A Vision of Jewish Strength

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “A Vision of Jewish Strength.”

 

With the rebirth of the State of Israel came the rebirth of the Jew. No longer the Jew cowering in the face of pogroms, Inquisition, Crusades, persecution, expulsions, and the Holocaust. The new Jew, as epitomized by the brave men and women of IDF, would be remade in the image of Moses who led the Jews out of Egyptian slavery, and King David who vanquished our enemies in our land, as well as the Jews of Purim and Hanukah, who fought ever so valiantly and to victory against the great empires of Persia and Greece or for us, whoever rises against us as the modern day equivalent.


But as important to the new Jew as our physical survival is that of our spiritual wellbeing. The persecution of Jews over thousands of years was not just a physical attack, as horrible as it was, but also a spiritual, religious, and cultural one, where Jews were prohibited from learning Torah, worshiping, and practicing as Jews. Thus, the second point of criticality in having the State of Israel is that it provides for Jewish sovereignty and ensures “the Jew as actor, determiner of his or her own destiny.” The Jewish people to truly thrive must be able to express themselves through their own language and history, religiously and culturally, and practically through their own leadership and decision-making to forge their own future.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Another Week, Another Anti-Semitic Attack

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Another Week, Another Anti-Semitic Attack.”

From The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh to the Poway Synagogue shooting in California to the shooting at the kosher market in Jersey City this week. The latest shooting occurred literally just the day before President Trump issued an executive order at a White House Chanukah celebration to cover anti-Semitic acts under the civil rights laws that ban discrimination based on national origin. Yet, despite the Constitution and all the protective laws and orders on the books, we are getting to the point where it is starting to look and feel awfully like there is nowhere safe anymore if you are a Jew, even in this great land of freedom.


What anti-Semitism, G-d forbid, will the next week bring, and the week after that, and after that? This vile behavior coming from people that hate us just because we are Jews, because we are Jacob and not Esau. May our eyes be open to what is happening around us, and may Hashem have an abundance of mercy on us.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Making The Impossible, Possible

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Making The Impossible, Possible.”

Even though the Jewish people are a tiny minority in the world, through our faith, determination, and the help of G-d, we are able to survive against all odds, contribute to the world far beyond our mere numbers, and succeed in truly incredible ways. From Einstein, Freud, and Marx to Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison, we are a people that punches way above our weight.


I believe the lessons of faith and determination is one that we can all take away from the tests of our forefathers in the Bible to the flourishing modern State of Israel and to how we live our own lives today. G-d tests all of us, and if we go forward and answer His calling with a full heart and perseverance, G-d will help us to succeed above our wildest of dreams and even beyond the very laws of nature.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Righting Wrongs To Sephardim

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Righting Wrongs To Sephardim.”

The initial waves of Aliyah beginning in 1882 were driven by the persecution and pogroms, and later the Holocaust, in Europe. Thus, Israeli society initially built up their institutions and power centers around these Ashkenazi pioneers. Immediately after 1948, when Sephardic refugees were expelled from the Arab countries en masse, Israel was overwhelmed with as immigration influx that virtually doubled the Jewish population in Israel in the first three years of its existence. Unfortunately, the newly arrived Sephardim were relegated to a substandard housing and economic situation, which then persisted for many decades.

In Jewish society, however, there is no room for ethnic discrimination and inequality, and the formation of a Sephardic political party in 1984 was a crucial milestone in Jewish social and economic justice. For almost 30 years, Shas was led by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Israel Chief Sephardic Rabbi and spiritual leader, and Shas has remained one of Israel’s top political parties.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Celebrating With Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Celebrating With Security.”

Take a look around you at the new security measures and people risking their lives for yours and your family. Take a moment to thank them. But also, recognize that the security isn’t there just for show, it’s there because the hatred and threats have tangibly increased along with the ever present means to carry them out. It is critical that we continue our vigilance and the strengthening of our security measures, because those that hate us for who we are and for our faith are not going away, and unfortunately, they may even continue to grow in numbers and resolve. However, none of us should live in fear and be forced to stay away from our religious institutions, our Torah study, and prayer, but rather to the contrary, we need to stand up strongly–in defiance and in faith!


While I don’t know what specific security measures we will see next Rosh Hashanah, I can say with almost absolute certainty that it will be more and not less and that you should definitely be taking notice.

(Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay)

The Founding of Zionism

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I am reading the book Israel: “A Concise History of a Nation Reborn” by Daniel Gordis.

 

I’ve prepared this summary of the founding of Zionism, which I have briefly summarized above.


Hope this is helpful to those interested in the origins of the founding of the modern State of Israel. 


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Democrats and Anti-Semitism

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called “From Belgium To The Democratic Party.”

There are terrible anti-Semitic events happening in parallel in Europe and right here in America. This past week, Belgian hosted mocking and hateful caricatures of Orthodox Jews in their carnival procession. And right here in Washington, D.C., the Democratic Party made a complete farce of the handling of one of its own, anti-Semites, Rep. Ilhan Omar. Omar continues to vent her hared against Israel even going so far as to denounce its supporters as having “dual loyalty.”


It is so disheartening to see the Democratic party reverting back to its ugly days and roots of hate just like during/after the Civil War when they were the party of “opposition to civil and political rights for African Americans.”  


The question is how far down this evil path will things go again?  😉