Archive for the ‘Ashkenazi’ Category

Mapping the DNA sequence of Ashkenazi Jews – Jpost.com

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are taught in school.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Genomic research of Ashkenazi Jews will soon become more effective and personalized, thanks to the creation of a data resource at Columbia University in Manhattan. The team, which includes experts from 11 labs in Israel and New York City, focused on Ashkenazim because of their demographic history of genetic isolation and the resulting abundance of population-specific mutations and high prevalence of rare genetic disorders.

The study, headed by Columbia computer science professor Itsik Peer, was published recently in the journal Nature Communications.

Ashkenazi Jews have played an important role in the study of human genetics, with notable successes in gene mapping as well as prenatal and cancer screening.

Our study is the first full DNA sequence dataset available for Ashkenazi genomes, said Peer. With this comprehensive catalog of mutations present in the Ashkenazi population, we will be able to more effectively map disease genes onto the genome and thus gain a better understanding of common disorders. We see this study serving as a vehicle for personalized medicine and a model for researchers working with other populations.

To help in his hunt for disease genes, Peer founded the Ashkenazi Genome Consortium (TAGC) three years ago.

One of the board members is Prof. Ariel Darvasi, vice-dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who has spent many years studying Jewish genes for chronic diseases. The TAGC researchers performed highdepth sequencing of 128 complete genomes of healthy Jews of Ashkenazi origin. They compared their data to European samples and found that Ashkenazi genomes had significantly more mutations that had not yet been mapped.

Peer and his team analyzed the raw data and created a comprehensive catalog of mutations present in the Ashkenazi population.

The TAGC database is already proving useful for clinical genomics, identifying specific new mutations for carrier screening, as it informs the physician whether a mutation in a patients genome is shared by healthy individuals and can alleviate concerns that it is causing disease. The study will also make it easier to discover disease-causing mutations, since some genetic factors are observable in Ashkenazim but essentially absent elsewhere. Moreover, the demography of the Ashkenazi population the largest isolated population in the US enables large-scale recruitment of study patients and hence more genetic discoveries than in other wellknown isolated populations like the Amish and Hutterites locally or the Icelanders overseas. The researchers expect that medical insights from studies of specific populations will also be relevant to general populations as well.

The Columbia team said they also shed light on the long-debated origin of Ashkenazim and Europeans. The genetic data indicates that the Ashkenazi population was founded in the late medieval period by only a few hundred individuals, whose descendants spread out geographically quite rapidly while remaining mostly isolated genetically.

Our analysis shows that Ashkenazi Jewish medieval founders were ethnically admixed, with origins in Europe and in the Middle East, roughly in equal parts, says Dr.

Shai Carmi, a post-doctoral scientist who works with Peer and who conducted the analysis. TAGC data are more comprehensive than what was previously available, and we believe the data settle the dispute regarding European and Middle Eastern ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews. Our data provide evidence for todays European population being genetically descended primarily from late Middle Eastern migrations that took place after the last Ice Age, rather than from the first humans to arrive to the continent, more than 40,000 years ago.

Peer said the data is being made available to the entire research community.

Weve released it to public-access databases and fully expect the creativity of the scientific world to come up with additional uses for the data. Whats especially gratifying is the idea that our work will pave the way for personalized genomics in other populations as well.

They will next study specific diseases in the Ashkenazi population such as schizophrenia, Parkinsons, Crohns, diabetes and cancer, as well as other inherited traits such as longevity.

ASTRONOMERS MAP OUR SPACE NEIGHBORHOOD

A Hebrew University researcher is part of an international team of astronomers that used new measuring techniques to describe our galaxys place in the universe. The researchers, including Prof. Yehuda Hoffman from the universitys Racah Institute of Physics, mapped our local supercluster of galaxies in new research that appeared on the cover of Nature.

Superclusters among the largest structures in the known universe are comprised of galaxy groups containing dozens of galaxies and galaxy clusters containing hundreds of galaxies. These groups and clusters intersect, creating superclusters with poorly defined boundaries. A galaxy between two such structures will be caught in a gravitational tug-ofwar, with the balance of the gravitational forces determining the galaxys motion.

By mapping the velocities of galaxies throughout our local universe, the researchers found that the galactic supercluster containing the Milky Way galaxy is 500 million light-years in diameter.

They also found that it contains the mass of a hundred quadrillion suns in 100,000 galaxies. This is the first time the supercluster has been carefully mapped using these new techniques.

Led by University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomer R. Brent Tully, the team named the supercluster Laniakea, which means immense heaven in Hawaiian. The name honors Polynesian navigators who used knowledge of the heavens to voyage across the immensity of the Pacific Ocean.

Share on facebook

The rest is here:
Mapping the DNA sequence of Ashkenazi Jews – Jpost.com

Fair Usage Law

December 24, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Judaism: Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Diseases

A number of genetic disorders occur more frequently in certain ethnic populations. In the Ashkenazi Jewish population (those of Eastern European descent), it has been estimated that one in four individuals is a carrier of one of several genetic conditions. These diseases include Tay-Sachs Disease, Canavan, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher, Familial Dysautonomia, Bloom Syndrome, Fanconi anemia, Cystic Fibrosis and Mucolipidosis IV. Some of these diseases may be severe and may result in the early death of a child. Carrier screening is available for all of these diseases with a simple blood test.

In the nucleus of every cell in the body there are 46 chromosomes. Each chromosome is a package that holds many genes. Our genes contain DNA, the set of instructions that makes up who we are. All chromosomes (and the genes that are on those chromosomes) come in pairs. We receive one member of each pair of chromosomes from our mother and the other member of the pair from our father. Sometimes there is a change in a gene (called a mutation) that causes the gene to malfunction.

All of the above-mentioned conditions are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. This means that an affected person has a change in both genes of the pair of genes, one change inherited from each parent. Neither gene in the pair is working properly, which causes the symptoms of the disease.

A carrier is someone who has a change in only one gene of the pair of genes. Carriers are healthy individuals who are only at risk for passing the gene change on to their children. Most often these diseases occur in families with no prior history of the disease.

Tay-Sachs Disease A condition where children develop normally until about four to six months of age. It is at this time that the central nervous system begins to degenerate. Individuals with Tay-Sachs Disease lack an enzyme called hexosaminidase (Hex A). The child loses all motor skills and becomes blind, deaf and unresponsive. Death usually occurs by the age of four. The carrier rate in the Ashkenazi Jewish population is approximately 1 in 25. More rare than the infantile type is Late Onset Tay-Sachs Disease, where the progression of symptoms is slower and milder.

Canavan DiseaseVery similar to Tay-Sachs Disease, with normal development until age two to four months, followed by progressive loss of previously attained skills. Most individuals with Canavan Disease die by the age of five. An estimated 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier for this disease.

Niemann-Pick Disease Type A A disease in which a harmful amount of a fatty substance accumulates in different parts of the body. Failure to thrive and a progressive neurodegenerative course lead to death by three years of age. The carrier rate in the Ashkenazi Jewish population is approximately 1 in 90.

Gaucher Disease Type 1(Pronounced go-shay) is a variable condition, both in age of onset and in progression of symptoms. A painful, enlarged and overactive spleen, with anemia and low white blood cell count are usually the initial features of Gaucher Disease. Bone deterioration is a major cause of discomfort and disability. Approximately 1 in 14 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier of this condition. Treatment is available.

Familial DysautonomiaA disease that causes the autonomic and sensory nervous systems to malfunction. This affects the regulation of body temperature, blood pressure, stress response, normal swallowing and digestion. An estimated 1 in 30 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier of FD.

Bloom SyndromeCharacterized by short stature, sun-sensitive facial skin lesions, an increased susceptibility to infections and a higher incidence of leukemia and certain cancers. The carrier rate is about 1 in 100 in the Ashkenazi Jewish population.

Fanconi anemia Type C A disease associated with short stature, bone marrow failure and a predisposition to leukemia and other cancers. Some children may have learning difficulties or mental retardation. Approximately 1 in 89 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier for this condition.

Mucolipidosis IVCaused by the accumulation of certain harmful substances throughout the body. Individuals with ML IV experience a range of levels of motor and mental retardation, with developmental delays often manifesting themselves as early as the first year of life. Other symptoms can be related to the eyes, such as corneal clouding, pseudostrabismus and retinal degeneration.

Cystic FibrosisA multi-system disorder that causes the body to produce a thick mucus. The mucus accumulates primarily in the lungs and the digestive tract, resulting in chronic lung infections and poor growth. CF does not affect intelligence. The carrier rate for CF among all Caucasian individuals is approximately 1 in 25. The CF carrier test has a detection rate of 97% in the Ashkenazi Jewish population.

If two carriers of the same disorder have children, there is a 25% chance of having an affected child, a 50% chance of having a child who is a carrier like themselves, and a 25% chance of having a child who is neither affected nor a carrier. If an individual is found to be a carrier, genetic counseling is available at many clinics throughout the country to discuss the implications of this finding. If partners are found to be carriers of the same disorder(s), a genetic counselor can provide information and support, which may be helpful in making important family planning decisions.

The results of these tests are highly accurate. However, there is a slight possibility that someone who tests negative for being a carrier could still be a carrier. There may be rare mutations that DNA testing may not pick up.

Go here to see the original:
Judaism: Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Diseases

Fair Usage Law

December 16, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) What Is an – WebMD

Articles OnAshkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP)

An Ashkenazi Jewish genetic panel (AJGP) is a blood test that checks to see if a person is a carrier of a genetic disease that occurs more often in people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage. These diseases do not just affect people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage but are more common in this group of people. Other racial and ethnic groups have genetic diseases that are more common in their groups.

An AJGP test tells parents if they have an increased chance of having a child with certain genetic diseases. Anyone who is interested in knowing his or her carrier status can ask for the test, but a doctor must order the test. Different labs may have different tests in the panel.

