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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘CALL’

The Phone Call

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

“Traditionally,” I spoke slowly into the telephone, “We say ‘HaMakom, G-d, should comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.’ ” Of course I could not be there in person to make this shiva call because there was an ocean between us. So I made a shiva “phone call” to Cousin Janet when her sister Alice, age 78, passed away.

“You know,” Janet was saying, “My sister Alice always appreciated the fact that her nephew, your husband Josh, wears a yarmulke and tzitzis. She left him something in her will.”

“Oh, uh…” I didn’t quite know what to say. I tried, “Wow. Thank you.” (Shouldn’t I be saying thanks to the one who left it or something?) We said our goodbyes and I hung up the phone.

“Yehoshuuuuuuuuuuuua!” I yelled out to my husband. “Your mother’s cousin left you an inheritance!”

I had heard about these cousins a lot through the years. They lived together in Manhattan. Janet was a lawyer, and Alice had owned a liquor store. I don’t think they were exactly collecting alms in Times Square.

Alice passed away in November when I had made the phone call. Sorting out a will takes a long time. So began months of dreaming and imagining, imagining and dreaming about what

I was going to do with that inheritance.

First, we would take care of all the basics that are difficult to fit into the average Israeli budget: shoes, glasses, and braces for our numerous children. Then, I would: buy a car (or maybe two), put away money for about four weddings, go on vacation, buy new doors and couches for our apartment, oh, before that, do renovations. We could pay back all of our loans and make our minus into a plus in the bank.

Oh, and the tzedakah, the charity we would give! To yeshivas and to the local tzedakah fund (maybe a Holy Man would pray for us at the grave of Dan for 40 days), to outreach organizations, to poor people, autistic people, widows, orphans…just call on the phone and we will surely give you the number of our Visa card.

In short, we had a bright future ahead

In a few months time, our oldest son Yoseph would be turning bar mitzvah. We were planning to have the standard Israeli Bar Mitzvah celebration. The whole neighborhood would be invited. We’d throw some Yerushalmi kugel on a plate, have some cakes on the table, put a few salatim (salads) for the Israeli set. Of course we would invite the boys in his class and a few close family friends for a more serious meal; that menu would include: chicken or schnitzel, rice, potatoes, home-made rolls, green beans, blue and purple Superdrink. Maybe some Styrofoam ice cream for dessert. Nothing fancy.

But that was before The Phone Call. Then I started to dream and imagine about making the bar mitzvah a few grades fancier maybe….

Yoseph’s bar mitzvah was on July 11. On June 11 we received a special delivery letter from the post office. My husband ran to sign. He opened the envelope on the way home.

“To Mr. Joshua Hirsh

From the Law Offices of Janet Rosenburg

Dear Mr. Hirsh,

We are pleased to inform you that you are a beneficiary in the will of the late Alice Hacker. You have been awarded $4,000.

Please sign this document and return to blah blah blah….”

“Let me see that!” I almost grabbed the letter out of his hand.

“Four thousand dollars?” I was breathing just a tad bit heavily, my dreams slowly wending out of my brain like so much smoke out of a chimney. “What in the world can we buy for only four thousand dollars?”

Then I knew. Dear Cousin Alice was going to foot the bill for our son’s bar mitzvah celebration, the one with the kugel and the humus, minus $400 for tzedakah. No more and no less.

Thanks, Cousin Alice. Oh, I guess your Pakistani worker will enjoy his new liquor store.

And thanks, Hashem. Only You know exactly what we need.

Linda Hirschel

Call the ADL, Trump Unequivocally Defends Israel…

Monday, November 7th, 2016

…And look at all the applause his supporters give Trump when he defends Israel from the “nasty” question.

Video of the Day

Jews: Beware Post-Election Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

This is not another political analysis of the current elections. It is not an essay dissecting voter polls nor another critique of one candidate or another. (Neither are particular friends of the Jewish people.) This is a plea, a cry for those who have yet to comprehend what potentially awaits American Jewry.

The recent weeks of the 2016 race for the White House has had many Americans caught up in what more resembles low-grade entertainment than a presidential election. With one controversy arising after the next and witty personal swipes exchanged daily, it is easy to overlook implications and potential consequences that stand to come.

In the wake of allegations surrounding Donald J. Trump’s personal life, his failure to defeat his opponent during presidential debates and his strength plummeting in national polls, supporters are seeking to find the “real” culprit behind his recent downfall. While some feel that the GOP nominee’s own conduct is to blame, for many the cause is less obvious: the age-old Jew.

