21st century anti-Semitism

From columnist Melanie Philips:

On Holocaust Memorial day, Sky’s Adam Boulton three times asks Britain’s Chief Rabbi if Israel’s policies have anything to do with causing antisemitism. No, Adam: it’s the Big Lie reporting of Israel by media outlets like Sky News, painting Israel utterly falsely as brutal and illegal occupiers and inhuman child-killers, which has helped foment this resurgence of open Jew-hatred in Britain and the west.

Indeed, images of Palestinians in the rubble of Gaza were shown even while the Chief Rabbi was talking, under the item’s rubric of “Auschwitz remembered”. Vile, and vicious.

A NYC councilman calls out the anti-Semitism of the BDS movement

Greenfield

Background: The NYC council is a democratically elected body of local government and is considered one of the most liberal and progressive in the country. Council members have been under pressure from BDS activists to boycott a planned trip to Israel. The council was discussing a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz when anti-Israel activists disrupted the proceedings with shouts and protest, claiming later that they “shut down the meeting”. A group called NYC2Palestine that is an umbrella organization of groups including Occupy Wall Street and Jewish Voice for Peace took responsibility for the protest. Councilman Greenfield is the grandson of Holocaust survivors and made these remarks afterwards.

Speech by Councilman Greenfield:
Thank you Madam. You know I’ve waited my turn here, I followed protocol in the NYC Council and haven’t spoken out because I respect this chamber. I have to tell you that I’m still shaken to my core, I’m upset, I’m angry. But I’ll tell you honestly I’m actually somewhat pleased at what we saw here today. If you’re wondering why I’m saying that it’s because for the last few weeks we’ve heard from people who’ve said “Oh we don’t dislike Jews, we only dislike the state of Israel. We have no problem with Jews, we simply don’t want you to go to Israel”. But we know that’s not really at the core of what they were saying and today they proved it. While we were discussing a resolution regarding the murder of 1.1 million human beings; I will point out that 90% were Jewish but the other 10% were political dissidents, they were Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were gays. Those were the people who were being killed together in Auschwitz-Birkenau. While we were discussing that, they had the nerve, the chutzpah, the temerity to unfurl a Palestinian flag and to yell at us while we were discussing that. And so the reason I am pleased is because we can stop pretending that this is about Israel when the reality is that every Middle East country that is in existence today is not democratic and persecutes people of other faiths, and persecutes gays, and persecutes people who disagree with them, and persecutes people on twitter, and persecutes women who drive except for one country which is the State of Israel. And so what you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism. That is what you saw and that’s what you watched and that’s what you witnessed. People who are upset for one reason. You want to know why they’re angry? You want to know why they are unfurling that flag today? Because Hitler did not finish the job, he only wiped out half of my family. And only by the grace of God is the other half, me, the grandchild, still alive today. That’s why those people are upset. Shame on them. Shame on them for hating Jews. Shame on them for hating people. Shame on them for disrespecting the most diverse democratically elected body in the United States of America and that is why we go to Israel. We go to Israel to make a message that is clear. That we will not be cowed by this fear and by this hatred that we have where these are people who would celebrate the death of Jews rather than mourn the death of innocents. I am embarrassed at what happened here today but I am pleased that we finally see what this is all about. Good old-fashioned anti-Semitism. Thank you.

Summer Camp & Teen Experiences with the IAUJC

Fantastic opportunity from the Ithaca Area United Jewish Community (IAUJC) to learn about summer camp & teen experiences!

You, your children aged 6-16, and family are invited to discover opportunities for Jewish summer camp and teen programs. Representatives of more than a dozen sleepaway camps will be on hand to answer questions. Current campers will share stories about their experiences and information will be available about camp scholarships. There will be activities, fun, and refreshments for everyone.

Jewish Summer Camp Fair
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Anytime between 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Free and open to the public
CSMA—Community School of Music and Art—3rd floor
330 E. State St.,  Ithaca, NY 14850
CampFairInfo@iaujc.org

Summer Camp IAUJC

Palestinian boycott of Israel is misguided

 

“Last week I went to the Soda Stream factory in Mishor Adumim, where I found out that 500 Palestinian workers had almost been fired and another 400 were on their way to being fired. I asked Basel Ja’afar (25), who got fired in 2014: “If you were face to face with one of the BDS activists, what would you say to him or her?” He answered, “I would ask him what the alternative is.” Basel used to draw NIS 6,000 in monthly salary at Soda Stream, but now, under the PA, must get by on a salary of NIS 1,450.”

“We live here, we will continue to live here and we don’t have anywhere else to live – neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis.”

Quote from Bassem Eid, Human Rights Activist, Political Analyst and Commentator on the  Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Palestinian-boycott-of-Israel-is-misguided-388806

Tal Yifrach Z”L

Yesterday we attended an event organized by the IAUJC, the mother and daughter of fallen soldier Tal Yifrach visited and spoke about his 21 years of life.

Tal

His sister, Noy has put together a remarkable video that gives a glimpse into the life of this wonderful young man, cruelly taken from his family and the Jewish people. A remarkable, courageous, positive and inspiring young man, the type of man we would like our sons to become and our daughters to marry.

Tal Yifrach planned to study mechanical engineering after his military service. He was part of an elite army unit but never swore or used foul language, never said a bad word about anybody. Fundamentally a person of warmth and friendship. In addition to his family he leaves behind a young woman who planned to spend the rest of her life with him. An entire universe of life and love and potential. Tal’s mother talked about the atmosphere within Israel when hostilities broke out, the horrible realization and sadness as Israelis realized they would have to fight another battle for survival. She talked about the feeling of not knowing if one might be brutally murdered standing at a bus stop of waiting for a train and the sickening confrontation of the mega-terror attack Hamas had planned for Israel on Rosh Hashana. She talked about her phone conversation with Netanyahu following the death of her son. She shared with us that she told the Prime Minister her hope that all the courage and bravery shown by her son could be transferred to him as the leader of the country.

There was a lot of emotional intensity in the room with the outpouring of grief and loss. And get this. Not a single word of hatred was uttered. Tal did not fight in the cause of hatred. He fought to defend his country and the Jewish people. Tal and his family want peace, not war. They do not hate, they want to live in peace and to coexist with their Arab neighbors. The intensity of emotional outpouring could have easily been diverted into any one of a number of larger agendas. But it wasn’t. The focus was on one individual and his family.

Afterwards, I was talking to a friend who suggested that we could have attended an equivalent event for a Palestinian family. Certainly families on both sides of the conflict have searing pain. But I wonder if emotions aroused at an equivalent Palestinian event would have been diverted towards an agenda? Would the agenda be one focused on peace and coexistence? There is a distinction between a war one fights to defend one’s country and an unprovoked war of aggression. Clearly we have a lot of education to do within the Jewish community here and strengthen support for Israel.

Please watch and share the video of Tal Yifrach (click on picture below). His loss is unbearable, we must make sure his memory lives on.

young TalThank you to all of those involved in putting this event together and thank you to Tal Yifrach’s family for being willing to share him with us. May we all know better days עם ישראל חי.

 

Food, food and food

Attended a very nice Parent’s shmooze session last Sunday organized by Rabbi Brody. We were challenged to think about our favorite Jewish traditions and for most people, of course there is some type of food involved! There was lots of food for thought in the interesting conversation that followed, although I sometimes wonder if we use food as ritual rather than as one component of ritual. For instance making and eating a challah bread alone is not a Jewish act. It is the baking challah including taking challah and eating the challah as part of making kiddush or hamoetzi that makes the activity Jewish (as oppose to Jewish-style I guess).

Check out the The Kosher Cooking Carnival – a monthly blog carnival about kosher food, kosher cooking, anything to do with kosher food. My original Etrog jam recipe “Etrog Marmalade with Myrtle Leaf Infusion” is included this month. Interestingly, the Etrog marmalade recipe is the most popular post on this site (by far).

Etrog jam jar

Here is another recipe, a rustic homemade pita bread with an international flair. The flour is locally sourced, the pitas were drizzled with Californian olive oil and a sprinkle of Palestinian za’atar.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  1. Mix all ingredients well.
  2. Let the dough rise for a minimum of 30 min.
  3. Roll into balls and flatten into round shape (not too thin, not too fat).
  4. Let the dough rest and rise another 20 min.
  5. Heat up a frying pan (no oil!). Place 1 pita at a time into pan. Cover (I used a pan lid) and cook for 2-3 min on each side. When turning for the second side, flatten with a spatula for even cooking. The way the pocket just puffs open is pretty magic.

pita breadUPDATE: Hope to see you at the next parent shmooze. Please mark your calendars for Jan 11th 2015!