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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘pope’

Not a Peep from the Pope

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

You would think that both the Catholic Pope and mainline Protestant leaders would rise-up in protest against Arab-Islamic negation of Judeo-Christian history and legitimacy. Alas, the hypocrisy of the nations is a constant in Israel’s foreign relations.

Last Friday, Israeli TV10 anchorwoman Ayala Hasson asked the Executive Board chairman of UNESCO whether that international organization would adopt a resolution that said Christians had no ties to the Vatican or that Moslems had no ties to Mecca.

“Such a resolution would never happen,” replied Michael Worbs of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Of course not. Such things only happen to the Jews. Such preposterous resolutions can be expectorated by the global community only with regard to Israel.

Only when it comes to denying the Jewish People’s claim to its ancestral homeland; especially its historic ties in Jerusalem; and most especially its foundational links to the site of the Holy Temples – can crackpot clubs like UNESCO assert that the earth is flat and Jews have no place on it.

The usual suspects voted in April and again last week for the dingbat resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. Unfortunately, supposedly semi-friendly countries like Russia joined them; and ostensible friends of the Jewish state such as France, Italy, Kenya and Japan abstained.

This is wicked and witless. As Prof. Martin Kramer has pointed out, “Jews were worshiping in their Temple in Jerusalem when Moscow was a pine forest, and Jews had prayed for the Temple’s restoration for a thousand years before a Slav laid the first brick of the Kremlin.”

But what’s truly infuriating and disappointing about the UNESCO vote is the deafening silence of significant Christian figures.

Consider: Palestinians have been pushing the linguistic reframing of the Temple Mount in order to deny the Judaic heritage of the site and to completely Islamicize Jerusalem. Willy nilly, this nullifies Christian history too. So you would think that both the Catholic Pope and mainline Protestant leaders would rise-up in protest against Arab-Islamic negation of Judeo-Christian history and legitimacy.

You would think that Christian leaders would demur when UNESCO calls Matthew a liar. It was he who testified that the Christian messiah threw moneychangers out of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

And yet, I haven’t heard a peep from the Pope. Not a word of criticism for UNESCO’s disavowal of Biblical history. Not even a mild grunt of disapproval.

It’s not like Israel didn’t seek the Vatican’s help in defeating the defamatory Arab-Islamic initiative. A few days before the vote, Jerusalem’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Oren David, contacted the Vatican’s undersecretary for relations with states, Antoine Camilleri, and asked him to use his influence to get member states to reject the draft. Such a text would harm Christian interests as well as Jewish ones, the Israeli diplomat reportedly told his interlocutor.

Apparently, the Vatican is still praying on the matter.

Vatican-friendly observers explain that Rome’s stillness on this issue stems from its concern for Christians across the Middle East – who are under daily attack from Moslem radicals. How the Pope’s strange silence helps Christians anywhere escapes me.

Less Church-friendly observers wonder whether age-old Christian super-secessionism is at work here; meaning that the Church doesn’t too much mind the Moslem campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem. Rome hasn’t recognized Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem, and theologically never will.

Either way, the calm of the Church in the face of UNESCO’s chutzpah is galling. I would expect the Holy See to be seething, and coming to the defense of its “elder brother” when that brother’s very identity is under ungodly assault.

IN TRUTH, I really shouldn’t be so surprised. After all, what’s new here? The hypocrisy of the nations is a constant in Israel’s foreign relations, as are melodramatic warnings of Israel’s “deepening isolation.” And yet, Israel chugs along just fine, thank you.

Remember that that Jews have not been liked for several thousand years, and the Jewish People’s collective effort to rebuild a national state in its ancestral homeland liked even less. The world has been opposed to core Israeli diplomatic and security policies from day one of this country’s existence.

The State Department reproached Israel for capturing the Galilee and the Negev in 1948. The UN condemned Israel for invading Sinai in 1956; and for Israel’s 1967 “aggression”; and for Jerusalem’s reunification; and for the annexation of the Golan Heights; and for Prime Minister Begin’s bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, and of Beirut, etc., etc. The US, by the way, was party to all these condemnations.

The UN annually condemns Israel for (reportedly) building a nuclear weapons capacity, and lambastes Israel for a load of other fabricated evils from stealing Palestinian water to destroying Palestinian archaeology. The UN has slap-happily censured Israel for defending itself against Hamas and Hezbollah – in the first and second Lebanon wars, and for operations against Hamas in Gaza in 2009, 2012 and 2014.

Overall, the UN Security Council has adopted more than 150 anti-Israel resolutions since 1967. (The US vetoed about 50 others).

Remember “Black Wednesday”? On December 17, 2014 newspaper headlines howled that the world was closing-in on Israel. On one single day, the European Parliament proclaimed its support for recognizing Palestinian statehood; the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention gathered in Switzerland to condemn Israel; and the EU Court removed Hamas from the European list of terrorist organizations.

About the same time, the parliaments of Luxembourg, Portugal, France and Sweden recognized Palestinian statehood too. The International Criminal Court declared the security fence illegal. US President Obama applied the term illegal to settlements. (Now, Obama seems poised to apply this appellation to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria all-together. He already has called it “unjust”).

And still, the sky hasn’t collapsed on Israel.

THE CUMULATIVE WEIGHT of all these unfriendly actions is surely somewhat corrosive to Israel’s global standing. But as David Ben-Gurion once said: What counts is not what the “goyim” say, but what the Jews do!

And thus what counts is aliyah, the high Israeli birth rate, more building starts in Jerusalem, the strength of Israel’s military, the tone and tenor of the country’s educational, cultural and legal institutions, the Jewish and democratic fabric of society, and the depth of loyalty to Jewish and Zionist principles. That’s what really counts.

Everything else, including Israel’s standing in the international community, will fall into place if Israelis are united and confident in their creed.

Thus Israel will get past the recent wave of condemnations. It has been there before.

So the world recognizes make-believe Palestinian statehood and slams settlements? So it negates Jewish history in Jerusalem? So what! No series of condemnations will get Israel’s detractors very far, despite the unpleasantness.

It’s ironic that UNESCO took its scalpel to Jerusalem just when Jews celebrate Succot; when evangelical pilgrims from 80 countries of the world ascend to the holy city to participate in the festivities, as prophesized in the Bible. The ruffians of UNESCO don’t know who and what they’re up against. Israel and its loyal friends don’t scare easily.

“Om ani choma,” proclaims the hoshanot prayer of yesterday; meaning, The People of Israel are a fortress wall, standing guard over Jerusalem.

David Weinberg

An Open Letter to the Pope

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s eponymous blogsite}

Your Holiness:

I must start off by telling you that as an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, I am not generally in the habit of writing to the Pope. However, these are special times in which we live and, as such, I believe I must reach out to you, for your assistance.

As you are no doubt aware, UNESCO recently voted in committee and then ratified at an Executive level that there is no historical connection between the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and Judaism. And while this may seem like a trivial matter, I assure you that it is not in the least bit trivial.

Before I request your help, perhaps a national mea culpa would be in order. It has been pointed out to me and to many others: how in the world can we expect differently from UNESCO if Israel herself is not seen as claiming its natural dominance over the site. Yes, we have not done well at this at all, and that is a separate issue we need to grapple with here in Israel.

The vote by UNESCO is one of gargantuan anti-Semitic proportions. And while it is clearly anti-Semitic, their action does one other thing: It attempts to erase the historical connection of a people from its past. Since, we are speaking here about JEWISH history, why would I be contacting the leader of the 2 billion plus Catholics of the world? Simply put: the UNESCO decision is a slap in the face to you personally and not only to the Jewish people.

Since I am not well-versed in the Scriptures, as promulgated by the Church, I turned to the internet to gain some rudimentary language regarding the connection between Jesus and the Temple Mount. Here is an example of what I found.


The Temple Mount holds significance for Christians as the place where Jesus issued his challenge against the Temple authorities, an act which can be seen as leading directly to his arrest and crucifixion.
Jesus deplored the corruption of the authorities of that time, as well as the use of one of the Temple gates for trade. According to the gospel of Mark, Jesus performed a “cleansing” of the Temple, whereby he chased away the merchants and money changers in the Temple’s vicinity.
 The Temple Mount also holds significance for Christians as the place where Jesus attended festivals as a child.

It seems that this vote not only attempts to erase JEWISH history, it also is erasing that which you hold near and dear to YOU, personally and to the 2 billion plus devotees of your church. While Pope Pius XII was given a bad rap about his action/inaction during WWII, the truth has come out, that he was responsible for saving over 850,000 Jewish lives.

It is now your turn to stand up for your people and the people from whom your roots sprung forth. This is not about good and evil. This is not about right and wrong. THIS IS ABOUT TRUTH. And the truth is that the statement that passed by UNESCO is a global slap in the face to Jews and Christians.

As the leader of the billions of Catholics on Earth, I implore you to take a stand and make a public statement. If you do not make such a statement, this will allow the re-writing of history and the acceptance of said changes. If you don’t think that to be true, then how is it that the Muslim world celebrates a holiday for the Binding of Ishmael…and not ISAAC as stated in the Bible. The re-writing of history by the Muslim world has indeed worked for them and to their advantage.

Please, join Jews from all ranges of the spectrum, and condemn unequivocally, the despicable resolution of UNESCO.

