"Where does it say that you have a contract with G-d to have an easy life?"

the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"Failure is not the enemy of success; it is its prerequisite."

Rabbi Nosson Scherman

31 Jan 2014

D'Souza targeting and his position on Israel

NewsMax has an article titled Dershowitz, Law Enforcement Experts Slam D'Souza Targeting.

In a debate against D'Souza at Dartmoth, in which D'Souza called Israel a "little outpost of Western civilization," Bill Ayers called for the boycott of the "apartheid" state. Click here to watch the excerpt of the debate in which Israel is discussed.

When speaking about America, Mr. Ayers opined, "What about the theft of the entire continent?  That was a theft. ...90% of the residents who lived here were murdered."
Since he is so concerned about Israeli settlements and occupation, I think he should set an example and give up his property to the survivors of the indigenous American population and to set up a BDS movement of American products.

The New York Times has an interesting article titled Salvage Drive for Rare Jewish Mural in Vermont.

The mural was created inside a synagogue in 1910 by a sign painter named Ben Zion Black, who had just moved to this city’s growing Jewish community from Lithuania. He was paid $200 by the Chai Adam congregation for what became a two-story artwork in a style that was common in Eastern Europe’s painted wooden synagogues. Most vanished in the Holocaust.
Continue reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/us/salvage-drive-for-rare-jewish-mural-in-vermont.html

Mishenichnos Adar Marbim BeSimcha. I got a laugh reading some of Jay Leno's jokes including these two, as well as from a message to Oxfam which can be viewed here.

“I was going to start off tonight with an Obama joke, but I don’t want to get audited by the IRS.”
On NSA surveillance: “We wanted a president who listens to all Americans – now we have one.”

Although the rabbi in the video below spoke last week, the message is pertinent for now, as well.

30 Jan 2014

Taking a donation

Rabbi Eli Mansour writes about this week's parsha in an article titled Parashat Teruma: Spiritual Currency.

Parashat Teruma begins with the command, “Ve’yikhu Li Teruma,” instructing Beneh Yisrael to donate materials for the construction of the Mishkan. Curiously, rather than commanding Beneh Yisrael to “give” or “donate” materials, G-d commands them to “take a donation.” And the question is obvious: how does one “take” a donation? Why did Hashem formulate the command in this fashion?
David Ha’melech famously proclaims in Tehillim (49:18), “Ki Lo Be’moto Yikah Ha’kol” – a person does not bring any of his material assets with him to the next world. In Jewish tradition, a dead body is buried in plain, simple shrouds with no pockets, emphasizing the point that no matter how much wealth a person accumulates in this world, he takes none of it with him to the next world. He leaves this world empty-handed.
The currency in this world, whether it’s the U.S. dollar, the Euro, or the Israeli shekel, has no value whatsoever in the next world.
Read more: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/WeeklyParasha.asp

There's an interesting video at the Lakewood Scoop in which Mordechai Weinberger LCSW interviews Shadchan Rabbi Yisroel (Freddy) Friedman. Click here to listen.

Little English

Almost 800,000 people living in England and Wales have little or no English, with more than half not working, official figures show.
Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/10605581/The-800000-people-living-in-Britain-with-little-or-no-English.html

Bill S6438-2013, prohibiting “the use of state aid by colleges and universities to fund or provide membership in academic institutions that are boycotting a country or higher education institutions of a country,” was passed on Monday by the NY State Senate.
Read more: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-york-senate-passes-anti-boycott-bill-by-56-4/2014/01/29/

KikarHashabat reports that the older Gross boy has also opened his eyes, and that Rav David Lau has requested that the community should accept Shabbos 5 minutes early tomorrow.

Counting Jews

Chadrei Charedim reports that Rav Shteinman sent the Gross family a condolence letter. Click here to read in Hebrew.

JTA writes about Lifting the veil on the science of counting Jews.

