Israel Said Set To Seek $250b Compensation From Arab Countries Plus Iran

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel said set to seek $250b compensation for Jews forced out of Arab countries

After 18 months of research, first claims being finalized for reported $35b from Tunisia, $15b from Libya, for assets Jews left behind when kicked out after establishment of Israel

Jews of Aden, Yemen, awaiting evacuation to Israel on November 1, 1949. (GPO/Public domain)

Jews of Aden, Yemen, awaiting evacuation to Israel on November 1, 1949. (GPO/Public domain)

Israel is preparing to demand compensation totaling a reported $250 billion from seven Arab countries and Iran for property and assets left behind by Jews who were forced to flee those countries following the establishment of the State of Israel.

“The time has come to correct the historic injustice of the pogroms (against Jews) in seven Arab countries and Iran, and to restore, to hundreds of thousands of Jews who lost their property, what is rightfully theirs,” Israel’s Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel, who is coordinating the Israeli government’s handling of the issue, said Saturday.

According to figures cited Saturday night by Israel’s Hadashot TV news, compensation demands are now being finalized with regards to the first two of the eight countries involved, with Israel set to seek $35 billion dollars in compensation for lost Jewish assets from Tunisia, and $15 billion dollars from Libya.

In total, the TV report said Israel will seek over $250 billion from those two countries plus Morocco, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Iran.

Yemenite Jews walking to Aden, the site of a reception camp, ahead of their emigration to Israel, 1949. (Kluger Zoltan/Israeli National Photo Archive/public domain)

Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), an international umbrella group of Jewish community organizations, has estimated that some 856,000 Jews from 10 Arab countries — the other two were Algeria and Lebanon — fled or were expelled in 1948 and after, while violent Arab riots left many Jews dead or injured.

For the past 18 months, utilizing the services of an international accountancy firm, the Israeli government has quietly been researching the value of property and assets that these Jews were forced to leave behind, the TV report said.

Immigrants from Iraq soon after landing at Lod Airport, summer 1951 (Teddy Brauner, GPO)

It is now moving toward finalizing claims as the Trump Administration prepares for the possible unveiling of its much-anticipated Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal. A 2010 Israeli law provides that any peace deal must provide for compensation for assets of Jewish communities and individual Jews forced out of Arab countries and Iran.

Yemeni Jews aboard a plane to Israel in operation Magic Carpet, 1949 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Yemeni Jews aboard a plane to Israel in operation Magic Carpet, 1949 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“One cannot talk about the Middle East without taking into consideration the rights of the Jews who were forced to leave their thriving communities amid violence,” said Gamliel, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“All the crimes that were carried out against those Jewish communities must be recognized.”

The Palestinian Authority has sought over $100 billion in compensation from Israel for assets left behind by Arab residents of what is today Israel who fled or were forced to leave at the time of the establishment of the Jewish state, and presented documentation to that effect to the United States a decade ago, the TV report said.

The Palestinians have also always demanded a “right of return” to what is today’s Israel for the few tens of thousands of surviving refugees and for their millions of descendants. This demand would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state and has been dismissed by successive Israeli governments. Israel argues that Palestinian refugees would become citizens of a Palestinian state under a permanent peace accord, just as Jewish refugees from Arab lands became citizens of Israel. It also argues that by extending refugee status to Palestinian descendants, the relevant UN agencies artificially inflate the issue, complicating peace efforts. The latter view is shared by the Trump administration, which last year announced it was halting funding for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA.

Israel has never formally demanded compensation for Jews forced out of Arab lands and Iran, and although many of those Jews arrived in Israel with next to nothing, they did not seek formal refugee status from the international community.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon giving the opening remarks at an official UN event commemorating Jewish refugees from Arab lands, on December 1, 2015. (Shahar Azran)

At the time, the newly established Jewish state was struggling to attract migration from the world’s Jews and to project its legitimacy as a sovereign state, able to care for its own people. Its first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, would not have wanted Jews returning to their “historic homeland” classed as refugees, according to Meir Kahlon, chairman of the Central Organization for Jews from Arab Countries and Iran.

Monies obtained from the eight countries would not be allocated to individual families, the TV report said, but would rather be distributed by the state via a special fund. Gamliel is coordinating the process, together with Israel’s National Security Council, which works out of the Prime Minister’s Office.

In 2014, Israel passed a law making each November 30 a day commemorating the exit and deportation of Jews from Arab and Iranian lands, which involves educational programming and diplomatic events aimed to increase international awareness of the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab lands and Iran, and of their right to compensation.

That year, at the first such events, Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin issued calls for financial reparations.

President Reuven Rivlin speaks at a ceremony marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. November 30, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy)

“It is not for nothing that this day is marked on the day after the 29th of November,” Netanyahu said on November 30, 2014, in reference to the anniversary of the UN adoption of the Palestine partition plan in 1947. “The Arab countries, which never accepted the UN declaration on the establishment of a Jewish state, compelled the Jews living in their territories to leave their homes while leaving their assets behind… We have acted – and will continue to act – so that they and their claims are not forgotten.”

Read: The expulsion that backfired: When Iraq kicked out its Jews

In his address at that first ceremony, Rivlin appealed for greater Sephardic representation in Israeli society, as well as for compensation for their suffering. He acknowledged that the troubles of Middle Eastern Jews were not mitigated upon their arrival in Israel, where European Jews were firmly entrenched in power.

“Their voices were muted, but the words were in their mouths all along, even if they were said in Hebrew with a Persian or Arabic accent, which in Israel were thought of as enemy languages and viewed as a source of shame,” he said.

“The voice of Jews from Arab countries and Iran must be heard within the education system, in the media, in the arts, and in the country’s official institutions, as it needs to be heard in the international arena as well, in order to mend the historical injustice, and to ensure financial reparations,” Rivlin said.

Kahlon said that “nearly 800,000 came here (in the years after the establishment of the state) and the rest (around 56,000) went to the United States, France, Italy and elsewhere.”

Kahlon himself came to Israel as a child from Libya and spent his first years in the Jewish state in one of the tent camps set up to shelter the flood of newcomers.

Barber Rachamim Azar, a new immigrant from Baghdad, carries out his trade in the tent he shares with his wife and two children at a maabara (immigrant camp) in central Israel in summer 1951. He told a Government Press Office photographer that he intended to move to a kibbutz (Teddy Brauner, GPO)

In March 2014, Canada formally recognized the refugee status of the Jewish emigres who fled or were expelled from Arab countries after Israel’s founding.

Some of the migrants to Israel say privately that the issue is being promoted to give Israel a bargaining card in negotiations with the Palestinians, to set against Palestinian compensation claims for property and assets left behind in what is now Israel.

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‘Europe is finished,’ leading lawyer says as he leaves UK for Israel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

‘CORBYN MOVED THE ROCK, AND THE ANTI-SEMITES CRAWLED OUT’

‘Europe is finished,’ leading lawyer says as he leaves UK for Israel

‘It’s time to wander again,’ Mark Lewis tells fellow Jews facing rising anti-Semitism in Britain and across Europe

Mark Lewis (L) and his partner Mandy Blumenthal in an interview with the BBC. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Mark Lewis (L) and his partner Mandy Blumenthal in an interview with the BBC. (Screen capture: YouTube)

A top British lawyer and his partner immigrated to Israel this week, citing rising anti-Semitism in Europe.

“Europe in my view is finished. Every day you see people being attacked in one way or another across Europe,” Mark Lewis told Israel’s Channel 10 news, which accompanied his arrival, together with partner Mandy Blumenthal, at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport.

“You see people murdered in museums in Belgium, people murdered in schools in France, people attacked in England. There is only one place for Jewish people to go,” Lewis added.

Lewis, 54, one of the UK’s leading libel lawyers, said he has been increasingly subjected to hate speech and threats for being Jewish, including being subjected to regular abuse and death threats online.

The decision to leave Britain did not come easily, the couple has said, but they feel it was inevitable. “We’re a wandering people, and it’s time to wander again. People just don’t want to see it,” Lewis said of his fellow British Jews.

Mark Lewis, right, and Mandy Blumenthal arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, December 5, 2018. (Channel 10 screen capture)

“We’ve accelerated our decision of moving to go to Israel because of anti-Semitism being so institutional and accepted in mainstream life,” Blumenthal charged.

“So many people have these ideas about Jews being responsible for every disaster that’s ever happened in the world.”

Lewis and Blumenthal first publicized their intention to leave for Israel in an interview with the BBC in August. They said they knew other people who are considering leaving the country because of anti-Semitism.

In the interview, the couple also blamed the leadership of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn for creating an atmosphere that allows anti-Semitic feelings to bubble up, and largely dismissed Corbyn’s assertion that anti-Semitism is not tolerated in the party.

“Jeremy Corbyn moved the rock, and the anti-Semites crawled out from underneath the rock. They’re not going back,” said Lewis.

“There’s been a total climate change. It’s become acceptable to be anti-Semitic. It’s brought out people’s feelings to the surface,” Blumenthal said.

She said though Corbyn and Labour are not solely responsible for the recent anti-Semitism, they have a “very loud part” in its rise.

“It’s not just Jeremy Corbyn and it’s not all of the Labour party. But it’s a very, very loud part of it that’s actually enabled this anti-Semitism to foster here in the UK and go throughout society,” she said.

Lewis said while anti-Semitism was a fringe phenomenon in the past, it is has become more prominent due to social media.

“Social media has caused so much harm,” he said. “Fifteen years ago there was still anti-Semitism but it was an obscure thing. Fifteen years ago somebody painted a swastika on my garage door in Manchester, that was a message. But it was a one-off, it was something you could almost laugh off. Now with the effect of social media, it’s almost every day.”

Lewis, who in an interview with The Times of Israel last year said he likes to take on anti-Semitic trolls on social media, said he has also faced anti-Semitism when trying to raise the issue.

“If you complain about anti-Semitism, the most anti-Semitic thing is said back to you: You’re making it up, it’s all a smear, you haven’t even got the right to complain,” he said.

He said he was bombarded with messages of hate from “people who claim to represent [grassroots Corbyn backing group] Momentum, who claim to represent the Labour Party.”

Lawyer Mark Lewis arrives at a media ethics inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, Thursday, November 24, 2011. (AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Explaining the couple’s decision to move to Israel, Lewis said “there is only so much you can take.”

