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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish.’

Rare Porcelain Belonging to Viennese Jewish Survivor Auctioned

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

A collection of rare porcelain belonging to a Viennese Holocaust survivor is scheduled to be sold at Bonhams, a privately owned British auction house and one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneer of fine art and antiques, on June 15.

The collection belonged to Eve Newgas, née Blumka, whose family was among the most prestigious art and antique dealers in Vienna. In 1936 and 1937 the family sent young Eve to England to spend the school summer vacation—and learn English—with relatives. In March 1938, Austria joined the German Reich, and the Blumkas shipped their rich possessions to England. Then, according to Eve, the family sat down to a civilized last lunch in their empty luxury apartment, left the table with the dirty dishes on it and hurried to board a boat to England, using German passports and British visas.

They arrived on September 16, 1938, and their belongings came a few months later, including those dirty lunch plates.

Eve Blumka’s family opened a shop in Mayfair, an exclusive area of West London, by the east edge of Hyde Park, and their cousins went to New York. After her parents retired, Eve closed the business but she continued to add to the family’s collection, which today features pieces from the late 19th century up to the 1990s.

Bonhams’ Director of Ceramics, Sebastian Kuhn, said, “Eve Newgas had a wonderful eye and her collection reflects not only her great appreciation of beauty but also a deep scholarly understanding of the history of porcelain.”

David Israel

Analysis: Bernie Sanders May Be the First Jewish US Vice President

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman in 2000 was supposed to be crowned America’s first Jewish VP. Now, as the Democratic primaries are rolling to the finish line, there’s a solid chance that Vermont Senator, Brooklyn born Bernie Sanders, would be the first to have that honor.

When ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos had this exchange:

Stephanopoulos: If you don’t, sir, and this is my final question, you open to being considered as Secretary Clinton’s running mate?

Sanders: It’s a little bit early to talk about that. Right now, our function is to do everything I can, George — and you’re going to see me running all over California, we’re in New Mexico now — we’re going to do everything that we can to get every vote and every delegate that we can and go into that convention with as much momentum as is possible.

Stephanopoulos: Didn’t hear a no, Senator. We’ll be talking to you soon. Take care.

Candidate Clinton for her part said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she is open to a wide variety of possible running mates. She mentioned Dallas Mavericks owner businessmen Mark Cuban, who said he’d like to be either Clinton’s or Trump’s VP.

Now, that’s keeping your options open.

With very few primaries left — California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota and that’s it, Sanders stands no realistic chance of significantly cutting Hillary’s lead of 274 pledged delegates, never mind her 486 super-delegates. All Clinton needs to do at this point in order to win the Democratic nomination is to pick up only 90 of the remaining 939 outstanding delegates. Sanders must win 850. So that’s not going to happen.

But Bernie Sanders has a major advantage over Hillary Clinton in the national polls, which she cannot deny: while Clinton and Trump are split in major national polls, and over the past two weeks have been trading the same 2 to 3 points between them, meaning they are essentially tied, Bernie Sanders whips Trump by double digits in almost every single major poll.

It’s always dangerous to use May polls as an indication of the voter’s will come November, and national polls are even less reliable than state polls because you never know how the sample of 600 to 2,000 respondents was distributed, and whether the distribution in May has anything to say about November. But one point is clear today: while most voters openly dislike both Hillary and Trump, and vote for either one of them as the lesser of two evils — the same voters actually like Sanders.

Which is why it’s rare for Sanders to beat Trump in those national polls with less than a two digit lead. This is going to be part of Bernie Sanders’ camp’s argument in Cleveland this summer: Bernie can get the voters out, Bernie ignites their imagination. Hillary, even if she wins in November, will do so with a few votes over the split, and without coattails, meaning both houses of Congress will remain Republican.

When Sanders is urging the super-delegates to take “an objective look” at which candidate has a better shot at beating Trump in November, he’s talking about these national polls. Sanders has also condemned the entire institution of super-delegates, saying it is unfair and is part of an “anointment process,” rather than free and open elections.

Hillary has not expressed any degree of enthusiasm about doing with Sanders what her husband did with Al Gore in 1992 and 1996. “I am going to be the nominee and want to spend my time taking on Trump,” Clinton said. She urged Sanders to face the realities of the election process, reminding him that “we are stronger together.” She also noted that the differences between herself and Sanders on the issues “pale in comparison to Donald Trump,” suggesting that “most of his [Sanders’] supporters understand that as well.”

But should Sanders, with his considerable cache of both voters and money, decides to play hardball even after Hillary had picked up her 90 votes and crossed the finish line, would he be able to exact from the winner the ultimate price for his cooperation? The chances of that look better than 50-50 today.

