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Trump’s Still Normalizing Anti-Semitism, and It’s Only Going to Get Worse – The Daily Beast

Posted By on January 25, 2020

After the horrific anti-Semitic attack in late December when five people were stabbed while celebrating Hanukkah at the home of a rabbi in New York, Donald Trump tweeted, The anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, on the 7th night of Hanukkah last night is horrific. We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism.

Those were the right words. But tragically Trump has followed that up with the wrong actions as hes continued to normalize anti-Semitism in our country at a time when anti-Semitic hate crimes are at alarming levels. While his daughter and son-in-law are Jewish, Trump appears to be doing this by design in order to court and maintain his supporters who respond to this kind of bigotryjust as he did in 2016.

There were two alarming examples this week. First, Trump doubled down on using an anti-Semitic slur by calling Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who is Jewish, shifty. When Trump first used this trope in October, Peter Beinart, who is Jewish, explained in The Forward, Its no surprise that Trump called Schiff shifty which means tricky or deceitful, adding, When discussing Jews, Trump often plays on well-worn caricatures about cleverness, deviousness, and physical weakness.

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Trump's Still Normalizing Anti-Semitism, and It's Only Going to Get Worse - The Daily Beast

Were in this fight together, Jews and Muslims – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on January 25, 2020

This week we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, where at least one million Jews were killed, to remember the horrific chapter of our modern history, and to appreciate how far we have come to eradicate the scourge of antisemitism and hatred from the face of the Earth.It is not enough. Only this month the Anti-Defamation League documented 22 antisemitic episodes in the US. Since the incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, when white supremacists and neo-Nazis spewed antisemitic hate and killed a counter-protester, a number of antisemitic and violent incidents have laid bare the troubling trend.In October 2018, a gunman killed 11 Jewish worshipers in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last April, an armed man killed a woman and injured three others in a synagogue near San Diego. Last month, three people were killed at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey, and five worshipers were stabbed as a man broke into an Orthodox Jewish familys home in Monsey, New York.In fact, what we do will never be enough. The only way to ensure that antisemitism doesnt rear its ugly face again is to remain ever-vigilant. Most Jews migrated to the US, just like other victims of oppression around the world, because they thought they would find a safe haven in this country. We should prove that they were right.Hatred is like starting a fire. Once it begins, you dont know where it will end. Hatred doesnt recognize any gates and boundaries. Once it starts prevailing in any society, no groups are immune to it.Standing up against antisemitism is the first line of defense for any society. If history is any guide, we know that nations that embrace antisemitism as normal go down a troubling path in burying their democracy, curbing freedoms and undermining the rule of law. Rising antisemitism in Hungary and Poland today are prime examples of that.ACCORDING TO a recent survey sponsored by the ADL, one in four Europeans still harbor pernicious and pervasive attitudes toward Jews. Stereotypes such as Jews control business and the financial markets, or Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust are still pervasive in many European countries. Many people also believe in Jewish disloyalty, a claim that they have dual loyalty.When we take a closer look at the discourse and rhetoric used against Jews in the 1920s and 30s in Europe, we see a striking resemblance to the language used by todays autocrats. Its not surprising because hatred has only one language. The methods and tools are remarkably similar. In short, we are fighting the same war.The hatred that results in antisemitism is from the same source that fabricates Islamophobia and other types of ethnic and religious intolerance. It is the exact same mindset; the kind of mentality that considers itself a part of a superior culture that rejects diversity. It is ironic that those who believe their culture is superior so-called supremacists feel insecure about welcoming other cultures. We should start accepting the fact that living with other cultures is not a threat to our own culture. It is, in fact, enriching.There is a particular duty that falls on the shoulders of American Muslims, who have faced their own share of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hostility, to spearhead efforts to battle antisemitism and reject this scourge. Educating our society and the next generation is a good way to start.Over the years, I have donated and supported dozens of interfaith groups and activities across the US that aim to build tolerance among diverse groups, and encouraged them to continue educating the public about the importance of interfaith dialogue and tolerance. I believe that Americas secret sauce is its ability to co-exist, and we should do whatever it takes to preserve this very fabric.As part of my efforts to encourage everyone to raise their voices whenever and wherever they see injustice or see people suffering, I recently launched an online campaign called You Are My Hope ( to raise awareness about the oppression and its victims in my home country.Antisemitism, Islamophobia and other types of ethnic or religious animosities will never go away. We can tame them or we can suffocate them, but we always will have to be vigilant so that they dont show their ugly heads again. No one can do this alone. We are in this fight together.The author is a Human Rights advocate and NBA player for the Boston Celtics.

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Were in this fight together, Jews and Muslims - The Jerusalem Post

Attic size of a queen bed served as home for Holocaust survivor, family hiding from the Nazis – Desert Sun

Posted By on January 25, 2020


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Holocaust survivor Henry Friedman was 14 when his family was given a place to hide from the Nazis by a Ukrainian family.

Friedman was born in Brody, Poland, a town with a Jewish population of about 10,000 before World War II. After they were liberated and returned to the city in July 1944, there were fewer than 100 Jews who had survived the concentration camps, Friedman said.

My family was the only one in the city that the husband, wife and children survived, he said.

Of the rest of his extended family, only a cousin survived, he said. Everybody else was killed.

Steven Geiger, founder of Mensch International Foundation, and Holocaust survivor Henry Friedman stand near the Desert Holocaust Memorial in Palm Desert, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.(Photo: Vickie Connor/The Desert Sun)

Sitting on a bench at the Holocaust Memorial in Palm Deserts Civic Center Park on Thursday morning, Friedman recalled his experience and why it is important to him that people remember the Holocaust.

