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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘diaspora’

Bennett Tells Chief Rabbi: I Don’t Consult with Rabbis on Matters of Policy

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

(JNi.media) Speaking to religious radio station Radio Kol Chai, Bayit Yehudi Chairman and Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett on Wednesday morning that, “unlike Haredi MKs, I Don’t consult with rabbis on my political and actions and on policy.”

Bennett was referring to his recent row with Chief Rabbi David Lau, following Bennett’s visit to a Solomon Schechter Conservative school in the US last month. In the radio interview, Bennett said it was Rabbi Lau who chose to attack him, not the other way around: “I did not initiate the conflict, but the chief rabbi chose to attack me, and I told him ‘I’m sorry, but I’m the Minister of Diaspora.’”

Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau last week criticized Minister Bennett’s visit to Conservative congregations in the US and said it was clear that the minister did not consult with a rabbi about those visits. According to Lau, “the visit constitutes an acknowledgement of a movement that endangers the future of the nation of Israel.” Lau added that “if the Minister Bennett were to ask my opinion before the visit, I would have said explicitly. ‘You cannot go to a place where education is pushing Jews away from Jewish tradition, and from the past and future of the Jewish people.”

Following Lau’s remarks, Bennett stated: “Things were said today that should not be said by a senior leader of the Israeli public.” As to the rabbi’s rebuke, Bennett replied: “I, unlike Haredi MKs, don’t consult with rabbis on my political and actions and on policy. That’s the difference. In the movement which I lead, having been elected by the public, I consult in rabbis on halakhic issues, but not on policy issues. We see this a little differently. I’m not going to conduct myself as Minister of Education, nor as Minister for Diaspora Affairs by approaching the Council of Torah Sages on every issue.”

Rabbi David Lau’s cousin, the Jerusalem Ramban Synagogue’s spiritual leader Rabbi Benny Lau criticized the Chief Rabbi’s attack on Bennett. “If the chief rabbi supports Israel, he has to understand that they (non-Orthodox Jews) are our best ambassadors to the world,” Rabbi Benny Lau told Kikar Hashabbat. “If the chief rabbi has a dispute with their manner of worship — but what’s the connection to the State of Israel? Why mix things, why endanger the state?”

Rabbi Benny Lau stressed that the diplomatic relations between Israel and the United States do not allow boycotting the non-Orthodox. “You want to eliminate all our support in the world, have we gone mad? This is madness. They are our biggest supporters.”

Regarding Bennett’s decision to visit a Conservative school, Rabbi Benny Lau said: “I think Bennett did the right thing. I am the son of the Foreign Office employee who was consul in the US, and what I learned is that as a diplomat you have a responsibility to all the parts of the Jewish people without controversies, you do not engaged in the wars between different sectors and as a representative of everyone you accept responsibility for each and every one of them; so visiting the school as Bennett did was his duty. I say Naftali, more power to you.”

JNi.Media

From Segregation to Confrontation – No Nostalgia for Baltimore

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The riots in Baltimore are symptomatic of a world-wide disease that has been spreading for decades: Violence.

I have good memories of a good life in the Golden Ghetto where I grew up in Baltimore but I have no nostalgia, not for the Orioles, not for the peace and quiet in our white-only and Jewish-only neighborhood, not for segregation, not for our black maid and not for integration.

Not even for the Orioles when they beat the Dodgers in the World Series, believe it or not.

Yes, I did write “segregation.” Before 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled against school segregation in the Plessy vs. Ferguson suit, I never questioned the practice. What do you want from an eight-year-old?

Those were the days of law and order, but the deep white hatred of blacks in the south was superior to the rule of law, and it took years of protest marches and the assassination of Martin Luther King before integration in school was accepted.

Jews in my youth in Baltimore, like elsewhere in the Diaspora, always were worried about being politically and socially acceptable. The rabbis, especially the modern Orthodox, Conservative and Reform leaders, always spoke out for the blacks, the same people who rented from Jewish slumlords and worked for minimum wages from Jewish employers who were lucky if their employees showed up for work without being drunk.

Our rabbi marched in Washington in a huge rally for integration. Somehow, he always managed to connect it to the Torah.

Listening to King, one would think that God told the whites in the south, “Let my black people go.” That is what happens when Jews desecrate the Torah to co-exist with non-Jews.

Those were the days of the Limousine Liberals, the rich Jews who were in favor of integration, on condition that it was not in their neighborhood.

Those were the days of peaceful protests. They worked.

Today, they don’t.

There were many blacks in my high school class who studied hard, went to university and became part of the “haves.” Many remained with the have-nots.

When the United States declared “war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks, it was a bit late. It should have started years before and should have been called a war on violence., because violence has been working for decades.

Everyone can come up with his or her own reasons for excuse – liberalism, social media, television, movies and drugs, among others.

Underneath all of them is the undercurrent of “gimme, and if you don’t “gimme,” I will kill you.

Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens has been seen all cross America this week for his rant against violence:

No way. No way. No way can this happen in our city. No. Young kids you got to understand something, get off the streets.

Violence is not the answer. Violence has never been the answer. Freddie Gray, we don’t do nothing for him doing this….

You don’t have any right to do what you’re doing to this city. Too many hard-working people build this city… We know what’s going on. We know the problems. We know there was wrong done. We know we’re not getting the right justice. We know all these answers.

But rioting in our streets is wrong. It’s dead wrong.

 

Lewis is speaking of values. He stated, “It takes a whole village to raise one child. We have to redefine what this looks like. We have to redefine what rebuilding Baltimore looks like. Cause there’s too many people putting real sweat, real tears to make our city a better place.”

His values are not “their” values. “Their” values are violence. “Gimme or violence, take your pick.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Happy Birthday to the People of Israel

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

The first song to be sung at the Passover Seder table tonight should be, “Happy, Birthday to us;  Happy Birthday dear People of Israel; Happy Birthday to us.”

The first time in history that Jews were referred to as the “People of Israel’ was when none other than Pharaoh said so, in Exodus (Shmot), Chapter 1, Verse 9:

He [Pharaoh] said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we are.

The Jews left slavery in Egypt as the People of Israel in the year 2448, which is 3327 years ago, according  to calculations made by Serbian-born Eliezer Shulman when he was exiled to Siberia by the former Soviet Union.

Until Pharaoh’s paranoia, Jews were never referred to as a “people.” The fact that he saw the Jews as a people underscores the insecurity of his idol worshiping regime.

When Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh, they were not representing themselves. They were speaking not only in the name of God but also in the name for the People of Israel, who eventually left Egypt and 40 years later entered the Land of Israel.

Similarly in Numbers (BaMidbar) chapter 22, Balak, the king of Moab, “became terrified of the people, for they were numerous.”

It is easier to confront individuals in a group than confront a group of individuals.

Historians and non-Jewish clerics always have wondered how the Jews have been able to survive the destruction of the Holy Temples, pogroms, exiles and the Holocaust.

They do not understand because they are not Jews, whose spiritual level of faith is inexplicable

Accompanying the faith is the unity of the Jewish people, who always have been strong when united and weak when divided.

The People of Israel won the right to the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 because they were “one,” regardless of observance, political views and tradition.

Some Jews in Israel opposed the establishment of the State of Israel, but once it became fact, it was the unity of the people that allowed it not only to survive but also to be happy and committed to Zionism during the difficult years of constant Arab attacks and economic hardships.

Leaving the country to live elsewhere was considered a shame on a family.

Israel now is an independent country, but it is not truly independent because the People of Israel, which includes Jews from all over the world, are far from unified.

There is a gap of light years between the differences of opinion within Israel and differences between Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora.

In ancient Egypt, there also were differences between Jews. Torah sages say that only 20 percent of the Jews left slavery. The rest were scoffers who preferred the security of slavery than the security of faith, which won the day.

It did then and it continues to do so today, no matter how much Jews in Diaspora claim they are “Zionists” by living outside Israel and demanding that the Jewish state serve their interests instead of those living in Israel.

We overcame Pharaoh, and this too, we will overcome.

 

Happy Birthday to us.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Tel Aviv Follows US Model and Bans School Trips to Western Wall

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Tel Aviv has ordered a school to cancel Bar Mitzvah an eighth-grade Bar Mitzvah trip to the Western Wall in Jerusalem because of “the security situation in Jerusalem.”

City Hall explained that the cancellation of the Bar Mitzvah trip “includes tours of some of the places where violence has recently erupted.”

It turns out ”some places” means Ammunition Hill, the spokeswoman for Tel Aviv told The Jewish Press. The site is one of the most popular places for visitors because of a fierce and deadly battle there against the Jordanian army in the Six-Day War in 1967.

There have been no riots at Ammunition Hill. Nor there have been any Arabs throwing rocks there.

Someone in Tel Aviv must have looked at the map and noticed that Ammunition Hill is two or three minutes from the part of the route of the light rail train that Jerusalem Arabs have targeted on a daily basis. An Arab terrorist last week raced down the path next to a train and ran over anyone in his way, killing a three-month-old baby and another victim who died today.

That doesn’t make Ammunition Hill dangerous and more than it makes an ice hockey arena dangerous because two guys are fighting each other on the ice

If Ammunition Hill were not a safe place to visit, Jerusalem schools would not send dozens of children there every day.

But let’s say that the good citizens of Tel Aviv don’t know any better and are paranoid. The school tour no doubt wanted to include a visit to Ammunition Hill on the Bar Mitzvah trip, but why did it throw out the baby with the bath water and deprive the children of the Bar Mitzvah experience at the Western Wall instead of simply taking Ammunition Hill off of the schedule?

Tel Aviv’s reaction is as if it were in the Diaspora.

Hundreds of American Jews this past summer cancelled trips to Israel because of the war against Hamas, which attacked most of Israel with missiles, even though almost all of the rockets that reached the metropolitan area were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.

