Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Moskowitz Prize winners announced Yehudit Katsover, Nadia Matar, Prof. Moshe Kopel, Dr. Aliza Bloch to receive Oz Zion Prize for work in various fields on behalf of Zionism. and Antisemitism at the Wheel: Mel Gibson to Star In Movie ‘Rothchild’

Behold, He stands behind our walls, looking through the windows, and peering through the lattices (Song of Songs 2:9).

"Whether God watches through the windows or through the lattices," said Rabbi Yisrael of Salant, "God watches over us. The difference is that sometimes it is through a window, and then we can see Him just as He sees us. At other times, it is through a crack in the partition, where He can see us, but we do not see Him."

Both in the history of the nation and in our personal lives, there have been times when Divine intervention was manifest. There have also been times when we were in great distress and felt abandoned, but even then, though God seemed to be absent, He was watching over us. The Torah foretold that there would be times of anguish when we would feel that God is not among us. At such times we must strengthen our faith and declare, "Behold, the Keeper of Israel does not sleep nor slumber."

Commenting on the verse, He does great marvels alone ( Psalms 136:4), our Sages tell us that "alone" means that only God is aware of some of the miracles He performs for us, because we are unable to recognize them as such. Those who failed to see the protective hand of God when the Iraqis rained scuds on Israel were morally and psychologically blind; anyone should have been aware of God's protection. But even when His intervention is less evident, we must know that He watches over us, albeit "through cracks in the lattices."

Today I shall ...
... try to reinforce my faith in the everpresent watchfulness of God over Israel as a whole, and over me as an individual.
Love Yehuda Lave

Moskowitz Prize winners announced

Yehudit Katsover, Nadia Matar, Prof. Moshe Kopel, Dr. Aliza Bloch to receive Oz Zion Prize for work in various fields on behalf of Zionism.

Mordechai Sones, 29/04/19 17:45

Matar and Katzover
Matar and Katzover
Sovereignty Movement

The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism Committee announced the winners of the Oz Zion Prize for the year 5769.

The winners are: Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar - co-Chairwomen of the Movement for Sovereignty Founded by Women in Green, Kohelet Forum Founder and Chairman Prof. Moshe Koppel, and Beit Shemesh Mayor Dr. Aliza Bloch.

Yehudit Katsover is an educator and long-time public activist for the Land of Israel. Katsover was in the group of women who in 1979 entered Beit Hadassah in the heart of Hevron, paving the way for the establishment of the Jewish community in the city. She later led and participated in struggles for Jewish settlement in the Hevron and Gush Etzion areas.

Nadia Matar is a Land of Israel activist. Since 1993, the year of the establishment of the Women in Green movement by her mother-in-law, Ruth Matar, Nadia Matar serves as the movement's co-Chairwoman. As part of her public activity, she participated in and led public struggles and protests against the Oslo Accords and against the idea of returning to the "Green Line" and establishing a Palestinian state in the heart of the Land of Israel.

In the summer of 2005, the days of the struggle against the disengagement plan from Gush Katif and northern Samaria, Katzover joined with the Women in Green movement headed by Nadia Matar, and became co-chair of the movement together with Matar.

In this framework, the two parties led extra-parliamentary activity to encourage settlement in Judea and Samaria, to prevent illegal Arab takeover of Area C lands, public and informational campaigns against the withdrawal policy, and organizing Zionist leadership educational activities for youth groups.

Together with Matar, Katzover established in 2011 the Sovereignty Movement that works with ministers, Knesset Members, and public figures to lead the vision of applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. The movement under their joint leadership creates a consciousness shift in Israeli political discourse with conferences throughout Israel where leaders and intellectuals discuss the vision and ways of implementing it. The movement also produces the Sovereignty Journal print edition and the Sovereignty website, including articles, position papers, and updates about the vision.

Alongside awareness and educational projects, the Sovereignty Movement continues strengthening practical hold in the field, such as the Oz vGaon Reserve, established by their activists in memory of the three boys who were kidnapped and murdered.

Led by Katzover and Matar, the Sovereignty Youth Movement was also established, which conducts youth information activities throughout the country and in social media. The Movement also promotes shaping the next generation's leadership in the spirit of the vision of Israeli sovereignty over its entire country.

Prof. Moshe Koppel founded the Kohelet Forum in 2012. This is a research and action institute that works to anchor Israel's permanent status as the nation-state of the Jewish People, while strengthening representative democracy and individual freedom in Israel. It is the largest research institute on the Israeli Right.

Prof. Moshe Koppel
Kohelet Forum

After seven years of quiet activity guided by Prof. Koppel, the Basic Law was passed: Israel is the historic nation-state of the Jewish People. Prof. Koppel formulated the first draft 15 years ago.

In addition, through the Forum, significant legislation and Zionist action was promoted in many areas, including the Basic Law, a preliminary referendum required to implement any legislation calling for withdrawal from territories under Israeli sovereignty, the Regulation Law, offsetting terrorist funds, Legislative amendments to remove employment barriers for immigrants, and more.

In recent years, the Kohelet Forum has become the center of activity in a growing network of civil society organizations on the Israeli Right that rely on Kohelet's expertise and resources in a quiet way.

Selfies in Beit Shemesh with Mayor-elect Dr. Aliza Bloch
Flash 90

Dr. Aliza Bloch is a model Zionist leader involved in educational and social activities for all the Tribes of Israel. For 14 years she headed the largest public school in Beit Shemesh and stood at the center of community activity. Bloch volunteered to lead programs and projects in the city, such as a joint panel for haredi and secular Jews, round tables, the "70 Faces of Beit Shemesh" conference, weekly Bible study at her home and more.

About a year ago, she won the mayorship of the city of Beit Shemesh, in a victory that swept residents from all levels of the political, ethnic and socio-economic spectrum.

The Cherna and Irving Moskowitz Prize will be given for the 12th year to leading figures in Zionist activity and will be distributed on a festive evening that takes place every year after Jerusalem Day.

Putting a Value on Jewish Life, and Safeguarding Lives
By Walter Block
May 14, 2019

Shall we, and if so at what cost, safeguard every synagogue and kosher supermarket in the country? I speak here as a Jew, outraged by such despicable behavior.

There has been a spate of violent attacks against Jews and Jewish groups in the last little while in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere (I won't even mention what occurs, all too often, in Israel). We are not talking about mere defacement of Jewish cemeteries, drawing swastikas on Jewish homes, etc. Under discussion now are actual murders. A few recent ones took place in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue; Chabad of Poway synagogue, California; Chabad of Mumbai, India; in the Hyper Casher supermarket in Paris.

What should be done to reduce the incidence of these vicious incidents? (Note, I do not even contemplate eliminating them; anti-Semitism of this sort seems too deeply embedded in the DNA of all too many demographics.)

We are a people "of the book," so one possibility is to rely upon this comparative advantage of ours. What can be done along these lines? Perhaps set up schools in the neighborhoods from which such crimes emanate. Maybe, write some books studying this phenomenon? Possibly unleash psychological studies of it, with a view to combatting it?

Another specialty of ours is medicine (Joke: When is the fetus viable in Talmudic Law? When it graduates from medical school). In this regard, we should set up hospitals, again in communities known for Jew hatred. If we patch them up, save their lives, at least some of them might take a different path when their next bout of blood-lust rises to the fore.

These are, at best, long term solutions. If they bear fruit, it will not be for years, decades, maybe even centuries. However, the problem is so dire, we should not leave a single stone unturned.

What policies might have more immediate effect? That is simple and obvious: synagogue attendees, delicatessen patrons, yalmica wearers, shoppers at Jewish groceries, Chabad members, should purchase guns, learn how to use them, and obtain concealed carry permits. Better yet, our community should organize so as to pass open carry laws; seeing is believing. An armed society is a polite society.

What is the argument in favor of this option? If the entire Jewish community went around heavily armed in Germany in, oh, 1938, might things have turned out better for us? Certainly they could not have been worse. According to Teddy Roosevelt, we should "speak softly but carry a big stick." We might not be able to do much along the lines of the former (we, too, have our own hard wiring), but there is nothing to prevent us from adopting the latter practice. Fortunately, there are some real world precedents for exactly this sort of thing.

One of them is the Israeli Defense Force. No Jew, even a "progressive" one, is advocating that the Israeli military engage in disarmament. This country is located in the midst of very hostile neighbors, and they are still going strong quite nicely thank you, after all these years. (The IDF would do even better if they didn't feel they always had to fight with one arm tied behind their backs, but that is entirely a different story). Young girls go around there armed with machine guns; exceedingly rarely are they attacked within range of them.

Another example is the Jewish Defense League. Before their advent, our co-religionists in New York City were in continual danger, even at the mercy of, hoodlums. Afterward, much less so. There was no "turning of the other cheek" on the part of the JDL. Their reaction to abuse of unarmed Jews was pretty much immediate. This is important because muggers of this sort have what economists call "high time preference." They tend to heavily discount costs what will only take place in the future. If the counter reaction is not all but immediate, it is rendered much less powerful.

A third example is the organization Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. This is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of gun rights in the United States and to encourage Americans to understand, uphold, and defend "all of the Bill of Rights for all Citizens." JFTPOFO takes the position that "an armed citizenry is the population's last line of defense against tyranny."

A question has arisen in this context concerning the value of a human life. Should we spend a tremendous amount of money on securing every synagogue and kosher supermarket in the country because there is no price too high that we shouldn't pay to protect people?

Happily, the short run suggestions mentioned above, an armed Jew is a much safer Jew, will not cost very much money at all. A decent pistol can be had for a few hundred dollars. Bullets are cheap, as are safety lessons. Time on a firing range for practice is also not very pricey. Effectively placed schools and hospitals, for the long run, are more expensive, and will certainly be less effective right off the bat, but might also be worthwhile.

How, then, is the value of a human life to be calculated? At first blush, at least to the non-economist, this is a silly question. Each life is infinitely precious. Anyone who says different is callous.

But economists, happily, take a more rational position on this issue. We dismal scientists have cash-registers instead of hearts, and dollar signs on our eye-balls. When slavery occurs, as it horrifically does even in the modern era, the person for sale is worth a bit more than the price paid for him. When you purchase a shirt for $20, you value it at $20.01 or more, otherwise you would not buy it. If you placed a value of it of $19, you would not agree to the transaction, since you would lose money. If you valued it at exactly $20.00, you would still not bestir yourself to make the deal, since there would be no expected profit in it for you. It is the same with slavery.

How else can we ferret out the value of human life? We can do so by calculating the present discounted value of the difference in salaries paid to otherwise equally able workers in more and less dangerous occupations. Test pilots earn more than airline pilots, for example. Econometric studies of this phenomenon estimate the value of a human life at somewhere between $7 million and $9 million.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics at Loyola University, New Orleans.

Antisemitism at the Wheel: Mel Gibson to Star In Movie 'Rothchild'
Actor Mel Gibson has been cast to play in the upcoming movie named 'Rothchild'. For those who are not familiar with the name Rothchild, it is a Jewish family name belonging to a very prominent family in the banking industry in early American history. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Actor Mel Gibson has been cast to play in the upcoming movie named 'Rothchild'. For those who are not familiar with the name Rothchild, it is a Jewish family name belonging to a very prominent family in the banking industry in early American history. The name is synonymous with wealth and power. For centuries the name has also served as an anti-Semitic canard.

As reported by Forward, director Jon S. Baird has chosen Mel Gibson to play in the film. For those of us who don't remember, Gibson has a history of anti-sematic comments. In 2006 the actor had told a police officer that "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." He asked if the officer was Jewish, and in the same incident, as per his arrest report, Gibson was "blurt[ing] out a barrage of anti-Semitic remarks about '(profanity redacted) Jews.'"

In the past, Gibson has been cast as a Jewish biblical character. In 2012, a film about the Biblical figure Judah Macabee cast Gibson as the hero. Some time after, the film's screenwriter accused Gibson of repeatedly referring to Jews as "'Hebes,' 'oven-dodgers,' and 'Jew-boys'". In a letter, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas alleged, "You said the Holocaust was 'mostly a lot of horsesh*t.'" He said Gibson also made various false accusations, including that the Torah speaks of sacrificing Christian babies. Thankfully, the movie never came to fruition; however people did speak out against it. "I think it's, quite frankly, preposterous," Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles told CNN at the time. "Judah Maccabee is one of the greatest heroes in Jewish history. Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite. … I don't know what Warner Bros. was thinking." Warner Brothers ended up shelving the movie.

In this case, however, it seems there is a built-in agenda in the movie. Deadline describes 'Rothchild' as "a dark satire" of "New York's super rich." The movie will pit Gibson, as the Rothchild family's patriarch, against Shia LaBeouf, a scion of the wealthy New York family. The name Rothchild already elicits a staggering number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the wealth and power of a famous Jewish family. All we need now is a movie about it.

"I've never discriminated against anyone or done anything that sort of supports that reputation" Gibson has said in his own defense, shaking off any rebuke.


13 Ideas to Help Avoid Conflict

By Rosally Saltsman

Our sages tell us that peace is the greatest blessing, and that it's what G‑d wants most for and from us.1 As long as we're all getting along, G‑d can overlook certain transgressions, but if we're keeping mitzvot while quarreling and engaging in strife, then we are judged more strictly.2

Shalom ("peace") is one of G‑d's names.3 In Hebrew, the word for both hello and goodbye is shalom; that's how we are meant to greet each other, with a blessing of peace.

Here are some ways to keep the peace, whether we are coming or going.

1. G‑d wants peace so much that we are permitted to "alter" a narrative in order to keep peace.4 A lot of people end up sacrificed on the altar of truth when it's not necessary. I'm not saying that you should lie outright—just not reveal the whole truth if it isn't critical and it will lead to strife.

2. People are fond of having the last word in an argument. By doing so, they feel as if they've won (even if they haven't). Yet the opposite is true; the person who has the last word is left with a lack of closure if the other person doesn't respond. If you stop arguing, it doesn't mean that you agree with the other person; it just means that you don't feel that arguing is worthwhile.

3. Stay clear of incendiary topics of conversation, especially on social media, where it's so easy to get into conflict. And when someone offers it, don't take the bait.

4. Be respectful and polite. Derech eretz kadma l'Torah—"Good manners are prerequisites for a Torah life."5 Even if you disagree, be gracious about it. Conflicts arise more because of how something is said than what is said. Speak clearly, calmly, gently and succinctly. And, of course, don't insult anyone.

5. We often act as if the person who disagrees with us can change reality simply by virtue of their differing opinion. They can't. The fact that they believe something different from you doesn't suddenly make it true. True, it may be annoying to hear, but if someone says something disparaging about you or something you believe in, it doesn't actually change anything. That is their opinion. You can try and change it, but you probably won't succeed.

6. If you want to influence someone to do something you feel is beneficial, do it in a loving, positive way. The words of the wise are heeded when spoken pleasantly.6 The more positive a person you are, the more people will want to agree with you. Be the kind of person people love and admire, and they will be more prone to agree with you. Abraham managed to get so many followers to Monotheism because he looked and acted like a prince of G‑d, and so others flocked to him to listen to his views.

7. Work towards a common goal. Focus on what you do agree with rather than what you disagree with. When you shift the focus, the conflict dissipates.

8. There are people who feast on conflict. They fight for the sake of it, not for truth. Stay away from these people. Far, far away.

9. When you are at fault, mistaken or wrong, admit it, and if necessary, apologize. Don't dig in your heels even when you are in the wrong. King David is praised for admitting his error when the prophet Samuel chastised him.7 His predecessor, King Saul, lost his kingdom because not only did he disobey G‑d, but he tried to justify it.8

10. There are some things worth fighting for. Money and honor are not two of them. Anything involving defending your honor or fighting over money will end badly even if you win. We are taught to actively flee from honor,9 and, that ultimately, money comes from G‑d,10 who decides exactly how much we should have.

11. Make sure that you have your facts straight before you enter into an argument. So many arguments could be avoided if people actually knew what they were talking about. You will be able to converse with greater conviction and less vitriol.

12. Give to others and desire their good. If they feel that you truly care about them—that even in disagreement you are emanating love, acceptance and concern—they're less likely to see you as an opponent and will be willing to consider your views. At the very least, they won't argue with you.

13. Look at other people not only as physical beings, but as having an inner Divine soul. If you see beyond their superficial faults to the core of their beautiful soul, it will be easier to accept and love them, and avoid conflict with them.11


Oktzin 3:12.


Devarim Rabba 5:10.


Sefer Hapliya.


Yebamot 65b.


Medrash Rabba Vayikra, 9:3 and 35:6.


Ethics of our Fathers 4:21.


Baitza 15a.


Tanya, Chapter 32.

Rosally Saltsman is a freelance writer originally from Montreal living in Israel. Click here for free inspiring e-books by Rosally Saltsman and Robin Meyerson.
Art by Rivka Korf. Rivka uses her creativity and expertise to create masterful compositions and illustrations. She shares her love of coffee with her husband and passes on her appreciation of art and design to her children.
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