Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

Rochester area pastor says the church should lead the way to unity following Charlottesville – WXXI News

Between 750 and 1,000 Christians and Jews from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds are expected to attend a joint worship service in Rochester Sunday.

The ROC Service and picnic will bring together four Christian and one Jewish congregation for an annual gathering that has been held for the past decade, but faith leaders say there is a special meaning behind this year’s event.

Vince DiPaola, pastor of Lakeshore Community Church, says the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville proves more than ever the need to unit people of all faiths.

“I don’t know all of the people who were involved in Charlottesville, but certainly when some of them claim to be Nazis or Aryans or white supremacists, it shakes us all to the core.”

Pastor DiPaolo says the event is more about embracing unity than it is a protest.

“If we can advance the positive…sometimes we just kind of spend time in the ‘ain’t in awful, ain’t it awful, ain’t it awful,’ and there may be a place for that, but I want to say ‘here’s how it can be better,’ and I believe the pastors of the other churches believe the same thing.”

Two services are scheduled Sunday, August 27 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Lakeshore Community Church at 3651 Latta Road. The 11 a.m. service will be followed by a picnic at 12:30 p.m.

The services will include members of Ark of Jesus Ministries, Congregation Shema Yisrael, New Way Christian Faith Center, and Victorious Living Christian Life Center, but Pastor DiPaolo said anyone who is open to God is welcome to attend.

“I believe it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said the most segregated time of the week is Sunday at 11, he said. And and we just feel that’s the exact opposite of what it should be; we feel the church should be modeling the way.”

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Rochester area pastor says the church should lead the way to unity following Charlottesville – WXXI News

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Solar Eclipse of 2017: Four Reasons It’s Bad, According to the Talmud – Haaretz

Judaism’s central rabbinic text says today’s solar eclipse is nothing to celebrate

CHARLESTON – Across the United States, Jews are gathering in anticipation of the historic Great American Eclipse, particularly in cities known as ideal spots to experience the phenomenon.

But at the downtown Brith Shalom Beth Israel synagogue Sunday evening, nestled in the historic southern city perfectly positioned for the Monday event, Dr. Jeremy Brown had bad news for a group who had gathered for a kosher meal on Eclipse Eve: in traditional Judaism, an eclipse is nothing to celebrate.

Eclipses happen because people sin, he said. Theres no getting around it, Brown says. The Talmud – the central text of rabbinic Judaism – is unambiguous in its interpretation of eclipses – both lunar and solar, as a form of divine punishment – a curse to be dreaded and feared, rather than a miraculous wonder of nature.

If that isnt bad enough, Brown told his audience of Charleston locals and Jews who had come to the city for the big event, the four sins specifically blamed by the Talmud plunging the earth into eerie darkness are so notably bizarre and politically incorrect, that nobody really wants to talk about them.

What are they?

1. The failure to properly bury the leader of a Rabbinic Court

2. If a betrothed girl cries out as she is being raped and there is no one to save her

3. Homosexuality

4. If two brothers were killed at the same time.

If these reasons sound random and unrelated with no possible connection, fear not – said Brown. Even the great medieval rabbi, Rashi, normally relied upon for his clear and concise Talmudic explanation of just about everything, was uncharacteristically clueless in the case of eclipse-triggering transgressions, writing I have not heard any explanation for this.

Brown, a doctor, who wrote the book New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish reception of Copernican Thought and recently published an article on halachic and philosophical aspects of the 2017 eclipse traveled from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland to Charleston to fully experience the eclipse first-hand.

For centuries, he notes, rabbis have wrestled with the Talmudic attitude towards eclipse. It contains, he notes, an inherent illogic in the Jewish approach that was clear even hundreds of years ago. Eclipses are a natural occurrence that is utterly predictable, they will take place no matter what any human being does. So how in the world, rabbis and scholars have asked, could they possibly be a result of sin or any form of human behavior?

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As far back as 1609, Brown said, the Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Yehuda Loew tried to justify the Talmudic text by theorizing if we lived in a world without sin, no eclipses would happen. In his view, since human fallibility and sin are both inevitable, so was an eclipse. That attitude, however, leans closer to the Christian concept of original sin than to the traditional Jewish beliefs.

Another big problem with the Maharals theory as far as Jews are concerned, he observed – if there were never any eclipses, it would have to mean that the moon wouldnt ever be able to orbit in the same plane as the sun and the earth.

The only way for there to be no solar eclipses in the Maharals imaginary sin-free universe would be for the moon to orbit the earth at 90 to the sun-earth axis. Then it would never come between the sun and the earth, says Brown. This would wreak havoc with the Jewish calendar, which is based on lunar patterns – preventing Rosh Chodesh the beginning of the Hebrew month, that Jews consider a kind of a holiday.

The conundrum continued in the modern era, with famed Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson positing in 1957 that while a solar eclipse was predictable, the local weather was most certainly not. So presumably, if it was a cloudy day and the eclipse wasnt visible, people hadnt been sinful, but if it was clear and the sight was eerily abnormal – that meant the sins had taken place.

Schneerson was emphatic when it came to those who might be inspired to bless the event, writing that it is forbidden to institute a blessing that is not mentioned in the Talmud. And some say that the reason that no blessing was instituted is because the eclipse is a bad omen. Brown says that the rebbe believed that if Jews should pray for anything – it would be that the eclipse shouldnt happen. Or maybe they should just cry gevalt!

But, over the years, he notes it seems attitudes have softened. When Israels current Chief Rabbi David Lau was asked in 2006 was asked whether it wasnt perhaps possible to view such a cosmic occurrence in a positive light and even say a blessing when it occurs if they feel a religious stirring. In his response, Lau admitted that he himself had also been awed when witnessing an eclipse, but that because the rabbis of the Talmudic era had not prescribed a blessing over an eclipse, it was not possible to institute such a blessing today. He added, however, that there was nothing wrong with reciting an appropriately celebratory and worshipful psalm, and even recommended a few for the occasion.

Brown, an observant Jew himself, endorses Laus approach, as do, he says, most of todays rabbis. Even though an official eclipse prayer may technically be out-of-bounds for the faithful, he thinks a memorable celestial event is indeed an occasion joyful attention and wonder – no matter what the Talmud says.

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One in three Jews considers leaving Britain because of rising antisemitism – ChristianToday

One in three British Jews has considered leaving the UK due to surging antisemitism, according to a report today from the Campaign Against Antisemitism(CAA).

Surveys of more than 3,000 British Jews for the campaign’s Antisemitism Barometer by YouGov and the campaign found nearly a third of British Jews have considered leaving the UK in the past two years.

Just six in ten, or 59 per cent, of British Jews feel welcome in the UK, and 17 per cent feel unwelcome. For the past two years, 37 per cent of British Jews have been concealing their Judaism in public.

Examples of those preparing to quit Britain include include Mandy, a Jewish businesswoman whose father was the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and a Major in the army, and whose mother was a magistrate. Mandy is now making preparations to leave Britain due to mounting antisemitism in politics and antisemitic crime, and the failure to tackle it. Another is Michelle, a mother who has moved her family to Israel due to growing antisemitism in Britain, which made her fear for her children’s future.

Last month, CAA published police figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showing that there has been a 45 per cent surge in antisemitic crime since 2014. Additionally CAA revealed that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has yet to prosecute more than two dozen antisemitic crimes per year.

More than half of British Jews said that the CPS is not doing enough to fight antisemitism, and only 39 per cent of British Jews felt confident that antisemitic hate crime would be prosecuted.

Nearly eight in ten British Jews feel that recent political events have resulted in increased hostility towards Jews, and for two years, more than four-fifths of British Jews have considered the Labour Party to be harbouring antisemites in its ranks.

The failure of the criminal justice system and political parties to tackle antisemitism is in stark contrast with the attitudes of the British public towards Jews.

YouGov’s polling for CAA found that antisemitism, measured by how many respondents agreed with seven antisemitic statements, has been in decline for the past three years. In 2015, 45 per cent of British people held at least one antisemitic view, but that fell to 40 per cent in 2016 and then dropped again to 36 per cent in 2017.

In the report, CAA calls on the Government to urgently implement the recommendations of our last two National Antisemitic Crime Audits, and for all political parties to adopt our manifesto for fighting antisemitism.

‘Our recommendations for the criminal justice system include basic measures such as producing specific training and guidance on antisemitic hate crime for officers and prosecutors, instructing Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review all police forces’ responses to antisemitic crime, appointing a senior officer in each force with responsibility for overseeing the response to antisemitic hate crime, and requiring the Crown Prosecution Service to record and regularly publish details of cases involving antisemitism and their outcomes, as police forces are already required to do.

‘Our recommendations for political parties are to adopt the Government’s definition of antisemitism, as many have, and to enforce it using transparent and robust disciplinary processes, with expulsion from the party in the worst cases,’ the campaign said.

Gideon Falter of the CAA said: ‘We now have data that show that in a very British way, fairly and quietly, Britons have been rejecting antisemitic prejudice. British society has shunned a growing worldwide addiction to antisemitism and proved that so-called British values are no mere buzzphrase, but are embedded in our national being.

‘However, our research shows that one in three British Jews has become so fearful of mounting antisemitic crime and the failure to excise antisemites from politics that they have considered leaving Britain altogether. Our research clearly shows that British Jews have pointed their fingers at the Crown Prosecution Service and the Labour Party.

‘If British society can fight antisemitism, why are our world-renowned criminal justice system and some of our famous political parties still doing too little? There is not a moment to lose. Without urgent change, British Jews may start to leave, as has happened elsewhere in Europe.’

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One in three Jews considers leaving Britain because of rising antisemitism – ChristianToday

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Here’s What Different Religions Have To Say About The Solar Eclipse – The Daily Caller

A full solar eclipse will appear over America on Monday for the fist time in close to a century, and various religious groups have hailed it as a sign of great spiritual significance.

The eclipse, which will be sighted first in Salem, Ore., just after 10 a.m. PT and will enter the final stage of visibility from land right before 3 p.m. EST over Charleston, S.C., is the first total solar eclipse to be visible over North America in 99 years. Eclipses, both solar and lunar, are entirely predictable, but the timing and positioning of eclipses have led some people to question whether it is an instrument of divine communication.

For many religious groups, the answer is yes. The intended divine message, however, depends on who you ask. Here are some of the various answers.

