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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘JEWS’

Rabbi Adin Even Yisrael Steinsaltz Hospitalized in Jerusalem

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Rabbi Adin (Even Yisrael) Steinsaltz, 79, was rushed to Sha’are Zedek Medical Center on Wednesday after he suffered a possible stroke.

The Israel Prize-winning Torah scholar underwent a catheterization procedure to remove a cranial blood clot. He is reportedly awake and responsive to his surroundings in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

Born in Jerusalem in 1937, Rabbi Steinsaltz is known to Jews around the world as a teacher, philosopher, social commentator, and spiritual mentor.

He was referred to by TIME magazine as a “once-in-a-millennium scholar,” who has devoted his life to making the Talmud accessible to all Jews, in The Steinsaltz Edition of the Talmud and a simpler book called, “The Essential Talmud.”

The rabbi authored many other volumes, including: “The Thirteen-Petaled Rose,” a discourse about Jewish existence and belief, “We Jews,” “My Rebbe,” and “A Guide to Jewish Prayer.”

The family has asked the public to please pray for the recovery of Rabbi Adin ben Rivka Leah.

Hana Levi Julian

Yesh Din NGO Insists No Remedy for Amona Jews, Only Full Demolition, Eviction

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

The anti-Zionist NGO Yesh Din announced Tuesday night that the solution of moving the Amona residents to a nearby location where the land belongs to absentee landlords and could therefore be appropriated by the state “was never a possibility,” because those plots “have never been abandoned,” Walla reported. The NGO, which receives an annual budget of approximately $1.6 million from the EU, the UK, and a long list of European organizations, urged the Netanyahu government to “focus on its duty the evacuate Amona instead of trying to shirk its responsibility in many different ways.”

The Regulation Act attempting to deal with Arab claims against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria was approved by the Knesset in a preliminary vote Tuesday, but only after the Habayit Hayehudi bill’s sponsors agreed to drop item 7, which says the new law would include retroactively the Arab claimants against Amona. In return, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit promised his support to a solution that would include moving the expelled residents to a nearby three legal locations.

Now it turns out that Yesh Din has petitioned the Supreme Court regarding the ownership of two out of the three plots, which means the state may not declared the owners absentee landlords and may not appropriate them.

Initially, according to the proposal agreed upon by PM Netanyahu and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett and approved by the AG, the 42 Amona families were going to be moved to a 4.1 acre area. One of the plots was disqualified as unfitting for construction, leaving the remaining three plots which amount to 3.28 acres, where the new plan called for constructing 31 homes really close to one another.

The Amona residents, who were originally willing to go along with the new plan, are now fiercely against it, as one resident argued, “It amounts to stuffing us in caravans in a relocation camp, it doesn’t make sense.”

David Israel

An Open Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

I’m going to address this status to John Kerry directly, in the hopes he’ll somehow read it.

Mr. Secretary, you were recently videotaped saying, “I have this map that shows all the sectors where the violence has been in-in Israel…in-in-in…and in the territories, and you will see that it’s where the settlements are.”

Let’s examine this sentence, shall we? There’s a lot to unpack, so please bear with me.

First of all, it’s good you have maps, Mr. Kerry. As Secretary of State, I’d say ‘having maps’ is much better than ‘not having maps.’ You clearly do not fall into Ms. North Carolina’s category of people who can’t find the Iraq, and, such as.

Hey, if you’ve got those maps you just said you do, could you specify where it is you’re referencing? I was under the impression that the United States State Department (your department, if I’m not mistaken) is of the opinion that Judea and Samaria, or “the territories,” are not part of Israel. Your stammering in this sentence leads me to believe that it’s difficult for you to distinguish between the two. Why do think that would be? Why would it be difficult to intellectually separate Israel with areas it acquired legitimately in a defensive war? Why would it be hard to differentiate between the Jewish State and areas which contain within them the bulk of Jewish history in the area? Maybe you just needed a drink, I don’t know.

You know, I have maps myself, and if you take a look, you’ll see that the areas hit by rockets fired by Hamas are nowhere near any settlements. I mean, they’re closer to settlements than, say, Las Vegas or Tokyo, but in terms of their relative proximity within Israel itself, they’re not even close. Rocket fire still counts as “violence,” right? So, are you NOT talking about Israel? Just the territories, then? Help me out, I’m confused here.

Next, I’d like to talk about your intent. It seems clear that your intent was to lay the blame of Israel/Arab violence on the settlements. But there’s a problem with that. The overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks in the territories has been agains Jews. I don’t have the statistics in front of me, but I would feel comfortable saying over 95% of all the violence in the territories is aimed against Jews. Do you know where those Jews live? You guessed it: in the settlements. Saying that the majority of violence is where the settlements are is like saying most traffic accidents take place on roads. Sure, every now and then a car will smash into a house or something, but usually traffic accidents happen on roads because that’s where the cars are. An Arab looking to kill a Jew isn’t going to try to find one in Wadi Nis or Abdallah Ibrahim; there aren’t any Jews there. He’s going to go to a settlement, what Maverick and Goose would refer to as “a target-rich environment.”

Which brings me to my final point. Since the Jews in settlements being attacked is the reason your map shows that’s where the violence is, this does not mean the settlements are the reason for the violence. That’s called ‘victim-blaming.’ Change the words “violence,” “Israel and territories,” and “settlements” with the words “rape,” “America,” and “women” respectively. Would you be comfortable making that statement? I sure as hell wouldn’t. The victim cannot, as a matter of definition, be the cause of the violence in any situation.

So, Mr. Kerry: thank you for reading this. I hope you now know how to interpret your map correctly. Now be quiet.

Yoni Berg

‘Peace Index’ Survey Reveals 48% of Israeli Jews Believe Left ‘Disloyal’

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

The Monthly Peace Index, published on Monday by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, found that a significant percentage of Israeli Jews consider the Left disloyal. 55% of the Jewish public agree that criticizing policy in times of security tension is illegitimate, and 48% of Israeli Jewish citizens think the political Left is not loyal to the country. 43% think the Left is loyal. In the Arab sector, 69% view the Israeli left as loyal to the country.

The monthly survey questions a representative sample of 600 Israelis, 500 Jews, 100 Arabs, from Nov. 29  to Dec. 1, 2016.

Trump is good for Israel? 48.5% of the Jewish public believe President-elect Trump is more sympathetic to Israel, while only 1% think he is more sympathetic to the Palestinians. 22% saw him as equally sympathetic to the two sides, and 7% did not see him as favoring either side. 22% were not sure. 60% of Arabs view the President-elect as more sympathetic to Israel.

A whopping 80.5% of the Jewish public agree with the recent statement by Ambassador Ron Dermer that “Israel has no doubt that President-elect Trump is a true friend of Israel.” In the Arab public a very similar rate expect US-Israel relations will flourish under Trump, although that does not necessarily make them happy.

55% of the Jewish public do not fear that the new president’s election will foster a rise in US anti-Semitism. Interestingly, the further to the left a respondent was, the more afraid they were of rising anti-Semitism under Trump. And, in a reversal of historic roles, 73% believe that the Israeli government should intervene on behalf of American Jews and use its ties with the Administration to get it to act against anti-Semitic phenomena.

On December 25, the Samaria settlement of Amona is expected to be demolished and evacuated following a Supreme Court ruling. The Netanyahu government is advancing the Regulations Act to prevent future demolitions and possibly the Amona destruction as well. The Jewish public is divided on this question, with 46% supporting the government’s pro-settlement position, and 43% supporting the attorney-general’s resistance to the proposed law. Among those defining themselves as rightwing, more than two-thirds identify more with the government’s position; among those defining themselves as leftwing, some 80% identify more with the attorney-general’s stance.

The proposed “muezzin law,” prohibiting the use of loudspeakers in Israeli mosques from 11 PM to 7 AM is supported by 56% of the Jewish public. 59% believes understandings can be reached on the problem of the disturbance created by the muezzins’ calls, and that the issue can be resolved in less official ways. 93% of Arab respondents believe that understandings and a satisfactory solution could be achieved in non-legislative ways.

On the idea of annexing all of Judea and Samaria, 49 years after Israel had liberated them, 44% of the Jews in Israel support annexation, 38% object. As for the assertion that “If the territories are annexed and one state is established under Israeli rule, there will be no choice but to give the Palestinians full and equal civil rights,” 48% disagree while 42% agree.


Armored Troops, Border Guards, Furious at Amona Assignment: We Didn’t Enlist to Evict Jews

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

A lot has changed in Israel’s public opinion since February 1, 2006, when an overwhelming force of 10,000 Police, Border Guard and IDF troops pounced on the community of Amona in Samaria to carry out Supreme Court demolition and eviction facing an estimated 4,000 Jewish residents and protesters. As the court decreed new date for the demolition and evacuation of hundreds of Amona residents, both Border Guard and IDF troops are anxious and angry about their assignment, according to 0404 News.

A Border Guard officer, assigned to train his troops to handle the evacuation using humane methods – as opposed to 2006, when police horses trampled them with their hooves – told 0404 News: “My friends and I are going to be posted in Amona. Since they’ve told us we can’t sleep at night. … We enlisted to protect our brethren and here we’re commanded to kick them out of their homes.”

“I will carry out the mission, because we have no such thing as refusing an order,” the officer said, “but the government of Israel should know that they are hurting us, hurting our future, and scarring us horribly for the rest of our lives.”

Another Border Guard man said, “I will cry, I’ll simply be crying when I receive an order to evict someone from their home by force. I don’t know if I’m capable. How can I remove my brothers from their homes?”

And a third Guard said, “There’s so much admiration in Israel for the Border Guard, and now they’ll present us as criminals who evict Jews from their homes. It’s a disaster.”

In a separate story, 0404 News reported on IDF Armored Troops who are outraged after receiving word that they, too, would be assigned to Amona evacuations come December 25. It should be noted that back in 2014 the IDF announced it would no longer be taking part in removing Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria. The announcement followed news of paratroopers who refused such an assignment in a remote outpost.

Armored Troops warriors have been adamant about their objections to such an assignment. “We didn’t enlist in the IDF to evict Jews. We enlisted for the opposite reason – to guard Jews,” one said. “Let the Chief of Staff do the evacuations himself, let’s see him do it,” said another, adding, “We are not ready to evict our brothers from their homes.”

In March 2006, a Knesset committee inquiry into the events at Amona determined that security forces had employed excessive brutality, striking protesters with clubs and charging them with their horses.

Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was criticized for preventing police commanders from testifying at the hearings, and the committee found contradictions in the testimonies of IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and the Internal Security Minister.


Jews in Europe: Do Not Come To America!

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from People Walk on Their Heads: Moses Weinberger’s Jews and Judaism in New York, translated from the Hebrew and edited by Jonathan D. Sarna, Holmes Meir Publishers, Inc., New York, 1982.


There was a time when many European Jews viewed America as a treife medina (a non-kosher land) from the perspective of traditional Jewish religious observance. It was felt that it was virtually impossible to remain observant in America, and many Jews proved this was indeed the case, as they or their children abandoned much of their religious practices once they arrived here.

One can gain insight into the state of Yiddishkeit in America during the latter part of the nineteenth century from the writings of Rabbi Moshe Weinberger (1854-1940). Rabbi Weinberger came to New York from Hungary in 1880. (A sketch of his life was provided in last month’s column.) Rabbi Weinberger was a keen observer of the American Jewish scene and in 1887 published his controversial book Ha-Yehudim veha-Yahadus be-New York.[i]

“Written in Hebrew and directed to his brethren in Europe, Weinberger scorned American society as materialistic, sorely lacking in appropriate family values, and a spiritual danger to religious Jews. Contemptuous of Jewish life in America, as well, Weinberger cautioned his former countrymen about the poor standards of kashruth and Jewish education and the low level of Talmud knowledge of Jewry’s religious functionaries. He lamented America’s magnificent synagogues, which some Jews felt compelled to build, and chided Jews for the extravagance of luring cantors with inflated salaries to fill normally empty synagogue pews.”[ii]

His message to Jews in Europe was blunt: Stay Home! “As far as Weinberger was concerned, New York City was America in microcosm. What he learned about the one he applied to the other. In addressing his peer group abroad, he generalized accordingly: Nothing will be left for you to do save dressing in black, wrapping yourself in shrouds, and rolling from darkness to abyss: from factory to sweatshop to itinerant peddling. For such great successes you don’t need America! You don’t need to endanger your life by crossing great stretches of water! There, in your homeland and your own little city, you can do just as well if you only work diligently and put all fears of shame behind you.” (Pages 5 -6)

Regarding the religious situation in America Rabbi Weinberger wrote: “In all other lands a man is required by the government to belong to the kehilah [community] of the area where he lives, and like it or not it levies taxes upon him. In America, any man may cut himself off from his community, taking no part in it whatsoever.” (Page 8)

“In America one relies for everything on three laymen. They are found by inspecting everyone who displays haughtiness and greed, talks big, leaps forward to barge into other peoples’ conversations, has a tall and handsome appearance, and can’t speak gently to his fellow human beings…. He is placed at the head of the community, given a golden scepter, which in this country is in the shape of a mallet, and with it he rules his people; he is at once their ruler and judge.” (Page 14)

“A mohel or marriage officiator here must be conscious of the world around him and the work ahead of him. He must know how to drive a chariot properly, how to select sure-footed horses, and how to find two or three of those transient characters known as nosei kelim [armor-bearers]. He must understand that nothing is more valuable or useful in America than smooth talk and vulgarity. He must realize that in New York, unlike the rest of the world, one spends even what one doesn’t have. He who thoroughly understands all this may be sure of a place in this world: he will gather great riches, and never find himself without means of support.” (Page 17)

These are certainly very harsh words, and the reader may wonder if perhaps there is some level of exaggeration. However, most of Rabbi Weinberger’s contemporaries found his descriptions of Jewish life in New York to be for the most part accurate.

“Ephraim Deinard [1846-1930], the cantankerous bibliophile and Hebraist, thought that Weinberger’s portrait fit all big cities in America – ‘it will serve as a trustworthy guide for those writing the history of Jews in the New World.’” (Page 23)

Sadly, Rabbi Weinberger’s book gives many examples to back up his words in the areas of kashrus, education, the workplace, personal religious observance, and the role of synagogues. One such example is the following Pesach story:


The story is told of one immigrant who arrived here and barely supported himself and his wife by renting a small grocery on one of the streets. Came the month of Nisan [the Hebrew month in which Passover falls] and he did as he and all faithful Jews always did: he searched through everything that might contain chomets [leaven], and slowly began to remove it to the basement and attic in order to make room for the Passover goods that he had ordered a month before.

On the morning before Passover, the merchandise arrived, all properly weighed and measured just as he had requested in his letter to the dealer. But to his great astonishment, no Passover certification appeared: not from the head of the bes din, not from some individual dayan [judge], not from anybody at all. He was brokenhearted –and furious. “Surely some horrible error has occurred,” he cried angrily. “Doubtless some confused clerks are to blame.” But what could he do? There was no time to go out to obtain new holiday merchandise, for customers had already gathered and were coming in. If sent away empty-handed, they would never return.

There remained but one solution: to race to the nearest grocers and to borrow the needed merchandise, or actually to purchase it from them at full price. This proved impossible, however. To a man, the grocers claimed that they had enough only for their own needs, and had to look out for themselves. And so, while his wife stood full of misery in the store, he ran around town like a madman. Half a day passed in turmoil and confusion. Finally they closed their doors.

“Four days later, even before light had dawned on the first of the intermediate days of the holiday, he was already standing at the large supply house on S – Street. Still enraged and furious, he fought with the supervisors and those higher up. They swore to have sent him everything he needed for Passover, but to no avail. They showed him a special place on the first floor where a sign on the wall read PASSOVER G[ROCERIES], and there was his name.

“But where is the Passover certification?”

Finally the owner of the supply house came out, brought him to his office, gave him a seat, and in a soft, earnest voice said, “I see, my friend, that you are as green as can be. You just arrived in this country, and you know nothing of its ways. Be aware of the fact that, aside from flour, there is no Passover merchandise in New York. Many Jews who would never dream of drinking c[offee] or eating s[ugar], or dried fruit on Passover, and who place in their store windows and advertisements large signs reading PASSOVER G[ROCERIES] are actually lying. The words are a deception and fraud. Since many of the storekeepers who do business with us requested it, we were forced to act as you saw. Not that it helps us any, but – as you too now understand and will know for the future – it does benefit the storekeepers in the Jewish areas.’

