Torah – ReligionFacts

Although the word “Torah” is sometimes used to refer to the entire Tanakh or even the whole body of Jewish writings, it technically means the first five books of the Tanakh. These books are also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch. In English, the names for the books of the Torah are derived from Greek and describe the general topic of the book:

– Genesis – Exodus – Leviticus – Numbers – Deuteronomy (“Second Law”)

The Hebrew names of the books of the Torah reflect not the subject, but the first major word of each book:

– Bereisheet (“In the beginning”) – Sh’mot (“Names”) – Vayikra (“And he called”) – BaMidbar (“In the wilderness”) – D’varim (“Words”)

Among other things, the Torah contains important events in the history of Judaism, like the account of the creation of the world, God’s special call to Abraham, the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses, God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the wandering in the wilderness, and the conquering of Canaan, the Promised Land. The Torah is by far the most important part of the Tanakh because, in addition to including these important stories, it also details the commandments (mitzvot) God gave the Jewish people through Moses.

Accordingly, the Torah scroll (Sefer Torah) is the most important object in a synagogue. The text is carefully handwritten in Hebrew calligraphy on a parchment made of animal skins, and the scroll is kept in an ark (short for aron kodesh, “holy cabinet”). The Torah has been read publically since the time of Ezra (c. 450 BCE). Today, a portion of the Torah (parashiyot) is read in the synagogue on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and holidays. (See The Synagogue.)


– Essential Judiasm: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals by George Robinson (Pocket Books, 2000). – “Torah, Torah, Torah: The Unfolding of a Tradition.” Judaism for Dummies (Hungry Minds, 2001). – Tracey R. Rich, “Torah.” Judaism 101 (1995-99).

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Torah – ReligionFacts

Torah PORTIONS | This Week’s Portion

The Hebrew name of the fourth book of the Torah (also the name of the first reading) is Bamidbar (), which means In the wilderness. It comes from the first words of the first verse, which say, Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 1:1). The English title of the book is Numbers, which is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Torah. The book of Numbers tells the story of Israels trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, their failure at the edge of the land and the subsequent forty years of wandering. It concludes with the story of the second generations triumphs over the first Canaanite resistance. The book ends with the Israelites poised on the edge of Canaan, ready to take their inheritance. Woven in the midst of these narratives is a significant amount of legal material.

The first reading from Bamidbar and the thirty-fourth reading from the Torah begin with a census of the tribes of Israel and the Levitical families just prior to the departure from Sinai.

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Torah PORTIONS | This Week’s Portion

Torah | The amazing name Torah: meaning and etymology

What is Torah?

The word Torah is both a name and a general concept. Nowadays Torah is name of the first five Books of the Bible (a.k.a. the Books of Moses, or Pentateuch), and that tradition probably stems from the time just after the return from the Babylonian exile. The Torahic concept encompasses some stipulations that might be comparable to what we presently call law but that fraction is certainly not representative of the whole. In stead, the word Torah appears to reflect “the way things are” much rather than “the way things are supposed to be”.

The narrative stories of the Pentateuch, therefore, are not so much (legendary, folkloristic or even sentimental) histories but much rather archetypes of processes through which everything that evolves either will evolve or will be annihilated (read our article on Evolution and the Bible for more on this). Fulfilling the Torah is thus not so much a forced obedience to stipulations but rather a having developed into an entity that corresponds to the way the physical universe works; something that is stable in the physics sense of the word. Since that stability is a requisite for further growth, that stability must be reached before anything else can come about. In a passage that could easily spawn a few gigabytes worth of commentary, Paul teaches that love fulfills the Torah (Romans 13:8-10) but Jesus makes it clear that the entire law must be fulfilled before the state in which people can actually love their neighbor is achieved (Matthew 5:18). And that ties Torah firmly to Wisdom.

The creation account of Genesis 1 is not so much a primitive myth, but rather the most rudimentary blueprint of how evolution works (see for more details our Introduction to Scripture Theory or our article on Evolution and the Bible). The story of the Father and the Three Sons for instance (in which one son dies or diminishes and the lowly second son joins the glorified third) is told in its most basic form in the account of Adam and Cain, Abel and Seth, and is repeated in various nuances from Noah and Shem, Ham and Japheth all the way up to Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14), the image of Jesus on the cross with His one neighbor rejected and the other one joined with Him in Paradise (Luke 23:43), the breach between the lost northern kingdom of Israel and the saved southern Judah which contained the temple of YHWH, and might even establish the rough outline of the New Creation (in which satan is irrelevant and the nations of the earth attach themselves to the elect living in the New Jerusalem; Revelation 21:24).

All these narrative forms (also known as narrative cycles) are obvious continuations, or self-similar reproductions (geneticists would speak of homologous structures), of the second creation day, where one watery continuum is breached in two by a third (namely the heavenly firmament). The waters over the firmament are heard from no more, and the waters below the firmament produce dry land, vegetation and life; federated with and governed by lights placed in the dividing firmament (Genesis 1:1-19).

This image may even apply to the structure of a living cell, in which the cell-body body distinguished itself from the world at large, organized around a nucleus that contains the cell’s genetic code (see our article on the Household Set), and obviously also applies to the organization of Israel around the tabernacle, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two tablets with the Ten Commandments. This tabernacle, in turn, provided the blue print for the Temple and the Temple became the Body of Christ; all formed after fundamental patterns which were shown to Moses (Exodus 25:40, Hebrews 8:5). And that is why the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ follows the human reproductive cycle, and the standard model of elementary particles appears obviously embedded in the structure of the family of Abraham.

The name Torah and the general word torah are usually translated with either law or teaching, and that would work on the proviso that what is taught is actually true (i.e. a reflection or adaptation of “natural” law). And it should be noted that covenant precedes formal law (covenant: Genesis 6:18; deposition of formal law: Exodus 20, but note man’s natural knowledge of law: Genesis 26:5, Romans 2:15); meaning that the relationship of God and mankind is not brought about by wisdom (God is not “discovered” or found by looking for Him; Luke 17:20), but that wisdom is brought about by the relationship of God and mankind (God is found because He looked for us; 1 John 4:19).

Quite tellingly, the first time that the word (torah) is used is in the statement: “The same law applies to the native [Israelite] as to the foreigner who lives in Israel” (Exodus 12:49). The second time our word appears is in Exodus 24:12, where the Lord instructs Moses to approach Him on the mountain in order to receive the famous stone tables that He had prepared for him (Exodus 24:12).

Even though the existence of Torah also resulted in rules and regulations that people needed to learn by heart and carefully observe, Torah itself was regarded as something delectable (Psalm 19:10), desirable (Psalm 119:92) and loveable (Psalm 119:97).

The Hebrew word for Law (Torah) is a derivation of the verb (yara), meaning to throw, cast or shoot:

The letter in front of a root has somewhat the same function as an integral sign in front of an equation: it sums up the whole of different variations of the root. But when we do that with the root (yara) in order to create the word (Torah), something that seems like a regular female form of the word emerges:

To anyone who is not familiar with these things, seeing a dove descend on someone (Matthew 3:16) is cute at best. For someone who sees the linguistic connection between Law and dove, this is all quite a bit more profound.

Jesus summed up the Law by stating what the “larger and unified objective” of all God’s instructions are: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind & You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).

These words sum up the true purpose of man. If this purpose is obtained, sin is without effect and the Law is fulfilled. See for a more in depth study of law, sin and forgiveness our article The Skinny on Sin Romans 7

Also note that the first occurrence of the first letter of our word (torah) is the last letter of the first word of the Bible, namely (bersheet), meaning “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1). Fifty letters later (or forty-nine, depending how you count), we find the second letter of our word (torah), namely in the word (tehom), meaning “the deep” (Genesis 1:2). Another fifty letters down, there’s the in (w’yra’), meaning “and He saw” (Genesis 1:4). Fifty letters after that sits the in the word (‘elohim), meaning God.

Whoever placed this marvelous little gem in the text of the creation account seems to have figured that Torah = In The Beginning The Deep Saw God. Whether this delightful letter-trick was known to the sons of Korah isn’t clear, but read our article on Psalm 42:7 for something to ponder (and also see John 1:1-5 and Colossians 1:16).

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Torah | The amazing name Torah: meaning and etymology

Anti-Semitism – The New York Times

Latest Articles

The writer and historian grew up perhaps 100 yards from Adolf Hitler during the Nazi era, before escaping Germany.


A new comedy about anti-Semitism questions what it means to be Jewish in France.


A stunned employee wonders how, or even whether, to respond after a superior makes an offensive and bigoted remark.


How I became the target of a hate-filled campaign.


The group, heavily financed by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, issued its statement amid a torrent of Twitter posts and comments against Jewish journalists.


Some dialogue can be tantamount to saying that Israel does not have the right to exist despite history.

The village was once known as Castrillo Matajudos, or Little Hill Fort of Jew Killers. Its mayor believes that the vandals are members of extremist groups with no direct connection to the village.


The Labour Party has been forced to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks, but the malaise goes deeper.


The suspension of Ken Livingstone came a day after Labours leader, Jeremy Corbyn, disciplined another party member over anti-Israel posts on social media.


Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, suspended Ms. Shah for endorsing anti-Israel posts on social media before she joined Parliament.


As the country engages in fierce debates centered on national identity, it is also confronting challenges to traditional norms of political discourse.


Institutions in Hamburg, Lneburg and Tbingen said that their networks may have been hacked, and that many of the leaflets were printed on the anniversary of Hitlers birth.


As France grapples with radical Islam and a rise in anti-Semitic acts, a growing number of Jews are choosing to settle in the British capital.


Princeton High School has contended with a flood of scrutiny since a blog post revealed that students had played a game called Jews vs. Nazis.


As a CUNY professor, I disagree with calls to boycott Israel, but those calls shouldnt be suppressed.


A computer hacker who goes by the name of Weev said he sent the fliers last week to all publicly accessible printers in North America, but it is not clear whether he could face charges.

The measure was an attempt to combat hostility toward Jewish students amid growing opposition on campuses to Israeli policies.


Overheard at Oberlin: The Holocaust was mere “white on white crime.”


Leni Riefenstahls largely staged documentary about the 1934 Nazi Party Congress inspired American filmmakers to address its imagery.


The writer and historian grew up perhaps 100 yards from Adolf Hitler during the Nazi era, before escaping Germany.


A new comedy about anti-Semitism questions what it means to be Jewish in France.


A stunned employee wonders how, or even whether, to respond after a superior makes an offensive and bigoted remark.


How I became the target of a hate-filled campaign.


The group, heavily financed by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, issued its statement amid a torrent of Twitter posts and comments against Jewish journalists.


Some dialogue can be tantamount to saying that Israel does not have the right to exist despite history.

The village was once known as Castrillo Matajudos, or Little Hill Fort of Jew Killers. Its mayor believes that the vandals are members of extremist groups with no direct connection to the village.


The Labour Party has been forced to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks, but the malaise goes deeper.


The suspension of Ken Livingstone came a day after Labours leader, Jeremy Corbyn, disciplined another party member over anti-Israel posts on social media.


Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, suspended Ms. Shah for endorsing anti-Israel posts on social media before she joined Parliament.


As the country engages in fierce debates centered on national identity, it is also confronting challenges to traditional norms of political discourse.


Institutions in Hamburg, Lneburg and Tbingen said that their networks may have been hacked, and that many of the leaflets were printed on the anniversary of Hitlers birth.


As France grapples with radical Islam and a rise in anti-Semitic acts, a growing number of Jews are choosing to settle in the British capital.


Princeton High School has contended with a flood of scrutiny since a blog post revealed that students had played a game called Jews vs. Nazis.


As a CUNY professor, I disagree with calls to boycott Israel, but those calls shouldnt be suppressed.


A computer hacker who goes by the name of Weev said he sent the fliers last week to all publicly accessible printers in North America, but it is not clear whether he could face charges.

The measure was an attempt to combat hostility toward Jewish students amid growing opposition on campuses to Israeli policies.


Overheard at Oberlin: The Holocaust was mere “white on white crime.”


Leni Riefenstahls largely staged documentary about the 1934 Nazi Party Congress inspired American filmmakers to address its imagery.


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Anti-Semitism – The New York Times

Obama and ‘Jewish Heritage Month’ – Commentary Magazine

To be clear, there is nothing remotely anti-Semitic about the proclamation itself, and Im not accusing the president or his staff in any way of promoting anti-Semitism. But I do note that the proclamations discussion of Jews contributions to American society is consistent with a particular left-wing view of Jewswhich is that Jews have two predominant roles to play in the world, either as victims or as advocates for progressive causes.

Here are the first two paragraphs of the proclamation:

At Americas birth, our Founders fought off tyranny and declared a set of idealsincluding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happinessthat would forever guide our countrys course. For generations since, Jewish Americans, having shared in the struggle for freedom, have been instrumental in ensuring our Nation stays true to the principles enshrined in our founding documents. They have helped bring about enduring progress in every aspect of our society, shaping our countrys character and embodying the values we hold dear. This month, as we pay tribute to their indelible contributions, we recommit to ridding our world of bigotry and injustice and reflect on the extraordinary ways in which Jewish Americans have made our Union more perfect.

Many of the Jewish people who reached our Nations shores throughout our history did so fleeing the oppression they encountered in areas around the world. Driven by the possibility of charting a freer future, they endeavored, on their own and as a community, to make real the promise of American their individual lives and in the life of our country. Determined to confront the racism that kept this promise from being fully realized, many Jewish Americans found a cause in the Civil Rights Movement thatin its call for freedom and justiceechoed the timeless message of Exodus and the Jewish peoples journey through the ages. Reflecting on the march in Selma, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once noted, I felt my legs were praying. From the fight for womens rights to LGBT rights to workers rights, many in the Jewish American community, drawing on lessons from their own past, have trumpeted a clarion call for equality and justice.

Its no secret that many liberal American Jews emphasize the social justice part of their identity. But this doesnt preclude also recognizing, as part of Jewish Heritage Month, that Jews have contributed disproportionately to the arts, business, medicine, academia, science, and so forth. Nor does it preclude recognizing that American Jews have successfully created unique and innovative Jewish communal charities, educational institutions, and internal religious movements (such as Conservative Judaism). Nor does it preclude recognizing that American Jews have been at the forefront of helping to establish and defend Israel and in rescuing persecuted Jews from Ethiopia to the USSR.

