Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tisha B'Av, Saturday-Sunday: A Mourning Period to Fast and Remember the Temple Mount

Nadene Goldfoot
The 9th of Av, which falls on this coming Saturday, the 28th of July, our forefathers had just left Egypt and its pharoah,  and on this date G-d punished that generation, decreeing that they would wander the desert for 40 years and never enter into the Holy land. It was due to their lack of faith that 10 of their 12  spies had displayed and had started crying and bewailing going into Canaan that they all were decreed to suffer on this date which would become one of crying and misfortune.

Orthodox Jews  remember the fall of our First Temple in 422-586 BCE. in the month of Tammus, which is in today's July.    After years of siege, the walls of Jerusalem were breached, but the Jewish forces continued to defend the Temple Mount for another 19 days until it fell on the 7th of the month of Av, which is today.  The Holy Temple, called the Beit Ha Mikdash, was torched late on the 9th.  

The Second Temple also fell in 68-70 CE from the Romans at that same time.

 For a 3 week period, we had nothing but a bad time during which the Jewish people suffered many calamities..  Bar Kokhba had fallen on the 9th of Av.  He had held out against the Romans in his revolt till 135 CE after Jerusalem had fallen.  The city of Betar fell and 100,000 Jews were killed.  Then Jerusalem was plowed at the site of the Temple by the Roman commander, Rufus.  The First Crusade of 1096 happened on the 9th of Av.  10,000 Jews were killed in that.  In 1290 the Jews of England were expelled on this date.  Jews were given the Alhambra Decree in Spain in 1492.  This eerily fell on the 9th of Av as well, which was the day all Jews had to be out of Spain. World War I began on the 9th of Av. The Warsaw Ghetto Jews in 1942 were deported, starting on this date which then was on July 23.  They were sent to Treblinka.    
We remember our history by recalling this event with a fast, being it was the saddest experience. However, in Israel combat soldiers are absolved of fasting on Tisha B'Av on the basis that it can endanger their lives. Restaurants there will be closed on the 9th and the 10th of Av.  The same goes for people who are sick.  They are not expected to fast.  Here in Portland, fasting will start at 8:43pm Saturday night and end at 9:18pm Sunday night.  The person cannot eat or drink.

The 9th of Av can happen anytime in July or August, being it is figured on a lunar calendar.  Man seems to lose his temper easily during these hot months.   The holiday is really to remember the two Temples that fell 655 years apart by two different enemies, but noticably, all these other calamities have happened at the same time as well.

Not all Jews will observe this day, but one must remember that it has been remembered by those who have done the observing for over 3,000 years.  This is how we manage to remember such historic events and continue our religious beliefs.  It's how some of us manage to know more than Jay Leno's participants on his Jay-walk when they are asked very simple questions, usually about some American piece of history.  Remember, they can't tell you something that happened only a few years ago, while we have maintained historical events thousands of years ago that were important to us.  Those who manage to observe and teach their children about these events in this way are to be greatly admired.  To them, all of our life is a big deal, and they are an important part of it.

Reference: Chabad of Oregon calendar'Av

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

History of Jews in England: Acceptance and Rejection

Nadene Goldfoot
William I, a Norman,  conquered England in 1066 and discovered that there were no Jews living there. Normandy was a part of Northern France, but originally the people were from Scandinavia.   He knew that it was Jews in France who were the financiers.  In those days, Christians didn’t want to be in finances and thought it was beneath them, so that was about the only  business left for the Jews as they were not allowed to own land.  He invited Jews from Rouen, a city in NW France,  to come into England  an take on the job.  Jews then remained in London near the royal family who were fairly tolerant. They also settled in York, Bristol, Canterbury, etc.  They traded, lent mney to the baronage and advanced money to those who were a part of the Crown.

William II, his son, (1056 - 2 August 1100),  organized a disputation between a Jew and a Christian and seemed to try to promote a real discussion about the two religions.

