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AISH

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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 29 Jan 2016, 8:47 pm

Justifying Terror, Obsessed with Israel
Ban Ki Moon gets it wrong on many counts.
Justifying Terror, Obsessed with IsraelJustifying Terror, Obsessed with Israel
Ban Ki Moon gets it wrong on many counts.
by The Elder of Ziyon


Yes, it is outrageous that Ban Ki Moon essentially called terror attacks a natural result of “occupation,” and Netanyahu was right in slamming him for it.
But that wasn’t the strangest part of the speech.
The title of Ban Ki-Moon’s talk was “Secretary-General’s remarks to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East.”
There were 52 paragraphs in the speech according to the official UN record.
Of those 52, three were about Lebanon. Two referred to Syria – one about refugees and one about the Golan.
The entire rest of the speech was about Israel and the Palestinians.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Justifying-Terror-Obsessed-with-Israel.html?s=mm



The Amazing Life of Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald
by Suri Cohen
Community activist, international spy swapper and hostage mediator, political mastermind, mentor for troubled teens, beloved camp director and dedicated Jew.
The last text we got from Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald, two days before his death on Wednesday, January 20th, was a photo of him and a friend, up to their necks in the sunny blue waters of a Miami swimming pool. Rabbi Greenwald was radiating his trademark ebullience, and the picture was cheekily captioned, "It's 16 degrees in Monsey."
It was to that photo that my mind inevitably drifted when we received the shocking news of his untimely passing. For it encapsulates so much of what made him unique and so very beloved – the slightly rakish insouciance, the unwillingness, or even inability, to stay within the neatly defined borders of convention, the sense of fun that made his chronological age of 82 appear like part of the joke, and the infectious joie de vivre that seemed to include the entire world in its orbit.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/The-Amazing-Life-of-Rabbi-Ronnie-Greenwald.html?s=mm


Lola Lieber: Faithful Holocaust Heroine
by Beth Sarafraz
A glimpse into the eventful, fearless life of an indomitable survivor.
When Lola Lieber’s husband, Mechel, was arrested by the Nazis during the Holocaust, she did the unthinkable. Pretending to be a gentile, she walked into Gestapo Headquarters and asked to speak to whoever was in charge. She was taken to the office of SS Lieutenant-Colonel Adolf Eichmann, Gestapo Chief and overseer of Hitler’s “Final Solution” – the extermination of European Jewry.
She told Eichmann her husband wasn’t a Jew, had been picked up by accident, arrested by mistake. When Eichmann picked up the phone to call the jail where Mechel was being held, it became obvious the ploy wouldn’t work. All the jailers would have to do to determine if a man was Jewish, was check if he was circumcised. Understanding how badly things would play out, Lola turned and as calmly as possible, strolled out. Miraculously, no one stopped her. Mechel escaped later and reunited with his beloved bride.
Lola Lieber was a fearless woman who survived the Holocaust. At the time of her death at 91, she was the mother of three, grandmother of 12, great-grandmother of 50, great-great grandmother of four, a successful artist and author of A World After This: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption
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http://www.aish.com/ho/p/Lola-Lieber-Faithful-Holocaust-Heroine.html?s=mm

Tablets for Living
by Rabbi Noson Weisz
Exploring the depth of the Ten Commandments.
Yitro(Exodus 18-20)
Tablets for Living
The Torah contains 613 commandments. But, on Mount Sinai -- the only occasion in history when the entire Jewish people had a face-to-face meeting with God -- God chose to emphasize ten.
The first two of the Ten Commandments we heard from the mouth of God directly without Moses as an intermediary, whereas the other eight we heard through Moses.
According to many commentators the first one isn't really a commandment at all, but more in the nature of an introductory statement to all the commandments. But there is a special common denominator that unifies these ten and sets them apart from all the others; they are the only commandments that appear on the "Tablets of the Law."
The significance of being inscribed on the tablets is explained thus by Moses:
"He (God) told you His covenant that He commanded you to observe, the ten declarations, and he inscribed them on two stone tablets." (Deut. 4:13)
These ten declarations have a dual aspect. Aside from being commandments in their own right like the rest of the 613, they constitute a special covenant between God and Israel. We refer to them in the Passover Haggadah as the "Two Tablets of the Covenant." It is this covenantal aspect that we propose to explore in this essay.
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http://www.aish.com/tp/i/m/48956041.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 3:38 pm

http://www.aish.com/jl/l/dam/Giving-Comfort-The-Ring-Theory.html?s=mm
Giving Comfort: The Ring Theory
How to best interact with someone going through a crisis.
by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
         
Over the last few years, a few YouTube videos were made mocking the sometimes stupid and foolish things that people say when visiting the sick or comforting the mourner. Things like, "I know someone who had the same sickness as you. They suffered terribly and died after a short time. I hope that doesn't happen to you." Or, "sorry for the loss of your child; at least you have other healthy children that you should be grateful for." I know of one woman who shared with her family and friends a list she had compiled of the top ten moronic things people said to her when she was sitting shiva.
the Ring theoryClearly, the people who uttered those imprudent and thoughtless expressions meant no harm and indeed would be horrified to learn that they had compounded pain rather than relieved it. Rather than stemming from malice, I suspect that these comments are the result of an earnest desire to be comforting and yet feeling at a loss for the right thing to say.
Susan Silk, a clinical psychologist, recently wrote an op-ed for the LA Times in which she shared her fantastic "Ring Theory" for helping people in crisis:
Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of [my] patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.
Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, "Life is unfair" and "Why me?" That's the one payoff for being in the center ring.
Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings. When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you're going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn't, don't say it. Don't, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don't need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, "I'm sorry" or "This must really be hard for you" or "Can I bring you a pot roast?" Don't say, "You should hear what happened to me" or "Here's what I would do if I were you." And don't say, "This is really bringing me down."
If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that's fine. It's a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.
Comfort IN, dump OUT.
The Ring Theory is a brilliant prescription for how best to interact with someone going through a crisis. It captures something we intuitively know yet too often fail to practice. In fact, it probably should be posted on hospital room doors and entrances to shiva homes.
However, for all of its brilliance, the Ring Theory takes something for granted that, unfortunately, is not a given at all. The theory provides guidance for those choosing to engage. But ask anyone who has gone through a crisis and he will tell you, the majority of people in his life didn't comfort or dump, neither in nor out. They simply disappeared.
Yes, at the moment of crisis, family, friends and community often rise to the occasion. True, funerals and shivas are often well-attended, hospital rooms and ICU's get lots of visitors, and parties to divorce get invitations the first few weeks following the separation. But what happens when the acute crises passes? How present are we in the lives of those we claim to care deeply about when the urgency subsides and the catastrophe dissipates?
As time goes on, without consciously intending to, many take an "out of sight, out of mind" approach, leaving the afflicted person feeling forgotten, neglected, insignificant and alone. What the "Ring Theory" doesn't account for is that doing nothing and staying silent towards someone struggling with illness, loss, divorce or unemployment can be more painful than saying or doing the wrong thing. An insensitive comment is hurtful, but at least it communicates an attempt to connect and comfort. Silence and neglect, however, leave a person feeling invisible, that she doesn't matter, and that friends think that her problems are contagious and transmittable.
Sometimes our silent presence is the greatest comfort of all.
Nobody suffered more than Job. The response of his friends is very instructive and in fact is codified in Jewish law. The book of Job describes that as he suffered profoundly, his friends silently comforted him. Isn't that an oxymoron? If they remained silent, where was the comfort? The answer is simple: their mere presence communicated much more at a louder decibel level than anything they could have possibly said. In fact, Job’s suffering was so inexplicable and incomprehensible that there was nothing meaningful to offer at all. Had they opened their mouths, they likely would have provided great material for a YouTube video.
It is for this reason that Jewish law requires us to remain silent until the mourner speaks first. Moreover, even once we speak, the Rambam cautions us not to be talkative or loquacious lest we say the wrong thing or set the wrong tone with our words.
Sadly, there are many in our community suffering from illness, loss and other sources of pain. Simply put -- they rely on us, their friends and community to care enough to enter the Ring. Perhaps we will be towards the center of the circle, or maybe we will be in one of the outside concentric rings. But the worst thing we could do is to disappear from the picture all together.
Reach out, visit, send a text, spontaneously drop off flowers or a Challah, invite for a meal, or just let them know that you pray for them, think about them, and empathize with them. Find the important balance between showing up and providing them necessary space.
Let's do all we can to make sure that these videos have no sequel because we have learned how to comfort IN, dump OUT and that sometimes our silent presence is the greatest comfort of all.
Published: May 11, 2013
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 08 Jan 2016, 3:30 pm


The Difference between Jews and Palestinians
A whopping 67 percent of Palestinians support stabbing attacks against Israelis.
by Michael Freund
         
Every once in a while, a news item comes along that captures the essence of an issue, encapsulating a point so crucial and fundamental that it manages to convey just about all one needs to know about a given subject. Such was the case with a press release issued last month by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research regarding the findings of a poll conducted among 
Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The document, which should be required reading by anyone who professes to offer an informed opinion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, underlines the profound moral chasm that exists between the two sides. Indeed, it serves as a potent reminder that the clash in which Israel finds itself is nothing less than a showdown between good and evil.
The survey, which was carried out by Dr. Khalil Shikaki among a random sampling of some 1,270 Palestinians adults, firmly puts to rest the assertion that only a small fraction of our foes support violence and terrorism against innocent civilians.
The numbers speak for themselves: A whopping 67 percent of Palestinians – two out of every three! – support stabbing attacks against Israelis.
Think about that for a moment. It means that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians see absolutely nothing wrong with the act of picking up a knife and plunging it into another human being simply because he or she is an Israeli Jew.
This is not a matter of moral cowardice; it is a collective descent into depravity.
Carnage and bloodshed are viewed as being legitimate tools of political expression by Palestinian society.
Of course, every society has its fringes, those who embrace immoral or destructive behavior. But when such immorality becomes the norm, when tormenting the innocent is considered a socially acceptable path, then how can one possibly even consider making peace with such people? The study also revealed that 60% of Palestinians support a return to an armed intifada and that 66% believe that such a violent uprising would "serve Palestinian national interests."
This data indicates the extent to which carnage and bloodshed are viewed as being legitimate tools of political expression by Palestinian society.
There are those, especially on the Israeli Left, who will seek to explain away such statistics, asserting that they merely reflect mounting frustration on the part of Palestinians with the failure of the peace process.
But that is nothing more than a flimsy excuse garnished with flawed reasoning. After all, since when does personal or political frustration justify a resort to random violence? Amid the backdrop of the indictments that were issued against the alleged Israeli perpetrators of the Duma attack, in which a Palestinian family was murdered when a fire bomb was tossed into their home, the question takes on added resonance.
For however frustrated the Duma suspects might have been with Israeli policy, no Israeli leader and certainly no majority of the public would rationalize their actions or attempt to exonerate them on the basis that they were "driven by a sense of exasperation."
So why should pretexts be invented when it comes to "explaining" or "understanding" Palestinians who embrace terrorism? The fact of the matter is that in Israel, there are a variety of organizations spanning the spectrum, with some calling for annexation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and others demanding that the territories be handed over to the Arabs.
But you won't find a similar diversity among Palestinians.
Last time I checked, organizations such as "Gaza Friends of Israel" or "Palestinians for Peace and Settlements" had yet to be established.
When was the last time you heard about Palestinian relief groups offering to help Israeli victims of terrorism?
While Israel has a vocal, sizable and active Left, there is no corresponding Palestinian movement pressing for reconciliation. And if Palestinian society were truly longing for peace, as some claim, then its political arena would presumably look very different than it does today.
When was the last time you heard about Palestinian relief groups offering to help Israeli victims of terrorism? When have Palestinian human rights organizations pressed Palestinian officials to make concessions to Israel? How many Palestinian clerics have issued rulings forbidding suicide bombing attacks? We all know the answer to these questions.
The popular support for violence among Palestinians, and the absence of a similar trend in Israel, is not a coincidence. It is a telling testimony which speaks volumes about the two societies, their values, goals and objectives.
The Jewish state may have a few rotten apples here and there, but in the case of the Palestinians, surveys indicate that much of the orchard has gone bad, and therein lies the overwhelming moral disparity between the two.
This op-ed originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 03 Jan 2016, 7:28 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Tel-Aviv-Shooting-Attack.html?s=mm
Tel Aviv Shooting Attack
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
The world should learn from the terrorist’s father how to properly respond to terror.

In Israel the new year began with a terror attack in the heart of Tel Aviv.

On Friday, January 1, the cafes and shops along Dizengoff Street were packed. One of the many passersby was Nashat Melhem, a 31 Arab-Israeli, with emotional problems and a criminal history.

After he wandered into a health food store and sampled the merchandise, Melhem calmly stepped outside, pulled an automatic weapon from his backpack, and sprayed bullets at a group of Israelis celebrating a friend’s birthday at a pub across the street. “We dropped to the floor and I remember the smile on his face,” one witness, who gave his name as Noah, described afterwards. When the carnage was over, seven people lay wounded in the street (four seriously) and two men – Alon Bakal, the pub’s 26 year old manager, and 30-year-old Shimon Ruimi – were dead.

