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East Valley rabbi and CEO connects with his Sephardi side – Jewish News of Greater Phoenix

Posted By on September 16, 2022

As a kid in a small Jewish community in the northern Italian city of Milan, Rabbi Michael Beyo was steeped in Sephardi traditions. His father was born in Turkey, the country where his family had lived for 500 years after being expelled from Spain during the Inquisition. But when he stepped outside his home, Beyo was surrounded by the dominant Ashkenazi culture of his mother and his country.

For years he didnt question the prevalence of Ashkenazi Jews. But when he was 12, a teacher told him that if his Hebrew pronunciation was Sephardi, rather than Ashkenazi, God wouldnt hear his prayers.

He was a teacher, and I believed him, Beyo said.

A lot has changed in the years since for the CEO of the East Valley Jewish Community Center, and recently, he was named one of the leadership fellows in the Sephardic Leadership Institutes (SLI) first national cohort. The program, intended to develop and support a network of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish professionals, will last six months.

Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA), a nonprofit located in Northern California, launched SLI this summer in an effort to connect North African and Middle Eastern Jewish professionals and increase their representation in Jewish organizations.

Beyo learned of the fellowship program and decided to apply, both as a way to network and to look for possible collaborations with the EVJCC.

And personally, it was intriguing.

Before he moved to Israel in his 20s where he would receive three rabbinical ordinations Beyos experience of the wider Jewish world was dominated by Ashkenazi Jews; whether in Italy, England (where he moved when he was 15) or France. Much later, when he moved to the United States, he would find the same was true here.

I studied in Ashkenazi schools and went to their yeshivot, he said. I only realized later that I had been deprived of my Sephardi heritage.

In Israel, he saw something new. Sephardi Jews there had started to assert themselves and their traditions in a kind of counter revolution. Young Sephardim were saying, Enough is enough! We want to celebrate our traditions, our foods, our music, Beyo said.

When you are in the system, you dont realize what they teach you is slanted in only one way, he said. Being in Israel helped me understand that 100%.

Beyo explained that in modern times, Sephardi Jews living in predominantly Ashkenazi communities have been discriminated against in one way or another.

Thats the reality, he said. Its true in Italy, and its true in America. It was also happening in Israel where discrimination against Sephardim was institutionalized.

Echoing his point, last month, Israels national statistical bureau decided to begin publishing data statistics on socioeconomic differences between Jews of Ashkenazi or European origins, and those of Mizrahi or North African and Middle Eastern origin, according to Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Historically, and to a significant extent still, Ashkenazi Jews have populated Israels upper class while Mizrahi Jews have been poorer as a whole, with discriminatory policies from Israels early years to blame for the inequality.

Countering that reality is one of the goals of JIMENA. It is giving Sephardi leaders tools to rediscover Sephardiness and assert itself against Ashkenormative life, Beyo said.

Personally, he feels pretty lucky to be part of both worlds. His Ashkenazi mother, a combination of Czech, Polish and Austrian Jewish ancestry, was born in Milan after World War II. Thus, Beyo feels comfortable in both environments, and he can make jokes about both, he quipped.

Comfort is one thing, but when it comes to his home, what he enjoys and how he understands the world, he is Sephardi.

The music I listen to is Sephardi, the food I eat is Sephardi and the way I understand Judaism is through the Sephardi traditional, historical approach to Judaism, he said.

He even attributes his ability to serve as both an Orthodox rabbi and the CEO of a JCC to his Sephardi heritage and outlook.

In the Sephardi world, he explained, there are no Reform or Conservative Jews, just Jews. Whether one keeps kosher or drives to services all Jews go to the same synagogue.

While a traditional Ashkenazi Orthodox rabbi might not be accepted as a JCC CEO, or feel comfortable there, Beyo is both at ease at the EVJCC and accepted.

I am not trying to make Reform Jews become Orthodox, he said. I try to help every Jew be the best Jew they want to be.

When he was awarded the fellowship, Beyo was surprised to find so many new organizations he didnt know existed and connecting with new people was really cool.

After having been around the block a few times, he admitted most of the topics are pretty familiar. Still, he said the work JIMENA is doing is amazing, and he appreciates every encounter and learning opportunity.

We can learn from everyone and we should learn from everyone and never stop learning, said Beyo. Its important to relate to Jews of different backgrounds in order to have more empathy and appreciation for the diverse reality of the American community and those of Phoenix and the East Valley.

