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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘hotel’

New Hampshire’s Jew Pond Officially Renamed

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A federal board changed the name of a pond in a small New Hampshire town from Jew Pond to Carleton Pond.

The name change by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names comes six months after Mont Vernon residents voted for a name change. The new name honors one of the town’s founding families.

Richard Masters, the town’s health officer, had called for the change two years ago, saying the name was disrespectful and offensive. Masters had learned of the official name of the recreational water hole while investigating an algae bloom on the pond.

The body of water had been known as Jew Pond since the 1920s, though there are no signs to that effect. The name, however, does appear on maps.

Dug near a hotel and golf complex, the manmade pond originally was called Spring Pond, but reportedly became known as Jew Pond after two Jewish businessmen bought the hotel and its grounds. They intended to make the pond bigger and call it Lake Serene, according to The Associated Press.

The pond is now located in Carleton Park on land donated by George Carleton.

New Hampshire’s Jew Pond Officially Renamed

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A federal board changed the name of a pond in a small New Hampshire town from Jew Pond to Carleton Pond.

The name change by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names comes six months after Mont Vernon residents voted for a name change. The new name honors one of the town’s founding families.

Richard Masters, the town’s health officer, had called for the change two years ago, saying the name was disrespectful and offensive. Masters had learned of the official name of the recreational water hole while investigating an algae bloom on the pond.

The body of water had been known as Jew Pond since the 1920s, though there are no signs to that effect. The name, however, does appear on maps.

Dug near a hotel and golf complex, the manmade pond originally was called Spring Pond, but reportedly became known as Jew Pond after two Jewish businessmen bought the hotel and its grounds. They intended to make the pond bigger and call it Lake Serene, according to The Associated Press.

The pond is now located in Carleton Park on land donated by George Carleton.

Nervous Anticipation of Iranian Terror Attack over Holiday Season; Israeli Soccer Team under Heavy Restrictions Abroad

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Over the past few weeks, the Israeli counter terrorism command approached national security forces in Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, and Thailand, requesting that they increase both the overt overt security for Israeli tourists who will be traveling to these countries during the Tishrei holiday period (Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah) when hundreds of thousands of Israelis are expected to visit abroad, Israel Today reported.

According to a senior official in the counter terrorism command, “Iran is conducting a terror campaign against Israelis abroad, utilizing its satellite, the Hizbollah.”

According to him, “the terror campaign did not top at Burgas, Bulgaria.” In addition to concrete warnings about a possible terrorist attack on Israelis in the Sinai, there is no other alert about plans for a terror attack in the immediate future anywhere else.

According to the counter terrorism official, the Sinai peninsula is today under the most serious terror threats. He estimates that there are thousands of Israelis in the Sinai, most of them Arab-Israelis, and only a small number of Jews. “True, there aren’t many, but one or two is enough for them to kidnap to Gaza or some other place,” he stated. “The terror organizations in Gaza as well as other forces are continuing their operations there, with a focus on kidnapping Israelis in the Sinai in the immediate future.”

The command noted that for Rosh Hashanah approximately 30,000 Israelis are traveling to Uman in the Ukraine, to celebrate the high holiday near the tomb of Reb Nachman of Breslov. Israel has already requested the Ukrainian government to increase security in the area.

However, there are no new travel warnings for Israelis and no new countries added to the list where Israelis may not travel.

The counter terrorism command remarked that in the end the responsibility for Israeli tourists falls on their host countries. The official said that the counter terrorism command is trying to involve travel agents as well, although they are also not responsible for the security of the tourists.

Maariv reported that an entire airport was closed as Eli Gutman, coach of Israel’s national soccer team, and his players, landed in Azerbaijan for Friday’s 7 PM game in the early rounds of the 2014 world Cup.

All traffic in the airport was brought to a standstill, enabling the Israelis to move under heavy security from the plane to their hotel in Baku. The team received strict security instructions because of an active terror alert. The players were asked not to leave their hotel.

During the security briefing in the hotel, the staff and the athletes were told: “Be patient. You see the security here. It’s not for no naught. There are warnings, even hot warnings. You are being asked not to leave the hotel. You will have practice and then come right back to the hotel. You will go out to a game – and then right back. There’s just no other way.”

The security briefing was conducted as soon as the team arrived at the hotel.

Practice will take place Thursday at the stadium where the game is scheduled to take place Friday. 30,000 Azerbaijani spectators have already reserved seats for the game.

Pakistani Owner of Swanky Santa Monica Hotel: “Get the [expletive] Jews out of my Pool”

Monday, July 30th, 2012

An upscale hotel on a Santa Monica, California, beach is an odd place to be singled out from a crowd and removed because you are Jewish, but that’s what happened to 18 young professionals who are telling their story to a jury in a discrimination trial taking place in Santa Monica Superior Court this week.

Ari Ryan is the grandson of a Ukranian Jew who lost most of his family in the Holocaust and narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Nazis.  Ryan’s grandfather moved to Israel in 1942 and served as a captain in the Israel Defense Forces.

Seventy years later Ryan says he got a small taste of what his grandfather lived through, but rather than in the forests of the Ukraine, it took place at an upscale hotel in Santa Monica.  Ryan and more than a dozen others have brought a lawsuit alleging anti-Semitic discrimination against them by a multi-millionaire Muslim American hotel owner.

Two years ago Ryan and other twenty- and thirty-something Jews planned to raise money to send children of fallen IDF soldiers to camp with a charity event at the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California.

On the morning of July 11, 2010, Ryan and others arrived at the hotel and began setting up Friends of the IDF banners, literature and piles of shirts for the event guests.

But the event was aborted after, according to one employee’s sworn testimony, the hotel’s owner told staff members, “Get the [expletive deleted] Jews out of my pool.”  Then the hotel security and other employees began removing the materials and ordering the guests to leave.

Ryan said,  “Anyone wearing a blue wristband,” which identified them as being with the Friends of the IDF, “was asked to get out of the swimming pool and the hot tub.”  In fact, no one who was identifiable as Jewish was so much as “allowed to dip their feet in the water.”

Tehmina (Tamie) Adaya, a Pakistani-American Muslim, is the owner of the Shangri-La.  Her father, Ahmad Adaya, was a founding partner of the California real estate company IDS Real Estate Group.  He also was a founder and benefactor of the New Horizon School for Muslim religious education in Southern California.

The father bought the Shangri-La Hotel in the 1980‘s and the daughter took it over in 2004, investing $30 million to renovate the property into a design award-winning opulent destination. In addition to the hotel, Adaya runs an upscale artist collective called the Crown Jewels which she blogs about at her site “Culture Shock to Culture Architect.

In the cross-complaint she initially filed, Adaya claimed Ryan and his friends were trespassing on the Shangri-La property and became unruly.

“Not so,” said James Turken, managing partner of the California office of the DC-based law firm Dickstein, Shapiro, attorney for the plaintiffs.  He explained that Adaya withdrew her complaint after he interviewed her, under oath, and she was unable to substantiate any of the allegations she had made.

Turken told The Jewish Press that witnesses will testify that, in addition to cursing the Jews and yelling at her staff to remove them from the pool, Adaya was heard saying, “my family will disown me,” and that her “investors will be furious,” if the plaintiffs remained on site.

The defense claims there was no discrimination and that, instead, the promoters of the event had failed to properly schedule the event with the hotel, and therefore they were trespassing.

According to Turken, however, all the necessary arrangements had been made in advance, as evidenced by the initial assistance provided by the Shangri-La employees, which included putting up a rope and stanchions and a check-in table.  What’s more, he said, the day before the event “the head of hotel security gave a briefing to the staff to prepare them for the crowd of 150 that were expected to attend.”

The removal from the pool of Jews who were wearing Jewish-identified wristbands evokes a similar selection process of seventy years ago.  Ryan, recalling his grandfather’s legacy, said “I felt the weight of standing up to what he had to live through.”

The plaintiffs are seeking $ 1 million from Adaya and the Shangri-La Hotel for emotional distress, attorneys’ fees and other statutory damages.

Hillary: She Was Radiant, She Was Funny, and She Was Almost Two Hours Late

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The lobby of the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem was quiet and calm on Monday evening as journalists trickled in to see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak as part of her 13-day foreign tour. The atmosphere before the event was subdued, with only a few Israeli soldiers and navy blue, blazer-clad security agents milling about to give away the magnitude of what was coming.

After going through an intense security screening, we awaited her arrival…and waited. And waited.

About 45 minutes after she was scheduled to begin, there was still no sign of her. The anticipation and excitement were building as chatter filled the press room. A lady then took the microphone…to tell the crowd that Hillary would be another 40 minutes.

Finally, at close to 10:45 PM, an hour and forty-five minutes later than promised, Hillary stepped up to the podium.

When she entered, the sound of flashing cameras immediately flooded the room. It was the only noise to be heard—minus the soft click-clacking of her shoes.

She looked serene, calm and prepared.

It was a short conference, lasting less time than the wait for her arrival. She spoke for a few minutes about her recent trip to Egypt and reiterated her commitment to peace in the Middle East. It was clear that she knew what topics would be asked about, as her eyes regularly glanced down to her notes before she responded. Even so, there was one answer that was not so expected, and actually yielded a quite shocking response:

Speaking about the fate of Jonathan Pollard, Secretary Clinton said she believed that he would never be freed from his life sentence in America. The room was stunned by the blunt nature of the statement, and jolted as that harsh reality was brought out into the open.

Clinton’s politics have been discussed only slightly more than her appearance in the media. It’s often to my disappointment (if she were a man, it would never be such a point of discussion), but I will say that she was poised, confident and well put-together. Known for pastel colors, the Secretary of State updated the inevitable pants suit look to a clean black and cream.

The media often use the pants suits as fuel to criticize a masculine air, but tonight Secretary Clinton was both feminine and assertive. She even generated laughter in the room a couple of times. A few days ago tomatoes and shoes were thrown at her motorcade in Egypt, but Clinton remained un-phased, even joking that she felt bad that good tomatoes were wasted. When referencing the incident seriously, she explained it as people expressing a new type of freedom, even though their assumptions and conclusions were wrong.

A busy woman, it was clear that she was tired. But she charmed the crowd when, in the beginning, she said that although her traveling team is anxious to get home, she’d like to be hanging out in Jerusalem.

Personally, I also wish we could have hung out with her for a little longer in the holy city. The room covered the basics, such as Iran’s nuclear threat and U.S. involvement in the future, but we were still left with unanswered questions. One reporter made a last attempt by shouting that he wanted to ask about Turkey as Hillary stepped out of the room. Whisked away immediately to her awaiting motorcade, Clinton did not respond to the shout.

In reference to Egypt’s current situation, Clinton said, “Never in the 5,000-year history of Egypt have they ever had this opportunity or challenge.”

The Obama Administration doesn’t have 5,000 years. With Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel only a month away, Obama’s side needs its Israel creds to garner the Jewish American vote.

Yitzchak Shamir – Israel’s Least Appreciated Prime Minister

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

I’m not sure which is sadder, the fact that Yitzchak Shamir has died or that people didn’t really know that he was still alive. For Shamir certainly was Israel’s least appreciated Prime Minister, despite presiding over some of the state’s greatest achievements.

And what was that principal achievement? He kept the people safe. Few died under his watch. He resisted international pressure for Israel to make concessions that would have led directly to buses blowing up.

As a Yeshiva student in Jerusalem for two years of Shamir’s premiership, I remember how safe the streets were. This was a time before security guards were posted at the door of most restaurants and department stores, which largely continues till today. Why? Because Shamir was adamant. He would make no territorial compromises that would endanger Israel’s security. He would sign no Oslo agreements where the Jewish state would agree to arm some of its most lethal enemies. He would not even speak to Yasser Arafat let along countenance bringing him back to the West Bank with a small army, disguised as a police force, to set up a terror regime with Israel’s assistance.

Shamir was not perfect. In particular, when it came to the economy he was weak. I remember the hyper-inflation in Jerusalem that saw nearly everyone trading American dollars on the black market (the official white market exchange rate paid pennies on the dollar) because of Israel’s falling currency. But economics was not his strong suit. Protecting Jewish life was.

I came to know Mr. Shamir quite well when I hosted him at the University of Oxford in the mid-90’s. He seemed all but forgotten even then and told me that his dramatic drop in popularity in Israel had been due to the euphoria over the premiership of Yitzchak Rabin and his dramatic overtures for peace. He told me this with a touch of resignation. It seemed he did feel underappreciated. More importantly, he seemed to divine the coming catastrophe. It would take the murder of some 1500 Israeli civilians (proportionally equivalent to about 70,000 Americans) and the rise of countless suicide bombings for the Israeli people to realize that Shamir’s ironclad commitment to hold on to vital security territories and not allow the PLO and Hamas to set up shop in Gaza and Ramallah was what kept terrorists out.

I spent about four days with Shamir, taking him – with a heavy police escort – to tourist destinations all around Oxfordshire. He wanted to stand at the grave of Winston Churchill and we travelled to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock nearby. Apparently, the great statesmen had tried to have Shamir arrested when he was head of Lehi. Now, Shamir, diminutive in appearance but a giant in stature, loomed over the great Prime Minister’s grave paying him homage and telling me that Churchill was an inspired man of rare greatness.

Shamir impressed all he met with his humility, warmth, and commitment to Judaism despite not being religious. I walked in on him and his wife as they were having lunch at the hotel where we put them up. Startled, he told me was embarrassed because the food was not kosher. I assured him I took no offense and was grateful for the many days he gave me and my students and the outstanding lecture he had given at the Oxford Union. Still, he said, he was raised to respect Rabbis and Judaism.

Many Arab students came to the large lecture he delivered and he responded respectfully to their questions. He said he had no animosity toward Arabs whatsoever and did not see them as Israel’s natural enemies. On the contrary, he felt that Israel’s success as a democracy gave hope to the Arab residents surrounding Israel that they too could one day live in free societies with real elections.

After our time together in Oxford I became a regular visitor to his office in Tel Aviv in Beit Amot Hamishpat, where the Israeli government provides offices for former premiers. Shamir’s office could not have been more sparse. I would walk in and by and large he would be listening to the radio. Remarkably, it was one of those rigged, junk contraptions with a hanger serving as antenna. He would always emerge from behind his desk, broad smile on his face, and greet me and my children warmly. We would spend about an hour together and he never once suggested that he did not have time to greet me or discuss whatever was on my mind.

Parshas Korach: ‘Impulsive Wealth’

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

In 1978, Michael Aun won the Toastmaster’s International Speaking contest in Vancouver. He remarks that although he is well-known for winning the contest in 1978, he lost it in 1977 in Toronto, because he went seven seconds over his allotted time. In his words, “Do you know what you do after you lose a contest because of seven seconds? You go up to your hotel room and you cry. But after a while, you realize that you can go for it again. A year later I won it in Vancouver. I often say that we have to remember that you often have to go through Toronto in order to get to Vancouver.”

That’s the way winner’s think. Winner’s focus on their strengths; losers focus on their weakness. Winners are challenged by defeat while losers are paralyzed by defeat. What everyone remembers about Michael Aun is his triumph in Vancouver. But they soon forget the defeats.

Losers spend their time in the pursuit of happiness; winners spend their time in the happiness of the pursuit.

Winners search for the challenges; losers search for security!

The tragic rebellion of Korach is of the saddest accounts of the nation’s travails in the desert. Rashi[1] asks, if Korach was such a distinguished and clever individual what prompted him to mount a rebellion against Moshe Rabbeinu, the leader of Klal Yisroel?

Rashi answers that Korach’s eyes caused him to err. Korach prophetically saw that holy leaders and great individuals would emerge from his progeny, including Shmuel Hanavi, who in his time, was as great as Moshe and Aharon combined. Korach concluded that if such greatness was to emerge from him he could not allow himself to be denied greater prestige and influence. He was convinced that the merit of his erstwhile descendants would protect him, and that he had a responsibility to achieve greater renown for their sake.

Rav Avrohom Pam zt’l[2] noted that Korach should have reached the exact opposite conclusion. If he was to father such great personages he should have seen it as beneath his dignity to incite an imbroglio against Moshe. He should have concluded that it does not befit the ancestor of Shmuel Hanavi to dispute the leader of Klal Yisroel over honor and glory.

The true initiator of Korach’s tragic rebellion was his wife. She would deride him for being silent and unassuming. “Whenever Moshe blows the trumpet, you and your fellow porters come running to shlep the Holy Ark to its next location. For someone so distinguished you are treated like a nobody. Moshe ensured that his closest family members have all of the most distinguished positions, but you get nothing!” Eventually her inflammatory remarks provoked Korach to challenge Moshe’s authority.

In Mishlei (28:20) it says, “One who is impatient to become rich will not become exonerated.” The Medrash applies this verse to Korach. Korach couldn’t wait to enjoy the honor and greatness he anticipated from his descendants and so he tried to grasp it prematurely. The results proved disastrous.

Yirmiyahu (17:11) warns us, “One who amasses wealth unjustly will lose it in the middle of his days.” Prima facie, the prophets foreboding words seem puzzling. Aren’t there many individuals who employ unethical means to achieve wealth and prominence, and then seem to enjoy the fruits of their unscrupulous actions in comfort?

Rav Pam explained that such individuals represent the greatest tragedy of all. There are individuals who are predestined to become wealthy for whatever divine reason. G-d has ordained that somehow they would become rich. Had they not succumbed to immoral activities they would have had their money anyway. Thus they gained absolutely nothing by being dishonest and deceitful. What a tragedy that they could have enjoyed their wealth and not have had to be punished for it in the next world. When the prophet warns of those who will lose their wealth rapidly he is referring to one who is not predestined to become wealthy. All of his schematic efforts will ultimately prove futile and “he will lose it in the middle of his days.”

This concept is not limited to wealth but to honor and prestige too. One can only achieve what G-d wills him to achieve, and all of his efforts will accomplish nothing if it is not meant to be. This was the root of Korach’s fallacious thinking. G-d had planned a glorious future for him, albeit through his descendants. But Korach was impatient and impulsive, and he thought mounting a coup-de-tat could alter his destiny. The error cost him not only his life and the lives of his family and followers, but also his share in the World to Come.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshas-korach-impulsive-wealth/2012/06/21/

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