CAROLINE GLICK A great—but fragile—triumph of Zionism and The World Zionist Congress holds elections every five years. The elections for delegates from the United States is currently taking place online. It started on January 21st and will end on March 11th, 2020, and yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day
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
Prior to the 60/7 resolution, there had been national days of commemoration, such as Germany's Tag des Gedenkens an die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (The Day of Remembrance for the victims of National Socialism), established in a proclamation issued by Federal President Roman Herzog on 3 January 1996; and the Holocaust memorial day observed every 27 January since 2001 in the UK.
Resolution 60/7 establishing 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide. It rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an event and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief. It also calls for actively preserving the Holocaust sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration camps, forced labor camps and prisons, as well as for establishing a U.N. programme of outreach and mobilization of society for Holocaust remembrance and education.
Resolution 60/7 and the International Holocaust Day was an initiative of the State of Israel. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel Silvan Shalom, was the head of the delegation of Israel to the United Nations.
The essence of the text lies in its twofold approach: one that deals with the memory and remembrance of those who were massacred during the Holocaust, and the other with educating future generations of its horrors.
The International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is thus a day on which we must reassert our commitment to human rights. [...]
We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today's world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples may enjoy the protection and rights for which the United Nations stands.
— Message by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for the second observance of the Holocaust Victims Memorial Day on 19 January 2008
CAROLINE GLICK A great—but fragile—triumph of Zionism
The arrival of dozens of world leaders to Jerusalem to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and commit to fighting anti-Semitism represents recognition of Zionism's fundamental truth: The Land of Israel is the one and only, the eternal homeland of the Jewish people.
What the foreign leaders who came to Jerusalem last week to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz will take home from their visits is unknowable. But we do know what they brought with them. Whether they intended to or not, the leaders who came this week to Israel's capital to bow their heads in memory of the six million sons and daughters of Israel murdered in the Holocaust brought with them a recognition of Zionism's foundational truth: The Land of Israel is the one and only, eternal homeland of the Jewish people.
In this sense, the event marks a triumph of Zionism over anti-Zionism.
This victory was never assured and there is no guarantee that this week's achievement will endure.
Consider the achievement.
Modern Zionism—the movement to reconstitute the Jewish homeland in the land of Israel after nearly 2,000 years of exile—provoked enormous opposition from the very start. Jewish nationalism flew in the face of the prevailing zeitgeist in elite Jewish and non-Jewish circles in the mid and late nineteenth century. That zeitgeist, conceived by Enlightenment philosophers and embraced by Reform Judaism, asserted that the Jews were members of the Mosaic faith, not a nation. As such, they were free to assimilate—without their particular Jewish identity—into wider society.
The force of Reform Judaism's rejection of Zionism in favor of universalism was undiminished by the Holocaust. It was undiminished by Israel's establishment. It was given harsh expression in 1960.
As Daniel Gordis recounts in his book We Stand Divided: The Rift between American Jews and Israel, on May 23, 1960, then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion alighted the speaker's podium at the Knesset and announced that Israeli security forces had captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and brought him to Jerusalem to stand trial for his role in the genocide of European Jewry.
Israeli Jewry responded to the earth-shattering news with a sense that a great historical justice had been served. Eichmann's capture was proof that the Jews were no longer homeless. By capturing Eichmann, Israel was taking responsibility for the Jewish people as a whole. They had a home. Those who harmed Jews anywhere in the world could henceforth expect to be held accountable by the Jews themselves, from their capital in Jerusalem.
The heads of the American Jewish community were not happy with this turn of events.
Joseph Proskauer, former president of the American Jewish Committee, claimed Israel had no right to act in the name of the Jewish people. Rabbi Elmer Berger from the American Jewish Council said Israel's capture of Eichmann was a "Zionist declaration of war" against the Jews in America.
Nahum Goldmann, the New York-based president of the World Zionist Organization, suggested that foreign jurists should serve on the court tribunal. That is, he insinuated that Jews acting as Jews (rather than Americans, or British), lacked the credibility to fairly judge the architect of the recent genocide of the Jewish people.
With the Six-Day War of 1967, Israeli Jews obliterated the stereotype of the Jew as a weak penitent. Israel's triumph stirred Jewish pride and nationalism in Jewish hearts from the Soviet gulag to San Francisco. Following the war, the Reform movement formally embraced Zionism.
But the Reform Jews had been far from alone in embracing the anti-Zionist myth that rejected the fact that the Jews are a nation and that Israel is the Jewish homeland.
This position was happily embraced by Israel's worst enemies—the Arab states, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Soviet Union, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian regime and Hamas. From the Arab League to the PLO charter, to the Hamas covenant, to the KGB propaganda shop, all insisted that Zionism was a form of European colonialism. The Jews had no roots in Jerusalem or the land of Israel. Judaism was a mere religion. Jews were not a nation. Israel itself was nothing more than a sop for European guilt. It was a European colonial project created to cleanse the conscience of Europe in the wake of the Holocaust.
A decade ago, the anti-Zionist forces scored their greatest political victory. On June 4, 2009, the new U.S. president, Barack Obama, delivered his "Address to the Muslim World" at American University in Cairo. Before an audience that included a large contingent of Muslim Brotherhood members, specifically invited by the White House, Obama resonated their rejection of Jewish history and denial of the Jewish roots and rights to the Land of Israel.
In Cairo, Obama asserted that Israel's establishment was a product of "a tragic history … Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust."
Obama pointedly failed to utter a word about the nation of Israel's historic ties to its homeland. Instead, he announced that he would travel from Cairo to Buchenwald concentration camp. Jerusalem was not on his itinerary.
Obama's speech was the single most hostile act any U.S. leader ever took against the Jewish state. Speaking to a room full of Israel's enemies, Obama resonated their lies and propaganda.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reportedly stunned by the existential hostility towards Israel and the Jewish people Obama displayed in Cairo. But once he recognized the nature of the problem, Netanyahu spent the next 10 years insisting on the truth. Despite catcalls of criticism from the Israeli left, from liberal American Jews, from the European Union and from the Obama administration, Netanyahu and the governments he led insisted on telling the truth about Israel and Zionism over and over and over again, and insisted that the truth be acknowledged.
At every opportunity, Netanyahu stated and restated that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and was never the capital of any other nation. He stated and repeated endlessly that Israel is the homeland and the nation-state of the Jewish people and was never the homeland or nation-state of any other people.
Over time, it made a difference.
The arrival of dozens of world leaders in Jerusalem to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and commit themselves to fight anti-Semitism represents a spectacular reversal.
By coming to Jerusalem the visiting dignitaries embraced the truth at the heart of Zionism: Israel was not founded because of Auschwitz. It was founded because the Jews came home to live in their homeland as a free nation, finally.
Had the State of Israel existed in 1939, Auschwitz would never have been built.
Whether they realized it or not, these leaders' presence in Jerusalem at a conference on Mt. Herzl dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism made clear that Israel is the best weapon against anti-Semitism. You don't defeat anti-Semitism with hate speech laws, although judiciously written and applied laws can contribute to the effort. You defeat anti-Semitism by embracing Israel. The stronger, more secure and more peaceful Israel is, the safer Jews will be throughout the world.
This stunning statement—which the leaders made simply by congregating in Jerusalem—was a hundred years in the making. It didn't happen by chance. It was the product of years of hard, thankless work. And if that work doesn't continue apace into the future, the recognition will be fleeting.
Obama's presidency facilitated the rise of anti-Zionist forces in the Democratic Party and empowered anti-Zionists in the American Jewish community.
J Street was formed at the outset of the Obama presidency. By blaming Israel for the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, it serves as an incubator for anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, which reject Israel's right to exist. These groups, in turn, radicalize the Jewish establishment.
In 2018, almost all major American Jewish organizations condemned Israel for the Knesset's passage of the Nation-State Law. The law, which enjoys massive public support in Israel, gives constitutional weight to Israel's identity as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The opposition of groups like the Jewish Federations of North America to a law that does no more than restate the obvious is a clear sign of that American Jewish Zionism is fraying.
