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February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘exodus’

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.

Passover Guide for the Perplexed, 2014

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

1.  The Passover legacy constitutes the foundation of Judaism, and is therefore included in most Jewish blessings (“in memory of the Exodus”).  Passover symbolizes the rejuvenation of nature and mankind, spiritually and physically, individually and collectively/nationally.  Passover stipulates that human rejuvenation – just like the rejuvenation of nature – must be driven by memory/history/roots.   Therefore, parents are instructed to educate their children about the lessons of Passover. Passover was an early – and much more successful – edition of the (19th century) Spring of Nations.  It is celebrated in the spring, the bud of nature.  The biblical scroll of Song of Songs, which highlights spring, is read during Passover.  Spring, Aviv in Hebrew (אביב) consists of two Hebrew words: Father – אב - of 12 – יב – months/tribes.  Spring is mentioned 3 times in the Torah, all in reference to the Exodus.  Passover – which commemorates the creation of the Jewish nation – lasts seven days, just like the creation of the universe.

2.  Passover is the oldest Jewish national liberation holiday, highlighting the comprehensive nature of Judaism: religion, nationality, culture/morality, language and history.  Passover underlines the centrality of spiritual, physical, individual and national liberty and optimism, playing a critical role in preserving Judaism, Jews and the yearning to reconstruct the Jewish Homeland during the super-challenging 40 years in the desert and the 2,500 years of exiles, destruction, pogroms, the Holocaust, wars and terrorism.

Passover – the role model of faith, education, morality, responsibility and governance driven liberty – interacts with Shavou’ot/Pentecost – the role model of morality. Liberty and morality are mutually-inclusive.  The interdependence of liberty and morality distinguishes Western democracies from rogue regimes – a clash of civilizations.

The Hebrew word for “responsibility” – אחריות – encompasses the word “liberty” – חירות.  It begins with the leading letter in the Hebrew alphabet, א, and ends with the last letter of the alphabet, ת – encompassing the total responsibility of leadership.

The Exodus is mentioned 50 times in the Torah, equal to the 50 years of the Jubilee, a time of liberation. 50 days following the Exodus, Moses received the Torah (the Pentecost Holiday), which includes – according to Jewish tradition – 50 gates of Wisdom.  What does that mean for the 50 States in the USA, whose Hebrew name is ארצות הברית – the States of the Covenant?!

According to Heinrich Heine, the 19th century German poet, “Since the Exodus, freedom has always spoken with a Hebrew accent.”

3. Passover, and especially the Exodus/Liberty, were the pillars of fire guiding the twelve tribes of Israel, and the thirteen American colonies, from subjugation to sovereignty. The Passover legacy comprises a critical part of the American story. Moses, the US Founding Fathers and Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, were challenged by the “loyalists,” who were intimidated by the price/sacrifice of liberty, preferring subjugation to Egypt, the British King and the British Mandate. They featured in prior editions of the clash of civilizations against Pharaoh, the British monarchy and church and the Arab/Muslim world.  The latter still rejects non-Muslim (“infidel”) sovereignty in any area considered – by Muslims – to be the abode of Islam (e.g., Spain and Portugal, southern France, Israel, etc.).

4.  Passover’s centrality in the American culture, state of mind and ethos has been evident from the 17th century Pilgrims and the 18th century Founding Fathers, until today. The Pilgrims considered Britain “the modern day Egypt,” the British king was “the modern day Pharaoh,” the sail through the Atlantic Ocean was “the modern day parting of the sea” and America was “the modern day Promised Land/New Canaan.” In 1775, the president of Harvard University, Samuel Langdon, said that “the Jewish government [that God handed down to Moses] was a perfect republic.” Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense (the cement of the 1776 Revolution) referred to King George as “the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England.”  The root of the term Federalism is “Foedus,” the Latin word for “The Covenant.” The Founding Fathers studied the political structure of the semi-independent 12 Tribes (the colonies), which were governed by tribal presidents (the governors) and by Moses (the Executive), Aaron (the Judiciary) and the 70 Elders (the Legislature). John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin proposed the “Parting of the Sea” as the official US seal. George Washington and John Adams, the first and second presidents, were compared to Moses and Joshua. Washington was eulogized as Moses and Virginia was compared to Goshen.