Once you can appreciate diversity among one specific group, he said, its easier to appreciate it among others, as well. JN

For more information on the East Valley Jewish Community Center, visit

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East Valley rabbi and CEO connects with his Sephardi side - Jewish News of Greater Phoenix

All those adages about being a grandparent? They’re true. J. – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on September 16, 2022

My grandson Lucas can really put the terrible in the terrible twos. Like most toddlers, hes a delight, except when hes not. Hell hurl berries from his high chair like an Olympic shot putter, smear sour cream on his placemat like a tiny Jackson Pollock, and sometimes, when he doesnt get what he wants, he will scream loud and louder, high and higher, until only bats and dolphins can hear him.

If I were a stranger dining at a nearby table during one of those episodes, Id ask the restaurant manager to throw the kid out. But Lucas is mine, and my love for him burns brighter than a thousand Karens.

Sept. 11 is National Grandparents Day, and for me, it turns out grandparenting is as good as advertised. A 2019 study by the Jewish Grandparents Network confirms this. Of all respondents, 94% agreed that being a grandparent is generally a joyful experience.

So far, I simply adore dor vdor.

When Lucas was born in 2019, my wife Robyn and I flew to New York to visit him as a newborn, and again when he was 5 months old. He was super cute and we loved him dearly, but entirely from afar once the pandemic hit. We didnt see Lucas again until he was nearly 18 months old, when his family moved to San Francisco.

No longer a continent away, we were now a mere bridge away. So Robyn and I spent most of the last year and a half bonding with Lucas day by day, hug by hug, lullaby by lullaby. We would take biweekly walks along the pond at the Palace of Fine Arts, smiling at the crinoline-skirted quinceaera girls posing for glam shots by the waterside. I told Lucas they were princesses.

Last Hanukkah, he got to light the menorah, in this case a cool S.F. Giants menorah I picked up at a Jewish Heritage Night a few years ago.

When Lucas brother was born in May 2021, I instantly loved Chris, too, but not in the way I loved Lucas. I couldnt possibly, yet. Thankfully, Ive had plenty of time to spend with both kids, and slowly, the same sort of bond began to develop between me and my new grandson.

Still, Lucas had an 18-month head start. And so, he and I kept developing our own private Imaginarium of songs, jokes, games, storybook time, and all the things that make grandparenting the most fulfilling avocation in the world.

Yet for all that, I feel a trace of sadness in and around my role as zayde.

My son and his wife are terrific parents, and once my daughter-in-laws mother moved in with them seven months ago to provide full-time help, my own helping out was no longer so essential. I realized I am not Lucas parent. Im just G-pa (thats what Lucas calls me), and that requires some distancing. I have to allow my son and his wife the freedom to figure out parenthood on their own.

I also feel sorrow knowing I probably wont be around to see the kids grow up into adulthood. Maybe their young adulthood if Im lucky, but it would be a miracle of longevity if I were there for Lukes 30th birthday. It has occurred to me that Lucas and Chris will probably be the last human beings who will remember me, way off in the 22nd century.

I try not to dwell on that, especially when Im with the kids. I focus on the moment: play, play and more play, and getting them to squeal with delight in whatever game were playing.

It became clear to me that I got what I wanted when my son recounted something that had happened at preschool. The teacher asked the children, What makes you happy? One kid said candy, another said going to the park. Lucas said, G-pa. Ive never felt more honored in my life.

That was six months ago. Were still at it, hanging out together several times a week. Its different now because Lucas and I can talk to each other. Amazing as it is to converse with someone who only recently was a babbling baby, he and I communicate on a deeper level.

For example, since Im Mr. Fun compared with Mommy and Daddy, who make him do horrible things like go to bed, he hates to say goodbye to me. And for a while, he would cry hard when I had to head home.

One evening as I was leaving, I held him, wiped away his tears and said, Its OK, Lucas. You know, I always come back. And it worked. He understood and stopped crying. Now I say that to him whenever I leave. A few weeks shy of his 3rd birthday, Lucas now knows hes made of sterner stuff.

I didnt grasp how deeply he took that lesson to heart until a few days ago. Lucas mom told me that the day before, she had separated Lucas from Chris while they were playing together in order to take Lucas up for a nap. Chris cried hard when his brother was led away.

Lucas turned to Chris and said to him, Its OK, Chrissy. I always come back.

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All those adages about being a grandparent? They're true. J. - The Jewish News of Northern California

The occupied West Bank cities at centre of resistance to Israel – Al Jazeera English

Posted By on September 13, 2022

Ramallah, occupied West Bank Israeli military raids and killings have become an almost daily reality in Jenin and Nablus over the past year.

