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Sephardic music – Wikipedia

Posted By on April 2, 2019

This article is about the music of the Sephardic Jews. For the main article on secular Jewish music, see Secular Jewish music.

Sephardic music is an umbrella term used to refer to the music of the Sephardic Jewish community. Sephardic Jews have a diverse repertoire the origins of which center primarily around the Mediterranean basin. In the secular tradition, material is usually sung in dialects of Judeo-Spanish, though other languages including Hebrew, Turkish, Greek, and other local languages of the Sephardic diaspora are widely used. Sephardim maintain geographically unique liturgical and para-liturgical traditions.

Songs which are sung by women are traditionally sung while performing household tasks, without accompaniment or harmony. Tambourines and other percussion instruments are sometimes used, especially in wedding songs. Oud and qann are also used in some instrumentations of Sephardic music, and more modern performers incorporate countless other imported instruments.

Sephardic music has its roots in the musical traditions of the Jewish communities in medieval Spain and medieval Portugal. Since then, it has picked up influences from Morocco, Argentina, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and the other places that Spanish and Portuguese Jews settled after their expulsion from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1496. Lyrics were preserved by communities formed by the Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula. These Sephardic communities share many of the same lyrics and poems, but the melodies vary considerably.

Because so many centuries have passed since the expulsion, a lot of the original melodies have been lost. Instead, Sephardic music has adopted the melodies and rhythms of the various countries where the Sephardim settled in. The Greek and Turkish traditions are fairly close. The Moroccan or western Sephardic traditions are not that close to the eastern/Greek/Turkish traditions.

These song traditions spread from Spain to Morocco (the Western Tradition) and several parts of the Ottoman Empire (the Eastern Tradition) including Greece, Jerusalem, the Balkans and Egypt. Sephardic music adapted to each of these locales, assimilating North African high-pitched, extended ululations; Balkan rhythms, (for instance in 9/8 time); and the Arabic maqam mode.

The song traditions were studied and transcribed in the early twentieth century by a number of ethnomusicologists and scholars of medieval Hispanic literature. From around 1957 until quite recently, Samuel Armistead (UC Davis) with colleagues Joseph Silverman and Israel Katz collected Judeo-Spanish songs from informants in North America, Turkey, the Balkans, Greece, North Africa, and Israel. The digitized recordings, with transcriptions and information about song type,are available on the website Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews, now permanently hosted by the University of Illinois Library.

The early 20th century saw some popular commercial recordings of Sephardic music come out of Greece and Turkey, followed by recordings from Jerusalem and other parts of the Eastern Tradition. The first performers were mostly men, including the "Turks" Jack Mayesh, Haim Efendi and Yitzhak Algazi. Later, a new generation of singers arose, many of whom were not themselves Sephardic. Gloria Levy, Pasharos Sefardes, Flory Jagoda the Parvarim, and Janet & Jak Esim Ensemble are popular Eastern Tradition performers of this period. Gerard Edery, Savina Yannatou, Stefani Valadez, Franoise Atlan, Marlene Samoun Yasmin Levy and Mara Aranda are among the new generation of singers bringing a new interpretation to the Ladino/Judeo-Spanish heritage and, in the case of Levy and Edery, mixing it with Andalusian Flamenco. Opera singer and actor David Serero sings Ladino and Sephardic songs which he often includes in theater classics such as Merchant of Venice and Othello.

The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki Choir was founded in 1995 by members of the community. The choir was founded in the hope that the musical tradition that their ancestors took with them when they were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula 500 years ago would be preserved and revived. The research of its conductor 'Kostis Papazoglou' on Sepharadic music from the medieval tradition (songs like "Tres Ermanikas") and later as the music evolved resulted to a CD, produced by Minos EMI, with the participation of the Codex Ensemble, under the title " En la mar ay una torre." Today, this choir has 25 - 30 members of different ages. Its conductor Kostis Papazoglou, is an experienced and distinguished music teacher, soloist, and orchestras conductor, who has given concerts all over Greece as well as in Israel (Tel - Aviv), Skopia, Vienna, Salzburg, Bulgaria (Sofia), Russia (St. Petersburg), Egypt (Cairo at the inauguration of the rebuilt Ben Ezra Synagogue),Turkey (Istanbul in the Ashkenaz Synagogue on the occasion of Jewish Culture Week), and Hungary (in the Great Budapest Synagogue).

Sephardic music, including pan-Sephardic music which may not necessarily be Judeo-Spanish, is primarily vocal. Instruments, when they are used, are played to accompany songs. the choice of Instruments used by Sephardim has generally reflected the instruments used in the host culture: (Greek, Turkish, Moroccan, etc.) The instruments most commonly played are plucked lutes (fretless: oud, the Middle Eastern lute; and in Turkey fretted saz or sometimes mandolin or the cumbus), kanun or santur (plucked or hammered Middle Eastern zither), violin and hand drums (frame and goblet).

