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Ashkenazi | Definition & Facts | Britannica.com

Posted By on February 13, 2019

Ashkenazi, plural Ashkenazim, from Hebrew Ashkenaz (Germany), member of the Jews who lived in the Rhineland valley and in neighbouring France before their migration eastward to Slavic lands (e.g., Poland, Lithuania, Russia) after the Crusades (11th13th century) and their descendants. After the 17th-century persecutions in eastern Europe, large numbers of these Jews resettled in western Europe, where they assimilated, as they had done in eastern Europe, with other Jewish communities. In time, all Jews who had adopted the German rite synagogue ritual were referred to as Ashkenazim to distinguish them from Sephardic (Spanish rite) Jews. Ashkenazim differ from Sephardim in their pronunciation of Hebrew, in cultural traditions, in synagogue cantillation (chanting), in their widespread use of Yiddish (until the 20th century), and especially in synagogue liturgy.

Today Ashkenazim constitute more than 80 percent of all the Jews in the world, vastly outnumbering Sephardic Jews. In the early 21st century, Ashkenazic Jews numbered about 11 million. In Israel the numbers of Ashkenazim and Sephardim are roughly equal, and the chief rabbinate has both an Ashkenazic and a Sephardic chief rabbi on equal footing. All Reform and Conservative Jewish congregations belong to the Ashkenazic tradition.

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Neo-Hasidism – Wikipedia

Posted By on February 11, 2019

Neo-Hasidism is a name given to contemporary Jewish trends of a significant fusing or revival of interest in the teachings of Kabbalah and Hasidism by members of other existing Jewish movements. Among non-Orthodox Jews, this trend stems from the writings of non-Orthodox teachers of Hasidic Judaism like Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Lawrence Kushner, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Arthur Green.[1] This is usually associated with the members of the Jewish Renewal movement. A second form of this trend is found within the Modern Orthodox Jewish community, and is referred to as Neo-Chassidus, involving those who are Modern Orthodox but have taken interest in the works of Hasidic masters.[2]

Martin Buber helped initiate interest in Hasidism among modernized Jews through a series of books he wrote in the first decades of the 20th century, such as Tales of the Hasidic Masters and the Legend of the Baal Shem Tov. In these books, Buber focused on the role of story telling and the charisma of early Hasidic masters as a vehicle for personal spirituality. As such, these books represent one aspect of Buber's larger project of creating a new form of personalistic, existential religiosity. Buber came under considerable criticism, especially from younger contemporary Gershom Scholem, for having interpreted Hasidism in an eccentric way that misrepresented Hasidic belief and literature. Nevertheless, Buber's sympathetic treatment of Hasidism proved attractive to many and started the 20th century romance between (idealized) Hasidism and non-Orthodox Jews.

Following World War II, when the Hasidic centers of Central and Eastern Europe were decimated, some of the surviving communities relocated to America, creating new opportunities for American Jews to have direct experience with them, their practices and their beliefs. Most of these communities remained determinedly insular, but a few, primarily the Chabad and Bratslav (or Breslov) Hasidim, adopted an attitude of outreach to the larger Jewish community, seeking to win more Jews to the Hasidic way of life. In the 1960s the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Menachem Mendel Shneerson) started commissioning young Chabadniks to seek out and teach young secular and religiously liberal Jews. Two of the early "shluchim" were Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Shlomo Carlebach. While Carlebach, a charismatic singer who used music as his tool, stayed (largely) within the circle of the Orthodox community from which he arose, Schachter-Shalomi charted an increasingly independent course, leaving Chabad to eventually study at Hebrew Union College (HUC), the leading academic institution of Reform Judaism, and to found what became Jewish Renewal.

Equally important was Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Holocaust refugee and scion of Hasidic royalty, who began his academic career in America with a life-saving but difficult wartime stint at HUC. In 1946, he moved to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the intellectual center for Conservative Judaism. There he still found himself marginalized for his Hasidic interests and customs, yet he surrounded himself with a small circle of devoted students (and eventual congregational rabbis) drawn to his mystically flavored phenomenology. As the 1960s began, Heschel was achieving increasing recognition as a theologian of stature with the publication of his books God in Search of Man and The Prophets. With that fame came an interest in his Hasidic roots and their role in his teachings. His social activism in the 60s and 70s further endeared him to many young Jews.

Several of Heschel's students at JTS during the turbulent 60's and early 70's eventually became involved in the embryonic Havurah movement, a loosely defined project of creating an alternative, informal type of Jewish community first proposed by Reform theologian Jakob Petuchowski in the 1960s. While the movement spanned a broad spectrum of spiritual proclivities, some Jews in the founding circles, like Arthur Waskow, Arthur Green, and Michael Lerner, under the combined influence of Heschel and Schachter-Shalomi, took up the project of further exploring Hasidism and recasting it in an American idiom. Havurat Shalom, the flagship of this experimental quasi-communal movement which was started jointly by Green and Schachter-Shalomi in Boston, produced the greatest artifact of Havurah Judaism, the Jewish Catalog series, a set of three books devoted to "do-it-yourself" Judaism, written with a healthy dose of information and enthusiasm for things Hasidic. In general, the Havurah communities most influenced by Hasidism were also influenced by Kabbalah, and it remains the case that these interests overlap in most of what can be labeled neo-Hasidic.

These future "Neo-Hasids" focused on selected attractive aspects of traditional Hasidism while rejecting those Hasidic teachings they found incompatible with their modern egalitarian commitments, such as Hasidism's attitudes toward women, sexuality, and non-Jews. A few of these devotees, like Waskow and Lerner, became writers of note and "public square" intellectuals in the Jewish community and in the Jewish Renewal movement. Others, such as Green and Lawrence Fine, became leading scholars in the Jewish academic world, bringing an appreciation of Hasidism and an interest in adapting its ideas and customs to contemporary mores and life. Through books like Tormented Master, The Language of Truth and Your Word Is Fire, Green (and others) made Hasidism both more accessible and compelling for Jews seeking personal spirituality amidst the outwardly focused and sometimes spiritually dry world of the formal American Jewish community. Among the liberal movements, the Reform community remained resistant to this trend for a longer period, but a few rabbis, such as Herbert Weiner and Lawrence Kushner, also started "translating" Hasidism into a Reform idiom, expanding its influence.

This overlapping of amorphous interest in Hasidism among academics, seekers, religious functionaries, intellectuals, "alternative" rabbis and teachers, has led to the coining of the term "Neo-Hasidism (NH)."[citation needed]

A few formalized groups and institutions, such as P'nai Or congregation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Elat Chayyim Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT, are heavily influenced by NH. NH also enjoyed a period of pre-eminence at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Seminary (RRC) during Arthur Green's tenure there as dean.

In 2004 a conference on Neo-Hasidism was held in NYC, organized by Rabbi Natan Margalit, under the aegis of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. At that conference there was a call by Arthur Green and others to "solidify" and in some way institutionalize the movement and its teachings so that it may survive the eventual passing of its first generation of luminaries. To some degree this has been achieved through the establishment of Green's post-denominational rabbinical school at Boston's Hebrew College. Neo-Hasidism continues to develop in projects like NeoHasid.org on the internet and in egalitarian minyanim (prayer groups) that define themselves in terms of Hasidism like the Shtibl minyan in Los Angeles.

In the past several years, some men and women brought up in the modern-Orthodox world began exploring the texts and way of life of Chasidic masters. Most notable are the Chabad works and the writings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Current Neo-Hasidic outposts include The Stollel with locations in New Jersey and New York and The University of Purim (UofPurim) located in New York (main Campus), Los Angeles (UofPurimWest), and Tucson (UofPurimSouthwest). Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, founding rabbi of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, New York, is widely considered the "senior spokesman" of the Neo-Hasidic movement in Modern Orthodoxy.[2]

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Neo-Hasidism - Wikipedia

Ezra Miller Ethnicity of Celebs | What Nationality …

Posted By on February 10, 2019

11/13/2017 Ezra Miller Justice League World Premiere Arrivals Dolby Theatre Hollywood, CA, USA Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 False Photo Credit: David Gabber / PRPhotos.com

Birth Name: Ezra Matthew Miller

Place of Birth: Wyckoff, New Jersey, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 30, 1992

Ethnicity:*Ashkenazi Jewish (father)*German, Dutch (mother)

Ezra Miller is an American actor, singer, musician, and model. Ezra starred in We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), and plays Barry Allen / The Flash in the DC Cinematic Universe.

Ezra is the son of Marta (Koch) and Robert S. Miller. Ezras father worked at Hyperion Books and Workman Publishing, and Ezras mother is a modern dancer.

Ezras father is from a Jewish family (they emigrated from Germany, Russia, and Austria). Ezras maternal grandfather was of German and Dutch ancestry, while Ezras maternal grandmothers parents were German immigrants.

In an interview for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (2012), Ezra stated, I consider myself completely Jewish. Ezra has also described himself as spiritual.

A picture of Ezras father can be seen here. A picture of Ezras mother can be seen here. A picture of Ezras maternal grandmother can be seen here.

Ezra has also said:

my immediate family is amazing. I recently found out that on my mothers side I may be descended from the Jewish who first invented the cold cut so I have the greatest lineage of all time because cold cuts are the greatest.

It is not clear what ancestor Ezra was referring to.

Ezra Miller in 2010, pic by lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Ezras paternal grandfather was E. Matthew Miller (the son of Harry Miller and Jean/Jennie Kligman). Ezras grandfather Matthew was born in Pennsylvania. Harry and Jean were also born in Pennsylvania, both of them to Russian Jewish parents. Jean was the daughter of Frank Kligman and Chasa/Gussie/Hussart Chasid.

Ezras paternal grandmother was born Lois Ann Blankensee/Blanckensee (the daughter of Phillip/Philip Julius Blankensee and Sarah Gerton). Lois was born in Pennsylvania. Phillips parents, Louis/Lewis Blankensee and Rose Salinger, were both born in Pennsylvania. Ezras great-great-grandfather Louiss parents, Julius Blankensee and Sarah, were German Jewish immigrants, as were Ezras great-great-grandmother Roses parents, John P. Salinger and Amelia. Ezras great-grandmother Sarah Gertons father, Morris Gerton, was a Russian Jewish immigrant, while Sarahs mother was a Jewish emigrant from either Austria or Russia (depending on the census). Ezras grandmother Lois later married Max Kraus, whose son and daughter-in-law are both rabbis, and whose grandson is writer Gideon Lewis-Kraus.

Ezras maternal grandfather was William John Koch, Jr. (the son of William John Koch and Johanna Josie Van Dyk/VanDyk/Dyke). Ezras grandfather William was born in New Jersey. Ezras great-grandfather William was the son of German parents, William J. Koch and Sabella Farthing. Johanna was born in New Jersey, to a Dutch father, Aart Orey Van Dyk, who was born in Doornspijk, Elburg, Gelderland, and to a mother, Bertha Kornet/Van Der Heide/VanDerHeide, who was born in New Jersey, to Dutch parents, Johannes Kornet, from Den Bommel, Oostflakkee, Zuid-Holland, and Hendrikje Annie VanDerHeide/van der Heide, from Aperlo, Gelderland.

Ezras maternal grandmother was Astrid Regina Remmler (the daughter of Walter Karl Remmler and Louise/Louisa Salome Sturm). Astrid was born in New York, to German parents.

Sources: Genealogy of Ezras paternal grandfather, E. Matthew Miller (focusing on his own mothers side) https://www.geni.com

Ezras paternal grandfather, E. Matthew Miller, on the 1940 U.S. Census https://www.familysearch.org

Ezras paternal great-grandparents, Harry Miller and Jean/Jennie Kligman, on the 1930 U.S. Census https://www.familysearch.org

Ezras paternal great-grandmother, Jean/Jennie Kligman, on the 1910 U.S. Census https://www.familysearch.org

Ezras paternal grandmother, Lois Ann Blankensee/Blanckensee, on the 1940 U.S. Census https://familysearch.org

Ezras paternal great-grandfather, Phillip Julius Blankensee, on the 1900 U.S. Census https://familysearch.orgPhillip Julius Blankensee on the 1930 U.S. Census https://familysearch.org

Ezras paternal great-great-grandfather, Louis/Lewis Blankensee, on the 1870 U.S. Census https://familysearch.org

Ezras paternal great-great-grandmother, Rose Salinger, on the 1880 U.S. Census https://familysearch.org

Ezras paternal great-grandmother, Sarah Gerton, on the 1920 U.S. Census https://familysearch.org

Engagement announcement of Ezras maternal grandparents, William John Koch and Astrid Regina Remmler http://fultonhistory.com

Genealogy of Ezras maternal grandfather, William John Koch, Jr. (focusing on his own mothers side) http://www.findagrave.com

Ezras maternal grandfather, William John Koch, Jr., on the 1930 U.S. Census https://familysearch.org

Ezras maternal grandmother, Astrid Regina Remmler, on the 1930 U.S. Census https://familysearch.org

Obituary of Ezras maternal grandmother, Astrid Regina (Remmler) Koch Bosworth Martin https://www.rowefuneral.com

Death records of Ezras maternal great-grandparents, Walter Karl Remmler and Louise/Louisa Salome Sturm http://www.findagrave.com

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Ezra Miller Ethnicity of Celebs | What Nationality ...

Celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month – Miami and The …

Posted By on February 10, 2019

By: Shayne BenowitzMay 3, 2018

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIUis your headquarters for celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month in May. This nationally observed heritage month has deep roots in South Florida that you may not even realize. In 2005, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation along with the Jewish Museum of Florida, petitioned then-freshman Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with the idea of creating Jewish American Heritage Month. She spearheaded the legislation with the House of Representatives and on April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed that May would be dedicated to celebrating the cultural contributions of Jews to American life.

Jewish American Heritage Month encourages all races, religions, cultures and ethnic groups to celebrate and learn about the Jewish American experience in order to continue to combat ignorance and hatred of all people. The month is a great time to acknowledge and learn about the achievements of American Jews in the fields of sports, arts and entertainment, medicine, business, science, government and military service over the past 350 years. This years theme is American Jews and Tikkun Olam: Healing the World.

Set inside a historic synagogue built in 1936 in South Beachs South of Fifth (SoFi) neighborhood, the Jewish Museum of Florida is dedicated to the history of Jews in Florida and around the world with a fascinating permanent collection, as well as a dynamic calendar of temporary exhibitions.

To celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, the Jewish Museum of Florida is launching a special exhibition American Jews and Music. It will draw from the museums collection to highlight the contributions of Jewish musicians including Ruth Greenfield, a pianist and activist who founded Miamis Fine Arts Conservatory in 1951 to desegregate music education and concerts. Other musicians include Mana Zucca, pianist and composer; George Orner, president of Jacksonville College of Music and conductor of the Jacksonville Symphony; Paul Wolfe, conductor of the West Coast Symphony; and Irwin Rabinowitz, one of the last American sheet music engravers who worked with such iconic acts as Elvis Presley, Irving Berlin, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.

The museum will also partner withNew World Symphonyand its conductor Michael Tilson Thomas for a number of musical performances and events throughout the month of May. One of these performances will take place on Sunday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to noon, when theGreater Miami Youth Symphony Chamber String Ensembleperforms a chamber recital under the musical direction of Huifang Chen. Sunday, May 20, is another great time to visit the museum for family programming, art lessons and story time throughout the day.

The exhibition Stranded in Shanghai, 1946 will run through May 20, displaying 22 photographs by Arthur Rothstein, a prominent Jewish American photojournalist. What many people dont realize is that 18,000 Central European Jews were granted sanctuary in Shanghai during World War II and the Holocaust. Commissioned by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, Rothstein photographed Shanghais Jewish ghetto in April 1946, seven months after the campaign in the Pacific had ended. Its a moving and fascinating exhibit.

On display through June 5, Spaces of Tolerance displays 12 site-specific installations by graduate students of FIUs Department of Architecture exploring the theme of access to spirituality in a technocratic society. The exhibit also features a sonic installation by MONAD Studios Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg in collaboration with FIU assistant professor and composer Jacob Sudol.

Opening May 2 and running through October 7, Tennessee Williams Playwright and Painter, will display nine paintings from the 1970s by the legendary playwright on loan from the private collection of Key West philanthropist David Wolkowsky, who was also a personal friend of Williams. The exhibition sheds light on the playwrights connection to Key West and South Florida. He first visited Key West in 1947 and held a residence there for over three decades where hed spend his days writing, painting and swimming. The exhibit offers a fascinating window into the man who wrote such classic American plays as A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Glass Menagerie.

The Jewish Museum of Florida hosts Jewish Walking Tours departing from the museum on select Wednesdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Youll learn about the more than 100 years of Jewish history on Miami Beach, as well as important people and organizations, while also reviewing various architectural styles that include the contributions of Jews. Theres also a Jewish Walking Food Tour held once a month where youll learn the history of the surrounding SoFi neighborhood and sample traditional bites from Jewish-owned restaurants. During the month of May, walking tours will be held on May 9, 13, 20 and 27.

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Zionism | Definition, History, Examples, & Facts …

Posted By on February 7, 2019

Zionism, Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel). Though Zionism originated in eastern and central Europe in the latter part of the 19th century, it is in many ways a continuation of the ancient attachment of the Jews and of the Jewish religion to the historical region of Palestine, where one of the hills of ancient Jerusalem was called Zion.

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Israel: Zionism

Modern Israel springs from both religious and political sources. The biblical promise of a land for the Jews and a return to the Temple in Jerusalem were enshrined in Judaism and sustained Jewish identity through an exile of 19 centuries following the failed revolts

A brief treatment of Zionism follows. For fuller treatments, see Israel: Zionism; Judaism: Zionism.

In the 16th and 17th centuries a number of messiahs came forward trying to persuade Jews to return to Palestine. The Haskala (Jewish Enlightenment) movement of the late 18th century, however, urged Jews to assimilate into Western secular culture. In the early 19th century interest in a return of the Jews to Palestine was kept alive mostly by Christian millenarians. Despite the Haskala, eastern European Jews did not assimilate and, in reaction to tsarist pogroms, formed the ovevei iyyon (Lovers of Zion) to promote the settlement of Jewish farmers and artisans in Palestine.

A political turn was given to Zionism by Theodor Herzl, an Austrian journalist who regarded assimilation as most desirable but, in view of anti-Semitism, impossible to realize. Thus, he argued, if Jews were forced by external pressure to form a nation, they could lead a normal existence only through concentration in one territory. In 1897 Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress at Basel, Switzerland, which drew up the Basel program of the movement, stating that Zionism strives to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.

The centre of the movement was established in Vienna, where Herzl published the official weekly Die Welt (The World). Zionist congresses met yearly until 1901 and then every two years. When the Ottoman government refused Herzls request for Palestinian autonomy, he found support in Great Britain. In 1903 the British government offered 6,000 square miles (15,500 square km) of uninhabited Uganda for settlement, but the Zionists held out for Palestine.

At the death of Herzl in 1904, the leadership moved from Vienna to Cologne and then to Berlin. Prior to World War I, Zionism represented only a minority of Jews, mostly from Russia but led by Austrians and Germans. It developed propaganda through orators and pamphlets, created its own newspapers, and gave an impetus to what was called a Jewish renaissance in letters and arts. The development of the Modern Hebrew language largely took place during that period.

The failure of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the wave of pogroms and repressions that followed caused growing numbers of Russian Jewish youth to emigrate to Palestine as pioneer settlers. By 1914 there were about 90,000 Jews in Palestine; 13,000 settlers lived in 43 Jewish agricultural settlements, many of them supported by the French Jewish philanthropist Baron Edmond de Rothschild.

Upon the outbreak of World War I, political Zionism reasserted itself, and its leadership passed to Russian Jews living in England. Two such Zionists, Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, were instrumental in obtaining the Balfour Declaration from Great Britain (November 2, 1917), which promised British support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The declaration was included in Britains League of Nations mandate over Palestine (1922).

In the following years the Zionists built up the Jewish urban and rural settlements in Palestine, perfecting autonomous organizations and solidifying Jewish cultural life and Hebrew education. In March 1925 the Jewish population in Palestine was officially estimated at 108,000, and it rose to about 238,000 (20 percent of the population) by 1933. Jewish immigration remained relatively slow, however, until the rise of Hitler in Europe. Nevertheless, the Arab population feared that Palestine would eventually become a Jewish state and bitterly resisted Zionism and the British policy supporting it. British forces struggled to maintain order in the face of a series of Arab uprisings. The strain of suppressing the Arab revolt of 193639, which was more extensive and sustained than earlier uprisings, ultimately led Britain to reassess its policies. In hopes of keeping the peace between Jews and Palestinian Arabs and retaining Arab support against Germany and Italy in World War II, Britain placed restrictions on Jewish immigration in 1939. The new restrictions were violently opposed by Zionist underground groups such as the Stern Gang and Irgun Zvai Leumi, which committed acts of terrorism and assassination against the British and organized illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine.

The large-scale extermination of European Jews by the Nazis led many Jews to seek refuge in Palestine and many others, especially in the United States, to embrace Zionism. As tensions grew among Arabs and Zionists, Britain submitted the Palestine problem first to Anglo-U.S. discussion for a solution and later to the United Nations, which on November 29, 1947, proposed partition of the country into separate Arab and Jewish states and the internationalization of Jerusalem. The creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, triggered an invasion by the neighbouring Arab countries that was soundly defeated by the Israeli army. (See Arab-Israeli War of 194849.) By the time armistice agreements were signed in 1949, Israel held more land than had been allotted to it under the UN partition plan. About 800,000 Arabs had also fled or been expelled from the area that became Israel. Thus, 50 years after the first Zionist congress and 30 years after the Balfour Declaration, Zionism achieved its aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, but at the same time, it became an armed camp surrounded by hostile Arab nations, and Palestinian organizations engaged in terrorism in and outside Israel.

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Judaism: Zionism

The most striking of the new phenomena in Jewish life was Zionism, which, insofar as it focused on the return to Zion (the poetic term for the Holy Land), recalled older religious themes. Because it stressed the establishment of a secular state, however, Zionism

During the next two decades Zionist organizations in many countries continued to raise financial support for Israel and to encourage Jews to immigrate there. Most Jews, however, reject the view propagated by some very Orthodox Jews in Israel that the Jews outside Israel were living in exile and could live a full life only in Israel.

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Hasidim And Mitnagdim – Jewish Virtual Library

Posted By on February 2, 2019

Although contemporary Jews often use the word "Hasid" as a synonym for ultra-Orthodox, Hasidism, a religious movement that arose in eighteenth century Eastern Europe, was originally regarded as revolutionary and religiously liberal. Its opponents, known as Mitnagdim, were themselves Orthodox Jews. More than any thing else, the stories that each group told about its rabbinic leaders exemplify the differences among them. The Mitnagdim were proud of the fact that their leader, the Vilna Gaon, had delivered an advanced discourse on the Talmud when he was only seven years old, and that he studied Jewish texts eighteen hours a day.

The founder of Hasidism, Israel Ba'al Shem Tov, was the hero of very different sorts of tales. The Hasidim told of how he spent his teenage years working in a job with low status, as assistant in a Jewish elementary school, a cheder. He would round up the students from their homes each morning and lead them to school singing songs. Later, after he married, he and his wife went to live in the faroff Carpathian Mountains. There, the Ba'al Shem Tov worked as a laborer, digging clay and lime, which his wife then sold in town. The couple later kept an inn.

During these years, the Ba'al Shem Tov spent much time in the nearby forest in meditation and solitude. His Hasidic followers subsequently likened this period to the years of isolation and meditation that Moses spent in Midian, tending the flocks of his fatherinlaw.

Around 1736, the Ba'al Shem Tov revealed himself as a healer and a leader. His last name, which literally means "Master of the Good Name," was one that was frequently applied in Jewish life to miracle workers and healers. In 1740, he moved to Meziboz, a town near the borders of both Poland and the Ukraine, and not far from Lithuania. Disciples started coming to him from the surrounding countries, but the talks delivered by the Ba'al Shem Tov differed dramatically from lectures offered at a yeshiva; they focused far more on an individual's personal relationship with God and with his fellowman than on the intricacies of Jewish law. The stories Hasidim later told about the Ba'al Shem Tov usually referred to by his acronym, the Besht invariably depict him with a pipe in hand, telling seemingly secular tales with deep religious meanings. He died in 1760, leaving behind Dov Baer of Mezrich as his successor. Shortly before his death, the Besht told the people standing near his bed: "I grieve not at my death, for I can see a door opening while the other is closing."

Many of the dominant themes in the Besht's teachings became the central emphases in the Hasidic movement that his followers developed. There were statements of the Besht, not entirely innovative, which placed great stress on aspects of Judaism that the Mitnagdim generally ignored: the heart, for example. The Besht was particularly fond of a talmudic statement, "God desires the heart" (Sanhedrin 106b), which he interpreted as meaning that for God, a pure religious spirit mattered more than knowledge of the Talmud. It is told of the Besht that one Yom Kippur a poor Jewish boy, an illiterate shepherd, entered the synagogue where he was praying. The boy was deeply moved by the service, but frustrated that he could not read the prayers. He started to whistle, the one thing he knew he could do beautifully; he wanted to offer his whistling as a gift to God. The congregation was horrified at the desecration of their service. Some people yelled at the boy, and others wanted to throw him out. The Ba'al Shem Tov immediately stopped them. "Until now," he said, "I could feel our prayers being blocked as they tried to reach the heavenly court. This young shepherd's whistling was so pure, however, that it broke through the blockage and brought all of our prayers straight up to God."

Another ancient Jewish doctrine that was given particular emphasis by the Ba'al Shem Tov was based on a verse in Isaiah: "The whole world is full of His glory" (6:13). If the whole world is full of God's glory, the Besht reasoned, then the Mitnagdim and the ascetics were wrong in thinking that one had to turn one's back on the pleasures of the world. "Don't deny that a girl is beautiful," the Besht would say. "Just be sure that your recognition of her beauty brings you back to its source-God." If one could do that, then even physical pleasures could bring about spiritual growth.

Because the world was full of God, the Besht believed that a person always should be joyful. Indeed, the greatest act of creativity comes about in an atmosphere of joy: "No child is born except through pleasure and joy," the Besht declared. "By the same token, if one wishes his prayers to bear fruit, he must offer them with pleasure and joy." This doctrine was a strong challenge to many ideas current among Jews in the Besht's time. Many religious Jews, particularly among the kabbalists, preached asceticism, and advocated that Jews fast every Monday and Thursday. The Ba'al Shem Tov warned people against such practices, fearing that they would lead to melancholy, not joy.

To outsiders, unaccustomed to the Besht's teachings, Hasidic prayer services sometimes seemed undignified, even chaotic. In fulfillment of the Psalmist's ecstatic declaration, "All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like You?" (Psalms 35:10), worshipers were capable of performing handstands. Characteristically, the Besht defended such practices at Hasidic services with a story. A deaf man passed by a hall where a wedding reception was being celebrated. When he looked through the window, he saw people engaged in exultant and tumultuous dancing. But because he could not hear the music, he assumed they were mad.

The Besht also taught that the Tzaddik (the religious leader of the Hasidim) should serve as a model of how to lead a religious life. However, he did not emphasize the doctrine of the Tzaddik nearly as much as some of his successors, particularly Dov Baer of Mezrich, who made it central to Hasidism. Dov Baer, the leader of the Hasidim after the Baal Shem Tov's death, taught that God revealed Himself through the Tzaddik's most trivial actions; one of Dov Baer's followers said, "I didn't go to him to learn Torah, but to see him unbuckle his shoes." Dov Baer taught that the ideal Tzaddik had a closer relationship to God than the average Jew, and could bestow blessings on people. In return, it was understood that the Hasidim must bring their Tzaddik gifts.

The belief in the power and greatness of the Tzaddik became one of Hasidism's strongest-and most controversial-ideas. Hasidism's opponents charged that the Tzaddikim (plural) often enriched themselves at the expense of their followers. In the generation after Dov Baer, numerous new Hasidic groups were formed, each with its own Tzaddik, referred to as a rebbe. These rebbes became a kind of Jewish royalty. When one died, he was succeeded by either his son or soninlaw. Those Hasidic groups that established eminent family dynasties became successful. Many Hasidic groups, however, went into decline when their rebbe died and left behind less capable successors.

The best known group of Hasidim in the United States are the Lubavitcher, who are headquartered in Brooklyn. Their current rebbe is Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the seventh leader since the movement was founded in the late 1700s. But though Lubavitch is the one Hasidic group nonOrthodox Jews are most apt to meet-because of the movement's various outreach programs-there are dozens of other Hasidic dynasties in the United States (many of them located in Brooklyn) and in Israel.

In their early years, the Hasidim were actively persecuted by the Mitnagdim, who feared they would become another heretical sect, similar to that of Shabbetai Zevi. But in its formative stages, Hasidism wisely put its primary emphasis on personal religious growth rather than on national salvation, and it downplayed the messianic element. This was not enough, however, to appease the Mitnagdim. Other Hasidic traits, such as their laissezfaire attitude toward the appropriate hours for prayer, bitterly provoked their opponents. The Hasidim answered that they couldn't legislate precise hours for reciting each of the three daily prayer services; they prayed with such intensity (kavannah) that they couldn't do so while looking at a watch.

The Israeli historian Jacob Katz has documented how other practices provocatively separated the Hasidim from their neighbors. For example, Hasidim advocated using a sharper knife when slaughtering animals than the one used by the Mitnagdim's slaughterers. Such stringency had a socially divisive effect: The Hasidim no longer could eat at the Mitnagdim's houses. The Hasidim also adopted a different prayerbook, so that their synagogue service differed somewhat from that of other Jews and had to be conducted separately. Their most brilliant act of "public relations" was labeling themselves Hasidim, the Hebrew word for both "pious" and "saintly," while calling their adversaries Mitnagdim, Hebrew for "opponents." These terms made the Hasidim seem like the more dynamic and positive of the two groups.

With the passage of time, the Hasidim and Mitnagdim recognized that their differences were increasingly inconsequential, particularly after both groups found themselves facing a common enemy: the nineteenth century Haskala, or Jewish Enlightenment. Jewish parents who once feared that their Hasidic or Mitnagdish child might go over to the other camp, were now far more afraid that their child might become altogether irreligious.

An additional factor that lessened the HasidicMitnagdish split was nineteenth and twentieth century Hasidism's increasing emphasis on Talmud study. As the movement expanded, it put less emphasis on meditation and communing with God, and more on traditional Jewish learning. As a result, Hasidim today are no longer regarded as revolutionaries; in fact, they are the conservative stalwarts of Orthodox Judaism, easily recognized by the eighteenth and nineteenth century black coats and hats worn by most of their male adherents.

Nonetheless, the Hasidic approach to Judaism significantly differs from that of the Mitnagdim. Hasidism generally places a much greater stress on simcha shel mitzvah the joy of performing a commandment.

Sources: Joseph Telushkin. Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History. NY: William Morrow and Co., 1991. Reprinted by permission of the author

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YIVO | Ger Hasidic Dynasty

Posted By on February 2, 2019

The Ger dynasty (also Gur), named for the town of Gra Kalwaria in the Warsaw district, had the largest following of any Hasidic group in central Poland until the Holocaust andto a large degree dominated Jewish religious life in the area around Warsaw for some 80 years. Ger was distinguished among Hasidic groups by its particular emphasis on traditional yeshiva-type study. Ger leaders were also known for their deep and visible involvement in political and public affairs.

The dynasty was founded by Yitsak Meir (Itshe Meyer) Rothenberg (17991866), generally known by the title of his multivolume book as idushe ha-Rim (after the Polish uprising of 1831, the family name was changed to Alter). Itshe Meyer was a leading figure in the circle of his brother-in-law Menaem Mendel of Kotsk (17871859), who sought to bring about a renewal of Hasidism in central Poland. When the Kotsker, as he was called, entered into a long period of seclusion beginning in 1840, Itshe Meyer became the chief spokesman for the PshiskheKotsk school within Polish Hasidism. Even before the Kotskers death, large numbers of Hasidim had in effect transferred their loyalty from master to disciple.

Itshe Meyer was a leader in the struggle against legislation that would have compelled Jews to abandon their traditional clothing (18461851), in the course of which he was jailed for a short time. Well recognized as a Talmudic scholar, he developed a close relationship with Dov Berush Meisels, the rabbi of Warsaw, and with other leading figures in the rabbinic community. Polish Hasidism was thus highly regarded by the religious leadership, and the HasidicMisnagdic conflict of earlier generations was set aside. After trying first to establish his headquarters in Warsaw, Itshe Meyer moved to Gra Kalwaria around 1860, and that town remained the movements center until 1939. A special railroad line from Warsaw brought Hasidim to their rebbeand Catholics to their pilgrimage site in the same town.

Itshe Meyer was succeeded in the dynastys leadership by his grandson, Yehudah Leib Alter (18471905), known universally as Sefat Emet (after the title of his book). Following a five-year apprenticeship and interregnum, Yehudah Leib formally assumed the mantle of rebbe in 1871, serving until his own death as the dominant voice within Polish Hasidism. The book Sefat emet, a five-volume collection of homilies stretching over 34 years, is one of the most important works of Hasidic theology and homiletics. It has been widely studied, both within and outside Hasidic circles, since its first publication immediately after his death in 1905.

Sefat emet is a wide-ranging and often profound work of religious thought presented in the form of weekly (originally oral) discourses on the Torah portion or holiday celebration. It offers a radically simplified and immanentist version of Jewish mystical theology. God is represented by the nekudah penimit, the innermost point, of all being. The Jews task is to discover that point everywhere and in each moment, to expand it by making it the single object of his attention, and to reenvision even mundane and material aspects of life as dwelling places of this mysterious divine spark.

Yehudah Leib was the first Hasidic master to preside over a large community in which secularization (embracing socialism of various stripes, Zionism, the Yiddish literary awakening, and Polonizing assimilation) was making vast strides, and a large part of the Jewish population had ceased being religiously observant. While his disciples often fought fiercely for domination of the community, Yehudah Leib tried to remain above the fray, portraying himself as rebbe of all Jews. Even the nonobservant, he taught, had the unerasable mark of God in their deepest selves, and the rebbes foremost task was to bring them to awareness of it.

Yehudah Leib was succeeded by his son Avraham Mordekhai (18661948), known as Imre Emet. The third Gerer rebbe is known primarily as a disciplined organizer of his large following into a body of considerable clout within an increasingly politicized Polish Jewry. He was a leading figure in the founding of Agudas Yisroel in 1912, and Ger Hasidim became a major constituency within the party, which was formed to assert the dominance of uncompromising Orthodoxy within Jewry, both in Poland and in the Land of Israel.Members of Agudas Yisroel who wereclose to the rebbe served in the Polish parliament and later in the Israeli Knesset, conveying the views of the Gerer rebbe to political leadership in both countries.

Avraham Mordekhai escaped Warsaw and arrived in Jerusalem in 1940. As word of the total devastation of Polish Jewry reached the Holy Land, the deeply pained rebbe worked to establish a new center for Ger Hasidism in Jerusalem. This was accomplished mostly by his successors, beginning with his three sons: Yisrael Alter (18951977; rebbe from 1948), Simah Bunem Alter (18981992; rebbe from 1977), and Pinas Menaem Alter (19261996; rebbe from 1992). Leadership then passed to Yaakov Aryeh Alter (1936 ), the son of Simah Bunem. Ger today is again considered one of the largest and most successfully established Hasidic communities: it is the largest Hasidic group in Israel, with groups living in numerous locations, and there are smaller centers of activity in New York, London, and elsewhere.

Yitsak Alfasi, Gur: Toldot asidut Gur, 2nd ed. (Tel Aviv, 1978); Eleanora Bergman, Gra Kalwaria: The Impact of a Hasidic Cult on the Urban Landscape of a Small Polish Town, Polin 5 (1990): 323; Avraham Yitsak Bromberg, The Rebbes of Ger: Sfas Emes and Imrei Emes (Brooklyn, N.Y., 1987); Arthur Green, Three Warsaw Mystics in Kolot Rabim: Sefer ha-zikaron le-Rivkah Shats-Ufenhaimer, ed. Rachel Elior and Joseph Dan, pp.158 (Jerusalem, 1996); Arthur Green, The Language of Truth: The Torah Commentary of the Sefat Emet, Rabbi Yehudah Leib Alter of Ger (Philadelphia, 1998).

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YIVO | Ger Hasidic Dynasty

Professor Roman Yushkov is the First Russian On Trial for …

Posted By on February 2, 2019

In May 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a draconian law that makes any denial of the official story of Nazi crimes a criminal offense. The law also includes wittingly spreading false information about the activity of the USSR during the years of World War Two or portraying the Third Reich in a positive light.

While many people within the alternative media worship Putin as a great White savior, some of us having been paying close attention to many indicators that the former Soviet Union has become increasingly repressive and totalitarian.

Putin has an army of jewish billionaires at his side, was voted Israels Man of the Year in 2015, married his daughter off toKirill Shamalov (a jewish tycoon, like Jared Kushner), passed anti-gentile laws (like outlawing anti-semitic Biblical criticism), is intimately tied to the Chabad mafia (along with Trump), and much more. Yet we are told by Putin apologists that these moves were symbolic and that we should not worry since Vladimir is a master 4D chess player and he is on our side. Some have put forth the theory that Putin only needed laws such as the one that forbids Holocaust denial in order to deal with fake neo-Nazis in Russia who are being funded by the evil Western powers.

NowRoman Yushkov, a Perm University Professor, has been fired from his position and his social media and videos of his presentations thrown into Russias giant memory hole.

In Trump and Corbyn And the Russian Warning Over Syriaby Israel Shamir, the news is reported:

The first ever trial of a Holocaust Denier in Russia is taking place now in Perm, the Doctor Zhivago city. Roman Yushkov, a Perm University Professor, had been sacked; his social accounts erased, his YouTube presentations removed; there is practically no publicity at all. He reposted an article expressing doubt of the amount of Jewish dead, and a local resident of Habad Chassid House reported him to authorities. There is no law forbidding H denial in Russia, but there is a law forbidding to cause interethnic wrangle. The verdict is expected on September 4.

From a Russian source (translated):

Note also that there was a case commenced in August against Perm journalist and activist Roman Yushkov according to part 1 article 282 of Criminal Code and part 1 article 354.1 of Criminal Code. The case was commenced for re-publication of a link to an article in Facebook of nationalist Anton Blagin Jews! Return the Germans money for fraud with Holocaust six millions jews!. This case has become the third case against Yushkov during the year, and in October the fourth case according to article 282 was commenced against him, and all four cases were united into one. The reason for commencing each of these cases was publication of xenophobic materials, but only in the above-mentioned case there was an anti-Semitism motive.

We are able to hear from Professor Yushkov himself in a translation of his blog post What I would say to a jury in my case, if I had not been shut up:

To Englishmen and Americans, to be exact, influential Jews over them, it was extremely important to shove the basis of mythology and the Holocaust industry into the Nuremberg verdict. That then, in subsequent decades, deploy them on an industrial scale in the form of payments to Israel reparations from Germany and receive other and other financial and political benefits. Therefore, the German officers summoned to the court as witnesses ruthlessly tortured and broke, providing the necessary testimony. This is convincingly shown by the studies of many scientists, in particular, Professor Robert Faurisson of the University of Lyons.

It is well known that they tortured the defendants Julius Streicher and Hans Fritsche and witnesses Oswald Paul, Franz Qirais and Joseph Kramer. And especially cruelly the commandant of the labor camp Auschwitz (Auschwitz) Rudolf H. As a result, he confessed to those wild phantasmagoric horror stories that the prosecutor frightened you by reading out excerpts from the Nuremberg verdict: gas chambers, fat burning from dead Jews, mattresses from womens hair Most of this Nuremberg mythology has been abandoned even today by the most furious Zionist propagandists Israel. Nobody prefers not to remember about the resulting fat and collected by the Germans fat from the bodies piled in a heap and set on fire (!), Because the absurdity and technical impossibility of this is too obvious. But for the gas chambers uncovered by scientists in Auschwitz with gas from insects cyclone-B, the merchants from the Holocaust are still holding on, because something quite fantastic, the uniquely awful thing in this mythology must certainly be.

And, of course, incredible figures Tortured to death and psychologically crushed RudolphH said to the man who was transported with him in one car to the Nuremberg trial Moritz von Schirmaister that there are methods by which any confession can be achieved and that he would sign any figures. But they demanded from him 6 million, mystically significant for the Jews from biblical times. [read the whole translation here]

The man speaks the truth, but truth is the new hate speech. As we learned from the Zundel trials, truth is no defense. This is the Orwellian world in which we live, and yet people really seem to think the grass is greener in Eurasia just because Oceanias Big Brother is so noxious.

At least here in America I cannot be sent to the gulag just for calling the 6 million number a lie at least not yet.

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Anti-Zionism is a rejection of racism and imperialism, not …

Posted By on February 2, 2019

We applaud Jewish Voice for Peaces (JVP) recent statement, Our Approach to Zionism, for its unequivocal opposition to Zionism. We share the values and goals of justice, equality, and freedom that JVP outlined in its statement.

We wish to register, however, some of our concerns with parts of JVPs statement, Our Approach to Zionism. First, the statement links its discussion of Zionism to collective Jewish pain and trauma. Second, it gives credence to the idea that Zionism is a nineteenth century ideology that emerged from Jewish life, not a colonial ideology developed to expand western imperialism in Palestine. JVP segments Zionist ideology into its cultural, religious and political strains. While they oppose the political Zionism that led to the establishment of the Zionist state in Palestine, they do not spend significant effort tackling the other two strands, and as such imply tacit approval of the latter strains. Moreover, the statement goes further to redefine anti-Zionism as a loose term referring to criticism of the current policies of the Israeli state, and/or moral, ethical, or religious criticism of the idea of a Jewish nation-state. Meanwhile, ever since the general strike of 1936 and the great Palestinian revolt against the British mandate, anti-Zionism has been defined as the rejection of Jewish-only colonies, created on Palestinian land through expropriation and forced expulsion of indigenous Palestinians for the purpose of building the economic and demographic conditions for establishing a colonial nation-state in Palestine. It was only natural that massacres, genocide, and eventually apartheid would inevitably ensue where the colonizer has sought to establish dominance over the colonized.

A quick reading of history, as Ghassan Kanafani and others have done, reveals Zionism preceded the nineteenth century and had always been a partner of colonialism and Western imperialism. After the occupation of Egypt, Napoleon marched over 30,000 troops onto Jaffa and Acre. A French report published after the military attack of 1799 stated that Bonaparte wants to restore to the Jews their Jerusalem. We agree that Zionism has established an apartheid state. But we would go further and state that the apartheid relationship the colonial distinction between different kinds of humans is at Zionisms core. This racist movements colonial roots were no secret, nor were they exogenously imposed. As the biographer of Herzl wrote, he knew that he would be going further than any colonialist had so far gone in Africa, and would temporarily, alienated civilized opinion as they, in Herzls 1896words, would occupy the land. As he continued, By the time the reshaping of world opinion in our favor has been completed, we shall be firmly established in our country, no longer fearing the influx of foreigners, and receiving our visitors with aristocratic benevolence.

