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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Birthday’

Hamas Videos Taunt Israelis with Fake ‘Birthday’ of Fallen IDF Soldier [video]

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Hamas’ terror group Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades on Saturday published two videos mocking the memory of IDF soldier Oron Shaul with a “celebration” of his 23rd birthday. Oron Shaul was killed in a clash with Hamas during the 2014 Israel–Gaza war, and Hamas announced that he had been taken prisoner, demanding massive prisoner releases in return for his body.

According to The Independent, the claim that an Israeli soldier had been captured “touched off celebrations among Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank.” The same publication ran images of an Arab mob cheering in the streets of Ramallah.


The first Hamas video shows a cake sitting on a table that reads in Hebrew: “Oron, three years in Hamas captivity.” Then, the phrase “A new year comes while Shaul is away from home” appears on the screen in both Arabic and Hebrew.


The second video shows the face of Shaul digitally imposed over an actor bound to a chair with a birthday cake set on a table in front of him, adorned with three candles symbolizing the soldier’s “time in captivity.”

As the soldier tries free himself from the ropes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dressed as a clown, steps into the room through a darkened door and blows out the candles.

The video ends with the phrase: “The decision is in the hands of the Israeli government.”

Good to know the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades have something to keep them busy in their tunnels during the cold winter nights.

David Israel

Happy 100th Birthday, Mr. Issur Danielovitch, We Loved You in ‘Cast a Giant Shadow’

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch in Amsterdam, Montgomery County, NY, on December 9, 1916, will be 100 on Friday. He grew up in poverty with his immigrant (Belarus) parents Bryna “Bertha” and Herschel “Harry” Danielovitch, and six sisters. The family spoke Yiddish at home. The family adopted the name Demsky, so Kirk grew up as Izzy Demsky, and changed his name to Kirk Douglas before enlisting in the Navy in World War II.

In his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman’s Son, Douglas wrote: “My father, who had been a horse trader in Russia, got himself a horse and a small wagon, and became a ragman, buying old rags, pieces of metal, and junk for pennies, nickels, and dimes. […] Even on Eagle Street, in the poorest section of town, where all the families were struggling, the ragman was on the lowest rung on the ladder. And I was the ragman’s son.”

Besides his stellar career, making close to 100 films and being number 17 on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest male screen legends of classic Hollywood cinema – he’s the highest ranked living male screen legend – Douglas is also credited with  being on the side of the angels in the effort to end the Hollywood Blacklist.

Douglas had a complicated relationship with his Jewish identity. In 1999, at age 83, he celebrated his second bar mitzvah, telling the congregation at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, “Today I am a man.” He then did it again in 2012, when he was 96, maybe to make sure it sticks. But between his first and second bar mitzvahs Douglas was living well outside his Jewish faith.

In an interview he gave Aish.com in 2000, Douglas explained: “Judaism and I parted ways a long time ago, when I was a poor kid growing up in Amsterdam, NY. Back then, I was pretty good in cheder, so the Jews of our community thought they would do a wonderful thing and collect enough money to send me to a yeshiva to become a rabbi. Holy Moses! That scared the hell out of me. I didn’t want to be a rabbi. I wanted to be an actor. Believe me, the members of the Sons of Israel were persistent. I had nightmares – wearing long payos and a black hat. I had to work very hard to get out of it. But it took me a long time to learn that you don’t have to be a rabbi to be a Jew.”

All his children were born to non-Jewish mothers, but Douglas insists they were “aware culturally” of his “deep convictions,” and he never tried to influence their own religious decisions. In 2004, Douglas’s wife Anne converted to Judaism.

Douglas told Author Deborah Moore in 1994 that the underlying theme of some of his films – The Juggler (1953), Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), and Remembrance of Love (1982) – were about “a Jew who doesn’t think of himself as one, and eventually finds his Jewishness.” The Juggler was the first Hollywood feature filmed in the state of Israel.

Cast a Giant Shadow was a big-budget action film based on the life of Colonel David “Mickey” Marcus, a Jewish-American military officer who commanded IDF units during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Kirk Douglas starred as Marcus, alongside Senta Berger (as Haganah fighter Magda Simon), Yul Brynner (Haganah commander Asher), John Wayne (Marcus’s commanding officer in the Second World War), Frank Sinatra (Vince Talmadge, an expatriate American pilot) and Angie Dickinson  (Marcus’s wife). Melville Shavelson adapted, produced and directed.

