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Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and …

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September 18, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Ceremony Marks 75 Years Since Treblinka Death Camp Revolt

WARSAW, Poland — Israel’s ambassador to Poland has joined Polish officials and the relatives of former Treblinka death camp inmates in marking the 75th anniversary of a revolt by Jewish prisoners

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August 3, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

A History of the Jews in Christian Spain (Two-volume set …

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June 29, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Jews for Jesus – Wikipedia

Jews for Jesus is a Messianic Jewish non-profit organization founded in 1973 which seeks to share its belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Jewish people. They use symbols, holidays, and stories from classic Jewish sources, rebranding them as Christian.[1] Jews for Jesus is not considered a sect of Judaism by nearly all mainstream Jewish authorities[2][3]

Jews for Jesus was founded by Moishe Rosen in San Francisco in 1973. David Brickner has been the executive director of Jews for Jesus since 1996.

A summary of Jews for Jesus’ beliefs:[4]

Jews for Jesus takes the mainstream Christian positions that Jesus is the Messiah, that his coming was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, and that Jesus is the son of God, the second person of the Trinity. Jews for Jesus believes that their views of the Messiah are entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures,[5] and that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism.[6]

According to an article on Jews for Jesus by B. Robinson of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance,

Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from Evangelical and other conservative Christian groups. … They differ from some Evangelical Christian groups in their belief that Israel continues to exist as a “covenant people.” They also integrate some Jewish customs and use Hebrew and Yiddish in some literature.[7]

Jews for Jesus was founded by Moishe Rosen in San Francisco in 1973. It was originally called Hineni Ministries, after the Hebrew word meaning “Here I am”. Originally, “Jews for Jesus” was simply one of the organization’s several slogans but after the media began to call the group “Jews for Jesus” the organization adopted that name. David Brickner has been the executive director of Jews for Jesus since 1996.[8]

Jews for Jesus is funded by donations from like-minded Christians.[9][10] It has a full-time staff of more than 200 employees[11] running branch offices in seven cities across the United States. There are also branch offices in Australia, Toronto, London, Paris, Germany (in Essen and Berlin), Hungary, Israel, South Africa, Moscow and Ukraine (in Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kiev and Odessa). In addition to its English-language website, the group has websites in Hebrew, Portuguese, Polish, Persian, Italian, Spanish and Korean.[12]

According to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the group’s total income in FY 2010 was US$20,728,530.[13]

The majority of evangelism used by Jews for Jesus consists of handing out literature on the streets, one-on-one Bible studies, full-page ads in leading newspapers and magazines, ISSUES (an eight-page evangelistic publication for Jewish seekers) and internet evangelism.[14] The organization uses colorful pamphlets and T-shirts to get their message across, engaging with populations of Jews which they see as receptive to their message such as recent immigrants, college students, senior citizens and interfaith couples.[15]

On their official website, Jews for Jesus says that they give out 8 million pamphlets a year.[16] They use college-age volunteers for some of their short-term evangelism campaigns.[17] Each July they send a team of 20 to 30 to New York City, which they say has the world’s largest and most diverse Jewish population.[18]

Belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or even a non-divine Christ/Messiah or Prophet (as in Islam), is held as incompatible with Judaism by all Jewish religious movements.[19][20] In a 2013 Pew Forum study, 60% of American Jews said that belief in Jesus as the Messiah was not “compatible with being Jewish”, while 34% found it compatible and 4% did not know.[21]

In 1993 the Task Force on Missionaries and Cults of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY) issued a statement which has been endorsed by the four major Jewish denominations: Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations.[22] Based on this statement, the Spiritual Deception Prevention Project at the JCRCNY stated:

On several occasions leaders of the four major Jewish movements have signed on to joint statements opposing Hebrew-Christian theology and tactics. In part they said: “Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not … It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance … as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism … Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbridgeable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former co-religionists.”[23]

The director of a counter-missionary group Torah Atlanta, Rabbi Efraim Davidson, stated that “the Jews for Jesus use aggressive proselytizing to target disenfranchised or unaffiliated Jews, Russian immigrants and college students” and that “their techniques are manipulative, deceptive and anti-Semitic.”[24]

In an interview for Beliefnet, Orthodox Rabbi Irving Greenberg, the author of For the Sake of Heaven and Earth, said:

There are Jews for Jesus who use the trappings of Judaism to bring people into a religion that teaches that Judaism is finished. Jews for Jesus are worse theologically than the mainstream of Catholicism or Protestantism, which now affirm that Judaism is a valid religion. Jews for Jesus say that it is not. They use the Jewish trappings, but de facto, they are teaching the classic Christian supersessionismthat Judaism was at best a foreshadowing of Christianity.[25]

Some Western Christians object to evangelizing Jews because they see Jewish religious practice as valid in and of itself.[26] Some Liberal Protestant denominations that have issued statements criticizing evangelism of Jews include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,[27] the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA,[28] which said in 1988 that Jews have their own covenant with God.[29] The Board of Governors of the Long Island Council of Churches opposes proselytizing of Jews, and voiced these sentiments in a statement that “noted with alarm” the “subterfuge and dishonesty” inherent in the “mixing [of] religious symbols in ways which distort their essential meaning”, and named Jews for Jesus as one of the three groups about whom such behavior was alleged.[30]

In 2003, the sponsorship of Jews for Jesus by All Souls Church, Langham Place, a Conservative Evangelical Church in London, with a launch event on Rosh Hashanah launching a UK mission targeting the Jewish community led to the Interfaith Alliance UK, a coalition of Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious leaders, issuing a letter of protest to the Archbishop of Canterbury.[31]

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington includes Muslims, Jews, and liberal church groups.[32] The Conference states that they “support the right of all religions to share their message in the spirit of good will”;[33] however Rev. Clark Lobenstine, has condemned the “proselytizing efforts” of “Jews for Jesus and other messianic Jewish groups”.[34] His wording matched the Conference’s 1987 “Statement on Proselytism”,[33] which makes claims against “groups that have adopted the label of Hebrew Christianity, Messianic Judaism, or Jews for Jesus”,[35] so it is unclear which claims are directed at Jews for Jesus in particular.

America’s Religions. An Educator’s Guide to Beliefs and Practices contains “[a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense”.[1]

There are several other organizations that oppose identification of Jews for Jesus as a Jewish group.[36][37]

Jews for Jesus has been involved in litigation regarding Internet use of its name. In 1998 they successfully sued Steven Brodsky for cybersquatting registering the domain name jewsforjesus.org for a site criticizing the organization.[38] The domain now belongs to Jews for Jesus and is used for their main site.

In 2005 Jews for Jesus sued[39] Google for allowing a Blogspot user to put up a site at the third-level subdomain jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. In September 2006 Christianity Today reported that “Jews for Jesus settled out of court with a critical blogger identified as ‘Whistle Blower’ on jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. The evangelistic ministry assumed control of the site.”[40]

In 2006 comedian and actor Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus, alleging that they unlawfully distributed a pamphlet which used his name and likeness in a way that suggested he was a member of the group. In fact, Mason is Jewish and not associated with Jews for Jesus.[41] Jews for Jesus has issued a detailed response to the allegation on their website.[42]

A judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a preliminary injunction against Jews for Jesus over the pamphlet, finding the distribution of the pamphlet to be protected by the First Amendment, and also stated that the pamphlet did not suggest that Mason was a Christian.[43]

In December 2006, Mason dropped the lawsuit against Jews for Jesus after they issued a letter of apology to Mason. The group’s executive director, David Brickner, stated in the letter to Mason that he wanted “to convey my sincere apologies for any distress that you felt over our tract.” Brickner continued that he believed its publication was protected by the Constitution, but the group was willing in the interest of peace and love for Israel to retire the pamphlet. Mason replied in front of the federal court in Manhattan where he accepted the apology, “There’s no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It’s like saying a black man is for the KKK. You can’t be a table and a chair. You’re either a Jew or a Gentile.”[44]

In 2014, Jews for Jesus published a three-minute YouTube video called That Jew Died for You, to coincide with Passover, Holy Week and Holocaust Remembrance Day on 28 April.[45] A long-haired Jesus dragging a large wooden cross appears in the film until an Auschwitz extermination camp guard sends him to the gas chambers and says “just another Jew” in German.[46] Jews for Jesus said that the objective of the film was for Jesus to be identified with the victims rather than the perpetrators of the Holocaust and that “the Holocaust has been used perhaps more than any other event or topic to prevent Jewish people from considering the good news of Jesus.”[45] Jay Michaelson, writing in The Jewish Daily Forward, described it as “the most tasteless YouTube video ever” and wrote “not to state the obvious, but it desecrates the memory of six million Jews to use their suffering as a way to convert Jews to Christianity.”[47] Fox News and the History Channel refused to play an advert for the film.[46]

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May 25, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

History of the Jews in Turkey – Wikipedia

Turkish JewsTrkiye Yahudileri Djudios TurkosTotal populationest. 330,000 to 450,000Regions with significant populationsIsrael280,000[1]Turkey17,400-18,000[2][3]United States16,000[citation needed]Canada8,000[citation needed]LanguagesHebrew (in Israel), Turkish, Ladino, English, French, Greek, Yevanic (extinct)ReligionJudaismReligion in Turkey

The history of the Jews in Turkey (Turkish: Trkiye Yahudileri, Turkish Jews; Hebrew: Yehudim Turkim, Ladino: Djudios Turkos) covers the 2,400 years that Jews have lived in what is now Turkey. There have been Jewish communities in Asia Minor since at least the 5th century BCE and many Spanish and Portuguese Jews expelled from Spain were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire (including regions part of modern Turkey) in the late 15th century, 20 centuries later, forming the bulk of the Ottoman Jews.

Today, the vast majority of Turkish Jews live in Israel, while modern-day Turkey continues to host a modest Jewish population.

According to Jewish scripture, Noah’s Ark landed on the top of Mount Ararat, a mountain in the Taurus range in Eastern Anatolia, near the present-day borders of Turkey, Armenia, and Iran.[4] Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian of the first century, notes Jewish origins for many of the cities in Asia Minor, though much of his sourcing for these passages is traditional.[5] New Testament mention of Jewish populations in Anatolia is widespread: Iconium (now: Konya) is said to have a synagogue in Acts 14:1, and Ephesus is mentioned as having a synagogue in Acts 19:1 and in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. The Epistle to the Galatians is likewise directed at an area of Anatolia which once held an established Jewish population. Based on physical evidence, there has been a Jewish community in Asia Minor since the 4th century BCE, most notably in the city of Sardis. The subsequent Roman and Byzantine Empires included sizable Greek-speaking Jewish communities in their Anatolian domains which seem to have been relatively well-integrated and enjoyed certain legal immunities.[citation needed] The size of the Jewish community was not greatly affected by the attempts of some Byzantine emperors (most notably Justinian) to forcibly convert the Jews of Anatolia to Christianity, as these attempts met with very little success.[6] The exact picture of the status of the Jews in Asia Minor under Byzantine rule is still being researched by historians.[7] Although there is some evidence of occasional hostility by the Byzantine populations and authorities, no systematic persecution of the type endemic at that time in western Europe (pogroms, the stake, mass expulsions, etc.) is believed to have occurred in Byzantium.[8]

The first Jewish synagogue linked to Ottoman rule is Etz ha-Hayyim (Hebrew: Lit. Tree of Life) in Bursa which passed to Ottoman authority in 1324. The synagogue is still in use, although the modern Jewish population of Bursa has shrunk to about 140 people.[9]

The status of Jewry in the Ottoman Empire often hinged on the whims of the Sultan. So, for example, while Murad III ordered that the attitude of all non-Muslims should be one of “humility and abjection” and should not “live near Mosques or tall buildings” or own slaves, others were more tolerant.[10]

The first major event in Jewish history under Turkish rule took place after the Empire gained control over Constantinople. After Sultan Mehmed II’s Conquest of Constantinople he found the city in a state of disarray. After suffering many sieges, a devastating conquest by Catholic Crusaders in 1204 and even a case of the Black Death in 1347,[11] the city was a shade of its former glory. As Mehmed wanted the city as his new capital, he decreed the rebuilding of the city.[12] And in order to revivify Constantinople he ordered that Muslims, Christians and Jews from all over his empire be resettled in the new capital.[12] Within months most of the Empires Romaniote Jews, from the Balkans and Anatolia, were concentrated in Constantinople, where they made up 10% of the city’s population.[13] But at the same time the forced resettlement, though not intended as an anti-Jewish measure, was perceived as an “expulsion” by the Jews.[14] Despite this interpretation however, the Romaniotes would be the most influential community in the Empire for a few decades to come, until that position would be lost to a wave of new Jewish arrivals.

