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The Whole World Is Sitting Shiva – The Atlantic

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Sarah Davis survived the Holocaust. Decades later, when she was 95, she succumbed to COVID-19. Six of us stood around her grave at measured distances from one another; her children and grandson spoke of her life. In the far distance, four mortuary employees waited for the service to conclude so they could fill in the gravesite. All of us wore masks.

Later that same day, a woman whose father had died called to ask about sitting shiva, the week of mourning in the Jewish tradition, in this time of pandemic. The first requirement is staying home, correct? Yes, I replied. Everyone is doing that anyway, she said. I suppose, I told her, the whole world is sitting shiva. She said she found it strangely comforting.

Judaism is a tradition built on community. Religion, said the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, is what a man does with his solitude. Not in Judaism. Some important prayers, including the kaddish for the dead, are to be recited only when at least 10 people are present. In Hebrew, a synagogue is called not a house of worship, but a house of gathering.

Right now religious leaders of all faiths are asking themselves: Will community ever come back as it once was? This question has been asked before. At Sinai Temple, the Los Angeles synagogue where I am the senior rabbi, the community went through a similar experience during the 1918 flu. Our centennial history book, published in 2007, tells of the arrival of a new cantor on the heels of that calamity:

His arrival truly was cause for celebration. It marked the end of a compulsory 2-month ban on all public gatheringsincluding religious worshipto help prevent further spread of a deadly and raging influenza pandemic. Known as Spanish Flu or La Grippe, the influenza of 19181919 was a global disaster. Families feared death not only from war, but from disease, as well. And with good reason: more people died of influenza in that single year than in four years of the Black Death during the Middle Ages. Nearly half of the American soldiers who died, died not of war injuries but of the flu.

The ability to congregate once again in public, plus the beauty of Cantor Silvermans voice, brought increasing numbers of worshippers to Friday night services (which were better attended than the Shabbat morning service), and it became apparent that increased seating capacity would soon be needed. Thus began the campaign to create a Greater Sinai.

That was before all the technological advances that have brought services, classes, and discussions online. Now when all the dinners and tributes and graduations are canceled, we mark them on Zooma frozen dinner in place of a feast. Rabbis around the world with whom I have spoken question the durability of ancient practices. How deep will congregants commitment to their synagogues be after months of this? I recall an observation that one of the most significant aspects of the 1969 moon landing was that, for the first time in history, when people wished to see the moon, instead of walking outside, they sat in their living rooms and watched it on TV. Each morning, we watch services on a screen instead of gathering in the synagogue. When the pandemic wanes, will we trade our sweatpants for suits and join together again? In a society where commitment to institutions is waning and joining is no longer the social norm, synagogue attendance was already on the decline. Will this pandemic accelerate the trend or (hope against hope) revive the need to gather in prayer and celebration?

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The Whole World Is Sitting Shiva - The Atlantic

ADL: 50% increase in US arrests ‘linked to domestic Islamist extremism’ – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on May 21, 2020

There was a 50% increase in "arrests and plots linked to domestic Islamist extremism" in the United States during 2019, according to data compiled by the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism.Thirty of those arrests were connected to domestic Islamist extremism, nine of which were designated as "terror plots." The ADL reports that seven of the "terror plots" were being devised by home-bred United States citizens.According to the ADL, a portion of the 2019 plots focused on targeting religious institutions such as churches, synagogues, mosques and community centers. "In the last several years, America has experienced an increase in targeted violence against our faith-based communities and organizations," Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in December. The ADL added that, "While there has been a significant uptick in white supremacist attacks targeting places of worship, including the Charleston church shooting, Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, and the Poway synagogue shooting, Islamist extremists have also targeted religious institutions."The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shown affinity for these types of attacks in the past. The most recent example occurred last year, when it claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks throughout Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday that killed 321 people, in what officials believe was retaliation for assaults on the mosques in New Zealand the month before.The Christchurch attack, which was broadcasted live on Facebook, saw a lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons target Muslims attending Friday prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019. The shooting became New Zealand's worst peace time mass shooting, killing 51 worshipers. That attack also consistently appeared to be a main motivator behind many of the thwarted US domestic terror plots.Out of the nine terror plots, one of them planned to target the busy walkways of the National Harbor in Maryland. Another focused on the Israeli consulate in New York as well as tourist attractions found throughout the greater New York area, such as the Statue of Liberty and an additional plot was directed toward the White House. Separate plots focused on a church in Pittsburgh, a white supremacist rally in California and college campuses around Florida.The ADL notes that antisemitism has long been "at the core of Islamist extremist ideology," with three of the thwarted 2019 terror plots, devised by US citizens, point directly to that notion's validity.In January 2019, 23-year-old Hasher Jallal Taheb was arrested after planning to attack the White House and Statue of Liberty in part of what he claimed was his obligation to engage in jihad. He later added that his potential targets included the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and an unnamed synagogue. The attack was believed to be inspired by al-Qaeda ideology, after he "sent his two presumed collaborators a link connected to Anwar al-Awlaki, the former al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader," according to the ADL.In April, 26-year-old Mark Steven Domingo received what he believed to be a working explosive device that he intended to detonate at a white supremacist rally, "after considering other targets including 'Jews, churches and police.' Domingo noted in multiple video manifestos that "there must be retribution" for the Christchurch attacks, adding that if ISIS came to the US, he would swear his allegiance to them.And in May, 20-year-old Jonathan Xie attempted to provide support to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas by attacking a pro-Israel march" with the intention of shooting "everybody in attendance, adding apathetically that you can get a gun and shoot your way through... all you need is a gun or a vehicle to go on a rampage.While there were no actual attacks or murders directly linked to domestic Islamist extremism last year, the ADL still laid down a stark warning:Make no mistake: the threat of Islamist extremist activity in the United States is serious and cannot be ignored, said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. In 2019 alone we saw nine individuals arrested for planning attacks on US soil and a total of 30 arrests linked to domestic Islamist extremism. We are deeply grateful for the efforts of federal and local law enforcement to investigate and disrupt these potentially dangerous attacks.The other 21 arrests stemmed from charges against individuals engaging in criminal activity prompted by Islamist extremism. A "large majority" of the constituency allegedly provided "material" support to ISIS. Approximately 70% of the arrests were attributed to or inspired by ISIS.ISISs ability to continue inspiring a large percentage of violent activity even after being effectively disbanded demonstrates the lasting influence of its violent ideology and propaganda on Islamist extremist activity in the United States, said Oren Segal, Vice President for ADLs Center on Extremism. As long as the ideology persists and spreads online, extremists will continue to be inspired by violent rhetoric and instruction.While none of the planned US domestic plots actually transpired, a Saudi Air Force second lieutenant killed three people and wounded eight others in December during an unexplained shooting rampage at the US Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, where he was training. The FBI later revealed that the shooter, Mohammed Alshamrani, was most likely inspired by al-Qaeda to commit the act of terror.Reuters contributed to this report.

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ADL: 50% increase in US arrests 'linked to domestic Islamist extremism' - The Jerusalem Post

High school program Shoresh closes after 20 years – Washington Jewish Week

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Students gather at Shoresh Hebrew High School, which will not reopen in the fall.Photo courtesy of Shoresh Hebrew High School

After 20 years of trying to fill the educational gap for Jewish students between their bnai mitzvah and college, Shoresh Hebrew High School will close next month.

The schools board announced the closure May 6. Neal J. Meiselman, president of the Shoresh board, cited dwindling enrollment and funding as the reasons the school, which emphasized intellectual, text-based Jewish study, will not reopen in the fall. About 21 students in grades eight to 12 were enrolled this year. The school, unaffiliated with any Jewish movement or organization, met on Sundays at the Bender Jewish CommunityCenter of Greater Washington, in Rockille.

The decision to close was finalized at the start of 2019.

But this is not where the story ends.

Many Shoresh board members are affiliated with Ohr Kodesh Congregation, a Conservative synagogue in Chevy Chase, which had been Shoreshs meeting place for most of its existence.

Last December, board members spoke to the synagogues cantor and education director, Hinda Eisen Labovitz, about starting a Shoresh-like high school program.

I didnt think twice to say yes, said Labovitz, who began meeting with Shoresh families in March.

The new program, called Tzohar, will begin on Sept. 13. Enrollment is open, at Tuition ranges from $765 to $1,650, according to the programs website.

Labovitz said she doesnt know how many students the program will ultimately attract.

In addition to text study, Tzohar will offer a moot beit din, or moot court. Local afterschool program Moed, which also meets at Ohr Kodesh, will offer Hebrew instruction.

Rabbi Saul Oresky was one of two original teachers when Shoresh opened in 1999. Its a wonderful teaching environment. My kids were active and came up with great questions, said Oresky, who is rabbi of Mishkan Torah Synagogue in Greenbelt.

I would hang outside the open door listening to what debates they had, said Meiselman, who was one of the schools founders. One student said they were happy to leave the class angry. It meant their ideas were challenged and their opinions strengthened.

Dwindling enrollment was one reason Shoreshs leaders decided to close the school.

You cant have those great discussions with just three kids in the room, said Meiselman. When you go down to 21 students, and you cant combine seniors and eighth graders, the first problem is educational that we have really drifted below critical mass.

The second issue was financial. Fewer students mean lower revenue, Meiselman said. Shoresh held fundraisers, but there was never enough support from the organized Jewish community.

When enrollment dwindled to 30, there were enough funds to pay teachers, but not a school director. So board members took on the directors responsibilities.

Finally, the board used non-tuition funds to hire a director in a last attempt to save the school. However, the new director was not able to increase enrollment, Meiselman said.

Its really a tragedy, very much a shame, Oresky said.

I will miss the community of Jewish learners, said Tamara Halle, a board member whose son will graduate with Shoreshs last class. We developed an incredible community.

Shoresh will hold a graduation and school closing ceremony over Zoom on June 7 at 7 p.m. To receive the link, email

Carolyn Conte is a reporter for the Baltimore Jewish Times, an affiliated publication of Washington Jewish Week.

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High school program Shoresh closes after 20 years - Washington Jewish Week

How the Museum at Eldridge Street is Faring in the Time of COVID-19 – Bowery Boogie

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Amid nationwide closures, the Museum at Eldridge Street (aka the Eldridge Street Synagogue) is swinging its focus, by expanding its offerings to a global audience through virtual programming. The historic museum representing Jewish New York has, like so many others, been closed to foot traffic since stay-at-home orders were first mandated.

One of the main challenges the museum has faced during extended COVID-19 closures is creating new ways to engage with their audience. And creating similar in-person experiences, albeit through digital means.

Were hard at work translating our school programs to online curriculum, providing new content for families in lieu of in-person events, and creating new behind-the-scenes and promotion content for things like our exhibitions that are now on hold as were closed, Chelsea Dowell, Director of Public Engagement recently told us.

The silver lining to this is the museum is now able to think about their programming on a global scale. Weve been hosting virtual sessions of our popular adult education classes, Dowell explains. Its exciting to see that, now, more people can join these classes than when they took place at the museum. Families in California are now doing the activities in our family newsletters. And when we livestream concerts on Monday evenings, people are tuning in from around the world, and connecting with each other in the comments.

Theyve even been able to transition exhibition openings to a digital platform. We livestreamed a tour with artist Debra Olin, from her studio in Massachusetts. An exhibition of her work was set to open on April 30, and we wanted to highlight her work in some way, even though the opening is now postponed. So we conducted a live interview with Debra and our exhibition curator, and took questions from the audience that was tuning in. Weve never done anything like that before!

As for the popular annual Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empanadas festival, Dowell assures us that, though the in-person event is on hold, they are currently brainstorming virtual programming to take its place. Indeed, the museum doesnt want to miss the opportunity to celebrate the communities and cultures that the festival represents.

We urge all New Yorkers to support their local communities right now in whatever way they can.This is such a tough time for so many people right now we hope the Museum at Eldridge Street can offer a bit of peace, or joy, or connection to people through their screens. And were looking forward to being able to provide that sense of peace and permanence in person again someday.


How the Museum at Eldridge Street is Faring in the Time of COVID-19 - Bowery Boogie

Why the Rabbi Cursed his Congregation – Forward

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Read this article in Yiddish

Last September, the Forward published an article about a very curious incident in 1926, in which the rabbi of a Yonkers Orthodox synagogue opened the aron kodesh, the ornamental closet in the synagogue housing the Torah scrolls, and cursed the congregation.

The author of that article, Nancy Klein, whose parents joined the synagogue, Ohab Zedek, several years after the incident, remembers hearing the grown-ups whisper about the scandal but was never able to ascertain why the fiery Hungarian-born rabbi, Philip (Shraga) Rosenberg, resorted to such a dramatic demonstration.

Mysteriously, Rabbi Rosenberg then swapped pulpits with his son, Rabbi Alexander Rosenberg, in Cleveland, Ohio. The father stayed in Cleveland for the rest of his life and his son became a popular respected rabbi, not only in his own synagogue, but throughout the New York area.

Eager to learn more about this compelling story, I contacted Rabbi Philip Rosenbergs descendants, but they, too, didnt know the details. Rabbi Berel Wein, a historian who had a close relationship with the son, said in an interview that the elder rabbi swapped pulpits with his son in order to give him the opportunities that the New York area would afford a much younger rabbi. But as Mrs. Klein hints in her article, Rabbi Philip Rosenbergs choice to leave Ohab Zedek was not exactly voluntary.

Some important clues to this mystery lie in a letter written to an officer on the board of Ohab Zedek in January, 1923. The letter was from Rabbi Mordechai Leib Winkler, a respected Orthodox rabbi overseas, in the city of Mad, Hungary. Apparently, the board member, a Hungarian-born dentist named Dr. Simon Miller, had asked Rabbi Winkler whether a synagogue could appoint a rabbi who had previously served as the rabbi of a Status Quo community the name given to a community that chooses not to affiliate with the Orthodox establishment. Rabbi Winkler responds: I cannot hold back my great astonishment. What was this congregation thinking when it gave him the rabbinic position, after this rabbi served for eleven years as the rabbi of a Status Quo community?

What exactly was a Status Quo community, and why was Rabbi Winkler so opposed to it? In Hungary, in the late 1800s, a schism raged between the traditionalist Orthodox rabbis and the modern Neolog movement. Some communities chose not to affiliate with either the Orthodox or the Neolog movements, calling themselves Status Quo communities. Many of Hungarys leading Orthodox rabbis banned affiliation and cooperation with both the Neolog and the Status Quo communities. It didnt matter if the members of the Status Quo synagogues were observant Jews. Because they didnt affiliate with the established Orthodox movement, they were deemed beyond the pale.

Though not mentioned by name, there is no doubt that Millers question to Rabbi Winkler was about Rabbi Phillip Rosenberg. Before immigrating to the United States, Rabbi Philip Rosenberg had indeed been the rabbi of a Status Quo community in Hungary, a position he inherited from his father-in-law.

In those days, though, the term Orthodox meant different things in the United States than it did in Hungary, and by any American standard or definition, Rabbi Rosenberg was an Orthodox rabbi. Though it isnt surprising that the stringent Rabbi Winkler ruled against Rabbi Rosenberg, it is surprising that he was consulted in the first place. That brings us to Simon Miller himself, the board member who wrote the letter.

In addition to being a leader on the board of Ohab Zedek, Dr. Simon Miller (1887-1971) was also the founder and lay leader of a local Zionist organization as well as the founder, editor and contributor (under various pen names) of a rabbinic journal called Apiryon.

As it turns out, there was a debate that raged in the pages of Apiryon, in which Miller sharply criticized the stark self-separation of the Orthodox rabbis in Hungary from the other streams of Judaism in Hungary and Germany. So if Miller was so opposed to uncompromising, stringent rabbis like Rabbi Winkler, why did he bring him into the fray at all? Apparently, Miller knew that getting the support from Rabbi Winkler would help him engineer Rabbi Rosenbergs ouster.

So why did Miller want to get rid of Rabbi Rosenberg in the first place? In Rabbi Winklers letter, theres mention made of a disagreement that Miller had with Rabbi Rosenberg: apparently, Rosenberg wanted to decertify a local ritual slaughterer, against Millers wishes. Rabbi Rosenberg was also a strong supporters of the non-Zionist Orthodox movement Agudath Israel which Miller, a devoted Zionist, criticizes fiercely in his magazine.

To be sure, feuds between rabbis and lay leaders are nothing new. What was different in this case, and what apparently led Rabbi Rosenberg to curse not only Miller but the entire congregation, was that Miller had used a leading Hungarian rabbi to undermine Rabbi Rosenbergs Orthodox credentials. To be fired is one thing; to be accused of impiety is something else entirely.

But there are several plot twists in this tale. First of all, the pulpit-swap that Rabbi Phillip Rosenberg engineered with his son was apparently not the first time that he had worked out a compromise to prevent the humiliation of being ousted as rabbi. When Phillips own father, who was rabbi of the town of Tasnad, Hungary, passed away in 1898, he, Phillip, became a candidate to succeed him. But some members of the community opposed his appointment and spread rumors that he was too modern. So he resolved the fight by offering to withdraw his candidacy in favor of his brother-in-law, this way ensuring that the pulpit would remain in the family. His pulpit-swap with his son 25 years later followed almost the exact same script!

Secondly, it seems that Rabbi Phillip Rosenberg, who had once been ousted for being insufficiently Orthodox, seems to have gotten the last laugh. His son, Alexander, ended up becoming not only very popular among his congregants, but was also widely praised for his work as administrator of the Orthodox Unions kashrut division for over 20 years, where he helped end corruption in the kosher certification industry and made kosher food widely available to all American Jews. Secondly, just this past February, the OU appointed a new executive director, Rabbi Moshe Hauer, as its new executive director whose wife, Mindy, is Rabbi Alexander Rosenbergs granddaughter! So as it turns out, despite the attempt to undermine Phillips Orthodox bona fides, two of his descendants rose to the top of the American Orthodox establishment.

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Why the Rabbi Cursed his Congregation - Forward

Zionists aware of Hezbollah’s readiness to respond aggression: Naim Qassem – Mehr News Agency – English Version

Posted By on May 21, 2020

In an interview with OTV, he noted coronavirus pandemic has put the Tel Aviv regime in difficulties as it did so to Lebanon but Zionists know that Hezbollah will give a harsh response to any aggression even under the outbreak of the virus. He said Zionists' hostile activities against Lebanon are not restricted to coronavirus pandemic.

"If Israel wantswar, we are in ambush," he said, "Wecan confront them as we did so in 2006."

Answering a question about the messages the Zionist transmit for Hezbollah in Syria he said, "they have their own messages and we have ours but in case one from Hezbollah is targeted in Syria, we will give a response, for sure."

Addressing the US pressures on the elections in Lebanon, Qassem said everyone knows that the elections are popular, free, and democratic.

"Hezbollah is legally present in the government and the Parliament of Lebanon," he underlined.

"Hezbollah does not agree with early parliamentary elections," he said, "It is better for everyone to give a chance to the incumbent technocratic government."

He also noted that Hezbollah decides and acts upon the interests of Lebanon and is not a subordinate to Iran but Iran will benefit from Hezballah's combat with the Zionist regime and there is nothing bad in that.


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Zionists aware of Hezbollah's readiness to respond aggression: Naim Qassem - Mehr News Agency - English Version

Why Everything You Probably Know about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is a Lie – The Times of Israel

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Over the past few decades, there has been a seismic shift in rhetorical and intellectual honesty within the western media, academia, as well as in various public intellectual circles across the world. The most common assertion among these groups is based upon the so-called grotesque occupation and prejudiced history before the founding of Israel. In truth, what has been coined by scholars as the anti-Zionist movement is nothing more than a disingenuous, ahistorical attempt to castigate the State of Israel as illegitimate. Therefore, all criticisms and condemnations of Israel are not only valid but fundamentally necessary to ensure and promote the moral responsibility of all countries on the global stage. Such arguments are historically inaccurate, cloaked in anti-Semitic language, and typically utilized to justify horrendously violent and gruesome acts aimed at the civilian populace of Israel by way of various terrorist entities, networks, and states. And while this is a very sensitive issue, in which ethnic and religious backgrounds collide, one must not deliberately engage themselves in intellectual dishonesty. Such actions served to undermine the very importance and factual history of the matter.

Many people would like to believe, unfortunately, the vast swaths of history revisionism regarding the origins of the land that is now commonly known as Israel. However, history tells us that, The Diaspora (Jewish) signifies the historic exile of the Jewish people from their ancestral homeland, Israel, by all available historical data. However, a common misperception, sometimes deliberately constructed, is centered around the claim that the Jewish peopleweresolely driven from the land by the Romans,at the time of 70 A.D,whenthe second temple of Jerusalem was destroyed. However,this is simplyuntrue,as the Jewish connection to the state of Israel remains well-documented and accounts fornearly4,000 yearsofhistory.

The most common pushbackthat Jews,Israelis,some historians, and generally Pro-Israel activists face, at least consistently,is thecommon assertionthatifJews aretruly indigenous tothe landthat constitutes the state of Israel, then whyis thereevidencethatthe land was known as Palestine before the founding of Israel?Such points are valid on paper but usuallydebunked when looking underneath the surface.The term Palestine was originated,based on all available evidence, from the Philistines, an Aegean people who settledin 12th Century B.C. along with the territories of what is now known as Israel and the Gaza Strip. Come second century A.D., the Romans, just shortly after fighting off the last Jewish revolt, applied the name Palestine to Judea, which encompasses the southernportion of what is now called the West Bank.

One may reasonablyaskthemselves, why was this done? There is one core reason: to dispeland minimizethe notion that there wasever anyJewishidentification with the land of Israel. The commonly usedArabicword,Filastin,is derived from this Latin word.Moreover, one maystillbelieve that Israel is an occupied territory, invaded by European Jewry. This entire claim is antithetical to the idea that anti-Semitism has no connection to anti-Zionism. When Jews began to immigrate to Palestine in large numbers in 1882, fewer than 250,000 Arabs lived there, andmany of them had arrived in recent decades. While nefarious reasonscontinueto be deployed torefutetherightfor Israel to exist,ultimately it is quite clear that Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country.Eventhe distinguished Arab-American historian, PhillipHitti, a Princeton University professor, stated that there is no such thing as Palestine in history. Even before the Romans dispersed the Hebrew inhabitants from their Homeland, there is agreatdeal of evidence that the Diaspora existed far beforethe Romans ever encountered orthought of Judea. When the Assyrian people conquered Israel in 722 BCE, the Hebrew nation was scattered all over the Middle East; signifying the firstdispersionof the Hebrew people from the native homeland of Israel.

There are many reasons why the Israeli-Palestine conflict is a global issue, apart from the unfortunate history revisionism discussed previously. The conflict has given energy to newer forms of antisemitism, particularly those masquerading from within the anti-Zionism movement. Unfortunately, hate crimes against Jews in the United States and on the global stage continue to rise on a year-to-year basis. This is not an attempt to imply that all criticisms of the state of Israel are anti-Semitic. Of course, there are, and should be, legitimate criticisms of any state. The issue is where we choose to draw the line between valid and useful criticisms of the Israeli government and anti-Semitic tropes, strategies, and behavior, which as one may see, is a very slippery slope to define not only on a domestic basis but an International one as well.

This contemporary wave of anti-Semitism is uniquein that it positions its ideology under a formalizedoutlineundergirded by the main motives that constitute the ideology. According to StevenWindmueller, this sophisticated and newly developed formofantisemitism typicallyconsists of four phases.The first phaseinvolves theportrayalofThe United States as subservient to Zionist interests,particularly in benefiting the state of Israel as well asproviding supportto Jewish international goals. The secondphaseis typicallywielded bythe postmodernist left,as well asthe neo-Nazi right.This entailsthe castigation of Jews asso-calleddefenders of the statusquo,or, better put, contemporary Western values.Andwhile these two groups converge in theiroverall disdainand goals of stigmatizing Israel and the Jewish people,the thirdphase is almost exclusively wieldedand utilized bythe postmodernist left in thatit accuses Israel of implementingNazi-like practices and creating an association of Israels leaders withthe leader of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. Lastly,and the most obviousof all, is the effort oflinking Jewstointernational businesses and banking, most notably to createtheillusionof acause and effect relationship between international practicesand Jewish interests.

In achievingthese four goals,such factions,as well as the Islamic Jihad,employ specifictactics.These tacticsare not limited tobut includethe boycottand divestmentcampaign directed at Israel, introducing one-sided international solutions that seek tosingle out Israel, effortsto target and remove the presence of Israeli faculty from research projects and academic boards,And the labeling of specific hate messages against Israel, Jews, and Judaism as examples offreedom of the press and academia at large. As a result ofsuchefforts,Jews were victims in 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes in 2018.There was also a 105% increase in physical assaults on Jews over the previousyear.

Even as we operationally define newer sources of anti-Semitism and the threat this poses to the international Jewish community at large, there remains a great deal of cultural and political concerns when discussing the role of American institutions and organizations in the facilitation of cooperation and a common interest of battling this threat, especially amongst European countries.

One current point of global contention is how American Jewish action is perceived in the context of foreign diplomacy, regardless of the United States standing with the other nation or nations involved. Americas European counterparts may express concerns, which may be valid, regarding the political domineering behavior of the United States. These countries, may indeed, only seek solutions that they consider to be a European approach. Regardless of the relationship status amongst European states and the United States, such condescending demeanor will almost always be treated combatively by the European countries involved in such affairs, who may deem that the United States is sufficiently overstepping its boundaries and insensitive to the cultural differences in addressing such issues between European Jewry and American Jewry. And while American concern may be valid, the rhetoric employed by the Jewish organizations typically involves threatening terms that implya failureon behalf ofEuropean governmentstoadequately and effectively addressantisemitism.

Not only is this conflictimportant to amendbut also adifficultchallengeto address head-on due to many different variables. Although unfortunate,addressing the underlying issues that have catapulted the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remainsa very direpossibility. As it turns out,many different stateshave a vested interestinspreadinganti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments,with an ultimate goal similar tothe ones outlined within the four phases. If one examines, for example, the Hamascovenant of 1988,which outlinesthe ideological basisfor continuing its jihadto annihilate Israel,the complexity of solvingthe issuebecomesmore complex by the minute. The covenant states,the day of judgment will not comeuntil Muslims fight the Jews when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. However,more influential thanHamasis certainlyIran.

When Khomeini overthrew the Shah in 1979,Iransclose ties with Israelceased to exist.Khomeinis anti-Semitism, as a whole, isvery much alignedwith the second phaseunder the contemporary wave of anti-Semitism, driven by an anti-Western hatredfor Israel, America, and the Shah.Shortly followingthe rise ofKhomeini,Iranbegins to give birthandvast amounts of fundingtoHamas and Hezbollah,both recognized terrorist entitiesbyvast swathsof the western world. Without Irans financial andmilitary backing, its quite evident that neither Hezbollah nor Hamaswould havegainedthe capabilities to acquirethe weaponryandresourcesthat have turned them intofierceadversaries of Israel and its neighbors and allies.

For Islamists today,manyclaimthatit isthe Prophetwho guidesthemtoward an apocalyptic genocidalresolutionofthe conflict with the Jews.In their view,the conflict is not between Palestinians and Zionists,but Muslims and Jews in which there is no room for compromise. The Islamic State (ISIS) now controls large swaths of northern Syria and Iraq, accounting for a great deal of influence.This has led toa growingdesire for thecleansing ofJudeo-Christian presence within the Muslim Middle East.And if that wasnt enoughof a challenge for Israel and the western world,Egypt is also responsible for the promotion ofvariousanti-Semitic entities and tropes.In November 2002,during Ramadan, various programs based on the myths of the protocols of Zionwere shownonEgyptian TV, and thenacrossthe Arab world, reaching at the very least 200 million Muslim viewers. Also, the Muslim Brotherhood,a group that has referredto Israel as, the Jewish-Zionist tumor, historically reaps one of the most influential political organizations knowwithin the Middle East at large.

While it may be nearly impossible to address this issue head-on, Western States remain capable of battling against these dangerous ideologies by providing support, when possible, or appropriate, for Israel, as well as formalized Holocaust education in public school settings. Schools may also provide educational programs to identify various forms of anti-Semitic behavior while also ensuring that free speech is still promoted and permitted. States may also ensure that their legal systems provide a safe environment for Jews, free from the experience of Anti-Semitic violence or discrimination. Lastly, states mustcollect and maintain reliable information and statisticsaboutanti-Semitic crimesand other hate crimes, thus, simultaneously ensuring that the public is well informed on these matters.

Alex Frank is a junior at Texas Christian University. Alex is currently studying Political Science and Business. Formerly, Alex interned for Senator Ted Cruz in Austin, Texas, and currently, he hosts the newly developed Generation-Z podcast, The Contrarian Conservatarian. Alex practices Conservative Judaism and remains observant and passionate about causes related to Judaism, Zionism, and the State of Israel.

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Why Everything You Probably Know about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is a Lie - The Times of Israel

Shocked by the anti-Semitic rants I’ve gotten from Trump fans – Los Angeles Times

Posted By on May 19, 2020

Maybe Im getting soft, but I found these two emails very disturbing.

Dumb ass liberal Jew...Hope you get Chinese virus and suffer for lying to people...Really do.......

1:09 PM, May. 19, 2020 An earlier version of this story said that Auschwitz was liberated by U.S. troops. It was Soviet troops that liberated the concentration camp.

And this one:

Keep your mouth shut kike. You always seem to out yourselves. All throughout history.

Ive been in the newspaper business for a long time. So Im no stranger to angry, profanity-filled letters and the occasional death threat. But when I went back to writing recently after many years as an editor, it was the anti-Semitic emails that I found particularly disconcerting. (The Anti-Defamation League reported last week that 2019 was a year of unprecedented anti-Semitic activity in the United States, so perhaps I shouldnt have been surprised. But I was.)

The emails came in response to a column in which I criticized President Trump, calling him vindictive and irresponsible and lacking in empathy and averse to complex thinking, among other things. I can see where his supporters mightve gotten angry. And they did. One called me a libturd. Others called me pathetic, embarrassing and FOS.

But while those emails were crass, the anti-Semitic ones were chilling. All the more so since the column had nothing to do with Jews or Christians or religion or ethnicity.

Now, I dont have any particular reason to believe Trump shares all the views of his nuttiest supporters. But like many people, I believe he encourages them. He fans the flames of intolerance and division, and caters too often to a bigoted crowd. In campaigning, he relies on dog whistles, such as the TV spot he aired in 2016 that flashed pictures of George Soros, Lloyd Blankfein and other Jews while Trump in a voice-over assailed global special interests and those who control the levers of power in Washington. Thats a dangerous game to play, and a cynical one.

Nevertheless, I was all set to chalk the rabid emails up to the loony fringe and ignore them. Until a few days later when I was intrigued to find in my in-box a proclamation issued by the White House on the occasion of Jewish-American heritage month, 2020.

The statement, attributed to Trump himself, talked about the long history of Jews in the U.S. It noted that Jews had experienced oppression, violence and bigotry. It cited the myriad ways they enrich our country. It noted our rejection of anti-Semitic bigotry, and our disdain for malicious attacks of hatred. It called special attention to the 2019 synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif.

Whether Trump really had anything to do with the proclamation, I have no idea. Frankly, it didnt sound much like him. His comments on the subject have generally been bizarre assertions like I am the least anti-Semitic person that youve ever seen in your entire life, or vague, rambling statements like this one: As far as Jewish people so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now, a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren.

But the proclamation on Jewish American Heritage Month was in such dramatic contrast with the anti-Semitic notes I received in response to my column that I wondered what the writers would make of it. So I dug out the old emails, forwarded the proclamation to the authors and waited to see what would happen. Since they were apparently Trumps defenders, I thought perhaps his words would have some influence with them.

Wrong. Teachable moment unsuccessful. I heard back from one of them, who still hopes the virus will get me and who notes that Jews are known fir their ability to cheat out and screw others that were not Jews. We exchanged a number of notes, but I can report that no headway was made.

I dont mean to blow any of this out of proportion. I recognize there are plenty of people and groups in the United States for whom the ongoing effects of racial and religious prejudice are far more burdensome than they are for me. And that a handful of lunatics calling me names is not the second Holocaust.

I also recognize that were living in a bitter and polarized time, and that the rage reflected in those emails is not directed only at Jews. I cant imagine my correspondents arent also riled up about African Americans and other people of color, as well as immigrants, gay and transgender people.

Still, it is demoralizing and distressing that anti-Semitism is back in vogue, at least among certain groups, just in time for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops fighting Nazism in Europe.

Its a little like when you read that cases of measles, a disease that was declared to have been eliminated in the United States in 2000, are growing disturbingly quickly because we have forgotten what we learned in a previous generation and have failed to remain vigilant.

The United States prides itself on tolerance and opposition to bigotry and, with some enormous exceptions, it has generally moved over the years in the direction of expanded rights and greater justice for all. Thats why my mother and her parents came to the United States rather than elsewhere when they fled Hitlers Europe in the 1930s. As a child, I was taught that anti-Semitism was not a problem in America. Its disheartening to think that, without vigilance, it could come back, like the measles.


Shocked by the anti-Semitic rants I've gotten from Trump fans - Los Angeles Times

Historic Presidential Collection by Artist Morris Katz Reintroduced in Honor of Jewish Heritage Month – The Jewish Press –

Posted By on May 19, 2020

Photo Credit: courtesy, Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce

The month of May has been officially designated by presidents of both parties as Jewish Heritage Month, a tribute to the contributions that Jewish immigrants and their descendants have made to the United States of America, their patriotism and appreciation for American values.

In honor of the occasion, the Wall Street-based Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce has reintroduced the legendary Presidential Collection portraits of US presidents painted by legendary artist Morris Katz to the general public. The full private collection is now available online for the first time in history, so that it can be viewed and appreciated by Americans far and wide under Coronavirus lockdown.

The Presidential Collection was the apple of Katzs eye; an artist and a Holocaust survivor who painted the collection to perfection as a show of appreciation to the nation that provided him refuge and protected his religious freedoms.

Nearly a decade since his passing, the Chamber is committed to preserve Morriss legacy and highlight this historic collection in celebration of Jewish Heritage Month.

Earlier this month, Congress passed with overwhelming bipartisan support the Never Again Education Act, which provides funding for Holocaust education in US schools. In his official proclamation of Jewish Heritage Month for this year, President Trump stated, Throughout history, the Jewish people have demonstrated an unbreakable spirit, overcoming suffering, cruel oppression, violence, and bigotry.

Morris Katz was a larger than life personality and representative of these values. He lived them and commit himself to promote them. Morriss legacy is particularly crucial at this juncture in history, as anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence are seeing a frightening rise both at home and abroad.

Born in Galicia in 1932, Morriss once-in-a-generation artistic talent was evident at a young age. During the Holocaust, Morris suffered unspeakable horrors in Nazi concentration camps and lost most of his family. After arriving in New York as a refugee, Morris began working as a carpenter. However, after struggling to find a job where he was able to keep Shabbos, he began painting.

Morriss art career in the US would earn him global acclaim, with nicknames such as the worlds fastest artist and the Albert Einstein of Art. Morris was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as both the fastest and most prolific artist in the world, wresting the latter world record from Picasso in his presence! Morris was prominently featured by Ripleys Believe it or Not and a cross section of major US media shows. Morris taught his unique Instant Art painting method at art schools and it is being taught through today.

Fame and all, Morris Katz maintained an approachable, good natured persona. He remained at heart a persecuted Jew hailing from one of the worlds poorest regions. He prized his ability to use Judaic art to transmit his heritage to the next generation. Similarly, Morriss gratitude towards the US for providing him sanctuary and his reverence for the American value of religious liberty knew no bounds.

Within minutes of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Morris began his longest and dearest project ever: The Presidential Collection. Morris spent years painting meticulous masterful portraits of each president, from George Washington through, eventually, George H. W. Bush.

The artist famous for completing beautiful portraits within minutes spent an average of 200 hours(!) on each Presidential Collection portrait in Old Master style.

These were the first presidential portraits in history in which the flags featured a precise number of stars, equal to the number of states/colonies in the union at the time.

These portraits became world famous. Millions of postcards featuring them were sold, each one featuring a tribute from the artist to the presidents and the great nation they led.

Morris is an incredible larger-than-life inspiration to every American Jew, indeed every American, says Duvi Honig, Founder and CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.

He took enormous pride in both being a Jew and an American patriot. He selflessly dedicated himself to thank and contribute to America and the liberties it stands for. It is an honor to perpetuate Morriss legacy during this important occasion and recognize all those who are supporting the American Jewish community today.

Morriss contributions to American culture and his deep seated patriotism cannot be overstated, says Ezra Friedlander, VP of Public Policy for the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, who has hosted numerous Jewish Heritage Month events in Washington over the years. There is no more worthy representative of this honor and I am humbled to participate in this effort.

In honor of the artist, the Chamber has founded the Morris Katz Foundation along with a special website,, featuring his private Presidential Collection. Please pay a visit!

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Historic Presidential Collection by Artist Morris Katz Reintroduced in Honor of Jewish Heritage Month - The Jewish Press -

San Diego County, nation, respond to hate incidents – San Diego Jewish World

Posted By on May 19, 2020

May 18, 2020

Other items in this column include:*Jewish American Heritage Month*Recommended reading

By Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO Two grocery store incidents in Santee earlier this month in which a man wearing the hood of the Ku Klux Klan, and a man and woman wearing masks featuring swastikas, continue to reverberate. San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher proposed that a countywide Human Relations Commission be re-established and empowered to look into such incidents, and the San Diego Union-Tribuneran three opinion pieces Monday on the incidents and their impact on the City of Santee.

In another response to hate, the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) arranged for 25 olive trees to be planted at Kfar Silver Youth Village in southern Israel in memory of Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was murdered when a gunman attacked Chabad of Poway on the last day of Passover in 2019.

As part of the World ORT Kadmima Mada school network, children of the Kfar Silver Youth Village helped plant the trees and lay a plaque which was inscribed, May these trees grow to be a source of strength and hope of a bright future, befitting of Loris blessed memory.

Olive branches traditionally have been considered a symbol of peace, derived from the story of a dove bringing back a branch to Noahs Ark.

Michael Ross, under auspices of CAMs Venture Creative Contest to fight antisemitism, suggested planting trees to memorialize those killed in anti-Semitic attacks. Lori Gilbert-Kaye was the first victim to be honored under the program.

Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Director, commented: It is so important to honor the memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye and also to remember those who were injured in the appalling anti-Semitic attack at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue. The shooting did not happen by chance. It is an example of what can happen when hatred is allowed to go unchecked. The trees that we planted today are a powerful statement that we can and must create a better, more hopeful future. It is a fitting testament to the values which Lori stood for.

Last month, the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement hosted a virtual memorial ceremony, to mark the first anniversary of the Poway Synagogue shooting. Participants included survivors of the attack, plus Elan Carr (US Special Envoy for Combatting Anti-Semitism), Danny Danon (Israel Ambassador to UN) and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed (UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom or Religion and Belief).

Awaiting trials in both state and federal courts is the alleged gunman John T. Earnest not only on charges of murdering Lori Gilbert Kaye, but also for woundingRabbi Yisroel Goldstein,and congregants Almog Peretz and his elementary school aged niece Noya Dahan.There are those who believe news publications and broadcast outlets should never mention the name of accused assailants lest they be glorified in the eyes of other haters. While recognizing the good intent of such a proposed ban, I disagree with it. I believe people who are accused of hateful acts from vandalism all the way up to murder ought to be held accountable by name. On the other hand, the persons name need not be headlined; it can be included in the body of a news article, as occurred here.

Meanwhile, in New York, the national headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League announced on Monday that 2019 saw a 50 percent increase in domestic Islamist extremism. A news release said there were a total of 30 arrests linked to domestic Islamist extremism, nine of which were for terror plots. Of the nine individuals arrested for plotting attacks, seven (78 percent) were U.S. citizens. While there were no attacks or murders linked to domestic Islamist extremism last year, the findings indicate that Islamist extremism still poses a significant threat to the United States.

Make no mistake: the threat of Islamist extremist activity in the United States is serious and cannot be ignored, said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. In 2019 alone we saw nine individuals arrested for planning attacks on U.S. soil and a total of 30 arrests linked to domestic Islamist extremism. We are deeply grateful for the efforts of federal and local law enforcement to investigate and disrupt these potentially dangerous attacks.

In addition to the nine individuals arrested for plotting attacks, 21 others were arrested for engaging in domestic criminal activity motivated by Islamist extremism, the ADL reported. Of those 21 individuals, a large majority faced charges for attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Approximately 70 percent of domestic Islamist extremist criminal activity in 2019 was inspired by ISIS, which has reportedly lost all of its territory in Iraq and Syria.

*Jewish American Heritage Month

*EMET (Endowment for Middle East Truth) on Monday honored the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis as part of the celebration of May as Jewish American Heritage Month.

*Our thanks toEva Triegerwho spotted the video above highlighting the Jews of Hollywood and their continuing a centuries-old tradition of Jewish storytelling.

*Recommended reading

*The Jerusalem Postreports that both China and Israel are investigating the cause of death of Chinas Ambassador to Israel, whose body was found at his residence in Herzliya.

*The Daily Mailof London reports that half of the blood plasma donations in the United States has come from the Orthodox Jewish population of metropolitan New York.

*Donald H. Harrison is editor ofSan Diego Jewish World.He may be contacted via

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San Diego County, nation, respond to hate incidents - San Diego Jewish World

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