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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

UNWRA Foments Hatred Towards Israel

Shalom:

In a previous post, I complained about the United Nations Human Rights Council. Today I would like to address the stance of UNWRA towards Israel.

The formation of the State Of Israel resulted in the creation of both Jewish and Arab refugees.

Between 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jews were forced to flee from the Arab lands in which many of them had lived for over a thousand years. Over half a million of these Jewish refugees were absorbed in the newly created tiny State of Israel without any compensation from the Arab lands who had confiscated their property and possessions. The United Nations also did not provide any assistance.

About 700,000 Arabs living in Palestine either fled or were forced to flee. Unlike Israel, the many neighboring large Arab countries did not absorb these refugees. Instead, in 1949, the United Nations created UNWRA, the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.”

The workload of UNWRA should be lessening each year, as the original refugees pass on. However, the United Nations in its infinite “wisdom”, decided to broaden the definition of a refugee, for Palestinians only, from a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster to include patrilineal descendants of the original refugees as well. So, had the usual definition of refugee been used, the number of Palestinian refugees today would be between 30,000 to 50,000. Instead, the number is between five to six million.

Of course, UNWRA’s staff has had to grow and continues to grow as the number of refugees increases. UNWRA also administers large “Palestinian refugee” camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and provides social services there as well.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 1.25 million “Palestinian refugees,” live in Gaza, about two thirds of its population. About half of Gaza’s residents receive UNWRA food supplies and more than a quarter live in UNRWA refugee camps. UNWRA runs 245 schools, 22 medical facilities and eight refugee camps in Gaza. It employs more than 11,000 people and is Gaza’s second largest employer 

Rather than seeking to resolve the problem by encouraging Arab countries to absorb the “refugees,” maintaining neutrality, or trying to lessen the negative view of Israel held by many in Gaza, UNWRA is perpetuating the tradition of hate by fostering the “refugees” unattainable goal of returning to Israel by any means possible, including violence.

To see a distressing graphic representation of the propaganda UNWRA teaches in their schools, click on the following : UNWRA Teaches Palestinian Students that Israel Is Palestine.

To see an organization, whose raison d’être is to bring peace to the world,  encourage educators to teach this type of propaganda in its schools is kafkaesque and a real tragedy. How can Israel ever make peace with people who have been taught since childhood that destroying Israel is their life’s mission?

Categories: Gaza, Israel, Jewish Blog, Middle East, Politics, Pro Israel Post, United Nations, UNWRA, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Denmark Really Concerned About Animal Welfare?

Denmark claims to hold animal rights in high regard. On February 20, 2014, it joined the anti-religious slaughter bandwagon when it outlawed both Kosher and Halal slaughter, since neither stuns the animal before killing. Asked about religious rights, the Danish agriculture minister said, “animal rights come before religious rights. I am in favor of religious slaughter, but it must be done in a way that does not bring pain to the animal. This can be accomplished only by stunning.” Properly done scientific studies dispute that. They show that, done properly, an animal does not suffer from either stunning or ritual slaughter. But let’s move on.

It may appear, then, that Denmark thinks it is doing something to prevent pain to its animals. Let’s explore this further.

 

How does Denmark really deal with its animals?  If the Danes are truly interested in animals not suffering unnecessary pain, then hunting should be outlawed. Or, if permitted, all hunters should be required to anesthetize animals before shooting them. However, hunting is legal in Denmark and, surprise, hunters do not tranquillize animals before shooting them. Thus many Danes cause animals to endure long and painful deaths when they injure, but don’t kill, the animal.

Denmark belongs to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), an Association priding itself on providing the highest standards of care and breeding for animals. On February 9, 2014, (less than two weeks before the anti- religious slaughter ban was passed), a healthy two year old giraffe in the Copenhagen Zoo was killed after being shot in the neck with a bolt gun. In the presence of school age kids and their parents, Marius was dissected, skinned and cut up, and some of his flesh thrown to the lions for a presumably tasty meal.

Copenhagen Zoo Giraffes

Carpe Diem

Marius, the young giraffe, was “euthanized” with the full approval of the EAZA to control breeding, as the zoo already had enough giraffes with his genes. Lest you think that the zoo may have had no alternative, about 25,000 people signed a petition asking that Marius be spared. Furthermore, several zoos offered to take him and one man even offered to buy him for a large sum of money.

But, the zoo said that they could not legally sell him and, as for the other zoos, since most were not members of EAZA and, presumably, did not have the same standards, they could not send Marius to them. 

As for the zoo in England that was a member of EAZA, the Copenhagen zoo’s scientific director said that the English zoo’s space could be better used by a “genetically more valuable giraffe.”

Why wasn’t Marius sterilized? Because, according to zoo officials, it would be negatively affect his quality of life and he would be taking up valuable space better occupied by “more genetically valuable giraffes.”

Of course, this begs the question as to why Zoo authorities and EAZA, who claim to be so concerned with breeding practices, allowed Marius’ parents to mate if they knew they did not want the giraffes’ offspring’s genes.

Oh and as to the public view of the dissection, zoo authorities defended it by saying that the dissection gave children a deeper understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe than they would have gotten from looking at a giraffe in a photo. Furthermore, they said, public dissections of deceased animals are consistent with the zoo’s policy of educating people on nature and wildlife, life and death, and are routinely done.  (To see a most disturbing video of the incident click below. This is rather graphic, so please beware.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSsozEO3wC4

Danish authorities were stunned by the large amount of negative publicity they received after the Marius story was publicized. The defense they mounted, which seems to yielding positive results in Denmark, is explaining that what they did was, in the long run, in the best interests of the giraffe population in zoos.  However, that still does not explain why they allowed this giraffe to born in the first place.

Meanwhile, in a different Danish zoo, another giraffe, also named Marius, (is that Danish for doomed giraffe) was slated for execution for the same reason. His life was spared, for now, by the negative publicity over the dead Marius. Zoo authorities simply decided not to place a female giraffe into his pen.

So, is Denmark really interested in preventing pain to its animals? You decide.

Categories: Video, Women's Passover Shirts, Yiddish T Shirts and Gifts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lag B’Omer 2013 Videos

Shalom Y’All:

Last night and today religious Jews celebrated Lag B’Omer, a day of happiness commemorating both the temporary cessation of the plague that killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students and the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Bonfires are traditionally lit the night of Lag B’Omer to commemorate the mystical light brought into the world with Rabbi Shimon’s teachings,  especially the day he died, when he revealed the wisdom of the Zohar, the foundation of Kabbalah, to his students.

The largest Lag B’Omer celebration takes place in and around the city of Meron in Northern Israel where Rabbi Shimon’s tomb is located. Tens of thousands attend the celebration which includes around the clock singing and dancing.

Religious parents who do not cut their son’s hair until the age of three, often give their son his first haircut on Lag B’Omer in Meron.

Here are the two videos showing the festivities:

The first one is a short video of a bonfire in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.

Lag B’Omer Video Brooklyn

The next one is a a video of the Lag B’Omer celebration in Meron, courtesy of YouTube. It’s poor quality, but gives an idea of what goes on there.

Lag B’Omer Video Meron

Enjoy!

Categories: Jewish, Jewish T Shirts and Gifts, Lag B'Omer 2013, Video | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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