On Monday he will be among the speakers at the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day observance, hosted by the Gerald R. Ford Chapter of the Mensch Foundation International.

The day marks the 75th anniversary of the Jan. 27, 1945, liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, the largest concentration and forced-labor camp established by the Nazi Germans in what is now Poland.

It is estimated that more than 1 million people were killed at Auschwitz, most of them Jews, before the camp was liberated by Soviet Red Army troops. The liberation of the camp, however, didnt mark the end of World War II and other concentration camps continued killing Jews, gays and others tagged as "undesirables."

In 2010, the United Nations established Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day to remember those who died, celebrate those who survived and to remind all to never forget what happened.

They survived because Friedmans father was warned that the Gestapo would be coming for him, and in October 1942 they went into hiding, assisted by two Ukrainian families in the village of Suchowola.

Friedman, his mother and younger brother were sheltered in a barn attic, about as big as a queen-size bed and with no room to stand or walk around.

Holocaust survivor Henry Friedman stands in the Desert Holocaust Memorial in Palm Desert, Calif. on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.(Photo: Vickie Connor/The Desert Sun)

All I could do was lay down or sit up. When I was liberated, I couldnt walk, my muscles were all atrophied, he said.

His father hid out about a half-mile away in a barn that belonged to a business acquaintance.

They would get their news by listening to people talking on the street, he said.

When people wanted us to hear news, they would talk below us in the barn, he said.

They remained hidden until the Russian army liberated Suchowola in March 1944.

While in hiding, Friedman would try to help keep his brothers spirits up by telling him, If we survive, everybodys going to love us because we may be the only Jews that survive, he recalled.

I was right on one thing, very few of us had survived. But loving us is another story because the people that hid us didnt want us even to reveal their names because they were afraid that people may kill them, he said.

His family migrated to America in December 1949.

Now 91 years old, Friedman, a snowbird from Seattle and a veteran who served with the United States Army in the Korea War, has been speaking at the local Holocaust Remembrance Day observance and wherever possible for at least 30 years.

He hopes his experience will not only remind people of the Holocaust as the number of survivors dwindles but also serve as a message of what can happen in a society that is not tolerant of differences.

It does not matter the color of your skin. It does not matter what political affiliation you have. What matters is how we react to those things, Friedman said.

And this is the reason that I have dedicated the last 30 years of my life to teaching, speaking on the subject of the Holocaust, he said.

The Desert Holocaust Memorial is located in Palm Desert Civic Center Park in Palm Desert, Calif.(Photo: Vickie Connor/The Desert Sun)

He volunteers at the Tolerance Education Center in Rancho Mirage and started the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle where and his wife, Sandra, live full-time. The center is named for the Friedmans.

History has a way of repeating itself, Friedman said. Look at whats happening today, all over the world. Christians are being killed by Muslims. Muslims are killing Muslims because of their different beliefs.

In 2017, the United States experienceda record 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents a 57% increase from 2016, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

That was down slightly to 1,879 in 2018, according to ADL statistics.

Statistics arent available yet for 2019, but in December, two men opened fire in a Jewish market in New Jersey, killing three people. The shooters, the New Jersey state attorney said, were fueled by hatred of Jewish people and law enforcement.

The New York Police Department reported that in 2019, the number of hate crimes in the city was nearly double that of 2018 and most incidents were anti-Semitic. Between Jan. 1 and May 19, 2019, the department reported receiving 176 hate crime complaints, an 83% increase over the same period in 2018.

Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt stated through Twitter that 59% of the complaints were anti-Semitic hate crimes.

While the Coachella Valley overall is accepting of different religions, minorities and the LGBTQ community, there have been hate crimes and acts of anti-Semitism over the years, including a fire started when a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a mosque in Coachella five years ago.

People were inside praying at the time, and all escaped without injury. Carl Dial was immediately arrested, convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

There have also been incidents in local schools, including one in which a Shadow Hills High School student came dressed as a Nazi for Halloween in 2016.

The Coachella Valley is a fairly tolerant area, but schools have had incidents of anti-Semitism in the past, said Steve Geiger, who heads the Gerald R. Ford Chapter of the Mensch Foundation International.

You can never be complacent, and no one can remain a bystander. Its a fight that has to continue all the time, said Geiger, whose father survived a concentration camp, but his grandparents were gassed in Auschwitz along with 80 other relatives.

Friedman recalled a meeting in Rome with Pope John Paul II in commemoration of the Holocaust, and as he shook his hand, the papal told Friedman that anti-Semitism is a sin.

We have to hear those voices from the churches and the temples, from the mosques, that anti-Semitism is a sin, Friedman said.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

What: Observance of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, with a variety of speakers including survivor Henry Friedman; Palm Desert Councilman Sabby Jonathan; Rabbi Benny Lew, Chabad Rancho Mirage; Monsignor Howard Lincoln, Sacred Heart Catholic Church; and Mayors Iris Smotrich of Rancho Mirage and Geoff Kors of Palm Springs.

When: 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27

Where: Palm Desert Civic Center Park amphitheater, on the northeast corner of Fred Waring Drive and San Pablo Avenue.

