Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Don't take on any more suffering during these weeks, we have suffered enough and Bullying Bari Weiss By Jonathan S. Tobin and her resignation letter from the New York Times and ZOA Opens Hotline for Journalists Facing Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israel BigotryBy Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency and 50 Jewish Trivia facts and President Lincoln proclaimed fasts three different times

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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

Love Yehuda Lave

No need to suffer any more than we already are -Treat yourself like the King/Queen that you are!

Unless it gives you joy to take on additional Suffering, Don't!

Chief Sephardi Rabbi allows music for some, I am allowing for all who need it

Today's news brings the story that The Chief Sephardi Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef ruled on Monday that those on quarantine due to coronavirus, may listen to instrumental music during the traditional mourning period leading up to Tisha B'Av (which is now as Tisha B'Av is in 10 days).

I am going the rest of the way and in my understanding believe that most mourning practices are put on hold this year, as the coronavirus has already given most of us plenty to mourn without putting on any additional Rabbinic restrictions. First I will continue with his ruling and then explain why I give additional leniencies based on my learning.

Rabbi Yosef clarified that the leniency as he understands it, only applies if the music is recorded and the artist is not seen, even in a video. People in quarantine should only listen with headphones and not have other people who are not in the same mental state listen with them. Those in quarantine who feel the need to listen to instrumental music should listen to calm music and only listen to upbeat music if they need to. Those who do not need to hear music to feel at ease should not listen to music, he said.

Listening to instrumental music is usually prohibited during the mourning period leading up to Tisha B'Av, the day when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Many more lenient Rabbis, however, allow recorded music in a normal year and only prohibit live music.

"This year, to our great sorrow, the coronavirus spread to all corners of the world, and many are in their homes in quarantine, bringing mental stress and depression and great sorrow to the point that they can't stay closed in their rooms," Yosef said. Since listening to calm songs would help those in quarantine deal with the situation and prevent them from going out and infecting others, "there is room to be lenient with them to listen to these songs," he said.

If calm songs do not bring them comfort, further leniencies can be made to allow even upbeat music, Yosef said. He quoted the book Ben Yehoyada, which says: "In times of plague, one should be happy and reduce depression and mental stress, because this sorrow kills more souls than the plague itself." Yosef clarified that the leniency only applies if the music is recorded and the artist is not seen, even in a video. People in quarantine should only listen with headphones and not have other people who are not in the same mental state listen with them. Those in quarantine who feel the need to listen to instrumental music should listen to calm music and only listen to upbeat music if they need to. Those who do not need to hear music to feel at ease should not listen to music, he said. Recorded children's songs may be played for children in quarantine if there is no other way to keep them busy and calm,

So now we can move on to further leniencies, as I believe are allowed. Rabbi Yosef quotes Ben Yehoyada, which says: "In times of plague, one should be happy and reduce depression and mental stress, because this sorrow kills more souls than the plague itself. So the question of allowing leniencies, which is the primary job of a Rabbi, is a question of judgment. A Rabbi's outlook will determine how lenient or strict he is in interpreting the Halacha (Jewish Law). Rabbi Yosef gives this leniency, I go much further. We are in an unprecedented time. I just received a text from my medical provider that I have to provide them the reason I want to make a medical appointment first before they see me, as they don't want to expose themselves to any sick people! (HUH?). This is what we are dealing with, unprecedented times. I have taught in a previous posting that one doesn't have to be more religious than G-d. The purpose of Jewish law according to the Torah is to live by the Torah, not to die for it.

Many people have kept Jewish law, including this restriction on listening to music during this traditional mourning period all of their lives. They hang onto their traditions and don't give them up, even if the circumstances change. I feel, that for the first time in my 40 years of learning and studying, I have something original to say. We have 3500 years of Rabbis teaching the Jewish law in our books and nearly everything that could be said has been said. Now for the first time in my lifetime, we are faced with unique circumstances. As I have said many times, Halacha doesn't change, but circumstances do, and a Rabbi has a right to interpret the Jewish law with the changed circumstances. Most Rabbis don't see this opportunity and it is going to pass them by. I am grabbing it, and with the forum that the Times of Israel is giving me, I am helping people get through this horrible time, but letting them realize that we don't have to take on any additional Rabbinic mourning when we are suffering every day. G-d isn't happy about our suffering, but it is part of the divine plan. I am not happy at all about suffering, but I feel excited to be able to say something original at a time and place where maybe I make a difference.

Today is Rosh Hodesh Av. There are only 9 days left until Tis A'bov so I am giving this interpretation as quickly as possible and only wish that I could have said it before the beginning of the three weeks. My Hidish (insight) is that unless it gives you joy to take on additional Suffering, Don't!

The Virus and the changes of life are on everyone's mind 24 hours a day. One of my Rabbi's has made himself so sick during this period, I don't know if he will survive. This is lunacy. Stay strong, keep your faith in G-d strong, but you don't have to be more Religious than G-d. The Jewish law now is to stay happy, doing the mitzvahs, but don't be hard on yourself. Treat yourself like the King/Queen that you are.

Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Shmueli is Not the Best Listener

Little Shmueli Sapperstein wasn't the best listener in his kindergarten class and today was no exception.

His teacher, Mrs. Millman, said to him, "Since you don't want to listen, Shmueli, you sit at that table by yourself."

After a few minutes, Shmueli's friend Shloimie raised his hand and said, "Mrs. Millman, I don't want to listen either. Can I sit over there with him?"


Bullying Bari Weiss

By Jonathan S. Tobin

For most observers of American journalism, The New York Times has long been regarded as the flagship of liberal thought and opinion. But after a woke mob essentially hounded Bari Weiss, a centrist Jewish writer who has been outspoken about anti-Semitism, to the point where she thought that her continued presence at the paper was untenable, it's no longer possible to describe the Times as "liberal."


It's true that in the shorthand of American politics, the paper's point of view can be described as left of center. But while the meaning of labels like liberal and conservative have shifted somewhat over the years, any organization that is as irredeemably hostile to a broad range of views as the Times can't be described in that manner. The only way to describe the newspaper that is depicted in Weiss's shocking and devastating resignation letter is "illiberal."

The end of Weiss's tenure at the Times is a watershed moment for the paper both in terms of its short-lived experiment at editorial diversity that her hiring represented, and the way it treats Jews and the issue of anti-Semitism.

Weiss and columnist Bret Stephens were recruited to the Times in 2017 from The Wall Street Journal, where both no longer felt comfortable because of their fervent opposition to President Donald Trump. Stephens, a past Pulitzer Prize winner for Commentary is a conservative on most issues, though cannot abide Trump. Weiss's politics are less easily defined, but she while she is an opponent of Trump, she is also a reliable commentator on anti-Semitism, in addition to the effort to demonize Israel and its supporters.

As Weiss relates in her letter, the Times made a concerted effort after the 2016 presidential election to come to terms with the fact that its political tunnel vision had caused it to misread the electorate and the mood of the country. However, for the left-wingers who run the Times, the distance between that laudable intention and being able to actually abide having people on staff who challenge their assumptions and prejudices is a bridge too far. Unless Stephens and Weiss were prepared to assimilate into their new environment—as is the case with David Brooks, a former conservative at the paper's opinion section—and discard their principles in order to be a comfortable fit, then they were headed for conflict.

It's one thing for the paper's overwhelmingly liberal staff not to welcome those who dissent from such a groupthink atmosphere. But the problem in contemporary journalism that has infected the newsroom there and other places is the widespread belief by many, if not most, young journalists is that traditional beliefs about fairness and objective reporting are outdated concepts. As illustrated in this insightful and frightening Times profile of Wesley Lowery, a former Washington Post reporter now at CBS News, the culture of contemporary journalism at legacy media outlets has shifted to the point where many reporters believe that their primary duty is to promote a particular point of view, and to denigrate and delegitimize those who disagree.

Whatever you may think of Trump, it's painfully obvious that this is reflected in those publications' coverage of the Trump administration, in which there is editorializing rather than reporting in every headline and news story. The same spirit of intolerance has infected the opinion section at these newspapers because the staff is simply unwilling to publish points of view that contradict their assumptions and biases. In such an environment, an independent thinker like Weiss was in trouble even if she agreed with her colleagues about Trump.

The turning point occurred the week after the George Floyd protests when peaceful demonstrations gave way to rioting and looting. Opinion editor James Bennet, who had hired Weiss, approved an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that called for the use of federal troops to stop the violence and looting (and not, as the article's critics falsely claimed, to put down peaceful demonstrations or impose a fascist regime on the United States). Cotton's article outraged the Times's staff, and a newsroom revolt forced publisher A.G. Sulzburger and Bennet to disavow the piece even after they had rightly defended it as in keeping with their obligation to publish opposing views. But the woke mob at the Times no longer believes in free discourse and tolerance of opponents. They see all contrary opinions as a threat to be abolished, and their advocates to be canceled and shunned. As Weiss aptly states, Twitter (and the woke mobs of bullies who dominate that platform) has become "the ultimate editor" of the Times since not even its publisher is capable of standing up to it.

After Bennet was forced to resign over this debacle and he was replaced by Charlotte Greensit, a hardcore leftist from The Intercept—a radical rag that specializes in publishing conspiracy theories about American and Israeli perfidy—few believed that Weiss could survive at the paper.

But what she describes in her resignation letter is more than a difference over philosophy or politics. No one who reads it can really accept the paper's commitment to a fair editorial process. Just as important, the intolerance shown her was stunning in its ferocity.

And it is her identity as a Jewish writer and outspoken commentator on anti-Semitism that is particularly disturbing. Weiss wasn't attacked in spite of being Jewish, but in large measure because she was widely identified as a Jew willing to speak out against anti-Semitism.

As she points out, the tone of the constant bullying towards her was particularly troubling because it included calling her "a Nazi and a racist." She said she "learned to brush off comments about how I'm 'writing about the Jews again.' " Can anyone imagine an African-American writer being denigrated for writing about their community, especially when, as in Weiss's case, she grew up at the Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were shot dead in the fall of 2018 during Shabbat-morning services?

Her willingness to take on anti-Semites on the left, rather than just white nationalists, outraged her colleagues. They never forgave her for activism as a student at Columbia University when she first made her name as someone determined to oppose the bullying of anti-Zionist professors determined to intimidate and silence Jewish students. In the eyes of the intolerant left, a willingness to stand up for Israel and Jewish rights is, in a classic case of projection, an act of repression.

As Weiss noted in her letter, at the Times, coverage of Israel is invariably negative while anti-Semites, like novelist Alice Walker, are treated with kid gloves and never confronted about their hate.

The picture Weiss paints is of a paper where deviation from ideological conformity is met with contempt, insults and threats. That it is a hostile environment for proud Jews like Weiss is hardly a surprise, given the paper's long and troublesome history on Jewish issues.

The chilling nature of her account should be a sobering read for everyone. If many Americans no longer regard an outlet like the Times as reliable or objective, it's not because they are brainwashed by conservative outlets or are racists. It's because those now at the Times aren't ashamed of their biased coverage and editorial judgment. To the contrary, they pride themselves on their illiberalism and regard tolerance of opposing conservative views as a heresy that must be stamped out.

That someone like Weiss cannot survive there is worrisome for the Jewish community. It also illustrates the end of American journalism as we once knew it.

Dear A.G.,

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper's failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn't have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn't a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I'm "writing about the Jews again." Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly "inclusive" one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I'm no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper's entire staff and the public. And I certainly can't square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person's ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed "fell short of our standards." We attached an editor's note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it "failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa's makeup and its history." But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed's fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its "diversity"; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the "new McCarthyism" that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they'll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you'll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. "An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It's an American ideal," you said a few years ago. I couldn't agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don't still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: "to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion."

Ochs's idea is one of the best I've encountered. And I've always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.



ZOA Opens Hotline for Journalists Facing Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israel Bigotry

By Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency

Following the resignation by New York Times journalist Bari Weiss who said she left the publication because of anti-Semitic bullying, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has established a hotline for journalists who can report anti-Semitism, anti-Israel bigotry, bullying, or harassment they are encountering.

The ZOA "condemns the hostile anti-Semitic work environment now on full and public display at The New York Times. Bari Weiss's decision to resign from her position as a writer and editor at the Times highlights the problems of journalists who call out antisemitism on the right and the left, and stand up for Israel," the organization stated Wednesday.

In her resignation letter, Weiss revealed that her NY Times colleagues called her "a Nazi and a racist," and criticized her for "writing about the Jews again."

Addressing "all journalists," the ZOA said that "we are with you and we are here to help you. ZOA has a long and proud record of effectively fighting antisemitism and standing up for the rights of Jews and those that support Israel. We do it in the courts, in Congress, in the media, in schools, and on college campuses. Rest assured, ZOA will stand up for you, too."

"If you have been bullied, harassed, or even threatened for expressing support for Jews or Israel, please contact us. We will guide you and stand up for your right to express those views – and the public's right to hear them," the ZOA added.

50 little known Jewish facts

1. The first Jews to set foot in North America arrived in New York as a group of 23 in 1654.

2. Congregation Shearith Israel, founded in New York in 1654, was the first synagogue in the colonies. It was the sole purveyor of kosher meat until 1813.

3. By the late 19th century, there were over 5,000 kosher butchers and 1,000 slaughterers in New York.

4. In 1902, the Beef Trust raised the price of kosher meat on the Lower East Side from 12 to 18 cents per pound. After butchers' boycotts proved ineffectual, 20,000 Lower East Side women stole meat from kosher butcher shops and set it on fire on the streets in protest. The Forward supported their efforts, running the headline "Bravo, Bravo, Bravo, Jewish women!"

5. On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire claimed the lives of 146 garment workers, the majority of whom were Jewish immigrants. Reporting on the tragedy, the "Forvitz" wrote that 'the disaster is too great, to dreadful, to be able to express one's feelings."

6. When entertainer Al Jolson came to New York City at age 14, he held jobs in the circus and as a singing waiter. Born to a cantor, Jolson's career took off when he began performing in black face.

7. In 1903, the Lower East Side Chinese and Jewish communities formed an unlikely partnership when Chinese organizers put on a benefit for Jewish victims of the Kishinev pogrom, raising $280. (KISHINEV IS IN RUSSIA)

8. In 1930, there were over 80 pickle vendors in the Lower East Side's thriving Jewish pickle scene. The briny delights were brought to America in the mid-19th century by German Jewish immigrants.

9. The egg cream is thought to have been invented by the Jewish owner of a Brooklyn candy shop. Musician Lou Reed was a famous admirer of the frothy drink.

10. From the beginning of the 20th century till the close of World War II, the Lower East Side's 2nd Avenue was known as the Yiddish Theater District, or the Jewish Rialto. It extended from 2nd Avenue to Avenue B, and from 14th Street to Houston. Considered Broadway's competitor, the Jewish Rialto was home to a variety of productions including burlesque and vaudeville shows, as well as Shakespearean, Jewish and classic plays, and were all in Yiddish.

11. The Jewish Rialto's most popular haunt was the Cafe Royal on Second Avenue and 12th Street, where one could find performers such as Molly Picon and Charlie Chaplin sharing blintzes.

12. Pushcarts were all the rage among Jewish vendors on the Lower East Side from the turn of the century until 1940, when Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia banned their use. Jewish pushcart operators sold everything from vegetables to cigars to stockings.

13. At Sammy's Roumanian Steak House on Chrystie and Delancey, every table is provided with a bottle of chicken fat as a condiment; resident emcee Dani Luv entertained diners with renditions of Jewish standards and punchy Borsht Belt humor. (It's still there!)

14 One of the first kosher Chinese restaurants in New York was Moshe Peking, whose all-Chinese wait staff wore yarmulkes.

15 The Second Avenue Deli opened in 1954 in the then-fading Yiddish Theater District. It featured a Yiddish Walk of Fame on the sidewalk outside its original location on Second Avenue and Tenth Street, and served up such Jewish specialties as matzo ball soup and corned beef. In 2007, it closed and reopened in Murray Hill.

16. Famed music club CBGB was opened in 1973 by Jewish founder Hilly Kristal.

17 Mayor La Guardia (who spoke fluent Yiddish), who served for three terms from 1934 to 1945, was born to a Jewish mother and descended from Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto, but practiced as an Episcopalian.

18 The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was named in honor of the Jewish U.S. senator, who served from 1957 to 1981.

19 Sig Klein's Fat Men's Shop opened in the late 1800s at 52 Third Ave., and carried plus-sized clothes for men. Its sign featured the slogan: "If everyone was fat there would be no war."

20. Abraham Beame was the first practicing Jew to become mayor of New York. He held office from 1974 to 1977.

21 The popular and proudly Jewish mayor Ed Koch, who served from 1978 to 1989, was known for the phrase "How'm I doing?" which he would ask passersby while standing on street corners or riding the subway. Newsday called him the "ultimate New Yorker."

22. The erection of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 and the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903 catalyzed a Jewish exodus from the Lower East Side to Southside Williamsburg. Crossing the bridge on foot, the LES's Jews left in search of better living conditions.

23 By 1930, more than 40% of New York City's Jews lived in Brooklyn.

24 Jewish-fronted band, The Ramones, formed in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens in 1974.

25 Allen Ginsberg moved to New York to attend Columbia in 1943. He was purportedly related to seminal Zionist thinker Ahad Ha'am.

26. Poet and kabbalist Lionel Ziprin entertained visitors including Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, and Bob Dylan in his Lower East Side living room, expounding for hours on Jewish esoterica and history.

27. The bagel originated in Poland, and arrived in New York City in the 1880s in the hands of Eastern European Jewish immigrants.

28. Three hundred all-Jewish New York bagel craftsmen formed a trade union in the early 1900s, the Bagel Bakers Local 338, which established standards for bagel production and conducted meetings in Yiddish.

29 In December 1951, New York City was hit with what The New York Times termed the "bagel famine," when a dispute between the members of the Bagel trade union and the Bagel Bakers association led to the closing of 32 out of 34 of the city's bagel bakeries.

30 As a result of the bagel outage, the sale of lox dropped nearly 50%. Murray Nathan, who helped resolve an earlier lox strike in 1948, was brought in to mediate the situation. The outage lasted until February.

31 Coney Island Bagels and Bialys, the oldest kosher bagel shop in New York, was set to close in 2011 until two Muslim businessmen, Peerzada Shah and Zafaryab Ali, bought the store and promised to keep it kosher. Ali had previously worked at the shop for 10 years.

32. Lou Reed was born in Brooklyn, and in 1989 released an album whose title, "New York," paid tribute to the city.

33 In a reinterpretation of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," Lou Reed asked the four questions at the Downtown Seder at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2004.

34 Musician Lenny Kaye was born in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in 1946. He met Patti Smith while working at Village Oldies on Bleecker Street and went on to become a member of the Patti Smith Group.

35 Starting in the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of Jews left the Soviet Union for New York, many settling in Brighton Beach, which came to be known as "Little Odessa."

36 Established in 1927, Kehila Kedosha Janina at 280 Broome St. is the last remaining Greek Jewish synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.

37. Streit's Matzo Company, the last remaining neighborhood matzo factory, stands at 148-150 Rivington St. (Moved to 20 Knickerbocker Road, Moonachie, New Jersey 07074 in 2016.)

38. The oldest Orthodox Jewish Russian congregation in the United States, Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, is still active at 60 Norfolk St.

39. On the corner of Essex and Rutgers, down the street from the original Forvitz building on Seward Park, the Garden Cafeteria served as a gathering place for Jewish actors, artists and playwrights such as Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer from 1941 to 1983. It became Wing Shing, a Chinese restaurant, in 1985, and now houses Reena Spaulings Fine Art.

40 Seward Park on the Lower East Side was created in 1900. New immigrants worked in the park's artisan market, and on special occasions such as elections, thousands gathered in the park to watch the Forvitz's flashing news sign in Yiddish.

41 Jewish gangs rose to prominence during the Prohibition; at a conference in New York in 1931, Jewish gangsters agreed to partner with Italian Americans, and together remained the most dominant groups in organized crime until several decades after WWII.

42. After an appeal from a New York judge, Nathan Perlman, Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky and members of Murder Inc. broke up Nazi rallies around the city for over a year, with the one stipulation that there be no killing.

43 Lines of a sonnet by Sephardic poet Emma Lazarus, who was born in New York City in 1847, are inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

44. The house that stands at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn is the center and spiritual home of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Formerly inhabited by Chabad's late leader Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Lubavitchers have built replicas of the building all over the world to serve as movement outposts.

45 The first Reform congregation in New York City, Temple Emanu-El, was founded in 1845 by 33 mostly German Jews, and moved to its present location in 1929. Members have included Joan Rivers and Michael Bloomberg

46. As large numbers of German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution made their homes in Washington Heights in the mid-1930s, the area was dubbed "Frankfurt on the Hudson."

47. Sweet 'n' Low was invented in 1957 in Brooklyn by Benjamin Eisenstaedt.

48. Bronx-born Steve Karmen wrote the jingle "I Love NY"
Bronx-born Milton Glaser designed the "I LOVE NY" logo in 1977.

49. Eight Hasidic dynasties are headquartered in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

50. Outside of Israel, New York City is home to the largest population of Jews in the world.

Proclamation of a Day of Fasting


Whereas a joint Committee of both Houses of Congress has waited on the President of the United States, and requested him to "recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer and fasting, to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnities, and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace:" --

And whereas it is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to his chastisements; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of their past offences, and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action:

And whereas, when our own beloved Country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him, and to pray for His mercy, -- to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the re-establishment of law, order and peace, throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing, by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence: --

Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next, as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the People, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations, and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship, in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our Country.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed, this 12th, day of August A.D. 1861, and of the Independence of the United States of America the 86th.


By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

President Lincoln's Proclamations of Fasting and Prayer

President Lincoln's Proclamations of Fasting and Prayer

One crucial action President Lincoln took that affected our nation's future. The significance of this action cannot be measured. But in our modern time (with its revisionist history), very few Americans even know about it.

What is this one thing? President Lincoln led the nation to turn to G-d through fasting and prayer.

Yes, that's right. This historic president whom G-d used to make such a difference in our nation led its inhabitants to seek G-d through fasting and prayer … three different times.

The nation that was celebrated in such a spectacular way might very well not exist in the form it does today, were it not for President Lincoln's proclamations appointing days of prayer and fasting.

President Lincoln Knew …

Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. He led the Union to victory in the Civil War, which ended slavery in America. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation which began the process of freedom for America's slaves and he ensured congressional passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the abolition of slavery.

If you're a U.S. citizen, you know these facts well. But they're worth considering afresh in the light of what may be a new context.

This man whom G-d used so greatly in our nation's history, and Congress, who drafted the proclamations, knew Who the Source of true power and the agent of real change was. He knew that only G-d could unite and heal the nation.

He knew that nothing could be accomplished apart from prayer, and that fasting deepens and strengthens prayer.

President Lincoln's Proclamation's for Prayer and Fasting

First Proclamation

During the Civil War, President Lincoln called the nation to fast and pray for national peace and unity. His first proclamation was to set apart the last Thursday in September 1861.   (Amazingly usually around Yom Kipper --what do you know ?)

