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Pope Asks Catholics to Say ‘Never Again’ to the Holocaust – The New York Times

Posted By on January 27, 2020

VATICAN CITY Pope Francis on Sunday asked the world's 1.3 billion Catholics to stop for a moment of prayer and reflection on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and say "Never Again".

The pope mentioned Monday's anniversary during his weekly noon address and blessing to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square.

"Indifference is inadmissible before this enormous tragedy, this atrocity, and memory is a duty. Tomorrow, we are all invited to stop for a moment of prayer and reflection, each one of us saying in our own heart: 'never again, never again,'" he said.

More than one million people, most of them Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp during World War Two. Overall, some six million Jews died in the Holocaust.

At Francis' orders, the Vatican in March will open its secret archives on the wartime pontificate of Pope Pius XII, a historic move that Jews have sought for decades.

Some Jews say Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, did not do enough to help those facing persecution by Nazi Germany and turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. The Vatican maintains that Pius chose to work behind the scenes.

The pope's appeal to his own flock on Sunday comes amid a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. Last week, Francis called the rise a "barbaric resurgence".

On Friday, anti-Semitic graffiti was found scrawled on the door of the home of a son of a Holocaust survivor in northern Italy.

The words "Juden Hier" (Jews Here) were written above a Star of David on the door, recalling the signs put on buildings in Nazi Germany to mark the homes and businesses of Jews.

Last month in eastern France, scores of Jewish graves were found desecrated in a cemetery, hours before lawmakers adopted a resolution equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

France has Europes biggest Jewish community - around 550,000 - and anti-Semitic attacks are common, with more than 500 alone in 2018.

A global survey by the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League in November found that anti-Semitic attitudes had increased in many places around the world and significantly in Eastern and Central Europe. It also found that large percentages of people in Eastern and Western European countries think Jews talk too much about the Holocaust.

Before he became pope and was still archbishop of his native Buenos Aires, Francis co-authored a book with his friend, Argentine rabbi Abraham Skorka.

In 2016, Francis visited Rome's main synagogue, in the former ghetto established by his predecessor Pope Paul IV in 1555 and where Jews were confined until the 19th century.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Pope Asks Catholics to Say 'Never Again' to the Holocaust - The New York Times

For Auschwitz liberation’s 75th anniversary, fight Holocaust denial with education – Washington Examiner

Posted By on January 27, 2020

This years International Holocaust Remembrance Day, celebrated annually on Jan. 27, marks the passage of three-quarters of a century since the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest German Nazi death camp. Underscoring the importance of this anniversary is the global rise of the same anti-Jewish hate that spawned the genocide of 6 million Jews under the Nazi regime.

One of multiple factors fueling this rise in anti-Semitism is a decline in Holocaust learning. In 2018, the Claims Conference found that 22% of U.S. millennials claimed they had never heard of the Holocaust, compared with 11% of all adults. Such lack of knowledge is easily exploited by traditional Holocaust deniers, who are spurred on in their efforts by anti-Semitic hate. It also benefits a host of governments and institutions that have either benefited from paltry understanding of Hitlers genocide or participated in revising the past for motives, which, though not anti-Semitic, harm Jews.

In honor of this important Holocaust anniversary, we must dedicate ourselves to Holocaust education and understanding and renewing our attempts to counter all varieties of denial and revisionism to prevent the further rise of anti-Semitism.

Traditional Holocaust Denial

Traditional deniers blame Jews for the Holocaust, claiming they perpetuated, manufactured, and exploited the genocide committed by the Nazis. Deniers also believe, in spite of factual evidence to the contrary, that organized mass murder of Jews did not occur under the Nazis. They suggest that fewer than 300,000 European Jews died during World War II as a result of typhus, starvation, and exposure.

The descent into genocide, however, was meticulously documented by the Germans. About 3,000 tons of records were culled from the millions of German documents the Allies captured while closing in on German forces and presented at the post-war trials of the highest-ranking Nazi war criminals in Nuremberg. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, U.S. historians gained access to the Red Armys trove of captured German documents, including the diary of SS leader Heinrich Himmler.

Additional Holocaust evidence is still being uncovered today. Personal belongings from those who likely died in Auschwitz were discovered in Poland in 2016 and in the Stutthof concentration camp in Poland in 2015. Throughout Eastern Europe, the group Yahad-In Unum is collecting oral histories and uncovering physical evidence of genocide left by Hitlers mobile killing units, the Einsatzgruppen.

Still, deniers argue that evidence is manufactured, that testimonies were falsified or issued under duress, and that video and photographs of camps were created during the post-war years. Deniers also argue over loopholes. For instance, no single captured German document shows Hitler calling for the Holocaust or enumerates the total Jewish death toll under the Nazi regime. Deniers seize on such absences to bolster their claim that the Holocaust is a lie.

Denial is meant to intimidate Jews, to discredit the existence of the Jewish state of Israel, or to pave the way for a return to Nazism. Its purpose may also be to create additional deniers. Peppering their false histories with footnotes citing other deniers who, on occasion, are associated with organizations whose names sound legitimate and authoritative, deniers sow doubt in populations not familiar with the history of the era. New recruits may not harbor anti-Semitic beliefs, but after being introduced to additional conspiracy theories about Jews, the ideals of anti-Semitism have fertile ground on which to take off.