Salon wrote this weekend: “Hillary must pick Bernie for VP: She may even need him more than he needs her.” Salon noted a Rasmussen poll found that 36 percent of likely Democratic voters want Clinton to name Sanders as her running mate – almost double the 19 percent of voters supporting the next most popular vice presidential contender, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. You’ll note that Sen. Warren is a lot closer to Sanders’ politics, especially on Wall Street, than Hillary’s.

And Politicus USA pointed on Sunday: “Bernie Sanders would bring Independents and lock down younger voters for Hillary Clinton. Sanders also attacks Donald Trump with a zeal and conviction that would throw the Republican off of his game for the entire fall. … Hillary Clinton could do a whole lot worse for herself than putting Bernie Sanders on the ticket.”


Dafna Meir: The Ultimate Jewish Mother

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Last January a fifteen-year-old Arab entered the religiously observant Jewish settlement of Otniel in the Judean Mountains, carrying a butcher knife. He headed for the home of the Meir family.

A slight young woman with an enormous happy smile answered his knock. Dafna Meir, the lady of the house, was always ready to open her door and her heart.

Unfortunately, this time the visitor did not seek her help but the death of her children. Wielding the knife, he stabbed the short woman in the chest in order to get her out of the way. But Dafna Meir would not allow him to achieve his aim. With her bare hands she fought him until he ran from her house.

Her children were safe. Dafna lay dead at her doorpost. She had given her life to save them.

The thirty-eight year old mother of six, two of whom were adopted, no longer “enjoyed life,” as reported by her grief-stricken neighbors. Her famous sunny smile no longer lit up the Otniel atmosphere. An Arab teenager, under the influence of vicious Jew-hating propaganda, tragically extinguished Dafna Meir’s joyful life.

“She was a happy woman, joyful, optimistic, driven, responsible, loving,” one of her neighbors, Yishai Klein, related. “Everyone in the settlement who was in pain knew they could call her 24 hours a day.”

Dafna Meir “was a woman who enjoyed life, the wittiest woman I know,” added Liron Steinberg, a personal friend. “She always looked for how to help. If it was to take two foster kids, or as a nurse in the neurosurgery department. I work as a social worker in the Beit Hagai youth village and she would always invite home kids who didn’t have anywhere else to be,” she concluded in tears.

Dafna herself had been an adopted child. She grew up in Rishon Lezion where at an early age social services removed her from her ill-functioning family and placed her into an institution. Later she was sent to a boarding school in Kibbutz Tirat Zvi, a Bnei Akiva religious kibbutz.  Dafna completed high school there and then served in the army, where she met her husband, Natan.

After their marriage, they settled in Otniel and built a family of six: four biological children, Renana 17, Akiva 15, Noa 11, Aanava 10, and two adopted, Yair 6 and Yaniv 4.

At the time of her marriage, Dafna was determined that no matter how many children she gave birth to, she would foster additional children. Her dream was to take in children in need and provide them with a happy life.

In addition to motherhood Dafna Meir worked as a nurse in the neurosurgery department of Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba and as a pre-marital counselor for brides.

Buried in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem in the person of Dafna Meir is a brilliant example of Jewish motherhood tragically victimized by Arab hatred.

Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson

The Big Twelve and Jewish Education

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah}

The intractable problem of the high cost of Jewish education has once again been discussed in a major Charedi publication. This time it focused on the woefully underpaid Mechanchim. Mishpacha Magazine featured a cover story on Rabbi David Ozeri, the leader of Brooklyn’s Sephardi community. He has made it a top priority to improve the lot of these dedicated teachers.  To say that most Mechanchim currently struggle on the salaries they are paid is an understatement.

I have discussed this issue many times. The problem is that parents can barely afford to pay what they are already being asked to pay. I don’t know too many parents of a typical family size of 4 or 5 children that pay full tuition for all of their children. And I also don’t know too many Orthodox parochial schools that don’t run on deficits. Which leaves their Mechanchim out on a limb.

How can we raise their salaries to a point where they will no longer have to buy groceries on credit – not having enough money to pay for them when they are purchased? They are constantly in a state of debt to the religious grocery store owners who extend this kind of credit out of the goodness of their hearts. They too deserve to be paid what they are owed.  Not to mention the fact that often Mechanchim have to borrow money to pay for life cycle events like weddings for their children. Weddings that are generally very modest.

There are no easy answers. Traditional fund raising by these institutions have their limits. In far too many cases those efforts are maxed out and there is still a short fall at the end of the year. In the more right wings schools where family size is often substantially larger, the scholarship allowances are greater making the shortfall greater. That makes their ability to raise salaries to a livable level a near impossibility. Their parent body is already ‘taxed’ to the limit – paying as much as they possibly can in most cases.

And yet as  is quite clear now more than ever, if we want to perpetuate Orthodox Judaism well into the future, a good Jewish education is indispensable!

Everything I just said is not new. The problem seems to be unsolvable in traditional ways. We can’t expect parents to pay higher tuition from money which they do not have.  Fund raising is maxed out. And even if we could find and eliminate waste in the school budgets, I doubt that would significantly impact their bottom line.

I have in the past made some suggestions about how to remedy the situation. The most important of which has as of yet not been implemented. The fact is that the Orthodox Jewish world has enough money to fund Jewish education.  The money is there.

One of the eye opening comments made in the Mishpacha article was a statistic quoted by one of Rabbi Ozeri’s wealthy donors. He made the astonishing claim that there are 12 billionaires in the Torah world. If this is true, then my proposal that they take ‘the pledge’ would solve the problem.

By coincidence 60 Minutes re-broadcast a story yesterday about ‘The Giving Pledge’(see below). Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet have started a very exclusive club where they and fellow billionaires pledge to give away at least half of their wealth to the charities of their choice. If there is one ‘charity’ that is vital to the future of Judaism, it is Jewish education. Imagine if these 12 billionaires took the pledge and chose Jewish education as their philanthropic recipients. Imagine funding a super endowment fund with 6 billion dollars designed specifically to supplement the budgets of all parochial elementary and high schools. That would generate who knows how many millions of dollars per year that would go directly to Jewish education.

One might ask whether it’s fair to ask anyone to give away half their wealth to a single charity. I think it’s fair if we are talking billionaires. I don’t see a problem living off the remaining 500 million. I could live on half that. What about other legitimate charities? I think there might be room for additional contributions from the remaining 500 million.

The Jewish people have inherited the trait of Chesed form our patriarch Abraham. But it appears that the non Jewish world has a head start on us. If it is true that there are 12 billionaires in Orthodoxy there is not a doubt in my mind  that they should do this. I don’t see how a Torah oriented billionaire could refuse to do it. They know the value and importance of Jewish education. And they must also know about the economics of it. Of what value is that money if it just sits in their bank accounts?

And this hasn’t even touched the multi-millionaires that could donate millions of their own wealth to such a fund without breaking a sweat.

So here is my message to any Orthodox billionaires and multi-millionaires that may be reading this post:  You have the ability. There is no reason not to do this. It will advance the cause of Jewish education to unprecedented levels; raise the pay-scale for these devoted Mechanchim; help attract top teachers in the future; and take the enormous pressure off  parents struggling to pay their tuition bills. Come on guys. Just do it!

Harry Maryles

Tamar Yonah Show – What Is The Jewish People’s Place In The World? [audio]

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Shifra Hoffman fills in for Tamar Yonah and explains the role that the Jewish people, especially those in America, are supposed to play in the world’s arena.

Tamar Yonah Show 15May2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

French Jewish Students Sue Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Monday, May 16th, 2016

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) and SOS-Racisme, on Sunday filed a lawsuit against the three social networks Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for failing to delete content deemed racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or pro-terrorism, as required by French law, The Local reported.

The two groups cited a survey carried out between March 31 and May 10 by their own members together with a third association, SOS Homophobie.

In this “first mass test of social networks,” the three groups discovered 586 instances of content they deemed “racist, anti-Semitic, Holocaust denying, homophobic, or defending terrorism or crimes against humanity,” the two groups said in a joint statement.

Only a small percentage of these postings was deleted by the host network within a “reasonable time,” as required under a 2004 French law: 4% on Twitter, 7% on YouTube and 34% on Facebook.

“It’s a mystery whether the moderating teams in social media are actually working,” said UEJF president Sacha Reingewirtz,.

Dominique Sopo, head of SOS-Racisme, said the social media giants are being hypocritical: “These platforms seem more shocked about content with bare breasts, which is swiftly censored, than about incitement to hatred,” she said, adding, “Our legal step aims at getting the authorities to apply the law so that these organization submit to it in full.”

According to The Local, the suit has been filed under an article of the French legal code which requires a judge to issue a fast-track preliminary ruling in a complaint.

David Israel

Scapegoating Their Own Jewish Community

Monday, May 16th, 2016

The Jewish far Left has become a more frequent and increasingly louder voice in the growing chorus against Israel within the growing extreme liberal camp.