I thank you in advance and wish you Godspeed.

Rabbi Zev M Shandalov

Maale Adumim , ISRAEL

Rav Zev Shandalov

Obama, the Clintons and the Pope to Attend Shimon Peres’ Funeral

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement saying US President Barack Obama will attend the state funeral of Israel’s ninth president Shimon Peres on Friday. Also on the list of world leaders arriving in Jerusalem: former US President Bill Clinton and his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Pope Francis, Prince Charles, French President François Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German President Joachim Gauck, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Beatrix, Queen Mother of the Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, President of Togo Faure Gnassingbé, and President of Romania Klaus Iohannis.

The foreign ministry has activated an emergency protocol to consolidate information regarding the arriving dignitaries and caring for their needs. The statement notes that ministry personnel will be coordinating the funeral operation with Ben-Gurion International Airport, government ministries and police.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara expressed deep personal sorrow over the passing of the former President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres. The Prime Minister will issue a special statement later this morning and convene the Cabinet in a special session.

In his statement about the passing of President Peres, President Obama wrote: “There are few people who we share this world with who change the course of human history, not just through their role in human events, but because they expand our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves. My friend Shimon was one of those people.

“Shimon Peres once said that, ‘I learned that public service is a privilege that must be based on moral foundations.’ Tonight, Michelle and I join people across Israel, the United States and around the world in honoring the extraordinary life of our dear friend Shimon Peres—a Founding Father of the State of Israel and a statesman whose commitment to Israel’s security and pursuit of peace was rooted in his own unshakeable moral foundation and unflagging optimism.

“I will always be grateful that I was able to call Shimon my friend. I first visited him in Jerusalem when I was a senator, and when I asked for his advice, he told me that while people often say that the future belongs to the young, it’s the present that really belongs to the young. “Leave the future to me,” he said, “I have time.” And he was right. Whether it was during our conversations in the Oval Office, walking together through Yad Vashem, or when I presented him with America’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, Shimon always looked to the future. He was guided by a vision of the human dignity and progress that he knew people of goodwill could advance together. He brought young people from around the world together because he knew they could carry us closer to our ideals of justice and equality.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett directed Israel’s education system to dedicate Wednesday to the life and achievements of Shimon Peres, and called on Jewish communities and schools to do the same, “so the future generation for whom he fought will know who he was and be inspired by him.”


Wikileaks: George Soros Paid $650,000 to Influence Pope Francis’ Closest Friend

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Leftist Billionaire George Soros donated $650,000 to groups lobbying American bishops in favor of “progressive” domestic policies, according to emails made public by Wikileaks. Soros used his Open Society Foundation and Faith in Public Life, two liberal organizations, to use the September 2015 visit of Pope Francis to the US to “shift national paradigms and priorities in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign.”

The group DC Leaks has released more than 2,000 documents from groups associated with Soros.

The money was donated in April 2015 and a report on the effort says successful achievements included “buy-in of individual bishops to more publicly voice support of economic and racial justice messages in order to begin to create a critical mass of bishops who are aligned with the Pope.”

“In order to seize this moment, we will support PICO’s organizing activities to engage the Pope on economic and racial justice issues, including using the influence of Cardinal Rodriguez, the Pope’s senior advisor, and sending a delegation to visit the Vatican in the spring or summer to allow him to hear directly from low-income Catholics in America,” another document states.

PICO’s website describes the group as “a national network of faith-based community organizations working to create innovative solutions to problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities.”

The document describes Cardinal Rodriguez from Honduras as Pope Francis’ best friend. It continues: “The grant will also support FPL’s media, framing, and public opinion activities, including conducting a poll to demonstrate that Catholic voters are responsive to the Pope’s focus on income inequality, and earning media coverage that drives the message that being ‘pro-family’ requires addressing growing inequality.”

FPL is Faith in Public Life, whose website states: “In preparation for the pope’s visit to the US, we commissioned extensive opinion research about how Catholics respond to the Pope’s prophetic messages and released the poll at the National Press Club. Throughout the trip, FPL coordinated messaging among numerous Catholic groups and did extensive media outreach.”

The Soros document concludes: “By harnessing the Papal visit to lift up the Pope’s searing critique of what he calls ‘an economy of exclusion and inequality’ and his dismissal of ‘trickle down’ theories, PICO and FPL will work to build a bridge to a larger conversation about bread-and-butter economic concerns and shift national paradigms and priorities in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign.”


Pope Francis Blesses Righteous Christian Polish Gentiles at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Pope Francis visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp this weekend, a powerful experience made even more meaningful for the pontiff by his meeting with 25 Righteous Gentiles Among the Nations — Christian Poles who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.

The meeting was arranged for this past Friday by the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, a New Yorker whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from Poland.

The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous offers financial support to the 200-plus “Righteous Among the Nations” who are still alive in Poland.

For some time, Schudrich has contemplated what kind of spiritual gift he could give these precious people who were so willing to risk their lives for the souls of Jews.

“I thought a special blessing from the pope would make them feel honored because of their unbelievable morality and humanity,” he told Associated Press.

Hana Levi Julian

Vatican Says ‘Jews Don’t Need Conversion’

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Jews do not need to be converted, and the Catholic Church “does not question the continued love of God for the chosen people of Israel,” the Vatican said Thursday.

The news came in a 10,000-word document released by the Holy See that says Jews do not need to be converted. Moreover, it says, the only way for Catholics to understand their own faith is to view Jesus within the Jewish context of his time.

Entitled “The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable,” the document calls on Jews and Christians to work together to make the world a better place.

“While affirming salvation through an explicit or even implicit faith in Christ, the Church does not question the continued love of God for the chosen people of Israel,” the document states.

“That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery.”

The Church recommended that Jews and Catholics jointly combat all forms of anti-Semitism, and condemned the Nazi slaughter of Jews in World War II.

“History teaches us where even the slightest perceptible forms of anti-Semitism can lead: the human tragedy of the Shoah (using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust) in which two-thirds of European Jewry were annihilated.”

Drafted by the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations With Jews, the document also stated clearly that Catholics must refrain from active attempts to convert Jews.

“The Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews,” it says. Judaism “is not to be considered simply as another religion; the Jews are instead our elder brothers.”

The document cited the release 50 years ago of the Nostra Aetate — ‘In Our Times’ — that repudiated Jewish guilt in Jesus’ death.

“Judaism is not to be considered simply as another religion; the Jews are instead our ‘elder brothers’ (Saint Pope John Paul II), our ‘fathers in faith’ (Benedict XVI),” the document states.

“Jesus was a Jew, was at home in the Jewish tradition of his time, and was decisively shaped by this religious milieu (cf. ‘Ecclesia in Medio Oriente,’ 20). His first disciples gathered around him had the same heritage and were defined by the same Jewish tradition in their everyday life.”

Hana Levi Julian

Rabbi Appointed ‘Honorary Comedic Advisor to the Pope’

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

(JNi.media) After three weeks and thousands of jokes from 47 countries, the Joke With The Pope Campaign has been concluded, with Rabbi Bob Alper of Vermont receiving the title, “Honorary Comedic Advisor to the Pope.”

Needless to say, this was the very first time a pope, or his advisers, felt the need for a comedic advisor.

Alper’s joke went: “My wife and I have been married for over 46 years, and our lives are totally in synch. For example, at the same time I got a hearing aid, she stopped mumbling.”

Actor Bill Murray’s joke was: “Did you hear about the two antennae that got married? The service wasn’t so great, but the reception was fantastic.”

Latenight host Conan O’Brien contributed: “The drought in California is so bad, people in Napa are asking the Pope to turn their wine into water.”

“It had it all,” said Andrew Small, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, which is behind Joke With The Pope. “It was the kind of joke I think the Pope would use himself, and that’s what befits an Honorary Comedic Advisor,” he explained. “We congratulate Rabbi Bob and we thank all who submitted their ‘jokes and funny stories,’ as Pope Francis asked at the start of this campaign.”

“For me, Joke With The Pope was doing good while having fun,” said Rabbi Bob, who donated the proceeds from his joke to the homeless in Ethiopia. “It’s the joy of the mitzvah,” Alper added, saying he feels Pope Francis “exudes warmth, honesty – and there’s his humor,” and so “We all benefit from his model.”

Rabbi Alper is not the only winner of the current campaign. The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, the Pope’s own messangers and the brains behind Joke With The Pope, will donate $10,000 to three humanitarian causes in celebration of the large number of joke donations. Money will be provided to three causes on the newly released Missio app: housing the homeless in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; helping children in need in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and feeding the hungry in Nairobi, Kenya. Additional projects can be explored on Missio.

“Joke With The Pope helped spread joy to the world,” said Small. “But more importantly, it inspired many people to download the Missio app as a way to continue that joy by making a difference in the poorest communities of our world. Missio puts the power of change right at your fingertips, connecting you with change-makers and life-saving projects across the globe.”

Small’s own joke went: “How much did it get cost the pirate to get his ears pierced? A buck an ear.”

The Missio app is available through the App Store and Google Play, or at www.missio.org. The new app coincides with the Catholic Church’s celebration of Mission Month which honors and supports the work of Catholic missionaries around the world.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbi-appointed-honorary-comedic-advisor-to-the-pope/2015/10/08/

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