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Anti-Defamation League | ADL New York / New Jersey …

Posted By on December 8, 2018

ATTENTION COLLEGE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS:

The ADL New York / New Jersey Regions Internship Program provides professional development training for college and graduate school students seeking real-life experience in the non-profit sector. It is an unpaid internship with the opportunity to receive college credit and/or community service credit.

About ADL:

ADL is the worlds leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, itstimelessmissionistoprotect the Jewish peopleand to secure justice and fair treatmentforall. Today,ADLcontinuestofight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion.Aglobal leader inexposingextremism,delivering anti-bias education,and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur.ADLsultimate goal is a world in whichno group or individual suffers frombias, discriminationorhate.

The ADL New York / New Jersey Region office, overseen by Regional Director Evan Bernstein, serves New York State, Northern and Central New Jersey with anti-bias education programs, advocacy work, and interfaith/intergroup initiatives.

Now accepting applications for the following positions

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Zionism: Cycles of Trauma and Aggression in the Service of …

Posted By on December 5, 2018

Zionism is inherently reactionary

The origins of Zionism are profoundly misunderstood by many. This is not coincidental and can be seen largely as the result ofpropaganda, which opportunistically and erroneously asserts that Zionism is the natural expression of Judaism.

In fact, Zionism gained traction among some Jews only in the late 19thcentury in response to antisemitism and romantic European nationalist movements.Zionists syncretizedmany white supremacist, antisemitic, messianic and fascistic racialized dogmas and were thus overwhelmingly unpopular among most Jews, who viewed the ideals of the enlightenmentemancipation, equality and integration as their target.

Zionism first increased its influence in the small Jewish towns in Eastern Europethe shtetlsat a time when many of their inhabitants became secular but not emancipated. Thus, their view of antisemitism and its accompanying violence and trauma was a modern one, not the traditional Jewish notion that deemed oppression and hardship as divine punishment for sins (for review seehere). Zionism offered a seemingly empowering vision of a new Jew, who shed obsolete beliefs, which were viewed as passive and weak. Instead, Zionists reacted with force against oppression and adopted the antisemitic notion whereby Jews were the cause of their own oppression and should thus segregate themselves.

In response to antisemitism, Zionists embraced their fear and contempt of their abusers to produce defensive aggression, reinventing identity in a reactionary attempt to ensure survival and restore pride. The reward of violencepower-quickly enticed Zionist leaders to morph what began as a defensive strategy into an offensive one that culminated with asettler colonialist vision of a homeland in Palestineat the expense of its Indigenous population, the existing Palestinian people.

Defense and oppressiona self-sustaining cycle

It is instrumental to view this dynamic through a behavioral neuroscientific perspective, which affords a means of understanding underlying motivations of both persons and class structures, as well as informs on potential resolutions.

Studies show that the emotions of fear and anxiety and their corresponding neural circuitries are highly conserved among all mammals, including humans. In response to threat, fear is expressed in the form ofdefensive behaviors. These include flight if an escape route is available, freezing and avoidance if not (both techniques of choice in response to antisemitism prior to Zionism), and defensive threat and attack when confrontation is imminent.

Defensive aggression and its corresponding violence can lead to the rewards of resource acquisitionwhether it be the sparing of ones own life or access to the many spoils of dominance: sexual partners, money, land, power etc. Hence, a process that begins with oppression leads to fear in the oppressed (expressed as defensive aggression) and morphs to offensive aggression directed towards resource acquisition, which ultimately results in the subjugation of others by those previously oppressed. The once powerless become hooked to the rewards of violence; an addiction which facilitates the transition from defense to offense.

Thus, the everlasting and self-perpetuating dynamic of persecution often shifts the balance of power, yet always maintains an equal or growing level of violence.

How do the hegemonic forces sustain subservience in their subject population while reaping the benefits of oppression? through fear mongering and ever-escalating violence.

Fear conditioning and population control

Fear memories are formed when otherwise neutral stimuli are paired with pain or danger and are extinguished when they are decoupled (seehere). Chronic, prolonged, generalized or an otherwise abnormal fear reaction to an ambiguous stimulus is viewed as maladaptive and linked to a range of psychopathologies, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Fear conditioning is reinstated in a person or a populace (collective PTSD) upon re-exposure to-or the recall of-the fear-inducing stimulus. In such a manner, reinstatement is a technique by which the political, religious, military and economic ruling classes manipulate their populace to gain support for their aggressive and expansionist policies, distract from their own corruptions, privileges and suppression of dissent.

Fear is reinstated in traumatized collectives using several methods: (i) focusing on-and decontextualizing an act of violence or resistance (e.g. terrorism); (ii) reminding the public of some atrocity in the past (memorial days, sanctifying bereaved families); (iii) shifting attention to perceived threats (e.g. the Iranian nuclear program); (iv) appealing to past glory, nostalgia (romantic nationalism) and; (v) segregating communities (apartheid), which preserves a process of dehumanization of the other and renders re-exposure and reconciliation (i.e. extinction of fear) virtually impossible.

Thus, fearmanifests in increasingly violent displays of aggressionpromoting the interests of those in power. It is precisely these aggressive actionswhich are rewardedby the hegemony and therefore become more prevalent in the general population. Privilege enables little risk of harm for the hegemonic forces and the reinstatement of perceived imminent threats constantly raises the bar for-and serves to justify permissible oppression.

From an early age the population, through participation in violence in the army or elsewhere, are encouraged to transition from the defensive to the offensive expressions of aggression. As such, the population is made an accomplice to ruling class corruptions and crimes, and thus perceives, together with its leaders, any forms of dissent as treasonous existential threats (seehere).

Breaking the cycle of oppression

The cycle of violence and inequality has been the backbone of all white supremacist, settler colonialist societies, past and present which engage in ethnic cleansing and genocide of Indigenous populations; e.g. the United States, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Israel and more.

Yet the question ariseshow can the cycle be broken?

Victims of abuse can cope with trauma in two ways. They can either channel their rage toward weaker elements in their immediate society or outside of it and in so doing perpetuate the never ending cycle of abuse, or stand up to their abusers, who are stronger than them, resist the temptations of resource acquisition and break the cycle of violence and inequality.

The first option of picking on the weak is easy and can be a solitary endeavor; victims become abusers and in so doing feel empowered; e.g. the Zionist example. The second option of fighting oppressors poses a greater challenge and requires courage, resolve and social skills, i.e. collectivism, as bullies are usually stronger and more formidable than their victims.

For this purpose, it is advantageous for the oppressed to join forces and collaborate with fellow victims of white supremacy; women, immigrants, black and brown people, Indigenous, Muslim, Jews and others so that together they may form a winning strategy to overcome their oppressors.

Notably, Zionist propaganda works against this sort of alliance building and resistance by fragmenting and isolating Palestinian society within historical Palestine and outside of it.

BDS and defeating white supremacy

The non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Palestinian-led movement has demonstrated the utility of adopting an approach which implements the lessons learned by the many victims of settler colonialism and white supremacy.

These lessons include a series of steps which include: (i) promoting truth and dispelling propaganda; (ii) fostering accountability in the guilty (e.g.here); (iii) moving toward cessation of hostilities/injustices; (iv) breaking barriers, physical or otherwise; (v) adopting an intersectional,anti-racistleadership which recognizes interlocking systems of power and oppression that impact those who are most marginalized in society and (vi) creating empathy and forging bonds.

It is glaringly apparent that with everyBDS victorythe Israeli propaganda machine continues to lose credibility. The demonopolized nature of the internet provides accessibility to truth like never before and an opportunity for Palestinians and other victims of settler colonialism to connect and collaborate towards the breaking of the cycle of violence and inequality.

That said, the rise of global fascistic movements, stimulated byDonald Trump and his Zionist allies in the Israeli government, are hard at work toward their mutual interest of global apartheid, often using the internet to disperse false information (fake news). Thus, it is clear that the battle against Zionist expansionism and its oppression of the Palestinian people should incorporate a comprehensive dismantling of settler colonialism and white supremacy.

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Talmud | Religion-wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Posted By on December 2, 2018

The Talmud (Hebrew: talmd "instruction, learning", from a root lmd "teach, study") is a central text of mainstream Judaism, in the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history.

The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law; and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh.

The terms Talmud and Gemara are often used interchangeably. The Gemara is the basis for all codes of rabbinic law and is much quoted in other rabbinic literature. The whole Talmud is also traditionally referred to as Shas ("), a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, the "six orders" of the Mishnah.

