Archive for the ‘Jewish American Heritage Month’ Category

Israel fears endangered World Heritage status could thwart Hebron takeover – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Charlotte Silver Rights and Accountability 3 July 2017

Palestinians visit the Ibrahimi mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on 25 February 2014, 20 years to the day after an American Jewish settler opened fire killing 29 worshippers there.

Israel is refusing to give visas to a team of investigators with UNESCO who are scheduled to visit Hebrons Old City in the occupied West Bank.

The visit was to take place ahead of a July vote by the UN educational and cultural organization to consider the Old City an endangered World Heritage Site.

Calling the move principled and strategic, Israels ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, said the UN teams visit was based on lies that plot against Israel.

The UNESCO team was to provide its findings to the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the body that considers which sites should be placed on the the World Heritage in Danger list.

Hacohen said the group was denied entry to Israel because in the past UNESCO had overruled the councils recommendations against placing sites in the occupied West Bank on the endangered list. It would be a shame to waste the time and money, Hacohen said, for the team to go to Hebron.

After UNESCO granted Palestine full membership in 2011, the Palestinian Authority applied for the agency to recognize the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem as an endangered World Heritage Site.

In 2014, UNESCO recognized the terraces of Battir in the occupied West Bank as a World Heritage Site, helping to protect the villages ancient agricultural landscape and culture from Israels plans to build its separation wall through it.

Hacohen described the planned UNESCO mission to Hebron as a broader campaign of lies that plot against the state of Israel as well as the history and the connection of the Jewish people to this important holy site.

Hebrons Old City is the site of the Ibrahimi mosque, known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs. Muslims and Jews hold that this is where the prophet Abraham was buried.

It is one of 35 potential additions around the world that the World Heritage Committee will consider when it meets in Poland later this month.

On 25 February 1994, Baruch Goldstein an American Jewish settler from Brooklyn walked into the mosque during Ramadan prayers and opened fire, killing 29 Palestinian men and boys and injuring dozens more, before his victims overwhelmed him and beat him to death.

In the days immediately following the massacre, Israel took action not against the settlers but against Palestinians: Israeli forces killed and injured dozens more unarmed Palestinians protesting the mosque massacre across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This set the pattern: Israel escalated its repression of Palestinians, gradually allowing the settlers to take over more of the city.

The Ibrahimi mosque was partitioned between the settlers and Palestinians. In 1997, settlers were rewarded even further for Goldsteins massacre when the Palestinian Authority agreed to allow Israel to partition Hebron itself into two zones: H1 and H2.

H1 is nominally administered by the Palestinian Authority and is home to more than 120,000 Palestinians.

H2, under full Israeli military rule, includes Hebrons historic Old City as well as the Ibrahimi mosque.

Israeli occupation forces severely restrict the movement of thousands of Palestinians in H2 while about 800 Israeli settlers in the heart of the city move about freely under army protection, including on segregated roads.

According to the Israeli news website Ynet, Israel fears that including the Old City on UNESCOs World Heritage List, could impose limits on Israeli construction and protect the Ibrahimi mosque and areas around it from development.

Inclusion on the list could also heighten scrutiny of Israel when it erects new checkpoints in the Old City or carries out work that is damaging to the site.

In the last two years, checkpoints in the heart of Hebron have been the sites of numerous slayings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli occupation forces, which in a number of cases Amnesty International has urged be investigated as extrajudicial killings of persons who posed no threat to soldiers.

It was near such a checkpoint in March 2016 that Elor Azarya took aim and fired fatally at the head of injured and incapacitated Palestinian Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, a videotaped killing for which the Israeli army medic received a slap on the wrist.

Ynet also reported that Israel was scrambling to find seven countries whose votes are needed to block the UNESCO motion, which also includes a clause rejecting Israels claim of sovereignty over occupied East Jerusalem.

In April, The Times of Israel reported that the Trump administration had instructed US diplomats to lobby UNESCO delegations to help Israel secure enough votes against a resolution that criticized Israels actions in Hebron and Bethlehem.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to prevent the entry of the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

According to the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, Israel has not responded to any of Michael Lynks requests to conduct official visits. Lynk was appointed in 2016. Israel has prevented the entry of all UN special rapporteurs since 2008, according to the human rights groups.

Israel is obliged under the UN Charter to allow UN officials to access its territory.

Lynks predecssor, Makarim Wibisono, resigned in protest at Israels refusal to allow him to enter the occupied Palestinian territories.

View original post here:
Israel fears endangered World Heritage status could thwart Hebron takeover – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Fair Usage Law

July 3, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Sen. Kamala Harris Remembers Indian-American Mother’s Journey In America – newsindiatimes.com

Left, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, when she was a toddler, with her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who came to study in America and decided to remain here and marry Donald Harris. Right, Harris as a child. (Photos: Facebook)

On the last day of Immigrant Heritage Month, Senator Kamala Harris, who posted several immigrant stories in previous weeks, posted an entry on Facebook about her Indian-American mother. June 30, Harris posted the following with pictures:

I wanted to share one last story today for immigrant heritage month my own. My mother, Shyamala Harris arrived at the University of California-Berkeley from India in 1959. She had dreams of becoming a scientist. The plan was to go back home when she finished school, but when she met my father Donald Harris, she made a different plan. She went against a practice reaching back thousands of years, and instead of an arranged marriage, chose a love marriage. This, an act of self-determination, made me and my sister Maya. And like millions of the children of immigrants before and since it made us Americans.

Shyamala Gopalan Harris died Feb. 11, 2009,from cancer, at the age of 70. The San Francisco Chronicle ran her obituary on March 22, 2009, in which she is described as a world-renowned scientist, a mentor, an activist, a mother who Despite her 5-ft stature, was a commanding presence characterized by a sharp wit, keen sense of humor and endless depth of knowledge.

She came to the U.S. as a teenager, forged her career as a breast cancer researcher, joined the ongoing civil rights movement, and raised Kamala Harris and another daughter, Maya Harris by herself.

Born in south India to Rajam, her mother, and P.V. Gopalan, her father who was a diplomat in the Indian government, Shyamala Gopalan graduated from Delhi University, and came to University of California, Berkeley, earned a Ph.D. in nutrition and endocrinology, by the age of 25, and spent her early career conducting research at Berkeleys Dept of Zoology and Cancer Research Lab.

She taught at several universities including University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, and also in France and Italy, plus 16 years at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital and the Department of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

She was published in numerous journals and received numerous honors, and was a frequent peer reviewer for the National Institutes of Health. She was also on the Presidents Special Commission on Breast Cancer, according to her biography, which also says one of seminal contributions was isolating and characterizing the progesterone receptor gene in a mouse, which sparked further advancements.

Read more from the original source:
Sen. Kamala Harris Remembers Indian-American Mother’s Journey In America – newsindiatimes.com

Fair Usage Law

July 2, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Amerike singing – The Jewish Standard

Its extraordinary, when you think about it, this country of ours.

Thats always a loaded statement to make these days; tempers are so high, political divisions are so deep, mistrust is so pervasive.

But still.

We are celebrating the Fourth of July this week, the time when the founders of this country, along with the less powerful people they represented, risked everything we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor, they said, the exuberance of their capitalization underscoring the depth of their resolve to create a new kind of state in the New World.

It was, of course, not an untarnished state the founders created human beings were enslaved but it was the start of a brave new experiment. It remains very far from perfect, but on the Fourth of July we still explode fireworks of hope and joy.

Some of those fireworks soar and crest and rain colored fire on the Statue of Liberty.

Although there were Jews in the 13 colonies that became the first United States, none were represented among the entirely white male Christian founders. We extrapolate the promises those men made to themselves to cover all of us as well.

Overwhelmingly, most of us are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. It is no accident that the Statute of Liberty, one of the great symbols of the freedom that this country offers, holds her torch up to immigrants. This country grew from immigrants, was built by immigrants, welcomes immigrants, enriches and is enriched by immigrants.

Like this country itself, though, immigration was not all glorious. It was hard, painful, dark, impoverishing, at times fatal. It could divide families, maim hope, kill love. The only way truly to acknowledge the great gifts immigrants have given us is to honor their sacrifices and their despair as well as their joy and success.

So what does this have to do with the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene?

Everything!

The Folksbiene, under the direction of its artistic director, Zalmen Mlotek of Teaneck, is producing Amerike The Golden Land, a show about Jewish immigration whose month-long run at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown Manhattan is set to begin on July 4, in the shadow cast by the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

Amerike is less a plotted musical than a series of songs sung by characters whose stories viewers can follow, or at least piece together. The songs all are authentic; most of them were unearthed by Mr. Mlotek and his mother, the great Yiddish musicologist Eleanor Gordon Mlotek, and by Mr. Mloteks cousin, Moishe Rosenfeld.

Zalmen Mlotek of Teaneck is the Folksbienes artistic director.

The beginning of Amerike goes back to 1982, when Moishe and I were asked to create a pageant for the Workmens Circle celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Forward, Mr. Mlotek said. Some explanations Mr. Rosenfeld and Mr. Mlotek are not only first cousins but also frequent collaborators. The Forward, the newspaper that began as a daily Yiddish publication and now publishes in Yiddish, Russian, and English, almost entirely on line, was closely linked with the Workmans Circle, the Yiddishist, socially progressive organization that helped fresh-off-the-boat immigrants adjust to their bewildering new home. The Folksbiene began as a branch of the Workmens Circle. Mr. Mloteks father, Joseph, another prominent and beloved Yiddishist, was the Workmens Circles education director. Everything connects, and everyone is connected.

In 1982, Zalmen Mlotek did not work for the Folksbiene; I was involved only tangentially with Yiddish theater, he said. I developed my own career as a musician. But when he and Mr. Rosenfeld were asked to put together a theatrical piece about immigration, they said yes.

Bryna Wasserman, a luminary of Yiddish theater, directs Amerika.

They researched the period beginning in the late 1880s and going through the next few decades of the twentieth century. Research involved listening to recordings of Yiddish theater and looking at music that had never been published before, Mr. Mlotek said. We wanted to find material that was an honest portrayal of the immigrant experience, from the immigrants themselves.

What excited us was the power of the songs and the lyrics we discovered. We were able to be transported dramatically and emotionally to the generation of immigrants who experienced this country for the first time.

Uncovering this music took detective skills, including not only the ability to follow barely-hinted-at trails and allusions, but also to decipher fading scrawled handwriting and to have the patience to sit still for the huge chunks of time that deciphering demanded.

There were problems specific to reading music conventionally read from left to right set to lyrics in Yiddish conventionally read from right to left often transliterated into Roman letters conventionally read from left to right. It was complicated and time-consuming, Mr. Mlotek understated. So hed do triage. Id look at the music, and if it interested me I would take the time to decipher it. Sometimes hed find what he calls jewels.

It was like being on an archaeological dig, he said.

This crumbling handwritten page has music and transliteration for Lost Arayn, which means let them in. Its a heartwrenching plea to immigration officials.

Some of the jewels were songs like Vatch Your Step. In that song, Mr. Mlotek said, were exciting phrases that the immigrants heard all the time and turned into English. Or at least into Yinglish; the rest of the lyrics were in Yiddish. Other songs would talk about upward mobility, about no longer living in the tenements but moving uptown, to much nicer places in Harlem or the Bronx.

Its always key for us that the experience be told honestly, he added. These experiences were from the immigrants pens and minds and spirits.

When Mr. Mlotek and Mr. Rosenfeld first wrote Amerike, it was mainly in Yiddish, although there was enough English and Yinglish for non-Yiddish speakers not to feel entirely lost.

Watch Your Step thats Vatch in Yiddish is among the songs in the show.

The production was a great success, Mr. Mlotek said. Dick Shepard of the New York Times gave it a five-column rave review, with our pictures, and for a week our phones rang nonstop. We were in a little office in the old Workmans Circle building, and the phones just kept ringing. It was an incredible experience. It just exploded. People from the theater world started to come down and see it.

The show evolved. As it got more popular, a producer came to us and said that he wanted to do it Off Broadway, but wed have to put more English into it. That meant translating some of the songs that had very little English in them.

It worked. The show continued to attract and charm audiences. After Off Broadway, it toured, and Leonard Bernstein recommended that we go to Italy with it, Mr. Mlotek reported. We went to Palermo and to Venice. The experience in Palermo was incredible. One time, the audience was all high school kids. They were rowdy, regular high school kids and then when we talked about sweatshops and unionizing workers, they all hushed.

It was as if they were seeing something holy. That resonated for them. The rest of it well, they were rowdy high school kids.

Amerike was revived again, soon after September 11 the need for some hope was obvious and again in 2012; that version played well until Superstorm Sandy knocked out most of lower Manhattan, including Baruch College, where it was playing. And then when we came here to the museum, to our new home, last year, we were wrestling between Amerike and The Golden Bride as the first piece to present here. The Golden Bride won. Its representative of Second Avenue material, and we opted for that, to give people a taste of actual Yiddish theater, Mr. Mlotek said. The musical had a brief but critically acclaimed run at the museum.

Now, though, we decided that because immigration has become such an important issue today, and because we are constantly inspired by our location it doesnt escape us that the Statue of Liberty is right outside our windows we felt that it was time to bring the show back.

Theyve made a change, though. Theyve stripped the English they added. There is English throughout, Mr. Mlotek said. Its the story of immigration, so as the immigrants assimilated their Yiddish became peppered with English. But now much of the material is back to the original authentic Yiddish sources that we picked. Also, the production includes supertitles so even the most Yiddish-challenged of audience members will know whats going on.

The cast rehearses for the Folksbienes new production of Amerike.

Now, he said, a challenge they face is how to pick a cast that can sing Yiddish honestly, authentically, and dramatically and also look good and of course also sound good.

We auditioned more than 300 people in New York, and we came up with a terrific ensemble of 12 people, he said. Some have experience in Yiddish, and some learned it. And then there is one major standout. Daniel Kahn, who we brought from Berlin.

Daniel Kahn came back to the United States from Berlin to be in Amerike.

Daniel Kahn is the young Detroit native who has lived in Berlin for the last decade; he broke into Americas consciousness last fall, soon after the singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen died, by translating Mr. Cohens brilliant, popular, and hauntingly and undeniably Jewish song Halleluyah into Yiddish, and singing it on YouTube right into the camera, looking right at the viewer as he sang in a language that the song hadnt been written in but seemed as if it should have been.

That Daniel Kahn.

We are not making a political point with this show, Mr. Mlotek said. This is a nation of immigrants. The Yiddish theater in America became American theater, and it came from immigrants. We are celebrating that tie.

To that end, the Folksbiene also is hosting the first immigration arts summit, set for Monday and Tuesday, July 17 and 18. The summit, which will include a keynote address by John Leguizamo, will bring together the Pan Asian Repertory, the Repertorio Espaol, the Irish Repertory Theatre, the Kairo Italy Theater, the Irish Arts Center, and the Turkish American Repertory Theatre, as well as Israels Office of Cultural Affairs in the USA, the Romanian Cultural Institute, and the Cumbe Center for African and diaspora Dance. The point is to talk about shared experiences, brainstorm shared ideas for paths forward, and share performances and audiences with each other. (See box for more details.)

To go back to the American Jewish experience, there are many lighthearted lyrics in the show. Its not at all a depressing experience it is in fact the opposite, and Vatch Your Step is in it but there still are moments of deep sadness. It is hard to leave behind all that you know, and it is hard to learn to adapt to something new. And it is also hard, very hard, more than hard, it is soul-rending, to come to a new country, stand hopefully at its gates, and then be turned away.

Lost Arayn Let Them In is a song written at the turn of the century, Mr. Mlotek said; of course, that turn is not the most recent one but from the 19th to the 20th centuries. We found it in a recording by Aaron Lebedev. My mother transcribed it. We used the first verse but not the second one. It was in one of Ms. Mloteks books about Yiddish music; for the purposes of her argument, one verse was enough.

My mother passed away three years ago, and I found this in her papers, Mr. Mlotek said. She never published this verse, and it is the killer verse.

Its the story of a young family:

A young father with bent shoulders is on Ellis Island.

He raised two small children by himself.

They lost their mother, and came here with great difficulty.

The gates are locked before them.

Their father is kept away from them.

Hearts are broken here at the door.

It ends, in a universal plea that is as relevant today as it was then then to Jews, today to others:

Dont have hearts of stone.

Open the gates to the Golden Land.

You see people falling, reach out your hand.

Let them in, let them in.

Dont break any more hearts.

The whole world will bless you for it.

Open the gates and let them in.

Zalmen Mlotek hopes that everyone will come to see the story of Amerike, down in southern Manhattan, facing the Statue of Liberty and the torch that lit the way for so many of our families, and to keep Yiddish theater alive as they do so.

Read more from the original source:
Amerike singing – The Jewish Standard

Fair Usage Law

June 29, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

PJ Library’s free books for kids spur Jewish connections, study finds – Cleveland Jewish News

Families that receive free Jewish childrens books from the Massachusetts-based PJ Library say the program has helped them feel more connected to their Jewish communities, with interfaith families especially sayingit has spurred them to celebrate Jewish holidays and Shabbat and to learn more about Judaism, a new study found.

The study, released Tuesday by PJ Library and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, found that 69 percentof participating families say the program has helped them feel more connected to their Jewish communities, whether by attending programs run by PJ library itself or activities run by local Jewish institutions.

Respondents also saythe program helps them feel more knowledgeable and confident about how to engage in Jewish traditions with their children (83 percent), and 91 percent say the program is a valuable parenting tool.

More than half of intermarried couples who subscribe said the program makes their family more likely to observe Shabbat, and 64 percent said it makes them more likely to observe Jewish holidays. Nearly 90 percent of intermarried respondents said the books helped them learn more about Judaism, according to the triennial survey.

More than 25,000 users responded to the survey, which was conducted with the external evaluation firm Informing Change.

The program, launched in 2005 by the Grinspoon Foundation, now sends one book a month and occasional music CDs to 170,000 children ages 6 months to 8 years among 125,000 families in the United States and Canada. A parallel program, Sifriyat Pijama, operates in Israel. PJ Library estimates that its books are read 6.5 milliontimes a year. Local Jewish federations and other institutions partner with the foundation in covering costs.

The findingsconfirm the goals of the programs founders, who hoped that bringing parents and children together over Jewish-themed books would not just be worthwhile in its own right, but inspire them to connect with other Jewish programs and institutions.

We take seriously that each night parents are inviting us to join their family during one of the days most treasured moments before bedtime, Winnie Sandler Grinspoon, president of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, said in a statement.Parents have told us that the PJ Library books their families receive each month not only help them feel more capable of raising Jewish children, but also make them more excited to pass on the traditions and beliefs they cherished in their own childhoods or have come to cherish as adults.

The survey also found thatsubscribers had relatively high Jewish involvement. While the 2013 Pew Research Centers study of American Jews found that 30 percent do not affiliate with a denomination, the number was only 10 percent for PJ Library subscribers.

