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
Giuliani: Mayor de Blasio Responsible for Wave of Anti-Semitism By David Israel
Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday told WOR AM radio that Mayor Bill de Blasio has failed to learn the lessons of the Holocaust, and charged: "You're the mayor, you're responsible, do your job."
"The two great lessons of the Holocaust are: 'Never forget, and 'Never ignore.' Never ignore means you have to stand up to the first act of anti-Semitism," Giuliani said.
Giuliani, who is President Donald Trump's attorney and adviser, lashed at de Blasio for saying the President was partially to blame for the wave of attacks on religious Jews in the metro area throughout the month of December, 2019.
"He's the mayor of the city of New York. He is in charge. And isn't it fascinating that all of these communities that have been victimized by anti-Semitism … all of these communities, they love the president. They are his greatest supporters," the former mayor of NYC said.
Giuliani stated: "It's hard to say in a nice way – he's probably the worst mayor in my lifetime. He's a failure as a leader, he does exactly the opposite. You're supposed to take responsibility as a leader, and he forgot, or maybe he never learned, the great lessons of the Holocaust."
For the record, the worst mayor of NYC, in Rudy's lifetime and mine, had to be David Dinkins, who beat Rudy in 1989 and was then defeated by him in 1993. Dinkins was in charge during the Crown Heights riot of blacks against Jews that lasted from August 19 to 21, 1991. On August 20, a group of at least 20 black men surrounded Yankel Rosenbaum, 29, a University of Melbourne student, stabbed him several times in the back and beat him severely, fracturing his skull. He died that night. Mayor Dinkins and Police Commissioner Lee Brown were accused of purposely delaying police response in order to allow rioters to vent their rage.
"It's either in you or it isn't, and this man doesn't even seem to, I don't know, I think he's lazy," Giuliani continued his tirade against de Blasio. "This man has broken my heart. He's ruined things that I worked 24 hours a day, and my staff worked 24 hours a day, tremendous battles," the former mayor lamented.
Last year (December 30), Giuliani tweeted: "Possibly the worst Mayor in NYC, de Blasio, has watched anti-Semitism rapidly metastasize, like a cancer, & is too unconcerned or lazy to 'nip it in the bud.' Otherwise called Broken windows theory, which should be brought back. A COWARD in that he has yet to condemn anti-Semites in his own party who support BDS & similar movements, whose main objective is to destroy the Jewish Homeland."
Mayor de Blasio responded in an interview, saying: "It's striking how out of touch Rudy Giuliani is at this point. He doesn't even understand what's happening in New York City. The NYPD very, very consistently deals with quality of life crimes, hate crimes, the smaller things like graffiti."
Myor de Blasio spokeswoman Olivia Laperolerie responded to the clash of mayors, saying: "Rudy Giuliani should focus on his legal troubles instead of exploiting tragedies to sow division between New Yorkers."
Hamat Teverya hot springs national park in Tiberia
The Tiberias Hot Springs National Park displays one of the most spectacular mosaics of ancient synagogues in Israel. On the site, where the Hot Springs of Tiberias flow, there is also a beautifully preserved 18th century structure of a Turkish Hamam.
We went here on our trip to the Kinneret on Chunukah
Diaspora Left-Wing Jews Oppose Additional Police Protection for Brooklyn Chassidim By Hana Levi Julian
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio introduced this week a range of new measures designed to raise the security profile in multi-ethnic neighborhoods with large visibly Orthodox Jewish populations.
The plan comes in the wake of 13 anti-Semitic incidents in a three-week period, including an hours-long domestic terror attack at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City that left two Chassidic Jews, a non-Jewish worker and a 15-year veteran of the local police force dead in addition to the two assailants. This past weekend five Chassidic Jews were stabbed in another anti-Semitic attack, this one at the home of a Chassidic rabbi in Monsey, New York by a man wielding an 18-inch-long machete. Among the wounded was a 70-year-old man who remains in critical condition.
The move, designed to combat a rise in anti-Semitic hate crime, was welcomed by many in the city's Jewish community.
But the move was also criticized, ironically, by the ethnic brethren of those it is intended to protect: liberal, left-leaning Jewish groups who contend the new measures will "further divide" communities instead of work to bring them together.