Talk to your doctor about which diseases are important for your family. Genetic counseling can help you understand the test and possible results so you can make the best decision for you.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

See the original post:
Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) What Is an – WebMD

Fair Usage Law

November 27, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Judaism: Ashkenazim

Ashkenaz (Heb. ) refers to a people and a country bordering on Armenia and the upper Euphrates; listed in Genesis 10:3 and I Chronicles 1:6 among the descendants of Gomer. The name Ashkenaz also occurs once in Jeremiah 51:27 in a passage calling upon the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz to rise and destroy Babylon. Scholars have identified the Ashkenaz as the people called Ashkuza (Ashguza, Ishguza) in Akkadian. According to Assyrian royal inscriptions the Ashkuza fought the Assyrians in the reign of Esharhaddon (680669 B.C.E.) as allies of the Minni (Manneans). Since the Ashkuza are mentioned in conjunction with the Gimirrai-Cimmerians and the Ashkenaz with Gomer in Genesis, it is reasonable to infer that Ashkenaz is a dialectal form of Akkadian Ashkuza, identical with a group of Iranian-speaking people organized in confederations of tribes called Saka in Old Persian, whom Greek writers (e.g., Herodotus 1:103) called Scythians. They ranged from southern Russia through the Caucasus and into the Near East. Some scholars, however, have argued against this identification on philological grounds because of the presence of the “n” in the word Ashkenaz. In medieval rabbinical literature the name was used for Germany.

The name Ashkenaz was applied in the Middle Ages to Jews living along the Rhine River in northern France and western Germany. The center of Ashkenazi Jews later spread to Poland-Lithuania and now there are Ashkenazi settlements all over the world. The term “Ashkenaz” became identified primarily with German customs and descendants of German Jews.

In the 10th and 11th century, the first Ashkenazim, Jewish merchants in France and Germany, were economic pioneers, treated well because of their trading connections with the Mediterranean and the East. Jewish communities appeared in many urban centers. Early Ashkenaz communities were small and homogeneous. Until Christian guilds were formed, Jews were craftsmen and artisans. In France, many Jews owned vineyards and made wine. They carried arms and knew how to use them in self-defense. The Jews of each town constituted an independent, self-governing entity. Each community, or kahal, established its own regulations made up by an elected board and judicial courts. They enforced their rulings with the threat of excommunication. The Ashkenazim generally shied away from outside influences and concentrated on internal Jewish sources, ideas and customs.

Ashkenazim focused on biblical and Talmudic studies. Centers of rabbinic scholarship appeared in the tenth century in Mainz and Worms in the Rhineland and in Troyes and Sens in France. Ashkenazi scholarship centered around oral discussion. Sages focused on understanding the minutiae of the texts instead of extracting general principles. The most famous early teacher was Rabbenu Gershom of Mainz. Some of his decrees, such as that forbidding polygamy, are still in existence today. The first major Ashkenazi literary figure was Rashi (Solomon ben Isaac of Troyes, 1040-1105), whose commentaries on the Bible and Talmud are today considered fundamental to Jewish study. The tosafists, Ashkenazi Talmudic scholars in northern France and Germany, introduced new methods and insights into Talmudic study that are also still in use. Early Ashkenazi Jews composed religious poetry modeled after the fifth and sixth century piyyutim (liturgical poems). While prayer liturgy varied even among Ashkenazi countries, the differences were almost insignificant compared to the differences between Sephardi and Ashkenazi liturgy.

While Ashkenazi Jews occasionally experience anti-Semitism, mob violence first erupted against them an the end of the 11th century. Many Jews were killed in what Robert Seltzer calls a “supercharged religious atmosphere.” Many were willing to die as martyrs rather than convert.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, many Ashkenazi Jews became moneylenders. They were supported by the secular rulers who benefited from taxes imposed on the Jews. The rulers did not totally protect them, however, and blood libels cropped up accompanied by violence. In 1182, Jews were expelled from France. Ashkenazi Jews continued to build communities in Germany until they faced riots and massacres in the 1200s and 1300s. Some Jews moved to Sephardi Spain while others set up Ashkenazi communities in Poland.

The center of Ashkenazi Jewry shifted to Poland, Lithuania, Bohemia and Moravia in the beginning of the 16th century. Jews were for the first time concentrated in Eastern Europe instead of Western Europe. Polish Jews adopted the Ashkenazi rites, liturgy, and religious customs of the German Jews. The Ashkenazi mahzor (holiday prayer book) included prayers composed by poets of Germany and Northern France. In Poland, the Jews became fiscal agents, tax collectors, estate managers for noblemen, merchants and craftsmen. In the 1500-1600s, Polish Jewry grew to be the largest Jewish community in the diaspora. Many Jews lived in shtetls, small towns where the majority of the inhabitants were Jewish. They set up kehillot like those in the Middle Ages that elected a board of trustees to collect taxes, set up education systems and deal with other necessities of Jewish life. The Jews even had their own craft guilds. Each kahal had a yeshiva, where boys over the age of 13 learned Talmudic and rabbinic texts. Yiddish was the language of oral translation and of discussion of Torah and Talmud. Ashkenazi scholars focused on careful readings of the text and also on summarizing legal interpretations of former Ashkenazi and Sephardi scholars of Jewish law.

Ashkenazim focused on Hebrew, Torah and especially Talmud. They used religion to protect themselves from outside influences. The Jews at this time were largely middle class. By choice, they mostly lived in self-contained communities surrounding their synagogue and other communal institutions. Yiddish was the common language of Ashkenazi Jews in eastern and central Europe. With the start of the Renaissance and religious wars in the late 16th century, a divide grew between central and eastern European Jews. In central Europe, particularly in Germany, rulers forced the Jews to live apart from the rest of society in ghettos with between 100 and 500 inhabitants. The ghettos were generally clean and in good condition. Eastern European Jews lived in the shtetls, where Jews and gentiles lived side by side.

In the 1600s and 1700s, Jews in Poland, the center of Ashkenazi Jewry, faced blood libels and riots. The growth of Hasidism in Poland drew many Jews away from typical Ashkenazi practice. After the Chmielnicki massacres in Poland in 1648, Polish Jews spread through Western Europe, some even crossing the Atlantic. Many Ashkenazi Polish Jews fled to Amsterdam and joined previously existing communities of German Jews. Sephardim there considered the Ashkenazim to be socially and culturally inferior. While the Sephardim were generally wealthy, the Ashkenazim were poor peddlers, petty traders, artisans, diamond polishers, jewelry workers and silversmiths. As the Sephardim became poorer in the 18th century, the communities became more equal and more united.

The Jewish community in England also changed in the 1700s. It had been primarily Sephardi throughout the 1600s, but it became more Ashkenazi in culture as growing numbers of German and Polish Jews arrived.

By 1750, out of 2,500 Jews in the American Colonies, the majority was Ashkenazi. They were Yiddish-speaking Jews from Holland, Germany, Poland and England. The first Jews were merchants and traders. Since then, Ashkenazi Jews have built up communities throughout the United States.

By the end of the 19th century, as a result of Russian persecution, there was massive Ashkenazi emigration from Eastern Europe to other areas of Europe, Australia, South Africa, the United States and Israel. Ashkenazim outnumbered Sephardim everywhere except North Africa, Italy, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Before World War II, Ashkenazim comprised 90% of world Jewry.

The destruction of European Jewry in World War II reduced the number of Ashkenazim and, to some extent, their numeric superiority over Sephardim. The United States became the main center for Ashkenazi Jews.

Over time Ashkenazim and Sephardim developed different prayer liturgies, Torah services, Hebrew pronunciation and ways of life. Originally, most Ashkenazim spoke Yiddish. Ashkenazi and Sephardi tunes for both prayers and Torah reading are different. An Ashkenazi Torah lies flat while being read, while a Sephardi Torah stands up. Ashkenazi scribes developed a distinctive script. One major difference is in the source used for deciding Jewish law. Sephardim follow Rabbi Joseph Caros Shulhan Arukh. The Ashkenazim go by Rabbi Moses Isserles, who wrote a commentary on the Shulhan Arukh citing Ashkenazi practice. There are differences in many aspects of Jewish law, from which laws women are exempt from to what food one is allowed to eat on Passover. Today, many of the distinctions between Ashkenazim and Sephardim have disappeared. In both Israel and the United States today, Ashkenazim and Sephardim live side by side, though they generally have separate institutions.

In Israel, political tensions continue to exist because of feelings on the part of many Sephardim that they have been discriminated against and still dont get the respect they deserve. Historically, the political elite of the nation have been Ashkenazim; however, this is gradually changing. Shas, a religious Sephardi party, has become one of the most powerful in the country and individual Sephardi politicians now hold powerful positions. Moroccan-born David Levy, for example, has served as foreign minister and, in July 2000, Iranian-born Moshe Katsav was elected president.

An international team of scientists announced on September 9 2014 that they had come to the conclusion that all Ashkenazi Jews are descended from an original group of about 350 individuals who lived between 600 and 800 years ago. These people were of Middle-Eastern and European descent. The analysis was done by comparing the DNA data of 128 Ashkenazi Jews with the DNA of a reference group of 26 Flemmish people from Belgium, and then working out which genetic markers are unique to people of Ashkenazi descent. The similarities in the Ashkenazi genomes allowed the scientists to identify a base point from which all Ashkenazi Jews descend. According to the scientists, this effectively makes all modern Ashkenazi Jews 30th cousins, stemming from the same population almost 800 years ago. This discovery may help medical professionals treat genetic diseases, because diseases like Tay Sachs and certain types of cancers are more prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. In order to treat these diseases doctors will now have a better idea of where to sequence an individuals genome to test for disease succeptability. This discovery also effectively disproves the idea that Ashkenazi Jews were descended from Khazars who converted to Judaism during the 8th or 9th centuries C.E.

E.A. Speiser, Genesis (Eng., 1964), 66; U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis, 2 (1964), 192; EM, 1 (1965), 7623 (incl. bibl.). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Holladay, Jeremiah, 2 (1989), 427; P. Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander (2002), 39.

