Anti Semitism

Purim Questions and Answers

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Q. What is Purim?

A. Purim is the Jewish Holiday which celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from Persian King Ahasuerus’ (Xerxes 1) plan to massacre all the Jews under his rule.

Q. How is Purim pronounced?

A. Poo-rim.

Q. Who celebrates Purim?

A. Jews around the world celebrate Purim.

Q. Where did Purim take place?

A. In the 127 provinces under King Ahasuerus’ rule, which spanned from India to Ethiopia. Most of the story took place in the Persian capital of Shushan which today is located in western Iran.

Q. Who is Haman?

A. Haman is the Persian minister who convinced the King to massacre the Jews.

Q.  What does Purim mean in Hebrew?

A. Purim means lots. Haman cast lots to determine which day would be auspicious for the massacre of the Jews. Adar 14 was the date selected.

Q. Where is the story of Purim recorded in the Bible?

A. The story of Purim is recorded in the Book of Esther, which is in the third section of the Judaic canon, named  Ketuvim, or Writings.

Q. When did the story of Purim take place?

A. The events described in the Book of Esther began around the years 483-482 BCE, and concluded in 473 BCE. Others say the dates of the story are from 369 BCE to 357 BCE.

Q. When is Purim Celebrated in 2019?

A. Purim begins after nightfall on March 20 and ends at nightfall on March 21. The Hebrew date on which Purim falls is the 14th of Adar.

Q. What is the story of Purim?

A.  Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people, in the year 356 BCE from Haman’s plot to kill all the Jews on a single day, the 13th of Adar. The Persian King, Ahasuerus, a.k.a. Xerxes 1, whose empire extended from India to Ethiopia, endorsed the plot of his chief adviser, Haman, and issued a decree mandating it. Unbeknownst to him or to the King, his Queen, Esther, was Jewish. 

Esther’s uncle, Mordechai, rallied the Jews to fast and pray. Esther engineered Haman’s downfall at a private wine party to which she invited the king and the minister. The King hung Haman and issued a second decree which empowered the Jews to defend themselves against those who sought to kill them. Mordechai became the King’s chief adviser.

On the 13th of Adar — the day selected by Haman using lots, Jews successfully fought those who attempted to kill them. The following day, Adar 14, turned into a day of feasting and rejoicing . In the capital, Shushan, where the battle went on for two days, the victory celebration was held on Adar 15.  

Q. What is Shushan Purim?

A.  In the capital city of Shushan, the fighting took two days to end. Therefore the victory celebrations were held on the 15th of Adar. When the Purim Holiday was established, the sages decided that while most Jews would celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar, those living in cities like Shushan (which is located in modern-day southwestern Iran) which were walled at the time of Joshua  would celebrate on the 15th of Adar. This day is known as Shushan Purim. The only city in Israel which scholars are certain was walled at the time of Joshua is Jerusalem. So Jerusalemites celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar, Shushan Purim.

Q. What is the Megillah?

A. Megillah means scroll in Hebrew. The Megillah is the scroll on which the Purim story is written in Hebrew.

Q. How is Purim celebrated? 

A. Jews go to hear the Megillah read on the evening of Purim and on Purim day. It is customary to give charity to the poor and to give gifts of food to family and friends. People, especially youngsters, dress in costumes and deliver these food packages. Then late afternoon, Jews gather with family and/or friends to eat a festive meal with wine and other beverages.

Q. What are Purim cookies called? 

A. Hamentashen- pronounced Huh-Min-Tah-Shun. which in Yiddish and German means Haman’s pockets. In Israel, they are called Ozney Haman. (See the picture above.)

Q. How are they associated with Purim?

A. Towards the end of the 18th century, a new cookie became popular in Europe: pockets of dough filled with poppy seeds, called MohnTaschen, German for “poppy pockets.” At the beginning of the 19th century Jews began using them as Purim treats, probably because Mohn sounds like Haman.  This pun was so popular that by the beginning of the 19th century, the cookies were called hamantaschen. The cookie is triangular and is filled with almost anything; the most common fillings are fruit, jam, poppy seeds and chocolate.

As the cookies became more popular, various explanations were given for their association with Purim. One is that  we eat hamentasch (the singular form) because “Haman tash” – Hebrew for “Haman was weakened,” which should remind us that Haman was beaten only because the Lord weakened him. Another explanation is that the shape of the cookie reminds us of the three corned hat worn by Haman. Others say the fillings may represent Esther’s meals while in the palace, or the sweetener- money- which Haman used to bribe the King to accede to his request for the massacre of the Jews. Others say that Hamentaschen, Haman’s pockets in Yiddish, may refer to the money he offered the King, from his “pocket,” for his acquiescence to the murder of the Jews. The three corners may also refer to the three Patriarchs- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob- in whose merit the Jews were saved or whose “power” weakened Haman and strengthened Esther in her quest to save the Jews.

