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SHOCK VIDEO: "Hit-Man" Dressed In Hasidic Clothing Murders …

Posted By on October 26, 2021

The NYPD have released a video today of a brazen daylight murder that took place in the South Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens this past Monday.

The victim was guilty of a murder himself, for which he spent numerous years in jail. The bizarre incident is remeniscent of Pirkei Avos (2:6), Since you drowned others, you were drowned. And in the end, those who drowned you will also drown.

There are murders every day that YWN does not cover, but what makes this so shocking is that the hit-man disguised him and was dressed in Hasidic clothing. The man wore a long black coat, black hat, and even had fake Peyos.

The video shows the hitman on South Conduit Avenue making believe he is fixing his car with the hood open. When the suspect appears, the man grabs a gun from a bag inside the hood of his car, runs across the street, and pumps multiple rounds into the victim, killing him instantly. The victim was identified as Jermaine Dixon, 46, from the state of Georgia.

The gunman then runs back to his car, puts the hood down and drives off north on 132nd Street, the video shows.

Police say the hitman pretended to be working on his car for several hours before the murder.

The NYPD is investigating the incident.

(YWN World Headquarters NYC)

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SHOCK VIDEO: "Hit-Man" Dressed In Hasidic Clothing Murders ...

‘Hasidic hitman’: NYC shooting victim had $10K in pocket

Posted By on October 26, 2021

The Georgia man who was shot and killed in Queens by a suspect dressed in Hasidic-style clothes had recently been incarcerated on drug charges and had $10,000 in cash in his pocket at the time of his murder, law enforcement sources told The Post Friday.

Jermaine Dixon, 46, was entering his car on South Conduit Avenue near 132nd Street in South Ozone Park at about 8 a.m. Monday when the suspect, dressed in the apparent religious garb, ran up to him and fatally shot him at point-blank range, according to video, police and sources.

Dixon had the wad of cash in his pocket and the suspect tried to take it but ran off before he could, law enforcement sources said Friday. A second person had also been keeping watch and the pair waited several hours for Dixon to walk up to his car, the sources added.

It was not immediately clear what was behind the shooting and police said no arrests had been made.Cops were investigating whether the suspect was impersonating an Hasidic man.

When reached by phone, Dixons sister Nadia Powell said the family didnt want to comment.Im not going to lie to you, this is a rough time for us. Give us some time, Powell said.

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'Hasidic hitman': NYC shooting victim had $10K in pocket

Searching for kosher food in Iraq and other tales from a Hasidic travel blogger The Forward – Forward

Posted By on October 26, 2021

Shloime Zionce, with his black yarmulke and long peyot, would not draw a second glance on the streets of Brooklyn or Jerusalem. In Beirut, Bogota or Kabul, its a different story.

But thats exactly where hes been going, sharing his journey with his tens of thousands of YouTube followers along the way, attempting to show them that the world isnt nearly as scary as he had once believed it to be.

What I want people to do is to open their eyes to the people around them, Zionce said in an interview.

If people really just look at the world without a lens, take off your biases for a couple of minutes, and try to see the humanity in everyone, well realize that the world is a much better place.

On his channel, which he started in 2019 and has nearly 40,000 subscribers, he shares content ranging from his searches for kosher food in Iraq and Afghanistan to meetings he had with ISIS prisoners in a Kurdish refugee camp, what Saudi Arabia looked like when it first opened to foreign tourists in 2019, and a walk through Medellins Comuna 13, once a center of the Colombian drug trade and one of the countrys most dangerous neighborhoods.

After travelling to 43 countries, hes found that most people in the world very much just want to live happy lives, spend time with their families, pay their bills, watch nice sunsets and eat good food, he told the Forward. We all have the same wants.

That wasnt always his perspective.

Growing up a Hasidic Jew in post 9/11 North America, Zionce said he absorbed many negative stereotypes about the Middle East.

Courtesy of Shloime Zionce

Shloime Zionce with Dubai billionaire Khalaf Al-Habtoor.

As [a] Western person, when you think of Iraq or Saudi Arabia, you probably think of not such great things, he said. After Sept. 11, one of the things I mistakenly took away from that was Arab people and Muslim people are no good. I walked around with that sentiment for many years, Im not proud of it.

He grew up the first of four children in a Hasidic family in urban Toronto. But as a teenager, he found that the standard Hasidic life path wasnt for him.

Throughout my teenage years, I was not a very studious person, he recalled. At 17, he had dropped out of yeshiva and was doing odd jobs, something which was known in his community as being out on the street as full time Yeshiva study was the norm.

Ultimately he returned to the Hasidic community, but not until after he got the travel bug. His first time leaving North America was in 2011, to attend the Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to the grave of Rebbe Nachman of Breslav in Uman, Ukraine.

It was like a lightning rod hit me. Something inside me really lit up on that trip and I realized that I knew so little about the world.

At the time, he said, he set a goal to visit 50 countries in his lifetime. Ten years later, hes now realized it was far too conservative a goal.

Courtesy of Shloime Zionce

Shloime Zionce and a tiger in Phuket, Thailand.

Zionces first introduction to the Arab world came a few years later, when he had returned to yeshiva study in Israel at the prompting of his father.

During one of the seasonal breaks, he traveled to Egypt, and many of his preconceptions of the Arab world came crashing down.

That was the first time I really met Arab people and they were so nice and so friendly, it really changed my life, Zionce said. He spent hours talking with a pair of shopkeepers at the Taba border crossing just over the border from Eilat, and says he is still in touch with them.

Hes encountered that sense of humanitys universal nature everywhere he goes even when interviewing ISIS prisoners held by Kurdish Security forces in an Iraqi Refugee camp. The prisoners, Zionce recalled, were barely 20 years old when he met them in 2020, meaning that they would have been only in their early teens when they joined the extremist group.

When they were part of ISIS they were children, they were 13 or 14 years old, And Im not going to judge them as to why or how they joined, he said.

One thing Ive been led to understand is that they may have been forced as children to join this terror organization against their will.

Zionce ended up sitting with them for about an hour. It was really eye opening to have a conversation with people who, in every sense of the world, at any other time we would consider the enemy, but prior to that seemed like normal people, I hope that theyre on a path to repentance, he said.

During a 2020 trip to the United Arab Emirates, Zionce got lost in the desert while trying to find Al Madam, an abandoned city being swallowed up by the sands. Ultimately, he was picked up by a group of Emirati men. He spent the rest of the day with them, and they became fast friends.

We drank tea and played board games, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had in my life, just connecting with all of these perfect strangers who were so inviting to me, Zionce said.

The video he made about the experience ended up being tweeted out by the brother of Emirati leader Mohammed Bin Zayed.

He didnt begin his channel until years later. Zionce wed in 2015, and two years later, he began working as a journalist for Ami Magazine, an Orthodox weekly based in Brooklyn. Reporting from Israel, Zionce covered many topics. But after Zionce wrote a story about a vacation to Thailand he took with his wife, his editor decided to place him on the travel beat.

