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ARCHIVES: In early 20th century, sports were measure of ‘Jewish manhood’ J. – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on July 6, 2022

Why dont more Jews play sports? In 1911, that question was on the mind of Rabbi Martin Meyer, who favored the moral and physical virtues of a nice outdoor game.

While it may be sporadically noted that a Jew participates in athletic events, or [is] a participant in outdoor sports, we anticipate the day when it will be the rule and not the exception, Martin wrote in an editorial in this paper.

Of course, Jews do play sports, and always have. They play in amateur leagues, in national championships and at the Olympics. They play baseball, they snowboard and they lift weights. We recently featured a group of athletes who are traveling to Israel from Northern California for the 2022 Maccabiah, the grand competition for Jewish athletes from around the world.

Throughout the decades, many articles about the relationship of Jews to sports have been published in this paper. Most point to examples of Jewish prowess on the field or in the ring, countering the image of Jews as bookish and feeble that is a core tenet of antisemitism. Others promote a muscular Judaism that combines a sharp mind with physical vigor.

The cure for the card-playing propensities of our men is the substitution of a keen interest in outdoor life and athletic activities, Meyer wrote in 1911. It will be a good day for our young Jews when they shall have developed a wholesome physical manhood; they will be less the victims of assault either verbal or physical; they will carry themselves with new dignity and power because of their own increased value.

In 1912, a lengthy article celebrated the fact that a bunch of the citys Jews turned out for a track-and-field event sponsored by Bnai Brith.

There was also present very large number of non-members, their families and friends who came to see the sons of the covenant in the new role of athletes and gymnasts in which the rising generation of Israel can give as good an account of itself as the former generations excelled in religious fervor and spiritual enthusiasm, wrote Bernard M. Kaplan, the editor of the paper at the time.

What was wrong with these early, non-sporty generations? Kaplan took the debate all the way back to the Torah. The Jews were priests and scholars, but did that mean they sat around all day? Not so, he wrote. The Biblical records show that the men in ancient Israel were healthy and vigorous, he noted.

But it wasnt achieved through organized sports. What is true is that athletic sports and exercises were neglected and even discouraged in ancient Israel, Kaplan explained, because the athletic sports among the pagans were usually accompanied by the most revolting vices.

Only Hellenized Jews took part in the Olympic Games, which were entirely under debasing and degrading Greek influences.

According to the J. archives, this state of affairs lasted quite a while.

Until the twentieth century physical prowess was generally despised among Jews, who since the Dispersion have found their sole recreation in the things of the mind and the spirit. This contempt for sports gave birth to the myth of the Jews physical inferiority, this paper stated in 1934, summing up thousands of years of history in one sentence. The physical effects of Ghetto environment on generations of Jewish youth, rabbinic opposition to sports, Jewish resignation to physical persecution, the Jews traditional occupation with pacific pursuits and centuries of social and political confinement contributed to the growth of this legend.

Those statements were made in an article about the Maccabiah (sometimes known as the Maccabi Games or Maccabiad), the Jewish Olympics, founded in 1932. The first Maccabiah was held in Tel Aviv as an offshoot of the network of Maccabi athletic clubs in Europe.

Organization of the Maccabiad was a herculean job, the article noted. Funds were lacking. Transportation of athletes from one country to another presented great difficulties. Athletic facilities in Palestine were lacking. Jewish public opinion was indifferent.

Indifferent or not, public opinion apparently came around in the U.S. anyway: In the past year the Maccabi has become firmly established in this country and plans are being made to send a thoroughly representative American team of twenty-five to the second Maccabiad at Tel Aviv in April, 1935.

In 2022, the Maccabiah team will be a bit bigger over 1,300 Jews will travel to Israel with Team USA, nearly 70 of them from cities in Northern California. Is this representation a sign that sports have finally penetrated Jewish culture? Caricatures still paint Jews as feeble and unathletic, but even modern, rational Jews of 1912 understood that health was wealth and, moreover, it could be achieved in a Jewish fashion.

Kaplan, clearly not able to imagine a world where women were equals, let alone athletes, wrote, We are particularly pleased to see our youth engage in athletic sports under the auspices of Jewish institutions and Jewish men aiming at the development of perfect Jewish manhood mentally, religiously and morally.

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ARCHIVES: In early 20th century, sports were measure of 'Jewish manhood' J. - The Jewish News of Northern California

Rise of anti-Zionist Jews and heretical messianism – The Jewish Star

Posted By on July 6, 2022

By Benjamin Kerstein

Anyone involved in the discourse on Israel and Zionism is aware that the words as a Jew often presage something distinctly monstrous, such as ferocious denunciations of Israel, Zionism, the Israel lobby, and the pro-Israel American Jewish majority.

It would be a mistake, however, to see anti-Zionist Jews as wholly alien to us. They are, in fact, part of our historical legacy and a phenomenon that has recurred throughout the history of the Diaspora: that of radical Jewish messianism.

Messianism is, of course, fundamental to Jewish belief, and is not by definition a bad thing. At its best, it can be what philosopher Eric Hoffer called a miraculous instrument for raising societies and nations from the dead an instrument of resurrection. Indeed, even secular Zionists are Messianists to one degree or another. In its radical form, however, Jewish messianism has remarkable destructive potential.

Radical messianism, generally speaking, has followed a consistent pattern over the centuries, and usually occurs in four stages. The formulation that follows is my own, but it stands on the formidable shoulders of the great scholar of the Kabbalah Gershom Scholem, particularly his bookThe Messianic Idea in Judaism.

Antinomianism: After declaring the arrival or imminent arrival of the messianic age, the Messianists assert that Jewish tradition and law have been superseded, transformed or completely vitiated, and often engage in behavior that directly challenges Jewish norms. The most famous example is the 17th century movement surrounding the false messiah Sabbatai Zevi.

Spiritualization: As part of this rejection of the law, Messianists spiritualize it. The rabbinic tradition is rejected as too much of this world to wield practical authority in the next, and is declared to be, at best, an expression of spiritual truths. Practice, in effect, becomes faith.

Heresy: Antinomianism and spiritualization inevitably lead to outright heresy. For example, the person of the messianic claimant is often declared Divine, contrary to Jewish prohibitions on idolatry. The ultimate result is usually a complete break from Judaism itself through conversion or even the founding of a separate religion the most obvious example being Christianity.

Retaliation: Having split from Judaism, the now independent Messianists turn on it, denounce and demonize their former brethren and often incite or commit acts of considerable violence. The long history of Christian anti-Semitism is the best-known example, but cults like the 18th century Frankists who aided in a blood libel case after abandoning Judaism en masse have also followed this pattern.

In the case of the anti-Zionist Jews, we are seeing this process repeat itself. First, the anti-Zionist Jews are proudly antinomian (defined in Wikipedia as any view which rejects laws or legalism and argues against moral, religious or social norms, or is at least considered to do so. The term has both religious and secular meanings).

They reject, in whole or in part, the moral consensus of the Jewish people which is, whether the anti-Zionist Jews like it or not, profoundly Zionist. Indeed, if it were not, the anti-Zionist Jews would have no reason to exist, given that they base their entire identity on violating that particular norm.

