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When the political stakes are high, Judaism doesn’t place all the responsibility on a single charismatic leader – JTA News – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Posted By on July 6, 2024

This article initially appeared in My Jewish Learnings Shabbat newsletter Recharge. To sign up to receive Recharge each week in your inbox, click here.

Growing up in suburban Houston in the 1970s and 1980s, I never heard serious conversations about democracy. I knew the United States was democratic, but that was just the water fish swim in, something all around us that we take for granted.

But as Americans celebrated Independence Day this week, democracy is top of mind for many of them, and especially American Jews. In the United States, were facing a looming presidential election amid contested interpretations of the last one and ongoing debates about voting access. In Israel, there are high levels of mistrust in elected officials after more than a year of massive weekly protests first over the judicial overhaul and then about hostages and the current government.

This weeks Torah portiongave me another reason to reflect on democracy. A year after escaping Egypt, the12 tribesare wandering in the desert when their bitter complaints evolve into political rebellion. And not just one rebellion, but three of them: one led by Korach, another by Datan and Aviram, and a third by 250 chieftains.

Its that last group, the 250 chieftains, that caught my eye. Their complaint againstMosesis that the entire community is holy. How then can Moses put himself above everyone else? Everyone should have a say in leading the community! To 21st-century ears, this argument by the chieftains (who, the Torah tells us, were chosen in the assembly) sounds like a passionate call for democracy.

My work at the Shalom Hartman Institute brings me each summer to Jerusalem, from where I am writing now. In Israel, conversations are not just about democracy, but specifically on the relationship between Judaism and democracy. Some Israelis advocate for a Jewish theocracy governed by Jewish law. Some ask how a state can be Jewish while also serving all of its citizens, including the 22% of citizens who are not Jewish. Some celebrate Jewish control over limited areas of government (Shabbat, kashrut, personal status like marriage and conversion). And some want complete separation of Judaism and state.

Too often, these debates are flattened into the question of whether Judaism and democracy are compatible, or whether having a state religion is compatible with democracy. But there are plenty of democratic nations with a Christian state religion the United Kingdom, Greece and Costa Rica among them. So there is little reason to question whether Israels democracy can function with a state religion. And clearly Judaism and democracy are at least somewhat compatible, since the Jewish states parliamentary democracy has been stable for more than 75 years.

So rather than ask whether they are compatible, it would be more interesting to ask: How might Judaism influence and shape democracy, either in Israel or in the U.S.?

We know that Judaism shaped the early development of democratic ideas. Historians have argued that democracies draw many of their distinctive features from the Jewish tradition.One scholars listincluded consent of the governed, the presumption of innocence, the exclusion of self-incrimination from court proceedings, and a commitment to the sanctity of life and the inestimable preciousness of each unique individual.

Can Jewish tradition still offer insight today when democracies are under threat?

The section of the Torah we have recently read offers some insight. The Israelites have only recently escaped from slavery Egypt. Under Pharaoh, their ability to self-organize was extremely limited. Now, as an emancipated community, they must figure out how to govern themselves. The three rebellions can be understood as part of a trial-and-error process on the path toward determining a form of governance. Moses and God have no compassion for the rebellions, and the organizers of the rebellion receive only divine wrath. As readers, we are meant to interpret their acts as unhelpful uprisings against authority.

But there is another story from the period with a different message. When the Israelites complaining reaches a fever pitch, Moses throws his hands up and tells God he cant take it anymore. Gods response is to instruct Moses to gather 70 leaders who shall share the burden of the people with you. This is a core democratic move: When the stakes are high, and crisis is imminent, we do not put all of the burden on a single charismatic leader. Instead, individuals are selected to share the burden of the people.

What is the difference between the 70 elders and the 250 chieftains? Perhaps it was their tone and intent: The chieftains wanted to replace Moses leadership, while the elders said, Were here to help carry the burden. For those of us who are concerned about the future of democracy, whether in the U.S. or in Israel, this is our only real option: to get involved and take on some of the burden of the people. If you arent already doing so, perhaps this is your moment to carve out a portion of your time and energy and dedicate it to the democratic process.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.

