Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Farewell

Dear readers,

I regret to inform you that I will no longer be updating this blog. Unfortunately, this is simply due to the many constraints on my time and I am no longer able to devote my attentions to this field.

I greatly need to grow and advance in my learning - both Jewish and secular, and blogging is sadly too much of a demand on me.

The life of this blog was short, less than one month in all, and if you are sad to see it go - please don't be. I am confident that there are many others out there to fulfill this role, far more capable and gifted than I.

Also, please be aware that the internet generally and blogging in particular are a great distraction, are not the Ikar, and should be used in safety, moderation and only when necessary.

As the Chofetz Chaim Z"TL is reputed to have said, "with each new advance in technology we become a further stage distanced from the truth" and as another blogger quotes, "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun."

Please don't hold this against me, and whatever direction your life takes, I wish you Hatzlacha Rabba. May we merit to meet in Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh Bimheirah Beyomeinu Amen.

Thank you and goodbye.

Wikipedia Jewish Bio of the Day: HaRav HaGaon Moshe Feinstein Z"TL

Palestinian University Moves to Gush Katif

Downright depressing. And disgusting.

Arutz Sheva:

"Al Aksa University is expanding its campus on the ruins of the former Gush Katif town of N'vei Dekalim. Office buildings, classrooms and student clubs have already been constructed at the site.

The Palestinian Authority news agency “Me’an” reports that the Al Aksa University started building in N'vei Dekalim soon after its Jewish inhabitants were removed last summer. Approximately two months ago, existing buildings were renovated for the students, and semester exams were even held there.

The new N'vei Dekalim campus will include, in addition to a mosque, physics and chemistry labs, a computer room, and a two-story lecture hall. The former Israeli health clinic will now be used as offices for the university’s administration. Other facilities to be built on the campus include a sports field and hall, a cafeteria and student registration offices. The university is currently negotiating with transportation companies to provide buses to drive students over to the campus.

The Al Aksa University is traditionally dominated by the Fatah students’ organization, and many of its students join the terror group’s military wing. Throughout the intifada, riots have taken place on and off at the campus, and many students have taken an active part in terror attacks, including bombings.

The Palestinian Authority intends to build housing for the families of “shahids” (suicide bombers), wounded terrorists and former prisoners on the site of former Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip.

Arab refugees living in the Gaza Strip will not receive housing there, however, in order that their plight continue to be used for PA public relations campaigns."

Lubavitche Rebbe's Famed Library to be Returned?

RIA Novosti:

The rabbi of a Moscow synagogue has asked Russia's authorities to return thousands of "Jewish sacred objects" seized by Soviet authorities.

"There are 12,000 books of the Lubavitcher Rebbe nearby, in the Lenin Library. This is the heritage of Lubavitcher Chasidim," Yitzhak Kogan told a news conference in the synagogue. The books should be moved back into the possession of Chasidic Jews, he said.
Kogan was referring to the Schneersons' library in Lubavichi (on the territory of the present Smolensk Region), which was the center of a branch of the Hasidic movement.

Most of the items from the library, built up by the Schneerson dynasty over a 200 year period, were confiscated by Soviet authorities and have since been kept in the Lenin Library.

In the early 1990s Jewish activists held regular pickets near the library in an attempt to get the manuscripts back. They are reported to believe that the manuscripts would give them new mystic evidence, as well as prophesies about the future, and would help them to extend the influence of the Lubavitcher movement worldwide.[!?]"

HaGaon HaRav Moshe Yechiel Halevi Epstein ZT"L, On His 35th Yahrzeit

First Ever Textbook on History of Jews in Russia Published

FJC:

"FJC Russia and the World Congress of Russian Jewry have published a new textbook, "History of Jews in Russia". This is the first edition of this kind to have been issued in Russia. The project was realized by the creative team of the Brief Jewish Encyclopedia under the direction of Leonid Praisman, Professor at Jerusalem University, and a number of Judaica experts from Russia and Israel.

FJC Russia President Alexander Boroda stated at the presentation event that took place at Marian Roscha Jewish Community Center that “The publishing of this book is a very important step on the way towards mutual understanding between people who have different nationalities but share a homeland – Russia. Very often, xenophobia originates from the lack of knowledge of history and culture of a nation. With this book, we wanted to fill the informational vacuum and to eliminate the anti-Semitic myths, which are still alive in the minds of some Russian residents. FJC Russia will continue this series of educational literature”.

“Nothing similar has ever been published in Russia since pre-revolutionary times”, said the FJC Russia Executive Director Valery Engel. “After the fall of the USSR, some people thought Jews would leave Russia, and that Russian Jewry was “a vanishing species”. However, history has proved them wrong. That is why this joint project carried out by FJC Russia and the World Congress of Russian Jewry is so important; it is destined to show the role of Russian Jewry in the history of this country, the contribution of Jews to the development of Russia in the past and in the present”.

The textbook contains more than 700 pages of text, illustrations and charts. All copies from the first run will be forwarded to educational institutions researching Jewish civilization. FJC Russia will continue talks with the Russian Ministry of Education about the use this textbook for lessons on tolerance in secondary schools all over Russia."

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Alte Heim

Sam's grandfather is visiting America, from Europe, for the very first time. He goes up & down the aisles with his grandson, at the local Food Store.
"Vas diss? Powdered Orange Juice?"
"Yeh, Grandpa. You just add a little water, and you have fresh 'orange juice'."
......... a few minutes later, in a different aisle ........
"Und vas dis? Powdered milk?"
"Yeh, Grandpa. You just add a little water, and you have fresh milk!"
........ a few minutes later, in a different aisle ........
"Und give a look here! Baby Powder! Vat a country, vat a country!"

From here.

Shadchanim

A shadchan goes to see a poor man and says, "I want to arrange a marriage for your son."
The poor man replies, "I never interfere in my son's life."
The shadchan responds, "But the girl is Lord Rothschild's daughter."
"Well, in that case..."
Next, the shadchan approaches Lord Rothschild. "I have a husband for your daughter."
"But my daughter is too young to marry."
"But this young man is already a vice president of the World Bank."
"Ah, in that case..."
Finally, the shadchan goes to see the president of the World Bank. "I have a young man to recommend to you as a vice president."
"But I already have more vice presidents than I need."
"But this young man is Lord Rothschild's son-in-law."
"Ah, in that case...."

From here.

Vienna to Host Holocaust Research Center

AP:

"The University of Vienna announced that it plans to build a new Holocaust research center in honor of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

The $17.1 million center, to be called the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, is expected to house some 8,000 documents, including files from the country's World War II resistance movement, Austria's Jewish community and hundreds of thousands of microfilmed documents from the Jerusalem-based Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.

"This will put Austria on the map of international Holocaust research" and efforts to stamp out racism and anti-Semitism, project leader Anton Pelinka said. It is to be completed by 2010, he said.

Pelinka said Wiesenthal, who died last September at age 96, wanted the records he amassed over decades of sleuthing around the world to be preserved in the Austrian capital. Vienna was home to a vibrant Jewish community of some 200,000 before World War II. Today, it numbers about 7,000.

Austria's president has said the country is now acknowledging that it was not only a victim, but also a perpetrator of Nazism.

Wiesenthal, who survived five Nazi concentration camps and seven other prisons, devoted his life to tracking down suspected Nazi war criminals. He died in Vienna on Sept. 20 and was buried in Israel.

Organizers said the city of Vienna and the government of Austria would contribute heavily to the construction of the 32,300-square-foot center, and that a location would be selected as early as February.

Wiesenthal, who lost 89 relatives during the war, weighed just 99 pounds when a U.S. Army armored unit liberated him and other inmates at Mauthausen in May 1945.

He spent more than 50 years hunting Nazi war criminals and speaking out against neo-Nazism and racism. He estimated he helped bring some 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice."

Jewish Tribe Discovered in India?

Asian Age:

"Guntur: A research scholar in London has endorsed the claims of a group of people in this district who say they are of Jewish ancestry. The scholar, Ms Yulia, had visited the community in the tiny village of Kothareddypalem, 17 km from here, along with Prof. Tudor Parfitt, an expert in Jewish studies, some years ago.

The two took DNA samples from the community and Ms Yulia also studied their social practices and took note of the fact that they observed the Sabbath regularly. Sadok Yacobi, the leader of the community, said he had recently received a communication from Ms Yulia endorsing the sect’s claim that they belong to the Ephraim tribe. There are about 50 families in the community.

The community claims it was one of the 12 ancient Jewish tribes who were in search of the Promised Land with Moses... Another community living in Manipur has been identified as belonging to the Menashe tribe, considered to be cousins of the Ephraim sect. They have been welcomed back to Israel. However, the community in Guntur is yet to be officially recognised.

The families originally belonged to the Madiga community. After discovering their Jewish ancestry, Samuel Sundararaju and Deva Prasad changed their names to Shamuel Yacobi and Sadok Yacobi and became the leaders of the group.

The DNA test could not prove much and Ms Yulia has also said that though the group could be termed Jews, they had been alienated from their identity. Despite this, her overall perception is that the community belonged to a Jewish tribe...