JNi.Media

ADL, Families, Rebuke Jewish Teens for Decorating Birthday Cupcake with Swastika

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Guests at a Jewish teen’s birthday party in Paradise Valley, Arizona, on Nov. 20, decorated their cupcakes with swastikas. Images of the Nazi influenced topping have been infesting social media after the teen’s mother posted her account of the event on her Facebook page (she has removed the post since).

The mother wrote she was hoping her own shocking revelation it would be used as a teaching moment for parents. The girls told the mother they created the Nazi cupcakes because they wanted to “be funny,” after having attended a Holocaust class before the party.

Holocaust jokes are widely considered to be a defense mechanism. In fact, in 2014, Yad Vashem published in book form (It Kept Us Alive: Humor in the Holocaust) the Ph.D. thesis by Tel Aviv University philosophy major Chaya Ostrower titled, “Humor as a defense mechanism in the Holocaust.” Ostrower interviewed 84 Holocaust survivors, finding that Jewish death camp inmates told Holocaust jokes as “Defense Mechanism, including its sub types – Self-humor and Gallows humor.”

But the mother was not amused by the girls’ creative coping mechanism exercised under her roof. Neither was Carlos Galindo-Elvira, Director of the Arizona Anti-Defamation League, who told local TV station 12News that “when you joke with symbols like the swastika you begin to normalize them and make it very casual within our society.”

In a later post, this one still online while his story is being filed, the mother wrote: “I know many people are asking what happened after yesterday, so I hope this will suffice. I received wonderful feedback from each and every parent of the girls at the party fully underscoring that each family spoke at length with their daughters about the severity of the issue. My daughter spoke again with her friend who apologized profusely and told her she thought it was just “being funny” but understands that her actions weren’t humorous in the slightest.”

The mother added that she “spoke with the school and they will be reaching out to all the teachers to relay to their students that hateful speech/actions/insignias will not be tolerated or condoned. Opening this hurtful incident up to others to provide a teaching moment will hopefully stop others from promoting ideas of hate is all I ever wanted. Happy early Thanksgiving to you and yours.”

Finally, here’s a sample of Jewish gallows humor from Ostrower’s book:

Moshe and Chaim are being taken to be shot. The Executioner asks them, “Do you have a final wish?” to which Chaim answers, “No!” But Moshe says: “I can’t face the firing squad, please give me a blindfold.”

So Chaim turns to Moshe and says: “What are you making trouble for?”

JNi.Media

Pushkin Museum Exhibition Celebrating Leon Bakst’s 150th Birthday

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Pushkin State Museum of Arts in Moscow is featuring an exhibition dedicated to the 150th birthday of Léon Bakst (1866–1924). Bakst was a Russian theatrical designer, painter, portraitist, book illustrator, interior designer and fashion designer in the 1910s and 20s. He published numerous articles on contemporary design and dance, was also interested in photography and the cinema, and wrote an autobiographical novel. Being fond of the art of Ancient Greece and the Orient, Bakst’s art merged classical motifs with the eccentricity of Art Nouveau.

Bakst was born in Grodno (today Belarus), to a middle-class Jewish family. His grandfather was an exceptional tailor, good enough to receive a special post from the Czar, and owned a large mansion in Saint Petersburg. After his parents had moved to Moscow, Léon would visit his grandfather’s house every Saturday, later reporting how impressed by it he had been as a youngster and how much pleasure he experienced there. At the age of twelve, Léon won a drawing contest and decided to become a painter, but his parents did not support his decision. He nevertheless studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts as a noncredit student, because he had failed the entry exams, working part-time as a book illustrator. He was eventually admitted in 1883, at the tender age of 17.

Bakst's Self-portrait, 1893

Bakst’s Self-portrait, 1893

At the time of his first exhibition (1889) Léon took the surname Bakst, derived from his mother’s maiden name, seeing as his father’s surname, Rosenberg, wasn’t helping his career in Russia’s art world. In 1893 he moved to Paris, studying at the Académie Julian, but still visiting his grandfather in Saint Petersburg often. In 1899, he co-founded with Sergei Diaghilev the influential periodical Mir Iskusstva, or World of Art. His graphics for this publication brought him great fame.

Bakst preferred to live in western Europe because, as a Jew, he did not have the right to live permanently outside the Pale of Settlement. During his visits to Saint Petersburg he taught in Zvantseva’s school, where one of his students was Marc Chagall.

Beginning in 1909, Bakst worked mostly as stage-designer, designing sets for Greek tragedies, and, in 1908, he made a name for himself as a scene-painter for Diaghilev with the Ballets Russes. In 1914, Bakst was elected a member of the Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1922, Bakst broke off his relationship with Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes.

Girl in kokoshnik - Léon Bakst

Girl in kokoshnik – Léon Bakst

Bakst visited Baltimore in 1922, staying with his friend and patron, art philanthropist Alice Warder Garrett. Having met in Paris in 1914, when Mrs. Garrett was accompanying her diplomat husband in Europe, Bakst soon depended on his new American friend as both a confidante and an agent. Alice Garrett became Bakst’s representative in the United States, organizing two exhibitions of the artist’s work at New York’s Knoedler Gallery, as well as subsequent traveling shows. When in Baltimore, Bakst re-designed Garrett’s dining room in a shocking acidic yellow and ‘Chinese’ red confection. The artist subsequently went on to transform a small gymnasium on the grounds into a colorfully Modernist private theater.

This first retrospective exhibition of the artist to be shown in Russia includes more than 200 paintings, drawings, theatrical costumes and archive photos of Léon Bakst from Russian and Western state and private collections, gathered together by an international group of curators..

In late 2010, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London presented an exhibit of Bakst’s costumes and prints.

JNi.Media

A Family Holiday: Happy Birthday Israel

Monday, May 9th, 2016

At the end of every Shabbat, Eliyahu the Prophet sits under the Tree of Life and inscribes the merits of Israel — Medrash

If you’ve been watching the news, listening to the radio or keeping up with your Facebook or Twitter, you’ve surely noticed that the world is not a very friendly place. In fact, it can be downright daunting.

Nonetheless, recent polls have shown that the vast majority of Israelis (84% of those polled) are not only among the world’s most frequent and vivacious complainers (we tend to complain non-stop just about everything), but are also among the happiest and most satisfied people in the world. Our “happiness quota” places us 11th in the Western world, much higher than the U.S. and other leading countries. We seem to feel (after we’ve finished complaining, of course) that despite all the dreadful things there are to complain about, this is a great country to live in.

How does one explain this strange phenomenon?

Some of our kids have a simple explanation. “Obviously,” they say, “things aren’t so bad here after all. In fact, they’re pretty good.” They prove the point with a simple new minhag they’ve adopted.

Every Saturday night, immediately after Havdalla and before anyone runs off to turn on his phone or start his weekday activities, each family member relates one good thing he saw, heard or took part in during the week. Here’s what my grandson had to say:

“I’ll often ask people to relate something nice that happened to them during the week. They’ll respond with ‘Hmm… I can’t think of anything.’ But how could that be? An entire week went by without one single good memory? Didn’t anyone smile at you on the bus? Or help you out? Or return a lost object? Didn’t anyone do you, or someone else, a favor?

“Noticing nice things is like exercising a muscle. We’re so busy running around that we don’t take time to see what’s actually happening. If only we’d pay attention, we’d see that the world is full of good people. And the more we get in the habit of developing an ayin tova – a good eye like Avraham Avinu – the better the world looks and the less cynical we become.

“Some people,” continued my grandson, “think being more observant just means you’ll see more things to aggravate you. But it’s not true. We have to concentrate on the good. And there’s so much of it! From individuals, from organized groups, and from the government.”

Here are a few stories I’ve personally heard.

A fellow arrived at an emergency aid station and had to be transferred immediately to a hospital. But he insisted he needed to go home first to get some money. The paramedic handed him fifty shekel as a gift from her own pocket and sent him to the hospital. When he was released, he came back to the station three times until he found the paramedic and returned her money.

A boy left a pair of expensive new Tefillin in a taxi in Eilat. They were a gift from his grandfather. His name was in the bag, but not his address or phone number and he didn’t know the number of the cab or the name of the driver. Three weeks later, he received a call. The cab driver found the Tefillin and waited for a passenger going to Jerusalem. The passenger brought them back and called all the same family names in the Jerusalem telephone directory until he found the boy’s family. He refused to take any payment for returning the Tefillin. He himself was not a religious man.

Yaffa Ganz

Happy Birthday Mr. Prime Minister…

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Today, the 28th of Tishrei, is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 66th birthday.

Happy Birthday Mr. Prime Minister.

Ad 120.

Photo of the Day

♫ Happy Birthday Mr. Prime Minister ♫

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen with his wife Sara, celebrating the Prime Minister’s 65th birthday, at PM Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem, on October 21, 2014.

Photo of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/%e2%99%ab-happy-birthday-mr-prime-minister-%e2%99%ab/2014/10/22/

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