The raids are part of a campaign Israel calls Break the Wave', under which it carries out mass arrests and killings in places such as the two northern occupied West Bank cities, aimed at fighters affiliated with armed groups such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihads (PIJ) al-Quds Brigades, and Fatahs al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The campaign is aimed at crushing a growing shift towards an increasingly organised Palestinian armed resistance in Jenin and Nablus that emerged on the heels of a mass popular outburst of Palestinian resistance in May 2021. It began in occupied East Jerusalems Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and led to Israels war with armed groups in Gaza.

Israels military campaign, however, began shortly after a string of attacks by Palestinians that killed 19 people in Israel between March and May 2022. Two of the men who carried out the attacks were from Jenin.

Break the Wave is not just restricted to raids Israels three-day assault on the blockaded Gaza Strip in August, in which 49 Palestinians, including 17 children, were killed, was also conducted as part of that campaign.

In Jenin, the Israelis have found a capable adversary, a group known as the Jenin Brigades, which has carried out shootings on Israeli military checkpoints and engages in armed clashes during Israeli raids. Now, when the Israelis enter Jenin, they are not just met by rocks, but by bullets too.

The group, mainly supported by the PIJ but also includes young men from Hamas, Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), has come to pose a significant challenge to the Israeli occupation.

They first emerged in September 2021, in an effort to protect six Palestinian prisoners from Jenin who had gone on the run after breaking out of an Israeli jail.

It is worrying for Israel because these fighters now represent a problem; during any raid, these fighters will confront and resist, political analyst Ismat Mansour told Al Jazeera.

In May 2022, the birth of an armed resistance group called the Nablus Brigade was announced. In June, the Tubas Brigade was also formed, in the northern West Bank.

In Nablus, one of the faces of Palestinian armed resistance was 19-year-old Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a fighter from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who, despite being a target for Israeli forces, openly attended funerals held for fellow fighters.

The Lion of Nablus, as he was known, was killed by Israeli forces on August 9, but is emblematic of a new generation of Palestinian fighters, who are often not following orders from any of the traditional armed groups even if they do have ties with them, a phenomenon that the Israeli military is struggling to deal with and wants to nip in the bud.

From an Israeli perspective what is dangerous about this phenomenon is not the operations that these groups carry out per se because this brigade [Jenin] has not really carried out any operations, said Mansour. Its about it spreading. It started from Jenin, it extended to Nablus, now there are armed clashes in places near Ramallah. This manifestation has become like a contagion. The reality in the West Bank is changing in an observable way and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is unable to control the situation.

The groups appear to be more capable of conducting defensive operations rather than anything more substantial, observers say.

These weapons are being used to defend during confrontations when the Israeli army wants to raid Jenin camp or Nablus city, or for example against the [Israeli] occupation when settlers want to get to Josephs tomb, Sari Orabi, a Palestinian political analyst, told Al Jazeera.

This weaponry has not yet been used for offensive resistance action that would require spreading outside of the areas where the groups are based, and requires operating in secret, Orabi explained.

While discussion of a large-scale invasion of Jenin seemed possible for a while following last years prison break, Israel has chosen instead to use more focused means rather than entering into an open confrontation.

Instead, Israel intends to drain and pursue the resistance fighters, to keep them in a permanent defensive state, and to eliminate the largest number of them possible, said Mansour. Its a surgical operation it happens in a specific, targeted way, using a small number of undercover forces.

Currently, the cost for Israel is the confrontation between Palestinian fighters and its soldiers, he continued, adding that the equation would be different if a scenario emerged where the new brigades start to send fighters to carry out armed operations such as suicide attacks, and Israel pays a daily cost.

In the blockaded Gaza Strip, Israel has chosen different tactics. According to Mansour, Tel Avivs assault on Gaza was aimed at creating deterrence, and to tell the PIJ that, if Palestinian armed groups continue to grow in the West Bank, the PIJ will pay the price in Gaza.

That is why, he says, the last war had to be short, with quick, with consecutive fast hits on the PIJ. If it had gone on for longer, then we may have seen armed operations emerge in the West Bank, Mansour said.

One of the main catalysts for the phenomenon of the growth of new armed groups in the West Bank is the declining popularity of the Fatah-run PA,which governs limited parts of the occupied West Bank, and cooperates on security with the Israeli army.

The groups would likely not have emerged if the PA had a political project, argues Mansour.

The [Israeli] occupation adopted an approach, that through economic support it can empower the PA, and ease some restrictions on it so that it can become more popular than Hamas. This has failed, he said.

Next year, Palestinians will mark 30 years since the PAs creation. It was supposed to be a five-year interim government serving as a precursor to a state in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967. That state has never come about.

