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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘left’

And Jacob Was Left Alone… Lessons from Parshat Vayishlach

Friday, December 16th, 2016

“And Jacob was left alone…”

Why was he alone?

The Gemara tells us (Chulin 91a) that after Yaakov moved his camp to the other side of the brook, he busied himself with some small stuff — earthenware jars, or jugs.

Lest we think less of Yaakov for caring about unimportant things, the Gemara comments that Tzaddikim care more about possessions than about themselves, as their possessions were not accrued via “gezel”, but are the result of honest business practice.

What a message!

Where is the hint in the pasuk that these jugs were the items involved?

The Ba’alei Tosfot offer 2 suggestions:

1) לבדו is similar to לכדו

2) בית הבד is an olive press This hints to small, jugs as that is what we put olive oil in, as opposed to big jugs for wine.

Maybe these small jugs פכין קטנים, hint to that well known small jug of oil that was found in the Temple by the Chashmonaim.

Perhaps the lesson to take is that if we want big miracles to happen we should concentrate on doing the right thing always, even when it seems like the details are trivial.

Rav Yitzchak Korn

‘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.

JNi.Media

“And Yaakov Left…” A Year Since Rav Yaakov Litman and His Son Were Mudered

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

This past year since Rav Yaakov Litman and his son Natanel were brutally murdered, there has not been a week since our son who was in his first grade class last year brings him up.  Our two oldest sons both learned with him.  They like the rest of the students in their school spent the last year grieving and learning to grow past the pain of losing such a beloved teacher to a murderous terror attack.

It’s strange to find myself back at the same Torah portion as last year and see the exact same relevance as before.  I wrote last year the following in connection with the murder of Rav Yaakov and Natanel and the Torah portion:

So how do you tell your son that he will never see his Rebbe again? How do you tell your 1st grader that Arab murderers gunned his Rabbi and son down for no other reason than because they are Jewish?  

Our son heard the news from us last night and processed it. In many ways kids are more resilient than we are.  “Who is going to be there tomorrow?” he asked my wife. Our older son seemed to wonder the same thing. Rav Yaakov taught him two classes a week as well. The three of us decided to learn together.  That was what Rav Yaakov would want us to do. We picked this week’s Torah portion to learn.

“And Yaakov left Beer Sheva…,”  it began. Yaakov left. Rashi tells us that when a tzaddik leaves a place the people feel his absence

A year has passed and in that year I have begun to understand in a different way what our sages meant when a tzaddik (righteous person) is alive even in their death. They live through their students. To understand the impact this one man and his son had on a school and community is impossible without looking at the students in the school. Everyone who met Rav Yaakov was touched and lifted up.

This is how the great Tzaddiks like Rebbe Nachman, the Baal Shem Tov, Arizal, and others live in both worlds.   Each student carries his life force with him.  I only met him briefly, but Rav Yaakov’s smile on meeting me still stays with me. Seeing both of our sons who had the merit to learn with him still talk about Rav Yaakov shows me that he is up there with the greatest.  His lifeforce is more than just a simple statement, he has given his strength and eternity over to his students and he lives on within them in a very real way.

To this end the entire school put together a video marking a year since he and his son were murdered. Watch and even without the translation you can easily see what impact Rav Yaakov is still having on his students and community.

David Mark

The Left That Cried Wolf

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

{Posted to the author’s eponymous blogsite}

If there’s one thing that infuriates me about Israeli leftists, it’s that they spend so much time howling about nonexistent threats to Israeli democracy that they have no credibility left when they actually warn about real ones. Two controversial legislative initiatives of the past week–one a genuine problem and one a manufactured one–exemplify the problem.

The manufactured crisis, which has the entire left in an uproar, begins with the fact that the Judicial Appointments Committee is reportedly deadlocked over the choice of new justices to fill the four Supreme Court vacancies that will open next year. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has strongly implied that, if this impasse isn’t resolved, she will back another legislator’s bill to change the appointments system. The current system requires Supreme Court appointments to be approved by at least seven of the appointments committee’s nine members, while the bill would allow such appointments to be approved by a simple majority of 5-4.