Sources: Yehoshua M. Grintz, Ashkenaz, Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.Butnick, Stephanie. Study Says All Ashkenazi Jews Are 30th Cousins, Tablet Magazine. September 10, 2014.Ausubel, Nathan. Pictorial History of the Jewish People. New York: Crown Publishers, 1953.Dimont, Max. Jews, God and History. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962.Seltzer, Robert. Jewish People, Jewish Thought. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1980.

See the article here:
Judaism: Ashkenazim

Fair Usage Law

November 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) – webmd.com

Articles OnAshkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP)

Ashkenazi Jewish genetic diseases are a group of rare disorders that occur more often in people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage than in the general population. Even though most of these diseases are severe and can cause early death, some can be treated to reduce symptoms and prolong life. Some of these diseases can be found during pregnancy through chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. This testing is done usually if one or both parents are carriers of a genetic disease.

Diseases in this group include:

About 1 out of 4 people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage is a carrier of one of these genetic conditions, most commonly of Gaucher disease, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, familial dysautonomia, or Canavan disease.1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Read this article:
Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) – webmd.com

Fair Usage Law

October 13, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

For Jews Of Color, Charlottesville Is Personal – Jewish Week

When Elle Wisnicki, the 22-year-old daughter of a black mother and Ashkenazi Jewish father, scrolled through pictures of men holding tiki torches and waving Nazi flags in Charlottesville, Va., last week, she felt as though her grandparents were by her side.

The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor on her fathers side and only three generations away from American slavery on her mothers, last weeks convergence of several hundred far-right extremists some wearing white hoods and carrying Confederate flags, others in polo shirts with swastika-emblazoned armbands caused her to feel the weight of both my identities.

Everything I represent was under attack, said the recent college graduate, now working for a health-care consulting firm. Both sides of my family have been been persecuted and oppressed for no other reason than who they are. This came at me from both sides.

Elle Wisnicki:Everything I represent was under attack. Courtesy

The events that took place last weekend a far-right rally to protest the removal of a Confederate War statue that ended in rioting, violence and a car attack that killed one counterprotester and injured 19 left thousands around the country stunned. President Donald Trumps statement on Tuesday equating neo-Nazis and white supremacists with those protesting against them that drew praise from far-right leaders including former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke left an already unsettled nation reeling.

Jewish groups widely condemned the violence and criticized President Trump for saying that the hatred and violence came from many sides. (Read more of our coverage of the events here.)

White supremacists, foreground, face off against counterprotesters, top, at the entrance to Emancipation Park during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. Getty Images

Still, for young Jews of color many of whom balance a complex and sometimes-challenging intersection of identities last weeks events were uniquely painful, and personal.

These are different players at a different moment in history, but its the same playbook.

As a black person in this country, I am not surprised, said Yehudah Webster, 24, a leader of the Jews of Color caucus for the social action organization Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ). But as a Jew, I am.

While American racism never went away, the bold, anti-Semitic rhetoric that reared its head at last weeks rally was shocking for me, said Webster marchers from extreme right groups chanted Jews will not replace us and the infamous Nazi slogan blood and soil.

The Guyanese son of formerly Christian pastors who converted to Judaism at age six, Webster described the new alignment of identities as surreal.

These are different players at a different moment in history, but its the same playbook, he said. The question: Will we get it right this time?

On Saturday night, Webster helped organize a Havdalah Against Hate rally on the Upper East side. Over sixty people turned out.

Yehuda Webster: White supremacy is here to hold down and exploit all of us alike. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder. Courtesy

White supremacy is here to hold down and exploit all of us alike, said Webster, who hopes this will be a coming-together moment for people of color and Jews. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder.

Webster was not alone in feeling simultaneously disturbed and unsurprised by last weeks events.

I am familiar with this type of racism, said April Baskin, vice president of Audacious Hospitality for the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ). Baskin, the daughter of an Ashkenazi Jewish mother and a black Jewish father, grew up in South Dakota and then Blacksburg, Va., said, I could easy have lived near someone who attended that rally.

As a young girl, Baskin recalled facing taunts and discrimination because of the color of her skin. In first grade, one of her classmates threw racial epithets at her every day the little boys father was a leader in the KKK. Everyone knew about it, but no one said anything.

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right march down East Market Street over the weekend of Aug 11-12 in Charlottesville, Va. Getty Images

I am deeply connected to this countrys history surrounding racism, said Baskin, 33. What we saw [in Charlottesville] last week didnt surprise me. What did surprise me is that racism and hate are being shown so brazenly.

For the Jewish community, the events of last week are a painful wake-up call.

How can we take this terrible moment and translate it into a moment of unity? asked Baskin, who helps congregations across the U.S. become more boldly inclusive through her work at URJ. Before this, a lot of Jewish people did not understand the depth of anti-Semitism and racism in this country. Now that weve seen it and we cant unsee it lets use the tools we have to help people understand how systemic oppression operates.

April Baskin: How can we take this terrible moment and translate it into a moment of unity? Courtesy

Jews of color are uniquely equipped to heed that call, Baskin said.

I have access to a wider view, she said, speaking to her own experience directly after the details of what took place in Charlottesville surfaced. Everything my Jewish people were saying, I could see it. Everything colored communities were feeling, I could feel it.

The experience reminded her of watching her parents both Jewish, but of different races argue back and forth.

I love both of them, but they enter into conversations differently, she said. Can we see where both communities are coming from? I want these two peoples to accept each other, empathize with one another, just like a child wants her parents to get along.

Jason Daniel Fair, 32, the son of a white Jewish mother and an African American father, described a heightened awareness of his intersectional identities after Charlottesville.

I felt attacked on multiple sides, all at once, said Fair, who works for The Trevor Project, a 24-hour suicide hotline for LGBT youth as a senior major gifts officer. (Directly after the 2016 presidential election, the hotlines call volume more than doubled. After Charlottesville, numbers jumped 20 percent, according to Fair.)

White supremacists exchanging insults with counterprotesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. Getty Images

Even so, the events did not surprise him.

Thats what Nazis are about attacking people who are not like them. Here, its blacks and Jews.

Fair, who serves as a board member for the Jewish Multiracial Network, a non-profit organization that advocates for Jews of color and Jewish multiracial families, said last weekends event were doubly triggering.

Attacks on Jews are attacks on people of color.

Attacks on Jews are attacks on people of color, he said. When folks are shouting blood and soil in the streets, we religious and racial minorities know what that means.

Fair also expressed the hope that this would lead to increased bridge building between Jewish and black communities across the country.

The challenge is not to see this as a one-off moment, he said.

Still, right now, in Charlottesvilles shadowy aftermath, the priority is to heal.

We make progress when we operate from a place of strength, said Fair. First, we can mourn this. Then, well dust ourselves off and keep fighting.

Go here to see the original:
For Jews Of Color, Charlottesville Is Personal – Jewish Week

Fair Usage Law

August 22, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Health apps appeal to a variety of Jewish needs – Jewish Journal

Whether you are interested in bringing more Judaism into your daily yoga practice or you are concerned about the halachic acceptability of tattooing for cancer radiation therapy, a number of Jewish-minded smartphone apps are available to help you on your journey toward better health.

Kabbalah Yoga: Ambitious Beginner

If youve heard about the health benefits of yoga but arent sure where to begin, this app is for you. With easy-to-follow videos that incorporate kabbalah and meditation into introductory yogic practices, it brings the physical and emotional benefits of yoga within reach. The app ($4.99) also includes a workout journal so you can mark your physical and spiritual progress. Those who practice yoga regularly report lower levels of stress and better sleep. And for people with thinning bones, even introductory-level yoga is considered a weight-bearing activity that can help build bone density.

Nishmat: Jewish Womens Health

The intersection of womens health and halachic law sometimes can be a tricky and potentially embarrassing topic to broach with medical professionals outside the religious community. With this free, easy-to-navigate app, women of all ages can find answers to even the most difficult personal health questions. The app clarifies Jewish law on topics like contraception, gynecological exams, infertility, lactation, obstetrics and oncology, without belittling or ignoring the most complicated issues a woman might face, including the use of medical tattooing for radiation treatment. While the app was created to help health professionals understand how best to treat their patients, it also has been a useful tool for women seeking to understand how their medical treatment can affect their body, and how they can engage with their partner during and after treatment.

Gene Screen

With a focus on Diaspora Ashkenazi Jews, Gene Screen is a free interactive app that allows users to understand the basics of population genetics, as well as the most common genetic diseases they might be susceptible to. Learn about recessive and dominant genes, play with drag-and-drop Punnett squares, and compare the prevalence of specific genetic diseases between the Ashkenazic population of the United States and the general U.S. population. The iOS-only app also links to a variety of websites that delve into details about genetics and offer genetic testing, including sites such as the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases.

NutriGuide

This app allows the user to personalize a kosher meal and grocery plan that can be of assistance in reaching health goals while also allowing the user to remain religiously observant. First, users set up a personal profile with their current height, weight, activity level and desired weight. They then can create a tailor-made diet framework to help them pursue a specific dietary goal, whether it be lowering sugar or salt intake, becoming vegetarian or avoiding food allergens. The free app also has a feature that allows users to scan bar codes on items at the grocery store, which delivers nutrition information about the products and whether they contain ingredients the user should be avoiding.

The rest is here:
Health apps appeal to a variety of Jewish needs – Jewish Journal

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Benjamin Netanyahu, Perennial Underdog – The Atlantic

A leader who portrays himself as one of the persecuted, the target of an incessant witch-hunt by the so-called deep state. A liberal media intent on revisiting an election gone badly. And a left-wing political machine supposedly out to get him. This leader, of course, is Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel.

On August 4, Netanyahus former chief of staff signed a deal with the Israeli police to become a states witness in two criminal investigations in which the prime minister is a suspect. One of the cases involves gifts from billionaires abroad; the other concerns an alleged attempt to negotiate favorable press coverage. Three other investigations involve people close to Netanyahu: his lawyer (a second cousin), a political appointee, and even his wife, Sara. Netanyahu has not been indicted by the attorney general, let alone convicted by a criminal courtthat could take months.

And yet, things dont look good for Bibi, as the leak-happy Hebrew press keeps reporting. The states witness, Ari Harow, must provide the goods if he himself is to avoid a prison sentence for suspected bribery and fraud; few know more about Netanyahus dealings than him. Netanyahus many rivals at home, both within and outside his own Likud party and coalition, have long been preparing for the end of his tenure. Now, they smell political blood.

Netanyahus response has been one of defiance. On August 9, Likud party officials and supportersthe Bibi faithfulgathered at a rally in Tel Aviv to voice their support for the prime minister. There, he delivered a message of persecution, railing against the despised liberal media and the even-more despised left-wing. The two, he said, are one and the same. They had failed to beat him at the polls, and were now out to get him by other means, which that amorphous elitethe left-wing, the mediapresumably control. Never mind that the attorney general, who holds sole discretionary power to indict him, is a Netanyahu appointee and certainly no lefty, or that his rival and predecessor, Ehud Olmert, just left prison, where he spent nearly 18 months after being convicted on charges similar to those Bibi now faces.

At the rally, Netanyahu seemed to channel Donald Trump. He even explicitly (mis)used the English phrase fake news to attack the supposedly biased mainstream media thats out to get him. While Netanyahu and Trump are profoundly differentBibis many faults aside, he is erudite, cautious, and experiencedthe two men share an approach to confronting political adversity: divide and conquer, turn the spotlight on the other, create an other when none is available, and always, always, feed the base.

Therein lies a long-term danger for both Israel and America. The governing institutions of each are strong, but their leaders have the power to shape or erode basic norms of democracy and codes of national unity; both Netanyahu and Trump have been careless at best in this regard. Faced with a real threat to his position, perhaps even to his liberty, Netanyahu is once again playing with fire.

Netanyahus performance at that Likud gathering was vintage Bibi, recalling his first run for prime minister in the 1990s. Back then, Netanyahu led the opposition to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of the Labor Party, as a vicious public campaign against him swept through Israels right-wing. After his assassination by a right-winger, Netanyahu defeated Rabins successor, Shimon Peres, to become Israel’s youngest-ever prime minister. In Netanyahus mind, the same elite he now attacksthe media, the left-wing, the supposed deep statenever forgave him, blaming him for the incitement against Rabin, and for daring to defeat Peres fair and square. They never accepted this outsider who was raised partly in America, who had never been a minister (he had been a deputy minister), and who had never been part of any of the main cliques of the Israeli elite.

Netanyahus paranoia was not entirely unwarranted. On the morning after his first electoral victory in May 1996, for example, a mere six months after Rabins assassination, signs lamenting that Rabin was assassinated twiceequating his win to the prime ministers deathadorned signposts on the streets of Tel Aviv. Many Rabin-Peres supporters never got over Netanyahus victory. (They were also appalled by many of his subsequent policies.) Yet there was also political opportunity for Netanyahu in that narrative, which he exploited.

The old elites, a phrase that gained currency in Israel during Netanyahus first term, were the bogeymen for the disparate parts of his political base: the Mizrahim, the ultra-orthodox Jews, the National-Religious, the Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They shared little except their antagonism to Israels perceived elite, the left-wing and largely secular Ashkenazi Jews of Israel. As Menachem Begin did 1977, Netanyahu, an Ashkenazi Jew, enlisted the votes of these left-behinds, sometimes called second Israel, to the political cause of the (Ashkenazi) right-wing. Almost every segment of Jewish-Israeli society that felt disenfranchised opposed the hated establishment, leaving only Israels Arab citizens aligned with the left.

For Netanyahu, catering to the base also came with political risk. Many in the Israeli political center were taken aback by his tone when, for example, he was caught on camera whispering into the ear of an octogenarian rabbi influential among religious Mizrahi voters that the left had forgotten what it means to be Jewish. Many voters in the centernot leftist themselvesdisliked such tactics. Netanyahu was routed in the elections of 1999 in no small part because of a sense of fatigue with the partisanship of his first term. Like in the United States, a base offers loyalty and energy, but not always sufficient numbers.

At the same time, Netanyahus choice to voice the legitimate, sometimes-justified concerns of those who felt left behind had important benefits for Israeli society, in the symbolic realm at least. Mizrahi culture and heritage, for example, received more recognition and airtime in mainstream media.

In the United States, too, one lesson of Trumps rise is that its ruling elite need to take a hard look at the many Americans alienated by the current power structures. It may have been high time for Washington to be shocked by its disconnect from much of the country. But without a leader able to transform grievance into empowerment and political victory into responsibility and ownership, the disconnect will only widen.

In the end, Netanyahu failed to transform his victory into a cathartic experience for the groups he claimed to elevate; he never stopped campaigning as the antithesis to the hated elite. The never-ending, cynical invocation of the political bases grievancessomething Netanyahu and others have now perfectedhad severe consequences for Israeli society and politics. Even as he secured political power, Netanyahu preferred to play the role of leader of the opposition, to perpetuate a sense of victimhood among his supporters rather than transform his numerous political victories into agency, empowerment and, above all, responsibility.

Today, Netanyahu’s gamble of catering to the base while neglecting the center is less risky than it was in the 1990s, as the Israeli right-wing has expanded. Hasmol, or the left in Hebrew, is now often used as a pejorative phrase. Rabins Oslo peace process, and the left as a political camp, were decimated by the Second Intifada, which began in the summer of 2000. The political center of Ariel Sharon and Olmert, which pushed for unilateral separation from the Palestinians, was rebuffed in Israeli voters eyes by the rockets that followed the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. It has now been 40 years since the rise of the Likud party of Begin and Netanyahu. Over that time, Labor, the once-hegemonic party of Israeli politics, has held the prime ministership for less than eight years (the centrist Kadima held it for three more). The right-wings reign in Israel today is no temporary fluke.

And yet Likud still speaks as the underdog, as the opposition to a deep state and an amorphous elite. (That elite, incidentally, feels more besieged and marginalized than ever.) This thinking helps explain, at least in part, why in the last election in 2015, Netanyahu posted a video warning his supporters that foreign-funded NGOs were busing Arab voters in droves to polling stationsa false story, and reckless for Netanyahu, leader of a country where 20 percent of the citizenry is Arab, to disseminate.

The power of Netanyahus base does not mean he will evade legal trouble, however. The rule of law in Israel is strong. If the state prosecutor recommends indictment, the attorney general will then weigh the evidence and the chances of conviction, and likely grant Netanyahu a special hearing before any final decision to indict.

Netanyahu has hinted that he does not intend to resign even if indicted. He may even try to call for early elections in order to gain a popular mandate in the face of a legal decision. Yet if Bibi is indicted, he will likely eventually have to resign; polling suggests that even many right-wing voters expect him to do so.

After Netanyahu, the opposition would aim to capitalize on the scandals and seek to replace him. Yet the power of his base means that his replacement may well come from within his own camp. If he resigns, Likud might also maintain its coalition and simply appoint one of its own as prime minister, bypassing a general election.

If the right-wing prevails, Israels policies, including its stance toward the Palestinians, would remain largely unchanged. Yet a new prime minister, whether a hawk or a dove, would have a chance to change a central aspect of the Netanyahu legacy: the divisiveness of his politics. Even after over 11 years as prime minister, Netanyahu has, deliberately, never lost the appeal of an oppositional figure pitting himself against a hated establishment. In Israel, as in the United States, that is a dangerous approach to leadership.

See the article here:
Benjamin Netanyahu, Perennial Underdog – The Atlantic

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

EMS couple saves two on Friday – Arutz Sheva

After Miri Shvimmer, a United Hatzalah volunteer paramedic responded to three life-saving calls in a few hours with Lior Ashkenazi, a fellow United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, she quipped One might say we had a productive day.

On Friday afternoon just after 3:00 p.m. the couple responded to an emergency in which an individual jumped off the Kibbutz Galuyot bridge. The patient suffered severe trauma to multiple systems and was treated on scene by the couple who were among the first responders to arrive at the scene. We were out shopping and we got the call that a person had fallen from the bridge. Due to the traffic jams that ensued, it took the ambulance a long time to arrive. We drove on Liors ambucyle and arrived in just a few minutes, explained Shvimmer.

The couple, who had treated a teenager for serious stab wounds just two days earlier, was on the scene of the attempted suicide within less than three minutes, thanks to Ashkenazis ambucycle.

We arrived at the scene together but left separately, explained Ashkenazi as Shvimmer, who is a paramedic, had to head to the hospital with the ambulance as the vehicle that arrived at the scene did not have a paramedic on board.

In Israel, it is against the law to diminish care, explained Eli Beer, President, and Founder of United Hatzalah. Thus if the medical situation requires a higher level of care and one of our volunteer paramedics or even one of our volunteer EMTs are more experienced than the ambulance crew, they go with the ambulance and transport the patient to the hospital. This is in order to maintain the high level of care that our volunteers provide for the patients during the journey to the hospital as well.

Before Shvimmer left with the patient, Ashkenazi asked which hospital the ambulance was headed to and cleared the way on his ambucycle. He met Shvimmer there and picked her up so that the couple could continue their afternoon, having saved the persons life and handed the patient over to the next level of care at the hospital. We headed back to the shuk (open market) to finish our shopping for Shabbat and we had just arrived when we received a call that a woman had collapsed one street over. We rushed over and began CPR, Ashkenazi recalled. Once again the couple was the first on the scene. Unfortunately in this instance the patient did not survive and after lengthy resuscitative efforts EMS teams were forced to declare her death.

The CPR call was the third call of the day for the pair. We were a bit busy all day, said Ashkenazi. We had responded to an allergic reaction earlier in the day when Miri had to accompany an ambulance once again to the hospital after a child suffered an anaphylactic reaction in the morning and required an epinephrine shot. We both went to the emergency and I picked her up then as well.

