JEWISH, IMMIGRANT ACTIVISTS BLOCK ICE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON D.C.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWS WEEK)

 

JEWISH, IMMIGRANT ACTIVISTS BLOCK ICE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON D.C. TO PROTEST IMMIGRATION POLICY

Protesters blocked access to the headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, calling for the agency to be shut down. The Jewish and immigrant demonstrators invoked the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, railing against the conditions of migrants detained at the border while calling for legislators to establish “permanent protection, dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.”

The protests were organized by Never Again Action and Cosecha Movement, two groups that have staged demonstrations across the country since holding an event at the privately operated Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey on June 30. The protest in Washington, D.C., is the fourteenth event calling for the dissolution of ICE and drawing attention to the conditions of migrants at the border, according to the website of Never Again Action. More events are planned in subsequent weeks.

Protesters occupied the front lobby of the ICE headquarters building and barricaded entrances and exits, Sophie Ellman-Golan, a spokesperson for Never Again Action, told Newsweek. She said that 12 people had been arrested inside the building and estimated that 1,000 people had attended the demonstration. The Metropolitan Police Department told Newsweek that the protesters had been arrested by the Federal Protective Service, which is part of the the Department of Homeland Security. DHS did not immediately respond when contacted by Newsweek. 

The president’s immigration policy, which court documents indicate has caused the separation of at least 2,654 children from their families, continues to generate public outcry. While many critics have focused attention on Republicans, Never Again Action and Cosecha Movement have also criticized Democrats, who they say have not acted forcefully enough to challenge the administration’s immigrant policy.

“While Republicans are stoking the flames of white nationalism, Democrats are letting them do it,” Brandon Mond, an organizer, told Newsweek at the action in Elizabeth last month. “We want to hold Democrats accountable — people who say in their words that they’re for immigrants but time and time again throw the 11 million undocumented people that already live in this country under the bus.”

Protesters at the D.C. event created a large banner, which said “Pelosi, never again is now.”

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✡️ Never Again Action ✡️@NeverAgainActn

BREAKING: , @CosechaMovement, immigrants and allies have been ARRESTED for blocking the entrances to @ICEgov HQ. We MUST in the way of business as usual, because

Join us: http://neveragainaction.com/campaign-call 

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has faced backlash since last month for capitulating on a bill to send $4.6 billion in aid to the southern border. The measure sparked dissent within the Democratic Party. She had previously pushed for more protections for migrants seeking refuge.

“In this moment of public reckoning, it’s time to put forward a new vision on immigration that recognizes the dignity of all immigrants,” Cata Santiago, a spokesperson for Cosecha Movement, said in a press release. “We won’t sit back and allow the decades long bipartisan attack on immigrants to continue. We are charting a new path forward and demanding those politicians who claim to be with us to join in the fight for dignity for all immigrants.”

julia reinstein 🚡

@juliareinstein

Hundreds of Jews, immigrants, and all sorts of allies are marching from the National Mall to protest ICE.

“Never again means close the camps.”

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julia reinstein 🚡

@juliareinstein

The protest has marched all the way to ICE headquarters, and several protestors are already blocking the doors to the building

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Cosecha Movement, an immigrant rights organization, last week announced a platform calling for the Democratic Party to end all detention and deportation, reunify families that have been separated and offer “immediate legalization” for all undocumented immigrants in country.

ICE
Protesters march to offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on July 13 in Chicago, Illinois.NUCCIO DINUZZO/GETTY IMAGES

Israel: Intermarriage among US Jews ‘like second Holocaust’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel’s education minister: Intermarriage among US Jews ‘like second Holocaust’

ADL chief says Rafi Peretz’s remark ‘trivializes the Shoah’; Israel-Diaspora activist group calls Israeli discourse about US Jews ‘irresponsible and disrespectful’

Education Minister Rafi Peretz arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on June 30, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Education Minister Rafi Peretz arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, on June 30, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The rate of intermarriage among US Jews is “like a second Holocaust,” Israel’s new minister of education said.

Rafi Peretz made the statement at a cabinet meeting on July 1, Axios reported Tuesday, citing three people who were in the room.

Peretz, a former chief rabbi of the Israeli army, is the leader of the Union of Right Wing Parties bloc.

Peretz said the assimilation of Jews around the world and mostly in the US was “like a second Holocaust,” and also said that, due to intermarriages in the last 70 years, the Jewish people “lost 6 million people,” according to the report, which added that Peretz’s spokesman confirmed the account.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz speaks at a conference in Tel Aviv on February 27, 2019. (Flash90)

The July 1 cabinet meeting included a briefing by Dennis Ross, chairman of the board of the Jewish People Policy Institute, on trends in Jewish communities around the world, especially in North America. The topic of intermarriage came up during the briefing.

Axios reported that Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) pushed back against Peretz’s remarks.

“First we need to stop disregarding and looking down on Jews in America that see themselves as Jews not only religiously but even more culturally and historically,” he reportedly said.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, was among the American Jewish leaders critical of Peretz’s remarks.

“It’s inconceivable to use the term ‘Holocaust’ to describe Jews choosing to marry non-Jews. It trivializes the Shoah,” Greenblatt tweeted. “It alienates so many members of our community. This kind of baseless comparison does little other than inflame and offend.”

Jonathan Greenblatt

@JGreenblattADL

It’s inconceivable to use the term “Holocaust” to describe Jews choosing to marry non-Jews. It trivializes the Shoah. It alienates so many members of our community. This kind of baseless comparison does little other than inflame and offend. https://www.axios.com/rafi-peretz-second-holocaust-intermarriage-jews-us-359a9bc6-ae75-46cb-8844-32da55c086d8.html 

Israeli education minister calls intermarriage rate of U.S. Jews “second Holocaust”

The remark was made during a cabinet meeting

axios.com

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The Ruderman Family Foundation, which has taken Israeli politicians on tours of American Jewish communities in recent years, condemned Peretz’s remarks as “irresponsible and disrespectful.”

“Israel’s government has a moral responsibility to maintain and improve the country’s relationship with Diaspora Jews in general, and with the American Jewish community in particular. It is irresponsible and disrespectful to talk about US Jews without talking with them,” the foundation’s president, Jay Ruderman, said in the statement.

“I call upon all of Israel’s leaders, and especially those in office, to dedicate time and resources to learn more about the American Jewish community, its life and its challenges. A conversation between the sides is needed. But this requires time and planning, not random comments detached from an ongoing, respectful discourse.”

The American Jewish Congress also condemned his remarks as “offensive and unhelpful.”

“Assimilation challenges Jewish continuity and Diaspora identification with Israel and must be grappled with. Minister Peretz’s comments, however, are offensive and unhelpful,” the AJC said.

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Shaked rejects rabbi’s comments: Women can do everything, including lead a party

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Shaked rejects rabbi’s comments: Women can do everything, including lead a party

Former justice minister responds after prominent Rabbi Shlomo Aviner says politics has ‘no place for the female role’ in explaining opposition to her leading the religious right

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks during her farewell ceremony, at the Ministry of Justice offices in Jerusalem on June 4, 2019 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks during her farewell ceremony, at the Ministry of Justice offices in Jerusalem on June 4, 2019 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Former justice minister Ayelet Shaked on Friday rejected the assertion by a prominent religious Zionist rabbi that politics “is no place for a woman.”

“Just a reminder that a woman can do anything — travel, be a mother, lead a party, even serve as city mayor, company director or head of state,” Shaked tweeted, accompanied by a photo of herself in Canada where she is vacationing.

Amid talk of uniting the fractious political parties of the national religious camp, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a former chief rabbi of the Beit El settlement and head of the Ateret Yerushalayim yeshiva, was one of dozens of rabbis who came out against allowing Shaked, a secular woman, to lead such a union.

The rabbis’ statement, published Wednesday by the Walla news outlet, merely expressed support for the current leader of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, Rafi Peretz, and declared that the party must never be led by a non-religious candidate.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner at the dedication of a new kindergarten in the settlement of Beit El, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

But Aviner said in an interview Thursday that he opposed giving Shaked a leadership role, while focusing on her gender.

While Shaked is “really wonderful,” he told the Kan public broadcaster, “every person has their own place. It’s not right, the complex world of politics is no place for the female role.”

Without naming Aviner, the Jewish Home party, which is headed by Peretz, released a statement Thursday afternoon distancing itself from the rabbi’s comments.

“Jewish Home was the first political party to establish an influential women’s forum to advance women leaders, and some 45 percent of the party’s members are women,” the statement read.

“The party also has reserved slots for women [on its Knesset slate] in order to ensure their proper and appropriate representation in the Knesset,” it added.

Union of Right-Wing Parties chairman Rafi Peretz (R) and National Union faction chair Bezalel Smotrich at the party’s 2019 election campaign launch, March 11, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Religious Zionism is made up of many different stripes and worldviews, but we know how to join together into a single party when necessary. We believe women have an important place in Israeli public life,” it concluded.