In Palestine, the British name for the Land of Israel till 1948, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, who created Modern Hebrew, decided to call the cookies “ozen haman”, the ears of Haman in Hebrew. However, the original Ozney Haman, which were made in Europe, were ear-shaped fried cookies dipped in honey.  These may have reminded people of the custom of cutting off a criminal’s ears before his execution. These cookies, however, fell out of favor during the 19th century and are no longer made.

Today, in Israel, Hamentashen are referred to as Ozney Haman, and may be filled with just about anything from dates to chocolate to spinach,

Q. Can Purim fall on a Friday or Saturday?

A. The Jewish calendar is so made that Purim can fall on a Friday, but not on a Saturday.

Q. Can Jews go to work on Purim?

A. Yes. But nowadays most religious Jews don’t work on Purim. The sages said that people who work on Purim won’t see a blessing from their profits from that day. Purim is a joyous holiday and people should enjoy the day with family and friends.

Q. What is a Gragger?

A. On Purim, it is traditional to drown out the name ,”Haman'” when it is read from the Megillah on Purim.  A gragger is a wooden or metal noisemaker used to block out the word ‘”Haman.”  Graggers often consist of a handle fixed to a cogged wheel. When the Gragger is spun, the cogs on the wheel tap a thin piece of wood or metal fixed to the handle, creating a loud sound. However, anything can be used to drown out the name, including stamping the feet, whistles, car horns, etc.

Q. What is the proper Purim greeting?

A.  The appropriate English greeting is Happy Purim. In Yiddish, one would say,” A Freilichen Purim.” In Hebrew, one says Chag Sameach.

Q. Why is the observance of Purim especially important today?

A. Purim is all about an anti-Semite who wished to kill all the Jews. This theme is, unfortunately, resonating loudly with Jews today. Almost 75 years since the end of World War II and the worst massacre of Jews ever committed, Anti-Semitism is a metastizing cancer in virtually every country in the world, except Israel. Since Israel, the homeland of the Jews, is not only alive and well, but is becoming a world power, it has become fashionable to mask anti-semitism under the guise of objections to Israel. However, when the aim is not to challenge Israel’s policies, but the very existence of the State, then that is anti-semitism.

How can anti-Semitism be recognized? The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance includes the following: The targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

According to the The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Why is it important to know these signs? Because waiting until it was too late -as was done in the case of the Holocaust- and ignoring the warning signs can lead to catastrophe. Therefore, it is of extreme importance to know the signs of anti-Semitism and to draw attention to and call out those manifesting these signs. Anti-Semitic acts and words cannot be ignored, Excuses cannot be made for words uttered or actions performed. Let’s face it. When people are not happy and seek to blame others for their problems, whom do they blame- the Jews.

So let’s take a lesson from Queen Esther. While there’s still a chance to change matters, ACT.

And finally, remember Israel is there for all Jews, regardless of their religious observance and belief, or lack thereof. It is the homeland of the Jews and the only place in the world where Jews are always and truly welcome.

HAPPY PURIM!

Categories: Anti Semitism, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Judaism, Purim, religion | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Anti Israel Hate Fest Continues

The Gaza riots on May 14, 2018, brought new opportunities for the media, the EU and many others to bash Israel again, The headlines screamed about the deaths of “innocent” Palestinians protesting “peacefully” on Israel’s border. The fact that over 85% of those killed on that day were known members of terrorist organizations and that 40,000 “peaceful” protestors attempted to storm the border fence using Molotov cocktails, IEDs, flaming tires, firearms, and flaming kites, was missed by many.  But imagine what the U.S. would have done had over 1.5 million (number adjusted relative to population of US versus Israel) ISIS members tried to storm the US borders. For that matter, any and every country would be expected to defend its borders from those whose aim was to storm the border, kidnap citizens and kill as many Israeli citizens as they could. And yes, those were Hamas’ stated aims. So describing the protestors as peaceful was not truthful at best.

But the media do not care about the truth, nor do they care about Palestinians. When, in April, Syrian forces shelled the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus in their attempt to root out ISIS, dozens of Palestinian refugees and local Syrian civilians were killed. However, there were no howls of pain from the media, or the UN and its councils and commissions about this. It seems that the only time the world cares about the deaths of Palestinians is when they happen at the hands of Israelis.

So, of course, the United Nations was up in arms about the deaths in Gaza. On May 14, the Security Council attempted to pass a resolution mandating an independent probe of the deaths on the Gaza border. “The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest,” read a draft of the statement “The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability,” read the text. The United States vetoed the resolution.

