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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

Jewish, Muslim High School Students Marked for Death in Duncan, South Carolina

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Jewish and Muslim high school students at the James T. Byrnes High School in Duncan, South Carolina were marked for death in online threats reported Friday evening by a student at Byrnes, one of the largest high schools in the state, with some 2,300 students.

An investigation by the sheriff’s office is under way but no arrests have yet been in made following the threats, which included pics of a person in a gas mask, and a knife with a handle marked with a swastika.

Security personnel are sweeping Byrnes High School and maintaining a close watch over the site over the holiday weekend (it’s Labor Day weekend in the United States).

Spartanburg School District 5 said in a news release the school would be attacked Tuesday, so extra officers will be there when students return to the building.

Superintendent Scott Turner said in a statement quoted by CBS News and WSPA, “I want to ensure our parents and community that we are taking these threats extremely seriously, and are doing everything possible to make sure our campuses are secure. We are working with law enforcement to ensure the individual who made these threats is found. As always in District Five, the safety of our students and staff is our first priority.”

Hana Levi Julian

Compare Obama’s Rosh HaShanah and Eid-ul-Fitr Messages [Video]

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

President Barack Obama laced his annual Rosh HaShanah greetings with political overtones, in stark contrast to his message to Muslims last July on their Eid-ul-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

President Obama reminded Jews that the “Book of Life is open.” Assuming a posture as a Jew, he added:

As millions of Jews ask God to inscribe their names in that Book we recognize how much lies beyond our control.

It was a pointed reminder to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that besides God, there also is President Obama who pulls the strings when it comes to world affairs, such as the nuclear agreement with Iran.

The President then preached peace, which he said is “hard, but right now the book is open.  Not just for God but for us.”

That is a theme that was totally absent from his speech to Muslims in July, when he noted:

The end of Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need. While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual – a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.

President Obama then devoted nearly half of his greeting to talk about how millions of Muslims go to mosques for prayers and then have “festive gatherings, gift exchanges, and feasts among friends, neighbors and families.”

He emphasized how “the diversity of traditions paint the vibrant images we see from around the world capturing the spirit and excitement of Eid – colorful dresses or white garments decorating the masses of people standing in lines for prayer, lanterns and ornaments lighting up bazaars and neighborhoods, intricate henna designs painted on hands of young girls and women, and an abundance of delectable foods and aromatic cuisines.”

Then he boasted that Eid-ul-Fitr now is a an official holiday in New York City public schools, and he praised Muslims for helping to raise money “for  the churches burned in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina” by a white racist.

The greeting to Muslims was absent of any reference to radical Muslim violence, peace in the Middle East, or the nuclear threat from Iran. It was a typical patronizing greeting made by every leader to partisan groups.

Now let’s go back to 2009 for President Obama’s first Rosh HaShanah greetings:

I want to extend my warmest wishes for this New Year. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – may you have a good year, and may you be inscribed for blessing in the Book of Life….

At the dawn of this New Year, let us rededicate ourselves to that work. Let us reject the impulse to harden ourselves to others’ suffering, and instead make a habit of empathy – of recognizing ourselves in each other and extending our compassion to those in need.

Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take — let us stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world….

And let us work to achieve lasting peace and security for the state of Israel, so that the Jewish state is fully accepted by its neighbors, and its children can live their dreams free from fear.

All of that was absent from this year’s greeting, which also did not mention anti-Semitism and certainly not anti-Zionism, lest he prompt reminders that Iran’s idea of peace is a world without Israel.

President Obama was elected on a motto of “change.”

He has fulfilled his promise.

He indeed has changed.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Black Monday: Iran and P5+1 to Sign Deal

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

It’s all over except for the shouting and the crying, according to an Associated Press report that a deal with Iran has been completed and will be signed on Monday.

However, a senior State Dept. official maintained that “major issues remain to be resolved in these talks.”

AP’s Matt Lee, a veteran and highly reliable journalist, reported Sunday:

Negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks are expected to reach a provisional agreement Sunday on a historic deal that would curb the country’s atomic program in return for sanctions relief, diplomats told The Associated Press.

The two diplomats cautioned that final details of the pact were still being worked out Sunday afternoon and a formal agreement still awaits a review from the capitals of the seven nations at the talks. They said plans now are for the deal to be announced on Monday.

The regime’s PRESS TV headlined, “Iranian MPs hail nuclear negotiators’ resistance against US’ excessive demands.”

The legislators issued a statement that included a rejection of “any inspection of the Iranian military sites, interviews with Iranian scientists and imposing restrictions on the country’s nuclear research and development.”

The key issue of inspections will be examined with a microscope, especially by Congress, which will have 60 days to review a final agreement.

A deal will be bitter if not deadly pill for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to swallow, and Israel can be expected to hound Congressmen to try to torpedo it, which will not be simple.

President Barack Obama undoubtedly will dismiss as rhetoric for local consumption the belligerent sneers from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the United States is “the absolute embodiment of arrogance” and an enemy of Iran.

Politico reported last week it is “very unlikely” that Congress can kill the deal unless there is a full-scale rebellion by Democrats. Americans, already gearing up for next year’s Congressional and presidential elections, view the ISIS , the economy and immigration policies as more serious issues than a nuclear-armed Iran, which President Obama will claim won’t happen under the agreement.

Congress would have to come up with a solid majority, perhaps even a veto-proof two-thirds majority, in order to nullify the agreement. Ironically, it is the Arab countries that might be able to twist Congressmen’s arms against the deal.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Politico:

If the Arabs come out and say this is a bad deal, if AIPAC says this is a bad deal, if public opinion says we don’t trust this deal, then our Democratic colleagues will hopefully come forward to say, ‘We can do better.’

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Peace Process? Obama Says US Gun Violence 33 Times Worse than in Israel

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

President Barack Obama told the American people that last week’s murder of nine blacks in a Charleston, S.C. church should wake up Americans “to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”

He tweeted:

Here are the stats: Per population, we kill each other with guns at a rate 297x more than Japan, 49x more than France, 33x more than Israel.

The comparisons are a bit ridiculous and miss the point completely.

In Japan, the law states, “No one shall possess a firearm or firearms or a sword or swords.” Exceptions are few and far between, and licenses for hunting and sports are allowed only after a lengthy procedure.

In Israel, tens of thousands of people walk around with guns, most of them soldiers, licensed guards or members of first response teams, with virtually no incidents except when shooting at terrorists.

Two notable exceptions, often used by anti-Semites to try to describe Israelis as violent, were the murders of Arabs by Baruch Goldstein and Eden Natan-Zada.

They were exceptions and not examples. Gun violence in Israel historically is related to defend the country against terrorists.

President Obama wants to solve the problem of gun violence in the United States, but he put the emphasis on the word “gun” and not “violence, which is deeply rooted in American society from the days of the Wild West.

Obama said after the murders in Charleston:

It is within our power to do something about it. I say this recognizing that the politics of this town foreclose a lot of those avenues. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it.

Gun control is the obvious first way to find and quick and easy fix to American gun violence. The gun lobby has successful limited gun control laws, but the Charleston massacre may break the lobby’s back.

The more that guns are easily available, it is a reasonable conclusion that more shootings are likely to result.

The issue of gun control is so highly charged in the United States, under the guide of “freedom,” that it will be difficult to legislate and enforce stricter controls.

If legislation is enacted, it remains to be seen if those who should have guns will be denied them while those who should not have them will get guns anyway.

It is easier to legislate gun control than it is to legislate violence.

It is even easier for President Obama to decide what is best for Israel.

Here is Obama’s tweet:
obamatweet

Below is Obama’s speech on Thursday after the murders in Charleston.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

A New Hitler: Dylann Roof’s Anti-Jewish-Spanish-East Asian Manifesto

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

A 2,500 manifesto that apparently was posted by Dylann Roof Storm reveals his obsession against Jews, Hispanics and East Asians, as well as the American flag.

Storm, why has pleaded guilty the murders of nine blacks in a Charleston, S.C. church last week, wrote his rant on the Last Rhodesian website, which originally was registered in his name, according to The New York Times.

The only thing differentiating Roof from Hitler seems to be a moustache.

Photos have appeared of Roof burning and stomping on an American flag.

His manifesto of hate includes referees to blacks, whom he calls “Negroes” and sometimes “niggers,” are stupid and violent. As for Jews, he wrote:

In my opinion the issues with Jews is not their blood, but their identity. I think that if we could somehow destroy the Jewish identity, then they wouldnt [sic] cause much of a problem.

The problem is that Jews look White, and in many cases are White, yet they see themselves as minorities.

Just like niggers, most Jews are always thinking about the fact that they are Jewish. The other issue is that they network. If we could somehow turn every Jew blue for 24 hours, I think there would be a mass awakening, because people would be able to see plainly what is going on.

Roof’s manifesto may be good evidence for his lawyers to prove to the court he is insane. There are several contradictions in his rant.

