Archive for the ‘Jewish’ Category

This Is a Safe Space. No Jews Allowed. – Slate Magazine

An Israeli man waves a rainbow flag bearing the Star of David during a demonstration near the scene of a shooting at a gay youth club in Tel Aviv on Aug. 2, 2009.

Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Are you a Jew in Chicago whod like to march for LGBTQ rights and gender equality? Youll have to follow a few rules, helpfully laid out in recent weeks by the Chicago Dyke March and the Chicago SlutWalk.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.

First, you must not carry any Zionist displays. What are Zionist displays? Thats for others to decide. A Star of David might be OK. But if its on a rainbow flag, it probably isnt because its connections to the oppression enacted by Israel is too strong for it to be neutral.

Second, you must express solidarity with Palestine. Marching in a parade with a pro-Palestinian stance is not sufficient, nor is advocating for a Palestinian state. As an openly Jewish person, youll need to satisfy more heightened scrutiny; other marchers may repeatedly demand that you disavow Israel and swear allegiance to the Palestinian cause. You must comply with these demands or else you will be expelled.

Third, you must renounce any previous connections you have had with Israel. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group with ties to Israel? Repudiate and repent. Openly Jewish marchers are presumed to be in league with the Israeli government unless they can prove otherwise.

One final note: If you are a journalist who covers the implementation of these rules, you deserve to lose your job.

Listed all at once, these guidelines may sound too blatantly anti-Semitic to be stated openlyyet they are, at present, the operating principles of two widely celebrated progressive movements in Chicago. Both the Dyke March and the SlutWalk allege that these rules are compelled by intersectionality, the theory that all forms of social oppression are linked. In reality, both groups are using intersectionality as a smokescreen for anti-Semitism, creating a litmus test that Jews must pass to be part of these movements. American progressives should reject this perversion of social justice. No coherent vision of equality can command the maltreatment of Jews.

The anti-Semitism of the Dyke March and SlutWalk is not academic or novel but almost depressingly familiar.

The debate over intersectionality and anti-Semitism jumped into the headlines following last months Dyke March, an LGBTQ demonstration that avoids the corporate sponsorships and bland political undertones of mainstream Pride events. During the march, several organizers approached Jewish demonstrators who were carrying rainbow Star of David flags. The organizers asked whether these women held Zionist sympathies, their suspicions reportedly having been aroused when the flag-carriers allegedly replaced the word Palestine with everywhere in a group chant. (That chant: From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go.) One woman, Laurel Grauer, reportedly responded, I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine. The organizers then ejected the Jewish demonstrators.

During the outcry that followed, the Dyke Marchs organizers scrambled to formulate principles that would justify this action. In a series of statements, they explained that Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology; that many people see the visuals of the flag as a threat, so we dont want anything in the [Dyke March] space that can inadvertently or advertently express Zionism; and that only anti-Zionist Jews are welcome at Dyke March.

Last week, the Chicago SlutWalk, which calls for gender equality and an end to rape culture, endorsed and adopted the Dyke Marchs policy regarding Zionist displays. Once again, the justification was intersectionalitynamely, a belief that Palestinian rights and womens rights are inseparable. The events combative Twitter feed retweeted a declaration that any flag featuring a Star of David is an Israeli flag with imagery invoking imperialism. A later tweet clarified that only individuals using the flag as a symbol of their agenda would be ejected from the event, which is scheduled for Aug. 12. How, exactly, would organizers differentiate between benign and malign flags? Its unclear; the only hint provided is that context matters. Organizers will, it seems, make ad hoc judgments about who is and is not allowed to carry a rainbow Star of David flag.

Critics of intersectionality have jumped at the chance to cite these controversies as proof of the theorys flaws. In a New York Times op-ed, Bari Weiss wrote that in practice, intersectionality functions as a kind of caste system in which people are judged according to how much their particular caste has suffered throughout history. Because of the existence of the Jewish state, Weiss explained, which todays progressives see only as a vehicle for oppression of the Palestinians, Jews are considered the oppressors, never the oppressed.

Weiss critique implies that the organizers of the Dyke March and SlutWalk were lured toward anti-Semitism via intersectionalitythat as they studied the Oppression Olympics, they came to view Jews at the real oppressors. I strongly suspect that this has it exactly backward because the articulation of intersectionality provided by the Dyke March and SlutWalk makes no sense. The organizers allege that, because the oppression of queer women and Palestinians is intertwined, marchers must renounce Israel and not express their Jewishness. But how does that follow? The reasoning makes sense only if expressions of Jewishness are tantamount to endorsements of the Israeli governments policies toward Palestinians. And the belief that all proudly Jewish people support the current subjugation of Palestinians is self-evidently anti-Semitic.

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Criticizing Israel’s policies is completely appropriate. Criticizing people for being Jewish is deplorable. This should be a really simple line to understand. More…

On July 13, the Dyke March provided further proof that its intersectionality functioned as a flimsy pretense for anti-Semitism. A tweet from the groups Twitter account used the term Zio, an anti-Jewish slur popularized by David Duke and his neo-Nazi followers. The Dyke March later sent another tweet apologizing for the insultand adding, We meant Zionist/white tears replenish our electrolytes. Indeed, the groups bizarre fixation on Jews frequently manifests itself as alt-rightstyle trolling. This is a mockery of intersectionality, not a defense of it.

It has long been obvious that left-wing anti-Semitism is a problem and that an overwhelming abhorrence of Israel often blurs into a generalized anger toward Jews. Organizers of both the Dyke March and the SlutWalk have not discovered the praxis of intersectionality; they have merely dressed up their bigotry in updated argot. Their anti-Semitism is not academic or novel but almost depressingly familiar, and we do not need to overhaul the progressive worldview to address it. We need only remind ourselves that anyone who would hold Jews to a different, higher standard is anti-Semitic, full stop. Whether it happens at a far-left march or an alt-right convention, the creation of special rules for Jews is irrational and wrong. By creating a stringent litmus test for openly Jewish demonstrators, the Dyke March and SlutWalk did not protect the oppressed. They became the oppressors.

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This Is a Safe Space. No Jews Allowed. – Slate Magazine

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A new generation of Jewish farmers sees a fertile future in South Jersey – Philly.com

Nate Kleinman, aka Farmer Nate, stands straw-hatted under the fierce sun at an experimental growing field in Salem County.

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The unexceptional-looking expanse of sandy soil lies in the heart of Americas first Jewish agricultural settlement, a hamlet just off Route 55 near Vineland that Russian immigrants fleeing persecution founded as the Alliance Colony in 1882.

More recently, William and Malya Levin, a Brooklyn couple with New Jersey roots and big dreams, have begun to nurture 50 acres along Gershal Avenue in Pittsgrove Township back to productive life. Kleinman seeded two of those acres last spring with a variety of sample crops to figure out what will grow best there.

That little plant is a Guadalupe cucumber, says Kleinman, as the Levins, a group of Allegheny College students and their religious studies professor, several other visitors, and I fruitlessly fan ourselves in the midday heat.

There are Saudi Arabian okra and Cuban tomatoes, Kleinman adds, with a delightful, and contagious, relish.

See that plant that looks like a little corn plant? Thats the sorghum, from South Sudan.

CAMERON B. POLLACK / Staff Photographer

William and Malya Levin at the homestead of the Alliance Colony reboot in Pittsgrove, N.J. The house belonged to his grandparents.

Sorghum, spelt, and tartary buckwheat are among the heritage grains expected to become mainstays of the nonprofit Alliance Community Reboot, or ACRe. The Levins conceived the project in 2014. Last Sunday, the couple, who have spent about $500,000 to acquire property mostly from family members, hired Kleinman and his business partner, Dusty Hinz, to start clearing and cultivating the fields.

Theres a huge unmet demand for heritage grains, for gluten-free grains, says Kleinman, 35, whose deep regard for sorghum is such that his business card features an image of its deep red seed-head against a blue sky.

He and Hinz have been farming in nearby Elmer for more than three years. The two men also are the founders of Philadelphias Experimental Farm Network; it encourages online collaboration among plant breeders, researchers, and others involved in sustainable, community-supported agriculture, farm-to-table, food sovereignty, and similar grassroots initiatives.

I join the group for brunch in a Gershal Avenue house once owned by William Levins grandparents. About a dozen of us share a feast of salads, bagels and a smoked fish platter imported directly from Brooklyn; the talk around the table is all about the possibilities of the project.

Jewish farming is not just touchy-feely hippie B.S., says William, a 45-year-old animator who grew up in Vineland. His great-grandfather Moses Bayuk was a member of one of the 43 original Alliance families.

Farming is a way to create a meaningful, modern-day community, says Malya, 33, ACRes chief counsel and the mother of the couples 21-month-old son, Samuel.

Theres a global movement around agriculture as an expression of Jewish values.

Locally, the Jewish Farm School is incredibly excited about the possibility of a larger-scale Jewish community farm less than an hour from our base in West Philadelphia, says Nati Passow, executive director of the nonprofit educational program.

William and Malya are tied into the contemporary movement, and, through their land and family history, they have the potential to build much stronger bridges between past and present, he says.

The past is still very much in evidence: In June, Ruth Bogutz, of Cherry Hill, helped organize a bus tour of a half-dozen historical Jewish farming communities in South Jersey, including Alliance, Woodbine, and Rosenhayn. About 35 people took the trip.

There were Jewish farming colonies all over the world, and many of them were in the United States, Bogutz says. Alliance was the oldest, and the ones that lasted the longest were in South Jersey.

In the late 19th century, Jews fleeing Russia, many of them urban professionals or merchants, arrived in the United States under the auspices of charitable organizations seeking to save them from annihilation.

They escaped the worst possible life imaginable, and they came here, not knowing how to farm, says Jay H. Greenblatt, a Vineland lawyer who helped establish the Alliance Colony Foundation, and is a descendant of those pioneers.

The immigrants were assisted by nearby farmers, some of them Quakers. They lived in tents at first and ate in a communal kitchen, eventually building a cluster of tiny villages, including Alliance, Norma, and Brotmanville.

CAMERON B. POLLACK / Staff Photographer

Farmer Nate Kleinman shows William Levin and his wife, Malya, test crops growing in an experimental field in Pittsgrove, N.J., where the couple seek to re-establish Jewish agriculture.

Within a generation or two, many of the settlers children had moved on; one of the synagogues was sold to a Christian congregation.

The reboot project is fantastic, says Howard Jaffe, 62, of Pittsgrove. The unofficial caretaker of what is commonly called the Alliance Synagogue, a beautifully restored Gershal Avenue landmark, Jaffe is one of three Jewish farmers still active in the area.

And now theres also Nate, of course, he adds.

A Philly native who got into agriculture through the Occupy and other progressive movements, Kleinman says hes happy to be part of writing the next chapter in the history of the Alliance community and Jewish farming in South Jersey.

Leaving the experimental field, Im chatting with William Levin when he spots a grapevine that was winding up into the trees at the edge of the cultivated area.

When I was a kid, I came here with my dad, who died last year, he says.We picked grapes together.

Kleinman tastes a green grape, says its most likely a Concord variety, and describes it assuper-resilient.

Rather like Alliance may turn out to be.

Published: July 25, 2017 3:01 AM EDT | Updated: July 25, 2017 8:43 AM EDT

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A ‘Gay Jewish Kangaroo’ Takes on Wagner at Bayreuth – The New … – New York Times

I felt I had done enough Wagner, Mr. Kosky said in a recent interview in his office here, and Id always found it exhausting to work on Wagner. It unnerves me too much. Meistersinger, a medieval fantasy about a guild of singing masters that is arguably its composers most nationalistic work, struck Mr. Kosky as particularly daunting.

Of all the pieces, I felt Meistersinger was difficult for me to deal with because of the nature of the investigation of German culture and German identity and the history of the piece, he said. The works finale is a monologue delivered by the operas hero, the cobbler Hans Sachs, that is a rousing defense of holy German art, and a warning that it must be safeguarded against foreign incursions.

The opera was a favorite of Hitlers and its rousing prelude was a staple at Nazi rallies. (Nuremberg, the setting of the opera and near Bayreuth, was a popular rally site, as well as the location of the postwar trials of German war criminals.)

Ms. Wagner asked Mr. Kosky to take his time to reconsider. A half-year later, he accepted the challenge.

I discovered that this opera is not about German culture or ideology, because Wagners idea about German historical time and fact is pure fantasy, he said. Once I made the decision that I didnt have to have the weight of German history, identity and culture on my shoulders, and that I could look at everything through Wagners eyes and Wagners distorted, contradictory, frustratingly complex genius, it opened up all these possibilities.

Mr. Koskys early career was based in Australia, including at the Gilgul Theater in Melbourne, the countrys first professional Jewish theater company, which he founded in 1990. During the past two decades, he has spent the bulk of his time in Europe, bringing his analytical and frequently eccentric sensibility to everything from tragedies by Euripides to Cole Porter musicals. His clever silent-film-inspired production of Mozarts Magic Flute, a collaboration with Suzanne Andrade, Paul Barritt and the troupe 1927, brought him his first success in the United States, in 2013.

He is contractually forbidden from revealing details of what his Meistersinger will look like, but he was at liberty to discuss his process and his thoughts on the work.

We started, for example, with the end, he said. We made sure very early on that we had found a very strong solution to the monologue and the last chorus, and what that meant for how it played backwards, or how that led to that moment. Because in almost every production of Meistersinger Ive seen, thats always the problem moment, where either the director has run out of ideas or doesnt know what to do with the monologue or somehow its tacked on at the end. His solution to that climactic moment remains to be seen, though his comments emphasizing the theatricalized uses of Nuremberg by both Nazis and Allies may provide a hint.

Wagners virulent anti-Semitism is another topic that cannot be brushed aside. Some have viewed Sixtus Beckmesser, a pedantic mediocrity who is the closest thing that Meistersinger has to a villain, as a veiled Jewish caricature. And the embrace of the Nazis by some Wagner descendants has cast a shadow over the Bayreuth Festival that continues to this day.

Wagner did not put Jews onstage, said Mr. Kosky, the first Jewish director to work at Bayreuth in the festivals 141-year history. Beckmesser is not a Jew. Wagners too clever for that. But along with Mime and Alberich, hated figures from Wagners Ring cycle, Beckmesser is, Mr. Kosky added, a figure who is marinated in the juices of 19th-century anti-Semitism, and consciously and unconsciously Wagner and his audience knew that.

Beckmesser, viewed through Mr. Koskys eyes, is a sort of Frankenstein monster who combines aspects of Eduard Hanslick, the conservative music critic whom Wagner despised (and mistakenly thought was Jewish), as well as assimilated 19th-century Jews in Germany, who Wagner considered threats to the nations culture.

Its ridiculous to say that its not anti-Semitic, he said. Were not just dealing with the abstract nature of musical sound. Were dealing with text, character, narrative, history, psychology and the fact that he wrote a huge amount of essays that articulated his ideas about theater and German culture and Jews.

Mr. Kosky said that Ms. Wagner, who directed a rowdy Meistersinger at Bayreuth in 2007 featuring life-size bobblehead versions of Drer, Bach, Goethe and other German cultural luminaries, has been unstintingly supportive of his vision. He even admitted that a gig he once had feared has turned out to be unexpectedly fun.

If anyone had said to me 10 years ago that youll find working for three years on Meistersinger enjoyable, he said, I would have laughed.

A version of this article appears in print on July 25, 2017, on Page C5 of the New York edition with the headline: An Unlikely Man Takes on Wagner At His Home Base.

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A ‘Gay Jewish Kangaroo’ Takes on Wagner at Bayreuth – The New … – New York Times

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July 25, 2017: Jewish Cyprus – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

With reference to A short skip and jump to the wonders of Cyprus (Travel Trends, July 24), which also mentions the Jewish presence there, I would like to add that on June 12, 1941, the entire Jewish community of Cyprus (429 people) was evacuated by the British government, initially to Palestine, and from there to Tanganyika (today Tanzania) and Nyasaland (today Malawi). My parents and I were part of this transport.

The story of this evacuation aboard the S.S. Hana is available at the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem and the Jewish Community Center in Larnaca.

JOE GELLERT Netanya Remember Exodus

With regard to First Israeli monument to Exodus inaugurated in Haifa (July 19), a most hearty salute to Jerry Klinger, president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, and to the sculptor Sam Philipe for initiating the memorial in the Haifa Port, which represents so graphically the passionate story of the Exodus voyage.

The momentous events the Holocaust, the termination of the British Mandate over Palestine, the War of Independence and David Ben-Gurions declaration of the State of Israel were among the pinnacles of 2,000 years of Jewish history.

The Exodus was a part of this dramatic story, and the memorial is erected at the very point where the vessel was berthed in July 1947, exactly 70 years ago.

The Exodus evoked deep feelings of unity, brotherhood and peoplehood throughout the Jewish world, and it should still have a very important contemporary message for Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.

Interestingly, the crews of the 10 Aliya Bet ships that brought the so-called illegal immigrants to Palestine were mainly young American Jews, and this started what became known as MACHAL, the Hebrew acronym for Mitnadvei hutz laretz, or volunteers from abroad. These people were the forerunners of the 4,800 volunteers, most of whom were veterans of World War II, who came from 59 countries to fight with their brethren in Israel in the War of Independence and played such a pivotal role in the countrys victory over six Arab armies.

SMOKY SIMON Herzliya The writer is chairman of World Machal.

There would have been no Exodus if there was not a large group of men in the US, most of them veterans of World War II, who volunteered to sail the old vessel.

Over three hundred men volunteered to sail 10 rust buckets to rescue Holocaust survivors, and I might not be exaggerating when I say there might not be a State of Israel if these men had not volunteered. We do not need buildings erected in our name, but something more should be in place.

Leon Uris, the author of Exodus, drank my whiskey with Ike Aronowicz, the captain of the Exodus. He was captivated by the stories (and the whiskey).

During my last visit with him, Uris repeated to me that our volunteerism was one of the most glorious chapters in Jewish history. I said it was a bit of an exaggeration, but that we hardly get footnotes is a pity.

MURRAY S. GREENFIELD Tel Aviv The writer served in the US Merchant Marine during World War II and was one of the volunteers who sailed aboard the rust buckets running the British blockade to bring Holocaust survivors to Palestine.

Media control

With regard to Free the media market (Editorial, July 18), does The Jerusalem Post believe that this would guarantee a free press? Who would prevent business and political interests from making deals? And what about journalistic integrity? Worldwide, the unholy trinity of business, politics and a privileged journalistic elite who report real news has had a devastating effect on the quality of broadcasting, the environment and scores of other issues.

After working as a journalistic intern for an environmental group in the 1970s (the New York Public Interest Research Group, which was reporting on the Love Canal scandal), I spent decades wondering why major newspapers and press agencies werent full of articles about environmental destruction.

It wasnt until about a decade ago when things had gone much too far that the environment became a significant issue in the mainstream press.

Shouldnt it have been obvious 50 years ago that cutting down the worlds forests and paving over vast tracts of land for more than a billion exhaust-emitting vehicles would have devastating consequences for nature and humanity? Shouldnt journalists have realized this? Arent they to a great extent to blame for our current predicament? The truth is that newspaper owners knew all too well that their advertisements were paid for by oil and car companies, and journalists knew on which side their bread was buttered.

You rightly point out that following the deregulation of Italian media, programming was quickly dominated by reality and game shows. You then argue that if air time is soon taken over by game shows and reality TV, at least it will be the result of a free and open market determined by supply and demand. As if viewers will have a choice! Not only in Italy, but also in the Netherlands and undoubtedly many other countries, quality and thought-provoking programs and media have been largely replaced by mind-numbing entertainment.

Placing media in the hands of large corporations is a political decision. It will guarantee that programming will uphold the interests of a political and business elite to the detriment of critical thinking and quality.

ASAF SHIMONI Dafna

China on Xizang

Im really frustrated and irritated by Shmuley Boteachs Canada attacks Israeli wines while exploiting occupied Tibet (No Holds Barred, July 18). It attempts to discredit China on a topic that is totally unrelated, and is filled with factual mistakes.

First, there is no comparison between Xizang (the official name of Tibet) and the Israel- Palestine issue. Since the 13th century, Xizang has been an integral part of China. Today, it is one of the five autonomous ethnic regions of China, so depicting it as an occupied land is sheer nonsense.

Second, China does not intend to sacrifice Xizangs ecology to mine local resources.

Adversely, Beijing has taken vigorous efforts to promote its ecological progress. So far, a total of 47 nature preserves have been established, accounting for 34% of its total land.

Xizang, a typical society of feudal serfdom 60 years ago, is now fully enjoying the fruits of modern civilization.

As Chinas and Israels relations get closer, we do hope such irresponsible articles never come up again.

FU LIHUA Tel Aviv The writer is spokesperson of the Embassy of China in Israel.

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London Orthodox rabbis call for boycott of Jewish cultural center over LGBT programming – The Jewish Standard

A group of Orthodox rabbis in London have called on their members to boycott the citys JW3 Jewish cultural center because it holds events for LGBT Jews.

Signed by seven haredi Orthodox rabbi, the letter released Friday calls on members of their communities to distance themselves fully from JW3, its activities and services, and avoid using this centre.

JW3, an American-style Jewish community center thatopened in 2013, includes a kindergarten, movie theater, fitness facilities, a kosher restaurant and a library. In early March, the Jewish center held a GayW3 festival to mark 50 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain. A poster outside the center advertising the event was vandalized with the word shame drawn on it, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.

The rabbis letter referred to the JW3s LGBT programming as Toievah Hebrew for abomination, the word used in the Bible to describe homosexual acts and said it promotes a way of life which is in total contradiction to [O]rthodox Judaism and Halacha, or Jewish law.

We are of the strong opinion that a red line has been crossed in launching campaigns and initiatives that promote lifestyles and behaviours forbidden and condemned by the Torah, the letter also said.

Raymond Simonson, the chief executive of JW3, told theJewish Chronicleon Monday that he had received supportive messages from members of the Jewish community, including a number of Orthodox rabbis, since the letter was made public.

At JW3, were really about looking for and celebrating a unified and diverse British Jewish community, he said. And I dont really like us to try and get dragged into incidents where people are doing things that are anti that.

The publication of the letter follows areview processset up by the countrys chief rabbi that examined the teachings and statements ofRabbi Joseph Dweck, Britains top Sephardi rabbi, after he said at a lecturethat societal acceptance of homosexuality is a fantastic developmentbecause it opens the door to a more loving society.

In recent years, a growing haredi Orthodox community in Great Britain has become more assertive in communal affairs, often clashing with the centrist Orthodox United Hebrew Congregations represented by the chief rabbi and other denominations.

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Gabrielle Sasson – Tablet Magazine

Gabrielle Sasson is entering seventh grade at Ramaz. Her family, in connection with her bat mitzvah, visited the Jewish communities of Addis Ababa and Gondar for ten days during early July. These are her impressions of the trip.

Two weeks ago, instead of starting summer camp together with my friends, I traveled to Ethiopia to visit its Jewish community. In important ways, the kids in Ethiopia felt deeply familiar to me. The children sing the same Jewish and Hebrew songs I learned in Jewish day school in New York. They recite the same tephilot. In fact, in many waystheir strong belief in God and their desire to make aliyahthey can seem even more deeply rooted in Judaism and the Jewish story.

Yet, the differences were starkand important. The Jews in Addis Ababa and Gondar live in shacks. Large families share two small mattresses, and one or two small blankets. Their clothing is full of holes. In honor of my bat mitzvah and my cousin Micahs bar mitzvah, our families made a small Kiddush after shul on Shabbat in Gondar. I was surprised by the excitement both adults and children felt when candy and soda was distributed. These are items my friends and I receive daily; we take them for granted. Here, kids do not have enough basic food to eat; many are malnourished.

When I visited the homes of the kids I played with in the synagogue compound, I was upset by the awful conditions. No child should have to live without running water, beds, blankets and toilets. We were so alike in so many ways yet I had so much and they had so little.

Poverty also prevents the kids from receiving medical treatment. We visited the medical clinic where Jewish childrenbut only those under fivehad recently begun to receive medical care. The doctor said that since the program began six weeks earlier he had saved 17 lives. What would happen to the children over five, the ones I had talked to and played with in the compound, the children who still had no access to medical care? The diseases the doctor talked abouttyphoid, typhus, malaria, intestinal parasitesdo not even exist in New York.

These differences are heartbreaking and angering, but there is one above all others that I think is impossible to explain: That these children are not allowed to even travel to Israel.

My family has a strong connection with Israel. We travel there frequently to visit family. If we wished to make aliyah, it would be easy; we would just get on a plane. When we asked the 1,100 community members present at Shabbat services how many had close family living in Israel, almost all the hands raised. And yet, Israel will not let these children make aliyah. To prepare for my trip, I read about the difficult decades-long struggle to bring the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel. There are currently 140,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel; for reasons I do not understand the government of Israel is reluctant to complete the aliyah by bringing the last 10,000 to the Jewish homeland. What makes these different from all other Jews around the world? We met orphans with no one to take care of themyoung childrenwho were not allowed to travel to Israel where their grandparents could take them in. So they live here, deprived of all of the resources that so many other Jews have, including the most important one: family.

I am only twelve years old. I do not understand why the Israeli government wont let Jewish children rejoin their families in Israel. I certainly do not understand why the American Jewish community, which has so much and helps Jews throughout the world, refuses to help them.

All my eyes still see is their dedication to Torah. My ears hear the prayers they offer to the God I pray to every day. And my heart still feels their pain, the pain that comes from realizing that almost no one in the Jewish world seems to care.

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A Jewish Slave In Rome – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: Jewish Press

On Tisha BAv I always choose an appropriate book to read to keep my mind on the biggest tragedy ever to befall our people. Last year I read Chains by Leah Gebber a novel depicting the life of Jewish slaves in Rome during the time of the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash.

When I realized it was dark outside and the fast must be over, I wandered into the kitchen, book still in hand, and continued to read as I broke my fast. I was more engrossed in the fate of Shulamit, Mariam and Chanan than in my food.

As Gebber writes in her preface, There is no such thing as writing a book. Only living a story.

For all of Tisha BAv I lived the life of a slave in Rome.

Gebber tells a magnificent story. She includes minute details which help place the reader on the shaking wooden platform as Shulamit and the other Jewish slaves have their mouths pried open and teeth examined to assess their value as slaves. A reader will feel as if she is standing in the hot stinking kitchen of a Roman aristocrat and watching the pig slave trying to best an enormous boar and get it on the spit; hear the whip slashing through the air before it cuts into the back of a slave being punished and feel her heart thumping as she sits in the stalls in the arena watching the gladiators, groomed for almost inevitable death, fighting for a few extra moments of life.

Until now my knowledge of life at this time was limited to the disturbing and horrifying commentaries I sometimes read on Megillas Eicha. But those are mostly about life in Eretz Yisrael in the time period leading up to Churban Bayis.

Until Id read Gebbers book I didnt even realize there were Jews who were captured or kidnapped by the Romans during the time leading up to the destruction of the Temple, as Shulamit was, and fettered and shipped off to the country which symbolized debauchery, depravity and decadence. Not only did she long for her physical freedom, she desperately missed her ability to connect with her Creator, as was shown by her mental torment when she realized that Pesach had come and gone and she had unwittingly eaten chametz. Her pain at feeling abandoned by G-d Who hadnt given her any sign of the approaching festival was greater than any physical pain from punishment that she experienced.

Even today many people have the custom not to walk under Tituss arch in Rome. This arch was constructed some years after Tituss triumphant entry into Rome as the conqueror of Judea who quelled the Great Jewish Revolt. Titus took many months to journey from Jerusalem to Rome so that he could show the world the Temple spoils he had plundered and the thousands of Jewish slaves he had taken. He traveled through Beirut, Syria, Antioch and Alexandria, and in each place held public games where Jewish slaves had to fight wild animals.

The arch clearly depicts what was taken from the Beis HaMikdash and is the reason that to this day it is assumed that the Menorah and other items plundered are somewhere in Rome.

Gebber admits that she knew very little about this period of time before she embarked on a six-month journey of research into the life of Jewish slaves in Rome. Before she wrote a word of her story, which was first serialized in a charedi weekly magazine, she immersed herself in the life and environment of both the Jews in Eretz Yisrael at the time and those in Rome. She also delved into the political background in Rome, as the fate of the Jews was dependent on Roman law.

The Romans, famed for their straight roads and warped minds, were a cruel and depraved people but, as Gebber comments, Rome was an incredibly law-abiding society even if the laws were corrupt. As the book progresses it becomes clear that this could work to the slaves advantage as a Roman wanting to rise in the echelons of power couldnt be thought to be flouting the law.

The books Gebber used for research were everywhere: in her bag, by her bedside, in different rooms and in the kitchen, so that at any time, wherever she was, she could pick one up and delve into a different aspect of her characters worlds.

Her research took her as far as the British Museum in London which has several rooms devoted to this historical period. Here she was able to actually see, among many other things, the kitchen utensils that the slaves would have used and the jewelry with which the wives of the Roman aristocrats adorned themselves, details of which are all woven into her story.

But she doesnt just give us insights into life in Rome. Gebber captures the mood and murderous in-fighting of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael during the crucial months leading up to the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash.

Most school-age children can tell you that the second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam, baseless hatred, and in Chains we see how the Jewish zealots were determined that, whatever the cost, there should be no hope for the Jews who thought they could hang on a little longer and try to make peace with the Romans. The zealots wanted to ensure that their fellow Jews would have no choice but to take up weapons and fight. We smell the smoke as Mariam opens her windows and sees her storehouses go up in flames along with any possibility of surviving the siege and providing food for her fellow Jews. The arsonists were not the enemies from Rome, but rather fellow Jews who wanted to force their hand.

Gebber surprised me when she said, Josephus writes that Titus didnt want to destroy the Temple. It would have been an amazing prize for him to show off to his fellow countrymen. It was the most beautiful and important building in the world.

Jerusalem and Rome were like twin cities, probably the two most important cities in the world, but for very different reasons. They were two centers of culture, knowledge and scholarship. Jerusalem was the religious hub with thousands of Jewish pilgrims making aliyah leregel several times a year, but non-Jews also came from all over the world, including from Rome, to bring sacrifices in the Temple. Destroying the Temple would be a loss to many of Tituss own people as well.

Quoting Josephus, Gebber explained that Titus conferred with his counselors regarding the fate of the Beis Hamikdash which he referred to as a sacred building, one more remarkable than any other human work. Titus argued that it should not be destroyed because if preserved it would testify to the moderation of the Romans while if demolished it would be a perpetual sign of cruelty.

Gebbers villain, Chanan, personifies the similar but contradictory aspects of Jerusalem and Rome. A rich Jewish aristocrat and a Kohen with a physical deformity which prevented him from serving in the Beis HaMikdash, Chanan abandons his wife, home and responsibilities to his people, to try to find fame and fortune in Rome. But being at once admired and mistrusted, Chanan finds that it is not so simple to ingratiate himself to the Romans. To the non-Jews, a Jew remains a Jew whose loyalty can never be relied on and who can never be fully trusted or accepted. Chanans complex character undergoes twists and turns throughout the story as his plans and fortune ebb and flow very much the story of the Jew in galus today.

Since her youth, Tisha BAv has been a day of great meaning to Gebber, but today her children know how much the day has affected her. Although she rarely involves her children in her work, its not every day that literary research helps you understand so much more about our own history. Gebber said that last Tisha B Av she and her children sat together on the floor and she read to them some of passages from Josephus writings.

While studying European geography in school recently, Gebbers daughter wanted to make a cake in the shape of Romes Colosseum. After all, its a not-to-be-missed site for all tourists in Italy; its the largest amphitheater ever built and designated as one of the Wonders of the World. But her mother knew just what the Colosseum really represented. The building, although started by Vespasian, was finished by Titus, funded by spoils plundered from the Beis HaMikdash and built with the unpaid labor force of some of the tens of thousands of Jewish slaves forced into exile. It stands today as a reminder of all the horror and misery of Tisha BAv and the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash.

This was not the design that Gebber felt should be on a cake baked by a 21st century religious schoolgirl who lives in Jerusalem.

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A Jewish Slave In Rome – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

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Jewish Museum

Welcome to the Jewish Museum, a museum in New York City at the intersection of art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Whether you visit our home in the elegant Warburg mansion on Museum Mile, or engage with us online, there is something for everyone. Through our exhibitions, programs, and collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media, visitors can journey through 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture from around the world.

As an art museum representing the diversity of Jewish culture and identity, the Jewish Museum believes in free expression and an open society. We embrace multiple viewpoints regardless of race, gender, national origin, or religion, and we oppose discrimination in all its forms.

Our exhibitions and public programs provide platforms for cross-cultural dialogue, fostering empathy, mutual understanding, and respect. We champion the powerful roles art and artists can play in our communities, both inside and outside the Museums walls.

The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people through its unparalleled collections and distinguished exhibitions. Learn More

The Jewish Museum was founded in 1904 in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where it was housed for more than four decades. Now located in the landmark Warburg mansion, this elegant former residence has been the home of the Museum since 1947Learn More

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In France, murder of a Jewish woman ignites debate over the word … – Washington Post

PARIS What happened to Sarah Halimi resembles the plot of a horror film.

In the early hours of April 4, the 65-year-old retired doctor and schoolteacher, an Orthodox Jew, was asleep in the modest apartment in northeastern Paris where she lived alone. Shortly after 4 a.m., a neighbor from the floor below, 27-year-old Kobili Traor, a Franco-Malian Muslim, is accused of having broken into her flat. Traor allegedly beat her to death and hurled her body off the balcony into the courtyard below.

In the days that followed, French authorities treated Halimis killing as an isolated incident. But Jewish leaders immediately protested, especially after other neighbors testified that they heard Traor scream Allahu akbar, Arabic for God is great, while allegedly attacking Halimi, who was the only Jew residing in the building, her family said. Ever since, the Halimi Affair has simmered on the margins of public discourse, boiling over last week when President Emmanuel Macron promised after months of saying nothing clarity on the death of Sarah Halimi.

In a country that has suffered a devastating slew of attacks in recent years, that clarity now means far more than the gruesome details of one particular case. At stake is a set of profound questions, as political as they are existential. What makes an act of violence a terrorist attack? And who decides what is terrorism and what is merely murder?

[Macron hosts Netanyahu, condemns anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism]

Strictly speaking, French law classifies as terrorism any grave act of violence whose individual or collective intent is to seriously disturb public order through intimidation or terror.

Legally, it is Frances chief public prosecutor for Paris who decides whether to launch a terrorism investigation. In the Halimi case, Franois Molins, who occupies that position, declined to consider it as terrorism and, initially, as an act of anti-Semitic violence.

The decision sent shock waves through the French Jewish community, Europes largest. For many, it evinces a political calculus that weighs certain attacks over others.

Its purely and simply ideological, said Gilles-William Goldnadel, an attorney for the Halimi family and a well-known conservative commentator for Frances Le Figaro newspaper. Of Traor, Goldnadel added: He had the profile of a radical Islamist, and yet somehow there is a resistance to call a spade a spade.

In general, the definition of the term radical Islamist remains a major debate in France.

In this case, neighbors testified that they heard Traor recite verses from the Koran in Halimis apartment. Then, in early June, Libration, a French newspaper, gained access to the police dossier on Traor, which suggested he had a record of petty crime and violent tendencies almost identical to those that have characterized the profiles of other terrorist suspects.

On a different level, other small-scale incidents even ones that experts see as comparably minor have instantly been classified as terrorism. In June, for instance, a man attacked police officers near Notre Dame cathedral in Paris with a hammer. Whereas Traor is believed to have yelled Allahu akbar, the assailant in this earlier case yelled, This is for Syria! In any case, the Notre Dame incident in which no one was killed was considered terrorism.

So was the killing of a police officer on the Champs Elyses on the eve of the French election in late April, as well as an attempted shooting at Pariss Orly Airport in March. But not the slaying of Sarah Halimi.

The office of Franois Molins did not return a request for comment.

The difference, for some security analysts, is that these other cases were all defined by some discernible motivation of public disturbance, targeting as they did busy thoroughfares and transit hubs.

The simple fact that someone killed someone else because of confession or religion is not enough, said Jean-Charles Brisard, director of the French Center for the Analysis of Terrorism, a Paris-based think tank. It needs to have a certain degree of willingness to disrupt the French public order.

For Sarah Halimis family, however, that she was thrown off a balcony into a public space presented a dark spectacle meant to be seen and to pose a clear threat to other Jews. In an interview, Halimis brother, William Attal, 62, said that the familys principal objective was securing public recognition of the anti-Semitism that, in their eyes, killed their mother, sister and grandmother.

As Attal put it: I want you to understand that the fight of this family is that people recognize the Islamist, anti-Semitic nature of the assassin, who massacred and killed a Jewish woman, whom he knew was a Jew and whom he knew was alone.

In the French Jewish community, the Halimi Affair provides what many consider yet another example of the French state refusing to acknowledge the realities of contemporary anti-Semitism in France.

[Black Lives Matter movement comes to France. But will it translate?]

For many, this affair harks back to another Halimi Affair, from 2006, when Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old cellphone salesman who had no relation to Sarah Halimi, was abducted and murdered by the Gang of Barbarians, a gang of immigrant criminals from the Paris suburbs. They had targeted their victim merely because he was Jewish, which French authorities initially refused to recognize.

These ostrich politics must stop, and our leaders must become aware of what is happening in the country, read a recent letter signed by 17 prominent French intellectuals in the aftermath of the latest Halimi Affair.

Its always the same story in France, journalist and public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lvy, another advocate of Halimi and her family, said in an interview. Anti-Semitism is not supposed to exist, especially among minority communities.

On the whole, the recent and widely publicized uptick in Jews leaving France for Israel has slowed, and the number of reported anti- Semitic acts decreased by nearly 59percent in 2016, according to the French Interior Ministry.

In general, the wave of terrorist violence that has struck this country in the past two years has not singled out Jews as targets. But scattered instances of anti-Semitic violence have continued to be reported, with victims often identifying their assailants as North African or West African.

France is also home to one of Europes largest Muslim populations, a group that is repeatedly criticized across the political spectrum, particularly by the staunchly anti-immigrant National Front. Anti-Muslim violence also has become a reality of modern French life. So as not to channel that rhetoric and to condone that violence, many elected officials are loath to accuse the entirety of a diverse and sprawling community of a blanket charge as severe as anti-Semitism, analysts say.

It comes from a very good, honorable place of not wanting to overgeneralize, but sometimes it can go too far, said Ethan Katz, the author of an acclaimed book on the history of Jewish-Muslim relations in France and a professor of history at the University of Cincinnati.

Whats a fair critique is that mainstream politicians have not figured out a genuine way to address, aside from security measures, the legitimate problem of anti- Semitism in France today including in certain areas of Frances Muslim population.

This, for her family and many others, is the tragedy of the Halimi Affair: the effacement of an anti-Semitism that remains a real threat, especially in tense urban areas. In the words of Goldnadel, the lawyer: Without naming it, there is no chance to escape this sickness.

Read more

Thank you, dear Donald: Why Macron invited Trump to France

Trump and Macron, once cast as adversaries, show they have much in common

Two deaths in Europe point to the rebirth of E.U. optimism

Todays coverage from Post correspondents around the world

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In France, murder of a Jewish woman ignites debate over the word … – Washington Post

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This Is a Safe Space. No Jews Allowed. – Slate Magazine

An Israeli man waves a rainbow flag bearing the Star of David during a demonstration near the scene of a shooting at a gay youth club in Tel Aviv on Aug. 2, 2009. Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images Are you a Jew in Chicago whod like to march for LGBTQ rights and gender equality? Youll have to follow a few rules, helpfully laid out in recent weeks by the Chicago Dyke March and the Chicago SlutWalk. Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues. First, you must not carry any Zionist displays. What are Zionist displays? Thats for others to decide. A Star of David might be OK. But if its on a rainbow flag, it probably isnt because its connections to the oppression enacted by Israel is too strong for it to be neutral. Second, you must express solidarity with Palestine. Marching in a parade with a pro-Palestinian stance is not sufficient, nor is advocating for a Palestinian state. As an openly Jewish person, youll need to satisfy more heightened scrutiny; other marchers may repeatedly demand that you disavow Israel and swear allegiance to the Palestinian cause. You must comply with these demands or else you will be expelled. Third, you must renounce any previous connections you have had with Israel. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group with ties to Israel? Repudiate and repent. Openly Jewish marchers are presumed to be in league with the Israeli government unless they can prove otherwise. One final note: If you are a journalist who covers the implementation of these rules, you deserve to lose your job. Listed all at once, these guidelines may sound too blatantly anti-Semitic to be stated openlyyet they are, at present, the operating principles of two widely celebrated progressive movements in Chicago. Both the Dyke March and the SlutWalk allege that these rules are compelled by intersectionality, the theory that all forms of social oppression are linked. In reality, both groups are using intersectionality as a smokescreen for anti-Semitism, creating a litmus test that Jews must pass to be part of these movements. American progressives should reject this perversion of social justice. No coherent vision of equality can command the maltreatment of Jews. The anti-Semitism of the Dyke March and SlutWalk is not academic or novel but almost depressingly familiar. The debate over intersectionality and anti-Semitism jumped into the headlines following last months Dyke March, an LGBTQ demonstration that avoids the corporate sponsorships and bland political undertones of mainstream Pride events. During the march, several organizers approached Jewish demonstrators who were carrying rainbow Star of David flags. The organizers asked whether these women held Zionist sympathies, their suspicions reportedly having been aroused when the flag-carriers allegedly replaced the word Palestine with everywhere in a group chant. (That chant: From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go.) One woman, Laurel Grauer, reportedly responded, I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine. The organizers then ejected the Jewish demonstrators. During the outcry that followed, the Dyke Marchs organizers scrambled to formulate principles that would justify this action. In a series of statements, they explained that Zionism is an inherently white-supremacist ideology; that many people see the visuals of the flag as a threat, so we dont want anything in the [Dyke March] space that can inadvertently or advertently express Zionism; and that only anti-Zionist Jews are welcome at Dyke March. Last week, the Chicago SlutWalk, which calls for gender equality and an end to rape culture, endorsed and adopted the Dyke Marchs policy regarding Zionist displays. Once again, the justification was intersectionalitynamely, a belief that Palestinian rights and womens rights are inseparable. The events combative Twitter feed retweeted a declaration that any flag featuring a Star of David is an Israeli flag with imagery invoking imperialism. A later tweet clarified that only individuals using the flag as a symbol of their agenda would be ejected from the event, which is scheduled for Aug. 12. How, exactly, would organizers differentiate between benign and malign flags? Its unclear; the only hint provided is that context matters. Organizers will, it seems, make ad hoc judgments about who is and is not allowed to carry a rainbow Star of David flag. Critics of intersectionality have jumped at the chance to cite these controversies as proof of the theorys flaws. In a New York Times op-ed, Bari Weiss wrote that in practice, intersectionality functions as a kind of caste system in which people are judged according to how much their particular caste has suffered throughout history. Because of the existence of the Jewish state, Weiss explained, which todays progressives see only as a vehicle for oppression of the Palestinians, Jews are considered the oppressors, never the oppressed. Weiss critique implies that the organizers of the Dyke March and SlutWalk were lured toward anti-Semitism via intersectionalitythat as they studied the Oppression Olympics, they came to view Jews at the real oppressors. I strongly suspect that this has it exactly backward because the articulation of intersectionality provided by the Dyke March and SlutWalk makes no sense. The organizers allege that, because the oppression of queer women and Palestinians is intertwined, marchers must renounce Israel and not express their Jewishness. But how does that follow? The reasoning makes sense only if expressions of Jewishness are tantamount to endorsements of the Israeli governments policies toward Palestinians. And the belief that all proudly Jewish people support the current subjugation of Palestinians is self-evidently anti-Semitic. Top Comment Criticizing Israel’s policies is completely appropriate. Criticizing people for being Jewish is deplorable. This should be a really simple line to understand. More… On July 13, the Dyke March provided further proof that its intersectionality functioned as a flimsy pretense for anti-Semitism. A tweet from the groups Twitter account used the term Zio, an anti-Jewish slur popularized by David Duke and his neo-Nazi followers. The Dyke March later sent another tweet apologizing for the insultand adding, We meant Zionist/white tears replenish our electrolytes. Indeed, the groups bizarre fixation on Jews frequently manifests itself as alt-rightstyle trolling. This is a mockery of intersectionality, not a defense of it. It has long been obvious that left-wing anti-Semitism is a problem and that an overwhelming abhorrence of Israel often blurs into a generalized anger toward Jews. Organizers of both the Dyke March and the SlutWalk have not discovered the praxis of intersectionality; they have merely dressed up their bigotry in updated argot. Their anti-Semitism is not academic or novel but almost depressingly familiar, and we do not need to overhaul the progressive worldview to address it. We need only remind ourselves that anyone who would hold Jews to a different, higher standard is anti-Semitic, full stop. Whether it happens at a far-left march or an alt-right convention, the creation of special rules for Jews is irrational and wrong. By creating a stringent litmus test for openly Jewish demonstrators, the Dyke March and SlutWalk did not protect the oppressed. They became the oppressors.

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A new generation of Jewish farmers sees a fertile future in South Jersey – Philly.com

Nate Kleinman, aka Farmer Nate, stands straw-hatted under the fierce sun at an experimental growing field in Salem County. Advertisment of The unexceptional-looking expanse of sandy soil lies in the heart of Americas first Jewish agricultural settlement, a hamlet just off Route 55 near Vineland that Russian immigrants fleeing persecution founded as the Alliance Colony in 1882. More recently, William and Malya Levin, a Brooklyn couple with New Jersey roots and big dreams, have begun to nurture 50 acres along Gershal Avenue in Pittsgrove Township back to productive life. Kleinman seeded two of those acres last spring with a variety of sample crops to figure out what will grow best there. That little plant is a Guadalupe cucumber, says Kleinman, as the Levins, a group of Allegheny College students and their religious studies professor, several other visitors, and I fruitlessly fan ourselves in the midday heat. There are Saudi Arabian okra and Cuban tomatoes, Kleinman adds, with a delightful, and contagious, relish. See that plant that looks like a little corn plant? Thats the sorghum, from South Sudan. CAMERON B. POLLACK / Staff Photographer William and Malya Levin at the homestead of the Alliance Colony reboot in Pittsgrove, N.J. The house belonged to his grandparents. Sorghum, spelt, and tartary buckwheat are among the heritage grains expected to become mainstays of the nonprofit Alliance Community Reboot, or ACRe. The Levins conceived the project in 2014. Last Sunday, the couple, who have spent about $500,000 to acquire property mostly from family members, hired Kleinman and his business partner, Dusty Hinz, to start clearing and cultivating the fields. Theres a huge unmet demand for heritage grains, for gluten-free grains, says Kleinman, 35, whose deep regard for sorghum is such that his business card features an image of its deep red seed-head against a blue sky. He and Hinz have been farming in nearby Elmer for more than three years. The two men also are the founders of Philadelphias Experimental Farm Network; it encourages online collaboration among plant breeders, researchers, and others involved in sustainable, community-supported agriculture, farm-to-table, food sovereignty, and similar grassroots initiatives. I join the group for brunch in a Gershal Avenue house once owned by William Levins grandparents. About a dozen of us share a feast of salads, bagels and a smoked fish platter imported directly from Brooklyn; the talk around the table is all about the possibilities of the project. Jewish farming is not just touchy-feely hippie B.S., says William, a 45-year-old animator who grew up in Vineland. His great-grandfather Moses Bayuk was a member of one of the 43 original Alliance families. Farming is a way to create a meaningful, modern-day community, says Malya, 33, ACRes chief counsel and the mother of the couples 21-month-old son, Samuel. Theres a global movement around agriculture as an expression of Jewish values. Locally, the Jewish Farm School is incredibly excited about the possibility of a larger-scale Jewish community farm less than an hour from our base in West Philadelphia, says Nati Passow, executive director of the nonprofit educational program. William and Malya are tied into the contemporary movement, and, through their land and family history, they have the potential to build much stronger bridges between past and present, he says. The past is still very much in evidence: In June, Ruth Bogutz, of Cherry Hill, helped organize a bus tour of a half-dozen historical Jewish farming communities in South Jersey, including Alliance, Woodbine, and Rosenhayn. About 35 people took the trip. There were Jewish farming colonies all over the world, and many of them were in the United States, Bogutz says. Alliance was the oldest, and the ones that lasted the longest were in South Jersey. In the late 19th century, Jews fleeing Russia, many of them urban professionals or merchants, arrived in the United States under the auspices of charitable organizations seeking to save them from annihilation. They escaped the worst possible life imaginable, and they came here, not knowing how to farm, says Jay H. Greenblatt, a Vineland lawyer who helped establish the Alliance Colony Foundation, and is a descendant of those pioneers. The immigrants were assisted by nearby farmers, some of them Quakers. They lived in tents at first and ate in a communal kitchen, eventually building a cluster of tiny villages, including Alliance, Norma, and Brotmanville. CAMERON B. POLLACK / Staff Photographer Farmer Nate Kleinman shows William Levin and his wife, Malya, test crops growing in an experimental field in Pittsgrove, N.J., where the couple seek to re-establish Jewish agriculture. Within a generation or two, many of the settlers children had moved on; one of the synagogues was sold to a Christian congregation. The reboot project is fantastic, says Howard Jaffe, 62, of Pittsgrove. The unofficial caretaker of what is commonly called the Alliance Synagogue, a beautifully restored Gershal Avenue landmark, Jaffe is one of three Jewish farmers still active in the area. And now theres also Nate, of course, he adds. A Philly native who got into agriculture through the Occupy and other progressive movements, Kleinman says hes happy to be part of writing the next chapter in the history of the Alliance community and Jewish farming in South Jersey. Leaving the experimental field, Im chatting with William Levin when he spots a grapevine that was winding up into the trees at the edge of the cultivated area. When I was a kid, I came here with my dad, who died last year, he says.We picked grapes together. Kleinman tastes a green grape, says its most likely a Concord variety, and describes it assuper-resilient. Rather like Alliance may turn out to be. Published: July 25, 2017 3:01 AM EDT | Updated: July 25, 2017 8:43 AM EDT We recently asked you to support our journalism. The response, in a word, is heartening. You have encouraged us in our mission to provide quality news and watchdog journalism. Some of you have even followed through with subscriptions, which is especially gratifying. Our role as an independent, fact-based news organization has never been clearer. And our promise to you is that we will always strive to provide indispensable journalism to our community. Subscriptions are available for home delivery of the print edition and for a digital replica viewable on your mobile device or computer. Subscriptions start as low as 25 per day. We’re thankful for your support in every way.

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A ‘Gay Jewish Kangaroo’ Takes on Wagner at Bayreuth – The New … – New York Times

I felt I had done enough Wagner, Mr. Kosky said in a recent interview in his office here, and Id always found it exhausting to work on Wagner. It unnerves me too much. Meistersinger, a medieval fantasy about a guild of singing masters that is arguably its composers most nationalistic work, struck Mr. Kosky as particularly daunting. Of all the pieces, I felt Meistersinger was difficult for me to deal with because of the nature of the investigation of German culture and German identity and the history of the piece, he said. The works finale is a monologue delivered by the operas hero, the cobbler Hans Sachs, that is a rousing defense of holy German art, and a warning that it must be safeguarded against foreign incursions. The opera was a favorite of Hitlers and its rousing prelude was a staple at Nazi rallies. (Nuremberg, the setting of the opera and near Bayreuth, was a popular rally site, as well as the location of the postwar trials of German war criminals.) Ms. Wagner asked Mr. Kosky to take his time to reconsider. A half-year later, he accepted the challenge. I discovered that this opera is not about German culture or ideology, because Wagners idea about German historical time and fact is pure fantasy, he said. Once I made the decision that I didnt have to have the weight of German history, identity and culture on my shoulders, and that I could look at everything through Wagners eyes and Wagners distorted, contradictory, frustratingly complex genius, it opened up all these possibilities. Mr. Koskys early career was based in Australia, including at the Gilgul Theater in Melbourne, the countrys first professional Jewish theater company, which he founded in 1990. During the past two decades, he has spent the bulk of his time in Europe, bringing his analytical and frequently eccentric sensibility to everything from tragedies by Euripides to Cole Porter musicals. His clever silent-film-inspired production of Mozarts Magic Flute, a collaboration with Suzanne Andrade, Paul Barritt and the troupe 1927, brought him his first success in the United States, in 2013. He is contractually forbidden from revealing details of what his Meistersinger will look like, but he was at liberty to discuss his process and his thoughts on the work. We started, for example, with the end, he said. We made sure very early on that we had found a very strong solution to the monologue and the last chorus, and what that meant for how it played backwards, or how that led to that moment. Because in almost every production of Meistersinger Ive seen, thats always the problem moment, where either the director has run out of ideas or doesnt know what to do with the monologue or somehow its tacked on at the end. His solution to that climactic moment remains to be seen, though his comments emphasizing the theatricalized uses of Nuremberg by both Nazis and Allies may provide a hint. Wagners virulent anti-Semitism is another topic that cannot be brushed aside. Some have viewed Sixtus Beckmesser, a pedantic mediocrity who is the closest thing that Meistersinger has to a villain, as a veiled Jewish caricature. And the embrace of the Nazis by some Wagner descendants has cast a shadow over the Bayreuth Festival that continues to this day. Wagner did not put Jews onstage, said Mr. Kosky, the first Jewish director to work at Bayreuth in the festivals 141-year history. Beckmesser is not a Jew. Wagners too clever for that. But along with Mime and Alberich, hated figures from Wagners Ring cycle, Beckmesser is, Mr. Kosky added, a figure who is marinated in the juices of 19th-century anti-Semitism, and consciously and unconsciously Wagner and his audience knew that. Beckmesser, viewed through Mr. Koskys eyes, is a sort of Frankenstein monster who combines aspects of Eduard Hanslick, the conservative music critic whom Wagner despised (and mistakenly thought was Jewish), as well as assimilated 19th-century Jews in Germany, who Wagner considered threats to the nations culture. Its ridiculous to say that its not anti-Semitic, he said. Were not just dealing with the abstract nature of musical sound. Were dealing with text, character, narrative, history, psychology and the fact that he wrote a huge amount of essays that articulated his ideas about theater and German culture and Jews. Mr. Kosky said that Ms. Wagner, who directed a rowdy Meistersinger at Bayreuth in 2007 featuring life-size bobblehead versions of Drer, Bach, Goethe and other German cultural luminaries, has been unstintingly supportive of his vision. He even admitted that a gig he once had feared has turned out to be unexpectedly fun. If anyone had said to me 10 years ago that youll find working for three years on Meistersinger enjoyable, he said, I would have laughed. A version of this article appears in print on July 25, 2017, on Page C5 of the New York edition with the headline: An Unlikely Man Takes on Wagner At His Home Base.

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July 25, 2017: Jewish Cyprus – The Jerusalem Post mobile website

With reference to A short skip and jump to the wonders of Cyprus (Travel Trends, July 24), which also mentions the Jewish presence there, I would like to add that on June 12, 1941, the entire Jewish community of Cyprus (429 people) was evacuated by the British government, initially to Palestine, and from there to Tanganyika (today Tanzania) and Nyasaland (today Malawi). My parents and I were part of this transport. The story of this evacuation aboard the S.S. Hana is available at the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem and the Jewish Community Center in Larnaca. JOE GELLERT Netanya Remember Exodus With regard to First Israeli monument to Exodus inaugurated in Haifa (July 19), a most hearty salute to Jerry Klinger, president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, and to the sculptor Sam Philipe for initiating the memorial in the Haifa Port, which represents so graphically the passionate story of the Exodus voyage. The momentous events the Holocaust, the termination of the British Mandate over Palestine, the War of Independence and David Ben-Gurions declaration of the State of Israel were among the pinnacles of 2,000 years of Jewish history. The Exodus was a part of this dramatic story, and the memorial is erected at the very point where the vessel was berthed in July 1947, exactly 70 years ago. The Exodus evoked deep feelings of unity, brotherhood and peoplehood throughout the Jewish world, and it should still have a very important contemporary message for Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. Interestingly, the crews of the 10 Aliya Bet ships that brought the so-called illegal immigrants to Palestine were mainly young American Jews, and this started what became known as MACHAL, the Hebrew acronym for Mitnadvei hutz laretz, or volunteers from abroad. These people were the forerunners of the 4,800 volunteers, most of whom were veterans of World War II, who came from 59 countries to fight with their brethren in Israel in the War of Independence and played such a pivotal role in the countrys victory over six Arab armies. SMOKY SIMON Herzliya The writer is chairman of World Machal. There would have been no Exodus if there was not a large group of men in the US, most of them veterans of World War II, who volunteered to sail the old vessel. Over three hundred men volunteered to sail 10 rust buckets to rescue Holocaust survivors, and I might not be exaggerating when I say there might not be a State of Israel if these men had not volunteered. We do not need buildings erected in our name, but something more should be in place. Leon Uris, the author of Exodus, drank my whiskey with Ike Aronowicz, the captain of the Exodus. He was captivated by the stories (and the whiskey). During my last visit with him, Uris repeated to me that our volunteerism was one of the most glorious chapters in Jewish history. I said it was a bit of an exaggeration, but that we hardly get footnotes is a pity. MURRAY S. GREENFIELD Tel Aviv The writer served in the US Merchant Marine during World War II and was one of the volunteers who sailed aboard the rust buckets running the British blockade to bring Holocaust survivors to Palestine. Media control With regard to Free the media market (Editorial, July 18), does The Jerusalem Post believe that this would guarantee a free press? Who would prevent business and political interests from making deals? And what about journalistic integrity? Worldwide, the unholy trinity of business, politics and a privileged journalistic elite who report real news has had a devastating effect on the quality of broadcasting, the environment and scores of other issues. After working as a journalistic intern for an environmental group in the 1970s (the New York Public Interest Research Group, which was reporting on the Love Canal scandal), I spent decades wondering why major newspapers and press agencies werent full of articles about environmental destruction. It wasnt until about a decade ago when things had gone much too far that the environment became a significant issue in the mainstream press. Shouldnt it have been obvious 50 years ago that cutting down the worlds forests and paving over vast tracts of land for more than a billion exhaust-emitting vehicles would have devastating consequences for nature and humanity? Shouldnt journalists have realized this? Arent they to a great extent to blame for our current predicament? The truth is that newspaper owners knew all too well that their advertisements were paid for by oil and car companies, and journalists knew on which side their bread was buttered. You rightly point out that following the deregulation of Italian media, programming was quickly dominated by reality and game shows. You then argue that if air time is soon taken over by game shows and reality TV, at least it will be the result of a free and open market determined by supply and demand. As if viewers will have a choice! Not only in Italy, but also in the Netherlands and undoubtedly many other countries, quality and thought-provoking programs and media have been largely replaced by mind-numbing entertainment. Placing media in the hands of large corporations is a political decision. It will guarantee that programming will uphold the interests of a political and business elite to the detriment of critical thinking and quality. ASAF SHIMONI Dafna China on Xizang Im really frustrated and irritated by Shmuley Boteachs Canada attacks Israeli wines while exploiting occupied Tibet (No Holds Barred, July 18). It attempts to discredit China on a topic that is totally unrelated, and is filled with factual mistakes. First, there is no comparison between Xizang (the official name of Tibet) and the Israel- Palestine issue. Since the 13th century, Xizang has been an integral part of China. Today, it is one of the five autonomous ethnic regions of China, so depicting it as an occupied land is sheer nonsense. Second, China does not intend to sacrifice Xizangs ecology to mine local resources. Adversely, Beijing has taken vigorous efforts to promote its ecological progress. So far, a total of 47 nature preserves have been established, accounting for 34% of its total land. Xizang, a typical society of feudal serfdom 60 years ago, is now fully enjoying the fruits of modern civilization. As Chinas and Israels relations get closer, we do hope such irresponsible articles never come up again. FU LIHUA Tel Aviv The writer is spokesperson of the Embassy of China in Israel. Share on facebook

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London Orthodox rabbis call for boycott of Jewish cultural center over LGBT programming – The Jewish Standard

A group of Orthodox rabbis in London have called on their members to boycott the citys JW3 Jewish cultural center because it holds events for LGBT Jews. Signed by seven haredi Orthodox rabbi, the letter released Friday calls on members of their communities to distance themselves fully from JW3, its activities and services, and avoid using this centre. JW3, an American-style Jewish community center thatopened in 2013, includes a kindergarten, movie theater, fitness facilities, a kosher restaurant and a library. In early March, the Jewish center held a GayW3 festival to mark 50 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain. A poster outside the center advertising the event was vandalized with the word shame drawn on it, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported. The rabbis letter referred to the JW3s LGBT programming as Toievah Hebrew for abomination, the word used in the Bible to describe homosexual acts and said it promotes a way of life which is in total contradiction to [O]rthodox Judaism and Halacha, or Jewish law. We are of the strong opinion that a red line has been crossed in launching campaigns and initiatives that promote lifestyles and behaviours forbidden and condemned by the Torah, the letter also said. Raymond Simonson, the chief executive of JW3, told theJewish Chronicleon Monday that he had received supportive messages from members of the Jewish community, including a number of Orthodox rabbis, since the letter was made public. At JW3, were really about looking for and celebrating a unified and diverse British Jewish community, he said. And I dont really like us to try and get dragged into incidents where people are doing things that are anti that. The publication of the letter follows areview processset up by the countrys chief rabbi that examined the teachings and statements ofRabbi Joseph Dweck, Britains top Sephardi rabbi, after he said at a lecturethat societal acceptance of homosexuality is a fantastic developmentbecause it opens the door to a more loving society. In recent years, a growing haredi Orthodox community in Great Britain has become more assertive in communal affairs, often clashing with the centrist Orthodox United Hebrew Congregations represented by the chief rabbi and other denominations.

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Gabrielle Sasson – Tablet Magazine

Gabrielle Sasson is entering seventh grade at Ramaz. Her family, in connection with her bat mitzvah, visited the Jewish communities of Addis Ababa and Gondar for ten days during early July. These are her impressions of the trip. Two weeks ago, instead of starting summer camp together with my friends, I traveled to Ethiopia to visit its Jewish community. In important ways, the kids in Ethiopia felt deeply familiar to me. The children sing the same Jewish and Hebrew songs I learned in Jewish day school in New York. They recite the same tephilot. In fact, in many waystheir strong belief in God and their desire to make aliyahthey can seem even more deeply rooted in Judaism and the Jewish story. Yet, the differences were starkand important. The Jews in Addis Ababa and Gondar live in shacks. Large families share two small mattresses, and one or two small blankets. Their clothing is full of holes. In honor of my bat mitzvah and my cousin Micahs bar mitzvah, our families made a small Kiddush after shul on Shabbat in Gondar. I was surprised by the excitement both adults and children felt when candy and soda was distributed. These are items my friends and I receive daily; we take them for granted. Here, kids do not have enough basic food to eat; many are malnourished. When I visited the homes of the kids I played with in the synagogue compound, I was upset by the awful conditions. No child should have to live without running water, beds, blankets and toilets. We were so alike in so many ways yet I had so much and they had so little. Poverty also prevents the kids from receiving medical treatment. We visited the medical clinic where Jewish childrenbut only those under fivehad recently begun to receive medical care. The doctor said that since the program began six weeks earlier he had saved 17 lives. What would happen to the children over five, the ones I had talked to and played with in the compound, the children who still had no access to medical care? The diseases the doctor talked abouttyphoid, typhus, malaria, intestinal parasitesdo not even exist in New York. These differences are heartbreaking and angering, but there is one above all others that I think is impossible to explain: That these children are not allowed to even travel to Israel. My family has a strong connection with Israel. We travel there frequently to visit family. If we wished to make aliyah, it would be easy; we would just get on a plane. When we asked the 1,100 community members present at Shabbat services how many had close family living in Israel, almost all the hands raised. And yet, Israel will not let these children make aliyah. To prepare for my trip, I read about the difficult decades-long struggle to bring the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel. There are currently 140,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel; for reasons I do not understand the government of Israel is reluctant to complete the aliyah by bringing the last 10,000 to the Jewish homeland. What makes these different from all other Jews around the world? We met orphans with no one to take care of themyoung childrenwho were not allowed to travel to Israel where their grandparents could take them in. So they live here, deprived of all of the resources that so many other Jews have, including the most important one: family. I am only twelve years old. I do not understand why the Israeli government wont let Jewish children rejoin their families in Israel. I certainly do not understand why the American Jewish community, which has so much and helps Jews throughout the world, refuses to help them. All my eyes still see is their dedication to Torah. My ears hear the prayers they offer to the God I pray to every day. And my heart still feels their pain, the pain that comes from realizing that almost no one in the Jewish world seems to care.

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A Jewish Slave In Rome – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: Jewish Press On Tisha BAv I always choose an appropriate book to read to keep my mind on the biggest tragedy ever to befall our people. Last year I read Chains by Leah Gebber a novel depicting the life of Jewish slaves in Rome during the time of the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. When I realized it was dark outside and the fast must be over, I wandered into the kitchen, book still in hand, and continued to read as I broke my fast. I was more engrossed in the fate of Shulamit, Mariam and Chanan than in my food. As Gebber writes in her preface, There is no such thing as writing a book. Only living a story. For all of Tisha BAv I lived the life of a slave in Rome. Gebber tells a magnificent story. She includes minute details which help place the reader on the shaking wooden platform as Shulamit and the other Jewish slaves have their mouths pried open and teeth examined to assess their value as slaves. A reader will feel as if she is standing in the hot stinking kitchen of a Roman aristocrat and watching the pig slave trying to best an enormous boar and get it on the spit; hear the whip slashing through the air before it cuts into the back of a slave being punished and feel her heart thumping as she sits in the stalls in the arena watching the gladiators, groomed for almost inevitable death, fighting for a few extra moments of life. Until now my knowledge of life at this time was limited to the disturbing and horrifying commentaries I sometimes read on Megillas Eicha. But those are mostly about life in Eretz Yisrael in the time period leading up to Churban Bayis. Until Id read Gebbers book I didnt even realize there were Jews who were captured or kidnapped by the Romans during the time leading up to the destruction of the Temple, as Shulamit was, and fettered and shipped off to the country which symbolized debauchery, depravity and decadence. Not only did she long for her physical freedom, she desperately missed her ability to connect with her Creator, as was shown by her mental torment when she realized that Pesach had come and gone and she had unwittingly eaten chametz. Her pain at feeling abandoned by G-d Who hadnt given her any sign of the approaching festival was greater than any physical pain from punishment that she experienced. Even today many people have the custom not to walk under Tituss arch in Rome. This arch was constructed some years after Tituss triumphant entry into Rome as the conqueror of Judea who quelled the Great Jewish Revolt. Titus took many months to journey from Jerusalem to Rome so that he could show the world the Temple spoils he had plundered and the thousands of Jewish slaves he had taken. He traveled through Beirut, Syria, Antioch and Alexandria, and in each place held public games where Jewish slaves had to fight wild animals. The arch clearly depicts what was taken from the Beis HaMikdash and is the reason that to this day it is assumed that the Menorah and other items plundered are somewhere in Rome. Gebber admits that she knew very little about this period of time before she embarked on a six-month journey of research into the life of Jewish slaves in Rome. Before she wrote a word of her story, which was first serialized in a charedi weekly magazine, she immersed herself in the life and environment of both the Jews in Eretz Yisrael at the time and those in Rome. She also delved into the political background in Rome, as the fate of the Jews was dependent on Roman law. The Romans, famed for their straight roads and warped minds, were a cruel and depraved people but, as Gebber comments, Rome was an incredibly law-abiding society even if the laws were corrupt. As the book progresses it becomes clear that this could work to the slaves advantage as a Roman wanting to rise in the echelons of power couldnt be thought to be flouting the law. The books Gebber used for research were everywhere: in her bag, by her bedside, in different rooms and in the kitchen, so that at any time, wherever she was, she could pick one up and delve into a different aspect of her characters worlds. Her research took her as far as the British Museum in London which has several rooms devoted to this historical period. Here she was able to actually see, among many other things, the kitchen utensils that the slaves would have used and the jewelry with which the wives of the Roman aristocrats adorned themselves, details of which are all woven into her story. But she doesnt just give us insights into life in Rome. Gebber captures the mood and murderous in-fighting of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael during the crucial months leading up to the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. Most school-age children can tell you that the second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam, baseless hatred, and in Chains we see how the Jewish zealots were determined that, whatever the cost, there should be no hope for the Jews who thought they could hang on a little longer and try to make peace with the Romans. The zealots wanted to ensure that their fellow Jews would have no choice but to take up weapons and fight. We smell the smoke as Mariam opens her windows and sees her storehouses go up in flames along with any possibility of surviving the siege and providing food for her fellow Jews. The arsonists were not the enemies from Rome, but rather fellow Jews who wanted to force their hand. Gebber surprised me when she said, Josephus writes that Titus didnt want to destroy the Temple. It would have been an amazing prize for him to show off to his fellow countrymen. It was the most beautiful and important building in the world. Jerusalem and Rome were like twin cities, probably the two most important cities in the world, but for very different reasons. They were two centers of culture, knowledge and scholarship. Jerusalem was the religious hub with thousands of Jewish pilgrims making aliyah leregel several times a year, but non-Jews also came from all over the world, including from Rome, to bring sacrifices in the Temple. Destroying the Temple would be a loss to many of Tituss own people as well. Quoting Josephus, Gebber explained that Titus conferred with his counselors regarding the fate of the Beis Hamikdash which he referred to as a sacred building, one more remarkable than any other human work. Titus argued that it should not be destroyed because if preserved it would testify to the moderation of the Romans while if demolished it would be a perpetual sign of cruelty. Gebbers villain, Chanan, personifies the similar but contradictory aspects of Jerusalem and Rome. A rich Jewish aristocrat and a Kohen with a physical deformity which prevented him from serving in the Beis HaMikdash, Chanan abandons his wife, home and responsibilities to his people, to try to find fame and fortune in Rome. But being at once admired and mistrusted, Chanan finds that it is not so simple to ingratiate himself to the Romans. To the non-Jews, a Jew remains a Jew whose loyalty can never be relied on and who can never be fully trusted or accepted. Chanans complex character undergoes twists and turns throughout the story as his plans and fortune ebb and flow very much the story of the Jew in galus today. Since her youth, Tisha BAv has been a day of great meaning to Gebber, but today her children know how much the day has affected her. Although she rarely involves her children in her work, its not every day that literary research helps you understand so much more about our own history. Gebber said that last Tisha B Av she and her children sat together on the floor and she read to them some of passages from Josephus writings. While studying European geography in school recently, Gebbers daughter wanted to make a cake in the shape of Romes Colosseum. After all, its a not-to-be-missed site for all tourists in Italy; its the largest amphitheater ever built and designated as one of the Wonders of the World. But her mother knew just what the Colosseum really represented. The building, although started by Vespasian, was finished by Titus, funded by spoils plundered from the Beis HaMikdash and built with the unpaid labor force of some of the tens of thousands of Jewish slaves forced into exile. It stands today as a reminder of all the horror and misery of Tisha BAv and the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. This was not the design that Gebber felt should be on a cake baked by a 21st century religious schoolgirl who lives in Jerusalem.

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Jewish Museum

Welcome to the Jewish Museum, a museum in New York City at the intersection of art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Whether you visit our home in the elegant Warburg mansion on Museum Mile, or engage with us online, there is something for everyone. Through our exhibitions, programs, and collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media, visitors can journey through 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture from around the world. As an art museum representing the diversity of Jewish culture and identity, the Jewish Museum believes in free expression and an open society. We embrace multiple viewpoints regardless of race, gender, national origin, or religion, and we oppose discrimination in all its forms. Our exhibitions and public programs provide platforms for cross-cultural dialogue, fostering empathy, mutual understanding, and respect. We champion the powerful roles art and artists can play in our communities, both inside and outside the Museums walls. The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Jewish people through its unparalleled collections and distinguished exhibitions. Learn More The Jewish Museum was founded in 1904 in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where it was housed for more than four decades. Now located in the landmark Warburg mansion, this elegant former residence has been the home of the Museum since 1947Learn More

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In France, murder of a Jewish woman ignites debate over the word … – Washington Post

PARIS What happened to Sarah Halimi resembles the plot of a horror film. In the early hours of April 4, the 65-year-old retired doctor and schoolteacher, an Orthodox Jew, was asleep in the modest apartment in northeastern Paris where she lived alone. Shortly after 4 a.m., a neighbor from the floor below, 27-year-old Kobili Traor, a Franco-Malian Muslim, is accused of having broken into her flat. Traor allegedly beat her to death and hurled her body off the balcony into the courtyard below. In the days that followed, French authorities treated Halimis killing as an isolated incident. But Jewish leaders immediately protested, especially after other neighbors testified that they heard Traor scream Allahu akbar, Arabic for God is great, while allegedly attacking Halimi, who was the only Jew residing in the building, her family said. Ever since, the Halimi Affair has simmered on the margins of public discourse, boiling over last week when President Emmanuel Macron promised after months of saying nothing clarity on the death of Sarah Halimi. In a country that has suffered a devastating slew of attacks in recent years, that clarity now means far more than the gruesome details of one particular case. At stake is a set of profound questions, as political as they are existential. What makes an act of violence a terrorist attack? And who decides what is terrorism and what is merely murder? [Macron hosts Netanyahu, condemns anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism] Strictly speaking, French law classifies as terrorism any grave act of violence whose individual or collective intent is to seriously disturb public order through intimidation or terror. Legally, it is Frances chief public prosecutor for Paris who decides whether to launch a terrorism investigation. In the Halimi case, Franois Molins, who occupies that position, declined to consider it as terrorism and, initially, as an act of anti-Semitic violence. The decision sent shock waves through the French Jewish community, Europes largest. For many, it evinces a political calculus that weighs certain attacks over others. Its purely and simply ideological, said Gilles-William Goldnadel, an attorney for the Halimi family and a well-known conservative commentator for Frances Le Figaro newspaper. Of Traor, Goldnadel added: He had the profile of a radical Islamist, and yet somehow there is a resistance to call a spade a spade. In general, the definition of the term radical Islamist remains a major debate in France. In this case, neighbors testified that they heard Traor recite verses from the Koran in Halimis apartment. Then, in early June, Libration, a French newspaper, gained access to the police dossier on Traor, which suggested he had a record of petty crime and violent tendencies almost identical to those that have characterized the profiles of other terrorist suspects. On a different level, other small-scale incidents even ones that experts see as comparably minor have instantly been classified as terrorism. In June, for instance, a man attacked police officers near Notre Dame cathedral in Paris with a hammer. Whereas Traor is believed to have yelled Allahu akbar, the assailant in this earlier case yelled, This is for Syria! In any case, the Notre Dame incident in which no one was killed was considered terrorism. So was the killing of a police officer on the Champs Elyses on the eve of the French election in late April, as well as an attempted shooting at Pariss Orly Airport in March. But not the slaying of Sarah Halimi. The office of Franois Molins did not return a request for comment. The difference, for some security analysts, is that these other cases were all defined by some discernible motivation of public disturbance, targeting as they did busy thoroughfares and transit hubs. The simple fact that someone killed someone else because of confession or religion is not enough, said Jean-Charles Brisard, director of the French Center for the Analysis of Terrorism, a Paris-based think tank. It needs to have a certain degree of willingness to disrupt the French public order. For Sarah Halimis family, however, that she was thrown off a balcony into a public space presented a dark spectacle meant to be seen and to pose a clear threat to other Jews. In an interview, Halimis brother, William Attal, 62, said that the familys principal objective was securing public recognition of the anti-Semitism that, in their eyes, killed their mother, sister and grandmother. As Attal put it: I want you to understand that the fight of this family is that people recognize the Islamist, anti-Semitic nature of the assassin, who massacred and killed a Jewish woman, whom he knew was a Jew and whom he knew was alone. In the French Jewish community, the Halimi Affair provides what many consider yet another example of the French state refusing to acknowledge the realities of contemporary anti-Semitism in France. [Black Lives Matter movement comes to France. But will it translate?] For many, this affair harks back to another Halimi Affair, from 2006, when Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old cellphone salesman who had no relation to Sarah Halimi, was abducted and murdered by the Gang of Barbarians, a gang of immigrant criminals from the Paris suburbs. They had targeted their victim merely because he was Jewish, which French authorities initially refused to recognize. These ostrich politics must stop, and our leaders must become aware of what is happening in the country, read a recent letter signed by 17 prominent French intellectuals in the aftermath of the latest Halimi Affair. Its always the same story in France, journalist and public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lvy, another advocate of Halimi and her family, said in an interview. Anti-Semitism is not supposed to exist, especially among minority communities. On the whole, the recent and widely publicized uptick in Jews leaving France for Israel has slowed, and the number of reported anti- Semitic acts decreased by nearly 59percent in 2016, according to the French Interior Ministry. In general, the wave of terrorist violence that has struck this country in the past two years has not singled out Jews as targets. But scattered instances of anti-Semitic violence have continued to be reported, with victims often identifying their assailants as North African or West African. France is also home to one of Europes largest Muslim populations, a group that is repeatedly criticized across the political spectrum, particularly by the staunchly anti-immigrant National Front. Anti-Muslim violence also has become a reality of modern French life. So as not to channel that rhetoric and to condone that violence, many elected officials are loath to accuse the entirety of a diverse and sprawling community of a blanket charge as severe as anti-Semitism, analysts say. It comes from a very good, honorable place of not wanting to overgeneralize, but sometimes it can go too far, said Ethan Katz, the author of an acclaimed book on the history of Jewish-Muslim relations in France and a professor of history at the University of Cincinnati. Whats a fair critique is that mainstream politicians have not figured out a genuine way to address, aside from security measures, the legitimate problem of anti- Semitism in France today including in certain areas of Frances Muslim population. This, for her family and many others, is the tragedy of the Halimi Affair: the effacement of an anti-Semitism that remains a real threat, especially in tense urban areas. In the words of Goldnadel, the lawyer: Without naming it, there is no chance to escape this sickness. Read more Thank you, dear Donald: Why Macron invited Trump to France Trump and Macron, once cast as adversaries, show they have much in common Two deaths in Europe point to the rebirth of E.U. optimism Todays coverage from Post correspondents around the world Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news

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