Im sure if you asked whoever drafted the presidents proclamation about these other matters, he would say something along the lines of, yeah, that stuff is nice, too.

But for some progressives on the far left, including some progressives of Jewish descent, that other stuff isnt nice too. To them, Jews exist only for the role assigned to them by the progressive mythosto use their experience of oppression and their privilege to fight for the rights of others, and then to assimilate or disappear.

Ever since Karl Marx himself stated as much, there has been a significant strand of left-wing thought suggesting that Jews arent a legitimate ethnic group, but simply forlorn Asiatic/European nomads who came to exist as a group solely to serve the class interests first of feudal rulers and than of capitalists, possessing neither a legitimate religion (because no religion is legitimate) nor a legitimate culture (because Jews) nor any claim to self-determination.

Indeed, this is sometimes explained in a way that makes anti-Semitism understandable as a reaction to the fact that Gentile rulers use Jews to exploit their subjects. Consider the following recent open letter from a group of leftist Jewish Oberlin students:

We agree with the definition of anti-Semitism laid out by Aurora Levins Morales, a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist; she writes that anti-Semitism, writing about European Jewry under Christianity, functions by creating a vulnerable buffer group that can be bribed with some privileges into managing the exploitation of others, and then, when social pressure builds, be blamed and scapegoated, distracting those at the bottom from the crimes of those at the top.

Because Jews have no corporate legitimacy unless they are gathering to demand rights for others, it is deemed reactionary to suggest that Jews should have intragroup solidarity. Indeed it has long been a defining attribute of many Jews on the far left to go out of their way to express their disinterest in Jewish causes. Consider Rosa Luxemburgs classic statement: What do you want with these special Jewish pains? I feel as close to the wretched victims of the rubber plantations in Putamayo and the blacks of Africa with whose bodies the Europeans play ball I have no special corner in my heart for the [Jewish] ghetto: I am at home in the entire world, where there are clouds and birds and human tears.

Moreover, it would be reactionary to recognize disproportionate Jews contributions to various fields of endeavor. Good left-wingers, after all, believe that all groups would be exactly equal in every way but for societal oppression Indeed, given that relevant ethos, Jewish success suggests that Jews have somehow gamed the system at the expense of disadvantaged minorities, something that is rather overtly suggested every time a self-proclaimed spokesperson for a minority group suggests that his group must exhibit more solidarity like the Jews so they can be successful like the Jews. (Anyone who thinks that intragroup solidarity is a defining aspect of American Jewish culture doesnt know much about American Jewish culture).

So for some fraction of the far left, the Jewish contribution to various liberation movements is not simply the Jews most important contribution to the world, and is not simply the only one worth mentioning if you have limited space, as with President Obamas proclamation. It is, rather, the only legitimate praise one can give to the Jews.

Meanwhile, Jewish support for Israel, or sometimes even for fellow Jews suffering elsewhere, is nothing but reactionary nationalism based on at best foolish sentimentality and at worst racist notions of Jewish superiority. Exactly why Jewish solidarity is racist, but not solidarity among other groups, is never clearly explained, but it seems to have something to do with the fact that Jews arent a legitimate ethnic group to begin with.

Once we understand that there are those who believe that the existence of Jews as a recognizable entity, is only justified (and only temporarily) to the extent Jews rely on their residual memories of collective oppression to aid left-wing liberation movements, one can begin to understand the far lefts problem with the Jews. Their ideology leaves no room for anything but revulsion with Zionism, dismissal of claims of anti-Semitism (in ways they would never dismiss accusations of other forms of racism), nor for considering the Holocaust to have any more significance than as an unfortunate example of white on white crime.

In short, to many on the far left, the only good Jew is a secular left-wing internationalist political activist with no particular interest in the well-being of his fellow Jews. (Consider again the Oberlin students: We urge all Jewish students concerned about anti-Semitism to fight with equal passion for Palestinian liberation, Black liberation, and an end to all forms of oppression, on and off campus. Others, but not Jews, are permitted to be especially concerned with the fate of their own group.) Given that only a small fraction of Jews fit that model, anti-Semitism is therefore a natural consequence.

Jews have a specific heritage worth celebrating. It would have been proper if the White House had recognized it, no matter what the far Left thinks.

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Obama and ‘Jewish Heritage Month’ – Commentary Magazine

Anti-Defamation League – Metapedia

From Metapedia

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a powerful Jewish lobby organization primarily based in the United States but with offices in some other countries. It was founded in 1913 as a branch of B’nai B’rith. In 1930 they had only three fulltime employees. By 1938 the organization expanded to two-hundred and fifty workers.[1]

The organization describes itself as a civil rights organization that fights antisemitism and bigotry more generally.

Critics of Jewish influence and how it is used have often been highly critical of the ADL.

The ADL states that it was founded in 1913 in response to the perceived antisemitism against the Jew Leo Frank who was convicted of the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan that year. Controversy has continued regarding the case with continued attempts to turn Leo Frank into an innocent martyr.

In the 1950s the ADL campaigned to free the Jew Morton Sobell from charges of espionage. In 2008 Sobell admitted to spying for the Soviet Union.[2]

The ADL claims to be an international civil rights organization working for equal civil rights for all but the organization supports Israel and its often Jewish supremacist policies.

ADL undercover agents such as Abraham Feinberg have been stated to have been investigated by the FBI as agents of a foreign government and for stopping investigations regarding illegal arms-smuggling from the US to Israel. Feinberg became well known as financing Harry Truman and helping him to victory in the 1948 presidential elections. Truman recognized Israel minutes after the declaration of independence. Feinberg was also one of the financiers of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.[3][4]

One of the earliest activities was the establishment of what has been described as a private intelligence agency, and sending spies, infiltrators, disruptors, and agents provocateurs against perceived opponents (including other Jews). In the early 1940s they had over 50,000 files on American citizens and their political associations. Declassified FBI files state that in 1940, the ADL supplied contact information of nearly 1,600 ADL members to the FBI to serve as informants and undercover sources. A FBI letter advised that “the Anti-Defamation League does not wish it to become generally known that they do employ private investigators”. A 1947 Congressional hearing revealed that the ADL had begun providing information to the original House Committee on Un-American Activities.[2][3][5][6]

See also the article on the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.

“An ADL operative using illicit press credentials was arrested at a Madison Square Garden disrupting an anti-war rally in 1941. “The ADL had then brought ‘tremendous pressure to bear on Commissioner Seery and the Mayor’s Committee on Press Cards to drop the Forster incident the preceding night.” The effort to quash prosecution included offering payoffs and planting hostile news reports, according to the FBI report.”[2]

“In 1993, Roy Bullock, was exposed as an ADL agent. He was San Francisco art dealer who was fairly well-known in the homosexual community and whose specialty was the infiltration of patriotic, Arab-American, and other organizations on behalf of the League. Bullock was found to have in his possession illegally obtained and highly private and personal data on his targets data which could only have been obtained from police and other confidential government files. These data were also discovered in the files of the ADL itself when police raided ADL headquarters in San Francisco and Los Angeles as result of Bullocks exposure…seizing evidence of a nationwide intelligence network accused of keeping files on more than 950 political groups, newspapers, and labor unions and as many as 12,000 people…operatives of the Anti-Defamation League searched through trash and infiltrated organizations to gather intelligence an Arab-American, right-wing, and what they called pinko organizations…the organization maintains undercover operatives to gather political intelligence in at least seven cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco”. Jewish organizations that had taken positions critical of Israeli policies were included in the Pinko section. There were also files on members of Congress. The ADL or persons working for the ADL also tapped into phone systems, worked closely and likely often illegally with several police officers, and from police sources obtained privileged and personal information on thousands of people. 75% of the information was estimated to had been obtained illegally. It has been alleged that the DA in charge dropped the charges due to needing Jewish support in coming elections. Sensitive information is stated to have been shared with Israel.[3][6][7]

Organizations that the ADL kept files on in 1993 span the political spectrum and included Ku Klux Klan,the White Aryan Resistance, Greenpeace, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the United Farm Workers, the Jewish Defense League, the American Civil Liberties Union, Earth Island Institute, the United Auto Workers, Jews for Jesus, Mother Jones magazine, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Bo Gritz for President Committee, the Asian Law Caucus, the AIDS activist group ACT UP, Centro Legal de la Raza, Irish Northern Aid, National Indian Treaty Council, and Japanese-and American Citizens League.[3][6][7]

While the ADL has publicly focused on US “neo-Nazi” groups without any power, it has been argued that this has been mainly in order to scare rich Jewish fund-raisers, while many of the ADL’s more clandestine activities has also targeted perceived enemies of Israel such as Palestinians, their solidarity groups, Arab-Americans, Arab students, and Arab delegations to the United Nations.[3]

In 1951 the FBI judged material regarding the Arab League and activities of Egypt and Saudi Arabia that the ADL brought to the FBI “to be absolutely unreliable”.[2]

The National Director of the ADL in 1961 stated that “[T]he Anti-Defamation League for many years has maintained a very important, confidential investigative coverage of Arab activities and propaganda.Our information, in addition to being essential for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both the United States State Department and the Israeli government. All data have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to each that we were the source” and “we have maintained an information-gathering operation since 1948 relating to activities emanating from the Arab Consular Offices, Arab United Nations Delegations, Arab Information Center, Arab Refugee Office and the Organization of Arab Students”.[3]

In 1969 the FBI proposed investigating the ADL as an Israeli foreign agent after three ADL undercover operatives infiltrated and strategized the takeover of the Organization of Arab Students.[2]

In 1983 the ADL published a 49 page “confidential” booklet for use by Jewish students listing the names of individuals such as Arab-American professors and organizations classified as pro-Arab propagandists. After it became public the ADL stated that the booklet was an unfortunate incident.[3]

Jeffrey Blankfort has argued that the above mentioned Bullock “succeeded in not only becoming a member of the local chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee but, because of his size and weight, he would be in charge of security at all its events” and that “One of the targets Bullock befriended was Palestinian-American Alex Odeh, the head of the Orange County chapter of the ADC who would be killed by a terrorist bomb when he opened the door to his Santa Ana office on October 11, 1985. In Bullocks files, police found a key to Odehs office as well as the floor plan.” Bullock has not officially been linked with the unresolved murder.[3]

The ADL kept files on 48 anti-apartheid organizations, possibly due to fear that they would make comparisons between apartheid and Israeli policies. ADL agents were also paid by South Africa to supply information regarding anti-apartheid organizations in the USA.[3]

“One individual the South African agents were particularly interested in was Chris Hani, the man who was expected to succeed Nelson Mandela as the countrys president. Hani was assassinated in South Africa shortly after a speaking tour in California during which he was trailed by Bullock who prepared a lengthy report on it for the South African government, a copy of which was found in his files.”[3]

The NAACP was one of the organizations that the ADL kept files on 1993.[3]

Jews have been stated to be a major source of funding also in the post civil rights era which prevented the NAACP from taking political positions that would offend the Jewish establishment, such as expressing sympathy with the Palestinian cause or criticizing Israels arms sales to South Africa. “This was typified by the attitude of long-time NAACP Director Roy Wilkins, widely characterized as an Uncle Tom by black activists, who withdrew the NAACP from the National Black Political Convention in 1972, taking exception to a resolution that condemned Israel for “expansionist policies and forceful occupation of the sovereign territories of another state.”"[3]

In 1992 ADL issued a 50-page ADL Research Report” entitled The Anti-Semitism of Black Demagogues and Extremists. Heading the list were Min. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, Illinois Congressman Gus Savage, Rev. Al Sharpton, Kwame Ture (the former Stokely Carmichael), poet Amiri Baraka, and rappers Ice Cube and Professor Griff and Public Enemy. Certain black newspapers and radio stations were also criticized.[3]

When the NAACP installed Benjamin Chavis as new director and he reached out to Farrakhan, the ADL responded by causing the NAACPs major Jewish funders cut of funding until Chavis resigned.[3]

One debated passage in the Talmud states “A heathen who studies the Torah deserves death”. The Anti-Defamation League has criticized David Duke for allegedly using this quote out of context by omitting important surrounding parts. However, this has in turn been criticized with the full surrounding context stated to be supporting David Duke. The Anti-Defamation League has been criticized for using very selective citations and selectively omitting important parts in order to create a misleading impression.[8]

The ADL has attacked the Christian New Testament as responsible for persecutions of Jews and being historically false. The ADL were at the forefront of attacking the Mel Gibson film the Passion of the Christ.[9][10][11][12]

One example is in the small town of Oberammergau, Germany. Every ten years since 1635, the locals come together to put on a six-hour Passion Play about the final hours of Jesus Christ. They carry out the vow of their ancestors to produce the play, believing that he delivered them from the bubonic plague. The ADL have through a campaign of intimidated the locals into rewriting the play and have argued for more changes.[9]

The ADL also lobbies against Christianity being favored in public schools in the United States and against other forms of favoritism for Christianity by the state (but does not lobby against Judaism in Israel).

The ADL played an ongoing role in censoring books they disagreed with including the Shakespearian play the “Merchant of Venice”.[13]

The ADL for a long time opposed recognition of the Armenian Genocide that took place 1915-1917 since this could negatively affect the situation for Jews in Turkey and Israeli-Turkish relations. Turkey was one of Israel’s few regional allies. The ADL reversed their official position in 2007 after a public outcry but still refused to support a resolution in Congress formally acknowledging the Armenian genocide.[14]

Even some Jews have criticized the ADL for hypocrisy, for false charges of antisemitism for political purposes, and for attacking some Jews with not politically correct opinions. Even Jewish community leaders with dissenting views have been stated to fear speaking out lest the ADL accuse them of some crime against the Jewish people. The ADL has also been accused of trying to scare rich Jews with false threats (such as from American Christians) in order to receive large donations. The criticisms against Christians have been seen as instead being harmful to Jewish interests since Christian Zionists often support neoconservatism.[15][16]

In 2013, the ADL told YouTube (colloquially known as JewTube) to disable PressTV’s YouTube account which also occurred.[17]

In 2014, the ADL has been accused of contributing to false leaflets stating that Jews in the Ukraine must register with a non-existent government agency.[18][19]

In addition to earlier mentioned information sharing the ADL has ties with police across the country through its LEARN program (Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network) in which it trains police in dealing with extremist groups and hate crimes.[3]

Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion, 1956.

Jack Tenney, U.S. Senator for California.

John Rarick , U.S. Congressman for Louisiana.

Originally posted here:
Anti-Defamation League – Metapedia

Kemp Mill Synagogue

Toddler Playground Dedication

Join us Sunday, May 29, at 11 a.m. for the dedication of our new Toddler Playground., which was built with support from the Ilan Rasooly, z”l, Playground Fund.

Sunday, June 5, is the 49th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. Celebrate this milestone at KMS. The program begins at with an Israeli breakfast (Shakshuka, Fatoush, Burekas, and more). Led by Rena and Chaim Fruchter, we will rejoice with songs and stories about Jerusalem. This program is recommended for ages 8 through adult. More details about the program can be found here. Reservations are required for breakfast and must be made by May 27. Space is limited so make your plans now.

The Cheryl Stern Community Kelim Mikvah is now officially open. There are still plenty of bricks on the path that may be dedicated. Please see the attached form or go to to dedicate a brick.Single bricks cost $180. Double bricks cost $500. Payment may be made by check or credit card (see form for details) or online using PayPal.

Please click here for a copy of the 2016 KMS Gala Journal.

View the current issue of Kol Mevaser.

Click here to donate to the Keren Hasefer Fund to repair and upkeep KMS’ Sifrei Torah.

Many interesting new events are coming in the spring, along with our continuing menu of great weekly classes. Please click here for a complete schedule.

Kemp Mill Sababa

Sababa is the Hebrew slang word for cool and wonderful! We want everyone who visits Israel to be inspired, amazed, and to have FUN. Kemp Mill Sababa is a great way to refer your friends to your favorite unique and off the beaten path places in Israel. If you have visited Israel recently (in the past two years), we want you to list your favorite places and experiences that dont usually make it into the tour books. Click here to make a recommendation. (It will take you less than 5 minutes!)

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Kemp Mill Synagogue

Israel: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News – Huffington Post

By James M. Dorsey (Lecture at MEI Conference: The Middle East Peace Process After the Arab Uprisings) When Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East edit…

James Dorsey

Senior fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

She, Samantha Montgomery, is a 39-year-old who works a 9-5 at a nursing home in a rough section of New Orleans. On her own time, she takes on the pers…

While the privileged gays in developed countries fight for surrogates and marriage, as a gay Palestinian living inside of Israel, we’re still fighting for the acknowledgement of our nationality, our sexuality and the legitimate right to be called Palestinians while still holding Israeli citizenship.

Khader Abu-Seif

is a writer from Jaffa, Israel and most recently was featured in the documentary Oriented about gay Palestinians living in Israel.

As we look at how to address the great challenges facing the Jewish people in America, it is clear that engaging Israeli-Americans and the next generation of Jewish-Americans in new ways must be part of the solution.

Adam Milstein

Active Philanthropist and National Chairman of the Israeli-American Council

By Mohammed Alhammami, Gaza project manager, We Are Not Numbers When I was a kid, my father used to tell me stories of past Jewish-Palestinian coexis…

The mainstream media and politicians have emphasized Iran’s hard power, military capacity and its army’s role in the Middle East, which is part of Teh…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been engaged in public negotiations designed to bring Isaac Herzog into his coalition government. And then, out of the blue, Netanyahu did a complete reversal, dropping Herzog and instead bringing the far right Avigdor Lieberman into his government.

James Zogby

President, Arab American Institute; author, ‘Arab Voices’

If you count yourself among the folks who might be willing occasionally to engage Congress to try to help protect Palestinian civilians living under Israeli military occupation if there were a plausible story that your action could have a positive impact, I have some good news.

As Palestinians commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Nakba — literally “catastrophe” in Arabic, when the indigenous people of Palestine were driven out of Palestine into exile — there is a new Nakba taking place: the political division between Hamas and Fatah.

Abdalhadi Alijla

Director of Institute for Middle East Studies, Canada; Consultant on Countering Extremism for Adyan Institute in Beirut

If foreign policy had a soundtrack, it would be the opposite of easy listening.

John Feffer

Director, Foreign Policy In Focus and Editor, LobeLog

Nearly 75 years ago, the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, a massive invasion of the Soviet Union, in which 4.5 million Axis soldiers surprised the Soviets with blitzkrieg attacks across the 2,900-kilometer border.

Despite concerns over political tensions, Israeli tourism remains steady – and I can see why. Once you arrive and sit yourself down at the beach for a beer, any anxiety you might bring with you will melt away. I feel safer walking the city streets in Tel Aviv than when I was living in New York City last summer.

Iranian leaders have breached both the resolutions and the nuclear agreement for the third time since the nuclear deal went into effect in January 2016. Iran has repeatedly test-fired, long-range ballistic missiles and laser-guided surface-to-surface missiles.

My junior colleague’s email, titled “time-sensitive” and sent from her gmail account, was oblique – something important, she intimated, and best not p…

Jennifer S. Hirsch

NYC-based Professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, Jewish activist and former OpEd Project Public Voices Fellow.

This IS propaganda campaign shows that any counterterrorism support for Egypt cannot be given in isolation from domestic affairs, local grievances, and continuous political issues–terror groups know very well how to play on these to attract recruits.

Nancy Okail

Dr. Okail is a scholar and democracy advocate. She is the Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. In 2013, she was sentenced to prison in absentia in the widely publicized case known as the #NGOtrial in Egypt.

Admittedly, it is unfair to lay at Mr. Rhodes’ doorstep all that Mr. Obama has wrought upon himself. The buck ultimately stops at the Oval Office.

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Israel: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News – Huffington Post

Sephardic Jewish Names and Genealogies, How to start

I would like to start by stating that I am not a professional genealogist. As I worked at developing the family tree on my Sephardic side I gradually discovered that there were fertile areas of research that were different from the sources I used for my Ashkenazi half. Furthermore, these sources were far less known than the sources for Ashkenazi genealogy. The purpose of this article is to help others also attempting to research their Sephardic ancestry and maybe reduce their frustration levels in discovering these sources. By no means is this an exhaustive list of sources. It is just a sampling to get you started and encourage others to share their knowledge as we all grow and learn together. For a much more complete treatment of Sephardic Genealogy, with country by country resources, see my book on the subject.

Differences in Sephardic and Ashkenazi genealogy

Areas of the world Among the most obvious differences in researching Sephardic and Ashkenazi ancestry is that they lived in different areas of the world. Ashkenazim lived primarily in Europe and eastern Europe whereas Sephardim lived in countries around the Mediterranean, the Ottoman empire, which welcomed them after their expulsion from Spain, and in the Americas particularly south America. A lot of Jewish genealogists have focussed on researching eastern European government records and US naturalization related records. Though sometimes helpful, these sources are of relatively less value to Sephardic researchers who would be more interested in early Iberian notarial records, Inquisition records in Spain, in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Old family names Whereas most Ashkenazi surnames are of relatively recent origin, many, though not all, Sephardic surnames go back many centuries and sometimes a millennium or more. Whereas it is dictum in Ashkenazi research that a family name is of less importance than the name of the ancestral shtetl, this is not true when dealing with Sephardic names. Sephardic family names do suggest kinship, though the common ancestral link may have lived 5 or 600 years earlier. As such, the implication is that as we go further back in the centuries it becomes more likely that the person found bearing that surname is a common though distant ancestor but this does not hold true for contemporaries or in the recent past. Although one needs to strictly follow the genealogist’s rule of going from known to unknown when building a personal family tree, there is some validity in researching an ancient Sephardic family name and this coupled to the fact that many Sephardim can list several generations in their family, sometimes back to 1492 the date of the expulsion from Spain, makes such research of added interest.

Researchers of Sephardic genealogy also need to be aware of the differences in child naming patterns among Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The most singular difference being the Sephardic tradition of naming children after their grandparents, especially if alive to honor the grandparent whereas Ashkenazim avoid naming children after living relatives. For more information on naming patterns go to my page on this topic.

SourcesTraditional Sources

So how does one go about researching Sephardic ancestry. Some of the traditional sources used by Ashkenazi genealogists still apply here. Among these are:

Interviewing the eldest members of your family is definitely where to start. Not only can names of previous and related generations be obtained in this manner but also information on countries they resided in and hints about other sources for documentation. As usual and especially here, one must be careful of family legends and try to document and verify the information received.

Marriage registers, cemetery records, old letters, diaries and photographs are other classic sources for Jewish genealogic information that are just as useful for Sephardic genealogists as they are for Ashkenazim. Since these are detailed in great depth elsewhere (such as on Jewishgen), I will not discuss them here.

US naturalization records, turn of the century passenger lists and similar are just as useful for Sephardim. During the large Jewish immigration to the U.S. from eastern Europe around the turn of the century, many Sephardim came to the US at that time and that is the period when such records are of the most value. Sephardim also came many centuries earlier or in the mid 20th century as part of the exodus from Arab countries resulting from the Arab Israeli wars.

Holocaust records such as the Arolsen records at the International Red Cross or Yad Vashem and the Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem can be useful for Sephardim too because a significant number of Sephardim from places like Salonika and elsewhere were also victims of the Nazis. The recent decision by Yad Vashem to finally create a listing of the names they have of Holocaust victims and making it available in an electronically accessible database possible is therefore excellent news to genealogists. It is a great shame that Arolsen records at the International Red Cross are not yet available to searching families unless these families can provide the exact first and last names (reminiscent of the recent Swiss banks stance to release records to relatives). Let’s hope this will change sometime soon. Again these sources are well discussed in forums such as Jewishgen and I will not get into it further here. However I would like to mention Serge Karlsfeld’s “Memorial de la Deportation des Juifs de France, 1942-1944″. Paris, 1978.

Sephardic Sources Sephardic researchers have many other sources to draw upon and I will discuss some of these in more detail here.

Notarial records in Spain These are extremely voluminous and useful. I have discussed them extensively in another section to which the reader is referred.

Inquisition Archives in Spain I have discussed in another section to which the reader is referred. Inquisition Archives in South America I have also described these elsewhere and would refer the interested reader there.

Ketubbot (Jewish marriage contracts) are obviously of great value in Jewish genealogy. Sephardic Ketubbot frequently, though not always, may document several generations on both sides. Such finds are obviously of wonderful value to the genealogist. An interesting example of the value of Sephardic ketubot can be found in my description of the Sephardic “Grana” community from Leghorn (Livorno) that settled in Tunis in the 16th century.

Alliance Israelite archives In the 19th and early 20th century the Alliance Israelite made a massive effort in setting up schools and aiding Jews in North Africa, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Palestine and wherever the need was noted. It’s archives in Paris (49 rue Labruyere, 75009 Paris) therefore hold tremendous and, until recently, relatively little tapped genealogic data and is a fertile field for researchers.

Synagogue records are obviously of great value to the genealogist. Those of Jews in Sephardic countries are no exception and in countries like Egypt can go back many centuries. Unfortunately access to these records is often hampered by political and other considerations.

Cemetery tombstones can also yield information of great value and a systematic listing of this information would be of great value. Such an effort is in process through Jewishgen and Sephardim who have access to cemeteries in Sephardic countries need to provide what information they can provide before time and politics ravages this source further.

Passengers to the Indies. The passenger lists of Spaniards who left for the Americas from 1500 to 1800 is preserved in an archive in Seville, the Archivo General de Indias. Besides listing all passengers who sailed in every ship to America up to 1800 but they provide such data as the passenger name and place of birth, name of parents and their brithplaces, the job and destination of the passenger after arrival in the Americas.

This information is electronically searchable databases which can be easily searched by the archivists. Requests for information should include the passenger name and the approximate date of the trip to America and should be addressed to: Archivo General de Indias, Avda. Constitucion s/n, SEVILLA – SPAIN Phone: +34-95-4500530. Fax: +34-95-4219485.

A partial List of passengers has been published in about 12 volumes, but not in searchable electronic format so far.

Books and Journals It is essential to know the history of the period one is researching. Not only does the knowledge of the history allow an understanding of the why of the events that occurred to the families researched but it also points one in directions one would not otherwise have considered. This is true both in Ashkenazi and Sephardic research. The difference is Sephardic history is often more ancient and thus less likely to be known without study.. The reader is therefore advised to acquire a good working history of the period and may wish to peruse the section on Sephardic books and my brief history of Sephardim before the expulsion.

Selections of Notarial records Although only a tiny portion of Notarial and Inquisition records can be accessed through books, there are some books that contain excerpts of these documents. I have listed some of them in my section on books. Among these that can be of considerable value to the armchair genealogist are books such as:

Assis: Jews in the Crown of Aragon (Part II 1328-1493); Regesta of the Cartas Reales in Archivo de la Corona de Aragon. Ginzei am olam:Central Arch Hist of Jewish People, Jerusalem

Beinart: Conversos on Trial. The Inquisition in Ciudad Real. Magnes Press, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1981

Raphael: Expulsion 1492 Chronicles. Carmi House Press

Tello: Judios de Toledo – 2 Vols. Instituto B Arias Montano. Consejo Sup de inverstigacions Cientificas.

The reader is encouraged to review my section on books.

Sephardic names studies I have already pointed out the value of researching ancient Sephardic family names. It is important to differentiate between contemporary or recent past individuals who share your researched ancient family name as compared to an individual who carried that same family name 700 years ago. Assuming we are dealing with an ancient Jewish name rather than an area name, the recent individuals are usually not related closely enough to matter, whereas the individual 1,000 years ago has a mathematically high chance of being a legitimate ancestor.

Some of the most useful books in Sephardic genealogy are some of the books on onomastics (the study of names). Prominent among these is Abraham Laredo’s book “Les Noms des Juifs du Maroc”. This terrific work lists names of Jews from Morocco with explanation of the origins and variants of the name and provides information extensive lists about rabbis, authors and other notables who had carried the name and complete source references.. Similar but less extensive are such books as Toledano’s “La Saga des Familles”, Moissis’s “Les noms des Juifs de Grece”, Abecassis’s “Genealogia hebraica: Portugal e Gibraltar, secs XVII a XX”,, Eisenbeth’s “Les Juifs de l’Afrique du nord”, etc. Extensive name lists giving sources can also be found in this website and on the internet.

ETSI Just like Avotaynu is the premier Jewish genealogy journal, ETSI is a new journal dedicated to Sephardic genealogy and history. Published in Paris by a group of Sephardic genealogists that include Abensur, past president of the French Jewish genealogy Society, and his wife Laurence Abensur-Hazan, organization chair of the 1997 Paris seminar on Jewish genealogy, and several others, it is the only journal dedicated specifically to Sephardic genealogy and a must for Sephardic genealogists and Jewish genealogy libraries.

