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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Passover’

A Rabbi’s Unusual Passover Message: ‘Eat Bread and Save Jews’

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

{Originally posted to the United with Israel website}

Ordinarily, a rabbi would be impressed to hear that a Jewish congressman had taken matzohs with him to an international conference that took place during the week of Passover.

Meyer Nurenberger, however, was not at all impressed by Congressman Sol Bloom’s boast about bringing matzohs to the Anglo-American conference on the refugee problem, held in Bermuda in April 1943.

It was the peak of the Holocaust. The Allies had confirmed that the mass murder of European Jewry was underway, but refused to take any concrete action to intervene.

To counter mounting public criticism of their hands-off policy, the British and American governments announced they would discuss the issue in a conference on the island of Bermuda, far from the prying eyes of demonstrators and the news media. Their intention was that “it will take place practically in secret, without pressure of public opinion,” the Zionist leader Nahum Goldmann surmised.

Congressman Sol Bloom of New York City, a former vaudeville entertainer, chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee and strongly supported President Roosevelt’s restrictionist immigration policy. When Bloom was chosen as a member of the American delegation to the Bermuda conference, many in the Jewish community saw the choice as a ploy to deflect criticism of U.S. refugee policy. Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long privately wrote in his diary that he chose Bloom because the congressman was known to be “easy to handle” and “terribly ambitious for publicity.”

The conference lasted 12 days, yet neither the U.S. delegation nor their British counterparts managed to come up with any serious rescue plans. The Roosevelt administration would not agree to the use of any trans-Atlantic ships to transport refugees, not even troop supply ships that were returning from Europe empty. There would be no increase in the number of refugees admitted to the United States. And the British refused to discuss Palestine as a possible refuge, because of Arab opposition. When the conference adjourned, the two governments decided to keep the proceedings of the conference secret, to mask how little they had achieved.

Congressman Bloom, however, announced that “as a Jew,” he was “perfectly satisfied” with the results. In his autobiography, published after the war, Bloom continued to defend the outcome of the Bermuda conference, arguing that any announcement of aid to the Jews would have led “to intensified persecutions.” Congressman Emanuel Celler (D-New York) characterized Bloom as “a sycophant of the State Department.”

Cong. Sol Bloom

Cong. Sol Bloom

Rabbi-turned-journalist, Meyer Nurenberger

Rabbi-turned-journalist, Meyer Nurenberger

 

It was shortly after Bermuda that Bloom encountered Meyer Nurenberger. The Polish-born Nurenberger, who had earned rabbinic ordination but opted for a career in journalism, arrived in the U.S. in 1939 and began working as a reporter and columnist for the Morgen Zhurnal, a leading Yiddish daily.

As Nurenberger later recalled, Bloom “told me that he took along matzohs when he left for Bermuda—it was the Passover season—because he was such a good Jew. So I told him that I thought it would have been more important for him to eat bread there and save some Jews rather than to eat matzohs. He was very angry and told me he was through talking to me.”

I asked Nurenberger’s daughter, the Canadian-Israeli journalist Atara Beck, about her father’s unusual choice of words. “My father was an ordained Orthodox rabbi, and of course he would never have wanted any Jew to eat bread on Passover,” she said. “He was making a point—and it was a powerful moral point—saving lives is more important than rituals such as eating matzoh. Every Jew, even a congressman, needs to be reminded of that from time to time.”

Nurenberger later cited a Talmudic anecdote to explain the phenomenon of prominent Jews who were more interested in fame and honor—such as serving on a U.S. government delegation—than in their welfare of the Jewish people. Nurenberger called it the “Mi BeRosh” [‘Who will be first?’] Syndrome.”

The anecdote, which appears in tractate Sanhedrin, concerns a Jewish king, Jeroboam, who caused a division of the Jewish commonwealth and even introduced idol worship, yet was given one last chance to repent. When Jeroboam died, the Talmud relates, God said to him, “If you repent, you and I and the Messiah will stroll together in the Garden of Eden.” To which Jeroboam replied, Mi beRosh? Who will be the one to walk at the head of the line? When God replied that Messiah would walk first, Jeroboam responded that he would not repent.

To which Nurenberger added this poignant commentary: “Since the days of Jeroboam, Mi BeRosh? has been the primary cause of lost opportunities and the greatest tragedies in Jewish history. Who will march at the front?  Who will sit on the dais? Who will be Man of the Year? Who will be the leader? Who will deliver the main speech? Who will introduce whom at a meeting? Who will be applauded by the ladies’ auxiliary? Mi beRosh? How many Jews would have been saved during World War II if it had not been for Mi beRosh?”

Dr. Rafael Medoff

Kimcha D’Pischa

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Volunteers from the “Leket Israel” charity organization and Israeli President’s residence workers, pack boxes with food for families in need ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, at the President’s residence in Jerusalem.

Photo of the Day

Egyptian Amulet Bearing Name of Pharaoh Found in Soil from Temple Mount

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

A rare amulet, more than 3,200 years old, bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler Thutmose III, Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty who reigned from 1479 – 1425 BCE, was discovered at the Temple Mount Sifting Project located in Jerusalem’s Tzurim Valley National Park in soil discarded from the Temple Mount, and was only recently deciphered by archeologists. The project is conducted under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University, with the support of the City of David Foundation and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Thutmose III was one of the most important pharaohs in Egypt’s New Kingdom and is credited with establishing the Egyptian imperial province in Canaan, conducting 17 military campaigns to Canaan and Syria and defeating a coalition of Canaanite kings at the city of Megiddo in 1457 BCE,” stated Dr. Gabriel Barkay, the co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. “Thutmose III referred to himself as ‘the one who has subdued a thousand cities,’ and it is known that for more than 300 years, during the Late Bronze Age, Canaan and the city-state of Jerusalem were under Egyptian dominion, likely explaining the presence of this amulet in Jerusalem.”

The amulet was discovered by Neshama Spielman, a twelve year-old girl from Jerusalem who came with her family to participate in the Temple Mount Sifting Project. “While I was sifting, I came across a piece of pottery that was different from others I had seen, and I immediately thought that maybe I had found something special,” said Spielman. “It’s amazing to find something thousands of years old from ancient Egypt all the way here in Jerusalem! Celebrating Passover this year is going to be extra meaningful to me.”

The Passover festival, commemorating the Biblical account of the ancient Israelites Exodus from Egypt, will be celebrated later this week.

Egyptian amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler, Thutmose III. – Credit: Zachi Dvira

Egyptian amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler, Thutmose III. – Credit: Zachi Dvira

Since the project’s inception in 2004, more than 170,000 volunteers from Israel and around the world have taken part in the sifting, representing an unprecedented phenomenon in the realm of archaeological research.

The small amulet is in the shape of a pendant, missing its bottom part, measures 21 mm wide, 4 mm thick and its preserved length is 16 mm. A loop on top allowed it to be strung and hung on the neck. The raised decoration displays a cartouche — an oval frame surrounding Egyptian hieroglyphics bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler. Above the oval framing is the symbol of an eye, and to its right are remnants of yet another hieroglyphic symbol depicting a cobra of which parts of the head and tail are preserved.

While Egyptian scarabs bearing the name of Thutmose III have previously been discovered in Jerusalem, this represents the first time his name has been found in Jerusalem adorning an amulet. “Objects bearing the name of Thutmose III continued to be produced in Egypt long after the time of his reign, reflecting the significance and lasting impression of this king,” said Barkay.

The amulet can be reconstructed based upon the discovery of an identical pendant found in Nahal Iron in northern Israel, announced in 1978,” said Zachi Dvira, co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. “Along with that pendant, which also bore the name of Thutmose III, was another amulet bearing the name of King Seti I, an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled Egypt during the late 14th – early 13th centuries BCE. This seems to indicate that both pendants date to the same time period, namely the late 14th – early 13th century BCE.”

The research of the amulet was conducted by Israel Antiquities Authority Egyptologist Baruch Brandl.

“A discovery such as this is particularly symbolic at this time of year, with the Passover festival just a few days away, and represents greetings from the ancient past,” said Assaf Avraham, archeologist and director of the Jerusalem Walls National Park from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Neshama Spielman, 12 years-old from Jerusalem, holding the amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler, Thutmose III. – Credit: Adina Graham

Neshama Spielman, 12 years-old from Jerusalem, holding the amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler, Thutmose III. – Credit: Adina Graham

The Temple Mount Sifting Project, under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University and with the support of the City of David Foundation and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, was initiated in response to the illegal removal of tons of earth from the Temple Mount by the Islamic Waqf in 1999 without any archaeological supervision.

“Since the Temple Mount has never been excavated, the ancient artifacts retrieved in the Sifting Project provide valuable and previously inaccessible information. The many categories of finds are among the largest and most varied ever found in Jerusalem. Even though they have been extracted from their archaeological context, most of these artifacts can be identified and dated by comparing them with those found at other sites,” said Dvira.

In addition to the ongoing sifting of the earth illegally removed from the Temple Mount by the Muslim Waqf, The Temple Mount Sifting Project has focused its efforts on the enormous tasks of processing and studying the finds and preparing them for scientific publication. Presently, more than half a million finds are still waiting to be processed and analyzed in their laboratory.

JNi.Media

Tel Aviv to Curb Bikes on Sidewalks After Pesach

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Tel Aviv police will be on the prowl starting May 1 to enforce the city’s no-riding-bikes-on-the-sidewalk law.

Law breakers face fines between NIS 100 to NIS 1,000. Other punitive measures will include taking the air out of one’s bicycle tires and confiscation of the bike’s batteries (for kids illegally riding electric bicycles.)

Violations include riding in the wrong direction, using a mobile phone while riding, going through a red light and disturbing pedestrians in the crosswalks.

Tel Aviv is lined with specially-marked bicycle paths.