Then there is the so-called "international community."
During their visits this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and Prince Charles all divided their time between commemorating the Holocaust and pledging to fight anti-Semitism in Jerusalem on the one hand, and traveling to Ramallah to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite, on the other.
The International Criminal Court's prosecutor's recommendation to try Israeli leaders and soldiers for imaginary war crimes represents an attempt by the so-called international community to criminalize Israel's very existence.
French President Macron's made-for-TV abuse of Israeli forces charged with protecting him Wednesday in the Old City is proof that for the nations of Europe, anti-Semitism remains a powerful political weapon.
To secure what has been painstakingly accomplished, we need to commit ourselves to keep our guard up. We must continue to tell the truth and call out the lies of the anti-Semites. The Jewish people are a nation. Israel is our state. Had Israel existed in 1939, as the Zionists and the doomed Jews of Europe had hoped, there never would have been a Holocaust.
To prevent a new Holocaust in a world still drenched in Jew-hatred, the reconstituted Jewish state must be defended. Israeli leaders and citizens and supporters of Israel worldwide must stand up to liars and deceivers who create convenient myths about Jewish identity that conform to their prejudices and lifestyle choices. If we do these things, this week's events will pave the way to more triumphs.
If we fail to do these things, if we take this week's events for granted, then 10 years hence we will not remember the conference at Yad Vashem as the moment that rendered Obama's anti-Semitic screed in Cairo an insignificant historical footnote. Instead, we will view his speech as a turning point, and this week's conference as an insignificant blip on the screen of history.
Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of "The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East."
Israel officially allows citizens to visit Saudi Arabia
In yet another sign of warming relations, Israel's Foreign Ministry announces that Israelis can travel to Saudi Arabia for business or religious reasons.
In another sign of warming relations between Israel and some of the Gulf states, Israel's Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that Israelis will now be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia for religious or business purposes.
Under the new regulations, all Israeli Muslims will be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia for Islamic religious pilgrimages, without having to receive special permission as was the case in the past, according to an AP report.
Until now, Israelis wanting to travel to Saudi Arabia or other Arab states that do not have official relations with Israel had to use foreign passports or be granted special permission.
The Interior Ministry announcement said however that Israelis wishing to visit Saudi Arabia would still require an official invitation, according to the report.
The World Zionist Congress holds elections every five years. The elections for delegates from the United States is currently taking place online. It started on January 21st and will end on March 11th, 2020. You as an American Jew can play a key role in this election by encouraging your friends and family to vote
Today, you and all American Jews have the opportunity to vote online at ZionistElection.org to make your voice heard in the election for the 38th World Zionist Congress, "the parliament of the Jewish people." This election will impact the Jewish future in Israel and around the world.
To be eligible to vote, you must:
● Be 18 years of age or above (as of June 30, 2020)
● Be a permanent resident of the United States
● Be Jewish
● Not vote or plan to vote in the March 2, 2020 Knesset election
A record number of 15 slates, comprised of 1,800 candidates representing the diversity of thought, opinion, religious and cultural identity of the American Jewish community, are vying for 152 American seats at the 38th World Zionist Congress, to be held in October 2020 in Jerusalem. There they'll make decisions about the priorities of the World Zionist Organization, Keren Kayemet LeYisrael - Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency for Israel and the allocation of nearly $1 billion annually in support for Israel and world Jewry.
American delegates make up nearly 30% of the Congress and this election presents a rare opportunity for us to participate in strengthening the Jewish community both in the United States, Israel and worldwide.
The 38th World Zionist Congress (WZC) will be held in Jerusalem from October 20 – 22, 2020. It is the only democratically elected global Jewish forum and is the direct continuation of The First Zionist Congress, convened by Theodor Herzl in 1897. That gathering was the genesis of the modern Zionist movement and the original meeting of great minds that collectively put to paper the idea that the Jewish people should have a state of their own. Today, the WZC, which now meets about every five years, is the overall supreme ideological and policy-making body of the Zionist movement. The delegates and the bodies they form at the WZC determine the leadership and influence the policies of Israel's National Institutions: the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (JNF) and Keren Hayesod – which together allocate nearly $1 billion annually in funding in support of Israel and Jewish communities around the world.
