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TradCatKnight: Talmudic Judaism’s hatred for Christianity

Posted By on February 7, 2018

Talmudic Judaism’s hatred for Christianity


They are all “idolators,” “heathen,” “goy.” They rank not only as animals like the rest of the non-Jewish human race, but as the lowest and most despised form of life. The Talmud frequently refers to Bible adherents scathingly as “Samaritans” and “Cutheans,” phraseology similarly used to excoriate Christians.

TheSadduceeswere the first of these enemies. They were the constant opponents of the Pharisees and their imported Babylonian paganism, misrepresented by the Pharisees as the Tradition of the Elders, the “Oral Law” ostensibly transmitted privately to Moses and on down, superseding anything written in the Bible.

In the six years of civil war between the Pharisees and Alexander Jannaeus, King and High Priest of Jerusalem, 50,000 were killed on both sides before this Sadducean ruler succumbed, and his widow Salome turned affairs over to the Pharisees in 79 B.C. Her brother, Simon ben Shetah, had been waiting for such an opportunity. The continued civil war resulted in the sons of Alexander Jannaeus, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, in 63 B.C., going hat in hand to Pompey, Caesar’s Roman General in Syria, asking him to invade Palestine and slaughter their respective opponents. This is how Rome happened to be in power when Christ was born. Only after Christ’s Ascension did the Pharisees triumph.

Other enemies have been theSamaritans, whom Our Lord seemed to favor. They had been brought in from Cutha and other far places in the World Assyrian Empire, to take the place of the ten Israel tribes deported in 721 B.C. They had adopted Biblical Judaism and opposed the return from Babylon in 536 B.C. of the Pharisee-run population. Each year a handful of Samaritans celebrate Passover on the site of their former temple at Mt. Gerizim, an event contemptuously referred to by American Jewish writers.

TheKaraitesarose in the 8th century in Babylonia under Anan to plague the Pharisee top element by scorning the Talmud and holding up the Bible as supreme authority. A molten stream of hatred, therefore, was turned on them. With true Talmudic “Brotherhood” and “tolerance,” Anan was expelled from Babylonia, and founded the Karaite sect in Jerusalem. Later, when the few remaining thousands of Karaites were favored by the Czar of Russia, although classed as “untouchables” by Talmudists, the latter offered to join the Karaites to get immunity from Czarist displeasure but the Karaites turned them down as hypocrites.

Talmudic Anti-Christianity

Christianity Calls from Hell

Incest Preferable to Christianity

The Talmud speaks of a woman who confessed that her younger son was the offspring of her older son and that incest was her lightest sin, and wanted to die in peace but could not, for if incest was her lightest sin “it may be assumed that she had also adopted minuth [Christianity] that is why she did not die. Since she said of her guilt that it is one of the lightest, it may be assumed that she was guilty of idolatry [Christianity] also.”

Death from Snakebite Preferable

Jesus and the High Priest’s Privy

More Lies to Fool Us

At the time the Jewish Encyclopedia was published in 1905 there was no English translation of the Talmud with identifying folio numbers. The first, by Rodkinson in 1903, was not only abridged, but also without folio numbers. Only with the relatively recent Soncino English translation of the Talmud do we have folio numbers and overt, unmistakable references which require no argument or interpretation for non-Jews. However, in 1905, lies concerning the Talmud were quite safe from prying non-Jewish eyes.

The 1905 Jewish Encyclopedia states: “During the first century of Christianity the Rabbis lived on friendly terms with the minim” (Christians).

Jesus Knew The Talmud

Rodkinson (M. Levi Frumkin), who made the first English translation of the Babylonian Talmud, asks, in the section on the History of the Talmud:[page 14]

The Talmud and Mary, Mother of Jesus

All rabbinical sources ascribe to Jesus, “illegitimate birth… the seducer was a soldier by the name of Panthera [also called Pandira. and Stada].” “Pappus [husband of Mary] has nothing to do with the story of Jesus, and was only connected with it because his wife happened to be called “Miriam” [Maryl and was known to be an adulteress.”

Christ as “Balaam”

The footnote explains:

The 18 Benedictions

In the Talmud, the Christian is also planted in Hell for eternity under a deluge of “boiling excrement” if opposing “Judaism:”

On this same page, where the ordinary Christian gets this eternal fate, Christ is similarly punished forever in hell with “boiling semen.”

The Talmud Five Deaths to Jesus

Jesus, as stated in both the Talmud and Jewish Encyclopedia, gets “four legal methods of execution” and is Crucified as well, as a blasphemer of Pharisee Judaism.

Christians in hell (in the above passage) are punished by “boiling hot excrement” which is the punishment for all who mock “at the words of the sages” (i.e. the Talmud).

