Theft of an object is theft, and theft of time is theft (Mesilas Yesharim, Chapter 11).
Stealing is abhorrent to most people. They would never think of taking something which does not belong to them. Still, they may not be bothered in the least by making an appointment and keeping the other person waiting for a few minutes. Rabbi Luzzato points out that this double standard is a fallacy, because stealing others' time is no less a crime than stealing their possessions.
Moreover, stealing time is worse in one aspect: stolen objects can be returned, but stolen time can never be repaid.
Not every lateness is a theft. Sometimes, circumstances totally beyond our control can cause us to be delayed. Still, many realistic factors can be foreseen and should be taken into account. If the usual travel time between two points is fifteen minutes, we should provide an extra few minutes for a very likely possibility - congested traffic. This is also dependent upon how important the situation is and what the position of the people waiting for you. If you are the reason the people are coming, for example you are the teacher giving the class, or you are the professional that the person is coming to see, there is really no excuse for being late. If the person loses their time because of you, the fact that there was traffic when you came, is no excuse. You should have factored that matter into when you left. This is the difference between someone who takes their responsibilties seriously and someone that lets life happen to them.
According to Jewish law, someone who stole an object from another cannot be forgiven by God until he or she has made restitution and received forgiveness from the owner. Without these two premises, even Yom Kippur does not atone one's sin. This rule also applies if one has caused another person a loss of time.
If someone has wrongfully infringed on our time, it is proper that we should call it to his or her attention. As with other offenses, we should try to sincerely forgive if the offender changes his or her ways. If we have infringed on someone else's time, we must be sure to ask forgiveness and to remember that teshuvah consists of a sincere resolution not to repeat the same act again.
Today I shall ... ... be extremely careful not to cause anyone a loss of time, and if I have done so, ask forgiveness.
Love Yehuda Lave
Jerusalem Elections – All you need you know!
A number people have asked about the procedure for the second round of mayoral elections.
This is what I know so far:
Date: 13th November.
Where: The same polling stations you went to first time.
Take with you your teudat zeyhut.
Make sure to vote! From what I understand Lion is the better candidate. Please vote for him
In Europe, synagogues are protected like fortresses. It took decades to get there.
BRUSSELS (JTA) — Will security at American Jewish institutions now mirror that of Europe, with its police protection, armed guards, panic rooms and sterile zones at synagogues?
It's a possibility that is being debated more seriously than ever before following the Tree of Life Congregation shooting Saturday in Pittsburgh in which a gunman killed 11 people.
Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, told The Washington Post that posting armed guards outside synagogues in some places would be "prohibitive" to Jewish communal life itself.
But Gary Sikorski, director of security for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, told the Detroit Jewish News that the idea, suggested by President Donald Trump after the attack, is "not a bad one."
European security professionals say that even if Sikorski's approach prevails, it will take at least a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars before U.S. Jewry's security infrastructure matches the European counterpart.
"The security doctrine you see in Europe is the result of decades of evolution," said Ophir Revach, director of the European Jewish Congress' Security and Crisis Center. "It was built on lessons from terrorist attacks in the 1960s and adjusted constantly. It's pretty comprehensive."
Even if a critical mass of U.S. Jewish communities decide tomorrow that they want to replicate the European model, Revach said, "Optimistically speaking, it will take at least a decade to achieve." When it comes to security, he said, "American Jewry is at the beginning of a long journey."
In several European countries, synagogues are under constant protection of police or army troops. Most of them have volunteer guards, including armed ones. Many also have a security command room, where trained professionals or volunteers use elaborate video surveillance systems to monitor their premises, often while exchanging information with other Jewish institutions in real time.
These arrangements regularly prevent violence against congregants.
In 2015, a volunteer guard outside Copenhagen's main synagogue was shot dead after engaging an armed Islamist who had intended to carry out a shooting attack inside the building, where dozens of people were celebrating a bat mitzvah. Dan Uzan's intervention allowed police to shoot the assailant, who never made it inside the shul.
A year earlier, a dozen or so volunteer guards staved off dozens of rioters who had intended to storm the Synagogue de la Roquette in Paris as payback for Israel's actions in Gaza. As 200 worshippers waited inside, the defenders held their ground for 20 minutes amid a vicious street brawl with the attackers until police finally arrived at the scene.
"Dan Uzan's death was tragic, but from a security point of view it was a system that did what it needed to do," Revach said.
Had the Tree of Life synagogue been guarded, "this attack may have been prevented," he said. "Even armed perpetrators are deterred in a major way by guards."
Some American synagogues, like Har Shalom, the largest Conservative synagogue in Potomac, Maryland, have an armed police presence during services and other events, The Washington Post reported. Community Security Service, a nonprofit, has trained volunteers at dozens of synagogues, mostly in the New York area. In Teaneck, New Jersey, a suburb with dozens of synagogues, many have a police presence out front and CSS-trained congregants on patrol.
Others have a closed-doors policy in which visitors must request entry through an intercom system.
The Great Synagogue of Copenhagen was the site of a deadly attack in 2015. (Wikimedia Commons)
In recent years, more and more Jewish federations, the communitywide fundraising groups, have hired full-time security directors for their facilities and to advise their donor agencies. The Secure Community Network, the security arm of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was formed in 2004. Since then, the number of federations with full-time security directors grew from two to 30, according to the Post.
Federal money is available for beefing up security at Jewish institutions. In fiscal year 2018, Congress appropriated $50 million for nonprofit security through something called the Urban Area Security Initiative; much of the money goes to Jewish institutions.
But many American synagogues, including Tree of Life, had been leaving their doors open on Shabbat — a scenario that became unthinkable years ago in Western Europe, where jihadists have carried out several deadly attacks in recent years on Jewish targets.
Joel Rubinfeld, the president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, remembered feeling "simultaneously envious and worried" when he was greeted recently to a major New York synagogue by a concierge in his 70s — and no one else.
Before 2015, even at-risk synagogues like the Grand Synagogue of Marseille, France, had lax security and at times open doors. But the attacks in Paris that year prompted all but the most distant synagogues of Western Europe to abandon the open-door policy they used to have.
European synagogues by and large now employ a multilayered defensive doctrine of several threat circles in cooperation with law enforcement.
"It accounts for all kinds of scenarios, not just a shooting but also a car bomb, firebombs and snipers," Revach said.
Each scenario requires building adjustments, sometimes just adding a security barrier and at other times replacing windows with bulletproof glass. Then there's the need to set up international, national and regional situation rooms to help communities coordinate their activities.
"Just setting up the physical elements … takes years," Revach said.
If American Jewry quickly ups the security arrangements around its institutions, "there's still the issue of awareness," said Sammy Ghozlan, a retired police commissioner and the president of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism in France.
"It's not enough to build a security," he said. "You need a community that's drilled at maintaining it even when nothing happens year after year, so that when the threat does appear, it is met. It needs to be hardwired into you."
American Jewry is facing a "monumental challenge" if it seeks to adopt the European security model, Ghozlan said.
"It will take them at least 15 years," he said, noting that American Jewry is "far larger and more far-flung" than its European counterpart, making the task more complicated than in France.
Ghozlan nonetheless believes that American Jews will rise to the challenge.
"We are witnessing a Europeanization of the situation in the United States for Jews," he said. "It takes time for a worldview to change, but I believe American Jews have the resources and resourcefulness to fix the security problems exposed in Pittsburgh."
French soldiers patrol in front of a synagogue outside Paris as part of France's national security alert system, Jan. 21, 2015. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians: Don't Kill American Jews, Only Israelis; Shooting 'Not Hate Crime', Says DC Professor
Have the Palestinians reformed, or is their new message: Don't kill American Jews, but continue to kill Israeli Jews?
By: United with Israel Staff and PMW
In a rare move, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Saturday's murder of 11 Jews in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh by the anti-Semite Robert Bowers.
The ministry condemned the "terror attack" that "cost the lives of Jewish American citizens," referring to the neo-Nazi ideology as "based on the supremacy of the white race and its hegemony."
Palestinian Media Watch, a watchdog that monitors Palestinian incitement and anti-Semitism, pointed out that this condemnation of the murder of Jews is a remarkable change from the standard Palestinian Authority (PA) message to Palestinians, which usually consists of a call to murder Jews.
PMW noted that for years, PA policy has been to present the conflict with Israel as both a nationalistic war to destroy Israel and an Islamic war to kill Jews. Indeed, the messages of the PA leadership since it launched its terror campaign against the Jewish state has been to kill Israelis because they are Jews.
As recently as last week, PMW reported on an anti-Semitic sermon in which the Palestinian preacher taught that Hitler was one of a series of people sent by Allah throughout history to punish the Jews because of their evil behavior.
"Does the PA's condemnation of the murder of American Jews mean that their religious ideology has undergone a change and they will no longer demonize Israelis because they are Jews, nor promote the murder of Israelis because they are Jews? Or does it mean that the new PA message is: Don't kill American Jews but continue to kill Israeli Jews?" PMW asked.
Numerous Palestinian Calls to Kill Jews
PMW has recorded numerous instances starting from the PA's terror campaign in 2000 in which the PA expressed its policy demonizing Israelis because they were Jews and calling to kill Israelis specifically because they were Jews.
For instance, Dr. Ahmed Yousuf Abu Halabiah, a member of the Palestinian Shari'ah Islamic religious law courts stated on PA TV in 2000 that "the Jews are the Jews, whether Labor or Likud, the Jews are the Jews. They do not have any moderates or any advocates of peace. They are all liars… They must be butchered and they must be killed, as Allah said [in the Quran]: 'Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands. He will humiliate them, and grant you victory over them.'"
He added that "the Jews are like a spring: As long as you step on it with your foot, it doesn't move. But if you lift your foot off the spring, it hurts you and punishes you."
Dr. Mahmoud Mustafa Najem, a PA religious figure, said in 2002 that "the Prophet Muhammad, whom the Jews tried to murder more than once, by poisoning, by witchcraft by throwing stones at him and by all kinds of political assassination. He warned us of the Jews, the evil of the Jews and the deceit of the Jews… He waged war on them and expelled them from Arabia, saying: 'There shall not be two religions in Arabia.' He explained the character of the Jew in the Quran and in the Sunna (Islamic traditions) so that we would beware of them all the time and so that we would know how to deal with the Jews … Say to the Jews: 'Expect your graveyard! Expect the final battle.'"
'Jews Are the Cause of All Catastrophes'
Ibrahim Mudayris, official, PA Ministry of Religious Trusts and Religious Affairs, stated in 2004 that Allah changed the direction of prayer from Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to Mecca because of "those [Jews] who are the cause of all catastrophes on earth. The reason for it is those [Jews] who spit their poisons at the international and regional level, those [Jews] who are the reason for every disaster of the world."
Dr. Tayseer Al-Tamimi, Chief Justice of the PA's Religious Court and Chairman of Supreme Council of Islamic Law, stated in 2009 that "concerning the Jews, the Holy Quran says that they lack understanding, are void of wisdom, know nothing, violate agreements, etc. However, the Jews were known – it was known about them throughout history – that they make false claims, lies, forgery, slander, and fabrications, in order to justify their aggression, land theft, defilement of holy sites, appropriation of land, destruction of homes, murder of children, women, and the elderly."
Imad Hamato, appointed by Mahmoud Abbas to serve as dean of the Gaza Al-Azhar schools, stated in 2015 that "humanity will never live in comfort as long as the Jews are causing devastating corruption throughout the land. Humanity will never live in peace or fortune or tranquility as long as they are corrupting the land. An old man told me: If a fish in the sea fights with another fish, I am sure the Jews are behind it. As Allah says: 'Every time they kindled the fire of war [against you], Allah extinguished it. They strive throughout the land [causing] corruption, and Allah does not like corrupters.'"
A Washington-based professor spews hatred only a day after the attack!
Abeer Kayed, professor of political science at Howard University, Washington D.C., said that "the media" tries to distort the motive behind the Pittsburgh synagogue attack, which she claims was "strictly political" and "not a hate crime."
Kayed further alleged that t"the power of the Zionist lobby" is to blame, referring to the "the historical significance of the role of the Jews in American life."
It is "as if they get the credit for the existence of the United States," she said.
She also said President Trump was responsible because the "hatred and racism in his rhetoric" motivated such crimes.
Her remarks were broadcast by the UK-based Al-Araby TV channel a day after the attack.
8:00 AM: I made a snowman. 8:10 A feminist passed by and asked me why I didn't make a snow woman. 8:15 So, I made a snow woman. 8:17 My feminist neighbor complained about the snow woman's voluptuous chest saying it objectified snow women everywhere. 8:20 The gay couple living nearby threw a hissy fit and moaned it could have been two snow men instead. 8:22 The transgender ma..wom...person asked why I didn't just make one snow person with detachable parts. 8:25 The vegans at the end of the lane complained about the carrot nose, as veggies are food and not to decorate snow figures with. 8:28 I am being called a racist because the snow couple is white. 8:31 The Muslim gent across the road demands the snow woman wear a burqa. 8:40 The Police arrive saying someone has been offended. 8:42 The feminist neighbor complained again that the broomstick of the snow woman needs to be removed because it depicted women in a domestic role. 8:43 The council equality officer arrived and threatened me with eviction. 8:45 TV news crew from the ABC shows up. I am asked if I know the difference between snowmen and snow-women? I reply, "Snowballs" and am now called a sexist. 9:00 I'm on the News as a suspected terrorist, racist, homophobic, sensibility offender, bent on stirring up trouble during difficult weather. 9:10 I am asked if I have any accomplices. My children are taken by social services. 9:29 Far left protesters offended by everything are marching down the street demanding that I be beheaded.
Moral: There is no moral to this story. It's just a view of the world in which we live today.
All my life I have reminded fellow Jews in America that we are the luckiest Jews to have ever lived in a non-Jewish country. I know what I'm talking about. I wrote a book on anti-Semitism, taught Jewish history at Brooklyn College, and fought anti-Semitism since I was 21 when Israel sent me into the Soviet Union to smuggle in Jewish religious items and smuggle out Jewish names.
Even after the massacre of 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue, this assessment remains true.
But the greatest massacre of Jews in American history is a unique American tragedy. It is a tragedy in part because America has finally made the list of countries in which Jews were murdered for being Jews. While this was probably inevitable, given that 330 million people live in America, it is painful – equally for me as an American and as a Jew.
And second, while there is no difference between the murder of Christians at a church and the murder of Jews in a synagogue with regard to the loss of life and the suffering of loved ones, there is something unique about the murder of Jews for being Jews: Anti-Semitism is exterminationist. Anti-Semites don't just want to persecute, enslave, or expel Jews; they want to kill them all.
On Passover, Jews read the Haggadah. In it are these words: "In every generation, they arise to annihilate us." Not "persecute" us, not "enslave" us. "Annihilate" us.
So, when the murderer yelled, "All Jews must die," he encapsulated the uniqueness of anti-Semitism.
There is another unique aspect to anti-Semitism: It destroys every society in which it grows. The animating force within Adolf Hitler was Jew-hatred. More than anything else – desire for German "Lebensraum," hatred of Bolshevism, a view of Slavs as subhuman – it was anti-Semitism that invigorated him. Anti-Semitism was not a Nazi scapegoat; it was the Nazis' raison d'etre.
The results of German anti-Semitism for Germans alone: more than 5 million dead, including half a million German civilians; 130,000 more civilians murdered by the Nazi regime; 12 million Germans expelled from East Europe, 2 million of whom died; innumerable rapes of German women; Germany divided in two for half a century – and the loss of a sense of self and reputation.
I have no idea if, outside the universities and the Israel-hating left, there has been an increase in anti-Semitism in America. I wish I could trust the Anti-Defamation League, other Jewish organizations, and Jewish community newspapers. Sadly, only Jews on the left do, because most of these organizations have a left-wing, anti-Trump agenda.
Here's a perfect example:
The mainstream left-wing media, along with left-wing Jewish organizations and media, told us every day for months after Trump's election that anti-Semitism had greatly increased. They cited the great number of Jewish Community Centers that received bomb threats.
It turned out, however, that about 90 percent of those threats were called in by a mentally-disturbed American Jewish teenager living in Israel, and the other 10 percent were made by a black radical seeking to frame his ex-girlfriend. So, the claim eventually vanished from the news – with not one Jewish or non-Jewish organization or media outlet apologizing for crying anti-Semitic "fire" in a crowded theater.
The dishonest now have the Pittsburgh massacre to blame on Trump. But that's as big a falsehood as blaming Trump for the bomb threats. In reality, the Pittsburgh murderer criticized Trump for his close connections to Jews and Israel.
For Jews to blame the most pro-Israel president since Harry Truman – the only president with a Jewish child and Jewish grandchildren, moreover – for increasing anti-Semitism is another example of a truism this Jew has known all his life: Unlike Jewish liberals, who get most of their values from Judaism, Jewish leftists are ethnically Jewish but get their values from leftism.
The biggest increase in anti-Semitism in the last 10 or so years has come from the left. Just ask young Jews who wear yarmulkes or are vocally pro-Israel on most American college campuses. And this generation's threat of Jewish annihilation comes from Israel's Iranian and Arab enemies.
As a Jew who attends synagogue every Shabbat, and as an advocate for the carrying of concealed weapons, I fervently pray we will not need armed guards at American synagogues. America's uniqueness has been exemplified by the fact that Jews do not need armed guards in their synagogues.
May it always be so.
Even people who don't love Jews – who only love America – need to fight anti-Semites. For as the Jews go, so goes the fate of the nation in which they live.
See you tomorrow
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego United States