Archive for the ‘Jewish American Heritage Month’ Category

Jewish American Heritage Month

Posted By simmons on August 2, 2017

NEW YORK Ikeda Yataros body was cremated today. May his soul be forever damned. The flames claimed his corpse and his roses all that was left of the man.

So opens Torture by Rose, the first story in Orlando Ortega-Medinas debut short story collection Jerusalem Ablaze: Stories of Love and Other Obsessions.

Set in present-day Tokyo, it tells the story of Ikeda Yataro, a wealthy industrialist and patron of the arts who offers a talented university student the chance to become his sole heir. There are three conditions and should the student violate even one, they would forfeit the inheritance. The student agrees, but soon finds the price too much to bear. But dont expect a morality lesson from the Jewish author.

The stories in the book come from below my consciousness. They are to entertain and not leave any kind of message. I think the interesting thing is how people read the stories and what they take away tells a lot about the people reading them. I dont mind what people come up with as long as they were moved by the story, Ortega-Medina said, speaking with The Times of Israel from London.

In all, 13 tales lie between the covers of the book and, like Torture by Rose, they are not spun from sweetness and light. Rather, the darkly humorous stories are occasionally violent, often uncomfortable, and always populated with characters on a quest to find their place in the world. Its a quest reflective of the 49-year-old authors own search for identity.

With my more exotic background, I always felt I had an excess of identity

I grew up in a fairly homogeneous white Anglo-Saxon neighborhood. With my more exotic background, I always felt I had an excess of identity. I always found I had to be distinguishing myself. I was always having to clarify who I was, to navigate the different strands of my background, said the Los Angeles-born author who is of Judeo-Spanish descent via Cuba.

The work was inspired by four periods of travel in his life: California, Quebec, Israel and Japan. Ortega-Medina said the Israel stories are the most biographical of the whole collection and are firmly rooted in his experiences and the time he spent searching for himself there.

Both of Ortega-Medinas parents were born in Cuba, his fathers family originally from Florida, his mothers family from the Canary Islands. The couple left during the political upheavals of the 1950s. Along with their belongings they packed the hope they would someday return to Cuba.

Illustrative: An Israeli flag hangs on the wall of the Jewish Community Center in Havana, Cuba. (Serge Attal/Flash90)

Growing up with their wish hovering in the corners of his house, coupled with the fact that his parents were not affiliated with any religious denomination, further set the young Ortega-Medina looking for his place in the world.

In a way I found myself searching for identity in my own household. I wasnt accepting the idea that wed move back to Cuba. When I was 13 I had a deep interest in my religious heritage. My grandmother was visiting and when I came downstairs she presented me with a kippa and said Its really sad youre not a Bar Mitzvah, he said.

Jerusalem Ablaze by Orlando Ortega-Medina. (Courtesy)

His grandmother sent him to Israel after he graduated high school, and he also turned to Chabad and the Conservative movement for guidance and spiritual fulfillment.

An Israel State of Mind is perhaps the most biographical story in the collection. In it a recent high school graduate from Southern California arrives in Israel to spend a year working on a kibbutz. He hopes to rid himself of his desires; instead he is reunited with the man he loves.

And by the time the sherut [shared taxi] approached the imposing gates of Kfar Vered, Marc was beginning to feel more optimistic about the whole thing. Perhaps having a good time here at Kfar Vered and connecting with his Jewish heritage were not mutually exclusive propositions, writes Ortega-Medina in the story.

The character Marc is the closest to an alter ego I have. I do work out some personal things through him, he said.

He has long turned to words to work out his own search for self. In elementary school he penned several science fiction, time-travel comic books for himself and a few select friends. He wrote a novel that he set aside, and even tried his hand at a screenplay or two.

Jerusalem Ablaze author, Orlando Ortega-Medina at the West London Synagogue. (Clare Allen/Courtesy)

Jerusalem Ablaze has so far received high marks. Kirkus Reviews described his prose as elegant and potent throughout, with visceral passages bathed in lyricism. And the Irish News wrote the book is beautifully wrought, deeply unnerving Ortega-Medina holds a mirror up to our darkest thoughts and urges while showing the oneness of the human condition.

With the positive reviews rolling in Ortega-Medina imagined hosting a dinner for the writers who inspired him.

Id surround with Yukio Mishima, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, John Fowles and Anthony Burgess, and wed discuss writing over a glass, or three, of wine

Id surround with Yukio Mishima, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, John Fowles and Anthony Burgess, and wed discuss writing over a glass, or three, of wine. No, make that champagne, he said. In fact, Torture by Rose is an homage to Mishimas story Swaddling clothes. It left a lot of questions for me and I answered them in my story.

Ortega-Medina studied English Literature at UCLA and then earned a law degree from Southwestern University School of Law. While there he won The National Society of Arts and Letters award for Short Stories.

In 1999 Ortega-Medina moved to Canada with his life partner to protest discriminatory policies in the US against same-sex couples, running his San Francisco law practice from Toronto. He and his partner were among the first same-sex couples to marry at Montreals Hotel de Ville in 2005.

One of the things we really enjoyed when we moved to Canada was that as a couple we were a non-issue. It was more than acceptance; it was as if us being a couple was a non-issue, he said.

Jerusalem Ablaze author, Orlando Ortega-Medina. (Courtesy)

After four years in Canada his partner, who hails from a tropical country, broke the news: he was done the nearly six-month-long Canadian winters. Fortunately, an opportunity arose in the UK and the couple moved to London.

With US, Canadian and British citizenship, Ortega-Medina works as an immigration and consular attorney in London, and is managing director of a US corporate immigration practice there.

While the US Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage throughout the nation in 2015, Ortega-Medina said he has no plans to return there. He described his life in London with his husband as quite settled. We live a stones throw from Kensington Palace and we can literally wave to the royal family as they drive by.

For a lot of people the civil ceremony would have been enough. Standing under a chuppah was an important milestone for us

Several years ago he and his partner married in a religious ceremony at the West London Synagogue, where they belong and are quite active.

For a lot of people the civil ceremony would have been enough. Standing under a chuppah was an important milestone for us, he said.

Many of the stories in Jerusalem Ablaze explore lifes imperfections and the fragility of the world. These are themes that come from a somewhat overprotective mother, he said.

My mother was always very nervous. She worried about whether we would catch a cold and die, or be run over by a car. She worried that anything could happen to us. It made me a bit more daring, a bit more of a risk taker, he said. My leaving the US for Canada to reinvent myself and then again to the UK where we didnt know anybody was risky. And in my writing I take risks.

Jerusalem Ablaze author, Orlando Ortega-Medina. (Courtesy)

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Literary world fired up over debut short story collection by gay immigration lawyer The Times of Israel

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Why Jews Need To Fight Trump On Voting Rights 53 Years After ‘Mississippi Burning’ Murders – Forward

(JTA) Andrew GoodmanandMichael Schwernerare about the closest American Jews have to secular saints. The two Jewish civil rights workers traveled south for the Freedom Summer campaign of 1964, joining the African-American activist James Chaney in canvassing black churches. All three were kidnapped and murdered by a lynch mob.

Forty-three years ago next Friday, Aug. 4, their bullet-riddled bodies were found buried in a dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi, 44 days after their disappearance.

The hagiographies of the two Jewish men, both in their 20s, sometimes overlook the specific purpose of their trip to the Jim Crow South: registering African-Americans in Mississippi to vote. Freedom Summer was meant to directly confrontefforts, legal and otherwise, to prevent blacks from voting: poll taxes and literacy tests, fear and intimidation, and as Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney found out, beatings and lynchings.

As the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, described the mission, the inability to vote was only one of many problems blacks encountered in the racist society around them, but the civil-rights officials who decided to zero in on voter registration understood its crucial significance as well the white supremacists did. An African American voting bloc would be able to effect social and political change.

It was the unfinished business of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney that animated 24 faith groups, 17 of them Jewish, to write a letter to Congress urging lawmakers not to fund the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity the Orwellian name for President Donald Trumps effort to hunt down those 3 million illegal ballots that he claims illicitly cost him the popular vote. Thats Trumps agenda, anyway. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and other commission members say they merely want to gauge the extent of the problem and propose remedies.

Kobach has already signaled the kinds of remedies he has in mind: imposing strict voter identificationlaws; removing names from voter rolls perhaps using inaccurate or unreliable databases; identifying potential duplicate registration records that use a notoriously misleading instrument; or just failing to enforce existing laws that have expanded individuals right to vote.

Sure, such remedies might end up suppressing the votes of poor people, blacks, Hispanics, the elderly (and, what do you know, Democrats) in fact, nearly all reliable studies and multiplecourt cases say they will. But, according to Kobach and company, thats the price to be paid for, well, integrity.

The voting commission is a solution in search of a problem. Voting by non-citizens isvanishingly rare. Trumps claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 elections were baseless, as the faith coalition notes. There are no reputable studies to suggest that U.S. elections have been compromised by fraudulent voting by undocumented immigrants, felons, double voters or dead voters. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation, which maintains a Voter Fraud Database it says shows incontrovertible evidence that voter fraud is a real and pressing issue, lists only1,071 instances of voter fraud going back to 1981. Americans have cast over 1 billion votes during that period in presidential elections alone.

Rather than pointing to evidence that suggests otherwise because it cant the administration offers something else: doubt.We may never know if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 election, Kobach told MSNBC.Responding to reports that more than 40 states rejected intrusive requests for massive amounts of data on its voters, Trump said this month, If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what theyre worried about.

The assumption of the commission is that voter fraud is real and widespread; the onus is on everyone else to prove it isnt.

Late-night comics giggle at Trumps propensity for creating alternative realities, whether it was his campaign claim that America was experiencing an unprecedented crime wave or this weeks tweetssaying that transgender service members are a financial drain on the military. Fitting this pattern is his and his teams ongoing refusal to accept the conclusion by the top four intelligence agencies that Russian interference in the 2016 election was real and significant. On Monday, top presidential adviser Jared Kushner emerged from his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee to declare that accusations of Russian meddling and administration collusion with the Russians are an insult to Trumps voters.

Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won, Kushner said. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him.

In other words: No matter what the CIA, FBI and National Security Council tell us, Russian interference in the presidential election is a non-issue. But the unfounded reports of voter fraud are worth a federally funded commission.

Unlike the talk show hosts, civil rights activists and other fans of representative democracy arent laughing.

Taxpayer funds should go towards efforts to encourage voter participation, the faith coalition said in its letter, rather than a commission intended to restrict voting rights.

Some have memories of how hard Jews fought alongside blacks to secure voting rights. Others believe, as the coalition put it, that their religion teaches them to work for a society that safeguards the rights of all people especially the sacred right to vote.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has filed a federal lawsuit calling the presidents election commission a pretext for the suppression of black and Latino voters.

Obviously this is a calamity for Democrats, who already are seeing evidence that laws making it harder to vote are having a disproportionate effect on their constituents. But this should also be an issue for Jews who support the president and wish he would get on with the business of addressing actual problems, from infrastructure to job creation to regulatory overreach.

Theres been a debate over the years about whether or not Goodman and Schwerner were part of the Jewish story. At a big Jewish conference a number of years ago, I heard the head of what is now the Jewish Council for Public Affairs declare, When Goodman and Schwerner went south for Freedom Summer, they were doing Jewish! Others questioned then, and still question today, why so many Jewish activists pursue universalist causes in the name of tikkun olam rather than working on issues that will specifically benefit Israel or their fellow Jews.

Goodman and Schwerner were of a generation that did not distinguish between policies that were good for them and those that were good for us. Jews were only just emerging from decades in which discrimination against them was both legal and tolerated. They knew that rights won slowly could be taken away quickly, and that if any minority was at risk, then all minorities were at risk.

The organizations that backed Freedom Summer understood the power of coalitions in pursuing their own particularist agendas. You can call it enlightened self-interest, but maybe thats just another name for tikkun olam.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Why Jews Need To Fight Trump On Voting Rights 53 Years After ‘Mississippi Burning’ Murders – Forward

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Aide Is Arrested (Photos) – Opposing Views


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Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Aide Is Arrested (Photos)
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Cutting Out the Bris – New York Times

The science around the medical benefits of circumcision in the United States is inconclusive, though the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that it can help prevent some sexually transmitted infections like H.I.V., as well as penile cancer and urinary tract infections.

I think there was a time when all American baby boys were circumcised, of all religions, said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish movement in North America. Now its a choice. Its a decision.

I talk to a lot of families that really struggle with this decision, said Dr. Emily Blake, a New York-based OB/GYN who is also trained as a mohel in the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist traditions. She has been performing the bris ceremony since 1990. The questions parents consider range from the practical How much will it hurt? to the existential Will my son even be Jewish?

Ms. Edell, 41, who lives in Brooklyn and works as the executive director of a young feminists group called Spark Movement, is raising her son, Wilder, as a single mother. She described the decision around circumcision as easily the most challenging and stressful one she has made as a parent. (Her son is only 15 months old.) Ms. Edell grew up in an observant Jewish family; she went to a Jewish school and to Jewish summer camp.

I knew that I wanted to raise my child Jewish and in a Jewish home. And yet Im also a feminist and activist, and believe very strongly in the right to your own body, she said.

She decided not to circumcise, a choice she said her parents eventually accepted. Instead she had a gentle bris ceremony with alternative ritual objects: a pomegranate, a gold kiddush cup, and a large ceramic bowl filled with water to wash the babys feet, an ancient act of welcoming the stranger. Ms. Edell cut the pomegranate, a totem of fertility with its plentiful seeds, while her mother held Wilder.

Theres no reliable data on the percentage of American Jewish boys who are circumcised each year. But there are some indicators to suggest why circumcision may be subject to increasing debate: A Pew survey of American Jews in 2013 revealed a significant rise in secular Jews who are marrying outside the faith, and roughly a third of intermarried Jews who are raising children say they arent raising them Jewish. Only 19 percent of American Jews said that observing Jewish law was an essential part of what being Jewish means. (In contrast, 42 percent said having a good sense of humor was essential.)

Theyre inadvertent trailblazers. Theyre certainly pushing the boundary of who can be a Jew, said Rabbi Peter Schweitzer of the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Manhattan. Rabbi Schweitzer does alternative ceremonies for people who choose not circumcise.

Of course, there havent been changes across the board. For Orthodox families, who constitute about 10 percent of the American Jewish population, the traditional bris remains immutable.

You have a boy, you have a bris, said Cantor Philip Sherman, an Orthodox mohel who estimates hes performed more than 21,000 bris ceremonies. Those who choose to opt out dont have a connection to their Jewish heritage.

They dont know how important and significant this is, he said. If they did, they wouldnt take the position theyre taking.

Even for some progressive Jews, circumcising a son and holding a bris remains a quintessential part of being a Jewish parent. Sarah-Kay Lacks, who works at JCC Manhattan and calls her family post-denominational, said her sons bris was a euphoric experience. Others speak about it similarly.

Theres a lot of vulnerability and anxiety after a birth, said Rabbi Jacobs. The bris makes it possible to ritualize that youre part of something larger, youre part of a people past, present and future.

Rabbis and public health experts interviewed said that the great majority of Jewish parents still circumcise, and opting out remains almost taboo in much of the mainstream. A number of parents did not want to speak on the record about their decision, and some rabbis who had done alternative bris ceremonies asked not to be named publicly.

Right now, there is a dont ask/dont tell policy within much of institutional Judaism when it comes to parents skipping circumcision, said Rebecca Wald, the founder of Beyond the Bris, an online community for parents who are questioning circumcision.

On forums like Beyond the Bris, in conversations and blog posts, Jewish parents argue against circumcision for both medical and social reasons. Some discuss keeping babies natural bodies intact and raise questions about preventable pain and trauma.

Others see circumcision as an outdated practice. Among liberal Jews who have sought to make other aspects of Judaism more egalitarian, the bris also raises a feminist question: why should the most sacred act of Judaism, the linking of a child to the covenant, apply only to boys?

A variety of alternative ceremonies for girls have blossomed in the Reform movement. Since its a new ritual, theres no standard practice, said Rabbi Jacobs. Some parents wash the baby girls feet as a symbol of sacred welcome; some wrap the baby in a tallit, or prayer shawl; others light a candle, in honor of the new light in the community.

Even secular Jews, who do not keep kosher or go to synagogue, can face a wrenching decision over circumcision.

A 46-year-old father who asked to be identified only as Aaron because he was discussing intimate details about his son said he was surprised by how powerfully he felt about circumcising. Raised in California by a father who was a German Jewish refugee and a feminist Jewish mother, he said he grew up standard American Reform.

For me, this wasnt about a covenant with God, because Im secular, he said. It was really about identification as a Jew, at the most visceral, embodied level.

Aarons wife, who is not Jewish and grew up in a country where circumcision was not the norm, was opposed to it. She did not want to inflict pain on her newborn baby. The decision became the hardest thing my wife and I have ever had to deal with, Aaron said.

Ultimately, eight months into his wifes pregnancy, Aaron agreed not to circumcise their son.

I didnt want it to end our marriage and tear apart our family, he said.

An earlier version of this article misstated the source of a 2014 analysis on circumcision. It was published in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings but was not conducted by the Mayo Clinic.

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Schafer to continue to push boundaries at Maltz Museum – Cleveland Jewish News

For David Schafer, the new managing director of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, a good exhibit explores a component of the past that causes visitors to think about and discuss its relevance to present day and the future.

He pointed to the recent This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Era, exhibit, which showcased African-Americans fighting for voting and civil rights in the 1960s an example of a historical happening which connects to the present at a time when voting rights are still inaccessible for many.

Each and every day, the museum educates visitors about the past, informs them how it has shaped the present and inspires them to be part of a hopeful future, Schafer said.

Schafer took over in the top-level role at the museum about a month ago a position that was newly created after former Executive Director Ellen Rudolph resigned. Schafer was previously director of development since 2010.

I have incredible colleagues, an incredible board of trustees, and I sometimes pinch myself with realization that I walk through the door everyday in a community thats extraordinary, he said.

Schafer is a graduate of the College of Wooster in Wooster. He then worked for the city of Portland, Ore., for a couple of years and then lived in Israel for two years, after extending a trip that was supposed to last only a couple months.

That kindled the spirit of wanting to connect and work in the Jewish community, said Schafer, a Mayfield Heights resident and member of Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike.

Prior to coming to the museum, Schafer was executive director for 11 years for the Development Corp. of Israel/Israel Bonds and was responsible for operations and campaign results conducted in Ohio and Kentucky.

Schafer said in his new position, he hopes to continue to push boundaries, and for the museum to increase its prominence as a Cleveland cultural institution for tourists and residents to visit and have conversations of consequence. He noted an exhibit that is being developed to immerse people to understand the state of Israel and its people, beyond the politicized lens in which everyone views the state. It will open in June 2018.

Diaspora and the general public likes to package things in black and white terms we will present Israel through an honest and scholarly lens while celebrating the many achievements of a still young and vibrant nation, Schafer said. The takeaway will hopefully be people leave the exhibit with a lot of questions, wanting to seek additional information, and a small goal is some people actually buy a plane ticket to go to Israel.

Schafer and the museums staff also are working toward an upcoming fall exhibit Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, that delves into Cleveland-centric figures and developments that fit into a larger story about Jews in medical history.

Moreover, Schafer discussed the museums emphasis on telling a Jewish story within a lens of tolerance, diversity and the greater American story. He said Maltz exhibits and programs seek to discuss adversity felt by anyone including Jews who has ever been an outsider.

Through our exhibitions we are bringing to light peoples biases, conscious and unconscious, he said.

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Jewish American Heritage Month 2017 July 23

richards | July 23, 2017

Particularly, in the US and some European States, the Israeli and Zionist versions of history are widespread. Israels narrative relies on a collection of myths aimed at bringing the moral right and the ethical behavior of the Palestinians into twilight and making their claim to their country appear as illegitimate

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Ten Myths About Israel – Center for Research on Globalization

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richards | July 23, 2017

For the story of Bnai Briths effort to keep me out of Canada based on their false and libelous assertions, see: Bnai Brith libelously calls me holocaust denier, wants me banned from Canada Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor The Quds Day rally in Toronto, where I hope and expect to be speaking this Saturday Bnai Brith of Canada Marty York, Daniel Koren: Dear Mssrs. York and Koren: I am the United States-based attorney for Dr.

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My attorneys demand letter to Bnai Brith (re …

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simmons | July 23, 2017

There are many misconceptions as to which communities actually benefit the most from public assistance and federal subsidies such as Section 8 and welfare. This Daily News expose sheds some light on the answer to that question and it definitely isnt the Black and Latino communities many Republicans love to accuse of getting all the free hand outs! Check it out below and let us know what you think. The annual spring ritual marks the first day of Passover in the Hasidic Jewish enclave of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where daily life is built on ancient laws and religious devotion.

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Hasidic Neighborhood Exposed As Top Section 8 Beneficiary …

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simmons | July 23, 2017

By the President of the United States of America During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate our Nations 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

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Jewish American Heritage Month, 2017 | U.S. Embassy in Israel

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richards | July 23, 2017

The Tragedy of Zionism Bernard Avishai (1985, 359 pp) Bernard Avishai is a keen observer of the Zionist venture. I know him from his fine writing in the New Yorker, The Nation, the New York Review of Books, and other periodicals

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Avishai’s prophetic ‘Tragedy of Zionism’ was denied by Jewish community 32 years ago – Mondoweiss

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simmons | July 23, 2017

WASHINGTON (JTA) Bnai Brith International faulted the Trump administration for adopting the Palestinian narrative in the State Departments annual report on terrorism. In the report released this week, the State Department listed as continued drivers of violence a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.

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B’nai B’rith slams State Dept. for saying ‘lack of hope’ drives terrorism – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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richards | July 23, 2017

Krat Mican, one of the demonstrators, speaks to reporters about the groups intent to continue protesting. . (photo credit:KRAT MICAN/INSTAGRAM) Demonstrators in Istanbul protesting the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem kicked a synagogues doors and threw objects at it

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Synagogue targeted in Istanbul demonstrations against Temple Mount metal detectors – The Jerusalem Post

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simmons | July 23, 2017

Congregation Hope of Israel in the lower Grand Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx, New York, closed in 2006. (Flickr) NEW YORK (JTA) Neighbors of a shuttered synagogue in the Bronx want its apparent owners to clean up the trash that is accumulating on its property.

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Shuttered Bronx synagogue becomes a dumping ground | Jewish … – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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admin | July 23, 2017

Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Britains top Sephardi rabbi, will continue to serve as the spiritual leader of Londons S&P Sephardic Jewish community, but will no longer serve as a religious court judge, it was decided Wednesday. Rabbi Dweck came under fire last month when he praised the acceptance of homosexuality by western society as a fantastic development

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Top UK Sephardi Rabbi will no longer serve as religious judge – Arutz Sheva

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simmons | July 23, 2017

(JTA) A prominent Spanish organization that is dedicated to preserving the countrys Jewish heritage awarded a prize to a local politician who had accused Israel of massacring Palestinian children.

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Sephardi heritage center honors Spanish politician who said Israel massacres children – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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Jewish American Heritage Month 2017 July 14

richards | July 14, 2017

Israel Hayom ‘The main reason for French aliyah is Zionism , and that is fine’ Israel Hayom French Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal says she supports French Jews who want to come to Israel for Zionist values She says France and Israel share common values and stresses that despite terrorism, France is still a preferred tourism destination. UN Resolution Anti- Zionism = Anti-Semitism Intermountain Jewish News Thomas L. Friedman: A double blow to Israel Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Inclusion and the Jewish group that demonizes Jews JNS.org Rutland Herald Heritage Florida Jewish News The Jewish Press JewishPress.com all 65 news articles

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Israel Hayom ‘The main reason for French aliyah is Zionism, and that is fine’ UN Resolution Anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism Thomas L. Friedman: A double blow to Israel Inclusion and the Jewish group that demonizes Jews Rutland Herald Heritage Florida Jewish News The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com all 65 news articles ‘The main reason for French aliyah is Zionism, and that is fine’ – Israel Hayom

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simmons | July 14, 2017

One day before the outbreak of the first world war, a precocious boy called Gerhard Scholem burst into a room at home and began the rite of symbolically castrating his father. Papa, I think I want to be a Jew, he exclaimed. He was planning to learn Hebrew, study the Bible and become a Zionist

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Stranger in a Strange Land by George Prochnik review Gershom Scholem and Zionism – The Guardian

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simmons | July 14, 2017

Jewish Chronicle Synagogue membership? There are reasons to be hopeful Jewish Chronicle Following last week’s JPR report, it is important to spell out what this data means for the United Synagogue . Although the study did not supply specific data for the US, we recognise that as by far the largest synagogue movement of any denomination, we ..

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Jewish Chronicle Synagogue membership? There are reasons to be hopeful Why there are no women on the Chief Rabbinate’s ‘blacklist’ APN’s Aaron Mann in Times of Israel blog: American Jewish leaders must be vocal on prayer and peace in Israel Fourteen Flaws in Tom Friedman’s ‘Israel to American Jews’ New York Times Column State Times Al-Monitor all 65 news articles Synagogue membership? There are reasons to be hopeful – Jewish Chronicle

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admin | July 14, 2017

AFP/Getty Images A Palestinian boy cooling off during a heat wave at the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, July 2, 2017.

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How Gaza’s electricity crisis could spell trouble for Israel – Heritage Florida Jewish News

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simmons | July 14, 2017

NEW YORK (JTA) Several times a month Jeanette Chawki welcomes a handful of strangers into her Brooklyn home.

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How a Korean-Jewish entrepreneur uses food to empower immigrants – Jewish Post

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The left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center has come under fire for its labeling of a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to defending religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family as a hate group.

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Southern Poverty Law Center brands some peaceful groups as ‘hate groups’ – Fox News

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simmons | July 14, 2017

In the latest sign of the growing rift between the Saudi-led Gulf states and Qatar, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates blasted Qatars Al-Jazeera network on Wednesday for promoting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Anwar Gargash, the UAEs minister for foreign affairs, charged that Al-Jazeera promoted anti-Semitic violence by broadcasting sermons by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi,Agence France-Presse reported

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Top UAE Official Slams Qatar-Owned Al-Jazeera for Anti-Semitism – TheTower.org

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An ultra-Orthodox girls elementary school in London may be forced to close after failing to meet government standards because it does not teach about homosexuality and transgender issues.

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UK Hasidic school faced with closure for not teaching LGBT – The Times of Israel

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Norman, directed by Joseph Cedar (R, 1 hour, 58 minutes) Norman Oppenheimer is a guy who claims to have more inside information than you figure he can, who only wants a minute of your time to pitch you on a deal that could work out for everyone. Hes a name dropper who tends to exaggerate his importance. Maybe youve listened politely to Norman, maybe youve brushed him off

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Home Movies – Arkansas Online

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richards | July 14, 2017

Lexington Herald Leader Counseling can help you decide whether to get genetic testing Lexington Herald Leader type of cancer, the age at diagnosis, multiple cancers in the same patient, clustering of breast, gastrointestinal and gynecologic malignancy in close relatives, or certain cancers arising in patient of Ashkenazi (central or eastern European

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Jewish American Heritage Month 2017 July 14

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Peace process – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Before we were disturbed by a dust-up among Jews about the Western Wall and conversion, we were befuddled by another delegation of ranking Americans prodding Israelis and Palestinians to sit around a table and make peace. What these worthies do not grasp is that there already is peace. It aint perfect, but its close to the best thats possible. Alongside the well-known constraints in both Palestinian and Israeli politics in the way of agreement on all the issues that would allow a celebration of formal peace, there are ample signs that both populations get along reasonably well.

In recent days, with Ramadan coming to a close and reaching a peak celebration of Eid al Fitr, there were several indications of the integration in what is described by the superficial as the divided city of Jerusalem. Our neighborhood supermarket and grocery store werent working up to snuff, because a substantial number of workers were on halftime or less, due to fasting and family gatherings. Jerusalem buses werent running on schedule, on account of a large number of Arab drivers not working full time. Should we view those inconveniences as problems we should not tolerate, or as positive signs that Arabs and Jews work alongside one another and depend on one another?

Fridays during Ramadan, and especially the last Friday of the month, were occasions for Jews to avoid the Old City. More than a hundred thousand Muslims came each Friday from throughout East Jerusalem, and on buses from the West Bank, and Gaza to pray on what Jews call the Temple Mount. In order to accommodate those prostrating themselves, much of its extent becomes part of al-Aqsa Mosque. Is this another inconvenience for Jews that should be viewed as intolerable, or as the price of sharing a city with more than two millennia of being sensitive to many?

To be sure, there remains a lack of harmony and a surplus of bitterness, memories of insults and offense, as well as daily attacks by Arabs against Jews and a few attacks of Jews against ArabsWe can compare the feelings, the violence, and fears with those of other contentious locales, including European cities with growing Muslim populations as well as multi-racial American cities.

The first objection well hear is that it isnt the same. Of course not. There are always differences in detail between settings with unique histories. The comparison of Israeli-Arab relations today (both locally and region-wide) with those that prevailed in years past will show improvements along with assertions that the improvements are superficial, and expectations that there is another uptick in violence waiting to occur.With all the cynicism that it is appropriate to direct against a peace process comes a sentiment that its a good idea. As Winston said, Jaw Jaw is better than War War.

And there are a lot of diplomats who have to be kept busy, and away from more serious problems they may make worse. Ideally, theyll focus on adjusting the pragmatic arrangements, well below anything approaching a formal peace accord, but useful in keeping tensions at a manageable level.

Its appropriate to list some of the prominent minuses and pluses of where we are in these detailed accommodations. Perhaps most prominent are the fears and tensions faced by Israelis concerned about the possibilities of violence, and the tensions felt by Palestinians and Arabs at the checkpoints, the documents required for Palestinians to enter Israel for work, medical treatment, family visits, or religious observances, the wall that meanders through the West Bank, the presence of numerous police and security personnel at points of contact between Arabs and Jews, the occasional closures of Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem in response to violence, and the ethnic profiling that subjects Arabs to greater scrutiny than Jews.

As in other countries, not all Israeli security personnel handle their tasks with the delicacy and courtesy that would be ideal. Arabs feel constrained, and occasionally murder those among themselves who are said to be informants of Israeli security services, while Israelis endanger themselves by working with the Arabs of Israel, Palestinians, and in other Muslim societies formally closed to Israelis. Pressures brought on potential informants might not be pleasant, but are among the details of national security we do not have to discuss.

Both Jews and Arabs suffer from memories of historical injustices associated with wars that caused losses in both communities. Jews complain about budget and tax distortions, compared to other western countries, justified by expenditures on security. Arabs complain about limitations on their localities budgets and services within Israel, and occasional destruction of buildings said to be illegal in Arab towns and neighborhoods, which they say are brought about by the governments failure to provide organized planning and building permits for Arab areas.

Israeli Arabs admit to higher levels of violence among themselves than among Jews, but blame Israel for not providing police protection to their communities, while the Israeli police complain about a lack of cooperation from Arabs in identifying perpetrators. Jews complain about the lack of cooperation from Arabs with respect to the payment of taxes and compliance with a host of laws and regulations, ranging from those against polygamy to building standards and highway safety.

Jews question the wisdom of Arabs selecting uncompromising nationalists as their representatives in Knesset, and the refusal of Jerusalem Arabs to vote, and thereby use their political potential to select a third of the municipal council and to choose a mayor in the chronic competition between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

High on the Jews list of complaints is the incitement coming from Arab and Palestinian politicians, distortions of history in Palestinian school books, and routine assertions of innocence and reverence paid to those who attack Jews.

The symbols of accommodation are less prominent than the tangible indications. Israeli and Palestinian flags seldom appear alongside one another. Gazans and West Bankers have their complaints against Israel, but the living standards and political opportunities in both sectors do not fall below those available in other Muslim or Third World countries. Social indicators show that Israeli Arabs live as well, and according to some indicators better than minorities in the U.S. and Europe.

Sure, the glass is only half-full, but half-full aint all that bad. We can hope that Trump et al will focus on detailed adjustments that improve things for both Israelis and Palestinians. In all probability, well have to do without the full glasses of champagne to mark the culmination of a peace process along with a ceremony of public signing and celebration.

Jews will continue quarreling among ourselves, as weve done from the get go. Yet unlike extremist Muslims or Christians obsessed with abortion or some other abomination, we havent killed one another in significant numbers on account of religious or political disputes since those wars that Josephus wrote about. Yitzhak Rabin was a significant exception. Thats something to remember, while were quarreling about whatever is in the headlines.

Comments welcome. irashark@gmail.com.

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The remarkable change in India-Israel relations – Heritage Florida Jewish News

While the anti-Semites continue to spin their wheels trying to convince college student governments to adopt meaningless divestment resolutions and persuade rock stars to boycott Israel, the prime ministers of Israel andIndiaare having a lovefest and the worlds most populous democracy is signing contracts with Israel worth billions of dollars. What must be particularly galling to theBDSadvocates is that India was once a vigorous adherent to the Arab League boycott. The change in Indias posture toward Israel did not happen overnight.

India is one of the few countries whereanti-Semitismhas been non-existent. For decades, however, it was one of the leaders of the nonaligned countries in the United Nations, and pursued a hostile policy toward Israel in part out of fear of alienating the Arab and Muslim countries, as well as its 110 million Muslims citizens.

In 1988, India excluded Israel from the World Table Tennis Championships in New Delhi and, in 1990, three prominent Indian musicians were told not to travel to Israel and canceled plans to perform at the World Music Festival. That same year, four Israeli tennis players were denied visas to participate in a tournament after their entry fees had been accepted.

Indian policy slowly began to change in 1991. One of the first signs of a thaw came in June when seven Israelis and one Dutch tourist were kidnapped by Muslim terrorists in Srinagar, Kashmir. One 22-year-old Israeli was killed. The Indian government worked with Israel to secure the release of other Israelis who eventually escaped.

Still, on Nov. 26, Indias external affairs minister was quoted as saying ambassadors could not be exchanged until genuine progress was reached in Middle East peace talks. By this he meant Israel had withdrawn from the territories and allowed the creation of a Palestinian state. The IndianStatesmannewspaper called it a mindless pronouncement.

That same month, a delegation of the World Jewish Congress met Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and asked him to upgrade Israels consular office in Bombay to an embassy. That office, established in the 1950s to help Indian Jews emigrate, was Israels only diplomatic post in India. By that time, approximately 35,000 Indian Jews were living in Israel and 6,000 remained in India.

Then, in December, India surprised Israel by voting to repeal the odious UN resolution slandering Zionismas a form of racism. I was the editor of AIPACsNear East Reportat the time and wrote that the next logical move would be for India to normalize relations and open an embassy in Jerusalem. I was subsequently invited to write an article forThe Indian-Americanmagazine on Israel-India ties. At the time, trade with India was approximately $200 million, mostly consisting of polished diamonds. I argued India could benefit from direct trade, cultural and academic exchanges and sharing the lessons of coping with massive influxes of refugees that strain the nations absorptive capacity.

One catalyst for taking the next step was Indias desire to participate in the international Middle East peace conference planned for Moscow on Jan. 28, 1992. China established full diplomatic relations with Israel to win a seat at the table and India did not want to be left out. TheBush administration, which had lobbied India to vote for the repeal of the Zionism resolution at the UN, made it clear that Israel would not agree to their participation if relations were not normalized.

India was also being encouraged to improve ties with Israel by the one-million-strong Indian community in the United States. Narayan Keshavan, the Washington Bureau Chief ofThe Indian-American, noted that influential leaders such as Dr. Mukund Mody of the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Kamal Dandona of the Indian National Congress of America, which backs the ruling party in New Delhi, have pushed for better Indo-Israeli relations.

Like many other countries, India also believed that improving ties with Israel would ingratiate the country with thepro-Israel lobbyin the United States, which would then support policies favorable to New Delhi. The policy shift was also related to fears that Pakistan might be the country to benefit if it were to tilt toward Israel. India also hoped to take advantage of the shared interest with Israel in preventing Pakistan from becoming a nuclear power.

Keshavan noted that the Rao government had nothing to lose domestically because his party could not count on the Muslim vote anyway and the opposition supported the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel. The Arab states were also in no position to protest after the participation of Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese, and Palestinians in talks with Israel at theMadrid conferencein 1991.

On Jan. 29, 1992, India announced it would establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. A few months later, the two nations signed an agreement to increase cooperation between Indian and Israeli industries. An agreement was also initialed to allow Air India and El Al to operate flights between the two countries and to promote tourism.

Today, trade is booming. India is Israels ninth leading trade partner. Exports have risen from $200 million in 1992 to $4.2 billion in 2016. In the past decade alone, Israels exports to India have risen a total of about 60 percent. Israeli companies with representative offices or manufacturing plants in India include Teva, Netafim, Check Point, Amdocs, Magic Software, Ness Technologies, Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit, Verint, Mobileye and HP Indigo.

Military cooperation is especially robust, with Israel selling billions of dollars worth of weapons systems to India. The Indian Navy makes port visits in Haifa and the IDF and Indian military have engaged in joint exercises. In June, for example, pilots from India joined counterparts from Israel, the United States, Germany, France, Italy, and Poland in the largest aerial training exercise ever held in Israel.

Israelis can be found throughout India, as it has become a popular tourist destination, especially for Israelis following their army service. The number of tourists from India has also increased dramatically, with 40,000 Indian nationals vacationing in Israel in 2015.

Following the visit of Prime Minister Modi, Israeli-Indian relations can be expected to grow exponentially in a variety of spheres. Can you think of a more powerful rebuke to the BDS movement than the strengthening of ties between Israel and a country of 1.3 billion people?

Dr. Mitchell Bard is the author/editor of 24 books including the 2017 edition of Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, The Arab Lobby, and the novel After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

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Posted By simmons on August 2, 2017 NEW YORK Ikeda Yataros body was cremated today. May his soul be forever damned. The flames claimed his corpse and his roses all that was left of the man. So opens Torture by Rose, the first story in Orlando Ortega-Medinas debut short story collection Jerusalem Ablaze: Stories of Love and Other Obsessions. Set in present-day Tokyo, it tells the story of Ikeda Yataro, a wealthy industrialist and patron of the arts who offers a talented university student the chance to become his sole heir. There are three conditions and should the student violate even one, they would forfeit the inheritance. The student agrees, but soon finds the price too much to bear. But dont expect a morality lesson from the Jewish author. The stories in the book come from below my consciousness. They are to entertain and not leave any kind of message. I think the interesting thing is how people read the stories and what they take away tells a lot about the people reading them. I dont mind what people come up with as long as they were moved by the story, Ortega-Medina said, speaking with The Times of Israel from London. In all, 13 tales lie between the covers of the book and, like Torture by Rose, they are not spun from sweetness and light. Rather, the darkly humorous stories are occasionally violent, often uncomfortable, and always populated with characters on a quest to find their place in the world. Its a quest reflective of the 49-year-old authors own search for identity. With my more exotic background, I always felt I had an excess of identity I grew up in a fairly homogeneous white Anglo-Saxon neighborhood. With my more exotic background, I always felt I had an excess of identity. I always found I had to be distinguishing myself. I was always having to clarify who I was, to navigate the different strands of my background, said the Los Angeles-born author who is of Judeo-Spanish descent via Cuba. The work was inspired by four periods of travel in his life: California, Quebec, Israel and Japan. Ortega-Medina said the Israel stories are the most biographical of the whole collection and are firmly rooted in his experiences and the time he spent searching for himself there. Both of Ortega-Medinas parents were born in Cuba, his fathers family originally from Florida, his mothers family from the Canary Islands. The couple left during the political upheavals of the 1950s. Along with their belongings they packed the hope they would someday return to Cuba. Illustrative: An Israeli flag hangs on the wall of the Jewish Community Center in Havana, Cuba. (Serge Attal/Flash90) Growing up with their wish hovering in the corners of his house, coupled with the fact that his parents were not affiliated with any religious denomination, further set the young Ortega-Medina looking for his place in the world. In a way I found myself searching for identity in my own household. I wasnt accepting the idea that wed move back to Cuba. When I was 13 I had a deep interest in my religious heritage. My grandmother was visiting and when I came downstairs she presented me with a kippa and said Its really sad youre not a Bar Mitzvah, he said. Jerusalem Ablaze by Orlando Ortega-Medina. (Courtesy) His grandmother sent him to Israel after he graduated high school, and he also turned to Chabad and the Conservative movement for guidance and spiritual fulfillment. An Israel State of Mind is perhaps the most biographical story in the collection. In it a recent high school graduate from Southern California arrives in Israel to spend a year working on a kibbutz. He hopes to rid himself of his desires; instead he is reunited with the man he loves. And by the time the sherut [shared taxi] approached the imposing gates of Kfar Vered, Marc was beginning to feel more optimistic about the whole thing. Perhaps having a good time here at Kfar Vered and connecting with his Jewish heritage were not mutually exclusive propositions, writes Ortega-Medina in the story. The character Marc is the closest to an alter ego I have. I do work out some personal things through him, he said. He has long turned to words to work out his own search for self. In elementary school he penned several science fiction, time-travel comic books for himself and a few select friends. He wrote a novel that he set aside, and even tried his hand at a screenplay or two. Jerusalem Ablaze author, Orlando Ortega-Medina at the West London Synagogue. (Clare Allen/Courtesy) Jerusalem Ablaze has so far received high marks. Kirkus Reviews described his prose as elegant and potent throughout, with visceral passages bathed in lyricism. And the Irish News wrote the book is beautifully wrought, deeply unnerving Ortega-Medina holds a mirror up to our darkest thoughts and urges while showing the oneness of the human condition. With the positive reviews rolling in Ortega-Medina imagined hosting a dinner for the writers who inspired him. Id surround with Yukio Mishima, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, John Fowles and Anthony Burgess, and wed discuss writing over a glass, or three, of wine Id surround with Yukio Mishima, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, John Fowles and Anthony Burgess, and wed discuss writing over a glass, or three, of wine. No, make that champagne, he said. In fact, Torture by Rose is an homage to Mishimas story Swaddling clothes. It left a lot of questions for me and I answered them in my story. Ortega-Medina studied English Literature at UCLA and then earned a law degree from Southwestern University School of Law. While there he won The National Society of Arts and Letters award for Short Stories. In 1999 Ortega-Medina moved to Canada with his life partner to protest discriminatory policies in the US against same-sex couples, running his San Francisco law practice from Toronto. He and his partner were among the first same-sex couples to marry at Montreals Hotel de Ville in 2005. One of the things we really enjoyed when we moved to Canada was that as a couple we were a non-issue. It was more than acceptance; it was as if us being a couple was a non-issue, he said. Jerusalem Ablaze author, Orlando Ortega-Medina. (Courtesy) After four years in Canada his partner, who hails from a tropical country, broke the news: he was done the nearly six-month-long Canadian winters. Fortunately, an opportunity arose in the UK and the couple moved to London. With US, Canadian and British citizenship, Ortega-Medina works as an immigration and consular attorney in London, and is managing director of a US corporate immigration practice there. While the US Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage throughout the nation in 2015, Ortega-Medina said he has no plans to return there. He described his life in London with his husband as quite settled. We live a stones throw from Kensington Palace and we can literally wave to the royal family as they drive by. For a lot of people the civil ceremony would have been enough. Standing under a chuppah was an important milestone for us Several years ago he and his partner married in a religious ceremony at the West London Synagogue, where they belong and are quite active. For a lot of people the civil ceremony would have been enough. Standing under a chuppah was an important milestone for us, he said. Many of the stories in Jerusalem Ablaze explore lifes imperfections and the fragility of the world. These are themes that come from a somewhat overprotective mother, he said. My mother was always very nervous. She worried about whether we would catch a cold and die, or be run over by a car. She worried that anything could happen to us. It made me a bit more daring, a bit more of a risk taker, he said. My leaving the US for Canada to reinvent myself and then again to the UK where we didnt know anybody was risky. And in my writing I take risks. Jerusalem Ablaze author, Orlando Ortega-Medina. (Courtesy) Go here to see the original: Literary world fired up over debut short story collection by gay immigration lawyer The Times of Israel Category: Jewish Heritage Month | Comments Off on Literary world fired up over debut short story collection by gay immigration lawyer The Times of Israel Tags:

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Why Jews Need To Fight Trump On Voting Rights 53 Years After ‘Mississippi Burning’ Murders – Forward

(JTA) Andrew GoodmanandMichael Schwernerare about the closest American Jews have to secular saints. The two Jewish civil rights workers traveled south for the Freedom Summer campaign of 1964, joining the African-American activist James Chaney in canvassing black churches. All three were kidnapped and murdered by a lynch mob. Forty-three years ago next Friday, Aug. 4, their bullet-riddled bodies were found buried in a dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi, 44 days after their disappearance. The hagiographies of the two Jewish men, both in their 20s, sometimes overlook the specific purpose of their trip to the Jim Crow South: registering African-Americans in Mississippi to vote. Freedom Summer was meant to directly confrontefforts, legal and otherwise, to prevent blacks from voting: poll taxes and literacy tests, fear and intimidation, and as Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney found out, beatings and lynchings. As the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, described the mission, the inability to vote was only one of many problems blacks encountered in the racist society around them, but the civil-rights officials who decided to zero in on voter registration understood its crucial significance as well the white supremacists did. An African American voting bloc would be able to effect social and political change. It was the unfinished business of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney that animated 24 faith groups, 17 of them Jewish, to write a letter to Congress urging lawmakers not to fund the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity the Orwellian name for President Donald Trumps effort to hunt down those 3 million illegal ballots that he claims illicitly cost him the popular vote. Thats Trumps agenda, anyway. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and other commission members say they merely want to gauge the extent of the problem and propose remedies. Kobach has already signaled the kinds of remedies he has in mind: imposing strict voter identificationlaws; removing names from voter rolls perhaps using inaccurate or unreliable databases; identifying potential duplicate registration records that use a notoriously misleading instrument; or just failing to enforce existing laws that have expanded individuals right to vote. Sure, such remedies might end up suppressing the votes of poor people, blacks, Hispanics, the elderly (and, what do you know, Democrats) in fact, nearly all reliable studies and multiplecourt cases say they will. But, according to Kobach and company, thats the price to be paid for, well, integrity. The voting commission is a solution in search of a problem. Voting by non-citizens isvanishingly rare. Trumps claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 elections were baseless, as the faith coalition notes. There are no reputable studies to suggest that U.S. elections have been compromised by fraudulent voting by undocumented immigrants, felons, double voters or dead voters. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation, which maintains a Voter Fraud Database it says shows incontrovertible evidence that voter fraud is a real and pressing issue, lists only1,071 instances of voter fraud going back to 1981. Americans have cast over 1 billion votes during that period in presidential elections alone. Rather than pointing to evidence that suggests otherwise because it cant the administration offers something else: doubt.We may never know if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 election, Kobach told MSNBC.Responding to reports that more than 40 states rejected intrusive requests for massive amounts of data on its voters, Trump said this month, If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what theyre worried about. The assumption of the commission is that voter fraud is real and widespread; the onus is on everyone else to prove it isnt. Late-night comics giggle at Trumps propensity for creating alternative realities, whether it was his campaign claim that America was experiencing an unprecedented crime wave or this weeks tweetssaying that transgender service members are a financial drain on the military. Fitting this pattern is his and his teams ongoing refusal to accept the conclusion by the top four intelligence agencies that Russian interference in the 2016 election was real and significant. On Monday, top presidential adviser Jared Kushner emerged from his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee to declare that accusations of Russian meddling and administration collusion with the Russians are an insult to Trumps voters. Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won, Kushner said. Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him. In other words: No matter what the CIA, FBI and National Security Council tell us, Russian interference in the presidential election is a non-issue. But the unfounded reports of voter fraud are worth a federally funded commission. Unlike the talk show hosts, civil rights activists and other fans of representative democracy arent laughing. Taxpayer funds should go towards efforts to encourage voter participation, the faith coalition said in its letter, rather than a commission intended to restrict voting rights. Some have memories of how hard Jews fought alongside blacks to secure voting rights. Others believe, as the coalition put it, that their religion teaches them to work for a society that safeguards the rights of all people especially the sacred right to vote. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has filed a federal lawsuit calling the presidents election commission a pretext for the suppression of black and Latino voters. Obviously this is a calamity for Democrats, who already are seeing evidence that laws making it harder to vote are having a disproportionate effect on their constituents. But this should also be an issue for Jews who support the president and wish he would get on with the business of addressing actual problems, from infrastructure to job creation to regulatory overreach. Theres been a debate over the years about whether or not Goodman and Schwerner were part of the Jewish story. At a big Jewish conference a number of years ago, I heard the head of what is now the Jewish Council for Public Affairs declare, When Goodman and Schwerner went south for Freedom Summer, they were doing Jewish! Others questioned then, and still question today, why so many Jewish activists pursue universalist causes in the name of tikkun olam rather than working on issues that will specifically benefit Israel or their fellow Jews. Goodman and Schwerner were of a generation that did not distinguish between policies that were good for them and those that were good for us. Jews were only just emerging from decades in which discrimination against them was both legal and tolerated. They knew that rights won slowly could be taken away quickly, and that if any minority was at risk, then all minorities were at risk. The organizations that backed Freedom Summer understood the power of coalitions in pursuing their own particularist agendas. You can call it enlightened self-interest, but maybe thats just another name for tikkun olam. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Aide Is Arrested (Photos) – Opposing Views

