Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
Focus on the Almighty's Gifts
Whenever your mind is free, make a conscious effort to focus on the good that the Almighty has bestowed upon you.
Love Yehuda Lave
The Truth about Jerusalem's City of David – The Lies about Silwan By Nadav Shragai
The story is too long and too many good pictures to repost here. Please look at the web site story below. I have been to the City of David frequently, but a couple of weeks ago with Atarat Cohenim and a Shalom Polock tour we went into Silwan and the new Jewish Yemite Village that is part of it. I am reposting my pictures below on that trip
To the journalist-activists at the New York Times, Silwan is just another Palestinian village that the Zionist Settler Colonial Enterprise is undermining, literally. According to David Halbfinger's latest piece, "Palestinians in the crowded East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan have complained that the walls of their homes were settling and cracking, disturbed by an underground archaeological dig led by a right-wing Jewish settler group." Yet the story of Silwan and the discoveries at the City of David show the problems with journalism surrounding Israel these days.
One would think a story about the US ambassador to Israel celebrating the opening of a new archeology exhibit might include a bit of history. Perhaps it would mention that Silwan's first inhabitants were Yemeni Jews who in 1881 spent six months traveling to Jerusalem. These Jews were inspired to travel the long, arduous journey on the promise that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem the following year. They arrived broke and were greeted with suspicion by the local Jewish community living in Jerusalem. Settling on the eastern slopes of the Kidron Valley, this group of Yemeni Jews built a thriving community and established a synagogue, the same synagogue that the "right-wing Jewish settler group" is rebuilding and living in.
Perhaps an article that mentions the five thousand Palestinian inhabitants might mention how Silwan became a Palestinian village when it started as a Yemeni Jewish village. As the inhabitants in Jerusalem felt more confident to move out of the walled city, the original village expanded to include not just Jews but also Muslim and Christian Arabs, too. An early British Mandate period census shows Silwan to be a mixed village of almost two thousand people, of which the Jews made up about ten percent. But during the 1936–39 Arab Revolt, the village of Silwan was ethnically cleansed of all Jews, and Arab families moved into the homes of Yemeni Jews. One might wonder if the descendants of those Yemeni Jews still have the key to their homes.
Perhaps an article that praises former ambassadors for avoiding East Jerusalem—since "Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 and then annexed it" and "most of the world considers it illegally occupied, and the Palestinians want it as the capital of a future state"—would inform readers that the British started the process of annexing Silwan into the Jerusalem municipality, and the Jordanians completed the process in 1952. It seems the problem is not with the annexation but with who is annexing.
Omitting the Pool of Siloam's significance to not just Jews but also Christians is not surprising since ignorance of the Bible is required for employment at the New York Times. Yet for those who are informed, the Pool of Siloam is indeed a mikvah (Jewish ritual bath). It is also, according to the Gospel of John, the place where Jesus instructed the blind man to go wash and be healed. It is on the Southern Wall steps of the Temple Mount that lead up from the Pool of Siloam that Paul defended his Jewishness.
It's not just the Pool of Siloam and the new archeological discoveries that make the City of David significant. It's the long list of discoveries that confirm the biblical record. For example, the discovery of clay seals, "bullae," which bear the names of two ministers of King Zedekiah who tried to assassinate the prophet Jeremiah. Yehuchal Ben Shelamayahu and Gedaliah Ben Pashchur are mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1. Another recent discovery is a seal with the name of Nathan-Melech on it. Nathan-Melech is a servant to King Josiah and is mentioned in 2 Kings 23:11.
For Jews and Christians alike, these discoveries not only strengthen faith but also push back at the institutions that seek to delegitimize the Jews' historical connection to the land of Israel. Perhaps an article that quotes the ambassador at length could quote the senior Palestinian spokesperson and peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, who claimed the "ancient Jewish pilgrimage road in East Jerusalem is based on a lie that has nothing to do with history." It is also not surprising that the United Nations body that recognizes "World Heritage Sites" refused to recognize that there was ever such a thing as the Temple Mount. The archeological evidence consistently uncovered in the City of David and on the slopes of Silwan have forced the Palestinian leadership and their supporters to find solace in conspiracy theories.
While the New York Times through journalist-activists continues to keep readers uninformed by pushing a narrative that Palestinians are good and Jewish settlers are bad, at least the ambassador understands that "the truth is the only foundation on which peace will come to this area."
Luke Moon is a senior editor of Providence.
Feature Photo Credit: US Ambassador David Friedman and US Middle East special envoy Jason Greenblatt attended the inauguration of Pilgrimage Road in the City of David, Jerusalem, on June 30, 2019. US Embassy Jerusalem photo, via Flickr.
Trump spoke from the heart, but The ADL critizied him not the anti-semites
The story below is a summary of the balagan last week when President Trump tweeted out the anti-semitic congresswomen should go back to the countries where they came from. The only trouble is that three out of four of them were born in America. President's Trump was in the right place and they are definitely Anti-semetic, but he played into Demacratic hands by not sensoring his remarks. The ADL in California, who had not opened their mouth about the Anti-semitism, was quick to set up an action committee to criticize Trump, but had never bothered to set up any action committees to handle the assult by these Congresswoman against Jews. Now I got off my chest, but the point is be careful where you put funds to combat Anti-semitisim. Unfortunatelly the ADL is no longer that place.
Love Yehuda Lave
Editor's Column: Donald Trump and the perils of loving Israel just a little too much
WASHINGTON (JTA) — It would have been remarkable in any administration: a Summit on Combating Anti-Semitism with appearances by some of the president's top guns, including the secretary of the Treasury, the secretary of Education and the FBI director. And all hosted by and presided over by the attorney general.
That was the lineup at Monday's all-day seminar at the Justice Department, and the turnout was appreciated by the Jewish professionals and lay leaders in the room, no matter what else they thought about President Donald Trump. Here was an entire day devoted to what that attorney general, William Barr, called "a marked increase in reported instances of anti-Semitic hate crimes."
In his remarks, he more than any other speaker in a day of speeches described the full range of threats facing Jews: "gunmen motivated by hatred against Jews," people "attacking Jews in the streets and vandalizing synagogues," "harassment of Jewish individuals and businesses" and a "sharp uptick in attacks on Orthodox Jews, particularly in the Crown Heights neighborhood."
And then there was "the problem of anti-Semitism on campus," which along with the boycott Israel movement turned out to be perhaps the main focus of the panel discussions that followed.
"On college campuses today, Jewish students who support Israel are frequently targeted for harassment, Jewish student organizations are marginalized, and progressive Jewish students are told they must denounce their beliefs and their heritage in order be part of 'intersectional' causes," Barr said.
Many Jews on the left bristle at this emphasis, suggesting that the focus on campuses and the spate of anti-BDS laws are veiled attempts to silence pro-Palestinian sentiment by casting it as hate speech. But the summit audience, like nearly all of the panelists, seemed to share a worldview that ranged from centrist to conservative. They might argue among themselves whether the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement or white supremacy is worse, but on the whole agree that there is a "crisis" on campuses led by a movement that "attempts to disguise its Jew hatred as hatred for the State of Israel and the anti-Zionist endeavor" (as the State Department's anti-Semitism envoy, Elan Carr, said in his remarks).
The tight linkage of Jewish and pro-Israel concerns reflects a mainstream Jewish project going back decades that sees American Jewish identity closely bound up with support for (and attacks on) Israel. And probably no administration has done more to work that connection into both its domestic and foreign policy. In their remarks, both Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke of Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Fighting anti-Semitism is supporting Israel, and supporting Israel means fighting anti-Semitism, was the unmistakable message of the day.
Under any other president, in perhaps any other era, this lashing together of Jewish and Israel interests would have been seen by the Jewish mainstream as hugely validating. But events happening outside of the summit have some saying "Be careful what you wish for."
Trump's attacks on four liberal congresswomen of color, telling them to "go back" to their ancestral countries (only one was born outside of the United States) was exactly the kind of bigotry that the summit was devoted to combating. If you doubt that, imagine if the president — any president — had lobbed that remark at a Jewish lawmaker. "Dual loyalty" is a slur closely associated with Jews, but that doesn't mean it can't be used to attack any immigrant, ethnic or religious group. Bigotry is bigotry, even if you think the target has said things that were just as bad.
Trump, er, complicated things further by dragging Israel into the mess he manufactured. In defending his remarks, he laid the blanket charge that all four of his targets "hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion." One of them, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., "says horrible things about Israel, hates Israel, hates Jews," he said later.
Some, of course, welcomed Trump as a defender of the Jews against the harshly anti-Israel things Omar has said. That includes Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said of all four women, "They accuse people who support Israel of doing it 'for the Benjamins.' They're anti-Semitic. They're anti-America." The Republican Jewish Coalition shared Graham's remarks enthusiastically.
But others saw danger when a president defends his bigoted rhetoric by invoking Israel and anti-Semitism.
"I was disturbed by the president's weaponization of people's indignation about anti-Semitism from some of these women to cloud the accusations of racism against him," Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University, told The Washington Post.