Hana Levi Julian

Labor Boss Herzog Interrogated with a Warning for 2nd Time

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

MK Yitzhak Herzog, chairman of the Zionist Camp (Labor) party and leader of the Knesset opposition, on Sunday was interrogated with a warning by the police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 on suspicion of receiving illegal donations, failing to report donations and providing a false affidavit. The interrogation focuses on Herzog’s activity during the primaries for Labor Party Chairmanship in 2013, when he competed against incumbent chairman MK Shelly Yachimovich. The special police unit received the approval of Attorney Genral Avichai Mandelblit to pursue the interrogation.

Police want to know whether Herzog set up a parallel campaign center whose assignment was to find out and publish dirt on Yachimovich. Police suspect that Herzog funded that “dark headquarters” through copanies and business people whose interests he had served as minister of social services.

In May 1999 police investigated former prime minister Ehud Barak over alleged violations of the Party Funding Law, which later involved the interrogation with a warning of Herzog, who then served as cabinet secretary. In his interrogation Herzog maintained his right to keep silent. The prosecution eventually decided to close the case against Herzog, despite police objections. At the time Herzog was criticized severely for his conduct both during the campaign and in his interrogation by AG Elyakim Rubinstein (now Supreme Court Justice) and state prosecutor Edna Arbel (former Supreme Court Justice). But despite their rebuke, they let him get away with it.

Herzog’s office issued the statement: “Head of the opposition and chairman of the Zionist Camp MK Yitzhak Herzog arrived this morning to offer his version of events in response to a request from law enforcement officials. From the moment his investigation had been leaked, Herzog stressed and requested to be allowed to offer his version of events in order to leave the matter behind him, which he has done. Herzog has full confidence in the law enforcement officials and he is grateful for their dignified and decent conduct.”

MK Yachimovich said on Sunday that she is “convinced Herzog has the best interests of the party and the opposition on his mind.” She promised to “act in cooperation with him and with my colleagues in the party to decide what steps to take next. There is no doubt that an interrogation with a warning of the chairman of the party and the opposition makes the situation worse. I trust completely the police and law enforcement authorities.”

Last week Herzog referred to the possibility that he would be invited for an interrogation with a warning and said that the job of a leader is to “deal with crises, deal with criticism and also deal with libel.” Speaking at a ceremony of raising a glass in honor of the approaching Passover organized by MK Amir Peretz, Herzog added that “there are few leaders who have endured personal and political upheavals, absorbed nasty criticism, dealt bravely with a complex reality and still managed to carve out one of the most impressive success stories in military history ever — I believe Amir is familiar with all of the above up close.”

As defense minister, Amir Peretz endured a punishing war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and was ridiculed worldwide for looking through a pair of covered binoculars pretending to be seeing something. Eventually, though, he made his reputation as the man who dreamed up the concept of Iron Dome, the computerized defense system that allows Hamas to continue amassing and shooting rockets at Israeli civilian centers without Israel’s having to retaliate for it because few civilians are ever hurt.

Herzog told his party pals on that occasion: “You’ve followed me since I entered politics, you know my clean hands and honesty are the values in whose light I’ve walked and in which I believe. Since the announcement of the authorities’ looking into the party primaries became public knowledge, I’ve been telling all of you, publicly and personally, that this is part of the role of a leader: to also deal with libels that always rise up on the eve of elections. The job of the leader is to deal, lead and win. You elected me to lead this party and this camp towards governing and I intend to continue marching on this path, even if it is difficult and full of obstacles.”

David Israel

Israel Inspired: Spanish Jews Spiraling Through Time [audio]

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

It is a famous Jewish maxim that if you experience a Jewish Holiday and are not profoundly changed as a result, you have missed the entire point.

As Jeremy returns from his speaking tour across New Mexico and Texas he shares his encounters with hundreds of Spanish speaking descendants of Meronos, Jews who hid their Jewish identity during the Spanish Inquisition. Living as Catholics and Christians they want to return to their authentic origins and roots. What do they do now?

Can this mass-movement be seen as prophecy coded in the Holiday of Passover? Tune in to discover why the Jewish State is so fundamental for this process and what to expect in the future.

The Land of Israel

Yishai Fleisher Show: The Christian Zionist Who Gave Birth to the IDF [audio]

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

First: Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson was a WWI British soldier, hunter, author and Christian Zionist. He became a major figure in Zionism as the commander of both the Zion Mule Corps and the 38th Battalion Jewish Legion, “the first Jewish fighting force in nearly two millennia” – which served as the foundation of the Israeli Defense Force decades later. Myrna Strapp is the civil litigator who helped bring Patterson’s remains to the land of Israel 67 years after his death in a moving ceremony in which Prime Minster Netanyahu spoke of his family’s connection to the British general. She joins Yishai to tell the incredible tale.

Then, get ready for Passover with Spiritual Cafe as Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Yishai to talk about the power of Matzah to transfer national-spiritual data from one generation to the next, and the power of the Exodus to help us break out of our own self-imposed slaveries and limitations.

The Land of Israel

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