Page 3«..2345..1020..»

Likud, Blue and White spar over protests as infection soars – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on September 23, 2020

The coronavirus cabinet has been meeting since 2 p.m. Wednesday to discuss how to tighten restrictions on the public as the number of coronavirus cases in the country soar.

According to the ministry, some 31 coronavirus patients have died in the last 24 hours.

During the meeting, Likud and Blue and White ministers clashed, mainly about demonstrations. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi lashed out about the idea that some members of the government are pushing for a full national lockdown, which goes contrary to the recommendations of health professionals.

This is the second coronavirus cabinet meeting this week. Tuesdays meeting disbanded after nearly nine hours over disagreements over how prayers and demonstrations would be handled, as well.

At one point during the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the room to attention and said, You will respect the discussion." At another, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz convened an emergency meeting of his faction ministers. He told them, Stop the disproportionate discussion of the demonstrations immediately."

"Insist on what is good for the citizens health and what will stop the spread of infection, while balancing Judaism, democracy, economy and society," he stressed.

Ashkenazi accused Likud ministers of recommending a closure to stop demonstrations against the government and Netanyahu.

"I hear the health professionals say there is no reason for a general closure, he said. I want to understand why a full closure is recommended here if so. A full closure is a last resort and not a solution to demonstrations."

Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn also blamed Likud ministers: "We agreed to a closure, but now you suddenly want a decision that will only ban demonstrations on Balfour Street, in front of the prime ministers residence.

For his part, Netanyahu explained why demonstrations must be stopped.

"If we can leave home to demonstrate, then people will also be able to go to the beach and call it protesting, he said. "Who said you have to go far to demonstrate? Let them demonstrate under the house."

He said that he supports demonstrations, but every week Israeli citizens see that they are required to celebrate the holiday alone, to comply with health guidelines, and on the other hand protestors are coming out in masses.

"The pandemic is spreading all over the world, people are losing their jobs at best and the lives of their relatives at worst, and all they care about is continuing the demonstrations against Netanyahu at all costs," Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen tweeted against Blue and White ministers. "Does their hatred of Netanyahu outweigh their desire to preserve the lives of Israeli citizens?"

At a certain point in the meeting, there was also a confrontation between Economy Minister Amir Peretz and Netanyahu.

The prime minister said he wanted to impose a full closure immediately. Peretz said, Public confidence has been broken because every two days we make a different proposal. The decisions do not last more than two days. I propose to accept the outline prepared by the attorney-general, coronavirus commissioner and the director-general of the Health Ministry.

Likud MK Haim Katz, who chairs the powerful Likud central committee, said the government and Knesset should be dispersed.

"Nothing is working," he lamented.

Interior Minister Arye Deri walked out of the meeting earlier in the day when some ministers discussed possibly shutting synagogues as early as Thursday.

Deri had said that prayer could take place in open spaces and that synagogue prayer could close entirely on other days - just not Yom Kippur.

When the Health Ministry prevents gatherings in closed spaces, we will all pray in the public space, he said. During the closure, anyone who wants to demonstrate will do so near his home.

Recall, on Tuesday after the cabinet meeting, Deri said, We are in a life-saving situation. I am willing to go to the rabbis and persuade them to pray more in the public space. But he said he cannot convince the rabbis to give up the tradition of hakafot if demonstrations continue as usual.

I am accountable to the public, he continued, I will do my best for God. We are a Jewish and democratic government, and for me Judaism is first and most important. If the government decides no to praying on Yom Kippur and yes to demonstrations, I do not know that I can stay in such a non-Jewish government.

Earlier, it appeared that the parties may have come to better terms ahead of the meeting. Gantz had posted on social media that In a democracy, the right to demonstrate and protest is sacred. The demand of those who want to pray, as the Jewish people have practiced for thousands of years, is also sacred and just. The demand of those who want to earn a decent living, return to work and take care of their child is real and just. But no less important is the right to health and security.

In addition to limiting demonstrations and prayers to 20 people in outdoor spaces, the ministers are also considering the following restrictions: closing all non-essential businesses and marketplaces; reducing public transportation substantially; stopping all outgoing flights from Ben-Gurion Airport; allowing only nuclear families to gather; and asking elderly and high-risk individuals to stay home.

The ministers are also looking to increase the abilities of the hospitals to take more patients, step up enforcement and improve the process for cutting off infection chains.

Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu spoke Wednesday morning to Radio Jerusalem and said that from his perspective, restrictions at this point should be about everything, including demonstrations There is no gathering that is not contagious... When you take off your mask and shout at demonstrations, or if in the heat of the demonstration it falls down, then it is clear what happens.

He added that the country will not open fast like last time not the education system, restaurants or leisure activities.

"Everything will be graded and slow," he said. It depends on two parameters: a low coefficient of infection and a decrease in the level of morbidity that will reduce the number of serious patients.

View post:

Likud, Blue and White spar over protests as infection soars - The Jerusalem Post

FM Ashkenazi hails US declaration that UN sanctions on Iran in force – The Times of Israel

Posted By on September 23, 2020

100,000 march in Minsk for week 7 of Belarus protests

KYIV, Ukraine Tens of thousands of Belarusians calling for the authoritarian president to resign march through the capital as the countrys wave of protests enters its seventh week.

Hundreds of soldiers block off the center of Minsk, deploying water cannons and armored personnel carriers and erecting barbed wire barriers. Protests also take place in several other cities, including Brest and Grodno.

The crowd in Minsk includes about 100,000 people, says Ales Bialiatski, head of the Viasna human rights organization. He says dozens of demonstrators were arrested in Minsk and Grodno.

Protests began August 9 after an election that official results say gave President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term in office; opponents and some poll workers say the results were manipulated.

Lukashenko, who has repressed opposition and independent news media during 26 years in power, has rejected suggestions of dialogue with the protesters. Many members of the Coordination Council that was formed by the opposition to push for a transition of power have been arrested or have fled the country.

