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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish.’

Czechs Restore Jerusalem As Jewish Capital

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Thanks to alert and vigorous activity on the part of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, future generations of Czech students in the heart of the European Union will grow up knowing that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people.

The latest chapter in the millennia-old story of the world’s attempts to detach Jerusalem from the Jews – and vice-versa – began last month. The Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic decided one day that its school atlases should no longer mark Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

This decision came as a result of one thing – Palestinian Authority pressure and threats – and flew in the face of many others, such as truth, traditional Czech loyalties, and history.

The Czech Foreign Ministry announced that the publishers of atlases used in schools would lose their license to publish such works if they did not stop marking Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Old copies of the books must be permanently shelved, the new directive ordered. Why? What changed?

It seems the Palestinian Authority mission in Prague issued a protest. A Czech Foreign Ministry spokesperson quickly announced that the Republic does not consider eastern Jerusalem part of the State of Israel, and the order was given to strip Israel of its capital.

Israel immediately went into action. The Foreign Ministry, working the diplomatic channels, issued this sharp but incisive statement: “There is no limit to the Palestinian incitement. It does not suffice with poisoning with the souls of young Palestinians, but wishes to plant falsehood among the youth of the Czech Republic as well. We hope that the Czech authorities change their minds and do not lend a hand to this attempt to negate Israel’s bonds to its capital.”

And in fact, after a week, the Czechs announced that its schools’ atlases would remain as they are, denoting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

It is stunning to see the power exerted by the hate-filled propaganda of the Palestinian Authority – and how it so easily overcomes not only simple historic truths, but also traditional ties of friendship between Israel and other countries.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, in a letter to the prime minister of Czech Republic, outlined the bonds of friendship Israel and the Czechs have enjoyed over the past decades and centuries.

“Dear Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka,” Barkat wrote. “The friendship between our peoples has deep historical roots. After Jerusalem’s destruction, Jews made Prague the Jerusalem of Europe – a center of Jewish thought, history, and culture. Prague shaped Jewish life, and Jewish thinkers, writers, and artists shaped Prague.”

Barkat then jumped to the 20th century: “When we returned to our homeland, the Czech government supported our fight for independence and Israel’s rebirth.”

Between January 1948 and October 1949, the Jewish Agency purchased huge shipments of weapons from Czechoslovakia, including former German army weapons that had been captured by the Czech army. The deliveries from Czechoslovakia, in which Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk played a very significant role, proved critically important for Israel’s establishment.

Israel knew how to reciprocate, as well: “When the Czech people won back their freedom,” Barkat wrote, “Israel was among the first countries [your] President Václav Havel visited. Our capitals represent our countries’ strong and steadfast alliance. Just as Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, so too is Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel.”

Mayor Barkat expressed his deep disappointment “that the Czech Ministry of Education has yielded to those seeking to use lies and hatred to deny Jerusalem’s status as the capital of the state of Israel…. Future generations of Czech students deserve nothing less than the truth: Jerusalem’s rightful place as the capital of Israel, and the heart and soul of the Jewish people, cannot and should not be denied.”

The ultimate reversal of the decision is gratifying, of course – but the bad taste still remains of the unfathomable statement that eastern Jerusalem is not considered part of the state of Israel.

After all, what is eastern Jerusalem? It begins in what we know today as the City of David, prominently featuring the hill on which sits the Holy Temple built by King Solomon, the Shiloach Spring below from where water was drawn for the residents’ drinking needs and for the festive joy of the Sukkot Beit HaShoevah festival, and the steep mountainsides in between. Though today most of its residents are Arab, to deny its Jewish origins and nature is beyond absurd.

Incidentally, let us try to imagine the excitement felt by diggers and researchers in 2008 just below what is now Dung Gate, in what started out as the City of David, when they found the following: A 2,600-year-old clay seal impression bearing the name Gedaliah ben Pashur. The name appears in the Book of Jeremiah (38:1) together with that of Yehuchal ben Shelemyahu, whose name was found on an identical clay seal in the same area in 2005! The two men were ministers in the court of King Zedekiah, the last king to rule in Jerusalem before the destruction of the First Temple. Archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar said at the time that this was first incident in the annals of Israeli archeology that two clay seals with two biblical names that appear in the same biblical verse were unearthed in the same location.