Information about subscription can be obtained at the ETSI site.

Internet The internet is a great resource for information about Jewish and Sephardic genealogy but it is important to verify information obtained in this manner by checking out the sources of the information. That said, among these resources are:

Jewishgen at is a tremendous resource for the Jewish genealogist and a great resource to learn proper techniques for genealogy.

Websites There was a time when it was difficult to find anything of use to a Sephardic researcher. This has fortunately changed and there are now numerous sites of interest to Sephardim if one knows where to look. I have made a listing of such sites on my Websites by Country pages (see index at bottom of this page).

Family Finder (JGFF) Jewishgen has an extremely useful database listing researchers and the families they are researching. Listing the family names and towns you are researching allows other genealogists researching these families to discover you and share resources. It is therefore highly recommended that you register there which can be done very easily at their site.

Namelists Namelists giving you sources where these family names are mentioned can also be very useful while remembering the importance to work methodically in developing your family tree. Such lists exist at:

Newslists Newslists are internet discussion groups where questions can be asked and answered in a spirit of helping each other. A list of Sephardic newslists can be found in my newslist page.

Name lookups. There are several sites on the internet (like that allow you to find peoples’ names and email or snail mail addresses. This is a good way to find the addresses and phone numbers of people having your family name. Usually these people are unrelated, but occasionally one can be lucky and discover an unknown distant cousin. I have not found it useful but some have.

Israel Sephardic Jews had lived in Palestine long before the European Zionist movement. They have therefore left traces of their lives in the cemeteries, chevrot kadisha (burial society) records, books written, etc and this too can be a fruitful source of research. For settlers in the more recent past Batya Untershatz is an invaluable resource. She can be reached at Batya Unterschatz, Director, Jewish Agency Bureau of Missing Relative, P.O.Box 92, Jerusalem 91000 and can be of tremendous help because she has access to the government immigration records back to the early 20th century. Resources in Israel can be found in my Israel page.

Specific country resources. Obviously it would be of great value to research the local resources of the countries where your ancestors had lived. I have discussed the resources in Spain, but there are resources in many other countries where Sephardim have lived such as countries in North Africa and the Ottoman empire. I discuss this information in my recent book on Sephardic Genealogy.

Shalom and good hunting.

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Sephardic Jewish Names and Genealogies, How to start

The Sephardic Studies Collection –

The Sephardic Studies Collection at the University of Washington is one of most expansive and fastest growing repositories of source materials pertaining to the Sephardic Jewish experience. The Collection showcases a wide array of published and unpublished materials, including novels, prayer books, bibles, manuscripts, and letters, as well as audio.

Documents produced by Sephardic Jews between the 17th and mid-20th centuries with a particular emphasis on the Ladino language (also known as Judezmo or Judeo-Spanish).

Over 140 recordings of Sephardic Jews who were born and raised in the former Ottoman Empire and who immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, collected by Professor Rina Benmayor beginning in 1972.

The Sephardic Studies Collection at the University of Washington is one of most expansive and fastest growing repositories of source materials pertaining to the Sephardic Jewish experience. The Collection showcases a wide array of published and unpublished materials, including novels, prayer books, bibles, manuscripts, letters, newspapers, magazines, songbooks, poetry, theater scripts, marriage contracts, photographs, postcards, and books on religion, history, grammar and more. These documents were produced by Sephardic Jews between the 17th and mid-20th centuries with a particular emphasis on the Ladino language (also known as Judezmo or Judeo-Spanish). The languages contained in these documents also include Hebrew, Aramaic, Turkish, Arabic, Yiddish, French, English, Greek and Italian. Most of the artifacts originated in the former Ottoman Empire, from Turkey and Greece as well as Israel and Egypt. Others were published in Vienna, Livorno, Seattle, New York, Baghdad and Amsterdam.

Until now, the written record of the experiences, anxieties and aspirations of Sephardic Jews remain dispersed and largely shrouded in mystery. Assembled from the bookshelves, closets and basements of residents and institutions in the greater Seattle region, and increasingly elsewhere in the country and abroad, this collection of books constitutes one of the largest Ladino libraries in the United States and the most extensive repository of digitized Ladino texts in the country with more than 500 original works written in Ladino. The collection sheds light on the lesser known history and culture of Sephardic Jews, and it has sparked a revival of interest among academics and community members alike. As the Collection continues to expand, new acquisitions are constantly made and new contributions are always welcomed.

The Sephardic Studies Collection also includes over 140 recordings of songs from the Benmayor Collection of Sephardic Ballads and other Lore. Professor Benmayor began recording these songs in 1972, for her PhD dissertation, and she published her findings in the book Romances Judeo-Espanoles de Orient [Judeo-Spanish Ballads from the Eastern Tradition]. These songs, known as romansas, were sung by Sephardic Jews who were born and raised in the former Ottoman Empire, mainly from Rhodes, Marmara and Tekirdag, all of whom immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.

Learn more about the Sephardic Studies Collection in this article about the project.

Dr. Devin E. Naar, The Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies and Chair of the Sephardic Studies Program, and Ty Alhadeff, the Sephardic Studies Research Coordinator, have prepared and continue to manage the Collection. The database will be updated periodically as new artifacts are added to the digital collection. In addition our staff will continue to update the information attached to each artifact as new research enhances the descriptive records.

Both Naar and Alhadeff, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, and other partners, both academic and lay, publish regular articles highlighting “treasures” from within the Sephardic Studies Collection. These articles both situate texts and artifacts within their historical context and often include excerpted translations from Ladino (and other languages) into English. These articles appear on the Sephardic Studies webpage of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies website.

Sephardic Studies Founders Circle members: The Isaac Alhadeff Foundation, Eli and Rebecca Almo, Joel and Maureen Benoliel, Richard and Barrie Galanti, Harley and Lela Franco, and Marty and Sharon Lott

The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies

The Digital Strategies Office of the University of Washington Libraries

The Washington State Jewish Historical Society

Numerous community partners and supporters

Continue reading here:
The Sephardic Studies Collection –

Israel Tours, Israel Tour, Israel Vacations, Israel Vacation …

These itineraries reveal many treasures and antiquities, such as the Tomb of King David, the room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion, the Old City of Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some vacations include a stop in Qumran, where the scrolls were discovered. Other highlights include the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Israel’s natural attractions have their own allure. Desert, mountains and the Dead Sea — which marks the world’s lowest point of elevation — are a few scenic highlights of these vacations.

The vacations below are divided into two groups. First, there is a list of trips that visit only Israel, followed by a list of multi-country itineraries that include Israel.

Trips are rated according to the quality of accommodations, the number of included amenities and activities, and the level of service delivered. The vacations below are categorized according to the industry rating scale (budget, first class and deluxe). Click any vacation name for the itinerary, dates and prices.

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Israel Tours, Israel Tour, Israel Vacations, Israel Vacation …

Map of Israel, Israel Map – Maps of World – Israel

Description about Map :-On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was founded by the efforts of the World Zionist Organization. Since inception Israel has been in bitter conflict with the neighboring Arab nations. The Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have engaged in violent conflict for many decades now. Jerusalem, the capital city is itself not acknowledged to be part of Israel by many nations but is largely under Israeli occupation. The Western Wall, the Israel Museum, the Tower of David, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Temple Mount of Jerusalem are its greatest attractions. The Map of Israel also points out the Baha’i Gardens of Haifa, the Sea of Galilee, the Diamond Museum of Tel Aviv, Nazereth, the Asdod Sand Dune Park, the Dead Sea, Masada National Park, and the Shivta National Park.

In 586 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon conquered Israel, followed by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 583 BC, who conquered the Babylonian Kingdom, which included the region of Israel.

The Roman Empire arrived and invaded Israel in 63 BC, forcing the Jews to leave the region between 132 to 135 AD, when it was named as Palestine.

The Arabs came in 635 AD, conquering and ruling Israel for over a thousand years.

In 1516, the Ottoman Empire conquered the region and remained as rulers until the First World War, when the British took over. The 1900′s began the intense conflicts between the Arabs and the Jews, which led to the United Nations’ 1947division of the region into the Arab and the Jewish state.

On May 14, 1948, the “State of Israel” was founded. The next decades after Israel’s independence has been filled with conflict between them and Palestine, as well as their Arab neighbors. Conflict over ownership of the land considered holy by the Jews, Christians, and Muslims, have resulted to ongoing regional wars in the region.

The Israeli Coastal Plain, which is found on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, is home to 57% of the population. The entire region is characterized by a variety of geographical features. Fertile land is found in the Jezreel Valley, while mountain ranges are found in Galilee, and the south covered in desert, where the Negev desert is found.

Politics The State of Israel is a representative democratic country. It has a parliament system, with the Prime Minister as Head of Government and Head of Cabinet. A 120-member parliament called Knesset is the country’s legislative body.

The President of Israel acts as Head of State but duties are very limited and largely ceremonial.

Travel Tourism is 1 of Israel’s major sources of national income. Over 3.5 million people from all across the world visited Israel in 2013.

The country is popular for its historic and religious sites first and foremost, with beach resorts and archaeological sites coming in 2nd.

Among the most visited sites in Israel is Jerusalem’s Western Wall or Wailing Wall. Located in the Jerusalem Old City area, at the foot of the western part of the Temple Mount, the wall is a famous site of pilgrimage and prayer for the Jews. Considered sacred and holy, it is common practice for people to place prayer notes in between the cracks of the wall.

The Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the 2nd most visited site in Israel next to Jerusalem. It used to be a fortress and a palace, which was built by Herod the Great. Perched on top of an isolated rock plateau on the Judaean Desert, the ruins are a popular attraction for many foreign tourists.

Tel Aviv is the country’s 2nd largest city, with its collection of Bauhaus architecture protected by the UNESCO. It has a thriving nightlife scene, and is a cosmopolitan, cultural, and financial global city.

Israel’s State Education Law was established in 1953, establishing 5 types of schools: state religious, state secular, ultra orthodox, Arab schools, and communal settlement schools. The largest group is the state secular, attended by majority of Israel’s student population.

The top institutions in the country are Tel Aviv University &The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Last Updated : Aug 02,2015

Excerpt from:
Map of Israel, Israel Map – Maps of World – Israel

What do Jews Believe? The 13 Principles of Jewish Faith

By Chaviva Gordon-Bennett

Updated February 05, 2016.

Written in the 12th century by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides or Rambam, the Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith (Shloshah Asar Ikkarim)are considered the “fundamental truths of our religion and its very foundations.”

The treatise is also known as the Thirteen Attributes of Faith or the Thirteen Creeds.

Written as part of his commentary on the Mishnah in Sanhedrin 10, these are the Thirteen Principles that are considered core to Judaism, specifically within the Orthodox community.

The Thirteen Principles conclude with the following:

“When all these foundations are perfectly understood and believed in by a person he enters the community of Israel and one is obligated to love and pity him But if a man doubts any of these foundations, he leaves the community [of Israel], denies the fundamentals, and is called a sectarian,apikores …One is required to hate him and destroy him.”

According to Maimonides, anyone who did not believe in these Thirteen Principles and live a life accordingly was to be declared a heretic and loses their portion in Olam ha’Ba (the World to Come).

Although Maimonides based these principles on Talmudic sources, they were considered controversial when first proposed. According to Menachem Kellner in “Dogma in Medieval Jewish Thought,” these principles were ignored for much of the medieval period thanks to criticism by Rabbi Hasdai Crescas and Rabbi Joseph Albo for minimizing the requirement for the acceptance of the whole of the Torah and its 613 commandments (mitzvot).

For example, Principle 5, the imperativeto worship God exclusively without intermediaries. However, many of the prayers of repentance recited on fast days and during the High Holidays, as well as a portion of Shalom Aleichem that is sung prior to the Sabbath evening meal, are directed at angels. Many rabbinic leaders have approved of petitioning angels to intercede on one’s behalf with God, with one leader of Babylonian Jewry (between 7th and 11th centuries) stating that an angel could even fulfill an individual’s prayer and petition without consulting God (Ozar ha’Geonim,Shabbat 4-6).

Furthermore, the principles regarding the Messiah and resurrection are not widely accepted by Conservative and Reform Judaism, and these tend to be two of the most difficult principles for many to grasp. By and large, outside of Orthodoxy, these principles are viewed as suggestions or options for leading a Jewish life.

Interestingly, the Mormon religion has a set of thirteen principlescomposed by John Smith and Wiccans also have a set of thirteen principles.

Aside from living a life according to these Thirteen Principles, many congregations will recite these in a poetic format, beginning with the words “I believe …” (Anima’amin) every day after the morning services in synagogue.

Also, the poeticYigdal,which is based on the Thirteen Principles, is sung on Friday nights after the conclusion of the Sabbath service. It was composed byDaniel ben Judah Dayyan and completed in 1404.

There is a story in the Talmud that is often told when someone is asked to summarize the essence of Judaism. During the 1st century B.C.E., the great sage Hillel was asked to sum up Judaism while standing on one foot. He replied:

“Certainly! What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the Torah. The rest is commentary, now go and study” (Talmud Shabbat 31a).

Hence, at its core Judaism is concerned with the well-being of humanity. The particulars of every Jew’s individual belief system is the commentary.

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What do Jews Believe? The 13 Principles of Jewish Faith

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Please sign below to have your name included on our postcard to Government Minister, Matthew Hancock. Send a postcard from Palestine to the Government Minister who went all the way to Israel to announce he was giving away our democratic rights.

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Palestinians should enjoy the same rights and freedoms as everybody else. But right now they dont. This is why we campaign.

Donate to PSC today and help grow the movement.

G4S has announced that it will be selling its subsidiary, G4S Israel, in the next 12 to 24 months. For the last four years, G4S has been the target of a sustained campaign by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other groups involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

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Call on the UK government to exert immediate pressure on Israel, including sanctions, so that it abides by international law, ends its attacks on Gaza, lifts the blockade and ends the occupation.

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Our new report Arming Apartheid: UK complicity in Israels crimes against the Palestinian people details how trading arms with Israel makes the UK complicit in Israels continuing violations of human rights and international law.

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PSC analyses the ways in which the BBC carefully constructs its reporting to portray Israel, the occupier, as the victim, and the Palestinians, the occupied, as aggressors.

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When Ashkenazi Jews Eat Kitniyot on Passover, Is It Cultural …

How do millions of Ashkenazi Jews react when, after hundreds of years, they finally get permission to eat kitniyot on Passover?