It’s the first day of work on a new survey of Miami Jews, and operators are having a hard time finding cooperative respondents.
“To you personally, is being Jewish, 1, mainly a matter of religion; 2, mainly a matter of ancestry; or 3, mainly a matter of culture?” a surveyor asks.
Ira Sheskin, the go-to man for Jewish communities that want to count their Jews, is overseeing the work. A professor of geography at the University of Miami, Sheskin is now on his 43rd Jewish federation population study, and he’s got it down to a science.
Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/01/29/life-religion/lifting-the-veil-on-the-science-of-counting-jews#ixzz2rpgzF1Py

In a few weeks time, we will be reading Parshat Ki Tisa, which discusses the counting of the Jewish people through the contribution of half a shekel.

Amid Riots, Kiev Shliach Relocates Daughter’s Wedding

29 Jan 2014

First-person pronouns and a good heart

Rabbi Lazer Brody has an article titled Tale of two Shidduchim in which he writes about the advice he gave to Benny, an extremely handsome baal teshuva.

I told Benny to look for a girl with a good heart, for that's what you grow old with. Unlike good looks, a good heart improves with age.

...After their first date, Benny called me. "Rabbi, when I first saw her, my heart skipped more than one beat. She's gorgeous. We sat down in the lobby of the Dan Panorama and I ordered coffee. After the initial niceties, I remembered what you said. I closed my eyes and listened to her heart. All I heard was first-person pronouns and a lot of material priorities that were left over from her old life. She spoke about her taste in clothes, furniture and summer vacations. I listened. She never mentioned anything remotely connected to building a spiritual life together. I'm going to tell the shadchan that I'm not interested in a second date. But she is gorgeous..." http://www.breslev.co.il/articles/family/dating_and_marriage/tale_of_two_shidduchim.aspx?id=25558&language=english

Speaking about first-person pronouns, Obama Refers To Himself 74 Times During State of The Union…

Wishing those who are looking for their matches to find good hearted zivugim.

28 Jan 2014

Really close

I was about to translate a letter at KikarHashabat written by an eleven-year-old to her classmates  while she was sitting shiva for her father but I see YeranenYaakov already did it so I urge you to click here to read the post including the following inspiring words:

And Abba revealed himself to me in a dream and told me, "Sori, I know when Mashiah will come. I will not tell you the date so that you won't start to count the days - to subtract, to add, to divide, or to multiply - but it is really close."

KikarHashabat reports that Rav Chaim Kanievsky was asked about the recent spate of tragedies that have occurred. The Rav said that until the coming of Mashiach, which we all pray to happen soon, there always were, and there will always be troubles because of the difficulties of exile. The Rav also spoke about the lack of respect for the Gedolim.

Business Insider explains Why The Pope's Peace Doves Were Viciously Attacked By Other Birds.

19 Jan 2014

A strong friend of Israel's

h/t badblue for this post

William Jacobson opines that Tzipi Livni’s Boycott panic is a dead-end because it presumes the alternative is peace.

Shifra points out an Obama gaffe in which the President introduces a young man from the "Dominican Republican."
She also posts a video of her favorite Presidential gaffe in which President Obama says that "Israel is a strong friend of Israel's."

Some Western diplomats believe that the U.S.-backed Middle East peace plan which includes an Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley, will turn the Jewish state’s eastern border into a magnet for al-Qaeda terrorists, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Saturday.
Continue reading: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/01/18/diplomats-kerry-peace-plan-will-turn-israels-jordan-valley-into-al-qaeda-haven/

18 Jan 2014

No good deed goes unpunished

Robert Harris has written an interesting op-ed at the New York Times about Georges Picquart, an army officer who taught Alfred Dreyfus.

Harris writes that piquart was casually anti-Semitic. On Jan. 5, 1895, before a crowd of 20,000 shouting, “Death to the Jew!” Dreyfus had his sword broken and the insignia of his rank torn from his uniform. Observing the spectacle, Picquart remarked laconically to a fellow officer: “He’s a Jew, don’t forget that. He’s thinking of the weight of the gold braid and how much it’s worth.”

