Monthly Archives: April 2014

J Street disappointed by Conference of Presidents’ exclusion

J Street Excluded from The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations

The Jewish Pluralist Editorial Statement:
It is in the spirit of inclusion and pluralism that we are publishing J Street’s disappointment by the decision of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organization to exclude it from the organization. It is an exclusion that flies in the face of Jewish tradition of “those and those are the living words of God” (TB Eruvin 13a) אלו ואלו

J Street disappointed by Conference of Presidents’ exclusion

J Street is disappointed that our bid for membership to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has been rejected. read more

Paratroopers Concerned about Israel’s Future – by Amos Goren

Paratroopers Concerned about Israel’s Future
Delivered at a Reunion on 2.15.2014
Amos Goren

We are gathered here today 50 years after our first training as soldiers and commanders of the Paratroopers of Company B Battalion 890. When we first volunteered as paratroopers we took it upon ourselves to fight and defend our country and we did it with some guiding principles: to never leave a solider behind, to be the first as commanders to lead our soldiers, to work as a team, to follow moral values even while fighting, to be innovative, to practice humility, voluntarism, and professionalism. read more

Holocaust Survivors Living in Poverty – by David Langerman

David Langerman
Kiryat Motzkin
April 26, 2014

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day is two days away. It is shocking to face the fact that 70 years after the Shoah, Holocaust survivors in Israel live in poverty according to a report published two days ago.

I would like to mention a few of the findings of the report published by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel on April 24, 2014:

There are currently about 190,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel. 50,000 of them live below the poverty line and 40,000 have an income of NIS 3,000 a month. According to the Foundation’s report 40,000 survivors responded that they often had to forgo food and 35,000 said that they had to skip medications. More than 50% of the survivors said that were unsatisfied with the government’s treatment of them. And every month 1000 survivors die. read more

On the Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation – by Yonathan Shapir

On the Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation
Yonathan Shapir

The big news in the Middle East yesterday was the agreement between Fatah and Hamas to constitute a common government of experts, leading to new elections in six months. This reunification happened after very short negotiations and surprised everybody in Israel (apparently including

the Intelligence services).

Israeli experts were quick point out that there have been many such unification ceremonies in the last nine years and, as they all failed on in a short time. But this time is different since one cannot look at this “reunification” out of its context. One reason mentioned by many is the relative weakness of Hamas which is treated as an enemy organization by the present (and probably future) leadership in Egypt. read more

D’var Torah for Parshat Va-y’hi–by Cathy Harris

D’var Torah for Parshat Va-y’hi
Genesis 47:28 – 50:26
November 12, 2013
Cathy Harris

The more I reflected on today’s parsha (Va-y’hi), the more I thought of the importance and prevalence of deception and misdirection in Torah.

Lies and deception in biblical times. In our times. In all times. When God came to call on Adam and Eve after they ate fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam knew he’d messed up. So, he blurts out, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” In other words, “it was her fault!” read more

Finding Light in the Darkness: A People’s Hope For a Better Ukraine – by Ryan Broser

Finding Light in the Darkness – A People’s Hope for a Better Ukraine
Ryan Broser
Peace Corps Volunteer
April 2014

After living and working in Ukraine for nearly 18 months, it’s easy to say that the experience was exhilarating and eye-opening. What’s difficult is looking back and deciding which part of the experience was the best. Do I talk about how a small stuffed animal that I used for lessons became so popular that it gathered a small following among my younger students? Or, do I describe the sunny Saturday mornings when I’d go to the local bazaar to buy fresh fruit and vegetables? read more

The Festival of Freedom – by Alik Ron

Alik Ron
[Retired Commander]
April 11, 2014

On Monday we will sit at the Seder table and our children will ask the questions. I will anticipate them and ask here today: Freedom? The Festival of Freedom? Freedom for whom? Are we really free? Not exactly. The conqueror is never free. Not when he faces the defeated, not when he faces the whole world and mostly not when the conqueror faces himself.

This week we launched Ofek 10, a reconnaissance satellite built with the best of Jewish ingenuity, capable of distinguishing objects the size of a soccer ball from the edge of the sky, from hundreds of kilometers above the earth. But this magical Golem will not be able to discern the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Israelis and their empty refrigerators that force them to stand in long lines in food pantries. This satellite Golem will not see the misery of our Palestinian neighbors at the checkpoints, nor will it detect the frustration and confusion of our young soldiers, our children, who we put in charge of these checkpoints. read more

May 8th 2014 – J Street Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebration

Thursday, May 8, 2014
7:30pm Temple B’rith Kodesh, Rochester

Shlomi Eldar, a seasoned analyst, reporter and award-­‐winning film director, has covered the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip for Israel’s TV Channels 1 and 10. He was awarded the Sokolov Prize, Israel’s most important news media award. He has published two books: Eyeless in Gaza (2005) and Getting to Know Hamas (2012).

Presently, Eldar is a columnist for Al‐Monitor’s Israel Pulse. He wrote and directed the documentary “Precious Life” which was awarded best documentary of 2010 by the Israeli Film Academy. read more

A Lesson From the Power Broker – by Peter Eisenstadt

A Lesson From the Power Broker
Peter Eisenstadt

I don’t care what they say, I love, and loved, the 1964–65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens. This week is its 50th anniversary, and as usual the nay-sayers are in the saddle. A series of articles in the Times alleges that the fair was derivative and uninspired, it couldn’t hold a candle to the 1939-40 World’s Fair, left no legacy, helped make the whole notion of a “world’s fair” obsolete, was a simple-minded celebration of capitalist excess, and was one final exhibition of Robert Moses’s megalomania before his long overdue superannuation. read more

Fallen Angels – by Peter Eisenstadt

Fallen Angels
by Peter Eisenstadt

I’ve been a little obsessed as of late with the First Book of Enoch, or 1 Enoch, as it is called among connoisseurs of Jewish pseudopigrapha. It is perhaps the most exotic of all Jewish texts. The only complete version is a translation into Ge’ez, the ancient language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It was originally written about 300 BCE, and written in Aramaic, a fact demonstrated when hundreds of Aramaic fragments of the Book of Enoch were discovered in the Qumran caves. (The Ethiopian Orthodox Church includes it in their Old Testament, and the Bete Israel, the Ethiopian Jews, also consider it a holy text .)
So why the interest in 1 Enoch? The recent film Noah , directed by Darren Aronofsky, made extensive use of Midrashic and Second Temple Era texts, most notably the Book of Enoch, from which it borrowed the notion of the Watchers, fallen angels who became earthbound. In the Book of Enoch the Watchers were the offspring of angels who desired and mated with “the beautiful daughters of men.” The Watchers, who were of Paul Bunyanesque stature–3,000 cubits in height–“devoured all the toil of men, until men were unable to sustain them. And the watchers turned against them, in order to devour men. And they began to sin against animals, and against reptiles and against fish, and they devoured one another’s flesh and drank the blood from it. Then the earth complained about the lawless ones.” (1 Enoch 6:4–6.) To rescue humanity from the Watchers, God dispatched the angels Michael, Gabriel, Suriel, and Uriel, and through them, the scourge of the Watchers was ended. (Aronofsky, by the way, interpreted the Watchers as positive and benign, the muscle men that protected Noah and enabled him to build and populate his ark.) read more