web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Press’

Housekeeping for God

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The Wailing Wall’s Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and his crew on Sunday removed thousands of handwritten notes placed in the crevices of the ancient Wall, just a stone’s throw down from God’s Mountain (which, in the recent and less recent past has been the site of real stones being thrown, in one direction—you guessed it, the one facilitated by gravity).

It’s a lot like visiting a recluse friend, enclosed behind the thick fence surrounding his house, ringing the bell a few times, trying the doorknob, then giving up and, before walking away, leaving a note: Came to see you, but you were probably asleep, or watching the game. Call me.

Rabbi Rabinowitz and his men carry out their bit of front lawn work twice a year, before Rosh Hashanah and before Passover. I’m sure they take the notes to a safe place.

Here, at the Jewish Press online, we’ve begun a new pre-Rosh Hashanah tradition of petitioning God for the new year. You get one request, make it count. It doesn’t have to be for peace on Earth, you can ask for a Schwinn bike. Or a bigger apartment, with a porch. Or a puppy.

I entered the second request on the list, check it out.

When Rosh Hashanah comes (or maybe Yom Kippur), we’ll seal the list and turn it over to our Father and King in Heaven. We’re pretty sure He browses the Jewish Press.

He has a Facebook page, too, with 3,194,578 likes.

I suppose He could do better. But every time He tries to upload a new picture album, someone sticks a new note in His Wall.

French Ambassador: Oslo Had ‘More Failures than Advantages’

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

JERUSALEM, Israel, Sept. 5th–The Oslo peace process had “more failures than advantages,” French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot told a delegation of pro-Land of Israel rabbis during a meeting at the French Embassy in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

Bigot also joked that the embassy might be moved to Jerusalem, saying that while the space that housed the embassy had its drawbacks, it was only a  “temporary residence because” –switching to Hebrew– “Leshana Haba’ah Biyerusholayim” (next year in Jerusalem).

The statements are not typical of a representative of a European country which views advocates the creation of a Palestinian state or the “land for peace” formula behind the Oslo Accords and the so-called “peace process” which followed them.

France also believes, like the United States, that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

By the time this article was published, Bigot could not be reached for a response, but his comments were confirmed by two members of the delegation who met with Bigot and with whom the Jewish Press spoke separately.

The delegation visiting Bigot represented the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, a group which says it represents 350 leading Israeli rabbis who oppose ceding any kind of territory. They met with Bigot in order to urge France to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state and to ask that France stop European Union funding of anti-Israel groups which operate in Israel.

“These groups operate under the guise of peace and human rights but the money that the EU gives them is used for incitement against Israel, against co-existence and leads to bloodshed,” Rabbi Shlomo Rosenfeld, Rabbi of Shadmot said.

In response to Bigot’s comment about the Oslo process, Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, the organization’s Chairman told the Ambassador, “let’s be precise – it was failures without any advantages.”

Rabbi Gerlitzky is the Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv.

Rabbi Avrohom S. Lewin, the organization’s director, told Bigot that “the past 40 years have proven that the ‘land for peace’ formula is a failure and only leads to bloodshed and instability in the region.”

The delegation presented Bigot with a “p’sak din” – a juridical ruling in Jewish law – holding that it was forbidden to cede territory from Israeli control because it would endanger people’s lives.

The ruling has been signed by the 350 rabbis who are said to support the Rabbinical Congress for Peace.

Speaking over the phone with the Jewish Press, Rabbi Lewin said that the ruling was drafted in 1993, marking the beginning of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace.

“What’s unique about the ruling,” Rabbi Lewin said, “is that this ruling is not based on kedushat ha’aretz (the holiness of the land) but pikuach nefesh (saving lives).”

During the conversation Bigot also noted that while French citizens view Israelis as “occupiers who are against Palestinian aspirations” they should not be blamed as “that is exactly how Israelis portrayed in its own paper, Ha’aretz.”

Rabbi Lewin said he believed Bigot was implying that Ha’aretz’s left-wing reporting played a role in the distorted European view of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

While Bigot offered counter arguments on many issues raised by the delegation, he said he would convey their requests as well as the ruling to the French government.

