Archive for the ‘Jewish’ Category

Bonanzaville exhibit will highlight local contributions to Jewish history – INFORUM

We extend great thanks to Bonanzaville as it celebrates in conjunction with the Jewish American Society of Historic Preservation the dedication of a Jewish history marker recognizing Jewish settlers in the Dakota Territory and its impact on North Dakota’s agricultural history.

By way of context, the American Jewish population at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was 2,000 primarily Sephardic Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin. Nearly 250 years later, the 2017 Jewish population of the United States is 6.5 million 2 percent of the national population. Two million Jews would leave the persecution of the Russian empire and emigrate to the United States from 1881-1924.

From this great migration and transformation came Rabbi Benjamin Papermaster from Kovno, Lithuania a great center of Jewish learning who arrived in Fargo in January 1891.

According to a history written by David Papermaster Rabbi Papermaster’s son in 1959, the distance to travel to his new home did not intimidate him: “All that mattered was that it was America the land of the free.”

Rabbi Papermaster would fulfill this role serving the Grand Forks Jewish community for 43 years helping to organize a disparate collection of Russian and German Jewish families. The community incorporated Congregation B’nai Israel hale and hearty 126 years later. The community grew and prospered.

Similarly, the Fargo Jewish community has its great story of birth, growth and contributions to North Dakota and the entire region. Temple Beth El founded in 1950 has been a center of community leadership. The synagogue hosted, in conjunction with the Diocese of Fargo in 2015, the celebration and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate with Rabbi Janeen Kobrinsky and Bishop John Folda. Rabbi Yonah Grossman established the Chabad Jewish Center of North Dakota in 2011.

Jewish Fargoans have been at the heart of civic engagement. Herschel Lashkowitz was the longest serving mayor of Fargo from 1954-1974. Judge Myron Bright served with great distinction on the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit from 1968 to his passing in 2016 at age 97.

Beyond the future I-29 corridor, the Jewish history of North Dakota unfolded throughout the state. Synagogues were established in Bismarck, Minot, Ashley and Wishek. One of the images of this exhibit is its Honor Roll. This reflects a characteristic of American life of organizing for voluntary contributors to the community and honoring the military service of American Jews in World War II.

Jews were agricultural pioneers in North Dakota. On May 21, 2017, Jewish descendants of Ashley, N.D., farmers and the local community rededicated the Jewish cemetery. It was a sacred moment of friendship and fellowship across the generations. Gov. Doug Burgum declared North Dakota Jewish Homesteaders Day.

From Valley City and Fargo comes the remarkable story of the dedication of Herman Stern to North Dakota and Jews trapped in Germany and Austria as World War II approached. Stern the first Jewish North Dakotan inducted into the Roughriders Hall of Fame organized the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. Internationally working with Sen. Charles Nye Stern indefatigably, resourcefully and working against State Department obstruction, managed to procure visas to the United States for 150 Jews in Europe in the desperate days after the Kristallnacht.

We invite all North Dakotans to join us at Bonanzaville for this remarkable exhibition.

Hunegs is executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

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Jewish cemetery given Grade II listed status – Jewish Chronicle


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Jewish cemetery given Grade II listed status
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Gothic-style buildings at the Willesden Jewish Cemetery have been given protected status as the 70th anniversary of the listed building system was marked. The United Synagogue welcomed the news that the north-west London site has been given Grade II …
Willesden Cemetery buildings awarded Grade II protected statusJewish News

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Israel couples embrace a rabbinical prenup – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Groom and bride taking wedding pictures at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, April 13, 2011. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) In honor of the Jewish day of love, Tu BAv, the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization reports that there is increasing public interest in its halachic prenuptial agreement.

Tu BAv is observed this year on Monday, which is the 15th day of the Jewish month of Av.

The Heskem BAhava, or Agreement of Love, was introduced in 2015 in order to prevent legal and halachic, or Jewish legal obstacles in the event of the dissolution of a marriage.

Nearly 2,000 couples have signed the Agreement of Love contract before their weddings since its launch, with many more inquiring about it in recent months.

Tzohar hopes to make the agreement standard practice ahead of all Jewish weddings in the hopes of avoiding such issues as agunot, or trapped wives. The agreement was drafted by both rabbinical and legal scholars to address cases of get refusal where one spouse refuses to allow the other to be removed from the marriage, often demanding large sums of money or child custody in exchange for allowing the spouse out of the marriage.

Every couple who goes under the chuppah deserves to play a part in addressing the growing problem of people trapped by their spouses because of the absence of these types of agreements, said Rabbi Uri Ganzel, director of the Heskem BAhava (Agreement of Love) Program, in a statement. So by signing on, a couple is able to help make this process more mainstream and combat that trend with the hope that it will one day be completely eradicated from our society.

Founded in 1996, Tzohars core program provides halachic weddings for Jewish couples in Israel as a fully legal alternative to marriage under the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. More than 50,000 weddings have been performed under Tzohars auspices, with 20 scheduled for Tu BAv this year.

When the couple is standing under the chuppah and dreaming of their lives ahead together, all they can think of is love. But the reality of life is there will be other marriages that dont thrive in the way yours hopefully will. On their behalf, you deserve to be a part of making this agreement standard practice, said Rabbi David Stav, Tzohar founder.

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Here’s a place for all of us – Jewish Chronicle


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Here's a place for all of us
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It's fair to say that, when conceived, there were doubts about creating a US-style Jewish community centre in London. The project was beset with delays initially launched in 2003, the recession put paid to a speedy opening and it took a decade and

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Combating assimilation: The fight for American Jewish youth – Arutz Sheva

Jewish students connect to Israel

Yoni Kempinski

A new middle school curriculum, LINK — Discovering Your Israel Connection — is now available across the United States.

The 6-lesson unit allows students to explore the historic Jewish roots to Israel while discovering their own personal, modern connection.

Through a sophisticated, interactive, online application, LINK was developed by teachers, curriculum writers and internet experts who understand the need for a dynamic, educational experience of this kind. The outcome is a platform designed to enable students to determine for themselves, through experiential and project based learning, their own, unique Israel connection.

Students discover an Israel not usually found in traditional Jewish curricula; an Israel whose actions are informed by Jewish values and reflect the best of what matters to today’s youth. They learn about an Israel that is diverse, where humanitarian aid is a priority, and where there are opportunities for refugees and economic migrants.

They are inspired by an Israel whose innovations and technologies are improving and saving lives throughout the world.

Participating in the year-long pilot program of 20 schools were Jewish day schools and supplementary schools, representing all Jewish denominations. Data was collected from teachers and students to measure progress and to determine if educational goals were being met.

Students participating in the LINK program showed a 45% increase in knowledge and understanding about Jewish continuity in Israel, and a 55% increase in knowledge, understanding and challenges of Israel’s size, demographics and location. These students also showed a 75% increase in knowledge and understanding of Israel’s diversity, and a 60% increase in knowledge and understanding about the global impact of Israeli advances in technology.

More importantly, the students displayed a 78% increase in knowledge and understanding about Israel’s role in global humanitarian and disaster aid as well as efforts Israel makes at home with refugee and economic migrant populations.

Meanwhile, teachers reported that students readily engage in the lessons and look forward to their experience with the curriculum. Their students, they explained, articulate not just an increase in knowledge, but also a pride in and a connection to Israel.

LINK Director of Middle School Education and StandWithUs programming Mina Rush explained, “The motivation behind this endeavor was to create a program that could reverse Jewish students’ diminishing relationship to Israel as evidenced by recent polls.”

“My experience showed that traditional methods of teaching did not always achieve the desired results. I realized that students are best able to connect when the material represents their core values. This realization led to the direction that LINK has taken.”

“The use of technology and the presentation of the information truly honors today’s teen. When our students in the school were surveyed, many stated that the LINK program was the favorite part of their school day,” Orangetown Jewish Center Educational Director Sandy Borowsky said.

American-Jewish identity is rapidly eroding, with many young people marrying non-Jews or not marrying at all. Meanwhile, Israeli organizations are working on building a stronger connection between Diaspora Jews and Israel.

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Jaffa Economy Hurting as Jewish Customers Stay Away Fearing Violence – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: Gnuckx via Flickr

The riots in Jaffa took their toll, and last weekend only little traffic was trickling in local businesses, Maariv reported. The Jews werent coming to shop in the city which on paper is part of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, but in reality is closer to Ramallah than to the Jewish metropolitan next door.

Ive been here for 30 years, and I do not remember a week this hard, one merchant told Maariv, adding, More people arrived on Yom Kippur.

The riots that began a week earlier Saturday, after a young Muslim man had been shot dead by police during a chase, calmed down somewhat during the week. At night there were still several incidents of burning garbage cans and a few cars on the streets near Yefet Street, the citys main drag, but things seemed to calm down.

Then, on Thursday evening, just as business owners were preparing for a busy weekend, riots broke out again, as hundreds of Arab youths rioted because police had arrested the brother of the dead man from the weekend before, on suspicion of involvement in disturbances of the public order. The youths threw stones, burned garbage cans and smashed the windows of businesses and bus stops.

People were afraid to come after hearing about the riots, Samir Motran, owner of Mutran Sweets on Jaffa Street whose business is considered one of the symbols of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Jaffa, told Maariv. Motran is an old hand at speaking to the Jewish media, and his message is often in line with the views of the Arab powers that be in the city.

People said they heard about the mess and decided not to come, he said. On Friday, perhaps 50% of those who come every Friday to Yefet Street arrived; and on Shabbat it was empty. 95% of the Jewish shoppers did not arrive.

We must not allow the extremists harm our shared life, Motran, who had seen his store windows be crashed twice in recent weeks, announced. Jaffa welcomes to all the people of Israel.

The several dozen regulars who do their Friday shopping arrived for their bacon and baklava. But the crowds never showed up. The streets of Jaffa these days look like the streets of Nazareth a year or so ago, when that Arab city was plagued by rioters, many of them from the outside. The local leadership in Nazareth did the math and worked to stop the riots in their city. The fathers of Arab Jaffa will have to do the same or watch their business owners go broke.

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‘Hate did not win’: Vandalized Jewish cemetery rededicated after … – St. Louis Public Radio

Six months after vandals knocked down more than 150 gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, members of the local Jewish community reconsecrated the land and honored the dead.

Despite grey clouds threatening rain, dozens attended the ceremony on Sunday, seeking closure after the grave markers were repaired, and in some cases replaced.

One of the speakers, Rabbi Roxane Shapiro, noted that volunteers and donations for repairs came from all walks of life and all around the world.

While God could not guard this sacred place from harm, God did send so many to repair, reclaim and rededicate, Shapiro said. In this, a horrific act committed was toppled by acts of love and kindness. Hate did not win. Goodness prevailed.

Cousins Jay Dodson and Barb Goldberg said they felt compelled to attend because they have family buried at the cemetery.

We were both here when it all first happened, and trying to recover from that has been very difficult, Dodson said.

While their relatives gravestones werent damaged, Dodson said the vandalism still felt personal.

For me, emotionally, that didnt really matter. This is all our family, Dodson said. Im convinced as ever that its a hate crime, and not a kids prank. A kids prank would be three or four, not 200.

Chesed Shel Emeth leaders say they don’t know who knocked over the grave markers, so theres no way of confirming a motive. Anita Feigenbaum, the cemeterys executive director, said the investigation is still ongoing, but she hasnt heard anything definitive from law enforcement.

They havent exhausted everything. Its still open, so Im just hopeful,Feigenbaumsaid.

Rori Picker Neiss, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, said news of the cemeterys damage brought people together.

It reached far beyond the Jewish community and far beyond those of us who have people here, Neiss said. It was an attack on those of us who felt threatened in anyway, those of us who felt marginalized, those of us who felt different, those of us who felt other.

Unfortunately, thats something that has not gone away, Neiss said, pointing to an explosion at a Minnesota mosque Saturday.

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New York Giants player shows Jewish pride on and off the field – The Times of Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) As a rookie in the National Football League, New York Giants offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty is splitting most of his time before the season starts in September between grueling practices and long team meetings.

To lighten the mood, veteran players ask the newbies each preseason to sing in front of the team. Bisnowaty figures that when its his turn, hell go with Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.

Bisnowaty, 23, is Jewish a rarity in professional football and comfortable talking about it with his teammates.

One of the first things I tell people is that Im Jewish, he told JTA. People dont meet a lot of Jewish football players, so I always like to bring that out and just open up, so its nice and easy.

Bisnowaty who stands 66 (almost 2 meters), weighs about 300 pounds, and sports long, curly brown hair has become a minor celebrity in Jewish circles after a New York Post article from last month revealed that he has a large Hebrew tattoo on his left arm. The tattoo translates to I am what I am, a phrase God says to Moses when the latter asks what to call him.

The Jewish food company Manischewitz heard about Bisnowaty and sent him an array of snacks, from boxes of matzah to potato pancake mix.

The matzah provoked curiosity in his teammates.

I promised them Id bring in the snacks and let them have a go at them, Bisnowaty said.

He hopes the matzah will help him do more than ingratiate himself with his teammates. Bisnowaty was a four-year starter at the University of Pittsburgh, his hometown school, and is projected to snag a spot on the Giants roster this season but nothing is certain. Some say he could be an immediate starter, others say he might make the team but not be active, or listed as eligible to play, for most games.

The beefy lineman is among several 300-pounders tasked with blocking defenders from hitting veteran quarterback Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and brother of future Hall of Fame signal-caller Peyton Manning. Heading into Aprils NFL draft, scouts said Bisnowaty compensates for a lack of raw athleticism with his size, strength and positive attitude. The Giants traded up to select him in the sixth round.

Adam Bisnowaty at a New York Giants training camp practice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, July 30, 2017. (Evan Pinkus/via JTA)

Like most professional sports leagues, the NFL is not exactly full of Jewish players. Brothers Mitch and Geoff Schwartz both offensive linemen were in the league at the same time from 2012 to 2016. Mitch is a Kansas City Chief; Geoff, who played for the Giants in 2014 and 2015, retired in 2017 after seven seasons in the league. Bisnowaty said some of his teammates like to say We got another Schwartz in here!

Other notable active Jewish players include star wide receiver Julian Edelman in recent years he has embraced his Jewish background and backup safety and special teams ace Nate Ebner, both of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

What makes Bisnowaty even more of an NFL aberration is his Israeli heritage. His father grew up in the Jewish state and ended up staying in the US in his late 20s after having a kidney transplant there. Bisnowatys uncle David is the first Israeli to become an elected parliament member in the southeastern African nation of Malawi.

Although the family celebrated the major Jewish holidays growing up, the divorce of Bisnowatys parents along with his time-consuming interest in football eventually pushed Judaism mostly out of his life. He told JTA he wants to rekindle his interest in the religion, and he may have a bar mitzvah at some point.

Geoff, left, and Mitch Schwartz are the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923. (Olivia Goodkin and Lee Schwartz/via JTA)

Football, especially at the college level, is heavily influenced by religious Christianity, including coaches and ministries that cater to athletes. But Bisnowaty said he has never been the target of anti-Semitic slurs or bullying in his football career. As he sees it, players asking him to wear a yarmulke to team meetings are just breaking the ice and having a good time.

Still, Bisnowaty was aware of how rare a Jewish football player is when he got the Hebrew tattoo. He said it was an opportunity for him to show his Jewish pride.

But flashing a tat in the locker room is one thing. It took a bit of courage to show it off in another setting.

I wanted to hide it from my mom, he said with a laugh, so she didnt find out about it right away.

Adam Bisnowaty at a minicamp practice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, May 25, 2017. (Evan Pinkus/via JTA)

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Hebrew U. conference explores history of Jewish names – The Jerusalem Post

Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky.. (photo credit:Courtesy)

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is hosting an international conference on the history and origin of Jewish names.

The 13th biannual International Conference on Jewish Names, which takes place today at the Mount Scopus campus, features 20 lecturers and academics from Israel, Poland, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Canada, Italy and the United States all of whom study Jewish onomastics, or name studies, in their country of origin.

The conference was founded in 1991 by Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky, an expert in the field of Jewish names. Demsky organized the event together with the 17th World Jewish Congress and the faculty of Jewish Studies and the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University.

According to Demsky: This conference is a reflection of the interdisciplinary nature and relevance of Jewish names from multiple disciplines as well as the wide-ranging history of Jewish names from biblical times to modern Israel.

The conference will also place emphasis on Jewish communities in the Diaspora facing questions of identity… ones name speaks volumes and an immigrants relationship to his birth name especially when it is different or strange reflects his relationship to his old and new cultures, old and new identities.

The conferences content is presented in historical chronological order and is divided into six sections, starting with names in the Bible and Rabbinical literature, then early Diaspora Jewish communities in Italy and Spain, followed by early Ashkenazi communities in Germany and Poland, plus lectures highlighting the meanings of names in communities in Morocco and Baghdad.

The latter half of the program focuses on the 18th and 19th centuries, and introduces the works of gentile scholars who are interested in the study of Jewish names, said Demsky.

For many of these speakers, this is the first time they are coming to Israel, he explained. This conference is not only about academics, but about building connections and making ties with gentile academics with an interest in this field of research.

Section five looks at contemporary Jewish names in the 20th century and how the establishment of Israel and revival of the Hebrew language allowed for the introduction and reintroduction of a whole new set of names for the Jewish and Israeli experience.

The event will conclude with a lecture by Israeli author Haim Beer, who will discuss how he chooses the names of his characters. Bringing the conference full circle, Beer compares his process of naming characters to one of the first stories in the Bible.

Exactly like Adam, whose first act after his creation was to give names to all animals, birds and living creatures around him, so I, too, must face repeatedly the same dilemma: What name should I give to the characters of the novel that is taking shape in my mind? Name giving is an act that is more mysterious and obscure than revealed and obvious, said Beer.

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Bonanzaville exhibit will highlight local contributions to Jewish history – INFORUM

We extend great thanks to Bonanzaville as it celebrates in conjunction with the Jewish American Society of Historic Preservation the dedication of a Jewish history marker recognizing Jewish settlers in the Dakota Territory and its impact on North Dakota’s agricultural history. By way of context, the American Jewish population at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was 2,000 primarily Sephardic Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin. Nearly 250 years later, the 2017 Jewish population of the United States is 6.5 million 2 percent of the national population. Two million Jews would leave the persecution of the Russian empire and emigrate to the United States from 1881-1924. From this great migration and transformation came Rabbi Benjamin Papermaster from Kovno, Lithuania a great center of Jewish learning who arrived in Fargo in January 1891. According to a history written by David Papermaster Rabbi Papermaster’s son in 1959, the distance to travel to his new home did not intimidate him: “All that mattered was that it was America the land of the free.” Rabbi Papermaster would fulfill this role serving the Grand Forks Jewish community for 43 years helping to organize a disparate collection of Russian and German Jewish families. The community incorporated Congregation B’nai Israel hale and hearty 126 years later. The community grew and prospered. Similarly, the Fargo Jewish community has its great story of birth, growth and contributions to North Dakota and the entire region. Temple Beth El founded in 1950 has been a center of community leadership. The synagogue hosted, in conjunction with the Diocese of Fargo in 2015, the celebration and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate with Rabbi Janeen Kobrinsky and Bishop John Folda. Rabbi Yonah Grossman established the Chabad Jewish Center of North Dakota in 2011. Jewish Fargoans have been at the heart of civic engagement. Herschel Lashkowitz was the longest serving mayor of Fargo from 1954-1974. Judge Myron Bright served with great distinction on the Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit from 1968 to his passing in 2016 at age 97. Beyond the future I-29 corridor, the Jewish history of North Dakota unfolded throughout the state. Synagogues were established in Bismarck, Minot, Ashley and Wishek. One of the images of this exhibit is its Honor Roll. This reflects a characteristic of American life of organizing for voluntary contributors to the community and honoring the military service of American Jews in World War II. Jews were agricultural pioneers in North Dakota. On May 21, 2017, Jewish descendants of Ashley, N.D., farmers and the local community rededicated the Jewish cemetery. It was a sacred moment of friendship and fellowship across the generations. Gov. Doug Burgum declared North Dakota Jewish Homesteaders Day. From Valley City and Fargo comes the remarkable story of the dedication of Herman Stern to North Dakota and Jews trapped in Germany and Austria as World War II approached. Stern the first Jewish North Dakotan inducted into the Roughriders Hall of Fame organized the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. Internationally working with Sen. Charles Nye Stern indefatigably, resourcefully and working against State Department obstruction, managed to procure visas to the United States for 150 Jews in Europe in the desperate days after the Kristallnacht. We invite all North Dakotans to join us at Bonanzaville for this remarkable exhibition. Hunegs is executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

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Jewish cemetery given Grade II listed status – Jewish Chronicle

Jewish Chronicle Jewish cemetery given Grade II listed status Jewish Chronicle Gothic-style buildings at the Willesden Jewish Cemetery have been given protected status as the 70 th anniversary of the listed building system was marked. The United Synagogue welcomed the news that the north-west London site has been given Grade II … Willesden Cemetery buildings awarded Grade II protected status Jewish News all 4 news articles »

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Israel couples embrace a rabbinical prenup – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Groom and bride taking wedding pictures at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, April 13, 2011. (Nati Shohat/Flash90) JERUSALEM (JTA) In honor of the Jewish day of love, Tu BAv, the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization reports that there is increasing public interest in its halachic prenuptial agreement. Tu BAv is observed this year on Monday, which is the 15th day of the Jewish month of Av. The Heskem BAhava, or Agreement of Love, was introduced in 2015 in order to prevent legal and halachic, or Jewish legal obstacles in the event of the dissolution of a marriage. Nearly 2,000 couples have signed the Agreement of Love contract before their weddings since its launch, with many more inquiring about it in recent months. Tzohar hopes to make the agreement standard practice ahead of all Jewish weddings in the hopes of avoiding such issues as agunot, or trapped wives. The agreement was drafted by both rabbinical and legal scholars to address cases of get refusal where one spouse refuses to allow the other to be removed from the marriage, often demanding large sums of money or child custody in exchange for allowing the spouse out of the marriage. Every couple who goes under the chuppah deserves to play a part in addressing the growing problem of people trapped by their spouses because of the absence of these types of agreements, said Rabbi Uri Ganzel, director of the Heskem BAhava (Agreement of Love) Program, in a statement. So by signing on, a couple is able to help make this process more mainstream and combat that trend with the hope that it will one day be completely eradicated from our society. Founded in 1996, Tzohars core program provides halachic weddings for Jewish couples in Israel as a fully legal alternative to marriage under the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. More than 50,000 weddings have been performed under Tzohars auspices, with 20 scheduled for Tu BAv this year. When the couple is standing under the chuppah and dreaming of their lives ahead together, all they can think of is love. But the reality of life is there will be other marriages that dont thrive in the way yours hopefully will. On their behalf, you deserve to be a part of making this agreement standard practice, said Rabbi David Stav, Tzohar founder.

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Here’s a place for all of us – Jewish Chronicle

Jewish Chronicle Here's a place for all of us Jewish Chronicle It's fair to say that, when conceived, there were doubts about creating a US-style Jewish community centre in London. The project was beset with delays initially launched in 2003, the recession put paid to a speedy opening and it took a decade and …

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Combating assimilation: The fight for American Jewish youth – Arutz Sheva

Jewish students connect to Israel Yoni Kempinski A new middle school curriculum, LINK — Discovering Your Israel Connection — is now available across the United States. The 6-lesson unit allows students to explore the historic Jewish roots to Israel while discovering their own personal, modern connection. Through a sophisticated, interactive, online application, LINK was developed by teachers, curriculum writers and internet experts who understand the need for a dynamic, educational experience of this kind. The outcome is a platform designed to enable students to determine for themselves, through experiential and project based learning, their own, unique Israel connection. Students discover an Israel not usually found in traditional Jewish curricula; an Israel whose actions are informed by Jewish values and reflect the best of what matters to today’s youth. They learn about an Israel that is diverse, where humanitarian aid is a priority, and where there are opportunities for refugees and economic migrants. They are inspired by an Israel whose innovations and technologies are improving and saving lives throughout the world. Participating in the year-long pilot program of 20 schools were Jewish day schools and supplementary schools, representing all Jewish denominations. Data was collected from teachers and students to measure progress and to determine if educational goals were being met. Students participating in the LINK program showed a 45% increase in knowledge and understanding about Jewish continuity in Israel, and a 55% increase in knowledge, understanding and challenges of Israel’s size, demographics and location. These students also showed a 75% increase in knowledge and understanding of Israel’s diversity, and a 60% increase in knowledge and understanding about the global impact of Israeli advances in technology. More importantly, the students displayed a 78% increase in knowledge and understanding about Israel’s role in global humanitarian and disaster aid as well as efforts Israel makes at home with refugee and economic migrant populations. Meanwhile, teachers reported that students readily engage in the lessons and look forward to their experience with the curriculum. Their students, they explained, articulate not just an increase in knowledge, but also a pride in and a connection to Israel. LINK Director of Middle School Education and StandWithUs programming Mina Rush explained, “The motivation behind this endeavor was to create a program that could reverse Jewish students’ diminishing relationship to Israel as evidenced by recent polls.” “My experience showed that traditional methods of teaching did not always achieve the desired results. I realized that students are best able to connect when the material represents their core values. This realization led to the direction that LINK has taken.” “The use of technology and the presentation of the information truly honors today’s teen. When our students in the school were surveyed, many stated that the LINK program was the favorite part of their school day,” Orangetown Jewish Center Educational Director Sandy Borowsky said. American-Jewish identity is rapidly eroding, with many young people marrying non-Jews or not marrying at all. Meanwhile, Israeli organizations are working on building a stronger connection between Diaspora Jews and Israel.

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Jaffa Economy Hurting as Jewish Customers Stay Away Fearing Violence – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: Gnuckx via Flickr The riots in Jaffa took their toll, and last weekend only little traffic was trickling in local businesses, Maariv reported. The Jews werent coming to shop in the city which on paper is part of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, but in reality is closer to Ramallah than to the Jewish metropolitan next door. Ive been here for 30 years, and I do not remember a week this hard, one merchant told Maariv, adding, More people arrived on Yom Kippur. The riots that began a week earlier Saturday, after a young Muslim man had been shot dead by police during a chase, calmed down somewhat during the week. At night there were still several incidents of burning garbage cans and a few cars on the streets near Yefet Street, the citys main drag, but things seemed to calm down. Then, on Thursday evening, just as business owners were preparing for a busy weekend, riots broke out again, as hundreds of Arab youths rioted because police had arrested the brother of the dead man from the weekend before, on suspicion of involvement in disturbances of the public order. The youths threw stones, burned garbage cans and smashed the windows of businesses and bus stops. People were afraid to come after hearing about the riots, Samir Motran, owner of Mutran Sweets on Jaffa Street whose business is considered one of the symbols of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Jaffa, told Maariv. Motran is an old hand at speaking to the Jewish media, and his message is often in line with the views of the Arab powers that be in the city. People said they heard about the mess and decided not to come, he said. On Friday, perhaps 50% of those who come every Friday to Yefet Street arrived; and on Shabbat it was empty. 95% of the Jewish shoppers did not arrive. We must not allow the extremists harm our shared life, Motran, who had seen his store windows be crashed twice in recent weeks, announced. Jaffa welcomes to all the people of Israel. The several dozen regulars who do their Friday shopping arrived for their bacon and baklava. But the crowds never showed up. The streets of Jaffa these days look like the streets of Nazareth a year or so ago, when that Arab city was plagued by rioters, many of them from the outside. The local leadership in Nazareth did the math and worked to stop the riots in their city. The fathers of Arab Jaffa will have to do the same or watch their business owners go broke.

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‘Hate did not win’: Vandalized Jewish cemetery rededicated after … – St. Louis Public Radio

Six months after vandals knocked down more than 150 gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, members of the local Jewish community reconsecrated the land and honored the dead. Despite grey clouds threatening rain, dozens attended the ceremony on Sunday, seeking closure after the grave markers were repaired, and in some cases replaced. One of the speakers, Rabbi Roxane Shapiro, noted that volunteers and donations for repairs came from all walks of life and all around the world. While God could not guard this sacred place from harm, God did send so many to repair, reclaim and rededicate, Shapiro said. In this, a horrific act committed was toppled by acts of love and kindness. Hate did not win. Goodness prevailed. Cousins Jay Dodson and Barb Goldberg said they felt compelled to attend because they have family buried at the cemetery. We were both here when it all first happened, and trying to recover from that has been very difficult, Dodson said. While their relatives gravestones werent damaged, Dodson said the vandalism still felt personal. For me, emotionally, that didnt really matter. This is all our family, Dodson said. Im convinced as ever that its a hate crime, and not a kids prank. A kids prank would be three or four, not 200. Chesed Shel Emeth leaders say they don’t know who knocked over the grave markers, so theres no way of confirming a motive. Anita Feigenbaum, the cemeterys executive director, said the investigation is still ongoing, but she hasnt heard anything definitive from law enforcement. They havent exhausted everything. Its still open, so Im just hopeful,Feigenbaumsaid. Rori Picker Neiss, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, said news of the cemeterys damage brought people together. It reached far beyond the Jewish community and far beyond those of us who have people here, Neiss said. It was an attack on those of us who felt threatened in anyway, those of us who felt marginalized, those of us who felt different, those of us who felt other. Unfortunately, thats something that has not gone away, Neiss said, pointing to an explosion at a Minnesota mosque Saturday. Follow Camille on Twitter: @cmpcamille

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August 6, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

New York Giants player shows Jewish pride on and off the field – The Times of Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) As a rookie in the National Football League, New York Giants offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty is splitting most of his time before the season starts in September between grueling practices and long team meetings. To lighten the mood, veteran players ask the newbies each preseason to sing in front of the team. Bisnowaty figures that when its his turn, hell go with Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel. Bisnowaty, 23, is Jewish a rarity in professional football and comfortable talking about it with his teammates. One of the first things I tell people is that Im Jewish, he told JTA. People dont meet a lot of Jewish football players, so I always like to bring that out and just open up, so its nice and easy. Bisnowaty who stands 66 (almost 2 meters), weighs about 300 pounds, and sports long, curly brown hair has become a minor celebrity in Jewish circles after a New York Post article from last month revealed that he has a large Hebrew tattoo on his left arm. The tattoo translates to I am what I am, a phrase God says to Moses when the latter asks what to call him. The Jewish food company Manischewitz heard about Bisnowaty and sent him an array of snacks, from boxes of matzah to potato pancake mix. The matzah provoked curiosity in his teammates. I promised them Id bring in the snacks and let them have a go at them, Bisnowaty said. He hopes the matzah will help him do more than ingratiate himself with his teammates. Bisnowaty was a four-year starter at the University of Pittsburgh, his hometown school, and is projected to snag a spot on the Giants roster this season but nothing is certain. Some say he could be an immediate starter, others say he might make the team but not be active, or listed as eligible to play, for most games. The beefy lineman is among several 300-pounders tasked with blocking defenders from hitting veteran quarterback Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and brother of future Hall of Fame signal-caller Peyton Manning. Heading into Aprils NFL draft, scouts said Bisnowaty compensates for a lack of raw athleticism with his size, strength and positive attitude. The Giants traded up to select him in the sixth round. Adam Bisnowaty at a New York Giants training camp practice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, July 30, 2017. (Evan Pinkus/via JTA) Like most professional sports leagues, the NFL is not exactly full of Jewish players. Brothers Mitch and Geoff Schwartz both offensive linemen were in the league at the same time from 2012 to 2016. Mitch is a Kansas City Chief; Geoff, who played for the Giants in 2014 and 2015, retired in 2017 after seven seasons in the league. Bisnowaty said some of his teammates like to say We got another Schwartz in here! Other notable active Jewish players include star wide receiver Julian Edelman in recent years he has embraced his Jewish background and backup safety and special teams ace Nate Ebner, both of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. What makes Bisnowaty even more of an NFL aberration is his Israeli heritage. His father grew up in the Jewish state and ended up staying in the US in his late 20s after having a kidney transplant there. Bisnowatys uncle David is the first Israeli to become an elected parliament member in the southeastern African nation of Malawi. Although the family celebrated the major Jewish holidays growing up, the divorce of Bisnowatys parents along with his time-consuming interest in football eventually pushed Judaism mostly out of his life. He told JTA he wants to rekindle his interest in the religion, and he may have a bar mitzvah at some point. Geoff, left, and Mitch Schwartz are the first pair of Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since 1923. (Olivia Goodkin and Lee Schwartz/via JTA) Football, especially at the college level, is heavily influenced by religious Christianity, including coaches and ministries that cater to athletes. But Bisnowaty said he has never been the target of anti-Semitic slurs or bullying in his football career. As he sees it, players asking him to wear a yarmulke to team meetings are just breaking the ice and having a good time. Still, Bisnowaty was aware of how rare a Jewish football player is when he got the Hebrew tattoo. He said it was an opportunity for him to show his Jewish pride. But flashing a tat in the locker room is one thing. It took a bit of courage to show it off in another setting. I wanted to hide it from my mom, he said with a laugh, so she didnt find out about it right away. Adam Bisnowaty at a minicamp practice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, May 25, 2017. (Evan Pinkus/via JTA)

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August 6, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

Hebrew U. conference explores history of Jewish names – The Jerusalem Post

Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky.. (photo credit:Courtesy) The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is hosting an international conference on the history and origin of Jewish names. The 13th biannual International Conference on Jewish Names, which takes place today at the Mount Scopus campus, features 20 lecturers and academics from Israel, Poland, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Canada, Italy and the United States all of whom study Jewish onomastics, or name studies, in their country of origin. The conference was founded in 1991 by Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aaron Demsky, an expert in the field of Jewish names. Demsky organized the event together with the 17th World Jewish Congress and the faculty of Jewish Studies and the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University. According to Demsky: This conference is a reflection of the interdisciplinary nature and relevance of Jewish names from multiple disciplines as well as the wide-ranging history of Jewish names from biblical times to modern Israel. The conference will also place emphasis on Jewish communities in the Diaspora facing questions of identity… ones name speaks volumes and an immigrants relationship to his birth name especially when it is different or strange reflects his relationship to his old and new cultures, old and new identities. The conferences content is presented in historical chronological order and is divided into six sections, starting with names in the Bible and Rabbinical literature, then early Diaspora Jewish communities in Italy and Spain, followed by early Ashkenazi communities in Germany and Poland, plus lectures highlighting the meanings of names in communities in Morocco and Baghdad. The latter half of the program focuses on the 18th and 19th centuries, and introduces the works of gentile scholars who are interested in the study of Jewish names, said Demsky. For many of these speakers, this is the first time they are coming to Israel, he explained. This conference is not only about academics, but about building connections and making ties with gentile academics with an interest in this field of research. Section five looks at contemporary Jewish names in the 20th century and how the establishment of Israel and revival of the Hebrew language allowed for the introduction and reintroduction of a whole new set of names for the Jewish and Israeli experience. The event will conclude with a lecture by Israeli author Haim Beer, who will discuss how he chooses the names of his characters. Bringing the conference full circle, Beer compares his process of naming characters to one of the first stories in the Bible. Exactly like Adam, whose first act after his creation was to give names to all animals, birds and living creatures around him, so I, too, must face repeatedly the same dilemma: What name should I give to the characters of the novel that is taking shape in my mind? Name giving is an act that is more mysterious and obscure than revealed and obvious, said Beer. Share on facebook

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August 6, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed


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