Like anti-Semitism itself, Holocaust denial is not practiced by a single group but rather is shared by strange bedfellows. Denial is pushed by the far-right, by far-left groups such as affiliates of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, and by prominent anti-Semites David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.

Denial also thrives in the Middle East and North Africa, where the Anti-Defamation League found in 2014 that 63% of the population who had heard of the Holocaust believed it was a myth or that the number of Jews who died had been greatly exaggerated.

The Iranian regime has perpetuated anti-Semitic Holocaust denial since 1998, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, even sponsoring denial conferences with prominent anti-Semites from around the world. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed put[ting] [Holocaust denial] forward at the global level was among the great achievements of his presidency. Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has trafficked in denial as recently as 2016.

Anti-Semitic denial has worldwide reach through the internet and social media. Facebook refuses to remove anti-Semitic Holocaust denial and revisionism from a platform shared by billions of people.

Forgetfulness and Holocaust Revision

Holocaust revisionism is not always anti-Semitic on its face, but any attempts from legitimate institutions to minimize the reality, or understanding, of Nazi genocide will always be harmful to Jews.

Revisionism can look like forgetfulness. On Jan. 3, the BBC World Service tweeted that the number of Yiddish speakers, which was once more than 10 million, had been severely depleted by the mid-20th century. The tweet neglected the probable link between this depletion and Hitlers mid-20th century genocide of two-thirds of Europes Jewish population. BBC later apologized for the error.

Sometimes, revisionism involves looking the other way. Museums and state-run facilities around the world, including those in Poland, Hungary, and Russia, have spent decades avoiding returning items which came into their possession through the theft and looting of Jewish valuables in spite of international pressure.

Revisionism might look like a failure to see parallels in modern society. In 2019, France issued final payments from the $60 million in reparations owed to survivors and relatives of the Jews sent on French trains to German death camps during the Holocaust. However, in the same year, the country declined to prosecute the anti-Semite who brutally murdered a Holocaust survivor and has, for multiple years running, failed to protect its Jewish population from the raging anti-Semitism that has led some French Jews to flee to Israel.

Revisionism can spring from attempts to preserve national pride. Laws passed recently in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Ukraine make it a punishable crime to place blame for the Holocaust on groups of national Nazi collaborators or on individuals who turned local Jews over to the Nazis. While Poland eventually changed its law, making accusations of complicity a civil rather than a criminal offense, Lithuania is now in the process of drafting a stronger law claiming the Lithuanian state did not participate in the Holocaust.

This International Holocaust Remembrance Day, colored as it is by startling recent acts of anti-Semitism, is a reminder to dedicate ourselves to Holocaust education as an antidote to the denial fueled by a hatred of Jews. We must also speak out against the revisionists subtly chipping away at historical facts, with the purpose not of directing blame to stigmatize, but rather to truly embrace Holocaust history to avoid the repetition of a devastating past.

Beth Bailey (@BWBailey85) is a freelance writer from the Detroit area.

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For Auschwitz liberation's 75th anniversary, fight Holocaust denial with education - Washington Examiner

Things to do this week in Cincinnati: Jan. 27-Feb. 2 – The Cincinnati Enquirer

Posted By on January 27, 2020

Art After Dark.(Photo: Enquirer file)

Would it be cheesy to say there are some reel cool events this week? The Jewish and Israeli Film Festival continues and theres a film festival fundraiser at Woodward Theater for local musician Jim Bundy. You can also catch all the 2020 Oscar-nominated short documentaries on the big screen over at Garfield Theatre.

The Winter Salsa Social offers dance lovers a chance to cut a rug over at Woodward Theater, while the Sheer Elite International Dance Competition and Convention in Sharonville is a fine place to watch others perfecting their art.

Ah, art. Its the end of the month, and you know what that means! Final Friday, when the majority of art galleries around town are open late. The Cincinnati Art Museums Art After Dark theme this month is Monochromatic. Dress up in black and white and go see The Levee: A Photographer in the American South before it closes on Sunday.

The Cyclones are back for a home stand this weekend and theyll be giving away kids jerseys on Friday night to the first 1,500 kids ages 2-12 through the door. On Saturday, brave the cold and join other crazy ... I mean hardy ... souls race along the riverfront and through the transit tunnels for the Cyclones Frozen 5K & 10K.

Chamber Music Cincinnati: St. Lawrence String Quartet 7:30 p.m., Memorial Hall, 1222 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. $40.

Jewish and Israeli Film Festival various times and locations through Feb. 27.

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Cincinnati Cyclones.(Photo: Tony Bailey Photography)

The Merry Ploughboys 7-10 p.m., Irish Heritage Center Of Cincinnati, 3905 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum. $30, $27 advance, $25 members. Thistraditional folk group from Dublin, Ireland have been singing it like they mean it since 1989 with gutsy and engaging vocals backed by arrangements of fiddle, guitar and uilleann pipes. Their sound has the raw authentic energy of the classic balladeer as they work effortlessly through a packed set list that is often funny, compelling, engaging, exhilarating and always entertaining. The Pub opens at 6 p.m.

CSO Proof: Singulis Et Simul 7:30 p.m., Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Keitaro Harada conducts.

