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Trump has ‘new reasons for hope’ after whirlwind Middle East visit

Trump has ‘new reasons for hope’ after whirlwind Middle East visit

Posted on 25 May 2017 by admin

President heralds ‘rare opportunity’ to bring peace, stability to Israel

JTA

JERUSALEM — President Donald Trump arrived in Israel for a whirlwind 28-hour visit, saying his trip to the region has given him “new reasons for hope.”

US President Donald Trump with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as he arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on May 22, 2017, for his first official visit to Israel since becoming US president. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO *** Local Caption *** ארצות הברית ארהב  ארה

US President Donald Trump with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as he arrives at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on May 22, 2017, for his first official visit to Israel since becoming US president. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO *** Local Caption *** ארצות הברית
ארהב
ארה”ב
דונלד טראמפ
נשיא
אמריקה
ראובן ריבלין
משמר הכבוד

Air Force One touched down on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion International Airport shortly after 12:30 p.m.Monday. The landing represented the first direct flight ever between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the first stop of Trump’s first international trip as president.
“I have come to this sacred and ancient land to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the State of Israel,” Trump said in remarks at the welcome ceremony after he reviewed the honor guard and was welcomed by Israel’s leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.NetanyahusTrumps
Trump called Israel a “strong, resilient, determined and prosperous nation” and alluded to the Holocaust, saying the United States “will not allow the horror and atrocities of the last century to be repeated.”
He called his visit to the region a “rare opportunity” to bring peace and stability. “But we can only get there working together. There is no other way,” he said.
Netanyahu called the visit historic in that it is the first time that a U.S. president’s first trip abroad includes Israel.
“Thank you for this powerful expression of your friendship to Israel,” the prime minister said.
In another first, Trump visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to go to the holy site.
Netanyahu alluded to Trump’s speech to Muslim and Arab leaders in Riyadh the previous day.
“Mr. President, yesterday in Saudi Arabia you delivered a forceful speech on terrorism and extremism, called on forces of civilization to confront the forces of barbarism,” he said.wall2
Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to peace, pointing out that Israel has already made peace with Egypt and Jordan, adding that “Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. The peace we seek is a genuine one in which the Jewish state is recognized, security remains in Israel’s hands and the conflict ends once and for all.”
Speaking before Netanyahu, Rivlin said the Middle East and Israel need a strong United States, and the United States “needs a strong Israel.” He reminded Trump that Israel this week marks the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.wall1
Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner landed in a second plane and sat with the American diplomatic delegation during the welcome ceremony.
During a live video feed of Trump’s visit to Israel, the White House caused a bit of a stir by identifying the location of the president as “Jerusalem, Israel” — a departure from the standard listing of the city as simply Jerusalem.
The caption appeared on the video feed of Monday’s news conference at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence. It came as Trump administration officials continue to differ over whether to describe the contested city as being part of Israel, and as Israeli officials urge the White House to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Obama administration at least twice — in 2011 and then again last year — corrected photo captions and datelines that had read “Jerusalem, Israel” to “Jerusalem,” reflecting longstanding executive branch policy that the city should not be described as being in any country until there is a final status agreement. (Congress recognized the city as Israel’s capital in 1995.)
The George W. Bush administration also routinely captioned photos and listed the city on schedules and in news releases as simply “Jerusalem.”

נשיא המדינה ראובן ריבלין ורעייתו נחמה מקבלים את נשיא ארה

נשיא המדינה ראובן ריבלין ורעייתו נחמה מקבלים את נשיא ארה”ב דולנד טראמפ ורעייתו מלינה
צילום: חיים צח / לע”מ
photo by Haim Zach / GPO

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Manchester’s Jews saddened, not surprised after concert bombing killed at least 22

Manchester’s Jews saddened, not surprised after concert bombing killed at least 22

Posted on 25 May 2017 by admin

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Emergency services arrive  close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.  There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening.  Greater Manchester Police have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 23: Emergency services arrive close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Residents have been preparing for, expecting attack for years

By Cnaan Liphshiz
JTA

Britain’s bloodiest terrorist attack in over a decade occurred Monday just two miles from Rabbi Yisroel Cohen’s synagogue.
Yet one day after the deadly bombing in Manchester, Cohen told JTA he has no intention of changing security arrangements at his congregation.
In fact Cohen, a Chabad emissary who works in a Jewish enclave in the northern part of the city surrounded by a heavily Muslim area, said there is little room for improving security across his tight-knit community.
After all, the Jewish community in Manchester — one of the U.K.’s fastest-growing spots thanks to an influx of immigrants and young couples seeking alternatives to pricey London — has been on its highest alert since long before the explosion that killed at least 22 people and wounded 50 at an Ariana Grande concert. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the act.
“Well, the radio equipment is working, the residents have been briefed, police are patrolling, security professionals from the Jewish community have been in place since the attacks in Belgium” last year, Cohen said when asked about security. “There is only so much you can do — except pray.”
On Kings Road, a busy street of the heavily Jewish borough of Prestwich, residents keep an eye out for strangers. Any abnormal behavior — particularly photography or the gathering of information — quickly invites polite but firm inquiries by both passers-by as well as shopkeepers who cater to the local population of haredi and modern Orthodox Jews.
The vigilance in Jewish Manchester owes much of its preparation and training to the local police, the Community Security Trust organization and other groups. But it is also born of circumstance: Manchester’s approximately 30,000 Jews are concentrated in a relatively small area. This makes them an easy target, but it also means that the community’s institutions are easier to protect and vigilance is easier to instill.
While there are also concentrations of Jews in North London, in Manchester — a city of 2.5 million, where 15.8 percent of the population is Muslim — there is added tension because the Jewish and Muslim communities live in close proximity. Kings Road, for example, is sandwiched between the Judaica World bookstore on its western end and the Masjid Bilal mosque on its eastern one.
This juxtaposition in recent years has generated some friction, including in the harassment of Jews on the street and the occasional violent incident.
A history of violence
At least one more premeditated plan to attack Manchester Jews was uncovered and foiled five years ago. In 2012, a British judge imprisoned a Muslim couple, Mohammed Sajid and Shasta Khan, for seven years for gathering intelligence on Manchester Jews for an attack.
“That incident came at a time of reassessment about the threat to Jews in Manchester, and it was one of the reasons that led to a complete overhaul,” Cohen said.
“So today, we in the Jewish community are perhaps less surprised than others at what happened,” the rabbi added, though he also said that Mancunian Jews are “shocked at the horror” witnessed at the concert.
Paul Harris, editor of the city’s Jewish Telegraph weekly, told JTA he generally agrees that Manchester’s Jewish community is well prepared to deal with any emergency or fallout thereof, but he also flagged one weak point: On evenings and afternoons, observant Jews in the city congregate outside synagogue — a habit that makes them an easy target and which, for that reason, has largely been abandoned in at-risk communities in France and beyond.
“Maybe that will change now,” Harris said.
Called a terrorist attack
In a statement Tuesday following a suspect’s arrest, Prime Minister Theresa May said the bombing was a “callous terrorist attack” that targeted “defenseless young people.” Police believe a homemade explosive vest was detonated by a suicide bomber who may or may not have been working alone.
The explosion ripped through the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena at 10:30 p.m. after Grande, a 23-year-old pop singer from the United States, had already left the stage. At least 12 of the 22 killed in the attack were children younger than 16. News of the explosion sent worried parents to the arena, where children, teenagers and young adults streamed out of the main exit in a state of panic.
Cohen said that Chabad was not aware of Jewish fatalities in the attack.
The attack happened a little over two weeks before the June 8 general election in which hardliner Theresa May from the Conservative Party is running against Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party. The attack may further increase May’s lead in the polls on Corbyn, a left-leaning promoter of outreach to Muslims who has called Hezbollah and Hamas his friends.
Last year Corbyn — amid intense criticism in the media and from members of his own party for his perceived failures in curbing expressions of anti-Semitism within Labour’s ranks — said he regretted expressing affection to the two Islamist terror groups. Following the attack Monday, all parties agreed to suspend campaigning for three days.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference Tuesday in Jerusalem with President Donald Trump, who was visiting Israel, referenced the attack in criticizing incitement to terrorism by the Palestinian Authority under its president, Mahmoud Abbas.
“President Abbas condemned the horrific attack in Manchester,” Netanyahu said while standing next to Trump. “Well, I hope this heralds a real change, because if the attacker had been Palestinian and the victims had been Israeli children, the suicide bomber’s family would have received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority. That’s Palestinian law. That law must be changed.”
Speaking in Bethlehem, Trump joined other world leaders who condemned the attack.
“I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. I will call them losers,” he said.
Back in Manchester, Rabbi Shneur Cohen of the Chabad Manchester Center City organized a food and drinks distribution to police officers who were stationed outside the arena where the attack took place.
“We are Manchester, we stand together,” Cohen told reporters at the scene.
But Harris, the Jewish Telegraph editor, said that despite such gestures, “there is definitely a silence, a shocked silence” in the city following the attack.

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Spiritual experience no matter the age

Spiritual experience no matter the age

Posted on 25 May 2017 by admin

Temple Emanu-El members meet for special service during Shavuot

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Temple Emanu-El welcomes a host of adults who are celebrating their own coming of age in the Jewish community.
At 7 p.m. May 30 in the Tycher Gathering Space, class members will chant the commandments received by the children of Israel at Mount Sinai during Shavuot morning services.
The class includes a set of sisters, two women who have been friends since their children were young, some who are married, several Jews by choice, and a number of lifelong members of the congregation — each with their own soul-fulfilling cause to participate.

(Left to right) Elise Mikus, Evelyn Fox, Brett Ritter, Gayle Johansen, May Sebel, Helen Risch, Jeanette Herzmark, Rabbi Debra Robbins, Michael Kallinick, Sue Weiner, Chelsie Kastriner, Risa Kesselman, Jean Maza and

(Left to right) Elise Mikus, Evelyn Fox, Brett Ritter, Gayle Johansen, May Sebel, Helen Risch, Jeanette Herzmark, Rabbi Debra Robbins, Michael Kallinick, Sue Weiner, Chelsie Kastriner, Risa Kesselman, Jean Maza and

The roster consists of Leslie Bell, Evelyn Fox, Jeanette Herzmark, Gayle Johansen, Michael Kallinick, Chelsie Kastriner, Risa Kesselman, Jean Maza, Elise Mikus, Sue Pickens Owens, Helen Risch, Brett Ritter, May Sebel and Sue Weiner.
“This class has been a meaningful and spiritual experience for all of us who have been involved and it will have a lasting impact on the leadership of Temple Emanu-El,” said Temple’s Adult B’nai Mitzvah Clergy Liaison and Lead Teacher Rabbi Debra Robbins. She worked with Adult B’nai Mitzvah Program Director Becky Slakman, Adult B’nai Mitzvah Program Assistants Rachel Gross and Diana Hall and the congregation’s clergy to create and carry through a meaningful learning, growing, and sharing program.
“What makes our program really significant and unique is that it is integrated into the life of the congregation. Our program is so unique because the students attend the regular Shabbat service, each of them becoming a leader in our community, reading from the Torah on a Shabbat morning, also delivering a D’var Torah that they each wrote about the weekly portion,” said Rabbi Robbins. “With the direction of teacher Robin Kosberg, who taught a class open to the congregation, each of our b’nai mitzvah students found a way to bring the classical sources of our tradition together with the Torah text and the text of their life experiences.”

“We’ve always been very involved in our Jewish community,” said Helen Risch (center), who celebrated her bat mitzvah on May 13 with her family surrounding her. “I felt it was my time to focus on my own Jewish learning.” (From left) Alisha, Jonathan, Jolene, Maddie, Frank, Aaron, Jeremy, Eli, Jake and Rebecca.

“We’ve always been very involved in our Jewish community,” said Helen Risch (center), who celebrated her bat mitzvah on May 13 with her family surrounding her. “I felt it was my time to focus on my own Jewish learning.” (From left) Alisha, Jonathan, Jolene, Maddie, Frank, Aaron, Jeremy, Eli, Jake and Rebecca.

While the group took to the bimah one or two at a time spread out over many months, they spent a lot of time with each other sharing Shabbat lunches and dinners, Sunday lunches and an afternoon with Kerry Silver in her glass studio, where each person made a yad to use when reading from the Torah.
Engaging program
The goals of Temple’s Adult B’nai Mitzvah Program are to have participants engage in developing relationships with other members of the congregation by studying Hebrew in preparation to read from the Torah, exploring how to interpret Torah with classical texts and through life experiences, learning about prayer and spiritual practices in synagogue services and in daily life, working with others on social justice projects and celebrating a personal commitment to Jewish living in our community.
Objectives include students being able to master basic Hebrew decoding skills to read or chant three verses of Torah, being confident and competent reciting the Torah blessings for an aliyah, and feeling comfortable to participate and pray in the Shabbat morning service.
Students completing the program can expect to explore possibilities for cultivating meaningful and prayerful practices in synagogue services and in daily life, reflect on the meaning of various prayers and rituals related to Shabbat, understand the structure and flow of the Shabbat morning service, discover how Torah can be a gift in the lives of Jews, develop skills and tools to understand and interpret passages of Torah, write a personal reflection on the meaning of Torah verses or specific prayers, and discover how trope provides a way to express the meaning of Torah.
“Perhaps the image that is most powerful for me in reflecting on the 18-month experience is contrasting the image of the class at Shavuot last year when they held the Torah for our regular Torah readers to chant the 10 commandments,” said Rabbi Robbins. “On May 31, their teachers and other adult learning leaders will hold the Torah as each student chants one of the commandments and our congregation will have opportunity to celebrate together with this new cadre of leaders and teachers. I can’t wait to be with them!”
Encouragement in the wings
Helen Risch, a former certified school psychologist with a master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Penn State (where she first met her husband-to-be at a bagel breakfast), was called to the Torah on May 13, celebrating the moment with her dear friend Gayle Johansen. Glad to have her friend Gayle alongside for this journey, she said “it was a lot of help to have someone encouraging me along the way, and I liked having someone to encourage in return. This has been a very special time for us.”
Risch, the daughter of European immigrants Rachel and Sam Winnick, of blessed memory, reflected on her own “entrance into Jewish adulthood,” at Congregation Beth Israel, the Orthodox congregation of just 70 families in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, where she was raised. She and two other girls simply led a few prayers during Sukkot. Just six months ago, while researching family history, someone came upon an article of that occasion, calling it a bat mitzvah.
“In those days girls weren’t called to the Torah so we did what we did and it was still a special day,” said Risch, the wife of Frank, mother of Jolene and Jonathan (Alisha) and grandmother of Aaron, Eli, Jake, Jeremy, Maddie, and Rebecca.
“When my grandson Aaron became a bar mitzvah at Anshai Torah, he wanted his grandmothers to chant and Rabbi Weinberg gave us a Shehechiyanu. We’ve always been very involved in our Jewish community and our grandchildren all attend Jewish day schools here in Dallas and Houston but when this class was announced two years ago, I felt it was my time to focus on my own Jewish learning.”
Roz Katz, who tutored some of this year’s adult students, was a member of the adult program in 1997, and has tutored almost 400 children and adults since 2004.
“As adults, we consciously and conscientiously choose to step on the path to becoming a bar or bat mitzvah, and as a result, the service is imbued with commitment and joy. Being a part of the move through this process and their own service is so special, a truly delicious experience.
“Witnessing their growing interest in Judaism, their appreciation for this ancient language and their wholehearted embrace of preparations for their service continues to be sweetly profound,” Katz said.
When the commandments were given to the “children” of Israel, there were no age prerequisites. Thirteen, 25, or 80-plus … all the children of Israel. All earning, and receiving, blessings galore.

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Author: Connection to spirituality has many observable advantages

Author: Connection to spirituality has many observable advantages

Posted on 18 May 2017 by admin

Miller talks book, research at Akiba

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Parents and teachers were the students on April 20 when scientist, professor and psychologist Dr. Lisa Miller, author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, was hosted by Akiba Academy as part of the Harold and Leah Pollman Lecture Series.
“Akiba is a school founded on a pillar of the value inherent in both Torah and general education. The message of Dr. Miller, a scientist who teaches about the intersection between science and spirituality, captivated our audience and resonated with us,” said Tammie Rapps, head of school at Akiba Academy, who introduced Miller.

Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller

Miller, a professor of psychology and education and director of clinical psychology, is also director of the Spirituality & Mind Body Institute at Columbia University. She is the wife of Philip, mother of Lila, Leah and Isaiah, daughter of Margo and Sid Friedman, and sister to Mark, and is still connected, literally and at heart, to synagogues in Des Moines, St. Louis and Boston, where she was raised. Miller touched on her roots in realizing her career.
“My children were young when I started this book and now they’re in high school. There’s plenty of ‘research’ from my own Jewish home filled with faith, tradition and science,” said Miller.
In The Spiritual Child, Miller explains the scientific link between spirituality and health. She shows that children who have a positive, active relationship to spirituality are 40 percent less likely to use and abuse substances, 60 percent less likely to be depressed as teenagers, and 80 percent less likely to have dangerous or unprotected sex, and they have significantly more positive markers for thriving, including an increased sense of meaning and purpose as well as high levels of academic success.
“Twenty years ago there were no articles about religion and science and the portrait of health and wellness. In these two decades, a strong body of peer review has been built. We see those who move through the tunnel of darkness and depression, do so entirely differently if they do so with Hashem, with faith in God, than those without,” said Miller. Her father, a theater director, viewed art as a “window into life, a road to spirituality,” and her mother lit candles, prayed expressively, and guided her with light in her heart. “I could feel the sacred orchestra of my mother, but my classmates didn’t share this. My life’s work is to bring this to the human discussion.”
Miller says spirituality is an inner sense of relationship to a higher power that is loving and guiding. The word we give to this higher power might be God, nature, spirit, the universe, the creator, or other words that represent a divine presence. The important point is that spirituality encompasses our relationship and dialogue with this higher presence.
“To my mother, every neighbor, store clerk, the mailman — everyone we met — was a dear, precious person to be respected and it was her behavior that taught us to find the goodness in each person. That was my growing up. My research is just the same, that parenting translates into the support of a spirited life for our children. It’s game-changing.”
Her first and most frequent points made to the Dallas audience emphasized the need for parents to live not only by example with regard to religious practice and traditions, but to live those examples side-by-side with their children: Do as I do — as we do together — not only do as I say. Light the Shabbat candles together, prepare meals together, go to synagogue and celebrate traditions together.
“Through the clear, precise language of scientific research, we see the enormous benefits of a spiritual life. Dr. Miller delineated the protective powers we as parents and educators can cast on our children,” said Rapps. “This is exactly the relationship that Akiba strives to cultivate with our students and hopes to facilitate between our parents and their children.”
Miller posts a chart (page 246 of her book) addressing our development, meaning, purpose, calling and connection from occurrences in life. Examples include “work” as the developmental task, and for those “with spiritual core” it is “calling and contribution” that is assessed, while it is “acquiring success” for those without. For those tasked with determining their “place in the world,” those with a spiritual core are “always connected,” and those without are “ultimately alone.” For those dealing with “bad events,” those with the spiritual core found “opportunities and learning,” while those without grappled with the result as “random and failure.” The positive versus the negative, based on the presence of a spirited belief.
“With biological puberty comes a surge in our spiritual capacity and a hunger for more. Counselors tell us the number of young adults asking ‘what is the meaning,’ ‘what is my purpose,’ increases manyfold,” said Miller. She has been elected a fellow by the American Psychological Association and received the Virginia Sexton Mentoring Award for graduate students whose works have previously been published in prestigious research journals. “With spirituality, identity grows from ideas of meaning and purpose; without it, identity can be dependent on acquiring ‘success.’”
Miller noted that when taking her children to see a musical, what affected her daughter the most was not the excitement and planning for the occasion, not the travel into the city, not the show itself. “The exquisite intensity with which our teens care, with which they’re looking for truth, comes from their core,” she shared. The moment that captured her daughter was the sight of a homeless person sitting on the floor outside the theater — the cold, hunger and loss so apparent.
Miller said that those who are more devout of faith, regardless of what the religion might be, are more likely to be resilient, have greater optimism and lives with greater degree of strength.
“As parents, we pave the way for our children in their first 20 years and there is no one more important as a spiritual ambassador than the parent. We do lots as parents; we schlep, we coach their sports teams, we help with their SAT prep, we have tea parties and we do lots. Nothing we do will ever be as important as the role we fill as the spiritual ambassador,” said Miller, who has shared her expertise in print and online media as well as in appearances on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC’s Today Show.
To purchase Miller’s book, to watch her TED Talk “Depression and Spiritual Awakening: Two Sides of One Door,” or for more information about her research, visit www.lisamillerphd.com.

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Interfaith connections, discussion spark worldwide dialogue at Abu Dhabi conference

Interfaith connections, discussion spark worldwide dialogue at Abu Dhabi conference

Posted on 18 May 2017 by admin

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, near downtown Abu Dhabi Photo: Rabbi Andrew M. Paley

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, near downtown Abu Dhabi
Photo: Rabbi Andrew M. Paley

Temple Shalom’s Paley attends event to promote interaction

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

Rabbi Andrew Paley traveled to the other side of the world to help promote, and learn a bit more about, interfaith relationships around the world.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah (center) with Pastor Bob Roberts (left) at a gathering at the Sheikh’s home

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah (center) with Pastor Bob Roberts (left) at a gathering at the Sheikh’s home

Paley, from Temple Shalom, was among a group of more than 30 religious leaders that were part of An American Caravan for Peace, Faith, Trust and the Common Good: Working from the Marrakesh Declaration, which was held in Abu Dhabi.

Evangelical ministers, rabbis, and imams from 10 American cities made the trip for the three-day conference and to promote interfaith relations.
“The goal was that we would be able to create a working plan of interaction between the Evangelical, Jewish and Muslim communities,” Paley said, “whereby we would have educational and relational kinds of opportunities for our communities to come together. We were not solving world peace, we weren’t talking about any regional issues; this was really about building bridges within our communities.”
It turned into a thoughtful and thorough discussion.
“We spent the day discussing the obstacles to bringing us together in our religious communities and our communities in general,” Paley said. “We wanted to find and discuss ways we could come together and see what ideas and thoughts we could draw from the Marrakesh Declaration.”
Paley said there were already some interfaith connections in the Dallas area, but he worked on more specifics and looked at examples from others during the event.

The Banner of the Conference sponsored by the Forum For Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies

The Banner of the Conference sponsored by the Forum For Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies

“We talked about really specific dialogues among our communities here in Texas,” Paley said. “The idea was that faith leaders would come together a little bit better and create a trust, not just a working relationship but help to create a friendship. And then, work to create real programmatic opportunities for the congregations to come together, not just for a meal, but for some sort of social action program,” Paley continued, “where we could work side-by-side with each other. That’s one of the big things we discussed in Abu Dhabi.”
The conference was organized and hosted by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, who has been one of the foremost Islamic leaders in promoting interfaith peace.

In January 2016, Bin Bayyah was amongst the leaders who presented the Marrakesh Declaration in Morocco. The declaration, which represented more than 250 Islamic leaders, addressed and championed the rights of religious minorities in predominantly Islamic countries.

The goal of the declaration was to help create better understanding and dialogue between various faiths worldwide. That was the goal when Paley traveled to Abu Dhabi.

All the participants in front of the Grand Mosque

All the participants in front of the Grand Mosque

“I wasn’t very familiar with Sheikh Bin Bayyah up until the phone call (about going),” Paley said. “I quickly realized that this was going to be a potentially very powerful moment to bring people together. I had no idea what to expect. I knew some of the rabbis who went, but most of the others I didn’t know.”
Paley said he also enjoyed sightseeing in Abu Dhabi, and he left the conference particularly impressed with Sheikh Bin Bayyah.

Paley at the start of the opening session of the conference

Paley at the start of the opening session of the conference

“To see the Sheikh and what he’s working on over there, and to be part of that hopefulness and work for healing over here (in Texas), was very powerful,” Rabbi Paley said. “He’s in his 80s and he’s doing his part to make his world a better place, and it was very special to be a part of.”

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JCRC hosts meeting with Dallas bishops

JCRC hosts meeting with Dallas bishops

Posted on 11 May 2017 by admin

By Anita Zusmann Eddy
Special to the TJP

Close to 30 Jewish community leaders met with the two new Bishops of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas on Monday, May 8, at a meeting organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), held at the Jewish Federation.

Submitted photo (From left) JFGD Chair Dan Prescott, Bishop Edward J. Burns, Bishop Gregory Kelly and JCRC Chair Melanie Rubin visit with Jewish community leaders Monday at Federation headquarters.

Submitted photo
(From left) JFGD Chair Dan Prescott, Bishop Edward J. Burns, Bishop Gregory Kelly and JCRC Chair Melanie Rubin visit with Jewish community leaders Monday at Federation headquarters.

This was the first official meeting between the new bishops, the Most Reverend Edward J. Burns and the Most Reverend Gregory Kelly, and Dallas Jewish community leadership. Bishop Edward Burns was appointed by Pope Francis as the Dallas Bishop in December 2016, replacing Bishop Kevin Farrell, who moved to the Vatican, Rome, after being elevated to Cardinal earlier last year. Bishop Gregory Kelly was ordained as the Auxiliary Bishop in February 2016, replacing Bishop Doug Deshotel, who moved to Louisiana as Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette.
The Catholic Diocese of Dallas and the Dallas Jewish community have a longstanding positive working relationship, based on mutual interests and involvement in issues of concern to both communities. Along with the JCRC, the Diocese is a founding member of the Anti-Poverty Coalition of Greater Dallas, which works to find solutions to multi-generational poverty in Dallas. The Diocese is also a generous supporter of the Dallas Holocaust Museum, and has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Museum over the past years.
Participants at the meeting included Rabbi Heidi Coretz (SMU Hillel and Congregation Shir Tikvah), Rabbi Michael Kushnick (Congregation Anshai Torah), Rabbi Daniel Pressman (Congregation Shearith Israel), Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky (Congregation Shaare Tefilla), Rabbi Dan Utley (Temple Emanu-El), Rabbi Howard Wolk (JFS Community Rabbi) and Rabbi Shawn Zell (Tiferet Israel). Attendees also included leadership from Congregation Beth Torah, Adat Chaverim, Jewish Family Service, The Legacy, NCJW, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Jewish Federation and the JCRC.
After opening remarks by Federation Board Chair Dan Prescott and JCRC Chair Melanie Rubin, attendees each introduced themselves and provided a brief description of their affiliated agency or organization, in order to provide the bishops with some information and understanding of the Jewish organizations serving our Dallas Metro community. It was noted that most of our Jewish social services organizations provide support to the general (non-Jewish) community as well as to Jewish clientele.
Bishop Burns noted how honored he was to be invited to meet and dialogue, sharing that his association with the Jewish community started when he was employed at a local synagogue during his teenage years in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In his remarks, he stated that he “considers it a joy to work with the Jewish community and looks forward to working with the community in Dallas.” He noted that he has moved from the smallest Diocese in the nation, in Juneau, Alaska, which serves 12,500 Catholics, to one of the largest U.S. Dioceses, where as Bishop he cares for “1.3 million souls,” and leads 118 priests. Prior to living in Juneau, Bishop Burns was a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Bishop Kelly has lived in Dallas Diocese for more than 40 years and served in several different positions at the Diocese before being ordained as Auxiliary Bishop in February 2016. Bishop Kelly also stressed his longstanding connections to the Jewish community, noting that he learned much about “the complexity and beauty of the Jewish community” from the novels of Chaim Potok, among other sources.
Discussion during the meeting focused on a variety of topics. Megan Hyman, a leader in the Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division, asked the bishops about their strategies for reaching out to and engaging Catholic young adults. Bishop Burns related that the Pope has requested a Synod to be held in 2018 to discuss youth, faith and priestly duties to keep young people engaged. He noted that the Pope has specifically requested feedback from non-Catholic youth as valuable input. There was also discussion about the rise of anti-Semitism nationally, and the role that the Church could play in educating young people and community members about how to oppose anti-Semitism and general bullying practices.
Both bishops noted the need and importance of vigorously combating anti-Semitism, and expressed support for the Jewish community in efforts to educate about and fight anti-Semitism. Bishop Burns ended the session by sharing a story about his visit to Auschwitz where he used his cell phone to photograph a commemorative plaque. He related that his cell phone camera automatically focused on the individuals depicted on the plaque, highlighting their faces in the photo.
He noted that “if a cell phone can recognize the humanity in each individual’s face, how as people can we not recognize the humanity in each of us?”

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AJC CEO to speak at Dallas annual meeting

AJC CEO to speak at Dallas annual meeting

Posted on 11 May 2017 by admin

Harris to discuss ‘State of Jewish World’ at May 16 event

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris will be the keynote speaker when AJC Dallas hosts its annual meeting next week.
“We’re excited to have David Harris attend our meeting,” Joel Schwitzer, AJC regional director, said. “It’s a time of renewal and reflection for our organization. And the fact that David Harris is coming to deliver a keynote is significant because he hasn’t been here for a number of years, and it speaks to a recognition from our national board that it’s an exciting time for AJC in Dallas.”
The event will be held at the George W. Bush Presidential Center (943 SMU Boulevard, Dallas) on the campus at SMU. There will be a private reception for donors giving more than $1,250 at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, while registration for the public program is at 6:45 p.m.

David Harris

David Harris

Schwitzer said he expects the meeting to be packed, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early.
Harris will headline an event whose theme is “The State of the Jewish World.” Harris discussed that in an email interview with the Texas Jewish Post this week.
“There is no single answer to the current state of the Jewish world. In some respects, we have never been so fortunate, while at the same time, we face daunting challenges,” Harris wrote. “I see AJC’s role very much in the spirit of the classic story of Sherlock Holmes, the legendary English detective, who was summoned to a case that required an overnight stay en route.
“He and his trusty aide, Watson, pitched a tent in an open field, unfurled their sleeping bags, and closed their eyes. In the middle of the night, Holmes woke up, looked around, and elbowed Watson. ‘What do you see?’ Holmes asked him,” Harris continued. “Watson took a minute to rub his eyes and get his bearings, before looking upward: ‘I see the beauty of the universe and the infinite possibilities of life.’ Holmes listened to these words for a moment before replying: ‘Watson, you fool, someone has stolen our tent!’
“Bottom line: We must never stop seeing the incredible opportunities and precious gifts we’ve been given to live as Jews at this time, but, on the other hand, we can never forget that there are those trying to steal the Jewish tent.”
Harris’ comments come at an interesting time in Texas and the country. Just last week the State of Texas officially made it illegal for state funds to be used by companies that engage with the BDS movement, which looks to delegitimize the state of Israel.
“The pro-Israel, anti-BDS stance taken in Texas is hugely important and a powerful message of support for the all-important U.S.-Israel relationship,” Harris wrote. “It’s a total repudiation of those who seek to drive a wedge between two allied nations. At its heart, the BDS proponents are trying to undermine Israel’s very legitimacy. Democratic Israel, the only Jewish majority nation on earth, is the one country they target, while blithely ignoring true rogue nations and egregious violators of human rights. Bravo to Texas for saying a resounding ‘no’ to the haters and hypocrites!”
Schwitzer said the meeting will cover aspects of the evolution of that law, which AJC worked hard to help pass, as well as the growth of the AJC’s Jewish-Latino Alliance (JLA); several members of the JLA will be in attendance.
The meeting will also be an opportunity to look toward the future and discuss Jewish-Muslim relations in Texas.
“We are excited to be ramping up that work and improving those relationships in our local community,” Schwitzer said. “You look at where the relationship between the Catholic church and Jews has come in the past 50, 60, 70 years and AJC was very involved in repairing that relationship. That was the great interfaith quandary of the 20th century. For obvious reasons the Jewish-Muslim relationship is the great interfaith quandary of the 21st century and it’s more important than ever that we solve this.”
At the meeting, new board members will be installed and those who have served in the past will be honored.