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TradCatKnight: Talmudic Judaism’s hatred for Christianity

A Message from the Chair of Jewish Federations of North …

Posted By on February 7, 2018

February 14, 2017

Fifteen months ago, I was given the honor of becoming chair of The Jewish Federations of North America. This position has given me the opportunity to listen to and learn from leaders throughout the Jewish world, and to see the Jewish community from a broader and more informed perspective. I have had the privilege of working with Natan Sharansky and his colleagues at The Jewish Agency for Israel; Alan Gill and now David Schizer and the leadership of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; and the leadership of World ORT. I have been able to interact with leaders from almost every major Jewish organization in the U.S., from the Conference of Presidents to AIPAC to JCPA, Hillel to J Street. And I have gained a new appreciation for the complexity of issues affecting the Jewish world, from pluralism and politics in Israel to the relationship between Diaspora and Israeli Jewry to educating the next generation on the beauty of our heritage.

As a result, I have identified the following three issues as critical to our community:

The loss of young Jews through assimilation, not because they dont care about Judaism and Jewish tradition, but because they dont know;The lack of understanding between Jews in Israel and Jews in North America; andThe lack of civility around controversial issues within our own community.With respect to the first point, we are working to engage young Jews through several successful programs conducted by a number of Federations, and through a reexamination of our National Young Leadership Cabinet.

As to the second point, we are building bridges between our Jewish communities in several ways. We work directly with the Government of Israel on several issues, including that of prayer at the Kotel, and we have brought members of Knesset on missions to Federations across North America, connecting them face-to-face with our community. We partner with The Jewish Agency and oversee iREP (Israel Religious Expression Platform), which brings together leaders from a number of communities to support organizations in Israel. And, of course, we are very active on college campuses and beyond as we fight BDS through our Israel Action Network (IAN).

However, because of the rhetoric, anxiety and concerns that exist in our community today, the balance of this message will address the third issue civility.

In all my years with Federation, I have never received so many requests or demands to make statements, or as much criticism, as I have since November. People are turning to their Federations for guidance, and we have a responsibility to respond in a thoughtful and constructive manner consistent with our mission.

Let me digress and briefly discuss what that mission is. I believe that Federations should be like think tanks. We convene thought leaders from inside and outside the community. We are the one organization that touches all others, from synagogues to agencies and beyond, in an effort to address the most serious issues affecting our communities today, from taking care of Jews in need to supporting the State of Israel. We act based on the values of our religion values that come from our Torah and that have sustained us for more than 3,000 years. Of course, these values also include taking care of the other, the stranger, because we were once strangers in Egypt. At the same time, let us not forget that even today we are a small minority, less than 2 percent of the U.S. population and 0.2 percent of the worlds population. We, too, are still the other.

Note that nowhere in my discussion of Federations mission or responsibilities do I mention making statements or getting involved in political issues, either in the U.S. or in Israel. There are organizations whose mission it is to take political positions, to issue statements on a regular basis with respect to events or decisions of concern to them and their constituents, and to otherwise influence government decisions. Federations work on behalf of the whole community on a non-partisan, non-political basis. JFNA works with Congress and the administration principally on matters affecting quality of life, such as healthcare and communal security. On issues regarding the welfare of Jews in Israel and Diaspora relations, we take action.

JFNA rarely makes statements about government decisions. We, like Federations, represent the entire spectrum of the American Jewish community, which mirrors the diverse political views of Americans overall. Unfortunately, that means we also mirror how greater society today discusses serious matters.

Our responsibility is to promote understanding of complex issues. What concerns me most is disrespect and vitriol around difficult decisions. It used to be that when people found something wrong with a point of view, they would argue about it in a civil and respectful manner. As a result, those engaged in the argument would learn from one another and hopefully work toward a solution or at least a better understanding of the problem. Today, people find something wrong with anyone who holds a different point of view and therefore have no interest in having a discussion with them. Instead, they attack and even outright delegitimize the person or organization with which they disagree. There is no chance to learn about different points of view, or to try to reach consensus about serious and complex problems. This is inappropriate, dangerous and just plain wrong.

To address this problem, we intend to work within the Federation system over the next year to create a way for our community members to engage civilly with one another around serious and controversial issues, from Israel and the peace process to the actions of the U.S. government. We need to listen to and understand different points of view, and work together to try to find solutions. At times like these, it is Federations responsibility to be the adult in the room.

Most of us really do care about the same things and want positive results that benefit everyone. Please join me in a concerted effort to respect different points of view, to learn as much as we can about issues before we reach conclusions, and to make sure we stay focused on the important work our Federations do each and every day.

I will close with text from the Babylonian Talmud that we read with Rabbi Doug Kahn at our Board meeting last week:

For three years there was a dispute between the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel, both contending, The law is in agreement with our views. Then a voice from heaven announced, These and those both are the words of the living G-d, but the law is in agreement with the rulings of the School of Hillel. Both were the words of a living G-d but the law was in agreement with the School of Hillel because they were kindly and modest, they taught their own rulings as well as the rulings of the School of Shammai and they taught the latter before their own. This should teach us that one who humbles oneself is exalted by the Holy One and one who exalts oneself is humbled by the Holy One.Sincerely,

Richard V. SandlerChair, Board of TrusteesThe Jewish Federations of North America

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A Message from the Chair of Jewish Federations of North …

Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals –

Posted By on February 7, 2018

ByMarcus Mordecai Schwartz, Director, Matthew Eisenfeld and Sara Duker Beit Midrash; Assistant Professor, Talmud and Rabbinics

Posted On February 02, 2018 | Speaking of Text: The Jewish Bookshelf | Interreligious

Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals: The Talmud After the Humanities by Mira Beth Wasserman (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)

The most controversial tractate of the Talmud is undoubtedly Avodah Zarah, which discusses non-Jews and their religious practices. Most of the Talmudic passages in Justinas Bonaventura Pranaitiss 1898 anti-Talmudic screed, Christianus in Talmud Iudaeorum (The Christian in the Talmud of the Jews) are drawn from this tractate. A surface reading of Avodah Zarah can be a demoralizing experience for modern Jews. Even though the Talmud is replete with more broadly humanistic statements, most of us would be scandalized by the provincial and xenophobic attitude toward non-Jews that one could take away from a rapid read through Avodah Zarah.

It is precisely for this reason that Mira Beth Wasserman’s new book is so important and liberating. With a deep grounding in traditional and academic Talmud study, she brings the text into conversation with the humanities. Her engagement with the burgeoning field of animal studies is particularly enlightening. Her book begins with an interpretation of the discussion of animals under Jewish and non-Jewish ownership in Avodah Zarah as a way into larger questions that the Talmud seems to pose about being human.

The Talmud is a resistant text, one that does not give up its secrets easily. Wasserman shows how what appears to be a digression can be central to the questions that the Talmud is really asking. The Talmud can focus on an odd detail as a way into a larger topic, one that might be too difficult (or perhaps too emotionally challenging) to confront directly. Wasserman does an admirable job making this tractate relevant in the twenty-first century, and to present it as attempting to answer broader questions about the relationship of human beings to animals and to each other. It is also a compellingly well-written work, one of the most accessible academic books I have read in a while. I urge you all to read it as soon as you can.

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Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals –

Jewish Museum Milwaukee | Jewish Museum Milwaukee is …

Posted By on February 3, 2018

Flood-ravaged synagogue in Meyerland to be demolished –

Posted By on February 2, 2018

Photo: Mark Mulligan, Staff Photographer

Hundreds of holy books from the United Orthodox Synagogues were removed from the flooded building.

Hundreds of holy books from the United Orthodox Synagogues were removed from the flooded building.

Harvey-damaged synagogue faces demolition

The tan-brick synagogue off South Braeswood is where Amy Goldstein held her toddler daughter during Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah services. It’s where the girl, Molly, now 14, learned to read the Torah. It’s where the family celebrated her bat mitzvah.

“We’ve been here since Molly was 2,” Goldstein said. “She’s basically grown up in the synagogue. Her whole childhood was in that building.”

But after flooding three times in as many years, the United Orthodox Synagogues has decided to demolish part of the campus, which has stood at 9001 Greenwillow St., near Brays Bayou, for more than a half-century.

Members of the modern orthodox Jewish congregation voted in December to knock down the sanctuary, offices and school wing, which were inundated with 7 feet of water during Hurricane Harvey. Freedman Hall, an elevated reception hall next door, will remain to serve as the congregation’s temporary sanctuary.

On Sunday, the modern orthodox Jewish congregation will meet for the last time in the original synagogue, where multitudes of religious holidays and life events engagements, weddings, baby naming ceremonies, bar and bat mitzvahs, and funerals were celebrated since 1961.

Rabbi Barry Gelman will lead prayers. Members are encouraged to share stories and photographs of their “simchas” or happy events held at the synagogue.

“This is a goodbye ceremony to help the congregation get some closure,” Goldstein said. “It’s more emotional than you would realize. We’re all trying to move forward.”

The way forward remains unclear for the 300-member congregation.

Options include rebuilding with elevated facilities or moving to a new location. A timeline for demolition has yet to be determined, but leaders are working to preserve religious artifacts, stained glass and memorial plaques.

“It’s been a very difficult decision for us to make as a community,” Goldstein said. “Everyone wants to make the right decision for the community, and with any group, there are many ideas. The board is considering all viable options at the moment.”

Questions abound, Goldstein said. If you rebuild, how high do you build up to prevent the synagogue from flooding again? If you move, where to, and how can you ensure every member of the congregation can move as well?

Following the orthodox faith, congregants walk to synagogue every Saturday, as their ancestors have done on holy days for centuries. They meet after prayers for Shabbat meals, where families and friends spend the afternoon catch up and spend time together.

Rebuilding or moving would be disruptive for the community, Goldstein said. But so too would another devastating flood.

“After three floods, the answer becomes rather self-evident,” Goldstein said.

Harvey had an outsized impact on Houston’s Jewish community in flood-prone Meyerland.

About one out of every 13 Jewish families here an estimated 2,000 households flooded during the storm. Three of the city’s largest synagogues, with a combined membership of 3,900 families, were damaged. The Jewish community center took on 10 feet of water. The Jewish senior home and day schools all flooded.

Goldstein, whose Meyerland-area home took a foot of water, and her family now live in a garage apartment near the University of Houston. Her daughter, Molly, still gets anxious every time it rains.

The devastation brought families in the Jewish community closer together, Goldstein said, but it also left them in a somewhat fragile state as they ponder their synagogue’s future.

“Buildings can be fixed, torn down or rebuilt,” she said. “But this is our community and our congregation. When you share a sacred place, it’s hard to let it go.”