The Minsk demonstrators carry the red-and-white flags that were independent Belarus national standard before being replaced in 1995, early in Lukashenkos tenure. Some bear placards depicting Lukashenko as a mustachioed cockroach.

Although protests have taken place daily since the election, the Sunday gatherings in Minsk have been by far the largest, attracting crowds of as many as 200,000 people.

Every Sunday, you are showing yourselves and the world that the Belarusian people are the power, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who was Lukashenkos main election opponent, says in a video message from Lithuania, where she is in exile.

AP

Protesters with old Belarusian national flags march during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, September 20, 2020. (AP Photo/TUT.by)

Read the original:

FM Ashkenazi hails US declaration that UN sanctions on Iran in force - The Times of Israel

Lebanon’s oil in exchange for negotiating with the occupation – Middle East Monitor

Posted By on September 23, 2020

The Trump administration is pressuring Lebanon to open a line for direct negotiations with Israel before the elections. It seems that wishful thinking is one thing, but the reality Lebanon is experiencing, with its political components and complications is another. Washington and Israel are still hoping to make a breakthrough in the Lebanese scene, not only with regards to the formation of the new government, but also regarding claiming Lebanons gas and oil, which Israel claims to have a right to. The wishful thinking of the two has reached the point of a common belief that direct negotiations can begin between Lebanon and the occupation before the American elections.

An American delegate has revealed his administrations intentions and informed the Lebanese officials that benefitting from Lebanons oil wealth is linked to negotiating with the occupation. David Schenker, assistant head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the State Department, visited Lebanon and met with Lebanese officials and exposed the American administrations intentions behind the negotiation process for demarcating the borders with Israel. After Davids visit, it became apparent that his vision, which was not without an American trap for Lebanon, was a disguised initiative to continue pressuring the Lebanese government to drag it into negotiations beyond the demarcation of borders.

Informed sources say that Lebanon is suffering from a stifling economic crisis and worsening financial hardship, and this has opened the door for great international pressures, which have recently gone beyond demands for economic reforms, to reach the stage of political-security demands that are wrapped in an economic cover. This was clearly demonstrated during the talks conducted by Pierre Dukan, the French delegate charged with following up on the implementation of the decisions of the Cedar Conference. This was then followed up by David Schenker. The US effort is focused on finding a direct negotiation channel between the two sides, to agree on the borders of the economic waters and divide the disputed areas between them, as the situation in Lebanon has become favourable, which was not the case in the past.

READ: Aoun warns Lebanon will go to hell unless government agreed

High-ranking Israeli and American officials said, in separate conversations to Israeli news site Walla, that the American administrations goal is to achieve direct negotiations before the presidential elections in November. This would be a major political achievement for President Donald Trump, as in addition to resolving the dispute over the maritime borders, no direct political negotiations have taken place between the two sides for 30 years.

However, what is motivating the US administration to hope that it can impose its political will on the Lebanese side this time? The report indicates that conditions have become favourable in recent weeks, specifically after the catastrophic explosion in the Beirut port, and due to the repercussions of the economic crisis in Lebanon, in addition to internal criticism from the Lebanese parties of Hezbollah. These are all factors that prompted the US administration to resume its efforts to start negotiations between the two countries.

Israeli sources note that it was to this end that David Schenker visited Israel and met with Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is in charge of the maritime border file on behalf of the Israeli government. He also met with the new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi; whose office is a partner in the ongoing contacts.

According to the same sources, Schenker briefed the two ministers, Steinitz and Ashkenazi, after his return from Beirut of the contents of his talks with the Lebanese side, and presented them with an updated draft of a document of principles to start negotiations.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustour on 21 September 2020

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

See the original post here:

Lebanon's oil in exchange for negotiating with the occupation - Middle East Monitor

For Israel’s ultra-Orthodox society, coronavirus has changed the rules – Haaretz.com

Posted By on September 23, 2020

Over a third of young members of the ultra-Orthodox community feel their trust in their political representatives has severely eroded recently, a poll conducted in early August and published for the first time in Haaretz shows.

The survey was conducted by the Askaria research firm, which specializes in the ultra-Orthodox public, along with researchers from the Israel Democracy Institute, and polled a representative sample of 484 ultra-Orthodox Israelis aged 18 through 30. Findings show a high level of distrust of government policies.

Anyone familiar with the conversation in Haredi synagogues and WhatsApp groups will not be surprised by this sentiment even if it is very unusual for Haredi society, where it has been common to unquestioningly obey communityrabbis and leaders.

But the coronavirus outbreak, along with the growing power of social media and internet access has led to a dramatic change, which has placed the ultra-Orthodox community into a position of power over its political leaders, for almost the first time. This change has even forced the Haredi leadership to openly rebel against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Haredi elected officials realized that if they dont do so, the public would lose their faith in them.

Two weeks ago, left with no other option, three Haredi mayors Avraham Rubinstein of Bnei Brak, Meir Rubinstein of Betar Ilit and Yisrael Porush of Elad sent Netanyahu an unprecedented letter. The bottom line was that the three declared that if their cities were put under lockdown, they would not cooperate with the government. The decisions you have made are clearly directed against the Haredi public, they wrote, saying that they would no longer remain silent.

A short time later, Netanyahu met with the heads of the Haredi parties in the Knesset, reconsidered the governments strategy, and the planned lockdown was canceled. But although the letter was signed by the mayors alone, behind them were the hundreds of thousands of Haredi residents who had made their anger and discontent that had been brewing for weeks clear to their elected representatives.

There is disappointment, even a feeling of betrayal, that our representatives are not meeting expectations, said M. from Jerusalem, a 28-year-old student at Jerusalems Mir Yeshiva. The anger that has accumulated during the coronavirus crisis has led some parts of the Haredi community to develop an allergy to their elected representatives, he said. People saw how they abandoned us, when they imposed a lockdown on the Haredi cities and Haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem two months ago, they didnt do anything, added M. He said the Haredi officials have no power, so they should just hand over the keys and go home.

But some are in less of a hurry to believe this is a revolution. A., 20, a yeshiva student from Bnei Brak, presents a slightly different picture. Even though he hears his friends talk about a lack of faith in the leadership, these views are marginal and have no influence, said A.. Some yeshiva students talk about losing faith in their MKs and curse them, but there are always people who'll talk, they really dont count, he added.

Taking a U-turn

Even though this uprising is exceptional by any standard, in recent years a number of incidents have occurred that in retrospect may have heralded the change. The most prominent came when the Haredi leadership gave in to pressure from their constituents and withdrew their support for the Western Wall agreement, which was supposed to lead to the expansion of the egalitarian prayer area at the southern end of the complex.

Three years later, it seems that the realization that the masses hold the power has been succesfully internalized. In a society in which political representatives are viewed as emissaries of the rabbis and to a certain extent criticism of them is criticism of the rabbis we have never heard such criticism until recently, said Dr. Gilad Malach, director of the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel program at the Israel Democracy Institute. Malach participated in conducting the survey along with Dr. Or Anabi, a researcher at the IDI. It is possible to understand the change in the behavior of the Haredi politicians in the wake of this criticism. They werent deaf to the criticism, Malach said.

Malach noted that the Haredi public has taken a U-turn as a result of the coronavirus crisis, along with its elected representatives. At the end of the first wave of the outbreak, the Haredi leadership closed ranks with the government because of calls from the community for an in-depth self-assessment. At the time, segments of the community expressed anger, as they said they were not informed about the severity of the situation.

But during the second wave of the virus, the criticism took a different tone before the planned lockdown, which many saw as an act of discrimination against ultra-Orthodox Israelis. As time went by, the Haredim returned to their element, being suspicious and critical of the state, said Malach. The feeling is that the state is screwing us, and the derivative of this is the feeling that the Haredi politicians are not doing their job of protecting us. This made all the difference. It is possible to see how, in the first round, the Haredim toed the line with the Health Ministry, and this time they fought over the red cities [with the highest number of coronavirus cases] and the synagogues. They realized the public wasnt with them.

The recent survey reflects these changes. It reveals that young Haredim are not critical about their own representatives alone they are questioning the Health Ministry and the entire government. A number of surveys conducted by the IDI since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic reveal that the Haredi communitys trust in Netanyahu is at a low point. If at the end of March, 91 percent of Haredim and religious people trusted Netanyahu, this number fell to just 40.5 percent in a survey conducted this week. The largest drop was among those who voted for the Ashkenazi-Haredi United Torah Judaism party.

It seems there is still no consensus in Haredi society on this matter. As with many others issues, the differences between the Ashkenazi and Sephardic ultra-Orthodox responses are striking on the question of whether the community is rebelling against its leaders. While only 25 percent of the Sephardic Haredim say their faith in their leaders has been seriously damaged, among the non-Hasidic Ashkenazi community, this figure has reached 41 percent. Among Hasidic Jews, the number is 43.5 percent.

This also reflects the differences between where these ultra-Orthodox Israelis are located on the axis between conservatism and modernism. For example, 55.5 percent of modern Haredi Israelis, or those with a touch of modernism, feel that the publics trust in the Haredi parties has been greatly damaged. In comparison, among those more in the middle on the conservative-modern axis, the figure is only 39 percent and 35 percent among those who consider themselves more conservative. Among those who consider themselves ultra-conservative, the figure drops to only 26 percent.

For now, the spirit of the rebellion has stopped before it has reached the rabbis, said Malach. For example, he says that in discussions with yeshiva students, they are careful to make a clear distinction between the rabbis and their political representatives. When the rabbi says something is holy, the question is only whether the rabbi really said what people are saying that he said, said S. This view is backed up by data from the survey, which show that 74.5 percent of those who were questioned said there has been no change in their trust in the rabbinical leadership, as compared to their faith in the political leadership.

In any case, this criticism is still not expected to lead to any real changes on the ground in the near future. This frustration will not be expressed in practice, said S., a student at a Bnei Brak yeshiva. When he put his vote into the ballot box, he said, he thought about the rabbis rather than the parties on the ballot. "As I see it, I'm fulfilling the commandment of the rabbies, who I'm voting for, not their representatives," the politicians.

The rabbis themselves are the holy of holies, and we are voting for them, said M. Even though the [Haredi] public is mad at its representatives, and knows they arent acting on our behalf and they are stuck hard to their [Knesset] seats, they will still vote for the Haredi parties because the Haredi public suffers from Stockholm Syndrome.

M. says the Haredi community has undergone changes in the past few years. They have begun to think, ask questions, sometimes even out loud, but it is still relatively marginal. The real change will only come about when the Haredi public begins to challenge the system itself, in which the rabbis are the supreme and unquestioned power, he said.

A number of his friends, regular yeshiva students, have said they wont vote for Haredi parties in the next election, and that in Haredi cities such as Betar Ilit and Elad, a large number of young people will act independently. They are on social media, up to date about how things work behind the scenes and are behaving less like a flock of sheep. Its not like it used to be, said M.

See the original post here:

For Israel's ultra-Orthodox society, coronavirus has changed the rules - Haaretz.com

The Anti-Semites Who Pushed Prohibition on America – The Daily Beast

Posted By on September 23, 2020

The Jews are on the side of liquor and always have [been], opined American industrialist Henry Ford in 1922. He did not mean it as a compliment.

As one of the most prominent anti-Semites of his day, Ford found the connection particularly convenient, since he was also an avid teetotaler. And in the era leading up to Prohibition, many supporters of the temperance movement were selling the proposed amendment as a way to drive immigrants out of the United States by taking away their means of employment.

Jewish immigrants had participated in the American alcohol industry since the second wave of immigration, which started in the 1840s, notes Marni Davis, associate professor of history at Georgia State University, and author of Jews and Booze. Ashkenazi Jews of both German and Eastern European descent had been involved in the alcohol industry back in Europe. Sometimes in production, sometimes in distribution, sometimes in packagingor flavorings.

It wasnt that they were innately on the side of liquor, of course. The expertise they carried across the Atlantic with them was because the laws of Kashruth required them to oversee the production of both their food and drinks. Old-world anti-Semitism also meant that Jews had often been barred from land ownershipand agricultural productionfor centuries. They made the most of what was left, which often consisted narrowly of crafting and distributing alcoholic beverages. They were also sometimes forced into the liquor business, like in 1700s Poland.

But when they landed in the U.S., they were met with a receptive market.

American culture was eager to help potential alcohol entrepreneurs establish themselves and grow their industries by buying their product, says Davis. The combination of Jewish experience and industry knowledgepre-immigrationand the fact that they arrived in a place that was buying alcohol in vast quantities made for a very welcoming environment for Jewish alcohol entrepreneurs.

A number of these new Americans made their way to western Kentucky, which at the time would have felt much like frontier country. The early Jewish community that settled here in the mid-19th century were mostly German Jews seeking emancipation and religious freedom, according to Abby Glogower, archivist of Jewish materials at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville. They brought with them their own skillset: business and trade. Thats largely because Jews had been denied entry to many artisan and craft guilds.

It didnt take long for them to thrive in the U.S. Some of the biggest names in the pre-Prohibition bourbon industry belonged to German Jews: Dreyfuss & Weil, Samuel Grabfelder (whose operation anchored the prestigious Whiskey Row of office buildings in downtown Louisville), and I.W. Bernheim, who is today immortalized with an eponymous whiskey brand that was created to honor him. By 1900, Jews accounted for 25 percent of whiskey distillers, rectifiers, and wholesalers in Louisville, as noted by Davis in Jews and Booze. By comparison, the Jewish population in the greater Louisville area consisted of less than 3 percent overall.

Indeed, there was an outsized involvement of Jewish-Americans not just in whiskey business, but in the brewing world as well. The Brooklyn-based Rheingold Brewery was founded in 1883 by the Liebmann family, who were German Jewish immigrants. By the start of the 20th century, it staked claim to 35 percent of New York States total beer market in the pre-Prohibition eraenough to mark it as one of the top-selling brands in the country.

But around the same time a coordinated anti-alcohol movement was also gaining steam. At its roots were Protestant and Puritan ideals, which traditionally eyed Judaism through a suspicious lens. The temperance movement was initially born as the Womans Christian Temperance Union when it was conceived in 1873 in Ohio. Along with its male counterpart, the Anti-Saloon League, its reform strategies targeted Jewish as well as Catholic immigrants, labeling them as anti-American elements that threatened gentile society with their foreign drinking habits and saloon culture.

Banding together to shield themselves from such dispersions only served to deepen the distrust. That tight kinship, cultural aspect of Judaism is a target that other people like to use, observes Anistatia Miller, co-author of Spirituous Journey: A History of Drink. Its always been fuel for conspiracyand certainly played such a role during Prohibition.

Cue Henry Ford, who throughout the 1920s positioned Jews as riotous bootleggers and criminal masterminds in a series of published essays. The International Jew: The Worlds Problem, ran the headline of his widely-read newsweekly, The Dearborn Independent. At its height in 1925, the paper reached an audience of 925,000second in the U.S. only to the New York Daily News.

Ford and other prominent nativists of the day were alarmed by the countrys rapidly shifting demographics: along with the Eastern European Jews, upwards of a million-and-a-half Irish immigrants had recently fled to the U.S. escaping famine. Nearly as many Italians arrived contemporaneously, seeking relief from the slums of Southern Italy.

In her book, Miller touches on how the Ku Klux Klan rose to power during this time, offering itself as an evangelically-minded enforcement organization to root out criminality. The illegal behavior it focused on, naturally, was wholly confined to Jewish and Catholic immigrant populations. They were less concerned with the Protestant elected officials who openly flouted the Volstead Act across all levels of government. In fact, without the passage of the 18th Amendment, the U.S. likely would have never seen the violent ascension of this notorious hate group that marred the ensuing decade.

I would not say every Anti-Saloon Leaguer is a Ku Kluxer, but every Ku Kluxer is an Anti-Saloon Leaguer, said American Civil Liberties Union founder Clarence Darrow in 1924.

Observant Jews, meanwhile, would never cede their right to alcohol as it is inherent to time-honored religious rituals.

Almost every lifecycle event in Judaism is inaugurated with the Kiddush [blessing] over wine, explains Rabbi Akiva Niehaus of the Chicago Rabbinical Council. But the Bible does not encourage drinking at all. Its about the religious symbolism. Its a product that can bring people to a higher level and a deeper understanding of oneself.

After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, many prominent Jewish families returned to the industry. Though this time around they were less eager to display their names on the necks of their bottles.

The Shapira family had been in dry goods and owned several department stores around Louisville, explains Glogower of one of the most influential examples. They were approached as investment partners and ended up forming the business that is today known as Heaven Hill.

Sazeracthe largest American-owned spirits companyis helmed by third-generation businessman William Goldring. His grandfather Newman, launched the company in 1898. His primary holding, Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, just released a line of kosher bourbons in conjunction with the Chicago Rabbinical Council. The partnership is hardly a coincidence. Its because of the Jewish ownership that [they] viewed this project with tremendous pride, says Rabbi Niehaus. They want to reach out to the kosher consumer with an authentic kosher product without cutting corners. Its the Jewish pride that made them want to do it right.

Antisemitism in the industry stubbornly persists, of course, as it does in all aspects of society. But Jews continue to make inroads by pushing back against the forces of marginalization.

Throughout history, we have often found ourselves on the lower end of the social totem pole, says Ron Silberstein, founder of Admiral Maltings in Alameda, California. And these sorts of professions were kind of foisted upon us. But we were just making the most out of what was allowed.

There is a vicious circuitousness to the logic. Antisemitism has long corralled Jews toward the business of booze. Then theyre met with more scorn after garnering success from that pursuit.

By now, at least, Fords derisive pronouncement has been sapped of any intended stigma. Ten years after scapegoating Jewish Americans for trying to sabotage the temperance movement, he declared a comically ill-timed victory. Prohibition is a success and nation will never abandon it, read his 1932 headline in Colliers Weekly. A little more than a year later, the passage of the 21st Amendment suggested otherwise.

If Jews were ever picking sides, it was ultimately the right sideof history. Ford could never be accused of the same.

See original here:

The Anti-Semites Who Pushed Prohibition on America - The Daily Beast

Oakland 24-year-old seeking multiethnic bone marrow donor – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on September 23, 2020

Its already hard enough for blood cancer patients to find a match through the international bone marrow registry, which pairs patients with potential donors who have the right type of tissue. But if youre Black and Jewish?

For people with multiple ethnic backgrounds who need marrow or stem cell transplants, matching is even harder.

I remember the doctor saying something like if he was an Irish white boy from Ireland, he might have a better chance, Monika Clark said about her son, 24-year-old Jordan Jackson-Clark of Oakland.

Jackson-Clark, whom his mom describes as mixed ethnicity and biracial, is likely to need a bone marrow transplant after a diagnosis of leukemia two weeks ago.

It was so out of the blue, Clark said. It was so unexpected.

Jackson-Clark had experienced a few bouts of intense stomach pain over the past summer, one strong enough to send him to the ER. Clark was concerned, but she was never expecting the recent call that they got from the doctor.

Through tears, Clark described the blow of hearing the diagnosis for her son, a Berkeley High School grad who was a camp counselor at the East Bay JCC and a member of the Jewish fraternity AEPi.

Hes just a gentle, loving young man, she said.

Jackson-Clark has acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Hes in the hospital getting chemotherapy for the next few weeks. In the meantime, knowing how difficult it will be to find a match for her son, Clark is desperately trying to get the word out about the bone marrow registry.

Please step out and do something very simple to save a life, she said.

The ethnic background of a cancer patient who needs a transplant matters, because the markers used to match a donor and patient are inherited. Having the same markers as a donor makes it a lot more likely that the patients body will accept the life-saving bone marrow or stem cells.

But the makeup of the database of potential donors is mostly white. For people of color and mixed race, the percentage of matches is 23 percent, and for white Caucasians its 77 percent, Clark said.

According to the nonprofit Gift of Life, while more than 12 percent of the American population is Black, only 4 percent on the registry are, and the percentages are similarly out of proportion for other ethnic groups.

Gift of Life was founded by Jay Feinberg, who was diagnosed with leukemia more than 20 years ago and needed a bone marrow transplant from a white Ashkenazi Jew. He sought a donor match, but at that time the database was sorely lacking in diversity. Efforts since then by his organization and others have greatly increased ethnic representation in the registry, but matches for mixed-ethnicity patients remain scarce. Jackson-Clark has the best chance of being matched with another person who is Black, white and Ashkenazi, but there simply arent many in the database.

The solution is getting more potential donors into the system. Clark is asking people to get tested with a simple cheek swab through Be the Match or any other registration service not only if they think they might be a match for her son, but also for all of the other patients out there who need matches. Optimal donor ages are 18 to 44; registration is free and can be done through the mail. That puts them on the international registry of potential donors, and the more people who are on the list, the more likely it is that they could be a match for a cancer patient.

Thats why Rabbi Yigal Rosenberg of Chabad of Santa Clara held a registration drive in February and encouraged young people to get on the list. When he got a call from Gift of Life a few days later, he thought it had something to do with the event.

They said, actually, you are a match! he said.

Rosenberg had the right kind of stem cells to help a 40-year-old man based on a swab hed given 10 years previously in New Jersey. (Whether marrow or stem cells are donated depends on the patients treatment needs.)

Im like, what are the chances? Rosenberg said. Literally I just hosted an event two days ago!

He immediately said yes and began a required series of injections to boost stem-cell production checking with another rabbi to make sure it was OK to have the shots on Shabbat as well.

This is the one thing youre allowed to compromise on, in Shabbat observance, is to save a life, he said.

Then, at the beginning of September, he drove down to San Bernardino, where he was put up in a hotel. He spent one day at the donation center attached to a machine that pumped blood out, filtered out and collected the stem cells, and returned the blood to his body. Rosenberg said the experience wasnt difficult at all.

I just felt so empowered during the entire process, he said.

He even livestreamed it on Facebook as a way to encourage more registrations, and to dispel some of the fear around donation. (Whether a patient requires the donors marrow or stem cells depends on the particular treatment protocol.)

I went right back to the hotel, jumped in the Jacuzzi for a bit and took a nap, he said. The next day he was back on his way to Santa Clara to resume his duties.

Clark, a former JCC preschool teacher, said it is important for people to know that donating stem cells and even bone marrow is not as intrusive or painful as it used to be. And anyone on the registry can always decide later that theyre not ready to donate, so getting the swab does not commit them to doing so.

The greatest Rosh Hashanah gift from the Jewish and biracial communities would be to spread the word far and wide with your communities, and to please get on the donor list by sending away for a simple and free cheek swab, she said. You just might save my or someone elses childs life.

Link:

Oakland 24-year-old seeking multiethnic bone marrow donor - The Jewish News of Northern California

Survey: 13% of NJ’s young adults think Jews caused the Holocaust – New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio

Posted By on September 23, 2020

This is why every nationality in this country needs a month to celebrate their heritage.

A 50-state survey of millennials and Gen Zers(ages 18-39) done by the nonprofit "The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany" found some knew little to nothing about the most horrific event in modern history.

According to the New Jersey numbers posted on the "Holocaust Awareness and Study chart in the article, 13 percent of those surveyed in New Jersey believe Jews caused the Holocaust. Of those surveyed, 43% couldn't name a concentration camp or a ghetto, 37% did not know what Auschwitz was, 58% did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and 27% believed 2 million or fewer Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

Spokesman Benjamin Grossman told the Times Union that 200 interviewees were in every state, whether it was as thinly populated as Idaho and Montana or had a population as huge as New York's or California's. Numbers were crunched for each individual state as well as a national score. Nationally, 11 percent of the responders blamed the Jews for the Holocaust.

You would think that everyone that age would know the facts of the Holocaust. You would think that they'd be teaching it in schools. Then you see comments made by Eagles wide Desean Jackson about Hitler, for which he has since apologised, and you see how much more emphasis needs to be taught in the schools,

I've long been a proponent of every nationality or ethnicity in America getting a month to celebrateits heritage. This month, starting Sept. 15, is Hispanic Heritage Month. Of course, February is Black History Month, I think we should also celebrate among others Italian History Month, Irish History Month, and Jewish History Month.

There are a lot of things we don't know and should know about each other. I think if we learned more about our various heritages and ancestors we'd find that we have a lot more in common than we think. Once we realize that, we all would get along so much better.

Read more here:

Survey: 13% of NJ's young adults think Jews caused the Holocaust - New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio

Coronavirus crisis is testing the resilience of Europe’s small Jewish communities – JTA News – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Posted By on September 23, 2020

(JTA) With 20 years of experience as a professional singer, Petra Ernyei had enjoyed a reasonable level of job security.

During the High Holidays especially, Ernyei, 44, could depend on steady gigs from local Jewish organizations in her native Czech Republic, home to some of European Jewrys oldest heritage sites.

She has performed at the Maisel Synagogue, a 17th-century Renaissance temple with three naves, and the synagogue in Polna, which was rebuilt in recent years after having been used by the Nazis as a warehouse for stolen Jewish property.

But with the coronavirus pandemic blowing a large hole in the communitys budget this year, several employees have been let go by Czech Jewish groups and even freelancers like Ernyei have seen their work evaporate. Now instead of working for the community, she is relying on it to survive, joining a growing list of Prague Jews who have come to depend again on international Jewish philanthropy to make ends meet.

I try to be optimistic. Sometimes I cry, Ernyei told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. We dont go out anymore, the kids mostly stay at home or go to friends. Life is different now. But I remember that weve got our health and weve got each other.

Six months after the coronavirus brought much of European Jewish life to a halt, communities across the continent have mostly adjusted to life under the cloud of a global pandemic. Schools and synagogues have largely managed the transition online, and initial concerns about kosher food shortages and the inability to perform certain religious practices have not come to pass.

But as Europes Jews celebrate the High Holidays, the financial repercussions of the pandemic are just now coming into focus. They threaten to undo years of progress toward achieving financial independence.

Smaller Eastern European communities, which languished under communism for decades and only recently have come to develop local sources of revenue that enabled them to shed their dependence on foreign donors, are increasingly depending anew on external aid.

This reliance on aid is familiar territory for Jewish communities in former communist countries like the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, or JDC, especially spent hundreds of million of dollars on caring for the basic needs of needy Jews in the aftermath of the collapse of the Iron Curtain in the 1990s.

Communist repression meant that most Jews in newly democratic countries had little knowledge of their religion and its traditions. So millions of dollars more went to helping them build community institutions, including schools, summer camps and youth programs.

Some communities also were given back real estate that had been stolen from Jews in the Holocaust, a mixed blessing that included spectacular synagogues but also dilapidated structures and cemeteries that strained their budgets.

Over time, as some of those sites became lucrative tourist attractions and the ranks of local supporters swelled, many of the communities have become less dependent on charity and more self-reliant, though with razor thin margins.

The pandemic has complicated a delicate balance sheet.

The coronavirus crisis is compounding the preexisting financial problems of small communities in Europe, said Sergio DellaPergola, an expert on Jewish demography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Theyre limited in their sources of income and burdened by maintenance expenses on old real estate.

In the Czech Republic, where about 3,000 Jews live, the coronavirus has led to a revenue shortfall of about $6 million for Jewish organizations, according to Petr Papousek, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities there. In Prague, where most Czech Jews live, about 50% of the annual budget has disappeared.

The shortfall owes to a near total halt in ticket sales at the Jewish Museum in the capital city, which generated thousands of dollars daily before the pandemic. And there was a secondary effect: Revenue from community-owned property rented to hotel and restaurant owners, businesses that took a beating because of the coronavirus, also took a serious hit.

Theres no sign that this new reality is going to change in the near future, or before 2023, Papousek said. We need to start thinking about a new financial model.

In Hungary, home to one of the larger Jewish communities in the region with about 100,000 people, the coronavirus cost the Jewish community about $1 million in lost ticket sales to the Dohany Synagogue, the second largest in Europe and a popular Budapest tourist attraction. Mazsihisz, the main Jewish umbrella group in Hungary, managed to avoid dismissing any of its dozens of employees, but it did mandate a 40% pay cut. That forced some staff to quit because the reduced salary was too little to live on, a member of the Mazsihisz board said.

In Bulgaria, dozens of Jewish community employees are in danger of being let go as the community grapples with the loss of tens of thousands of dollars a week from ticket sales to the Sofia Synagogue, one of the largest and most ornate of its kind in the Balkans. Those revenues help fund the Jewish school and kindergarten in Sofia, the capital, as well as social activities for young people and older adults, who make up a sizable chunk of Bulgarias Jewish population of about 5,000.

We used to have 200 to 300 visitors each day, many from Israel, said Alexander Oscar, president of the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria Shalom. Now theyre not coming anymore because of corona and were going to have a serious budget problem.

So far, the Bulgarian community has managed to avoid staff layoffs but Oscar says that wont be possible much longer.

Were barely managing to pay the bills this month, but after September I dont know what were going to do, he said.

As in the United States, where a coalition of donors quickly pulled together an $80 million emergency fund as the pandemic gained ground this spring, the JDC has led an emergency program to provide relief to 1,600 Jewish families in 16 countries, including 11 in Europe.

The first phase of the Pandemic Humanitarian Relief Program its being funded by a consortium of donors that includes the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation, the Maimonides Fund and the Genesis Philanthropy Group began in April with stipends ranging from $100 to $180 each month.

That fund is in addition to a $17 million allocation last month from the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency aimed at supporting small Jewish communities through the crisis. An earlier $10 million Jewish Agency fund created to lend money to communities at risk has received applications from 80 communities worldwide.

The growing reliance on external funding represents not only a step backward for many of these communities in terms of self-reliance, but also comes as many potential benefactors run low on cash themselves because of the pandemic. But many in the communities say their institutions are strong enough to weather the crisis in part because they know how to work together and leverage resources that didnt exist decades ago.

In April, the Chabad-affiliated EMIH Jewish federation in Hungary scaled back its lucrative kosher foie gras production line the only one of its kind in Europe to help avert kosher meat shortages elsewhere in Europe. The switch reduced revenues at the federations slaughterhouse, but it enabled a quadrupling of capacity to as much as 10,000 birds a day as a quick resolution to early kosher meat shortages.

The crisis has also strengthened bonds within communities that almost didnt exist 40 years ago under communism. In Bulgaria, a program called Phone a Friend encouraged younger community members to reach out to older ones who were either confined to their homes or at an elevated risk outside them.

Martin Levi, a 33-year-old events manager from Sofia, made calls each week to check in on two men in their 70s. One of them wanted to know why he was talking to an old man instead of finding a wife, which made Levi laugh. The other had traveled widely and was a skilled conversationalist.

Our community has managed to stick together, improvise, regroup and adapt, Levi said. It exists and it can survive this setback. It makes me feel proud to be a Bulgarian Jew, and it shows the return on the investment that it took to build this community.

To Russel Wolkind, the director for planning and partnership for JDCs Europe division, this is evidence that the fallback to external aid will be only a temporary measure. The communities of Eastern Europe have developed the infrastructure to stand on their own when circumstances improve.

Yes, theres external funding, but the handholding of the 1990s is a thing of the past, Wolkind said. The communities are administering this and other emergency measures themselves, and are rising to the occasion in an impressive way.

More:

Coronavirus crisis is testing the resilience of Europe's small Jewish communities - JTA News - Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Coronavirus is testing the resilience of Europes small Jewish communities – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on September 23, 2020

With 20 years of experience as a professional singer, Petra Ernyei had enjoyed a reasonable level of job security.

During the High Holidays especially, Ernyei, 44, could depend on steady gigs from local Jewish organizations in her native Czech Republic, home to some of European Jewrys oldest heritage sites.

She has performed at the Maisel Synagogue, a 17th-century Renaissance temple with three naves, and the synagogue in Polna, which was rebuilt in recent years after having been used by the Nazis as a warehouse for stolen Jewish property.

But with the coronavirus pandemic blowing a large hole in the communitys budget this year, several employees have been let go by Czech Jewish groups and even freelancers like Ernyei have seen their work evaporate. Now instead of working for the community, she is relying on it to survive, joining a growing list of Prague Jews who have come to depend again on international Jewish philanthropy to make ends meet.

I try to be optimistic. Sometimes I cry, Ernyei told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. We dont go out anymore, the kids mostly stay at home or go to friends. Life is different now. But I remember that weve got our health and weve got each other.

But as Europes Jews celebrate the High Holidays, the financial repercussions of the pandemic are just now coming into focus. They threaten to undo years of progress toward achieving financial independence.

Smaller Eastern European communities, which languished under communism for decades and only recently have come to develop local sources of revenue that enabled them to shed their dependence on foreign donors, are increasingly depending anew on external aid.

This reliance on aid is familiar territory for Jewish communities in former communist countries like the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, or JDC, especially spent hundreds of million of dollars on caring for the basic needs of needy Jews in the aftermath of the collapse of the Iron Curtain in the 1990s.

Communist repression meant that most Jews in newly democratic countries had little knowledge of their religion and its traditions. So millions of dollars more went to helping them build community institutions, including schools, summer camps and youth programs.

Some communities also were given back real estate that had been stolen from Jews in the Holocaust, a mixed blessing that included spectacular synagogues but also dilapidated structures and cemeteries that strained their budgets.

Over time, as some of those sites became lucrative tourist attractions and the ranks of local supporters swelled, many of the communities have become less dependent on charity and more self-reliant, though with razor thin margins.

The pandemic has complicated a delicate balance sheet.

The coronavirus crisis is compounding the preexisting financial problems of small communities in Europe, said Sergio DellaPergola, an expert on Jewish demography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Theyre limited in their sources of income and burdened by maintenance expenses on old real estate.

The shortfall owes to a near total halt in ticket sales at the Jewish Museum in the capital city, which generated thousands of dollars daily before the pandemic. And there was a secondary effect: Revenue from community-owned property rented to hotel and restaurant owners, businesses that took a beating because of the coronavirus, also took a serious hit.

Theres no sign that this new reality is going to change in the near future, or before 2023, Papousek said. We need to start thinking about a new financial model.

In Hungary, home to one of the larger Jewish communities in the region with about 100,000 people, the coronavirus cost the Jewish community about $1 million in lost ticket sales to the Dohany Synagogue, the second largest in Europe and a popular Budapest tourist attraction. Mazsihisz, the main Jewish umbrella group in Hungary, managed to avoid dismissing any of its dozens of employees, but it did mandate a 40% pay cut. That forced some staff to quit because the reduced salary was too little to live on, a member of the Mazsihisz board said.

We used to have 200 to 300 visitors each day, many from Israel, said Alexander Oscar, president of the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria Shalom. Now theyre not coming anymore because of corona and were going to have a serious budget problem.

So far, the Bulgarian community has managed to avoid staff layoffs but Oscar says that wont be possible much longer.

Were barely managing to pay the bills this month, but after September I dont know what were going to do, he said.

As in the United States, where a coalition of donors quickly pulled together an $80 million emergency fund as the pandemic gained ground this spring, the JDC has led an emergency program to provide relief to 1,600 Jewish families in 16 countries, including 11 in Europe.

The first phase of the Pandemic Humanitarian Relief Program its being funded by a consortium of donors that includes the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation, the Maimonides Fund and the Genesis Philanthropy Group began in April with stipends ranging from $100 to $180 each month.

That fund is in addition to a $17 million allocation last month from the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency aimed at supporting small Jewish communities through the crisis. An earlier $10 million Jewish Agency fund created to lend money to communities at risk has received applications from 80 communities worldwide.

The growing reliance on external funding represents not only a step backward for many of these communities in terms of self-reliance, but also comes as many potential benefactors run low on cash themselves because of the pandemic. But many in the communities say their institutions are strong enough to weather the crisis in part because they know how to work together and leverage resources that didnt exist decades ago.

The crisis has also strengthened bonds within communities that almost didnt exist 40 years ago under communism. In Bulgaria, a program called Phone a Friend encouraged younger community members to reach out to older ones who were either confined to their homes or at an elevated risk outside them.

Martin Levi, a 33-year-old events manager from Sofia, made calls each week to check in on two men in their 70s. One of them wanted to know why he was talking to an old man instead of finding a wife, which made Levi laugh. The other had traveled widely and was a skilled conversationalist.

Our community has managed to stick together, improvise, regroup and adapt, Levi said. It exists and it can survive this setback. It makes me feel proud to be a Bulgarian Jew, and it shows the return on the investment that it took to build this community.

To Russel Wolkind, the director for planning and partnership for JDCs Europe division, this is evidence that the fallback to external aid will be only a temporary measure. The communities of Eastern Europe have developed the infrastructure to stand on their own when circumstances improve.

Yes, theres external funding, but the handholding of the 1990s is a thing of the past, Wolkind said. The communities are administering this and other emergency measures themselves, and are rising to the occasion in an impressive way.

Continued here:

Coronavirus is testing the resilience of Europes small Jewish communities - The Jerusalem Post

When RBG came to see Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish – Forward

Posted By on September 23, 2020

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Zalmen Mlotek/Courtesy of Mlotek

Many stars came to visit our shtetl, including Lin Manuel Miranda, Bette Midler, Hugh Jackman, Hillary Clinton, to name a few, but no night did the stars shine as bright as the night when Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg came to visit.

Our National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, directed by Joel Grey, ran in New York for two years, first at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and then, after a six month sold out engagement, for another ten months at Stage 42 off-Broadway. When I began to think about the people whom I wanted to invite to see the show, Justice Ginsburg was high on my list from the earliest days.

I had met the Justice at the wedding of my niece Marissa Mlotek Schonbrun, whose marriage to Zach Schonbrun Justice Ginsburg officiated alongside my son, Rabbi Avram Mlotek.

RBG, or Kiki as the family called her, was a first cousin to Jackie Schonbrun, Zachs grandmother, and needless to say, the wedding was an incredible moment. Surrounded of course by secret service, she graciously greeted everyone who came over to bend down to be in eye contact with her as the Justice sat during the pre-wedding reception. I have never attended a wedding where the audience literally stood and gave a standing ovation as the officiant pronounced by the power vested in her by the Constitution of the United States the couple would be wed as wife and husband.

Knowing what kind of a music lover and opera enthusiast she was, I took the opportunity to reach out to her by mail to invite her to see our production at the Museum.

I received a beautiful note from her graciously thanking me for the invitation, but that she was swamped with Supreme Court responsibilities and would not be able to join.

When I had heard she was going to be in New York for an event after we had been playing for a year in New York, I sent her another invite, and again she wrote back.

Dear Mr. Mlotek:

Several people who have attended performances of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish have told me what a great show it is. I have no free evening the days I will be in the City for the Moment event, but I will contact you if a later date opens on my calendar.

With appreciation for the renewed invitation,

RBG

Finally, after literally a year and a half of correspondence, I received a note from her assistant that Justice Ginsburg would like three tickets for the August 13th performance. I immediately wrote her:

Dear Justice Ginsburg:

We are so thrilled that you will be able to come join us on August 13th. There will be three seats reserved for you and we would be thrilled and honored if the house staff could escort you and your guests backstage to meet the cast afterwards.

We very much look forward to seeing you on the 13th with your granddaughter and husband.

Sincerely,

Zalmen Mlotek

The secret service arranged to check out the theater the week she was attending.

Unbeknownst to me, Kate McKinnon, the actress from Saturday Night Live who played RBG, was also scheduled to be in the audience that same performance. It was a total coincidence, and the first time that they had ever met.

I am told that when RBG entered the theater to take her seat and the audience got wind of her presence, there was a spontaneous standing ovation before the show.

After the show, she and guests were escorted backstage by Joel Grey. She was incredibly gracious and took photos with many cast members.

She was accompanied by Barbara Underwood, the solicitor general of New York, who happened to be the mother of the actor, Bobby Underwood, who played the Constable in our production.

A few days later, I received the following note from Justice Ginsburg:

Attending the Yiddish Fiddler was one of those rare experiences in life when experience exceeds anticipation. The show is beyond wonderful. The cast, in song, dance, and dialogue, brought Anatevka and its dwellers vividly to life. Brava to the Yiddish coach who [got the] cast to speak as though the language was their native tongue. Direction, choreography, and music arrangement and performance were brilliant. All in all, it was a captivating night at the theatre. Huge thanks for the many memorable moments my granddaughter, her husband, and I will recall when it is time to dream.

We all have our reasons that we are heartbroken by the untimely passing of Justice Ginsburg. We share with the rest of the country our wishes that her memory be a blessing and have a personal p.s. to thank her for her thanks.

While the star did shine brightly that night she attended, we all despair in the darkness that her passing has brought.

Zalmen Mlotek is the Artistic Director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.

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

More here:

When RBG came to see Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish - Forward


Page 3«..2345..1020..»