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Jewish & Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases – Gaucher Disease

Posted By on November 15, 2018

While Gaucher disease (pronounced go-SHAY) affects people of all ethnic backgrounds, it is especially common in the Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish population. Testing for Gaucher disease as well as prenatal screening and genetic counseling can help you determine the risk of passing the Gaucher gene to your children.

Although Gaucher is pan-ethnic, Gaucher disease type 1 is the most prevalent inherited Jewish genetic disease. A number of genetic disorders occur more frequently in certain ethnic populations. In the Ashkenazi Jewish population (Eastern, Central and Northern European ancestry), it has been estimated that one in four individuals is a carrier of one of several genetic conditions.

These diseases include Tay-Sachs Disease, Canavan, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher, Familial Dysautonomia, Bloom Syndrome, Fanconi anemia, Cystic Fibrosis and Mucolipidosis IV. Some of these diseases may be severe and may result in the early death of a child. Carrier screening is available for all of these diseases with a blood test. Two carriers of the same disease have a 1 in 4 risk with each pregnancy of having a child affected with the disease for which they were identified as carriers.

Learn more about how Gaucher disease is inherited, or find out about prenatal screening and genetic counseling for Gaucher disease.

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Jewish & Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases - Gaucher Disease

Holocaust Deniers and Public Misinformation | The …

Posted By on November 15, 2018

Holocaust denial and minimization or distortion of the facts of the Holocaust is a form of antisemitism.

Holocaust deniers ignore the overwhelming evidence of the event and insist that the Holocaust is a myth, invented by the Allies, the Soviet communists, and the Jews for their own ends. According to the deniers' logic the Allies needed the Holocaust myth to justify their occupation of Germany in 1945 and the harsh persecution of Nazi defendants. Holocaust deniers also claim that Jews needed the Holocaust myth to extract huge payments in restitution from Germany and to justify the establishment of the State of Israel. Holocaust deniers claim that there is a vast conspiracy involving the victorious powers of World War II, Jews, and Israel to propagate the Holocaust for their own ends.

Holocaust deniers assert that if they can discredit one fact about the Holocaust, the whole history of the event can be discredited as well. They ignore the evidence of the historical event and make arguments that they say negate the reality of the Holocaust in its entirety.

Documenting the Holocaust: Examples of Documents Some Holocaust deniers argue that, since there is neither a single document that outlines the Holocaust nor a signed document from Hitler ordering the Holocaust, the Holocaust itself is a hoax. To make this argument, they reject all the evidence submitted at Nuremberg. They denounce as fabrications the genocidal intention of the Nazi state and the thousands of orders, memos, notes, and other records that document the process of destruction. When they cannot sustain arguments that documents are forged, they argue that the language in the documents has been deliberately misinterpreted. Furthermore, some Holocaust deniers insist that the Allies tortured the perpetrators into testifying about their role in the killing process and that the survivors who testified about Nazi crimes against Jews were all lying out of self-interest.

Some Holocaust deniers claim that those few Jews who perished died from natural causes or were legitimately executed by the Nazi state for actual criminal offenses. They assert that Jews and the Allied powers deliberately inflated the numbers of Jews killed during the war. Holocaust historians have placed the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust between 5.1 and 6 million, based on legitimate available historical sources and demographic methods. Holocaust deniers cite uncertainty about the exact number of deaths within this accepted range as proof that the whole history of the Holocaust has been fabricated and that the number of Jewish deaths during World War II has been grossly exaggerated.

Some Holocaust deniers assert that the Nazis did not use gas chambers to kill Jews. They deny the reality of the killing centers. Deniers have focused their attention on Auschwitz and believe if they could just disprove that the Nazis used gas chambers in Auschwitz to kill Jews, the whole history of the Holocaust would also be discredited.

Holocaust deniers often mimic the forms and practices of scholars in order to deceive the public about the nature of their views. They generally footnote their writings by citing the publications of other Holocaust deniers and hold pseudo-scholarly conventions.

Holocaust denial on the Internet is especially a problem because of the ease and speed with which such misinformation can be disseminated. In the United States, where the First Amendment to the Constitution ensures freedom of speech, it is not against the law to deny the Holocaust or to propagate Nazi and antisemitic hate speech. European countries such as Germany and France have criminalized denial of the Holocaust and have banned Nazi and neo-Nazi publications. The Internet is now the chief source of Holocaust denial and the chief means of recruiting for Holocaust denial organizations.

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Holocaust Deniers and Public Misinformation | The ...

The Oral Law -Talmud & Mishna

Posted By on November 12, 2018

The Oral Law is a legal commentary on the Torah, explaining how its commandments are to be carried out. Common sense suggests that some sort of oral tradition was always needed to accompany the Written Law, because the Torah alone, even with its 613 commandments, is an insufficient guide to Jewish life. For example, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, ordains, "Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy" (Exodus 20:8). From the Sabbath's inclusion in the Ten Commandments, it is clear that the Torah regards it as an important holiday. Yet when one looks for the specific biblical laws regulating how to observe the day, one finds only injunctions against lighting a fire, going away from one's dwelling, cutting down a tree, plowing and harvesting. Would merely refraining from these few activities fulfill the biblical command to make the Sabbath holy? Indeed, the Sabbath rituals that are most commonly associated with holiness-lighting of candles, reciting the kiddush, and the reading of the weekly Torah portion are found not in the Torah, but in the Oral Law.

Without an oral tradition, some of the Torah's laws would be incomprehensible. In the Shema's first paragraph, the Bible instructs: "And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes." "Bind them for a sign upon your hand," the last verse instructs. Bind what? The Torah doesn't say. "And they shall be for frontlets between your eyes." What are frontlets? The Hebrew word for frontlets, totafot is used three times in the Torah always in this context (Exodus 13:16; Deuteronomy 6:8, 11:18) and is as obscure as is the English. Only in the Oral Law do we learn that what a Jewish male should bind upon his hand and between his eyes are tefillin (phylacteries).

Finally, an Oral Law was needed to mitigate certain categorical Torah laws that would have caused grave problems if carried out literally. The Written Law, for example, demands an "eye for an eye" (Exodus 21:24). Did this imply that if one person accidentally blinded another, he should be blinded in return? That seems to be the Torah's wish. But the Oral Law explains that the verse must be understood as requiring monetary compensation: the value of an eye is what must be paid.

The Jewish community of Palestine suffered horrendous losses during the Great Revolt and the Bar-Kokhba rebellion. Well over a million Jews were killed in the two ill-fated uprisings, and the leading yeshivot, along with thousands of their rabbinical scholars and students, were devastated.

This decline in the number of knowledgeable Jews seems to have been a decisive factor in Rabbi Judah the Prince's decision around the year 200 C.E. to record in writing the Oral Law. For centuries, Judaism's leading rabbis had resisted writing down the Oral Law. Teaching the law orally, the rabbis knew, compelled students to maintain close relationships with teachers, and they considered teachers, not books, to be the best conveyors of the Jewish tradition. But with the deaths of so many teachers in the failed revolts, Rabbi Judah apparently feared that the Oral Law would be forgotten unless it were written down.

In the Mishna, the name for the sixty-three tractates in which Rabbi Judah set down the Oral Law, Jewish law is systematically codified, unlike in the Torah. For example, if a person wanted to find every law in the Torah about the Sabbath, he would have to locate scattered references in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Indeed, in order to know everything the Torah said on a given subject, one either had to read through all of it or know its contents by heart. Rabbi Judah avoided this problem by arranging the Mishna topically. All laws pertaining to the Sabbath were put into one tractate called Shabbat (Hebrew for "Sabbath"). The laws contained in Shabbat's twenty-four chapters are far more extensive than those contained in the Torah, for the Mishna summarizes the Oral Law's extensive Sabbath legislation. The tractate Shabbat is part of a larger "order" called Mo'ed (Hebrew for "holiday"), which is one of six orders that comprise the Mishna. Some of the other tractates in Mo'ed specify the Oral Laws of Passover (Pesachim); Purim (Megillah); Rosh haShana; Yom Kippur (Yoma); and Sukkot.

The first of the six orders is called Zera'im (Seeds), and deals with the agricultural rules of ancient Palestine, particularly with the details of the produce that were to be presented as offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem. The most famous tractate in Zera'im, however, Brakhot (Blessings) has little to do with agriculture. It records laws concerning different blessings and when they are to be recited.

Another order, called Nezikin (Damages), contains ten tractates summarizing Jewish civil and criminal law.

Another order, Nashim (Women), deals with issues between the sexes, including both laws of marriage, Kiddushin, and of divorce, Gittin.

A fifth order, Kodashim, outlines the laws of sacrifices and ritual slaughter. The sixth order, Taharot, contains the laws of purity and impurity.

Although parts of the Mishna read as dry legal recitations, Rabbi Judah frequently enlivened the text by presenting minority views, which it was also hoped might serve to guide scholars in later generations (Mishna Eduyot 1:6). In one famous instance, the legal code turned almost poetic, as Rabbi Judah cited the lengthy warning the rabbinic judges delivered to witnesses testifying in capital cases:

"How are witnesses inspired with awe in capital cases?" the Mishna begins. "They are brought in and admonished as follows: In case you may want to offer testimony that is only conjecture or hearsay or secondhand evidence, even from a person you consider trustworthy; or in the event you do not know that we shall test you by cross-examination and inquiry, then know that capital cases are not like monetary cases. In monetary cases, a man can make monetary restitution and be forgiven, but in capital cases both the blood of the man put to death and the blood of his [potential] descendants are on the witness's head until the end of time. For thus we find in the case of Cain, who killed his brother, that it is written: 'The bloods of your brother cry unto Me' (Genesis 4:10) that is, his blood and the blood of his potential descendants.... Therefore was the first man, Adam, created alone, to teach us that whoever destroys a single life, the Bible considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single life, the Bible considers it as if he saved an entire world. Furthermore, only one man, Adam, was created for the sake of peace among men, so that no one should say to his fellow, 'My father was greater than yours.... Also, man [was created singly] to show the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for if a man strikes many coins from one mold, they all resemble one another, but the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, made each man in the image of Adam, and yet not one of them resembles his fellow. Therefore every single person is obligated to say, 'The world was created for my sake"' (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5). (One commentary notes, "How grave the responsibility, therefore, of corrupting myself by giving false evidence, and thus bringing [upon myself the moral guilt of [murdering] a whole world.")

One of the Mishna's sixtythree tractates contains no laws at all. It is called Pirkei Avot (usually translated as Ethics of the Fathers), and it is the "Bartlett's" of the rabbis, in which their most famous sayings and proverbs are recorded.

During the centuries following Rabbi Judah's editing of the Mishna, it was studied exhaustively by generation after generation of rabbis. Eventually, some of these rabbis wrote down their discussions and commentaries on the Mishna's laws in a series of books known as the Talmud. The rabbis of Palestine edited their discussions of the Mishna about the year 400: Their work became known as the Palestinian Talmud (in Hebrew, Talmud Yerushalmi, which literally means "Jerusalem Talmud").

More than a century later, some of the leading Babylonian rabbis compiled another editing of the discussions on the Mishna. By then, these deliberations had been going on some three hundred years. The Babylon edition was far more extensive than its Palestinian counterpart, so that the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli) became the most authoritative compilation of the Oral Law. When people speak of studying "the Talmud," they almost invariably mean the Bavli rather than the Yerushalmi.

The Talmud's discussions are recorded in a consistent format. A law from the Mishna is cited, which is followed by rabbinic deliberations on its meaning. The Mishna and the rabbinic discussions (known as the Gemara) comprise the Talmud, although in Jewish life the terms Gemara and Talmud usually are used interchangeably.

The rabbis whose views are cited in the Mishna are known as Tanna'im (Aramaic for "teachers"), while the rabbis quoted in the Gemara are known as Amora'im ("explainers" or "interpreters"). Because the Tanna'im lived earlier than the Amora'im, and thus were in closer proximity to Moses and the revelation at Sinai, their teachings are considered more authoritative than those of the Amora'im. For the same reason, Jewish tradition generally regards the teachings of the Amora'im, insofar as they are expounding the Oral Law, as more authoritative than contemporary rabbinic teachings.

In addition to extensive legal discussions (in Hebrew, halakha), the rabbis incorporated into the Talmud guidance on ethical matters, medical advice, historical information, and folklore, which together are known as aggadata.

As a rule, the Gemara's text starts with a close reading of the Mishna. For example, Mishna Bava Mezia 7:1 teaches the following: "If a man hired laborers and ordered them to work early in the morning and late at night, he cannot compel them to work early and late if it is not the custom to do so in that place." On this, the Gemara (Bava Mezia 83a) comments: "Is it not obvious [that an employer cannot demand that they change from the local custom]? The case in question is where the employer gave them a higher wage than was normal. In that case, it might be argued that he could then say to them, 'The reason I gave you a higher wage than is normal is so that you will work early in the morning and late at night.' So the law tells us that the laborers can reply: 'The reason that you gave us a higher wage than is normal is for better work [not longer hours].'"

Among religious Jews, talmudic scholars are regarded with the same awe and respect with which secular society regards Nobel laureates. Yet throughout Jewish history, study of the Mishna and Talmud was hardly restricted to an intellectual elite. An old book saved from the millions burned by the Nazis, and now housed at the YIVO library in New York, bears the stamp THE SOCIETY OF WOODCHOPPERS FOR THE STUDY OF MISHNA IN BERDITCHEV. That the men who chopped wood in Berditchev, an arduous job that required no literacy, met regularly to study Jewish law demonstrates the ongoing pervasiveness of study of the Oral Law in the Jewish community.

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The Oral Law -Talmud & Mishna

B’nai B’rith International – SourceWatch

Posted By on November 12, 2018

Bnai Brith "is an international Jewish organization committed to the security and continuity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, defending human rights, combating anti-Semitism, bigotry and ignorance, and providing service to the community on the broadest principles of humanity. Its mission is to unite persons of the Jewish faith and to enhance Jewish identity through strengthening Jewish family life and the education and training of youth, broad-based services for the benefit of senior citizens, and advocacy and action on behalf of Jews throughout the world.

"Founded in 1843, B'nai B'rith International is universally recognized as one of the world's largest and oldest Jewish human rights, community action, and humanitarian organizations. A constant source of innovation and charity for populations around the world, B'nai B'rith has founded hospitals, orphanages, senior housing communities, disaster relief campaigns, libraries, anti-hatred programs, and countless other initiatives in the public interest. B'nai B'rith is also a tireless advocate for Israel and the Diaspora in a variety of governmental and political arenas. With more than 180,000 members and affiliates in more than 50 countries, B'nai B'rith truly spans the globe in its efforts to make Jewish communities better for all their inhabitants." [1]

"The work of B'nai B'rith International is focused in its centers. These centers provide the framework for intensive study of issues and thoughtful responses through the combined efforts of dedicated volunteer leaders and professional staff." [2]

Accessed January 2009: [3]

Accessed December 2007: [4]

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B'nai B'rith International - SourceWatch

Jewish studies – Wikipedia

Posted By on November 11, 2018

Jewish studies (or Judaic studies) is an academic discipline centered on the study of Jews and Judaism. Jewish studies is interdisciplinary and combines aspects of history (especially Jewish history), Middle Eastern studies, Asian studies, Oriental studies, religious studies, archeology, sociology, languages (Jewish languages), political science, area studies, women's studies, and ethnic studies. Jewish studies as a distinct field is mainly present at colleges and universities in North America.

Related fields include Holocaust research and Israel Studies, and in Israel, Jewish thought.

The Jewish tradition generally places a high value on learning and study, especially of religious texts. Torah study (study of the Torah and more broadly of the entire Hebrew Bible as well as Rabbinic literature such as the Talmud and Midrash) is considered a religious obligation.

Since the Renaissance and the growth of higher education, many people, including people not of the Jewish faith, have chosen to study Jews and Judaism as a means of understanding the Jewish religion, heritage, and Jewish history.

Religious instruction specifically for Jews, especially for those who wish to join the rabbinate, is taught at Jewish seminaries (and in Orthodox Judaism, yeshivas). Among the most prominent are the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary and the Reform Hebrew Union College. For the majority of Jewish students attending regular academic colleges and universities there is a growing choice of Jewish studies courses and even degrees available at many institutions.

The subject of antisemitism and the Holocaust, as well as the establishment of the modern State of Israel and the revival of the Hebrew language have all stimulated unusual interest in greater in-depth academic study, research, reading and lecturing about these core areas of knowledge related to current events. In the United States, the unique position that Jewish Americans have held within the nation's complex social structure has created substantial scholarship, especially with regards to topics such as interfaith marriage, political activism, and influence on popular culture.

In a 1966 article published in the American Jewish Year Book, the Hebrew literature scholar Arnold J. Band was among the first to call attention to the "spread of Jewish studies as an accepted academic discipline in the American liberal arts colleges and universities since the Second World War".[1][2] In his article Band offered a definition of Jewish (Judaic) studies as "the discipline which deals with the historical experiences, in the intellectual, religious, and social spheres, of the Jewish people in all centuries and countries".[3]

The political situation in the Middle East, especially the ArabIsraeli conflict and the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, has raised the profile of Jews, Judaism, and Zionism on campuses, spurring many on to study this subject for non-degree as well as for credits in obtaining a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Arts degree. A growing number of mature students are even obtaining Ph.D.s in Jewish studies judging by the quantity of courses and programs available. Many hope to obtain employment in the field of Jewish education or in Jewish communal service agencies.

Some Christians search for an understanding of the Jewish background for Jesus Christ and Christianity and for the source of monotheism that sprang from Judaism. There are those who are seeking an understanding of the complex and volatile relationship between Islam and Judaism. Others are searching for spirituality and philosophy and therefore seek classes in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and Jewish philosophy. There are also those who have a genuine concern and attachment to modern Israel as Christian Zionists and therefore seek to learn more about the subjects related to their beliefs.

Jewish studies have been offered at universities around the world.[4] The following are only a few significant examples of places where Jewish studies are offered and flourish in an academic setting:

Several colleges in the United States and Israel offer Jewish Studies or Judaic Studies as a major.

The Institute of Jewish Studies of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was established in 1924, a few months before the official opening of the university.[5] Widely considered to be the world's premier center of Jewish studies,[citation needed] the institute has includes eight teaching departments and 18 research institutes, oversees the publication of a wide variety of journals and periodicals and has student body of over 1200 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in Jewish studies. In addition, the university has several institutes dedicated to specific subjects of Jewish studies, such as the Institute of Contemporary Jewry,[6] the Institute for Research in Jewish Law,[7] the Institute of Archaeology,[8] the Center for Jewish Art,[9] the Jewish Music Research Center,[10] the Center for Jewish Education,[11] and the Department of Jewish Thought.[12] The Jewish National and University Library, which serves as the library of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, houses the world's largest collection of Hebraica and Judaica. The university also benefits from Jerusalem's unparalleled concentration of resources, which include: some 50 museums, most of which are dedicated to, or contain significant exhibits pertinent to, Jewish studies; dozens of independent research institutes and libraries dedicated to Jewish studies; over 100 rabbinical colleges representing all streams of Judaism; and the city of Jerusalem itself, the ancient and modern center of Jewish life, thought and study.

Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, has the world's largest school of Jewish Studies, which includes 14 teaching departments, 21 research institutes, some 300 faculty members and over 2,000 students.[13] The school publishes 11 journals[14] and the only internet journal in Jewish Studies Jewish Studies.[15] Flagship projects of the Faculty of Jewish Studies include: the Responsa Project[16] which is the largest data base of classical Jewish sources throughout the ages; The "Mikraot Gdolot Haketer" which is the most accurate edition of the Mikraot Gdolot; The Ingeborg Rennert Center of Jerusalem Studies;[17] and the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project,[18] the excavations of the site of biblical Gath of the Philistines under the auspices of Prof. Aren Maier.

Tel Aviv University's Department of Hebrew Culture Studies is the single largest integrative Jewish Studies department in the world today. It covers a wide range of periods, methodologies, and scholarly interests. The Jewish Studies International MA provides tools and skills for further graduate studies in Jewish Studies and other fields involving text work. It attracts Humanities graduates from all over the world. Its graduates are equipped for work in many branches of education, in Jewish and other communities, Jewish cultural institutions, synagogues and churches and charities.[19]

The Judaic Studies (JST) department[20] at UAlbany[21] offers undergraduate courses at elementary and advanced levels in Jewish history and culture, as well as Hebrew. Both a major and a minor in Judaic Studies are offered, as well as a minor in Hebrew[20]

Courses range from basic introductory courses on particular topics in Judaic studies to more advanced seminars where students can explore questions and ideas in more depth. Many of the courses, both upper- and lower-level courses, are cross-listed with other departments, providing students with exposure to different disciplinary methods. There are also opportunities for students to earn independent study credit through which they can work on an idea or question particular to their own interests, while also gaining valuable research and writing experience. Practicum credit may also be earned by assisting a professor in a course, and Internship credit is available through community service[22]

Qualified students also have the option of enrolling in the Honors Program to be considered for a BA in Judaic Studies with Honors upon successful completion of an honors thesis.[23]

Hebrew language classes are also available at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels, and for students who are advanced in their language studies, Practicum and Independent study credit may also be earned.[24]

The Center for Jewish Studies, which is affiliated with the Judaic Studies department, sponsor several talks each semester, which are open to both the local, as well as academic communities, and include lectures and discussions by Jewish Studies scholars and writers.[25]

SUNY offers their students an opportunity to study abroad, including in Israel, which is overseen by the Judaic Studies department and is open to everyone.[26]

The American Jewish University, formerly the separate institutions University of Judaism and Brandeis-Bardin Institute, is a Jewish, non-denominational and highly eclectic institution. Its largest component is its Whizin Center for Continuing Education in which 12,000 students are enrolled annually in non-credit granting courses. A prominent program of the Center is the university's annual speaker series. AJU's academic division includes the College of Arts and Sciences, leading to a B.A. degree in majors such as Bioethics (pre-med), Business, Communication Arts & Advocacy, Jewish Studies, Political Science and Psychology. In addition, AJU offers graduate degrees through the Fingerhut School of Education, The David L. Lieber Graduate School, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, a Conservative Jewish rabbinical seminary. AJU is host to two "think tanks," the Center for Israel Studies (CIS) and the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust. Through the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, the University has oversight over Camps Ramah, Alonim, and Gan Alonim.

The University of California-Berkeley offers the Joint Doctoral Program in Jewish Studies (JDP) in collaboration with the Graduate Theological Union. Graduate Students in this interdisciplinary program pick one major and one minor period as well as a discipline. The JDP includes classes in Hebrew and Yiddish literature, Rabbinics, cultural studies and critical theory. Professors and Graduate students with scholarly interest in Jewish Studies can be found across the Humanities.

Binghamton University (SUNY) offers a major and a minor in Judaic Studies (JUST). The department offers two concentrations: 1) Jewish history and culture and 2) Hebrew language and literature. There are a wide variety of courses offered. Internship credits are available.[27] It also is home to a new Center For Israel Studies.[28]

The Lown School of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies is a comprehensive center for Judaic studies. It houses the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, "one of the oldest and largest programs of its type outside of the State of Israel, with the largest faculty in Jewish Studies of any secular American university."[29] The department's founding chairman was Simon Rawidowicz.[30] The graduate program grants MA and PhD degrees in Bible and Ancient Near East, Jewish Studies, and Arab and Islamic Civilizations.[29] The building also houses the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, the Steinhardt Social Research Institute, the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, the Jacob and Libby Goodman Institute for the Study of Zionism, the Bernard G. and Rhoda G. Sarnat Center for the Study of Anti-Jewishness, and the Benjamin S. Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service. The National Center for Jewish Film and the American Jewish Historical Society are associated with the Lown School.[31]

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island offers an interdisciplinary Judaic Studies program that includes an undergraduate concentration and graduate MA and PhD degrees. Faculty areas of focus include the Hebrew Language, Jewish Thought, Modern Hebrew and Jewish Literature, Ancient Judaism, Modern Jewish History, Biblical Studies, Rabbinics and Early Judaism, and Latin American Jewish Literature.[32]

The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University in New York City[33] is supported by access to rare books and over 35,000 Hebrew and Yiddish titles in Columbia's Library.[34] Columbia offers a joint undergraduate degree with the Jewish Theological Seminary. Columbia offers graduate programs in Jewish history, Yiddish studies, Talmud and Judaism.

The Program of Jewish Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York is an interdisciplinary program. The scope of the Jewish Studies curriculum covers Jewish civilization from its ancient Near Eastern origins through its contemporary history and culture in Israel and the diaspora communities around the world. Instruction is offered in Semitic languages; the Hebrew Bible; medieval and modern Hebrew literature; ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish history; and Holocaust studies.[35]

The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut was founded in 1994 with an initial endowment of $1.5 million from Carl and Dorothy Bennett. The Bennett Center's goal is to provide Fairfield University students exposure to and contact with Jewish ideas, culture, and thinking through lectures and other events.[36]

Fairfield University also offers a minor in Judaic Studies within the Religion Department. Courses cover the Jewish faith, history, and culture. It seeks to integrate Judaic Studies into the curriculum of the Fairfield College of Arts and Sciences.[37]

Through the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Judaic Studies Program at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. offers students the ability to study in the proximity to some of the most influential Jewish and Jewish-related institutions in the United States.[38] Because of its location on the Foggy Bottom campus in downtown Washington, D.C., internships with organizations such as the American Jewish Committee, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Embassy of Israel in Washington, the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are not only easily accessible but also very common.

The Gelman Library also hosts the I. Edward Kiev Collection, one of the largest Jewish academic archives on the East Coast.[39]

The Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University is the focal point for the study and teaching of Judaica through publications, fellowships, lectures, and symposia on topics of interest to scholars and to the general public. The Center sponsors visiting scholars and post-doctoral research fellows and coordinates undergraduate and graduate studies on an interdisciplinary basis. The Center does not offer degrees but degrees focusing on Judaic Studies are available in various departments.[40]

The Borns Jewish Studies Program offers an undergraduate major (with a Jewish sacred music curriculum in conjunction with the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University); a certificate (8 courses); a minor in Hebrew; an undergraduate and graduate minor in Yiddish Studies (via the Department of Germanic Studies); a master's degree; and a PhD minor.[41]

The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is a graduate school which describes itself as offering "the most extensive academic program in advanced Judaic studies in North America."[42] The school grants MA, DHL, and PhD degrees in the areas of: ancient Judaism; Bible and ancient Semitic languages; interdepartmental studies; Jewish art and visual culture; Jewish history; Jewish literature; Jewish philosophy; Jewish studies and public administration; Jewish studies and Social Work; *Jewish womens studies; Jewish liturgy; medieval Jewish studies; Midrash; modern Jewish studies; and Talmud and Rabbinics. In addition to its graduate school, JTS also runs the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies (which is affiliated with Columbia University and offers joint/double bachelor's degree programs with both Columbia and Barnard College); the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education; the H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music; and the Rabbinical School. The school's library "contains 425,000 volumes, making it the largest and most extensive collection of Hebraic and Judaic material in the Western Hemisphere."[43]

The Jewish Studies Program at Miami University offers students a minor, which requires 18 credit hours, and a thematic sequence . The minor requires a balance of pre-modern and modern courses.[44] At Miami, thematic sequence typically consists of three related courses designed with an intellectual or pedagogical progression. Undergraduates must take a thematic sequence outside the department(s) in which they major, according to the Global Miami Plan for Liberal Education.[45]

Miami's program began in 2000, with the support of Thomas Idinopulos (d. 2010[46]) and Karl Mattox.[47] The proposal for Miami's Jewish Studies Program was developed partly by Allan Winkler.[48] In 2006 and 2007, Miami University received grants from the Posen Foundation for the study of secular Judaism. Professor Sven-Erik Rose

The Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan was formed as an independent program under the leadership of Jehuda Reinharz in 1976 and expanded into its current model in 1988. A strong faculty with a variety of expertise has allowed the interdisciplinary program to grow significantly in recent years. Areas of special interest include numerous faculty with strengths in Rabbinics, Yiddish literature and modern Jewish history. The current director, Dr. Deborah Dash Moore, is the author of GI Jews, chronicling the role of Jews in the United States military and co-editor of the two-volume Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Other leading faculty members include Zvi Gitelman, Todd Endelman, Anita Norich, Madeline Kochen, Mikhail Krutikov, Elliot Ginsburg, Scott Spector and Julian Levinson. Recent arrivals include Ryan Szpiech (Spanish, Sephardic Culture, Medieval Iberia) and Rachel Neis (Rabbinics, Late Antique Judaism).[49]

Michigan Jewish Institute provides academic baccalaureate and other degree granting programs that combine an arts and sciences foundation with concentrations in Education, Leadership and General Judaic Studies for career development in applied Judaic disciplines. The Institute is part of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.[50]

The Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies offers one of the most comprehensive Jewish Studies programs in North America, encompassing Hebrew language and literature as well as all facets of Jewish history and culture, from the ancient through the medieval to the modern. Courses are taught by faculty whose specialties include ancient Judaism, medieval Jewish history, modern Jewish history, Biblical studies, Middle Eastern studies, Postbiblical and Talmudic literature, Jewish mysticism, Jewish philosophy, and related fields.[51] The school will grant eight elective credits to students who score 75 or more on the Jerusalam Exam[52][53] Students may also receive credits for approved classes taken at NYU Tel Aviv.[54]

Northwestern University is home to the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies, which offers both a minor and major in Jewish studies. The center consists of faculty across various departments, and offers courses in Hebrew, Yiddish, Jewish history, rabbinics, Jewish literature, and political science. Notable faculty include Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Irwin Weil, Jacob Lassner, Beverly Mortensen and Elie Rekhess.[55]

The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies[56] at Portland State University (PSU) is located in Portland, Oregon. The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies offers both a Bachelor of Arts major and minor in Judaic Studies. Majors may choose one of five areas of concentration: Jews in Antiquity; Israel Studies; Judaism; Literature, Culture, and the Arts; or Modern Jewish History.[57] Hebrew language instruction is also available.