And whilethe Pew study found that the intermarriage rate since 2000 is 58 percent, its less than half that, 28 percent, among PJ Library subscribers.

The studys authors said they were not surprised that PJ Library families are more likely than the general population to be affiliated with Jewish organizations, since families usually hear about the program through synagogues, federations or Jewish community centers.

Among subscribers, satisfaction rates are high. Nearly two-thirds of subscribers, according to the study, read the books at least weekly, and 95 percent read them at least once a month. Virtually all respondents 99 percent said they have been influenced or supported by PJ Library. A majority of families responded that the books made them more likely to use a charity box or to increase their Jewish involvement in some other way, and 83 percent saidit helpsthem feel more knowledgeable and confident about how to engage in Jewish traditions with their children .

Books are a natural way to invite people into a global community and to pass values and traditions onto the next generation, ensuring our children and their children grow up connected to their Jewish heritage, said Harold Grinspoon, a real estate developer in western Massachusetts and the founder of PJ Library.

Responses to the study, which was funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, were gathered between November 2016 and January 2017. The studyhad a 1 percent margin of error.

Read the original here:
PJ Library’s free books for kids spur Jewish connections, study finds – Cleveland Jewish News

Fair Usage Law

June 27, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Decaying relations with Diaspora yield bold words in Israel, but little action – Cleveland Jewish News

JERUSALEM Israeli politicians rushed to condemn their governments decision Sunday to freezea plan promoting pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall.

Voices from across the political spectrum, including members of the governing coalition, criticized the vote by the Cabinetas a recklessaffront to American Jewry. They warned it could weaken the communitys support for Israel.

Canceling the deal constitutes a severe blow to the unity of the Jewish people and communities as well as the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement.

However, as in the past, such concerns were not enough to affect policy: An overwhelming majority of the Cabinet voted in favor of freezing the plan. Amid the outcry, haredi Orthodox politicians celebrated another success in preserving the powers and privileges granted to their community by the state.

When Israel approved the Western Wall plan in January 2016, it was widely hailed as a historic compromise between non-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews. The Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, the multi-denominational Women of the Wall prayer group and the haredi Western Wall rabbi negotiated the plan over several years.

They agreed to significantly upgrade the egalitarian prayer space at the southern end of the Western Wall plaza and allow leaders of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements to manage it. In exchange, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation would maintain control of the main prayer section. Women of the Wall, which for nearly two decades has protested limitations on prayer rites in the womens section of the familiar Western Wall plaza, wouldmove to the expanded space, known as Robinsons Arch.

But when the plan was made public, haredi leaders decried the concessions to what they sawas illegitimate forms of Judaism, and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who heads the Heritage Foundation, quickly withdrew his support. The haredi political parties have since pushed the government to scrap the plan entirely, which it came just short of doing Sunday.

Among the Cabinet ministers, only Liberman, the head of the hawkish Yisrael Beinteinu party, and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of the ruling Likud, voted againstthe freeze.In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had appointed Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbiand Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman to draft a new plan for the site.He said construction on the pluralisticprayer section would continue uninterrupted.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the head of the Reform movement and a vocal advocate of the plan, called the governments decision an unconscionable insult to the majority of world Jewry.

The stranglehold that the Chief Rabbinate and the ultra-Orthodox parts have on Israel and the enfranchisement of the majority of Jews in Israel and the world must and will be ended, he said Sunday in a statement. We are assessing all next steps.

Tzipi Livni, a prominent lawmaker in the opposition Zionist Union political coalition,took to Facebook to explain why Israeli Jews should be concernedabout the feelings of their American counterparts when it comes to prayer at the Western Wall and a new bill that would require the state to recognize only conversions completed under the auspices of the haredi-dominated Chief Rabbinate.

Why do we care about Jewish Israelis from the Western Wall and the Conversion Law? Because it is important to us that Israel remain the state of the Jewish people and that Judaism be what connects us and not what divides us, Livni said Sunday in a post.

The cancellation of the Western Wall arrangement and the new conversion law tear the Jewish people apart. The prime minister of the Jewish people divides them for the purpose of political survival, and gives the ultra-Orthodox parties a monopoly over the Judaism of all of us.

Shuki Friedman, the head of religion and state research at the Israel Democracy Institute think tank in Jerusalem, saidmany Israelis resent theinfluence that haredi leaders exert over state institutions. But, he said, most people do not prioritize issues of religion and state, nor do they embrace liberal forms of Judaism.

Unfortunately, this isnt something that will shake up Israeli politics. The storm is mostly in the media, Friedman told JTA. Generally speaking,the Reform and Conservative movements have failed in Israel, and the public isnt really concerned about them. Therefore, mainstream politicians arent going to challenge the haredim on an issue like the Western Wall.

Meanwhile, he said, the haredi political partieshave an almost singular focus on protecting their narrow interests. That makes them useful to forming and maintaining governing coalitions, butat the cost of accommodating those interests.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the haredi United Torah Judaism party welcomed the Cabinet decision as a victory over liberal Jews.

This decision sends a clear message to the entire world that Reform Judaism has no access to or recognition at the Western Wall, he said Sunday in a statement. I thank the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, and the chief rabbis of Israel. To their merit we were able to sanctify Gods name.

Also Sunday, government ministers approved a bill that would require the state to recognize only conversions conducted under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. The conversion bill, drafted last month by Interior Minster Ayreh Deri, head of the haredi Shas party, apparently aims to circumvent a March 2016 Supreme Court ruling that allowed those who undergo private Orthodox conversions in Israel to become citizens under the Law of Return.

Since helping to form the current government in 2015, haredi politicians have rolled back various efforts to reform the relationship between synagogue and state many of them enacted under the previous government, which did not include them.

In November 2015, the Knesset postponed and watered down a law that would have ended the traditional exemption from military conscription for most haredi men. And in July 2016, Education Minister Naftali Bennett assumed the authority to ignore a law slashing statefunding for haredi schools that do not teach math and English.State funding for yeshivas has reached record highs three different times under the current government.

However, some Israelis are mounting challenges to the religious status quo outside of the Knesset. The Cabinets decision came on the day of a High Court of Justice deadline for the state to respond to petitions on its failure to implement the Western Wall plan and build the pluralistic prayer space. How the court would react to the freeze was unclear.

Also, in an unprecedented move, the semi-official Jewish Agencyissued a resolution on Monday calling on the government to reverse its decision, saying the movewas un-Zionist.

We deplore the decision of the [Government of Israel] which contradicts the vision and dream of Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky and the spirit of the Zionist movement and Israel as a national home for the entire Jewish people and the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world, said the resolution, which the agencysboard of governors passed unanimously.

Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion and Zeev Jabotinskywere perhaps the most important Zionistleaders of the 20th century.

We declare that we cannot and will not allow this to happen. We call on the GOI to understand the gravity of its steps and accordingly reverse its course of action, the resolution continued.

Stuart Eizenstat,the formerU.S. ambassador to the European Union, was at the Cabinet meeting Sunday beforethe vote to freeze the Western Wall plan. He presented a report by the think tank he co-chairs, the Jewish People Policy Institute, that urged the government to promote Jewish pluralism, in part to ensure the continued support of American Jewry.

While dismayed bythe ministers decision, Eizenstatsaid he felt his message was heard.

Ive beendoing this for many years, and Ive never seen a meeting that lasted so long nor one that had such a spirited debate, he told JTA. There was tremendous engagement on our point by nearly all the minsters. It was clear they took it seriously.

Go here to see the original:
Decaying relations with Diaspora yield bold words in Israel, but little action – Cleveland Jewish News

Fair Usage Law

June 27, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Decaying relations with Diaspora yield bold words in Israel, but little action – Jewish Journal

Israeli politicians rushed to condemn their governments decision Sunday to freezea plan promoting pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall.

Voices from across the political spectrum, including members of the governing coalition, criticized the vote by the Cabinetas a recklessaffront to American Jewry. They warned it could weaken the communitys support for Israel.

Canceling the deal constitutes a severe blow to the unity of the Jewish people and communities as well as the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.

However, as in the past, such concerns were not enough to affect policy: An overwhelming majority of the Cabinet voted in favor of freezing the plan. Amid the outcry, haredi Orthodox politicians celebrated another success in preserving the powers and privileges granted to their community by the state.

When Israel approved the Western Wall plan in January 2016, it was widely hailed as a historic compromise between non-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews. The Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, the multi-denominational Women of the Wall prayer group and the haredi Western Wall rabbi negotiated the plan over several years.

They agreed to significantly upgrade the egalitarian prayer space at the southern end of the Western Wall plaza and allow leaders of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements to manage it. In exchange, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation would maintain control of the main prayer section. Women of the Wall, which for nearly two decades has protested limitations on prayer rites in the womens section of the familiar Western Wall plaza, wouldmove to the expanded space, known as Robinsons Arch.

But when the plan was made public, haredi leaders decried the concessions to what they sawas illegitimate forms of Judaism, and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who heads the Heritage Foundation, quickly withdrew his support. The haredi political parties have since pushed the government to scrap the plan entirely, which it came just short of doing Sunday.

Among the Cabinet ministers, only Lieberman, the head of the hawkish Yisrael Beinteinu party, and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of the ruling Likud, voted againstthe freeze.In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had appointed Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbiand Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman to draft a new plan for the site.He said construction on the pluralisticprayer section would continue uninterrupted.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the head of the Reform movement and a vocal advocate of the plan, called the governments decision an unconscionable insult to the majority of world Jewry.