A portion read:

Whereas it is fit and becoming in all people at all times to acknowledge and revere the supreme government of God, to bow in humble submission to His chastisements, to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and to pray with all fervency and contrition for the pardon of their past offenses and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action; and

Whereas when our own beloved country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous, and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for His mercy—to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the reestablishment of law, order, and peace throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence:

Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the people, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.

Second Proclamation

Lincoln's second proclamation, first issued by the Senate, on the 30th of March, 1863 stated that we needed to repent as a nation through prayer and fasting:

Whereas the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has by a resolution requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation; and

Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;

And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this my proclamation designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

Third Proclamation

Lincoln's third proclamation was the first Thursday of August, 1864. He made a special plea for those in positions of authority to seek G-d with fasting and prayer.

That the President of the United States be requested to appoint a day for humiliation and prayer by the people of the United States; that he request his constitutional advisers at the head of the Executive Departments to unite with him as Chief Magistrate of the nation, at the city of Washington, and the members of Congress, and all magistrates, all civil, military, and naval officers, all soldiers, sailors, and marines, with all loyal and law-abiding people, to convene at their usual places of worship, or wherever they may be, to confess and to repent of their manifold sins; to implore the compassion and forgiveness of the Almightyto implore Him, as the Supreme Ruler of the World, not to destroy us as a people, nor suffer us to be destroyed by the hostility or connivance of other nations or by obstinate adhesion to our own counsels, which may be in conflict with His eternal purposes, and to implore Him to enlighten the mind of the nation to know and do His will, humbly believing that it is in accordance with His will that our place should be maintained as a united people among the family of nations;

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, cordially concurring with the Congress of the United States in the penitential and pious sentiments expressed in the aforesaid resolution and heartily approving of the devotional design and purpose thereof, do hereby appoint the first Thursday of August next to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of national humiliation and prayer.

I do hereby further invite and request the heads of the Executive Departments of this Government, together with all legislators, all judges and magistrates, and all other persons exercising authority in the land, whether civil, military, or naval, and all soldiers, seamen, and marines in the national service, and all the other loyal and law-abiding people of the United States, to assemble in their preferred places of public worship on that day, and there and then to render to the almighty and merciful Ruler of the Universe such homages and such confessions….

For Repentance

Did you notice the wording in the second proclamation? President Lincoln (and the men of the senate, like so many of our founding fathers and early statesmen) knew that the blessings of the nation had been given to its citizens by G-d.

Knowing this, he recognized when the nation had "forgotten God" and "vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own."

Therefore, he proclaimed a fast so that the nation could return to G-d, confess its national sins, and ask G-d for forgiveness.

Each proclamation called for the nation to repent, confess its sins, and pray for forgiveness.

The United States Today

Today in the United States, many have forgotten G-d. We've vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all the blessings we enjoy were somehow produced by our own abilities and gifts. Intoxicated with success and self-sufficiency, we feel we don't need G-d's redeeming and keeping grace. We're too arrogant to pray to the G-d that made us, let alone confess and repent of our "manifold," "national" sins.

IThe One True G-d has not changed. His good has not become evil. Neither has His light become darkness nor his sweet become bitter.

The G-d who by His favor established this nation and allowed its charter to agree with the purposes and principles of government ordained by Him in Scripture—His instruction remains the same:

Today, we're in desperate need of for-such-a-time-as-this leaders across the nation.

May the examples of the godly, courageous leadership of President Lincoln and the Congress spur us to pray that the same knowledge, and wisdom, and courage, and Spirit be upon our current president, vice-president, and all government leaders from the local to national level.

May united prayer from the nation once again "ascend to the Throne of Grace, and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country."

May we recognize, as our founding fathers and early statesmen did, that it is G-d who gave us life and liberty.

May we understand that we are one nation under God, created and kept by Him and Him alone. And in a fresh awareness of this, may we turn to the One and Only who can forgive, heal, bless, and prosper the nation and her people. May we turn to Him, confess our manifold, national sins and ask Him to heal our land.

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on

See you tomorrow, bli neder We need Moshiach now!

Love Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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