The University of Oklahoma offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Judaic Studies and minors in Judaic Studies[58] and Hebrew. It also offers fellowships to students pursuing graduate degrees in history. The University is home to the Schusterman Center in Judaic and Israel Studies[59] which began in 1993 as the Schusterman Program in Judaic and Israel Studies with the establishment of a Chairmanship by the Schusterman Family Foundation as a memorial to Sam Schusterman and Harold Josey.[60] The program expanded to include a major in 2009.[61] Classes include Hebrew, Jewish Literature, Jewish Mysticism, Israel, the Shoah, and Jewish History. Students can find other Jewish learning opportunities at the OU Hillel.[62]

The Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is the only institution in the world devoted exclusively to post-doctoral research on Jewish civilization in all its historical and cultural manifestations.The Center was created in the fall of 1993 by the merger of the Annenberg Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania.[63] The library contains vast holdings of Judaica. There are several online exhibits as well.[64]

University of Pennsylvania students can major or minor in Jewish studies in different departments.[65]

Other resources are available at the Weigle Judaica and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (JANES) Reading Room (in the Van Pelt Library). It contains about 6,000 non-circulating resources for study including "...the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (CAD); Biblical and multi-lingual dictionaries; grammars; important facsimiles and transcriptions of Sumerian and Northwest Semitic primary sources; critical Biblical editions and commentaries; Tannaitic, Amoraic, Midrashic, Geonic, and Responsa literatures; sixty-nine scholarly journals, including thirty-nine currently received periodicals."[66] The Freedman Jewish Sound Archive contains over 4,000 Yiddish and Hebrew sound recordings and sheet music.[67]

The Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University offers a certificate program. It includes a mandatory course called Great Books of the Jewish Tradition. and four other classes.[68]

Rutgers University has the largest Department of Jewish Studies[69] among public research universities in the U.S. The Department serves as the academic home of seven full-time faculty members, who are supported by a dozen associated faculty members from other academic departments, Hebrew and Yiddish language instructors, and visiting fellows sponsored by the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life[70] Students pursuing a B.A. degree[71] may major or minor in Jewish Studies. In addition, the Department offers two specialized minors, one in Modern Hebrew Language and one in the Language and Culture of Ancient Israel.

The M.A. degree in Jewish Studies[72] is designed for those seeking to advance their knowledge at the graduate level to prepare for doctoral-level work in Jewish Studies or other careers. The Department also offers a Certificate in Jewish Studies[73] to graduate students at Rutgers pursuing masters level or doctoral level work.

The program offers six free non-credit online courses in Jewish Studies. Topics include Zionism, Rabbinic literature, Bible History, Jews under Islam and more.[74]

The Jewish Studies Program[75] at San Diego State University (SDSU), located in San Diego, California, is an interdisciplinary program serving the students of SDSU as well as the greater San Diego community. SDSU offers a Major in Modern Jewish Studies and a Minor in Jewish Studies and are teaching a broad range of topics related to Jewish history, religion and culture from the biblical through the modern period.[76] SDSU also offers a minor in Hebrew language within SDSU's Department of Linguistics, Asian/Middle Eastern Languages program[77] In addition, SDSU hosts the Archives of the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego[78] as well as The Lipinsky Institute for Judaic Studies. SDSU is ranked #28 in the country in public universities for Jewish students.[79] SDSU has the largest Jewish student population in San Diego, and the fourth (4th) largest in California.[76]

Previously Chicagos College of Jewish Studies, the predecessor of Spertus Institute, was founded in 1924.[80] In its first year it offered three courses: Jewish history, religion, and language. By 1948, a Department of Graduate Studies offering bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees had been initiated. Today Spertus Institute offers accredited master's degree programs in Jewish Studies, Jewish Professional Studies, and Doctoral degree programs in Jewish Studies.[81] Distance learning options serve students in 38 U.S. states and nine foreign countries.

The Judaic Studies Program at Syracuse University offers an Undergraduate Major in Modern Jewish Studies and a minor in Jewish Studies. Additionally, the School of Education[82] offers a minor in Jewish Education to "better prepare SU undergraduates to teach in Jewish congregational schools, camps, community centers, youth organizations." Syracuse University also offers classes in the Hebrew language.

The Judaic Studies Program[83] at UC San Diego offers an Undergraduate Major in Judaic Studies, a minor in Judaic Studies, and a minor in Hebrew Language and Literature. Additionally, the History Department[84] offers a master's degree in Judaic Studies and a Ph.D. in ancient history with relevant major fields including the history of Israel in the biblical period and the history of the Jewish people in antiquity. The Anthropology Department, in conjunction with the Judaic Studies Program, offers graduate training in Near Eastern archaeology with a focus on Israel and Jordan.The school is also involved with the USC Shoah Foundation/The Visual History Archive an academic "authority on the study of genocide and personal testimony."[85]Many free interviews and videos may be accessed online or at a partner site.[86][87]

The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies of The University of Texas at Austin, founded in 2007, is the hub for Jewish Studies at UT Austin. It offers an undergraduate JS major; a network of graduate students pursuing Jewish research interests is organized through the Center. The Schusterman Center sponsors or cosponsors visiting speakers, film series, performing arts events, and exhibits, among other activities, and hosts visiting Israeli faculty. While it strives to include all Jewish topics, its areas of emphasis are Israel, which is covered by the Institute for Israel Studies within the Schusterman Center, Central and Eastern European Jewish history and culture and the Holocaust, Jewish Life in the Americas (including Latin America, the United States, and Canada), under the aegis of the Edwin Gale Collaborative for the Study of Jewish Life in the Americas, and Jewish Futures. The Schusterman Center houses the Nathan Snyder Memorial Library and a collection of original artwork by Latin American Jewish visual artists.[88] It has close ties to the Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA) and hosts the LAJSA website.[89]

Touro College in New York City takes its name from Judah Touro and Isaac Touro, Jewish community leaders of colonial America, who represent the ideals upon which the College bases its mission. The college supports the faith of its Jewish students in addition to offering a variety of degrees.[90]

Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia allows students to focus on the history, languages, and literature of the Jewish people; the beliefs and practices of Judaism; and the enduring contributions of Jewish wisdom to human civilization. Courses in Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Yiddish, Bible, Rabbinic literature, Jewish ancient and modern history, Jewish literature and culture, Holocaust studies, Jewish theology, and Jewish communities and cultures worldwide. Study abroad in Israel or in other centers of Jewry beyond North America.[91]

Jewish Studies at UW began in the 1970s[92] and today includes two dozen faculty members.[93] Pillars of the program include the Stroum Lecture Series, the Hazel D. Cole Fellowship,.[94]

Yeshiva University in New York City has one of the largest departments of Jewish studies outside Israel and is the home of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the leading modern-orthodox rabbinical college in the United States. Its Jewish studies library contains over 300,000 volumes. It also houses the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.Prominent Jewish Studies faculty members include Richard C Steiner, Barry Eichler, Debra Kaplan, Haym Soloveitchik, Ephraim Kanarfogel, David Berger, Mordechai Z. Cohen, Shalom Carmy, Steven Fine, Adam Zachary Newton, and Jeffrey S. Gurock.

University College London (UCL) houses the largest department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies in Europe. The department is the only one in the UK to offer a full degree course and research supervision in Jewish Studies at the BA Honours, MA, MPhil and PhD levels in every subject of Hebrew and Jewish Studiesphilology, history, and literaturecovering virtually the entire chronological and geographical span of the Hebrew and Jewish civilisation from antiquity through the Middle Ages to the modern period. As the first university in England to open its doors to Women, Roman Catholics and Dissenters, UCL was also the first to admit Jewish students. This traditional link of the College with the Anglo-Jewish community is very much alive today. Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid (17781859), one of the leading figures in the struggle for Jewish emancipation in England, was among the principal founders of University College and the chief promotor of its Hebrew department. At his instigation, Hyman Hurwitz was appointed as the first Professor of Hebrew in 1828. In 1967 the department was renamed the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies and extended to include, in addition to the established courses in Hebrew language and literature, a much wider range of courses with an emphasis on Jewish history. The department acts as host to both the Jewish Historical Society of England (JHSE)[95] and the Institute of Jewish Studies (IJS),[96] which organises annual public lecture series and international conferences on all aspects of Jewish civilisation.[97]

A nine-month course at Oxford University offers a chance to study Judaism at many different stages in its history - from its roots as the religion of the Israelites to the 20th century - as well as the opportunity to develop skills in a language important to the knowledge, understanding, practice and interpretation of the Jewish faith (or learn a language from scratch).[98]

Cambridge has long been a centre for Hebrew and Semitic studies, the Regius Professorship of Hebrew having been founded by Henry VIII in 1540. The Hebrew degree at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Easter Studies (FAMES) takes four years, with the third year spent abroad. Along with general courses on Middle Eastern history and culture, students in the FAMES Hebrew programme study Hebrew language, literature, and culture of all periods (ancient, medieval, and modern). The teaching staff include specialists in each of these periods, including Dr. Aaron Hornkohl, Prof. Geoffrey Khan, Prof. Nicholas de Lange, Dr Yaron Peleg, and Dr. Michael Chaim Rand. A student may officially combine Hebrew with Arabic or a Modern European Language.

The Birobidzhan Jewish National University, a Russian university, works in cooperation with the local Jewish community of Birobidzhan. The university is unique in the Russian Far East. The basis of the training course is study of the Hebrew language, history and classic Jewish texts.[99]

In recent years,[when?] the Jewish Autonomous Oblast has grown interested in its Jewish roots. Students study Hebrew and Yiddish at a Jewish school[which?] and Birobidzhan Jewish National University. In 1989, the Jewish center founded its Sunday school, where children studyYiddish, learn Jewish folk dance, and learn about the history of Israel. The Israeli government helps fund the program.[100]

The Center for Jewish Studies Heidelberg (Hochschule fr Jdische Studien Heidelberg) is a fully recognized and accredited non-denominational institution of higher learning that delves into abroad range of research topics within the field of Jewish Studies. With its ten chairs working in close cooperation with the University of Heidelberg, the Center for Jewish Studies Heidelberg is a point of dynamic scholarly discussion, incorporating all facets of Jewish religion, history, cultures and societies. While the proximity to the historical heritage of Ashkenaz provides decisive impetus for both academic and religious work, its interest invariably extends beyond to all areas of geography and chronology as to consider Jewish cultures at large

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Jewish studies - Wikipedia

Chabad – Wikipedia

Posted By on November 11, 2018

Chabad, also known as Lubavitch, Habad and Chabad-Lubavitch[1] (Hebrew: "), is an Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic movement. Chabad is one of the world's best known Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach. It is one of the largest Hasidic groups[2][3][4] and Jewish religious organizations in the world.[5][6]

Founded in 1775 by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the name "Chabad" () is a Hebrew acronym for Chochmah, Binah, Da'at (, , ): "Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge", which represent the intellectual underpinnings of the movement.[7][8] The name Lubavitch is the Yiddish name of the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth village Lubowicze (Lyubavichi) now in Russia, where the movements leaders lived for over 100years.

In the 1930s, the sixth Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, moved the center of the Chabad movement from Russia to Poland. After the outbreak of World War II, he moved the center of the movement to the United States.

In 1951, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson became the seventh Chabad Rebbe. The seventh Rebbe transformed the movement into one of the largest and most widespread Jewish movements in the world today. Under Rabbi Menachem Mendel's leadership, the movement established a network of more than 3,600 institutions that provide religious, social and humanitarian needs in over 1,000 cities, spanning 100 countries[9] and all 50 American states.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Chabad institutions provide outreach to unaffiliated Jews and humanitarian aid, as well as religious, cultural and educational activities at Chabad-run community centers, synagogues, schools, camps, and soup kitchens.

The movement is thought to number between 40,000[17] and 200,000 adherents.[18][19][20][21] In 2005 the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported that up to one million Jews attend Chabad services at least once a year.[17][22][23] In 2013, Chabad forecast that their Chanukah activities would reach up to 8,000,000 Jews in 80 countries worldwide.[24]

The Chabad movement was established in the town of Liozna, Grand Duchy of Lithuania (present day Belarus), in 1775, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi,[25] a student of Rabbi Dovber ben Avraham, the "Maggid of Mezritch", the successor to Hasidism's founder, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. The movement was based in Lyubavichi (Lubavitch) for over a century, then briefly centered in the cities of Rostov-on-Don, Riga, and Warsaw. Since 1940,[25] the movement's center has been in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.[26][27]

While the movement has spawned a number of other groups, the Chabad-Lubavitch branch appears to be the only one still active, making it the movement's main surviving line.[28] Sarna has characterized Chabad as having enjoyed the fastest rate of growth of any Jewish religious movement in the period 1946-2015.[29]

In the early 1900s, Chabad-Lubavitch legally incorporated itself under Agudas Chasidei Chabad ("Association of Chabad Hasidim").

The Chabad movement has been led by a succession of Hasidic rebbes. The main line of the movement, Chabad-Lubavitch, has had seven rebbes in total:

The Chabad movement was subject to government oppression in Russia. The Russian government, first under the Czar, later under the Bolsheviks, imprisoned all but one of the Chabad rebbes.[41][42] The Bolsheviks also imprisoned, exiled and executed a number of Chabad Hasidim.[43][44][45] Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chabad is not persecuted by the Russian government. Chabad Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, has good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.[46] Lazar also received the Order of Friendship and Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" medals from him.[47]

In the 1980s, tensions arose between Chabad and Satmar Chasidim as the result of several assaults on Chabad hasidim by Satmar hasidim.[48][49][50]

Chabad Hasidic philosophy focuses on religious and spiritual concepts such as God, the soul, and the meaning of the Jewish commandments. Classical Judaic writings and Jewish mysticism, especially the Zohar and the Kabbalah of Rabbi Isaac Luria, are frequently cited in Chabad works. These texts are used both as sources of Chabad teachings and as material requiring interpretation by Chabad authors. Chabad philosophy is rooted in the teachings of Rabbis Yisroel ben Eliezer, (the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism) and Dovber ben Avraham, the "Maggid of Mezritch" (Rabbi Yisroel's successor).[citation needed]

Rabbi Shneur Zalman's teachings formed the basis of Chabad philosophy, as expanded by succeeding generations. Many Chabad activities today are understood as applications of Shneur Zalman's teachings.[citation needed]

Sefer HaTanya, Shneur Zalman's magnum opus, is the first schematic treatment of Hasidic moral philosophy and its metaphysical foundations.[31] The original name of the first book is Sefer Shel Beinonim, the Book of the Intermediates. It is also known as Likutei Amarim Collected Sayings. Sefer Shel Beinonim analyzes the inner struggle of the individual and the path to resolution. Citing the biblical verse "the matter is very near to you, in your mouth, your heart, to do",[51] the philosophy is based on the notion that the human is not inherently evil; rather, every individual has an inner conflict that is characterized with two different inclinations, the good and the bad.[52]

According to Shneur Zalman's seminal work Tanya, the intellect consists of three interconnected processes: Chochma (wisdom), Bina (understanding), and Da'at (knowledge). While other branches of Hasidism focused primarily on the idea that "God desires the heart," Shneur Zalman argued that God also desires the mind, and that the mind is the "gateway" to the heart. With the Chabad philosophy he elevated the mind above the heart, arguing that "understanding is the mother of fear and love for God".[53]

Chabad often contrasted itself with what is termed the Chagat schools of Hasidism.[54] While all schools of Hasidism have a certain focus on the emotions, Chagat saw emotions as a reaction to physical stimuli, such as dancing, singing, or beauty. Shneur Zalman, on the other hand, taught that the emotions must be led by the mind, and thus the focus of Chabad thought was to be Torah study and prayer rather than esotericism and song.[31] As a Talmudist, Shneur Zalman endeavored to place Kabbalah and Hasidism on a rational basis. In Tanya, he defines his approach as moach shalit al halev (Hebrew: " ", "the brain ruling the heart").[55]

An adherent of Chabad is called a Chabad Chasid (or Hasid) (Hebrew: "), a Lubavitcher (Yiddish: ), a Chabadnik (Hebrew: ), or a Chabadsker (Yiddish: ).[56] Chabad's adherents include both Hasidic followers, as well as non-Hasidim, who have joined Chabad synagogues and other Chabad run institutions.[57]

The Chabad community consists of the followers (Hasidim) of the Chabad Rebbes. Originally, based in Eastern Europe, today, various Chabad communities span the globe; the communities with higher concentrations of Chabad's Hasidic followers are located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Kfar Chabad, Israel. Other communities hold smaller population sizes.[citation needed]

According to sociologists studying contemporary Jewry, the Chabad movement fits into neither the standard category of Haredi nor that of modern Orthodox among Orthodox Jews. This is due in part to the existence of the "non-Orthodox Hasidim", the general lack of official recognition of political and religious distinctions within Judaism and the open relationship with non-Orthodox Jews represented by the activism of Chabad emissaries.[57][58]

Demographic accounts on the Chabad movement vary. Chabad adherents are often reported to number some 200,000 persons.[18][20][21] Some scholars have pointed to the lack of quantitative data to back this claim,[59] and some place the number of Chabad followers at around 40,000 but note that the number may be higher if the non-Hasidic Jews who join Chabad synagogues are included as well.[17]

Compared to other Hasidic groups, Chabad is currently thought to be the largest,[60] the third[61] or fourth[62] largest Hasidic movement.

An estimate places Chabad's followers in the US at around 18,600. The estimate is drawn from existing data on the Montreal Chabad community, and Chabad day school figures.[63]

The report findings of studies on Jewish day schools and supplementary Jewish education in the United States show that the student body currently enrolled in some 295 Chabad schools exceeds 20,750.[68][69][70]

The Chabad community in France is estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000. The majority of the Chabad community in France are the descendants of immigrants from North Africa (specifically Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) during the 1960s.[64]

Though the Chabad movement was founded in Eastern Europe, a center of Ashkenazic Jewry, it has in the past several decades attracted a significant number of Sephardi Jews as adherents.[77] Some Chabad communities are now a mix of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Chabad Hasidim. In Montreal, close to 25% of Chabad households include a Sephardi parent.[78][79]

Chabad adherents follow Chabad traditions and prayer services based on Lurianic kabbalah.[80] General Chabad customs, called minhagim (or minhagei Chabad), distinguish the movement from other Hasidic groups. Some of the main Chabad customs are minor practices performed on traditional Jewish holidays:

There are a number of days marked by the Chabad movement as special days. Major holidays include the liberation dates of the leaders of the movement, the Rebbes of Chabad, others corresponded to the leaders' birthdays, anniversaries of death, and other life events.

The days marking the leaders' release, are celebrated by the Chabad movement as "Days of Liberation" (Hebrew: (Yom Geulah)). The most noted day is Yud Tes Kislev The liberation of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement. The day is also called the "New Year of Hasidism".[85]

The birthdays of several of the movement's leaders are celebrated each year include Chai Elul, the birthday of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement,[86][87] and Yud Aleph Nissan, the birthday of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh rebbe of Chabad.[88]

The anniversaries of death, or yartzeit, of several of the movement's leaders are celebrated each year, include Yud Shvat, the yartzeit of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth rebbe of Chabad,[89] Gimmel Tammuz, the yartzeit of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh rebbe of Chabad,[89][90] and Chof Beis Shvat, the yartzeit of Chaya Mushka Schneerson, the wife of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.[91]

Chabad's influence since World War Two has been far reaching among world Jewry. Chabad pioneered the post-World War II Jewish outreach movement, which spread Judaism to many assimilated Jews worldwide, leading to a substantial number of baalei teshuva ("returnees" to Judaism). The very first Yeshiva/Rabbinical College for such baalei teshuva, Hadar Hatorah, was established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. It is reported that up to a million Jews attend Chabad services at least once a year.[22][23]

According to Steven I. Weiss, Chabad's ideology has dramatically influenced non-Hasidic Jews' outreach practice.[92]

Because of its outreach to all Jews, including those quite alienated from religious Jewish tradition, Chabad has been described as the one Orthodox group to evoke great affection from large segments of American Jewry.[93]

Chabad's central organization representing the movement at large, Agudas Chasidei Chabad, is headed by Rabbi Abraham Shemtov. The educational, outreach and social services arms, Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch and Machneh Israel is headed by Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, as well as the Chabad-Lubavitch publishing house, Kehot Publication Society.

Local Chabad centers and institutions are usually incorporated as separate legal entities.[94]

As of 2007 there are 3,300 Chabad institutions around the world.[12][13][14] As of 2006 there were Chabad centers in 75 countries.[15]

Listed on the Chabad movement's online directory are around 1,350 Chabad institutions. This number includes schools and other Chabad-affiliated establishments. The number of Chabad centers vary per country; the majority are in the United States and Israel. There are over 40 countries with a small Chabad presence.

In total, according to its directory, Chabad maintains a presence in 950 cities around the world: 178 in Europe, 14 in Africa, 200 in Israel, 400 in North America, 38 in South America, and about 70 in Asia (excluding Israel, including Russia).[16]

See also Chabad institutions by geographic region

Chabad presence varies from region to region. The continent with the highest concentration of Chabad centers is North America. The continent with the fewest centers is Africa.[95][96][97][98][99]

A Chabad house is a form of Jewish community center, primarily serving both educational and observance purposes.[100] Often, until the community can support its own center, the Chabad house is located in the shaliach's home, with the living room being used as the "synagogue". Effort is made to provide an atmosphere in which the nonobservant will not feel intimidated by any perceived contrast between their lack of knowledge of Jewish practice and the advanced knowledge of some of the people they meet there.[101] The term "Chabad House" originated with the creation of the first such outreach center on the campus of UCLA by Rabbi Shlomo Cunin.[102] A key to the Chabad house was given to the Rebbe and he asked if that meant that the new house was his home. He was told yes and he replied, "My hand will be on the door of this house to keep it open twenty-four hours a day for young and old, men and women alike."[103]

In the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the local Chabad house was targeted.[104][105] The local Chabad emissaries, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, and four other Jews were tortured and murdered by Islamic terrorists.[106] Chabad received condolences from around the world.[107]

Funds for activities of a Chabad center rely entirely on the local community. Chabad centers do not receive funding from Lubavitch headquarters. For the day-to-day operations, local emissaries do all the fundraising by themselves.

Chabad emissaries often solicit the support of local Jews.[108] Funds are used toward purchasing or renovating Chabad centers, synagogues and Mikvahs.[109]

The Chabad movement has been involved in numerous activities in contemporary Jewish life. These activities include providing Jewish education to different age groups, outreach to non-affiliated Jews, publishing Jewish literature, and summer camps for children, among other activities.

Chabad runs a number of educational institutions. Most are Jewish day schools; others offer secondary and adult education.

Much of the movement's activities emphasize on outreach activities. This is due to Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson encouraging his followers to reach out to other Jews.[116] Chabad outreach includes activities promoting the practice of Jewish commandments (Mitzvah campaigns), as well as other forms of Jewish outreach. Much of Chabad's outreach is performed by Chabad emissaries (see Shaliach (Chabad)).

The Rebbes of Chabad have issued the call to all Jews to attract non-observant Jews to adopt Orthodox Jewish observance, teaching that this activity is part of the process of bringing the Messiah. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson issued a call to every Jew: "Even if you are not fully committed to a Torah life, do something. Begin with a mitzvah any mitzvah its value will not be diminished by the fact that there are others that you are not prepared to do".[117]

Schneerson also suggested ten specific mitzvot that he believed were ideally suited for the emissaries to introduce to non-observant Jews. These were called "mivtzoim" meaning "campaigns" or "endeavors". These were: lighting candles before Shabbat and the Jewish holidays by Jewish women; putting on tefillin; affixing a mezuzah; regular Torah study; giving Tzedakah; purchasing Jewish books; observing kashrut (kosher); kindness to others; Jewish religious education, and observing the family purity laws.[citation needed]

In addition, Schneerson emphasized spreading awareness of preparing for and the coming of the moshiach Jewish messiah, consistent with his philosophy. He wrote on the responsibility to reach out to teach every fellow Jew with love, and implored that all Jews believe in the imminent coming of the moshiach as explained by Maimonides. He argued that redemption was predicated on Jews doing good deeds, and that gentiles should be educated about the Noahide Laws. Chabad has been a prime force in disseminating awareness of these laws.[citation needed]

Schneerson was emphatic about the need to encourage and provide strong education for every child, Jew and non-Jew alike. In honor of Schneerson's efforts in education the United States Congress has made Education and Sharing Day on the Rebbe's Hebrew Birthday (11 Nissan).

Following the initiative of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson spurred on the movement to what has become known as shlichus ("serving as an emissary [performing outreach]") in 19501951. As a result, Chabad shluchim ("emissaries", sing. shliach) have moved all over the world with the stated mission of encouraging non-observant Jews to adopt Orthodox Jewish observance. They assist Jews with all their religious needs, as well as with physical assistance and spiritual guidance and teaching. The stated goal is to encourage Jews to learn more about their Jewish heritage and to practice Judaism.[118]

The Chabad movement, motivated by Schneerson, has trained and ordained thousands of rabbis, educators, ritual slaughterers, and ritual circumcisers, who are then accompanied by their spouses to many locations around the world. Typically, a young Lubavitch rabbi and his wife, in their early twenties, with one or two children, will move to a new location, and as they settle in will raise a large family who, as a family unit, will aim to fulfill their mandate of bringing Jewish people closer to Orthodox Judaism and encouraging gentiles to adhere to the Seven Laws of Noah.[118] To date, there around 5000 shluchim in 100 different countries.[9]

A mitzvah tank is a vehicle used by Chabad members involved in outreach as a portable "educational and outreach center" and "mini-synagogue" (or "minagogue"). Mitzvah tanks are commonly used for advancing the Mitzvah campaigns. Mitzvah tanks have been commonplace on the streets of New York City since 1974.[119] Today, they are used all over the globe, in countries where Chabad is active.

In recent years, Chabad has greatly expanded its outreach on university and college campuses. Chabad Student Centers are active on over 100 campuses, and Chabad offers varied activities at an additional 150 universities worldwide.[120] Professor Alan Dershowitz has said "Chabad's presence on college campuses today is absolutely crucial," and "we cannot rest until Chabad is on every major college campus in the world."[121]

CTeen is a program and a youth movement created for teenagers with ages between 13 and 18 years old, the program aims to integrate fun and Judaism for young people. CTeen is present in several countries, where the participants receive special study material for several Jewish holidays, different activities to be performed by their local groups, and constant advice to help them develop these studies and activities in the best possible way for them.[122]

Chabad publishes and distributes Jewish religious literature. Under Kehot Publication Society, Chabad's main publishing house, Jewish literature has been translated into 12 different languages. Kehot regularly provides books at discounted prices, and hosts book-a-thons. Kehot commonly distributes books written or transcribed from the rebbes of Chabad, prominent chassidim and other authors who have written Jewish materials.

Kehot is a division of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the movement's educational arm.

More than any other Jewish movement, Chabad has used media as part of its religious, social, and political experience. Their latest leader, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was the most video-documented Jewish leader in history.[123][pageneeded]

The Chabad movement publishes a wealth of Jewish material on the internet. Chabad's main website Chabad.org, is one of the first Jewish websites[124] and the first and largest virtual congregation.[125][126] It serves not just its own members but Jews worldwide in general.[127]

Popular Chabad community websites include collive.com, CrownHeights.info, Chabad.org, Shmais.com, Chdailynews.com, and the Hebrew site, COL.org.il.[128][129]

Chabad has set up an extensive network of camps around the world, most using the name Gan Israel, a name chosen by Schneerson although the first overnight camp was the girls division called Camp Emunah. There are 1,200 sites serving 210,000 children most of whom do not come from Orthodox homes. Of these, 500 camps are in the United States.[130][131]

Schneerson involved himself in matters relating to the resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict.[132] He maintained that as a matter of Jewish law,[133] any territorial concession on Israel's part would endanger the lives of all Jews in the Land of Israel, and is therefore forbidden. He also insisted that even discussing the possibility of such concessions showed weakness, would encourage Arab attacks, and therefore endanger Jewish lives.[134]

In USA domestic politics, Schneerson supported government involvement in education and welcomed the establishment of the United States Department of Education in 1980, yet insisted that part of a school's educational mission was to incorporate the values espoused in the Seven Laws of Noah. He called for the introduction of a moment of silence at the beginning of the school day, and for students to be encouraged to use this time for such improving thoughts or prayers as their parents might suggest.[135]

In 1981, Schneerson publicly called for the use of solar energy. Schneerson believed that the USA could achieve energy independence by developing solar energy technologies. He argued that the dependence on foreign oil may lead to the country compromising on its principles.[136][137]

In 2013, US federal judge Royce Lamberth ruled in favor of Chabad lawyers that wanted contempt sanctions on three Russian organizations to return the Schneersohn Library 12,000 books belonging to Rabbi Yosef Schneersohn seized and nationalized by the Bolsheviks in 1917-18, to the Brooklyn Chabad Library.[47][138] Lazar reluctantly accepted Putin's request in moving the Schneerson Library to Moscow's Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center as a form of compromise, which was criticized by the Chabad Library.[47]

Several movement-wide controversies have occurred in Chabad's 200-year history. Two major leadership succession controversies occurred in the 1800s, one took place in the 1810s following the death of the movement's founder, the other occurred in the 1860s following the death of the third Rebbe. Two other minor offshoot groups were formed later in the movement's history. The movement's other major controversy is Chabad messianism, which began in the 1990s. Chabad messianism appears to be among the most frequently cited controversies within the Orthodox Jewish community.

A number of groups have split from the Chabad movement, forming their own Hasidic groups, and at times, positioning themselves as possible successors of previous Chabad rebbes. Following the deaths of the first and third rebbes of Chabad, disputes arose over their succession.

Two other minor offshoot groups were formed by Chabad Hasidim:

In the late 1980s, the Rebbe called for his followers to become involved in outreach activities with the purpose of bringing about the Jewish Messianic Age.[31] Statements concerning the advancement of the Messianic age was a factor leading to the controversy surrounding the messianic beliefs of some members of the movement.[153] Some Chabad Hasidim, called mashichists, "have not yet accepted the Rebbe's passing"[154] and even after his death regard him as the (living) 'King Messiah' and 'Moses of the generation'.

Chabad Hasidic artists Hendel Lieberman and Zalman Kleinman have painted a number of scenes depicting Chabad Hasidic culture, including religious ceremonies, study and prayer. Chabad artist Michoel Muchnik has painted scenes of the Mitzvah Campaigns.[123]:156

Artist and shaliach Yitzchok Moully has adapted silkscreen techniques, bright colours and Jewish and Hasidic images to create a form of "Chasidic Pop Art".[155]

Vocalists Avraham Fried and Benny Friedman have included recordings of traditional Chabad songs on their albums of contemporary Orthodox Jewish music. Bluegrass artist Andy Statman has also recorded Chabad niggunim.

Reggae artist Matisyahu has included portions of Chabad niggunim and lyrics with Chabad philosophical themes in some of his songs.

Novelist Chaim Potok authored a work My Name is Asher Lev in which a Hasidic teen struggles between his artistic passions and the norms of the community. The "Ladover" community is a thinly veiled reference to the Lubavitcher community in Crown Heights.[156][157]

Chabad poet Zvi Yair has written poems on Chabad philosophical topics including Ratzo V'Shov (spiritual yearning).

The Chabad-Lubavitch community has been the subject of a number of documentary films. These films include:

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Zionism :: essays research papers

Posted By on November 11, 2018

Do you know the moral to the story of the tortoise and the hare? Is it slow and steady wins the race? Or is it that cockiness gets you nowhere? They are both correct but this is a good example of how a childrens fable, like interpretations of the bible, can easily be different from one another. Interpretations of the bible vary and occasionally get the message wrong, but this variation can be attributed differences of opinion in interpretation. Whether motivated by politics, social presuppositions, or theological differences the variation can paint a contrasting picture of Biblical information. Time plays a very large part in the variations of Biblical interpretation. The interpretation according to the rabbinic midrash is very different than interpretations according to modern Zionism or for that matter modern Feminism. Classic midrash served an important purpose for the authors of the Torah. It allowed them to create a way to make the Torah an intimate part of the lives of Jews. The result of transforming Biblical stories in to more compelling and interesting stories gave the writers of the Torah a way to connect with the Jewish people on a more personal level. The writers of the Torah realized that the Jewish people could connect with the Biblical stories more if they could relate the stories to everyday life. What the authors of the Torah failed to realize is that by transforming the stories, they had now added the opinions and beliefs of the time into their stories. This is the cause for many revisions to come. Rabbis during the seventh and eighth centuries developed a distinct branch of Jewish mysticism. The Kabala interprets the Scriptures as an esoteric manner, and seeks answers to the divine mysteries. Kabala required intense meditation and preparatory rites that lead to a mystical union with God. The presiding factor at hand is the idea of faith. It is faith in the experience is what allowed the rabbis to interpret the Scripture. Here again we see and example of the ways in which Biblical information is interpreted. The Zionist movement brought with it the desire to create a national identity for the Jewish people. In order to accomplish this Herzl thought that Jewish people should move to an area where they could escape the anti-Semitism in Germany. The basis for ideals of Zionism is to establish a national identity for the Jewish community.

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Eastern Sephardim – Wikipedia

Posted By on November 6, 2018

Eastern Sephardim are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardi Jews, mostly descended from families expelled and exiled from Iberia as Jews in the 15th century following the Alhambra Decree of 1492 in Spain and the decree of 1497 in Portugal. This branch of descendants of the Jews of Iberia settled in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Eastern Sephardim settled mostly in various parts of the Ottoman Empire, which included areas in West Asia (Middle East, Anatolia, etc.), the Balkans in Southern Europe, plus Egypt. For centuries, these Jews made up the majority of the population of Salonica (now called Thessaloniki, Greece), Constantinople (now called Istanbul, Turkey), and Sarajevo (in what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina), all of which were located in the Ottoman-ruled parts of Europe.

Some migrated farther east to territories of the Ottoman Empire, settling among the long-established Arabic-speaking Jewish communities in Baghdad in Iraq, Damascus in Syria and Alexandria in Egypt. A few of the Eastern Sephardim followed the spice trade routes as far as the Malabar coast of southern India, where they settled among the established Cochin Jewish community, again imparting their culture and customs to the local Jews. The presence of Sephardim and New Christians along the Malabar coast eventually aroused the ire of the Catholic Church, which then obtained permission from the Portuguese crown to establish the Goan Inquisition against the Sephardic Jews of India.

In recent times, principally after 1948, most Eastern Sephardim have since relocated to Israel, and others to the United States, France and Latin America.

The term Sephardi means "Spanish" or "Hispanic", and is derived from Sepharad, a Biblical location. The location of the biblical Sepharad is disputed, but Sepharad was identified by later Jews as Hispania, that is, the Iberian Peninsula. Sepharad now means "Spain" in modern Hebrew.

Their traditional spoken languages were referred to as Judaeo-Spanish and Judaeo-Portuguese. For the most part, Eastern Sephardim did not maintain their own separate Sephardic religious and cultural institutions from the pre-existing Jews, but instead the local Jews came to adopt the culture and customs of the recent Sephardic arrivals. This phenomenon is just one of the factors which has today led to the broader religious definition of Sephardi.

The relationship between Sephardi-descended communities is illustrated in the following diagram:

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Eastern Sephardim - Wikipedia

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Portraits of the 11 victims …

Posted By on November 2, 2018

Eleven worshippers, including a 97-year-old woman, were gunned down inside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood Saturday morning.

"Words escape me of what you can say," said Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was officiating a service when a gunman started shooting. "They were all beautiful, wonderful, good decent people. Hate was not in their vocabulary."

Here is what we know about the victims:

Rose Mallinger, 97, was the oldest of the victims but "age was truly just a number," the Mallinger family said in a statement.

"She retained her sharp wit, humor and intelligence until the very last day," the family said. "No matter what obstacles she faced, she never complained. She did everything she wanted to do in her life."

Rose Mallinger "was a pillar of the Jewish community and the Tree of Life Synagogue, which she was a part of for over six decades," the family said. "The synagogue was the center of her very active life. She was there every weekend, and the people of the congregation brought her great joy, as she brought to them."

"Rose was 'Bubbie,' Yiddish for grandma, to everyone in our family and our beloved community," the family said, adding that "family was everything" to her.

Rose Mallinger has three children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

"She loved us and knew us better than we knew ourselves," the family said.

Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, was killed when he ran outside to try to help the wounded, according to his nephew, Avishai Ostrin.

"In addition to being the president of the congregation, he was a doctor, a healer ... when he heard shots he ran outside to try and see if anyone was hurt and needed a doctor. That was Uncle Jerry, thats just what he did," Ostrin wrote on Facebook.

"He always wore a bowtie," Ostrin added. "There is just something about guys who wear bowties. Something youthful, something fun. And that is a word that definitely embodied my Uncle Jerry fun. You know how they say there are people who just lighten up a room? You know that clich about people whose laugh is infectious? That was Uncle Jerry. It wasnt a clich, it was just his personality. His laughter, with his chest heaving up and down, with a huge smile on his face that was uncle Jerry. And that bowtie. That bowtie that you know made people smile, you know made his patients more at ease."

Rabinowitz was a "compassionate, loving, non-judgmental" physician, Pittsburgh dentist Stephen DeFusco told ABC Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE. "He sat down, talked with you - there wasnt a minute that he didnt pay attention to you."

A former patient said the slain doctor was one of his heroes.

"In the old days for HIV patients in Pittsburgh he was to [sic] one to go to," former patient Michael Kerr wrote on Facebook. "He often held our hands (without rubber gloves) and always always hugged us as we left his office."

"I got lucky beyond words - because when he gently told me around November 1995 that it was time to begin taking medications - there was an ACTG trial for two HIV medications that saved my life," he wrote. "Thank you Dr. Rabinowitiz for having always been there during the most terrifying and frightening time of my life. You will be remembered by me always. You are one of my heroes."

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center "cannot even begin to express the sadness and grief we feel over the loss of Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz," the medical center said in a statement. "Jerry was above all one of the kindest physicians and human beings in our community."

Tami Minnier, chief quality officer of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, added, "Those of us who worked with him respected and admired his devotion to his work and faith. His loss is devastating, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and fellow UPMC colleagues who loved him."

Brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, were both killed in the attack.

The brothers never missed a service and were always at the synagogue because it was a place they felt the most safe, fellow congregant Scott Levin told ABC News.

The brothers were always together, congregant Katy Levin told ABC News, so she said it brings her some comfort that they died together because she doesn't know how one could live without the other.

Both brothers were developmentally disabled.

"Cecil and David had a love for life and for those around them," according to a statement from ACHIEVA, a local organization which provides support for people with disabilities.

"Cecils laugh was infectious. David was so kind and had such a gentle spirit," Chris Schopf, Vice President of ACHIEVA Residential Supports, said in the statement. "Together, they looked out for one another. They were inseparable. Most of all, they were kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone."

Cecil Rosenthal was "a gregarious person who was super social, absolutely loved talking to people," said David DeFelice, Cecil Rosenthal's friend and match in a "Best Buddy" program.

"Somebody who had an intellectual disability ... we were kind of their mentor, their friend, and the whole point was to just foster friendship," he explained to ABC News' "Nightline."

He knew Cecil Rosenthal for three years and called his friend "a fixture in the Jewish community and at Tree of Life."

"I was you know welcomed right away because he kind of brought me in," DeFelice said. "He always carried a Hebrew calendar, knew the Jewish holidays -- he marked them down. He was always talking about events and parties that the synagogue was having and that he invited different people to."

"He was a funny guy, he liked to tease," DeFelice said. "I loved talking to him. I have nothing but good memories, so its nice because it brings a smile to my face."

Daniel Stein, 71, was a "simple man" who loved going to synagogue and playing with his grandson, his son, Joe Stein, wrote on Facebook.

"Yesterday was the worst day of my life," Joe Stein wrote on Facebook. "My mom, sister and I are absolutely devastated and crushed! Our lives now are going to have to take a different path, one that we thought would not happen for a long time. ... We love you dad more than youll ever know!"

"He was the best man youd ever want to know," Steven Halle, a nephew of Daniel Stein, told ABC News.

Daniel Stein was incredibly active in the synagogue community, where he was a mentor, provided services to the elderly community and served as president of his congregation, Halle said.

He called his uncle a happy, caring and sympathetic man who had two "wonderful" kids and a "beautiful wife."

Daniel Stein also loved to show off his 7-month-old grandchild. Now, his grandson "is never going to know who his grandfather is," Halle said.

Richard Gottfried, 65, a successful dentist, had reconnected with his faith following his father's death and at one point became the president of the 70-member congregation in Pittsburgh, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret A. "Peg" Durachko, who is also a dentist.

The couple had worked together at the Squirrel Hill Medical Centers dental clinic, where they treated refugees and immigrants, many of whom had never been to a dentist, the newspaper reported.

"Do not let his death be in vain. Drive out evil from your own life and help another to drive it out of their life. The only way to combat evil is with love," his wife said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Victim Joyce Fienberg, 75, a former research specialist, is survived by her two sons and grandchildren. Her husband, "internationally acclaimed statistician" Stephen Fienberg, died in 2016.

Joyce Fienberg was a research specialist at the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) from 1983 until she retired in 2008.

"My mother-in-law was one of the kindest humans I've ever met," her daughter-in-law, Marnie Fienberg, told ABC News. "If you knew her for five minutes, if you knew her for 20 years, you felt exactly the same way."

"She traveled extensively with her husband and they met people internationally -- she would stay in touch with them. So there are people from 50 years ago who she met once in Australia who are her good friends," she said. "She would stay up nights making sure everybody was staying in touch -- I've never seen anything like it before. ... I think everybody tries to do that, but she succeeds."

Joyce Fienberg's most important relationships were the ones she had with her six grandchildren, who range in age from 15 to 8.

"She made a point of mastering social media very early so she could stay in touch with these kids," Marnie Fienberg said. "Each one of them had a one-on-one relationship with her. She knew what was going on in their days, she was so involved. She really was an amazing, amazing grandmother."

Melvin Wax, 88, a retired accountant, was a fixture of the congregation, friend Myron Snider told The Associated Press.

Wax's wife, Sandra, had died in 2016.

Wax was known for being one of the few people who always showed up to services early, Marilyn Honigsberg told the AP.

"If somebody didn't come that was supposed to lead services, he could lead the services and do everything. He knew how to do everything," Snider told the AP.

Snider recently spent six weeks in the hospital for pneumonia and recalled how Wax "called my wife to get my phone number in the hospital so he could talk to me. ... Just a sweet, sweet guy."

Sylvan Simon, 86, and his wife, Bernice Simon, 84, were killed in the same synagogue where they married in December 1956, The Tribune-Review reported.

"A loving couple, and theyve been together forever," longtime friend Michael Stepaniak told the newspaper. "I hope they didnt suffer much, and I miss them terribly."

"They held hands and they always smiled, and he would open the door for her," neighbor Heather Graham told the newspaper. "They were really generous and nice to everybody."

The couple's front door has three stickers, according to The Tribune-Review: "Support Our Troops," "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful."

Irving Younger, 69, a father and grandfather, was a regular volunteer and worshiper at the synagogue, where he would come early and stay late,The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

"I wouldnt be surprised if he saw this gunman walk into the room where the services were and his first thought was, 'Can I help this stranger get settled?' Until he saw what the stranger was doing -- because thats the kind of thought that he would have," said Schachter, the former congregation president.

Younger, a former small-business owner and youth baseball coach, "was the most wonderful dad and grandpa, neighbor Tina Prizner told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"He talked about his daughter and his grandson, always, and he never had an unkind word to say about anybody," Prizner said.

ABC News' Teri Whitcraft, Eric Strauss, Cassidy Gard, Jake Lefferman, Katie Muldowney and Carlin Mccarthy contributed to this report.

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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: Portraits of the 11 victims ...

Where are Ashkenazi Jews from? Their Origins May Surprise You …

Posted By on November 1, 2018

Ashkenazi Jews are a Jewish ethnic group who have their earliest ancestors from the indigenous tribes of Israelat least on one side of the family tree. A study published in 2013 in Nature Communications has shown their maternal lineage comes from a different, and possibly unexpected, source.

The research shows the origins of the matrilineal line for the Ashkenazi Jews comes from Europe. This goes against the common belief that Jewish people first arrived in central Europe after the ByzantineSasanian War of 602628 and only began settling in Germany in the Medieval period.

Ashkenazi Jews is the term used today to describe these Jewish people individuals who built religiously-based communities centuries later in Central and Eastern Europe. One of the things they are recognized for is the use of Yiddish a High German language written in the Hebrew alphabet and influenced by classical Hebrew and Aramaic.

The Yiddish calligraphic segment in the Worms Mahzor. ( Public Domain )

The 2013 study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England, said that while Ashkenazi Jews have lived in Europe for many centuries, the results of the study using DNA samples show that most European Jews descend from local people who converted to Judaism, not individuals who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago.

Ashkenazi Jews were declared a clear, homogeneous genetic subgroup following a 2006 study. Ashkenazi Jews come from the same genetic group, no matter if their ancestors were from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, or another place with a large historical Jewish population. They are all in the same ethnic group.

How could it be that Ashkenazi Jews are just one genetic group? The answer is a relatively simple one: they didnt reproduce at a noticeable level with others outside their group (not even with other Jewish people). Researchers have shown Ashkenazi Jews were a reproductively isolated population in Europe for about 1000 years.

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch ben Yaakov Ashkenazi (1714). ( Public Domain )

Previous studies have found that 50-80% of the Ashkenazim DNA from the paternal lineage originated in the Near East. It is not surprising that there was a common belief that Israel and the Near East was their ancient homeland.

But the 2013 study showed 80% of Ashkenazi Jews maternal line comes from Europe - only a few people had genes originating in the Near East. As Professor Richards said at the time, This suggests that, even though Jewish men may indeed have migrated into Europe from Palestine around 2000 years ago, they seem to have married European women.

A Jewish couple from Worms, Germany, with the obligatory yellow badge on their clothes. The man holds a moneybag and bulbs of garlic, both often used in the portrayal of Jews. 16th century. ( Public Domain )

It appears that the majority of the European converts to Judaism during the early years of the Diaspora were women. That helps explain why the Ashkenazim can trace their female lineage to southern and western Europe.

In conclusion, Richards said , The origins of the Ashkenazim is one of the big questions that people have pursued again and again and never really come to a conclusive view.

Top Image: Detail of Ashkenazi Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) Source: Public Domain

By April Holloway

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