The Ancients

Solar eclipses were a thing of terror for the ancient world. Day plunged into night. The sun, which some cultures revered as a god, disappeared; and the natural order, as humanity knew it, was totally subverted.

The ancient Mesopotamians believed a total solar eclipse signified the death of a king, while the Aztecs sacrificed people of fair complexion to stave off demons of darkness, whom they believed would come down and devour people, according to Live Science.

Several other ancient cultures believed celestial beasts or dark deities devoured the sun, according to Time And Date. The ancient Chinese claimed a heavenly dragon consumed the sun and had to be scared away by banging pots and pans. The Vietnamese blamed a giant frog, while Norse cultures said hungry wolves ate the sun.

Ancient Hindus claimed Rahu was the culprit. Rahu was the head of a demon, severed for stealing the nectar of the gods, who followed the sun as the personified form of one of the nine planets. Every so often, as the legend goes, Rahu would catch up to the sun and devour it.

Judaism

Jews traditionally interpreted solar eclipses to be the result of human sin angering God, who would then hide the sun as a warning to his people, according to the Babylonian Talmud. Ancient Hebrews knew that eclipses could be predicted, but still believed they were a sign.

When the luminaries are stricken, it is an ill omen for the world. To what can we compare this? To a king of flesh and blood who prepared a feast for his servants and set a lantern to illuminate the hall. But then he became angry with them and said to his servant: Take the lantern from before them and seat them in darkness,’ Talmud, Sukkah 29a

The text goes on to state that lunar eclipses are ill omens for Israel, since Jews follow the lunar calendar, while solar eclipses are ill omens for non-Jews, or Gentiles, as they followed solar calendars.

Modern interpretations of solar eclipses in the Jewish faith vary, but still depict the event as a negative thing or, at the very least, a time for contemplation of ones place in the universe, according to the Rabbinical Assembly.

Whether or not one views the solar eclipse as a negative event according to their interpretation of the Jewish faith, the Rabbinical Assembly prescribed a particular blessing to be said over the eclipse.

, (BlessedWhose power and strength fill the world.)

Christianity

Modern Christian interpretations of solar eclipses vary almost as widely as the denominations of the Christian faith.

One view, according to Religion News Service(RNS), is that while the heavens operate according to the design of God, who created them, solar eclipses do not foretell the end of the world or any lesser calamity.

The term fake news is very in vogue and overused these days. The end times stuff is kind of like fake religion,’ Roman Catholic Rev.James Kurzynski told RNS. Its just the kind of stuff thats spun in a way to try to get Christians scared when theres nothing to fear.

Gary Ray, writer for the Charismatic Christian publication Unsealed, presented a view from the other end of the spectrum of Christian interpretations of eclipses. Ray said he and those who follow a similar interpretation of the Christian faith do not believe the eclipse will announce the end of the world, but that it does communicate a warning about the latter days of history as we know it.

We simply believe that God may be communicating a message through this eclipse about thegeneral nearnessof the rapture of the Church and Christs return, Garys explanation reads. In other words, we believe that these prophetic events will occur soon, but we dont know the day or hour on which they will occur.

Gary noted the timing of this eclipse presented certain numerical signs significant in a Christian context. The event will occur 33 days before another celestial event during which the constellation Virgo will be clothed in the sun, moon will be at her feet, and Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter will join the constellation Leo to crown Virgo with 12 celestial bodies. Some believe that this alignment is the sign referenced in chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, verses one through five, which appears to announce the second coming of Christ.

The eclipse also happens on the same day of the beginning of the Season of Teshuvah, a period of 40 days leading up to Yom Kippur. Jews view this season as a time to prepare ones heart and get in right standing with God for the Day of Atonement. The period holds significance for Christians who view the eclipse from an eschatological (study of end times) perspective.

Islam

Muslims believe that eclipses are a sign from Allah that do not portend the death or birth of anyone in particular, but remind Muslims of the approaching Day of Judgement. One particular Hadith describes the Prophet Muhammeds reaction to and explanation of a solar eclipse during his lifetime:

The sun eclipsed and the Prophet () got up, being afraid that it might be the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment). He went to the Mosque and offered the prayer with the longest Qiyam, bowing and prostration that I had ever seen him doing. Then he said, These signs which Allah sends do not occur because of the life or death of somebody, but Allah makes His worshipers afraid by them. So when you see anything thereof, proceed to remember Allah, invoke Him and ask for His forgiveness.

The Hadith prescribes that two cycles of a prayer specifically recommended for the event of an eclipse be offered in a Muslim congregation, according to ThoughtCo.

Hinduism

Hindu tradition, according to the Vedas, or Hindu scriptures, states that eclipses are bad omens, as they are a reflection of the demon Rahu. Therefore the Vedas prescribe certain rules and activities before, during, and after an eclipse to purify Hindu faithful from the bad effects of the eclipse, according to Festivals of India.

The Vedas advise Hindus to fast from food during the day of the eclipse, refrain from sleeping during the event, chant certain purifying mantras throughout the day, and throw away any extra prepared food before the eclipse. Pregnant women are advised not to move during the eclipse and water imbibed must be infused with Basil or Tulsi leaves.

Hindu adherents are advised to bathe in their clothes after the eclipse and give to charity according to their means.

Neo-Pagan

The umbrella of neo-paganism, which is the resurgence of different pagan belief systems updated for modern time, houses various interpretations of solar eclipses.

Wiccans, which worship various deities and nature spirits, believe it to be a time for personal transformation, when the sun and the moon work in union and allow for occult practitioners to work with them to bring their magic down to earth for the purposes of cleansing and inner spiritual evolution, according to the Wiccan community at Oak Spirit Sanctuary.

Occult practitioners in that community will perform rituals during the eclipse in for inner cleansing and worship of the goddess Nuit, who features prominently in the Wiccan tradition of Thelema.

Thelema is an occult philosophy founded in 1904 by the occultist Aleister Crowley.

Be Safe

Whatever your beliefs about the upcoming solar eclipse, people of all faiths should avoid looking directly at the full eclipse without special sunglasses, as doing so will cause blindness.

via GIPHY

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‘Then they came for me’: A Hitler supporter’s haunting warning has a complicated history – Washington Post

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew.

The words above are displayed at the United States Holocaust Museum. This week, amid outrage over President Trumps rhetoric about the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville,they have been recited around the world as a simple, haunting warning.

But the lineage of those words is more complicated, beginning with Martin Niemller, the German Protestant pastor who originally spoke them.

Niemller supported Adolf Hitler and Jewish hatred until he was sent to a concentration camp.

In my native Teklenburg, there were many farmers who were in debt to Jewish moneylenders and livestock traders, he told a German TV host in 1963. At that time, the mood in this area was not systematically anti-Semitic, but it was intuitively and traditionally so, and I never questioned it.

In 1920, at age 28, he belonged to the Academic Defense Corps, a group of right-wing students with nationalist, hateful ideologies. His beliefs found their way into his calling, according to a Holocaust Museum biography:

Niemllers sermons reflected his strong nationalist sentiment. He felt that reparations, democracy and foreign influence had led to damaging social fragmentation and an overemphasis on the individual in German society. Niemller believed that Germany needed a strong leader to promote national unity and honor.

Hitler.

Niemller cheered the rise of the National Socialist Party, voting for Hitler and openly echoing his nationalistic, pro-Christian, exclusionary rhetoric. Niemller remained an outspoken anti-Semite throughout the 1930s, justifying his prejudices by referring to Christian teachings that the Jews were guilty of deicide, the killing of Jesus, the Holocaust Museum says.

Niemller was a complicated guy.

Pressured by other German Christians, he became concerned that the Nazis were politicizing the church, excluding non-Aryans. In 1933, he founded the Pastors Emergency League (PEL) to address the issue. A year later, he and two Protestant bishops met with Hitler to discuss their concerns a turning point in Niemllers political sympathies, the Holocaust Museum said, explaining why:

At the meeting it became clear that Niemllers phone had been tapped by the Gestapo (German Secret State Police) and that the PEL was under close state surveillance. Following the meeting, the two bishops signed a statement of unconditional loyalty to the Fhrer. In contrast, Niemller had come to see the Nazi state as a dictatorship, one which he would oppose.

[Hitlers mother was the only person he genuinely loved.]

Niemllers sermonsattacked the Third Reichs attempts to control the church. The Nazis obviously didnt like this very much. They sent him to Dachau, a German concentration camp, where the intolerant ideology of his earlier years continued dissipating, as he recounted in the 1960s TV interview:

it was not at all clear to me what only dawned upon me later in the concentration camp: that, as a Christian, I must conduct myself not according to my sympathies or antipathies, but must see in each human being, even if he is unsympathetic to me, the fellow human being for whom Jesus Christ hung His cross as much as for me. This simply precludes any form of rejection and action against a group of human beings of any race, any religion, any skin color.

After he was liberated by U.S. troops in 1945, Niemller publicly advocated for German Christians who continued supporting Hitler to acknowledge their guilt. However, as the Holocaust Museum points out, Niemller initially failed to explicitly repudiate Hitlers political aims, condemning unequivocally only Nazi interference in religious matters. He also criticized Allied forces.

Then, in 1946, he published a memoir, writing:

Thus, whenever I chance to meet a Jew known to me before, then, as a Christian, I cannot but tell him: Dear Friend, I stand in front of you, but we can not get together, for there is guilt between us. I have sinned and my people has sinned against thy people and against thyself.

In his public speeches and sermons including a speaking tour of 52 cities in the United States Niemller began saying the things for which he is now remembered.

Sort of.

In examining interviews, speech transcripts and other documents, University of California at Santa Barbara history professor Harold Marcuse concluded that Niemller didnt quite say things as hes been quoted. The persecuted groups he cited sometimes changed for his audience. So did the order in which he listed them. Sometimes he spoke as we. Other times, it was I and me as in, When they came for me, there wasnt anyone left who protested.

Even today, there is no one correct version, no exact replica of his words.

But there is the spirit.

In 1958, at the end of a paperback issue of The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank, schoolchildren found it put like this:

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew

Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.

(Pastor Niemoeller, Victim of the Nazis in Germany)

Read more Retropolis:

Hitler refused to use sarin during WWII. The mystery is why.

Six Nazi spies were executed in D.C. White supremacists gave them a memorial on federal land.

Death of a devil: The white supremacist got hit by a car. His victims celebrated.

