Archive for the ‘Jewish’ Category

Adopt-A-Nazi is Jewish group’s answer to ‘Patriot Prayer’ rally – Fox News

A Jewish association in San Francisco has launched an Adopt-a-Nazi fundraising campaign in opposition to a free speech rally taking place in the city next weekend.

The Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco, JBASF, has already raised more than $100,000 with its GoFundMe campaign titled Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really), NBC News reported. The campaign was set up in protest of the upcoming Patriot Prayers Freedom Rally San Francisco and is raising money for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The bar association, which reportedly fears a repeat of the violence seen in Charlottesville, Va., during a rally earlier this month, is asking people to donate $100 for every marcher expected to show up to Crissy Field on Saturday.

Organizers of the Patriot Prayer rallies– set for Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. local time — say they are not an alt-right or white nationalist group. Joey Gibson, the Patriot Prayers leader, says the group supports freedom, love and peace.

A Facebook message by Patriot Prayer states that no extremists will be allowed in to its Liberty Weekend events. It continues: No Nazis, Communists, KKK, Antifa, white supremacists, i.e. or white nationalists.

Cody Harris, a JBASF board member, told NBC he was “repulsed” by the violence displayed at the Charlottesville rally that was in protest of the removal of a Confederate statue. The violence at the rally led to three deaths — one woman who died after she was hit by a car and two police officers whose helicopter crashed.

“White nationalists may feel emboldened, but they will never prevail,” Harris said. “There are far more decent people dedicated to this countrys founding creed than there are white nationalists.

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Jewish Identity in the Summer of Hate – Chelsea Now

White nationalist demonstrators hold their ground as they clash with counter demonstrators in Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12. AP photo by Steve Helber.

BY MAX BURBANK | Growing up, everything I knew about being a Jew came from Woody Allen films and the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof. Sad, right? No Zero Mostel for me, my Tevye was Topol, for Christs sake! (See what I did there? Apparently, Jesus was a Jew. A lot of people dont know that.) The whole Woody Allen thing is admittedly a little tainted now, but youll have to forgive me I didnt have a time machine.

I was raised by secular Jews in Massachusetts, one of only two Jewish families in town, and the Silvermans didnt care for us. Anti-Semitism wasnt something I ran into that much. To the other kids, Jews were obscure, robe-and-sandal creatures found mostly on Sunday school felt boards. Oh sure, Id hear the occasional Dont be such a Jew or He Jewed me down. One time, classmates threw pennies at me in the hallway, shouting, Chase the penny, Jew! Okay, I guess thats pretty overtly anti-Semitic when you think about it. At the time it just seemed on par with the wedgies and locker-stuffings I got for all the other ways I was different talking about Star Trek too much, eagerly sharing my wrote memorization of Tom Lehrers entire song catalogue which, now that I see it in writing, also seems maybe a little Jewy.

I identified as Jewish growing up, of course I did. I am. My parents are Jews, my Grandparents. I didnt go to Hebrew school and I didnt have a bar mitzvah, but that doesnt un-Jew me. All my life people said, If you dont practice the religion, how can you be Jewish? the same way they said, You cant eat bacon. Youre a Jew! like it was a physical impossibility. Id explain as patiently as possible that Judaism is a religion and Jews are a people. Full disclosure, I dont know if thats correct. Also, I dont really care.

Ive always liked being a Jew. It justifies a lot of my funny, slightly paranoid, sometimes standoffish personality and also my love of run-on sentences and habitual interruption of people (which I think of as just the natural flow of conversation, so when people give me a hard time about it they are really just being anti-Semitic). I stole that last joke from my oldest daughter, but shes only half-Jewish (and I would have thought of it eventually).

Beyond all that, I didnt spend a whole lot of time pondering my Jewish-American identity. I didnt have to. I had that luxury.

I grew up thinking that Jew-hating in America was for the most part a historical relic. I mean, I didnt imagine everybody was all, Oh, boy, Jews! I just assumed that classic, old school, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about hook-nosed Jews managing vast banking cabals, secretly controlling the media and Hollywood, and cackling maniacally while quaffing Christian baby blood by the liter had gone the way of the passenger pigeon and the rotary phone. I pooh-poohed Jewish friends who saw anti-Semitism lurking behind every corner like it was the solution to Einsteins unified field theory.

Charlottesville changed all that. Or Charlottesville was the final, undeniable proof that everything had changed. Or nothing had changed, Id just been wrong my whole life. A rock that had always been in our backyard had been turned over, revealing about a million squirming Nazi bugs. And the President of the United States was telling me that sure, some of those Nazi bugs were bad, but many of them were very fine bugs.

My Grandfather on my dads side fought in World War II. He gave me a German helmet with a bullet hole in it he said hed put there, but I always thought that was a lie. He was one of the first American Doctors into Auschwitz. He never talked about it. Smuggling cases of whiskey on supply flights he talked about, but not a word about the camps. My Grandmother reportedly said once (and only once) that her husband had come back from the war different. Some things dont get talked about, like what you saw in the war or what is was like to speak for your parents because they only spoke Yiddish, or why you fled Russia in the first place. I always imagined it was because of what happened at the end of Fiddler on the Roof. I have no other way to imagine it.

When my dad was a kid running around Brooklyn, his dad was away fighting Germans some of whom were, I have no doubt, very fine men whod spent the last several years rounding up Jews from all over Europe. Now, here in the United States, were quite a ways away from doing anything remotely like that. But were a good deal closer than I ever imagined possible just a year ago.

I hope Im wrong. Just before I turned this column in, I stood on the Boston Common with my family, a few friends, and tens of thousands of people I had never met to protest a free speech rally whose guest list leaned heavily toward well, lets say Nazis so I dont have to get into the finer distinctions of the particular ways in which they hate other folks. See how I demonstrated my right to free speech there? They huddled together in what could have passed as the gazebo from The Sound of Music, all 50 or so of them, and I imagine they were afraid to be surrounded by a massive crowd that really didnt like them. Wouldnt it be great if there were a lesson they could take away from the experience?