Israeli Rabbis Prove Religion Works Better than Diplomacy in the Middle East

Monday, August 27th, 2012

A small group of religious Jews did it. They accomplished what Israel’s foreign ministry could not in three years of attempted diplomacy – namely, to meet with representatives from the Turkish government and attempt to heal the rifts between Turkey and Israel.

From August 15 – 17, meetings were held in Ankara and Istanbul hosting Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev, Shas deputy finance minister Yitzchak Cohen, the chief Rabbi of Geneva, Professor Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University and other leaders.

This small delegation met with no less than twenty Turkish parliamentarians to discuss resolution to the flotilla incident in May 2010 and to move forward in positive Turkish – Israel relations. Four Rabbis met with, I’ll say it again, twenty members of the Turkish parliament. How did this small group of religious Jews manage diplomacy on such a large scale?

In recent years, discussions have been taking place between religious leaders in Israel and moderate Muslim leaders in Turkey from the B. A. Vakfi Foundation. Once lines of trust were established between religious representatives in both countries, connecting to the Turkish parliament was facilitated. This cooperation between religious and government leaders in Turkey lies in contrast to the position of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which instead of seeing an opportunity for dialogue via religious delegates, had discouraged the August trip.

As Dr. Mordechai Kedar noted, “…traditional Islamic people find it easier to talk to traditional Jews who share the same cultural world, and perhaps it is time that the Foreign Ministry also understand this…. It is important for Israel to be represented in a way that will make it easier for our traditional neighbors to accept us, and that the state of Israel is not entirely secular and liberal.”

The outcome of the meetings is that a committee has been formed to bring resolution to the flotilla incident, and will include members of the Shas party. It is crucial to note that the talks emphasized the shared history and religious beliefs common to Jews and Muslims, which is a base that gives legitimacy to any conflict resolution. As Nissim Ze’ev emphasized in a brief interview on Turkish television, our belief in one God and respect for our prophets means “there is not a problem between the Jews and Muslims which can not be solved in good faith.”

Rabbi Ben Abrahamson, who was in attendance, hones in on this point, stating, “the United States Congress several years ago issued a non-binding resolution that the US government was based on Biblical principles. President George Bush indicated in Public Law 102-14, 102nd Congress, that the United States of America was founded upon the Seven Universal Laws of Noah.

I could envision a non-binding declaration by both Turkey and Israel saying legitimate and righteous government in the Middle East is based on Abrahamic principles and Noahide moral values, thus uniting all of us under our common heritage.” Conflict resolution would occur not in the court of public opinion, with the media at the helm, but according to Biblical principals and the moral values of the Patriarchs as our example. He also notes that in Turkey, “there is no question in their minds that Israel has a right to exist. Israel’s right to exist is a given.”

Indeed, the careful coordination of such a large group from the Turkish parliament, plus the reservations expressed by the Israeli foreign ministry, meant that press releases about the meetings were slow in coming. A few leaks on various internet news sites referred to “secret meetings” in which little information was shared with the press.

This was because the importance of the meetings was to mend relations, not to make headlines, and detailed discussions with the press while the meetings were happening may have derailed efforts at reconciliation. It may be that the secular media is simply not used to taking religious delegates seriously, especially when it comes to diplomatic relations. It could also be an indication of how our leaders applied the teachings of Shmirat HaLashon even at this high level in the public sphere. May it be an indication of further positive talks between the countries, handled sensitively and in line with Torah teachings.

You may have already read about these meetings on other news sites, but I wanted to bring them to the attention of the Jewish Press readership specifically to highlight what we can accomplish as religious people, and how ready parts of the Muslim world are to hear authentic religious voices from the Jewish people. We may be used to the separation of religion and state in the West, but in the Middle East, religion is the common language. In the Middle East, religion works.

See also:  Mordechai Kedar’s article, The Diplomacy of Rabbis (in Turkey and Beyond) with more information and analysis on the Turkish-Israeli meetings. 