Opposing Views Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Aide Is Arrested (Photos) Opposing Views Wasserman Schultz introduced a resolution, which passed the House of Representatives and called on the President to declare an annual Jewish American Heritage Month ,” notes her webpage on the congressional website. “The President subsequently did … EXCLUSIVE: FBI Seized Smashed Hard Drives From Wasserman Schultz IT Aide's Home The Daily Caller Wasserman Schultz aide arrested trying to leave the country Politico Feds arrest IT staffer for Wasserman Schultz trying to leave country | Fox News Fox News Politico  – The Daily Caller all 139 news articles »

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Cutting Out the Bris – New York Times

The science around the medical benefits of circumcision in the United States is inconclusive, though the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that it can help prevent some sexually transmitted infections like H.I.V., as well as penile cancer and urinary tract infections. I think there was a time when all American baby boys were circumcised, of all religions, said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish movement in North America. Now its a choice. Its a decision. I talk to a lot of families that really struggle with this decision, said Dr. Emily Blake, a New York-based OB/GYN who is also trained as a mohel in the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist traditions. She has been performing the bris ceremony since 1990. The questions parents consider range from the practical How much will it hurt? to the existential Will my son even be Jewish? Ms. Edell, 41, who lives in Brooklyn and works as the executive director of a young feminists group called Spark Movement, is raising her son, Wilder, as a single mother. She described the decision around circumcision as easily the most challenging and stressful one she has made as a parent. (Her son is only 15 months old.) Ms. Edell grew up in an observant Jewish family; she went to a Jewish school and to Jewish summer camp. I knew that I wanted to raise my child Jewish and in a Jewish home. And yet Im also a feminist and activist, and believe very strongly in the right to your own body, she said. She decided not to circumcise, a choice she said her parents eventually accepted. Instead she had a gentle bris ceremony with alternative ritual objects: a pomegranate, a gold kiddush cup, and a large ceramic bowl filled with water to wash the babys feet, an ancient act of welcoming the stranger. Ms. Edell cut the pomegranate, a totem of fertility with its plentiful seeds, while her mother held Wilder. Theres no reliable data on the percentage of American Jewish boys who are circumcised each year. But there are some indicators to suggest why circumcision may be subject to increasing debate: A Pew survey of American Jews in 2013 revealed a significant rise in secular Jews who are marrying outside the faith, and roughly a third of intermarried Jews who are raising children say they arent raising them Jewish. Only 19 percent of American Jews said that observing Jewish law was an essential part of what being Jewish means. (In contrast, 42 percent said having a good sense of humor was essential.) Theyre inadvertent trailblazers. Theyre certainly pushing the boundary of who can be a Jew, said Rabbi Peter Schweitzer of the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Manhattan. Rabbi Schweitzer does alternative ceremonies for people who choose not circumcise. Of course, there havent been changes across the board. For Orthodox families, who constitute about 10 percent of the American Jewish population, the traditional bris remains immutable. You have a boy, you have a bris, said Cantor Philip Sherman, an Orthodox mohel who estimates hes performed more than 21,000 bris ceremonies. Those who choose to opt out dont have a connection to their Jewish heritage. They dont know how important and significant this is, he said. If they did, they wouldnt take the position theyre taking. Even for some progressive Jews, circumcising a son and holding a bris remains a quintessential part of being a Jewish parent. Sarah-Kay Lacks, who works at JCC Manhattan and calls her family post-denominational, said her sons bris was a euphoric experience. Others speak about it similarly. Theres a lot of vulnerability and anxiety after a birth, said Rabbi Jacobs. The bris makes it possible to ritualize that youre part of something larger, youre part of a people past, present and future. Rabbis and public health experts interviewed said that the great majority of Jewish parents still circumcise, and opting out remains almost taboo in much of the mainstream. A number of parents did not want to speak on the record about their decision, and some rabbis who had done alternative bris ceremonies asked not to be named publicly. Right now, there is a dont ask/dont tell policy within much of institutional Judaism when it comes to parents skipping circumcision, said Rebecca Wald, the founder of Beyond the Bris, an online community for parents who are questioning circumcision. On forums like Beyond the Bris, in conversations and blog posts, Jewish parents argue against circumcision for both medical and social reasons. Some discuss keeping babies natural bodies intact and raise questions about preventable pain and trauma. Others see circumcision as an outdated practice. Among liberal Jews who have sought to make other aspects of Judaism more egalitarian, the bris also raises a feminist question: why should the most sacred act of Judaism, the linking of a child to the covenant, apply only to boys? A variety of alternative ceremonies for girls have blossomed in the Reform movement. Since its a new ritual, theres no standard practice, said Rabbi Jacobs. Some parents wash the baby girls feet as a symbol of sacred welcome; some wrap the baby in a tallit, or prayer shawl; others light a candle, in honor of the new light in the community. Even secular Jews, who do not keep kosher or go to synagogue, can face a wrenching decision over circumcision. A 46-year-old father who asked to be identified only as Aaron because he was discussing intimate details about his son said he was surprised by how powerfully he felt about circumcising. Raised in California by a father who was a German Jewish refugee and a feminist Jewish mother, he said he grew up standard American Reform. For me, this wasnt about a covenant with God, because Im secular, he said. It was really about identification as a Jew, at the most visceral, embodied level. Aarons wife, who is not Jewish and grew up in a country where circumcision was not the norm, was opposed to it. She did not want to inflict pain on her newborn baby. The decision became the hardest thing my wife and I have ever had to deal with, Aaron said. Ultimately, eight months into his wifes pregnancy, Aaron agreed not to circumcise their son. I didnt want it to end our marriage and tear apart our family, he said. An earlier version of this article misstated the source of a 2014 analysis on circumcision. It was published in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings but was not conducted by the Mayo Clinic.

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Schafer to continue to push boundaries at Maltz Museum – Cleveland Jewish News

For David Schafer, the new managing director of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, a good exhibit explores a component of the past that causes visitors to think about and discuss its relevance to present day and the future. He pointed to the recent This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Era, exhibit, which showcased African-Americans fighting for voting and civil rights in the 1960s an example of a historical happening which connects to the present at a time when voting rights are still inaccessible for many. Each and every day, the museum educates visitors about the past, informs them how it has shaped the present and inspires them to be part of a hopeful future, Schafer said. Schafer took over in the top-level role at the museum about a month ago a position that was newly created after former Executive Director Ellen Rudolph resigned. Schafer was previously director of development since 2010. I have incredible colleagues, an incredible board of trustees, and I sometimes pinch myself with realization that I walk through the door everyday in a community thats extraordinary, he said. Schafer is a graduate of the College of Wooster in Wooster. He then worked for the city of Portland, Ore., for a couple of years and then lived in Israel for two years, after extending a trip that was supposed to last only a couple months. That kindled the spirit of wanting to connect and work in the Jewish community, said Schafer, a Mayfield Heights resident and member of Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike. Prior to coming to the museum, Schafer was executive director for 11 years for the Development Corp. of Israel/Israel Bonds and was responsible for operations and campaign results conducted in Ohio and Kentucky. Schafer said in his new position, he hopes to continue to push boundaries, and for the museum to increase its prominence as a Cleveland cultural institution for tourists and residents to visit and have conversations of consequence. He noted an exhibit that is being developed to immerse people to understand the state of Israel and its people, beyond the politicized lens in which everyone views the state. It will open in June 2018. Diaspora and the general public likes to package things in black and white terms we will present Israel through an honest and scholarly lens while celebrating the many achievements of a still young and vibrant nation, Schafer said. The takeaway will hopefully be people leave the exhibit with a lot of questions, wanting to seek additional information, and a small goal is some people actually buy a plane ticket to go to Israel. Schafer and the museums staff also are working toward an upcoming fall exhibit Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, that delves into Cleveland-centric figures and developments that fit into a larger story about Jews in medical history. Moreover, Schafer discussed the museums emphasis on telling a Jewish story within a lens of tolerance, diversity and the greater American story. He said Maltz exhibits and programs seek to discuss adversity felt by anyone including Jews who has ever been an outsider. Through our exhibitions we are bringing to light peoples biases, conscious and unconscious, he said.

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Jewish American Heritage Month 2017 July 23