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Flood-ravaged synagogue in Meyerland to be demolished –

Zionism: Christian Zionism – Jewish Virtual Library

Posted By on January 29, 2018

Christian Zionism can be defined as Christian support for the Zionist cause the return of the Jewish people to its biblical homeland in Israel. It is a belief among some Christians that the return of Jews to Israel is in line with a biblical prophecy, and is necessary for Jesus to return to Earth as its king. These Christians are partly motivated by the writings of the Bible and the words of the prophets. However, they are also driven to support Israel because they wish to repay the debt of gratitude to the Jewish people for providing Christ and the other fundamentals of their faith, and to support a political ally, according to David Brog, author Standing With Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State.

Christian Zionists interpret both the Torah and the New Testament as prophetic texts that describe future events of how the world will one day end with the return of Jesus from Heaven to rule on Earth. Israel and its people are central to their vision. They interpret passages from the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Isaiah as foreshadowing the coming Christian era. The New Testament Book of Revelation is read by many Christians as a prophetic text of how the world will be in the End Times.

Christian support for Israel is not a recent development. Its politcal roots reach as far back to the 1880s, when a man named William Hechler formed a committee of Christian Zionists to help move Russian Jewish refugees to Palestine after a series of pogroms. In 1884, Hechler wrote a pamphlet called The Restoration of Jews to Palestine According to the Prophets. A few years later, he befriended Theodor Herzl after reading Herzls book The Jewish State, and joined Herzl to drum up support for Zionism. Hechler even arranged a meeting between Herzl and Kaiser Wilhelm II to discuss Herzls proposal to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. The two men remained close friends up until Herzls death in 1904.

An important milestone in the history of Christian Zionism occurred in 1979, almost a century after William Hechler approached Herzl and offered to mobilize Christian support for a Jewish state: the founding of the Moral Majority. Founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell, the Moral Majority was an organization made up of conservative Christian political action committees that succeeded in mobilizing like-minded individuals to register and vote for conservative candidates. With nearly six million members, it became a powerful voting bloc during the 1980s and was credited for giving Ronald Reagan the winning edge in the 1980 elections. One of the Moral Majoritys four founding principles was support for Israel and Jewish people everywhere.

In 1980, Falwell, who ran a television ministry that reached millions of viewers, said of Israel: I firmly believe God has blessed America because America has blessed the Jew. If this nation wants her fields to remain white with grain, her scientific achievements to remain notable, and her freedom to remain intact, America must continue to stand with Israel. Falwell disbanded the Moral Majority in 1989, but conservative Christians have remained vocal supporters of Israel though they lacked a strong formal structure for pro-Israel political action.

Christian Zionists, through their volunteer work, political support, and financial assistance to Israel and Jewish causes, have shown that they are stalwart friends of Israel. They have donated large sums of money to support Israel, including to charities that pay the costs of bringing Jews from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia to Israel. For example, Pastor John Hagee has raised more than $4.7 million for the United Jewish Communities. Pat Robertsons Christian Broadcasting Network has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to help poor Jews across the world move to Israel.

When Israels tourism industry was at a low point between 2000 and 2003 due to the Palestinian War and terrorism, Christian tourists visited Israel in numbers that were sometimes greater than that of the Jewish community. Televangelists such as Pat Robertson and Benny Hinn visited Israel during this period and used their broadcasts to tell their millions of viewers it was safe to visit Israel. Another pro-Israel group, the Christians Israel Public Action Campaign, sponsored four missions to Israel. Christians also helped the Israeli tourism industry and economy from home by attending Shop Israel days where Israeli merchants would come to America and sell their products.

Despite their support for Israel, many Jews however, are uncomfortable with Christian Zionists. This discomfort is fed by Christian anti-Semitism, Christian replacement theology, evangelical proselytizing, and and disagreements over domestic and political issues.

Dispensationalist Christianity, an interpretive or narrative framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible, teaches that Christianity did not replace Judaism, but that it restored lost elements of it. The dispensationalist view of the Bible is that the Old Testament is foreshadowing for what will occur in the New Testament and, at the end, Jesus returns to reign on Earth after an epic battle between good and evil. Israel plays a central role in the dispensationalist view of the end of the world. The establishment of Israel in 1948 was seen as a milestone to many dispensationalists on the path toward Jesus return. In their minds, now that the Jews again had regained their homeland, all Jews were able to return to Israel, just as had been prophesied in the Bible. As described in the Book of Revelation, there is an epic battle that will take place in Israel after it is reestablished Armaggedon in which it is prophesied that good will finally triumph over evil. However, in the process, two-thirds of the Jews in Israel die and the other third are converted to Christianity. Jesus then returns to Earth to rule for 1,000 years as king.

Although these Christians do hope for a Messianic age, the majority of them do not wish for the deaths of thousands of Jews during Armageddon. Dispensationalist Christians believe that the Jewish people, not Christians, are the ones who were promised Israel in the Bible. In their view, Christianity did not come into existence to replace Judaism, but to restore it. This view has surpassed replacement theology as the dominant form of Christian thought regarding Israel in America today. Jews who are suspicious of Christian Zionist motives are usually unaware that many Christian supporters of Israel have abandoned replacement theology.

Aside from anti-Semitism and Christian replacement theology, many Jews are wary of the fact that many evangelical Christians simply want to convert them to Christianity or speed up the Second Coming of Christ. David Brog refutes this claim:

Evangelicals who support Israel most certainly do want to convert people. Evangelicals who dont support Israel also want to convert people. The mission of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ is central to being an evangelical. But it is important to note that this is not about converting just the Jews Christians want to share their faith with Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and their Christian friends and neighbors who have yet to be born again. The important question is this: Is evangelical support for Israel merely a tool in the effort to convert the Jews? Is this merely some scheme to soften the Jews up so that they can better sell Jesus to them? And the answer to this question is absolutely not. If anything, the opposite it true.

Christian Zionists say Jews have no reason to distrust their motives for supporting Israel because they do not believe they can speed up the Second Coming of Christ. In the Gospel of Matthew, it is written that Jesus said about his return, But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

Pastor John Hagee, a longtime supporter of Israel, based at the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, heads Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a pro-Israel group established in 2006. Hagee has denounced replacement theology, and says of Israel: We believe in the promise of Genesis 12:3 regarding the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. We believe that this is an eternal covenant between God and the seed of Abraham to which God is faithful. Evangelical leader Pat Robertson echoed this statement while on his tour of Israel during the Israel-Hizbullah war, saying, The Jews are Gods chosen people. Israel is a special nation that has a special place in Gods heart. He will defend this nation. So Evangelical Christians stand with Israel. That is one of the reasons I am here.

Pastor Hagee claims that he and other Christian Zionists support Israel because they owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people, and not because they want Jews to convert to Christianity. The Jewish people gave the world Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets, of whom there were not a Baptist in the bunch…The Jewish people do not need Christianity to explain their existence. But Christians cannot explain our existence without Judaism. The roots of Christianity are Jewish.

Jews are also uncomfortable with Christian Zionists because most have few other common political interests besides their support for Israel. The majority of American Jews are politically and socially liberal. Christian Zionists are on the whole politically conservative Republicans who, for example, oppose abortion and gay marriage, and support prayer in public schools. Most Jews are particularly concerned over what they see as the Christian Rights efforts to weaken the separation between church and state. The Anti-Defamation Leagues director, Abe Foxman, has been particularly outspoken and has said that if the domestic agenda of the Christian Right ever materializes, it will turn American Jews into second-class citizens in our own country.

Christian Zionists are also more conservative on Israel than many Jews. They favor Israel maintaining all of its settlements in the West Bank, and were opposed to the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Some prominent Christian Zionists have been highly critical of Israeli government policy of giving over parts of Israel to the Palestinian people. Christian Zionists, like followers of the Israeli Right, believe that Israel should never cede any section of Israel to the Palestinians because Israel was given to the Jews by God. After former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon implemented the disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip and then fell ill a few months later, Pat Robertson claimed that his illness was divine retribution for giving up part of biblical Israel. When asked about Prime Minister Ehud Olmerts convergence plan to evacuate settlements in the West Bank, Robertson said, Its an absolute disaster…I don’t think the holy God is going to be happy about someone giving up his land.

Conservative Christians, in general, are viewed as particularly influential with the Bush Administration and Republican Congress, and Christian Zionists are consequently viewed as also having greater access to decisionmakers. It is not clear, however, that pro-Israel Christians have exerted decisive influence on any significant decisions and their clout is expected to decline if Democrats regain the White House and/or the majority in Congress.

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Martin Buber | Martin Buber | Hasidic Judaism

Posted By on January 26, 2018


1. Biography

Mordecai Martin Buber was born in Vienna in February 8, 1878. When he was three, his mother deserted him, and his paternal grandparents raised him in Lemberg (now, Lviv) until the age of

fourteen, after which he moved to his fathers estate in Bukovina.

Buber would only see his mother once more, when he was in his early thirties

. This encounter he described as a mismeeting that

helped teach him the meaning of genuine meeting. His grandfather, Solomon, was a community leader and scholar who edited the first critical edition of the Midrashim traditional biblical commentaries. Sol

omons estate helped support Buber until it was confiscated during World War

II. Buber was educated in a multi-lingual setting and spoke German, Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, English, French and Italian, with a reading knowledge of Spanish, Latin, Greek and Dutch. At the age of fourteen he began to be tormented with the problem of imagining and conceptualizing the infinity

of time. Reading Kants

Prolegomena to All Future Metaphysics

helped relieve this anxiety. Shortly

after he became taken with Nietzsches

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

, which he began to translate into Polish. However, this infatuation with Nietzsche was short lived and later in life Buber stated that Kant gave him philosophic freedom, whereas Nietzsche deprived him of it. Buber spent his first year of university studies at Vienna. Ultimately the theatre culture of Vienna and the give-and-take of the seminar format impressed him more than any of his particular professors. The winters of 1897-98 and 1898-99 were spent at the University of Leipzig, where he took courses in philosophy and art history and participated in the psychiatric clinics of Wilhelm

