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July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath’

Rabbis Allow XMas Trees in Kosher Israeli Hotels

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Hotels in Israel will now be able to place Christmas trees in the lobby, film movies on the premises during the Sabbath and violate other Jewish laws but hold a “kosher” status.

In the past, the Israel’s Chief Rabbinate required hotels to maintain basic compliance with Torah law in order be certified kosher.

However, a petition to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein by the “Hiddush” Freedom of Religion for Israel non-governmental organization (NGO) has forced the Chief Rabbinate to change its rules.

Hiddush CEO Uri Regev, a reform rabbi, argued the Rabbinate’s regulations violated Israel’s kashruth law, which in the past the High Court of Justice has determined are restricted solely to the issue of food, and not Sabbath observance, modesty or other points.

Regev threatened to turn to the High Court if Weinstein did not put an end to “legal infractions” committed by the Chief Rabbinate in the field of kashruth – that is, conditioning kashruth certification on general Sabbath observance and not using Christian symbols.

In response, the Chief Rabbinate announced a list of changes last Thursday, removing its ban on nearly anything that would differentiate an observant Jewish establishment from one that is not.

Regev proclaimed the move a “victory.

“First, it will finally give the numerous Jewish and non-Jewish groups that visit Israel the freedom and respect which has been denied them by the Rabbinate’s extortionist demands,” he said, according to Religion News Service. “Second, it is an important lesson in the development of the rule of law in Israel, which emphasizes that the Chief Rabbinate is bound by Israeli law and is not above it.”

That last is an issue that observant Jews are well warned to take notice of, since it is now clear – if it has not been prior to this – that supervision and certification by the Chief Rabbinate – may not longer be reliable, due to circumstances beyond the control of well-meaning rabbonim at the Rabbinate.

For example:

The ban on symbols of Christian holidays such as Christmas trees has been lifted.

The Chief Rabbinate revoked its ban on using audio, video and music equipment at hotel events on the Sabbath except when food is served.

The ban on Jews accepting payments from guests has also been canceled, except in connection to ordering and paying for food.

Perhaps most disturbing, a requirement for hotels to have a Sabbath elevator has also been lifted, with the exception of a Sabbath elevator for the delivery of food.

Young Muslims to Protect Oslo Synagogue as Jews Pray in Norway

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

A 17-year-old Muslim teen has rallied hundreds of young Muslims in Oslo who say they plan to protect Jews as they pray on Sabbath in synagogue this Saturday. The group says they’ll form a “peace ring” around the Jewish house of worship in the Norwegian capital.

Hajrad Arshad told state broadcaster NRK she initially called for 30 volunteers. Instead, at least 630 have risen to the challenge. She and her six co-organizers are part of a Facebook discussion forum called URETT AVSLØRES, “Injustice Revealed.”

The group intends to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims,” the young activist said. “We think that after the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, it is the perfect time for us Muslims to distance ourselves from the harassment of Jews that is happening.”

Oslo Jewish community spokesperson Ervin Kohn welcomed the initiative, welcomed the initiative, pointing out the group was willing to defend the city’s Jews with their own bodies. “What they are showing is that if anyone wants to do anything against Jews in Norway, they ‘have to go through us first’ – and I think that’s very positive.”

Kohn said the synagogue agreed to the initiative as long as more than 30 young Muslims showed up – because otherwise, “it may seem counterproductive. “But if you fill Bergstien (the street on which the synagogue is located),” he added, “it will be very good.”

Arshad told Vårt Land the group had decided on the project both as “fellow human beings and Muslims in Norway, to show that Muslims distance themselves from the anti-Semitism which Jews encounter daily.”

In a statement on the group’s Facebook, they write that “Islam is to rise above hate and never sink at the same level as the haters. [We as] Muslims wish to show that we take deep exception to all forms of hatred of Jews and that we are there to support them. This is why we shall be forming a human ring around the synagogue.”

Contrary to the poison spewed from countless televised and live sermons by radical Islamist imams in mosques around the world daily, not all forms of Islam are malignant, nor do all Islamic scholars or clerics preach hatred.

Turkish Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar warned Muslims to protect Jews and their synagogues as far back as 2008.  “The world ‘Israel’ is the name of Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob), peace be upon him, who is praised in the Qu’ran and remembered with great respect by Muslims,” Oktar writes. “The Magen David (Star of David), a symbol associated with King David is a holy symbol for us too. According to Qu’ran 22:40, Muslims must protect synagogues because they are places of worship. So why should members of the two religions not live together in peace?”

