.
by Samara Kipnis 
The Chicago Cubs actually won the World Series! The Lovable Losers beat their 108-year-long losing streak and killed the goat’s silly curse. They did it!

I bet even the Chicago White Sox fans deep down feel a twinge of satisfaction that the Cubs won. That they feel like, Hey, even though I was not waiting and hoping and wishing that they would win, I’m kind of glad they did. Even the folks from Chicago who don’t care that much about baseball, many of them started watching the World Series and at the last moment joined in on the feeling of hope, to see how it would play out.

And then there are the true Cubs fans, the ones like my great-grandfather who went to game after game and held onto that hope. The ones alive today that had the chance to actually see their team make it and win it. They are elated. This is what they’ve been hoping for.

They bought the gear, they told their children about that stupid goat, and tonight they experienced something unusual, something grand. They experienced the actualization of hope. The answers to their prayers. The joy that comes from wanting something so badly and being let down again and again and again, until finally, 108 years later, they got what they’ve been asking for. Actualization of hope is finding your life partner. It’s getting the cure for illness. It’s the splitting of the Red Sea. It’s the Messiah (Mashiach) coming.

The Cubs give us a taste of this. The waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting… and then, The Win.
And in the end the win happened so fast, in the blink of an eye. Watching the game, I did not even realize that Bryant was the one who caught the ground ball and that Rizzo was the one who tagged first base. Jumping up and down screaming and experiencing the fullness of that moment lasted less than a minute. I’m still on a high from it an hour later writing this, but the intensity of that feeling is fleeting, partly because the present is so hard to hold onto. But life is fleeting. Who knows how long it will be?

The mystical sources say that Mashiach will coming by the Hebrew year 6000. It is now year 5777. We are in the bottom of the ninth. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want an extra inning. I’m ready. I want to be like a true fan, the one who has been waiting and praying and hoping and yearning, really yearning for The Win. For Mashiach, for world peace, for closeness to God, for the actualization of hope and the fulfillment of Jewish destiny. I want to be experiencing the elation of that closeness now, today. Cubs fans have been waiting 108 years; we Jews have been waiting 5777 years for our Win.

The good news is that we’re not the fans; we are the players. It’s in our hands. We make the change. It is in our power whether we hit a homerun, a grand slam, or strike out. It is in our power whether we catch the ball and tag first. It is in our power whether we help give someone what they need, pray for a neighbor or gossip about them. We are the spiritual Bryants and Rizzos, Russells, and Heywards. We can break this 5777-year-long streak.

We can make the world forget what it was like to live in a reality where losing was ever-present and where humanity forgot that it was an option for us to win.
And the fleetingness of the moment? It doesn’t exist in eternity, the Next World, Olam Haba. In the Next World, the intensity of experiencing the actualization of hope lasts forever. Every time you stop yourself from gossiping, every time you do an act of kindness, every time you work on yourself, every time you love the Jewish people, every time work on loving a specific Jew, every minute you spend learning Torah, you are getting on base, hitting home runs, blasting grand slams and tagging first base for the win.

You’re getting us closer. We’re doing it together. And God sees it. He’s coming closer and closer, because of you, because of me, because of us. Keep up the good work, team. We got this.
(I am not related to Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians, but nice homerun in Game 6.)
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