web analytics
July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish.’

A Look at Spain’s Famous Jewish Quarters

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

All photos by Nati Shohat / Flash90

View of the Synagogue of El Transito, a historic building in Toledo, Spain. The synagogue was founded by Samuel ha-Levi Abulafia:

Spain's Jewish Quarter

Spain's Jewish Quarter

Spain's Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter in Toledo:

Spain's Jewish Quarter

Spain's Jewish Quarter

Spain's Jewish Quarter

Photo of the Day

Exclusive: Jewish Drug Abuse/Overdose Prevention Program Warns About Deadly ‘K2’

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

A New York-based Jewish anti-drug abuse program is warning the synthetic marijuana known as K2 has become a deadly threat.

Dozens of people collapsed in Brooklyn Tuesday after ingesting a bad batch of K2 synthetic marijuana.

"K2" is synthetic marijuana.

“K2” is synthetic marijuana.

News stations across the United States reported the incident, which made national headlines since the use of K2 is rising in the country.

“K2 is an extremely dangerous drug,” Rabbi Yaacov Behrman told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

The director of Operation Survival, a project of the Brooklyn-based National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education (NCFJE), Behrman said “K2” is a term used to refer to “any number of chemicals designed to mimic the effects of marijuana.

“But because there is no precise formulation, its effects are highly unpredictable,” he said. “The behavior resulting from K2 use can range from mild aggressiveness to extreme violence. Other effects can range from nausea to kidney failure and even death.”

The affected users who collapsed on Tuesday were all rushed to local emergency rooms; several were reported in critical condition.

“One of the reasons for K2’s surge in popularity is that it doesn’t show up in drug testing,” Behrman explained.

“Our project, Operation Survival, is working with community educators and impact activists to prevent a recurrence of Tuesday’s incident.

“It is our collective responsibility to see to it that our community members are safe from this frightening epidemic.”

The project is aimed at education and prevention of substance abuse and overdose in the Jewish community, as well as the community at large.

Hana Levi Julian

Largest Jewish Group this Year Enters Temple Mount with Hallel Ariel’s Family [video]

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Some 200 Jews gathered Tuesday morning by the entrance to the Temple Mount compound, to commemorate Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, HY”D, who was murdered two weeks ago by an Arab terrorist in her bedroom in Kiryat Arba. Police then permitted some 50 to enter the Temple Mount, the largest group to ascend there this year—under heavy guard.

Following negotiation with the grieving family, Jerusalem police agreed to a more flexible visit, permitting the Jewish group a longer stay and not attempting to silence the uttering of blessings or saying Amen—as opposed to the 15-person limit in normal times and the complete prohibition of even the appearance of prayers or blessings.

The Muslims at the site cursed out the group and made repeated references to Allah, who is, they said, great.

One Jewish person was arrested earlier, according to Temple Mount activists, for the sin of closing his eyes and placing his hand over his eyes — an obvious criminal inclination to recite the Shema Israel.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and MK Bezalel Smotrich of Habayit Hayehudi, and MKs Yehuda Glick and Oren Hazan (Likud) participated in the event at the foot of Temple Mount, but were not allowed t ascend, by order of the prime minister. The ceremony at the entrance to the holy site ended in dancing and singing.

The murdered child’s parents said they’d like to change the name of the gate from “Mugrabim Gate,” after the north-African Arab dwellers in the area before 1967, to “Hallel Gate,” after their daughter and after the Hallel prayer which accompanies every religious Jewish holiday rejoicing.

David Israel

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education Buys Permanent Facilities

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education Executive Director Judy Margles and Board Chair Elaine Coughlin last week announced the signing of a purchase agreement for the facilities at 724 NW Davis in Portland—formerly the home of the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Margles wrote the following announcement:

As our closest circle of friends, I am excited to share something very special with you. OJMCHE is purchasing a new home, a 14,500 square foot unit in the De Soto building at 724 NW Davis Street (formerly the Museum of Contemporary Craft). I am also thrilled to tell you that we achieved the purchase of the building with the hard work of the OJMCHE Board and in particular outgoing chair, David Newman. This is the moment where we have finally fulfilled our vision and secured our mission for generations to come.