richards | July 23, 2017 Particularly, in the US and some European States, the Israeli and Zionist versions of history are widespread. Israels narrative relies on a collection of myths aimed at bringing the moral right and the ethical behavior of the Palestinians into twilight and making their claim to their country appear as illegitimate Source Link(s) Are Here Ten Myths About Israel – Center for Research on Globalization Category: Zionism | Comments Off on Ten Myths About Israel Center for Research on Globalization Tags: richards | July 23, 2017 For the story of Bnai Briths effort to keep me out of Canada based on their false and libelous assertions, see: Bnai Brith libelously calls me holocaust denier, wants me banned from Canada Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor The Quds Day rally in Toronto, where I hope and expect to be speaking this Saturday Bnai Brith of Canada Marty York, Daniel Koren: Dear Mssrs. York and Koren: I am the United States-based attorney for Dr. Source Link(s) Are Here My attorneys demand letter to Bnai Brith (re … Category: Holocaust Denial | Comments Off on My attorneys demand letter to Bnai Brith (re Tags: simmons | July 23, 2017 There are many misconceptions as to which communities actually benefit the most from public assistance and federal subsidies such as Section 8 and welfare. This Daily News expose sheds some light on the answer to that question and it definitely isnt the Black and Latino communities many Republicans love to accuse of getting all the free hand outs! Check it out below and let us know what you think. The annual spring ritual marks the first day of Passover in the Hasidic Jewish enclave of South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where daily life is built on ancient laws and religious devotion. Source Link(s) Are Here Hasidic Neighborhood Exposed As Top Section 8 Beneficiary … Category: Hasidic | Comments Off on Hasidic Neighborhood Exposed As Top Section 8 Beneficiary Tags: simmons | July 23, 2017 By the President of the United States of America During Jewish American Heritage Month, we celebrate our Nations 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 Source Link(s) Are Here Jewish American Heritage Month, 2017 | U.S. Embassy in Israel Category: Jewish American Heritage Month | Comments Off on Jewish American Heritage Month, 2017 | U.S. Embassy in Israel Tags: richards | July 23, 2017 The Tragedy of Zionism Bernard Avishai (1985, 359 pp) Bernard Avishai is a keen observer of the Zionist venture. I know him from his fine writing in the New Yorker, The Nation, the New York Review of Books, and other periodicals Source Link(s) Are Here Avishai’s prophetic ‘Tragedy of Zionism’ was denied by Jewish community 32 years ago – Mondoweiss Category: Zionism | Comments Off on Avishais prophetic Tragedy of Zionism was denied by Jewish community 32 years ago Mondoweiss Tags: simmons | July 23, 2017 WASHINGTON (JTA) Bnai Brith International faulted the Trump administration for adopting the Palestinian narrative in the State Departments annual report on terrorism. In the report released this week, the State Department listed as continued drivers of violence a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive. Source Link(s) Are Here B’nai B’rith slams State Dept. for saying ‘lack of hope’ drives terrorism – Jewish Telegraphic Agency Category: B’nai B’rith | Comments Off on Bnai Brith slams State Dept. for saying lack of hope drives terrorism Jewish Telegraphic Agency Tags: richards | July 23, 2017 Krat Mican, one of the demonstrators, speaks to reporters about the groups intent to continue protesting. . (photo credit:KRAT MICAN/INSTAGRAM) Demonstrators in Istanbul protesting the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem kicked a synagogues doors and threw objects at it Source Link(s) Are Here Synagogue targeted in Istanbul demonstrations against Temple Mount metal detectors – The Jerusalem Post Category: Synagogue | Comments Off on Synagogue targeted in Istanbul demonstrations against Temple Mount metal detectors The Jerusalem Post Tags: simmons | July 23, 2017 Congregation Hope of Israel in the lower Grand Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx, New York, closed in 2006. (Flickr) NEW YORK (JTA) Neighbors of a shuttered synagogue in the Bronx want its apparent owners to clean up the trash that is accumulating on its property. Source Link(s) Are Here Shuttered Bronx synagogue becomes a dumping ground | Jewish … – Jewish Telegraphic Agency Category: Synagogue | Comments Off on Shuttered Bronx synagogue becomes a dumping ground | Jewish Jewish Telegraphic Agency Tags: admin | July 23, 2017 Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Britains top Sephardi rabbi, will continue to serve as the spiritual leader of Londons S&P Sephardic Jewish community, but will no longer serve as a religious court judge, it was decided Wednesday. Rabbi Dweck came under fire last month when he praised the acceptance of homosexuality by western society as a fantastic development Source Link(s) Are Here Top UK Sephardi Rabbi will no longer serve as religious judge – Arutz Sheva Category: Sephardic | Comments Off on Top UK Sephardi Rabbi will no longer serve as religious judge Arutz Sheva Tags: simmons | July 23, 2017 (JTA) A prominent Spanish organization that is dedicated to preserving the countrys Jewish heritage awarded a prize to a local politician who had accused Israel of massacring Palestinian children. Source Link(s) Are Here Sephardi heritage center honors Spanish politician who said Israel massacres children – Jewish Telegraphic Agency Category: Sephardic | Comments Off on Sephardi heritage center honors Spanish politician who said Israel massacres children Jewish Telegraphic Agency Tags:

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Jewish American Heritage Month 2017 July 14

richards | July 14, 2017 Israel Hayom ‘The main reason for French aliyah is Zionism , and that is fine’ Israel Hayom French Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal says she supports French Jews who want to come to Israel for Zionist values She says France and Israel share common values and stresses that despite terrorism, France is still a preferred tourism destination. UN Resolution Anti- Zionism = Anti-Semitism Intermountain Jewish News Thomas L. Friedman: A double blow to Israel Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Inclusion and the Jewish group that demonizes Jews JNS.org Rutland Herald Heritage Florida Jewish News The Jewish Press JewishPress.com all 65 news articles Source Link(s) Are Here Israel Hayom ‘The main reason for French aliyah is Zionism, and that is fine’ UN Resolution Anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism Thomas L. Friedman: A double blow to Israel Inclusion and the Jewish group that demonizes Jews Rutland Herald Heritage Florida Jewish News The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com all 65 news articles ‘The main reason for French aliyah is Zionism, and that is fine’ – Israel Hayom Category: Zionism | Comments Off on The main reason for French aliyah is Zionism, and that is fine Israel Hayom Tags: simmons | July 14, 2017 One day before the outbreak of the first world war, a precocious boy called Gerhard Scholem burst into a room at home and began the rite of symbolically castrating his father. Papa, I think I want to be a Jew, he exclaimed. He was planning to learn Hebrew, study the Bible and become a Zionist Source Link(s) Are Here Stranger in a Strange Land by George Prochnik review Gershom Scholem and Zionism – The Guardian Category: Zionism | Comments Off on Stranger in a Strange Land by George Prochnik review Gershom Scholem and Zionism The Guardian Tags: simmons | July 14, 2017 Jewish Chronicle Synagogue membership? There are reasons to be hopeful Jewish Chronicle Following last week’s JPR report, it is important to spell out what this data means for the United Synagogue . Although the study did not supply specific data for the US, we recognise that as by far the largest synagogue movement of any denomination, we .. Source Link(s) Are Here Jewish Chronicle Synagogue membership? There are reasons to be hopeful Why there are no women on the Chief Rabbinate’s ‘blacklist’ APN’s Aaron Mann in Times of Israel blog: American Jewish leaders must be vocal on prayer and peace in Israel Fourteen Flaws in Tom Friedman’s ‘Israel to American Jews’ New York Times Column State Times Al-Monitor all 65 news articles Synagogue membership? There are reasons to be hopeful – Jewish Chronicle Category: Synagogue | Comments Off on Synagogue membership? There are reasons to be hopeful Jewish Chronicle Tags: admin | July 14, 2017 AFP/Getty Images A Palestinian boy cooling off during a heat wave at the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, July 2, 2017. Source Link(s) Are Here How Gaza’s electricity crisis could spell trouble for Israel – Heritage Florida Jewish News Category: Jewish Heritage Month | Comments Off on How Gazas electricity crisis could spell trouble for Israel Heritage Florida Jewish News Tags: simmons | July 14, 2017 NEW YORK (JTA) Several times a month Jeanette Chawki welcomes a handful of strangers into her Brooklyn home. Source Link(s) Are Here How a Korean-Jewish entrepreneur uses food to empower immigrants – Jewish Post Category: Jewish Heritage Month | Comments Off on How a Korean-Jewish entrepreneur uses food to empower immigrants Jewish Post Tags: admin | July 14, 2017 The left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center has come under fire for its labeling of a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to defending religious freedom, sanctity of life, and marriage and family as a hate group. Source Link(s) Are Here Southern Poverty Law Center brands some peaceful groups as ‘hate groups’ – Fox News Category: Holocaust Denial | Comments Off on Southern Poverty Law Center brands some peaceful groups as hate groups Fox News Tags: simmons | July 14, 2017 In the latest sign of the growing rift between the Saudi-led Gulf states and Qatar, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates blasted Qatars Al-Jazeera network on Wednesday for promoting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Anwar Gargash, the UAEs minister for foreign affairs, charged that Al-Jazeera promoted anti-Semitic violence by broadcasting sermons by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi,Agence France-Presse reported Source Link(s) Are Here Top UAE Official Slams Qatar-Owned Al-Jazeera for Anti-Semitism – TheTower.org Category: Holocaust Denial | Comments Off on Top UAE Official Slams Qatar-Owned Al-Jazeera for Anti-Semitism TheTower.org Tags: simmons | July 14, 2017 An ultra-Orthodox girls elementary school in London may be forced to close after failing to meet government standards because it does not teach about homosexuality and transgender issues. Source Link(s) Are Here UK Hasidic school faced with closure for not teaching LGBT – The Times of Israel Category: Hasidic | Comments Off on UK Hasidic school faced with closure for not teaching LGBT The Times of Israel Tags: simmons | July 14, 2017 Norman, directed by Joseph Cedar (R, 1 hour, 58 minutes) Norman Oppenheimer is a guy who claims to have more inside information than you figure he can, who only wants a minute of your time to pitch you on a deal that could work out for everyone. Hes a name dropper who tends to exaggerate his importance. Maybe youve listened politely to Norman, maybe youve brushed him off Source Link(s) Are Here Home Movies – Arkansas Online Category: Ashkenazi | Comments Off on Home Movies Arkansas Online Tags: richards | July 14, 2017 Lexington Herald Leader Counseling can help you decide whether to get genetic testing Lexington Herald Leader type of cancer, the age at diagnosis, multiple cancers in the same patient, clustering of breast, gastrointestinal and gynecologic malignancy in close relatives, or certain cancers arising in patient of Ashkenazi (central or eastern European Source Link(s) Are Here Lexington Herald Leader Counseling can help you decide whether to get genetic testing Counseling can help you decide whether to get genetic testing – Lexington Herald Leader Category: Ashkenazi | Comments Off on Counseling can help you decide whether to get genetic testing Lexington Herald Leader Tags:

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Peace process – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Before we were disturbed by a dust-up among Jews about the Western Wall and conversion, we were befuddled by another delegation of ranking Americans prodding Israelis and Palestinians to sit around a table and make peace. What these worthies do not grasp is that there already is peace. It aint perfect, but its close to the best thats possible. Alongside the well-known constraints in both Palestinian and Israeli politics in the way of agreement on all the issues that would allow a celebration of formal peace, there are ample signs that both populations get along reasonably well. In recent days, with Ramadan coming to a close and reaching a peak celebration of Eid al Fitr, there were several indications of the integration in what is described by the superficial as the divided city of Jerusalem. Our neighborhood supermarket and grocery store werent working up to snuff, because a substantial number of workers were on halftime or less, due to fasting and family gatherings. Jerusalem buses werent running on schedule, on account of a large number of Arab drivers not working full time. Should we view those inconveniences as problems we should not tolerate, or as positive signs that Arabs and Jews work alongside one another and depend on one another? Fridays during Ramadan, and especially the last Friday of the month, were occasions for Jews to avoid the Old City. More than a hundred thousand Muslims came each Friday from throughout East Jerusalem, and on buses from the West Bank, and Gaza to pray on what Jews call the Temple Mount. In order to accommodate those prostrating themselves, much of its extent becomes part of al-Aqsa Mosque. Is this another inconvenience for Jews that should be viewed as intolerable, or as the price of sharing a city with more than two millennia of being sensitive to many? To be sure, there remains a lack of harmony and a surplus of bitterness, memories of insults and offense, as well as daily attacks by Arabs against Jews and a few attacks of Jews against ArabsWe can compare the feelings, the violence, and fears with those of other contentious locales, including European cities with growing Muslim populations as well as multi-racial American cities. The first objection well hear is that it isnt the same. Of course not. There are always differences in detail between settings with unique histories. The comparison of Israeli-Arab relations today (both locally and region-wide) with those that prevailed in years past will show improvements along with assertions that the improvements are superficial, and expectations that there is another uptick in violence waiting to occur.With all the cynicism that it is appropriate to direct against a peace process comes a sentiment that its a good idea. As Winston said, Jaw Jaw is better than War War. And there are a lot of diplomats who have to be kept busy, and away from more serious problems they may make worse. Ideally, theyll focus on adjusting the pragmatic arrangements, well below anything approaching a formal peace accord, but useful in keeping tensions at a manageable level. Its appropriate to list some of the prominent minuses and pluses of where we are in these detailed accommodations. Perhaps most prominent are the fears and tensions faced by Israelis concerned about the possibilities of violence, and the tensions felt by Palestinians and Arabs at the checkpoints, the documents required for Palestinians to enter Israel for work, medical treatment, family visits, or religious observances, the wall that meanders through the West Bank, the presence of numerous police and security personnel at points of contact between Arabs and Jews, the occasional closures of Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem in response to violence, and the ethnic profiling that subjects Arabs to greater scrutiny than Jews. As in other countries, not all Israeli security personnel handle their tasks with the delicacy and courtesy that would be ideal. Arabs feel constrained, and occasionally murder those among themselves who are said to be informants of Israeli security services, while Israelis endanger themselves by working with the Arabs of Israel, Palestinians, and in other Muslim societies formally closed to Israelis. Pressures brought on potential informants might not be pleasant, but are among the details of national security we do not have to discuss. Both Jews and Arabs suffer from memories of historical injustices associated with wars that caused losses in both communities. Jews complain about budget and tax distortions, compared to other western countries, justified by expenditures on security. Arabs complain about limitations on their localities budgets and services within Israel, and occasional destruction of buildings said to be illegal in Arab towns and neighborhoods, which they say are brought about by the governments failure to provide organized planning and building permits for Arab areas. Israeli Arabs admit to higher levels of violence among themselves than among Jews, but blame Israel for not providing police protection to their communities, while the Israeli police complain about a lack of cooperation from Arabs in identifying perpetrators. Jews complain about the lack of cooperation from Arabs with respect to the payment of taxes and compliance with a host of laws and regulations, ranging from those against polygamy to building standards and highway safety. Jews question the wisdom of Arabs selecting uncompromising nationalists as their representatives in Knesset, and the refusal of Jerusalem Arabs to vote, and thereby use their political potential to select a third of the municipal council and to choose a mayor in the chronic competition between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews. High on the Jews list of complaints is the incitement coming from Arab and Palestinian politicians, distortions of history in Palestinian school books, and routine assertions of innocence and reverence paid to those who attack Jews. The symbols of accommodation are less prominent than the tangible indications. Israeli and Palestinian flags seldom appear alongside one another. Gazans and West Bankers have their complaints against Israel, but the living standards and political opportunities in both sectors do not fall below those available in other Muslim or Third World countries. Social indicators show that Israeli Arabs live as well, and according to some indicators better than minorities in the U.S. and Europe. Sure, the glass is only half-full, but half-full aint all that bad. We can hope that Trump et al will focus on detailed adjustments that improve things for both Israelis and Palestinians. In all probability, well have to do without the full glasses of champagne to mark the culmination of a peace process along with a ceremony of public signing and celebration. Jews will continue quarreling among ourselves, as weve done from the get go. Yet unlike extremist Muslims or Christians obsessed with abortion or some other abomination, we havent killed one another in significant numbers on account of religious or political disputes since those wars that Josephus wrote about. Yitzhak Rabin was a significant exception. Thats something to remember, while were quarreling about whatever is in the headlines. Comments welcome. irashark@gmail.com.

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The remarkable change in India-Israel relations – Heritage Florida Jewish News

While the anti-Semites continue to spin their wheels trying to convince college student governments to adopt meaningless divestment resolutions and persuade rock stars to boycott Israel, the prime ministers of Israel andIndiaare having a lovefest and the worlds most populous democracy is signing contracts with Israel worth billions of dollars. What must be particularly galling to theBDSadvocates is that India was once a vigorous adherent to the Arab League boycott. The change in Indias posture toward Israel did not happen overnight. India is one of the few countries whereanti-Semitismhas been non-existent. For decades, however, it was one of the leaders of the nonaligned countries in the United Nations, and pursued a hostile policy toward Israel in part out of fear of alienating the Arab and Muslim countries, as well as its 110 million Muslims citizens. In 1988, India excluded Israel from the World Table Tennis Championships in New Delhi and, in 1990, three prominent Indian musicians were told not to travel to Israel and canceled plans to perform at the World Music Festival. That same year, four Israeli tennis players were denied visas to participate in a tournament after their entry fees had been accepted. Indian policy slowly began to change in 1991. One of the first signs of a thaw came in June when seven Israelis and one Dutch tourist were kidnapped by Muslim terrorists in Srinagar, Kashmir. One 22-year-old Israeli was killed. The Indian government worked with Israel to secure the release of other Israelis who eventually escaped. Still, on Nov. 26, Indias external affairs minister was quoted as saying ambassadors could not be exchanged until genuine progress was reached in Middle East peace talks. By this he meant Israel had withdrawn from the territories and allowed the creation of a Palestinian state. The IndianStatesmannewspaper called it a mindless pronouncement. That same month, a delegation of the World Jewish Congress met Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and asked him to upgrade Israels consular office in Bombay to an embassy. That office, established in the 1950s to help Indian Jews emigrate, was Israels only diplomatic post in India. By that time, approximately 35,000 Indian Jews were living in Israel and 6,000 remained in India. Then, in December, India surprised Israel by voting to repeal the odious UN resolution slandering Zionismas a form of racism. I was the editor of AIPACsNear East Reportat the time and wrote that the next logical move would be for India to normalize relations and open an embassy in Jerusalem. I was subsequently invited to write an article forThe Indian-Americanmagazine on Israel-India ties. At the time, trade with India was approximately $200 million, mostly consisting of polished diamonds. I argued India could benefit from direct trade, cultural and academic exchanges and sharing the lessons of coping with massive influxes of refugees that strain the nations absorptive capacity. One catalyst for taking the next step was Indias desire to participate in the international Middle East peace conference planned for Moscow on Jan. 28, 1992. China established full diplomatic relations with Israel to win a seat at the table and India did not want to be left out. TheBush administration, which had lobbied India to vote for the repeal of the Zionism resolution at the UN, made it clear that Israel would not agree to their participation if relations were not normalized. India was also being encouraged to improve ties with Israel by the one-million-strong Indian community in the United States. Narayan Keshavan, the Washington Bureau Chief ofThe Indian-American, noted that influential leaders such as Dr. Mukund Mody of the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Kamal Dandona of the Indian National Congress of America, which backs the ruling party in New Delhi, have pushed for better Indo-Israeli relations. Like many other countries, India also believed that improving ties with Israel would ingratiate the country with thepro-Israel lobbyin the United States, which would then support policies favorable to New Delhi. The policy shift was also related to fears that Pakistan might be the country to benefit if it were to tilt toward Israel. India also hoped to take advantage of the shared interest with Israel in preventing Pakistan from becoming a nuclear power. Keshavan noted that the Rao government had nothing to lose domestically because his party could not count on the Muslim vote anyway and the opposition supported the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel. The Arab states were also in no position to protest after the participation of Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese, and Palestinians in talks with Israel at theMadrid conferencein 1991. On Jan. 29, 1992, India announced it would establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. A few months later, the two nations signed an agreement to increase cooperation between Indian and Israeli industries. An agreement was also initialed to allow Air India and El Al to operate flights between the two countries and to promote tourism. Today, trade is booming. India is Israels ninth leading trade partner. Exports have risen from $200 million in 1992 to $4.2 billion in 2016. In the past decade alone, Israels exports to India have risen a total of about 60 percent. Israeli companies with representative offices or manufacturing plants in India include Teva, Netafim, Check Point, Amdocs, Magic Software, Ness Technologies, Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit, Verint, Mobileye and HP Indigo. Military cooperation is especially robust, with Israel selling billions of dollars worth of weapons systems to India. The Indian Navy makes port visits in Haifa and the IDF and Indian military have engaged in joint exercises. In June, for example, pilots from India joined counterparts from Israel, the United States, Germany, France, Italy, and Poland in the largest aerial training exercise ever held in Israel. Israelis can be found throughout India, as it has become a popular tourist destination, especially for Israelis following their army service. The number of tourists from India has also increased dramatically, with 40,000 Indian nationals vacationing in Israel in 2015. Following the visit of Prime Minister Modi, Israeli-Indian relations can be expected to grow exponentially in a variety of spheres. Can you think of a more powerful rebuke to the BDS movement than the strengthening of ties between Israel and a country of 1.3 billion people? Dr. Mitchell Bard is the author/editor of 24 books including the 2017 edition of Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, The Arab Lobby, and the novel After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

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