“The online abuse might continue, the Israelis might not like me because I am too left, might not like me because they think I am too right, whatever their view. But they are not going to dislike me because I am Jewish. And there is only so much you can take – when you are getting threats to kill you.”

“When you are getting threats from people that they want you to be ill, etc. It’s a drip drip effect,” said Lewis, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. “And where do you say ‘actually, enough is enough.’”

In response to the couple’s interview, a Labour spokesperson said Corbyn is a “militant opponent” of anti-Semitism and committed to uprooting it from the party.

Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Tolpuddle, England, on July 22, 2018. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

Blumenthal, however, said she did not believe Corbyn’s expressed commitment to addressing Labour’s anti-Semitism problems.

“Words are cheap. I honestly believe that when I hear Jeremy Corbyn’s words, they’re cheap, they’re excuses, they’re not actually expressing his true feelings. I don’t believe him,” she said.

In August, Corbyn faced renewed criticism after the Daily Mail newspaper published photos of him holding a wreath during a 2014 ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery. It appeared from the snapshots that Corbyn was standing near the graves of Palestinian terrorists involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

The scandal is only the latest round in a long-running crisis for the Labour Party, with a constant stream of members and prominent officials being forced out or chastised for making anti-Semitic and virulent anti-Israel comments, and Corbyn himself criticized for tolerating and/or being part of the problem.

The fracas has seen excoriation from rabbis, including Britain’s chief rabbi, as well as from some of Labour’s own MPs, charging that the party and its leader seem unable or unwilling to decisively excise anti-Semitic members and sentiments from Labour’s ranks.

Police prevent underage ultra-Orthodox wedding in Jerusalem; bride-to-be is 13

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Police prevent underage ultra-Orthodox wedding in Jerusalem; bride-to-be is 13

Authorities say girl had been reported missing by her father 2 months ago, may have been hidden by her mother; 6 detained in raid, including 4 minors

Two women and four minors are seen at a police station after being detained in a raid on an underage wedding in the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, on November 29, 2018. (Israel Police)

Two women and four minors are seen at a police station after being detained in a raid on an underage wedding in the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem, on November 29, 2018. (Israel Police)

Police halted a wedding between two minors Thursday in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood.

Officers detained two women and four minors in a raid on the roof of a building in the neighborhood where the wedding was taking place.

Among those taken to a police station were the 13-year-old bride-to-be, who police said was reported missing by her father two months ago.

“The suspicion is that the mother hid [the daughter] until the date of the wedding,” police said in a statement Friday.

The mother is being questioned on suspicion of violating a legal order and other unspecified offenses. Police said their report was given to welfare officials.

Officers were working to determine the identities of the rest of the detainees.

Police did not provide the age of the prospective groom, but the Ynet news site reported he is 16. The legal age of marriage in Israel is 18.

It was not immediately clear what sect those involved in the wedding belonged to. A police photo showed those detained in the raid wearing burqas, a rare religious stricture in ultra-Orthodox Judaism often associated with the Lev Tahor cult.

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Hindus, Jews celebrate joint festival of lights At Chicago Synagog

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Two holidays, one theme: Hindus, Jews celebrate joint festival of lights

Bringing together two diverse communities and highlighting strong Israel-India relations, over 400 people gather in Chicago to simultaneously honor Diwali and Hanukkah

  • Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Learning how to do a Hindu dance at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Learning how to do a Hindu dance at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Standup comedian Samson 'Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Standup comedian Samson ‘Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Jewish dance lessons at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Jewish dance lessons at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • A Diwali diya and Hanukkah menorah shine side by side at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    A Diwali diya and Hanukkah menorah shine side by side at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

CHICAGO — A joint Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights drew over 400 people to a suburban Chicago synagogue on Sunday, as together they honored the similarly-themed holidays of Hanukkah and Diwali.

The evening, which featured speakers, candle lighting, food from both cultures, dance lessons, and the world’s only Indian-Jewish stand up comedian, was hosted by Temple Beth-El in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Illinois.

The Chicago event has inspired similar gatherings nationwide — from a December 8 celebration in San Francisco, to events being planned in New York, Atlanta and Florida. The Chicago organizers also look forward to organizing a collective celebration of Purim and Holi, the Hindu spring festival, in 2019.

“I think we connect over a shared sense of pain and overcoming adversities,” Sunil Krishnan told The Times of Israel as people mingled before the program. Krishnan, who is Hindu, made the nearly two-hour drive from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to attend the event.

“I don’t know much about the Hindu religion, but I’m fascinated by it,” said Margaret Geber, a Jewish woman who came with two friends. “I love the feeling of hope and the energy of the room as people are getting to know each other.”

The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Highlights from Sunday’s program included speeches by human rights activist Dr. Richard Benkin; Indian Consul Head of Chancery D.B. Bhati; and Aviv Ezra, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.

Bhati drew parallels between Diwali’s festival of lights and the lights of Hanukkah, while Ezra highlighted the 26 years of diplomacy between Israel and India. That relationship has “grown in even more profound ways” since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited each other’s respective countries last year, Ezra said.

Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

The idea for the joint festival began five years ago when Peggy Shapiro, Midwest executive director of StandWithUs, invited leaders of the Indian community to her house for dinner to celebrate the 65th anniversaries of Indian and Israeli independence.

“The problem is, what food do you serve?” joked Shapiro.

“When we got together that night at my dining room table, we found such commonalities in our communities,” Shapiro said.

“I learned a bit more about India and the Jewish community there — India is one of the only places in the world that has never had anti-Semitism,” she said (presumably attributing the horrific 2008 attacks on the Mumbai Chabad House to Islamic terrorism, rather than specific hatred against Jews).

Snacks are served at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Prasad Yalamanchi of the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation also spoke about India’s support for Israel and stressed the shared experiences between Hindus and Jews, including the staggering losses that both communities faced due to persecution.

“We need to get together, Hindus and Jews, to protect our heritage and civilization for future of generations,” he said to roaring applause.

Shapiro then introduced “someone that nobody has ever heard of, but appeals to everybody — the world’s only Indian-Jewish stand-up comedian, Samson Koletar, aka Mahatma Moses.”

Koletar poked fun at Jewish and Indian stereotypes to the delight of a mixed crowd that apparently had a common appreciation for self-deprecating humor. And like any good comedian, Koletar didn’t spare himself, laughing about people’s confused reactions to his mixed Indian-Jewish heritage.

Standup comedian Samson ‘Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Rounding out the speeches, Dr. Souptik Mukherjee — a researcher who has long been an advocate for Hindu-Jewish relations, and who has contributed to Israeli media — spoke about the 2,500 year history of Hindu-Jewish relationships.

“[Our] two communities today unite to celebrate values dear to us all, of coexistence, tolerance, gender equality, mutual respect and respect for each other’s culture and faith,” Mukherjee said.

The festival concluded with traditional Hanukkah and Diwali desserts, followed by dance lessons from each culture.

Dr. Souptik Mukherjee speaks at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

“It’s really wonderful to have this event in our synagogue, and see new faces in here,” noted Mandy Herlich, the director of lifelong learning at Temple Beth-El.

Chicago’s Festival of Lights was sponsored by the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, Param Shakti Peeth of America, Sewa Interational, Shir Hadash, StandwithUs, Temple Beth-El, TV Asia, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America.

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Historic Jewish Enclave Rings Out With Gunshots

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Used to Hearing ‘Shabbat Shalom,’ a Historic Jewish Enclave Rings Out With Gunshots

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Tammy Hepps, Kate Rothstein and her daughter, Simone Rothstein, 16, prayed not far from the Tree of Life Synagogue.CreditCreditJeff Swensen/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH — Saturday morning in Squirrel Hill has for more than 100 years meant certain familiar rituals. The handing out of prayer books as latecomers quietly arrive at temple, the genial shouts of ‘Shabbat shalom’ across neighborhood streets as friends spot old friends after services.

This is the heart of Jewish Pittsburgh, one of the most deeply rooted Jewish neighborhoods in America. And on this Saturday morning, it was the site of what one of the city’s chief federal law enforcement officers called “the most horrific crime scene I have seen.”

Tree of Life, an understated temple on a rising street of tidy brick houses and pumpkin-decorated front porches, was a revered and historic Jewish institution in a neighborhood full of them.

After Saturday’s massacre, this meant a grief deep and wide. Everyone knew someone, or someone who did. The Jewish Community Center, a few blocks away from Tree of Life, became a command post of sorts, with grief counselors, law enforcement officials, Red Cross volunteers, extended families, members of various synagogues and food, lots and lots of food.

Down the street from the temple, a woman who belonged to Tree of Life was sobbing, surrounded by other women. A SWAT truck pulled down the street.

“It definitely brought everybody together in the way that really awful things do,” said Jess Nock, 38, a lawyer who has worshiped at Tree of Life for eight years.

[A man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue where three congregations worshiped.]

She spent the morning at the center, where information was difficult to follow. People arrived looking for others — sometimes successfully, sometimes not. One family learned of the shooting from their son, who was in Israel and saw it on the news. Some Orthodox Jews in the community, who do not use phones on the Sabbath, would surely not know about it for hours.

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Law enforcement officers secured the scene at the Pittsburgh temple.CreditAlexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via Associated Press

“Every time somebody would say “Do you know where…” Ms. Nock trailed off. She had heard the worst about at least one member. But she did not know what had happened to many others.

Squirrel Hill is an old neighborhood, beginning as the quiet and leafy retreat of the better-off, who chose to take the trolley home after work and leave the smog-choked streets of downtown Pittsburgh. Prosperous German Jews followed, moving their temples with them and creating a vibrant culture that, unlike in so many other American cities, never decamped for the suburbs.

“It’s one of the only Jewish communities in the country that has stayed within the city,” said Barbara S. Burstin, a history professor who has written several books on Jewish Pittsburgh.

There are kosher bakeries and delis along Murray Avenue, and three Jewish day schools of different denominations. On Saturday mornings, Orthodox men in black hats and overcoats walk the sidewalks. More than a dozen temples — Reform, Orthodox and Conservative — dot the neighborhood, “all bumping up within a few blocks of each other,” Professor Burstin said.

[Read more about the shooting suspect, who frequently reposted anti-Semitic content on social media.]

The population of the neighborhood might not be majority Jewish anymore — there are more Asian restaurants along the main drag now than Jewish ones — but it is home to more than a quarter of all Pittsburgh area Jewish households, according to a 2017 report.

The Tree of Life congregation, originally formed in 1864, moved to Squirrel Hill in 1952. It thrived in the heyday of American Conservative Judaism, but like many houses of worship in big cities, it has seen its membership dwindle.

In recent years, to make better use of the space, two other synagogues were invited to worship at the building. Now all three do, in different rooms on Saturdays, all getting together in the atrium afterward.

A former rabbi at Tree of Life, Chuck Diamond, suspected that perhaps 25 or 30 people would have been there at the start of services, when the shooting broke out. Others would have arrived later, entering easily.

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People attended an interfaith vigil in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Credit Jared Wickerham for The New York Times

“It’s not the type of place where you’re going to walk in and people are going to look at you and say ‘Wait, I don’t know you,’” Ms. Nock said. “And locked doors: no way. There’s nothing less welcoming than inviting people to a door that’s locked.”

That the killer chose Tree of Life has baffled many in the community. There are much bigger temples in the area, and others with more visible congregations.

“This is not an obvious target in the Jewish community,” said Richard Brean, a retired general counsel for the steelworkers’ union and a lifelong resident of Squirrel Hill.

[From a Texas church to a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, houses of worship have become sites of mass shootings.]

But the members of Tree of Life had prepared for the possibility of violence, if only in theory, in the way so many schools and workplaces have in recent years. A year and a half ago, the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh hired a former F.B.I. officer to serve as a security director; he had trained dozens of organizations on how to plan for active shooters. The members of Tree of Life had developed such a protocol last year.

Anti-Semitic incidents had happened in the neighborhood before, recalled Shlomo Perelman, 68, who was walking down a street not far from Tree of Life not long after the shooting. Mr. Perelman recalled a rabbinical student being shot some 25 years ago.

But this was not about Squirrel Hill. It was about the country that surrounded it. “It’s not about the neighborhood,” said Mr. Perelman. He added, “The times are really changing.”

On Saturday night, several hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil in a light rain at the intersection of Murray and Forbes Avenue, where nearby restaurants — a Turkish kebab house, a ramen bar and a bohemian tea cafe — were a testament to the area’s diversity.

“I am a different Jew today than I was yesterday,” said Sophia Levin, 15, one of several teenagers who spoke. “Anti-Semitism was something that happened in history, that happened in other places,” she said, her voice breaking.

“Tree of Life used to be just a synagogue that my grandparents went to, that my Mom grew up in, that we would go to on high holidays,” she said. “And today I feel like it’s something different.”

Trip Gabriel contributed from Pittsburgh.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Torrent of Gunshots Shifts Reality: ‘I Am a Different Jew Today’ . Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Jews: Why Stay In The Sukkah When It Is Raining

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

If it rains during Sukkot, we don’t have to sit in the sukkah, correct? So why have I seen people who continue to sit in the sukkah even when it is pouring?

Answer:

Sitting in the sukkah is the only mitzvah that, if you’re bothered by it, you’re exempt. Usually, even when a mitzvah is hard, you have to do it. Like fasting on Yom Kippur, when only those who must eat for medical purposes may do so. Most people find not eating or drinking for 25 hours quite uncomfortable, but we still have to do it. And yet, if sitting in the sukkah bothers you, like in wet weather, you can leave and eat inside the house.

Nevertheless, many people refuse to eat outside of the sukkah, no matter how bad the weather, because they would be more bothered by eating inside a dry home than outside in a leaking sukkah. When you understand what the sukkah is, you’ll see why.

The sukkah is a holy space. You are sitting in a divine abode, under the heavens, with the stars shining down on you, surrounded by angels and the souls of our forefathers. Our sages teach that we are only worthy enough to enter the sukkah after Yom Kippur, when our souls have been cleansed and we are at our spiritual peak. And the mystics explain that while the sukkah may look like a derelict hut cobbled together from wood and branches, in truth it is a made from the holy names of G‑d.

The weather may be a little unpleasant, it may be a little squishy in there, and your palm allergy may be flaring up…but the inner serenity, the love and feeling of connection with those around you, the sense of being embraced by G‑d—all that should override any physical discomfort. If you’re still not enjoying the sukkah, then you’re not really in the sukkah in the first place, and you can go inside. But if you know what you’re missing, you won’t want to leave.

There are moments when we are called upon to transcend the material world. Sitting in the sukkah is one of those moments. A little rain, or even a lot, can’t stop that.

Henry Ford Sr. And His Hatred Of Jews

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

The International Jew, the four-volume, virulently anti-Semitic tract, written and self-published by Ford Motor Company founder, Henry Ford Sr. in the early twenties and said to have inspired Adolf Hitler (may his name be erased) to write Mein Kampf, is partially true. And though I’m certain it wasn’t the intention of the author, I must tell you, the ‘partly true’ part of the book left me feeling more proud to be Jewish than anything I’ve read since… well, perhaps since Leon Uris’s Exodus.

It’s a well-established idea in Judaism that nothing can exist if it doesn’t contain at least a modicum—some homeopathic dose—of pure truth. This past summer I spent a Shabbat at a friend’s house in Minneapolis and it was by complete surprise that I happened on a bit of that truth. As they always do in the northern latitudes of Minnesota, that mid-July Shabbat day seemed like it would never end. Sometime around 7:00 p.m., with the sun still high on the horizon, I reached up and discovered a dog-eared copy of The International Jew on a crowded bookshelf.

I grew up in Minnesota, a place that for all its liberal leanings was the original home of the National Socialist Movement in 1974. Knowing this fact, and having felt acutely the effects of anti-Semitism as a boy, I was curious.

For historical context, just think what it might have felt like to be Jewish if Apple founder, Steve Jobs, had used his economic power and social standing principally to spread Jew-hatred. Like Steve Jobs, Henry Ford was wildly popular and a much-beloved figure among most Americans at the time The International Jew was first published. And imagine if Steve Jobs had written a similarly anti-Semitic screed and put a copy of it on every new iPad!

As frightening as that sounds, Henry Ford did much the same thing in his day. Ford used his money and influence to finance The Dearborn Independent, a nationally distributed newspaper, dedicated in large part to the propagation of his anti-Semitic worldview, in which he first published excerpts from The International Jew. With a circulation that reached 900,000 by 1925, it was second only to The New York Daily News in scope. The effect of Ford’s widespread hate mongering on Jews, both in America and worldwide, was so devastating it is nearly impossible to overstate.

The International Jew is rife with outlandish proclamations such as:

Jazz is a Jewish creation. The mush, slush, the sly suggestion, the abandoned sensuousness of sliding notes, are of Jewish origin.

But alongside them, and the malevolent ignorance of the book’s overall conceit, in which a mysterious cabal of super-Jews are using their devilish ingenuity and international reach to destroy the world—there was one idea that Ford kept coming back to:

There is lacking in the Gentile a certain quality of working-togetherness of intense raciality, which characterizes the Jew. It is nothing to a Gentile that another man is a Gentile; it is next to everything to a Jew that the man at his door is another Jew.

It was as if that very notion had pained him, not just in some general or academic sense, but personally. Ford couldn’t seem to wrap his head around why Jews—Jews who’d never met one another, Jews who didn’t share a common language or a cultural heritage, could be so immediately at home with one another. How was it, he wondered, that the Jews, a people that had been in exile for thousands of years and virtually cut off from each other, could create such an immediate sense of trust and familiarity?

What Ford could never fathom was what we Jews know as “Ahavat Yisrael,” the innate love a Jew has for a fellow Jew. This, of course, is not to say that a Jew doesn’t have, or is not capable of having, G‑d forbid, love for others. In the same way that I love my brother more than my closest friend, and my closest friend more than a mere acquaintance, this hierarchy of loves is actually instructive in how to love in a larger sense.

But what is the glue that binds one Jew to another? Is it a cultural or culinary connection like a love for the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer or gefilte fish? Or is it a shared language—Yiddish or Ladino, for example? What I have come to understand is that the Torah itself is at the root of the deep, almost mystical affinity of one Jew for another.

Now some might say they don’t accept its Divine origins, some may dispute the present-day relevance of certain of its laws, still others may consign the entire Torah to mere historical artifact. But one thing is indisputable: Unlike any other people on the planet, the Jewish nation has remained intact throughout its 2,700 years of diasporic existence. I believe it is only possible because we were given the Torah, a Testimony of laws, and highly specified codes of morality, that we have been able to accomplish this miraculous feat.

But even with all our differences, whether political, religious, or cultural, when the Torah is removed from the ark on the holiday of Simchat Torah, the day we celebrate having been given this precious and unifying document, we will rush as one to kiss it, to embrace it, and to dance with it—as if the Torah were a beautiful child.

In that moment we won’t be holding parchment scrolls; we will be carrying history itself. We will dance, not just with our friends and community members, but also with our grandparents, many of whom died to uphold the Torah.

And when we raise our voices to sing on Simchat Torah, we will sing for our children, those born and those yet to be born, and for brothers and sisters so distant it’s unlikely we will ever meet them—and perhaps most of all, we will sing for departed loved ones who can no longer sing for themselves. On Simchat Torah, we will celebrate the joy of having been given nothing less than the embodiment of God’s Will.

Throughout the millennia it has been our shared sense of mission to that “Will,” along with the connection to one another that sense of mission inspires, which has been the cause of so much enmity among our adversaries.

But on Simchat Torah, and during the coming year, I won’t be dwelling on hatred. Instead, I will focus my mind and heart on kindness, on unity, and on a renewed sense of Jewish pride —a pride that emerged from the unlikeliest of sources —the unadulterated animus of The International Jew, among the most ruthlessly anti-Semitic works of the 20th century.

Episcopal Church: Book to Include ‘Inclusive,’ ‘Expansive Language’ for God

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Episcopal Church Closer to Revising Official Prayer Book to Include ‘Inclusive,’ ‘Expansive Language’ for God

(PHOTO: COURTESY WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL) Washington National Cathedral of Washington, D.C. A congregation of The Episcopal Church, it is one of the largest church buildings in the world.