Jewish Voices for Peace focused their attention on white nationalists, not that white nationalist attacked any Chassidim in Brooklyn or Jersey City these past few weeks. And then, presumably referring to the police, said the police are killing their friends, families and neighbors.
We know we have to address rising white nationalist violence – against Jews, Muslims, Black people and all people of color – while not relying on the very forces detaining and locking up and killing our friends, family & neighbors.
Another leftwing group, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, also focused on the white supremacists (who were not attacking the Jews of Brooklyn and Monsey), and denounced additional police on the streets.
"Our response to anti-Semitic violence must focus on building solidarity with other groups targeted by white supremacy, not increased policing," tweeted the Jews for Racial & Economic Justice group.
The group was well represented at the eighth night Chanukah candle lighting at Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, writing in a tweet following the event, "Jews of all denominations surrounded and celebrated Chanukah with Haredi and Hasidic siblings. POC & Muslim volunteers surrounded all of us in protection."
Some beautiful photos from last night's #NYCAgainstHate solidarity action where Jews of all stripes surrounded and celebrated Chanukah with Haredi and Hasidic Jews, and POC surrounded all of us in community protection. NY will #LoveAndProtectEachOther@giligetz
More photos from last night's solidarity action. Jews of all denominations surrounded and celebrated Chanukah with Haredi and Hasidic siblings. POC & Muslim volunteers surrounded all of us in protection. NY will #LoveAndProtectEachOther@giligetz
"This is what dividing vulnerable communities looks like," Jews for Racial & Economic Justice" wrote in a separate tweet. ""Instead of investing in restorative solutions that prioritize the safety of all communities, [De Blasio] is implementing a plan that treats abuse of black and brown communities as the answer to anti-Semitic violence. It isn't."
"Anti-Semitism is on the rise. It is in the water. It is being fueled by a white nationalist administration," she contended in what seemed to be a reference to the Trump administration.
"It is in the water, and it is everywhere. And it is causing a rise in hate crimes across the board. The way it shows up against Jews is different than the way it shows up against other communities, but all communities are targeted by white supremacy and white nationalism. And so, our response is to come together with our communities that are targeted…
"Our approach and the approach of grassroots community organizations to hate crimes is actually to think about what our preventive and restorative and repair approach is. So we're part of this coalition of grassroots groups, nine groups across the city, representing all targeted communities — Muslim, Jewish, LGBT and beyond — who are seeking together a way to decriminalize — to reduce our reliance on police, which right now is the only answer."
Sasson said that while everyone wants and needs to be safe, and while that is everyone's right, "bringing more police into communities of color, where there are also largely more white Jews living alongside black people, is going to overcriminalize . . . that community." Her group believes that will reduce the security and safety of those who live there, she told listeners.
"For hate violence, the Hate Violence Prevention Initiative is looking to think about hate crimes from the perspective of what is the root of it and how do we bring Teshuvah, which is a Jewish term of repair, so enacting more restorative justice, more community control and bringing a whole other lens to hate violence," Sasson said.
De Blasio told journalists as the news conference in which he introduced his security measures that "The story of Crown Heights bears remembering right now. It took constant dialogue and constant effort to reach residents of the community, particularly our young people, and it took painstaking work. But the division was healed and it has been changed into a community where people work together."
To a great extent, that is so, and it was to the sole credit and gritty determination of then-Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden that the "Crown Heights Coalition" – the forum for those dialogues — actually survived its first year despite the constant clashes.
But it is also instructive – and perhaps a lesson in caution – to note that despite more than a decade of dialogue and really hard work – the Coalition's accomplishments were more political than concrete, and at the end of the day, Crown Heights remains a neighborhood largely divided.
This past year has been, again, one in which anti-Semitic attacks on the street have risen sharply despite the dialogues and political safeguards that were put into place more than 20 years ago. Once more, Jewish children, teens and adults in Crown Heights do not feel safe and there is the feeling among residents that it's not a matter of 'if' but rather, 'when' the next attack will come.
Sadly, it is also worth noting this weekend's Chanukah machete attack suspect spent his boyhood on the streets of Crown Heights from 1985 to 1992, the worst years of anti-Semitic hate and incitement fed to crowds by rabble-rousers Sonny Carson and Al Sharpton.
