Archive | November, 2015

Rules for angels, humans and creating ‘Israel’ here

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

Celestial beings, known as “angels,” appear throughout sacred Jewish literature, from Abraham’s three distinguished guests, to the infamous “angel of death” during the Exodus, to the friendly Shabbat hymn Shalom Aleichem welcoming the ministering angels on Friday night.
Even Maimonides, in his book of halacha (law), devotes time to describing various categories of angels and their characteristics.
Unfortunately, we acquire images of little winged cupid-like figures and other such corporeal creatures from childhood tales, paintings, poems or films. While people relate incredible anecdotes of real-life encounters, we may be left wondering: What are angels about in Judaism? Are there different kinds of angels? Do guardian angels exist? Do they come to the aid of humans in need? Do angels follow rules? And how do they influence our lives?
Comprehensive answers, while interesting, are beyond the scope of a short teaching. Here, we will only tiptoe along the surface reading of the parashah, where a famous scene appears in this week’s Torah reading — Yaakov’s dream.

Angels have rules, too

Running away from his murderous brother, Yaakov reaches the border of Israel and experiences a heavenly encounter.
“Yaakov departed from Beer Sheva and went towards Haran… He spent the night… he dreamt, and behold a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached to heaven. And behold angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”
Based on a subtlety in the above text, commentaries note an unusual rule about angels: Angels that accompany in the land of Israel do not go out of the land, of Israel. The two sets of angels — those who cover the territory of Israel and those who mind the area beyond the Israeli border — are prompted by a simple, but unstated question: Why does the verse state that these angels “ascended” and then “descended”? Surely one would expect the opposite progression.
The “ascending and descending” reflects the consequence of a general law: Angels belonging to the “territory” of Israel do not have permission to stretch beyond its border and must therefore “ascend” to make way for the second group of angels, now “descending,” outside of Israel to accompany him further.

Illegal changing of guards

At the end of the Torah reading, Yaakov returns to the land of Israel with his family after working for 20 years. He again journeys with an entourage of angels: “Yaakov went on his way and angels of God encountered him.” Yet, at this stage, the same commentaries point out that “angels of the land of Israel came (across the border) to meet him in order to escort him into the land of Israel.”
This immediately raises a question: What about the above rule that angels within the land of Israel do not go outside? Various resolutions to this seeming contradiction have been posited throughout the generations.

To protect or to honor?

One approach, given by the Maharal of Prague, is that this was an exception. In his view, the general function of both groups of angels is to provide a form of protection, but a new type of danger (perhaps because of the preciousness of the land) presented itself and extra protection was necessary, one that only the angels belonging to Israel could provide. (The angels outside Israel functioned more like ordinary bodyguards to prevent general damage while the angels of Israel functioned more like agents.)
Other commentaries distinguish between the role of the angels at the onset of Yaakov’s journey — providing protection — and those that came to escort him back into Israel. In the latter case, their function was not to “protect” but to “honor” him. As this pertains to the original rule, since it was the return-trip, the angels of Israel were simply ushering him into Israel and, therefore, were permitted, even obligated, to cross the border and escort him — like dignitaries accompanying an important leader.

Human rules

Along these lines, one of the more insightful and creative explanations borrows the rationale in Jewish law (to humans) where interestingly, those who have permanently settled in Israel are only allowed to leave the “Holy Land” under certain conditions.
Two general categories are described in the Talmud: 1) Leaving for the purpose of something important abroad: e.g., to attend a better academy of Torah education, to flee from danger, to find a spouse, a better job, etc. Such temporary leaving, with the intent to return, is permissible.  2) Going out to greet an important figure, i.e., one’s father and mother (en route to the land of Israel). This departure, in order to bring someone into the land of Israel is not considered leaving to begin with.
Applying these rules to our story, the ability of the angels to go outside Israel and to greet Yaakov was not a matter of overriding the previous principle. Since it was for the sake of honor (escorting), there was no prohibition to begin with.

Make Israel here

The mystical commentaries provide a dimension by viewing this episode through the lens of the holiness of Israel and the mission of Yaakov and his descendants.
When people move to Israel they are said to “make aliyah” — to be moving upward. A special sense of spirituality courses through the land of Israel. The atmosphere in the Diaspora does not flow with the same feeling, the sense of an underlying holiness. And even in Yaakov’s time there was a difference.
The major accomplishment of Yaakov’s dwelling and laboring for his uncle in Haran (for which he earned the name Israel) was that he remained honest and loyal even in a corrupt and hostile environment. Furthermore, he brought a reflection of the sanctity of the land of Israel into the place where he worked and raised a family.
As such, the angels of Israel crossed the border because Yaakov had built a bridge between two spiritual environments, elevated the land outside to be more like Israel. As a result, the angels not only went to honor him for what he had achieved. Their crossing mirrored his accomplishment.

Life application

One of the most difficult challenges is coming from a warm environment filled with friendly faces and entering a hostile environment. When coming from a place filled with inspiration and entering a coarser environment, the previous experience is only a faint memory. The challenge then becomes: How do we bring that atmosphere with us? How do we create that feeling of Israel here?
The deeper message is that, just as Yaakov transferred the holiness of Israel into Haran, the interspersion of the Jews across the world provides us with a similar opportunity. Wherever one chooses to live, even seemingly spiritually remote environments, when one builds a family, has guests at a Shabbat table, becomes involved in a shul, school, and adds to the Jewish community, it is as if he or she is creating the spiritually conducive atmosphere of Israel into that place.

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Coincidences or higher plan? Maybe both

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

I hope you read about Eddie Dinkowitz’ death in this space two weeks ago, because that story leads logically to an exploration of coincidences.
Think about the house alarm that malfunctioned for no discernible reason, shocking writer Salvador Litvak out of sound sleep just hours after he prayed that the outpouring of love and blessings he had originated for this poor, lonely man would comfort his soul: “Eddie, if you are receiving these messages, please send us a sign…” Litvak’s comment: “Even if there is a rational explanation for the alarm, it’s a huge coincidence that it sounded on the same night I asked for a sign.”
Litvak says his only other major life coincidence was buying Book One of the Talmud on the very day that the Conservative movement started its first Daf Yomi cycle: reading one page of Talmud every day for 7 ½ years.
Myself — I believe that every coincidence represents a moment when God chooses to be anonymous! Example: After I had finished writing about Litvak and Eddie Dinkowitz, I turned on the TV and saw the story of an elderly man who lived alone and had fallen in his home; he was found by the person who just happened to be delivering his Meals on Wheels at the very same time.
Two coincidences here: the major one about the life-saver’s timely appearance, and the minor one about my tuning in the right channel at exactly the right time to find out about it. I have to feel that there was both intent and purpose to these happenings, that they were not random events, and not randomly connected.
Or try this: Sarah Silverman, the comedian now on the big screen with I Smile Back, tells how she found a needlepoint, worked by her late mother, with this message written on the back: “Your mama loves you,” on the day that was her mother’s first birth date after her death. “It was so random,” says Silverman. But — was it, really?
My cousin Rhea, a Barnard graduate, went back to New York from her St. Louis home for a milestone reunion. Other cousins live in New York, but Rhea said she wasn’t going to contact any family — those few days would be just for her.
Yet when she returned home, she told me, “On my third day there, I started feeling terribly guilty, so I phoned cousin Debbie. ‘I’ve been waiting for your call,’ she said. ‘I was looking out a bus window yesterday and saw you walking on Fifth Avenue.” Three elements made this “coincidence” possible: Why did Rhea decide to call Debbie rather than any other family member? Why was Debbie sitting on the side of the bus where she could spot her cousin? And indeed, what is the minuscule chance of one person spotting another, unplanned, in downtown New York — let alone someone the “spotter” didn’t even know was in town?
There are many stories about life-saving “coincidences.” Several tell of people who for one reason or another missed boarding a plane that later crashed, and several more are about people who didn’t make it to work at the World Trade Center for one reason or another on 9/11. Among the latter: the nine men gathered early in the nearby small shul that serves Orthodox businessmen, watching their watches, waiting anxiously for the 10th man who never came to make a minyan that day.
Not long before that fatal day, Fred and had I spent an afternoon on the WTC’s observation floor, enjoying its incredible 360-degree view of the whole city. Before we left, we got into one of those old take-your-own-picture booths to do just that. From a selection of appealing backgrounds, we finally chose for our souvenir the one that fixes for all time our smiling faces in front of the two tall buildings that are no more.
I believe in God — and coincidences. How about you?

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French Jews finding much more hospitality in Israel

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
Thank you for a fascinating, strong Jewish position on not changing our cultural garb, including wearing kippot, even when Arab terrorism in Israel focuses on religious Jews, as stated in your recent article titled “When life’s on line, can we change our habits?”
I’d like to raise a question regarding the comment you mentioned as to the Chief Rabbi of France’s ruling that no Jew should wear a kippah in the street in France since it is a danger to life in that country.
First, do you agree with his ruling? Second, how does that fit with your position of not changing our religious garb when facing terrorism in Israel?
Shimon A.
Dear Shimon,
Concerning the Chief Rabbi of France’s ruling, I have never investigated the situation personally to formulate my own opinion. I am confident, however, that the Chief Rabbi has utilized the proper halachic parameters to make that determination. Furthermore, it would not be necessary to determine that there’s imminent danger to life to make a ruling not to wear a kippah in the street; danger of being hurt would be sufficient, and we all are sadly aware of how imminent that danger is in France today for anyone who is distinguishably Jewish.
With regard to my position that religiously clad Jews in Israel should not change their garb to avoid being the targets of Arab terrorism, that position may, on the surface, seem to contradict that of the Chief Rabbi of France. If Jews should remove their kippot in public in France to avoid terrorist attacks, why not the same in Israel?
My humble opinion is that the question facing Jews in France vis-à-vis the Jews in Israel is fundamentally dissimilar.
This is because France, or anywhere else in the Diaspora, is essentially different for the Jewish people than Israel. The Diaspora is not really our place; we are here temporarily. No matter how much we feel at home, we know, based on both our distant and recent history, that we’re not to reside in any given place in the Diaspora forever. Israel, however, is our eternal Home. Empirically, it’s in Israel that we truly belong. It was promised to our forefathers that we will inherit the land. No matter how long we sojourn in the Diaspora, it is transient, with us praying daily to return Home.
If in a place like France it becomes necessary to protect Jewish lives by not wearing religious garb in public, Jewish law dictates to do so. Although this may demoralize French Jewry to some extent, what this will accomplish (and it has done so to a large extent) is to serve as a wake-up call that Jewish history in France is drawing to a close and it’s time to pack their bags and return Home.
Many thousands of French Jews have made aliyah in recent years and many more are planning to do so, especially the young people. They see the writing on the wall that they have no future in France. In my old neighborhood of Bayit Vegan in Jerusalem, French has overtaken English and Russian as the most commonly spoken second language. This is the silver lining in the Jewish tragedy taking place in France today.
In Israel, however, it’s unconscionable that we would allow a situation to arise which would demoralize the populace, putting them in danger of giving up and perhaps even leaving. (Israel has already been greatly weakened by the great numbers of Israelis who have left and now live in the U.S. and throughout the world).
To have the Jews of Israel pick up and leave due to Arab terrorism is not an option, and therefore they need to be strengthened, physically, emotionally and spiritually. As we mentioned, to have a dedicated segment of the population give up on their religious values by forgoing their religious garb would cause a deep sense of despair in that sector.
This would undoubtedly have a ripple effect of gloom across the entire population, for a number of sociological and spiritual reasons. Conversely, to remain proud and strongly Jewish despite the potential danger this may elicit will strengthen Jews across the entire strata of Israeli life, providing the stamina and positivity to withstand the difficult times we face. This strength, with the help of God, is a crucial fiber in the makeup of the chain linking together the generations of the Eternal Nation of Israel.

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Alumni, faculty light torches at Schultz Rosenberg campus

Alumni, faculty light torches at Schultz Rosenberg campus

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

: Playground committee chairs and ribbon cutters Akiba Academy Early Childhood Director Jordana Bernstein, left, and Hilary Stern

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com

Dina Wortendyke and Henry Goldfarb “dig for diamonds” in one of the new sandboxes, part of the new outdoor learning environment that includes a sand and water garden.


