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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Jewish Agency for Israel Calls for Special Diaspora Conversion Courts

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

The Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel is calling for the establishment of special religious courts in the Diaspora to handle conversions outside the State of Israel.

A resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority of the board at its meeting Wednesday (June 24) said that in the absence of such courts, the Agency would send rabbis to assist local communal rabbis in the endeavor.

“In light of The Jewish Agency’s responsibility to help ensure the unity of the Jewish people and in recognition of the existence of many interfaith families in various Jewish communities, The Jewish Agency wishes to facilitate these families’ full integration into the Jewish people via conversion, as well as through the possibility of Aliyah. In the absence of conversion courts able to serve those who wish to convert in many Jewish communities, The Jewish Agency will cooperate with the special conversion courts established for this purpose by sending rabbis to assist local communal rabbis.

“The Jewish Agency will accompany the converts through their process of preparing for Aliyah, for those who choose that option.”

“The Jewish Agency serves the needs of Jewish communities around the world,” said Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Agency.

“This is one of the very real needs voiced by various Jewish communities. The time has come to respond.”

The issue of Jewish conversion both in Israel and abroad is one that is complex, controversial and fiercely debated between individuals as well as communities.

Recently the community leadership position of a major Anglo-Israeli rabbinic figure came under question, it was believed, in part due to the controversy generated over this topic.

Israeli Druze Leadership Condemns Lynch of IDF Ambulance

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

The leadership of the Israeli Druze community also spoke out Monday night to officially condemn the attack on the IDF ambulance bearing Syrian wounded Monday night.

Sheikh Moafik Tarif, head of Israel’s Druze community, said, “This is not our way and we feel pain for what happened. This is a criminal act, carried out by lawless people, and the authorities must take action.”

Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara, a Druze member of the Likud party, also condemned the violence.

“There is no Israeli citizen who does not sympathize with the plight of the Druze in Israel in the face of the life-threatening danger of their brethren in Syria,” Kara said. “But in no case can an ambulance be attacked.

“I condemn the attack. It is immoral, and certainly it is forbidden to endanger the lives of soldiers and civilians.”

Many members of Israel’s Druze community serve as distinguished officers in the IDF and the vast majority of the community’s men serve as soldiers; the only non-Jewish group in Israel to do so in such numbers.

“Unfortunately, as Druze, today we lost the sympathy of the Israeli people due to this serious and unnecessary incident that has no place in an orderly state,” Kara continued.

“Also, I fear that as a result of this incident we have endangered our brothers on the other side.”

Pamela Geller’s Coup Against Jihad, and a Coup Against Moses

Friday, June 19th, 2015

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai deals with modern-day and ancient battles. First he is joined by political activist and commentator Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and author, among other books, of “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.” She sponsored the “Draw the Prophet” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, which was attacked by jihadists, who were killed in a shootout. She tells Yishai about the challenges involved in fighting jihad in the US and Israel.

Then, Yishai is joined in-studio by Rabbi Mike Feuer to talk about the internecine Jewish political battles in the Book the Numbers. Was the biblical character Korach a communist or a man of the people? A fighter for democracy or a jealous would-be leader? Why did he pick a fight with Moses? And why did he merit having the Prophet Samuel as his progeny.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Fanatics Suspected of Arson of Church on the Kinneret

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

UPDATE: Police arrested 16 suspects for arson but then released them two hours later.

Arsonists caused heavy damage to the offices and rooms at the Church of Loaves Fishes at the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) early Thursday morning and left graffiti which, freely translated, read: “Cut off the false idols of the Galilee.”

The original verse appears in the second part of the “Aleinu” prayer, said three times day, in which it is written “You shall cut off their false gods.”

The church that was set on fire is where Christians believe Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians visit the site every year, and the Tourism Ministry in recent years has promoted the development of Christian sites and churches, including places where missionaries are hard at work to convert Jews.

Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said that firefighters arrived at the church at 3:30 Thursdays morning and found the graffiti, which is firm ground for suspicions that arsonists set the blaze.

There always is the outside chance that the graffiti was several months old, that an electrical fire caused the blaze, that the Shin Bet was behind it to frame Jews, or perhaps the Christians themselves lit the match to spread an anti-Semitic blood libel.

It would be great to discover that one or all of the above are true, but until proven otherwise, Jews are assumed to be guilt, justly or not.