We therefore see the historical sequence differently. Zionism did not merely emerge as one amongst many Jewish responses to antisemitism, but as part-and-parcel of European imperialism. It received British support precisely because it would create a colonial outpost at the crossroads of Asia and Africa, and on the shores of the Mediterranean, a body of water nestled between three major continents. The idea was always to give strategic access to the Mediterranean coast while denying it to Palestinians, with the exception of the Gaza ghetto, while expelling Palestinians to British-created Jordan. This colony would perpetually tie that outpost, with existential dependency, to imperialism. Thus, whatever the subjective intentions of non-political Zionists during the era of colonization and settlement, they were taking part in and contributing to a broader colonial project. A rejection of all forms of Zionism, not just political, is thus critical to true solidarity grounded in justice, anti-racism, and anti-imperialism.

We agree that the creation of Israel and Zionism has led to a racist hierarchy amongst the Jews living in Palestine and has been a recurrent tool to break the ties of Jewish communities living in Arab lands from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen to Iraq. We see this as an organic outgrowth of the Zionist project of denigrating the whole of the Orient and the cultures and ways of life which live in the region. One of the biggest proponents of anti-Semitism has been the Zionist movement. It bombed synagogues in Iraq and Tunisia. Later in the 1980s, in the midst of the Lebanese civil war, in which both Israel and the US were directly implicated, the Palestine Liberation Organization stood guard in front of Lebanese synagogues in the Jewish quarter, only to be obliterated later by Zionist bombs targeting these buildings to ensure that Jews had no safe havens in their native countries and outside of Palestine. And as Hannah Arendt described in detail, during WWII Zionists allied with Nazi leaders and conspired against the Jewish resistance leaders in Warsaw to guarantee complete rupture of Jewish continuity in Europe and outside of Palestine.

Anti-Zionism, then, is a politic founded on the denial of the colonial relationships of oppression in Palestine, and by extension rejects the continued existence of the European Jewish state in Palestine. It is a stance which rejects the right of people from Europe to invade and take over those lands and set up a hierarchy of peoples within them. Anti-Zionism is not merely criticism of current Israeli policies or even the idea of a Jewish nation-state. It is a rejection of an imperially-imposed, racist, settler-colonial state.

Zionism is also not limited to Palestinian dispossession and occupation. Zionism has carried out multiple and ongoing attacks on surrounding and further afield Arab states, from Egypt, to Syria, to Lebanon and Tunisia, including decades-long occupations of the Levantine region and extensive assaults on Lebanon. It has helped assassinate Arab radical leadership, including the Moroccan Marxist militant Mehdi Ben Barka, George Hawi, and Mustafa Ali Zibri. It has provided arms and training to right-wing, fascistic, anti-Communist, racist, and antisemitic regimes, from apartheid South Africa, to the dictatorships of the Southern Cone and Central America in the 1970s and 1980s, to ongoing and massive arms sales to the right-wing US allied Indian government, to cozying up to the crypto-fascist Bolsonaro regime in Brazil. It also partnered with the military junta in prosecuting a genocide in Guatemala that resulted in the murder of 200,000 people, mostly indigenous Mayans. Zionists aided and trained the Lebanese Force and Falanges, the Southern Lebanese Army, and Al Qaida factions, and even coordinated directly with the Islamic State. In this, Israel has carried out an agenda which it has been loyal to from its founding: turning itself into the spears-tip of empire across the Third World and against Third World national and social liberation struggles. We consider these facts highly relevant to constituting an anti-Zionist politic, which has historically been inseparable from a broader internationalist and anti-colonial position which rejects the influence of Europe and the US empires in the affairs of the countries of the Third World.

Of course, we recognize and applaud JVPs efforts in finally joining the ranks of the anti-Zionist movement after many years of incoherence that functioned to strengthen the Zionist colonial project under the mask of liberal Zionism. However, historical and ideological clarity are important. Anti-Zionism is an internationalist politic, one to which our own predecessors, Palestinian and Jewish, have made important contributions. We uphold that legacy, and warmly embrace this important step from Jewish Voice for Peace in developing an ever-sharper analysis of Zionism as part of a shared struggle to rid the region of Israel and all the reactionary precipitates of the Zionist project. Thus, we wish to push our ally even further, so that JVP may understand anti-Zionism for what it is, a liberationist ideology grounded in anti-imperialism and anti-racism. This view of anti-Zionism has only one logical conclusion, a total rejection of all forms of Zionism and the embrace of true decolonization.

Eyad Kishawi, Palestinian activist and member of Al-Awda

Max Ajl, Tunis, Tunisia

Liliana Cordova-Kaczerginski, Madrid, Spain

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Anti-Zionism is a rejection of racism and imperialism, not ...

Mass Holocaust-denial infecting Eastern Europe study …

Posted By on January 29, 2019

A new study suggests that Holocaust denial is at its worst in Eastern Europe, where revisionist governments driven by feelings of victimhood try to erase their nations culpability in the massacre of Jews.

The study, published on January 25 just days before Holocaust Remembrance Day indicates rampant levels of historical revisionism regarding the mass-extermination of Jews under Nazi rule in eastern parts of the European Union. The Holocaust Remembrance Project was conducted by researchers from Yale and Grinnell Colleges and endorsed by the European Union of Progressive Judaism (EUPJ), an umbrella organization which links more than 170 progressive Jewish communities in 17 countries.

Revisionism here refers to people minimizing their own governments complicity, downplaying the number of victims, or claiming that the events of the Holocaust never occurred at all. Based on their findings, the study assigned countries a green, yellow, or red rating, indicating progress, caution or problems, in their relation to Holocaust history. Poland, Hungary, Croatia, and Lithuania all received a red rating, indicating that these countries have a serious incapability of living up to their tragic histories.

Poland is particularly taken to task in the study. The authors describe the country as run by a right-wing nationalist government engaged in competitive victimization, emphasizing the experience of Polish victims over that of Jewish victims. Aside from rising levels of anti-Semitism and continued reductions in Holocaust education, the country came under fire for a law it passed in January of last year which made it illegal to implicate the Polish state in Nazi crimes.

On the other hand, Romania and the Czech Republic were both given a green rating, and were held up as exemplars. The Romanian government was praised for requiring mandatory Holocaust training for its military general staff and establishing an independent Holocaust-study commission.

While this part of the report focused on countries in Eastern Europe, the rest of the continent didnt fare much better in recent related studies. One study published around the same time indicated that despite widely available evidence, 1 in 20 Britons dont believe the Holocaust took place at all.

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Mass Holocaust-denial infecting Eastern Europe study ...


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