The stranglehold that the Chief Rabbinate and the ultra-Orthodox parts have on Israel and the enfranchisement of the majority of Jews in Israel and the world must and will be ended, he said Sunday in a statement. We are assessing all next steps.

Tzipi Livni, a prominent lawmaker in the opposition Zionist Union political coalition,took to Facebook to explain why Israeli Jews should be concernedabout the feelings of their American counterparts when it comes to prayer at the Western Wall and a new bill that would require the state to recognize only conversions completed under the auspices of the haredi-dominated Chief Rabbinate.

Why do we care about Jewish Israelis from the Western Wall and the Conversion Law? Because it is important to us that Israel remain the state of the Jewish people and that Judaism be what connects us and not what divides us, Livni said Sunday in a post.

The cancellation of the Western Wall arrangement and the new conversion law tear the Jewish people apart. The prime minister of the Jewish people divides them for the purpose of political survival, and gives the ultra-Orthodox parties a monopoly over the Judaism of all of us.

Shuki Friedman, the head of religion and state research at the Israel Democracy Institute think tank in Jerusalem, saidmany Israelis resent theinfluence that haredi leaders exert over state institutions. But, he said, most people do not prioritize issues of religion and state, nor do they embrace liberal forms of Judaism.

Unfortunately, this isnt something that will shake up Israeli politics. The storm is mostly in the media, Friedman told JTA. Generally speaking,the Reform and Conservative movements have failed in Israel, and the public isnt really concerned about them. Therefore, mainstream politicians arent going to challenge the haredim on an issue like the Western Wall.

Meanwhile, he said, the haredi political partieshave an almost singular focus on protecting their narrow interests. That makes them useful to forming and maintaining governing coalitions, butat the cost of accommodating those interests.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the haredi United Torah Judaism party welcomed the Cabinet decision as a victory over liberal Jews.

This decision sends a clear message to the entire world that Reform Judaism has no access to or recognition at the Western Wall, he said Sunday in a statement. I thank the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, and the chief rabbis of Israel. To their merit we were able to sanctify Gods name.

Also Sunday, government ministers approved a bill that would require the state to recognize only conversions conducted under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. The conversion bill, drafted last month by Interior Minster Ayreh Deri, head of the haredi Shas party, apparently aims to circumvent a March 2016 Supreme Court ruling that allowed those who undergo private Orthodox conversions in Israel to become citizens under the Law of Return.

Since helping to form the current government in 2015, haredi politicians have rolled back various efforts to reform the relationship between synagogue and state many of them enacted under the previous government, which did not include them.

In November 2015, the Knesset postponed and watered down a law that would have ended the traditional exemption from military conscription for most haredi men. And in July 2016, Education Minister Naftali Bennett assumed the authority to ignore a law slashing statefunding for haredi schools that do not teach math and English.State funding for yeshivas has reached record highs three different times under the current government.

However, some Israelis are mounting challenges to the religious status quo outside of the Knesset. The Cabinets decision came on the day of a High Court of Justice deadline for the state to respond to petitions on its failure to implement the Western Wall plan and build the pluralistic prayer space. How the court would react to the freeze was unclear.

Also, in an unprecedented move, the semi-official Jewish Agencyissued a resolution on Monday calling on the government to reverse its decision, saying the movewas un-Zionist.

We deplore the decision of the [Government of Israel] which contradicts the vision and dream of Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky and the spirit of the Zionist movement and Israel as a national home for the entire Jewish people and the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world, said the resolution, which the agencysboard of governors passed unanimously.

Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion and Zeev Jabotinskywere perhaps the most important Zionistleaders of the 20th century.

We declare that we cannot and will not allow this to happen. We call on the GOI to understand the gravity of its steps and accordingly reverse its course of action, the resolution continued.

Stuart Eizenstat,the formerU.S. ambassador to the European Union, was at the Cabinet meeting Sunday beforethe vote to freeze the Western Wall plan. He presented a report by the think tank he co-chairs, the Jewish People Policy Institute, that urged the government to promote Jewish pluralism, in part to ensure the continued support of American Jewry.

While dismayed bythe ministers decision, Eizenstatsaid he felt his message was heard.

Ive beendoing this for many years, and Ive never seen a meeting that lasted so long nor one that had such a spirited debate, he told JTA. There was tremendous engagement on our point by nearly all the minsters. It was clear they took it seriously.

Visit link:
Decaying relations with Diaspora yield bold words in Israel, but little action – Jewish Journal

Fair Usage Law

June 26, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Federal Register :: Jewish American Heritage Month, 2017

Start Printed Page 20797 Proclamation 9596 of April 28, 2017 A Proclamation

During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate our Nation’s strong American Jewish heritage, rooted in the ancient faith and traditions of the Jewish people. The small band of Dutch Jews who first immigrated in 1654, seeking refuge and religious liberty, brought with them their families, their religion, and their cherished customs, which they have passed on from generation to generation. The moral and ethical code of the Jewish people is inspired by their spiritual vocation of tikkun olamthe charge to repair the world. Through that vocation, the Jewish people have left an indelible mark on American culture. Today, it is manifested in the towering success Jewish people have achieved in America through a unique synthesis of respect for heritage and love of country.

Escaping religious persecution and ethnic violence and seeking political freedom and economic opportunity, American Jews, over centuries, have held firm in the belief that the United States was Di Goldene Medinathe Golden Country. Those who moved here built houses and gardens, raised families, and launched businesses. They have pursued education to advance their mission to make the world a better place. In every aspect of the country’s cultural, spiritual, economic, and civic life, American Jews have stood at the forefront of the struggles for human freedom, equality, and dignity, helping to shine a light of hope to people around the globe.

The achievements of American Jews are felt throughout American society and culture, in every field and in every profession. American Jews have built institutions of higher learning, hospitals, and manifold cultural and philanthropic organizations. American Jews have even brought us our greatest superheroesCaptain America, Superman, and Batman. American Jews have composed some of our defining national hymns like God Bless America, timeless musicals like The Sound of Music, and even famous Christmas songs. From Admiral Hyman G. Rickover to Albert Einstein, Richard Rodgers to Irving Berlin, Jerry Siegel to Bill Finger, Mel Brooks to Don Rickles, and Levi Strauss to Elie Wiesel, American Jews have transformed all aspects of American life and continue to enrich the American spirit.

This month, I celebrate with my familyincluding my daughter, Ivanka, my son-in-law, Jared, my grandchildren, and our extended familythe deep spiritual connection that binds, and will always bind, the Jewish people to the United States and its founding principles. We recognize the faith and optimism exemplified by American Jews is what truly makes America The Golden Country, and we express our Nation’s gratitude for this great, strong, prosperous, and loving people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2017 as Jewish American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to celebrate the heritage and contributions of American Jews and to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.Start Printed Page 20798

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

See the article here:
Federal Register :: Jewish American Heritage Month, 2017

Fair Usage Law

June 19, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Congress marks Jewish Heritage Month – Arutz Sheva

Event in the Senate

Congress members from both parties participated in a celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month taking place in the Capitol.

The event Wednesday included remarks by Sen. Sherrod Brown; D-Ohio; Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.; Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.; Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Rep. John Faso, R-N.Y.; Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass.; Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.; as well as the congresswoman who in her first term authored the 2006 law creating Jewish American Heritage month, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

The event, organized by the Friedlander Group, a New York-based PR and lobbying firm, included honors for Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews; as well as Shani Verschleiser, a child welfare expert; and Sparks, a support organization for women in crisis.

President Barack Obama for several years organized White House receptions marking the heritage month

Continued here:
Congress marks Jewish Heritage Month – Arutz Sheva

Fair Usage Law

May 24, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Author Helen Maryles Shankman on how to observe Jewish American Heritage Month – amNY

Helen Maryles Shankman knows plenty about Jewish history.

The author of They Were Like Family to Me, a finalist for the 2016/17 Story Prize, given for outstanding short fiction, Shankman is a daughter of Holocaust survivors. She grew up listening to friends of her family speaking in Yiddish about their experience as partisans.

Listening to their accounts, Shankman realized the Holocaust wasnt a straightforward victim story: There were Jews who resisted, fought, finagled and struggled to survive against overwhelming odds, such as those who broke out of the Sobibr death camp. The author wove their real and imagined experiences into They Were Like Family To Me, a devastating, haunting and luminously beautiful collection of interconnected short stories about Jewish residents of a Polish village under German occupation.

In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, held in May, amNewYork spoke with Shankman, who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, about how to mark the month from a literary perspective.

How is Jewish American Heritage Month best observed?

Everyone should read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Its the ultimate Jewish-American book. It would be really nice if the schools observed the month by studying various Jewish-American writers and historical figures, such as Emma Lazarus [author of The New Colossus, which is engraved on the pedestal tablet of the Statue of Liberty]. There are so many unknown people from the labor and civil rights movements.

Why are there so many fabulous Jewish writers?

Were brought up from the very beginning learning the Torah and prayers. … Words and reading are pivotal. When you get older, you learn the dialectics and arguments that dont even have anything to do with modern life. Students will learn the best way to remove milk from a cows udder after its been butchered so you can eat it [and observe the laws of kashrut]. Its really social anthropology..

Women are underrepresented in Best Jewish Writers lists. Why is that?

There is a double standard. I have three sons and they are not interested in reading anything that has a woman as a main character. I also have a theory: A lot of women write historical fiction, and historical fiction isnt considered intellectual. But [all writers are] trying to figure out the meaning of life, why the world is stomping on them, why bad things happen to good people. We just use different vocabularies.

Your own book reveals the amazing ingenuity Jews used to survive.

