Friday, January 31, 2014

Memory of the Camps

In 1945 renown movie director, Alfred Hitchcock was asked to produce a film that would document the horrors of the Holocaust. That movie proved so potent, so damning that the allies suppressed the film’s release.
According to the Independent, Hitchcock’s documentary on the Holocaust was mothballed to the Imperial War Museum, much like the fictional Ark of the Covenant was at the conclusion of Steven Spielberg’s, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Upon discovering Hitchcock’s video record of the worst genocide in human history in a number of rusty video cans in the 1980′s, the Imperial War Museum painstakingly restored the film which has now finally been released for all to see.
_**Warning: This film includes footage and descriptions of the Holocaust that may prove very distressing for some.**_

Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (1844)

Panoramic picture of Jerusalem taken from the Mt. of Olives (1844)

Panoramic photo of Jerusalem's Old City from the southeast. (1844)

The Kidron Valley and the ancient tombs carved into the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem

ELDER OF ZIYON: Israel returning bodies of suicide bombers to its "peace partner"

Over the past few days, Israel has been returning the remains of terrorists, including suicide bombers, to their Arab families.

Here's how Ma'an reported the latest announcement:

Israeli authorities will return next Sunday the remains of a young Palestinian woman held in a “numbered graves” cemetery for twelve years, Palestinian officials said Wednesday.

A committee tasked with retrieving “martyrs’ bodies” confirmed Wednesday that remains of Ayat Muhammad Lutfi al-Akhras from Duheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem will be delivered to her family at Tarqumia checkpoint to the southwest of Hebron on Sunday evening.

Six bodies have been returned recently out of 36 Israel pledged it would return.

According to the committee, freeing al-Akhras’ body brings the overall number of dead Palestinians retrieved from Israel to 100. On the other hand, remains of 281 Palestinians killed in confrontations with the Israeli forces are still held in “numbered graves” in Israel, the committee believes.

In addition, 65 others are considered missing.

Al-Akhras was killed on March 29, 2002 after she detonated an explosive belt in west Jerusalem killing two Israelis. She was 18 years old.

Why is Israel returning the bodies?

It appears that an Israeli "human rights" organization took the case to the Supreme Court - and won:

Salim Khillah, a spokesman for a committee to retrieve Palestinian remains from Israeli custody, told Ma'an on Jan. 17 that Israeli authorities had decided to return the remains of 36 Palestinians held in Israeli "numbered graves."

Khallah said Israel had agreed to return the remains as a gesture to encourage the PLO to continue with peace negotiations.

But a spokesman for an Israeli human rights group told Ma'an Thursday that the delivery of the remains was the result of a Supreme Court decision.

A spokesman for HaMoked said that the decision came in response to the organization's demands for the release of the remains of every Palestinian currently held in Israel's custody.
Reuters confirms that this was a Supreme Court decision.

Dead people don't have human rights, so presumably HaMoked sued to return the bodies to help eliminate the anguish of the relatives of the terrorists. This way they can get the honor and glory for the terror acts all over again, as is traditional.

The human rights of the relatives of the Israelis blown up by terrorists, who have to relive the attacks, don't seem to be on HaMoked's radar. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

MISHPACHA MAGAZINE: Seder in the Court by Eytan Kobre | Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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In the midst of marital difficulties, a woman approached two prominent Five Towns rabbanim for guidance, and, in the course of their conversations, revealed that she was not shomeres mitzvos.

But then the rabbis did something shocking, at least to a secular psychologist: They relayed that incriminating information to the woman’s husband, with whom she was battling for custody of their children.

The woman took the rabbis to court, claiming a breach of confidentiality. The defendants, in turn, hired Frank Snitow, an Orthodox attorney who has handled numerous high-profile cases in the Jewish community. Snitow argued that although confidential communications to one’s clergyman were not admissible as evidence in court, a clergyman’s revelation of such conversations was not a basis for damages in a civil suit. Professionals like doctors and lawyers, he contended, are governed by state law, which requires them to be licensed and can sanction them for professional misconduct. Or, for that matter, for revealing confidences.

Rabbis, on the other hand, do not derive their right to practice from the state, but from their religion, and thus are not subject to state regulation of their practices. Separately, Mr. Snitow argued that Jewish law required his clients to reveal the wife’s failure to observe religious law to her husband, and thus, invoking a confidentiality requirement would run afoul of the United States Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of religious practice. The case eventually arrived at the Court of Appeals in Albany, where the state’s highest judges ruled 7-0 in the rabbis’ favor.

Mr. Snitow notes that “Judaism’s rules of confidentiality are, at once, more stringent and more lenient than those of secular law. Thus, the halachah prohibits anyone, not just members of certain professions, from revealing things they’ve been told in confidence. But by the same token, there are circumstances in which one is positively required to reveal private information, such as to prevent a transgression of Jewish law.”

As Orthodox Jews have become ever more active in the broader American society, the number of court cases in which Jewish law plays a role have mushroomed. Only recently, the public has been treated to headlines trumpeting stories like “Chassidic New York City policeman sues to keep his beard,” “City sues Williamsburg shopkeepers over modesty signs” and “Vigilante tactics used to coerce recalcitrant husbands to divorce their wives.” It sometimes seems as if every other month, yet another high-profile legal episode unfolds in which various aspects of halachah, including some that sound exotic or incomprehensible to the secular ear, take center stage.

