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August 28, 2016 / 24 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘christian’

Turkish Chief Rabbi, Muslim, Christian Leaders Condemn Coup

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

The head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, Mehmet Gormez, Orthodox Christian Patriarch Bartholomew I and Hakham Bashi (Chief Rabbi) Ishak Haleva on Saturday issued a joint declaration condemning the coup.

“From wherever and whomever it comes, terror and violence cannot be displayed as a legitimate thing and it cannot be supported,” their statement said, adding that “those who have faith within them cannot approve any killing, as murdering a human being is no different than murdering the whole humanity.”

“We hope terror will be wiped out from Turkey and the world,” the statement concluded. “May God protect our country and all humanity.”

Rabbi Haleva was the deputy to Rabbi David Asseo for seven years and became the new Hakham Bashi after his death in 2002. As a 7-year-old, he came with his father to Istanbul from Edirne, near Turkey’s western border with Bulgaria and Greece, to study in a Jewish school. As a teenager he studied in a yeshiva in Israel to become a rabbi. According to his acquaintances, Haleva was a prankster in his youth, and he still maintains a humorous, informal manner, peppering his words with folksy Hebrew and Turkish sayings.

David Israel

Shouldn’t We First Help the Christian Victims of Mideast Genocide?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Before dawn Monday, four suicide bombers killed five and wounded at least a dozen in the Lebanese Christian town of al-Qaa. Later that night, as townspeople prepared to bury their dead, four more suicide bombers hit.

The attacks underscored just how endangered are Christians who live in today’s Muslim world. As the United States debates how many Mideast refugees to accept and who should get priority, the answer is staring us in the face: Those most in need of refuge are Christians and Yazidis who live among Muslims.

On June 19, a suicide bomber killed three people as he detonated himself at a memorial to massacred Christians in Qumishi, Syria. On June 9, a Pakistani Muslim mob badly beat a man merely because he was a Christian. On June 5, two people were killed when Islamists targeted a church with rockets in Syria; the same day, a Christian man was hacked to death at his shop by Islamists in Bangladesh. On June 2, in Nigeria, Muslim youths beheaded a Christian woman for allegedly insulting Mohammed.

And that’s just this month — a typical month, sadly, for the world’s Christians.

In May, similar Muslim attacks against Christians took place in Niger, Turkey, Syria, the Philippines, Uganda, Pakistan and Bangladesh. On March 27-28, a Taliban group murdered 69 Christians and wounded 30 more, mainly women and children, as they were celebrating Easter in a park in Lahore, Pakistan.

The Obama administration has called for massive acceptance of Muslim refugees from war zones.

The list goes on. Yet President Obama seems to value endangered Muslim lives more than the lives of endangered Christians and Yazidis.

In April, America built a temporary “surge” center in Amman, Jordan, to more rapidly process Muslim immigrants from Syria. The vetting process has been “fast tracked,” perhaps in order to meet Obama’s desired number of 10,000 Muslim Syrians to be admitted by September.

The Obama administration has called for an openhearted and massive acceptance of Muslim refugees from war zones. Democratic leaders insist that it would be wrong, morally, legally and politically, to stop Muslim immigration — but concede that it’s currently impossible to identify would-be jihadists among refugees or homegrown radicals among their descendants.

The United Nations has more modestly suggested that Western nations accept Muslim “women and children” first.

Obama has paid no attention to what has happened in Europe, namely the large number of sexual assaults of girls, women and homosexuals by Muslim men, as well as the staggering financial cost of hosting hostile, non-productive immigrants who may have no desire to assimilate to Western customs.

Here’s another suggestion.

Christian refugees are more inclined to assimilate to Western ways, or at least respond to them nonviolently.

If we want to accept refugees in flight from Arab and Muslim war zones, why not start with Christians who are being slaughtered by Muslims in Muslim-majority countries? Although they’re Arabs, Africans or Central Asians, the fact that they’re also Christians might make them more inclined to assimilate to Western ways — and, even if they assimilate imperfectly, they’re more likely to respond to Western freedoms in nonviolent ways.

Why has the pope offered symbolic asylum in the Vatican only to Muslims and not to fellow Christians?

Recently, according to my colleague Ashraf Rameleh, a Coptic Christian advocate, “Pope Francis, who is ‘building bridges to build peace’ around the world, has naturally reached out to embrace Sunni Muslims.” Rameleh notes that the pope has “grieved with the Orthodox of Egypt and offered his prayers over the spilled blood of Christians in Libya, recognizing the Coptic Christian martyrs.”

However, the pope has remained silent about the systematic destruction of the Eastern Christian Church. He hasn’t supported Egyptian President Abdel Fatta el-Sisi, who is trying to break the stranglehold that the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood still has on Egypt.

I have been told by the director of the Hatune Dogan Foundation, Hans Erling Jensen, that Christians stuck in refugee camps in Turkey have arrived penniless; that Muslims don’t look out for them but, instead, continue to persecute them. Most are starving. Many don’t have money to buy food or to pay traffickers to smuggle them out.

Why not bring Christians and Yazidis from the Muslim world here first? Why not bring Muslim dissidents, ex-Muslims, and Muslim homosexuals here second?

Finally, why not bring Muslim girls and women who are already in flight from honor-based violence, including from honor killing here, next — before we extend visas, green cards and asylum to Muslim boys and men?

Phyllis Chesler

Netanyahu Meets Kenyan Christian Supporters of Israel, Offers Water

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday met with Christian supporters of Israel in Nairobi, Kenya. The following is an excerpt from his remarks:

“I am glad, I am glad I have the opportunity, the privilege really of coming to Africa to meet you.

We appreciate this friendship and we’re expanding it to the continent of Africa. Yesterday I had a remarkable meeting in Uganda hosted by the President of Uganda, and six other African leaders including President Kenyatta there. Seven leaders from seven African countries talking about how to expand Israel’s relationship with their countries but with all the countries of Africa.

“Israel is coming back to Africa. Africa is coming back to Israel.

“And I believe that this is important for all Africans, all Africans, Christians, Muslims, all Africans.

“We produce water. We’ve had a substantial decline in rainfall since the establishment of modern Israel. And our population has grown ten times and our GDP per capita has grown 40 times. We should have a big water problem but we don’t, we have a water surplus. We have a water surplus because we’ve developed ingenuity to overcome this.

“And we are eager to share all of this with our African friends. This is the importance of this meeting.

“I had an extraordinary meeting today and we’re still going to have an extension, this dinner tonight with President Kenyatta who is a real friend. And we intend to continue and expand this relationship here and in the other countries. But at the heart of it, the connection with the people is a very sound idea, it’s the right idea and that’s why I am expecting you in Jerusalem.”

Interestingly, at least part of Israel – Judea and Samaria — is experiencing daily water shortages, but mostly due to two of Israel’s most acute problems: a bureaucracy that failed to upgrade the supply systems, and hundreds of millions of gallons of water being stolen annually by Arabs.

JNi.Media

Archbishop Tutu’s Nobel Nominee: Arab Murderer Of Christian Monk

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

An unrepentant Palestinian terrorist convicted of murdering a Christian clergyman has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize – by one of the world’s most prominent Christian clergymen.

In a letter to the Nobel Prize committee in Norway, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa announced his nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize: Marwan Barghouti, currently serving five consecutive terms of life imprisonment for five counts of murder, including masterminding the murder of a Greek Orthodox monk, Georgios Tsibouktzakis, near Ma’ale Adumim in 2001.

Father Tsibouktzakis is one of the many victims of Palestinian terrorism whose name has long been forgotten by most people. Born in Saloniki, Greece, Tsibouktzakis decided at an early age to devote his life to study and prayer. Patriarch Deodoros I of the Greek Orthodox Church sent him to Jerusalem in 1990 for his training. He was ordained a monk in December 1993, and assigned to the St. George Monastery. In 2000, he was elevated to the priesthood. Situated on a ledge in Wadi Kelt, in the Judean desert just outside Jerusalem, St. George’s Monastery was an ideal place for a life of quiet contemplation and worship.