DALLAS — More than 250 people attended the Sunday, Nov. 8 ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the original groundbreaking of the Schultz Rosenberg Campus — which houses Akiba Academy of Dallas and Yavneh Academy of Dallas.
Spirits were high and the weather was nice as a special torch-lighting ceremony was conducted honoring those responsible for the groundbreaking — particularly the Schultz and Rosenberg families.
Jay Kleinman, Yavneh board president, said the lion’s share of the anniversary praise truly does belong to the Schultz and Rosenberg families, visionaries who realized that a school like Yavneh — which had three different campuses before their intervention — needed a permanent home.
“They wanted to grow the school and show some level of foundation — a single place they can study day in and day out,” Kleinman said. “Ten years later, we’re celebrating this success. It is incredible and speaks to our commitment and the strength of our current and former students and alumni.”
Dr. David Portnoy, Yavneh head of school, expressed similar sentiments.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to practice the ancient Jewish value of Hakarat Hatov, expressing gratitude and appreciation for the vision and dedication of those who came before us, laying the fertile seeds that have enabled us to flourish as a school community,” Dr. Portnoy stated in a written message to his students.
Dr. Portnoy said this anniversary was a celebration of two “nationally recognized, thriving Jewish day schools that offer facilities and infrastructure that rival other private school campuses.”
A good portion of the accolades were directed toward the many others who made the success of the campus possible: school faculty, board of directors, the Parent Teachers Organization, the Jewish Federation and its partners, students and alumni.
The multifaceted ceremony began with a treasure hunt and a diamond dig led by the Yavneh Student Leadership Council.
Then came the 10 Carat Torch Lighting Ceremony, with participants from both schools, from alumni, and from the Federation and the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation.
Lizzy Rosenberg Greif, daughter of Ann and the late Marcus Rosenberg, said the candle event held poignancy and great significance for her and the rest of the audience.
“It was really thought out,” she said. “What I really liked about it is, these people who lit the torches weren’t random people. They were people who were meaningful to the campus and existence of both schools on every level.”
One of the wonderful things about the dedication was the incredible sense of community that was demonstrated to everyone involved, emphasized Tammie Rapps, Akiba head of school.
“It was a wonderful moment for me when I saw a woman who was expecting holding a torch with a toddler in her arm,” she said. “It really gave me a sense of generation passing to generation. I came to Akiba only last year, I came to the dream late but to see how it has evolved and enriched the Dallas Jewish community has been wonderful.”
As part of her remarks during the ceremony, Rachel Berke, Akiba board president, announced that Akiba Academy had received a generous gift from Ann Rosenberg for a new fully-funded playground for children age 3 through eighth grade.
“The new playground will be named in loving memory of Sheri Rosenberg Kantor, who sadly passed last May,” Berke elaborated. “In addition to being a beloved daughter, sister, wife and mother of three, Sheri is arguably Akiba’s most accomplished alumna.”
Sheri Rosenberg Kantor was a law professor and the director of the Cardozo Law Institute on Holocaust and Human Rights and its Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic representing asylum seekers from locations such as Haiti and Darfur, she said.
She won a landmark case on non-discrimination in the European Court of Human Rights, Berke added.
Sheri Rosenberg Kantor was the recipient of the Spirit of Anne Frank Award and named the 2015 Peace Ambassador by the Center for Peacebuilding.
Her authoritative work on the field of atrocity prevention, Reconstructing Atrocity Prevention, was published in September, the Akiba board president said.
“We are both proud and humbled to have her name on our campus and very soon on the lips of our students as they head out to play,” Berke said.
This playground is not to be confused with the infant toddler outdoor learning environment where the ribbon cutting took place.
Jordana Bernstein, early childhood director at Akiba Academy of Dallas, said the infant toddler outdoor learning environment and early childhood outdoor art studio were shining examples of new campus initiatives.
Having the ribbon cutting there “was a really wonderful way to kick the ceremony off,” she said.
During the ceremony, Andy Schultz, son of Howard and Leslie Schultz, was on hand to thank everyone for being there to celebrate the tremendous vision, planning and hard work to create a campus as magnificent as theirs.
During a brief speech, Schultz emphasized there are five absolutely essential elements “that enabled us to realize the dream that we benefit from so much today.”
These, he said, are:

  • A vibrant Jewish community, anchored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation partnering on the financing of the construction.
  • Committed benefactors and a community of volunteers.
  • Teachers and administrators who are the very heart and soul of the institution.
  • Beautiful Jewish children who seek a deeper, more meaningful connection to their
  • Jewish identity, and to the State of Israel, and
  • Jewish parents, who make a tremendous personal sacrifice to provide their children with a Jewish education.

“This commitment in particular must always be remembered,” Schultz said.
Dr. Portnoy touched on the campus “spiritual architect” David Moss, an acclaimed artist whose mission is to enrich Jewish life by synthesizing tradition, beauty, learning, art, and creativity into engaging new forms of expression.
“He is a world-renowned Judaic artist, very attuned to Jewish history and Jewish text and he literally structured out how the campus would work architecturally,” he said. “How blessed we are to be in such magical space every day. It impacts the students.”
The campus, Dr. Portnoy said, is truly a jewel in the crown of the Dallas Jewish community.
“My sense is because it is so modern and beautiful and state-of-the-art, families are really confident our students are getting a world class education,” he said.
Leslie Schultz said she and husband Howard were very pleased with the ceremony.
“I think what is the most exciting thing for Howard and I is that after 10 years, the campus still looks so beautiful,” she said. “In fact, it’s even more so than when we finished the construction — because the trees have grown, the grasses have grown and it all looks so natural. It looks like it belongs where it is.”
Kleinman hailed the progressive environment of the campus, noting that it was established a decade ago for exactly that purpose — to make sure their children have the best and most secure of Jewish educations.
“The campus has been ahead of its time over the last 10 years,” he said.

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Evangelical churches bring nearly 250 to visit Israel

Evangelical churches bring nearly 250 to visit Israel

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com

Photo: Eagle Mountain International Church Nearly 150 travelers with the Eagle Mountain International Church and two other Christian ministries enter Jerusalem during their June trip to Israel.

Photo: New Beginnings church Televangelist Larry Huch, founder of the Bedford power church New Beginnings, delivers a sermon to members of his congregation in front of the ruins of the apostle Peter’s house in Capernaum (Kfar Nahum). This took place during the group’s Sept. 24-Oct. 2 trip to Israel.


FORT WORTH — Nearly 250 people affiliated with two local Christian organizations — the ministry of televangelist Larry Huch, founder of the Bedford power church New Beginnings, and Eagle Mountain International Church — are said to have enjoyed extraordinary visits to Israel in recent months.
Despite the recent rise of violence in Israel, members of both groups reported feeling safe and secure while there.
As many as 200 people joined the Larry Huch Ministries “Four Blood Moons Tour” helmed by Huch and his wife, Tiz.
The trip took place in Israel during Sukkot, Sept. 24 through Oct. 2.
The underlying message for the tour was from Larry Huch’s recent book 4 Blood Moons: Your Future Begins Now.
Huch’s book “combines the promises and prophecy in God’s Word, the predictions of NASA, and patterns in history to reveal what lies ahead,” his website shows.
The Huch ministry is well known for its preaching from a Jewish perspective and its work to bridge the gap between Christians and Jews.
In November 2012, the Bnai Zion Foundation honored Larry and Tiz Huch with their annual American-Israel Friendship award — representing a deep appreciation for the charitable contributions of the Huch ministry.
The Huches were not available to comment on their Israel trip last week. Pastor Nancy Cole of Larry Huch Ministries, tour director on the Israel trip, fielded questions from the TJP.
“We go to Israel every other year but this trip was special,” Cole explained. “It was a shorter trip than normal … and we normally have no more than 120 people.”
In Israel, the Huch group visited the Western Wall and the Jordan River, climbed Masada and journeyed to the Sea of Galilee.
Cole said the trip was a scheduling challenge.
“We had to drive extra buses in Israel,” she said. “ … We stayed the entire time in Jerusalem and took day trips from there because of the violence. But we always felt safe.”
Cole said one trip passenger in particular, a young woman, told her she was in awe of being able to witness the different geographical locations listed in the Bible with her own eyes.
Meanwhile, about 40 members of Eagle Mountain International Church took their trip to Israel during the summer.
The Eagle Mountain International Church travelers linked up with two other Christian ministries to form a group of about 145 that explored Israel together for two weeks in June.
The other ministries were those of Billye Brim Ministries of Oklahoma and Missouri and Lynn Hammond, a senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center from a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The goal of Eagle Mountain International Church members on the trip was to promote understanding and raise support for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, officials said.
These travelers from the Fort Worth area said they had a lot of fun. One notable experience took place on a particular road between Jerusalem and Hebron.
It was in a bulletproof bus, a mode of transportation that had been strongly suggested by Israeli tour officials.
But the bulletproofing wasn’t to stop gunfire — it was to stop people from throwing rocks.
“We didn’t ask for the bulletproof bus, but when you’re driving on this road and there are notorious rock throwers, you don’t want to be responsible for destroying a bus tour with somebody else’s rock,” explained Julie Sironi, the church’s Israel consultant.
Mary Kurth said she thought it was an interesting choice of transportation.
“Going around in a bulletproof bus?” she said. “It really blew my mind.”
Sitting in for Eagle Mountain International Church Senior Pastor Terri Pearsons, Sironi recalled key details about the trip:
The group traveled to the Syrian border and at the time could hear fighting between al-Qaeda and Syrian rebels.
They visited the Western Galilee Hospital, where they saw someone receiving a life-changing prosthesis.
Some of what the Eagle Mountain International Church travelers saw was off-putting.
Mary Kurth, who is event manager for the church, said she never really saw Israel as a place of persecution before this trip.
“I am someone already up on current events but being there I was able to see the daily persecution and daily danger of (Israelis) living there,” she said. “… I wasn’t prepared for the hostility of their neighbors. Just, you know, the idea of ‘Do not enter this area or you will be shot.’ These kinds of things really bolstered my support for Israel.”
Mary Kurth’s husband, Matthew, is a producer on staff, videographer and photographer for the church. His work on film and video will be worked into a special montage to play at a special event in November.
As kind of a wrap-up for the June trip, Eagle Mountain International Church is hosting a Nov. 19 event, “A Night To Honor Israel,” to which the public is invited. It starts at 7 p.m. AIPAC President-Elect Lillian Pinkus will be keynote speaker.
Donations will be solicited for three Israel organizations: Western Galilee Hospital, Israel La’ad, and the city of Sderot (to pay for an elderly day center). To inquire about the event, call 817-252-2900.
As far as these charity efforts are concerned, Israel’s La’ad offers after-school assistance to many at-risk youth, many of them Ethiopian. La’ad also provides Shabbat meals for the elderly in Israel.
The day center charity project is currently in the works in Sderot because of the large population of elderly and impoverished people there.
“We really want to help them,” Seroni said.

 

 

 

*****

 

Transportation to event

A special bus is being organized to transport a delegation of members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas to this event, explained Jordan Weber with the organization’s Jewish Community Relations Council.
There is still room on the bus, but calling ahead to reserve a seat would be greatly appreciated, he said. Those who wish to ride the bus are asked to arrive no later than 4:30 p.m., officials said.
A light dinner will be served at 4:15 p.m. on the bus. The bus is set to depart for the event at 5 p.m. and return around 10:30 p.m. There will be a $10 fee, which includes dinner and transportation.
To inquire call 214-615-5229 or register online at http://dallas.fedweb.jewishfederations.org/page/content/NTHI/.

 

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Eight days in Israel forged lifelong bond for Texans

Eight days in Israel forged lifelong bond for Texans

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

Submitted photo From left, Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Sergio De Leon, Fort Worth Independent School District Board President Cinto Ramos, Pilar Candia and City of Fort Worth Councilman Sal Espino brought a Fort Worth flag to Israel which they posted near the Syrian border.

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com

A dip in Israel’s Sea of Galilee on a warm Thursday night in October.

For a group of Latino visitors from Fort Worth, this was heaven on earth.
Almost immediately after checking in at the nearby Nof Ginosar Hotel, Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Sergio De Leon, Fort Worth City Councilman Sal Espino, Espino’s district director Pilar Candia and a fourth person, a colleague from Houston, quickly made their way together to the beach.
Their mission: to pray and immerse their hands and feet in the Sea of Galilee.
“It was crystal clear, very quiet and calm,” De Leon said. “All you could hear was a few waves on the water. The moon was shining, and from our vantage point you could see the entire city of Tiberias reflected on the water.”
The group recited both private and public prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer.
“We prayed for our friends and family back home,” De Leon said. “It was the calmest and most peaceful experience of my entire life. I cannot put into words the tranquility I felt.”
It was a glimpse into the wonder of Israel, Espino said.
Espino, De Leon and Candia were joined on the trip from Fort Worth to Israel by Fort Worth Independent District School Board President Jacinto “Cinto” Ramos.
This group traveled to Israel Oct. 17 through Oct. 25.
They were joined by other Latino leaders from Texas, New Mexico and Colorado as part of a special program by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which funds educational seminars to Israel for members of Congress and other important leaders.
These journeys help educate elected officials and leaders from many different communities across the United States about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Trip participants have the opportunity to experience Israel firsthand, receive briefings from experts on Middle East affairs, and meet with senior Israeli officials.
“Our trip was eight days that forged a lifelong bond — not only with our colleagues from the states but the new friends we made in Israel,” Cinto Ramos said.
Pilar Candia said it was astounding to actually be there in the Middle East — to see things she had only witnessed and learned about in her studies.
“To be there, in the moment, was very special for me,” she said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit every place because of safety issues.”
Sal Espino went as far as to describe the visit as “transformative and life-changing.”
Espino said he developed a much more profound understanding of the security challenges facing Israel, how narrow the country’s borders are, and its enemies.
Espino said attending Spanish Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and praying at the Western Wall combined with what he learned about Israel has had a transformative effect on him.
“You can’t come away from that without it being life-changing,” he said. “It was incredible, being in Israel, the Holy Land. … We visited many historic religious places.”
Espino brought along on the trip a “City of Fort Worth” flag that he posted in Israel.
“We put it up at the Israel-Syria border,” he said.
Ramos said it was fantastic to be able to view Israel through his own eyes.
“The trip gave us a really good feel for the culture and the families and the environment,” Ramos said.
Sergio De Leon said the trip was a huge success to him, from both an educational and a spiritual perspective.
“I believe I am a changed person,” De Leon said. “And not just in a religious sense. I am now far more knowledgeable about Israel and its many complexities and realities — such as security. … I know the history of what they have faced in Israel. There are groups that want to harm Israel and it is frightening.”
However, De Leon said, he is a firm believer in what the United States has done to support Israel.
“I believe we really need to make sure we maintain that level of support,” De Leon said. “In some cases, I think we need to increase it.”
In addition to the Sea of Galilee and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the group toured precarious areas — including the West Bank.
However, group members say they were well-escorted by security personnel and felt safe — while they were, for instance, walking the streets of Old Jerusalem.
In the long run, Ramos said, he has nothing but good wishes for residents who live in the more dangerous areas of Israel.
“I have heard stories about the terror that Israelis are living through day to day,” Ramos noted. “It speaks to the courage of the people who are willing to continue living there.”
De Leon said it is important to note the group traveled to Israel during a very turbulent time — while a surge of violence erupted in recent weeks in Jerusalem.
But the people from Israel the Fort Worth group met were very cordial, friendly, warm and hospitable, De Leon said.
“Their leaders really welcomed us,” he said. “They were appreciative we did not cancel our trip because of the violence going on. They really rolled out the red carpet for us.”
Incidentally, Candia said she was a big fan of the Israeli cuisine during the trip.
“Oh my God, it was so impressive,” Candia said. “I say this having studied culinary arts. It was just perfect.”

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Around The Town: Art exhibit, sing-along

Around The Town: Art exhibit, sing-along

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharonw@tjpnews.com

Featured Artist: Gloria Haber Sepp — Beth-El’s art teacher exhibits her work at Temple

Thank you to Hollace Weiner for updating us on the latest featured artist at Beth-El. Read on:
Beth-El art teacher Gloria Haber Sepp’s talent stretches well beyond the classroom and the canvas. Besides painting watercolors, oils, and acrylics, she crafts jewelry, creates collages, designs clothes, throws pottery, and snaps pictures with her Nikon.
Under her tutelage the past 12 years, Beth-El’s Sunday School art room has become a vibrant setting, awash with a changing array of student art.
Now it is Gloria’s turn to put her works on display. She is the Temple’s next featured artist, with a retrospective that has transformed the walls of Beth-El’s Board Room into a dreamy panoply of color. Her paintings, a compendium of bright hues, blend into free-form shapes subject to each viewer’s interpretation.

Shalom, canvas by Gloria Sepp

Gloria’s art will be on display through the end of January. A special meet-the-artist reception is set for Dec. 4, during the Oneg Shabbat following services.
Gloria’s artistic talent was clear from the age of seven. As a child growing up in Baltimore, she picked up a pair of scissors and began cutting out paper dolls. “Oh, I was busy,” she laughs. “I was making my own paper dolls with clothes. I had a whole factory going.”
During her teenage years, she took classes at the Maryland Institute of Art. At the University of Miami in Coral Gables, she majored in art and minored in education. As a young mom raising five children, she had a drafting table in her home. “I always have something artistic going on,” she says.
In Fort Worth, Gloria initially taught crafts at a special-education campus. When schools began mainstreaming students with disabilities, that campus closed. The principal at McLean Middle School recruited her to teach art.
Nine years later, she moved to a position at Western Hills High. What she enjoyed most at the high-school level was working with Advanced Placement art students. They received college credits for each art class, along with Sepp’s assistance compiling professional portfolios. Sepp has taught part time at Fort Worth Hebrew Day, has substituted at Paschal High, and is involved in the Imagination Celebration. She is still a substitute teacher in the Fort Worth ISD.
Among multiple honors, she was named an Artist-in-Residence Scholar by the Texas Commission on the Arts and has been in dozens of juried art shows. She is a past president of the local chapter of the National League of American Pen Women, an alliance that serves the community through the arts. Gloria’s art is sold through Art on the Boulevard on Camp Bowie Boulevard.
Learning never stops for Gloria, who has taken graduate art courses in Texas, New Mexico, and Georgia as well as workshops under scores of artists. She has a graduate certificate in special education and is involved in a dozen professional art organizations.
Gloria reserves Sunday mornings for Beth-El, where her grandsons Carter and Corbin Haber have grown up attending Religious School. She says the Temple’s art room is “fantastic,” with a kiln, two sinks and plenty of storage.
“The kids love to come to art class. They have a wonderful time with me. Some teachers talk about behavior problems. I don’t know what they are talking about.”

Sing along with Sababa

Sababa

Cantor Robbie Sherwin, daughter of Ken and the late Felice Sherwin, will be back in Cowtown with her band Sababa at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5 at Beth-El Congregation.
Joining Sherwin are her bandmates Steve Brodsky and Scott Leader. The trio are amazing musicians that play different instruments and have often been called the Jewish Crosby, Stills and Nash by some folks. One unique thing about Sababa is that the bandmates don’t live in the same city.
Their website sums it up: “We are Sababa: three musicians from three different time zones, playing three different instruments and singing in intricate three-part harmony. We are three friends, grateful for the opportunity to make cool Jewish music for thousands of people in dozens of communities across the country. We are three composers and performers, humbled by the privilege of sharing amazing interactions with new friends and fans who have welcomed us into their synagogues, their schools, their homes, and their hearts. And we are three travelers sharing a musical journey, blessed by the personal connections we’ve made and the sacred moments we’ve shared that are powerful, moving, and deeply meaningful.”
There will be singers from each of the Tarrant-area synagogues performing with Sababa at the concert as well in a strong effort to bring the community together for some rousing Jewish entertainment. For a quick listen to this outstanding group go to http://sababamusic.com/music/listen-shalosh-2/. If you have any questions, contact Rich Hollander at 817-909-4354.

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Dallas Doings: Priya fund, Hanukkah, Sunnyland

Dallas Doings: Priya fund, Hanukkah, Sunnyland

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

Photo: Priya Fund ABOVE: The prospective committee members at the Beck home with the photo of two children who were both conceived with financial support from Priya: A Fund for Jewish Reproduction of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation.

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharonw@tjpnews.com

Touching the Jewish future

Recently, a group of people came together after receiving an invitation titled “Let’s Make Some Jewish Babies!.?” Priya: A Fund for Jewish Reproduction of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation held a parlor meeting for prospective advisory committee members.
The Priya Fund financially assists Jewish couples with fertility treatments or adoption. Since the fund’s inception six years ago it has distributed almost $50,000 in grants to 14 Jewish couples, resulting in the births or adoption of five babies. Priya (Hebrew for “fruitful”) derives its name from the first commandment in the Torah — be fruitful and multiply.
The Senior Advisory Committee — Amanda and Scott Beck along with Dr. Joel Roffman — was very pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm of the group. Scott Beck shared, “Our goal is to have at least one person from every synagogue on the outreach and education subcommittee. This should enable us to keep a constant line of communication open with the entire Jewish community.” Since qualifying applicants must be members of a synagogue to apply, this is an important goal as the fund’s advisory committee increases in size.
The fund was created by Annie and Rabbi David Glickman, who now have created a Priya Fund in their new home, Overland Park, Kansas. Priya’s Advisory Committee will strive to expand the Glickmans’ vision. Plans include increasing not only the number of advocates, but also increasing awareness of the Priya Fund by speaking to fertility specialists and by making presentations to local Jewish organizations.
Shira Olukhov knows firsthand how important the Priya Fund is. She received two grants from the Priya Fund and is the parent of two children because of it.
“We truly feel like there should not be a financial barrier for couples who want to bear children, and Priya brought that barrier down for us.” At the parlor meeting, the photo of her children on an easel was a beautiful reminder of how this fund offers a life-changing gift to couples.
When asked why she wants to get involved, Erin Margow, a young mom of two young children responded, “I would like to help provide these couples with funds to have children — this is an emotionally painful process. It shouldn’t have to be financially painful as well.”
The fees for fertility treatments can reach or even exceed $12,000 per cycle. Adoption can cost even more. In the past, the Priya Fund has granted couples up to $8,000 and some couples have reapplied and received additional assistance. Unfortunately, while the advisory committee has been rebuilding, the application process was closed but hopes are for it to open very soon.
Priya: A Fund for Jewish Reproduction of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation is just one of many specialty funds of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation based on individual interests. The DJCF, an independent publicly supported charity, helps individuals, families and businesses establish charitable funds that further the causes they are most passionate about. For more information about the Priya Fund visit www.djcf.org/priya or call 214-615-9351.

TE Couples Club Hanukkah party open to the community

Evan Siegel

Buddy Gilbert, publicity chair for the Temple Emanu-El Couples Club, wants the community to know about the group’s Hanukkah celebration from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 9 at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road.
This event is for members of the club as well as prospective new members who are welcome to attend. The evening will include a wine social, a latke-chicken dinner, and music. The price for this evening is $12.50 per person, which also includes a charitable donation.
Musical entertainment will be given by the Talented and Gifted Jazz Trio from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Seventeen-year-old Evan Siegel, who was recently featured in the Oct. 22 issue of the TJP, will lead the trio of musicians. Siegel, who was recognized as one of the 2015 Top 10 under-20-year-old guitarists in North Texas, was also one of the two participants from Texas and of 43 chosen to participate in the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy.
Check for the evening is your reservation and should be mailed by Nov. 30 to Sandy and Dan Gorman, 1393 Sagebrook Drive, Fairview, TX. 75069.
Any questions about the evening, call Frieda and Max Glauben at 972-239-7015.

Noteworthy

Sunnyland Patio Furniture, Dallas Fort Worth’s largest source for quality outdoor furnishings and accessories, is the recipient of the Small Business Award for Corporate Social Responsibility as chosen by the Governor’s Small Business Forum.
The award is presented by Governor Greg Abbott’s office to a company that has demonstrated a positive impact on society, contributing to the social or environmental well-being of the community.
“We are so excited to have been recognized for this Small Business Award,” said Brad Schweig, vice president of operations at Sunnyland. “Our Helping Hands committee has been involved in various things over the years within our neighborhood and the community, but we never expected to receive an award for our efforts.”
The Helping Hands committee at Sunnyland has organized events such as food and toy drives in the winter, partnering with organizations like Carter BloodCare, the North Texas Food Bank, and Collin County Humane Society. Sunnyland also accepts donations at their snack bar for Dallas Furniture Bank and Metrocrest Services for guests who enjoy the complimentary refreshments while they browse Sunnyland’s 37,000-square-foot outdoor living showroom.
In 2015, Sunnyland has hosted fundraising and community events for several organizations including the Richardson and North Dallas Coalition, ClassicalRush, Highway for Health, and most recently the Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship benefiting Congregation Beth Torah and the Community Home for Adults.

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Aronson family funding research to help screen cancer

Aronson family funding research to help screen cancer

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

Photo: Aronson family Jon Aronson (left) poses with his father, Robert, before Robert’s diagnosis of Stage IV pancreatic cancer. The Aronsons created a grant in Robert’s memory and have reached 70 percent of their goal.

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com


DALLAS — What if diabetes were an early warning sign of pancreatic cancer?
That’s the question Dallas resident Jon Aronson and his brother Tom are striving to have answered by a medical research team.
The siblings have commissioned ground breaking research in memory of their father — who unexpectedly died of the disease nine years ago. The Aronson brothers are in the process of raising $200,000 to pay for this research grant.
Robert Aronson was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer March 25, 2006. Without any real form of early detection, it was essentially a death sentence. He died Nov. 28, 2006.
Jon Aronson, a member of Congregation Shearith Israel, said November transformed into a bittersweet month of regret for him and his brother after their father passed away.
“It’s hard to explain how awesome my dad was,” said Jon Aronson, 33. “He worked hard, spending his life bring to help others. He reached out to people whenever they needed anything.”
Until he died, Robert Aronson, 55, was a general contractor from Westlake Village, California. He was heavily involved in youth sports and very active in his community. In the early 2000s, he even established a scholarship for students at Agoura High School in the northern suburbs of Los Angeles.
Jon Aronson, a senior finance manager for Frito-Lay in Dallas, and his brother Tom, 36, a vice president of digital marketing for Disney Parks in Southern California, continue to wrestle with their father’s passing.
“It wasn’t until he was gone that I realized we were truly best friends,” Tom Aronson wrote in an email. “My dad confided and trusted in me, and I in him. Today when I’m faced with a life issue — big or small — I think about what his advice would be, and smile.”
When asking questions of their father’s doctors, the brothers recalled Robert Aronson had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about a year before his death. The problem is, there was no history of diabetes in the Aronson family.
“That information literally came out of nowhere,” Jon Aronson explained.
After asking around, the brothers came to the conclusion their father’s diabetes was brought on by cancer cells.
“We didn’t know about this beforehand, but the doctors told us after the fact that they saw it as a warning sign of the cancer,” Jon Aronson said.
But if diabetes was seen as a possible warning sign, the brothers asked, why wasn’t their father screened for cancer early enough to keep the disease from killing him?
The answer from the physicians shocked them: Such a procedure was too costly, they were told.
Too high a cost means no one can afford to be screened.
“It was like a light bulb went off,” Jon Aronson said. “This was the same exact research that — well, maybe it wouldn’t have saved his life, but it could have prolonged it for sure.”
The brothers now have high hopes that when this research is completed, people will ultimately be able to walk into any drugstore, give a blood sample, take a $5 test screening them for pancreatic cancer and be able to find out relatively quickly if they merit further screening.
“It opens the doors to treatments my dad never had,” Jon Aronson said. “It involves treatments that aren’t basically a death sentence.”
Back when they were searching for more immediate answers, the Aronsons learned of a special study led by Dr. Anirban Maitra at the Houston MD Anderson Cancer Center. It was designed to identify biomarkers in diabetic patients that indicate the need to be screened for pancreatic cancer.
In other words, it was an attempt to discover if late-onset diabetes can be considered a symptom of pancreatic cancer — like the Aronson brothers believe their father’s was.
The brothers contacted Pamela Acosta Marquardt, founder of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and asked if they could donate directly to this research. They were told, “Yes.”
However, Pamela Acosta Marquardt did them one better.
“She told us, ‘If you like, if you fund the entirety of the $200,000, you can name the grant,” Jon Aronson said. “I had no idea how large the grant was. She told me ‘$200,000’ and I called my brother about it and he said immediately, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”
The brothers signed papers guaranteeing funding for the grant and named it the “Robert Aronson Innovation Grant.”
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network fronted the money and forwarded it to the research staff with the understanding that the brothers were legally responsible for paying it back within two years.
“We’re on the hook for the entire $200,000 but we’re comfortable with that,” Jon Aronson said. “We’ve set up a fundraising page and sent emails out. We’ve done some Facebook ads. So we’re going to raise that money.”
That was last year. Nearly $150,000 was collected then. And now, a year later, the second wave of fundraising begins. The progress of both research and fundraising is constantly posted and monitored on Facebook and Twitter.
Last week, brothers had raised $141,096 from 173 donors toward the grant.
Stage IV pancreatic cancer can be any size, according to www.cancer.gov.
Pancreatic cancer is so deadly because early detection is so difficult, the brothers said they understand based on conversations with physicians. This research has the potential to positively impact a huge percentage of all newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer patients — a lasting and impactful difference in how pancreatic cancer is detected and treated, they said.
Jon Aronson believes he and his brother are on the right path with this research. He met with project administrators Dr. Anirban Maitra and his team in Houston in July. He remains convinced their work will do humanity a lot of good.
“This is one of the most deadly cancers there is,” Jon Aronson said. “Every year 49,000 people get diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the majority of these are Stage IV survival rates, six months maybe. This research can potentially impact as many as 25,000 people a year who will know about it before its too late.”
According what the brothers have learned from Dr. Maitra and cancer websites, “two-thirds of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with new-onset diabetes sometime in the 36 months before they are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. While there is still no cure, early detection can make a huge difference.’’
Pamela Acosta Marquardt applauded the initiative of the Aronson brothers.
“We are grateful for the continued dedication and support of Tom and Jon Aronson, in loving memory of their father Robert,” Pamela Acosta Marquardt said in an email. “It’s individuals and families like the Aronsons that will change the face of pancreatic cancer, improve patient outcomes and help our organization meet its goal to double survival by 2020.”
Jon and Tom’s mother, Allison, still lives in Newbury Park, California with daughter Molly, who is now 24.
Robert and Allison Aronson divorced when the brothers were still teenagers — although Robert Aronson stayed close to his children through his death.
Allison Aronson said her ex-husband’s passing was hard on the brothers.
“Their dad loved them so much and when he died it was such a shock,” she said during a brief telephone interview. “He was a strong, healthy man without even a filling in his mouth and then, boom! He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away.”
Allison Aronson said her sons have demonstrated a ferocious amount of will and determination in bringing this research into fruition.
“They are remarkable,” she said. “They’ve conquered every quest they’ve come across and they are wonderful boys. I don’t know what else I can say. I really can’t believe they’ve already raised so much money. I am so proud of them.”

 

*****

Online
www.razoo.com/story/Aronsonpancan
Facebook: bobaronsongrant
Twitter: @BobAronsonGrant
www.pancan.org
Offline: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network with “2014 Robert Aronson Innovation Grant” in the note field
care of Tom Aronson, P.O. Box 1854, Santa Monica, CA 90406.

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ISIS won’t stop after Paris assault

Posted on 19 November 2015 by admin

The brutal slaughter, by radical Islamic Jihadists, of 129 French citizens, visitors, students and tourists in Paris, was both eerily similar to, and yet different from, 9/11.
Both of them were well-planned, well-prepared and well-executed multiple-target attacks. Both were perpetrated by extreme Islamist terrorist groups, al-Qaida and ISIS, and both were part of the all-out war declared by radical Islamic spiritual leaders against Western cultures, values and religions.
The difference between them is that while al-Qaida has, to date, focused mainly on attacking the U.S. (9/11, Khobar towers, the U.S.S. Cole, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, Times Square, etc.), ISIS has declared both in videos and social media that the downing of the Russian airliner with an onboard bomb and the recent attacks in Paris are just the beginning of an ongoing and sustained campaign of terrorism: strikes against every member of the U.S.-led coalition, airstrikes in Syria, as well as against Russia and Iran.
So to be clear, there is no doubt in my mind that ISIS and its worldwide radicalized, in-country affiliates are currently preparing multitarget, mass-casualty terrorist attacks in: the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Turkey (again), France (again), Russia (again), Saudi Arabia (maybe), Qatar (maybe) Morocco, Bahrain and — though with very little chance of success — Israel.
Can these attacks be thwarted? Yes, at least some can — but not by dropping a few bombs here and there in Syria, or building a broader “coalition,” and certainly not by declaring that the goal of the U.S. is to “degrade, and ultimately destroy ISIS.” That just ticks them off and draws thousands more to their ranks.
As Eli Wallach, as “Tuco,” said in The Good the Bad and the Ugly: “When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”
The military power of ISIS can be destroyed by less talk and by sending tens of thousands of U.S. and coalition troops into Syria and Iraq, with much more massive air support, and with full Russian and Iranian coordination and participation. This very hypothetical operation, like the “D-Day” invasion during World War II, will recapture critical cities and bases from ISIS, kill as many of their fighters and leaders as possible, including any radicalized Western jihadists they find.
They should then establish separate interim Sunni, Alawite, Kurdish, Yazidi and Druze autonomies under a strong U.N. or NATO peacekeeping mechanism, or — even better — individual foreign temporary mandates, like after World War I.

  • Russia — the Alawite autonomy
  • Turkey — the Sunni autonomy
  • Israel — the Druze autonomy
  • U.S. (temporarily) — the Kurdish/Yazidi autonomy, until a time in the future when Kurdistan can be reunited.

This fantasy military operation will only degrade and probably destroy the physical Islamic State. But it will have no effect on the ISIS ideology, which is deeply rooted in traditional Islam, the Quran and the early reliable scriptures.
It’s these beliefs and ideologies that motivate and drive the thousands of ISIS influenced Islamic jihadis in North America, Europe and the Middle East, that are at this moment preparing to fulfill their Caliph’s recent orders to “kill the enemies of ISIS with bombs, guns, knives, stones or your bare hands.”
Robust, ongoing anti-Islamist/Jihadi police operations, based on excellent and actionable intelligence, can in most cases (but not all!) prevent these inevitable terrorist attacks.
But to stop the “cancer” of extreme, radical Islamic Jihadism, as described by many commentators over the past weekend, its core source of influence must be eradicated, and that is not the Islamic State, but the so-called “Caliphate.”
The “Islamic State” controls large areas of Iraq and Syria. So by definition it is a “state.” However, a “Caliphate” has to have a “Caliph” who (1) cannot be self-appointed and (2) must fulfill certain criteria. Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi not only appointed himself Caliph, but also does not meet the full qualification test.
So if al-Baghdadi can be convincingly delegitimized and disgraced, then his whole compelling narrative about the prophesied re-establishment of the Caliphate becomes a lie and fallacy. Hopefully this will damage the ISIS brand.
But the U.S. can’t do that; neither can any non-Muslim.
This kind of religious ruling, or fatwa, can be issued only by one or both of the highest recognized authorities of Sunni, Islamic jurisprudence today: Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Sheik Abdulaziz Al al-Sheik, the highest religious authority in the country.
Both have strongly condemned ISIS and al-Qaida as “enemies of Islam.” But to date neither has demanded the removal of al-Baghdadi as an impostor nor initiated the complex mechanism to install a legitimate Caliph.
So even if someone kills al-Baghdadi, and then kills the next self-appointed leader of ISIS, and then the next one and the next one, the terrorist attacks won’t end. As long as the dream of the “new Caliphate” is alive and well in the cyberworld, and the tempting, heavenly “benefits” that Islamic “martyrdom” bestows on those who “earn them” attract disenfranchised and marginalized young people from all over, we can expect many more ISIS ideology-driven attempts at mass casualty terrorist attacks.
ISIS and its followers will not stop with Paris. Its next targets are listed above. They said they will do it, and I have no reason to doubt them.
Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.

Lt. Col. (IDF res) Gil Elan is president and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress, and a Middle East analyst. Email: gil@swjc.org. Briefings and SWJC events are listed at: www.swjc.org
DISCLAIMER: Opinions are the writer’s, and do not represent SWJC directors, officers or members.

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