1. Go to www.ZionistElection.org. If you are not a registered voter, click on "Registration" and follow the instructions. You will need to complete a short form and pay a $7.50 processing fee ($5.00 if you are 25 and under). 2. You will receive an email with your voting code.
Why Was the Talmud Called "Gemara"? By Yehuda Shurpin
In a broad sense, Talmud ("study") is the name for the vast collection of texts that covers the full gamut of Jewish law and tradition, compiled and edited between the third and fifth centuries.
There are two parts of the Talmud: the Mishnah, a collection of terse teachings written in Hebrew, redacted by Rabbi Judah the Prince; and a second part that includes elaborations on the Mishnah, citing many teachings, traditions and explanations of the rabbis (read the full history of the Talmud here). This commentary, known as "Talmud," is labeled "Gemara" in classic editions of the Talmud, but this does not seem to have always been the case.
Furthermore, in many instances, the word talmud itself was removed from the text of the Talmud and replaced with gemara.1 Apparently, this was to avoid Christian censors, who hated the Talmud, which they perceived as a threat to their traditions.2
Why was the word gemara used, and what does it mean?
Meaning of the Word Gemara
The Talmud tells us that the word gemara refers to oral traditions3 and study4. Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi (1040-1105), explains that it connotes the teachings provided by later sages to elucidate and clarify the words of earlier sages.5 Elsewhere, he explains that it refers to the principles and underlying reasoning of the Mishnah and halachah, and how to resolve seeming contradictions in the Mishnah.6
There seems to be only one clear instance in the Babylonian Talmud (and none in the Jerusalem Talmud) where the term gemara is used to refer to the body of the Talmud in general as it is used today.
At the conclusion of an incident in which a group of rabbis were discussing the laws of an eruv placed under a tree, the Talmud states:
Rav Nachman said to them: "Correct, and so said Shmuel."
[The rabbis] said to him, "Did you analyze the Mishnah so thoroughly?!"
The Talmud explains: Why were they so amazed [that he studied thoroughly]? They too subjected the Mishnah to rigorous scrutiny. Rather, this is what they said to him: "Did you establish it in the gemara?"7
[To which] Rav Nachman replied, "Yes, [I did]."
Although the term gemara seems to be used here in the conventional sense, it needs to be stressed that the Talmud had not yet been written at the time of this exchange. Rather, as Rabbi Sherira Gaon (c. 906-1006) explains in his famous epistle, during the generations of the Talmudic sages, when a teaching had become unclear due to the diminishing capacity of the students, they would establish the exact wording in carefully kept official oral records, which was called the gemara and later recorded as the Talmud. Thus, the gemara was the official interpretation of the Mishnah accepted and sanctioned by the Talmudic academies of the time. However, the teachings and learning was all done orally. It was only later that it was all written down, as was done with the Mishnah years earlier.8
This further supports the understanding that gemara originally referred to oral traditions and the act of repeating and learning them, not a written body of text.
Deeper and Homiletic Meanings
Some explain that the word gemara is related to the Hebrew word gemar, which means "finished" or "conclusion," since it is the conclusion of the writing of the Oral Torah.9
On a deeper level, some explain that the term gemara is rooted in the phrase gumra de'asha, a "fiery coal."10 For when one learns Torah purely in order to serve G‑d, he ignites within himself a fiery passion.11
Rabbi Chaim Lowe (brother of the famed Maharal of Prague) explains that Talmud study is a form of spiritual protection. This is alluded to by the word gemara, which is an acronym for the four hosts of angels, each one headed by the archangels, who sing G‑d's praise and surround the person to save him from harm:12
Gabriel גבריאל Michael מיכאל Raphael רפאל Uriel אוריאל
May the merit of our Torah learning protect us all!