Wundt and Paul Flecksig (see Schmidts



Formative Years: From German Culture to Jewish Renewal, 1897-1909

for an analysis of Bubers life

during university studies and a list of courses taken). He considered becoming a psychiatrist, but was upset at the poor treatment and conditions of the patients. The summer of 1899 he went to the University of Zrich, where he met his wife Paula Winkler (1877-1958, pen name Georg Munk). Paula was formally converted from Catholicism to Judaism. They had two children, Rafael (1900-90) and Eva (1901-92). From 1899-1901 Buber attended the University of Berlin, where he took several courses with Wilhelm Dilthey and Georg Simmel. He later explained that his philosophy of dialogue was a conscious reaction against their notion of inner experience


(see Mendes-


From Mysticism to Dialogue: Martin


Transformation of German Social Thought

for an analysis of the influence of Dilthey and Simmel). During this time Buber gave lectures on the seventeenth century Lutheran mystic Jakob Bhme, publishing an article on him in 1901 and writing his dissertation for

the University of Vienna in 1904 On the

History of the Problem of Individuation: Nicholas of Cusa

and Jakob Bhme.

After this he lived in Florence from 1905-06, working on a habilitation thesis in art history that he never completed. In 1904 Buber came across

Tzevaat Ha-RIBASH


The Testament of Rabbi Israel, the Baal-Shem Tov

), a collection of sayings by the founder of Hasidism. Buber began to record Yiddish Hasidic legends in German, publishing

The Tales of Rabbi Nachman

, on the Rabbi of Breslov, in 1906, and

The Legend of the Baal-Shem

in 1907.

The Legend of the Baal-Shem

sold very well and influenced writers Ranier Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka and Herman Hesse. Buber was a habitual re-writer and editor of all of his writings, which went through many editions even in his lifetime, and many of these legends were later rewritten and included in his later two volume

Tales of the Hasidim

(1947). At the same time Buber emerged as a leader in the Zionist movement. Initially under the influence

of Theodor Herzl, Bubers Democratic Faction of the Zionist Par

ty, but dramatically broke away from

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Ashkenazic And Sephardic Jewry –

Posted By on January 24, 2018

The transition from the Jewish community in Babylonia to Jewish communities in other parts of the world began already at the end of the eighth century. By the eleventh century the fulcrum of Jewish life had moved from Babylonia to new places in the world.

The Jewish community of Babylonia had connections with a small but growing Jewish community in North Africa, countries that are today Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. There were many centers of Jewish settlement in Morocco, including the cities of Kairouan, Fez and what is today Casablanca and Tunis. These Jews had loyalty to the Geonate (the Rabbinate) in Babylonia and supported the great academies and institutions there. But, physically speaking, especially in those times, they were a long way from Babylonia. It took almost a year for questions of Jewish law to come to Babylonia and then almost a year for the answer to come back. For various reasons, those communities were not equipped with their own scholars. Therefore, the Jewish communities there could not grow, expand or flourish unless they were somehow able to end their dependency on Babylonian Jewry and the Geonate/Rabbinate.

There is an interesting legend how the Jewish community spread beyond the borders of Babylon. It is important to remark that although legends may not necessarily be fully accurate, they accurately portray the people and circumstances of the time.

At the end of the eighth- beginning of the ninth century the academies in Babylon faced a serious economic crisis. They decided to send out emissaries to collect money. Usually, emissaries were not top echelon scholars. However, because the situation was so desperate they sent the leading members of the Talmudic community, the heads of the academies themselves.

Three of the names are known to us. One was Rabbi Chushiel, the father of Rabbi Chananel, whom we will discuss ahead. Second was Rabbi Moshe, the father of Rabbi Chanoch, another famous Torah scholar. The third was Rabbi Shmaryahu. The fourth man has remained anonymous.

These four great rabbis set out with their families to collect funds in faraway lands on behalf of the Babylonian academies. The Mediterranean was a dangerous place. Aside from the storms and the uncertain fate of ships, pirates abounded. And not only did these pirates look for booty, they looked for people they could kidnap and sell on the slave market.

The pirates knew that if they could capture Jews, especially prominent Jews, they could collect a great ransom. Informers told them that there were four great rabbis on this ship and not two or three days out of port they were captured.

The rabbis were first brought to Alexandria where Rabbi Shmaryahu was ransomed. But the pirates were unable to get a high enough price for four, so the remaining captives were brought west to the slave markets of Tunis and Fez.

Back then, Tunis and Fez were like the Western frontier. There were Jews, but they were never able to attract great rabbinic leadership. Now they saw a golden opportunity and struck a deal. Then they made the rabbis an offer. They would ransom them, but on the condition they stayed and helped build a thriving Jewish community.

Rabbi Chushiel and his son Rabbi Chananel agreed. Rabbi Moshe was ransomed in Spain. The fourth rabbi was sold in Sicily.

From these rabbis grew strong Jewish communities, and that is how the center of Jewish life began to shift. Within 50 to 80 years (by the year 900) North African Jewry no longer felt subservient to Babylonian rule.

Simultaneously, this contributed to the decline of Babylon as the center of world Jewry. Now outlying communities no longer were limited to addressing their questions there. They had their own great scholars. Economically too, Babylon was no longer necessarily the first address to send money to.

At that time, North Africa was populated by two tribes, the Berbers and the Moors. The Berbers were Arabs or close to the Arabs. The Moors were Africans of dark skin but Caucasian features. The Moors were sophisticated, cultured and technologically advanced for their time. They were, in fact, the cutting edge of civilization. They were poets, artists, artisans, mathematicians, merchants and ship builders. And they were very tolerant probably the most tolerant of all the Muslims. At the same time, they were probably the least religious of all the Muslims.

The Moors and Jews struck an alliance that would last almost 400 years an alliance that would carry the Moors to Spain at the same time the Jews would experience a Golden Age unequaled, perhaps, until the modern era.

The Berbers, on the other hand, were cavalrymen of note and fearless warriors. They were also good farmers and knew how to live in the mountains. Together, the Berbers supplied the brawn while the Moors supplied the brains and together they became the leading force of civilization.

North Africa became the land of opportunity for the Jews just as the United States would later become the land of opportunity for Jews in Eastern Europe. That opportunity was immeasurably increased by the existence of great rabbis and academies in North Africa. It meant that a Jew could go to where opportunity existed without really sacrificing or compromising his religion.

That, of course, only further undermined the Babylonian Jewish community. From the letters of the times, it is obvious that it increasingly became an older community, a community only for people who were well-established. Younger people who did not have much began to move to North Africa. That explains how that within the timespan of a century almost 150,000 Jews arrived in North Africa.

The great rabbis of North Africa included Rabbi Chananel, the son of one of the four captives, Rabbi Chushiel. He was the rabbi in Kairouan. He wrote a commentary to the entire Talmud. The great rabbis of the early Middle Ages based much of their commentary on his. Rashis seminal commentary on the Talmud, for instance, bases many things upon Rabbi Chananels pioneering work. No one equaled Rashi he was a gift from heaven that never came before or since but the groundwork for his and other commentaries were laid during this era.

Rabbi Chananel built an enormous academy in Kairouan and was extremely influential. In particular, he had a tremendous influence on one of the great men of not only North African Jewry but one of the great men of all Jewish history, Rabbi Isaac of Fez, known in Jewish scholarly circles by his acronym, the Rif.

The Rif lived more than 100 years and had five distinct generations of disciples because he headed an academy by the age of 20. His influence spanned not only that century but later centuries.

The Rif composed the first of the basic books of Jewish law upon which the Shulchan Aruch, the codebook of Jewish law, was based. Therefore, while Rabbi Chananel wrote the Talmudic commentary that all future Talmudic commentaries were built upon, Rabbi Isaac, the Rif, wrote the Jewish law book that all future Jewish law codifications were built upon.

Thanks to efforts from people like Rabbi Chananel and Rabbi Isaac the Jewish community in North Africa became very strong. Jews from that community would move into Spain when the Moors invaded and colonized Spain. At the same time the Sephardic communities were developing in North Africa and Spain, the Ashkenazic Jews were developing in France and the German Rhineland. Even though these two Jewish communities developed at the same time they occupied two completely different worlds, so to speak.

The Jews in North Africa and Spain lived in a Muslim world. They lived in a sunny world, a world that was tolerant toward them (at least relatively speaking). The Ashkenazic Jews lived in a colder climate in more ways than one. They lived in a superstitious, primitive Christian world; in a world of constant danger and hatred; a world that would produce the Crusades; a world of fanaticism and feudalism; a world of the Black Death. It is mind-boggling to consider how Ashkenazic Jewry survived during those early centuries of its development.

The spiritual founder of Ashkenazic Jewry was Rabbi Gershom ben Judah, known as Rabbeinu Gershom. He was the last of the Geonim. Born in 960 CE in Mainz (he died in 1030 CE), he lived most of his life in the French Rhineland, though he did travel as far as todays Yugoslavia on the Adriatic. He is the father of Ashkanazic Jewry in the same way that Rabbi Chananel and Rabbi Isaac, the Rif, were the fathers of Sephardic Jewry.

He is best known and most remembered for a number of decrees mentioned in his name which have become binding upon Ashkenazic Jewry. The most famous of those decrees was the ban against polygamy.

Under the laws of the Torah a man was allowed to have more than one wife at one time though as a social and practical matter, monogamy was by far the accepted norm for the traditional Jewish home. Polygamous marriages existed in the Torah, Prophets and Talmud and especially in Jewish communities in the Arab countries.

Rabbeinu Gershom came and banned polygamy. He did not spell out his reasons for the ban, but many have been advanced since. One reason mentioned by the commentators was to prevent licentiousness. A second reason was that they lived in a Christian society that was not only against polygamy, but against marriage! A religion that allowed or encouraged polygamy could not survive in that type of Christian-dominated society. Other reasons were advanced as well. Whatever the reason, the ban against polygamy took hold.

Another decree Rabbeinu Gershom made was that a woman could not be divorced against her will. The ban in effect opposed frivolous divorce. If the woman did not agree, then the divorce could not be granted. Even today both parties have to agree to a Jewish divorce.

Another decree of Rabbeinu Gershom had to do with apostate Jews. We cannot imagine the pressure Jews were subject to in medieval Europe to convert to Christianity. The pressure was not only economic and social, but came with the threat of death and torture. Many of these Jews recanted on their deathbeds. Others wanted to be accepted back into the Jewish community or at least be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

There were many Jews who resented that especially those who suffered under the same trying circumstances but did not succumb. They harbored an understandable feeling of animosity and bitterness toward those who did give in. Nevertheless, Rabbeinu Gershom defended the right of apostate Jews to return to Judaism. This policy was a milestone in Jewish history.

These were only some of Rabbeinu Gershoms decrees. All told, they helped lay the groundwork for European Jewry until this day. That is why he was considered the father of Ashkenazic Jewry.

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Holocaust denial / History / Auschwitz-Birkenau

Posted By on January 21, 2018

Denial of the Holocaust and the genocide in Auschwitz

The concealment of the crime and removal of evidence by the perpetrators

Despite the fact that the tens of thousands of prisoners who survived Auschwitz were witnesses to the crimes committed there; despite the fact that they left behind thousands of depositions, accounts, and memoirs; despite the fact that considerable quantities of documents, photographs, and material objects remain from the campdespite all of this, there are people and organizations who deny that hundreds of thousands of people were murdered in this camp, that gas chambers operated there, or that the crematoria could burn several thousand corpses per day. In other words, they deny that Auschwitz was the scene of genocide.

Auschwitz is, in many ways, the main target of attacks by deniers, yet the denial of genocide, the existence of the gas chambers, and mass murder nevertheless extends to all the camps, the death camps, and, generally, the mass killing of the Jews.

The scale of this phenomena and its social harmfulness have been acknowledged in many countries as a threat to the social order and made punishable under the law. The legal procedures launched every so often against the deniers prove that the problem is real. It a problem not only for public prosecutors, but also a challenge for historians and educational institutions.

There is nothing new about denial of the crime of genocide or silence about genocide. From the beginning of the war, mainly for political reasons, the Nazis themselves did everything they could to keep international public opinion, and above all the Allied and neutral countries, but also the potential victims, in the dark about the extermination of people in the occupied countries.

Among themselves, however, the narrow circle of the Nazi ruling elite did not conceal these criminal acts.

Addressing high ranking officers in Pozna on October 4, 1943, Himmler, the head of the German police and the SS, said that Most of you here know what it means when 100 corpses lie next to each other, when 500 lie there. . .. This is an honor roll in our history which has never been and never will be put in writing (IMT translation).

What did the Nazis do to conceal the crime they had committed? What did they do so that this honor roll in our historyor roll of shamewould never be put in writing?

First: they limited the written record of their crime to a minimum;

Second: they falsified the record, to the degree that technical and organizations made its existence necessary;

Third: they destroyed the superfluous and the most incriminating part of the record, once it had served its purpose, in the final phase of the Third Reich. They destroyed not only documents. They also destroyed the mass killing apparatus and liquidated the witnesses.

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Holocaust denial / History / Auschwitz-Birkenau

h o l l a n d r o a d s h u l – HOME

Posted By on January 14, 2018

O U R S Y N A G O G U Ethe origins…

Holland Road Synagogue was established in 1929 (5689)

At the beginning of December 1914, Aaron Samuels moved from Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex to Montefiore Road Hove. There were a number of Jewish anglicised Sephardim business people in Brighton who attended the ornate Brighton Synagogue but some found the walk to Middle Street rather too far. (The shul in Middle Street was built in 1874 and consecrated in 1875).

The first Trustees, Woolfe Bilmes, Abraham Gould, Louis Woolfe Frankel and Samuel Haniston found the building, ‘Mosss Olympic Gymnasium’ at the corner of Landsdown Road and Holland Road.

He, Aaron, after consulting his father-in-law, Rabbi Nachum Lipman, Rosh Hashochemtim for 44 years decided to form a Minyan at his home.

Mr L W Frankel, a member of Middle Street, annoyed at not having been called up after his return from Palestine, arranged a meeting of a few interested men at his house in 13 Brunswick Terrace, Hove to discuss the formation of a Synagogue Committee to establish a shul in Hove for people living in the area.

Rev. S. Anekstein was the first Minister for the New Synagogue which became the Hove Hebrew Congregation Synagogue on June 9th 1929 when the official stone laying took place. The building was opened on 23rd February 1930 (25 Shvat 5690).

Above: The gymnasium in Holland Road erected in 1883 and run by Charles Hutton Moss.

Rabbi Samuel de Beck Spitzer

Rabbi Samuel studied Piano and Voice at the LondonCollege of Music, graduating with Honours and thenentered the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester UK, on the Postgraduate Opera Course, where he was awarded the Professional Performers Diploma.As well as holding the Official Post of Rabbi to Lisbon, Portugal in 2015, Rabbi Samuel trained as a Medical Clown at Haifa University and has worked in this capacity at the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, Jerusalem, Israel.Rabbi Samuel is Community Rabbi to Hove HebrewCongregation.

Contact:Hove Hebrew Congregation 79 Holland Road Hove BN3 1JNt. 01273 721888m. 07532 626222e.

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