Out of their antinomianism, they are creating something like a heretical faith. Being an anti-Zionist Jew is taking on a systemic form that defines personal and spiritual identity much as formal religion does. In effect, the anti-Zionist Jews undergo a conversion, though in a distinctly secular age, formal conversion is no longer necessary. Political submission is all that is required.

If anything defines the anti-Zionist Jews, it is their remarkably hateful and poisonous rhetoric. To them, the Jewish people are a force for pure evil. As a result, they accuse us of all possible sins: racism, genocide, settler-colonialism, political and financial corruption and undue influence, control of the media and the public discourse and so on.

Moreover, the intention behind their discursive venom is obvious: not just to defame the Jews, but to break them. This is, in fact, the ultimate essence of their ideology. They know that they cannot break Israel without also breaking the Jews, and this, they hope, will be their ultimate vengeance.

In quite another context, Scholem wrote: Whether or not Jewish history will be able to endure this entry into the concrete realm without perishing in the crisis of the Messianic claim which has virtually been conjured up that is the question which out of his great and dangerous past the Jew of this age poses to his present and to his future.

In an age in which, to some degree, Jewish redemption and Jewish destiny have been realized in Zionism and the State of Israel, we must also ask this question. But if anything is certain, it is that even though they are part of a long and often dark tradition that is nonetheless ours the anti-Zionist Jews have already perished in the crisis of the messianic claim.

It is incumbent upon the rest of us, who have made the choice to stand firm in our sense of redemption and destiny, to see that we endure it and them.

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Rise of anti-Zionist Jews and heretical messianism - The Jewish Star

Joining, giving and teaching with Susan Kristol – Washington Jewish Week

Posted By on July 6, 2022

(Photo courtesy of Susan Kristol)

Susan Kristol gets to the root of her work, connecting her Judaism to her background teaching Latin and Greek literature at the University of Pennsylvania and Brandeis University.

This 68-year-old from McLean said she was raised as a Reform Jew, but became a Conservative Jew because she felt more rooted in the Jewish tradition and liked the Conservative focus on worship.

I dont want to criticize anyones choice of what stream of Judaism theyre in. The reason is that I spent a lot of my life learning how to teach and read ancient Greek and Latin literature. So I was an expert in this whole part of the ancient world, but not in the world of Judaism, which was coterminous with it.

Now retired, Kristol teaches adult education classes on biblical topics at her synagogue, Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax, and studies biblical Hebrew.

When Kristol attended a Reform synagogue in New York as a child, many temples didnt teach Hebrew. I didnt even know the Hebrew alphabet even though Id gone to Sunday school from kindergarten through the 10th grade confirmation.

I felt that was a huge lack and I wasnt well enough connected with the Jewish people. So thats another thing, since Im a language person, the challenge of learning biblical Hebrew, learning the 2 hour prayer service that was a pleasant challenge for me.

A Harvard University Ph.D. in classical philology, Kristol loved the opportunity to introduce students to great literature that was written 3,000 years ago.

People tend to feel like if its not modern, its not good, or its primitive in some way. But the poems that were composed by Homer are just as sophisticated as any great novel you may read in the 21st century. People had the same dilemmas back then that we have today.

Her recent synagogue classes have focused on the Book of Esther and the Book of Psalms with an attendance of 30 to 60 people.

Kristol and her husband, Bill, a Republican political commentator and fierce Trump critic, moved from Boston to Northern Virginia in 1985. Bill Kristol got a job as a special assistant in the federal government. Susan took time off to be a stay-at-home mom. They have three married children in their 30s and seven grandchildren.

She has taken on several leadership roles in the community. She served on the board of the Washington Chamber Society, the Madeira School and Gesher Jewish Day School. She is the 2020-2022 board president of Pozez Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia and has served on the Olam Tikvah board. This is her third year serving on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She is also recognized as a Lion of Judah, the Federation worlds honor for women who endow at least $100,000 to support the Jewish community.

The organizations that do a lot of good in the community might not be able to raise sufficient funds on their own without being part of the Federation umbrella, she said. It does incredible work to support all kinds of institutions like the day schools or Jewish summer camps, organizations for group homes and JSSA.

To a younger generation, Kristol said, the Federation is a way to connect your love of Judaism and love of culture with a lot of very smart, motivated Jewish people that dont necessarily live in your immediate neighborhood.

Jewish causes are not her only interest. Kristol has volunteered in first and second grade classes in Title I Fairfax County Public Schools.

Her son enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in Afghanistan. I found this wonderful group called Marine Parents for family members that want to connect with each other. Eventually I was managing a group that served meals to seriously injured Marines coming back from Afghanistan to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Of Northern Virginias Jewish community, she says: Geographically, from Alexandria all the way up to Loudoun County, its hard to have real cohesion.

Developing leadership and encouraging more youthful involvement will make it more cohesive, she said.

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Joining, giving and teaching with Susan Kristol - Washington Jewish Week

CUNY Schools Jews on the New Race Regime – Tablet Magazine

Posted By on July 6, 2022

Of all the signs that the Jewish communitys political influence has waned in New York City, perhaps none has been as stark as the City University of New Yorks frequent spasms of open distaste toward the Jews, many of them Mizrahi, middle class, or foreign born, who attend its dozens of colleges and graduate schools. The CUNY law school faculty unanimously endorsed a student council Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions resolution targeting Israel in May. Those students had also chosen Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of a radical activist group committed to globalizing the Intifada against Israeli Jews and their sympathizers, as one of their commencement speakers. The Professional Staff Congress, a union representing 30,000 CUNY employees, had passed a resolution in 2021 condemning Israel for the massacre of Palestinians and stating the union would consider an endorsement of BDS sometime in the near future.

Even if one doesnt believe that repeated, organized, and highly selective attacks on the worlds only Jewish state are antisemitic, Jewish students and faculty have often reported a climate of stifling hostility that has forced them to hide outward signs of their Jewishness, and made it impossible to hold or promote even neutral events like Holocaust commemorations. An engine of social mobility for generations of Jewish New Yorkers had become a place where one of the citys largest ethnic minorities no longer felt welcome. Like the high quality of the municipal tap water, CUNY is one of the last points of pride in New York Citys rapidly declining public sector. But to its critics, the university administration doesnt care about the antisemitism in its midst, or even recognize it as a problem.

Recourse lies with the few remaining elected representatives inclined to do something about the plight of the average New York Jew, who isnt particularly rich, powerful, or cool, and holds the unhip belief that Israel should exist. The state of New York is in danger of losing its last Jewish member of the House of Representatives; meanwhile the citys most powerful elected Jew, Comptroller Brad Lander, is a progressive from Brooklyns brownstone belt, someone notably at home in the bourgeois activist world of the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. The charge against CUNYs alleged complacency is instead being led by one of the citys least powerful elected Jews, at least on paper: A Ukrainian-born, 37-year-old woman who is one-fifth of the 51-member City Councils Republican minority.

Inna Vernikov stood at the base of City Hall steps on Thursday morning in front of rows of activists in blue #EndJewHatred T-shirts. In the back, a man in a blue Keep America Great hat cradled a small dog; on the other side of the plaza facing New York Citys beaux-arts capitol building, perhaps the entire male membership of the Neturei Karta Hasidic sect chanted its predictable anti-Zionist slogans, hoisting the same signs theyve been bringing to events like these for most of the past several decades. Above Vernikov, a trio of differently patternedPride flags hanging from a stone balustrade suggested the city had now come under the control of a coalition of very colorful militia groups. This was a typical New York circus, complete with a pro-Israel demonstrator who introduced himself to me as a retired NYPD officer and longtime clown. But the petite Vernikov is a figure before whom nonsense evaporates.

We have a major problem in this city, Vernikov began, a culture of antisemitism thats engulfed our college campuses. Vernikov has shoulder-length hair that is almost hypnotically black; her nails were painted the same deep white as her jacket. She delivered her remarks quickly and clearly, in an accent that can only exist in New YorkChernivtsi by way of Sheepshead Bay, containing textures of sharpness and emphasis originating on opposite sides of the planet. The first Republican to represent anywhere in Brooklyn in the City Council since 2002 speaks with a directness that may very well be native to southwestern Ukraine, but which anyone who rides the Q, F, or D trains far enough can instantly recognize.

Vernikov explained that the mornings hearing had originally been scheduled for early June, only to be canceled when CUNY Chancellor Felix V. Matos Rodriguez said he couldnt attend. The meeting was postponed to accommodate him. In a rhetorical gift to Vernikov, Rodriguez decided at the last second that he wouldnt show up today either. What a sham, thundered the councilwoman. What an insult to the Jewish community of New York This is why we have this problem, because nobodys being held accountable.

The accountability portion of the morning, a hearing of the City Councils higher education committee, could be witnessed by only a small handful of people, thanks to ongoing COVID restrictions in municipal buildings, which are a convenient yet increasingly transparent excuse for the kind of open-ended petty dysfunction that characterizes much of life in New York now. The hearing took place on the 16th floor of a dispiriting ziggurat-shaped high-rise across the street from City Hall, and a line of scheduled witnesseswas kept standing in its sweltering lobby for 45 minutes. Among them were Alyza Lewin, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, fresh off the organizations victory against Unilever, which the day before had announced it was effectively overruling its subsidiary company Ben & Jerrys boycott of Israeli communities in the West Bank. CUNYs law school had become an area of particular focus for Lewin, who said that student and faculty BDS resolutions, along with the Kiswani speech, were part of a larger atmosphere of intimidation that had made most Jewish students afraid to assert their identities in any meaningful way. Its as if theyve cleansed the law school of any pro-Israel or Zionist student, she said.

How, I wondered, had CUNY become like this? What was it about the politics of the institution, or the politics of the famously Jewish city that operated it, that had allowed the university to reach this point? David Brodsky, chair of the Jewish studies department at CUNYs Brooklyn College and a fellow line-stander, was meticulously nonpartisan in his analysis. The problem is much bigger than CUNY: Antisemitism is systemic in Western society. It manifests in ways that are under peoples radar, the Talmudist explained. Unless you recognize where its coming from systemically, you fall prey to it.

In Brodskys view, many of his colleagues had succumbed to this hidden and ancient mania, endemic to even the most tolerant and open of societies. He quoted an email from the Cross-CUNY Working Group on Racism and Colonialism addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: There are not multiple perspectives on this topic. There is only resistance or complicity to genocide. Later, during his testimony before the committee, Brodsky mentioned an incident in which a professor withheld a recommendation letter until a student clarified their position on Israel, the kind of event that only needs to happen once to cause a broader chilling effect, as indeed it had. Jews have an increasing fear of coming to campus, Brodsky told the committee.

As I spoke with Lewin and Brodsky, Vernikov herself appeared in the lobby to personally assure everyone that they would have a chance to testify, and said she had asked for more people to be allowed into the hearing room. A few minutes later, the sergeant-at-arms announced that an overflow room had been set up just down the hall from the hearing. She has a lot of ideas, which is good, Karen Lichtbraun, a Manhattan activist with the more hardline Jewish group Yad Yamin, told me at the press conference earlier. And she acts on her ideas, which most elected officials dont.

It turned out that the hearing was more compelling as a television showwith quick cuts between determined questioners and witnesses calling in from somewhere almost disrespectfully close bythan it would have been as a live event. Glenda Grace, a Columbia Law-educated special counsel to the university, was there in place of Rodriguez and appeared over Zoom. Vernikov earned her JD from the Florida Coastal School of Law, and she approached Grace as a cross-examining lawyer would, attempting to establish a series of premises that built off of one another. In turn, Graces goal was to avoid putting herself in the position of freelancing university policy by accident or admitting any legally actionable wrongdoing.

Vernikov sought to get Grace to affirm that Zionism was a core aspect of Jewish identity, such that attacks on Zionists as a group would then be considered discriminatory against Jewsmeaning that CUNY would have a legal obligation to in some way lessen the impact of these attacks or stop them altogether. I would have to look to see what our policy says, was Graces consistent, lawyerly refrain, which carefully avoided turning Zionist Jews into a distinct identity group within the CUNY system. I dont understand what that means, Democratic City Council member Kalman Yeger, himself an alumnus of Brooklyn Law School, eventually replied to the umpteenth reference to this suddenly ambiguous policy. I think the word dialogue was used several hundred times today, Yeger later quipped to the committee.

At one point, Vernikov made three attempts at asking: Do you think Jews can freely express their views on a campus where faculty open discriminate against them? a question that Grace skillfully filibustered.

Rodriguezs decision not to testify was a boon to CUNYs critics, probably more important than anything actually said in the hearing. In the hearing room, the rhetorical deadlock often favored Vernikov, who understood that Grace was there in order to prevent CUNY from committing itself to much of anything. Vernikov asked if the school would denounce the BDS movement, in full knowledge of what the answer would be. Grace claimed that the university had already voiced its opposition to the boycott movement, and was prohibited by a state executive order to join a boycott of Israel even if it supported such a thing, which, to be clear, it did not. Grace even went so far as to say the movement was wrong. The word denounce was still nowhere to be heard, whatever the subjective importance of a CUNY official saying or not saying it. Later in the day, Vernikov would land a more definitive punch on CUNY union President James Davis, who under the councilwomans questioning either temporarily forgot that he was a supporter of BDS or was too ashamed to admit his actual views, even over Zoom.

Perhaps the goal of the hearing was a legalistic demonstration that CUNY and its faculty do not consider a supposedly core aspect of Jewish identity, namely Zionism, to be worth protecting on its campus, thus building a case for some future policy or reform. Yeger and Vernikov attempted to establish, with uneven success, that the administrations alleged tolerance of organized faculty BDS activity amounted to discrimination on CUNYs part, on the grounds that the school had allowed a hateful movement to fester among its staff and students. Grace, and thus CUNY, did not share Vernikovs and Yegers apparent views on where the institution should draw the line between protected speech and alleged discrimination. The councilmembers nevertheless proved that no CUNY campus had any serious anti-antisemitism sensitivity training mandated among students or staff, and that antisemitism is at best an afterthought in the universitys otherwise formidable Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) regime.

One hearing witness was Adela Cojab Moadeb, who has no CUNY affiliation but recently sued New York University, alleging that a failure to prevent the mistreatment of Jewish students amounted to a violation of her rights under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title VI mandated that students have to have equal access to educational opportunities in accordance with their full identity, Lewin had explained to me downstairs while we both waited in line. In essence, Lewin said, universities have a legal obligation to protect students from harassment. If they cant meet that obligation, theyve jeopardized their various accreditations and could become ineligible for government funding.

It is not a stretch to wonder if a pro-Zionist diversity bureaucrat is an ideological contradiction in terms.



The threat of lawsuits or the prospect of other Title VI-related enforcement could force the university into action. What kind of action? Vernikovs prescription included sensitivity training around antisemitism, the appointment of a diversity officer who would handle cases of antisemitism, and CUNYs adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliances definition of antisemitism, which has been widely interpreted as claiming that anti-Zionism can be a type of anti-Jewish hatred.

The critics strategy seems to be to use both the legal system and legislative pressure to force CUNY to more fully include Jews within its existing diversity bureaucracy. This means accepting the divisive logic of this bureaucracy, which would turn Jews into another one of a range of aggrieved and oppressed campus minority groups, complete with their own designated institutional protectors who can supposedly ensure that they are treated with the level of respect that federal civil rights law and the universitys nondiscrimination policy require. This approach comes with its own complications and contradictions. Perhaps it is the sensitivity-training industrial complex that itself creates the current hierarchy of bureaucratic concern, for example, allowing for fashionable bigotries like antisemitism and Israelophobia to fester and bloom while focusing its efforts on what are deemed to be more urgent manifestations of Americas incurable racism.

It is not a stretch to wonder if a pro-Zionist diversity bureaucrat is an ideological contradiction in terms, and if on a present-day campus, the antisemitism-focused officers will themselves be anti-Zionists empowered to define any pesky-enough problem out of existence. In the unlikely event the bureaucrats are in fact Zionists, they might be just as isolated and scorned by their colleagues as many Jews at CUNY apparently are these days.

Perhaps DEI just doesnt work and training college students, faculty, and administrators to be more sensitive to Jewsand also to fear Jewish students hypothetical ability to wreck their lives and careerswont have the harmonizing outcome Vernikov and others hope it will. But perhaps theres no other way now, and at an institution like CUNY, a group must either work within a morally and legally corrosive system with no proven record of solving the problems it claims to exist to solve, or risk having no protections left at all.

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CUNY Schools Jews on the New Race Regime - Tablet Magazine

Chabad Jewish Center of Troy to Open School this Fall Detroit Jewish News – The Jewish News

Posted By on July 6, 2022

In time for the upcoming school year, Chabad Jewish Center of Troy is launching a brand-new Hebrew School of the Arts. The school will service preschool and elementary level children to provide them Jewish education in a fun and meaningful way.

At the Hebrew School of the Arts we have developed exactly this, said Rabbi Menachem Caytak of Chabad Jewish Center of Troy. The curriculum, called Super Jew, is an immersive and transformative curriculum that will enable our children to form deep attachments to Judaism on practical, emotional and spiritual levels.

Classes will run from 10 a.m.-noon Sundays starting Fall of 2022-2023.

Each week, the teacher will broach an exciting Super Powers framework to introduce a new dilemma, scenario or challenge to the students. These scenarios will be relatable to their day-to-day lives. Using clues, the students will be taken on an exploratory journey with facts, and how-to information from the Torah that will lead them to gain a full understanding of the subject matter.

In addition, at the Hebrew School of the Arts, the students will learn how to read Hebrew with an award-winning program called Aleph Champ.

At Hebrew School of the Arts we strive to stress the beauty and warmth of Judaism and its mitzvot, providing a learning experience in an atmosphere of joy and liveliness, Caytak said.

Chana Caytak, the schools director. said, Education is at the core of everything. What we teach children in their formative years creates an indelible impact and foundation for their entire adult lives. And not only are the students themselves transformed, but the positive impact of their learning extends to their families and friends.

The Hebrew School of the Arts is also proud to offer scholarships to families in need. Through the generosity of Jamie Blumenthal and the team at Long Lake Plaza in Troy, its policy is that no child is turned away due to lack of funds.

For more information and to register, visit or contact Chana Caytak at or (248) 877-5781.

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Chabad Jewish Center of Troy to Open School this Fall Detroit Jewish News - The Jewish News

How have Jewish summer camps changed throughout the years? Experts explain – Yahoo Canada Shine On

Posted By on July 6, 2022

Jewish summer camps have a rich history dating back to before World War I. (Photo: Getty Creative)

The Jewish summer camp experience has become a beloved summer memory for many Jewish families and communities. But these summertime programs have not always been the Jewish summer camps of today. Through the decades, summer camps have varied between everything from an experience that excluded Jewish people to one that was used to protect and support Jewish children from the effects of war.

Jonathan Krasner is a professor of Jewish education at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. who reports that in the very early years of summer camp in the U.S., Jewish people and other minority communities were left out of these traditional summertime activities.

"Camps often had Christian influences," he explains, "and while some were officially non-denominational, many camps were restricted which means that Jews, Black people and other marginalized people were not permitted to enroll."

Krasner says as a result, Jews started creating their own parallel institutions to traditional American summer camps, beginning in 1893. As Jewish organizations began to open facilities all their own, they followed the two different traditional structures for American summer camps: private camps and "fresh air" camps.

"Private and institutionally-affiliated camps were for middle-class and wealthy kids," says Krasner. "And, fresh air camps were for children of immigrants and other at-risk populations."

"For middle and upper-class families, the growth of summer camps at the turn of the 20th century was part of a wider cultural reaction to urbanization and industrialization," he adds. "Nostalgia was palpable for what was imagined as a simpler time, when humans were more connected to the land and to nature."

For the children of immigrants, fresh air camps were touted for their health benefits. According to Krasner, parents saw the value of relocating kids from hot, overcrowded city neighborhoods and exposing them to nature, fresh air, hearty food and wholesome play.

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"Camps were [also] agents of Americanization: teaching immigrant kids how to play American sports and encouraging them to develop a taste for American cuisine and enjoy popular American pastimes," he says, adding that these early Jewish summer camps gave Jewish children a camp they could attend, but werent much different from their non-Jewish counterparts. If any Jewish culture was presented, like Friday evening services and a Shabbat dinner, it was minimal.

"After World War I, a new type of Jewish summer camp developed," says Krasner, "the Jewish culture camp."

"These camps had many of the same activities as the general camps, but the atmosphere was distinctly Jewish," he continues. "The emphasis was on spending the summer immersed in Jewish culture and living rich, joyfully-Jewish lives."

These newer Jewish summer camps were not only a place for fun and cultural discovery. In some cases, they were a safe haven for Jewish children in high-risk areas of the country during World War II.

"While camps in picturesque remote locations always had a cache with the rich, parents found a new reason to favor these camps during World War II," Krasner tells Yahoo Life. "[Parents] fearing U-Boat attacks (a type of naval submarine operated by Germany during the first and second World Wars) on East Coast population centers, packed their kids off to camp in remote locations like the Adirondacks and central Maine."

As World War II came to an end in 1945, Jewish summer camps, along with many other Jewish institutions, saw massive amounts of growth throughout the U.S.

Daniel Olson, director of strategic initiatives and research at the National Ramah Commission in New York, says in 1947 when the first Camp Ramah (Jewish summer camps affiliated with the Conservative Movement of Judaism) opened, it was just the beginning of the second stage of Jewish summer camps.

"There were camps organized around using Hebrew, using Yiddish, teaching socialist values or being early Zionists supporting Jewish state-building in Palestine," he tells Yahoo Life. "At that time, the American-Jewish community was more established with less concerns about assimilating into mainstream American culture so, the post-World War II period is when you saw Jewish denominations getting into the summer camp game and having a much more self-conscious focus on Jewish education for leadership development."

Olson says 75 years later, stories of that first summer at Camp Ramah, so close to the end of the atrocities of the Holocaust and World War II, are still remembered to this day. And, while some American children had been protected from potential attacks by Jewish summer camps, refugees new to the country found comfort and community in these summer experiences after the war had ended.

Today, Jewish summer camps continue to be a part of the Jewish experience in the U.S. and around the world, a phenomenon experts believe may be tied to a third wave of camping, focused on individuality.

Rabbi Avi Katz Orlow is the New York-based vice president of innovation and education at Foundation for Jewish Camp. Orlow says Jewish summer camps have entered into a new phase, paving the way to continue the tradition of the Jewish summer camp experience.

"Now it's how do we make them good Jews?" he says "Even if there are many different flavors of what a good Jew could look like. The third phase happened about 13 years ago an enterprise to build new specialty camps, to bring new kids to the market who would not necessarily be going to Jewish camp otherwise"

"Reform science camps, farm-to-table camps how do we take these niches of human existence and integrate Jewish into that space and bring new people into the camp environment?" Orlow adds.

Olson agrees, and says in recent decades, Jewish summer camps have learned not only how to share a more authentic, full Jewish life, but also how to be more inclusive.

"We've learned a lot in the last generation," Olson says. "People who come to camp learn how to live in a community and how to have respect for lots of different people. Disability inclusion has been a part of Ramah for the last 52 years and is now a part of many many other Jewish summer camps as well."

"Respect for difference and the full diversity of our communities is a really important outcome here," he adds. "When you're living an an immersive especially for the overnight camps 24/7 environment, surrounded by other people, there's an incredible opportunity to not just learn about Jewish values, traditions, rituals and customs, but also to live them out all the time. That, I think, is one of the most special pieces that Jewish summer camps provide for kids and staff members."

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How have Jewish summer camps changed throughout the years? Experts explain - Yahoo Canada Shine On

Boris Nayfeld, the Jewish Gangster-Survivor, and the Birth of the Russian Mob in Brooklyn – CrimeReads

Posted By on July 6, 2022

I shouldnt be alive today.

That was one of the first things Boris Nayfeld told me when I met him four years ago.

On a sweltering Saturday in late June 2018, we sat outdoors at Tatiana Grill, a popular restaurant on the Brighton Beach boardwalk, tossing back shots of Russian vodka chased by the warm salty Atlantic breeze, surrounded by young women from St. Petersburg and Kiev and Odessa who wore more makeup than clothes.

Known to his friends and family as Biba and described in the New York tabloids as the last boss of the original Russian Mafia in America, Boris had every right to marvel at the fact that he was alive and smiling and talking into my digital recorder. Hed survived multiple assassination attemptsshot point-blank by that Uzi submachine gun in 1986; he also escaped unscathed in 1991 when a grenade planted under his Lincoln Town Car failed to detonate. At age eighteen, he served three years of hard labor in a Soviet prison camp; after emigration to the United States, he spent a substantial portion of his life in various federal penitentiaries.

Now seventy-four, Boris is still an imposing figure with a shaved head, piercing blue eyes, and a burly physique covered in prison-inked tattoos. Four macabre skulls. A menacing tail-rattling scorpion. A massively hooded king cobra. A Star of David inset with a Hebrew Bible topped by an elaborate crown. To initiates in the world of Russian organized crime, the blue ink on his upper body can be read like a pictorial storybook, rendering Nayfelds entire rsum as a professional criminal: its a rap sheet that includes convictions as a racketeer, a heroin trafficker, a money launderer, and an extortionist. Hes also been suspected of orchestrating several high-profile gangland murders, though he was never charged or indicted and hasof courserepeatedly denied complicity.

Few of his contemporaries from the Soviet migr underworld in Brighton Beach made it to his advanced age. Many, though not all, died public and violent deaths. Boris is virtually the last mobster of his generation standing.

The ultimate survivor.

His life story offers us a window into a singular moment in modern historywhen a wave of Jews fleeing Soviet oppression in the 1970s arrived in the United States and, following in the footsteps of a previous generation of young hoodlums like Meyer Lansky, Benjamin Bugsy Siegel, and Louis Lepke Buchalter, applied both brains and brawn to making their fortunes as outlaws in America.

But that wave of Soviet migr criminals in the 1970s and 80s was unlike any that had come before. They were cosmopolitan, sophisticated, often university-educated men whod survived for years in the Soviet Union by applying their ingenuity and daring to bilk the corrupted state. They settled in the decaying South Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach, for generations a haven for immigrant Jews, and refashioned it as their own Little Odessa.

Almost immediately, criminals like Boris Nayfeld distinguished themselves for their fearlessness. They partnered with, but were never cowed by, the Italian American Mafia. They joked about how easy it was to steal in America. They scoffed at the cushiness of U.S. penitentiaries in comparison to the starvation conditions in the forced labor camps theyd experienced in the Soviet Union. They displayed a ruthlessness and casual use of violence that shocked even jaded members of U.S. law enforcement. In contrast to more established organized crime groupsas Boris never fails to remind metheir power lay in the fact that they felt they had fuck all to lose.

Yes, they were tough, but their intellect, creativity, and global ambitions truly distinguished them among the ranks of American gangsters. The schemes concocted by Boris and his fellow criminals from the Soviet Union seem, even today, remarkable for their ingenuity and brazenness. These were guys whod survived in a totalitarian state that normalized illegal activity, one that viewed crime as a form of anti-communist rebellion and even elevated it to an art form.

In the United States, their illicit ventures escalated from audacious and theatrical jewelry swindles to the most sophisticated financial fraud, stock manipulation, and international money laundering. In a few short years, the Brighton Beach mobs tentacles stretched over to Antwerp and Berlin, from Bangkok to Sierra Leone. As youll read, Boris Nayfeld and his partners were among the first to spot and exploit the untold fortunes to be made in the economic chaos after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union began its inexorable collapse.

They also targeted many routine aspects of daily life that we all take for granted in the United Statesfrom putting gas in our cars to the credit cards we use to pay for it. Soviet-born criminals, and their Italian American mob partners, stole billions of dollars in gasoline excise taxes through daisy-chain schemes that have become the stuff of underworld lore. And it took FBI and IRS agents years to figure out how they were doing it. They pioneered and perfected new forms of bank fraud and myriad health insurance scams; they counterfeited everything from hundred-dollar bills to Marlboro cigarettes.

Their criminal genius lay in exploiting the unseen weaknesses within the economic system right under our noses.

When I met Boris Nayfeld, he was seventy years old and on parole for his final felony convictiona bizarre murder-for-hire plot turned into an extortion scheme that was splashed all over the tabloids for weeks; at the sentencing hearing in the Southern District of New York in July 2016, the prosecutor described Boris as an extremely complicated person with a rich criminal history whod spent most of his adult life in Russian organized crime.

Extremely complicated is an understatement.

In the four years Ive known Borisinterviewing him at his home, hanging out in noisy Brooklyn restaurants and scorching banyashis personality remains a conundrum. Hes at once chilling and charming; cunning and street-smart, and, somehow, remarkably nave.

Ive watched him describe with utter detachment scenes of extraordinary violence committed to him, around him, by him. Ive also listened to him talk with passion and sophistication about reading Dostoevskys novels while locked up for eight straight months of solitary confinement in the notorious Special Housing Unit (or Shoe) at the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Lower Manhattan.

Boris has said repeatedly that he has no regrets for anything hes done in his life. Yet across his stomach, tattooed in massive blue Hebrew letters, are the words God Forgive Me.

Its hard to reconcile many of these internal contradictions; but this duality is, I believe, what makes Boris Nayfeld a uniquely fascinating character.

His story provides the first authentic insiders perspective on the birth of modern Russian organized crime and its continuing ramifications in our contemporary world. Vladimir Putins Russia has often been described as a virtual mafia state; the criminal career of Boris Nayfeld, a man roughly the same age as Putin, offers us a unique, granular insight into how the former Soviet Union became the largest kleptocracy in history.

On one level, this is a classic immigrant story: in the early 1950s, Boris Mikhailovich Nayfeld was just some abandoned Jewish kid in a backwater city in the Byelorussian Republic of the USSR. In 1979, he managed to escape to the West, and by the early 1990s hed become a Bentley-driving multimillionaire whod clawed his way to a top perch in the New York City underworld.


Almost from the first moment I met Boris Nayfeld, he fascinated me. In part, this could be because our family roots are so similar. Though one of my grandfathers hailed from Warsawbefore the Holocaust the largest Jewish community in the world, outside of New Yorkmy other three grandparents came to the United States from Bialystok, then a predominantly Jewish city within the Russian Empire, located approximately four hundred miles to the west of Boriss hometown of Gomel.

White Russia.

Thats the literal translation of Byelorussiatodays independent Republic of Belarus.

Though the borders were constantly shifting, in my grandparents era, the Jews of White Russia lived within the Grodno Governorate, a far western province of Czar Nicholas IIs empire, abutting on Poland and home to some of the largest citiesBialystok, Grodno, Minsk, Brestin which Jews were allowed to live and work under the restrictive laws of the Pale of Settlement.

Unlike Boriss family, my grandparents were lucky to get out of Russia in time.

Still teenagers, traveling alone, sometimes lying in the official paperwork about their ages, they escaped the pogroms and the Czarist conscription of World War I and, later, the scorched-earth devastation of the Nazi invasion of the USSR, the Shoah that took the lives of almost all their older siblings and their familieslanding in Ellis Island several years before the 1917 Revolution.

The Nayfelds were the ones who stayed behind.

Citizens of the USSR, they were subject to the incomprehensible collective sacrifice of the Great Patriotic War against Hitler. Boriss grandparents survived the Nazi invasion only by escaping into the interior of the Soviet Unionsettling in Kazakhstan. After the war, returning to Gomel, they lived through the decades of official antisemitism under the repressive Stalinist state.

My grandparents, on the other hand, like many working-class Russian Jewish immigrants, had their youthful values shaped in the cauldron of the Pale of Settlement; even before the Bolshevik Revolution, they embraced the utopian ideals of Marx and Engels. Well into their golden years, in retirement in Chicago and Miami Beach, I remember them reading Der Morgen Freiheit (The Morning Freedom), the far-left Yiddish-language newspaper published daily in New York City.

Lifelong progressive idealists they may have been, and Yiddish was always the mama loshenthe mother tongueyet they all became proud American citizens.

Throughout the last century, the immigrant experience bred a wide variety of tough Jewish types. It produced infamous gunmen, gangsters, and labor racketeers. Also: anonymous hardworking men like my maternal grandfather, Willie Smithborn Velvel Schmidwhod fled from Bialystok in 1914 to avoid the Czars draft at the start of the First World War. Even as a teenager, he was highly politicized, considering himself an anarchist (not a communist); he was a short, powerfully built guy with an explosive temper who often had to use his fists to fend off antisemitic insults when he arrived for the morning shape-up as a longshoreman on the Brooklyn waterfront during the Great Depression.

After leaving Russia, he and my grandmother settled in a small apartment on West Twenty-First Street, Coney Islandthat was where my mother was born in 1930a short walk from where Boris Nayfeld and his family, a half century later, would find their first modest American home, in the housing projects, on Neptune Avenue and Thirty-Sixth Street, near Seagate.


One morning in 2019, while staying at Boriss sprawling house in Staten Island, I awoke to find him whipping up some scrambled eggs and lox and blini. Hes a very good cook; when I asked, he explained that hed spent a few semesters at a culinary school in Gomel in his early twenties.

But before breakfast, we both needed to swallow our morning levothyroxine pills on empty stomachswe learned, with mild amusement, that we shared the autoimmune disease of hypothyroidism, and we had the exact same dosage of medication prescribed to correct it.

In the brilliantly sunlit kitchen, Boris smiled and offered me a glass of hot tea.

It reminded me of how my Grandpa Willie drank his tea.

Black. In a water glass. Not a mug.

I remembered how he, too, had been able to read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and Babel in the original Russian. How he, too, loved to play cards and gamble with his Yiddish- and Russian-speaking friends, though their game of choice was pinochle and Boriss game is clabber.

Of course, none of my grandparents were convicted criminalslet alone headline-making heroin traffickers, money launderers, or suspected murderers. But in the years that Ive been hanging out with Boris Nayfeld, Ive often wondered what my grandparents would have made of him. Would they have regarded him with revulsionas a shtarker, a gonif who made a fortune preying on his fellow Jews? Or would theyif even begrudginglyhave recognized a familiar character in Boris Mikailovich Nayfeld: The Jew with the indomitable spirit? The Jew whom absolutely nothing could break?

For me, Boris represents a throwback: a walking reminder of the hardscrabble origins of Russian Jewry in Americathe world that produced a cohort of muscular, savvy, steely-eyed men, men for whom survival often meant doing the things that were necessarydifficult, unsavory, oftentimes outside the law.


Over the past four years, Ive listened to Boris describing mind-boggling tales of greed and violence and betrayal.

Breathless accounts of daylight shootings in Brooklyn. Audacious heists in the diamond districts of Manhattan and Antwerp. Mountains of pure China White heroin smuggled from Thailand through Warsaw into JFK Airport. Suitcases stuffed with millions in counterfeit U.S. currency. Marathons of high-stakes gambling over cards in West African beach resorts. Escapades with young call girls in Moscow casinos and onboard the yachts of oligarchs in the Black Sea.

