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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘New York’

A ‘Passage to Israel’ is a Visual Journey Through Israel’s Beauty

Monday, November 14th, 2016

For those who love Israel, the ability to describe the look and feel of the place feels imperative. How can anyone who hasn’t been to Israel recognize the vast beauty of the tiny space?

Karen Lehrman Bloch felt that imperative and, with a career of looking at, cataloguing and curating beauty, undertook a quest to mine and then share the beauty of the Holy Land. Bloch’s quest was in itself an act of beauty: the process of culling Anemones in the Negevexceptionally gorgeous pictures of Israel developed into ever-deeper understandings of Israel’s essence, and an embrace of the many different ways in which Israel is beautiful.

Jaffa Beach

The result of Bloch’s journey is an incredible, ethereal, upliftingly soulful work of art, Passage to Israel, (Skyhorse Publishing). The book is being launched at an exhibition starting Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Anderson Contemporary Gallery, in the South Street Seaport at 180 Maiden Lane in New York City. Bloch’s many years as a curator of beauty honed the skills essential to conveying the beauty of Israel in a dramatic and stunning book.

Passage to Israel is divided into four chapters: Land, Light, Life and Soul. These divisions are a welcome refusal to cleave the land into parochial categories, either geographically or religiously. Bloch also

Morning

rejected banal beauty, the postcards from the Holy Land kitsch. The fading sunlight playing through the clouds and fog over a wave-breaker in Tel Aviv, or a bicycle race along the Dead Sea – each picture in Passage to Israel is a delight and a surprise.

tzachiyaffeagamonhulachaosElah Valley

In more than 200 photographs taken by 35 photographers, not one gives fuel to the misguided but widespread belief that Israel is a militaristic nation defined entirely by the conflict. Perversely, it was the 2014 Gaza War which drew Bloch’s focus to Jerusalem children

Ethiopian worshippersIsrael. A neophyte on social media, the hatred and ugliness expressed there towards Israel eventually inspired Bloch to find a form of healing through what she knows best: beauty.

“I wanted to put something beautiful and positive out there about Israel,” she told the JewishPress.com. Bloch’s previous books, The Inspired Home: Interiors of Deep Beauty and The Lipstick Proviso: Women, Sex & Power in the Real World, both dealt with aspects of beauty. She felt up to the task.

Five of the photographers whose work is featured in the book will be at the launch scheduled for this Thursday.  And Mattisyahu, the Grammy-nominated Israeli singer, will be performing. Bloch explained that Mattisyahu was, “in many ways integral to the book. He uses his poetic, often soulful lyrics to touch people both emotionally and spiritually. That’s what I want these images to do.”

When Bloch saw that the gallery where the launch is being held, she knew she wanted him to perform on opening night.

The “Passage to Israel” exhibition runs at the Anderson Gallery from Nov. 17 through Jan. 6, 2017. Bloch plans to take the exhibit to cities such as Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Toronto, London and Berlin. The exhibit will have its final showing in Jerusalem, sometime next year.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

America Prepares to Vote in Brooklyn, NY

Monday, November 7th, 2016

America is gearing up to vote for a new president on Tuesday, and already by Monday polling stations were in place, ready for the expected flood of voters that candidates are hoping will come to cast their ballots.

In the Midwood section of Brooklyn, polling places are squirreled away, cheek-and-jowl, in every corner of the neighborhood.

On a leafy dead-end street, the Board of Elections has managed to tuck in a polling place in the basement of a residential building on East 17th Street and Avenue I, next to a tony housing project where a security manager in an outside booth eyes unfamiliar people.

Brooklyn Public Library polling place for 2016 US presidential election, on East 16th Street between Aves I and J in Midwood section of Brooklyn, New York.

Brooklyn Public Library.

A second polling place for neighbors to cast their ballots is located barely a block away in the Brooklyn Public Library on East 16th Street between Avenues I and J.

Election booths have been set up in many libraries, public schools and even one in a church, said a local source who requested anonymity.

New York photographer DS Levi is among those tracking down the local action on Election Day for JewishPress.com.

Hana Levi Julian

Tel Aviv is #3 in Top 10 Startup Ecosystems, 2nd Year in a Row

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Tel Aviv has again won third place among the Top 10 Startup Ecosystems in the World, for the second year in a row, announced SparkLabs Global Ventures, the creator of the San Francisco-based VentureBeat tech news site which holds the competition.

Only Silicon Valley and Stockholm preceded the White City, which was followed by New York and Los Angeles, and then Beijing, Seoul, Boston, London and Berlin.

The Israeli city earned four “unicorns,” according to the site, defined as having a private company valuation of a billion dollars or more, a private company acquired for a billion dollars or more, and IPO’ed during 2010 to the present, with a current market capitalization of a billion dollars or more.

“To find this top 10, we looked at eight factors,” the judges noted. “Funding Ecosystem & Exits, Engineering Talent, Active Mentoring, Technical Infrastructure, Startup Culture, Legal & Policy Infrastructure, Economic Foundation, and Government Policies & Programs.”

Hana Levi Julian

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Visit the Rebbe’s Ohel [video]

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

(JNi.Media) As the US Presidential elections draw closer, the candidates are looking for all the support they can get.

On Saturday night, Ivanka (Yael) Trump, presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Jewish daughter, and her husband Jared Kushner visited the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, also known as the “Ohel”. The Ohel is located in the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, New York.

The visit was ostensibly for a blessing before the elections, but it may have also been to drum up additional last minute support among the Orthodox community, many of whom already support Trump.

Press were not invited to the event.

The visit also happened to coincide with the gun scare at Donald Trumps’ rally in Reno, Nevada.

On the other side of the Hassidic spectrum, last week, a Satmar Brooklyn weekly, Der Yid, according to a report in The Forward (Der Yid does not have a website), recommended that voters show their appreciation to Hillary Clinton for being “sympathetic to the needs of the Haredi Community.”

JNi.Media

Now They are Going After Jewish Summer Camps

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Camp Mesorah is a co-educational Modern Orthodox sleep-over camp sprawling across more than 100 acres in New York State’s Catskill Mountains.  The camp focuses on sports, Torah, Jewish unity and love for Medinat Yisrael. Some people can’t stand that last part – especially any suggestion that the Israeli Defense Forces should be respected and emulated.

Why? Because the IDF, you know, is a military force and if Jewish campers in upstate New York emulate IDF troops while engaging in team-building and obstacle courses, that really is akin to glorifying torture and violence. In fact, “it’s like the Hamas camps.” At least that’s what some non-affiliated busybodies are claiming.

It’s absurd, but that’s how some Israel-denigrators – even Jewish ones – play the game. Even when it comes to attacking a team-building summer activity for Jewish campers.

Founded in 1990, Mesorah hosts approximatly 800 campers throughout the summers, starting from rising fourth graders through the tenth grade. Nearly one hundred of those Mesorahans come from Israel, and the camp has strong Zionist roots. Campers are encouraged to learn about and learn to love Israel, and making Aliyah is viewed as a positive aspiration. As Joseph Stansky, Mesorah’s co-owner, told the JewishPress.com on Tuesday, “many campers have IDF t-shirts and sweatshirts which they bought at novelty shops on Ben Yehudah [Street in Jerusalem].”

A brief visit to the camp’s website reveals hockey rinks and basketball courts, baseball diamonds and tennis courts, a lake for boating, and two shuls, a kollel, learning gazebos and a library. The owners have brought the camp into the digital age with a section on the website for parents and other family members to regularly see pictures and videos of the campers. There are also promotional videos for interested families.

The promotional videos are rolled out one at a time over the course of the post-summer year, in anticipation of the next summer’s season. One video rolled out just after the Jewish holidays this year focused on the camp’s “IDF-Paintball Program,” which shows campers in camouflage gear engaged in an intensive (by American Jewish camp standards) obstacle and team building course. Many of the campers are wearing their IDF t-shirts.

mesorah-rope-swingmesorah

Imagine that.

But, according to the camp owners, one person unaffiliated with the camp watched the video. He then attacked the video (yes, an adult attacking a children’s sleep-over camp) on Facebook. Why, the camp dared to glamorize Israeli soldiers! His horror at seeing Jewish children who, at least in exercises, are emulating IDF soldiers who defend the Jewish state from terrorists led to a comparison between this Jewish camp where Torah is taught alongside tennis and ceramics to the Hamas terrorist camps in which children are taught to murder Jewish civilians.

The Facebook ranter, Yehuda Kurtzer of the Shalom Hartman Institute, wrote: “Yes, I believe there is a giant moral chasm between the IDF and Hamas but no – there is not much of a difference between ‘their’ videos which promote violence and hate to their children and ‘our’ videos which glorify the same violence to children.” Really? The same violence?

The Facebook rant led to a few people leaving hate-filled talkback comments on the Mesorah video page. The commenters, camp owners told JewishPress.com, have “no connection whatsoever to the camp.”

“We’re not portraying Tsahal (the IDF) as bloodthirsty, that’s not what we are glorifying,” said Rabbi Ari Katz, Camp Mesorah’s owner, shocked at the association, “we’re proud of the Israeli Defense Forces, and we encourage our campers to identify with the IDF as Jews who strive to protect and perfect our Homeland.”

One would have hoped it would be needless to say, but there is absolutely no demonization of Arabs, or suggestions that Arabs be murdered, or that becoming a martyr by killing an Arab is condoned in the Torah anywhere in the video, yet the Facebook critic suggests otherwise.

Parents were concerned by the comments on the video site, according to a camp representative; they didn’t want their children exposed to the hateful comments. The video was temporarily removed from the Internet overnight and then restored, this time with commenting disabled. But no parents, campers or alumni have had anything but positive feedback about the IDF exercise program itself, Stansky and Katz stated.

“That people who have nothing to do with the camp would compare what we do at Mesorah with the glorification of violence, and who become outraged by Jewish children doing what children at many camps do all over the world, simply because they do it with pride in Medinat Yisrael, was shocking,” Katz said.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

3 Dead, 100-Plus Injured in NJ Transit Hoboken Train Crash

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

At least three people are dead and more than 100 others injured on Thursday — including the engineer, who was in the lead car — after a New Jersey Transit train crashed into the Hoboken terminal. Many dual-nationals living in Israel are from the New York-New Jersey area.

The collision took place during the morning commute, just before 9 am, according to officials at the scene quoted by the New York Post. The train departed from Spring Valley and was due at Hobboken at 8:38 am but was running late, WABC reported.

The terminal is NJ Transit’s fifth-busiest station, serving some 50,000 commuters and other travelers daily. Hoboken is the final stop for a number of different train lines, and is a stop where at least 15,000 people board for other destination every week day, according to CBS Local News.

Pacack Valley Line Train No. 1614 on Track 5 went straight through the wall of the terminal, a NJ Transit source told the newspaper. WFAN anchor John Minko, who witnessed the crash, said the train sailed “right through the barriers and into the reception area.”

The crash caused major structural damage to the terminal building, and part of the arched roof appeared to have collapsed in photos posted on social media, along with part of the roof of the train shed. Water was spraying from the site of the accident as well. Officials worked quickly to evacuate the area due to the apparent instability of the structure.

Many of the injured are listed in critical condition, according to CBS Local news. The broadcaster cautioned passersby not to stop with and snap photos with their cell phones, since passengers were still trapped within the train, including some who could be in very serious condition, and might not want their families to know yet.

A triage center was set up at the site to initiate treatment prior to evacuation. At least 40 of the injured were evacuated to Jersey City Medical Center. Others were taken to area hospitals across the region. One of the passengers on the train told The Post, “There was no brakes, all of a sudden just crash. Something happened.” Another told Reuters, “I noticed, ‘He’s not slowing up, we’re going too fast,’ and with that there was this tremendous crash.”

Federal Railroad Administration investigators have arrived at the site of the crash, and the National Transportation Safety Board has said it will also send a team to probe the accident. A law enforcement official told media that although “nothing has been ruled out,” so far the crash appears to have been an accident due to derailment.

Rail service in and out of Hoboken terminal has been suspended, with NJ Transit bus and private carriers honoring passes and rail tickets in lieu of railway transport. PATH service to the Hoboken station is also suspended, and the Lackawanna entrance connecting NJ Transit to PATH is also closed.

Hana Levi Julian

What If Bibi Jabbed Obama at the UN But No One Noticed?

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

No one in the Israeli media or abroad seems to have noticed, and if they did they are yet to elaborate on the fact that in the midst of his optimistic speech before the UN General Assembly in NY, about the stellar future of Israel, and while he was inviting the global community to benefit from Israel’s amazing technological and other gifts, Prime Minister Netanyahu also delivered a shot across the bow of both the UN Security Council and, despite all his flourish of gratitude for the man, at President Obama, too.

Here’s what the prime minister said, verbatim, about 1,200 words into his Thursday’s speech:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished delegates from so many lands,

“I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms.

“The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don’t know it yet, but I am confident that one day in the not too distant future you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended.

“Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

“We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.”

Everything Netanyahu has been doing over the past month or so, most notably his concession to a degraded US military aid package that could hamper Israel’s future ability to both use some of the aid money for its own industry and to appeal to a friendly US Congress for additional funds, were out of his concern for an Obama Administration November surprise.

Since the summer of 2015, the rumor mill has churned an alarming note regarding the outgoing president’s plan to take down Bibi at the final round, after the Nov. 8 vote will have been cast. Once the Democratic Party no longer needed the Jewish and pro-Israel Christian vote, regardless of who was elected, the US envoy at the UN Samantha Power would either vote in favor of a UNSC resolution on a Palestinian State in all of Judea and Samaria, or merely abstain, which would be tantamount to giving it its full support. Indeed, as Netanyahu stressed in his Thursday speech, “the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011.”

There is no valid US vote other than a veto on an anti-Israel resolution, in the context of a healthy alliance between the US and Israel. On Thursday, Netanyahu made it loud and clear: if the UNSC imposes such a vote on Israel, without an American veto, Israel will disregard it.

Here’s an idea one can only raise in a rightwing Jewish publication such as The JewishPress.com: What if the fact that no one has noticed Netanyahu’s unveiled threat is because they were not expecting it? At least not as a full, frontal, in-your-face challenge? Maybe the entire speech was too “messianic” for anyone to grasp the fact that the PM was foretelling a new world order, the biblical kind? I’ll explain.

The Haftora this week is Isaiah 60, 1-22. Of the entire cycle of Isaiah prophecies of comfort Jews recite on the Shabbat days between the 9th of Av and Rosh Hashanah, this one is probably the least mystical. It does not promise any harmony between lambs and lions; instead it describes a scene astonishingly reminiscent of Netanyahu’s speech at the UN Assembly Thursday.

This chapter in Isaiah reads almost like a newspaper account of Israel’s economic, technological and diplomatic rise. It very well could be published as an actual report, with a few textual changes — taking out the camels laden with goods is recommended, for instance — that could be the leading article of some major publication on Rosh Hashanah 5778, when we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Zionist miracle.

Here is a selection of verses, there are 22 altogether — can you see these verses as headlines for current articles?

3: TECHNOLOGY: And nations will walk by your light, and kings by the brightness of your rising.

4. DEMOGRAPHIC GROWTH: Lift up your eyes round about, and see: They all are gathered together, and come to you; Your sons come from far, And your daughters are carried on their mothers’ side.

5. NATURAL GAS: Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will throb and expand; Because the abundance of the sea will be given to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you.

6. FOREIGN INVESTMENTS: The caravans of camels will cover you, And of the young camels of Midian and Ephah, All coming from Sheba; They will bring gold and incense, And will proclaim the praises of God.

9. MASSIVE ALIYA: Surely the islands will wait for Me, And the ships of Tarshish first, To bring your sons from far, Their silver and their gold with them, For the name of the Lord your God, And for the Holy One of Israel, because He has glorified you.

11. POLITICAL PROMINENCE: Your gates also will be open continually, Day and night, they will not be shut; That men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, And their kings in procession.

12. SECURITY: Because a nation and kingdom that will not serve you will perish; Yes, those nations will be utterly wasted.

Is that a cool prophecy, or what? Obviously, the running theme through the prophecy is the fact that it’s all being done strictly because God wants it this way. He signed several covenants to this effect and now He’s starting the implementation. So, obviously, we’ll need to behave ourselves, that whole love your fellow Jew thing.

Enjoy your Shabbat…

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/what-if-bibi-jabbed-obama-at-the-un-but-no-one-noticed/2016/09/23/

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