Oktar also warns Jews must “act in accordance with the moral valued and character of the King Messiah as revealed in the Torah… Judaic sources describe how the King Messiah will be a just person who protects the weak, honest, loving and peaceful… and make the world a place where everyone lives together as brothers in peace and security.” His writings on Muslim co-existence with Jews and other topics are translated into Norwegian in a special section of his website.  For his advocacy, Oktar has been vilified by numerous radical Muslim extremists and more than a few skeptical Jews as well.

Another courageous Muslim who has spoken out to advocate for peaceful Islam is Jordanian Sheikh Yassin Al-Ajlouni, who ruled last year that Jews should have a place of prayer on the Temple Mount — the estimated site of the Holy of Holies of both the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem.

In a video statement posted online December 18, 2014, the sheikh bravely called on “the religious ruling authorities in Palestine and Jordan” to allow Jews to build a synagogue on the site – the third holiest site in Islam as well – in the spirit of Islamic religious tolerance.

“There should be a special place of worship for the Jews among the Israelis under Hashemite and Palestinian sovereignty, and in agreement with the Israeli regime,” he said. “This by no means entails the harming of the Al Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Park of the courtyard, where there are trees, will be allocated for the prayer of the Israelis,” he prophesied, calling on other scholars in Jordan and among Palestinian clerics to “clarify their religious position regarding the building of a place of worship dedicated for the Israeli Jews.”

He commented also that he knew he was likely to face severe criticism or punishment for the statement. The Temple Mount is administered under the Jordanian Islamic Waqf Authority with the cooperation of the State of Israel.

Sadly, the sheikh was the recipient of severe criticism from nearly all quarters, including those of the Jordanian Iftaa Department, which issued a fatwa against him, calling him “ignorant” and having “no legitimacy.”

Within days, the sheikh was forced to recant his statement, and posted a poem on Facebook in which he called on Jews to avert plans to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Mount (there are none, of course) and exhorting them to convert to Islam.

“I am retracting my call, in my previous video, to allocate a place of worship for the Jews [ on the Temple Mount] he said in a follow-up video on December 28, 2014. “The Israelis interpreted this call as if I were saying that they have a right to Bayt al-Maqdis (the Temple Mount). I would like to emphasize that Bayt al-Maqdis is pure Islamic land. No one is allowed to give it up, trivialize it or to pass sovereignty over it to any non-Muslim party.”

The sheikh was then arrested by Jordanian authorities shortly after the second video was posted, and a lawsuit was filed against him by the “General Mufti Department” attorney general.

Oktar has repeatedly said that the Qu’ran states there is “no compulsion” in Islam, and warns it is forbidden to try to coerce anyone to convert to the faith. Tragically, al-Ajloun himself was forced by his own government to declare that Islam will be “victorious over the Jews” and that there is “still time to convert.”

Sheikh and professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi, who is the secretary-general of the Italian Muslim Association, was born in Rome to a Syrian Arab woman and an Italian Muslim father. Palazzi, an imam, is another Muslim cleric who challenges the typical terrorist poison broadcast around the world about Islam.

“The Qur’an foretells that before the Day of Resurrection the children of Israel will come back to the Land of Israel from which they were exiled twice,” Palazzi told Alex Maist of Novosty Nideli. “As about the right to create a state, this is not specified either for the Jewish people or for any other people,” he said.

“The Qur’an does not specifically contain the notion of a ‘capital,'” Palazzi added, “but mentions that Jerusalem was the center of the kingdom of David and Solomon and the seat of the Temple which Solomon built with the help of human beings and invisible beings. If this is not exactly the concept of a capital, it is nevertheless very close to it,” Palazzi pointed out.

Paris Kosher Grocery Hostages Freed, All Terrorists Dead

Friday, January 9th, 2015

As many as 15 to 20 hostages taken captive at the Hyper Kacher kosher grocery by a member of a homegrown Al Qaeda terror cell were freed, just as the sun was setting Friday evening at the start of the holy Jewish Sabbath. Tragically, four were murdered at the start of the terror attack before police were able to rescue them.

Although the terrible saga has now ended, the Association of Paris Rabbis warned members of the Jewish community to remain home and stay off the streets this Shabbat (Sabbath) because the streets are not safe in this “city still on edge.” Shops in La Marais have been ordered shut for now.

French police stormed the grocery a few minutes after special forces carried out a similar operation in a location on the other side of Paris against Said and Cherif Koachi. The two terrorist brothers came out with AK-47s blazing as special forces stormed the print warehouse where they were holed up in Dammartin-en-Goele, near Charles De Gaulle airport. Both were killed in the shootout. Said was trained in Syria and Yemen by Al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula (AQAP) and American Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki; he led the local terror cell.