While the PA has publicly condemned attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israelis and aids Israel in thwarting them, many of the men taking up weapons in Jenin and Nablus have traditionally been affiliated with Fatah, exposing a rift in the party, one that Orabi calls a rebellion within Fatah.

Jamal Hweil, a Fatah political leader living in the Jenin refugee camp, and a former member of its armed wing, said that while the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade was set up by Fatah, ties are loose.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade do not take political considerations into account, he told Al Jazeera, highlighting that the many men within the armed wing do not follow the PAs position, which is largely against armed resistance.

To Hweil, who fought Israeli forces in a deadly 2002 battle for Jenins camp, the lack of a realistic political outcome that would lead to an end to the occupation is leading many young men to take matters into their own hands.

The President Mahmoud Abbas does not want one bullet to go towards the occupation he says this day and night but what has the occupation presented to us? said Hweil.

Youth in the camp began taking steps on the ground retrieving power and the ability to defend not to attack, but to defend our people and our land in Jenin, Hweil added, explaining that the majority of them grew up in the shadow of the 2002 battle.

It is a message to the world that we will not accept what the US and Israel want to impose at the expense of the Palestinian people it will not pass, he added.

But Ata Abu Rmeileh, the secretary of the Fatah movement in Jenin, disagreed that there was any rift.

Everything that is happening is happening as part of an organisational Fatah decision and it is not a rebellion, Rmeileh told Al Jazeera. We are with resistance in all its forms, armed, popular, peaceful.

What is required of the PA is to enforce the decisions of the central committee in ending the recognition of Israel and ending any relationship with Israel, the main thing being the security coordination, he added.

For Hweil, the key factor bringing fighters together is the national unity that exists in the Jenin refugee camp between different political parties.

Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad political leader who lives in the village of Arrabeh, in the Jenin governorate, agreed.

There is definite national unity that goes beyond only the military aspect, adding that the strongest relationship between resistance factions was the one between the [PIJs] al-Quds Brigades and Fatah.

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The occupied West Bank cities at centre of resistance to Israel - Al Jazeera English

Moscow’s invitation to Hamas could be meant as warning to Israel, analysts say –

Posted By on September 13, 2022

(September 13, 2022 / JNS) Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Moscow on Sept. 10 at the head of a senior delegation from the terror group for talks with Russian officials. Analysts speculate that Moscows invitation to Hamas, like an earlier one in May, is meant to send a message of dissatisfaction to Israel.

The Russians typically use meetings with Hamas to signal displeasure with Israel, perhaps in relation to Ukraine, Hillel Frisch, senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS), told JNS.

A noteworthy aspect of the May meeting is that it came a month after Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid, then foreign minister, accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, specifically in relation to alleged atrocities committed outside Kyiv. Of the current meeting, Frisch said it was unclear what specifically Russia may have found objectionable about Israeli statements or actions.

Anna Geifman, senior researcher at Bar-Ilan Universitys department of political science, told JNS that it might be a general warning, a way for Russia to tell Israel that if it takes a wrong step it will strengthen relations with the regions hostile actors. The message may be: If you become our enemy, were going to deal with your enemies, she said.

For Geifman, the important point is that this isnt something new. The Russians have always played the anti-Israel, or anti-Western, card whenever it was convenient for them, from the Soviet days. Theyve always talked to terrorists. Its not even a question of talkingits collaborating, she said.

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Noting that the Soviet Union set up special schools to train terrorists, Geifman said not much has changed despite 25 years of supposed democracy. You can call them anything you like. Maybe theyre not Soviets, but if they act along the same old patterns, theyre the same old bad actors, she said.

Another reason for the Russian embrace of Hamas is that its options in terms of international diplomacy have shrunk, as Russia has become a pariah on the world stage with its invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has no one who wants to play with him. So hes happy to invite anyone. And, not surprisingly, its going be someone with whom no one wants to play either, said Geifman.

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), agreed that this partly explains Moscows actions. Youre looking at a government that wants to demonstrate its ability to engage diplomatically around the world, amid an ongoing battle in Ukraine, he told JNS.

Perhaps it is an act of desperation, an effort by Putin to try to seek some legitimacy, or to demonstrate that hes still a world leader whos in demand, but it certainly strikes me as an odd choice given that its not as if Hamas can provide legitimacy, he added.

Thats some of the context, but I would actually argue that this move is a very deliberate attempt to demonstrate that there is a growing alliance that is taking shape around the world, he said.

It appears that Putin is building an axis of like-minded governments and entities, Schanzer said. It really does look like he is working to create a new revisionist axis that already includes the Iranians, includes China potentially, and includes North Korea.