Elissa Strauss, Are You on our Side or on the Side of our Enemies?

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

I know it’s the Internet, so people tend to assume they already know what I’ve written, and form an opinion regardless of what’s actually in the text. So for you—and you know who you are—let me state emphatically that the purpose of this article is not to stifle debate, or opposition, or protest, or criticism of Jewish settlements, but to discourage joining with enemies of Jews to boycott Jews wherever they are. Got it? Not stifling debate – stifling open acts of economic warfare against your own people with whom you disagree.

You’re still going to comment that I’m stifling debate, aren’t you.

In her insightful and honest piece in the Forward this week, Confessions of a Disengaged Young Jew – How Birthright and Hillel Turned Me Off to Israel, Elissa Strauss is offering crucial evidence to the fact that the final smelting of the Jewish nation from all the riffraff that have attached themselves to it since the exodus is well on its way.

The people of Israel traveled from Raamses to Sukkot, some six hundred thousand men on foot, not counting children. And the riffraff also went up with them, as well as livestock in large numbers, both flocks and herds. (Ex. 12:37-38)

The Hebrew word, Erev Rav, literally means “mob of disconnected people,” synonym: Assafsuf, meaning rabble or riffraff.

The Exodus was a cleansing moment in human history, and, obviously, in Jewish history. The Midrash tells us that a full 80 percent of the Israelites were not redeemed from Egypt, because they did not slaughter the Pascal lamb and did not smear their doorposts with its blood.

So, only 20 percent of the Israelites dared embark on the road to liberation with Moses. But they didn’t leave alone. Rashi tells us that the Erev Rav were a mix of nations of converts who were swept by the rush of the Hebrew slaves to freedom.

Rashi also offers a telling commentary on Exodus 32:7, right after the orgiastic gold calf episode: God said to Moshe, “Go down! Hurry! Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have become corrupt!” Rashi notes that the verse doesn’t say “the people” but “your people,” meaning the riffraff whom you accepted on your own, and converted them without asking me, because you said it would be a good thing for them to come close to the Divine Emanation – and they are corrupt and corrupted others.

Those two key phenomena have never ceased to be an essential part of our history. Every century or so, wherever we are, we lose about 80 percent of our people for a variety of reasons, some historical, some emotional, some economical. And throughout our existence, until the arrival of the redeemer, we will have in our midst the riffraff.

Referring to the Pew Research Center study on American Jewry, Elissa Strauss notes that more and more young American Jews “are moving in my direction, distancing themselves from Israel altogether. This isn’t so much about Zionism versus anti-Zionism as it is about not bothering at all.”

That’s the first Jewish phenomenon: as the American diaspora matures, having had a century or so of prosperity, its staggering, original high number of 6 million is plummeting rapidly to about one fifth of that. The combination of simple assimilation and mixed marriages, with the outright canonization of intermarriage by some movements, have been slicing American Jewry into roughly 20 percent observant, meaning concerned about their Jewish extended family and nation, and 80 percent everything else.

Elissa Strauss, though, also represents the other phenomenon as well. “I just couldn’t juggle the experience of Tel Aviv’s lively beaches, the serene intensity of Friday evenings at the Kotel, and the sadness and shame I feel when I hear about life in Gaza and the West Bank.”

Hotels Prepare for the Great Passover Exodus

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Preparations are in full swing in nearly 150 destinations throughout the world to accommodate upward of 50,000 Jews who will be spending Passover in hotels, resorts, and other facilities.

Israeli hoteliers are expecting a better than usual season, led by such flagship hotels as the David Citadel, the Jerusalem Ramada Renaissance, Inbal, and the King David in Jerusalem and more than 50 other hotels in other parts of the country.

Some of the world’s most luxurious properties will be among the choice destinations. Among the properties participating in Passover programs are such overseas destinations as the Villa Ariston in Tuscany, Italy, Hotel Itapemar in Ilhabela, Brazil, the Rixos Hotel in Dubrovnik, My Kosher in the Italian Dolomites, the Grand Hotel on the Italian Adriatic Coast, and the Ritz Carlton in Cancun, Mexico.