Both Shvimmer and Ashkenazi agree that It isnt always simple to have to drop everything at a moments notice and keep up with all of lifes expectations of studying, errands, and still having a social life. But the goal and the reward of helping others makes it well worth the hassle and keeps us motivated. We have found that we are able to minimize the effects on our schedules of rushing to a scene as much as possible even when it happens multiple times a day. Thankfully, our friends and family are all very understanding of our spontaneous disappearances due to an emergency call in our vicinity, and that makes it easier for us as well.

Continued here:
EMS couple saves two on Friday – Arutz Sheva

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Mapping the DNA sequence of Ashkenazi Jews – Jpost.com

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are taught in school.. (photo credit: REUTERS) Genomic research of Ashkenazi Jews will soon become more effective and personalized, thanks to the creation of a data resource at Columbia University in Manhattan. The team, which includes experts from 11 labs in Israel and New York City, focused on Ashkenazim because of their demographic history of genetic isolation and the resulting abundance of population-specific mutations and high prevalence of rare genetic disorders. The study, headed by Columbia computer science professor Itsik Peer, was published recently in the journal Nature Communications. Ashkenazi Jews have played an important role in the study of human genetics, with notable successes in gene mapping as well as prenatal and cancer screening. Our study is the first full DNA sequence dataset available for Ashkenazi genomes, said Peer. With this comprehensive catalog of mutations present in the Ashkenazi population, we will be able to more effectively map disease genes onto the genome and thus gain a better understanding of common disorders. We see this study serving as a vehicle for personalized medicine and a model for researchers working with other populations. To help in his hunt for disease genes, Peer founded the Ashkenazi Genome Consortium (TAGC) three years ago. One of the board members is Prof. Ariel Darvasi, vice-dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who has spent many years studying Jewish genes for chronic diseases. The TAGC researchers performed highdepth sequencing of 128 complete genomes of healthy Jews of Ashkenazi origin. They compared their data to European samples and found that Ashkenazi genomes had significantly more mutations that had not yet been mapped. Peer and his team analyzed the raw data and created a comprehensive catalog of mutations present in the Ashkenazi population. The TAGC database is already proving useful for clinical genomics, identifying specific new mutations for carrier screening, as it informs the physician whether a mutation in a patients genome is shared by healthy individuals and can alleviate concerns that it is causing disease. The study will also make it easier to discover disease-causing mutations, since some genetic factors are observable in Ashkenazim but essentially absent elsewhere. Moreover, the demography of the Ashkenazi population the largest isolated population in the US enables large-scale recruitment of study patients and hence more genetic discoveries than in other wellknown isolated populations like the Amish and Hutterites locally or the Icelanders overseas. The researchers expect that medical insights from studies of specific populations will also be relevant to general populations as well. The Columbia team said they also shed light on the long-debated origin of Ashkenazim and Europeans. The genetic data indicates that the Ashkenazi population was founded in the late medieval period by only a few hundred individuals, whose descendants spread out geographically quite rapidly while remaining mostly isolated genetically. Our analysis shows that Ashkenazi Jewish medieval founders were ethnically admixed, with origins in Europe and in the Middle East, roughly in equal parts, says Dr. Shai Carmi, a post-doctoral scientist who works with Peer and who conducted the analysis. TAGC data are more comprehensive than what was previously available, and we believe the data settle the dispute regarding European and Middle Eastern ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews. Our data provide evidence for todays European population being genetically descended primarily from late Middle Eastern migrations that took place after the last Ice Age, rather than from the first humans to arrive to the continent, more than 40,000 years ago. Peer said the data is being made available to the entire research community. Weve released it to public-access databases and fully expect the creativity of the scientific world to come up with additional uses for the data. Whats especially gratifying is the idea that our work will pave the way for personalized genomics in other populations as well. They will next study specific diseases in the Ashkenazi population such as schizophrenia, Parkinsons, Crohns, diabetes and cancer, as well as other inherited traits such as longevity. ASTRONOMERS MAP OUR SPACE NEIGHBORHOOD A Hebrew University researcher is part of an international team of astronomers that used new measuring techniques to describe our galaxys place in the universe. The researchers, including Prof. Yehuda Hoffman from the universitys Racah Institute of Physics, mapped our local supercluster of galaxies in new research that appeared on the cover of Nature. Superclusters among the largest structures in the known universe are comprised of galaxy groups containing dozens of galaxies and galaxy clusters containing hundreds of galaxies. These groups and clusters intersect, creating superclusters with poorly defined boundaries. A galaxy between two such structures will be caught in a gravitational tug-ofwar, with the balance of the gravitational forces determining the galaxys motion. By mapping the velocities of galaxies throughout our local universe, the researchers found that the galactic supercluster containing the Milky Way galaxy is 500 million light-years in diameter. They also found that it contains the mass of a hundred quadrillion suns in 100,000 galaxies. This is the first time the supercluster has been carefully mapped using these new techniques. Led by University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomer R. Brent Tully, the team named the supercluster Laniakea, which means immense heaven in Hawaiian. The name honors Polynesian navigators who used knowledge of the heavens to voyage across the immensity of the Pacific Ocean. Share on facebook

Fair Usage Law

December 24, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Judaism: Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Diseases

A number of genetic disorders occur more frequently in certain ethnic populations. In the Ashkenazi Jewish population (those of Eastern European descent), it has been estimated that one in four individuals is a carrier of one of several genetic conditions. These diseases include Tay-Sachs Disease, Canavan, Niemann-Pick, Gaucher, Familial Dysautonomia, Bloom Syndrome, Fanconi anemia, Cystic Fibrosis and Mucolipidosis IV. Some of these diseases may be severe and may result in the early death of a child. Carrier screening is available for all of these diseases with a simple blood test. In the nucleus of every cell in the body there are 46 chromosomes. Each chromosome is a package that holds many genes. Our genes contain DNA, the set of instructions that makes up who we are. All chromosomes (and the genes that are on those chromosomes) come in pairs. We receive one member of each pair of chromosomes from our mother and the other member of the pair from our father. Sometimes there is a change in a gene (called a mutation) that causes the gene to malfunction. All of the above-mentioned conditions are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. This means that an affected person has a change in both genes of the pair of genes, one change inherited from each parent. Neither gene in the pair is working properly, which causes the symptoms of the disease. A carrier is someone who has a change in only one gene of the pair of genes. Carriers are healthy individuals who are only at risk for passing the gene change on to their children. Most often these diseases occur in families with no prior history of the disease. Tay-Sachs Disease A condition where children develop normally until about four to six months of age. It is at this time that the central nervous system begins to degenerate. Individuals with Tay-Sachs Disease lack an enzyme called hexosaminidase (Hex A). The child loses all motor skills and becomes blind, deaf and unresponsive. Death usually occurs by the age of four. The carrier rate in the Ashkenazi Jewish population is approximately 1 in 25. More rare than the infantile type is Late Onset Tay-Sachs Disease, where the progression of symptoms is slower and milder. Canavan DiseaseVery similar to Tay-Sachs Disease, with normal development until age two to four months, followed by progressive loss of previously attained skills. Most individuals with Canavan Disease die by the age of five. An estimated 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier for this disease. Niemann-Pick Disease Type A A disease in which a harmful amount of a fatty substance accumulates in different parts of the body. Failure to thrive and a progressive neurodegenerative course lead to death by three years of age. The carrier rate in the Ashkenazi Jewish population is approximately 1 in 90. Gaucher Disease Type 1(Pronounced go-shay) is a variable condition, both in age of onset and in progression of symptoms. A painful, enlarged and overactive spleen, with anemia and low white blood cell count are usually the initial features of Gaucher Disease. Bone deterioration is a major cause of discomfort and disability. Approximately 1 in 14 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier of this condition. Treatment is available. Familial DysautonomiaA disease that causes the autonomic and sensory nervous systems to malfunction. This affects the regulation of body temperature, blood pressure, stress response, normal swallowing and digestion. An estimated 1 in 30 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier of FD. Bloom SyndromeCharacterized by short stature, sun-sensitive facial skin lesions, an increased susceptibility to infections and a higher incidence of leukemia and certain cancers. The carrier rate is about 1 in 100 in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Fanconi anemia Type C A disease associated with short stature, bone marrow failure and a predisposition to leukemia and other cancers. Some children may have learning difficulties or mental retardation. Approximately 1 in 89 Ashkenazi Jews is a carrier for this condition. Mucolipidosis IVCaused by the accumulation of certain harmful substances throughout the body. Individuals with ML IV experience a range of levels of motor and mental retardation, with developmental delays often manifesting themselves as early as the first year of life. Other symptoms can be related to the eyes, such as corneal clouding, pseudostrabismus and retinal degeneration. Cystic FibrosisA multi-system disorder that causes the body to produce a thick mucus. The mucus accumulates primarily in the lungs and the digestive tract, resulting in chronic lung infections and poor growth. CF does not affect intelligence. The carrier rate for CF among all Caucasian individuals is approximately 1 in 25. The CF carrier test has a detection rate of 97% in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. If two carriers of the same disorder have children, there is a 25% chance of having an affected child, a 50% chance of having a child who is a carrier like themselves, and a 25% chance of having a child who is neither affected nor a carrier. If an individual is found to be a carrier, genetic counseling is available at many clinics throughout the country to discuss the implications of this finding. If partners are found to be carriers of the same disorder(s), a genetic counselor can provide information and support, which may be helpful in making important family planning decisions. The results of these tests are highly accurate. However, there is a slight possibility that someone who tests negative for being a carrier could still be a carrier. There may be rare mutations that DNA testing may not pick up.