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When the political stakes are high, Judaism doesn't place all the responsibility on a single charismatic leader - JTA News - Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Leap of faith: please drive to shul – Jewish News

Posted By on July 6, 2024

I wonder how many Jews in this country get the feeling that the way they live their authentically Jewish lives is not acceptable to others? Driving to the synagogue on a Shabbat morning, but parking around the corner so the rabbi doesnt see your car, is one example I often hear.

To examine the concept of authentic Judaism, we must go back to one of the great sages. Hillel admonishes us: Do not separate yourself from the community. You can read this in two ways. The first, in some other parts of our Jewish world, says: Jewish community is upheld by strong standards; we must not move outside these boundaries.

Aliyot (call-ups) to the Torah are withheld from those whose public actions place them outside of the communal norms. That may include marrying someone who is not Jewish, being LGBT+ or, in at least one community I know of, being seen driving on Shabbat.

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But there is another way to read this text the Progressive way. We agree with the traditional interpretation of teachers such as Rabbis Obadiah De Bertinoro and Abraham Isaac Kook. Judaism isnt about exclusion but almost universally focused on how being part of a community is a true mechayah (life-giver).

Not separating yourself from the community, in our modern age, might mean driving to synagogue to join our Shabbat services. For those who are house-bound, sick, anxious or away from home, it might mean using technology to live-stream them. It can take a lot of courage to step into a new community, especially for those who have been turned away or been under an unfriendly rabbinic glare in the past who may have been told that their life and love choices were wrong.

In trainings about Jewish engagement done for the university world, through Hillel International, I learned that we can think about Jewish engagement like a game of snakes and ladders. Good events, like a lovely Shabbat experience, can create further and deeper engagement, while a judging glance by a peer can act as a chute, quickly snaking a participant down so they are fearful to engage again.

This is why I tell prospective members and conversion students that they are interviewing me and our synagogue community, and not the other way around. I would say the same to all of the readers of this piece who are not as engaged in Jewish life as they wish to be. Your job is to travel to various synagogue communities, and find the right shidduch (match). It might be in a movement you havent yet tried.I am confident that the right communal match is waiting, a corner or two ahead. The experience of being together, especially now, is well worth the drive.

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Leap of faith: please drive to shul - Jewish News

Jewish Identity After October 7th – Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Posted By on July 6, 2024

Alexa Herman

03 July 2024

Writing to you a little early this week ahead of the holiday. Im looking forward to celebrating with family and friends tomorrow, and hope you are too.

Of course, my mind is also on another key date: October 7th, and on those we continue to support in Israel. More below on that and on fighting antisemitism in schools, plus a great piece by Dr. Mijal Bitton on how anti-Israel sentiment has awakened young Jews to their Judaism.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

An early Shabbat Shalom, Gil __ Gil Preuss, CEO The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

P.S. Keep an eye out for Its Friday every other week in June and July.

Jewish Identity After October 7th.

Fighting Antisemitism in Schools.

Eye on Israel.

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Jewish Identity After October 7th - Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Following internal drama over Israel, Reconstructionist Judaism affirms support for progressive Zionism and 2-state … – JTA News – Jewish…

Posted By on July 6, 2024

About six weeks after its internal discord over Israel spilled into public view, Judaisms Reconstructionist movement has issued a statement reiterating its support for progressive Zionism, the existence of Israel and the two-state solution.

The movement says the statement is a clarification of its position on Israel following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, rather than a change.

But the statement comes as Reconstructionist rabbis have taken leading roles in anti-Zionist activism. And it follows an op-ed in which two rabbinical students announced their withdrawal from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, writing that they faced harassment as supporters of Israel.

Days after that op-ed was published in the Forward, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, the colleges president, referenced the drama at its ordination ceremony and said the movement believes Israel has a right to exist and is a vital center for Jewish life and the Jewish people

The document published Monday by Reconstructing Judaism, a movement umbrella body, expands on that point, declaring support for Israels existence as well as the establishment of a Palestinian state.

It says the liberal Jewish movement supports Securing Israels place in the Middle East as a Jewish and democratic state according to the vision expressed in its Declaration of Independence.

The other principles it lists are: Ending Israels military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, halting Israeli settlement expansion and backing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and Palestinian statehood.

These five principles form the core of what is often termedprogressive Zionism, the statement adds. No one has ever been required to agree with all of these positions in order to be a Reconstructionist, but the movement as a whole has reaffirmed these principles many times.