The Torah, in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:3 states:

וְנִתַּצְתֶּם אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתָם וְשִׁבַּרְתֶּם אֶת מַצֵּבֹתָם וַאֲשֵׁרֵיהֶם תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ וּפְסִילֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם תְּגַדֵּעוּן וְאִבַּדְתֶּם אֶת שְׁמָם מִן הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא

And you shall tear down their altars, smash their monuments, burn their asherim [false gods] with fire, cut down the graven images of their gods, and destroy their name from that place.

If the arson was set off by idiots who decided that they are God’s direct missionaries, they forgot there is another verse in the same book, chapter 17, verses 14-15:

כִּי תָבֹא אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּה בָּהּ וְאָמַרְתָּ אָשִׂימָה עָלַי מֶלֶךְ כְּכָל הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתָי:

שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בּוֹ מִקֶּרֶב אַחֶיךָ תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ לֹא תוּכַל לָתֵת עָלֶיךָ אִישׁ נָכְרִי אֲשֶׁר לֹא אָחִיךָ הוּא

When you come to the land the Lord, your God, is giving you, and you possess it and live therein, and you say, “I will set a king over myself, like all the nations around me,”

You shall set a king over you, one whom the Lord, your God, chooses; from among your brothers, you shall set a king over yourself; you shall not appoint a foreigner over yourself, one who is not your brother

In three weeks, Jews read the Torah portion of Pinchas, the priest who took a spear and killed a Jew and a non-Jewish woman form Midian for publicly joining idol worshipers.

God awarded him with the “covenant of peace” for his act, which stopped a plague that God brought on the people because of idol worship.

But Pinchas and only Pinchas could have done such an act and be rewarded. Anyone else would have been tarred and feathered.

The arsonists who torched the church this morning are not priests. They are not kings. They are not police. Their lunacy was an act of the low-life of low-lives.

They appointed themselves to carry out a commandment that is not necessarily directed at each and every Jew in Israel but at the entire people, who today have a country and a government.

It often does not function properly. It is not a religious government.

And there never will be religious government so long as some crazy people, possibly with a kippa on their heads, go around as if they are direct agents of God.

They even took a revered prayer and added the word “Galilee” on their authority.

And the truth is, they didn’t even cause much damage the church itself. They not only did not carry out a commandment, but they also violated several others, including the law of the Jewish country in which they have the privilege to live.

Rare Inscription from King David Discovered in Jerusalem Hills

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

This article has been updated.

A rare inscription from the time of King David was discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafain the Elah Valley, southwest of Jerusalem and near Beit Shemesh.

A ceramic jar approximately 3,000 years old that was broken into numerous shards was found in 2012 in excavations. Letters written in ancient Canaanite script could be discerned on several of the shards, sparking the curiosity of researchers, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Its artifacts department glued together hundreds of pottery shards to form a whole jar and solved the riddle – the jar was incised with the inscription, ” Eshbaʽal Ben Bada.”

Professor Garfinkel and Ganor said:

This is the first time that the name Eshbaʽal has appeared on an ancient inscription in the country. Eshbaʽal Ben Shaul, who ruled over Israel at the same time as David, is known from the Bible.

It is interesting to note that the name Eshbaʽal appears in the Bible…only during the reign of King David, in the first half of the tenth century BCE. This name was not used later in the First Temple period.

[Editor’s note: The name “Eshbaʽal” only appears in Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles) 1-8:34 & 1-9:39 and he is generally identified as Ish Boshet, the son of King Saul.]

They added that the correlation between the biblical tradition and the archaeological finds indicates this was a common name only during that period. “The name Bedaʽ is unique and does not occur in ancient inscriptions or in the biblical tradition,” they added.

The fact that the name Eshbaʽal was incised on a jar suggests that he was an important person, according to the researchers. He apparently was the owner of a large agricultural estate, and the produce collected there was packed and transported in jars that bore his name.

The researchers stated:

This is clear evidence of social stratification and the creation of an established economic class that occurred at the time of the formation of the Kingdom of Judah.

Khirbet Qeiyafa is identified with the biblical city Shaʽarayim. During several seasons of excavation, a fortified city, two gates, a palace and storerooms, dwellings and cultic rooms were exposed.

The city dates from the time of David – the late 11th and early centuries BCE. Unique artifacts that were previously unknown were discovered at the site.