But that was Boston, not Charlottesville. I love my bubble, and I hope its skin is more like steel than soap, but its a bubble.

I loved not thinking about things like this. I loved raising my kids certain theyd never worry about this bizarre hatred, as it faded further and further into the past until it was just a story, like Passover, which Im stupidly now realizing is exactly the opposite of what the Passover story is supposed to teach you.

Im used to the full bucket of white privilege, but I find myself missing the cream, where I never had to think at all about my own race. I liked not thinking about it, and missing it makes me feel small and petty and nave, like a Republican who changed his mind about marriage equality, but only after finding out one of his grandkids was gay.

Apparently, Nazis dont think Jews are white. I mean literally. I dont know what the hell color they think our skin is, I guess its like camouflage, another nefarious Jew trick. Its okay, though. If white only comes in a polo shirt, khakis, and a Tiki torch accessory, I dont want it.

I hope were Rose gold. Id eat that color up with a frikkin spoon.

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Jewish Identity in the Summer of Hate – Chelsea Now

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String Cheese Incident Drummer Sounds Off On ‘Jewish Banking Cartel.’ Not A Wise Move. – Forward

Its hard to know how many lives will be ruined before the human race finally learns not to engage in Facebook debates.

Michael Travis, drummer of the popular jam band String Cheese Incident, hopefully learned a lesson after publishing a self-reflective Facebook post about the controversial anti-fascist group Antifa.

Does warring with Nazis really make less Nazis? Travis asks. Arent Nazis just scared lil (white) boys that need loving like everyone else? Resistance is key of course. But how should it look? Antifa is not giving us a good name nor do I think its effective.

A worthy debate! Had Travis left it at that and allowed his Facebook followers to engage with this question sans interference, like a good college professor or elderly wise man would have, perhaps things wouldnt have taken the direction that they did. Unfortunately, the pull to take part in lengthy, time-consuming Facebook debates that ultimately change nothing and help no one proved too strong.

In an exchange with Facebook user Candace Horgan, Travis wrote the following ill-conceived sentences:

The Jewish banking agenda is fairly irrefutable.

I have many many friends that are Jewish. (Even if they never read the Torah but that is a whole different topic).

I love Jews. Powerful powerful people.

I think Trump is a living human piece of sh**. I also think the Zionist banking cartel is a thing.

Do you have evidence there isnt a banking cartel that is largely run by Jews? Ill stop saying this if someone will present that evidence.

I am not bent on vilifying Jews by pointing out this business cartel. It could have been anyone.

Not a great look for the percussionist.

Later, Travis posted a heartfelt apology.

Im so sorry for causing offense, wrote Travis. Im obviously coming from a very different frame of reference. I dont mean to offend. I love Jews. I love all people.

And thats the tale of the week the drummer of String Cheese Incident and the wife of Steve Mnuchin learned the same lesson.

Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott

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Polish Jewish leader calls counterparts who met with senior politician ‘court Jews’ – Cleveland Jewish News

In an escalation of a row among Polish Jews over the governments responsibility for a perceived increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric, a communal leader called Jews who met with a senior politician his court Jews.

Sergiusz Kowalski, the president of the Polish branch of the Bnai Brith Jewish group, made the remarkin an interview published Monday on the NaTemat news site about Artur Hofman, president of the TSKZ cultural group of Polish Jews, and three other Jews who last week met with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a founder of the ruling Law and Justice Party.

The hourlong meeting, which Hofman told JTA was amicable, followed the posting of an open letter to Kaczynski in which for the first time since the fall of communism, two leaders of Polish Jewry Leslaw Piszewski, the president of the Union of Jewish Communities inPoland, and Anna Chipczynska, head of the Warsaw community pleaded with an official to curb what they said was rising anti-Semitism. Chipczynska told JTA that the letter came at a low point for Polish Jewrys feeling of security because of anti-Semitic actions that she said were being tolerated by the government.

But Hofman, whose group of 1,200 members is Polands largest Jewish organization in terms of membership, dismissed the claims, telling JTA that Chipczynska and Piszewski were exaggerating what he called unfounded concerns about anti-Semitism as part of a political war against Law and Justice. Hofman met Kaczynski with two Chabad rabbis and Jonny Daniels, the founder of the From the Depths Holocaust commemoration group.

The meeting, Kowalski said, sent a message that went into the world: We very much have our Jews who love Law and Justice and we have anti-Semitism problem. Such court Jews were long used by the authorities.

He also said that followers of the Chabad-Lubavitch, the Hasidic movement, were generally very intolerant of other Jews, especially the nonreligious.

Chabad, an Orthodox movement that encourages all Jews to follow a strict interpretation of the halachah legal code, specializes in outreach to secular Jews. Its emissaries in Eastern Europe rarely spar with non-devout congregants over observance issues, though some Jewish community leaders and members in Europe and beyond find Chabads worldview highly conservative and restrictive.

After the meeting with Kaczynski, 14 Polish groups and individuals co-signed a statement Sunday stating that the Chabad rabbis, Shalom Dov Ber Stambler and Eliezer Gurary, along with Daniels and Hofman, do not represent the Jewish community of Poland but at most themselves or their own organizations.

The signatories include Kowalski, Chipczynska, Piszewski and Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland.

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’18 Youth Olympic Games to use Jewish group’s anti-racism program – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) The2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires will feature a Jewish groups program battling racism and xenophobia in sports.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centers Eleven Points Against Racism in Football program works with sports authorities, athletes and referees to stop and prevent racial hatred in athletic events and to use sports as a bond between peoples.

It will be implemented with the support of the Organization of American States during the games, which will be held Oct. 6-18, 2018.

On Tuesday, theLatin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Ariel Gelblung, confirmed to JTA the agreement with OAS.

If we succeed in eradicating racism, xenophobia and discrimination in sport, we can generate a greater awareness in society, OAS Secretary GeneralLuis Almagro said in a letter to the Wiesenthal Center. As Nelson Mandela has shown, sport is a powerful tool for changing unacceptable behaviors and promoting inclusive societies.

Gelblung is planning an educational site inside the Olympic village in Buenos Aires.

The initiative was inspired by a similar program, Football Against Racism in Europe, or FARE, to prevent violence at major sporting events.

In March2012, the Wiesenthal Center called on the Argentine Football Association to penalize the Chacarita Juniors soccer club over anti-Semitic chants from its fans against the Atlanta Athletic Club of Buenos Aires, a team associated with the Jewish community. One year later, the center asked for sanctions against Atlanta for making racist chants against rival Chacarita.

Israel will be among 206 countries sending athletes aged 15 to 18 to the games. The third edition of the global event has soccer star Lionel Messi as one of its main supporters.

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On Birthright, Russians and Ukrainians bond over Jewish identity – The Jerusalem Post

As the war in Donbass that began more than three years ago continues, Russia-Ukraine tensions remain high, but citizens of both countries on Birthright Israel tours instead focus on the Jewish heritage that unites them.

Of the 3,100 Russian-speaking Birthright participants who visited Israel this summer, 800 were Ukrainian and 1,800 were Russian.

David Pevzner, 19, is from Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Pevzner studies medicine in Krasnodar, Russia, and is touring Israel as part of a Birthright group for medical students and doctors. The 40 participants are a 50/50 mix of Ukrainians and Russians.

There is no problem hakol beseder, Pevzner tells the The Jerusalem Post on Sunday night, speaking in English but using the Hebrew words to say everything is okay.

For Pevzner, the opportunity to meet other Jews, not only from Russia and Ukraine, but from all over the world, is an overwhelmingly positive one. He is talking to the Post at an event held at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, put on by Taglit-Birthright Israel and Genesis Philanthropy Group, for 900 Russian-speaking Birthright Israel participants.

No matter where we come from we are all Jews and this is the most important thing. We communicate with people from around the world, he says, pointing to participants he has met from countries such as Germany, France and the US. Its very interesting to communicate with people both from other societies and other countries.

This is a special experience for me and I think this trip will influence me in a good way. I think it helps me understand who I am and will make me move to Israel more quickly, he adds.

Several of the participants who spoke with the Post expressed an interest in moving to Israel, one of the effects of the organizations mission to create and foster ties to Israel and the Jewish people, though it does not expressly promote immigration to the country.

These goals are important to Pevzner, too, who has always been actively involved in Jewish life in Crimea, with organizations such as Netzer, Hillel, Tzofim and also in ulpan. I think we should help to create Jewish community to teach young Jewish members of society and to get results, he says earnestly.

Maxime Gonik, from Volgograd, Russia, has never been affiliated with any Jewish community. He has experienced some prejudice about his Jewish identity in his hometown, but brushes it off as jokes coming from people who have prejudice about everyone. I just ignore them.

I think Taglit is a very good experience to feel part of the Jewish nation, he adds, saying that when he leaves he expects to feel more confident in his Jewish identity. I feel more Jewish than Russian and I will seek to learn more about my Jewishness when I am home.

For me, the Jewish community is really interesting because I dont think any other nation has such a close community. If you say you are Jewish it binds nationalities together, Gonik says.

Dima Galen, 29, from Ungvar, western Ukraine, was the counselor for the medical professionals group. He admits he had concerns about the mix of participants from Russia, Ukraine and Crimea before the tour began. I was afraid of some conflicts and how they would be with each other but they are all doctors and they are all Jewish and it makes them feel together, he says.

He says that he tries to avoid any political discussions but of course cannot control what his participants talk about privately. When I see there is something, we try to find what we have in common, he notes. He comes from western Ukraine and though he says his area is highly tolerant, Russia is still seen as the enemy. We are under pressure of propaganda so its important to see real people, not just something from the media, he says.

This is the second time Galen is leading a mixed group. Because they have doctors ideals and believe that human life is the most important thing, in some way it protects them from extreme levels of aggression, he says. We try our best to mix the group, to help them talk to each other and to get truthful information from the opposite side. The counselor also encourages participants to stay in touch after the program, though he acknowledges that visits to one another are difficult in the current situation.

Tamara Berehovska, 22, from Kiev, led an all-Ukrainian group, but she was concerned about how the participants would interact with those from Russian-controlled areas. Sometimes they talk about their lives in the occupied territories and some people are interested, but sometimes people are surprised that they dont leave and think that if they love Ukraine then why dont they leave, she says, but adds that this topic is left un-tackled as there is also an understanding that it is hard to leave ones home.

I can say on the seventh day of the trip that it works totally fine. They act like they have been friends forever. All 40 are dancing together right now, she says, as the pumping music from the mega-event dance party outside reverberates through the room. There are no cliques and division at all, she emphasizes.

Like Pevzner, Berehovska is actively involved in Jewish life and education. She spent three years working for the Jewish Agency and studied Jewish texts intensively on a program in Sweden. She was inspired to lead a Birthright group in order to share her wealth of knowledge.

But Ivan Goncharenko, Birthrights FSU and Germany marketing and recruitment director, emphasizes that these active and affiliated Jews are far from the norm. According to him, more than 50 half of the participants from the former Soviet Union didnt even know they had Jewish roots until recently. My priority is to find anyone who can go on Birthright, he says. Every two weeks he travels to Ukraine and Russia to find Jews who could participate. If we dont find them today, we will lose them, he says.