I love that it is part of our legacy. As a kid, the most severe and well-known Holocaust experience was Auschwitz. Hiding and fighting was just as important, but it almost didnt count. There are so many forms resistance can take!

What must we resist now?

Im modern Orthodox and every week I light candles and pray that God gives wisdom to our leaders. It feels like hate is surging through the world right now. The threat of tribalism, circling the wagons, refusing to talk to each other and believing our way is the best way thats the enemy for us.

Originally posted here:
Author Helen Maryles Shankman on how to observe Jewish American Heritage Month – amNY

Fair Usage Law

May 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Israel fears endangered World Heritage status could thwart Hebron takeover – The Electronic Intifada (blog)

Charlotte Silver Rights and Accountability 3 July 2017 Palestinians visit the Ibrahimi mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on 25 February 2014, 20 years to the day after an American Jewish settler opened fire killing 29 worshippers there. Israel is refusing to give visas to a team of investigators with UNESCO who are scheduled to visit Hebrons Old City in the occupied West Bank. The visit was to take place ahead of a July vote by the UN educational and cultural organization to consider the Old City an endangered World Heritage Site. Calling the move principled and strategic, Israels ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, said the UN teams visit was based on lies that plot against Israel. The UNESCO team was to provide its findings to the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the body that considers which sites should be placed on the the World Heritage in Danger list. Hacohen said the group was denied entry to Israel because in the past UNESCO had overruled the councils recommendations against placing sites in the occupied West Bank on the endangered list. It would be a shame to waste the time and money, Hacohen said, for the team to go to Hebron. After UNESCO granted Palestine full membership in 2011, the Palestinian Authority applied for the agency to recognize the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem as an endangered World Heritage Site. In 2014, UNESCO recognized the terraces of Battir in the occupied West Bank as a World Heritage Site, helping to protect the villages ancient agricultural landscape and culture from Israels plans to build its separation wall through it. Hacohen described the planned UNESCO mission to Hebron as a broader campaign of lies that plot against the state of Israel as well as the history and the connection of the Jewish people to this important holy site. Hebrons Old City is the site of the Ibrahimi mosque, known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs. Muslims and Jews hold that this is where the prophet Abraham was buried. It is one of 35 potential additions around the world that the World Heritage Committee will consider when it meets in Poland later this month. On 25 February 1994, Baruch Goldstein an American Jewish settler from Brooklyn walked into the mosque during Ramadan prayers and opened fire, killing 29 Palestinian men and boys and injuring dozens more, before his victims overwhelmed him and beat him to death. In the days immediately following the massacre, Israel took action not against the settlers but against Palestinians: Israeli forces killed and injured dozens more unarmed Palestinians protesting the mosque massacre across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This set the pattern: Israel escalated its repression of Palestinians, gradually allowing the settlers to take over more of the city. The Ibrahimi mosque was partitioned between the settlers and Palestinians. In 1997, settlers were rewarded even further for Goldsteins massacre when the Palestinian Authority agreed to allow Israel to partition Hebron itself into two zones: H1 and H2. H1 is nominally administered by the Palestinian Authority and is home to more than 120,000 Palestinians. H2, under full Israeli military rule, includes Hebrons historic Old City as well as the Ibrahimi mosque. Israeli occupation forces severely restrict the movement of thousands of Palestinians in H2 while about 800 Israeli settlers in the heart of the city move about freely under army protection, including on segregated roads. According to the Israeli news website Ynet, Israel fears that including the Old City on UNESCOs World Heritage List, could impose limits on Israeli construction and protect the Ibrahimi mosque and areas around it from development. Inclusion on the list could also heighten scrutiny of Israel when it erects new checkpoints in the Old City or carries out work that is damaging to the site. In the last two years, checkpoints in the heart of Hebron have been the sites of numerous slayings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli occupation forces, which in a number of cases Amnesty International has urged be investigated as extrajudicial killings of persons who posed no threat to soldiers. It was near such a checkpoint in March 2016 that Elor Azarya took aim and fired fatally at the head of injured and incapacitated Palestinian Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, a videotaped killing for which the Israeli army medic received a slap on the wrist. Ynet also reported that Israel was scrambling to find seven countries whose votes are needed to block the UNESCO motion, which also includes a clause rejecting Israels claim of sovereignty over occupied East Jerusalem. In April, The Times of Israel reported that the Trump administration had instructed US diplomats to lobby UNESCO delegations to help Israel secure enough votes against a resolution that criticized Israels actions in Hebron and Bethlehem. Meanwhile, Israel continues to prevent the entry of the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. According to the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, Israel has not responded to any of Michael Lynks requests to conduct official visits. Lynk was appointed in 2016. Israel has prevented the entry of all UN special rapporteurs since 2008, according to the human rights groups. Israel is obliged under the UN Charter to allow UN officials to access its territory. Lynks predecssor, Makarim Wibisono, resigned in protest at Israels refusal to allow him to enter the occupied Palestinian territories.

Fair Usage Law

July 3, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Sen. Kamala Harris Remembers Indian-American Mother’s Journey In America – newsindiatimes.com

Left, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, when she was a toddler, with her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who came to study in America and decided to remain here and marry Donald Harris. Right, Harris as a child. (Photos: Facebook) On the last day of Immigrant Heritage Month, Senator Kamala Harris, who posted several immigrant stories in previous weeks, posted an entry on Facebook about her Indian-American mother. June 30, Harris posted the following with pictures: I wanted to share one last story today for immigrant heritage month my own. My mother, Shyamala Harris arrived at the University of California-Berkeley from India in 1959. She had dreams of becoming a scientist. The plan was to go back home when she finished school, but when she met my father Donald Harris, she made a different plan. She went against a practice reaching back thousands of years, and instead of an arranged marriage, chose a love marriage. This, an act of self-determination, made me and my sister Maya. And like millions of the children of immigrants before and since it made us Americans. Shyamala Gopalan Harris died Feb. 11, 2009,from cancer, at the age of 70. The San Francisco Chronicle ran her obituary on March 22, 2009, in which she is described as a world-renowned scientist, a mentor, an activist, a mother who Despite her 5-ft stature, was a commanding presence characterized by a sharp wit, keen sense of humor and endless depth of knowledge. She came to the U.S. as a teenager, forged her career as a breast cancer researcher, joined the ongoing civil rights movement, and raised Kamala Harris and another daughter, Maya Harris by herself. Born in south India to Rajam, her mother, and P.V. Gopalan, her father who was a diplomat in the Indian government, Shyamala Gopalan graduated from Delhi University, and came to University of California, Berkeley, earned a Ph.D. in nutrition and endocrinology, by the age of 25, and spent her early career conducting research at Berkeleys Dept of Zoology and Cancer Research Lab. She taught at several universities including University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, and also in France and Italy, plus 16 years at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital and the Department of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She was published in numerous journals and received numerous honors, and was a frequent peer reviewer for the National Institutes of Health. She was also on the Presidents Special Commission on Breast Cancer, according to her biography, which also says one of seminal contributions was isolating and characterizing the progesterone receptor gene in a mouse, which sparked further advancements.

Fair Usage Law

July 2, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Amerike singing – The Jewish Standard