The day 30,000 white supremacists in KKK robes marched in the nations capital

Leo Frank was lynched for a murder he didnt commit. Now neo-Nazis are trying to rewrite history.

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‘Then they came for me’: A Hitler supporter’s haunting warning has a complicated history – Washington Post

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Ugandan Jew shares experiences in trip to Augusta – The Augusta Chronicle

For Kokasi Kesi, one of the hardest parts of being a counselor at Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Camp Coleman in Cleveland, Ga., this summer came after the meal. Hed watch as the plates were collected and food scraped off into the trash.

I would feel bad when I would see the food dumped, said Kesi, a 26-year-old Ugandan Jew, who is spending two weeks in Augusta, where he will be raising money for his village, which has been wracked with food shortages because of drought.

He is staying with members of the Congregation Children of Israel, and there will be a reception for him at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, at the home of Rabbi Shai Beloosesky. For more information, call the temple at (706) 736-3140.

This is the second year Kesi has visited Augusta. He worked at the camp last year as well. He spoke in Atlanta and Florida before traveling to the Augusta area where he arrived Aug. 13 and leaves Aug. 20.

Kesi is part of the Abayudaya Community in the village of Baganda in eastern Uganda. Its a small group of Jews who have an unusual history. Kesis uncle, Gerhom Sizumo is the rabbi and a member of the Ugandan parliament.

The community will celebrate 100 years of Judaism in 2019. Judaism came to the village through Christianity, according to Kesi. Missionaries brought Christian Bibles to the village, but one of the residents began reading more of the Old Testament or the books of the Torah. He began practicing what he saw contained in those writings so that his faith resembled more of Judaism.

They would keep shabbat, and they would keep high holy days, he said.

Judaism flourished, and decades later, a Jewish traveler told them that what they were practicing more closely resembled Judaism.

Persecution came under the leadership of Idi Amin, who overthrew the government and declared himself president in 1971. He ruled until 1979 when he was exiled. Under Amin, an estimated 300,000 people were killed.

He was quoted as saying he believed Hitler was correct in killing 6 million Jews, according to his 2003 New York Times obituary. Amin is reported to have killed indiscriminately, killing judges, hospital officials, Christian clergy, educators, bankers and tribal leaders.

Many of the Abayudaya Jews converted to Christianity during Amins rule; however, since 1979, the numbers have risen to about 1,000 Jews in the community and 2,000 Jews in the country of Uganda, said Kesi.

There is a school in the village as well, and Kesi wants to pursue his masters degree to be an administrator in the school.

This wont be the first time this year that the Congregation Children of Israel has helped the Ugandans. In May, Judah Breland celebrated his bar mitzvah and helped raise $2,500 for a friend of Kesis to return to his village and take food with him.

Donations can also be brought to the Temple at 3005 Walton Way.

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Fleeing repression, Jewish immigrants found success in Gold Rush SF – San Francisco Chronicle

Of all the groups that arrived in Gold Rush San Francisco, the Jews who fled a legacy of oppression in Europe may have experienced the most remarkable success.

In their Central European homelands, these German speakers had been confined to ghettos, prevented from marrying and barred from professional occupations. When they got to California, former peddlers, petty traders and craftsmen found a land where they were free to prosper and in the years to come, they created some of the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the state.

Many of the Jews who were to become merchant princes of San Francisco came from the same small region: Upper Franconia in German-speaking Bavaria. Indeed, several grew up in the same small town. Three men who would become business titans in San Francisco William Haas, Isaias Wolf Hellman and Isaac Walter were childhood friends who all came from the same rural town of Reckendorf, population 1,000. The most famous of them all, Levi Strauss, grew up in the town of Buttenheim, just 20 miles from Reckendorf.

The story of Haas, who built one of San Franciscos most storied residences, the still-standing Haas-Lilienthal House on Franklin Street, is typical. Haas grew up in a society where the anti-Semitic bigotry that dated from the Middle Ages was still present. Bloody anti-Jewish riots had taken place as recently as 1819, and Jews were oppressed by punitive taxes and an infamous law called the Matrikel, which allowed only the oldest son in a Jewish family to marry.

Starting in the 1840s, these repressive laws led to a wave of German Jewish immigration to the United States. No fewer than 200,000 German Jews would leave for what was known as the Golden Land.

The climate did improve as Fred Rosenbaum writes in Jewish Americans: Religion and Identity at 2007 Franklin Street, the Matrikel and most other discriminatory laws were abolished in 1861. Like Hellman and Walter, Haas received a fine education at a Jewish primary school in Reckendorf, then an even better one at a secondary school in nearby Bamberg.

Haas arrived in San Francisco in 1868 and went to work for Haas Bros., the wholesale grocery company started by his older brother, Kalman, who had arrived in 1851. Like many other Jews during the Gold Rush, Kalman had realized that staying in San Francisco and opening a business mining the miners, as the expression went offered better prospects than heading to the gold fields.

William Haas started out as a clerk, then became a salesman, then a partner. His living conditions improved accordingly. When he arrived, he sometimes slept on a shelf in the store. Within two years, he bought a modest house worth $1,000. In 1886, he spent more than $18,000, not including the land, to build his ornate Victorian mansion on Franklin Street.

The Haas family was part of a new German-Jewish aristocracy, most from Bavaria, made up of several dozen families. This commercial elite, which emerged in San Francisco faster than anywhere else in the country, was filled with names that are still famous today both because of their successful businesses and their philanthropic largesse.

Most of them made their fortune in dry goods or clothing. The most famous clothing kings were Levi Strauss and his brother-in-law, David Stern, whose company patented and manufactured the riveted pants that are today the most famous and best-selling line of clothing in the world. Other dry goods magnates included William Steinhart, Louis Sachs and Lazarus Dinkelspiel.

German Jews established most of the citys leading department stores, including Raphael Weills White House, Isaac Magnins I. Magnin and Solomon Gumps eponymous store. Produce and tobacco kings included Haas, Frederick Castle, Joseph Brandenstein and Moses Gunst.

Simon Koshland ran a wool empire, and Louis Sloss and his brother-in-law Lewis Gerstle founded the Alaska Commercial Co., which controlled the market in salmon and seals. Aaron Fleishhacker made his pile in cardboard boxes, while Anthony Zellerbach made a fortune in paper. Bankers included Isaias Hellman and Philip Lilienthal.

Just as remarkable as the meteoric success of San Franciscos Jews was the fact that they encountered very little anti-Semitism far less than in New York and other U.S. cities. The reason was simple. San Francisco was a brand-new city, devoid of a status quo. There was no establishment to draw up ranks against perceived outsiders; everyone was an outsider.

In the frenzy of the Gold Rush, the ethnic, class and social distinctions that loomed large on the East Coast vanished. All nations having come hither, shades of color, of belief, peculiarities of physique, of temper and habit were less distinctly marked, historian Hubert Bancroft wrote in California Inter Pocula.

Bancroft also noted that the entire raison detre of the Gold Rush, the desire to get rich quick, undercut one of the traditional sources of anti-Semitism, the belief that Jews were grasping and greedy.

Gold was here, and in common with the gentiles Jews loved gold, he wrote. Money was the humanizing bond. … Christian and Jew loved money.

The casual use of anti-Semitic tropes was acceptable and well-nigh universal in the United States at the time, but in San Francisco, such offensive attitudes seem to have been mostly rhetorical. Indeed, Jews were widely admired as upstanding citizens and leading businessmen.

In 1858, Steamer Day the much-anticipated, carnival-like day when the Pacific Mail Steamer arrived with mail from the East Coast was actually postponed by the city because it fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Its hard to imagine this taking place anywhere else in the country.

The next Portals will explore the manners and mores, and the city-changing philanthropy, of San Franciscos Jewish elite.

Gary Kamiya is the author of the best-selling book Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco, awarded the Northern California Book Award in creative nonfiction. All the material in Portals of the Past is original for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: metro@sfchronicle.com

Trivia time

Previous trivia question: Who happily strummed a guitar as he strolled down Haight Street on Aug. 7, 1967?

Answer: George Harrison.

This weeks trivia question: What percentage of San Franciscans voted for Donald Trump in the November presidential election?

Editors note

Every corner in San Francisco has an astonishing story to tell. Gary Kamiyas Portals of the Past tells those lost stories, using a specific location to illuminate San Franciscos extraordinary history from the days when giant mammoths wandered through what is now North Beach to the Gold Rush delirium, the dot-com madness and beyond. His column appears every other Saturday, alternating with Peter Hartlaubs OurSF.

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Fleeing repression, Jewish immigrants found success in Gold Rush SF – San Francisco Chronicle

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What This Rabbi Found When He Went To Charlottesville – Jewish Week

It was a surreal moment. Approaching the Robert E. Lee Monument in the center of Charlottesville, Va., a young black woman, Aliya, joined her white friend Tom in placing a placard in front of the statue. Covering the words Robert E. Lee the placard read: The Heather Heyer Memorial. Heather Heyer was the 32-year-old woman who was murdered when a car driven by a white supremacist rammed into a crowd of counter protesters at a white nationalist rally.

Together with my colleagues Rabbis Shmuel Herzfeld, Etan Mintz and Uri Topolosky, we asked if we could join in. Together we stood, singing We Shall Overcome. White supremacists try to divide America, declaring its us vs. them. We were humbly responding its us, all of us, we, together.

We had come to Charlottesville to express solidarity with the beleaguered Jewish community and with all of Charlottesvilles citizens. Sitting with Rabbi Tom Gutherz, rabbi of Charlottesvilles Congregation Beth Israel, we were overwhelmed by his story. He shared with us that he had received a call last Friday from municipal officials telling him they had picked up information that the synagogue was under threat. The rabbi asked for protection and was told that not enough personnel was available.

From L to R: Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, Rabbi Etan Mintz, Rabbi Uri Topolosky and Rabbi Avi Weiss on a solidarity trip to Charlottesville. Courtesy

He continued by sharing with us that on Saturday, the Sabbath morning, three neo-Nazis were standing in front of the synagogue with semi-automatic weapons as congregants assembled for prayer. The rabbi again asked for protection, but none came.

His account echoed an article posted by synagogue president, Alan Zimmerman, where he stated: On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services.

