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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘synagogue’

Two New Jersey Men Plead Not Guilty in Synagogue Bombings

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Two New Jersey men, indicted in March for arson and attempted murder and terrorism, pleaded not guilt in a New Jersey court this week.

Anthony Graziano of Lodi and Aakash Dalal of New Brunswick, both 21, were arrested after the northern New Jersey’s Bergen County bombings, one of which injured Beth El Congregation Rabbi Nosson Schuman.

The attackers hurled a firebomb at the family’s residential unit in the synagogue, setting fire to a bedroom.

Disco Opening at Former Jewish Learning Center Stirs Controversy

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

The opening of a music club and disco in a 19th century Jewish learning center in Krakow is sparking controversy.

The club, called Mezcal, which is also a Mexican alcoholic beverage, opened Saturday night in the former Chewra Thilim Beit Midrash in the heart of Krakow’s Jewish district, Kazimierz.

The rundown building, built in 1896, was restituted more than a decade ago to the local Jewish religious community, which has rented it out to the club’s proprietor. The building had been empty and unmaintained for years, although valuable wall paintings were discovered there in 2008.

Mezcal occupies two floors of the building, with a bar installed in the former sanctuary. Photos from the opening event showed milling party-goers and rows of bottles lined up in front of the frescoes.

An article last week in the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper drew attention to the transformation, saying Mezcal will feature hard rock music, all-night “cool dance parties with DJs and aggressive, even metal concerts.” The newspaper ran a series of pictures showing workers installing the bar and other fittings.

The news sparked outrage, with a Facebook page set up to protest the club and comments to Gazeta calling it a “scandal.”

On Friday, British Jewish scholar Jonathan Webber, who teaches at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University, wrote an open letter to the leadership of the Krakow Jewish religious community, Poland’s chief rabbi, the Jewish media and others expressing “horror” at the situation.

“I am shocked that such a decision could have been made by those responsible for the Krakow Jewish community and for its historical and cultural heritage,” he wrote. “This is a deeply disturbing abuse of our heritage.”

Webber added, “How can we ask the Polish government and the Polish people to respect our heritage if we do not do so ourselves?”

Mezcal’s owners and the Jewish community leadership rejected the criticism.

One of Mezcal’s owners told Gazeta Wyborcza that all of their activities had been “conducted under the strict control of the conservator” and that “no monuments have suffered and will not suffer.”

Taduesz Jakubowicz, the president of the Jewish religious community, justified renting the building to the club. He told Gazeta that the community could not afford to maintain the building and had had no luck in finding other tenants.

“The owners of Mezcal are serious people and we believe that they will take care of the place properly,” he said. “If some problems would arise, we will just end our cooperation.”

Canada Forces Chabad to Ban Radical-Islam Critic Pamela Geller

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Toronto area police figuratively twisted the arm of a Chabad synagogue rabbi to cancel a scheduled appearance of radical Islam whistleblower Pamela Geller, who last month also was yanked from a speaking appearance  at a New York synagogue.

The latest politically correct censorship keeps Geller out of  the Chabad Thornhill synagogue in suburban Toronto, where she was due to speak next Monday.

Geller has campaigned against the Islamization of America, and she has been behind the anti-jihad signs that were posted in the New York’s subway system.

The salt in the wound inflicted by the Toronto police ban is that it was instituted by none other than the hate crimes unit of the police. Preaching against hate is grounds for a hate crime in the New Age New Speak.

And it just so happens that the Chabad synagogue Rabbi Mendel Kaplan is the same rabbi who serves as police chaplain.

Therefore, according to the York Regional Police Department’s logic, Geller’s appearance at the synagogue where he is rabbi “would place him in conflict with the values of our organization, which support a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all.”

That is New Age talk for a “safe, welcoming and exclusive community for all” who are not included, such as Geller.

Police deny that they “threatened” to remove Rabbi Kaplan as police chaplain if he were to allow Geller to speak, but a York Regional Police spokesman told the Toronto Sun that if she spoke at the synagogue, “Then we’d have to reassess our relationship with [him].”

That is not a threat in New Speak. It is a “hint.”

The Jewish Defense League has rescheduled Geller to speak somewhere else in the city, but the police have not yet said she cannot appear.

The Canadians United against Terror group is launching an “anti-bullying” campaign and will picket York Regional Police headquarters Wednesday evening.

They have support from the capital’s newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen.

It wrote in an editorial last week, “The York Regional Police department should be ashamed. ….Insp. Ricky Veerappan, who heads up the force’s so-called Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau, … told a reporter, “Some of the stuff that Ms. Geller speaks about runs contrary to the values of York Regional Police and the work we do in engaging our communities…..

“Veerappan’s conduct is appalling. Canadians expect police to respect Charter provisions protecting freedom of speech. They are not supposed to act as censors at the behest of a particular community.”

By the way, Veerappan is a member of  York Region’s Muslim community, which wanted to bar Geller from the country altogether, according to the Citizen.

Geller is familiar with censorship by those who not politically correct.

The Great Neck Synagogue in suburban New York last month canceled her appearance because of “security concerns.”

The synagogue explained to members on its website, “As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and its member families.

“In an era of heightened security concerns, it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate.”

Is there a concern for security stemming from the spreads of radical Islam in America?

Geller said in response to the ban at the Great Neck synagogue, “It is a very sad day for freedom-loving peoples when fascist tactics trump free speech.”

New York Synagogue Bomber Accomplice Sentenced to Jail

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

An Moroccan immigrant to the United States who plotted to blow up synagogues in New York City was sentenced on Friday to five years in jail and faces deportation after his release.

Mohammed Mamdouh pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to commit terrorism and criminal weapon possession. He was an accomplice to Algerian immigrant Ahmed Ferhani, who last month was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Ferhani and Mamdouh were arrested after they bought three firearms and what they believed was a live grenade from an undercover police detective. They reportedly had planned to disguise themselves as Hassidic Jews in order to get into the synagogues.

They are the first people to be convicted under a state antiterrorism law passed following the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Their intent was to create chaos and to intimidate and coerce Jews living in New York City, and thereby send a message far beyond New York,” prosecutor Gary Galperin told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus in court.

A second case brought under the state anti-terrorism statute involves a Dominican-born American citizen who was arrested last year for allegedly recorded buying bomb-making materials and plotting to target police stations in the New York metropolitan area. He has pleaded not guilty, and his case is still pending.

Would-Be N.Y. Synagogue Bomber Sentenced to 10 Years

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

An Algerian immigrant who admitted to planning to blow up synagogues in New York City was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Ahmed Ferhani, 28, was the first person convicted under a state terror statute that went into effect following the 9/11 attacks. He was sentenced last Friday.

Ferhani could have been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, but entered a plea agreement in December. He also will serve five years of probation under the terms of the agreement.

“By targeting a synagogue, which I knew to be a Jewish house of worship, in this manner, I intended to create chaos and send a message of intimidation and coercion to the Jewish population of New York City, warning them to stop mistreating Muslims,” he said in December during his plea bargain hearing in state Supreme Court.

Ferhani and his alleged accomplice, Mohamed Mamdouh, whose case is still pending, were arrested after they bought three firearms and what they believed was a live grenade from an undercover police detective. They reportedly had planned to disguise themselves as Chassidic Jews in order to get into the synagogues

Five London Rabbis Dub Golders Green Rabbi Unfit to Serve for Inappropriate Behavior

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Five London rabbis have declared Rabbi Chaim Halpern from Golders Green “not fit” to act as rabbi because of accusations that he had behaved “inappropriately” with women.

The five rabbis demanded in a statement published on Thursday that Halpern cease to act as rabbi at his home synagogue in northwest London because of the accusations, which surfaced last month.

“We are confident of our conclusion that the Rav concerned is not fit and proper to act in any rabbinic capacity. This unequivocal decision was taken after painstaking and extensive investigations, including interviews with alleged victims,” the statement read.

The authors – Chanoch Ehtrentreu, Menachem Gelley, Yonason Abraham, Shimon Winegarten and Yissochor Knopfler – did not name Chaim Halpern in their letter.

On Dec. 6, the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations announced that it would convene a special rabbinic court to hear claims against Halpern, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

Rabbi Chaim Halpern resigned as a union rabbinic judge and from other communal roles two weeks ago, after complaints about his counseling sessions for women, but he continues to lead the synagogue he runs in his Golders Green home.

BJ Rabbis Halfheartedly Walk Back Pro-Palestine Email

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Do you still care about the three BJ rabbis who started WW3? Well, it turns out they did mean to write that email, but they didn’t mean to send that particular email out, it was only a draft, and they didn’t mean to co-sign the entire lineup of BJ leadership without their knowledge, that too was because of the draft.

Can somebody close the window over there?

The bottom line is: they’re not sorry they were happy about the PLO being recognized as a UN state – they’re still besides themselves with joy on that account…

“So the rabbis of B’nai Jeshurun are now expressing some ‘regret’ over their email endorsing the UN’s Palestine statehood vote, writes” JTA’s Daniel Treiman.

The straight forward JTA coverage lays out the facts:

Rabbis at B’nai Jeshurun are expressing “regret” over an email sent out by the prominent New York synagogue praising the United Nations vote to elevate Palestinians to non-member state status.

The rabbis of the Manhattan synagogue sent a note Thursday to congregants saying that their email last week endorsing the UN action had been sent prematurely and mistakenly listed several other synagogue officials as signatories.

“While we affirm the essence of our message, we feel that it is important to share with you that through a series of unfortunate internal errors, an incomplete and unedited draft of the letter was sent out which resulted in a tone which did not reflect the complexities and uncertainties of this moment,” the rabbis, Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol, wrote in their follow-up email.

The rabbis also wrote that they “regret the feelings of alienation that resulted from our letter.”

The latest email was first reported by The New York Jewish Week.

The original email, sent last Friday, drew both praise and outrage from members of the nondenominational Upper West Side synagogue, which is known for its liberal politics and lively services. The email and ensuing controversy drew significant media attention, including a front-page story in The New York Times on Wednesday.

“The vote at the UN yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world,” the original email stated. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition. Having gained independence ourselves in this way, we are especially conscious of this.”

In their follow-up, the three rabbis wrote that they are “passionate lovers of Israel” and are “unequivocally committed to Israel’s security, democracy and peace.”

They also wrote that the original email was a letter from them and that the synagogue’s cantor, board president, executive director and director of Israel engagement were listed mistakenly as signatories.

Treiman comments:

“The timing of the correction is curious. After all the original email was sent out six days ago, on Friday. (One might have thought that the shul would have moved more quickly to correct the inadvertent inclusion of four synagogue officials on an email about such a hot-button issue.)

“But the follow-up email only came after a backlash among some angry congregants (including sometime-attendee Alan Dershowitz, who challenged the shul’s rabbis to a debate) and a front-page(!) story in The New York Times (a paper that is often accused of giving short shrift to local news but apparently puts a premium on such news when it overlaps with Israel issues and Upper West Side Jewish liberalism).

“Incidentally, B’nai Jeshurun’s home page at one point on Thursday morning featured the following quote attributed to the three rabbis: “As rabbis, our job is… to court controversy and to raise disturbing questions many would be more content to leave in the background – and certainly outside the synagogue.”

I suppose to be “passionate lovers of Israel” means you never have to say you’re sorry…

 

Related: Cartoon

Last Orthodox Shul in Fall River, Massachusetts Becomes Church

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Congregation Adas Israel, the last of several orthodox synagogues that once served the Jews of Fall River, Massachusetts – will be handing the keys over to a new group of worshippers – congregants of The Word of Life Community Church.

For the first time since it opened its doors in 1959, Adas Israel did not hold Shabbat services at the house of prayer, having sold the building to evangelical Christians for $400,000 through a real estate agent who was also a congregant at the synagogue, according to a regional newspaper, the Herald News.

The pastor of the church, Donat Boucher, moved his followers to the new building after renting several locations since starting his own church out of his dining room in 2007.

Though the 248 seats used to be too few to hold the throngs attending Shabbat and holiday services, young Jews have moved away, until less than two dozen active members passed regularly through the mezuzah-studded doors.

Temple Beth-El, a conservative synagogue, will provide room for Adas Israel’s Orthodox congregants to perform their own prayer services, and will now be the only Jewish house of worship in Fall River.

According to the Herald News, most of the Jewish symbols and plaques have been removed from the chapel, except for some “distinctive Hebrew words affixed to a wall, near a large wooden cross recently installed behind the podium,” reading “Know before whom you stand.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/last-orthodox-shul-in-fall-river-massachusetts-becomes-church/2012/12/04/

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