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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘stay’

Trump to Israel: Stay Strong!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

On Wednesday morning, NY Time, President-Elect Donald Trump decided to weigh in on the struggle between the outgoing Administration and the Jewish State.

He did it the best way he knows how – via the good service of Twitter.

The two consecutive twits read:

We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but…….


…not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!


It’s cloudy with the occasional drizzle over in Israel, and the gloomy weather is serving as a background for the political struggle Israel has been confronting on the final days of the Obama White House. It’s actually nice to receive an encouraging message from Trump Tower. Nothing like it has ever been done before, even during the two Clinton Administrations.

David Israel

Will Detroit’s Historic Holocaust Museum Stay True To Its Mission?

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

Of the many local and regional Holocaust memorials and museums scattered across America, one stands out among the best: The Holocaust Memorial Center in suburban Detroit.

For me, the legacy and future of the institution is personal.

Correctly billed as America’s “first Holocaust museum,” the Detroit enterprise was conceived fourteen years before the dominant United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. was even commissioned by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. The Detroit museum opened its original doors at its first location in suburban West Bloomfield, Michigan in 1984. The Washington museum opened its doors in 1993.

Although there are currently scores of Holocaust museums and memorials throughout America, the museum in suburban Detroit, when it debuted, was nothing short of historic. It stood as the first freestanding museum in the country devoted to the subject.

This extraordinary project was the dream of Rabbi Charles H. Rosenzveig, a Polish Holocaust survivor, in tandem with a local congregation of fellow survivors possessing visionary and fiery determination to not only document the heartless brutality of the twelve-year Reich war against the Jews but to understand the underlying socio-economic and political causes powering the Nazi genocides.

Hence, Rabbi Rosenzveig and I always enjoyed a special rapport. We shared the same fire and felt the same burn. In my case, it propelled me to write books on these topics, documenting corporate collusion and ethnic collaboration that made a life-and-death difference to so many.

Rabbi Rosenzveig invited me several times to lecture at the museum on American corporate involvement with the Third Reich and the ethnic factors that facilitated the destruction of six million Jews. This included documenting how IBM co-planned and co-organized the Holocaust with its punch card processes, as well as the involvement of General Motors and Henry Ford.

That the museum allowed me to speak freely on the latter was a courageous act in a city where those two automobile companies were headquartered and maintained powerful influences in the community.

The museum became known for more than just lectures; its extraordinary exhibits delved into the heartless economics that fueled Hitler’s Germany. Rabbi Rosenzveig and I shared an uncanny realization of what was at stake. More than just stimulating memory and sorrow, the challenge was to prod deeper thought about the consequences of corporate connectivity with death machines.

We also shared a common heritage. Rabbi Rosenzveig was from Poland, lost nearly all his family, and told me he was not even sure how old he was. My parents were from Poland. We lost nearly all our relatives, and my parents were likewise unsure of how old they were.

When Rabbi Rosenzveig and I sat together in the museum, the conversation was often just silence and the unspoken certitude that passes noiselessly between two people who understand the agony of a common mission. No need for convincing, but plenty of commiserating. Our job was to inform about the worst and inspire the best for those confronting the Holocaust – the rabbi devoted to his work in Detroit and me speaking around the world on my works and my research.

When the new, larger, dramatically more architectonic museum opened in nearby Farmington Hills, it set the standard for such edifices. Many said the structure resembled a death camp, and drivers passing by complained that its very appearance made them uncomfortable. In 2003 the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Should a Museum Look as Disturbing as What It Portrays?” The article asserted that the center “may be the most provocative Holocaust memorial of them all,” with its stark exterior suggesting electrified wire and the bleak walls at Auschwitz.

Rabbi Rosenzveig was actually fond of the impact his structure made. He did not believe in making an uncomfortable topic more palatable.

We both shared a fear that the Holocaust could happen again. In 2006, years before the Iran nuclear threat leapt onto front pages everywhere, Rabbi Rosenzveig invited me to speak at the museum’s annual gala. That night, I used the term “Second Holocaust” and warned it could be enabled by petrodollars fueling the Iranian nuclear program.

The idea was to enunciate this warning in Detroit, where gas-guzzling vehicles were still being manufactured. I felt it was ever more appropriate given Detroit’s unique status as the one U.S. city most pivotal to buttressing Nazism – thanks to Henry Ford’s gift to Hitler of an “international Jewish conspiracy” that rationalized his quest to expunge Jewish existence across Europe, and GM leaping to its role as “the arsenal of Nazism” with its manufacture of Blitz trucks, JU-88 airplane engines, Panzer tank motor parts, torpedo heads, and land mine components.

