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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Photo of the Day’

Yishai Visits Beilis and the Baal Shem Tov in the Ukraine

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

When the call came in to do a media junket in Kiev I could hardly believe it. Generally, I try to avoid leaving the land of Israel, except to do kiruv work, but I had been chalashing to go to the Ukraine for a few years and finally my opportunity had arrived. Two catalysts caused my yearning to visit Ukraine:  family roots in Kiev and Odessa, and a wish to see the graves of the righteous, especially the Baal Shem Tov’s tomb. I guess you could say that I was seeking my physical and spiritual forefathers in the Ukraine.

But the hook that finally got me there was a conference about antisemitism. Yes, it is ironic, and maybe bold: a conference about antisemitism in Ukraine, home of places like Babi Yar, events like the Khmelnysky Massacre, and modern-day neo-Nazism in the form of the Svoboda Party.

In fact, the whole conference was premised on canonical piece of antisemitism – the 100 year anniversary of the infamous blood libel trial of Mendel Beilis. The following are some of the images that caught my eye and which, I hope, tell the story and the spirit of the Ukraine:

Mendel Beilis was a father of five and a clerk and dispatcher in a brick factory that was run for charitable purposes owned by the Zaitsev family who were beet sugar magnates. All the factory profits went to support a hospital for the indigent of the city of all faiths. The saga began in March of 1911 when the mutilated body of 13-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky was discovered in a cave not far from the Jewish-owned brick factory on the outskirts of Kiev, where the 39-year-old Beilis worked. Beilis was arrested in July of 1911 in the middle of the night and they also took his son who was 8 years old. They put him in the secret police prison and kept him and the boy for a few days and then let the boy go but held Beilis for over two years in the horrible conditions. Beilis told a Yiddish newspaper that he considered suicide but he remembered the Torah injunction to be a hero and resist the evil inclination. If the authorities would find him dead, he thought, it would be a proof of his personal guilt, and would substantiate the accusation of the blood libel against the Jews at-large.

Mendel Beilis was a father of five and a clerk and dispatcher in a brick factory that was run for charitable purposes owned by the Zaitsev family who were beet sugar magnates. All the factory profits went to support a hospital for the indigent of the city of all faiths. The saga began in March of 1911 when the mutilated body of 13-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky was discovered in a cave not far from the Jewish-owned brick factory on the outskirts of Kiev, where the 39-year-old Beilis worked. Beilis was arrested in July of 1911 in the middle of the night and they also took his son who was 8 years old.
They put him in the secret police prison and kept him and the boy for a few days and then let the boy go but held Beilis for over two years in the horrible conditions. Beilis told a Yiddish newspaper that he considered suicide but he remembered the Torah injunction to be a hero and resist the evil inclination. If the authorities would find him dead, he thought, it would be a proof of his personal guilt, and would substantiate the accusation of the blood libel against the Jews at-large. In the end, Beilis was exonerated, but the murder was still deemed to be of a Jewish ritual nature.

 

Jay Beilis, the grandson of Mendel Beilis, was on hand at the conference. In his talk he remarked that over the years, many have told him that their grandparents were motivated to leave antisemitic environments, like Ukraine, due to the Beilis Trial and in this way he had actually saved their lives. As he finished speaking, a man came up to him and confirmed that assertion - his grandfather had told him that it was the Beilis Trial that changed the course of his life.

Jay Beilis, the grandson of Mendel Beilis, was on hand at the conference. In his talk he remarked that over the years, many have told him that their grandparents were motivated to leave antisemitic environments, like Ukraine, due to the Beilis Trial and in this way he had actually saved their lives. As he finished speaking, a man came up to him and confirmed that assertion – his grandfather had told him that it was the Beilis Trial that changed the course of his life.

What’s Wrong With the Star-K Kosher Phone?

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

About a month ago the Star-K, a world renowned Kashrus agency, announced that they were certifying kosher phones. These phones have no access to the Internet, cannot place or receive text messages, cannot take photos, and most importantly, cannot be hacked to perform any of these tasks.

It’s not troubling to me that people would want a phone that is insulated from certain tasks. Although I think it is an unnecessary measure and perhaps counter productive, I don’t begrudge people their personal self control restraints.

What is troubling is that a kashrus agency is part of this initiative. A kashrus agency should be concerned with one thing and one thing only. Their singular concern should be the kosher status of the food. I don’t even think that a kashrus agency must concern itself with humanitarian or other ethical issues that may arise. I have no problem with a secondary agency coming in and providing a secondary level of supervision. But the kosher status of the food cannot be affected by anything other its status as kosher food.

So when I see a kashrus agency entering into the phone market, I see an agency that should be worried about kosher status of food but is now legislating morality. It’s not even as if the technical skills involved in kosher supervision overlap the neutering of cell phones. They have nothing to do with each other. I don’t think it is smart for kosher supervision to be intertwined or even related to morality supervision.

Similarly, when kosher supervision agencies make demands on the clientele or ambience of an eating establishment I believe they are overstepping their bounds. There are restaurants that are not allowed to be open at certain hours because they will lose their hechsher if they are open. This is far beyond the scope of kosher supervision. Tell me if the food is kosher and I will decide if I want to patronize the restaurant. That is all we need from a kashrus agency. The stretching of their authority serves no important purpose for the public. It seems to me that it is merely a self-serving, self-righteous way to legislate their morality. If they can legislate phones and who can eat where, what’s next?

I am not making a slippery slope argument. I am pointing out that there is no logical connection between the kosher status of food and the kosher status of a phone. There is also no relationship between the kosher status of a restaurant and whether teenagers are hanging out. In other words, the kashrus agencies are already legislating their morality. There is no reason to think it only will apply in these two instances because there is no connection between these two things and the kosher status of food.

We need to stop using the word kosher for things other than food. Yes, the word is a general term but it has evolved into a word that describes whether food can be eaten by orthodox Jews who keep kosher. We don’t eat anything that is not kosher. Using the word kosher for phones and Internet implies that the non-kosher versions are not allowed to be used. This is sophomoric and divisive.

If anything, the kashrus agencies should be concerned with the ethics and morality of the actual food. This is something they have resisted time and time again. I am not recommending they get into the ethics of food business, but if they must expand their business and purview of supervision I think that is the first place they should be looking to legislate seeing as they have the knowledge and expertise to monitor and report on that aspect of food production. But teens mingling and phones? They don’t belong there at all.

Visit Fink or Swim.

Photoshopping Women Out of the Holocaust

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Today is Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. My parents were both Holocaust survivors. If my father were alive today he would be 109 years old. My mother would be 99. My two brothers who were in the early teens when they were freed from their bunkers are today in their mid 80s.

The fact is that the survivor population is aging. Many survivors are now gone having lived to ripe old ages. Some have retained their faith and some have not. Most have renewed their lives; had families and seen much nachas from the children, grandchildren and great grand-children. They have seen the birth of a Jewish State, a rebirth of Judaism, and an unprecedented growth of Torah observance.

But the memory of what happened to them and their loved ones who did not survive stays with them. How can it not? We need to recognize that. This was once again pointed out by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel who this morning was interviewed on CBS’s Sunday morning news show in a Holocaust memorial segment.

When he was asked to describe his experiences, he said it is not possible. He said that there were no words in any language that could describe the pure evil of what Nazi Germany did. The Nazis managed to perpetrate acts that were so evil that they were beyond human description. How, he asked, does one describe what it’s like to stand naked in a line on your way to be murdered (along with everyone else in that line) in a gas chamber disguised as a shower?

I think he is right. Yes, there are genocides taking place in the word even to this day in some uncivilized societies. But never like the systematic and scientific murder machine that was Nazi Germany. They saw murdering Jews as an ideal to be worshipped. Hitler considered it his “sacred” duty to annihilate the Jewish people.

I know that the religious right objects to observing a memorial to the Holocaust during the month of Nissan in the Jewish calendar. We are not allowed to eulogize the dead during this month. But this has never stopped even the most right wing rabbis from doing so at a funeral that takes place during Nissan. They simply say something like – since we may not make Hespedim (eulogies) during Nissan they will just say a few words of praise about him – and then dive right into an elaborate eulogy.

But I understand their objection to making an official day of remembrance during this month. I wish it were not on that day but at a date where eulogies are permitted. But it isn’t. Unfortunately their anti-Zionist rhetoric has spilled into Holocaust Remembrance day even if they have not said anything specific publicly about it. A lot of disrespect of that day persists – some of it public. And that is a Hilul HaShem.

It is also disrespectful to edit out women from photos from that era as was recently done. While I don’t approve of the practice of editing out pictures of tzanua (modestly dressed) women under any circumstances, I understand that there are some members of the right wing – mostly Hasidim – who feel that any picture of a woman is not appropriate for men to look at.