For weddings and other celebrations, musicians might also be hired from the Muslim community, as skilled Jewish musicians are also hired by the Muslim community. Generally, Sephardic men played both local percussion and melody instruments, while women usually sang unaccompanied in domestic contexts, and at weddings, accompanying their singing with tambourines and sometimes other percussion instruments. Molho describes Sephardic women in Salonica using kitchen utensils as improvised percussion, in a manner reminiscent of Spanish and Portuguese village practice today. (Molho 2021) In the eastern Mediterranean, women musicians specializing in singing and drumming for weddings were known as tanyederas, and they played a central role in wedding events. Some early 20th-century Ottoman-area Jewish schools taught 'ud and mandolin to girls; and some women learned to play the piano. In any case, whether or not instruments are used, the main and always appropriate instrument in Sephardic music is the voice.

Medieval instruments as such are not used, except those such as the 'ud where the instrument has survived with minimal changes in traditional practice. Sephardim, like other traditional musicians, often adapt traditional instruments to current norms; at a Sephardic wedding one will definitely not find any medieval instruments, but will likely hear an electronic keyboard.[1]

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Sephardi Jews in Salonica –

Posted By on April 2, 2019

Before the outbreak of World War II, there were around 56,000 Jews living in the Greek port city of Salonica. By the end of the war, nearly 98% of the Jewish community from Salonica had perished from gassing, forced labor, starvation and disease in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. Only 11,000 Greek Jews, from a total pre-war population of 77,000 survived the Holocaust, a figure that includes approximately 1,100 who returned from the Nazi death camps.

The city of Salonica was once the center of Sephardi religious and cultural life, and Jewish intellectual life in general, and once boasted such cultural institutions as a Judeo-Spanish theater, press, secular literature and music. The city virtually ground to a stop on Saturday, the Jewish Shabbath. But most survivors today of Greek Sephardic descent believe that the Ashkenazim, the Jews of Eastern and Central Europe, have marginalized their suffering. They believe that their experiences have been treated as an afterthought by academics and organizations, most notably Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, and the New York-based Claims Conference. Both have cited numerous sources to prove otherwise.

The Jewish community of Salonica flourished for many centuries. As late as 1912, they were the largest ethnic group in the city. But in 1917, a great fire ravaged much of Salonica, and left the Jews fragmented and impoverished. With the advent of Greek nationalism and the resettling of Orthodox Christians in Greece in 1923, Salonicas Jews began to feel increasingly marginalized. Before the two world wars, periodic outburts of anti-semitism occurred, such as the translation into Greek of the famed forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in 1928. Its possible that some 20,000 to 25,000 Jews left the city before World War II erupted.

In April 1941, Nazi Germany invaded Greece, King George II fled Athens, and a pro-Axis puppet regime was installed, with the country divided into three different zones. Athens and certain islands were under the control of Italy; eastern Macedonia were under the control of Bulgaria; and the Nazis controlled Salonica. Soon, a ghetto was created for Salonicas Jews and they were forced to wear the yellow star. Frightening public spectacles of humiliation of Jews became commomplace, and it was not long before they were deported to concentration camps, which began in March 1943. Approximately one fifth of Salonicas population was deported, which led to widespread looting of Jewish homes and businesses. It is still difficult for survivors to reclaim their stolen property.

Salonicas chief rabbi at the time was Zvi Koretz, a particular controversial figure. He was an Ashkenazi ordained in Vienna, and had become the chief rabbi of Salonica in 1933. He held a doctorate in Arabic and medeival Islamic philosophy from the Hamburg Institute for Oriental Studies, and was later accused by the Greek Holocaust survivors of being a collaborator. Koretz became the chief rabbi at a time when the Jewish leadership was searching for a more modern approach to Judaism in the city, especially after the traditional leader, Haham Haim Habib, refused to shake the hand of the Greek queen for reasons of religious modesty. But the appointment had the opposite effect, and Koretz quickly became unpopular for his rigid and arrogant demeanor. He was arrested by the German army a month after the invasion of Greece. He was sent to Vienna where he was imprisoned for eight months, charged with promulgating anti-German propoganda.

In 1940, Koretz actively protested the Italian bombing of the Saint Sophia Church in Salonica, which caused many Greek Jews to eye him suspiciously, and eventually believe that he had been brainwashed by the Nazis to become a collaborator. In addition, he served as the liasion to the German authorities in the early 1940s, and was forced by the Nazis to head the local Jewish Council. In this role, he was able to negotiate the release of 4,000 young Jewish men taken for forced labor, but was unable to raise the fund necessary to save a 500-year-old Jewish cemetary, one of the largest in Europe. The Germans demolished it, and used the headstones for the construction of roads, swimming pools and urinals.

In the first large scale public action against the Jews of Salonica, General Kurt von Krenzski, the commander of German forces in northern Greece, ordered all adult Jewish men to assemble on Eleftheria (Freedom) Square on the morning of July 11, 1942 to register for work details. Instead of receiving work assignments, however, the nearly 10,000 men were kept standing in the sun for the entire day while German and Italian soldiers humiliated them in front of the non-Jewish population by forcing them to perform calisthenics and other distasteful tasks. Those who collapsed from the heat and exhaustion were beaten by the troops or doused with cold water and again made to stand.