Jim Bundy Film Festival Fundraiser 8 p.m., Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. $10. Ages 18-up. Fundraiser to help cover medical bills for Jim Bundy. Screening Jims favorite film and special performance by his band, Hurricane Hot Pants.

Cincinnati Cyclones v Orlando Solar Bears 7:30 p.m., Heritage Bank Center, 100 Broadway, Downtown. $1 beer night.

Moon Hooch often uses a traffic cone to magnify the sound of their saxophones.(Photo: Chris Wilkinson/FSView)

Jessica Kirson Jan. 30-Feb. 2, Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery. $10-$18.

Moon Hooch 8 p.m., Madison Live, 734 Madison Ave., Covington. $15-$18.

The Freddy Jones Band 8:30 p.m., Ludlow Garage, 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton. $20-$35.

Bunbury Music Festival Reveal 6-8 p.m., Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. Free. Find out whos coming to Bunbury this year.

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Brantley Gilbert plays BB&T Arena Friday night.(Photo: Samuel M. Simpkins / The Tennessean)

Brantley Gilbert: Firet Up 2020 Tour 7:30 p.m., BB&T Arena, 500 Nunn Drive, Highland Heights.

Orchestral Spectacular: Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue Jan. 31-Feb. 2, Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Tickets start at $25. Go all-out with an all-Gershwin program thats blues-y, jazzy and fun, featuring a brilliant improvisation of Rhapsody in Blue. Experience Rhapsody like never before, with the genius of the modern piano, jazz pianist Marcus Roberts. This is your chance to hear orchestral show-stoppers like Porgy and Bess, Cuban Overture and American in Paris, with the pull-all-the-stops power of the Pops. Want to hear Rhapsody in Blue played by Gershwin himself? Check out the CSOs 125th Anniversary Concert.

Iron Maidens 7 p.m., Bogarts, 2621 Vine St., Corryville.

Jackopierce 8:30 p.m., Ludlow Garage, 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton. $20-$35.

Wayne Hancock, The Tammy WhyNots 8 p.m., Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport.

Winter Salsa Social8 p.m., Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. $25. Ages 18-up. Salsa dance featuring Cincinnatis 11-piece classic Salsa orchestra Son del Caribe with support from The Amador Sisters.

DC Benny Jan. 31-Feb. 1, Funny Bone Comedy Club, 7518 Bales St., Liberty Township.

Oscar-Nominated Short Documentaries Jan. 31-Feb. 8, Garfield Theatre, 719 Race St., Downtown. Two distinct programs provide a chance to experience thisyears best short films on the big screen.


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Art After Dark: Monochromatic 5 p.m., Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams. Free. The CAM is throwing a black and white party to celebrate 2020 and special photography exhibition "The Levee: A Photographer in the American South" with music, food for purchase, cocktails, and docent-led tours.

Cincinnati Underground Secret Society 8 p.m., 20th Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Oakley. $15. Ages 18-up. Travis McElroy hosts an improvised comedy talk show.

Final Friday 5-10 p.m., Downtown, Pendleton and Over-the-Rhine. Every month, artists and art galleries in the historic Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati open their doors for a special showing on the last Friday, known to most simply as "Final Friday." The festivities take place in galleries, studios and businesses throughout the Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton neighborhoods. In addition, studios of the Pendleton Art Center are open to the public, giving guests the opportunity to view creative art space, as well as purchase one-of-a-kind artwork directly from artists.

Cincinnati Cyclones v Indy Fuel 7:30 p.m., Heritage Bank Center, 100 Broadway, Downtown. Kids jersey giveaway.

Sheer Elite International Dance Competition and Convention Jan. 31-Feb. 2, Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville.

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There's a onesie bar crawl happening Saturday!(Photo: Katie Klann/Naples Daily News)

Onesie Bar Crawl 16-Bit Bar+Arcade, 1331 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine. $15-$17. Check in at 16 Bit from 2-4 p.m. Includes event T-shirt, koozie, discounted drink prices and giveaways. Bars include 16-Bit, MOTR, Mr. Pitifuls, Drinkery, Revel Urban Winery, Below Zero Lounge and OTR Live.

Cincinnati Cyclones Frozen 5K & 10K 9 a.m., Heritage Bank Center, 100 Broadway, Downtown. $40-$45. This unique winter race takes you on a course along the Ohio River banks and through Cincinnatis Transit Center beneath Second St. Join Twister, Puckchop and thousands of other brave souls while raising funds for the Cincinnati Cyclones Foundation. Participants get a long sleeve tech shirt, finisher medal, hot chocolate after the race, a Cyclones voucher good for any 2019-2020 regular season home game and plenty of swag and snacks.

Northminster Fine Arts Fair 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Northminster Church, 703 Compton Road, Springfield Township. More than 40 regional artists. Woodworking, photography, fiber arts, painting, pottery, jewelry, live music, raffles, kids activities, fair trade market and more.

Greater Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Oasis Golf Club & Conference Center, 902 Loveland-Miamiville Road, Loveland. The Greater Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show promotes the sport of fly fishing. It has become the largest fly fishing show in the tristate, and one of the largest in the nation. Show headliner will be fly fishing legend Gary Borger, one of the worlds foremost fly fishing educators and consultant on Robert Redfords movie A River Runs Through It.

Aussie Aid 8 p.m., Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport. 8 local bands perform. $12-$15.

Black Flag 7 p.m., Thompson House, 24 E. 3rd St., Newport. $25-$35.

Jamey Johnson 7:30 p.m., Lawrenceburg Event Center, 91 Walnut St., Lawrenceburg.

Jo Dee Messina 8 p.m., Riverfront Live, 4343 Kellogg Ave., East End. $35-$40.

Cincinnati Cyclones v Kalamazoo Wings: Cyclones Fight Cancer 7:30 p.m., Heritage Bank Center, 100 Broadway, Downtown.

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Superbowl Sunday

Chocolate in the Chapel noon-3 p.m., Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Norman Chapel, 4521 Spring Grove Ave., Spring Grove Village. Free. Local businesses showcase sweet treats with samples and for sale.

Cin City Reptile Show 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Holiday Inn Centre Park, 5800 Muhlhauser Road, West Chester. $7, free ages 10-under.

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Things to do this week in Cincinnati: Jan. 27-Feb. 2 - The Cincinnati Enquirer

Recent events stoke concerns of rising anti-Semitism – The Oakland Press

Posted By on January 27, 2020

About eight years ago, when Rabbi Jen Lader began leading a class for teenagers at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield Township, she asked the students if they had ever experienced anti-Semitism. Only a handful raised their hands.

Recently, she asked the same question. About 45 of 60 students answered affirmatively.

Lader said hearing the kinds of remarks her students have endured in school and elsewhere was really horrifying.

Lader was a panelist at a Jewish Community Forum on Anti-Semitism, held Thursday night, Jan. 23, at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills.

The forum was organized in the face of an increase in anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, including two last month -- a deadly shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J., and a knife attack at a rabbis home in a suburb of New York City that left five injured.

The Jewish community is still reeling from the October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; 11 people died and six were injured. It was the worst attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.

About 1,000 people attended the forum: Jews concerned about their community, clergy, elected officials, leaders of Jewish organizations, police representing about a half dozen Oakland County cities and ten agents of the FBIs Detroit office.

David Kurzmann, of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, left, moderates a forum at Adat Shalom Synagogue on anti-Semitism with Rabbi Azaryah Cohen, Rabbi Jen Lader and Rabbi Yisrael Pinson.

The event was presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League of Michigan and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

It occurred as leaders around the world prepare to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi concentration camps. More than 1.1 million people died in the camp in Poland; a large share were Jewish.

Report, Report, Report

The panelists discussed causes of anti-Semitism and responses to it, including a plea from panelist Carolyn Normandin of the Michigan Anti-Defamation league to report, report, report, incidents, first to police and then to her agency, by going to

Panelist Joe Lupinacci, FBI Detroit special agent, said he brought nine agents with him to the forum to demonstrate the importance the FBI places on investigating hate crimes, drawing enthusiastic applause from the crowd.

Fight Hate With Love

Several panelists spoke of the need to fight the new wave of hate with love.

Professor Howard Lupovitch, of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University, spoke of anti-Semitisms, stressing they are plural, as they take different forms.

They all merit vigilance on the part of the Jewish community. But they do not merit the same response (given back to perpetrators), Lupovitch said.

He said Jews do not all share the same political views, nor do they agree on every doctrinal issue in their faith, evidenced by Judaism being split into Orthodox, Conservative and Reform divisions.

But, Lupovitch said, Jews can support each other in condemning all anti-Semitism, whether it comes in the form of violence; discrimination in education, housing or employment; or simply an attitude of intolerance.

Panelists said Jews have to stand up for all groups being targeted -- including Muslims and those of other faiths, people of color and the LGBTQ community.

No Jew is safe until everyone is safe, Normandin said.

Another panelist, Rabbi Azaryah Cohen, of the Frankel Jewish Academy in West Bloomfield Township, said many Jews are dismayed that they now have to operate synagogues and other institutions under tight security.

I grew up in Oak Park. You have to punch a code to get into every synagogue in Oak Park (now), he said. But lets make sure that once you are in, its a warm and welcoming place.

Panelists said it was important for Jews to reach out to friends and neighbors of different faiths and ethnic groups to teach them about Judaism, to learn about their traditions and to encourage them to speak up against anti-Semitism.

Lader said she is encouraged by the support Jews have received from people of other faiths.

She said the first expression of sympathy she received after an attack on a Jewish institution was from an imam. A United Methodist church near her synagogue sent flowers after the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh.

That message resonated with West Bloomfield resident Shosana Rubenstein, a forum attendee who lives in an area with a strong Jewish presence. Rubenstein said all people can benefit from getting to know those who are different.

Have dinner with them. Visit their institution. I think thats the route we should all go. Be there for one another, she said. I dont think theres anything more powerful than being kind.

A trial date is scheduled for the man charged with stabbing to death a Waterford woman, and then setting a fire in her house.

A group of local children were recently honored by the state for their community service efforts throughout the Pontiac area.

LANSING (AP) A third woman in two weeks has publicly come forward with sexual harassment allegations against a Michigan state legislator, according to a published report Sunday.

An 18-year-old Pontiac man has been arrested after attempting to flee from a deputy around 3 p.m. Sunday, January 26, 2020.

The Troy Police department is investigating a crash on southbound I-75 near 14 mile in Troy Sunday, January 26, 2020, shortly after 4 a.m.

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A Washington Township mans trial for three bank robberies in Macomb and Oakland counties concluded with a hung jury, but thedefendant absconded during the trial and is now detained while awaiting a second trial.

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Recent events stoke concerns of rising anti-Semitism - The Oakland Press

Bloomberg Warns of Anti-Semitism Rearing Its Ugly Head – The New York Times

Posted By on January 27, 2020

As president, I will always have Israels back, Mr. Bloomberg said.

Mr. Bloomberg has also long opposed the movement of economic boycotts and sanctions against Israel known as B.D.S., or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

The Democratic presidential candidates across the board have condemned anti-Semitism, especially after the recent attacks in Monsey, N.Y., when five people were stabbed in a Hasidic rabbis home during a Hanukkah celebration and an Orthodox Jewish man was stabbed while walking to synagogue. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., said his administration would devote $1 billion to combat violent extremism, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has a plan to fight white nationalism; both of their plans aim to fight anti-Semitism.

But the field as a whole has not addressed the specifics of anti-Semitism enough, said Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.

We are certainly hearing about this issue more than we have before, Mr. Greenblatt said in a phone interview. But the real question candidates must address is, he said, How do you move from rhetoric condemning anti-Semitism to real plans rooting it out?

Many American Jews have found themselves caught in an uncomfortable tension between traditional liberal American Jewish values and Mr. Trumps alliance with Israel. Mr. Trump, who won 24 percent of Jewish voters in Florida in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center, has also been trying to strengthen his support by making anti-Semitism and backing of Israel a partisan issue.

Mr. Sanders wrote about his Jewish identity, his relatives who were murdered by Nazis and the recent rise of anti-Semitic violence in a personal essay in November for Jewish Currents, a progressive Jewish publication. Unlike Mr. Bloomberg, he criticized what he called false accusations of anti-Semitism by Mr. Trump against progressives and called for the end of Israels occupation of Palestinians.

We should be very clear that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of the Israeli government, he wrote. We must also be honest about this: The founding of Israel is understood by another people in the land of Palestine as the cause of their painful displacement.

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Bloomberg Warns of Anti-Semitism Rearing Its Ugly Head - The New York Times

How I would take personal responsibility for tackling antisemitism – The Times of Israel

Posted By on January 27, 2020

This Holocaust Memorial Day, as we commemorate the 75thanniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, we confront one of the greatest evils that humankind has ever inflicted. The mechanised slaughter of Jews, planned, plotted and executed by the Nazis, remains a stain on the moral conscience of the world.

But there is the risk that when we look at black and white photographs of something that happened to other people, in another time, in a different place and at the hand of people with whom we feel we have nothing in common, we might think of antisemitism as a relic of the past.

The sad reality is that we cannot be so complacent. Antisemitism has never gone away and is stubbornly resurgent.

In recent years, we have seen murderous attacks at synagogues in Pittsburgh, Poway and Halle. Last month, we saw a vicious attack in New Jersey and antisemitic graffiti on and around a synagogue local to me in North London. Even this weekend, we saw further graffiti appear in Greenwich.I would like to pay tribute to the staff and volunteers of the Community Security Trust, who responded so quickly and always work to keep Jews safe in our community.

In our own Labour Party, it is a matter of deep sadness and regret that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is investigating the Party over institutional antisemitism.

I share the anger, frustration and pain of many in the Jewish community over how antisemitism has been handled by the Labour Party in recent years.It will be an urgent task of the next leader to turn things around.

I have signed the Board of Deputies ten pledges to help tackle the antisemitism crisis. And if elected party leader I will work with the Board, the Jewish Leadership Council and others to banish this prejudice from our movement and regain the trust of the Jewish community.

As leader, I would take personal responsibility for this and lead from the top. On day one, I would demand an update on ongoing antisemitism cases and ask for a clear timetable for their resolution. I will ask the Jewish Labour Movement and others to submit the list of cases they believe are still outstanding and to leave no stone unturned, I will ensure an independent process and work with social media platforms to take hate off the internet.

And my test for our party will be this; do those who have left the Party because of antisemitism feel comfortable to return. Only when they do, will I be satisfied that we have made progress. At the next election I dont want a single Labour member or activist to knock a door and be told that people who previously voted Labour wont do so because of antisemitism. If youre antisemitic, you shouldnt be in our Party or anywhere near it.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day it is our duty to remember and learn. I would like to offer my gratitude to the amazing survivors who show tremendous bravery in reliving their trauma to share their stories and fight for a better future and to organisations like the Holocaust Educational Trust that do such vital work in our schools.

The defeat of antisemitism will not be easy, but together, we can and we will prevail.

Keir is Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras

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How I would take personal responsibility for tackling antisemitism - The Times of Israel

A small, small Jewish world | The Jewish – The Jewish Standard

Posted By on January 27, 2020

Its almost at the end of the world. Its an island 250 miles south of Australia. Its the last land mass before Antarctica.

Getting to Tasmania involved a six-hour flight to Los Angeles, a 14-hour flight to Melbourne, and a two-hour flight to Hobart.

Why Tasmania?

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My wife and I love what Americans call hiking, Europeans call trekking, and Aussies call bush-walking.

We love the world-famous treks we have been blessed to experience, such as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, the Himalaya Path to Mount Everest in Nepal, and the Routeburn Track to Milford Sound in New Zealand.

We love the exotic treks that we have walked in wondrous places like Iceland, Switzerland, Patagonia, South Africa, and Uganda.

The entranceway to the Hobart Hebrew Congregation.

And we love the off-the-beaten-track gems that we have discovered in places like Newfoundland and the Azores.

Avid world-trekkers will tell you that remote Tasmania offers some of the most dramatic coastline walking in the world, not to mention a unique mix of sub-alpine tarns and moors in the interior. And sharing the path at any moment are those uniquely weird Australian marsupials kangaroos, wallabies, padymelons, along with wombats, echidnas and, of course, the elusive Tasmanian devil.

Tasmania did not disappoint and we saw everything but the devil.

But the real reason for my writing is about what we saw on Shabbat, which was our first day in Tasmania. We saw the Hobart Hebrew Congregation.

Would you believe that this beautiful little synagogue, with its rare neo-Egyptian revival faade, a style that was popular in the mid-19th century, is the oldest one in Australia?

Would you believe that the congregation was founded by two paroled Jewish convicts in 1845?

Would you believe that the day I went there, only two people besides us were were there too but that one of them turned out to be an expat friend of my friend who moved to Tasmania 20 years ago?

The synagogue was built next door to Temple House, now headquarters of the Tasmania Police.

When the tiny Jewish community in Hobart requested a synagogue in 1842, the governor refused to make a plot available, citing a law restricting Crown land grants to Christian organizations. Judah Solomon, a paroled Jewish convict from England who had prospered, stepped in to donate land from his large home near city center, which had been dubbed Solomons Temple. That house, which to this day is called Temple House, still stands next door to the synagogue and is the headquarters of the Tasmania Police.

Judah and his brother Joseph, another paroled convict, rallied their fellow Jews, and a few overseas philanthropists, including the famous Sir Moses Montefiore, contributed money to help them build the synagogue. The donors names, and the amounts they gave, are prominently inscribed on the rear synagogue wall. Numbered benches that originally were at the back of the synagogue were for the use of convicts and the poor. The shuls fact sheet proclaims that The Hobart synagogue is thus believed to be the only place of Jewish worship in the world with seats set aside for convicts.

A large and beautifully inscribed plaque on another wall caught my eye because I completed a rabbinic thesis many years ago on the long history of the Jewish prayer for the government. The inscribed text was a prayer for the welfare of Queen Victoria and the royal family. It is said that non-Jewish guests were so impressed by the music and fervent prayers for the Crown at the dedication service that they contributed the princely sum of 100 guineas to the congregation.

Given that much of Tasmania served as a penal colony (the most prominent site in nearby Port Arthur is now a World Heritage Site that made for a fascinating visit), and that Jewish convicts were required to attend Sabbath worship, it is understandable that the congregation sent an early inquiry to the Chief Rabbi in London asking whether convicts could be counted in a minyan, and whether they could be called to the Torah. The response was affirmative to the former and negative to the latter.

Sadly, we were not even close to a minyan on my visit. There are not many Jews left in Tasmania. But one of them spoke to me in a decidedly un-Australian accent. When he found out that I had lived in Cherry Hill, he asked if knew someone named David Lerman, his former roommate. I smiled and told him that David was a dear friend and a past president of the Jewish Publication Society, of which I am the head.

Tasmania may be as far away as it gets, but Jewishly speaking its a small world after all!

Barry L. Schwartz is the editor in chief and CEO of the Jewish Publication Society and the rabbi of Congregation Adas Emuno in Leonia.

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Gardens of the Cross Timbers: Happy Lunar New Year – Shawnee News Star

Posted By on January 27, 2020

.and Spring Festival in China and Vietnam. The darkest days are behind as we go toward spring. This is the year of the rat, the first of the zodiac animals in the repeating cycle of 12 years.

.and Spring Festival in China and Vietnam. The darkest days are behind as we go toward spring. This is the year of the rat, the first of the zodiac animals in the repeating cycle of 12 years. The rat reigns from January 25th 2020 to February 11th 2021. Past rat years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008. Unlucky numbers for rats are 5 and 9 but lucky flowers are lilies. Colors are gold, blue and green. George Washington, William Shakespeare and T.S. Elliot were rats. If you are a rat, you are optimistic, energetic, love to hoard things, clever, have great ability to focus on fine detail but possibly suffer from frail health. It is recommended that rats always eat a good breakfast and partake of moderate exercise!

The official Chinese New Year holiday lasts 7 days, but the traditional period runs 23 whole days. Fireworks are set off on the night of the new moon (New Years Eve Jan 24th) and again New Years morning. Houses are cleaned before the holiday begins because it is taboo to sweep or toss out garbage during the holiday. Other taboos include cussing, negative words, breaking of pottery or glass or use of sharp objects during this time. You dont want to jinx yourself by severing your link to prosperity and fortune. If you take a shower or bath on New Years Day, the water could wash away your good luck. Real or virtual red envelopes (which may include money) are given to friends, workers, bosses and children as a way of passing on good fortune.

It all ends with the Lantern Festival held the night of the first full moon in February (Feb 8th in China), the 15th day of the first lunar month. A time for families to be together, celebrate the return of spring, and hang, float or fly red lanterns at home, in parks and through the countryside. Eat Tangyuan, a fermented rice soup with round filled rice dumplings formed from glutinous rice mixed with water. The round images imitate the full moon. Traditional Lion dances are performed to drive away bad spirits while offering protection.

Glutinous rice is a staple in many eastern Asian countries. Remember Japanese Mochi, the glutinous rice pounded into a paste and slightly sweetened? The soft balls are available year-round, but traditionally served during the Japanese New Year on January 1st.

The Vietnamese today also celebrate the Lunar New Year (Tet) with family, red envelopes, no sweeping away good luck, and Lion (Lan) dancing. In Vietnam the Lan is a cross between the lion and a dragon and very powerful eradicator of evil spirits. Savory filled sticky rice cakes shaped as blocks of the earth or round as the moon are eaten. Tet lasts from 7 to 9 days.

The Lunar New Year in Korea also features rice. Tteok (duck) is the chewy and dense Korean rice cake made from steamed, pounded glutinous rice. Tteokguk (duck-gook) is a soup with sliced rice cakes served during the three day celebration. The rice coins will make you richer, live longer and today in Korea you officially turn one year older! As in other neighboring countries, this is a traditional family holiday.

We celebrated the Korean New Year earlier this week by eating Korean tteokbokki rice cake stir-fry with pork and shiitake mushrooms. Good thing I saved the Sun Basket pamphlet with the recipe and name! Delicious.

I like the idea of friends and family gathering together and having fun over an extended period of time. In the US we celebrate New Years for one day. Some of us actually eat black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata) for good luck. Why?

Pick your story, since many stem from the distant past. During Shermans march through Georgia in 1864, food stores were pillaged except for silos, field peas and salt pork, (the last two considered food fit only for animals). That story doesnt pan out, since Sherman pretty well took everything and cleaned house. It is possible the troops traveled through fields of unharvested peas late autumn, leaving them untouched.

According to passages in the Talmud, eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day brought good luck. Some say it was a mistranslation of rubia (fenugreek seeds) with lubia (black-eyed peas). Whatever, for centuries the Jewish have eaten the legumes for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year in late summer or early fall. Jewish colonists did arrive in Georgia in the 1730s.

Black-eyed peas could have arrived in slave ships coming to America well before the Jewish. The peas may have been eaten on January 1st, 1863, the first day the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. Many southern crops were destroyed after the Civil War. Hardy and nutritious, the black-eyed pea was easy to grow and kept Southerners alive especially during Reconstruction (1863-1877).

When growing one of the many varieties of black-eyed peas (heirloom, seed packet, plastic sack from grocery store) remember this subspecies of the cowpea likes sandy or well-drained soil that should be over 60 degrees for faster germination. Field peas originated in warm semi-arid regions of India, traveled to Africa and eventually went global. The peas will camp out in colder soils and wait, or rot, if too wet. Chose vines that range from 24-36 in height, or bushes that reach up and out 3 feet.

The black-eyed pea swells when cookedprosperity. Ham hock or porkpositive energy (pigs are so good at foraging). Greensmoney. Cornbreadgold. Cant get any luckier than this!

If you did not eat black-eyed peas on January 1st, why not cook some today to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Our full moon (the Snow Moon or Hunger Moon) rises Feb. 8th and peaks the 9th. This is America. Blend cultures. Go visit friends or relatives and be sure to bring a pot of black-eyed peas cooked with ham. Heat up greens and make a batch of cornbread. Gather together outside and light red lanterns. This could be your lucky year.

And by the way, I have received good support from those who read Goodbye Old Friends. Seems there are many out there just as concerned as I about how nature is being destroyed. They asked why the larger trees growing along the road for over half of century could not have been saved. More than one mused that the new road will never last as long as those trees. The trees gave. The road stole. The land suffers.

Save our trees. Save our planet.

Becky Emerson Carlberg, graduate of Oklahoma State (Plant Pathology) is a teacher, artist, writer as well as certified Oklahoma Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Contact her at

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What Is A Bar Mitzvah? – Longmont Observer

Posted By on January 27, 2020

By Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University

It is a common scene on many a Saturday morning in cities and towns across the United States to see seventh- and eighth-grade boys and girls, a few not Jewish at all, gather in synagogues and temples to watch a classmates bar mitzvah.

This coming-of-age ritual marks a 13-year-old mans assumption of religious and legal obligations under Jewish law.

In my experience, many modern-day teens who gather for this ceremony have no idea what the word bar mitzvah means, nor how the ceremony they have come to observe evolved.

The roots of the bar mitzvah, which literally means son of the commandments, are obscure. The term never once appears in the Hebrew Bible.

Ancient rabbis, writing in the compendium of Jewish law known as the Talmud, did declare that boys are obligated to fulfill the mitzvot the commandments of Jewish law beginning at the age of 13. But as an historian of Judaism, I know that rabbis and commentators have struggled with the question of why the age of 13 was actually chosen.

After some debate, these Jewish scholars concluded by the 11th century that it must have been an orally transmitted requirement handed down to Moses when he stood atop Mount Sinai. There, Moses received not just the Ten Commandments but also, according to Jewish tradition, all Jewish law, both written and spoken.

The first use of bar mitzvah for the Jewish coming-of-age ritual seems to date to a 15th-century rabbi named Menahem Ziyyoni.

The bar mitzvah ceremony at that time was a modest affair with two or three major components. First, was an aliyah. This meant that the bar mitzvah boy was, for the very first time in his life, called up to make a blessing over the public readings from the Torah, the sacred handwritten scroll containing the Five Books of Moses. In addition, the bar mitzvah boy often delivered his first public discourse, teaching the community and offering thanks to his parents and visiting guests.

The bar mitzvah boy, however, was not expected to read from the Torah, chant the Prophetic portion associated with it, known as the Haftarah, or lead any part of the prayer service, as so many do today.

Those elements came later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the bar mitzvah grew in importance for the Jewish communities of Europe, North America and the Caribbean. As traditional Jewish communal authority weakened during the Enlightenment period, newly emancipated Jews across the globe became citizens with civil and political rights.

Anxious parents wondered whether their sons would carry on ancestral traditions such as observing Jewish law, studying Jewish texts, marrying within the faith and raising their own children Jewish. The more they worried, the more they focused on the bar mitzvah the last religious rite of passage they could control.

By the early 20th century, many bar mitzvah boys publicly pledged to love, honor and keep the Holy Torah. The 20th century also witnessed the spread of a parallel ceremony for girls, known as the bat mitzvah, meaning daughter of the commandments.

In lands where Jewish life was changing rapidly, families seemingly sought to stave off fears of the morrow. Parents strove, at least momentarily, perhaps for one fine Saturday morning, to reassure themselves and the community that Jewish learning and life would continue despite the lure of modernity and its many seductions.

Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University

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Terry Mattingly: Rabbi Lord Sacks on the surge of anti-Semitism – Joplin Globe

Posted By on January 26, 2020

Andrew Neil of the BBC kept asking Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn the same question over and over.

Eighty percent of Jews think that youre anti-Semitic, he stressed. Wouldnt you like to take this opportunity tonight to apologize to the British Jewish community for whats happened?

Corbyn would not yield: What Ill say is this I am determined that our society will be safe for people of all faiths.

The Daily Express called this late-2019 clash a horror show. This BBC interview, with surging fears of public anti-Semitism, lingered in headlines as Brits went to the polls. Corbyns party suffered its worst defeat in nearly a century.

Meanwhile, in America, a wave of anti-Semitic attacks left Jews wondering if it was safe to wear yarmulkes and symbols of their faith while walking the sidewalks of New York City. In suburban Monsey, New York, a machete-waving attacker stabbed five people at a Hasidic rabbis Hanukkah party. Finally, thousands of New Yorkers marched to show solidarity with the Jewish community.

The New York City Police Department estimates that anti-Semitic crimes rose 26% last year. Anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are expected to hit an 18-year high, according to research at California State University, San Bernardino.

No one who watches the news can doubt that the darkness has returned. It has returned likewise to virtually every country in Europe, argued Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who led the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2005 and entered the House of Lords.

That this should have happened within living memory of the Holocaust, after the most systematic attempt ever made ... to find a cure for the virus of the worlds longest hate more than half a century of Holocaust education and anti-racist legislation is almost unbelievable. It is particularly traumatic that this has happened in the United States, the country where Jews felt more at home than anywhere else in the Diaspora.

Why now? In an essay for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Rabbi Sacks urged religious and political leaders to study trends often digital behind these tragedies.

Anti-Semitism, or any hate, he argued, becomes dangerous in any society when three things happen: when it moves from the fringes of politics to a mainstream party and its leadership; when the party sees that its popularity with the general public is not harmed thereby; and when those who stand up and protest are vilified and abused for doing so.

Imagine the hellish Protocols of the Elders of Zion updated for the internet. In the age of smartphones and viral videos, noted Sacks, millions of people can brew hate online rarely speaking face-to-face with their disciples or their victims. This gap creates what researchers call a disinhibition effect that turns up the heat.

Cyberspace has proved to be the most effective incubator of resentment, rancor and conspiracy theories ever invented, noted Sacks. Most people encounter these phenomena ... in the privacy of their own home. This allows them to be radicalized without anyone realizing it is happening. Time and again, we read of people carrying out horrific attacks, while those who knew them recall not having seen any warning signs that they were intent on committing evil attacks.

Its crucial to grasp the logic behind political and cultural fears on both the left and the right. Many people are furious because they believe the world as it is now is not the way it used to be, or ought to be, he argued.

The far left has not recovered from the global collapse of communism and socialism as ideologies. ... The far right feels threatened by the changing composition of Western societies, because of immigration on an unprecedented scale and low birth rates among the native population. ... Many radical Islamists are troubled by dysfunctions in the Muslim world.

Thus, many people around the world want to know why bad things are happening. Anyone seeking to fight anti-Semitism, Sacks wrote, needs to understand what can go wrong with that process.

When bad things happen, good people ask, What did I do wrong? ... Bad people ask, Who did this to me? They cast themselves as victims and search for scapegoats to blame. The scapegoat of choice has long been the Jews.

Terry Mattingly leads and lives in Oak Ridge, Tenn. He is a senior fellow at the Overby Center at the University of Mississippi.

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