He wrote:

This White superiority complex that comes from learning of how we dominated other peoples is also part of the problem….. But of course I don’t[sic[ deny that we are in fact superior.

I wish with a passion that n****rs were treated terribly throughout history by Whites, that every White person had an ancestor who owned slaves, that segregation was an evil an [sic] oppressive institution, and so on.

…But it isnt [sic[ true. None of it is…..it is all based on historical lies, exaggerations and myths.

… Only a fourth to a third of people in the South owned even one slave. Yet every White person is treated as if they had a slave owning [sic] ancestor.

As for Hispanics, Roof declared:

Hispanics are obviously a huge problem for Americans. But there are good Hispanics and bad Hispanics…..They have respect for White beauty, and a good portion of Hispanics are White…..

There is good White blood worht [sic] saving in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and even Brasil [sic].

But they are still our enemies.

He also stated that East Asians are racists.

Roof wrote, “I hate the sight of the American flag,” and he said that “modern American patriotism is an absolute joke” but he “would have rather lived in 1940’s American than Nazi Germany.”

His Hitler-minded manifesto states that “drastic action” is needed to keep minorities from taking over the United States.

Roof maintains that black are inherently different from white, explaining that “anyone who thinks that White and black people look as different as we do on the outside, but are somehow magically the same on the inside, is delusional. How could our faces, skin, hair, and body structure all be different, but our brains be exactly the same? ”

One photo of Roof has a clear reference to Hitler. He is shown at a beach with the number “1488.” a code used by White supremacists. The number 14 refers to a 14-word slogan: We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children” and is apparently inspired by an 88-word passage in Mein Kampf.

The digits “88” have at least two meanings. The letter “H” is the eighth letter in the alphabet, and two of the letters together, which would be 88, are the initials for Heil Hitler.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

An Israeli Flag in South Carolina

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

At Alan Clemmons’s Myrtle Beach law firm in South Carolina, the Israeli flag proudly flies alongside the U.S. and state flag. While the South Carolina state representative put the flag up several months ago, it is not the only public show of support that Clemmons has shown towards Israel during the past 12 years as a member of the South Caroline House of Representatives.

In 2011, Clemmons sponsored the South Carolina Stands With Israel Resolution, which unanimously passed the South Carolina General Assembly. “It was something that both Democrats and Republicans in our state legislature could agree upon,” Clemmons told Tazpit News Agency in a recent interview, during a visit to Israel this week.

“I expected a fiery debate on this resolution, but every single one of the 124 members of the legislature voted for it,” added Clemmons, who is leading a delegation of 24 South Carolina state legislators, spouses and friends on a visit to Israel. The group is on a mission to learn more about the country’s technology, healthcare, security, and economy as well as to explore new areas of cooperation.

“I sponsored this resolution as a way of responding to President Obama’s declaration that Israel return to the 1948 ceasefire lines,” he explained. “I wanted to proclaim that Israel is not occupying any land and has Biblical and strategic rights to Judea and Samaria and a unified Jerusalem.”

At the time that he sponsored the resolution, Clemmons, a Mormon and father of two, had not yet visited Israel. “The resolution didn’t get a lot of press coverage in the U.S. but it certainly did in Israel. Suddenly, I saw that my name was popping up on the Google news feed in Israeli news reports,” he recalls.

A visit to Israel inevitably followed soon after, and Clemmons found that his first trip to the Holy Land only served to strengthen his resolve to support the Jewish state. Following the 2011 Israel Resolution, which had been replicated and passed in many other states since, Clemmons has sponsored the South Carolina – Iran Divestment Act and has worked against academic boycotts of Israel in colleges.

This year, the Myrtle Beach native also sponsored a unique South Carolina Stands With Israel Specialty Automobile License Tag Act. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles now offers a vanity plate option that reads, ‘South Carolina Stands With Israel’ with the southern state’s flag and Israeli flag intertwined.

“I’ll be the first to get that specialty plate as soon as it’s available to put on my car,” Clemmons told Tazpit.

Clemmons explains his support of Israel comes from both a strategic place where Israel is seen as a vital partner for the U.S. in a region “that doesn’t have a whole lot of love for America,” and a morally religious one as well.

“South Carolina is referred to as the buckle of the Bible Belt and is one of the southern states at the forefront of supporting Israel. We are taught our Bible stories here from a young age and we know who King David and Abraham are,” he said. “Judea and Samaria is rich with Jewish history.”