Incensed, we walked a few blocks to the Charlottesville City Hall, insisting that we see the city manager, Charlottesvilles highest government official. One of the assistant city managers, Mike Murphy, spoke to us. Rabbi Herzfeld chastised the Charlottesville Police for not offering the synagogue protection. I added, It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that with many, many hundreds of neo-Nazis marching through the streets of Charlottesville on Friday night with KKK type torches, declaring Jews will not replace us, the synagogue needed to be guarded. That protection should have been automatic, without any request coming from the synagogue at all.

From our perspective, the lack of police protection deserves an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

The memorial for Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia. Courtesy of RabbiShmuel Herzfeld

We made our way to the University of Virginia Medical Center. Rabbi Mintz had served there years ago, and knew the supervising chaplain, Mildred Best. Mildred shared with us that the open lobby where one enters the hospital had been transformed into a closed emergency center during the hours of crisis on Saturday. She arranged that the full chaplaincy staff join us in a prayer service. It was important that we show support to the spiritual healers who had been there, offering help during the crisis. Even the healers need healing.

Fifty years ago, I started singing this song with millions of others during the dark days of the civil rights movement. Never would I have imagined then that decades later we would still be facing similar times, singing the same melody, the same simple but piercing words.

We gathered around as Rabbi Topolosky, on his guitar, led us in Rabbi Shlomo Carlebachs heart-wrenching song of one word Ruach. Ruach literally means wind but more deeply refers to the image of God, a spirit that unites all of humankind. Some of the chaplains were in tears. We held hands as our visiting group offered the blessing: May the Lord guard your going out and coming in; May the Lord offer renewal of body and soul for all the injured.

Our final stop was meeting with the Chabad rabbi at the University of Virginia, Rabbi Shlomo Mayer. Raised in Romania, he described how late on Friday night, after the white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, he was awakened by a loud noise. For an instant, he said, I thought I was back in Romania with the Jewish community under attack. As it turned out, the noise was not a danger. But the rabbi told us that the fear he was feeling was palpable.

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

As I left Charlottesville, my mind wandered to the moment, perhaps the most piercing of the day, where we stood at the very spot where Heather was murdered. Flowers and notes were everywhere. As I looked up, I could see a police car blocking the intersection. If only the police would have placed a car there on Saturday Heather would still be alive. We chanted the prayer for the dead.

And then we began to sing We Shall Overcome Some Day. Fifty years ago, I started singing this song with millions of others during the dark days of the civil rights movement. Never would I have imagined then that decades later we would still be facing similar times, singing the same melody, the same simple but piercing words.

Then and there I offered a silent prayer: O God, we shall overcome someday. Someday no longer works for me. America cannot wait. The world cannot wait.

We need more Aliyas and Toms, more Mildred Bests. We need white, black, brown and yellow, Jewish, Christian, Muslims singing together we shall overcome not some day, but today, today, today.

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What This Rabbi Found When He Went To Charlottesville – Jewish Week

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Why Do Nazis Hate Jews? How Christian Politics Fuels Anti-Semitism in the United States – Newsweek

Newsweekpublished this story under the headline of Again, Anti-Semitism on February 16, 1981. In light of the recent neo-Nazi, white power and alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Newsweekis republishing the story.

Charles Benjamin, a leader of the Jewish community in his quiet, suburban New Jersey town, came home to find bright red swastikas painted on his back door. The outdoor furniture had been dumped into the pool. The mailbox had been looted. “My knees buckled,” Benjamin later told a television interviewer. “I sat down on the ground, not believing that this could happen in… my little patch in the United States. “Anti-Semitism is an ancient story that is suddenly making news across the United States. The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reported 377 anti-Semitic “episodes” in 1980, a nearly threefold increase in one year. Most of these sporadic incidents involved little more than scrawled graffiti or vandalism, but there were also 10cases of arson, four fire-bombings and several death threats. No one has been killed or seriously injured, and no evidence suggests a campaign of any scale; most of the incidents have been juvenile pranks. Yet many American Jews are worried. “Hitler started with a handful of people and paint brushes,” says Jeffrey Maas of the ADL in New Jersey. And many government officials agree that the incidents cannot be shrugged off. “There is a tendency… to treat incidents of anti-Semitic or racial vandalism as isolated acts of mischief,” warns New Jersey Attorney General John J. Degnan. “Unfortunately … these acts may represent deep-seated racial and religious hatred.”

To combat the flurry of anti-Semitic incidents, Degnan and other law-enforcement officials around the country have stepped up their investigations, often forming special police and prosecution units. Many Jewish leaders have begun holding seminars on bigotry and rallies against anti-Semitism, such as one that drew 3,000 people in California’s San Fernando Valley a fortnight ago. Not satisfied with these steps, Jewish militants have redoubled their own controversial efforts at self-defensepatrolling Jewish neighborhoods and training Jews in the use of high-powered rifles and pistols.

Some Jewish organizations are reluctant to read too much into the new statistics of anti-Semitism, noting that vandalism and violent crime are on the rise generally. “It will take another year of monitoring to find out what the numbers actually mean,” says a spokesman for the American Jewish Committee in New York. Other Jews see the low-level violence and harassment as part of a larger pattern. With mounting alarm, they note the renewed organizing efforts of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party, the tone of some of the criticism of Israel in the United Nations and above all the bloody attacks on Jews in several European cities last year. “There is a feeling,” says Murray Wood, an executive of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, “that all roads somehow lead to Auschwitz.”

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Anti-Semitism in the United States today hardly compares in virulence with the anti-Jewish attitudes and actions in the 1920s and 1930s. Then, Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent (circulation: 700,000) ran anti-Semitic diatribes with headlines such as JEWISH GAMBLERS CORRUPT AMERICAN BASEBALL. More damaging, unstated quotas and restrictions kept Jews out of schools, jobs, neighborhoods and hotels. Today, most such barriers have fallen, and many public-opinion polls show a continuing decline in prejudice against Jews. In one survey last year, for example, only 8 percent of those questioned thought Jews had “too much political influence.”

But other polls indicate a persistent suspicion and distaste for Jews as “pushy, clannish, unethical.” In Anti-Semitism in America, published two years ago, authors Charles Y. Glock and Harold E. Quinley reported that a third of Americans share such negative attitudesabout the same number, according to a more recent poll, that suspect Jews of being more loyal to Israel than to the United States.

Alan Sandler and his bride, Zipporah, had just returned from their honeymoon in New York City. The mailbox of their Cranston, R.I. home was brimming with congratulatory cards. One was decorated with two lovebirds on the front. But inside was a swastika and the words. “We are back. ” Many experts blame the nation’s economic problems for the new signs of anti-Semitism. “Times of distress, social unrest and economic depression [are] often preliminary to outbreaks of anti-Semitism,” explains the Rev. Edward H. Flannery, author of another book on the subject, Anguish of the Jews. In hard times people find it comforting to have a scape-goat, Flannery says, “And they always look in the direction of the Jews.” In the spotlight of full media coverage, one episode often leads to others. Says New York City police official Patrick J. Murphy: “The incidents feed off each other. The kids read about themselves…and any dope can see himself immortalized.” In three days last month, officials at the University of Florida in Gainesville found thirteen examples of anti-Semitic graffiti on campus. After the wife of university President Robert Marston spoke out forcefully against such bigotry, her telephone rang. “This is the Florida-wide organization of Hitler,” said the caller. “I am going to kill you.” In fact few of the reported incidents seem directly connected with extremist groups. “If it were more organized,” says Long Island ADL director Melvin Cooperman, “we could zero in and nail them.” But both the Nazi Party and the Klan have run avowedly anti-Semitic candidates for public officewith disturbing success. Harold Covington, 27, chairman of the National Socialist Party of America in North Carolina, won more than 43 percent of the vote in the state’s Republican primary for attorney general last year. The rise of racist groups also seems to create a climate favorable to individual extremists and a certain public tolerance for isolated incidents.

The dramatic growth of Christian fundamentalismand Moral Majority politicsmay also spur anti-Semitism. Just last week, the Rev. Dan C. Fore, Moral Majority leader in New York City, told a reporter: “Jews have a God-given ability to make money, almost a supernatural ability…. They control this city.” Even without such stereotyping, the fundamentalist emphasis on “Christian politics” and efforts to convert Jews are threatening, says William Gralnick of the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta. “What it says is that the Jewish faith is not a valid path to salvation; it tends to separate us from grace.” Last year in Macon, Georgia, says Gralnick, Protestant ministers refused to speak out when the head of the Southern Baptist Convention said, “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” It was shortly after 1 a. m. when two men drove up to the synagogue in Temple City, California.They pried open a window, poured gasoline over a wooden pew and set the synagogue ablaze. Seven stained-glass windows were shattered and other damage to Temple Beth David was estimated at $180, 000. The incident was followed” by nearly 30 more anti-Semitic outbursts in the Los Angeles area over the last eight weeks.

The randomness of anti-Semitic incidents, and the absence of links to organized groups in most cases, makes prosecution difficult. In the 377 cases reported by the ADL last year, only 20 arrests were made. Even when there are arrests, the charge is normally a misdemeanor State assemblymen in California and New Jersey have proposed legislation that would stiffen penalties for religiously motivated vandalism. “When a cross is burned or a swastika is smeared, the terror it generates is as intense as from a bomb threat,” says New Jersey Assemblyman Byron Baer. But some judges prefer to sentence juvenile perpetrators to study Jewish history and the Nazi Holocaust. Said one such youth: “I am beginning to realize through these books the great deal of suffering I must have caused.”

Many Jewish organizations have escalated their own programs of public education. Last week the ADLworking with the Urban League and the U.S. Justice Departmentsponsored a conference in Providence, Rhode Island, on “extremist groups” and another in Boston on “religious and racial harassment.” About 1,500 people attended an anti-Nazi rally last month at the Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies in Los Angeles, itself a target of three anti-Semitic attacks earlier this year. But education didn’t seem to do much good at Great Neck North Senior High School in New York. Though the school has offered courses on the Holocaust for five years, vandals spray-painted the walls with “KKK” and “Hi’Hitler” last October, And police in many areas reported a flurry of similar anti-Semitic incidents after the “Holocaust” series on television.

Such incidents have only encouraged militant groups like the Jewish Defense League to expand their often provocative paramilitary operations. The JDL plans to offer 10-week courses in “warfare tactics” at secret sites in southern California, Michigan and upstate New York. Most mainstream Jewish organizations see these steps as an inflammatory overreaction. But equally dangerous, they agree, would be simply to ignore the current upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents. “There’s no reason to panic; the country is not being overrun byanti-Semites,” says Art Teitelbaum of the Anti-Defamation League in Miami. “But it is something to be vigilant about.”

