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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘lives’

Jewish Owned Times Square Club Drops Black Lives Matter Event over Israel

Friday, September 9th, 2016

A concert supporting Black Lives Matter, planned for Sunday, September 11, at 7 and 9:30 PM at Feinstein’s/54 Below, just north of Times Square, under the direction of Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, was canceled due to “conflicting viewpoints on the social issue,” Playbill reported this week.

An email the club owners sent ticket buyers reads, “The owners and managers … strongly believe in and support the general thrust of the goals and objectives of BLM. However, since announcing the benefit they’ve become aware of a recent addition to the BLM platform that accuses Israel of genocide and endorses a range of boycott and sanction actions.

“Feinstein’s/54 Below would have preferred to hold the concert in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, without endorsing or appearing to endorse the entirety of the Black Lives Matter organization and its platform, but we’ve found that a distinction impossible for us to effect.

“As we can’t support these positions, we’ve accordingly decided to cancel the concert.

“We’re sorry about this unfortunate situation which has not dimmed our commitment to supporting social justice.”

According to Playbill, the evening was organized by Felicia Fitzpatrick, Michael R. Jackson and Jennifer Ashley Tepper, with consultation by Frank Leon Roberts and Adrienne Warren for the Broadway for Black Lives Matter Collective. Participants included Lilli Cooper, Eisa Davis, Andre DeShields, Michael R. Jackson, Marcus Scott, Darius Smith and Brynn Williams, as well as the AAPF-Say Her Name Organization and a representative from the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter.

Feinstein’s/54 Below opened in 2012 as a supper club. In 2015, through a creative partnership with Michael Feinstein, the Ambassador of the American Songbook, 54 Below was renamed Feinstein’s/54 Below.

JNi.Media

St. Louis Churches Reject Black Lives Matter’s Anti-Israel Message

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten, President of the Ecumenical Leadership Council of St. Louis, on Sunday published a letter in the St. Louis Post Dispatch headlined, “Churches reject Black Lives Matter’s platform on Israel.” Bishop Wooten, a graduate of Saint Louis University who served in the city’s public school system for 30 years, has created a Neighborhood Outreach Center, two Charter schools and a local Church that contains and supports more than 45 outreach ministries.

“Recently, Black Lives Matter issued a platform of demands. One of the demands called for the elimination of US aid to Israel. Their argument is that Israel is an apartheid state perpetrating genocide against the Palestinians,” Bishop Wooten wrote, noting that “most of the platform’s readers are likely unaware that its Israel/Palestine section was written by an activist who was born and raised as a Jew, although Rachel Gilmer says she no longer identifies as Jewish.”

Thank you, Bishop Wooten, for pointing out the smaller details of things, where all the pain usually resides, mostly personal, unresolved pain.

“The Ecumenical Leadership Council of Missouri, representing hundreds of predominantly African-American churches throughout the state, rejects without hesitation any notion or assertion that Israel operates as an apartheid country,” Bishop Wooten continued. “We embrace our Jewish brethren in America and respect Israel as a Jewish state. Jewish-Americans have worked with African-Americans during the civil rights era when others refused us service at the counter — and worse.”

Yes, dear reader, there’s an alliance between African Americans and Jews, there’s a friendship and an affinity — they just don’t exist on the extreme left of American politics. They probably never did.

“Anyone who studies American history will no doubt find the names Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, two Jews and an African-American, who lost their lives trying to provide civil rights for blacks in the south,” Bishop Wooten noted, concluding, “We cannot forget their noble sacrifices. Neither should Black Lives Matter.”

The letter, which should bring any self-loving Jew to tears, reminded me of the joke about the European Jew who brags about Europe having the best museums and best culture, and what do you have in America, he asks? We, answers his Jewish American friend, have the best goyim.

David Israel

Parallel Lives: Three Weeks to Recreate a Bond of Love, Respect and Passion

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person

– Mignon McLaughlin

 

We are decidedly troubling beings. We are at once noble and sanctified creatures, imbued with the glory and holiness of God while, at the same time, being vulnerable and petty creatures, mired in the sad and troubling realities of the physical world around us, realities that are often the result of our own selfish and foolish behavior.

No period of time drives our troubling nature home more forcefully than the Three Weeks. Beginning when, historically, the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans and reaching their mournful, painful crescendo on Tisha B’Av, the date on which the weight, number and overwhelming calamities weighing on us find us grieving and fasting for forgiveness and relief, these three weeks are the darkest of our liturgical calendar.

Three weeks.

Three weeks when we feel most alone, most vulnerable, most distant from God and the safety of his glory and protection. Three weeks when all around us the world basks – or swelters – in the hot, summer sun – we are in our darkest period.

Summer is, for most people, a time of relaxation and fun. But for Jews, these three weeks mark an inauspicious time, a frightening time, a time when God seems withdrawn from us and our humiliations, our tragedies, our exiles and defeats loom large. During these three weeks, we feel God’s absence in a physical way. It bows our heads and tightens the muscles in our stomachs. We ache for Him to be more present. We ache for Him to return and infuse our lives with power and sanctity. We need Him close but He seems to be hiding His face. It is time of hester panim.

The Three Weeks are a hard time, a mournful time. But like any difficult time, it is also a time of opportunity; a time when we can take the difficult and learn from it, take the sadness and learn to appreciate joy, confront our fears and find courage, recognize hurt and discover new ways to heal it.

The truth is, during the Three Weeks God seems distant. But, He is never so far away that we cannot reconnect if we are determined to do so. God wants our bond to be strong, He wants us to reconnect.

Sometimes, the simple truth is as the poet has said, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and we need to feel God turn away to know how desperately and passionate we want and need Him to be close.

* * *

In Rav Norman Lamm’s “The Veil of God”, he relates how tradition teaches that when the Romans breached the Holy Temple and entered the Holy of Holies, they came upon the two Cherubim, the “…statuettes resembling the faces of young , innocent children, and from between which the voice of God would issue forth. When the enemy beheld these Cherubim, the Talmud relates, they found that the two figurines were facing each other. Now this is most unexpected, because according to Jewish tradition, the Cherubim faced each other only when Israel was obedient to God (‘osin retzono shel Makom); when Jews did not perform the will of God, the Cherubim turned away from each other. The destruction of the Temple was certainly the result of Israel’s disobedience and rebellion. One would expect, therefore, that they turn their faces away from each other. Why, then, were they facing one another, the sign of mutual love between God and His people?”

His answer, shared by R. Pinhas of Koretz, teaches us something powerful about the nature of love and friendship. That is that just as it is most dark right before the dawn, the attachment between two people is always strongest just before they part.

Two people can have an enduring relationship, a warm relationship, a caring relationship for years and years, but let the end draw near and all the emotion, passion, hope and joy that defined that relationship at its onset returns – in abundance!

What does this have to do with the Three Weeks?

God appreciates that we daven every day; He loves that we find rest during the Sabbath and that we observe His commandments. But He wants more than that. He wants a rekindling of the passion that brings us close and lifts us. He wants us to engage in the passion that burns with holiness.

Relationships need constant words of love and appreciation to stay strong and develop. Our relationship with God is no different. During the Three Weeks, we feel the distance in our relationship with God. How do we close that distance? How do we return to the “fear and trembling” of Sinai?

* * *

The love between God and Israel follows the same pattern as genuine human love. Tisha B’av was the beginning of the hester panim, the parting of the lovers. God and Israel turned away from each other, and the great, exciting, and immensely complicated relationship between the two companions, begun in the days of Abraham, was coming to an end. But before this tragic and heartbreaking moment, there took place a last, long, lingering look, the fervent embrace of the two lovers as they were about to part. At the threshold of separation they both experienced a great outpouring of mutual love, an intense ahavah, as they suddenly realized the long absence from each other that lay ahead of them; in so brief a time they tried to crowd all the affection the opportunities for which they ignored in the past, and all the love which would remain unrequited in the course of the future absence. That is why the Cherubim were facing each other. Certainly the Israelites were rebellious and in contempt of the will of God. But they were facing each other; God and Israel looked towards each other longingly and in lingering affection before they were pulled apart. And from this high spiritual union of God and Israel was created the soul of the Messiah! Mashiach was conceived in intense and rapturous love!

* * *

We are, of course, merely human. How can we really renew bonds, genuine bonds between us and God? How could we do such a thing? Our bonds must constantly be renewed. Just as our human bonds – between friends, between parents and children, between husband and wife.

Throughout our poetic and religious literature, the relationship between Israel and God has been likened to that between bride and groom, husband and wife. It is a deep and true image. And, as we learn during the Three Weeks, sometimes in our most important relationships, distance creeps in, complacency takes over, the ongoing day by day weight of life files away the passion and joy.

How do we renew that relationship?

Husbands and wives have done a great many things to renew “the spark” of their initial love. Some things intuitively make sense – long walks, scheduling a “date night”, going on vacation – others are a bit more of a stretch – roller coasters and bungee jumping. At base, every relationship requires communication to grow, to renew, and to stay strong.

Some couples find praying together is a powerful bond. Others, walks in nature. A couple I know very well use a technique I find powerful and moving, they recite the entire book of Tehilim every week, each reciting half the book. One week, the husband recites all the even numbered chapters and the wife the odd numbered; the following week, the reverse. In this way, they communicate their deep love for one another and maintain the spiritual component of their relationship.

“It is a very boding intimate daily connection in a spiritually holy way. We feel close through it; feel like we are doing something together for ourselves and for our family.”

I wondered, How is that bonding with each other?

“It is something that we are doing together. So we are together even when we are not together. It connects us on a different, holy level.”

I grant you, it’s not bungee jumping but this couple has been doing this for four years and they seem closer, kinder, more loving and more deeply committed than ever.

* * *

Yes, there is distance during the Three Weeks. But, just as it is true that devoted friends never forget each other – even if anger and offense have caused distance. It is never the case of “out of sight, out of mind.” A father may be so angry with his son that they don’t speak but his heart aches waiting for his son to call, to write, to make some gesture towards reconciliation. No matter how long the marriage and how “set in their ways” husband and wife become, some of the initial spark will always remain.

All these are instances of separation tense with love striving for reunion.

Such indeed is the hester panim that separates us from our Father in Heaven. We are exiled from Him – but not alienated. We are so far yet so close. God’s face is hidden but His heart is awake. Of course the divine love for Israel has not expired. It is that and that alone that accounts for our continued existence to this day. Certainly “with a great love hast Thou loved us” – for though we are banished, we need but call to Him and He will answer . Like a wise parent, the Almighty may punish, even expel, but never ceases to love His child!

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Soul Talk – Spiritual Principles for Dealing with Difficult People in Our Lives [audio]

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

It seems as thought everyone has a difficult someone (or sometimes more than one) in their life. How are we best to deal with and respond to difficult people in our lives? Are there spiritual principles or a specific mindset we should be in when facing challenging people or situations?

Listen to Rabbi David Aaron on Soul Talk to get greater insight and constructive tools in dealing with the difficult people in your life.

Please send us your comments and questions to soultalk@israelnewstalkradio.com.

Soul Talk 17Jul – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Naso: Adding Godliness To Our Lives

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
In Parshat Naso, we are introduced to what seems like a hodgepodge of miscellaneous laws. Why is the Torah bringing these up together? Join us as we explore something very subtle going on in this parsha.

 

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Rabbi David Fohrman

Communist MK at Committee on the Status of Women: ‘Our Society Lives in Fear’

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

“Israeli society lives in fear, and that is awful,” MK Dov Khenin, whose Communist party is part of the Joint Arab List, told the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality on Monday, adding, “Unfortunately, there are those who build their politics on fear. There are different aspects to the Israeli women’s sense of lack of personal security – physical, sectorial, economic, and social. One of our most important challenges is dealing with this fear and creating a society in which people will feel safer.”

The committee discussed possible courses of action in light of a recent study that showed Israelis in general have a low sense of personal security. The study, conducted by the Knesset’s Research and Information Center, examined various aspects of Israelis’ sense of personal security, ranging from how safe they feel in public spaces to how they rate their employment, health and economic security. The study, commissioned by the Committee on the Status of Women, surveyed a representative sample of 1,028 Israeli adults, more than half of them women.

According to the study, 59% of women and 54% of men said they worried about damaging behavior by state agencies that would negatively affect their personal security. Among Arab women the figure rose to 74%, compared to 59% of Jewish women born in Israel, 51% of ultra-Orthodox women and 49% of female immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

“The national-security discourse allows generals to exclude us from the debate and from many budgets, and only when we realize that cultural and economic security is just as important, the budgets will change accordingly, and the generals will discover that they have a lot to learn,” Committee head MK Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List) stated.

MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Camp-Labor) said that in Israel the family is not perceived as an “anchor of personal security,” and argued that the Knesset does not address the issue sufficiently. “The study found that there are 27 different types of families in Israel, and when we see that the family is the second most influential factor when it comes to personal security, then it is obvious that we have to deal with this issue and see how we can view the Israeli family in a different way.”

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) addressed Sunday’s assault on an Arab supermarket employee in central Tel Aviv by a group of Border Guard police who refused to identify themselves, and mentioned that the victim’s father is not sure about filing a police complaint. “The study includes data about the fear of turning to the police, which is the body that is supposed to offer solutions to the lack of personal security,” Lavie lamented. “I’m not sure what happened there, but it certainly must be examined, even without a complaint by the father.”

The study indeed showed that, overall, 20% of women and 24% of men said they wouldn’t feel safe calling the police.

MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) said she is very concerned about the fact that more than 20% of Israeli women are afraid to turn to the police. “Last week, the committee chairwoman and I met in Ireland with the local police commissioner, who told us that in the past some 80% of the population did not trust the police, but they managed to turn the situation around. Having 10% of women being afraid is problematic, but let’s start by trying to reach that number and return to examine the situation on a yearly basis.”

Chairwoman Touma-Sliman said the debate was aimed at “trying to figure out how we move forward from here, after being shocked by the study’s findings, which should terrify every man and women who cares about the sense of personal security of all Israeli citizens. This is merely the beginning of the path towards introducing a different discourse to the political arena and towards a conscious change of the concept of security.”

JNi.Media

My Heart Lives in Israel

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

I was born in Lebanon in 1961, and I grew up in the streets of Beirut. Before the civil war that started in 1975, we played in the streets unsupervised, unaware of the fratricide hatred that was brewing. During the war, I saw Arabs kill Arabs, Muslims kill Muslims, and Christians kill Christians. When the war ended in 1990, a quarter million people had been killed.

We took a country that was thriving and beautiful, and we turned it into ruins. My Lebanon has not yet recovered, 27 years after that war ended.

Next door to Lebanon, I saw a country fending for its life, repelling Arab attack after Arab attack. When they weren’t fighting their attackers, they were building a nation. In only a few decades, they had made the desert bloom, and they were a light unto the nations.

We Arabs chose to fight each other, and we chose to fight the Jews. We chose to make them our enemies rather than our friends, and we chose to destroy rather than to build.

I now live in Canada, a great, beautiful, and successful country, but it will never be truly mine. When I watch events unfolding in the Middle East, my body remains here, but my heart keeps travelling back, and it invariably takes me to Israel.

When Israelis live with daily rocket attacks, my heart is in Israel.

When Israelis are stabbed for the crime of being Jews, my heart is in Israel.

When Israel must fight yet one more war that it never wanted to fight, my heart is in Israel.

When one more terror attack kills Israelis who were going to school, or going to work, or going to pray, my heart is in Israel.

When the world condemns Israel for defending itself but ignores that Arabs have rejected peace again and again and again, my heart is in Israel.

When my Lebanon and other criminal Arab regimes gang up to attempt to erase Jewish history in the eternal Jewish city of Jerusalem, my heart is in Israel.

My heart lives in Israel, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in an office building in Haifa, or on a bus in the busy streets of Tel Aviv.

As long as Israel must fight for the right to exist, my heart will live in Israel. As long as Israel grows, invents, and thrives despite the bombs and the hatred, my heart will live in Israel. As long as my Lebanon is part of the problem and not part of the solution, my heart will live in Israel.

Fred Maroun

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/my-heart-lives-in-israel/2016/04/24/

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