Using New Technologies to Promote Positivity

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

The communication revolution – and the unprecedented access to information it brought – has ushered us into a new world. It is a world of wikipedia and youtube, but also a world of live-streaming al Qaeda beheadings and slow-motion car crashes. Like times past, but in a far different way, this is a world of vast opportunities and great dangers. Nathaneal Harkham, founder and director of an expansive online enterprise that seeks to harness the internet to promote positivity, sat down with the The Jewish Press to discuss his vision for the initiative and his perspectives on the potential benefits of new media.

Jewish Press (JP): So what exactly is Positivecco?

Nathaneal Harkham (NH): The idea is quite ambitious, but in a nutshell, it’s an online resource that allows anyone from anywhere in the world to access Positive options for any category or interest they desire. News, products, information, events, initiatives, social connections… Everything.

JP: That is ambitious. It sounds like some sort of fusion of Amazon, Google, & Facebook.

NH: In a basic functional way, yes, you could understand it that way… But most importantly – it’s all those sites- but a Positive version.

JP: And has there been any traction? How far along are you with Postivecco?

NH: The growth & reaction has been amazing… Users and business’ have embraced our concept of Positivity…We have over 100 business’ profiled representing different sectors and have users & content submissions from all over the globe.

We have a long way to go, but that’s the thing with Positivity- it’s not a standard to be reached, it’s a perpetual dedication to improvement… So Positivecco will always make the effort to be more, to give more.

JP: What’s your definition of ‘Positive’?

NH: ‘Positive’ is emphasizing what is commendable, and hopeful..It’s constructive and is measured in a direction understood to be beneficial.

JP: Where did the idea of Positivecco come from?

NH: I take no credit for Positivecco. I would say the idea of focusing on the Positive came with the Creation of the Universe and the presence of Light, B”H. And the concept of Positivecco came from applying the philosophy of Tikkun Olam to a web-based format to maximize the resources & reach available in our digital world.

JP: What are your hopes for Positivecco?

NH: I hope Positivecco will grow in scale & resources to the point where anybody in the world regardless of age, gender, location, interest, or any other demographic indicator can find the information they need to make a little more Positive effort in their lives…Imagine how different the world would be if everyone made just a little more effort in their lives in any way they chose!

JP: So you think there’s a need for Positivecco in the world today?

NH: it’s a funny thing, if you watch TV, read the news & listen to the ‘experts’ you’d think that the world is a really dark, dangerous, violent place… But that’s just one side of of our street. The other side is the opposite- Light, loving, full of creativity & progress…This Life, this world is a gift, B’H. Without Positive effort, negativity gains strength. Our world and our lives are worth the effort.

Positivecco is not only about focusing on the bright side but improving the other side as well…Making the effort to make this world as Positive a place as we can… Yeah, I’d say there is a need for Positivecco now more than ever.

Find Positivecco on Facebook.com/positivecco & at Positivecco.com

Help Save the World!

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

I’ve had to cut down on my blogging because I’m been busy with another mitzvah. About a month ago, I received an email from a 16 year old girl from Europe, saying that she was on the way to the airport to fly to Israel. She said that her mother read my blogs at The Jewish Press and hoped that maybe I could help her, not knowing where else to turn. She wants to finish high school in Israel, make aliyah, and go into the army. Her present high school is all gentile and Moslem and very anti-Semitic. Could I help her, she asked?

I sent an email to her mother to learn more about their background. To protect their identities, I won’t go into all of the details. The parents were divorced, and the father refuses to help his daughter as long as she is connected to her mother. Having to take care of her hyperactive 3 year-old son, the mother wasn’t working and she depended on a modest state stipend for unemployed, single-parent mothers. The father refuses to pay child support. They live in an anti-Semitic neighborhood, and the girl could no longer tolerate being insulted and boycotted at school for being a Jew. Her dream is to live in Israel.

When I asked her if she was Jewish, the mother answered that her mother’s mother was Jewish, spoke Yiddish, survived Terzin and Auschwitz, but that she herself had no official documents to prove it. The Nazis had taken over the country where she grew up, and then the Communists after the war. Her mother had died when she was a child, and her father was deported by Communists, and she had literally survived on the streets and in the forests. She gave me the phone numbers of some people who knew her, and I spoke to the local rabbi and an Israeli family who had helped her after her divorce, and they told me that the Jewish identity of the mother and daughter was very strong, that they kept Shabbat and the holidays as best as they knew how, and that they wouldn’t eat meat because kosher meat was very hard to find.