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Father Tsibouktzakis was well known and admired by residents of the area and, especially by hikers who frequent Wadi Kelt. A Ma’ale Adumim police spokesman recalled how the monk once used his jeep to help retrieve the body of a tourist who died after falling into the wadi. On another occasion, he helped the police when two Israeli youths were murdered in the wadi by Palestinian terrorists.

Father Tsibouktzakis’s life of spiritual devotion was cruelly cut short on Tuesday night, June 12, 2001. He was driving from Jerusalem back to the monastery when a Fatah Tanzim gang under the direction of Marwan Barghouti opened fired on his car. Tsibouktzakis, just 34 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Here’s what Tutu wrote about the terrorist who murdered Tutu’s fellow-clergyman: “He is a symbol of the “struggle for freedom, [which] constitutes a clear signal of support for the realization of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, including to self-determination.”

Not that this is the first time Tutu has spoken up for Barghouti. In fact, the South African clergyman is a member of a group called the International High Level Committee of the Campaign for the Freedom of Barghouti and all Palestinian Prisoners.

There is no “International High Level Committee” to speak up for Barghouti’s victims. That would not interest Tutu. He could not care less about Yoela Cohen, the young woman shot to death by one Barghouti’s gangs at a gas station near Jerusalem on January 15, 2002; or Salim Barakat, Yosef Habi, and Eli Dahan, who were stabbed to death by Barghouti’s killers in a Tel Aviv restaurant, on March 5, 2002.

I suppose those who are familiar with what Alan Dershowitz has called Tutu’s “long history of ugly hatred toward the Jewish people, the Jewish religion and the Jewish state” will not be surprised by Tutu’s embrace of Barghouti.

Tutu has denounced the “Jewish lobby” as “powerful” and “scary.” He has complained about Jewish “arrogance.” He has minimized the Holocaust, saying “the gas chambers” made for “a neater death” than did apartheid. He has complained about what he calls “the Jewish monopoly of the Holocaust,” while at the same time urging the Jewish people to “forgive the Nazis for the Holocaust.”

According to Tutu, Zionism has “very many parallels with racism,” the ancient holy temple in Jerusalem was similar to South African apartheid, and the Palestinians are enduring a fate similar to that of the Jewish slaves in Egypt. No wonder the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum of the American Jewish Committee concluded that Tutu harbors a “classic anti-Judaism that feeds his constant pattern of anti-Jewish attitudes.”

Archbishop Tutu has also been a vocal champion of the BDS movement. In 2011, an appeal by Tutu and other South Africans resulted in the University of Johannesburg canceling its joint project on biotechnology and water purification with Ben-Gurion University. Tutu’s accusations against Israel were characterized by Ben-Gurion University officials as “a collection of lies.”

So perhaps it makes perfect sense that Tutu considers Marwan Barghouti a hero. Barghouti fights Israel with bombs and bullets; Tutu fights Israel with slander and boycotts. The fact that the victims of Barghouti’s bullets include one of Tutu’s fellow-Christian clergymen merely adds a thick layer of irony to Tutu’s appalling record. Welcome to Wonderland.

Stephen M. Flatow

African-American Christian Ministers Visit Israel In Blooming Of ‘Natural’ Partnership

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

“My faith, as we interpret the scriptures, we identify with the people of Israel as God’s chosen people, and therefore we understand that those who bless Israel receive blessings and those who curse Israel are really fighting against our culture and faith,” said A.W. Mays, an African-American Christian leader from Austin, Texas.

Mays was one of 26 African-American members of the National Baptist Convention of America (NBCA) who were hand-picked to travel from the United States on a six-day educational mission to Israel from May 23-29. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) sponsored the trip to help deepen Christian-Jewish ties and black leaders’ bonds with Israel.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s founder and president, has been working to build bridges between Christians and Jews – as well as Christians and Israel – for more than 35 years. Last year, The Fellowship raised $138 million in humanitarian aid for Jews in Israel and around the world, almost entirely from Christian donors.

The trip just concluded marked The Fellowship’s third such mission; it brought 21 ministers to Israel in the summer of 2015 and 22 more in January of this year.

“African-Americans are the Jewish people’s natural partners,” said Yael Eckstein, Rabbi Eckstein’s daughter and senior vice president of The Fellowship.

“They know what it means to be suffering and reach freedom, to be slaves and come to enjoy the full benefits of American peoplehood.… We have not had positive ties throughout the years because no one ever put an effort into creating those ties.”

“What most people don’t understand,” said Rev. Deedee Coleman, the head of a 1,500-member Oak Park, Michigan congregation who has been to Israel more than a dozen times, “is that in Baptist culture we preach about Israel every Sunday, about the Jewish people and the trials of Moses and the Red Sea – everything that is not only in our Bible, but what starts in the first five books.”

Beyond the mission’s spiritual impact on attendees, the trip also enhanced the black leaders’ understanding of the challenges Israel faces. Many participants said they now have deeper knowledge of the political situation in Israel, and that the trip debunked the often-biased American media coverage of events on the ground in the Jewish state.

“I learned to not believe the American media 100 percent, and their slant on what this nation is,” said Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr., NBCA’s president, who helped organize the mission to Israel.

“It is best for people to come and see it firsthand, and they will see a totally different view of Israel.”

Kristina King, director of African-American outreach for The Fellowship, worked in a similar role with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for eight years. She says that both organizations do dynamic work in helping leaders understand some of the geopolitical complexities and everyday realities in Israel.

But while AIPAC seeks to influence political policy, The Fellowship’s work is faith-based and focuses on common spiritual values. Those values don’t change, said King, regardless of who holds elected office in Israel or America.

“When African-Americans are exposed to Israel, they see our common values,” King said.

At the same time, the black Christian leaders who visited Israel can become powerful political partners and pro-Israel activists because of their faith, said Yael Eckstein.

“I think the Jewish community should stop sitting back and complaining that we don’t have friends,” said Yael Eckstein. “Be proactive and reach out to find things in common with the people who can stand with us long-term and be strategic partners for our future.”

“These are the ones who will bring back the message of Israel to the larger body,” said Rev. Coleman. “They have been on Facebook, tweeting, and they will bring it back [to America] and educate their people about what is real.”

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman

Shlissel (Key) Challah: The Loaf of Idolatry?

Friday, May 6th, 2016

The post was originally published in 2011, but as this is the week some might bake shlissel challah, we are republishing the article.

JUDAIC STUDIES ACADEMIC PAPER SERIES, Authored by Shelomo Alfassa: The Origins of the Non-Jewish Custom Of “Shlissel Challah” (Key Bread) “The Loaf of Idolatry?

You can read it all here, or see the following key point from the research paper:

– Every year Jewish women, young and old, partake in the Ashkenazi custom to place a key (such as a door key to a home), inside the dough of a loaf of bread that they bake. This custom is known as shlissel challah—shlissel from the German language shlüssel (key) and challah or hallah from the Hebrew for bread.

– The baking of a key inside a bread is a non-Jewish custom which has its foundation in Christian, and possibly even earlier, pagan culture. At least one old Irish source tells how at times when a town was under attack, the men said, ―let our women-folk be instructed in the art of baking cakes containing keys.

– Keys were traditionally manufactured in the form of a cross, the traditional symbol of Christianity, a physical item all Christian commoners would posses in their home. On Easter, the Christian holiday which celebrates the idea of Jesus “rising” from the dead, they would bake the symbol of Jesus—the key shaped like a cross—into or onto a rising loaf.

– The modern Jewish custom of baking the symbolic shlissel challah, annually takes place on the shabbat immediately following the holiday of Pessah, when tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of religiously observant Jewish women practice this observance.

– In Christianity, baked goods associated with keys are commonly called “Easter breads,” and in Europe they are also known as ‘Paschals,’ as the holiday of Easter in the East is known as “Pascha” or “Pascua.” This is most likely the reason Christians often call Easter breads baked with keys Paschals.

– While the custom is said to be mentioned in the writings of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel (the Apter Rav: 1748-1825) and in the Ta’amei ha-Minhagim (1891), there is no one clear source for shlissel challah.

And while people will say there is a passuq (Biblical verse) attributed to it, there is not. And, even if there were, a passuq that can be linked to the practice is not the same as a source.

Micha Berger, founder of the AishDas Society, [orthodox] calls this type of logic “reverse engineering,” it‘s like drawing a circle around an arrow in a tree, and subsequently declaring the arrow is a bulls-eye. The idea of baking shlissel challah is not from the Torah; it‘s not in the Tannaitic, Amoraitic, Savoraitic, Gaonic or Rishonic literature.

– Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim19 of Mesora.Org [orthodox] teaches that:

The Torah teaches that Hashem punishes the wicked, and rewards the righteous. It does not say that challah baking or any other activity will help address our needs…When the matriarchs were barren, they did not resort to segulas, but introspected and prayed… Nothing in Torah supports this concept of segula; Torah sources reject the idea of a segula… baking challas with brachos cannot help… segulas are useless, and violate the Torah prohibition of Nichush [good luck charms]. It does not matter if the charm is a rabbit‘s foot, a horseshoe, a challah, key or a red bendel. The practice assumes that forces exist, which do not, and it is idolatrous. – On the far end of the scale, it can be said that shlissel challah observance is a nothing less than “the way of the Amorites.” It is precisely this type of behavior and observance which Jews are supposed to separate themselves from, so it doesn’t go on to influence our thoughts and deeds. Am Yisrael was not created to lose itself in such folklore, and Judaism without disciplined study is nothing but folklore. Judaism allows and encourages the use of our minds. It‘s never too late to realign our path with Torah sources, not blind faith practices which are trendy, in, or cool.

– Educated Jews should help to promote Torah sources to our friends and neighbors, not false practices which are of non-Jewish origin and have nothing to do with Judaism.

100 Amens to that!

Jameel@Muqata

Pro-Israel Christian Leader Compares UNESCO Temple Mount Resolution to Holocaust Denial

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

In recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, UN Special Envoy for the World Council of Independent Christian Churchs (WCICC) and President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN), attended meetings at the United Nations to condemn UNESCO’s effort to deny the historic, cultural and religious connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount.

The WCICC sponsors and promote meetings at the UN with countries and organizations that support Israel. The group represents more than 40 million Evangelical Christians worldwide, who, together with more than 13,000 global PJTN Watchmen are calling on UNESCO to condemn the strategic and deliberate destruction of ancient artifacts buried beneath the Temple Mount. This destruction has been carried out by the Islamic Waqf for over a decade now, in an attempt to physically eradicate and deny Jewish history connected to the holiest site in Judaism and Christianity.

This message is particularly important on Holocaust Remembrance Day, argues Cardoza-Moore, because “we cannot afford to stand by as Jewish history is publicly denied by an organization of the United Nations. Denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount is tantamount to denying the existence of the Jewish people and is therefore even more grave than Holocaust Denial.”

Part of UNESCO’s mission is to promote and educate about religious tolerance, says Cardoza-Moore, noting that “with it’s denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and its holy sites, UNESCO harms any prospect of peace and vicariously supports a radical ideology that denies the Jewish connection to the land of Israel and its holy sites.”

“We recognize UNESCO’s responsibility to promote culture and religious diversity by respecting the heritage of all nations,” she says, “Therefore, we call upon UNESCO to recognize the deep historic and religious Jewish connection as well.”

According to Cardoza-Moore, “Christians recognize the historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and all of the ancient biblical sites in Israel. Christians also recognize that if we do not defend Israel’s biblical and historic connection to the Land, Christians will ultimately lose their historic connection as well. We are calling on all Christians to contact UNESCO and condemn this attempt to re-write biblical history and replace it with political propaganda.”

Cardoza-Moore concludes that “with the rise of global, genocidal anti-Semitism, as well as the global push to boycott, divest and sanction Israel, on this Yom HaShoah, as the world remembers one of the most horrific events in modern history, Christians, Jews and people of conscience must commit to make a stand and say never again.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pro-israel-christian-leader-compares-unesco-temple-mount-resolution-to-holocaust-denial/2016/05/05/

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