Police chose to attack after the terrorists had been awake for at least 48 hours, when their reflexes were dulled and they were suffering from the effects of severe sleep deprivation. Detonating charges set around the perimeter of the building, they began their attack with explosions and gunfire.

Kouachi brothers’ co-terrorist Amedy Coulibali likewise found himself under siege by police after holding shoppers hostage for hours at a kosher grocery and finally threatening to kill his captives if his “jihadi brethren” were attacked. His hostages were freed as the last blush of the sun’s rays lit the horizon to begin the Jewish Sabbath.

Ambulances on the scene gathered the injured and traumatized hostages and sped away to hospitals.

Coulibali’s girlfriend and the fourth member of the terror cell, Hayat Boumeddienne, was apparently not present in the grocery attack as was reported earlier, according to media reports, although she was involved in the murder of a policewoman in Paris on Thursday. Boumeddienne escaped and was still at large by nightfall in Paris.

The Shabbos Project: Jews Worldwide Keeping This Shabbos Together

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

In 340 cities around the world Jews from all walks of life, stars and simple folks, academics and others across the spectrum this week are all going to be ‘Keeping it Together.’

Shabbat. Shabbos. The Sabbath.

However you refer to it, even vocalist Paula Abdul is joining in with Nobel Prize laureates for 25 hours this weekend to keep the seventh day holy, as God commanded His Chosen People.

“The Shabbat Project is an opportunity for the entire Jewish world to keep one complete Shabbat together – from Friday evening just before sunset on October 24, until Saturday night after the stars have come out on October 25,” says South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein.

It was Goldstein who originated the Shabbat Project last year in South Africa. His drive and enthusiasm sent the project around the world in 2014.

“The beauty of this is that it is so practical and manageable. It’s only one Shabbat. It’s something everyone can do…This approach is predicated on the idea that the real energy of Shabbat – its transformative power – is wholly dependent on immersing oneself in the full Shabbat experience.”

In Israel, the Rami Levy supermarket is, as usual, leading the retailers’ part in the initiative. The chain is offering a “challah for a shekel, wine for five shekels” special this week to encourage Jews to participate in the project.

Poster ads are running on Egged buses across the country and along its highways and byways. A local team in the “Startup Nation” has also launched the #Keeping It Together app .  It has everything anyone needs to know about keeping the Sabbath holy, and it’s programmed to put your phone to sleep over Shabbat. (After all, it is the ‘day of rest.’)

A number of special events for the project are being held around the country, starting tonight (Thursday, Oct. 23.)

In the Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill tonight, participants can learn to bake Challah (braided Sabbath bread) for Shabbat. On Friday afternoon, organizers are holding a concert of Shabbat songs. Later the same day, an Oneg Shabbat meal will be held as well.

In Tel Aviv on Friday night, attendees will find a champagne kiddush reception, followed by Shabbat dinner at the Beit El Synagogue. On Saturday, the Sabbath Day, a potluck picnic is planned at Independence Park.

Similar events are planned in Rehovot and Ra’anana.

An enormous neon billboard has gone up in New York City’s Times Square, announcing the initiative.

A special “revolutionary” recipe developed by a crack team in Miami for a Challah Bake tonight (Thursday, Oct. 23) is expected to draw thousands.

A Miami Beach Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi is setting up a big tent at his synagogue to offer super Shabbos meals for anyone in the zip code pledging to keep this Shabbos.

In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has endorsed the project. Posters appear in subway stations in Toronto. Jews are signing up on the project’s special website.

Every single Jewish community organization, school and synagogue in Buenos Aires has pledged to keep Shabbat this coming weekend. More than 10,000 are expected at a planned Havdalah Unity Concert – produced with the assistance of the government of Argentina, no less and set for broadcast on national TV.

The tagline of the project, “Keeping It Together,” speaks to the unity and well being of the Jewish People as a whole entity, as well as to Jewish individuality. That’s what Shabbat is all about, Goldstein says.

“Keeping it together means keeping our lives together,” Goldstein explains. “Of course, there is the good food, sound sleep and deep relaxation to look forward to on Shabbat, but there’s more.

“Shabbat restores us, not just in a physical sense, but emotionally and spiritually as well, so that we emerge on Saturday night as new human beings ready to face the week with all of its challenges and opportunities.”

Whatever your time zone, if you are Jewish, join with other Members of the Tribe to bring in the Sabbath and help Keep It Together planetwide.

Chabad of Tel Aviv Resumes Shabbat Para Glider Campaign

Monday, September 8th, 2014

If you’re on the beach this coming Friday in Tel Aviv, you may be able to spot a para glider, reminding you when to light your Sabbath candles.