The founder of the Jewish Home’s women’s caucus, Sagit Peretz Deri, this week joined Ehud Barak’s new political party.

Aviner’s comments have drawn criticism from across the political spectrum.

Former Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli said she was “flabbergasted” by Aviner’s rejection of Shaked because of her gender.

“The presence of women, including religious women, in the public sphere is [an] obvious [issue],” she said in quotes carried by the national religious news website Srugim.

Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli speaks during a vote on the so-called Regulation Bill on December 7, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Centrist Blue and White party’s MK Orna Barbivai, who is the first woman to reach the rank of major-general in the Israeli military, said Aviner’s comments “will give a motivational push for women to enter politics,” according to Channel 12 news.

“Thank you to Rabbi Aviner for reminding me why I got into politics,” Blue and White MK Miki Haimovich told the Kan broadcaster.

Shaked, who served as No. 2 on Jewish Home’s Knesset slate and was justice minister from 2015 until last month, is among the most popular politicians on the Israeli right. Several prominent Likud leaders, including Welfare Minister Haim Katz, tried to bring her into the ruling party in recent weeks, but the move was resisted by other ministers and party officials.

Aviner, who moved to Israel from France in the 1960s, is a prominent and prolific writer and commentator on current events and is known for his ultraconservative views on gender. He has often espoused radical views on other issues that he insists are rooted in religious law, including that Jewish law forbids Jews from renting apartments in Israel to Arabs — a claim denounced by many other national religious rabbis. He has supported so-called conversion therapy, a discredited practice that is meant to discourage same-sex attraction.

In April, after a fire gutted the 13th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Aviner said it may have been divine retribution for the mass-burning of Talmud volumes in the French capital 800 years ago.

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Israel: On fringes of peace confab, rare prayer service brings Bahrain synagogue to life

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

On fringes of peace confab, rare prayer service brings Bahrain synagogue to life

Afterward, worshipers break out in song, hear Torah sermon as Houda Nonoo, a Jewish woman who served as Bahrain’s US ambassador, marvels: ‘It’s a historic moment’

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MANAMA, Bahrain — Businessmen, reporters, five rabbis and a senior White House official held rare morning prayers at the only officially declared synagogue in the Gulf Wednesday, on the edges of a peace conference being held in the tiny gulf kingdom that was once home to a thriving Jewish community.

At the end of the service, which took place on the sidelines of the US administration’s economic peace workshop held in Bahraini capital Manama, the men, clad in prayer shawls and phylacteries, broke out in song, walking around the bimah and singing “Am Yisrael Chai” — the people of Israel live.

The rare service was organized by this Times of Israel correspondent, with the help of Bahraini diplomat Houda Nonoo, who is Jewish, and the approval of authorities in Manama.

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center led prayers. After the service, one of the worshipers gave a sermon about the weekly Torah reading.

Prayers are not held on a regular basis at the synagogue, and are usually even closed for holidays and opened only for special occasions. The building housing the synagogue is unmarked.

Worshipers, including Trump administration Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt (left, seated) attend morning prayers at a synagogue in Manama, Bahrain, June 26, 2019 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

Among the worshipers were Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special adviser for Middle East peace; interfaith activist Rabbi Marc Schneier; Middle East scholar David Makovsky; New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger; and a handful of Israeli businessmen and reporters attending the conference.

Greenblatt wrote on Twitter that he prayed for his family and for peace. “This is an example of the future we can all build together,” he wrote.

Jason D. Greenblatt

@jdgreenblatt45

A special opportunity to daven(pray) this morning with a minyan(quorum) in a synagogue in Bahrain. Great way to start today. I was asked what I prayed for- two things: my family, who I miss deeply and of course for peace. This is an example of the future we can all build together

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“That’s the secret of the Jewish people — whenever you step into a shul, wherever you are in the world, you feel like home,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, also from the Wiesenthal Center.

The Manama synagogue was built in the 1930s. It was ransacked in 1947 in the wake of the United Nations Partition Plan that called for the creation of both a Jewish and a Palestinian state within British Mandatory Palestine.

The unmarked entrance to the synagogue in Manama, Bahrain, June 26, 2019 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

Nonoo, who served as Bahrain’s US ambassador a decade ago, and arranged for the synagogue to be opened on Wednesday, said that the prayer service was an emotional occasion for her.

“I was very moved. It’s a historic moment. For the first time in my life, I saw a prayer service with a minyan in my synagogue,” Nonoo told The Times of Israel, using the Hebrew term for the quorum of 10 men required for a full Jewish service.

The synagogue, located on Manama’s Sasaah Avenue, was renovated in 1997 and counts 34 members in its community. Prior to 1947, at its peak the community counted 1,500 Jews, mainly of Iraqi origin.

A shofar in the synagogue in Manama, Bahrain, June 26, 2019 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

“I was very moved by the united sense of Jews from all over, getting together in a synagogue that hasn’t had a minyan in close to 75 years, and singing together Am yisrael Chai,” said Canadian businessman Mayer Gniwish, who is also a rabbi.

Bahrain has the only indigenous Jewish community in the Gulf, though Jewish businessmen, mainly from the US, frequent the region in increasing numbers.

Ten years ago, the Dubai Synagogue began operating as the sole institution of the Jewish community of the Emirates, welcoming veteran and temporary residents, as well as those on visits for business and pleasure.

The Trump administration kicked off its Israeli-Palestinian peace bid in Manama Tuesday, hoping to drum up billions of dollars to support a vision of a thriving Palestinian economy should a peace deal be reached.

The White House invited no Israeli officials, but Israeli members of the press, businessmen and civil society representatives are in attendance.

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The Sixty Days Of Purim

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

This article will be something of a mixed-media piece. It’ll start with a “Purim Torah,” move on to more serious “Kabbalah” stuff, and conclude with an inspiring Chassidic teaching.

(A “Purim Torah” is what Torah scholars do for fun on Purim: a short exposition that sounds and feels like a typical piece of Talmud, yet is either patently absurd or just skewered enough to be taken seriously on Purim.)

First, the Purim Torah:

Question: We read in the Book of Esther how Hamandesired “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, from young to old, infants and woman, in a single day — on the 13th of the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar” (Esther 3:13). But why was it so important to Haman that his evil decree be carried out “in a single day”? Would such a thing even have been logistically possible? Indeed, Haman initially cast lots to determine which month should be chosen as the time for the genocide of the Jews.1 Our sages tell us that when the lot fell on the month of Adar, Haman rejoiced: this was the month in which Moses had died (on Adar 7), surely a month that bodes ill for the Jews.2 Having hit on an apparently auspicious month for his plans, why did Haman continue with his lot-throwing to pinpoint a particular day?

Answer: Haman was a keen student of Jewish history. He knew that the Jewish calendar is dotted with festivals celebrating the Jewish people’s salvation from an enemy who sought to destroy them. What if — Haman worried — their G‑d saves them again? If I designate the month of Adar for their destruction, they’ll celebrate all month long!

Finale: In this, too, Haman’s plan was foiled. When Mordechai and Esther institutionalized the celebration of the Purim miracle, they ordained not only the Purim observances of Adar 14 and 15, but also the commemoration of “the month that was transformed for them from sorrow to joy, from mourning to festivity” (Esther 9:22). Hence the Talmudic ruling, “when the month of Adar enters, increase in joy” (Talmud, Taanit 26b).

Now for the Kabbalah:

There are two ways in which the Jewish Calendar, and the nature of Jewish time, can be understood:

a) The “Special Days” Approach: The annual cycle consists of hundreds of days, most of which are of the ordinary, run-of-the-mill variety. Thankfully, these are punctuated by a number of special days — festivals and holy days imbued with special spiritual qualities. We trudge through the ordinary days, inspired and encouraged by the fact that we’re never more than a few weeks away from a Passover or Purim, or — at the very least — a Lag BaOmer or a “New Year for Trees.”

b) The “Quality of the Month” Approach: Jewish time is comprised not of days but of months, each possessing a distinct spiritual essence. The “special” days of the year are simply days on which the particular month’s quality is more pronounced and actualized. Thus, Nissan is the “Month of Liberation,” while Passover (observed on Nissan 15 to 22) is a week-long period in Nissan during which the month’s freedom-quality is more accessible. Similarly, Sivan is the month of Wisdom, Shevat is the month of Growth and Fruitfulness, Elul is the month of Compassion, and so on. Each month has days in which the month’s quality rises to the surface and manifests itself more than on the month’s “ordinary” days; but these are differences of expression rather than of essence — essentially, each day of the month equally possesses the month’s unique spiritual properties. This is why many of the festivals and special dates of the Jewish calendar occur on the 15th of the month — the night of the full moon, representing the point at which the month’s essence is in its most revealed and luminous state.3

Adar is the month of Transformation. Adar transforms sorrow into joy, doubt into supra-knowledge, oblivion into exuberant being. Adar transforms a “scattered people” into a unified nation, and a moment of national weakness (when the Jewish people participated in Achashverosh‘s feast in the belief that allegiance to a mortal king will ensure their survival) into the greatest statement of Jewish commitment of all time (when for an entire year every single Jew remained faithful to his/her people and G‑d, even as a decree of annihilation hung over the head of every Jew in the world). Adar transforms the most physical of activities — eating and drinking — into an affirmation of our bond with G‑d.

So while two days in Adar — the 14th and the 15th of the month — are observed as “Purim,” these represent the apex of an entire month of joyous transformation and transformative joy.

Finally, here’s the inspiring chassidic thought we promised:

A month on the Jewish calendar includes either 29 or 30 days (reflecting the 29.5-day lunar cycle). But every two or three years — seven times in a 19-year cycle, to be exact — Adar doubles in size: on these “pregnant years,” as they’re called, there’s a 30-day “Adar I” followed by a 29-day “Adar II.” In addition, 30th of Shevat is also the first of Adar I’s Rosh Chodesh (“head of the month”) days. This makes for a total of 60 “Adar days.”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that the number “60” represents the power of transformation. A rule-of-thumb in Torah law is the “nullified by sixty” principle. For example, if a piece of non-kosher food accidentally falls into a pot of kosher food, the undesirable element is “nullified” if the desirable element is sixty times greater than it.

Thus, the Rebbe concludes, in a year blessed with a double, 60-day Adar, all undesirable elements — every and any cause for pain, sadness, discouragement or dejection — are nullified and sublimated by the transformative joy of Adar.

10 Sivan Facts That Every Jew Should Know

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

1. Sivan is the 3rd Month on the Jewish Calendar

Counting from the springtime month of Nisan, Sivan is the third month on the calendar. Conversely, counting from the month of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah) in the fall, it is month number nine.

Read: Our Other Head

2. Sivan Is First Mentioned by Name in the Book of Esther

Like the other contemporary Hebrew names of the months, Sivan originated during the Babylonian exile.1 Thus, we first encounter it in the Book of Esther when we read of a royal communication allowing the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies which was issued on the 23rd day of “the third month, which is the month of Sivan.”2

Read: The Basic Purim Story

3. It’s When We Were Given the Torah at Sinai

On the first day of the third month after the Exodus, our ancestors arrived at Mount Sinai.3Six days later, G‑d descended upon the mountain and communicated the 10 Commandments. The timing was exquisite. The Torah contains three parts (Torah, Prophets, and Writings), the Jewish nation has three tiers (KohenLevite, and Israelite), Moses was the third child (following Miriam and Aaron), and it was the third day since G‑d had commanded that men and women separate in anticipation of the great event.4

Read: What Happened at Matan Torah?

4. Shavuot Is Celebrated in Sivan

We celebrate Shavuot, the anniversary of the revelation at Sinai, on Sivan 6 (as well as Sivan 7 in the diaspora), 50 days after we commemorate the anniversary of the Exodus on Passover. Some special features of Shavuot include: learning Torah all nighthearing the 10 Commandments in the synagoguedelicious dairy meals, and Yizkor memorial.

Read: What Is Shavuot?

5. Wheat Is Harvested in Sivan

In Israel, crops grow through the rainy winter season. By Sivan, they’re ready for harvesting. In ancient times, two wheat loaves, made from fresh grain, were offered in the Holy Temple on Shavuot. It was also at this time that people would begin to bring bikkurim, their first and choicest fruits and grains, to thank G‑d for Israel’s bounty.

Read: Shtei Halechem: The Two Breads

6. The Zodiac of Sivan Is Gemini (Twins)

Following Aries (ram) and Taurus (ox), the Gemini (twins, te’omim in Hebrew) is the first zodiac sign that is a human (the only other is Virgo, the virgin). The sages explain that this is appropriate for the month when we received the Torah, as only a human can extoll, clap, and dance with joy over this momentous event.5

Watch: Do Jews Believe in Zodiac?

7. Sivan Is Associated With Jacob

The third month is a composite of the first two months, distilling and combining their qualities. Thus it is connected to Jacob, who perfected and synthesized the unique paths of Abraham and Isaac who preceded him. And of course, Jacob was a twin to Esau, who took the following two months, Tammuz and Av, associated with the destruction of both holy Temples. 6

Read: Jacob of the Bible

8. Some People Fast and Mourn on 20 Sivan

Over the years, several tragedies have befallen the Jewish people during the month of Sivan. In 1096, during the first days of the month, mobs of frenzied crusaders murdered Jews in Worms, Maintz, and other Rhinish cities. Following the 1171 massacre of the Jews of Blois, France, who had been falsely accused of murdering a Christian child, Rabbenu Tam declared 20 Sivan a fast day. This was reinforced after thousands of German Jews were butchered during the 1289 Rindfleisch massacre at the same time of year. In time, this day became a memorial for victims of the 1648 Cossack riots (tach vetat), many of whom met their deaths at this time of year. Today, this fast is only observed by some Chassidic communities.

Read: The Martyrs of Blois

9. The Month Begins With an Element of Mourning

Each new month is announced and blessed in shul on Shabbat Mevarchim, the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh. Because it is a joyous day, we omit the Av Harachamim prayer for the millions of Jewish martyrs who gave their lives to sanctify G‑d’s name. According to Chabad custom, on the Shabbat preceding the month of Sivan we say this prayer as usual, in deference to the bloody history of the season.

Read: Shabbat Mevarchim

10. The Rebbe Came to America in Sivan

After narrowly escaping the Nazi onslaught in France, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994), and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson (1901-1988), arrived in the United States of America on Sivan 28 in the year 5701 (1941).

Thus began the Rebbe’s decades-long revolutionary work to revitalize Jewish life in the West and across the globe.

Read: What the Rebbe’s Arrival in America Means to Me

FOOTNOTES
1.

Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 1:2.

3.

Exodus 19:1 and Rashi ad loc.

4.

Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 88a.

5.

Pesikta Rabbati 20.

6.

Zohar II 78b.

Shlissel Challah – a Key to Wisdom — koolkosherkitchen

Controversy is raging around this tradition, dating back to Middle Ages. Since we have laboriously and thoroughly divested our homes of all leavened bread in order to celebrate Passover, as we are commanded, Jewish women are faced with a task of baking the first challahs of the year. So we get creative and insert a […]

via Shlissel Challah – a Key to Wisdom — koolkosherkitchen

10 Facts about Pesach Sheini every Jew needs to know

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

1. Pesach Sheni Means “Second Passover [Sacrifice]”

In Temple times, Jews spent Passover in Jerusalem. On the afternoon before the holiday, they sacrificed a lamb or kid, referred to as the Korban Pesach (Passover Sacrifice) to eat during their Seder that evening. If someone was unable to participate in the Passover offering at the proper time, they would offer the sacrifice a month later.

Read: The Second Passover

2. It Was Initiated by the People

One year after the Exodus, the People of Israel celebrated their first Passover as free people. Some, however, had become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, and could not, therefore, prepare the Passover offering on that day. They complained to Mosesand Aaron, “Why should we be deprived, and not be able to present G‑d’s offering in its time, amongst the children of Israel?”1

In response to their plea, G‑d established the “Second Passover” (Pesach Sheni) for anyone who was unable to bring the offering at its appointed time.

Read the Original Narrative in the Torah

3. It Is Observed on 14 Iyar

The second Passover sacrifice was offered on Iyar 14, exactly a month after the rest of the Jewish people had sacrificed their Paschal lambs in Jerusalem. Though Iyar 14 did not have the status of a festival or holiday, we commemorate the offering on the same day that it was sacrificed, not on the evening after, when it was actually eaten, which would be Iyar 15.

Read: Why Celebrate Iyar 14 and Not 15

4. The Second Passover Was Eaten With Matzah and Bitter Herbs

Like the primary Passover offering, the lamb of the Second Passover was to be roasted over fire and eaten on the eve of the 15th, together with matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs). The other mitzvahs and rituals of the Seder, however, were not observed.2

5. It Could Be Eaten With Chametz in the Home

The Second Passover only concerned the sacrificing of the Paschal Lamb. There was no obligation, however, to purge one’s home from chametz. Another difference between the two Passovers was that Psalms of Praise (Hallel) were said during the consumption of the first Passover offering (as we do today during the Seder) but not while eating the lamb on Pesach Sheni.3

Read: What Is Hallel?

6. The Second Passover Was Even for Willful Offenders

The Torah states that the Second Passover was principally for those who had been impure or distant from Jerusalem (15 mil away4) on the morning of Nisan 14. But anyone else who neglected to bring the sacrifice the first time around could make amends on Pesach Sheni, even those who did not have a good excuse.5

7. Today We Eat Matzah

In our post-Temple reality, there is no Passover sacrifice, and, until Moshiach comes, Pesach Sheni has lost its primary function. Nevertheless, Jews around the world still celebrate this meaningful day by eating some matzah (but not bitter herbs).

Pesach Sheni is also marked by the omission of Tachnun (prayers of penitence) from the day’s service.

Read All About Eating Matzah on Pesach Sheni

8. It Is an Independent Holiday

Although it is called the Second Passover, Pesach Sheni is actually a distinct sacrifice in its own right. This plays out in a fascinating law:6

If a person converts to Judaism (or a minor who was not part of a Passover offering and then becomes bar/bat mitzvah) during the month between the first and second Passovers, he or she must bring the sacrifice on Pesach Sheni. If Pesach Sheni were only a catch-up for those who missed the first round, why would the convert need to bring the sacrifice? They lacked nothing, since they were not Jewish at the time. Rather, Pesach Sheni is an independent mitzvah—an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Read: How to Convert to Judaism

9. It Was Once Called “Minor Passover”

This date is universally referred to as Pesach Sheni. In the Mishnah, however, it is referred to as Pesach Katan (“Minor Passover”).7

What Is Mishnah?

10. The Lesson: It’s Never Too Late

Pesach Sheni is an extraordinary mitzvah. G‑d legislated it only after a group of Jews, impure ones at that, sincerely demanded a second chance. The lesson for us is clear: No matter how far we may wander, or how impure we may become, G‑d will pave the way for us if we sincerely want to make amends.

In the same way, says the Rebbe, we must cry, plead, and even demand that G‑d bring Moshiach and the Final Redemption. Just like the impure Jews of old were not afraid to ask for the opportunity to become closer to G‑d, neither should we.

Read a Transcript of the Rebbe’s Talk

FOOTNOTES
4.

mil is a bit less than a kilometer. Fifteen mil is the distance one could walk at an average pace to Jerusalem, beginning at sunrise and arriving there by noon, in time to bring the sacrifice. Anyone farther away than that is considered to be at a distance.

7.

Mishnah, Rosh Hashanah 1:3.

White supremacists crash Arkansas Holocaust memorial event

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

White supremacists crash Arkansas Holocaust memorial event

Protesters in Russellville carry anti-Semitic signs, including one calling Shoah a hoax, in demonstration ostensibly aimed against ADL

White Supremacists protesting a Holocaust memorial in Russellville, Arkansas, May 5, 2019.  (screen capture: YouTube)

White Supremacists protesting a Holocaust memorial in Russellville, Arkansas, May 5, 2019. (screen capture: YouTube)

A Holocaust Remembrance Day event in Russellville, Arkansas, Sunday was interrupted by protesters bearing anti-Semitic signs, including one that read “The Holocaust didn’t happen, but it should have.”

Bearing crosses, a large portrait of Jesus and Christian and Nazi flags, the protester’s anti-Semitic signs also included one reading “YHWH has the oven preheated.”

Joyce Griffis, who organized the event, told KSFM that the demonstrators “were talking to us like we were pieces of nothing.”

Among those at the event were Sir Beryl Wolfson, 96, who shared his story of witnessing the liberation of Holocaust concentration camps while wearing a World War II Veteran cap and Star of David belt buckle.

The demonstrators were affiliated with Shieldwall, a local white supremacist group, and ostensibly were protesting the Anti-Defamation League, Shieldwall spokesman Billy Roper told KSFM.

The son and grandson of Klansmen, Roper is “a nonsectarian hater” affiliated with many white nationalist groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In April, the ADL criticized Arkansas Tech University for naming a scholarship in honor of Dr. Michael Link, whom the ADL wrote “repeatedly espoused Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism to his students and in his writing.”

Arkansas Tech said it has found no evidence of these claims.

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Israel’s population tops 9 million, including 45% of world Jewry

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel’s population tops 9 million, including 45% of world Jewry

Independence Day eve statistics show 2% increase since last year; population expected to reach 15.2 million by 2048

Israelis watch an air show during the festivities of the 70th Independence Day, on April 19, 2018, in Tel Aviv. (AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI)

Israelis watch an air show during the festivities of the 70th Independence Day, on April 19, 2018, in Tel Aviv. (AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI)

On the eve of its 71st Independence Day, Israel’s population stands at 9,021,000, crossing 9 million for the first time, according to figures released on Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The data show that 6,697,000 Israelis are Jewish (74.2 percent) and 1,890,000 are Arab (20.9%). In addition, there are 434,000 people who are non-Arab Christians or members of other ethnic groups. Seventy-five percent of the Jews in Israel were born in the country.

Since last Independence Day, the population of Israel has grown by 177,000 (an increase of 2%). During that period, 188,000 babies were born, 47,000 people died and 31,000 immigrants arrived in the country.

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, 3.2 million immigrants have moved to Israel, with around 43% of them arriving after 1990.

Family members embrace at Ben Gurion Airport as 72 new immigrants from Ethiopia arrive on June 6, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

According to the data, the country’s population is expected to reach 15.2 million people by Israel’s 100th Independence Day in 2048.

In 1948 there were just 806,000 people in Israel and at the time, the global Jewish population was 11.5 million, and just 6% were in Israel. Today, 45% of the world’s Jews live in Israel.

Independence Day celebrations begin on Wednesday night, as the country transitions from Memorial Day — 24 hours of mourning for its fallen soldiers and terror victims.

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MAY 6, 2019
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MOSHE FEDER, 68, WAS FATALLY WOUNDED IN THE ATTACK

IDF probing why road where man killed by Gazan anti-tank missile was kept open

Military says it hadn’t believed a Kornet attack could reach highway from Strip even though it was within range, promises to release investigation findings

The scene of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

The scene of a car hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip near the Israel-Gaza border on May 5, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Israeli military said it failed to recognize the risks posed to Israeli drivers on a road north of the Gaza Strip where a man was killed Sunday when a Kornet anti-tank guided missile fired from the enclave struck his car.

Earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces ordered some roads around the Gaza Strip closed in light of the threat of sniper and missile attacks from the enclave. However, the Route 34 highway, north of the Strip, near the community of Kibbutz Erez was left open.

“The specific road where the civilian’s vehicle was hit was not closed due to the distance. At the time, we didn’t see that threat,” IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Sunday evening.

Route 34 runs about 2.5 kilometers from populated parts of the Gaza Strip in some sections. A train route which runs along Route 34 on an elevated track in the same area of the attack was shut for fear of attacks, but the highway was kept open.

The Russian-designed Kornet anti-tank guided missile has an effective range of up to 5.5 kilometers. Unlike the rockets used by terror groups in the Strip, the laser-guided Kornet is highly accurate.

Ilustrative. A Kornet anti-tank guided missile is fired in a Russian military exercise. (Russian military/Wikimedia)

The spokesman said the military was investigating the matter and that it is “very much an ongoing event.” Conricus added that once the IDF completes its probe of the deadly missile attack, it will release the findings to the family of the victim and the public.

Moshe Feder, 68, was fatally wounded when an anti-tank guided missile slammed into his car as he was driving along Route 34. He sustained a serious shrapnel wound to the leg, causing significant blood loss, and was pronounced dead at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center after CPR efforts failed. The Hamas terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Feder, a Kfar Saba resident, was survived by two children and his partner Iris Eden. Eden lost her first husband, Yashish Eden, in a deadly helicopter crash in 1997. Known as the “helicopter disaster,” that incident saw 73 IDF servicemen lose their lives when two aircraft collided near the northern border with Lebanon.

Moshe Feder, 68, was killed in an anti-tank missile attack on May 5, 2019 (Courtesy)

Speaking to the Ynet news site, Eden said she knew intuitively that Feder was the Sunday morning casualty.

“I’ve been through a few things in my life and I did not need an official statement [to learn] about his death,” she said. “He was my second love — a kind and generous man. We had established a family together with the children and grandchildren over the last three years.”

While Hamas and other terror groups have long had Kornet missiles in their arsenals, the weapon’s high price tag means they are typically used against higher profile military targets, not against civilians.

Kornet missiles were used repeatedly against Israeli tanks throughout the 2014 Gaza war, through they were relatively ineffective as the projectiles were intercepted by tanks’ Trophy active defense systems.

A picture taken on November 12, 2018, shows a bus set ablaze after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, at the Israel-Gaza border near the kibbutz of Kfar Aza, on November 12, 2018. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

A Kornet missile was last used in November, when one was fired at a bus that had just been full of soldiers east of the Gaza border at the Black Arrow memorial site, sparking an intense two-day battle. One serviceman, who had remained on board, was seriously wounded in the attack.

In April 2011, the Hamas terror group fired a Kornet missile at a yellow school bus in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, east of Gaza, killing a 16-year-old student on board, Daniel Viflic.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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