With its own right-wing government and a moribund peace process, Israel is not exactly popular on the center-left (let alone the anti-Israel far left, which would love to gain more recruits). The Democrats bear some of the blame for the liberal drift from Israel. But it can't be good for Israel and its case for it to be so closely associated with the most polarizing president in anyone's memory, especially when he invokes it to defend behavior even a small but growing segment of his own party considers out of bounds.
I heard Trump's Israel remarks in defense of his "go back" tweet and thought of Tevye's lament: "I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't You choose someone else?"
Trump's remarks and divisive behavior hardly came up during the anti-Semitism summit, as exactly no one expected they would. Still, in Barr's remarks you could hear a conventional vision of tolerance that Trump in no way seems to embrace.
"We are a pluralistic nation composed of very distinct groups, each bound together by ethnicity, race, or religion – each group proud of its identity and committed to its faith and traditions," he said. "Yet despite these differences, we can be bound together into a broader community. Not one that seeks to grind away our distinctive identity. Not one that seeks to overbear our religious commitments, which must be paramount. But one that respects, indeed delights in, the freedom of each of us that give meaning to our lives – that help us understand our place and our purpose in this Creation.
"This real sense of community cannot be politically mandated. It arises from the genuine affinity, affection and solidarity that grows out of a shared patriotism and that spontaneous feeling of fellowship that arises from a shared sense of place, shared experience and common local attachments. These bonds are the surest safeguard against racial hatred, including anti-Semitism."
ANDREW SILOW-CARROLLAndrew Silow-Carroll is JTA's Editor in Chief. Previously he served as editor in chief and CEO of the New Jersey Jewish News and wrote an award-winning weekly column in the Times of Israel. He was also the managing editor of the Forward newspaper, editor of the Washington Jewish Week, senior editor of Moment magazine, and a reporter for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Portugal OKs 10,000 requests for citizenship by descendants of Sephardic Jews
Portugal has approved about a third of approximately 33,000 applications for citizenship under its 2015 law for descendants of Sephardic Jews, according to official data.
Applications based on the 2015 law, primarily from Israel, Turkey, Brazil and Venezuela, are behind a 10-percent increase in applications in 2018, which saw 41,324 such requests in 2018, the Publico magazine in Portugal reported last month. It was the highest tally in at least five years.
The report did not say how many applications have been declined.
Israel, which used to provide Portugal with no more than a few dozen new citizens per year before 2015, provided 4,289 applications in 2018 — the second-highest number of any country after Brazil. Israelis submitted more applications for naturalization than even former Portuguese colonies like Cape Verde (4,259) and Angola (1,953.)
Citizens of Turkey, who in past years had made few applications for Portugal citizenship, accounted for 1,141 last years. Venezuelans submitted 562 such requests.
The Foreigners and Borders Service told Publico the increase owed primarily to the law about descendants of Sephardi Jews passed in 2015.
Portugal passed that law shortly before Spain passed a similar law, which is more restrictive and ends in October 2019. Thousands of descendants of Sephardim have obtained Spanish citizenship. Portugal's law is open-ended. Both countries said the law was to atone for the Church-led persecution of Jews in the 15th and 16th centuries, known as the Inquisition.
Anti-Semitic fliers in Massachusetts declare Holocaust 'fake news' BY PENNY SCHWARTZ
Two anti-Semitic fliers that deny the Holocaust were posted at a Massachusetts synagogue, with reports of similar incidents at synagogues in two other states.
Police are investigating what the Anti-Defamation League described as a coordinated campaign by a national online white supremacist group.
The fliers at Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead, a town of nearly 20,000 with a sizable Jewish population on the state's North Shore, were discovered Monday morning by a teacher at its religious school, according to the Jewish Journal.
The printed posters, attributed to the Daily Stormer Book Club, refer to the Holocaust as "Fake News. The people that lied about soap and lampshades are lying about gas chambers and ovens."
They were affixed to a "no parking" sign and the synagogue's main entrance sign, the Jewish Journal reported.
Marblehead Police Chief Robert Picariello told the local media that his department is examining surveillance video and trying to determine exactly when the fliers were placed at the synagogue.
The ADL's Center on Extremism is aware of similar incidents at synagogues in Washington state and outside of Houston, Texas, according to Robert Trestan, ADL New England's regional director.
A similar coordinated flier distribution was directed against churches in June and earlier this month, Trestan told JTA.
"What we are seeing is another campaign" by the white supremacist group," he said. "They put out word to their local chapters to carry out the actions to inject hatred and racism into communities.
Temple Emanu-El's rabbi, David Meyer, told the Jewish Journal: "Sadly, this is not an isolated or unique incident here in Marblehead or for the Jewish community – to be targeted for anti-Semitic hate literature messaging and Holocaust denial."