Originally, Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the law (the written law expressed in the Hebrew Bible) and discussed the Tanakh without the benefit of written works (other than the Biblical books themselves), though some may have made private notes (megillot setarim), for example of court decisions. This situation changed drastically, however, mainly as the result of the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth in the year 70 CE and the consequent upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. As the Rabbis were required to face a new realitymainly Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without autonomythere was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing.[1][2]The earliest recorded oral law may have been of the midrashic form, in which halakhic discussion is structured as exegetical commentary on the Pentateuch. But an alternative form, organized by subject matter instead of by biblical verse, became dominant about the year 200 C.E., when Rabbi Judah haNasi redacted the Mishnah ().

The Oral Law was far from monolithic; rather, it varied among various schools. The most famous two were the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. In general, all valid opinions, even the non-normative ones, were recorded in the Talmud.

The six orders (sedarim, singular - seder) of general subject matter the Talmud are divided into 60 or 63 tractates (masekhtot, singular - masekhet) of more focused subject compilations. Each tractate is divided into chapters (perakim, singular - perek), 517 in total, that are both numbered according to the Hebrew alphabet and given names, usually using the first one or two words in the first mishah. The perek may continue over several to tens of pages (dafim, singular - daf; also known as blat) of the Talmud, which are cited in English-language works with Arabic numerals, each side referred to as Alef or Bet. Each perek will contain several mishnayot[3] with their accompanying exchanges that form the "building-blocks" of the Gemara; the name for a passage of gemara is a sugya (; plural sugyot). A sugya, including baraita or tosefta, will typically comprise a detailed proof-based elaboration of a Mishnaic statement, whether halakhic or aggadic. A sugya may, and often does range widely off the subject of the mishnah. The sugya is not punctuated in the conventional sense used in the English language, but by using specific expressions that help to divide the sugya into components, usually including a statement, a question on the statement, an answer, a proof for the answer or a refutation of the answer with its own proof.

In a given sugya, scriptural, Tannaic and Amoraic statements are brought to support the various opinions. In so doing, the Gemara will bring semantic disagreements between Tannaim and Amoraim (often ascribing a view to an earlier authority as to how he may have answered a question), and compare the Mishnaic views with passages from the Baraita. Rarely are debates formally closed; in many instances, the final word determines the practical law, although there are many exceptions to this principle.

The Mishnah is a compilation of legal opinions and debates. Statements in the Mishnah are typically terse, recording brief opinions of the rabbis debating a subject; or recording only an unattributed ruling, apparently representing a consensus view. The rabbis recorded in the Mishnah are known as Tannaim.

Since it sequences its laws by subject matter instead of by biblical context, the Mishnah discusses individual subjects more thoroughly than the Midrash, and it includes a much broader selection of halakhic subjects than the Midrash. The Mishnah's topical organization thus became the framework of the Talmud as a whole. But not every tractate in the Mishnah has a corresponding Gemara. Also, the order of the tractates in the Talmud differs in some cases from that in the Mishnah (see the discussion on each order).

In addition to the Mishnah, other tannaitic teachings were current at about the same time or shortly thereafter. The Gemara frequently refers to these tannaitic statements in order to compare them to those contained in the Mishnah and to support or refute the propositions of Amoraim. All such non-Mishnaic tannaitic sources are termed baraitot (lit. outside material, "Works external to the Mishnah"; sing. baraita ).The baraitot cited in the Gemara are often quotations from the Tosefta (a tannaitic compendium of halakha parallel to the Mishnah) and the Halakhic Midrashim (specifically Mekhilta, Sifra and Sifre). Some baraitot, however, are known only through traditions cited in the Gemara, and are not part of any other collection.

In the three centuries following the redaction of the Mishnah, rabbis throughout Palestine and Babylonia analyzed, debated and discussed that work. These discussions form the Gemara (). Gemara means completion (from the Hebrew gamar : "to complete") or "learning" ( from the Aramaic: "to study"). The Gemara mainly focuses on elucidating and elaborating the opinions of the Tannaim. The rabbis of the Gemara are known as Amoraim (sing. Amora ).

Much of the Gemara consists of legal analysis. The starting point for the analysis is usually a legal statement found in a Mishnah. The statement is then analyzed and compared with other statements used in different approaches to Biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism (or - simpler - interpretation of text in Torah study) exchanges between two (frequently anonymous and sometimes metaphorical) disputants, termed the makshan (questioner) and tartzan (answerer). Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct Biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as talmud long before the existence of the "Talmud" as a text.[4]

The Talmud is a wide-ranging document that touches on a great many subjects. Traditionally Talmudic statements can be classified into two broad categories, Halakhic and Aggadic statements. Halakhic statements are those which directly relate to questions of Jewish law and practice (Halakha). Aggadic statements are those which are not legally related, but rather are exegetical, homiletical, ethical or historical in nature. See Aggadah for further discussion.

The process of "Gemara" proceeded in the two major centers of Jewish scholarship, the Land of Israel and Babylonia. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Jerusalem Talmud or the Talmud Yerushalmi. It was compiled sometime during the fourth century in Israel. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500 C.E., although it continued to be edited later. The word "Talmud", when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud.

A page of a medieval Jerusalem Talmud manuscript, from the Cairo Genizah.

The Jerusalem Talmud, also known as the Palestinian Talmud, was one of the two compilations of Jewish religious teachings and commentary that was transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in Palestine.[5] It is a compilation of teachings of the schools of Tiberias, Sepphoris and Caesarea. It is written largely in a western Aramaic dialect that differs from its Babylonian counterpart.

This Talmud is a synopsis of the analysis of the Mishnah that was developed over the course of nearly 200 years by the Academies in Israel (principally those of Tiberias and Caesaria.) Because of their location, the sages of these Academies devoted considerable attention to analysis of the agricultural laws of the Land of Israel. Traditionally, this Talmud was thought to have been redacted in about the year 350 C.E. by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi in the Land of Israel. It is traditionally known as the Talmud Yerushalmi ("Jerusalem Talmud"), but the name is a misnomer, as it was not prepared in Jerusalem. It has more accurately been called the The Talmud of the Land of Israel.[6] It has also often been referred to as the Palestinian Talmud, especially in sources that predate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Its final redaction probably belongs to the end of the fourth century, but the individual scholars who brought it to its present form cannot be fixed with assurance. By this time Christianity had become the state religion of the Roman Empire and Jerusalem the holy city of Christendom. In 325 CE Constantine, the first Christian emperor, said "let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd.[7] This policy made a Jew an outcast and pauper. The compilers of the Jerusalem Talmud consequently lacked the time to produce a work of the quality they had intended. The text is evidently incomplete and is not easy to follow. The apparent cessation of work on the Jerusalem Talmud in the fifth century has been associated with the decision of in Theodosius II in 425 C.E. to suppress the Patriarchate and put an end to the practice of formal scholarly ordination. Some modern scholars have questioned this connection: for more detail see Jerusalem Talmud#Place and date of composition.

Despite its incomplete state, the Jerusalem Talmud remains an indispensable source of knowledge of the development of the Jewish Law in the Holy Land. It was also an important resource in the study of the Babylonian Talmud by the Kairouan school of Hananel ben Hushiel and Nissim Gaon, with the result that opinions ultimately based on the Jerusalem Talmud found their way into both the Tosafot and the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides.

There are traditions that hold that in the Messianic Age the Jerusalem Talmud will have priority over the Babylonian. This may be interpreted as meaning that, following the restoration of the Sanhedrin and the line of ordained scholars, the work will be completed and "out of Zion shall go the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem". Accordingly, following the formation of the state of Israel there is some interest in restoring Eretz Yisrael traditions. For example, Rabbi David Bar-Hayim of the Machon Shilo institute has issued a siddur reflecting Eretz Yisrael practice as found in the Jerusalem Talmud and other sources.

The Talmud Bavli was transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in Babylon about the 5th century CE.[8]

A full set of the Babylonian Talmud.

Talmud Bavli (the "Babylonian Talmud") comprises the Mishnah and the Babylonian Gemara, the latter representing the culmination of more than 300 years of analysis of the Mishnah in the Babylonian Academies. The foundations of this process of analysis were laid by Rab, a disciple of Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. Tradition ascribes the compilation of the Babylonian Talmud in its present form to two Babylonian sages, Rav Ashi and Ravina. Ashi was president of the Sura Academy from 375 to 427 CE. The work begun by Ashi was completed by Ravina, who is traditionally regarded as the final Amoraic expounder. Accordingly, traditionalists argue that Ravina's death in 499 CE is the latest possible date for the completion of the redaction of the Talmud. However, even on the most traditional view a few passages are regarded as the work of a group of rabbis who edited the Talmud after the end of the Amoraic period, known as the Saboraim or Rabbanan Savora'e (meaning "reasoners" or "considerers").

The question as to when the Gemara was finally put into its present form is not settled among modern scholars. Some, like Louis Jacobs, argue that the main body of the Gemara is not simple reportage of conversations, as it purports to be, but a highly elaborate structure contrived by the Saboraim, who must therefore be regarded as the real authors. On this view the text did not reach its final form until around 700. Some modern scholars use the term Stammaim (from the Hebrew Stam, meaning "closed", "vague" or "unattributed") for the authors of unattributed statements in the Gemara. (See eras within Jewish law.)

There are significant differences between the two Talmud compilations. The language of the Jerusalem Talmud is a western Aramaic dialect which differs from the form of Aramaic found in the Babylonian Talmud. The Talmud Yerushalmi is often fragmentary and difficult to read, even for experienced Talmudists. The redaction of the Talmud Bavli, on the other hand, is more careful and precise. The law as laid down in the two compilations is basically similar, except in emphasis and in minor details. The Jerusalem Talmud has not received much attention from commentators, and such traditional commentaries as exist are mostly concerned with comparing its teachings to those of the Talmud Bavli.

Neither the Jerusalem nor the Babylonian Talmud covers the entire Mishnah: for example, a Babylonian Gemara exists only for 37 out of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah. In particular:

The Babylonian Talmud records the opinions of the rabbis of Israel as well as of those of Babylonia, while the Jerusalem Talmud only seldom cites the Babylonian rabbis. The Babylonian version also contains the opinions of more generations because of its later date of completion. For both these reasons it is regarded as a more comprehensive collection of the opinions available. On the other hand, because of the centuries of redaction between the composition of the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmud, the opinions of early amoraim might be closer to their original form in the Jerusalem Talmud.

The influence of the Babylonian Talmud has been far greater than that of the Yerushalmi. In the main, this is because the influence and prestige of the Jewish community of Israel steadily declined in contrast with the Babylonian community in the years after the redaction of the Talmud and continuing until the Gaonic era. Furthermore, the editing of the Babylonian Talmud was superior to that of the Jerusalem version, making it more accessible and readily usable. According to Maimonides, all Jewish communities during the Gaonic era formally accepted the Babylonian Talmud as binding upon themselves, and modern Jewish practice follows the Babylonian Talmud's conclusions on all areas in which the two Talmuds are in conflict.

The Babylonian Talmud, comprising both the Mishnah and the Gemara, contains large swaths of both Hebrew and Aramaic.[10]

While Aramaic was spoken for a long time by ancient Jews, Hebrew, in various forms and at various historical stages, was also continuously used. Hebrew was used for the writing of religious texts, poetry, and so forth, as well as for speech. Even after the introduction of Aramaic, and its influence on Late Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew continued to develop, and today scholars use terms like Mishnaic/Rabbinic Hebrew and Medieval Hebrew.[11]

The Mishnah and all of the Baraitas and verses of Tanakh quoted and embedded in the Gemara are in Hebrew, so that Hebrew constitutes somewhat less than half of the text of the Talmud. The rest, including the discussions of the Amoraim and the overall framework of the Gemara, is in a characteristic dialect of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic. There are occasional quotations from older works in other dialects of Aramaic, such as Megillat Taanit.

The first complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud was printed in Italy by Daniel Bomberg during the 16th century. In addition to the Mishnah and Gemara, Bomberg's edition contained the commentaries of Rashi and Tosafot. Almost all printings since Bomberg have followed the same pagination. The edition of the Talmud published by the Szapira brothers in Slavuta in 1795 is particularly prized by many hasidic rebbes. In 1835, after an acrimonious dispute with the Szapira family, a new edition of the Talmud was printed by Menachem Romm of Vilna. Known as the Vilna Shas, this edition (and later ones printed by his widow and sons) has been used in the production of more recent editions of Talmud Bavli.

A page number in the Talmud refers to a double-sided page, known as a daf; each daf has two amudim labeled and , sides A and B. The referencing by daf is relatively recent and dates from the early Talmud printings of the 17th century. Earlier rabbinic literature generally only refers to the tractate or chapters within a tractate. Nowadays, reference is made in format [Tractate daf a/b] (e.g. Berachot 23b). In the Vilna edition of the Talmud there are 5,894 folio pages.

The text of the Vilna editions is considered by scholars not to be uniformly reliable. In the early twentieth century Nathan Rabinowitz published a series of volumes called Dikduke Soferim showing textual variants from early manuscripts and printings. In 1960 the Institute for the Complete Israeli Talmud started work on a new edition under the name of Gemara Shelemah (complete Gemara) under the editorship of Menachem Mendel Kasher: only the volume on the first part of tractate Pesachim appeared (in 1986) before the project was interrupted by his death. This edition contained a comprehensive set of textual variants and a few selected commentaries. There have been critical editions of particular tractates (e.g. Henry Malter's edition of Ta'anit), but there is no modern critical edition of the whole Talmud. The most recent edition is by the Oz ve-Hadar institute: this is basically an updated version of the Vilna edition, but cites variant texts in footnotes.

From the time of its completion, the Talmud became integral to Jewish scholarship. This section outlines some of the major areas of Talmudic study.

The earliest Talmud commentaries were written by the Geonim (approximately 800-1000, C.E.) in Babylonia. Although some direct commentaries on particular treatises are extant, our main knowledge of Gaonic era Talmud scholarship comes from statements embedded in Geonic responsa which shed light on Talmudic passages. Also important are practical abridgments of Jewish law such as Yehudai Gaon's Halachot Pesukot, Achai Gaon's Sheeltot and Simeon Kayyara's Halachot Gedolot. After the death of Hai Gaon, however, the center of Talmud scholarship shifts to Europe and North Africa.

One area of Talmudic scholarship developed out of the need to ascertain the Halakha. Early commentators such as Rabbi Isaac Alfasi (North Africa, 10131103) attempted to extract and determine the binding legal opinions from the vast corpus of the Talmud. Alfasi's work was highly influential and later served as a basis for the creation of halakhic codes. Another influential medieval Halakhic work following the order of the Babylonian Talmud, and to some extent modelled on Alfasi, was that of Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel (d. 1327).

A fifteenth century Spanish rabbi, Jacob ibn Habib (d. 1516), composed the Ein Yaakov. Ein Yaakov (or Ein Ya'aqob) extracts nearly all the Aggadic material from the Talmud. It was intended to familiarize the public with the ethical parts of the Talmud and to dispute many of the accusations surrounding its contents.

The Talmud is often cryptic and difficult to understand. Its language contains many Greek and Persian words which over time became obscure. A major area of Talmudic scholarship developed in order to explain these passages and words. Some early commentators such as Rabbenu Gershom of Mainz (10th c.) and Rabbenu ananel (early 11th c.) produced running commentaries to various tractates. These commentaries could be read with the text of the Talmud and would help explain the meaning of the text. Another important work is the Sefer ha-Mafteach (Book of the Key) by Nissim Gaon, which contains a preface explaining the different forms of Talmudic argumentation and then explains abbreviated passages in the Talmud by cross-referring to parallel passages where the same thought is expressed in full. Commentaries (iddushim) by Joseph ibn Migash on two tractates, Bava Batra and Shevuot, based on ananel and Alfasi, also survive. Using a different style, Rabbi Nathan b. Jechiel created a lexicon called the Arukh in the 11th century in order to translate difficult words.

By far the best known commentary on the Babylonian Talmud is that of Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, 10401105). The commentary is comprehensive, covering almost the entire Talmud. Written as a running commentary, it provides a full explanation of the words, and explains the logical structure of each Talmudic passage. It is considered indispensable to students of the Talmud.

Medieval Ashkenazic Jewry produced another major commentary known as Tosafot ("additions" or "supplements"). The Tosafot are collected commentaries by various medieval Ashkenazic Rabbis on the Talmud (known as Tosafists). One of the main goals of the Tosafot is to explain and interpret contradictory statements in the Talmud. Unlike Rashi, the Tosafot is not a running commentary, but rather comments on selected matters. Often the explanations of Tosafot differ from those of Rashi.

Among the founders of the Tosafist school were Rabbi Jacob b. Meir (known as Rabbeinu Tam), who was a grandson of Rashi, and, Rabbenu Tam's nephew, Rabbi Isaac ben Samuel. The Tosafot commentaries were collected in different editions in the various schools. The benchmark collection of Tosafot for Northern France was that of R. Eliezer of Touques. The standard collection for Spain was that of Rabbenu Asher ("Tosafot Harosh"). The Tosafot that are printed in the standard Vilna edition of the Talmud are an edited version compiled from the various medieval collections, predominantly that of Touques.[12]

Over time, the approach of the Tosafists spread to other Jewish communities, particularly those in Spain. This led to the composition of many other commentaries in similar styles. Among these are the commentaries of Ramban, Rashba, Ritva and Ran. A comprehensive anthology consisting of extracts from all these is the Shittah Mekubbetzet of Bezalel Ashkenazi.

There were other commentaries produced in Spain and Provence which were not influenced by the Tosafist style. Two of the most significant of these are the Yad Ramah by Rabbi Meir Abulafia (uncle of the mystic Abraham Abulafia) and Bet Habechirah by Rabbi Menahem haMeiri, commonly referred to as "Meiri". While the Bet Habechirah is extant for all of Talmud, we only have the Yad Ramah for Tractates Sanhedrin, Baba Batra and Gittin.

In later centuries, focus partially shifted from direct Talmudic interpretation to the analysis of previously written Talmudic commentaries. These later commentaries include "Maharshal" (Solomon Luria), "Maharam" (Meir Lublin) and "Maharsha" (Samuel Edels)

Another very useful study aid, found in almost all editions of the Talmud, consists of the marginal notes Torah Or, En Mishpat Ner Mitzvah and Masoret ha-Shas by the Italian rabbi Joshua Boaz, which give references respectively to the cited Biblical passages, to the relevant halachic codes and to related Talmudic passages.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, a new intensive form of Talmud study arose. Complicated logical arguments were used to explain minor points of contradiction within the Talmud. The term pilpul (related to the Hebrew word pilpel, meaning "spice" or "pepper") was applied to this type of study. Usage of pilpul in this sense (that of "sharp analysis") harks back to the Talmudic era and refers to the intellectual sharpness this method demanded.

Pilpul practitioners posited that the Talmud could contain no redundancy or contradiction whatsoever. New categories and distinctions (hillukim) were therefore created, resolving seeming contradictions within the Talmud by novel logical means.

In the Ashkenazi world the founders of pilpul are generally considered to be Jacob Pollak (14601541) and Shalom Shachna. This kind of study reached its height in the 16th and 17th centuries when expertise in pilpulistic analysis was considered an art form and became a goal in and of itself within the yeshivot of Poland and Lithuania. But the popular new method of Talmud study was not without critics; already in the 15th century, the ethical tract Orhot Zaddikim ("Paths of the Righteous" in Hebrew) criticized pilpul for an overemphasis on intellectual acuity. Many 16th- and 17th-century rabbis were also critical of pilpul. Among them may be noted Judah Loew ben Bezalel (the Maharal of Prague), Isaiah Horowitz, and Yair Bacharach.

By the 18th century, pilpul study waned. Other styles of learning such as that of the school of Elijah b. Solomon, the Vilna Gaon, became popular. The term "pilpul" was increasingly applied derogatorily to novellae deemed casuistic and hairsplitting. Authors referred to their own commentaries as "al derekh ha-peshat" (by the simple method) to contrast them with pilpul.[13]

Among Sephardi and Italian Jews from the fifteenth century on, some authorities sought to apply the methods of Aristotelian logic, as reformulated by Averroes.[14] This method was first recorded, though without explicit reference to Aristotle, by Isaac Campanton (d. Spain, 1463) in his Darkhei ha-Talmud ("The Ways of the Talmud"), and is also found in the works of Moses Chaim Luzzatto.

According to the present-day Sephardi scholar Jos Faur, traditional Sephardic Talmud study could take place on any of three levels. The most basic level, girsa (text), consists of literary analysis of the text without the help of commentaries, designed to bring out the tzurata di-shema'tata, i.e. the logical and narrative structure of the passage.[15] The intermediate level, 'iyyun (concentration), consists of study with the help of commentaries such as Rashi and the Tosafot, similar to that practised among the Ashkenazim. The highest level, halachah (law), consists of collating the opinions set out in the Talmud with those of the halachic codes such as the Mishneh Torah and the Shulchan Aruch, so as to study the Talmud as a source of law. (A project called Halacha Brura,[16] founded by Abraham Isaac Kook, presents the Talmud and the halachic codes side by side in book form so as to enable this kind of collation.)

A somewhat similar distinction exists in the Ashkenazi yeshivah curriculum between beki'ut (basic familiarization) and 'iyyun (in-depth study).

In the late nineteenth century another trend in Talmud study arose. Rabbi Hayyim Soloveitchik (18531918) of Brisk (Brest-Litovsk) developed and refined this style of study. Brisker method involves a reductionistic analysis of rabbinic arguments within the Talmud or among the Rishonim, explaining the differing opinions by placing them within a categorical structure. The Brisker method is highly analytical and is often criticized as being a modern-day version of Pilpul. Nevertheless, the influence of the Brisker method is great. Most modern day Yeshivot study the Talmud using the Brisker method in some form. One feature of this method is the use of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah as a guide to Talmudic interpretation, as distinct from its use as a source of practical halakha.

Rival methods were those of the Mir and Telz yeshivas.

As a result of emancipation from the ghetto (1789), Judaism underwent enormous upheaval and transformation during the nineteenth century, (see Reform Judaism, Haskala). Modern methods of textual and historical analysis were applied to the Talmud.

The text of the Talmud has been subject to some level of critical scrutiny throughout its history.

Rabbinic tradition holds that the people cited in both Talmuds did not have a hand in its writings; rather, their teachings were edited into a rough form around 450 CE (Talmud Yerushalmi) and 550 CE (Talmud Bavli.) The text of the Bavli especially was not firmly fixed at that time.

The Gaonic responsa literature addresses this issue. Teshuvot Geonim Kadmonim, section 78, deals with mistaken biblical readings in the Talmud. This Gaonic responsum states:

In the early medieval era, Rashi concluded that some statements in the extant text of the Talmud were insertions from later editors. On Shevuot 3b Rashi writes "A mistaken student wrote this in the margin of the Talmud, and copyists {subsequently} put it into the Gemara."[17]

The emendations of R. Yoel Sirkis and the Vilna Gaon are included in all standard editions of the Talmud, in the form of marginal glosses entitled Hagahot ha-Bach and Hagahot ha-Gra respectively; further emendations by R. Solomon Luria are set out in commentary form at the back of each tractate. The Vilna Gaon's emendations were often based on his quest for internal consistency in the text rather than on manuscript evidence;[18] nevertheless many of the Gaon's emendations were later verified by textual critics, such as Solomon Schechter, who had Cairo Genizah texts with which to compare our standard editions.[19]

In the nineteenth century R. Raphael Nathan Nota Rabinovicz published a multi-volume work entitled Dikdukei Soferim, showing textual variants from the Munich and other early manuscripts of the Talmud, and further variants are recorded in the Gemara Shelemah and Oz ve-Hadar editions (see Printing, above).

Historical study of the Talmud can be used to investigate a variety of concerns. One can ask questions such as: Do a given section's sources date from its editor's lifetime? To what extent does a section have earlier or later sources? Are Talmudic disputes distinguishable along theological or communal lines? In what ways do different sections derive from different schools of thought within early Judaism? Can these early sources be identified, and if so, how? Investigation of questions such as these are known as higher textual criticism. (The term "criticism", it should be noted, is a technical term denoting academic study.)

Religious scholars still debate the precise method by which the text of the Talmuds reached their final form. Many believe that the text was continuously smoothed over by the savoraim.

In the 1870s and 1880s Rabbi Raphael Natan Nata Rabbinovitz engaged in historical study of Talmud Bavli in his Diqduqei Soferim. Since then many Orthodox rabbis have approved of his work, including Rabbis Shlomo Kluger, Yoseph Shaul Ha-Levi Natanzohn, Yaaqov Ettlinger, Isaac Elhanan Spektor and Shimon Sofer.

During the early 19th century, leaders of the newly evolving Reform movement, such as Abraham Geiger and Samuel Holdheim, subjected the Talmud to severe scrutiny as part of an effort to break with traditional rabbinic Judaism. They insisted that the Talmud was entirely a work of evolution and development. This view was rejected as both academically incorrect, and religiously incorrect, by those who would become known as the Orthodox movement. Some Orthodox leaders such as Moses Sofer (the Chatam Sofer) became exquisitely sensitive to any change and rejected modern critical methods of Talmud study.

Some rabbis advocated a view of Talmudic study that they held to be in-between the Reformers and the Orthodox; these were the adherents of positive-historical Judaism, notably Nachman Krochmal and Zacharias Frankel. They described the Oral Torah as the result of a historical and exegetical process, emerging over time, through the application of authorized exegetical techniques, and more importantly, the subjective dispositions and personalities and current historical conditions, by learned sages. This was later developed more fully in the five volume work Dor Dor ve-Dorshav by Isaac Hirsch Weiss. (See Jay Harris Guiding the Perplexed in the Modern Age Ch. 5) Eventually their work came to be one of the formative parts of Conservative Judaism.

Another aspect of this movement is reflected in Graetz's History of the Jews. Graetz attempts to deduce the personality of the Pharisees based on the laws or aggadot that they cite, and show that their personalities influenced the laws they expounded.

The leader of Orthodox Jewry in Germany Samson Raphael Hirsch, while not rejecting the methods of scholarship in principle, hotly contested the findings of the Historical-Critical method. In a series of articles in his magazine Jeschurun (reprinted in Collected Writings Vol. 5) Hirsch reiterated the traditional view, and pointed out what he saw as numerous errors in the works of Graetz, Frankel and Geiger.

On the other hand, many of the nineteenth century's strongest critics of Reform, including strictly orthodox Rabbis such as Zvi Hirsch Chajes, utilized this new scientific method. The Orthodox Rabbinical seminary of Azriel Hildesheimer was founded on the idea of creating a "harmony between Judaism and science". Another Orthodox pioneer of scientific Talmud study was David Zvi Hoffman.

Orthodox Rabbi Yaakov Hayim Sofer (great-grandson of the Kaf ha-Hayyim) notes that the text of the Gemara has had changes and additions, and contains statements not of the same origin as the original. See his Yehi Yosef (Jerusalem, 1991) p.132 "This passage does not bear the signature of the editor of the Talmud!"

Orthodox scholar Daniel Sperber writes in "Legitimacy, of Necessity, of Scientific Disciplines" that many Orthodox sources have engaged in the historical (also called "scientific") study of the Talmud. As such, the divide today between Orthodoxy and Reform is not about whether the Talmud may be subjected to historical study, but rather about the theological and halakhic implications of such study.

Some trends within contemporary Talmud scholarship are listed below.

The Talmud is the written record of an oral tradition. It became the basis for many rabbinic legal codes and customs, of which the most important are the Mishneh Torah and the Shulchan Aruch. Orthodox and, to a lesser extent, Conservative Judaism accept the Talmud as authoritative, while Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism do not. This section briefly outlines past and current movements and their view of the Talmud's role.

The Sadducees were a Jewish sect which flourished during the Second Temple period. One of their main arguments with the Pharisees (later known as Rabbinic Judaism) was over their rejection of an Oral Law as well as denying a resurrection after death. The disagreement was not strictly speaking about the Talmud, as this had not been written at the time.

Another movement which rejected the oral law was Karaism. It arose within two centuries of the completion of the Talmud. Karaism developed as a reaction against the Talmudic Judaism of Babylonia. The central concept of Karaism is the rejection of the Oral Torah, as embodied in the Talmud, in favor of a strict adherence to the Written Law only. This opposes the fundamental Rabbinic concept that the Oral Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai together with the Written Law. Some later Karaites took a more moderate stance, allowing that some element of tradition (called sevel ha-yerushah, the burden of inheritance) is admissible in interpreting the Torah and that some authentic traditions are contained in the Mishnah and the Talmud, though these can never supersede the plain meaning of the Written Law.

Karaism has virtually disappeared, declining from a high of nearly 10% of the Jewish population to a current estimated 0.2%.

With the rise of Reform Judaism, during the nineteenth century, the authority of the Talmud was again questioned. The Talmud was seen by Reform Jews as a product of late antiquity having relevance merely as a historical document. In some cases a similar view was taken of the written law as well, while others appeared to adopt a neo-Karaite "back to the Bible" approach, though often with greater emphasis on the prophetic than on the legal books.

Orthodox Judaism continues to stress the importance of Talmud study and it is a central component of Yeshiva curriculum, in particular for those training to be Rabbis. This is so even though Halakha is generally studied from the medieval codes and not directly from the Talmud. Talmudic study amongst the laity is widespread in Orthodox Judaism, with daily or weekly Talmud study particularly common in Haredi Judaism and with Talmud study a central part of the curriculum in Orthodox Yeshivas and day schools. The regular study of Talmud among laymen has been popularized by the Daf Yomi, a daily course of Talmud study initiated by Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1923; its 12th cycle of study began on March 2, 2005.

Conservative Judaism similarly emphasizes the study of Talmud within its religious and rabbinic education. Generally, however, the Talmud is studied as a historical source-text for Halakha. The Conservative approach to legal decision-making emphasizes placing classic texts and prior decisions in historical and cultural context, and examining the historical development of Halakha. This approach has resulted in greater practical flexibility than that of the Orthodox. Talmud study is part of the curriculum of Conservative parochial education at many Conservative day schools and an increase in Conservative day school enrollments has resulted in an increase in Talmud study as part of Conservative Jewish education among a minority of Conservative Jews. See also: The Conservative Jewish view of the Halakha.

Reform Judaism does not emphasize the study of Talmud to the same degree in their Hebrew schools, but they do teach it in their rabbinical seminaries; the world view of liberal Judaism rejects the idea of binding Jewish law, and uses the Talmud as a source of inspiration and moral instruction. Ownership and reading of the Talmud is not widespread among Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, who usually place more emphasis on the study of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh.

Christian accusations against the Talmud have tended to fall into several categories, including alleged:[21]

Such accusations often shade into attacks on Jews or Judaism generally,[22] and should be distinguished from criticisms of the Talmud (including some criticism by Jews) on grounds such as excessive legalism, strained reasoning, unhistoric content and superstitious beliefs.[23]

The history of the Talmud reflects in part the history of Judaism persisting in a world of hostility and persecution. Almost at the very time that the Babylonian savoraim put the finishing touches to the redaction of the Talmud, the emperor Justinian issued his edict against deuterosis (doubling, repetition) of the Hebrew Bible.[24] It is disputed whether, in this context, deuterosis means "Mishnah" or "Targum": in patristic literature, the word is used in both senses. This edict, dictated by Christian zeal and anti-Jewish feeling, was the prelude to attacks on the Talmud, conceived in the same spirit, and beginning in the thirteenth century in France, where Talmudic study was then flourishing.

The charge against the Talmud brought by the Christian convert Nicholas Donin led to the first public disputation between Jews[25] and Christians and to the first burning of copies of the Talmud (Paris, Place de Grve, Friday June 17, 1242[26]). The Talmud was likewise the subject of the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263 between Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman) and Christian convert, Pablo Christiani. This same Pablo Christiani made an attack on the Talmud which resulted in a papal bull against the Talmud and in the first censorship, which was undertaken at Barcelona by a commission of Dominicans, who ordered the cancellation of passages deemed objectionable from a Christian perspective (1264).

At the Disputation of Tortosa in 1413, Geronimo de Santa F brought forward a number of accusations, including the fateful assertion that the condemnations of "pagans," "heathens," and "apostates" found in the Talmud were in reality veiled references to Christians. These assertion were denied by the Jewish community and its scholars, who contended that Judaic thought made a sharp distinction between those classified as heathen or pagan, being polytheistic, and those who acknowledge one true God (such as the Christians) even while worshipping the true monotheistic God incorrectly. Thus, Jews viewed Christians as misguided and in error, but not among the "heathens" or "pagans" discussed in the Talmud.

Both Pablo Christiani and Geronimo de Santa F, in addition to criticizing the Talmud, also regarded it as a source of authentic traditions some of which could be used as arguments in favour of Christianity. Examples of such traditions were statements that the Messiah was born around the time of the destruction of the Temple, and that the Messiah sat at the right hand of God.[27]

Two years later, Pope Martin V, who had convened this disputation, issued a bull (which was destined, however, to remain inoperative) forbidding the Jews to read the Talmud, and ordering the destruction of all copies of it. Far more important were the charges made in the early part of the sixteenth century by the convert Johannes Pfefferkorn, the agent of the Dominicans. The result of these accusations was a struggle in which the emperor and the pope acted as judges, the advocate of the Jews being Johann Reuchlin, who was opposed by the obscurantists; and this controversy, which was carried on for the most part by means of pamphlets, became the precursor of the Reformation .

An unexpected result of this affair was the complete printed edition of the Babylonian Talmud issued in 1520 by Daniel Bomberg at Venice, under the protection of a papal privilege. Three years later, in 1523, Bomberg published the first edition of the Jerusalem Talmud. After thirty years the Vatican, which had first permitted the Talmud to appear in print, undertook a campaign of destruction against it. On the New Year (September 9, 1553) the copies of the Talmud which had been confiscated in compliance with a decree of the Inquisition were burned at Rome; and similar burnings took place in other Italian cities, as at Cremona in 1559. The Censorship of the Talmud and other Hebrew works was introduced by a papal bull issued in 1554; five years later the Talmud was included in the first Index Expurgatorius; and Pope Pius IV commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre Mishnah) instead of "Talmud" dates from this time.

The first edition of the expurgated Talmud, on which most subsequent editions were based, appeared at Basel (15781581) with the omission of the entire treatise of 'Abodah Zarah and of passages considered inimical to Christianity, together with modifications of certain phrases. A fresh attack on the Talmud was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII (157585), and in 1593 Clement VIII renewed the old interdiction against reading or owning it. The increasing study of the Talmud in Poland led to the issue of a complete edition (Krakw, 1602-5), with a restoration of the original text; an edition containing, so far as known, only two treatises had previously been published at Lublin (155976). In 1707 some copies of the Talmud were confiscated in the province of Brandenburg, but were restored to their owners by command of Frederick, the first king of Prussia. A further attack on the Talmud took place in Poland (in what is now Ukrainian territory) in 1757, when Bishop Dembowski, at the instigation of the Frankists, convened a public disputation at Kamianets-Podilskyi, and ordered all copies of the work found in his bishopric to be confiscated and burned by the hangman.

The external history of the Talmud includes also the literary attacks made upon it by Christian theologians after the Reformation, since these onslaughts on Judaism were directed primarily against that work, the leading example being Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthum (Judaism Unmasked) (1700). In contrast, the Talmud was a subject of rather more sympathetic study by many Christian theologians, jurists and Orientalists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Johann Reuchlin, John Selden, John Lightfoot and Johannes Buxtorf father and son.

The Vilna edition of the Talmud was subject to Russian government censorship, or self-censorship to meet government expectations, though this was less severe than some previous attempts: the title "Talmud" was retained and the tractate Avodah Zarah was included. Most modern editions are either copies of or closely based on the Vilna edition, and therefore still omit most of the disputed passages. Although they were not available for many generations, the removed sections of the Talmud, Rashi, Tosafot and Maharsha were preserved through rare printings of lists of errata, known as Chesronos Hashas ("Omissions of the Talmud"). Many of these censored portions were recovered ironically enough from uncensored manuscripts in the Vatican Library. Some modern editions of the Talmud contain some or all of this material, either at the back of the book, in the margin, or in its original location in the text.

In 1830, during a debate in the French Chamber of Peers regarding state recognition of the Jewish faith, Admiral Verhuell declared himself unable to forgive the Jews whom he had met during his travels throughout the world either for their refusal to recognize Jesus as the Messiah or for their possession of the Talmud. In the same year the Abb Chiarini published at Paris a voluminous work entitled "Thorie du Judasme," in which he announced a translation of the Talmud, advocating for the first time a version which should make the work generally accessible, and thus serve for attacks on Judaism. In a like spirit nineteenth century anti-Semitic agitators often urged that a translation be made; and this demand was even brought before legislative bodies, as in Vienna. The Talmud and the "Talmud Jew" thus became objects of anti-Semitic attacks, for example in August Rohling's Der Talmudjude (1871), although, on the other hand, they were defended by many Christian students of the Talmud, notably Hermann Strack.

Further attacks from anti-Semitic sources include Justinas Pranaitis' The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians (1892) and Elizabeth Dilling's The Plot against Christianity (1964). The criticisms of the Talmud in many modern pamphlets and websites are often recognisable as verbatim quotes from one or other of these.

Criticism of the Talmud is widespread, in great part through the Internet.[28]

The Anti-Defamation League's report on this topic states:

In distorting the normative meanings of rabbinic texts, anti-Talmud writers frequently remove passages from their textual and historical contexts. Even when they present their citations accurately, they judge the passages based on contemporary moral standards, ignoring the fact that the majority of these passages were composed close to two thousand years ago by people living in cultures radically different from our own. They are thus able to ignore Judaism's long history of social progress and paint it instead as a primitive and parochial religion.

Those who attack the Talmud frequently cite ancient rabbinic sources without noting subsequent developments in Jewish thought, and without making a good-faith effort to consult with contemporary Jewish authorities who can explain the role of these sources in normative Jewish thought and practice.

Rabbi Gil Student, a prolific Internet author, writes:

Anti-Talmud accusations have a long history dating back to the 13th century when the associates of the Inquisition attempted to defame Jews and their religion [see Yitzchak Baer, A History of Jews in Christian Spain, vol. I pp. 150-185]. The early material compiled by hateful preachers like Raymond Martini and Nicholas Donin remain the basis of all subsequent accusations against the Talmud. Some are true, most are false and based on quotations taken out of context, and some are total fabrications [see Baer, ch. 4 f. 54, 82 that it has been proven that Raymond Martini forged quotations]. On the Internet today we can find many of these old accusations being rehashed...

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ADL: Pittsburgh synagogue shooting believed to be deadliest ...

Congregation B’nai B’rith Night of Solidarity | Edhat

Posted By on November 26, 2018

By Robert Bernstein

Congregation B'nai B'rith hosted a Night of Solidarity to bring thecommunity together in the wake of a series of hate crimes around thecountry. Notably, the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.But other hate crimes as well.

Here are my photos,videos and event program.

The most notable aspect of the event was the sheer turnout of peoplefrom our community!

We were coming there from the Wake Center about two miles away. Assoon as we were on Cathedral Oaks Road we were in a traffic jam ofpeople streaming to the Temple!

We managed to find a spot on the floor to sit, but those who cameafter us had to listen from the lobby or beyond! It was heartwarmingto see the outpouring of support in our community!

We were welcomed in by Cantor (singer) Mark Childs performing"Comfort Me" in Hebrew and in English

Congregation B'nai B'rith President Steven Amerikaner talked of thelocal connections that Congregation members had to the Tree of Lifevictims and survivors. He then introduced Congressman Salud Carbajalwho delivered a message of inclusion and solidarity.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson was there to represent ourdistrict. But she also noted that she was there as a member of theCongregation. And especially "as a Jew".

Senator Jackson spoke of a neighbor hurling an anti-Semitic insult ather as she went about her business in her front yard as a teen inNewton, Massachusetts. She said that verbal assault still rings inher ears to this day.

I might note that in 1965 we were living in rural New England. Myfather took a job at the University of Maryland and we moved to thecity of New Carrollton near the campus. My brother and I were the newkids in the school and we seemed to be welcomed in. My brother waselected class president. But then people started asking him about ourname "Bernstein". "Are you Jews?" He was beaten up when he said wewere. We were forced to move away.

Fortunately, we found refuge in the city of Silver Spring on the DCborder which was a more diverse and inclusive community.

I am grateful for my positive memories growing up in Silver Springwith people of all races, religions, ethnicities, and colors. But itis hard to forget what it felt like to be forced to move for purehatred only for who we were by birth.

Hannah-Beth spoke of the Tree of Life members welcoming immigrants.Which seemed to be a special reason their temple was a target forviolence. Senator Jackson reminded us that almost all of us wereimmigrants. And that many early immigrants to America were not verynice to the actual Natives.

She went on to note the diversity of the crowd in solidarity for theevening. And she thanked those from other religions who were inattendance. And those from no faith at all. She urged us to turn hateinto love. Into kindness, more importantly.

Pastor Denise Leichter is President of Greater Santa Barbara ClergyAssociation and she echoed that message of inclusiveness.

Rabbi Daniel Brenner delivered a memorial service for those who weremurdered at the Tree of Life temple.

Then there was a memorial candle lighting with a number ofrepresentatives of our community. Including Santa Barbara Mayor CathyMurillo, Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte, Santa Barbara Police Chief LoriLuhnow, Unitarian Minister Julia Hamilton and County Supervisor Janet Wolf.

Then Rabbi Stephen Cohen delivered the keynote address of the gathering.

He bravely mentioned Donald Trump and his language that inciteshatred, division, and violence. Some in the audience applauded hiscourage in making this statement. For many, the hate speech of DonaldTrump was the elephant in the room that was being ignored.

But Rabbi Cohen quickly shut that down with a wave and anadmonishment that this was not his point. He went on to talk of along history of hate and division before Trump was elected. Includingin the year before he was elected. He urged us to come together inlove and community to move forward to a better future.

The event closed with a final song by Cantor Mark Childs

The congregation was filled with people embracing as he sang.

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Congregation B'nai B'rith Night of Solidarity | Edhat

Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association B’nai B’rith Camp

Posted By on November 24, 2018

BBMCA: The mission of the Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association is to support the resident camping program of Bnai Brith Camp through scholarships, provision of equipment and supplies, maintenance and improvement of the camps facilities, and subvention of the camps operating budget.

Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association is also committed to the development and enhancement of a community of men dedicated to good fellowship, community, and to the Associations goal of insuring that Bnai Brith Camp provides the finest Jewish camping experience possible for kids of all religious, ethnic, cultural, and financial backgrounds.

For over 80 years, Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association (BBMCA) has supported Bnai Brith Camp on Devils Lake near the coast at Lincoln City, Oregon. In October 2009, BBMCA purchased Bnai Brith Camp from the Mittleman Jewish Community Center (tax id: 93-0386850) and created a subsidiary entity, Bnai Brith Camp LLC, to operate Camp through its own board of directors. BB Camp is accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA), licensed by the State of Oregon, and a member of the Jewish Community Center Association, the national organization of Jewish community centers and community camps.

BBMCA provides the capital support necessary to insure that BB Camps facilities are first rate and that BB Camp provides a quality camping experience for children of all backgrounds, always without regard to religious affiliation. BBMCA, its friends and supporters, make it possible for BB Camp to maintain the cost of Camp at levels most families can afford. However, Camp is expensive and BBMCA is committed to the proposition that no child should be denied the opportunity to attend Camp because of the familys inability to pay. BBMCA provides scholarship funds and first year camper incentives to back up that commitment.

Since 1931, the members of BBMCA have gathered each year at BB Camp for their own week long encampment. Many of BBMCAs adult campers started at BB Camp as kids, continuing their connection to BB Camp throughout their lives. Men from 25 to 91 return each year to BB Camp, staying in the same cabins and using the same facilities as the kids. Since the BBMCA adult campers actually use the camp, they are keenly aware of Camps needs. This is part of the reason they give so generously to support Camp. Mens Camp is a unique institution, providing a cross generational connection among the men and between the men and the children who attend BB Camp. The members of BBMCA understand that the bonds formed at Camp last a lifetime. This is evidenced not only by the existence and continuation of the Mens Camp as an institution, but by the number of adults who first became attached to BB Camp as kids and refuse to let the connection end. Through the generosity of the members of BBMCA and the many friends and alumni of the camp, Bnai Brith Camp will continue to be one of the finest and most affordable camps in North America.

Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association is an Oregon non-profit corporation recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as a publicly supported organization. Grantors and contributors to BBMCA or its wholly owned subsidiary Bnai Brith Camp LLC, may rely upon this determination by the IRS in claiming contributions to BBMCA as charitable deductions.

For more information or to reach us via mail, please write:

Bnai Brith Mens Camp

9400 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy Suite 200

Beaverton, OR 97005

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Bnai Brith Mens Camp Association B'nai B'rith Camp

Jewish & Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases – Gaucher Disease

Posted By on November 15, 2018

While Gaucher disease (pronounced go-SHAY) affects people of all ethnic backgrounds, it is especially common in the Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish population. Testing for Gaucher disease as well as prenatal screening and genetic counseling can help you determine the risk of passing the Gaucher gene to your children.

Although Gaucher is pan-ethnic, Gaucher disease type 1 is the most prevalent inherited Jewish genetic disease. A number of genetic disorders occur more frequently in certain ethnic populations. In the Ashkenazi Jewish population (Eastern, Central and Northern European ancestry), it has been estimated that one in four individuals is a carrier of one of several genetic conditions.

These diseases include Tay-Sachs Disease, Canavan, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher, Familial Dysautonomia, Bloom Syndrome, Fanconi anemia, Cystic Fibrosis and Mucolipidosis IV. Some of these diseases may be severe and may result in the early death of a child. Carrier screening is available for all of these diseases with a blood test. Two carriers of the same disease have a 1 in 4 risk with each pregnancy of having a child affected with the disease for which they were identified as carriers.

Learn more about how Gaucher disease is inherited, or find out about prenatal screening and genetic counseling for Gaucher disease.

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Jewish & Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases - Gaucher Disease

Holocaust Deniers and Public Misinformation | The …

Posted By on November 15, 2018

Holocaust denial and minimization or distortion of the facts of the Holocaust is a form of antisemitism.

Holocaust deniers ignore the overwhelming evidence of the event and insist that the Holocaust is a myth, invented by the Allies, the Soviet communists, and the Jews for their own ends. According to the deniers' logic the Allies needed the Holocaust myth to justify their occupation of Germany in 1945 and the harsh persecution of Nazi defendants. Holocaust deniers also claim that Jews needed the Holocaust myth to extract huge payments in restitution from Germany and to justify the establishment of the State of Israel. Holocaust deniers claim that there is a vast conspiracy involving the victorious powers of World War II, Jews, and Israel to propagate the Holocaust for their own ends.

Holocaust deniers assert that if they can discredit one fact about the Holocaust, the whole history of the event can be discredited as well. They ignore the evidence of the historical event and make arguments that they say negate the reality of the Holocaust in its entirety.

Documenting the Holocaust: Examples of Documents Some Holocaust deniers argue that, since there is neither a single document that outlines the Holocaust nor a signed document from Hitler ordering the Holocaust, the Holocaust itself is a hoax. To make this argument, they reject all the evidence submitted at Nuremberg. They denounce as fabrications the genocidal intention of the Nazi state and the thousands of orders, memos, notes, and other records that document the process of destruction. When they cannot sustain arguments that documents are forged, they argue that the language in the documents has been deliberately misinterpreted. Furthermore, some Holocaust deniers insist that the Allies tortured the perpetrators into testifying about their role in the killing process and that the survivors who testified about Nazi crimes against Jews were all lying out of self-interest.

Some Holocaust deniers claim that those few Jews who perished died from natural causes or were legitimately executed by the Nazi state for actual criminal offenses. They assert that Jews and the Allied powers deliberately inflated the numbers of Jews killed during the war. Holocaust historians have placed the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust between 5.1 and 6 million, based on legitimate available historical sources and demographic methods. Holocaust deniers cite uncertainty about the exact number of deaths within this accepted range as proof that the whole history of the Holocaust has been fabricated and that the number of Jewish deaths during World War II has been grossly exaggerated.

Some Holocaust deniers assert that the Nazis did not use gas chambers to kill Jews. They deny the reality of the killing centers. Deniers have focused their attention on Auschwitz and believe if they could just disprove that the Nazis used gas chambers in Auschwitz to kill Jews, the whole history of the Holocaust would also be discredited.

Holocaust deniers often mimic the forms and practices of scholars in order to deceive the public about the nature of their views. They generally footnote their writings by citing the publications of other Holocaust deniers and hold pseudo-scholarly conventions.

Holocaust denial on the Internet is especially a problem because of the ease and speed with which such misinformation can be disseminated. In the United States, where the First Amendment to the Constitution ensures freedom of speech, it is not against the law to deny the Holocaust or to propagate Nazi and antisemitic hate speech. European countries such as Germany and France have criminalized denial of the Holocaust and have banned Nazi and neo-Nazi publications. The Internet is now the chief source of Holocaust denial and the chief means of recruiting for Holocaust denial organizations.

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Holocaust Deniers and Public Misinformation | The ...

The Oral Law -Talmud & Mishna

Posted By on November 12, 2018

The Oral Law is a legal commentary on the Torah, explaining how its commandments are to be carried out. Common sense suggests that some sort of oral tradition was always needed to accompany the Written Law, because the Torah alone, even with its 613 commandments, is an insufficient guide to Jewish life. For example, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, ordains, "Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy" (Exodus 20:8). From the Sabbath's inclusion in the Ten Commandments, it is clear that the Torah regards it as an important holiday. Yet when one looks for the specific biblical laws regulating how to observe the day, one finds only injunctions against lighting a fire, going away from one's dwelling, cutting down a tree, plowing and harvesting. Would merely refraining from these few activities fulfill the biblical command to make the Sabbath holy? Indeed, the Sabbath rituals that are most commonly associated with holiness-lighting of candles, reciting the kiddush, and the reading of the weekly Torah portion are found not in the Torah, but in the Oral Law.

Without an oral tradition, some of the Torah's laws would be incomprehensible. In the Shema's first paragraph, the Bible instructs: "And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes." "Bind them for a sign upon your hand," the last verse instructs. Bind what? The Torah doesn't say. "And they shall be for frontlets between your eyes." What are frontlets? The Hebrew word for frontlets, totafot is used three times in the Torah always in this context (Exodus 13:16; Deuteronomy 6:8, 11:18) and is as obscure as is the English. Only in the Oral Law do we learn that what a Jewish male should bind upon his hand and between his eyes are tefillin (phylacteries).

Finally, an Oral Law was needed to mitigate certain categorical Torah laws that would have caused grave problems if carried out literally. The Written Law, for example, demands an "eye for an eye" (Exodus 21:24). Did this imply that if one person accidentally blinded another, he should be blinded in return? That seems to be the Torah's wish. But the Oral Law explains that the verse must be understood as requiring monetary compensation: the value of an eye is what must be paid.

The Jewish community of Palestine suffered horrendous losses during the Great Revolt and the Bar-Kokhba rebellion. Well over a million Jews were killed in the two ill-fated uprisings, and the leading yeshivot, along with thousands of their rabbinical scholars and students, were devastated.