Mr Sadok Yacobi added that an awareness programme had been scheduled to enrich the community with Jewish spirituality and ways of life. "A rabbi from Yeshiva University of the US will be arriving to preach to our group soon," he said.

Itzhac Korahi, a daily wager and a member of the community, asserted that their desire to be known as Jews had no materialistic dimensions. "We could have gained quite a lot through Christian ministries," he said, adding, "But despite hardships, we have been following Jewish traditions without any regrets."

For many community members their Jewish destiny is irrevocable... Threats by certain Islamic groups do not daunt them. Poleramma, who has changed her name to Isterah, said the community did not crave for better living conditions or money. "We turn to the direction of the Wailing Wall and pray to Elokim, the Living God," she said, adding, "If he decides to wipe us off the face of the earth, we are ready for that too."

Wikipedia Bio of the Day: the Rosh Z'TL

Johnnie Walker not Kosher?

Aw Shucks.

Ynetnews.com:

"A harsh argument is causing a stir in the ultra-Orthodox world, after a group of rabbis declared that whiskey no longer meets kosher certification standards, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.

The issue was discussed in the past by the Council of Torah Sages, which ruled that whiskey is completely kosher because it is not wine. In addition, the rabbis relied on the ancient and strict wine production methods in the different whiskey breweries and decided that there was no fear that the whiskey was being mixed with wine produced by non-Jews, which is not kosher. Following the decision, kosher keepers were free to drink whiskey.

However, the Landau kosher supervision services of Rabbi Moshe Landau, head of the Bnei Brak Rabbinate, recently published an article claiming that whiskey is not kosher. The Landau kosher supervision system is considered to be one of the most prestigious kosher systems among the ultra-Orthodox public, and is the one which supplies the kosher certification to Coca Cola drinks.

According to the article, whiskey is aged in oak barrels which were previously used to produce wine. The aging in old barrels gives the whiskey an extra taste which is not present in new barrels. The rabbis claimed that since the wine produced in the barrels is not kosher, neither is the whiskey. Among the brands that age whiskey in old barrels are Johnny Walker, Chivas and Grant's.

The issue was also widely discussed in kosher conference held in Brussels last week. Rabbi Akiva Padwa from the London Beth Din's kashrut division, ruled that most of the whiskey brands are kosher, but that some brands undergo a special "finish" in barrels previously used to produce wine. The taste of the wine can still be felt in the drink, thus making it non-kosher, the rabbi said.

Rabbi Padwa added that the whiskey's label indicates whether it had undergone an additional finish, using the words "two wood," "special finish" or "double matured."

On the other hand, an American group of rabbis dealing with kosher issues claimed that it had thoroughly investigated the issue and discovered that the oak barrels undergo a process of fire and vaporization, which removes the wine taste. Other rabbis wrote that aging in barrels of non-Jews' wine does not disqualify the whiskey..."

Ultra-Orthodox Protest Over Autopsy

I reserve comment on this situation - simply because I don't know all the facts.

Just quoting Ynetnews.com:

"Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox rioted Tuesday in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Kiryat Ata in protest of an autopsy carried out on the body of a haredi woman who was found dead in her Kiryat Ata apartment at around midnight.

The woman was apparently murdered by burglars. Using loudspeakers ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem called on the haredi public to protest with “total devotion” against the autopsy.

Zaka, an organization responsible for the recovery and identification of body parts, attempted to convince police not to perform the autopsy, but as foul play was suspected detectives in charge of the case filed a request for a court warrant authorizing the autopsy.

The curt complied, and the autopsy was performed by the Institute of Forensic Medicine. According to Zaka officials, the autopsy was carried out in haste, thus preventing the organization an opportunity to appeal to the High Court on the matter.

Jerusalem’s Sabbath Square was closed to traffic after hundreds of haredim gathered at there and began setting fire to garbage cans. The protesters blocked the road and threw stones at passing cars.

Ultra-Orthodox men attacked a vehicle north of Jerusalem and threw tear gas on it, as riots in the area go on. The driver was rescued by the police.

The deceased haredi woman’s son-in-law is a well known figure in northern Israel due to his philanthropic activities, prompting scores of people to protest on his behalf.

Some 100 ultra-Orthodox protested outsides the Institute for Forensic Medicine in south Tel Aviv; they tried to break in through the institute gates and snatch the body, but police forces dispatched to the scene prevented their entrance; nine protesters were arrested in the incident.

The ultra-Orthodox community has traditionally opposed autopsies. According to several haredi sources, right-wing activists are attempting to increase tensions to steer the police’s focus away from Amona (illegal West Bank outpost).

“The slightest touch of a body causes great torment to the deceased person’s soul,” a yeshiva student explained, while a rabbi said that the Torah states that corpses should be treated with respect.

“Even the body of a man hanged in the square must be treated with respect,” the rabbi said. “The problem is that during an autopsy parts of the body that are taken out are not buried; however, if the case involves disease or murder, then rabbis permit an autopsy.” Police officials fail to understand the logic behind the riots..."

Fake Rabbis Distorting Yiddishkeit

ChronWatch:

"The American Jewish community has long been plagued by a pagan movement that tries to misrepresent all of Judaism as leftwing "social activism." This "political liberalism as Judaism" form of pseudo-religion now largely dominates the Reform synagogue movement in North America. The misnamed "Religious Action Center" of the Reform movement is little more than a far-left SWAT team, promoting--all in the name of Judaism and Biblical ethics of course--whichever fads happen to be on the current political agenda of the far left. Parts of the conservative synagogue movement have similarly been infected.

The underlying fundamentalism behind these groups holds that the eternal religion of Judaism, and all of monotheism for that matter, can be reduced to promotion of this month's leftist political fads. Invariably, these pagans misappropriate the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam or "Repair of the World," converting it into a prescription for political correctness and for Teddy Kennedy's notions of "social justice." This is particularly ironic because the actual Tikkun Olam concept refers to the liberation of the world from pagan superstition, precisely the sort of paganism being practiced by these leftist cult members.

At the lunatic fringe of the American Jewish community is the small Tikkun or Renewal cult... In other words, the "Political Liberalism as Judaism" pagans have evidently never even bothered to open the Bible."

Anti-Semitic Articles in Ukraine Press Up by 74%

USCJ on Arutz Sheva:

"From 2004 to 2005, the number of anti-Semitic articles published in the Ukrainian press increased by 74%, according to a report by the Jewish umbrella group VAAD, cited in a January 23 article by the AEN news service.

Anti-Semitic articles increased from 379 in 2004 to 661 last year and appeared in major publications such as the Socialist Party press organ "Silski Visti" and marginal papers such as "The Idealist." The report links the rise in anti-Semitic publishing with the sharp increase in anti-Semitic violence."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Question of the Day:

Why is nobody commenting???

Fascinating Jewish Man Recalls Fooling Nazis at Nuremberg

Palm Beach Post:

"The Nazi was ranting again. Isolated in a dark cell at Nuremberg, Julius Streicher easily became enraged. The founder of the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer launched into another tirade as soon as Howard Triest entered the cell. As an interpreter helping psychiatrists interview the prisoners, 23-year-old Triest had the run of the prison, and had become accustomed to Streicher's outbursts.

Streicher had some very important personal papers and would entrust them only to a "good German," like the blond-haired, blue-eyed interpreter. He reached past the psychiatrist and handed the papers to Triest. He never learned that the interpreter was Jewish.

Triest never disclosed to the Nuremberg prisoners that the Nazis killed his mother and father, and that he himself had narrowly escaped to the United States. He simply took the papers from the bellowing Streicher and later gave them to his superiors.

"We had a job to do," said Triest, 82, sitting on the back porch of his home west of Delray Beach. "I thought that was a good way of getting the papers." History books recorded little about Triest's role in the "greatest trial in history."

Over the years, he's answered the same question from everyone who heard his story: How could he restrain his hatred for the men responsible for his parents' deaths, the architects of the most heinous mass murder campaign in history?...

Howard Triest was born "Hans" Triest in Munich in 1923 to two loving parents, Berthold and Ly. He grew up in a neat apartment on the tree-lined Reitmorstrasse, a quiet street that shaped his rosy childhood memories of Germany.

His sister, Margot, six years his junior, does not share his nostalgia. The Nazis rose to power during her formative years. Unlike his sister, Triest has memories of a woman delivering fresh milk to the door of the apartment. She remembers storm troopers knocking on that same door. Howard Triest has returned to Germany again and again since the war. Margot hasn't.

By the time Triest was 16, he had grown anxious to leave the Germany he loved. He had seen businesses destroyed on Kristallnacht, neighbors arrested and synagogues destroyed. Childhood friends joined the Hitler Youth and stopped talking to him. His parents realized the situation had grown dire. The family took a train to Luxembourg Sept. 1, 1939, the day Germany invaded Poland..."

Orthodox Rabbi Meets with Evangelicals in Colorado Springs

AP:

"A rabbi told members of Colorado's largest church that both Israel and the post-Sept. 11 United States are threatened in today's world, and that Jews and Christians need to "reverse history" and support one another.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, told the congregation of New Life Church on Sunday that when missiles were paraded in Tehran, Iran, recently, they were painted with the phrases "Kill the Jews" and "Kill the Crusaders."

"We have the opportunity today, I would say the obligation and the responsibility, to extend love, true love toward one another," said Eckstein, whose Chicago-based group has raised $50 million a year for charities helping Jews in Israel and other parts of the world.

Eckstein was invited to speak at the 11,000-member church by pastor Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, to mark a day of solidarity between Christians and Israel.

While some Protestant denominations have been critical of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, including plans to build a security barrier to deter suicide bombers, American evangelical Christians have been strong supporters of Israel.

The questions from Sunday's audience ranged from the significance of the Palestinian election victory by the Islamic militant group Hamas and the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to whether more Jews were accepting Jesus as savior.

Eckstein said most Christians think Jews are thinking a lot about Jesus, but they're not. He said more Gentiles are becoming Jewish than Jews are becoming Christians..."

Chief Rabbinate Bans Jewish Burial for People Who Want to be Cremated

Good going! What took so long?

Ynetnews.com:

"The Chief Rabbinical Council ruled that a person who wishes to be cremated after his death will not be brought to a Jewish burial, and that a shiv'ah, as well as other traditional mourning rituals, will not be allowed in such a case.

The council has also ordered Chevra Kadisha not to bury the ashes of people who were cremated."

Greek Jews Honor Holocaust Victims

AP:

"THESSALONIKI, Greece - Members of Greece's small Jewish community laid wreaths Sunday at the spot in downtown Thessaloniki where tens of thousand of people were gathered to be deported to Nazi concentration camps.

The Jewish deportations from Greece have been an often overlooked part of the Holocaust, but Greek officials and Jewish activists have staged memorials and other events in recent years.
Nearly 90 percent of Greece's 80,000 Jews perished in Nazi death camps, mostly in Poland, and less than 5,000 remain.

This year's Holocaust anniversary also honored the memory of some 10,000 students that were deported by the Nazis. The ceremony was addressed by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy whose grandfather was a Greek Jew.

"We must honor the memory of all those exiled and those whose lives were shattered," he said. "We owe it to them as I owe to it to my grandfather's family." The northern Greek port of Thessaloniki, whose Jewish community now numbers about 1,100, was once a vibrant hub of Jewish culture and was known as the "Pearl of Israel."

First $4.2m Disbursed in WWII Gold Train Case

AP:

"MIAMI - The first $4.2 million has been distributed to needy Holocaust survivors from the settlement of a lawsuit stemming from the U.S. seizure in 1945 of a Nazi "Gold Train" loaded with valuables belonging to Hungarian Jews, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.

The money, part of an overall $25.5 million settlement approved in September by a Miami federal judge, has been distributed to Jewish social services agencies for the benefit of Holocaust survivors in the United States, Australia, Canada, Hungary, Israel, Romania and Sweden.

"While there isn't enough money in the world to compensate Holocaust survivors for what they went through, the government's acknowledgment of responsibility and fair, just settlement will foster healing and bring closure to this unfortunate episode in American history," said Jonathan Cuneo, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs.

The "Gold Train" carried jewelry, gold, artwork, Oriental rugs, china and other valuables confiscated by the Nazis from Hungarian Jews during World War II. The train was seized by U.S. forces in Austria after the war ended in May 1945; some items were stolen and others were used by American officers to furnish offices and homes during U.S. occupation of Austria.

The U.S. government issued an apology for those actions in October as part of the settlement. The remaining items were auctioned in New York in 1948, with the proceeds going to Jewish relief efforts. It is unknown when the rest of the money will be distributed."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hitler Y'S Paintings Up for Auction

A Disgrace. Put them in a museum, or preferably burn them.

Sunday Telegraph:

"The watercolours of gentle landscapes suggest an innocent, even naive, young artist. But the church on the edge of town, even the hastily-built barracks, give little sense of the war raging around them, or the future awaiting their creator.

They are, however, part of a collection of paintings and sketches produced between 1916 and 1918, apparently by the young Adolf Hitler, then serving as a corporal in the First World War. The collection came to light after being kept in a suitcase in a Belgian attic for nearly 70 years, close to where Hitler served near the border with France.

The 21 watercolours and sketches will go under the hammer at Jefferys in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, in March and are expected to fetch up to £100,000. Their Belgian owner, who has not been identified, chose the auction house after it sold another painting by the Nazi leader last November for £5,200.

The paintings carry recognised hallmarks of Hitler's previously seen art work, with a distinctive signature on most of the works. While the paper is of the right age, Jeffreys is carrying out further checks to confirm authenticity.

Ian Morris, the auction manager, said: "The scenes have been pin-pointed to within a 15-mile radius of where Hitler was stationed in France during the war. He wasn't a great artist but the interest is the man rather than the paintings."

The smallest paintings - post card size - are expected to fetch about £2,000 each; the larger ones - 8in by 10in - around £4,000 each. Over the past 60 years, Hitler's paintings have occasionally come up for auction but some major auction houses and dealers refuse to handle them [GOOD].

Hitler, who was born in Austria, had shown some artistic promise as a schoolboy. His beloved mother, Klara, had died when he was 19 and the following year, 1909, he moved to Vienna confident that he would win a place at the Academy of Arts.

However, when he failed to gain a place, he lived in homeless shelters and ate in charity soup kitchens. He did some menial jobs and also sold some paintings and drew advertising posters to help make ends meet."

Look What I Stumbled Across (from 2004)!

Guess in what Chassidus does the laid-back American Rebbe wear a tie, drive his own car and the Mechitzos are large windows with two-way mirrors? It's 100% Kosher.

Click here to find out.

Wikipedia Jewish Bio of the Day: Maharal Z'TL

Tivall Moves to Czech Republic, Local Jews Hope to Grow

JTA:

"The ambitious leaders of the tiny Jewish community in the Czech town of Teplice sat around the table with government officials earlier this month, toasting the country’s first government-assisted investment deal with Israel.

Tivall, a member of Israel’s Osem Group, has agreed to set up a $30 million factory in the Teplice area, its only production plant in Europe, which will make its trademark vegetarian products such as pasta and soya.

The factory, the first such Israeli venture attracted by the Czech government’s investment incentive program, will create 550 jobs over several years.

The commercial success was celebrated in a lush and leafy suburb lined with luxurious villas at the Jewish community headquarters — the only Jewish building in Teplice not destroyed by the Nazis — which reopened in 2004 following a major restoration...

“In the region of Usti where we are right now, unemployment is the worst in the country, more than 20 percent. Anyone having even a remote connection with decreasing that number will only be viewed in a positive light,” Michael Lichtenstein, vice president of the Teplice Jewish Community, said during a break from schmoozing with regional authorities. “Worries about Jewish stereotypes and business? Wrong country.”

The Jewish community headquarters is a thriving enterprise, housing the only café in a residential district as well as a shop selling souvenirs and kosher goodies. In 1937, Teplice had 6,500 Jews — making it the second-largest Jewish community in what was then Czechoslovakia — and one of the largest synagogues in Europe. Now there are only 124 Jews in the town, three-quarters of them age 65 and older.

Local Jewish leaders hope Israeli business will foster Jewish growth in Teplice..."

Google Stats: Israelis Search "Dogs", "Harry Potter" and "Pokemon", "Chanuka" is Only 12th

See here for yourself. The latest stats are from November.

300,000 Attend Rav Kaduri's Funeral

Jerusalem Post:

"Famed Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri was laid to rest at Har Hamenuchos in Givat Shaul late Sunday afternoon.

Over 300,000 people, including rabbis and public figures, took part in the funeral procession... Among those who eulogized Kaduri were Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and President Moshe Katsav. Former foreign minister Silvan Shalom and his wife Judy were also in attendance.

Magen David Adom provided 10 ambulances and 22 motorbikes to secure the funeral procession, and had also positioned a number of ambulances throughout the city to minimize response time in light of the heavy traffic congestion caused by the procession.

Drivers are advised that the following Jerusalem streets have been closed to traffic: Yehezkel, Yirmiyahu, Weizmann, Malkhei Israel, Torah Mezion, HaZvi, Ben Gurion, Admiyahu HaCohen, David, Fishel, David Hazan, and Yissa Bracha, Israel Radio reported.

Kaduri passed away Saturday evening due to complications caused by pneumonia. Nobody knows precisely how old Kaduri was at the time of his death at Bikur Holim Hospital in Jerusalem. Estimates range between 106 and 115.

Legend has it that when Kaduri was 16 years old, Rabbi Yosef Haim, known as the Ben Ish Chai, one of the most influential Sephardi rabbis of the 19th century, blessed Kaduri with a long life.

Kaduri came to Israel from Baghdad at age 17 and studied under several legendary kabbalists, including Rabbi Yehuda Petaya, author of Beit Lechem Yehuda, and Rabbi Efraim Cohen, head of a group of kabbalists who studied at Porat Yosef Yeshiva. Other rabbis included in that study group were Rabbi Ezra Atia, head of Porat Yosef, Rabbi Mansour Ben-Shimon and Rabbi Salman Eliyahu, father of former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.