Its extraordinary, when you think about it, this country of ours. Thats always a loaded statement to make these days; tempers are so high, political divisions are so deep, mistrust is so pervasive. But still. We are celebrating the Fourth of July this week, the time when the founders of this country, along with the less powerful people they represented, risked everything we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor, they said, the exuberance of their capitalization underscoring the depth of their resolve to create a new kind of state in the New World. It was, of course, not an untarnished state the founders created human beings were enslaved but it was the start of a brave new experiment. It remains very far from perfect, but on the Fourth of July we still explode fireworks of hope and joy. Some of those fireworks soar and crest and rain colored fire on the Statue of Liberty. Although there were Jews in the 13 colonies that became the first United States, none were represented among the entirely white male Christian founders. We extrapolate the promises those men made to themselves to cover all of us as well. Overwhelmingly, most of us are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. It is no accident that the Statute of Liberty, one of the great symbols of the freedom that this country offers, holds her torch up to immigrants. This country grew from immigrants, was built by immigrants, welcomes immigrants, enriches and is enriched by immigrants. Like this country itself, though, immigration was not all glorious. It was hard, painful, dark, impoverishing, at times fatal. It could divide families, maim hope, kill love. The only way truly to acknowledge the great gifts immigrants have given us is to honor their sacrifices and their despair as well as their joy and success. So what does this have to do with the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene? Everything! The Folksbiene, under the direction of its artistic director, Zalmen Mlotek of Teaneck, is producing Amerike The Golden Land, a show about Jewish immigration whose month-long run at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown Manhattan is set to begin on July 4, in the shadow cast by the torch of the Statue of Liberty. Amerike is less a plotted musical than a series of songs sung by characters whose stories viewers can follow, or at least piece together. The songs all are authentic; most of them were unearthed by Mr. Mlotek and his mother, the great Yiddish musicologist Eleanor Gordon Mlotek, and by Mr. Mloteks cousin, Moishe Rosenfeld. Zalmen Mlotek of Teaneck is the Folksbienes artistic director. The beginning of Amerike goes back to 1982, when Moishe and I were asked to create a pageant for the Workmens Circle celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Forward, Mr. Mlotek said. Some explanations Mr. Rosenfeld and Mr. Mlotek are not only first cousins but also frequent collaborators. The Forward, the newspaper that began as a daily Yiddish publication and now publishes in Yiddish, Russian, and English, almost entirely on line, was closely linked with the Workmans Circle, the Yiddishist, socially progressive organization that helped fresh-off-the-boat immigrants adjust to their bewildering new home. The Folksbiene began as a branch of the Workmens Circle. Mr. Mloteks father, Joseph, another prominent and beloved Yiddishist, was the Workmens Circles education director. Everything connects, and everyone is connected. In 1982, Zalmen Mlotek did not work for the Folksbiene; I was involved only tangentially with Yiddish theater, he said. I developed my own career as a musician. But when he and Mr. Rosenfeld were asked to put together a theatrical piece about immigration, they said yes. Bryna Wasserman, a luminary of Yiddish theater, directs Amerika. They researched the period beginning in the late 1880s and going through the next few decades of the twentieth century. Research involved listening to recordings of Yiddish theater and looking at music that had never been published before, Mr. Mlotek said. We wanted to find material that was an honest portrayal of the immigrant experience, from the immigrants themselves. What excited us was the power of the songs and the lyrics we discovered. We were able to be transported dramatically and emotionally to the generation of immigrants who experienced this country for the first time. Uncovering this music took detective skills, including not only the ability to follow barely-hinted-at trails and allusions, but also to decipher fading scrawled handwriting and to have the patience to sit still for the huge chunks of time that deciphering demanded. There were problems specific to reading music conventionally read from left to right set to lyrics in Yiddish conventionally read from right to left often transliterated into Roman letters conventionally read from left to right. It was complicated and time-consuming, Mr. Mlotek understated. So hed do triage. Id look at the music, and if it interested me I would take the time to decipher it. Sometimes hed find what he calls jewels. It was like being on an archaeological dig, he said. This crumbling handwritten page has music and transliteration for Lost Arayn, which means let them in. Its a heartwrenching plea to immigration officials. Some of the jewels were songs like Vatch Your Step. In that song, Mr. Mlotek said, were exciting phrases that the immigrants heard all the time and turned into English. Or at least into Yinglish; the rest of the lyrics were in Yiddish. Other songs would talk about upward mobility, about no longer living in the tenements but moving uptown, to much nicer places in Harlem or the Bronx. Its always key for us that the experience be told honestly, he added. These experiences were from the immigrants pens and minds and spirits. When Mr. Mlotek and Mr. Rosenfeld first wrote Amerike, it was mainly in Yiddish, although there was enough English and Yinglish for non-Yiddish speakers not to feel entirely lost. Watch Your Step thats Vatch in Yiddish is among the songs in the show. The production was a great success, Mr. Mlotek said. Dick Shepard of the New York Times gave it a five-column rave review, with our pictures, and for a week our phones rang nonstop. We were in a little office in the old Workmans Circle building, and the phones just kept ringing. It was an incredible experience. It just exploded. People from the theater world started to come down and see it. The show evolved. As it got more popular, a producer came to us and said that he wanted to do it Off Broadway, but wed have to put more English into it. That meant translating some of the songs that had very little English in them. It worked. The show continued to attract and charm audiences. After Off Broadway, it toured, and Leonard Bernstein recommended that we go to Italy with it, Mr. Mlotek reported. We went to Palermo and to Venice. The experience in Palermo was incredible. One time, the audience was all high school kids. They were rowdy, regular high school kids and then when we talked about sweatshops and unionizing workers, they all hushed. It was as if they were seeing something holy. That resonated for them. The rest of it well, they were rowdy high school kids. Amerike was revived again, soon after September 11 the need for some hope was obvious and again in 2012; that version played well until Superstorm Sandy knocked out most of lower Manhattan, including Baruch College, where it was playing. And then when we came here to the museum, to our new home, last year, we were wrestling between Amerike and The Golden Bride as the first piece to present here. The Golden Bride won. Its representative of Second Avenue material, and we opted for that, to give people a taste of actual Yiddish theater, Mr. Mlotek said. The musical had a brief but critically acclaimed run at the museum. Now, though, we decided that because immigration has become such an important issue today, and because we are constantly inspired by our location it doesnt escape us that the Statue of Liberty is right outside our windows we felt that it was time to bring the show back. Theyve made a change, though. Theyve stripped the English they added. There is English throughout, Mr. Mlotek said. Its the story of immigration, so as the immigrants assimilated their Yiddish became peppered with English. But now much of the material is back to the original authentic Yiddish sources that we picked. Also, the production includes supertitles so even the most Yiddish-challenged of audience members will know whats going on. The cast rehearses for the Folksbienes new production of Amerike. Now, he said, a challenge they face is how to pick a cast that can sing Yiddish honestly, authentically, and dramatically and also look good and of course also sound good. We auditioned more than 300 people in New York, and we came up with a terrific ensemble of 12 people, he said. Some have experience in Yiddish, and some learned it. And then there is one major standout. Daniel Kahn, who we brought from Berlin. Daniel Kahn came back to the United States from Berlin to be in Amerike. Daniel Kahn is the young Detroit native who has lived in Berlin for the last decade; he broke into Americas consciousness last fall, soon after the singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen died, by translating Mr. Cohens brilliant, popular, and hauntingly and undeniably Jewish song Halleluyah into Yiddish, and singing it on YouTube right into the camera, looking right at the viewer as he sang in a language that the song hadnt been written in but seemed as if it should have been. That Daniel Kahn. We are not making a political point with this show, Mr. Mlotek said. This is a nation of immigrants. The Yiddish theater in America became American theater, and it came from immigrants. We are celebrating that tie. To that end, the Folksbiene also is hosting the first immigration arts summit, set for Monday and Tuesday, July 17 and 18. The summit, which will include a keynote address by John Leguizamo, will bring together the Pan Asian Repertory, the Repertorio Espaol, the Irish Repertory Theatre, the Kairo Italy Theater, the Irish Arts Center, and the Turkish American Repertory Theatre, as well as Israels Office of Cultural Affairs in the USA, the Romanian Cultural Institute, and the Cumbe Center for African and diaspora Dance. The point is to talk about shared experiences, brainstorm shared ideas for paths forward, and share performances and audiences with each other. (See box for more details.) To go back to the American Jewish experience, there are many lighthearted lyrics in the show. Its not at all a depressing experience it is in fact the opposite, and Vatch Your Step is in it but there still are moments of deep sadness. It is hard to leave behind all that you know, and it is hard to learn to adapt to something new. And it is also hard, very hard, more than hard, it is soul-rending, to come to a new country, stand hopefully at its gates, and then be turned away. Lost Arayn Let Them In is a song written at the turn of the century, Mr. Mlotek said; of course, that turn is not the most recent one but from the 19th to the 20th centuries. We found it in a recording by Aaron Lebedev. My mother transcribed it. We used the first verse but not the second one. It was in one of Ms. Mloteks books about Yiddish music; for the purposes of her argument, one verse was enough. My mother passed away three years ago, and I found this in her papers, Mr. Mlotek said. She never published this verse, and it is the killer verse. Its the story of a young family: A young father with bent shoulders is on Ellis Island. He raised two small children by himself. They lost their mother, and came here with great difficulty. The gates are locked before them. Their father is kept away from them. Hearts are broken here at the door. It ends, in a universal plea that is as relevant today as it was then then to Jews, today to others: Dont have hearts of stone. Open the gates to the Golden Land. You see people falling, reach out your hand. Let them in, let them in. Dont break any more hearts. The whole world will bless you for it. Open the gates and let them in. Zalmen Mlotek hopes that everyone will come to see the story of Amerike, down in southern Manhattan, facing the Statue of Liberty and the torch that lit the way for so many of our families, and to keep Yiddish theater alive as they do so.

Fair Usage Law

June 29, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

PJ Library’s free books for kids spur Jewish connections, study finds – Cleveland Jewish News

Families that receive free Jewish childrens books from the Massachusetts-based PJ Library say the program has helped them feel more connected to their Jewish communities, with interfaith families especially sayingit has spurred them to celebrate Jewish holidays and Shabbat and to learn more about Judaism, a new study found. The study, released Tuesday by PJ Library and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, found that 69 percentof participating families say the program has helped them feel more connected to their Jewish communities, whether by attending programs run by PJ library itself or activities run by local Jewish institutions. Respondents also saythe program helps them feel more knowledgeable and confident about how to engage in Jewish traditions with their children (83 percent), and 91 percent say the program is a valuable parenting tool. More than half of intermarried couples who subscribe said the program makes their family more likely to observe Shabbat, and 64 percent said it makes them more likely to observe Jewish holidays. Nearly 90 percent of intermarried respondents said the books helped them learn more about Judaism, according to the triennial survey. More than 25,000 users responded to the survey, which was conducted with the external evaluation firm Informing Change. The program, launched in 2005 by the Grinspoon Foundation, now sends one book a month and occasional music CDs to 170,000 children ages 6 months to 8 years among 125,000 families in the United States and Canada. A parallel program, Sifriyat Pijama, operates in Israel. PJ Library estimates that its books are read 6.5 milliontimes a year. Local Jewish federations and other institutions partner with the foundation in covering costs. The findingsconfirm the goals of the programs founders, who hoped that bringing parents and children together over Jewish-themed books would not just be worthwhile in its own right, but inspire them to connect with other Jewish programs and institutions. We take seriously that each night parents are inviting us to join their family during one of the days most treasured moments before bedtime, Winnie Sandler Grinspoon, president of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, said in a statement.Parents have told us that the PJ Library books their families receive each month not only help them feel more capable of raising Jewish children, but also make them more excited to pass on the traditions and beliefs they cherished in their own childhoods or have come to cherish as adults. The survey also found thatsubscribers had relatively high Jewish involvement. While the 2013 Pew Research Centers study of American Jews found that 30 percent do not affiliate with a denomination, the number was only 10 percent for PJ Library subscribers. And whilethe Pew study found that the intermarriage rate since 2000 is 58 percent, its less than half that, 28 percent, among PJ Library subscribers. The studys authors said they were not surprised that PJ Library families are more likely than the general population to be affiliated with Jewish organizations, since families usually hear about the program through synagogues, federations or Jewish community centers. Among subscribers, satisfaction rates are high. Nearly two-thirds of subscribers, according to the study, read the books at least weekly, and 95 percent read them at least once a month. Virtually all respondents 99 percent said they have been influenced or supported by PJ Library. A majority of families responded that the books made them more likely to use a charity box or to increase their Jewish involvement in some other way, and 83 percent saidit helpsthem feel more knowledgeable and confident about how to engage in Jewish traditions with their children . Books are a natural way to invite people into a global community and to pass values and traditions onto the next generation, ensuring our children and their children grow up connected to their Jewish heritage, said Harold Grinspoon, a real estate developer in western Massachusetts and the founder of PJ Library. Responses to the study, which was funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, were gathered between November 2016 and January 2017. The studyhad a 1 percent margin of error.

Fair Usage Law

June 27, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Decaying relations with Diaspora yield bold words in Israel, but little action – Cleveland Jewish News

JERUSALEM Israeli politicians rushed to condemn their governments decision Sunday to freezea plan promoting pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall. Voices from across the political spectrum, including members of the governing coalition, criticized the vote by the Cabinetas a recklessaffront to American Jewry. They warned it could weaken the communitys support for Israel. Canceling the deal constitutes a severe blow to the unity of the Jewish people and communities as well as the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement. However, as in the past, such concerns were not enough to affect policy: An overwhelming majority of the Cabinet voted in favor of freezing the plan. Amid the outcry, haredi Orthodox politicians celebrated another success in preserving the powers and privileges granted to their community by the state. When Israel approved the Western Wall plan in January 2016, it was widely hailed as a historic compromise between non-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews. The Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, the multi-denominational Women of the Wall prayer group and the haredi Western Wall rabbi negotiated the plan over several years. They agreed to significantly upgrade the egalitarian prayer space at the southern end of the Western Wall plaza and allow leaders of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements to manage it. In exchange, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation would maintain control of the main prayer section. Women of the Wall, which for nearly two decades has protested limitations on prayer rites in the womens section of the familiar Western Wall plaza, wouldmove to the expanded space, known as Robinsons Arch. But when the plan was made public, haredi leaders decried the concessions to what they sawas illegitimate forms of Judaism, and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who heads the Heritage Foundation, quickly withdrew his support. The haredi political parties have since pushed the government to scrap the plan entirely, which it came just short of doing Sunday. Among the Cabinet ministers, only Liberman, the head of the hawkish Yisrael Beinteinu party, and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of the ruling Likud, voted againstthe freeze.In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had appointed Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbiand Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman to draft a new plan for the site.He said construction on the pluralisticprayer section would continue uninterrupted. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the head of the Reform movement and a vocal advocate of the plan, called the governments decision an unconscionable insult to the majority of world Jewry. The stranglehold that the Chief Rabbinate and the ultra-Orthodox parts have on Israel and the enfranchisement of the majority of Jews in Israel and the world must and will be ended, he said Sunday in a statement. We are assessing all next steps. Tzipi Livni, a prominent lawmaker in the opposition Zionist Union political coalition,took to Facebook to explain why Israeli Jews should be concernedabout the feelings of their American counterparts when it comes to prayer at the Western Wall and a new bill that would require the state to recognize only conversions completed under the auspices of the haredi-dominated Chief Rabbinate. Why do we care about Jewish Israelis from the Western Wall and the Conversion Law? Because it is important to us that Israel remain the state of the Jewish people and that Judaism be what connects us and not what divides us, Livni said Sunday in a post. The cancellation of the Western Wall arrangement and the new conversion law tear the Jewish people apart. The prime minister of the Jewish people divides them for the purpose of political survival, and gives the ultra-Orthodox parties a monopoly over the Judaism of all of us. Shuki Friedman, the head of religion and state research at the Israel Democracy Institute think tank in Jerusalem, saidmany Israelis resent theinfluence that haredi leaders exert over state institutions. But, he said, most people do not prioritize issues of religion and state, nor do they embrace liberal forms of Judaism. Unfortunately, this isnt something that will shake up Israeli politics. The storm is mostly in the media, Friedman told JTA. Generally speaking,the Reform and Conservative movements have failed in Israel, and the public isnt really concerned about them. Therefore, mainstream politicians arent going to challenge the haredim on an issue like the Western Wall. Meanwhile, he said, the haredi political partieshave an almost singular focus on protecting their narrow interests. That makes them useful to forming and maintaining governing coalitions, butat the cost of accommodating those interests. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the haredi United Torah Judaism party welcomed the Cabinet decision as a victory over liberal Jews. This decision sends a clear message to the entire world that Reform Judaism has no access to or recognition at the Western Wall, he said Sunday in a statement. I thank the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, and the chief rabbis of Israel. To their merit we were able to sanctify Gods name. Also Sunday, government ministers approved a bill that would require the state to recognize only conversions conducted under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. The conversion bill, drafted last month by Interior Minster Ayreh Deri, head of the haredi Shas party, apparently aims to circumvent a March 2016 Supreme Court ruling that allowed those who undergo private Orthodox conversions in Israel to become citizens under the Law of Return. Since helping to form the current government in 2015, haredi politicians have rolled back various efforts to reform the relationship between synagogue and state many of them enacted under the previous government, which did not include them. In November 2015, the Knesset postponed and watered down a law that would have ended the traditional exemption from military conscription for most haredi men. And in July 2016, Education Minister Naftali Bennett assumed the authority to ignore a law slashing statefunding for haredi schools that do not teach math and English.State funding for yeshivas has reached record highs three different times under the current government. However, some Israelis are mounting challenges to the religious status quo outside of the Knesset. The Cabinets decision came on the day of a High Court of Justice deadline for the state to respond to petitions on its failure to implement the Western Wall plan and build the pluralistic prayer space. How the court would react to the freeze was unclear. Also, in an unprecedented move, the semi-official Jewish Agencyissued a resolution on Monday calling on the government to reverse its decision, saying the movewas un-Zionist. We deplore the decision of the [Government of Israel] which contradicts the vision and dream of Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky and the spirit of the Zionist movement and Israel as a national home for the entire Jewish people and the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world, said the resolution, which the agencysboard of governors passed unanimously. Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion and Zeev Jabotinskywere perhaps the most important Zionistleaders of the 20th century. We declare that we cannot and will not allow this to happen. We call on the GOI to understand the gravity of its steps and accordingly reverse its course of action, the resolution continued. Stuart Eizenstat,the formerU.S. ambassador to the European Union, was at the Cabinet meeting Sunday beforethe vote to freeze the Western Wall plan. He presented a report by the think tank he co-chairs, the Jewish People Policy Institute, that urged the government to promote Jewish pluralism, in part to ensure the continued support of American Jewry. While dismayed bythe ministers decision, Eizenstatsaid he felt his message was heard. Ive beendoing this for many years, and Ive never seen a meeting that lasted so long nor one that had such a spirited debate, he told JTA. There was tremendous engagement on our point by nearly all the minsters. It was clear they took it seriously.

Fair Usage Law

June 27, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Decaying relations with Diaspora yield bold words in Israel, but little action – Jewish Journal