This decline in the number of knowledgeable Jews seems to have been a decisive factor in Rabbi Judah the Prince's decision around the year 200 C.E. to record in writing the Oral Law. For centuries, Judaism's leading rabbis had resisted writing down the Oral Law. Teaching the law orally, the rabbis knew, compelled students to maintain close relationships with teachers, and they considered teachers, not books, to be the best conveyors of the Jewish tradition. But with the deaths of so many teachers in the failed revolts, Rabbi Judah apparently feared that the Oral Law would be forgotten unless it were written down.

In the Mishna, the name for the sixty-three tractates in which Rabbi Judah set down the Oral Law, Jewish law is systematically codified, unlike in the Torah. For example, if a person wanted to find every law in the Torah about the Sabbath, he would have to locate scattered references in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Indeed, in order to know everything the Torah said on a given subject, one either had to read through all of it or know its contents by heart. Rabbi Judah avoided this problem by arranging the Mishna topically. All laws pertaining to the Sabbath were put into one tractate called Shabbat (Hebrew for "Sabbath"). The laws contained in Shabbat's twenty-four chapters are far more extensive than those contained in the Torah, for the Mishna summarizes the Oral Law's extensive Sabbath legislation. The tractate Shabbat is part of a larger "order" called Mo'ed (Hebrew for "holiday"), which is one of six orders that comprise the Mishna. Some of the other tractates in Mo'ed specify the Oral Laws of Passover (Pesachim); Purim (Megillah); Rosh haShana; Yom Kippur (Yoma); and Sukkot.

The first of the six orders is called Zera'im (Seeds), and deals with the agricultural rules of ancient Palestine, particularly with the details of the produce that were to be presented as offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem. The most famous tractate in Zera'im, however, Brakhot (Blessings) has little to do with agriculture. It records laws concerning different blessings and when they are to be recited.

Another order, called Nezikin (Damages), contains ten tractates summarizing Jewish civil and criminal law.

Another order, Nashim (Women), deals with issues between the sexes, including both laws of marriage, Kiddushin, and of divorce, Gittin.

A fifth order, Kodashim, outlines the laws of sacrifices and ritual slaughter. The sixth order, Taharot, contains the laws of purity and impurity.

Although parts of the Mishna read as dry legal recitations, Rabbi Judah frequently enlivened the text by presenting minority views, which it was also hoped might serve to guide scholars in later generations (Mishna Eduyot 1:6). In one famous instance, the legal code turned almost poetic, as Rabbi Judah cited the lengthy warning the rabbinic judges delivered to witnesses testifying in capital cases:

"How are witnesses inspired with awe in capital cases?" the Mishna begins. "They are brought in and admonished as follows: In case you may want to offer testimony that is only conjecture or hearsay or secondhand evidence, even from a person you consider trustworthy; or in the event you do not know that we shall test you by cross-examination and inquiry, then know that capital cases are not like monetary cases. In monetary cases, a man can make monetary restitution and be forgiven, but in capital cases both the blood of the man put to death and the blood of his [potential] descendants are on the witness's head until the end of time. For thus we find in the case of Cain, who killed his brother, that it is written: 'The bloods of your brother cry unto Me' (Genesis 4:10) that is, his blood and the blood of his potential descendants.... Therefore was the first man, Adam, created alone, to teach us that whoever destroys a single life, the Bible considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single life, the Bible considers it as if he saved an entire world. Furthermore, only one man, Adam, was created for the sake of peace among men, so that no one should say to his fellow, 'My father was greater than yours.... Also, man [was created singly] to show the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for if a man strikes many coins from one mold, they all resemble one another, but the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, made each man in the image of Adam, and yet not one of them resembles his fellow. Therefore every single person is obligated to say, 'The world was created for my sake"' (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5). (One commentary notes, "How grave the responsibility, therefore, of corrupting myself by giving false evidence, and thus bringing [upon myself the moral guilt of [murdering] a whole world.")

One of the Mishna's sixtythree tractates contains no laws at all. It is called Pirkei Avot (usually translated as Ethics of the Fathers), and it is the "Bartlett's" of the rabbis, in which their most famous sayings and proverbs are recorded.

During the centuries following Rabbi Judah's editing of the Mishna, it was studied exhaustively by generation after generation of rabbis. Eventually, some of these rabbis wrote down their discussions and commentaries on the Mishna's laws in a series of books known as the Talmud. The rabbis of Palestine edited their discussions of the Mishna about the year 400: Their work became known as the Palestinian Talmud (in Hebrew, Talmud Yerushalmi, which literally means "Jerusalem Talmud").

More than a century later, some of the leading Babylonian rabbis compiled another editing of the discussions on the Mishna. By then, these deliberations had been going on some three hundred years. The Babylon edition was far more extensive than its Palestinian counterpart, so that the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli) became the most authoritative compilation of the Oral Law. When people speak of studying "the Talmud," they almost invariably mean the Bavli rather than the Yerushalmi.

The Talmud's discussions are recorded in a consistent format. A law from the Mishna is cited, which is followed by rabbinic deliberations on its meaning. The Mishna and the rabbinic discussions (known as the Gemara) comprise the Talmud, although in Jewish life the terms Gemara and Talmud usually are used interchangeably.

The rabbis whose views are cited in the Mishna are known as Tanna'im (Aramaic for "teachers"), while the rabbis quoted in the Gemara are known as Amora'im ("explainers" or "interpreters"). Because the Tanna'im lived earlier than the Amora'im, and thus were in closer proximity to Moses and the revelation at Sinai, their teachings are considered more authoritative than those of the Amora'im. For the same reason, Jewish tradition generally regards the teachings of the Amora'im, insofar as they are expounding the Oral Law, as more authoritative than contemporary rabbinic teachings.

In addition to extensive legal discussions (in Hebrew, halakha), the rabbis incorporated into the Talmud guidance on ethical matters, medical advice, historical information, and folklore, which together are known as aggadata.

As a rule, the Gemara's text starts with a close reading of the Mishna. For example, Mishna Bava Mezia 7:1 teaches the following: "If a man hired laborers and ordered them to work early in the morning and late at night, he cannot compel them to work early and late if it is not the custom to do so in that place." On this, the Gemara (Bava Mezia 83a) comments: "Is it not obvious [that an employer cannot demand that they change from the local custom]? The case in question is where the employer gave them a higher wage than was normal. In that case, it might be argued that he could then say to them, 'The reason I gave you a higher wage than is normal is so that you will work early in the morning and late at night.' So the law tells us that the laborers can reply: 'The reason that you gave us a higher wage than is normal is for better work [not longer hours].'"

Among religious Jews, talmudic scholars are regarded with the same awe and respect with which secular society regards Nobel laureates. Yet throughout Jewish history, study of the Mishna and Talmud was hardly restricted to an intellectual elite. An old book saved from the millions burned by the Nazis, and now housed at the YIVO library in New York, bears the stamp THE SOCIETY OF WOODCHOPPERS FOR THE STUDY OF MISHNA IN BERDITCHEV. That the men who chopped wood in Berditchev, an arduous job that required no literacy, met regularly to study Jewish law demonstrates the ongoing pervasiveness of study of the Oral Law in the Jewish community.

Continued here:

The Oral Law -Talmud & Mishna

B’nai B’rith International – SourceWatch

Posted By on November 12, 2018

Bnai Brith "is an international Jewish organization committed to the security and continuity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, defending human rights, combating anti-Semitism, bigotry and ignorance, and providing service to the community on the broadest principles of humanity. Its mission is to unite persons of the Jewish faith and to enhance Jewish identity through strengthening Jewish family life and the education and training of youth, broad-based services for the benefit of senior citizens, and advocacy and action on behalf of Jews throughout the world.

"Founded in 1843, B'nai B'rith International is universally recognized as one of the world's largest and oldest Jewish human rights, community action, and humanitarian organizations. A constant source of innovation and charity for populations around the world, B'nai B'rith has founded hospitals, orphanages, senior housing communities, disaster relief campaigns, libraries, anti-hatred programs, and countless other initiatives in the public interest. B'nai B'rith is also a tireless advocate for Israel and the Diaspora in a variety of governmental and political arenas. With more than 180,000 members and affiliates in more than 50 countries, B'nai B'rith truly spans the globe in its efforts to make Jewish communities better for all their inhabitants." [1]

"The work of B'nai B'rith International is focused in its centers. These centers provide the framework for intensive study of issues and thoughtful responses through the combined efforts of dedicated volunteer leaders and professional staff." [2]

Accessed January 2009: [3]

Accessed December 2007: [4]

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B'nai B'rith International - SourceWatch


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