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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Toulouse’

Bringing Home Baby

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Ahh, that wonderful time when you return home from the hospital with a brand new bundle of joy nestled in your arms. Without getting into the pros or cons of sending yourself or your other children away, or the benefits and possibilities of family or paid help, eventually everyone will go home and you’ll be all by your lonesome, raising the family. So how to make this momentous occasion truly memorable, instead of weeks of what could be construed by some as torture?

I work in a Williamsburg WIC office where large families with eight to ten children are the norm. While pregnant with my third child, I asked these wise women for some handy tips. Their advice was simple: prepare as much as possible before hand, and then gird yourself for the worst. As one forty-year old woman, who came in with her tenth child, put it succinctly: “I never thought I’d say this ten years ago, but cleanliness is history. Current forecast is hurricanes and volcanoes.” More likely than not, the house will be in an uproar, the laundry will pile up, the kids will eat cereal and milk three times a day, and you will live on less then four hours of sleep at night. But, it’s not all gloom and doom. You have a brand new baby! Mazel Tov!

Here are a few practical tips for a smooth transition with an additional baby:

Prep and freeze as many dinners as possible: soup, breaded cutlets, tuna patties, etc. If you you know the gender of the baby – depending on your family’s minhag – consider buying the paper goods and begin baking and preparing for the shalom zachor, vacht nacht (when kids come to say shema), bris or kiddish.

When the baby first comes home, have her or him “give” the older children presents. A gift from someone brings feelings of joy and gratitude – hopefully.

The first few weeks, keep the newborn in a separate room, away from the other kids. This way, the younger children don’t feel displaced by the newest member of the family, and you don’t have to spend half your day preventing the two year old from playing ball with the baby.

Keep the kids involved with the care of the baby, by either fetching diapers, rocking the baby gently in a bouncer or swing, holding the bottle, or my daughter’s favorite activity: reading the baby a book.

It takes approximately six months for the baby to be fully acclimated to the household. During that time limit any additional responsibilities i.e. hosting guests for Shabbos, volunteering for the PTA, or even hosting play dates. Focus on your family and don’t forget about yourself! Take the extra help you need. If money is tight, then figure out what help would be most appreciated and get that. I personally prefer to do my own cleaning and cooking while a babysitter holds the baby. Other women may opt to buy take-out, which cuts back on shopping, cooking and cleaning time. Remember, a Jewish mother is not a martyr. Hashem will provide the resources that are necessary for you to manage.

Savor the joy and mystery of this brand new human being! This time is so fleeting, and just as quickly forgotten. Capture the moment as much as possible, mentally and on camera. These days, with the cameras on your phones just as good as any digital camera, it’s easy to collect a treasure trove of memories of your precious little one just as he is starting his new life.

Personally, I prefer not to find out the gender of the baby, as it gives me something to focus on instead of the rapidly climbing number on the scale, but as we are already blessed with a daughter and son, I felt we were prepared for either one. I did, however, prepare presents for my children, and arranged meals for following my delivery. My son Noach was born after a particularly traumatic cesarean section, and frankly, I didn’t see how I would ever recover. But now two months later, I find that our household has settled into a comfortable transition from two to three children. To give myself a much needed break from the excitement of having two babies less then two years apart, I send my toddler to the babysitter three hours a day and if necessary, I give my children oatmeal and yogurt for dinner guilt-free.

Although this may be a tad controversial, one of the biggest factors that contributed to my rapid recovery after my delivery is that I have the baby sleeping down the hall from me, in a separate room from the other kids. Like many mothers, I found that I had trouble sleeping with the newborn in my room. His soft sighs and turns would wake me up and leave me staring at the bassinet, wondering if he was going to want to nurse or just go back to sleep. At the tender age of three weeks old, I sent him down the hallway, where he learned to have a night schedule and wakes up me only to eat. Afterwards, I quickly fall back asleep for a reasonable amount of time until the next feeding.

Jewish Man Attacked after Seder in Kiev

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

A Jewish man was attacked after he left a seder at a synagogue in Kiev.

The man, 25, was found on Sunday night, nearly a full day after the attack, with serious head injuries believed to have been inflicted by glass bottles. He is in critical condition in a Kiev hospital. He also had bruises on his upper body.

After a day of searching he was found in an area near the synagogue, where attacks by neo-Nazi groups have occurred in the past, Yaakov Zilberman, director of the Jewish community in Kiev, told Ynet. He was identified by a local doctor in an area hospital, Haaretz reported.

