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What’s the truth behind wearing face masks? – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on July 17, 2020

If every Jew kept the Shabbat at the same time, even once some opinions say twice the Messiah would immediately appear (Jer. Talmud Taanit 1:1).What if everyone in Israel wore a protective mask and kept social distancing for two Shabbatot and time in-between? Wouldnt the coronavirus numbers shoot downward and ultimately disappear? Imagine if we could all follow the rules, COVID-19 wouldnt be making thousands sick and killing hundreds in our country. Then we wouldnt need lockdowns. The economy could return to its vibrant self. We would be included among the safe nations.Out of frustration and fear, I recently decided to upgrade my own mask. I bought one of the several brands of the hi-tech masks invented and produced right here in Israel.We can all understand initial ambivalence about the masks. Both the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization said we didnt need them at first and Israel followed. Then they reversed themselves. Its been months now since studies showed that viral load peaks before symptoms. A regular conversation not to mention our Israeli vociferous ones expels the virus-carrying droplets.According to US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, masks werent advised to the public from the start because of anticipated shortages. They didnt want us to run out and buy up all the masks, or the ambulance crews, doctors and nurses wouldnt have enough.The next misinformation was that masks would only help us from unwittingly infecting others. In other words, young persons and skeptics were urged to wear masks for altruistic reasons, to protect grandparents or maybe a classmate with asthma or cancer.Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus recent proclamation that two persons wearing masks and sitting two meters apart have a near zero chance of infecting each other sounded tepid.We Israelis, champions at many things, are sloppy mask wearers. If wearing masks at all, many use them as chin straps for sagging skin, or fail to cover noses, the direct channel to the respiratory system. Government officials have been atrocious role models, as if they are winking at the restrictions.Thats wrecking the economy and costing lives.My immediate trigger to upgrade my mask was the vacation we planned when the numbers of infections were falling. We would meet our offspring and their families at our favorite beachside hotel which was just opening and following rules 55 minutes from home.Then, suddenly, the numbers were no longer falling.I wanted a bio-active mask that would protect me and knock-out any viruses propelled my way. Id heard about these virus and bacteria-belligerent masks for years. My brother-in-law, Gil Goller, a retired patent attorney, had written the patent for one of the companies years before wed heard of coronavirus. When he and my sister Charlotte went on their trips to Miami or Mumbai, they were always masked, usually the only Israelis to board that way. True, it seemed a little overcautious, but they never got sick. Who doesnt remember panicking when our seatmates coughed and sneezed their way across the Atlantic in the old days when we flew in crowded jet airplanes?Until now, Ive been relying on disposable surgical masks, which are indeed useful, but less good for prolonged use. Because I am a hat-wearing religious Jew, matching my hats to my clothing, I forgo fashion-statement masks. Too much matching.A word about the hi-tech masks. Theyve passed laboratory tests, not broad clinical trials. But neither are the medicines that are being tried in the outbreak wards. Who can wait?Impressive Israeli scientists names are attached to these blue-and-white inventions and the science on their websites sounds sound. In general, the companies use cloth imbued with copper or zinc-oxide and feature layers with nanomembranes that are supposed to stop even tiny viruses from wriggling through. Theyre reputedly being used in China and Hong Kong, where wise men and women have long been compliant in wearing masks against pollution, common colds and lethal viruses.One of the mask makers I interviewed for this column told me I would be preaching to the choir in The Jerusalem Post that we English-speaking Israelis are the most obedient mask-wearers. He said that native Israelis are averse to covering their faces because of the way we like to communicate with each other and need to read each others expressions. Were ranked among the worlds most educated nations. With the correct promotion we can get over our need to see smiles, the way we upped our wine-drinking habits when we learned red wine was good for us.If we all understood that a mask can be a weapon against viruses, they might be more popular. When I spoke to manufacturers, they talked about kill time the minutes it now takes for that innocuous-looking mask to take down a lethal virus. Virus-killer masks.The mask I bought is expensive, around 250 shekels, but if the government invested in this industry, boosting production and employing the unemployed, it could certainly become less pricey. Liat Goldhammer, the chief technical officer of Sonovia masks, spoke of her vision of the many now-unemployed women who had previously supported their families working in textile workshops making bathing suits and party dresses but have lost their jobs, could now repurpose their sewing machines for mask-making.The mask I bought is soft and comfortable but not beautiful. Its a little beaky and warlike. Maybe thats good.I never did get to try it out on a vacation. Our favorite hotel is in Ashdod, which by bad luck, was the national coronavirus hot spot when we were scheduled to go. I consulted on coronavirus matters with my rebbe, whose name oddly is Moses Hadassahs Prof. Alon Moses and decided that the risks outweighed the benefits. In the meantime, its staycation for us.Still, I like the idea that my husband and I can walk any street of Jerusalem in killer masks. The writer is the Israel director of public relations at Hadassah, the Womens Zionist Organization of America. Her latest book is A Daughter of Many Mothers.

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What's the truth behind wearing face masks? - The Jerusalem Post

Barbra Streisand classic Yentl returns to big screen at The Drive In – Jewish News

Posted By on July 17, 2020

Swapping sheitels and shtetl life for tzitzit and study, Barbra Streisands classic 1983 film, Yentl, is hitting the big screen once more at Edmontons outdoor cinema, The Drive In, this weekend.

Based on Isaac Bashevis Singers short story by the same name, Yentl which Streisand stared in, produced, directed and co-wrote, alongside Jack Rosenthal is set in the early 1900s and revolves around a young Jewish woman who, desperate to study the Talmud, disguises herself as a man.

But while she falls in love with her study partner Avigdor (Mandy Patinkin), the woman he loves, Hadass (Amy Irving), begins to develop feelings for Streisands male persona, Anshel.

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Michel Legrands sweeping score and songs include Papa, Can You Hear Me? and The Way He Makes Me Feel, which earned an Academy Award for best original score.

Among the other accolades the film received, Streisand won best director at the Golden Globes, making her the first and only woman to have won inthat category.

Yentl is showing at The Drive In, Edmonton, on Sunday, 19 July, 2pm, http://www.kxtickets.com/whats-on/yentl

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Barbra Streisand classic Yentl returns to big screen at The Drive In - Jewish News

Not all the statues need to come down – Forward

Posted By on July 17, 2020

Image by iStock

Apotheosis of St. Louis statue of King Louis IX of France, namesake of St. Louis, Missouri in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri.

Three monumentsthe statue of Saint Louis in Missouri, the Judah P. Benjamin monument in North Carolina, and buildings named for Woodrow Wilson at Princetonallow us to understand how Jews should think about their place within the American racial order and how antiracists should think about Jews within the struggle to disrupt the legacies of racism.

Although not included in the earlier article on anti-Semitic statues in The Forward, The Apotheosis of St. Louis is attracting attention. A petition started by local activists has called for its removal. Local Catholics and the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, alongside far-right agitators, have rallied to the monuments defense.

Erected in 1906 to honor the namesake of the city, the statue features Louis IX, who was canonized in 1297, only 20 years after his death. There is no doubt about his anti-Jewishness. Stigmatizing Jews as blasphemous usurers, insisting that a layman, as soon as he hears the Christian faith maligned, should defend it only by the sword, with a good thrust in the [Jews] belly, as far as the sword will go, Louis presided over a mass burning of the Talmud. Thousands of Jews were murdered in his crusades even before crusaders left his lands.

Still, the statue of Saint Louis should become a teachable monu-moment rather than be removed. It was not erected to glorify anti-Jewish racism. Monuments, even those that happen to celebrate Judeophobes, do not necessarily extol Judeophobia. Nonetheless, Saint Louis anti-Judaism is central to what made him a revered Christian monarch.

The response to the call for the statues removal indicates that many Christians still do not realize that persecuting Jews was key to defining Christian values and to the development of modern racism. Christians must acknowledge this toxic source of white Christian nationalism that is at the heart of the global rise of authoritarian populism today.

The Judah P. Benjamin monument in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the other hand, demands reckoning on the part of Jews. Born Jewish in 1811, Benjamin became a wealthy slave owner in New Orleans; was elected Senator from Louisiana in 1852; held cabinet positions in the Confederacy; and served as a right-hand man to Jefferson Davis.

Israels Consul General Dani Dayan is leaving after four years. What has he learned? He talked to editors-in-chief Jodi Rudoren and Andrew Silow-Carroll, of the Forward and the Jewish Week, about American Jewrys relationship with Israel. Watch here.

The marker to him in Charlotte was installed in 1948 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Little more than a tombstone but located nearby the recently installed Black Lives Matter art installations, viewers today read, this monument was erected in his honor by Temple Israel and Temple Beth El, the Jewish congregations of Charlotte. Despite the inscription, both synagogues rescinded their support and both want the marker removed.

Like the thousands of Confederate statues that litter the South, the Benjamin marker should be removed. It is time to take down this wall celebrating the Lost Cause narrative, a petrified tale to the glory of white supremacy. These monuments were explicitly built to venerate a cast of characters committed to the racial caste system of the South, martyrs to a supposedly noble cause that Southerners wanted to preserve following the Civil War.

What can no longer be repressed, however, is that Jews, just like other white Southerners, must reckon with their place within slavery and Jim Crow, the foundations of white privilege. For Benjamin was hardly alone. As Bertram Korn concluded in his pioneering study, [Jews] participated in the buying, owning, and selling of slaves, and exploitation of their labor, along with their neighbors. Jews behavior seems to have been indistinguishable from that of their non-Jewish friends. Not one Jewish political figure or writer from the South ever expressed any reservations about the justice of slavery or the rightness of the Southern position. What enabled the success of Jews like Benjamin in a racial state was their passport of whiteness.

How this passport of whiteness functioned for Jews is made clear in the recent article by Jonathan Sarna about the removal of Woodrow Wilsons name from Princetons public policy school and residential college.

As Princetons president, Wilson prevented the enrollment of Black students, believing they were an ignorant and inferior race. As U.S. President, he brought the Lost Cause narrative into the White House by screening The Birth of the Nation. Most significantly, he oversaw the re-segregation of the federal government.

Sarna reminds us, however, that Wilson was a hero to Jews. The first to hire Jewish and Catholic faculty at Princeton, he was a progressive on immigration, he endorsed the Balfour Declaration, and he supported Louis D. Brandeis as the first Jew on the Supreme Court.

Sarnas point is that while Wilson was hardly perfect, he was once lionized for his virtues and we cannot simply start erasing from our public spaces the names of those figures whose views we now hold contemptible. I made the same point about Saint Louis.

But Sarnas conclusion comes from a one-eyed way of looking at the past: Wilson was bad to Blacks and good to Jews. Too often repeated by scholars of Jewish studies, this way of comparing pasts fails to address how racism was institutionalized.

Indeed, as scholars including Sarna have shown, social mobility for Jews in America was directly related to the fact that anti-Jewish bias was often elided by the history of anti-Black, anti-Mexican, anti-Chinese, anti-Catholic (and today by anti-Muslim) discrimination. Wilsons legacy should teach us to think of racism as entangled and relational, relative to other groups, not absolute.

We have to appreciate what Albert Memmi called the relativity of privilege. In The Colonizer and the Colonizer, he explained that privilege is relative to the pyramid of petty tyrants, whereby each one, being socially oppressed by one more powerful than he, always finds a less powerful one on whom to lean, and becomes a tyrant in his turn.

The passport of whiteness has defined the American Jewish experience. Unless we acknowledge this and actively work as antiracists, Jews will continue to be complicit in Americas racial system.

The controversies about these three monuments consequently contain three important lessons about racism and what we can do to dismantle it: (1) Christians must confront the legacy of Christian anti-Judaism in an era of surging white Christian nationalism; (2) Jews need to grapple with our history as benefactors of the passport of whiteness; and (3) we cannot understand anti-Semitism in the United States without simultaneously acknowledging how it is entangled with anti-Black and other racisms.

Jonathan Judaken is the Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities at Rhodes College in Memphis, and currently completing a monograph, Critical Theories of Anti-Semitism: Confronting Modernity and Modern Judeophobia.

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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Not all the statues need to come down - Forward

Affective Forecasting: Don’t Do It – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Posted By on July 17, 2020

Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Imagine for a moment that you won the lottery mazal tov! As you envision yourself at that hopeful, future moment, you presumably believe you will be filled with overwhelming, positive emotions.

But while there is excitement and happiness involved in winning, research shows that over time, lottery winners are not significantly happier than non-winners. When you imagine winning the lottery, you dont consider the hassles and challenges that accompany winning that will produce a host of negative emotions.

Psychologists Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert identify this recurring mistake as affective forecasting. We tend to mis-predict how we will feel in future situations. We predict that certain outcomes will engender more positive emotions than they actually do and assume that bad situations will feel worse than they actually do.

Parshat Mattot begins with a discussion of vows and oaths: If a man makes a vow to the Lord he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth (Bamidbar 30:3). While he may not break his own word after taking a vow, the Talmud (Chagigah 10a) interprets the verse as teaching us that others can annul his vow via a process known as hatarat nedarim.

Based on early Talmudic commentators, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik explains that there are two ways to annul a vow. The first is through a mechanism called a petach an opening in which the person is released from his vow because the vow was made in error. If there were circumstances that the person who took the vow was not aware of, or was not paying attention to, when he made the vow, the vow can be annulled if a sage determines that he would not have made the vow had he been aware of them.

For example, if a person vowed to fast for a certain amount of time and didnt realize there was a holiday during that time frame, the sage asks him if he would have made the vow had he been cognizant of the intervening holiday. If the answer is no, the sage has found an opening, and the vow is annulled.

The second way to annul a vow is through charatah remorse. In this case, there was no error. Rather, his vow can be released, Rabbi Soloveitchik explains: on the grounds that his tastes have changed, his feelings, his outlook and criteria are different now from what they were at the time he made his vow. Those things which originally seemed to him to be of ultimate importance now appear to be trivial and foolish.

As an example, consider a person who, after being insulted, takes a vow to avenge the slight. Over time, his anger subsides, and he no longer feels the same intense feelings toward the perpetrator. What happened is that a radical change occurred in the conscience and will of the person who made the vow.

Many of us arent accustomed to making vows, but we are prone to making mistakes based on both of these concepts. First, we make mistakes in logic and judgment. We dont factor in, or pay attention to, all factors when deciding what to do. We jump to act before thinking through the details.

Second, we are poor affective forecasters. We make decisions in the present, thinking we know what we will feel in the future. But we are usually wrong. We think we will always feel a certain anger, so we do something that we regret in the long-term, once the anger subsides.

While sometimes we are blessed with the opportunity to repent or annul a vow, perhaps we can avoid making poor judgments in the first place by being more mindful of our habits to mis-predict our future emotional states.

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Affective Forecasting: Don't Do It - The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com

Av: Disaster and Consolation – The Jewish Voice

Posted By on July 17, 2020

By: Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller

By every measure the Jewish month of Av is tragically unique, one in which the worst disasters in our history took place.

Disaster is no stranger to us. In many ways it is part and parcel of Gods covenant with Abraham. When Abraham was told that his people would be chosen, God told him that there would be a price to pay. What is that price? One look at Jewish history tells us two pieces of information that make us unique. One is that we dont disappear because we recognize that we are a people who are united in what the Vilna Gaon would refer to as rectifying ourselves and rectifying the world. The other is that the when we try to disappear, the results have been disastrous.

Abraham was a seeker. His search took him far beyond his one land, and even further from the assumptions that virtually everyone else in the entire world had about life. To Abraham, God was not only in the heavens, but very much here in the earth, with us. Abraham integrated the world of thought with the world of action. While other religious thinkers at the time would be deep in meditation, Abraham was chopping vegetables and serving platters of food to his innumerable guests.

He was not a glorified version of Conrad Hilton of the ancient world. What did Abraham have in mind?

Abraham believed that the world of thought, emotion, and action were never meant to be fragmented into three autonomous worlds, out of touch with each other. Life should be seamless. God promised him that his path would not disappear when he dies. He would father a nation, and they would preserve his heritage.

When God promised him a future, Abraham had one question. How do I know that I will pass on this inheritance?

Abraham did not doubt Gods power. He had followed God from Ur to Israel, Egypt, and back to Israel without ever once expressing the slightest reservation. He was concerned that his descendants might make choices that would in effect divorce them from their Creator. The fact thathewas devoted, compassionate, and willing to make sacrifices was no guarantee that his children would not be self-centered materialists. After all, how many of us live lives that are really carbon copies of the lives of our parents and grandparents?

In reply, God said:

Bring me threefold heifers, threefold goats, threefold rams, a dove and a young pigeon. (Abram) brought all these for Him. He split them in half, and placed one half opposite the other. The birds, however he did not split. Vultures descended on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

When the sun was setting, Abram fell into a trance, and he was stricken by a deep dark dread. (God) said to Abram, Know for sure that your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs for 400 years. They will be enslaved and oppressed A smoking furnace and flaming torch passed between he halves of the animals. On that day, God made a covenant with Abram saying, To your descendants I have given the land. (Genesis, 15:9-18)

God is telling Abraham that there are two ways that our identity will be preserved. One way is through the sacrificial offerings. It isnt necessary to view sacrifices as archaic. The Hebrew word for sacrifice, Korban, literally means an object that brings something close. The animal self within us (and let us be honest, we have quite a menagerie tucked away in our psyche) can distance us from God by making us less and less aware of the part of us that is real, enduring, and ultimately most genuine our spiritual selves. The way the animal self was uplifted during the time of the Temple was actually through touching and offering an animal that was, in a certain sense, our twin, and letting the experience change us.

Today, we uplift our inner selves through prayer, and the outer world through mitzvot (observing Gods commandments) that involve our relationship to our animal selves. Mitzvot like the laws of keeping kosher, take us along Abrahams path of seamless devotion to God, uniting the physical and spiritual worlds.

Suppose we opt out? Free choice is never removed. But God will not allow us to choose, as a nation, spiritual oblivion. We will be exposed to beastly empires. The German wolf was no mascot. It was a symbol of everything German. We will suffer, be enslaved, and find alienation where we yearned for acceptance.

Your descendants will be foreigners in a land which is not theirs.they will be enslaved and oppressed.We have lived out this prophecy in Egypt (the first exile, and prototype of all future editions), in Babylon, Greece, and Rome. While these names seem distant and dusty, they are underpinnings of the civilizations that have attacked us with bestiality that almost defies words.

What words are there in human vocabulary that described what happened in Auschwitz, in Treblinka, in Eastern Europe? In York where a castle was burned along with the Jews hiding inside? In Spain where they burnt people at the stake for the crime of being Jewish?

We have not disappeared from the map. We have emerged from each confrontation with the vulture that seeks to consume us, shaken but alive. Whatever else we knew when we left the camps, it was that what we are and what we want to be cannot even remotely resemble what the Germans have chosen to make of themselves. This is not unique to the Holocaust, but rather is what has prevented us from disappearing into Babylon, Spain, or Greece. In each instance we rediscovered ourselves by facing the mirror and rejecting the image that we once thought was our own, knowing now beyond a shadow of doubt that it is not our image, nor it will ever be.

The month of Av is the time in which we confront this aspect of our history.

The astral sign of the month is the lion. It symbolizes our encounter with raw force. Interestingly, the first day of Av is the anniversary of the passing of Aaron, Moses brother, who was known as the ultimate man of peace. What this tells us is that that although we may currently be distant from God and from our higher selves, ultimately there will be the peace that he envisioned; peace that is based on the emergence of our higher selves and the part of us that is man not beast. Nothing can be further from this than the peace based on mutual fear that is all we can realistically aspire to if we see the current war in Israel without its historical frame.

The Talmud tells us that the Messiah will be born on the 9th of Av. This is the day in which both Temples were destroyed, the Spanish expulsion of the Jews took place, and World War One, the parent of World War Two, broke out. What this tells us is that the same covenant that promises suffering, promises redemption. They are two sides of one coin; labor and birth.

We may never allow ourselves to forget what we have suffered. The fact that God is committed to never allowing us to disappear does not exonerate those who have perpetrated historys worst crimes against us. Their intentions were evil, their choices were made consciously, and most significant of all, their bestiality knew no bounds.

We must also not allow ourselves to forget who we are, and why we have survived. We are Gods people with a mission to fulfill Abrahams covenant. We aim towards living seamless lives, elevating the physical, and having faith in God. The fact that we are here at all in the 21st century, that we have not forgotten who we are, and that we are committed to continuing to live out our covenant is nothing less than a miracle.

The 15th of Av was a time of joy. In ancient times it was a day in which marriages were arranged, and new beginnings celebrated. It was a time in which we began again, expressing not just who we dont want to be, but who we can be.

May this Av bring us joy, fulfillment, and consolation. (Aish.com)

Consummate educator and internationally acclaimed speaker, Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller has been a full-time lecturer at Neve Yerushalayim College in Jerusalem since 1980, impacting the lives of thousands of women worldwide. She is the author of six popular books, includingHere You Are, Battle Plans,andThis Way Up.She recently launched a daily video program based on the timeless Jewish wisdom of Duties of the Heart. Learn how to channel your emotions to experience every day with purpose, meaning, and joy at:dutiesoftheheart.com

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Av: Disaster and Consolation - The Jewish Voice

The Yiddish song that kicked off the Swing Era is due for a comeback – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on July 17, 2020

Printed in black and white and bigotry all over, Nazi official Hans Severus Zieglers brochure for his public exhibit in Dusseldorf featured an African American jazz musician with a Star of David on his lapel. Designed to ridicule and belittle Jewish musicians for performing Negro music as another tactic to contaminate German culture, Entartete Musik (Degenerate Music) opened in May, 1938 just four months before Kristallnacht.

And yet, in spite of this, a curious historical phenomena transpired the same year this exhibit opened its doors: Hitlers Germany was obsessed with Bei Mir Bist du Schn (To Me You Are Beautiful), the 1937 song that catalyzed the era of Yiddish swing. A sub-genre of jazz, swing music is more upbeat and easy to dance, or swing, to than the style of jazz that originated in New Orleans that was born out of African music. In its golden age, Benny Goodman, the Jewish King of Swing, fought for integration in Tin Pan Alley and hired African American musicians to bring the new musical style to the masses.

Hailed by Jewish music scholar Neil W. Levin as the worlds best-known and longest-reigning Yiddish theater song of all time, Bei Mir Bist Du Schein was written by Jews, performed by Black musicians, popularized by a Lutheran trio of Norwegian sisters, and beloved by the Nazis until they discovered its Jewish roots, that is. (Under its Germanized title, Bei Mir Bist du Schn, many assumed the language was a southern German dialect.)

The song was originally written by Sholem Secunda for a Yiddish operetta in 1935. After hearing the African American jazz duo Johnnie and George perform the song in the Catskills, Jewish lyricist Sammy Cahn bought the rights and rewrote the lyrics in English, preserving just the titular chorus in Yiddish. Within a month of the Andrews Sisters recording of the song, some 250,000 records and 200,000 copies of sheet music were sold. (Hilariously, American fans couldnt quite catch the songs title, confusing it for Buy a Beer, Mr. Shane or, my personal favorite, My Mere Bits of Shame.)

The lyrics were revamped for popular release to transcend the songs Jewish roots and celebrate Americas melting of multiple languages and cultures, writes Charles B. Hersch in his book, Jews and Jazz: Improvising Ethnicity. As the songs lovestruck protagonist imagines saying bella bella or sehr wunderbar, each foreign tongue is simply a vehicle to express how grand the beloved is.

In America, the success of Bei Mir helped Jews feel they made the right choice in fleeing pogroms of Europe through theatre and music they could, and did, cement themselves in the New World. Benny Goodman furthered the Yiddish jazz craze with his iconic 1938 performance of Bei Mir at Harlems iconic Apollo Theatre within months, a myriad of popular artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Belle Baker, Kate Smith, and the Barry Sisters recorded covers, hoping to cash in on the fad.

To highlight the new musical fusion of klezmer and jazz, New Yorks WHN created Yiddish Melodies in Swing, a program that lasted two decades. The feat was a sense of mastery over the challenge of integrating in the American mainstream while maintaining ties to their distinctive immigrant heritage, writes Hersch.

Back in Germany, swing music was hardly a relief from the woes of war and Nazi violence. While Hitlerjugend Hitler Youth, the Nazis youth organization grew in popularity, so did the countermovement known as Swingjugend. Rejecting societal oppression, uniformity, and police brutality, these teens separated themselves from the Nazi state by dancing the Charleston in speakeasy bars filled with the sounds of swing music, a genre that emulated free love, independence and peace.

Members of Swingjugend let their hair grow long. The men carried umbrellas, the women wore heavy makeup and collectively they mocked Hitlerjugends infamous Sieg Heil with proclamations of Swing Heil. With songs like Bei Mir beating in their hearts, the 1993 movie Swing Kids depicts the counterculture German rebels as they are confronted by the Nazis. The movie is fiction, but the historical atrocities are chillingly accurate: In 1941, 300 swing kids were punished for praising the degenerate music of Jewish and Black people some were given haircuts, others were sent back to school, many were deported to Nazi concentration camps.

But even in the Nazi-drawn ghettos, the popularity of swing endured. In 1942 Theresienstadt the model concentration camp, designed to fool the world into believing all was well and dandy in the Third Reich Eric Vogul led the Ghetto Swingers, a jazz orchestra forced to perform in the main square for long hours. A disturbing charade, the Jewish musicians still found joy in performing jazz and swing music. In their darkest hours it was an escape.

When I played I forgot where I was. The world seemed in order, the suffering of people around me disappeared life was beautiful, wrote Ghetto Swingers guitarist Coco Schumann in his autobiography. We knew everything and forgot everything the moment we played a few bars.

Bei Mir Bist Du Schein, of course, was one of the songs that tranquilized ourselves into the dream world produced by the Germans for reasons of propaganda, Vogel said. Filled with notes of hope and love that transcend language, that blissful bubble burst in 1944 when the camp was cleared and most of the remaining prisoners were sent to Auschwitz.

By the end of World War II in 1945, swing music was replaced with new sounds like Bebop and rhythm and blues. As Jews embraced a state of their own in 1948 with Hebrew as the lingua franca, Yiddish was swept to the side, left to gather dust along with the memories of pogroms and gas chambers.

Israel was happening and Israelism was a way for Jewish people to be more American, more assimilated, more macho, more cowboy-like than the old skinny, left-wing, intellectual type so common with Yiddish culture, Alicia Svigals, a founding member of the Klezmatics, tells The Washington Post.

Nearly a century after the golden era of klezmer-meets-jazz, I think the song that started it all is due for a comeback. So much of the landscape that gave way to Yiddish swing has returned, and the parallels are chilling: recent acts of police brutality launched a fiery wave of Black Lives Matter protests; anti-Semitism is at an all-time high; the crushed economy in the United States is being likened to the Great Depression, the very historic crisis that gave way to the swing era.

Made most famous by three non-Jewish sisters, Bei Mir Bist Du Schein is hardly the only Yiddish swing tune we should revere and revive as an unlikely protest song. But its the rich history of Black and Jewish musicians who made this degenerate music irresistible to the Nazis that makes this shtetl swing melody an ultimate song of resistance.

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The Yiddish song that kicked off the Swing Era is due for a comeback - The Jerusalem Post

Beautiful Hagia Sophia: Between the Sacred and the Profane; Turkey Is Condemned, While Israel Gets a Pass – CounterPunch

Posted By on July 17, 2020

On 10 July, 2020, one of Turkeys highest courts ruled in favor of reconverting the Hagia Sophia Museum to a mosque. Within an hour of the ruling, Turkish President Erdogan decreed that the 1,583 year old iconic UNESCO World Heritage cultural monument would revert to a mosque and be open to Muslim worship.

Wide-ranging international condemnatory responses were quick to follow. And, while Turkey has been taken behind the woodshed to be condemned, scolded, and thrashed, Israels recent supreme courts ruling in favor of Jewish settlers stealing of Greek Orthodox church properties (in violation of international laws) in occupied Jerusalem, Palestine, as well as the vandalizing, bulldozing, and destruction of Palestinian Christian and Muslim cemeteries is condoned and ignored.

Ah, the double standard. Et toujours la mme chose: One set of standards for Arabs/Muslims, and another set of standards for Israelis/Jews.

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Commissioned by Byzantine Emperor Justinian and completed in 537 A.D., the church of Hagia Sophia (Grk for Holy Wisdom), a first of its kind structure and a crowning accomplishment of Byzantine architectural triumph, has been/is Constantinoples/Istanbuls architectural crown jewel. The Hagia Sophia is one of four largest domed-structures in the world. Consecrated as a cornerstone of Byzantine power and faith in the waning years of Romes collapse and descent into anarchy and chaos, the Hagia Sophia would serve as an Orthodox Christian edifice and place of worship until 1453 the year of the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the aftermath of the Ottoman conquest of Anatolia and the fall of Constantinople.

***

From 1453 until 1935 Hagia Sophia served as a mosque. However, in 1935 the fervently progressive statesman and the father of the nascent Turkish Republic and its first President, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Hagia Sophia was converted from a mosque to a museum. An avowed secularist, Ataturk is credited with shattering the yoke of Ottoman (Old Man of Europe) decadence and moving Turkey into 20th century modernity.

The Hagia Sophia became the most visited Turkish site and is on UNESCOs august list of World Heritage Sites.

***

What Romes Pantheon was to the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the Hagia Sophia was to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. A first of its kind dome structure, the Pantheon served as an aspirational architectural prototype for the Hagia Sophia.

The original Pantheon was built in Rome by Agrippa as a 25 BCE pagan temple to honor all the gods. In 80 A.D. a fire destroyed the temple; Emperor Domitian rebuilt it; and in 110 A.D. another fire destroyed the rebuilt temple. In 126 A.D. the Roman Emperor Hadrian commissioned the building of the Pantheon on the site of the formerly twice-burnt Roman temples. Unlike any structure before it, the monumental cylindrical-shaped structure, with its mammoth protruding Greek style portico suspended atop symmetrically-spaced prodigiously ornate granite Corinthian style columns, was a transformative feature whose indelible impact on future architectural designs is duly noted.

In 609 AD Pope Boniface converted the Pantheon into a Christian house of worship and consecrated it as a Catholic basilica, naming it Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres.The Pantheon is, by far, my favorite architectural structure.

To keep the cylindrical drum-like contour from being a grotesquely bulky visual monstrosity, chief architect Appolodorus of Damascus conceived the interior and exterior spaces as a perfect cylinder with a 142 ft. diameter floor, and an equal 142 ft. height at the highest point of the dome. If one were to insert an enormous sphere into the interior space, an imagined perfectly-shaped sphere will have been created. The interior structure employs a 1 to 1 (height x diameter) harmonic ratio, and it utilizes thick walls with an underlay of bricks and tufa built in a mish mash of exterior/interior herring bone and arch patterns to give the structure the necessary tensile strength and to support the vastness of the domes spread. While the interior walls were covered with exquisite monochrome and variegated marble of varying sizes and shapes, the exterior walls were covered with lightweight travertine white marble. The receding coffered concrete-formed ceiling, built with the same lightweight tufa stone to lessen the gravitational pull, graces a 28 ft. diameter oculus that peers into the sky. For its time, this was indeed the apex of dome-on-drum construction. One observer opined that This dome is the worlds largest unreinforced concrete dome. While the use of equal horizontal and vertical diameters gives the structure its perfect cylindrical form, to help diffuse what might have otherwise been an obtuse exterior rotundity, and to help give the structure an aesthetic curb appeal, a gargantuan Greek Corinthian style portico and lightweight white travertine marble, coupled with a layer of bronze roofing, rendered this into a-one-of-a-kind Roman treasure. Think Jefferson Memorial (Washington, DC) sans the rotundas exterior columns and open interior space.

Even though this was the crowning achievement of Roman architecture, it had two drawbacks: The oculus was the only source of light, and the interior space was circumscribed by a much needed thick wall to help carry the weight of the dome, thus constricting the interior space and limiting the number of visitors/worshippers to, at best, several hundred.

In 1627 Pope Urban VIII ordered the removal of the beautiful bronze dome covering, all 3000 plus pounds of bronze, and commissioned the great Baroque painter, sculptor, and architect Bernini to build the gargantuan Baldacchino altar in St. Peters Basilica. This centrally located altar (with a giant bronze canopy suspended on four 95 ft. high spiraling fluted columns) is perhaps one of the best examples of interior space vertically magnified in what is no doubt an ingenious attempt to draw the viewers eyes to the majestic dome, a kind of celestial receding plane call it an absorption and invitation to heavenly realms.

***

When Rome expanded its reach to the Eastern Mediterranean and established Constantinople (named after the Emperor Constantine) as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, paganism yielded to Christian dogma. Better known as the Byzantine Empire, pagan art gave way to Christian iconography, an art form that utilized mosaics to create a rich catalogue of Christian themes derived (primarily) from the New Testament.

414 years after Hadrian commissioned Apollodorus of Damascus to build the Pantheon, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian commissioned Anthemius of Trales and Isodore of Melitus to solve the aforementioned limitation on interior space and paucity of light. In other words, Justinians desire to provide an interior space to accommodate more worshippers, inspired Anthemius and Isodore to design a domed structure that would puncture and expand the adjacent surrounding walls thus creating an interior space that would accommodate 3,000 plus worshippers. What these two mathematicians devised would forever change dome-structured architectural designs.

Four massive square columns were erected. Better known as pendentives, these columns, anchored as four corners of a square, pierced the vertical space and became the support for four massive arches that traversed the open space so as to form a midair base onto which a 108 ft. diameter dome was suspended. With 40 equally spaced ribs to flesh out and support the domes interior/exterior ceiling/roof coverings, at its highest point, the dome extends to 180 ft. Not only did these brilliant mathematicians add an exponential interior space, but they also solved the problem of light; a circular interlacing necklace of 40 equally-spaced elegant windows provided telescoping light to illuminate the entire church. As a child in my native Jerusalem, Palestine, I was told that in the Orthodox tradition, filtered natural light is associated with spiritual enlightenment. A Byzantine chronicler described the suspended dome as a golden chain from Heaven. [sic.] Another called it a firmament which rests on air. And yet another stated that Light comes from the Good and light is the visual image of God.

Mosaic art, the favored Byzantine medium of choice par excellence, was selected for its durability and its luminosity. A rich assortment of interior columns utilizing the favored ornate Byzantine compound capitals and a plethora of exquisite marble (in every hue and marbleized striated colors) imported from across the Mediterranean basin helped make the Hagia Sophia the greatest achievement of Byzantine art.

So proud was Justinian of his accomplishment, a chronicler attributes the following quotation to him: Solomon, I have outdone thee. The 6th century Byzantine historian Procopius remarked that the Hagia Sophia seems not to be founded on solid masonry, but to be suspended from heaven. And a thousand years later the Ottoman historian Tursun Beg was likewise awestruck: What a dome that vies in rank with the nine spheres of heaven.

Suffice it to say that so great was this Byzantine stunning feat, a truly rare architectural magnum opus, that the Ottomans, under the brilliance of their own genius, architect Mimar Sinans virtuosity, would build numerous mosques of varying sizes all of which utilized the pendentive feature. And as a bookend to the Hagia Sophia, in 1615 the Ottoman Sultan Ahmad commissioned Mehmet Agha to build the Blue Mosque whose interior has one inch thick Iznik, cobalt blue, glazed tiles, including Arabic script of copious Koranic verses in spectacular calligraphic lettering.

The Blue Mosques exquisite and graceful elegance of line, harmoniously symmetrical contours, wide open and inviting interior space, ornate chandeliers and stained glass windows whose luminosity transcends anything Ive witnessed, is by far the most aesthetically pleasing work of visual opulence on which Ive feasted my eyes. The Blue Mosque is a celebratory dazzling symphony unlike any other.

***

When, in 1454, the Byzantine Empire gasped its last breath in the aftermath of the Ottoman conquest, most of the priceless Hagia Sophia mosaics were plastered over, and four Minarets were added. What was the pride of Eastern Orthodox Christendom would, in 1454, become a Muslim place of worship and a symbol of Islams answer to 250 years of heinously bloody and barbarous Crusader assaults perpetrated by a so-called Christian West against the Near Eastern Arab, Muslim, and Christian populations of Palestine and Syria.

And to this day the Arab and Islamic worlds are still recovering from both, the Crusades, as well as the late 19th and early 20th, century colonization, including, the early 21st century genocide and destructive wars in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, and Libya to exploit the regions natural resources with, of course, the tacit approval of the regional tribal warlords, thuggish sheiks, corrupt potentates, and brutal dictators.

Arabs and Muslim subjugated masses, when will you wake up to claim your place in modern history? When will you rise up for a long-overdue true Arab Spring? When will a Spring of enlightenment and democratic principles emerge?

***

The Hagia Sophias suspension of a dome on pendentives would also serve as a prototype for St. Peters Basilica in Rome and St. Pauls Cathedral in London, to name but two. The Agra, India-based mausoleum built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and dedicated to the memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their 14th child, tells its own story.

And what a wonderful love story this aesthetically exquisite visual marvel is? It is a testament to arts subordination to the strongest of human emotions in this sacred union called conjugal love even after the birth of the 14th child. This permanent visual edifice of the chiseling of the ivory-white marble, set in the center of adjoining symmetrical pools, is an exemplum of Love to be emulated and held up and celebrated as a love story for the ages.

***

On 10, 11, and 14 July, 2020 Aljazeera Englishs reports on the reaction to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodans decision to reconvert the Hagaia Sophia Museum to a mosque are among the very best news reports (the readers patience is implored):

UNESCO said its World Heritage Committee would review Hagia Sophias status, saying it was regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand. The 1,500-year-old monument is revered by Christians and Muslims alike. [Anadolu] 200701162019199

Reporting from Istanbul, Al Jazeeras Sinem Koseoglu said the decree [Ergodans] was not a surprise as Erdogan had previously stated that he would like to see Hagia Sophia open for Muslim prayers on July 15, the anniversary of a failed coup attempt. There are dozens of people in front of Hagia Sophia museum. As soon as the court decision was announced they have been here chanting, they have been celebrating since then, and we spoke to them, they are very impatient to be able to pray inside Hagia Sophia, Koseoglu said. The organisation [sic.] which brought the court case, the latest in a 16-year legal battle, said the Hagia Sophia was the property of the Ottoman leader who captured the city in 1453 and turned the already 900-year-old Byzantine church into a mosque.

Erdogan threw his weight behind the campaign to convert the building before local elections last year. In response to the ruling, the Russian Orthodox Church on Friday said the decision could lead to even greater divisions.

The United States, Russia and Greece, along with UNESCO, had expressed concerns ahead of the ruling.

UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog [sic.] without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session, the United Nations cultural body said in a statement.

Erdogan earlier this month rejected international criticism as an attack on Turkeys sovereignty.

Pope Francis has said he was hurt by Turkeys decision to make Istanbuls Hagia Sophia museum a mosque, but Ankara said the decision will maintain a relationship of equality and mutual respect in the country.

It was the Vaticans first reaction to Turkeys decision to transform the Byzantine-era monument back into a mosque, a move that has drawn criticism from around the world.

I think of Hagia Sophia and I am very saddened, Pope Francis said towards the end of his midday sermon in Saint Peters Square.

The World Council of Churches has called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reverse his decision and Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the worlds Orthodox Christians, called it disappointing.

On Saturday, Erdogan rejected international condemnation over the decision to change the status of Istanbuls landmark Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque.

Those who do not take a step against Islamophobia in their own countries attack Turkeys will to use its sovereign rights, Erdogan said at a ceremony he attended via video-conference on Saturday.

Bishop Hilarion, who heads the Russian Orthodox Churchs department for external church relations, described it as a blow to global Christianity.

The World Council of Churches, which represents 350 Christian churches, said it had written to Erdogan expressing their grief and dismay.

The head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos, on Sunday denounced what he described as the instrumentalisation [sic.] of religion to partisan or geopolitical ends.

The outrage and the arrogance doesnt just concern the Orthodox Church and Christianity but all of civilised [sic.} humanity independently of religion, he added.

Erdogan said Hagia Sophia known as Ayasofya in Turkey would remain open to Muslims, Christians and foreigners.

The Hagia Sophias doors will remain open to visitors from all around the world, the presidents press aide Fahrettin Altun said on Saturday. People of all religious denominations are welcome and encouraged to visit it just as they have been able to visit other mosques, including the Blue Mosque.

UNESCO said its World Heritage Committee would review Hagia Sophias status, and Turkeys decision raised questions about the effect on its universal value as a site of importance transcending borders and generations.

***

On 25 June, 2020 Middle East Eye reported that Israels Supreme Court awarded three properties belonging to Jerusalems Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to a fanatic Jewish Taliban settler group. Ateret Cohanim fraudulently claimed that the Greek Orthodox Churchs 99-year lease qualifies it to purchase the property. The zealot Ateret Cohanim works with and is funded by international Zionist organizations, including Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trumps like-minded moneybags Daddy/buddy, to the tune of a $300 campaign contribution. If this aint quid pro quo, then what is it? Other shadow international groups are funding Jewish settler groups to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its Christian and Palestinian citizens. All of this is in line with Israels laws to create a Jewish State meaning an ethnically pure Jews Only State, a Juden Uber Alles of post Holocaust barbarity.

All observers agree that the properties strategic location in the heart of occupied Jerusalems Christian and Moslem quarters and in close proximity to Jaffa Gate, including two landmark Palestinian hotels (Hotel Petra and Imperial Hotel), is intended to drive a dagger in both, the sham called a peace process, and in driving the final nails into the coffin of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem at its capital. The Orthodox Patriarch stated the following: We believe that the court erred in its decision and intend to launch an appeal at the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year Israel Defense Forces (the most moral army in the world) desecrated and bulldozed a 1400 year old Moslem cemetery so as to convert it into a public park with a caf and nightclub. Middle East Monitor has also reported that In 2004, the Israeli government and the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre announced plans for the so-called Museum of Tolerance.

The museum is planned to be a multimedia centre for children and adults with theatre and education facilities. The Centre announced the project as a 21st century project dealing with contemporary issues crucial to Israels future intolerance, anti-Semitism, terrorism, Jewish unity and mutual respect and human dignity for all.

Not only was the cemetery razed, but the remains of thousands of deceased, dating back to the 7th century, were summarily moved as an impediment to Israeli and Jewish tolerance. And finally, the Greek Orthodox cemetery located on Mt. Zion, the place where my father was buried in 1947, has been vandalized; tombstones were toppled in what is an obvious malevolent act of depraved rage. Have you no shame Holocaust survivors? Cant you leave the dead alone? And why dont you take out your rage on European Christians, those who perfected genocide into an art form?

The Dormition Abbey, adjacent to the cemetery where my father is buried was defaced with Hebrew graffiti; this is one of several Christian and Moslem churches and mosques that have been vandalized. A mosque in the old city of Jaffa was this year bulldozed and replaced with a parking lot.

And for those who want to remind us of Nazi brutality, the list of Jewish brutality is long and painful to Palestine and her children.

Condemnation for Turkeys decision to reconvert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque was swift and universal. Yet for each of the aforementioned affronts by Holocaust survivors theres not been a single condemnation. If anything, Israeli hasbara and yes, lets admit it, bought Democrat and Republican political muscle in America and abroad, absolves Israel of all its crimes against a dispossessed people.

For 76 years the world has been shamed, and rightfully so, about the Holocaust. Yet that same world has abetted and condoned the brutalities inflicted on the other victims of the Holocaust, the destitute children of Palestine.

On 4 April, 2020 I received the following email from a dear Palestinian Christian friend and acclaimed author living in the pincers of Israeli occupation in our beloved Jerusalem, Palestine. The email reads:

Dear Raouf,

Is not the Corona pandemic enough???

While the United Nations Secretary General is calling on all countries to silence the guns and focus on collectively saving humanity from this vicious pandemic that is ravaging societies around the globe, Israel finds it very timely to increase its oppression of the Palestinians under occupation.

A few days ago Israeli soldiers raided Ramallah creating havoc in the middle of the night. A week ago they continued demolishing homes in the suburbs of Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank. And on the second of April, the police raided the house of Fadi Hidmi, the Palestinian minister in charge of the affairs of East Jerusalem, blasting the gate to his garden and breaking into his house, as well as confiscating the money he had at home.

Not only does Israel seize the opportunity of this world crisis to further harass the Palestinians, they always choose the night hours for their raids. Why I wonder? It seems to me that thieves are the only people that need to be protected by the dark hours of the night to do their illegal actions. The Police in Jerusalem know very well that the Palestinians in East Jerusalem are practically under curfew and they have complied by staying at home. So they could have easily picked up Mr. Hidmi during the day time without scaring the family and causing extra stress to the community that is already being deprived of its basic rights. The only charge against Mr. Hidmi is that he is trying, with his colleagues, to alleviate the suffering of so many people who have lost their daily bread due to the current crisis which has not spared either Palestinians or Israelis. And that is why the police has also been harassing all the young volunteers of the Old City of Jerusalem and confiscating the aid in kind that they are trying to deliver to needy families.

Will the Corona Pandemic be a good enough lesson for all of the world leaders and citizens? Actually, it is in time of crisis and the way one reacts to fellow world citizens that ones true character is revealed.

Unfortunately, when the Sacred encounters the Profane in the land of the three Abrahamic faiths, the Mark of Cain becomes writ large on the hills, valleys, and plains of Palestine, a coveted and fought-over land where might makes right, where, instead of genuine faith, religiosity is turned into a battering ram, where faith is bartered in the international markets of nasty arms dealers, and where Evangelicals and their coreligionist-Zionist scavengers prey on false gods in the service of the one God: the God of Odious Greed, and where the innocent always suffer.

To my fellow Palestinian countrymen in occupied Palestine I say this: You are always in my mind, always in my heart, and my pen will always be the best weapon I can use to tell your story of Sumood (resilience) and grace under fire.

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Beautiful Hagia Sophia: Between the Sacred and the Profane; Turkey Is Condemned, While Israel Gets a Pass - CounterPunch

The case for dining out in the middle of a pandemic – Maclean’s

Posted By on July 17, 2020

Amy Rosen: Canada's restaurants are on the brink of closing, which means part of culture could be lost

Amy Rosen is a food writer and the owner of Rosens Cinnamon Buns in Toronto. Her cookbook, Kosher Style: Over 100 Jewish recipes for the Modern Cook, was published in 2019.

At the onset of the pandemic, people started grocery shopping and cooking at home as if they were prepping to enter Biosphere 2, the epic 1991 experimentwhereby a group of eight people entered a closed-system giant dome that was meant to be self-supporting for two years. They called themselves Biospherians, wore orange jumpsuits, grew their own crops, and recycled waste and air, as a way of seeing if it would be possible for human life to be sustained in such an environment on another planet. It did not go well. Deemed a failure mostly owing to interpersonal issues, nevertheless it reminded me of the prep work many of us were putting into the pandemic in March: Simply swap out space-age jumpers for tie-dye sweat suits, and crops for sourdough starter.

For many, those first few weeks were a fraught lifestyle focused on child care, Twitter scrolling, banana bread and Dalgona lattes. And for the first time in many peoples lives, meal plans were set and groceries were pre-ordered and hoarded, with many shipments arriving with missing items or substitutions. It wasnt just toilet paper, hand sanitizer and thermometers selling out across the country. So too was bakeware, flour and yeast. Oh how we cooked. We cooked and we cooked and we cooked, and when we werent cooking we were baking.

As of Mar. 1, the top-10 recipe searches globally, according to Google Trends, included banana bread (number one), pizza dough, crepes, meatloaf, lasagna and cheesecake. By April everyone was sick of cooking and by May restaurant takeout took off. Now in July, patios are open and dining rooms are opening up across the country.

MORE:A guide to pandemic picnic etiquette

I didnt realize how much I had missed restaurants until I returned to one of my favourites for my first patio dinner, at Foxley Bistro in Toronto late last month. Dining with a friend in one of six garden podswooden booths that chef and owner Tom Thai had extended with clear corrugated plastic panels skywardseverything was sublime and a reminder of how much better a bottle of dry Italian rose and Arctic char ceviche with green apple and ginger, tastes straight from the kitchen rather than as takeout. I had been missing the vibrant conversations, the thoughtful service, and food with varying temperatures and textures. I was actually surprised by how happy it all made me feel. But then again, happiness is the name of the game in the restaurant industry.

We owe much of that feeling to Monsieur Antoine Beauvilliers, a restaurateur, who in 1782 opened the first luxury restaurant in Paris. It was called La Grande Taverne de Londres and it became the worlds first fine dining restaurant, with a charming host-owner to boot. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the gastronomic chronicler of his day, credited Beauvilliers with being the restaurateur who first combined the four essential elements of fine dining, as we still know them today: An elegant room, skilled waiters, stellar wine and superior cooking. While many of Canadas best restaurants cant be considered fine dining, they serve the same purpose and have become part of the fabric of our society.

Without restaurants, so too go the dreams of the young sous chef working to one day open her ownboite, the specialty farmer bringing heritage breeds back from the brink, the cheesemakers (and the resulting dreamy cheese boards), the freshly graduated pastry chefs (and their miraculous desserts), the dishwashers (perhaps new immigrants on the first wrung up), and the chain that supports them all.Because were allowed to dream big and to eat well, and its why we shouldnt write off restaurants as unnecessary. Dreams and memories are necessary.

In the late 1960s, across much of Canada, almost every chef in a fine dining restaurant was European and what was considered fine food was French (even though Chinese, Jewish and Italian restaurants were already around and were obviously delish.) Sometimes these French chefs would do their own takes on what was called ethnic food, which often amounted to curry powder swirled into a cream sauce poured over fried chicken in a chafing dish. Real curry in restaurants only arrived with a new wave of immigrants in the 70s, when East Indians and Southeast Asians started opening up their own mom-and-pop shops. Families laid roots. Taste buds were ignited. There was no going back.

Today, Canadas restaurants are on the brink of closing and they need our help. I would argue that dining out is as important to a citys culture and heritage as its galleries, arenas and museums. They are also part of our collective memories: The big birthday dinners, the bended-knee dessert engagements, the chicken wing binges while watching the Raptors win the NBA championships. From Newfoundland to Tofino, many of my fondest travel memories have happened in restaurants.

Some may say, Read the room! Its not for now; its not for everyone. Its non-inclusive, and overtly decadent. But just like the theatre, dining can be for all. Not only does it nourish, but can make you think, it can be arton a patio during summer its almost like Shakespeare in the Park. On the best of nights, eating at a great restaurant can make you feel a range of emotions, broaden your perspective and make your heart soar.

And I think we deserve exactly that right now.

See the article here:

The case for dining out in the middle of a pandemic - Maclean's

Pro-Trump cartoonist sues Anti-Defamation League for calling him anti-Semitic – PennLive

Posted By on July 17, 2020

Conservative political cartoonist Ben Garrison has sued the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for allegedly defaming him by labeling one of his cartoons anti-Semitic, reported Newsweek on Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed last Friday, seeks $10.35 million in damages.

It claims that the ADL caused Garrison insult, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, anguish, injury to his name and professional reputation, and loss of business by alleging anti-Semitism in a 2017 cartoon featuring liberal Jewish philanthropist George Soros, a frequent figure of scorn by the Garrison claims additional anguish when an invitation to a 2019 White House social media event was rescinded after the ADL alerted the administration to the charge of anti-Semitism.

Described in Newsweeks report, the cartoon in question depicts Soros as a puppet being controlled by a green-tinted hand emerging from a curtain labelled Rothschilds, an apparent reference to the wealthy Jewish family that has long been central to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Former General David Petraeus and H.R. McMaster -- Trumps former national security adviser who was forced out of his position after a tumultuous tenure that included criticism from the right and policy disagreements with Trump -- both appear as puppets being controlled by Soros.

The cartoonist is an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, with several of his cartoons depicting the 74-year-old Trump as a noticeably more youthful figure who often boasts a bodybuilder-like physique while vanquishing his political opponents with ease.

The ADL published an article on its website criticizing the cartoon, describing it as blatantly anti-Semitic after it appeared on a website titled McMaster Leaks run by alt-right commentator Mike Cernovich.

"The anti-Semitic theme of the Garrison cartoon is impossible to miss and individuals on social media complained about it," the ADL wrote, before mentioning that Cernovich later posted an edited version of the cartoon that cropped out the "Rothschild" reference.

The lawsuit claims that "The ADL is engaged in a targeted campaign of defamation to destroy Garrison's reputation and livelihood. ADL operatives throughout the country have excessively published the false and defamatory statement that Garrison is anti-Semitic." It also defends the cartoon by insisting that the conspiracy theory it depicts is, in fact, true.

Of note, Newsweeks post said that Garrisons cartoons have remained popular among conservatives regardless of claims of anti-Semitism and links to evidence-free conspiracy theories.

On Monday, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Daniel Scavino Jr. shared a Garrison cartoon seemingly disrespecting infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci as "Dr. Faucet" for advocating preventative measures to counter skyrocketing COVID-19 cases, that has drawn the ire of some conservatives.

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How Districts Can Show They Are Committed to Building a More Racially Diverse Workforce – Education Week

Posted By on July 17, 2020

Guzaliia Filimonova/Getty

The glaring racial disconnect in our nations K-12 schools can no longer be ignored as the larger reckoning over systemic racism in policing, health, and education continues to play out.

While the majority of K-12 teachers are white, they preside over classrooms that contain an increasing number of students of color and, simultaneously, a declining number of white students, research shows. This racial divide is harmful on several fronts.

Having too few teachers of color places both students and teachers at a disadvantage. Data reveal that racially diverse role models in the classroom benefit all children, regardless of race. Having few teachers of color (or only one, which can often be the case) in a school building can spur feelings of isolation and, subsequently, contribute to teachers of color leaving the profession at a disproportionately higher rate than white teachers. The solution seems obvious enough: Hire and retain more teachers of color.

The reality isnt quite so simple. To attract a diverse pool of strong teaching candidates, it helps to show that your school or district already has established itself as a welcoming place of employment for teachers of color. But if you dont have the numbers to prove it, dont despair. There are several ways to grow a diverse and equitable teaching workforce, say education experts. Here are some actionable steps.

Build a pipeline of educators of color. Sometimes, solutions can be found right in front of us. Thats the idea behind Grow Your Own Educator Programs (GYO), which recruit individuals within local school communities. These programs focus on developing future teachers, from students of color in middle and high school to racially and ethnically diverse paraprofessionals and college graduates with non-teaching degrees already working in the K-12 school system.

Other times, it pays to stretch recruiting efforts beyond your own backyard. Stacey MacAdoo, a veteran teacher at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., says shes heard recruiters say, in defense of few teachers of color on their staff: There werent any minority candidates out there.

MacAdoos response? Where did you look and who did you ask? Often, recruiters look for staff recommendations only within their existing networks, says MacAdoo, 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. She suggests that recruiters who arent successful in attracting teachers of color within their own district or network expand their search in a targeted mannerfor instance, partnering with and recruiting from colleges of education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-serving institutions.

Create and share public examples of your districts support for diversity and equity. Job candidates who value diversity and equity will want to see tangible evidence that a prospective employer does, too. This evidence can take many forms, starting with explicit public statements regarding a districts stand on equity. Examples include official policies, comprehensive statements, and reports, notes Daman Harris, a principal at Wheaton Woods Elementary School in Montgomery County, Md.

The presence of an employee or department dedicated to equity and inclusion also sends a signal that the district is making a commitment, says Harris, co-founder of the BOND Project (Building Our Network of Diversity), an initiative of Montgomery County Public Schools that aims to recruit, develop, empower, and retain male educators of color.

Including in a districts strategic plan an initiative to increase diversity and equitywith stated goals to measure progress againstdemonstrates a serious commitment, both to prospective job candidates and the current workforce. A public document positions us to make progress, said Tim Wagner, the principal of Upper St. Clair High School in Upper St. Clair, Penn.

Partner with external organizations that promote diversity and equity. Not every school district has the resources internally to develop meaningful strides toward a more equitable workplace for all teachers and students. In these instances, it can help to obtain external support. Thats what the Upper St. Clair High School, along with the five other schools in their Upper St. Clair school district, did.

They aligned themselves with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), participating in its No Place for Hate program. The program provided a pathway for the school district to establish norms around how to address the topics of equity and inclusion, explains Wagner. He says it also helped establish a framework for strategic and active involvement that extended to the student bodyfrom a panel discussion led by a rabbi to small-group, peer-facilitated student programming around the teaching of Black history.

Encourage and support initiatives led by current teachers of color.Peer networks specifically for teachers of color can combat feelings of isolation. Before Desmond Mackall became active in the BOND Project, the assistant principal of Glen Haven Elementary School in Montgomery County strongly considered finding a job elsewhere. Now he is thriving in that same district, where male teachers of color actively support one another through this formal initiative.

Mackall credits the initiatives success in large part to the fact that its run by the employees it targets; not by administrators. A lot of times, when initiatives are started with good intentions for specific groups, we don't always create the space for the voices for whom the group is formed, he said.

Demonstrate equitable practices in the treatment of students. How a schools administration treats its students can provide a window into its stance on equity, explains Little Rock Central High School teacher MacAdoo. She points to discipline policies as one area where inequities can easily be spotted. For example, banning a style of dress popular only among a particular group of students, such as do-rags, can throw up a red flag. Black males are pretty much the only group of students who wear them, MacAdoo said.

As this example indicates, job candidates seeking an equitable workplace are likely to notice a school leaderships personal biases, even when the administrators themselves may not.

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How Districts Can Show They Are Committed to Building a More Racially Diverse Workforce - Education Week


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