By 1144 Jews were accused of a ritual murder in Norwich.  This was the 1st blood libel from Christians.  The accusers were trying to say that murder of a child named William  was a part of the Jewish religion as they wanted the blood for Passover and other rituals. . These jealous people knew nothing about Judaism except that they didn’t believe in Jesus as being “G-d, and from what they had learned in their “New Testament.”   One thing that Jews don’t eat is blood, which makes this accusation so very stupid.  Part of the laws of kashrut is eating parts of beef that do not have main veins in them, and then salting and washing the meat to get rid of any trace of blood.  This means that only the tougher parts of a kosher animal is allowed for food being it doesn’t have any blood in it. I repeat:  Jews do not eat, use or touch blood.  It is regarded in the Bible as the seat of life or even as life itself.  The prohibition of its consumption is one of the laws and is repeated several times.

In 1189-90, the time of the 3rd Crusade, there were riots all over the country with much bloodshed, especially in London and York.  The Jews’ business bonds were burned.  This brought about the exploitation of Jewish resources by heavy taxation on them during the reigns of John in 1199-1216 and Henry III from 1216 to 1277.

In  this 13th Century, Christians were also trying to convert Jews and steal their money.  In 1232, Henry III created the House of the Converts to lodge and hire converted Jews and even sent preachers into the synagogues to proselytize.  Another ritual murder accusation happend in 1255 of Hugh of Lincoln and more occurred from 1263-5 during the Barons’ Wars.  No proofs were ever produced, but confessions came through torture.

Medieval English Jewry numbers never was more than about 5,000.

 From 1290 to about 1655.  Jews were not even allowed to live in England.  King Edward I had expelled them.  that's when many Jews went to live in Poland.

 Jews from Spain and Portugal were fleeing from the Spanish Inquisition and tried to get into England around 1509 when Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, but Henry expelled any that arrived then.  He only tolerated Jews coming into England when it was convenient to have them-when he needed money.

 In 1655, Manasseh Ben Israel negotiated with Oliver Cromwell for the re-admission of Jews. He agreed as long as they worshipped in private.  Charles II became king and took over the monarchy in 1660 and confirmed this in writing.

By the 19th century, Jews were tolerated more, probably due to the Jewish philanthropists like Sir Moses Montefiore.  From 1829 on, we see that Lionel de Rothchild was admitted to parliament in 1858.  In 1881 the Jewish community took in Russian Jewish refugees from pogroms.  Jewish communities developed in Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, etc.  Then German Jews arrived from 1933-1939 which brought on an anti-Semitic movement.  Jews in Great Britain in 1990 were estimated at about 330,000 including N. Ireland, and about 300,000 today.  Many have become secular Jews.  .

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia by Ben Elton 7/23/2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Being Jewish or Being Israeli is Being Different

Nadene Goldfoot
Jews have always been looked upon as being different from other populations.  That's nothing new.  Today Israel is sitting in an isolated geographical area of being in the middle of Islam.  She is an "island of liberty in a sea of Islamist tyranny on the crossroads of cultures and business and religions."

Ever since Abraham and Sarah broke away in Ur (today in Iraq) in the 2nd millennium BCE  with their family and left that land of idol worshipping, they have been looked upon with suspicion, being a weird people that believe in an unseen G-d.  Jews have traveled a long road of strict monotheistic belief in one G-d and of treating others as they would love to be treated.

Israel is looked upon in most capitals of the world with disdain and envy, shown by constant criticism.  The UN holds her to higher standards than any other country in the world.  Her enemies are countries that others are afraid to anger and have already kowtowed towards. Usually, wherever her people go to speak or perform, they are protested everywhere they go.  Her wares are held under protest as a form of punishment. Anti Semitic attacks have been happening all over the world.  People want what they create but don't want them.

Now her people are still being killed in outright murders of terrorism, continuing a cycle already started.  It happened  in Bulgaria again just yesterday.  One wonders why this outrageous killing has dared to happen to young tourists on holiday, and I can think of only one reason.  The political attitudes that have condemned Israel for defending itself against murderous attacks has helped to shape the attitude that it's okay to take out Israelis today.  After all, so many condemn them.   Religious groups are leading the way to actively killing Jews once again wherever they are.  The Jewish Chabad House was attacked in Mumbai, India in December 2008 killing the people inside.  Terrorists had killed good people who wouldn't have have hurt a fly, there only to help others.

Hasn't it been Qaradawi in Qatar who ordered a fatwa to kill  all Jews everywhere?  Evidently there are those who are taking it seriously and are carrying out his wishes.

Resource: Rabbi Jonathan Greenberg July 19, 2012
My thoughts

How Jews Got to Jerusalem in the 1400's From Europe

Nadene Goldfoot
Italy was very close to Palestine, even back in the 1400's.  Jews living in Italy could have taken a ship and returned to Palestine, but there were times when the Popes ordered their followers to prevent Jews from traveling there.  The Italians denied Jews the use of their ships.  This either forced them to forget about returning or caused them to have to take a very long land route instead.

 The land route for many involved having to travel through Germany, Poland and Southern Russia, or through the inhospitable Balkans and a Black Sea crossing before getting to the fairly safe Turkey.

In 1433, after a ban was imposed, Yitzhak Tsarefati urged Jews to go through tolerant Turkey.  Often a journey took years.  Immigrants would have to work at stopping places to raise money for the next leg of his journey.  Sometimes one bent on returning to Jerusalem would ask a Jew with money to finance his journey and so share vicariously in the mitzvah of his aliyah.  It's a good deed to help another in this endeavor.

An immigrant Jew from Germany had set out from Nuremberg and traveled to Posen which was about 300 miles.
From Posen (Pozanan),  Prussia or Germany  to Lublin was 250 miles.
From Lublin, Poland to Lemberg (Lvov) was 120 miles
From Lemberg, Ukraine to Khotin was           150 miles
From Khotin, Bessarabia or Moldova to Akerman was            150 miles
From Akerman to Samsun was               6 days
From Samsun, Turkey to Tokat was                6-7 days
From Tokat, Turkey to Aleppo was                  15 days
From Aleppo, Syria  to Damascus was             7 days
From Damascus, Syria  to Jerusalem was         6 days

In those days the Ottoman sultans encouraged Jewish immigration to their empire.  Their gates were open to Palestine for them then.  The sad fact is that the conditions in Europe made it almost impossible for Jews to get there.  Many who did were refugees from the Inquisition and were scholars, artisans and merchants.  They found homes in Jewish centers that were in existence.  This small flow of Jews from Europe injected a new pulse into Jewish life in Palestine in the 16th Century.

We today have poor excuses of not visiting Israel in our period of jet travel.  It only takes 9 hours and 5 minutes to go from New York to Tel Aviv.  Leaving August 1st at 2:25 pm one can get to the destination by 11:50 pm August 2nd.  It would cost $1,284 dollars one way.  A later trip in September is listed for $966.

I traveled in 1980 to Israel and was able to take El Al.  That was a wonderful experience, but I suggest you lose weight first.  The seats were fairly small.  However, it was like already being in Israel with men joining together for prayers at certain times.  Also, boarding the plane was different.  We walked through a hallway of soldiers with rifles ready to protect us.

The latest horror of travelers killed on the tour bus in Bulgaria tells us that being Jewish in Europe is not a safe place for us to be today.  We've become targets for terrorists just for being Jewish.  Even though it's the center of anti-Semitism,  I always felt safe in Israel.

Resource: Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine by Samuel Katz, pages 97-98;jsessionid=FA0FECCBF442C134A9556C07D105E38A?followAction=AirFlightSearch

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Israeli Controls Robot With Mind Over a Thousand Miles Away

Nadene Goldfoot
Tirosh Shapira has an ability most of us would love to have.  This student is not weak willed, but very strong minded.  When Tirosh was situated inside an MRI scanner in Israel, he was able to control a humanoid robot 1,250 miles away at the Beziers Technology Institute in France.  He only had to use his mind.