Were about to find out.

Last December, the Conservative movements Committee on Jewish Law and Standards approved a teshuvah , a Jewish legal ruling, permitting the consumption of kitniyot on Passover. Kitniyot foods like rice, corn, lentils and beans, which are not technically hametz have long been forbidden to Ashkenazi Jews, but theyre staples of the Sephardic Passover diet. This year marks the first time that many American Jews will learn to include these foods at their holiday table.

My Ashkenazi friends, I have tasted your Passover foods of bitterness. I know you have suffered many years enslaved to a diet of matzo brei with cinnamon and sugar. As a college student, I went back to school after the Seder with Tupperware containers filled with rice and beans so that I wouldnt starve in a pluralistic Hillel that catered to Ashkenazi customs and palates. I am happy that more American Jews will soon be enjoying kitniyot on Passover. For one thing, that makes it more likely that a wider variety of Passover products will be available for my family in my local grocery store.

But after reading the teshuvah , I also have some concerns. Part of my worry stems from the approach with which the Sephardic dietary laws are being adopted: a mix of cultural appropriation and noblesse oblige . Borrowing from the practices of your neighbors is natural; no religious tradition exists in a vacuum. But borrowing has ethical overtones, especially when youre not attuned to whos borrowing from whom and to the relationships of power between those groups. While the Conservative movement in Israel permits Ashkenazi Jews to eat kitniyot partly in order to facilitate positive relationships between Jews of different ethnic backgrounds, that line of argumentation is absent from the American teshuvah.

The heritage of Sephardic Jews does not exist just to make the Passover practices of our Ashkenazi neighbors less burdensome and expensive, and more delicious and nutritious. Kitniyot on Passover is not just food, its foodways . That is, the eating of kitniyot is one piece of a large and diverse culture, spanning centuries and continents, and embedded in history, memory, language, stories and other social practices.

Thats why I think the adoption of Sephardic traditions for Passover food should include some acknowledgement of actual Sephardic tradition. Perhaps any Ashkenazi Jew wishing to eat kitniyot on Passover should have to pass a basic Sephardic cultural literacy test? While Israeli Jews see the vitality of other ethnic Jewish communities every day, in the United States the experiences of Sephardic Jews are rarely taught or even acknowledged, and Jewish is almost always synonymous with Ashkenazi.

Obviously, an actual test would be impractical and silly. But I dont think its silly for Ashkenazi Jews to respectfully try to learn from living American Sephardic Jews how they determine the permissibility of kitniyot on Passover.

In tracing the permissibility of kitniyot , the authors of the CJLS ruling took into account both classical sources and the perspectives of contemporary Ashkenazi Jews who seek a joyful, affordable and kosher holiday. But as far as I can see, there is no account of the local practices of Sephardic American Jews and how they approach eating kitniyot . Its as though Sephardic experience, expertise and life ends in the 16th century with Joseph Caro and the codification of his major legal work, the Shulchan Aruch.

The CJLS released some basic guidelines in order to help members determine which foods are permitted. Of course, Sephardic Conservative Jews have been eating these foods for decades without any guidance from our rabbinate. Weve relied on lists published by Orthodox Sephardic organizations in order to have a kasher vsameach holiday, a kosher and happy Passover.

For now, lets put aside the question of why the Conservative movement in the United States never attended to the needs of Sephardic Conservative Jews and only became interested in the kashrut of kitniyot once it was permissible for Ashkenazim. Instead, let me give an example of the practical perspective I can offer as a result of having kept abreast of the guidelines of Orthodox Sephardic communities.

An important consideration involving the consumption of rice on Passover in the United States is that not all kinds of rice are kosher for all kinds of Sephardic Jews. (And by the way, some Sephardic Jews dont eat rice at all during the holiday.) In order to be considered kosher for Passover by most Sephardic Jews here, rice must not contain additives that may bear hametz. Brown rice is generally fine, but white rice is trickier as it is often enriched with additives, including wheat starch. The CJLS guidelines treat rice as though it is an unprocessed food, but for much of the rice on the shelves in American stores that is not true. To be kosher for Passover for many Sephardic Jews in this country, white rice without special Passover certification should be unprocessed and unenriched.

I am not a rabbi or kashrut scholar. But my point is that its valuable to learn about how Sephardic tradition continued to evolve and play out in the world inhabited by contemporary Sephardim. It seems that the authors of the CJLS guidelines, while purporting to follow the example set by Sephardic tradition, did not think to do that.

Finally, its worth mentioning that some Ashkenazi Jews might not want to eat kitniyot on Passover. They have their own rich cultural heritage, one that has been sustained for hundreds of years, and they may wish to continue the traditional practices of their ancestors. But if Ashkenazi Jews do wish to avail themselves of kitniyot , maybe they can seek to acknowledge the larger culture out of which these foodways emerged. Even better, they can appreciate the legal, artistic and philosophical not just culinary contributions of Sephardic Jewry to Jewish culture and to its ongoing vitality.

Otherwise, my Ashkenazi friends, the rice and lentils youre cooking smell a little like cultural appropriation.

Arielle Levites is a doctoral candidate in education and Jewish studies at New York University, and an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.

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When Ashkenazi Jews Eat Kitniyot on Passover, Is It Cultural …

The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany: The …

The Economic Boycott of 1933

Article from The Barnes Review, Jan./Feb. 2001, pp. 41-45. The Barnes Review, 645 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Suite 100, Washington D.C. 20003, USA. By M. Raphael Johnson, Ph.D., assistant editor of TBR; published here with kind permission from TBR. This digitized version 2002 by The Scriptorium.

The war by the international Jewish leadership on Germany not only sparked definite reprisals by the German government but also set the stage for a little-known economic and political alliance between the Hitler government and the leaders of the Zionist movement who hoped that the tension between the Germans and the Jews would lead to massive emigration to Palestine. In short, the result was a tactical alliance between the Nazis and the founders of the modern-day state of Israel – a fact that many today would prefer be forgotten.

To this day, it is generally (although incorrectly) believed that when Adolf Hitler was appointed German chancellor in January of 1933, the German government began policies to suppress the Jews of Germany, including rounding up of Jews and putting them in concentration camps and launching campaigns of terror and violence against the domestic Jewish population.

While there were sporadic eruptions of violence against Jews in Germany after Hitler came to power, this was not officially sanctioned or encouraged. And the truth is that anti-Jewish sentiments in Germany (or elsewhere in Europe) were actually nothing new. As all Jewish historians attest with much fervor, anti-Semitic uprisings of various degrees had been ever-present in European history.

In any case, in early 1933, Hitler was not the undisputed leader of Germany, nor did he have full command of the armed forces. Hitler was a major figure in a coalition government, but he was far from being the government himself. That was the result of a process of consolidation which evolved later.

Even Germany’s Jewish Central Association, known as the Verein, contested the suggestion (made by some Jewish leaders outside Germany) that the new government was deliberately provoking anti-Jewish uprisings.

The Verein issued a statement that “the responsible government authorities [i.e. the Hitler regime] are unaware of the threatening situation,” saying, “we do not believe our German fellow citizens will let themselves be carried away into committing excesses against the Jews.”

Despite this, Jewish leaders in the United States and Britain determined on their own that it was necessary to launch a war against the Hitler government.

On March 12, 1933 the American Jewish Congress announced a massive protest at Madison Square Gardens for March 27. At that time the commander in chief of the Jewish War Veterans called for an American boycott of German goods. In the meantime, on March 23, 20,000 Jews protested at New York’s City Hall as rallies were staged outside the North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American shipping lines and boycotts were mounted against German goods throughout shops and businesses in New York City.

According to The Daily Express of London of March 24, 1933, the Jews had already launched their boycott against Germany and her elected government. The headline read “Judea Declares War on Germany – Jews of All the World Unite – Boycott of German Goods – Mass Demonstrations.” The article described a forthcoming “holy war” and went on to implore Jews everywhere to boycott German goods and engage in mass demonstrations against German economic interests. According to the Express:

The whole of Israel throughout the world is uniting to declare an economic and financial war on Germany. The appearance of the Swastika as the symbol of the new Germany has revived the old war symbol of Judas to new life. Fourteen million Jews scattered over the entire world are tight to each other as if one man, in order to declare war against the German persecutors of their fellow believers. The Jewish wholesaler will quit his house, the banker his stock exchange, the merchant his business, and the beggar his humble hut, in order to join the holy war against Hitler’s people.

The Express said that Germany was “now confronted with an international boycott of its trade, its finances, and its industry…. In London, New York, Paris and Warsaw, Jewish businessmen are united to go on an economic crusade.”

The article said “worldwide preparations are being made to organize protest demonstrations,” and reported that “the old and reunited nation of Israel gets in formation with new and modern weapons to fight out its age old battle against its persecutors.”

This truly could be described as “the first shot fired in the Second World War.”

In a similar vein, the Jewish newspaper Natscha Retsch wrote:

The war against Germany will be waged by all Jewish communities, conferences, congresses… by every individual Jew. Thereby the war against Germany will ideologically enliven and promote our interests, which require that Germany be wholly destroyed. The danger for us Jews lies in the whole German people, in Germany as a whole as well as individually. It must be rendered harmless for all time…. In this war we Jews have to participate, and this with all the strength and might we have at our disposal.

However, note well that the Zionist Association of Germany put out a telegram on the 26th of March rejecting many of the allegations made against the National Socialists as “propaganda,” “mendacious” and “sensational.”

In fact, the Zionist faction had every reason to ensure the permanence of National Socialist ideology in Germany. Klaus Polkehn, writing in the Journal of Palestine Studies (“The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany, 1933-1941″; JPS v. 3/4, spring/summer 1976), claims that the moderate attitude of the Zionists was due to their vested interest in seeing the financial victory of National Socialism to force immigration to Palestine. This little-known factor would ultimately come to play a pivotal part in the relationship between Nazi Germany and the Jews.

In the meantime, though, German Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath complained of the “vilification campaign” and said:

As concerns Jews, I can only say that their propagandists abroad are rendering their co-religionists in Germany no service by giving the German public, through their distorted and untruthful news about persecution and torture of Jews, the impression that they actually halt at nothing, not even at lies and calumny, to fight the present German government.

The fledgling Hitler government itself was clearly trying to contain the growing tension – both within Germany and without. In the United States, even U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull wired Rabbi Stephen Wise of the American Jewish Congress and urged caution:

Whereas there was for a short time considerable physical mistreatment of Jews, this phase may be considered virtually terminated…. A stabilization appears to have been reached in the field of personal mistreatment…. I feel hopeful that the situation which has caused such widespread concern throughout this country will soon revert to normal.

This New York Daily News front page headline hailed the massive anti-German protest rally held in Madison Square Garden on March 27, 1933. Despite efforts by the German government to alleviate tensions and prevent the escalation of name-calling and threats by the international Jewish leadership, the rally was held as scheduled. Similar rallies and protest marches were also being held in other cities during the same time frame. The intensity of the Jewish campaign against Germany was such that the Hitler government vowed that if the campaign did not stop, there would be a one-day boycott in Germany of Jewish-owned stores. Despite this, the hate campaign continued, forcing Germany to take defensive measures that created a situation wherein the Jews of Germany became increasingly marginalized. The truth about the Jewish war on Germany has been suppressed by most histories of the period.

It was in direct response to this that the German government announced a one-day boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany on April 1. German Propaganda Minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels announced that if, after the one-day boycott, there were no further attacks on Germany, the boycott would be stopped. Hitler himself responded to the Jewish boycott and the threats in a speech on March 28 – four days after the original Jewish declaration of war – saying:

Now that the domestic enemies of the nation have been eliminated by the Volk itself, what we have long been waiting for will not come to pass. The Communist and Marxist criminals and their Jewish-intellectual instigators, who, having made off with their capital stocks across the border in the nick of time, are now unfolding an unscrupulous, treasonous campaign of agitation against the German Volk as a whole from there…. Lies and slander of positively hair-raising perversity are being launched about Germany. Horror stories of dismembered Jewish corpses, gouged out eyes and hacked off hands are circulating for the purpose of defaming the German Volk in the world for the second time, just as they had succeeded in doing once before in 1914.

Thus, the fact – one conveniently left out of nearly all history on the subject – is that Hitler’s March 28, 1933 boycott order was in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership just four days earlier. Today, Hitler’s boycott order is described as a naked act of aggression, yet the full circumstances leading up to his order are seldom described in even the most ponderous and detailed histories of “the Holocaust”.

Not even Saul Friedlander in his otherwise comprehensive overview of German policy, Nazi Germany and the Jews, mentions the fact that the Jewish declaration of war and boycott preceded Hitler’s speech of March 28, 1933. Discerning readers would be wise to ask why Friedlander felt this item of history so irrelevant.

The simple fact is that it was organized Jewry as a political entity – and not even the German Jewish community per se – that actually initiated the first shot in the war with Germany.

Placard text: “Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t shop at Jewish stores!” Photo not part of original TBR article – added by The Scriptorium.

To understand Hitler’s reaction to the Jewish declaration of war, it is vital to understand the critical state of the German economy at the time. In 1933, the German economy was in a shambles. Some 3 million Germans were on public assistance with a total of 6 million unemployed. Hyper-inflation had destroyed the economic vitality of the German nation. Furthermore, the anti-German propaganda pouring out of the global press strengthened the resolve of Germany’s enemies, especially the Poles and their hawkish military high command.

The Jewish leaders were not bluffing. The boycott was an act of war not solely in metaphor: it was a means, well crafted, to destroy Germany as a political, social and economic entity. The long term purpose of the Jewish boycott against Germany was to bankrupt her with respect to the reparation payments imposed on Germany after World War I and to keep Germany demilitarized and vulnerable.

The boycott, in fact, was quite crippling to Germany. Jewish scholars such as Edwin Black have reported that, in response to the boycott, German exports were cut by 10 percent, and that many were demanding seizing German assets in foreign countries (Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement – The Untold Story of the Secret Pact between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine, New York, 1984).

The attacks on Germany did not cease. The worldwide Jewish leadership became ever the more belligerent and worked itself into a frenzy. An International Jewish Boycott Conference was held in Amsterdam to coordinate the ongoing boycott campaign. It was held under the auspices of the self-styled World Jewish Economic Federation, of which famous New York City attorney and longtime political power broker, Samuel Untermyer, was elected president.

Upon returning to the United States in the wake of the conference, Untermyer delivered a speech over WABC Radio (New York), a transcript of which was printed in The New York Times on August 7, 1933.

Untermyer’s inflammatory oratory called for a “sacred war” against Germany, making the flat-out allegation that Germany was engaged in a plan to “exterminate the Jews.” He said (in part):

…Germany [has] been converted from a nation of culture into a veritable hell of cruel and savage beasts. We owe it not only to our persecuted brethren but to the entire world to now strike in self-defense a blow that will free humanity from a repetition of this incredible outrage…. Now or never must all the nations of the earth make common cause against the… slaughter, starvation and annihilation… fiendish torture, cruelty and persecution that are being inflicted day by day upon these men, women and children…. When the tale is told… the world will confront a picture so fearful in its barbarous cruelty that the hell of war and the alleged Belgian atrocities pale into insignificance as compared to this devilishly, deliberately, cold-bloodedly planned and already partially executed campaign for the extermination of a proud, gentle, loyal, law-abiding people… The Jews are the aristocrats of the world. From time immemorial they have been persecuted and have seen their persecutors come and go. They alone have survived. And so will history repeat itself, but that furnishes no reason why we should permit this reversion of a once great nation to the Dark Ages or fail to rescue these 600,000 human souls from the tortures of hell…. …What we are proposing and have already gone far toward doing, is to prosecute a purely defensive economic boycott that will undermine the Hitler regime and bring the German people to their senses by destroying their export trade on which their very existence depends. …We propose to and are organizing world opinion to express itself in the only way Germany can be made to understand….

Untermyer then proceeded to provide his listeners with a wholly fraudulent history of the circumstances of the German boycott and how it originated. He also proclaimed that the Germans were bent on a plan to “exterminate the Jews”:

The Hitler regime originated and are fiendishly prosecuting their boycott to exterminate the Jews by placarding Jewish shops, warning Germans against dealing with them, by imprisoning Jewish shopkeepers and parading them through the streets by the hundreds under guard of Nazi troops for the sole crime of being Jews, by ejecting them from the learned professions in which many of them had attained eminence, by excluding their children from the schools, their men from the labor unions, closing against them every avenue of livelihood, locking them in vile concentration camps and starving and torturing them without cause and resorting to every other conceivable form of torture, inhuman beyond conception, until suicide has become their only means of escape, and all solely because they are or their remote ancestors were Jews, and all with the avowed object of exterminating them.

Untermyer concluded his largely fantastic and hysterical address by declaring that with the support of “Christian friends… we will drive the last nail in the coffin of bigotry and fanaticism….”

The Biggest Secret of WWII? Why Germany Began Rounding Up Jews and Deporting Them to the East

However, during this same period there were some unusual developments at work: The spring of 1933 also witnessed the beginning of a period of private cooperation between the German government and the Zionist movement in Germany and Palestine (and actually worldwide) to increase the flow of German-Jewish immigrants and capital to Palestine.

The modern-day supporters of Zionist Israel and many historians have succeeded in keeping this Nazi-Zionist pact a secret to the general public for decades and while most Americans have no concept of the possibility that there could have been outright collaboration between the Nazi leadership and the founders of what became the state of Israel, the truth has begun to emerge.

Dissident Jewish writer Lenni Brennar’s Zionism In the Age of the Dictators, published by a small press and not given the publicity it deserves by the so-called “mainstream” media (which is otherwise obsessed with the Holocaust era), was perhaps the first major endeavor in this realm.

In response to Brennar and others, the Zionist reaction has usually consisted of declarations that their collaboration with Nazi Germany was undertaken solely to save the lives of Jews. But the collaboration was all the more remarkable because it took place at a time when many Jews and Jewish organizations demanded a boycott of Germany.

To the Zionist leaders, Hitler’s assumption of power held out the possibility of a flow of immigrants to Palestine. Previously, the majority of German Jews, who identified themselves as Germans, had little sympathy with the Zionist cause of promoting the ingathering of world Jewry to Palestine. But the Zionists saw that only the anti-Semitic Hitler was likely to push the anti-Zionist German Jews into the arms of Zionism.

For all the modern-day wailing by worldwide supporters of Israel (not to mention the Israelis themselves) about “the Holocaust”, they neglect to mention that making the situation in Germany as uncomfortable for the Jews as possible – in cooperation with German National Socialism – was part of the plan.

According to Jewish historian Walter Laqueur and many others, German Jews were far from convinced that immigration to Palestine was the answer. Furthermore, although the majority of German Jews refused to consider the Zionists as their political leaders, it is clear that Hitler protected and cooperated with the Zionists for the purposes of implementing the final solution: the mass transfer of Jews to the Middle East.

Edwin Black, in his massive tome The Transfer Agreement (Macmillan, 1984), stated that although most Jews did not want to flee to Palestine at all, due to the Zionist movement’s influence within Nazi Germany a Jew’s best chance of getting out of Germany was by emigrating to Palestine. In other words, the Transfer Agreement itself mandated that Jewish capital could only to go Palestine.

Thus, according to the Zionists, a Jew could leave Germany only if he went to the Levant.

The primary difficulty with the Transfer Agreement (or even the idea of such an agreement) was that the English [!!!; Scriptorium] were demanding, as a condition of immigration, that each immigrant pay 1,000 pounds sterling upon arrival in Haifa or elsewhere. The difficulty was that such hard currency was nearly impossible to come by in a cash-strapped and radically inflationary Germany. This was the main idea behind the final Transfer Agreement. Laqueur writes:

A large German bank would freeze funds paid in by immigrants in blocked accounts for German exporters, while a bank in Palestine would control the sale of German goods to Palestine, thereby providing the immigrants with the necessary foreign currency on the spot. Sam Cohen, co-owner of Hanoaiah Ltd. and initiator of the transfer endeavors, was however subjected to long-lasting objections from his own people and finally had to concede that such a transfer agreement could only be concluded on a much higher level with a bank of its own rather than that of a private company. The renowned Anglo-Palestine Bank in London would be included in this transfer deal and create a trust company for [this] purpose.

Of course, this is of major historical importance in dealing with the relationship between Zionism and National Socialism in Germany in the 1930s. The relationship was not one merely of mutual interest and political favoritism on the part of Hitler, but a close financial relationship with German banking families and financial institutions as well. Black writes:

It was one thing for the Zionists to subvert the anti-Nazi boycott. Zionism needed to transfer out the capital of German Jews, and merchandise was the only available medium. But soon Zionist leaders understood that the success of the future Jewish Palestinian economy would be inextricably bound up with the survival of the Nazi economy. So the Zionist leadership was compelled to go further. The German economy would have to be safeguarded, stabilized, and if necessary reinforced. Hence, the Nazi party and the Zionist organizers shared a common stake in the recovery of Germany.

Thus one sees a radical fissure in world Jewry around 1933 and beyond. There were, first, the non-Zionist Jews (specifically the World Jewish Congress founded in 1933), who, on the one hand, demanded the boycott and eventual destruction of Germany. Black notes that many of these people were not just in New York and Amsterdam, but a major source for this also came from Palestine proper.

On the other hand, one can see the judicious use of such feelings by the Zionists for the sake of eventual resettlement in Palestine. In other words, it can be said (and Black does hint at this) that Zionism believed that, since Jews would be moving to the Levant, capital flight would be necessary for any new economy to function.

The result was the understanding that Zionism would have to ally itself with National Socialism, so that the German government would not impede the flow of Jewish capital out of the country.

It served the Zionist interests at the time that Jews be loud in their denunciations of German practices against the Jews to scare them into the Levant, but, on the other hand, Laqueur states that “The Zionists became motivated not to jeopardize the German economy or currency.” In other words, the Zionist leadership of the Jewish Diaspora was one of subterfuge and underhandedness, with only the advent of German hostility towards Jewry convincing the world’s Jews that immigration was the only escape.

The fact is that the ultimate establishment of the state of Israel was based on fraud. The Zionists did not represent anything more than a small minority of German Jews in 1933.

On the one hand, the Zionist fathers of Israel wanted loud denunciations of Germany’s “cruelties” to the world’s Jews while at the same time demanding moderation so that the National Socialist government would remain stable, financially and politically. Thus Zionism boycotted the boycott.

For all intents and purposes, the National Socialist government was the best thing to happen to Zionism in its history, for it “proved” to many Jews that Europeans were irredeemably anti-Jewish and that Palestine was the only answer: Zionism came to represent the overwhelming majority of Jews solely by trickery and cooperation with Adolf Hitler.

For the Zionists, both the denunciations of German policies towards Jews (to keep Jews frightened), plus the reinvigoration of the German economy (for the sake of final resettlement) was imperative for the Zionist movement. Ironically, today the Zionist leaders of Israel complain bitterly about the horrific and inhuman regime of the National Socialists. So the fraud continues.

The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany The Economic Boycott of 1933

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The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany: The …

Jews in New York City: There Goes the Neighborhood …

A more heavily Orthodox American Jewish population spells the end of a long love affair with liberalism and the Democratic Party.

The popular stereotype of the New York Jew has long been of someone who resides in the wealthy enclave of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, reads The New York Times and votes for the Democratic Party with a religious devotion. Their Jewish practices largely consist of attending synagogue services on the High Holidays, sending the children to Jewish summer camps, and eating bagels and lox. This image, however, is now as outdated as Jewish vacations in the Catskills.

The New York Jews of today are more religious, more conservative, less educated and poorer than their predecessors. There are also more of them. Those are the main findings of a landmark study just released by the UJA-Federation of New York.

The study, conducted in 2011, is the largest of its kind ever undertaken in the United States. Its findings will be pored over for years to come. The significance of one of its findings, however, is immediately obvious and striking: New York’s Jewish community is becoming increasingly Orthodox.

Thirty-two percent of Jewish households in the New York region are now Orthodox. Three decades ago, in 1981, the figure was just 13 percent. In New York City itself, the epicenter of the organized American Jewish community, 40 percent of the population is Orthodox. Most of these are actually ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Not only do Orthodox Jews now constitute a large proportion of New York’s Jewish population, but they are also likely to become a majority in the future, if current demographic trends continue. The startling fact that two out of three Jewish children living in the New York region are Orthodox (even more in the city ) already suggests that the future Jewish community of New York will be increasingly religious, if not Haredi.

The implications of this for American Jewry, for Jewish politics and for Israel are profound. New York’s Jewish population, which now numbers more than 1.5 million (out of a total American Jewish population estimated at 6.5 million ), is the largest in the world outside of Israel. This fact alone underscores the significance of its changing demography. Moreover, in Jewish communities across the United States, the proportion of Orthodox Jews is growing, as the non-Orthodox assimilate, intermarry and have fewer children.

A more heavily Orthodox American Jewish population spells the end of a long love affair with liberalism and the Democratic Party. Numerous polls indicate that Orthodox Jews are more politically conservative, and more supportive of the Republican Party, than non-Orthodox Jews. On a host of controversial social issues, including abortion, same-sex marriage and parochial schooling, they think more like Evangelical Christians than liberal Jews. This provides a huge opportunity for the Republican Party to do what it has tried and largely failed to do for the past three decades – prize American Jewish voters away from their historic attachment to the Democrats.

If the American-Jewish community becomes more right-wing and abandons its traditional support for liberalism, this will only further alienate the already shrinking number of non-Orthodox, liberal Jews in its midst. Rather than remain within the community, they could well become completely estranged from it, further cementing the religious and right-wing orientation of the organized Jewish community. Thus, the most important and influential Jewish community in the Diaspora could be slowly transformed from a bastion of progressive social values and Jewish religious pluralism, able to exercise a mostly benign influence upon Israel, to a redoubt of ultra-Orthodoxy, thereby strengthening the growing power of the Haredim in Israel.

In future, American Jewish support for religious pluralism in Israel, Arab civil rights and Arab-Jewish coexistence, Israeli-Palestinian peace and a host of other noble causes, could all be jeopardized by the growing religiosity of American Jewry. While there is nothing inherently contradictory between Judaism and support for peace, human rights and social justice, the fact remains that, in practice, Orthodox Jews are far less committed to these causes.

The gradual demographic transformation of New York’s Jewish community is merely a microcosm of what is happening across the Jewish world. The Orthodox proportion of the European Jewish population is also growing. Haredim, for example, now make up an estimated 17 percent of Britain’s Jewish population and account for three-quarters of all British Jewish births. It has been predicted that by 2050, half of all British Jews will be Haredi.

The same demographic trend is occurring in Israel, where, according to a Central Bureau of Statistics report last year, the ultra-Orthodox population is expected to rise to over 30 percent of the population in the next 50 years (from the present 10 percent ).

Is demography destiny? What does the increasingly Orthodox makeup of the Jewish population in New York, London, Paris, Jerusalem and elsewhere portend for the future of world Jewry? While one must be cautious about making long-term predictions based upon current trends, it seems safe to say that the predominantly secular Jewish communities of today, and their prevailing cultural and political values, are increasingly endangered.

Dov Waxman is an associate professor of political science at Baruch College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is coauthor of “Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within” (2011), and is currently a visiting scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Jews in New York City: There Goes the Neighborhood …

Jews Of Color

Jewish Living Magazine

In Loving Color By Rachel Sarah

Raising a biracial Jewish daughter, a mother finds herself answering many questions: from her child, from total strangers, and from her own heart.

Mommy, you became Jewish when you had me.

Thats how Mae, my eight-year-old daughter, explains it, and shes right. Sort of. Mae was seven months old when her father walked out and I became a single mom. At that point in my life, Id never been so far from Judaism. I was firmly planted in motherhood, but it would take me a while to see that I needed my religious roots to unfold.

Today, Mae is a spirited second grader with a beautiful afro, cinnamon skin, and full lips. Many people assume were not related. But Mae who is quite a sensitive child otherwiseisnt self-conscious about looking different from her Jewish peers. I, her mother, am the one who sometimes feels or is made to feel insecure.

Its not as if we shouldnt be used to the idea of mixed-race heritage. There are Jews everywhere Ethiopia, Russia, China, India. Everyone who visits Israel tells a story of meeting someone who, because of skin color or another physical characteristic, she simply couldnt believe is one of us. In the United States, according to one study, one of every five Jews (1.2 million people!) is either black, Asian, Latino, of mixed race, or of Sephardic background.