I told the mother that since her daughter was already on a train on the way to the airport, I would meet her when she landed in Israel, but that it would, of course, be better if the mother came on aliyah also, along with her 3 year-old son. But without official papers, proving that they were Jews, this was impossible. They were willing to go through a process of conversion, if need be, but this was a difficult 7 year project where they came from. Gevalt!

As it turned out, the girl missed the flight, so I had time to look for a suitable program for Diaspora students who want to finish high school in Israel. My good friend, Rabbi David Samson, founded several high school programs for “kids at risk” in Jerusalem, including two religious high schools for English-speaking olim who find it hard to learn in Hebrew, and he recommended the Jewish Agency’s “Naale” Program for Diaspora youth.

Naale sounded perfect for the girl – let’s call her Sarah. It gets the kids learning in Hebrew, provides them with a dormitory, Israel health insurance, an “adopted family,” a chance to make aliyah and join the army, or do National Service for religious girls, and offers an accelerated program of conversion for people who have problematic backgrounds.

The student enrollment director of Naale told me to instruct Sarah and her mother to fly to Paris to be interviewed for the program for the upcoming school year, which starts at the end of August. But after they bought plane tickets and made reservations at a hotel, the interview was canceled because of a lack of candidates. Unable to get their money back with such short notice, they made the trip, spent all of the available money, but were no closer to getting to Israel. Then the director told me that they would have to fly Chicago for the last North America interview day if the girl wanted to have a chance to be accepted for this year’s program. That, of course, was totally absurd, even for the Jewish Agency standards. Finally, he gave me the name of the head of the Naale school in Israel and told me to call him. So I called and he told me to have Sarah and her mother come to Israel for a last-chance interview on August 5. But for the mother to come, she would have to bring her 3 year-old son, and they had no place to stay. In addition, they had already spent their last savings on the futile trip to Paris, so there was simply no chance. However, with God’s help, and the encouragement of my wonderful, kindhearted wife, who told me to trust in Hashem and bring them to Israel, a travel agent I know agreed to issue them tickets, granting me a month to gather the money to pay him.

Stemming The Muslim Tide: A Review of ‘Marked for Death’ by the Controversial Dutch Politician Geert Wilders

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Many conservative pundits write and lecture on the threat of radical Islam. Almost none, however, possess political power. Geert Wilders is an exception. Head of the Netherlands’ third largest political party – the Party for Freedom – Wilders is on a mission to halt Islam’s advance in the West.

In May, Wilders published his first book, Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me (Regnery Publishing). In it, Wilders, as is his wont, ventures beyond the bounds of political correctness. For instance, unlike many other prominent politicians – including those on the Right – Wilders refuses to call Islam a “religion of peace.” In the book, he unabashedly writes:

• “Islam is the problem – and we should not be afraid to say so.”

• “[T]here are many moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam.”

• “Islam…is a totalitarian system aiming for political domination of the world.”

• “[O]ur civilized Western culture is far superior to the barbaric culture of Islam.”

In short, Wilders is a breath of fresh air in a world that has gone mad in its attempts to reassure itself that 99.9 percent of Muslims are peace-loving citizens. As Wilders documents in the book, many Muslim immigrants yearn to impose Islamic culture and law on the West, yet the political class says virtually nothing. Those who do speak up are immediately tagged xenophobes and bigots.

As Mark Stein – possibly the greatest English satirist alive today – writes in his foreword to Wilders’ book: “[A]t election time in Europe, the average voter has a choice between a left-of-center party and an ever so mildly right-of-left-of-center party, and whichever he votes for, they’re generally in complete agreement on everything from mass immigration to unsustainable welfare programs to climate change. And they’re ruthless about delegitimizing anyone who wants a broader debate.”

Marked for Death is not a literary masterpiece. The writing is engaging enough, but thematically, the book seems a bit disjointed at times with Wilders liable to jump from Mohammed’s military conquests in the 7th century to the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim radical in 2004 to pedophilia in Islamic culture (it is apparently “widely condoned”).

