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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘city’

OU’s Torah In The City Offers Blueprint For Future Events

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Torah in the City, an all-day learning event created and presented by the OU, drew a capacity crowd Sunday to Citi Field’s indoor conference center in Flushing, Queens.

“This year we decided to turn our convention into a gathering of our entire community,” the OU’s executive vice president, Allen Fagin, told The Jewish Press. “And how better to gather them than to learn Torah together?”

The event featured more than 30 plenary sessions focused on halacha, hashkafa, Tanach, and Israel. Speakers included scholars and educators – both men and women – at the forefront of contemporary Jewish life, among them Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Rabbi Shalom Rosner, Rabbi Mordechai Willig, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, Charlie Harary, Shira Smiles, Prof. Nechama Price, Rebbetzin Rookie Billet, Rabbi Steven Weil, Rabbi Hayyim Angel, and Rabi David Fohrman.

The spirit of inclusiveness was palpable. “When I saw chassidim here with payos and bekishes walking around, as well as women who don’t cover their hair, and the whole spectrum of Orthodoxy, I think that’s what the OU is really great at doing,” said Judah Isaacs, the OU’s director of synagogue and community services. “And I think the fact that Torah brought everybody together is an incredible feeling.”

Health and health care were prominent themes of the day – with discussions ranging from birth control and family planning to genetic engineering and prayers for the sick. Other topics included, but were hardly limited to, balancing Torah study with other obligations; the evolution of the Oral Law; questions and answers on kashrus issues; foundations in Jewish education at home and in school; the role of violence in biblical Judaism; and the future of Jewish leadership.

Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz spoke on the topic of “Going Broke to Pay a Family Member’s Health Care.” The halachic conclusion was that there are several levels of giving. If a family member is in medical need, you give as much as you can because family comes first. A man’s wife and children are the highest priority, and a child is required to take care of the health of a parent, no matter how much money it takes, Rabbi Lebowitz stated.

Kicking off the seminar discussions was OU executive vice president emeritus Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, who spoke about religious Zionism and Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine and one of the most celebrated and influential rabbis of the 20th century. Rabbi Weinreb described Rav Kook as “a poet who never stopped learning.”

Rabbi Mordechai Willig spoke of the struggles young people face when considering marriage. “I do believe that large families are a blessing and that’s why I’m very much in favor of the OU initiative to solve the tuition crisis,” he said. “Tuition is the single greatest disincentive to having children in our community. From my perspective, if you’re old enough to get married, you’re old enough to have children.”

A surprise visitor to the Torah in the City event was Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul- general in New York. “I came today to learn Torah,” said Dayan. “It’s very strengthening to see that in New York City, with so many events and things to do, Jews come and learn Torah together.”

Before the speakers took center stage, the day started with a meeting of the OU Board of Directors.

Tapped to replace Martin Nachimson as OU president was Moishe Bane, a business restructuring attorney with the New York City-based law firm of Ropes & Gray. Bane has served in positions with the OU including chairman of the board of governors, chairman of the OU’s Institute of Public Affairs, and national chairman of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY). He is also one of six editors of The Klal Perspectives Journal, a forum for the discussion of challenges facing the Torah community.

As his last official duty before stepping down as president, Nachimson gave the State of the (Orthodox) Union address, describing a few of the issues and programs the OU tackled during his tenure.

“The tuition crisis remains at the head of the agenda,” he said. “We have raised a lot of money, we have hired lobbyists, and that is going to be a full-blown effort. NCSY continues to be the crown jewel of the Union. This year we’re looking at 1,500 teenagers going to Israel, which is double the amount when I took over as president. JLIC [Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus] has five new campuses…. Our programs continue to grow and grow.”

The strong turnout and enthusiasm surrounding the Torah in the City event confirmed to OU officials that they’d struck a chord with this format.

“Our challenge,” the OU’s Fagin told The Jewish Press, “was to invite a broad enough array of speakers and to have a broad enough array of subjects so that there would be something here for everyone.

“The real desire here is to instill in our community an even greater love for learning than they already have. We see this as an enormously important part of our mission – to be able to create opportunities to engage with Torah, to engage with text, to engage with scholars on an ongoing basis, and to create an opportunity for people to do that with greater intensity, with greater focus, and with greater opportunity. So you’re going to see a lot more of this from the OU.”

Marc Gronich

Israel: Access Road to New Arab City in Samaria Illegal

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Netanyahu government last week informed the Supreme Court it would be unable to permit the access route to the new Arab city of Rawabi in Samaria because it cuts through private plots in Area C (under full Israeli control), according to hearing of the rightwing NGO Regavim’s petition against the IDF Civil Administration, the Defense Ministry and the Rawabi corporation.

Rawabi (“The Hills”), located near Birzeit and Ramallah, is the first planned city built for and by Arabs in the PA, which is hailed as the “flagship” of a future Palestinian State. Construction began in January 2010, and by 2014 650 apartments were made available, for an estimated 3,000 residents On March 1, 2015, developer Bashar al-Masri announced that Israel would connect the city up to the Israeli-run water grid, making it possible for residents to move in.

Two years ago, Regavim appealed to the Supreme Court against the Civil Administration, the Ministry of Defense and the Rawabi company, concerning the Rawabi company’s land improvements and the construction and paving of a road in one of the city’s neighborhoods. The works were carried out in “Zligat,” an Arab city under Israeli control in the direction of the nearby Jewish community of Ateret.

According to Regavim, and the state, the access highway to the city of Rawabi was partly built on private land, without the owners’ consent. Following the discussion, the Court gave Rawabi six months to prove ownership of the land. The Rawabi company promised the court that the construction work would not be renewed until the approval of the company’s programs.

The State told the court that the Rawabi company has yet to complete the planning aspects of the road, and began to building it before obtaining a legal permit: “The documents submitted by [the Rawabi company] were examined by the Planning Bureau. The examination showed that the title is not sufficient to fulfill the requirements in this respect. Among other things, in view of the fact that some of the road is on regulated land [without] the owner’s consent in relation to the specific area.” The state also stated that “documents provided do not solve the problem proprietary.”

The Supreme Court will hear the case again in about ten days, and the state is on the record as suggesting the only ways for the Rawabi company to be able to complete the road would be to purchase the plots in question from the Arab owners or to get the IDF Civil Administration to expropriate the plots.

However, if the court now approves of the Civil Administration expropriating lands in Area C to serve an Arab settlement, it might find it difficult in the future to halt similar impounding that would favor Jewish settlements.


Whitefish–No, not the Salad–the City in Montana

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Until just a couple of weeks ago, the only whitefish I really ever heard of was the kind you sometimes find in a small plastic container that you ate with a meal of at kiddush. But, suddenly, there is a new whitefish to be reckoned with. Or, perhaps more precisely, Whitefish, Montana–population  6,649. It has a handful of lodges; a couple of restaurants; a few stores and a ski resort. I feel fairly confident in saying that the vast majority of those reading these words will have never heard of Whitefish, Montana.

Well, that had better change, and soon.

According to news reports (see here for example), a neo-Nazi website said it has filed the paperwork for an armed neo-Nazi march designed to harass the Montana Jewish community of Whitefish. The march has been set for  January 16th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Andrew Anglin, who runs the Daily Stormer (think Der StÜrmer) website, wrote in a post published Thursday that nationalist groups from the United Kingdom, Sweden, France and Greece will attend the march. He also confirmed that “a representative of Hamas will be in attendance, and will give a speech about the international threat of the Jews.” He said that participants will march through the center of Whitefish, and end at Memorial Park, where several people will speak.

Whitefish is also home to white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank. The group arranging this march is quoted as saying:

 “…they will rue the day, as they see two hundred skinhead Alt-Right Nazis marching with a guy from Hamas carrying machine guns through the center of their town!”

At this point, you might be asking yourselves how many Jews even live in Whitefish, let alone Montana itself? Well, in Montana the estimate is 6,000. There are about 100 known Jewish households in Whitefish and nearby Kalispell, part of the Flathead Valley. So, in a town that has approximately 100 Jewish households and, let us assume for argument’s sake that there are 3 per house, this gives us a whopping total of 300 Jews in Whitefish, the upcoming “epicenter” of hatred from this neo-Nazi group. If you do the math  and divide the 300 by the approximate 15,000,000 Jews in the world, you arrive at .00002 % of the Jews in the world. It is against this minuscule number that the neo-Nazis are protesting.

