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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rosh Hashanah’

Obama Now Ready to Meet with Netanyahu

Friday, September 11th, 2015

President Barack Obama’s victory in the battle with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Republicans over the nuclear deal with Iran has given him his security blanket for a face-to-face meeting.

President Obama told rabbis in his annual pre-Rosh HaShanah phone call that he plans to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu next month, when the U.N. General Assembly convenes after a summer recess.

Obama said:

Our consultations have already begun with Israeli military and intelligence officials.

My hope is to have a long discussion with Mr. Netanyahu about these issues when he comes to the United Nations during the General Assembly of the United Nations, or immediately after that.

Obama avoided the Prime Minister earlier this year when he addressed Congress, two weeks before Israel’s general elections, which he said precluded a meeting that could be exploited for political purposes.

Now that Netanyahu, if not the United States itself, appears to be the loser in the fight over the nuclear agreement, Obama has not problem meeting him, if no other reason than to gloat.

However, Arab American leader James Zogby wrote an interesting analysis last week in The Huffington Post that shows that although Prime Minister Netanyahu lost the fight to reject the Ian deal, he actually was the winner in the long-term, particularly concerning the Palestinian Authority.

President Obama told the rabbis:

Israel’s long-term security does depend on somehow resolving the Palestinian issue. We’re going to have to work on these issues, and they’re going to be messy and challenging in the years to come.” There’s going to have to be some soul searching in Israel and the American Jewish community because they’re tough questions.

Zogby explained that President Obama will be careful before he pushes his luck with Jewish Democratic Congressmen who supported the P5+1 agreement with Iran.

He wrote:

By throwing what amounted to a political and diplomatic tantrum, the Israeli side succeeded in making itself the center of attention for the Administration and Congress. In the last few months, there were more meetings held, more hours spent, and more effort expended on reassuring Israel and its supporters of America’s ‘unbreakable, unshakable’ commitment, than in any period in our history….

Senators and members of Congress will also now be inclined to make clear their support for Israel. Many Democrats who announced their intention to support the president made sure that their statements declared undying support for Israel. The myth that ‘AIPAC will beat you if you don’t toe the line’ continues to hold strong, and so it can be expected that many members, despite their resentment of AIPAC and Netanyahu’s pressure, will spend excessive time and energy between now and next November playing “make up” by proving their support for Israel.

However, Zogby said that in the longer-term, “The emergence and rapid growth of liberal pro-Israel Jewish groups like J Street and Americans for Peace Now, or non-Zionist Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, or the expansion of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement on college campuses are all evidence “of a shift in American policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

He can credit President Obama with having successful weakened the influence of AIPAC by bolstering the prestige of the left-wing groups, but he doesn’t realize that they have gone so far out in left field that they are leaving “mainstream Jewish” support out of the ball park.

Even if they nevertheless one day are viewed as representing American Jews, probably by including 3-4 million people who simply call themselves Jews, it will be too late because the Palestinian Authority by then will have succeeded in making demands that prove that a new Arab country within Israel’s present borders would mean the end of Israel.

Aliyah Rises 13% Since Last Rosh HaShanah

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Immigration to Israel is up 13% compared with last year, with most of the rise from France and Ukraine among 97 countries whose citizens made Aliyah.

Approximately 3,600 Jews from North American have moved to Israel since last Rosh HaShanah, approximately the same number as the year before,

In the past 12 months, 29,500 Jews made Aliyah, compared with 26,000 in the Hebrew calendar year of 5774.

Most of this year’s immigrants came from the former Soviet Union – 14,100, compared with 10,800 last year – and from Europe, from where approximately 9,000 people came on Aliyah, 600 more than the previous year.

There was a modest increase in Aliyah from South America.

The two largest sources of Aliyah were France, with 7,350 immigrants compared with 6,700 in 5774, a 10% increase), and Ukraine, with 6,900 immigrants compared to 4,600 last year, a 50% increase.

The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption have been running programs in both countries in order to encourage Aliyah and remove barriers to the immigrants’ integration in Israeli society. Aliyah from Russia also saw a significant 23% increase with the arrival of some 5,900 immigrants this year compared to 4,800 in 5774.

Also in Europe, some 690 immigrants arrived in Israel from the United Kingdom, a 13% increase when compared with the 612 who came last year. Some 400 arrived from Italy, a 30% increase, compared with 300 last year, and 290 came from Belgium, similar to last year’s figure.

Immigrants to Israel came from 97 countries across the world. One immigrant each came from Andorra, Angola, Namibia, Paraguay, the Philippines, and Slovakia.

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said:

For the past few years, the majority of immigrants to Israel have been coming from free and democratic Western countries. These immigrants’ free choice to live in Israel, and their preference for Israel over other countries, is the true triumph of Zionism.

Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ze’ev Elkin estimated that Aliyah in the civilian calendar year of 2015 will be the highest in a decade, with 30,000-35,000 new immigrants expected.

Thousands of the new “olim” are young college graduates in engineering and technology, and more than 1,000 are doctors and other medical professionals.

The three most popular destinations in Israel were Tel Aviv-Yafo, which welcomed some 3,500 new immigrants, the coastal city of Netanya with 3,400, and Jerusalem, which some 3,000 new immigrants made their home in 5775.

Netanyahu Pledges to Beef Up Security at Patriarchs’ Cave in Hebron

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Israel will do its “utmost so that Jews will be able to go everywhere safely, especially to the Tomb of the Patriarchs,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday.

Tens of thousands of Jews visit the site, known, in Hebrew as Ma’arat HaMachpelah, for Slichot prayers between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

It is the burial site of the forefathers Avraham, Isaac (Yitzchak) and Jacob as well as Sarah, Rebecca (Rivkah) and Leah. Rachel, Yaakov’s second wife, is buried at Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel), which also attracts tens of thousands of people between the two High Holidays.

The Patriarch’s Cave also is the traditional burial place of Adam and Eve.

Palestinian Authority terrorists have escalated attacks at the two sites in recent months.

Religious Zionist ‘ Tzohar’ Group Launches ‘Listening Together for Shofar’

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

More than 55,000 people will be hosted by members of the religious Zionist movement this year in 55 different locations around Israel to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.

It is a new project that celebrates the 16th year of the Yom Kippur ‘Praying Together’ program carried out in 295 locations and sponsored by Tzohar, the religious Zionist rabbinical organization in Israel.

After 15 years of successful and expanding Yom Kippur programs, Tzohar will now also host families to hear and learn about the shofar and its importance during the Rosh Hashana prayers.

Over 350 Tzohar volunteers and their families are being placed all around the country to accommodate all those communities who wish to participate. “Going to a religious synagogue can be an intimidating and sometimes off-putting experience for someone who doesn’t regularly attend or associate with that particular community,” said Rabbi David Stav, co-founder of Tzohar.

“We have seen such an outpouring of desire for Jewish connection by the secular community, especially relating the High Holidays, that we knew something had to be done to accommodate them.

“By moving these important Jewish life cycle events to a neutral locations – such as community centers or event halls – it becomes more much inviting and accessible for anyone interested in connecting with their Jewish tradition.” All attendees are provided with the same siddur or machzor to make it easier to follow along, as well as with explanatory pamphlet written by Tzohar about the customs, prayers and meaning of the High Holidays to help guide the participant throughout the services. “Tzohar is continuously adding additional programs to encourage Jewish participation in life cycle events,” said Yakov Gaon, Executive Vice President of Tzohar.

“The powerful reaction to the Yom Kippur program and our other holiday activities showed the excitement and connection people feel. Adding Rosh Hashana programming was a natural next step.”

Shemitah Doomsday Predictions, Blood Moons, Happy 5776!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(JNi.media) Jewish agricultural laws aren’t necessarily something the rest of the world easily becomes fixated on, but lately the word “Shemitah” has been popping up frequently in Google searches. From Jeremiah to Nostradamus, anything ancient, or at least time-honored and Jewish can have a mystical resonance to it, and the otherwise mundane topic of Shemitah is no exception. This Rosh Hashanah 5776, on September 13, marks the end of the seventh year, in which the land of Israel, according to the Torah, takes a sabbatical from agricultural activities.

The Hebrew word “Shemitah” means “to release” and it refers to giving the land a “Sabbath” after six years of being cultivated to produce crops. In that year, farmers must stop working their fields and relinquish ownership of the land, and everything that grows is communal property. Today, there are rabbinical measures that allow food to be produced, but they are in line with various interpretations of how Shemitah should be applied in the modern State of Israel. In addition, loans are forgiven in the seventh year, although there are also rabbinic provisions allowing for banks as well as individual creditors to continue to collect on debts.

The Times of India observed a series of mishaps associated with the end of Shemitah, and noted that “Black Monday,” when the Indian stock markets took a dive, happened to occur in the last month of Shemitah. In addition, the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and the Wall Street Crash of 1987 happened during Shemitah years, and the 9/11 terror attack coincided with the end of Shemitah in 2001. The worst financial crisis in the US since the Great Depression also occurred after a Shemitah year, in 2008.

The year that will begin on Rosh Hashanah is not just the year after another Shemitah, but a Jubilee year, or Yovel, in Hebrew, the 50th year after 7 successive 7 year cycles. The Jubilee year has not been celebrated in the Land of Israel for thousands of years, because it involves the return of land according to tribal designations, and since it isn’t clear which tribes today’s Jews belong to (although most are probably from Yehudah or Levi), land can’t be re-apportioned along tribal lines. According to the book of Leviticus, the Sabbatical year is a time when debts are forgiven, slaves are freed, land is returned and the mercies of God will be manifest.