Indeed, Mariia Skorska, 22, a marketing student from Dnipro, Ukraine [until May 2016, Dnipropetrovsk (Ukrainian) or Dnepropetrovsk (Russian)] only discovered recently that she is Jewish. Her parents had never told her that her mother was Jewish and she learned of her family history from a cousin.

So now, when I learn more about the Jewish religion and Israeli history, I want to join the community and learn more and more. Im proud of it, she gushes. Having spoken to Israeli soldiers who joined her group and having been moved by a visit to Jerusalems Mount Herzl, Israels national cemetery, Skorska has decided she wants to serve in the IDF. I want to do the same thing as these people who protect and support the country, she says.

Skorska has made Russian friends during her trip, and echoes the voices of others when she says, We dont talk about politics were all friends.

Kate Kalvari, 25, from Kiev, says, We were worried about it at first, but we saw that we were all adults and first and foremost we are Jewish everyone is a citizen of his country and politics is not our subject of conversation.

The same holds for the counselors. Ahead of the summer, Goncharenko led a training seminar for more than 100 counselors from all over the FSU. They set aside their political differences its not important, they speak about other things, he says.

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The Barcelona Jewish community is not doomed – Cleveland Jewish News

I am 34 years old and have lived in Barcelona since I was 4. I attended the Jewish day school, the public high school and Barcelona University. During the past three years, I have been privileged to serve as director of the Jewish community of Barcelona.

I know this historic community and its people quite well. Next year we will celebrate the centenary of our communitys re-establishment following the expulsion of 1492. In these past hundred years, Jews from all over the world have been attracted to play an active role in the life of our community: Turkish and Greek Jews who arrived in the First World War; activists who participated in the Spanish Civil War; Jews fleeing European anti-Semitism; Moroccan Jews who arrived after the independence of their native country; Latin American Jews; and large numbers of Israelis who have fallen in love with our city.

Barcelona is a dynamic Jewish melting pot. We are religiously pluralistic, blessed with four synagogues each embracing a different approach to Judaism. As Jews everywhere, we relish arguing among ourselves. Yet one of the things that unites us is our relationship with and love of the city.

And not without reason. Barcelona is synonymous with solidarity, welcome, peace and cultural diversity. A trendy city for tourists, a place of opportunity for businesspeople, it is a mecca for those interested in history, art, architecture, soccer and postcard landscapes. We proudly show our city to friends from abroad. We love listening to Hebrew in the city center. We revel in and are active participants in its rich culture. Barcelona is truly an international city; it is no coincidence that those killed and injured in the terrorist attack came from 34 different countries.

Since 1977, with the arrival of democracy in our country, the Jewish community has played an active role in the social, cultural and religious life of the wider society, and we have developed close relations with government institutions at all levels Barcelonan, Catalonian and Spanish. Public activities have been organized in the Barcelona synagogue. We have celebrated Hanukkah in the streets. We annually commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Catalan Parliament. Every year, hundreds of schools bring their students to the synagogue, where we educate them about Judaism and the important history of our community. We are longstanding participants in interreligious dialogue. In fact, this year our Talmud Torah teacher is president of the official interreligious group of Catalonia.

We are experiencing a revival of Jewish culture. For example, local Jewish authors have published academic books and novels. Last year we organized the first Jewish Literature Festival. This year marks the 19th anniversary of the Jewish Film Festival of Barcelona.The Jewish Museum and Study Center of Girona, not far from Barcelona, is a place to discover Catalans Jewish medieval history, which includes the great Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, the Ramban. Many municipalities participate in the European Day of Jewish Culture.

Catalonia hosts brilliant Hebraists, disciples of the Hebrew Department of the University of Barcelona the oldest chair at the university as well as renowned writers and historians who have great expertise on Judaism and the history of Catalan Jews. This trend is also reflected in the growing interest of the general Catalan population in Jewish matters, interest that we see translating into spiritual, historical and intellectual curiosity. In short, there is a vibrancy to Jewish life in Barcelona.

The scourge of terrorism has brought great shock and sadness to Barcelona, as it has done in other European cities. These are difficult days for us, no doubt, and we cry and pray for the victims. We are fully coordinating our security with the authorities, who have always been responsive, and our non-Jewish neighbors consistently demonstrate solidarity with us.

The goal of the terrorists is to make us afraid. Barcelona is not afraid. The Jewish community here is not afraid. This cowardly act of violence will only make us stronger in our resolve to stay and grow the Jewish community of this amazing city. We Jews of Barcelona have been proudly living in our revived community for 100 years. We arent leaving.

(Victor Sorenssen is the director of Comunidad Israelita de Barcelona, the Barcelona Jewish Community.)

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Billy Joel Wears Yellow Star of David at New York Show Amid Rising Neo-Nazi Activity – PEOPLE.com

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Letter to the editor: Jewish food may make city ‘Jerusalem of the North’ again – Press Herald

Meredith Goads Aug. 9 article on the return and renaissance of Jewish food to the Portland food scene was a winner!

Her descriptions of the wonderful chefs and bakers who are reviving and renewing a culinary heritage makes me want to try them all. She make some historical reference to what once what was, but she is in all probability too young to know about the long, rich history of the Jewish community in Maine.

At one time, Portland was called the Jerusalem of the North because there was such a large and active Jewish population here. It was centered in the Munjoy Hill area, along with many other immigrant groups. There was a strip on Middle Street with thriving kosher grocery shops, butchers and bakers. And there were other centers of Jewish life in other towns, cities, farms and woodlands in Maine.

All of this history, and more, will be evident when the Maine State Museum in Augusta, adjacent to the State House, mounts an exhibit next year documenting the 200-year presence of this vibrant group of Mainers.

The dynamic and colorful presentation will integrate original artifacts, video and audio elements, unique art installations and interactive experiences. And, maybe, if were lucky, some samples of Jewish food will be offered to museum visitors.

Elaine Kahaner

Old Orchard Beach

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Adopt-A-Nazi is Jewish group’s answer to ‘Patriot Prayer’ rally – Fox News

A Jewish association in San Francisco has launched an Adopt-a-Nazi fundraising campaign in opposition to a free speech rally taking place in the city next weekend. The Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco, JBASF, has already raised more than $100,000 with its GoFundMe campaign titled Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really), NBC News reported. The campaign was set up in protest of the upcoming Patriot Prayers Freedom Rally San Francisco and is raising money for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The bar association, which reportedly fears a repeat of the violence seen in Charlottesville, Va., during a rally earlier this month, is asking people to donate $100 for every marcher expected to show up to Crissy Field on Saturday. Organizers of the Patriot Prayer rallies– set for Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. local time — say they are not an alt-right or white nationalist group. Joey Gibson, the Patriot Prayers leader, says the group supports freedom, love and peace. A Facebook message by Patriot Prayer states that no extremists will be allowed in to its Liberty Weekend events. It continues: No Nazis, Communists, KKK, Antifa, white supremacists, i.e. or white nationalists. Cody Harris, a JBASF board member, told NBC he was “repulsed” by the violence displayed at the Charlottesville rally that was in protest of the removal of a Confederate statue. The violence at the rally led to three deaths — one woman who died after she was hit by a car and two police officers whose helicopter crashed. “White nationalists may feel emboldened, but they will never prevail,” Harris said. “There are far more decent people dedicated to this countrys founding creed than there are white nationalists.

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Jewish Identity in the Summer of Hate – Chelsea Now

White nationalist demonstrators hold their ground as they clash with counter demonstrators in Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12. AP photo by Steve Helber. BY MAX BURBANK | Growing up, everything I knew about being a Jew came from Woody Allen films and the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof. Sad, right? No Zero Mostel for me, my Tevye was Topol, for Christs sake! (See what I did there? Apparently, Jesus was a Jew. A lot of people dont know that.) The whole Woody Allen thing is admittedly a little tainted now, but youll have to forgive me I didnt have a time machine. I was raised by secular Jews in Massachusetts, one of only two Jewish families in town, and the Silvermans didnt care for us. Anti-Semitism wasnt something I ran into that much. To the other kids, Jews were obscure, robe-and-sandal creatures found mostly on Sunday school felt boards. Oh sure, Id hear the occasional Dont be such a Jew or He Jewed me down. One time, classmates threw pennies at me in the hallway, shouting, Chase the penny, Jew! Okay, I guess thats pretty overtly anti-Semitic when you think about it. At the time it just seemed on par with the wedgies and locker-stuffings I got for all the other ways I was different talking about Star Trek too much, eagerly sharing my wrote memorization of Tom Lehrers entire song catalogue which, now that I see it in writing, also seems maybe a little Jewy. I identified as Jewish growing up, of course I did. I am. My parents are Jews, my Grandparents. I didnt go to Hebrew school and I didnt have a bar mitzvah, but that doesnt un-Jew me. All my life people said, If you dont practice the religion, how can you be Jewish? the same way they said, You cant eat bacon. Youre a Jew! like it was a physical impossibility. Id explain as patiently as possible that Judaism is a religion and Jews are a people. Full disclosure, I dont know if thats correct. Also, I dont really care. Ive always liked being a Jew. It justifies a lot of my funny, slightly paranoid, sometimes standoffish personality and also my love of run-on sentences and habitual interruption of people (which I think of as just the natural flow of conversation, so when people give me a hard time about it they are really just being anti-Semitic). I stole that last joke from my oldest daughter, but shes only half-Jewish (and I would have thought of it eventually). Beyond all that, I didnt spend a whole lot of time pondering my Jewish-American identity. I didnt have to. I had that luxury. I grew up thinking that Jew-hating in America was for the most part a historical relic. I mean, I didnt imagine everybody was all, Oh, boy, Jews! I just assumed that classic, old school, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about hook-nosed Jews managing vast banking cabals, secretly controlling the media and Hollywood, and cackling maniacally while quaffing Christian baby blood by the liter had gone the way of the passenger pigeon and the rotary phone. I pooh-poohed Jewish friends who saw anti-Semitism lurking behind every corner like it was the solution to Einsteins unified field theory. Charlottesville changed all that. Or Charlottesville was the final, undeniable proof that everything had changed. Or nothing had changed, Id just been wrong my whole life. A rock that had always been in our backyard had been turned over, revealing about a million squirming Nazi bugs. And the President of the United States was telling me that sure, some of those Nazi bugs were bad, but many of them were very fine bugs. My Grandfather on my dads side fought in World War II. He gave me a German helmet with a bullet hole in it he said hed put there, but I always thought that was a lie. He was one of the first American Doctors into Auschwitz. He never talked about it. Smuggling cases of whiskey on supply flights he talked about, but not a word about the camps. My Grandmother reportedly said once (and only once) that her husband had come back from the war different. Some things dont get talked about, like what you saw in the war or what is was like to speak for your parents because they only spoke Yiddish, or why you fled Russia in the first place. I always imagined it was because of what happened at the end of Fiddler on the Roof. I have no other way to imagine it. When my dad was a kid running around Brooklyn, his dad was away fighting Germans some of whom were, I have no doubt, very fine men whod spent the last several years rounding up Jews from all over Europe. Now, here in the United States, were quite a ways away from doing anything remotely like that. But were a good deal closer than I ever imagined possible just a year ago. I hope Im wrong. Just before I turned this column in, I stood on the Boston Common with my family, a few friends, and tens of thousands of people I had never met to protest a free speech rally whose guest list leaned heavily toward well, lets say Nazis so I dont have to get into the finer distinctions of the particular ways in which they hate other folks. See how I demonstrated my right to free speech there? They huddled together in what could have passed as the gazebo from The Sound of Music, all 50 or so of them, and I imagine they were afraid to be surrounded by a massive crowd that really didnt like them. Wouldnt it be great if there were a lesson they could take away from the experience? But that was Boston, not Charlottesville. I love my bubble, and I hope its skin is more like steel than soap, but its a bubble. I loved not thinking about things like this. I loved raising my kids certain theyd never worry about this bizarre hatred, as it faded further and further into the past until it was just a story, like Passover, which Im stupidly now realizing is exactly the opposite of what the Passover story is supposed to teach you. Im used to the full bucket of white privilege, but I find myself missing the cream, where I never had to think at all about my own race. I liked not thinking about it, and missing it makes me feel small and petty and nave, like a Republican who changed his mind about marriage equality, but only after finding out one of his grandkids was gay. Apparently, Nazis dont think Jews are white. I mean literally. I dont know what the hell color they think our skin is, I guess its like camouflage, another nefarious Jew trick. Its okay, though. If white only comes in a polo shirt, khakis, and a Tiki torch accessory, I dont want it. I hope were Rose gold. Id eat that color up with a frikkin spoon.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

String Cheese Incident Drummer Sounds Off On ‘Jewish Banking Cartel.’ Not A Wise Move. – Forward

Its hard to know how many lives will be ruined before the human race finally learns not to engage in Facebook debates. Michael Travis, drummer of the popular jam band String Cheese Incident, hopefully learned a lesson after publishing a self-reflective Facebook post about the controversial anti-fascist group Antifa. Does warring with Nazis really make less Nazis? Travis asks. Arent Nazis just scared lil (white) boys that need loving like everyone else? Resistance is key of course. But how should it look? Antifa is not giving us a good name nor do I think its effective. A worthy debate! Had Travis left it at that and allowed his Facebook followers to engage with this question sans interference, like a good college professor or elderly wise man would have, perhaps things wouldnt have taken the direction that they did. Unfortunately, the pull to take part in lengthy, time-consuming Facebook debates that ultimately change nothing and help no one proved too strong. In an exchange with Facebook user Candace Horgan, Travis wrote the following ill-conceived sentences: The Jewish banking agenda is fairly irrefutable. I have many many friends that are Jewish. (Even if they never read the Torah but that is a whole different topic). I love Jews. Powerful powerful people. I think Trump is a living human piece of sh**. I also think the Zionist banking cartel is a thing. Do you have evidence there isnt a banking cartel that is largely run by Jews? Ill stop saying this if someone will present that evidence. I am not bent on vilifying Jews by pointing out this business cartel. It could have been anyone. Not a great look for the percussionist. Later, Travis posted a heartfelt apology. Im so sorry for causing offense, wrote Travis. Im obviously coming from a very different frame of reference. I dont mean to offend. I love Jews. I love all people. And thats the tale of the week the drummer of String Cheese Incident and the wife of Steve Mnuchin learned the same lesson. Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

Polish Jewish leader calls counterparts who met with senior politician ‘court Jews’ – Cleveland Jewish News

In an escalation of a row among Polish Jews over the governments responsibility for a perceived increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric, a communal leader called Jews who met with a senior politician his court Jews. Sergiusz Kowalski, the president of the Polish branch of the Bnai Brith Jewish group, made the remarkin an interview published Monday on the NaTemat news site about Artur Hofman, president of the TSKZ cultural group of Polish Jews, and three other Jews who last week met with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a founder of the ruling Law and Justice Party. The hourlong meeting, which Hofman told JTA was amicable, followed the posting of an open letter to Kaczynski in which for the first time since the fall of communism, two leaders of Polish Jewry Leslaw Piszewski, the president of the Union of Jewish Communities inPoland, and Anna Chipczynska, head of the Warsaw community pleaded with an official to curb what they said was rising anti-Semitism. Chipczynska told JTA that the letter came at a low point for Polish Jewrys feeling of security because of anti-Semitic actions that she said were being tolerated by the government. But Hofman, whose group of 1,200 members is Polands largest Jewish organization in terms of membership, dismissed the claims, telling JTA that Chipczynska and Piszewski were exaggerating what he called unfounded concerns about anti-Semitism as part of a political war against Law and Justice. Hofman met Kaczynski with two Chabad rabbis and Jonny Daniels, the founder of the From the Depths Holocaust commemoration group. The meeting, Kowalski said, sent a message that went into the world: We very much have our Jews who love Law and Justice and we have anti-Semitism problem. Such court Jews were long used by the authorities. He also said that followers of the Chabad-Lubavitch, the Hasidic movement, were generally very intolerant of other Jews, especially the nonreligious. Chabad, an Orthodox movement that encourages all Jews to follow a strict interpretation of the halachah legal code, specializes in outreach to secular Jews. Its emissaries in Eastern Europe rarely spar with non-devout congregants over observance issues, though some Jewish community leaders and members in Europe and beyond find Chabads worldview highly conservative and restrictive. After the meeting with Kaczynski, 14 Polish groups and individuals co-signed a statement Sunday stating that the Chabad rabbis, Shalom Dov Ber Stambler and Eliezer Gurary, along with Daniels and Hofman, do not represent the Jewish community of Poland but at most themselves or their own organizations. The signatories include Kowalski, Chipczynska, Piszewski and Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

’18 Youth Olympic Games to use Jewish group’s anti-racism program – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) The2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires will feature a Jewish groups program battling racism and xenophobia in sports. The Simon Wiesenthal Centers Eleven Points Against Racism in Football program works with sports authorities, athletes and referees to stop and prevent racial hatred in athletic events and to use sports as a bond between peoples. It will be implemented with the support of the Organization of American States during the games, which will be held Oct. 6-18, 2018. On Tuesday, theLatin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Ariel Gelblung, confirmed to JTA the agreement with OAS. If we succeed in eradicating racism, xenophobia and discrimination in sport, we can generate a greater awareness in society, OAS Secretary GeneralLuis Almagro said in a letter to the Wiesenthal Center. As Nelson Mandela has shown, sport is a powerful tool for changing unacceptable behaviors and promoting inclusive societies. Gelblung is planning an educational site inside the Olympic village in Buenos Aires. The initiative was inspired by a similar program, Football Against Racism in Europe, or FARE, to prevent violence at major sporting events. In March2012, the Wiesenthal Center called on the Argentine Football Association to penalize the Chacarita Juniors soccer club over anti-Semitic chants from its fans against the Atlanta Athletic Club of Buenos Aires, a team associated with the Jewish community. One year later, the center asked for sanctions against Atlanta for making racist chants against rival Chacarita. Israel will be among 206 countries sending athletes aged 15 to 18 to the games. The third edition of the global event has soccer star Lionel Messi as one of its main supporters.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

On Birthright, Russians and Ukrainians bond over Jewish identity – The Jerusalem Post

As the war in Donbass that began more than three years ago continues, Russia-Ukraine tensions remain high, but citizens of both countries on Birthright Israel tours instead focus on the Jewish heritage that unites them. Of the 3,100 Russian-speaking Birthright participants who visited Israel this summer, 800 were Ukrainian and 1,800 were Russian. David Pevzner, 19, is from Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Pevzner studies medicine in Krasnodar, Russia, and is touring Israel as part of a Birthright group for medical students and doctors. The 40 participants are a 50/50 mix of Ukrainians and Russians. There is no problem hakol beseder, Pevzner tells the The Jerusalem Post on Sunday night, speaking in English but using the Hebrew words to say everything is okay. For Pevzner, the opportunity to meet other Jews, not only from Russia and Ukraine, but from all over the world, is an overwhelmingly positive one. He is talking to the Post at an event held at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, put on by Taglit-Birthright Israel and Genesis Philanthropy Group, for 900 Russian-speaking Birthright Israel participants. No matter where we come from we are all Jews and this is the most important thing. We communicate with people from around the world, he says, pointing to participants he has met from countries such as Germany, France and the US. Its very interesting to communicate with people both from other societies and other countries. This is a special experience for me and I think this trip will influence me in a good way. I think it helps me understand who I am and will make me move to Israel more quickly, he adds. Several of the participants who spoke with the Post expressed an interest in moving to Israel, one of the effects of the organizations mission to create and foster ties to Israel and the Jewish people, though it does not expressly promote immigration to the country. These goals are important to Pevzner, too, who has always been actively involved in Jewish life in Crimea, with organizations such as Netzer, Hillel, Tzofim and also in ulpan. I think we should help to create Jewish community to teach young Jewish members of society and to get results, he says earnestly. Maxime Gonik, from Volgograd, Russia, has never been affiliated with any Jewish community. He has experienced some prejudice about his Jewish identity in his hometown, but brushes it off as jokes coming from people who have prejudice about everyone. I just ignore them. I think Taglit is a very good experience to feel part of the Jewish nation, he adds, saying that when he leaves he expects to feel more confident in his Jewish identity. I feel more Jewish than Russian and I will seek to learn more about my Jewishness when I am home. For me, the Jewish community is really interesting because I dont think any other nation has such a close community. If you say you are Jewish it binds nationalities together, Gonik says. Dima Galen, 29, from Ungvar, western Ukraine, was the counselor for the medical professionals group. He admits he had concerns about the mix of participants from Russia, Ukraine and Crimea before the tour began. I was afraid of some conflicts and how they would be with each other but they are all doctors and they are all Jewish and it makes them feel together, he says. He says that he tries to avoid any political discussions but of course cannot control what his participants talk about privately. When I see there is something, we try to find what we have in common, he notes. He comes from western Ukraine and though he says his area is highly tolerant, Russia is still seen as the enemy. We are under pressure of propaganda so its important to see real people, not just something from the media, he says. This is the second time Galen is leading a mixed group. Because they have doctors ideals and believe that human life is the most important thing, in some way it protects them from extreme levels of aggression, he says. We try our best to mix the group, to help them talk to each other and to get truthful information from the opposite side. The counselor also encourages participants to stay in touch after the program, though he acknowledges that visits to one another are difficult in the current situation. Tamara Berehovska, 22, from Kiev, led an all-Ukrainian group, but she was concerned about how the participants would interact with those from Russian-controlled areas. Sometimes they talk about their lives in the occupied territories and some people are interested, but sometimes people are surprised that they dont leave and think that if they love Ukraine then why dont they leave, she says, but adds that this topic is left un-tackled as there is also an understanding that it is hard to leave ones home. I can say on the seventh day of the trip that it works totally fine. They act like they have been friends forever. All 40 are dancing together right now, she says, as the pumping music from the mega-event dance party outside reverberates through the room. There are no cliques and division at all, she emphasizes. Like Pevzner, Berehovska is actively involved in Jewish life and education. She spent three years working for the Jewish Agency and studied Jewish texts intensively on a program in Sweden. She was inspired to lead a Birthright group in order to share her wealth of knowledge. But Ivan Goncharenko, Birthrights FSU and Germany marketing and recruitment director, emphasizes that these active and affiliated Jews are far from the norm. According to him, more than 50 half of the participants from the former Soviet Union didnt even know they had Jewish roots until recently. My priority is to find anyone who can go on Birthright, he says. Every two weeks he travels to Ukraine and Russia to find Jews who could participate. If we dont find them today, we will lose them, he says. Indeed, Mariia Skorska, 22, a marketing student from Dnipro, Ukraine [until May 2016, Dnipropetrovsk (Ukrainian) or Dnepropetrovsk (Russian)] only discovered recently that she is Jewish. Her parents had never told her that her mother was Jewish and she learned of her family history from a cousin. So now, when I learn more about the Jewish religion and Israeli history, I want to join the community and learn more and more. Im proud of it, she gushes. Having spoken to Israeli soldiers who joined her group and having been moved by a visit to Jerusalems Mount Herzl, Israels national cemetery, Skorska has decided she wants to serve in the IDF. I want to do the same thing as these people who protect and support the country, she says. Skorska has made Russian friends during her trip, and echoes the voices of others when she says, We dont talk about politics were all friends. Kate Kalvari, 25, from Kiev, says, We were worried about it at first, but we saw that we were all adults and first and foremost we are Jewish everyone is a citizen of his country and politics is not our subject of conversation. The same holds for the counselors. Ahead of the summer, Goncharenko led a training seminar for more than 100 counselors from all over the FSU. They set aside their political differences its not important, they speak about other things, he says. Share on facebook

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

The Barcelona Jewish community is not doomed – Cleveland Jewish News

I am 34 years old and have lived in Barcelona since I was 4. I attended the Jewish day school, the public high school and Barcelona University. During the past three years, I have been privileged to serve as director of the Jewish community of Barcelona. I know this historic community and its people quite well. Next year we will celebrate the centenary of our communitys re-establishment following the expulsion of 1492. In these past hundred years, Jews from all over the world have been attracted to play an active role in the life of our community: Turkish and Greek Jews who arrived in the First World War; activists who participated in the Spanish Civil War; Jews fleeing European anti-Semitism; Moroccan Jews who arrived after the independence of their native country; Latin American Jews; and large numbers of Israelis who have fallen in love with our city. Barcelona is a dynamic Jewish melting pot. We are religiously pluralistic, blessed with four synagogues each embracing a different approach to Judaism. As Jews everywhere, we relish arguing among ourselves. Yet one of the things that unites us is our relationship with and love of the city. And not without reason. Barcelona is synonymous with solidarity, welcome, peace and cultural diversity. A trendy city for tourists, a place of opportunity for businesspeople, it is a mecca for those interested in history, art, architecture, soccer and postcard landscapes. We proudly show our city to friends from abroad. We love listening to Hebrew in the city center. We revel in and are active participants in its rich culture. Barcelona is truly an international city; it is no coincidence that those killed and injured in the terrorist attack came from 34 different countries. Since 1977, with the arrival of democracy in our country, the Jewish community has played an active role in the social, cultural and religious life of the wider society, and we have developed close relations with government institutions at all levels Barcelonan, Catalonian and Spanish. Public activities have been organized in the Barcelona synagogue. We have celebrated Hanukkah in the streets. We annually commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Catalan Parliament. Every year, hundreds of schools bring their students to the synagogue, where we educate them about Judaism and the important history of our community. We are longstanding participants in interreligious dialogue. In fact, this year our Talmud Torah teacher is president of the official interreligious group of Catalonia. We are experiencing a revival of Jewish culture. For example, local Jewish authors have published academic books and novels. Last year we organized the first Jewish Literature Festival. This year marks the 19th anniversary of the Jewish Film Festival of Barcelona.The Jewish Museum and Study Center of Girona, not far from Barcelona, is a place to discover Catalans Jewish medieval history, which includes the great Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, the Ramban. Many municipalities participate in the European Day of Jewish Culture. Catalonia hosts brilliant Hebraists, disciples of the Hebrew Department of the University of Barcelona the oldest chair at the university as well as renowned writers and historians who have great expertise on Judaism and the history of Catalan Jews. This trend is also reflected in the growing interest of the general Catalan population in Jewish matters, interest that we see translating into spiritual, historical and intellectual curiosity. In short, there is a vibrancy to Jewish life in Barcelona. The scourge of terrorism has brought great shock and sadness to Barcelona, as it has done in other European cities. These are difficult days for us, no doubt, and we cry and pray for the victims. We are fully coordinating our security with the authorities, who have always been responsive, and our non-Jewish neighbors consistently demonstrate solidarity with us. The goal of the terrorists is to make us afraid. Barcelona is not afraid. The Jewish community here is not afraid. This cowardly act of violence will only make us stronger in our resolve to stay and grow the Jewish community of this amazing city. We Jews of Barcelona have been proudly living in our revived community for 100 years. We arent leaving. (Victor Sorenssen is the director of Comunidad Israelita de Barcelona, the Barcelona Jewish Community.)

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

Billy Joel Wears Yellow Star of David at New York Show Amid Rising Neo-Nazi Activity – PEOPLE.com

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed

Letter to the editor: Jewish food may make city ‘Jerusalem of the North’ again – Press Herald

Meredith Goads Aug. 9 article on the return and renaissance of Jewish food to the Portland food scene was a winner! Her descriptions of the wonderful chefs and bakers who are reviving and renewing a culinary heritage makes me want to try them all. She make some historical reference to what once what was, but she is in all probability too young to know about the long, rich history of the Jewish community in Maine. At one time, Portland was called the Jerusalem of the North because there was such a large and active Jewish population here. It was centered in the Munjoy Hill area, along with many other immigrant groups. There was a strip on Middle Street with thriving kosher grocery shops, butchers and bakers. And there were other centers of Jewish life in other towns, cities, farms and woodlands in Maine. All of this history, and more, will be evident when the Maine State Museum in Augusta, adjacent to the State House, mounts an exhibit next year documenting the 200-year presence of this vibrant group of Mainers. The dynamic and colorful presentation will integrate original artifacts, video and audio elements, unique art installations and interactive experiences. And, maybe, if were lucky, some samples of Jewish food will be offered to museum visitors. Elaine Kahaner Old Orchard Beach

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish  Comments Closed


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