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. Neo-Nazis were among those present. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share via REUTERS

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Why Do Nazis Hate Jews? How Christian Politics Fuels Anti-Semitism in the United States – Newsweek

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Rochester area pastor says the church should lead the way to unity following Charlottesville – WXXI News

Between 750 and 1,000 Christians and Jews from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds are expected to attend a joint worship service in Rochester Sunday. The ROC Service and picnic will bring together four Christian and one Jewish congregation for an annual gathering that has been held for the past decade, but faith leaders say there is a special meaning behind this year’s event. Vince DiPaola, pastor of Lakeshore Community Church, says the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville proves more than ever the need to unit people of all faiths. “I don’t know all of the people who were involved in Charlottesville, but certainly when some of them claim to be Nazis or Aryans or white supremacists, it shakes us all to the core.” Pastor DiPaolo says the event is more about embracing unity than it is a protest. “If we can advance the positive…sometimes we just kind of spend time in the ‘ain’t in awful, ain’t it awful, ain’t it awful,’ and there may be a place for that, but I want to say ‘here’s how it can be better,’ and I believe the pastors of the other churches believe the same thing.” Two services are scheduled Sunday, August 27 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Lakeshore Community Church at 3651 Latta Road. The 11 a.m. service will be followed by a picnic at 12:30 p.m. The services will include members of Ark of Jesus Ministries, Congregation Shema Yisrael, New Way Christian Faith Center, and Victorious Living Christian Life Center, but Pastor DiPaolo said anyone who is open to God is welcome to attend. “I believe it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said the most segregated time of the week is Sunday at 11, he said. And and we just feel that’s the exact opposite of what it should be; we feel the church should be modeling the way.”

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Solar Eclipse of 2017: Four Reasons It’s Bad, According to the Talmud – Haaretz

Judaism’s central rabbinic text says today’s solar eclipse is nothing to celebrate CHARLESTON – Across the United States, Jews are gathering in anticipation of the historic Great American Eclipse, particularly in cities known as ideal spots to experience the phenomenon. But at the downtown Brith Shalom Beth Israel synagogue Sunday evening, nestled in the historic southern city perfectly positioned for the Monday event, Dr. Jeremy Brown had bad news for a group who had gathered for a kosher meal on Eclipse Eve: in traditional Judaism, an eclipse is nothing to celebrate. Eclipses happen because people sin, he said. Theres no getting around it, Brown says. The Talmud – the central text of rabbinic Judaism – is unambiguous in its interpretation of eclipses – both lunar and solar, as a form of divine punishment – a curse to be dreaded and feared, rather than a miraculous wonder of nature. If that isnt bad enough, Brown told his audience of Charleston locals and Jews who had come to the city for the big event, the four sins specifically blamed by the Talmud plunging the earth into eerie darkness are so notably bizarre and politically incorrect, that nobody really wants to talk about them. What are they? 1. The failure to properly bury the leader of a Rabbinic Court 2. If a betrothed girl cries out as she is being raped and there is no one to save her 3. Homosexuality 4. If two brothers were killed at the same time. If these reasons sound random and unrelated with no possible connection, fear not – said Brown. Even the great medieval rabbi, Rashi, normally relied upon for his clear and concise Talmudic explanation of just about everything, was uncharacteristically clueless in the case of eclipse-triggering transgressions, writing I have not heard any explanation for this. Brown, a doctor, who wrote the book New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish reception of Copernican Thought and recently published an article on halachic and philosophical aspects of the 2017 eclipse traveled from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland to Charleston to fully experience the eclipse first-hand. For centuries, he notes, rabbis have wrestled with the Talmudic attitude towards eclipse. It contains, he notes, an inherent illogic in the Jewish approach that was clear even hundreds of years ago. Eclipses are a natural occurrence that is utterly predictable, they will take place no matter what any human being does. So how in the world, rabbis and scholars have asked, could they possibly be a result of sin or any form of human behavior? We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. As far back as 1609, Brown said, the Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Yehuda Loew tried to justify the Talmudic text by theorizing if we lived in a world without sin, no eclipses would happen. In his view, since human fallibility and sin are both inevitable, so was an eclipse. That attitude, however, leans closer to the Christian concept of original sin than to the traditional Jewish beliefs. Another big problem with the Maharals theory as far as Jews are concerned, he observed – if there were never any eclipses, it would have to mean that the moon wouldnt ever be able to orbit in the same plane as the sun and the earth. The only way for there to be no solar eclipses in the Maharals imaginary sin-free universe would be for the moon to orbit the earth at 90 to the sun-earth axis. Then it would never come between the sun and the earth, says Brown. This would wreak havoc with the Jewish calendar, which is based on lunar patterns – preventing Rosh Chodesh the beginning of the Hebrew month, that Jews consider a kind of a holiday. The conundrum continued in the modern era, with famed Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson positing in 1957 that while a solar eclipse was predictable, the local weather was most certainly not. So presumably, if it was a cloudy day and the eclipse wasnt visible, people hadnt been sinful, but if it was clear and the sight was eerily abnormal – that meant the sins had taken place. Schneerson was emphatic when it came to those who might be inspired to bless the event, writing that it is forbidden to institute a blessing that is not mentioned in the Talmud. And some say that the reason that no blessing was instituted is because the eclipse is a bad omen. Brown says that the rebbe believed that if Jews should pray for anything – it would be that the eclipse shouldnt happen. Or maybe they should just cry gevalt! But, over the years, he notes it seems attitudes have softened. When Israels current Chief Rabbi David Lau was asked in 2006 was asked whether it wasnt perhaps possible to view such a cosmic occurrence in a positive light and even say a blessing when it occurs if they feel a religious stirring. In his response, Lau admitted that he himself had also been awed when witnessing an eclipse, but that because the rabbis of the Talmudic era had not prescribed a blessing over an eclipse, it was not possible to institute such a blessing today. He added, however, that there was nothing wrong with reciting an appropriately celebratory and worshipful psalm, and even recommended a few for the occasion. Brown, an observant Jew himself, endorses Laus approach, as do, he says, most of todays rabbis. Even though an official eclipse prayer may technically be out-of-bounds for the faithful, he thinks a memorable celestial event is indeed an occasion joyful attention and wonder – no matter what the Talmud says. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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One in three Jews considers leaving Britain because of rising antisemitism – ChristianToday

One in three British Jews has considered leaving the UK due to surging antisemitism, according to a report today from the Campaign Against Antisemitism(CAA). Surveys of more than 3,000 British Jews for the campaign’s Antisemitism Barometer by YouGov and the campaign found nearly a third of British Jews have considered leaving the UK in the past two years. Just six in ten, or 59 per cent, of British Jews feel welcome in the UK, and 17 per cent feel unwelcome. For the past two years, 37 per cent of British Jews have been concealing their Judaism in public. Examples of those preparing to quit Britain include include Mandy, a Jewish businesswoman whose father was the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and a Major in the army, and whose mother was a magistrate. Mandy is now making preparations to leave Britain due to mounting antisemitism in politics and antisemitic crime, and the failure to tackle it. Another is Michelle, a mother who has moved her family to Israel due to growing antisemitism in Britain, which made her fear for her children’s future. Last month, CAA published police figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showing that there has been a 45 per cent surge in antisemitic crime since 2014. Additionally CAA revealed that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has yet to prosecute more than two dozen antisemitic crimes per year. More than half of British Jews said that the CPS is not doing enough to fight antisemitism, and only 39 per cent of British Jews felt confident that antisemitic hate crime would be prosecuted. Nearly eight in ten British Jews feel that recent political events have resulted in increased hostility towards Jews, and for two years, more than four-fifths of British Jews have considered the Labour Party to be harbouring antisemites in its ranks. The failure of the criminal justice system and political parties to tackle antisemitism is in stark contrast with the attitudes of the British public towards Jews. YouGov’s polling for CAA found that antisemitism, measured by how many respondents agreed with seven antisemitic statements, has been in decline for the past three years. In 2015, 45 per cent of British people held at least one antisemitic view, but that fell to 40 per cent in 2016 and then dropped again to 36 per cent in 2017. In the report, CAA calls on the Government to urgently implement the recommendations of our last two National Antisemitic Crime Audits, and for all political parties to adopt our manifesto for fighting antisemitism. ‘Our recommendations for the criminal justice system include basic measures such as producing specific training and guidance on antisemitic hate crime for officers and prosecutors, instructing Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review all police forces’ responses to antisemitic crime, appointing a senior officer in each force with responsibility for overseeing the response to antisemitic hate crime, and requiring the Crown Prosecution Service to record and regularly publish details of cases involving antisemitism and their outcomes, as police forces are already required to do. ‘Our recommendations for political parties are to adopt the Government’s definition of antisemitism, as many have, and to enforce it using transparent and robust disciplinary processes, with expulsion from the party in the worst cases,’ the campaign said. Gideon Falter of the CAA said: ‘We now have data that show that in a very British way, fairly and quietly, Britons have been rejecting antisemitic prejudice. British society has shunned a growing worldwide addiction to antisemitism and proved that so-called British values are no mere buzzphrase, but are embedded in our national being. ‘However, our research shows that one in three British Jews has become so fearful of mounting antisemitic crime and the failure to excise antisemites from politics that they have considered leaving Britain altogether. Our research clearly shows that British Jews have pointed their fingers at the Crown Prosecution Service and the Labour Party. ‘If British society can fight antisemitism, why are our world-renowned criminal justice system and some of our famous political parties still doing too little? There is not a moment to lose. Without urgent change, British Jews may start to leave, as has happened elsewhere in Europe.’

