AJC Survey: One in Three US Jews Hide their Religious Affiliation Out of Fear By David Israel and Low on burial space, Jerusalem eyes underground city of the dead and Noah's flood started tonight the 17th of MarCheshvon
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
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Teach thy tongue to say 'I do not know,' and thou shalt progress. Maimonides
Every man should view himself as equally balanced: half good and half evil. Likewise, he should see the entire world as half good and half evil.... With a single good deed he will tip the scales for himself, and for the entire world, to the side of good.
Bodie Hodge, AiG-U.S., offers an overview of the timing of the events of the Flood according to Scripture.
An examination of the Flood account in Genesis 6–8 gives some time-related milestones that form the overall structure in the progression of the year-long global Flood. Table 1 briefly summarizes these milestones that can help us understand some of the geologic details of the Flood.
Table 1: Timeline of Flood Duration1 Timeline (days) Duration Month/Day Description Bible Reference 0 Initial reference point 600th year of Noah's life: 2nd month, 17th day of the month The fountains of the great deep broke apart and the windows of heaven were opened; it began to rain. This happened on the seventeenth day of the second month. Noah actually entered the Ark seven days prior to this. Genesis 7:11
40 days and nights 3rd month, 27th day of the month Rain fell for 40 days, and then water covered the earth's highest places (at that time) by over ~20 feet (15 cubits) and began the stage of flooding until the next milestone.2Genesis 7:11–12, Genesis 7:17–20
150 days (including the initial 40 days) 7th month, 17th day of the month The water rose to its highest level (covering the whole earth) sometime between the 40th and 150th day, and the end of these 150 days was the seventeenth day of the seventh month. The Ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. On the 150th day, the springs of the great deep were shut off, and the rain from above ceased, and the water began continually receding. Genesis 7:24–8:5
150 + 74 = 224 74 days 10th month, 1st day of the month The tops of the mountains became visible on the tenth month, first day. Genesis 8:5
224 + 40 = 264 40 days 11th month, 11th day of the month After 40 more days, Noah sent out a raven. Genesis 8:6
264 + 7 = 271 7 days 11th month, 18th day of the month The dove was sent out seven days after the raven. It had no resting place and returned to Noah.3Genesis 8:6–12
271 + 7 = 278 7 days 11th month, 25th day of the month After seven more days, Noah sent out the dove again. It returned again but this time with an olive leaf in its beak. Genesis 8:10–11
278 + 7 = 285 7 days 12th month, 2nd day of the month After seven more days, Noah sent out the dove again, and it did not return. Genesis 8:12
314 29 days 601st year of Noah life: 1st month, 1st day of the month Noah removed the cover of the Ark on the first day of the first month. The surface of the earth was dried up, and Noah could verify this to the extent of what he could see. Genesis 8:13
370 (371 if counting the first day and last day as full days) 56 days 2nd month, 27th day of the month The earth was dry, and God commanded Noah's family and the animals to come out of the Ark. From the first day of the year during the daylight portion there were 29.5 more days left in the month plus 26.5 more days left in the second month until the exit. Genesis 8:14–17,
1st day of the month Noah removed the cover of the Ark on the first day of the first month. The surface of the earth was dried up, and Noah could verify this to the extent of what he could see. Genesis 8:13
Because the biblical account is a reliable record of earth history, it is to be expected that these milestones would be significant in correlating the prominent geological features preserved in the rock record. For example, we are told that the onset of the Flood was triggered by the breaking up of the fountains of "the great deep." This would imply a violent beginning to the Flood, as springs or fountains of water burst forth to spew vast quantities of water and perhaps other material onto the surface from deeper inside the earth. Furthermore, because this subterranean water and other materials bursting forth is mentioned first in Genesis 7:11 and 8:2, this may suggest that the majority of the water for the Flood came from that source and perhaps helped to supply the waters that are referred to as falling through "the windows of heaven."4
The springs of the great deep were likely the trigger that ultimately resulted in the continental-sized break-up of the earth's crust. The bursting forth of subterranean waters would probably produce tsunamis (granting the ocean depth was sufficient) and would therefore seem to also imply that the Flood began with catastrophic means. Thus, this description of the onset of the Flood provides clues as to where we should look in the geological record for the pre-Flood/Flood boundary.
Of course the issue of pre-Flood sedimentation needs to be discussed. Rivers, such as the Pishon, Gihon, Hiddekel (Tigris), and Euphrates (Genesis 2:11–14), would have been carrying some sediment for about 1656 years from the Creation.5 It is also possible for other smaller catastrophes to have occurred during this time (e.g., volcanoes). This raises an interesting question: were these sediments disturbed and/or redistributed during the Flood or were they buried in situ?
Another milestone with geological implications is day 150. At this stage of the Flood, we are told that the Ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat. This implies that modern mountain-building, at least in what we now call the Middle East, had begun (see also Psalm 104:8–9).6 Furthermore, if our current understanding of mountain-building is correct, the formation of the mountains of Ararat required the Eurasian Plate, African Plate and Arabian Plate to collide with one another (perhaps with some contribution from movement of the Indian Plate).
The springs of the great deep were likely the trigger that ultimately resulted in the continental-sized break-up of the earth's crust.
The biblical account also indicates that on day 150 the springs of the great deep were stopped and the windows of heaven were closed, so from then on the waters began to steadily recede. Therefore, we might expect to see in the geological record evidence of a transition, perhaps from larger scale sediment layers to smaller scale geologic effects, as well as higher concentration of basin, abyssal plain, and continental shelf sedimentation.
Yet another milestone is day 314 (see Table 1). By this time during the Flood event, the biblical account indicates that the water had receded from off the continental land surfaces sufficiently for the surface of the landscape to essentially be dry, at least in the areas as far as Noah could observe.
Then, finally, by day 370 the earth's continental land surfaces were dry. Thus, it can be noted that the recessional stage of the Flood (when the waters were retreating) lasted about five and half months, while the Flood's inundatory stage (when the waters were rising) lasted exactly five months. The recessional stage lasted almost the same length of time as it took for the water to overtake the earth globally. The Flood event finished with another two months needed to complete the drying process.
After the Flood ended on day 370 (with the command for Noah to exit the Ark), it would seem that the hydrological cycle had already been re-established. This is indicated by the rain clouds through which Noah saw the rainbow, and the set times for seedtime and harvest in accordance with the seasonal cycle of rain (Genesis 8:22; 9:12–17). Of course, other milestones throughout the Flood account could be highlighted, but these are most relevant to geological and weather processes, and should suffice for this brief overview.7
This table utilizes a 360-day calendar as most ancient calendars had in the Middle East. This was likely the calendar passed down to these various cultures from Noah and his family before deviations occurred. No one used the 365-day year until the Egyptians, according to Herodotus book 2, line 4. The Egyptians were descendants of Noah's grandson Mizraim, so this was well after the Flood. Virtually all other ancient calendars used a 360-day year with an intercalary month every few years. This was likely a carry-over from Noah through Babel. So we should stick with the 360-day year. This particular Flood year is assumed to exclude an intercalary month. This table was developed by Bodie Hodge, AiG-U.S., and he has given permission for its use.
Some argue from the Hebrew that the Ark officially rose off the surface on the 40th day: e.g., William D. Barrick and Roger Sigler, "Hebrew and Geologic Analysis of the Chronology and Parallelism of the Flood: Implications for the Interpretations of the Geologic Record," in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism, ed. Robert L. Ivey, Jr., (Pittsburg: Creation Science Fellowship, 2003), pp. 397–408.
This seven-day period is not directly stated in the text, but can be derived from the subsequent verses. Genesis 8:10 states that Noah waited "yet another seven days" before sending the dove out a second time. This implies that there was an initial seven-day period between the sending of the raven and the dove.
A.A. Snelling, "A catastrophic breakup: A scientific look at catastrophic plate tectonics," Answers, 2:2 (2007), pp. 44-48.
Using the genealogy found in Genesis 5 and Noah's age at the time of the Flood reveals that the world had been in existence for roughly 1,656 years.
Psalm 104 begins with a reference to the events of creation week and goes on to mention ships (Psalm 104:26) and Lebanon (Psalm 104:16), which are near the time of the Psalmist. So logically, other events in history since creation, such as the Flood, should be expected within the Psalm as it continues. It should be obvious that Psalm 104:6–9 is referring to the Flood since verse 9 specifically says the water will not return to cover the earth, which refers to God's post-Flood declarations in Genesis 9:11, 15 and Isaiah 54:9. Had Psalm 104:6–9 been referring to creation week, then God would have erred since water did return to cover the earth during the Flood. For these and other reasons, the beginning of Psalm 104:8 should be rendered from Hebrew into English as: "The mountains rose and valleys sank down . . . ," which several translations have concluded—e.g., Latin Vulgate (AD 405), Geneva Bible (1599), Tyndale/Coverdale (1535), New American Standard (1971 and 1995), English Standard Version (2001), Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004), etc.
The Cataclysm Chronology Research Group (CCRG) is currently involved in an exhaustive linguistic and literary study of the Hebrew narrative of the Genesis Flood in order to determine its chronology, and thereby, provide the only solid foundation for research on the geological record of the Flood. (For more details, see "Why Study the Chronology of the Flood?")
AJC Survey: One in Three US Jews Hide their Religious Affiliation Out of Fear By David Israel
Almost one in three American Jews prefer not to display articles of clothing that would give away their religion, such as a yarmulke or a Star of David necklace, according to a study released on Wednesday by the American Jewish Committee (AJC Survey of American Jews on Antisemitism in America), examining how Jews perceive anti-Semitism one year after the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.
"American Jews are deeply concerned about anti-Semitism and believe it is getting worse," Avi Mayer, the AGC's Managing Director of Global Communications, wrote in a Wednesday op-ed in USA Today. "Nearly nine out of every ten American Jews (88%) believe anti-Semitism is a problem in America and over eight in ten (84%) say it has increased over the past five years, including a plurality—43%—who say it has increased a lot. Concern about anti-Semitism cuts across differences of age, politics, and Jewish denomination. More than nine in ten (93%) Democrats, 87% of independents, and three-quarters of Republicans say anti-Semitism is a problem in America."
"It's been a rough year, and it's been an eye-opening and awakening year," David Harris, The AJC's CEO, on Wednesday told the Washington Post. "Perhaps there was a time when some Jewish institutions … felt somehow more or less insulated from [anti-Semitic attacks]. The fact that the attacks took place in Pittsburgh and Poway triggered a feeling that we're all at risk everywhere, equally — it can happen anywhere."
The survey of more than 1,200 Jews across the United States, was conducted close to one year after the Tree of Life synagogue shooting on Oct. 27, 2018, shows that a large majority worry about anti-Semitism and that a substantial minority experience anti-Semitic bias personally.
84% of American Jews said they think anti-Semitism has increased in the United States in the past five years.
3% said they think anti-Semitism has decreased.
20% said they had been the target of anti-Semitic remarks online in the past five years.
23% said they had been targeted by anti-Semitic comments in person or through mail or phone.
2% said they had been the victim of physical attacks because they are Jewish.
25% answered Yes to the question, "Do you ever avoid certain places, events or situations out of concern for your safety or comfort as a Jew?"
The Washington Post cited the Secure Community Network, which helps synagogues secure their buildings and protect their members, which said that up until the Pittsburgh massacre they would normally receive about 500 requests for assistance from Jewish groups each year, reported receiving about 2,000 such requests after Pittsburgh.
The survey asked questions about which groups Jews worry about experiencing anti-Semitism from, including the far right, the far left and Muslim extremists, and found fairly high levels of concern about all three.
"We've seen what's happening in the United States as part of a larger phenomenon of growing anti-Semitism worldwide," Harris told the Washington Post. "Even a few years ago, things that would never have been said about Jews — maybe because of greater sensitivity to the Holocaust, or just a sense that in a liberal democracy we don't say such things about other groups — those guard rails are down. … Liberal democracy itself is in crisis in many parts of the Western world. So those barriers that kind of contained the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred — those barriers are being weakened."
Avi Mayer wrote: "This weekend, we will fill synagogues across America as part of AJC's #ShowUpForShabbat campaign in memory of the eleven souls lost in Pittsburgh. Elected officials will deliver impassioned speeches and sign powerful proclamations, vowing to stamp out the scourge of anti-Semitism. But come Monday, how many will do what is necessary – confronting the sources of hate within their own political camps, challenging anti-Semitism even when uncomfortable or inconvenient, and reaching across the aisle to jointly build a safer nation for Jews and people of all faiths?
"American Jews are calling out. Will America listen?"
2.5M Visitors to Western Wall in Jerusalem During Tishrei By Hana Levi Julian
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation announced Tuesday that some 2.5 million people visited the Western Wall during the Hebrew month of Tishrei this year.
"Many hundreds of thousands" of people participated in the Selichot (penitential) prayer services held towards the end of the Hebrew month of Elul and in the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.
An additional million people came on pilgrimage to visit Jerusalem and the Western Wall during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, to Christians), during which hundreds of descendants of the Temple priests – those who to this day genetically carry the obligations of the "kohanim" – raised their hands to bless the masses in the Birkat HaKohanim (Priestly Blessing), using the triple blessing set forth in the Holy Torah.
Thousands arrived at the Western Wall Plaza from all over the country, and around the world. They participated during the evening in the second hakafot, another annual tradition in Jerusalem, and mass dancing with 100 Torah scrolls.
The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, said it is hard not to be amazed by the sight of so many people visiting the Wall, pointing to the real power of the Jewish nation.
Netanyahu Celebrates 70th Birthday with Comrades from Old Commando Unit By Arye Green
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night celebrated his 70th birthday with members of "Team Bibi," the squad he commanded when he served in the Elite IDF General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, the famed Sayeret Matkal.
The team, which was named after Netanyahu, held its 50th reunion since the members served together in the unit, which coincided with Netanyahu's birthday celebration.
The reunion was held at the Crusader fortress at Kochav Hayarden National Park, where the team held its final training exercise 50 years ago.
The old army comrades sang the unit song and received special medals with an individual inscription. Netanyahu's medal read: "To Bibi, marking 50 years since the unit was formed. From your soldiers in Team Bibi Netanyahu. Summer of 1969-Summer of 1972."
Netanyahu began his military service shortly after the Six-Day War when he returned to Israel from the US to enlist in the IDF. He trained as a combat soldier and served for five years in the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, an elite Special Forces unit of the IDF.
During the 1967–70 War of Attrition, Netanyahu took part in numerous cross-border assault raids.
Netanyahu became a commander in the unit, leading "Team Bibi" into combat on several occasions.
He was involved in several special operations, including Operation Inferno in 1968, and the successful rescue mission of the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in May 1972, in which he was shot in the shoulder.
Netanyahu celebrated the achievements of the unit, saying he is proud of his soldiers and the operations they partook in, many of which remain secret to this day.
"I would be happy if I could tell you everything that we did. But here, in this place, Kochav Hayarden, was the conclusion of an important exercise that took several days. They carried out all kinds of missions and reached this point where they received the unit insignia," he said.
"I would like to say that it was a privilege to have such soldiers. I am glad that we have kept this bond, an exceptional and strong bond. I can only wish that we will meet here in another 50 years," Netanyahu added.
Low on burial space, Jerusalem eyes underground city of the dead
Squeezed for space, Jerusalem building subterranean necropolis designed to house remains of 23,000 people - likely to be filled in 10 years
Carved into the rock on the side of a mountain directly under the Har HaMenuchot cemetery here lies the entrance to Jerusalem's newest necropolis, a city of the dead that its designers hope will relieve a shortage of burial space in the capital.
A local engineering firm and Jerusalem's largest burial society have devised a plan to radically change how Jerusalemites dispose of their dead by building a modern system of burial caves, a throwback to a practice discontinued some two millennia ago.
During the Second Temple period, it was common to briefly inter bodies in caves and after a time rebury the bones in niches carved in tunnel walls. Rolzur Tunneling and the Chevra Kadisha Kehilat Yerushalayim don't plan to revive the exhumation part, but they are carving crypts again in tunnels. The partners expect to soon open the first section of a massive underground complex that they claim will eventually hold more than 20,000 bodies.
"The cemeteries will grow and grow, and this will be at the cost of the living," Rabbi Hananya Shahor, the executive director of Kehilat Yerushalayim, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "In a few hundred years, we won't have space to live here. And if so, something is wrong with the system. So we started thinking about making the size of the cemetery as small as possible because we need the surface to live."
Jerusalem's burial crunch is driven by a growing population, increasing urban density and high demand for burial in Judaism's holiest city. At Har Hamenuchot, located at the western entrance to the city, the dead already are buried in multi-tiered structures rising several stories above the hills and dominating the approach from Tel Aviv. The structures have alleviated the problem somewhat, but they are expensive to build and still take up a considerable amount of space above ground.
"The outer part of the globe is very full and there is not much space to stretch," said Adi Alphandary, Rolzur's chief of business development. "But you only have to go below [ground] and there is a whole world waiting for you."
Without the tunnel project, Alphandary said, Jerusalem is "doomed" to become a graveyard.
Upon its completion later this month, the $77 million design will incorporate multiple connected tunnels beneath the existing cemetery, each with burial plots carved into rock several stories high. Visitors will take elevators down to graves located in air-conditioned tunnels as deep as 160 feet below ground. Automated systems will keep electrical use to a minimum. An app to enable mourners to easily find their loved ones is also in the works.
While the unfinished tunnels emit an undeniable horror movie vibe, those that are complete feel more like a public concourse than a graveyard. The walls are lined with Jerusalem stone and the floors are brightly lit. Large glass lighting fixtures, created by an artist in Germany, create an upscale aesthetic.
Alphandary said the tunnel system in many ways is more similar to a skyscraper than a traditional cemetery.
"What you will see is a massive technology and engineering project, but we joke that our blueprints were written in the days of the Mishna and Gemara," he said, referring to ancient Jewish texts dating to the early centuries of the Common Era.
The tunnels were dug from the top down using special drilling machines that carved out burial niches on the walls. Controlled explosions and heavy equipment were used to lower the floor to make room for more niches. Bodies will be interred both in the floor and on multiple levels along the walls. In parts of the tunnel system where the rock could not handle the excavation of holes in the walls, crypts have been fabricated out of heavy duty polystyrene.
Despite the high cost of construction, Alphandary believes the cost of burial should still be competitive.
"There will be no maintenance for the graves themselves, no weather, no wind or snow," he said. "On the other hand, there will be electricity. But in order to minimize the amount needed, we are using smart city tech like automated ventilation and lights."
The tunnels may also be more convenient for mourners. Rather than walk across uneven ground, mourners can take an elevator and then move across a smooth tunnel surface to a grave.
"A man in a wheelchair can easily visit relatives," Alphandary said. "There will be real climate control as well. It won't be so hot that people faint."
The entire facility will have a capacity of 23,000 graves spread out over about a mile of tunnels. At current rates, the structure is expected to be filled within a decade, which has led some critics to question whether it's worth it.
Rabbi Seth Farber, the founder of Itim, an advocacy group that works to help Israelis navigate the country's religious bureaucracy, said the project only solves the problem for a few years. Instead, he said, Israelis should get past the idea that burial grounds must be in cities.
"I think we should build in the Negev and have public transportation and solve the problem for the next 100, 150 years," Farber said, referring to Israel's large and mostly unpopulated southern desert.
Shahor vehemently disagreed.
"In Haifa they built a cemetery outside of the city and the residents are paying a lot to have burials in the city," he said.
"Once all the areas around the city are filled, the government will decide where the next place will be. If it's in Beersheba, someone will have to take a day off work to visit a grave. This will harm the people."
Quotes to think about
Day, noun. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. Ambrose Bierce Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce)was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist.
Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough. George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics
Know how to live the time that is given you. Dario Fo Dario Fo is an Italian satirist, playwright, theater director, actor and composer.
Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present. Roger Babson He established an investment advisory company Babson's Reports which published one of the oldest investment newsletters in America.
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States,
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. Carl Sandburg Carl Sandburg) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry.