Tuesday, January 7, 2020

25K-Plus Cross Brooklyn Bridge in Solidarity March Against Anti-Semitism, and THE HISTORY OF THE JEWISH POPULATION IN PLONSKAND THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS IN POLAND and Rabbi Leib (Lawrence) Keleman on XMAS and New Years

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25K-Plus Cross Brooklyn Bridge in Solidarity March Against Anti-Semitism, Including Several With 'Other' AgendasBy Hana Levi Julian

Thousands of marchers head across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan in a Solidarity March against anti-Semitism and hate in New York on Jan. 5 2020

Thousands of Jews and their supporters rallied together Sunday (Jan. 5) in a massive show of solidarity with New York-area victims of anti-Semitism. People came from all over the country to join together and show their support for Jews who have been attacked by people filled with hate over the past weeks and months.

"It was a beautiful show of unity, although there's always the crazies that come," said Rabbi Elchanan Poupko, who attended the event.

The "No Hate, No Fear" solidarity march kicked off at 11 am in Manhattan's Foley Square in an area known as Federal Plaza.

A large concert followed the march to Brooklyn.


New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at the rally the state will provide $45 million in additional funding to protect religious-based institutions and non-public schools.

"We will not let the cancer of hate and intolerance weaken us," he said.

Andrew Cuomo✔@NYGovCuomo

Proud to stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters at the #NoHateNoFear march in NYC.

NY will provide $45 million in additional funding to protect religious-based institutions & non-public schools.

We will not let the cancer of hate and intolerance weaken us.

Some of those who are participating in the event, however, are seen as grabbing a political ride on the coattails of those who have organized this rally for really serious reasons.

One of those is Joel Rubin, a co-founder of the anti-Israel 'J Street' organization, former Obama official who recently served on the board of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and who has just been hired by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to serve as his campaign liaison to the Jewish community.

IfNotNow, a known anti-Zionist organization, also used the event as a springboard for promoting its own agenda — "defunding the 'Occupation' — another word for the State of Israel. In a separate tweet, a member of IfNotNow wrote, "Even though there are many voices there we disagree with (even loathe), we have to engage at places like this if we are going to guide our community to where it needs to go."


Our members are out here! #JewishandProud #NoHateNoFear #SafetyInSolidarity


I'm really happy so many lefty Jews are out today at #NoHateNoFear #SafetyInSolidarity march in NYC.

Even though there are many voices there we disagree with (even loathe), we have to engage at places like this if we are going to guide our community to where it needs to go.


'Jewish Voice for Peace' is another anti-Israel organization that seems to be taking a ride on the gravy train of a serious issue addressing the attacks on Jews in the New York area, something that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with a group that consistently decries the right of the Jewish State to its own right to self-determination and self-defense.

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice@JFREJNYC

"When Jewish people are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!" #SafetyInSolidarity


The American Forum for Israel, a member organization of the American Zionist Movement (the American affiliate of the World Zionist Organization) slammed the attendance of organizations like IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace.

"These organizations should be persona non grata and should be shunned by all mainstream Jewish and Zionist organizations, not welcomed on a march against Antisemitism," said Dr. Dmitry Shiglik, Chairman of the American Forum For Israel, who participated in the rally. "They are by their nature supporting anti-Semitic initiatives and partner with anti-Semites. Their role is purely to divide the Jewish People and to stand against its unity.

"You can not pretend to stand in solidarity with Jews when you stand against the Jewish State and Jewish communities in its indigenous and ancestral homeland. This is hypocrisy and a contradiction, and we should not be afraid to say so."

Marching for Solidarity against anti-Semitism in New York on Jan. 5 2020

A third organization, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, used the event as a springboard to attack President Donald Trump. One of the picket signs their members were saving read, "Hate Crimes Up 17% After Trump Was Elected." It had nothing to do with the message of the day's events, and certainly nothing to do with standing in solidarity of the victims of anti-Semitism.

As a matter of fact, according to a statistical review published by Statista, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States has risen steadily each year since dropping to its lowest figure in 2013 — well before the campaign and election of President Donald Trump, and certainly well within the second term of President Barack Obama.

The sad fact is, anti-Semitism was not caused by, nor is controlled by, any American president. The incidence of this scourge is found worldwide and it must be addressed on a global level, something that the State of Israel has taken the lead in doing since its re-establishment.

Rabbi Leib (Lawrence) Keleman on XMAS and New Years

Link to audio on Torah Anytime.com


On our Piz Gad Zev trip to the Kinneret we enjoy

Lighting candles together and singing Chanakuh Songs


In general, the history of Plonsk was related to the history of Warsaw and the history of the Jews in general in Poland. Because of this, we understand that it is necessary to include a little of the history of the Jews in Poland.

The history of the Jews in Poland reaches back over a millennium. The first Jews arrived in the territory of modern  Poland in the tenth century (year 966). The first extensive Jewish emigration from Western Europe to Poland occurred at the time of the first Crusade in 1098. Under Boleslau III (1102-1139), the Jews, encouraged by the tolerance of the First ruler, settled throughout Poland, including over the border into Lithuanian territory up to Kiev. The Jews came to form the backbone of the Polish economy, and the coins minted by Mieszko III even bear Hebraic marking.  Jews enjoyed undisturbed peace and prosperity in the many principalities into which the country was then divided; they formed the middle class in a country where the general population consisted of landlords (developing into "Szlachta", the unique Polish nobility) and peasants, and they were instrumental in promoting the commercial interest of the land.

The tolerant situation was gradually altered by the Roman Catholic Church on the one hand, and by the neighboring German states in the other. During the next hundred years, the Church pushed for the persecution of the Jews while the rulers of Poland usually protected them. In 1334, Kasimir III  the Great  (1303-1370) amplified and expanded Boleslaw's old charter with the Wislicki Statute.  Kasimir was especially friendly to the Jews, and his reign is regarded as an era of great prosperity for Polish Jewry, and was surnamed  by his contemporaries "King of the serfs and Jews."

But the persecution is coming, and in 1347 the first blood level accusation against Jews in Poland recorded, and in 1367 the first pogrom in Poznan. Later the massacres occurred at Kalisz, Kraków, Glogów and other Polish cities along the German frontier, and it is estimated that 10.000 Jews were slaughtered.

As a result of the marriage of Wladislaus II  to Jadwiga, daughter of Luis I of Hungary, Lithuania was united with the Kingdom of Poland. Although, in 1388, rights were extended to Lithuanian Jews as well as under the rule of Wladislaus II and those of his successors that the first extensive persecutions of the Jews in Poland commenced, and the king did not act to stop this event. The declining in the status of the Jews was briefly checked by Kasimir  IV the Jagiellonian (1447- 1492), but to increase his power he soon issued the Statute of Nieszawa.  Among other things he abolished the ancient privileges of the Jews "as contrary to divine right and the law of the Land."

The policy of the government toward the Jews of Poland was not tolerant under Kasimir's sons and successors, John I  Olbracht (1492-1501) and Alexander the Jagiellonian  (1501-1506), who expelled the Jews from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1495. Alexander reversed his position in 1503, just as the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, as well as from Austria, Bohemia, and Germany, thus stimulating the Jewish emigration to the much more tolerant  Poland. Indeed,  with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Poland became the recognized haven for exiles from western Europe; and the resulting access to the rank of Polish Jewry made it the cultural and spiritual center of the Jewish people.

The most prosperous period for Polish Jews began following this new influx of Jews with the reign of  Zygmund  I  (1506- 1548), who protected the Jews in his realm. His son, Zygmund II August (1548-1572), mainly followed in the tolerant policy of his father and also granted autonomy to the Jews in the matter of communal administration and laid the foundation for the power of the Kahal, or autonomous Jewish Community. This period led to the creation of a proverb about Poland being a "haven for the Jews."

Following the childless death of Zygmund II, the last king of the Jagiellon dynasty, Polish and Lithuanian nobles gathered at Warsaw in 1573 and signed a document of limited toleration in religions. In 1648 the Commonwealth was devasted by several conflicts, in which the Commonwealth lost over a third of its population, over 3,000,000 people, and Jewish losses were counted in hundreds of thousands. Poland herself, which had suffered either from the Chmielnicki Uprising or from the invasion of the Russians and Ottomans, now became the scene of terrible disturbances (1635-1658). Charles X of Sweden, at the head of his victorious army, overran Poland; and soon the whole country, including the cities of Krakow and Warsaw, was in his hands. He devastated the whole country through which he passed and treated the Jews without mercy. As soon as the disturbances had ceased, the Jews began to return and to rebuild their destroyed homes; and while it is true that the Jewish population of Poland had decreased and become impoverished, it still was more numerous than that of the Jewish colonies in Western Europe; and Poland remained as the spiritual center of Judaism, and through 1698, the Polish kings, generally remained supportive of the Jews, despite the hostility from clergy and nobility. It also should be noted that while Jewish losses in those events were high, estimated by some historians to be close to 500,000, the Commonwealth lost 1/3 of its population—approximately 3 million of its citizens.