Not me. Im white, of mostly Polish descent. My father is Jewish; my mother was born Catholic. She stopped going to church in her 20s and supported the raising of her children as Jewish (although she didnt convert). I had a bat mitzvah and a confirmation. I went to Jewish summer camps. I went to Israel. I was told that 60 of my relatives were lost in the Holocaust the single fact that always kept me deeply connected to Judaism. But when, in my 17th year, a rabbi in Israel told me that I wasnt really Jewish because my heritage hadnt been passed down matrilineally, I was crushed. In anger and disappointment, I distanced myself from anything Jewish for more than a decade.

Twelve years later I had Mae. I was living in New York City, and, despite its large Jewish population, I didnt know any who were of mixed race. When I moved back to the Bay Area to be near my family, there was a Jewish preschool down the street, but I was adamant about not sending Mae there: If Id felt shunned for not having a Jewish mother, imagine how she would feel. So, I found a diverse, high-energy preschool; she cried for a week. Every afternoon when I picked her up, her eyes were bloodshot.

Friends raved about the nearby Jewish pre-school, so I called: A spot had just opened up. I was unsure, but the moment Mae walked into Kitah Aleph, she felt at home. And she was not alone. Three children were Jewish Asian, one boy was African-American, and a Spanish-speaking girl her mother, from Venezuela, had worked at the JCC for more than a decade is still one of Maes best friends.

Mae never wanted to go home when school let out. She learned how to count in Hebrew and how to braid (practicing on challah). She expanded my repertoire of Jewish songs tenfold.

But it wasnt perfect. I once took 5-year-old Mae to a local kids Shabbat service at a Conservative shul. We walked in, and everyone stared. After the service, only one person came up and said, Hi. She was the white mom of an adopted son with brown skin. While researching this article, I called that mom who asked to remain anonymous and asked whether anyone at her temple mentioned her sons race. They ignore it, she said. No one talks about it.

Nevertheless, her son recently said to her, Mommy, most Jews are white.

Lisa Williamson Rosenberg, a New Jersey psychotherapist and writer, is both Jewish and biracial (her mother is white and Jewish; her father was black). Fortunately, she reports, the definition of what a Jew looks like has broadened significantly since I was a kid. She remembers being told, How can you be Jewish? Youre black. As if the two were mutually exclusive, adds the mother of two (her husband is white and Jewish).

Today when I say, Im Jewish, I may get a respectful question or two, Rosenberg says, but I wont get the same kind of disbelief I might have in the 60s. On our two coasts, if you walk into a synagogue theres a good chance you will find at least a few brownish faces. I think its due to the high numbers of interracial marriages, conversions, and transracial adoptions by Jewish parents.

Diane Kaufmann Tobin, associate director of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco, agrees.

When I adopted Jonah, I didnt know any black Jews, Tobin says about her 10-year-old son, whom she adopted with her husband, Gary, the institutes president. I wanted him to grow up Jewish and not have to choose between his racial and religious identities.

The Tobins, both of whom are white, were determined to find a place where Jonah would feel very at home being both Jewish and black. So, they founded San Franciscos Bechol Lashon (In Every Tongue) program, which grows and strengthens the Jewish people through ethnic, cultural, and racial inclusiveness.

Clearly Im not the only white mother who hopes her child will feel pride in every facet of her identity. Right now, Mae considers herself Jewish, while others define her on the basis of what they can see as black. Looking ahead, Im not ready for the changes sure to come in her teenage years and beyond, both with how Mae sees herself and how the world does.

I ask Rosenberg for advice on raising my child. Its important not to let the black part get lost, she says. Being black is something many biracial people take a long time to come to terms with I did especially if they identify strongly with whatever makes up the other half. But I believe its important to teach a biracial child to love the black in herself, along with everything else.

One of my closest friends a white, Jewish mom whose extended family is Orthodox is doing just that. She had her 7-year-old daughter with an African man whos no longer in the picture. The Jewish part is easy, says my friend (who requests to keep her family anonymous) about raising her daughter. She was named in a Jewish ceremony at temple. My grandmother even came out from the Midwest. And her daughter? She never questions that she is Jewish.

Instead, my friend worries about helping her child identify with the rest of her background. During Black History Month, her daughter started asking questions about her African roots. Not sure what to do, my friend enrolled her first-grader in an African drumming class; she didnt love it, but Mom persuaded her to keep going because I dont know how to help her feel the parts of her that are not parts of me.

Its hard, with so many negative images of blacks in the media, especially if the child isnt living with a black family member, Rosenberg adds. Its a process that Im still working on. And Im in my 40s.

My daughter, too, seems to have no questions about her Jewishness. She is secure and happy at our local JCC. She attends a Jewish after-school program and will soon start her fourth summer at Jewish day camp. When shes with her Jewish friends, she isnt shy, the way she often is in public. She volunteers to act in skits; she shows new kids where the bathroom is; she teases her counselors . (She did confess to embarrassment, however, when she was recently proclaimed Mensch of the Week in front of the entire after-school group).

Im the one still feeling like an outsider.

Recently, a Jewish friend invited us to a neighborhood party. As I was pouring myself a glass of wineand Mae was asking if she could have another cookie a local dad asked me, Where did you adopt your daughter?

Pointing to my belly I answered point-blank, She came from right here.

Ive got that answer down pat because adults and children have asked me many times whether Mae was adopted (along with other common kid questions, like Why is her hair curly and yours straight? and Wheres her daddy?).

Scott Rubin, a Jewish dad in San Francisco who, with his partner Stephen Moore, has adopted two children, one African-American, the other African-American and Latino, says that strangers also have approached him with questions. First, he tries to gauge their intentions. Then, he wants to know why theyre asking. I always try to tell the truth, he says, but I dont always elaborate. And if they ask, Are they your kids? I say, Yes. But I do not engage in conversations about ethnicity or race with strangers. Ever.

Says Diane Tobin, What Ive learned from other Jews of color is they dont want to be asked, Why are you Jewish? or How are you Jewish? Its rude. We need to educate people about what to say or not to say.

For me, biracial Judaism is a touchy subject. When white Jews ask about my daughters identity, I appreciate their curiosity as long as their tone is respectful and warm and as long as their questions are directed to me.

Rosenberg says, Its not your daughters job to answer. As a parent, you need to step in and say, Why do you ask?’

Still, if Jews are not acknowledging my daughters biracial identity, are they really ignoring her?

Dont look at the container, but look at whats inside. Thats from Pirkei Avot Ethics of Our Fathers, Chapter 4, Mishnah 27. Im led to that tenet by Rabbi Judah Dardik of the Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland. Although we couldnt be more mismatched Im a 35-year-old single mom who never goes to temple and had a child with a man outside the tribe; hes Orthodox, married, and the father of four Dardik is my go-to rabbi because hes thoughtful, respectful, and patient.

I catch him on the phone on a Friday, an hour before sundown, and apologize for not calling earlier. I tell him that Im trying to write about what its like to raise a biracial Jewish child, but every time I sit down at my computer, what comes out sounds overly defensive.

Many Ashkenazi Jews tend to assume that Jews are white, Dardik says, but its not true. Jews come in different shades and colors. In Judaism, he explains, what matters is not what you look like on the outside your container but what merit you have on the inside.

Ive done something right, because clearly Mae isnt afraid to show her inside. Maybe its time for me to open up a little bit, too.

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Jews Of Color

Georgian Jews – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Georgian Jews have traditionally lived separately, not only from the surrounding Georgian people, but also from the Ashkenazi Jews in Tbilisi, who had different practices and language.

The community, which numbered about 80,000 as recently as the 1970s, has largely emigrated to Israel, the United States (US), the Russian Federation and Belgium (in Antwerp). As of 2004[update], only about 13,000 Georgian Jews remain in Georgia. According to the 2002 First General National Census of Georgia, there are 3,541 Jewish believers in the country.[5] For example, the Lezgishvili branch of Georgian Jews have families in Israel, Moscow, Baku, Dsseldorf, and Cleveland, Ohio (US). Several hundred Georgian Jewish families live in the New York tri-state area, particularly in New York City and Long Island.

Georgian-speaking Jewry is one of the oldest surviving Jewish communities in the world. The Georgian Jews have an approximately 2,600-year history in the region. The origin of Georgian Jews, also known as Gurjim or kartveli ebraelebi, is debated. The most popular view is that the first Jews made their way to southern Georgia after Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and exile in Babylon. This claim is supported by the medieval Georgian historical account by Leonti Mroveli, who writes:

Then King Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem. The Jews who fled thence come to Kartli and requested from the mamasakhlisi [local ruler] of Mtskheta territory in return for tribute. He gave [a place] and settled them on the Aragvi, at spring which was called Zanavi, which was later renamed as Zanavi, the quarter of Jews.”.[2]

Another version offered by Mroveli, was the settlement of the Jews in Georgia during the Roman period of Emperor Vespasian. He wrote that Jews lived in Georgia long before 1st century AD. According to Mroveli:

During their [Bartom and Kartam's] reign, Vespasian, the emperor of the Romans, captured Jerusalem. From there refugee Jews come to Mtskheta and settled with the old Jews.”[2]

The ancient Georgian historic chronicle, The Conversion of Kartli, is the oldest and only Georgian source concerning the history of the Jewish community in Georgia. The chronicle describes a version similar to that offered centuries later by Leonti Mroveli, but the period of Jewish migration into Georgia is ascribed to Alexander the Great:

…the warlike seed, the Honni [Jews], exiled by the Chaldeans, [came to Kartli] and requested the land for tribute from the Lord of the Bun T’urks [suburb of Mtskheta]. And they [Jews] settled in Zanavi. And they possessed it…[2]

Georgian sources also refer to the arrival of the first Jews in Western Georgia from the Byzantine Empire during the 6th century AD. Approximately 3,000 of the Jews fled to Eastern Georgia, which by that time was controlled by the Persians, to escape severe persecution by the Byzantines. The existence of the Jews in these regions during this period is supported by the archaeological evidence, which shows that Jews lived in Mtskheta, the ancient capital of the Eastern Georgian state of Iberia-Kartli.[citation needed]

According to the Georgian hagiography, Jewish communities existed in Georgia in the 1st century. A Georgian Jew called Elias was said to be in Jerusalem during the Crucifixion and brought Jesus’ robe back with him to Georgia. He had acquired it from a Roman soldier at Golgotha.

The Jews spoke Georgian, and later Jewish traders developed a dialect called Kivruli, or Judaeo-Georgian, which included a number of Hebrew words.

In the second half of the 7th century, the Muslim Empire conquered extensive Georgian territory, which became an Arab caliph province. Arab emirs ruled in the Georgian capital Tbilisi and surrounding territory for nearly 500 years, until 1122.

Genetic studies carried out on Georgian Jews as part of a wider survey showed close genetic links with other Jews, and in particular with Iraqi and Persian Jews. This seemed to prove the historical accounts of Jewish migration from Persia into Georgia.[6]

There is not much documentation about Georgian Jews under the Arab domination. In the late 9th century, Abu-Imran Musa al-Za’farani (later known as Abu-Imran al-Tiflisi) founded a Jewish Karai sect called the Tiflis Sect (“Tiflisites”), which lasted for more than 300 years. The sect deviated from halakhah in its marriage and kashrut customs. This sect did not represent the great majority of Georgian Jews who adhered to the traditional rabbinical Judaism while maintaining strong religious ties with Baghdad and other Jews of Iraq.[citation needed]

The Mongols swept through Georgia in 1236, prompting many of the Jews of Eastern and Southern Georgia to move to the western region, which remained independent. There they formed small communities along the Black Sea, and eventually their poverty forced them into serfdom. For 500 years, beginning in the end of the 14th century, the Jews of Georgia belonged to the kamani, or serf class, under the Georgian elite.[citation needed]

Their situation worsened in the 15th and 16th centuries due to constant military conflicts and invasions by Timur, Ottoman Empire, and Muslim Persia. By the end of the 15th century, Georgia had fragmented into three separate kingdoms and five feudal territories. Jewish serfs were sold from master to master as a family or individuals as debt payments or gifts.[citation needed] The Jewish communities were torn apart and Jewish communal life was nearly impossible to maintain. Isolation and lack of a religious and spiritual center led to a decline of Jewish knowledge.[citation needed]

An endless string of wars and rebellions characterized the late 18th and early 19th centuries, leaving the region decimated. Jewish property was often confiscated and Jews were forced to seek the protection of the local feudal lords. Instead of finding security, many Jews became enslaved by these lords. The serfs, including Jewish ones, were divided into three categories according to Georgian law: the King’s serfs, Feudal serfs, and the Church’s serfs.[citation needed]

During this period, large migrations of Jews took place, either voluntary or forced. In the 15th and 16th centuries, a large number of Jews left for Crimea, and many Jews in that region are still of Georgian descent. In the 17th and 18th centuries, tens of thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish Georgians were forcibly relocated to Persia by the Islamic Persian invaders.[citation needed]

In 1801, the Russian Empire annexed Eastern Georgia. The King’s serfs became the Treasury’s serfs, and were obliged to pay taxes to the Tsar. In 1835 there were 1,363 Jews with 113 Karaites living in the town of Kutais (Kutaisi) and its surroundings: 1,040 in Gori, 623 in Akhaltsikhe, and 61 in Tiflis (Tbilisi). The total Jewish population of Georgia and the region beyond the Caucasus was 12,234.[citation needed]

In 1864-71, the Russian authorities abolished serfdom, and Jewish former serfs moved to towns and villages where free Jews were already settled. Finally the Jews of Georgia began to develop Jewish communities. Each group moved together to the same towns and established their own respective synagogues. They were usually made up of a number of extended family groups spanning three or four generations. Each community had a gabbai who served as a rabbi, shohet, mohel, and Cheder, and oversaw religious and communal affairs. These small communities developed into the Jewish quarter of their particular towns.

In the beginning of the 19th century, Ashkenazi Russian Jews were forced to move to Georgia by the Russian government. The Ashkenazi Jews and the Georgian Jews began establishing contact with each other, but relations were strained. Georgian Jews viewed the Ashkenazim as godless and secular, while the Ashkenazim looked down on the Georgian Jews.

Zionism was a uniting cause for the two groups. Ashkenazim joined Zionist organizations and began to spread their ideas to the Georgian Jewish communities. In 1897, the first Zionist organization was established in Tbilisi. On 20 August 1901, the First Congress of Caucasus Zionists was held in Tbilisi. Rabbi David Baazov led Georgian Zionism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1903, Baazov attended the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. In 1918, the All-Jewish Congress in Tbilisi took place and included representatives from every Georgian and Russian Jewish community in the country.

Beginning in 1863, groups of Jews began making aliyah, mostly for religious reasons. By 1916, 439 Georgian Jews lived in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem near the Damascus Gate. Most Jews who made aliyah were poor and worked as freight-handlers in Jerusalem. Other more prominent Georgian Jews served as financiers and carpet merchants. Prominent Georgian Jewish families in the holy land before 1948 were the Dabra (Davarashvili) and Kokia (Kakiashvili) families.[citation needed]

The tradition of the relationship between Jews and other Georgians has no signs of anti-Semitism, excluding the Tsarist Government. For many centuries, the Church in Georgia did not incite against the Jews, and the Georgian Jews were visibly assimilated in the country’s rural life and culture.[3]

In the second half of the 19th century, there were some outbreaks of anti-Semitic acts, perhaps stemming from the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church.[citation needed] Anti-Semitism was supplemented by the end of serfdom and the urbanization of the Jewish population. As Jews became traders instead of field hands, Georgian workers began to see them as competitors and economic threats. Anti-Semitism had been active in Russia for centuries and, under the annexation, began to influence non-Jews in Georgia.

Six blood libels have been recorded as having taken place in Georgia. The first blood libel was in Surami in 1850. A little boy from Gori disappeared while on a visit with his parents. The child was found dead after four days, and the Jews were blamed for his death. The guberniya doctor examined the dead child and concluded that he was drowned. The people blamed the Jews and started riots against the Jews. Only the intervention of the head of the Viceroyalty avoided more problems.

The worst and most infamous case was in the village of Sachkhere in 1878, when nine Jews were accused of partaking in the ritual killing of a Christian child to use the blood to make matzah for Passover. The highly publicized trial occurred in Kutaisi, and was called the Kutaisi Trial. The accused were found not guilty, but the blood libels continued.

After the October 1917 Russian Revolution threw out the Tsar’s government and replaced it with the Bolsheviks, Georgians clamored for independence from their occupiers. On 26 May 1918, the Georgian Republic declared its independence. With independence came freedom of speech, press, and organization, which improved the economic situation of the Jews of Georgia. This newfound freedom did not last long. The Red Army invaded Georgia in February 1921, prompting a mass exodus from the region. Approximately 1,5002,000 Jews left Georgia, 1,0001,200 of whom settled in Israel. The remainder fled mainly to Istanbul, where a Georgian Jewish community had been in existence since the 1880s.

Initially, the Soviets allowed the Jews to maintain their religious customs, but after a Georgian rebellion in 1924, the Bolshevik government terminated all Zionist activity, imposed economic restrictions, and generally discriminated against the Jewish community. As a result, many Jewish businesses were bankrupted and 200 families applied for exit visas. Only 18 were allowed to emigrate.

In the mid-1920s, the Soviets focused on industrializing and secularizing the Jews of Georgia. Mass numbers of Jews were forced to work in factories or to join craft cooperatives and collective farm projects. In 19271928, OZET, the organization for settling Jewish workers on farms, established a number of Jewish collective farms. These small homogeneous communities became isolated Jewish communities where Jewish learning was continued. Recognizing this, the Communists disbanded the communities in the 1930s, scattering the Jews among various farms and destroying Jewish communal life.

Meanwhile, blood libels continued in full force, with occurrences in Sachkhere in 1921, Tbilisi in 1923, and Akhalzikhe in 1926.

Due to Soviet persecution and the declining economic situation, Zionist leaders focused on increasing aliyah efforts. The Soviets firmly opposed Jewish emigration and, during the 1930s, cracked down on Zionist organizations, arresting or murdering many members. In 1937-38, the authorities stifled participation in Jewish religious services or cultural activities. In September 1937, nine hakhams, two of whom were Ashkenazi, were arrested in Tskhinvali (Staliniri at the time), and sent to prison without trial and murdered.

The only surviving Jewish institution was the History and Ethnography Museum, but it too was soon closed down. Its director, Aharon Krikheli was arrested in 1948, and the museum closed in the early 1950s, thus signifying the annihilation of Jewish culture in Georgia, which the Soviets had built up during the prewar years.

During World War II, thousands of Georgian Jews served in the Red Army. After the war, the authorities arrested Jews and closed or destroyed synagogues, and anti-Semitic acts of violence erupted. But despite their attempts, the Soviets could not completely annihilate the practice of Judaism and, even in the late 1960s and 1970s, most Georgian Jews managed to observe their traditions. Georgian Jews were able to preserve their identity better than Jews in European parts of the Soviet Union, and assimilated and intermarried less. Throughout Soviet rule, Jews remained society’s scapegoat. They made up the majority of Georgians convicted for economic crimes, and were punished more severely than the rest of the population. Blood libels continued with incidents in Tskhaltubo in 1963, Zestafoni in 1964, and Kutaisi in 1965.

After the Six Day War, huge numbers of Soviet Jews began protesting for the right to immigrate to Israel, and many applied for exit visas. Georgian Jews made up a large percentage of this number. They were among the very first to begin protesting, and were among the most militant of campaigners. In August 1969, eighteen families wrote to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations demanding permission to make aliyah. This was the first public insistence by Soviet Jews for immigration to Israel. The Israeli government and the Jewish world campaigned heavily on behalf of the plight of the Soviet Jewry. In July 1971, a group of Georgian Jews went on a hunger strike outside a Moscow post office. The determination of Soviet Jewish activists and international pressure led the Soviets to lessen their harsh anti-Jewish policies. During the 1970s, the Soviets permitted limited Jewish emigration to Israel, and about 30,000 Georgian Jews made aliyah, with thousands of others leaving for other countries. Approximately 17% of the Soviet Jewish population emigrated at this time. In 1979, the Jewish population in Georgia was 28,300 and, by 1989, it had decreased to 24,800.

While most Soviet Jewish emigration was individual, Georgian-Jewish emigration was communal. Due to Georgian-Jewish traditions of strong, extended families and the strict, patriarchal nature of Georgian families, Georgians immigrated as whole communities, with emigration of individuals causing a chain reaction leading to more emigration, and brought their community structures with them. For example, nearly the entire population of at least two Georgian towns made aliyah. At the time the emigration started, Israel had a policy of scattering the population around the country, and was experiencing a housing shortage, with the result that Georgians were assigned housing in different parts of the country. The Georgians began demanding that they be concentrated together, and the crisis reached a fever pitch when several families threatened to return to Georgia, and new immigrants, forewarned by predecessors, began demanding to be placed in specific areas upon arrival. Although Prime Minister Golda Meir criticized the Georgians’ desire to “isolate themselves into ghettos”, the Israeli Immigrant Absorption Ministry eventually bowed to their demands, and began to create concentrations of around 200 families in twelve areas of the country.[7]

In Israel, Georgian immigrants successfully integrated into society, but faced certain problems. Georgian immigrants were usually able to find jobs with ease, and often worked in light industry jobs, such as dock workers, porters, and construction workers, but faced certain issues. One major issue was religion; the Georgian Jews were often devout and had fiercely clung to their traditions in the Soviet Union, and were stunned to discover that Israeli Jews were mostly secular. As a result, Georgian immigrants demanded their own separate synagogues to continue their unique religious traditions, which the government agreed to, and enrolled their children in religious schools rather than regular schools.[7]

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Georgia declared her independence in 1991. Since independence, the country faced continuous military conflict, leaving the region in political and economic turmoil.

The situation of the Jewish community of Georgia improved dramatically due to the end of the Soviet occupation. In 1994, President Shevardnadze issued a decree to protect Jewish religious, cultural and historic monuments. In addition, the Jews of Georgia have successfully maintained their Jewish identity and traditions despite the oppression they faced under the Soviets. Intermarriage has always been low and levels of Jewish knowledge are significantly higher than those of other CIS republics.

In 1990, the Rachamim Society was established, which supplies financial and medical support to the Jews of Tbilisi and maintains Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. It functions as an umbrella organization for Ashkenazi Jews. The Association of Georgian Jews (Derekh Yehudi) focuses on regaining Jewish property confiscated during the Soviet era. The Jewish community still faces acts of violence and obstacles in the return of property rights to a 19th-century Ashkenazi synagogue stolen by the Soviets. The Chief Rabbi of Georgia from Chabad Lubavitsch is Rabbi Avraham Michaelshvili, who has been there since the early 1990s hosting the Georgian community and many guests with fervor and devotion. There is a further Chief Rabbi Ariel Levin. There is no umbrella organization for all Jews in Georgia, but more than 30 Jewish institutions are in existence, in addition to one Jewish day school and four supplementary schools. Three Jewish newspapers are published – Menora, Shalom, and 26 Century, and there is also a Jewish radio and television station.

The Jewish population of Georgia has steadily decreased over the years due to aliyah in response to the political and economic issues since independence. Overall, since 1989, 21,134 Jews have moved to Israel. Once numbering as many as 100,000, today the Georgian Jewish population is approximately 13,000. Tbilisi has the largest Jewish population at 11,000 out of 1.5 million. Jewish communities are located in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Oni, Akhaltikhe, Akhalkalaki, Surami, Kareli, and Stalin’s hometown of Gori, and synagogues are located in most of these cities. The provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are virtually devoid of Jews due to the military conflicts in these areas. Many Abkhazian Jews emigrated to Israel from Abkhazia during the war in the 1990s there, while the few who stayed are mostly elderly. A synagogue is still active in Sukhumi. There is one Jew left in South Ossetia (see articles History of the Jews in Abkhazia and History of the Jews in South Ossetia).

In January 2001, in a first step toward establishing relations, the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Jewish community of Georgia signed a cooperation agreement of mutual respect and support. In 2002, Georgian Orthodox Christianity was established as the state religion, and since then there has been concern for all religious minorities in the country. Relations between Georgia and Israel are warm, however. The Israeli embassy is located in Tbilisi and also serves Armenia; the Georgian embassy is in Tel Aviv. Israel has supplied humanitarian aid to Georgia a number of times, including drought assistance and aid for earthquake victims.

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) both have permanent representatives in Georgia. JDC and Hesed Eliyahu distribute food and medical aid to the Jewish elderly, who make up more than 50% of the Georgian Jewish community.

As a result of the 2008 South Ossetia War, some 200 Georgian Jews immigrated to Israel with assistance from the Jewish Agency.[8] During that war, the Jewish Quarter of Tskhinvali was destroyed during the Battle of Tskhinvali.[9]

Georgia’s population almost doubled between 1926 and 1970, then began declining, with dramatic declines in the 1970s and 1990s, when many Georgian Jews left and moved to other countries, especially to Israel.[10]

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Georgian Jews – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Term "Sephardic Jew," by Sarina Roffe

Many researchers believe the term “Sephardic” originally referred to Jews living in and later expelled from Spain in 1492. Today the term “Sephardic” has come to be accepted as a reference to the Jewish exiles and their descendants who settled in countries along the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, the Balkans, Italy, Syria and Palestine, as well as indigenous Jews who already lived in these places. Some of these Jews fled to Brazil, Holland and the Jewish communities of the New World, including New Amsterdam (New York), Mexico and Curacao in the Caribbean. Sephardim of the Iberian Peninsula (what are now Portugal and Spain), spoke Ladino, a combination of Hebrew and Spanish.

There is debate in academic circles about the definition of the term “Sephardic Jew.”

Is a Sephardic Jew a descendant of Spain and the Iberian Peninsula? Are Syrian Jews, many of whom came from Spain in the 16th Century, all Sephardic? The issue revolves around the fact that Jews were indigenous to the Middle East for centuries before the birth of Christianity and later, Islam.

The official definition of Sephardic according to Rabbi Marc Angel of Sephardic House, is “almost any Jew who is not Ashkenazi.”

One issue is whether it is possible to bring under

Daniel Elazar, the first President of the American Sephardi Federation and a distinguished scholar, said

Another issue concerns the Talmud and is expressed by S. Alfassa Marks.

“The Crusades which started in the beginning of the last millennium virtually destroyed Jewish intellectual life. It was suppressed and almost brought an end to the Jewish creative process in the middle European countries and the Holy Land. It was during this period that the further development of the Talmud passed to Jewry living in Iberia and North Africa. Our Talmud, the base of how we interpret Jewish law, came to Spain from Babylon (Iraq) and the Middle East. It was not developed there; it went there with Rabbi Saadia ibn Joseph Gaon, Rabbi Chanoch ben Moshe and Rabbi Hananel ben Hushiel in the 10th and 11th centuries. These rabbis were born in North Africa. These three rabbis fueled Rabbi Yitzhak Alfassi (born in Algeria, raised in Morocco), who later became one of the highest recognized Talmudists in history. He later lived his life in Cordoba and Lucena, Andalusia.”

Marks notes that it was common for Jews, especially traveling merchants, to travel and have homes in more than one place and on more than one continent. Rabbis commonly thought of as Sephardic settled and lived in many places. In one reference, Marks notes that Rambam lived most of his life in North Africa, not in Spain.

According to references in Genesis, 10.3 and Obadiah, 1.20, the lands called Sepharad were located in areas north of the Holy Land, and were not necessarily in Spain and the Iberian peninsula, as the term is generally understood. Joseph A. D. Sutton contends that Jews in Spain, also known as Sephardic Jews, lived there for many centuries, but were descendants of Middle East ancestors who came to the Iberian Peninsula in stages from Egypt, Baghdad, North Africa, Palestine and Syria. Arabic was the principal language in large sections of Spain until the Christian conquests and was used by the Jews for daily communication and religious works.

“In effect, Jewish Spain was merely an extension of the Middle East, to all extents and purposes, the Sephardim did not substantially differ from their brothers in the Fertile Crescent, in language, religious practices and endeavors.”

Today, many religious leaders in Israel consider themselves as Sephardic and identify with the founders of the Babylonian Talmud, who went to Spain and were considered saved in the West. Marks states that the Babylonian Talmud was written by their ancestors in what is today Iraq, and codified in Iberia. In sending the Talmud to the West, many believe that Judaism flourished and survived.

Joseph A. D. Sutton contends that since the Jews of Spain originally came from the Middle East and their descendants went back to the Middle East, it is reasonable to categorize all of these Jews as Sephardim.

Sarina Roff Brooklyn, New York, USA

The Term Sephardic Jew by Sarina Roff

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The Term "Sephardic Jew," by Sarina Roffe