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Updated: 29 min 36 sec ago

Rabbi Josh Broide Is First Director of Community Engagement for Jewish...

29 min 36 sec ago

The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County has announced that Rabbi Josh Broide has joined its professional staff as the organization’s first Director of Community Engagement. The Federation...

(PRWeb November 21, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/south-palm-beach-county/jewish-federation/prweb12346536.htm

New Jersey Rabbi Steven Pruzansky Spews 'Savage' Hate in Blog Post

4 hours 19 min ago

The rabbi of a major modern Orthodox synagogue in New Jersey has written a blog post that calls for Israel to collectively punish Arab Israelis and Palestinians until they realize “they have no future in the land of Israel.”

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Ashkelon Mayor Decides Against Ban On Arab Workers

Sun, 11/23/2014 - 19:16

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimon has walked back his decision to lay off city Arab workers in the aftermath of the deadly synagogue attack in Jerusalem.

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From the Archive: Synagogues under fire

Sun, 11/23/2014 - 10:38

Israeli police and rescue at the scene of a Jerusalem synagogue where four people were killed in a terrorist attack, Nov. 18, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Jews around the world mourned Tuesday after two Palestinians entered Jerusalem’s Kehillat Yakov synagogue during morning prayer services and went on a killing rampage that left five dead and several more wounded.

Sadly, it wasn’t the first time a synagogue was attacked by Palestinians or their sympathizers.

On Aug. 29, 1981, two Palestinian terrorists wearing yarmulkes and posing as Jews attempted to enter a bar mitzvah service at a Vienna synagogue. When an Austrian police officer asked them for identity papers, the two launched a machine gun and grenade attack that killed two and wounded over 15.

Interestingly, the attack was the first time that some Palestinian West Bank leaders felt moved to condemn a Palestinian terror attack, with Bethlehem Mayor Elias Freij calling it “an act of brutality which distorted the image of the Palestinian people.”

Just more than a year later, five Palestinian gunmen walked up to the Great Synagogue of Rome’s back entrance at the conclusion of Sabbath services and threw at least three hand grenades at the crowd before spraying the worshipers with submachine gun fire, killing a 2-year old and wounding 37 others.

And on Sept. 6, 1986 two terrorists posing as cameramen made their way into Turkey’s Neve Shalom synagogue. Once inside they barred the heavy gates, opened fire on the congregants with machine guns and hurled grenades. In all, 22 of the approximately 30 worshipers were killed. JTA reported at the time that it was the bloodiest synagogue massacre since the Nazi-era.

Though its name is Hebrew for “oasis of peace,” Neve Shalom suffered two other terror attacks. In 1992, a grenade attack slightly injured a bystander but failed to damage the synagogue or any of its worshipers. Then in November 2003, a car bomb exploded nearby, damaging the synagogue enough that it had to close for almost a year.

Months later, community leaders told JTA they were finding it “very difficult — if not impossible — to return to life as it was before.”

“We are in an ongoing trauma situation,” says Lina Filiba, the Turkish Jewish community’s executive vice president. “The whole community right now is a construction pit — it’s a continuation of the crisis that started Nov. 15.”

“The change of lifestyle, the security consciousness, the restriction on the use of facilities is something that people are still getting used to.”

While synagogue services have been targeted far more frequently in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict than have Muslim worship services, it is worth noting that one of the deadliest attacks on a house of worship happened inside a mosque. In 1994, a machine gun-armed Jewish physician — Baruch Goldstein — walked into the mosque inside Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs, killing 29 worshipers and wounding another 150.

N.J. rabbi: Arabs in Israel ‘must be vanquished’

Sun, 11/23/2014 - 09:25

The rabbi of a major modern Orthodox synagogue in New Jersey has written a blog post that calls for Israel to collectively punish Arab Israelis and Palestinians until they realize “they have no future in the land of Israel.”

In the post, written Friday and titled “Dealing with Savages,” Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck offers suggestions that range from destroying whole Palestinian towns to uprooting the Dome of the Rock.

“There is a war for the land of Israel that is being waged, and the Arabs who dwell in the land of Israel are the enemy in that war and must be vanquished,” Pruzansky writes.

The post has since been deleted, but it’s cached here.

Pruzansky refers to “the Arab-Muslim animals that span the globe chopping, hacking and merrily decapitating,” and then writes, “At a certain point, the unrestrained behavior of unruly animals becomes the fault of the zookeeper, not the animals.”

So what should Israel do? According to Pruzansky, essentially end civil and human rights for many Arab Israelis and Palestinians. Beyond killing all terrorists and demolishing their extended families’ homes, Pruzansky says Israel should destroy entire Arab villages if more than one terrorist comes from them. All the residents of those villages, he writes, should be expelled.

He also writes that rioters and stone-throwers should be shot with live ammunition, and that reporters should be barred from these scenes and have their cameras confiscated.

Pruzansky says Arabs should be barred from the Temple Mount for at least six months, and muses that “perhaps the day will come in the near future when the mosque and the dome can be uplifted intact and reset in Saudi Arabia, Syria or wherever it is wanted.”

Pruzansky writes that Palestinians and Arab Israelis as a whole are Israel’s enemy — “and that enemy rides our buses, shops in our malls, drives on our roads and lives just two miles from us.” (“Us” apparently doesn’t include Pruzansky himself, who leads a congregation 5,000 miles from Jerusalem.)

This isn’t the first time Pruzansky has made the news for his views. Earlier this month, he compared The New York Jewish Week to Der Sturmer, a Nazi newspaper. Pruzansky’s congregation, Bnai Yeshurun, has about 800 member families, according to its website, and has been led by Pruzansky for more than 20 years.

Near the end of his post, Pruzansky wonders why Israelis haven’t come to the same conclusions he has. It’s an “enduring enigma,” he says.

Israelis across the political spectrum support safeguarding the state’s democratic character. Most have consistently backed a Palestinian state. But it bears noting that almost all of those who oppose Palestinian statehood still don’t speak anything close to Pruzansky’s language.

A telling example: Naftali Bennett, who leads the furthest-right party in Knesset and strongly opposes a Palestinian state, came out quickly and vehemently last week against an Israeli city’s ban on Arab construction workers. “99.9 percent” are nonviolent, he said, and Israel should not discriminate based on race or religion.

As Chabad Gathers, South Dakota Is Only State Missing

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 16:42

Some 4,200 Chabad rabbis from more than 80 countries are gathering this weekend in New York for the annual conference of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries.

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Turkey and Interfaith Talk

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:00

It’s mid-November and we have transitioned from pumpkin spice lattes to actual pumpkin pie; Thanksgiving is around the corner. Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday to consider as an American Jew in that is nationally celebrated and steeped in ritual, but not directly connected to any one religious tradition. The upcoming holiday presents an opportunity to reach out of our immediate Jewish community and engage with our friends and family of other faiths and of no faith.

Many in the Jewish community have reached out to other religious groups in order to make Thanksgiving an inter-faith day of worship, dialogue, and celebration. Thanksgiving is a holiday that almost all Americans observe and some wish to make religious connections to this celebration. Through inter-faith prayer services, text study, or dialogue, the Jewish community can reach out to the Muslim, Christian and other faith communities to mark a day of religious tolerance and celebration. On this day of Thanksgiving, we can thank God for the abundance of food by bringing together our various religious traditions.

This past year, we’ve seen an upsurge in anti-Semitism, both in the United States, across Europe and South America, of which many in the Jewish community are readily aware. What you may not know, is that there has also been a rise in anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States. Standing side by side with our Muslim counterparts and friends of all faiths requires dialogue and education. Let’s use the opportunity of the national holiday, where we gather together with friends of diverse religious backgrounds, to make space for some of that education and conversation.

This Thanksgiving or (as we call it my family) “Thanksgiving Shabbat” the day after, take a moment to incorporate some interfaith element into your meal. What do the people sitting around your Thanksgiving or Shabbat dinner table practice? How do they pray and how do they engage with national holidays? For more ideas about how to make your Thanksgiving more meaningful, check out the Religious Action Center’s Thanksgiving Guide and the Social Justice Program Guide for National Holidays.

Op-Ed: Behind social entrepreneurship, a surprising force

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:40

Participants gathered in Dec. 2010 for a Jewish food conference organized by the Jewish environmental organization Hazon, in Sonoma County, Calif. (Courtesy of Hazon)

AKRON, Ohio (JTA) — Five years ago, when I began to work for Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation, I met with a colleague who worked with early-stage nonprofit organizations that are creating new ways of involving people in Jewish community life.

How wonderful, I gushed, that there are all these people who felt outside of Jewish life and who are now trying out new approaches to Jewish engagement. “Dara,” my colleague stopped me to say, “these entrepreneurs aren’t outsiders. They are day school graduates and rabbis’ kids, and many are rabbis themselves.”

It was a surprising moment for me. Having spent several years disengaged from organized Jewish life myself, and seeing all sorts of opportunities to learn, engage and contribute that were often targeting the “unaffiliated,” I assumed that their creators were also communal outsiders. Stepping back, though, it’s not surprising that Jewish social entrepreneurs are connected to their religious communities. After all, why would someone innovate to enhance something they don’t strongly value?

So too, it turns out, are financial supporters of innovation — and the lesson applies to all kinds of religious communities, not just Jewish ones. Jumpstart’s new study, “Connected to Give: Risk and Relevance,” co-funded by the Lippman Kanfer Foundation, finds that “[t]he donors most willing to support an unproven organization generally are those who are most engaged in their religious communities. Highly connected donors generally are willing to contribute to new organizations that offer a different approach to addressing a persistent problem that has been difficult to solve.”

What sets religiously affiliated donors apart from others less willing to fund such innovation? Maybe because they are involved in Jewish life they know what they find most valuable in Judaism and want to find ways to share it with others. They experience gaps themselves, see where the gaps exist for their families and friends, and therefore provide support for promising responses. Affiliated donors are, perhaps, more willing to take risks because they can imagine, and sometimes experience firsthand, the reward.

For such donors, today’s group of innovative Jewish ventures can indeed provide myriad ways to enact and extend their Jewish values and sensibilities. Whether it’s practicing values of welcoming and applying the principle that all are created in the divine image (b’tzelem Elohim) by creating a more inclusive community with InterfaithFamily and Keshet (which works with and for LGBT Jews), or expanding opportunities for learning for its own sake (Torah Lishma) with innovative educational experiences such as Kevah (which creates lay-led religious learning circles) or project-based learning in Jewish day schools, or implementing the principle of reducing waste (bal tashchit) by supporting environmental activism and farming with Hazon (which advances healthy and sustainable communities) and the Jewish Farm School.

Supporting innovation itself embodies learning from practice: we do and then we understand (na’aseh v’nishma). When we experiment, success often doesn’t look exactly like what we anticipated. For both the donors and the organizations, experimenting is about exploring and learning together what is relevant for people, what makes their lives more meaningful, what helps to repair the world.

With religious affiliation as the engine that drives support for new ideas and approaches, we who work with innovators should be turning more often and more directly to those most deeply involved with Jewish organizations and causes. We should listen to how they talk about the gaps, opportunities and possibilities that call for important and promising innovations. Continuing to enlist more active partners in funding innovative endeavors will open new pathways for the connected and not-yet-connected alike, and will enrich Jewish life for all.

Dara Weinerman Steinberg is executive director of Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation and Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah.

Swedish Rabbi Threatened by Known Anti-Semite

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 07:34

A rabbi and his synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg was threatened in emails that described him as an “accursed child murderer.”

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Swedish rabbi, synagogue threatened

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 06:57

(JTA) — A rabbi and his synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg was threatened in emails that described him as an “accursed child murderer.”

The rabbi, who was not named, received the threats via email from a person with a history of threatening the Jewish community of Gothenburg, Daniel Jonas, director of the city’s Jewish community, told the Gotheburgs-Posten newspaper Thursday.

The community informed police and enhanced its security arrangements, said the report, which did not name the person who sent the threatening emails to the rabbi.

The letter refers to the rabbi, who took up his position in 2012, as a “swine” and warns him that his synagogue will be demolished. It also assures the rabbi he will be “relegated to everlasting fire.”

Jonas told the paper he feared the publication in media would generate fresh threats. “We know that a publication always brings new emails and new threats. That is our reality,” he said.

In 2012, unknown individuals set off an explosive device outside the synagogue of Malmo, a city located 170 miles south of Gothenburg and where several dozen anti-Semitic attacks are documented annually.

Fred Kahn, the community’s president, told JTA most attacks in Malmo are by Muslims seeking revenge for Israel’s actions.

In April, the district of Skane, where Malmo is located, declined the Jewish community’s request to increase the number of security cameras around Jewish buildings, according to Michael Gelvan, chairman of the Nordic Jewish Security Council, and Per-Erik Ebbestahl, director of safety and security in the City of Malmo.

The municipality supported the request, Ebbestahl said.

Reform Jewish Movement Applauds New Protections for Undocumented Immigrants

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 20:56

Washington, D.C., November 20, 2014 – In response to President Obama’s executive action providing new protections for nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants, Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We applaud President Obama’s announcement of a new executive action on immigration that will remove the threat of deportation for nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. Under the executive action, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be expanded, and parents of citizens and legal permanent residents will be allowed to remain in the U.S. so long as these parents have been in the U.S. for at least five years, promising much-overdue relief for millions of families who risk being torn apart by the current provisions of our broken immigration system. We also welcome the end of the Secure Communities program, which has too often led to racial profiling and led immigrant communities to fear law enforcement instead of work with them.

For decades, inspired by the biblical imperative to welcome the stranger and by our own lived experience as immigrants, the Reform Movement has advocated for a more just immigration system. We have urged Congress and the President to work together to achieve comprehensive immigration reform which, among other provisions, addresses the issues of border security, family reunification, the needs of employers and protections for workers. Unfortunately, Congress has not succeeded at passing legislation to send to the President’s desk, despite the fact that Republicans and Democrats have long agreed that legislative action is the best way forward.

The failure of our immigration system is, of course, the result of failures in millions of individual cases. In the past six months, through the inspiring work of Rabbis Organizing Rabbis (ROR), a social justice initiative of the Reform Movement, we have worked to lift up the cases of individuals at risk of deportation and urge that their order of deportation be deferred. We are proud of the successes ROR has had, even as we continue to work on the case of Luis Lopez Acabal, now at risk of deportation after fleeing to the U.S. from Guatemala as a teenager to escape gang violence, and who is the sole breadwinner for his wife and two children. Mr. Lopez Acabal is now receiving sanctuary in an Arizona church basement, out of fear of being deported by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Over 60 of our rabbis have called ICE to ask for a stay of his order of deportation, and you can see a moving video of Luis Lopez Acabal in that church basement:

It is still unclear whether Mr. Lopez Acabal will be covered under the plan announced by President Obama, reminding us that legislation is the only way to truly and comprehensively to fix our immigration system. We hope that the positive impact of today’s executive action on individuals, workers, business owners and the nation in general will spur Congress to pass a comprehensive bill to create real and lasting immigration reform. We remain committed to working to achieve the passage of bipartisan legislation that keeps our borders secure, expands the legal channels of immigration, and provides a path to citizenship for those already living here.

Demolition orders given to four families of Palestinian terrorists

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 14:32

(JTA) — The Israeli government issued demolition orders to the families of the two Palestinians who committed the deadly terrorist attack on a Jerusalem synagogue.

Security officials sent the notices to the families of Said Abu Jamal and Ghassan Abu, the eastern Jerusalem cousins responsible for Tuesday’s attack on the Bnei Torah Kehilat Yaakov synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood that killed five.

Demolition orders also were sent to the families of Ibrahim Akkari, who rammed his car into pedestrians earlier this month, killing two, and Muataz Hijazi, the gunman who shot Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick last month.

All the families were given 48 hours to protest the decisions.

The demolition orders were given a day after the Israel Defense Forces razed the home of Abdelrahman Al-Shaludi, who killed two when he drove his vehicle into a light rail station last month.

Israel’s policy of demolishing homes has drawn international criticism and was largely suspended in 2005 after an army committee reported that it had little deterrent effect. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed a return to the practice if attacks continue.

“We have nothing against the residents of eastern Jerusalem, but we will not tolerate attacks on our citizens and we will act against those who do these things and against those engaged in incitement,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement. “With a determined and vigorous hand, we will restore security to Jerusalem.”


11 Greatest Mike Nichols Moments

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 09:02

Mike Nichols has passed away at the age of 83. The Forward pays tribute to 11 of the greatest moments in the director and comedian’s career.

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Mike Nichols, Oscar-Winning 'Graduate' Director, Dies at 83

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 08:25

Mike Nichols, a nine-time Tony Award winner on Broadway and the Oscar-winning director of films such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “The Graduate” and “Carnal Knowledge,” died on Wednesday at age 83, ABC News said.

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Antwerp Jews Demand Government-Funded School Security

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:55

In the wake of the stabbing of an Orthodox Jew in Antwerp, a Flemish Jewish politician demanded the government cover the community’s security costs of $1 million a year.

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How ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Shattered My Dreams

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 05:00

Leida Snow auditioned for the original ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ on Broadway. What happened next forever changed how she thought about musicals — and Judaism.

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Why Terror Is Different This Time

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 05:00

For Jane Eisner, the bloody synagogue terror cuts deeper because it was an attack on innocent Jews at prayer. Somehow a line has been crossed — and there’s no telling what may come next.

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Open Hillel Admits 'Mistake' in Snooping on Eric Fingerhut Conference Call

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:21

Relaying information garnered from an off-the-record conference call featuring the director of Hillel International was a “mistake,” the Open Hillel network said.

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Open Hillel: Fingerhut conference call flap a “mistake”

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 17:22

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Relaying information garnered from an off-the-record conference call featuring the director of Hillel International was a “mistake,” the Open Hillel network said.

“Recently, information was shared on an Open Hillel e-mail chain concerning a conference call briefing between Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut and the American Jewish Committee,” Open Hillel said in a statement emailed Wednesday to JTA. “This resulted in the firing of a recent college graduate and Open Hillel member who had worked with the AJC.”

Open Hillel is a network of Jewish student campus groups that reject Hillel International’s precepts banning events with speakers who advocate boycotting Israel and working with groups that are seen as hypercritical of Israel.

The Open Hillel statement noted that the call, for American Jewish Committee and Hillel staff, was not recorded, but that information about the call was shared among some Open Hillel activists.

“We recognize that this decision, made by a handful of people involved with the Open Hillel campaign, was a mistake,” the group said.

A report this week by the Washington D.C.-based Free Beacon news website revealed that AJC fired Danny Blinderman, a staffer in its Boston office, after he offered to share with Open Hillel activists information from an off-the-record conference call with Fingerhut.

“Open Hillel looks forward to re-focusing our energies on what really matters: Jewish students and Jewish campus communities,” the group’s statement said. “Open Hillel is steadfast in our commitment to making Hillel a welcoming space that is open to all Jewish students regardless of their political beliefs.”

Jewish Veterans Oppose Sectarian Prayer in Military

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 17:06

Two Jewish veterans testified in Congress against allowing chaplains to engage in sectarian prayer in nondenominational settings.

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