Much as I disagree with them, they are entitled to their opinion. But there are times when it should be inappropriate even for them. Such as the time the Secretary of State was photo-shopped out of a widely distributed “iconic” picture of the President and members of his administration watching the “Navy Seal Team’ assassination of Bin Laden as it was happening.

However, when it comes to tampering with Holocaust images it should cross every line of human decency. There is no way to justify that. The picture in question has blurred out the images of women in a famous photo. How in heaven’s name can anyone claim that viewing the women in that picture is in any way inappropriate?!

It is an insult to them memories of all 6 million Jews to decide that because a victim in such a photo is a woman it should be somehow blurred out of it. The reason for eliminating photos of women is so that there won’t even be the remotest chance of their eliciting an improper though on the part of a man. In this photo? Are they kidding?!

This is what happens when you stop thinking and see everything in linear fashion. They say that a photo of a woman is always a possible source of indecent thoughts in men. No difference here. If they don’t hadn’t shown this picture at all, that would have been one thing. But they obviously felt it was important enough to publish it as part of their message. But the message they sent was not one of the horrors of the Holocaust. It was how ridiculously far their views about showing a woman in a photo goes.

I truly do not understand how anyone can be an adherent of a movement that thinks like this, no matter how warm and fuzzy it otherwise is.

I am not one to make a religion of the Holocaust. Unfortunately there are some people who do. The Jewish people are not defined by the Holocaust. We are defined by God’s mandate for us as expressed through written and oral Torah law. Even so, God forbid that we minimize what happened by using it to promote various agendas (as have animal rights activists)… or dishonor survivors by ignoring Holocaust Remembrance Day entirely – in some cases even thumbing our noses at it… or by injecting the most extreme interpretation of modesty for women into it.

Here is my message to these people: get a clue. The Holocaust was not about your agenda. It was not about tznius. Do not dishonor the memory of the victims or mock the sensitivity of the survivors by using the Holocaust for your own purpose or injecting your unreasonable tznius standards by photo-shopping women out of Holocaust pictures.

And to those who in other ways dishonor Holocaust Remembrance Day… Stop it! All you end up doing is dishonoring yourselves and bring mockery upon the Torah!

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Photos of Syrian Massacres Recycled as Gaza Atrocities

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Yet another fake “Gaza” photo has incited a flurry of comments on Facebook against Israel during the fifth day of Israel’s Pillar of Defense operation in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. An Arab news site called Alarab Net released the photo, which shows a family who was allegedly ‘massacred’ in Gaza on its Facebook page on Sunday, November 18. The caption in Arabic roughly translates into English as “martyred massacred family in Gaza shortly before…”

Thanks to Tazpit News Agency’s investigative work, it was found that the photo had been originally published on a news site based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates called Moheet one month earlier on October 19. On the Moheet website, the photo was titled “Syria killed 122 Friday…Assad Used Cluster Bombs.”

The "recycled" massacre, transplanted to Gaza.

The “recycled” massacre, transplanted to Gaza.

Uploaded to Facebook on Sunday evening by Alarab Net, the newly captioned Syrian photo, which depicts three bloodied children and their mother lying on a floor, quickly attracted over 1,200 likes, close to 500 comments and 420 shares within an hour.

Alarab Net appears to be a news website based in Israel that offers a wide range news coverage from pop culture to politics and anti-Israel coverage.

It is not the first time that photos from the Syria massacres have been recycled into Gaza tragedies during the recent rocket escalation. Last week, Hamas’s military wing, the Al Qassam Brigades uploaded a photo on their Twitter page of a dead child in his weeping father’s arms, which the terror group alleged had happened in Gaza during an IDF strike.

The American news syndicate Breitbart found that the photo was a month old and had originally appeared in a slideshow about the Syrian conflict back in October on the UK Guardian. The photo had in fact been taken in the Dar al Shifa Hospital in Aleppo, Syria.

Hamas’s photograph, which had been tweeted as a taunt to the IDF spokesperson, has now been removed from the terrorist group’s Twitter page.

Dinner In Venice

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Winter is almost here and nothing says comfort like a rustic Italian dinner.

Pasta e Fagioli (Bean Soup)
(serves 4-6)

Ingredients

1 quart hot water
2 or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 cup of dried beans
1 small ripe tomato, seeded, peeled and diced (or you can use canned peeled tomatoes, drained)
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ tablespoon freshly chopped parsley or rosemary
2 cups fresh egg pasta, or you can use dried egg pasta (broken down pappardelle), or regular dried pasta.