The Final Solution started in Greece in February 1943, with the arrival of two prominent Nazi officials, Dieter Wisliceny (a close aide to Adolph Eichmann who supervised many deportations) and Alois Brunner. When the two arrived in Salonica, they immediately enacted anti-Jewish measures, and Koretz counciled the community to abide by them. In contract to the chief rabbi in Athens, Elias Barzilai, who was a Sephardic Jew, encouraged his community to flee, Koretz told Jews they would be safely resettled in Poland and would eventually find work elsewhere, according to some historical accounts.

Many notable Salonican and Greek Jews stand out for their bravery during the war. Salonican middle-weight boxing champion, Jacko Razon, smuggled soup for famished inmates from the kitchen in Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he worked. Fifteen-year-old Jacko Maestro became work coordinator for the 10,000 internees, and saved several lives by bribing the German guards. In 1944, Greek Jewish Sonderkommando workers staged a revolt in Crematoria III and IV, killing several Nazi guards. A Salonican Jew by the name of Isaac Baruch managed to put a bomb in the furnace of Crematorium III, and the building was destroyed. The plotters were publicly shot, singing Greek partisan songs and the Greek national anthem.

At the end of the war, Salonicas one thousand surviving Jews returned to the city to find their homes and businesses taken over by Greeks, who refused to relinquish control of the looted property. Most chose to leave the city of their birth, heading to the United States or Palestine. Very few remained behind. Today, there are around 250 Greek Jews living in Israel.

Source: The Jerusalem Report


Sephardi Jews in Salonica -

The Uniqueness of Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry is Important for …

Posted By on March 30, 2019

By Bethann Hromatka, Ph.D.

Ashkenazi Jews are one group that fall under the umbrella of European, but its clear from numerous studies that theyre genetically unique and distinct from the European population at large. Most people with Ashkenazi ancestry trace their DNA to Eastern and Central Europe, but also have Middle Eastern ancestry, which is just one reason for their genetic uniqueness.

Its clear that people with European ancestry are genetically distinct from those of Asian or African descent, but whats less obvious is that genetic variation also exists within European groups. In these plots from a study by Elimear Kenny, you can see the genetic variation between major ancestral groups (left) and within a population (right). Jewish groups fall into the European cluster on the left, but people with Ashkenazi ancestry (blue) form a unique cluster that is largely distinct from Caucasian (CEU; green) and other Jewish populations (various colors) on the right. Individuals who are part Ashkenazi fall in between the Caucasian and Ashkenazi clusters.

The challenging history of Jewish groups has also contributed to their genetic uniqueness. During the Jewish Diaspora or migration of Jewish people from the Middle East to other parts of the world the vast majority of Jewish individuals married and raised families within their faith. Many generations later this means that Ashkenazi Jews can appear more genetically related than they actually are.This genetic isolation has had important implications for health.

People with Ashkenazi ancestry are more likely to carry genetic factors that cause single-gene recessive Mendelian disorders where you need two bad copies of a gene to get the disease. Examples include Gaucher disease, Canavan disease, and Tay-Sachs disease. Because of this higher likelihood, screening for these genetic variants in prospective parents is standard practice for Jewish individuals starting families.

(23andMe tests for most mutations routinely screened in the Ashkenazi Jewish population for these conditions).

A number of multi-gene conditions (or those caused by genetic variation in a handful of genes) are also more common in people with Ashkenazi ancestry. One example is Crohns disease, which people with Ashkenazi ancestry are two to four times as likely to develop compared Europeans in general. Although its not yet clear why the rates are higher in this population, its likely that genetic factors specific to individuals with Ashkenazi ancestry play a role.Knowing about your ancestry can teach you about your familys heritage and your risk for disease and more knowledge means more informed decisions.

You can learn more about your ancestry and your genetic health with our Health + Ancestry service. Find out more here.

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President Trump Proclaims May ‘Jewish American Heritage …

Posted By on March 30, 2019

Donald Trump wearing a Jewish prayer shawl.. (photo credit: CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)

Dear Reader, As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

Help us grow and continue telling Israels story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

President Donald Trump declared May to be Jewish American Heritage Month in a press release Friday.

During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate our nations strong American Jewish heritage, rooted in the ancient faith and traditions of the Jewish people, Trump said.

He also stated that Jews came to America to escape persecution and violence, and that American Jews have stood for human freedom, equality and dignity.

Trump said he plans to celebrate the connection between the Jewish people and the United States with his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in law, Jared Kushner.

Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2017 as Jewish American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to celebrate the heritage and contributions of American Jews and to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities and ceremonies, Trump said in closing.

Last week, Israel observed Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Trump signed a proclamation to observe Holocaust remembrance for the week of April 23-28.

Ivanka was in Berlin at the time, as a panelist at the W20 Summit on womens economic empowerment. She took some time to visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the German capitals Holocaust memorial. Ivanka posted about the visit on Instagram, saying, I am deeply moved by the history of this memorial, honoring the six million European Jews whose lives were taken during the Holocaust.

According to data released last Sunday, US campuses have seen a rise of 45% in antisemitism.

The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with the European Jewish Congress, released its Annual Report on Antisemitism for 2016 during a press conference held at the university.