People loved that, they started writing letters to the magazine, asking for the magazine to send me on trips. And the next thing you know, I was suddenly all around the world, Zionce said.

So what started as a hobby really turned into my profession. Theyve sent me to Mexico, to Lebanon, to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and many other places.

Four years later, Zionce is Amis senior foreign affairs correspondent. While the magazine has been supportive, and its through their assignments he gets to do much of his travel, his YouTube channel is something separate, he said, as he didnt want his voice limited to Amis largely Orthodox audience.

I decided I really want to share all these things. I want to share them on a greater, more international platform.

From YouTubes audience metrics, he can tell that his viewership strongly dips on Saturdays, which leads him to believe that much of his audience are Sabbath-keeping Orthodox Jews. But he can also see that many of his views come from places like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim World.

Hes also tried not just to show his Hasidic community the wider world, but also present his Hasidic world to those outside of it.

In late 2020, he brought another YouTube travel vlogger, Peter Santanello, to New Yorks Hasidic communities for a 15 episode series. The first episode alone has garnered more than six million views.

One of the things Im trying to do is, just like Ive tried to get to know other communities, to get other communities to get to know mine, he said.

That communication is very important. When we all get to know each other and see each other for the human beings we are, the world will be a much better place.

While YouTube comment sections have a reputation for nastiness, with few exceptions, thats not been Zionces experience. Regardless of their background, hes found viewers to be overwhelmingly positive about his mission.

I am an atheist and watching this fills my heart with joy. Its beautiful to see humans being kind to each other, wrote one viewer.

Im a Christian but watching this makes me so happy, wrote another.

I am Muslim myself and loved every part of this series!, another viewer commented on one of the videos about the New York Hasidic Community. So interesting to understand more about the community and your culture.

Searching for kosher food in Iraq and other tales from a Hasidic travel blogger

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Searching for kosher food in Iraq and other tales from a Hasidic travel blogger The Forward - Forward

40 years ago I made ‘The Chosen’ and it changed my life The Forward – Forward

Posted By on October 26, 2021

Making this movie changed my life.

Published in 1967, Chaim Potoks book, The Chosen, is regarded as one of the great Jewish American novels. Set in Brooklyn at the end of WWII, it explores the complex relationship between two Jewish boys, one modern orthodox and the other the genius son of a Hasidic rebbe (the spiritual head of a community).

My father was a reform rabbi in Mount Vernon, New York. His pulpit was often an advocacy for progressive ideas. We were not kosher. I had never heard of the word rebbe or Hasid and didnt know how to even spell it or pronounce it hasid or chassid. Back then I considered myself a secular Jew. I didnt know any Yiddish, and certainly not the word beshert, but it was beshert that brought the movie to me.

The word beshert refers mostly to relationships. She/he is your beshert your soul mate. Your destiny. Torah repeatedly says that G-d has set before us good and evil, and we should choose good. But some things are beshert chosen for us.

Courtesy of Jeremy Kagan

Scene 168 of The Chosen: One of Jeremy Kagans original storyboards depicts a scene that takes place in a shul.

The way the movie business works is that scripts are sent to agents to get to actors and directors to get them to choose to do the project. Every now and then, though, something unsolicited arrives in the mail. Thats how a script called The Chosen got to me. I had never heard of the book. I read the script. I didnt think it was very good, so I sent a thanks-but-no-thanks to the individual from Louisiana who had sent it to me. Goodbye The Chosen.

Two and a half years later, I got a call from one of my agents saying that the famed producing team Edie and Eli Landau wanted me to direct a film they were going to do with two great actors they had worked with before, Rod Steiger and Maximillian Schell. Rod had done The Pawnbroker and Max, The Man in the Glass Booth.

I was still a rather new director having made only two features and these two actors were giants in cinema. I was intimidated and excited. The Landaus sent the script over, and it had the title The Chosen. And as I started to read it, I realized it was the same script I had turned down years before. Why would these incredibly talented people want to do this script? It didnt make sense. So, I went to a bookstore and purchased a copy of Chaim Potoks book.

The book was a revelation. The words and story opened me up to another time and another world. Its deep exploration of the Hasidic movement and the struggles of friendships was captivating. It also explored how American Jews at that time reacted to the second world war, the Holocaust and the possibility of a state of Israel.

I am usually a slow reader, but this was a page turner. I talked to the Landaus and asked if I could rewrite the script using the book as my source. They agreed, and I began to do my homework. I needed to learn about the Hasidic world so I could create it honestly.

Courtesy of Jeremy Kagan

Discussing The Chosen: From left; Chaim Potok, director Jeremy Kagan, Robby Benson and Barry Miller

My family came from a totally different Jewish world. In addition to his rabbinate, my father was a certified psychologist. He had often shared his thoughts about human nature and history. I recall his explaining some of the plagues on Egypt as actual events, not miracles, and that the last one was really a violent revolution for freedom by our enslaved ancestors. He didnt hold with orthodoxy regarding it as exclusive and restrictive. I always looked forward to his passionate sermons which were often about contemporary social issues. He marched with other clergy in the South for civil rights.

Passover was a favorite time in our house. The reward for the afikomen was a silver dollar with In God We Trust on it and my father would tell of how Ben Franklin had wanted the symbol for the United States to be Moses leading the Hebrews to freedom.

Despite the fact that I had a bar mitzvah and confirmation, my personal knowledge and practice of Judaism was slight. It was making The Chosen that expanded my awareness. Entering the Hasidic world can be difficult as it is often a closed community, but Chaim Potok knew leaders among the Lubavitch, and in contrast to other Hasidic sects which had heard about the book and a potential movie and disapproved of both, the Lubavitch Hasids under the leadership of the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson were open to us.

I met baal teshuvas, returnees, who had sought enlightenment in eastern religions or psychotropics and then decided to explore an orthodox Jewish life. Here they found deep spiritual connections. We talked about what brought them back, how and why they now felt committed to mitzvot. A young rabbi gave me a Chabad machzor (a Jewish prayer book). A new word for me.

I attended Shabbos Hasidic gatherings surprised by what felt like chaos unlike in reform synagogues, here everyone prayed at their own pace, often loudly. And there was constant movement, davening. In reform synagogues you sit and you stand as a group and you certainly dont shuckle, move your body back and forth.

I also began reading Hasidic tales, particularly the collections of Martin Buber. A world of mysticism was revealing itself to me and I was entranced. I had no idea that Judaism was steeped in its own spiritual cosmology and magical realism. Recent TV miniseries have portrayed Hasidism either as cruel or ridiculous. But this wasnt my experience. Yes, it was patriarchal, but there was so much wisdom and compassion and joy in some Hasidic approaches to Judaism. Before this, I had known Judaism only as an ethical and socially responsible approach to life.