...Picquart took his discoveries to the chief of the French general staff, Gen. Raoul de Boisdeffre, and to the overall head of military intelligence, Gen. Charles-Arthur Gonse. Their reaction appalled him. He was told to avoid any avenues of inquiry that might lead to a reopening of the Dreyfus case. “What does it matter to you,” demanded Gonse, “if one Jew stays on Devil’s Island?” “Well,” replied Picquart, “because he’s innocent ...”

...It was then that Picquart, after 25 years’ army service, realized he had no alternative but to break ranks. He passed his evidence against Esterhazy to a senior politician, the vice president of the senate, Auguste Scheurer-Kestner. Then, at the end of 1897, he provided Émile Zola with the information that enabled the novelist to write his celebrated exposé of the affair, “J’Accuse ...!” Picquart’s reward was to be dismissed from the army, framed as a forger and locked up in solitary confinement for more than a year.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/opinion/the-whistle-blower-who-freed-dreyfus.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0

A man was detained and handcuffed for more than an hour by law enforcement officials in Houston moments after he gave a homeless man 75 cents.
Read more: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/17/man-gives-75-cents-to-a-homeless-man-minutes-later-he-was-in-handcuffs-in-the-back-of-a-police-cruiser/

"King of Morocco knows – Jews' prayer are accepted" Member of the Jewish community in Morocco tells of prayer for rain performed at the request of the King • "The next day it rained"
Read more: http://www.bholworld.com/Article_EN.aspx?id=63768

17 Jan 2014

Peace in this world

Rabbi Eli Mansour has an excellent Torah thought on this week's parsha which may inspire us to be honest in our financial delaings. Click here to read Parashat Yitro: Peace in This World and the Next.

EOZ quotes from an article at the Algemeiner.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, has pulled a Jewish exhibit two years in the making, entitled “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,” after a zero hour protest from the Arab League, The Algemeiner has learned.
...UNESCO informed the SWC of the change on January 14th in a letter to the Center’s Shimon Samuels, asserting the Arab League’s claim that going ahead with the show “could create potential obstacles related to the peace process in the Middle East.”
...Interestingly, 10 days prior to the suspension of the exhibit, the United States declined co-sponsorship on remarkably similar grounds.

ElderofZiyon opines:
Let this sink in for a moment: The official United States position is that publicly acknowledging that Jews have deep historic ties to Israel is a threat to the "peace process."
...Meanwhile, the UN today launched the "Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" - an event that absolutely no one says is a threat to the peace process.

Richard Behar has written an article at Forbes titled Open Letter To NYU's President: Why The American Studies Assn.'s Israel Boycott Makes Me Ashamed To Be An Alumnus.

Forbes magazine’s Contributing Editor of Investigations, Richard Behar, who this week published a scathing 15,000-word indictment of the American Studies Association’s vote to boycott Israeli universities, said he wrote the in-depth piece – it took a marathon week of reporting – after reading about the boycott in The Algemeiner’s daily email.

Writing as an investigative journalist for Forbes, a business magazine, whose editors, he said, welcomed his coverage of Israel, Behar said that it was the general media’s negative portrayal of the Jewish State that inspired him to dedicate more time to the subject.

Read more: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/01/16/forbes-investigative-star-explains-why-his-sights-are-set-on-israel-interview/

A reader posted a comment at the Algemeiner.

Combating Jew hatred is a Sisyphean task. Your Forbes articles have been right on the mark, thanks to Forbes for publishing them. Keep up the good fight,

16 Jan 2014

Moshe and Bnei Yisroel

The Pasuk says Yisro heard "Es Kol Asher Asah Elokim L'Moshe U'LiYisroel" what Hashem did for Moshe and Yisroel that he took them out of Mitzrayim. Why does it say Moshe separately and Yisroel separately. The Rebbe Reb Elimelech says that there are two different ways to look at Yetzias Mitzrayim. One is the fact that they were no longer enslaved by the Mitzrim and were free from their hard work. The other view is that we were rescued by Hashem who loves us and took us out of spiritual slavery to a situation where we can serve Hashem without any interference.

That is why it says Moshe and Bnei Yisroel separately. Bnei Yisroel enjoyed the physical freedom while Moshe saw the Afeila L'Or Gadol, the spiritual bleakness lit by a great light and closeness to Hashem. Yisro saw the two reactions and appreciated both. (Iturei Torah) http://www.thejewisheye.com/rev_pyisro.html

People who regularly visit a place of worship are less likely to get involved in low level crime and delinquency, according to new research. A survey from Manchester University found a direct correlation between higher visits to religious places and lower crime figures, especially in relation to shoplifting, drug use and music piracy. Researchers believe this is because religion not only teaches people about 'moral and behavioural norms', but also spending time with like-minded people makes it less likely they'll get mixed up with the 'wrong crowd'.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2539100/How-religion-cuts-crime-Attending-church-makes-likely-shoplift-drugs-download-music-illegally.html#ixzz2qaXg97Fg

Fruits and a fruitcake

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) triggered controversy with a fiery floor speech in the Senate on Tuesday night, accusing supporters of the bipartisan Kirk-Menendez bill on Iran sanctions of wanting "regime change" and declaring that "we cannot let Israel determine when and where the United States goes to war." The bill includes a provision offering support to Israel in the event of an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran.
Read more: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/01/15/Feinstein-We-Cannot-Let-Israel-Determine-When-and-Where-the-United-States-Goes-to-War

Click here to listen to the speech.

The Pasuk in the Book of Debarim lists the seven special species of Eretz Yisrael, known as the “Perot She’nishtabeha Bahen Eretz Yisrael.” This status has important Halachic implications. Namely, if a person is eating two fruits, one of which is among this group, then he recites the Beracha over that fruit. For example, if a person is eating an apple and grapes, he recites the Beracha of “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” over the grapes, and that Beracha covers the apple, as well. Even if he likes apples better than grapes, he nevertheless recites the Beracha over the grapes. Since grapes are included among the special species of Eretz Yisrael, they take precedence even over fruits for which one has a preference. The same is true if the grapes are sliced, such as if one is eating an apple and some fruit salad with has sliced grapes. Even though the apple is whole and the grapes are sliced, he nevertheless recites the Beracha over the grapes, because the status of the seven special species overrides the factor of “Shelemut” (wholeness).

If one is eating two fruits from among the special species, then precedence is given to the fruit that appears closer to the word “Eretz” in the Pasuk.

15 Jan 2014

Tu Bishvat and praying for an etrog

This afternoon I attended a shiur where the lecturer stated that Tu Bishvat is an auspicious time to daven that one should receive a nice etrog in the coming year on Sukkot. In the video below a rabbi opines about the juxtapostion of Tu Bishvat and Parshat Yitro.

A group of more than 350 prominent Israeli rabbis has sent a letter of support and encouragement to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, after comments he made about US Secretary of State John Kerry triggered a diplomatic backlash.

The Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) thanked Ya'alon "for his clear and fearless remarks that 'enough is enough'," referring to American pressure on Israel to cede land to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Continue reading: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/176341

With Ya'alon having to issue an apology for calling Secretary of State Kerry "obsessive and messianic," has anyone asked Barbara Walters to apologize for saying about Obama that "we thought he was going to be the next messiah"?

Jewish art dealers and Jewish holidays

It's a medieval treasure trove worth an estimated quarter of a billion dollars, filled with gold crosses studded with gems and intricate silverwork. For years, it's been at the center of a dispute between a Berlin museum foundation and the heirs of Holocaust-era Jewish art dealers.
Continue reading: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/berlin-museums-jewish-heirs-dispute-art-21537892

The fall quarter at most UC campuses will start a week later than usual and winter break will be a week shorter in the 2014-15 school year as the schools seek to avoid beginning their terms during Jewish High Holidays.
...Officials said the schedule change was in line with a policy that was issued in 2007 in response to complaints from Jewish families that “move in” days at UC dorms had been held on the Jewish High Holidays. The rules call for shifts in the academic calendar to avoid pressuring Jewish students to possibly violate religious bans against working on those days.
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-calendar-20140114,0,3436601.story#ixzz2qS4GgTT0

Alex Berman, your music lives on.

Not synonymous

Eli Steinberg has written a fabulous article titled Liberalism And Jewish Values Are Not Synonymous
Misrepresenting faith to the benefit of a political party and ideology.
Click here to read the article.

Below are a number of questions posed at the State Department briefing of Monday, January 13.

QUESTION: Abbas made a statement this past weekend saying that they will never accept what is requested of them on the Jewish aspect of the state of Israel; and second, they will never forfeit Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine; and third, that the right of return is a personal issue for the Palestinians, and not a collective issue. Do you have any comment on that?

MS. HARF: I think I’ll let his words speak for themselves. Again, we’re discussing – all issues are on the table. We’re discussing them privately. I think the Secretary’s been clear that we’re at a critical point right now, that the Palestinians and the Israeli leaders are grappling with difficult and challenging decisions, and very sensitive ones. But the details of those discussions we are keeping private to give them the best chance to succeed.

QUESTION: And do you have any comment about Assad’s comments about how Kerry’s talks in Paris are fictional?

QUESTION: He didn’t say fictional. He said illusionary or --

QUESTION: Anyway, his point was that they were far from reality.

Given that the State Department  opined that "the remarks of the Defense Minister (Moshe Ya'alon), if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate," is the State Department going to issue a comment about Assad's remarks?

14 Jan 2014

OU hechsher for Girl Guides of Canada cookies

Huffington Post reports Kosher Cookies For Girl Guides Certified In Canada Following Efforts Of Orthodox Jewish Troop.

IPT reports U.S.-Iranian Citizen Arrested for Shipping Military Secrets to Tehran.

The charge against him carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if Khazaee is convicted. Read more: http://www.investigativeproject.org/4262/us-iranian-citizen-arrested-for-shipping-military

I suppose that if he were spying for Israel, the above sentence in the article would read, "The charge against him carries a minimum sentence of life in prison.

Michael Shtender-Auerbach and Markus E. Bouillon have written an article at the Huffington Post titled Defining the Endgame of the Peace Process.

When the Oslo Declaration of Principles was signed in September 1993, few Israelis would have contemplated that a final agreement would mean full-fledged statehood and few Palestinians would have expected that a final deal would acknowledge both a Jewish and an Arab homeland in historic Palestine -- with most refugees returning to the Palestinian state. These parameters are now widely, grudgingly accepted,...

...As such, Mr. Kerry deserves the benefit of doubt -- and full support from both sides of the aisle, from European and other international stakeholders, and from ordinary Israelis and Palestinians who may be skeptical but yearning for peace.

Arab foreign ministers notified US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday that they will not accept Israel as a Jewish state nor compromise on Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem, backing positions voiced by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Read more: Arab ministers back Abbas in rejecting 'Jewish' Israel | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/arab-ministers-back-abbas-in-rejecting-jewish-israel/#ixzz2qMAojdMv

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) went even further on Saturday, stating that Israel's demand that the PA recognize it as a Jewish state is an attempt to “legalize racism.”

Where do the authors of the Huffington Post article see the grudging acceptance of a Jewish homeland?

If I were to write the article, it would be much shorter.

The endgame of the peace process is a Nobel Prize for Secretary of State John Kerry.

5 Jan 2014

Jewish roots

The Brooklyn landlord who was kidnapped near his office late Thursday was found in a dumpster at a Long Island gas station, authorities said Saturday.
The body of Menacham Stark was found in the trash container at the Getty gas station in Great Neck just before 4 p.m. Friday, according to Nassau County cops.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/man-body-found-long-island-feared-abducted-brooklyn-landlord-article-1.1566192#ixzz2pTWs0h5V

A cache of unregistered weapons was found at a diplomatic residence where a Palestinian envoy was killed by an explosion, officials said Friday. ...Officers searching the house following the blast found enough weapons to arm a ten-man combat unit, police said.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/gun-cache-uncovered-at-palestinian-diplomats-home/#PgsaHoYpGU3ItHxL.99

Genie Milgrom’s quest for her religious roots began with a mysterious box her maternal grandmother left her when she died. It ends, if one can call it an ending, with a book, a website, speaking engagements around the world and a scholar’s depth of knowledge about Jews who were forced to convert, or pretended to convert, by the Spanish Inquisition.