In reality, however, halachah and secular law have been interfacing in American courts for as long as there has been a judicial system. At times, in fact, court battles involving halachah have established new precedents in American law itself.

“In this case halachah and secular law differed,” Mr. Snitow adds. “However, these two legal systems often converge. At bottom, with increasingly sophisticated matters implicating civil law and halachah, raised in both secular courts and beis din, it is essential that litigants and their legal representatives be prepared to recognize and utilize both systems of jurisprudence.”

"Pshetl vs. Shtetl"? Sometimes, it isn't two private in­dividuals who become embroiled in a battle over halachah, but an entire community. That was the case in 2005 when Yeshiva Meon HaTorah made the fateful decision to make Roosevelt, New Jersey, a rustic hamlet of 900 people, just 20 miles from Lakewood, its home. That triggered a five-year legal saga in which questions like "How are a shul and a yeshivah different?" and "Is Torah study 'worship'?" took center stage in New Jersey state court.

Founded in1937 as Jersey Homesteads, the town was intended as a New Deal experiment in cooperative management, with a farm and garment factory constituting the entire local economy; it was renamed Roosevelt in 1945 to memorialize the just-deceased American president and architect of the New Deal. The town's initial residents were all Jews, mostly Eastern European immigrants: the founding town charter, in fact, was written in Yiddish and town meetings, too, were conducted in mamma lashen. From its founding onward, the town's sole house of worship was an Or­thodox synagogue, named, naturally enough, Anshei Roosevelt.

Over the decades, however,as the Jewish population dwindled, the shul fell on hard times. In an effort to reverse its declining fortunes, its members welcomed into their midst Rabbi Yisroel Meir Eisenberg, an alumnus of Riverdale's Telshe Yeshivah, and his newly established yeshivah high school, Meon HaTorah. The understanding was that in exchange for hosting the yeshivah, the school's rabbis would lead regular services and perform other pastoral duties.

Roosevelt had been listed by New Jersey Monthly magazine as one of the Garden State's "Best Places to Live,"but right from the start, the yeshivah felt unwelcome. Although the town's zoning officer had initially ruled the yeshivah to be in compliance with the law, neighbors successfully petitioned the local planning and zoning board to declare the yeshivah in violation of the local zoning ordinance. Tensions ran high and acrimony poisoned the small town's normally placid atmosphere. Roosevelt mayor Neil Marko, who had enthusiastically supported the yeshivah's arrival, was ousted in a recall election in 2007 by a vote of 262-38. At one point, the picketing of the shul and yeshivah reached such levels that the state police had to be summoned to the scene to maintain the peace.

Facing what it regarded as ugly, un-American bigotry, the yeshiva decided to fight.  It turned to Orthodox Jewish attorney Bruce Shoulson, a partner at the prominent New Jersey firm of Lowenstein Sandler, who filed suits on various grounds in both the federal and state courts. The central issue in the state·court case was whether housing a yeshivah on the premises was an expansion of the property's preexisting use as a synagogue.

To bolster his client's position, Shoulson says, he produced testimony by Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, a Bronx rav and longtime dean of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, as an expert in Jewish law. The two had collaborated previously on a 1994 case in which the rabbi's testimony helped Shoulson defend the right of a Sephardic kollel in Deal, New Jersey, to establish itself in a zone that permitted houses of worship. The kollel, too, had contended that it was a synagogue.

As in the Deal case, Rabbi Charlop offered his expert opinion that the yeshivah's opponents were wrong to claim that worship and religious instruction were two separate uses, and thus that the opening of the yeshivah was a change in the property's use. He testified that a yeshivah is a place where people gather to study the Torah, which is, as he explained to the judge, "the highest form of worship." Rabbi Charlop added that those who study in the yeshivah are also obliged to observe "all the traditions and customs of the synagogue," including praying three times daily.

Therefore, Rabbi Chariop explained, a yeshivah was in fact a house of worship. And while a synagogue "may not necessarily be a yeshivah, a yeshivah is always a synagogue." But unlike  in the Deal case, this time it was Roosevelt's antagonistic residents who prevailed. The court, however, came to the conclusion that "a synagogue is not necessarily a yeshivah because it is not a house of study" and therefore ''with the addition of the yeshivah, the synagogue also had become 'a house of study.' "
And so it was that after a half-decade of bitterly fought litigation, Yeshiva Meon HaTorah packed up and relocated to the more hospitable environs of Monsey;. New York, where it has thrived.

Kashrus and the First Amendment But Mr. Shoulson is quick to contrast the way the court pondered  questions of Jewish law and practice in the Roosevelt case with another well-known litigation in which he was involved, when New Jersey's highest court declined to get involved in weighing issues of Jewish law. Until about 25 years ago, New Jersey's kosher enforcement law provided that a vendor could only hold himself out as selling kosher food if it was prepared "in strict compliance with the laws and customs of the Orthodox Jewish religion."