Directions

1. Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of cold water.
2. Dice the carrot, thinly slice the celery, and chop the onion finely.
3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomato, beans, and salt, and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Cover with hot water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for one hour or until the beans are cooked.
6. Add the pasta and allow to simmer until the pasta is also cooked (for fresh pasta, usually 3 to 5 minutes; for dried pasta, follow the instructions on the package).
7. Sprinkle with black pepper, adjust the salt, drizzle with a little more olive oil, decorate with the parsley and serve hot.

Potato Salmon Terrine

Ingredients

3 medium/large potatoes
1 fillet of salmon (about 2 lb), baked or steamed
2 scallions or a medium onion
½ cup Chardonnay
1 lemon
3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chives and parsley, to taste

Directions

1. Boil the potatoes until soft, drain, peel and mash with a fork or potato masher.
2. Add the salt, pepper, wine and about 2 tbsps of the oil.
3. In the meantime boil the salmon for 15 minutes with the peeled and sliced scallions (you can also cook it in the microwave in 5 minutes).
4. Then drain it and chop the whole mixture in a food processor along with the juice of ½ a lemon, salt, pepper, and about ½ tbsp of chopped chives.
5. Combine with the mashed potatoes and pour into a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3″), previously lined with plastic wrap.
6. Press the puree into the pan with your hands or a wooden spoon, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.
7. Unmold and serve decorated with more chives, and (if you like) some mayo.
* If you are in a rush, replace the fresh salmon and scallions with canned salmon and a touch of onion powder, but the result is less delicate.

Chicken Stew (Ezekiel’s Chicken)

Ingredients

1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, slightly pressed or minced
1/3 cup green or/and black olives, pitted
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons mix of freshly chopped herbs (sage, rosemary, plus basil, mint or parsley)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 or 3 peeled tomatoes
1/3 cup dry wine, red or white

Directions

1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the chicken and sauté until golden.
3. Add the salt, pepper, olives, garlic, and herbs, and the chopped (and drained) tomatoes.
4. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, add the wine, then lower the flame and cook covered until tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally, and adding a little water if it tends to dry out.
5. Uncover, and if the sauce is too liquidy turn up the heat to thicken it.
6. You can serve it with a side of polenta, potatoes or rice as a main course.

Chocolate Hazelnut Whole Grain Cake

Ingredients

3 medium/large eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz parve dark, bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp DiSaronno liqueur
1/8 cup almond or soy milk, or more if needed
1 cup hazelnut meal (or almond meal)
4/5 cup whole grain flour (oatmeal or spelt or other; for a GF version, try buckwheat flour)
1 package baking powder
1 pinch salt
Confectioner’s sugar to decorate

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Beat the eggs with the sugar for a couple of minutes or until light and frothy.

Feiglin Arrested for Praying

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Moshe Feiglin, head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction within the Likud party ascended up to the Temple Mount (Har Habyit) on Tuesday, as he does every month, and was arrested by the Israeli police along with Hagai Weiss for the crime of praying on the Temple Mount.

Feiglin had gone up to the Temple Mount with 30 other people. Halfway through his usual walk around the site, the police claim they saw him praying and escorted him off the mountain.

Feiglin denied he was praying at the time.

Police questioned Feiglin for 5 hours, and then upgraded his status to “arrest”. The charge was, “Actions that could have led to the endangerment of the public.”

Police demanded that Feiglin sign a guarantee that he would not visit the Temple Mount for the next 15 days, but he refused to sign it.

Feiglin told the police, “I am a free citizen, and I will not willingly suspend my liberty.”

The police brought a request to the court to extend Feiglin’s remand in jail for a few days to “investigate” the matter, but the court refused to grant it, and the police were subsequently forced to release Feiglin unconditionally.

The Israeli Police do not allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount because the Waqf forbids it, and threaten mass violence if they catch a Jew praying.

 

Photos of Moshe Feiglin and company on the Temple Mount. Accompanying Moshe is his son David who had been seriously injured in a car accident:

Photo-Essay: 15,000 Chareidim at the Ammunition Hill Siyum HaShas

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

15,000 Ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem on Tuesday night to celebrate the completion of this 7.5 year cycle of learning the Talmud.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/photo-essay-15000-chareidim-at-the-ammunition-hill-siyum-hashas/2012/08/01/

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