The number of native Jews was soon bolstered by small groups of Ashkenazi Jews that immigrated to the Ottoman Empire between 1421 and 1453.[13] Among these new Ashkenazi immigrants was Rabbi Yitzhak Sarfati, a German-born Jew of French descent[15] (Hebrew: Sarfati, meaning: “French”), who became the Chief Rabbi of Edirne and wrote a letter inviting the European Jewry to settle in the Ottoman Empire, in which he stated that: “Turkey is a land wherein nothing is lacking” and asking: “Is it not better for you to live under Muslims than under Christians?”[15][16]

The greatest influx of Jews into Asia Minor and the Ottoman Empire, occurred during the reign of Mehmed the Conquerors’s successor, Beyazid II (14811512), after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Portugal, South Italy and Sicily. The Sultan issued a formal invitation to Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal and they started arriving in the empire in great numbers.

A key moment in Judeo-Turkic relations occurred in 1492, when more than 150,000 Spanish Jews fled the Spanish Inquisition, many to the Ottoman Empire. At that point in time, Constantinople’s population was a mere 70,000 due to the various sieges of the city during the Crusades and the so-called Black Death of the 14th century, so this historical event was also significant for repopulation of the city. These Sephardic Jews settled in Constantinople as well as Salonika.

The Jews satisfied various needs in the Ottoman Empire: the Muslim Turks were largely uninterested in business enterprises and accordingly left commercial occupations to members of minority religions. They also distrusted the Christian subjects whose countries had only recently been conquered by the Ottomans and therefore it was natural to prefer Jewish subjects to which this consideration did not apply.[17]

The Sephardi Jews were allowed to settle in the wealthier cities of the empire, especially in the European provinces (cities such as: Constantinople, Sarajevo, Salonica, Adrianople and Nicopolis), Western and Northern Anatolia (Bursa, Aydn, Tokat and Amasya), but also in the Mediterranean coastal regions (for example: Jerusalem, Safed, Damascus, Egypt). Izmir was not settled by Spanish Jews until later. The Jewish population at Jerusalem increased from 70 families in 1488 to 1,500 at the beginning of the 16th century. That of Safed increased from 300 to 2,000 families and almost surpassed Jerusalem in importance. Damascus had a Sephardic congregation of 500 families. Constantinople had a Jewish community of 30,000 individuals with 44 synagogues. Bayezid allowed the Jews to live on the banks of the Golden Horn. Egypt, especially Cairo, received a large number of the exiles, who soon out-numbered the native Jews. Gradually, the chief center of the Sephardic Jews became Salonica, where the Spanish Jews soon outnumbered their co-religionists of other nationalities and, at one time, the original native inhabitants.

Although the status of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire may have often been exaggerated,[18] it is undeniable that they enjoyed tolerance. Under the millet system they were organized as a community on the basis of religion, alongside the other millets (e.g. Orthodox millet, Armenian millet, etc.). In the framework of the millet they had a considerable amount of administrative autonomy and were represented by the Hakham Bashi, the Chief Rabbi. There were no restrictions in the professions Jews could practice analogous to those common in Western Christian countries.[19] There were restrictions in the areas Jews could live or work, but such restrictions were imposed on Ottoman subjects of other religions as well.[17] Like all non-Muslims, Jews had to pay the harac (“head tax”) and faced other restrictions in clothing, horse riding, army service etc., but they could occasionally be waived or circumvented.[20]

Jews who reached high positions in the Ottoman court and administration include Mehmed II’s minister of Finance (“defterdar”) Hekim Yakup dumlupinar (dumlu) Pasa, his Portuguese physician Moses Hamon, Murad II’s physician Ishak Pasha and Abraham de Castro, the master of the mint in Egypt.

During the Classical Ottoman period (13001600), the Jews, together with most other communities of the empire, enjoyed a certain level of prosperity. Compared with other Ottoman subjects, they were the predominant power in commerce and trade as well in diplomacy and other high offices. In the 16th century especially, the Jews were the most prominent under the millets, the apogee of Jewish influence could arguably be the appointment of Joseph Nasi to Sanjak-bey (governor, a rank usually only bestowed upon Muslims) of the island of Naxos.[21] Also in the first half of the 17th century the Jews were distinct in winning Tax farms, Haim Gerber describes it as: “My impression is that no pressure existed, that it was merely performnce that counted.”[22]

Friction between Jews and Turks was less common than in the Arab territories. Some examples: During the reign of Murad IV (162340), the Jews of Jerusalem were persecuted by an Arab who had purchased the governorship of that city from the governor of the province.[citation needed] In 1660 or 1662, under Mehmet IV (164987), the city of Safed, with a substantial Jewish community, was destroyed by Arabs.[23][24][25] In 1678, Mehmet IV ordered the banishment of the Jews of Yemen to the Mawza Desert, an event which remains in the collective memory of Yemeni Jews as a great tragedy (see Mawza Exile).[26]

An additional problem was the lack of unity among the Jews themselves. They had come to the Ottoman Empire from many lands, bringing with them their own customs and opinions, to which they clung tenaciously, and had founded separate congregations. Another tremendous upheaval was caused when Sabbatai Zevi proclaimed to be the Messiah. He was eventually caught by the Ottoman authorities and when given the choice between death and conversion, he opted for the latter. His remaining disciples converted to Islam too. Their descendants are today known as Donmeh.

The history of the Jews in Turkey in the 18th and 19th century is principally a chronicle of decline in influence and power; they lost their influential positions in trade mainly to the Greeks, who were able to “capitalize on their religio-cultural ties with the West and their trading diaspora”.[22] An exception to this theme is that of Daniel de Fonseca, who was chief court physician and played a certain political role. He is mentioned by Voltaire, who speaks of him as an acquaintance whom he esteemed highly. Fonseca was involved in negotiations with Charles XII of Sweden.

Ottoman Jews held a variety of views on the role of Jews in the Ottoman Empire, from loyal Ottomanism to Zionism.[27] Emanuel Karasu of Salonika, for example, was a founding member of the Young Turks, and believed that the Jews of the Empire should be Turks first, and Jews second.

As mentioned before, the overwhelming majority of the Ottoman Jews lived in the European-provinces of the Empire. As the Empire declined however, the Jews of these region found themselves under Christian rule. The Bosnian Jews for example came under Austro-Hungarian rule after the occupation of the region in 1878, the independence of Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia further lowered the number of Jews within the borders of the Ottoman Empire.

The Jewish population of Ottoman Empire had reached nearly 200,000 at the start of the 20th century.[28] The territories lost between 1829 and 1913 to the new Christian Balkan states significantly lowered this number.

The troubled history of Turkey during the 20th century and the process of transforming the old Ottoman Empire into a nationalist secular state nation state after 1923, however, had a negative effect on the size of all remaining minorities, including the Jews.

After 1933, a new law put into effect in Nazi Germany for mandatory retirement of officials from non-Aryan race. Thus, the law required all the Jewish scientists in Germany to be fired. Unemployed scientists led by Albert Einstein formed an association in Switzerland. Professor Schwartz, the general secretary of the association, met with the Turkish Minister of Education in order to provide jobs for 34 Jewish scientists in Turkish universities especially in Istanbul University.[29]

However, the planned deportation of Jews from East Thrace and the associated anti-Jewish pogrom in 1934 was one of the events that caused insecurity among the Turkish Jews.[30]

The effect of the 1942 Varlk Vergisi (“Wealth Tax”) was solely on non-Muslims who still controlled the largest portion of the young republic’s wealth even though in principle it was directed against all wealthy Turkish citizens, it most intensely affected non Muslims. The “wealth tax” is still remembered as a “catastrophe” among the non-Muslims of Turkey and it had one of the most detrimental effects on the population of Turkish Jews. Many people unable to pay the exorbitant taxes were sent to labor camps and in consequence about 30,000 Jews emigrated.[31] The tax was seen as a racist attempt to diminish the economic power of religious minorities in Turkey.[32]

Turkey served as a transit for European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution during the 1930s and 1940s.[33][34]

Even though Turkey remained neutral during World War II (until its symbolic declaration of war on Nazi Germany on 23 February 1945) and officially forbade granting visas to German Jews, individual Turkish diplomats (such as Necdet Kent, Namk Kemal Yolga, Selahattin lkmen and Behi Erkin) did work hard to save Jews from the Holocaust.[35] Stanford Shaw claims that Turkey saved 100,000,[36] while another historian Rifat Bali claims Turkey saved 15,000 and another historian Tuvia Friling, an Israeli expert on the Balkans and the Middle East 20,000.[37] In his book Arnold Reisman, accepts a figure of 35,000 comprising 15,000 Turkish Jews from France, and approximately 20,000 Jews from Eastern Europe.[38]

A memorial stone with a bronze epitaph was inaugurated in 2012, as the third of individual country memorials (after Poland and the Netherlands) at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp for eight Turkish citizens killed during the Nazi regime in the said camp. The Turkish Ambassador to Berlin, Hseyin Avni Karslolu stated in an inauguration speech that Germany set free 105 Turkish citizens, held in camps, after a mutual agreement between the two countries, and these citizens returned to Turkey in April 1945, although there is no known official record for other Turkish Jews who may have died during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

According to Rifat Bali, Turkish authorities bear some responsibility for the Struma disaster, killing about 781 Jewish refugees and 10 crew, due to their refusal to allow the Jewish refugees on board to disembark in Turkey.[39][40] William Rubinstein goes further, citing British pressure on Turkey not to let Struma’s passengers disembark, in accordance with Britain’s White Paper of 1939 to prevent further Jewish immigration to Palestine.[41][42]

When the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, Aliyah was not particularly popular amongst Turkish Jewry; migration from Turkey to Palestine was minimal in the 1920s.[43] As in other Muslim-majority countries, discrimination later became the main “push” factor that encouraged emigration from Turkey to Palestine.

Between 1923 and 1948, approximately 7,300 Jews emigrated from Turkey to Mandatory Palestine. After the 1934 Thrace pogroms following the 1934 Turkish Resettlement Law, immigration to Palestine increased; it is estimated that 521 Jews left for Palestine from Turkey in 1934 and 1,445 left in 1935. Immigration to Palestine was organized by the Jewish Agency and the Palestine Aliya Anoar Organization. The Varlk Vergisi, a capital tax which occurred in 1942, was also significant in encouraging emigration from Turkey to Palestine; between 1943 and 1944, 4,000 Jews emigrated.

The Jews of Turkey reacted very favorably to the creation of the State of Israel. Between 1948 and 1951, 34,547 Jews immigrated to Israel, nearly 40% of the Jewish population at the time. Immigration was stunted for several months in November 1948, when Turkey suspended migration permits as a result of pressure from Arab countries.

In March 1949, the suspension was removed when Turkey officially recognized Israel, and emigration continued, with 26,000 emigrating within the same year. The migration was entirely voluntary, and was primary driven by economic factors given the majority of emigrants were from the lower classes. In fact, the migration of Jews to Israel is the second largest mass emigration wave out of Turkey, the first being the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

After 1951, emigration of Jews from Turkey to Israel slowed perceptibly.

In the mid 1950s, 10% of those who had moved to Israel returned to Turkey. A new synagogue, the Neve alom was constructed in Istanbul in 1951. Generally, Turkish Jews in Israel have integrated well into society and are not distinguishable from other Israelis.[51] However, they maintain their Turkish culture and connection to Turkey, and are strong supporters of close relations between Israel and Turkey.

On the night of 6/7 September 1955, the Istanbul Pogrom was unleashed. Although primarily aimed at the city’s Greek population, the Jewish and Armenian communities of Istanbul were also targeted to a degree. The damage caused was mainly material (a complete total of over than 4,000 shops and 1,000 houses belonging to Greeks, Armenians and Jews were destroyed) it deeply shocked minorities throughout the country.[53][54]

The present size of the Jewish Community was estimated at 17,400 in 2012 according to the Jewish Virtual Library.[55] The vast majority, approximately 95%, live in Istanbul, with a community of about 2,500 in zmir and other much smaller groups located in Adana, Ankara, Bursa, anakkale, Edirne, Iskenderun and Kirklareli. Sephardi Jews make up approximately 96% of Turkey’s Jewish population, while the rest are primarily Ashkenazi Jews and Jews from Italian extraction. There is also a small community of Romaniote Jews and the community of the Constantinopolitan Karaites who are related to each other.

The city of Antakya is home to ten Jewish families, many of whom are of Mizrahi Jewish extraction, having originally come from Aleppo, Syria, 2,500 years ago. Figures were once higher but families have left for Istanbul, Israel and other countries.[56]

Turkish Jews are still legally represented by the Hakham Bashi, the Chief Rabbi. Rabbi Ishak Haleva, is assisted by a religious Council made up of a Rosh Bet Din and three Hahamim. Thirty-five Lay Counselors look after the secular affairs of the Community and an Executive Committee of fourteen, the president of which must be elected from among the Lay Counselors, runs the daily affairs.

In 2001, the Jewish Museum of Turkey was founded by the Quincentennial Foundation, an organisation established in 1982 consisting of 113 Turkish citizens, both Jews and Muslims, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Sephardic Jews to the Ottoman Empire.[57]

The Turkish-Jewish population is experiencing a population decline, and has dwindled to 17,000 in a few years from an original figure of 23,000. This is due to both large-scale immigration to Israel out of fear of antisemitism, but also because of natural population decline. Intermarriage with Turkish Muslims and assimilation have become common, and the community’s death rate is more than twice that of its birth rate.[58][59]

According to researchers at Tel Aviv University, antisemitism in the media and books was creating a situation in which young, educated Turks formed negative opinions against Jews and Israel.[60] However, violence against Jews has also occurred. In 2003, an Istanbul dentist was murdered in his clinic by a man who admitted that he committed the crime out of antisemitic sentiment. In 2009, a number of Jewish students suffered verbal abuse and physical attacks, and a Jewish soldier in the Turkish Army was assaulted.

The Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul has been attacked three times.[61] First on 6 September 1986, Arab terrorists gunned down 22 Jewish worshippers and wounded 6 during Shabbat services at Neve Shalom. This attacked was blamed on the Palestinian militant Abu Nidal.[62][63][64] The Synagogue was hit again during the 2003 Istanbul bombings alongside the Beth Israel Synagogue, killing 20 and injuring over 300 people, both Jews and Muslims alike. Even though a local Turkish militant group, the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders’ Front, claimed responsibility for the attacks, police claimed the bombings were “too sophisticated to have been carried out by that group”,[62] with a senior Israeli government source saying: “the attack must have been at least coordinated with international terror organizations”.[64]

Traditionally, aliyah from Turkey to Israel has been low since the 1950s. Despite the antisemitism and occasional violence, Jews felt generally safe in Turkey. In the 2000s, despite surging antisemitism, including antisemitic incidents, aliyah remained low. In 2008, only 112 Turkish Jews emigrated, and in 2009, that number only rose to 250.[65] However, in the aftermath of the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, antisemitism in Turkey increased and became more open, and it was reported that the community was also subjected to economic pressure. A boycott of Jewish businesses, especially textile businesses, took place, and Israeli tourists who had frequented the businesses of Turkish Jewish merchants largely stopped visiting Turkey. As a result, the number of Turkish Jews immigrating to Israel increased.[66] By September 2010, the Jewish population of Turkey had dropped to 17,000, from a previous population of 23,000[67] Currently, the Jewish community is feeling increasingly threatened by extremists. In addition to safety concerns, some Turkish Jews also immigrated to Israel to find a Jewish spouse due to the increasing difficulty of finding one in the small Turkish Jewish community. In 2012, it was reported that the number of Jews expressing interest in moving to Israel rose by 100%, a large number of Jewish business owners were seeking to relocate their businesses to Israel, and that hundreds were moving every year.[68]

In October 2013, it was reported that a mass exodus of Turkish Jews was underway. Reportedly, Turkish Jewish families are immigrating to Israel at the rate of one family per week on average, and hundreds of young Turkish Jews are also relocating to the United States and Europe.[69]

Turkey is among the first countries to formally recognize the State of Israel.[70] Turkey and Israel have closely cooperated militarily and economically. Israel and Turkey have signed a multibillion-dollar project to build a series of pipelines from Turkey to Israel to supply gas, oil and other essentials to Israel.[71] In 2003 the Arkada Association was established in Israel. The Arkada Association is a Turkish-Jewish cultural center in Yehud, aiming to preserve the Turkish-Jewish heritage and promote friendship (Arkada being the Turkish word for Friend) between the Israeli and Turkish people. In 2004, the lkmen-Sarfati Society was established by Jews and Turks in Germany. The society, named after Selahattin lkmen and Yitzhak Sarfati, aims to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue and wants to inform the public of the centuries of peaceful coexistence between Turks and Jews.[72][73]

The various migrations outside of Turkey has produced descendants of Turkish Jews in Europe, Israel, United States, and Canada. Today, there are still various synagogues that maintain Jewish-Turkish traditions.

The Sephardic Synagogue Sephardic Bikur Holim in Seattle, Washington was formed by Jews from Turkey, and still uses Ladino in some portions of the Shabbat services. They created a siddur called Zehut Yosef, written by Hazzan Isaac Azose, to preserve their unique traditions.

In recent years, several hundred Turkish Jews, who have been able to prove that they are descended from Jews expelled from Portugal in 1497, have emigrated to Portugal and acquired Portuguese citizenship.[74][75][76]

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History & Overview of Christian-Jewish Relations

What is the Most Important Thing Christians Should Know About Jews and Jews About Christians?

I am frequently asked, “What are some of the common stereotypes and misconceptions Jews have of Christians and Christians have of Jews?” At times the question is posed differently such as, “What is the single most important item Christians should know about Jews and Jews should know about Christians?” In either case, my response is the same.

For the most prevalent misconception Christians and Jews have of one another, and the single most important thing they should learn is how members of the other community define themselves. The fact is that Jews tend to define the term “Christian” in an entirely different manner than Christians themselves do. Likewise, the Christian conception of who is a Jew is often at variance with the way Jews, themselves, characterize their identities.

Christians and Jews are so far apart in their understanding of one another that they misjudge the very core of each other’s identities. It is only reasonable, therefore, to suggest that the starting point for both communities is to learn the other’s self definition. For if we skip this initial step, Christians and Jews will continue to talk past each other without ever understanding where the other is coming from.

Incidents in which they will accuse one another of intolerance and insensitivity will, no doubt, increase when, in fact, the root of the problem may not have been a deliberate provocation or intentional slight, but a distorted view of who is a Christian and what is a Jew. Instead of stopping and learning how the other group defines itself, we tend to transpose our definitions of ourselves and the categories of experience we are most familiar with, unto others. We assume that what is true of ourselves, Particularly the way we define our identities, must be true of others, as well.

It may come as a surprise for Christians to learn, for example, that Jews tend to view most non-Jews as Christians (except, of course, those who are Moslems, Buddhists, or members of another specific religion). Jews are by and large unaware that Christianity is not something you are born into but a faith one personally and consciously accepts. Moreover, they are not familiar with the differences among the various Protestant denominations and, to a lesser extent, those between Catholics and Protestants. It is much easier for them and, indeed, for all outsiders, to simply lump American gentiles together as “Christians”, without distinguishing among them.

We saw that Christians and Jews are largely ignorant of each other’s true identities and that they can, as a result, be led to distortions and stereotypes. In the process of generalizing due to ignorance, they transpose their own categories of belief and view of their identity, unto others. While Christianity is a faith a person accepts, being Jewish is something we are born into.

Every child born of a Jewish mother is, willy nilly, Jewish, a member of the Jewish community. There are black Jews and white Jews, Orthodox and Reform, Hassidic and even secular and agnostic Jews. There are good Jews and bad Jews, indeed, all types of Jews; all sharing a common history, peoplehood, and even destiny. And so, when a person is born into this Jewish community, even if he strays from it, he remains a member of that group. Being Jewish, therefore, is not so much accepting a faith system as is true with Christians, but being part of a covenanted community and peoplehood that one enters into at birth.

To be sure, being Jewish hopefully includes a commitment to the Jewish faith which is at the core of our system and community. But, much like people born in America, who are American citizens, even though they may not profess strong nationalist fervor, so, too, Jews born into this covenantal community, whatever their beliefs and despite their differences, they remain part of the Jewish peoplehood.

Of course, it is possible for a person to not only turn his back on his faith and community, but to actively work against its best interests, much like the American who commits treason against his nation. In such circumstances, we might say of such people that they are renegades or “bad Jews” but they remain Jews nonetheless. I should point out that there are Rabbinic and secular Jewish authorities who make one exception to this view, that is in the case of a Jew who not only abandons Judaism but actually accepts another religion upon himself. In such a situation, these authorities maintain, the individual forfeits his Jewish identity and membership in the community in favor of his having joined another faith and community.

We learned that Jews define themselves as such by being born to a Jewish mother. Despite this concept, however, Jews are not a race. For anyone who accepts the Jewish faith and goes through a conversion process can become Jewish, part of the Jewish peoplehood. However, as we will see, this is not something Judaism strives for, and we, therefore, do not have any missionary outreaches toward non-Jews. For Judaism affirms that one need not adopt the Jewish faith or become Jewish to achieve salvation.

The Christian can achieve salvation or, as we Jews prefer to call it, redemption, through their Christian faith itself. For Judaism, unlike classical Christianity, is what is called a non-exclusivist religion, meaning that it is the redemptive faith system for Jews. However, Judaism maintains that ethical monotheistic systems like Christianity and Islam can also bring salvation for gentiles.

Be this as it may, I should point out that the liberal Jewish Reform movement, representing approximately 25% of the Jewish community, and which we will share more about in the future, recently adopted the novel concept of “patrilineal descent,” meaning that if either the mother or the father is Jewish, the child is Jewish, as well. Furthermore, the conversion process under Reform auspices is a much more lenient one than that required by the Orthodox or Conservative denominations and which, in most instances, would not be viewed as acceptable by them.