Kaduri later studied at Rabbi Yehuda Hadaya's Yeshivat Beit El in Jerusalem's Makor Baruch neighborhood. Rabbi Shmuel Darzi, one of Kaduri's last students and study partners passed away in January. Darzi was in his eighties...

Even in the Sephardi yeshiva world, rabbis such as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef discounted Kaduri's ability to work miracles. Nevertheless, few doubted Kaduri's righteousness and vast knowledge of both conventional and more esoteric Jewish thought and law. For most of his life Kaduri was unknown to the general public. He led a modest life of study and prayer and worked as a bookbinder. During the past decade and a half he served as the head of Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Bukharan quarter..."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Czech Jewish Community Experiences Rebirth

Radio Prague:

"Prague's historic Jewish Town is the best preserved complex of Jewish monuments in Europe. But rather than a centre of a vibrant religious and community life, it was hardly more than an outdoor museum during the decades of communism.

"During the communist regime it was very difficult to live a Jewish life because the Jewish community was absolutely controlled by the secret police and at the same time there were no books in Hebrew, there was no Jewish education. Any publication in Hebrew was immediately confiscated on the border, people were interrogated under different pretext, so of course, to publicly manifest any 'Jewishness' was very dangerous and it caused the people who dared to do it serious problems."

Leo Pavlat is the director of the Prague Jewish Museum. Around 1989, the average age in the Jewish community in Prague was well over sixty. So understandably, the community had very specific priorities.

"Of course, the first goal was to help survivors of the Holocaust. So the Jewish community of Prague built two homes for these people. Of course, it's not enough, so other people have been helped in terms of money if there was need and also in terms of medicines. The Jewish community was helpful in negotiations about compensation for Jewish survivors with international organisations."

Since the 1990s, many abandoned synagogues, cemeteries and other monuments have been renovated around the country, often with the help of the local authorities. The community could finally look ahead and devote more attention to its young members. Since 1997, a Jewish kindergarten, elementary school and high school have been established.

The average age in the community has been dropping steadily and there is now also an active youth organisation. Daniel Kolsky is the chairman.

"Basically, we are trying to organise activities like all other youth organisations do and especially we organise all kinds of religious, social and cultural activities, like celebrations of Jewish festivals and holidays. One of the most successful programmes we do is an annual seminar for people from all around the Czech Republic and also we invite people from Slovakia and other neighbouring countries...

Over the last year and a half rows within the Prague Jewish Community made headlines several times. While the divisions are a cause for concern for many of its members, they could be seen as a sign that the community, albeit small, is again very much alive."

14 Prisoners Elected to Palestinian Parliament

What a joke!

DPA:

"Some 14 newly-elected members of the new Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) will be absent when the chamber meets for the first time as they are sitting in Israeli jails, the Jerusalem Post daily reported Friday.

One inmate of a Palestinian jail was also elected, the daily said, quoting figures released by the Mandela Institute for Human Rights prisoner advocacy group.

Of the 9,000 Palestinians in Israel jails, 31 stood for election in Wednesday's poll, which saw a decisive won by the Islamic Hamas movement.

The most famous prisoner-legislator is Marwan Barghouti, who was elected at the head of the electoral list presented by the outgoing ruling Fatah movement. Barghouti, the activist most closely identified with the Palestinian uprising, is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison after being found guilty of masterminding attacks which killed five Israelis.

Hamas West Bank head Sheikh Hassan Yousef was another of those elected - to represent Ramallah - while sitting in an Israeli prison, while the number two on the Fatah list, Abu Ali Yatta, was also elected to the PLC despite being a prisoner."

Glass of Milk Saved Nazi Victim

BBC:

"Eva Clarke, 60, was born at Mauthausen camp in Nazi-run Austria in April 1945, three days before it was liberated. Yet her mother, Anna Bergman, 88, may not have lived to deliver her daughter without the kindness of a stranger. During a train journey that lasted three weeks, a farmer gave her a glass of milk that may have saved two lives.

The story of what happened that day has been passed down the family and Eva, who was brought up in Wales but now lives in Cambridgeshire, uses it when she gives talks on the Holocaust to school children up to 50 times a year.

Her mother Anna, who is Czech, was being transported across Europe by rail to Mauthausen, a slave labour camp with its own gas chambers. Heavily pregnant, she was hungry and dehydrated when the train stopped for a while and she was allowed to get down and stand nearby. Eva said: "There was one stranger who offered her a glass of milk when she was absolutely starved and weighed five stone and looked like a skeleton."

"She was put on this coal truck. She was on that train for three weeks. The train stopped and when the farmer walked by, he saw her. He was just stunned at the condition she was in."
As the farmer offered Ms Bergman a glass of milk but, her daughter said, nearby was a Nazi officer guarding the train who had a whip.

"He raised this whip to shoulder height as if to beat my mother if she accepted the glass of milk, but he didn't. He didn't say anything he just lowered his arm and let her have the glass of milk. At that moment, he was also compassionate. She maintains that might have saved her life. Who knows, perhaps it did."

Eva herself weighed 3lbs. She did not move and she did not cry as she was wrapped in newspaper to protect her from the cold. Unknown to mother Anna, her husband, Bernd Mathau, had been killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz months earlier and her parents, siblings and cousins had all died in the Holocaust...

Eva said: "Individuals can make a difference. There were a lot of them who did resist, save people, were kind, during the war. "We have to be grateful, we have to honour them."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

AP

Led by Israel's Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Israeli cabinet visits the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial during a special cabinet meeting to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Jerusalem.

SPECIAL: North West London Unites in Torah!

Yated Ne'eman:

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet how many words does it take to paint a picture? As the sights and sounds of the joint North West London Daf Yomi Siyum continue to spin around in my head, I still struggle to find an answer.

Last Wednesday night (18 Teves) saw the coming together of Daf Yomi Shiurim from Golders Green, Hendon and Edgware en masse. Participants, maggidei shiurim and rabbonim from all streams were present. It was achdus in all its splendor.

Entering the Hasmonean Boys School, I found the main hall to be already packed to capacity. A ma'ariv was just finishing as we took our seats. Rows of chairs were laid out to accommodate the participants who numbered over 700. Each chair was equipped with a small box providing sandwiches, cake, and a small bottle of grape juice.

The Siyum began with an introductory address by the evening's chairman, Reb Mendi Bude, maggid shiur of the Yungerleit's Daf Yomi at the Beis Shmuel Beis Hamedrash. Welcoming all the rabbonim, maggidei shiurim and lomdei hadaf, he commented on the tremendous kvod HaTorah and kvod Shomayim this event afforded. He also mentioned a special thank you to all the ladies who sacrificed their own time to allow their husbands to attend the Daf.

HaRav Y. Hager and HaRav Y. Royde recited Tehillim, after which HaRav S. Weingarten was honored with the Hadran. Upon completing the final lines of Eruvin the music started and the satisfaction that comes with completion and achievement washed over us. It was indeed a feeling of great pride to have completed a masechta of this magnitude, one of the three most difficult masechtos in Shas.

After this short interval, HaRav A. Bassous began the first mishnah of Maseches Pesochim. Both he and HaRav Weingarten before him echoed the thoughts of all those present: the evening provided a perfect forum for achdus. Looking around the hall, I saw that this was indeed the case. The completion of maseches Eruvin had brought everyone together. All had joined hands for the glory of Torah.

Dayan Abrahams was the evening's guest speaker. In an animated and lively fashion that is all his own, he explained how daily learning of Torah changes a person's view of the world. When a person dedicates himself, day-in and day-out, to learning Torah, it provides him with a whole new perspective on life. The Daf Yomi gives Yidden this opportunity — to gain an insight in how to accurately view the world and live like a Yid. The Dayan finished his droshoh to thunderous applause.

There was now just one more speaker left. The hour was already late, but nobody left the hall. In an atmosphere tense with anticipation Rav Dovid Halpern introduced the guest of honor, the Admor of Sanz. As he rose to speak a hush fell across the hall. Some in the audience had heard him speak before; others hadn't. You couldn't tell the difference.

The Rebbe proceeded to deliver words of chizuk that quite literally mesmerized us. He forged a trail through Shas, Rishonim and Acharonim to do what is so vital to all Jews: inspire them anew in their Yiddishkeit. He spoke of how a Yid must live with a simchah in ruchniyus, with a thirst for Torah and mitzvos. He stressed that the only guard in today's world of heavy nisyonos was for children to witness their parents enjoying Yiddishkeit, enjoying Torah.

It was as if a new and fresh spirit permeated our souls. We hung onto his every word. He lifted us up and painted that brighter picture so many of us spend so much time looking for. He spoke for over an hour, yet it seemed like it was all over in five minutes. The resounding shkoiach he received at the end reflected exactly the audience's appreciation of his message.

Leaving the hall at the end of the Siyum I found myself standing next the sole organizer of this momentous event. R' Chaim Mordche Curtis, known to most of us as Mark, is owed a tremendous debt of gratitude for this fantastic achievement. May this zchus stand him in good stead for many years to come.