Courtesy of Jeremy Kagan

Far From the Waterfront: Jeremy Kagan discusses a scene with his actor, Rod Steiger.

Beshert it was supposed to happen. Unexpected but intended.

Sometimes as you are working on a movie you discover what the essence of your film is about its heart and maybe its meaning. And as I continued my exposure to the Hasidic world, it became clear this movie was about tolerance, the ability to accept differences. How do we acknowledge there are many ways to live a life, to practice belief systems, to get close to G-d? Not just one way. This theme became the touchstone throughout the making of the movie.

When I met Rod Steiger, he described how he envisioned the character of the rebbe that he was going to play. He had been to Israel and met some very authoritarian people and felt that he should portray this character as a dominant if not belligerent and intolerant man at times. I had great respect for Rod, but this was not how I perceived the character that Chaim had written. This character had lost his family in a massacre, he had taken his followers out of oppressive Russia and brought them to Williamsburg. Yes, he was their leader, but he was not their judge he was there to help, guide, care for, advise, and inspire on many levels from the physical to the spiritual. Would Rod tolerate this interpretation a calm, introspective character?

A few weeks later, the movies financing fell apart. It looked like it would not get made. But someone had told me of Meshulam Riklis, a wealthy businessman who was interested in movies. Beshert. I suggested to the Landaus that they contact him. They did and he put up all the money for the movie. Because it was an independent film, it still was a low-budget affair and shooting in New York seemed too expensive. I wanted the locations to be realistic to where the story is set in Brooklyn.

The producers wanted me to shoot in Canada which would have been cheaper, but to their credit and the city, when they discovered what kind of movie we were making about tolerance and beliefs and friendship, all reflective of New Yorks spirit, the city and the unions gave the producers financial breaks that allowed us to use locations there. Beshert.

Rod came into the city; on his own initiative, he had lost weight and grown a sizable white beard. He looked at me and in a nod, acknowledged that he agreed on how to play this rebbe. I put all our actors together for a Shabbos meal and, later that evening, I took Rod into Williamsburg. With his own black fedora on, a number of Hasidic Jews nodded to him; some of them even greeted him in Yiddish. He was almost giddy that they thought he was one of them.

We were going later that evening to meet one of the rebbes from one of the other Hasidic sects. But in a crowded smokey hall, after a half-hour, Rod got antsy and decided to leave. Beshert. Had he stayed he would have seen such an authoritarian rebbe, being treated like royalty, and might have reverted to a more severe dogmatic character.

Courtesy of Jeremy Kagan

Street Scene: Jeremy Kagan observes Robby Benson and Barry Miller as they prepare for a scene.

Casting the two boys was a challenge. Daniel was steeped in the Hasidic world; Reuven was more assimilated.

My audition process is to engage in a personal conversation with the actor about issues in the story that might be reflected in their own lives. What is your relationship with your father? Who are you best friends and why? What do you believe in? I found one young actor Barry Miller who was truly gifted to play Reuven, the son of the character Max Schell played. Barrys acting style was improvisational and method, both of which I was comfortable directing.

But who would play Danny? This character is described as brilliant, with a photographic memory and an intelligence way beyond his years, and also an athletic ability and a sense of superiority and hidden rage. That is a complex and rare combination!

I auditioned scores of actors in New York, in L.A. and in Canada. Then unexpectedly, I got a call from an agent who said Robby Benson wanted to be considered for the role. I said that I knew him as an actor and had seen him in a couple of movies and that honestly he was too sweet to play Danny. The agent called back and said that Robby was pleading to at least meet. I didnt want to be rude and said he could come over to my house.

As I opened the door, Robby grabbed me and pushed me against a wall and thrust his face into mine and said in a threatening cold voice: Is this angry enough for you?

I gave him the job.

I didnt know until later that he too, like Barry, came from a Jewish background. Its fascinating now in the time of DEI - diversity, ethnicity and inclusion that performances of the past like Orson Welles playing Othello are being attacked as revisionist and co-opting. In our time, David Carradine played an Asian in the TV series Kung Fu; he would be eviscerated today.

Robby wanted to spend time in the Hasidic community to create his character and the Lubavitch let him in. We were all learning. As Martin Buber said: All life is meeting.

The two actors came from totally different approaches to the craft and knocked heads repeatedly and, beshert, had they not both trusted me, the movie would have fallen apart. Like the characters they portrayed, they had conflicting views. I talked to them about tolerance but also saw the reality of their interaction, that the transition from animosity to acceptance, was the story of the relationship in the movie. Off screen, they were oil and water; on screen, they were magic.

Our first day of shooting was one of the hottest days in the summer. I had planned to do almost 70 shots that day. My enthusiasm seemed to be infectious. My line producer, Jonathan Bernstein, and my production manager, Mel Howard, and my assistant director, Yudi Bennett (the first time a woman in New York served a first assistant) - all Jews were exhausted, surprised and delighted. That day set the mood and energy for the rest of the shoot.

Half the background artists were actors playing Hasidic kids, so they wore peyes (the side curls which Hasids wear) as well as the heavy black and white clothing of the period and culture. When they went to get some food in the neighborhood, they were spotted by other teenagers in the community. This was not a Jewish neighborhood. The local kids started making fun of the strange Jewish kids, and threatening them. The kids got scared and started to run back to the set, pulling off their peyes and yelling back, were actors!

Courtesy of Jeremy Kagan

The Rebbe Dances: An original storyboard from The Chosen.

In the book both families are orthodox. This meant that in the book the two boys Daniel and Reuven - always wear yarmulkes. I felt that this might push the movie too far into the religious world that it might be inaccessible to even contemporary American Jews, so I suggested that Reuvens family should be more like conservative Jews who do not always wear yarmulkes when not in synagogue and are less restricted in their religious practices.

This was fine with the Landaus who were pushing me not to have the Hasidic boys have peyes, but this just would not be true to the story. They were concerned that side curls would be seen as too weird too Jewish. Thats a theme as well here, Jews who cant quite tolerate other Jews, who dont want to be too noticeable. Like the man who saw The Chosen who told me the movie was bad for the Jews because it made us stand out. The clip that accompanies this article is a scene that the producers demanded I cut from the movie.

missimg scene in the Chosen from Jeremy Kagan on Vimeo.

It is a short moment when Rod as the rebbe takes out the Torah and congregants come to kiss it. The producers found that kissing too bizarre too old school Jewish.

Courtesy of Jeremy Kagan

**On the set of The Chosen: Jeremy Kagan talks over a scene with Max Schell.

The movie opened at a special gala screening at Radio City celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the state of Israel. To our surprise, two studios said they wanted to distribute the movie. We were all excited. But a week later they changed their minds. Their financial people calculated there werent enough Jews who go to the movies to justify the advertising and publicity.

Many months later, after the film won first prizes at various film festivals, it was picked up by a small distribution company, and opened to good reviews in New York and L.A. Then Twentieth Century Fox changed its mind and made a deal to distribute the film. Beshert. Had the small company not seen the movie at one of those film festivals, it would have never made it to the theaters.

In the audience of that gala opening were a number of rabbis from the Lubavitch community. Before shooting, I had met the Rebbe as was his custom around 2 a.m. one morning, and he had handed me a dollar, not a silver one like my fathers, but the paper one which was part of his ritual. He blessed our work. He had said that if something exists like movies and TV it was not for us to abandon these inventions, as some other Hasidic sects had done, but to use them for holy purposes, as Chabad does to this day.

The Rebbe did not come to the gala. The next day, I got a phone call from one of the rabbis. He told me that the Rebbe was very upset. My heart started to shrink. Did he now disapprove of the movie? Danny at the end of the story cuts off his peyes and, though he commits to being a Jew and the practices of a Jew, he is abandoning his direct connection with the closed-off Hasidic society.

This rabbi on the phone said that the Rebbe was very concerned about young Jews and that they were abandoning their heritage. I figured they must now think the movie encouraged that. The rabbi then said that the Rebbe had decided to have a new Sefer Torah written especially for the young and, knowing that I had a new child, asked if I would like to buy a single Hebrew letter in this Torah for a dollar as was being offered to many others. Relief and gratitude. I realized that the dollar the Rebbe hands out is a symbol for us to also give something to someone else. That is what a movie sometimes can do, give to an audience a fresh awareness of who we are and how we are all related.

Courtesy of Jeremy Kagan

Old Ways: Rod Steiger, playing the rebbe in The Chosen, counsels his son, played by Robby Benson.

Over these 40 years, I have received many notes from people who have seen the movie and were moved by it, like the woman who told me that after seeing the movie she had contacted her mother whom she hadnt spoken to in a decade. Rabbis and teachers use it in schools, and it is still shown in synagogues around the world. In many ways, the fact that its a period picture about the 1940s, has made it accessible as a presentation of the past, not something dated from the past.

In the last scene of the movie, the rebbe father and his son finally reconnect. I had told our cinematographer, Arthur Ornitz, that I wanted the scene to feel like a Rembrandt painting. He arranged to have few lights on the set to create that mysterious darkness that you see in those paintings. But with few lights, you have to be careful where people move. And Rod, after delivering a difficult speech suddenly and unexpectedly stood up and went to the door of the office which was not something we had staged and then he turned around and extended his hands and Robby, playing his son, got up and went into the embrace.

It was a powerful emotional moment on the set. But I worried that he had walked into the darkness Would we see this on the film? What if we missed the magic? Somehow, my camera operators, who were not prepared for this physical move, nevertheless followed Rod from his chair with their cameras and recorded the embrace. We do see it; its dark, but its there. Beshert.

As a religious leader and therapist, my father was a combination of the two fathers in Chaim Potoks book. He had aspects of the modern Jew that Max Schell played and the religious leader that Rod played. I miss my father. He died young, 10 years before I was approached to make The Chosen.

On the opening day in Los Angeles, I drove to the Music Hall movie theater. It was raining and I figured there wouldnt be many people. As I approached the street, I suddenly saw a long line around the block waiting to get in. I cried. How I would have loved to have shared this with my father. What we could have explored together about his past as Jew and my present as a Jew.

Over these 40 years, I have studied Kabbalah with an inspiring teacher, Rabbi Steven Robbins, and I use Kabbalistic meditative techniques every day. Beshert brought me to a meeting at an orthodox congregation in Los Angeles inspired by the famed musical rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. I attend services wherever I land. I wear the tallis that Rod wore in the movie. I am on the third set of paintings of all the parshas and haftorah.

I play klezmer clarinet. I say morning prayers using that Chabad machzor including lines like acknowledging how G-d opens the eyes of the blind, gives strength to the weary, and directs our steps. At times, I am called up as a Cohen for blessings. As I chant the Hebrew, I feel my ancestors speaking through me.

In editing the last scene in the movie, I was looking for something for Reuven to say, since the story is told from his point of view. I unexpectedly discovered a Jewish tale about a king who had a son who had gone astray from his father. The son was told to return to his father. The son said I cannot. Then the father sent a messenger to say, return as far as you can, and I will come to you the rest of the way.

The Chosen for me continues to be about connecting - to our past, to our present and the promise of our future; to becoming beings of kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and to honoring and celebrating being Jewish.

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40 years ago I made 'The Chosen' and it changed my life The Forward - Forward

Column: Kathryn Lopez: Tragedy in the UK (10/26/21) – Southeast Missourian

Posted By on October 26, 2021

"Alta was alive and breathed on her own for 90 minutes after her breathing tube was removed," Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum said, stating the key fact as clearly as can be.

The United Kingdom wanted 2-year-old Alta Fixsler dead. The powers-that-be may not have put it that baldly, but they decided to end her life. A severely disabled Hasidic girl, Fixsler's parents wanted to bring her to Israel. There were offers from U.S. and Israeli hospitals to try experimental treatments. But the medical establishment and the judiciary decided they knew best.

"According to Jewish law, everyone has the right to hydration, nutrition and respiration, and the removal of that breathing tube was tantamount to murder, Rabbi Greenbaum said. "I can accept that others might have different views, yet how could contemporary society not reciprocally respect another perspective on what constituted Alta's best interest?"

And this is exactly the problem. We are living at a time that claims to be tolerant, but only of the views that are trending.

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A friend recently told me about an abortion in her family. The doctor advised it because the baby had many problems and was expected to die right away. But who are we to say that shouldn't happen naturally? Let the parents hold their child in their arms, if only for hours or minutes. The baby already is and always will be a part of their lives. It's a fear of suffering and sacrifice that makes abortion and physician-assisted suicide palatable, maybe even desirable. It's economics and ideology that drives a hospital and a court to decide -- to insist -- that a child be killed against the wishes of her parents. Alta was treated worse than we treat hardened criminals.

What was just done to Alta is a grave sin according to the Jewish law by which Abraham and Chaya Fixsler, Alta's parents, live their lives. By what authority does a court or a doctor negate their religious freedom and Alta's right to life? A judge reasoned that we don't actually know if Alta would agree with the way the Fixslers chose to keep her alive.

What nonsense. Every day of Alta's life was a gift to her parents -- but a waste of space and money to a leading Western government. That should send chills down our spines.

There was some intervention to try to help get the family to the United States or Israel -- including by New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer. There was a private charter offer. But Alta was a prisoner. Her parents were depicted as some kind of delusional monsters for hoping for healing, and at the very least desiring to let her die in Israel (both parents are Israeli citizens).

In 1995, Pope John Paul II wrote: "(T) here exists in contemporary culture a certain Promethean attitude which leads people to think that they can control life and death by taking the decisions about them into their own hands. What really happens in this case is that the individual is overcome and crushed by a death deprived of any prospect of meaning or hope. We see a tragic expression of all this in the spread of euthanasia -- disguised and surreptitious, or practiced openly and even legally. As well as for reasons of a misguided pity at the sight of the patient's suffering, euthanasia is sometimes justified by the utilitarian motive of avoiding costs ... Thus it is proposed to eliminate malformed babies, the severely handicapped, the disabled, the elderly, especially when they are not self-sufficient, and the terminally ill."

Rabbi Greenbaum would no doubt agree.

Those of us who pray ought to pray for Abraham and Chaya Fixsler. What a hole must be in their hearts. Alta Fixsler shouldn't have died as she did. There is a ghoulishness to it that should make us ponder what kind of bloodlust lies behind our Western outlook on life. We see life as discardable when it's not convenient. That's evil, and we need to fight it.

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Column: Kathryn Lopez: Tragedy in the UK (10/26/21) - Southeast Missourian

Sen. Marco Rubio: Stand for life death of 2-year-old Alta Fixsler reminds us of these truths – Fox News

Posted By on October 26, 2021

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On Monday, Alta Fixsler passed away after the government of the United Kingdom sentenced her to death. She committed no crime or wrongdoing. She was just 2 years old, innocent as could be. But Alta suffered from a severe hypoxic ischemic brain injury.

Doctors at the Royal Manchester Childrens Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Manchester, United Kingdom, concluded that Altas life was not worth living. Her parents, both devout Hasidic Jews, objected to the decision since their faith requires them to protect and uphold the dignity of every life.

But the government decided that it has the power to decide if Altas life was worth living. A British High Court ignored the Fixslers wishes and upheld the doctors decision. When Altas parents appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, it too upheld the decision.


The High Court showed a complete disregard for the Fixslers Jewish faith, insisting, "Alta is not of an age, nor in a condition to have knowledge of and to adopt her parents values." Yet, according to Jewish culture, Alta was a member of the faith at conception. The governments contempt for religious freedom and life itself is despicable.

And Alta did have a chance at life, just not in the United Kingdom. Both Israel and the United States offered to assess Altas state and provide treatment. Alta was not only a child of God; she was the daughter of an American citizen.


Her parents fought hard for relocation and secured a visa for Alta to come to the United States. But in an act of callousness, and for no discernible reason, the British and European courts denied her the opportunity to travel to America or Israel for continued care. Instead, they sentenced her to death.

The U.K.s High Court of Justice was explicit, writing, "that there was a risk that, once [Alta] was transferred to Israel, the decision of the judge that her treatment should be withdrawn would be reversed, contrary to her best interests." In other words, the court deemed living was not in her best interest.

The stunning statement demonstrates the incredible foresight of Americas founders. The Declaration of Independence asserts, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

We often take for granted in America that our rights come from God, not man. Unfortunately, that self-evident truth is under increasing attack here at home.

The days when the Democratic Party wanted abortion to be "safe, legal and rare" are long gone.

In New York, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that allowed abortion throughout the duration of a pregnancy, regardless of whether the fetus is viable outside of the womb. In Virginia, House Democrats proposed legislation allowing abortions right until the last minute of a pregnancy. When discussing the bill, Gov. Ralph Northam casually described how it would allow a newborn infant to die on the hospital table. He then realized he had to clean up his infanticide endorsing comment, so he clarified that this would only happen in the case of an abnormality. An abnormality, like in the case of Alta.

The days when the Democratic Party wanted abortion to be "safe, legal and rare" are long gone. Radical leftists now want abortion on demand without any restrictions. Yet, most Americans reject this kind of barbarism. In fact, just 13% support third trimester abortions.

I recognize that the abortion debate poses a serious dilemma; it puts the right of a woman to control her body in conflict with the right of her child to live. But I will always choose life. Not because its easy, but because it is right.


I pray that one day the right to life is respected throughout the world and extended to all of Gods people. And so I urge all Americans to stand for life. Not just for the unborn, but also for those at risk of losing theirs.

The United States was not given the chance to save Alta, but it can still save so many children like her: innocent, beautiful, full of Gods potential, but devalued in an often cruel and unsparing world.


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Sen. Marco Rubio: Stand for life death of 2-year-old Alta Fixsler reminds us of these truths - Fox News

The Politics of "Jewface" – Jewish Currents

Posted By on October 26, 2021

Speaking on a recent episode of her podcast, comedian Sarah Silverman decried the casting of non-Jewish actors to play Jewish characters in TV and movies, warning that the practice can veer into something she termed Jewface. The comments immediately drew heat from some listeners due to her use of the controversial term, which references blackface minstrel performance.

Silverman used examples like the announcement of Katherine Hahns casting as Joan Rivers in an upcoming Showtime limited series and Rachel Brosnahans starring role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to call out Hollywood writers and producers, some of them Jewish, for falling into an old entertainment industry tendency to write Yiddish, cast British. According to Silverman, these instances represent a tendency for Jewish otherness and particularity to be subsumed into gentile white America.

With these comments, Silverman jumped into a complex debate over film, comedy, and the politics of identity. What are the responsibilities of the artist when discussing and depicting marginalized communities in their work? How does this change when the artist themself comes from a marginalized community? These questions came to the fore again the next week when Dave Chapelle dropped his latest Netflix special, The Closer, which used jokes about Jews, feminists, and trans people to strike out at critics of his previous work. Both incidents sparked conversations about power and solidarity between marginalized communities, and what we owe each other when we make comedy and visual art.

There is another context for Silvermans comments as well. In recent years, figures on the Jewish right and center left have often bemoaned what they claim is an unfair gap between the level of outcry over incidents of antisemitism and other forms of injustice. On social media, contentious conversations about Black Lives Matter, the Womens March, and campus organizing are often broken down into Instagram infographics and Twitter threads telling social movement participants to include Jews in your social justice. Such discourse tends to flare up at moments of intensified resistance to anti-Black racism: After last summers uprising, for instance, it circulated among Israel supporters reacting against alliances between Black and Palestinian groups. Often their grievances seem to boil down to a feeling of being left out of a socially-conscious cultural moment; as the title of a recent Jewish Chronicle op-ed put it, Why is fighting Jew-hatred never seen as cool? This kind of rhetoric skates over uncomfortable barriers to racial solidarity, including the stark differences between anti-Blackness and antisemitism today and historically.

Silverman echoed this discourse on her podcastwhich also included a segment calling out members of the Squad for voting against additional Iron Dome fundingwhen she described the casting of gentile actors in Jewish roles as a prime example of societys neglect of Jewish-related social justice issues. Tell me that would fly with any other minority, Silverman grumbles. Whether intentionally or not, her frustration flattens blackface and Jewface into analogous issues of racial injustice, to the detriment of understanding both issues.

Tacit in this flattened racial discourse is the white Ashkenormativity, a tendency that omits anyone who isnt European from popular notions of who can be Jewish, as the Black Jewish rabbi and writer MaNishtana recently put it. Racism is at the core of the other common use of the term Jewface, which has been employed by some on the Jewish far right to deny the Jewish identities of Jewish people of color speaking out on racism in the Jewish community or Palestinian rights. This usage turns an ugly history of minstrelsy on its head to imply that Jews of color, and Black Jews in particular, are performing Jewishness just as offensively as Al Jolson performed Blackness in The Jazz Singer. It expresses an ultimately white supremacist notion of who is Jewish that first flattens US Jewry into Ashkenazic whiteness and then naturalizes that racial categorization by likening it to Blackness or any other minority.

Silvermans recent Jewface commentary is tangled up in her own history of blackface performance: After old stills of Silverman in blackface resurfaced recently, the actress lost a Jewish role to a non-Jewish actress who, she said on her podcast, played the part stereotypically. The resurfaced clips came from an episode of Silvermans late 2000s Comedy Central show The Sarah Silverman Program called Face Wars, in which her character is refused entry into a country club, ostensibly for being Jewish, and gets into a debate about whether Jews or Black people suffer more from American prejudice. She opts to find out by donning blackface, while a Black character on the show dresses as an Orthodox Jew. Both characters ultimately concede the others argument of who has it worse, with Silverman concluding, Youre right, its so much harder being Black than Jewish. I would kill myself if I was Black. Though presumably meant as a joke about her characters ignorance, Silvermans dialogue in the scene reproduced the historical dynamic of Jewish performers donning blackface, an act that has always served to distance Jews from Blackness, the ultimate position of racial otherness, in order to further a process of integration into whiteness. Now, in her recent remarks, Silverman essentially complains that this process has been too successful, to the point where Jewface represents societal neglect for issues of Jewish racial sensitivity. Its just another instance of superficially invoking Blackness for the purpose of another groups political expediency, except the dynamic is inverted: Silverman wants to remind people that Jews, too, inhabit a unique social and racial position, one that deserves to spark as much outrage as blackface does.

For Black audiences today, these jokes are a harsh reminder of the fact that we are not in on the joke, but the butt of it. I was a fan of The Sarah Silverman Program when it aired, and appreciated both the filthy stoner comedy and the much-needed break from the male-dominated Comedy Central shows of that period. It was an early influence that I credit in part with helping me find the courage to try out my own voice as a Black Jewish comedy writer. Until recently Id almost blocked the blackface incident out of my mind entirely, viewing Silverman as someone I once loved but had to keep at a distance for reasons I didnt want to think too much about. But rewatching clips of Face Wars brought back memories of a string of incidents from that period where I was along for the ride until, quite suddenly, I was bucked off of it. Despite the fact that it was considered universally offensive by that point, blackface was surprisingly common in stoner comedies of the 2000s like The Mighty Boosh and The Man Show. It was uncomfortably predictable to discover that the British comedian David Baddielwhose recent book Jews Dont Count, which Silverman cited on her podcast, argues that Jews are excluded from progressive movementsdonned it, too. Such performances evoke a particular kind of pain similar to what Black queer writer Saeed Jones describes in a recent piece about Dave Chapelles anti-trans and more broadly queerphobic comedy: the only thing more brutal than someone saying hurtful shit is someone saying hurtful shit moments after making you laugh.

Rather than creating rigid and ultimately unstable delineations among marginalized communities and the performers who portray them, it is important to consider that shared racialization can be the basis of good art that uplifts common experience without resorting to minstrelsy. In what might be understood as a longstanding form of exchange across historically racialized European and Mediterranean communities, Jewish, Italian, Greek, Spanish, and Arab actors have often played each other on stage and screen. Tony Shalhoub's performance as Abe Weissman in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one of my favorite parts of the show, and while it's reductive to reduce that role to his identity as a Lebanese Christian, that identity surely adds to the nuance of his performance of a character navigating personal, artistic, and political development in relation to his experience of being othered in America. I'm not sure if Ashkenazi Jewish actor Mandy Patinkin would be cast as Inigo Montoya today, but his role in The Princess Bride deservedly remains beloved and oft-quoted, and for Jewish viewers his identity has only deepened an attachment to the justice-seeking Spaniard.

For me, the most interesting part of Silvermans argument is when she turns her gaze inward, describing the way that some Jewish writers and producers have created Jewish characters rendered through crystal blue eyes, an acknowledgement that our own misrepresentation occurs not only via antisemitism imposed from the outside, but also through an internalized desire to reject our own otherness. By the same token, the question isnt how or when non-Jews will include Jews in struggles for better political and artistic representation, but how we define our own place in these struggles. And we, in all our external otherness and internal differences, are the only ones who can do that work for us.

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The Politics of "Jewface" - Jewish Currents

Question everything you think you know about the universe: Physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein – Forward

Posted By on October 26, 2021

The key to understanding the universe scientifically is questioning everything you think you know which also happens to be one of the fundamental tenets of Judaism.

Thats the conclusion Chanda Prescod-Weinstein reaches with her book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred. Describing her work as living at the intersection of particle physics and astrophysics, she is an assistant professor of physics and also a core faculty member in Womens Studies at the University of New Hampshire.

Everything and everyone has an origin story, and Prescod-Weinsteins begins with her upbringing in East Los Angeles. That identity also includes being a citizen of both the United States and Barbados, a descendant of Afro-Caribbean and Ashkenazi Jews, the 54th Black American woman to earn a Ph.D. from a department of physics, and a Dodgers fan.

She spoke about her work with Forward Editor-at-Large Robin Washington, who counts as a career highlight his long-ago interview with astrophysicist Frank Drake, a collaborator with the late Carl Sagan. That conversation may or may not have prepared Washington to speak with Prescod-Weinstein.

Robin Washington: I should probably talk to astrophysicists more frequently than once every 35 years. In your book, you talk a lot about quarks. Frank Drake didnt say a word about them when I interviewed him in 1986.

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: Yes. They were infants back then and not too interesting to astronomers, who usually concern themselves with bigger objects. Plus, particle physicists still hadnt even found the top quark yet. The Higgs boson was also still a hypothetical particle. Actually, next year well be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Higgs.

Well spare their scientific descriptions for now. But the reason I bring it up is there was one area that left me unsatisfied. That was the Big Bang. I challenged Drake on the science behind the estimate of when it occurred. He answered that all indications are that the universe started about 14 billion years ago. Yet I was taught that the word universe meant all there ever was or will be, which is infinite. The Big Bang always seemed creationist to me. Is there a beginning?

I like this question. And I hate this question. The universe has this origin story and origin stories are also such a religious thing among people. The bigger question is are you sure youre doing science and not just doing religion with equations?

I think that the reason we have origin stories is because we as people experience the arrow of time as going forward, beginning with people being born. Thats a scientific process. The part where religion comes in is when people start to come up with explanations for why theres an origin story.

When you interviewed Drake, Im not sure cosmic inflation the exponential expansion of space beginning at a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang was understood the way that it is now. I talk in the book about the idea of eternal inflation; that maybe inflation has always been happening and always will be happening.

Part of this may be our concept of time. Without time we wouldnt exist, in the sense that our bodies wouldnt work because the chemical reactions inside them are time-dependent and our cells wouldnt know how to talk to each other. But maybe our sensations are based on being in a three-dimensional world and were trying to perceive a four, five, or six-dimensional universe. Were not wired for it, just as a two-dimensional being cant perceive a cube.

We shouldnt worry about it. I have this young undergraduate whos really bright but she apologizes too frequently. One of the things she recently apologized about was not being able to visualize four dimensions.

We do have a sense of the four-dimensional world. Like my backyard doesnt look the same in the evening as it did this morning. The light is different. I know that intuitively. I dont think that necessarily means that you can start seeing the world the way it looks to an electron thats moving close to the speed of light, but I think that we were starting to ask do we live in three dimensions or do we live in four dimensions? Or as we call it in physics, 3 plus 1.

Back to how quickly science changes. When I was a boy, they were still teaching us that atoms were little solar systems, which is the Bohr model. By the end of grammar school or maybe it was high school, I remember being told, Oh by the way, the Bohr model really isnt right. Its more like an electron cloud, which is a fuzzy entity that has positive and negative charges in it. I use the electron cloud model to teach about race, by the way.


which is to say that race is not at all definitive and concrete, but fuzzy. Just as electrons arent flying around in neat little orbits, Black people dont all share the same physical characteristics, and some white people may be darker than many Blacks.

This is completely tangential, but its very clear that right now people are really struggling with trying to contain blackness in a box. In the Black community, there is kind of new discourse around adjudicating who does and doesnt fit in. People have started rumors that Im lying about being Black and that Im Blackfishing.

I never heard that term before! But I know exactly what it means: Rachel Dolezal!

Im a weird person to pick on because my mother (Margaret Prescod) is a public figure and a well-known Black person. Ive even been on her radio show, identified as her daughter.

That leads to the cultural aspect of physics, which is a theme in your book. Physics doesnt care what we know or how we perceive it. The properties exist regardless of when we learn about them or whether were right or wrong. Does it matter then how a group of white male Europeans wants to define things?

I want to push back against the mystification of the theoretical physicist. Margaret Wertheim, in her book Pythagoras Trousers, describes how physics descends from the priesthood and the church, so that it operates like an old boys club.

The crowning of the scientist as someone set apart from society doesnt serve society and doesnt serve the scientists. Theyre a pack of humans. The bad things that people are doing outside of physics are also happening inside of physics. People are dishonest. Theres sexual assault. Theres racism. Theres all of that happening.

You include a chapter about sexual assault against you, which you prefaced immediately by saying you know the reader is probably shocked to see it. So how does it fit in?

The chapter was not a chapter I was planning to include. It was one I ended up writing by accident in the middle of writing a chapter that actually ended up not being in it.

I was writing a book that was giving a holistic look at how physics is done: what the math looks like, what are the words we use, what are the ideas were grappling with. I also was intent on including the social phenomena that shape our community, with an emphasis on race and gender. In 2021, to put a book like that out and not address sexual misconduct when there are so many people in science, particularly women, who have experienced it in scientific settings just didnt make sense.

The other thing was friends of mine sat me down and said, We know that youre worried about younger people reading this book. But one reminded me that she was already an assault victim by the time she was 12, and reading Toni Morrisons The Bluest Eye helped her have a vocabulary for what had happened to her. So she said my book might be able to do that for somebody else.

Is there a Jewish angle to the book?

The interesting thing is realizing how Jewish the book is in ways I didnt see until I finished writing it. Its in the way that Im asking questions about things, and saying we should ask why about everything.

Thats fundamentally what Judaism is all about. And its funny I said fundamentally because youre looking for fundamental particles.

Yes. The fundamental component of the Jewish community is questioning. As a Black Jew, I see the traditional rules differently, and I feel more ready to challenge them because my entire existence is challenging to the Jewish community sometimes. With my experience of having to explain to people, yes, you can be Black and Ashkenazi at the same time, Im used to also saying yes, the universe is different than you thought it was.

Question everything you think you know about the universe: Physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

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Question everything you think you know about the universe: Physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein - Forward

In the US and Israel, new urgency in battle against cyberattacks – Jewish Insider

Posted By on October 26, 2021

When an Israeli hospital was thrown offline last week, sending it back to the pre-digital age of pen and paper, the country was forced to grapple with what its National Cyber Directorate described as a major ransomware attack a challenge that many countries have had to tackle in recent years.

At the same time as Israeli doctors were contending with the ramifications of the significant blow to their health system, the White House National Security Council was convening a virtual conference on the topic of countering ransomware. Over 30 countries, including Israel and the United Arab Emirates, participated.

Among the recent events that triggered the meeting was the May ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which caused a shutdown of the U.S.s largest fuel pipeline system for five days. Colonial Pipeline paid the requested ransom (75 bitcoin, or nearly $5 million) to the hacking group DarkSide, believed to be based in Eastern Europe, which has since claimed to have shut down. Due to its status as a government-owned hospital, the Israeli Hillel Yaffe hospital in Hadera, where the ransomware attack took place, was reportedly barred from paying a similar ransom.

As the world has become ever more dependent on the internet since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic a year and a half ago, the threat of cyberattacks is higher than ever.

Were all very vulnerable, and especially as our dependence on cyberspace and our digital identities becomes greater and greater, our vulnerability to cyberattacks is liable to increase, Deborah Housen-Couriel, the chief legal officer for Konfidas, a cybersecurity company based in Tel Aviv, told Jewish Insider.

A joint statement released at the NSC conferences conclusion said the participants recognized that ransomware is an escalating global security threat with serious economic and security consequences.

As with other cyber threats, the threat of ransomware is complex and global in nature and requires a shared response. A nations ability to effectively prevent, detect, mitigate and respond to threats from ransomware will depend, in part, on the capacity, cooperation, and resilience of global partners, the private sector, civil society, and the general public, the statement read.

This is an important development, said Housen-Couriel, who at the same time as the White House conference was underway was participating in a panel discussion on cyber abuse, security and defense at a conference held by the University of Chicagos Pearson Global Forum.

Its the first time that theres been such an initiative to specifically address the use of ransomware internationally, she remarked.

Amit Ashkenazi, legal advisor of the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), was part of the Israeli contingent that participated in the conference. The fact that we have like-minded countries around the table helps us talk about something that we at the INCD have been talking about over the last few years, more openly, he told JI.

He said the effort can help reduce barriers between countries when it comes to information sharing and recovery techniques, and can create technical, legal and policy vehicles to enable swift cooperation.

A joint announcement by the Ministry of Health and the INCD on Sunday said the ransomware attack had spread to additional unnamed hospitals, but that early assessments and a quick response from the center and teams on the ground halted the attempts and no damage was done.

Health Ministry cybersecurity chief Reuven Eliyahu said in an Army Radio interview on Monday that a Chinese hacker group was likely behind the attack and that the motives were purely financial.

Ashkenazi said that in the event of significant incidents such as the Hillel Yaffe attack, government bodies are simultaneously working on various tracks, including following the crumb trail to identify the perpetrator; and working within the victims network to understand what has happened and whether additional attacks can be expected..

Israels digitized health system, which was touted during the coronavirus pandemic for enabling a speedy and efficient vaccination campaign, is also somewhat of an Achilles heel when it comes to vulnerability in the face of cyberattacks.

Doctors at Hillel Yaffe have been forced to piece together patients medical histories, which are usually readily available online. They now need to ask patients to bring in any records they have at home, and are building up physical folders from scratch.

Some come from home with their records, but beyond that, we have no access to the system that enables us to see information about patients who were operated on or catheterized in the past, Professor Ariel Roguin, who heads the hospitals cardiology unit, told Haaretz earlier this week.

Medical equipment is working as usual and most operations are going ahead, other than elective, non-urgent procedures, and those that can be done via HMOs are deferred to them.

For Internal Medicine Department Director Nina Avshovich, the situation has taken her back to her days as a medical intern. I worked without computers 20 years ago, so it didnt agitate me, she told JI, adding that the hospital has developed new systems to cope with the present reality.

Simulations were held for various situations, such as how to book and conduct the process of X-rays, from beginning to end.

Staff are required to walk around the hospital, or use fax machines, in order to transmit information that would usually be done digitally.

Full communication among staff has been key to enabling the current manual work system to function well, Avshovich said. We spend much more time with the patients, she added, seeing this as the glass-half-full aspect of the crisis.

Fewer patients are showing up at the hospital since news of the cyberattack began to circulate. Management is working both on building new systems as well as trying to restore the old ones.

They promise us that in a few weeks we will partially be able to see lab results, X-rays and imaging digitally, Avshovich said. When hospital staff will return to work as normal is not yet clear.

In addition to the health sector, Housen-Couriel, the Konfidas official, identified the finance sector and critical infrastructure in general communications as often-targeted sectors.

She described Israel as an important player that can contribute to the effort via its high level of cyber-awareness and talent in incident response, digital forensics and situational awareness in cyberspace. In turn, she said, it can gain from the initiative by broadening its cyber alliances around the world, developing expertise along with other like-minded countries. Moving ahead with this common goal of combating this type of malware and ransomware which, in the end, if it does in fact pan out as a successful initiative, will obviously have ramifications for all, for many other types of cyberthreats.

While expressing her support for the recent effort for strengthened international cooperation, she suggested that it needs to be expanded further.

You cant catch the cybercriminals if youre operating only on your own as a country, Housen-Couriel said. Cyberspace is a global resource and the reach of global cybercriminals is global. Any meaningful response to mitigate the effects of these types of attacks has got to be international. This includes international assistance on identifying how the attack vector was carried out, locating where in the world the attackers are based, and at the end of the process collaboration on legal aid, providing evidence, putting the suspects on trial and potentially extraditing them.

She also highlighted the importance of addressing the money trail issue, which is really a hard one because of the anonymity of payments made through cryptocurrency. Once the money trail nut is cracked, that will achieve the goal that the Counter Ransomware Initiative set, which is to disrupt the business model of these ransomware attacks which has been such a successful model.

Amounts of money demanded by ransomware attackers have skyrocketed. CNA Financial Corp., one of the U.S.s largest insurance companies, reportedly paid $40 million in March to regain control of its network after a ransomware attack. According to a report this year by Palo Alto Networks, the average ransom paid by organizations in the U.S., Canada and Europe increased from $115,123 in 2019 to $312,493 in 2020 a 171% spike.

Addressing the absence of countries such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran in the U.S-led conference, Housen-Couriel said, Clearly, without the participation of states whose citizens are actively using ransomware and we know weve identified them as attackers without their participation, in all the levels this initiative is committed to engage with, only limited progress can be made. So a lot more countries need to be involved and that is one of the stated aims of the initiative.

But Ashkenazi said the recent conference was more focused on like-minded countries. Given the type of cooperation that was discussed, Im not sure this would have been the right format to share ideas and thoughts in such a broad manner there are other forums for this, he said, alluding to the United Nations, which he said has several channels open on cyber-related issues.

There are some basic differences, he noted, in the way other countries approach the role of the internet, and the focus of cybersecurity.

Like-minded countries see cyberspace as an important space for human rights and defense of freedom of speech and rule of law regarding the relationship of the government with the people. Some countries see cyberspace as another place of governance in which they apply their government values and systems, Ashkenazi said.

That isnt to say that there isnt bilateral cooperation between Israel, the U.S. and others with those countries. In a White House press call ahead of the virtual conference, for instance, a senior administration official said, in response to questions about Russias nonparticipation that the U.S.-Kremlin Experts Group, which is led by the White House, was established by President Biden and President Putin, so the U.S. engages directly with Russia on this on the issue of ransomware.

Israel, Ashkenazi said, has some 90 bilateral agreements with organizations and missions similar to the INCD. He hopes, however, that this turn towards greater multilateralism will speed up the pace of information sharing and dealing with cyberattacks.

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In the US and Israel, new urgency in battle against cyberattacks - Jewish Insider

VIDEO: Isaac Sutton Sings Hebrew Version of ‘Till I Hear You Sing’ – Broadway World

Posted By on October 26, 2021

In celebration of his upcoming return to the NYC stage with "Broadway Israel" on October 24 at The Green Room 42, after a long forced Covid break, Isaac Sutton has released a special Hebrew lyric video of "Till I Hear You Sing" from Phantom of the Opera's sequel "Love Never Dies".

This special Hebrew version was recorded at TanTan Studios in Israel.

Watch below!

This is the first time "Till I Hear You Sing" has been recorded in Hebrew, with translation by Mor Day Hannani.

Internationally acclaimed performer Isaac Sutton, who has introduced Israeli audiences to the Great American Songbook, will be returning to NYC with "Broadway Israel" for the first time since Covid on Sunday, October 24 at The Green Room 42 and will reunite on stage with two Broadway Stars- Amanda Jane Cooper ,Broadway's 15th Anniversary Glinda and one of the longest running 'Glindas' in WICKED's history, and DeLaney Westfall - Star of Kinky Boots, Beautiful and Sweeney Todd.

This celebration of Classic Broadway will mark their first concert appearance in NYC since Covid and their first reunion since their joint concert tours in Israel.

Tickets for October 24th performance at The Green Room 42 can be purchased at box office 646-707-2990 or HERE!

Performed by Isaac Sutton

Music by Andrew Loyd Webber

Translated by Mor Day Hannani

Recorded at TanTan Studios Israel.

Mixed by Yarden Ashkenazi

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VIDEO: Isaac Sutton Sings Hebrew Version of 'Till I Hear You Sing' - Broadway World

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