The following illustrations hardly tell the whole story:

  • Last month’s protest two days before Passover by a Jewish anti-‘occupation’ group IfNotNow at the offices of the Anti Defamation League in New York and AIPAC in Boston netted 23 arrests. Protestors wore t-shirts which read “No liberation with occupation.” In total, about five hundred participated in “Liberations Seders” around the country.
  • Two Jewish members of the far left CODEPINK, unfurled a banner at the Western Wall reading “American Jews Support BDS.” In a statement, the two blamed the violence in the region on the “occupation.”
  • There are Jewish professors and students who are joining in the attacks against Israel on college campuses. Some, although a smaller minority, have even aligned with the Palestinian advocacy group, Students for Justice in Palestine, which bears responsibility for much of the anti-Israel activity.
  • Another group, Jewish Voice for Peace which regards itself as the Jewish wing of the Palestine solidarity movement supports BDS and the Palestinian claim of the right of return.
  • The New Israel Fund dispenses funds to fringe groups in Israel which defame the Jewish state. Some call for economic boycotts.
  • Leaders of the Reform movement call for the end of the “occupation.”
  • In a column in Haaretz, a former president of NFTY, the Reform Jewish Youth Movement, compared opposition to the “occupation” with the fight against “segregation” in the 1960s.
  • Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently inflated numbers of Palestinian casualties in the most recent Gaza war and accused Israel of a ‘disproportionate’ response.
  • Past chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Seymour Reich, in an article highly critical of Israel entitled, “Israel’s Assault on Democracy: Time to Speak Out,” referenced Sander’s absurd comments and noted how they were “Greeted with enthusiastic approval by the mostly young audience, many of them Jewish.”
  • American Jewish author, Michael Chabon referred to the “occupation” as “The most grievous injustice I’ve ever seen.”

What is needed here is far more than a basic history and current events lesson.

Unlike so many American Jews who are simply distant from Israel because of decades of assimilation, this is beyond the usual detachment. The growing chorus of Israel’s Jewish American detractors not only represents the divide among American Jews and Israelis but also a trend in America among some young millennial away from Israel and towards the Palestinians.

Sixty eight years after the birth of Israel, Jews on the far left along with fellow leftists are standing with Israel’s opposition. Are they all blind?

Do they not see what is happening? Who perpetrates the violence and who acts in response? Do they not see the rejection of Israel by its detractors? How does the Jew respond to the vilification of Israel?

What does the Jewish leftist see when he/she looks in the mirror?

Today’s Jewish leftist position towards Israel is a response to the collective Jewish experience of persecution and isolation over the millennia. Despite their denials, they sense the anti-Semitism from their camp. They want to impart to their fellow leftists that it is the others, those Zionists, who are contemptible but they are worthy of admiration even though they are Jewish. They believe that by joining the anti-Israel feeding frenzy by endorsing the views of the enemies of Zion they can walk the halls of the college campuses, the far left gatherings, and be impervious to the hate because they too stand with the BDS’ers. Then they can face their friends because they too harshly condemn Israel or even disavow the existential rights of the Jewish State.

Such abandonment is not a new phenomenon. There are many precedents.

After struggling for decades to achieve full emancipation in nineteenth century Prussia, multitudes of Jews took it to the next step and sought baptism as a bridge to society. Then, they would achieve the equality for which they had so fervently hoped. As Jewish poet and author Heinrich Heine put it, “The baptismal certificate is the ticket of admission to European culture.”

In Russia, Jewish thinkers of the enlightenment mocked and ridiculed the Rabbis, blaming them for the difficult circumstances of Russian Jewry within the Czarist Empire. If only the Jews modernized themselves, they would be better respected! Such hopes however were followed by vicious Czarist pogroms and severe discriminatory policies. By November 1917, when radical change came to Russia in the form of communism, the Jewish communist’s organization known as the Yevsekstzia, which saw Judaism as a barrier sought to unite with their fellow Soviets called for the complete dissolution of Jewish communal organizations. However, that did not assuage the coming title wave of Soviet anti-Semitism.

Once again, history repeats itself. Today it is Israel and its policies that are blamed. Some ask: If it was only we who changed! If only we accommodated! But such words have no meaning in the context of Jewish history, past or present. In today’s Middle East, it is the evil of others, not the behavior of the Jews, which causes mayhem.

Jewish leftists! When you slam Israel you do not act out of ideology which defies all reason. You act out of fear; Out of your yearning for acceptance in a world where the scourge of Jew hatred so often rears

its head. Know that Zionism is beautiful. It is the liberation movement of the Jewish people, and it has been an overwhelming success. Zionism has brought light into darkness. It has set the bar on what can be accomplished in the face of adversity.

Most importantly, know that “a Jew is a Jew” and there is always a path back home.

Larry Domnitch

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