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Dozens of windows shattered at synagogue in Peoria, Ill. –

Posted By on May 26, 2020

(May 22, 2020 / JNS) Police in Peoria, Ill., are investigating nine broken windows at a synagogue in the city.

Authorities believe the vandalism at Congregation Anshai Emeth, which houses the Hebrew Day School, occurred between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, when it was reported to law enforcement.

It is under investigation by a detective, and at this point, there is no suspect information, said Officer Amy Dotson, public-information officer for the Peoria Police Department. No entry was made, and nothing in the chapel appeared to be disturbed.

She said the windows were broken by either rocks or bricks, and among the rooms impacted were classrooms and a kitchen.

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Dotson added that we do have issues with kids and vandalism. I wouldnt say its prevalent to houses of worship, but it isnt completely uncommon. It is typically a juvenile delinquent situation.

Synagogue president Steven Marx told a local television station, WMBD, that the vandal or vandals used bricks or rocks to break a lot of windows and tried to break one door. It just seems to be simple vandalism, but the target, of course, makes you wonder. He confirmed this on Friday with JNS, noting that estimates for the damage have not yet been made.

As of press time, no motive had been associated with the incident. Officials have said as of now there is no indication of anti-Semitism.

Indeed, following a post on Facebook about the incident in which some expressed concern that this was a hate act, someone using the synagogues Facebook account responded, Maybe they didnt target us as Jews.

On Thursday evening, the Anti-Defamation League Midwest indicated its awareness of the incident and planned to speak with both law enforcement and members of the congregation.

On his personal Twitter account, David Goldenberg, ADLs Midwest regional director, said: The investigation is underway and motives for this vandalism are unknown at the moment, but we know it occurs at a time when anti-Semitic incidents are up 340 percent in Illinois since 2016.

Dozens of windows shattered at synagogue in Peoria, Ill. -

WATCH: New Zealand leader carries on with TV interview during quake – Arab News

Posted By on May 26, 2020

LONDON:Al Jazeeras recent interview with terrorist-designated group Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, as well as its podcast glorifying killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, has stirred the ongoing debate surrounding the networks alleged promotion of terrorism.

The exposure given to the controversial figures has prompted experts into stating that the station and news site continue to provide extremists with a platform to present themselves on.

The fact that Qatars Al Jazeera Arabic continues to provide a platform to bigoted and violent extremists, including terrorists, obviously undermines the Qatari governments claim to be a steady force for tolerance and coexistence, Washington director for international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, David Weinberg, told Arab News.

The stations interview with Haniyeh served as a stage to threaten Israel with the fact that Hamas was still capable of kidnapping more Israeli soldiers, while the podcast allowed the Soleimani character a free rein to explain his support of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and why he helped Syrian President Bashar Assad massacre his own people.

These were not the only controversies the network found itself embroiled in this month.

Last week, Al Jazeeras Arabic news site carried a headline reading, Martyr shot by Occupation forces in the West Bank for being accused of trying to run over soldiers, to report on a Palestinian man who was shot while attempting to ram into Israeli soldiers with his car.

Every time Al Jazeera calls somebody anybody a martyr, it violates the journalistic ethic of impartiality. What makes it much, much worse is that Al Jazeera consistently uses the term martyr to glorify terrorists, provided the civilians those violent extremists are trying to murder happen to be Israeli Jews, Weinberg said.

Encouraging slaughter of this sort does nobody any favors, not Palestinians or Israelis, neither Jews nor Arabs.

Al-Qaeda in Syria? Flattered by Al Jazeera. The Taliban? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Iranian proxies like Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Al-Qaeda financier Muthanna Al-Dhari? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Media practices like these are unacceptable, immoral, and bad for people of all faiths and all nations, he added.

Al Jazeera has a turbulent past when it comes to extremist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Last year, its youth channel AJ+ Arabic drew widespread condemnation over an alleged Holocaust denial video that claimed Jews exaggerated the scale of the genocide in order to establish Israel.

The chairman of UK nonprofit organization Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, Ghanem Nuseibeh, told Arab News: Al Jazeera has a direct editorial input from the Diwan in Doha (the sovereign body and administrative office of the Emir of Qatar), with the Arabic channel focused on promoting the extremist ideological discourse. This is their core constituency.

It is particularly troubling that Al Jazeera Arabic website still to this day continues to host articles and videos of interviews by proscribed groups in the UK such as Al-MuHajjiroun, and freely accessible in the UK, he added.

Earlier this month, a Shariah expert from the Qatari Ministry of Religious Endowments advocated the beating of women in an interview on the network, stating that they need to be subdued by muscles. And this was not the first time.

The station also broadcasts a religious program hosted by extremist cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhoods spiritual leader. Al-Qaradawi, an outspoken Hamas loyalist who was featured in Arab News Preachers of Hate series, issues fatwas riddled with comments advocating suicide bomb attacks and praises to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler for punishing the Jews, on Al Jazeeras media platforms.

Al Jazeeras motto is, the opinion and the other opinion, but when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhoods bigots and violent extremists, Al Jazeera Arabic still just presents one opinion, giving ikhwani (brotherhood) intolerance an unquestioning platform for broadcasting into millions of homes around the world, Weinberg said.

The media network has also been called a useful tool for Qatars ruling elite notorious for their sympathies with the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist and extremist groups. In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in order to pressure it to halt its alleged terrorism financing and shut down the network.

US Embassy cables acquired by UK newspaper The Guardian in 2009 proved just how interconnected the Qatari government and Al Jazeera are.

Al Jazeera, the most watched satellite television station in the Middle East, is heavily subsidized by the Qatari government and has proved itself a useful tool for the stations political masters Despite (the government of Qatars) protestations to the contrary, Al Jazeera remains one of Qatars most valuable political and diplomatic tools, the cable read.

Favoring Daesh

Do you support the Daesh groups victories in Iraq and Syria?

More than 54,000 people voted on the official page of Opposite Direction. 81.6 percent voted Yes, while 18.4 percent voted No.

Sectarian discourse

Al-Qassim said: Why do you blame the regime? I want to ask you. Al-Nubl and Al-Zahraa are Shiite colonies in the heart of Sunni land. Kafarayah and Fuaa are still living among you. Why dont you expel them out as they did toyou and curse the ones who gave birth to them?

Party for a terrorist

Al Jazeera host: Brother Samir, we would like to celebrate your birthday with you. You deserve even more than this. I think that 11,000 prisoners if they can see this program now are celebrating your birthday with you. Happy birthday, brother Samir.

Al-Julani interview

Interviewer: What was the strategy of Al-QaedasSheikh Osama bin Laden?

Al-Julani: He wanted to fight the Americans on their own turf, and that way to drag them into Afghanistan because we were unable to send armies to (the United States). Sheikh Osama bin Ladens goal in fighting the Americans was not to put an end to the American presence

Boosting terrorism

We call upon the Islamic nation to rise up, and not makedo with a futile economic boycott, in the face of this affront to our honorable Prophet. We call upon them to drive out the Danish embassies and ambassadors from the lands of the Muslims, and to expel them from the Muslim countries. They should take serious and immediate action to burn down the offices of the newspapers that affronted our Prophet, and to bomb them, so that body parts go flying, and with these body parts, Allah Almighty will quench the believers thirst for revenge.

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WATCH: New Zealand leader carries on with TV interview during quake - Arab News

The epidemic that brought Jews back to Jerusalem – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on May 26, 2020

A century ago, the Spanish Plague killed tens of millions of people globally.A century before that, communities throughout the eastern Mediterranean were devastated by a bubonic plague outbreak, which reached the ancient Galilean city of Safed in 1812, quickly decimating its population.Just a few years prior, three waves totaling some five hundred followers of the Vilna Gaon one of Jewish historys intellectual and spiritual giants had come to the Land of Israel from White Russia, fulfilling their leaders own dream a decade after his death. It was a significant demographic boost to the relatively small and overwhelmingly Sephardi Jewish community already in what was then Ottoman Palestine.An illustration of the Vilna Gaon. From the Abraham Schwadron Portrait Collection, National Library of Israel archivesNearly a full century before Herzl, some consider the arrival of the Vilna Gaons students to be a watershed event in the history of modern Zionism.The failure of the last major group of Ashkenazi Jews that tried to establish itself in the Land of Israel was the main reason why this group had to settle for the slightly less holy city of Safed, instead of Jerusalem. At the end of the 1600s, a group led by Polish Jew Judah the Pious had established a community in Jerusalem. The community was soon unable to support itself, nor pay off its growing debts. Ashkenazi Jews were banned from living in the holy city. Those already there either moved out or lived in disguise, dressing like their Sephardic brethren. Not particularly interested in the differences between a Litvak and a Hassid or any other intra-religious distinctions for that matter, the local authorities held all Ashkenazim accountable for the debts owed.Needless to say, a large group of Jews from White Russia would not feel particularly welcome.In fact, it would take the bubonic plague to get Ashkenazim back into Jerusalem.With the plague ultimately claiming the lives of some 80% of Safeds Jewish community, towards the end of 1815 some of the Vilna Gaons disciples decided it was time to finally go up to Zion.Safed in the 19th century. From the Lenkin Family Collection of Photography at the University of Pennsylvania LibrariesThe group was led by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov, a man who had led efforts to organize and print the Vilna Gaons writings following his death in 1797, and who had also led the first wave of immigrants in 1808. Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov, the other leader of the community, would briefly flee to Jerusalem but ultimately choose to stay in Safed. Efforts were made to ensure that Rabbi Menachem Mendels group remained small in number and did not syphon off too much funding from the communities patrons throughout Europe, many of whom had been cultivated by Rabbi Yisrael as he made fundraising trips across the continent.According to various legends, the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem was so small that they did not have a minyan (traditional Jewish prayer quorum of ten adult males), and would either pay a Sephardi Jew to be their tenth man; utilize a legal loophole to count a child holding a Torah scroll as a member of their prayer quorum; or simply count the Torah scroll.Nonetheless, Rabbi Menachem Mendel and his band were determined to reestablish an Ashkenazi presence in the holy city.It took about five years, but after sending representatives all the way to Istanbul to negotiate with the Ottoman authorities, Rabbi Menachem Mendels men succeeded in securing a royal decree annulling the debts owed by the previous un-related Ashkenazi community, decades earlier. They then successfully focused their efforts on securing additional documents from local and international Islamic and civil authorities that would ultimately allow them to develop the compound which had been abandoned by the previous Ashkenazi community and destroyed by its creditors. Warm relations with some of the Christian and Muslim neighbors certainly did not hurt these efforts.Letter from R. Yisrael of Shklov asking an emissary to speed up efforts to obtain Turkish approval for rebuilding Jerusalems Hurva Synagogue, and not to hesitate to go to Vilna to collect donations for distribution to the community. From the National Library of Israel archivesRabbi Menachem Mendel and his group thus succeeded in both ridding themselves of the debt left by a community to whom they had no connection, and then achieving official recognition as (in some way) the lawful heirs to the property rights of that very same community!While visiting Jerusalem in 1837, Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov, the head of the Safed community, received word of a devastating earthquake in the Galilee. His entire city was destroyed, 4,000 members of its Jewish community lost. Perhaps he took it as a sign or else simply had no other options, but Rabbi Yisrael decided to stay in Jerusalem for the last two years of his life. Many refugees from Safed did the same, joining the followers of Rabbi Menachem Mendel and their descendants.Ultimately, this small contingent of the Vilna Gaons disciples laid the foundation for much of the dramatic renewal and expansion of Jewish life in Jerusalem which continues until today.Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is one of many notable descendants of these early Zionists. A mysterious and controversial work entitled Kol HaTor (The Voice of the Turtledove) was purportedly passed down in the Rivlin family for generations before being published in the 20th century. It includes Kabbalistic teachings attributed to the Vilna Gaon and relating to the Messianic age. In the work, two dates on the Jewish calendar were identified as having exceptional spiritual qualities especially as related to the redemption of the Jewish people. The first was the Fifth of Iyyar, which we now celebrate as Israeli Independence Day. The second was the 27th of Iyyar, the date on which at the height of the Battle for Jerusalem in 1967 the decision was made to unify the city under Jewish sovereignty for the first time in two millennia.Israeli soldiers overlook the newly liberated Western Wall and the Old City of Jerusalem in June 1967 (Photo: Dan Hadani). From the Dan Hadani Archive, part of the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of IsraelThis article has been published as part of Gesher LEuropa, the National Library of Israels initiative to connect with people, institutions and communities in Europe and beyond.Thanks to Dr. Zvi Leshem, director of the National Library of Israels Gershom Scholem Collection for Kabbalah and Hasidism for his insightful comments.For more stories like this, go to the National Library of Israel blog.

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The epidemic that brought Jews back to Jerusalem - The Jerusalem Post

The Amazing Delights of Mezze – Jewish Journal

Posted By on May 26, 2020

With its colorful array of brightly colored salads, savory dips, exotic finger foods and freshly baked breads, the mezze (or maza) is a feast for the senses. While this selection of small dishes serves as the appetizer course of the Sephardic Shabbat meal, the mezze is common to all the lands of the former Ottoman Empire.

Although some say that the name derives from mezzo, the Italian word for half, referring to the small size of the dishes, and others say it is from the Arabic tmazza, meaning to eat in small bites, it more likely comes from the Persian word maze, which means taste or snack. The small dishes are perfect for sharing and are meant to encourage slow eating and warm conversation.

The sheer brilliance of this cuisine is the emphasis on taking common ingredients and enabling them to shine. The flavors of beets, carrots and eggplant are enhanced through cooking with the judicious use of garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika or turmeric. Bright red peppers and tomatoes show up in Moroccan matboucha and Turkish salad. Potato salad takes on a unique twist when seasoned with lemon, cumin and Aleppo pepper. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and parsley glisten with a refreshing dressing of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

Some of the dips, such as hummus, tahini and smoky eggplant baba ghanoush, are now common on the American table. Turshi, preserved lemons, pickled turnips and olives lend extra flavor and crunch.

The menu might feature stuffed grape leaves, served hot or cold; as well as bourekas, delicious puff pastry filled with potato, spinach, mushrooms or meat. The stars of the Levantine maza are kibbe and lachmajin, the great classics of Syrian cuisine.

The incredibly delicious kibbeh nabelsieh is a crispy deep-fried, torpedo-shaped bulgur shell with a delicately spiced onion-and-meat filling. It is a time-consuming dish that requires great talent. Like all who master the complex art of making kibbeh, our good friend Jazmin Daian Duek learned to make them from her mother, renowned Argentinean Chef Eva Helueni. Luckily for us, Duek runs a catering business and delivers a mouthwatering repertoire of exotic dishes.

Fortunately, lachmajin is much easier to master. These little ground beef pizzas get their unique flavor from the use of tamarind. An ingredient featured in the cuisines of Persia, India, Southeast Asia and Mexico, tamarind makes the mouth pucker with its sweet, sour and tangy notes. In our recipe, we take a shortcut and buy frozen mini pizza rounds to make lachmajin at home.

Break out a bottle of Arak and share these gastronomic pleasures with friends and family.


2 medium eggplants, washed2 tablespoons avocado or canola oil1/2 teaspoon kosher salt6 tablespoons tahini4 tablespoons sunflower seeds1 pomegranate, seeded

Cut eggplants in half vertically and place on baking sheet face up.

Drizzle with oil and salt.

Broil in middle of oven for 8 to 10 minutes, making sure not to burn.Cool slightly and drizzle center of eggplant with tahini.Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4-8.


For dough:2 dozen store-bought small pizza dough rounds1/2 cup avocado or canola oil

For topping:1 pound ground beef2 onions, finely chopped3 ounces tomato pasteJuice of one lemon1 cup tamarind concentrate1 tablespoon allspice1 teaspoon cinnamon1 teaspoon kosher salt1 teaspoon pepper

Pine nuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine beef, onion, tomato paste, lemon juice and tamarind concentrate with all the spices.

Mix well.

Grease baking sheets with oil, then place pizza rounds on sheets.Place heaping tablespoon of meat onto each round, spread and press firmly.Bake pies for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.Garnish with pine nuts.

Makes two dozen pies.

Rachel Sheffs family roots are Spanish Moroccan. Sharon Gomperts family hails from Baghdad and El Azair in Iraq. Known as the Sephardic Spice Girls, they have collaborated on the Sephardic Educational Centers projects, SEC Food Group and community cooking classes. Join them on Facebook at SEC FOOD.

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The Amazing Delights of Mezze - Jewish Journal

‘Every cultural institution which isnt perceived as 100% pro-Israel is taking a serious risk’ – Haaretz

Posted By on May 26, 2020

At a time that now seems like an entirely different era during the second week of February Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett was informed that she was one of the sixlaureates of Israel's prestigious Dan David Prize this year. She and her husband, New Zealand artist Max Gimblett, were in the middle of a huge project her life is full of huge assignments and projects having been forced to move out of their huge loft on the Bowery on Manhattans Lower East Side, where they had lived and worked for 44 years.

They had just begun to open the first of the hundreds of cartons of books. We must have around 15,000 books, she said, smiling. During those days, when they had started talking about a new and deadly virus called the coronavirus, she had gotten the happy news about the prize, which comes with a $500,000 award, and was told that the Jerusalem awards ceremony would be on Sunday, May 17. Back in February, Kirshenblatt-Gimbletts main worry was how they would integrate setting up their new apartment in SoHo with her busy international schedule, to which shed now have to add a stop in Israel.

The prizethe renowned museum professional and professor emeritaat New York University has been awarded is named after the late Israeli philanthropist Dan David, and is administered by Tel Aviv University. The Dan David Foundation annually awards $1 million prizes in three categories past, present and future for scientific, technological and cultural accomplishments. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a scholar of performance studies andJewish studies, is sharing the prize in the "past" category this year, for outstanding contribution to cultural preservation and revival with Lonnie G. Bunch III, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian.

In a Zoom interview earlier this month, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett tried to remember what had been waiting for her during those two-and-a-half months when the world came to a halt.

This is the time of year when I spend a lot more time in Warsaw, dealing withPOLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, for which Im the Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition," she explained.

"This is the time of year when our Distinguished Benefactors and Museum Council meet. From there I general go on to Krakow, to the largest Jewish cultural festival in Europe, and there I also have numerous meetings and presentations related to POLIN Museum.

In early May she was to have gone to the National Museum Cardiff, Wales, for a conference at which the European Museum Forum was to declare the winner of the European Museum of the Year.

After the announcement, all the judges were going to travel to make in-depth visits to European museums that applied for next years prize, so we could start evaluating them. Thats something Id enjoyed doing in recent years, and of course all that was cancelled or at least postponed, she said.

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett has been active in the museum field for five decades, but was only appointed to the judges panel of the European forum after POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews won its prestigious prize in 2016.

It isnt clear what museums will look like after the pandemic, but its clear that during their tentative re-openings they will look different, she told Haaretz. Can they replicate what came before? What will they do about the permitted number of people, the organization of events, touching interactive monitors, operating the cafeteria? With warm weather approaching, they can offer programs outdoors.

Museums are also dependent on space rentals for corporate events; at the Israel Museum, earned income from tickets, the caf, shops and space rentals covers about 55 percent of their budget. At POLIN Museum, about 30 percent. For now, that income is gone. Museum directors worldwide are looking for solutions until there is a vaccine, and maybe even after that.

Risky business

Full disclosure: Prof. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett was my personal mentor when I studied for my doctorate in performance studies at New York Universitys Tisch School of the Arts, and she is one of the most fascinating people you will ever meet. The coronavirus outbreak led to the cancellation of dozens of conferences, museum openings and exhibitions at which she had been invited to speak.

Few people understand the special niche of Jewish museums the way she does. Along with serving on the editorial board of leading periodicals focusing on a variety of research fields, including ethnography, gastronomy and cultural studies, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett has advised numerous museums in the United States, Germany, Albania, Lithuania, Israel, Russia, Austria, New Zealand and elsewhere.

I also have a lecture that I call Risky Business: The Future of Jewish Museums. In Europe and the United States, the most charged issues are, of course, theHolocaust and Israel. I am interested in thinking about museums that take risks or, on the contrary, that hesitate," she said.

Just dealing with Israel is an example of taking a risk: what is permitted and what is forbidden to show in museums, particularly Jewish museums in the United States and Europe, for example, with regard to the Palestinian conflict. I am amazed that there are risks that museums in Israel can take, that those in Europe or North America would think twice about. There are artists, works and approaches that can be presented in Israel, but if you try to present them in Germany or here in the United States, you take a risk.

What, for example?

For example, the 'Imaginary Coordinates' exhibition at the Spertus Museum in Chicago in 2008 featured eight Israeli and Palestinian women artists, including Yael Bartana, Michal Rovner, Sigalit Landau, and Shirley Shor all of whom had exhibited and still exhibit in Israel. But in Chicago this combination was provocative.

"The exhibition was part not only of the citywide Festival of Maps, but also of celebrations of Israels 60th anniversary. The museum showed its collection of antique maps of the Holy Land and in relation to contemporary art that explored 'mapping' in Israel today. The museums major Jewish funders were outraged. The Spertus closed the exhibition, which was a critical success, and the director left not long after.

Abroad, Israel is a hot potato for cultural and art institutions, especially Jewish ones. When museums touch on something connected to Israel they have to be very, very careful, and whoever takes the risk must be prepared for the reactions, both from the Jewish community and from Israeli embassies and consulates, and it can go all the way up to the Prime Ministers Office, all of them exerting pressure on the museum, their donors, and their supporters. [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu himself pressured [German] Chancellor [Angela] Merkel regarding the funding for the Jewish Museum Berlin because he claimed they were presenting an anti-Israel program.

Indeed, in June 2019, that museums director, Peter Schafer, resigned. Every cultural institution outside Israel whose program, exhibition or statement isnt perceived as 100 percent pro-Israel is taking a serious risk, she says.

A door to the world

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett was born in Toronto in 1942 to Polish Jewish immigrants, and grew up in a Jewish immigrant neighborhood that expanded after the Holocaust.

The Jewish cemetery in Toronto was like a map of Poland, arranged according to the towns people came from. I played with the children of survivors because our house was across the street from the Jewish refugee center, she recalls.

Heritage and popular culture interested her from a young age. On the streets there was a mixture of Eastern European languages, and Yiddish the bridging language would years later lead to some of her important projects.

Beyond the vibrant neighborhood there was a big world, and her door to it was books and perhaps surprising for a Jewish girl in the 1950s museums.

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett: Although my fathers paint and wallpaper store was open on Shabbat and although we werent religious, our home was kosher so that we could host my mothers parents, and for a few years I did strictly observe Shabbat this was during the time I attended a Talmud Torah [a religious elementary school]. It was actually this limitation that led me to the wonderful world of museums, because, like libraries, they were free. Those were times when a 12-year-old girl like me could walk in the city alone, and I discovered that I could cut through the park and get to the Royal Ontario Museum.

Here she launches into an enthusiastic and detailed description of the exhibits on every floor.

But, she says, what interested me from a young age was folklore. The aesthetics of everyday life. I loved stories and folktales.

Later she discovered the citys other museums and would walk to them on Shabbat as well. The art museum was also interesting but not like the Royal Ontario Museum, so I applied to work at the education department there, and to my surprise they hired me at age 18.

She came to Israel for the first time in 1961, and not for ideological reasons, although she was raised in a Zionist home and attended a summer camp run by the Habonim socialist-Zionist youth movement.

After high school I wanted to go to Sweden, but my parents thought that with all the rumors of free love there it would be safer for their daughter to stay with relatives in Israel. So after two weeks in Bat Yam [a seaside city in central Israel], I got on the back of a motorcycle with a photographer, picked oranges at Kibbutz Revivim, toured the whole country, became friends with a Palestinian girl in the Galilee, and even taught manual training in Hebrew to boys with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tel Aviv. It was an amazing year.

One of the people she met in Israel proved instrumental in launching her career. Aviva Muller-Lancet (1921-2015) was an Israeli ethnographer who specialized in Yemenite Jewish culture and eventually helped found the Israel Museums Ethnography Department. She let the young Canadian assist her, and also introduced her to Karl Katz, director of the Bezalel National Museum, which later became the Israel Museum.

Aviva told me, If only you had a bachelors degree, I would have hired you at the museum. I went back to Toronto and entered the University of Toronto, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett says.

With all due respect to English literature, her major, what interested her was what she calls culture in action, which she discovered at her next stop, the University of California, Berkeley. Then came her doctorate in folklore and ethnography from Indiana University, and faculty appointments at several universities until she retired from five years ago from NYU. What is less conventional about this academic route, along with all the awards Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's books have won, is the way in which she harnessed her knowledge and original thinking to practical projects and to institutions connected to Poland and Jewish culture.

Deep Polish roots

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett's journey to Poland is directly connected to her fathers exceptional memory.

When my father, whose name is Mayer, took ill at the age of 59, he sold his store but then he got better, she recalls. As an active and relatively young person who suddenly had a lot of time on his hands, he looked for something to do. I had been recording interviews with him about his childhood in Poland before the Holocaust since 1967. I knew that he had a rare visual memory, a sense of design and good hands. All I had to do was convince him to illustrate what he remembered.

The family bought him art supplies, but they gathered dust. They registered him for courses but he refused to attend. We pestered him for a decade. In the end, my mother, who knew that everything connected to food was important to me, told him, Paint the kitchen for Barbara.

Her father started to paint when he was 73, but once he started, he couldnt be stopped. The results, paintings of his childhood memories of Poland before the Holocaust, can be seen in the book, They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of Jewish Childhood before the Holocaust, which contains a selection of his 250 paintings and a text based on more than 40 years of interviews. The 2007 book, by Mayer Kirshenblatt and his daughter Barbara, was followed by an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York that later traveled to Amsterdam.

In the 1990s her parents accompanied her to Poland, where she was teaching a seminar on Jewish culture, and together they traveled to Opatw, the town where Mayer was born.

My father stopped people in the street to get them to tell him what they remembered from before the war, she says. One young man invited us to his home, which was similar to my fathers home, just two rooms. His grandmother, relatives and neighbors gathered, and they started to talk. This young man persuaded the municipality to display my fathers painting in the county seat headquarters.

But the story doesnt end there. A short time after the exhibition, the town decided, for the very first time, to commemorate the deportation of the Jews to Treblinka in September 1942, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett continues.

The local church organized a mass in memory of the murdered, and the towns youth read out testimonies of residents who witnessed the deportation. Nearly 6,500 Jews, more than two-thirds of the towns inhabitants, were sent to their deaths; 500 were marched to Sandomierz to a forced labor camp. The town had never before addressed its Jewish past. Since then, at their own initiative, they organize an annual ceremony, which I think is amazing. When you approach people with trust, it can bring out their best.

One man, her father, had ignited the towns memory: Its so very important to them, and that young man [whom we met], who today isnt so young anymore, is trying to arrange for a building on the central square to be turned into a museum featuring my fathers paintings. This is a story about what I call constructive engagement.

Dramatic decision

This approach is at the heart of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. In every place decisions relating to museums of history and heritage are tense, and in Poland, when talking about Jewish history, things get even more complicated.

Of course, you cannot think about a museum of Jewish history in Warsaw other than in the context of the Holocaust, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett says. POLIN Museum stands on the ruins of the ghetto, facing the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, and one of the Core Exhibitions seven historical galleries is dedicated to the Holocaust period.

The museums dramatic decision was to place the Holocaust within a 1,000-year history of Polish Jews and to bring this history up to the present, rather than end it with the Holocaust. The emphasis at the museum is the millennium of Jewish cultural life in the country.

This history was understandably overshadowed by the murder of three million Jews. By recovering this history, the museum completes the memorial complex. You go to the monument to honor those who perished, by remembering how they died, and in the museum we honor them by remembering how they lived, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett explains.

Perhaps it was another breakthrough project that she was involved in during the late 1970s that led the museums developers to turn to her in the early 2000s. From her work in the massive photo archives at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, with historian Lucjan Dobroszycki, evolved an innovative exhibition, book and film called Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864-1939," which showed the diversity and richness of Jewish life in Poland before the destruction.

The idea was for there to be an exhibition and book that was unlike the portrait created by Roman Vishniac, whose photographs from the 1930s, for all their greatness and importance, shaped public consciousness of Jewish life in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust," she explains.

"He was sent by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to take photographs that would help them raise money for their relief efforts. The images that became most iconic conveyed piety and poverty, a world apart. These photographs were meant to arouse empathy and raise funds. But, Jewish life in Poland was much more than that. We wanted to show a dynamic Jewish world that was diverse across class and generations, in politics and culture, in religious orientation, and in relation to tradition and modernity.

The richness of the civilization created by what was once the largest Jewish community in the world is on display in POLIN Museums multimedia narrative exhibition.

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett: "Of course, the Holocaust was an overwhelming catastrophe. But my perspective throughout all my work is to view the history of Polish Jews in its own terms, rather than as a prelude to the Holocaust, or in its shadow.

"In the interviews with my father and in his paintings, in the YiVO photography project, and in my work at POLIN Museum, the Holocaust is not the lens through which we view the history of Polish Jews. When creating the Core Exhibition, we wanted to help visitors to stay in the historical moment of the story in each period, without anticipating the Holocaust, to bracket what they know happened later and to experience what it is like not to know what would happen next."

It took almost 20 years to fulfill the dream of building the museum in Warsaw, whose building opened in April 2013 and the Core Exhibition in October 2014. That exhibition, of which Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is chief curator, covers over 4,300 square meters.

"We have diverse educational programs that have won the most prestigious prizes. For example, 'Museum on Wheels' travels throughout the country and within two hours sets up an exhibition and program of activities in a town that has promised to prepare for the visit," she says.

"We produce changing exhibitions, some of which have aroused controversy. For example, 'Estranged: March 68 and Its Aftermath,' explored the communist governments anti-Semitic campaign, as a result of which more than half the Jews living in Poland at the time left and did so under humiliating conditions. The almost 120,000 visitors set a record in Poland for this kind of exhibition, but displeased the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

"Now, with everyone forced to stay home, POLIN Museum had the great idea to launch its own radio station and got it up and running in a matter of weeks. It draws on our archive of recorded lectures and music as well as producing new shows."

Bagels galore

Gastronomic culture is also a central preoccupation for Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. She has a huge collection of cookbooks and books about food, "and included in it, a collection of Jewish cookbooks that is one of the largest in the world in private hands over 1,000 Jewish cookbooks, some of which are very rare. That obsession also dates from my childhood."

She says she also has the largest collection in the world of paraphernalia connected to bagels: "I collect everything related to them: T-shirts, serving platters, bagel cutters, mugs, jokes, books, songs, napkins, posters, recipes, souvenirs, photos, everything including the internet domain This icon deserves a proper history and exhibition, if not its own small museum."

What has the coronavirus done to lovers of culture?

"With institutions and restaurants closed and everyone self-isolating at home, people are creative. Who would have thought about a Passover seder on Zoom? Endless jokes, memes, a frenzy of cooking and baking. I anticipate doctorates and also exhibitions museums are already collecting the pandemic."

Doesn't she miss the frenetic nature of the flights and the crowded schedule, and in any case is she aware that none of this will come back soon?

"I miss Poland, Warsaw, the museum and my friends there. And here, I miss roaming the streets of New York, the small stores in Chinatown who knows if they'll survive, these family businesses that have existed for decades and are now forced to close. That said, I am eager to return to Poland and to POLIN Museum."

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'Every cultural institution which isnt perceived as 100% pro-Israel is taking a serious risk' - Haaretz

What is the Jewish American heritage? – Washington Jewish Week

Posted By on May 25, 2020

Girls march against child labor in a May Day parade, New York City, 1909Photo Library of Congress

Black History Month was announced in 1969. Womens History Month came about in 1987. Irish-American Heritage Month was created in 1990. Compared to its predecessors, Mays designation as Jewish American Heritage Month found recognition relatively late when President George W. Bush announced it in 2006 on the heels of national celebrations marking the 350th anniversary of Jews arriving on these shores.

Its purpose is to both commemorate the contribution that American Jews have made to the fabric of our American culture, society and history and also to mark the gratefulness of American Jews to America, said Misha Galperin, interim CEO of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and a former CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Galperin, whose museum leads a coalition that observes Jewish American Heritage Month each year, said the month can be thought of as part of the philo-semitism being promoted by the State Departments special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, Elan Carr.

Telling stories about what American Jews and Jewish people Jewish culture has contributed to this country is a way to combat anti-Semitism in a positive way rather than just a defensive way, said Galperin.

While celebrations include events hosted by Jewish institutions, Galperins framing underscores the extent to which the month is meant for a non-Jewish audience. In addition to a presidential proclamation, federally designated months often include instruction that government agencies provide relevant education to their employees.

American University history professor Pamela Nadell said she once delivered a lecture to a group of federal workers as part of one agencys recognition of the month.

This isnt really meant for the Jewish community, Nadell said. Its meant for America to learn more about Jews.

The external audience and desire to promote American Jews throughout history in a favorable light may explain how the month got its name, emphasizing heritage over history. The distinction might seem trivial, but holds weight in academia.

I have to say that I actually prefer the word history, said Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University professor and author of American Judaism.

Sarna said that heritage is generally thought of as a fixed part of ones past to be admired from a distance.

People do genealogy and say, Oh its part of my heritage, Sarna said. But you have no intention of raising your own children within that culture, you dont see a need to internalize it Its part of my heritage, I just want to know something about it.

Heritage is also often used to describe favorable stories that communities tell themselves about their shared past, said Nadell, noting that these stories are often used to make particular claims.

One example is that of 18th-century financier Haym Solomon. Solomon helped finance the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War and was arrested repeatedly by the British, dying penniless possibly due to his extensive purchases of government debt.

His story really got elevated as a way of showing how Jews were patriots during the Revolutionary War, said Nadell. For a long time you would have heard a lot about him.

No longer particularly concerned with overt displays of communal patriotism, Solomons story has largely faded from contemporary American consciousness.

Regardless of which word you use, many scholars believe that American Jewry was significantly shaped by the nations early separation of church and state. That division not only allowed Jews to immigrate to the United States for much of its history and worship freely, but meant that the Jewish community and religious practice is far more diffuse than in many other countries with significant Jewish populations.

The absence of a chief rabbi or formal relationships between Jewish community leaders and government officials spawned an unprecedented diversity of denominations in the United States, Sarna said.

Just as there were infinite ways of being a Protestant in America, so it seems natural that there should be many ways of being a Jew in America, Sarna said. We have a kind of free market in religion and that is enormously important in understanding the distinctiveness of the entire Jewish American experience.

Sarna added that while Jews were often the most prominent minority group in European nations, that wasnt the case in America. Catholics, Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Asian-Americans and many other groups faced periodic discrimination starting early in American history, and African Americans faced the brunt of sustained persecution.

Jews have been one of many, many, many people over the course of American history to suffer prejudice and opprobrium, Sarna said. Thats very unfortunate, but it does mean that it wasnt all focused on one out group the Jews as was common in many other countries where Jews previously lived.

The freedom that diffusion of bigotry provided may have made American Jews more comfortable engaging in the political system. Rabbi Sarah Krinsky of Washingtons Adas Israel Congregation said that civic engagement is a part of American Jewish identity in a way that is not found elsewhere.

Theres a particular version of how civic engagement is married to Jewish peoplehood and identity in the United States, Krinsky said. Part of that is because American has such a strong sense in its founding principles of civic participation and service that its only natural the Judaism born here would be responsive to that.

Krinsky said that the American Jewish community has distinguished itself in other ways as well, with many American Jews developing more progressive attitudes on, for example, women and gay rights.

An embrace of individual rights and identity fits well within the American Jewish story, said Nadell, the American University professor whose recent book Americas Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award.

Women but this is true for men as well saw themselves as Americans and as Jews and those identities informed one another, Nadell said. They were inspired by both their Jewish traditions and by Americas freedoms to think in very strikingly different ways.

Nadell offered the example of Grace Nathan, a colonial-era woman who wrote an ethical will calling for her son to trim his beard seven days after her death, rather than keeping it for the 30 days or even full year that Jewish custom calls for.

Even though she was a typical wife and mother she was also changing Judaism and adapting it to America, Nadell said.

Nathans great-granddaughter was Emma Lazarus, the Jewish activist and poet who wrote the sonnet New Colossus inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Krinsky is skeptical of the premise that the defining traits of American Jews are exceptional.

What the American Jewish community has done is what every Jewish community has always done, Krinsky said. American Judaism has taken particular forms, but in the broadest strokes thats not so different from whats happened in other places at other moments.

But she understands why celebrations of Jewish heritage can be so meaningful, with a sense of the past often helping ground Jews in a larger identity. Krinsky first moved to Washington immediately following college for a year-long job, and found the city to be largely transient.

She didnt return until taking the job at Adas Israel, one of the citys original congregations,and has developed an appreciation for that history.

This institution is not transient. Its rooted and grounded and has a sense of a bigger expanse of time, she said. Its the sense of something that existed before us and will exist after us and it provides a sense of home in a city that lacks a lot of those things.

Galperin, the museum CEO, said that the months focus on heritage can provide a similar resource to American Jews who are proud to be Jewish but struggle to articulate why or tie their pride to a specific history.

It gives American Jews the tools and information to understand what theyre proud of and what they can identify with.

Arno Rosenfeld is a Washington writer.

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What is the Jewish American heritage? - Washington Jewish Week

The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today – Time Out

Posted By on May 25, 2020

The current crisis has had a devastating effect on the performing arts. Broadwayhas shut down, and the ban on gatherings in New Yorkextends to all other performance spaces as well. So the show must go onlineand, luckily, streaming video makes that possible. Here are some of the best theater, opera, dance and cabaret performances you can watch today without leaving home, many of which will help you support the artists involved.

Events that go live today are at the top of the list; be sure to scroll down past the daily listings to find major events that you can still stream for alimited time and, below that, a bonus section of videos that have no expiration date. We update this page every day, so please feel free to bookmark it and check back. (Refresh the bookmark every week or so for optimal use.)

NT Live: A Streetcar Named DesireNow(available through May 28 at 2pm EDT / 7pm BST)Thanks to its NT Live series, Londons venerable National Theatre has a treasure trove of excellent recordings of past productionsand now it is streaming one play per week for free, every Thursday on YouTube. The latest offering is Australian director Benedict Andrewss much-buzzed-about 2014 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williamss 1947 portrait of hard times in the Big Easy, starring Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) as Blanche, Ben Foster (X-Men: The Last Stand) as Stanley and Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) as Stella. This take on Tennessee Williamss great American tragedy is often imbued with the air of a waking nightmare, a visceral physical manifestation of heroine Blanche DuBoiss disintegrating mind, wrote Time Out London of the production. The last half hour is a horrorshow tour de force, as a drunk, fragmenting Blanche staggers through a house that shifts and spins nauseatingly under her feet.

A Streetcar Named Desire | Photograph: Johan Persson

Stars in the House: Laura Benanti and friendsMonday 2pm EDT / 7pm BSTShowtune savant and SiriusXM host Seth Rudetsky (Disaster!) and his husband, producer James Wesley, are the animating forces behind this ambitious and very entertaining new series to benefit the Actors Fund, in which they play host to theater stars in live, chatty interviews interspersed with clips and songs. (Rudetsky is an expert at sussing out stories.) Dr. Jon LaPook, the chief medical correspondent for CBS News, provides periodic updates on public health; surprise virtual visitors are common as well. Todays matinee is guest-hosted by Broadways strong-voiced and sharp-witted Laura Benanti (She Loves Me), who is always a plum delight.

Laura Benanti | Photograph: Jenny Anderson

Maries Crisis Virtual Piano BarMonday 4pm9:30pm EDT / 9pm2:30am BSTThe beloved West Village institution keeps the show tunes rolling merrily along every night of the week. Read all about it here. Join the Maries Group page on Facebook to watch from home, and dont forget to tip the pianist and staff through Venmo. Tonights scheduled pianists are Alex Barylski (@Alexander-Barylski) and Brandon James Gwinn (@brandonjamesg).

Brandon James Gwinn | Photograph: Lauren Gunn

JoyceStream: And Still You Must SwingMonday 5pm EDT / 10pm BST (available for 24 hours)The Joyce Theater hosts a continuous rotation of top dance companies from across the country and around the world. To help pass the time while it is shuttered, the Chelsea venue is sharing archival recordings of full-length productions from artists who have appeared there. (Theyre calling the program JoyceStream, but may we suggest Re-Joyce?) This video, which remains live for only one day, celebrates National Tap Dance Day with selections from And Still You Must Swings, in which the sensational Dormeshia, Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smithall of whom appeared in Broadways Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk, among many other creditstap, tap, tap their troubles away in a group show devoted to the history of their art form. Dancer-choreographer Camille A. Brown (Once on This Island) joins them as a special guest.

And Still You Must Swing | Photograph: Christopher Duggan

The Metropolitan Opera: La Damnation de FaustMonday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST (available for 23 hours)The Met continues its immensely popular rollout of past performances, recorded in HD and viewable for free. A different archival production goes live at 7:30pm each night and remains online for the next 23 hours. Tonight the series begins its 11th week with the visionary Qubcois director Robert Lepages eye-popping 2008 production of Hector Berliozs La Damnation de Faust, starring Marcello Giordani as the antihero whose damnable ambition leads him to strike up a deal with the Devil. (Who doesnt love a bargain?) James Levine conducts the performance, which also stars John Relyea as Mphistophls and Susan Graham as the innocent and doomed Marguerite.

La Damnation de Faust | Photograph: Ken Howard

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show: Quarantine EditionMonday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BSTSponsored by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus gang, this exhibition of curious human endeavors features everything from stripping clowns to heavy-metal magicians. A remote edition of the vaudevillian variety pageant now hits YouTube every week. This time, Bindlestiffs Keith Nelson hosts a lineup that comprises the Damm Family Circus, magician Lou Johnson, contortionist and juggler Kira DiPietrantonio, clown and painter Rich Potter, aerialist Candice Storley, German Wheel manipulator Chris Delgado, hula hooper Leonid the Magnificent, juggler Niels Duinker, daredevil Reggie Bugmuncher and circus historian Hovey Burgess. Contributions are welcome via Venmo (@BindlestiffFamilyCirkus).

Chris Delgado | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

BandstandMonday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (through June 2)If you missed the original musical Bandstand on Broadway in 2017as too many people did!you now have a chance to see what you were missing. In honor of Memorial Day, Broadway on Demand is streaming the show in its entirety starting tonight, in a performance that was filmed for cinematic release in 2018. Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor's resonant musical dances a delicate line between nostalgia and disillusion in its depiction of postWorld War II soldiers, led by the engaging Corey Cott, trying to get back into the swing of things through musicwith help from a comely singer played by Laura Osnes. Director-choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler's group numbers burst with snazzy individuality, but Bandstands heart is in the shadows that its band of brothers can't shake. Rentals cost $6.99 and last 24 hours; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). In a free preshow event that goes live at 7:30pm tonight, Cott discusses the show with Blankenbuehler, Oberacker, Taylor and costume designer Paloma Young.

Bandstand | Photograph: Jeremy Daniel

Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast PartyMonday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTPart cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Birdland's long-running Monday-night open mic fest Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the spotlight. The waggish Jim Caruso presides as host. Now he brings the show online via YouTube; this weeks guest list includes Broadway leading lady Betty Buckley, CBS Sunday Morning wit Mo Rocca, singer-impressionist Christina Bianco, Kenya-American singers the Moipei Triplets, musical-theater performer Bonale Fambrini and the married song-and-dance team of Nicolas Dromard and Desire Davar. It's free, but tips are welcome (Venmo: @Jim-Caruso-1).

Betty Buckley | Photograph: Scogin Mayo

Marty Thomas Presents DivaMonday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTPower vocalist and human spangle Marty Thomas (Xanadu) hosts this weekly showcase for big-voiced girl singers who perform show tunes as well as pop gems. During the isolation crisis, hes bringing the show to YouTube Live. (If the spirit moves you, you can tip him through Venmo at @Martythomaslovesyou.) This week's edition features Marissa Rosen, Samantha Duval and Lisa Ramey, plus a guest shot by the big-voiced Bonnie Milligan, who made a triumphant Broadway debut in last seasons Head Over Heels.

Bonnie Milligan | Photograph: Jenny Anderson

Stars in the HouseMonday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTSee Monday 2pm. The guests at tonights episode have not yet been announced.

Mondays in the Club with LanceMonday 9pm1am EDT / 1am5am BSTHes worked with Alan Cumming, Liza Minnelli, Kylie Minogue and just about every downtown act in NYC. Now the songwriter, pianist and performer Lance Horne hosts his own wild night of piano-bar singing, storytelling and dancing at the East Village nightlife hub Club Cummingtransposed, for the time being, to the key of Crowdcast, where loyal regulars and curious visitors can keep the flame burning by making requests and singing from home. Expect show-tune geekery and advanced community spirit. The broadcast is free, but contributions to the nonprofit Orchard Project arts collective are encouraged if you can afford to give. You can also tip Horne directly via Venmo at @LanceHorne.)

Mondays in the Club with Lance | Photograph: Jason Eason

Stars in the House: Judy Gold and friendsTuesday 2pm EDT / 7pm BSTTodays matinee edition of the interview and performance show is guest-hosted by the brash stand-up comedian Judy Gold, whose long list of accomplishments includes two Emmy Awards (for producing The Rosie ODonnell Show) and specials for HBO, Comedy Central and Logo.

Judy Gold | Photograph: Eric Korenman

Signal OnlineTuesday 2:30pm EDT / 7:30pm BSTThe quarterly London showcase for emerging musical-theater writers is now a live bimonthly virtual event. This edition includes tunesmiths not only from the U.K. but also from the U.S., Canada and Australia; Writers from Australia, Canada, USA and across the UK will present work on 26th May including: Luke Bateman and Michael Conley, Stu Barter and Amber Hsu, Christian Czornyj, Sean Donehue, Francesca Forristal & Jordan Clarke, Tim Gilvin and Alex Kanefsky, Matt Harvey and Jessie Linden, Julian Hornik, Germaine Konji and Ben Page, Laura Murphy, Jonathan ONeill and Isaac Savage, Emily Rose Simons, Zoe Sarnak and Sheep Soup. The concert is free but if you choose to pay for a ticket, the proceeds will help support writers.

Michael Conley | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Maries Crisis Virtual Piano BarTuesday 4pm9:30pm EDT / 9pm2:30am BSTSee Monday 4pm. Tonights scheduled pianists are James Merillat (@James-Merillat-2) and Franca Vercelloni (@Franca-Vercelloni).

CyberTank Variety ShowTuesday 4pm EDT / 9pm BSTThe Tank, one of NYCs premiere incubators of emerging talent, rolls forward with a weekly multidisciplinary variety show and discussion group, in which artists are welcome to participate remotely. The theme of this weeks episode is rejected ideas.

The VT Show: Brandon Victor DixonTuesday 5pm EDT / 10pm BSTIn its distinguished history, the East Villages Vineyard Theatre has given us such shows as How I Learned to Drive, Three Tall Women, Avenue Q and the recent Dana H. In this brand-new weekly series, past and future Vineyard artists offer insights into their creative process. Today, The superb singer-actor Brandon Victor Dixonwho has memorably appeared in The Color Purple, Shuffle Along, Hamilton and the TV broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstarshares stories and songs from his career, including the Vineyards premiere production of The Scottsboro Boys.

Brandon Victor Dixon | Photograph: Dario Calmese

The 24 Hour Plays: Viral MonologuesTuesday 6pm EDT / 11pm BSTSince 1995, the 24 Hour Plays series has set itself a challenge: to write, cast and perform new playlets in the span of a single night and day. In this weekly variation on that theme, writers create 24 monologues or two-handers for actors who record them and send them in for online broadcast. On Tuesdays from 6pm through midnight, a new piece goes live every 15 minutes on the 24 Hours Plays Instagram feed, where they remain viewable afterward.

54 Below at Home: Another Opening, Another Debut!Tuesday 6:30pm EDT / 11:30pm BST (live only)The citys top supper club, Feinsteins/54 Below, offers shows from its archives, streamed live on YouTube for one night only, in its ongoing series 54 Below at Home. Tonights edition is a 2018 group show that spotlights performers who took their first Broadway bows in the season beforeincluding Once on This Islands Isaac Powell and Hailey Kilgore, Frozens Jelani Alladin and The Bands Visits Ariel Stachel (who won a Tony a month later), plus Colin Anderson, DeMarius R. Copes, Jenny Laroche, Cheech Manohar, Kate Marilley, Mike Millan, Brian Ray Norris, Rachel Prather, Ayla Schwartz and Abby C. Smith. Ben Caplan is the musical director.

Isaac Powell | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Caf La MaMa Live: Take 7Tuesday 7pm EDT / 12am BSTIn the spirit of the coffeehouse culture from which much of the Off-Off Broadway scene emerged, La MaMas weekly series gives writers, dancers, poets and musicians a digital stage in real time. This weeks edition, curated and hosted by Kate Siahaan-Rigg, celebrates Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month with performers including Marc de la Cruz, Kristina Wong, EJ Zimmerman and thejoyfully scandalous Raven O.

Kate Siahaan-Rigg | Photograph: Courtesy Helen Tansey

Piano Bar Live!Tuesday 7:15pm EDT / 12:15am BSTBefore the current isolation situation, Scott Barbarinos Piano Bar Live! was already devoted to streaming piano bar entertainers at Brandys and the Duplex to folks cooped up at home. Now the series goes fully virtual. Michael McAssey hosts a lineup that includes Marta Sanders, Leanne Borgeshi, Amy Armstrong, Freddy Allen, Collin Yates and Michael Kirk Lane.

The Metropolitan Opera: ErnaniTuesday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST (available for 23 hours)See Monday 7:30pm. In tonights selection, Verdis Ernani, Angela Meade stars as Elvira, a young woman torn among three suitors: the sexy bad boy Ernani (Marcello Giordani), the rich and old de Silva (Ferruccio Furlanetto) and the King of Spain (Dmitri Hvorostovsky). Marco Armiliato conducts this 2012 telecast.

Ernani | Photograph: Marty Sohl

Ganymede RevisitedTuesday 7:30 pm EDT / 12:30am BSTIn this online offering from the Tank, playwright Frank J. Avella presents a triptych of short works on queer neoclassical themes, set in the past, present and future. Ganymede explores the possible May-December (or is it July-August?) relationship between Julius Caesar and his nephew Octavius, the future Augustus; Catamitus looks at a modern film star and a victim of his sexual misconduct; and Gaia imagines a future in which women run the world without men.

Cast member Carlotta Brentan | Photograph: Ashley Garrett

New York City Ballet: Donizetti VariationsTuesday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (available for 72 hours)Instead of its planned six-week season at Lincoln Center, City Ballets is providing a month and a half of digital offerings, including workshops and movement classes as well as streamed recordings of pieces from its repertoire every Tuesday and Friday. The final weeks first offering is George Balanchines fast-paced and light-hearted 1960 Donizetti Variations, a 25-minute ballet set to music from Donizettis final opera, Dom Sbastien. Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette lead the company in this recording.

Donizetti Variations | Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Amber Martin: AmbyokeTuesday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTThe multitalented Amber Martin, a chameleonic performer with a killer voice, is a significant player in the downtown alt-cabaret scene, and shes not going to let a little quarantine slow her down. Currently nesting with her mother in Texas, Martin holds a weekly hang session on Facebook, in which she sings favorites and requests to karaoke tracks and chats with fancy guest stars.(You can tip her through Venmo at @Amber-Martin-101.) This week's remote visitor is the usky-voiced rock belter Large, who made her name on the TV show Rock Star: Supernova and is also known for her vagina-power novelty hit 8 Miles Wide and her work with the cabaret supergroup Pink Martini.

Amber Martin | Photograph: Rayon Richards

Stars in the House: Star Trek: Voyager 25th-anniversary cast reunionTuesday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTTonights edition of Stars in the House strays from the seriess usual theatrical focus to reunite spaces cases from the late-90s UPN adventure series Star Trek Voyager, including Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan, Roxann Dawson, Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan McNeill, Robert Picardo, Ethan Phillips and Garret Wong.

Kate Mulgrew | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Peter Galperin: Concert in QuarantineTuesday 8pm EDT / 1am BSTMusical-theater composer Peter Galperin performs a live concert that includes material from two New York Citythemed shows: Bulldozer: The Ballad of Robert Moses, which was produced Off Broadway in 2017, and the work-in-progress The Last of The Mannahattas: A Musical Tale of the 22nd Century. Donations to the National Jewish Health COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund are encouraged.

Peter Galperin | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

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The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today - Time Out

COVID-19 UPDATE: County Executive Bellone Optimistic As Downward Trends Point Toward Imminent Reopening –

Posted By on May 25, 2020

Sunday, 3:30 p.m.: County Executive Bellone Optimistic As Downward Trends Point Toward Imminent Reopening

While the weather is not cooperating, the official start of summer in the Hamptons is not canceled and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said he is confident that a slow, smart reopening will only build its momentum, as long as overall COVID-19 metrics continue to decline.

Our beaches are open and they will stay open. We are going to have a summer here, he said during a press conference. Our families and kids are going to enjoy our beaches this year.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Bellone reported 162 additional positive COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the county total up to 38,964. But for the first time since March 27, hospitalizations have dipped below 400, to 374, which he said is very good news.

That is a very good thing, as we approach phase one of opening this week, he said. Getting those numbers down and seeing those numbers go as low as possible is important as we begin to put more activity into the economy.

Slated to begin this week, phase one is expected to include construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, curbside or in-store pickup retail, manufacturing and wholesale trade.

We are on the downward trajectory. We have been for weeks now and we see progress happening everywhere, and what I would say to people in our county is continue to be smart, he said. We are on the road to recovery. Progress is being made every day. If we continue to be smart, then we will make that progress quicker, faster, and come out of this stronger than we otherwise would.

The East End can still expect Long Island to reopen by Wednesday, despite an increase in COVID-19 deaths on May 23 an uptick from 84 to 109 reported Governor Andrew Cuomo during an update on Sunday morning.

Long Island is on track to meet the numbers on Wednesday, he said during a press conference from Jones Beach Theatre in Wantagh. We have to get the number of deaths down on Long Island and we have to get the number of tracers up, but were doing that.

New York State beaches are currently open, and campgrounds and RV parks will follow suit tomorrow. The Long Island Rail Road and MTA bus system are also readying for a new mode of operation, which will include a mandatory mask policy, additional train cars for social distancing, and daily cleaning and disinfecting of all trains and buses for the first time ever, Mr. Cuomo said.

Were now, decidedly, in the reopening phase, and weve been following the numbers from day one, not emotions following the science, not the politics, he said. This is not a political ideology question, this is a public health question. Its about a disease, stopping the disease, stopping the spread of the disease, and thats science, not politics.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone echoed Governor Cuomo's statement that if the metrics continue the way they are going Long Island could reopen by Wednesday.

"The Governor today spoke about a timeline ... so Wednesday, the Governor specifically mentioned, is the date that if we continue on this track, which I believe that we will, that we are looking at reopening Long Island. That is great news. Hitting the first phase."

Bellone stated the county is on track with training contact tracers, "We intend to have over 1,000 people trained by the time we get to Wednesday, when we need to meet this metric ... We will get everyone trained and we will be ready. Tracing will not prevent us from reopening."

On Friday the county opened up camping reservations and the response was so overwhelming the website crashed.

"We have these sites opening again on June 1, said Bellone. "We have reservations from the 1st through the 15th, We reopened last night at 7 p.m. for June 15 moving forward, unfortunately we had so many people hit the site it crashed. We are working and have been working with our vendor to get that repaired. We will get that back up and running this week and we will give people plenty of notice before opening up the site once again so everybody has a fair opportunity to get a reservation,

Governor Andrew Cuomo stated in an update this morning that Long Island could reopen by Wednesday if the number of COVID-19 deaths continue to decline and corona virus tracers are in place.

The number of deaths in New York State dropped below 100, with 84 in total, 62 in hospitals and 22 in nursing homes.

"What we are doing is working," said Governor Cuomo. "You look at the new York curve, you look how low it is, you look at the number of deaths, you look at the decline. Compare that with the rest of the nation where you still see the rest of the nation's curve going up."

On Friday evening Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to allow groups of 10 or less to gather, provided they observe safety and social distancing rules.

For several days, the countys interactive map has reported numbers in excess of the data related by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone during daily media updates. On Friday, he reported 38,672 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Suffolk County, up 119 from Thursday. However, the GIS map lists cases at 43,069. Apprised of the disparity, Mr. Bellone said he was unsure why the numbers were different but said he would get it clarified.

That in mind, the map shows cases in Southampton Town topped 1,004, with 276 confirmed cases of coronavirus depicted for the Town of East Hampton.

Reporting hospitalization data for May 20, Mr. Bellone said general hospitalizations were down by 28 patients to 425, with intensive care unit admissions up by two patients to 131. Hospital capacity was right at the metric, he said, with ICU capacity at 65 percent. Each region in the state must meet or exceed seven metrics before reopening may occur. Long Island has met five of the seven. A metric related to contact tracing is expected and a metric related to a decline in the number of deaths remains elusive.

Fifty-eight patients have been discharged from area hospitals. Twelve patients died in the 24 hour period ending Friday afternoon, bringing total fatalities in Suffolk County to 1,814.

Echoing comments made earlier in the day by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the county executive said Long Island was on track for Phase 1 reopening in a week. We are ready, he said.

Discussions with the business community have been underway for a long time now, he informed. Businesses adapt and adjust and they make it work.

Mr. Bellone spoke of Memorial Day weekend as more than the unofficial beginning of summer; in 2020 its the unofficial beginning of the reopening of the economy. As the county this weekend demonstrates it can reopen beaches safely, he said, so, too, can we reopen businesses safely.

The county will reopen its campgrounds beginning June 1, Mr. Bellone said. The reservation system for booking sites is slated to open Friday night at 7 p.m. Reservations are available for spots beginning July 15. A county camping committee has developed safety rules. Only self-contained units may visit the sites, bathroom and shower facilities will not be provided. Tents will not be permitted and no visitors to the site will be allowed. The sites are just for families, not gatherings or parties.

A letter from a low-level bureaucrat with the U. S. Department of Veterans Administration rejected Mr. Bellones request for permission to place flags at the graves of veterans this weekend.

This is a decision I cannot fathom, he said.

He acknowledged it was likely made with an overabundance of caution, but said officials should bend over backwards to find ways to accomplish the traditional activity. The county executive said he thinks President Donald Trump would be appalled if he was aware of the underlings determination.

Now that the county has stepped forward to fund the drive-up testing site in Southampton, would it also underwrite the site in East Hampton? It opened earlier this month, thanks to funding from a private non profit. Mr. Bellone said one testing site was envisioned for the South Fork, as officials considered spreading them out across the region.

Long Island could reopen next week if deaths continue to decline and the region trains enough contact tracers, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday morning.

In anticipation of phase one of reopening beginning in a week, the governor said construction staging is now allowed on Long Island and in the Mid-Hudson region. That includes delivering construction materials to work sites and putting safety precautions in place.

In addition to construction, phase one of reopening includes agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, curbside or in-store pickup retail, manufacturing and wholesale trade.

According to the New York State Regional Monitoring Dashboard, Long Island has had eight consecutive days of decline in COVID-19 hospital deaths as of Wednesday. To reopen, a streak of 14 days is required. Alternatively, the region could reopen if it has fewer than five deaths per day, based on a three-day average. Long Island now has 10 per day on average.

Long Island still needs more contact tracers to reopen, but according to the dashboard, the region is expected to meet that requirement.

The governor also announced that the state is making $100 million in small business loans available, targeting businesses with 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenue.

Also, New York State is making its contact tracing training curriculum available at no cost to all states.

Thursdays one-day COVID-19 death toll in New York State was 109, with 82 deaths in hospitals and 27 in nursing homes.

Since testing began, East End officials have been urging county counterparts to host a testing site on the South Fork. Last month, confronted with governmental inertia, Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren collaborated with the Hamptons Health Society to amass funding to create a testing site on property owned by Stony Book Southampton Hospital.

The society collected donations sufficient to run the site for the month of May and into the first week of June. Located at the Krause Family health center, the site is operated by Hudson River Health Care. HRH offers free testing to uninsured residents at sites through out Suffolk, assisted by county funding.

On Friday, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman announced that the site will stay afloat. He reached out to Legislator Bridget Fleming and County Executive Steve Bellone, hoping the county would pick up the funding of the site. The response was affirmative.

Said Mr. Bellone in a release announcing the measure, Access to widespread testing is one of the most critical tools in the battle against COVID-19. As we get closer to reopening, Suffolk County will continue to work with all of our partners to ensure our testing sites remain open and anyone who needs to be tested has access.

Testing is a key metric in the reopening plan, Ms. Fleming observed. With more testing, we are able to determine the extent of the spread of the disease.

Jays wonderful, said Dr. Peter Michalos of the Hamptons Health Society. He convinced the county to chip in and help the East End. Its amazing he was able to do that.

Continuing, the doctor added,Im happy East Hampton has been able to duplicate what weve done, setting the precedent of public/ private partnership.

Earlier this month an HRH popup site in East Hampton thats funded by the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation opened.

The Southampton testing site runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 3 p.m. the East Hampton site is open on Wednesdays and Fridays. Both require appointments. Call 845-553-8030.

All three of us have worked incredibly closely together throughout this unprecedented pandemic, County Executive Steve Bellone said Thursday during a Zoom meeting with counterparts Laura Curran of Nassau County and George Latimer of Westchester County. Representing a combined total of 4.5 million people, the trio leaned on each other, communicated with each other, and shared ideas, Mr. Bellone said.

In some ways, Ms. Curran said, reopening is more complicated than operating on crisis mode during the coronavirus surge. As the healthcare crisis begins to subside, the focus is on putting the pieces back into some kind of new normal, she said.

Residents have done a fantastic job acting in compliance with NY PAUSE, she said. She believes theres room for recalibration in the metrics necessary for reopening.

People are ready, she said.

The Long Island region dropped down from meeting five of seven metrics to meeting four. The number of hospitalizations increased once the facilities were opened up to elective and other non-COVID-related procedures. Mr. Bellone said he was confident the region would meet the metric nonetheless.

Introducing Mr. Latimer, Mr. Bellone noted Westchester was at the epicenter of the outbreak at the outset. He said he was grateful for his colleagues leadership. Mr. Latimer offered that theres a benefit in shared experiences and emphasized that the regional approach is the way to go. The downstate economies are interconnected, he underscored.

Each county is following a similar protocol with beach openings as the holiday weekend approaches.

Demand is going to be strong, Mr. Latimer cautioned.

But, like Mr. Bellone, both he and Ms. Curran made the decision to open to their own county residents only.

In Westchester, Mr. Latimer said tough decisions were made in terms of other summer attractions Playland amusement park will stay closed trough July, with social distancing and sanitizing impossible at such a venue.

So, too, are myriad summer ethnic festivals where, by definition, people cluster together. The July 4 fireworks shows have been canceled in Westchester ; in Suffolk, the decision has yet to be made and in Nassau all summer events in Eisenhower Park have been canceled. No formal decision about fireworks shows has been made in Nassau, Ms. Curran qualified. Stay tuned, she said.

Were trying to rise to a moment that none of us has ever experienced, Mr. Latimer said.

Asked whether he sees the upcoming weekend as a litmus test for how Suffolk County will handle the rest of the summer, Mr. Bellone said, Every new step we take is sort of a test.

Eleven people died from COVID-19 in the 24-hour period from Wednesday to Thursday, bringing Suffolks death toll to 1,802. Mr. Bellone reported 142 new confirmed cases during the same time frame, for a total of 38,553 cases countywide.

Summer school across New York State will be done through distance learning, and it is too soon to determine if classrooms can welcome students in the fall, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing, Mr. Cuomo said the facts have changed on schools because while it was once believed that children are not affected by the coronavirus, now it appears they are.

The New York State Department of Health is now investigating 157 cases of an illness in children that may be related to COVID-19. It is an inflammatory disease that has symptoms like Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome and causes inflammation in blood vessels that can also affect the heart. Mr. Cuomo said New York was the first to investigate cases of the illness, and now 25 states and Washington, D.C., have reported cases as have 13 countries.

This is one of those situations, where the more they look, I believe, the more they are going to find, Mr. Cuomo said.

The governor said schools have high-density issues in classrooms, cafeterias and school buses and density is how coronavirus spreads.

Summer school is not going to open statewide for in-class teaching, Mr. Cuomo said. It will be through distance learning, and meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue. In terms of opening up schools for the fall, its still too early to make that determination.

The governor said more information on the inflammatory syndrome is needed and the state is waiting to see how development of a vaccine proceeds. The state will issue guidelines in early June for schools and colleges to make plans to possibly open in fall, he added, and the state will approve or not approve those plans in July.

Mr. Cuomo advised that the states contact tracing program is beginning, and he urged New Yorkers who have tested positive for COVID-19 to take the call if their caller ID identifies an incoming caller as NYS Contact Tracing.

The governor said employees who believe their employer is not following PPE, hygiene and social distancing guidelines may call the New York Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

Total hospitalizations and the number of intubated COVID-19 patients were both down statewide Wednesday. The number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday was just 246, based on a three-day rolling average. Mr. Cuomo said that is lower than the number was in the early days of COVID-19s emergence, before the spike in cases.

There were 105 deaths attributed to COVID-19 reported statewide Wednesday. That matches the low that was set on Monday. Of Wednesdays reported deaths, 78 occurred in hospitals and 27 occurred in nursing homes.

Long Island has eight consecutive days of decline in hospital deaths as of Wednesday, with an average daily death toll of 10. Fourteen days of decline are required to reopen a region.

Long Island reports 1.43 new COVID-19 hospitalizations daily per 100,000 residents. That number must stay under 2 per 100,000 in order to reopen, and for the past few days Long Islands number keeps getting lower.

Long Island has moved in the wrong direction on the availability of hospital beds. A region must have at least 30 percent of its bed capacity available, and at least 30 percent of its ICU beds, specifically, available. The region has 33 percent of its ICU beds free, but just 27 percent of its total number of beds free. However, this appears to be due to both Suffolk County and Nassau County hospitals being allowed, as of this week, to resume elective surgeries, and not due to an increase in COVID-related hospitalizations.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: County Executive Bellone Optimistic As Downward Trends Point Toward Imminent Reopening -

The Happiest Day of the Year is… Yes, Shavuos. Here’s Why – Yeshiva World News

Posted By on May 25, 2020

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for

Most people think it is Purim or Simchas Torah but Shavuos?? And the answer is, Yes, Shavuos.

Rav Yerucham Olshin Shlita explains that the Gemorah in Psachim 68b tells us: Rabbi Elazar says, All admit that on atzeres we require lachem it should be for you as a holiday. What is the reason? Because it is the day that the Torah was given.


The Meforshim explain that this Gemorah means we should be happier on this yom tov than on others. Indeed, Rav Yechiel Yehoshuah Rabbinowitz, the Biala Rav, in his Seder HaYom writes this explicitly that we should be happier at this Yom Tov than any other time during the year. The yesod veshoresh haAvodah (Shaar HaTzon 10) develops this idea explaining that it is because we received this remarkable treasure of the Torah.

The Shla HaKadosh (Meseches Shvuos Ner Mitzvah 18) adds another level of insight. He writes that it is the day we merited the Crown of Torah. He cites the Gemorah in Psachim where Rav Yoseph states that were it not for this day, he would be just another Joe in the marketplace.

It is not just the fact that we received the Torah that makes us happy it is the fact that we merited its crown.

To understand this thought, the Rambam tells us (Hilchos Talmud Torah 3:13), Even though it is a Mitzvah to learn Torah day and night, a person only learns the majority of his Torah at night. Therefore, someone who wishes to merit the crown of Torah should be careful to study it each night not missing even one of them in sleeping, eating, drinking, conversation etc. He should only engage in Talmud Torah and Divrei Chochma. This is called the Rina of Torah.

The Av Beis Din of Ponovech explained (cited in Zichron Shmuel p. 574) that there are two aspects of studying Torah.

There is the aspect of studying it in fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Limud HaTorah.

There is also an aspect of learning it as, HaShira HaZos.


In other words it is the song of the life of the person. In it the person delights and takes pleasure. The person does not delay in sticking to it on any account. Any difficult situation, the person engages in it and sleeps in the depth of its halacha. Even when a person is tired the Torah study goes on.

This is the fundamental idea of the Crown of Torah.

We can now better understand the Shlas explanation of Shavuos.

The custom of Klal Yisroel learning all night is now also understood better. It is not just to make up for the fact that we slept then. No, the essence of the problem in that we slept was that we were not yet at the state where it was the song of our life. We are thus correcting this flaw in who we were or are as a nation.

We should take greater pleasure and joy in this Yom Tov because it symbolizes the song of our lives. This is why Shavuos should be the happiest of all Yom Tovs.


The practice of learning all night is mentioned in the Zohar (Parshas Emor 98a). There it even describes the reward that awaits one who studies Torah all night. The all-night learner receives no less than seventy divine blessings from above and is crowned with a special celestial crown of the upper heavens. Then they are inscribed in a special Sefer HaZikaron, a book of memory.


The Arizal writes in Shaar HaKavanos that whoever stays up all night learning is assured that he will certainly live out the year. The Chofetz Chaim records this statement lhalacha (Mishna Brurah 494:1).


There is another interesting point too. Rav Dessler zatzal writes in Michtav MEliyahu that time is not a straight continuum. Rather, the nature of time is like a carousel that turns in circles. He writes that each Yom Tov is actually the very same Yom Tov that Klal Yisroel experienced in thousands of years ago in the year 2448. Each day on this carousel of time has its own special unique aspect to it. With this thought of Rav Dessler in mind, let us examine the words found in the Siddur Etz Chaim (page 46a). There it states that fulfilling this practice of learning all night makes it as if we ourselves received the Torah when we hear the Krias HaTorah of Shavuos. It is therefore, as if we were actually there at Har Sinai on the actual day of Matan Torah itself.


The question is, however, what should one learn? There is a special Tikkun Lail Shavuos that much of Klal Yisroel studies each Shavuos night. It encompasses Torah, Neviim, Ksuvim, Midrashim, and certain mystical parts of Torah. The Tikkun was established by the AriZal HaKadosh. And here is exactly where the controversy begins.


The Shlah HaKadosh (Tractate Shvuos 47) writes that this order of what to learn has become a Minhag in Klal Yisroel and this is what we should all certainly learn. The Shvus Yaakov, however, (Chok Yaakov 494) writes that this Tikkun was only enacted for the masses of people, and those that are capable of doing so should learn their own study regimen.

What is the common custom? Chassidim generally learn the Tikkun, but, generally speaking, Litvaks generally learn their own study regimen. Although, both the Steipler Gaon ztl and lehavdil bain chaim lchaim Rav Chaim Kanievsky actually did the Tikkun Leil Shavuos (See Teshuvos Rav Chaim #216). The Sefer Tefilah KHilchasa rules that an Avel, a mourner, recites the Tikun Lail Shavuos.

Sefardim also generally learn the Tikkun, particularly because the Chida writes (Lev David 31) that one should do so. Indeed, he writes that a group of people who changed the study regimen to studying the Rambam did the wrong thing. He compares what they did to building a Bamah an unauthorized sacrificial platform.


The minhag in virtually all of the Litvish Yeshivos, however, is to study what the Yeshiva itself studies during the regular Zman. What about the Chidas point against the group of people that studied the Rambam? We should note that this group created a new regimen for Shavuos. They did not continue their regular yearly regimen. Our Yeshivos, however, are continuing their regular regimens.

It is interesting to note that the Vilna Gaon himself learned the Arizals special Shavuos regimen. It is also interesting to note that in the time of Rav Aharon Kotler zatzal in Lakewood there were many bochurim that learned Torah on both nights of Shavuos.

So what should one be studying on this night? The Gemorah tells us (Avodah Zarah 19a) that a person does not learn except for where his heart desires. The Yeshivos should therefore continue their practice, and the places that study the Tikkun should continue their practice too.

The author can be reached at [emailprotected]

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The Happiest Day of the Year is... Yes, Shavuos. Here's Why - Yeshiva World News

Three Chareidi Batei Dinim Rule that Eliezer Berland is Guilty and Should be Ostracized – Yeshiva World News

Posted By on May 25, 2020

(By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for

The Talmud Yerushalmi in Kiddushin 4:1 states that a Kiddush Hashem is greater than a Chillul Hashem. It is clear, however, that the simple meaning of this expression is too obvious a statement to be an insight of the Talmud Yerushalmi.

Rather, the meaning of this passage reflects the idea that when both a chillul Hashem and a Kiddush hashem are present in the same action, the Kiddush Hashem outweighs the Chillul hashem.

A few hours ago, in Eretz Yisroel three separate Chareidi Batei Dinim, after 18 months of (two of them) meticulously collecting evidence and testimony, issued a devastating ruling and declaration against R. Eliezer Berland. One such Beis Din was Zichron Meir Tzedek (Rav Shmuel Vosners Beis Din) which included Rabbi Shriel Rosenberg. Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Stern, and Rabbi Yehuda Fisher, from the Eida HaChareidis Beis Din in Yerushalayim.

The Batei Dinim described the content of the testimonies that they had heard as untoward acts and very serious behaviors. They concluded that according to the opinion of our of holy Torah everyone must stay away from

After describing the content of the testimonies in plain language as acts that are not done and most serious acts, the judges state: It is clear that according to the opinion of our holy teachings, anyone who violates the three cardinal sins and their derivatives, someone who values his soul must stay away from him and one is obligated to act in this way.

The second Beis Din was Rabbi Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss, the head of the Eida Chareidis, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, and Rabbi Chaim Meir Halevi Vozner. The third Beis Din that signed onto the conclusions of the other two were Rabbi Shevach Tzvi Rosenblatt, Rabbi Yehuda Silman, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lubin.

They further accused Berlands followers of heresy for claiming in public and in writing that the crimes and sins he committed were permitted.

In the past, Rav Chaim Kanievsky advised people that Rabbi Berland was a rasha. Berland has also told cancer patients not to proceed with medical treatment and that if they donate vast amounts of money to him and take certain pills (later found to be Mentos) they will be cured.

Translation of ruling:

Special Beis Din

Authorized by the Central Batei Dinim in Our Holy Land

BSD Wednesday, 26 Iyar 5780

Psak Din

At the request of many, a special Beis Din was convened to investigate the rumors that have come out against the leader of the Shuvu Bonim community. In its proceedings explicit testimony was collected and proofs to actions that must never be done, some of them of the most serious nature. It is clear that according to our holy Torah a person who does not observe matters of the three cardinal sins and their derivatives someone who is concerned about his soul must stay away from him and we are obligated to observe this.

The matter is very serious since some of his students and followers have Heaven forbid rationized that it is permitted for a Tzaddik to perform any matter of sin, and this has even been publicized in published works. These matters are to considered complete heresy in the fundamentals of our religion. We must uproot and remove this apikorsus from within us.

Doing so will fulfill the verse (Shmos 18:23), and all this people also shall go to their place in peace.

Rabbi Shriel Rosenberg. Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Stern, Rabbi Yehuda Fisher, Rabbi Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss, the head of the Eida Chareidis, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, and Rabbi Chaim Meir Halevi Vozner, Rabbi Shevach Tzvi Rosenblatt, Rabbi Yehuda Silman, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lubin.

(YWN World Headquarters NYC)

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Three Chareidi Batei Dinim Rule that Eliezer Berland is Guilty and Should be Ostracized - Yeshiva World News

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