Ran-Dav County Kosher, a butcher shop in Linden, New Jersey, was found to be in violation of the law for selling meats as "kosher'' that didn't meet Orthodox Jewish standards, not- withstanding that a non-Orthodox clergyman had provided his seal of approval. The butcher challenged the very validity of the kosher law itself, arguing that it entangled  the secular courts in the interpretation  of Jewish  law, thus running afoul of the separation of religion and state mandated by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

After a lower court upheld the law, the butch- er appealed to the state's highest court, which struck the law down because it created an im- permissible entanglement of secular courts with religion by requiring them to consider and decide upon matter's of Jewish law. (The New Jersey legislature later created a new kosher enforcement law;.which provides that the vendor is simply required to explain his reasons for claiming his products are kosher. It is then up to the buyer to decide whether to make the purchase based on the available evidence.)

"What's interesting,"says Mr. Shoulson, "is that in arguing to uphold the kosher statute, I represented not only the Orthodox rabbinical organizations, but the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist clerical groups as well. They all accepted the notion that when a food Product is described as kosher, the consumer public understands that to mean that it is kosher by Orthodox standards. But the biggest lesson to emerge from this case is that courts are very wary of involving themselves in matters of halachah, which they regard as the very kind of entanglement between church and state that the Constitution of the United States forbids."

Courting Trouble in Beis Din

One very fertile source of conflict between secular and Jewish law is the beis din, which on the one hand is recognized by American  law as a bona  fide  arbitration panel whose rulings are bind ng, yet on the other is governed by rules that can be radically  different  from those  that  apply in secular courts. Los Angeles civil trial attorney Baruch C. Cohen learned about those differences the hard way. Back in 2009, Cohen  represented  the widow of a former congregational rabbi who sought to  reclaim  four  sifrei  Torah from  her husband's  now-defunct  shul  th'at  were on loan to another shul. Now she wanted them back.
The dispute between the widow and the rabbi of the shul housing the sifrei Torah went to arbitration before a local beis din, which ruled in her favor. But the defendant rabbi refused to comply with the beis din's decision, and when the widow sought to have its ruling confirmed and enforced in Los Angeles Superior Court, the judge surprised her by vacating the beis din's award of the sifrei Torah entirely. According to attorney Cohen, the  court found that one of the three dayanim, a highly respected local posek, was unfit to sit on the beis din panel in this ·'case. The reason for his disqualification? A response he had previously given to a newspaper reporter's hypothetical question about a situation similar to the one in this case: "Lending a Torah to a synagogue is a common way Jews fulfill a mitzvah.....It is on long-term loan to their synagogue, but he still owns it" This statement, the court held, should have been disclosed to the defendant prior to the beis din session in keeping with the rule requiring arbitrators to disclose potential conflicts of interest.

The upshot, says Mr. Cohen, based on over 75 cases he has handled before California batei din is that in order to make sure that a beis din's arbitration award can be converted into an enforceable court judgment, the shtar berurin as the beis din's written ruling is known must comply in all respects with secular law. "This no simple matter, given that there are numerous aspects of American law that simply are nonexistent in halachah. The Torah, for example, does not know of the concept of a statute of limitations, which dictates that after a set number of years have elapsed following a transaction, a suit can no longer be brought. The same is true of various rules of evidence, such as hearsay and irrelevance. And, as we found out in this case, the duty to disclose any potential conflicts are very different in Jewish and secular law."

He says the beis din of the Rabbinical Council of California now has a legal counsel review each one of its shtarei berurin before it is issued, and he has bee working to have this practice instituted by other batei din as well.

Respect for the Law: All in all, Mr. Cohen observes that in his experience, secular courts maintain great respect for halachah when it is presented clearly and unapologetically. He ·once represented a frum debtor in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, which  requires  submission of a personal budget demonstrating that all listed expenses are necessary. His client listed his child's yeshivah tuition as a necessary expense, which was contested by the bankruptcy  trustee.

Mr. Cohen entered into evidence excerpts from Rabbi Dovid Weinberger's book Shema Beni on halachic aspects of child rearing stating that if a father balks at paying tuition, a beis din can liquidate his assets to do so. "Then," he recalls, "I put the debtor on the witness stand to testify that because paying his son's schar limud was so important to him, he hadn't bought himself new clothes in three years, and hadn't taken a vacation in even longer than that. The judge was very impressed by that, and fo11nd in favor of the father based on his sincerely held religious beliefs."

In another case, Cohen represented a large Jewish charitable organization that had received an enormous charitable donation, only to learn that the donor was i:h bankruptcy and the money he'd contributed had come from a Ponzi scheme he was running.

The Chapter 7 trustee, acting on behalf of investors whom this generous donor had bilked, sued for the monies he had donated to be returned to them, and at trial, the female Jewish judge, a past president of her Reform temple, asked the rav associated with the charity about the halachic obligations of a charity to return donations that were found to have been stolen funds. He gave a clear exposition of the relevant halachos, and she soaked it up. "The kavod the judge had for the rav and for halachah was very evident. It was as if the heavens opened up and a beacon of light shone upon him."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Obama's 3:00 am phone call

Obama and his administration should stay away from this year’s AIPAC Conference It’s time to force AIPAC to choose between real bipartisanship and hawkish policies that Obama says could lead to war.