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Here’s What Different Religions Have To Say About The Solar Eclipse – The Daily Caller

A full solar eclipse will appear over America on Monday for the fist time in close to a century, and various religious groups have hailed it as a sign of great spiritual significance. The eclipse, which will be sighted first in Salem, Ore., just after 10 a.m. PT and will enter the final stage of visibility from land right before 3 p.m. EST over Charleston, S.C., is the first total solar eclipse to be visible over North America in 99 years. Eclipses, both solar and lunar, are entirely predictable, but the timing and positioning of eclipses have led some people to question whether it is an instrument of divine communication. For many religious groups, the answer is yes. The intended divine message, however, depends on who you ask. Here are some of the various answers. The Ancients Solar eclipses were a thing of terror for the ancient world. Day plunged into night. The sun, which some cultures revered as a god, disappeared; and the natural order, as humanity knew it, was totally subverted. The ancient Mesopotamians believed a total solar eclipse signified the death of a king, while the Aztecs sacrificed people of fair complexion to stave off demons of darkness, whom they believed would come down and devour people, according to Live Science. Several other ancient cultures believed celestial beasts or dark deities devoured the sun, according to Time And Date. The ancient Chinese claimed a heavenly dragon consumed the sun and had to be scared away by banging pots and pans. The Vietnamese blamed a giant frog, while Norse cultures said hungry wolves ate the sun. Ancient Hindus claimed Rahu was the culprit. Rahu was the head of a demon, severed for stealing the nectar of the gods, who followed the sun as the personified form of one of the nine planets. Every so often, as the legend goes, Rahu would catch up to the sun and devour it. Judaism Jews traditionally interpreted solar eclipses to be the result of human sin angering God, who would then hide the sun as a warning to his people, according to the Babylonian Talmud. Ancient Hebrews knew that eclipses could be predicted, but still believed they were a sign. When the luminaries are stricken, it is an ill omen for the world. To what can we compare this? To a king of flesh and blood who prepared a feast for his servants and set a lantern to illuminate the hall. But then he became angry with them and said to his servant: Take the lantern from before them and seat them in darkness,’ Talmud, Sukkah 29a The text goes on to state that lunar eclipses are ill omens for Israel, since Jews follow the lunar calendar, while solar eclipses are ill omens for non-Jews, or Gentiles, as they followed solar calendars. Modern interpretations of solar eclipses in the Jewish faith vary, but still depict the event as a negative thing or, at the very least, a time for contemplation of ones place in the universe, according to the Rabbinical Assembly. Whether or not one views the solar eclipse as a negative event according to their interpretation of the Jewish faith, the Rabbinical Assembly prescribed a particular blessing to be said over the eclipse. , (BlessedWhose power and strength fill the world.) Christianity Modern Christian interpretations of solar eclipses vary almost as widely as the denominations of the Christian faith. One view, according to Religion News Service(RNS), is that while the heavens operate according to the design of God, who created them, solar eclipses do not foretell the end of the world or any lesser calamity. The term fake news is very in vogue and overused these days. The end times stuff is kind of like fake religion,’ Roman Catholic Rev.James Kurzynski told RNS. Its just the kind of stuff thats spun in a way to try to get Christians scared when theres nothing to fear. Gary Ray, writer for the Charismatic Christian publication Unsealed, presented a view from the other end of the spectrum of Christian interpretations of eclipses. Ray said he and those who follow a similar interpretation of the Christian faith do not believe the eclipse will announce the end of the world, but that it does communicate a warning about the latter days of history as we know it. We simply believe that God may be communicating a message through this eclipse about thegeneral nearnessof the rapture of the Church and Christs return, Garys explanation reads. In other words, we believe that these prophetic events will occur soon, but we dont know the day or hour on which they will occur. Gary noted the timing of this eclipse presented certain numerical signs significant in a Christian context. The event will occur 33 days before another celestial event during which the constellation Virgo will be clothed in the sun, moon will be at her feet, and Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter will join the constellation Leo to crown Virgo with 12 celestial bodies. Some believe that this alignment is the sign referenced in chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, verses one through five, which appears to announce the second coming of Christ. The eclipse also happens on the same day of the beginning of the Season of Teshuvah, a period of 40 days leading up to Yom Kippur. Jews view this season as a time to prepare ones heart and get in right standing with God for the Day of Atonement. The period holds significance for Christians who view the eclipse from an eschatological (study of end times) perspective. Islam Muslims believe that eclipses are a sign from Allah that do not portend the death or birth of anyone in particular, but remind Muslims of the approaching Day of Judgement. One particular Hadith describes the Prophet Muhammeds reaction to and explanation of a solar eclipse during his lifetime: The sun eclipsed and the Prophet () got up, being afraid that it might be the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment). He went to the Mosque and offered the prayer with the longest Qiyam, bowing and prostration that I had ever seen him doing. Then he said, These signs which Allah sends do not occur because of the life or death of somebody, but Allah makes His worshipers afraid by them. So when you see anything thereof, proceed to remember Allah, invoke Him and ask for His forgiveness. The Hadith prescribes that two cycles of a prayer specifically recommended for the event of an eclipse be offered in a Muslim congregation, according to ThoughtCo. Hinduism Hindu tradition, according to the Vedas, or Hindu scriptures, states that eclipses are bad omens, as they are a reflection of the demon Rahu. Therefore the Vedas prescribe certain rules and activities before, during, and after an eclipse to purify Hindu faithful from the bad effects of the eclipse, according to Festivals of India. The Vedas advise Hindus to fast from food during the day of the eclipse, refrain from sleeping during the event, chant certain purifying mantras throughout the day, and throw away any extra prepared food before the eclipse. Pregnant women are advised not to move during the eclipse and water imbibed must be infused with Basil or Tulsi leaves. Hindu adherents are advised to bathe in their clothes after the eclipse and give to charity according to their means. Neo-Pagan The umbrella of neo-paganism, which is the resurgence of different pagan belief systems updated for modern time, houses various interpretations of solar eclipses. Wiccans, which worship various deities and nature spirits, believe it to be a time for personal transformation, when the sun and the moon work in union and allow for occult practitioners to work with them to bring their magic down to earth for the purposes of cleansing and inner spiritual evolution, according to the Wiccan community at Oak Spirit Sanctuary. Occult practitioners in that community will perform rituals during the eclipse in for inner cleansing and worship of the goddess Nuit, who features prominently in the Wiccan tradition of Thelema. Thelema is an occult philosophy founded in 1904 by the occultist Aleister Crowley. Be Safe Whatever your beliefs about the upcoming solar eclipse, people of all faiths should avoid looking directly at the full eclipse without special sunglasses, as doing so will cause blindness. via GIPHY Follow Joshua on Twitter Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [emailprotected].

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

‘Then they came for me’: A Hitler supporter’s haunting warning has a complicated history – Washington Post

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew. The words above are displayed at the United States Holocaust Museum. This week, amid outrage over President Trumps rhetoric about the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville,they have been recited around the world as a simple, haunting warning. But the lineage of those words is more complicated, beginning with Martin Niemller, the German Protestant pastor who originally spoke them. Niemller supported Adolf Hitler and Jewish hatred until he was sent to a concentration camp. In my native Teklenburg, there were many farmers who were in debt to Jewish moneylenders and livestock traders, he told a German TV host in 1963. At that time, the mood in this area was not systematically anti-Semitic, but it was intuitively and traditionally so, and I never questioned it. In 1920, at age 28, he belonged to the Academic Defense Corps, a group of right-wing students with nationalist, hateful ideologies. His beliefs found their way into his calling, according to a Holocaust Museum biography: Niemllers sermons reflected his strong nationalist sentiment. He felt that reparations, democracy and foreign influence had led to damaging social fragmentation and an overemphasis on the individual in German society. Niemller believed that Germany needed a strong leader to promote national unity and honor. Hitler. Niemller cheered the rise of the National Socialist Party, voting for Hitler and openly echoing his nationalistic, pro-Christian, exclusionary rhetoric. Niemller remained an outspoken anti-Semite throughout the 1930s, justifying his prejudices by referring to Christian teachings that the Jews were guilty of deicide, the killing of Jesus, the Holocaust Museum says. Niemller was a complicated guy. Pressured by other German Christians, he became concerned that the Nazis were politicizing the church, excluding non-Aryans. In 1933, he founded the Pastors Emergency League (PEL) to address the issue. A year later, he and two Protestant bishops met with Hitler to discuss their concerns a turning point in Niemllers political sympathies, the Holocaust Museum said, explaining why: At the meeting it became clear that Niemllers phone had been tapped by the Gestapo (German Secret State Police) and that the PEL was under close state surveillance. Following the meeting, the two bishops signed a statement of unconditional loyalty to the Fhrer. In contrast, Niemller had come to see the Nazi state as a dictatorship, one which he would oppose. [Hitlers mother was the only person he genuinely loved.] Niemllers sermonsattacked the Third Reichs attempts to control the church. The Nazis obviously didnt like this very much. They sent him to Dachau, a German concentration camp, where the intolerant ideology of his earlier years continued dissipating, as he recounted in the 1960s TV interview: it was not at all clear to me what only dawned upon me later in the concentration camp: that, as a Christian, I must conduct myself not according to my sympathies or antipathies, but must see in each human being, even if he is unsympathetic to me, the fellow human being for whom Jesus Christ hung His cross as much as for me. This simply precludes any form of rejection and action against a group of human beings of any race, any religion, any skin color. After he was liberated by U.S. troops in 1945, Niemller publicly advocated for German Christians who continued supporting Hitler to acknowledge their guilt. However, as the Holocaust Museum points out, Niemller initially failed to explicitly repudiate Hitlers political aims, condemning unequivocally only Nazi interference in religious matters. He also criticized Allied forces. Then, in 1946, he published a memoir, writing: Thus, whenever I chance to meet a Jew known to me before, then, as a Christian, I cannot but tell him: Dear Friend, I stand in front of you, but we can not get together, for there is guilt between us. I have sinned and my people has sinned against thy people and against thyself. In his public speeches and sermons including a speaking tour of 52 cities in the United States Niemller began saying the things for which he is now remembered. Sort of. In examining interviews, speech transcripts and other documents, University of California at Santa Barbara history professor Harold Marcuse concluded that Niemller didnt quite say things as hes been quoted. The persecuted groups he cited sometimes changed for his audience. So did the order in which he listed them. Sometimes he spoke as we. Other times, it was I and me as in, When they came for me, there wasnt anyone left who protested. Even today, there is no one correct version, no exact replica of his words. But there is the spirit. In 1958, at the end of a paperback issue of The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank, schoolchildren found it put like this: First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me. (Pastor Niemoeller, Victim of the Nazis in Germany) Read more Retropolis: Hitler refused to use sarin during WWII. The mystery is why. Six Nazi spies were executed in D.C. White supremacists gave them a memorial on federal land. Death of a devil: The white supremacist got hit by a car. His victims celebrated. The day 30,000 white supremacists in KKK robes marched in the nations capital Leo Frank was lynched for a murder he didnt commit. Now neo-Nazis are trying to rewrite history.

