Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has called on Jews to arrive en masse at the Western Wall on Hoshanah Raba and Shemini Azeret-Simchat Torah to pray show their strength and faith in the face of terror.
Rabbi Yosef’s message was in response to the murder of two Jews and wounding of two others in the Old City Saturday night by a Palestinian Authority terrorist.
He asked Jews “to perform the commandment of the holiday and to pray for the peace of the wounded.” and added:
The situation in which the blood of Jews is spilled like water in the land of Israel, day after day, when their only sin is their being Jews, is unbearable.
We can’t allow a situation in which Jews are afraid to go to the Western Wall,” continued Rabbi Yosef.
The rabbi called on “all the sources involved in the matter to bring about a situation in which Jews will feel secure in all parts of the land of Israel.”
The prayer rally at the Kotel parallels mass protests elsewhere in Israel, including opposite the official residence of the Prime Minister in Jerusalem.
European anti-circumcision activists have lost their battle to ban the ritual that is sacred to Jews and is practiced by Muslims although it is not commanded in the Koran.
Several European countries have been campaigning for several years to ban circumcision based on claims that is violent and that it violates “children’s rights.”
The European Council voted against a proposal to ban circumcision, and opponents settled for a decision that requires those performing circumcisions to be experts and to inform parents of possible dangers.
Meretz Knesset Member Issawi Frej, an Israeli with Arab citizenship, joined the Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council, the Conference of European Rabbis, and Islamic groups who argued against the proposal.
He told the European Council that anyone who opposes circumcision should try to convince people through education and not by coercion.
One of the four Jewish MacArthur Fellow winners, Princeton University professor Marina Rustow (pictured). Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Four Jews have been selected among this year’s 24 MacArthur fellows for “genius grants,” each one worth $625,000.
Author Ben Lerner, a writer and professor at the Department of English at the City University of New York, won the grant for “seamless shifts between fiction and nonfiction, prose and lyric verse, memoir and cultural criticism, conveying the way in which politics, art, and economics intertwine with everyday experience,” according to the MacArthur Foundation’s website.
Environmental health advocate Gary Cohen, who is the co-founder and president of Health Care Without Harm, won for bringing “attention to the fact that American hospitals had been major contributors to environmental pollution and had been largely ignoring the damage to local communities and environments caused by extensive use of harmful chemicals in medical devices, toxic cleaning agents, reliance on fossil fuels, and disposal of waste via incineration.”
Artist Nicole Eisenman won for her nearly four-decade-long career as a painter, sculptor, and printmaker, while Princeton University professor and Jewish studies educator Marina Rustow won for using her expertise on the Cairo Geniza texts “to shed new light on Jewish life and on the broader society of the medieval Middle East.”
Altogether, the 24 “delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” MacArthur President Julia Stasch said in a statement.
A court order overruling Deri’s “stop work” decision allows Israel Railways to continue maintenance and construction work on Shabbat.
Israeli Railways can continue carrying out maintenance work and construction of the new high-speed Jerusalem-to rail line on Shabbat after the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Court out-maneuvered Shas leader Aryeh Deri, who also is Minister of Economy.
As reported here last week by the JewishPress.com, Deri scored his political points with his Sephardi Hareidi constituency knowing that his stop work order would not last very long.
Deri’s has backed down from his order against work on Shabbat following a Justice Ministry petition to the Supreme Court against the Ministry of Economy. The court obliged and overruled Deri, who then withdrew his order.
The permits to be given or extended shall be valid until a different decision is made, given the court proceeding.
Deri had claimed that Israeli Railways did not obtain a legal permit for working on Shabbat, and he ordered that work on the rail line be halted. Israel Railways claimed that Deri’s decision would delay the inauguration of the high-speed train by 2 years, which mathematically does not make any sense but at least gave the company another excuse for another postponement in completing the massive and oft-mismanaged project.
One delay earlier this year was caused by tunnel engineers who were off the mark during work from both ends of one of the tunnels. It returned out that the opening from each end did not meet in the middle.