Information: Email or call (760) 416-3685

Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the cities of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be reached at or (760) 778-4694. Follow her on Twitter @TDSsherry

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Attic size of a queen bed served as home for Holocaust survivor, family hiding from the Nazis - Desert Sun

After Jersey City shooting, ADL and NAACP say, We are in this together –

Posted By on January 25, 2020

By Richard Smith and Evan R. Bernstein

On Dec. 10, 2019, two individuals parked a stolen van in front of a kosher supermarket in Jersey City. They went on to enter the store armed with a shotgun and assault rifle and brutally murdered three innocent civilians. They had already killed Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals less than a mile away. A mere two weeks later, in Monsey, New York, another armed individual entered a Rabbis house during a Hanukah celebration. He savagely stabbed and critically wounded several of the guests.

These two incidents were the latest in a string of high profile and lethal attacks on Jews that began with the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg over a year ago. While these violent attacks underscore anti-Semitism as a driving force for hatred and extremism, Jews are rarely the only target. Just a few years ago, in June 2015, a white supremacist entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and shot nine worshippers.

The attacks in Jersey City and Monsey show that anti-Semitism is widespread, and it is becoming increasingly violent. At the same time, we have seen a very troubling increase in the use of hateful rhetoric and anti-Semitic stereotypes by elected officials and community leaders in New Jersey. According to Attorney General Gurbir Grewals office, there were a staggering 944 bias incidents in 2019, an increase of 65%. In 2018, ADL recorded 200 anti-Semitic incidents, the third highest in the nation. Preliminary estimates are that this number will be even higher in 2019.

As the representatives of the NAACP and the ADL in New Jersey, we came together this month to say enough is enough and to establish a partnership to stop this trend in our state. Our message is clear. We will not allow hateful individuals to drive a dangerous wedge between our two communities.

This is because we know that anti-Semitism threatens Jews, but it also harms African Americans by reinforcing racist tropes and fomenting division. Jews of Color, for example, who live and worship in communities throughout our state, bear the brunt of both anti-Semitism and racism. In addition, for the many African Americans who are not Jewish, anti-Semitism reinforces racist tropes and divides us instead of uniting us to address the real challenges our communities face. The stereotyping and scapegoating of Jews that we see in anti-Semitism is all too familiar and connected to the racism faced by African-Americans. When we fail to confront anti-Semitism, it undermines our collective goal of ending all forms of hate and securing equal rights for all.

For over a century, the NAACP and ADL stood on the front lines of the joint fight for freedom, justice and equality. And we fully intend to continue this fight together by bringing this partnership to New Jersey.

Moving forward, ADL New York / New Jersey and the NAACP State Conference of New Jersey are committing our organizations to the joint objective of strengthening intercommunal understanding and combating all forms of hate in New Jersey. We will offer anti-bias education to elected officials, build bridges of tolerance and understanding between our constituents, and respond with a united voice to incidents of racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry.

At ADL and the NAACP, we know that to truly eradicate anti-Semitism and racism once and for all, we must have meaningful conversations about the way hate functions. We must be able to have difficult conversations about the challenges facing our communities without invoking painful tropes or stereotypes. We must be willing to call out and vehemently reject hatred and bigotry each and every time we see it.

This is no easy task. It involves a commitment to increased dialogue and continued learning. It requires us to see and celebrate the exceptional diversity within the Black and Jewish communities. Dating back to NAACPs founding, Jewish activists and the ADL have played a disproportionate role in the civil rights movement. Similarly, the NAACP and civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. stood with their Jewish brothers and sisters in strong condemnation of anti-Semitism. They understood we are in this together.

Whether it involves swastikas scrawled onto our childrens schools, white supremacist propaganda disseminated in our towns, or hateful vitriol sprouted online, the perpetrators of these acts carry a deep-seated disdain for all marginalized communities. We know that we are stronger when we combat these acts of hate together. We can and must do better, because our collective safety and security depend on it.

We welcome all New Jersey residents to join us in this fight.

Richard Smith is president of the NAACP State Conference in New Jersey and a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors. Evan R. Bernstein is the Vice President, Northeast Division at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The Star-Ledger/ encourages submissions of opinion. Bookmark Follow us on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and on Facebook at Opinion. Get the latest news updates right in your inbox. Subscribe to NJ.coms newsletters.

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Letters to the Editor: January 24, 2020 – Atlanta Jewish Times

Posted By on January 25, 2020

Letter to the editor:

Ya Basta Bre!

The recent and ever-increasing violence, terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism in the U.S. is alarming. Each one of us has the responsibility to assure that in addition to being respectful of others beliefs and practices, we speak out whenever inequities or misguided perception are present.

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Most hate crimes, anti-Semitism, etc. are based on ignorance. Each one of us has the responsibility to educate when the opportunity arises. Uninformed individuals need to be reminded that, as Americans first, we are guided by a set of values, embraced by most if not all religions, of respect, tolerance and understanding of others. Similarly, those that deviate from American values and laws should understand that actions have consequences.

Individually and collectively, we should all be proactive and subscribe to the Ladino/Spanish refrain; Ya Basta Bre!- Enough is Enough!

Dr. Albert Barrocas, Atlanta

Letter to the editor:

Over the last decade, Ive had hundreds of op-eds in Georgia newspapers and online, publications which reflect my progressive anti-racism views on controversial topics. On every issue, my views as a Southern Jew are the same as most African Americans, not surprising given my past.

However, your 12-30 column, Jewish Atlanta Reacts to New York Anti-Semitic Stabbing, clearly left out a key element of the issue: black anti-Semitism. Surprisingly, theres a hesitancy to ignore black anti-Semitism in both the Jewish and general media.

As similar ADL surveys since 1992 have shown, black anti-Semitism is not a recent thing. Bigotry towards Jews is nearly two-thirds higher in the black community. The Anti-Defamation League 2016 survey that found that 23 percent of African Americans held anti-Semitic views.

Numerous black leaders have long condoned it and, in some cases, promoted it. To give just a few examples among the many:

*Rep Omars Benjamin remarks, etc.;

*Tamika Mallory, organizer of the Womens March, called anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, the GOAT, i.e. the greatest of all time;

* Mallory stated: Jewish people bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people;

* Per Farrakhan, the powerful Jews are my enemy, and the Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men. (Mallory was there and did not object);

* Farrakhan praised Adolf Hitler, calling him: a very great man;

*Jesse Jackson stated: Thats all Hymie wants to talk about, is Israel; every time you go to Hymietown, thats all they want to talk about;

*Alice Walker, author and activist, states in the New York Times: In [David] Ickes books there is the whole of existence. Mr. Icke blamed the Jews for the Holocaust.

Unlike most whites, I have a long relationship with (and compassion for) the African American community. My first jobs were with the poverty program, working under black men/women. My territory included the rural Georgia county where Alice Walker was raised. When I received threats to burn down my trailer because I was a n***** lover, I left.

I eventually went into the healthcare industry and established the first national GPO minority vendor program, working with major companies and hospital systems to set goals and establish minority set asides. I now do volunteer mentoring of primarily black businesses.

Which, once again, is why it pains me to see that the bigotry of anti-Semitism is more accepted in the black community versus in America as a whole. Its personally disturbing that the Black Caucus came out against a specific declaration against anti-Semitism based on Rep. Omars original comments.

House Minority Whip Rep. Clyburn stated: There are people who tell me, Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors. Its more personal with her Ive talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.

My father, a refugee, lost all of his grandparents to the Holocaust. Was he not living in pain? Does Rep. Omars pain supposedly negate his? Is this a contest Rep. Clyburn?

African American leaders like Clyburn must change their one-sided views. They need to come forth and declare that the Jewish and black communities should work in concert as they did back in the 1960s civil rights era. And, they must specifically condemn negative stereotypes regarding Jewish people for what they are: undefendable bigotry.

Al Sharpton, guilty of anti-Semitism in the past, has started this movement forward. Others must join him. Now, not later.

Jack Bernard, Peachtree City

Letters to the Editor: January 24, 2020 - Atlanta Jewish Times

Simon Thacker to celebrate the spirit of India at Celtic Connections – The Scotsman

Posted By on January 25, 2020

Punjabi folk song, flamenco and Sephardic music from the Mediterranean, Sanskrit alchemy and Gaelic folklore they all seem grist to the mill for Simon Thacker, the East Lothian-based classical guitarist whose musical re-imaginings range between continents and draw from a bewildering well of inspiration ranging from Native American chants to medieval cosmology.

Thacker appears with his Indo-Western group Svara-Kanti at Celtic Connections on 1 February, and has recently released a new album with Ritmata, his collaboration with three Scots jazz players.

When we speak on the phone, he is in Goa, working on material for the Svara-Kanti concert, following a solo Indian tour. Asked whether he was picking up material that might re-emerge at the concert, he points out that while he is constantly absorbing potentially inspiring material, it can take years for it to re-emerge.

As it is, Svara-Kantis Celtic Connections gig is likely to be quite inspiring enough. Thacker will be joined by the groups regular violinist, Jacqueline Shave, leader of the renowned Britten Sinfonia, who slips easily into the groups microtonalities: Whatever I write for her, I know shes going to play it beautifully, says Thacker.

He has also enlisted the virtuosic, Grammy-winning tabla player Sukhvinder Singh Pinky, with whom he claims a near-telepathic rapport especially in our improvisations, like four hands on one instrument.

Adding a beguiling vocal strand to the group is Afsana Khan, a young Sufi-Punjabi folk singer and Bollywood star. This is a very special line-up which offers so many possibilities for me as a composer, says Thacker, as well as a distinctive improvisational sound world developed through playing and exploring together.

Support on the night will come from a new Indo-Scottish project, Nad-Haara, featuring Lewis singer Mischa Macpherson and Indian mezzo soprano Ankna Arockiam, a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, exploring their respective traditions.

For Thacker, the concert follows the release of his latest album with perhaps the most muscular of his collaborations, Ritmata, in which he is joined by three well-respected names from Scottish jazz, pianist Paul Harrison, drummer Stu Brown and bassist Andrew Robb.

The albums Gaelic title, Tradh, with its overtones of psychic travelling, may reflect Thackers wide-ranging interest in folklore, but its music journeys even further, inspired by flamenco and Sephardic music in particular, as well as Native American traditions and medieval liturgy.

The concept of tradh, the guitarist explains, is that if someone is travelling and they imagine themselves back at home or somewhere else, their sounds are heard there, even though theyre not there yet. Its a sort of symbolism for my imagination in creating sound worlds I have visions of where I want to be musically and thats the first stage of me getting there.

Ritmata he describes as his musical laboratory and it is certainly a potent one, as the albums opening track, Asuramaya, demonstrates, with its smouldering flamenco guitar flickering against vigorously responding piano and drums.

Another track, Quadriga in 5, Thacker describes as the biggest work hes written for the band so far, with tumultuous sparring between instruments, while, as ever seeking out notable guests, he enlisted a young flamenco cantaora, ngeles Toledano, for Muero Yo de Amor, a Sephardic song which he heard years ago on a Turkish recording from early in the 20th century. Toledano gives an impassioned account, her voice bursting out of the explosive opening chord.

Sephardic music associated with the Jews expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century has always fascinated Thacker, and while Toledano is a flamenco artist, he reckoned that a Sephardic song would be a powerful symbol for her, given that the flamenco-bearing gypsies were equally persecuted in Spain.

We had just one rehearsal before recording. I wrote it in a very short time, he says. It was as if the song had been waiting to be discovered. Jim Gilchrist

Simon Thackers Svara-Kanti is at Tramway, Glasgow on 1 February. For details, see

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Simon Thacker to celebrate the spirit of India at Celtic Connections - The Scotsman

Portuguese-American soldiers are an overlooked part of WWIIs horrific Battle of the Bulge –

Posted By on January 25, 2020

LUXEMBOURG After returning from the war, Manuel Gomes had this habit. Every afternoon he'd put on his military hat and sit on the front porch of his house in New Bedford remembering the days of combat.

"He had a very tough time at the Battle of the Bulge," says his grandson, Eric, a 32-year-old history teacher. "He kept saying those were the worst days of his life. But at the same time, he was proud of it fighting to defeat Hitlers troops and free entire countries from the Nazi yoke."

It's been 75 years since Gomes took part in the battle that liberated Troisvirges in northern Luxembourg one of the last German bastions in the country. He was a soldier in the 75th Infantry Division, which liberated Colmar in France and a large part of the border area between Belgium and Luxembourg, before moving on to the Rhine.

"He rarely talked about the fights, but once he told us how they had to go looking for bodies of Americans who had fallen in the snow and then separate them with shovels, because they had frozen together," said Eric.

D-Day killed hundreds of lives, but it was in the Ardennes Forest that the United States lost more troops.

"At 5:30 on Dec. 16, 1944, Hitler made his last move, taking everyone by surprise," said Philippe Victor, historian at the Diekirch Museum of Military History. Columns of Nazi soldiers took the North of Luxembourg and headed for Belgium. "For 10 days, the fog prevented the planes from counter-attacking so it was a real killing." Fights lasted until the end of January 1945, killing 75,000 Americans and 80,000 Germans. Hitler's plan failed, but left a trail of destruction.

In Luxembourg, one of the centers of the fighting, the men of the 26th Infantry Division took the first hit. The Yankee Division, as it was known, had been mobilized in Massachusetts and its ranks included thousands of Portuguese-Americans named Silva, Santos or Oliveira.

It was mostly them who liberated this small European nation, the last Grand-Duchy in the world, where curiously 20% of the population is now Portuguese.

"At this time, the United States was a society where segregation was legal. By enlisting in the Armed Forces, the Portuguese had an opportunity to obtain or cement citizenship in the country. That's also why they went to the recruitment centers en masse," said Deolinda Ado, director of the Portuguese Studies Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

The communities established on the West Coast and in Hawaii were mainly incorporated into the battalions fighting in the Pacific. Portuguese-Americans from the East Coast Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut traveled to Europe.

"In WWII, every Portuguese family had one of their children in the military, as a sign of support for the host country. The censuses are unclear and do not allow us to state accurately the number of boys who have enlisted. At least 100,000, for sure," Adao said.

Forgotten Heroes

Among the 5,073 soldiers buried in the American Cemetery in Luxembourg, there are at least 20 Portuguese-American graves.

On Jan. 9, 1945, John E. Santos, of the 101st Infantry Regiment, died in the fight to recover Vianden. Born on the island of Faial, in the Azores, Santos arrived at Fall River when he was four. He volunteered for the Army and in the report of his regiment's campaign in the Ardennes, it is stated that Santos used his body to block the detonation of a German grenade and thus protect his comrades in battle. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Arthur M. Encarnacao is buried in Row 13 of Sector E of the same cemetery. He died four days before Santos, in the fight for the liberation of Wallendorf, in the east of Luxembourg.

Registered in New Bedford, he was the first of his family to be born on American soil, his parents were Azoreans from So Miguel.

Everett Seixas sleeps two rows above. He was a descendant of Sephardic Jews who fled Portugal in 1709 and who opened a very successful retail business in the Bronx, New York. He died on Dec. 27, 1944 in the fight for Goesdorf.

There are four Silvas. Ernest and Jule came from Massachusetts, Lawrence and Raymond from California. They all died in the woods of the Ardennes, Ernest and Lawrence near the Luxembourgish town of Echternach, Jule and Raymond on the Belgian-German border.

George Bruno participated in the liberation of much of northern Luxembourg in the service of the 26th Infantry Division. He fought to expel the Nazis from Asdorf, Wahl, Brattert, Kuborn, Neunhausen, Eschdorf, Isendorf, eventually falling to Bonnal on Jan. 7, 1945.

Anton Botelho, Amos Cabral, Arthur Cordeiro, Manuel Faria, James Oliveira, Antohny Medeiros, Joseph Mendona, Amrico Alves are a few more names of Portuguese soldiers fallen in the fight for a free Europe.

They all came from the Bay State.

In a war, casualties are never counted only by those who die and this is what one of the most prominent Lusodescendents fighting in the Grand Duchy, the writer Charles Reis Flix, realized. Born in New Bedford in 1923 under the name Carlos, he was the author of Crossing the Sauer, an autobiographical account of the Battle of the Bulge. There's a very vivid report of the fight for Wiltz.