The 2006 gala evening competed with a major sporting event, and my comments were cut short due to the abundance of speakers and the truncated schedule. But the rabbi whispered in my ear that the museum wished to have me back to deliver the fuller message about Iran and a potential Second Holocaust.

Two years later, in July 2008, presidential candidate John McCain echoed the same fear I expressed that night. Referring to Iran’s nuclear program, McCain declared, “The United States of America can never allow a second Holocaust.”

Rabbi Rosenzveig died later that year. A Congressional resolution lauded him as one who “endured and bore witness to the horrific atrocities of the Holocaust.”

During his tenure he elevated the Detroit museum to one of international stature and helped many scholars. For example, he worked with renowned Paper Walls author David Wyman on a special volume, The World Reacts to the Holocaust, a massive tome published in 1996 by Johns Hopkins Press. Rabbi Rosenzveig was listed as co-author, and Wyman paid tribute to him in the foreword as the man who “originated the concept of the book.” Wyman also saluted the Detroit center for being the first freestanding Holocaust museum in America.

After Rabbi Rosenzveig departed, he was succeeded by the Holocaust scholar Guy Stern, who had also worked on the Wyman book. He is still with the museum and now heads up its Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous.

Stern is hardly the only longtime devoted staffer at the museum. The center maintains a valuable library archive under the baton of Feiga Weiss.

In 2012 I returned to Detroit for a museum co-sponsored two-event visit. I updated my 2006 warning about the Iranian nuclear program in a presentation at a nearby synagogue. In the museum auditorium we helped set the stage for a global recognition of the Farhud, the 1941 Arab-Nazi pogrom in Baghdad. This was referred to by some as the long-overlooked Sephardic Kristallnacht.

While the idea was bold and new when explored within the walls of the museum in 2012, it eventually caught traction worldwide. Last year, together with Jewish leaders in a live-streamed global event at the United Nations, we proclaimed International Farhud Day. This year, on the 75th anniversary of the pogrom, special commemorations were held in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.; in New York in a Manhattan synagogue; in a London synagogue attended by diplomats and dignitaries; and in the Knesset in Jerusalem.

With its special place in American Holocaust commemoration and documentation, the Detroit center must be preserved as it was intended to be and as it has been from its first day – a torch of Holocaust enlightenment that flickers the reminder “Never Again.”

Too many Holocaust memorials have lost their original identity and now are devoted to both the Holocaust and genocide in general, or simply to global genocide.

Don’t get me wrong; as one who plumbs the dark recesses of the genocide of many groups throughout history, I know that all those shameful chapters must be thoroughly illuminated to reduce the chance of their repetition. Holocaust research and memorial centers need to bring those chapters within their walls; otherwise, “Never Again” is just a slogan rather than a fateful warning to the world.

But we in the Holocaust community do this best when we conserve Holocaust remembrance and the uniqueness of the Holocaust as an unparalleled and unique twelve-year onslaught perpetrated worldwide in broad daylight with headlines blaring.

Recently it emerged that Detroit’s Holocaust Memorial Center is contemplating changes. The institution is now being directed by Cheryl Guyer, who holds the unusual title of both “interim director” and “director of development.” This means her two hats cover both the soul of the museum and fund-raising – two spheres that aren’t always in sync. (Rabbi Rosenzveig went against conventional economic wisdom when he created the museum.)

Guyer confirmed to me that the museum and its board are undergoing a period of what she called “new strategic thinking and transition.” She refused to elaborate. Asked again, she steadfastly refused to comment, saying, “We are not ready to talk about it.” In the ensuing days, Guyer declined to respond to several e-mail and voice requests for further information.

The museum’s official media spokesman, Glenn Oswald, one of the most affable and responsive publicists in the field, who promoted my earlier events at the museum, was contacted. He too declined all comment and failed to respond to several voice mails and e-mails attempting to gather ordinary background information about the museum. So no one knows just what changes or transitions are in store.

Despite the wall of silence, it has been learned that a new director is being considered to assume the museum’s top leadership slot next year as part of the transition. According to museum sources, a local rabbi with a distinguished record is under consideration. That process is now in full swing. Until a decision is made, the museum continues to remain mum about its plans.

Holocaust remembrance and Holocaust museums, built with community money, belong to the survivors and their succeeding generations. The boards of directors of such museums are mere trustees of the legacy. They don’t own it. They don’t even rent it. They are custodians.

Guyer should therefore check with the community before any “strategic thinking and transition” is announced or implemented, and shine the light of openness upon what is in store. Survivors and their descendants hold the trademark on Holocaust memory. For many, the mark is tattooed on their forearms; for many others, it is permanently written in their hearts.

Edwin Black

Survey: Vast Majority of Israeli Businesses Prefer to Stay Shut on Shabbat

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

As many as 92% of business owners in Israel are not interested in keeping their shops open on Shabbat, and 98% stated that they are not asked by their customers to stay open on the Jewish day of rest, according to a new survey released by Israeli business information group CofaceBdi.

The survey covered 135 Israeli businesses spread countrywide, and clearly showed a reluctance on the part of business owners to work on Shabbat, despite calls from secular Israelis to designate Shabbat as a vibrant shopping day.

While only 8% of business owners said they would like to stay open on Shabbat, almost all the respondents, 98%, said they are not receiving requests from their customers to make their shops available on Shabbat. A mere 2%, about 3 shops, reported hearing from customers that they’d like to shop there on Shabbat.

Interestingly, only 21% of respondents said they would see a rise in their daily income should they stay open on Shabbat. 32% expected their Shabbat income to match their regular days’ yield, and 47% expected to take in less on Shabbat.

The vast majority of respondents said staying closed or open on Shabbat should be left to them to decide, while 19% preferred that the decision be enforced by the authorities.

All of that having been established, 51% of business owners, who mostly don’t want to work on Shabbat, said there should be countrywide public transportation on Shabbat — 49% said there shouldn’t be.

CofaceBdi Co-CEO Tehila Yanai told Ynet that the majority of business owners said they just needed a day off. Others said the kind of traffic that they’d get isn’t worth staying open. A few said they were religious.

JNi.Media

FATCA is Here to Stay Regardless of Israel’s Supreme Court’s Temporary

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

{Special to The Jewish Press Online}

If you think that the order by Israel’s Supreme Court to delay the release of personal financial information to the Americans will last, ask yourself:

Do you really think Israel will jeopardize its relationship with the United States to protect information about Americans’ accounts here that those Americans are supposed to be reporting to the IRS anyway?

While the case is waiting to be heard, it is possible to project two possible outcomes:

1. The Court won’t let its citizens’ financial privacy jeopardize its overall relationship with America and will in good faith transfer information that law-abiding dual citizens should have been reporting anyway.

2. The Court will prioritize the personal privacy of Israel’s citizens and block the transfer of information, which will potentially create a 30% withholding penalty of U.S. transactions by Israeli financial firms.

Israel’s Supreme Court Trying to Stop Privacy Violations

“Israel’s highest court has temporarily blocked the government from transferring the financial information of every American citizen to the U.S. Treasury in accordance with FATCA regulations, pending a September 12 hearing contending the regulation is unfair,” reports The Jewish Press.

“Unfair regulation?” Probably. But ultimately, the transfer of financial information is a major policy goal of the Obama administration. They’ve been successful at getting bastions of confidentiality, including Switzerland, perhaps the most secret banking jurisdiction of all, to hand over details of its American clients to the U.S. government, so why should Israel be any different?

Countries not cooperating with America’s imperial FATCA decree (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) include real winners like Afghanistan, Botswana, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Does Israel belong on this list?

What Americans in Israel Need to Do

American tax-payers have been required for years to submit an FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) to the United States, informing the government of accounts held outside the U.S. Those who don’t file are subject to harsh penalties.

Many have decided that the risk of non-compliance and the hassle of being kicked out of their banks has made investing in Israel – or anywhere in the world

other than the United States – too much trouble. On the other hand, they’ve also discovered that brokerage firms and banks in America don’t want to open accounts for them either. As a result of an October 1, 2016 deadline implemented by some big U.S. brokerage firms, many clients have had to move their investment relationships somewhere else. They’ve been left in a lurch, since they can’t invest normally in Israel, and their American firm has locked them out.

How to Open a U.S. Account from Israel

In my office in Jerusalem where we help people in Israel with their U.S. investment, IRA (Individual Retirement Accounts), and brokerage accounts, we’ve seen a great demand for guidance about how to open a U.S. brokerage account when you don’t live in the United States. We even produced an online toolkit to give people the resources they need to solve the problem. Anyone can download the toolkit for free by clicking here.

Since I deal with investments, I’m not a constitutional law expert, so I can’t predict the outcome of the current Supreme Court case in Israel. However, given the fact that Israel signed a deal with the United States in 2014 to engage in information sharing, and since banking centers around the world, from Australia and Brazil to the United Kingdom and the Vatican have made FATCA a norm in the banking world, I don’t think that this court case will do anything more than delay implementation for a short time.

What should you do now?

Americans overseas need to get their financial affairs set up properly and transparently (learn how to do this here) and they need to speak with their accountants to make sure that they are in compliance with all tax reporting obligations.

Some people describe the FATCA information sharing agreement as “Google for the tax authorities.” They will simply type your name into a search engine and find out everything about you. Though we may have philosophical disagreements about the sanctity of privacy, the reality is that there is none.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Fateful Court Decision: Will a Child Stay in Israel or Return to her Father Abroad?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Many Israelis living abroad keep the flame of yearning to return burning, while others are perfectly happy with their lives abroad. Visiting the old country can stir up those yearnings for some, and leave others as cool and detached as before. When two such persons are married to one another, a home visit can end up in tragedy.

An Israeli couple got married in 2009 and a year later moved abroad, where the husband works in teaching and the wife is a military attaché. In 2012 they had a baby girl, and at the end of last year the happy family came on a two-week vacation to Israel. On their last day in the home country, at Ben-Gurion airport, the wife informed her husband that she decided to stay, with their 3-year-old child. They had one of those horrible airport fights, at the end of which the husband boarded the plane and the mother and child stayed back, Psak Din reported this week.

The mother then turned to family court in Tel-Aviv requesting full custody, and the court granted her temporary custody. Later on she filed suit against her husband for dissolution of marriage and alimony. At the same time, the father submitted to family court in Hadera a claim for the return of his daughter to the place of her permanent residence, based on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the return of abducted children.

After several court hearings and attempts to find a common ground between the two feuding parents, Hadera Family Court Judge Tal Peperani rejected the father’s claim in a cumbersome manner: he agreed that an abduction had taken place, but cited Article 13 of the Convention, according to which if the parent was not actually exercising the custody rights at the time of removal or retention, or had consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention, then the court is not bound to order the return of the child.

Judge Peperani decided that the father had acquiesced to his daughter’s kidnapping based on emails and SMSs the parents exchanged during their compromise negotiations. In one such SMS, the father wrote: “I’m also learning to let go. I also want to sleep quietly knowing she is in good hands with you.”

Needless to say, the father was irate at the ruling and appealed to District Court in Haifa, arguing that he had not acquiesced to the kidnapping, but rather continued to act immediately and consistently to change the situation. He argued, among other things, that his communication with his wife was part of the negotiations process and should not have been made available to the court. He also claimed that the family court judge did not permit him to question his wife regarding the context of those SMS messages, or to present other, conflicting SMSs.

Presiding Judge Sari Jayyoussi rejected the father’s claim against the family court’s gaining access to his SMS messages, but agreed that in order to decide that father had, essentially, accepted the kidnapping of his daughter, the judge should have afforded the father the opportunity to be heard. Judge Jayyoussi then returned the case to family court, to give the father ample opportunity to reject the claim that he had acquiesced to losing custody of his daughter. He also instructed the family court judge to review the full body of interchanged messages between the parents before making his ruling.

JNi.Media

Humor: A Way To Stay Sane In An Insane World

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Whenever I think of these words spoken by the prophet Isaiah, I realize they are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. Apparently, human nature has not changed much over the millennia. In fact, it seems the current purveyors of evil have become even more sophisticated in perverting obvious truths.

Surely I am not the only person who gets angry, upset, and even physically distressed every time I read the latest lies spewed by the leaders of our “enlightened” world. Although I want to howl out profanities, I realize that would accomplish nothing but frighten my family and my neighbors, who might then call the police.

As a psychologist, I know that unrelenting stress and a sense of powerlessness are unhealthy. Consequently, I have often wondered about what one can do to try to find relief, besides just telling oneself not to think about it.

I have come to realize that a possible solution is to use laughter as a weapon to defuse our frustration and anger with the anti-Semitic lies so prevalent today.

Freud described humor as one of our healthiest defense mechanisms, and a beneficial way to deal with stress. He suggested we can transcend difficult situations by trying to make light of them .

Freud put that principle into practice. For example, when the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, they proceeded to burn thousands of books they deemed “un-German” – Freud’s writings among them. Freud reportedly quipped that the destruction of his scholarly works demonstrated how far civilization had progressed. “In the Middle Ages they would have burned me,” he said. “Now they are merely burning my books.”

Certainly humor can be applied to our current political situation, in which hypocrisy and lying abound. One of the main weapons employed by Islamic jihadists is fear, and nothing deflates fear as well as humor. This could be why jihadists in France attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a humor magazine that poked fun at Muslim extremism. Evidently the terrorists were terrified of the humor and satire directed at them.

I recently read a story about a website that superimposed smiling rubber-ducky heads on pictures of ISIS fighters. Try a little experiment. Think about those ISIS propaganda photos of groups of tough-looking men carrying assorted weapons. They seem quite impressive and dangerous. Now visualize these ISIS fighters marching, but replace their faces with smiling rubber-ducky heads wearing children’s pointy party hats. They no longer seem so imposing. As a matter of fact, in our mind’s eye they look ridiculous.

Go one step further and replace their rifles and bazookas with balloons on a stick. Rather than instill fear, these pictures now evoke ridicule and laughter.

Recently, an Israeli news site reported that a satirical comedy skit on a Saudi-owned TV station led to riots around Beirut. What could have produced such an angry reaction? The skit was directed at Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah and made light of his lisp. I am an avid reader of news stories but did not know the tough-talking Nasrallah has a lisp. Why is important information like this never mentioned in the “even-handed” articles about Hizbullah in The New York Times?

Furthermore, it is clear that God has a sense of humor. Think about it: this terrorist has a lisp and both of his names have the letter “s” in them. I imagine he was mercilessly teased by his childhood friends. Moreover, I ask myself why it is that when Nasrallah speaks to English-speaking audiences in Arabic, the interpreter always seems to have a deep, sonorous voice with a hint of an English accent? I believe it is only fair in the name of accuracy that the interpreter speak with a guttural accent and a lisp. As a matter of fact, I would find it gratifying to hear Nasrallah say his own full name.

Jihadists speak at length of the glory Islamic terrorists earn by becoming martyrs. That being so, I have often wondered why Hamas and Hizbullah leaders get so angry when one of their terrorists are eliminated by Israeli commandos. Should they not be grateful that Israel helped a faithful jihadist become a martyr? I would like to hear a simple “thank you” rather than yet another tirade about how Israel has opened the gates of hell.

I also find myself asking what should be an obvious question: If Nasrallah and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, are so brave, why are they always in hiding? As good terrorists, do they not wish to risk death for their cause? I can imagine a reporter asking them why they display such cowardice by hiding, and even worse, sending woman and children to do their dirty work. As a good spinner of truth, I assume their response would be, “Me a coward? How dare you insult me! It is my greatest aspiration to be a martyr. I assure you I am not a coward. I am a gentleman. But where I come from we are taught, ‘Women and children first.’ ”

Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the UN, frequently accuses Israel of using “overwhelming force” when it defends itself. Interestingly, he travels with an armed security detail. Can we therefore assume that if a group of men were to attack Ban Ki-moon with baseball bats, he would forbid his bodyguards to use their guns? After all, would that not constitute overwhelming force? As the attackers approached, would he instruct his bodyguards to rush back to their car, get rid of their guns, and take out baseball bats so they could defend themselves fairly?

Speaking of the United Nations, the UN Commission on the Status of Women recently condemned just one country for violating the rights of women: Israel. I am sure the members of this commission checked and re-checked their facts, but just to be sure their findings are accurate, I would suggest they hold their next meeting in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, or any other Muslim country where apparently women are treated better than in Israel. Travel around the country with the female members of the commission wearing the style of clothing they wear in the U.S. or Europe and then write your next report – if you aren’t thrown into prison, flogged, or stoned to death first.

This Passover, when we recite “Shefoche Chamatecha” during the Seder, let us take an extra moment and think about the hypocritical lying Jew haters of the world who, as Isaiah wrote, “call evil good and good evil.”

May our Geulah come speedily.

Dr. Joel Verstaendig

Rabbi Sacks Attacking PM, Multiculturalism

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, is blaming British Prime Minister David Cameron for failing to do enough to boost marriages in the UK, and saying multiculturalism in Britain has “had its day,” The Times reported.

Rabbi Sacks said Cameron should recognize marriage in the tax system and do more to support stay at home mothers.

“I think the government has not done enough,” he said. “Although I don’t take a political stance … I don’t think the government has done enough at all.”

Rabbi Sacks, who retires next month after 22 years, said the estimated £9 billion-a-year cost of family breakdown and “non-marriage” meant the state has a direct interest in promoting marriage.

Rabbi Sacks also said multiculturalism in Britain had led to “segregation and inward-looking communities.”

Comparing it to a hotel where “nobody is at home,” he said: “It doesn’t belong to anyone, we’ve each got our own room and so long as we don’t disturb the neighbors we can do whatever we like.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbi-sacks-attacking-pm-multiculturalism/2013/08/19/

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