And who are the Arabs who live there today and claim to be “natives” in what they call “Silwan”? Let’s put it this way: They’re not as ancient as they claim. In fact, just several decades ago, the Arab population was sparse, to put it mildly. Photos from the mid-19th century show the City of David ridge planted with olive trees and devoid of housing. Modern settlement began in the 1870s when the Meyuchas family – a rabbinical and merchant family that had lived in Jerusalem since being expelled from Spain nearly 400 years earlier – moved into the area. The Turks and British recognized the area as a Jewish neighborhood. When the area fell under Jordanian occupation in 1949, Arab families began building apace.

On the other hand, as of now, the Jewish population there is growing nicely, renewing its presence by moving into plots that were either owned by Jews before the pogroms of 1929, or those they have recently purchased.

The short-lived Czech refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is yet another opportunity to disseminate these simple, eternal truths:

Jerusalem has been central to Judaism and the Jewish nation for four millennia, beginning when Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah. A thousand years later, King David made it Israel’s capital, and it has ever since been the center of our national and spiritual existence. It is mentioned in the Bible some 650 times – zero times in the Koran. Non-Jewish Canadian lawyer Jacques Gauthier spent 20 years researching the issue of Jerusalem in international law, and concluded that once the League of Nations and the United Nations assigned the city to the Jewish people, “Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law.”

Neither the Czechs nor the Palestinian Arabs nor anyone else can take the Jewish people from Jerusalem – nor Jerusalem from the Jewish people.


For more information on how to participate in keeping Jerusalem Jewish, via updates, bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, and more, email tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech’s website, www.keepjerusalem.org

Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org

Prosecution Objects to Arab Petition to Demolish Homes of ‘Jewish Terrorists’

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

The state prosecution on Wednesday announced its intent to object to a petition to the High Court submitted by the father of the Arab boy Mohammed Abu Khdeir who was murdered by three Jews in 2014. The petition requests that the state demolish the homes of the families of Abu Khdeir’s killers, the way it does in cases where Arab terrorists murder Jews.

The prosecution argued that it would be a mistake to treat Jewish and Arab terrorism equally. “Of course, every act of terrorism is unacceptable,” the prosecution wrote in its statement, “but we cannot ignore the gap in the scope of terrorism carried out by Palestinians and eastern Jerusalem Arabs compared with terror which is carried out by Jews.”

The kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir took place in the early morning of July 2, 2014, one day after the burial of three Israeli teens who had been kidnapped and murdered by Hamas agents. Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Arab, was forced into a car by three young Jews on a street in eastern Jerusalem. Police located his charred body a few hours later at Givat Shaul in the Jerusalem Forest. The autopsy results suggested he had been beaten and set on fire while still alive.

The murder was condemned by the families of the three murdered Israeli teens, who sent Abu Khdeir’s family their condolences. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas blamed the murder on Israel and demanded that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu condemn it “as we condemned the kidnapping of the three Israelis.” However, when Israel included Abu Khdeir in the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial at Mount Herzl, his family insisted that his name be removed at once.

In February 4, 2016, two minors who participated in the Abu Khdeir murder were sentenced, one receiving life imprisonment, the other 21 years. The court ruled that their leader was Yosef Haim Ben-David, who was sent for psychiatric evaluation. On February 22, 2016, a court appointed psychiatrist testified that Ben-David was fit to stand trial, and on April 19, 2016 he was found guilty of murder. While awaiting sentencing, Ben David tried to commit suicide in his cell. On May 3, 2016, he was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years.

David Israel

Cost/Benefit – An Analysis of a Jewish Education

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

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

It’s that time of year. School has started and for the vast majority of Orthodox Jews with school age children  ‘belt tightening is the order of the day. What I mean of course is that the cost of educating our children Jewishly is beyond the means of virtually all Orthodox Jewish families.  Even those that have decent incomes – north of $100,000 per year. 5 children or more per family is not uncommon. And in the more Charedi  families 10 children of more is not uncommon.

If one looks at the range of tuition one would have to pay per child, one might get sticker shock. Looking at just Chicago (and suburbs) as an example the range for Orthodox Jewish elementary day schools is anywhere from $10,500 to $17,500. It doesn’t take a genius in math to multiply those figures by  5 children. Full tuition at the least expensive school will cost those parents $52,000! And that doesn’t even factor in high school tuition which in Chicago – in most cases ranges well in to the $20 thousands! And then there is summer camp; the gap year in Israel… How many parents opt out of those experiences for their children? I don’t know what the typical cost of summer camp is… but it isn’t cheap. I also do not know what the gap year in Israel costs. But it is probably a lot more than high school tuition!

So if you’re making about $100,000 per year, which most people would say is a decent income, paying full tuition with after tax dollars will eat up most of it. And most Orthodox Jews do not make over $100,000 per year. (Although many do.)

Which is where scholarships come in. The vast majority of the parent body of religious schools are on at least a partial scholarship. But since these schools are forever running deficits, scholarship parents are carefully vetted before the tuition reduction is determined for them. They are still asked to pay as much as they can. Which many parents feel is more than they can afford. Which leads to the belt tightening.

There is pressure on both sides. Pressure on parents to pay as much of their income as possible and pressure on the school to make up the difference with fundraisers. Some schools do better than others. But few can coast. None of them are on easy street and are forever trying to come up with new ideas as sources of revenue. The bottom line is that a good education costs money. If you want good teachers – you are going to have to pay for them.

Issues about school waste are beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that there will not be much savings to parents even if schools eliminated all of it. And as is often the case, waste is in the eyes of the beholder. What may seem like waste to a parent, may in fact be vital to the smooth operation of  a school.

I bring all of this up in light of an article in the Forward that reports about the publication of spreadsheets that list tuition costs of thousands of religious schools in the US, Canada, and Israel. While the accuracy of these numbers is unclear this list gives a parent some idea about the cost of the options available in the various communities in which they live.

But is cost the best way to judge what kind of school you should send your child to? If for example there are 2 schools that have equivalent educations – and one is cheaper, should you send your child to the cheaper one? The truth is that it will not necessarily save you any money because it does not factor in scholarships. Which can be greater in the more expensive school. And thus ultimately cheaper.

Furthermore, what seems like an equivalent education to an outsider may not actually be the case to an insider. It is important to send your children to a school that will give them the best education based on your Hashkafos. Money should at best be a secondary consideration.

The disparity in the type of education and tuition costs offered between these schools can be profound.

A Chasidic school in Williamsburg might have a tuition cost per child of $5000. But they will offer no secular studies. Which of course saves them the cost of hiring secular studies teachers.

A Yeshivishe school that does offer secular studies may offer them minimally as a necessary concession to parents that want it, but devote the vast majority of their time and resources to religious studies.

Some schools on the other side of the religious spectrum spend the vast majority of time on secular studies – preparing their students for entry into top universities. And treat religious studies as a formality. Some schools offer a lot of enrichment programs. Some have sports teams that compete with other schools spots teams. In short there are a lot of variables. Tuition costs are but one of them, and in my view, the least important one.

The one thing I believe all religious schools have in common is that they provide a religious environment for the child. In my view, the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. If you child is not set to a religious school, he will be influenced by the values of the school to which you send them. Outside the home – they will be subject to a culture practically devoid of any Jewish context. Spending 6 or more hours per day in such an environment can take its toll on religious observance. Even if the home environment is 100% observant.

One need not look any further than our own history in America prior to the advent of Jewish education as we know it today. When there were few religious schools, many observant Jews had little choice but to send their children to a public school. Although many stayed religious, many did not – absorbing the values of that school and seeing their own home environment as irrelevant to their eventual lives.

If on the other hand if you are in an environment where everyone is more or less on the same page religiously – the chances of that happening are substantially reduced. I therefore cannot stress enough the importance of a religious day school and high school education. If you want to assure that your children will be observant, that is the best way to assure it. (There are no guarantees of course. Many young people that have attended these schools have gone OTD for reasons that are beyond the scope of this post. But a religious school is still the best way to assure the continued observance by your children),

This finally brings me to a disappointing article by Forward columnist, Bethany Mandel. She and her husband have been dissuaded from sending their children to a religious school because of those oppressive tuition costs. Which she saw in that newly published spreadsheet. Here is how she put it:

When I became Orthodox I had every intention of doing so. But upon having children, we did the math and realized that for the number of children we want to have (I refuse to have fewer Jewish children for the sake of tuition payments) multiplied by the amount we would be on the hook to pay, even after financial aid, our bill would almost certainly exceed my likely take-home pay.

This has led her to a decision to home school her children. While it is true that they may not have the influences of the public school – her children will not have the influences of a peer group and educators of a religious school. Besides, I’m not convinced that the typical parent is capable of doing the job of highly trained professional educators – to teach their children the knowledge required to excel in both religious and secular studies.

Her children will also not get the positive reinforcement that interacting on a daily basis with a religious peer group and the variety of teachers they would have. I believe Ms. Mandel will be unwittingly shortchanging them by not allowing them to have the full measure of Jewish education that only a school flied with trained professionals can provide. Even with all of the possible flaws she might find in the one she chooses.


I would, therefore, urge Ms. Mandel and like minded parents that have been scared off by those high tuition figures – to reconsider. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a peer group environment to a child’s religious future. Although that alone is not enough. I feel it is of vital importance as a added edge to an observant end. What about the cost? I am absolutely convinced that her financial concerns will be addressed by the scholarship assistance she will  surely receive. No one is ever asked to pay more than they make.

Harry Maryles

Court Cancels Restraining Order Against Jewish Worshipper Near Temple Mount

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Jerusalem District Court Judge Alexander Ron on Tuesday morning accepted the appeal of attorney Menashe Yado of the Honenu legal aid society regarding an activist of the Hozrim La’har (Heb: returning to the mountain) who was restricted from entering the Old City of Jerusalem for 30 days, after praying near the Temple Mount gates.

Israel Police argued before the judge that this is the case of a dominant activist who comes frequently to pray at the Old City, but the judge refused to accept this as a point to be considered. The same judge earlier on Tuesday ruled similarly in the case of three young women who prayed near the gates of Temple Mount.

Police requested a delay in carrying out the ruling to give them time to appeal it before the Supreme Court.

Attorney Yado thanked the court in a statement for making it legal once again for Jews to pray in the Muslim quarter of the Old City, noting that “the police should reflect and protect the Jewish sensibilities of the public, thus fulfilling the Jewish character of the State of Israel and its democratic principles.”

David Israel

Rabbi Abramchik Retires After 45 Years In Jewish Education

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Rabbi Elchonon Abramchik, the founding principal of Sha’arei Bina Torah Academy for Girls in North Miami Beach, decided to retire at the end of the past school year after 45 years in Jewish education.

Rabbi Abramchik is a man who believes in planning. His wife Harriet, a”h, was the same way. Together they had decided she would retire at age 62 and the rabbi would retire shortly thereafter. Harriet retired on schedule but the rabbi was not ready to leave the world of chinuch.

Rabbi Elchonon Abramchik

Rabbi Elchonon Abramchik

Unfortunately, his wife soon passed away. Working as a principal, with talented administrators and a dedicated faculty, helped fill the void and ease the loneliness of being a widower.

“I continued to work for three years after my wife’s passing” said Rabbi Abramchik. “I wanted to retire almost immediately but was advised not to make major life decisions in a state of emotional stress. Actually, I’m glad I took that advice. I don’t know if the healing process would have taken place were I to have retired as planned.”

“Retirement means a plan to do something else,” he added. “For me it never meant to just do nothing. It means shifting gears. One should learn Jewish texts every day. I am planning to learn in the morning at the Miami Beach Community Kollel and offer my service as an educational consultant to schools locally and around the country.”

The Greater Miami community wishes Rabbi Abramchik hatzlacha rabbah in his future endeavors. He can be contacted at 786-247-3961.

Shelley Benveniste

New Fund Honoring Itzhak Perlman to Help Include Disabled in Jewish Life

Monday, September 12th, 2016

The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF) and the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) on Monday launched “Breaking Barriers,” a matching grant program in honor of 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate Itzhak Perlman. The initiative aims to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of Jewish communal life, echoing Perlman’s lifelong dedication to breaking barriers and creating a society which is inclusive for people of all abilities.

Itzhak Perlman received the $1 million Genesis Prize on June 22, in Jerusalem, for his outstanding achievement as one of the most preeminent classical musicians in the world and for his unceasing dedication to improving the quality of life and opportunities available to people with disabilities. Michael Douglas was the 2015 Genesis Prize Laureate and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the Inaugural Laureate in 2014.

Perlman agreed that his prize money be used to promote inclusion and breaking barriers in both North America and Israel. In Israel, an additional $500,000 will be dispersed through grants from Matan-United Way Israel. In North America, a $1 million fund was created by Roman Abramovich. This combined approach will generate more than $3 million in new donations.

Itzhak Perlman said he was “honored to be part of ‘Breaking Barriers,’ and to have the opportunity to encourage other funders to join this critical initiative so that each person, regardless of his or her abilities, will have the opportunity to maximize their potential and to participate as full members of the community. This is a great opportunity to open more doors and accept all who choose to enter.”

Stan Polovets, Co-founder and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation noted that “once again, the Genesis Prize has the honor of celebrating the achievements of an individual who, through his passion and dedication to Jewish values, desires to improve the lives of others.”

Andrés Spokoiny, President & CEO of JFN, said “JFN is thrilled to continue bringing inclusion of people with disabilities to the forefront of the Jewish philanthropic agenda. Jews of all abilities are the community’s constituents. Proactive inclusion of people with disabilities has to be incorporated into the planning and execution of everything we do. This matching grant initiative will move us further in that direction.”

This is the second matching grant collaboration between the Genesis Prize Foundation and Jewish Funders Network, following the 2015 Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their Families, established in honor of the 2015 Genesis Prize Laureate Michael Douglas, which generated $3.3 million in new funds.

Grants in the US or Canada of $25,000 to $75,000 will be matched dollar for dollar. An organization whose primary mission is to serve people with disabilities may receive grants for general operating support. Organizations with a broader mission may receive project support. Priority will be given to organizations that seek to create lasting, systemic change. All information about the matching grants fund, including eligibility criteria, the submission process, and the application itself, is available on the matching grant website.


Jewish Woman Who Sealed WW2 with a Kiss Dead at 92

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman in a nurse’s uniform whose kiss with sailor George Mendonsa on V-J Day, shot by Life Magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, marked the end of World War 2, died on Saturday, September 10, in Richmond, Virginia, at age 92.

Friedman’s account of the most memorable day in her life is part of the collection of The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress. She recalled: “On August 14th, 1945, I was working as a dental assistant in the office of two brothers: Dr. J. L. and Dr. J. D. Berk on Lexington Ave. about 35th St. in Manhattan. Dental assistants then, as now, dress like nurses. The uniform was a white dress, white stockings and shoes, and a little white nurses cap. The cap was usually left off if you left the office for lunch etc. The job is still the same to assist the dentist and make the patient comfortable.

“On the morning of August 14th, 1945, patients came in and said that the war with Japan may be over soon. At 1 PM it was my turn to go to lunch. I immediately headed for Times Square to check on the electric sign on the times building, which reports the latest news. As I stood watching the sign with the message ‘VJ,’ ‘VJ’ going around the building, I was grabbed by a tall strong sailor and kissed. As soon as he let go, I went back to work. I told my bosses what I had seen. They instructed me to cancel the rest of the day’s appointments and close the office.

“On the way home, another sailor kissed me, just one on the cheek and went on his way. The sailors were especially happy. They had seen enough of war in the Pacific. George Mendonsa, the kissing sailor from Times Square, appreciated nurses especially. They had provided comfort and care for the wounded sailors in the Pacific where he had served.

“I was not aware that a photograph had been taken until I saw it in a book called ‘The Eyes of Eisenstaedt.’ I immediately wrote to LIFE and asked for a copy of the photograph since I was the girl in the picture. They did send me the picture and a short letter saying that the woman had been identified. I did not believe that. The girl in the picture looked too much like me, the same hairdo, the same figure, the same uniform and, the same little purse.

“In 1980 LIFE contacted George and me and invited us to come to Times Square for the 35th anniversary of V.J. Day. The famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt was there and he took more photographs. On the Times building, the electric sign said ‘IT HAD TO BE YOU’ Mr. Eisenstaed also autographed the original picture and apologized.”


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-woman-who-sealed-ww2-with-a-kiss-dead-at-92/2016/09/11/

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