According to the article, the MRI read his thoughts and the computer translated those thoughts into commands which were sent across the Internet to the robot.  So to be fair, one has to have an MRI connected to the Internet  to help those thoughts work.

What's amazing to me,  is that  the MRI sees the blood flow in our brain.  A particular thought or blood flow pattern turns into a command.  So that means that what we think causes our blood to flow in a certain way.  No wonder people who harbor hatred so much can die an early age and that its unhealthy to be that way.  It must be connecting to commands to the heart.

All Tirosh had to do was to think of the movement he wanted the robot to do and it did it.  The usefulness of this trick would be to form new armies of robots and send them into battle instead of humans.  Paralyzed people like the famous physicist Stephen Hawking could use robots to interact with the world by replacing their body with a robot somehow, though I can't see how this can happen.

I think the amazing fact of this ability is that our thoughts have a real scientific affect on things such as forms of energy as well as MRIs.  Could there be something to Uri Geller's tricks after all?  He's the Israeli who bends spoons with his mind besides other achievements.  What we think could affect our fetuses after all, ladies.  So now we know that our thoughts connect up to our blood flow patterns.  Watch it!  It can be for the good or the bad of your health and....maybe even the wealth of our nation.  Remember that book, "The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peal?"  No wonder we need 10 people for a minion.  There's power in those prayers!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Palestinian Denial of Jewish History in Israel

Nadene Goldfoot
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi was interviewed by Geraldo Rivera last night for a Fox News report from Israel, and she was one irascible and iniquitous woman pounding on how terrible the Israelis were and how Jerusalem belonged to the Palestinians.

For a woman with a PhD in Medieval and comparative Literature from the University of Virginia, she should be more aware of just who the Palestinians are and where they really did come from as well as the history of the Jewish people.    She even commented on the program that they can trace back to the Canaanites.

If there's anyone walking around with Canaanite genes, or segments thereof, it should be the Jews.   The Canaanites appear to have been a mixture of Horites, Hittites and Hebrews, dating back to the Hyksos period in the 17th Century BCE.  It was Jews led by Moses from Egypt who entered Canaan with Joshua as leader.  Since Moses was born about 1400 BCE and died at age 120, Joshua must have entered Canaan about 1280 BCE.   Canaanites were not all obliterated upon the Israelites moving into the land, and most likely a few might have married into the families so were assimilated  by the Jews, Philistines or Arameans and by King David and Solomon's time were absorbed.   Canaanites as a people do not exist anymore and haven't since then.  The Syrians actually applied the name to themselves.

Dr. Ashrawi was born October 8, 1946 to Christian parents living in Nablus, which is located in Samaria (West Bank).  That's not surprising.  Arabs from all over the territory followed the Jews who started returning to the homeland and to their fellow Jews in Palestine in the late 1800's.  The first Aliyah was about 1880 by Jews from Russia escaping pogroms.  The Arabs were looking for jobs and found them with the Jews who were building.  Does she have a family tree showing her ancestory ?  It's possible she even has Jewish ancestry.  Wouldn't that shock her?

The Hebrew name from Nablus is Shechem, which was an ancient Canaanite town.  It's earliest walls date from 2000 BCE.  It was under Egyptian control as early as the  12th dynasty.  Biblical patriarchs camped under its walls and it was pillaged by Simeon and Levi, 2 of the 12 tribes that were to settle there.   Later it was in the territory of Ephraim and was a Levitical city and a city of refuge as well as the center of the House of Joseph.  Joseph is buried there.  Much later, the town was a part of Samaria, being the cult center.  In 72CE Vespasian founded the modern day Nablus which became an important Roman city, with most of the people being Samaritans.  In Crusader times, called Naples, it was  a royal city with a palace and fortress.  Now it is Muslim with a tiny Samaritan community , very small Christian community  and has been a center for decades of fanatical Arab nationalism.  A small Jewish community formerly existed there.