In reaching the end of this article I find myself asking the same question I started out with: how do words do justice to an event of this caliber? How can one, in mere sentences and paragraphs, capture the essence of the achdus that took place that night?

The truth is I do not know. In fact, perhaps they can't. Perhaps they can only provide a mere glimpse of this wonderful occasion. But there is one thing I do know. The evening might have ended after only a few hours, but its memory and, more importantly, its message, remained with us all long into the night."

Wikipedia Jewish Bio of the Day: Maharsha Z'TL

Backlash Greets Kosher Food in Belarus

JTA:

"The production of a new Kosher bread in a city in Belarus sparked a string of anti-Semitic newspaper articles.

An editorial in the Mogilev Register, a local daily, warned those of the Russian Orthodox faith to keep away from kosher “products in the same way they keep away from idol sacrifice,” claiming that the blood of sacrificed animals is used in kosher rituals.

It also claimed that the bakery’s management, in its drive for profit, is turning the city into a Jewish community [!?], the Russian AEN news agency reported. An article in the Evening Mogilev, another daily, said the act of making something kosher is “sacrilegious and anti-Christian.”

Reform Temples Using New Chumash With RASHI, RASHBAM, IBN EZRA, RAMBAN, ABARBANEL and SFORNO

Returning to the true Mesorah?

Forward:

"As the yearly Torah cycle reached the book of Shemos this month, Rabbi Michael Holzman tried out what qualifies these days as a more radical approach: He is directing his Reform students to an all-medieval lineup of Judaism's most revered biblical commentators.

At a class held last week at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, a Reform synagogue in Philadelphia, Holzman — along with Orthodox and Reconstructionist colleagues — introduced 100 students to "The Commentators' Bible," an annotated edition of Shemos released last September by the Jewish Publication Society.

The new commentary relies predominantly on four medieval rabbis — Rashi, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra and Nachmanides... plus additional commentary from a half-dozen other medieval scholars, including Abarbanel and Sforno.

While such medieval luminaries commonly are required reading in Orthodox day schools and yeshivas, they remain relatively esoteric figures to many Reform and Conservative congregants. The decision to use the new commentary comes at a time of growing interest in Torah study, especially the study of traditional commentators, according to Holzman.

Holzman said he saw a "definite upsurge of interest in learning of all kinds, and the traditional sources are as much a source of interest as anything else... I have congregants who turn to me and say, 'We'd love to study Talmud.' I don't think you saw that a generation ago, " he said...

The new commentary, edited by Michael Carasik, a professor of biblical Hebrew at the University of Pennsylvania, offers readers an unfiltered look at the medieval commentators...

"It's not as if the more Orthodox are going to like Rashi and the Reform people are going to like Ibn Ezra because he says that 12 verses in the Torah weren't written by Moses. That's not how it works out..."

JPS printed 2,500 copies for its initial print-run — an average printing for the publisher — and has sold about three-quarters of its inventory. By comparison, Marc Zvi Brettler's "How To Read the Bible," which JPS released in this past October, sold 4,000 copies within a few months and was considered a blockbuster...

Carasik said that the project has been the fulfillment of a promise he made after attending a 1987 lecture given by Rabbi David Hartman, an Orthodox theologian who moved to Israel from Canada in 1971. Carasik, poised to begin his doctorate in Bible study at Brandeis University, was struck by Hartman's "four-point plan for revivifying Judaism in America."

"I don't remember what the first three points were because the fourth point was that he wanted Jews to start studying Torah again," Carasik said [10 points for originality!].

"He got very excited," the UFP professor recalled, "and he said, 'I want Jews riding on the bus to be saying to each other, "Well, Rashi says..."' When he said that, I said, 'Okay, sign me up. I'll help you with that one.'"

Palm Beach Jewish Fed Gets Record $8,550,000 Gift

Palm Beach Post:

"In 1940, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel, three young brothers from Cleveland, bought their uncle's failing automotive supply company for $900. In 1996, they sold the business, Premier Industrial Corp., for $2.8 billion.

Last week, the longtime philanthropists gave $8.55 million to the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, the largest donation in its 40-year history.

"We hope to create an agent of change by supporting projects benefiting both the Jewish community and the entire Palm Beach County local community," said Morton Mandel, a Palm Beach resident. His brother, Joseph, also has a home in Palm Beach. Brother Jack lives in Cleveland.

"My brothers and I believe that a donor can often bring a combination of financial and human capital," Mandel said. "Also, our personal engagement in our project adds meaning to our lives." By providing hard-to-find auto parts, the Mandel brothers built the company into a business with a market value close to $3 billion at its peak and put themselves on the Forbes 400 list in 1988.

Three years ago, they established the Mandel Center for Excellence in Leadership at the federation, dedicated to nurturing Jewish leaders. Their latest gift will be used to establish a philanthropic fund in support of educational programs in Palm Beach County and Israel."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

$5m Gold Train Compensation

Budapest Sun:

"The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities has begun talks to decide how best to distribute $5 million of settlement money from the United States government. The money was awarded to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust as a group, in compensation for property lost on the "Gold Train."

The story dates back to May 1945, when a train was seized by the American Army in Werfen, Austria, containing looted valuables and being transported out of Hungary by members of the pro-Nazi Hungarian government in an attempt to escape the advancing Soviet Army.

This train - carrying gold, jewelry, art and other treasures confiscated from Hungarian Jewry -became known as the 'Gold Train'. The battle for compensation has been underway almost since then, as leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community knew before the end of 1945 that US troops had intercepted the train.

On Dec 20, 1945, the Temporary Managing Committee of the Central Bureau of Hungarian Jews sent a letter acknowledging that fact to the US Legation in Budapest. The US government agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $25.5 million in compensation in the fall of 2005. Of this, $21.2 million will be distributed amongst other charity organizations working to aid Hungarian Holocaust survivors, mainly in Israel, the US and Canada.

An apology was also issued by the US government on behalf of the soldiers that were in Austria in 1945.

How the $5 million is to be distributed in Hungary will be decided upon by a committee formed of members of the Federation and from three other organizations concerned with victims of the Holocaust. There are approximately 62,000 Hungarian Holocaust survivors dispersed around the world today.

Applicants are limited to Holocaust survivors that were living in Hungary at the time of the "Gold Train" and are resident in Hungary now. The first 35 applications were reviewed last Tuesday (Jan 17).

Individual Holocaust survivors will not receive cash in hand, although grants may be awarded to improve living standards or to support home help and healthcare."

Way too little, and as always, too late.

Israel Considering V-22 Choppers - with a Range of 1000km and a Cost of $70m


Janes:

"The Israel Air Force is seriously considering procurement of Bell/ Boeing V-22 Osprey multimission tiltrotor aircraft, defence sources have told JDW. The IAF is preparing to issue a request for information in the coming months and is sending its Chief of Air Directorate for Helicopters, Brigadier General 'Tamir', to fly the aircraft in the US.

Offering a range greater than 1,000 km and a speed of 275 kt - much faster than most helicopters - the V-22 is being considered by the IAF for special forces missions as well as search and rescue. "It could provide new dimensions to IAF capabilities, especially now that Israel is facing a distant developing threat from Iran," an industry source told JDW. "With the V-22's air-to-air refuelling capability, the range could even be further extended, providing the IAF with new deterrent capabilities."

However, its unit cost, estimated at $70 million, might impede such a procurement. "The Osprey is indeed an expensive platform, but it could relieve the IAF from the need to upgrade all of its Hercules and Sea Stallion fleet and [allow it to] decommission some of them," said the industry source."

Holocaust Survivor Dies at 86

Florida Today:

"Holocaust survivor Leo Bernstein, 86, loved bridge and he loved getting a pension from Germany as part of reparations for its treatment of Jews during World War II.

"He enjoyed that check. He didn't need the money," said friend and bridge partner Harold Phillips, a retired computer consultant.

One of a dwindling number of World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors, Bernstein died Sunday of a heart ailment. "His health had been bad for the last year or so, but that didn't slow him down," Phillips said...

Born in Lithuania, Bernstein became a civil engineer and was imprisoned by the Nazis at Dachau from age 22 to 26. He was the youngest of six children. In the camp, Bernstein once risked his life by stealing a cup of sugar to feed a sick friend.

After being freed by General George Patton's Third Army, Bernstein weighed 98 pounds. After liberation, he was reunited in Germany with an older brother, who had emigrated to the U.S. and joined the Army.

Because he spoke German, he was chosen to serve as a translator at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. And despite his horrific experience during the war, Bernstein never seemed bitter or broken."He was a very giving person," Phillips said. "Always cheerful. Never complained about anything."

Bernstein was a practiced and often-requested lecturer on the Holocaust... "He was very caring, a very gentle man... his first priority was to take care of his family."

In Brevard, where he moved in the 1950s, Bernstein became a real estate developer and appraiser. A grandfather of eight, he was active in his community, synagogue and in politics.

"Time has cured my wounds," Bernstein told an interviewer in 2002. "My belief is that everybody has so much bad luck and good luck in his life and I have definitely used up my bad luck, and the rest of my life is all good luck."

Israel Navy Building Underwater Fence

Says Globes:

"Defense News reports that the Israel Navy is building a marine fence off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The fence is part of a project for strengthening Israel’s coastal defense system against infiltration by terrorists and smugglers.

The magazine said the fence, which consisted of an above water and below water barrier, was designed to prevent penetration by boats. Some of it resembles a floating grid. It is fixed in place at a depth of 3-10 meters, starts one kilometer from the beach, and extends from there in the direction of the sea.

The barrier is being installed in two stages. The first stage began at the end of May 2005 and ended several months later, more or less simultaneously with Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip. A wall of 150 meter-long steel plates was positioned three meters deep.

An Israel Navy source told “Defense News” that work on the second stage was beginning now. This consists of a floating fence on steel poles at a depth of 10 meters, anchored to the sea bottom with concrete props. The cost of the entire project is estimated at less than $4 million.

”These floating grids are a kind of cage, which can absorb a great deal of energy from boats colliding with it,” a senior Israel Navy officer told “Defense News”, and added, “They can even stop boats traveling at 50 knots (92 kilometers per hour).”

An ingenious way to prevent weapons smuggling - but the terrorists will find other ways. Rachmono Litzlan.

Three Generations of Jewish Farmers

Canadian Jewish News:

"A third generation member of a Jewish family who came to Canada just prior to World War II is now helping run an internationally recognized dairy farm in Southern Ontario.

The family-owned farm, called Summitholm Holsteins, is an efficient and respected model for dairy farmers and Holstein breeders around the globe. It was established 59 years ago by a young couple, Joe and Minna Loewith, who had escaped with their families from the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia just before the Nazis invaded their homeland.

Today, two of Minna and Joe’s sons, Carl and David Loewith, run the farm, and a third generation has followed in their footsteps, as Carl’s son, Ben, has joined his father and uncle in the business.

The Loewiths offer some statistics that give an idea of the scope of their operation. They produce enough milk each day to last an average family 13 years, a total of four million litres a year. Their barn houses 350 cows, about 300 of which are milked three times a day for a per capita production of 40 litres per day – the Ontario average is 30 litres.

The farm now covers about 800 acres, of which 550 are owned and 250 rented, all dedicated to producing cattle feed. Cows are bred once a year, and some days, four or five are calving at the same time. Carl, David and Ben run the entire operation with the help of only one full-time employee and a few part-timers.

Joe and Minna Loewith’s story is a familiar one. Their families left Czechoslovakia in 1939, just a step ahead of Hitler’s invading army after Joe, who spoke German, saw a notice sent by the Nazis to the local police. Thirty-two members of Minna’s family left on the last commercial flight out of Prague, and seven others, including Joe, chartered a plane. They all ultimately sailed from Liverpool, and came to Canada to take advantage of the country’s immigration policy, which required that they spend five years working the land.

Joe, who had been a textile salesman in Europe, started his agricultural career as a farmhand earning $5 a month plus room and board. Minna, who was then 15, worked after school as a soda jerk at Woolworth’s in downtown Hamilton. They married in 1942 when she was 20 and he was 32. Five years later, they bought a dairy farm in Copetown from Joe’s sister and brother-in-law. The farmhouse was built in 1857.

“It was muddy and primitive, and I said, ‘I’ll never live there!’’’ says Minna, who had been accustomed to a more luxurious lifestyle at home, but it was all they could afford. Under their care, it became the model farm where she lived with her beloved Joe all his life, and where her children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren have grown up.

Joe died in 1998... Looking back, Minna recalls a wonderful life, with healthy children, and never feeling sorry for herself. “I loved it. I’d do it all over again.”

Carl and David are in great demand all over the world to speak on their methods. They have spoken in more than 20 different countries including Germany, Russia, Mexico, China and Japan. David was honoured as the outstanding young farmer of Canada in 1991, and both have held executive positions in many farm organizations. During last fall’s Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, several hundred visitors from as far away as India and Saudi Arabia were bused to the farm to observe its system.

David says Israel has the record for the highest production of milk per cow and has developed much of the equipment and technology used on dairy farms everywhere, including Summitholm.
The family gets up every morning at 4:15 a.m. to work and manage the huge operation, but have still found time to be involved in the Jewish community..."

Wikipedia Jewish Bio of the Day: Rav Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin Z'TL

Donetsk Jewish Community Braves the Cold

FJC:

"DONETSK, Ukraine – Although the cold snap being experienced in Ukraine has affected the daily routine of Donetsk residents, it has not stopped the activity of organizations operated by the local Jewish community. On weekdays, a minyan – ten and more men – continues to gather in the 'Beit Menachem Mendel' Synagogue. The shul is more beautiful than ever, covered with a layer of shining white snow.

The humanitarian campaign, which the Donetsk Jewish community launched in order to distribute shirts and warm jackets to less-fortunate community members and their relatives, has also not let up, with the need greater than ever in such extreme conditions.

The city's evening yeshivas and institutions of higher education have been operating according to their regular schedules. Jews continue to come out to study the Torah even despite the bitter weather. As far as youngsters are concerned, the 'Gan Menachem' Kindergarten is ensuring that all children are being safely and comfortably transported to and from their homes on every school day. Most other schools in Ukraine have temporarily shut down until temperatures rise.

Many people gathered in the Synagogue this past Friday evening in order to see Shabbat in. The next day, congregants attended Saturday prayers. This dedication is impressive, especially in the face of the poor weather and strong winds and the fact that using transport is not permitted on Shabbat."

Jews of the Wild West

Daily Breeze:

"The day before Wild Bill Hickok was gunned down in a Deadwood saloon, a man named Solomon Star ambled into town. The two never met, but Star would later serve as mayor of the scrappy South Dakota town.

That Star was Jewish was of little consequence to the people of Deadwood. Or to the citizens of towns around the Old West, where dozens of Jews served in elected office between the Civil War and the turn of the century.

Wearing a bowler hat, garters on his sleeves and a 120-year-old watch in his vest pocket, Lew Holzman pretended to be Star as he discussed the role of Jews in the Old West on Tuesday to a packed conference room...

It turns out there were many in frontier towns like Deadwood. "Half the businesses were owned, managed or run by Jews," said Holzman.

Jewish migration to North America started during the 1500s, long before the familiar influx of European immigrants arrived in Ellis Island. During the Spanish Inquisition, Jews were evicted from Spain, and many found their way to the New World.

"A lot of them wound up in New Mexico and California," Holzman said. "They were trying to get away from the central authority in Spain. "Many of them had to hide their religion, sometimes stealing away their Jewish symbols inside Christian statues.

"If you were noticed (observing the Jewish Sabbath) in Mexico, you could be burned," he said. Tuesday's talk was part of the library's monthly discussion series. But the popularity of the event took organizers by surprise. Chairs had to be brought into the small conference room to accommodate the more than 75 people who showed up.

During successive waves of immigration, Jews settled in Western towns, where they often thrived. "From 1880 to 1900, more than two dozen towns had Jewish mayors," Holzman said.

It wasn't until the turn of the century that sentiments began to change. "There wasn't much anti-Semitism before 1900," Holzman said. "When towns started, they knew the Jewish businessmen wanted the towns to thrive."

Museum at Former SS Headquarters to be Built

DPA:

"A museum documenting crimes of the Nazi SS will be built at the ruins of the Third Reich's secret police headquarters in Berlin based on designs of local architects, sources told DPA on Wednesday.

Berlin architects Heinle, Wischer und Partner plan to build the museum at the memorial to Nazi victims known as the Topography of Terror, the sources said. Located in central Berlin, the bombed out ruins of the former SS buildings have been excavated and preserved as a grim reminder of Third Reich crimes.

From 1933 to 1945 the SS leadership set up headquarters and based a notorious Gestapo prison at the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse site. SS leader Heinrich Himmler worked from the complex and this was where key decisions were made on persecuting political opponents, the "Germanization" of occupied territories in Poland and the Soviet Union, the murder of Soviet prisoners of war and the genocide of the European Jews.

It was also used to assemble the notorious Special Police Units (Einsatzgruppen) which helped carry out the murder of Jews and where the "Wannsee Conference", which agreed the final stages of the Holocaust, was planned."

'British Schindler' Remembers War, SAVED 669 JEWS


BBC:

"A man dubbed the "British Schindler" for his work saving Jewish children is to speak at a Holocaust memorial event. Sir Nicholas Winton was 29 when he smuggled 669 boys and girls, destined for concentration camps, out of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

He kept quiet about his work for 50 years until his wife found a scrapbook. The 96-year-old of Maidenhead, Berks, will be joined at the Reading Town Hall event on Wednesday by Vera Gissing, who was just 11 when he saved her...

She has co-written a biography and film about Sir Nicholas, who began his mission before the outbreak of war when he was invited to help refugees in Czechoslovakia.

After realising the danger that the imminent Nazi invasion posed, he worked to find British families willing to put up £50 to rescue the children and look after them until they were 17.
His efforts have been likened to the work of the world famous "saviour" of Jewish prisoners Oskar Schindler.

Sir Nicholas and Ms Gissing will both speak at Wednesday's event to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday...

Sir Nicholas was knighted by the Queen in March 2003 and a year earlier was finally reunited with hundreds of the children he saved - including Labour peer Lord Dubbs and film director Karel Reisz - at a gathering for 5,000 descendants of the "Winton children."

What a man!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Baby Boom In Borough Park

- Thank you to Hayom for informing me of this article -

NY1:

"The Department of Health found in 2004, the largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood welcomed more than 4500 babies, an average of almost 12 per day, by far the most in the city.

Statistics also show couples in Borough Park are marrying younger, and are having children quicker and more often than the average city couple. Borough Park's birth rate is nearly 24.5-per 1000 residents.

Bayside, Queens has seen the lowest birth rate of 6-per thousand residents."

Please Please Tell Me

If you like the new colour scheme (or not).

Ukrainian TV Unplugs Jewish Show

JTA:

"Ukrainian Jews are disappointed by the decision of Ukrainian state television to cancel its Jewish-themed weekly show. Reasons given for the show’s cancellation have been mixed. Many Jewish groups and the show’s producers said that the show’s criticism of a prominent public figure known for his anti-Semitism directly caused the show to be nixed. State television officials — and some Jewish figures as well — said the show suffered from a lack of quality.

“Mazel Tov” covered Jewish life in Ukraine and abroad, Jewish traditions, culture and issues of concern to the Jewish community. The only Jewish-themed show on Ukrainian state television, “Mazel Tov” lasted for five seasons, and was a successor to the country’s first Jewish television show, Yahad.

Vadim Rabinovich, president of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress and the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, told a news conference that the National Television Company of Ukraine, or NTKU, canceled the show because it was critical of Georgy Schokin. Schokin is the head of MAUP, a private Kiev university whose leaders triggered international condemnation for their repeated anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist statements...

State television management denied Rabinovich’s accusations, saying that the cancellation of the 20-minute show was due to its low ratings — and that some other shows were canceled alongside the Jewish one..."

NZ Dagger Auction 'Glorifies Nazi Regime'

Stuff.co.nz:

"The sale of Nazi daggers by a Christchurch auction house today glorifies a repugnant regime, the Jewish Council says.

But Watson's Specialist Auctioneers manager Barry Watson says the two daggers, embossed with Swastikas, are pieces of art that attract interest because of their historical significance. The daggers, one a Luftwaffe (German air force) officer's knife, may fetch about $1000 each tonight.

Last November, TradeMe banned sales of Nazi items on its website despite it being legal to do so in New Zealand. Watson said yesterday the daggers were made in Britain before the war and exported to Germany.

He had sold Nazi items before. They attracted interest mainly from war buffs. "There were a lot of soldiers who came back with things like Nazi flags.

"People are intrigued by things that are a work of art. I think they (the daggers) are works of art,[!?]" Watson said. The auction house had also sold Japanese military items..."

He's in it for the money and publicity.

Parshas Vaeira

Still wowed in wonderment of last week's stupendous PARSHA POTPOURRI , I am once again rejuvenated by his superhuman dedication to transcendental penmanship and empyrean Machshovo. Words fail me.

Study: 220 Israeli Firms Export Military Hardware

Ynetnews.com:

"A total of 220 licensed weapons-exporting companies currently operate across the world and sell various kinds of military equipment on behalf of the State of Israel, a study conducted by the University of Derby revealed...

Among the licensed sales agents are former politicians and well-known business figures, who receive a "CEO permit" to trade in weapons. The exported products include aircraft engines and engine parts, missiles, battleships, cannons, tanks, medical equipment for combat units and bulletproof vests.

According to estimations, the licensed agents' activities generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The study also reveals that many military attaches at Israeli embassies across the world are involved in weapon sales through Sibat, and some later become sales agents for large weapon companies or work as freelance agents...

In the past, Israel struck weapons deals with countries such as Ecuador, Mexico, Angola, Ghana, Togo, Liberia and Nigeria. In some of the transactions, the agents made tens of millions of dollars by acting as intermediaries..."

Untouched Nazi Bunker Found In France

UPI:

"A British man plans to allow the public to see a perfectly preserved German bunker he found untouched for 60 years in a French field.

Gary Sterne said he bought an World War II U.S. military map at a French garage sale, and followed it to the field near the coastal village of Grandcamp-Maisy. Walking through the field, he told The Mirror he felt concrete under his feet and discovered the bunker in 2002.
He bought the properties from local farmers and discovered an underground network that spans 20 acres.

Offices still contain books, maps and papers, radio equipment and reading glasses. In the cookhouse are knives, forks, crockery and a large stove, and bunks have boots and water bottles stacked beside them.

Sterne hasn't announced a date for when it will become a tourist attraction, the report said."

No Welcome for Jews Staying Near Hospital

Times Herald-Record:

"This is what I'm talking about," said Cathy Mills as she stood in her driveway across from Good Samaritan Hospital watching a young Hasidic man wearing a black suit and stovepipe hat walk briskly from the hospital into the house next door...

The stranger was Isaac Guttman from Kiryas Joel. He was nervous and hungry, but mostly nervous. His wife was at Good Samaritan Hospital about to give birth to their first child.
Inside the house, he paced in the living room. Minutes later, as if readying for a deep-water plunge, he drew a large breath, opened the door and started back to the hospital.

On Friday and Saturday, Guttman had - at no charge - free reign of the house, which is owned and operated by Bikur Cholim. The Monsey-based nonprofit group offers Orthodox Jews who are visiting family members at Good Samaritan a place to eat and sleep (and pace) during the Sabbath. Orthodox Jews are forbidden to drive during the Sabbath.

But Mills and her neighbors, along with village officials, call the yellow two-story house at 5 Hillcrest Road an illegal transient motel and say it should be shuttered. In response, Bikur Cholim has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming its religious rights are being violated...

Bikur Cholim, which operates similar homes at hospitals in Nyack and Westchester Medical Center, had operated a Shabbos house a few streets over for years without any complaints or interference from the village...

"This is a religious institution that is used on the Sabbath and on about 10 holy days per year," said Rabbi Simon Lauber, CEO of Bikur Cholim.

Dr. Michael Lippe, director of emergency services at Good Samaritan, told the village Zoning Board that without a place to stay on the Sabbath, he feared Orthodox Jews might forgo coming to the hospital if it means breaking Sabbath laws..."

Wikipedia Jewish Bio of the Day: Rav Yosef Albo Z'TL

Torah Targum for Indian Jews Nearly Complete

Arutz Sheva:

Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based group that assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people, last week published a translation of Sefer Shemos into Mizo, one of the main languages spoken by the B'nei Menashe living in Mizoram, India.

"Until now, the B'nei Menashe have had to rely on incomplete or flawed translations of the Torah," said Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund. "Now, at last, they will have a complete translation that was carried out directly from the original Hebrew by a team of Jewish scholars living in Israel." All of the organization's work is in accordance with Jewish law and is under the guidance and supervision of Israel's Chief Rabbinate.

The B'nei Menashe claim descent from the lost tribe of Menashe, who were exiled from the Land of Israel by the Assyrians over 2,700 years ago. Some 800 B'nei Menashe have made Aliyah to Israel in recent years, with another 7,000 still waiting in India to do so."

Leader of Mountain Jews: “Jews Have Never Been Oppressed in Azerbaijan”

Regnum:

"The history of Jews living in Azerbaijan spans about three thousand years, during which they have never been subjected to oppression. At the present moment over 30,000 Jews live in Azerbaijan [!?], leader of the Religious Community of Mountain Jews Semyon Iikhilov told Turan news agency.

According to him, “only in the Soviet times was there an attempt to assimilate the people by presenting the Mountain Jews as Tats, but it was the Communist policy and the Azerbaijani people have, of course, nothing in common with it.”

After the collapse of the USSR, in Azerbaijan schools for Jews were opened. At the expense of the Israeli government and other international Jewish organizations, teachers were sent to Azerbaijan. At the moment there are two such schools in Baku; the pupils there are taught in three languages: Hebrew, Russian and English. According to Iikhilov, today Jews live mostly in Baku, Guba, Gabala, Jalilabad. Only 5% in the community are European and Georgian Jews, the rest are Mountain Jews.

Semyon Iikhilov stressed that Jews in the whole world know that Azerbaijani is “one of few countries where their compatriots have never been oppressed in their nationality.” He noted that over 20% of Mountain Jews graduated from schools and high schools in the Azerbaijani language. Newspapers and magazines sponsored by international Jewish organizations are published in Azerbaijan."

Hundreds of Bukharians Plan to Move to Israel

JTA:

"An entire community of Bukharian Jews plans to emigrate from the United States to Israel.
Rabbi Michael Borochov, a leader of the New York community, which hails from Uzbekistan, was quoted as saying Tuesday that hundreds of his coreligionists were in talks with the Jewish Agency for Israel about moving en masse to Beit Shemesh.

“The community understands that it is important to settle in Israel,” Borochov told Ma’ariv. “We want to bring all of the Bukharians from New York. If the government gives us support and benefits, I am certain that everyone will immigrate to Israel.” The Jewish Agency confirmed that talks were under way."

Netanyahu's Frum Daughter Gets Married

JTA:

"Noa Haran, 27, the former Israeli prime minister’s daughter from a previous marriage, tied the knot Monday with Daniel Rot, an Orthodox businessman, in the Jerusalem suburbs. Netanyahu attended the ceremony with his current wife, Sara, and some 300 guests.

The bride, who became Orthodox as an adult, was born to Netanyahu during his previous marriage to Micki Haran, now director-general of Israel’s Environment Ministry. Officiating at the wedding was the former Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Yisrael Meir Lau."

Israel to Establish Direct Air Links to Vietnam

DPA:

"Hanoi - Vietnam is to sign an aviation agreement with Israel on Wednesday, opening up direct flights for the first time, an official said Tuesday. The pact could open the way for Vietnam to tap into Israel's tourism market, which sends some 100,000 visitors to Thailand each year but only 7,000 to nearby Vietnam, according to Israeli statistics.

Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Ben-Matityahu is scheduled to sign the agreement with Nguyen Tien Sam, Vietnam's director of civil aviation. "Israeli airlines are likely to be able to open direct flights to Vietnam soon after the pact is signed because they already fly directly to Bangkok," said Pham Vu Hien, deputy director of Vietnam's aviation administration.

However, he said, "It might take a while for Vietnam Airlines to open direct flights to Israel."
Vietnam established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1993 after decades of Cold War opposition. Two-way trade has more than tripled between the two countries since 2000, topping 75 million dollars last year."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Police, Counter-Demonstrators Outnumber Neo-Nazis at Rally

The Olympian:

"Scores of counter-demonstrators — and a dozen or so police officers — easily outnumbered eight neo-Nazis who rallied in a parking lot at Fourth Avenue and Bethel Street this afternoon...

Justin Boyer, Seattle unit leader of the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Movement said he was happy with the group’s turnout after two weeks of organizing..."

Absolutely sickening. Why does America allow these perveted, low life, scum of the earth animals any freedom at all?

Iran Could Have Nukes THIS YEAR...

IMRA:

"Iran has acquired sufficient technology and equipment to produce nuclear weapons in 2006, a report said. The report, published by the U.S. Army War College and financed by the Defense Department, asserted that Iran has virtually completed the nuclear fuel cycle and was ready to assemble weapons. It also said Iran could reach nuclear weapons capability as early as 2006.

"The truth is that Iran soon can and will get a bomb option," the report, entitled "Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran," said. "All Iranian engineers need is a bit more time: 1 to 4 years at most."

The report, released in late 2005, differed significantly from CIA and State Department estimates on Iran's nuclear program. The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Iran would need another decade to produce nuclear weapons."

Just Remember...

Your comments and feedback make it all worth it.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC FEATURES CHABAD

National Geographic:

"To outsiders, Chabad-Lubavitch Jews with their black fedoras and symbolic trappings can look very strange. But for onetime outsider Sheila Bar-Levav, they changed her life.

Raised Catholic, Bar-Levav converted to Judaism, her husband's religion. She enrolled their children in a preschool in New York run by Lubavitch Rabbi Aaron Raskin and his wife, Shternie. Because of their influence, Bar-Levav and her husband are now observant Jews—a transformation that embodies the Raskins' life's work. Believing that a holier world will hasten the Messiah's coming, Rabbi Raskin speaks passionately about bringing Jews back to their faith: "We have to renew that spark."

The late Lubavitch rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson lit that fuse for thousands. A small, vocal faction of Lubavitchers believe that Schneerson is the Messiah and revere him as such. But most simply honor the memory of the man who helped energize a religion devastated by Hitler and Stalin.

Born in Ukraine in 1902, Schneerson arrived in the United States in 1941, devout and driven. He belonged to the Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch group—Chabad from the Hebrew words for wisdom, comprehension, and knowledge; Lubavitch for the Russian town where the movement was based in the late 1700s.

Now headquartered in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the group was relatively small and little known when Schneerson became rebbe in 1951. During his 43-year tenure he pioneered a system of shluchim, or emissaries, charged with going out into the world to open Chabad centers, spreading knowledge of the Torah and Judaism. Some feared that the Lubavitch movement would dwindle after the rebbe's death in 1994. But today there are more than 3,000 centers in 70 countries—nearly half of them founded after Schneerson's death."

LUBAVITCH VIDEOS HERE

Your feedback is welcome - but please try not to bash Lubavitch just for the Moshiach thing... For the record, I am not Lubavitch and have little Shaichus with them.

Wikipedia Jewish Bio of the Day: The Satmar Rov Z'TL

New Jewish Community Center Opens in Kazakhstan

FJC:

"ALMATY, Kazakhstan – In the past few years, more and more people have been returning to their Jewish roots in this largest city in the country with 1.2 million residents and an estimated 15,000 Jews. The only existing full-fledged Jewish Community Center in the region happens to be located far from the city's center and has already become so popular that it is running over-capacity.

It is for this reason that the Jewish community of Almaty has launched yet another institution – a Chabad Jewish Community center which rounds out a series of other Jewish institutions in this Kazakhstan city. Here, there already exists the Ohr Avner Chabad Day School and Kindergarten, a Synagogue, a dormitory for children studying at the Jewish school from outlying settlements, and offices of the local Jewish community.

"From now on, Jews living in the center of Almaty will have a home," explained Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gershovich, a Chabad Lubavitch representative serving in the region. "Here, Jews will be able to approach the community with any question, whether it is of a religious or social character," added Rabbi Gershovich.

This week, the Jewish community of Almaty also announced that it would soon be launching a new kosher restaurant on the new premises, the opening of which has been a long awaited event for members of the local Jewish community, a member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS."

Great news, but again, always Chabad. There are many other organisations, such as the Vaad l'Hatzolas Nidchei Yisrael, operating in the former USSR - whose monumentous recent trip led by Harav Mattisyahu Salomon Shlita was beautifully presented in the Hamodia - and they support a network of non-Chasidic schools (and a proper Yeshiva!) all around the region.

Holocaust Survivor to Address German Parliament

DPA:

"A Holocaust survivor will address Germany's parliament on Friday marking the annual memorial day for victims of the Nazi Third Reich, the federal assembly said in a statement.

Enrst Cramer, a writer and journalist who survived the Buchenwald concentration camp, will make this year's keynote speech in the Bundestag, the statement said.

Cramer, who was a Jewish youth group leader in Germany during the 1930s, managed to flee to the United States in 1939 on the eve of World War II.

He returned to Germany after the war and worked as a newspaper publisher and became a staunch backer of German-Jewish reconciliation.

The Bundestag has since 1996 held an annual day of remembrance for Nazi victims on January 27 which was the date in 1945 that Soviet Red Army troops liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp."

I'm sure that this Yid suffered greatly and perhaps lost many family members to the Nazis Y'MS, but how is he a "Holocaust survivor" if he left in 1939? Sadly, the real survivors are perhaps too old and frail to attend these memorials nowadays.

Jerusalem Losing Jewish [Not "Zionist!] Majority

Jerusalem Post:

"Jerusalem is fast losing its Jewish majority, and has already lost its Zionist majority [!?], Jerusalem opposition leader Nir Barkat said Monday.

The secular Jerusalem opposition leader said in an address at the Herzliya Conference that 46% of the city's residents are Zionist, another 20% are haredi and the remaining 34% are Arab residents.

Barkat, a self-made hi-tech millionaire who was recently appointed to head Kadima's Jerusalem election campaign, noted that the government had already adjusted its long-stated goal to maintain a 70 percent Jewish majority in the city, with the government now accepting a 60 percent Jewish majority in the capital by 2020.

Two-thirds of Jerusalem's 700,000 residents are Jewish, and the remaining 34% are Arab. A recent study carried out by prominent Hebrew University demographer Prof. Sergio Della Pergola predicts that if the situation - and Jerusalem's borders - remains unchanged, only 60 percent of Jerusalem's residents will be Jewish by 2020, with the remaining 40 percent Arab, while another survey found that the number of Jewish and Arabs living in the city will reach parity in a quarter century...

Barkat's remarks come as record number of Jewish residents are leaving the capital to suburban communities for better quality of life. The number of Jewish residents of Jerusalem who left the city in 2004 was the largest since the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. 18,100 Jewish residents left the capital in 2004, up from 13,300 who quit the city the year before, according to the annual city statistics released last year by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

At the same time, 11,400 Jews moved to the city in 2004, up from 8,200 the year before, the statistics showed, leaving the overall 2004 migration level at 6,700 residents, similar to recent years...

The primary reasons cited by people who have left the Jerusalem in years past are better job opportunities and more affordable housing available outside the city.

Over the last five years, the suburban Jerusalem communities of Beit Shemesh, Beitar Ilit, Ma'ale Adumim, Modiin Ilit, Mevasseret Zion and Givat Ze'ev attracted the largest number of former Jerusalem residents, the survey found."

Yerushalayim is definately getting Frummer. Then again, so is the whole of Eretz Yisrael. By the way, what is Zionist here defined as? Does that mean secular, Modern, Christian?