According to Garfinkel and Ganor:

In recent years four inscriptions have been published: two from Khirbet Qeiyafa, one from Jerusalem and one from Bet Shemesh. This completely changes our understanding of the distribution of writing in the Kingdom of Judah, and it is now clear that writing was far more widespread than previously thought.

It seems that the organization of the kingdom required a cadre of clerks and writers and their activity is also manifested in the appearance of inscriptions.

 

Spain Passes Citizenship Restoration Law for Jews Expelled in 1492

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

It has only taken a half a millenium, but on Thursday Spain passed a law granting citizenship to any descendant of Jews expelled from the country in 1492.

The law – which took three years to create – was hailed as a “historic rehabilitation” by Justice Minister Rafael Catala and Foreign Minister Manuel Garcia Margallo.

It was in 1492, as Colombus was preparing to set sail to explore the New World that Jews were given an ultimatum: convert to Christianity, or leave.

Those who stayed and pretended to convert became known over the centuries as “Marranos” – the “hidden” ones – or “Anusim” – the “forced” ones. Their descendants are scattered throughout the world, including many who later ended up intermarrying with Muslims, some who live in Judea and Samaria. Their families still keep fragments of Jewish traditions in their homes, although most no longer remember why.

The Jews who chose to preserve their identity and left, fled to North Africa and the Middle East, many of whom arrived in what is now known as Turkey.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain said in an official statement on Thursday that passage of the law in Madrid had launched a “new stage in the history of the relationship between Spain and the Jewish world; a new period of encounter, dialogue and harmony.

Contrary to what one might think, the descendants of those expelled not harbored feelings of hatred or resentment but rather the contrary, they cultivated a deep love for the land they were from and intense loyalty to tradition and language received of their elders,” the statement continued.

The law goes into effect in October, when the Jewish community can begin the process of checking the lineage of anyone who wishes to activate their once-proud centuries-old Spanish citizenship.

That process involves proving one’s ancestry, showing a basic knowledge of Spain and its culture, and embarking upon a minimum of one pilot trip to the country. In addition, one must pay an application fee of 100 Euros for the privilege. So much for “restoration.”

Under Israel’s Law of Return, any person is entitled to citizenship in the Jewish State if he or she can prove that one grandparent — either maternal or paternal — is Jewish. The pace of the “ingathering of the (Jewish) exiles” described in the Torah has been growing over the past decade. Jews who were driven from the Land of Israel by the Romans and the Babylonians have begun to return through the efforts of groups such as Michael Freund’s Shavei Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh and others.

Church from 6th Century Discovered near Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Archaeological excavations near the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv Highway 1, at the entrance to Abu Gosh approximately eight miles west of the capital, have uncovered a large Byzantine-period road station that included a church.

The excavations were conducted while upgrading and widening the highway to six lanes.

The site lies next to a seep spring known as ‘Ain Naqa‘a, located on the outskirts of Moshav Bet Neqofa. The current excavation season uncovered a church measuring about 16 meters (52 feet) in length and which includes a side chapel 6.5 m long and 3.5 m wide and a white mosaic floor.

A baptismal font in the form of a four-leafed clover, symbolizing the cross, was installed in the chapel’s northeast corner.

Fragments of red-colored plaster found in the rubble strewn throughout the building showed that the church walls had been decorated with frescoes. To the west of the church were rooms that were probably used as dwelling quarters and for storage. One of them contained a large quantity of pottery tiles.

The excavations yielded numerous different finds, testifying to intensive activity at the site. These included oil lamps, coins, special glass vessels, marble fragments, and mother-of-pearl shells.

Annette Nagar, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said:

The road station and its church were built in the Byzantine period beside the ancient road leading between Jerusalem and the coastal plain. Along this road, which was apparently already established in the Roman period, other settlements and road stations have previously been discovered that served those traveling the route in ancient times.

Included in the services provided along the route were churches, such as the one recently uncovered at the entrance to Abu Gosh. Other churches have been recorded in the past in Abu Gosh, Qiryat Ye‘arim, and Emmaus. This road station ceased to be used at the end of the Byzantine period, although the road beside which it was built was renewed and continued to be in use until modern times.

The excavation site will be covered and preserved for future generations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/church-from-6th-century-discovered-near-tel-aviv-jerusalem-highway/2015/06/10/

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