Jewish journalists along with network hosts and presidents are seen as leading the attack on Trump. A Jewish Republican consultant is accused of leaking demeaning tapes while a Jewish Attorney General is charged with displaying prejudice in launching a probe of the Trump Foundation. An “overwhelmingly Jewish” firm is accused of filing a fraud lawsuit against Trump University as the Jews and their “powerful establishment” are blamed for “manipulating the American media” and swaying the elections through calculated actions and “domination of the political system.”

No, it is not just fringe elements of the alt-right who are behind these accusations and offensive rhetoric. Trump’s wife, Melania, recently remarked that a Jewish journalist “provoked” anti-Semitic harassment by writing an unflattering article about Mrs. Trump, and last week, Trump himself blamed his losses on a global conspiracy. “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers,” Trump stated early in his speech. Observers couldn’t help but note the underlying Jewish reference, intended or not. (As with all of Trump’s ambiguous statements, each group sees in them that which they wish to, so that – incredibly – both Jews and Nazis can identify with the same persona.)

Anti-Semitism has already gained traction during this divisive presidential race, with much in spoken word and social media jargon but even, at times, culminating in physical threats and attacks. In the last week alone, a group of students in a Colorado high school called for the execution of Jews in an online publication, two Jewish brothers were violently beaten in Brooklyn on Yom Kippur, an anti-Semitic message was scrawled outside a Tampa Bay synagogue and Jewish journalists and public figures continued to receive countless threats from supposed frustrated Trump supporters.

There may very well be truth to Trump’s recent assessment: “This is not simply another four-year election. This is a crossroads in the history of our civilization.” In a time where open anti-Jewish sentiment is guised as anti-Zionism; where a local BDS committee grows into a dynamic global movement; where a Black Lives Matter group, whose formal manifesto accuses an “apartheid” Israel of committing “genocide” against the Palestinians, gains immeasurable popularity; loyal Jewish citizens will be lumped together with both a slew of imaginary Jewish villains along with a handful of actual Jewish scoundrels.

In the words of Andrew Aglin, editor of the most popular online neo-Nazi publication: “If we lose, this country is going to enter a new age of anti-Semitism. The 35% or so of the country that is hardcore pro-Trump is going to know that it wasn’t ‘liberals’ that defeated Trump, but traitors within the party who abandoned him. And they are going to want to know why that happened. And there is only one answer: The Jews did it.”

Do not dismiss this as baseless paranoia. One influential American novelist, William S. Burroughs, once remarked that sometimes “paranoia is just having all the facts.” Know the facts. We Jews must be cautious due to a long history of societies eventually deeming us a most worthy scapegoat for any and all problems.

We must have the strength to see, though it be unpleasant; and do that which we must, though it be difficult. The same kind of transparent anti-Semitism that drove a Herzl to build a Jewish state, should at least lead us to consider living in it.

Mark Cohen

Watch B’Tselem Spokeswoman Refusing to Call Hamas a Terrorist Organization [video]

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society, interviewed B’Tselem Spokesperson Sarit Michaeli on Monday on J-TV, a new YouTube channel “providing weekly content on Current Affairs, Jewish Wisdom, Movers & Shakers and Jewish Food.” As the conversation progressed, the host pushed Michaeli on the fact that her group devotes much more attention to the Israeli side, while most Arab violations of human rights are given a pass. Michaeli didn’t argue the facts, noting that B’Tselem does condemn major human rights violations by the Arabs in both Gaza and the PA, but that, being an Israeli organization, it is more dedicated to teaching Israelis about wrongs committed by their own government.

At some point, Mendoza asked her if B’Tselem has condemned Hamas as a terrorist organization and Michaeli said that when Hamas attacks Israeli civilians it certainly commits acts of terrorism. Yes, the host insisted, but are they a terrorist organization? Maybe a part-time terrorist organization? No matter how many times he tried, the B’Tselem spokeswoman would not go on the record condemning Hamas as a terrorist group. Instead she accused Mendoza of joining Israeli extremists who wish to associate B’Tselem with anti-Israeli politics. The more he pushed, the more she stuck to repeating that mantra.

Sarit Michaeli's injured leg / Screenshot

Sarit Michaeli’s injured leg / Screenshot

Sarit Michaeli was injured by a Border Guard rubber bullet during a riot in which she participated in Nabi Saleh, back in 2013. She actually filmed her own bleeding leg as she was lying on the ground. Being a British person, host Mendoza did not have the DNA to conclude Monday’s encounter with a rubber bullet to the guest’s leg, even if she weren’t calling in on Skype, so he just hung up on her.

