Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How to stop your glasses from fogging up with a face mask and The Lockdown Song - Lenny Solomon from Shlock Rock and Ireland, Judaism, And The Promise Of Immigration By Michael J. Wildes and Holy City Immersive Experience Opening at Tower of David By David Israel and the US intervenes in a case challenging Illinois Governor Pritzker's COVID-19 move after SpringfieldDownstate judge blasts Pritzker’s stay-at-home-order: ‘Americans don’t get ruled’and Moses’s Great Moment of Challenge similar to Queen Esther’s

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

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. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

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How to stop face masks from fogging your glasses

Corona guidelines are nearly impossible when you also wear glasses, which can fog up and prevent you from seeing the very moment you walk outside. According to an 2011 article published in the Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, wearing a mask directs your warm exhaled air upwards, which then condenses on the cooler surface of the lens, forming "tiny droplets that scatter the light and reduce the ability of the lens to transmit contrast."

Here are some ways you can prevent glasses fog:

Put a tissue inside the top of the mask: If you fold a tissue horizontally and put it between your face and the top of your mask—so it sits over the bridge of your nose— the moisture from your breath will be absorbed by the tissue instead of hitting your glasses lenses.

Buy a mask that molds to your nose: Masks that have a flexible wire allow you to mold it around the bridge of your nose, blocking the warm exhaled air from your mouth. Los Angeles Apparel sells such "flexible" masks.

Wash your glasses with soapy water: According to The Royal College of Surgeons of England article, washing your glasses with soapy water leaves behind a thin film that reduces surface tension and causes the water molecules to spread out evenly into a transparent layer, thus de-fogging your glasses.

From Forbes.

Cloth face masks and coverings are now a must according to the newest CDC guidelines—at least when you're in areas where you might not be able to stay six feet away from other people. If you happen to also be a person who wears glasses (or just someone who wants to wear sunglasses outside), you may find yourself with another nagging issue: the lenses keep fogging up. Basically what happens is, the mask directs your hot breath up toward your eyes and the water vapor forms condensation on the cooler lenses (lovely). If you've ever walked inside on a cold winter day while bespectacled, you're probably familiar with this situation.

So what can you do about it?

Wash your lenses with soapy water.
This sounds incredibly simple, but you'd be surprised how many people never wash their glasses. There's actually scientific evidence from a 2011 study published in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons that showed if you wash your lenses with soapy water, shake off the excess moisture, and then let them air-dry, they'll resist fogging. "Washing the spectacles with soapy water leaves behind a thin surfactant film that reduces this surface tension and causes the water molecules to spread out evenly into a transparent layer," the study says. Hooray for science!

Attach a tissue to the inside of your mask.
You're basically trying to create a strip to absorb some of the moisture from your breath before it becomes condensation. Fold a tissue into a thick strip and then attach it to the inside of your mask, positioned so it will hit the bridge of your nose. It's not foolproof, but it helps.

Use anti-fog spray.
Yes, there are already existing products to help reduce foggy glasses. They work in much the same way as the soapy water trick mentioned above by minimizing surface tension on your lenses. This is probably the most convenient option—if you can find any still in stock. We picked out a few available to shop right now if you're in the market.

Move your glasses farther down your nose.
Sure, this is a less scientific method—but it can work in a pinch. Slide your glasses down to the tip of your nose, which takes them out of the direct path of your hot breath. Hence, less fogging, though you may have to crane your neck upwards to see. It's a trade-off.

Create a "nose" inside your mask.
Basically, if you can form your mask to fit more closely around the shape of your face, there's less chance for the moist air to reach your glasses. If your mask has a wire, pinch it tightly to your nose. If not (or if that's not enough), then this option involves a little crafting, if you're so inclined. This tutorial shows you step-by-step how to insert a flexible nose into your mask. Et voila, less fog.

From Glamour.

llinois Judge Michael McHaney from the case against Illinois Governor Pritzker's executive order.

llinois Judge Michael McHaney from the case against Illinois Governor Pritzker's executive order.

Pretty great read. Trump Administration DOJ reportedly in sympathy with it:

"Before I rule, I'm advising everybody in this room, no public outbursts or displays. The court is still in session until you are told otherwise.Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred: I won't get COVID if I get an abortion but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy. Selling pot is essential but selling goods and services at a family- owned business is not. Pot wasn't even legal and pot dispensaries didn't even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not.A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will. We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled. Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will. If I go to Walmart, I won't get COVID but, if I go to church, I will. Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.These are just a few of examples of rules, regulations and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense. State's attorneys in this state, county sheriffs, mayors, city councils and county boards have openly and publicly defied these orders followed by threats to withhold funding and revocation of necessary licenses and certifications unless you obey.Our economy is shut down because of a flu virus with a 98 percent plus survival rate. Doctors and experts say different things weekly. The defendant cites models in his opposition. The only thing experts will agree on is that all models are wrong and some are useful. The Centers for Disease Control now says the virus is not easily spread on surfaces.The defendant in this case orders you to stay home and pronounces that, if you leave the state, you are putting people in danger, but his family members traveled to Florida and Wisconsin because he deems such travel essential. One initial rationale why the rules don't apply to him is that his family farm had animals that needed fed. Try selling that argument to farmers who have had to slaughter their herds because of disruption in the supply chain.When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled. Make no mistake, these executive orders are not laws. They are royal decrees. Illinois citizens are not being governed, they are being ruled. The last time I checked Illinois citizens are also Americans and Americans don't get ruled. The last time a monarch tried to rule Americans, a shot was fired that was heard around the world. That day led to the birth of a nation consensually governed based upon a document which ensures that on this day in this, any American courtroom tyrannical despotism will always lose and liberty, freedom and the constitution will always win."

US intervenes in case challenging Pritzker's COVID-19 move

US intervenes in case challenging Pritzker's COVID-19 movesThe U.S. Justice Department has intervened in a lawsuit challenging Illinois Gov. JBy HERBERT G. McCANN Associated Press23 May 2020, 07:193 min readIllinois Gov. JB Pritzker answers questions from the media during his daily press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic from his office at the Illinois State Capitol, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Springfield, Ill. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool)Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker answers questions from the media during his daily press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic from his office at the Illinois State Capitol, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Springfield, Ill. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool)The Associated Press

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Justice Department intervened Friday in a lawsuit challenging Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The federal government filed a statement of interest in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis supporting the lawsuit filed by Republican state Rep. Darren Bailey challenging some of Pritzker's actions in response to the pandemic. The department is also challenging the moving of Bailey's lawsuit to federal court and asserts Pritzker is acting in violation of Illinois law.

"However well-intended they may be, the executive orders appear to reach far beyond the scope of the 30-day emergency authority granted to the Governor under Illinois law," Steven D. Weinhoeft, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, said in a written statement. "Even during times of crisis, executive actions undertaken in the name of public safety must be lawful."

Bailey last month filed the lawsuit challenging Pritzker's order, which included shutting down most businesses and churches. Clay County Judge Michael McHaney ruled Bailey was not bound by the order.

McHaney on Friday again ruled against Pritzker's stay-at-home order in a separate case but didn't issue a statewide temporary restraining order.

Bailey is now attempting to broaden that ruling to make the order invalid for all state residents. He contends the stay-at-home order is too restrictive and is unnecessarily jeopardizing people's livelihoods.

Bailey's attorney, Thomas G. DeVore, did not immediately return calls for comment. However, he has accused Pritzker of "forum shopping" by sending Bailey's case to federal court just hours before the governor was due to file a brief in Clay County Circuit Court.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office stated Thursday in its court filing that it was moving the case from state court because it involves U.S. constitutional rights of free religion and due process. Annie Thompson, a spokeswoman for the office, said Friday that Raoul hand no comment on the Justice Department's action.

Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement that Pritzker owes it to Illinois residents to allow the state courts to determine if the state's laws allow orders he issued in response to the pandemic.

"The United States Constitution and state constitutions established a system of divided and limited governmental power, and they did so to secure the blessings of liberty to all people in our country," Dreiband said.

McHaney's ruling Friday applied to a lawsuit filed by James Mainer, owner of HCL Deluxe Tan shop. Mainer sought to have Pritzker's executive order vacated, but McHaney's ruling only exempted Mainer and his business from the stay-at-home order until June 5, when the judge will hold a hearing on a permanent injunction.

In a Friday news conference before the ruling, Pritzker said it was clear McHaney "has his own political agenda."

Moses's Great Moment of Challenge similar to Queen Esther's


We just finished with Purim. In the holiday we learned of Esther's moment of Challenge when Mordiachi tells Esther: "If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?"


While it happened 1000 years earlier, Moses also had a moment of challenge but not spelled out so dramatically as Esther's moment was.


In the Parsha section of this last week, Ki Tasa, after the making of the golden calf, G‑d informed Moses of the downfall of the children of Israel, and of the severe punishment that awaited them. They would die, and a new people, descendants of Moses, would take their places, to carry the torch of the Divine Law among the nations of the world.


Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik says until this moment, Moses just did what he was told. He took the job of leading the Jews anyway under duress, and did what he was told. The Rabbi uses the analogy of a Moses I and a Moses II. Before this "Esther" moment, he just followed orders. Now he stands up to G-d. He doesn't disrespect G-d, he doesn't tell him what to do by saying don't put me in your Torah as most people think, but not to put me into the book of life as we pray for at Rosh Hashanah. He is the Captain of the ship and he asks to go down with the ship. That is his right, as every human being lives as long as he choses, even if he commits suicide. Suicide is a long term solution to a short term proplem, and against the Torah, because it is equivalent to committing murder (on yourself), but Moses demands to go down with the ship.


Moses went to God and said, "If you cannot give the people forgiveness, then blot me out from Your book which You have written."

God responded, "Whoever has sinned against Me, him I will blot out from My book! But when I remember their sin, on that day, there will be a reckoning." Then God sent a plague upon the people.

The Bible tells us that after the Israelites make the golden calf, God tells Moses to "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt." God doesn't say my people, but your people. According to the Midrash, these people who became corrupt, and who were corrupting the rest of the nation, were part of the "many other people" (Exodus 12:38) who joined the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt just months prior – people that Moses accepted into the nation without advising with God. 


According to rabbinical tradition, these rabble-rousers didn't just mislead the nation at Mount Sinai. There were multiple times in the Israelites' journey to the Holy Land when they called to return to Egypt or craved for physical desires, such as in Numbers 11:4: "The rabble with them began to crave other food," trying to bring the whole of a nation down with them.

But these were a minority, and they shouldn't have been able to overcome a large population. If this were only the truth. How many times have we been witness to a small minority of people, or people with a minority opinion, taking over their country and running it into the ground. How many people found themselves just "following orders"? Unfortunately, there are too many examples to list. 


Moses was greatly distressed. In moving words, he prayed and implored G‑d to spare the Jewish people. Moses recalled G‑d's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and for their sake begged G‑d's forgiveness. Finally, G‑d's mercy was aroused, and He promised to spare the people of Israel. Moses now takes initiative on his own and like Esther becomes a new man and takes his Great moment of Challenge and becomes a new Man (Moses II)

Moses Return

Assured of G‑d's forgiveness, Moses descended from Mount Sinai. Exactly forty days had passed since he had gone up, and in his hands he carried the Tables of Testimony, written by G‑d Himself. At the foot of the mountain his disciple Joshua awaited him, and together they approached the camp of Israel.

Now for a little humor:

A Clean Sweep

Moishe Goldberg, owner of Moishe's Kosher Grocer, decided to do his friend Herb a favor and hire his grandson David, fresh out of college, to work in the grocery store. David reported for his first day of work and Moishe greeted him with a warm handshake and a smile, gave him a broom and said, "Your first job will be to sweep out the store."

"But I'm a college graduate," David replied indignantly.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know that," said Moishe. "Here, give me the broom – I'll show you how."


Ideas, that help explain how the world works

Chronological Snobbery: "The assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also 'a period,' and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions." – C.S. Lewis

The Lockdown Song - Lenny Solomon from Shlock Rock

New Release from Lenny Solomon on the Lockdown! Recorded and Mixed by Jeff Horvitch. Studio - Jeff's Studio - Moshav Yishi Israel Guitars Amit Yitzchak Piano - Lenny Solomon Drums, Percussion, Bass, Organ - Jeff Horvitch Video filmed by Avigayil Solomon A Great Gagoo Production Special Thanks to Sam Ash (Not the Music Store) for Crowd Scenes Subscribe to Shlock Rock and 4Corners Project The Lockdown Song We're in a locked down house in a locked down city In a locked down country in a locked down world We can't get on a plane, can't get on a train Can't get in a car and go anywhere And we're bored, bored bored And we're bored, bored bored Chorus – Let us out – We will scream and shout Let us out – in the streets it's a rout Let us out – there can be no doubt anymore, yeah We don't want no zoom, the meetings starting soon We're gonna leave the room, that's what we're gonna do Don't want no facebook live, don't want no you tube live Don't want no twitter live, or Instagram Cause we're bored, bored, bored Cause we're bored, bored, bored Chorus The animals in the streets, taking over the town And we are stuck inside, because of the lockdown We need to see some people we need to see some people We need to see some people every day!CategoryEntertainment

Quotes on life and love from my sister

Failure is a disappointment, but not defeat. Jeanne Robertson

The first rule for success? Show up. Jeanne Robertson

A sense of humor is an attitude in how you approach your work and life. It is a skill that can be developed.  Jeanne Robertson

Don't try to be something to everyone. Be everything to someone. — Anonymous

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. — Mignon McLaughlin, journalist and author.

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. — Audrey Hepburn, actress

For the two of us, home isn't a place. It is a person. And we are finally home. — Stephanie Perkins, author

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. — Maya Angelou, author

At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet. — Plato, philospher

Love cures people—both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. — Karl Menninger, psychiatrist

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. — Marcel Proust, novelist

Holy City Immersive Experience Opening at Tower of David By David Israel

In one of the most complex volumetric Virtual Reality projects to date, an inter-faith team of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim innovators has brought their unique perspectives to the magic and wonder of Jerusalem: the Western Wall, the Holy Sepulcher, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque become private places of exploration and experience through incredibly intricate volumetric captures and stereo 360 films.

"The Holy City" is an immersive and sensory story exploring the undeniable magnetism of the world's spiritual epicenter fostering an inclusive sense of humanity, and celebrating our shared values. It is the newest project by Blimey and OccupiedVR, in collaboration with the Tower of David Museum's Innovation Lab. Both a captivating game and an illuminating exploration of the Old City of Jerusalem, this group activity allows visitors to explore the holiest and most exclusive locations in the city through Virtual and Augmented Reality.

The Holy City XR Immersive Experience

"The Holy City is a one-of-a-kind Virtual and Augmented reality experience. Both a captivating game and an illuminating exploration of the Holy city of Jerusalem, this group activity allows you to explore the holiest and most exclusive locations in the city. It's a quest-like adventure, rich in narrative and cultural history.

Canada Media Fund, Ontario Creates, Jerusalem film fund, The Tower of David Museum innovation lab

The Holy City is a one-of-a-kind Virtual and Augmented reality experience. Both a captivating game and an illuminating exploration of the Holy city of Jerusalem, this group activity allows you to explore the holiest and most exclusive locations in the city. It's a quest-like adventure, rich in narrative and cultural history. Created by Nimrod Shanit An Israeli-Canadian coproduction of Blimey and OccupiedVR Produced by Sean Evans and Nimrod Shanit Co-Directed by Timur Musabay Supported by Canada Media Fund, Ontario Creates, Jerusalem film fund, The Tower of David Museum innovation lab and Mifaal Hapeis.

Song GeniusArtist Luke RichardsAlbum ANW - 3149 Maximum Impact AuroraLicensed to YouTube by Audio Network (on behalf of Audio Network Limited); Audio Network (music publishing), and 3 Music Rights Societies

1620-2020: the 400th Anniversary of the US-Israel Alliance By Yoram Ettinger

The Early Pilgrims

The roots of the unique ties between the United States and Israel precede the 1776 US Declaration of Independence and the 1948 founding of Israel.   They eclipse the political beltway of Washington, DC, transcend the pertinent role of the Jewish community, are deeper than the intimate diplomatic discourse between the two countries, and exceed the mutually-beneficial bilateral defense and commercial cooperation.

The seeds of US civic culture and the unique US-Israel kinship were planted in 1620 by the 102 "Mayflower" passengers, who landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.

These passengers were inspired by the Old Testament, referring to their departure from England as the "Modern Day Exodus;" the sailing across the Atlantic Ocean as the "Modern Day Parting of the Sea;" and the New World as the "Modern Day Promised Land" and the "New Israel."  They considered themselves the "Modern Day Chosen People."

Hence, the litany of Biblically-named towns, cities, mountains, deserts, national parks and forests throughout the United States.  For example, in the US there are 18 Jerusalems, 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem), 83 Shilohs (where the first tabernacle stood), etc.

In 2020, these roots are reflected by the statues and engravings of Moses and some 200 Ten Commandments monuments, which are featured in the US House of Representatives, the US Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Justice Department and throughout the US.

Familiarity with Hebrew was quite common among the Early Pilgrims' intelligentsia and the better-educated clergy. Thus, the ten initial universities offered Hebrew courses, and valedictory addresses at Harvard, Yale and other institutions of higher learning were offered in Hebrew.

Yale University's 7th President, Ezra Stiles (1778-1795), spoke, read and taught Hebrew in addition to astronomy, chemistry and philosophy.  He urged graduate students to be able to recite Psalms in Hebrew, "because that is what St. Peter will expect of you at the Pearly Gates."

The official seals of Yale University ("Light and Truth"), Columbia University ("Jehovah" and "Divine Light") and Dartmouth College ("God Almighty( feature Biblical terms in Hebrew.

The Founding Fathers

The legacy of Moses and the Exodus had a profound impact on the Early Pilgrims, the 1776 American Revolution, the shaping of The Federalist Papers, US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances.

In fact, the inscription on the Liberty Bell is from Leviticus, Chapter 25, Verse 10: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land, unto all the Inhabitants thereof." The inscription is the essence of the Biblical Jubilee, which was considered by the Founding Fathers as the role model of liberty.

Furthermore, Thomas Paine's Common Sense, which was the moral and intellectual touchstone of the American Revolution, was influenced by the Old Testament: "For the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings… (pp. 10-13)."

James Madison, the 4th President and the "Father of the Constitution" stated: "We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity… to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God…."

The Abolitionist Movement

Moses and the Exodus played a key role in the formation of the Abolitionist anti-slavery movement, and in the determination of President Lincoln to abolish slavery. Thus, Harriet Tubman, who initiated the Underground Railroad, which freed Black slaves, was called Mama Moses.

The anti-slavery anthem of Black slaves was composed with lyrics from Exodus, Chapter 8 Verse 1: "Go Down Moses, way down in Egypt land, tell old Pharaoh to let my people go."  The Jewish liberation from Egyptian bondage inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., the key leader of the Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968).

US identification with Jewish Statehood

The 2nd US President, John Adams, supported the idea of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel: "I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation."

On March 5, 1891, six years before the convening of the 1897 First Zionist Congress, over 400 US leaders, including the Chief Justice, House and Senate leaders and chairmen of Congressional committees, governors and mayors, signed the Blackstone Memorial, which called for the reestablishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel.

On June 30, 1922 Congress passed a Joint Resolution, which was signed by President Warren Harding: "…. Favoring the establishment, in Palestine, of a national home for the Jewish people….

The 400 year old roots and the US Supreme Court

Theodore White wrote in The Making of the President, 1964: "It was as if Kennedy, a younger Moses, had led an elder Joshua [Lyndon Johnson] to the height of Mount Nebo, and there shown him the Promised Land which he himself would never enter."

On December 24, 1968, the three astronauts of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, conducted a direct broadcast to earth, reciting the first ten verses of the Creation from the Book of Genesis.

The depth and potency of the 400 year old roots were expressed on June 28, 2005, by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who ruled that the Ten Commandment monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol was constitutional: "Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets… in the [Supreme Court's] south frieze…. Moses was a lawgiver and a religious leader, and the Ten Commandments have undeniable historical meaning…."

These 400 year old roots have nourished an exceptional bottom-up international relations phenomenon, whereby elected US officials implement the worldview of most constituents, enhancing the ideological, cultural, commercial, technological and military bond between the United States and its most reliable, systematic, effective and ideological ally, Israel.

Ireland, Judaism, And The Promise Of Immigration By Michael J. Wildes

Last year, I had the pleasure of joining Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau for Shabbat while he was in New York for an event honoring a prominent Holocaust museum in Israel. The event happened to coincide with the annual New York St. Patrick's Day Parade, and I had the chance to be part of a fortuities meeting: the Grand Marshal of the parade, Dr. Brian J. O'Dwyer, took time from the festivities to meet Rabbi Lau and pay his respects. Seeing these two community leaders come together in the spirit of friendship and good will – one in a bowler, the other a shtreimel – has stayed with me, a potent snapshot of how our two communities have made a home in America, and in the process given so much to so many.

In honor of that incredible meeting, I've decided to dedicate this column to a topic that doesn't get a lot of attention: Ireland and the Jewish experience. When we think of the story of the Jewish people, of our migrations across the world for over 2,000 years, we rarely consider Ireland as anything more than a very green, very Catholic country. Admittedly, the Jewish population in Ireland is a small one, and while Jews have had a consistent presence on the island since at least the 13th century, it's safe to say that matzah won't replace soda bread any time soon. At the same time, there are important parallels between the Jewish and Irish experiences which become apparent when we consider our shared history of persecution, perseverance, and new beginnings in America. Those experiences can shed light on how we came to be where we are as a country, and provide a map of where to go from here.

At the outset, it's worth noting that the protagonist of one of Ireland's most celebrated works of art, James Joyce's Ulysses is presented as Jewish. The character, Leopold Bloom, was summed up by Gerald Yael Goldberg, lawyer, scholar, and first Jewish mayor of the city of Cork, as "neither Jewish nor non-Jewish, Irish nor non-Irish, but a loyal, lovable, kindly human who bridges the gap between Irish man and Irish Jew." Over the course of a single day in June, Leopold Bloom weathers persecution, displays courage, and inadvertently reveals the hypocrisy and paralysis Joyce saw at the heart of not only Irish life, but Western art and politics. Joyce's decision to use a Jewish character to help tell his story is a powerful reminder of both the perceived threat and actual value of the outsider – a role Jews were and continue to be all too familiar with.

It is also through Ulysses that we're forced to consider the complicated relationship between the Irish and the Jews. While famous 19th century politician Daniel O'Connell pressed for Jewish rights, anti-Semitism was not uncommon, coming to a head with the "Limerick Pogrom" of 1904 that drove dozens of Jews from the city. Commenting on this nativist resentment, a character in Ulysses representative of populist antipathy quips: "Ireland, they say, has the honour of being the only country which never persecuted the Jews. Do you know that? No. And do you know why? She never let them in." Although the line was written at the close of World War I, it proved particularly prescient, as Ireland would prove to be at best unsympathetic and at worst openly hostile to Jews attempting to flee Nazi persecution during World War II. Later generations of Irish citizens would go on to roundly criticize Ireland's wartime immigration policies and disparage its neutrality, a lasting critique that now belongs to history. This in turn provides a lesson to those of us living in the United States in 2020: we will be remembered for our unwillingness to help those in need as surely as we will be celebrated from protecting the persecuted. As the Talmud teaches: "The mercy we to others show, Heaven will show to us."

While immigration and refugee resettlement in Ireland during the war was hugely problematic, there are individual examples of Irish bravery from that period that deserve our attention. One example is Hubert Butler, a scholar and writer who was disgusted by anti-Semitism and the rise of the Nazis in Europe. Working with Quakers in England and America, Butler traveled to Vienna to secure visas for 100 Jews who were ultimately shepherded to safety in the United States. He is credited with saving dozens of Jewish families over the course of the war. Another Irishman committed to fighting Nazi atrocities was Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty. He saved over 6,500 Jews and Allied soldiers while serving as a Monsignor in the Roman Curia during the war. When Herbert Kappler, the head of the SS and the Gestapo in Rome, learned of Monsignor O'Flaherty's actions, he had a white line painted at the opening of St. Peter's Square and ordered that the priest be killed if he crossed it. Under Monsignor O'Flaherty's direction, the Church hid over 5,000 Roman Jews from the Nazis in monasteries, convents, colleges, private homes, and even as members of the Palatine Guard. Application to have Monsignor O'Flaherty added to the rolls of the Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel is still in progress, a fitting honor to an Irish ally of the Jewish people.

We don't have to cross oceans to see how Irish and Jewish experiences are intertwined. Both groups faced significant oppression and religious intolerance upon arrival to the United States. In time, they would become increasingly integrated, celebrating the beliefs and cultural values of their Irish and Jewish forebears while forging ahead as allies unified by common cause and love of country. Like their Jewish neighbors, the Irish have a proud history of public service, swelling the ranks of police and fire services and working in public office around the country for generations. They have proven time and again their commitment to this great experiment that is America. It is this unwavering dedication to serve and give back that gave us JFK, grandson of Irish immigrants and staunch supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. It is especially meaningful that his only grandson, Jack Schlossberg, is himself a descendent of respected Irish and Jewish families.

Over the course of my own career as an immigration attorney, I have had the good fortune to work with Irish people from all walks of life, from professionals and artists to internationally renowned performers like singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor. In every instance, I have been humbled by their willingness to embrace America as a new home. This is the promise of immigration – that today's newcomers can become tomorrow's friends and neighbors. So this March 17, let's lift a Guinness and say "L'Chaim" as we remember that no matter where we came from, we are all American.


In memory of Dr. Ivan Mauer – and Bloomsday, June 16.

See you tomorrow bli neder, hoping the Mashiach comes


Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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