Disorder and anarchy reigned supreme in Poland during the second half of the 18th century, from the accession to the throne of its last King, Stanislaus II Augustus Poniatowski  (1764- 1795). In 1772, in the aftermath of the Confederation of Bar, the outlying provinces of Poland were divided among the three neighboring nations, Russia, Austria and Prussia.

Jewish were most numerous in the territories that fell to the lot of Austria and Russia. But this partition wasn´t good.  The second partition of Poland was made on July 17, 1793.  Jews, in a regiment led by Berek Joselewicz, took part in the Kosciuszko Uprising the following year, when the  Poles tried again to achieve independence but were brutally put down.

Following the revolt, the third and final partition of Poland took place in 1795. The great bulk of the Jewish population was transferred to Russia and thus became subjects of that empire, although in the first half of the 19th century some semblance of the vastly smaller Polish state was preserved, especially in the form of the Congress Poland (1815-1831).

Jewish life continued. Yeshivot were established, under the direction of rabbis, in the most prominent communities.  Such was officially known as the gymnasium and their principal rabbis as headmasters. Important yeshivot existed in Krakow, Poznan, and other cities. In 1530 a Hebrew Pentateuch (Toráh) was printed in Krakow; and at the end of the century, the Jewish printing houses of the city and Lublin issued a large number of Jewish books, mainly of a religious character. The growth of Talmudic scholarship in Poland was coincident with the greater prosperity of the Polish Jews, and because of their communal autonomy educational development was wholly one-sided and along Talmudic lines. Polish Jewry found its views of life shaped by the spirit of Talmudic and rabbinical literature, whose influence was felt in the home, in school, and in the synagogue.

The assassination of Tzar Alexander II in 1881, was and act falsely blamed upon the Jews. This act prompted a large- scale wave of anti-jewish riots, called "pogroms", throughout 1881- 1884. In the 1881 outbreak, pogroms were primarily limited to Russia, although in a riot in Warsaw twelve Jews were killed, many others were wounded, women were raped and over two million rubles worth of property were destroyed. The pogroms prompted a great flood of Jewish immigration to the United States and other countries, with almost two million Jews leaving the Pale by the late 1920s.

By the late 1800s, Haskalah began to take hold in Poland, stressing secular ideas and values. Because it was created a growing number of political movements within the Jewish community itself. Zionism became very popular with the advent of the Poale Zion socialist party, as well as the religious Polish Mizrahi, and the increasingly popular General Zionists. Jews also took up socialism, forming the Bund Labor union which supported assimilation and the rights of Labor. In 1912, Agudat Israel, a religious party came into existence. In PLONSK the activity of Jewish people was very important, principally in the Zionist and Bund party...

Unsurprisingly, given the conditions under the Russian Empire, and the Jews participated in a number of Polish insurrections against the Russians, including the Kosviuszko Insurrection, and the January Insurrection in 1863, as well as the Revolutionary Movement in 1905. We said in the chapter, History of Plonsk, the Jews as people of Plonsk greatly participated in these revolts. Jews also played a role in the fight for Independence in 1918, some joining Jósef Pilsudski, while many other communities decided to remain neutral in the fight for a Polish Independent State. The result of the concern over the fate of Poland's Jews was a series of explicit clauses in the Versailles Treaty protecting the rights of minorities in Poland.

In 1921, Poland's March Constitution gave the Jews the same legal rights as other citizens and guaranteed them religious tolerance. But during the first and last years of the Second Polish Republic, the persecution against Jews increased. This situation was more tolerant during the government of Josef Pilsudski (1926-1935). When the Nazis invaded Poland about 120,000 polish Jews fought against the german army as members of the Polish army. The estimation is that during the battles 32,216 Jewish soldiers and officers were killed, and 61,000 taken prisoner by the German army; most of them didn´t survive.

According to the agreement of nonaggression between Russia and Germany, Poland was divided again in a zone occupated by the Russian army, and a part of the German army. The division: 61.2% of the Polish Jews were under the nazis, and 38.8% of them under the Russian army. According to the national census in 1931 there were 3,130,581 Polish Jews. And if we consider the increase of the population in Poland during 1931 and 1939 there were more or less 3,474,000 Jews in Poland in September of 1939.   

About 240,000 Jewish survivors from the Camps were in Poland after the Second War, but many of them left Poland due to the antisemitic sentiment of the polish people, especially after the Pogrom of Kilce in 1946.  Currently, at the beginning of the 21st century, there are not more than 20,000 Jews in all of Poland, most of them living in Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Krakovia. But there is not any census data showing the exact number. Jewish organizations in Poland, like the Center Moses Schoor, say there are 100,000 Jews in Poland not practicing their religion, and they don't list their religion as Jews.

See you tomorrow bli neder

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Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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