Monday, December 24, 2018

Listen: The Music Played in Auschwitz by the Jews for Nazi Guards and English Activites at Tower of David in Last week of December

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

High-Priority Goals

Making and reaching high-priority goals creates a meaningful life. This is one of the most important concepts for anyone who truly wants to live a happy life. Certainly, gratitude is an important element in happiness.

Kindness is another important element. But together with gratitude and kindness, a life devoted to high-priority goals is a vital element for happiness.

Love Yehuda Lave

Listen: The Music Played in Auschwitz by the Jews for Nazi Guards

No single word evokes the horrors of the Holocaust like the name Auschwitz. The largest of the Nazi concentration camps, this sprawling complex was the site of the murder of millions, through gas, beatings and shootings, illness, medical experimentation, exhaustion and starvation. Prisoners from all over Western, Central and Eastern Europe were forced on cattle-car rides to the labor and death camp located just 35 miles from the Polish city of Krakow; the vast majority would never return.

This song "The Most Beautiful Time of Life" is thought to be last performed in 1942 or 1943 by Auschwitz prisoners who were forced to play music in front of the SS guards on Saturdays, and to perform long Sunday concerts for the pleasure of camp commander Rudolf Hess Hoess and his family and friends.

Professor Patricia Hall and graduate student Joshua Devries review the music manuscript for ''The Most Beautiful Time of Life'' at the Duderstadt Center recording studio on campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Two years ago, music theory professor Patricia Hall traveled to Poland's Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. She hoped to learn about the music performed by the Jewish prisoners in the  death camps of the Holocaust.

Hall, who teaches music at the University of Michigan, had heard that the museum had handwritten manuscripts of such songs.

But, she was surprised by what she found at the museum: unexpectedly happy and popular works, with names such as "The Most Beautiful Time of Life" and "Sing a Song When You're Sad."

Hall returned to the Polish museum several times over the next two years. She continued to study other handwritten manuscripts of songs arranged and performed by the Jewish prisoners.

From 1940 to 1945, more than 1 million people, most of whom were Jewish, died in Auschwitz-Birkenau's gas chambers, or from hunger, disease and forced labor.

Hall said she felt it was important for modern audiences to hear the prisoners' music. So, she asked Josh Devries, a University of Michigan student, and university professor Oriol Sans to rewrite the manuscripts onto special music software. This made it easier to read and play the music.

The Contemporary Directions Ensemble under the direction of Professor Oriol Sans in Ann Arbor recording ''The Most Beautiful Time of Life''

Sans is also director of the school's Contemporary Directions Ensemble. Last month, the group of musicians gathered to play and record "The Most Beautiful Time of Life." The recording is to become part of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.

Hall has so far identified two of the three prisoners who arranged the piece. They are Antoni Gargul, who was released from Auschwitz in 1943, and Maksymilian Pilat, who was released in 1945.

Hall said of the musicians, "We like to think  that the musicians were saved because they had that ability to play instruments. However, it's been documented by another prisoner that about 50 of them … were taken out and shot."


Here is the link to the music

Events | Last week of December - special activities in English at the Tower of David Museum

fun things to do

George W. Bush cries delivering eulogy for his father, George H.W. Bush (Full Eulogy)

Former President George W. Bush tears up while eulogizing his father, George H.W. Bush, at a state funeral in Washington. The 43rd president said his father, the 41st president, taught him how to lead. "He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country," Bush said. "When the history books are written, they will say that George H.W. Bush was a great president of the United States." Bush's eulogy ended on an emotional note. Concluding his remarks, he added through tears: "Your decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever. So through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man. The best father a son or daughter could have."

Was Kahane right?

    Abu Yehuda

A blog about the struggle to keep the Jewish state  Posted on December 9, 2018 by Victor Rosenthal

This is not a post that I wanted to write. I don't want to face a very troubling reality. But reality, by definition, is the thing you can't escape.

Recently Israel held municipal elections, for mayors and city council members. In Haifa, the Labor Party candidate (it insists that it's now called the "Zionist Union," but as you will see, that is a misnomer), Dr. Einat Kalisch-Rotem was elected.

Kalisch-Rotem (48) is an architect with a doctorate in urban planning. She owns an architectural firm and also lectures at major universities in Israel. She is the first female mayor of one of Israel's major cities. For what it's worth, her Wikipedia entry claims that she has a black belt in karate.

She must not be a stupid person. And yet she appointed Raja Za'atara, an Arab citizen of Israel representing the Hadash (communist) party as one of two Deputy Mayors.

Za'atara said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, because "An occupied nation has the right to resist the occupation."  He said in an interview that "he would rather forfeit his salary than condemn Hamas," and that he would not take part in memorial ceremonies for IDF soldiers. He said (Hebrew video) that ISIS had learned its crimes from the Zionist movement, which engaged in "Rape, looting, murder and massacres" in 1948. He has "expressed support on his social media pages for Hezbollah, Syrian president Bashar Assad and North Korea." In 2012, he founded (Hebrew link) an organization to promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel (BDS), and worked to prevent Arab youth signing up for military or national service.

Of course all of Za'atara's statements fall into the category of permitted speech. It is not a criminal offense in Israel to call for the end of the Jewish state or even to express support for organizations or countries with whom the state is at war. But nevertheless, he certainly should not hold political office, elected or appointed.

He's not alone. Many of the Arab members of the Knesset share similar opinions. One of them, Basel Ghattas, is currently serving a two-year sentence for smuggling cellular telephones to security prisoners in an Israeli prison. Haneen Zoabi, who participated in the 2010 flotilla to Gaza which ended with the violent conflict on the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara, will tell anyone who listens that Jews do not have a right of self-determination, but Palestinians do.

In 1988, Rabbi Meir Kahane was prevented from running for the Knesset by an amendment to Israel's Basic Law: The Knesset, which bans anyone guilty of one of the following, explicitly or implicitly by his or her words or actions:

  1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;
  2. incitement to racism;
  3. support of armed struggle, by a hostile state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel.

This clause has never been applied to anyone else, not even Zoabi (although numerous MKs have argued that it should be).

Kahane believed and said that there was no possibility of coexistence between Israel's Jewish majority and its Arab minority, and that Jewish survival required that the Arabs leave. He believed that the Arabs would never accept the idea of a Jewish state, and that they would eventually overwhelm the Jews demographically. Although the latter scenario seems much less likely today, as the Jewish birthrate increases and that of the Arabs declines, the political estrangement between them is today no better than in Kahane's day.

I would like to believe that as time passes, Israel's Arab citizens will become more accepting of the Jewish state, and more prepared to live as a minority – an extremely pampered one, by world standards – in it. But the opposite seems to be happening. Their demand for a "secular, democratic state" which always includes a right of return for millions of "Palestinian refugees" is equivalent to a demand to turn Israel into another Muslim Arab state. And if the 22 existing Muslim Arab states plus the Palestinian Authority and Gaza are any example, it would not long be secular or democratic, and would soon contain few if any Jews.

One wants to ask them, if they so much want to live in an Arab state, why aren't they emigrating to one of the those? The answer is obvious: it's much better here.

This illustrates the cognitive dissonance inherent in their position. Israeli Arab intellectuals know that the Arab states in the region are by and large failures. Their economies are poor, health and educational systems are sub-par, they are unstable and violent, and they are mostly dictatorships, even if they pretend to be democratic. They know all this, but still they find living as a minority in a Jewish state intolerable.

But what about the supposed majority of Arabs, who just want to work hard, raise their kids, and retire to sit on the porch of one of those massive castles one sees in Israeli Arab towns? Unfortunately, they vote for the parties of Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas, Jamal Zahalka, Azmi Bishara (who fled the country to avoid prosecution for aiding Hezbollah during the 2006 war), and other militant anti-Zionists. Keep in mind that we are talking about Israel here, not the territories. In Israel there is a secret ballot, and PLO or Hamas operatives will not punish an Israeli Arab for voting "incorrectly." If moderation doesn't sell in Israeli Arab politics, it's because nobody's buying.

You will not find any Israeli Arab politicians – nor Arab citizens on the street – who do not insist that the creation of Israel was a historic wrong, a nakba for them for which the Arabs bore absolutely no responsibility. You will not find one who does not believe that all 5 million Palestinians with refugee status have a right of return. And you won't find one that doesn't think that if they try hard enough for long enough, they can get their "stolen" land back.

In 2006, a coalition of mostly "moderate" Israeli Arab intellectuals put together a document called "The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel." It calls for the state  to "acknowledge responsibility for the nakba," for the Arabs to be treated as an indigenous national group in accordance with international conventions, for them to have equal representation in the Knesset with a veto power. Resources such as land and money must be distributed equally. All forms of "ethnic superiority" – that is, all aspects of the state that make it a Jewish state must be eliminated, such as the flag, national anthem, and so forth. The "Islamic holy sites" – that is, all the Jewish holy sites that the Arabs claim are Islamic – should be under Muslim control. Israel must "acknowledge the right of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel of social, religious, cultural and national continuity with the rest of the Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic Nation." There's much more.

Needless to say, Israel is not prepared to volunteer to give up the idea of a Jewish state in favor of a binational one. And these are the "moderates."

Nobody in Jewish Israel wants to say that the ideal of coexistence with the 20% of our population that are Arabs is unobtainable, that we are getting farther away from it as time goes by rather than closer. But that's how it seems today.

This brings me to the following question: was Kahane right when he said that coexistence was impossible? And if he was right, is there a way to keep a Jewish state other than by encouraging the Arabs to leave – by whatever means necessary?

Beit Liberman, Nahariyya

On the first day of our Hanukah retreat to Shlomie in Northern Israel, we go to Nahareya to learn its history and visit the Beit Lieberman and learn that the land was bought from local Christians. No different than How Abraham acquired Hebron, or Jacob bought Shem, or King David bought the Temple mount. A beautiful learning experience with the 15 of us

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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


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