The Arabs' homeland originally is Arabia which consists of 1,027,000 square miles and includes Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrein, Qatar, Trucial Oman, Muscat and Oman, and south Yemen.  In the 6th century Mohammad was born (570 CE in Mecca)  and started Islam after a call in 610 CE.  The Arabs came out of the desert looking for conquest and established an empire extending over 3 continents from the Atlantic Ocean to the border of China.  They conquered Palestine, named by the Romans who had conquered Jerusalem in 70 CE, from the Byzantines who were there.

Arab rule came from Damascus by the Omayyad (Umayyad)  dynasty that lasted for about 100 years and then they were overthrown in 750 by the Abbasids who ruled for 200 years who had been dominated themselves first by Persians and then by Turks.  The Abbasides were defeated by the Fatimids.  The Arabs had  had no part in the government of the empire by then.  They had one positive achievement, though.  Arabic became the language and Islam the religion of the lands.

In 1835 Alphonse de Lamartine wrote: "Outside the gates of Jerusalem we saw indeed no living object, heard no living sound, we found the same void, the same we should have expected before the entombed gates of Pompeii or Herculaneam...a complete eternal silence reigns in the town, on the high-ways, in the country...the tomb of a whole people.

The Ottoman Empire ruled Palestine for 400 years until they lost it at the end of World War I in 1918.  They were Turks, not Arabs.  When Mark Twain visited Palestine in 1867, there were very few Arabs living there, so it's doubtful if her parents' ancestors were actually from Nablus from ancient days as she would like to think.

Twain wrote of the desolation. "Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes.  Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies.  Palestine is desolate and unlovely...Palestine is no more of this workday world.  it is sacred to poetry and tradition, it is dreamland"  "Desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds--a silent mournful expanse...A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action.  We reached Tabor safely....We never saw a human being on the whole route....There was hardly a tree or shrub anywhere.  Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.

If she's  interested in her heritage, she should have a DNA test, and better yet if she has a brother or if her father is alive, get them to be tested for the Y haplogroup.  If she has no father or brother living, perhaps she has a paternal male 1st cousin that could be tested.  Nablus, 39 miles north of Jerusalem was under Jordanian rule from 1948 to 1967 and Jordanians are Arabs.  As we see, many types of people have lived in Nablus.

Her father, Daoud Mikhail, was one of the founders of the PLO.  Her family later moved to Ramallah and she attended the American University of Beirut.  When the 1967 Six Day War occurred she was 22 years old and in Lebanon, so was declared an absentee  and denied re-entry to Samaria.  For 6 years she traveled and finished her education by getting her PhD.  In 1973 she was able to join her family under the family reunification plan.  She sees herself as a Palestinian and is a non-practicing Anglican.

Book:  From Time Immemorial, the origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine by Joan Peters
Book:  Battleground, fact and fantasy in Palestine by Samuel Katz
Book: Middle East Past and Present by Yahya Armajani, Thomas M. Ricks
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Geraldo at Large: In Israel

Nadene Goldfoot
Fox News presented an hour long program with Geraldo Rivera broadcasting from Israel tonight that was very interesting.  He's been there for the past week getting ready for it.  I was able to see it at 7pm, which means it will be 10pm on the East Coast.

The first half hour was spent on the Israeli side of the issues with Geraldo interviewing key people.  What surprised him was headlines about Arafat and the charge coming from Palestinians of being poisoned by Israel.  The Israeli ambassador interviewed mentioned that though they didn't like him, they had lots of opportunities earlier to kill him and chose not to.  He felt that if Arafat was poisoned, it more likely would have been some Palestinian faction that did him in.  Geraldo couldn't get the Israelis to bite at the question of American politics and about Obama.  The Ambassador said that they see the president as an American only, not a Republican or Democrat.

Another item that surprised Geraldo was the demonstrations wanting the ultra orthodox community to also serve in the National Service and be drafted.  They were having demonstrations for an equal society, because up till now they didn't have to serve as the secular civilians do.  Israeli Arabs do not have to serve, either, so that makes a lot of the society who do not serve, however they are doing something and that included training for jobs, I believe.    Geraldo said that when he started going to Israel, only 3 to 4% were ultra orthodox and now it's up to 20%.

The 2nd half hour was spent interviewing by another gentleman on the Palestinian issues.  One Palestinian gentleman was managing a hotel and doing very well; a real businessman.  He sounded more like the type of person I would like to see as president.  So was another older businessman, who seemed to allude to me without coming out plainly that they would do better with other people at the head of their PA government and he is hoping the younger generation will be able to bring about peace.  They did mention that the poor image one gets of Gaza is actually coming out of the camps many have chosen to stay in, but even these are better these days. They complained about the many checkpoints they must go through, but they forget that over 1 million Israelis have been housebound by rockets, missiles and mortars coming from Gaza terrorists.  

A woman was interviewed who I have seen many times before, Dr. Hanan Ashrami, who, I just found out, is a Christian.  She is a very bitter woman, obdurate and is irascible.She went  on and on about how terrible the Israelis are, and yet she says she wants peace, but then rants on again about how Israel has stolen their land and how Jerusalem is Palestinian, so I was quite nauseated by her.  It was also brought out that the Palestinians are working for the PA, and the PA has gone through their money.  Many may now not get their paychecks.   She left Geraldo rather speechless, going on so much about how they suffer under "occupation," but the ambassador had a good retort to sum up Israel's position and mentioned lastly that when the Palestinians love their children more than they hate Israel, that is the time they will have a peaceful solution.  She certainly showed that he is right, because no one could possibly sit down and talk intelligently with this woman in my opinion.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Iran's Threat to Israel When Announcing Missile Tests This Week

Nadene Goldfoot
Iran threatened Israel in 2005 with Ahmadinejad saying that Israel must be wiped off the page of time-meaning wiped off the map.  Israel has been hearing threats like that since 1948, but not from people like Iran's leaders.  We know that allowing Iran to get nuclear arms would be a threat to Israel's existence.  We have 7 million people living there.  This cannot happen.

Iran just announced to the world that it will be doing 3 days of missile tests this week.  She expects to see this as a message that Iran is standing up to bullying and will respond to anything. " If Israel takes any action, that will be their excuse to wipe them off the face of the earth", said Hajizadeh, head of the guards' airborne division.  That could only mean decisive air-born attacks, and to wipe someone off the face of the earth implies atomic warfare, which is doubtful that they are prepared to do this weekend.  It sounds like they are goading Israel into acting, just like bullies do on the playground.

The missile tests will pretend to hit air bases in the region which of course are the USA's.  They think that if they show they can hit our bases there in the gulf, the USA will be afraid and won't support Israel.  They want to show that the USA ships are in Iran's range of missiles and weapons.

If anyone has threatened their oil markets, they turn around a threaten them with reprisals.

This threat come on the day Europe began enforcing an oil embargo and harsh new sanctions which is about time.  They will ban imports of Iranian oil by EU states and will make it difficult for other countries to trade with Iran that were enacted this year but only came into effect today.  That must have given the countries time to stock up on these supplies. The market affected in Iran is 18% of its exports.  EU companies area not to transport Iranian crude or even insuring shipments.  This should hurt its trade worldwide.  This is being done to seek a peaceful resolution  about Iran's nuclear program.  Jay Carney from the White House hopes Tehran will change their tune later this week in the talks in Istanbul.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, unfriendly also with Iran whose countries face Iran on the Gulf have announced they will also have their own joint air force exercises today that will last for several days.

Now while threatening Israel that they can blow up their whole country from one side of their mouth, they are telling everyone that they are not seeking the bomb in their nuclear technologies.  Mahmoud Bahmani, governor of the Iranian central bank said that they are implementing programs to counter the sanctions.  In the meantime, his rial currency and rising inflation are taking effect, but that Iran has $150 billion in foreign reserve to protect them, so evidently he's not worried at all.

The last warning came from Ali Fadavi, Revolutionary Guards commander who said that Iran would equip its ships in the Strait of Hormuz with shorter-range missiles.  In other words, if anyone comes into their waters, they're going to be hit.