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Ugandan Jew shares experiences in trip to Augusta – The Augusta Chronicle

For Kokasi Kesi, one of the hardest parts of being a counselor at Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Camp Coleman in Cleveland, Ga., this summer came after the meal. Hed watch as the plates were collected and food scraped off into the trash. I would feel bad when I would see the food dumped, said Kesi, a 26-year-old Ugandan Jew, who is spending two weeks in Augusta, where he will be raising money for his village, which has been wracked with food shortages because of drought. He is staying with members of the Congregation Children of Israel, and there will be a reception for him at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, at the home of Rabbi Shai Beloosesky. For more information, call the temple at (706) 736-3140. This is the second year Kesi has visited Augusta. He worked at the camp last year as well. He spoke in Atlanta and Florida before traveling to the Augusta area where he arrived Aug. 13 and leaves Aug. 20. Kesi is part of the Abayudaya Community in the village of Baganda in eastern Uganda. Its a small group of Jews who have an unusual history. Kesis uncle, Gerhom Sizumo is the rabbi and a member of the Ugandan parliament. The community will celebrate 100 years of Judaism in 2019. Judaism came to the village through Christianity, according to Kesi. Missionaries brought Christian Bibles to the village, but one of the residents began reading more of the Old Testament or the books of the Torah. He began practicing what he saw contained in those writings so that his faith resembled more of Judaism. They would keep shabbat, and they would keep high holy days, he said. Judaism flourished, and decades later, a Jewish traveler told them that what they were practicing more closely resembled Judaism. Persecution came under the leadership of Idi Amin, who overthrew the government and declared himself president in 1971. He ruled until 1979 when he was exiled. Under Amin, an estimated 300,000 people were killed. He was quoted as saying he believed Hitler was correct in killing 6 million Jews, according to his 2003 New York Times obituary. Amin is reported to have killed indiscriminately, killing judges, hospital officials, Christian clergy, educators, bankers and tribal leaders. Many of the Abayudaya Jews converted to Christianity during Amins rule; however, since 1979, the numbers have risen to about 1,000 Jews in the community and 2,000 Jews in the country of Uganda, said Kesi. There is a school in the village as well, and Kesi wants to pursue his masters degree to be an administrator in the school. This wont be the first time this year that the Congregation Children of Israel has helped the Ugandans. In May, Judah Breland celebrated his bar mitzvah and helped raise $2,500 for a friend of Kesis to return to his village and take food with him. Donations can also be brought to the Temple at 3005 Walton Way.

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Fleeing repression, Jewish immigrants found success in Gold Rush SF – San Francisco Chronicle

Of all the groups that arrived in Gold Rush San Francisco, the Jews who fled a legacy of oppression in Europe may have experienced the most remarkable success. In their Central European homelands, these German speakers had been confined to ghettos, prevented from marrying and barred from professional occupations. When they got to California, former peddlers, petty traders and craftsmen found a land where they were free to prosper and in the years to come, they created some of the wealthiest and most powerful companies in the state. Many of the Jews who were to become merchant princes of San Francisco came from the same small region: Upper Franconia in German-speaking Bavaria. Indeed, several grew up in the same small town. Three men who would become business titans in San Francisco William Haas, Isaias Wolf Hellman and Isaac Walter were childhood friends who all came from the same rural town of Reckendorf, population 1,000. The most famous of them all, Levi Strauss, grew up in the town of Buttenheim, just 20 miles from Reckendorf. The story of Haas, who built one of San Franciscos most storied residences, the still-standing Haas-Lilienthal House on Franklin Street, is typical. Haas grew up in a society where the anti-Semitic bigotry that dated from the Middle Ages was still present. Bloody anti-Jewish riots had taken place as recently as 1819, and Jews were oppressed by punitive taxes and an infamous law called the Matrikel, which allowed only the oldest son in a Jewish family to marry. Starting in the 1840s, these repressive laws led to a wave of German Jewish immigration to the United States. No fewer than 200,000 German Jews would leave for what was known as the Golden Land. The climate did improve as Fred Rosenbaum writes in Jewish Americans: Religion and Identity at 2007 Franklin Street, the Matrikel and most other discriminatory laws were abolished in 1861. Like Hellman and Walter, Haas received a fine education at a Jewish primary school in Reckendorf, then an even better one at a secondary school in nearby Bamberg. Haas arrived in San Francisco in 1868 and went to work for Haas Bros., the wholesale grocery company started by his older brother, Kalman, who had arrived in 1851. Like many other Jews during the Gold Rush, Kalman had realized that staying in San Francisco and opening a business mining the miners, as the expression went offered better prospects than heading to the gold fields. William Haas started out as a clerk, then became a salesman, then a partner. His living conditions improved accordingly. When he arrived, he sometimes slept on a shelf in the store. Within two years, he bought a modest house worth $1,000. In 1886, he spent more than $18,000, not including the land, to build his ornate Victorian mansion on Franklin Street. The Haas family was part of a new German-Jewish aristocracy, most from Bavaria, made up of several dozen families. This commercial elite, which emerged in San Francisco faster than anywhere else in the country, was filled with names that are still famous today both because of their successful businesses and their philanthropic largesse. Most of them made their fortune in dry goods or clothing. The most famous clothing kings were Levi Strauss and his brother-in-law, David Stern, whose company patented and manufactured the riveted pants that are today the most famous and best-selling line of clothing in the world. Other dry goods magnates included William Steinhart, Louis Sachs and Lazarus Dinkelspiel. German Jews established most of the citys leading department stores, including Raphael Weills White House, Isaac Magnins I. Magnin and Solomon Gumps eponymous store. Produce and tobacco kings included Haas, Frederick Castle, Joseph Brandenstein and Moses Gunst. Simon Koshland ran a wool empire, and Louis Sloss and his brother-in-law Lewis Gerstle founded the Alaska Commercial Co., which controlled the market in salmon and seals. Aaron Fleishhacker made his pile in cardboard boxes, while Anthony Zellerbach made a fortune in paper. Bankers included Isaias Hellman and Philip Lilienthal. Just as remarkable as the meteoric success of San Franciscos Jews was the fact that they encountered very little anti-Semitism far less than in New York and other U.S. cities. The reason was simple. San Francisco was a brand-new city, devoid of a status quo. There was no establishment to draw up ranks against perceived outsiders; everyone was an outsider. In the frenzy of the Gold Rush, the ethnic, class and social distinctions that loomed large on the East Coast vanished. All nations having come hither, shades of color, of belief, peculiarities of physique, of temper and habit were less distinctly marked, historian Hubert Bancroft wrote in California Inter Pocula. Bancroft also noted that the entire raison detre of the Gold Rush, the desire to get rich quick, undercut one of the traditional sources of anti-Semitism, the belief that Jews were grasping and greedy. Gold was here, and in common with the gentiles Jews loved gold, he wrote. Money was the humanizing bond. … Christian and Jew loved money. The casual use of anti-Semitic tropes was acceptable and well-nigh universal in the United States at the time, but in San Francisco, such offensive attitudes seem to have been mostly rhetorical. Indeed, Jews were widely admired as upstanding citizens and leading businessmen. In 1858, Steamer Day the much-anticipated, carnival-like day when the Pacific Mail Steamer arrived with mail from the East Coast was actually postponed by the city because it fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Its hard to imagine this taking place anywhere else in the country. The next Portals will explore the manners and mores, and the city-changing philanthropy, of San Franciscos Jewish elite. Gary Kamiya is the author of the best-selling book Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco, awarded the Northern California Book Award in creative nonfiction. All the material in Portals of the Past is original for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: metro@sfchronicle.com Trivia time Previous trivia question: Who happily strummed a guitar as he strolled down Haight Street on Aug. 7, 1967? Answer: George Harrison. This weeks trivia question: What percentage of San Franciscans voted for Donald Trump in the November presidential election? Editors note Every corner in San Francisco has an astonishing story to tell. Gary Kamiyas Portals of the Past tells those lost stories, using a specific location to illuminate San Franciscos extraordinary history from the days when giant mammoths wandered through what is now North Beach to the Gold Rush delirium, the dot-com madness and beyond. His column appears every other Saturday, alternating with Peter Hartlaubs OurSF.

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August 18, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

What This Rabbi Found When He Went To Charlottesville – Jewish Week

It was a surreal moment. Approaching the Robert E. Lee Monument in the center of Charlottesville, Va., a young black woman, Aliya, joined her white friend Tom in placing a placard in front of the statue. Covering the words Robert E. Lee the placard read: The Heather Heyer Memorial. Heather Heyer was the 32-year-old woman who was murdered when a car driven by a white supremacist rammed into a crowd of counter protesters at a white nationalist rally. Together with my colleagues Rabbis Shmuel Herzfeld, Etan Mintz and Uri Topolosky, we asked if we could join in. Together we stood, singing We Shall Overcome. White supremacists try to divide America, declaring its us vs. them. We were humbly responding its us, all of us, we, together. We had come to Charlottesville to express solidarity with the beleaguered Jewish community and with all of Charlottesvilles citizens. Sitting with Rabbi Tom Gutherz, rabbi of Charlottesvilles Congregation Beth Israel, we were overwhelmed by his story. He shared with us that he had received a call last Friday from municipal officials telling him they had picked up information that the synagogue was under threat. The rabbi asked for protection and was told that not enough personnel was available. From L to R: Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, Rabbi Etan Mintz, Rabbi Uri Topolosky and Rabbi Avi Weiss on a solidarity trip to Charlottesville. Courtesy He continued by sharing with us that on Saturday, the Sabbath morning, three neo-Nazis were standing in front of the synagogue with semi-automatic weapons as congregants assembled for prayer. The rabbi again asked for protection, but none came. His account echoed an article posted by synagogue president, Alan Zimmerman, where he stated: On Saturday morning, I stood outside our synagogue with the armed security guard we hired after the police department refused to provide us with an officer during morning services. Incensed, we walked a few blocks to the Charlottesville City Hall, insisting that we see the city manager, Charlottesvilles highest government official. One of the assistant city managers, Mike Murphy, spoke to us. Rabbi Herzfeld chastised the Charlottesville Police for not offering the synagogue protection. I added, It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that with many, many hundreds of neo-Nazis marching through the streets of Charlottesville on Friday night with KKK type torches, declaring Jews will not replace us, the synagogue needed to be guarded. That protection should have been automatic, without any request coming from the synagogue at all. From our perspective, the lack of police protection deserves an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. The memorial for Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia. Courtesy of RabbiShmuel Herzfeld We made our way to the University of Virginia Medical Center. Rabbi Mintz had served there years ago, and knew the supervising chaplain, Mildred Best. Mildred shared with us that the open lobby where one enters the hospital had been transformed into a closed emergency center during the hours of crisis on Saturday. She arranged that the full chaplaincy staff join us in a prayer service. It was important that we show support to the spiritual healers who had been there, offering help during the crisis. Even the healers need healing. Fifty years ago, I started singing this song with millions of others during the dark days of the civil rights movement. Never would I have imagined then that decades later we would still be facing similar times, singing the same melody, the same simple but piercing words. We gathered around as Rabbi Topolosky, on his guitar, led us in Rabbi Shlomo Carlebachs heart-wrenching song of one word Ruach. Ruach literally means wind but more deeply refers to the image of God, a spirit that unites all of humankind. Some of the chaplains were in tears. We held hands as our visiting group offered the blessing: May the Lord guard your going out and coming in; May the Lord offer renewal of body and soul for all the injured. Our final stop was meeting with the Chabad rabbi at the University of Virginia, Rabbi Shlomo Mayer. Raised in Romania, he described how late on Friday night, after the white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, he was awakened by a loud noise. For an instant, he said, I thought I was back in Romania with the Jewish community under attack. As it turned out, the noise was not a danger. But the rabbi told us that the fear he was feeling was palpable. 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 As I left Charlottesville, my mind wandered to the moment, perhaps the most piercing of the day, where we stood at the very spot where Heather was murdered. Flowers and notes were everywhere. As I looked up, I could see a police car blocking the intersection. If only the police would have placed a car there on Saturday Heather would still be alive. We chanted the prayer for the dead. And then we began to sing We Shall Overcome Some Day. Fifty years ago, I started singing this song with millions of others during the dark days of the civil rights movement. Never would I have imagined then that decades later we would still be facing similar times, singing the same melody, the same simple but piercing words. Then and there I offered a silent prayer: O God, we shall overcome someday. Someday no longer works for me. America cannot wait. The world cannot wait. We need more Aliyas and Toms, more Mildred Bests. We need white, black, brown and yellow, Jewish, Christian, Muslims singing together we shall overcome not some day, but today, today, today.

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August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Why Do Nazis Hate Jews? How Christian Politics Fuels Anti-Semitism in the United States – Newsweek

Newsweekpublished this story under the headline of Again, Anti-Semitism on February 16, 1981. In light of the recent neo-Nazi, white power and alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Newsweekis republishing the story. Charles Benjamin, a leader of the Jewish community in his quiet, suburban New Jersey town, came home to find bright red swastikas painted on his back door. The outdoor furniture had been dumped into the pool. The mailbox had been looted. “My knees buckled,” Benjamin later told a television interviewer. “I sat down on the ground, not believing that this could happen in… my little patch in the United States. “Anti-Semitism is an ancient story that is suddenly making news across the United States. The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reported 377 anti-Semitic “episodes” in 1980, a nearly threefold increase in one year. Most of these sporadic incidents involved little more than scrawled graffiti or vandalism, but there were also 10cases of arson, four fire-bombings and several death threats. No one has been killed or seriously injured, and no evidence suggests a campaign of any scale; most of the incidents have been juvenile pranks. Yet many American Jews are worried. “Hitler started with a handful of people and paint brushes,” says Jeffrey Maas of the ADL in New Jersey. And many government officials agree that the incidents cannot be shrugged off. “There is a tendency… to treat incidents of anti-Semitic or racial vandalism as isolated acts of mischief,” warns New Jersey Attorney General John J. Degnan. “Unfortunately … these acts may represent deep-seated racial and religious hatred.” To combat the flurry of anti-Semitic incidents, Degnan and other law-enforcement officials around the country have stepped up their investigations, often forming special police and prosecution units. Many Jewish leaders have begun holding seminars on bigotry and rallies against anti-Semitism, such as one that drew 3,000 people in California’s San Fernando Valley a fortnight ago. Not satisfied with these steps, Jewish militants have redoubled their own controversial efforts at self-defensepatrolling Jewish neighborhoods and training Jews in the use of high-powered rifles and pistols. Some Jewish organizations are reluctant to read too much into the new statistics of anti-Semitism, noting that vandalism and violent crime are on the rise generally. “It will take another year of monitoring to find out what the numbers actually mean,” says a spokesman for the American Jewish Committee in New York. Other Jews see the low-level violence and harassment as part of a larger pattern. With mounting alarm, they note the renewed organizing efforts of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party, the tone of some of the criticism of Israel in the United Nations and above all the bloody attacks on Jews in several European cities last year. “There is a feeling,” says Murray Wood, an executive of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, “that all roads somehow lead to Auschwitz.” Daily Emails and Alerts – Get the best of Newsweek delivered to your inbox Anti-Semitism in the United States today hardly compares in virulence with the anti-Jewish attitudes and actions in the 1920s and 1930s. Then, Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent (circulation: 700,000) ran anti-Semitic diatribes with headlines such as JEWISH GAMBLERS CORRUPT AMERICAN BASEBALL. More damaging, unstated quotas and restrictions kept Jews out of schools, jobs, neighborhoods and hotels. Today, most such barriers have fallen, and many public-opinion polls show a continuing decline in prejudice against Jews. In one survey last year, for example, only 8 percent of those questioned thought Jews had “too much political influence.” But other polls indicate a persistent suspicion and distaste for Jews as “pushy, clannish, unethical.” In Anti-Semitism in America, published two years ago, authors Charles Y. Glock and Harold E. Quinley reported that a third of Americans share such negative attitudesabout the same number, according to a more recent poll, that suspect Jews of being more loyal to Israel than to the United States. Alan Sandler and his bride, Zipporah, had just returned from their honeymoon in New York City. The mailbox of their Cranston, R.I. home was brimming with congratulatory cards. One was decorated with two lovebirds on the front. But inside was a swastika and the words. “We are back. ” Many experts blame the nation’s economic problems for the new signs of anti-Semitism. “Times of distress, social unrest and economic depression [are] often preliminary to outbreaks of anti-Semitism,” explains the Rev. Edward H. Flannery, author of another book on the subject, Anguish of the Jews. In hard times people find it comforting to have a scape-goat, Flannery says, “And they always look in the direction of the Jews.” In the spotlight of full media coverage, one episode often leads to others. Says New York City police official Patrick J. Murphy: “The incidents feed off each other. The kids read about themselves…and any dope can see himself immortalized.” In three days last month, officials at the University of Florida in Gainesville found thirteen examples of anti-Semitic graffiti on campus. After the wife of university President Robert Marston spoke out forcefully against such bigotry, her telephone rang. “This is the Florida-wide organization of Hitler,” said the caller. “I am going to kill you.” In fact few of the reported incidents seem directly connected with extremist groups. “If it were more organized,” says Long Island ADL director Melvin Cooperman, “we could zero in and nail them.” But both the Nazi Party and the Klan have run avowedly anti-Semitic candidates for public officewith disturbing success. Harold Covington, 27, chairman of the National Socialist Party of America in North Carolina, won more than 43 percent of the vote in the state’s Republican primary for attorney general last year. The rise of racist groups also seems to create a climate favorable to individual extremists and a certain public tolerance for isolated incidents. The dramatic growth of Christian fundamentalismand Moral Majority politicsmay also spur anti-Semitism. Just last week, the Rev. Dan C. Fore, Moral Majority leader in New York City, told a reporter: “Jews have a God-given ability to make money, almost a supernatural ability…. They control this city.” Even without such stereotyping, the fundamentalist emphasis on “Christian politics” and efforts to convert Jews are threatening, says William Gralnick of the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta. “What it says is that the Jewish faith is not a valid path to salvation; it tends to separate us from grace.” Last year in Macon, Georgia, says Gralnick, Protestant ministers refused to speak out when the head of the Southern Baptist Convention said, “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” It was shortly after 1 a. m. when two men drove up to the synagogue in Temple City, California.They pried open a window, poured gasoline over a wooden pew and set the synagogue ablaze. Seven stained-glass windows were shattered and other damage to Temple Beth David was estimated at $180, 000. The incident was followed” by nearly 30 more anti-Semitic outbursts in the Los Angeles area over the last eight weeks. The randomness of anti-Semitic incidents, and the absence of links to organized groups in most cases, makes prosecution difficult. In the 377 cases reported by the ADL last year, only 20 arrests were made. Even when there are arrests, the charge is normally a misdemeanor State assemblymen in California and New Jersey have proposed legislation that would stiffen penalties for religiously motivated vandalism. “When a cross is burned or a swastika is smeared, the terror it generates is as intense as from a bomb threat,” says New Jersey Assemblyman Byron Baer. But some judges prefer to sentence juvenile perpetrators to study Jewish history and the Nazi Holocaust. Said one such youth: “I am beginning to realize through these books the great deal of suffering I must have caused.” Many Jewish organizations have escalated their own programs of public education. Last week the ADLworking with the Urban League and the U.S. Justice Departmentsponsored a conference in Providence, Rhode Island, on “extremist groups” and another in Boston on “religious and racial harassment.” About 1,500 people attended an anti-Nazi rally last month at the Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies in Los Angeles, itself a target of three anti-Semitic attacks earlier this year. But education didn’t seem to do much good at Great Neck North Senior High School in New York. Though the school has offered courses on the Holocaust for five years, vandals spray-painted the walls with “KKK” and “Hi’Hitler” last October, And police in many areas reported a flurry of similar anti-Semitic incidents after the “Holocaust” series on television. Such incidents have only encouraged militant groups like the Jewish Defense League to expand their often provocative paramilitary operations. The JDL plans to offer 10-week courses in “warfare tactics” at secret sites in southern California, Michigan and upstate New York. Most mainstream Jewish organizations see these steps as an inflammatory overreaction. But equally dangerous, they agree, would be simply to ignore the current upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents. “There’s no reason to panic; the country is not being overrun byanti-Semites,” says Art Teitelbaum of the Anti-Defamation League in Miami. “But it is something to be vigilant about.” White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. Neo-Nazis were among those present. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share via REUTERS

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August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  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."