According to liberals, this proposal is massively undemocratic. Leftist MK Shelly Yacimovich, for instance, accused Shaked of “unruly and destructive behavior … toward the justice system.” Opposition leader Isaac Herzog accused the bill’s proponents of seeking to purge “the judiciary, the media, all criticism and fair democratic processes.” A Haaretz editorial termed the proposal “another step in the trampling of the proper balance among the branches of government” and an effort to undermine the court’s ability to protect “human rights and fundamental democratic principles.” And Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, who accused Shaked of putting “a gun on the table,” announced that she and her two judicial colleagues on the appointments committee will henceforth boycott negotiations aimed at trying to end the impasse.

But here’s the incredible thing: The simple-majority system that the bill proposes was, in fact, the one in place for more than five decades. The law was amended eight years ago to require a majority of at least 7-2 for Supreme Court appointments. In other words, what the left considered a perfectly appropriate and democratic system for all the years until 2008 is suddenly a major threat to democracy.

If you actually believe the simple-majority system is undemocratic, it would mean that every Supreme Court until 2008 was appointed via an undemocratic and illegitimate process, and therefore, none of its rulings should be considered valid. In addition, since many current justices–including Naor and both her colleagues on the appointments committee–were appointed prior to 2008, they too would be illegitimate, undemocratic appointees, so all current Supreme Court rulings would also be illegitimate and invalid. Is that what the left, the court’s self-proclaimed champion, actually wants?

Moreover, legislation gets repealed all the time when it turns out that what seemed like a good idea in theory doesn’t work in practice. In this case, Shaked’s argument is that the new system has created a deadlock that’s preventing the vitally needed appointment of four new justices–more than a quarter of the 15-justice court. That’s at least arguably a serious enough problem to justify a legislative remedy. Or is the left suggesting that legislation, once passed, must remain on the books in perpetuity, even if it proves detrimental?

As it happens, I think Shaked is wrong on the merits. The amendment was sponsored in 2008 by her fellow conservative, Gideon Sa’ar, for two reasons. First, it’s simply more appropriate for Supreme Court justices to be appointed with wide support than by a narrow majority. Second, the bill’s main purpose was actually to protect conservative interests: Given the composition of the appointments committee, which consists of four politicians, two Bar Association representatives and three sitting justices, conservatives are in the minority on the panel far more often than they’re in the majority. That’s because the three justices are almost always liberals (in the sense of favoring judicial activism), while the other six seats float. Requiring a seven-vote majority thus made it much harder to appoint ultraliberal candidates during times when liberals were in the majority. And neither of these reasons has lost its validity just because conservatives now hold a temporary majority on the panel.

But the fact that I disagree with something doesn’t make it undemocratic–a basic truth that most Israeli leftists unfortunately have yet to grasp. They have a nasty habit of deeming any proposal they dislike “anti-democratic.” And in this case, as with the vast majority of what they deem “anti-democratic,” nothing could be further from reality.

The problem is that once in a great while, they’re actually right–as is the case with another bill that hit the headlines over the past week. That bill, sponsored by the government, would expand the defense minister’s powers to impose movement restrictions and other restrictions on Israeli citizens whom he deems a threat to national security or the public welfare. It’s an appalling idea (though I suspect it ultimately won’t pass), and leftists are fully justified in raising a storm about it. I only wish conservatives were doing the same.

But after years of ranting about nonexistent threats to democracy like the Shaked proposal, leftists have destroyed their credibility, with the result that most Israelis simply tune them out. It’s the old problem of the boy who cried wolf: Raise false alarms often enough and no one will believe you when a real one comes.

Israel thereby loses out twice over: Leftists tarnish its image overseas by repeatedly making false claims of anti-democratic legislation, while also destroying their ability to raise justified alarms about the occasional real problems. It’s the worst of all possible worlds. And it’s precisely why Israel desperately needs a sane, responsible left rather than the one it has.

 

Evelyn Gordon

Left, Right, Agree: Intermarriage Marks Demise of US Jewish Community

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

There’s a strange air of delight in the manner in which Steven M. Cohen describes the failure of the attempts over the past several decades to embrace the intermarried families (Welcomed, but uninterested: America’s intermarried Jews reject Jewish outreach, Ha’aretz, Oct. 26, 2016). The entire article feels like a death announcement delivered via a singing telegram. Cohen’s facts are sound, his conclusions are absolutely on the money, but does he have to sound so happy?

It comes down to this, Cohen states: 72% of non-Orthodox American Jews marry non-Jews, and over 20 years, the community’s attempts to embrace those intermarried families have failed completely.

The bulk of non-Orthodox Jewish institutions have “radically revised their policies, practices, and ethos to invite the intermarried,” writes Cohen, including in the same effort all kinds of non-traditional families, such as the LGBTQ Jews and “others who challenge the legacy notions of engaged Jewish families and individuals.” According to him you can’t throw a stone at a Jewish institution website on your computer screen without crashing the words “diverse,” “welcoming,” and “inclusive” somewhere in there. But they’re not interested, apparently.

Using the great, eye-opening Pew study of 2013 (A Portrait of Jewish Americans), Cohen points out that the signs of Jewish life in intermarried Jewish families are fast diminishing. 80% of non-Orthodox Jew+Jew couple with children belong to synagogues — only 16% of Jew+goy do. On High Holiday services, 92% of J+Js with kids show up for the services, only 32% of J+gs do.

Only 26% of J+g parents say being Jewish is very important to them — compared with 75% of J+Js. 13% of J+gs feel very emotionally attached to Israel, as opposed to 45% of J+Js. 33% of J+gs say they fast on Yom Kippur, 90% of J+Js do. 4% of J+gs light Shabbat candles, 60% of J+Js do. And 85% of J+gs have a Christmas tree at home, only 6% of J+Js. Only 31% of J+Gs give their children a Jewish education, compared with 90% of J+Js.

In short, once a Jewish person marries a non-Jewish person, there’s no stopping the process by which he or she and their offspring will move outside the Jewish community and into the community at large. It’s interesting to note in this context that the departure from the Jewish timeline does not have to do with faith, nor with observance. Those are more likely to serve as social markers than as dependable tools in preventing the religious drift. The only thing that virtually guarantees that one’s children remain connected to the Jewish community is one’s spouse.

Here is where Cohen’s astute and fearless observation is finally trapped by his political beliefs: “Those who seek to increase the participation of the intermarried in Jewish life need to stop importuning the institutions, and turn their sights elsewhere,” he concludes. “We need to recognize that few of the intermarried either attach to Jewish institutions or care very much about them.” Instead, he insists, Jewish families are where new Jewish families are grown: “Rabbis, committee chairs and educators can help,” he points out, “but parents and grandparents are critical to fully integrating their intermarried family members in Jewish life.”

It’s a sweet sentiment, and Cohen probably knows a handful of cases where the loving and non-judgmental family of the Jewish spouse made a difference in keeping the children in the Jewish realm. But the reality of the figures he cites suggests that in most cases, the most loving and accepting parents have also failed to make a difference — unless you would suggest that those 96% of families of mixed couples that don’t light Shabbat candles have all sat Shiva over them, an unlikely notion.

What works for the Orthodox in avoiding the sad drift of intermarried couples is the fact that the community and the families do not tolerate this possibility at all. The very idea of intermarriage is repulsive to Orthodox Jews, and the entire community is organically set up around the idea of the J+J exclusive union. If Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist communities kept all their religious differences except for the tolerance of intermarriage, they, too, would still be with us in fifty years.

JNi.Media

Left Irate: Habima National Theater to Perform in Kiryat Arba-Hebron

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Several leftwing creative and academic professionals have protested the decision of Israel’s national theater, Habima, to perform the show “A Simple Story,” written by Shahar Pinkas based on a S. Y. Agnon novel by the same name, in the JCC of Kiryat Arba, Hebron, next month, Ha’aretz reported Monday. The protesters called on Habima to cancel the performance, scheduled for November 10. Habima will also perform the same show on March 8 at the Ariel auditorium.

Haim Weiss, who teaches at Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, wrote on his Facebook page: “As far as I was able to verify, this is the first time the Habima theater will perform in Kiryat Arba. The willingness of the theater, its workers and actors to take part in the normalization of the occupation by turning Kiryat Arba into yet another town where they perform is very troubling.”

Weiss asks, “Was it the financial difficulties the theater is facing and the hope that appearing in Hebron would cause the Culture Minister and other Ministers to support them, that led to the decision on performing in Kiryat Arba-Hebron?”

Last April, Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) issued a directive whereby theatrical institutions that perform in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria will receive a 10% increase in their state budgets, while institutions that refuse to include these communities in their schedule will suffer a 33% cut. The Israeli Civil Liberties Association has appealed the directive to the Supreme Court.

Weiss, who urged his Facebook friends to protest the decision, said it would be a great shame should Habima appear in “one of the most racist and violent bastions of the occupation.” He attached a picture of a banner advertising the November show, saying it was “symbolic that the banner for this shameful show was hung on a barbed wire fence.”

Written in 1935, “A Simple Story” describes the tribulations of a young man in Jewish community in a small town in eastern Europe, who loses his sanity over his love for a woman he could not marry. The novel is also a poignant social criticism of the bourgeois values of European Jews, who chase after food, drink, honor and avarice.

JNi.Media

What Ambassador Power Left Out Of Her Anti-Semitism Speech

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Radical Muslims are currently the major perpetrators of verbal and physical attacks on Jews throughout the world. And on U.S. college campuses, the radical Islamist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is the major perpetrator of anti-Semitism.

The Zionist Organization of America has extensively documented SJP’s anti-Semitic activities. It is thus deeply disappointing that during her speech at the United Nations “anti-Semitism” conference on September 7, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power failed to even mention the term “Muslim” or “Islamic anti-Semitism” –which happens to constitute a major portion of the physical and verbal anti-Jewish attacks.

She also never mentioned the critical role of the SJP and Muslim campus groups in committing hate crimes and harassment of Jews, encouraging additional anti-Jewish actions, and inducing fear among Jewish students. And throughout her speech, whenever she described attacks on Jews, she never mentioned that the perpetrators were Muslims.

For instance, Power stated: “On July 1, a cement-filled bottle was thrown through the window of a local Jewish center in Santa Fe, Argentina with the message, ‘This is a warning, the next one explodes.’ ” Power left out the fact that the note attached to the cement-filled bottle also stated: “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic, and included the logo of the Islamic State.

Power also failed to mention even more violent anti-Semitism in South America, such as the attack by a Muslim who, while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” stabbed to death a Jewish man and wounded victim’s son in Uruguay in March.

And in still another example, Power referred to the “horrific terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris” without mentioning that the perpetrator of this deadly attack on Jews was a radical Somali Islamist who also declared “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered victims selected for death because they were Jews.

It is also deeply disappointing that the only time Power mentioned Muslims during her entire speech was when she misleadingly complained that rising anti-Semitism goes “hand in hand” with “xenophobic” efforts to bar Muslim immigration.

In fact, Muslim immigration goes hand in hand with rising terrorist attacks on Jews and persons of other faiths in western nations. It is not “xenophobic” to want to limit immigration by a population infiltrated by ISIS members and other radical Islamists and who, according to FBI Director James Comey, can’t be properly vetted.

Power also omitted the involvement of Islamists and SJP when she described anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses.

For instance, she stated: “In February, not far from here in Brooklyn College, a group of student activists interrupted a faculty meeting demanding that all Zionists be removed from campus.” Power omitted the fact that this was one of the many incidents that ZOA has documented related to SJP’s anti-Semitic activities at Brooklyn College and other CUNY campuses.

In addition to omitting the radical Muslim perpetrators of violent anti-Semitic attacks, she adopted the diversionary tactic of focusing much of her talk on alleged right wing (generally non-violent) neo-Nazi anti-Semitism.

For example, she expounded at length about an isolated, unsuccessful proposal to erect a statue to honor an official who was a Nazi collaborator in Hungary. By contrast, she never breathed a word about the innumerable ways that the Palestinian Authority honors Muslim terrorists who murder innocent Jews. The PA names streets, sports clubs, schools, and public squares, and sponsors television specials and holidays for these terrorists, and pays these terrorists stipends for murdering Jews.

Sadly, Power also ignored the helpful existing State Department definition of anti-Semitism. The State Department definition includes: holding Israel to a double standard of behavior not expected of other democratic nations; comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis; blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions; NGOs focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel; and denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and Israel’s right to exist.

She should have called for worldwide adoption of this existing definition. Instead, she called for countries to draft and adopt a weak new definition of anti-Semitism that apparently legitimizes much anti-Semitic criticism of Israel.

We urge Ambassador Power to acknowledge that radical Islam is the major perpetrator of rising anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish and anti-Western terrorism.

Morton A. Klein and Elizabeth A. Berney

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/what-ambassador-power-left-out-of-her-anti-semitism-speech/2016/09/16/

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