Bulgarian church nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for saving Jews – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Metropolitan Kirill (C), deputy chairman of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, blesses during a Christmas Eve mass in Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Bulgarian-Israeli lawyer Moshe Aloni is seeking support for a campaign to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Bulgarian Independent Orthodox Church, for protecting the country’s Jewish minority during the Holocaust.

Aloni, head of the Committee for Friendship between the Israeli and Bulgarian Advocates, nominated the church in January for its “brave acts of heroism” including voting unanimously to condemn antisemitic laws during World War II and for going against planned deportation of the country’s 48,000 Jews to Nazi death camps in Europe.

In a letter sent to The Jerusalem Post last week, Aloni noted that while the campaign had garnered support from Europe and the US, he sought to gain awareness from the Israeli public.

A petition launched last year on Change.org in support of this cause had, as of Sunday, gained 740 signatures of a target of 1,000.

The petition notes that while the Bulgarian government was an ally of Nazi Germany, the church showed bravery and leadership by fighting against antisemitic laws. It makes specific mention of two clergymen: Metropolitan (Bishop) Stephan, the head of the Sofian Church, and the highest ranking Bulgarian Church official during the Holocaust, and Metropolitan Kiril, the head of the Church in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.

The pair was named as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2001, for vigorously opposing the anti-Jewish policies of the Bulgarian regime, and taking active steps against its policy of deporting the Jews of Bulgaria and handing them over to the Germans.

Kiril is said to have saved the 1,500 Jews of the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, who were set to be deported in March 1943. According to Yad Vashem, Kiril sent a personal telegram to the King begging for his mercy towards the Jews, and contacted the head of the local police, threatening to end his loyalty towards to Bulgaria and to act as he wished. Further testimony claims that he threatened to lie across the railway tracks in order to stop the deportation.

Due to the heroic acts of these two prominent leaders and their willingness to speak up and take action, the deportation of the Jews of Bulgaria was postponed again and again until it was finally cancelled with the end of the war, wrote Aloni in his letter to the Nobel Committee.

Aloni, who was himself born in Sofia, mentions that he and his family are among those are alive today thanks to the “heroism of the Bulgarian church and other brave citizens.”

“The nomination of the Bulgarian Church has most relevance in these days filled with hate and racism and modern day ethnic cleansing,” Aloni concludes.

The petition is sponsored by former minister General (R) Dr Ephraim Sneh and Haifa University law professor Moshe Keshet.

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Bulgarian church nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for saving Jews – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Holiday bomb threats target 5 Jewish centers in US, Canada – CNN

None of the threats proved real in the latest wave of intimidating acts targeting the Jewish community.

For some centers, though, it was not their first ordeal.

The Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center in Rochester, New York, was evacuated Sunday morning for the second time in less than a week.

The center was hosting a “warming center” for people whose homes had lost power when the bomb threat came, Executive Director Arnie Sohinki said.

It reopened without incident a few hours later after receiving an all-clear from law enforcement, Sohinki said. he would not provide further details, citing the police investigation.

“We are open. We will remain open. Whoever is doing this doesn’t realize this only makes us #stronger, ” the center said in a Facebook post. “All are welcome to join us at the JCC.”

The Rochester JCC was one of several Jewish institutions to receive a bomb threat on Sunday. The threats coincided with the Jewish holiday of Purim, a festive commemoration of the defeat of a plot to exterminate Jews in ancient Persia.

Other locations reporting similar threats included Indianapolis Jewish Community Center in Indiana; the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada; and The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All reopened a few hours later without incident.

The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston also received a bomb threat — its second in three weeks, Executive Vice President Joel Dinkin said. The center, which received the threat via email, was not evacuated.

The threats were the latest acts in a recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. Museums, houses of worship, advocacy groups and cemeteries have been targets of bomb threats and vandalism as federal officials work with state and local authorities to find those responsible.

Sunday’s incidents bring the number of threats since January in the United States and Canada to 154, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

The Louis S. Wolk JCC also received a bomb threat on Tuesday, March 7, the same day another center in Syracuse and the Anti-Defamation League’s New York City headquarters received threats. No devices were found at the locations and the centers reopened soon after.

After the first bomb threat, the Rochester center had opened its doors to those who lost power in a winter storm blanketing the Northeast. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called the bomb threat “despicable” given the center’s service to the community.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident “cowardly,” especially on a holiday weekend celebrating “the resiliency of the Jewish people.”

“Like all New Yorkers, I am profoundly disturbed and disgusted by the continued threats against the Jewish community in New York. As New Yorkers, we will not be intimidated and we will not stand by silently as some seek to sow hate and division. New York is one family, and an attack on one is an attack on all,” he said in a statement.

Cuomo said he would direct state police to investigate the bomb threats in conjunction with federal officials. Last week, Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio increased a reward for information on hate crimes — not just bomb threats — to $20,000.

The FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division vowed to investigate possible civil rights violations in connection with the threats.

“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner. As this matter is ongoing, we are not able to comment further at this time,” the federal agency said.

CNN’s Kwegyirba Croffie, Sara Ganim and Laurie Ure contributed to this report.

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

Teaching the Holocaust so students are "safely in and safely out" – Stuff.co.nz

TESS BRUNTON

Last updated10:38, March 13 2017

JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Timaru Boys’ High School history head teacher Dr Jill Harland says learning about how to teach the Holocaust to students in Israel was “life-changing”.

A “life-changing” trip to Israel has revolutionised the way the Holocaust is taught in a South Canterbury school.

Survivor testimonies and new teaching resources were not all that were brought back to the region by a Timaru Boys’ High School teacher.

The trip, sponsored by The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre Yad Vashem and Wellington-based Holocaust Museum of New Zealand, encouraged teachers to consider different perspectives on how to teach about genocide.

JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Timaru Boys’ High School history head teacher Doctor Jill Harland shows a photo of Kristallnacht, when violent anti-Jewish attacks took place across Germany.

Instead of leaving students with a sense of dejection, history head teacher Dr Jill Harland said she wanted to leave them with a sense of hope for the future.

She spent three weeks based in Jerusalem, attending lectures and visiting historical sites on the weekends, while also meeting with Holocaust survivors and hearing their testimonies.

“You do come back with a different perspective,” Harland said. “You want to be a better teacher.”

She now taught students about the Holocaust using the concept of “safely in and safely out”.

It introduced students slowly and non-threateningly to the material, which could be used to study other genocides and confronting material, she said.

The information was then presented with context and other interpretations to create a holistic perspective.

“It doesn’t leave them with a sense of discomfort and horror”, but it did not diminish the atrocities that had happened, she said.

The build-up of anti-Semitism was presented, rather than a “cut and paste situation”, and it provided a more comprehensive impression, Harland said.

The Holocaust survivors did not reflect on the past, instead they lived in the present with hope, she said.

“Their ultimate revenge is being alive and having children.”

Many teachers were tempted to teach the Holocaust just after Nazism and the Weimar Republic, Harland said..

Instead, she now took her students into the ancient history of anti-Semitism so they understood the growth of hatred towards Jewish people did not start or end with the Nazis.

“Hitler’s strategies were taken from ancient history.”

Her teaching method incorporated discussions about Holocaust deniers, the role of bystanders as well as what happened in countries, such as Lithuania.

“Sometimes there’s only a focus on a victim and a perpetrator, and we need to also consider bystanders,” she said.

“You learn about the whole event through different people’s eyes.

“It’s not just the Jewish perspective.”

Harland shipped home dozens of resources, including a series of historical photographs with annotations which depicted the rise of Nazism in Germany from 1933.

One of them depicted the Kristallnacht, which loosely translates to the “night of broken glass”, when violent anti-Jewish attacks took place across Germany on November 9 and 10, 1938.

Including context did not justify the actions, but it provided a more holistic way of understanding why they happened, she said.

Harland has considered adding a component of art and literature study to her teaching.

“I want to find out more about it … it’s incredible, some was produced in ghettos and death camps.”

The hope people felt was left behind in their artworks, she said.

Not all New Zealand schools teach students about the Holocaust.

Ministry of Education early learning and student achievement acting group manager Glen Johnson said teaching it was not a requirement for schools.

“New Zealand schools are self-governing. Therefore they determine the content of their teaching and learning programmes and how those subjects will be taught in consultation with their school community,” Johnson said.

-Stuff

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Teaching the Holocaust so students are "safely in and safely out" – Stuff.co.nz

Omidyar Network and the Anti-Defamation League are launching a center to combat cyberhate – TechCrunch

With hate crimes reportedlyon the riseacross the country and online, the Anti-DefamationLeague is setting up a new outpost in Silicon Valley, backed by the Omidyar Network, to look at ways to use technology tofight back.

Racially and religiously motivated threats were on the rise in the run-up to the election and have continued into the new year. Eventshave culminated inthe murder of an Indian man in Kansas Citylast month and the shooting of a Sikh man in a Washington state suburb outside of Seattle just last week. Meanwhile, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented over 1,000 incidentsthrough the month of January alone, following the election of President Donald Trump.

Jewish communities across the U.S. have also been targeted, with at least 152 bomb threats reported at community centers and synagogues around the country.

The ADLsees the Internet asincreasingly driving thedissemination and promotion of hate speech in the modern era and is looking to marshal the resources of Silicon Valleys techcommunity to create better tools to monitor, track, analyze and mitigate hate speech and harassment across the Internet, according to a statement.

As ADL chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt has said:

1.8 billion people are on Facebook 500 million tweets are sent out every day. No matter how you cut it, its incredibly important to make sure we are taking the fight to where the country and the world is at. Simply put, its online.

Though the ADL has long maintained a presence in San Francisco, the new office in Silicon Valley will be a command center from which the organization hopes to combat all kinds of cyberthreats.

Beyond its work monitoring and reporting hate speech, the group will also look at methods to better secure the online presence of various minority organizations; examine the seam between digital rights and the creation of a civil society, and look to partner with leading technology companies to ensure the safety of online communities.

The ADL is already working with Alphabet and its Jigsaw division (formerly Google Labs), on ways to improve its software developed to identify and filter propaganda and hate speech.

Since the earliest days of the Internet, the ADL has tracked hate speech online. Now with the increasing importance of the internet in public life, the need is greater than ever, Greenblatt says.

Helmed by former Department of Justice lawyer,Brittan Heller, the new center will author reports and publish data on cyberhate and cyberbullying; engagepartners and provide insight to policy makers; and expose and combat specific cases of online harassment and cyberbullying, according to a report.

According tothe statement fromGreenblatt,

Now more than ever as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other hatreds have exploded online, its critical that we are bringing best-in-class technology and resources to this fight. Thats why we will build this center in Silicon Valley, and why we are so grateful to Omidyar Network for providing seed funding for this effort.This is a natural extension of the cyber hate work ADL has been doing for decades and builds on the new presence we established last year in the Valley to collaborate even closer on the threat with the tech industry.

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Omidyar Network and the Anti-Defamation League are launching a center to combat cyberhate – TechCrunch

Smugglers of rare Torah scroll caught in Tunisia – The Times of Israel

Tunisian authorities announced over the weekend that they thwarted an attempt to smuggle a rare Torah scroll dated to the 15th century out of the country, the Hebrew language Ynet news site reported.

Members of the smuggling network were reportedly apprehended after the authorities received information that the group was trying to transfer the rare Torah school to an unnamed European country.

The Torah scroll, which is said to be made of ox skin, was revealed to the public during a press conference by a spokesman from the Tunisian National Guard, Khalifa al-Shibani, who described it as a one of a kind historical artifact, according to the Ynet report on Saturday.

Al-Shibana told reporters that experts at Tunisias National Heritage Institute confirmed that the [Torah] scroll is a rare artistic and historic artifact from the 15th century.

The spokesman said that Hebrew-language experts who examined the manuscript said that it contains all five books of the Torah, with the text pre-dating the version of the Torah in use today.

Al-Shibana gave no details on where the scroll had been taken from or or what authorities planed to do with it now.

A tourist visits El Ghriba, the oldest synagogue in Africa, on the Island of Djerba, southern Tunisia, October 29, 2015. (AP/Mosaab Elshamy)

Around 1,500 Jews live in Tunisia as of 2016, down sharply from an estimated 100,000 before the country won independence from France in 1956.

Most of the Jews still living in Tunisia live on the island of Djerba, whose Ghriba synagogue has become a popular pilgrimage site for tourists during the Jewish festival of Lag BOmer.

AFP contributed to this report.

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Smugglers of rare Torah scroll caught in Tunisia – The Times of Israel

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)

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

Korean crisis raises stakes of US-Israel missile cooperation – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Kim Jong-un, North Korea leader. (photo credit:KNS / KCNA / AFP)

WASHINGTON Meeting with senior Trump administration officials in Washington last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman twice referenced the growing threat posed by North Koreas missile programs preoccupying the White House in its first days on the job.

Liberman described to US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson an axis of evil stretching from Tehran to Pyongyang, according to the Defense Ministry a striking reference to a past time, the era of president George W. Bush, in which Irans military cooperation with North Korea was said to have peaked. American security cooperation with Israel once again has implications beyond the Middle East, the ministry added.

The US and Israel have worked together for years to mitigate missile threats from Iran and North Korea, which have in turn worked jointly to advance their programs.

But Washingtons cooperation with Jerusalem has been fraught with complications that naturally come with the territory of missile defense.

While offensive missile technology can be easily exported, missile defense technology is threat-specific. It is unclear whether Israels response programs to its unique threat landscape are transferable to the US or its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, which face a multitude of missile challenges from an enemy already nuclear-armed.

The question of transferability has led to tensions over funding after Israel began drawing nearly 10% of the Pentagons own missile defense budget since its war with Hamas in Gaza in 2014. During negotiations over a new decade-long defense package with Israel in 2016, Obama administration officials suggested its own Missile Defense Agency was running dry of resources to conduct research for the unique intercontinental threats facing the US homeland.

Israels program provides the US with some clear strategic benefits: It is one of the few battlefields in the world in which missile defense programs have actually been tested, and may reasonably face future tests. And the Jewish state shares with the Pentagon much of the technology it produces with US parts using US contractors.

The question is whether Israels short, intermediate and long-range programs intended to diminish threats from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran can be of practical use to South Korea, Japan and the US as they seek to mitigate a decreasingly stable North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.

The transferability of Israels programs in addition to proof of Iranian collusion with North Korea, still unseen might in the eyes of its advocates in Washington justify an increase in US aid beyond what was ultimately detailed in Obamas defense package.

Under that agreement, Israel obligated itself not to ask for more funds and even to hand back the check should Congress offer more money than the deal prescribes.

The MoU guarantees $5 billion in US aid for Israels missile defense over the next decade. Israel may ask for additional emergency funding only in the case of war, Jacob Nagel, Israels acting national security adviser, said during the signing ceremony in September.

The figure is large, but broken down into annual sums amounts to less than what Israel received in recent years a statistic not lost on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is considering whether or not to lobby for more aid ahead of its annual policy conference in Washington next week.

Some Republican leaders in Congress say they are prepared to write in more funding for Israels missile defense than the MoU allows and believe that President Donald Trump would sign off on it. But Jerusalem may treat the agreement as inviolable: Some Israeli officials fear that breaking the framework and increasing aid this year would open the door to future aid decreases.

Immediately following Trumps inauguration, a new White House website floated his intention to fund state of the art missile defense programs to counter threats from Iran and North Korea. He has since proposed the largest defense budget increase in modern American history and began campaigning against sequestration cuts that have crippled growth at the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mattis suggested the US put together a combined air missile defense capability for our Gulf allies in order to deter Irans increasingly sophisticated program. He advocated for increased investments in the Pentagons ICBM and missile defense programs.

The Trump administration is actively exploring ways to foster Israeli-Arab cooperation against Iran, which it hopes will blossom into greater normalization of ties.

At the same hearing, Mattis was asked what the new administration could do to improve its strategy on the Korean Peninsula.

It is going to take an international effort, Mattis said.

While Israels role in this research is not yet clear, Libermans decision to incorporate North Korea into his discussions in Washington might signal Israels willingness to expand the scope of its missile defense work to incorporate the needs of Americas allies in Asia.

Its entirely unclear where were going yet, but the Israelis are looking to rebuild ties and Id think they would be very willing to demonstrate their value to the Pentagon, said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. As this relationship is starting off, I think the Israelis would be remiss if they didnt raise North Korea as part of their threat matrix, given what the US is looking at.

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Korean crisis raises stakes of US-Israel missile cooperation – Jerusalem Post Israel News

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

Lorain synagogue epxresses solidarity after vandalism – Chronicle … – Chronicle Telegram

LORAIN Several hundred people attended Saturday services at Agudath BNai Israel Synagogue to stand in solidarity with the congregation after the synagogue was recently vandalized with a swastika and anti-Semitic message.

A day care worker at Agudath Bnai Israel Synagogue, 1715 Meister Road, arrived at work last week and saw a swastika carved into a metal door frame followed by an anti-Semitic statement, We will rise and gas you (expletive), according to a police report.

Many local public officials including the mayor, several city council members, current and former Lorain County commissioners and several Lorain County Court of Common Pleas judges attended.

Zachary Simonoff, a member of the synagogue who also serves on the synagogues board, spoke during a phone interview after the service in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the synagogue.

Simonoff said such an act of vandalism will not scare those like him who attend services at the synagogue. Synagogue officials met with the Anti-Defamation League last Sunday, security has been increased and Lorain police contacted the FBI and continues to investigate the vandalism.

The vandalism at the Lorain synagogue occurred among a backdrop of 122 bomb threats called in to Jewish organizations in three dozen states since Jan. 9 and a rash of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries, as reported by the Associated Press.

Simonoff said Jews have been considered outsiders and persecuted for centuries, and recent acts of anti-Semitism are troubling. However, he said the turnout Saturday reaffirms his belief that although the roots of anti-Semitism run deep, they dont spread far.

The vast majority of people in Lorain and Lorain County are not anti-Semitic, and I think this is really a sign of ignorance, he said.

When hatred appears, the best thing to do is to speak out against it, Simonoff said. People also should educate themselves on different religions and learn about Jewish persecution and the Holocaust as World War II gets further and further from public consciousness, he said.

I personally believe that the moment any anti-Semitism or racism rears its head, youve got to kick it in the teeth as soon as possible so as not to give it a chance to grow, Simonoff said. Were not going anywhere. We are going to continue to practice Judaism as we have in Lorain for more than 100 years.

Lorain police Capt. Roger Watkins attended the service along with other members of the police department including Chief Cel Rivera. Watkins grew up in Lorain and said his father worked at the synagogue as a janitor after retirement and his mother helps out in the kitchen there.

I was really glad to see so many people come out in a show of support to that temple, he said.

Lorain County Commissioner Matt Lundy said the vandalism wasnt the focus of the discussion following the service. Those present were more focused on discussing how to move forward since this has not happened before, he said.

I think its important that we stand together as a community during times like this, Lundy said. I think we need to send a clear message that we as a community reject hate. What happened is not a reflection of the countys values, and many people are disturbed, disappointed and quite saddened that something like this could happen.

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer echoed those sentiments and said Lorain is united and will not tolerate such hatred.

The freedom to worship is a basic American ideal and we all need to protect it when it is attacked, he said. We really are the International City and we have open arms to multiple races, different nationalities and different religions. We are a community whose strength is built upon the fabric of diversity in many different ways. Todays crowd was just another example of that.

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com.

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Lorain synagogue epxresses solidarity after vandalism – Chronicle … – Chronicle Telegram

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

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

Holocaust Survivor Relates His Story To Syria’s Refugee Crisis – CBS Miami

March 10, 2017 6:41 PM By Rick Folbaum

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) The six-year Syrian civil war has created the largest exodus of refugees since World War II, so it shouldnt come as a surprise that some of the loudest voices demanding their protection belong to Holocaust survivors.

Syrian children play in the once rebel-held Shaar neighborhood in Aleppo on March 10, 2017. (Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

In an interview held at the University of Miami, CBS4 News anchor Rick Folbaum sat down withDr. Alfred Munzer, who lived through the 20th centurygenocide of Jewish people, to address the comparison.

What are your memories of the war and its immediate aftermath, Folbaum asked.

Well, I was hidden with the Madna family, said Dr. Munzer. A Dutch-Indonesian family. One Caucasian child in a family that looked very different.

His parents faced a horrific decision. With the Nazis rounding up Jews in occupied Holland, they hid their young son at the home of a family friend.

Ive asked Papa Madna, thats what I called him, why he took the risk, why he risked the lives of his family to take in a Jewish baby. His response was a very simple one: What was I to do? To him, really, there was no choice. There was a human in need and he was going to answer it.

To Dr. Munzer, there is another human need now and hes answering it, speaking out as part of an effort by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum to raise awareness about the genocide taking place right now in Syria.

For me, whats always hard to process, even six years into this conflict, is whats going on in Syria on a daily basis. The amount of horror that is being perpetrated against these people is unbelievable to me.

Mouaz Moustafa, from the Syrian Emergency Task Force, is a Syrian immigrant whose family and friends back home are under siege by the dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad, with help from the Russian military. More than 400,000 Syrians have been killed and 11,000,000 forced from their homes.

Al Munzer tells his family horror story from seven decades ago. Moustafas horror is unfolding each and every day.

You were a child of war, said Folbaum. When you hear these stories about the children of Syria, it must move you very deeply.

Absolutely. I think the greatest tragedy of the Holocaust wasnt just the loss of six million Jewish lives, lives of my own sisters, father and many other family members, answered Muzner. It was that the lessons of the Holocaust werent learned. That there have been many genocides since then. I think thats the real tragedy. The world said never again, but instead of that, again and again, we see these atrocities against innocent people. Thats really the sad part.

There are Jews in Syria but not many. The country has never officially recognized the state of Israel. But the mass killings there have generated empathy from many in the Jewish community.

For me to know that people like Al, and the institution of the Holocaust Museum, are standing up for people that are defenseless and have been deserted by the international community, is really the most inspiring thing and something that is incredibly powerful that the Syrian people will never forget, said Moustafa. There must be a better way. We must set aside hatred, prejudice, which can lead ultimately to murder. Thats the lesson of the Holocaust.

Moustafa said he is not dismayed over President Trumps revised travel ban, which specifically targets Syrian refugees. He said hes hopeful the president follows through on his promise of creating safe zones so that his family and friends can stay in Syria, which is what, he says, they really want.

Rick Folbaum anchors the CBS4 evening newscasts at 5 pm, 5:30 pm and 11 pm. He arrived at the station in August, 2013. Since joining WFOR TV, Rick has anchored coverage of many historic news events, both from the studio and from out in the…

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Holocaust Survivor Relates His Story To Syria’s Refugee Crisis – CBS Miami

Women and Purim, Women and Torah: Our Method to Further Chinuch for our Daughters – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: Ernest Normand (1888)

Why CyberSem and what does our online seminary intent to impart upon the girls and women who engage our new and invigorating learning method for generations of Jewish females who may otherwise have a more difficult time accessing Torah study regularly? The answer is basic enough, and the miracle of Purim helps shed some light.

Women have been recognized as having actively participated in miracles of many Jewish holidays, but their efforts leading up to the events of Purim in old-time Persia are outstanding.

The Talmud tractate of Megillah tells us that women are obliged to hear Megilat Esther because they were also present at the time of the Purim miracle. The Rashbam adds that this is such because Hamans decree was also directed against the women and predominantly the miracle happened through Esthers involvement. Where else do we see that an entire holiday is attributed to the woman who was so pivotal in the success of the miracle? On Passover when we know that in the merit of the righteous women the Jewish people was redeemed from Egypt, the hero of the event is still Moshe. Yehudit did wonderful things on Chanukah but she is only remembered as one of the many characters of the Chanukah story. When Esther asked the Sages to allow her story to become one of the books of the Tanach, they agreed, hence the name Megilat Esther.

It is written in the Midrash Esther Rabbah, that Hamans decree was abolished because Mordechai gathered twenty-two thousand children and taught them Torah. Mordechai was the leader of the generation, but he did not delegate the instruction of the small children to anyone else. He taught them himself. This underlines the critical importance of Chinuch. It is this model of Chinuch that provides the best foundation for a small child to begin his/her life with. Traditionally, as the sages say the Talmud, Brachot, that it is the woman who is trusted with the task of guiding, directing and teaching her children. Whether the father learns, or is a businessman, his time at home to discipline and teach the children is limited. As soon as the child is born, it is the mother who supervises the development of her children and directs them in the right path.

Going deeper yetLooking at the difference between Chanukah and Purim we discover that the decree of Chanukah was essentially one that attacked the spiritual connection between the Jewish people and G-d, whereas Purim was a physical threat to the Jewish people as a nation. The Rambam puts this into sharp perspective perhaps contrary to what we may think. In his work Hilchot Deot The Laws of Personal Development, the Rambam writes that keeping the body healthy and complete is amongst the ways of serving G-d. When utilizing the body to do a mitzvah, one reaches to and touches the essence of G-dliness.

Small children possess the same deep connection with Hashem. In the posuk in Parshat Truma, God commands the Jewish nation to build Him a tabernacle and Hewill dwell in them. This command implies that there is already a nation for Hashem to dwell amongst. Although the building of the tabernacle/temple is great, interrupting the study of young children is forbidden even for them to help in its construction. Why? Because the temple needs a people, a nation, and the childrens learning generates the perpetuation of that nation. Clearly a priority.

Now we can understand that when Haman announced the decree to kill the Jewish people, the remedy was to strengthen the Jewish children and teach them Torah in its purest form. The Shlah Hakadosh emphasizes that the major part of the Chinuch of the children is done by women, as they are the natural nurturers of children to set them on the correct path for a lifetime of Torah observant people.

This is the paradigm of self-regulated learning, the personal internalization of the lesson. At CyberSem women are engaged in learning Torah based subjects with the focus on stimulating their personal bond with the material combined with individual improvement in education and learning in general. It is a modern way of interfacing with our ancient and principal beliefs, and it helps women, arguably our most important assets for furthering Jewish life to our children, access Torah and learn in environments where time and availability is often hard to come by.

Chag Purim Sameach.

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Women and Purim, Women and Torah: Our Method to Further Chinuch for our Daughters – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

The great anti-Semitism panic of 2017: A response to Rob Eshman – Washington Post

Writing in the Jewish Journal, editor-in-chief Rob Eshman accuses me of being an apologist for anti-Semitismbecause of the piece I wrote about Jewish panic over Trump. Lets go through his critique, shall we?

First, Eshman claims that American Jews arent panicking because they havent closed Jewish schools, turned Jewish institutions into armed camps or turned in their kippahs. True, but there are levels of panic. Many Jews have withdrawn their children from Jewish Community Center preschools, so much so that some JCCs are undertaking emergency fundraising campaignsto make up for the lost revenue. More generally and you can see several examples in the comments to my original piece its commonplace for Jewish liberals to analogize the current situation to 1933. Thats completely paranoid and insane, and a sign of panic.

Eshman continues, True, some Jewish leaders assertedthatanti-Semitic acts are at a level not seen in America since the 1930s, which is highly debatable. Thats not highly debatable, its obviously false and absurd, and the fact that Eshman considers it highly debatable is itself a sign of panic.

Next, Eshman contends that I attacka fakeJewish response in order to defend thereal Donald Trump. As regular readers know, I have long been a never-Trumper. My views on Trump havent changed. That doesnt mean I have lost my ability to spot a panic.

In my article, I pointed out that routine claims that Stephen K. Bannons Breitbart News is a white supremacist anti-Semitic site is belied by the articles Breitbart actually publishes about Jews, anti-Semitism and Israel. Eshman retorts that his own concerns about Breitbart had nothing to do with individual articles. Indeed, some of Breitbart.coms best friends and editors are Jewish. Rather, his concern is that Breitbart has fomented and reaffirmed through its coverage and commentsa deep antagonism toward Jews. No, it hasnt done so through its coverage; Eshman just acknowledged that Breitbarts articles are not anti-Jewish, and the articles more generally reflect mainstream conservative views.

The comments section, by contrast, is an unmoderated sewer that does contain a great deal of anti-Semitism. Is that a matter of concern? Sure. I more generally find Bannons ethno-nationalism and no enemies on the right mentality troubling, and not just because of how it might legitimize anti-Semitism. But none of that makes Bannon himself, or Breitbart News, anti-Semitic. Eshman invokes the authority of Ben Shapiro, so allow me to quote Mr. Shapiro:

Ive been as critical of Steve Bannon as anybody in the media. I was the first critic of Bannon because when I left Breitbart in March, I specifically named Bannon as a nefarious influence at Breitbart, by name. And yet, I was forced last week to defend Steve Bannon. I think that hes a terrible person. But because the left cant just say, This is a guy who made way for the alt-right, which is quite terrible, and hes doing a real disservice to the nature of the country by doing so. The left had to accuse him personally of racism and anti-Semitism, and they had to overstep. This is the big mistake.

You want to empower the alt-right? Keep overstepping. Again, its the overstepping by the left thats driving people into this almost white tribalism. Its really negative. I hate tribalism on all sidesI hate it on the left and I hate it on the rightand what Im seeing is that increase across the board.

Eshman acknowledges, as I noted, that there is no available data suggesting that Trumps supporters are more anti-Semitic than the voting public as a whole. His response? Data would be great, we all love data. In the meantime, the lack of numbers doesnt negate well-documented racist and anti-semitic acts perpetrated as Donald Trump ascended to nominee and then president. Yeah, but without data we have no idea how many of those acts were perpetrated by Trump supporters, or whether they represent a meaningful if any increase from the thousands of anti-Semitic acts perpetrated in the Unite States while Barack Obama was president.

Eshman next quotesa left-wing hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, for the proposition that Trump unleashed a wave of hatred against a wide variety of groups, including Jews. I dont take anything the SPLC says seriously, but in any event none of the specific acts listed have anything to do with Jews. Eshman asks, Is all this anti-Semitism? He answers: Not always. Actually, not at all. And I agree with Eshman, as I stated right at the beginning of my piece, that Jews are understandably concerned when ethno-nationalism rears its ugly head in general. But understandably concerned is a far cry from believing its 1933 all over again.

Eshman also rejects my criticism of Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt, challenging me to provide an example of when Greenblatt has been unduly partisan. My actual criticism of Greenblatt is that he has stirred panic about right-wing anti-Semitism through exaggerated rhetoric, such as the aforementioned claim that the level of anti-Semitic discourse in the United States today is the greatest since the 1930s. But since Eshman asked, one could write a whole paper about Greenblatts partisanship,starting with his announcement last March that the ADL was redirecting the money Donald Trump had donated over the years to the organization to specifically into anti-bias education programs that address exactly the kind of stereotyping and scapegoating he has injected into this political season.

Finally, Eshman claims that no one is the Jewish organizational world is concerned over the relatively minute amounts of Arab immigrants coming to America. (Bernstein uses Arab to mean Muslim, though of course not all Arabs are Muslims).

First, no, I meant Arab, and I linked to data about anti-Semitism in Arab countries. I dont know of any data that suggests that Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian Christians are any less anti-Semitic than are their Muslim compatriots. Muslim extremism is a separate, though intertwined, topic.

Second, of course people in the Jewish organizational world are (privately) concerned about this. They would have to be fools not to be, given (a) that Arab migrants and their descendants in Western Europe are responsible for an overwhelming percentage of anti-Semitic violence there, including murders at Jewish schools and stores, and attacks on Jews on the street; (b) that many violent incidents against Jews in the United States have been undertaken by Arab immigrants, including the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990, the murder of a Hasidic boy on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994, a shooting at the El Al terminal at LAX in 2002, and a plot to attack New York synagogues in 2011; and (c) the role that Students for Justice in Palestine, dominated by Arab students, has played in fomenting anti-Semitism on American college campuses. And the phrase changing demographics is used to refer to the threat of Arab (and Muslim) anti-Semitism, including by ADL director Abe Foxman here, and in a report by the American Jewish Congress in 2008, in which it notes that opponents of anti-Semitism in the United Stateswill have to deal with demographic changes, includingthe shrinkage of the American Jewish population and the growth of other groups (including Muslims and Arabs).

Eshman adds that various Jewish organizations are reaching out to Muslim organizations to cooperate on issues of mutual interest and create mutual goodwill. Thats great, I support such efforts and hope they are successful. I have nothing against either Arabs or Muslims and would like nothing better than for the Jewish American and Arab American communities to coexist in harmony. But its ridiculous to pretend that if one is concerned about anti-Semitism in the United States, one shouldnt beconcernedabout large-scale immigration to the United States from places where virulent anti-Semitism is nearly universal. Maybe that means that its Eshman who is the actual anti-Semitism apologist?

UPDATE: In a lovely irony, it turns out that Eshmans own Jewish Journal ran a piece just ten days ago with the headline Concern, Not Panic. The author wrote, Obviously, simply the fact that Jewish cemeteries and centers are the targets of threats and vandalism is, in itself, troubling. What is not clear is whether they reflect an increase in anti-Semitic sentiment in the body politic or isolated acts of some of societys losers. Bad acts and occasional reversals can and will happen, even if the flow of history is favorable. The thugs and vandals are not todays most serious problem. I guess that by Eshmans own lights his own Jewish Journal is an organ of apology for anti-Semitism.

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The great anti-Semitism panic of 2017: A response to Rob Eshman – Washington Post

Israel’s World Baseball Classic run going unnoticed back home

AP 2:07 p.m. ET March 11, 2017

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

Israel players pose for photographs with the team mascot.(Photo: Chung Sung-Jun, Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (AP) Israel is the big surprise of the World Baseball Classic, upsetting three teams, generating buzz and offering a mascot like no other The Mensch on the Bench.

Back home, no one seems to notice.

Baseball has long been overlooked in Israel, seen as an arcane and boring game. This team consists almost entirely of American pros of Jewish descent. It has been derided as a group of mercenaries with little connection to the country.

Israel entered this showcase tournament ranked 41st in the world, the lowest ranked and last team to qualify. In quick succession, however, the Israelis beat third-ranked South Korea 2-1 in extra innings in the opening game before topping fourth-ranked Taiwan 15-7 and ninth-ranked the Netherlands 4-2 to finish first in Pool A with a 3-0 record.

Next up in the second round is Cuba on Sunday in Tokyo, with a chance to advance to the semifinals.

For the small Israeli baseball community this has been nothing short of astounding, creating a wave of pride in their disparaged sport. The country has only one baseball-specific field and only about 1,000 active players who are well accustomed to fielding incredulous questions from native-born Israelis about their funny gear and the difference between a home run and a strikeout.

Israels WBC games havent been broadcast on the national sports channel and have been mentioned only briefly in the media. Most Israelis likely arent even aware they have a national team or understand it is competing against the worlds best in the sports most prestigious global event.

That includes the countrys sport minister. Asked in a radio interview whether she was planning to travel to South Korea, Miri Regev had no idea what was happening there. When pressed, she said she knew a baseball team existed but not much more.

I may be the sports minister but I dont pretend to know every player and every team in detail, she said on Army Radio. My job is to promote them. Obviously it is not one of the preferred fields that we invest in.

MORE WBC:

USA learns tough World Baseball Classic lesson – and survives Colombia, too

USAs Danny Duffy to be emotional Saturday when USA faces Dominican Republic

In Israel, soccer and basketball reign. Baseball has been one of the most popular sports among American Jews, but in Israel it has mostly been the domain of a loyal group of American immigrants.

It failed to catch on with the rough-and-tumble native-born Israelis. When it came to imported American sports, they took more of a liking to the strategy and hard hitting of football. In 2007, a group of American supporters launched the Israel Baseball League, a professional league comprised almost entirely of foreign players. It folded after one season.

Team manager Jerry Weinstein acknowledged that generating more interest in Israel was one of the teams primary goals.

Thats what were trying to do, help grow the game in Israel, he told reporters Saturday. And I think that by playing in this (tournament) and doing well that we enlighten peoples awareness.

Support has also suffered because the team is, well, not very Israeli. Thanks to the WBCs heritage rule, its players are almost all Americans with major or minor league experiences and varying degrees of ties to Judaism and Israel. The roster includes only two Israeli citizens, both little-used pitchers, and eight of the Americans visited Israel for the first time only two months ago to learn about the country.

Lets stop pretending like they really represent Israel because it is doubtful that someone who doesnt live in a country and has never visited it can truly develop affection toward it, Guy Leiba wrote in the popular YNet website. There is no difference between these players and African sprinters who choose to represent Arab countries for a few dollars.

Even so, a select few have jumped on the bandwagon.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lived in America and has American-born aides who have played baseball and softball locally, tweeted a greeting to the team as it mowed through the competition in South Korea.

The ritual, plus fans sporting Jew Crew T-shirts and the mascot with a Yiddish name mensch meaning a responsible person of integrity has given the team a far more Jewish flavor than Israeli. And that, says sportscaster Gil Barak of Sports 5 TV Channel, makes it even tougher for locals to connect.

Even though he covers sports for a living, Barak said he couldnt name a single player on the team, and Israelis just couldnt identify with such a group.

No one knows anything about the game and this is entirely alien, he said. Its a sport that has no past here, has no future and has no present.

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Israel’s World Baseball Classic run going unnoticed back home