We have also seen that Jews view themselves not only as members of a faith system, but as part of a peoplehood, culture, civilization, nation and more. This self definition, however, is quite different from the way Christians define themselvesnamely, as individuals who accepted a faith system for their lives. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that Jews will likely transpose their definitions of themselves unto Christians, and the reverse, so that when Christians search out the Jew, they seek the Jew of faith only, and when Jews look for the Christian, they see him as every non-Jew who is not a member of another faith.

I have often heard Christians remark about Jews who may be secular or agnostic, that such people are not “really Jews.” Such comments reflect their own transposed Christian definitions unto Jews and a great ignorance as to how we Jews define ourselves, as well. For in our system, these people may not be religiously faithful or observant, and I am not condoning that, but they remain members of the Jewish community. They may not represent the “ideal”, but they are full-fledged Jews, nonetheless.

Similar kinds of distortions arise in the reverse, namely, in the Jewish misconceptions of Christians. Jews will often accuse Christians of anti-Semitism, when perhaps only one group or denomination may have been guilty. Indeed, given that Jews regard all non-Jews as Christians, even atheists and “cultural Christians” similar to the way they regard all Jews as Jews, they may even accuse “Christians” of anti-Semitism because of the deeds or views of people who are actually non-Christians.

Jews are totally unaware that some conservative Christians define the term “Christian” so narrowly as to actually exclude their Catholic and liberal Protestant coreligionists. Jews would have a difficult time accepting thisit would come as a real shock that they might not easily or readily grasp. For in the Jewish system, those whom we feel do not correctly represent our views we might call bad Jews or irreligious Jews. But they are Jews nonetheless, because we are all part of the same peoplehood.

So, too, when the Jew views the Pentecostal, the Baptist and the Roman Catholic, he sees them all calling out and praying to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. The cross, for them all, is the central symbol of faith and Jesus’ death and resurrection is their shared cardinal belief. To the Jew, who certainly is an outsider, all Christians are part of what we Jews call a peoplehood and what Christians refer to as, “The body of Christ.”

Sources: International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

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History & Overview of Christian-Jewish Relations

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Netanyahu ditches US Jews for alliance with Christian …

For decades most American Jews have claimed an Israel exemption: resolutely progressive on domestic issues, they are hawks on their cherished cause. Racism they would vigorously oppose if applied in the United States is welcomed in Israel.

Reports at the weekend suggested that Donald Trump is about to recognise Jerusalem as Israels capital, throwing a wrench in any peace plan. If true, the US president will have decisively prioritised support for Israel and pro-Israel lobbies at home over justified outrage from Palestinians and the Arab world.

But paradoxically, just as American Jews look close to winning the battle domestically on behalf of Israel, many feel more alienated from a Jewish state than ever before.

There has long been a minority of American Jews whose concerns focused on the occupation. But until now their support for Israel itself has been unwavering, despite its institutionalised racism towards the one in five of the Israeli population who are Palestinian.

A Law of Return denies non-Jews the right to migrate to Israel. Admissions committees bar members of Israels Palestinian minority from hundreds of communities. A refusal of family reunification has torn apart Palestinian families in cases where one partner lives in Israel and the other in the occupied territories.

Most Jews have justified to themselves these and many other affronts on the grounds that, after the European holocaust, they deserved a strong state. Palestinians had to pay the price.

Given that half the worlds Jews live outside Israel the great majority in the US their support for Israel is critical. They have donated enormous sums, helping to build cities and plant forests. And they have lobbied aggressively at home to ensure diplomatic, financial and military support for their cause. But it is becoming ever harder for them to ignore their hypocrisy.

The rift has grown into a chasm as Benjamin Netanyahus right-wing government widens its assault on civil rights. It now targets not just Palestinians but the remnants of liberal Jewish society in Israel in open contempt for the values of most American Jews.

The peculiar catalyst is a battle over the most significant surviving symbol of Jewishness: the Western Wall, a supporting wall of a long-lost temple in Jerusalem.

Jews in the US mostly subscribe to the progressive tenets of a liberal secularism or Reform Judaism. In Israel, by contrast, the hard-line Orthodox rule supreme on religious matters.

Since the 1967 occupation, Israels Orthodox rabbis have controlled prayers at the Western Wall, marginalising women and other streams of Judaism. That has deeply offended Jewish opinion in the US.

Trapped between American donors and Israels powerful rabbis, Netanyahu initially agreed to create a mixed prayer space at the wall for non-Orthodox Jews. But as opposition mounted at home over the summer, he caved in. The shock waves are still reverberating.

Avraham Infeld, a veteran Israeli liaison with the US Jewish community, told the Haaretz newspaper this week that the crisis in relations was unprecedented. American Jews have concluded Israel doesnt give a damn about them.

Now a close ally of Netanyahus has stoked the fires. In a TV interview last month, Tzipi Hotovely, the deputy foreign minister, all but accused American Jews of being freeloaders. She condemned their failure to fight in the US or Israeli militaries, saying they preferred convenient lives.

Her comments caused uproar. They echo those of leading Orthodox rabbis, who argue that Reform Jews are not real Jews and are possibly even an enemy.

According to a report in the Israeli far-right newspaper Makor Rishon, which is owned by Sheldon Adelson, a US casino billionaire and Netanyahus patron, the Israeli prime minister set out his rationale for sacrificing the support of liberal Jews overseas at a recent closed-door meeting with officials.

He reportedly told them that non-Orthodox Jews would disappear in one or two generations through low birth rates, intermarriage and more general assimilation. Liberal Jews were a lost cause in his view, and wedded to a worldview that was incompatible with Israels future.

Both on demographic and ideological grounds, he added, Israel should invest in cultivating stronger ties to Orthodox Jews and Christian evangelicals.

Netanyahus demographic predictions may turn out to be faulty, but they are clearly now driving his policy towards liberal Jews at home and abroad.

In fact, as Israels attacks on liberals in Israel echo Trumps rhetoric and policies towards minorities in the US, American Jews are gradually being forced to reassess their longstanding double standard towards Israel.

For some time the Netanyahu government has tarred Israeli anti-occupation organisations like BTselem and the soldier whistle-blowing group Breaking the Silence as traitors. Last week it widened the assault.

The education minister, Naftali Bennett, accused the veteran legal group the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Israels version of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of supporting terrorists. Forty years of ACRI programmes in schools are in jeopardy.

The move follows recent decisions to allow pupils to provide racist answers in civics exams and to expand gender-segregation to universities. Meanwhile, two new bills from Netanyahus party would crack down on free speech for Israelis promoting a boycott, even of the settlements. One proposes seven years in jail, the other a fine of $150,000.

New guildelines have empowered the police to bar media access to incident scenes to prevent critical coverage, especially of police violence.

Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman is seeking stronger powers against political activists, Jews and Palestinians alike, including draconian restraining orders and detention without charge or trial.

And for the first time, as Mondoweiss recently reported, overseas Jews are being grilled on arrival at Israels airport about their political views. Some have signed a good behaviour oath a pledge to avoid anti-occupation activities. Already Jewish supporters of boycotts can be denied entry.

The Netanyahu government, it seems, prefers as allies Christian evangelicals and the US alt-right, which loves Israel as much as it appears to despise Jews.

Israel is plotting a future in which American Jews will have to make hard choices. Can they continue to identify with a state that openly turns its back on them?

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

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Ku Klux Klan faction offers membership to Jews and other …

Ku Klux Klan members approach the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A faction of the Christian-terrorist group the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), will now open its membership to Jews, African Americans, Hispanics and gay people.

The notoriously racist white-supremacist group has decided to undergo a re-branding to expand its reach and mission. They will leave behind their legacy of burning crosses, lynching African Americans and committing other horrific racist attacks.

The new, more expansive group, known as The Rocky Mountain Knights, is meant to be a subsection of the KKK, based in Montana in the United States.

John Albarr, a KKK member from Great Falls, Montana, spearheaded the re-branding effort after reportedly having discussions with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His goal is that the new group will help to create a stronger and better America.

White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan,” Albarr said, adding: “It thought it was a really good organization. I don’t feel we need to be separate.”

Despite this supposed re-branding, all members of Albarrs Rocky Mountain Knights will have to wear the KKKs traditional white robes, masks, and pointed hats– a uniform that historically conjured images of hate, persecution and terror.

It is unclear how many members this new sect of the KKK has.

In 2011, Abarr attempted to run for the Montana seat in the US House of Representatives as a Republican, with the goal of saving the White race on his manifesto. As a result, Albarr was denounced by other mainstream Republicans for his racist attitudes and political views.

The KKK is a protestant Christian organization considered to have an extreme right-wing political stance.It is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League.

When the KKK was first founded in 1865, after the American Civil War, they called for the purification of society and the elimination of non-white races.

Today the Klan doesnt have as much influence in American society as it used to, but is estimated that more than 5,000 Americans claim membership to about 150 different Klan groups in the United States.

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Christian analyst: You can condemn Jews but not jihadists …

People leave the London Bridge area with their hands up after a terrorist attack.(photo credit: NEIL HALL/REUTERS)

Christians condemnation of Israel and not jihad have turned themselves into dhimmis, non-Muslims who have already submitted to Muslim rule, a Christian media analyst said.

Writing for the Gatestone Institue in an essay titled “Jihadism: The fear that dare not speak its name,” Dexter Van Zile, the Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), said that although Christian groups occasionally blame the perpetrators of violence and terrorism, such as the Assad regime, Islamic State and Boko Haram in West Africa, it is never nearly close to the way they blame Israel.

Yes, they issue condemnations, but their statements are lamentations that really do not approach in ferocity the ugly denunciations these institutions target at Israel, he said.

Van Zile said the root of the issue is knowing that Israel and the Jewish people do not react the same way that the extreme, jihadi terrorists act.

One source of the problem is that it is simply a lot easier and safer to speak out about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians than it is to confront the violence against Christians in the rest of the Middle East, he said.

Israel has been allowing the entry of boycott supporters and detractors of the state, and only during the summer did the government begin preventing these activists from entering the country. Never did Israel do what other Middle East countries and much more so terrorist groups did to their critics.

If you fly to Israel, you can participate in a protest against the IDF at the security barrier in the morning and be eating in a nice restaurant in Tel Aviv that afternoon without having to worry about getting shot, he said. Protesting against ISIS or the misdeeds of the Iranian government, which puts Westerners in jail, is another, rather more courageous, thing altogether.

Van Zile said that one of the worst responses an attacker of Israel may get is a letter from his organization.

Another factor is fear fear of Islam. The threat of violence that comes with confronting the impact of Sharia law and jihadism on human rights and national security has been significant, but it has remained doggedly unstated in the witness of churches in the United States, he said. Condemn Israel unfairly or engage in Jew-baiting and you get a letter from CAMERA, the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] or the local board of rabbis. Offend the sensibilities of jihadists and you might get killed.

Van Zile traced the Presbyterian Church USAs anti-Zionist platform back to the election of Benjamin Weir, a former missionary who was kidnapped by Hezbollah in Lebanon, who had a significant influence on the churchs proceedings. Upon his release, while he did criticize Hezbollah, he used American support for Israel as his punching bag.

Israel was a safe target for the rage he felt over being kidnapped and having a year of his life stolen from him, Van Zile said. The jihadists who kidnapped him were not a safe target.

The analyst said that now is the time for Christians to speak out.