South Carolina, also known as the Palmetto State in reference to the official state tree, has a rich Jewish heritage, beginning in 1669 with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religious practice for all, expressly including those of Jewish faith. Much of Carolina’s first Jewish settlers traced their roots back to Spain or Portugal where they were expelled during the Spanish Inquisition. Today, the Jewish population numbers at 13,570 people.

During this past week, Clemmons has led a group of lawmakers from South Carolina, including both Democrats and Republicans on a 10-day trip to Israel. South Carolina Legislature Minority Leader, Todd Rutherford (D) told Tazpit that the visit was a significant one for him. “My support of Israel is not just talk,” Rutherford said. “I’m here to see how we can further ramp up our relationship with our closest ally,” said Rutherford, who first visited Israel in 2010 with AIPAC.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

The Greatest Gift I Ever Gave

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Ordinarily, Chanukah is a time to hug and kiss the kids as we sing in front of the menorah. This past Chanukah was an exception. Instead of putting my arms around my children, I watched them light the menorah on a streaming video from my iPad while I rested comfortably in my hospital bed.

It was a bittersweet moment, one I would not trade for anything in the world – because this year for Chanukah, I gave the gift of life.

Ronit, a mother of three children from Petach Tikva, had been on dialysis for years. Her body was slowly shutting down due to her genetic kidney disease and the doctors did not give her much longer to live. Over the past several years, Ronit literally traveled the world and explored every option to find an altruistic kidney donor willing to save her life. Yet as time continued to run out, she never gave up hope.

Meanwhile, halfway across the world, I had a sudden urge to launch an educational lecture series in my shul about Jewish medical ethics. I spent a great deal of time researching, studying and teaching about the medical and halachic perspectives of organ donation. The lectures were stimulating, interactive and well attended. My conclusion was always the same: “Not only is living kidney donation permitted by halacha, but if a person is in good health and is inclined to donate – saving a life is the among the greatest mitzvot we can ever do.”

After hearing myself repeat those words so often, it forced me to look in the mirror and ask: Would I ever consider doing something so crazy as to donate a kidney to a total stranger?

I continued researching the topic and quickly realized it actually is not so crazy. I learned the surgery itself is extremely safe and highly successful, and that a person can live a perfectly long and normal life after donation.

By contacting organizations like Matnat Chaim and Kidney Mitzvah, I was matched with Ronit. Unlike finding a bone marrow donor, which is tantamount to searching for a needle in a haystack, finding a kidney match is not all that difficult. The hardest part is finding someone who is actually willing to make the donation.

My wife, Chana, was incredibly supportive throughout the process. She wisely suggested I go through the testing and take it one step at a time. It turned out to be the best advice I received. Rather than getting overwhelmed, I carefully took my time testing, researching and talking to others who had previously donated. A year later I was approved as a perfect candidate for kidney donation.

At that point, I sat down with my two older sons (11 and 8) and explained to them that my kidney could save the life of a woman in Israel. I assured them I would not go ahead with the donation unless they were fully on board. As I explained the process to them, my eight-year-old son began crying and said, “Totty, please don’t do it. I am scared and I don’t want anything to happen to you.” I responded with a hug and assured him that if he didn’t want me to donate my kidney, I wouldn’t do it.

At that point, my older son asked if the recipient had any children. I explained that she had three children but was a single mother. Immediately my boys both responded that I should definitely give her my kidney.

I looked quizzically at them and inquired about their sudden change of heart. The response I received knocked the wind right out of me. They both said basically the same thing: “Totty, if you die, we will be very, very sad, but at least we will still have Mommy to take care of us. However, if this lady dies, her children will become orphans. That is why you must give her your kidney”.

Their words echoed with simplicity and resounding clarity. I could live a perfect life with one kidney. However, without a transplant, Ronit would surely die.

Thus, in late December I went to New York’s Montefiore Hospital to donate my kidney. When I met Ronit for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the tears flowing from her eyes and the look of pure joy and gratitude on her face.

The two-hour laparoscopic surgery was a huge success, and after two days in the hospital I was home recuperating. Just one month later I feel great, and am back to my usual routine – even running a few miles each day. Ronit has begun a new life – full of energy and free of the constant tethering to a dialysis machine.

I don’t view my “Chanukah present” as being heroic or righteous. In the prayer of Shema we constantly state our desire to serve Hashem “b’chol me’odecha” with all of our me’od – our excess. To me, my second kidney was my me’od and I was glad to share it.

Rabbi Ari Sytner

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-greatest-gift-i-ever-gave/2012/02/01/

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