Nonetheless, the book is important for three reasons. First, it contains a chock full of interesting information. Among many other items, Wilders writes about Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha (he was in his 50s, she was six); the Koran’s numerous anti-Semitic and violent verses; and Islam’s disturbing history of slavery (which amazingly continues to the present day).

Second, Wilders is great at finding little-known damning quotes about Islam. For example, Aldous Huxley wrote in 1925 (a tad too pessimistically), “In fifty years’ time, it seems to me, Europe can’t fail to be wiped out by these [Muslim] monsters.” A century earlier, John Quincy Adams predicted that the conflict between Christianity and Islam cannot “cease but by the extinction of that imposture [Islam], which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man.”

Most importantly, though, the book is valuable because Wilders wrote it, and Wilders deserves every bit of support he can get. Thanks to his outspokenness against Islam, Wilders regularly receives death threats and was forced to flee his home in 2004. Today, he lives in a bullet-proof safe house under 24/7 armed guard. As Wilders writes, “I have not walked the streets on my own in more than seven years.” Perhaps that’s just as well since Muslim immigrants have overrun Wilders’ old neighborhood, Kanaleneiland, transforming it into a crime zone.

Wilders, however, is not backing down. In 2008, he produced “Fitna,” a 17-minute documentary on violence and the Koran, which generated enormous controversy. And in 2010, his Party for Freedom, which he founded four years earlier, won 16 percent of the vote, becoming the Netherland’s third largest party. Due to his influence, the government agreed to decrease immigration from Muslim countries (Wilders wants it abolished completely); increase pressure on immigrants to assimilate into Dutch culture; and reject elements of multi-culturalism, which Wilders blames for creating the Netherlands’s Muslim problem in the first place.

One need not agree with all of Wilders’ ideas. For example, some may reject his call to ban new mosques in the United States and Europe. Others may question the wisdom of banning the Koran in the Netherlands (Wilders argues that the Koran is no less dangerous than Hitler’s Mein Kampf which the Netherlands bans). Indeed, some of Wilders’ ideas landed him in court in 2009 for “incitement to hatred and discrimination” – a trial that Wilders says was a “farce” and “an anti-democratic exercise to suppress my freedom.” (He was acquitted in 2011.)

Why I Love Working at the Jewish Press (I)

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

I plan to make this a series of articles, pointing out how the Jewish Press effectively removes the poison from the fangs of the Jewish media stories, putting things in context and perspective and providing a Truth that represents both reality, and by definition, our Torah values.

Yesterday, the LA Daily News ran a story under the headline: CA Supreme Court upholds class-action lawsuit alleging desecration at Jewish cemetery.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (“We deliver yesterday’s news tomorrow”) cited this story almost verbatim from the original story, except for the headline:

Calif. Supreme Court upholds lawsuit against Jewish cemetery firm.

That is a fat lie. And an intentional lie at that. It gives the impression that a Jewish firm is being sued by angry mourners, and if the good yet busy reader didn’t actually read the LADN story, they would walk away with the grumpy notion that those Jewish businessmen are ripping off their customers again.

It’s a fat lie because the Jewish cemetery, Eden Memorial Park, in Mission Hills, CA, is part of a burial empire based in Texas, and it was they, the corporate bastards who happen to own a Jewish cemetery, who allegedly gave the order to dig up the Jewish dead under their care and replant them in mass graves.

Compare JTA’s pack of innuendoes, to the Jewish Press’ headline: Calif. Court Clears Path for Suit against Texas Corporation for Desecrating Jewish Cemetery.

I hope to keep you posted on these differences between us and the rest of the crowd, so you’ll have even more reasons to keep coming back here many times a day, and to give us a “like” on our Facebook page.

Oh, man, now I need my coffee. Nothing like starting the day with a good corporate mass grave story…

I’ve Got Tzfat on my Mind

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Our neighbor at the center of the row of visual treats on the front page of the Jewish Press, Salome Worch, lives and draws in the city of Tzfat, and her lovely images really do this ancient city justice. So this morning we decided to one up her and went looking for lovely photographic images to bring to you.

Here it is. We believe the only proper title for this image is “Tzfat.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/ive-got-tzfat-on-my-mind/2012/07/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: