Wednesday, April 29, 2015

11 Reasons Why Israel is One of the Happiest Countries

Nerys Copelovitz for Kveller

It’s pretty unbelievable, but for the third time running the World Happiness Report says that Israel is one of the happiest nations in the world–11th to be precise. It’s easy to understand why peaceful, orderly, and affluent Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, and Australia are at the top of the smiley nations, but Israel?

What could Israelis have to be so happy about? Yes, we’re a bunch of Jews living the Zionist dream in Eretz Israel but–and it’s a ginormous but–that reality is tempered by war, terrorism, unstable governments, corruption, abuse of power, international condemnation, mandatory army service, high taxes, lack of affordable housing, crowded schools–should I go on?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Young Arabs Agree: Israel Isn’t Arab World’s Major Problem

Evelyn Gordon Analysis from Israel

One of the most positive strategic developments for Israel of the past few years has been its marked improvement in relations with significant parts of the Arab world. Three years ago, for instance, the most cockeyed optimist wouldn’t have predicted a letter like Israel received this week from a senior official of the Free Syrian Army, who congratulated it on its 67th anniversary and voiced hope that next year, Israel’s Independence Day would be celebrated at an Israeli embassy in Damascus.

Yet many analysts have cautioned that even if Arab leaders were quietly cooperating with Israel for reasons of realpolitik, anti-Israel hostility in the “Arab street” hadn’t abated. So a new poll showing that this, too, is changing came as a lovely Independence Day gift.

The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, which has been conducted annually for the last seven years, polls 3,500 Arabs aged 18 to 24 from 16 Arab countries in face-to-face interviews. One of the standard questions is “What do you believe is the biggest obstacle facing the Middle East?”

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How the IDF prepares for their rescue mission in Nepal

What is your community doing to help?  Let us know.

How the IDF prepares for their rescue mission in Nepal:

Posted by StandWithUs on Monday, April 27, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why Israel's Memorial Day Turns into Its Independence Day

And why this week’s Torah portion fits into the spirit of both days.

ATAR HADARI for Mosaic

But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:
As you come to the land of Canaan
Which I’m giving you as your estate
And I put a plague of leprosy in a house
On the land of your estate,
Let him who owns the house come and tell the priest, saying:
Something like a plague has appeared to me in my house.
And the priest will command them to clear the house
Before the priest comes to view the plague
So that everything in the house won’t be contaminated.
And then the priest will come to view the house.

This week’s double portion of Tazria-Metsora (Leviticus 12:1 – 15:33) is a curious amalgam of physiology and metaphysics. In Tazria we have what appear to be prescriptions, medical and social, for treating a class of illnesses that spread from people’s flesh to their clothes and call for them to be isolated lest they contaminate the community at large. In Metsora, where my opening quotation appears, the discussion moves on from persons to houses, and its prescriptions come into play only once the Jews enter the land of Israel.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

American Jews Should Have a New Goal — Recognizing Palestine

Jay Michaelson, Op-Ed for The Forward

Now is not the time for despair among liberal American Jewish supporters of Israel. Neither justice nor the love of Israel can accommodate resignation. Rather, we must respond to the Middle Eastern reality with one important move: urge our own government to recognize Palestine.

Here’s why. Benjamin Netanyahu’s election-eve abandonment of the two-state solution fits in with a well-worn right-wing Zionist belief that the Palestinians must be worn down by a long, hard occupation or defeated in the next major war. But even if such a strategy were just, it would be nearly impossible to pull off. It depends on the complicity of the United Nations, Europe and the United States — not to mention Russia and China. And it is predicated on the notion that the world will not get involved on the Palestinians’ side.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Everything I Love About Being Jewish

By Matthue Roth for

Jews are into fighting. I don’t know who first said — but, dammit, they’re right — that we think everyone who’s less religious than we are is a heretic, and anyone who’s more observant is a zealot. A few months ago, I wrote a post about my rabbi being a sex offender, and it got a lot of hits. A few weeks later I wrote this piece, an unbelievable story about one of my favorite musicians and something that happened to him that might have been a miracle, and it did…okay.* (I had an ego-clouded vision of the musician post going viral and him selling a million albums, but, uh, well, not yet.) Then last week I wrote about a bunch of stupid Orthodox men who refuse to let their ex-wives get remarried — an issue that, yes, frum Jews need to talk about and get up in arms about, but one that isn’t, you know, happy — and it got even more hits than my rabbi did.

So I’ve made a decision! That’s it, Hevrians — let’s ante up, show our hands, no more hiding. Let’s put our love on the table, dammit. Here’s a list of things I love about Yiddishkeit. I think we need to talk about these things. In a world where no one has a problem saying what they think of the length of your skirt or the style of your hair, but people never just say how awesome it is that we’re alive and how G-d created an entire universe and came up with things as crazy and wonderful as porcupines, this feels kind of necessary. It’s not a complete list, but it never should be. If I left something off, or if you love something even more than me, rip your heart out and post it up in the comments.

Here we go.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Who now will bear witness?

Some thoughts on the Holocaust as we commemorate Yom HaShoah tonight

By Robert Eli Rubinstein for The Times of Israel

The doctor last saw my mother the day before she left us. Her condition had declined dramatically, and he was checking up on her with increased frequency. He sat down at her bedside and asked in his characteristically empathetic manner how she was feeling. Judith Rubinstein smiled and, clasping the doctor’s hand, responded in a weak yet resolute voice: “My bags are packed.”

Appearing to change the subject, she motioned toward the blue number tattooed on her forearm and explained, as she had done countless times in the past, that this was how the Nazis tagged Jewish prisoners kept alive for slave labor at the Auschwitz concentration camp. It was not just a typically efficient German administrative procedure, akin to ranchers branding cattle to keep track of them: It was also a diabolical attempt to dehumanize the Jews. By replacing the prisoners’ names with numbers, the Germans were trying to extinguish their souls before murdering their bodies. Of all her family members deported to that infernal place, my mother was the only one who survived to bear witness.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Israel is the Most Important Gift to the Community of Nations

Op-Ed by Giulio Meotti for Arutz Sheva7

Only Israel today offers some hope for mankind, something that enables us to maintain faith in human values under an unprecedented moral collapse.

Decency and morality are losing ground in the whole world.

The West is atoning uninterruptedly, infected by the idea that evil can only come from its ranks, while the rest of the world is motivated by sympathy, kindness and purity.
Human life doesn't mean much today, as it is under attack by Islam as well as by a corrosive nihilism.

The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, should have his Nobel peace prize revoked for not stopping the Iranian nuclear program, starting a middle east nuclear race which will end in a cataclysmic tragedy.

Europe stopped fighting a long time ago. Its highest moral voice, Pope Francis, is not even able to mention the word "Islam" despite thousands of Christians hunted down everywhere, from Pakistan to Kenya, while Francis' predecessors, Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, were giants who fought against Communism and relativism.
Writers and intellectuals are mute, as if they have lost the ability to say the truth.

There is only one nation on earth fighting evil and giving a meaning to the word "civilization" - not good manners, but a hierarchy of values. That nation is the Jewish state of Israel. This is one of the last bastions of humanity.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Women Rabbis Are At The Forefront Of Post-Denominational Judaism

By Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service; Huff Post

(RNS) At a synagogue in Charleston, S.C., more than 20 years ago, teenager Rachel Nussbaum began wrapping tefillin — two black boxes attached to leather straps that Jewish men wear as they pray.

To the older Jewish men gathered for morning prayers, the sight of a woman decked out like a man at prayer was shocking. Many didn’t know what to make of Nussbaum’s brazen willingness to break with tradition.

Now 38, and a rabbi, Nussbaum leads The Kavana Cooperative, a growing Jewish prayer community in Seattle that has much in common with a synagogue but doesn’t call itself one. Like the tefillin-wrapping teenage Nussbaum, Kavana prides itself on a reputation for doing Judaism its own way.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hungary Vandals Damage Holocaust Exhibit

Photos of Survivors Defaced on Budapest Street

From JTA in The Jewish Daily Forward

Vandals in Budapest defaced an exhibition about Holocaust survivors and, in a separate incident, painted a swastika opposite a synagogue.

The incident involving the exhibition was reported on Sunday by the Hungarian Jewish community’s watchdog on anti-Semitism, the Action and Protection Foundation, or TEV.

According to the report on TEV’s Facebook page, unknown individuals on Saturday splashed red paint on 14 portraits showing Holocaust survivors with the youngest members of their families.

The Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, or EMIH, set up the exhibition, comprising 24 portraits, near the Madach Theater in central Budapest to celebrate Hungarian Jewry’s continuity after the genocide that nearly wiped out the community.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

If a Palestinian Minister Falls and No One Is Around to Hear It…


Mohammed Mustafa is the most important man in the Palestinian economy and a close confidant of Mahmoud Abbas. His resignation yesterday should be big news.

Big news stories are a dime a dozen these days. Between the Iran nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the war in Yemen, it’s an ideal environment for making an important announcement and barely making any headlines.

Perhaps that’s what Mohammed Mustafa, the powerful deputy prime minister and economy minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), was hoping for when he unexpectedly resigned yesterday morning at a regular meeting of the cabinet. A longtime confidant of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Mustafa was once rumored to be the frontrunner for prime minister after the exodus of celebrated reformer Salaam Fayyad in 2013. But you wouldn’t have known it, given the lack of reaction to yesterday’s news.

Mustafa’s exit is a sign of great change on the horizon. He has been a key Abbas ally since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. He helped Abbas consolidate dozens of organizations within the Palestinian Authority for fear of losing them to Hamas — or for fear of having international sanctions rain down once Hamas, a designated terrorist group, gained a foothold in PA institutions.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Lettuce Wrap Pulled Beef Tacos with Guacamole

By Leora Kimmel Greene for The Nosher*

When I started eating a mainly Paleo diet I immediately began to think about how to convert some favorite recipes into Paleo recipes.  It soon became clear that my now favorite recipes are also perfect for Passover.

This year I am overly cautious about the fact that I have to bring lunch to work multiple days in a row but I am excited to make a batch of these tacos served with guacamole and plantain chips.

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*The Nosher has lots of other Passover recipes.  Check out the Pistachio and Apricot Macaroons, Crockpot Carne con Papas, Chopped Kale Salad with Apples and Roasted Beets and Strawberry Almond Mini-Muffins for Passover.

For more Passover ideas, check out Jvillage's Passover Holiday Spotlight Kit 

For more Passover news, check out our    page.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Israel threatened with 'electronic Holocaust' on April 7

This is the fourth year in a row that Anonymous has threatened Israel with hacking, and attempts have been largely unsuccessful.

The hacker group Anonymous said that they will attempt to hack a number of Israeli websites on Tuesday, with cyber attacks possibly beginning on Monday.

In a video originally posted on March 4, a masked person said that the hackers will carry out an "electronic Holocaust" on April 7 as hackers from "around the world unite in solidarity with the Palestinian people."

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