The attack was the latest in a line of horrible murders in the Jewish state in recent months, and was even more violent in its scope, featuring the mass shooting of innocent civilians in the center of a major city. Melhem remains at large, the subject of a huge manhunt in Israel – and creating major fear for Israelis that they might, God forbid, be his next victims. Israeli police suspect Melhem is behind the murder of an Arab taxi driver in Tel Aviv soon after the shooting.

Instead of condemning the murders, some figures and media outlets around the world seemed to try to justify the attack.

“Tel Aviv shooting: suspect 'wanted to avenge cousin's death'” Britain’s influential Guardian newspaper announced in a headline, creating the impression that the attack was somehow reasonable.
That sentiment was echoed by MK Ayman Odeh, who heads a coalition in Israel’s Knesset of Arab parties. Appearing on Israeli TV in the aftermath of the attack, MK Odeh asserted that the root cause of Melhem’s attack was Israel’s occupation of Arab lands – before criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “a human being that just incites”.
In the United States, many media outlets http://www.cbsnews.com/news/israel-ids-suspected-shooter-in-deadly-tel-aviv-attack/ emphasized that some relatives had said Melhem was sad after the death of his cousin in 2006 in a police confrontation. CBS news was typical in describing Melhem as “traumatized” by his cousin’s death in 2006, implying that his decision to open fire on the crowd in Tel Aviv was somehow reasonable or even justified.

In reporting on the terrorism sweeping Israel, in October 2015, Time Magazine was typical in headlining its report “The Desperation Driving Young Palestinians to Violence”. Rather than condemning attacks on Israelis, the very fact that Israelis were being murdered was perversely offered as proof of the legitimacy of their attackers’ grievances. Instead of portraying Arabs as free agents who are capable of choosing their actions like other people, it peddled an offensive old stereotype: of Arabs as somehow (unlike other people) unable to refrain from violence.

Yet after the Tel Aviv attack, it was those closest to Nashat Milhem – relatives and friends who might have been expected to share in his sense of desperation or trauma – who didn’t try to explain away his murderous rampage, but who worked with the police to help apprehend him and head off further violence, instead. It was Nashat’s own father, Muhammad – a security guard and volunteer with the Israeli police – who recognized his son from media reports and contacted the police to alert them of the attacker’s identity.

“It's important to me now that they reach my son and arrest him, because he's still armed, and just like he murdered two people he could murder more," Muhammad Milhem explained. "I'm worried and I want to hear that he's in the police's hands." After coming home from work at 6 AM, he was inundated with calls from concerned friends and relatives who thought they’d recognized Nashat from surveillance footage being shown on TV. He turned right around and returned to the police station to help them in their search.

Muhammad Milhem told reporters that “I am an Israeli citizen, a law-abiding citizen. I heard what my son has done, and I am sorry. I did not educate him to act in that way. I went to the police and helped the security forces. I did not expect that my son would do such a thing.”

Mahmad Masri, a member of the local council in the town of Ar'ara, where Milhem lives, echoed Muhammad Milhem’s sentiments. "We are in shock. The shooter is my neighbor. The entire village is surprised and condemns the event."

As Israeli police work to track down Milhem and prevent further carnage, the world should learn from the actions of his family and community how to respond to terror: not by trying to explain away or vindicate evil – but by condemning it, forcefully and fully. Violence is neither inevitable nor justifiable.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sat 26 Dec 2015, 9:52 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/One-Town-7-Churches-No-Synagogue--My-Sons-Kippah.html?s=mm
One Town, 7 Churches, No Synagogue & My Son’s Kippah
My son wore his new kippah publicly, like a billboard announcing his heritage. I didn’t want him to stick out.
by Mara Campbell
         
My eldest son tore open the package, his excitement palpable. He pulled out his new yarmulke and immediately asked me to help him pin it. A navy blue number with a silver Magen David, my son had picked this kippah out to be his “formal” one. I watched him dash off to the mirror to admire himself with a mixture of pride and amusement.
I was surprised, however, when he elected to wear it while accompanying me to work that evening. I was on a photojournalism assignment to cover the dress rehearsal of a local dinner theatre. The rehearsal was in a church we’d been to many times and which many of his friends attend. As we walked in the door, I realized that my son had never worn a yarmulke publicly in our town. A familiar feeling of uneasiness settled around me.
In our small town of seven churches and no synagogue, sticking out is always a little uncomfortable. We are open about our Judaism to those who are interested, but we certainly don’t advertise it. For us, faith is a private and exquisite thing centered on our relationship with God. And as I watched my son walk into the rehearsal space, I realized he was practically wearing a billboard announcing his heritage. I’ll admit for a moment, I wished he hadn’t worn his kippah. I didn’t want him to stick out.
My son’s friends greeted him and I settled into the task of simultaneously photographing and documenting the rehearsal. The play took place in an imaginary Middle Eastern town and was loosely based on the birth of Jesus. With the semi-exotic setting, most of the kids and adults were wearing costumes including headscarves and robes, as well as fake beards, stiff as steel wool and (judging by the itching) just as comfortable. I felt relief as I realized that my son and his yarmulke were among the less noticeable sartorial choices in the whole room.
Then it happened. A younger brother of one of my son’s close friends saw the yarmulke. This boy, only eight years old, was naturally very curious about it. He walked up, tapped my son on the shoulder, and said “Hey, what’s that on your head?”
As my son turned around to answer him, a woman appeared at the boy’s side and pulled him away so quickly, it was like watching a magician remove a tablecloth from underneath a fully set table. I was surprised not to see a puff of smoke follow the movement. I watched her from my seat near the front. I was surprised overhear the following, related sotto voce, “You shouldn’t ask people things like that! He’s wearing it because he is a Jew,” and then her voice became inaudible.
I watched, feeling saddened, both by the choice she made and the opportunity she denied my son. Her pulling the boy away so aggressively for asking a question made being Jewish and wearing a kippah seem shameful and secretive. If my son had been allowed to answer, it would have been a learning opportunity both for him and for his friend’s brother. I was half tempted to discuss the matter with her after the rehearsal or perhaps to reassure the boy that his asking my son was actually a sign of respect and interest. But, like most mothers of many children, I let it go and headed for home, the demands of my household intruding on my inclination to educate.
What a missed opportunity. What a chance that passed by. Imagine if we were all like that eight year old boy, interested and questioning, fascinated and open to the explanation of what makes others unique? And then I realized: I was no better than that woman, with my fears about the reactions of the town.
My son is due to get another new yarmulke this week, his “casual” one. It is as vibrant and colorful as a Rastafarian cap and he can’t wait for it to arrive. I am no less eager. I hope he wants to wear it around. And I hope people ask him about it.
He will stick out, yes. But he already sticks out due to his warmth and his spectacular personality. His kippah is just the proverbial icing on the cake.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 15 Dec 2015, 9:10 pm

Tell Me who Are the Jews Or Die
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
An American sergeant in WWII risks his life ordering 1000 POWs to say they are all Jews.
American Jewish servicemen fighting Nazi troops during World War II faced even greater dangers than their non-Jewish comrades. If they fell into enemy hands, Germany didn’t treat them as ordinary POWs with the attendant rights demanded by the Geneva Conventions. Instead, Jewish prisoners were handled the way Germans handled all Jews: they were dispatched to death or slave labor camps, with little chance of survival. The American Army even advised its Jewish troops to destroy their dog tags and other identifying documents if captured by Nazi forces.
The group of over a thousand American soldiers were captured in late 1944 and early 1945 in the Battle of the Bulge and transported to the Stalag IXA POW camp near Ziegenhain, Germany. One of their first orders was to separate out the Jewish troops and present them to their German captors.
The German camp commander, Major Siegmann, delivered the order in English to the ranking American serviceman in the camp. This was Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds, a stocky 24-year-old from Knoxville Tennessee. Remembered by his fellow troops from basic training as a gentle, unassuming soldier, Sgt. Edmonds might have seemed an unlikely candidate for the heroism he was about to display.
According to his son, Rev. Chris Edmonds, who has spent years speaking with witnesses and piecing together what happened that day on January 27, 1945, instead of ordering Jewish troops front and center, Sgt. Edmonds turned to his men and said, “We are not doing that, we are all falling out.”
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Tell-Me-who-Are-the-Jews-Or-Die.html?s=mm

Eagles of Death Metal Defies Terrorism
by Judy Gruen
The rock band played in Israel and returned to Paris, demonstrating its courage and commitment to freedom.
The rock and roll band Eagles of Death Metal (EODM) performs in concert like every rock band does – piercingly loud. So on the night of November 13, about an hour into their set at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, it took a few seconds for the band members to realize that the horrific staccato noises they were hearing came from a relentless hail of bullets. A blast of gunpowder hit drummer Julian Dorio’s nose as the reality of what was happening dawned.
November 13, 2015 became another infamous date of terror when Jihadist terrorists struck Paris again, carrying out simultaneous assaults in multiple locations, killing 140 altogether. The greatest carnage was at the 1,500-seat Bataclan, where 90 mostly young concertgoers were killed and hundreds more wounded. Though the terrorists aimed directly at the band members, none were injured physically, though 36-year-old Nick Alexander, EODM’s merchandising manager, was killed, along with three employees from their record label.
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http://www.aish.com/ci/a/Eagles-of-Death-Metal-Defies-Terrorism.html?s=mm

Muslims and Jews Saving Each Other
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
10 true instances when Jews and Muslims – at times risking everything – saved each other's lives.
With increased tensions between Jews and Muslims, perhaps it is a good time to recall the following ten true instances when Jews and Muslims – at times risking everything – saved each other's lives.
Saving Albania’s Jews
Albania, a small mountainous nation on the Balkan peninsula, is the only Muslim-majority country in Europe – and is also the only European nation that emerged from World War II with more Jews than before the war.
After Hitler came to power in 1933, Albania’s pre-war Jewish population of about 200 was soon swollen with hundreds of Jewish refugees from elsewhere in Europe, who hoped to travel on from Albania to Israel or other countries. Many stayed, and by the time German forces occupied Albania in 1943, up to 1,700 Jews lived in Albania.
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Muslims-and-Jews-Saving-Each-Other.html?s=mm

VIDEO] Israel: The World's Most Moral Army
by Col. Richard Kemp and Prager University
Is the Israeli military a paragon of wartime ethics? Or an oppressive force that targets innocent Palestinian civilians and commits war crimes?
Colonel Richard Kemp, who was the commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, was in Israel during its war against Hamas in 2014, and analyzes whether Israel's military is ethical, evil, or somewhere in between.
WATCH HERE
http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Israel-The-Worlds-Most-Moral-Army.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Dec 2015, 8:01 pm

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/A-Moment-of-Purity-in-San-Bernadino.html?s=mm


A Moment of Purity in San Bernadino
Hanukkah and the power of “I got you.”
by Rabbi Chaim Levine
People are beginning to lose their faith in the goodness of others. Paris, San Bernadino, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the daily terror attacks in Israel reveal a dark side of the human soul. Once again, we are appalled by humanity's capacity for perversity and evil.
Enter Hanukkah.
Hanukkah took place 2,200 years ago under different circumstances, but there are striking similarities. The Syrian Hellenists were more than willing torture and/or slaughter those who didn't bow down to their idols.

The Talmud says Hanukkah is not the celebration of the military liberation from the Hellenists. Rather, we are celebrating a small miracle which might be easily overlooked. We are celebrating the purity of a flask of oil and the amazing properties that came as a result of its purity.
Last week in San Bernadino, in the midst of all the terror and murder, something pure happened that it speaks not only to the meaning of Hanukkah but to the core of the human spirit itself.
Ms. Denise Peraza was sitting next to Mr. Shannon Johnson last Wednesday, joking about how the clock on the wall at work must be broken, as time was moving so slowly. Five minutes later, they were diving underneath a desk, trying to hide from the hail of bullets being sprayed at them by Jihadi terrorists. Shannon Johnson put a chair in front of him and then he hid Denise behind him.
"I will always remember his left arm wrapped around me, holding me as close as possible next to him, behind that chair," Denise recalls. "And amidst all the chaos, I'll always remember him saying these three words, 'I got you.' "
Shannon Johnson sacrificed his life to shield and protect his friend Denise.
"I got you."
The purity and selflessness behind those words will forever shine brilliantly.
"I got you." It was the resolve of those words that the first responders took with them on September 11th, 2001, as they raced into the buildings to save anonymous office workers desperately trying to get out. It is the feeling of those three words that our U.S. and IDF soldiers bring with them as they risk their lives again and again to protect American and Israeli citizens.
There is one candle on the menorah that stands above the rest for a reason. It is there to serve. In Hebrew it is called the "Shamash" or "servant." For the rest of my life, I will know it as the I-Got-You Candle. It exists to give of itself in order to keep the other lights lit, and reminds us of the unbelievable purity and goodness within the human spirit.
Shannon Johnson lived his life as a Shamash. He is the I-Got-You Candle. As we light our menorahs this week, let us speak of Shannon. Let us remember the myriad "I Got Yous" of those who have protected us over the generations, and let us kindle the I-Got-You Shamash which resides within all of us.
Let’s bring all of our I-Got-You candles together and vanquish the darkness.