In the report, US campuses were reported to have become hotbeds for Jew-hatred, often under the guise of anti-Zionism and due to increased pro-Palestinian movements, such as BDS on campuses.Lidar Grav-Lazi contributed to this report.

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Zionism Gays For Trump

Posted By on March 29, 2019

3:39 PM 03/22/2019 | Education

Adelle Nazarian | Contributor

San Francisco State University (SFSU), a part of the California State University system, agreed Wednesday to a settlement agreement that includes the acknowledgement of Zionism as an important part of Jewish identity, thereby safeguarding the rights of Jewish students on campus.

As part of the settlement agreement, SFSU acknowledged that it will issue a statement affirming that it understands that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity.

The lawsuit was brought against SFSU by Winston and Strawn, LLP and The Lawfare Project on behalf of Liam Kern and Charles Volk, two SFSU students who alleged that the school and the CSU Board of Trustees engaged in anti-Semitism against them when SFSU revoked the on-campus Hillel chapter from participating in a Know Your Rights Fair on Feb. 28, 2017.

The Know Your Rights Fair is a university-sponsored event to whichHillel was originally invited. When the organizers learned the Jewish groups participation, the students claimed that their invitation was rescinded and never reinstated.

In their legal case against their school, Kern and Volk argued that SFSUs refusal to respond to the anti-Semitic incidents on campus, including the Hillel incident, was in violation of the Golden States Unruh Civil Rights Act. (RELATED: San Francisco Creates District For Trans People To Spread Gender-Fluid Culture)

On its website, The Lawfare Project noted that San Francisco State University (SFSU) has earned a reputation as the most anti-Semitic college campus in the country after more than three decades of discrimination and abuse of Jewish students by their peers, their professors and their administrators alike.

San Francisco (Brian Kinney/Shutterstock)

In December 2016, SFSU was listed as #10 in the Algemeiners list of 40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students. Nine out of the 40 colleges listed are located in California.

As part of the settlement agreement, SFSU will be required to hire a Jewish Student Life coordinator within the campuss Division of Equity & Community Inclusion. The school will also allocate $200,000 to support educational outreach efforts to promote viewpoint diversity and will be legally bound to protect the rights of all students at the school, including those of Jewish and pro-Israel or Zionist students. (RELATED: Republicans Propose Resolution To Condemn Anti-Semitism And Omar)

Wednesdays settlement could set the wheels in motion for similar changes at other universities throughout the United States who have also gained reputations for being anti-Semitic. It could also set a precedent for other publicly-funded campuses to address any anti-Semitism that exists throughout other educational systems.

California State Universitys public recognition that Zionism is an integral part of Jewish identity represents a major victory for Jewish students at SFSU and across the country, Brooke Goldstein, executive director of The Lawfare Project, said in a public statement. Today, we have ensured that SFSU will put in place important protections for Jewish and Zionist students to prevent continued discrimination. We are confident that this will change the campus climate for the better.

Of Wednesdays landmark victory, Goldstein said, Not only is it unprecedented, but we achieved what the Democratic Members of Congress could not achieve: an unequivocal statement from a publicly-funded school that Zionism is an integral part of Judaism and you can no longer use the phrase, Im not anti-Semitic, Im anti-Zionist to prevent [pro-Israel students] from participating in school programs.

She added, Its an acknowledgment that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism because Zionism, for the majority of Jews, is the national liberation movement of the worlds largest ethnic minority. The two are intertwined completely. We pray facing Jerusalem. We say next year in Jerusalem. (RELATED: Cruz Is Preparing A Resolution To Condemn Anti-Semitism)

Goldstein also said that the legal victory will also prevent giving Jewish students a litmus test before participating in campus events. It will no longer be tolerated, nor will the targeted harassment of Jewish students because of their anti-Zionist bias Its always been true that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Israel (trabantos/Shutterstock)

Asked if The Lawfare Project would consider revisiting incidents over the past few decades where anti-Semitism was dismissed, she said, Its all about going forward. Its all about today on. She added, We have changed the campus climate for Jewish students at SFSU forever. The students will no longer have to do what my clients had to do which is spend their time and communal resources to sue the school and uphold their civil rights.

In a statement to the Jewish Journal, a university spokesperson said,

Todays settlement in the Volk v CSU case brings an end to what has been a very emotional and challenging issue for all parties involved. We are pleased that we reached common ground on steps for moving forward. The settlement emphasizes the importance of improving student experiences and student lives. It allows SF State to reiterate its commitment to equity and inclusion for all including those who are Jewish.

Source: The Daily Caller

Zionism Gays For Trump

Mike Pompeo warns anti-zionism is ‘new’ anti-semitism at …

Posted By on March 29, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Monday that anti-Zionism is becoming the new form of anti-Semitism and firmly committed the administration to fight it.

Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Mr. Pompeo warned that the view that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state the essence of its founding ideology, Zionism is a growing threat across the globe.

It is a cancer that is metastasizing the Middle East, in Europe and sadly here in the United States, he said.

The secretary argued that anti-Zionism has become the insidious new form while seemingly different from classic anti-Semitism, or hatred of the Jews as it has seeped into mainstream debate, especially on college campuses through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Its supported by certain members of Congress. I suspect none of whom are here tonight, Mr. Pompeo said.