Some of the U.S. destinations include the Westin Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs CA; the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Orlando FL; the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego CA; The Westin, Henderson NV; Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix AZ, Westin Diplomat, Hollywood FL; and the new program by the Prime Group at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, CA.

Boston Survivor on Why the Holocaust Can Never be Forgotten

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Eta Gluzband tells Yishai her Holocaust survival story with all the twists and turns that comes with such a harrowing story while evading the Nazis. Gluzband moves on to talk about how following the war, she was a passenger on the Haganah ship Exodus and how it took three years and a trip back to Europe before she could finally reach Israel. As Yishai and Eta talk, the manhunt for the second Boston bomber was taking place outside her home in the streets of Boston. Be sure to listen in to this amazing and inspiring story!

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

The Story of Israel’s Independence

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Scene 1

Enter the shackled. Enter the despondent, wretched souls. Enter the man and woman, boy and girl, deemed “menace to society,” destined to roam endlessly about. Number the stars upon their lapels and the Chai’s upon the chains that grace their necks. Note the fire in their eyes and the resilience in their hearts. See the laws they transcribed from the lips of Hashem, the bulwark of civilization.

Let the backdrop be constructed, the set pieces raised onstage. Livid and malevolent minor characters fill the void, the dark world of apathy and contempt. They seek redemption, to purge themselves from their nightmares and their guilty conscience. They would fly away if they had the means. But instead, they gather scapegoats and project their hate onto the usual suspects. These be our antagonists.

Scene 2

Enter the dreamer, the conceiver of a noble and ambitious project. Distraught over the subjugation of his people, he deems it necessary to act and to will the dream into being. There are no doubts in his mind, no second thoughts. He is sure of the task in front of him and the weight he must carry. The weight of millions alive and yet to be born. He is blessed with a burden, an obligation to freedom. He yearns for the soil, the earth that gave birth to his people.  That old-new land inspires the once and future kings and queens of Zion.

Our protagonists dash. Like lightning, they hurry across the stage. They ascend and journey to that land, that they read of in their Book, that land that they dreamed of in their slumber, that they trembled for, that they dared to desire in Godforsaken places, where evil men attempted to quench their spirit. “Next year,” they whispered. “Next year in Jerusalem.” They come and go in waves. They come by the thousands. But the dream is not yet fully realized.

Scene 3

Let the lights be dimmed and the sea of humanity be tossed and turned about. Let the audience wretch at the putrid stench of the bodies stacked miles high. Feel the flames of the ovens as the sparks hit your flesh. Hear these screams, these shrieks that will remain nameless, faceless. A grandmother here or there. A young boy cursed by his age. A Rabbi made to dig his own grave. A ravine from which they must all jump. Breathe in this air, this foul air. Let it consume your lungs. But avert not your eyes, for you must always remember this, this carnage, this culmination of libels and pogroms. Etch these souls onto your bones. See this and engrave these six million in your heart.

Look how our protagonists now command the world’s attention. See how the globe convulses at its crimes. Of apathy. Of evil. Of genocide. Yet, see how the longing for the land increases, how determination abounds. Let the new Exodus begin, the glorious journey to Zion. Let the ground bring forth its food and the towers be constructed. Let the ancient settlements spring forth anew and the first to Zion rejoice. Let humanity sing, and The City of Peace be painted in gold. For our protagonists have done it. They have triumphed.

Epilogue

This is for you. This is for you, oh man and woman, boy and girl. I can trace the laugh lines of your 65 years across your beautiful terrain. I know your worth and your virtue. They speak of you in paradise. Your spirit is infinite.

So take my hand and walk this land with me. For this is a production of epic proportions. This is Judah’s manifest destiny. This is the uncanny persistence of his youth, the anthem of his old. The memory of his fallen, the battle cry of his founders. The depth of his texts, the blast of his trumpet. This is the no more huddled, no more wretched. This is Judah’s voice, no longer whispered but bellowed. No longer stifled but liberated. So sing it, scream it, shout it until your lungs bursts, not of gas but of joy. Not of sorrow but of delight. Let Judah roar and his enemies quiver in fear and let the song of his people resound throughout the earth. Am Yisrael Chai.