Dozens of the movements rabbis disagree with those positions, long uncontroversial in the Jewish mainstream but lately under attack by Jews on an emboldened far left. Reconstructionist rabbis comprise a large portion of the Rabbinical Council of Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Zionist group. For a decade, one of JVPs senior leaders was Reconstructionist Rabbi Alissa Wise, and another of its rabbis, Brant Rosen, left the Chicago-area Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation and founded Tzedek Chicago, an anti-Zionist synagogue.

Wise linked this weeks statement which she agreed was not a shift with the movements rabbinical ordination ceremony in May. She said the statement was an attempt to reaffirm their alliances with the progressive mainstream Jewish community, much of which supports Israel.

I think the Reconstructionist movement is getting heat for ordaining anti-Zionist rabbis, Wise, the current lead organizer of Rabbis for Ceasefire, told JTA. But I dont think that anything in this current statement is new.

In recent months, pro-Israel Reconstructionist rabbis have also taken steps to assert themselves, founding Beit Kaplan, a new group for rabbis like them. The group says it is guided by the teachings of Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, who was a Zionist.

Rabbi Noah Kitty, a recently retired pulpit rabbi from Florida and a member of the group, said that she understands that in Reconstructionist Judaism, people are not going to speak with the same voice or have the same understanding. But she called on the movement to back up its statement on Israel by dissuading anti-Zionists from becoming Reconstructionist rabbis. (Kitty herself had left the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association in mid-October following dissatisfaction with the movements response to Hamas attack in Israel.)

I look less at what people say than I do at what they do, that whole actions speak much louder than words, she said. They and they say pretty, pretty words and nothing changes.

She added, What would I like to see personally? I would like to see the College actually employ a litmus test and say anti-Zionist candidates will be better served at another school.

Rabbi Amber Powers, interim president and CEO of Reconstructing Judaism, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the movement issued the statement in response to questions from its members about its positions, which have not changed.

She added, We remain a diverse community that includes and values people with different views on this and many issues.

Given that stance, Wise does not expect the movement to make support for Israel a litmus test at its rabbinical school, which she feels will raise additional questions about its core values. Another contributing factor: Multiple non-Orthodox seminaries have seen declining enrollment in recent years, and the movement may not be able to afford to shut out anti-Zionist students.

In order for them to remain relevant and to be able to keep their lights on, theyre going to need to evolve as the Jewish community evolves, Wise said. Regarding a litmus test, she said, I dont think itll be a sustainable strategy for them long term, and will force the question of ultimately: Are they in the business of promoting and strengthening Jewish religious and cultural life, or are they a pro-Israel organization?

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Following internal drama over Israel, Reconstructionist Judaism affirms support for progressive Zionism and 2-state ... - JTA News - Jewish...

Reviewing ‘How the West became antisemitic’ by Ivan G. Marcus – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on July 6, 2024

Armed pilgrimages against distant Muslims were pointless, complained Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny, to Louis VII, King of France, in 1146, when Jews, who were right in our midst, blaspheme, abuse and trample on Christ and the Christian sacraments so freely and insolently and with impunity.

This view, according to Ivan Marcus a professor of Jewish history at Yale University, and author, among other books, of The Jewish Life Cycle: Rites of Passage from Biblical to Modern Times; and Rituals of Childhood: Jewish Acculturation in Medieval Europe provides evidence of assertiveness among Jews in medieval Europe: a story that has not been told before.

In How the West Became Antisemitic, Marcus claims that Jewish challenges, real and imagined, to the dominant Christian majority produced a society that was antisemitic in new ways between 800 and 1500 and has remained part of European cultural identity in the modern era. In this academic book, awash in footnotes and critiques of other scholars, Marcus also provides a provocative and timely analysis of whether the term anti-Judaism or antisemitism best describes European hatred of Jews.

A reform movement, in which popes tried to reassert supremacy over Christian society and its emperors and kings, Marcus indicates, resulted in a series of Crusades to rescue Jerusalem and Byzantine Christians from Muslim Seljuk Turks. Religious zeal became a rationale for attacking members of relatively new Jewish communities in Northern Europe, many of whom had forged close business relationships with Christians but were now increasingly seen as descendants of the killers of Christ.

ATTACKED BY Crusaders on their way to the Middle East, Jews sometimes mounted armed resistance. In Mainz, Germany, they donned their armor and weapons of war, adults and children alike, with Rabbi Qalonymos at their head. Some Jews reportedly killed themselves and their children rather than convert. As they called on God to avenge them, Jewish chroniclers unleashed insults aimed at Christian sancta, crying out Hear, O Israel, an affirmation of Jewish loyalty. Some Jews reportedly spat at, urinated on, or trampled crosses.

Jewish blasphemy and resistance, Marcus emphasizes, was partly responsible for the new efforts of Christians to contain and subordinate them.

In the late 13th and 14th centuries, Jews were expelled from many European countries. Issued by temporal, not ecclesiastical authorities, and amid intensifying opposition to usury, Marcus argues that the removal of Jewish communities from European states is best understood as efforts to protect an ideal Christian society from perceived harmful Jewish influences.

Most important, he writes, is that even after actual Jews were expelled, imagined Jews continued to help maintain Christian solidarity and identity as self-defining others in a set of traditions that have continued into the 21st century.

Shylock, the memorable Jewish character in William Shakespeares The Merchant of Venice, is one of them. Marcus reminds us that Shylock exacts his revenge on Christians, not on symbols of Christianity, as in the Middle Ages. In economic competition with the merchant Antonio, Shylock insists on a pound of flesh as the penalty for non-payment of his loan. He hates Christians, he says, because they compete unfairly by not charging interest to other Christians.

Medieval Jews, Marcus points out, hated Christianity as idolatry but did business with their co-religionists, often charging them exorbitant fees. In 1290, following the expulsion of Jews from England, for example, Queen Eleanor took over and collected outstanding Jewish loans.

SHYLOCK IS not at all like his alleged medieval ancestors, Marcus suggests, because Shakespeares audiences, many of whom had never seen a Jew, assumed they were neither rational nor fully human. The religious rivalry between Jews and Christians was no longer the main issue. Despite Shylocks insistence that a Jew bleeds if pricked, theatergoers may well have laughed at his choice of revenge over money, especially when he doesnt get either one, watches his daughter elope with a Christian, is forced to convert, and literally disappears in Act V. In sum, Shakespeare had created his own version of the medieval imagined Jew as an inner enemy who hates Christians.

Medieval antisemitism, Marcus asserts, helped create and legitimize modern antisemitism. Medieval Christians hated Jews because they insisted they were the chosen people and refused to be servile or religious subordinate. During the Crusades, Christians concluded that Jews were the inner enemy. And they came to believe that Jewish identity was unchangeable and immune to conversion.

Had Christian antisemitism been primarily about Judaism and not Jews, Marcus writes, modern secularism might have ended it. Instead, it got worse. In Europe and the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, as Jews became successful and assimilated into the dominant Christian majority, white supremacists lashed out at them as the powerful enemy within, a permanent racial minority that needed to be contained, expelled, or eliminated.

How the West Became Antisemitic ends with a warning: Just as Europe has proven again and again that it is a resilient culture that can survive devastating world wars... its antisemitic culture has also proven resilient and transportable... And there is every reason to be concerned about the postmodern forms of nationalism and nativism that are recycling the medieval structure of antisemitism.

Glenn C. Altschuler is The Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Emeritus Professor of American Studies at Cornell University.

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Reviewing 'How the West became antisemitic' by Ivan G. Marcus - The Jerusalem Post

Jewish Federation hosts Members, Friends, Campers for July 4 event at Temple – Oklahoma City Sentinel

Posted By on July 6, 2024

Oklahoma City -- On July 4 Eve, the Jewish Federation of Oklahoma City hosted an Independence Pool Party providing food and fun for Members, Friends, Families.

The event drew many youngsters and parents participating in a venerable local tradition, Camp Chaverim, will (like the pool party) is held at Temple B'Nai Israel.

The party featured delicious Kosher meats (hot dogs and hamburgers) with ice cream and other treats (including Gluten Free "Flax" Brownies for those with allergies to wheat.

The camp's programming varies from week to week, but features physical activity in the campus gynasium, swimming in a well-ap-ortioned pool, outdoor activities, arts/crafts and other activities. Chaverim means "friends" in Hebrew.

Camp Chaverim is a beloved annual summer institution in central Oklahoma, drawing children (Jewish and non-Jewish) ages 2-14, with youth counselors high school and older and constant adult supervision.

Each week and at the end of the summer camping, the staff hosts guardians, parents, grandparents and other caring adults for a time of sharing, song and celebration, to thank those who support the activities of Camp Chaverim.

Founded in 1941, the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City was originally known as the Jewish Community Council. It has become " an umbrella organization sponsoring a wide variety of educational, cultural, and community outreach programs and services as well as serving as an important safety net for individuals and families in need.

In addition to the camp, the Federation promotes cultural and educational programs, Torah Study, the annual Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance, education resources, missions to Israel, and social programs.

The host institution for the camp and the annual July 4 event, the Temple, was founded in 1903. On the congregation's website the Temple is characterized as "the thriving center of Reform Judaism in Central Oklahoma. We are an inclusive, divese congregation, welcoming all who wish to worship, study and develop cultural and social ties" in that tradition.

Each summer, the Temple hosts a visit from young adults Israeli Scouts who travel the world telling the story of the Nation and People of Israel.

The groups bear names of women and men -- some living, other of beloved memory. Shanker, Blumenthal, Bennett, Korenblit, Rubenstein, Levine, Roodman, Reshef, Price and many more.

The Temple affirms leaders deem "core Jewish values" such as: B'tzelem Elohim- In God's image, Lev Tov/Nedivut - A generous heart and spirit, K'vod Habriyot- Respect for all people, Kehilla Kedosha- Creating a sacred, spiritual community, Torah Lishmah- Lifelong learning, Bakesh Shalom v'Rodefhu- Seek peace and persue it, Brit Olam- Sustaining Jewish Continuity, and Tikkun Olam - Repairing the World.

In the Bible are found the words of Isaiah 56:7: "My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all Peoples."

The preserved original cornerstone from the Temple B'nai Israel in Oklahoma City, resting at an honored place on the campus, bears those sacred words.

NOTES and Disclosure: Pat McGuigan has covered diverse communities of faith and faith-based organizations throughout his career as a journalist, author and educator. A Gentile, he is a dues-paying member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City. He attended many Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, weddings, funerals, Israeli Scout visits, Martin Luther King, Jr. gatherings and a range of Inter-Faith events at Temple B'Nai Israel in Oklahoma City regularly since 1990.

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Jewish Federation hosts Members, Friends, Campers for July 4 event at Temple - Oklahoma City Sentinel

Amateur detectives are invited to join search for a lost Jewish library looted by the Nazis – JTA News – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Posted By on July 6, 2024

On the eve of World War II, the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies in Berlin embodied an avant-garde era for the study of modern Judaism and philosophy, hosting students from the leading thinker Leo Baeck to Czech Jewish writer Franz Kafka to the first woman rabbi, Regina Jonas.

It was also home to one of the worlds largest and most important Jewish libraries about 60,000 books of theology, history and literature that reflected the diversity of German-Jewish society before the Holocaust. Few traces remain of the institute, known in German as the Hochschule fr die Wissenschaft des Judentums, and its storied bookshelves: The Nazis shuttered the Hochschule, killed many of its members and plundered its library. After Germanys defeat, the books were scattered across the world.

But a group of researchers believe they can track down those lost books with help from the public. The Library of Lost Books, an international project from the Leo Baeck Institute, has created a series of online and physical exhibitions aimed at recruiting citizen scientists. The latest pop-up exhibition launched last month at Londons Wiener Holocaust Library, following similar events in Berlin and Prague, and runs until July 10.

Its a very vital part of the whole project to include the public in this search for the Nazi-looted books, Bettina Farack, a research fellow at the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Experts have been trying to locate those looted books over the last 20 years, and even though our colleagues have put a lot of effort into it and found quite a few books, theres still so much more to do that cannot be done by just a handful of experts.

So far, Farack and her colleagues have located 5,000 of the Hochschules 60,000 books. They are virtually uniting the volumes in a digital library, leaving the physical copies where they were discovered in institutions across Germany, Czechia, Britain, Israel, the United States, Mexico and South Africa. Without a successor to the Hochschule, there is no one to give the books back to.

Operating from 1872 to 1942, the Hochschule pioneered Jewish studies as a research discipline alongside rabbinical study and training. Previously, Germany had seminaries dedicated to ordaining rabbis, but no place for academic study of Jewish history and culture.

That was partly due to the reluctance of German public universities to integrate Jewish Studies into their curriculum, said Farack. You could study Christian theology of course at the universities, but there was no way of studying Jewish Studies. And so you needed an institution that actually offered this possibility.

The schools vast library supported its intellectual range. Works on both Jewish and Christian theology were available to students who researched the relationship between religions. Close to rare manuscripts, readers could find contemporary literature for their entertainment. The reading room was a social space filled with intellectual debates and sometimes even doubled as a dance floor.

The Hochschule also advanced the modern movement of liberal Judaism in Germany, known as Reform Judaism in the United States. Its professors taught rabbinical students about Judaism as an avenue for questions about universal ethics, philosophy and social change.

Among its students was Leo Baeck, ordained there as a rabbi in 1897. Baeck became a defining liberal Jewish theologian and the last leader of German Jewry under the Nazis, continuing his writings and lectures while imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. He survived the Holocaust, moved to London and became the first president of the Leo Baeck Institute in 1955.

A book burning in Germany in 1933. Early in their reign, the Nazis burned what they saw as degenerate books, but they later turned to cataloging Jewish books as relics of a bygone past. (Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Women at the Hochschule set new standards as educational and religious leaders. Jenny Wilde, who became the library director in 1926, was likely the first woman to helm a scholarly library in Germany. Student Regina Jonas graduated in 1930 with a thesis titled, Can women hold rabbinical office? She answered her own question in 1935, when she was ordained as the first female rabbi in history. She was killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944.

Kafka also attended the school, taking classes in Hebrew and studying Talmud while living in Berlin during the last year of his life. He wrote to a friend in 1923, To me the Academy for Jewish Studies is a refuge of peace in wild and woolly Berlin and in the wild and woolly regions of the mind.

Looting Jewish libraries became a crucial part of Nazi Germanys project to control narratives about Jewish history and culture. Though the Nazis may be better known for burning books than stealing them, book burnings took place earlier in their regime and were typically propaganda stunts destroying books they believed to have little value. Later, they developed an infrastructure of antisemitic studies, founding research institutes, departments and universities for Germans to rewrite Jewish history and they needed primary sources.

There was actually an academic discipline in Nazi Germany to study the enemy, said Kinga Bloch, deputy director of the Leo Baeck Institute in London. There were lots of young scholars using these sources in what they considered at the time to be academic research into the ideological enemy of Nazi Germany or what they considered to be their enemy, the Jews.

The Wiener Library exhibition reveals how the London institution has become intertwined with the Hochschules history, said Barbara Warnock, senior curator at the Wiener Library. Founder Alfred Wiener was himself a student at the Hochschule. Like Baeck, he was driven from Germany to Britain by Nazism, arriving as a refugee in 1939. While preparing for the exhibition, researchers found Hochschule documents in the Wiener Librarys collections including an original call slip from the Hochschule library.

The exhibition commemorates the Hochschule and its lost library through photographs, original documents and a model of the original building. But it also instructs visitors, including young students, on how to identify Hochschule books by examining library stamps and other unique markings.

Theres a notebook that were giving to people for free that has instructions about this, and pencils and pens, Warnock told JTA. And then theres information about some of the missing books, like reproductions of front covers.

The Library of Lost Books website instructs participants on how to share evidence of books thought to have been looted by the Nazis. (Screenshot)

The Leo Baeck Institute joins other groups seeking to recover fragments of Jewish culture that were destroyed by the Nazis. In Poland, researchers at the Grodzka Gate-NN Theater Center are searching for the lost library of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, another famed Jewish school whose books were plundered while its students were murdered. They have cataloged 850 books worldwide, including 10 volumes that were actually returned to the building of the former Lublin Yeshiva.

But unlike Lublins researchers, the Leo Baeck Institute does not aim to physically reunite any books from the Hochschule library. According to Bloch, their displacement is an important part of their story.

She hopes that exhibition visitors will be inspired not only to document the missing books, but also to follow their journeys the historical winds that blew them with looters, refugees and restitution organizations across the globe. Though the Hochschule is gone, in some way she believes that detectives who trace the paths of its books can bring the school back to life.

