Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Analysis: How Does the Holocaust Continue to Affect Us Today? and California college’s faculty votes to suspend study abroad in Israel and  Train  to Ben Gurian no  longer free but  still 1/2 price for eight months

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

You shall love your God (Deuteronomy 6:5). You shall fear your God (Leviticus 19:14).

Love and fear of the same subject are obviously incompatible emotions. Love implies a desire to be close to the loved one, while fear is associated with the desire to be more remote from the object of one's fear. How does the Torah expect a person to relate to God in both ways simultaneously?

Rabbi Schneur Zalman explains in Tanya that when one fulfills the Divine will, one is drawn closer to God, and that when one transgresses the Divine will, one detaches oneself from God. Inasmuch as a person is constantly tempted by the yetzer hara to flout the Divine will, one should fear succumbing to the yetzer hara because one would thereby lose the closeness to God. Thus, fear of God is not a fear of being punished, but a fear of losing one's relationship with the object of one's love, and this fear is perfectly compatible with love of God.

In a love relationship between two people, it is easily understood that one would not wish to offend the beloved person in any way, even though there is no fear of punishment. We can develop a loving relationship with God that will result in a similar type of fear, the fear of offending Him. The Talmud tells us that one can never be certain that one will never sin, and, given the human frailty to temptation and the constant incitement by the yetzer hara, we can understand why one should always have this type of fear of God, for it is a fear that is perfectly compatible with love.

Today I shall ...

cherish my relationship with God so that the thought of losing my closeness with Him becomes frightening to me.

Love Yehuda Lave

When the new Jerusalem - Tel Aviv fast train was launched September 25, Israel Railways promised that rides from Jerusalem would be free for the first three months. As of today, Tuesday, December 25, that trial period is over. 

However, the price will remain discounted. Fares between Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem will be reduced by 50% for the period from December 25 until August 24, 2019. 

Since its launch, the long-awaited Jerusalem - Tel Aviv fast train, which does not yet reach Tel Aviv non-stop, because the electric lines are not finished yet, you must wait an extra 10 to 15 minutes for a train to switch to finish the trip to Tel Aviv. It takes 22 minutes to get to Ben Gurian and then you wait for the Tel Aviv train and it takes another 10 minutes to get to the first Tel Aviv Stop for a total of about 50 minutes. When they finish the last lag the trip will take about 35 minutes.

Your best teacher is your last mistake. Ralph Nader, Activist

If I don't do laundry today, I'm gonna have to buy new clothes tomorrow. Anna Paquin, Actress

It's better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of laundry a week. Laurence J. Peter, Author

Don't judge. I used to buy underwear because I didn't do my laundry. Michelle Obama, Former First Lady

Analysis: How Does the Holocaust Continue to Affect Us Today?

On the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, Rachel Avrahaminterviewed internationally acclaimed anti-Semitism expert Manfred Gerstenfeld and discussed how the Holocaust continues to affect us to date.

A couple of generations after the Holocaust resulted in the murder of 6 million Jewish people and the destruction of European Jewry, the greatest genocide in human history still affects us to date.   Thanks to the Holocaust, we have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Genocide Convention, and the Catholic Church radically changed their theology.  At the same time, we always ponder as anti-Semitism rapidly increases across the globe, will the atrocities of the past be repeated?  On the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, JerusalemOnline examines how the Holocaust continues to affect our lives to date.

In an exclusive interview with JerusalemOnline, internationally acclaimed anti-Semitism scholar Manfred Gerstenfeld stated that one of the results of the Holocaust was that Catholicism changed its theology, which thus enabled the Jewish people to enjoy better relations with the Catholic Church today: "The Catholic no longer hold the Jews responsible for the murder of Jesus. It was a lie from the beginning for the Jews could not kill anyone under Roman rule. Only the Romans could. At most, you could say that some Jews were present at the judgement but Pontius Pilate was the ruler. He didn't need or want Jews to tell him what to do.  Out of all of the Jews in the area, how many of them could have been present at the crucifixion? But according to the New Testament, all of the Jews are responsible for what their ancestors didn't do. However, in 1965, the Pope published a document where he stopped blaming the Jews for the crucifixion. So this idea was abandoned in 1965 and it is because they saw that it led to the Holocaust."

According to Gerstenfeld, we always ponder whether another Holocaust can happen and for this reason, it is very important to study how the Holocaust impacts modern society: "A very important issue is the remembrance of the Holocaust. There are many efforts to distort the memory of the Shoah. The best known ones are done by Holocaust deniers or people who claim that Israel is a Nazi state. People abuse events related to the Holocaust in order to attack Israel and to address other issues. They also try to de-Judaize the Holocaust by presenting Anne Frank as a typical victim rather than as a Jewish victim. Then, there is the use of the word Holocaust in completely different contexts like the chicken holocaust, the smoking holocaust, etc."

Despite the attempts to deny the atrocities that took place during the Holocaust or to minimize the gravity of the Holocaust, Gerstenfeld stressed that it is indisputable that "the lives of many people have been transformed because of the Holocaust either in a positive direction because they became known or in a negative direction for their whole future was destroyed even if they survived. If Elie Weisel wasn't a survivor, how would he have ever become known in the world? The same is true for Simon Wiesenthal and Tom Lantos.  The reverse works as well. Treating Holocaust trauma has given us indications on how you treat trauma in general.   The impact is enormous."

Nevertheless, even though the Catholic Church has revised their theology in response to the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, Gerstenfeld still believes that European culture is anti-Semitic in nature: "The Holocaust happened in Europe. It has been promoted there for over 1,000 years. It started with the Catholic theology and proceeded onwards with Martin Luther who called to burn the synagogues. It continued during the Enlightenment, under Socialism and under Karl Marx. There is a list of influential anti-Semitic people there over the last 1,000 years." When asked if the European anti-Semitic tradition is older, Gerstenfeld replied: "If you read the classical Greek and Roman authors, you have those who praise the Jews and those who curse them.  The church was entirely negative about the Jews. That is a big difference.   For the Greeks and Romans, it did not come out of a theology. It was true that the first pogrom was 2,000 years ago in Alexandria but it is different when it is based on an ideology. For the past 1,000 years in Europe, it is based on an ideology.   Before that, there were states that were not Christian.  There were many tribes that were late in becoming Christians.  Europe has a 1,000 year old anti-Semitic tradition."

Despite the fact that Europe has made efforts to improve themselves since the Holocaust, Im Tirtzu noted that the continent still has a long way to go before anti-Semitism is eradicated from the continent.  One of the recent manifestations of European anti-Semitism was Germany funding the radical Zochrot organization, a leftist group working to eliminate the State of Israel and seeking to implement a Palestinian right of return.  The group participated in a video that proclaimed: "The Holocaust was the best thing to happen to the Jewish people." Germany has provided Zochrot with over 1,100,000 NIS.

Many descendants of Holocaust survivors in Israel were outraged by German funding for Zochrot.  Noah Klein, the son of two Holocaust survivors, said:  "As a child of two Holocaust survivors, I appreciate that despite the horrors of the Holocaust, Germany has been a great friend and supporter of Israel. However, it is very painful to me that Germany is funding an anti-Israel NGO whose goal is the destruction of the Jewish state. The remnant of my family lives in Israel and Germany's funding of such an organization that seeks to destroy their future must stop."

Lori Fagelston, also the daughter of Holocaust survivors, noted: "This funding is a disgrace like no other. Only a few generations have passed and Germany is again committing another grave injustice against the Jewish people by funding this anti-Israel organization. This needs to stop immediately."

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said: "The idea that Germany in 2017 is funding an organization that brazenly seeks to destroy the Jewish character of the State of Israel is a disgrace. This funding not only dishonors the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust but is anti-democratic at its core. This is another painful example of foreign governments working to impose their unwanted policies on the State of Israel via anti-Israel NGOs from within."

"Today, it is popular in Europe to be anti-Israel," Gerstenfeld noted in response to this recent development.  "In the EU, there are 150 million people who think Israel is exterminating the Palestinians.  The EU Council blames Israel for what is happening in Gaza.  All of the Europeans systematically ignore the violent remarks by the Palestinians.  Germany is not different from the rest.  The largest Palestinian party is Hamas, which is a Holocaust promoting party.   There is no doubt that they have double standards which is the heart of anti-Semitism."

However, following the recent elections in the US, anti-Semitism has dramatically increased within the country.   With the rise of right wing and left wing anti-Semitism in the US, anti-Semitism has become a major issue in North America as well. When asked what he thought about the anti-Semitism that manifested itself during the recent elections in the US both on the far right and the far left, Gerstenfeld replied: "Anti-Semitism is not part of the American dream.   It is an immigrant society and some of them are anti-Semitic but it does not make up the core of the society." Thus, Gerstenfeld believes that the situation in the US is less dire than in Europe despite the rapid rise in anti-Semitism witnessed recently within the country.  However, despite the fact that anti-Semitism is still very much part of European culture, he believes that if another Holocaust happens, it will be in the Arab world and not in Europe: "Europe would be a bystander and some of them would be positive about it but the main actors would be Arab.   Anti-Semitism is still part of the culture but not everyone is an anti-Semite."


This Op-Ed/Analysis is the author's personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of JerusalemOnline.com if you would like to send us your op-ed to be published – www.editor@jerusalemonline.com

California college's faculty votes to suspend study abroad in Israel

The faculty of Pitzer College in Southern California voted to suspend the school's study abroad program at Haifa University in Israel.

The faculty also voted to condemn the school's trustees for opposing a student government resolution to divest from Israel, according to the Claremont Independent, a student newspaper at the private liberal arts school in Claremont. The student senate voted last year to divest from five companies as part of the movement to boycott Israel.

Recent months have seen college instructors, acting on political grounds, repeatedly oppose their students' intentions to study in Israel. Two instructors at the University of Michigan refused to write letters of recommendation for students to study there. One of them, American Studies Professor John Cheney-Lippold, was deprived of a merit raise and sabbatical due to his decision.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the anti-Semitism campus monitor the AMCHA initiative, said there have been cases where faculty members at colleges have signed petitions to suspend or shut down Israel study abroad programs, but that this represented the first time an official faculty body voted to do so.

"One of the reasons it's very disturbing is that it's the first time we've seen this," she told JTA on Wednesday.

Pitzer, which is about 30 miles from Los Angeles and part of the Claremont Colleges consortium in Southern California, runs a semester abroad program at the University of Haifa in the fall and spring. According to Hillel International, 11 percent of the approximately 1,000 students on campus are Jewish.

On Nov. 8, the faculty voted to suspend the program "until (a) the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry to Israel based on ancestry and/or political speech and (b) the Israeli state adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities."

A university spokesperson told JTA that the program will continue to be available to students "while the topic is undergoing a college-wide shared governance process."

In 2017, Israel passed a law enabling the state to bar entry to foreigners who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.

The University of Haifa responded in a statement saying that the university exemplifies an environment of multiculturalism and pluralism. Haifa has a large Arab population and is known as a city where Jews and Arabs tend to live in shared society.

"While we support the values of freedom of speech and academic freedom, we oppose the BDS movement against Israel as well as boycotts targeting any individual or institution on the basis of nationality, ethnicity, religion, race, gender, or other discriminatory factor," the university's statement said. "Israel's commitment to an open and inclusive society in which multiculturalism and interfaith tolerance thrive is no more evident than on the University of Haifa campus, where an approximately 25-percent-Arab student body exceeds the 20-percent-Arab population of the country as a whole."

The Pitzer student senate will vote on a resolution that condemns the faculty vote for being taken without student input and singling out Israel among all of the school's study abroad programs. It also criticizes the faculty for seeking the "advancement of a political agenda at the expense of students who seek opportunities in Middle East/North African Studies, Arabic, Hebrew, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the intercultural relations of Israeli and Palestinian ethnicities."

The Claremont chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine celebrated the faculty vote, calling the Haifa program "deeply problematic."

"Israel has passed increasingly draconian policies banning political speech and barring activists for Palestinian human rights from entering the country," the group's statement said. "On top of this, Israel has a systemic practice of racial discrimination at the border, meaning that this program is largely inaccessible to students from Middle Eastern descent. By encouraging other Pitzer students to embark on this program, the college has been consciously supporting these discriminatory practices."

 Ben Sales is a reporter for JTA covering religion, politics, culture, society and economics. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, he is the former editor-in-chief of New Voices, the national Jewish student magazine

Acre Templer Tunnel and Shook

Acre has an underground as well as its beautiful view of the sea. From Med-evil times, an underground tunnel is preserved and you can walk through from one end to another. Very fascinating.

This was also on our trip to the North during Chanukuh 5779 on December 5, 2018

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave and to my non-Jewish readers, Happy Holidays

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego
United States


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