Page 40«..1020..39404142..5060..»

Benjamin Netanyahu and the Politics of Grievance – The Atlantic

Posted By on August 21, 2017

A leader who portrays himself as one of the persecuted, the target of an incessant witch-hunt by the so-called deep state. A liberal media intent on revisiting an election gone badly. And a left-wing political machine supposedly out to get him. This leader, of course, is Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel.

On August 4, Netanyahus former chief of staff signed a deal with the Israeli police to become a states witness in two criminal investigations in which the prime minister is a suspect. One of the cases involves gifts from billionaires abroad; the other concerns an alleged attempt to negotiate favorable press coverage. Three other investigations involve people close to Netanyahu: his lawyer (a second cousin), a political appointee, and even his wife, Sara. Netanyahu has not been indicted by the attorney general, let alone convicted by a criminal courtthat could take months.

And yet, things dont look good for Bibi, as the leak-happy Hebrew press keeps reporting. The states witness, Ari Harow, must provide the goods if he himself is to avoid a prison sentence for suspected bribery and fraud; few know more about Netanyahus dealings than him. Netanyahus many rivals at home, both within and outside his own Likud party and coalition, have long been preparing for the end of his tenure. Now, they smell political blood.

Netanyahus response has been one of defiance. On August 9, Likud party officials and supportersthe Bibi faithfulgathered at a rally in Tel Aviv to voice their support for the prime minister. There, he delivered a message of persecution, railing against the despised liberal media and the even-more despised left-wing. The two, he said, are one and the same. They had failed to beat him at the polls, and were now out to get him by other means, which that amorphous elitethe left-wing, the mediapresumably control. Never mind that the attorney general, who holds sole discretionary power to indict him, is a Netanyahu appointee and certainly no lefty, or that his rival and predecessor, Ehud Olmert, just left prison, where he spent nearly 18 months after being convicted on charges similar to those Bibi now faces.

At the rally, Netanyahu seemed to channel Donald Trump. He even explicitly (mis)used the English phrase fake news to attack the supposedly biased mainstream media thats out to get him. While Netanyahu and Trump are profoundly differentBibis many faults aside, he is erudite, cautious, and experiencedthe two men share an approach to confronting political adversity: divide and conquer, turn the spotlight on the other, create an other when none is available, and always, always, feed the base.

Therein lies a long-term danger for both Israel and America. The governing institutions of each are strong, but their leaders have the power to shape or erode basic norms of democracy and codes of national unity; both Netanyahu and Trump have been careless at best in this regard. Faced with a real threat to his position, perhaps even to his liberty, Netanyahu is once again playing with fire.

Netanyahus performance at that Likud gathering was vintage Bibi, recalling his first run for prime minister in the 1990s. Back then, Netanyahu led the opposition to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of the Labor Party, as a vicious public campaign against him swept through Israels right-wing. After his assassination by a right-winger, Netanyahu defeated Rabins successor, Shimon Peres, to become Israel's youngest-ever prime minister. In Netanyahus mind, the same elite he now attacksthe media, the left-wing, the supposed deep statenever forgave him, blaming him for the incitement against Rabin, and for daring to defeat Peres fair and square. They never accepted this outsider who was raised partly in America, who had never been a minister (he had been a deputy minister), and who had never been part of any of the main cliques of the Israeli elite.

Netanyahus paranoia was not entirely unwarranted. On the morning after his first electoral victory in May 1996, for example, a mere six months after Rabins assassination, signs lamenting that Rabin was assassinated twiceequating his win to the prime ministers deathadorned signposts on the streets of Tel Aviv. Many Rabin-Peres supporters never got over Netanyahus victory. (They were also appalled by many of his subsequent policies.) Yet there was also political opportunity for Netanyahu in that narrative, which he exploited.

The old elites, a phrase that gained currency in Israel during Netanyahus first term, were the bogeymen for the disparate parts of his political base: the Mizrahim, the ultra-orthodox Jews, the National-Religious, the Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They shared little except their antagonism to Israels perceived elite, the left-wing and largely secular Ashkenazi Jews of Israel. As Menachem Begin did 1977, Netanyahu, an Ashkenazi Jew, enlisted the votes of these left-behinds, sometimes called second Israel, to the political cause of the (Ashkenazi) right-wing. Almost every segment of Jewish-Israeli society that felt disenfranchised opposed the hated establishment, leaving only Israels Arab citizens aligned with the left.

For Netanyahu, catering to the base also came with political risk. Many in the Israeli political center were taken aback by his tone when, for example, he was caught on camera whispering into the ear of an octogenarian rabbi influential among religious Mizrahi voters that the left had forgotten what it means to be Jewish. Many voters in the centernot leftist themselvesdisliked such tactics. Netanyahu was routed in the elections of 1999 in no small part because of a sense of fatigue with the partisanship of his first term. Like in the United States, a base offers loyalty and energy, but not always sufficient numbers.

At the same time, Netanyahus choice to voice the legitimate, sometimes-justified concerns of those who felt left behind had important benefits for Israeli society, in the symbolic realm at least. Mizrahi culture and heritage, for example, received more recognition and airtime in mainstream media.

In the United States, too, one lesson of Trumps rise is that its ruling elite need to take a hard look at the many Americans alienated by the current power structures. It may have been high time for Washington to be shocked by its disconnect from much of the country. But without a leader able to transform grievance into empowerment and political victory into responsibility and ownership, the disconnect will only widen.

In the end, Netanyahu failed to transform his victory into a cathartic experience for the groups he claimed to elevate; he never stopped campaigning as the antithesis to the hated elite. The never-ending, cynical invocation of the political bases grievancessomething Netanyahu and others have now perfectedhad severe consequences for Israeli society and politics. Even as he secured political power, Netanyahu preferred to play the role of leader of the opposition, to perpetuate a sense of victimhood among his supporters rather than transform his numerous political victories into agency, empowerment and, above all, responsibility.

Today, Netanyahu's gamble of catering to the base while neglecting the center is less risky than it was in the 1990s, as the Israeli right-wing has expanded. Hasmol, or the left in Hebrew, is now often used as a pejorative phrase. Rabins Oslo peace process, and the left as a political camp, were decimated by the Second Intifada, which began in the summer of 2000. The political center of Ariel Sharon and Olmert, which pushed for unilateral separation from the Palestinians, was rebuffed in Israeli voters eyes by the rockets that followed the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. It has now been 40 years since the rise of the Likud party of Begin and Netanyahu. Over that time, Labor, the once-hegemonic party of Israeli politics, has held the prime ministership for less than eight years (the centrist Kadima held it for three more). The right-wings reign in Israel today is no temporary fluke.

And yet Likud still speaks as the underdog, as the opposition to a deep state and an amorphous elite. (That elite, incidentally, feels more besieged and marginalized than ever.) This thinking helps explain, at least in part, why in the last election in 2015, Netanyahu posted a video warning his supporters that foreign-funded NGOs were busing Arab voters in droves to polling stationsa false story, and reckless for Netanyahu, leader of a country where 20 percent of the citizenry is Arab, to disseminate.

The power of Netanyahus base does not mean he will evade legal trouble, however. The rule of law in Israel is strong. If the state prosecutor recommends indictment, the attorney general will then weigh the evidence and the chances of conviction, and likely grant Netanyahu a special hearing before any final decision to indict.

Netanyahu has hinted that he does not intend to resign even if indicted. He may even try to call for early elections in order to gain a popular mandate in the face of a legal decision. Yet if Bibi is indicted, he will likely eventually have to resign; polling suggests that even many right-wing voters expect him to do so.

After Netanyahu, the opposition would aim to capitalize on the scandals and seek to replace him. Yet the power of his base means that his replacement may well come from within his own camp. If he resigns, Likud might also maintain its coalition and simply appoint one of its own as prime minister, bypassing a general election.

If the right-wing prevails, Israels policies, including its stance toward the Palestinians, would remain largely unchanged. Yet a new prime minister, whether a hawk or a dove, would have a chance to change a central aspect of the Netanyahu legacy: the divisiveness of his politics. Even after over 11 years as prime minister, Netanyahu has, deliberately, never lost the appeal of an oppositional figure pitting himself against a hated establishment. In Israel, as in the United States, that is a dangerous approach to leadership.

View post:

Benjamin Netanyahu and the Politics of Grievance - The Atlantic

Is there a blessing for the eclipse? – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on August 21, 2017

Solar eclipse 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

As millions of Americans gear up for the rare solar eclipse on Monday, rabbis across the spectrum weighed in on the event - and its significance.

For a wide swath of the United States, the sun will be eclipsed at some point on Monday leaving residents - and those traveling to see it - in darkness for about two minutes. It's the first time in 38 years that an eclipse has touched the United States.

There are Jewish blessings prescribed for seeing lightning, hearing thunder, viewing a rainbow or even smelling a flower. But what about witnessing an eclipse?

Rabbi Joshua Heller, the spiritual leader of Congregation B'nai Torah in Atlanta, Georgia - which is just off the path of the eclipse - wrote that there are two options of appropriate blessings to say.

One is the blessing you would say upon witnessing an earthquake or tornado, which is "Blessed is the God whose strength and power fill the world."

The second option Heller considers is the more general "Blessed is the God who performs the work of creation," which is said over thunder or a meteor shower.

According to Rabbi Eliezer Melamed of the Beit El Yeshiva, the former blessing is recited over scary events, while the latter is for more common, less frightening occurrences. Is the solar eclipse a scary event?

There are no direct dangers from the eclipse's occurrence - unlike with a tornado or earthquake. However viewers can harm their eyes if they look directly at the sun, and the dangers of car accidents during those two minutes are certainly high.

But many rabbis have been wondering more allegorically if the eclipse is a bad omen for the Jewish people - and perhaps should not be blessed at all. After all, the Talmud in Tractate Sukka said that "When the sun is eclipsed it is a bad omen for the entire world."

Rabbi David Lau, the current Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, reportedly said in 2001 that since there was no Talmudic blessing prescribed for such an event, it could not be added today.

He suggested instead reciting psalms, particularly those praising God's glory. Others, however, ruled against saying a blessing because it is considered a bad omen, and should not be blessed.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late Lubavitcher rebbe, said in 1957 that an eclipse is a bad sign - and the result of human sin, as the Talmud says. Rabbi Nicole Guzik, of the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, meanwhile, sees the eclipse as a reminder of the world's beauty.

"This world is a museum of God's beauty and if we are lucky enough to be active patrons, we will notice artwork that prior, never caught our eye," she wrote on Facebook.

"God's artistry is ours to discover. Be it with the sun, moon or stars, may God's light illuminate the many divine wonders just waiting to be enjoyed."

Rabbi Joshua Yuter, the former rabbi of The Stanton St. Shul who now lives in Jerusalem, said while he has studied these issues of superstition in Judaism, he "didn't quite come up with an answer."

Though he shared the Talmudic sources on Twitter with his followers, he expressed some doubts that the eclipse should be viewed as a bad omen - especially considering the many contradictory sources on the topic. "It's possible they viewed these things theologically," Yuter told The Jerusalem Post, and it's "also possible it was their idea of science."

Meaning, at the time the Talmud was written, the sages may not have understood that an eclipse was a predictable natural occurrence the way we do today. He pointed to another source in Tractate Ketuvot, which addresses all sorts of omens, and the ways in which they can be interpreted differently.

"They talk about various sorts of signs, portents, omens," he said, "which people will interpret as they so choose."

While the discussions are plentiful, Yuter said what is missing is a call to action, i.e. what to do when an eclipse occurs. "I personally try not to engage in historical telepathy."

Share on facebook

Go here to see the original:

Is there a blessing for the eclipse? - The Jerusalem Post

After Barcelona, French Jewish Leader Calls For ‘Immediate Eradication’ Of Terrorism – Forward

Posted By on August 21, 2017

Getty Images

(JTA) Following the death of a pedestrian in what appeared to be a vehicular terrorist attack in Marseille, a leader of the local Jewish community called for the immediate eradication of terrorism.

Bruno Benjamin, the president of the local branch of the CRIF umbrella of Jewish communities, wrote the message on Twitter on Monday, shortly after police arrested a man they suspect is connected to the slaying of one woman and the serious injury of another woman in a car-ramming attack that morning.

Police cannot confirm that the incident was a terrorist attack, a police source told the Le Soir daily.

#Marseille, terrorism knows no borders, terrorists have no limits and no humanity. Today, a total eradication is necessary, Benjamin wrote in the unusually harshly worded message. We cannot comprehend these levels of hatred and capacity for terrorism, he added.

A prosecutor in Marseille said the incident appeared to be the work of a mentally ill person, the La Chane Info news channel reported.

The incident comes on the heels of deadly terrorist attacks in and around Barcelona on Thursday and Friday, where 14 people were killed when a van plowed through a crowd.

Read the rest here:
After Barcelona, French Jewish Leader Calls For 'Immediate Eradication' Of Terrorism - Forward

Anti-Defamation League head says violent ‘alt-left’ is a right-wing … – Raw Story

Posted By on August 21, 2017

CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt (Screen capture)

Jonathan Greenblatt CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) told MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts on Sunday that the idea of a violent alt-left is a right-wing myth and that there is no equivalency between the violent hate groups of the right and the people who resist them.

In response to President Donald Trumps assertion that there are fine people on both sides of the neo-Nazi question, Greenblatt said, There are no fine people among the ranks of Nazis. Then they tried to divert the conversation to the quote-unquote alt-left, but look, there is no comparable side on the left to the alt-right.'

The alt-right, he said, are white supremacists who amass with an idea of pushing a nationalist agenda that pushes out minorities based on how you pray, who you love or where youre from. So, its really not comparable.

Watch the video, embedded below:

Originally posted here:
Anti-Defamation League head says violent 'alt-left' is a right-wing ... - Raw Story

Charlottesville synagogue on fear, resolve and more security – The Charlottesville Newsplex

Posted By on August 20, 2017

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- For Diane Gartner Hillman, the new reality of being Jewish in Charlottesville sunk in when she had to leave Congregation Beth Israel through the back door.

On any other Saturday, worshippers at the city's lone synagogue would have left through the front and walked without fear to their cars, parked near the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park.

But now, men wearing white shirts and khaki pants and other white supremacists carrying semi-automatic rifles were streaming past their sanctuary, taunting Beth Israel with phony Brooklyn accents and mocking Yiddish expressions, such "oy gevalt."

"We were in a different world than where we had been previously," Hillman, 69, said Friday, as a stream of people entered the synagogue, now guarded by three police officers out front and several more in the park. "We just don't know where things are going to go from here."

The presence of hundreds of white nationalists and the loss of three lives last weekend have members of the synagogue confronting new levels of anxiety and resolve. Anti-Semitic vitriol and violence has been on the rise in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League and other organizations that monitor hate groups. But the dynamic in Charlottesville showed an intensity of bigotry rarely seen out in the open.

Writing for the website of the Union of Reform Judaism, Beth Israel President Alan Zimmerman said Nazi websites had called for the temple to be burned.

"Fortunately, it was just talk - but we had already deemed such an attack within the realm of possibilities, taking the precautionary step of removing our Torahs, including a Holocaust scroll, from the premises," he wrote.

Beth Israel hired an armed security guard for the first time last Saturday, and plans to increase security, according to the congregation's Facebook page. One Beth Israel member was "injured by the terrorist who used his car as a weapon, but is recovering at a local medical center and is expected to do so fully," that post said.

As much as the show of hatred increased fears, it also boosted a sense of community in this normally quiet college town.

Cale Jaffe, a University of Virginia law professor, watched as the white nationalists marched past with guns, helmets and body armor, "explicitly with the intent of intimidation and to create violence," and for the first time, felt anxious about walking into his synagogue, he said.

"But it has crystalized for me why it's so important to push through that anxiety and step inside the sanctuary," said Jaffe, 44. "It made it clear that's a place I need to be."

And many people in Charlottesville who aren't Jewish have come to Beth Israel to show their solidarity, Jaffe said. "What gives me hope going forward is knowing so many people in the larger Charlottesville community feel that way and are there with us."

AP National Religion Writer Rachel Zoll contributed from New York.

Continue reading here:

Charlottesville synagogue on fear, resolve and more security - The Charlottesville Newsplex

Fearing deportation, Araceli Velasquez finds reprieve in a Denver … – The Denver Post

Posted By on August 20, 2017

Araceli Velasquez had an appointment with immigration officers, as shed had many times in the past. But this time, she didnt show up.

Instead of appearing for her check-in on Aug. 9, Velasquez and her family sought refuge inside Park Hill United Methodist Church and Temple Micah synagogue Aug. 8. She plans to stay there indefinitely to avoid being separated from her husband and her three young children.

Velasquez lost a request for asylum last year and was given a year-long stay of deportation. Immigration authorities have since indicated that they would not renew that protection, meaning she faces deportation, said Jennifer Piper of the American Friends Service Committee. Velazquez fled El Salvador in 2010 when her life was threatened and the possibility of being forced to return there was a risk she wasnt willing to take.

PHUMC and Temple Micah are the newest religious congregations to join the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition ,bringing its total to 11. The two communities share a place of worship on Montview Boulevard.

Its an honor and a privilege to stand up for Araceli and her family, said Rabbi Adam Morris. It feels right. Its what our tradition teaches and with the tone of our country, weve certainly felt that more poignantly.

It was in March of this year that the leaders of the congregations met to discuss the idea of becoming a sanctuary congregation. Steve Holz-Russell, a layman for PHUMC was galvanized by the idea and worked to start a sanctuary task force.

It started with educating ourselves, Holz-Russell said. We had a meeting to talk about issues and then we voted. There was an overwhelming vote in favor to doing this.

Their 100-year-old building became the perfect location for the Velasquez family. They are currently staying in the youth center while a more permanent location is being renovated. The space will have a common area, bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette to provide a safe, comfortable and accepting place, Morris said.

This is the first time that the congregations have given someone sanctuary, but religious institutions have long offered protection for immigrants.Religious sanctuary is not a legal protection against deportation agents, but immigration authorities have beenhesitant to enter houses of worship.

Velasquez walked from El Salvador and arrived on our Mexican border requesting asylum. She was detained for one month and a half in a Texas immigration facility before being released. Velasquez then made her way to Colorado and it was here that she met her husband Jorge, who has temporary protected status in the country. They have three children: 4-year-old Jorge, 2-year-old Christopher and 10-month-old Kevin who are all U.S. citizens.

Velasquez is not the first immigrant to request sanctuary as a reprieve from deportation in Colorado, but the fifth. In Denver, Jeanette Vizguerra and Arturo Hernandez Garcialeft sanctuaryafter winning two-year stays of deportation.Ingrid Latorre received a shorter reprieve. Rosa Sabido claimed sanctuary inMancos on June 2.

I think there are a lot of people in the same circumstances as Araceli, Piper said. Many people decide to return to their home country or relocate elsewhere in the U.S. It takes a very strong person to give up their freedom to got into sanctuary to try and keep their family together

Further information in Velasquezs case wasnt immediately available. The action is being organized through the Metro Denver Sanctuary Committee.

See the original post here:

Fearing deportation, Araceli Velasquez finds reprieve in a Denver ... - The Denver Post

Judaism: Sephardim – Jewish Virtual Library

Posted By on August 20, 2017

The descendants of Jews who left Spain or Portugal after the 1492 expulsion are referred to as Sephardim. The word Sephardim comes from the Hebrew word for Spain, Sepharad, that is stated in the Bible.

It is believed that Jews have lived in Spain since the era of King Solomon (c.965-930 B.C.E.). Little information can be found on these Jews until the beginning of the first century. We do know that in 305 C.E., the Council of Toledo passed an edict forbidding Jews from blessing the crops of non-Jews and prohibiting Jews and non-Jews from eating together.

- Visigoth Rule - The Golden Age - Christian Rule, Inquisition & Expulsion - Exiled Sephardic Communities - World War II-Present - Language - Religious Practices

In 409 C.E., the Visigoths conquered Spain. The Visigoths were Arian Christians, followers of Arius who reasoned that Jesus could not logically co-exist with God and must therefore be subservient to him.

In 587 C.E., King Reccared, the Visigoth king in Spain, converted to Roman Catholicism and made it the state religion. Subsequently, the Church was to exert powerful influence on all aspects of social life. Almost immediately, in 589 C.E., a canon was passed forbidding the marriage between Christians and Jews; and in 612 C.E., the Council of Gundemar of Toledo ordered that all Jews submit to baptism within the year.

In 638 C.E., the Arian Visigoths declared that only Catholics could live in Spain.

The situation improved in 711 when Spain fell under the rule of the Muslim Moors. Both Muslims and Jews built a civilization, based in Cordoba, known as Al-Andalus, which was more advanced than any civilization in Europe at that time. Jews were able to coexist peacefully with their neighbors; however, they were still treated as dhimmis, "People of the Book" (Jews and Christians) who are protected under Islamic law. Jews did not have complete autonomy and had to pay a special tax, the jizha , but were able to freely practice their religion.

The era of Muslim rule in Spain (8th-11th century) was considered the "Golden Age" for Spanish Jewry. Jewish intellectual and spiritual life flourished and many Jews served in Spanish courts. Jewish economic expansion was unparalleled. In Toledo, Jews were involved in translating Arabic texts to the romance languages, as well as translating Greek and Hebrew texts into Arabic. Jews also contributed to botany, geography, medicine, mathematics, poetry and philosophy.

A number of well-known Jewish physicians practiced during this period, including Hasdai Ibn Shaprut (915-970), who was the doctor for the Caliph (leader of Spain). Many famous Jewish figures lived during the Golden Age and contributed to making this a flourishing period for Jewish thought. These included Samuel Ha-Nagid, Moses ibn Ezra, Solomon ibn Gabirol Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides.

Jews lived separately in aljamas (Jewish quarters). They were given administrative control over their communities and managed their own communal affairs. Jews had their own court system, known as the Bet Din. Rabbis served as judges and rendered both religious and civil legal opinions.

Islamic culture also influenced the Jews. Muslim and Jewish customs and practices became intertwined. For example, Arabic was used for prayers rather than Hebrew or Spanish. Before entering the synagogue, Jews washed their hands and feet, which is a practice done before entering a mosque. Arab melodies were used for Jewish songs. Jews wore the clothing style of their Moorish neighbors, although they were not allowed to wear silk or furs.

Jews lived peacefully in Al-Andulus for 400 years. The Golden Age for Jewry in Muslim Spain declined after the Almovarids gained power in 1055 and continued to deteriorate after the Almohads came to power in 1147. Jews continued to work as moneylenders, jewelers, cobblers, tailors and tanners, however, they had to wear distinguishing clothing, such as a yellow turban.

The Christians conquered Toledo in 1098 and the Jews in Christian Spain prospered, while those in Muslim Spain suffered under the Almohad dynasty. Both Jews and Muslims were involved in the cultural, economic, intellectual, financial and political life of Christian Spain. By the mid-13th century, the Christians controlled most of Spain and increasingly forced Jews to convert to Christianity. Those who converted became known as Marranos or New Christians. Marranos are also known as crypto-Jews because they taught their children and practiced Judaism in secret. During this period, Jews were forced to participate in "religious" disputes with Christians counterparts.

Anti-Jewish riots broke out in 1391 in several Spanish cities and the situation worsened for the Jewish community. New Christians were tortured or killed in the Spanish Inquisition during the 15th century. Father Tomas de Torquemada felt that if the Jews remained in Spain, then they would influence the new converts to Christianity. After the capture of Granada from Muslim forces, Father Torquemada convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that the Jewish community was expendable. In 1492, Isabella and Ferdinand commanded that all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity be expelled from Spain. The Jews were given four months to leave Spain and were forced to sell their houses and businesses at low prices. It is estimated that 100,000 Jews left Spain at this time. The expulsion from Spain is commemorated every year by all Jews on the holiday of Tisha BAv.

Many Spanish Jews settled in Portugal, which allowed the practice of Judaism. In 1497, however, Portugal also expelled its Jews. King Manuel of Portugal agreed to marry the daughter of Spains monarchs. One of the conditions for the marriage was the expulsion of Portugals Jewish community. In actuality only eight Jews were exiled from Portugal and the rest converted, under duress, to Christianity.

In the first Sephardi Diaspora, a large number of Jews settled in North Africa and in the Ottoman Empire, especially, Turkey and Greece. Spanish exiles brought with them a unique culture, language (Ladino) and traditions. Many of these immigrants continued to speak Ladino until the 20th century.

A Marrano Diaspora took place a century later. Some Marranos had settled in Portugal and eventually moved to Holland, where they were allowed to outwardly practice Judaism. Many settled in Western Europe and moved to the Americas. Marranos who settled in Latin America continued practicing crypto-Judaism for many years because Spain began an inquisition in its New World colonies. Fear of persecution led Crypto-Jews to settle in remote villages. Today, descendants of crypto-Jews can be found in Colorado and New Mexico.


Large Sephardic communities were founded in Venice, Leghorn, London, Bordeaux, Bayonne and Hamburg. These immigrants spoke Portugese and Spanish and many adapted mainstream Western European culture. Successful business enterprises were started by the Sephardim and their trade networks became famous worldwide.

Throughout the medieval period in Europe, the Sephardic Jews were treated as elites among Jews. Many times they had a secular education and often had great wealth. In the 18th century, the Sephardic Jews who lived in Amsterdam and in London, tended to discriminate against non-Sephardic Jews who wanted to pray at their synagogues by forcing them to sit separately from the rest of the congregation.

North Africa and the Arab World

For hundreds of years, Sephardic Jews lived, as dhimmis, in relative peace with Muslim neighbors and rulers in North Africa and in the Ottoman Empire. They were considered second-class citizens, but were free to practice their own religion and participate in commerce. Similar to Spain and Portugal during the Golden Era, the Sephardic upper class in the Ottoman empire were employed as translators.

The Sephardic communities in the Arab world were more receptive to modernity than their Ashkenazi counterparts in Europe. The Zionist movement became popular among Sephardic Jews in North Africa. Many Sephardic rabbis in the Ottoman Empire supported Zionism and the Zionist movement spread to many Muslim countries in North Africa, such as in Egypt and Tunisia.

In World War II, Sephardim in Europe suffered the same fate as other Jews, and most perished during the Holocaust. In a few places, such as Holland, they received some preferential treatment, meaning they were among the last to be liquidated.

After the establishment of the State of Israel, conditions for Jews in many Islamic countries grew increasingly uncomfortable and, in some cases, their lives were threatened. In the 1950's and 1960's, tens of thousands of Sephardic Jews fled from North Africa and other countries in the Middle East to settle in Israel, usually being forced by the Muslim authorities to leave behind most of their worldly possessions. Once they came to Israel, most of the Sephardic immigrants were put in transit camps and became dependent on welfare. The conditions in these camps were very bad and it was difficult for the newcomers to work their way out of the lower rung of Israeli society because they had less education than the established Ashkenazic community. Consequently, many worked in blue-collar professions.

Today, tensions remain between Ashkenazim and Sephardim in Israel because of the poor treatment the latter received and the long, difficult road Sephardic Jews have had to travel to approach parity in society. Though they have not yet achieved equality, Sephardic Jews increasingly occupy positions of prestige and influence. Moroccan-born David Levy, for example, has served as foreign minister and, in July 2000, Iranian-born Moshe Katsav was elected president.

Besides Israel, other large Sephardic communities developed in Central and South America, Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo. Meanwhile, the existing communities in New York, Paris and London grew. One of the most famous Sephardic synagogues is Congregation Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation in North America, and the only Jewish congregation in New York from its founding in 1654 until 1825.

The Sephardi Jews preserved their special language, which was a combination of Hebrew and Spanish, known as Ladino. Ladino is still spoken by some Sephardic communities, such as those in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Rumania, France and Latin America. Today the largest Ladino-speaking community can be found in Israel. One can also read Ladino in Sephardic literature.

When Jews left Spain and Portugal they continued to speak Ladino, in the same grammar and vocabulary of 14th and 15th century Spanish. The Sephardic exile communities of Amsterdam, London and Italy were still in contact with Spain and hence they continued to speak Castillian Spanish.

Exile communities in the Ottoman Empire, however, retained the 14th and 15th century Spanish and borrowed words from Hebrew, Arabic Greek, Turkish and French and diverged considerably from Castillian Spanish. There are many different Ladino dialects. An Oriental Ladino was used in Turkey and Rhodes, while a Western Ladino was spoken in Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia and Rumania.

Ladino is written using Hebrew letters and often uses the Rashi script. In fact, Rashi script was originally a Ladino script; however, after Rashis death, this script was used to differentiate his commentary from others ones. More recently, in the 20th century, Ladino has been written using the Latin alphabet.

Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews share the same tenets of Judaism, follow the Babylonian Talmud and the Shulkhan Arukh. Differences arise in customs and in liturgy. For example, on Passover, Sephardic Jews eat kitnyot, rice and corn products. Also, at many Sephardic sedars, the father will reenact the experience of gaining freedom by circling the sedar table and holding a symbolic bag over his shoulder.

Other differences exist in the way Sephardic Jews wind their tefillin straps outwards, whereas Ashkenazi Jews wind the tefillin inwards. Sephardic grooms are honored with an aliyah to the Torah on the Shabbat after their wedding, whereas Ashkenazi grooms are called up to the Torah the Shabbat before the wedding.

Sephardic Torah scrolls are usually stored in a large wooden cylinder, which stands erect when opened. The parchment is in an upright position when read, whereas, Ashkenazi scrolls just have an embroidered cover and the scrolls are read while lying flat on a table.

Sephardic liturgy uses the same basic prayers, but add different psalms and poems. The prayer, Ein Keloyheinu, is recited at the Saturday morning services for both Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews, however, it is also read daily by Sephardic Jews. Sephardim also use a different cantillation for reading the Torah and different melodies for prayers. All Sephardic synagogues are traditional, women are seated separately, typically in a balcony.

Sources: Congregation Shearith Israel Golden Age of Spain. Sephardic Adventure. Marks, Scott Alfassa. "The Jews in Islamic Spain." Sephardic House. Sephardim. Encyclopedia Judaica. CD -Rom Edition 1995. The Sephardim or Spanish Jews Stillman, Norman A. The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times. The Jewish Publication Society of America. 1991. Telushkin, Rabbi Joseph. Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History. William Morrow and Company, Inc. 1991. Ward, Seth Dr. Sephardim and Crypto-Judaism: Definition of Terms and Brief History

Read more:

Judaism: Sephardim - Jewish Virtual Library

Officials at hasidic school caught embezzling millions – Arutz Sheva

Posted By on August 20, 2017

The administrators allegedly took millions from a federal program that was intended to feed needy children.

Tzvi Lev, 20/08/17 09:16 | updated: 11:55

A pair of top administrators in a well-known hasidic high school were indicted Thursday for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and four counts of mail fraud. The pair had been arrested in May for allegedly pocketing millions from a program intended to feed needy people.

Elazar Porges, 43, and Joel Lowy, 29, were both senior staff at the Central United Talmudic Academy, a major school affiliated with the Satmar hasidic sect. Prosecutors allege that they pocketed millions from the U.S. Child and Adult Care Food Program, an initiative meant to feed needy and at-risk children.

The scheme, which went on from 2014 until 2016, involved inflating the amount of free meals they were giving to children. While they had been offering only breakfast and lunch, they claimed to be offering suppers as well, and were reimbursed by the program to the tune of $3 million.

"The two allegedly obtained $3 million from a federal program designed to fund meals for needy children by claiming to have served meals they did not serve, thus undermining a program designed to assist the most vulnerable members of our community, stated Acting United States Attorney Bridget Rohde.

The duo face 20 years in prison.

Read more:

Officials at hasidic school caught embezzling millions - Arutz Sheva

Anti-Defamation League, others to host peace vigil Sunday in North Las Vegas – Las Vegas Sun

Posted By on August 20, 2017

By Ricardo Torres-Cortez (contact)

Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017 | 2 a.m.

In a push for healing after a week in which racial tension dominated the national discourse, local clergy, advocates, elected officials and the community will come together today at a North Las Vegas church for a vigil for peace and unity, according to the Nevada chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.

The 4 p.m. event at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2446 Revere St., comes in the wake of a protest turned violent and then deadly last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., when a 20-year-old man who reportedly was a Nazi sympathizer rammed a car into demonstrators, killing Heather Heyer, 32.

Also, two state troopers who were helping contain the Charlottesville violence died when the helicopter they were aboard crashed.

The vigil condemns racist violence in Virginia and anywhere in this nation, and it is being held to support those who are the target of these hateful statements and actions, organizers said in a news release.

White nationalists in the Charlottesville rally last weekend were captured on camera yelling, Jews will not replace us and hurling homophobic jeers at counter protesters the following day.

Faith leaders from across the spectrum, community partners and elected officials (U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen and Nev. Sen. Pat Spearman) will all stand together against those who would spread hatred against black and Jewish people, or prejudice against any of fellow human beings, the press release said.

The Southern Nevada community is strong and its members stand shoulder to shoulder, said Jolie Brislin, director of the Nevada chapter of the Anti-Defamation League. The vigil will provide an opportunity for healing and will show the younger generations that there is more good than bad, while demonstrating that there is no place for hate in the valley, she added.

Our community (today) will be standing strong and unified, Brislin said.

The Associated Press contributed.

See original here:
Anti-Defamation League, others to host peace vigil Sunday in North Las Vegas - Las Vegas Sun

Anti-Defamation League ‘glad’ Bannon out of White House – The Times of Israel

Posted By on August 20, 2017

The Anti-Defamation League on Friday said it was glad Steve Bannon, a former White House strategist, was removed from his post.

A champion of the nationalist-populist agenda that carried Trump to power last November, the 63-year-old Bannon left a White House reeling from the fallout over the presidents response to a violent white supremacist rally.

With Trump under fire for insisting anti-racism protesters were equally to blame for violence at a weekend rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, the president faced renewed pressure to let Bannon go.

Hate has no place in our nation: not in our town squares and not in our White House. We are glad Steve Bannon will no longer advise the president, said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt in a statement.

In November of 2016, when Bannon was first appointed, we called on the president to disassociate himself from someone who boasted about creating a platform on Breitbart for the alt right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites. Just this week, Bannon unconscionably praised President Trumps response to the events in Charlottesville, he said.

Now is the time for moral leadership. As we have said before, staffers with ties to white nationalists do not belong on the payroll of the American people. Just as the president has promised to investigate leakers on his staff, he should apply the same energy to identify and dismiss others on his staff with ties to extremists, added Grennblatt.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO And National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, left, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on responses to the increase in religious hate crimes. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Bannon, a hero of the so-called alt right whose presence in the West Wing was controversial from the start, had become the nucleus of one of several competing power centers in a chaotic White House.

The departure, capping one of the most disastrous weeks of the chaotic young administration, is a nod to members of Trumps government and his Republican Party grown increasingly frustrated with the anti-establishment firebrand.

It remains to be seen what role the serial provocateur will continue to play from outside the White House, but Bannon himself vowed to keep pushing Trumps right-wing agenda, as he returned to his former home at the ultra-conservative website Breitbart News.

If theres any confusion out there, let me clear it up: Im leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America, Bannon said in an interview within hours of leaving the White House.

Trump welcomed Bannons return to Breitbart in a tweet, predicting: Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at @BreitbartNews maybe even better than ever before. Fake News needs the competition!

Read more from the original source:
Anti-Defamation League 'glad' Bannon out of White House - The Times of Israel

Page 40«..1020..39404142..5060..»