But, if you think that that’s against whom they are protesting, you couldn’t be more wrong.

They are protesting against you and me. They are protesting against JEWS all over the world. They don’t care about Jews in Montana. They don’t care about Jews in the USA. They care about and wish to eradicate Jews all over the world. Why else are they having representatives from all over–including our Number One buddy, Hamas? Make no mistake about it. This is not just some little fringe group who can get their jollies by marching against a handful of Jews. This group is a microcosm of what is happening in many cities and communities, large and small. Seems like hardly a day goes by without a swastika or a gravestone desecration or some other anti-Semitic act in the news.

What you are about to see in Whitefish will be followed by other cities…some small and some large. They are not only “protesting.” If that is all this was, then I would not have that much to say. That kind of march is protected by free speech and the constitution of the USA. However, when they are marching and carrying a machine gun (legally!) in the streets–they are walking the streets and “screaming” at the top of their lungs: “Death to the Jews.”

You have to wonder, how it is that in so-called “modern times,” that these kinds of horrible anti-Semitic acts and marches can even happen. Sadly, that would be a very naÏve question. Because, as we know from our history and from the statement in the Pesach Hagada: בכל דור ודור עומדים עלינו לכלותינו, that in every generation there arise those, who wish to annihilate us. As a matter of fact, if you want just a taste of  global anti-Semitism, see this link, in which the ADL gives dozens and dozens of examples of hateful actions against Jews around the globe.

It is in that type of an environment and climate that a UN resolution (such as 2334) can not only pass un-opposed but can then be met with cheers, applause and high-fives. Yes, indeed, a legitimate, “legal” form of anti-Semtism. When the guy sitting in his armchair in Whitefish, Montana sees that type of vote from such an “august” body, what else is there for him to think?! It validates all he believes: All the world’s ills are the fault of the Jews.

And getting a spokesman from Hamas to bolster their “cause”at this march in a few days is not surprising at all. In their eyes, Hamas is to Israel what the Jews are to the world. So, why not bring in the “big guns.”

As believing Jews, we know that God has our back. We know that because if that were NOT the case, the Jewish people would have ceased to exist long ago. May He continue to watch over the Jewish people and all those who bless the Jewish people. May He confound the actions and plans of those who hate us and seek our misfortune and/or wish to harm us.

Rav Zev Shandalov

Mike Huckabee: State for Palestinian Authority a ‘fantasy’

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

by Andrew Friedman

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee planted an olive tree overlooking the Judean Desert on the southeastern edge of Ma’ale Adumim Tuesday, saying the tree would come to provide shade for a park in a planned neighborhood, and slamming last month’s UN Security Resolution condemning Israeli communities as “embarrassing.”

Huckabee added hopes that incoming U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump moves the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Backed by a red banner reading ‘Build Israel Great Again’ just one day after the Jewish Home Knesset faction held its weekly meeting in Ma’ale Adumim order to launch a campaign to annex the city, Huckabee took a selfie with Ma’ale Adumim mayor Benny Kasriel to show that Israeli “settlements” are not a group of tents on isolated hilltops, but rather established cities.

“Ma’ale Adumim is a remarkable place,” Huckabee said. “It is five times bigger than the town I grew up in, with 41,000 people.

Although Huckabee does not have an official role in the Trump transition team – he turned down a position in the new administration – the former governor’s visit to Israel just two weeks before Inauguration Day is seen as a sign of both the incoming administration’s support for expanding Israeli control in Judea and Samaria, and as a statement of intention that the new president seeks to forge a new relationship after eight rocky years between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and outgoing President Barack Obama.

“I don’t speak for the incoming administration, but I pray that his policies will be radically different than those of President Obama, which have been – to put it mildly – anti-Israel,” Huckabee said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Cinema Jenin Shutting Down, Dashing Hopes for Culture, Art, in Suspicious City

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

In August 2011, Cinema Jenin, with 335 seats and funding from the German Government, opened its doors to the public in a glamorous gala event that attracted international celebrities like Roger Waters and Bianca Jagger (they showed a movie called The Heart of Jenin about Israeli cruelty in the wake of an explosion that took out a Netanya hotel on the seder night). On Wednesday this week it closed down after running out of money.

According to AFP, demolition work has begun on the Cinema Jenin building, after the management team had failed to attract enough customers to allow it to continue operations. German director Marcus Vetter told AFP “it is a very disappointing and sad moment,” revealing that the original owners’ heirs had sold the place for $1.8 million.

The Cinema Jenin website related the heartwarming story of cooperation between the management team and a group of young and old people from Jenin who were going to receive technical training to run the cinema eventually. Cinema Jenin also offered film and theatre workshops, supported by “local and international partners” to get more people involved in the cinema.

And just to be able to pay the rent, Cinema Jenin also planned to become a venue for local plays, concerts, and even weddings.

Roger Waters at a fundraising event for Cinema Jenin

Roger Waters at a fundraising event for Cinema Jenin

Vetter told AFP the failure was due to a mix of local conservative attitudes and a fear that attending shows there would be tantamount to accepting Israeli “occupation.” “People were not ready to really go there. They were also maybe a little bit scared how it would be perceived if they go,” he explained.

According to news reports of the time, many locals boycotted the cinema because unmarried men and women drank alcohol and even slept together in the guest house that was attached to Cinema Jenin. In 2011 death threats were circulated in Jenin mosques, and many foreign nationals were ordered to stay off the Cinema Jenin project at the request of their governments.


Global Mayors Meet in Jerusalem, Will Visit Yad Vashem

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Mayors and governors from more than two dozen cities around the world are visiting Israel this week as part of the 31st International Mayors Conference in Jerusalem.

The American Jewish Congress and American Council for World Jewry are acting as hosts for the mayors this year in Israel.

The delegation is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and local Israeli municipalities that include Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Nazareth.

Representatives from cities such as Beverly Hills, Miami Beach, Salzburg, Odessa and Lvov are scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday (Nov. 15).

The mayors will participate in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visit the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

During their four-day trip they are set to visit hi-tech, energy and cyber firms, as well as urban development experts, in addition to the Jerusalem Innovation Center, ‘Bezeq Telecom’ and to enjoy a Tel Aviv start-up tour. The officials will meet with Israeli entrepreneurs working in the fields of health, security, water and the environment.

Hana Levi Julian

Police Raid Netanya City Hall, Mayor to Be Questioned

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg Ikar is expected to be invited for police questioning with a warning, as part of a large-scale investigation of the Netanya municipality which culminated with a raid of city hall Monday morning. A senior source in the police has told Haaretz that the mayor and members of her family may be suspects. Searches in the homes and offices of several suspects as well as offices in Netanya’s city hall building have yielded documents and other content. Three men, including an attorney and a developer have been detained for questioning.

According to an Haaretz investigation, the mayor’s family members have been involved in construction projects associated with members of tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva, the chairman of El-Ad Group which owned the New York Plaza Hotel.

Investigators of the Lahav 433 crime-fighting umbrella organization within the Israel Police along with Income Tax investigators on Monday carried out raids in multiple locations in the coastal city of Netanya. Also on hand were the Prohibition of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Authority, and the State Attorney’s Economic Department. A preliminary announcement states that the investigation is based on suspicion that elements involved in construction have promoted their interests illegally with the Netanya municipality, among other things through bribery and while committing tax violations.

Back in 2007 police closed a similar investigation of Mayor Feirberg for lack of sufficient evidence.

Feirberg is the first female mayor elected in Netanya and one of very few women who have served as mayors in Israel. She was first elected in 1998, and again in 2003, 2008 and 2013. She has won a prize for efficient management from the Union of Local Authorities in Israel.

Netanya is one of the most affluent cities in Israel, and has attracted a large population of Russian and French immigrants. The city is considered one of the cleanest in Israel, with a long stretch of sandy beaches. It features of balanced mix of secular, national-religious and Haredi Jews, and is home to a growing Arab population.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/police-raid-netanya-city-hall-mayor-to-be-questioned/2016/09/05/

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