"Every day I thought I was going to die and that wasn't fair. I was so young. My parents always told me that I was very lucky to have been born in the United States and not in Portugal, but these days that didn't make any sense, he wrote. At one moment I see myself isolated behind some bushes, not knowing the enemy's location. All I heard around me were men moaning, dozens of them. And all I could think about was how many were going to die, how many were going to get hurt forever, physical and psychological. At that moment, the war became a very personal thing. No, I wasn't lucky I wasn't born in Portugal".

Charles Reis Flix died in 2017 at the age of 93. Of the 3.5 million American soldiers who fought in World War II, the Department of Defense estimates that there are no more than 300,000 left today all of them 90 years old, at least.

The memory of the great tragedy of humanity is slowly fading away. Like the fog that invaded the Ardennes 75 years ago.

Combat trails

There is a walking trail that crosses the woods between Troisvierges and Clerveaux for 17 kilometers. The route is one of the best ways to understand what happened in this landscape 75 years ago. In the spring and summer months, hundreds of Americans flock to this region of northern Luxembourg to perform the desolate procession their parents or grandparents made years earlier in the days of war.

On a January day, however, it is possible to go all the way without finding a soul.

These are leafy woods of firs, beeches and oaks, through which the clouds enter into waves, blurring the view. In December 1944, this same forest was covered with snow and the thermometers reached 10.4 Fahrenheit.

"It was precisely in meteorology that Hitler thought when he decided to attack the Ardennes," said Philippe Victor. "Fog prevented allied planes from raising fire and snow made it difficult to flank the Nazi columns."

Halfway there are still the wreckage of a British reconnaissance plane shot down by Whermacht in early 1945 and the graves of the six British and Belgian soldiers who lost their lives there.

"The Germans were losing momentum on the Eastern front and D-Day had occurred months earlier. Hitler thought that if he reached Antwerp, he would be able to stop the advance of the western front and turn the board of war," said the historian.

For 10 days, the Nazi columns advanced through northern Luxembourg and southern Belgium at full speed. But then the fog cleared. Not only could the Air Force finally attack the Reich's positions, but General George Patton brought the army stationed in Alsace and Lorraine up.

The war would eventually be resolved in Bastogne, Belgium. From then on, Nazi forces would always go backwards. The Battle of the Bulge marked the beginning of the end of the greatest conflict humanity has ever seen.

But it meant 39 days of atrocious suffering, not only for both sides of the barricade but also for the population, who was also taken by surprise.

Three thousand civilians would lose their lives here 500 of them Luxembourgers. The orders of the German troops were to set fire to the villages they passed through, in many cases arresting the inhabitants inside the buildings. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the allied counter-attack, the Americans would gain enormous support.

Fighting or guarding positions in forests like the one between Troisvirges and Clervaux was true hell. Manuel Gomes reported this to his grandson Eric.

"He told me that some great tragedies of war were that after a walk, soldiers needed to take their shoes off because otherwise the sweat on their feet would freeze during the night and cause gangrene, Eric said. The problem was that after they took off their boots, their feet swelled up and many people could no longer put on again, which created exactly the same effect."

In the 26th Division alone, says the book The History of The Yankee Division 1941-45, 750 amputations would be counted.

Manuel Gomes died two years ago. He was 96 and war never abandoned him. A few months before he succumbed, his grandson made him a guest of honor at New Bedford High on Veterans Day and, "I'll be damned if he didn't shake hands with over 400 people."

He always said the same thing. "I'm a Portuguese man who sold ice, then sold oil and then worked in a factory. Chance led me to participate in the most terrible of wars and I only thank God for surviving. I'm no hero."

But he was. Gomes was a hero, as were the two million American soldiers, and among them tens of thousands of Portuguese, who fought in the Bulge for freedom and humanity. And in Luxembourg, one of Europes smallest countries, these brave boys who came from the other side of the ocean to save the nation will hardly ever be forgotten.

Ricardo J. Rodrigues is a Portuguese journalist. He studied in the Committee of Concerned Journalists, in Washington DC, and has won the Portugal's Gazeta Journalism Prize and the UNESCO's Human Rights Award. Currently living in Luxembourg, he has reported from over 100 countries around the world.

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Portuguese-American soldiers are an overlooked part of WWIIs horrific Battle of the Bulge -

Rabbi Lord Sacks on the surge of anti-semitism –

Posted By on January 25, 2020

Andrew Neil of the BBC kept asking Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn the same question over and over.

Eighty percent of Jews think that youre anti-Semitic, he stressed. Wouldnt you like to take this opportunity tonight to apologize to the British Jewish community for whats happened?

Corbyn would not yield: What Ill say is this I am determined that our society will be safe for people of all faiths.

The Daily Express called this late-2019 clash a horror show. This BBC interview, with surging fears of public anti-Semitism, lingered in headlines as Brits went to the polls. Corbyns party suffered its worst defeat in nearly a century.

Meanwhile, in America, a wave of anti-Semitic attacks left Jews wondering if it was safe to wear yarmulkes and symbols of their faith while walking the sidewalks of New York City. In suburban Monsey, New York, a machete-waving attacker stabbed five people at a Hasidic rabbis Hanukkah party. Finally, thousands of New Yorkers marched to show solidarity with the Jewish community.

The NYPD estimates that anti-Semitic crimes rose 26% last year. Anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are expected to hit an 18-year high, according to research at California State University, San Bernardino.

No one who watches the news can doubt that the darkness has returned. It has returned likewise to virtually every country in Europe, argued Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who led the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2005 and entered the House of Lords.