Fair Usage Law

December 16, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) What Is an – WebMD

Articles OnAshkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) An Ashkenazi Jewish genetic panel (AJGP) is a blood test that checks to see if a person is a carrier of a genetic disease that occurs more often in people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage. These diseases do not just affect people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage but are more common in this group of people. Other racial and ethnic groups have genetic diseases that are more common in their groups. An AJGP test tells parents if they have an increased chance of having a child with certain genetic diseases. Anyone who is interested in knowing his or her carrier status can ask for the test, but a doctor must order the test. Different labs may have different tests in the panel. Talk to your doctor about which diseases are important for your family. Genetic counseling can help you understand the test and possible results so you can make the best decision for you. WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Fair Usage Law

November 27, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Judaism: Ashkenazim

Ashkenaz (Heb. ) refers to a people and a country bordering on Armenia and the upper Euphrates; listed in Genesis 10:3 and I Chronicles 1:6 among the descendants of Gomer. The name Ashkenaz also occurs once in Jeremiah 51:27 in a passage calling upon the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz to rise and destroy Babylon. Scholars have identified the Ashkenaz as the people called Ashkuza (Ashguza, Ishguza) in Akkadian. According to Assyrian royal inscriptions the Ashkuza fought the Assyrians in the reign of Esharhaddon (680669 B.C.E.) as allies of the Minni (Manneans). Since the Ashkuza are mentioned in conjunction with the Gimirrai-Cimmerians and the Ashkenaz with Gomer in Genesis, it is reasonable to infer that Ashkenaz is a dialectal form of Akkadian Ashkuza, identical with a group of Iranian-speaking people organized in confederations of tribes called Saka in Old Persian, whom Greek writers (e.g., Herodotus 1:103) called Scythians. They ranged from southern Russia through the Caucasus and into the Near East. Some scholars, however, have argued against this identification on philological grounds because of the presence of the “n” in the word Ashkenaz. In medieval rabbinical literature the name was used for Germany. The name Ashkenaz was applied in the Middle Ages to Jews living along the Rhine River in northern France and western Germany. The center of Ashkenazi Jews later spread to Poland-Lithuania and now there are Ashkenazi settlements all over the world. The term “Ashkenaz” became identified primarily with German customs and descendants of German Jews. In the 10th and 11th century, the first Ashkenazim, Jewish merchants in France and Germany, were economic pioneers, treated well because of their trading connections with the Mediterranean and the East. Jewish communities appeared in many urban centers. Early Ashkenaz communities were small and homogeneous. Until Christian guilds were formed, Jews were craftsmen and artisans. In France, many Jews owned vineyards and made wine. They carried arms and knew how to use them in self-defense. The Jews of each town constituted an independent, self-governing entity. Each community, or kahal, established its own regulations made up by an elected board and judicial courts. They enforced their rulings with the threat of excommunication. The Ashkenazim generally shied away from outside influences and concentrated on internal Jewish sources, ideas and customs. Ashkenazim focused on biblical and Talmudic studies. Centers of rabbinic scholarship appeared in the tenth century in Mainz and Worms in the Rhineland and in Troyes and Sens in France. Ashkenazi scholarship centered around oral discussion. Sages focused on understanding the minutiae of the texts instead of extracting general principles. The most famous early teacher was Rabbenu Gershom of Mainz. Some of his decrees, such as that forbidding polygamy, are still in existence today. The first major Ashkenazi literary figure was Rashi (Solomon ben Isaac of Troyes, 1040-1105), whose commentaries on the Bible and Talmud are today considered fundamental to Jewish study. The tosafists, Ashkenazi Talmudic scholars in northern France and Germany, introduced new methods and insights into Talmudic study that are also still in use. Early Ashkenazi Jews composed religious poetry modeled after the fifth and sixth century piyyutim (liturgical poems). While prayer liturgy varied even among Ashkenazi countries, the differences were almost insignificant compared to the differences between Sephardi and Ashkenazi liturgy. While Ashkenazi Jews occasionally experience anti-Semitism, mob violence first erupted against them an the end of the 11th century. Many Jews were killed in what Robert Seltzer calls a “supercharged religious atmosphere.” Many were willing to die as martyrs rather than convert. In the 12th and 13th centuries, many Ashkenazi Jews became moneylenders. They were supported by the secular rulers who benefited from taxes imposed on the Jews. The rulers did not totally protect them, however, and blood libels cropped up accompanied by violence. In 1182, Jews were expelled from France. Ashkenazi Jews continued to build communities in Germany until they faced riots and massacres in the 1200s and 1300s. Some Jews moved to Sephardi Spain while others set up Ashkenazi communities in Poland. The center of Ashkenazi Jewry shifted to Poland, Lithuania, Bohemia and Moravia in the beginning of the 16th century. Jews were for the first time concentrated in Eastern Europe instead of Western Europe. Polish Jews adopted the Ashkenazi rites, liturgy, and religious customs of the German Jews. The Ashkenazi mahzor (holiday prayer book) included prayers composed by poets of Germany and Northern France. In Poland, the Jews became fiscal agents, tax collectors, estate managers for noblemen, merchants and craftsmen. In the 1500-1600s, Polish Jewry grew to be the largest Jewish community in the diaspora. Many Jews lived in shtetls, small towns where the majority of the inhabitants were Jewish. They set up kehillot like those in the Middle Ages that elected a board of trustees to collect taxes, set up education systems and deal with other necessities of Jewish life. The Jews even had their own craft guilds. Each kahal had a yeshiva, where boys over the age of 13 learned Talmudic and rabbinic texts. Yiddish was the language of oral translation and of discussion of Torah and Talmud. Ashkenazi scholars focused on careful readings of the text and also on summarizing legal interpretations of former Ashkenazi and Sephardi scholars of Jewish law. Ashkenazim focused on Hebrew, Torah and especially Talmud. They used religion to protect themselves from outside influences. The Jews at this time were largely middle class. By choice, they mostly lived in self-contained communities surrounding their synagogue and other communal institutions. Yiddish was the common language of Ashkenazi Jews in eastern and central Europe. With the start of the Renaissance and religious wars in the late 16th century, a divide grew between central and eastern European Jews. In central Europe, particularly in Germany, rulers forced the Jews to live apart from the rest of society in ghettos with between 100 and 500 inhabitants. The ghettos were generally clean and in good condition. Eastern European Jews lived in the shtetls, where Jews and gentiles lived side by side. In the 1600s and 1700s, Jews in Poland, the center of Ashkenazi Jewry, faced blood libels and riots. The growth of Hasidism in Poland drew many Jews away from typical Ashkenazi practice. After the Chmielnicki massacres in Poland in 1648, Polish Jews spread through Western Europe, some even crossing the Atlantic. Many Ashkenazi Polish Jews fled to Amsterdam and joined previously existing communities of German Jews. Sephardim there considered the Ashkenazim to be socially and culturally inferior. While the Sephardim were generally wealthy, the Ashkenazim were poor peddlers, petty traders, artisans, diamond polishers, jewelry workers and silversmiths. As the Sephardim became poorer in the 18th century, the communities became more equal and more united. The Jewish community in England also changed in the 1700s. It had been primarily Sephardi throughout the 1600s, but it became more Ashkenazi in culture as growing numbers of German and Polish Jews arrived. By 1750, out of 2,500 Jews in the American Colonies, the majority was Ashkenazi. They were Yiddish-speaking Jews from Holland, Germany, Poland and England. The first Jews were merchants and traders. Since then, Ashkenazi Jews have built up communities throughout the United States. By the end of the 19th century, as a result of Russian persecution, there was massive Ashkenazi emigration from Eastern Europe to other areas of Europe, Australia, South Africa, the United States and Israel. Ashkenazim outnumbered Sephardim everywhere except North Africa, Italy, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Before World War II, Ashkenazim comprised 90% of world Jewry. The destruction of European Jewry in World War II reduced the number of Ashkenazim and, to some extent, their numeric superiority over Sephardim. The United States became the main center for Ashkenazi Jews. Over time Ashkenazim and Sephardim developed different prayer liturgies, Torah services, Hebrew pronunciation and ways of life. Originally, most Ashkenazim spoke Yiddish. Ashkenazi and Sephardi tunes for both prayers and Torah reading are different. An Ashkenazi Torah lies flat while being read, while a Sephardi Torah stands up. Ashkenazi scribes developed a distinctive script. One major difference is in the source used for deciding Jewish law. Sephardim follow Rabbi Joseph Caros Shulhan Arukh. The Ashkenazim go by Rabbi Moses Isserles, who wrote a commentary on the Shulhan Arukh citing Ashkenazi practice. There are differences in many aspects of Jewish law, from which laws women are exempt from to what food one is allowed to eat on Passover. Today, many of the distinctions between Ashkenazim and Sephardim have disappeared. In both Israel and the United States today, Ashkenazim and Sephardim live side by side, though they generally have separate institutions. In Israel, political tensions continue to exist because of feelings on the part of many Sephardim that they have been discriminated against and still dont get the respect they deserve. Historically, the political elite of the nation have been Ashkenazim; however, this is gradually changing. Shas, a religious Sephardi party, has become one of the most powerful in the country and individual Sephardi politicians now hold powerful positions. Moroccan-born David Levy, for example, has served as foreign minister and, in July 2000, Iranian-born Moshe Katsav was elected president. An international team of scientists announced on September 9 2014 that they had come to the conclusion that all Ashkenazi Jews are descended from an original group of about 350 individuals who lived between 600 and 800 years ago. These people were of Middle-Eastern and European descent. The analysis was done by comparing the DNA data of 128 Ashkenazi Jews with the DNA of a reference group of 26 Flemmish people from Belgium, and then working out which genetic markers are unique to people of Ashkenazi descent. The similarities in the Ashkenazi genomes allowed the scientists to identify a base point from which all Ashkenazi Jews descend. According to the scientists, this effectively makes all modern Ashkenazi Jews 30th cousins, stemming from the same population almost 800 years ago. This discovery may help medical professionals treat genetic diseases, because diseases like Tay Sachs and certain types of cancers are more prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. In order to treat these diseases doctors will now have a better idea of where to sequence an individuals genome to test for disease succeptability. This discovery also effectively disproves the idea that Ashkenazi Jews were descended from Khazars who converted to Judaism during the 8th or 9th centuries C.E. E.A. Speiser, Genesis (Eng., 1964), 66; U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis, 2 (1964), 192; EM, 1 (1965), 7623 (incl. bibl.). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Holladay, Jeremiah, 2 (1989), 427; P. Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander (2002), 39. Sources: Yehoshua M. Grintz, Ashkenaz, Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.Butnick, Stephanie. Study Says All Ashkenazi Jews Are 30th Cousins, Tablet Magazine. September 10, 2014.Ausubel, Nathan. Pictorial History of the Jewish People. New York: Crown Publishers, 1953.Dimont, Max. Jews, God and History. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962.Seltzer, Robert. Jewish People, Jewish Thought. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1980.