Many Christian websites who have an abiding interest in Jewish lore as it is presented in the “Old Testament” are paying attention to the fact that the upcoming year is the end of Shemitah in Israel and the beginning of the Jubilee year. Those websites detail the correspondence of Shemitah and the Jubilee year to the blood moons and biblical prophecies. Ministers such as John Hagee say that the lunar eclipses on a series of four Jewish holidays are meant to usher in the End of Days. The blood moon (a natural phenomenon that occurs when the Moon hangs low in the sky, just after moon-rise or before it’s about to set below the horizon—red light can pass through the atmosphere and not get scattered, while light at the blue end of the spectrum is more easily scattered, so when we see a red moon, we’re seeing its red light that wasn’t scattered, while the blue and green light has been scattered away) is matched with a prophecy of Joel that says that the moon will turn to blood and signify that “the great and terrible day of the Lord has come.” The fact that the blood moons occur at the same time as the Jubilee year and the potential signing of a UN Peace treaty (with Iran) means, according to some Christians, that the “Rapture” will also take place, followed by the “Second Coming” and the resurrection of the dead.

Making This Year a Little Sweeter for Those in Need

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Every year at Rosh Hashana, we enter a period of self-reflection, assessing our goals, needs and actions. It is a time of introspection and prayer as we begin in a new year in our spiritual and religious lives.

It is precisely at this time when impoverished Israelis are praying for relief and support. A staggering 1.6 million Israelis live in poverty, according to Israel’s National Insurance Institute most recent report. More than one-third of those living in poverty are children, creating a dire need for services and aid to ease the burden.

In a customized holiday program, Meir Panim, Israel’s premier social and food services organization, gives 2,000 families with grocery shopping cards prior to Rosh Hashana. These debit cards are loaded with 250 shekels and are awarded to needy individuals and families who can use them at major Israeli supermarket chains to purchase food and household items. The cards are programmed with technology that tracks purchases, blocking their use for alcohol or cigarettes, but still granting recipients the flexibility to customize their purchases.

“These cards are truly a gift, giving needy families a chance to celebrate Rosh Hashana with peace of mind to shop for the holiday and enjoy the festivities with goods that they really need,” said David Roth, president of American Friends of Meir Panim. “This support gives dignity and respect, empowering families to feel special at holiday time.”

Mali, a single mother of three small children, tells of how this card helped her get through Rosh Hashana. Counting each coin during the year and running her household on a small budget while working full time as a grocery store cashier, Mali admits she could not get through the holidays without Meir Panim. “The extra money I receive to prepare for Rosh Hashana helps me start off the year optimistic so that I enjoy the holiday,” she said. “It is extremely helpful and I am so grateful!”

In addition to the food cards, some Meir Panim branches give out free produce each week. “We donate fresh fruits and vegetables to needy families so they don’t have to worry and they can spend whatever funds they have on other basic necessities,” Roth said.

In cities like Dimona, Jerusalem and Or Akiva, Meir Panim’s branches have become a hub for impoverished families that need assistance and support. The organization serves approximately 350,000 free meals out of restaurant-style soup kitchens and prepares meals-on-wheels for delivery to an additional 190,000 people. Meir Panim also delivers lunches to several schools in poor neighborhoods and hosts after-school programs and summer camps for children.

As Rosh Hashana approaches, while praying for good fortune, give a sweet gift to those in need. To team up with Meir Panim in easing the burdens of poverty in Israel, donate today.

Government Decides not to Abandon Gush Etzion Memorial Park

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will not expel people deployed at the Oz VeGaon Memorial Park in Gush Etzion, contrary to fears expressed by Women in Green earlier this week.

The nationalist organization turned to Gush Etzion Regional Council leader Davidi Perl, who spoke with Ya’alon, leading to a deciding not only to keep the park intact but also to authorize it.

It was dedicated last year in memory of Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Sha’ar, the three victims of Hamas kidnap-murderers from the Hebron area.

The park is located immediately east of the Gush Etzion junction and is populated by a family who protect it from Arab vandals.

There are no intentions of turning it into a full-fledged outpost, which the Defense Minister may have incorrectly assumed was the plan of nationalists. Buildings at the park are used for displays and hands-on activities for children.

“The minister of defense has once again proven that he is a friend of the settlement enterprise,” Perl said after Ya’alon’s decision.

Oz VeGaon announced on Wednesday that Selichot prayers will be held at the park Thursday at 12:30 a.m.

Sephardi Jews have been saying Selichot prayers since the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. Ashkenazi Jews begin reciting Selichot this Saturday night. The prayers are concluded the eve of Yom Kippur.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/government-decides-not-to-abandon-gush-etzion-memorial-park/2015/09/02/

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