That this should have happened within living memory of the Holocaust, after the most systematic attempt ever made ... to find a cure for the virus of the worlds longest hate more than half a century of Holocaust education and anti-racist legislation is almost unbelievable. It is particularly traumatic that this has happened in the United States, the country where Jews felt more at home than anywhere else in the Diaspora.

Why now? In an essay for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Rabbi Sacks urged religious and political leaders to study trends often digital behind these tragedies.

Anti-Semitism, or any hate, he argued, becomes dangerous in any society when three things happen: when it moves from the fringes of politics to a mainstream party and its leadership; when the party sees that its popularity with the general public is not harmed thereby; and when those who stand up and protest are vilified and abused for doing so.

Imagine the hellish Protocols of the Elders of Zion updated for the internet. In the age of smartphones and viral videos, noted Sacks, millions of people can brew hate online rarely speaking face-to-face with their disciples or their victims. This gap creates what researchers call a disinhibition effect that turns up the heat.

Cyberspace has proved to be the most effective incubator of resentment, rancor and conspiracy theories ever invented, noted Sacks. Most people encounter these phenomena ... in the privacy of their own home. This allows them to be radicalized without anyone realizing it is happening. Time and again, we read of people carrying out horrific attacks, while those who knew them recall not having seen any warning signs that they were intent on committing evil attacks.

Its crucial to grasp the logic behind political and cultural fears on both the left and the right. Many people are furious because they believe the world as it is now is not the way it used to be, or ought to be, he argued.

The far left has not recovered from the global collapse of communism and socialism as ideologies. ... The far right feels threatened by the changing composition of Western societies, because of immigration on an unprecedented scale and low birth rates among the native population. ... Many radical Islamists are troubled by dysfunctions in the Muslim world.

Thus, many people around the world want to know why bad things are happening. Anyone seeking to fight anti-Semitism, Sacks wrote, needs to understand what can go wrong with that process.

When bad things happen, good people ask, What did I do wrong? ... Bad people ask, Who did this to me? They cast themselves as victims and search for scapegoats to blame. The scapegoat of choice has long been the Jews.

Mattingly leads and lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is a senior fellow at the Overby Center at the University of Mississippi.

Mattingly leads and lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is a senior fellow at the Overby Center at the University of Mississippi.

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Rabbi Lord Sacks on the surge of anti-semitism -

UK Councillor: Education Group Corrupts Jewish Kids with Atheist, Gay Ideas – Friendly Atheist – Patheos

Posted By on January 25, 2020

The British governmental group Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Childrens Services and Skills) has a simple mandate:

We inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. We also inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people.

Unfortunately, while their objectives might be simple, theyre never uncomplicated or uncontroversial.

Now, Stamford Hill councillor Aron Klein is resisting Ofsteds efforts to monitor local Jewish schools, claiming that their intrusion will end up giving children ideas that amount to corrupting their youthful innocence.

Kleins comments are a response to Ofsteds recent efforts to ensure all schools in the Stamford Hill borough are registered and monitored for quality, particularly schools that fall outside the mainstream educational system, including Jewish parochial schools, known to Jewish communities as yeshivas. Stamford Hill is home to an ultra-Orthodox community of predominantly Hasidic Jewish Britons.

As far as Klein is concerned, all Ofsted has to offer is a secular agenda that undermines the good, wholesome parenting of the neighborhoods Jewish families:

The Haredi community pride itself with a youth clean and pure from crime. The way they do it is a total ban of television at home. Films or video or cinema is totally forbidden as not to give the kids any idea of crime, mischief of any sort. Most boys and girls are getting married at around the age of 19 after years of learning in yeshiva to respect your partner. We pride ourselves with a divorce rate of one out of ten. Why bring Ofsted to our yeshivas? They give the children ideas of atheist, gay, early childhood sex. We dont need all this, thank you.

Klein followed it up with a shot at Mayor Phil Glanville, who is gay, and who also plans to ask the government for the power to require schools to submit to Ofsteds inspection and regulation.

You mentioned Philip Glanville. I believe he is gay. Good luck to him. No thank you. We dont want Ofsted coming mixing, confusing our children. For us its Adam and Eve. A man and a woman. A boy and a girl.

Statistically, of course, the chances that all students attending yeshivas in Stamford Hill are 100% heterosexual are not particularly high. For those who arent, lacking any access at all to the broader cultures representation of LGBTQ life is probably far more confusing than the idea that gay people exist.

But setting that aside, Ofsteds goal isnt to indoctrinate children about the merits of homosexuality; their concerns are about the ability of unregistered schools to avoid meeting educational standards, including adherence to the Equality Act. They want to ensure an egalitarian learning environment that wont harm or discriminate against certain families and children, and they want to ensure that children are being prepared for adulthood with a solid educational framework in all areas of the curriculum.

We teach our children god created the world some 6,000 years ago within six days and rested in the seventh. Ofsted come in and says you must also teach the atheist version. The world was made by itself from evolution millions of years ago. Leave us alone, its all baloney.

Apparently, reality is an atheist conspiracy.

Hes also not a great fan of teaching kids about world religions:

We teach our children the prophet Moses, Torah. Ofsted comes in, we must also teach Jesus, Bible, and Mohammed, Quran. They are all great religions, I am sure. They are made for schools where the children are born into this particular faith.

But Britain has large populations of Christians and Muslims, and preventing children from becoming aware of their compatriots religion keeping them in a bubble where exposure to other points of view is severely constrained hobbles their ability to participate fully in society, which is exactly what Ofsted means to prevent.

All told, I suppose it makes sense that Klein would oppose Ofsted; clearly they have very different views about what constitutes a solid education. But Kleins view seems clearly more concerned with religious orthodoxy than with the childrens ability to participate in society as thoughtful, aware, and compassionate citizens.

For a faith with a known scholarly tradition, this level of close-mindedness is a shame, and it can only get worse if Klein gets his way.

Mayor Glanville shot back at Councillor Klein in a Hackney Council meeting on Jan. 23, quoting his words back at him accompanied by the following statement:

We reiterate the commitments we made to stand up to hate, whether its antisemitism, Islamophobia, or indeed homophobia. Anyone who has opened the Hackney Gazette recently will see that there are people in this chamber who dont share those values, and make cheap attacks, including on me.

I would use some of [Kleins words] to say politely: no thanks to you, Mr. Klein. No thanks to your bigotry, no thanks to your views on bus lanes, red routes, our diversity, the role of Ofsted, or myriad other things. Its also a no, thank you to your view of morality. You do not have a view of morality that is suitable for this chamber or this council. When you question Ofsted, youre questioning our commitment to keep all of our children safe.

Klein acknowledged later that his views are his own and do not necessarily represent those of his community, but to date he has not personally disavowed any of his statements.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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UK Councillor: Education Group Corrupts Jewish Kids with Atheist, Gay Ideas - Friendly Atheist - Patheos

Bringing ‘Asher Lev’ to the stage | Arts Culture – St. Louis Jewish Light

Posted By on January 25, 2020

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has said he loved My Name Is Asher Lev. The novels author, Chaim Potok, heard similar reactions from readers in India in fact, from readers all over the world.

Neither the Latinx theater artist nor the readers in South Asia nor most of the other people who have embraced the novel have any obvious connection to the books title character. But a lot of people seem to identify with Asher Lev, a brilliant young painter from a Hasidic family whose work brings him both acclaim and scorn.

Aaron Posner, whose stage adaptation of the novel runs at the New Jewish Theatre through Feb. 9, relates those reactions without surprise.

One man told me that Asher Lev saved his life. Others have said it tells their own story. Many, many people, all over the world, felt radically affirmed when they read Asher Lev, Posner said. And Jewish readers loved it.

WHEN: Jan. 23-Feb. 9

WHERE: Wool Studio Theater in the Arts and Education Building, 2 Millstone Campus Drive

HOW MUCH:$49-$54

MORE INFO:314-442-3283

Chaim wasnt a stylist, wasnt interested in literary pyrotechnics. He told stories he wanted to share broadly. This is a very human story, very accessible.

The accessibility is implicit in the title, adds Aaron Sparks, director of the NJT production.

That line My name is Asher Lev thats something the character says several times (in the book), observed Sparks. Its a statement of identity.

But who gets to say what identity is? Who is Asher as a creative artist? Who is he as a Jew?

And what does it mean to take ownership of all the parts of yourself?

Both the playwright and the director suspect thats a question nearly everyone must come to terms with artist or not, Jewish or not.

Still, the novel is a novel for a reason. Its a 400-page book, said Sparks, the son of Bob and Zelda Sparks (shes the Jewish Community Centers director of cultural arts). A graduate of Parkway North and New York University, he and his wife, Natalie Blackman, recently relocated from New York, where both worked in theater. Now they live in Austin, where hes studying for his MFA at the University of Texas and shes joined the theater faculty.

You cannot get 400 pages into a play. So Aaron Posner did the things you have to do, said Sparks. He pared it down to its essential themes.

He pared it hard. Only three actors appear in the drama. Here, Spencer Sickmann plays Asher throughout the play, at different ages. Amy Loui plays all the female characters, and Chuck Winning plays all the male ones.

Posner calls it a one-man show with more people in it. He employed a similar, pared-down technique when he adapted Potoks most famous novel, The Chosen, for the stage. That play sounds lavish by comparison: It calls for five actors.

When I approached Chaim about The Chosen, my idea was to simplify it, and he liked that a lot, said Posner, who worked with Potok on that adaptation. Potok, a Conservative rabbi as well as a novelist, also looked forward to working with Posner on dramatizing Asher Lev.

But he died in 2002, before they had a chance to began. Posner was, however, able to work on the new play with Potoks widow, Adena.

The Potoks were avid theater-goers, Posner says. He understands that: He and his wife, Erin Weaver, are very much involved in the theater scene in Washington, D.C., where they live. Shes an actor; he is a director as well as a playwright. (Last season, NJT presented his powerful adaptation of The Merchant of Venice, District Merchants.)

Posner recalls that he wanted to turn Asher Lev into a play as soon as he read it, a reaction that does not surprise Sparks. Another of the storys essential themes is the drive to create, which resonates with everyone in theater, he said.

Of course, he said, it also has a special resonance for his peers, young adults setting out on life paths that may, or may not, be what their parents and community expected.

When it is not as it certainly is not for Asher, who stuns both the art and Jewish worlds with a painting titled Brooklyn Crucifixion that may provoke stress, anger, alienation. Aspiring artists, people who otherwise defy their parents career goals, people who love people their parents didnt expect many of Sparks peers relate to Asher Lev for reasons of their own, the director said.

Posner agrees. Its a common story: a person thinks, I am so different, I must leave my family behind.

But can somebody bridge two worlds and live a worthwhile life?

Worthwhile that was Chaims word. Now it is part of my lexicon, too. Ideally, he says, it comes to describe the answer to the basic question of identity: Who am I?

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Bringing 'Asher Lev' to the stage | Arts Culture - St. Louis Jewish Light

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