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AISH

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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 9:43 pm

When the Victims of Terror Are Not Jews
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
The terrorism of Nice and the world's select outrage.
Nice has till now been world renowned as the capitol of the French Riviera. Founded by the Greeks long ago, it became a resort for the elite – the cultured, the artistic, the sophisticated, the liberals and the intellectuals who gloried in its symbolic status as paradigm of 21st century paradise.
Today Nice has joined the geographic list of monuments to the tragedy of terrorism. The names of the cities stand as powerful reminders of the universal threat to civilized society. It is no longer just Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. It is Paris and Brussels, San Bernardino and Orlando, Istanbul and Dhaka.
And so we have come full circle.
For years now Europe has been in the forefront of those justifying Palestinian atrocities - terrorist acts of murder of innocents, of slayings of Jews at prayer, children asleep in their bedrooms, mothers in front of their children - all deemed permissible with the torturous logic that people who believe they have no other alternative are morally permitted to carry out brutal and barbaric violence.
Is wholesale murder in fact ever tolerable because the executioners are convinced that their ultimate goal is noble?
But surely now the world needs to ask the question: When does terrorism cease to be terrorism? Is wholesale murder in fact ever tolerable because the executioners are convinced that their ultimate goal is noble? Is there any possible vindication for driving a truck into a crowd of celebrants of Bastille Day, supposedly to distribute free ice cream to the revelers, viciously killing and injuring small children as well as hundreds of others in its path?
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/ci/s/When-the-Victims-of-Terror-Are-Not-Jews.html?s=mm



The Terrorist Attack in France
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund
It seems that nowhere is safe. How do we live in these times of uncertainty?
The Terrorist Attack in FranceThe Terrorist Attack in France
It seems that nowhere is safe. How do we live in these times of uncertainty?
by Sara Debbie Gutfreund 
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At 10:30pm Thursday a huge truck plowed into a crowd of people watching the Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France killing over 80 people and seriously injuring dozens more. After the terrorist drove over dozens of people, he emerged from the truck and began to shoot until he was shot dead by police. The official death tally is still unknown, but what we do know is that this is a tragedy of horrific proportions. It comes at the end of a week of senseless violence and tension in America. And it comes at the end of a week of continuing terrorist attacks and fear in Israel.
What do we do when nowhere is safe anymore? When sitting down to watch fireworks with your children is risking your life? When the horror and the violence never seem to end and no one knows what to say anymore?
We read the news with a mixture of shock and trepidation. It is so awful that it silences us with the sheer terror of our helplessness. The terrorists seem to be anywhere and everywhere. The violence is so frightening, we feel like we are frozen in place. Where is it safe? What do we do? What can we say? Where can we find certainty in this shaken, upside down world where mass killings are becoming weekly news?
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/The-Terrorist-Attack-in-France.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 07 Jul 2016, 9:52 pm

Sherzad: The Kurdish Jew
Nothing will deter him from standing up for his beliefs, even a terrorist attack that cost him his arm.
by Ronda Robinson 
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Sherzad Omer Mamsani is proud to be a Kurdish Jew and is letting the world know it. Nothing will deter him, even a terrorist attack that cost him his arm and left shrapnel in his legs. “This is my calling. How can I run away from it? This is my history. This is my faith. This is not something I do just for a living. It is my life.”
Kurdistan’s director of Jewish affairs since 2015, Sherzad welcomes any Jews who might come to visit for business or tourism. “Jews would be surprised to find that they are freer and safer here than in certain European capitals,” he asserts. He would like to revive Jewish life and see a synagogue in every town. As Iraqi Kurdistan’s first Jewish leader, he spearheaded the first Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Kurdistan in May.
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http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Sherzad-The-Kurdish-Jew.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 06 Jul 2016, 11:07 am

[VIDEO] Miracle at Entebbe: 40th Anniversary
by The Sydenham Shul
This short inspiring video retells Israel’s miraculous rescue of 102 hostages at Entebbe.
View Video
http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Miracle-at-Entebbe-40th-Anniversary.html?s=mm


Where Do the Jewish People Get the Strength to Go On?
by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff
We have been scattered throughout the four corners of this earth, many have pronounced us as dead and yet here we are.
by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff 
I cannot watch, but I dare not turn away either. Orit Mark, a young girl cries out. Her father, Michael (Miki) was shot as he drove his wife and two of his 10 children on the highway. Her mother, Chavi, has been severely injured in the attack; the two siblings wounded. She stands with her brother’s arms around her, trying to give words to the gaping hole in her heart. Sobbing, her body heaving, she speaks. Orit is eulogizing her murdered father.
I am awed by this child of our people. Today Orit has lost the sweet innocence of youth. She has met indescribable tragedy face on.
And yet she refuses to utterly crumble. Her voice is strong despite the tears. There is a passion, a conviction that fills the room where thousands of mourners gather in silent sadness. I can hear the whimpers in the crowd, the sighs of weariness from still another killing. But she, this child of our people, does not yield.
“Abba sheli, Abba sheli” – my father, my father, “I love you so.”
Orit’s tears pull at my heart. The raw grief is agonizing, grueling to witness.
“My beloved father, I can’t believe we are parting. Just a moment ago you held me and told me that you’ll never leave but now God has taken you.”
Describing her father, one cannot help but be moved by the goodness that he must have transmitted to his children each day.
READ MORE  http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Where-Do-the-Jewish-People-Get-the-Strength-to-Go-On.html?s=mm

A Wounded Faith and Loyal Hasid
by Rabbi Jay Yaacov Schwartz
My unexpected encounter with Prof. Elie Wiesel gave me a glimpse into his regal soul..
by Rabbi Jay Yaacov Schwartz 
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I didn’t meet Prof. Wiesel, as he liked to be called, until well into my fourth decade of life. Until then, I viewed him as a moral witness to the Holocaust, prolific writer, secular Jew and a poetic soul. His message seemed to speak to the common denominator of our creation in the image of o-d, and how the Holocaust both betrayed and imposed unending wounds on the collective spirituality of mankind.
However upon meeting Prof. Wiesel, I encountered an individual that was quite different of what I had anticipated. In the Fall of 2005, I accompanied leaders and benefactors of the Hasidic communities of Tzfat to Prof. Wiesel’s private office near Park Avenue. We were electrified by his regal bearing. He emerged from behind his desk, surrounded by what seemed like thousands of volumes of writing, research and Jewish seforim, books.
READ MORE  http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/A-Wounded-Faith-and-Loyal-Hasid.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 30 Jun 2016, 10:08 pm

http://www.aish.com/ho/p/My-Mother-in-Law-Jewish-Heroine-and-Nazi-Killer.html?s=mm
My Mother-in-Law: Jewish Heroine and Nazi Killer
The thrilling, true story of Rachel Blum’s struggle to survive in a world bent on destroying her.
by Yaakov Astor 

It was a daunting assignment: speaking to 120 eighth grade girls about the Holocaust in the last hour of the last day of their school year. Compounding my challenge, it was gloriously sunny outside. The girls would be anxious to take leave for their summer vacation.
In my favor, I was going to tell them a remarkable story: that of my mother-in-law, Rachel Blum, may her soul rest in peace – a story I have told to spell-bound audiences and have recently published in book form under the title Nothing Bad Ever Happens.
I told these teenage girls that my mother-in-law was roughly their age during the war years, beginning in June 1941 when the Nazis invaded her town, until July 1944 when the Russians liberated Lublin where she had been hiding with a non-Jewish family.
Then I dove into the story, which is truly incredible and gripping – including a Hollywood-worthy climax as Rachel rides in the caboose of a speeding train transporting a thousand SS soldiers to Germany. Fearful an SS officer is about to discover she is Jewish, she convinces the conductor – Ivan Roluk, husband of the non-Jewish couple who took her in – to overturn the train by speeding up around a sharp bend and blowing the horn just beforehand to allow her and his family to jump. (It worked, the family survived and many Nazis were killed; 15-year-old Rachel was responsible for the death of more SS Nazis in one shot than the combined efforts of all the legendary fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising!)

Despite the dramatic nature of that story, I will save the details for the book and instead share another story, one which is in some ways even more incredible.
The Main Shul in Ludmir

Rachel’s childhood town, Ludmir, was home to about 22,000 Jews before the war. On Rosh Hashanah 1942, the Nazis, with the help of local collaborators, began marching columns of bedraggled Jews to a spot outside town and machine-gunned them to death into open pits. Between 15,000 and 18,000 Jews lost their lives that way. And Ludmir was just one of countless Jewish towns in Eastern Europe; all told, some million-and-a-half Jews suffered a similar fate under Nazi domination (even before the gas chambers started operating).

Rachel and her family survived thanks to an ingenious attic hideout. And for the next year, she survived by staying in hiding, smuggling in food for her family and ultimately joining the few thousand survivors in the Ludmir ghetto who had been conscripted into brutal slave labor battalions. Over the year, though, each family member was killed or died of starvation.
This woman risked her life to keep Rachel – until one day when an anti-Semitic neighbor discovered her.
Finally, on December 25, 1943, the Nazis came to finish off everyone left in the ghetto. In miraculous fashion – Rachel found a hiding place beneath a wooden porch. A few days later she emerged and made her way to a Polish woman her family knew before the war.

This woman risked her life to keep Rachel – until one day when an anti-Semitic neighbor discovered her. Frightened for her own life now, the Polish woman told her she had to leave by the early morning.
It was January 1944. A fresh layer of deep snow lay on the ground. The air was biting cold. And a little girl, improperly dressed, was alone and on the run again.

She wandered the streets of non-Jewish Ludmir for a while before entering a barn. Her entire body chilled to the bone, she found a spot at the far end and stuck her feet into a stack of hay to warm them up.

Suddenly, a woman walked in. Their eyes met. Rachel pleaded with her to be quiet, promising she would be gone by the next morning. The woman said nothing, gathered some items and left.
As the day turned into evening, Rachel prepared to leave. The night before she had experienced a powerful dream where her recently-deceased father appeared to her and told her everything would be alright. Drawing courage from the dream, she exited the barn and approached the house next to it.

She knocked on the door. The woman she had seen earlier in the day opened it and invited her inside. The woman then introduced husband and their seventeen-year-old son (who Rachel later found out worked in the local SS office!). They offered her a bowl of soup. During conversation it emerged that this family, the Roluks, knew Rachel’s father. They praised him for being a very righteous and honest man they had had business dealings with. If they did not have money to pay for the items he gave them on consignment, he did not pressure them to pay.

At this point in the war, both Rachel and the Roluks knew the Nazis would kill any family caught harboring a Jew. Understanding the predicament, Rachel asked Mrs. Roluk if she and her family were religious. She answered affirmatively. Rachel then asked her if they had a Bible. Again affirmative. Rachel next requested that she take the Bible and place it on the table. She did. Finally, Rachel said to the entire family, “I want all of you to place your hands on the Bible.” They complied.
“Now, promise me on this Bible that after the war you will find Jewish people and tell that there is a little Jewish girl buried in the backyard.”
“Now, promise me the following,” the 14-year-old recently orphaned Jewish girl said. “I have nowhere to run. I’m tired and I’m alone. After this, I will go outside to your backyard and lie down in the snow. There I will freeze to death. You will bury me. 
Now, promise me on this Bible” – and it is difficult to convey the quality of conviction in my mother-in-law’s voice even as she retold it decades later – “that after the war you will find Jewish people and tell that there is a little Jewish girl buried in the backyard. Promise me that you will tell them that her last wish was that she be reburied with other Jews in a Jewish cemetery.”
A deathly silence fell upon the room. The Roluks looked at each other. One by one, they rose from the table and walked into the next room. Rachel could hear them talking. After a while, they returned and said to her, “You will stay with us. We will tell people that you are our niece from another village.”
What the Roluks did not know at the time was that in saving Rachel they were saving themselves – not only in soul but in body too. (This is detailed in the book. Hint: it has to do with the train story above.)
By the end of my lecture, the 120 girls were mesmerized. The most amazing part of Rachel’s story is that – despite the fact that by war’s end she had no family, friends or money – she became the happiest, most active, most loving and helping human being; someone who regularly said with absolute sincerity, “Nothing bad ever happened to me.”
The story of my mother-in-law inspires on many levels. She is a genuine heroine. As Jews, her story impresses upon us an added message: the value of what it means to be Jewish. Perhaps most of all, we learn from her that even if very bad things happen to us, we have within ourselves an astonishing, mysterious, inextinguishable untapped capacity to love; to be truly happy, active, focused and a magnet of joy for others. God knows, the world needs more of that.
Nothing Bad Ever Happens tells the thrilling, true story of Rachel Blum’s struggle to survive in a world bent on destroying her. Click here to order.
http://www.menuchapublishers.com/nothing-bad-ever-happens.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Jun 2016, 10:59 am

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Wheelchair-Envy.html?s=mm
Wheelchair Envy
I wish people would realize my child is mentally ill and is not going to grow out of it.
by Jane Doeberg 
Have you ever wished your child was in a wheelchair?
Probably not. It’s a horrible wish.
But I have.

You’ve probably never felt jealousy when watching a mother pushing a profoundly disabled child, his arms curled inward, his eyes rolling and his head lolling to the side? People turn and look when he squawks because he can’t communicate. And the people look at the mother attending to him, with compassion in their eyes. “Poor mom,” their eyes say. “That’s a lot on her plate.”
I have.

I have six children and they can all run and jump and hug. They look normal on the outside. And yet I wish there was something tangible to signal to others that all isn’t well, so they could see what we are up against.
You wouldn’t know that my eldest daughter is sick by looking at her.

She’s a beautiful girl with a radiant smile and a boisterous laugh, athletic and smart. Sure, she has a piercing too many, and people talk about her going off the religious path. Sometimes, at synagogue, someone will take me aside and comment on what she’s wearing (or not).
I thank them for their concern. Or I amuse myself by saying, “Holy cow! You’re right – I hadn’t noticed.”

They don’t know what goes on behind closed doors – that this beautiful, once sweet girl is drowning in pain, feels worthless and angry, hates limits but craves them even as she pushes against them without relent. That she tries to numb her pain with booze and boys. That she cuts her skin, that she can’t stand her brothers and sisters, that she hates the parents who love her. Hates me.
Most of all, she hates herself.

Instead I get this: “Oh, she’s just a teenager… you’ll see. She’ll grow out of it,” my neighbor told me when I had to explain why the police had been at our house again. (She’d jumped out a window in the middle of the night “to take a walk,” she explained upon her return hours later. It was ridiculous that we’d called the police, she said. Unreasonable.)

She’ll grow out of it? Is the child in the wheelchair, arms curled in, going to grow out of it?
Neither is she.

Her biological mother hasn’t. She’s a relative of my husband’s and we adopted her two children, a boy and a girl, when they were preschoolers after their mother had been arrested. Again.

A brilliant, gifted woman unable to observe social norms or control her temper, she abused her children emotionally and physically and disappeared from their lives once the family banded together to protect the children.

My son and daughter haven’t seen or spoken to her since a year after we attained custody 11 years ago. They both have written to her periodically and either receive no response or lengthy, bizarre ramblings. (Their father passed away before we got custody.)

Their biological mother never consented to treatment and the Court-compelled diagnoses conflict. Maybe it’s bipolar, maybe she’s Borderline, maybe this personality disorder or that. Psychiatry, while gifted with incredible tools, is an inexact science. Often, diagnoses follows what medication or treatment a patient respond to. Their mother never complied, and we haven’t yet found one that works for our daughter. And, warn the doctors, mental illness usually doesn’t fully “crystalize” until the early 20s.

I sometimes think that the emphasis on “diagnosis” isn’t a medical need, but to give everyone else a label to name the enemy controlling my child.

My son – an angry, nasty, manipulative five-year-old who sometimes frightened me when he first came to live with us – has his challenges, but he has been unrelenting in the work he does on himself. He is a brave, good, kind, funny, honorable, happy teenager. He works with his therapists and works with us. And the biology – at this point – seems to be on his side.
Not so for his sister.

Even as a small child, when we would care for her before we got custody, her temper was explosive, she could tolerate no frustration or disappointment, and communicating with her seemed impossible.

For a time, with the help of an excellent team of therapists and advisors and a stable, loving home, she seemed to blossom. Her grades were great and her behavior – which concerned us far more than grades – was wonderful. She stopped picking on the nerdy kids, tore up the soccer field, treated people with respect, tried to be honest, and adored her baby brothers and sister.
We called her a champ for having worked so successfully on herself, for accomplishing the most important thing: growing and being kind. Sure, she tended toward selfishness or manipulation, but it seemed within the bounds of normalcy. And we believed that she could do or be anything.
And then adolescence hit.

Other girls matured and changed, and she didn’t. She couldn’t seem to get the social signaling going on, and didn’t know how to talk and interact like a tween. She wanted to be in the popular clique, but they didn’t want her, and she refused to befriend anyone who did. The same determination that allowed her to accomplish so much became a barrier to us, a wall, a stubbornness that impeded her ability to hear or see the reality others experienced. She heard no one else, could see nothing except her own desires and impulses.

Minor conflicts mushroomed into major ones. All children fight over the use of the bathroom, but she tried to break down the door. Other kids stomp a foot in frustration; she would collapse on the stairs and then accuse us of pushing her down them.
Though he has four inches and 30 pounds on her, she’d attack her brother in a fury, and not understand why he wanted nothing to do with her. Her little brothers and sisters, once the source of so much joy, became annoyances. 
Though she’s never touched them aggressively, we try never to leave her alone with them.
Fortunately, our community is warm and lovely, and my daughter’s peers clearly see that she’s a girl in pain. After all, she takes every small misunderstanding as an intentional slight, and spins fantastic tales that she thinks are impressive but others finds bizarre.

Her teachers – baffled – mostly have responded to her with warmth and love, generosity and effort that touched my family deeply. One administrator has bent over backwards to work with us, accommodating her frequent absences, adjusting her class schedule, coordinating with the innumerable therapists seeking pictures of how she behaves outside their offices.

And she tells me time and again how much she feels for me, that she sees we’re seeking to get help for her, that we’re unconcerned with shame or standing. Which apparently distinguishes us from so many other families in similar situations. Which is sad.
A few years ago, a well-meaning but ignorant teacher who knows our family from synagogue delayed filling out a teacher form we needed for a neuropsychological evaluation. “I just don’t see why you  want to have her evaluated,” she took me aside at a wedding to explain why she’d not filled it out. “She’s fine at school. Maybe you’re expecting too much?”

I burned silently, thinking of how frightened our then-five-year-old had been the night before when she was awoken by her sister throwing a chair across our kitchen when my husband had told her to turn off her phone. Do I expect too much?

The things people say: “Maybe you’re too inflexible?” “Aren’t you being a little harsh? All teenagers are like this.” “Look, I ran away from home once…” “Hey, my son had behavioral problems but he grew out of them.” “She seems so lovely…”
Can’t you listen to me! I want to scream. This is mental illness, not a phase or just being a teenager. I told you that she is mentally ill. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?

And to those who do seem to get it, please, don’t suggest that, perhaps, she should see a therapist. The four weekly appointments aren’t enough – psycho-therapy, occupational therapy, and trauma treatment, all overseen by a psychiatrist?

Or the most wounding of all, from an actual (well-meaning) friend: “Do you think you’d have more compassion for her if you were her real mother?”
Many people feel mental illness is a stigma. The only shame would be if we refused to deal with it.
Her real mother? The one who abused and abandoned her? I’m just the one who cries myself to sleep with worry, who balances her needs against those of my other children, who plans my schedule around her moods, who sleeps on her floor when we suspect she might try to cut herself, who has been spat upon and threatened with violence. Apparently, I’m just the stand-in.
Hence my desire for the wheelchair.

I realize that many people feel a stigma, feel embarrassed by mental illness. Or maybe their need for privacy is greater than mine. Or maybe it’s a luxury I can’t afford since people know that our eldest children are relatives we adopted. And it doesn’t take tremendous insight or wisdom to recognize that a mother who’s uninvolved in her children’s lives probably isn’t the most normal mother around.

So whether anyone asks or not, they already know that something is up. So I’m comparatively open. I don’t feel that it’s a secret and I don’t think that it’s worthy of shame.

But I realize now what it means to constantly walk on eggshells. Even when she’s doing well, we’re always waiting, worrying that her mood or brain chemistry will shift and we’ll be back in a maelstrom. I’m ever vigilant, always watching her like a hawk. It’s awful for me, and it must be awful for her too.
“How is she?” my friends ask after a hospitalization. Even if she’s fine at the moment, we’re all not – we’re waiting.

Everyone has challenges in life – chronic unemployment, leukemia, marital discord, you name it. Apparently this is my family’s. The only shame would be if we refused to deal with it.
If someone wants to stigmatize me or my children, that’s his decision. I probably wouldn’t want to have much to do with such a person anyway since he’s likely neither wise nor generous.
And I recognize that nearly all the people who’ve wounded me with their comments mean well, however much or little they know or understand.
I want you to know that it’s hard, that I’m struggling.

But I just wish that I had something to signal to others that I have it hard. And that this is real.
Not that I want pity, or even necessarily help (because there really is little that anyone can do). But I want you to know that I’m suffering.

I want you to know that it’s hard, that I’m struggling.

And I want you to understand the patience and strength and resilience of my husband and children. To know that my eldest son lives with constant fear that his sister is destined to turn into the woman who hurt them. And yet he goes on, as we all do. So mindful of all of the goodness we have, in spite of my daughter’s illness.

We’re trying. Please be patient with us.

And I want that compassionate smile.
The neighbor who told me that my daughter would grow out of it eventually got it. Her response opened my heart. After one particularly bad public scene, my neighbor said, “Ach, this is so hard for you. I’m so sorry.”

That’s all I wanted.

That’s all there is.
How can I describe what it is to have to hold down your child while your husband runs for the Xanax? To feel like a prison guard, to set limits by threatening to call the police? All I want is a “Wow, is that hard.”

Yes, I’m ashamed to be jealous of the wheelchair. But sometimes I feel hopeless and tired, and drained. And I just wish that you knew.
  Published: June 25, 2016
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 23 Jun 2016, 3:11 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Britain-and-the-Jews.html?s=mm
Britain and the Jews
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller 
As England goes to the polls for a historic referendum, here are some little-known facts about Jews in the Sceptered Isle.
Medieval Flourishing
Jews first arrived in England with William the Conqueror in 1166; more came later from France, fleeing the Crusades. Additional Jews were invited to the northern city of York by the Bishop of York, who requested their help with his scholarship and learning. Jews established flourishing communities throughout England, engaging in trade, medicine, jewelry-making, and singing.

Legally, English Jews were regarded as a form of chattel. King Henry III mortgaged the Jewish community of England to his brother Richard as collateral for a loan. He later mortgaged England’s Jews to his son Edward in return for an annual payment and an oath of loyalty.
Anti-Semitism in the Magna Carta
It’s been called the first Democratic document in modern Europe, but the Magna Carta – the first document to limit a European monarch’s power, in 1215 – singled out England’s Jews. Fully three clauses (out of 62) of the Magna Carta dealt with Jews, limiting their power to claim unpaid debts and restricting their ability to do business with landowners.

English Pogroms
England’s King Richard I – “Richard the Lionheart” – was an enthusiast supporter of the Crusades and encouraged his subjects to attack Jews wherever they could. At his coronation in September 1189, a riot began at the doors of Westminster Hall; Londoners rampaged through the streets, killing many of the capital’s Jews and ransacking their homes.
Pogroms soon spread to other English towns. Jews were massacred in Dunstable, Lynn, Stamford and Norwich. Pogroms reached the northern city of York in March 1190. Terrified Jews begged to be admitted to York Castle, and the warden opened the castle doors and offered them protection. The local sheriff – leading a crowd braying for Jewish blood – attacked the castle. The Jews inside committed suicide rather than be murdered by the mob outside.

Blood Libels
One of the earliest English pieces of literature, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, devotes an entire tale – the Prioress’ Tale – to the fabricated story of a Jew who murdered an innocent Christian child in order to steal his blood.
The Prioress’s Tale
In real life, English Jews were routinely accused of blood libels – and often murdered as a result. One of England’s most famous saints – St. Hugh of Lincoln – is a Christian boy whom locals falsely claimed was murdered by Jews in 1255. Eighteen Jews were ultimately executed for failing to confess; the real murderer was never caught.

Secret Jew in Queen Elizabeth’s Court
On July 18, 1290, King Edward I issued an edict banishing Jews from England entirely. Small groups of secret Jews were rumored to live in England, fleeing torture and death under the Inquisition (which mandated death to anyone practice Judaism) that then operated in Portugal and Spain.
One young doctor – Rodrigo Lopez, a secret Jew from Portugal – rose to become the Queen Elizabeth I’s personal physician. Although he maintained the outward trappings of an English gentleman – a busy medical practice, a house in the Holborn area of London, a son at the prestigious Winchester boarding school – Lopez was part of a small group of secret Jews who continued to practice their religion in London.
Unfortunately, Lopez also made a powerful enemy: the Earl of Essex, who was a patient of Dr. Lopez, and seems to have had a falling out with the doctor. When a plot against a pretender to the Portuguese throne surfaced in London, Essex accused Lopez of being part of it. Soon Lopez was accused of being a Spanish spy – and then of poisoning Queen Elizabeth I. Although he protested his innocence, Lopez was arrested, tortured, and in 1594 was publically executed.
Shakespeare is thought to have based the Jewish character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, written a few years later, on Dr. Lopez. (One clue is the name of his nemesis, Antonio – the same name of the Portuguese nobleman Dr. Lopez was accused of plotting against.)

Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel and the Return of Jews to England
Menasseh ben Israel was a genius who wrote defenses of the Torah, established the first Hebrew printing press in Holland, and maintained friendships and correspondence with some of the greatest figures of the day – including Rembrandt, Queen Christina of Sweden, and the political philosopher Hugo Grotius.
Eager to provide Jews a refuge from anti-Semitism in Europe, Menasseh ben Israel wrote to the new British leader Oliver Cromwell, in 1650, asking him to admit Jews to England. (Menasseh ben Israel guessed that as a devout Puritan, Cromwell might be more positively disposed to the Jews.)
A portrait of Menasseh ben Israel by his friend Rembrandt gives us a glimpse of this remarkable man.
After years of petitions, his wish was granted. Cromwell admitted many individual Jews, allowing them “to meet privately in their houses for prayer” and to lease a cemetery. In 1656, about thirty Jewish families from Spain and Portugal moved to London, eventually setting up a synagogue on Creechurch Lane.
Cromwell’s successor King Charles II continued to relax laws against Jewish life. In 1698, it finally became legal in England to practice Judaism.

Yiddish in England
Between 1881 and 1914, over two million Jews fled anti-Semitism and pogroms in Eastern Europe. Most wanted to go to America, and many set sail on British-owned ships. Docking in Britain en route to the US, a number of Jews decided to stay and make England their homes. By 1914, a quarter of a million Jews lived in England.
While earlier waves of Jewish immigrants were Sephardi, these new immigrants were from Ashkenazi communities. Yiddish newspapers and theatres thrived. One Jewish Londoner, Louis Behr, later recalled visiting the Yiddish-speaking Pavilion Theatre in the 1920s:
“And then Saturday night when Shabbos was out, that was a treat….” Jewish women in particular queued up to buy tickets he remembers: “The whole week they slaved, there was no washing machine, no refrigerator, no television, no wireless (radio). But that was their outlet, once a week they went and they’d come along with packets, their own gefilte fried fish, bagels and food.” If an actor ever forgot his lines, Mr. Behr remembered, the audience – familiar with the play after weeks of theatre visits – would remind them.
Queues outside the Pavilion Theatre, 1895
My mother grew up in London’s East End and recalls her grandmother – my great-grandmother Yittah – who lived and worked in London her entire life, getting by entirely in Yiddish. Each week Yittah would attend a performance at a Yiddish theatre. The more maudlin the play, the better, rating stories by the number of hankies she used up crying. A three-hanky play was called a “gitta druma” or a good show.
Retail Pioneers
In the 19th Century, two Jewish businessmen – Elias Moses and his son Isaac – revolutionized shopping in England – and beyond, inventing the concept of department stores, mass marketing, and “ready to wear” clothes.
From humble beginnings in a market in London’s heavily Jewish East End, the Moses men established full service clothing stores across England, catering to the Victorian age’s growing cohort of salaried workers who craved fine clothing on modest incomes. Their stores were lavish, and offered working class customers the fine service and beautiful surroundings that had previously been the preserve only of the rich.
An 1850 guidebook describes one E. Moses & Son branch: “many thousands of gas-flames, forming branches, foliage, and arabesques, and sending forth so dazzling a blaze, that this fiery column of Moses is visible to Jews and Gentiles at a distance of half a mile.”
English Jews have helped found some of the country’s other iconic businesses too, including the supermarket chain Tesco (founded by Sir Jack Cohen), clothing chain Marks & Spencer (founded by Sir Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer) and Shell Oil (Marcus Bearsted).

Jewish Oath in Parliament
In 1847, Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild was elected to Parliament – and was later elected four more times – but was prevented from taking his seat in the Commons because he refused to take an oath declaring his “true faith as a Christian” and swear on a Christian Bible.
Other Jews had served in Parliament: Benjamin Disraeli (who converted to Christianity as a child) would later serve as Prime Minister, and the Jewish MP David Salomons was elected to Parliament in 1851. (Salomons also refused to take the Christian oath, but insisted on taking his seat anyway; he was forcibly removed from Parliament three days later and fined 500 pounds for voting “illegally” in Parliament.)
Rothschild, however, was the first Jew to insist on his right to be sworn into Parliament on his own terms, and he fought publicly for expanded rights for Britain’s Jews. Finally, in 1858, after pressure from Disraeli – and after being elected five times – Rothschild was able to take his seat – eleven years late. Covering his head with a top hat, Rothschild entered the chamber and swore “So help me, Jehovah” instead. (The following year, David Salomons was reelected – and took his oath using the wording Rothschild had pioneered.)

Questions for the Future
A recent 2011 survey found that 271,259 Jews call Britain home. A clear majority of British Jews – 60% – send their children to Jewish schools. 64% of British Jews live in the main Jewish centers of London and Manchester, and 36% live in smaller communities across the country.
Although Britain’s Jewish community is flourishing, there are worrying signs for the future. A 2014 poll found that nearly two-thirds of Britain's Jews – just over 63% – have questioned their future in the UK, citing growing anti-Semitism in Britain.
Since then, the situation has deteriorated further: a 2016 report found steadily increasing levels of anti-Semitism since 2014. 2015 was the worst year on record, with nearly 1,000 anti-Semitic acts reported.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Sun 19 Jun 2016, 9:14 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Tel-Aviv--Orlando-The-Big-Difference.html?s=mm
Tel Aviv & Orlando: The Big Difference
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
Imagine the naming of parks, institutions and sporting events in honor of Omar Mateen.
On the surface, the stories seem similar. The terrorist attack in Tel Aviv at the Sarona market and the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando were both gruesome examples, in but a two-week span, of the vicious butchering of innocents in the name of an ideology of evil.
“You see, Rabbi,” someone said to me, “it doesn’t just happen in Israel. It’s the same thing in America as well. We’re all living through the identical horror.”
There is, however, one enormous difference. An Israeli friend put it best to me when he explained:
Americans wept and mourned after Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 partygoers for the sake of a misguided and evil cause to which he pledged himself. We share their pain. But thank God Americans are spared one final indignity which inevitably follows the acts of terrorism unleashed against us Israelis. Americans do not have to endure the subsequent glorification of their killers by the society around them.
We, the Israeli told me, face the horrific death of our loved ones; then we have to continue to be reminded of the depraved joy of our neighbors as they worship our murderers as heroes.
Imagine for a moment that after the tragedy in Orlando institutions, parks and sporting events would be named in honor of Omar Mateen. Imagine his wife given gifts and cash awards in the sum of tens of thousands of dollars. Imagine photos of Omar publicly displayed to inspire youth to follow in his footsteps. The thought beggars belief.
Yet terrorists in Israel – those who survive as well as those who perish – become instant folk heroes for martyrdom.
Two terrorists were involved in the Tel Aviv bloodletting. One was taken alive, the other died of his wounds. The Palestinian Authority immediately took upon itself the payments it makes to those participating in these “acts of glorious resistance.”
The PA pays large bounties to the attackers and their families. A terrorist can go out to commit murder assured that if he is arrested he will receive a monthly salary. If he is killed, his family receives a monthly pension. If his family home is destroyed, his family will get a very generous award to rebuild their home.
Rather than being deterred by the harsh consequence of their terrorist attack at Israel’s hand, the perpetrators are actually encouraged and incentivized by the Palestinian leadership. According to one study published by the Gatestone Institute, “Terrorists in prison receive higher average salary than PA civil servants and military personnel.”
Just last month, a dispute arose between Iran and the Palestinian Authority. As a special incentive, Iran promised to pay $7,000 cash to families of every terrorist killed by Israel and $30,000 more if Israel demolishes their homes, effectively creating a life insurance policy for terrorists. Ever since the lifting of sanctions, Iran seems to have significant funds available to pursue its nefarious interests. But the PLO was outraged. Not because they had a problem with the morality of giving money to support terror, but because they were denied another great opportunity for corruption and theft of funds by not sending the funds to them for distribution.
Only when it comes to Jews can depraved murderers become iconic figures of heroism and valor.
Palestinian martyrs, no matter how heinous their crimes, can expect glory and fame beyond anyone’s wildest dreams here on earth.
Abd Al-Baset Udeh, killer of 30 at the Passover Seder massacre in Netanya, had a soccer tournament for 14-year-olds named for him. His brother was honored with distributing the trophies.
Dalal Mughrabi, terrorist bus hijacker who led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history in 1978 when she and other terrorists killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children, has had summer camps, schools, graduation ceremonies and sporting events named for her, as well as many TV documentaries honoring her. Palestinian newspapers also frequently glorify her as the heroine of "the most glorious page of heroism in the history of the Palestinian struggle”.
Thaer Hammad, who as a lone gunman murdered 10 Israelis in 2002, was glorified by the official PA daily as “the hero of the Intifada."
In May of this year a chess tournament was named after a terrorist responsible for many terror attacks, including the death of an infant in her stroller – but the terrorists honored most in Palestinian society are those who have killed the greatest number of infidels.
When Israel, out of compassion, returns the bodies of terrorists to their families for burial the result invariably is a huge mob celebration of the funeral as a wedding between the deceased and his newly acquired virgins, highlighted by calls to those in attendance to continue the glorious ways of the hero being interred.
In Orlando, Americans saw firsthand the horrifying results of the kind of religious fanaticism so frequently witnessed against Jews in Israel. The responses were communal outrage, condemnation from all corners and universal denunciation.
In America, everyone agrees that terrorists are not heroes and Omar Mateen cannot possibly become anybody’s role model. Israel’s challenge is far more difficult. Because somehow when it comes to Jews, terrorists are not meant to be condemned as much as they are to be understood. Only when it comes to Jews can depraved murderers become iconic figures of heroism and valor.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 07 Jun 2016, 6:27 pm

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Muslims-Yes-Jews-No-The-Hypocrisy-of-the-NY-Times.html?s=mm
Muslims Yes, Jews No: The Hypocrisy of the NY Times
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
Separate swimming hours to accommodate religious sensitivities provokes hypocritical response.
This time the New York Times really outdid itself.
If there were an award for hypocrisy, the hands-down winner should clearly be the paper which has long regarded itself as “the newspaper of record.” Within the span of just a few months, the Times editorial board took heated and diametrically opposed positions on the identical issue – the only difference being whether an accommodation was being made for the religious sensitivities of Muslims or of Orthodox Jews.


This past February, when the city of Toronto allowed for women-only sessions at a public pool at specific hours at the behest of Muslim residents, the Times was delighted. Although it was a story from across the border, the editorial writers of the newspaper gushed at this beautiful demonstration of “community integration.” This was a “model of inclusion.” Here was Canada showing us how citizens with differing views of modesty and morality could be extended the courtesy of understanding and the consideration of a policy which would be willing to extend community benefits to all at the cost of minimal sacrifice. The pool might not be open to everybody at all times, but everybody could find some times to enjoy a publicly funded recreation.

So religious accommodation, the Times effusively affirmed is a good thing even if, just like any accommodation, it requires a little compromise. But remarkably enough that is not the way they saw it at all when the ideal was now offered as justification for Orthodox Jews having a few hours during the week set aside at a municipal pool in Brooklyn for women whose religious scruples prevent them from swimming together with men.


Suddenly the former defendants of inclusiveness viewed the matter in a totally different light. This desire on the part of, as it turns out, an exceedingly large number of residents in that particular area of Williamsburg to be true to their traditions of modesty is, according to the New York Times, an affront to “the laws of New York City and the Constitution.” The same Constitution in whose name liberals today so vociferously demand equality for same-sex marriages, unrestricted bathroom use for trans-genders and a host of other “rights” which may upset others it seems according to the interpretation of the Times is unequivocally opposed to granting consideration to Orthodox Jews for their beliefs.


It is a stunning illustration of an attitude exemplified by a classic story: An old Jewish lady sees a gentleman in a long black coat, big beard and black hat on a bus. She goes over to him and says “Why can't you Hassidim dress a bit more modernly? Why not wear a nice suit and trim your beard so you can look a bit more respectable. This is the 21st century in New York City and you are an embarrassment to all of us.”
The gentleman responds to the lady, “I am not Jewish. I am Amish and I am dressed in accord with the traditions of my people.”
The lady respectfully apologizes. “Please forgive me. I didn't realize. And by the way I truly admire the way you people have kept your customs.”
Substitute Muslims for Amish and you have the essence of New York Times anti-Semitism. As a liberal newspaper constantly on guard against the slightest indication of the sin of racism or of Islamo-phobia, political correctness rules every article and editorial.

Change the victim, however, from Muslim to Jew or from Arab to Israeli and the perspective suddenly shifts 180°. One can only wonder if this almost incomprehensible insensitivity and abandonment of reason isn’t in some measure due to the fact that the original owners of the Times were Jews – and history has given us more than enough examples of that remarkable phenomenon of self-hating Jews desperately trying to become beloved by denying and disparaging their own identity.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 26 May 2016, 11:59 pm

Four Mantras to Help Moms Keep their Cool
Because happy and healthy mothers make happy and healthy children.
by Barbara Penn 
We all want to be good parents. But let’s face it: parenting is hard. It takes some character workout and honest self-reflection, a dose of wisdom, and a whole lot of self-control not to growl at your children, throw your teen's iPhone out the window, or otherwise allow your inner witch to emerge. Here are some mantras I try to keep in mind to help me maintain calm while facing the daily hurdles inevitable in the life of a mom.

1. You are not superwoman.
I don't have a cape and I don't fly. Respect and embrace your human element. Take care of yourself. Have a support system at the ready for rough days. Go ahead and buy yourself a little piggy bank and use it to set aside store change for the days that you'll need extra help. Don't be bashful; ask for help if you need it and gracefully accept a kind offer.
Get sleep! Not enough shut-eye can do funny things to the brain, especially when the house is a mess, dinner is nowhere to be seen, and your kids are writing their names with toothpaste on your bathroom mirror. Keep your mind and body nourished with healthy foods. Don't forget to eat three meals a day.


2. Self-care isn't selfish.
Your kids won't hate you for taking care of yourself; happy and healthy mothers make happy and healthy children. When you feel like your wires are getting a little loose, it might help to take a step back and ask yourself why you're unhappy and whether your basic needs are being met. Ask yourself whether you're overtired, hungry, or simply run down.
Take a break from your kids. Get out of the house and chill with friends, read a book, do yoga, or polish your nails.

3. Empathy is an antidote for anger.
Empathy helps you put yourself in someone else's shoes to try and understand their perspective. It helps you tolerate another's weaknesses, failings, and plain, old humanness. My children don't have capes and fly either; they are just regular kids with regular child-like behaviors, kid brains and kid mood swings. When I am empathetic, I try to give my kids the liberty of being kid. I try to understand that when my three year old is having a tantrum on the floor of aisle three at the grocery, in his little brain, it’s a perfectly legitimate reaction.
Empathy helps takes the edge off the anger element and tackle a problem with calm logic. It might be difficult to keep in mind in the heat of the moment, but practice certainly helps.

4. Don't react in the heat of the moment.
Talk when you're angry and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret. If a situation does not demand an immediate reaction, then it is best to hold off until you begin to feel a bit cooler. Try walking away or telling an older child, “I'm too upset to speak to you now, so I'm going to walk away for a few minutes.” Take a few slow, deep, breaths. Count to ten. Try singing the ABC's before yelling.
No parent is perfect. But with every challenge we overcome and every flex of our character muscle, we become closer to the people and parents we dream of being.
http://www.aish.com/f/p/Four-Mantras-to-Help-Moms-Keep-their-Cool.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 25 May 2016, 6:29 pm

85-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor’s Bar Mitzvah
by Michal Eisikowitz
Celebrating his bar mitzvah with his grandson, Harry Bibla attains the ultimate victory
One week after Pesach 2015, friends and family of Matan Bibla – a soon-to-be thirteen-year-old from Toronto – opened their mail to find a surprising bar mitzvah invitation.
In addition to the invitation for the expectant young man, guests discovered that the celebration, in fact, would center on two bar mitzvah boys: Matan, and his grandfather, affectionately known as “Saba.”
“I never had a bar mitzvah,” Saba, or Harry Bibla explains. “At 13, I was running for my life. When Matan, my youngest grandson, began learning for the occasion, I realized this was my last chance. I said ‘I want a bar mitzvah too.’”
Born in Miedzyrzec, Poland in 1930, Harry (Tzvi) Bibla – called “Hirsch” as a child – grew up in a bustling town of 15,000 where Jews comprised 75 percent of the population. The third of eight children, he attended the local public school and spent his afternoons roaming with friends. In 1940, however, the ten-year-old’s childhood was cut short: during a brutal aktion, Harry’s mother and younger siblings disappeared (to this day, their fate is unknown). In 1942, the surviving family members – Harry, his father, and two older brothers – were forced into the dilapidated, disease-ridden Międzyrzec ghetto. In this infamous ghetto, from which only 1 percent of the city’s pre-war population emerged alive, 20,000 Jews were crammed into an area designed for 1,400.
Harry found out that all ghetto residents had been dragged to the forest and gunned down.
“We lived nine people in one small room,” Harry remembers. “There was so much sickness.”
Liquidation of the ghetto was not long in coming. When Harry’s father – a devout, hardworking tailor – heard the operation was imminent, he grabbed his three sons and, joined by an uncle and family friend, hid in a nearby field. Hours later, Harry found out that all ghetto residents had been dragged to the forest and gunned down.
READ MORE 
http://www.aish.com/jw/s/85-Year-Old-Holocaust-Survivors-Bar-Mitzvah.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 12 May 2016, 10:07 pm

Arab Spring Vs. Jewish Spring
by Rabbi Stewart Weiss
The expectations of the Arab Spring are being realized in the Jewish State where democracy, the rule of law, openness, and every type of freedom flourishes.
While Passover is still in our rear-view mirrors, let's take the liberty of asking just one more question: Why is it that for the first nine of the 10 Plagues the Israelites were spared with no action whatsoever taken on their part, yet for the tenth plague – the killing of the firstborn – we had to perform numerous actions to protect ourselves? We had to bring the lamb – one of Egypt's primary gods – and slaughter it before their eyes, and then we had to smear the blood on our door posts so that the Angel of Death would “pass over” our homes. We had to pledge that our own firstborn would dedicate themselves to serving God. Why the difference?
MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Arab-Spring-Vs-Jewish-Spring.html?s=mm

In India, with the Lost Tribe of Ephraim
by Rabbi Keith Flaks
We transcended barriers through the power of music and prayer.
This Passover my wife and I went to Southern India to visit the "lost tribe of Ephraim."
This clan of about 150 claims to be descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. They practice Jewish traditions, celebrate most of the holidays, and have started to observe many mitzvot, often in their unique style.

For example, in their tradition, on Erev Pesach they actually slaughter a goat and put the blood on their doorposts! They were shocked to discover that the Jewish world doesn't do that. In general they were thrilled to learn more about how "mainstream Judaism" is being practiced in the rest of the world. Many dream of a day when they could move to the holy land of Israel.
While my wife and I came to help lead a Passover Seder, we ended up learning tons from our Indian experience. Here were a few lessons and highlights.

1. The Power of Music
About 10 minutes after our arrival at the South Indian village in Chebrolu, I realized we had a problem. They don’t speak English! Okay, so we had a translator and a few spoke English, but in general, how were we supposed to share the depth of our Torah traditions when they can’t understand us?
The answer: through the magic of music.
Music breaks down all barriers. So during the Seder, during kabbalat Shabbat, before during and after classes, we made sure to sing and dance…a lot. 
 MORE
http://www.aish.com/sp/so/In-India-with-the-Lost-Tribe-of-Ephraim.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 27 Apr 2016, 9:44 pm

http://www.aish.com/h/pes/t/f/British-Museum--Evidence-of-Israelite-Slavery-in-Egypt.html?s=mm
British Museum & Evidence of Israelite Slavery in Egypt
A mud brick with straw, stamped with a royal seal that says “House of Ramses ll,” and other cool artifacts.
by Rabbi Yisroel Roll
The table of archaeological finds below, presented to me by Dr. John H. Taylor, the curator of the Egypt Department of the British Museum in London, reveals a mud brick with straw which is stamped with a royal seal which says: “House of Ramses ll”. The mud brick, seen on the left side of the photo below, is one of 20 held in the basement vaults of the museum, and not exhibited to the public. The brick has been carbon dated to the Israelite period of slavery in Egypt.

Dr. Taylor states that the Israelites did not build the pyramids as is commonly thought. The pyramids were built 100 years after the Israelites left Egypt. What they did build were cities. The Bible states in Exodus 1:11-14, “So they appointed taskmasters over it (the Israelite nation) in order to afflict it with their burdens; it built storage cities for Pharaoh, Pithom and Ramses…They embittered their lives with hard work, with mortar and with bricks…” The Bible further states in Exodus, 5:10, “The taskmasters of the people and its foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, “So said Pharaoh, I am not giving you straw. Go yourselves and take yourselves straw from whatever you find, for nothing will be reduced from your work.” In the close up photo of the brick below, one can see the straw and the seal which states, “House of Ramses ll”.
Below is a mural of slaves building a structure in Egypt dated from the Israelite period showing a pile of mud bricks similar to the brick displayed on the table above. Dr. John H. Taylor holds curatorial responsibility for ancient Egyptian funerary antiquities, amulets and jewelry. He also provides curatorial supervision for the departmental loans program. These items are sometimes loaned to outside museums and organizations.
Dr. Taylor then showed me a 12-foot iron snake staff found in a pyramid tomb. Shown below, the staff has a cobra head and is wavy and is evidence of the Egyptian magician’s staves mentioned in the Bible in Exodus, 7:11-12, “The magicians of Egypt did so with their incantations. Each one cast down his staff and they became snakes; and the staff of Aaron swallowed their staffs.” The entire snake staff can be seen at the front of the table in the first photo above. The staff is wave like and when placed on the ground and manipulated by a magician can give the illusion of snake like movement. Egyptian magicians were known to be illusionists.
The wicker basket below is dated to the Egyptian period of the Israelites and is evidence of the use of wicker baskets as recorded in the Bible, Exodus 2: 3, “She could not hide him any longer, so she took a wicker basket and smeared it with clay and pitch; she placed the child (Moses) into it and placed it among the reeds at the bank of the River (Nile). “
The copper mirrors at the far right of the first photo above are evidence of the existence of copper mirrors used by Israelite women to beautify themselves and to entice their husbands to produce children despite the dangers of bringing children into the world amidst a slave existence. These copper mirrors are referred to in the Bible in Exodus 38:8, “He (Moses) made the wash basin of copper and its base of copper, from the mirrors of the legions who massed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. “ The 11th century French Biblical commentator, Rashi, comments that the Jewish women used these mirrors to beautify themselves in order to entice their husbands to produce children despite the fear of bringing children into a life of slavery. This attests to the greater faith of the Israelite women than that exhibited by the Israelite men, which faith has continued to sustain Jewish continuity.
The organizer of this private tour to the British Museum is London educator and historian, Rabbi Aryeh Forta who organizes monthly private tours of the Jewish artifacts at the British Museum. Also seen on this tour was a 3500 year old matzah with finger imprints of the matzah maker and silver wine bowls from the palace of Achashverosh mentioned in Megillas Esther.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 7:15 pm

http://www.aish.com/h/pes/t/si/20-Engaging-Questions-for-the-Passover-Seder.html?s=mm
20 Engaging Questions for the Passover Seder
Provocative questions on relevant topics to help bring your Seder to life.
by Rabbi Shlomo Buxbaum 
The Haggadah tells us to adapt our Seder to the various attitudes of the people we find present around the table. The “wise son” receives wisdom, the “evil son” receives sharp confrontation, the “simple son” is taught the ABC’s of Judaism, and the “one who doesn’t know how to ask” is engaged in dialogue that will open him up.


Many of us know how to engage kids with fun games, props, junk food, and the promise of really cool Afikomen presents. But how do we engage the adults and make sure the Passover Seder becomes more than an annual family get-together featuring matzah and Manishevitz?


Questions that provoke discussion about relevant topics can help bring your Seder to life. Here are 20 questions for your Seder table that will help you engage even the least interested guests. You can pose the questions yourself or prepare conversation cards and hand them out to your guests.

1. When dipping the Karpas into salt water: Has anything ever happened to you which seemed bitter at the time but later turned out to be sweet?

2. When breaking the middle matzah and hiding it for later: What is a “hidden” aspiration that you have, i.e. something that you have postponed for later in life but you plan/aspire to one day get to?

3. When speaking about God’s promise to Abraham: Why did Abraham merit to be the father of the Jewish people? What does it mean to be the child of Avraham? Are we living up to it?

4.What contributions have the Jewish people made to humanity over history?

5.When speaking about how the Jewish people were sent down to Egypt: How have the hardships in our life helped us become better people?

6.During Vehi She’Amdah: Why has there always been so much anti-Semitism in the world? Do you think anti-Semitism is on the rise today?

7.When speaking about the beginnings of Jewish life in Egypt: How does the Jewish people’s assimilation into Egyptian culture resemble Jewish assimilation throughout history?

8.When speaking about Jewish identity in Egypt: What does Jewish identity mean in Exile?

9.When speaking about the harsh slavery: In our day-to-day lives, do we really love what we do or are we more like slaves to our work?

10.The word Mitzrayim (Egypt) resembles the Hebrew word for constriction. What is your personal Mitzrayim? What is holding you back the most?

11.When speaking about the plagues: Are there signs in our life pushing us to change that we are just refusing to see?

12.Are there signs around us that God exists? What are they?

13.Pharaoh Vs. Moses: What are the ingredients to be a great leader?

14.When speaking about the various miracles: Does the existence of the Jewish people defy the natural order of the world? Are we a miracle?

15.If you knew for certain that God would help you succeed, even through miracles, what new endeavor would you take on?

16.When speaking about jumping in the Red Sea: What have you done recently to step out of your comfort zone?

17.When singing Dayneu: What are the gifts in our life that make it all worth it?

18.What Mitzvot/Jewish gifts are you most appreciative of? Israel? Shabbat? Torah? Something else?

19.When reciting Hallel: If you could fully express gratitude to someone in your past who really made a difference in your life, who would it be?

20.When eating matzah: If you could eradicate laziness from your life and live with complete discipline, what could you accomplish?
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 6:53 pm

http://www.aish.com/h/pes/t/si/Spiritual-Preparation-for-Passover.html?s=mm
Spiritual Preparation for Passover
12 inspiring ideas about being Jewish to share at your Seder.
by Ruchi Koval 

The Seder is the vehicle to give the next generation our spiritual truths about being Jewish. That means we ourselves have to distill what those truths are. Based on the steps of the Seder, here are 12 ideas to help you spiritually prepare for Passover.

1. Kadesh
We say the special prayer over wine, "sanctifying" the day. The word literally means "make holy!" and this is my first spiritual truth: BE HOLY. RISE ABOVE.
God didn’t take us out of Egypt so that we could just do whatever we wanted. He took us out of Egypt so that we could be a holy nation. He gave us the Torah so that we could rise above our base instincts and rise above the lowest desires of humanity in order to be a light unto the nation and repair the world. A tall order, to be sure. How can we make this happen in our own lives?
To live this spiritual truth, we must rise above our own base desires. We must rise above the petty fighting. We must rise above our own selfish needs to look out for the needs of others. We must rise above and ask what is God's higher intent for our life?


2. Urchatz
We ritually wash our hands in preparation for eating the vegetable of Karpas. My spiritual takeaway from this step is this: WE MUST CLEANSE OURSELVES OF THE THINGS WE WILL ENCOUNTER THAT DO NOT JIVE WITH OUR GOALS.
It is all well and good to be holy but we will all encounter things in our lives that conspire against that quest for holiness. What will we do then? Judaism always has a process available to bounce back from those lapses.
For example: did you spend the whole evening socializing and gossiping with friends? Maybe you came home and felt really bad about yourself. Now there is a process to cleanse yourself from that mistake and reclaim your quest to rise above. Do some introspection and figure out where you went wrong. What drove you to denigrate others? How can you make sure it won't happen again?


3. Karpas
We eat a vegetable dipped into salt water in order to remember the tears of the Jews. In life, we should remember: NEVER FORGET THE ROUGH TIMES. THEY HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY.
When people go through a difficult period in their life, they often want to mentally distance themselves from those memories and not "go there" anymore once they've been through it. But this is a mistake.
Those rough times have something very important to teach us. We need to look back so we can understand how grateful we should be to be past it. Or we can look back and learn things from how we handled it then and how we might handle it now. What emotional tools did we learn in those years? What spiritual tools did we learn? In what way did that experience strengthen or weaken us?


4. Yachatz
We break the middle matzah and put away half for later - for the much vaunted afikoman. It's pretty interesting that matzah is the "poor man's bread" - and that the act of breaking your food and having to put away part for later is a sign of slavery or poverty - but at the same time it's the most tangible symbol of freedom. The Jews ate it on their journey to freedom! Hence, BROKEN PIECES OFTEN FORESHADOW A GREATER WHOLE.
One of my favorite sentences in all of Torah is this: He who sows with tears, will reap with joyful singing. What is amazing about this promise is that the tears themselves are what water the ground and make a happy future possible.
There are so many times in our lives when all we can see in front of us are broken pieces. But here is the promise that these very broken pieces foreshadow the happy ending. You absolutely cannot have one without the other. So when we feel dejected or depressed, let us try to remember in faith that it is these very broken pieces that will create that happy ending.


5. Maggid
In this step we tell the story of the Exodus. We go into great detail in many different ways. We chronicle the historical, emotional, and halachic aspects of the Exodus. We sing songs of gratitude - famously, the plagues and Dayenu. This is what makes the Seder so long!
Which teaches us the following: RETELL YOUR GRATITUDE AND NEVER GET TIRED OF IT. Would you ever get tired of having someone thank you for what you've done for them? He could say it to you every day and it would bring you joy.
We cannot possibly exhaust the degree of gratitude that we must have to G-d for what we went through and how we came out of it intact. The fact that anyone is sitting at a Seder today is a sheer miracle. All you have to do is go back in your own family's genealogy and you will find miracles of Jewish survival.
And by the way, when we focus on gratitude we stop noticing all the broken pieces.


6. Rachtzah
We wash our hands in preparation for eating the matzah. Because THE PREPARATION IS OFTEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE END RESULT.
In Judaism we are taught that it is the process rather than the product that is important. We are responsible to do whatever we can to effect a certain outcome. And that is exactly what we will be judged on: our motives, intentions, and efforts. Because results and outcomes are not in our hands.
This Seder could not be a better example. We will prepare nice foods, ritual items, beautiful ideas - and then the Seder might not go exactly the way we want it to. Children might be crabby, adults may squabble, the food may not turn out exactly how we hoped. But it doesn't matter. We do not have control over other people. If we have prepared ourselves in the right way, we can rise above, and remember to be happy because the process is all we have control over.


7. Motzei matzah
We bless and eat the matzah! Eating matzah is the spiritual equivalent to going back to the old country to see where our great-grandparents used to live.
Most of the time Jewish communities evolved and sprawled into ever-nicer neighborhoods. Nobody really likes going back to the old neighborhoods. They are usually dirty and in poor condition. Some have even been embarrassed by their grandparents' lives or conditions. This was very common after the Holocaust. Survivors came to Israel or America and the Jews that had been established there were ashamed of their brethren and their old immigrant, ghetto, shtetl ways.
This is a big mistake. DON'T BE AFRAID OF OUR NATION'S PAST: IT IS THE KEY TO OUR FUTURE. We as a nation must remember our past belongs to all of us. We cannot afford to further fragment ourselves. The old country and the old times have a lot of influence in who we are today. There is so much we can learn from those eras and those communities. Living in shame of our past is a big mistake.
Go there! Go back to Poland to see the concentration camps. Go to Israel to see the ancient communities. Eat the matzah. This is our collective history.


8. Maror
We eat the bitter herbs. Notice we don't say that we should merely talk about the bitterness or just remember the darkness. Oh no. In this religion we have to actually eat it with our own mouth!
Because TO BE COMPASSIONATE YOU MUST EXPERIENCE PAIN. There's a reason that a Jewish judge in ancient times had to be a parent. There are certain things you can just never understand until you experience them yourself, and we are asked to experientially taste that pain so that we have a better understanding of the pain of others.


9. Korech
We eat the matzah-maror sandwich! See, ALL OUR EXPERIENCES IN LIFE ARE REALLY ONE. Sometime it seems like there are so many random and disjointed pieces of our lives. We may have an isolated incident at work, another issue brewing in our social circle, yet another something niggling at us about our home life. Maybe I just heard bad news about a foreign country. Or something really exciting is going on with my niece.
Judaism teaches that all these seemingly disparate incidents are really part of one greater whole. When we say the Shema prayer we affirm that God is one and the greater truth is that all the bits and pieces of our lives are from a single unifying force. There is a journey that we are supposed to be on and all the pieces are interconnected. When we put the different elements of the Seder together in a sandwich, we can remember this truth.


10. Shulchan aruch
We eat the festive meal! ENJOY ALL THE BOUNTY THAT GOD GAVE YOU. Look around. There's food. There are people who care about you. You have a home. You are in the top 10% of human society! Which brings me to the next step:


11. Tzafun
We locate the hidden matzah (and negotiate for the gift!). My takeaway? THE GREATEST GIFTS IN LIFE ARE HIDING. They're hiding in plain view! If you have people who love you, if your bank account is not overdrawn, if you can think, walk, hear, and see - you have great gifts in your life! But how often do we look right past, or right through, our gifts? So play the afikoman game: hide and seek. Find your gifts that are right in front of you.


12. Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah
This is my favorite part of the Seder: where we sing through the joy, the love, the gratitude. We're in no rush. It's already so late. Who cares what time it is? Some have fallen asleep or left the table, but we keep going. IGNORE THE HOUR AND SING 



THROUGH LIFE.
We are always rushing around and looking at our watches, trying to get to our next destination. How many times in our lives do we really just sit down around a table, absolutely forget about what time it is or what we have to do the next day, and just sing to our hearts content? Believe me when I say that we need more of this in our lives. These are the moments that make memories. These are the moments that make Judaism memorable - and wonderful.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 13 Apr 2016, 4:22 pm

PASSOVER Passover, Pesach, Passover 2016 - What is Passover? Passover is April 23 - April 30, 2016.
Commemorating the Exodus from Egypt; the key to our own personal liberation.
What is Passover?  Passover Crash Course  Easy Cleaning  Games for the Seder
Passover Themes Videos+ The Haggadah Family Recipes Laws
The Adele/Bieber Passover Mashup
Featuring Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Pharaoh. You have to see it to believe it.
by aish.com

https://youtu.be/QwKBIzzlzvY
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 3:25 pm

Way #20: The Art of Conversation
People today are busier than ever, "conversation time" is diminishing. Is anyone out there listening?
by Rabbi Noah Weinberg
Joe is walking down a darkened alley, when suddenly a man jumps out, brandishing a pistol.
"Don't shoot," Joe pleads, "I'll give you all my money."
"I don't want your money," says the man with the gun. "My whole life I've been trying to get someone to sit down and talk with me. Now I'm going to make you listen for one hour."
This story reflects a sorry aspect of the human condition. People today are busier than ever – commuting, flying, buying. All in all, conversation time is diminishing. Who has time to talk?
Reflect back to yourself. You want to be understood. But is anyone listening?

B'miyut sichah literally means "minimize conversation." In other words, use conversation effectively. Conversation is our tool to be in contact with other human beings. Unless we communicate, we're all alone.
Building Connections
The Torah says that God created man as a "speaking creature" (see Targum Onkelos – Genesis 2:7). Speech is therefore what distinguishes human beings from other species. Too often people are self-centered and closed up. Conversation is a way out of that self-absorption.
Too many friendships never get beyond the superficial stage. It's possible to talk endlessly about recipes, football and fashion. But that's not enough. We need people with whom we can share our innermost thoughts.

Even family members can live in communicative isolation. Living room furniture used to be designed so that people sat facing one another. Today, living rooms are set up so that everyone faces the TV. You watch a football game and mutter in between munches, "That was a good play." What conversation can compete with the "raza-a-ma-tazz" of multi-media?!
Today, everyone is in his own little corner and struggles by himself. We need to be with others, not to watch television, but to be together and communicate. Without it, you are stifling in your own self-contained envelope. Isolated in your own opinion. Isolated in your own home.
Set aside time specifically for talking. Schedule a block of time to talk to your spouse, your child, your parents, your friends. Speech conveys the deepest soul-thoughts. Words that emit from the heart, enter the heart. Something the other person says may touch a deep chord in us. Conversations build deep connections and expand our world. Without it, we emotionally whither and die.
Great conversation is your chance to explore entire worlds. Unlike a movie, this world is real, not imagined. And the resulting relationship is infinitely more rewarding.
Practice the Art
As accustomed as people are to "speaking," very few actually "communicate." Speaking is natural and automatic. But communication is an art which must be learned and practiced.

Start by changing your attitude. Did you ever sit for hours on an airplane? You read all the magazines, and watch the in-flight movie. There is nothing else to do. Try speaking to the person next to you.
You have to warm up. Begin by saying "hello." Then ask simple, non-threatening questions: "Where are you from? What's your name?" This is just credential exchange. No harm, no weapons.

Yes, it is painful, because you don't know where it will go from there. But what are you worried about – that he'll stand up and announce to all the passengers: "I'm seated next to a boring person!"
It's a shame to sit silently through the entire flight, and then "accidentally" get into a fascinating conversation just as you're parting ways.

Don't be afraid of being rejected or that you won't have anything intelligent to say. It won't kill you. You will learn how. Good conversations have to be cultivated and produced.
Don't Mistake "Discussion" for "Conversation"
A "discussion" is an issue of right or wrong, a cerebral exchange of facts and opinions.
A "conversation" is a personal exploration of another person. The point of conversation is not to impress others or to enhance your popularity, but to learn about others.
That is our most common mistake. When you talk to the guy in the plane, don't let him know by the end of the trip how many trophies you've won and what investments you've made. Nor are you interested in information like who won the ball game and the current market price of gold. That is not conversation. That is the information shop.
The point of conversation is to connect with someone and explore his experiences, thoughts, feelings, and inner appreciations. What does he think about life, about love, about meaning? For example, while a "discussion" might focus on the question, "Is the president effectively dealing with the economy?", a "conversation" would ask, "How is the economic situation affecting you personally?"

Aim to bring the topic around to a more emotional realm. Ask the other person how he is dealing with issues that bother him. Just like when you talk to your spouse after a long day, the conversation should be: "How are you feeling, what upset you about the day, what gave you joy?"
If you're having difficulty getting the other person to talk, build trust by talking about your own experiences and feelings. Don't be "Mr. Know-It-All." When presenting an idea, say, "Balancing career and family has been difficult for me. I look at the situation this way. I would really like to know your experience and how you feel about it." When you report your reaction, he will report his reaction.
The Fascinating World of a Human Being
How do you maintain an interesting conversation? Be fascinated. If you have an eager curiosity about life and people, you'll be an excellent conversationalist. People will talk to you freely, because your interest will draw them like a magnet.
If you find that "fascination" does not come easily to you, do some self-analysis. Figure out why. Often the problem is basic indifference – i.e. "Why should I care about this person?"

To get focused, realize that every human being is a wonderful mystery, created in the image of God. We might make mistakes, but each person is unique and holy, full of ideas, experiences, and special wisdom.
Don't be misled. Most people don't immediately reveal what is especially interesting and significant about themselves.
To discover the wonderful person behind the facade, try interviewing them as a journalist pursuing an important story. "Wow! You're from Buffalo? How do you deal with all that snow?!"

Everybody wants to get to know themselves, but introspection is too painful. So realize that when you ask questions, you are helping people learn about themselves. Imagine someone asks you, "What do you think about life? Is life beautiful? Is it boring, a struggle?" The conversation prompts you to reach inside, examine, and engage in self-discovery. The same questions you'd like to be asked about yourself, ask someone else.
Especially when planning a major step in life – like marriage, career, spirituality – use conversation as a tool. Interview others: What was your experience? Was it interesting? What are the problems? What are the pleasures? How did you overcome your fears? What did you gain? What are the possibilities?
When you are fascinated, people will start talking and they won't stop. Explore life. Talk! See this is a tool for living – it is ridiculous not to use it!

What's Your Name?
A primary way to connect with someone's uniqueness is to learn his name. A name is an intrinsic aspect of human identity. By using his name, you establish a connection and communicate an interest in who he is. And you can't have a good conversation with someone to whom you are indifferent.
A human being is only real when you know his name. Frequently we lose a name in the introduction and then we are talking to someone faceless. We feel uncomfortable. The vibes are no good and it ruins the whole conversation.

Do you tend to forget names? The key is to pay attention at the time of the introduction, and repeat the name to yourself a few times after. One memory technique is to conjure up a mental association. For instance, if the person's name is George Brown, imagine George Washington wearing a big brown suit. (The more silly the image, the easier it is to remember.)
Be a Good Listener
A good friend is a good listener.
In dealing with others, the Torah says: "Do not harden your heart or close your hand" (Dev. 15:7). "Closing your hand" refers to be being generous with money, while "harden your heart" refers to giving to others emotionally. Don't underestimate the value of this. Patiently listening to someone tell his troubles is often worth more than giving money.
In conversation, never interrupt. Don't anxiously anticipate the end of a sentence so you can jump back with your own opinion. If someone makes a statement you disagree with, bite your tongue and keep on listening. A sharp reply is likely to make the other person defensive, in which case he'll either get angry or end the conversation completely. Just calm down and give your undivided attention. Don't look around. Don't think of other things. Pay attention.
Ask for points of clarification. Really try to understand. You will build an atmosphere of trust – which will enable you to voice your own opinion later.

Don't fight with people. No criticism. No confrontation. Just discuss. Exchange feelings. That's conversation.
Constantly emit "listening signals" to demonstrate interest. Use eye contact or add a nod of acknowledgement. Use simple words of feedback, like, "Yes, interesting," or "That must have felt incredible." A skilled conversationalist can say few words ... and build a deep bond.

Make Your Words Count
Sometimes we get bored with living. So we make a phone call and chatter to pass the time.
Don't use conversation as an escape from reality. It's a waste of energy and words. And when the conversation is over, we feel empty.
Make every word count. Consider your words as precious jewels, to be used sparingly. Speak to the point, with clarity and pur­pose. Think before you speak. Make sure to say what you intended to say, in the best way you could say it. Frame your words. Connect your words with your mind, rather than letting your mouth run away and then having to catch up with your mouth.
Unnecessary talk dulls your mind. Efficient use of words puts you in control of your mind.
There's an old saying: "Small people speak about people. Medium people speak about places and things. Big people speak about ideas." The words you choose determine the type of person you'll be.
Don't talk without a purpose. In any conversation, ask yourself: "Is there a point to this conversation? Am I learning anything about life? Am I growing? Are we making contact?" If you can't identify the point, there probably is none.
There is an ancient Jewish tradition called ta'anit dibur – a "speech fast." When people find themselves talking too much, they refrain from all conversation except for Torah study. Likewise, in the House of Prayer, there should be no outside conversations – just God and yourself.
Try experimenting for one hour without talking. It's a healthy exercise in self-control, and can help you focus on your inner self. Don't worry, people will just assume you've got laryngitis.

Avoid Negative Talk
The Torah says that God used the medium of speech to create the world. ("And God said: Let there be light.")
For us as well, speech is a tool of creation – through it we can build the world. A word of praise will encourage others and build confidence. Making someone feel important is to say, "Your existence is necessary." This is life-giving and life-affirming.
On the other hand, speech can also be used to destroy. Words like "You're worthless, that's terrible," wipe out a person's self-esteem. It is untrue to believe that "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."
Did you ever find yourself in the middle of gossip or a distasteful joke? It's insidious. All of a sudden you find yourself dragged into a discussion that's taken a turn for the worse.
Never say anything negative or derogatory about another person – even if it's true. Gossip causes quarrel and tears apart relationships, families, even entire communities. As King Solomon said: "Life and death are in the hands of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21).
Learn to switch tracks. Monitor your conversation, and when you notice it slipping off track, pull it back, gently and subtly.
If this doesn't work, bow out of the conversation. Have some graceful exit lines ready to go. Of course, don't ever embarrass another person ... but don't hang around and sully yourself either!

Why is "Artful Conversation" a Way to Wisdom?
Be fascinated with human beings and you'll be an excellent conversationalist.
Talk to people in the office, neighbors, even strangers.
Human beings have wisdom. Get them to share it.
Negative speech will make you a negative person.
Use speech wisely. It's one of the greatest gifts we have.
Have a conversation, not a confrontation.
Conversation is a tool of creation; it pulls us out of isolation, builds connections and expands our world.
Fulfilling our needs depends on how well we communicate those needs to others.


http://www.aish.com/sp/48w/48958891.html
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 10:10 pm

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Brussels--the-Israeli-Occupation.html?s=mm
Brussels & the Israeli Occupation
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
When will the world realize that Islamic terror has nothing to do with Israel?
In the aftermath of the horrific events in Brussels, as Islamist terror attacks struck at the heart of the European Union with a triple bombing in the Belgian capitol, the world surely needs to wonder. After all, comparable acts of terrorism always had an explanation when they were perpetrated in Israel. The media were quick to shed light on them and the United Nations didn’t hesitate to express their understanding: Jihad and the murder of innocent Israelis were the result of the occupation and the settlements.

But why are there the same cruel and brutal acts of indiscriminate killings in Brussels? Why the same shouts of Allah Akbar preceding suicide bombings and mass murders in Paris, in San Bernardino, and so many other places which seemingly have no connection to the occupation and settlements? How are we to explain, as Sohrab Ahmari pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, that “not a single day now goes by without an Islamist suicide bombing, rocket attack, shooting spree, kidnapping or stabbing somewhere in the world”?

Not a single day now goes by without an Islamist suicide bombing, rocket attack, shooting spree, kidnapping or stabbing somewhere in the world.
It is the height of foolishness and naïveté to divorce the events presently threatening European civilization from their parallel expression in the past decades in the Middle East, masquerading as merely a battle against a Zionist regime occupying a land to which they have no historical or legal claim.


What the West seemingly refuses to understand is that the Islamic slander against Israel and upon which it bases its entire justification for all of its brutal and ongoing attacks is the very selfsame idea it sees as rationale for world domination: It not just Jews who occupy a land that isn’t really theirs – it’s all the non-Muslim infidels who occupy countries which have lost the right to independent national existence as a result of their lack of faith.

It is the global occupation by those who do not believe in Allah, of Brussels, of Paris, of Europe and of the United States, and the “illegal settlements” of those countries by those refusing to live by sharia law – which justify the daily acts of worldwide terrorism.

For some strange reason, Western obsession with political correctness refuses to acknowledge what Muslim theologians have no difficulty in expressing. Sheik Ahmad Al-Dweik declared in an address at the Al-Aqsa mosque that the “Caliphate” promised by Allah “will be the number one country in the world. It will fight the U.S. and will bring it down. [The Caliphate] will eliminate the West in its entirety. Allah promised that there would be an Islamic state, and that we would prepare for the West whatever strength and steeds of war we can, in order to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Islam and of Allah, until we become those who command and Islam rules [the world].”
Syed Abul Ala Mawdudi, a world-renowned Islamic scholar who traced his paternal ancestry to Mohammed, didn’t hesitate to explain it clearly:

“Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power that gets in the way of that goal, Islam will fight and destroy. In order to fulfill that goal, Islam can use every power available every way it can be used to bring worldwide revolution. This is jihad.” (Resurgent Islam and America, David Goldman, Pg.105)

Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, known as “the Godfather of Islam”, summed it up this way: “Muslim nations are very special because they have a command from Allah to rule the entire world and to be over every nation in the world.” (Ibid)
The terrorism experienced by Israel has been a preview of coming attractions for the entire world.

These are truths the media continues to refuse to publish. If they appear at all, they are invariably brushed aside as the lunatic ravings of an extremely small substrata of Islam, in no way representative of the majority who represent “a religion of peace.” And yet they clearly are the truths which guide the actions of the suicide bombers and the mass murderers who have now moved their focus from Israel to all of Western civilization.

Western leadership needs at long last to recognize that the Islamic code words of “the occupation and the settlements” were never meant simply to strike out at the Jewish people. In the eyes of a faith that is bent on world domination, they refer just as much to the sins of all infidels, be they in the capitols of Europe or the major cities of America. And for that reason it is long past time to recognize that the terrorism experienced by Israel since its founding has been nothing less than a preview of coming attractions for the entire world.
Watch: Joel Rubinfeld, founder of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, on the future of Europe, by J-TV
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 10:24 pm

Shoes on the Danube
by Laura Deutsch
A moving sculpture memorializes Jews who were murdered in broad daylight along the river.
 My husband and I recently took a trip to Budapest and visited a variety of Jewish sights. We were overwhelmed by the magnificence of the Dohany Synagogue, the largest in Europe. We wept outside the synagogue where monuments mark the bodies of several thousand Jews shot in the courtyard. The Holocaust Memorial Center recreated the rich culture and history of Hungarian Jews. Then the shadows of Jews marching to their deaths along the Memorial Center's long, dark hallways made us feel as if we, too, were headed for death. Ominous music played in the background and the effect was chilling.
But the Budapest sight which moved us the most was the smallest: "The Shoes on the Danube Promenade."
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/ho/i/Shoes-on-the-Danube.html?s=mm


The Mourning After
by Terry Friedman Wine My year of saying Kaddish for my father.
I am a mourner. A stranger in a strange land, with a blurry map and a tattered phrasebook.
When my father passed away, early on a quiet, sunny June day, I suddenly became a mourner. A new persona, a darkened mirror image of the daughter.
Judaism has been here before, of course. In the last few months, I have learned more about the rules, regulations, and customs than I ever knew, or wanted to. And yet, there is safety in having a guidebook, annotated over thousands of years by wise and learned observers.
These ancient rules and regulations serve as boundaries to surround me – and I have come to realize that these structures are there to support, not oppress me. When I falter, I have on what to lean. When I stumble, I notice that someone before me has left crumbs and clues, though I can’t always decipher or even recognize them at first.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/f/hotm/The-Mourning-After.html?s=mm

Breeding Ground for Islamic Extremists
by Jeff Jacoby
Why are there Muslim ghettos in Belgium but not in the United States?
Long before Tuesday's terror attacks in Brussels, it was clear that Belgium had become a breeding ground for Islamist extremists. Hundreds of Belgian Muslims – as many as 500, according to one estimate – have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS, making Belgium by far Europe's leading supplier of foreign jihadists. Last November's horrific slaughter in Paris was masterminded by a Belgian radical, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and at least four of the men who carried out those attacks were from the Brussels district of Molenbeek. One of them was Salah Abdeslam, who was captured in Molenbeek, after an intense manhunt, on March 19.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Breeding-Ground-for-Islamic-Extremists.html?s=mm


    
Brussels & the Israeli Occupation
by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
When will the world realize that Islamic terror has nothing to do with Israel?
In the aftermath of the horrific events in Brussels, as Islamist terror attacks struck at the heart of the European Union with a triple bombing in the Belgian capitol, the world surely needs to wonder. After all, comparable acts of terrorism always had an explanation when they were perpetrated in Israel. The media were quick to shed light on them and the United Nations didn’t hesitate to express their understanding: Jihad and the murder of innocent Israelis were the result of the occupation and the settlements.
But why are there the same cruel and brutal acts of indiscriminate killings in Brussels? Why the same shouts of Allah Akbar preceding suicide bombings and mass murders in Paris, in San Bernardino, and so many other places which seemingly have no connection to the occupation and settlements? How are we to explain, as Sohrab Ahmari pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, that “not a single day now goes by without an Islamist suicide bombing, rocket attack, shooting spree, kidnapping or stabbing somewhere in the world”?
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http://www.aish.com/ci/s/Brussels--the-Israeli-Occupation.html?s=mm
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 9:33 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/373180111.html?s=mm
Dark Days for Jews in Brussels
The terror attacks and subsequent lockdown are having a devastating effect on the community of 15,000 Jews.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller

The normally busy morning rush hour turned deadly in Brussels on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, when a series of bombings at Brussels’ Zaventem International Airport and the busy Maelbeek metro train station killed 34 and injured hundreds of commuters, many seriously.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the carnage.
Brussels immediately went into a lockdown, with residents warned to stay indoors. It was a familiar echo of the aftermath of the Paris attacks four months earlier, when Belgian officials also asked Brussels residents to stay indoors while police searched for the terrorists, who were thought to have been based in the Belgian capital.
Jewish residents increasingly see little future for Jewish life in their city.
For Brussels’ 15,000-strong Jewish community, the terror attacks and subsequent lockdown are having a devastating effect. In exclusive Aish.com interviews, Jewish residents of Brussels speak of a community that is subdued and fearful, and which increasingly sees little future for Jewish life in their city.

Ever since the May 24, 2014 attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels in which a gunman opened fire, killing four, the Jewish community has been on high alert. “We have a lot of military guards the past few months in front of our Jewish places,” recounts Isabelle Steinkalik to Aish.com. Originally from Paris, Mrs. Steinkalik has lived in Brussels since her marriage 28 years ago, and has seen the community change from being relatively secure to feeling under siege. “It’s sad but If the guards are here, we feel their protection. It's secured,” she explains.
Shimon Bretholz, a Jewish community worker, describes the massive security presence that always accompanies Jewish activities in Brussels differently. “It...massively destroys us all.” The never-ending fear and feeling of always being on high alert are exhausting.
The week of the attack was meant to be a light moment when Brussels Jewish community would come together to celebrate Purim with some high profile communal events. Residents were planning a major Purim party for the whole city and expected a thousand attendees, all hearing the Book of Esther together and celebrating the holiday.

Instead, all public events have been cancelled. In the hours after the attacks, Brussels’ Jewish communal leaders set up a situation room, monitoring the security in their city. "They fear there will be more attacks and (warn against) taking any unnecessary risks,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin, CEO of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, explained to Israeli newspapers.
Rabbi Margolin, whose office is located next to the bombed Maelbeek metro station, says, “The Jewish community here in Brussels and in Europe in general is not surprised… We’ve been receiving alerts for a long time now. Despite the shock the city experienced, we were not surprised. Of course, we feel the concern and the pressure, but we were really not surprised by everything that’s going on in the city. It was only a matter of time before such an attack happened.”

“Today was awful, unbelievable, such darkness…” Isabelle Steinkalik recounted to Aish.com. Brussels looked like a “death city. People are afraid. When it was just terrorism against Jewish people they didn’t so deeply care. Now it’s changed. People are realizing terrorists can kill anybody.”
Brussels’ main Jewish school dismissed its students at 12:30, asking parents to pick up their children one at a time to avoid having a crowd in front of the building. Brussels resident and community activist Shimon Bretholz was one of the terrified parents picking up their children. “There is no future for Jews in Brussels,” he adamantly told Aish.com. “There is also not a future for Jews in Europe.” He would like to move to Israel, he explained, but first needs to find a job.
Isabelle Steinkalik concurs; Brussels’ Jews are leaving, moving to Israel and other places. Rates of aliyah increased 25% in 2015 for Belgian Jews; overall about 200 Belgian Jews relocate to Israel each year.
sed in the Belgian capital.
Jewish residents increasingly see little future for Jewish life in their city.
For Brussels’ 15,000-strong Jewish community, the terror attacks and subsequent lockdown are having a devastating effect. In exclusive Aish.com interviews, Jewish residents of Brussels speak of a community that is subdued and fearful, and which increasingly sees little future for Jewish life in their city.
Ever since the May 24, 2014 attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels in which a gunman opened fire, killing four, the Jewish community has been on high alert. “We have a lot of military guards the past few months in front of our Jewish places,” recounts Isabelle Steinkalik to Aish.com. Originally from Paris, Mrs. Steinkalik has lived in Brussels since her marriage 28 years ago, and has seen the community change from being relatively secure to feeling under siege. “It’s sad but If the guards are here, we feel their protection. It's secured,” she explains.
Shimon Bretholz, a Jewish community worker, describes the massive security presence that always accompanies Jewish activities in Brussels differently. “It...massively destroys us all.” The never-ending fear and feeling of always being on high alert are exhausting.
The week of the attack was meant to be a light moment when Brussels Jewish community would come together to celebrate Purim with some high profile communal events. Residents were planning a major Purim party for the whole city and expected a thousand attendees, all hearing the Book of Esther together and celebrating the holiday.
Instead, all public events have been cancelled. In the hours after the attacks, Brussels’ Jewish communal leaders set up a situation room, monitoring the security in their city. "They fear there will be more attacks and (warn against) taking any unnecessary risks,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin, CEO of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, explained to Israeli newspapers.
Rabbi Margolin, whose office is located next to the bombed Maelbeek metro station, says, “The Jewish community here in Brussels and in Europe in general is not surprised… We’ve been receiving alerts for a long time now. Despite the shock the city experienced, we were not surprised. Of course, we feel the concern and the pressure, but we were really not surprised by everything that’s going on in the city. It was only a matter of time before such an attack happened.”
“Today was awful, unbelievable, such darkness…” Isabelle Steinkalik recounted to Aish.com. Brussels looked like a “death city. People are afraid. When it was just terrorism against Jewish people they didn’t so deeply care. Now it’s changed. People are realizing terrorists can kill anybody.”

Brussels’ main Jewish school dismissed its students at 12:30, asking parents to pick up their children one at a time to avoid having a crowd in front of the building. Brussels resident and community activist Shimon Bretholz was one of the terrified parents picking up their children. “There is no future for Jews in Brussels,” he adamantly told Aish.com. “There is also not a future for Jews in Europe.” He would like to move to Israel, he explained, but first needs to find a job.
Isabelle Steinkalik concurs; Brussels’ Jews are leaving, moving to Israel and other places. Rates of aliyah increased 25% in 2015 for Belgian Jews; overall about 200 Belgian Jews relocate to Israel each year.
According to Mrs. Steinkalik, it’s mostly the young who are better equipped to start over who are moving. “They believe in the future and can work everywhere. It's more difficult for the ‘older’ people; not everybody has so much money they can build another life in a foreign country.”
“Purim is cancelled,” one Jewish resident sadly explained. "We are going to have sad days of Purim. No celebrations. These certainly are dark days for us and there is great concern in the streets. We will make made modest celebrations in the house," Shimon Bretholz told an Israeli newspaper soon after the attacks.
Later in the day, speaking with Aish.com, his attitude had evolved. “Of course I will go to synagogue to hear the Megilla,” he declared. Brussels’ public Purim celebrations may have been cancelled, but the Jewish community is quietly resolved. Purim celebrations will continue in people’s homes and in synagogues, as residents question the long-term future of Brussels Jewish community.
  Published: March 23, 2016
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 17 Mar 2016, 10:11 pm

Jewish People are Connected: An Amazing True Story
How a baby-naming united hearts and transcended borders.
by Rabbi Yoel Gold
[VIDEO] 
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 17 Mar 2016, 10:07 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Oldest-Man-Alive-is-a-Jewish-Holocaust-Survivor.html?s=mm
Oldest Man Alive is a Jewish Holocaust Survivor
by Ronda Robinson  Published: March 12, 2016
Yisrael Kristal is 112 years old and views his life as a miracle.
The oldest man in the world is Yisrael Kristal, a 112-year-old Israeli Holocaust survivor whose daughter attributes his extreme longevity to a mind-body connection. “He’s happy. This is the most important thing to be in every situation,” says Shula Kuperstoch of Haifa.

Her father attributes his longevity to God. He always called his life a miracle. Born Sept. 15, 1903, in Tarnow, Poland, as the son of a Torah scholar, he attended religious primary school until age 11. He remained religious throughout his life.
Kristal recalls the outbreak of World War I in 1914 when he was 11. Also etched in his memory for a century was the sight of Franz Josef I, the longest-reigning emperor of Austria and the last significant Habsburg monarch, passing through town in a car. Onlookers threw candy – which ironically has remained a motif in Kristal’s life ever since.
His younger years were bittersweet. Kristal’s mother passed away before the start of World War I. The Russian army captured his father who died soon after.

As a 17-year-old orphan, Kristal made his way to Lodz, Poland, one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. He recreated his life first as a metalworker, then as a candy factory employee. The grueling physical labor of the latter job involved schlepping heavy bags of sugar. The experience foreshadowed events to come in adulthood.
Kristal would later own a sweets and chocolate factory in Lodz. After the Nazis invaded Poland, he and his wife and two children were ordered to move into the Lodz ghetto with 230,000 other Jews. The Nazis wanted Jews concentrated in ghettos to easily maneuver them. With that many people living in close quarters, adequate supplies of food and fuel became a problem.

His two children died in the Lodz ghetto and his wife perished in Auschwitz.

By then an expert candy-maker, Kristal was able to continue his craft in the ghetto. His family’s fate was heartbreaking; the children died there, and Kristal and his wife were deported to Auschwitz when the ghetto was liquidated in 1944. His wife perished. Kristal survived doing forced labor in Auschwitz and other concentration camps. At the end of World War II, he weighed just 37 kilos, or 81 pounds.

As his daughter told Aish.com, he then started to live. Protected by the Russian army, he was taken to a hospital to begin to heal. When he recovered, he returned to Lodz, re-established and worked at his business, and married again.
“The body was listening to his mind. His mind was strong. His beliefs were strong. His body also became strong,” Kuperstoch says.
Kristal rebuilt his factory destroyed in the war and returned to a sweeter life as a candy-maker once again.
In 1950, he and his wife made aliya and settled in Haifa with their infant son, Haim. They also became parents to daughter Shula. Kristal’s brood would extend to more than 20 great-grandchildren.
In Israel, Kristal first worked at a candy factory. He taught the owners, also from Poland, how to shape an entire production line of sweets. Later he parlayed that acumen into his own business, making yummy sweets at home and selling them at a kiosk in Haifa. His signature temptations included little chocolate bottles of liqueur gaily wrapped in colored foil and carob jam fashioned with chocolate-covered orange peels.

An optimist, he enjoyed making people happy. “The Holocaust did not affect his beliefs,” said Kuperstoch. “He believes he was saved because that’s what God wanted. He is not an angry person, he is not someone who seeks an accounting, he believes everything has a reason in the world.”
Kuperstoch says she doesn’t need a world record; she’s just happy to have her father alive.

After surviving without much food in the concentration camps, one of his philosophies concerned eating to live, not living to eat. He reasoned, “You don’t need too much” in life.
Kristal’s daughter echoes his sentiments. Kuperstoch says she doesn’t need a world record; she’s just happy to have her father alive. This past Friday Guinness World Records confirmed Kristal as the world’s oldest man.

Susannah Mushatt Jones of New York, 116, is the oldest validated living supercentenarian. The top 60 on the Gerontology Research Group’s list are all women. As Robert Young, director of the group's Supercentenarian Research & Database Divison in the United States notes, “Women tend to live three to four years longer than men.” The group is a consultant to Guiness. 
He added that longevity isn’t limited to a particular area of the world. “The maximum human life span is the same the wherever you go. Everyone has the potential to reach the same age.” His list includes supercentenarians from Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Russia and Spain…and now Israel.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 17 Mar 2016, 9:56 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/You-Killed-Jesus.html?s=mm
    The recent Boston incident reminded me when I first discovered a deep contempt for me as a Jew that I hadn’t realized was there.
by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller 
When Catholic Memorial School, an all-boys high school in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, played Newton North High School in a closely-fought basketball game last Friday, tensions were running high among the crowd.
Fans of Newton North High, which serves the suburb of Newton, a leafy suburb known for its high academic performance and its sizeable Jewish population, teased the Catholic Memorial School for its all-boy makeup, chanting, “Where are your girls?”

As the crowd got rowdy, a group of between 50 and 75 supporters of Catholic Memorial started a chant of their own. “You killed Jesus!” they yelled at Newton’s team and supporters, repeating the slur over and over through the gym.
The Newton students fell silent, shocked and upset.

Newton’s Superintendent David Fleishman arrived about twenty minutes after the offensive chant took place, and was immediately approached by a distraught, visibly shaken Newton parent. "She could not believe this was happening in 2016,” he explained, adding that he found the incident chilling.
The slur that Jews killed Jesus has been responsible for anti-Semitism for millennia.

Yet for many Jewish residents in Newton – and beyond – the hurt has lingered.
The slur that Jews killed Jesus has been responsible for anti-Semitism for millennia. It is the slander that fired up the Crusades, that paved the way for pogroms in Eastern Europe, that helped deter many public figures from speaking up against the Holocaust. In its virulence and poisonous associations, it seems to come from a different, darker era, and to have no place, as the shocked Newton mom said, in America today.

You Jews

Hearing about the offensive chant at the Newton game took me back to an evening when I was shocked at hearing a vicious piece of anti-Semitic hatred. The incident shook up all my core assumptions about being accepted by the people in my community, exposing a deep anger and contempt for me as a Jew that I hadn’t realized was there.

I was 21, starting a Master’s degree abroad. I’d only been at my new school for a few days, enough time to meet my fellow-students and start to pick what classes I planned on taking.

On one my first evenings I went out to dinner with new acquaintances, feeling the thrill of getting to know new, bright and exciting people. We talked for hours. The conversation eventually wound around to American politics. “The problem is,” a new friend intoned, “there are so many Jews controlling politicians in America.” I was so shocked that my heart pounded and I could hardly catch my breath to speak.

“That isn’t true!” I finally said, and my dinner companion looked at me, bemused. I tried to explain that that the slander that Jews somehow control politics is an oft-repeated lie that’s fueled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for generations but has no basis in fact. The more I spoke, the more ridiculous the argument seemed to me. But nothing I could say would change their mind and I realized that some of their disdain for “the Jews” means they disliked me personally as well.
Catholic Memorial issued an apology the next day, saying they were “deeply disturbed by the behavior of a group of student spectators who made an unacceptable chant Friday night while playing Newton North High School."
Yet for many Jewish residents in Newton – and beyond – the hurt has lingered.

Just how many people around me had negative opinions about Jews – and about me?
The next day I confided in some classmates what I'd heard.  They were somewhat sympathetic but hardly seemed to grasp the shock and hurt I was feeling. It seemed that the anti-Jewish ideas that had so disturbed me were nothing special. Shocked, I confided in a professor and was greeted with the same indifference. I wondered, just how many people around me had negative opinions about Jews – and about me?
I couldn’t bring myself to make eye contact with anyone in class, let alone answer questions. I knew I had to make a change.

First I made an appointment with the head of a different department. I poured out all my concerns and worries and asked if I could please switch to his department. It was against all the rules but somehow he let me transfer over to do my Master’s in his department. It was a different atmosphere there, free of the taint of intense anti-Semitism I’d just left behind, and I embraced my new field of study wholeheartedly.

Later, I wrote down the details of a new society that advertised on campus. It was called Aish HaTorah. I’d never heard of it, but feeling raw and vulnerable after learning some of my classmates’ feelings about Jews, I craved a connection with other Jews who might be feeling the same way. The people I met there were fantastic: bright, interesting and dynamic.

Knowing that I could connect with other Jews gave me the confidence to deal with the rest of the world a little bit better
I remember sitting at a Shabbat dinner with dozens of other young people and telling them about my disastrous dinner when I’d first arrived. Yes, they reassured me, they too had sometimes encountered anti-Semitism, but they didn’t let it shake their self-confidence. “How?” I asked, explaining that I’d been shaken to the core, realizing that some people might dislike me simply because I was Jewish.

“Well, we’re here for you,” someone replied. I looked around with a smile.
It didn’t erase the anti-Semitism, but somehow knowing that I could connect with other Jews gave me the confidence to deal with the rest of the world a little bit better. Even though there might be times I’d feel unwelcomed, shocked, or even upset, for the first time in my new city, I didn’t feel alone.
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Thu 10 Mar 2016, 7:08 pm

http://www.aish.com/sp/so/Dustin-Hoffmans-Jewish-Moment.html?s=mm

Dustin Hoffman's Jewish Moment
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
Watch a moving clip of the actor declaring, “I am a Jew."
Dustin Hoffman's parents chose to make a clean break with their Jewish heritage, raising him without knowledge of either Judaism or his ancestors. When Hoffman found out he was Jewish at age 10, he "went to the delicatessen and ordered bagels, and draped them around the holiday tree.”
Hoffman's Jewish identity came to the fore this month, when the PBS genealogy series, “Finding Your Roots,” unearthed some incredible history about Hoffman's Jewish ancestors that brought the 78-year-old Oscar-winning actor to tears.
The background:

In 1917, Hoffman's grandfather, Frank Hoffman, was killed during the Soviet Civil War, when he risked a trip into Ukraine to rescue his parents from anti-Semitic pogroms. Though Frank's father was also killed, the mother – Liba Hoffman – was arrested and sent to a hard-labor camp.

As People magazine reported:
Liba Hoffman, who was already middle aged by 1921, managed to survive the hard labor and harsh conditions of the Soviet concentration camp. Almost a decade later, she arranged to leave the USSR for Argentina. After some time in South America, she managed to obtain an immigration visa for the US, where she arrived in the early 1930s at the age of 64.
Liba Hoffman went to live with relatives in Chicago and presumably never met her great-grandson who was by then living with his parents in Los Angeles.

Dustin Hoffman broke down upon seeing the photograph of his great-grandmother on her Argentinian visa application and reading the medical report of US immigration authorities stating that she had dementia, extremely poor vision, and a prosthetic arm due to an amputation.
The actor called his great-grandmother a “hero” for her resilience in the face of the anti-Semitic violence perpetrated against her and her family. He also expressed regret that it is only now, as he nears 80, that he is finally learning about the brave and persistent people who have passed their genes on to him. His tears were clearly coming from not only sadness, but also deep disappointment for having been robbed of this heritage for his entire life.

When asked how this genealogical journey had changed him, Hoffman answered:
“I am a Jew. Wear that on your sleeve."
Watch the very moving moment in the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jguJPEyJ6Pg
“What are you? I’m a Jew.”
Like Dustin Hoffman, we are all here today because of family heroes who fought to preserve our Jewish identity, as the next link in this remarkable chain stretching back thousands of years.
  Published: March 9, 2016
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 2:13 pm

Syrian Refugee Thanks Israel by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Aboud Dandachi wants the world to know how remarkable Israel is.
Aboud Dandachi, a 39-year-old Syrian refugee currently living in Istanbul, is telling the world, “Thank you Am Yisrael.” He’s blogging, Tweeting and posting his thanks to Israeli and Jewish organizations and individuals for helping Syrian refugees, and the world is beginning to listen.
“There is nothing remarkable about saying thank you,” Dandachi explained in an Aish.com exclusive interview. “The Israelis and Jews who are risking everything to help my people are remarkable. They had every reason to keep well away from the refugee crisis created by the war in my country, but all over the world Jews have shown a tremendous compassion and generous spirit towards Syrians. Saying thank you is the least a person can do.”
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Syrian-Refugee-Thanks-Israel.html?s=mm


Israel: A Nation of Heroes by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

Since September there have been 307 attacks or attempted attacks in 170 days, in which 33 people have been killed and 360 injured.
The Israeli people are heroes. They have endured an onslaught of terrorist attacks that would have crippled any other nation on earth. Since September there have been 307 attacks or attempted attacks in 170 days, in which 33 people have been killed and 360 injured. There have been 192 stabbings, 76 shootings and 39 vehicular attacks.

An extended onslaught of this nature would break the morale and ability to function of any society. And yet Israelis go about their daily lives in fortitude and bravery. Children go to school, people go to work and society continues to function at a very high level, shaking off the constant threat of danger with remarkable resilience.
Jews in the Diaspora watch from afar in awe and admiration, and in unwavering support. The words of King David from the Book of Psalms come to mind: “May God bless His angels, mighty heroes who listen to the call of His word.”
The people of Israel are the brave angels of God Himself. The Talmud says that this verse refers to those farmers who observe the Sabbatical year, when farmers do not cultivate or harvest their fields: “It is the normal way of the world for a person to be able to do a mitzvah for one day, one week or one month, but for an entire year?! And this farmer sees his field lying desolate and he sits silently. Is there any greater hero than this?” The Talmud sees such personal discipline and commitment to doing the right thing, as heroic and brave, indeed, even angelic and super-human.
READ MORE
http://www.aish.com/jw/id/Israel-A-Nation-of-Heroes.html?s=mm

    
[INFOGRAPHIC] Jews in Early American Politics

by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller and aish.com
Little-known facts about Jews in American politics.
SEE MORE HERE
http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Jews-in-Early-American-Politics.html?s=mm 
READ MORE
http://media.aish.com/documents/Jews+and+US+Politics.pdf
Jews in Early American Politics
By Yvette Miller and Aish.com
Little-known facts about Jews in American politics.
First Jew to hold elected office: Francis Salvador, South Carolina representative to the
Revolutionary Provincial Congresses of 1775 and 1776.
First Jew killed in the War of Independence: Francis Salvador, captured, scalped and killed
by Cherokee Indians aligned with British forces in 1776.
Jewish financer of much of the American Revolutionary War: Haym Salomon, a Polish
immigrant in colonial New York who lent George Washington over $200,000 - a vast fortune
in today’s money. Salomon was never repaid and died in poverty in 1785.
1790, George Washington’s letter to the Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island affirming the
security of Jews: “May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue
to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants, while every one shall sit in safety
under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”
First Jewish congressman: Lewis Charles Levin, elected to the U.S. House of
Representatives in 1844 representing Pennsylvania's 1st District.
First Jewish senator: David Levy Yulee, elected when Florida became a state in 1845.
General Order No. 11: In 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant expels all Jews from the state of
Tennessee within 24 hours for war profiteering. Three days later President Abraham Lincoln
revokes the baseless decree.
7,000: the number of Jews who fought with the Union Army during America’s Civil War
3,000: the number of Jews who fought on the Confederate side
1861: the year Rabbi Dr. Arnold Fischel convinced President Lincoln to accept Jewish
chaplains in the army
1862: Rev. Jacob Frankel of Philadelphia becomes first Jewish chaplain of the US Army. 
The first Jewish United States Cabinet Secretary: Oscar Straus, from 1906 to 1909,
appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt.
First Jewish Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: Louis Brandeis, in 1916. His appointment by
President Woodrow unleashed a flood of anti-Semitism. “Isn’t it a shame, Mr. President, that
a man as great as Mr. Justice Brandeis should be a Jew?” someone once commented.
President Wilson replied, “But he would not be Mr. Brandeis if he were not a Jew!”
First Jewish female member of the U.S. Congress: Florence Prag Kahn, in 1925; she was
only the fifth woman to serve in Congress 
28: The present number of Jewish members (out of 535) of the United States Congress, just
over 5%.
7%: The number of Americans who would not vote for a Jew as President. 
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Re: AISH

Post  Admin on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 12:43 pm

http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Israels-Highest-Ranking-Muslim-Soldier.html?s=mm

Israel’s Highest Ranking Muslim Soldier
There’s only one country in the Middle East that could produce a soldier like me.
by Major Alaa Waheeb 
In the last few weeks, students across the UK have been involved in Israeli Apartheid Week.  Some have supported it. Others have opposed it. Invited by the Zionist Federation UK, last week I was able to attend campuses up and down the country specifically to address and counter some of the claims involved.

These fall into roughly three categories. First, that Israel is an inherently racist and therefore unacceptable country, comparable to Apartheid South Africa. Second, that its army defends this racist status with acts of illegal and immoral violence. And third, that the only solution to this problem is through the isolation tactics of boycotts.
Like many I met during my visit, I oppose these views. But perhaps more than most people on either side of the debate, I am better placed to argue against them. Because I am an Israeli, an Arab, and the highest ranked Muslim in the IDF.

Is Israel inherently racist, an apartheid state? Well, do you think that such a country would tolerate a person like myself getting to the position I am today? Forget for a second (BDS supporters would like you to forget permanently!) that 20 percent of Israelis are non-Jewish, have full rights, and are represented throughout society. It’s one thing, after all, to have Arab politicians, Christian voters, and Muslim doctors – although we do have them, and quite a few at that.
But a non-Jewish army Major? Someone who has not only fought alongside Jewish soldiers, but now trains them too? Would a truly racist state allow me to play such an integral role in our nation’s defenses?


And while we’re on the subject of those defenses, let me tackle accusation two: that the Israel army is a particularly immoral one. I am not particularly religious, but as the Quran says, “if anyone killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind.”
I do not serve in the army to kill people – I serve in it to save people.
I do not serve in the army to kill people – I serve in it to save people. When Hamas fires rockets, or Fatah encourages stabbings, we are here to protect the lives of all Israeli citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish.

And so on to the last point – that the best way to resolve violence and conflict is through the kind of tactics advocated by the Boycotts movement. Namely, isolation and intimidation. For me, this is the most important issue, and the one which makes me shake my head with anger and sadness the most.

Like I said, I visited the UK to combat Israeli Apartheid Week, to challenge the lies and mistruths hurled at the country I am proud to call home. But what hurts me the most is not how unbelievable they are. The opposite, in fact. They are all too believable, and I should know – because I once believed them too.
I was raised to believe the worst things about Jews, and had I not eventually met and worked alongside them, I might still believe those things today.

The reality is that the town I grew up in did not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. While Arabic is an official language, I did not learn Hebrew until I was 17. I was raised to believe the worst things about Jews, and had I not eventually met and worked alongside them, I might still believe those things today.
In my role as a soldier, I have met all kinds of people both in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Jews, Arabs, Religious, Secular, Left-wing and Right-wing. I have met Israelis who were prejudiced against me. But I have also met Palestinians who appreciate the work that I do to maintain some sort of peace and stability in the most dangerous part of the world.
Forget slogans and shouting. Peace – real peace – will only come when people talk to each other. Not necessarily agree – just agree to listen. But the irony of Israeli Apartheid Week is that it wants individuals to focus on differences, not similarities. Instead of building bridges between communities, it wants to build walls.

During my time in the UK, I spoke alongside a fellow soldier, a medic who has treated both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists without distinction. We were the Muslim who protects Jewish lives, and the Jew who saves Muslim lives. There’s only one country in the Middle East that could produce a couple like that – and it sure as hell isn’t an apartheid state.
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