Hanukkah Sameach
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Dec 2015, 7:48 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/pr/The-San-Bernardino-Massacre-And-Prayer.html?s=mm
The San Bernardino Massacre And Prayer
Why those who think “God isn’t fixing this” are wrong.
In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack in San Bernardino a new phrase – prayer shaming – has made its way into the coverage of much of the media. In its own way, it too is an attack on the spiritual values that define our civilized society.
“Prayer shaming” describes the reaction of a significant number of commentators in the press and social media to a response to tragedy that in the past would almost certainly have been greeted with respect and reverence. The blazing headline of the NY Daily News illustrated it most starkly. Following a caption in eye-catching red “14 dead in California mass shooting” a super large font screamed the message: “God isn’t fixing this”. That was trailed with these words: “As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.”

Just in case you don’t fully understand the paper’s intent that prayers are no more than platitudes, that turning to God in a time of crisis is a cowardly reflex achieving nothing other than the avoidance of personal responsibility, the headline sarcastically adds quotes from four politicians offering prayers on behalf of the victims and their families in order to mock them as archaic and pious sentiments which have no place in the real world confronting evil and terror.
Our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance speaks of one nation under God. Prayer-shamers, however, don’t believe the Almighty “can fix” anything and any mention of His involvement in our affairs and any call for His assistance is nothing less than an abdication of our own obligations.
What an incredible perversion of faith and lack of understanding of prayer.

Man becomes truly powerful only when he comprehends his human powerlessness.
In a remarkable passage in the Torah we find the perfect paradigm for the relationship between prayer and personal responsibility, between our dependence on God and our recognition of the need for us to exert our own efforts to the best of our abilities. When Amalek attacked our ancestors shortly after the Exodus from Egypt, Moses instructed his disciple Joshua to form an army and fight the enemy. But at the same time Moses, aided by Aaron and Hur, son of Miriam, ascended a hill overlooking the battle in order to fervently pray for victory. The link between prayer and battle, divine assistance and human effort, was profoundly illustrated by what happened next. Whenever Moses lifted his hands in prayer the Jews gained the upper hand in combat. Whenever Moses stopped beseeching God, the tide of war shifted in favor of Amalek. Once understood, Moses didn’t stop praying for even a moment – and that is what assured victory.

Man needs God – and God wants man. Man becomes truly powerful only when he comprehends his human powerlessness. Prayer is the link between the creator and his creations. Without prayer man thinks he is God – and that unwarranted sense of ego insures his defeat and destruction.
And that is the meaning of faith. Faith is not knowing what the future holds. It is knowing who holds the future.
Faith is not knowing what the future holds. It is knowing who holds the future.

Prayer defines us. Prayer gives us hope. Prayer puts into words the values we hold most precious, the people we most treasure, the ideals for which we live and for which we are prepared to give up our lives.
When the survivors of the San Bernardino massacre realized they were saved they did what countless generations past did in similar circumstances. They prayed. They prayed because they could not help but express gratitude for their deliverance. And together with all those who heard of this calamitous event they joined in prayer for the souls of the victims. Those who perished will find eternal reward in the heavens above – and our prayers will keep alive their memories for us here on earth.

Prayers are not pointless. All prayers are heard by the Almighty. And all prayers are answered in God’s own and inscrutable ways.

So yes, God is fixing this - and the answer to the evils of Isis and the terrorists of our times is what it has always been, the partnership between our efforts and God’s intervention. For the first, we need to do battle; for the second we need not to shame but to share in a collective groundswell of impassioned prayer, the kind of prayer which will convince God that we truly deserve God’s redemptive intercession.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Dec 2015, 7:42 pm

http://www.aish.com/j/as/From-Jediism-to-Judaism-Star-Wars-as-Jewish-Allegory.html?s=mm
JEWLARIOUS
From Jediism to Judaism: Star Wars as Jewish AllegoryFrom Jediism to Judaism: Star Wars as Jewish Allegory
A look at some of the Jewish elements – coincidental or otherwise – of Star Wars.
by Daniel Perez
         
A long time ago in a place far, far away...
It is a period of civil war. A new government has declared the practice of the old faith a crime punishable by death, disbanding an ancient order of sages and sending many into exile. Rebel fighters, striking from a hidden base, have won their first major victory against the evil Empire, stirring a spirit of defiance among the populace. Outarmed and vastly outnumbered, the ragtag band of rebels – aided by an all-powerful, all-permeating Force that binds together all life in the universe – remain the only hope for restoring peace and freedom to their people.

It's one of the greatest epics known to mankind. No, not Star Wars. The above synopsis is actually the story of Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival that commemorates a miraculous victory of Israelite insurgents against the tyrannical Seleucid Empire roughly 2,200 years ago.

With Star Wars Episode VII set to premiere in just a few short weeks, I got to thinking about how certain aspects of the Star Wars universe are eerily similar to the history, beliefs, and teachings of the Jews. Now George Lucas did not set out to create a fantasy universe full of Jewish references, but the connections are nevertheless there. So let's put the “Han” back in Hanukkah (Harrison Ford, by the way, technically a member of the tribe) and look at some of the Jewish elements – coincidental or otherwise – of Star Wars.

A Galaxy of Hebrew Names

The heroes of the Star Wars series are members of a “rebel alliance,” basically Maccabees in outer space. It's right there in the name: Jedi. The Hebrew letter yud is often anglicized as a “J,” and syllables occasionally get dropped in translation. Hence, a Biblical name like “Yehoshua” makes its way into English as “Joshua.” It's not much of a stretch to see how “Jedi” can be derived the original Hebrew word for Jew, “Yehudi.”
Remember Luke Skywalker's Jedi rebbe, Grand Master Yoda? Is it just me, or is his peculiar syntax reminiscent of someone whose first language is Yiddish (“Yodish”)? More to the point, his name sounds a lot like “yada,” the Hebrew word meaning “to know.”1

And how about those Skywalkers? Luke Skywalker might sound like a gentile name, but that name was clearly chosen to alliterate with his twin sister Leia (Leah). Also keep in mind that their parents were an interfaith couple. The father, Anakin Skywalker, played by the unmistakably un-Jewish Hayden Christensen, tried to convert to Jediism, but as we know he ultimately turned to the Dark Side instead. Their mother was Queen Amidala, portrayed by the beautiful and talented Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman. Suffice it to say their marriage did not end well, and it wasn't until much later in life that their children discovered their Jedi-ish identity.

Learning Academy

When an aspiring Jedi Knight goes to the Academy, he or she must complete what is essentially an apprenticeship with one more learned in Jediism than they are. Similarly, a future rabbi's yeshiva experience will consist largely of chavruta learning (studying with a partner – lit. “friendship”). Fun fact: The name for a young, unmarried yeshiva student, “bochur,” actually means “chosen” (as in “The Chosen People”). The idea of a foretold “Chosen One” who would “restore balance to the Force” was a theme running throughout the Star Wars films, wherein Anakin Skywalker was recognized for his extraordinary potential as a Jedi. As mentioned above, he went “off the derech” and became the villainous Darth Vader. In Return of the Jedi, however, Vader/Skywalker fulfills the “prophecy” when he does teshuvah (our term for repentance, which literally means “return.” Whoa. Return of the Jedi!), thwarting Emperor Palpatine to save his son's life, and ultimately, the galaxy.

Of course, if you tell a young rabbi-in-training that he is the “Chosen One,” it sounds cool and dramatic and is technically true, but then, the same can be said of all of his classmates.
While the Star Wars films don't feature Jedi trainees delving into sacred texts (it doesn't make for the most exciting movie montage), some of the greatest rabbinic books of ethics and Jewish philosophy would be right at home in any Jedi library. “Duties of the Heart,” “The Path of the Just”....tell me these don't sound like the reading list for a hero of the Light Side.

The Force

While Jediism isn't a theistic religion per se, its practitioners do teach of a Force that, in the words of Reb Obi-Wan Kenobi "...is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together." That almost sounds like some sort of Chasidic teaching – just replace “energy field” with “entity” or “consciousness,” and “created by,” with “that creates,” and what you have starts to come across less like new age hippie talk and more like an introduction to Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism.

One idea that devout Jews of all stripes share, is that God, the creative “Force” that sustains all, is the source of a Jew's power. “Ein od milvado,” there is none besides Him. The Jew expresses his or her connection to the universe by striving for an ever closer relationship with its Creator.

Another aspect of Jedi belief is the notion of balance, the idea that the Light Side and the Dark Side are both aspects of the same Force seeking equilibrium. The religions that branched off from Judaism tend to show the Creator and Satan, or “The Devil,” in an adversarial relationship, almost a sort of de facto dualistic theology with a God and an anti-God, if you will. Judaism maintains that the Satan (lit. “Accuser”) is the angel associated with temptation, and prosecution in the Heavenly Court. He's basically Slugworth to God's Willy Wonka. He's got a dirty job to do, but in the end, we're both serving the same Boss.

Judaism also teaches that the source of Light and Darkness are One and the same, as it says in the prayer book: “Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who forms light and creates darkness, Who makes peace and creates all things.” The source for this line of liturgy can be found in the Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 45:7: “Who forms light and creates darkness, Who makes peace and creates evil; I am the Lord, Who makes all these.”

Incidentally, one of the traditional names for God – invoked particularly by the Jewish mystics – is HaMakom, literally “The Place.” The deeper idea conveyed by this name is that the Creator does not exist within the universe; the universe exists within Him. It sounds a lot like The Force. The key conceptual difference between the fictitious all-uniting Force of Star Wars and the Shechinah or “Divine Presence” is that the former is impersonal and passive, the latter is an omnipotent consciousness that actively intervenes in human history, speaking with Prophets and working miracles until this very day.

So if you see the new Star Wars movie, directed by Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (who couldn't sound more Jewish if his name was Saul Cohen or Herschel Rosenblatt), perhaps you'll be able to seek out and appreciate the surprisingly Jewish flavor of the Star Wars universe.
Check out my crowdfunding campaign for a graphic novel based on the true story of the Hasmonean Revolt. Just click here. You can also follow our progress at Facebook.com/Maccabaeus.
Happy Hanukkah, and may the Force be with you!

In the upcoming graphic novel Maccabaeus, Judah and his brother, the Je(hu)di rebels of their generation, do battle with Seleucid Imperial troops.

.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 06 Dec 2015, 11:19 pm

Never Give Up Hope
Why relight the menorah when reason dictated that a day later it would go dark once again?
dark once again?

by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
It is perhaps one of the most overlooked parts of the story. Yet it is an aspect of the miracle of Hanukkah which I believe has the most relevance for us today as we are again confronted with a comparable Maccabean struggle for Jewish survival.
We know that the ancient battle pitted the few against the many, the pure against the profane, the righteous against the wicked. Somehow, an aged priest by the name of Matisyahu together with his five heroic sons were able to overcome a powerful empire and restore the temple from idolatry back to worshiping God.
How was a small family able to lead a nation to such an astonishing triumph? What was their secret? To simply declare Hanukkah as a Divine miracle, an incomprehensible event made possible only through God’s intervention, is to ignore the human component – the difficult struggle as well as the war which preceded the rededication of the house of God and the relighting of the menorah in the sanctuary.
Like Purim, Hanukkah is a holiday commemorating a victory achieved by the joint efforts of God and the Jews, of the Almighty and the Maccabees, similar to the story of Esther and Mordecai. It is pertinent to wonder precisely what it was that help to insure the amazing outcome which defied the odds.
Not knowing there would be a miracle, what made the Maccabees light the menorah?
I believe the answer is hidden in the prelude to the miracle of the oil. They found a small flask of pure oil, enough to last for only one day. Not knowing there would be a miracle, what made the Maccabees light the menorah? Why begin what they could not finish? Why relight the menorah when reason dictated that a day later it would go dark once again, unable to fulfill its purpose?
The Maccabees were not deterred by the seemingly impossible success of their effort. This was the secret of the Maccabees: No matter how bad the situation, no matter how impossible the probability of success, we begin the task – and optimistically have confidence in God to somehow make our efforts prove fruitful.
Jump Into the Sea
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 26 Nov 2015, 10:37 pm

Jonathan Pollard’s Final Punishment
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
He cannot move to Israel for at least five years. The reason reeks of hypocrisy.
After thirty long years of imprisonment, unprecedented punishment for the crime of spying on behalf of an American ally, Jonathan Pollard is at last a free man.
Almost.
Pollard’s incarceration in a maximum security prison which he spent in solitary isolation for lengthy periods of time is finally over. Even those appalled by his offense must surely find sufficient compassion in their hearts to be gladdened by his long-awaited release, having more than paid for his unlawful actions many years ago. Today Pollard is a frail and sickly man, far from a threat to American security, anxious only to live out his remaining years with a small measure of comfort and tranquility.

But Pollard’s punishment is not yet over. By the terms of his release, he will be denied the one dream most precious to him, the one hope for which he prayed while fulfilling the terms of his sentence. Jonathan Pollard wants to end his days on earth together with his wife in the land of Israel. And this, the American government has told him, he is not allowed to do for at least five years.
What is the rationale for this cruel ruling? Why add this restriction if Pollard’s release from prison clearly makes the statement that he has paid his dues to his country, to his government and to society? We just learned the answer from Joseph E DiGenova, the former United States attorney who prosecuted Pollard. “If Mr. Pollard were allowed to go to Israel, where his case has been a cause celebre, there would be a parade and events just rubbing it in the United States’ face.”