Fair Usage Law

November 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) – webmd.com

Articles OnAshkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic Panel (AJGP) Ashkenazi Jewish genetic diseases are a group of rare disorders that occur more often in people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage than in the general population. Even though most of these diseases are severe and can cause early death, some can be treated to reduce symptoms and prolong life. Some of these diseases can be found during pregnancy through chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. This testing is done usually if one or both parents are carriers of a genetic disease. Diseases in this group include: About 1 out of 4 people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage is a carrier of one of these genetic conditions, most commonly of Gaucher disease, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, familial dysautonomia, or Canavan disease.1 WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Fair Usage Law

October 13, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

For Jews Of Color, Charlottesville Is Personal – Jewish Week

When Elle Wisnicki, the 22-year-old daughter of a black mother and Ashkenazi Jewish father, scrolled through pictures of men holding tiki torches and waving Nazi flags in Charlottesville, Va., last week, she felt as though her grandparents were by her side. The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor on her fathers side and only three generations away from American slavery on her mothers, last weeks convergence of several hundred far-right extremists some wearing white hoods and carrying Confederate flags, others in polo shirts with swastika-emblazoned armbands caused her to feel the weight of both my identities. Everything I represent was under attack, said the recent college graduate, now working for a health-care consulting firm. Both sides of my family have been been persecuted and oppressed for no other reason than who they are. This came at me from both sides. Elle Wisnicki:Everything I represent was under attack. Courtesy The events that took place last weekend a far-right rally to protest the removal of a Confederate War statue that ended in rioting, violence and a car attack that killed one counterprotester and injured 19 left thousands around the country stunned. President Donald Trumps statement on Tuesday equating neo-Nazis and white supremacists with those protesting against them that drew praise from far-right leaders including former Ku Klux Klan head David Duke left an already unsettled nation reeling. Jewish groups widely condemned the violence and criticized President Trump for saying that the hatred and violence came from many sides. (Read more of our coverage of the events here.) White supremacists, foreground, face off against counterprotesters, top, at the entrance to Emancipation Park during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. Getty Images Still, for young Jews of color many of whom balance a complex and sometimes-challenging intersection of identities last weeks events were uniquely painful, and personal. These are different players at a different moment in history, but its the same playbook. As a black person in this country, I am not surprised, said Yehudah Webster, 24, a leader of the Jews of Color caucus for the social action organization Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ). But as a Jew, I am. While American racism never went away, the bold, anti-Semitic rhetoric that reared its head at last weeks rally was shocking for me, said Webster marchers from extreme right groups chanted Jews will not replace us and the infamous Nazi slogan blood and soil. The Guyanese son of formerly Christian pastors who converted to Judaism at age six, Webster described the new alignment of identities as surreal. These are different players at a different moment in history, but its the same playbook, he said. The question: Will we get it right this time? On Saturday night, Webster helped organize a Havdalah Against Hate rally on the Upper East side. Over sixty people turned out. Yehuda Webster: White supremacy is here to hold down and exploit all of us alike. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder. Courtesy White supremacy is here to hold down and exploit all of us alike, said Webster, who hopes this will be a coming-together moment for people of color and Jews. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder. Webster was not alone in feeling simultaneously disturbed and unsurprised by last weeks events. I am familiar with this type of racism, said April Baskin, vice president of Audacious Hospitality for the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ). Baskin, the daughter of an Ashkenazi Jewish mother and a black Jewish father, grew up in South Dakota and then Blacksburg, Va., said, I could easy have lived near someone who attended that rally. As a young girl, Baskin recalled facing taunts and discrimination because of the color of her skin. In first grade, one of her classmates threw racial epithets at her every day the little boys father was a leader in the KKK. Everyone knew about it, but no one said anything. White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right march down East Market Street over the weekend of Aug 11-12 in Charlottesville, Va. Getty Images I am deeply connected to this countrys history surrounding racism, said Baskin, 33. What we saw [in Charlottesville] last week didnt surprise me. What did surprise me is that racism and hate are being shown so brazenly. For the Jewish community, the events of last week are a painful wake-up call. How can we take this terrible moment and translate it into a moment of unity? asked Baskin, who helps congregations across the U.S. become more boldly inclusive through her work at URJ. Before this, a lot of Jewish people did not understand the depth of anti-Semitism and racism in this country. Now that weve seen it and we cant unsee it lets use the tools we have to help people understand how systemic oppression operates. April Baskin: How can we take this terrible moment and translate it into a moment of unity? Courtesy Jews of color are uniquely equipped to heed that call, Baskin said. I have access to a wider view, she said, speaking to her own experience directly after the details of what took place in Charlottesville surfaced. Everything my Jewish people were saying, I could see it. Everything colored communities were feeling, I could feel it. The experience reminded her of watching her parents both Jewish, but of different races argue back and forth. I love both of them, but they enter into conversations differently, she said. Can we see where both communities are coming from? I want these two peoples to accept each other, empathize with one another, just like a child wants her parents to get along. Jason Daniel Fair, 32, the son of a white Jewish mother and an African American father, described a heightened awareness of his intersectional identities after Charlottesville. I felt attacked on multiple sides, all at once, said Fair, who works for The Trevor Project, a 24-hour suicide hotline for LGBT youth as a senior major gifts officer. (Directly after the 2016 presidential election, the hotlines call volume more than doubled. After Charlottesville, numbers jumped 20 percent, according to Fair.) White supremacists exchanging insults with counterprotesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. Getty Images Even so, the events did not surprise him. Thats what Nazis are about attacking people who are not like them. Here, its blacks and Jews. Fair, who serves as a board member for the Jewish Multiracial Network, a non-profit organization that advocates for Jews of color and Jewish multiracial families, said last weekends event were doubly triggering. Attacks on Jews are attacks on people of color. Attacks on Jews are attacks on people of color, he said. When folks are shouting blood and soil in the streets, we religious and racial minorities know what that means. Fair also expressed the hope that this would lead to increased bridge building between Jewish and black communities across the country. The challenge is not to see this as a one-off moment, he said. Still, right now, in Charlottesvilles shadowy aftermath, the priority is to heal. We make progress when we operate from a place of strength, said Fair. First, we can mourn this. Then, well dust ourselves off and keep fighting.

Fair Usage Law

August 22, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Health apps appeal to a variety of Jewish needs – Jewish Journal

Whether you are interested in bringing more Judaism into your daily yoga practice or you are concerned about the halachic acceptability of tattooing for cancer radiation therapy, a number of Jewish-minded smartphone apps are available to help you on your journey toward better health. Kabbalah Yoga: Ambitious Beginner If youve heard about the health benefits of yoga but arent sure where to begin, this app is for you. With easy-to-follow videos that incorporate kabbalah and meditation into introductory yogic practices, it brings the physical and emotional benefits of yoga within reach. The app ($4.99) also includes a workout journal so you can mark your physical and spiritual progress. Those who practice yoga regularly report lower levels of stress and better sleep. And for people with thinning bones, even introductory-level yoga is considered a weight-bearing activity that can help build bone density. Nishmat: Jewish Womens Health The intersection of womens health and halachic law sometimes can be a tricky and potentially embarrassing topic to broach with medical professionals outside the religious community. With this free, easy-to-navigate app, women of all ages can find answers to even the most difficult personal health questions. The app clarifies Jewish law on topics like contraception, gynecological exams, infertility, lactation, obstetrics and oncology, without belittling or ignoring the most complicated issues a woman might face, including the use of medical tattooing for radiation treatment. While the app was created to help health professionals understand how best to treat their patients, it also has been a useful tool for women seeking to understand how their medical treatment can affect their body, and how they can engage with their partner during and after treatment. Gene Screen With a focus on Diaspora Ashkenazi Jews, Gene Screen is a free interactive app that allows users to understand the basics of population genetics, as well as the most common genetic diseases they might be susceptible to. Learn about recessive and dominant genes, play with drag-and-drop Punnett squares, and compare the prevalence of specific genetic diseases between the Ashkenazic population of the United States and the general U.S. population. The iOS-only app also links to a variety of websites that delve into details about genetics and offer genetic testing, including sites such as the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases. NutriGuide This app allows the user to personalize a kosher meal and grocery plan that can be of assistance in reaching health goals while also allowing the user to remain religiously observant. First, users set up a personal profile with their current height, weight, activity level and desired weight. They then can create a tailor-made diet framework to help them pursue a specific dietary goal, whether it be lowering sugar or salt intake, becoming vegetarian or avoiding food allergens. The free app also has a feature that allows users to scan bar codes on items at the grocery store, which delivers nutrition information about the products and whether they contain ingredients the user should be avoiding.

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Benjamin Netanyahu, Perennial Underdog – The Atlantic

A leader who portrays himself as one of the persecuted, the target of an incessant witch-hunt by the so-called deep state. A liberal media intent on revisiting an election gone badly. And a left-wing political machine supposedly out to get him. This leader, of course, is Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel. On August 4, Netanyahus former chief of staff signed a deal with the Israeli police to become a states witness in two criminal investigations in which the prime minister is a suspect. One of the cases involves gifts from billionaires abroad; the other concerns an alleged attempt to negotiate favorable press coverage. Three other investigations involve people close to Netanyahu: his lawyer (a second cousin), a political appointee, and even his wife, Sara. Netanyahu has not been indicted by the attorney general, let alone convicted by a criminal courtthat could take months. And yet, things dont look good for Bibi, as the leak-happy Hebrew press keeps reporting. The states witness, Ari Harow, must provide the goods if he himself is to avoid a prison sentence for suspected bribery and fraud; few know more about Netanyahus dealings than him. Netanyahus many rivals at home, both within and outside his own Likud party and coalition, have long been preparing for the end of his tenure. Now, they smell political blood. Netanyahus response has been one of defiance. On August 9, Likud party officials and supportersthe Bibi faithfulgathered at a rally in Tel Aviv to voice their support for the prime minister. There, he delivered a message of persecution, railing against the despised liberal media and the even-more despised left-wing. The two, he said, are one and the same. They had failed to beat him at the polls, and were now out to get him by other means, which that amorphous elitethe left-wing, the mediapresumably control. Never mind that the attorney general, who holds sole discretionary power to indict him, is a Netanyahu appointee and certainly no lefty, or that his rival and predecessor, Ehud Olmert, just left prison, where he spent nearly 18 months after being convicted on charges similar to those Bibi now faces. At the rally, Netanyahu seemed to channel Donald Trump. He even explicitly (mis)used the English phrase fake news to attack the supposedly biased mainstream media thats out to get him. While Netanyahu and Trump are profoundly differentBibis many faults aside, he is erudite, cautious, and experiencedthe two men share an approach to confronting political adversity: divide and conquer, turn the spotlight on the other, create an other when none is available, and always, always, feed the base. Therein lies a long-term danger for both Israel and America. The governing institutions of each are strong, but their leaders have the power to shape or erode basic norms of democracy and codes of national unity; both Netanyahu and Trump have been careless at best in this regard. Faced with a real threat to his position, perhaps even to his liberty, Netanyahu is once again playing with fire. Netanyahus performance at that Likud gathering was vintage Bibi, recalling his first run for prime minister in the 1990s. Back then, Netanyahu led the opposition to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of the Labor Party, as a vicious public campaign against him swept through Israels right-wing. After his assassination by a right-winger, Netanyahu defeated Rabins successor, Shimon Peres, to become Israel’s youngest-ever prime minister. In Netanyahus mind, the same elite he now attacksthe media, the left-wing, the supposed deep statenever forgave him, blaming him for the incitement against Rabin, and for daring to defeat Peres fair and square. They never accepted this outsider who was raised partly in America, who had never been a minister (he had been a deputy minister), and who had never been part of any of the main cliques of the Israeli elite. Netanyahus paranoia was not entirely unwarranted. On the morning after his first electoral victory in May 1996, for example, a mere six months after Rabins assassination, signs lamenting that Rabin was assassinated twiceequating his win to the prime ministers deathadorned signposts on the streets of Tel Aviv. Many Rabin-Peres supporters never got over Netanyahus victory. (They were also appalled by many of his subsequent policies.) Yet there was also political opportunity for Netanyahu in that narrative, which he exploited. The old elites, a phrase that gained currency in Israel during Netanyahus first term, were the bogeymen for the disparate parts of his political base: the Mizrahim, the ultra-orthodox Jews, the National-Religious, the Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They shared little except their antagonism to Israels perceived elite, the left-wing and largely secular Ashkenazi Jews of Israel. As Menachem Begin did 1977, Netanyahu, an Ashkenazi Jew, enlisted the votes of these left-behinds, sometimes called second Israel, to the political cause of the (Ashkenazi) right-wing. Almost every segment of Jewish-Israeli society that felt disenfranchised opposed the hated establishment, leaving only Israels Arab citizens aligned with the left. For Netanyahu, catering to the base also came with political risk. Many in the Israeli political center were taken aback by his tone when, for example, he was caught on camera whispering into the ear of an octogenarian rabbi influential among religious Mizrahi voters that the left had forgotten what it means to be Jewish. Many voters in the centernot leftist themselvesdisliked such tactics. Netanyahu was routed in the elections of 1999 in no small part because of a sense of fatigue with the partisanship of his first term. Like in the United States, a base offers loyalty and energy, but not always sufficient numbers. At the same time, Netanyahus choice to voice the legitimate, sometimes-justified concerns of those who felt left behind had important benefits for Israeli society, in the symbolic realm at least. Mizrahi culture and heritage, for example, received more recognition and airtime in mainstream media. In the United States, too, one lesson of Trumps rise is that its ruling elite need to take a hard look at the many Americans alienated by the current power structures. It may have been high time for Washington to be shocked by its disconnect from much of the country. But without a leader able to transform grievance into empowerment and political victory into responsibility and ownership, the disconnect will only widen. In the end, Netanyahu failed to transform his victory into a cathartic experience for the groups he claimed to elevate; he never stopped campaigning as the antithesis to the hated elite. The never-ending, cynical invocation of the political bases grievancessomething Netanyahu and others have now perfectedhad severe consequences for Israeli society and politics. Even as he secured political power, Netanyahu preferred to play the role of leader of the opposition, to perpetuate a sense of victimhood among his supporters rather than transform his numerous political victories into agency, empowerment and, above all, responsibility. Today, Netanyahu’s gamble of catering to the base while neglecting the center is less risky than it was in the 1990s, as the Israeli right-wing has expanded. Hasmol, or the left in Hebrew, is now often used as a pejorative phrase. Rabins Oslo peace process, and the left as a political camp, were decimated by the Second Intifada, which began in the summer of 2000. The political center of Ariel Sharon and Olmert, which pushed for unilateral separation from the Palestinians, was rebuffed in Israeli voters eyes by the rockets that followed the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. It has now been 40 years since the rise of the Likud party of Begin and Netanyahu. Over that time, Labor, the once-hegemonic party of Israeli politics, has held the prime ministership for less than eight years (the centrist Kadima held it for three more). The right-wings reign in Israel today is no temporary fluke. And yet Likud still speaks as the underdog, as the opposition to a deep state and an amorphous elite. (That elite, incidentally, feels more besieged and marginalized than ever.) This thinking helps explain, at least in part, why in the last election in 2015, Netanyahu posted a video warning his supporters that foreign-funded NGOs were busing Arab voters in droves to polling stationsa false story, and reckless for Netanyahu, leader of a country where 20 percent of the citizenry is Arab, to disseminate. The power of Netanyahus base does not mean he will evade legal trouble, however. The rule of law in Israel is strong. If the state prosecutor recommends indictment, the attorney general will then weigh the evidence and the chances of conviction, and likely grant Netanyahu a special hearing before any final decision to indict. Netanyahu has hinted that he does not intend to resign even if indicted. He may even try to call for early elections in order to gain a popular mandate in the face of a legal decision. Yet if Bibi is indicted, he will likely eventually have to resign; polling suggests that even many right-wing voters expect him to do so. After Netanyahu, the opposition would aim to capitalize on the scandals and seek to replace him. Yet the power of his base means that his replacement may well come from within his own camp. If he resigns, Likud might also maintain its coalition and simply appoint one of its own as prime minister, bypassing a general election. If the right-wing prevails, Israels policies, including its stance toward the Palestinians, would remain largely unchanged. Yet a new prime minister, whether a hawk or a dove, would have a chance to change a central aspect of the Netanyahu legacy: the divisiveness of his politics. Even after over 11 years as prime minister, Netanyahu has, deliberately, never lost the appeal of an oppositional figure pitting himself against a hated establishment. In Israel, as in the United States, that is a dangerous approach to leadership.

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

EMS couple saves two on Friday – Arutz Sheva

After Miri Shvimmer, a United Hatzalah volunteer paramedic responded to three life-saving calls in a few hours with Lior Ashkenazi, a fellow United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, she quipped One might say we had a productive day. On Friday afternoon just after 3:00 p.m. the couple responded to an emergency in which an individual jumped off the Kibbutz Galuyot bridge. The patient suffered severe trauma to multiple systems and was treated on scene by the couple who were among the first responders to arrive at the scene. We were out shopping and we got the call that a person had fallen from the bridge. Due to the traffic jams that ensued, it took the ambulance a long time to arrive. We drove on Liors ambucyle and arrived in just a few minutes, explained Shvimmer. The couple, who had treated a teenager for serious stab wounds just two days earlier, was on the scene of the attempted suicide within less than three minutes, thanks to Ashkenazis ambucycle. We arrived at the scene together but left separately, explained Ashkenazi as Shvimmer, who is a paramedic, had to head to the hospital with the ambulance as the vehicle that arrived at the scene did not have a paramedic on board. In Israel, it is against the law to diminish care, explained Eli Beer, President, and Founder of United Hatzalah. Thus if the medical situation requires a higher level of care and one of our volunteer paramedics or even one of our volunteer EMTs are more experienced than the ambulance crew, they go with the ambulance and transport the patient to the hospital. This is in order to maintain the high level of care that our volunteers provide for the patients during the journey to the hospital as well. Before Shvimmer left with the patient, Ashkenazi asked which hospital the ambulance was headed to and cleared the way on his ambucycle. He met Shvimmer there and picked her up so that the couple could continue their afternoon, having saved the persons life and handed the patient over to the next level of care at the hospital. We headed back to the shuk (open market) to finish our shopping for Shabbat and we had just arrived when we received a call that a woman had collapsed one street over. We rushed over and began CPR, Ashkenazi recalled. Once again the couple was the first on the scene. Unfortunately in this instance the patient did not survive and after lengthy resuscitative efforts EMS teams were forced to declare her death. The CPR call was the third call of the day for the pair. We were a bit busy all day, said Ashkenazi. We had responded to an allergic reaction earlier in the day when Miri had to accompany an ambulance once again to the hospital after a child suffered an anaphylactic reaction in the morning and required an epinephrine shot. We both went to the emergency and I picked her up then as well. Both Shvimmer and Ashkenazi agree that It isnt always simple to have to drop everything at a moments notice and keep up with all of lifes expectations of studying, errands, and still having a social life. But the goal and the reward of helping others makes it well worth the hassle and keeps us motivated. We have found that we are able to minimize the effects on our schedules of rushing to a scene as much as possible even when it happens multiple times a day. Thankfully, our friends and family are all very understanding of our spontaneous disappearances due to an emergency call in our vicinity, and that makes it easier for us as well.

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed


Fair Use Disclaimer

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."