The Kiev Jewish community is working to have the injured man, who has undergone head surgery, flown to Israel for treatment.

Local police are reluctant to investigate the attack as an anti-Semitic hate crime. Police reportedly are looking into the possibility that the man tripped in the street, according to Haaretz.

Zilberman says he believes the man was targeted because he was wearing a yarmulke when he left the synagogue.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor in a statement called on Ukrainian officials to hunt down the attackers. He called them neo-Nazis.

“This attempted murder by neo-Nazis in Kiev, just weeks after the Islamist murders in Toulouse, by groups who have nothing in common except for a visceral hatred of Jews, is a phenomenon that European leaders have to stamp out now,” Kantor said. “We call on European leaders to act swiftly to strengthen legislation, bolster education and increase intelligence sharing to prevent what could become a tsunami of hate and violence against the Jews of Europe.”

Police Arrested 20 Islamists Following Toulouse Murders, Terrorist Network May Be Shut Down

Friday, March 30th, 2012

French elite police units, including the same RAID unit that took 32 hours to spray Toulouse gunman Merah with bullets, have now taken the initiative, and early Friday morning arrested some 20 Islamist militants, including a few in Toulouse.

RAID carried out the arrests in Toulouse in the southwest, Nantes and Le Mans in western France, as well as in the Paris region.

The obvious question is: seriously? A week later, and only twenty bad guys are under arrest?

Americans, Israelis, let’s face it, Mankind, are happy to make fun of the French when it comes to military and police capability. They make fantastic cheese and wine, goes the generally accepted notion, but when it comes to security we’d all prefer to be watched over by Navy Seals or Israeli Commandos.

That general notion is more than a bit unfair, but all of us are not eager to be confused with the facts when it comes to evaluating the French.

Our prejudices were only reinforced by the performance of the elite RAID unit in Toulouse. Last week, Christian Prouteau, founder of the GIGN, an elite French police unit that was not part of the Toulouse failure, questioned the way the operation had been carried out. He asked why RAID had not utilized tear gas and other measures to disable Merah, and said he was surprised that after so many hours of waiting, Police still failed to capture the gunman alive.

But bungling the job in Toulouse does not necessarily imply that Police have their numbers wrong.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant last week defended the security forces’ efforts to stomp out terrorism in that country, saying 700 people have been detained over the past 10 years, and about 60 “Islamists with terrorist tendencies” are currently in French prisons.

How many active Jihadists are operating in France? And how many are, in effect, engaged in plotting the next wild, murderous attack?

The French news channel France 24 says French authorities believe that only between 20 and 30 French nationals are tied to the radical Jihadist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

CNN, citing a 2010 French intelligence estimate, says the potential number is more like 200 or 250.

Mathieu Guidère, a professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University Toulouse II-Le Mirail, told France 24 that the number of French radical Islamists, both violent and non-violent, may be as high as one thousand, with a nucleus of a few—only 10 to 20—who are engaged in plotting.

How reliable are those figures? This depends on the reliability of the men and women in and out of uniform who gather the data. And in that area, the French have been gutsy leaders rather than cowardly followers.

Marc Perelman, writing for Front Page Magazine in 2006, described a 1988 appearance of Alain Marsaud, then France’s top antiterrorist magistrate, before FBI new recruits at the bureau’s academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Marsaud told the audience of would-be federal agents of the deadly threat posed to Western society by radical Islamist terrorist networks. His presentation was “an unmitigated flop.”

“They thought we were Martians,” said Marsaud, who at the time of the interview chaired the French Parliaments domestic security commission. “They were interested in neo-Nazis and green activists, and that was it.”

Excellent cheese and wine aside, it was France which uncovered and thwarted a plot to crash a jetliner into the Eiffel Tower, which was a chilling preview of the 9/11 attacks on the US. France was the first to deal with the unpleasant fact that its own citizens may become assets of Islamist terrorist groups—years before British Muslims bombed the London Underground.

France learned all about Arab terrorism from the Algerian war in the 1950′s, from Palestinian groups in the 1970s, and from Iranian- and Syrian-inspired terrorism in the 1980s. As a result France developed a system that connects seamlessly the judiciary and security forces.

The 1986 comprehensive antiterrorism law set up a centralized unit of investigating magistrates in Paris, headed initially by Marsaud, with jurisdiction over all terrorism cases. Unlike other French criminal proceedings, “terrorist trials in France are judged only by panels of professional magistrates, without the participation of juries.”