The United States was afraid to release Pollard earlier and continues to be afraid to let him now emigrate to Israel because there might be some who will publicly express approval for his past actions - and the highest priority must be given to prevent criminals from becoming lionized.
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Jonathan-Pollards-Final-Punishment.html?s=mm


New York Times Whitewashes Palestinian Terror
by Gilead Ini
The paper consistently covers up and excuses Arab terror.
This week began as the last one ended – with more Palestinian stabbing attacks against Israeli Jews, and more dead. And yet, this information might surprise readers of The New York Times.
On Sunday, a 20-year-old Israeli woman was stabbed to death, another Israeli was rammed by a car and attacked with a knife and a third was assaulted by a knife-wielding teen affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terror group.

All three assailants were killed in the course of their attacks.

But the headline to the Times’ story about Sunday’s attacks did away with cause and effect, muddled victim and aggressor: “1 Israeli, 3 Palestinians Killed in Attacks in West Bank.” The online headline was later changed, but the print headline Monday morning was equally obtuse: “West Bank Faces Spate of Assaults That Kill 4.” The “West Bank” faced nothing. It was Israelis who faced assaults.

This was par for the course – and in some ways, even mild – for how the Times has covered the so-called “stabbing intifada,” the recent spate of Arab-on-Jewish murder.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently called on his people to protect Jerusalem holy sites from the “filthy feet” of Israeli Jews, and terrorists have heeded the call, taking to the streets to thrust knives into any Israeli they encounter – other recent stabbing victims include an 80-year-old woman and a 13-year-old boy on a bike.

But even this incitement, and even this terror, is no match for the creativity of The New York Times. When a Palestinian assailant was caught on film last month wielding a knife and rushing at Israelis, before quickly being neutralized by Israeli security personnel, Times reporters simply avoided telling readers about the video.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/mo/New-York-Times-Whitewashes-Palestinian-Terror.html?s=mm

Handling the Son of Hamas
by Debra Heller
The riveting recollections of the Shin Bet handler who worked for ten years with Israel’s super-mole, Mosab Hassan Yousef.
by Debra Helle
“Hamas wasn’t just a movement to us. It was the family business. It was our identity. It was the cause for which my father had dedicated his life.”
Mosab Hassan Yousef wasn’t exaggerating when he uttered those words in The Green Prince, the documentary that was recently made about him. Mosab’s father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, had helped found the Hamas terror organization, was one of the leaders of the Intifada, and was frequently imprisoned by the Israelis. In fact, as recently as October 19, the IDF raided his house in the West Bank village of Beitunia and arrested him yet again, accusing him of inciting the recent violence. That his son, Mosab, risked his life to spy on his father on behalf of Israel, thereby preventing countless terrorist attacks and suicide bombings, and bringing about the arrest of many in the Hamas hierarchy, including his own father, is perhaps one the most fascinating stories in the annals of espionage literature.

Few know Mosab’s story better than Gonen Ben-Yitzchak, his handler inside the Shin Bet, Israel's security service. Gonen, whose code name was "Captain Loai,” joined the Shin Bet a year after Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was murdered in November 1995, motivated by a desire to help Israel defend itself against violence.

His encounter with Mosab was almost coincidental. It all began when, as a 17-year-old in 1996, Mosab purchased a cache of illegal guns with the intention of murdering as many Israelis as he could.
“I hated Israel and believed we had the right to make the Israelis feel our pain.”
As detailed in his autobiography, Son of Hamas, co-written by journalist Ron Brackin, the youthful Mosab had been imbued with a hatred for Jews. He was jubilant when Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, and was disappointed when Israel wasn't destroyed. As set forth in its 1988 mission statement, he sincerely wanted Hamas to “obliterate Israel” and “raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.”
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http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Handling-the-Son-of-Hamas.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 22 Nov 2015, 10:45 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/The-World-Stands-with-France-What-about-Israel.html?s=mm
The World Stands with France. What about Israel?
Is it too much to ask the world to declare that when Jews are murdered it is as much of an outrage as when terror strikes in Paris?
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
The tricolore red, white and blue of the French flag hung in the gym of the Chicago school, along with a sign declaring the school “Stands with France”.
The occasion was a basketball game. Girls from my daughter’s Jewish middle school team were squaring off against girls from a French school. When they arrived at the court, my daughter and her teammates handed the French coach a letter, expressing their sorrow at the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris the week before, and professing solidarity with their French peers.

Taking the letter, the French coach postponed the game, first addressing the students directly. Despite belonging to different cultures, he intoned, all of the players were united in grief. This Jewish school has always been a staunch friend, and he warmly thanked my daughter and her teammates for their support.

I was proud of my daughter, gratified that she and her teammates had thought of their rivals’ feelings and grateful to their Jewish school for teaching that we always have a responsibility to reach out and help others. But mingled with my pride that night was exhaustion.

The heartache had kept coming in waves all day. First, news broke that there had been another terrorist stabbing in Tel Aviv on Thursday, November 19, 2015. Then the news that two men were now dead, stabbed in broad daylight on a busy street full of passers-by. Men were gathered inside a Judaica shop to recite the afternoon service when the attacker struck. People inside managed to barricade the shop door, but three men outside were stabbed. Aharon Yesayev, 32 and Reuven Aviram, 51 were killed.

Then another terror attack rocked Israel. An Arab terrorist opened fire with a submachine gun on cars stopped in traffic and then crashed his car into another. Three people were killed and many people were injured. Rabbi Yaakov Don, a 51 year old father of four and beloved teacher was one of the fatalities. “He was my children’s teacher!” a friend posted on Facebook, describing him as a gifted educator and gentle soul. Also killed was Shadi Arafa, 24, an Arab employee of a Palestinian cellphone company.

The fifth fatality of the day was 18-year-old Ezra Schwartz, a student from Sharon, Massachusetts. Like many Jewish American teens, he was spending his post-high school year in Israel studying and volunteering. The day of his murder, he’d been distributing food and candy to soldiers near Jerusalem. “I write through tears,” a friend of mine who knew Ezra wrote. Another recalled getting together with his parents – she could only imagine their heartbreak. When my son came home from school, he looked shaken. Several of his classmates knew the Schwartz family. “He could be my son!” cried a friend of mine, and I knew what she meant. Ezra could have been any of our teens, full of idealism, eager to visit the Jewish state, brimming with plans for the future.

And I wondered if the students at the French school my daughter played against that night would reach out to her and her heart-sick teammates and their families too. While the world rightly rallied around France in their hour of need, where is the call outside of the Jewish community to do the same when Jews and others are murdered in Israel?
Cities around the world don’t light up their national monuments in the blue and white of Israel’s flag after terror attacks in the Jewish state, as they beautifully did after the Paris attacks. Facebook doesn’t offer users the chance to change their profile picture to the colors of Israel’s flag, as they optioned after the mayhem in Paris.
Is it too much to ask the world to declare that when Jews are murdered it is every bit as much of an outrage as when terror strikes in Paris?

I was gratified when I saw photos of Israel’s Knesset and the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City lit up in the French tricolore. I was happy when my daughter and her friends announced they proudly stood with France. Will the world also stand with us in our grief, in our pain as we bury and mourn our best and our brightest?
Will you condemn terror attacks against Israelis as forcefully as you do against others? Will you call attacks against Jews and Israelis for what they are – terror – and not label them a false “cycle of violence”? Will you condemn terror when it strikes in Israel, and not appeal for “calm on all sides”? Will you be as outraged when innocents are mowed down on the streets of Tel Aviv as you were when people were killed in Paris? Will you stand with us?
Please do not let us stand alone.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 03 Nov 2015, 10:19 pm

Christians United For Israel
by Judy Gruen
Nearly 2.5 million Christian Americans are defending Israel. They call themselves part of the “goyim underground.”
Kasim Hafeez, a Muslim from Nottingham, England, was on his way to Pakistan to join a jihadist training camp when he saw the book, The Case for Israel, by Alan Dershowitz.
Scoffing at the title, he bought it, eager to disprove all the arguments.
Hafeez grew up in a home where his father told him that Hitler was a great man whose only failing was that he didn’t kill enough Jews. Hearing a steady barrage of anti-Western, anti-Semitic invective growing up, both at home and in mosques, Hafeez said, “Even though I lived a comfortable life, had freedom of religion, and had state-sponsored schooling, I learned to feel like a victim. You look for a way to fight back, and you begin to think that being a terrorist is okay.”
Unwilling to admit he was wrong, he decided to go to Israel to validate his prejudices.
But Hafeez had a problem: he couldn’t disprove the arguments in the Dershowitz book. Unwilling to admit he was wrong, he decided to go to Israel to validate his prejudices. This marked the beginning of his transition from would-be jihadist to a Muslim Zionist. In Israel, Hafeez spoke to Druze, Muslims, Christians, and Jews. He was shocked to see that Israel was a democratic, free country where most people just “got on. It was mind-blowing.”
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Christians-United-For-Israel.html?s=mm





Creating Security for Children in a Scary World
by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff
How to make a pocket of peace for our families and ourselves.
My daughter, Shaindy, traveled to America last week to visit with my mother. Upon returning to her home in Israel, Shaindy was greeted with a Welcome Home sign pasted onto her front door. Her six-year-old daughter had colored a picture of an El-Al plane, with a bright yellow sun. Behind the windows of the plane, she drew her mommy’s smiling face along with other passengers, and parallel to her mommy were the faces of terrorists, each with a fist raised holding sharp daggers.
Is this how our children see the world?
It’s not only in Israel that we must put ourselves into the shoes of frightened children. I spoke with a bat-mitzvah-aged girl who confided that she often feels scared. Many marriages around her are dissolving and she worries that one day she too will become a child of divorce. She watches friends deal with shaky finances, health issues, sick grandparents or siblings who seem out of control. “And the world is full of wars,” she added.
It can be overwhelming for children to deal with so much chaos, in addition to handling the pressures of school, friends and after school activities.
How can we keep our children grounded and maintain a positive outlook in life?
Many parents themselves are grappling with similar fears. How do we create a pocket of peace in a world gone mad?
Parental Peace
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 28 Oct 2015, 12:47 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/me/The-Mufti-and-the-Holocaust.html?s=mm
The Mufti and the Holocaust
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Who was Haj Amin Al Husseini and what role did he play in the Holocaust?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comments on the Holocaust have landed him in a lot of hot water.

After asserting that Haj Amin Al Husseini, the wartime Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, gave Hitler the idea of executing Jews, saying the best way to deal with Jews was to “burn them”, Netanyahu was roundly and justly criticized. Many even accused him of giving credence to Holocaust revisionists and deniers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel castigated the Israeli leader, saying “We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own." Historians rushed to denounce Netanyahu’s faulty grasp of history. Mobile killing squads were in operation before 1941, they pointed out, already murdering Europe’s Jews.

Netanyahu distanced himself from his statements, explaining “I had no intention to absolve Hitler of responsibility for his diabolical destruction of European Jewry. Hitler was responsible for the final solution to exterminate six million Jews. He made the decision.”
But, Netanyahu, the son of a prominent Israeli historian, pointed out, “It is equally absurd to ignore the role played by the mufti, a war criminal, for encouraging and urging Hitler, Ribbentrop, Himmler and others to exterminate European Jewry.”

Although Netanyahu’s remarks were not accurate, there is little doubt that Haj Amin Al Husseini encouraged genocide during the Holocaust.

During the Nuremberg Trials that followed World War II, Dieter Wisliceny, a deputy of Adolph Eichmann, described the Mufti as one of Eichmann’s closest confidants: “The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry...and had been the permanent collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of the plan. According to my opinion, the Grand Mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews. He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities...the extermination of European Jewry. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures.” When Eichmann was captured and tried in Israel in 1961, Golda Meir called for Al Husseini to be tried, as well.

Although the Mufti was hardly the first to call for killing Europe’s Jews – mobile killing units had already murdered close to a million Jews by the time the Eichmann met the Mufti – Al Husseini was at the very least an enthusiastic supporter, and possibly a collaborator in wiping out Jews.

As a young man, in 1920, Al Husseini gained notoriety by doing just that. The son of a previous Mufti of Jerusalem, in April 1920 Al Husseini used a local pilgrimage ceremony near Jerusalem to whip up anti-Jewish fervor. In the ensuing riots, five Jews were murdered and hundreds were injured.

Convicted of incitement by the British authorities, Al Husseini fled to Damascus – then returned a few months later after being pardoned by a new British High Commissioner. The following year, Al Husseini assumed the role of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He was still in his twenties and his religious qualifications lagged behind many of his rivals, but he had a forceful personality and was able to rally many of his fellow-believers around a popular cause: hatred of the region’s Jews.

Under Al Husseini’s leadership, resentment of Jews reached a fever pitch. Accusing Jews of wanting to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, he sparked a series of pogroms that began in Jerusalem in August 1920 and soon spread to Safed, Hebron, Haifa, Tel Aviv, and elsewhere. Within days, 133 Jews had been butchered and 339 injured.

When the fiery Mufti was caught receiving funds, weapons and military instructions from fascist Germany and Italy a few years later in 1936 – planning a revolt against British rule – the British issued a warrant was issued for his arrest. Al Husseini fled – first to Iraq, and later – at Hitler’s personal invitation – to Germany, arriving in Berlin in 1941.