A new year came, and he knew what lay ahead. Though snow still covered the earth, he already had a sign prepared in gold letters ready to hang in the window before the holiday. But his wife, who came from a good family in the Hungarian state, felt most distressed and argued with him daily. “How is it possible,” she asked him, “to stock s[ugar] on Passover without any proper certification? Did the sages in our country dwell on this problem in vain? Did the gaon from Szerem waste his time troubling himself about it? And what about the dried fruits: do you know where they came from? Would the Jews back home have used them? Does America have a special Torah for itself?”

Her husband listened and proceeded to burn his sign before her eyes. Now he is among those working to bring about improvements in those matters where the Torah strictly demands proper Passover supervision.” (Pages 74 – 75)

Sadly, this was the state of Yiddishkeit on the Lower East Side during that latter part of the 19th and the first part of the 20th centuries.


[i] For a translation of this work see People Walk on Their Heads, Moses Weinberger’s Jews and Judaism in New York, translated from the Hebrew and edited by Jonathan D. Sarna, Holmes Meir Publishers, Inc., New York, 1982.

[ii] Orthodox Judaism in America, A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook by Moshe D. Sherman, Greenwood Press, 1996, page 215.

Dr. Yitzchok Levine

ADL’s Statement on Ellison Proves They ONLY Care About Protecting DEMOCRATS (Not Jews)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Lid}

The ADL finally weighed in on the Keith Ellison controversy, taking a stance which proved again it doesn’t give a rat’s arse about the Jewish community, they only care about the Democratic Party and progressive politics.

Earlier this week we profiled Keith Ellison and warned about his track record of anti-Semitism, association with Muslim Brotherhood groups such as MAS, CAIR, and ISNA. (MAS even paid for his Haj to Saudi Arabia), his anti-Israel actions in the House including being one of only eight members of congress voting against funding Iron Dome (whose only purpose is to block Hamas Rockets at civilian areas) and his infamous Gaza 54 letter asking Obama to lift the Gaza Blockade designed to prevent rockets and concrete for terrorist tunnels being shipped to Hamas.  Ellison is also a  featured keynote speaker at many BDS organization events including the American Friends Service Committee which runs a BDS boot camp, Progressives for Palestine, and is a favorite of the anti-Israel group ironically called Jewish Voice for Peace.

After spending the last two weeks bashing Steven Bannon with false charges of Antisemitism, the Anti-Defamation League finally spoke out regarding Ellison (sort of). In a confusing statement (see below) the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt, said that Ellison has taken positions that concern them, but doesn’t he doesn’t  rip into Ellison (a Democrat) the way he ripped the unfounded claims against Bannon (a Republican) who has been proven to be a friend of the Jews and supporter of Israel. He ends his not by warning Ellison’s critics to slander him based on his race or faith.  Well Johnathan if you read my post from the other day you will understand why the ADL needed to take a much stronger stand on Ellison. And the post doesn’t mention his race, and the only thing about his faith mention is that the Muslim Brotherhood paid for his Haj.

But that isn’t the real reason for Greenblatt’s warning.  Beginning with the term of his predecessor Abe Foxman, the ADL has made progressive politics its primary concern. For example, in 2011 they led an effort asking Jews not to criticize Barack Obama’s anti-Israel policies. Other examples include:

  • Issued a “White Paper” promoting the progressive’s negative PR spin about the Tea Party movement. They said the Tea Party was part of the “New Rage in America”
  • Refused to recognize the anti-Semitism present within Occupy Wall Street, until public pressure embarrassed them into making a statement.

Please understand, the ADL is nothing but a tool for the progressive movement. If you wish to donate to the progressive movement that’s okay, but allow me to suggest you donate to Organizing for Action–they do it better.  If you want to donate to a Jewish Organization allow me to suggest you avoid the ADL, there are hundreds of Jewish Organizations dealing with Jewish, or other worthy charitable work, unlike the ADL those groups don’t waste their time and your donations being a political wannabes.

Read the statement below:


Jeff Dunetz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-lid-jeffdunetz/adls-statement-on-ellison-proves-they-only-care-about-protecting-democrats-not-jews/2016/11/30/

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