Dewey Stone: Unsung Hero of Israeli Independence

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

When most people think of the refugee ship “Exodus,” the Paul Newman movie and Leon Uris novel on which it was based come to mind. But not many people know that one of the heroes behind the real-life Exodus was American businessman Dewey D. Stone.

Stone’s role in purchasing ships and weapons—under the nose of the FBI—and helping to orchestrate the founding of Israel is the subject of a new documentary, “The Dewey Stone Connection: From Exodus to Independence.”

The film is the result of a five-year effort headed up by Walter M. Newman, who grew up a few blocks from Stone’s house.

Newman – a retired official with the Environmental Protection Agency who helped supervise the Boston Harbor cleanup – was researching the founding of Israel and noticed that Stone’s name “kept popping up,” he said in a phone interview in January shortly after the film’s first public showing and a month before his death at age 76.

Newman scoured the records at the American Jewish Historical Society office in Boston, where Stone’s papers are archived. “There were so many things, so many wonderful things,” he said. “It was an eye-opening experience.”

Stone was swept up in the cause of the Palestinian Jews after hearing a speech in 1940 by Chaim Weizmann, the head of the World Zionist Organization and later the first president of Israel. A renowned chemist, Weizmann was in Boston drumming up support for a research university in a future Jewish state.

After his talk, Weizmann invited Stone and a few others back to his hotel room, where they chatted until the wee hours of the morning. The next day, Stone drove Weizmann to Harvard, where he was giving another speech. On the way, they stopped in front of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – the very model of the university Weizmann sought to build.

After the war, as the full extent of the Holocaust became apparent, Stone worked behind the scenes on both military and diplomatic efforts to forge a Jewish state.

Suspecting the FBI was tapping his phone, Stone made calls from his sister’s house to procure ships and surplus U.S. weapons. In the documentary, nephew Ted Teplow, of Cambridge, Mass., recalls being up in his bedroom doing homework and overhearing his uncle on the phone. “We were all told not to talk about it,” Teplow, now 84, said in a phone interview.

Unlike in the 1960 movie, the real Exodus, carrying Holocaust survivors from France to Palestine in 1947, was rammed by a British destroyer just a few miles off the coast of Palestine, then under British control. Its 4,500 passengers were sent to a displaced-persons camp in Germany, the very nation that had persecuted them. Eventually, the majority of passengers settled in Israel. Meanwhile, worldwide outrage over the refugees’ plight helped bolster the push to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

Stone also played an important role in that push. His brother Judge Harry K. Stone had become acquainted with Anastasio Somoza when the Nicaraguan dictator was in Boston for surgery in the 1930s. At the time, the Stone family owned Converse Rubber Co., maker of raincoats and shoes (and later, most famously, Chuck Taylor sneakers).

The brothers thought it would be good publicity for the company to host a reception for Somoza. Somoza, who had been miffed that the U.S. government had ignored his presence, was delighted by the attention and became close friends with Judge Stone, naming him honorary consul. That relationship paid off a decade later when Dewey and Harry Stone enlisted the Somoza regime to rally Latin American support that proved crucial for UN approval of the partition plan.

But just a few months before Israel was to declare independence, the State Department persuaded President Truman to reject its recognition. Truman went so far as to shut the White House doors to Zionists. Weizmann, who was waiting anxiously in New York, expressed his frustration to Stone in a meeting on March 12, 1948. That night a visibly shaken Stone returned to Boston, where he was honored at a B’nai B’rith dinner along with Frank Goldman, the national head of the organization.

Hearing about Weizmann’s predicament, Goldman said he might have a solution. He had just attended a Kansas City B’nai B’rith event recognizing Eddie Jacobson, who had been Truman’s partner in a clothing store business. Why not see if Jacobson would intervene with his old pal, Goldman suggested.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/dewey-stone-unsung-hero-of-israeli-independence/2013/04/04/

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