Criticizing Israels policies is an acceptable thing to do in a democracy, its what we do, he added. But criticizing the very right to exist of Israel is not acceptable.

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Visiting a Brooklyn Hassidic Community – TripSavvy

Posted By on March 29, 2019

From Chinatown to Brighton Beach, there are numerous culturally vibrant neighborhoods in New York's melting pot. Every culture has their own customs and in order to respect the community, you should read about them before you visit.

All kinds of people live in Brooklyn, and some of the best people-watching is in the borough's Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods, where people dress with Amish-like modesty and observe different social norms. Here are some tips to keep in mind when visiting a Hasidic community.

Most of the people you may encounter at Brooklyn's Hasidic neighborhoodsWilliamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Parkwill be dressed in the garb typical of their communities. That means modest, loose-fitting long dresses for girls and women, and generally black pants or suits for boys and men, who all wear yarmulkes or hats.

You will not find any bars in these neighborhoods unless they are on the outskirts and owned by non-Hasidic people. Also note that all establishments are closed two hours before sunset on Friday, all day Saturday, and on Jewish holidays.

Be aware that adult men and women do not wait in stores for each other to try on and model clothing; there's a separation of men and women.

People in these communities are generally open and friendly to outsiders. However, it helps to understand a little of the rules they live by. As a matter of courtesy:

If you feel a bit lost and would like to know more about the culture, consider signing up for a tour. Popular tours includeTours by Frieda,a tourled by someone who "grew up in a very large Hasidic family and was educated and married according to the Satmar Hasidic tradition." Or take the Jewish Neighborhood tour withNY Like a Native.For a gay-friendly male tour, check out A Hasidic Tour of Williamsburg with Hebro,which offers at two-and-half-hour tour that includes a pastry tasting and a crash course in Yiddish.

Note that Williamsburg isn't the only Hasidic neighborhood, but it's the most prominent and the one where they host tours.

For those in search of Jewish culture and aplace where you can enjoy many meals in Kosher restaurants, take the subway to Midwood. The stretch of Coney Island Avenue near Avenue J has numerous kosher restaurants and is also home to a gourmet kosher supermarket, Pomegranate, which is similar to a kosher Whole Foods. Other spots include incredible bakeries with delicious pastries like rugelach. Enjoy an overstuffed sandwich in one of New York's few remaining kosher Jewish delis at Essen New York Deli.

Steps from the deli are two largeJudaica stores, where you can peruse the aisles and pick up hard to find items.

For a kid-friendly tour of the Jewish world, plan a trip to theJewish Children's Museum, located on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. The museum hosts many events and activities. However, you don't need a special occasion to visit this museum. There are many educational exhibits to teach your child about the various aspects of the region and culture. From crawling through an enormous challah to mini golf, the museum is a must-visit during a trip to Brooklyn

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Visiting a Brooklyn Hassidic Community - TripSavvy

YIVO | Hasidism: Dance

Posted By on March 29, 2019

From the beginning of Hasidism, teachers associated with the movement considered dance, along with music, an avenue of worship. In Hasidic thought and literature, dancing is both an expression and a stimulator of joy, and as such has a therapeutic effect. It purifies the soul and produces spiritual uplift, unites the community, and enhances social relationships; the tsadiks dance may even encourage repentance.

Although some scholars associate the value assigned to dance with the central role of rejoicing in Hasidic lore, the various genres of Hasidic literature present a more variegated picture. The most important feature of dance is understood to be the theurgic aspect, which sees danceand especially the mystical acts performed by great tsadikim as they danced (among them, Aryeh Leib, the Zeyde of Shpole; Levi Yitsak of Barditshev; Mosheh Leib of Sasov; and ayim of Kosov)as having an effect on the heavenly worlds. This aspect, rooted in Kabbalah, figures in works by both early and later Hasidic masters (Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye; Dov Ber, the Magid of Mezritsh; Naman of Bratslav; and, more recently, Aharon Roth, author of Shomer emunim) and is recounted in Hasidic stories; it undoubtedly influenced the idea of dance as a form of worship.

Written evidence, especially that emanating from opponents of Hasidism, reprovingly describes dancing during prayer by early generations of Hasidim. It is not known, however, whether it was disdain in external sources or self-criticism that substantially eliminated dance from Hasidic prayer itself. Today dancing is part of prayer only in a few dynasties (such as Sandz, Klausenberg, and Vizhnitsin the latter even when the rebbe is absent) and only occurs during the last verse of Lekhah dodi (Come, My Beloved), sung on Sabbath evenings. More frequent is dancing on Friday nights after the service, or between the welcoming of the Sabbath (Kabalat Shabat) and the evening service on festival Sabbaths. Bratslav Hasidim dance after each morning and evening service, on weekdays as well as on Sabbaths and holidays.

Hasidic sources almost invariably refer to dancing on holidays and other festive occasions. Dancing has played a central role on Sabbaths and festivals, at events such as Tikun atsot (a midnight service instituted by the Safed kabbalists of the sixteenth century) and Kidush Levanah (sanctification of the moon), at life-cycle events, at the tsadiks tish, and during community celebrations, such as a dedication of a synagogue. According to some sources women danced only during the nuptial meal either in front of the bride or with her. In some cases, such as Simat Torah, Kidush Levanah, and life-cycle events, dancing itself was never an innovation, having been associated with these occasions long before Hasidism. The change was mostly one of emphasisof the meaning ascribed to the dance.

One substantial innovation was the practice among early Hasidim of engaging in processional circuits around the synagogue (hakafot) on the night of Shemini Atseret and not only, as is customary, on Simat Torah, based on the Zohar and other mystical texts. In Israel (where Shemini Atseret and Simat Torah are conflated into a single day), this observance became the so-called second hakafot, held by Hasidim on the evening after Simat Torah. The significance of dancing on this particular festival is highlighted in Hasidic tales. One story describes the Besht dancing with a Torah scroll; when he continued without the scroll, a disciple said that he had put aside the physical Torah and taken up the spiritual Torah. Tsadikim would pick a specific hakafah of particular mystical significance for dancing, most frequently the sevenththe symbol of the unification of the sefirot (10 aspects or emanations of God)or the sixth, the symbol of the sefirah of yesod (foundation), which for the kabbalists symbolizes both the divine virile power and the essence of the human tsadik (based on Prv. 10:25, ve-tsadik yesod olam, and the Zohar). Hasidic stories describe tsadikim dancing in spite of sickness or even while mourning for their own family members; some ordered their Hasidim to dance at their deathbeds, or when mourning for other tsadikim.

The most common form of dance in Hasidic society is the round dance. Lubavitch and Slonim Hasidim have their own dance steps. Younger Hasidim will often leap into the air with fervor; at weddings,they may form concentric circles, break out in lines and rows, form snake-like processions, or dance with each dancer placing his hands on the preceding dancers shoulders; all of these movements are expressive of joy. Hasidim have also preserved at least one East European dance, known as the patsh tants.

The so-called mitsve tants, performed today as the final ceremony of a Hasidic wedding, is particularly important because of its mystical significance. In the presence of the family (at weddings of the rebbes offspring [including grandchildren], the whole Hasidic congregation), male members of the two families are invited to dance in turn with the bride. Each dancer holds one end of a sash whose other end is held by the bride; after a brief dance, he retires but continues to dance with a group of Hasidim. The last dancer is the groom, who actually holds the brides hand.

In modern Israel at weddings, the tkhies hameysim tants (resurrection of the dead dance, a pantomime for two, partly based on the Diasporabroygez tants) is specially choreographed and has become an integral part of Hasidic dance tradition. As for the dances of tsadikim in Israel, we have information only about the hakhnoe tants (dance of submission), attributed to Elimelekh of Lizhensk and known in Israel also as shmoyne shrotsim (eight insects)an East European line dance featuring couples passing under gates formed by the other dancers. At weddings, some tsadikim used to perform dances in fancy dress. Such dances as performed by ordinary Hasidim are seen today at weddings only in the month of Adar.

Unique genres that show the influences of Eastern (oriental) dances and gestures have emerged from the festivities at Meron. These include the debkaa group dance with solo acrobatic elementsand vituoso solo performances. Both take place at weddings as well.

Michael Fishbane, The Mystery of Dance According to Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav, in The Exegetical Imagination: On Jewish Thought and Theology, pp.173184, 226231 (Cambridge, Mass., 1998); Tsevi Fridhaber, Ha-Maol be-am Yisrael (Tel Aviv, 1984); Meir Shimon Geshuri, Ha-Nigun veha-rikud ba-asidut, 3 vols. (Tel Aviv, 1954/551958/59); Betsalel Landoi, Ha-Maol veha-rikud ba-tenuah ha-asidit, Maanayim 46 (1960): 5662; Yaakov Mazor, Masoret ha-klezmorimbe-Erets Yisrael (Jerusalem, 2000), musical score, introduction and notes in Hebrew and English; Yaakov Mazor and Moshe Taube, A Hassidic Ritual Dance: The Mitsve Tants in Jerusalemite Weddings, Yuval 6 (1994): 164224; Yeshayah Meshulam Faish ha-Levi Rottenberg, Zamru li-shemo (Jerusalem, 1996).

Translated from Hebrew by David Louvish

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Zionism and Anti-Semitism | Torah Jews

Posted By on March 25, 2019

Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the founder of modern Zionism, recognized that anti-Semitism would further his cause, the creation of a separate state for Jews. To solve the Jewish Question, he maintained we must, above all, make it an international political issue.

Herzl wrote that Zionism offered the world a welcome final solution of the Jewish question. In his Diaries, page 19, Herzl stated Anti-Semites will become our surest friends, anti-Semitic countries our allies.

Zionist reliance on Anti-Semitism to further their goals continues to this day. Studies of immigration records reflect increased immigration to the Zionist state during times of increased anti-Semitism. Without a continued inflow of Jewish immigrants to the state of "Israel", it is estimated that within a decade the Jewish population of the Zionist state will become the minority.

In order to maintain a Jewish majority in the state of "Israel", its leaders promote anti-Semitism throughout the world to "encourage" Jews to leave their homelands and seek "refuge".

Most people are not aware that in March, 1933, when Hitler became the undisputed leader of Germany and began restricting the rights of German Jews, the American Jewish Congress announced a massive protest at Madison Square Garden and called for an American boycott of German goods.

On March 24, 1933, the London Daily Express published an article announcing that the Jews had already launched their boycott against Germany and described a forthcoming "holy war". The Express urged Jews everywhere to boycott German goods and demonstrate against German economic interests.

The Express said that Germany was "now confronted with an international boycott of its trade, its finances, and its industry....In London, New York, Paris and Warsaw, Jewish businessmen are united to go on an economic crusade."

The article went on, "worldwide preparations are being made to organize protest demonstrations."

On March 27, 1933 the planned protest at Madison Square Garden was attended by 40,000 protestors (New York Daily News headlines: "40,000 Roar Protest Here Against Hitler").

Similar rallies and protest marches were also held in other cities. The intensity of the Jewish campaign against Germany was such that the Hitler government vowed that if the campaign did not stop there would be a one-day boycott in Germany of Jewish-owned stores.

Hitler's March 28, 1933 speech ordering a boycott against Jewish stores and goods was in direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership.

That same spring of 1933 there began a period of private cooperation between the German government and the Zionist movement in Germany and worldwide to increase the flow of German-Jewish immigrants and capital to Palestine.

Growing anti-Semitism in Germany and by the German government in response to the boycott played into the hands of the Zionist leaders. Prior to the escalation of anti-Semitism as a result of the boycott the majority of German Jews had little sympathy for the Zionist cause of promoting the immigration of world Jewry to Palestine. Making the situation in Germany as uncomfortable for the Jews as possible, in cooperation with German National Socialism, was part of the Zionist plan to achieve their goal of populating Palestine with a Jewish majority.

"For all intents and purposes, the National Socialist government was the best thing to happen to Zionism in its history, for it "proved" to many Jews that Europeans were irredeemably anti-Jewish and that Palestine was the only answer: Zionism came to represent the overwhelming majority of Jews solely by trickery and cooperation with Adolf Hitler." [1]

Sources:Barnes Review, "The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany, The Economic Boycott of 1933"

Other Resources of interest:The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine,by Edwin Black

Zionism was supported by the German SS and Gestapo.[3] [4] [5] [6] Hitler himself personally supported Zionism.[7] [8] During the 1930's, in cooperation with the German authorities, Zionist groups organized a network of some 40 camps throughout Germany where prospective settlers were trained for their new lives in Palestine. As late as 1942 Zionists operated at least one of these officially authorized "Kibbutz" training camps[9] over which flew the blue and white banner which would one day be adopted as the national flag of "Israel".[10]The Transfer Agreement (which promoted the emigration of German Jews to Palestine) implemented in 1933 and abandoned at the beginning of WWII is an important example of the cooperation between Hitler's Germany and international Zionism. [11] Through this agreement, Hitler's Third Reich did more than any other government during the 1930's to support Jewish development in Palestine and further the Zionist goals.Hitler and the Zionists had a common goal: to create a world Jewish Ghetto as a solution to the Jewish Question.

The Transfer AgreementThe Zionist so-called "World Jewish Congress" declared war on the country of Germany,[12] [13] knowing that it would affect their Jewish brothers residing in that country who would be left without protection. When others tried to help them escape to other countries, the Zionist movement took actions which caused those countries to lock their doors to Jewish immigration (read more in the books, "Perfidy" and "Min Hametzer"). As a result of the Zionist influence five ships of Jewish refugees from Germany arriving in the United States were turned back to the gas chambers.The fundamental aim of the Zionist movement has been not to save Jewish lives but to create a "Jewish state" in Palestine.On December 7, 1938, Ben Gurion, the first head of the Zionist state of Israel' declared "If I knew it was possible to save all the children in Germany by taking them to England, and only half of the children by taking them to Eretz Israel, I would choose the second solution. For we must take into account not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel."[14]On August 31, 1949, Ben Gurion stated: "Although we have realized our dream of creating a Jewish State, we are only at the beginning. There are still only 900,000 Jews in Israel, whereas the majority of the Jewish people still remains abroad. Our future task is to bring all the Jews to Israel."Of the two and a half million Jews seeking refuge from the Nazis between 1935 and 1943, less than 9% went to settle in Palestine. The vast majority, 75%, went to the Soviet Union. In the mid-70's, more people emigrated out of Israel' than came in. The only surges of immigration to the Zionist state have occurred during anti-Semitic threats and persecution in foreign countries.[15]It follows that for the Zionist state to achieve its goal of a Jewish world ghetto anti-Semitism must be promoted and encouraged, and as we have seen, by acts of violence if necessary. "To attain its practical objectives, Zionism hopes it will be able to collaborate with a government that is fundamentally hostile to the Jews".[16]The use of anti-Semitism as a tool to coerce immigration to the Zionist state continues to the present day:Prime Minister Sharon has stated that anti-Semitism is on the rise and that the only hope for the safety of Jews is to move to Israel under the protection of the Zionist state. "The best solution to anti-Semitism is immigration to Israel. It is the only place on Earth where Jews can live as Jews," he said.[17]Those who continue to call the so-called "state of Israel" the "Jewish State" are not only promoting Zionism which is contrary to the beliefs of true Judaism, but also endorsing the promotion of worldwide anti-Semitism. In doing so they are endangering the lives of traditional Jews and denying their civil liberties and human rights.When the British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour (sponsor of the 1905 Aliens Act to restrict Jewish immigration to the UK), wanted the British government to commit itself to a Jewish homeland in Palestine, his declaration was delayed - not by anti-Semites but by leading figures in the British Jewish community. They included a Jewish member of the cabinet who called Balfour's pro-Zionism "anti-Semitic in result". In contrast, a great statesman like Secretary of State Colin Powell, a supporter of traditional Judaism, has the courage to separate Judaism from Zionism and to acknowledge that speaking out against the actions of the Zionist state is not "anti-Semitism".We call upon our leaders in Washington to disassociate the actions of the Zionist state from traditional Judaism by no longer referring to "Israel" as the "Jewish State" but as "the Zionist State" and to speak out against the Zionist actions which promote anti-Semitism.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Bibliography:Hitlers Zweites Buch ein Dokument aus dem Jahr 1928, Stuttgart, 1961. English translation: Hitler's Secret Book, New York, 1961, pp 212-215.

Berlin Encyclopaedia Judaica (New York and Jerusalem: 1971), Vol. 5, p.648.See also, J.-C. Horak, "Zionist Film Propaganda in Nazi Germany," Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1984, pp 49-58.

Perfidy, Author: Ben Hecht, Milah Press, Incorporated; April 1, 1997

Min Hameitzer, Author:Rabbi Weissmandl; The book Unheeded Cry by Abraham Fuchs, is a partial translation.

Holocaust Encyclopedia, "Escape from German Occupied Europe",

"Immigration Policies", Jewish Virtual Library,

"The Tragedy of the S.S. St. Louis", Jewish Virtual Library,

[1] Quoted in: Ingrid Wecker, Feuerzeichen: Die "Reichskristallnacht" (Tubingen: Grabert, 1981), p. 212. See also: Th. Herzl, The Jewish State (New York: Herzl Press, 1970), pp 33, 35, 36, and Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement (New York: Macmillan, 1984), p.73

[2] Th. Herzl, "Der Kongress, " Welt, June 4, 1897. Reprinted in: Theodore Herzls zionistische Schriften (Leon Kellner, ed.), ester Teil, Berlin: Judischer Verlag, 1920, p. 190 (and p.139)

[3] Francis R. Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question (1985), pp. 54-55.; Karl A. Schleunes, The Twisted Road to Auschwitz (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois, 1970, 1990) pp. 178-181

[4] Jacob Boas, "A Nazi Travels to Palestine," History Today (London), January, 1980, pp. 33-38.

[5] Facsimile reprint of front page of Das Schwarze Korp, May 15, 1935, in: Janusz Piekalkiewicz, Israels Langer Arm (Frankfurt: Goverts, 1975), pp. 66-67.

[6] Das Schwarze Korps, Sept. 26, 1935. Quoted in: F. Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question (1985), pp. 56-57

[7] F. Nicosia, Third Reich (1985), pp. 141-144; On Hitler's critical view of Zionism in Mein Kapf, see. Esp. Vol. 1, Chap. 11. Quoted in: Robert Wistrich, Hitler's Apocalypse (London: 1985), p. 155.;

[8] W. Feilchenfeld, et al., Haavra-Transfer (1972). Entire text in: David Yisraeli, The Palestine Problem in German Politics 1889-1945 (Israel: 1974), pp. 132-136.

[9] Y. Arad, et al., eds., Documents On the Holocaust (1981), p. 155. (The training kibbutz was at Neuendorf, and may have functioned even after March 1942.)

[10] Lucy Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945 (New York: Bantam, pb., 1976), pp 253-254; Max Nussbaum, "Zionism Under Hitler," Congress Weekly (New York: American Jewish Congress), Sept. 11, 1942.; F. Nicosia, The Third Reich (1985), pp 58-60, 217.; Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement (1984), p. 175.

[11] E. Black, The Transfer Agreement (1984), pp. 328, 337.

[12] "Judea Declares War on Germany!" London Daily Express headline, March 24th, 1933[13] "The worldwide boycott against Germany in 1933 and the later all-out declaration of war against Germany initiated by the Zionist leaders and the World Jewish Congress enraged Hitler so that he threatened to destroy the Jews" (Rabbi Schwartz, New York Times, Sept. 30, 1997)

[14] Yvon Gelbner, "Zionist policy and the fate of European Jewry", in Yad Vashem studies (Jerusalem, vol. XII, p. 199).

[15] Institute for Jewish Affairs of New York, quoted by Christopher Sykes in "Crossroads to Isarl", London 1965, and by Nathan Weinstock, "Le sionisme contre Israel," p. 146.

[16] Lucy Dawidovitch, "A Holocaust Reader", p. 155.

[17] "Sharon Urges Jews to go to Israel", BBC News, 17 Nov. 2003,


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