First, the box. Milgrom, who was raised Catholic in a traditional Cuban household, had already converted to Judaism when her maternal abuela left her a well-worn hamsa, or charm-like “hand of God” trinket, and one gold earring with a Star of David in the middle.

...Milgrom and her husband keep kosher. They walk to shul. And when she lights candles every Friday night, “I feel all my grandmothers are standing around me and they’re saying, ‘Good job.’ I’m glad they’re here for me.”
Read more:  http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/03/3850310/miami-woman-tracks-her-jewish.html

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/03/3850310/miami-woman-tracks-her-jewish.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/03/3850310/miami-woman-tracks-her-jewish.html#storylink=cpy
Brooklyn man arrested, charged in five 'knockout' incidents against women

Barry Baldwin, 35, was arrested for a rash of assaults that some have connected to the infamous 'knockout game,' cops say. Sources say Baldwin was initially charged with hate crimes for targeting Jewish victims, but those charges were later downgraded.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/brooklyn-man-arrested-knockout-game-women-article-1.1566125#ixzz2pTVkeD8C

A small plane owned by a Jewish man made an emergency landing on a New York City expressway on Saturday, resulting in minor injuries to the three onboard and backing up a traffic on the major thoroughfare, emergency officials said.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/190331/plane-registered-to-jewish-owner-makes-emergency-l/#ixzz2pTWLinQQ

3 Jan 2014

The glaring hypocrisy

Walid Shoebat calls attention to a program which is to be aired on HBO about Islamophobia which features CAIR-Michigan’s Executive Director Dawud Walid. Click here to read the article. Investigative Project has an article about Dawud Walid over here. You can listen to his words over here. At the 15 minute mark he talks about the Jews who incurred the wrath...

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the glaring hypocrisy and inconsistency of the Obama Administration for urging Israel to free Palestinian Arab terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands while simultaneously expressing outrage that Afghan President Hamid Karzai intends to free dozens of prisoners with the blood of Americans on their hands.
Read more: http://5tjt.com/shocking-hypocrisy-of-obama-admin-urges-israel-to-release-palestinian-killers-of-jews-yet-condemns-afghans-for-intending-to-release-killers-of-americans/

2 Jan 2014

The victim who fought back

Chabad Crown Heights info writes about a phone snatching victim who fought back. Click here to read.

During an episode of the program Sights of Jerusalem broadcast in October, official Palestinian Authority TV dehumanized Israelis and Jews as crows and rats. In addition, the program denied Jewish history and the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, calling Israelis "foreigners."
...The program was co-produced by PA TV and PYALARA, a Palestinian NGO for youth. PYALARA is funded by NDC (NGO Development Center). NDC's donors include: the European Union, the World Bank, the French government's Agence Française de Développement, and a donor consortium of Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Read more: http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=10482

Stanley Kutler thinks "very highly" of some U.S. senators and their motivation to support Israel.

Now comes a "bipartisan" group of U.S. senators determined to join Israel in isolation. They are motivated from little else other than electoral fears and campaign contributions. They have offered legislation imposing new, more severe sanctions on Iran at a most inopportune time, and a pledge of American diplomatic and military support if the Israelis attack Iran.

He also is concerned about a balanced discussion on the Palestinian question.

Swarthmore College's Hillel chapter also tried to have a balanced discussion of the Palestinian question, but the governing body prevented it.

The pro-Israel campus groups Hillel International and the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) have been denied the right to present a discussion on Israel at the Jan. 9-12 Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Chicago, JNS.org has learned.

MLA’s convention includes a roundtable discussion that will feature supporters but no opponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Is Stanley Kutler concerned that the Modern Language Association convention present a balanced view?

A Twitter account belonging to “@BDSAmsterdam“ is using an outrageous image of Anne Frank dressed in a red keffiyeh, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Thursday.

A thought on the parsha, an op-ed and a new release

There's a nice thought on this weeks's parsha at kikarhashabat. It's in Hebrew, but I will try to translate it, when I have the time. Click here to read.

Gil Solomon has writte an Op-Ed: Jews Killed Nobody.

According to a new release from the JAMA Network Journals, vitamin E may help Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers discovered that a daily dosage of 2,000 IUs of vitamin E for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease slowed functional decline and lowered caregiver time in helping patients.
Read more: http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/vitamin-e-may-help-alzheimers-patients-study-finds/#ixzz2pE5nm7hO

Wishing you a good chodesh.

On December 31, Roger Cohen published an op-ed at the New York Times titled My Jewish State. On January 1, Sticking Point in Peace Talks: Recognition of a Jewish State by Jodi Rudoren was published. The first and third paragraphs in bold below were written by Roger Cohen. The second and fourth paragraphs were written by Ms. Rudoren.

Notice any similarities?

For Palestinians, such a form of recognition would amount to explicit acquiescence to second-class citizenship for the 1.6 million Arabs in Israel; undermine the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees; upend a national narrative of mass expulsion from land that was theirs;

They contend that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would disenfranchise its 1.6 million Arab citizens, undercut the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees and, most important, require a psychological rewriting of the story they hold dear about their longtime presence in the land.

When I spoke to him in Tel Aviv a few months ago, Yair Lapid, a top government minister, said: “The fact that we demand from Palestinians a declaration that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state, I just think this is rubbish. I don’t need that. The whole point of Israel was we came here saying we don’t need anyone else to recognize us anymore because we can recognize ourselves. We are liberated.”

Yair Lapid, a top minister in Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition, has distanced himself from the recognition demand, saying in an October interview, “My father did not come to Haifa from the Budapest ghetto in order to get recognition from” Mr. Abbas.

1 Jan 2014

Cell phone penalty

KikarHashabat pointed me to an article at tzfatinews regarding a successful initiative in a shul in France where the gabbaim instituted a monetary penalty for those whose cell phones rang during davening. The money would be set aside for the shul's use. Needless to say, the congregants got the message after a number of days and prayer is no longer interrupted by the ringing of cell phones.

The article ends with a suggestion that the initiative can be implemented in other synagogues or public places where the ringing has become a nuisance.


Roger the prophet

For people at high risk of depression because of a family history, spirituality may offer some protection for the brain, a new study hints.
Parts of the brain's outer layer, the cortex, were thicker in high-risk study participants who said religion or spirituality was "important" to them versus those who cared less about religion.
Continue reading: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/30/us-thicker-brain-sections-tied-to-spirit-idUSBRE9BT0LA20131230

A Wikipedia entry titled Prophets in Judaism lists the 48 Prophets and seven Prophetesses. Perhaps the list should be amended to include NYT columnist Roger Cohen, who finds time amongst his new year's celebrations to prophesy about the coming year.

But I am going to make one prediction for 2014. It is that, for all John Kerry’s efforts, this will be another year in which peace is not reached in the Middle East. (And if I am wrong, I vow Sisyphean penance in eternity.)

Of course, Israel is mostly to blame for the sorry state of affairs in an article titled My Jewish State.

Then there is the rebounding Israel-is-a-Jewish-state bugbear: Netanyahu wants Palestinians to recognize his nation as such.
...If Israel looks like a Jewish state and acts like a Jewish state, that is good enough for me — as long as it gets out of the corrosive business of occupation. Zionism, the one I identify with, forged a Jewish homeland in the name of restored Jewish pride in a democratic state of laws, not in the name of finicky insistence on a certain form of recognition, nor in the name of messianic religious Greater Israel nationalism.

Jeffrey Grossman opines about the NYT article.

Yes, Roger (Iran is "not totalitarian") Cohen is given to playing footloose with the truth, and my prediction for 2014 is that he will continue to rain manure down upon us.

Who Cares What You Think, Roger Cohen?