The U.S. Embassy last week ordered its personnel not to travel on the light rail trains in Jerusalem because of the terrorist attack

The clueless and frightened ghetto-like reaction of the United States and Tel Aviv is the perfect response to encourage terrorists, who have two objectives. One is to kill Jews. The other is for Jews to go elsewhere – first Tel Aviv, and then the United States, or any other place where radical Islam has not yet taken over.

Cancelling a school trip to the Western Wall because of one nearby trouble spot makes as much sense as Jerusalem’s banning traveling to Tel Aviv because of fatal accidents on Tel Aviv’s inner city Ayalon highway or Mafia murders in broad daylight that often catch innocent bystanders in crossfire or simply target the wrong people.

Jerusalem’s deputy mayor Rachel Azaria called Tel Aviv’s ban “outrageous.”

Thousands of Jerusalem children and adults travel every day to the Western Wall. There also are visits to Ammunition Hill without incident. There is no requirement to take the light rail train..

Ammunition Hill in quieter times.

Ammunition Hill in quieter times.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Only 12 Jews Left in Egypt, Community Leader Says

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Only 12 Jews remain in Egypt, the remnant of a community of some 100,000 that lived there until the 1950s, the community’s leader said.

“We are dying, we are drowning, we are finished,” Jewish community head Magda Haroun told the BBC in an interview broadcast on Sept. 18.

Haroun said that her “first duty is to take care of the human beings,” the remaining Jews, “the old ladies which have no family, are alone.”

“And my second duty and most important one is these things that will never die,” she said, pointing to the religious and ritual objects.

Most of Egypt’s Jews left in the 1950s and 1960s when Egypt and Israel were at war and Jews were accused of being spies.

Haroun was elected head of the Jewish community in April 2013 following the death of Carmen Weinstein. At the time there were about 40 Jews in Egypt, mostly elderly women split between Cairo and Alexandria.

Her father, Chehata Haroun, was a nationalist politician who was anti-Zionist.

JTA

Israelis Fiercely Oppose Inter-Marriage

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Three-quarters of Israeli Jews and nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs would not marry someone from a different religion, according to a Dialog poll conducted by Haaretz this week.

The survey found that opposition to interfaith relationships was highest among Haredi Jews, at 95 percent, while 88 percent of traditional and religious Jews and 64 percent of secular Jews also opposed inter-dating.

Seventy-one percent of Muslim Israeli Arabs opposed interfaith relationships, but only half of Christian Israeli Arabs were opposed.

Across religious denominations, Israeli Jews would be much more opposed to their relatives marrying Arabs than they would be to relatives marrying non-Arab non-Jews. Only a third of secular Jewish Israelis would be opposed to a relative marrying an American or European Christian, but a majority would oppose a relative marrying an Arab. Seventy-two percent of Israeli Jews overall would be opposed to a relative marrying an Arab.

Last week, a small far-right group protested in Jaffa outside the wedding of an Israeli Arab and a Jewish-born Israeli who converted to Islam.

Intermarriage rage in Israel used to be minimal but has grown to approximately to five percent nationwide, and only 1 per cent of less in Judea and Samaria.

The primary cause for the rise increase is the large-scale immigration of Jews from the former Soviet bloc. Approximately 300,000 immigrated even though only the father was Jewish. A child is Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, regardless of the religion of the father, according to Jewish law.

Not surprisingly, opposition to intermarriage was lowest among immigrants from the former Soviet Union. More than half would avoid having a relationship with a non-Jew, but if they were to fall in love with a non-Jew, only 35 percent would insist their spouse convert.

Two-thirds of Israeli Jews see intermarriage as a serious threat to Jews worldwide, and one-third see it as a serious threat to Jews in Israel.

The rate of intermarriage in the United States has shot up to more than 60 percent.

JTA

Bomb Scare Forces Evacuation of Australian Jewish School

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

More than 200 students at the King David School in Melbourne, Australia were moved off the campus after 8 a.m. Thursday when security personnel found an abandoned van containing a suspicious object near the school.

The Australian Jewish community’s Community Security Group alerted local police, and the department’s Bomb Response Unit used a remote-controlled robot to examine the van. The van did not contain explosives, and the campus was declared safe at approximately 11 a.m.

“While this did prove to be a false alarm, parents should rest assured that the security and safety of our students is our highest priority,” King David principal Marc Light wrote in a letter to parents Thursday.

The school makes “no apologies” for following security protocols, Light told local media.

“We haven’t had any specific threat to the school or to our students whatsoever,” he said.

The false alarm came hours before protesters gathered in Sydney near the opening of the Israeli Film Festival after a judge had blocked the planned protest outside the cinema.

Nevertheless, some protesters handed out leaflets to people entering the cinema urging a boycott of the festival, calling it part of a “charm offensive” to present Israel in a favorable light and to “disguise and legitimize the oppression of Palestinians.”

Inside, Albert Dadon, founder of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which organizes the film festival, told the audience that he had started telling his children to be careful.

“I didn’t think in Australia I’d have to do that,” Dadon said.

The festival, in its 11th year, will screen in major cities across Australia for the next two weeks.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bomb-scare-forces-evacuation-of-australian-jewish-school/2014/08/21/

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