Id only been talking to Boris for a few hours that first afternoon at Tatiana in Brighton Beach when I jotted down a phrase in one of my spiral notebooks that seems, in hindsight, as appropriate an introduction as any to this book:

Welcome to the dark side of the American dream.


Excerpted from The Last Boss of Brighton: Boris Biba Nayfeld and the Rise of the Russian Mob in America, by Douglas Century. Published by William Morrow & Company. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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Meet the student rabbi who will join a New Haven-area pro-Palestinian Jewish group – New Haven Register

Posted By on July 6, 2022

While her German grandfather was incarcerated at Dachau concentration camp by the Nazis, Ye is half Chinese-American, and that led many to reject her as a Jew.

When I began rabbinical school is when I observed my first Shabbat, is when I observed my first Rosh Hashana, my first Yom Kippur, my first Passover, she said. All of these experiences I had for the very first time as a rabbinical student.

Growing up in Waterville, Maine, in a secular household, Ye, 27, wanted to explore her Jewish roots, but when she asked people if she could join a Sabbath meal or a Rosh Hashana service, I was met with no, I was met with, Youre not Jewish, she said.

To me, I am absolutely Jewish. And Im also half Chinese, which, you know, the Jewish world has feelings about that. But I maintain that Im fully Jewish.

Mending Minyan, a 4-year-old community, is pleased Ye didnt give up. She moved to New Haven three weeks ago to become the groups rabbinical intern, a year before she graduates and is ordained a rabbi.

Ye has been involved for two years with the mostly home-based Mending Minyan, which describes itself on its website as a group of Jews and friends of Jews in/around New Haven who are practicing joy based Jewish ritual decoupled from zionism and in service to building radical Jewish practices in support of struggles against white supremacy, capitalism, and colonization.

You wont find an Israeli flag at this years Rosh Hashana service, which Ye will lead at the Palestine Museum US in Woodbridge. The members dont say Next year in Jerusalem at the end of their Passover Seder.

But they might say, Next year without racism or Next year in fabulous queerness.

Mending Minyan members say they are filling a need for Jews who dont feel welcome in traditional congregations that support Israel but may not support LGBTQ Jews.

When Mikveh Warshaw came to the Yale School of Nursing, I was seeking out connections with other Jews who were non-Zionist, anti-Zionist and diasporic to pray together to do Shabbats. Also queer Jews.

They became connected to Jewish Voice for Peaces Havurah Network, which supports anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian Jewish leadership. At a gathering at the Isabelle Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, she met Ye and Sarah Lipkin, who co-founded Mending Minyan with Warshaw.

Since Ye has been attending school in Pennsylvania, Its been a long relationship-building process from afar, Warshaw said. While other student rabbis have led High Holy Days services, Ye is our first to be a part of us, Warshaw said. Ye also will be a chaplain intern at Yale New Haven Hospitals St. Raphael campus in the fall.

Besides welcoming anyone who feels similarly about Israel/Palestine, Mending Minyan is engaged in racial justice and immigration justice work in the community, Warshaw said. Its also a place where we can really wrestle with what does it mean to be Jewish? How do we pray?

It felt like people were doing that in little pockets, but we just wanted to bring people together to do it more intentionally together and to have joy and to be able to celebrate and complicate what it means to be Jewish, she said.

Lipkin also was raised in a secular home, with a Jewish father and Catholic mother. I have felt very disconnected from both my Jewish ethnic and cultural and religious connections. And I would say that Ive always had that longing of wanting spiritual community, wanting a place to pray and be with people, they said.

Since Ive been young Ive also been engaged in social justice movements, they said. And that feels very connected to my spiritual life and practice, and as I started learning more about whiteness, and sort of its connection to colonization and slavery, I started looking at myself and really wanting to be grounded in my cultures.

Bringing on Ye as a rabbi was not a simple decision, Warshaw said. Weve had a lot of meetings because theres many other people that are part of an admin team and that group had a lot of intentional meetings about what does it mean to bring a rabbi when we describe ourselves as lay-led, she said.

Weve had a lot of different people with different Jewish experience, she said. Weve had some people who are children of rabbis. Weve had some people that have been, this is my first Jewish ritual. And we want to make space for both of those people to be able to feel ownership and engaged in Jewish ritual. So it was big questions.

By Ye felt the same about not wanting to just be the ruler of what is Jewish and this is how you do it, but to be a teacher and to be a supporter of the committee, Warshaw said.

I think thats how itll always work, Ye said. I joined this community knowing that historically it has been a lay-led community and that moving into the future, it should remain a lay-led community. And there are complications with that with me joining as a rabbi with inherent power dynamics.

But I still strive to ensure that all services all programs, all events are planned by the community and led by the community, Ye said.

Weve had new people that come in, and within a few months they lead a Shabbat, Warshaw said. Thats beautiful. Weve been trying to build it in a way where theres scaffolding for people to lead, such as optional prayers.

Ye was well on my way to be a concert pianist but decided to take Hebrew at Middlebury College and saw the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Colleges website.

It strikes me as some sort of maybe social justice-oriented Judaism, she said. I ran upstairs to my parents and I said, Hey, I could be a rabbi. And every single one of us, including myself, laughed, because there was no way that it wasnt a joke. There was no way, you know.

The she saw the college had a Prospective Student Institute, and they would fly me out and put me up and I walked back to my parents and I said, Hey, theres this thing. And we decided, well, we still think this is a joke, but theres nothing to lose, right?

So she went and the first day of the institute was the day Donald Trump was elected president. The school canceled classes. A classmate was crying in the restroom. She thought, Oh, this is an OK place to be who I am.

But she had doubts as a secular, anti-Zionist, Chinese-American Jew. So she called her mentor, Rabbi Brant Rosen of Tzedek Chicago, who encouraged her.

Its kind of miraculous to me that Im about to start my sixth and final year, Ye said.

Lipkin, a co-founder of Mending Minyan, told Ye how much she is welcome in New Haven. There is a huge community of people here who want to be participating in a kind of Judaism that you are bringing to our community, they said. And that doesnt exist in New Haven. Theres nowhere else that you can sort of bring your full self, bring your politics and bring your spirituality in this way, I think. And I think theres like a real longing everywhere, but specifically here. Im just really excited that youre here.

Shelly Altman, a leader in Jewish Voice for Peace in New Haven, said JVP chapters, which are political anti-Zionist groups, have held services. Some of that happens within the chapters themselves, whereas were incredibly lucky enough to have this happening in New Haven as a completely focused spiritual community, he said. There will be more.

Ye and others say that being anti-Zionist is not being antisemitic, though she has been called that.

But Ye is working to build relationships with other rabbis and congregations. I think its important for us to have relationships in the community, she said. And its important for us to have relationships with people who we dont agree with. But events that we co-sponsor we will not be saying the prayer for the State of Israel, and if were co-sponsoring, were going to collaborate and its going to be a safe space for me and my community.

They need to learn from us, Altman said. I feel like the work that Ive been doing with Jewish Voice for Peace for the last nine years, has really been education work. You know, sometimes its out in the streets. Sometimes its bringing Palestinian teenagers here to dance, and having events about Palestinian culture. Its all education.

He said when he writes an op-ed, he sees the same people attacking him personally. Jewish congregations in Connecticut need to learn from what were doing rather than trying to vilify us, Altman said. I think that the way you do that is by building the relationships, even if you dont agree with each other. The vilification has to stop.

Altman became involved in the pro-Palestinian movement when he went to the Middle East with a delegation from Eyewitness Palestine.

As we took a bus from the Tel Aviv airport to Jerusalem in the first half-hour that I was there, it just changed my world, changed my life, he said. As an American, as a Jew, I couldnt possibly not take this on as the most important thing in my life. I saw more of the oppressive conditions that exist there and have learned so much more about them in the intervening eight years.

Ye has become well enough known in New Havens social justice arena that she was asked to speak at the rally protesting the Supreme Courts decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Mending Minyan has raised enough money through its GoFundMe page, Help Mending Minyan Reach New Heights, to pay Ye $6,000, matched by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Their total goal is $18,000, which will pay Ye to lead High Holy Days services, as well as the admin team and other expenses.

People find their place in Jewish life for different reasons, said Rosen, Yes mentor in Chicago. For her, its a function of who she is in a very deep way. Its also part of her ethnic and moral sensibility.

Rosen said when Ye joined Tzedek Chicago and then led a High Holy Days service as an intern, it was really the first Yom Kippur service she had ever attended and she was leading it. She took to it very, very powerfully.

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Why young Australian Zionists are backing the pro-Palestinian Greens – Haaretz

Posted By on July 6, 2022

Why young Australian Zionists are backing the pro-Palestinian Greens  Haaretz

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NYC’s Holocaust museum uses personal objects to tell the story of lives lived and lost – Jewish Exponent

Posted By on July 6, 2022

An enamel bowl, on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, was carried through three concentration camps by the Burbea family from Libya, even serving as a vessel to carry their youngest son to his circumcision when he was born in Bergen-Belsen in 1944. (Museum of Jewish Heritage)

By Julia Gergely

(New York Jewish Week) A young childs diary, a favorite doll, a cookbook of family recipes, a report card, a Torah scroll smuggled to the United States and a silver spoon found among the rubble at a concentration camp.

All of these objects are on display in The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do,an expansive new permanent exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan that opened over the holiday weekend. The exhibit emphasizes the individual human stories and the Jewish lives lived before, during and after the Holocaust.

The 12,000-square-foot, two-story exhibit attempts to shed new light on Holocaust education by creating a compelling narrative of the Holocaust, antisemitism, Jewish resistance and perseverance. The exhibit weaves together the individual stories of 750 objects and artifacts, as well as first-person testimonies, photographs and text.

For Judy Baumel-Schwartz, the exhibits curator and Holocaust scholar at Bar-Ilan University, working on the exhibit has been one of the high points of my professional career.

As a historian specializing in the Holocaust, I have always taught my students, through stories and documentation, about what happened, and why it happened, she said in a press release. Here, for the first time, I can actually show peoplehowit happened andto whomit happened through hundreds of objects and graphics.

One such object on display is a white enamel bowl that belonged to the Burbea family who were first sent to theGiado concentration campfor Libyan Jews. They were only allowed to take a few objects with them when they were then deported to the Civitella del Tronto camp in Italy and, from there, sent to Bergen-Belsen in Germany. The bowl stayed with them when their youngest son was born in Bergen-Belsen in 1944, the family used it to carry the boy to the mohel for his circumcision.

Baumel-Schwartz donated the bowl for the museum to use in the exhibit it was given to her more than 40 years ago by the mother of the Burbea family, who had survived. She looked at me and said, Youre starting to teach this for all of us. The bowl had done what it needed to for me. We dont need it anymore. But I want you to take it. I want you to show it to your students and tell our story, Baumel-Schwartz recalled.

A pot belonging to the Farber family, confined to the Vilna Ghetto, whose daughter wasabducted in a childrens action, one of the roundups periodically organized by the Nazis. It is inscribed in Hebrew: In this pot kosher food was cooked in the Vilna ghetto for a girl who was taken to be annihilated. (Museum of Jewish Heritage)

The goal of displaying these types of objects is to animate and intensify the narrative of the Holocaust with first-person stories,said Michael Berenbaum, a Holocaust scholar and advisor on the exhibit. We believe in a story-telling museum, he said, noting that the exhibit draws upon the full name and mission of the museum: Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

For survivor Toby Levy, who, as part of the museums Survivors Speakers Bureau, travels around the city sharing her story, the exhibit is a reminder to bear witness. Though she does not have any personal objects in the exhibit, Levy still commended its power in sharing Holocaust narratives.

Born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Poland in 1933, Levy and her family went into hiding in 1942, taken in by a non-Jewish friend. She and her eight family members remained in hiding until 1944, and in a displaced persons camp until 1949, when they were able to immigrate to the United States.

Every time I talk about [my story], I relive it, she said. The museum has created this perfect exhibit in a time to teach.

In order to develop a full narrative of the Holocaust, the exhibit first paints a picture of Europes thriving Jewish communities prior to the Nazi rise to power; a vibrant, vital, living community that has no idea that their time is limited, that they are on the brink of destruction, Berenbaum said.

In one section, the exhibit homes in on the month of April 1943, spotlighting several narrative arcs: that month,Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto resisted their captors; Hitler and Nazi collaborators were busy implementing their Final Solution by building crematoria at Auschwitz; Americans and British authorities stood by with empty words and half-hearted actions at the Bermuda Conference.

To provide context for the Holocaust, the exhibit works hard to define who the Jewish people are and how much culture and community was lost all around the world in the Holocausts wake, from Iran and Libya to Greece and Eastern Europe.

Another section connects Nazi antisemitism with antisemitic campaigns throughout history, including the Crusades, the Inquisition and Russian pogroms. In other sections, Nazi propaganda andantisemitic caricaturesare on display to showcase the obsessive and insidious quality of Nazi antisemitism.

At a press conference at the Museum of Jewish Heritage launching its new permanent exhibit are, left to right, exhibition designer Paul Salmons, consultant Michael Berenbaum, museum chairman Bruce Ratner, Holocaust survivor Toby Levy and museum president and CEO Jack Kliger, June 30, 2022. (Julia Gergely)

The exhibits title, What Hate Can Do, invites the viewer to consider the manifestations of hatred in todays world, and how devastating the effects can be if they are not combated.

What we have seen over the last five or six years is something that I, and all of us, thought we would never see again whether it bewar in Ukraine, whether it be refugee camps, whether it be mass murders or genocides, we always thought never again, and now were seeing it, Bruce Ratner, the chairman of the museums board of trustees, said at a press conference previewing the exhibit. Unfortunately the Holocaust is a yardstick against which all of todays events are measured, but it makes the purpose of the museum to tell the story all the more important.

The remembrance of the past was meant to transform the future, said Berenbaum. Tragically, we live in a world in which this has taken on greater urgency in our day, in our time, in the very months in which we were putting this exhibition together.

Resistance has taken on new meaning, immigration has taken on new meaning, invasion has taken on new meaning, and human solidarity in the wake of evil has taken on new meaning, he added.

The exhibit is accompanied by a narrative audio guide available on the Bloomberg Connects app, which is available for free to remote listeners.Ticket information and visiting hours are available at the museums website.

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