As the fight in Gaza wears on, anti-Semites across Europe are attacking the continent’s Jews under the pretext of protesting Israel’s politics.
Since the beginning of the current war between Israel and Hamas, eight synagogues in France have been attacked. In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked for Jews to apologize for the actions of the Jewish state. In Germany, a prominent Muslim Imam gave a sermon asking Allah to kill all of the “Zionist Jews.”
The atmosphere in Europe since the beginning of the war has been so toxic that the foreign ministers of France, Italy, and Germany on Tuesday issued a rare joint statement condemning anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
All of this presents a troubling paradox for Zionism. The state of Israel was founded in 1948 as a haven for Jews. But in 2014 Europe’s anti-Semites have attacked Jews for the deeds of the Jewish state.
It is a classic anti-Semitic canard to punish any Jew for the perceived crimes of all of them. There is no evidence also to suggest that if Israel did not respond to rockets fired from Hamas, the Jews of Europe would be any safer or the continent’s anti-Semites would be any more tolerant. After all, some of the worst attacks on Jews in France occurred at a time of relative quiet in Israel.
But during a war that has claimed nearly 700 Palestinians and far fewer Israelis, Jewish leaders in Europe say their communities are being held responsible for the actions of Israel.
“If you are a French Jew you should not be responsible physically for what happens 4,000 kilometers away,” Roger Cukierman, the president of the umbrella organization representing the Jewish community in France known as CRIF, told The Daily Beast.
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — He was a rising star of Hungary’s far-right, dumped by his party after he admitted he was a Jew. Two years later, Csanad Szegedi has completed an astonishing transformation: He goes to synagogue, eats Kosher food and has adopted the Hebrew name Dovid.
As a leader in Hungary’s Jobbik Party, Szegedi whipped up crowds by accusing Jews of “buying up the country” and mocking the “Jewishness” of Hungary’s political class. Then came the revelation that upended his career: His maternal grandparents were Jews — which under Jewish law made him one, too. Szegedi acknowledged his roots after video surfaced of a suspected blackmailer confronting him with evidence of his Jewishness.
In the political wilderness, Szegedi has apparently had a spiritual awakening.
Last year, he sought out a young rabbi in the local Orthodox Jewish community. After a period of intense religious instruction, Szegedi was circumcised last June, a year to the day after he broke with Jobbik. Today he takes Jewish religion classes with his wife, who is also converting to Judaism.
“I am just as Hungarian as until now, but I have expanded my own identity with the Jewish identity,” Szegedi, 31, told The Associated Press. “I have two tasks ahead of me — to teach and to learn. I want to be a bridge.”
Szegedi was a founder of the Hungarian Guard, a now-banned militia whose black uniforms recalled the Arrow Cross, a pro-Nazi party that briefly governed Hungary at the end of World War II and killed thousands of Jews. As a Jobbik member, he took one of the three seats the party won in 2009 European Parliament elections.
More at Associated Press: Former Hungarian Rightist Has Spiritual Awakening
Sorry for the clickbait title, but I just couldn’t resist!
Satmar and Szeged are Hasidic dynasties with strong roots in Hungary, but sad to say they are very anti-Zionist and intolerant. It’s nice to see that Csanad has chosen a more liberal sect.
Michael Douglas isn’t the only celebrity whose child got bar mitzvahed recently. Lisa Kudrow dropped by Conan this week to talk about her new movie Neighbors, and was surprised to find that host Conan O’Brien, a longtime friend, had a bone to pick with her. He wanted to know why he wasn’t invited to her son’s bar mitzvah.
He wasn’t invited, Kudrow explains, because no one was invited. The Jewish actress wasn’t even there when it happened. It was what she calls a “drive-by bar mitzvah.”
A drive-by bar mitzvah, it turns out, is both less and more frightening than it sounds. Her 15-year-old son was at the mall one day when he was approached by what Kudrow guesses were Chabad representatives, who asked if he was Jewish. He said half, they asked which half, he said his mother’s side, and they asked if he had been bar mitzvahed. He hadn’t. Did he want to? Sure.
This is freaking hilarious. Gangs of Juice roaming the mall, randomly making Bar Mitzvahs for unsuspecting shoppers. My sons belong to this gang.
Interactive presentation global100.adl.org
Volunteers Zahraa Debaja, center, and Zeinab Makki, right, prepare meals from food provided by the Yasmeen Bakery in Dearborn, Mich., Friday, April 25, 2014. The reach of one of the nation’s few charitable organizations exclusively providing halal food to the poor could be greatly expanded under the new federal provision
DETROIT, MI — The farm bill that the president signed into law during a visit to Michigan earlier this year requires the federal government to start helping food banks provide kosher and halal products to families in need, and a Metro Detroit organization plans to pursue the aid.
A Jewish organization in New York sparked the legislation after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 left many affected by food shortages searching food bank shelves for kosher products, according to the Associated Press.
The measure was passed over multiple times in Congress, but was included in the sweeping, five-year farm bill passed in February.
Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with gauging demand; finding vendors that can supply food prepared according to Jewish and Muslim dietary codes at comparable prices to standard food; and getting the labeled and tracked goods to distributors, reports Jeff Karoub of the Associated Press.
Getting the program into place will take a while, officials said.
But Zaman International Inc., a Dearborn-based group that runs a mobile food pantry and provided 3,612 meals in one 2013 program, plans to apply for the federal help.
“It would be huge - a lot of our budget goes to halal meat and chicken,” Zaman executive Director Najah Bazzy told Karoub.
“For me, having the halal meat - if it could be given to us through the right vendors - really opens the opportunity for … giving people access to the total food pyramid.”
Its really sad when a gesture like this causes outrage.
By William Booth, Published: April 12
JERUSALEM — Professor Mohammed S. Dajani took 27 Palestinian college students to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland a few weeks ago as part of a project designed to teach empathy and tolerance. Upon his return, his university disowned the trip, his fellow Palestinians branded him a traitor and friends advised a quick vacation abroad.
Dajani said he expected criticism. “I believe a trip like this, for an organized group of Palestinian youth going to visit Auschwitz, is not only rare, but a first,” he said. “I thought there would be some complaints, then it would be forgotten.”
But the trip was explosive news to some, perhaps more so because it took place as U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were in danger of collapse, and emotion surrounding the decades-old conflict is high.
Controversy was also heightened by rumors — untrue — that the trip was paid for by Jewish organizations. It was paid for by the German government.
Lapin also repeated his claim that God doesn’t want people to retire, and commended Robertson for still hosting the 700 Club.
“There’s no Hebrew word for retirement; the general rule is when there’s no Hebrew word for something, it’s a bad idea. For instance, there’s no Hebrew word for adolescent, because when you think about it an adolescent is just somebody who wants all the privileges of adulthood with none of the responsibilities,” Lapin told Robertson. “No word for adolescent, no word for retire and I’m very happy that you’ve taken that lesson to heart.”
Robertson agreed that retirement is a violation of God’s law. Lapin added that there is also no Hebrew word for “fair.”
Daniel Lapin is wrong. There is a Hebrew word for “adolescent,” it is naar. Coincidentally that also happens to be the Yiddish word for silly fool.
The Hebrew word for “fair” is yashar. Also tzedek.
As for “retirement,” there is a commandment in the Scriptures to care for the infirm and elderly, and that it is disrespectful and cruel to force them to work at the same rate as younger, stronger people. We can even see an example of this in the Book of Ruth: Ruth went out to the fields to glean, and did not expect the elderly Naomi to work along with her.
Since then, the Conservative synagogue has evolved, expanding opportunities for non-Jewish spouses and children of interfaith couples to participate. Today Condit would be welcome on the bimah, though he still could not take part in the Torah service.
For Hirsch, who has been on Kol Shofar’s board for the last nine years and served as congregational president, interfaith issues hit home.dan pine & uriel heilman jweekly.com
“Since I’ve been on the board, we’ve become much more egalitarian. We have changed our policies around non-Jews coming to the bimah,” the Mill Valley resident said. “The issue was, do we want to be an inclusive community or not, and if we do, how are we going to do it with heart?”
To Conservative synagogues, these questions are not trivial. They cut to the heart of a philosophical and practical debate about how open they should seek to be toward the non-Jews in their midst.
“Inclusivity is a very broad notion,” Booth noted. “We want to be welcoming to people, create entry points and let them figure out what’s right for them. We teach a certain idea of what Judaism is, but we give people an idea that they’re welcomed with room to explore.”
I always knew the Nazis would hate B.J. Blazkowicz, after all he’s killed well over a thousand of them, and even Hitler himself in the first game’s universe. Now It seems that the they would have hated him even more.
There’s been speculation for more than two decades that the hero of the iconic Wolfenstein first-person shooter games—B.J. Blazkowicz, the guy who you use to machine gun hordes of Nazis—was Jewish. But the game’s creators have long been coy about the character’s origins. Not so much anymore.
It’s not clear if the next Wolfenstein game, slated for release on May 20 from Machine Games and Bethesda Softworks, will be explicit about it. When we last saw the game, it appeared to avoid the topic directly despite making a reference to Blazkowicz being able to read Hebrew and forcing an undercover Blazkowicz to stomach the prattling of Nazis about people with “pure blood”. Admittedly we saw only a thin slice of the game and, for all we know, the full, new Wolfenstein might be more explicit.
Although riots and protests have given way Monday to some measure of calm in Kiev, the tension felt by Jews Ukraine-wide has not abated. Many of those who could, fled, but the majority—who do not have the means to leave—are sitting tight, waiting out a period of unnerving uncertainty.
“Jews are not a factor in the politics here, but whenever there’s chaos, Jews become a target and feel vulnerable,” said Rabbi Mayer Stambler, a Chabad representative in Dnepropetrovsk. With most of the protests going on in Kiev, things have been relatively calm in his city but the sense of anarchy struck closer to home for other Chabad representatives.
In Zaparozhye, for example—Ukraine’s sixth largest city, several hooligans threw Molotov cocktails at the community’s synagogue Sunday night. The thugs fled before security guards managed to pursue them, but the incident was captured on the synagogue’s security cameras. “We have guards at the building round the clock,” said Rabbi Nachum Ehrentreu, Chabad representative to Zaparozhye, “and thankfully, this happened after we had finished all of our evening classes and programs so no one was hurt.”
Ehrentreu points out that the perpetrators were stragglers who had joined a major protest by some 2000 opposition supporters earlier in the day. But, insists Ehrentreu, “the protestors were not here to target Jews; in fact in the four years that the opposition was in power (2006-2010) it maintained good relations with the Jewish community. These were four individuals looking to make trouble.”
ABANDONING LOCAL JEWS NOT AN ANSWER
Chabad representatives—there are roughly 70 couples serving Jewish life Ukraine, which has an estimated Jewish population of 300,000—are not leaving. In interviews with lubavitch.com, they echoed similar attitudes, saying that their role is to serve the Jewish people there and they would not consider abandoning them. “We have nurtured deep bonds with Jewish people here. How can we leave them?” said Rabbi Stambler.
But according to Rabbi Mordechai Levenharts, a Chabad representative to Kiev, that doesn’t mean that he won’t encourage local Jews to make Aliyah. Unrelated to the recent turmoil, he said, “trying to live an observant Jewish lifestyle here is not easy, and if someone has grown in his or her Jewish observance and now wants to live in an environment that is more supportive of Jewish life, of course I encourage them to move to Israel.”
In the four years since Yanukovych was president, Ukraine’s economy has fallen apart, and is now on the verge of bankruptcy, leaving a population angry and resentful at the financial abuses by government officials while businesses were forced to close down. Chabad Shluchim state-wide are struggling to meet the growing demand on their respective community’s programs and services while funding from local business people has dropped by more than half.