In recent years, beach goers in Tel Aviv had been accustomed to an aerial campaign promoting the Sabbath. A para glider would soar up and down the Mediterranean coast on Friday afternoons announcing candle lighting time.

For a while this year, due to the recent war in Gaza, the IDF grounded the para glider temporarily — but last week Chabad of Tel Aviv was given permission to resume its campaign.

The campaign, coordinated by Rabbi Yechezkel Gvirtz and Chabad-Lubavitch of Tel Aviv director Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzky, began with a flyer distribution and parade.

Gvirtz acknowledges that for most people, Sabbath observance can be a long process, but he notes that he’s been seeing more and more tourists showing up for Friday night and Saturday morning services.

“All they have to do is look up and they will see that the Sabbath is coming,” he says. “It speaks directly to them.”

Tel Aviv Mayor: Opening Shops on Shabbat ‘Won’t Disturb Anyone’

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

A change in the Tel Aviv law that would allow stores to open on the Sabbath “will not disturb anyone,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai stated in an open and written reply to Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel.

The rabbi said that the proposed permission for stores to open on the day of rest would desecrate the sanctity of the Sabbath.

Mayor Huldai claimed that only one percent of businesses in the city will be able to open on Sabbath and will be in areas where operation won’t bother anyone.

There are flaws in Mayor Huldai’s reasoning. He assumes that Jews in secular neighborhoods will not be disturbed by stores opening on the Sabbath.

He is dead wrong. There are no statistics, but it is safe to say that a sizeable number of “secular” Jews respect and love the sanctity of the Sabbath, even if they don’t observe it.

Moreover, the “one percent” of stores that he says would open on Shabbat, if allowed, is only the beginning. Competitors will be forced to follow suit.

Pro-secular activists always argue that preventing stores from opening on the Sabbath is “religious coercion,” a phrase that always brings out the catcalls for “freedom” from religious influence on the law.

There are laws that prevent business in certain neighborhoods form operating in the middle of the night, but “social coercion” is legitimate.

There are laws that prevent businesses, and residents, from making too much noise, but “environmental coercion” is permissible.

Any law restricts the freedom of some people, and that is allowed, but the secular fundamentalists cannot tolerate the thought of Judaism being an influence on laws in a Jewish state, for the simple reason they do not wan’t a Jewish state.

Hay want a state where Jews can live and practice their religion as they wish, son ,long as the their prayers in synagogues do not disturb the neighbors and so long as not too many people clog the sidewalk when walking back and forth to synagogue on the Sabbath, and so long as the Orthodox Jews don’t dare take affront at parades of homosexuals.

The anti-Orthodox activists don’t admit that they are practicing secular coercion.

Shabbat Saved a Jew from the Malaysia Airlines Death Flight

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

(JTA) The popular travel discount blog Dan’s Deals is circulating a story that a Jewish passenger who was supposed to be on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane was switched to an alternative flight because his Orthodox Jewish travel agent in Israel refused to book him on an itinerary that would have him traveling on Shabbat.

Under Orthodox Jewish law, facilitating someone else’s Sabbath desecration — boarding an airplane — is as forbidden as desecrating the Sabbath oneself.

Here’s the email exchange on January 13 and 14 between the passenger, identified as Andy, and the travel agent. The emails were posted online by Dan’s Deals with the identifying details removed.

Andy: One amendment, I need the KUL-PEK flight a day later. I need the extra day in Kuala. once that is set you can lock in.
Travel Agent: I wish I can give you a day later, but you know I just don’t like flying Jews on Shabbat. I can take that leg out if you want and you book yourself.

Andy decides to book the flight himself but later changes his mind:

Andy: I reconsidered, you are right I should be more observant, I’ll manage without that day in Kuala. Since I’ll have an extra night in PEK Any recommendations for a good Friday night dinner in Beijing?
Agent: Ok, glad to hear. Try this: http://www.chabadbeijing.com/

Then, on March 8, Andy writes:

Holy God,
You sure heard what happened to MH370
I cannot stop thinking about this.
This is a true miracle for the books. You are a true life saver…
I cannot think anymore! We’ll talk later this week. Don’t know how to thank you enough
(See the full email exchange here.)

When I tried to verify the authenticity of the story with Daniel Eleff of Dan’s Deals, he sent me this message:

At this time the travel agent and the passenger are opting to remain anonymous. There has been a fair amount of negative feedback and they are choosing to wait until the fate of the flight in known to determine if they’ll go public.
I have personally verified the story and can vouch for its authenticity. The emails I posted with time stamps are unaltered except to remove identifiable information.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shabbat-saved-a-jew-from-the-malaysia-airlines-death-flight/2014/03/11/

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