President Barack Obama laced his annual Rosh HaShanah greetings with political overtones, in stark contrast to his message to Muslims last July on their Eid-ul-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
President Obama reminded Jews that the “Book of Life is open.” Assuming a posture as a Jew, he added:
As millions of Jews ask God to inscribe their names in that Book we recognize how much lies beyond our control.
It was a pointed reminder to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that besides God, there also is President Obama who pulls the strings when it comes to world affairs, such as the nuclear agreement with Iran.
The President then preached peace, which he said is “hard, but right now the book is open. Not just for God but for us.”
That is a theme that was totally absent from his speech to Muslims in July, when he noted:
The end of Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need. While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual – a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.
President Obama then devoted nearly half of his greeting to talk about how millions of Muslims go to mosques for prayers and then have “festive gatherings, gift exchanges, and feasts among friends, neighbors and families.”
He emphasized how “the diversity of traditions paint the vibrant images we see from around the world capturing the spirit and excitement of Eid – colorful dresses or white garments decorating the masses of people standing in lines for prayer, lanterns and ornaments lighting up bazaars and neighborhoods, intricate henna designs painted on hands of young girls and women, and an abundance of delectable foods and aromatic cuisines.”
Then he boasted that Eid-ul-Fitr now is a an official holiday in New York City public schools, and he praised Muslims for helping to raise money “for the churches burned in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina” by a white racist.
The greeting to Muslims was absent of any reference to radical Muslim violence, peace in the Middle East, or the nuclear threat from Iran. It was a typical patronizing greeting made by every leader to partisan groups.
Now let’s go back to 2009 for President Obama’s first Rosh HaShanah greetings:
I want to extend my warmest wishes for this New Year. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – may you have a good year, and may you be inscribed for blessing in the Book of Life….
At the dawn of this New Year, let us rededicate ourselves to that work. Let us reject the impulse to harden ourselves to others’ suffering, and instead make a habit of empathy – of recognizing ourselves in each other and extending our compassion to those in need.
Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take — let us stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world….
And let us work to achieve lasting peace and security for the state of Israel, so that the Jewish state is fully accepted by its neighbors, and its children can live their dreams free from fear.
All of that was absent from this year’s greeting, which also did not mention anti-Semitism and certainly not anti-Zionism, lest he prompt reminders that Iran’s idea of peace is a world without Israel.
President Obama was elected on a motto of “change.”
Hareidim claimed victory by blocking the appointment of three “liberal religious Zionists” to the country’s 12 regional rabbinical courts.
There now are 22 judges, 7 more than in previous years, but only eight of them are from the national religious community.
The other 14 are divided equally between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi Haredim
Absent from the national religious sector are three rabbis from the Tzohar organization, which was termed as “reform” by Hareidim in a report by the Hareidi Kikar Shabbat website.
Preparations for the voting for judges were made last week with a secret deal that was made between Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is not religious but who has close ties with Hareidim, and Ashkenazi and Sephardi Hareidim.
Kikar Shabbat reported that aides to Steinitz and Hareidim met at a Givat Shaul gas station in the middle of the night last week to close the deal after an understanding that “it would be better to cooperate rather than lose appointment to ‘liberal religious Zionists.’
Degel HaTorah won five judges, and Agudat Yisrael won 2. The voting committee rejected a Chabad rabbi.
Yeshiva University President Richard Joel has announced he plans to step down at the end of his current term, and possibly earlier if a successor can be found before 2018.
The announcement was made by Joel, 65, in an email sent to YU alumni, staff and students on Thursday.
“I am well into my 13th year of the presidency and the 28th year of leading Jewish educational institutions,” Joel wrote.
“When I accepted a third term as president, I informed our chair, Henry Kressel, that it would be my last.
“As we now are poised to advance, I have asked chairman Moshael Straus to begin the process of transition and to identify and recruit my successor. This wonderful and committed lay leadership deserves to have the time to be deliberate in that process.”
Earlier in the day on Thursday (Sept. 10) Yeshiva University and Montefiore Health System announced they sealed a landmark deal between the two that gives Montefiore operational authority and responsibility over Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein).
Under the agreement, Yeshiva University remains responsible for academic oversight, including the granting of degrees. YU also runs a satellite program in Israel.