The question is whether this is an effort to legitimize and recruit Hamas to be part of that broader coalition. Or is this for show, or something else entirely? said Schanzer. The bottom line is that there is no clear, mutual interest between these two actors. Russia doesnt have very clear interests as it relates to the Gaza Strip.

It is a bit of a jolt that a Russian leader whos largely isolated on the world stage and looking for new ways to engage appears to be legitimizing and elevating Hamas with this meeting, he said.

Schanzer also agreed that Russia may intend the meeting as a disapproving signal to Israel. Perhaps theres an escalation ladder that Putin is climbing: If you continue to malign me diplomatically, this is what youre going to get in return.

In terms of an Israeli reaction, he expects that if there is one, it will be via private channels given how carefully the Israelis have been acting due to Russias presence in Syria. If Russia promises Hamas something in terms of weaponry, the Israeli reaction might change, he said, but he sees that as an unlikely scenario given that Russia is not in a position where it has weapons to spare.

Geifman agreed: Israel will have to be careful primarily because of the Russians in Syria. Israel must have a free hand there as much as possible because of Iran and Hezbollah. And I dont think Russia is going to invest in Hamas. And even if they give them weapons, they wont be good weapons.

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Moscow's invitation to Hamas could be meant as warning to Israel, analysts say -

Alber Elbaz Gets the Museum Treatment in Israel – WWD

Posted By on September 13, 2022

Michal Herzog, the first lady of Israel, was among dignitaries who attended a private viewing Monday night of Alber Elbaz: The Dream Factory at the Design Museum Holon.

Whats billed as the most extensive exhibition to date about the late Israeli designer and one of the most complex and costly ever mounted at the 12-year-old institution opens to the public on Thursday and runs through Feb. 25.

It will reprise the Love Brings Love showcase of 46 tribute looks by top designers, made in the wake of Elbazs death from COVID-19 in April 2021 and given a dedicated exhibition earlier this year at the Palais Galliera in Paris. Participating designers included Dior, Gucci, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Balmain and Versace.

The Design Museum Holon dreamed up a new, multimedia format for those dresses, but the scope of the overall exhibition is much broader: It blends sketches, archival materials, personal objets, video clips and never-before-seen photos to delve into Elbazs life story, tracing it from his birthplace in Morocco and his childhood home of Holon to the pinnacle of the Paris fashion firmament.

Its a celebration of Albers life and achievements, also his personality, curator Yaara Keydar said in an interview over Zoom. You get to experience this person and not only his designs.

More than 100 outfits are displayed amid bolts of colorful fabric, reams of ribbons, heart-shaped confetti, antique mirrors and racing-flag photo sets with flashbulbs popping.

Most designs by Elbaz are from AZ Factory, the new fashion brand he established as a joint venture with Compagnie Financiere Richemont, while the scope of his fashion career is represented in photos. Elbaz worked behind the scenes for Geoffrey Beene in New York, going on to design for Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Krizia Top and Lanvin.

Organizers took pains not to characterize the exhibition as a retrospective, pointing to an Elbaz quote: The only thing I do not do is summarize. I do not do retrospectives.

Still, the 180-foot peripheral corridor of the Ron Arad-designed museum recounts his life story through the main milestones and people in his life via some 300 photographs, fashion illustrations, quotes and personal accoutrements, including his signature bow tie, his bulky Maison Bonnet eyeglasses and his favorite pencil case.

Crowd pleasers are likely to include the draped gold Lanvin dress Meryl Streep wore in 2012 to pick up a Best Actress Oscar for The Iron Lady, and a white Lanvin peace dress accessorized with feathery wings.

Visitors can also park themselves at a dinner table and watch video snippets of the many lectures Elbaz gave around the world to fashion students during his four-year hiatus between Lanvin and AZ Factory. The section is called Food for Thought and Elbazs life lessons and dry, often self-deprecating humor are projected onto plates.

Roving spotlights, flashing lights, spinning carousels and spirited music lend the displays the upbeat, carnival-like atmosphere Elbaz summoned at his fashion shows for Lanvin, where his acclaimed 14-year tenure cemented his fashion legacy.

Likewise, mannequins sprawl on chairs, lounge on the ground reading magazines or are frozen mid-dance move echoing Elbazs whimsical window displays of yore.

Visitors say they feel like they met Alber in person, Keydar said. Alber was not afraid to dream and you can see this from the age of 6, when he began sketching fashion looks.

She noted that Elbaz shared not only the greatest moments of his life, but also the tragedies and the failures, alluding to him being edged out of YSL by Tom Ford in 2000, and his ouster from Lanvin in 2015. He was very open about how you can overcome crises and become even more powerful than you were before.

The exhibition is divided into different stations of his life, narratives constructed around key places like New York, Paris, Holon and Tangiers. For example, it was in New York where Elbaz married his passion for couture with the ease of American sportswear a combination that would seep through his entire career.

His Paris years are represented by a slew of Little Black Dresses and tuxedo references.

He really left us with so many important thoughts about the future of fashion, Keydar said, referring to his fascination with smart fabrics, sustainability, diverse sizing and other solutions at AZ Factory. And he was an incredible storyteller.

A fashion historian and curator, Keydar has a degree in fashion design from Shenkar College in Remat Gan, Israel, where Elbaz also studied. One of the designers Shenkar teachers and longtime collaborators, Shelly Verthime, served as a consultant on the Holon exhibition.

Among AZ Factory representatives who attended the opening festivities were Elbazs partner Alex Koo and Norman Ren Devera, AZ Factorys design director.

Design Museum Holon is the only design museum in Israel and a summer 2021 fashion exhibition titled The Ball, dedicated to evening and bridal gowns and curated by Keydar, attracted more than 150,000 visitors.

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Alber Elbaz Gets the Museum Treatment in Israel - WWD

OneRepublic Lead Singer Says They’re ‘Pumped’ to Return to Israel for Concert in November – Algemeiner

Posted By on September 13, 2022

OneRepublic lead singer Ryan Tedder recalled the American pop rock bands crazy performance in Israel seven years ago ahead of their upcoming concert on Nov. 8 at the Live Park amphitheater in Rishon LeZion.

We are so excited to be coming back to Israel, the Counting Stars singer said in a clip shared Monday on Instagram by Live Nation Israel. He also said, We had the absolute best time the last time we were there. I will never forget that show 22,000 people it was crazy. Were so pumped to do it again. Cant wait to see you there.

OneRepublic last performed in Israel in May 2015 in Tel Avivs Yarkon Park. According to their website, the Grammy-nominated bands November concert in Israel is their only stop in the Middle East as part of their world tour, though it was originally announced in June that they would also perform in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The band will also make stopsin Switzerland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

OneRepublics 2015 show in Yarkon Park was condemned by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, but the criticism did not deter the band from performing for their Israeli fans. Tedder said during the concert in Yarkon Park, we dont take sides. Were here for the people. We just love people and youre great people, Ynet reported.

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OneRepublic Lead Singer Says They're 'Pumped' to Return to Israel for Concert in November - Algemeiner

Bnai Jeshurun synagogue takes lox off menu, citing "values" – Quartz

Posted By on September 13, 2022

The return of communal Saturday lunches at Bnai Jeshurun, an historic synagogue in New York City, was supposed to be a cheerful moment after years of the pandemic spent celebrating the weekly Shabbat holiday apart.

Rabbi Shuli Passow announced the return of Community Kiddush last week, along with a few changes to the event, like better seating for families and a less crowded buffet. Oh, and one slight change to that buffet: Lox will be eliminated from the menu so we can do our part to reduce the environmental impact of pollution and overfishing.

Though Passow acknowledged some would find it an heretical move, she could not have been prepared for the kvetching that ensued. The lack of lox quickly made news in New York Jewish Week, the Forward, and the local West Side Rag, where one representative commenter called the decision sanctimonious. Many questioned the link between lox and overfishing.

In the process, an otherwise very-local story revealed a lot how people think through complicated moral choices about food today.

The term lox, which has been around for eight millennia, is today used loosely to mean a variety of different cured salmons. In the 1950s, hundreds of appetizing shops cropped up in New York City selling lox and other cold accompaniments for bagels. Traditionally it was cured with salt, a process that has already gone out of style amid a broader decline in salty foods. Most Jews actually eat smoked salmon even if they call it lox.

Eating fish isa more complex affair these days, owing to concerns over climate change and the sustainability of the worlds food supply. Many species of salmon are endangered due to overfishing, logging, and electrical dams. Environmentalists often argue against eating fish at all.

Bnai Jeshurun, the second synagogue built in New York City, was founded in 1825 by young German- and Polish-American Jews who preferred less formal worship with time set aside for explanations and instruction, without a permanent leader, and with no distinctions made among the members. The congregation has maintained that progressive tradition in its current home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, one of the most liberal neighborhoods of New York.

So perhaps its no surprise that Bnai Jeshurun would be among the first synagogues to question the sanctity of lox. What we eat and how we eat it should intentionally express our values, Passow wrote in her original missive about the new Saturday lunches, sounding as much like an ag-tech entrepreneur as a religious leader.

Expressing values is as strong a Jewish tradition as bagels and lox, and congregants made their feelings known, forcing the synagogue to issue a follow-up titled, Statement on lox at community Kiddush.

Bnai Jeshurun did not bring back the synagogue-provided lox, but clarified the rules and changed its reasoning,citing higher costs and a desire to provide more vegetarian options at communal meals. We inaccurately stated that consuming lox contributes to the overfishing of salmon, read the statement. Most lox is, in fact, made from farmed Atlantic salmon.

There was no citation for that claim, and the synagogue didnt respond to an email seeking one. The majority of all salmon worldwide is farmed, according to an industry group, so it stands to reason that most salmon turned into lox is farmed, too. But seafood, especially salmon, is rampantly mislabeled, and in any event, you can hear a hundred rabbis asking in unison, what makes fish farming ethical? It still consumes resources and contributes to climate change. Vegetarianism is my religion, wrote the Polish-American and Jewish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer, who wasnt devout in most other respects.

Having clearly touched the third rail of Jewish food politics, the synagogue chose to back away from its salmon shonda slowly and Solomonically: Some felt that we implied that eating lox is immoral or that [Bnai Jeshurun] is boycotting lox or lox providers, the statement continued. This could not be farther from the truth. Moreover, should anyone sponsoring Kiddush wish to include lox in the menu, they are welcome to do so.

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Bnai Jeshurun synagogue takes lox off menu, citing "values" - Quartz

The Liturgy of the Word: Listening to Christ – Relevant Radio

Posted By on September 13, 2022

As we continue our walk with Jesus through the Mass, we move from His baptism in the river Jordan to His preaching. We experience this in the next part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word. Here we usually read first from the Old Testament prophets. Each week Jesus listened to and read these words in the synagogue with His discipleswe too accompany Him. Remember when He read and taught in the synagogue of Nazareth:

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.

And he began to say to them, Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.

And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, Is not this Josephs son?

And he said to them, Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in your own country.'

And he said, Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.

When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them he went away.

(Luke 4:16-30)

Jesus is not afraid to challenge His listeners with the Old Testament Word, so it should also challenge us. As you listen to the first reading, ask the Holy Spirit to challenge you.

After the first reading, we pray with the Psalms. Jesus also prayed with the Psalms, they were the vocal prayers that Jesus learned as a childlike the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Angel of God prayers are for us. As we pray with Jesus on how to better carry out the Fathers will.

After the Responsorial Psalm, we listen to the teachings of the Apostles in one or another of their various letters. Just as Jesus sent out the apostles (Matthew 10:1,5-11:1; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6) and the 72 disciples (Luke 10:1-20), prepare the way by preaching repentance and conversion so as to embrace the Gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Finally, we listen to Christ in the Gospel. The Church teaches us that the Liturgy of the Word makes Jesus Christ present to us: when the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, proclaims the Gospel (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 29, quoted in Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 45). That is why the Church requires that an ordained deacon, priest, or bishop read the Gospel and give the Homily because they sacramentally re-present Christs own preaching to us.

At the end of the Gospel, the priest or deacon says, The Gospel of the Lord Gods good news to us! and we respond with a resounding, Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ! Praise the Lord for the good news He gives us. Then Christ, through the ordained ministers Homily, explains what His teaching means, why it really is good news, and how we can live it out in our lives.

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The Liturgy of the Word: Listening to Christ - Relevant Radio

Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation Welcomes New Rabbi And Family – Chappaqua, NY Patch

Posted By on September 13, 2022

MOUNT KISCO, NY A century-old synagogue in Mount Kisco has a new spiritual leader.

The Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation (MKHC) has announced that Rabbi Pinchas Fink recently moved to Mount Kisco to serve as the new rabbi and spiritual leader. The congregation described him as a "talented Jewish educator." His wife, Rebbetzin Naomi Fink, and children will also become a part of the MKHC family.

MKHC is a modern orthodox synagogue founded in 1906 bringing a century of Jewish tradition, spirituality and joy to Northern Westchester County.

"Our small-but growing congregation offers members an opportunity to impact our community while immersing in the traditions of Judaism,"Synagogue President Steven Sokol said. "We are excited to have the Finks here in our community and look forward to others getting the chance to meet them."

Free tickets are available to new individuals or families who wish to attend for Rosh Hashanah and/or Yom Kippur. More information about High Holiday tickets or about MKHC can be obtained by emailing Rabbi Fink at this email address. More information can also be found on the website.