Al Husseini lived in luxury during the War, splitting his time between Berlin and Rome. He was photographed with Hitler and often dined with Heinrich Himmler. Hitler gave him a staff of sixty to run an Arabic-language radio service from Berlin and foment anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East. Jews, the Mufti exhorted on the air, “live...as parasites among the peoples, suck their blood, steal their property, pervert their morals”. The Mufti also helped raise a dedicated Muslim Division of the Waffen SS in Yugoslavia.

As Barry Rubin & Wolfgang G. Schwanitz write in their book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Yale University Press, 2014), the Mufti also offered Hitler the possibility of wider geopolitical strength. “In exchange for Berlin’s backing, (Al Husseini) pledged to bring the Muslims and Arabs into an alliance with Germany; spread Nazi ideology; promote German trade; and ‘wage terror,’ in his own words, against the British and French…. The Nazis were eager for this partnership. They established special relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ba’ath Party, the Young Egypt movement, and radical factions in Syria, Iraq, and Palestine. Berlin also hoped to build links with the kings of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. These Arab movements and Nazi Germany had the “warmest sympathy” Hitler explained, “for three reasons. First, we do not pursue any territorial aspirations in Arab lands. Second, we have the same enemies. And third, we both fight against the Jews. I will not rest until the very last of them has left Germany.'”

Inspired by the Holocaust, it seems Al Husseini hoped to emulate the systematic murder of Europe’s Jews in the Middle East. Envisioning huge crematoria for Jews in the Dotan Valley near Nablus, Al Husseini confided his plans to burn the bodies of Jews from the Land of Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and North Africa in them. (http://jcpa.org/al-aksa-libel-advocate-mufti-haj-amin-al-husseini/#sthash.nYRtkqCg.dpuf)

The defeat of Nazi Germany put an end to the Mufti’s plans. Arrested by the French after the war, Al Husseini was allowed to escape, and made his way to Egypt, where he remained influential and outspoken in his Jew hatred.

Though his military might was over, he continued to spread his ideas until his death in 1974. Al Husseini influenced the nascent Arab League to put a clause in its charter that its purpose was to destroy the “Zionist entity” and to declare war against the nascent Jewish state. In 1996, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Yasir Arafat’s younger brother and sister saying that Al Husseini has been a “father figure” to the young Arafat during his childhood in Egypt.

Al Husseini's toxic legacy of virulent Jew-hatred lives on today. In helping shape Arab policy, in influencing a young Yasir Araft, in spreading slanders about Jews that persist to this day, Al Husseini continues to be a force for ill-will and hatred throughout the Middle East and beyond.
Published: October 25, 2015
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 28 Oct 2015, 12:40 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/The-Rabid-Anti-Semite-who-became-a-Proud-Jew.html?s=mm
The Rabid Anti-Semite who became a Proud Jew
Co-founder of Hungary’s far-right, anti-Semitic party discovers he’s Jewish, forcing him to rethink his life and reconnect to his roots.
by Moira Schneider
How does one react on discovering at the age of 30 that one is Jewish? And how much more shattering would that revelation be if one is a raving anti-Semite?
For Csanád Szegedi, it was “the most traumatic and probably the worst day of my life.”

The guest speaker at Aish Hatorah South Africa’s gala dinner held in Johannesburg last week, Szegedi related how, as a 20-year-old university student in 2003, he had co-founded the far-right, anti-Semitic Jobbik Party; created concomitantly was a paramilitary organization, Hungarian Guards, which struck terror into the hearts of minorities, making him the embodiment of Hungarian Jewry’s worst fears.

By 2012 Jobbik had grown to be the second largest political party in Hungary. It was at this time that a political rival claimed to have documentary proof that Szegedi was in fact Jewish.
“To clarify the rumour, I sat down with my maternal grandmother to ascertain whether this was true,” he recalled through his colleague and translator Jonathan Megyeri. “My grandmother, who had survived Auschwitz and had a number tattooed on her arm, admitted she was once Jewish, but she had closed that chapter after the Shoah and was not Jewish anymore.

My grandmother who survived Auschwitz and had a number tattooed on her arm admitted she was once Jewish.
“She said my maternal grandfather was also Jewish and had worked in a forced labour camp during World War 11.”
There was no escaping the shocking truth: Csanád Szegedi was a Jew.

His inner turmoil was compounded by the fact that his appearance did not gel with his internalized image of Jews. “I cannot be Jewish,” he thought to himself. “I don’t have a big enough nose, a hunchback and two bags of money under my arms!”
Szegedi, who had never encountered a Jewish individual, decided he had to meet a “real Jew”, specifically from the religious community. “But I did not have many rabbi friends,” he notes in something of an understatement.

So he googled “Budapest rabbi” and found one who worked in outreach. At first the rabbi thought he was joking. “He suspected it was candid camera,” Szegedi remembers.
“He gave me an appointment and I went to see him. I thought he was going to throw me out. Much worse – he told me I should sit down and learn!”

With his wife, Szegedi was invited to synagogue where “I held the book upside down.” The enmity and hatred he encountered there was so great that the rabbi had to call a meeting, where Szegedi faced some aggressive questioning from the community.
“Despite all this, I thought I have no other way to choose but to walk the Jewish way.” He has since become kosher and Sabbath observant.

During his interrogation by the community, an old man had asked him “very softly” when he was going to be circumcised, something he refers to as “not my favourite part of Judaism.” A year later, after the procedure “which I never thought I’d undergo,” Szegedi received his first “aliyah” on Yom Kippur.
“It was the first time I had the opportunity to be called by my Jewish name,” he relates. “The old man came up to me and said: ‘I pardon you now.’”

In the light of these developments, have his mother and grandmother embraced their Judaism? “I have had long conversations with both,” he says, “and I must admit that neither was particularly happy with the outcome of events.

“My grandmother worked so hard for the past 50 years to try to assimilate and it seems she failed in the end. My mother is simply afraid of embracing her Jewish roots.”
While his grandmother passed away a year ago, Szegedi’s mother, who had no knowledge of Judaism, has accompanied him to synagogue on a few occasions and he has taken her on a visit to Israel.

The 33-year-old now says he is “not too proud” of the fact that he was second in command of the proto-Fascist party and for three-and-a-half years has been “extremely busy” attempting to atone for his past.

Amidst much emotional upheaval, the main issue engaging his mind was how to make up for “all the bad deeds” in his previous life. The Av Beth Din in Budapest suggested he go around to schools, college campuses and universities explaining the dangers of anti-Semitism, as well as address Jewish communities, all of which he has been doing for the past 18 months.
But has he done anything to eradicate anti-Semitism amongst the people he used to lead? The question is whether it is worthwhile to engage in conversation with someone who is anti-Semitic, especially where political interests are concerned, he retorts, seemingly sidestepping the issue.

Since Jobbik is the most popular party for those under 30, there is “something wrong with the education system if all the youngsters could be attracted to this type of nonsense.”
He is, however, not shirking his personal responsibility. “I am far from being satisfied that my lecturing does the job,” he concedes. “I try to do everything I can through my story to get my ideals out in public.”
To this end, Szegedi is writing a book and a documentary film is in the pipeline. “My story will get to more people and I could have more influence than I have,” he says.

While he has endured threats from his former party, these are “mainly over. I received many e-mails. Some people in the party are very aggressive, but this never led to any real danger.”
“What makes someone anti-Semitic?” he ponders, voicing the eternal question. “I had never met a Jewish person in my life.”
The only thing to do to fight anti-Semitism is to do more to be Jewish, be proud and definitely do not hide it.
Indeed, how then did he pick up on these ideas? Szegedi attributes this to having grown up amongst young people who were “very nationalistic.” In addition, “anti-Semitic literature became available in the 1990s and I did a lot of reading,” he says, fingering the explosion of the Internet. “You must be careful what young people access,” he warns.
“Anti-Semitism cannot be rational – it stems from frustration and depression. I did not meet the kind of monsters portrayed in anti-Semitic circles,” he says of his integration into the Budapest Jewish community.

“The only thing to do to fight anti-Semitism is to do more to be Jewish, be proud and definitely do not hide it,” he concludes.
While Szegedi’s wife is not Jewish “yet,” she has embraced his change in direction, describing it as a “new path we can only walk together.” Previously, she had been neutral to “a little bit positive” towards Jews, he explains.
“I firmly believe you cannot run a Jewish home without the support of the woman,” he states. “While I had my doubts along the way, she was always supportive and pushed me in the right direction.
“She put magnets on the fridge with the different blessings for food. She’s the one that dresses my kids up for Shabbos,” he says, referring to their two sons aged four and seven years. “We started this path together and I thank her very much.”

As for coping with the Hebrew prayers, Szegedi says although the language is logical, it is “not easy for the European mind. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand, the number of times my rabbi was happy with me!”
Sharing the “main message” of his life, Szegedi states: “Some of you may not consider yourselves observant, but I doubt that any of you went further away from God than I did.

“God has proven to me that he is not particularly looking for vengeance, but he’s also very (quick) to pardon.”

As to his three core reasons it is worthwhile being Jewish, he says: “You are Jewish anyway, so you might as well enjoy it! From a spiritual point of view, we belong to a nation that God watches over personally.

“Most importantly, we’re part of a family that, thanks to organizations like Aish HaTorah, welcomes back every lost member. Thank you, my South African family, for welcoming me.”
Published: October 25, 2015
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 22 Oct 2015, 6:54 pm

Raising Children to Kill
What does it take to raise a child to stab another child to death?
What does it take to raise a child to stab another child to death? How early in his development would you have to start? What would you have to tell him? How often? Would you need the support of his school and other role models? Do you think you could succeed?
And what if it wasn’t a child who bullied him for years on the playground, but one he never met before?
Last week, a couple Arab boys, age 13 and 15, took a couple knives and went looking for some Jews in Jerusalem to kill. Any Jew. They tried a few. The one they were most successful with was a 13 year old boy who is still fighting for his life. A child leaving a candy store on his bike.
This was just one of hundreds of terror attacks against random Jews in random cities all over Israel in the last few weeks alone, perpetrated by teenagers, women, fathers, university students.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Raising-Children-to-Kill.html?s=mm


Victims and Terrorists under the Same Roof
Tensions on the street spill into Hadassah Medical Center where Jews and Arabs receive the same care.
by Associated Press and Israel Hayom
As a wave of violence sweeps across Jerusalem, victims and perpetrators are often surprised to be reunited – at each other's bedside in the city's largest emergency ward.
The Hadassah Medical Center prides itself on checking politics at the door and treating Palestinian attackers and Jewish victims alike. But the tensions on the street are increasingly seeping through the hospital's sterile walls, with family members clashing in the hallways and causing the wounded even more trauma.

Hadassah's Ein Kerem campus is considered a rare model of coexistence in deeply divided Jerusalem, with a mixed Jewish-Arab medical team working together to treat the city's wounded and infirm.
Coping with conflict is nothing new. More than 20 members of the hospital staff were either killed or lost close relatives during the last decade's Palestinian uprising. They are accustomed to separating their own feelings from the task at hand and treating those on the other side of the region's decades-old conflict.
Daniel Weiss, the chief resident of Surgery Ward A, said it was "irrelevant" whether he was operating on a victim or a wounded attacker.
"We have patients of all kinds coming in. It doesn't matter who they are. We treat them all," he said. "It's surreal, but that is the way we are. Jews and Arabs mingle and shop at each other's stores and work at each other's businesses and they lie at the hospital together."
It's a sentiment echoed by Ahmed Eid, head of surgery at Hadassah's Mount Scopus Hospital. On Monday, Eid, an Israeli Arab, operated on and saved the life of a 13-year-old Jewish boy who was stabbed in the east Jerusalem area of Pisgat Ze'ev and arrived at the hospital with barely a pulse after losing large quantities of blood.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Victims-and-Terrorists-under-the-Same-Roof.html?s=mm



Too Close to Home
During this slew of stabbings, barbaric person-to-person attacks, I’m waiting to exhale.
by Jennifer Lang
Four yoga students line up on their mats facing me. Behind me, the pool tiles – teal and aquamarine and celestial blues – shimmer in the sunlight. It’s mid-October, and the weather is so mild I hold morning classes in my backyard. Every few minutes, my Israeli neighbor’s phone vibrates and she walks away to check it. At 9:40am, almost an hour into class, I poke fun at her: “Dalia is texting and doing yoga.” She keeps quiet. The others chuckle. I instruct them to stand on their right leg, find a focal point, and bend the left leg as high up to their chests as they can. While they stand and gaze beyond me and the handful of fledgling trees in our yard, I hear a loud hum of a helicopter. It’s low and circling over us.
“What’s that about?” I must have said aloud.
“I didn’t want to say anything, but there was a stabbing in Raanana,” says my neighbor. “My husband texted from Germany to make sure I’m okay.” Everyone releases the pose. We’re quiet – too stunned to speak – as her words sink in. Our beautiful city called Raanana, our quiet paradise in the center of the country, one that many Israelis and immigrants jokingly call a bubble, is no longer immune. We are no longer immune.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Too-Close-to-Home.html?s=mm


The Solution to Israel’s Wave of Terror
by Sara Yoheved Rigler
The Jewish people’s alternative to despair.
As the wave of terror continues throughout Israel, with multiple attacks every day by Arabs using knives, guns, and cars to kill Jews, the Jewish population is protesting, demanding that our government do more to protect its citizens. After a 13-year-old boy on his bicycle and another man was stabbed in Pisgat Ze’ev on October 12, citizens staged a protest.
One protester, Tovi Harari declared: "As you can see, we are in a state of fear, fear to send our children to school. I haven't sent my daughter to school for three days already.
"The situation can't continue like this. There has to be some sort of solution. The prime minister must wake up, and understand we can't continue like this. They stab in the streets, and we have no security. You can't walk around the streets. I don't remember there ever being something like this."