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Anshai Torah ceremony remembers fallen

Posted on 04 May 2017 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP


A piercing siren rang through the sanctuary of Congregation Anshai Torah, symbolizing the start of Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day.
Nearly 500 people commemorated the thousands of Israeli soldiers, and victims of terrorism, who’ve fallen in the country’s 69 years.
Presented by Café Israel and the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, the April 30 program included songs, prayers and the heart of our homeland.
“There’s no independence without the commemoration of those lost,” said Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Michael Kushnick. “We come together to mourn as a community, as we are commanded, and to fulfill our responsibility to remember and tell the stories of those who fell while protecting us and the land of Israel.”
Yoram Solomon served as master of ceremonies of the program chaired by Ronit Ilan and a committee including Ran Barth, Orna Even, Assaf Mor, Yael Nagar, Yaniv Nir, Aya Pitkovsky and Odeya Zach.
The program, noting the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, began with the presentation of the color guard by members of the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Jewish War Veterans Post No. 256: Jule Bovis, Allan Cantor, David Foland, Jerry Kasten and Steve Solk and members of the youth of the Israeli Scouts, the Tzofim.
Eric Pinker, JFGD board officer, welcomed all to the evening, during which Yaniv Nir read names of many fallen and Sahar Aviram, Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen, Sophia Fineberg, Sarah Golman, Rabbi Kushnick, Benjamin Levkovich, Assaf Mor, Gal Reef, Ofek Rozenbloom, David Shirazi, Sihar Snir and Cantor Itzhak Zhrebker offered prayers and memorials in English and Hebrew. Odi Matityahu, Yoav Peled, Ruth Schor, Eli and Ruth Spirer, Dana Waknin, Odeya Zach and Matan Zakai brought music to the spirit of the occasion.
Max Castiel, remembering his brother Yuval among the lost, led Kaddish.
“It’s a great honor to be here and it’s important for us in Dallas, Texas to feel some of what they feel in Israel and for me to feel how much of Israel is in me,” said Tzofim Scout Meeka Shremm, a seventh-grade student at Frankford Middle School. “Even though I was born here, it’s important to give the soldiers who died a special remembrance and I’m proud that so many people here are a part of that.”

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Texas becomes 18th state to pass anti-BDS law

Texas becomes 18th state to pass anti-BDS law

Posted on 04 May 2017 by admin

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

AUSTIN — The State of Texas found the perfect way to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day.
On Tuesday morning at Shalom Austin Jewish Community Center, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 89 into law.AbbostSigns1

Submitted photo (From left) Texas State Representative Linda Koop, Chair of Southwest Jewish Congress Susie Avnery, Texas State Representative Craig Goldman, Dallas JCRC Executive Director Anita Zusman Eddy, Texas State Representative Phil King, Charles Pulman, StandWithUs Regional Director Jesse Stock

Submitted photo
(From left) Texas State Representative Linda Koop, Chair of Southwest Jewish Congress Susie Avnery, Texas State Representative Craig Goldman, Dallas JCRC Executive Director Anita Zusman Eddy, Texas State Representative Phil King, Charles Pulman, StandWithUs Regional Director Jesse Stock

Better known as the anti-BDS bill, the law now prohibits the state of Texas from conducting business with companies in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel.
“Texas is doing its part to add a little bit to that independence by fighting back against those who try to boycott Israel and impose economic harm to Israel, you can always count on Texas,” Abbott said before signing the bill.
“Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy,” Abbott added. “Any boycott of Israel is to be considered un-Texan. And Texas isn’t going to do business with any company that boycotts Israel.”
Abbott used multiple pens to sign the bill, and one was handed to Representative Phil King that will eventually be delivered to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu.
It was a rewarding moment for many involved in the bill’s passing, including King, who helped spearhead the effort.
“It’s exciting, it’s always exciting when a bill finally signs, but I can tell you this is an incredibly emotional event,” King said. “A lot of us have worked on it for so long. We think it’s important. When the 10th-largest economy in the world says we’re not going to let people boycott Israel, that’s a big statement.”

Photo: Office of Governor Gregg Abbott Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott displays the legislation after he signed the bill into law.

Photo: Office of Governor Gregg Abbott
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott displays the legislation after he signed the bill into law.

When the bill was first announced, King told the Texas Jewish Post that this would be a bipartisan issue and he hoped it would move quickly through the House and the Senate.
He was right. The bill passed by a vote of 25-4 in the Senate and then passed by a 131-0 margin in the House before it was sent to Abbott for final approval.
“A lot of people had to learn about the bill, but each and every time someone learned about the bill — Democrat, Republican, conservative, didn’t matter who — the more they learned about it the more they agreed this is exactly what Texas needs to do,” King said. “And at the end of the day it was as solid a vote as I’ve ever seen for any bill.”
King said much of that success is owed to the Jewish community, which made its voice heard throughout the process.
Charles Pulman was one of the first people to reach out to King about the bill. He made an unsolicited phone call to King and quickly became one of the go-to liaisons for the bill within the community.
“I had read somewhere that a state somewhere had passed a bill about anti-BDS, and I sent an email to some friends in Dallas asking if anyone knew if anything was happening for this in Texas,” Pulman said.
Pulman’s friend responded and said he heard that a representative by the name of King was working on an anti-BDS bill, so Pullman looked King up and sent an email to the representative from Weatherford.UT Students
“I said, if you’re working on an anti-BDS bill I’d like to help, and he responded almost immediately and said, ‘Yes, let’s have dinner,’” Pulman said. “And that dinner was a year ago March, and now we come to May 2 and the bill has been signed.”
In November, Pulman was part of a meeting at the JCC in Dallas where community leaders planned and discussed ways to promote the bill. Over the next seven months, groups from across the Jewish community in Texas reached out to representatives, made phone calls, sent emails, and visited the capital to show support for the legislation.
“Working with the Jewish community and all the groups involved was wonderful,” King said. “This was a bill that wasn’t hard for anyone to support, but to see what the community did and the strides they made for this bill, that only made it stronger.”
From the early stages, Abbott was in support of the bill and the governor visited Israel last year along with Ambassador Eitan Levon, the consul general of Israel to the Southwest.
“We really appreciate the cooperation and work between the people of Texas and the people of Israel,” Levon said. “The two Lone Star States, as we say, are standing with each other.”
Texas is the 18th state to pass some form of anti-BDS legislation, and King said it should be used as a benchmark and example for the rest of the country.
That number also had extra importance to Pulman.IMG_1096
“Texas is the 18th state, 18th,” Pulman said. “Eighteen in Hebrew means life. It’s not by coincidence that Texas became the 18th state to pass a version of an anti-BDS bill.”

 

 

 

*****

 

Dignitaries respond
Around the Metroplex, several community leaders voiced their support for the law:
“ I’m proud of the strong statement Texas made today by standing firm as an ally to Israel.”
— Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth)

“The Federation is proud to lead all the Federations in Texas in supporting this bill. We found a problem, we convened communities and organizations and fought for change. Congrats to us all.”
— Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Chair Daniel Prescott

“It was such an honor to join Jewish leadership from throughout Texas and other local and national Jewish organizations at today’s  ceremony where Governor Abbott signed into law the strongest anti-BDS bill in the country. The JCRC was pleased to be part of the coalition that helped pass this bipartisan bill through the Texas Legislature. It is a testament to the strength of the economic, cultural and social partnership between Texas and Israel.”
— Jewish Community Relations Executive Director
Anita Zusman Eddy

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ADL discusses return of white supremacy

ADL discusses return of white supremacy

Posted on 04 May 2017 by admin

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

White supremacists and extremists aren’t new.
They’ve been around for years, but within the past 18 months the group, which has tried to rebrand itself as “alt-right,” has seeped further into American consciousness and seemingly gained more traction — at least from a volume and confidence standpoint within the ranks.
Much of that has to do with the 2016 presidential election as many within the group took Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” as a synonym for “Make America White Again.”Marilyn, Marcy & Michael
“Part of it had to do with the Trump campaign,” Marilyn Mayo said. “They were very supportive of the Trump campaign, even if the Trump campaign didn’t want their support. They were feeling like their feelings and ideologies were being promoted in the mainstream. The Muslim ban, anti-globalism, anti-immigration. And what I saw was that as time went on, up through November, there was this incredible anticipation that their ideas would get mainstreamed. There was this whole grouping of people who were excited and hoped they would have a champion in the White House.”
Mayo is a research fellow at the ADL’s Center on Extremism and studies the white supremacist and alt-right movements. Mayo was in Dallas last week to present to ADL’s GLI (Glass Leadership Institute) class, the Dallas Police Department and ADL’s Dallas regional board. She discussed some of her findings along with national and statewide trends in an interview with the Texas Jewish Post last week.
“In their minds they are thinking that finally people woke up to a conscious of being white and being working-class,” Mayo said. “That the group that largely elected Trump, they believe it’s a group and a voter base that woke up and stood up for what they believe.”
Trump’s actions during the campaign didn’t help their point of view. While he was a candidate, Trump was almost noncommittal on the alt-right for a while and didn’t immediately disavow some of the key leaders, including David Duke, while some of his tweets — including a picture of Hillary Clinton with a Jewish star — had content that originated from within white supremacists’ publications.
The group turned the “Pepe the Frog” meme, a harmless cartoon of a frog, into a hate symbol that is now registered in the ADL’s database of hate symbols.
“Twitter became the primary vehicle for them to harass people, because Twitter is easy because it’s anonymous,” Mayo said. “Much more than Facebook. You can get kicked off (Twitter) and set up another account within in the next hour, so it became the platform for people to use and harass others.”
Mayo said it also helped in the rebranding of white supremacy as alt-right.
“The alt-right is anonymous, but somehow they made it kind of cool for people to join,” Mayo said. “It also became a lot easier for someone to join the movement. As some others have said before, you don’t burn crosses anymore, now you just go harass someone on Twitter.”
Mayo pays close attention to the group. She reads articles and blog posts, searches through Twitter and sites like Reddit and 4chan, while she also listens to podcasts and Internet radio shows.
And it’s become an interesting time to study their beliefs and feelings. Since Trump’s inauguration some of the pro-Trump tweets have died down, as the alt-right has tried to figure out how to define itself after Trump has made recent steps to distance himself from them.
“Trump had a good speech the other day where he said many things that go against what the alt-right and white supremacists believe,” Mayo said. “It’s something you would have liked to see earlier, when he was a candidate, but it’s something in the right direction.”
While the message and Trump connections may be changing slightly, Mayo said the alt-right is still trying to attract young, educated individuals and they’ve been pushing that effort at college campuses with fliers that promote their vision.
“There is ignorance, but not for a lack of education,” Mayo said. “Some of the people involved are very educated. And they are trying to attract other educated individuals that are younger and can help articulate their message.”
Mayo said Texas is one of the states with the most instances of fliers being passed out and several Texas groups, including one called White Lives Matter, have a strong presence in the state.
“White identity is primary for them. Nonwhites and minorities, like Jews, stand against everything they believe,” Mayo said. “They feel that Jews are trying to destroy the white race in some way, by promoting third-world immigration to the United States and promoting diversity and multiculturalism. They blame the Jews for all of that.”
Mayo and her colleagues at the ADL are trying to combat the movement by observing and monitoring the alt-right and white supremacists. She said education and using those same mediums to promote positive speech are important.
“They’ve been around for a long time, but demographics started to change because they attracted more young people,” Mayo said. “That’s something we have to acknowledge and look at why that happened. It’s an anonymous group, or at least mostly anonymous, so we look at everything and make sure we are as informed as possible.”

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