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Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation Welcomes New Rabbi And Family - Chappaqua, NY Patch

From Darkness to Light seeks to battle antisemitism and hate with art –

Posted By on September 13, 2022

When Susan Ribnick learned of the massacre at the Tree of Life building on Oct. 27, 2018, she felt compelled to act.

The mosaic artist and president of Austin Mosaic Guild in Austin, Texas, said she was horrified watching images of the tragedy on CNN.

You dont have to be Jewish; you just have to be human. I was walking around in a state like, What do you do with this feeling? Youre outraged. Im Jewish. I could be in a synagogue where this happened, she said.

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Hope by Linda Biggers. Image provided by Seton Hill University.

Ribnick made use of the resources at hand. She called a meeting of the guild and suggested the members create small memorials, 8x8 with a jewel tone theme. She envisioned a group of 10 artists working on the project From Darkness to Light: An exhibition of mosaics inspired by the Tree of Life Tragedy. That number jumped to 12 when artists in Denver and Philadelphia heard about the project. It soon increased to 18.

She eventually decided to include more than 40 pieces in the exhibition, which includes artists from Canada, Israel, Morocco, Scotland and Venezuela, in addition to the American artists.

Salaam by Heather Kruger. Image provided by Seton Hill University.

People would contact me through Facebook. I couldnt say no, she said. Those that reached out included Squirrel Hill artist Steve Sadvary, whose work Coming Together in Peace is included in the collection.

Coming Together in Peace by Squirrel Hill artist Steve Sadvary. Image provided by Seton Hill University.

Ribnick recounted the circuitous journey of the project at an exhibit reception and gallery talk on Sept. 11 at the Jodee Harris Gallery Seton Hill Arts Center in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where the mosaics will be on exhibit through Sept. 30.

Realizing she had no connection to the Tree of Life synagogue but sensing there was something special happening with the mosaics, Ribnick reached out to her rabbi, Neil Blumofe at Congregation Agudas Achim.

Blumofe agreed that there was something special afoot. He decided to show the pieces at Agudas Achim. He also reached out to Rabbi Jeffrey Myers at Tree of Life.

The Pittsburgh synagogue was deluged with not only requests for interviews and speakers and to join ceremonies and concerts but also with physical objects sent to the congregation.

Snowdrops by Rachel Davies. Image provided by Seton Hill University.

Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg was designated an unofficial ambassador, connecting requests with members.

As luck would have it, Tree of Life member David Kalla was going to Galveston, Texas, at the same time From Darkness to Light would be hanging at the Austin synagogue. Eisenberg asked him to pay a visit and see the exhibit.

Ribnick said it was fate that Kalla stopped by the congregation.

Amos 5:24 by Susan Ribnick. Image provided by Seton Hill University.

The rest is history, she said. If you put an idea in that guys mind, its going to happen. Its amazing.

During remarks to those in attendance, Kalla said that he was glad the exhibit was on a college campus. Its purpose, he posited, wasnt simply to commemorate the victims of Oct. 27 but to promote a wider discussion on education of antisemitism.Art, like these mosaics, have a way of moving audiences, he said. I hope you see these pieces and read the artists words and feel inspired to talk to your neighbors and take action to end antisemitism.

From left to right: Tree of Life member David Kalla, Seton Hill University President Mary Finger, Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh Director Lauren Bairnsfather, artist Susan Ribnick and Director of the National Center for Holocaust Education James Paharik. Photo by David Rullo.

The exhibit was presented as part of the commemoration of the Seton Hill University National Catholic Center for Holocaust Educations 35th anniversary.

Center Director James Paharik opened the exhibition by recalling the day the mosaics arrived at the university.

I remember opening the large wooden crate. I was astounded by the vision of each of these little gems. Each is unique, each one is an inspiration for those of us who live in the area, he said. It gives us hope in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh Director Lauren Bairnsfather noted the significance of From Darkness to Light opening on Sept. 11, recalling the terrorist attacks on that day.

Its fitting on this day to be here in Greensburg where there is so much effort behind interfaith cooperation and bridge building, much of it taking place at Seton Hill University, she said.

The effects of Oct. 27, she said, continue to be felt, moving like ripples from Western Pennsylvania, crossing America and oceans.

Its a convergence of all these things happening on this day, she said.

Seton Hill President Mary Finger said the university was honored to be part of the exhibit.

Ribnick concluded her remarks by saying that its disheartening events like the Tree of Life shooting continue to occur.Art can be a powerful catalyst and can promote discussion to reach out to not-like-minded-people. Its very hard to affect change, but art is a powerful thing. If we get somebodys attention, then we will have done a good job, she said. PJC

David Rullo can be reached at

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From Darkness to Light seeks to battle antisemitism and hate with art -

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