Israeli politicians rushed to condemn their governments decision Sunday to freezea plan promoting pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall. Voices from across the political spectrum, including members of the governing coalition, criticized the vote by the Cabinetas a recklessaffront to American Jewry. They warned it could weaken the communitys support for Israel. Canceling the deal constitutes a severe blow to the unity of the Jewish people and communities as well as the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement. However, as in the past, such concerns were not enough to affect policy: An overwhelming majority of the Cabinet voted in favor of freezing the plan. Amid the outcry, haredi Orthodox politicians celebrated another success in preserving the powers and privileges granted to their community by the state. When Israel approved the Western Wall plan in January 2016, it was widely hailed as a historic compromise between non-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews. The Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, the multi-denominational Women of the Wall prayer group and the haredi Western Wall rabbi negotiated the plan over several years. They agreed to significantly upgrade the egalitarian prayer space at the southern end of the Western Wall plaza and allow leaders of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements to manage it. In exchange, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation would maintain control of the main prayer section. Women of the Wall, which for nearly two decades has protested limitations on prayer rites in the womens section of the familiar Western Wall plaza, wouldmove to the expanded space, known as Robinsons Arch. But when the plan was made public, haredi leaders decried the concessions to what they sawas illegitimate forms of Judaism, and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who heads the Heritage Foundation, quickly withdrew his support. The haredi political parties have since pushed the government to scrap the plan entirely, which it came just short of doing Sunday. Among the Cabinet ministers, only Lieberman, the head of the hawkish Yisrael Beinteinu party, and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of the ruling Likud, voted againstthe freeze.In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had appointed Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbiand Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman to draft a new plan for the site.He said construction on the pluralisticprayer section would continue uninterrupted. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the head of the Reform movement and a vocal advocate of the plan, called the governments decision an unconscionable insult to the majority of world Jewry. The stranglehold that the Chief Rabbinate and the ultra-Orthodox parts have on Israel and the enfranchisement of the majority of Jews in Israel and the world must and will be ended, he said Sunday in a statement. We are assessing all next steps. Tzipi Livni, a prominent lawmaker in the opposition Zionist Union political coalition,took to Facebook to explain why Israeli Jews should be concernedabout the feelings of their American counterparts when it comes to prayer at the Western Wall and a new bill that would require the state to recognize only conversions completed under the auspices of the haredi-dominated Chief Rabbinate. Why do we care about Jewish Israelis from the Western Wall and the Conversion Law? Because it is important to us that Israel remain the state of the Jewish people and that Judaism be what connects us and not what divides us, Livni said Sunday in a post. The cancellation of the Western Wall arrangement and the new conversion law tear the Jewish people apart. The prime minister of the Jewish people divides them for the purpose of political survival, and gives the ultra-Orthodox parties a monopoly over the Judaism of all of us. Shuki Friedman, the head of religion and state research at the Israel Democracy Institute think tank in Jerusalem, saidmany Israelis resent theinfluence that haredi leaders exert over state institutions. But, he said, most people do not prioritize issues of religion and state, nor do they embrace liberal forms of Judaism. Unfortunately, this isnt something that will shake up Israeli politics. The storm is mostly in the media, Friedman told JTA. Generally speaking,the Reform and Conservative movements have failed in Israel, and the public isnt really concerned about them. Therefore, mainstream politicians arent going to challenge the haredim on an issue like the Western Wall. Meanwhile, he said, the haredi political partieshave an almost singular focus on protecting their narrow interests. That makes them useful to forming and maintaining governing coalitions, butat the cost of accommodating those interests. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the haredi United Torah Judaism party welcomed the Cabinet decision as a victory over liberal Jews. This decision sends a clear message to the entire world that Reform Judaism has no access to or recognition at the Western Wall, he said Sunday in a statement. I thank the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, and the chief rabbis of Israel. To their merit we were able to sanctify Gods name. Also Sunday, government ministers approved a bill that would require the state to recognize only conversions conducted under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. The conversion bill, drafted last month by Interior Minster Ayreh Deri, head of the haredi Shas party, apparently aims to circumvent a March 2016 Supreme Court ruling that allowed those who undergo private Orthodox conversions in Israel to become citizens under the Law of Return. Since helping to form the current government in 2015, haredi politicians have rolled back various efforts to reform the relationship between synagogue and state many of them enacted under the previous government, which did not include them. In November 2015, the Knesset postponed and watered down a law that would have ended the traditional exemption from military conscription for most haredi men. And in July 2016, Education Minister Naftali Bennett assumed the authority to ignore a law slashing statefunding for haredi schools that do not teach math and English.State funding for yeshivas has reached record highs three different times under the current government. However, some Israelis are mounting challenges to the religious status quo outside of the Knesset. The Cabinets decision came on the day of a High Court of Justice deadline for the state to respond to petitions on its failure to implement the Western Wall plan and build the pluralistic prayer space. How the court would react to the freeze was unclear. Also, in an unprecedented move, the semi-official Jewish Agencyissued a resolution on Monday calling on the government to reverse its decision, saying the movewas un-Zionist. We deplore the decision of the [Government of Israel] which contradicts the vision and dream of Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky and the spirit of the Zionist movement and Israel as a national home for the entire Jewish people and the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world, said the resolution, which the agencysboard of governors passed unanimously. Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion and Zeev Jabotinskywere perhaps the most important Zionistleaders of the 20th century. We declare that we cannot and will not allow this to happen. We call on the GOI to understand the gravity of its steps and accordingly reverse its course of action, the resolution continued. Stuart Eizenstat,the formerU.S. ambassador to the European Union, was at the Cabinet meeting Sunday beforethe vote to freeze the Western Wall plan. He presented a report by the think tank he co-chairs, the Jewish People Policy Institute, that urged the government to promote Jewish pluralism, in part to ensure the continued support of American Jewry. While dismayed bythe ministers decision, Eizenstatsaid he felt his message was heard. Ive beendoing this for many years, and Ive never seen a meeting that lasted so long nor one that had such a spirited debate, he told JTA. There was tremendous engagement on our point by nearly all the minsters. It was clear they took it seriously.

Fair Usage Law

June 26, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Federal Register :: Jewish American Heritage Month, 2017

Start Printed Page 20797 Proclamation 9596 of April 28, 2017 A Proclamation During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate our Nation’s strong American Jewish heritage, rooted in the ancient faith and traditions of the Jewish people. The small band of Dutch Jews who first immigrated in 1654, seeking refuge and religious liberty, brought with them their families, their religion, and their cherished customs, which they have passed on from generation to generation. The moral and ethical code of the Jewish people is inspired by their spiritual vocation of tikkun olamthe charge to repair the world. Through that vocation, the Jewish people have left an indelible mark on American culture. Today, it is manifested in the towering success Jewish people have achieved in America through a unique synthesis of respect for heritage and love of country. Escaping religious persecution and ethnic violence and seeking political freedom and economic opportunity, American Jews, over centuries, have held firm in the belief that the United States was Di Goldene Medinathe Golden Country. Those who moved here built houses and gardens, raised families, and launched businesses. They have pursued education to advance their mission to make the world a better place. In every aspect of the country’s cultural, spiritual, economic, and civic life, American Jews have stood at the forefront of the struggles for human freedom, equality, and dignity, helping to shine a light of hope to people around the globe. The achievements of American Jews are felt throughout American society and culture, in every field and in every profession. American Jews have built institutions of higher learning, hospitals, and manifold cultural and philanthropic organizations. American Jews have even brought us our greatest superheroesCaptain America, Superman, and Batman. American Jews have composed some of our defining national hymns like God Bless America, timeless musicals like The Sound of Music, and even famous Christmas songs. From Admiral Hyman G. Rickover to Albert Einstein, Richard Rodgers to Irving Berlin, Jerry Siegel to Bill Finger, Mel Brooks to Don Rickles, and Levi Strauss to Elie Wiesel, American Jews have transformed all aspects of American life and continue to enrich the American spirit. This month, I celebrate with my familyincluding my daughter, Ivanka, my son-in-law, Jared, my grandchildren, and our extended familythe deep spiritual connection that binds, and will always bind, the Jewish people to the United States and its founding principles. We recognize the faith and optimism exemplified by American Jews is what truly makes America The Golden Country, and we express our Nation’s gratitude for this great, strong, prosperous, and loving people. NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2017 as Jewish American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to celebrate the heritage and contributions of American Jews and to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.Start Printed Page 20798 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

Fair Usage Law

June 19, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Congress marks Jewish Heritage Month – Arutz Sheva

Event in the Senate ‘ Congress members from both parties participated in a celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month taking place in the Capitol. The event Wednesday included remarks by Sen. Sherrod Brown; D-Ohio; Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.; Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.; Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Rep. John Faso, R-N.Y.; Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass.; Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.; as well as the congresswoman who in her first term authored the 2006 law creating Jewish American Heritage month, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. The event, organized by the Friedlander Group, a New York-based PR and lobbying firm, included honors for Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews; as well as Shani Verschleiser, a child welfare expert; and Sparks, a support organization for women in crisis. President Barack Obama for several years organized White House receptions marking the heritage month

Fair Usage Law

May 24, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  Comments Closed

Author Helen Maryles Shankman on how to observe Jewish American Heritage Month – amNY

Helen Maryles Shankman knows plenty about Jewish history. The author of They Were Like Family to Me, a finalist for the 2016/17 Story Prize, given for outstanding short fiction, Shankman is a daughter of Holocaust survivors. She grew up listening to friends of her family speaking in Yiddish about their experience as partisans. Listening to their accounts, Shankman realized the Holocaust wasnt a straightforward victim story: There were Jews who resisted, fought, finagled and struggled to survive against overwhelming odds, such as those who broke out of the Sobibr death camp. The author wove their real and imagined experiences into They Were Like Family To Me, a devastating, haunting and luminously beautiful collection of interconnected short stories about Jewish residents of a Polish village under German occupation. In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, held in May, amNewYork spoke with Shankman, who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, about how to mark the month from a literary perspective. How is Jewish American Heritage Month best observed? Everyone should read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Its the ultimate Jewish-American book. It would be really nice if the schools observed the month by studying various Jewish-American writers and historical figures, such as Emma Lazarus [author of The New Colossus, which is engraved on the pedestal tablet of the Statue of Liberty]. There are so many unknown people from the labor and civil rights movements. Why are there so many fabulous Jewish writers? Were brought up from the very beginning learning the Torah and prayers. … Words and reading are pivotal. When you get older, you learn the dialectics and arguments that dont even have anything to do with modern life. Students will learn the best way to remove milk from a cows udder after its been butchered so you can eat it [and observe the laws of kashrut]. Its really social anthropology.. Women are underrepresented in Best Jewish Writers lists. Why is that? There is a double standard. I have three sons and they are not interested in reading anything that has a woman as a main character. I also have a theory: A lot of women write historical fiction, and historical fiction isnt considered intellectual. But [all writers are] trying to figure out the meaning of life, why the world is stomping on them, why bad things happen to good people. We just use different vocabularies. Your own book reveals the amazing ingenuity Jews used to survive. I love that it is part of our legacy. As a kid, the most severe and well-known Holocaust experience was Auschwitz. Hiding and fighting was just as important, but it almost didnt count. There are so many forms resistance can take! What must we resist now? Im modern Orthodox and every week I light candles and pray that God gives wisdom to our leaders. It feels like hate is surging through the world right now. The threat of tribalism, circling the wagons, refusing to talk to each other and believing our way is the best way thats the enemy for us.

Fair Usage Law

May 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish American Heritage Month  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."