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Hanukkah Gift Ideas for Babies

Happy Hanukkah Symbols

Looking for a Hanukkah gift for a baby? Sure, you could buy a toy, but you probably don’t know which toys the baby already has. Do you want to buy a truly unique Hanukkah gift for the baby? Then check out the Hanukkah gift ideas for babies described below.

Babies wear onesies. And as parents will tell you, the more onesies the better, since babies often go through many changes of clothing a day.  These My First Hanukkah onesies are made of 100% combed ring spun cotton jersey for your baby’s comfort. The three snap closure on the bottom makes it easy to change the baby’s diaper.

My First Hanukkah Onesie

Available in four colors and priced at under $18, these Chanukah onesies are great Hanukkah gifts for babies. For more info, click here.

Would you rather buy a long sleeved onesie for the baby? These long sleeved My First Hanukkah onesies are made of super soft 100% combed ring spun cotton to keep baby comfortable. It also has a snap closure for easy diaper changing.

My First Hanukkah Onesie

Available in four colors and priced at under $20, this Hanukkah onesie featuring a dancing dreidel is a winner.  For further info, click here.

Not sure of  the baby’s size? Then buy a Hanukkah baby bib. These Mommy’s Little Latke  baby bibs are made of 100% combed ring spun cotton jersey and are double layered and super soft. When it get dirty, it’s easy to clean. Just throw into the washer and dryer.

Mommy's Little Latke Hanukkah Bib

 

 

Available in four colors, and priced under $15, these Chanukah bibs will make baby’s parents happy. For more bib info, click here.

 

 

Need a Hanukkah gift for a newborn baby? These My First Chanukah baby gowns are made of soft 100% ring spun cotton and feature mitten sleeves to keep the baby warm and save by preventing the baby from scratching him/herself. The opening at the bottom allows for easy diaper changes.My FIrst Chanukah Baby Gown

Priced at under $20 and available in four colors, this is a unique Hanukkah gift for newborns. For further info about this gown, click here.

 

 

Would you like instead to buy a long sleeved t shirt for the baby as a Hanukkah present? These cute Little Latke Lover long sleeved baby t shirts are made of super soft 100% ring spun cotton and are tagless so the baby will be more comfortable.

Little Latke Lover long sdleeve Hanukkah t shirtPriced at under $20 and available in four colors, these are Hanukkah gifts parents of the baby will be glad to receive. To find out more about this t shirt, click here.

Here’s a unique Hanukkah gift idea for the baby’s parents- a Hanukkah baby burp cloth. Made of 100% softened polyester fleece and machine washable, this colorful 12″ by 16″ Hanukkah burp cloth will help keep baby’s Mom and Dad clean during baby feedings.

Happy Chanukah burp clothPriced at under $20, these Happy Hanukkah burp cloths are a Chanukah gift parents of Jewish babies will appreciate. To learn more about these burp cloths, click here.

Babies get cold. Especially in the winter, they should be wearing a hat. These beanie style I Love You A Latke Hanukkah baby hats are cute and useful. Made of super soft 100% ring spun cotton, these hats are available in four colors.

I Love You a Latke Hanukkah baby hatPriced at under $15, these hats are great Hanukkah gifts for babies. For further info, click here.

The Hanukkah designs pictured on a particular product, are often available on other products as well, such as onesies, t shirts and hats. To see Jewtee’s entire collection of baby gifts for Hanukkah, click here.

Remember that all products from JewTee.com are backed by a 30 day money back guarantee. So shop with confidence.

 

 

Categories: Chanukah, Chanukah Hanukkah T Shirts and Gifts, Chanukah Onesies, Hanukkah, Hanukkah Gift Ideas, Hanukkah onesies, Jewish, Jewish Baby and Kids T Shirts and Gifts, Jewish Holidays, My FIrst Chanukah Gifts, My First Chanukah Onesies, My First Hanukkah Gifts, My First Hanukkah Onesies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanukkah Gift Ideas for Bubbie and Zeyde: Grandma and Grandpa

Happy Hanukkah Symbols

Hanukkah, Chanukah, is almost here. This year it begins on the night of December 2 and ends at nightfall on December 10. That’s only about two and a half weeks away. So  now’s the time to order so that the gifts will arrive before Hanukkah. Not sure what to buy? This post will detail a few Chanukah Holiday suggestions for Bubbie and Zeyde. Following posts will feature Hanukkah gifts for kids and for the entire family, including the dog.

For Bubbie, your beloved Jewish grandmother:

Does Bubbi like to shlep lots of things with her? Buy her these 10oz natural canvas tote bags. She can use it for groceries, for her knitting, or for anything she wishes. If it gets dirty, it’s no problem. Just put it in the washer and dryer. Priced under $20, it’s both a useful and original gift. For more info, click here.

professional_bubbie_yiddish_tote_bag

Does Bubby like to drink tea or coffee? Does she have a sense of humor? Why not buy her a funny new mug like this one?

bubbie_rocks_yiddish_large_mug-2This large ceramic mug holds 15oz of Bubbie’s favorite liquid. Choose either a white or black handle for this dishwasher and microwave safe mug. To learn more about the mug, click here.

Does Bubi love Mah Jong? Want to get her something to keep her warm? This Mah Jong Mama zip hoodie is just the thing.mah_jong_mama_zip_hoodieAvailable in grey or pink, made of 80/20 cotton/polyester fleece, this hoodie can be washed and dried in the machine for easy care. Click here for more info.

 

For Zeyde, your beloved Jewish Grandfather:

call_me_zeyde_jewish_sweatshirt_dark

Winters are long and cold. Keep Zeyde warm with these Call Me Zeyde 90% cotton, 10% polyester sweatshirts. With their ribbed cuffs, these sweatshirts will keep Zeyde warm and comfortable. They’re also easy to keep clean. Just put them in the washer and dryer.

Priced under $35, and available in black, blue, white or gray, these sweatshirts are a great Hanukkah gift. For more info, click here.

Bubbie is not the only one who rocks. So does Zeyde. This funny short sleeve t shirt is available in five colors and can be machine washed and dried. For further details, click here.

funny_yiddish_zeyde_rocks_tshirt

Of course you love spending time with Zeyde, Grandpa. It’s so much fun. Even though Gramps is retired, he always has time for you. Show him how much you love spending time and being with him, by buying him a special 100% cotton baseball cap:

professional_grandpa_baseball_cap

Priced at under $20, this is great Hanukkah gift. For more info, click here.

 

 

 

 

Note: Although these deigns are pictured in certain colors and styles and on certain products, they can be found in many other colors and styles and on many other products as well. In addition, JewTee.com has many other gifts for Bubbi and Zeyde. To see the entire collection of Bubbie and Zeyde merchandise,  click here.

Remember, all JewTee products are backed by a 30 day money back guarantee. So shop with confidence.

 

Categories: Chanukah Hanukkah T Shirts and Gifts, Funny Chanukah T Shirts, Funny Hanukkah T Shirts, Grandma and Grandpa T Shirts and Gifts, Hanukkah, Hoodies and Gifts, Jewish, Jewish Grandpa Gifts, Jewish Grandpa Shirts, Jewish Holidays, Mah Jong T Shirts and Gifts, Sweatshirts, T-Shirts and Gifts For Bubbie and Zeyde | 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.

To proclaim Israel’s right to exist and Jerusalem as its capital city, JewTee has created a number of Pro Israel designs which appear on shirts, pajamas, mugs, tote bags, aprons  buttons, and gift items. Here are some of the most popular:

America Israel Friendship button

America Israel Friendship Button

 

Jerusalem Israel's Capital American Apparel Fitted T Shirt

Jerusalem has never been the Capitol of any other entity besides Israel.

Hamas Exists To Kill, Israel Kills To Exist, Baseball Cap

Hamas kills because it wants to. Israel kills because it has to.

 

Israel Is Forever Women's T Shirt

Israel Is Here To Stay.

I Stand With Israel Large Ceramic Mug

Drink to show your support for Israel.

To see our entire collection of Pro Israel Shirts and gifts, click here.

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

Israel Mourns and Celebrates

Shalom Y’all:

These past few weeks were momentous ones for the State of Israel. On April 12, Israel celebrated Yom HaShoah, which commemorates the death of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem Israel Hall Of Names

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Hall of Names

 

On April 18, Yom Hazikaron, Israel Memorial Day, Israelis remembered Israeli soldiers missing in action, those who lost their lives fighting for freedom for the State of Israel, and terrorist victims, felled by forces who wish to see the end of the Jewish State.

Garden of The Missing In Action, Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel

President Rivlin pays his respects at the Garden of The Missing In Action, Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel

 

This was immediately followed, on April 19, by the joyous celebrations of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 70th Independence Day. 

Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day, Flag Dance

Flag Dance performed by Bet Shemesh students in honor of Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day

Israel Independence Day Flags

Israel flags and sign commemorating Israel Independence Day.

 

Lag B’omer with its festive bonfires was on May 3.   

Lag B'Omer Bonfire, Jerusalem, Israel

Lag B’Omer Bonfire

 

On May 12, Israel won the Eurovision Song contest. See the winning song, Toy,  by Netta Barzilai below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CziHrYYSyPc

 

On May 13 Israelis rejoiced on Yom Yerushalayim, which celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem and the ability of Jews to visit the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. 

Hassid praying at the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

Hassid praying at the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

 

On May 14, the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, followed two days later by Guatemala and on May 21 by Paraguay. Unfortunately, on the day of the United States Embassy move, 50,000 Palestinians engaged in very violent riots, including attempts to breach the security wall separating Gaza from Israel, throwing Molotov cocktails, sending flaming kites towards Israel, etc. These acts, which endangered the lives of Israeli citizens, resulted in the unfortunate death of 62 Palestinians, at least 53 of whom were members of terrorist organizations. Let’s hope Hamas will end the violence so peace can be restored.

US Embassy, Jerusalem, Israel

US Embassy, Jerusalem, Israel

 

After nightfall on May 19 and on May 20, Israel celebrated the Jewish Holiday of Shavuot, Pentecost, on which Jews celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It’s customary to learn Torah throughout the night. In Jerusalem, tens of thousands finish their nightime of study by walking to the Kotel, Western Wall, before dawn, to pray the morning prayer at sunrise. This practice began in 1967, when the army regained control of the Kotel a week before Shavuot and opened it to Jewish visitors on Shavuot. That year over 200,00 Jews came to pray at the site that had been off limits to them since 1948. Since then thousands of Jews continue to walk to the Kotel every Shavuot.

Crowds praying at dawn at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.

Crowds praying at dawn at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.

 

Now its back to the regular routine: for elementary, junior high and high school students until the end of school year in June; college students finish in June unless they they take classes in the summer semester, which ends in August; and for many employees until August, when most Israelis take their vacations.

The three week period of mourning for the Temple begins on July 1 and Tisha B’Av, the fast day for the two Temples, begins the night of  July 21.

The Jewish High Holidays are early this year. The first night of Rosh Hashanah is on September 9.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Holocaust, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel, Israel Independence Day, Israel Memorial Day Yom Hazikaron, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Day, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Shavout, Video, Western Wall Kotel, Yom Haatzmaut, Yom Hazikaron, Yom Yerushalayim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Passover Questions and Answers

seder Table 1

Passover is almost here. The first seder is on the night of March 30, 2018. To help you understand Passover ,or Pesach as it’s known in Hebrew, better we have compiled a list of general questions and answers. Hope they answer some of the questions you had about Passover.

Q. What is the story of Passover?

A. Passover, known in Hebrew as Pesach, commemorates the emancipation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and their Exodus from Egypt, led by Moses, in 1313 BCE. It also celebrates their miraculous deliverance at the Red Sea from the Egyptian army who pursued them.

Q. Why is Passover so important?

  1. Passover is very important to the Jews since it marks the emancipation of the Jews and the beginning of their nationhood.

Q. Where is the story of Passover mentioned in the Bible, or Torah?

A.  Exodus- 1-15.

Q. What are the dates of Passover in  2018?

A. Passover begins at sundown March 30 and ends nightfall April 7.

Q. How are the dates of Passover determined?

  1. The dates of Passover, similar to all other Jewish Holidays, are determined by the Jewish calendar which is a lunar calendar. Passover always begins on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Due to the discrepancies between the lunar and solar calendars, Passover falls on different days of the Gregorian solar calendar each year.

Q. Can Passover fall on the Sabbath?

A. Yes.  And this year, 2018, Passover begins on Friday night, March 30, which is also the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

Q. Where is Passover celebrated?

A. It is celebrated by Jews throughout the world in their homes and synagogues.

Q. Where did Passover get its name?

  1. During the last of the ten plagues,- the slaying of the first born-the Lord “passed over” the homes of the Jews which they had marked with pascal blood on their doorposts and its lintels.

Q. When is the Seder Held?

  1. The seder is held on the first two nights of Passover, this year March 30 and March 31 (In Israel, only one seder is held; this year on March 30.)

Q. How many days is Passover celebrated?

  1. Passover is celebrated for eight days (seven in Israel.)

Q. Why is Passover celebrated for seven days in Israel and eight days everywhere else?

A. The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar. In Temple times, it was set monthly based on sightings of each new moon.  The presence of the new moon was communicated to the many Jews living further away -e.g. Persia, by means of a system of smoke signals. It would take time for all Jews to be notified of the sightings, sometimes even a day later. To ensure all Holidays would be observed at the proper time, one day was added to each festival just in case. However, in Israel, Jews knew when the new moon was sighted, so they did not observe the additional day. By the Fifth century,  a permanent calendar was developed which was independent of new moon sightings. This is the calendar used today. But the tradition of the additional day for those living outside of Israel is maintained.

Q. Which days of Passover are most important?

A. The first two days and the last two days (first day and last day in Israel

), since on these days Jews must desist from work.

Q. How has the celebration of Passover changed over the years?

  1. In the afternoon before the Jews left Egypt, they sacrificed a lamb, roasted it and ate it in the evening together with matzah (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs. The first year after the exodus, when the Jews were wandering in the desert, Passover was also celebrated this way. However, the next time Passover was celebrated this way was after the Jews had conquered Israel and taken possession of the land. The eating of the sacrificial lamb continued annually while the two Temples stood. Afterwards, the rabbis established the Passover seder which is now held on the first two nights of Passover. Only the Samaritans still practice the ritual of the sacrificial lamb today.

Q. How is Passover observed today?

  1. Jews observe Passover today by eating Matzah during Passover, avoiding leaven and holding seders commemorating the emancipation from Egypt, which include the drinking of four cups of wine, eating Matzah and bitter herbs and retelling the story of the Exodus.

Q. Why do Jews eat Matzah during Passover?

A. The Bible, Torah, commands Jews to eat Matzah during Passover to commerate the Matzah which they ate while fleeing Egypt. They had planned to eat bread, but they left in such a hurry that the dough did not have time to rise. Matzah was also the food given to them as slaves and the food eaten on the night before the Exodus.

Q. Why don’t Jews eat leaven, flour with yeast, during Passover?

Passover gifts? The Torah, Bible, says in Exodus 12:14-17 that to commemorate the Exodus, Jews should observe the festival of Passover by removing leaven from their homes before the festival and eating only unleavened bread during the festival.

Looking for Passover gifts? Check out JewTee’s Passover:bibs, onesies  t shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, kids tees, bibs, onesies, hats, mugs, aprons, seder pillows, tote bags cards, and even dog shirts here.

Categories: Jewish, Passover | 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

The Kotel and Conversion Controversy- A Tempest In A Teapot?

jerusalem-1328645_1280

As I sat in my living room yesterday on an overcast fast day marking the beginning of the three week mourning period for the two destroyed Temples in Jerusalem, I could not help but reflect on the current Kotel and Conversion controversy which threatens to weaken the ties between Israel and its brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. One of the main reasons the Rabbis give for the destruction of the Second Temple, is Sinas Chinom, the baseless hatred of one Jew to another. This, I fear, is what this controversy may lead to.

Does Israel really not care for Diaspora Jews and is it indifferent to their feelings and religious beliefs? Is Israel a country a country controlled by the Haredim, or (Ultra Orthodox), whose every whim is honored? Do secular, Reform and Conservative Jews really not have a place where they can pray as they wish in the Kotel complex?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel values and appreciates Diaspora Jews of all types. The country is not controlled by Haredim. In fact, 44% of Israeli Jews self identify as secular, while only 9% identify as Haredim. There is a pretty area near the Kotel set up for egalitarian prayer. Unlike the separate areas for men and women at the Kotel, which are often crowded and under the direct sun, the egalitarian area is shaded and often empty.

So why the uproar? It’s mainly about the Compromise bill on the Kotel, the Western Wall, which was approved by Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Haredi ministers, but frozen at the last minute at the behest of the Haredi party in the government. Yes, since the Haredim initially approved the compromise, they should have gone along with it. if the compromise was not acceptable to them, they should never have approved it. If later they were not happy with it, they should have discussed their objections with the other parties to the compromise. The freezing of the compromise bill and the lack of notice and consultation with parties to the agreement, greatly angered those affected, especially, the Reform and Conservative movements. The bill would have given the power to oversee the egalitarian space to a committee that would have included representatives of Conservative and Reform Judaism. The freezing of the bill means that the egalitarian area will continue to be overseen only by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. This loss of power over a segment of Judaism’s holiest site was a big blow to the non Orthodox movements and they reacted accordingly.

However, their reactions made it seem as if the Israel government had denied the right of non Orthodox people to pray in an egalitarian area at the Wall. That’s fake news. The egalitarian area is alive and well and this bill does not change that. In fact, the government said that the area will be enlarged and made even more  aesthetically pleasing. However, through this bill, Conservative and Reform Judaism hoped to gain official recognition as alternate forms of Judaism in Israel. Both the Reform and Conservative movements are very weak in Israel, as Israelis who are religious are generally traditional, Orthodox or Haredi, and those who are secular usually do not belong to any movement. So this was the opportunity the  two movements were waiting for to become official alternate forms of Judaism, and it failed.

While their disappointment and anger is justified, making it seem that the Israeli government is ignoring the needs of Diaspora Jews is just not true. There is an egalitarian area for prayer and no one is taking that away. The potential loss of power of the Conservative and Reform movements of the egalitarian prayer space is inconsequential to all but the movements’ leaders. Members of these movements will not be affected in any way by the freezing of the Compromise bill.

The Conversion bill which would have given sole authority for conversions in Israel to the Chief Rabbinate also would not change the status of Reform and Conservative Jews. All conversions in Israel are currently done under Orthodox auspices. The bill would only have prevented private Orthodox courts, a desirable alternative for many, from granting conversions in Israel. The conversion bill would not have changed anything under the Law of Return.

The Kotel is a religious area. Religious Jews have been praying there and preserving its holiness for millennia. They pray daily for the restoration of the Temple and fast a few times a year to commemorate events which negatively affected the Temples’ existence. The Kotel is open to all, as is the egalitarian area. The failure of the Compromise bill to pass has not affected the rights of secular Jews to pray there in any way. All Jews, no matter how they were converted in the Diaspora, are still Israeli citizens under the Law of Return.

So let’s put this incident in perspective. Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movement suffered a loss of power, but their members were not negatively affected in any way. So let’s stop insinuating that the Israeli government took away the rights of secular Jews to pray, or failed to appreciate their invaluable contributions to Israel.

In these trying times, when anti semitism is rebounding, let’s remember that we are all Jews, regardless of our way of showing it. Let’s unite behind Israel, which is the only Jewish state in the world and the only country which can guarantee that Jews will not be discriminated against because they are Jewish. Israel needs the Diaspora Jews and the Diaspora Jews need Israel.

Show your support by coming to Israel and praying at the Kotel or its egalitarian area. You’ll be glad you did.

Categories: Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Judaism, religion, religious freedom, Western Wall Kotel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Freedom Is Not Free- Remembering The Fallen Heroes

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Israel will be 69 years old on  the night of May 1, 2017.

Those 69 years have been filled with both joy and sorrow. Israel has fought in 8 wars and military operations since its founding in 1948. Over 23,000 soldiers have been killed as a result of these operations and over 3,000 civilians have lost their lives due to terrorist attacks.

In a country as small as Israel (the most recent survey showed that Israel has about 8.7 million people), almost everyone has either had a family member killed or injured, or knows someone who was so affected.  

Therefore, unlike most Americans today, Israel takes Memorial Day very seriously.  

In 1968, The United States Congress changed the date of Memorial Day, which was originally May 30, to the last Monday in May to create a three day weekend. This has diluted the purpose of the day. On Memorial Day in the United States, the U.S. flag is lowered to half staff until noon. Americans who have lost family members or friends in the various wars and conflicts in which the United States has been engaged visit cemeteries to pay tribute to the fallen. Many attend Memorial Day parades which feature veterans and members of the various Armed Forces. There is also a National Memorial Day Concert which takes place on the lawn of the United States Capitol.

However, for most Americans the Memorial Day weekend means the unofficial start of the summer season, the Indy 500, NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, The Memorial Tournament golf event, the final of the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship, and, of course, Memorial Day Sales and barbecues.

In 2000, perhaps in response to the dilution of the meaning of the day, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking people to stop and remember the fallen at 3:00 P.M on Memorial Day Monday. To mark the Moment, Major League Baseball games halt, Amtrak train whistles sound across the country, and other organisations do what they can to remind Americans to observe the Moment.

For Israel, the pain of the loss of the fallen is very fresh. This year another 97 people were added to that roster of heroes. There are over 9,000 bereaved parents in Israel, almost 5,000 widows and close to 2,000 orphans under the age of 30, all of whom lost a family member fighting for Israel’s right to exist. This number does not include the relatives and friends of the over 3,000 civilians killed by terrorists.

Israel understands all too well the debt of gratitude it owes to its soldiers and its heroes who sacrificed their lives so that Israel could exist and be free. Therefore, Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron, is taken very seriously.

It officially begins with a one minute siren, heard throughout the country, at 8 P.M., during which the entire nation stands still for one minute. Even traffic is halted. This is followed by an official State Ceremony at the Western Wall (the Kotel) in Jerusalem and other gatherings and services throughout the country. (Israelis take this moment so seriously that yesterday, Sunday,  a group of Israelis on a flight from Marrakesh to Munich stood silently for one minute  at 8 P.M.)

For the next 24 hours, all theatres, cinemas, nightclubs, bars, etc. are closed. Radio and television station broadcast programs portraying the lives and heroic deeds of fallen soldiers and play melancholy music which conveys the mood of the day.

A second memorial siren, this one lasting for two minutes, is sounded at 11 A.M. the next morning, marking the beginning of the public recitation of prayers in the military cemeteries throughout the country. The official service is held at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. Flags are lowered to half staff, special memorial prayers are recited, government officials speak, and a wreath is laid. The ceremony usually concludes with a military gun salute.

At 1PM another national service takes place at Mt. Herzl, this one honoring the memories of those felled by terrorist acts.

This year over 1.5 million Israelis are expected to pay their respects at the graves of those killed in Israel’s struggles.

Schools are open, but almost every high school in Israel has a “memorial corner” with the pictures of the school’s graduates who were killed defending the State. Some high schools organize their own Yom Hazikaron ceremonies and invite the families of the fallen graduates to participate.

Students wear white shirts and blue pants, or skirts, to school that day and soldiers wear their uniforms to the military cemeteries.

A few minutes after sundown, when Memorial day ends, the official switch from Yom Hazikaron to Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, takes place. In a ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, the flag is raised from half staff to the top of the pole. The president of Israel then delivers a speech of congratulations, and soldiers representing the Army, Navy, and Air Force parade with their flags. This is followed by a torch lighting ceremony, marking the country’s achievements, Many municipalities have their own flag ceremony in which students march with the Israeli flag.

Israelis celebrate Independence Day in a number of ways. Many cities have nighttime activities, fireworks and free concerts. Many spend the night singing Israeli songs and dancing Israeli folk dances. During the day, many families go on hikes and picnics. Others barbeque at home or with family and friends.  Army camps are open to the public and many museums and cultural institutions offer free admission and programs. The day concludes with the granting of the Israeli Prize to individuals who have made unique contributions to Israel’s culture, science, arts and humanities.

The juxtaposition of these two very disparate days and moods is both very moving and meaningful. It helps us realise that freedom is not free. There is a high price to pay and we should be eternally grateful to those who pay it.

Let us  hope that no additional names will be added to the list of the fallen and that we will finally be able to live together in peace.

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Categories: Israel, Israel Independence Day, Israel Memorial Day Yom Hazikaron, It Happened In Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Jewish Holidays, Yom Haatzmaut, Yom Hazikaron | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Many Hamans- Anti Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head

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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

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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

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