There are current and former residents of the neighborhood who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to this day as a result of the three-day pogrom incited by Professor Jeffries in response to a tragic motor vehicle accident that killed a child in the African American / Carribean American community. Within hours, a rabbinical student was stabbed to death in revenge with thousands of rioters screaming "No Justice, No Peace."
WHY ARE WE CALLED YEHUDIM? By Rabbi Yisrael and Rebbetzin Sara Krengel
In the beginning of this week's Parsha we have the dramatic scene where Yehuda approaches Yosef (Bereishit 44:18): "וַיִּגַּ֨שׁ אֵלָ֜יו יְהוּדָ֗ה וַיֹּ֘אמֶר֘ בִּ֣י אֲדֹנִי֒ יְדַבֶּר נָ֨א עַבְדְּךָ֤ דָבָר֙ בְּאָזְנֵ֣י אֲדֹנִ֔י וְאַל יִ֥חַר אַפְּךָ֖ בְּעַבְדֶּ֑ךָ כִּ֥י כָמ֖וֹךָ כְּפַרְעֹֽה" "Then Yehuda approached him and said, "Please, my lord, let now your servant speak something into my lord's ears, and let not your wrath be kindled against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh…."
It is clear from this verse that Yehuda is the focal point here, not Yosef - whose name is not even mentioned. At this crucial juncture in Jewish history which marks the reunification of the brothers and their move to Egypt, the central personality and name used here is Yehuda's. Why is this the case?
In next week's parsha, when Yaakov blesses his children, he blesses Yehuda with the following (Bereishit 49: 8): "יְהוּדָ֗ה אַתָּה֙ יוֹד֣וּךָ אַחֶ֔יךָ יָֽדְךָ֖ בְּעֹ֣רֶף אֹֽיְבֶ֑יךָ יִשְׁתַּֽחֲו֥וּ לְךָ֖ בְּנֵ֥י אָבִֽיךָ:" "Yehuda, [as for] you, your brothers will acknowledge you. Your hand will be at the nape of your enemies, [and] your father's sons will prostrate themselves to you".
The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 98) explains this verse as follows: "Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said: 'All of your brothers will be called by your name. After all, a Jew does not say "I am a Reuveini" or "I am a Shimoni"; but he does say "I am a Yehudi."
To fully understand why we are called by Yehuda's name, we need to delve into the meaning and essence of Yehuda's name. When we look at Yehuda's birth, we see that he is the first child where Leah expresses full gratitude to Hashem - without any expression of sadness and difficulty - as opposed to her first three sons: "וַתַּ֨הַר ע֜וֹד וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֗ן וַתֹּ֨אמֶר֙ הַפַּ֨עַם֙ אוֹדֶ֣ה אֶת־ה' עַל כֵּ֛ן קָֽרְאָ֥ה שְׁמ֖וֹ יְהוּדָ֑ה וַתַּֽעֲמֹ֖ד מִלֶּֽדֶת" "And she conceived again and bore a son, and she said, "This time, I will thank Hashem! Therefore, she named him Yehuda, and [then] she stopped bearing."
The Sefat Emet (Vayigash 5631/1870) explains the true meaning of the word hoda'ah (which Yehuda's name stems from in the above verse) as follows: "Then Yehuda approached him: The idea of hoda'ah / gratitude is a trait found in every Jew. My grandfather the Chiddushei HaRim explained that we are called Yehudim because we are grateful to and acknowledge Hashem's involvement and kindness in every aspect of our lives. And it is through this acknowledgment that we are able to approach every challenge in our lives. In this verse Yehuda was really approaching Hashem (Vayigash Eilav), and through this he drew the strength to approach Yosef and stand up for his brothers."
This is the reason we Jews begin our day with "Modeh Ani" and Birchot Hashachar – showing gratitude to Hashem for all His kindness. It is interesting that modern psychology recognizes the importance of gratitude for mental health. Dr. Tal Ben Shahar mentions in his book "Happier" the following: "In research done by Emmons & McCullough, those who kept a daily gratitude journal – writing down at least five things for which they were grateful – enjoyed higher levels of emotional and physical well-being".
May we all be able to connect to this innate trait, and always double our enjoyment of Hashem's kindness through gratitude!