There has never been a situation like this.

When Ms. Harari was asked what solution she proposed, she faltered. “If only I had a solution! The prime minister needs to think about it. To implement a curfew, I don't know...that's what he's prime minister for. …It's simply frightening to leave your home. ...Right now there's the protest, so we all came together, but in general the streets are silent. No one is there."
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/id/The-Solution-to-Israels-Wave-of-Terror.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 22 Oct 2015, 6:38 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/mo/3-Ways-the-Media-Distorts-Attacks-in-Israel.html?s=mm
3 Ways the Media Distort Attacks in Israel
And what you can do about it.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
         
When Israelis faced five separate stabbing attacks on Saturday
 Oct. 17, they were luckily able to fight off their attackers and defend themselves.

How did the world’s press report on these attacks? “Four More Palestinians Shot Dead on the Streets”. “Israelis Kill Four Palestinians”. “Palestinians Shot Dead in Alleged Knife Attacks”.

These headlines (from the Irish Independent, USA Today and Sky News respectively) are typical of much reporting when it comes to the Jewish state, portraying Israelis under attack as aggressors and glossing over (or omitting) details of the terrorism that Israelis are facing every day.

Here are three common media distortions we’re seeing in coverage of the current violent attacks in Israel and what you can do about them.

1. Upside-Down Reporting : Terrorists as Victims, Victims as Aggressors
It might seem unbelievable that people who arm themselves with knives, guns and meat cleavers and go out to murder Jews would be called victims but many news reports perversely insist on painting a picture of innocent Palestinian victims and Israelis as cold-blooded killers.
An Oct.17, 2015 headline in the British Telegraph newspaper announcing “Israeli security forces kill four more Palestinians as knife attacks continue” misleadingly make it seem as if an ongoing massacre is going on against Palestinians – not a wave of terror attacks against Israelis. An Oct. 19, USA Today insert carried by papers across the country reported “West Bank Bands Together: from making food to slingshots, Palestinians do what they can to fight Israel” – the take-away impression being that fighting Israelis is a noble pursuit, not the reality of shooting toddlers, stabbing children, and attacking Israelis viciously – targeting them only because they are Jews.

Pointing out the facts of recent terror attacks is one antidote to these upside-down news reports that invert aggressor and victim. That’s what NBC anchor Jose Diaz-Balart did recently during a live report. MSNBC/NBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin – reporting from Jerusalem – claimed that a would-be terrorist who’d been shot dead by police earlier was unarmed. Both of his hands were open and both of his hands did not have a knife.” But back in the studio, Mr. Diaz-Balart brought up a picture of the attacker, pointing out to viewers, “We can clearly see the man – with what appears to be, at least in his right hand, a knife.”

We don’t all have the influence of Mr. Diaz-Balart, but we can all learn how to counter bald-faced lies and distortion from him: pointing out the truth about attacks in reader feedback, letters to the editor, in blogs and social media – can take the air out of lies and distortions about Israel.

2. False Equivalence
Another slander that’s gaining traction about the Jewish state is that Israel is somehow culpable for the violence that’s roiling Palestinian society.

That was the assumption behind a recent CNN headline “More Die as Violence and Finger-Pointing Plague Israel, Palestinians.” The Oct. 18, 2015 headline came after the five failed terror attacks, and the day before the massive fatal attack in Beersheva’s Central Bus Station. Where was the violence on the part of the Israelis? Where the finger-pointing? Surely shooting an armed terrorist who is in the act of attacking isn’t the same sort of violence as carrying out the attack in the first place?
An Oct. 19 op-ed in The New York Times described an almost-unrecognizable Jerusalem, one in which mobs of Jews parade through the streets chanting “Death to Arabs”, in which Arabs are fearful of letting their children out of doors lest they be shot by murderous Israelis like “Jerusalem’s gun-wielding mayor.” This is a willful distortion.

This type of false equivalence has real consequences, convincing people that Israelis are some responsible for being stabbed, shot at, run over, attacked and murdered. It creates a climate in which Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at Harvard on October 13, 2015 – the same day that three Israelis were murdered and twenty wounded in two separate attacks – could say both Israelis and Palestinians shared the blame for the violence. It desensitizes us to the fear and violence Israelis are experiencing. Sir Eric Pickles, Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel group in Britain, has called this desire to be balanced “pathological”.
One way to respond is to speak up: don’t be afraid to present a more nuanced, truthful version of events. Arm yourself with facts. Read Israeli news outlets, turn to websites such as www.honestreporting.com and www.camera.org for help.

3. Giving a Platform to Lies and Extremism
One striking feature of much Israel coverage is the extent to which extreme people, organizations and views are given air and print time.
CNN, in an Oct. 18 report, quoted Israeli officials about the five terror attacks the day before – then cast doubt on them, saying “But the official Palestinian version of events doesn’t always match the account given by Israeli authorities”. According to this alternate account, CNN reported, a Palestinian terrorist didn’t attempt to stab an Israeli; instead, the Palestinian was the victim, hunted down and shot in cold blood by an Israeli “settler”.
Who is this alternative source? According to CNN, it’s WAFA, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency. But does WAFA deserve to be treated as a credible news source?

Based on translations of its Arabic news source, the answer is absolutely not. This is the news outlet that on December 30, 2014, called the two terrorists responsible for murdering five Israelis as they prayed in a Jerusalem synagogue “martyrs...who ascended (to Heaven).” In the current wave of violence, WAFA has consistently referred to terror attacks against Israeli civilians as military operations, praised those killed in attempting to carry out attacks as “martyrs” and misreported the deaths of terrorists killed in self-defense as they carried attacks as cold-blooded executions.
An Associated Press (AP) story on October 15, 2015 story about the roots of Palestinian rage: “East Jerusalem Palestinians at Center of Wave of Unrest” similarly relied on highly biased information sources. Quoting Ir Amim, “an advocacy group that promotes equality in the city”, the AP painted a dystopian vision of Jerusalem in which “Arab neighborhoods have potholed streets, overcrowded classrooms, and suffer from insufficient public services like water, sewage and garbage collection”.
But Ir Amim is hardly an unbiased source. Described by one of its own officials as promoting a political agenda rather than coexistence, the organization – funded by Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and EU – is extremist in its Israel-bashing and has called for the US to “sever diplomatic ties” with the Jewish State. A 2010 film series they funded was described at the time by the then-editor of the Jerusalem Post as “contain(ing) just about every imaginable one-sided, context-deficient, unbalanced misrepresentation of Israel rolled into one nasty package.”

In this climate we all have to be careful consumers of news. We must make an effort to question where our news sources are getting their information and evaluate whom they’re quoting. When you read extreme-sounding claims about Israel, take a moment to read about the source. Educate yourself about Israel and the news. Don’t be afraid to speak up. We all have a stake in making sure that distortions and lies about the Jewish state don’t go unchallenged.

With thanks to Honest Reporting for highlighting many of these and other examples of media bias against Israel.
Published: October 20, 2015
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The Spiritual Bystander Effect

Post  Admin on Wed 14 Oct 2015, 7:25 pm

The Spiritual Bystander Effect
The Jewish people needs your prayers.
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund

“Can you believe what’s going on in Israel?” my mother asked me when I called her in the middle of Sukkot. I felt my heart drop, my breath catch. I hadn’t been keeping up with the news at all. My house was full of guests; children running up and down the steps and trays of food going in and out of the sukkah. And I stopped myself from saying: Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. Because part of me really didn’t want to hear what had happened.

Just at that moment my youngest ran into the room and pulled on my skirt. “Ima, hold me.” He rubbed his eyes as I gathered him into my arms and quickly steered the phone call into a different direction. But after I said Shema with him and tucked him into bed, I forced myself to finally go into my office. I sat down at my desk and as the lively din of my guests echoed towards me from downstairs, I opened up the news. The headlines looked like nightmares, one after the other. A father and mother shot in their car while their children watched helplessly from their seats. A father murdered on his way to pray at the Wall. His wife stabbed. His two-year-old daughter shot in the leg. And the young man who came out of his apartment to help them killed too. I closed my eyes and heard someone calling my name from downstairs.

Do we have any hazelnut coffee left? Ima, where are you?” I looked down at the names of the wounded and I heard my name echoing from the kitchen a second time. A third time.

“Ima!” And then. “Does anyone know where Ima went?” I turned off my computer. I shut my office door. What can I do anyway? I thought to myself. I could pray, but everyone was praying for the victims, for the situation, for the nightmarish headlines that grew worse every day. Why would my prayer make a difference? I walked downstairs into the distracting relief of guests looking for coffee, of children finishing brownies and playing cards in the sukkah, of a life so very far away from the mounting fear that was rising on every street corner in Israel.
But as I searched through the cabinets for hazelnut coffee, my heart ached. For every Jew who had been hurt. For the innocent lives that had been so cruelly cut short. For the children who were now orphans. For the parents and siblings and friends torn apart by grief. For the fear that was weaving its way through our beloved Land.
Over the next few days, there were emails and text messages on my phone – to say Psalms, to gather in prayer for Israel. And the headlines continued to pour in. More stabbing attacks. Tel Aviv. Afula. Jerusalem. Streets I had walked so many times with my children. Places that I had always considered safe now covered in blood. But I can’t do anything, I thought again to myself. I don’t live there. And there is so much to do right now. I can’t think about it now.
But everything that I did felt like it was covered by a gray shadow. The trips we went on. The food that I was cooking. And everything felt so much heavier, so caught beneath a murky unexpressed grief, because I wasn’t even praying. I was relying on someone else to set aside the time. Say the words. Plead for help. And then suddenly, I thought about the bystander effect, when everyone assumes that someone else will help. Someone else will call the fire department. Someone else will get the police. Someone else will help the lost child. And as I was picking up one of my fallen sukkah decorations, which happened to be a mirrored circle with the words: “Save Your nation and bless Your inheritance,” I saw my reflection. And I held that mirror in my hands, watching my tears like raindrops from above. And then I placed it carefully on the table, closed my eyes and began to pray.
That’s when I understood that the bystander effect doesn’t just happen in the physical realm. It happens to us spiritually too. We forget that each one of our prayers count. We forget that each of our tears help. We forget how very much every single Jew, every single one of us, is needed. There is something you can do. You can pray. And there is no prayer that is like your prayer. No tears are like your tears. The Jewish nation desperately needs you now. And no one else’s words or prayers can take your place.
It doesn’t matter where we live. Praying for, defending and supporting Israel is imperative for every Jew. Donate money to help the victims. Speak up against the outrage of Israel portrayed as an aggressor while our people are attacked on every street corner. The headlines keep pouring in. Don’t stand by while another Jew suffers. Speak now. Act now. Pray now. Don’t be a spiritual bystander.
Israel needs every single Jew to help, to pray, to care. “Save Your nation and bless Your inheritance.” Take the mirror and see the person who the Jewish nation cannot live without. It’s you.
Names to Pray For
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Published: October 12, 2015
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 07 Oct 2015, 9:51 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/id/The-Murder-of-a-Hero.html?s=mm
The Murder of a Hero
by Sara Yoheved Rigler
In trying to save a life, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi paid with his life
Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, 41, was celebrating the Third Meal of Shabbat with his wife and seven children in their rooftop sukkah above their Jerusalem Old City apartment. Rabbi Lavi related a teaching of the Vilna Gaon that there are two mitzvot that a man can fulfill with his whole body: Living in the Land of Israel and sitting in a sukkah. (Women, who are commanded to immerse in a mikvah, have three whole-body mitzvot.) He remarked to his family that they are, at that moment, fulfilling both these mitzvot. Suddenly they heard a woman screaming. Rabbi Lavi, an officer in the I.D.F. Reserves, grabbed his gun and ran downstairs to save her. As Israel’s Chief Rabbi would say at Nehemia Lavi’s funeral, he thus was fulfilling a third mitzvah with his whole body.
The Arab terrorist, who had already murdered 22-year-old Aaron Banito Bennet and seriously wounded his young wife Adelle, killed Rabbi Lavi by repeatedly stabbing him in the chest and neck. Then he took the rabbi’s gun and shot the Bennets’ toddler in the leg. Adelle, with a knife in her shoulder, managed to run to an Israeli police outpost fifty meters away before losing consciousness. The police neutralized the terrorist..
Nehemia Lavi was a lover of Jerusalem’s walled Old City. Although he grew up in Beit El, a town 33 kilometers outside Jerusalem, Nehemia moved to the Old City 23 years ago, as a yeshiva student at Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim. He became an educator. He taught young men at the yeshiva and children at the Moriah Talmud Torah in the Jewish Quarter.
He was also a lover of the Land of Israel. He took a tour guide course and became a certified guide, not because he was seeking another vocation, but just because he wanted to learn everything about the Land of Israel.
Rabbi Lavi had zeal to serve. As a combat soldier in the I.D.F. and then the Reserves, he was regularly called up for reserve duty. Disappointed that after turning 40 he would no longer be called up, he took a chaplain's training course so that he could continue to serve in the Reserves as an officer. He finished the course just 2 weeks ago.
In the Muslim Quarter
Some twenty years ago, Nehemia and his wife Netta moved into Beit Witenberg on HaGai Street in the Muslim Quarter. This large complex had been purchased by Rabbi Moshe Witenberg, a wealthy Eastern European Jew, in the 1880s. Rabbi Witenberg used part of the building to construct a magnificent Chabad synagogue with an extensive library, rented out twenty apartments, and used much of the building for his charitable institutions. Rabbi Witenberg died childless in 1899, after insuring with the Turkish authorities that the property would be consecrated as a charitable foundation and remain in Jewish hands. In 1920, Arab rioters attacked the Witenberg complex, burned down the synagogue, including its many Torah scrolls and priceless Chabad manuscripts, and looted and destroyed the apartments.
Although the original residents were afraid to return to Beit Witenberg after it was reconstructed, Jewish immigrants from Hungary moved in. They stayed there until driven out by the Arab riots of 1929, in which 133 Jews in the so-called “Muslim Quarter” were murdered. (An official census conducted by the British Mandate government in 1922 had found that the majority of residents of the “Muslim Quarter” were Jews.) In the wake of the Arab riots of 1929 and 1936, the “Muslim Quarter,” including its many Jewish-owned properties, became Judenrein.
After Israeli forces liberated the Old City from Jordanian rule in the Six Day War of 1967, Jews slowly returned to the Jewish Quarter. Reclaiming Jewish properties in the Muslim Quarter, however, was much harder. It took many years of legal action, much money, and the dedicated efforts of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim to return scores of properties to Jewish hands. Finally, in 1987, a mezuzah was once again affixed to the entrance of the Witenberg complex.
Despite the danger of living in the Muslim Quarter, Nehemia Lavi and his family moved into Beit Witenberg on Hagai Street twenty years ago. His apartment there was both a home and a statement that Jews would not be intimidated by Arab violence from reclaiming their ancestral homeland or even this one, small, holy part of it.
The Number 18 Bus
Nehemia Lavi understood that courage, like fear, is contagious. The act that best reveals his bravery took place in 1996. At 6:30 in the morning of February 25, Jerusalem’s #18 bus was filled with people on their way to work. A suicide bomber boarded the bus and blew himself up, killing 26 people. Exactly one week later, at the same hour on the same #18 bus route, another suicide bomber blew up the bus, killing 19 people. Exactly one week after that, at the same hour, knowing how scared the driver and passengers would be, 22-year-old Nehemia Lavi, carrying a large Israeli flag, got on the #18 bus at the beginning of its route. With encouraging words and the blue-and-white flag of the Jewish nation, Nehemia instilled courage into the driver and passengers. He rode the bus until its last stop and then back the whole route in the other direction. It was a statement: We Jews will not submit to fear.
Nehemia Lavi understood that courage, like fear, is contagious.
Courage, like fear, is contagious. At Nehemia Lavi’s funeral this past Sunday, they announced that after the conclusion of the Simchat Torah holiday, “Second Hakafot,” dancing with the Torah as on Simchat Torah, but with the rousing accompaniment of a band, would take place on Hagai Street in the Muslim Quarter, at the very place where Nehemia Lavi and Aaron Banito Bennet had been murdered. The square has been renamed, “Nehemia and Aaron Square.”
Hundreds of Jews poured to the site. As the band played, Am Yisrael Chai (“The Jewish Nation Lives”), on the cobblestones recently cleansed of Jewish blood, hundreds of Jews danced with Torah scrolls in their hands and courage in their hearts.
The following day, rabbis started holding Torah classes at Nehemia and Aaron Square. Member of Knesset Mutty Yogez moved his official office to the Square. And the youths whose classmates from the Lavi family are now fatherless are sitting there on Haggai Street learning Torah and singing songs of Jewish faith and fortitude.
All of these are a statement: We Jews will not submit to fear. 

Our brother Nehemia, this is the courage you taught all of us by your brave example. Your courage is contagious.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 18 Aug 2015, 8:25 pm

http://www.aish.com/h/hh/e/guide/48966581.html?s=mm
ABC's of Elul
The last month of the Jewish calendar is actually the most important – serving as preparation for the High Holidays.
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

If you had an important court date scheduled – one that would determine your financial future, or even your very life – you'd be sure to prepare for weeks beforehand.
On Rosh Hashanah, each individual is judged on the merit of his deeds. Whether he will live out the year or not. Whether he will have financial success or ruin. Whether he will be healthy or ill. All of these are determined on Rosh Hashanah.

Elul – the month preceding Rosh Hashanah – begins a period of intensive introspection, of clarifying life's goals, and of coming closer to God. It is a time for realizing purpose in life – rather than perfunctorily going through the motions of living by amassing money and seeking gratification. It is a time when we step back and look at ourselves critically and honestly, as Jews have from time immemorial, with the intention of improving.

The four Hebrew letters of the word Elul (aleph-lamed-vav-lamed) are the first letters of the four words Ani l'dodi v'dodi lee – "I am to my Beloved and my Beloved is to me" (Song of Songs 6:3). These words sum up the relationship between God and His people.
In other words, the month preceding Rosh Hashanah is a time when God reaches out to us, in an effort to create a more spiritually-inspiring atmosphere, one that stimulates teshuva.

Slichot
Beginning on Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah, we recite "Slichot", a special series of prayers that invoke God's mercy. If Rosh Hashanah falls at the beginning of the week, then "Slichot" begin on the Saturday night of the previous week. (Sefardim begin saying "Slichot" on Rosh Chodesh Elul.)
After the sin of the Golden Calf, Moses asked God to explain His system for relating with the world. God's answer, known as the "13 Attributes of Mercy," forms the essence of the "Slichot" prayers. The "13 Attributes" speak of "God's patience." The same God Who created us with a clean slate and a world of opportunity, gives us another opportunity if we've misused the first one.
"Slichot" should be said with a minyan. If this is not possible, then "Slichot" should still be said alone, omitting the parts in Aramaic and the "13 Attributes of Mercy."

Finally, the most important aspect of Elul is to make a plan for your life. Because when the Big Day comes, and each individual stands before the Almighty to ask for another year, we'll want to know what we're asking for!

Additions to the Services
Beginning the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, it is the Ashkenazi custom to blow the shofar every morning after prayers, in order to awaken us for the coming Day of Judgement. The shofar's wailing sound inspires us to use the opportunity of Elul to its fullest.
Also beginning in Elul, we say Psalm 27 in the morning and evening services. (Sefardim say it in the morning and afternoon services.) In this Psalm, King David exclaims: "One thing I ask... is to dwell in the house of God all the days of my life." we focus on the unifying force of God in our lives, and strive to increase our connection to the infinite transcendent dimension.

40-Day Period
Rewind 3,000 years to the Sinai Desert. God has spoken the Ten Commandments, and the Jews have built the Golden Calf. Moses desperately pleads with God to spare the nation.
On the first day of Elul, Moses ascends Mount Sinai, and 40 days later – on the seminal Yom Kippur – he returned to the people, with a new, second set of stone tablets in hand.
For us as well, the month of Elul begins a 40-day period that culminates in the year's holiest day, Yom Kippur.
Why 40? Forty is a number of cleansing and purification. Noah's Flood rains lasted 40 days, and the mikveh – the ritual purification bath – contains 40 measures of water.
Elul is an enormous opportunity. During this time, many people increase their study of Torah and performance of good deeds. And many also do a daily cheshbon – an accounting of spiritual profit and loss.

Events of the Year 2448
Many of the Jewish holidays are based on the events of one crucial year in Jewish history – 2448, or 1312 BCE.
About 3,300 years ago, in the Jewish year 2448, the Jewish people were freed from slavery in Egypt – following the plague of the First Born. The date was the 15th of Nissan, the first Passover celebration.
One week later, with the Egyptian troops in full chase, the Red Sea split – and the Jewish people walked through on dry land. This occurred on the seventh and final day of the Passover holiday.

Ten Commandments and Mount Sinai – Fifty days later, on the holiday of Shavuot, God gave the Ten Commandments to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. At Sinai, the Jews regained the immortal level of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Moses' First Ascent – Following the revelation, Moses went up Mount Sinai to learn more details of the Torah directly from God. At the end of 40 days, God handed Moses two sapphire tablets of identical shape and size – upon which the Ten Commandments were engraved.

The Golden Calf – On the 16th of Tammuz, when Moses had not yet returned from the mountain, the Jewish people began to panic. They sought a new "leader" and built the Golden Calf. Immediately, the Clouds of Glory – the divine protection of God – departed. The Jews had relinquished their spiritual greatness and become mortal again. On the 17th of Tammuz, Moses came down from the mountain, smashed the Tablets, destroyed the Calf, and punished the transgressors.

Moses' Second Ascent - On the 19th of Tammuz, Moses ascended Mount Sinai again to plead for the lives of the Jewish people. He prayed with great intensity, and after 40 days, God agreed to spare the Jewish people in the merit of their forefathers. On the last day of Av, Moses returned to the people. Their lives were spared, but the sin was not yet forgiven.

Moses' Third and Final Ascent – Moses ascended Mount Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Elul and stayed in the heavenly camp for 40 days (bringing the total number of days spent there to 120). Henceforth, the month of Elul became a special time for drawing close to God. At the end of the 40 days – on the 10th of Tishrei – God agreed to mete out the punishment for the Golden Calf over many generations. He then gave Moses a new, second set of Tablets.

Moses came down from the mountain with good news for the people: The reunification was complete, and the relationship restored. Thereafter, the 10th of Tishrei was designated as a day of forgiveness for all future generations: Yom Kippur, the 

Day of Atonement.
Midrashic Sources: Exodus Rabba 32:7, 51:8; Tanchuma - Ki Tisa 35

Recommended Reading
Rabbeinu Yitchak Abohav writes in "Menoras HaMeor":
Any intelligent person who is scheduled for trial before a mortal king will surely spend sleepless nights and days preparing his case. He will seek the advice of every knowledgeable person he knows who can help him prepare his case. He will go to great lengths to attain a favorable verdict, even if all that is at stake is but a small part of his fortune, and he faces no personal risk.
Should he not do so as well when brought to judgment before the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy Blessed One, when not only he, but his children and his fortune all hang in the balance?
With this in mind, here is some suggested reading for the High Holidays.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Survival Kit (Shimon Apisdorf, Leviathan Press) – The award-winning guide to getting more meaning out of the High Holidays. With humor and sophistication, this book offers invaluable insight to the significance of the holidays and prayers. User-friendly format.

ArtScroll Machzor – The most complete and well organized prayer book on the market today. Includes full English/Hebrew text of all prayers, plus explanations, laws and customs. Features a masterful essay on the essence of the High Holidays. Separate volumes for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The Book of Our Heritage (Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Feldheim) – A thorough review of the Jewish calendar. Includes month-by-month explanations of all the holidays, laws and customs throughout the Jewish year. A classic.
Published: May 21, 2002
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 31 Jul 2015, 3:52 pm

Atticus Finch and Fallen Heroes
If we stop believing in heroes there’s no hope for us ever to become like them.
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech         
Atticus Finch is a racist.
That’s what we now learn from Harper Lee’s just released prequel to her Pulitzer prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Already breaking all sales records for a newly released book 54 years after Harper Lee introduced us to Atticus in a classic that became one of the best-selling books ever published, we now are shattered to learn that the hero who captured our hearts never truly deserved our respect and admiration.

Go Set a Watchman reveals that the courageous lawyer portrayed by Gregory Peck in the famous film based on the novel wasn’t really a civil rights champion after all. He too was tainted by the prejudices of his world and the bigotry of his society.
This revelation mirrors a greater contemporary tragedy.

For more than half a century, students in schools across the country read the story of Atticus Finch and his courageous courtroom battle. They were introduced to idealism, to heroism, to fearless bravery in order to uphold a personal sense of ethical morality. And the story served its purpose well. It was inspiring. By personal account, it motivated countless youngsters to identify with pursuing principled values against unjust societal norms. Yes, we taught our children, life has its heroes who challenge us to emulate them.
Fallen heroes have become the supposed new norm.
But today’s youth are confronted with the countless examples of fallen heroes for whom Atticus Finch may well represent a perfect paradigm.
Greek tragedy was predicated on the fall of the truly mighty and powerful. Today’s fallen idols fell from lower platforms of fame and public adoration, but the results are no less devastating.

Who can forget how Bill Cosby parlayed Cliff Huxtable into the ideal father all Americans wished they had – and then turned his ostensible moral code into the widely successful book Fatherhood. Bill Cosby was honored with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom. A generation looked up to him. Today his reputation as a reputed rapist has turned him into a pariah.
Remember how long Lance Armstrong was worshiped for his unequaled athletic prowess until, after years of denial on his part, we learned of his illegal drug use and cheating. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire broke baseball records, until we found out they could only do it by breaking the law. Heroes all – until they weren’t any longer.
Politicians are discovered to have served their personal desire for wealth far more than their constituents and jailed for corruption. Corporations have knowingly kept dangerous products on the market in order to increase their profits. And alas, even spiritual leaders have been found to be guilty of crimes totally contrary to their supposedly religious beliefs.
Indeed, there have always been fallen angels. What makes today different is the power of the media, the Internet, the blogs and websites to publicize these failings to a degree never known before. And perhaps the greatest tragedy is that fallen heroes have become the supposed new norm. They are no longer seen by today’s generation as aberrations; they are merely illustrations of reality.

We need to remember the world is still filled with heroes in spite of its villains.
Speak to young people and they will tell you that almost everyone is a fraud. Heroes don’t really exist. They are just phonies waiting to be uncovered. Lawyers are liars, businessmen are thieves, politicians are crooks and clergy are bogus.
We have fallen for the idea that there are no heroes. In his first inaugural address, Ronald Reagan put it well when he famously said, “Those who say that we're in a time when there are no heroes, they just don't know where to look.”
We need to desperately replace our fascination with humanity’s flaws with the recognition of everyday acts of human greatness. They appear all around us every moment of every day. They are made clear by the sacrifices of parents, the goodness of friends, the kindness of strangers, the strength of character, the nobility and the courage of so many of those with whom we interact all the days of our lives.
We need to remember the world is still filled with heroes in spite of its villains. Because if we stop believing in heroes there’s no hope for us ever to become like them.
Published: July 27, 2015
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 21 Jul 2015, 3:37 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/me/7-Dangers-to-Israel.html?s=mm
[INFOGRAPHIC] 7 Dangers to Israel
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
The State of Israel, founded in 1948, is besieged today more than ever.

http://media.aish.com/documents/7+Dangers+to+Israel_Infog+final.pdf
7 Dangers to Israel
The State of Israel, founded in 1948, is besieged today more than ever.
by Shraga Simmons

1. Iran
70 years after the Holocaust, little did the Jewish people imagine that nuclear
weapons could be soon in the hands of fanatical tyrants who boast that "the
destruction of Israel is non-negotiable."*
*General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, March 2015

2. Hamas
The Arab terror group – sworn to Israel's destruction* – has unleashed a wave
of suicide bombings, kidnappings, cross-border tunnels. In the decade since
Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas has launched four large-scale rocket
wars, most recently in 2014.
Funding: Qatar* and Iran*
*Hamas Charter; NPR – June 18, 2015; Telegraph (UK) – April 4, 2015

3. Hezbollah
The de facto ruling force in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah vows to destroy Israel
and has built a vast underground network of tunnels and bunkers, equipped
with 100,000 missiles aimed at the length and breadth of Israel.*
Funding: Iran* and Venezuela*
*Wall Street Journal – Jan. 2, 2014; New York Times – April 3, 2015; CNN – June 3, 2013

4. United Nations
Founded to bring unity and peace to the world, the United Nations has
descended into a center of anti-Semitism, where 30% of UN General Assembly
resolutions target the State of Israel. The UN Human Rights Council has
condemned the Jewish State more than the other 192 nations combined.

5. Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions
The BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions) movement accuses Israel of
apartheid and seeks to turn it into a pariah state. Israeli artists, academics, and
businesses are routinely targets of protest.

6. Disunity
The destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a cataclysmic event in Jewish
history, was due to infighting among Jews. Despite disagreements, the pursuit
of national destiny requires that we respect and value the Jewish heart that
binds us as one family. 

7. Assimilation
Comprehensive studies of Diaspora Jewry reveal a dilution of Jewish identity,
resulting in apathy and disengagement amongst millions of Jews and
weakening attachment to the Jewish State. Meaningful Jewish education and
experiences are crucial to reversing this trend.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Jul 2015, 11:05 am

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Omar-Sharif-and-the-Jews.html?s=mm
Omar Sharif died last week.
For those of us old enough to remember, Sharif was a cinema idol, a smolderingly handsome Egyptian leading man of the 1960s embraced by Hollywood and catapulted into international prominence – as well as Oscar contention – for his role in Lawrence of Arabia. Success followed success and his fame became further cemented by his starring role in yet another sweeping historical epic, Dr. Zhivago.

Sharif had more than 100 films to his credit. He won three Golden Globe awards. In his personal life he was married to Egyptian cinema’s reigning screen beauty and together they were acknowledged as the glamour couple of their generation.

Yet in spite of all this the matinee idol almost overnight was transformed from superstar to villain, from celebrity to pariah. His crime was something that could not be forgiven. Because of it his films were banned in his homeland as well as many other Arab countries. His sin? Sharif shared an on-screen romance with Barbra Streisand in the 1968 movie, Funny Girl. And Barbra of course is a Jew.
Sharif’s death brings back to mind a kind of irrational hatred that would seem to be impossible of finding a parallel in our 
more enlightened times. And yet it was but a few months ago that we were exposed to an eerily similar illustration of bigotry which transcends any civilized norms of behavior.

It was a selfie photo by the Israeli contestant in the Miss Universe contest in Florida this year which started it. Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, wanted a souvenir and so she took a picture of herself which included several others standing alongside. One of them unfortunately happened to be Miss Lebanon. On January 11, Matalon posted the picture with the gleeful caption, “good morning from us.” And that’s when the fireworks began.

The Arab world was incensed.

After an avalanche of criticism from within the Arab world, which frowns on contact with Israel, Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, issued a stunning repudiation of the image and even claimed to have been avoiding Miss Israel throughout the competition.

“The truth behind the photo,” she claimed was that “since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media…this is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest.”

Translation: There is no way in the world I would ever have anything to do with a Jew so please don’t ostracize me for committing an unforgivable transgression. I swear I hate Jews just as much as you do. So please support me in achieving my goal in being named the most beautiful woman in the universe.

And this wasn’t the first time that Jew hatred affected the Miss Universe competition. In 2002, Miss Lebanon Christina Sawaya refused to join the competition because Miss Israel Yamit Har-Noy was also competing.
It is sad beyond words that Omar Sharif was boycotted more than half a century ago simply because of his relationship with a Jew. Sadder still is the realization that the unwillingness of much of the Arab world to this day to acknowledge the possibility for human contact and perhaps even friendship across racial and religious divides still defines contemporary reality.
As the world mourns the death of Omar Sharif, perhaps it might take a moment to reflect on the irony that the cause of the boycott directed against him lives on in the continuing efforts of those who similarly seek to isolate present day Israelis and Jews.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 19 Jun 2015, 3:36 pm

In Constant MotionMom with a ViewIn Constant Motion
I need to learn how to slow down.
by Emuna Braverman         

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind I mean – where you schedule in a million things so you end up being late for all of them, where you are running, running, running, being productive and yet overwhelmed and you forget to eat (actually that part has never happened; I have never in my life forgotten to eat!) and you’re frantic and famished and stretched to the maximum and by the time the end of the day finally arrives you are too tired to even speak?

I had one of those days today. Then I realized something – I have one of those every day! From the moment I wake up and push my “on” button, I keep going, going, going until the battery finally dies. I seem to be on either high or off; I can find my medium mode. Even if I go on vacation, I keep running, guide book in hand. Lying on a beautiful beach? I’m afraid I’d get bored. So I keep going.

But I can’t keep up the pace I once did (yes I recently wrote about my friends turning 60 and I am not far behind) and I’m starting to wonder if I should pull back, if I’m pushing too hard, if it’s healthy to move at this pace or if I would benefit from slowing it down, from coming up for air, for a little breathing space. All this frantic rushing around can’t be good for me – physically, spiritually or emotionally.

It’s so hard to stop, to say no, to move at a more leisurely pace. It threatens my whole sense of self (who am I if I am not in constant motion?) and yet…and yet…I think that is where the next step in growth my life. I always say about my children that I can’t stop the overachievers, I can’t sell them on an A instead of an A++ and I can’t light a fire under the kids who aren’t motivated; I can’t make them care.

But does that mean I can’t change myself? Doesn’t that mean I’m stuck on one speed for the rest of my life (barring illness, God forbid)? It can’t be. A fundamental tenet of Judaism is that change is ALWAYS possible. It is never too late. If we stop changing, we stop growing. If we stop growing, we stop living.

There are different ways of growing – and they certainly don’t all involve doing more, more and then some more. Some of us grow by saying no, by slowing things down, by stopping to look around and savor the beauty in our world and the gifts in our lives.

I can’t change my children, I can’t slow them down or speed them up because they are unique individuals with their own ability to exercise their free will and make choices. I can’t change them but I can change myself. I just have to decide I really want it. I have to decide that life on the merry-go-round is wearing me out and that in the end is counterproductive. It’s a tough choice. It’s a fine line. It’s a matter of subtleties and nuances, of introspection and self-awareness.

But if you’ve ever had one of those days – or, if like me, all days are “one of those days” – there’s no other option. I have to make a change. I have to catch my breath. I’ll begin tomorrow; I have too much to take care of today!
Published: June 13, 2015
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 19 Jun 2015, 3:26 pm

Marijuana and Jewish Joy
Do Jews like being happy?
by Rabbi Gavriel Horan

The National Geographic’s recent article, “High Science,” about the new science of marijuana, features Israeli scientist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who was the first to identify marijuana’s psychedelic properties. He named the neurotransmitter that binds to the same receptor in the brain as THC, Anandamide, after the Sanskrit word for supreme joy, ananda. When asked by National Geographic why he didn’t choose a Hebrew word for joy instead, he replied, “In Hebrew there are not so many words for happiness. Jews don’t like being happy.”

The good doctor could not have been more wrong.

You can learn a lot about a culture by its language. In Eskimo dialect there are numerous words for different types of snow. They are surrounded by snow and understand all the different subtle nuances between the different types of precipitation.

Classical Hebrew actually has over a dozen different words for happiness. The Talmudic sources list ten different Hebrew words for joy – there’s ecstatic joy, songful joy, surprising joy and so on (Avos d’Rebbe Nossan 34). In fact, there are so many different words for joy that it can be said that Judaism is centered around joy, as the Eskimos’ lives are centered on snow. Whether it’s celebrating life events, from births and circumcisions to bar mitzvahs and weddings, to the Sabbath and holidays, to blessings of gratitude on mundane daily activities like eating a piece of fruit or even going to the bathroom, attaining happiness is a priority in Jewish life.

Jewish Joy
he Talmud teaches that the Divine Presence only rests upon someone in a state of joy (Shabbos, 30b). “Serve God with gladness,” the Psalmist enjoins us, "come before Him with joyful song" (Psalms, 100:2). “It is a great mitzvah (commandment) to be in a state of joy always,” Rebbe Nachman of Breslav says (Likkutei Maharan, 2:24).
More recently, Professor Tal Ben-Shahar, one of the leaders in the field of Positive Psychology, author of the book “Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment,” and the instructor of the most popular course in the history of Harvard University, explained that “many of the ideas ‘discovered’ by modern psychologists, had actually been present for thousands of years in traditional Jewish sources.”

Getting High
What about Mechoulam’s naming of the brain’s marijuana-like neurotransmitter after a word for joy in the first place? Does marijuana lead to a state of joy? Does getting high lead to happiness?
Every high eventually goes away and is followed by a low. The low is really just a return to your normal state of consciousness, but in contrast to the high, everyday life suddenly feels like a low. This conundrum can propel the infrequent recreational user to want to get high more often to avoid the lows, creating a vicious cycle that can lead to the need for more drugs to reach the same high, laying the seeds for addictive behavior.

According to Judaism a marijuana high might smell like joy, but there’s nothing genuinely joyful about it.
The most commonly used word for joy in Hebrew is simcha. Simcha shares the same linguistic root as the word tzemach - or growth. In Judaism joy and growth are inextricably intertwined. Joy takes work. It’s the feeling that you get when you work hard at something and succeed. It is the pleasure of having reached the top of an arduous peak. You can look back at the long journey and bask in the pleasure of your accomplishment. That is true joy.

We often think that pleasure and pain are opposites, and therefore seek out all sorts of ways to achieve pleasure without pain. In reality pain is the gateway to pleasure. No pain, no gain. The more effort we exert, the more we can enjoy the fruit of our labor. When we look for all sorts of shortcuts to find pleasure without effort or pain, we end up with empty highs that lack true depth and meaning. They may look like joy, but they fade away as quickly as they came and we end up worse off than when we started.

Natural Highs
Life is full of natural highs. We all have moments of inspiration that give us energy and vision to continue along a certain trajectory in life. Natural highs may include milestone life events such as graduations, weddings, births, as well as experiences like climbing a mountain, travelling to an exotic place, meeting an amazing person or watching an incredible sunset. But life isn’t about running after inspiration. Inspiration is free. It comes and goes easily.


One of my friends recently had a brush with death. He was miraculously saved from a head on collision on a major three lane highway, and he was ecstatic to have another day on earth. 

Suddenly, he experienced joy from every little thing, no matter how small or unpleasant. Seeing his kids fight, taking out the garbage, and watching the wind blow through the trees outside his house made him dance with joy. He was so happy to be alive that everything was amazing. He told me that he hoped his new state of consciousness would last forever.

Unfortunately it didn’t. After a few days, the miracle of life became business as unusual. The only way to hold on to the inspiration is by using it as an impetus to change your life by putting it into an action – no matter how small.

Everyone gets inspired. The key is what you do with the inspiration. If we find ways to integrate the inspiring moments into our very being so that they change us for the better, the high can actually last forever. That’s real growth and leads to true, long-lasting happiness.

My advice: burn off your marijuana high with some hard-earned Jewish joy.
Published: June 13, 2015
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