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Thanksgiving Has Biblical Roots, But They Are Gnarly – Breaking Israel News

Posted By on November 27, 2019

Hallelujah. Praise Hashem for He is good; His steadfast love is eternal. Psalms 106:1 (The Israel Bible)

A Thanksgiving feast. (Shutterstock)

Thanksgiving is a purely secular American holiday, right? You might be surprised to learn that Thanksgiving actually has Biblical roots.

Sukkot in NovemberOne Biblical parallel is found in the work of Dr. Paul Jehle, Senior Pastor of The New Testament Church, Founder of The New Testament Christian School and Executive Director of Plymouth Rock Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and spread the Pilgrim story and Americas rich Christian heritage.

In his book Plymouth in the Words of Her Founders, Jehle wrote, The origin of the harvest festival in England by the time the Pilgrims decided to leave was rooted in the Biblical practice of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).

Say to Bnei Yisrael: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month there shall be the festival of Sukkot to Hashem, [to last] seven days. Leviticus 23:34

Sitting down to a meal of turkey and pumpkin pie on the fourth Thursday of November goes back to 1941, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt officially signed a bill that fixed that date for observing the annual holiday.

But Jehles claim is supported by the fact that Sukkot of 1621 was celebrated from September 20-October 7. According to the site, ..the Pilgrims first Thanksgiving began at some unknown date between September 21 and November 9, most likely in very early October, of 1621, corresponding exactly to the dates of Sukkot that year.Replacement Theology Aboard The MayflowerA second Biblical parallel is less savory. Suffering from religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims took the Biblical story of the Exodus from Egypt and refashioned it in their own image. He summoned Moshe and Aharon in the night and said, Up, depart from among my people, you and the Israelites with you! Go, worship Hashem as you said! Exodus 12:31

According to Rabbi Tuly Weisz, publisher of Breaking Israel News, Those aboard the Mayflower referred to their voyage as an Exodus from oppression to the Promised Land.For the original Puritans, it was a small leap from seeing themselves as fleeing persecution just like the original, Biblical Israelites did, to actually seeing themselves as the spiritual replacement for this iconic Biblical episode.As Rabbi Ken Spiro explained it, These Puritans viewed their emigration from England as a virtual re-enactment of the Jewish exodus from Egypt. To them, England was Egypt, the king was Pharaoh, the Atlantic Ocean was the Red Sea, America was the Land of Israel, and the Indians were the ancient Canaanites. They were the new Israelites, entering into a new covenant with God in a new Promised Land.Were the Puritans merely seeing an echo of the Biblical exodus from Egypt in their journey or were they actually co-opting the Biblical story for themselves?

In an essay called The New England Puritans and the Jews, historian Arthur Hertzberg, ascribed a dark motivation to the Pilgrims, all but accusing them of Replacement Theology.

In their own mind, he wrote, they were the Jews, the ultimate and total heirs of the promises that God had made in the Hebrew Bible.As Breaking Israel News feature writer Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz previously noted, This fascination with the Jews was not akin to admiration. The Puritans were Calvinists, following the teachings of John Calvin, the 16th century French pastor who played a major role in the Protestant Reformation. Calvin clearly stated that the Jews were a rejected people who needed to embrace Jesus to re-enter the covenant, a basic belief of replacement theology.

Indians As Lost Ten Tribes

A third Biblical parallel in the history of Thanksgiving is that the Puritans originally claimed that the Native Americans they encountered in New England were descended from the lost Ten Tribes of Israel who Isaiah, among other Biblical prophets, prophesied would be reunited at the end of days.

He will hold up a signal to the nations And assemble the banished of Yisrael, And gather the dispersed of Yehuda From the four corners of the earth. Isaiah 11:12

According to Weisz, the Jewish Indian theory was accepted by scholars such as William Penn and was the subject of written correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson more than 100 years later.Unfortunately, like the echo of replacement theology in the the Pilgrims replacing the Israelites of the Exodus story, this notion that the American Indians were descended from the Ten Tribes was overshadowed by the Puritans efforts toward converting the very people the Bible teaches were supposed to be reunited with the rest of the Jewish world.

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Thanksgiving Has Biblical Roots, But They Are Gnarly - Breaking Israel News

Facebook to ban two white nationalist groups after Guardian report – The Guardian

Posted By on November 27, 2019

Facebook will no longer allow Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right to use its platform, following a Guardian report on the continued presence of prominent white nationalist organizations on the site eight months after a promised ban.

A Facebook spokesperson said on Tuesday that the company has now determined that Red Ice TV and Affirmative Right violate its policy against organized hate. The ban will include the pages of the Red Ice TV hosts Lana Lokteff and Henrik Palmgren, as well as their internet radio show, Radio3Fourteen.

Red Ice TV gained popularity on YouTube in recent years as a mouthpiece for the growing movement of white nationalists and white supremacists around the world. It has hosted white nationalists such as the Counter-Currents publisher Greg Johnson and the publisher of Daily Stormer website.

YouTube banned Red Ice in October for repeated violations of its ban on hate speech. The group had until today maintained a Facebook presence with more than 90,000 fans.

The Affirmative Right Facebook page was originally named Alternative Right. It hosted the blog founded by Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who gained prominence in 2016 in the US as a key figure in the alt-right movement. The site rebranded as the Affirmative Right following a falling out with Spencer.

The Facebook page for VDare, a prominent white nationalist, anti-immigrant website, remains online. The spokesperson said it was still under review. VDare was one of the sources whose material the White House adviser Stephen Miller emailed to a Breitbart writer with the aim of shaping her coverage of immigration, emails obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed in recent weeks.

Facebook has for years failed to proactively police its site for hate groups and white supremacists, despite a longstanding ban on hate. As white nationalist terrorist attacks rose around the world, the company maintained a policy distinction between white supremacism and white nationalism until March of this year, when it finally agreed to ban white nationalist content. The company still allows Holocaust denial content, though it says that it works to prevent such content from spreading through its algorithms.

The actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen excoriated the company for its failure to adequately police hate in a speech at the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday. Cohen criticized Facebooks controversial decision to allow politicians to promote lies in advertisements, saying: If Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his solution to the Jewish problem. He also criticized the CEO Mark Zuckerbergs stance on Holocaust denial, saying, Those who deny the Holocaust aim to encourage another one.

White nationalist attacks have taken a heavy toll in recent years. The rhetoric of the suspected mass shooters in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas, was deeply shaped by digital white nationalist discourse. The Christchurch shooting, which killed 51 Muslim worshippers, was broadcast on Facebook Live.

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Facebook to ban two white nationalist groups after Guardian report - The Guardian

Concord man who threatened to shoot up a synagogue is jailed on separate, federal charge – The Mercury News

Posted By on November 27, 2019

Concord man who threatened to shoot up a synagogue is jailed on separate, federal charge  The Mercury News

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Concord man who threatened to shoot up a synagogue is jailed on separate, federal charge - The Mercury News

Im A Black Jewish Convert. Ive Felt Excluded In Every Synagogue Ive Ever Been To – Forward

Posted By on November 27, 2019

My spiritual journey was a long and circuitous one. It led me to Judaism and the realization that I wanted to convert. Sadly, my conversion to Judaism and the process of finding myself spiritually has come with the deeply saddening experience of feeling excluded in every synagogue I have ever attended due to the color of my skin.

After years of trying to find myself spiritually, I ended up at a small synagogue in Wichita Falls, Texas. I went there many times before I came to the realization that this is where I needed to be. This was the community that I wanted to belong to, the religion that I belonged to.

I mentioned to the lay leader who led Shabbat services that I wanted to learn more about Judaism and possibly convert, but another member of the congregation interrupted our conversation and asked me why I wanted to become Jewish. Before I could answer, he said, presumably referring to the color of my skin, You already have one strike against you, now you want to add another?

Courtesy of the Author

Ananias Edwards III

The lay leader, Danny, who would later become a rabbi, was open and welcoming to the idea. But he could not help me at that time. And due to my own work schedule and life altogether, I had to put my conversion on hold.

After a number of years, I went back to college and completed my degree. I ended up getting a job with a flexible schedule. This opened up the window for me to travel to a synagogue in Dallas, where a fraternity brother of mine happened to be going through the conversion process. It was then that I finally dove in and began my process of converting to Judaism.

To my delight, I completed my conversion on the 19th day of Kislev in the year of 5779. Besides the birth of my children, this was one of the happiest moments of my life. The Jewish People were my people and their G-d was my G-d.

But it was only after my conversion that my struggle began. You see, I am an African-American born and raised in a small town in Georgia. While my immediate family was supportive of my decision, most of my extended family and friends were not. They didnt understand why I didnt accept Christianity and often ostracized me either openly or passive-aggressively. For example, when I went to my best friends wedding, he seemed to go out of his way to remind me that they all worshipped Jesus. I didnt bring up my faith at that time, but they knew Judaism was my religion. Him telling me that really hurt. I was there to show him support, not to discuss who practiced what religion.

My co-workers were no better. They often asked me what church I went to, and even invite me to church with them despite knowing I was Jewish. If I ate at an associates house, they would bless the meal and invoke Jesus. Then they would then apologize and say that they forgot I was Jewish. This was their way of singling me out.

None of this bothered me as long as I had my Jewish community. But that was not always welcoming either. When I would attend the synagogue in Wichita Falls, I often felt excluded or even ostracized. I felt like I didnt belong, and felt self-conscious a lot of the time.

I eventually stopped attending this synagogue and just attended Emanu El in Dallas. I visited other synagogues in the Dallas area also. One day, while at Emanu El, someone asked me why I drove two hours to shul. I told them that I was a member here, so I belong here. The individual then said that I should attend the local synagogue in my town. I informed the staff at Emanu El, and I never returned.

Things got a bit better after that. I visited a Reform synagogue in Oklahoma City and a Conservative shul in Richardson, Texas. I ended up joining both the Reform synagogue and also joining the Conservative shul an associate member. Both communities were very welcoming and inclusive.

But then, the inevitable occurred. During the High Holidays, I attended the Conservative synagogue. For the most part, everything went well. I was invited to have dinner with the Rabbi before Erev Rosh Hashanah service. I even volunteered to be an usher during the Rosh Hashanah service.

But while ushering, a gentleman came and stood by me. He told me that even though it was not his time to usher, he wanted to stand beside me. He then began to ask me intrusive questions about my Jewishness. I told him that if I was not Jewish or a member there, I didnt think they would have me usher.

I was crushed, and felt once again as though I did not belong. I thought about leaving and not returning, but I was tired of just fading away and not returning.

It is hard to be an African-American and Jewish sometimes, but I have chosen to fight. My new years resolution this Rosh Hashannah is to stand up for myself and insist on my right to be in these spaces.

But black Jews shouldnt have to insist on this right. We shouldnt have to educate others that we belong. Synagogues should be welcoming to everyone who wishes to find community in them and pray.

Ananias Edwards III is an insurance agent, a civil servant and a veteran. He resides in Wichita Falls, Texas with his wife and two daughters.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Im A Black Jewish Convert. Ive Felt Excluded In Every Synagogue Ive Ever Been To - Forward

Jewish communities returning to their origins in Budapest’s quiet western district – JTA News

Posted By on November 27, 2019

BUDAPEST (JTA) Most of this Hungarian capitals approximately 20 synagogues are concentrated in three districts in Pest, the bustling half of the city east of the Danube River, along with five Jewish community centers, multiple Jewish schools and several kosher shops.

Clustered in the beating heart of Budapests famous nightlife, the synagogues of Pest tell a remarkable story of revival following the devastation of the Holocaust and decades of oppression under communism.

But to Cintia Perlaki-Myers, a 23-year-old expectant mother, those houses of worship pale in comparison to the drabber and relatively unknown synagogues of Buda, the citys western and quieter half, where Budapests Jewish story began about 1,000 ago.

The Obuda Synagogue in Budapest is a 200-year-old French Empire-style building. (Courtesy of EMIH)

Its continuity. Its victory, Perlaki-Myers said of her 2017 wedding in Budas largest synagogue, the buda Synagogue, a 200-year-old French Empire-style building where her great-grandparents also wed. Standing under the chuppah at the place where they had stood, I felt like we won, the Jews won. Despite everything they did to destroy us, we are still there.

Jewish life has been making a slow but significant return to leafy and placid Buda in recent years. Three of the four synagogues in Buda today have opened since 2010. In 2016, a Jewish high school opened there for the first time in over a century.

The latest addition to Jewish institutions in Buda also was the most symbolic one. Last year, the Buda Castle Synagogue, the oldest in the city, was reopened following centuries of disuse.

Established in 1346, the synagogue operated for more than three centuries until it was ransacked by crusaders who took the city from Turkish rulers in 1686, according to the tiny museum housed in the synagogue. Tucked deep inside the castle walls, the museum offers a welcome respite from Budapests crushing heat waves in summer.

Rabbi Asher Faith carries a Torah scroll into the the Buda Castle Synagogue in Budapest, Sept. 6, 2018. (Mrton Mersz)

Jews have lived in Buda since the second half of the 12th century, according to the Beit Hatfutsot Museum of the Jewish People in Israel. The first mention of Jews living in Pest came more than a century later, in 1406.

At first, Jews built synagogues in Buda because that was the only place they were allowed, said Rabbi Shlomo Koves, the head of Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, or EMIH, an affiliate of the Chabad Hasidic movement. Koves also runs the Obuda Synagogue.

But the Jews left in droves for Pest after the citys unification in the 19th century. Many were drawn to Pest because their businesses were there, but moving meant a serious decline for Judaism in Buda. Still, Buda had a thriving Jewish community until the Nazis arrived in 1944.

Nobody knows how many Jews live in Buda today, but their presence began to grow slowly after World War II as Buda became the residence of choice for locals seeking a higher quality of life than in crowded Pest. Despite being roughly equal to Pest in size, Buda has only 28 percent of the Hungarian capitals population of 1.7 million.

Today, the Obuda Synagogue is a nice place to meet and talk about business for the many bankers, entrepreneurs and investors who comprise a significant part of the local Jewish community, according to Ivan Eros, a 41-year-old economist who moved here from Pests 13th district in 1997.

On Friday nights, many worshippers stick around for a plate of cholent, the iconic Ashkenazi bean stew. Regulars can expect birthday cakes from other congregants, said Nora Szilagyi, another community member.

Rabbi Shlomo Koves, left, prays at his Obuda Synagogue, Oct. 7, 2019. (Courtesy of EMIH)

Janos Lang, a Holocaust survivor who was born in this part of town, celebrated his 82nd birthday at the synagogue earlier this month. A retired musician and businessman, he attends Friday night prayers and a Torah study group.

Lang said he has made many good memories at the Obuda Synagogue. His earliest recollections, however, are full of fear and pain.

At the age of 7, he and his family were kept prisoner opposite the shuttered synagogue in a so-called Yellow Star House one of 1,934 Budapest buildings that Nazi collaborators turned into small detention centers during the Holocaust. He escaped but was sent to the ghetto in Pest, where his grandmother barely managed to feed him. Once she served meat that she carved off a dead horse.

The loss of life during the Holocaust was horrible, and so far irreplaceable, Lang said, adding that the revival of Jewish life in Buda and in Hungary can only mitigate [some of] this loss.

Two of Budas synagogues are Orthodox and affiliated with Chabad. The other two are Neolog, a Jewish denomination native to Central Europe that is roughly equivalent to Conservative Judaism in the United States.

All of them, however, are what locals describe as heimish, a Yiddish word that means cozy and homey. The synagogues of Pest are larger, but some are tourist attractions where foreigners often outnumber the locals.

Rabbi Tamas Veros Frankel Synagogue, a 400-seat Neolog establishment that was the only synagogue that remained open in Buda during the communist era, advertises itself as the most friendly in Budapest and famous for welcoming young families with children.

The 2015 opening of the Maimonides Jewish school, spearheaded by Koves, gave a major boost to Jewish life in Buda, according to Peter Klein, a businessman who attends Koves synagogue and enrolled his daughter at Maimonides.

Students doing work at the Maimonides Jewish high school in Budapest, Oct. 7, 2019. (Courtesy of EMIH)

It matters that theres now a synagogue near us, that theres a school nearby, Klein said. Budapest isnt huge and Pest is just across the river, but it makes things just a little more comfortable to be Jewish.

Maimonides has a student body of about 50 and its design resembles a high-tech startup, with state-of-the art touch screens for chalkboards. EMIH waves tuition costs for students who are Jewish according to Orthodox Jewish law.

Some of Budas newly opened Jewish institutions including the school, the castle synagogue and the Obuda Synagogue exist thanks to help from the Hungarian government, which some critics say has encouraged anti-Semitism with its nationalist agenda, including a campaign against the left-leaning Hungarian-Jewish billionaire George Soros.

But Lang disagrees, calling the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban a good friend of the Jews and also the State of Israel.

How long will this keep, I do not know, he said, adding that after all, anti-Semitism in Hungary has a grand tradition.

It depends always on the government in power, Lang said.

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Jewish communities returning to their origins in Budapest's quiet western district - JTA News

‘Class picture’ of nearly 5000 rabbis gathered at Brooklyn synagogue – amNY

Posted By on November 27, 2019

Sunday was a joyous occasion for the rabbis who came from as far away as India, Belgium and the Ukraine to gather at the world headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch in Brooklyn for a special moment caught on camera.

As they do every year, the gathering of 5,000 rabbis posed in front of the Eastern Parkway headquarters for an annual class picture, as organizers announced it. The rabbis also attend the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries, the annual event designed to strengthen Jewish awareness and practice around the world.

Prior to the picture, they prayed in tight quarters inside the Lubavitch synagogue. All performed the holy rituals that include putting on the tefillin, black leather boxes containing Torah verses which are worn during morning prayers.

Many of the rabbis gathered in Brooklyn Sunday spoke of the importance of connecting with others from across the world in order to share and strengthen their faith.

Its important for me to meet my friends, to strengthen my work and do what God wants us to do, said Rabbi Shalom Ber Sudak of London, England. We want to encourage people to be close to the Yiddishchite, to be happy with what we are supposed to do.

I was invited, and have been coming for 50 years, added Rabbi Joseph Hardman of Israel.I represent 6,000 talmidim (disciples) that Im here for. Im very veshtatum, meaning Im very satisfied here because they always make us feel welcome.

Rabbi Mordachai Chencon of Brussels, Belgium was with his father Schmoel David Chencon and they said they felt honored to be praying with so many rabbis.

We need to take a full review of what we do, and then we speak with the Rebbe we do this to hold together and together we are strong, that is very important, Rabbi Chencon said.

There were special prayers offered for Rabbi Menachem M. Scheerson, one of the most influential Jewish leaders in history, who died in June 1994. Some in Chabad Judaism believe Scheerson to be the moshiach (messiah).

Editors note: This story was updated on Nov. 25 at 1:30 p.m. to reflect the removal of inaccurate information related to yesterdays event. We regret any confusion which may have resulted.

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'Class picture' of nearly 5000 rabbis gathered at Brooklyn synagogue - amNY

The German Jews who think now is the time to leave, before its too late again – Haaretz

Posted By on November 27, 2019

For pedestrians in the city center of the southern German city of Konstanz two Sundays ago, the joyful procession through the old town could have been mistaken for the inauguration of Carnival season, or even a Turkish wedding celebration.

But the procession, accompanied by music, singing and dancing, marked instead the opening of the citys new synagogue. It was the first dedication of a synagogue since the Nazis destroyed the old synagogue 81 years ago on Kristallnacht, the November pogrom against Jews, Jewish institutions and Jewish-owned businesses known as the Night of Broken Glass.

The celebration came just one day after the mournful commemorations of the many victims of those Nazi-organized pogroms, which destroyed over 1000 homes, businesses, and places of worship across Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938. But the celebrations were not only notable for this. Last weeks festive dedication of the new synagogue was a proud, and pointed, counterpunch to the aggressive nationalism stalking Germany today.

Fresh in the minds of both the Jewish community and the general public is the recent deadly attack on a synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur, and the assassination of a pro-refugee Conservative party politician last summer, both by neo-Nazis.

In his speech at the dedication ceremony of the new synagogue, the Baden-Wrttemberg state president, Winfried Kretschmann,warned of the further threat of right-wing extremism.

He wasnt exaggerating at all. Germanys intelligence service recently reported that the country hosts 24,000 violent right-wing extremists, half of whom have a "very high affinity for firearms," and the police has counted 600 verbal and physical attacks on refugees in just the first half of this year.

The German interior minister Horst Seehofer, who came under criticism for his own anti-foreigner remarks last year, announced an "elevated" risk of right-wing terrorism, meaning an attack could come "at any moment." It was further confirmation of his comments after the Halle shooting, when he stated that "the threat of anti-Semitism, right-wing extremism, and right-wing terrorism is very high."

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But against the destructive past and the unknown future is the creative and rebellious acts of the Jewish community in the present, and the active resistance of so many non-Jews.

The latter was perfectly demonstrated over that same Kristallnacht commemoration weekend, when 15,000 people confronted a neo-Nazi march in Bielefeld and formed a human chain around the synagogue there. At the Konstanz synagogue dedication, Kretschmann affirmed that the new synagogue is a "triumph" of Jewish life and of interreligious coexistence over "hate and violence."

In fact, the rebuilding of Jewish communities is a rebellious, collective act of resistance in the face of far right hostility. This was an ongoing theme of all the speeches in Konstanz that evening, which also criticized the rhetorical attacks of the far-rights parliamentary representatives, the so-called "Alternative for Germany."

Regularly trivializing the Nazi past, and maintaining many connections to neo-Nazi groups, the AfD was correctly described by one lawmaker of the Social Democratic party as the "political arm of right-wing terrorism," whose verbal attacks embolden people towards physical assaults.

Against this background of hostility, the vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Abraham Lehrer, forcefully declared from the bima of the new synagogue: "We are not packing our suitcases."

His message was that there could be no surrender to the far right; that the Jewish community is instead building and strengthening its ties to Germany, despite the surrounding aggression.

In fact, there are many similar stories of Jewish self-assertion in Germany. Alongside a seemingly endless string of verbal and physical assaults in the capital, one congregation in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg has created a vibrant community. They have knitted together German Jews with Israeli, American, Australian, and Russian Jewish immigrants.

Their efforts have gained support from a lawmaker from the leftist local coalition government in Berlin, the Palestinian-born Raed Saleh, who is leading the initiative to rebuild the Fraenkelufer Synagogue which was destroyed on Kristallnacht. In Regensburg, the community rebuilt its synagogue this year, also destroyed in 1938.

Yet while many Jews are indeed planting roots in Germany, there cannot be complete confidence that history will not repeat itself. So, just as British Jews are applying for EU passports, fearful of the repercussions of post-Brexit chaos, nationalist scapegoating and/or a Corbyn-led government, it is an open secret that German Jews are considering an escape route as well, just in case.

After the shooting, the head of the Jewish community in Halle, Max Privorozki, said in an interview that he has been considering emigration for years.

Members of the Jewish community in Dsseldorf, whose synagogue was targeted by incendiary devices in 2000, speak openly about emigration. The communitys chairman, Oded Horowitz, told the West German public broadcaster WDR earlier this month that community members are discussing if the time had come to leave.

He himself thought that the signs of catastrophe were already imminent, and would be affirmed if the far right consolidated its vote in the 2021 parliamentary elections: "If we wanted to act responsibly as Jewish community leaders, we should urgently urge our members to leave Germany while they still can."

At a time when every fourth German says they can imagine something like the Holocaust repeating itself, there simply is no absolute confidence within the Jewish community that German society will do enough to stop the slide into barbarism, again.

So the best that real people can do, when they refuse to be ruled only by fear or only by a tragic notion of lone heroism, is to prepare for both possibilities: life in Germany, or life abroad.

German Jews are building here and being as steadfast as they can, despite the state of siege. They are also considering the difficult question of exodus. But with Jewish communities feeling vulnerable from the U.S. to the UK to France, it is not clear in anyones minds where they might go.

In the meantime, every festive public celebration by Germanys diverse Jewish communities from Konstanz to Regensburg to Berlin are determined and defiant acts, undertaken with the full force of German history at their back, and with a future ahead that is uncertain in the extreme.

The hope is that such acts of community-building, in concert with civil society and political allies, will also shape Germanys future, and be part of the efforts to block it from repeating its past.

Robert Ogman is a journalist and lecturer on contemporary politics and social issues and lives in Germany. Twitter:@r_ogman

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The German Jews who think now is the time to leave, before its too late again - Haaretz

Monument of prominent Yiddish author defaced with swastikas in Ukraine – Haaretz

Posted By on November 27, 2019

Unidentified vandals have painted swastikas on a monument to a prominent Yiddish author in the Ukrainian capital.

Moshe Reuven Azman, the chief rabbi of Ukraine, posted pictures Monday of the monument to Sholem Aleichem outside Kievs synagogue with big red swastikas spray-painted on it.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident.

In a tweet, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko denounced the anti-Semitic act as disgusting, appalling and in need of prompt investigation.

Israeli Ambassador Joel Lion tweeted that "Ukraine has to wake up, urging authorities to track down the culprits, bring them to justice and also educate against hatred."

Ukraine has seen numerous cases of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials across the country. Hateful graffiti has also been painted on synagogues and Jewish institutions across the country.

According to a survey published Thursday by the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic attitudes are most prevalent in Poland, South Africa, Ukraine and Hungary.

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The country with views least hostile to Jews was Sweden, the survey of select countries found.

The ranking was based on responses to a series of questions concerning beliefs inanti-Semiticstereotypes. Eighteen countries outside the United States were included in this latest global survey by the U.S.-based anti-Semitism watchdog. The inauguralADLanti-Semitism survey, which included 100 countries, was conducted in 2014. The latest version did not include Middle Eastern or North African countries.

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Monument of prominent Yiddish author defaced with swastikas in Ukraine - Haaretz

HATE IN WILLIAMSBURG: Hasidic Teen Punched In The Face In Unprovoked Attack – Yeshiva World News

Posted By on November 26, 2019

Hate struck the Jewish community in NYC again, this time in Williamsburg.

It happened at around 5:00PM at Marcy Avenue and Myrtle Avenue, when an African American male punched a Hasidic teen in the face.

Thanks to the fast response of Williamsburg Shomrim and the NYPD, the suspect was immediately taken into custody.

The 13-year-old victim was treated by Hatzolah on the scene. Thankfully, he did not require being transported to the hospital.

Charges are pending.

(YWN World Headquarters NYC)

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HATE IN WILLIAMSBURG: Hasidic Teen Punched In The Face In Unprovoked Attack - Yeshiva World News

Getting drunk on Jewish texts and arts at LABA launch – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on November 26, 2019

My dad sat to my left. Next to him was the charismatic, theatrical Bruce Bierman, whom I last encountered when he was leading a deliciously off-the-wall queer Song of Songs seder earlier this year. Across the table was the wry Sara Felder, whom I saw two years ago doing a fantastic bit of juggling while reciting The Jabberwocky in Yiddish.

On stage, Rabbi Josh Ladon was explaining a Jewish text on inebriation. In front of me, four glasses of wine. And all around, 130 people ready for a night of Jewish wine, Jewish text and Jewish art.

I was at the JCC East Bay in Berkeley for a Nov. 23 event called DRUNK. I didnt quite get there, but it was a good time.

DRUNK was the launch event for LABA East Bay, an outgrowth of a New York City program that brings Jewish artists of all kinds into contact with Jewish texts, in the hopes of generating new pieces of fresh, unusual art and culture. The theme of the first year of the Bay Area program is humor. The inaugural crop of 10 LABA East Bay fellows includes performers, poets, a novelist, a playwright, a choreographer and more.

The event was divided into four segments: Each began with winemaker Jonathan Hajdu of Berkeleys kosher Covenant Winery explaining one of the wines in front of us. Then Ladon, who meets regularly with the fellows for text study, explained a text relating to Jews and wine one biblical, one midrashic, one mystical and one Hasidic. Two of the fellows then performed works related to the evenings theme.

This is going to be like the best seder youve ever been to drinking, text, but no matzah at the end, Ladon said at the beginning. Wine and text are both ways to open us up, he said. They can provoke joy, but sometimes we also see something dark, a little spooky, in them.

The room was set up like a cabaret, with tables all over. The first performer, poet Jake Marmer, read two science fiction pieces. More of my poems are about inebriation than I thought, he said. While he recited his poems, a jazz duo of clarinet and guitar backed him up. One poem extolled the wonders of the purple rocks on his home planet; they were great listeners. But here on Earth, all he has to talk to is his scotch, he said, before taking a sip of scotch.

From there, the evening took all kinds of artistic turns. In a scene by writer Dan Schifrin, whose work recently has turned toward theater, a woman goes to Zabars to buy a bottle of wine from Shechinah (the feminine aspect of God). The wine, of course, is called Zohar, vintage 1286 (a reference to the essential Jewish mystical text).

Felder juggled while telling a funny, touching story about fireworks and love poetry and dancing with a cup of tequila on her head. Choreographer Marika Brussel presented an in-progress piece of contemporary ballet titled Besotted, performed by Nina Pearlman (who is not one of the fellows). Novelist Sarah Stone read a passage from her book Hungry Ghost Theater. And so on.

Some of these artists Felder, Marmer, Schifrin are known entities in the Jewish community. Others, Ladon told me after the event, came out of nowhere, and really surprised us.

And certainly there are more goodies to come. We didnt even get anything from Kiki Lipsett, who for several years has written and directed a raucous, politically satirical Purim shpiel in the East Bay. I cant wait to see what she and the other fellows have in store. Judging by what we saw at DRUNK, the work that results from LABA will not be literal or straightforward or kitschy.

The event was serious in intent, but the tone wasnt. Good evening. Im Moses de Leon, author of the Zohar, Schifrin said as he announced intermission. As it says in the Talmud, Tractate Baba Ghanoush, these and those are the prices of the raffle tickets.

The texts were well chosen by Ladon, who is the West Coast director of education for the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. The first text, Song of Songs 7:10, was sensual: Your mouth is like choicest wine. Let it flow to my beloved as new wine gliding over the lips of sleepers. Later in the evening, he showed us a dark text from Midrash Tanhuma, in which Noah encounters Satan (not the devil; in Jewish tradition, hes just a troublesome interlocutor) while planting the first vineyard after the flood. This difficult text has Satan slaughtering a lamb, lion, pig and monkey in the vineyard and watering the soil with their blood, a metaphor for the animalistic way an intoxicated person may behave.

I have one complaint about the way the event was framed: Multiple times, organizers noted that LABAs text study isnt religious, referring to it as nontheological and freewheeling. Many in this East Bay crowd were people I knew, and none are uncomfortable with the relationship between art and culture and religion. You dont have to pretend that text study isnt a religious pursuit just to be hip. And you dont have to be hip to be culturally relevant. I didnt understand all of the art I saw, but what I understood that night was relevant, and meaningful, an act of bringing Torah into the world.

When you study a Jewish text and create new meaning out of it, you engage in the most central practice in the Jewish religion.

The final act was by Bierman, a loud man in a long black velvet garment. He began with a hearty lchaim! and proclaimed: This is the experimental theater portion of the evening.

He exhorted all of us to stand and put our arms around each other as he taught simple Hasidic dance moves. Even my reserved father was up and dancing. Things degenerated from there. Klezmer music played loudly over the speakers, as Bierman kept talking and drinking and got everyone doing a Hasidic conga line, which soon careened out the door into a courtyard filled with breezy night air.

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Getting drunk on Jewish texts and arts at LABA launch - The Jewish News of Northern California

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