How did we get to this momentous possibility? July will already mark the two-year anniversary of the merger with Oregon Holocaust Resource Center. The merger enriched our institution in countless ways – we expanded our education staff to include a Holocaust educator, we are proud stewards of the Oregon Holocaust Memorial, we bring thousands of school children to both the Memorial and museum, and, of course, we continue to be the community repository for the Jewish experience in Oregon. Most importantly, we have deepened our focus on Jewish values and traditions, while working even more strenuously to bring our work to the wider community as a vehicle that can unite all people in their common humanity. In short, the merger has greatly expanded and fundamentally strengthened our core mission.

And now we have the opportunity to take the next step in our evolution. In a stroke of great luck, the fortuitous arrival on the market of this building became the perfect space for our museum. While this was an unexpected opportunity, we were ready to receive it because of the long-range feasibility planning that we undertook this last year. This space—purpose-built as a contemporary museum with ample room for exhibits, programs, school groups, collections and archives—perfectly matches the needs detailed in our feasibility report.

I am also thrilled to tell you that we achieved the purchase of the building with the tremendous support of three lead gifts from Renee and Irwin Holzman, Lois and Leonard Schnitzer Family and The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation/Arlene Schnitzer & Jordan Schnitzer. To date we have received a total of 33 gifts to make this phase of the campaign possible. For this generosity and sign of confidence, we are immensely grateful. Our community campaign, to raise funds for operating reserves and move-in costs, will commence shortly and I look forward to engaging each and every one of you in our endeavors.

Now that our dreams are becoming reality, we shall start to focus on the use of the space. I can share with you our basic conception: we will have state-of-the art storage for our archives and collection; a café; a gift shop; a multi-purpose auditorium for public programs and school groups; two floors of exhibit galleries with temporary exhibits on the first floor; and on the second space for core exhibits about the Oregon Jewish experience, discrimination in Oregon and the history of the Holocaust using stories of local survivors.

The coming months may prove to be the most significant in our history. An exciting consensus is emerging among museum professionals. We see successful museums of the future as places where people can hang out and engage in real and diverse social issues to make a genuine difference in their lives: these museums of the future will blur boundaries between the inside of the museum walls and what occurs outside, where programs will address a rich variety of living community concerns, while always recognizing, remembering and honoring the past. These museums will link historical experiences of the past with needs of the living present.

I want our museum to be such a museum: a broker and filter of perspectives and shared wisdom, a repository for traditional learning and historical scholarship, and also a stimulus for creative thinking on the way forward for our community. I want us to represent the full plurality of voices in our community and I want our programs to address a full range of community concerns.

We, this circle of friends, now share a magically rare opportunity: to help each other make our beloved Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education thrive, in all these many and varied ways, for many, many years to come.

Warmly,

Judy Margles

Executive Director

JNi.Media

Misguided Criticism by American Jewish Liberals

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

27 Jewish “social justice organizations” recently wrote a widely-publicized open letter calling upon “political candidates to put an end to the racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia” which “has emerged in this year’s campaign.”

Naturally, all Jews – and decent people anywhere – agree racism of any form is unacceptable, and none of us approve of what these organizations describe as “hurtful characterizations of entire ethnic groups as criminals.”

All Americans can agree that “The Jewish community knows all too well what can happen when particular religious or ethnic groups become the focus of invective. We have witnessed the dangerous acts that can follow verbal expressions of hate.”As such, it was disappointing that a radical, extremist organization such as The New Israel Fund, which openly supports a boycott of Israel were among the organizations who signed this letter.

It is quite clear that today’s Democratic Party is not the Democratic Party of old.

Israel must always be a bi-partisan issue and sadly we’ve recently seen that historic bond between Israel and the Democratic Party erode and weaken. Shamefully, elements of the Democratic Party are anti-Israel and doing all they can to destroy the pro-Israel consensus, as they stand shoulder to shoulder with those who boycott Israel.

Further, why did this letter not urge all candidates to stand with Israelis across the political spectrum who say no to dividing Jerusalem and a no nuclear Iran?