Not to be deterred, on May 21st, the United Nations Human Rights Council, which includes such stalwart defenders of human rights as China, Iraq, Venezuela and Qatar, voted to send an “independent” international commission of inquiry to investigate the violence at the Gaza border.

Holding Israel to a different standard than any other country in the world is just a convenient way to blame it for even the smallest perceived misdeed. Let’s face reality. Being anti Israel is the politically correct way of being antisemitic. It’s not PC to say you hate Jews, but to say you hate Israel is totally acceptable, especially if you even mask that somewhat by saying you are pro Palestinian and an advocate for Palestinian rights.

Unfortunately, antisemitism seems to be an incurable disease. It sometimes seems to go into remission, but always reemerges sooner or later. Perhaps, as suggested by Melanie Phillips (Observations, Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2018), constant repetition of the fact that the West Bank is Jewish land occupied by Arabs, that Arabs are the true colonizers, that Jews are the only extant indigenous people of the land and that the Balfour Declaration, which was approved by the international community, gave the Jews the right to settle the entire land from the river to the sea. These measures will not cure antisemitism, but they may make the Palestinian narrative seem a bit more unlikely and make it a little harder to hide behind the pro Palestinian mask. Further, Israel should remind the world that it is the Palestinians who favor “ethnic cleansing” as they have repeatedly stated that when they get their country it will be Judenrein, free of Jews.

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Categories: Anti Semitism, Gaza, Gaza War, Hamas, Israel, Israel T Shirts and Gifts, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Terrorism, UNHRC, United Nations | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Four Reasons Why Tisha B’Av Is Relevant Today

Temple Burning Tisha B’av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, is a fast day commemorating  the destruction of both the First and Second Temples located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of Jews from their country. This year it begins at sundown July 31 and ends at nightfall on August 1st. 

A number of other calamities also befell the Jewish people on that day including: the crushing of Bar Kochba’s revolt against Roman rule and the death of 580,00 Jews in Israel as a result of it; the official start of the First Crusade which killed 10,000 Jews in France and Germany during the first month alone; the expulsion of the Jews from England, France and Spain; the beginning of the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto; and Himmler’s receipt of approval from the Nazi party for the “Final Solution,” which resulted in the death of six million Jews.

While  these seasons are more than sufficient to warrant a day of fasting, many Jews  wonder if the fast is still relevant today since the main reasons for the fast – the destruction of the two Temples and the city of Jerusalem and the expulsion of its citizens- is not as relevant today.  Jerusalem has been rebuilt and united and Jews have returned to Jerusalem and to Israel. However, as we will see, Tisha B’Av is extremely relevant to us today.

  1. The Temple- Although the Temple has not been rebuilt, Israel is in possession of the site on which the first two Temples were erected- the Temple Mount. However, as evidenced by recent events, the Temple Mount is far from being”in our hands.” The unfortunate decision to leave the Waqf, an Islamic trust controlled by Jordan, in administrative charge of the Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, has resulted in the belief by Palestinians and most other Muslims that the Temple Mount belongs to them. Furthermore, despite historical and archeological evidence to the contrary, Muslims have proclaimed that Jews have no connection to the site and to East Jerusalem. This July, the World Heritage committee of UNESCO passed a resolution disavowing Israeli sovereignty of the Old City Of Jerusalem, which includes the Western wall and the Temple Mount. How Christian countries which believe in the Bible and New Testament can agree to such nullification of their own history is beyond belief. The decision by Israel to remove all security devices from the gates leading to the Mount has reinforced the Arab belief in their sovereignty over the site. Clearly, the Temple Mount is not “in our hands.”
  2. Anti Semitism- Anti Zionism is the new Anti Semitism. Anti Semitism is alive and well and is ever increasing its hold on the populations of the world. In Arab countries, it’s in their mother milk. Although some Arab leaders may secretly want to cooperate with Israel, the incitement and hatred promulgated through the years has created an Arab population whose pores ooze anti semitism. The European populace, bolstered by the large influx of muslim refugees, is not Jew friendly. America is seeing a rise in anti semitism that is likely to continue.
  3. The Diaspora- Only half the World’s Jews live in Israel. That means that the other half live in the Diaspora. While life in the Diaspora can be good, Israel is intended to be the homeland of the Jews. For two thousand years Jews prayed for their return to Jerusalem. Now that this is possible, Jews should put their money where their mouth is and come to live in Israel.
  4. Lack of Respect- The Rabbis say that one of the main reasons the second Temple was destroyed was because of the lack of respect Jews paid to each other. Today, this lack of respect has become endemic. Different Jewish sectors totally disparage each other- religious and secular, Haredim and other Jews, Orthodox and Conservative and Reform, and factions within these groups. If we don’t respect each other, how can we expect others to respect us? Only when there is a national crisis, do most groups pull together and briefly behave as one people.

