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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’

Anusim/Crypto Jewish Conference Scheduled

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

On January 2, 1492 the queen and king of Spain, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, signed the Edict of Expulsion of the Jews. It is estimated that 300,000 Jews lived in the country and only one third managed to get out and continue practicing their faith.

One hundred thousand crossed the border to Portugal, where they considered to being safe, but only five years later they were forcibly converted to Christianity. One hundred thousand others were unable to leave Spain either took their faith underground or adopted the Catholic faith. The Church called them New Christians, but many of these New Christians were not so observant of their forced new faith, practicing their true Jewish beliefs secretly and within their homes.

Caminos de Israel is organizing its second annual Anusim and Crypto Jewish Conference, with experts in the field and Orthodox rabbis participating, on Sunday, February 12, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Marriot Dadeland in Miami. This year’s special speaker is a woman from Cuba who has traced her family’s Jewish ancestry all the way back to the 1400.

Due to limited seating, organizers ask that reservations be made in advance. Reservation in advance is $20 per person (at the door it’s $25 per person).

You can e-mail your reservation request to Loscaminosdeisrael@yahoo.com and you will receive a PayPal-secured link to make your reservation. If you wish to make your reservation over the phone, call 786-306-8211.

For more information, or to schedule this type of event in your synagogue or community, call Rabbi Moshe Otero at 786-306-8211.

Iranian PM Says Iran “being punished for no reason”

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at Havana University in Cuba on Thursday, told students that Iran is “being punished for no reason,” in a veiled reference to the recent assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist.

According to Ahmadenijad, the West was persecuting Iran: “Have we ever attacked anyone? Have we sought more than we need? Never. We only want to pursue justice.”

Ahmadinejad is currently in the midst of an official tour of Latin America that has included stops in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and will take him to Ecuador next.

They Said What?! Exposing the ‘Mainstream’ Media

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

The Media Research Center is out with its annual Best Notable Quotables awards – a compilation of the most outrageous and/or unintentionally revealing news media quotes from December 2010 through November 2011.

Votes were cast by a panel of 48 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert media observers.

The following are some of the more egregious examples of media bias and foolishness. (For the complete list, as well as the order in which they were ranked, visit www.mrc.org.)

Tea Party Terrorists

“We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. [Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has] been the target of violence before…. Her father says that ‘the whole Tea Party’ was her enemy. And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous ‘crosshairs’ list. Just yesterday, [liberal writer] Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing…. Violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hatemongers.” – New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a 3:22 p.m. ET January 8 blog posting, less than two hours after news broke of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Salon’s Joan Walsh: “These people, the Tea Partiers and their friends and their enablers and their corporate friends…they have created this shrieking on the right…. They’re paying the lowest taxes in 50 years – more than 50 years, more than my lifetime – and they are still complaining. And some of them aren’t complaining. There are some good business people who know this game of chicken, in particular, is deadly and it’s wrong and it’s hostage-taking. And you shouldn’t negotiate with hostage-takers.” Host Chris Matthews: “I agree with you. I agree with you. I agree. It’s terrorism.” – MSNBC’s “Hardball,” July 5.

“If sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the GOP on a suicide mission.” – New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, July 27.

“You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them. These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people…. For now, the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests. But rest assured: They’ll have them on again soon enough.” – New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, August 2.

The Object of Their Worship

“Can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph…. ‘I am large, I contain multitudes,’ Walt Whitman wrote, and Obama lives that lyrical prophecy…. Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a ‘world-historical soul,’ an embodiment of the spirit of the times. He is what we hope we can be.” – Esquire’s Stephen Marche in a column for the magazine’s August 2011 issue: “How Can We Not Love Obama? Because Like It or Not, He Is All of Us.”

By calmly and meticulously overseeing the successful targeting of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama just proved himself – vividly, in almost biblical terms – to be an effective commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States.” – Ex-Newsweek correspondent and editor Howard Fineman writing at the Huffington Post, May 2.

Left-Wing Protest Promotion

“We thought we’d bring you up to date on those protesters, the Occupy Wall Street movement. As of tonight, it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries – every continent but Antarctica.” – Diane Sawyer on ABC’s “World News,” October 10. On a later edition, Sawyer corrected her still-absurd hype: “…more than a thousand cities around the world.”

“Good evening. We begin tonight with what has become by any measure a pretty massive protest movement. While it goes by the official name ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ it has spread steadily and far beyond Wall Street, and it could well turn out to be the protest of this current era.” – Anchor Brian Williams leading off the October 5 NBC “Nightly News.”

“This week: people power making history. A revolt in the Midwest and a revolution sweeping across the Middle East…. Populist frustration is boiling over this week – as we’ve said, not just in the Middle East, but in the middle of this country as well.” ABC’s Christiane Amanpour opening “This Week,” February 20, referring to Wisconsin and Egypt.

Title: The Scattered Tribe: Traveling the Diaspora from Cuba to India to Tahiti & Beyond

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Title: The Scattered Tribe: Traveling the Diaspora from Cuba to India to Tahiti & Beyond

Author: Ben G. Frank

Publisher: Globe Pequot Press

 

There are three kinds of travelers: there are tourists, there are businesspeople, and then there are historians like Ben G. Frank.

The last kind doesn’t simply go from here to there. They try to relive history and find the real meaning behind what they experience.

Some of us enjoy sightseeing, visiting places like the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canal of Venice, or the Eiffel Tower. Others enjoy a culinary adventure, perhaps to dine on French cuisine in Indonesia or Indonesian food in Berlin. Some may love to hop through dozens of museums. But Frank is seeking his and our roots, and the ghosts of Jewish civilization in locales that many of us haven’t even conceived of as having had anything of a Jewish past – let alone present.

Together with his lovely wife Riva, Frank has traveled, both as a working journalist and as a travel writer, in the footsteps of his namesake Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, as well as those of Marco Polo on the Silk Road, for most of life. And he’s still at it.

Frank has been one of the most prolific Jewish travel writers for many years. His articles have appeared widely, including the very pages of The Jewish Press to which he has often been a contributor.

To those of us who may never travel to these destinations, as well as to numerous other sites in the U.S. and around the globe, Frank opens our eyes to the unique differences as well as the astonishing similarities of Jewish communities and Jewish life in so many different places.

It certainly appears that Frank does his homework before setting off on each trip, to study the history and the customs of the people – Jewish and not – of each location, and knows what to seek out from the writings of those who have gone before him, including Jewish and non-Judaic sources. Throughout his career, he has remained committed to our Jewish practice and customs , even in places where there is no official communal Judaism or even a Chabad Rabbi, who are almost ubiquitous these days. He has taken siddurim to Cuba, tefillin to Russia, matzoh for sedorim and Jewish jokes everywhere.

The Scattered Tribe by Ben G. Frank is a handsomely produced soft-cover volume, and has a beautiful color plate section with photos from some of his travels . The book is a worthy addition to the travel section of any home library and a must-read for anyone planning to set off on one of these exotic destinations.

It’s My Opinion: Freedom

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

A boat was intercepted in the Florida Straits on July 13. A surveillance plane spotted the vessel and directed the U.S. Coast Guard to intervene. The boat held a passenger who had fled the island of Cuba.He was parched and exhaustedand was said to have been adrift for weeks. Rescuers were shocked to see that the seven-foot craft was made of Styrofoam.

 

Since the Communist takeover of Cuba, thousands of desperate men, woman and children have flocked to the shores of Florida. Often they risk their lives in homemade and rickety crafts. Some are made of inner tubes tied together with rope. Others are makeshift rafts. One amazing “boat” was an old taxicab that incredibly was set afloat. Desperation seems to have inspired ingenuity.

 

What could drive an individual to make such a perilous journey? What could motivate a human being to put himself through such danger? The answer is compelling.

 

The quest for freedom is a powerful motivator. It can cause people to act in remarkable ways. Throughout the course of time, revolutions and uprisings, revolts and freedom movements have been sparked by this desire.

 

The United States of America was created as a bastion of freedom. The Founding Fathers understood how precious this concept really was. Cubans, as well as people from around the world, are aware of this and that is why they flock to our shores.

 

My family escaped the tyranny of Eastern Europe to come to America in the beginning of the 1900s. They came from shteiblach in Poland and Jewish enclaves in Russian cities. They suffered from state-sanctioned anti-Semitism and stifling government control. They had no prospects of improving their lot. They sought freedom from these injustices. They prospered in this country. Their story is the quintessential American tale.

 

It is quite ironic that without a fight, war or declaration of intent, America’s citizens have given up many of their hard-won freedoms. Without even noticing, freedoms of choice, finances, business and privacy have been compromised, many within the last year-and-a-half.

 

The idea of an all-knowing big government (that caused so many to run away from other countries) has incrementally been introduced here. We have exchanged the American idea of free enterprise, that gave us prosperity, for a bail-out mentality that has never worked in any of the places and times that it has been tried.

 

This seems to be an age that rewards incompetence. The same federal bureaucracy that faces a failing Medicare and Medicaid system has now taken on national health care. The same federal bureaucracy that suffered the debacle of an embarrassing “cash for clunkers” car exchange, now heads General Motors. The same federal bureaucracy that has suffered many breaches of security on its most sensitive computer data has now exposed all Americans to have their most personal and private medical records on a national data bank.

 

It is time to wake up. Freedom is a priceless commodity. The American people need to be aware of how easily it can be lost.

It’s My Opinion: Never Again

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

In 1939 the Nazi regime was gaining a terrifying momentum.  Nine-hundred-and-thirty Jews tried to flee the nightmare that was about to descend.  The SS St. Louis sailed from Germany.  The terrified passengers knew what was happening.  They were desperate.  

 

The Jews on the St. Louis carried visas to Cuba, the only harbor available to them.  However, even before the ship entered the port of Havana, they were told that the Cuban Government had changed its mind.

 

The St. Louis came close enough to the coast of Miami that the refugees could see the lights of the city.  That sight proved to be just a cruel and ironic tease.

 

Incredibly, these innocent men, women and children were refused sanctuary by President Roosevelt and the United States of America.  The U.S. Coast Guard vessels that accompanied the St. Louis were not there to protect her or escort her to the shores of America.  Their presence was to assure that no Jews would jump overboard and escape. 

 

The Jewish community in America offered politely worded pleas.  The Jewish leadership failed to mount the type of irate and massive protests and demonstrations that would grab front-page headlines and shame Roosevelt into capitulating.  The 930 were shipped back to the hell that awaited them. 

 

The message was clear.  The Nazis now knew that no one really cared about the fate of the Jews.  The Jews now knew that even if they wished to escape, no one was willing to take them in.

 

How could such a shameful incident have happened?  The answers are compelling.  The economy was bad.  The country was reeling from a depression.  Americans were hesitant to take on refugees when jobs and assets were scarce.  Jewish leadership was weak and unwilling to take strong and unpopular stands. Denial of the extent of the danger involving world politics was rampant.   

 

Recently, a 70th anniversary of the St. Louis was commemorated at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.  It was the very location that the ill-fated passengers gazed upon before they were returned to Germany.  The surviving 33 passengers attended the event.

 

There are many parallels today that mirror the circumstances that allowed the tragedy of the St. Louis to occur. As Jews, we must be especially vigilant to keep our guard up and stay informed about what is happening in the world. 

 

We are told that people who do not learn from their history are destined to repeat it.  Never again is more than a slogan.  It is a message that needs to be internalized and acted upon.  

It’s My Opinion: Missiles

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

   The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was a frightening time.  U.S. President John F. Kennedy confronted Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev on the missile bases that Khrushchev was building in Cuba. The rockets were aimed at America. 

 

   American citizens, especially those who lived in South Florida, were quite alarmed.  We seemed to be on the verge of war. 

 

   I remember being a kid and looking outside to see tanks rolling down the street alongside my Miami Beach school.  We were all on red alert.

 

   Now, so many years later, there has been a revelation.  Deep in the Everglades of Florida, a secret missile base had been built to store and launch rockets if need be.

 

   The 40-acre facility included a missile assembly building, three barns where missiles were stored, a guardhouse and an underground control room.  Three of the four missile   sites have been dismantled.  The base is still intact.  It contains 22 buildings.   It had housed 130 military personnel.  Apparently, the United States of America took the thought of projectiles aimed at its citizens in a very serious way.

 

   It is quite ironic that the same U.S. government encouraged Israel, during the First Gulf War, to ignore scud missile attacks on Tel Aviv.  The theory was that Israeli retaliation would complicate the war effort.  Incredibly, Israel agreed.

 

   Since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza thousands of missiles launched from Gaza have hit Sderot and neighboring Israeli cities.  Perhaps the coast seemed clear because of Israel’s precedent of non-retaliation to rocket attacks.  Terrorists were delighted.  They had nothing to lose.  Israel had established a policy of unilateral restraint.

 

   Finally, after years of constant bombardment, Israel did what any normal country would have done in the beginning.  They fought back.  The world was outraged.  Israel had created the idea that it was a giant punching bag and now the status quo had been upset.

 

   The U.S. government is now giving tours of the missile site in the Everglades.  It is, in essence, a museum documenting a historic period and the dangers that ensued.  Israel already has a museum documenting history and danger to the Jewish nation.  Its name is Yad Vashem.  

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community//2009/04/01/

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