In this time of trial, during which the very foundations of our moral and intellectual order are under assault, it is time we find our voice to address this problem while we still can.sign up to our newsletter

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Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and …

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Ceremony Marks 75 Years Since Treblinka Death Camp Revolt

WARSAW, Poland — Israel’s ambassador to Poland has joined Polish officials and the relatives of former Treblinka death camp inmates in marking the 75th anniversary of a revolt by Jewish prisoners

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August 3, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

A History of the Jews in Christian Spain (Two-volume set …

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June 29, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Jews for Jesus – Wikipedia

Jews for Jesus is a Messianic Jewish non-profit organization founded in 1973 which seeks to share its belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Jewish people. They use symbols, holidays, and stories from classic Jewish sources, rebranding them as Christian.[1] Jews for Jesus is not considered a sect of Judaism by nearly all mainstream Jewish authorities[2][3] Jews for Jesus was founded by Moishe Rosen in San Francisco in 1973. David Brickner has been the executive director of Jews for Jesus since 1996. A summary of Jews for Jesus’ beliefs:[4] Jews for Jesus takes the mainstream Christian positions that Jesus is the Messiah, that his coming was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, and that Jesus is the son of God, the second person of the Trinity. Jews for Jesus believes that their views of the Messiah are entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures,[5] and that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism.[6] According to an article on Jews for Jesus by B. Robinson of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from Evangelical and other conservative Christian groups. … They differ from some Evangelical Christian groups in their belief that Israel continues to exist as a “covenant people.” They also integrate some Jewish customs and use Hebrew and Yiddish in some literature.[7] Jews for Jesus was founded by Moishe Rosen in San Francisco in 1973. It was originally called Hineni Ministries, after the Hebrew word meaning “Here I am”. Originally, “Jews for Jesus” was simply one of the organization’s several slogans but after the media began to call the group “Jews for Jesus” the organization adopted that name. David Brickner has been the executive director of Jews for Jesus since 1996.[8] Jews for Jesus is funded by donations from like-minded Christians.[9][10] It has a full-time staff of more than 200 employees[11] running branch offices in seven cities across the United States. There are also branch offices in Australia, Toronto, London, Paris, Germany (in Essen and Berlin), Hungary, Israel, South Africa, Moscow and Ukraine (in Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kiev and Odessa). In addition to its English-language website, the group has websites in Hebrew, Portuguese, Polish, Persian, Italian, Spanish and Korean.[12] According to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the group’s total income in FY 2010 was US$20,728,530.[13] The majority of evangelism used by Jews for Jesus consists of handing out literature on the streets, one-on-one Bible studies, full-page ads in leading newspapers and magazines, ISSUES (an eight-page evangelistic publication for Jewish seekers) and internet evangelism.[14] The organization uses colorful pamphlets and T-shirts to get their message across, engaging with populations of Jews which they see as receptive to their message such as recent immigrants, college students, senior citizens and interfaith couples.[15] On their official website, Jews for Jesus says that they give out 8 million pamphlets a year.[16] They use college-age volunteers for some of their short-term evangelism campaigns.[17] Each July they send a team of 20 to 30 to New York City, which they say has the world’s largest and most diverse Jewish population.[18] Belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or even a non-divine Christ/Messiah or Prophet (as in Islam), is held as incompatible with Judaism by all Jewish religious movements.[19][20] In a 2013 Pew Forum study, 60% of American Jews said that belief in Jesus as the Messiah was not “compatible with being Jewish”, while 34% found it compatible and 4% did not know.[21] In 1993 the Task Force on Missionaries and Cults of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY) issued a statement which has been endorsed by the four major Jewish denominations: Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations.[22] Based on this statement, the Spiritual Deception Prevention Project at the JCRCNY stated: On several occasions leaders of the four major Jewish movements have signed on to joint statements opposing Hebrew-Christian theology and tactics. In part they said: “Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not … It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance … as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism … Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbridgeable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former co-religionists.”[23] The director of a counter-missionary group Torah Atlanta, Rabbi Efraim Davidson, stated that “the Jews for Jesus use aggressive proselytizing to target disenfranchised or unaffiliated Jews, Russian immigrants and college students” and that “their techniques are manipulative, deceptive and anti-Semitic.”[24] In an interview for Beliefnet, Orthodox Rabbi Irving Greenberg, the author of For the Sake of Heaven and Earth, said: There are Jews for Jesus who use the trappings of Judaism to bring people into a religion that teaches that Judaism is finished. Jews for Jesus are worse theologically than the mainstream of Catholicism or Protestantism, which now affirm that Judaism is a valid religion. Jews for Jesus say that it is not. They use the Jewish trappings, but de facto, they are teaching the classic Christian supersessionismthat Judaism was at best a foreshadowing of Christianity.[25] Some Western Christians object to evangelizing Jews because they see Jewish religious practice as valid in and of itself.[26] Some Liberal Protestant denominations that have issued statements criticizing evangelism of Jews include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,[27] the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA,[28] which said in 1988 that Jews have their own covenant with God.[29] The Board of Governors of the Long Island Council of Churches opposes proselytizing of Jews, and voiced these sentiments in a statement that “noted with alarm” the “subterfuge and dishonesty” inherent in the “mixing [of] religious symbols in ways which distort their essential meaning”, and named Jews for Jesus as one of the three groups about whom such behavior was alleged.[30] In 2003, the sponsorship of Jews for Jesus by All Souls Church, Langham Place, a Conservative Evangelical Church in London, with a launch event on Rosh Hashanah launching a UK mission targeting the Jewish community led to the Interfaith Alliance UK, a coalition of Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious leaders, issuing a letter of protest to the Archbishop of Canterbury.[31] The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington includes Muslims, Jews, and liberal church groups.[32] The Conference states that they “support the right of all religions to share their message in the spirit of good will”;[33] however Rev. Clark Lobenstine, has condemned the “proselytizing efforts” of “Jews for Jesus and other messianic Jewish groups”.[34] His wording matched the Conference’s 1987 “Statement on Proselytism”,[33] which makes claims against “groups that have adopted the label of Hebrew Christianity, Messianic Judaism, or Jews for Jesus”,[35] so it is unclear which claims are directed at Jews for Jesus in particular. America’s Religions. An Educator’s Guide to Beliefs and Practices contains “[a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense”.[1] There are several other organizations that oppose identification of Jews for Jesus as a Jewish group.[36][37] Jews for Jesus has been involved in litigation regarding Internet use of its name. In 1998 they successfully sued Steven Brodsky for cybersquatting registering the domain name jewsforjesus.org for a site criticizing the organization.[38] The domain now belongs to Jews for Jesus and is used for their main site. In 2005 Jews for Jesus sued[39] Google for allowing a Blogspot user to put up a site at the third-level subdomain jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. In September 2006 Christianity Today reported that “Jews for Jesus settled out of court with a critical blogger identified as ‘Whistle Blower’ on jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. The evangelistic ministry assumed control of the site.”[40] In 2006 comedian and actor Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus, alleging that they unlawfully distributed a pamphlet which used his name and likeness in a way that suggested he was a member of the group. In fact, Mason is Jewish and not associated with Jews for Jesus.[41] Jews for Jesus has issued a detailed response to the allegation on their website.[42] A judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a preliminary injunction against Jews for Jesus over the pamphlet, finding the distribution of the pamphlet to be protected by the First Amendment, and also stated that the pamphlet did not suggest that Mason was a Christian.[43] In December 2006, Mason dropped the lawsuit against Jews for Jesus after they issued a letter of apology to Mason. The group’s executive director, David Brickner, stated in the letter to Mason that he wanted “to convey my sincere apologies for any distress that you felt over our tract.” Brickner continued that he believed its publication was protected by the Constitution, but the group was willing in the interest of peace and love for Israel to retire the pamphlet. Mason replied in front of the federal court in Manhattan where he accepted the apology, “There’s no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It’s like saying a black man is for the KKK. You can’t be a table and a chair. You’re either a Jew or a Gentile.”[44] In 2014, Jews for Jesus published a three-minute YouTube video called That Jew Died for You, to coincide with Passover, Holy Week and Holocaust Remembrance Day on 28 April.[45] A long-haired Jesus dragging a large wooden cross appears in the film until an Auschwitz extermination camp guard sends him to the gas chambers and says “just another Jew” in German.[46] Jews for Jesus said that the objective of the film was for Jesus to be identified with the victims rather than the perpetrators of the Holocaust and that “the Holocaust has been used perhaps more than any other event or topic to prevent Jewish people from considering the good news of Jesus.”[45] Jay Michaelson, writing in The Jewish Daily Forward, described it as “the most tasteless YouTube video ever” and wrote “not to state the obvious, but it desecrates the memory of six million Jews to use their suffering as a way to convert Jews to Christianity.”[47] Fox News and the History Channel refused to play an advert for the film.[46]

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May 25, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

History of the Jews in Turkey – Wikipedia

Turkish JewsTrkiye Yahudileri Djudios TurkosTotal populationest. 330,000 to 450,000Regions with significant populationsIsrael280,000[1]Turkey17,400-18,000[2][3]United States16,000[citation needed]Canada8,000[citation needed]LanguagesHebrew (in Israel), Turkish, Ladino, English, French, Greek, Yevanic (extinct)ReligionJudaismReligion in Turkey The history of the Jews in Turkey (Turkish: Trkiye Yahudileri, Turkish Jews; Hebrew: Yehudim Turkim, Ladino: Djudios Turkos) covers the 2,400 years that Jews have lived in what is now Turkey. There have been Jewish communities in Asia Minor since at least the 5th century BCE and many Spanish and Portuguese Jews expelled from Spain were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire (including regions part of modern Turkey) in the late 15th century, 20 centuries later, forming the bulk of the Ottoman Jews. Today, the vast majority of Turkish Jews live in Israel, while modern-day Turkey continues to host a modest Jewish population. According to Jewish scripture, Noah’s Ark landed on the top of Mount Ararat, a mountain in the Taurus range in Eastern Anatolia, near the present-day borders of Turkey, Armenia, and Iran.[4] Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian of the first century, notes Jewish origins for many of the cities in Asia Minor, though much of his sourcing for these passages is traditional.[5] New Testament mention of Jewish populations in Anatolia is widespread: Iconium (now: Konya) is said to have a synagogue in Acts 14:1, and Ephesus is mentioned as having a synagogue in Acts 19:1 and in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. The Epistle to the Galatians is likewise directed at an area of Anatolia which once held an established Jewish population. Based on physical evidence, there has been a Jewish community in Asia Minor since the 4th century BCE, most notably in the city of Sardis. The subsequent Roman and Byzantine Empires included sizable Greek-speaking Jewish communities in their Anatolian domains which seem to have been relatively well-integrated and enjoyed certain legal immunities.[citation needed] The size of the Jewish community was not greatly affected by the attempts of some Byzantine emperors (most notably Justinian) to forcibly convert the Jews of Anatolia to Christianity, as these attempts met with very little success.[6] The exact picture of the status of the Jews in Asia Minor under Byzantine rule is still being researched by historians.[7] Although there is some evidence of occasional hostility by the Byzantine populations and authorities, no systematic persecution of the type endemic at that time in western Europe (pogroms, the stake, mass expulsions, etc.) is believed to have occurred in Byzantium.[8] The first Jewish synagogue linked to Ottoman rule is Etz ha-Hayyim (Hebrew: Lit. Tree of Life) in Bursa which passed to Ottoman authority in 1324. The synagogue is still in use, although the modern Jewish population of Bursa has shrunk to about 140 people.[9] The status of Jewry in the Ottoman Empire often hinged on the whims of the Sultan. So, for example, while Murad III ordered that the attitude of all non-Muslims should be one of “humility and abjection” and should not “live near Mosques or tall buildings” or own slaves, others were more tolerant.[10] The first major event in Jewish history under Turkish rule took place after the Empire gained control over Constantinople. After Sultan Mehmed II’s Conquest of Constantinople he found the city in a state of disarray. After suffering many sieges, a devastating conquest by Catholic Crusaders in 1204 and even a case of the Black Death in 1347,[11] the city was a shade of its former glory. As Mehmed wanted the city as his new capital, he decreed the rebuilding of the city.[12] And in order to revivify Constantinople he ordered that Muslims, Christians and Jews from all over his empire be resettled in the new capital.[12] Within months most of the Empires Romaniote Jews, from the Balkans and Anatolia, were concentrated in Constantinople, where they made up 10% of the city’s population.[13] But at the same time the forced resettlement, though not intended as an anti-Jewish measure, was perceived as an “expulsion” by the Jews.[14] Despite this interpretation however, the Romaniotes would be the most influential community in the Empire for a few decades to come, until that position would be lost to a wave of new Jewish arrivals. The number of native Jews was soon bolstered by small groups of Ashkenazi Jews that immigrated to the Ottoman Empire between 1421 and 1453.[13] Among these new Ashkenazi immigrants was Rabbi Yitzhak Sarfati, a German-born Jew of French descent[15] (Hebrew: Sarfati, meaning: “French”), who became the Chief Rabbi of Edirne and wrote a letter inviting the European Jewry to settle in the Ottoman Empire, in which he stated that: “Turkey is a land wherein nothing is lacking” and asking: “Is it not better for you to live under Muslims than under Christians?”[15][16] The greatest influx of Jews into Asia Minor and the Ottoman Empire, occurred during the reign of Mehmed the Conquerors’s successor, Beyazid II (14811512), after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Portugal, South Italy and Sicily. The Sultan issued a formal invitation to Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal and they started arriving in the empire in great numbers. A key moment in Judeo-Turkic relations occurred in 1492, when more than 150,000 Spanish Jews fled the Spanish Inquisition, many to the Ottoman Empire. At that point in time, Constantinople’s population was a mere 70,000 due to the various sieges of the city during the Crusades and the so-called Black Death of the 14th century, so this historical event was also significant for repopulation of the city. These Sephardic Jews settled in Constantinople as well as Salonika. The Jews satisfied various needs in the Ottoman Empire: the Muslim Turks were largely uninterested in business enterprises and accordingly left commercial occupations to members of minority religions. They also distrusted the Christian subjects whose countries had only recently been conquered by the Ottomans and therefore it was natural to prefer Jewish subjects to which this consideration did not apply.[17] The Sephardi Jews were allowed to settle in the wealthier cities of the empire, especially in the European provinces (cities such as: Constantinople, Sarajevo, Salonica, Adrianople and Nicopolis), Western and Northern Anatolia (Bursa, Aydn, Tokat and Amasya), but also in the Mediterranean coastal regions (for example: Jerusalem, Safed, Damascus, Egypt). Izmir was not settled by Spanish Jews until later. The Jewish population at Jerusalem increased from 70 families in 1488 to 1,500 at the beginning of the 16th century. That of Safed increased from 300 to 2,000 families and almost surpassed Jerusalem in importance. Damascus had a Sephardic congregation of 500 families. Constantinople had a Jewish community of 30,000 individuals with 44 synagogues. Bayezid allowed the Jews to live on the banks of the Golden Horn. Egypt, especially Cairo, received a large number of the exiles, who soon out-numbered the native Jews. Gradually, the chief center of the Sephardic Jews became Salonica, where the Spanish Jews soon outnumbered their co-religionists of other nationalities and, at one time, the original native inhabitants. Although the status of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire may have often been exaggerated,[18] it is undeniable that they enjoyed tolerance. Under the millet system they were organized as a community on the basis of religion, alongside the other millets (e.g. Orthodox millet, Armenian millet, etc.). In the framework of the millet they had a considerable amount of administrative autonomy and were represented by the Hakham Bashi, the Chief Rabbi. There were no restrictions in the professions Jews could practice analogous to those common in Western Christian countries.[19] There were restrictions in the areas Jews could live or work, but such restrictions were imposed on Ottoman subjects of other religions as well.[17] Like all non-Muslims, Jews had to pay the harac (“head tax”) and faced other restrictions in clothing, horse riding, army service etc., but they could occasionally be waived or circumvented.[20] Jews who reached high positions in the Ottoman court and administration include Mehmed II’s minister of Finance (“defterdar”) Hekim Yakup dumlupinar (dumlu) Pasa, his Portuguese physician Moses Hamon, Murad II’s physician Ishak Pasha and Abraham de Castro, the master of the mint in Egypt. During the Classical Ottoman period (13001600), the Jews, together with most other communities of the empire, enjoyed a certain level of prosperity. Compared with other Ottoman subjects, they were the predominant power in commerce and trade as well in diplomacy and other high offices. In the 16th century especially, the Jews were the most prominent under the millets, the apogee of Jewish influence could arguably be the appointment of Joseph Nasi to Sanjak-bey (governor, a rank usually only bestowed upon Muslims) of the island of Naxos.[21] Also in the first half of the 17th century the Jews were distinct in winning Tax farms, Haim Gerber describes it as: “My impression is that no pressure existed, that it was merely performnce that counted.”[22] Friction between Jews and Turks was less common than in the Arab territories. Some examples: During the reign of Murad IV (162340), the Jews of Jerusalem were persecuted by an Arab who had purchased the governorship of that city from the governor of the province.[citation needed] In 1660 or 1662, under Mehmet IV (164987), the city of Safed, with a substantial Jewish community, was destroyed by Arabs.[23][24][25] In 1678, Mehmet IV ordered the banishment of the Jews of Yemen to the Mawza Desert, an event which remains in the collective memory of Yemeni Jews as a great tragedy (see Mawza Exile).[26] An additional problem was the lack of unity among the Jews themselves. They had come to the Ottoman Empire from many lands, bringing with them their own customs and opinions, to which they clung tenaciously, and had founded separate congregations. Another tremendous upheaval was caused when Sabbatai Zevi proclaimed to be the Messiah. He was eventually caught by the Ottoman authorities and when given the choice between death and conversion, he opted for the latter. His remaining disciples converted to Islam too. Their descendants are today known as Donmeh. The history of the Jews in Turkey in the 18th and 19th century is principally a chronicle of decline in influence and power; they lost their influential positions in trade mainly to the Greeks, who were able to “capitalize on their religio-cultural ties with the West and their trading diaspora”.[22] An exception to this theme is that of Daniel de Fonseca, who was chief court physician and played a certain political role. He is mentioned by Voltaire, who speaks of him as an acquaintance whom he esteemed highly. Fonseca was involved in negotiations with Charles XII of Sweden. Ottoman Jews held a variety of views on the role of Jews in the Ottoman Empire, from loyal Ottomanism to Zionism.[27] Emanuel Karasu of Salonika, for example, was a founding member of the Young Turks, and believed that the Jews of the Empire should be Turks first, and Jews second. As mentioned before, the overwhelming majority of the Ottoman Jews lived in the European-provinces of the Empire. As the Empire declined however, the Jews of these region found themselves under Christian rule. The Bosnian Jews for example came under Austro-Hungarian rule after the occupation of the region in 1878, the independence of Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia further lowered the number of Jews within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. The Jewish population of Ottoman Empire had reached nearly 200,000 at the start of the 20th century.[28] The territories lost between 1829 and 1913 to the new Christian Balkan states significantly lowered this number. The troubled history of Turkey during the 20th century and the process of transforming the old Ottoman Empire into a nationalist secular state nation state after 1923, however, had a negative effect on the size of all remaining minorities, including the Jews. After 1933, a new law put into effect in Nazi Germany for mandatory retirement of officials from non-Aryan race. Thus, the law required all the Jewish scientists in Germany to be fired. Unemployed scientists led by Albert Einstein formed an association in Switzerland. Professor Schwartz, the general secretary of the association, met with the Turkish Minister of Education in order to provide jobs for 34 Jewish scientists in Turkish universities especially in Istanbul University.[29] However, the planned deportation of Jews from East Thrace and the associated anti-Jewish pogrom in 1934 was one of the events that caused insecurity among the Turkish Jews.[30] The effect of the 1942 Varlk Vergisi (“Wealth Tax”) was solely on non-Muslims who still controlled the largest portion of the young republic’s wealth even though in principle it was directed against all wealthy Turkish citizens, it most intensely affected non Muslims. The “wealth tax” is still remembered as a “catastrophe” among the non-Muslims of Turkey and it had one of the most detrimental effects on the population of Turkish Jews. Many people unable to pay the exorbitant taxes were sent to labor camps and in consequence about 30,000 Jews emigrated.[31] The tax was seen as a racist attempt to diminish the economic power of religious minorities in Turkey.[32] Turkey served as a transit for European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution during the 1930s and 1940s.[33][34] Even though Turkey remained neutral during World War II (until its symbolic declaration of war on Nazi Germany on 23 February 1945) and officially forbade granting visas to German Jews, individual Turkish diplomats (such as Necdet Kent, Namk Kemal Yolga, Selahattin lkmen and Behi Erkin) did work hard to save Jews from the Holocaust.[35] Stanford Shaw claims that Turkey saved 100,000,[36] while another historian Rifat Bali claims Turkey saved 15,000 and another historian Tuvia Friling, an Israeli expert on the Balkans and the Middle East 20,000.[37] In his book Arnold Reisman, accepts a figure of 35,000 comprising 15,000 Turkish Jews from France, and approximately 20,000 Jews from Eastern Europe.[38] A memorial stone with a bronze epitaph was inaugurated in 2012, as the third of individual country memorials (after Poland and the Netherlands) at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp for eight Turkish citizens killed during the Nazi regime in the said camp. The Turkish Ambassador to Berlin, Hseyin Avni Karslolu stated in an inauguration speech that Germany set free 105 Turkish citizens, held in camps, after a mutual agreement between the two countries, and these citizens returned to Turkey in April 1945, although there is no known official record for other Turkish Jews who may have died during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. According to Rifat Bali, Turkish authorities bear some responsibility for the Struma disaster, killing about 781 Jewish refugees and 10 crew, due to their refusal to allow the Jewish refugees on board to disembark in Turkey.[39][40] William Rubinstein goes further, citing British pressure on Turkey not to let Struma’s passengers disembark, in accordance with Britain’s White Paper of 1939 to prevent further Jewish immigration to Palestine.[41][42] When the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, Aliyah was not particularly popular amongst Turkish Jewry; migration from Turkey to Palestine was minimal in the 1920s.[43] As in other Muslim-majority countries, discrimination later became the main “push” factor that encouraged emigration from Turkey to Palestine. Between 1923 and 1948, approximately 7,300 Jews emigrated from Turkey to Mandatory Palestine. After the 1934 Thrace pogroms following the 1934 Turkish Resettlement Law, immigration to Palestine increased; it is estimated that 521 Jews left for Palestine from Turkey in 1934 and 1,445 left in 1935. Immigration to Palestine was organized by the Jewish Agency and the Palestine Aliya Anoar Organization. The Varlk Vergisi, a capital tax which occurred in 1942, was also significant in encouraging emigration from Turkey to Palestine; between 1943 and 1944, 4,000 Jews emigrated. The Jews of Turkey reacted very favorably to the creation of the State of Israel. Between 1948 and 1951, 34,547 Jews immigrated to Israel, nearly 40% of the Jewish population at the time. Immigration was stunted for several months in November 1948, when Turkey suspended migration permits as a result of pressure from Arab countries. In March 1949, the suspension was removed when Turkey officially recognized Israel, and emigration continued, with 26,000 emigrating within the same year. The migration was entirely voluntary, and was primary driven by economic factors given the majority of emigrants were from the lower classes. In fact, the migration of Jews to Israel is the second largest mass emigration wave out of Turkey, the first being the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey. After 1951, emigration of Jews from Turkey to Israel slowed perceptibly. In the mid 1950s, 10% of those who had moved to Israel returned to Turkey. A new synagogue, the Neve alom was constructed in Istanbul in 1951. Generally, Turkish Jews in Israel have integrated well into society and are not distinguishable from other Israelis.[51] However, they maintain their Turkish culture and connection to Turkey, and are strong supporters of close relations between Israel and Turkey. On the night of 6/7 September 1955, the Istanbul Pogrom was unleashed. Although primarily aimed at the city’s Greek population, the Jewish and Armenian communities of Istanbul were also targeted to a degree. The damage caused was mainly material (a complete total of over than 4,000 shops and 1,000 houses belonging to Greeks, Armenians and Jews were destroyed) it deeply shocked minorities throughout the country.[53][54] The present size of the Jewish Community was estimated at 17,400 in 2012 according to the Jewish Virtual Library.[55] The vast majority, approximately 95%, live in Istanbul, with a community of about 2,500 in zmir and other much smaller groups located in Adana, Ankara, Bursa, anakkale, Edirne, Iskenderun and Kirklareli. Sephardi Jews make up approximately 96% of Turkey’s Jewish population, while the rest are primarily Ashkenazi Jews and Jews from Italian extraction. There is also a small community of Romaniote Jews and the community of the Constantinopolitan Karaites who are related to each other. The city of Antakya is home to ten Jewish families, many of whom are of Mizrahi Jewish extraction, having originally come from Aleppo, Syria, 2,500 years ago. Figures were once higher but families have left for Istanbul, Israel and other countries.[56] Turkish Jews are still legally represented by the Hakham Bashi, the Chief Rabbi. Rabbi Ishak Haleva, is assisted by a religious Council made up of a Rosh Bet Din and three Hahamim. Thirty-five Lay Counselors look after the secular affairs of the Community and an Executive Committee of fourteen, the president of which must be elected from among the Lay Counselors, runs the daily affairs. In 2001, the Jewish Museum of Turkey was founded by the Quincentennial Foundation, an organisation established in 1982 consisting of 113 Turkish citizens, both Jews and Muslims, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Sephardic Jews to the Ottoman Empire.[57] The Turkish-Jewish population is experiencing a population decline, and has dwindled to 17,000 in a few years from an original figure of 23,000. This is due to both large-scale immigration to Israel out of fear of antisemitism, but also because of natural population decline. Intermarriage with Turkish Muslims and assimilation have become common, and the community’s death rate is more than twice that of its birth rate.[58][59] According to researchers at Tel Aviv University, antisemitism in the media and books was creating a situation in which young, educated Turks formed negative opinions against Jews and Israel.[60] However, violence against Jews has also occurred. In 2003, an Istanbul dentist was murdered in his clinic by a man who admitted that he committed the crime out of antisemitic sentiment. In 2009, a number of Jewish students suffered verbal abuse and physical attacks, and a Jewish soldier in the Turkish Army was assaulted. The Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul has been attacked three times.[61] First on 6 September 1986, Arab terrorists gunned down 22 Jewish worshippers and wounded 6 during Shabbat services at Neve Shalom. This attacked was blamed on the Palestinian militant Abu Nidal.[62][63][64] The Synagogue was hit again during the 2003 Istanbul bombings alongside the Beth Israel Synagogue, killing 20 and injuring over 300 people, both Jews and Muslims alike. Even though a local Turkish militant group, the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders’ Front, claimed responsibility for the attacks, police claimed the bombings were “too sophisticated to have been carried out by that group”,[62] with a senior Israeli government source saying: “the attack must have been at least coordinated with international terror organizations”.[64] Traditionally, aliyah from Turkey to Israel has been low since the 1950s. Despite the antisemitism and occasional violence, Jews felt generally safe in Turkey. In the 2000s, despite surging antisemitism, including antisemitic incidents, aliyah remained low. In 2008, only 112 Turkish Jews emigrated, and in 2009, that number only rose to 250.[65] However, in the aftermath of the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, antisemitism in Turkey increased and became more open, and it was reported that the community was also subjected to economic pressure. A boycott of Jewish businesses, especially textile businesses, took place, and Israeli tourists who had frequented the businesses of Turkish Jewish merchants largely stopped visiting Turkey. As a result, the number of Turkish Jews immigrating to Israel increased.[66] By September 2010, the Jewish population of Turkey had dropped to 17,000, from a previous population of 23,000[67] Currently, the Jewish community is feeling increasingly threatened by extremists. In addition to safety concerns, some Turkish Jews also immigrated to Israel to find a Jewish spouse due to the increasing difficulty of finding one in the small Turkish Jewish community. In 2012, it was reported that the number of Jews expressing interest in moving to Israel rose by 100%, a large number of Jewish business owners were seeking to relocate their businesses to Israel, and that hundreds were moving every year.[68] In October 2013, it was reported that a mass exodus of Turkish Jews was underway. Reportedly, Turkish Jewish families are immigrating to Israel at the rate of one family per week on average, and hundreds of young Turkish Jews are also relocating to the United States and Europe.[69] Turkey is among the first countries to formally recognize the State of Israel.[70] Turkey and Israel have closely cooperated militarily and economically. Israel and Turkey have signed a multibillion-dollar project to build a series of pipelines from Turkey to Israel to supply gas, oil and other essentials to Israel.[71] In 2003 the Arkada Association was established in Israel. The Arkada Association is a Turkish-Jewish cultural center in Yehud, aiming to preserve the Turkish-Jewish heritage and promote friendship (Arkada being the Turkish word for Friend) between the Israeli and Turkish people. In 2004, the lkmen-Sarfati Society was established by Jews and Turks in Germany. The society, named after Selahattin lkmen and Yitzhak Sarfati, aims to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue and wants to inform the public of the centuries of peaceful coexistence between Turks and Jews.[72][73] The various migrations outside of Turkey has produced descendants of Turkish Jews in Europe, Israel, United States, and Canada. Today, there are still various synagogues that maintain Jewish-Turkish traditions. The Sephardic Synagogue Sephardic Bikur Holim in Seattle, Washington was formed by Jews from Turkey, and still uses Ladino in some portions of the Shabbat services. They created a siddur called Zehut Yosef, written by Hazzan Isaac Azose, to preserve their unique traditions. In recent years, several hundred Turkish Jews, who have been able to prove that they are descended from Jews expelled from Portugal in 1497, have emigrated to Portugal and acquired Portuguese citizenship.[74][75][76]