By  Jan. 29, 2014 | 12:36 PM
Right about now, the Obama White House is probably trying to decide whom to send to address AIPAC’s annual policy conference, set for early March. In 2010, it sent Hillary Clinton. In 2013, it sent Joe Biden. In 2011 and 2012, it sent Obama itself.
This year, Team Obama should try something different: Send no one at all.
AIPAC, after all, is working hard to pass Iran sanctions legislation. Obama insists such legislation will ruin his chances of reaching a diplomatic deal with Tehran, a deal that would constitute the most important foreign policy achievement of his presidency. As a general rule, presidents don’t reward organizations fighting their top agenda items by dispatching high-ranking officials to speak at their conferences. I doubt the White House is sending anyone to this April’s annual meeting of the NRA.
Historically, these normal political rules haven’t applied to AIPAC. The organization has stayed on good terms with administrations of both parties even while pushing back against White House pressure on Israeli leaders to make concessions to the Palestinians. But by pushing an Iran sanctions bill right now, AIPAC is doing something unprecedented. It’s one thing to quietly gum up the peace process. It’s another to lead the charge for legislation that the White House has warned could lead to war.
If the White House snubs AIPAC, some in the organized Jewish world will declare it an offense against American Jews as a whole. But that’s silly. Top Obama officials endlessly attend, or host, Jewish-themed events. Last year, John Kerry spoke to the American Jewish Committee. Joe Biden addressed J Street. Obama attended an annual Passover Seder. The White House hosted an annual Hanukkah party. In past years, it’s even hosted receptions for Jewish American Jewish Heritage Month, whatever that is.
The White House can withstand the criticism it would receive for not sending a speaker to AIPAC, especially since Obama is not running again. Most American Jews wouldn’t care, and anyway, most American Jews support Obama’s Iran policy. 
The real damage would be to AIPAC, an organization currently trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, AIPAC must stay on good terms with Benjamin Netanyahu, who hates Obama’s nuclear diplomacy. It must also satisfy conservative donors who might defect to smaller, more right-wing Jewish organizations—as Sheldon Adelson did when AIPAC backed aid to the Palestinians in 2007 —if they felt AIPAC wasn’t adequately combatting Obama’s policies. On the other, AIPAC includes lots of Democrats who want the organization to remain friendly with a Democratic president. And AIPAC needs an open door to the Obama administration in order to play the behind-the-scenes intermediary role between Israeli and American leaders on which it prides itself.
The appearance of bipartisanship is essential to AIPAC’s business model. And yet that bipartisanship is, in some ways, a ruse. The group’s hawkish foreign policy stances on both Iran and the Palestinians are far more in line with Republican than Democratic public opinion. Demographically, AIPAC is increasingly populated by Orthodox Jews, who - in contrast to American Jewry as whole—generally vote Republican. It’s true that the Iran sanctions bill AIPAC is pushing has garnered 19 Democratic—along with 43 Republican—co-sponsorships. But congressional sources say bluntly that many of those Democratic senators are only supporting the bill because AIPAC, and like-minded groups, want them to.
By refusing to help AIPAC have it both ways, the Obama White House might cause some of the Democrats in the organization to question the group’s current Iran strategy. And it would fuel the public perception—which has been building since the birth of the dovish J Street in 2009—that AIPAC is a Republican-leaning group. As former AIPAC staffer Steve Rosen told Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week, “AIPAC puts a premium on bipartisan consensus and maintaining communication with the White House.” Not procuring a high-level administration speaker for its annual conference “would be devastating to AIPAC’s image of bipartisanship.”
I doubt the White House will take my advice. For one thing, it may feel it owes AIPAC for supporting its short-lived push for military action against Syria last year. And on Israel, this administration rarely plays hardball. A few months after Benjamin Netanyahu all but endorsed Mitt Romney, Obama flew to Jerusalem and practically serenaded the Israeli leader.
But if Obama doesn’t make AIPAC pay a price for its sanctions push now, the group will likely keep undermining his diplomatic efforts with Iran for the rest of his presidency. A frank expression of disapproval, by contrast, might embolden those congressional Democrats who quietly disagree with AIPAC’s agenda, but fear publicly saying so.
Early in his career, according to legend, Boston Celtics center Bill Russell found himself repeatedly manhandled by rougher players. His coach, Red Auerbach, urged him to throw an elbow, not discreetly, but during a nationally televised game so everyone would see. Russell did, and the rough play subsided.
That’s what Obama should do now. He should treat AIPAC by the same rules he’d apply to another other lobby that threatens his presidential agenda. If he throws that elbow, my guess is AIPAC—and many others in Washington—will remember it for a very long time.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Prison guards who hanged Adolf Eichmann speak out

New details have been disclosed about the Israel Prison Service unit which guarded Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann during his trial, executed him and discarded his remains • Former member: We did what we did for the Jewish people.
Itzik Saban
Members of the unit that hanged Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichman receive awards for their service on Monday 
 Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger

Prosor's Speech at Holocaust Memorial Ceremony

Today, the UN held its annual Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in the General Assembly. Oscar-winning film director, writer and producer Steven Spielberg delivered the keynote address, followed by remarks from U.S.  Ambassador Samantha Power and Ambassador Ron Prosor. ​Below are the Israeli Ambassador's full remarks: ​