The more books we can find, the more we empower the Hochschule as a space, even though it doesnt exist any longer, said Bloch.

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Amateur detectives are invited to join search for a lost Jewish library looted by the Nazis - JTA News - Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Man arrested for threats against New York Hasidic village – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on July 6, 2024

A Suffern man was arrested on Thursday for making threats against the Hasidic village of New Square on social media, the Ramapo Police Department and Rockland County Sheriff announced on Friday.

The 44-year-old suspect was charged with making a terroristic threat, arraigned, and released on Friday.

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Man arrested for threats against New York Hasidic village - The Jerusalem Post

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky obituary: leading figure in Chabad, the global movement for Hasidic Jews – The Times

Posted By on July 6, 2024

It was at the annual Kinus Hashluchim, a gathering of all the emissaries of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, that Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky could celebrate the scale of his and his colleagues achievement. The movement aimed to provide spiritual and material sustenance to Jewish communities across the globe and encourage Hasidic observance. As the gatherings expanded, Kotlarsky could see its success arrayed before him.

He helped to plan the event meticulously, including a gala banquet that kept outgrowing its venues and became, with more than 6,000 participants, what was called the largest sit-down dinner in New York City.

Kotlarsky, who revelled in the role of master of ceremonies, would take a roll call of each of the shluchim, or emissaries, from different parts of the world.

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Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky obituary: leading figure in Chabad, the global movement for Hasidic Jews - The Times

ADL ‘Deeply Disappointed’ Over Academy Museum Event Featuring Anti-Israel Filmmakers: ‘They Cannot Allow This to … – TheWrap

Posted By on July 6, 2024

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt is deeply disappointed in the Academy Museums decision to platform two filmmakers who have repeatedly aligned themselves with anti-Israel and pro-Hamas movements, he said in an exclusive statement to TheWrap.

The event, which will be held at the museum on Friday at 7:30 pm PT, is titled Ahkam-E Negah (The Commandments of Looking): The Work of Maryam Tafakory and will include a note from Farihah Zaman, who programmed the event in partnership with Museum of the Moving Image as part of the ongoing series Infinite Beauty: Muslim and MENASA Identity Onscreen, according to the Academys website.

In his statement, Greenblatt said that Zaman and Tafakory have supported antisemitic protests and events in America and have called for a total academic and cultural boycott of the state of Israel.

At a time when antisemitism is at historic levels in the United States and around the world, we would have hoped to see the Academy exercise better judgement in selecting speakers for their filmmaker events, the ADL CEO added. We are currently in direct contact with leaders in the entertainment industry and are working to send a message to the leadership that they cannot allow this to continue.

Zaman, a queer Bangladeshi-American award-winning filmmaker, writer, and curator has been outspoken in her support for the Palestinian cause since Oct. 7, affiliating and protesting with Film Workers for Palestine, signing an open letter against Zionism and drawing comparisons to white supremacist society, on social media.

The Academy Museum event will feature the work of filmmaker Maryam Tafakory, who radically recontextualizes film, poetry, and archival sound and image to create a vital dialogue with post-Revolution Iranian cinema without centering a Western gaze.

Tafakory has expressed similar sentiment against Israel since the outbreak of war in Gaza. She withdrew her submission from the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam over criticism of her use of the phrase From the River to the Sea, which she said is an expression of liberation and resistance by Palestinian freedom fighters. To call this slogan hurtful is to be against the end of occupation.

Lets remember that this is a struggle against the white imperial supremacy and art institutions maintaining of the status quo for fear of losing funding, she said.

Both Tafakory and Zaman have repeatedly referred to the ongoing war in Gaza as a genocide.

The Academy did not immediately respond to TheWraps request for comment.

The Academy Museum event is the first dedicated Los Angeles screening of Tafakorys work, which will include Mast-del, the film withdrawn from the Amsterdam festival that premiered at Cannes in 2023.

The Museums film programming is funded by the Richard Roth Foundation, according to the event website.

Criticism of Fridays event comes just weeks after the museum enacted changes to its exhibit about the Jewish founders of Hollywood following backlash from many who considered it to be antisemitic.

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ADL 'Deeply Disappointed' Over Academy Museum Event Featuring Anti-Israel Filmmakers: 'They Cannot Allow This to ... - TheWrap


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