Naturally, all of us stand with the letter writers in condemning Anti-Semitism.  Therefore, why did this letter not urge all candidates to “shun advisors and close family friends” (i.e. Max Blumenthal) who are Anti-Israel, compare the Israel Defense Forces to Nazi Germany, refer to Israel as an “apartheid state” and harm the Jewish State.

As Alan Dershowitz—a Clinton supporter – notes, “Max Blumenthal is well outside the acceptable range of rhetoric about Israel. His constant comparisons between Nazi Germany and the Jewish state establish him as an extremist bigot whose greatest appeal is to anti-Semites and others who apply a double standard to the Jewish state.  Any political candidate who would associate himself or herself with such views would be unacceptable to Americans… I hope that the Clintons ask Sid to expressly disassociate himself from his son’s views–and if he refuses to, that they no longer work with him on any matters.”

 

The reality is that this letter was about what Jeff Jacoby, the op-ed editor of the Boston Globe has written namely that “liberalism has superseded Judaism as the religion of most American Jews.” As Author Norman Podhoretz wrote in “Why Are Jews Liberal” that “where the Torah of contemporary liberalism conflicts with the Torah of Judaism, it is the Torah of liberalism that prevails and the Torah of Judaism that must give way.”

While Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League claims this letter is not about “..a liberal or conservative issue”, he neglects to mention his recent embrace of J Street and to mention the fact that he is a former senior advisor to the most Anti-Israel President in modern history, Barack Obama.  That says it all.

Yes, we must all condemn Anti-Semitism – and we must also remember as Jacoby has written, “This liberalism isn’t rational. It isn’t sensible. It certainly isn’t good for the Jews.”

Hank Sheinkopf, Ronn Torossian

Darwin, Jewish Theology, And The Holocaust

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in human history, Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was an English naturalist and geologist best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory, pursuant to which he argued that all species of life descended from common ancestors and that this evolutionary pattern resulted from a process that he called “natural selection.” He published his theory in the monumental On the Origin of Species (1859), one of the most seminal scientific works of all time, which even to date is the unifying theory of the life sciences.

After Darwin published Origin of Species, many translators and publishers vied to capitalize on his growing fame. Darwin favored Swiss zoologist and paleontologist Charles Forsyth Major (1843-1923) to translate The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, but Major was apparently playing hard to get with respect to the assignment.

Pictured with this column is the February 11, 1873 correspondence to Major, Darwin essentially threatens to award the translation project to (gasp!) a Jew:

I am very much obligated for your note, and I am sorry that you had so much trouble and have given up the intention of bringing out a translation. I will write by this post to the Jewish gentleman and inquire whether he still wishes to translate my book.

Singer-070816

Expression of Emotion (1872), which continued Darwin’s attempt to address questions of human origins and human psychology using his theory of evolution by natural selection, was his groundbreaking work on how animals and humans express emotions using the muscles, tissues, and bone provided by nature. Even today it still provides the point of departure for research on the theory of emotion and expression.

While it is not the purpose of this article to present a dissertation on the Torah’s views on evolution, suffice it to say this is a very controversial topic and that strong arguments exist on both sides.

With the advent of Darwin’s theories, the Jewish community found itself engaged in controversy regarding the apparent dissonance between Jewish theology and modern science. Although many believe evolution is wholly inconsistent with belief in a Creator and is contrary to the Genesis creation narrative, important Jewish authorities, including the Netziv, have maintained that evolutionary theory, properly understood, is not incompatible with fundamental Jewish belief and that traditional Jewish texts are reconcilable with modern scientific findings concerning evolution.

Thus, Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, while carefully noting that he did not personally agree with Darwin’s theory and that it had never been empirically proven, wrote that evolution through natural selection presents no challenge to Jewish theology because it would mean only that Hashem, rather than creating a multiplicity of species, had instead brought the incredible diversity of life into existence through the creation of a singular life-form accompanied by a divine law of adaptation.