David Israel

Olympic Committee Rejects Media Watchdog’s Call to Ban Palestine Olympic Committee Head Rajoub

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Palestinian Media Watch has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Jibril Rajoub, chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee, from all activities and events related to the Olympics, and demanded his removal from his position in the Olympic organization. In a comprehensive report, PMW has documented that Rajoub has consistently supported terror and even incited to murder. The report includes documentation of Rajoub’s support for attacks during the recent terror wave (2015-2016); his use of his title as Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee when glorifying terror; and his prohibiting of Palestinians from participating in peace building sports activities with Israelis.

“As an overt supporter of Palestinian terrorism, Rajoub represents the antithesis of Olympic values,” PMW argues. “At a time when terror is being fought throughout the world, permitting Rajoub to participate in Olympic Committee activities and events disgraces the International Olympic Committee and the entire Olympics community.”

“Rajoub’s statements and activities are diametrically opposed to the positive values that the Olympic Games stand for, among them ‘to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace,'” PMW added, suggesting that “as the 2016 Olympic Games approach, it is unthinkable that a person who glorifies and encourages murder of civilians should disgrace the Olympics by serving as a recognized Olympic official.”

The Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer of the International Olympic Committee, Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, wrote in a response to the complaint that Rajoub is acceptable to the International Olympic Committee because the complaint was based on documentation that was two years old or more, and because Rajoub had not used his title as Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee when glorifying terror. He stated further that the International Olympic Committee “understood” that the Palestine Olympic Committee, headed by Rajoub, is working to “improve relations between the two countries [PA and Israel] through sport.”

On October 3, 2015, Palestinian terrorist Muhannad Halabi attacked an Israeli family on their way to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Halabi first stabbed the father to death and then stabbed and killed another Israeli man who tried to help the family. Halabi then stabbed and injured the mother and the two-year-old baby before he was shot and killed by police.

Just a month later, Jibril Rajoub, in his capacity of Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee, decided to honor Halabi’s act of murder by naming a sporting event after him. The text on the banner of the event, which also showed two pictures of the murderer Halabi, displayed Rajoub’s decision to endorse the brutal killing:

“Under patronage of the leader Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestine Olympic Committee. Palestine Cup – Martyr Muhannad Halabi Table Tennis Tournament 2015.”

Rajoub’s decision to honor this terrorist murderer was not an exception but is typical of Rajoub, who is an outspoken terror supporter, even while using his title as Palestine Olympic Committee Chairman, PMW insists, noting that during the wave of Palestinian terror attacks in 2015-2016, which was characterized by hundreds of terrorist stabbings, shootings and car rammings, Rajoub was a leading supporter of the terror, publicly blessing terrorist murderers on TV and encouraging them to kill more Israelis.

PMW states in a press release that Rajoub’s incitement to murder was calculated and precise, defining some targets while rejecting others. For example, he rejected suicide bombings on buses in Tel Aviv because “the international community does not agree to a bus exploding in Tel Aviv,” and explicitly stated that “we want to fight in a way that the world and the international community will remain by our side.” He urged the terrorists to Kill Israelis in a politically acceptable fashion, so that the “international community will remain by our side.”

In addition to his role as chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee, Rajoub holds the titles of Deputy Secretary of the PLO Central Committee (headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas), Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, and Head of the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth. In these roles, Rajoub not only supports terror and murder of civilians, he actively counters the spirit of Olympic sports by prohibiting peacebuilding sports activities between Arabs and Israelis. Following the 2014 Gaza War, Rajoub condemned a successful peacebuilding event between Israeli and Arab youth sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace as a “crime against humanity.”


14 Senate Democrats Call for Extending Sanctions on Iran

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Tower Magazine website}

Fourteen Democratic senators introduced legislation last week calling for an extension of existing sanctions on Iran, which are set to expire at the end of this year.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) are leading the push for renewing the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which aims to prevent foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector. Both voiced their opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran after it was announced.

“After extensive consultations with my colleagues in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle, it is clear that we need to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act before the end of the year,” said Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Doing so is vital if the United States wants to retain a credible deterrent of snap back sanctions.”

Cardin and Schumer called on their colleagues in both chambers to quickly advance the legislation when Congress reconvenes in September.

“It is essential that Congress keep Iran’s feet to the fire to make sure they do not violate the [nuclear deal]. This bill would provide the sanction authority that helps us do just that,” said Schumer, chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

On Friday, many of the same Democratic Senators who originally supported the nuclear deal wrote a letter criticizing the agreement’s inspection procedures and calling for the International Atomic Energy Agency to release more information from its inspections.

Despite international criticism, including from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles. The Islamic Republic reportedly launched a ballistic missile using North Korean technology on the night of July 11-12, the ninth such test it carried out since reaching a nuclear deal with global powers last year.

Tower Magazine

The Kotel: Have We Gone Mad? A Call to All Denominations and Other “Holy” Warriors

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

You, dear readers, must forgive me for asking this question, but: Have we Jews gone mad? Kotel mad? Have we lost it? Are we Jews, who represent the best brains in the world, incapable of solving a minor – albeit pressing – problem in our long history of unprecedented upheavals and unparalleled challenges?

Yes, I know that no one will take my suggestion seriously, but since we seem to have not yet regained our sanity, I offer it nevertheless:

We must free the Kotel of all denominations and abolish all synagogue services at the site, including bar and bat mitzvah celebrations. We must remove all sifrei Torah,tefillin and tallitot and restore the Kotel to its former state: A place where all are welcome and where not even the most lenient halacha can be violated. Where there are no mechitzot (partitions) and other sources of ideological or physical conflict. A place used solely for individual prayer and meditation, just as our ancestors treated it throughout our long history.

The Kotel is not a synagogue. It never was a synagogue and should never become one. It is a place where we Jews can meet, pray and share what we have in common instead of focusing on what divides us. Where we can smile at each other and laugh about ourselves, even when we vehemently disagree.

The Kotel situation is extremely explosive, and the stakes are high. It seems that we are unable to maintain enough unity to preserve even one single place in the entire world where we can come together without any party lines.

We run the risk of allowing our disagreements to spiral out of control and harm all of Israel, far beyond what we could have imagined. And once that happens, no government will be able to put its foot down, not even if forced to bring security personnel to defend us against ourselves.

It is precisely because we all view the Kotel as a place of such infinite holiness, that these clashes can result in almost irreparable damage and impurity.

The greater its sanctity, the deeper it can fall into an abyss. It can easily turn into a place of such desecration of God’s name that once it does, all of us will hide our faces in shame and ask ourselves how this could ever have happened to us.

It won’t take long before the nations of the world will be utterly disgusted at the sight of a people that represents the Bible and its unprecedented moral and religious values; a 4,000-year-old nation that has outlived the Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks and the Babylonians; a nation that managed to survive the greatest atrocity ever committed in human history only a few decades ago; and that has now fallen so low that its people are fighting each other at the holiest place in the world. They will think we have gone mad. And right they will be!

The Kotel is the only place in the world where there is no clock, no earlier or later. It is the one site that has never been abandoned by the Jews throughout our long history; the place for which we prayed for thousands of years, and at which we mourn every year. It is a wall that no Babylonian, Greek or Persian was able to destroy; a place for which, throughout millennia, we have broken millions of glasses at our children’s weddings, and for which our soldiers have sacrificed their lives. It is a wall soaked with the frozen tears of millions of Jews – women, men and children.

And now we are destroying it with our own hands, robbing it of its holiness and eternity. We are desecrating the tears embedded in its stones, and violating the memory of our soldiers who bravely fought so that we can present ourselves before God at the holiest place in the world. We will be left with only a wall drowned in fights and power struggles that hide behind questionable religious laws, secular agendas and huge egos.

Is this what we returned to our ancestors’ land for, after 2000 years? Is it for this that millions of prayers were sent to Heaven, collected by God, and ultimately answered in ways we dared not imagine but which actually materialized in our own days?

Here, then, is my humble request to all fighting parties: Leave the Kotel alone and stop this madness. Go and fight somewhere else.

And though I realize that my suggestion will probably not be taken seriously by many of you, the day may likely come when you will regret it.

And if you will not, perhaps it is preferable that the government close down the Kotel entirely and wait until we Jews regain our sanity, and can sit together to discuss its future in a civilized manner.

When that takes place, God will wink at us approvingly because we will have finally grown up, and we will wink at God since we will have realized how foolish we had behaved.

Perhaps then the Mashiach will come. But not a second earlier. Until now, we have blocked his entrance to the gates of the Kotel.

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/rabbi-dr-nathan-lopes-cardozo/the-kotel-have-we-gone-mad-a-call-to-all-denominations-and-other-holy-warriors/2016/06/26/

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