Thank you, Mr. Under-Secretary General.  
Dear survivors,                         
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Mr. President,
I, Ron Prosor, the son of Uri Prosor who fled Nazi Germany, stand before you tall and proud as a representative of the Jewish nation in the Family of Nations. When my father fled Berlin in 1936, the world wavered on the brink of war - the League of Nations was unable to unite the world and stop Nazi Germany from casting its dark shadow over Europe. 
My father was one of the lucky few who were able to escape.  In the years that followed, European Jewry was decimated.  The Jewish people were robbed of their businesses, robbed of their families, robbed of their dignity and then robbed of their lives. 
The Holocaust may have reached its barbaric climax at Auschwitz and Birkenau and Treblinka, but the seeds of hate were sown years earlier.  As Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Weisel said, “Indifference is a sickness of the soul more contagious than any other.”  Ordinary men and women were silent as the Nazis dragged Europe into the dark abyss.
Mr. President,
The Jewish people have been tormented, exiled and persecuted like no other people in history - but we never gave up.  In the ghettos and concentration camps, Jews established schools and synagogues.  They celebrated holidays and weddings.  They made music, sang and danced even as death loomed all around.
Joachim Joseph was just 12 years old when he was taken to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. As his thirteenth birthday approached, Joachim studied in secret to prepare for his bar mitzvah using a small Torah scroll smuggled into the camp.  On the day of his bar mitzvah, Joachim sang aloud from that scroll. When the ceremony concluded, the boy was given the tiny Torah with the hope that he would survive the war and tell the world how even in the midst of Jewish suffering, Judaism survived.
Today, Joachim is a renowned physicist living in Israel. His story of survival defied gravity when his Torah scroll accompanied Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, into space. In a live teleconference from the Columbia space shuttle, Ilan Ramon shared Joachim’s story and explained that the small scroll represents: “The ability of the Jewish people to survive. It represents their ability to go from black days, from periods of darkness, to reach periods of hope and faith in the future."   
Mr. President,
We survived because of those individuals who struggled to keep their Jewish identity alive and fought for a Jewish future.
Jews and gentiles alike – fought for our future. Approximately 1.5 million Jews fought in the allied forces during World War II. Others organized resistance movements that took up arms in the ghettos and concentration camps, in the villages and in the forests.  They retaliated with major uprisings in Warsaw and Bialystokg; They resisted with underground activities in Dachau, Maidanek and Buchenwald; They rescued and hid other Jews; And they refused to accept the inevitable by fighting for their lives in the death camps. 
The Jewish people survived because courageous men and women stood up for what was right and risked their own lives to save others.
The untold story, but no less important, was the active Jewish involvement in saving other Jews. Ordinary people like Madeleine Dreyfys – a French Jewish psychologist – risked their lives to save other Jews. While pregnant with her own child, Madeleine transported hundreds of Jewish children out of harms way to find refuge in the French countryside. As part of the Garel Network kinder transport Madeleine personally saved more than 100 Jewish children.
300 Jews were saved by Righteous Gentiles, Johannes Post and Arnold Douwes who worked together with Max “Nico” Leons, a young Jewish man, to rescue the Jews in the tiny village of Nieuwlande in Holland. Nico, who was a Jew, had the right papers and could have chosen to save himself, but instead he put his life on the line for the benefit of others. While Johannes was caught and executed by the Nazis, Arnold and Nico survived. On Nico’s 90th birthday, he was asked by the son of one of the many he saved: “Why? Why did you do it?” Nico’s answer was simple: “Arnold and I never thought that we had another choice – you never need a reason to do the right thing.”
We are here today, because of those people who did the right thing; the Jews and Gentiles who fought for our future; who proved that even in the darkest hours of human history, the human spirit prevailed.
Mr. President,
From the ashes of the Holocaust and the depths of despair, the Jewish people returned to their ancient homeland; regained independence; built schools and hospitals; made the desert bloom; and built a strong and vibrant society.
One of the survivors who helped build the modern State of Israel was Malka Gantz, a Hungarian Jew who survived the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. I had the privilege of knowing Malka after she immigrated to Israel and built a family with her husband, Nachum.  Today, their son, Benny Gantz, is the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Last year, Benny, a personal friend of mine, travelled to Auschwitz and lit one of the six torches in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.  At the ceremony he said, "Never again shall a calamity such as this transpire in our world...we will never ever stand unready to defend ourselves."
The Jewish people want peace, but history has shown that we cannot rely on others to defend us.  We are resilient and we are also realistic. It has been almost 70 years since the end of the Holocaust and the world is still plagued by prejudice and - even as we speak - anti-Semitism is being sponsored and spread by governments, teachers, and religious leaders. 
The Holocaust taught us that remembrance without resolve is meaningless. It showed us that awareness must be matched with action. I encourage governments to take action by partnering with UN Information Centres to educate the next generation. In doing so, you will pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and take a stand against indifference.
The International Holocaust Memorial Day was proclaimed in 2005 with the personal drive of then Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who sought to institutionalize this important day, not just in Israel, but around the world, making it possible to educate future generations.
Mr. President,
I would like to conclude by telling you about a young man named David Berger. When war broke out, David fled to Vilna to try and escape the advancing German forces.  As the Nazis closed in, David wrote a letter sharing his greatest fear – not that he would die, but rather that he would be forgotten.  He wrote: “I should like someone to remember that there once lived a person named David Berger.” 
Today, I stand before you, before the nations of the world to tell you that there once lived a man named David Berger.  He was born in the Polish town of PrzemyslPeremyshlPeremyshl. His parents were Chaim and Sarah. His siblings were Manya, Mechel and Mundek.  At the age of 19, David was killed because he was a Jew.
In 1941, there was no Shield of David to defend David Berger.  Today, the State of Israel and the Israeli Defense Force are standing guard day and night over the nation state of the Jewish people. 
But we should not be standing alone.  The Holocaust wasn’t just a Jewish tragedy; it was a human tragedy.  I look around the world today and still see children being taught that some human lives are worth less than others.   And I still see men and women persecuted for what they look like, and how they worship, and who they love.
It is our duty to teach the next generation to act.  ACT is an acronym for - acceptance, compassion, and tolerance.  Children must be educated in these qualities and taught that when they see hatred or prejudice, they must take action by speaking up and stepping in. 
The United Nations was borne from the bloodshed and brutality of World War Two to stand up for humanity.  It is a responsibility that each of us carries every single day.  Never again can evil be allowed to take root.  Never again can silence prevail. Never again can indifference reign. 
The State of Israel is the only guarantee that the future fate of the Jewish people will be held in our own hands. It is our hope for the future and the assurance of our survival for generations to come.
Am Yisrael Chai!
Thank you very much, Mr. President.