So what can we do to try to better the situation and turn Tisha B’Av from a day of fasting into a day of rejoicing? To begin with, we need to vociferously denounce all attempts at denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. We must make it clear to everyone that Israel is the Jewish state both historically and legally and all attempts to deny this are false. In addition, Jews must visit Jerusalem and the Western Wall in large numbers to make it clear to all that Jerusalem and Israel belongs to the Jews.

The solution to Diaspora Jewry is clear. They should come to Israel now, of their own volition, before they are forced to leave. Those who are afraid of religious coercion need not worry. Israel is a democracy and all forms of Jewish worship are welcome. There is an egalitarian section of the Wall and it will be expanded and made even more aesthetically pleasing. Those looking to find meaning in their lives can reconnect with Judaism in a Jewish country in which one need not strive to hide one’s Jewishness to be accepted. Institutions of Jewish learning abound and are very welcoming.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for anti semitism. It will continue to gain new adherents. As the world becomes an ever more dangerous place, the Jews as scapegoat, aka Israel, will continue to grow in popularity, as expressions of sympathy with Israel will be forbidden. The recent lesbian marches are prime examples. However, all efforts should be made to counter this anti semitism in every way possible.

Finally, Jews need to begin treating each other with greater respect. There is no reason for name calling, or shaming Jews with whom one disagrees. One need not agree with a fellow Jew, but should not make the disagreement a basis for the denigration of the other. Multiple viewpoints can and should exist and the merits of each debated respectfully. We must remember that all Jews are family and we must try to act accordingly.

May everyone’s fast be easy and meaningful. May our next Tisha B’Av will be one of rejoicing, not mourning.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Politics, Temple Mount, Tisha B"av, UNESCO, Western Wall Kotel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Jerusalem Day Is Important For Jews

                  

Last night and today Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day, or Yom Yerushalayim, as its called in Hebrew. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this momentous day.

Just why are they celebrating and why should Jews everywhere celebrate the day? This day marks the high point of the Six Day War, in 1967, when Israeli soldiers liberated eastern Jerusalem and the Old City and were finally able to see, touch and pray at the Western Wall, the Kotel.

Why is this important? Tuesday of this week Trump paid respects to the holiest site in Jerusalem by praying there. Prior to this, during the illegal Jordanian occupation  of the eastern half of Jerusalem (from 1948-1967). Jews were expelled from the area and were barred from praying at the Wall. Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs were also off limits. Jerusalem was a divided city, divided in half by a concrete wall topped by barbed wire. Jordanian snippers regularly fired into Western Jerusalem. As a result of the Six Day War, Israel regained control of all of Jerusalem. It reunified the city and extended Israeli law to all its parts. It also guaranteed freedom of worship and protection of the holy sites of all religions.

Is this the only reason the Six Day war is important? Not all all. As a result of the war, Israel more than tripled the size of the area under its jurisdiction, from 8,000 to 26,000 square miles, about the size of New Jersey. Israel captured the SInai (which it later returned to Egypt), the Golan Heights (from Syria), the Gaza Strip (which was controlled by Egypt) and from which Israel withdrew its forces and expelled its citizens in 2005, and the West Bank.

It was a momentous miraculous victory. Three armies- Egypt, Jordan and Syria were massed to attack Israel. Frenzied mobs called for its destruction. The United Nations peacekeeping force assigned to Sinai to keep peace between Egypt and Israel was forced to leave by the Egyptians. Israel stood alone against three armies. A victory by those forces would have, Heaven forbid, resulted in the elimination of the Jewish State. This was one war Israel had to win. And win it did, but the victory came at a high cost. Israel lost twice as many men in proportion to its population as the United States lost in its eight year war in Vietnam.

And what if Israel had won, but had not captured any territory. Well, the Golan Heights would have remained under Syrian control. That means that Israel would have been infested with Hezbollah and ISIS fighters. Jerusalem would have remained a divided city, with the Old City of Jerusalem remaining under Jordanian control. Jews would have been barred from the Wall and from living in East Jerusalem. Israel would, in fact, have been hard pressed to remain stable and safe. Without ’67, Israel’s enemies would be demanding their rights to Tel Avi, Haifa and of course the western part of Jerusalem. The ’67 war turned Israel into a viable nation.

Why is a united Jerusalem important to all Jews? Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel, the land of the Jews. It was Israel’s capital thousands of years ago and has never been the capital of any other country. It is the heart and soul of Israel. Jerusalem cannot be divided. Asking Israel to do so, is not only against Israel’s interests, but also against the world’s interests. Israel safeguards all holy places and allows freedom of access to all. In contrast, the Jordanians who control the Temple Mount refuse to let Jews even mumble a prayer on the Mount, but they let their children play sports on the plaza. So much for its holiness. Control of the holy places by the Palestinians, or even international forces which can be expelled by the host country, will not ensure freedom of access to all. Rachel’s Tomb, which is in Bethlehem, is now covered by concrete and barred wire to ensure the safety of its visitors. The Tomb of Joseph in Nablus is not safe for Jews to visit. The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron requires an armed Israeli presence to protect worshippers. In short, only Israel guarantees the safety of Holy Places under its rule. Furthermore, it would not take long for Hamas to take control of any area ceded to the Palestinians  by Israel. Those would be dangerous times for Israel and its neighbors.

But there’s more. In order for Israel to remain viable, it needs to have defensible borders. It’s neighbors have waged war against it and while Israel has signed peace treaties with some, others are waiting to pounce on it. And Israel must remain strong, very strong. Israel is the last place of refuge for Jews. As anti semitism and terror raise their ugly heads in all parts of the world, Jews now have place of refuge, a place where they can live openly and freely as Jews and where all can pray at the holiest of all synagogues. Those are real reasons to celebrate.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Hamas, Israel, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Day, Middle East, Politics, Pro Israel Post, religious freedom, Terrorism, Yom Yerushalayim | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Many Hamans- Anti Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head

Hamans

Shalom Y’All:

As you all know by now, since the election of President Trump, the number of anti semitic incidents in the United States has risen dramatically. In the ten days following the election, for example, there were more  anti semitic incidents. Since then headstones at Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Rochester have been overturned; more than 100 Jewish institutions, mainly  JCCs, in at least 26 states and one Canadian province have received bomb threats; synagogues and Jewish schools have been vandalized; swastikas drawn in New York City subway cars; and Jewish families harassed by neo-Nazis. Anti Semitic incidents on college campuses are also on the increase.

In New York City, the NYPD, reported that anti-semitic incidents were up 94 percent over this time last year. 35 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in January and February of this year.

President Trump finally spoke out against anti semitism, but that does not seem to have made any difference.Despite the arrest of an alleged perpetrator of eight of the JCC calls, most likely a copycat caller, yesterday at least ten Jewish Community Centers and four Anti Defamation offices received threats.

But the increase in anti semitic incidents cannot be blamed on Trump followers alone. In both 2014 and 2015 there were more far more hate crimes in the U.S. targeting Jews than any other religious group. An ADL study in 2015 found that about 9% of the U.S. population harbors anti semitic views. There was a 45% increase in campus anti semitism during the first half of 2016.

 There were more anti semitic incidents in the UK last year than any year since 1984, when they first started keeping records, a whopping 1309 anti semitic incidents (an average of over three incidents daily).

While France’s 450,000 Jews are less than one per cent of the country’s population, over 50% of racist attacks in the country are against Jews.

However, a recent survey by the Pew Research Center designed to gauge Americans’ feelings toward various religions showed that Jews elicit the “warmest” feelings of any religious group. The finding held true across all groups — Catholics,  Protestants, atheists and members of all age groups, although among millennials, Buddhists were regarded more warmly than Jews. Too few Muslims were interviewed to accurately determine their feelings towards Jews. 

Acts of kindness and concern followed many of the anti semitic attacks. Muslims raised money to restore a vandalized cemetery and the Senate sent a unanimous letter to the White House urging it to boost security measures at Jewish institutions and assure that hate crimes  were investigated and punished.

So what’s going on here? Here are a few possible explanations.

2014 was the year the Gaza war took place and anti Israel rallies often contained heavy anti semitic overtones. In Seattle, posters depicted a Jew eating a gentile child accompanied by a cup of blood to wash it down.

The election of Donald Trump who was supported by the alt right has apparently given some people the mistaken impression that, after years of political correctness, it’s now OK to publicly display racism and anti semitism.

The far left also suffers from anti semitism, as has been demonstrated at various college campuses throughout the country and its support of the BDS movement.

So are these recent incidents the work of a crazy biased individual or group of individuals, or are they symptomatic of a larger problem?

The constant barrage of anti Israel propaganda coming from both the media and the United Nations has contributed to creating the mistaken feeling that Israel is a bully that harms poor, innocent Palestinians who just want freedom and their own state. (This Palestinian propaganda could not be further from the truth). Some of this has been generalized to include Jews everywhere, who are all seen as supporters of Israel, though this is, alas, not the case.

Trump’s support for Israel may have angered a few anti semitic individuals who have decided to act against Jewish institutions.

But whatever the cause, Jews should not fear. The vast majority of American citizens like Jews and Jews are not in imminent danger. Because there is no state sanctioned Anti Semitism does not mean that Anti Semitism in America is not a reality.  Those who truly want to live a fully Jewish life without the need to hide their identity or Jewish practices, should move to Israel. Those who choose to remain here and in other countries of the world should remain vigilant, but secure in the knowledge that, should the situation worsen, Israel is waiting for them.

Purim is almost here- Sundown March 11-Sunset March 12. As we will read in the Megillah, Purim is the story of an anti semite who tried to destroy all the Jews in the Persian kingdom. His plan was foiled by Queen Esther and he and his followers were ultimately killed. The Jews united then and the Jews should unite now, and make sure to be there for each other and to help one another.

Let us pray that, as we were saved then, the Jewish people should continue to be saved, our enemies should be defeated, and the State of Israel should continue to prosper.

To see the JewTee collection of Purim shirts and gifts, click JewTee Purim Shirts and Gifts.

Happy Purim!

Categories: Anti Semitism, Jewish, Jewish Holidays, Purim, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Tisha B’Av Blues: Anti Israel Attitudes and Anti Semitism Are Growing

jerusalem-342813_960_720

Shalom Y”All:

As some of you may know, this Saturday night and Sunday religious Jews will be engaged in a 25 hour fast commemorating the many tragic events which occurred on Tisha B’av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. These include: the destruction of both Temples on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – the First by the Babylonians, the Second by the Romans- and a number of other calamities including: the exile of over one million Jews to the Roman Empire and the loss of Jewish statehood and independence; the crushing of the Betar Revolt to restore independence to Israel and the death of over 100,000 Jews; the beginning of the First Crusade which resulted in the death of over 10,000 Jews in the first month alone; the Spanish Inquisition, the bombing of the Jewish Center in Argentina which killed 86 people and many others.

On the evening of Tisha B’Av we recite the Eichah- the Book Of Lamentations written by the Prophet Jeremiah which describes the suffering of the Jewish people at the time of the destruction of the Temple. During the day -up until about midday- we recite other lamentations concerning the many evils inflicted on the Jews and the suffering which the Jews underwent during their long exile.

In case you think that it’s fine to recount our history of suffering, but in fact, it’s different today since Jews are once again in control of the Holy Land and not in danger,think again. There are many powerful forces arrayed against us trying to separate Jews from their land and cause harm to Jews everywhere.

The ADL estimates that over one billion people in the world harbor anti semitic attitudes. Of that number, 19% are in the Americas, 24% Western Europe, 34% Eastern Europe, 22% in Asia, 23% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 14% in Australia and New Zealand, and 74% in the Middle East and North Africa. 9% of Americans and 14% of Canadians share these hateful attitudes.

The number of violent anti-Semitic assaults taking place in the United States rose dramatically last year. According to ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents,  there were 56 assaults last year, compared to 36 the year before. 941 incidents were reported in the U.S. in 2015, a 3 percent increase from the 912 incidents recorded in 2014. The number of anti semitic incidents on college campuses nearly doubled from the year before- 90 incidents on 60 college campuses, compared to 47 incidents on 43 campuses the year earlier. This means that on average there is one anti-Semitic assault in the United States every week, and at least two anti-Jewish incidents on average every single day. These numbers, of course, do not include all the anti semitic and online harassment on social media.

While there are more than 200 territorial disputes in the world, Europe does not label products as made in Chinese-occupied Tibet or Turkish-occupied Cyprus. The European Union only labels goods made in the West Bank and Golan Heights. 40% of European Jewish leaders view Anti Semitism as the most dangerous threat facing their communities. The large number of Muslim immigrants streaming into Europe who have Anti Semitic views has led to open hatred of Jews in countries with small communities of Jews such as Holland and Sweden. 63% of Poles believe in a Jewish conspiracy to run the world. French Jews are emigrating to Israel in record numbers. Hamas and Hezbollah are constant threats. And finally, Palestinians who kill Jews are honored by the Palestinian authority.

And then there is Iran, whose leaders vow to eradicate Israel. And as for Palestinians, who are our supposed peace partners, in a 2015 poll conducted by David Pollock, 72% of Palestinians stated that they believe that Jews do not have historical ties to Jerusalem and  83% of Palestinians believe that the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is Palestinian land to which Jews have no right. Only 12% agreed that both Jews and Palestinians have rights to the land.

These views are not surprising coming from Palestinians who have been suckled on the milk of Anti Semitism since birth. But for UNESCO’s Executive Board to adopt in April in Paris a resolution ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall area of  Jerusalem is quite another thing. When Jesus in the New Testament rails against the abuses in the selling of animals for sacrifices in the Temple, is that a mistake? Did he mean Mosque? And was Jesus a Moslem? Of course, since Mohammed would not be born for another 600 years, and Jesus brought Christianity, not Islam, to the world, this is ludicrous. This historical revisionism also raised its ugly head in the attempted rewriting of history by UNESCO in its declaration in October of 2015 that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb are Muslim holy sites. Was Jacob a Muslim? Was Rachel, his wife, a believer in Islam? Where was Mohammed? UNESCO will vote on the Temple Mount ownership issue in October.

So, in summary, Jewish persecution and suffering are very much with us today. And when we chant the lamentations, let’s remember that Anti Semitism and the desire to eliminate Israel are not behind us, but very much in front of us. And let’s do all we can to expose it and not pretend it doesn’t pertain to us, or that it’s just a passing phase. It concerns all Jews everywhere.  The fight to protect Jews and the State of Israel is ongoing. This is one battle that must be won.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Categories: Anti Semitism, Islamic Terrorism, Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, UNESCO | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

So Many Hamans Only One Purim

Shalom Y’all:

Purim is less than two weeks away. It begins after sunset on March 23 and ends after nightfall on March 24. In Jerusalem, it begins after sunset on March 24 and ends nightfall of March 25.

Still don’t have a Purim costume? Here are some t shirts, bibs and onesies to solve the problem.

Purim Queen Esther T

A real beauty.

 

My First Purim Long Sleeve Onesie

It’s Purim. Let’s Party.

 

#QueenEsther T Shirt

A Beautiful Woman Is a Joy To Behold.

 

Only One Purim T Shirt

So Many Hamans!

This year, Israel and the Jews are faced with many Hamans- those overtly Anti-Israel and Anti- Semitic, those who soft pedal their Anti-Semitism, and self hating Jews who aid these two groups.

Those calling for the destruction of Israel and Jews include: Iran’s leaders, Ali Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani; Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh of Gaza and Khaled Meshal of Qatar; Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah and ISIS. Of course, the members of the groups they lead are firm adherents to this Judeo hatred.

In the second category are those who preach a softer form of anti Israel and anti Jew hatred. These include, but are certainly not limited to: Mahmoud Abbas, who incites his followers to murder Jews and not only refuses to condemn the murder of Jews, but bestows honor on those who do so. Furthermore, his vision of a Palestinian state is one which is Judenrein- free of Jews.  Members of the United Nations who hold frequent hearings on Israel’s “human rights violations,” but refuse to condemn Palestinian violence and the thousands of United Nations workers who teach hatred of and incitement against Jews in the Palestinian refugee camps and schools are also part of this group, as are NGOs whose reason d’être is the dissolution of the Jewish State.  Members and supporters of the BDS movement whose real aim is to rid the world of the State of Israel are also included here.

In the third category are such groups as J Street, Break the Silence, Rabbis for Human Rights, etc. These groups seek to besmirch Israel in all ways possible and champion the Palestinian cause. They either don’t understand, or care, that the Palestinians do not trust or like them as Palestinians have pride in their heritage, while these Jews obviously don’t like theirs. These groups too would, despite their rhetoric to the contrary, like for Israel to disappear as a Jewish state.

Furthermore, some Arabs who are Israeli citizens and many who are permanent residents of Israel do not support the country in which they live.

In short, the world is currently a very dangerous place for Israelis and Jews everywhere. Many Jews, especially from France and Russia are emigrating to Israel and the numbers will only continue to rise.

So what can Israel do to improve the situation? Further relinquishment of its land and the establishment of a Palestinian state would only lead to additional territory controlled by Hamas and extreme danger for the existence of the State of Israel and neighboring Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan.

Israel should revoke the tax exempt status of the many foreign funded NGOs who work against Israel’s interests and prevent these groups from being in Israel.

Israel should, and is, blocking the transmission of incitement over its air waves.

Israel can and should try to improve the lives of the loyal Arabs who live within its borders. Those Arabs who serve in either the military or perform National Service should be rewarded and all attempts should be made to integrate them fully into Israeli society.  For example, recently a group of Christian Arabs who served in the military were awarded scholarships by the International Conference of Christians and Jews in conjunction with the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum.

The towns of the Druze, Muslim Arabs who are required to serve in the Israeli army and serve with distinction, should be upgraded and all attempts should be made to fully integrate the Druze into Israeli society. The needs of the Bedouins should be addressed and attempts made to carve out a livelihood for them which is in concert with their heritage.

I believe that all Israeli citizens should be required to perform National Service. This, of course, will be very unpopular with many Arabs and Haredi groups. However, the program can be tailored to allow participants to work within their cities and society engaging in needed services which will help their communities. Performing national service will give all groups a feeling of being part of the State in which they reside. Those not wishing to serve should be asked to leave the country.

Everyone living in Israel should be required to sign a loyalty oath. Those unwilling to sign should be asked to leave Israel. It’s unfortunate that this should be a requirement for all Israel’s residents and citizens, but the presence of a fifth column in Israel is a fact of life.

Finally, Israel should do more to encourage Jewish emigration from all parts of the globe and make it easier for immigrants to integrate into Israeli society. Artificial barriers, such as excessive paperwork and failure to accept foreign credentials, should be removed and additional housing should be built throughout the country to allow both Israelis and immigrants to live within their means.

I also hope that the good Lord will see fit to quickly eliminate the threats that face us now and allow Jews everywhere to live lives of peace and tranquility.

HAPPY PURIM!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Anti Semitism, Israel, Jewish, Jewish Holidays, Middle East, Purim, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 and the Jews

Shalom Y’All:

Hope all our Jewish readers had a most enjoyable Chanukah. To all our Christians readers, Happy Holidays and best wishes for the new year.

Chanukah in Israel is a joyous affair with nightly candle lightings on a large menorah at the Kotel, Western Wall, and many activities for children throughout Israel. Parents often take vacation from work to spend time with their kids, as schools are closed most of Chanukah. Of course, everyone eats suganiot, or filled donuts, which come with many different toppings and fillings. Menorahs adorn many light posts in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel. Here are two photos of Chanukah in Israel.

Good To The Last Bite.

How Sweet it is!

Chanukah Menorahs in Jerusalem

Chanukah Menorahs to light the way.

In Israel, the Christian Holidays are mainly celebrated in the Christian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, Bethlehem (under Palestinian control), Nazareth and in Christian villages and towns.

As 2014 draws to a close, it seems fitting to think about the effect the year that just passed had on Jews.

In May the ADL released a report which said that a quarter of the world’s population held anti semitic beliefs.

As 2014 continued, three Israeli boys were kidnapped and murdered, an Arab boy was murdered in revenge and the Gaza War erupted. Anti Semitic words and images proliferated and were thought to be acceptable in support of Gaza and Hamas in the pro Gaza Anti Israel protests across America and the world.

2014 also saw an increase in anti semitic acts against Jewish college students in the United States, and against Jewish citizens in a number of European countries. ISIS became stronger and some horrific acts of terror took place in Europe and the Middle East, including the  attack and murder of men praying in a synagogue in Jerusalem. Russia invaded the Ukraine and annexed Crimea, the Palestinian Israeli peace talks fell apart and the Palestinians tried, but failed, to get the United Nations Security Council to declare Palestine a state with pre 1967 borders. This failure was due mostly to efforts by the United States to defeat the proposal.

As a result of the troubles and fears Jews faced around the world, the number of those making Aliyah (immigrating) to Israel rose 32% from last year. Immigrants from France were the largest group and the number of immigrants from the Ukraine increased by 190%. Immigration from North America was up slightly.

In summary, anti semitism is rearing its ugly head around the world, causing many Jews to consider moving to Israel. Hatred against the Jewish state is increasing and the Palestinians are increasingly looking to world bodies to help them achieve a Palestinian state and to penalize Israel. For Israel to return to the pre 67 borders is suicidal, as is allowing all those who say they are descendants of those who left Israel in 1947-48 to return. Israel will hold new elections in March and the future direction of the country may well be determined then.

As Jews all we can do is hope and pray that 2015 will be a better year for our people, yet be aware of all the dangers that face us. Support for Israel by Americans and by the US government is critical and anything we can do to help shore up that support is vital.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Israel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Israel UN Ambassador Prosor’s Speech to the United Nations

Shalom:

I recently came across an excellent speech by Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations given to the General Assembly on November 24, 2014. I urge you to read it in its entirety. Here’s the Link:

I really have nothing to add.

Categories: Anti Semitism, Israel, United Nations | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti- Semitism on College Campuses

Shalom Y’All:

Hope you all enjoyed the Holidays.

I hate to start off the year on a bad note, but I was recently sent a very disturbing video. Here’s the link: Anti Semitism on College Campuses.

It’s a truly disturbing video. Here are some recent news stories about this topic: Rise In Anti Semitic Events At Colleges;  Groups Urge Colleges To Protect Jewish Students;  Swastikas Found At Emory University.

Unfortunately, there are many more such articles.

As noted previously, anti Israel sentiment has morphed into Anti Semitism.

What a sad day for the American ideals of tolerance and acceptance.

Categories: Anti Semitism | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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