Some evidence exists that Darwin received direct support from Jewish leaders emphasizing that his theory of evolution is entirely consistent with scripture. In one of the few recorded incidents evidencing Darwin’s contact with Jews, Naphtali Lewy (or “Halevi”), a noted writer, sent him a cover letter and his book, Toldot Adam, in which he argued that the subtleties of Hebrew vocabulary and the choice of particular Hebrew words in the Torah favored evolution, as did some passages in the Midrash Rabbah and the Talmud. As Darwin could not read Hebrew, he arranged for its translation and the letter, translated by an unknown “learned rabbi,” is in the Darwin collection at the Cambridge University library. In The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Darwin boasted that that “even an essay in Hebrew has appeared on it, showing that the theory is contained in the Old Testament” and, though he did not specifically cite the essay, he may well have been referring to Toldot Adam.

Saul Jay Singer

The American Jewish Community has Already Embraced BDS Against “Settlements”

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Elder of Ziyon}

On Tuesday, I visited the newest university in Israel, Ariel University.

It is a beautiful campus with 15,000 students. Over a dozen buildings are being constructed right now as it expands. I was shown the robotics lab and spoke with an expert in making wine from grape varieties that have been proven to have been used in First and Second Temple times. (I plan to write about that in the future.)

Ariel University has the only free electron laser particle accelerator in the Middle East.

The campus has hundreds of Arab students.  Student groups foster dialogue between Jewish and Arab students. It also attracts students from around the world. (Most of the lectures are in English.)

It is building a hospital which will be available for all residents of the region, with the aim of building a medical school as well. Ambitious plans to add more dormitories and more research centers are bearing fruit.

It has what may be the only college-level program in the world to mainstream students on the Aspergers’ spectrum. I met one very polite young man in that program who said that he had been rejected from every school he applied to before Ariel accepted him and he is soon to graduate with a degree in Middle Eastern studies.

Ariel U is centrally located, easily accessible via Highway 5 which goes directly there from Tel Aviv. From Ariel University’s “upper campus,” on a clear day, you can see Israel’s entire coastal plain.

Ariel University is a Zionist success story, in the edge of a bustling and beautiful town of 20,000 residents.

But when American Jewish groups visit Israel, nearly all of them avoid visiting Ariel University.

Jewish Federation trips to Israel do not go to Ariel University (with very few exceptions.)

AIPAC doesn’t visit.

Even Birthright won’t visit – left-wing or right-wing trips avoid it.

Because Ariel University is across the Green Line.

American Jewish organizations, afraid of criticism from the Left, have decided that Ariel does not exist and it should not be visited. It is too controversial.

But here’s the thing. Virtually every Israeli politician from left to right considers Ariel to be non-negotiable in any peace plan,

If you visit the community you know why. It is a large town and strategically situated. It is part of Israel in every real sense. The idea of uprooting the town is unthinkable.

Amazingly, J-Street U has visited Ariel to see what it is like and what their ideological enemies are up to. Yet groups that are unabashedly Zionist do not want to visit.

Christian groups love to visit the university when they go on Israel trips. But Jewish Israel missions almost all will avoid it.

This is outrageous.

The same people who say that BDS is terrible, even when practiced against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, are effectively engaging in BDS themselves by avoiding visiting the incredible, and very Zionist, accomplishments of Ariel and Ariel University.

They cannot argue that Ariel is dangerous. (That is Birthright’s official reason.)  It isn’t. There were no incidents since the knife uprising began last September. Hamas rockets never reached Ariel. It has been far more dangerous to visit Jerusalem than Ariel over the past year.

They cannot argue that Ariel University is filled with messianic right-wing Jews. It isn’t. Some professors there are leftists, even Meretz-voters. Arab students can and do write their theses on the “Nakba.” Yarmulkas are the exception, not the rule.

At the very least, these American organizations that tell their participants that they are going to learn about both sides of the conflict are completely ignoring the biggest settlement, and only Israeli university, that is in the territories not adjacent to the Green Line.

If anyone is going to claim that they are well-educated on the conflict, shouldn’t they at least visit Ariel?

To have Jewish groups – liberal or conservative – essentially boycott Ariel sends a message that American Jews are out of sync with what most Israelis believe would be part of any peace agreement.

If you are planning a mission to Israel for your Jewish group, ask yourself why you shouldn’t visit a miraculous, modern and liberal campus that could teach most so-called “pro-peace, pro-Israel” groups a lot about real co-existence and peace.

Elder of Ziyon

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-american-jewish-community-has-already-embraced-bds-against-settlements/2016/07/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: