Palestine UN-Habitat

Governments at the 19th Session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council in 2003 adopted by consensus resolution 19/18 calling on UN-Habitat to establish a Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People (SHSPPP). The long-term development objective of the programme is to improve the human settlements conditions of the Palestinian people and in so doing contribute in a modest way to reaching peace, security and stability in the region. During the 23rd Governing Council in 2011, a new resolution 23/2 was adopted, requesting UN-Habitat to further focus its operations on planning, land and housing issues in view of improving the housing and human settlement conditions of Palestinians, addressing the urbanization challenges, supporting the building of a Palestinian state, humanitarian action and peace-building, in the areas where there are acute humanitarian and development needs.

Broadly speaking effective urbanisation is a choice, a human choice that is not achieved by chance but by design and political will. The positive outcomes of urbanisation depend largely on the quality of that design. And so there is the potential for urbanization to be a driver for sustainable development in the State of Palestine. But at the same time, there are well known challenges to doing so. It is hard to see how urbanization can foster development in Palestine where over 60% of the West Bank, known as Area C, is under a restrictive planning process that is discriminatory and not in conformity with international humanitarian and human rights law. Or in Gaza, where recurrent conflict has killed thousands of people, devastated the urban space, destroyed and damaged thousands of homes, and where reconstruction is proceeding too slowly. Or Jerusalem, where one city is divided by multiple growing inequalities.

Urbanization, as a positive force for development in Palestine, is a phenomenon significantly interrupted by the occupation. Yet, there is no development without urbanization, a fact we have to acknowledge against the long process of final political settlement leading to two States living side by side in peace and security. To be clear, the UN seeks a just resolution to issues including the demarcation of borders, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, water and natural resources, the Gaza blockade, and Palestinian refugees, together with affirmative actions to cease the destruction of Palestinian property.

UN-Habitat as articulated through its recent analysis on East Jerusalem, Area C, and Gaza, and as echoed in the One UN Position Paper on Spatial Planning in Area C believes there are practical measures that can be taken to foster sustainable urbanization for the State of Palestine, which in turn can improve the conditions for peace.

Central to UN Habitats perspective on urbanization is that spatial and urban planning must be used as a means for delivering human rights, not denying them. Hence, UN-Habitat considers the approval of the Master Plans that have been submitted by Palestinian communities for Area C to be an imperative step for implementation of an inclusive planning and zoning regime that will enable Palestinians residential and community development needs to be met across the entirety of the State of Palestine. For Gaza specifically, Israel must end the blockade to allow the cities to build back better through innovative and participatory urban planning approaches.

UN-Habitat is now playing a more substantive role in Palestine leading debate on urbanization issues, supporting NGOs, government and private sector firms on planning, and informing advocacy efforts by the international community on planning and building rights for Palestinian communities in Area C and East Jerusalem. Its engagement in the occupied Palestinian territories is in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal 11, Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and it is mobilizing the territories towards the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) which will take place 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.

Key Partners

UN-Habitats main counterparts are the Ministry of Local Government, the National Spatial Plan Office at the Ministry of Planning and Administrative Development, (recently merged with the Ministry of Finance), the Ministry of Public Works and Housing as well as municipalities and local communities. UN-Habitat works closely with other UN Agencies in Palestine as well as local and international NGOs. Key donors are the Saudi Committee for the Palestinian People Relief, the Campaign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the Relief of the Palestinian People in Gaza, the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the European Commission, the World Bank, the Government of France, the Government of Belgium, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

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Palestine UN-Habitat

American Jews and the Trump Administration – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

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After the election of perhaps the most pro-Israel U.S. administration in history, American Jews seem to have lost the plot. When Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S., many Jews sat shiva to mourn Hillary Clintons defeat as if it was a death in the family, making religion out of politics. A number of Conservative and Reform synagogues held special mourning services to bewail the advent of fascism in America. One prominent Conservative rabbi in New York compared the Trump victory to the rise of Nazism prior to the Holocaust. The essence of politics is persuasion; not hysterics.

Trump repeatedly praises Israel and refers to Israel as Americas greatest ally. He has been closely associated with Jews in business and politics. His daughter observes an Orthodox religious lifestyle, after converting to Judaism. Apart from his family, his senior appointments include many Jews and staunch friends of Israel. He endorsed Israels position on defensible borders and stated that he has no objection to construction in the major settlement blocs and Jerusalem. He called on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and stated that the only way to peace is by direct negotiations between both parties. He repudiated Obamas criticism of Israel for failing to make progress in peace talks, and Obamas application of moral equivalence between Israelis and Palestinians. He has begun to pressure the Iranians to adhere to their commitments to the treaty of catastrophe, and would terminate it for any violation by the Iranian terrorist regime.

One of the negative repercussions of the Trump victory is the growing influence of the radical anti-Israel wing of the Democratic Party. The anti-Israel Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, who was initially funded by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations, is the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee; supported by leading Jewish Senator Chuck Schumer. While, anti-Israel Jewish Senator Bernie Sanders emerged as a powerful force in the defeated radicalized Democratic Party.

The Jewish establishment ignored and pretended away the Democratic anti-Semites, even when they were burning Israeli flags at the Democratic convention. They condemned legitimate criticisms of anti-Israel financier George Soros as anti-Semitic while leaving unaddressed truly anti-Semitic assaults by Hillary backers on Trump donor Sheldon Adelson. Moreover, significant sectors of the Jewish community are falsely accusing the Trump administration of promoting anti-Semitism. It is noteworthy that the Zionist Organization of America protested against this partisan defamatory campaign.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) launched a scornful assault against Trumps chief strategist, former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon accusing him of being an anti-Semite, while ignoring Ellisons record of anti-Semitism and support for Israels enemies, as well as Ellisons ties to unindicted co-conspirators in funding Hamas. The accusation that Bannon is anti-Semitic is appalling on its face. Bannon is surrounded by Jews in his media company, Breitbart News, and is known for his fervent support for Israel, opposition to anti-Semitism, disapproval of anti-Israel activism on campuses, and condemnations of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of ADL, accused Bannon of being an anti-Semite who would pave the way for a return to anti-Semitism and white supremacy. In alleging that a friend of the Jews is a Jew hater while ignoring the actual anti-Semitism of another man, the ADL appears to be giving cover to the rising forces of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party.

Greenblatt did not call for Jews to boycott the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement despite its anti-Semitism and promotion of BDS against Israel, and he referred approvingly to the positive aspects of its work. The use of the ADL, created to combat anti-Semitism, to promote Greenblatts partisan political agenda is scandalous.

Greenblatt had earlier used the ADL to condemn Republicans as anti-Zionist because they excluded a two-state solution in their Middle East policy platform. When Trump declined to dignify David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan by responding to their expressions of support for him, Greenblatt condemned him for tolerating anti-Semites. This contrasted with the muted response by Jewish liberals to Barack Obamas relationship with various radical anti-Semites.

Obama has long-held close alliances with Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Rashid Khalidi, etc. Obamas political career was launched in the house of the anti-Semite Ayers, a former leader of the Weather Underground, a left-wing terrorist organization that issued a Declaration of a State of War against the U.S. government. Obama attended Wrights sermons with his family, and he officiated at Obamas wedding and was appointed by him in 2007 to the African American Religious Leadership Committee. He only dissociated himself from Wrights views after media exposure but refused to disown him personally, relating to him as an old uncle. No critic of Trump could suggest any comparable relationship with any identifiable anti-Semite.

Establishment anger over Trumps weeks-old administration is growing. The mainstream global media, progressive activists, Democratic Party leaders, and many Republicans are essentially at war with him. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently compared his victory to disasters in American history that killed and wounded thousands like the Pearl Harbor bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some op-ed writers and pundits have openly hoped for his violent death. The progressive Resistance talks of removing the new president through impeachment, or even military coup. About one-third of House Democrats boycotted the Inauguration. Congressional Republicans ignore the Constitution, ignore the balance of powers, and ignore written law, while relinquishing their own constitutional authority allowing the courts to run American foreign policy, just to be a part of the establishments Stop Trump movement.

After Trump had secured the Republican nomination, prominent Jewish conservative editors, like Bill Kristol and Jonah Goldberg, led the Never Trump movement. They betrayed the Republican Party, the American people, and Jews when they set out to undermine Trump, which could have elected the criminally challenged Hillary.

The sympathies of Hillary and Obama lie with the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that launched the Arab drive to destroy Israel and push its Jews into the sea. If Hillary and Obama had their way, Egypts leader al-Sisi would be overthrown, the Brotherhood would be back in power, and Israel could be facing a threat from the biggest military power in the Middle East and war with Islamic terrorists who openly call for the extermination of the Jews.

Elements of the U.S. government have been actively opposing the duly elected U.S. president. Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency have been disrupting Trump administration reforms. U.S. government employees recorded Trumps private calls to the president of Mexico and the Australian prime minister, and leaked selected segments to suggest that Trump was either a buffoon or trigger-happy. The Wall Street Journal reported in February 2017 that career intelligence officers have decided to withhold information from Trump, because in their view he is unfit to receive it. Kristol suggested in a tweet that if he faced a choice between the constitutionally, democratically elected president and career government officials efforts to thwart or remove him, he would come down on the side of the revolutionary, anti-democratic deep state.

American voters elected Trump because they regarded him as the only opportunity to break with the status quo, a revolt against the postmodernism that has undermined the moral fiber of the West and its willingness to defend itself, facilitating the emergence of brutal Islamic terror. The refusal of Trumps opponents to accept the outcome of the election was despicable and unprecedented, and contrasts with the acquiescence of the defeated Republicans when Obama won both of his elections. An aspect of the election result is the hysterical reaction by liberal segments of the Jewish community. It is not surprising that 70% of Jews supported Hillary Clinton. This is consistent with their long-standing obsession with liberalism. But the manipulation of Jewish issues as a political vehicle by some American Jewish leaders to oppose Trump could be an act of infamy.

After Israel, the U.S. has the largest Jewish population in the world. Despite credible evidence that Islamic terrorists infiltrate migrants from Muslim conflict zones, American Jews have been at the forefront of the opposition to the Trump administrations plan to pause immigration for a few months from six Muslim countries with vetting challenges. In America, anti-Semitic attacks are generally by Muslims or radical liberals; however, American Jews supported the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton that promised significant increase in immigration from Muslim conflict zones. During the recent migration crisis in Europe, British Jews repeatedly clamored for massive immigration from Muslim conflict zones; however, in March 2017, the British Home Secretary issued a warning of significant radical Islamic terrorist threat to British Jews. From Bombay to Toulouse and beyond, Jews suffer disproportionately from Muslim attackers.

Some Democratic Party Muslim Americans with records of anti-Semitism condemned the recent anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish cemeteries. The Democratic Party is becoming more open in its embrace of anti-Semitism. Terrorist murderers of Jews (Ramsea Odeh, etc.) and supporters of terrorist murderers of Jews (Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour, etc.) have prominent positions in the party. Odeh is a terrorist that participated in a PLO attack at a Jerusalem supermarket in 1970 that murdered two Jews. Ellison is an anti-Semite that also defends cop killers. He was a long standing member of the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam. Sarsour calls for Israels destruction and she supports Palestinian mass murderers of Jews. Malcolm Hoenlein, the head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, pretends that even anti-Semites oppose anti-Semitism, stating that we cant afford a split on Israel among the Democrats and the Republicans. The fight against anti-Semitism is compromised if Jew hating Democrats are viewed as legitimate partners in fighting anti-Semitism, when they aid and abet anti-Semitism.

There are no Christian states striving to wipe Israel off the map, and there no groups in Hinduism or Buddhism seeking to push Jews into the sea; however, Iran repeatedly states its desire to wipe Israel off the map, and large sections of the Muslim world have become a cesspit of Jewish hatred. Polls of Muslims from various countries indicate significant percentages of Muslims have rabid hatred of Jews.

American Jews undermining Trump because of hurt feelings, irrational fear or lust for power will do more to put Israel and Jews in jeopardy than any Trump administration official or travel ban on foreign nationals from hostile regions ever could. Whatever tensions exist between Trump and both Republican-controlled houses of Congress, they share one thing in common: support of Israel. This should not be interpreted that the Trump administration will favor annexation or a one-state policy. Trump has made it clear that he endorses a two-state policy but, in contrast to Obama, he stipulates that it cannot be imposed without providing Israel with defensible borders and all of the security guarantees it requires. Presently, this objective is unattainable.

During the Obama administration, leaders of the American Jewish community demanded increased Muslim immigration, and supported the lawlessness promoted by BLM. Now, like Captain Renault in Casablanca, they are shocked, shocked that there are increased anti-Semitic attacks and increasing bomb threats to Jewish Centers in the U.S. Unfettered immigration from many Muslim countries pose a problem for Jews more than most. If Jews cannot remove leaders that put their party before their community, they should form new organizations to defend their interests. Moreover, American Jews should wish President Trump well. May his triumphs be many.

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Switzerland to launch Holocaust remembrance app – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Switzerland to launch Holocaust remembrance app

ByJTA

March 12, 2017 12:55

The app, called Fliehen vor dem Holocaust, or Escaping the Holocaust, allows users to learn about the fate of four individuals using multimedia tools.

ROMANIAN JEWS visit an exhibition about the Holocaust in Romania at the Elie Wiesel Institute for Holocaust Studies during the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day in Bucharest in 2006.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

BERLIN A new app to teach youth about the Holocaust will be a centerpiece of Switzerlands chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Switzerland took over the rotating chairmanship of the 31-member inter-governmental group on March 7 from Romania.

The app, called Fliehen vor dem Holocaust, or Escaping the Holocaust, allows users to learn about the fate of four individuals using multimedia tools.

Educators must take on the challenge of virtual reality so youth will grasp that we are speaking about people, not merely about numbers, Benno Bttig, secretary-general of Switzerlands Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, said in a ceremony at the Swiss embassy in Berlin.

Founded in 1998, the alliance aims to unite political and social leaders behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research.

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Switzerland to launch Holocaust remembrance app – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Iran’s FM Accuses Netanyahu of ‘Falsifying Torah,’ Resorting to ‘Fake History’ – Haaretz

Rejecting Netanyahu’s Purim analogy, Javad Zarif says Iran saved Jews three times in history.

A day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared between the story of the Jewish holiday of Purim and the threat posed by Iran, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javed Zarif responded by accusing him of “falsifying Torah” and resorting to “fake history.”

On Saturday evening, Netanyahu tweeted a video from the ceremonial reading of the Book of Esther from his local synagogue in Cesaria. In the video, Netanyahu tells the story of Purim to young children. “In Persia, they wanted to kill us but it didn’t work,” Netanyahu said. “Today, too, Persians are trying to destroy us, but today, too, it will not work.”

Netanyahu made similar comments during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. After Putin wished Jews in Israel and in Russia a happy Purim, Netanyahu told him that 2,500 years ago, ancient Persia tried to destroy the Jewish people, but failed, and that’s why Jews mark the holiday of Purim.

“Today there is an attempt and the continuation of Persia, Iran, to destroy the Jewish state,” Netanyahu added.

On Sunday evening, Zarif’s response arrived in the form of a tweet: “To sell bigoted lies against a nation which has saved Jews three times, Netanyahu resorting to fake history & falsifying Torah. Force of habit.”

“The Book of Esther tells how Xerxes I saved Jews by a plot hatched by Haman the Agagite,” he wrote, adding that “again, during the time of Cyrus the Great, an Iranian king saved the Jews this time from captivity in Babylon; and during the Second World War, when Jews were being slaughtered in Europe, Iran gladly took them in.”

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Iran’s FM Accuses Netanyahu of ‘Falsifying Torah,’ Resorting to ‘Fake History’ – Haaretz

We Hate Prejudice & Hatred, Just Don’t Mention Anti-Semitism, Intra-Muslim or LGBTQ Hatred – Jewish News (blog)

I have spent over 6 years of my life working on highlighting anti-Muslim hatred or Islamophobia, at points targeted by those who have sought to undermine the work since they dont want Muslims to be heard. I have also been targeted by those extreme anti-Muslim haters who have abused my colleagues and me for many years. Much of this targeting has been relentless, meaning that I have had to change my lifestyle and my daily routes and I have had to develop a sense of personal awareness around me on the streets. However, I will not allow extremist anti-Muslim bigots to intimidate me in my country. That will simply not happen.

Depressingly though, one of the most painful set of experiences for me has been how some campaigners and organisations who have been shouting loudly on tackling Islamophobia, have been the ones involved in the promotion of anti-Semitic discourse, driven by their obsessive focus on Israel and Palestine. So overwhelming has been their focus on Israel and Palestine, that common sense on ensuring anti-Semitic free discourse about Jewish communities has been lost. Mention Israel and Palestine and you see a sharp turn towards a zealotry that is pretty much the same as that which I see within anti-Muslim bigots. This is in the form a belief that they are right, that the other is the problem and in this case, that the problems in the Middle East can be resolved by Zionism being removed from the Middle East. Ask them what that means and the response becomes much more blurred and deeply worrying.

Additionally, take for example the fact that some of the campaigners speaking up to tackle Islamophobia, (a laudable and much needed initiative), have previously made comments about Jews being inextricable linked to Mossad, about work on tackling anti-Semitism by British Jews being used as a cover to protect Israel or even on occasion, implying the wholesale removal of Jews from Israel and their relocation to other countries, such as America.

Or take the fact that some of them have made open calls in mosques, placing the term Zionist on members of Jewish communities whom have hardly met and in front of audiences who simply came to pray and who do not want to get sucked into listening to discourse which divides communities. Or worst still, I have come across Islamophobia campaigners who have used Whatsapp to bypass any traces of their anti-Semitism as they rage against Zionists in the form of British Jews who have simply spoken up for Israels existence and with a complete disregard of the same people when they have spoken up for an end to the occupation in the West Bank. You see their actions, in all fairness, are pretty close if not identical to the tactics which anti-Muslim haters use to vilify Muslim communities. Yet, these individuals simply cannot see or fathom what they are doing.

It is these same campaigners who, when you scratch the surface, think that there are no such people as gay Muslims or that hate against LGBTQ communities should not even be mentioned, since it will irk the more Conservative elements within Muslim communities. It is these same campaigners who even fail to mention intra-Muslim hatred and intolerance towards members of Shia or Ahmaddiya communities, with the latter being regarded as heretics and persona non-grata by these tin-pot activists. You see, the roots of intolerance start with anti-Semitism, the age-old hatred, which is at the core of their intolerance. From there, the stem develops and branches out into a subtle acceptance of other forms of hatred. Yet, when you mention Islamophobia, the rage and campaigning zeal of these groups and individuals reaches a crescendo point that drowns out logic and reason. Thankfully, however, the actions of some of these campaigners are being called out.

Finally, it is sad that this even needs to be stating but it must be said. It is possible to support the Palestinian cause for a homeland and viable Palestinian State without resorting to anti-Semitism and Jew hatred. It is possible to stand with British Jewish communities and defend their safety and protection, whilst listening, reflecting and developing a strong bond and empathy with them, even when there are strong political differences on how Israeli governments are consolidating the occupation. It is possible to have strong positions on issues such as the curtailment of the Islamic call to prayer between certain times in Israel and value wholeheartedly the history and the campaigning work around freedom of religion that tens of millions of Jews have been part of in the last decade alone. It is also possible to just stop and listen to alternative views and to honour the person saying them by responding in a manner which maintains the dignity of those involved. This is what is achievable and is undertaken by many in our communities and in our country, yet we barely hear about these people. All we seem to hear from, are those who shout the loudest and in some circumstances, care little about others through their self-absorbed narcissism.

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We Hate Prejudice & Hatred, Just Don’t Mention Anti-Semitism, Intra-Muslim or LGBTQ Hatred – Jewish News (blog)

Jordan Frees Soldier Who Killed 7 Israeli Schoolgirls in ’97 Rampage – New York Times


New York Times
Jordan Frees Soldier Who Killed 7 Israeli Schoolgirls in '97 Rampage
New York Times
JERUSALEM The fragile treaty between the two former enemies was not even three years old when a Jordanian soldier went on a shooting rampage and killed seven Israeli schoolgirls visiting a park in a border area known as the Island of Peace.
20 years after 7 Israeli schoolgirls were killed, some hail Jordanian shooter as a hero upon his releaseWashington Post
Jordan releases soldier who killed 7 Israeli girls in 1997Los Angeles Times
Jordan releases soldier who massacred seven Israeli schoolgirlsThe Independent
Minneapolis Star Tribune -Aljazeera.com -Jerusalem Post Israel News
all 62 news articles »

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Jordan Frees Soldier Who Killed 7 Israeli Schoolgirls in ’97 Rampage – New York Times

Purim Parades Across Israel, Revelers Rejoice in London and Brooklyn – NBCNews.com

1. People dressed in costumes take part in a parade marking the Jewish holiday of Purim, a celebration of the Jews’ salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther, in the West Bank city of Hebron, March 12, 2017. Purim is celebrated around the world with parades and costume parties, and revelers also participate in sending food parcels, giving charity, and feasting. Baz Ratner / Reuters

2. An Israeli soldier secures a parade marking the Jewish holiday of Purim. Baz Ratner / Reuters

3. A boy dressed in costume takes part in a parade in the West Bank city of Hebron. Baz Ratner / Reuters

4. Israelis take part in a Purim parade. Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images

5. An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish child wears a U.S. President Donald Trump mask and costume during the Purim festival in Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel. Ariel Schalit / AP

6. Israeli settlers take part in a parade to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim on al-Shuhada Street, in the West Bank town of Hebron. Hazem Bader / AFP – Getty Images

7. A Palestinian family watches from their house as Jews pass by, guarded by Israeli soldiers, during the annual Purim parade in the West Bank city of Hebron. Jim Hollander / EPA

8. A Palestinian mother holds her son and they watch from their house as Jews pass by during the annual Purim parade in the predominantly Jewish sector of the West Bank city of Hebron. Jim Hollander / EPA

9. A girl dressed in costume walks next to an Orthodox Jewish man in Ashdod, Israel March 12, 2017. Amir Cohen / Reuters

10. An Ultra Orthodox Jewish child dressed as a clown stands among men reading from the Book of Esther during a prayer for the Jewish Holiday of Purim in the Mea Shaarim neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel. Abir Sultan / EPA

11. A young Jewish boy dressed in an army costumes stops before a separation wall blocking a street during the annual Purim parade in Hebron. Jim Hollander / EPA

12. A young Jewish girl looks from a window during celebrations of Purim in London. Purim is celebrated by Jewish communities around the world with parades and costume parties. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

13. Jewish women watch as men dance down the street during Purim in London. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

14. Young Jewish men dance down the street during the annual Jewish holiday of Purim in London. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

15. Young girls stand outside a home during Purim celebrations in London, England. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

16. Young Jewish men dance around a local business man’s home during the Jewish holiday of Purim in London. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

17. A boy in costume as a mummy for the Jewish celebration of Purim leads his pet goat out of a Brooklyn bakery in New York. Mark Lennihan / AP

18. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men take part in the reading from the Book of Esther ceremony in a synagogue in Ashdod, Israel. Amir Cohen / Reuters

19. People dressed in costumes take part in a Purim parade in Hebron. Baz Ratner / Reuters

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Purim Parades Across Israel, Revelers Rejoice in London and Brooklyn – NBCNews.com

Get your reservations in for Israel tour now – WND.com – WND.com

Now that David Friedmans nomination as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel is heading to the U.S. Senate for confirmation, the time is now to get registered for 2017s historic WND Israel tour this November.

Friedman is expected to the address the group along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the new relationship developing between President Trumps administration and the Jewish state.

Benjamin Netanyahu

This is going to be a very different and very exciting tour, said WND founder, Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah, who has led tours to Israel the last five years. It will still very much be a spiritual pilgrimage, but 2017 marks a major shift in the political landscape between the two countries, and we wanted to add that special dynamic to the trip this year.

Friedman was approved for a confirmation as the next U.S. ambassador to Israel Thursday morning by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a 12-9 bipartisan vote. The approval sends the nomination the full Senate where he is expected to be confirmed with significant opposition from Democrats.

By joining this tour, you will be among the first American groups to experience this new climate of partnership between the U.S. and Israel following the Trump Revolution, said Farah. This is something I am looking forward to personally with great anticipation. In fact, Ive been waiting for this for 28 years.

David M. Friedman

November may seem far away, but, in some previous years, registration has been cut off as early as June. To accommodate WNDs special guests, logistics will be more complicated than ever because Israel does not have an abundance of facilities that can handle groups of more than 400 people. Farah cautions the time to register is now.

Friedman is an invited keynote speaker in November on WNDs annual Israel tour, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And dont forget, this is the one and only U.S. tour of Israel that comes with the endorsement of Chuck Norris.

I would encourage everyone to check out WNDs Journey to the Holy Land from Nov. 2-12, 2017, led by our friend, Joseph Farah, who is the founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND, Norris said.Hes also an expert on Israel and the Middle East. Bibi and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman have been invited to speak to the tour group, and I hope they do. Check out the educational and inspiring itinerary here.

For the fifth year in a row, WND will be leading one of the largest annual tours of Israel from Nov. 2-12 with the emphasis in 2017 on the restoration of U.S.-Israel relations and the deepening relationship between Jews and Christians.

Farah is looking forward to teaching from his latest book, the unusual prophetic thriller The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age, whichfocuses on what it will be like when Messiah Jesus returns to rule and reign the world from Jerusalem.

What a time to go to Israel whether its the first time or the perfect seventh, says Farah. President Trump and his new ambassador-in-waiting are talking about moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. That could happen before we get there. Thats why this is a historic time.

Accompanying Farah will be his wife, Elizabeth, who co-founded WND with him 20 years ago on May 4 three days after Israels Independence Day is celebrated there in 2017.

We will joined by the absolute best Israeli guides in the business experts on the land, the people, the Bible and the intersection of all three in the greatest controversy in the world today, said Farah. These top guides have been screened and handpicked from among dozens the WND tours have worked with over the last five years. If you want to explore Bible prophecy, the current Middle East conflict and get to know and understand why Israel remains the apple of Gods eye in the world today, this is the tour for you.

The tour will include all the key sites, strategic briefings by the top U.S. and Israeli experts, musical guests, insightful talks and lively discussions all featuring the incomparable Jewish state and its people.

Trust me, this is like no other Israel tour you will ever experience. You will learn why Israel is so important to God and how this relates to you, as a Christian believer in Jesus-Yeshua, the Savior of the world, the future King of Kings, the Lamb of God and the future Lion of Judah, says Farah.

You will hear from top Israeli leaders, military brass and see with your own eyes why the Jewish state is so strategically positioned in the hotbed of the Middle East.

Nothing brings you closer to Jesus-Yeshua than a trip to the land and to Jerusalem, where He walked and preached and from where He will reign supreme over the whole world in the coming Kingdom, says Farah. Whether youve been to Israel before or not, prepare for the most politically exciting and spiritually meaningful adventure of your life.

Elizabeth Farah will oversee a Sabbath service and teach everyone some elemental Hebrew, while sharing her passion for Israel.

Joseph Farah will share his insights spiritually as well as draw from his unique experience as an Arab-American and former Middle East correspondent.

Seriously, It will be a most exciting time to visit Israel this fall as there are new political realities at play a new administration in the U.S. with a markedly different view of Israel and the Middle East than its predecessor, Farah says. Its a historic moment. Its a biblical moment.

Check out the itinerary all the details now!

Talk to your fantastic tour hosts in Israel at Coral Tours now (866) 267-2511.

THIS year in Jerusalem.

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Get your reservations in for Israel tour now – WND.com – WND.com

How Israeli women turned Purim into a feminist holiday this year – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Eilit Rozin posing as Rosie the Riveter at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 22, 2016. (Courtesy of Eilit Rozin)

TEL AVIV (JTA) Wonder Woman, Rosie the Riveter and a female Israeli fighter pilot walked into a bar. They were just a few of the heroines out in Tel Aviv Saturday for the night of Purim.

With International Womens Day falling a day before the holiday weekend this year, women all over Israeldressed up as empowered women throughout the week. Soldiers and superheroes abounded on the streets and on social media, andthe American iconic welder and feminist icon seemed to be everywhere.

Shir Yorkevitz and two other teachers wore Rosie the Riveter costumes to their middle school in Herzliya Wednesday. Yorkevitz, a 26-year-old history teacher said she wanted to send a feminist message to her students.

It wasnt just a cute costume to celebrate Purim, but was also a way to get the girls to talk about womens rights, she said. Its nice that its a really easy costume to make.

Busy studying for her final exams in political science at Tel Aviv University, Eilit Rozin sent her mother into the city to get her a Wonder Woman costume. She said she was inspired by Israeli actress Gal Gadots portrayal of the character, noting that she was one of the few women to get her own Marvel Comics movie, Wonder Woman, which comes out this summer.

Shir Yorkevitz, right, and two other teachers dressed as Rosie the Riveter flexing at a middle school in Herzliya, Israel, March 8, 2017. (Courtesy of Shir Yorkevitz)

I really love superhero movies and TV shows. But there are barely any womensuperheroes. You see them as sidekicks or playing small parts. For me, its really important to see women actually fighting the bad guys, she said.

Rozin, who was Rosie the Riveter last year, said Wonder Woman felt particularly apt after she saw the video that was broadcast on TV Tuesday night of Rabbi Yigal Levinstein saying that army services has driven our girls crazy. She said she and many other real-life superwomen she served in the army with had been miffed by the comments.

Its an odd conception, and people need to get over it, she said. I think they are.

Some rabbis rushed to Levinsteins defense, and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri called him brave for daring to speak out. But the overwhelming reaction in Israel was condemnation, including by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. On Thursday, a tank commander said the army would next month begin the controversial practice of recruiting women into the Armored Corps.

The backlash to Levinsteins comments in the media and on Facebook blended into International Womens day and Purim coverage. Widely shared on Facebook was a story(Hebrew link) from Israeli daily Yedioths Aharanoths weekend magazine about two young girls who dressed up like their officer mothers for Purim.

Eilit Rozin showing off her Wonder Womancostume outside a friends house in Tel Aviv before the citys big Purim Party, March 10, 2017. (Courtesy of Eilit Rozin)

Im really proud of my mother, and so I wanted to be like her, but her uniform was too big on me, 9-year-old Liel Dahan is quoted saying of her mother, an officer in the military police. In a photograph accompanying the story, Liel is shown saluting beside her machine-gun toting matriarch. They are wearing matching uniforms.

Yorkevitz said few of her students either in the middle school or high school where she works wore what could be considered feminist costumes this year unless you count Fiona from Shrek.

The girls just want something that makes their body look nice, and the boys dont really dress up unless they are doing it with a girl,Yorkevitz said. [The female students] figure women have equal rights. They can wear pants and do whatever job they want, so they think the fight is already over.

Yorkevitz said even the other teachers she recruited to wear Rosie the Riveter costumes had to be briefed on the character beforehand. But Rozin, for one, appreciates the sacrifices of the women who came before her. On International Womens Day,she bought her mother flowers.

I told her shes my role modelbecause shes really strong and really independent, Rosin said. Shesmy favorite superhero.

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How Israeli women turned Purim into a feminist holiday this year – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Michael Eisenberg – Tablet Magazine

The recent appointment of Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman as President of Yeshiva University (YU) serves as an opportunity to reflect on the state of Modern or Centrist Orthodoxy in America. Personally, I think he is an excellent choice for the role. (Full disclosure: Rabbi Berman is a friend; we studied together in the same shiur at YU and in classes at the Gruss Kollel in Jerusalem.) However, I think his appointment belies a much deeper malaise in American Orthodoxy that requires exploration.

At least publicly, YU seemed to be considering two types of candidates: An academic or Jewish thinker, rabbi or visionary, or, alternatively, a very capable fundraiser or businessman. The Universitys financial issues after the Madoff fraud, the financial crisis, and other reported financial mismanagement seemed to initially steer people to the fundraiser candidate. Thankfully, the board moved to Berman, who is a thoughtful and thought-provoking rabbi with an academic degree. Appointing a fundraiser would have missed, perhaps, the fundamental issue afflicting both American Orthodoxy and YU: First you run out of ideas, then you run out of money.

I view the recent debate around the OU position paper on women in the same light. Without commenting on the actual position taken by the seven-member rabbinic panel (some of whom were my esteemed rabbis and teachers at YU), I think it is reasonable to conclude that this has come too late. The changes in womens prominence in Torah and halakhic issues, engendered primarily by ground-breaking programs in Nishmat, Matan, and Midreshet Lindenbaum in Israel, has evolved over the last 20 years. The debate on womens roles and the community roles they have occupied and continue to serve in, has been proceeding in the United States for over a decade. It would appear that the papers focus on clergy was a response to Rabbi Avi Weiss, who successfully provoked that issue from the outside and effectively laid the framework for the response. Unfortunately, only now, when it simmered past the boiling point in America, was it taken up in a serious manner.

Here, too, a central issue affecting the future of American orthodoxy was not led by the ideas and ideals of American Orthodoxy. It was, to use a political term, led from behind, or reacted to. Of course, when we think back to Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchiks groundbreaking positions on womens Torah learningTorah in general, our approach to modern society, and other ideas and ideals critical to American Orthodoxyone can only longingly marvel at the Ravs leadership, ideas, ideals, and wisdom.

I think these two issues are related. American orthodoxy is suffering from a lack of ideas and ideals that are the direct result of a lack of leadership. The question is: What happened to those leaders? I think the answer is inherent in the appointment of Rabbi Dr. Berman. Like Rabbi Berman, they, the future leaders, moved to Israel. Moreover, I would argue, the ideas and ideals that animate American Orthodoxy and will, necessarily, impel it forward in the 21st century, have also moved to Israel. I think we can spot the watershed moment when the future leadership departed.

From 1991-92, I was the news editor of The Commentator, the student newspaper of Yeshiva University. While happily minding my business at a bar mitzvah, I overheard two YU board members discussing the potential decision to close down the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. A short time later, I broke the story in The Commentator, leading to a wave of protests, intrigue, and showdowns between the YU Administration and its students. I can still hear the drum beats in President Lamms office, and the chants of protestors outside of Furst Hall. The words of The Day the Revel died sung to the tune of American Pie still linger in my head. These memories were recently brought to the fore.

Protests outside Furst Hall, circa 1992. CAPTION AND CREDIT HERE

I was the reporter of those events but many of its protagonists were my friends. Importantly, many are still my friends today. One of the leaders of the protests recently sent me an email with a photo of one of the demonstrations with the caption, We used to learn about history, now we are a relic of history. Actually, I told him, In fact you are a part of the future.

This photo of those Revel protests is hanging in a new lounge for the Revel School in Washington Heights. Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, who sent me the picture, described his strange feeling at walking into the lounge to give a talk and seeing himself on the wall. When he sent it to me, I kept staring at it. I could not tear myself away from looking at all of the people and placards. Part of it was nostalgia. Part of it was reliving the excitement of those times, where westudents, professors, board members and reporterscan now say that we saved the Revel graduate school. It is certainly good to feel young again, the memories of the adrenaline rushing through my system as we hurried out newspaper after newspaper to keep up with the events.

However, as I looked more closely at the picture, my adrenaline and nostalgia were overwhelmed by a sense of foreboding. This picture did not tell the story of the Revel Graduate School and its salvation. It told the story of a watershed moment in American Jewish History, particularly Modern Orthodox Jewish history in America. It was the moment the future leadership, ideas, and ideals made Aliyah.

I look closely at the pictures Michael Segal, whose drumbeats in Dr. Lamms office still give me a headache, is now Professor Michael Segal and head of the Mandel Institute of Bible Studies at Hebrew University (where he also serves as editor of the University Bible Project). Rabbi Saks is now running ATID with Rabbi Chaim Brovender, an institute which trains Orthodox educators from around the world. Rabbi Hillel Novetsky is embarking on one of the most ambitious online Torah projects ever. Called AlHatorah.org, Rabbi Novetsky is using modern web technology to enable Torah and Bible study at a high level. Rabbi Yitzchak Blau teaches at many seminaries in the Jerusalem area.

Of the original seven members of CPR (The Committee for the Preservation of Revel), five are living in Israel: Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, Saks, Segal, Novetsky, and Beth Zuckerman Prebor. Two of them, Rabbis Robert Klapper and Yaakov Blau, have remained in the U.S. Many, many others who were involved at the time are living in Israel and are well-regarded educators and intellectuals. I know because I see them and reminisce with them often. The people who cared deeply about Judaism, Jewish thought, and the future of Jewish educationenough to risk their reputations and careersmoved to Israel, where they teach many of the Centrist-Orthodox American kids in Yeshivot and Universities in Israel.

*

What happened in that time is that the future intellectual and Jewish leadership of Modern Orthodoxy and perhaps Orthodoxy as a whole decided to make Aliyah. Like Nehemia, 2,500 years ago they decided to leave Shushan behind and move to Israel to build the future of the Jewish people. Some of those involved in the Revel protests stayed and have gone on to do wonderful things in America. However, the critical mass of young potential leaders moved on and with it the animated vision for the future. Perhaps, this is but the expansion of a trend that Rav Aharon Lichtenstein started 40-plus years ago when he moved his family to Israel and to where he said was the Major Leagues of Torah. However, over the last two decades, beginning with the Revel leaders, the trend has gained steam and it is now decisive.

Those who were focused on the future of the Jewish people understood that it was happening in Zion. Despite being immigrants and having accents, they have integrated and influenced Israeli society and the future of World Judaism because the future is not in America nor England. Jewish tradition, innovation and renaissance in Tanach, ritual, Torah, and life is happening in Israel. It is where the vibrant discussion is taking place and where the intellectual leadership resides. The core debates on our future are happening in Israel. To wit, the same discussion on womens roles is happening in Israel but it is causing far less of a schism. There is more of a rainbow in the national and religious spectrum that accommodates it so the discussion is, in fact, more nuanced and civilized. As I referenced earlier, it is in Israel that most of the Yoatzot (female, Halakhic advisers) are trained and where the idea was birthed. Nishmats Rabbanit Henkin pioneered this vision almost two decades ago and Malka Bina at Matan took womens learning to new heights. Like Rav Lichtenstein, both were American and they too made aliyah with these indispensable ideas and ideals.

That same sense is what I think explains the choice to bring Rabbi Ari Berman back to Yeshiva University as its president. Think about it. The leading institution of Orthodoxy in America could not find anyone in America to lead it. It had to go to Israel, where, apparently they too realized that both the center of Torah and the vision for Judaism and Jewish identity has moved. American Orthodoxy has long promoted Zionism, however, the numbers of olim coming from its communities has been sparse and remains a slowish drip. Rarely, if ever, does a leading pulpit rabbi in Teaneck, Woodmere, or Los Angeles stand up and suggest that one should follow his Zionist ideals and Jewish depth to Israel. The last one may have been Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who left behind Lincoln Square Synagogue at his and its height to settle a hilltop in Efrat and who has influenced Judaism globally from Israel. And so the dissonance continues. The potential idealist leaders, creative innovators and new ideas have already moved to Zion over the last two decades and assumed meaningful positions in Israel.

I guess, on some level, American Orthodoxy succeeded in exporting its future but not its masses.

What are those ideas and ideals that can inspire American Orthodoxy for the future? Actually, here too I think looking at Israel is instructive and perhaps, even more worrisome for American Orthodoxy. It is not only at the level of Jewish ideas that Israel is now leading, it is also where the future economy and economic moorings of the Jewish people is moving. As the innovation economy continues to gather steam, influence and wealth is increasingly coming from technology centers and entrepreneurship. For the last almost 100 years, the center of Jewish philanthropy and wealth has been New York City. This is quickly changing. It is simultaneously moving to San Francisco and Tel Aviv and for the same reason: technological innovation. These are transitions that take decades but they are well underway and it has profound implications.

This foundational economic change is a challenge for Yeshiva University and American (Orthodox) Jewry as a whole. It is a multi-faceted challenge. The first one is occupational. More and more jobs are moving to the technology sector. Moreover, many of the well-paying traditional professional jobs that Orthodox Jews occupy are also under threat of disruption from automation, Artificial Intelligence and technology, emanating from San Francisco, Tel Aviv and New York itself. Jewish educational institutions in America are woefully behind in the sciences, technology and entrepreneurship. This is true for most elementary schools and all the way through to my alma mater YU. Catching up is going to be very expensive and very difficult in a system that is already financially strained.

Many American Jews who want their children to raise families, to send their kids to Jewish day schools are in a conundrum. Families likely cannot send their children to Jewish Day School without a scholarship unless they have a steady and/or very high income. Most innovation sector jobs pay less initially (although that is changing) and are higher risk from the perspective of career stability. In the innovation economy you will switch jobs, willy-nilly, every 3-5 years. Due to the aforementioned technology disruption and the changing nature of employment, it is very likely that over the coming decades, you are not going to be a lifetime employee at Morgan Stanley or Simpson Thatcher. The economy and world is changing and is ever more entrepreneurial and unstable. We are passing through the professional job era of my son is a Jewish doctor or my son is a Jewish lawyer that the community has grown accustomed to.

Which brings me to the fundamental challenge of the coming decades. If the leading minds of American Orthodoxy are moving to Israel and if the leading Torah and Jewish institutions are in Israel, and the innovation-centric wealth will grow in Tel Aviv and San Francisco, what will be left of the intellectual vision for American Jewry, particularly Orthodox Jewry whose epicenter is New York and the East Coast. Who, in the academic, rabbinic, and lay leadership will articulate a vision beyond Torah UMadda at Yeshiva University and the broader community? If the future leadership continues to make Aliyah, who will paint a path forward for a communal and community ethos? Who will confront growing assimilation? Birthright long ago outsourced its Jewish identity needs to Israel by sending kids there for 10 days. A one-year gap program in Israel is now de rigueur for most Orthodox Jewish kids and many Jewish youth of other denominations wishing to grow in Torah studies and Jewish identity. To this day, the U.S. Jewish community has been unable to provide this deep identity need. That search and crystallization of identity for most Jewish kids has moved to Israel.

So now what? A priori, there are two choices. The first is to attempt to rebuild and seriously address the future. With one eye toward ever-encroaching assimilation, American (Orthodox) Jewry must rediscover both its leadership and its ethos. American Orthodoxy must effectively confront these many issues, from technology (in both the Jewish and professional sense) to womens leadership and other critical issues of our time. That will require new ideas, ideals, and a cadre of leaders. Since we are all trained to think linearly, that is the natural choice. However, I would argue that it is a choice wrought with cognitive dissonance between the ideals you are taught and the surroundings you live in. It is a bet that the future of your economic situation looks much like the last 5-6 decades and that your institutions can shift their foci and educational training from a standing start.

The second is to acknowledge the disruption. The future is, in fact, highly non-linear and definitely unpredictable. The politics and economic gyrations of the last decade should make that plain and obvious at this point. Like Nehemia and the Revel Rebels, you can be a part of the non-linear disruption to lead the future of Jewry where the future is happening. YU under Rabbi Berman can lead that Nehemiah-like non-linear future. It can start thinking and acting toward building the Orthodox footbridge to Israel in a serious way. It can join the trend of Jewish leaders following their ideals to Israel and dramatically increase the momentum of that trend. That future includes technology education at the highest levels in the world, a risk-taking ethos in the new 21st century economy, and an affordable Jewish education rooted in a Jewish calendar and Jewish holidays. It is an approach that will be consistent with your ideals, ideas, hopes and prayers. It is not necessarily the most comfortable, or linear, option but it is likely the most effective. It is where the future of your Judaism and Jewishness lies. Perhaps, most importantly, the Jewish State, is also the greatest bulwark against assimilation, the multi-generational assault on Jewish peoplehood, that with the passage of time is overwhelming all denominations of American Jewry.

Michael Eisenberg is a partner at Aleph, a venture capital fund based in Tel Aviv. Recently, he published The Vanishing Jew, A Wake Up Call From The Book of Esther and Ben Baruch, an analysis of Tractate Brachot in the Jerusalem Talmud. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and 8 children.

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Michael Eisenberg – Tablet Magazine

What’s Good About Failing? – Chabad.org (blog)

Dear Readers,

I remember when my young daughter willfully did something against my explicit instruction. She averted her gaze trying to deny her act, or perhaps trying to take it back. She feared anger, rejection and disappointment. But most of all, she feared that this small misdeed would create a separation between usan end to the loving relationship she cherished.

So we sat down and talked about mistakes, about owning up to them and moving forward. We discussed how perfection is an impossible goal, and how she is so much more than the sum total of her choices.

And then we talked about our relationship, and how my love for her is not dependent on her actions. The love is constant, unconditional. Even when Im displeased, the love may be hidden, but it is just as strong. Most importantly, we spoke about how facing mistakes together helps us grow closer.

In this weeks Torah portion, Ki Tissa, the Jewish people commit the grave sin of worshipping the Golden Calf after having witnessed Gds greatest revelations at Sinai.

Moses turned and descended from the mountain with the two Tablets of Testimony in his hands. As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dances. Moses anger burned, he threw down the Tablets from his hands and shattered them . . . (Ex. 32:19)

Only after Mosess excessive supplications and the nations repentance was he commanded to carve out the second set of tablets. So serious was the Jewish peoples transgression that the Talmud (Sanhedrin 102) declares: There is no misfortune that doesnt have in it something of the Golden Calf.

Yet, the name of this portion, Ki Tissa, literally means when you raise up (referring to a census of raising heads), implying that the Jewish people were actually elevated through this episode.

How is it possible for a grave sin to elevate?

The Rebbe explains that the paradox of sin is that teshuvah, repentance, makes it possible to forge a greater connection with Gd.

Before sinning, our relationship with Gd need only be strong enough to keep us on track. After we sin, we realize that the enticement of sin meant more to us than our commitment. We then must search deep within ourselves to develop a stronger relationship with Gd where He means more to us than our indulgence.

Through teshuvah, our failings can be exploited and redirected positively.

The Talmud (Nedarim 22b) states: Had Israel not sinned with the Golden Calf, they would have received only the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua. Why? Because Much wisdom comes through much grief. (Ecc. 1:18)

Though we strive to have a relationship with Gd where we do not fail, mistakes are inevitable. Lets use our mistakes to to raise ourselves up and develop an even deeper connection with Gd.

The sin of the Golden Calf teaches us that mistakeswith Gd and with our loved onescan be opportunities to carve out second tablets, second chances, replete with even greater potential.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW

Original post:
What’s Good About Failing? – Chabad.org (blog)

Lior Ashkenazi takes a look at ‘Norman’ – Israel News – Jerusalem Post – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Meeting Lior Ashkenazi, who stars in Joseph Cedars new movie, Norman, with Richard Gere, brings to mind Albert Camus famous quote: You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked a clear question.

Norman opened Thursday in theaters throughout Israel, and Ashkenazi who truly never needs to ask a clear question unless he feels like it sat down for an interview at the Diaghilev Hotel in Tel Aviv earlier last week.

Ashkenazi plays Micha Eshel, an Israeli politician who accepts a favor from Geres character, Norman (the subtitle of the movie is The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer), then gets drawn into Normans schemes after he becomes prime minister. Its an unusual mixture of comedy and tragedy with parallels to many current news stories.

Ive seen many situations like that from the world of celebrities, said Ashkenazi, who could easily have coasted on the charm and looks he was born with he combines the face and physique of a Greek god with the slightly befuddled expression of a hero in a Woody Allen comedy, and to say that this works for him is an understatement but has focused on his acting, and is now one of Israels most acclaimed actors.

Someone gives you something and you pay for it by posing for a photo, he said.

Ashkenazi has been a celebrity for years, thanks to acting, which has put him at the center of the renaissance in Israeli movies over the past decade and a half. Among his most important movies are Dover Koshashvilis A Late Wedding, which ushered in the trend of stories about outsiders in Israel, in this case, Georgians (and which features the most sizzling sex scene in Israeli movies, with Ashkenazi and the late Ronit Elkabetz); Eytan Foxs Walk on Water, in which Ashkenazi plays a tightly wound Mossad agent who befriends a gay man; Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushados two gory psychological thrillers Rabies and Big Bad Wolves (which Quentin Tarantino called the best film of the year), where the actor portrays disturbed, violent cops; and Cedars previous film, the Oscar-nominated Footnote, in which, cast against type, Ashkenazi plays a Talmud scholar locked into a rivalry with his father.

He is especially pleased with his work with Cedar, which he sees as a true collaboration, especially with Norman.

When I came into Footnote, the script was pretty much finished, he said. But on Norman, I was more involved… Its a complicated story, with so many implications. And it was a script Joseph was working on for a long time, and he really involves the actors in the work, it was wonderful. Its a complicated story and it was woven together so carefully.

Cedar challenged me… Hes intellectual and you have to be alert. He can talk about so many things and you have to know what they are.

Working with Gere also upped his game.

There was the excitement of Im working with Richard Gere!, and then he is a colleague, we work together, we eat together, we talked about his choices… He works very hard, hes a very method actor, very concentrated. Between takes, hes focused, he doesnt fool around… You think of him as a leading man, from Pretty Woman and movies like that. But he is very serious, although of course hes also very charismatic… He brings out an elegance in the character.

ANY MOVIE about politics will invite questions about how much it is based on reality, and Ashkenazi was very clear about how he sees his character.

People say, Is it Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu]? No, its not him. In a way, its a combination of several prime ministers and politicians, where theyre in the right place at the right time and suddenly theyre popular… And the politicians, no matter how popular they are… there is always someone behind them, someone they are indebted to.

In order to hone his characterization Ashkenazi tried to meet with politicians, but was disappointed to discover that when they heard the synopsis, they all refused…you could do a copy-paste from the headlines into the script and that made them uncomfortable, apparently.

Ashkenazi sees Norman as something more than just a political story.

Its about friendship, he said. Its about how you know if someone is really a friend, or you wonder whether hes just someone who needs something from you… In Norman, theres a lot of ambivalence, and its left open: does he love Norman, or is Norman just someone who can do things for him? Ashkenazi, who was born in Ramat Gan to Ladino-speaking parents from Turkey, said he came to acting in that cliche way; I was always the class clown.

Inspired by Burt Lancaster movies, which he enjoyed watching with his father, and the work of Robert De Niro, he studied acting at Beit Zvi. Although he is proud he has never had a day job since he finished school, when some of his early plays were not the hits he had hoped they would be, he enrolled in a computer science course.

But after one lesson, I understood its not for me. And he has never looked back, moving gradually from theater to film as the movie industry flourished.

After his films were shown at festivals around the world, there was the temptation of trying to go to Hollywood, but he resisted it.

If I go there, I would always be foreign, I would always have an accent, he said. I cant see myself going on auditions in LA.

Surprisingly, Ashkenazi said he was terrible at auditions.

But some foreign directors have come calling recently. After the interview, he was off to work on an international movie, Entebbe, about the hijacking and rescue mission in 1976, which is shooting a few scenes here.

The film, which Jos Padilha, the creator of the television series Narcos, is directing, also stars Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl. Once again, Ashkenazi will play a prime minister, but this time a real one: Yitzhak Rabin.

Portraying a real prime minister, and such a revered one, he says, can be a burden.

Im not doing an imitation of Rabin, he said. Im in a story about this rescue mission and Im playing the prime minister who ordered it.

He is also in Julie Deplys movie My Zoe and he plays a Jewish reporter from New York in Dragos Buligas vampire movie, The Wanderers. He will play a Mossad agent in Sarajevo in a film by Tony Kaye, who made American History X.

But Israeli cinema remains key for Ashkenazi and he has roles in upcoming films by Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride) and Shmuelik Maoz (Lebanon). Although he is no longer performing in the theater, he has been directing plays for some time, and is now directing his first short film. Its based on a play and tells the story of a driving instructor giving a test who voices regrets about his life to a student. Ashkenazi has chosen not to act in this project and it stars Menashe Noy as the instructor and Moran Rosen as the student.

But although directing beckons, he said he wouldnt give up acting anytime soon.

This is always was what Ive really wanted to do.

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Lior Ashkenazi takes a look at ‘Norman’ – Israel News – Jerusalem Post – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Purim Parody: 10 killed in world-record hummus catastrophe – Jerusalem Post Israel News

MCGUNNES WORLD Record auditor Fergus Angus looks on in horror as the hummus tragedy unfolds. . (photo credit:Courtesy)

Tragedy struck yesterday during an attempt to make the worlds largest bowl of hummus.

Seeking to exceed Lebanons 2010 record of 10,432.625 kilos of chickpea mixture, Israeli entrepreneur Moshe Cohen-Levy has been churning up the famous pasty Israeli dish for the last two weeks at a soccer pitch near Holon.

Everything was going well. We had 30+ workers churning up the chickpeas day and night and then ladling them into a giant bowl.

Things began to go wrong, however, when they started to add the massive falafel balls.

Unfortunately, there were no standardized vehicles or drivers trained to transport 22.679-kilo falafel balls.

The balls were not well secured, recalls survivor Anat Mizrahi-Ashkenazi. At around 2 p.m. yesterday the workers began to feel a tremor as the giant falafel balls cascaded into one another on a truck.

We didnt have any warning. Apparently no one knew you are supposed secure giant balls when transporting them.

The balls rolled off the Toyota Hilux truck, striking 10 men who were standing around the giant bowl of hummus, unaware of the danger.

One minute I was stirring with a huge spoon and then we were all flying into the hummus, recalls Mizrahi-Ashkenazi.

The largest men sank into the quicksand-like edible mulch.

Cohen-Levy, who rushed to scene when he heard shouting, found a horror-movie scenario in front of him. Men and women volunteers were slowly being sucked into the chickpea mixture.

I tried to save them by throwing them a giant pita that we had on hand. But I couldnt hold it; it weighed almost 90.718 kilos.

Unfortunately, it now seems that Moshes attempt to help actually led to even greater misfortune as the giant pita submerged several of the people and they were crushed under its weight.

Luckily I was able to hold on to one of the falafel balls and miraculously survived, recalls Anat, who is recovering at Meilinson Hospital.

The McGunnes World Record auditor who was on hand to certify whether the giant bowl of hummus was the largest ever determined that although it was not the largest bowl of hummus ever (falling short of the record by 207 grams) it will hold a different record as being the largest number of people killed in a hummus-related accident.

The last time we encountered a disaster of this nature was in southern Jordan in 1964 when several men slipped on hummus and fell into a vat of tehina.

Lebanon disputes the fact that Israel now holds a world record in anything hummus-related. Mahmud Abubakr, the hummus minister, says, We will surely find such a large accident in our history as well.

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Purim Parody: 10 killed in world-record hummus catastrophe – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Detained ‘Palestinian Mandela’ is innocent, says family – Eyewitness News

Detained Palestinian Mandela is innocent, says family

The family of Palestinian political activist Marwan Barghouthi are in SA to promote a movie which gives insight into his life.

The wife of incarcerated Palestine leader Marwan Barghouthi, Fadwa. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The family of Palestinian political leader Marwan Barghouti, who is known as the Palestinian Mandela, says they will not give up trying to secure his release.

They are in the country to promote a movie, which gives insight into the life of the imprisoned leader, who the family believes has been wrongly incarcerated by the Israeli government.

Since 2002 his wife who is a lawyer and prominent advocate for the rights of Palestinian prisoners has been trying to negotiate his release with the Israeli government – along with more than 6500 others prisoners.

The wife of incarcerated Palestine leader Fadwa Barghouti maintains her husband is innocent of all crimes hes accused of.

I looked at the judgement against Marwan theres no proof whatsoever that he did give any order to kill or to maim any Israeli.

Fadwa hopes that with the help of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation the movie documenting the life of the Palestine will expose the truth behind the detention adding pressure on Israel to release him.

The film was screened in several countries and hopefully it will be screened on the main TV stations.

WATCH: Movie profiles ‘wrongful incarceration’ of Palestinian activist

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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Detained ‘Palestinian Mandela’ is innocent, says family – Eyewitness News

In the land where Jews feel welcome, anti-Semitism is on the rise – The Boston Globe

Jewish tombstones lay vandalized at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia on February 27, 2017.

This weekend, Jews the world over celebrate the festival of Purim, a highlight of which is the public reading of the biblical book of Esther. In 10 fast-moving chapters, it recounts the first recorded attempt at a Jewish genocide. The Persian emperor Ahasuerus (known to historians as Xerxes I) allows himself to be persuaded by Haman, a powerful courtier, that the Jews are a disloyal and disobedient minority who ought to be eradicated. The emperor signs an edict authorizing Haman and his followers to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day. But the plot is foiled thanks to court intrigues involving Mordechai, the leader of the Jewish community in the imperial city of Shushan, and the courage and faith of Esther, the young Jewish heroine who becomes Ahasueruss queen.

On the Jewish calendar, Purim is a joyful day. Families distribute gifts of food, alms are lavished on the poor, children (and even adults) wear costumes and at every mention of Hamans name during the reading of Esther, the congregation breaks out in a raucous din of boos and noisemakers.

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Its easy to celebrate Purim with hilarity when Jews feel safe and welcome, and in modern times there is nowhere on Earth they have felt safer and more welcome than the United States.

Last month, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey showing Jews to be the most warmly regarded religious group in America. It was Pews second such survey in three years, and both times the finding was the same. We love our country, and America loves us right back, wrote David Suissa, the publisher of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, after the Pew numbers came out. Jews, who know only too well what it means to be a hunted minority, have been blessed to find in America a degree of benevolence, respect, and freedom unparalleled in their long and precarious history.

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But Purim arrives this year amid an alarming surge in anti-Semitic menace.

In the twenty-first century, criticism of Israel that is grounded in antisemitic thinking and aimed at Jews in general has become the dominant verbal form in which Judeophobic ideas are articulated and disseminated. Between 2002 and 2012, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin and the Central Council of Jews in Germany received over 14,000 emails, letters, postcards and faxes from all regions of Germany. Figuring that this material could provide us a window into the contemporary German mind vis–vis Israel, we conducted a study of these messages and found that the vast majority began with criticisms of Israels policies but immediately deteriorated into antisemitic assaults. We call this phenomenon the Israelization of Antisemitism.

Since January, Jewish community centers and organizations nationwide have been targeted with anonymous bomb threats at least 140 such threats to date. At Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Rochester, N.Y., hundreds of gravestones have been toppled or smashed. In Evansville, Ind., a gun was fired through the window of synagogue classroom.

During the recent election cycle, Internet trolls from the so-called alt-right unleashed repugnant attacks on Jewish journalists who questioned or criticized the rise of Donald Trump, often suggesting that they prepare to die in a new Holocaust. Equally horrific anti-Semitic eruptions have come from the left, especially on college campuses, where virulent hostility toward Israel often boils over into undisguised hatred of Jews.

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Thus the paradox: In the nation where Jews are more welcomed than ever, animosity toward Jews is more palpable than ever.

To many on the left, the upwelling of anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric is plainly connected with Republican politics. Trumps strong appeal to white nationalists, the Jew-baiting memes and tropes that showed up in his ads and social media, and his seeming unwillingness until quite recently to explicitly condemn anti-Semitism while Trump may harbor no personal ill will toward Jews, he has too often enabled, and pandered to, those who do.

To many conservatives, meanwhile, it goes without saying that contemporary anti-Semitism is overwhelmingly a product of the hard left, which seethes with bitterness toward the Jewish state. The anti-Zionist boycott campaign, the Israel apartheid slander, the ominous atmosphere in academia all of it has had the effect of moving bigotry from the fever swamps on the fringe ever closer to the mainstream.

Both camps make a legitimate point. Jew-bashers can be found on the left and the right; often it is the only thing they have in common. In our hyperpolarized political atmosphere, it isnt surprising that anti-Semitism has become one more excuse for partisans to point fingers at each other. But historys oldest hatred has never been limited to one party or ideology or worldview.

Anti-Semitism is an intellectual sickness, a societal toxin that is endlessly adaptable. Jews have been tortured and tormented for not being Christian and for not being Muslim. They have been brutally persecuted for being capitalists, and just as brutally persecuted for being Communists. They have been hated for being weak and easily scapegoated and hated for being strong and influential. Jews have been killed for their faith, for their lifestyle, for their national identity, for their race.

A key teaching of the Book of Esther is that once the plague of Jew-hatred gets in the air, almost any environment can nourish it. Another is that Jew-hatred does not subside on its own. It must be confronted, denounced, and defeated.

We love our country, and America loves us right back. That has been manifestly, wonderfully true for decades, but will it continue to be? Elsewhere, the post-Holocaust taboo on overt Jew-hatred has long since crumbled. Can that now be happening in the United States? Pray this Purim that the answer is no. For if America succumbs to the anti-Semitic derangement, it isnt only Jews who will suffer.

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In the land where Jews feel welcome, anti-Semitism is on the rise – The Boston Globe

American Jews and the Trump Administration – Arutz Sheva

After the election of perhaps the most pro-Israel U.S. administration in history, American Jews seem to have lost the plot. When Donald Trump was elected president of the U.S., many Jews sat shiva to mourn Hillary Clintons defeat as if it was a death in the family, making religion out of politics. A number of Conservative and Reform synagogues held special mourning services to bewail the advent of fascism in America. One prominent Conservative rabbi in New York compared the Trump victory to the rise of Nazism prior to the Holocaust. The essence of politics is persuasion; not hysterics.

Trump repeatedly praises Israel and refers to Israel as Americas greatest ally. He has been closely associated with Jews in business and politics. His daughter observes an Orthodox religious lifestyle, after converting to Judaism. Apart from his family, his senior appointments include many Jews and staunch friends of Israel. He endorsed Israels position on defensible borders and stated that he has no objection to construction in the major settlement blocs and Jerusalem. He called on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and stated that the only way to peace is by direct negotiations between both parties. He repudiated Obamas criticism of Israel for failing to make progress in peace talks, and Obamas application of moral equivalence between Israelis and Palestinians. He has begun to pressure the Iranians to adhere to their commitments to the treaty of catastrophe, and would terminate it for any violation by the Iranian terrorist regime.

One of the negative repercussions of the Trump victory is the growing influence of the radical anti-Israel wing of the Democratic Party. The anti-Israel Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, who was initially funded by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations, is the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee; supported by leading Jewish Senator Chuck Schumer. While, anti-Israel Jewish Senator Bernie Sanders emerged as a powerful force in the defeated radicalized Democratic Party.

The Jewish establishment ignored and pretended away the Democratic anti-Semites, even when they were burning Israeli flags at the Democratic convention. They condemned legitimate criticisms of anti-Israel financier George Soros as anti-Semitic while leaving unaddressed truly anti-Semitic assaults by Hillary backers on Trump donor Sheldon Adelson. Moreover, significant sectors of the Jewish community are falsely accusing the Trump administration of promoting anti-Semitism. It is noteworthy that the Zionist Organization of America protested against this partisan defamatory campaign.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) launched a scornful assault against Trumps chief strategist, former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon accusing him of being an anti-Semite, while ignoring Ellisons record of anti-Semitism and support for Israels enemies, as well as Ellisons ties to unindicted co-conspirators in funding Hamas. The accusation that Bannon is anti-Semitic is appalling on its face. Bannon is surrounded by Jews in his media company, Breitbart News, and is known for his fervent support for Israel, opposition to anti-Semitism, disapproval of anti-Israel activism on campuses, and condemnations of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of ADL, accused Bannon of being an anti-Semite who would pave the way for a return to anti-Semitism and white supremacy. In alleging that a friend of the Jews is a Jew hater while ignoring the actual anti-Semitism of another man, the ADL appears to be giving cover to the rising forces of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party.

Greenblatt did not call for Jews to boycott the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement despite its anti-Semitism and promotion of BDS against Israel, and he referred approvingly to the positive aspects of its work. The use of the ADL, created to combat anti-Semitism, to promote Greenblatts partisan political agenda is scandalous.

Greenblatt had earlier used the ADL to condemn Republicans as anti-Zionist because they excluded a two-state solution in their Middle East policy platform. When Trump declined to dignify David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan by responding to their expressions of support for him, Greenblatt condemned him for tolerating anti-Semites. This contrasted with the muted response by Jewish liberals to Barack Obamas relationship with various radical anti-Semites.

Obama has long-held close alliances with Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Rashid Khalidi, etc. Obamas political career was launched in the house of the anti-Semite Ayers, a former leader of the Weather Underground, a left-wing terrorist organization that issued a Declaration of a State of War against the U.S. government. Obama attended Wrights sermons with his family, and he officiated at Obamas wedding and was appointed by him in 2007 to the African American Religious Leadership Committee. He only dissociated himself from Wrights views after media exposure but refused to disown him personally, relating to him as an old uncle. No critic of Trump could suggest any comparable relationship with any identifiable anti-Semite.

Establishment anger over Trumps weeks-old administration is growing. The mainstream global media, progressive activists, Democratic Party leaders, and many Republicans are essentially at war with him. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently compared his victory to disasters in American history that killed and wounded thousands like the Pearl Harbor bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some op-ed writers and pundits have openly hoped for his violent death. The progressive Resistance talks of removing the new president through impeachment, or even military coup. About one-third of House Democrats boycotted the Inauguration. Congressional Republicans ignore the Constitution, ignore the balance of powers, and ignore written law, while relinquishing their own constitutional authority allowing the courts to run American foreign policy, just to be a part of the establishments Stop Trump movement.

After Trump had secured the Republican nomination, prominent Jewish conservative editors, like Bill Kristol and Jonah Goldberg, led the Never Trump movement. They betrayed the Republican Party, the American people, and Jews when they set out to undermine Trump, which could have elected the criminally challenged Hillary.

The sympathies of Hillary and Obama lie with the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that launched the Arab drive to destroy Israel and push its Jews into the sea. If Hillary and Obama had their way, Egypts leader al-Sisi would be overthrown, the Brotherhood would be back in power, and Israel could be facing a threat from the biggest military power in the Middle East and war with Islamic terrorists who openly call for the extermination of the Jews.

Elements of the U.S. government have been actively opposing the duly elected U.S. president. Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency have been disrupting Trump administration reforms. U.S. government employees recorded Trumps private calls to the president of Mexico and the Australian prime minister, and leaked selected segments to suggest that Trump was either a buffoon or trigger-happy. The Wall Street Journal reported in February 2017 that career intelligence officers have decided to withhold information from Trump, because in their view he is unfit to receive it. Kristol suggested in a tweet that if he faced a choice between the constitutionally, democratically elected president and career government officials efforts to thwart or remove him, he would come down on the side of the revolutionary, anti-democratic deep state.

There are no Christian states striving to wipe Israel off the map, and there no groups in Hinduism or Buddhism seeking to push Jews into the sea American voters elected Trump because they regarded him as the only opportunity to break with the status quo, a revolt against the postmodernism that has undermined the moral fiber of the West and its willingness to defend itself, facilitating the emergence of brutal Islamic terror. The refusal of Trumps opponents to accept the outcome of the election was despicable and unprecedented, and contrasts with the acquiescence of the defeated Republicans when Obama won both of his elections. An aspect of the election result is the hysterical reaction by liberal segments of the Jewish community. It is not surprising that 70% of Jews supported Hillary Clinton. This is consistent with their long-standing obsession with liberalism. But the manipulation of Jewish issues as a political vehicle by some American Jewish leaders to oppose Trump could be an act of infamy.

After Israel, the U.S. has the largest Jewish population in the world. Despite credible evidence that Islamic terrorists infiltrate migrants from Muslim conflict zones, American Jews have been at the forefront of the opposition to the Trump administrations plan to pause immigration for a few months from six Muslim countries with vetting challenges. In America, anti-Semitic attacks are generally by Muslims or radical liberals; however, American Jews supported the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton that promised significant increase in immigration from Muslim conflict zones. During the recent migration crisis in Europe, British Jews repeatedly clamored for massive immigration from Muslim conflict zones; however, in March 2017, the British Home Secretary issued a warning of significant radical Islamic terrorist threat to British Jews. From Bombay to Toulouse and beyond, Jews suffer disproportionately from Muslim attackers.

Some Democratic Party Muslim Americans with records of anti-Semitism condemned the recent anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish cemeteries. The Democratic Party is becoming more open in its embrace of anti-Semitism. Terrorist murderers of Jews (Ramsea Odeh, etc.) and supporters of terrorist murderers of Jews (Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour, etc.) have prominent positions in the party. Odeh is a terrorist that participated in a PLO attack at a Jerusalem supermarket in 1970 that murdered two Jews. Ellison is an anti-Semite that also defends cop killers. He was a long standing member of the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam. Sarsour calls for Israels destruction and she supports Palestinian mass murderers of Jews. Malcolm Hoenlein, the head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, pretends that even anti-Semites oppose anti-Semitism, stating that we cant afford a split on Israel among the Democrats and the Republicans. The fight against anti-Semitism is compromised if Jew hating Democrats are viewed as legitimate partners in fighting anti-Semitism, when they aid and abet anti-Semitism.

There are no Christian states striving to wipe Israel off the map, and there no groups in Hinduism or Buddhism seeking to push Jews into the sea; however, Iran repeatedly states its desire to wipe Israel off the map, and large sections of the Muslim world have become a cesspit of Jewish hatred. Polls of Muslims from various countries indicate significant percentages of Muslims have rabid hatred of Jews.

American Jews undermining Trump because of hurt feelings, irrational fear or lust for power will do more to put Israel and Jews in jeopardy than any Trump administration official or travel ban on foreign nationals from hostile regions ever could. Whatever tensions exist between Trump and both Republican-controlled houses of Congress, they share one thing in common: support of Israel. This should not be interpreted that the Trump administration will favor annexation or a one-state policy. Trump has made it clear that he endorses a two-state policy but, in contrast to Obama, he stipulates that it cannot be imposed without providing Israel with defensible borders and all of the security guarantees it requires. Presently, this objective is unattainable.

During the Obama administration, leaders of the American Jewish community demanded increased Muslim immigration, and supported the lawlessness promoted by BLM. Now, like Captain Renault in Casablanca, they are shocked, shocked that there are increased anti-Semitic attacks and increasing bomb threats to Jewish Centers in the U.S. Unfettered immigration from many Muslim countries pose a problem for Jews more than most.

If Jews cannot remove leaders that put their party before their community, they should form new organizations to defend their interests. Moreover, American Jews should wish President Trump well. May his triumphs be many.

Dr. Sheyin-Stevens is a Registered Patent Attorney based in Florida, USA. He earned his Doctorate in Law from the University of Miami.

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American Jews and the Trump Administration – Arutz Sheva

Purim Parody: New ambassadors confused by alphabet soup of Jewish organizations – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Israel US flags. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Global Jewish Association, the Jewish Council of Federative Conferences, the Israel Association of Jewish Jerusalem Rabbis, the Association for Jewish Activism, the Jewish Leadership United Council, the United Council for Jewish Leadership, the Universal Jewish Israeli Experience, and those are just a few of them, says a newly appointed ambassador from a south Asian state. He wasnt the only one confused by a recent spate of conferences and meetings held in Jerusalem.

I cant keep them all straight, a European diplomat from central Europe confided.

We had the Presidents Conference, the General Assembly, theres a conference at the IDC and another security conference and then we had something else, I cant even recall them all, and thats just in January. Why are there so many organizations? An emissary from the Vatican complained that he had recently received requests for meetings from 45 different organizations all claiming to represent American Jews.

I know there are six million Jews in America and we deeply respect the Jewish people, but why are there so many organizations that seem to overlap and represent them? One of them comes and says the Vatican should do more to recognize the Holocaust and then another one comes and congratulates for what weve done and gives us an award, one of them says a certain historical pope is an antisemite and another says he deserves accolades. We dont understand.

Ive been to seven conferences in the last week and heard the same former army generals speak at all of them, says a new ambassador from a Scandinavian country.

How many former generals are there? he wonders.

How many times can they give the same speech about Gaza and Iran and Syria? I mean we get it, right. Hezbollah, Hamas, bad.

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi are all part of the Israeli anti-Iran alliance.

Okay. So why do we have to keep going to the same meetings on the same topics, where nothing gets done?

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Purim Parody: New ambassadors confused by alphabet soup of Jewish organizations – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Ancient tradition: Torah commissioned for Chabad’s planned … – Toledo Blade

Published: Saturday, 3/11/2017 – Updated: 9 hours ago

BY TOM HENRY BLADE STAFF WRITER

Arare opportunity for northwest Ohios Jewish community to participate in the writing of a torah is set for March 26 at Chabad House of Greater Toledo, 2728 King Rd., in Sylvania Township.

From noon to 2 p.m. that day, attendees will learn how a torah is put together and can have a letter written into the scroll by an expert scribe for as little as a $1 donation.

While there is no charge to attend the event, cost for a buffet lunch being offered is $5 per person if ordered before March 20, and $10 per person after that. RSVP online at chabadtoledo.com/torah or call 419-843-9393.

The $40,000 project has been paid in advance by Stephen L. Goldman, a University of Toledo professor emeritus of biology and medicinal biochemistry who at one time was director of UTs Lake Erie research and Stranahan Arboretum.

Mr. Goldman taught and held various administrative positions at UT from 1971 to 2010, mostly in environmental sciences. He has commissioned an authentic writing of the torah on parchment.

He said he is having the torah done as a gift to the community center.

Donations will go to Chabad House, Mr. Goldman said.

The new torah to be painstakingly written by hand in the tradition of other torahs is commissioned for Chabad Houses planned expansion. Sylvania Townships zoning board of appeals recently approved a request for a 9,758-square-foot community center that will provide twice the space of the existing facility, which is to be demolished.

The next Chabad House will include space for Shabbat services and prayer. Being an orthodox institution, there will be a divider so men and women can sit separately. There also will be a special immersion pool, or mikvah, as well as space for holiday celebrations during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and for two-week-long religious camps held during the winter and summer.

The Chabad House describes itself on its website as the nerve center of educational, communal, and outreach activities serving the needs of the entire Jewish community, from youngsters to the elderly, and everyone in-between.

In an interview with The Blade inside his downtown Toledo town house, in a study where he surrounds himself with his desktop computer and stacks of classical music on compact discs, Mr. Goldman said he is offering the opportunity because the 613th mitzvah of the torah states it is the obligation of every Jew to write a torah scroll.

Institutions usually do it, Mr. Goldman said. In this case, its an individual. Its my gift to the community.

Rabbi Yossi Shemtov of Chabad House said followers of the Jewish faith can fulfill their requirement by participating in the creation of a torah with as few as one letter, because no torah is complete without all of its letters.

If you write one letter in a torah, it is also counted as if you have written a whole torah, Rabbi Shemtov said. Its a big fulfillment of a wish for many people.

He said torahs have more than 300,000 letters.

Once the local inscriptions are made at the March 26 event, the scroll will be sent to Israel, where scribes will fill in most of the other letters over the next seven to 10 months. Then, there will likely be another local inscription event to complete the project, Rabbi Shemtov said.

The plan is to have the torah done in about a year so it is ready when the new community center opens. It will be housed there, Mr. Goldman said.

According to Jewish tradition, the entire torah also known as the Law of Moses was given by Moses on Mount Sinai, not just the Ten Commandments.

Moses considered by Jews to be Gods servant is believed to have ascended the mountain to hear from God and receive the torah on behalf of Jewish people as they were gathered at the base.

For me, the torah is a civilizing document that teaches people how to behave, Mr. Goldman said.

The torah is the document, he said, that sets boundaries and teaches us what to do.

It teaches us [appropriate behavior] is not voluntary, Mr. Goldman said. Its a commandment.

The torah is about standards that transcend time, he added.

Now a 75-year-old survivor of lung and bone cancer, Mr. Goldman said he has been blessed with a good life.

He said he wanted donations to start at $1 to make the project affordable to as many people as possible.

Mr. Goldman said he is dedicating the upcoming torah in honor of Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh leader in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty, who died in 1994 and is considered by many to be one of the most influential Jewish personalities of modern times.

He also said he is dedicating the project to the memory of his parents, Jonah and Evelyn Goldman, and his grandparents, Nathan and Yetta Gillman, and Joseph and Rachel Goldman.

Rabbi Shemtov called the project a great expression of unity made possible by Mr. Goldmans generosity.

Inclusion of many people is important to reinforce the belief that each one of us are indispensable to our community, indispensable to our people.

Its a great reason for celebration, Rabbi Shemtov said. We want everyone to be part of it.

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com, 419-724-6079, or via Twitter @ecowriterohio.

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Ancient tradition: Torah commissioned for Chabad’s planned … – Toledo Blade

Israel wins at World Baseball Classic again – USA Today

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Associated Press Published 2:38 a.m. ET March 7, 2017 | Updated 9:58 a.m. ET March 7, 2017

USA TODAY Sport’s Bob Nightengale breaks down the teams to watch at this year’s World Baseball Classic. USA TODAY Sports

Israel’s pitcher Dean Kremer, right, celebrates his team’s victory with catcher Nick Rickles against Taiwan. Israel defeated Chinese Taipei on Tuesday.(Photo: Ahn Young-joon, AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Ryan Lavarnway hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Nate Freiman added a three-run shot in the ninth to help Israel beat Taiwan 15-7 Tuesday and improve to 2-0 in the World Baseball Classic.

Israels batters chased Taiwan starter Chun-Lin Kuo from the game before he could secure his third out, opening the top of the first with four straight hits and tagging Kuo for four runs in the frame.

Corey Baker went 4 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering three hits and striking out three. The 27-year-old right-hander is in the St. Louis Cardinals organization and reached Triple-A last season.

Israel had 10 different players record a hit, including four players with three hits and two others with multiple hits. Freiman drove in four runs, Tyler Krieger drove in three, and Ike Davis and Lavarnway each contributed two RBIs.

After beating Pool A host South Korea and Taiwan in its first two games, Israel can clinch a spot in the second round with a win over the Netherlands on Wednesday.

One of the goals is to not put the cart before the horse, Israel manager Jerry Weinstein said. Were not in the second round yet. Were preparing for the game with the Netherlands and thats what were thinking about right now.

Taiwan scored four runs in the ninth, but the game was already out of reach by then.

Israel entered the tournament ranked No. 41 by the World Baseball Softball Confederation and has already beaten third-ranked South Korea and fourth-ranked Taiwan.

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Israel wins at World Baseball Classic again – USA Today

Once again, Israel’s critics are being hypocritical – LA Times

To the editor: Its hypocritical that the issue of human rights violations by Israel rears its head again in this discussion of the law recently passed by Israels Knesset. A country wanting to maintain calm within its borders by banning outside agitators violates the rights of agitators trying to enter the country? Really? (Israel passes a travel ban targeting boycott supporters, March 6)

Palestinian society fails to act against so-called honor killings, fails to acknowledge the rights of gays and fails to promote gender equality. It arbitrarily arrests and uses torture against detainees, illegally executes prisoners, suppresses free speech, does not allow a free press and does not tolerate minorities. It also ignores violence against Jews and glorifies those who kill Israelis.

That, it seems to me, constitutes far more egregious violations of human rights. Why doesnt the international community inveigh against Palestinian human rights violations?

Emanuel R. Baker, Los Angeles

..

To the editor: I am an American Jew, born and raised in Southern California.

I have long been disconcerted about Israels policies and the undemocratic treatment of the native Palestinians. Consequently, because I believe in fairness and justice for all peoples, I have supported the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel is the homeland of all Jews and has encouraged them to live in that country. However, now that Israels parliament has banned my entry into Israel, I assume I am no longer welcome.

That is OK, as the United States is my homeland.

Jared Sloan, Los Angeles

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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Once again, Israel’s critics are being hypocritical – LA Times