Perelman writes:

In the French system, an investigating judge is the equivalent of an empowered U.S. prosecutor. The judge is in charge of a secret probe, through which he or she can file charges, order wiretaps, and issue warrants and subpoenas. The conclusions of the judge are then transmitted to the prosecutors office, which decides whether to send the case to trial. The antiterrorist magistrates have even broader powers than their peers. For instance, they can request the assistance of the police and intelligence services, order the preventive detention of suspects for six days without charge, and justify keeping someone behind bars for several years pending an investigation. In addition, they have an international mandate when a French national is involved in a terrorist act, be it as a perpetrator or as a victim. As a result, France today has a pool of specialized judges and investigators adept at dismantling and prosecuting terrorist networks.

Olivier Guitta wrote in Front Page Magazine in 2005 that “the French understand how clerics and imams radicalize members of the Arab community and help to enlist them in terrorist causes.”

French Nuclear Physicist on Trial for Plotting Hits with Al Qaeda

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Fox News reports that Adlene Hicheur, a French nuclear physicist of Algerian descent who once worked at Switzerland’s renowned CERN laboratory, is being tried in Paris on charges of collaborating with Al Qaeda in North Africa. His attorneys claim he only sent angry emails. They are afraid their clients would be unfairly linked with the Toulouse murderer.

Hicheur spent two and a half years in prison, awaiting the trial which has begun Thursday. But now that the trial has started, the timing couldn’t be worse for the scientist:

“I think that there should be no confusion between Mohamed Merah and Adlene Hicheur,” said Hicheur’s attorney Patrick Baudouin. He argued that Adlene Hicheur “has a family, friends, working colleagues, a stable entourage. He has never been in Afghanistan nor in any other such country.”

Hicheur’s brother Halim also complained that after the killings in Toulouse, “Some people wanted to raise the specter of the terrorism threat by the Algerian, Muslim nuclear physicist, etc. All the key words you can name.”

The prosecutors base their case on a period back in 2009, when Hicheur sent out a string of angry e-mails calling for the punishment of the West for its anti-Muslim wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The defense argues that the scientist wasd laid up with a herniated disk at the time, and the emails were merely an expression of his pain and frustration.

Attorney Baudouin told Fox News that Hicheur was arrested in a pre-dawn raid on Oct. 8, 2009, at his parents’ home in southeastern France, hours before he was to take a flight to Algeria to work on a real estate purchase.

French investigators analyzed some 35 emails between Hicheur and a recipient they suggest was his Al-Qaida contact, an Algerian named Mustapha Debchi. Some emails mention possible targets, including a French army barracks in the Alps.

Sarkozy Grants Merah’s Victim a Posthumous Wedding

Monday, March 26th, 2012

It may seem a bit macabre, but the terrible tale of multiple killings of innocents in Toulouse continues to yield messages of hope, peeking through the scenes of blood and gore. It began with the heartfelt plea for increased light that was issued by widow and grieving mother Chava (Eva) Sandler. Now the pregnant girlfriend of one of the Toulouse gunman’s victims has said she will marry her murdered partner in a posthumous ceremony.

Paratrooper Abel Chennouf was among Islamic fanatic gunman Mohamed Merah’s first victims – he was shot dead a week and a half ago at an ATM in Toulouse.

Speaking through her attorney, Gilbert Collard, Chennouf’s pregnant girlfriend, Caroline Monet, 21, announced she was requesting presidential permission to get married to her late partner at an official ceremony.

According to Collard, posthumous marriages may be sanctioned in France under very special circumstances. The decision is in the hands of the President of the Republic.

Attorney Collard said that President Nicolas Sarkozy has given his approval for the ceremony.

The AFP described Caroline Monet as being so “heavily pregnant” when she was attending a military commemoration ceremony in her late partner’s memory on Thursday, that she was had to sit in a wheelchair.

In the past the girlfriends of two policeman killed while on duty in Marseille and Lyon received presidential authorization to marry their fallen mates.

Rubin Reports: France – Here Comes the Whitewash

Sunday, March 25th, 2012
http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/03/france-here-comes-whitewash.html
The murders in Toulouse should be a wake-up call for France and all of Europe. True, the assaults on Jews and French soldiers were three individual terror attacks perpetrated supposedly by a single individual. The more information that emerges, however, the clearer it becomes that this terrorist was well connected to a bigger al-Qaida network.

Even more important, these shootings are among dozens of antisemitic incidents that happen daily in France and throughout Europe. A big story like the Toulouse attack can draw attention to a broader, dangerous political and social trend.

Or it can be treated as an isolated incident. Nothing to see here; move along; go back to sleep. Al-Qaida terrorists don’t pull up in front of Jewish schools to murder teachers and students every day, right?
In the past, the mass media could be expected to present a debate on how to interpret this event but now all too often they give a monopoly to the whitewashers and the apologists.
Phase one is to present any terrorist as a right-wing, neo-Nazi, or opponent of left-wing policies. If the terrorist is a Muslim, however, his own explanations—citing dominant interpretations of Islam and the goal of furthering an Islamist revolution—are ignored. Instead, he or they are presented as confused, psychologically disturbed individuals; victims of discrimination; or, in short, anything other than ideologically motivated revolutionaries.
Perhaps the leading “professional” apologist for France in this context is Justin Vaisse.  In an article in Foreign Policy, The “New Normal” in France?, he claims that Mohamed Merah, the Toulouse terrorist, is sort of a sad sack character who is merely seeking to take his fate into his own hands and to emerge as the defender of oppressed Muslims in France. In other words, he’s sort of a combination of self-help fanatic and crime-fighting superhero.
As for France itself, antisemitism is supposedly declining. There’s no problem and few major attacks on Jews. Everything is just fine. No need to make changes; no need to demand that Muslims teach tolerance and fight against extremists in their own ranks; no need to provide more protection for Jewish institutions. And no need for a real soul-searching about the constant demonization of Israel in the French media and, at times, schools.
Is this disgusting? Yes and it’s also dangerous. The subhead on the article tells us the Toulouse attack is merely “a banal and fading version of extremism.” To a Jewish ear, the word “banal” recalls the famous Hannah Arendt line about the “banality of evil” in the Holocaust, while the word “fading” means the problem is going away.
It so happens that I have met Monsieur Vaisse and discussed these issues with him. At that time he was an advisor on Islam in the French government. Vaisse had just written a book saying that there was no real political problem regarding Muslims in France. The book was quickly translated into English and published by a prestigious Washington research center.
According to Vaisse, the entire difficulty lay with economic and social issues. The problem was that Muslims were poor and badly treated. If this were fixed then there would be no radicalism, Islamism, or terrorism.
I asked him: Accepting your premise for the moment, why should we possibly believe that France can solve the economic and social problems involved? There aren’t good jobs; there is no prospect of better housing and higher living standards. Government regulations discourage entrepreneurship. So in the context of your worldview, isn’t the prospect for more radicalization and violence?
He simply gave no serious answer. And this, I should add, was before the current international economic crash and the Paris riots.
But there’s more. A colleague asked Vaisse what sources he used in composing his study. Only French-language sources, he replied. My astonished colleague said that nothing could be understood without looking also at the Arabic material that French Muslims were writing and reading. In fact, this person added, there was an Arabic-language bookstore within five minutes’ walk of Vaisse’s office and we could go there right now and see the radical, antisemitic child-raising manuals being sold there. These books, my colleague added, weren’t just sitting on the shelves they were being bought and used.
Vaisse showed zero interest in this point.
For Vaisse, revolutionary Islamism is simply not a factor of any importance. While he correctly points out that many French Muslim activists aren’t personally pious in their behavior (drinking alcohol, for example), this is besides the point. Islamism becomes a form of ethnic nationalism for them, justifying anti-Jewish and general anti-French actions.
In addition, this is no transient “second-generation” phenomenon. For over time, the radicalism is passed on to the third generation through Islamic schools, mosques, and indoctrination at home. In effect, France and other countries are turning themselves into permanently unstable bi-national states.
Incidentally, in the Netherlands—in contrast to France—Jewish groups successfully protested the sale of these child-raising manuals telling parents to teach their kids that Jews were evil and should be extirpated. The Dutch government responded by ordering little strips of white paper be glued over the offending passages. My host then showed me, with a flick of his finger, how easily these paste-overs could be removed and the sections calling for the killing of Jews be read.
Now consider this point. I am unaware of a single incident in Europe or North America when a non-Muslim attacked Muslims with guns or bombs in an attempt to kill the maximum number possible. Probably, you could find a couple of such cases but it won’t be easy and they won’t be many. It is the Jews who are being targeted as a group by many levels of violence and intimidation. This is a secret to nobody except Western governments, “experts,” and much of the mass media.
I have listened in France to discussions among Jews over what parts of their cities were still safe to live in and which were too dangerous. The key factor is whether you are wealthy enough to move away from the threats. I’ve heard Jewish parents discussing their kids’ traumatic experiences in the public schools.
French Jews are either leaving France or at least buying homes in Israel. Aside from reports in mostly Jewish media, I know about this because I hear more French being spoken in Tel Aviv streets. My real estate agent friend has a growing number of French clients, some of whom leave their families in Israel and commute to work in France. These people know what’s actually going on in France and other countries.
Der Speigel interviewed Daniel Ben-Simon, an expert who explains that there are, “hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents” a year, committed mainly by Arab immigrants. Indeed, the teacher and his two children murdered in Toulouse were French Jews who had emigrated to Israel until he had been persuaded to return to France to work in the school.
So while we will be told to listen to Vaisse and such people, these reassuring lies have nothing to do with reality.
This is not just a matter of misinformation. Such falsehoods encourage governments and institutions not to prepare, not to change their ways, not to learn from bloody experience, to continue denying the very existence of an antisemitic problem. And that means there will occasionally be more such tragedies but also hundreds of incitements to antisemitism, blood libels against Israel, assaults, threats, and other acts of anti-Jewish hatred that you will never hear about.
Hiding the truth only ensures that the problem grows and the tragedies are repeated. And unfortunately that is precisely what’s happening.

Toulouse Widow and Bereaved Mother Issues Plea to Jewish People

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Eva Sandler, wife of Rabbi Jonathan and mother of young boys Aryeh (5) and Gavriel (3) – 3 of the 4 Jews murdered in a shooting attack by Mohammed Merah in Toulouse on March 19 – has issued a public letter responding to the thousands of people seeking ways to support her in her time of suffering.

Following the burial of her husband and her two sons in Har Menuchot cemetery in Jerusalem, Eva penned a letter to the Jewish people, telling them how to help her and her daughter Leora.  The letter was distributed virally through e-mail and also published on the Chabad.org website:

My heart is broken. I am unable to speak. There are no ways for me to be able to express the great and all-consuming pain resulting from the murder of my dear husband Rabbi Jonathan and our sons, Aryeh and Gavriel, and of Miriam Monsonego, daughter of the dedicated principal of Ozar Hatorah and his wife, Rabbi Yaakov and Mrs. Monsonego.

May no one ever have to endure such pain and suffering.

Because so many of you, my cherished brothers and sisters in France and around the world, are asking what you can do on my behalf, on behalf of my daughter Liora and on behalf of the souls of my dear husband and children, I feel that, difficult though it may be, it is incumbent upon me to answer your entreaties.

 My husband’s life was dedicated to teaching Torah. We moved back to the country of his birth to help young people learn about the beauty of Torah. He was truly a good man, loving, giving, and selfless. He was sensitive to all of G-d’s creatures, always searching for ways to reveal the goodness in others.

He and I raised Aryeh and Gavriel to live the ways of Torah. Who would have known how short would be their time on this Earth, how short would be the time I would be with them as their mother?

I don’t know how I and my husband’s parents and sister will find the consolation and strength to carry on, but I know that the ways of G-d are good, and He will reveal the path and give us the strength to continue. I know that their holy souls will remain with us forever, and I know that very soon the time will come when we will be together again with the coming of Moshiach.

I wholeheartedly believe in the words of the verse: “The L-ord has given, and the L-ord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the L-ord.” I thank the Almighty for the privilege, short though it was, of raising my children together with my husband. Now the Almighty wants them back with Him.

To all those who wish to bring consolation to our family and contentment to the souls of the departed: Let’s continue their lives on this Earth.

Parents, please kiss your children. Tell them how much you love them, and how dear it is to your heart that they be living examples of our Torah, imbued with the fear of Heaven and with love of their fellow man.

Please increase your study of Torah, whether on your own or with your family and friends. Help others who may find study difficult to achieve alone.

Please bring more light into the world by kindling the Sabbath candles this and every Friday night. (Please do so a bit earlier than the published times as a way to add holiness to our world.)

The holiday of Passover is approaching. Please invite another person into your homes so that all have a place at a Seder to celebrate the holiday of our freedom.

Along with our tearful remembrance of our trials in Egypt so many years ago, we still tell over how “in each and every generation, they have stood against us to destroy us.” We all will announce in a loud and clear voice: “G-d saves us from their hands.”

The spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished; its connection with Torah and its commandments can never be destroyed.

May it be G-d’s will that from this moment on, we will all only know happiness.

I send my heartfelt condolences to the Monsonego family for the loss of their daughter Miriam, and I pray for the speedy recovery of Aharon ben Leah, who was injured in the attack.

Thank you for your support and love.

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/toulouse-widow-and-bereaved-mother-issues-plea-to-jewish-people/2012/03/25/

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