'Where was the US During the Holocaust?'

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) spoke to Arutz Sheva Monday about their personal reactions to Auschwitz, as the Knesset made a landmark visitthere for the first time
"This is my first time here," Bennett reflected. "My grandmother and grandfather are buried on Polish land, and many from our nation are buried here." 
Bennett also wondered where the US was during the Holocaust - and why they had not intervened to stop the bloodshed. 
"It always bothers me that the US could have bombed [the SS], could have made it their mission to stop the killing machine," the MK explained. "But out of tens of thousands of missions during the war, they did not make an attempt even once." 
"We will never rely on anyone else but ourselves," he continued, "only the IDF and the Jewish people." 
Danon stated that walking on the "cursed ground" of the death camp led him to deep introspection. 
"It is painful to be here, but we are also proud survivors," he noted. "We are proud to be here with a Knesset delegation but we also understand that without our power [as the State of Israel], it could happen again." 
Monday's Knesset visit to Poland was in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A special ceremony was held at Auschwitz and attended by Polish MPs and government officials, Israeli MKs and government officials, and survivors. 

ELDER OF ZIYON: The Sodastream irony

If you put together everything that every "pro-Palestinian "activist has ever done for actual, real Palestinians....

If you tally all the specific things that Omar Barghouti and Max Blumenthal and Philip Weiss and Ali Abuminah and Greta Berlin and Ben White and every single member of Free Gaza, Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, the BDS Movement, Students for Justice in Palestine, the ISM and others have done to improve the daily lives of Palestinian Arabs over the past twenty years....

You would not approach what Sodastream does for Palestinian Arab families every single day.

Which of these hypocrites are trying to build a factory in Ramallah or Nablus or Jericho that employs 900 workers and pays them good wages? Who among them is working to increase Palestinian exports of goods and services to the huge Arab markets? Who among them is working to create a high-tech Palestinian hub where they could charge Arab nations for their remote services - industries that require little space and can pay well?

Who among them gives a damn about the Palestinians they claim to work on behalf of?

They don't.

To them, Palestinians are props for their anti-Israel stunts. They are nothing more than pawns. Any Arab that cannot be used as ammunition against Israel is ignored or derided as a collaborator. Any happy Arab employee who works in Mishor Adumin or Atarot Industrial Park is  an enemy of their cause.

You know how many stories about BDS are in Arabic media? Practically none. Because Arabs aren't being helped one bit by the vitriolic campaign against an Israeli company that does more for Arabs than every "pro-Palestinian" activist combined.

The opening of a Kollel & Kiruv Center in Auschwitz

Avi Silver, of blessed memory

May the Silvers be comforted among the other mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim, amen.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rise & Fall of the Borscht Belt - CBS Sunday Morning

Liberation of BUCHENWALD and DACHAU Concentration Camp

No words over the tongue of men can describe the horrors inside these camps. Viewer discretion is advised

This video shows the Liberation of BUCHENWALD and DACHAU Concentration Camp. Among this footage you see the German Towns people who were ordered to go to the concentration camps after US officials declared Marshall Law upon these regions. 
During the Liberation of Dachau you can spot some faces that seem to be well fed. These where German camp guards, after they were picked from the crowd by camp prisoners. There was little mercy for these people as all emotions where thrown at the German Camp Guards

Every Day is Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, the world commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, every day is remembrance day. We are on the frontlines 365 days a year fighting anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and preserving the memory of the Holocaust:
• Today at Auschwitz, Rabbi Meyer H. May, SWC Executive Director joined a 60-member strong delegation of Knesset Members, several prominent US Congressmen including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) pictured right, Holocaust survivors and Jewish leaders as part of the official delegation of Israel’s Knesset to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which took place on January 27, 1945. This day marks the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day - the SWC was a co-sponsor of the historic gathering.


Another reason not to daven on your smartphone

Israeli Soldiers Confront Hezbollah Terrorists in Lifelike Simulation

Published on Jan 26, 2014
In this exclusive video, Israel's elite Combat Engineering Battalion 601 simulates the takeover of a Hezbollah position. This footage provides a rare glimpse into the IDF's advanced training to confront the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

Simcha Leiner Singing "First Dance"

Holocaust Told in One Word, 6 Million Times

JERUSALEM — There is no plot to speak of, and the characters are woefully undeveloped. On the upside, it can be a quick read — especially considering its 1,250 pages.

The book, more art than literature, consists of the single word “Jew,” in tiny type, printed six million times to signify the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust. It is meant as a kind of coffee-table monument of memory, a conversation starter and thought provoker.

“When you look at this at a distance, you can’t tell whether it’s upside down or right side up, you can’t tell what’s here; it looks like a pattern,” said Phil Chernofsky, the author, though that term may be something of a stretch. “That’s how the Nazis viewed their victims: These are not individuals, these are not people, these are just a mass we have to exterminate.

“Now get closer, put on your reading glasses, and pick a ‘Jew,’ ” Mr. Chernofsky continued. “That Jew could be you. Next to him is your brother. Oh, look, your uncles and aunts and cousins and your whole extended family. A row, a line, those are your classmates. Now you get lost in a kind of meditative state where you look at one word, ‘Jew,’ you look at one Jew, you focus on it and then your mind starts to go because who is he, where did he live, what did he want to do when he grew up?”

Phil Chernofsky, shown in his office, sees his book as both a conversation starter and memorial. Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

The concept is not entirely original. More than a decade ago, eighth graders in a small Tennessee town set out to collect six million paper clips, as chronicled in a 2004 documentary. The anonymity of victims and the scale of the destruction is also expressed in the seemingly endless piles of shoes and eyeglasses on exhibit at former death camps in Eastern Europe.

Now Gefen Publishing, a Jerusalem company, imagines this book, titled “And Every Single One Was Someone,” making a similar statement in every church and synagogue, school and library.

While many Jewish leaders in the United States have embraced the book, some Holocaust educators consider it a gimmick. It takes the opposite tack of a multimillion-dollar effort over many years by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum here, that has so far documented the identities of 4.3 million Jewish victims. These fill the monumental “Book of Names,” 6 1/2 feet tall and 46 feet in circumference, which was unveiled last summer at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

“We have no doubt that this is the right way to deal with the issue,” said Avner Shalev, Yad Vashem’s director. “We understand that human life, human beings, individuals are at the center of our research and education. This is the reason we are investing so much in trying to retrieve every single human being, his name, and details about his life.”

Mr. Shalev declined to address the new book directly, but said dismissively, “Every year we have 6,000 books published about the Shoah,” using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

The book’s backers do not deny its gimmickry — Mr. Chernofsky used the Yiddish word “shtick” — but see it as a powerful one.

Ilan Greenfield, Gefen’s chief executive, noted that there is a blank line on the title page where people can dedicate each book, perhaps to a survivor like his mother-in-law.“Almost everyone who looks at the book cannot stop flipping the pages,” he said. “Even after they’ve looked at 10 pages and they know they’re only going to see the same word, they keep flipping.”

The Gefen catalog lists the book for $60, but Mr. Greenfield said individual copies would probably sell for closer to $90 (buy 1,000 copies and it is $36 each). Since the book went on the market a few months ago, he said, 5,000 have been printed. One person bought 100 to distribute to the offices of United States senators, and Jewish leaders in Australia and South Africa, Los Angeles and Denver, have bought batches for their communities.

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, enlisted three donors to buy 1,000 each and is giving them away: He wants one in the Oval Office and, eventually, on every Passover Seder table. “When he brought me this book I said, ‘Wow, wow, it makes it so real,’ ” said Mr. Foxman, himself a Holocaust survivor. “It’s haunting.”

The idea began in the late 1970s at the Yeshiva of Central Queens in Kew Gardens Hills,  where Mr. Chernofsky taught math, science and Jewish studies and, one year, was put in charge of the bulletin board for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“I gave them blank paper, and I said, no talking for the next 30 minutes — that was a pleasure,” recalled Mr. Chernofsky, 65, who grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and moved to Israel 32 years ago. “I said, ‘I want you to write the word Jew as many times as you can, no margins, just pack them in, just take another paper and another paper until I say stop.’

It is sad to me that there is a failure to recognize the total number of victims of the Nazi extermination program, and that only the Jewish...

So many of the comments to this article, too many, seem to take the view that this book is just one hype of the Jewish experience over the...

This is the poetry of heartbreak. And rage.
We added up the whole class,” he added. “It was 40,000 — nothing.”

Years later, Mr. Chernofsky printed out pages filled with “Jew” six million times and put them in a loose-leaf notebook, which he showed visitors to his messy office here at the Orthodox Union, where he is the educational director. His uncle took the notebook to a Jerusalem book fair, where a bookbinder saw it, and made a limited edition. Mr. Greenfield eventually came across a copy and approached Mr. Chernofsky about 18 months ago with the idea of mass production.

Each page has 40 columns of 120 lines — 4,800 “Jews.” The font is Minion; the size, 5.5 point. The book weighs 7.3 pounds.

Its titleless cover depicts a Jewish prayer shawl, sometimes used to wrap bodies for burial. Mr. Chernofsky said it was Gefen’s choice; he would have preferred solid black, or a yellow star like those the Nazis made Jews wear.

An Orthodox Jew with nine grandchildren, Mr. Chernofsky is a numbers man, the kind of person who cannot climb stairs without counting them (41 up to his apartment). “Torah Tidbits,” the publication he has edited for two decades, always lists the number of sentences in the week’s Torah portion (118 in last week’s “Statutes”).

He likes to play with calendars, and is tickled that for the next three months, the Hebrew and English dates match: Feb. 1 is the first of Adar, April 30 the 30th of Nissan.

Mr. Greenfield, the publisher, said his goal was eventually to print six million copies of “And Every Single One Was Someone.” With each copy 2.76 inches wide, that would fill 261 miles of bookshelves — just shy of Israel’s 263-mile north-south span. (And net Mr. Chernofsky, at his contracted rate of $1.80 per book, $10.8 million.)

“Harry Potter, in seven volumes, used 1.1 million words,” noted Mr. Chernofsky, a devotee who has a Quidditch broom hanging in his office. “This has six million in it, so I outdid J. K. Rowling.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Agudas HaRabonim Conference, Rockaway Park, NY

2. Rav Meir Cohen, Asbury Park, NJ
3. Rav Mordechai Pinchas Teitz, Elizabeth, NJ
4. Rav Dovid Lifshitz, Suwałker Rav, NYC
5. Rav Eliezer Silver, Cincinati, OH
6. Rav Aaron Kutler, Lakewood, NJ
7. Rav Simcha Elberg, Hapardis
8. Rav Shimon Morduchovitz, Bronx, NY
9. Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, Baltimore, MD
10. Rav Chaim Tzvi Kruger


  • 1curios // Mar 7, 2011 at 1:45 am
    No. 1, on far left corner is Rav Avrohom Yafhen, Rosh Yeshivas Novahrdok.
  • 2Rabbi Stern // Mar 7, 2011 at 10:56 am
    #7 looks like Rabbi Simcha Elberg.
  • 3azi // Mar 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm
    how can you tell it’s r avrohom jaffen? i see there is a long white beard, but the face seems different.
  • 4YD Miller // Mar 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm
    This conference started on the 8th day of Kislev 5717-1957 in Rockaway Park, NY and went on for 3 days with over 300 Rabbonim and Leaders attending:
    I guess this photo is of one small meeting one of the committees, and according to one source the person in the photo # 10 is Reb Chaim Tzvi Kriger formerly from Brussels:
  • 5YD Miller // Mar 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm
    I see now that there was more then one Confrence in Rocoaway Park NY so I am not sure which one this photo is of , maybe it is from the one in 1965:
  • 6Baruch A // Mar 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm
    I showed the picture to my neighbor, Rav Shmerel Shulman and he identified the rabbonim in the picture as:
    #2 Rav Mayer Cohen – Asbury Park, NJ
    #7 Rav Simcha Elberg
    #8 Rav Shimon Morduchovitz – Bronx, NY
    # 10 Rav Chaim Tzvi Kruger
    It would be great if someone can confirm.
  • 7yitzchok // Mar 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm
    Number 2 looks like Rabbi Zalman Reichman from the Bronx who put out some of the Ramban’s on Shas
  • 8Moshe Escott // Mar 11, 2011 at 12:46 am
    It couldn’t have been the 1965 conference since R. Aharon Kotler z”l had already passed away by late 1962.
  • 9Baruch C. Cohen, Esq. // Nov 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm
    My grandfather, Rabbi Meir Cohen, the former Executive Vice President & Menahel of the Agudas Harrabonim of North America for over twenty years, and Mechaber of the Sefer “Chelkas Meir” on the Rambam (who’s father was Rabbi Shmuel Burzstyn the Mechaber of the seforim Minchas Shabbos & Ma’adanai Shmuel on Hilchos Pesach), was incorrectly identified as the rabbi # 2 in the picture, when he is really the rabbi situated as # 8. My Zaidie is sitting to the immediate right of Rabbi Yaakov Ruderman the Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisroel and is sitting two seats to the left of Rabbi Aharon Kotler of Beth Medrash Govoha.
  • 10YD Miller // Nov 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm
    Hi Baruch Cohen,
    When did your Zieda pass away and where is he buried?
    His seforim Chelkas Mier are available on Hebrew, here is part I:
  • 11Ben Bee Zee // Nov 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm
    Just for the information;
    This picture with the numbering and all the info of who the Rabbonim are, was this week in the Mishpacha without mentioning/crediting where they took it from.