The Episcopal Church is one step closer to revising their official Book of Common Prayer to include more “inclusive and expansive language” for both God and humanity.

At the mainline denomination’s 79th General Convention in Austin, Texas, the House of Deputies voted to adopt a resolution that approved beginning a revision process to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer that will likely remove masculine language for God.

Known as Resolution A068, the measure passed on Saturday with clergy voting 63 yes, 30 no, and 17 divided while laity voted 69 yes, 26 no, 15 divided.

“Resolved, That such revision utilize inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity,” states the resolution in part.

“That such revision [will] utilize the riches of Holy Scripture and our Church’s liturgical, cultural, racial, generational, linguistic, gender, physical ability, and ethnic diversity in order to share common worship.”

If passed by the House of BIshops, which isthe other legislative house of the bicameral General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the denomination will appropriate approximately $1.9 million to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music for the 2019-2021 Triennium to work on the process, with some estimating that the final cost could be as high as $8 million.

Many expect the revision process of the prayer book to involve implementing more gender-neutral language for God than presently exists in the 1979 version.

Another goal is to broaden the marriage rite to allow for same-gender ceremonies. While same-sex weddings are allowed in the Episcopal Church, the Book of Common Prayer book has not yet been edited to include such rites.

House of Deputies member the Rev. Jane Johnson of Fond du Lac said during the debate last week in support of the resolution that “God’s pronouns are them and their, not he.”

Many have expressed opposition to the revision proposal, with some noting that adding more gender inclusive language for God runs contrary to Scripture and tradition.

“Who are we to change … references to God? The Jews have used the male pronoun Elohim to refer to God for thousands of years,” commented one Episcopal News Service reader.

“‘Our Father who art in Heaven’ has been passed down to us over the centuries and now we are special enough to change it? This doesn’t sit well with me.”

Last revised in 1979, the Book of Common Prayer is the source for the Episcopal Church’s liturgies and theological statements, and is used for many sacred ceremonies, including marriages and baptisms.

“The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity,” states the Church.

If the resolution is approved, the process will still take many years, with a three-year trial run for the revised book and a final vote of approval not expected until 2030, according to Episcopal News Service.

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Two Truths About Noah’s Ark And The Great Flood That You Don’t Hear In Church

Two Truths About Noah’s Ark And The Great Flood That You Don’t Hear In Church

Most all people who live in a Christian, Jewish or Islamic Nation know at least a little bit about the story found in the book of Genesis (first book in the Bible) of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood. I wish you to refresh yourself on the Bibles teaching on this man and the events that formed during his life, you can find the information in chapters 5 through 9. The material that I am going to bring to your attention is done so for the reason of getting people to think for themselves, to get beyond what is taught in most Churches as ‘Biblical truth’.

 

As you are probably well aware of there are issues with events in the Bible, especially in the book of Genesis that science does not agree with. The reason that this is so is because so many churches teach that which they do not know. When they do these things they are running off many millions of people from ever even trying to learn God’s words. Just as churches do not seem to know that in the first two chapters of Genesis God makes it very plain that there were two creations, not one. If you will open your eyes when you read it is made very plain to us. In the first chapter on the Sixth Day God created men and women, these were the Gentiles (all of our blood lines). Then He rested on the Seventh Day from all His work that He had done. Then in chapter two after the Seven Days were complete God created Adam then Eve. After Cain (Adam and Eve’s son) had killed his brother Able and God cast Cain out but in doing so Cain was worried about all the other people who would find him. Question is, what other people? So God put a mark upon Cain’s’ forehead so that “all that found him” would not kill him, folks, all who? Then Cain found him a wife as he journeyed in the land of Nod which was east of Eden. Where did this wife come from? The story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden happened about 5,500 years ago. Most all logical people know that humans have been on the earth for at least a couple of hundred thousands of years. The Bible does not disagree with science on these issues, it’s just that most Christians, Jews, and Islamic people don’t understand what is right before their own eyes in the Bible. Man kind just started being ’tillers of the ground’ about 5,500 years ago, changing from just being hunter gatherers. We are all told in Scriptures several times in the New and Old Testaments that ‘God’s days are not the same as our days and that “God’s time is not our time” yet we humans keep trying to pigeonhole God into our time which is Scriptural ignorance. Think about this for a moment please, every single planet in our own solar system has a different amount of time that constitutes what one of their ‘days’ are.  Adam and Eve were the first of the “Royal Bloodline”, the Hebrew bloodline, which God created after He had rested from His six days of Creation and after His seventh day of rest.

 

Throughout both Testaments  the terms “all the earth”, “all the land” and “all the people” are referred to many times even though it is plain that they are referring to all the land as in “all of Israel” or “all of that region”. Just as God used the winds to open up the Red Sea for the passage of Moses and the people of Israel to escape the Egyptian army. For the story of Noah God opened up the Earths waters to go along with the heavy rains from the heavens for 40 days and nights to drown all the people and things of that region. Noah’s Ark was a huge ship for the day and it was three levels high but it was no where close to big enough to put in seven of all clean animals and two each of all unclean animals that exist today from all over the Earth! Just as there are animals that existed in the ‘Fertile Crescent’ that did not all live in other continents and vise versa. God the Father and His son Jesus have told us several times that He does not want us humans to be ignorant yet we keep on acting as though we are. Just as the current day state of Israel is only a small sliver of the land that God says belongs to Israel, Gods flood was designed to kill off the Royal Bloodline He had created, except for the people who were in that Ark. After the waters had subsided the Royal Bloodline was refurbished through the bloodline of Noah. All the people’s on all the continents did not start from just 8 people from 4,000 or so odd years ago. Also regarding God, the winds and the waters we are told that God used the winds to help push the waters back into their normal dwelling places, just as he did with the Red Sea.

 

These are no great mysteries that I myself have been given the enlighten too. The information is there for all to see and read if they so choose to do so. I did not give you the exact verses of these passages because I want you to spend a few moments and read them for yourself. Just as the ignorance of some churches who teach such stupidity as the dinosaurs lived and died on ‘day 3’ of the creation story their ignorance of what the Bible actually says has kept untold hundreds of millions if not a few billion people from hearing the actual ‘Word of God’ and being saved! Science and the Scriptures simply back each other up in most cases, it is just that the people who should know the teachings within the Bible, do not, they have been blinded by ‘Church Doctrines’ which are only the Doctrines and commandments of men.

The ‘Moderate’ Abbas Once Again Shows Himself To Be A Hate Filled Idiot

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Yad Vashem blasts Abbas for anti-Semitic bid to blame Jews for their own murder

Palestinian Authority head ‘assaults Holocaust remembrance’ by turning it into ‘into a propaganda tool, blatantly falsifying history’

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (L) gestures during the Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah on April 30, 2018. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (L) gestures during the Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah on April 30, 2018. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, on Wednesday lambasted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the “distorted” history lesson in which he said the Holocaust was caused not by anti-Semitism, but by the behavior of Jews who worked in banking and money lending.

“Sadly, Abbas has chosen to assault Holocaust remembrance by attempting to convert the Shoah into a propaganda tool, blatantly falsifying history to the point of accusing the Jewish victims as being responsible for their own murder, and transforming Hitler into a Zionist,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.

“His own argument is itself fundamentally anti-Semitic, insofar as it incorporates a centuries-old anti-Semitic narrative that equates Jews with monetary greed,” the statement said, adding that Abbas should study history instead of trying to give history lessons.

“Even basic acquaintance with Jewish history would teach Abbas not only that the Jews pursued, then and now, a wide variety of professions and occupations, but that the majority of them at that time were impoverished. Even basic acquaintance with European history would inform Abbas about the escalation of anti-Semitism throughout Europe during the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th, and that this was in effect the prime context for the murder of Jews during the Holocaust,” it said.

In a long and rambling speech in Ramallah on Monday in front of hundreds at a rare session of the Palestinian National Council, Abbas touched on a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during what he called a “history lesson,” as he sought to prove the 3,000 year-old Jewish connection to the Land of Israel is false.

Abbas claimed that the Holocaust was not the result of anti-Semitism but rather of the Jews’ “social behavior, [charging] interest, and financial matters.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during the Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah on April 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)

He also utilized the often criticized theory advanced by Hungarian-British author Arthur Koestler that Ashkenazi Jews were descended from Khazars not ancient Israelites, and therefore had “no historical ties” to the Land of Israel.

And he charged that “those who sought a Jewish state weren’t Jews,” repeating a claim he made in January when he said that the State of Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism” to safeguard European interests.

Abbas made no mention of the Jews’ historic presence and periods of sovereignty in the Holy Land. Israel is the only place where the Jews have ever been sovereign or sought sovereignty.

Over 12 million copies of 'Mein Kampf' have been sold. (photo credit: dccarbone/CC-BY, vi Flickr)

A copy of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ (dccarbone/CC-BY, via Flickr)

Yad Vashem also slammed Abbas for his inferral that the agreement between the Nazis and German Jews which enabled some 60,000 of the latter to leave Germany for Palestine between 1933 and 1939 and transfer some of their money through the Anglo-Palestine bank, made Hitler in effect a supporter of Zionism.

Hitler’s views about Zionism were made abundantly clear in his book Mein Kampf, published in 1925, Yad Vashem said, where he wrote: “All they want is a central organization for their international world swindle, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.”

The transfer agreement was not altruistic but formed part of an early anti-Jewish policy to get as many Jews out of Germany as possible, and Hitler himself was not involved with it anyway.

In the book, the Nazi leader actually wrote that the aim of Zionism was “the establishment of a central organization for their [the Jews’] worldwide swindle, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.”

Hitler hosts Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini in 1941 in Germany. (Heinrich Hoffmann Collection/Wikipedia)

Hitler had been quite clear about his plan for the Jews when he told the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in 1941 that once German forces had broken through from the southern Caucasus region into the Middle East, “Germany’s goal will be the extermination of the Jews who reside in Arab territories under British rule” (as noted in the meeting’s minutes).”

The Palestinian leader has a long history of Holocaust denial. His 1982 doctoral dissertation was titled “The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” and he has in the past been accused of denying the scope of the Holocaust. The dissertation reportedly claimed that the six million figure of Holocaust victims was hugely exaggerated and that Zionist leaders cooperated with the Nazis.

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