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May 6, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

History & Overview of Christian-Jewish Relations

What is the Most Important Thing Christians Should Know About Jews and Jews About Christians? I am frequently asked, “What are some of the common stereotypes and misconceptions Jews have of Christians and Christians have of Jews?” At times the question is posed differently such as, “What is the single most important item Christians should know about Jews and Jews should know about Christians?” In either case, my response is the same. For the most prevalent misconception Christians and Jews have of one another, and the single most important thing they should learn is how members of the other community define themselves. The fact is that Jews tend to define the term “Christian” in an entirely different manner than Christians themselves do. Likewise, the Christian conception of who is a Jew is often at variance with the way Jews, themselves, characterize their identities. Christians and Jews are so far apart in their understanding of one another that they misjudge the very core of each other’s identities. It is only reasonable, therefore, to suggest that the starting point for both communities is to learn the other’s self definition. For if we skip this initial step, Christians and Jews will continue to talk past each other without ever understanding where the other is coming from. Incidents in which they will accuse one another of intolerance and insensitivity will, no doubt, increase when, in fact, the root of the problem may not have been a deliberate provocation or intentional slight, but a distorted view of who is a Christian and what is a Jew. Instead of stopping and learning how the other group defines itself, we tend to transpose our definitions of ourselves and the categories of experience we are most familiar with, unto others. We assume that what is true of ourselves, Particularly the way we define our identities, must be true of others, as well. It may come as a surprise for Christians to learn, for example, that Jews tend to view most non-Jews as Christians (except, of course, those who are Moslems, Buddhists, or members of another specific religion). Jews are by and large unaware that Christianity is not something you are born into but a faith one personally and consciously accepts. Moreover, they are not familiar with the differences among the various Protestant denominations and, to a lesser extent, those between Catholics and Protestants. It is much easier for them and, indeed, for all outsiders, to simply lump American gentiles together as “Christians”, without distinguishing among them. We saw that Christians and Jews are largely ignorant of each other’s true identities and that they can, as a result, be led to distortions and stereotypes. In the process of generalizing due to ignorance, they transpose their own categories of belief and view of their identity, unto others. While Christianity is a faith a person accepts, being Jewish is something we are born into. Every child born of a Jewish mother is, willy nilly, Jewish, a member of the Jewish community. There are black Jews and white Jews, Orthodox and Reform, Hassidic and even secular and agnostic Jews. There are good Jews and bad Jews, indeed, all types of Jews; all sharing a common history, peoplehood, and even destiny. And so, when a person is born into this Jewish community, even if he strays from it, he remains a member of that group. Being Jewish, therefore, is not so much accepting a faith system as is true with Christians, but being part of a covenanted community and peoplehood that one enters into at birth. To be sure, being Jewish hopefully includes a commitment to the Jewish faith which is at the core of our system and community. But, much like people born in America, who are American citizens, even though they may not profess strong nationalist fervor, so, too, Jews born into this covenantal community, whatever their beliefs and despite their differences, they remain part of the Jewish peoplehood. Of course, it is possible for a person to not only turn his back on his faith and community, but to actively work against its best interests, much like the American who commits treason against his nation. In such circumstances, we might say of such people that they are renegades or “bad Jews” but they remain Jews nonetheless. I should point out that there are Rabbinic and secular Jewish authorities who make one exception to this view, that is in the case of a Jew who not only abandons Judaism but actually accepts another religion upon himself. In such a situation, these authorities maintain, the individual forfeits his Jewish identity and membership in the community in favor of his having joined another faith and community. We learned that Jews define themselves as such by being born to a Jewish mother. Despite this concept, however, Jews are not a race. For anyone who accepts the Jewish faith and goes through a conversion process can become Jewish, part of the Jewish peoplehood. However, as we will see, this is not something Judaism strives for, and we, therefore, do not have any missionary outreaches toward non-Jews. For Judaism affirms that one need not adopt the Jewish faith or become Jewish to achieve salvation. The Christian can achieve salvation or, as we Jews prefer to call it, redemption, through their Christian faith itself. For Judaism, unlike classical Christianity, is what is called a non-exclusivist religion, meaning that it is the redemptive faith system for Jews. However, Judaism maintains that ethical monotheistic systems like Christianity and Islam can also bring salvation for gentiles. Be this as it may, I should point out that the liberal Jewish Reform movement, representing approximately 25% of the Jewish community, and which we will share more about in the future, recently adopted the novel concept of “patrilineal descent,” meaning that if either the mother or the father is Jewish, the child is Jewish, as well. Furthermore, the conversion process under Reform auspices is a much more lenient one than that required by the Orthodox or Conservative denominations and which, in most instances, would not be viewed as acceptable by them. We have also seen that Jews view themselves not only as members of a faith system, but as part of a peoplehood, culture, civilization, nation and more. This self definition, however, is quite different from the way Christians define themselvesnamely, as individuals who accepted a faith system for their lives. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that Jews will likely transpose their definitions of themselves unto Christians, and the reverse, so that when Christians search out the Jew, they seek the Jew of faith only, and when Jews look for the Christian, they see him as every non-Jew who is not a member of another faith. I have often heard Christians remark about Jews who may be secular or agnostic, that such people are not “really Jews.” Such comments reflect their own transposed Christian definitions unto Jews and a great ignorance as to how we Jews define ourselves, as well. For in our system, these people may not be religiously faithful or observant, and I am not condoning that, but they remain members of the Jewish community. They may not represent the “ideal”, but they are full-fledged Jews, nonetheless. Similar kinds of distortions arise in the reverse, namely, in the Jewish misconceptions of Christians. Jews will often accuse Christians of anti-Semitism, when perhaps only one group or denomination may have been guilty. Indeed, given that Jews regard all non-Jews as Christians, even atheists and “cultural Christians” similar to the way they regard all Jews as Jews, they may even accuse “Christians” of anti-Semitism because of the deeds or views of people who are actually non-Christians. Jews are totally unaware that some conservative Christians define the term “Christian” so narrowly as to actually exclude their Catholic and liberal Protestant coreligionists. Jews would have a difficult time accepting thisit would come as a real shock that they might not easily or readily grasp. For in the Jewish system, those whom we feel do not correctly represent our views we might call bad Jews or irreligious Jews. But they are Jews nonetheless, because we are all part of the same peoplehood. So, too, when the Jew views the Pentecostal, the Baptist and the Roman Catholic, he sees them all calling out and praying to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. The cross, for them all, is the central symbol of faith and Jesus’ death and resurrection is their shared cardinal belief. To the Jew, who certainly is an outsider, all Christians are part of what we Jews call a peoplehood and what Christians refer to as, “The body of Christ.” Sources: International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

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February 11, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Netanyahu ditches US Jews for alliance with Christian …

For decades most American Jews have claimed an Israel exemption: resolutely progressive on domestic issues, they are hawks on their cherished cause. Racism they would vigorously oppose if applied in the United States is welcomed in Israel. Reports at the weekend suggested that Donald Trump is about to recognise Jerusalem as Israels capital, throwing a wrench in any peace plan. If true, the US president will have decisively prioritised support for Israel and pro-Israel lobbies at home over justified outrage from Palestinians and the Arab world. But paradoxically, just as American Jews look close to winning the battle domestically on behalf of Israel, many feel more alienated from a Jewish state than ever before. There has long been a minority of American Jews whose concerns focused on the occupation. But until now their support for Israel itself has been unwavering, despite its institutionalised racism towards the one in five of the Israeli population who are Palestinian. A Law of Return denies non-Jews the right to migrate to Israel. Admissions committees bar members of Israels Palestinian minority from hundreds of communities. A refusal of family reunification has torn apart Palestinian families in cases where one partner lives in Israel and the other in the occupied territories. Most Jews have justified to themselves these and many other affronts on the grounds that, after the European holocaust, they deserved a strong state. Palestinians had to pay the price. Given that half the worlds Jews live outside Israel the great majority in the US their support for Israel is critical. They have donated enormous sums, helping to build cities and plant forests. And they have lobbied aggressively at home to ensure diplomatic, financial and military support for their cause. But it is becoming ever harder for them to ignore their hypocrisy. The rift has grown into a chasm as Benjamin Netanyahus right-wing government widens its assault on civil rights. It now targets not just Palestinians but the remnants of liberal Jewish society in Israel in open contempt for the values of most American Jews. The peculiar catalyst is a battle over the most significant surviving symbol of Jewishness: the Western Wall, a supporting wall of a long-lost temple in Jerusalem. Jews in the US mostly subscribe to the progressive tenets of a liberal secularism or Reform Judaism. In Israel, by contrast, the hard-line Orthodox rule supreme on religious matters. Since the 1967 occupation, Israels Orthodox rabbis have controlled prayers at the Western Wall, marginalising women and other streams of Judaism. That has deeply offended Jewish opinion in the US. Trapped between American donors and Israels powerful rabbis, Netanyahu initially agreed to create a mixed prayer space at the wall for non-Orthodox Jews. But as opposition mounted at home over the summer, he caved in. The shock waves are still reverberating. Avraham Infeld, a veteran Israeli liaison with the US Jewish community, told the Haaretz newspaper this week that the crisis in relations was unprecedented. American Jews have concluded Israel doesnt give a damn about them. Now a close ally of Netanyahus has stoked the fires. In a TV interview last month, Tzipi Hotovely, the deputy foreign minister, all but accused American Jews of being freeloaders. She condemned their failure to fight in the US or Israeli militaries, saying they preferred convenient lives. Her comments caused uproar. They echo those of leading Orthodox rabbis, who argue that Reform Jews are not real Jews and are possibly even an enemy. According to a report in the Israeli far-right newspaper Makor Rishon, which is owned by Sheldon Adelson, a US casino billionaire and Netanyahus patron, the Israeli prime minister set out his rationale for sacrificing the support of liberal Jews overseas at a recent closed-door meeting with officials. He reportedly told them that non-Orthodox Jews would disappear in one or two generations through low birth rates, intermarriage and more general assimilation. Liberal Jews were a lost cause in his view, and wedded to a worldview that was incompatible with Israels future. Both on demographic and ideological grounds, he added, Israel should invest in cultivating stronger ties to Orthodox Jews and Christian evangelicals. Netanyahus demographic predictions may turn out to be faulty, but they are clearly now driving his policy towards liberal Jews at home and abroad. In fact, as Israels attacks on liberals in Israel echo Trumps rhetoric and policies towards minorities in the US, American Jews are gradually being forced to reassess their longstanding double standard towards Israel. For some time the Netanyahu government has tarred Israeli anti-occupation organisations like BTselem and the soldier whistle-blowing group Breaking the Silence as traitors. Last week it widened the assault. The education minister, Naftali Bennett, accused the veteran legal group the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Israels version of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of supporting terrorists. Forty years of ACRI programmes in schools are in jeopardy. The move follows recent decisions to allow pupils to provide racist answers in civics exams and to expand gender-segregation to universities. Meanwhile, two new bills from Netanyahus party would crack down on free speech for Israelis promoting a boycott, even of the settlements. One proposes seven years in jail, the other a fine of $150,000. New guildelines have empowered the police to bar media access to incident scenes to prevent critical coverage, especially of police violence. Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman is seeking stronger powers against political activists, Jews and Palestinians alike, including draconian restraining orders and detention without charge or trial. And for the first time, as Mondoweiss recently reported, overseas Jews are being grilled on arrival at Israels airport about their political views. Some have signed a good behaviour oath a pledge to avoid anti-occupation activities. Already Jewish supporters of boycotts can be denied entry. The Netanyahu government, it seems, prefers as allies Christian evangelicals and the US alt-right, which loves Israel as much as it appears to despise Jews. Israel is plotting a future in which American Jews will have to make hard choices. Can they continue to identify with a state that openly turns its back on them? A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

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January 9, 2018   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Ku Klux Klan faction offers membership to Jews and other …

Ku Klux Klan members approach the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas.. (photo credit: REUTERS) A faction of the Christian-terrorist group the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), will now open its membership to Jews, African Americans, Hispanics and gay people. The notoriously racist white-supremacist group has decided to undergo a re-branding to expand its reach and mission. They will leave behind their legacy of burning crosses, lynching African Americans and committing other horrific racist attacks. The new, more expansive group, known as The Rocky Mountain Knights, is meant to be a subsection of the KKK, based in Montana in the United States. John Albarr, a KKK member from Great Falls, Montana, spearheaded the re-branding effort after reportedly having discussions with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His goal is that the new group will help to create a stronger and better America. White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan,” Albarr said, adding: “It thought it was a really good organization. I don’t feel we need to be separate.” Despite this supposed re-branding, all members of Albarrs Rocky Mountain Knights will have to wear the KKKs traditional white robes, masks, and pointed hats– a uniform that historically conjured images of hate, persecution and terror. It is unclear how many members this new sect of the KKK has. In 2011, Abarr attempted to run for the Montana seat in the US House of Representatives as a Republican, with the goal of saving the White race on his manifesto. As a result, Albarr was denounced by other mainstream Republicans for his racist attitudes and political views. The KKK is a protestant Christian organization considered to have an extreme right-wing political stance.It is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League. When the KKK was first founded in 1865, after the American Civil War, they called for the purification of society and the elimination of non-white races. Today the Klan doesnt have as much influence in American society as it used to, but is estimated that more than 5,000 Americans claim membership to about 150 different Klan groups in the United States. sign up to our newsletter Share on facebook

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January 4, 2018   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Christian analyst: You can condemn Jews but not jihadists …

People leave the London Bridge area with their hands up after a terrorist attack.(photo credit: NEIL HALL/REUTERS) Christians condemnation of Israel and not jihad have turned themselves into dhimmis, non-Muslims who have already submitted to Muslim rule, a Christian media analyst said. Writing for the Gatestone Institue in an essay titled “Jihadism: The fear that dare not speak its name,” Dexter Van Zile, the Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), said that although Christian groups occasionally blame the perpetrators of violence and terrorism, such as the Assad regime, Islamic State and Boko Haram in West Africa, it is never nearly close to the way they blame Israel. Yes, they issue condemnations, but their statements are lamentations that really do not approach in ferocity the ugly denunciations these institutions target at Israel, he said. Van Zile said the root of the issue is knowing that Israel and the Jewish people do not react the same way that the extreme, jihadi terrorists act. One source of the problem is that it is simply a lot easier and safer to speak out about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians than it is to confront the violence against Christians in the rest of the Middle East, he said. Israel has been allowing the entry of boycott supporters and detractors of the state, and only during the summer did the government begin preventing these activists from entering the country. Never did Israel do what other Middle East countries and much more so terrorist groups did to their critics. If you fly to Israel, you can participate in a protest against the IDF at the security barrier in the morning and be eating in a nice restaurant in Tel Aviv that afternoon without having to worry about getting shot, he said. Protesting against ISIS or the misdeeds of the Iranian government, which puts Westerners in jail, is another, rather more courageous, thing altogether. Van Zile said that one of the worst responses an attacker of Israel may get is a letter from his organization. Another factor is fear fear of Islam. The threat of violence that comes with confronting the impact of Sharia law and jihadism on human rights and national security has been significant, but it has remained doggedly unstated in the witness of churches in the United States, he said. Condemn Israel unfairly or engage in Jew-baiting and you get a letter from CAMERA, the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] or the local board of rabbis. Offend the sensibilities of jihadists and you might get killed. Van Zile traced the Presbyterian Church USAs anti-Zionist platform back to the election of Benjamin Weir, a former missionary who was kidnapped by Hezbollah in Lebanon, who had a significant influence on the churchs proceedings. Upon his release, while he did criticize Hezbollah, he used American support for Israel as his punching bag. Israel was a safe target for the rage he felt over being kidnapped and having a year of his life stolen from him, Van Zile said. The jihadists who kidnapped him were not a safe target. The analyst said that now is the time for Christians to speak out. In this time of trial, during which the very foundations of our moral and intellectual order are under assault, it is time we find our voice to address this problem while we still can.sign up to our newsletter Share on facebook

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November 29, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed


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