Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Story of Yiddish by Harvey Gotliffe, PhD

Rashi, famous Biblical commentator living in France:1040-1105 CE who studied in the Rhineland of Germany and returned to Troyes, France.  

Once upon a time, nearly a thousand years ago, there were people with no
country of their own. From the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries, (1,000 to 1499 CE)
they were expelled from whatever European land they had settled. At times,
they were unable to take all of their physical possessions with them.
However, they always took what was most important––their religious beliefs
and their language. The people were the Jews, their religion was Judaism,
and their language was Yiddish.

*When Yiddish began.* In the tenth century, (900s CE) Jews from France and Italy
migrated to the German Rhine Valley, and Yiddish began in an Ashkenazi
culture. The name came from the medieval Hebrew designation for the
territory and Ashkenazi Jews were literally "German Jews."
The term,
  My comment:  (Note that the Jews came from France and Italy.  They came from there as they had been ones to immigrate there from Judah when Jerusalem fell in 70CE.  Ashkenazi Jews did not just pop up miraculously in Germany.  They were the remnants from Judah which was the state created out of Israel.  )
 "Yiddish," comes from the German word for Jewish, Judisch, and to Germans,a Jew was "ein Yid." Yiddish developed as a blend of German dialects with
Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages. It was
the lingua franca of Ashkenazi Jews.

By the late 1200s, Jews had created a language rooted in Jewish history
that they used in their daily lives and when they conducted business among
themselves. When they did business with Gentiles, Jews spoke the language
of their countrymen. Today In the United States, you could be greeted in
New Orleans with "How you all?" or in Brooklyn with a thickly accented "New
Yawk" hello.

In earlier times, Yiddish evolved into four accents or dialects, also
depending on the locale. There was Eastern and Western Yiddish, and Eastern
Yiddish encompassed three distinct dialects. A Litvak spoke "Lithuanian
Yiddish" and lived in either in Lithuania, Belarus or northeastern Poland.
A "Polish" dialect speaker was known as a Galitzyaner and this dialect was
spoken in Poland and the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. Those who
spoke "Ukrainian" Yiddish were from the Ukraine, Romania, southeastern
Poland and eastern Galicia. Western European Yiddish was closer to German
and its use began to decline in the eighteenth century.

Hebrew was the language of davening (praying) used in ritual and religion.
It became known as the loshn koydesh, the sacred language used exclusively
by men. In the Ashkenazi community women weren't considered holy enough for
Hebrew, but they learned to read and write in Yiddish the "mame loshn"––the
mother tongue. Men were able to read both.

*The Move Eastward. *Jews have been a convenient target for persecution,
expulsion and annihilation. In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the first
crusade to take the Holy Land away from Muslim infidels. As some crusaders
marched through Germany, they sought out "infidel" Jews and offered them
the choice of death or conversion to Christianity. Thousands of Jews were
slaughtered when they refused to abandon their faith.

After the Crusades, many Ashkenazi Jews migrated eastward, forming
communities in non German-speaking areas, including Hungary, Poland,
Belarus, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. Jews
were forced out of France in 1182 and twice in the fourteenth century, and
out of England in 1290

The oldest surviving literary document in Yiddish is a blessing in a Hebrew
prayer book from 1272, and the 1526 Prague Passover Haggadah contained the
first page printed in Yiddish. The advent of the printing press in the
sixteenth century resulted in an increase in the amount of Yiddish material
produced that has survived.

In the thirteenth century, Yiddish replaced both Hebrew and local languages
in conversation. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, songs and poems
were written in Yiddish, using Hebrew alphabet letters. During that time,
Jews were expelled from Hungary, Lithuania and Germany twice, and once each
from Austria, Spain and Portugal. The Jewish population moved further
eastward into Poland and Russia and in the late Middle Ages, Slavic
elements were incorporated into Yiddish. Jews further developed the
language and included elements of Hebrew, Jewish-French, Jewish-Italian,
and various German dialects.

In the fifteenth century, Poland's Jewish communities were the largest and
remained the heart of Ashkenazi Jewry until their demise in the Holocaust.
From the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, Eastern European Jews
lived in shtetls––"small towns"––and in large cities.*

In 1792, the Russian Empress Catherine the Great created a "Pale of
Settlement" where Jews were forced to live in their shtetls within its
boundaries––boundaries they dared not cross. The "Pale" covered western
Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and eastern Hungary.
By the eighteenth century, the Yiddish language was between 10 and 20
percent Hebrew and Aramaic, and nearly 75 percent Germanic. A small percent
was based upon Romance words with Slavic words framing the rest.

*The People's Language.* During the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, secular Yiddish literature flourished and much of its original
growth was attributed to the writing of three major authors. The
"grandfather of Yiddish literature" was Sholem Abramovich (1835-1917), who
wrote under the name Mendele Mocher Sforim.* *Isaac Leib Peretz**
(1852-1915), better known as I. L. Peretz, was a writer of social
criticism, plays and short stories. Solomon Rabinovich (1859-1916) was a
Yiddish author and playwright who wrote under the name, Sholem Aleichem.
His stories about Tevye, the dairyman, were the basis for the twentieth
century play and movie, "Fiddler on the Roof.

In the 1897 and 1917 census, more than 95 percent of Russia's Jews who were
mainly poor, listed Yiddish as their native tongue, and for many it was
their only language. Jews were subjected to more frequent
pogroms––terrifying acts of destruction. The increase in their usage and
severity ordered by tsarist edicts between 1877 and 1917 caused further

Between 1870 and 1914, some two million Eastern European Jews came to
America. They had the foresight and the mazl to escape the upcoming rampant
waves of anti-Semitism in Europe. Many brought little more than their
Yiddish language with them, and the majority who settled in New York
considered Yiddish their native language.

Jews who had been known as "the people of the book," became the people of
the press. The first Yiddish-language newspaper was published in New York
in 1870, and in 1875 the Judisches Tageblatt ("Jewish Daily News") was the
first Yiddish daily to survive. Its circulation reached 100,000 by 1900
but it was being challenged by the Forverts ("The Jewish Daily Forward"),
whose circulation peaked at 250,00 in 1929. The Forverts helped to
Americanize immigrants by offering a popular Bintel Brief advice column, a
variety of human-interest stories, and highbrow and lowbrow literature.

By 1914 there were ten Yiddish daily newspapers with a combined circulation
of more than 750,000. Parties and interest groups across the spectrum
started their own papers, including the socialists, communists, centrists,
labor workers and Orthodox Jews.*

Polish-born Isaac Bashevis Singer (1901-1991) was on staff as a journalist
and a columnist for the Forverts from the 1930s into the 1960s. He was also
a leading figure in the Yiddish literary genre, writing short stories and
novels, first in Yiddish, and then translating them into English. In 1978,
Singer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

During the 1920s, Yiddish was emerging as a major Eastern European
language. Its rich literature was widely published, Yiddish theater and
Yiddish film prospered, and it even achieved status as one of the official
languages of both the Belarusian and the short-lived Galician Soviet
Socialist Republics. In 1925, YIVO was founded in Wilno, Poland, now
Vilnius, Lithuania, as the Yidisher Visnshaftlekher Institute, the Yiddish
Scientific Institute. It was the pre-eminent repository and publisher of
Yiddish-language materials.

When Poland's 1931 population was just under 32 million, nearly one in ten
of its citizens were Jewish, and more than 87 percent of them spoke
Yiddish. In 1937, there were 150 Yiddish newspapers and journals with a
combined circulation of more than 500,000.

*Almost Its Demise: *The U.S. Immigration Act of 1924 curtailed large
numbers of Eastern European Jews and others from coming to America. In May
1939, Great Britain produced a White Paper that restricted Jewish
migrations to Palestine to 75,000 in the coming four-year period. The
actions of both governments helped to bring about the decimation of
Europe's Yiddish-speaking Jewish population by the Nazis. The Act also
eliminated a vital source of new readers and the Yiddish press circulation
in America began its decline. Children of immigrants actively strove for
cultural assimilation and they were more likely to read an English-language
newspaper than the Yiddish Forverts.

Before the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939 and World War II began,
there were more than nine million Jews in Europe. In the eastern European
countries of Poland, Russia, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia, there were a
combined total of 7.3 million Jews, and almost 75 percent of them spoke
                      Nearly six million Jews were slaughtered during the horrific Nazi era, and
two-thirds of them were Yiddish speakers. A Lithuanian rabbi in Kovno,
Lithuania, wrote that "the bandit Hitler" not only killed a people, but
also tried to kill a culture and a language. The Nazis destroyed schools,
shuls, books, Yiddish theaters, movies, and radio programs, and the
Holocaust led to a dramatic decline in the use of Yiddish.

Millions of Yiddish speakers survived the war, including those living in
America, yet further assimilation in the United States and the Soviet Union
diminished the daily use of Yiddish. In Russia, Stalin was suspicious of
Jews and their "secret language," and Yiddish culture became a prime
target. Jewish institutions were suppressed and its leaders, actors,
writers and poets were arrested, and in August ,1952, thirteen prominent
Yiddish writers were executed.

*Yiddish Barely Survives.* Yiddish-speaking Holocaust survivors sought
refuge where anti-Semitism wasn't overt, including the United States and
Israel. The latter seemed to be a promised, egalitarian land for Yiddish
speakers. Unfortunately, its leaders feared that if the seeds of Yiddish
was allowed to be planted, then both the country's new identity as a
special haven for Jews and its lingua franca, Hebrew, might not flourish.

To counteract an unwritten law of what was acceptable, those in power
curtailed a nascent Yiddish theater. It had been created by survivors as a
dedication to and a remembrance of the way things were. It was a
shandea––shame––but an understandable one for a new nation. Then and now,
Yiddish was spoken on a daily basis primarily in Jerusalem's religious
neighborhoods. A tale is told about an American grandmother who was
visiting Israel and was overheard on a bus teaching her ten year-old
grandson a few words in Yiddish. A man sitting across the aisle said, "Tell
me why you are teaching your grandson Yiddish. You know that Israel's
national language is Hebrew." She looked at the man and said, "Because I
want him to remember he's a Jew."

Until Israel was established in 1948, Jews were a people without a country,
a government, or a military, and their Yiddish language was one fragile
connection between them. After World War II, Jews in the United States
sought to live in an assimilated society. They encouraged their children to
become even more American and in doing so, discouraged them from learning

Yiddish-speaking Holocaust survivors also wanted their children to have a
better opportunity to become successful, and they also equated success to
becoming more Americanized. One requisite was to speak "perfect" English
and Jewish children learned to read Hebrew, the language that represented
Israel. With Yiddish slowly being silenced, the old country and its rich
culture was becoming a fading memory. Parents of baby boomers viewed
Yiddish as the language of their parents and grandparents. By 1960, only
three percent of American children enrolled in Jewish education learned
Yiddish. At the same time, Yiddish newspaper circulation continued to

In 1999, the Minority Language Committee of Sweden formally declared
Yiddish as one of its country's five minority languages. In its latest
Atlas of the World's Languages, UNESCO, the United Nations World Heritage
organization, referred to Yiddish, as a "definitely endangered" language.
That foreboding term means, "children no longer learn the language as
mother tongue in the home." What would become of the mame, loshn, if it
were no longer the mother tongue?

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 survey of language use revealed that only
158,991 people spoke Yiddish at home, and that figure had declined in every
census since 1980. The major exception is found in the more closely-knit,
ultra-Orthodox (Hasidic) communities, yet there are many modern Orthodox
Jews who do not know Yiddish. However, there has been resurgence in Yiddish
learning and the language, with many Jews embracing "Yiddishkeyt."

*Yiddish in America. * Yiddishkeyt reflects a person's "Jewishness." It is
an eclectic "mish mash" of mannerisms, speech and a cultural and emotional
connectivity to things Jewish. It could involve attending Jewish movies and
plays, enjoying Jewish humor, books, periodicals, music, and associating
with and supporting Jewish organizations. You don't have to speak Yiddish
to be part of Yiddishkeyt, but if you are of Ashkenazi descent, it helps.

When Yiddish theater was banned in Russia in 1883, some of its troupes
first went to London and then came to New York City. Today, Yiddish theater
is doing well in New York and The National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene
produces both Yiddish plays and plays translated into Yiddish. Folksbiene
began in 1915 when there were fifteen Yiddish theater companies in New York
alone, and others throughout the world.

Between 1936 and 1939, "The Golden Age of Yiddish Film," there were
seventeen Yiddish sound films produced in the United States, and many
reflected the immigrant experience in America. The National Center for
Jewish Film at Brandeis University has restored thirty-eight Yiddish
feature films, and some are shown at international film festivals.

If you want to "lernen a bisl" Yiddish today, you can do so in a university
classroom, a shul, Jewish community centers, in small study groups, on your
own, or on line. The academic study of Yiddish received a boost in 1949
with the publishing of Uriel Weinreich's* College Yiddish: An Introduction
to the Yiddish Language and to Jewish Life and Culture. *Yiddish is taught
in universities across the United States, and a graduate program in Yiddish
Studies at Columbia University began in 1952 under Weinreich's leadership.
The prestigious Oxford University in England offers an MSt in Yiddish
Studies and there are intensive summer study programs offered in the United
States, Canada, Israel, Poland, Lithuania and Germany.
There are also classes available on line from the Yiddish Book Center that
was founded in 1980 by Aaron Lansky. The Center has helped rescue more than
one million Yiddish volumes and has diligently worked to preserve the
Yiddish language. Since 1998, it has digitalized the full texts of more
than eleven thousand Yiddish books that can be downloaded at no charge. The
Center has helped establish Yiddish collections at the Library of Congress,
the British Library, and more than 600 libraries around the world,
including national libraries in Australia, China and Japan. In 2010, a
Yiddish-Japanese dictionary was published.

In 1981, The Yiddish Book Center began publishing Pakn Treger–– the Book
Peddler. It is written in English with some Yiddish, and looks at
contemporary Jewish life and its Yiddish roots. In 1983, the
Yiddish-language Forverts became a weekly newspaper, and now has a
circulation of 5,000. In 1990, the Forward began as the English-language
weekly version and its circulation has now grown to 26,000. The Forward
went online in 1998, followed by the Forverts, which tries to reach a
younger, worldwide audience of Yiddish speakers.*

Today, there are Yiddish-language newspapers, magazines, as well as Yiddish
radio programing with one station each in Boston and New York, and others
around the world. Highly spirited klezmer music emanated in the Hasidic
culture of Eastern Europe in the 1700s. The name comes from the Hebrew
words, klei andzemer, and literally means "vessels of song." It was played
at joyful celebrations such as weddings, and that tradition continues in
America where its melodic and somewhat soulful sounds have helped spur
interest in all things Yiddish. There are more than two hundred klezmer
groups found in thirty-six states.*

Yiddish melodies were sung and played by an array of artists, including the
Andrew Sisters recording, "Bei Mir Bistu Shein" in 1937, Cab Calloway's
"Utt Da Zoy" in 1939, and Billie Holiday's rendition of "My Yiddishe Momme"
in 1956. Many organizations in the United States and around the world work
to preserve and promulgate Yiddish. In its world headquarters in New York
City, YIVO's library has more than 385,000 volumes and its archives contain
more than 24 million pieces, including manuscripts, documents, and
photographs. YIVO offers cultural events and films, adult education and
Yiddish language classes, as well as a six-week intensive summer program.*

The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring is a Yiddish language-oriented, American
Jewish fraternal organization committed to social justice, the Jewish
community, and Ashkenazic culture. To perpetuate the Yiddish language and
culture, its extensive online Jewish Book Center offers songbooks, CDs,
klezmer CDs, textbooks, instruction books, and dictionaries, as well as
books of Yiddish literature.

The International Association of Yiddish Clubs (IAYC) helps unify Yiddish
activities and events, holds international conferences, and strives to keep
the Yiddish language, literature and culture alive. Information on these
and other Yiddish-focused organizations can be found on
*Yiddish Lives On.* The Yiddish language has survived centuries of fervent
anti-Semitism, planned and executed pogroms in Eastern Europe, and man's
ultimate evil personified by the calculated, calamitous atrocities
committed by the Nazis. Yet the Third Reich was destroyed while the
remnants of European Jews and their coveted Yiddish language still survive.
Today, many Holocaust survivors relish conversing in Yiddish whenever and
wherever they get together.

On December 8, 1978, Isaac Bashevis Singer received the Nobel Prize in
Literature and delivered his acceptance lecture in both Yiddish and
English. He concluded by saying, "Yiddish has not yet said its last word.
It contains treasures that have not been revealed to the eyes of the
world. It was the tongue of martyrs and saints, of dreamers and
cabalists--rich in humor and in memories that mankind may never forget. In
a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the
idiom of the frightened and hopeful humanity.

The vulnerable Yiddish language could have languished and died but instead
it has become a venerable part of our society. The one-thousand-year-old
story of Yiddish is not over. It may not be as richly told as before, but
it would be a mistake to write it off. Now is the time to continue writing
the current chapter that begins with, "Once upon another time in the
twenty-first century."*
The word "bagel" is a Yiddish word.  a ring-shaped bread roll that looks like a donut  made by boiling, then baking, the dough (from בײגלbeygl)  is but one example.
Resource:  forwarded to me by the sister of Marvin Slifman who sent it to her.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

When The Greeks Owned Syria and Attacked Judah: Chanukah History

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                      

Alexander the Great (July 20/21, 356 BCE to June 10/11, 323 BCE was the King of Macedonia          ( Bulgaria, Greece and Yugoslavia), home of the city of Salonica, an important Greek port  from 336-323 BCE.  His personality had made a great impression on the Jews.  Josephus describes his visit to Jerusalem.  He had paid  honor to the high priest Jaddua.  The Talmud tells us that when Alexander and his conquering legions advanced up to Jerusalem, they were met by a delegation of elders, led by the High Priest Shimon HaTzaddik.  When Alexander saw Shimon coming to him, he dismounted and prostrated himself before the Jewish sage.  Alexander said  to his men that each time he went into battle, he would see a vision of this High Priest leading the Greek troops to victory.  Alexander was a kind and generous ruler.  He canceled the Jewish taxes during Sabbatical years, and even offered animals to be sacrificed on his behalf in the Temple.  Alexander never visited Jerusalem, though the Talmud tells of this meeting between him and the Jews at Antipatris.  He had suppressed the Samaritan revolt which gave the Jews of Jerusalem the occasion to stress their loyalty.  We find Alexander in Talmudic, Midrashic and medieval Jewish stories.   Scholars doubt Josephus' information that he granted civic rights to Jewish settlers in the Ionian cities of Asia Minor.  Unfortunately, Alexander's heirs failed to sustain his benevolence.  He was so beloved by the Jews that you will find many named their sons Alexander.  He died at the young age of 33.

Then there was a Greek king, Antiochus III,  who ruled Syria in the Hellenistic period of 223-187 BCE.  He took 2,,000 Jewish families from Babylon to Lydia and Phrygia. The Babylonians had attacked Judah in 597 and 586 BCE so Jews had been taken away to Babylonia and lived there for over 300 years.  This king was from the House of Seleucus who ruled Syria and was one of  13 Greek kings.  The Seleucids were a Hellenistic royal dynasty founded by Seleucus Nicator.  He was one of Alexander the Great's generals.

Antiochus  conquered Judah in about 200 BCE and granted privileges to the Temple.  Then he captured Jerusalem in 198 BCE.  He treated the Jews quite well, with understanding.
 However, along came Antiochus IV Epiphanes who reigned from 175-163 BCE who was turned back by Rome on his 2nd expedition against Egypt in 168 BCE.  Now relations between the Jews and the Seleucids had deteriorated because the Seleucid kingdom was compelled to resort to all possible financial extortion's to meet its depressed monetary situation.  Antiochus's religious and cultural policy led to the Hashmonean revolt .  The result was that the Jews freed themselves from the Seleucids.
*                 *                  *                   *      
      *                 *                 *                  *
Now we come to the time of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem, almost 22 centuries ago, that history took place which causes the Jews to celebrate Chanukah.  They had returned to the land of Israel from the Babylonian Exile and had rebuilt the Holy Temple.  However, they remained subject to the Persian Empire first, then later, the conquering armies of Alexander the Great.  When he died, his kingdom was divided among his generals.  They had a power struggle which engulfed all the nations of the Middle East.  Israel found itself under the Seleucid Dynasty-Greek kings who reigned from Syria.

At the time of King Antiochus IV, the fate of the Jewish people seemed grim indeed.  The vastly outnumbered Maccabees were up against the world's most sophisticated military machine.  They faced opposition from within, as well.  Many Jews were meek, complacent, too willing to forsake their heritage and assimilate into the Hellenistic culture.  It was a time that was the darkest hour before the dawn.  With G-d's help and against all odds, the Maccabees were able to reclaim the Holy land and rededicate the Holy Temple.
Though their rule was rather benign to begin with, Antiochus IV waged a bloody war on the Jews which would threaten not just their physical lives, but their very spiritual existence.  By having been dominated by the Greeks, many Jews had begun to embrace the Greek culture and its hedonistic, pagan way of life.  They became Jewish Hellenists who were willing pawns in Antiochus' scheme to obliterate every trace of the Jewish religion.  The Holy Temple was desecrated and robbed of all its treasures.  Innocent people were massacred in mass.  Survivors were heavily taxed.  An Idol of Zeus was on the holy altar and the Greek Syrians forced the Jews to bow before it under penalty of death.  They could not observe the Sabbath and circumcision.

At the time of Antiochus IV lived the Jewish Hasmoneans.  This was the name of a priestly family and dynasty founded by Mattathias from the town on Modiin.  Mattathias had 5 sons; Judah the Maccabee,(the hammerer)  Jonathan, Simon, John, and Eleazar.   Jews were forced to offer sacrifices to the Greek idols.   "A Hellenistic Jew approached the altar to offer a sacrifice. Mattityahu grabbed his sword and killed him, and his sons and friends fell upon the Syrian officers and men" They directed the popular revolt against the hellenizing  policy adopted in Judah by the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes.  The Hasmneans fought a number of successful battles against the Syrians and in 164 BCE, Judah  Maccabee re-captured Jerusalem and rededicated the Temple. This was followed by many raids to rescue the Jewish population of Ammon, Idumea, Gilead and Galilee.  They were defeated in 163 at Bet Zechariah where Eleazar was killed.  The Hasmoneans were able, owing to dynastic distractions in Syria, to get terms securing Jewish religious freedom, but Judah and his party aspired for political freedom, too.  They continued the fight and Judah died at Elassa in 160 BCE.  John was murdered afterwards and Jonathan became the leader.  By playing off of Syrian pretenders against each other, Jonathan was able to get the high priesthood in 152 BCE and governorship of Judah in 150 BCE.  Simon succeeded in gaining exemption from tribute in 147 BCE.  He was confirmed by the people as hereditary high priest, ethnarch and general in 142 BCE.  Then he was murdered in 135 BCE.  His son, John Hyrcanus  succeed him and was defeated horribly by Antiochus VII Sidetes.

This brought about a rising which Antiochus had to suppress with great cruelty.  Thousands of Jews were killed and many sold into slavery.  Antiochus then brought non-Jewish settlers into Jerusalem and fortified Acra as a stronghold of the Hellenizers to dominate the city.
He began a terrible religious persecution of the Jews.  He forbid circumcision and observing the Sabbath. Then he desecrated the Temple altar and set up pagan altars in the provincial towns.  He compelled the Jews to take part in pagan ceremonies.  His excesses caused the Hasmonean uprising.

Nicanor was  general who commanded the Syrian forces of Antiochus IV along with Gorgias against the Hasmoneans in 166-165 BCE.  He was defeated at Emmaus.  Nicanor was again sent against Judah the Maccabee in 161 BCE  and was defeated and killed at Adasa, on Adar 13 (Jewish calendar).  This was thereafter commemorated as Nicanor Day.

His son, Antiochus V, who reigned from 164-162 BCE continued the war against the Jews until 163 BCE when he granted them religious and some political autonomy in return for their acceptance of his rule.

Antiochus VII Sidetes  occupied Jerusalem, plundered the Temple treasure and tried to Hellenize Judea by force because he wanted to convert it into a a frontier-province that he could depend on. Antiochus VII Sidetes reigned from 138-128 BCE and came down hard on the Jews by reasserting the Seleucid claims on Judea.  Antiochus VII Sidetes  had invaded the country in the time of Simon the Hasmonean in 138 BCE and again with greater success in 134 BCE.  He started off by repulsing them in 138 BCE and again invaded Judea and seized Jerusalem in 135-4 BCE.

 John Hyrcanus, son and successor of Simon the Hasmonean, ruled from 135 to 104 BCE and was forced to surrender and destroyed the walls of Jerusalem.  He ceded his conquests outside of Judea and had to pay tribute.  Antiochus died in 129 which gave John a chance to reassert his independence. John was confirmed as high priest but had to accept harsh peace-terms which made the Hasmonean state again tributary to Syria.  He had to participate in the Parthian campaign of Antiochus Sidetes.  After the defeat of Syria and the death of Antiochus, he freed himself from Syrian suzerainty and regained territory he had been obliged to cede.  He attacked the Samaritans and captured Shechem and Mt. Gerizim and destroyed their temple.  Then John overran the territory of the Idumeans and forced them to embrace Judaism.  Most likely he conquered Galilee with his son Aristobulus who completed the conquest.

 Just before John Hyrcanus's death, his sons defeated the Samaritans and got control of Bet Shean and part of the Valley of Jezreel.     Antiochus  VII had occupied Jerusalem, plundered the Temple treasure and tried to Hellenize Judea by force because he wanted to convert it into a a frontier-province that he could depend on.  When Antiochus died in 129 BCE, the Jews revolted, and the Seleucid rule in Judah ended in 128.  

Antiochus IX Cyzicenus reigned on and off from 125 to 95 BCE and was severely defeated in 107 when he tried to help out Samaria which was under siege by a Jewish army.

Had the Jews not overcome Antiochus IV when they did, Judaism would have been wiped out.  If that had fallen, Christianity would not have risen when it did and neither would have Islam.  We'd all still be celebrating Greek and Roman gods.  The Menorah that we use in celebration commemorates the eternal light that hung in the Temple which was lit with virgin olive oil.  A great Rabbi once remarked that "you cannot chase away darkness with a stick.  You have to turn on the light."  The way to eliminate darkness-to rid the world of ignorance, negativity, hatred and greed-is to kindle the lights of knowledge, generosity, hope and love.

The Chanukah menorah is lit only after nightfall because his signifies that our purpose is to illuminate the darkness of this world, until the time when, as the Prophet says, "the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d."  The world is waning itself off of organized religion at this time, I note.  It may be difficult for us to  perceive G-dliness in our everyday lives, but Chanukah reminds us, even in our darkest moments, that the light of knowledge can shine brightly, that redemption is at hand, if we will kindle just one more lamp.

The soul cannot be extinguished.  Miraculously, despite the best efforts of the oppressors, one cruse of pure olive oil remained in the Temple when Judas Maccabee entered, and one cruse was enough to rededicate the Temple and renew the holy task of spreading light throughout the world.

The New Standard AJewish Encyclopedia
Your Chanukah Guide- Chabad 1996

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Senior Jews Now Victims of KNOCKOUT GAME

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                    
                                                                 Brooklyn, New York 
Malmo, Sweden has been the city where Jews have been attacked by anti-Semites for quite a few years, now.  They have a mayor who has not cared what happens to these Holocaust survivors.  Many Jews from here have now moved to Israel because of the lack of taking any action against the attacks.   Now we see that Brooklyn, New York is a new focus of anti Semites.

Recently a 78 year old grandmother in Brooklyn was walking during the daytime when she was punched on purpose  and knocked down by a young African-American.  He didn't steal anything as she lay on the sidewalk but just left her there.

This has been happening to other Jews.  CBS reported on a series of such attacks right in Brooklyn.  Authorities figure its part of a very disturbing game of teens punching Jews with the object of trying to knock them over.  It sounds to me like using Jews as pins in a bowling alley.  This has been dubbed as the "Knockout Game."  Evidently the older the victim is, the better, as long as they are Jews.

It's also happened to non Jews, now.  Several  other victims have been hit in Washington DC's Columbia Heights.   Phoebe Connally is a young adult, non-Jewish on a bike  but was punched in her head and knocked down when she confronted a group of teens.  However, videos from elsewhere show victims who were completely knocked out cold — like in New York and New Jersey.  Now, D.C. police are saying to watch out for it here.

Ralph Erick Santiago of Hoboken, New Jersey  was punched, knocked down and died from an attack by 3 boys aged 13 and 14.  He died because of how he fell.  His head hit 

The media report that police are investigating these strings of attacks as possible HATE CRIMES.   Possible?  It's obvious it's a new line of showing anti-Semitism.  What kind of sicko can dream up this type of action?  Picking on elderly women?  
The first thing that comes to my mind is a situation I just had.  I was talking to a clerk in an office trying to fill out an important form.  In the office was a young woman with a girl toddler.  The girl had been running up and down the room screaming at the top of her lungs while the mother just crouched in a corner talking on her cell phone.  I then had to hear what the clerk was saying.  The clerk had made a number of errors on my form and I was trying to point these out with a distance between us with the counter of a few feet and could not hear.  I turned to ask the mother to please quiet the child because I couldn't hear and she jumped on me. " What!!You're telling me to quiet my child!! You can't tell me what to do!!"  The clerk also joined her by telling me you don't tell children to be quiet!!!  Need I tell you that I'm a retired teacher and looked at these 2 women wondering what the world has come to.  That girl will surely fail kindergarten at this rate. The clerk was so inept that I wasn't surprised she would be in agreement.  She couldn't copy something in front of her nose.   Is this how some of the younger generation are bringing up their children?  No wonder they grow up with no qualms of knocking down seniors, especially Jewish  seniors.

The object of the Knockout Game is to show one's machismo by sucker-punching an unsuspecting adult and knocking them out cold.  They have been caught in video surveillance's;  young blacks in major cities all over the country.  This is spreading fast.

This type of child is the first to be hooked into the anti-Semites and  terrorist groups.  They'll be in the mob of teenagers that work as a group to rob stores.  They have nothing to use to discern what is right and what is wrong in this world.  Anything goes with them.  Parents are into no birth control but they don't realize that with a child they have a responsibility to teach them how to be civilized.

Civilization has been going on for at least 4,000 years and here we are in the year 2013, about to embark on 2014, yet we have people functioning with the most primitive of behaviors, more than 4,000 years old.  Punch seniors to knock them down! These teens are acting like children in my 1st grade class where when one fell out of his seat, the whole class followed suit-aping his experience.  Copy-cat behaviors.  Something like a copy-cat killer one watches and learns about  on TV.

It all starts with the parents.  They're not doing their job.  It's the most important job in the world, shaping the future of their family, city, state and country.  To them, children are just something that came along accidentally that you put up with and sometimes feed.  You certainly don't have to teach them anything-that's the school's job, and how they hate schools, by the way.  They are just a bother.  Church values?  No doubt, they don't believe in that old stuff.  You shouldn't find a church-goer's children punching a lone person so as to knock them over,  no matter who they are.  Would they do that to someone they think is Jewish?

Resource:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/knockout-game_n_4310453.html?1384969358&icid=maing-grid7%7Caim%7Cdl16%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D408939&utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How Albert Einstein Almost Became Israel's President

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                    

Albert Einstein and David ben Gurion,  Prime Minister of Israel, who made the offer to Einstein on November 17, 1952.  .

Einstein was offered the Presidency of Israel.  This is what happened.
"Einstein's response:

I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions. Therefore I would also be an inappropriate candidate for this high task, even when my old age didn’t interfere with my forces more and more [...] I am the more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world."  

David ben Gurion, b: 1886-d: 1973 was born in Plonsk, Poland and was Israel's 1st Prime Minister.  He had arrived in Palestine in 1906.  A former teacher, "and having led the struggle to establish the State of Israel in May 1948, Ben-Gurion became Prime Minister and Defense Minister. "  He said, "Without moral and intellectual independence, there is no anchor for national independence. 

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany in 1879 and died in 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA.  He was a Nobel Prize winner in Physics.  The man, a genious, had an IQ of 180.  He was also an Ashkenazi Jew.   He had said, "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."  He is also remembered to have said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
                                   A Younger Albert Einstein 

Chaim Weizmann, born in Motol, Russia in 1874, was the first president of Israel in 1948.  "Weizmann was also a chemist who developed the acetonebutanol–ethanol fermentation process, which produces acetone through bacterial fermentation.  It is said that England would not have won the first World War without his process.    He founded the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.  When he died at the age of 78 in November 1952, ben Gurion offered the job first to Einstein.    Weizmann is remembered to have said, "I head a nation of a million presidents".

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/chaim_weizmann.html#joO4WMsLSSuC1YOQ.99

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Choosing to Be the Chosen-Everyone Wants to be in the Act

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                   

Jews are known to be "the Chosen ones."  Most people have no idea what we were chosen for. Judaism started as a monotheistic belief in one G-d with Abraham who lived in the 2nd  millennium BCE.  He gave birth to Isaac who passed it onto his son, Jacob whose name was changed to Israel, and thus was the start of the family of the 12 Tribes of Jacob who were the ancestors of Moses. They were called the Israelites.   Moses passed down to his 600,000 freed slaves the whole Torah (the first 5 books of the Tanakh)  that is the basis for Judaism.

 We had made a covenant with G-d to believe just this.  G-d chose the Israelites and told them so at Mt. Sinai with thunder and lightning, shofar blast and pillar of cloud when this awestruck nation received the Ten Commandments and Moses brought them down to them.  The Israelites chose to follow one G-d by accepting the covenant.  At this period of time, humans had come to believe in many gods who all had a different function.  They could be seen.  This one G-d of the covenant was an unseen G-d.  This was an utterly new concept for the mind to wrap around.  The closest to ever come to it were the Egyptians who for a time had a Pharaoh who worshipped the sun and that was all.

We were told that we were to be a holy people to G-d and he chose us to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth.  G-d promises never to exchange his people with any other in Genesis 17:7.  We were also to be a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." Exodus 19:6.  Why?  Because we were the fewest of all people and he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your ancestors."  (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).

However, there was a catch to all this.  We had obligations to pay.  It was emphasized by the prophet Amos who said, "You only have I singled out of all the families of the earth:  therefore will I visit upon you all your iniquities." (glaringly noticeable error of injustice or wickedness). So, we have been in G-d's spotlight, who has been watching our behavior.  We have been visited many a time with horrible destruction and death and are now on our own home ground  which we were told to inhabit in the first place, trying to do as we were told and having to work around all the obstacles placed before us.

If you are an atheist, you have to understand that Jews  carried this burden with them.  They have always felt from the very beginning of their religion that they were chosen to lead the way of good behavior for others to see and to follow, the example for the world.   We were taught that all of mankind was created in G-d's image which shows we are all loved by him.  We are called the children of the Lord and we are beloved because we were given the Torah to study and follow which is our example to live by.  So we carry this special duty of a mission or purpose to life and are to proclaim G-d's message to all the nations.  Following the Torah is the whole key to being the chosen.

Then why have  we been running into difficulties with other religions of Christianity and Islam.  We've been  threatened by some members of both religions.

 In the Koran, Mohammad, who was born in 570 CE and died in 632 CE wrote, "O children of Israel, remember my favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I favored you above all creation. (Qur'an 2:47), 2:122).  This would be G-d speaking to the Jews.  Mohammad was acknowledging that the children of Israel enjoyed a special status.

 Then they showed that they understood that this status did not confer upon Israelites any racial superiority, and was only valid so long as the Israelites maintain their covenant with G-d.  We Jews did stem originally from a family of 12 sons and one daughter (Dinah), but did not remain all in the family.  People had to choose spouses and this mixed up the genes, so we know we're not racially pure. We have had people who chose to convert to Judaism and have done so.

 They went on to say in the Koran in 5:12, "Indeed G-d had taken the covenant from the Children of Israel, and we appointed 12 leaders among them.  And G-d said:  "I am with you if you establish the prayer and offer the Zakat (compulsory charity) and believe in My Messengers; honor and assist them, and lend to G-d a good loan.  Verily, I will remit your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise).  But if any of you after this, disbelieve, he has indeed gone astray from the Straight Path.".

I interpret this as the Koran taking away the covenant G-d gave us and installing 12 other new leaders and if Jews did these new requirements we could also then be admitted to Paradise and that this is now the new Straight Path to follow, not Judaism.  Naturally Jews bowed out of this proselytizing attempt and continued to be Jews as they had promised with their covenant.

 When living in the Muslim countries we were referred to as the People of the Book, and had the rights of a 2nd class citizen, a dhimmi, with a few protections involved and a lot of obligations and restrictions.  However, people fared better under Muslim rule than under European rule, especially Russian rule where pogroms were frequent.  Muslims believe that they have replaced Judaism with Islam and they actively seek converts whereas Jews do not.  Since Muslims and Christians have been very forceful in the converting, we being the target of all this had decided long ago not to be like that.  If someone wants to convert, he or she must prove he really knows what he is doing, as we're out of the business of converting the public.  To know us is the example and if you want to join us, fine.
                                                       *     *        *      *
Some Christians believe that Jews are g-d's chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2). They also believe in Jesus's 2nd coming to earth and that a certain amount of Jews must remain in order to bring this on.  Then in the end they will convert.  Evangelicals are not replacement theorists as Pastor  John Hagee has been most helpful to Israel.

 The problem is that we Jews reject Jesus as being anything other than a Jewish man who lived in Judea.  In fact, we don't have any scripture about him other than Josephus's writing about him.  We do not accept the New Testament.  Our Bible is the Old Testament which we call the Tanakh.

Because we do not accept a different status about Jesus, who died in 29 CE, many  Christians decided that they had received this special status of being the Chosen ones.  (Romans 11:11-24).  This doctrine is known as Supersessionism.

Some Christians believe that all people who turn to Jesus-known also as Christ-as their personal savior are "chosen" in the context of John 15:16 whereby Jesus referred to G-d's plan of salvation as his great redeeming work on the cross, that all who come to faith in him does so freely and are "chosen" to bear "fruit that lasts".  (1 Peter 2:9 refers to these Christians as "chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, g-d's special possession.  They have now replaced the Jews in every way.

There are other points that the Replacement theory shows.
  1. The Jewish people are no longer God's chosen people.  Instead, the Christian church now makes up God's chosen people.
  2. In the New Testament after Pentecost, the term "Israel" refers to the church.
  3. The Mosaic covenant (Exodus 20) is replaced by the new covenant (Luke 22:20). 
  4. Actual circumcision is replaced by a circumcision of the heart (Rom. 2:29). 
By believing in this Replacement theory, many mainstream Christian Protestants believe they are now the Chosen People and that Israel is no longer important.  They demonstrate their strong belief in this by participating or leading the BDS movement of boycotting, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel in order to make them give up all their rights in favor of the Palestinian Arabs who they are now identifying with since Israel means nothing anymore.  To them, returning to their homeland has no basis anymore.  Actually, they are going against everything the world decided in the early 1900's with the Balfour Doctrine and the League of Nations.  Since they have already thrown out the Jews through the Replacement of them by themselves in G-d's eye, they can easily throw out history and facts since most everyone is a poor history student, anyway, and tend to only believe what comes from their familiar pulpit.

We have come full circle.  Christianity is again harming Jews who live in Israel.  They support the Palestinians who want our small space of a Homeland for theirs by interfering with their economic  means of support.  It's like running interference with a man's salary that supports his family.    The irony is that Israel has tried to help the Arabs a great deal, and have been the main supplier of many of the Palestinian Arab's utilities.  Israel suffers from their -not slings and arrows- but from their mortars, rockets and missiles today.  Along with the Muslim communities who are attempting to remove Israel entirely from the Middle East, we have both religious groups who have in their minds replaced Jews and who are fighting against them, each in their own special ways.
_________________ ____________________  ___________________  __________________
Jeff, I'm going to comment here as I'm only allowed 4,096 letters and have more to say.  You're giving me a mental workout, Jeff.  Well, let's see.  You're talking about the Babylonian exile in Ezekiel during King Jehoiachin's exile, the king of Judah, who reigned in 597 BCE who came to the throne at age 18 during this siege of Jerusalem.  He lasted for 3 months and 10 days before capitulating to Nebuchadnezzar.   Ezekiel is talking about the workings of the Heavenly throne, a  topic far from our comprehension so that even the Sages of the Talmud felt they couldn't interpret it, and were limited in the permissibility of expounding on its teachings as it describes supernatural concept in human terms, but they couldn't take it literally nor are we equipped even to attempt a glimpse at their inner meaning. Today lots of people take it as being visited by outer space UFO and space aliens.     So now I'll skip ahead to verse 20 where the elders were in shock that G-d had apparently spurned Israel and they asked whether they still owed Him allegiance if they were no longer His Chosen people.  They asked why couldn't they be like all the other nations.?  Ezekiel responded that they were wrong.  Even their exile and oppression were functions of their chosenness;  Israel was being punished because it had fallen short of its mission.  But, as Ezekiel says in verses 32-33, Israel isn't free to join the nations, either.  G-d told Ezekiel to tell the protesting elders of the national shortcomings over the course of history, in Egypt, the Wilderness, and in Eretz Yisrael.  Then they are listed;  the golden calf, rebelling against manna, the spies, and event at Baal Peor.  They were told that they would be punished in a deserted area so that their enemies wouldn't witness their downfall and were told that they desecrated G-d's name when they come to the prophet and ignore his words or bring offerings but continue to worship idols.  It was hypocrisy that was the worst offense.   It goes on to say that Jerusalem, the victim, had both righteous and wicked people as a forest has different types of trees and after destroying Israel, the sword will annihilate other peoples.  In verse 21 they hear that Jerusalem had fallen.  This is the explanation of why this had happened.

We can call Avram as Abraham because his name had been changed.  There is a meaning to the change.  Yes, Judaism really doesn't  believe in the Devil like others do.  Judaism says man has an evil inclination and a good inclination.  I understand that its up to us to control this inclination.  Of course today the mentally sick need our help in doing so.

In Isaiah  your reference of 25:6-7 speaks of being on Mt. Zion and the final judgment of the nations will take place there.  G-d will serve a rich meal of retribution, like a feast of concentrated, potent, filling and intoxicating foods and spirits.  That is, He will take away their protection of veils and masks, and allow them to be routed (defeated) .  Jews will no longer be killed by their persecutors, but death from natural causes will of course continue to happen.  Alternatively:  All death will be eliminated. I suppose this shows 2 different understandings  in this comment.   I admire the description in 25:4-For you were a stronghold for the meek, which is a reference to Israel, which suffered tribulations form the mighty during their exile.  , a stronghold for the destitute when he was in distress;  a shelter from downpour, a shade from the scorching heat, when the fury of the mighty was like a downpour against a wall.  In 25:5, G-d in His mercy protected Israel from the oppressive heat of their persecutors in -though they were like a scorching heat in the wasteland, You diminished the tumult of the foreigners;  like a scorching heat is shaded by a cloud, so the breaking of the mighty humbled them.

Yes, this indeed is a miracle to have Israel once again.  It's too bad it couldn't have happened in Chaim Weizmann's timeline and 6 million would have been saved from a most horrible death.  That done, the world is again turning against us for existing.  The very fact that we are in existence once again must mean something, eh.  Is this the battle between the sons of darkness and the sons of light as found in the Dead Sea Caves?  Seems like we're always doing it; within ourselves and with other nations.  Goodness has to win out someday.

Resource:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_as_the_chosen_people
In Defense of Israel by John Hagee, the Bible's mandate for supporting the Jewish State

Monday, November 4, 2013

Abbas Ignores Facts: Into Delusions Instead

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                         

                                                          Mahmoud Abbas born in 1935
The facts are that Israel became a state on May 14, 1948 when it was announced to the world.  This was all done through the United Nations where all the countries that belonged voted, and Israel was accepted.

The preliminary work on bringing this about started way back before WWI with many meetings.  WWI ended with the Allies winning, and so the Ottoman Empire, being on the Axis side with Germany, lost, and Britain was given the mandate of taking care of Palestine, part of the Ottoman Empire holdings.  France was given the mandate for Syria, and so on.  The UN had decided that the Jewish National Home should be created out of Palestine and that Britain was to see to it that it was brought about.  It was all very legal work.

Arabs, mostly nomadic people, lived there also, but not in large numbers.  They were Syrian Palestinians.  They hadn't been worked up to the pitch of thinking they had to have their own state until Israel won the war of 1967 after many attacks and former wars by their Arab neighbors.  Since then the Palestinians have been worked up to a feverish pitch to "have their own state; all of Palestine and call it Palestine.  One of the most worked up people is the leader of Fatah, which used to be called the PLO which was run by Arafat.  Mahmoud Abbas himself has fallen for his own rhetoric and believes it all.  This is the guy that Israel has to work with in peace talks.

Abbas has now been  telling people that Israel is "occupied Palestinian land" at a memorial this month.  Jamal Muhaisen gave this speech written by Abbas.  He said that "not an inch of the land of Palestine" has been "liberated."  He went on to say that "All our holy places are still under occupation, and so far we have not liberated one inch of Palestinian land.  All Palestinian land is occupied - Gaza is occupied, the West Bank is occupied, the 1948 lands (i.e., Israel) are occupied and Jerusalem is occupied."

If talking and telling delusional lies isn't enough, his people have created songs to suit his delusion.  They go along with their bloody way of getting things.  A song glorifying the weapon and the use of violence is "My Weapon Has Emerged,".  It was chosen as part of the National Security Band's performance at the memorial, which marked the anniversary of the death of a senior Fatah and PLO leader from the 1970's, Majed Abu Sharar.

"From my wounds, my weapon has emerged.
Oh, our revolution, my weapon has emerged.
There is no force in the world that can remove the weapon from my hand." 
                         (Official PA TV Live, October 9, 2013) 

A longer version of this song glorifies death.  This is so popular that it has been chosen to be performed at other events. 
"This revolutionary people has sacrificed and offered in order to live in  freedom!
My weapon has emerged.  My weapon has emerged. 
He who offers his blood doesn't care if his blood flows upon the ground.
As the weapon of the revolution is in my hand, so my presence will be forced (upon Israel).
My weapon has emerged.  My weapon has emerged."  

The general saying about  the PLO 30 years ago was that they could easily talk themselves into believing their own lies.  I was told a joke about it.  "A PLO fellow wanted to be alone with his wife, so he told his children that the ice cream wagon was outside and that they should go out and get some ice cream.  The children got all excited and lined up to get their quarters for ice cream from their father.  He got into the game himself and ran out to get his share."  Of course, there was no ice cream truck out there.  It was a ruse to get them out of his way. He quickly had believed his own story!   Talk about gullibility!

That's what has happened possibly to Abbas.  He believes his own stories.  In this case, his grandiose delusion is that he and his people, who have multiplied a great deal since 1948, wrongly hold themselves at an extraordinary high status in their minds as being the rightful owners of Palestine.

Fatah/PLO seem to be holding fantastical beliefs that they had a famous country of Palestine.  Palestine was simply the renamed land of Judah and Israel by the Romans.  They called it Palaestina to erase the history of their two states.  Bar Kokhba, a Jewish general of Judah, had created an uprising in 132 CE that lasted until 135, giving the Romans a very hard time, and so they retaliated this way when they won the final battle.  Since then it had been a desert-like mess of scrub-brush, marshes, mosquitoes, and weeds. Few people lived here or cared about the land.  Many empires came to hold it.   It was a place that nomads with camels tramped through, with few Arabs owning actual land, and if they did, they got tired of having nothing and sold it while they moved away to large cities such as Damascus or Paris.

Fatah has created a belief  for their people and themselves that they were once the famous country of Palestine and were omnipotent, wealthy and powerful.  It is a fantastic delusion which has an unknown theme as it can't be a religious one.  Islam didn't take place until about 620 with Mohammad's death.  Was it supernatural?  Was it a science-fiction delusion?  It seems that they and many others had done little research into proving that there ever was a country of Palestine.

Or has this delusion come about through being depressed in that they had made the wrong choices all along in not accepting the offer in 1948 of having their own state.  Instead, they held out with their leaders  wanting all of the land.  As it was, Israel lost 80% of the total amount of land promised according to the Balfour Doctrine because Britain took it upon themselves to allow Abdullah to take what was known as Transjordan, which was part of the deal to be the Jewish Homeland.  It was a big piece of the pie.  Abdullah took that land, Jews accepted the other 20% left to them which was part of the land they had been settling in since their return in the 1880's and that left nothing for the holdouts, the nomadic Syrian Palestinian Arabs who thought their land was Syria anyway.  At every offering, the PLO has said NO.  They're still saying it.

When you get right down to it, the Palestinian Arabs are being squashed by their compadres, Hamas.  Their self worth has gone down the drain since Hamas kicked them out of  Gaza and they are shored up in Judea and Samaria.  They were not  the power group.  Hamas has been and  even though they have talked of joining together, haven't agreed to that union, either.  Each one insists on being the top dog.  This is a problem seen all over the Middle East for centuries, anyway.  Author Lee Smith talks about this power struggle in his book THE STRONG HORSE-power, politics, and the clash of Arab civilizations.  

The Palestinians have little knowledge about themselves other than the Arabian Nights Tales  fed to them from infancy.  We are seeing the 3rd generation  of people who have been living in refugee camps since 1948, places their leaders led them to instead of making peace with the Jews of Israel.  They have no work and depend on education from UNRWA.  They have been living on the dole instead of through their own talents.

 Read Mark Twain's THE INNOCENTS ABROAD,  that tells what the nomadic Arabs were doing when he visited the Holy Land in 1867 and you will see what he thought of them.  p. 188-We had a tedious ride of about 5 hours., in the sun, across the Valley of Lebanon.  It proved to be not quite so much of a garden as it had seemed from the hill-sides.  It was a desert, weed-grown waste, littered thickly with stones the size of a man's fist.  Here and there the natives had scratched the ground and reared a sickly crop of grain, but for the most part the valley was given up to a handful of shepherds, whose flocks were doing what they honestly could to get a living, but the chances were against them. .....The plows these people use are simply a sharpened stick, such as Abraham plowed with, and they still winnow their wheat as he did - they pile it n the house-top, and then toss it by shovel-fulls into the air until the wind has blown all the chaff away.  They never invent anything, never learn anything."

page 203:  Palestine is only from 40 to 60 miles wide.  The State of Missouri could be split into 3 Palestines, and there would then be enough material left for part of another - possibly a whole one.  From Baltimore to San Francisco is several thousand miles, but it will be only a 7 days' journey in the cars when when I am 2 or 3 years older.  ...but one journey from Dan to Beersheba will be sufficient, no doubt.  ...Therefore, if we chance to discover that from Dan to Beersheba seemed a might stretch of country to the Israelites, let us not be airy with them, but reflect that it was and is a mighty stretch when one can not traverse it by rail.

About the Bedouins:  These chaps would sell their younger brothers if they had a chance, I think.  They have the manners, the customs, the dress, the occupation and the loose principles of the ancient stock.  [They attacked our camp last night, and I bear them no good will.]  They had with them the Pygmy jackasses one sees all over Syria and remembers in all pictures of the "Flight into Egypt," where Mary and the Young Child are riding and Joseph is walking alongside, towering high above the little donkey's shoulders.  But really, here the man rides and carries the child, as a general thing, and the woman walks.  The customs have not changed since Joseph's time.

The Palestinians' identity has changed from being Syrian Palestinians before 1967 to Palestinians after rib-jabbing from their leaders of Fatah and Hamas.  Their morals are neither of Islam, Christianity or Judaism.  They are new ones,  all concerning killing Jews, allowing their children to think that Israel belongs to them and they can take it away from them with suicide bombers and the bloodiest of killings as the song above suggests.  Anyone that is a suicide bomber or has killed many Jews is revered  and applauded and remembered in programs, so you can see what kind of morals they have developed.  People like the religious leader, Qaradawi, have added to this delusion.  He's the one who calls Jews apes and pigs.  Now that's the way to lead the way, an old man calling names.  He had a big place in theater in Cairo, Egypt as millions came to listen to him speak.  He's also on al Jazeera every week spouting venom, in Arabic, of course.

Go to a school in Judea-Samaria, so called the West Bank, named by Jordan who took it without a fight from Britain, and you will not see a map of Israel.  That's because they have labeled it Palestine.  Does UNRWA care?  And of course, if Israel interferes with their education, they will be crucified again for being the occupation.  Of course they are not occupying  this section.  They have the PA to govern them and have had them for years now.  That's why they are in the red.   Oh yes, they owe Israel lots of money for their utilities.  They have no way of earning an income, only being the ones receiving help from their surrounding neighbors.

The surprise is of how much Abbas has changed in his philosophy.  "He was among the first members of Fatah to call for talks with moderate Israelis, doing so in 1977. In a 2012 interview he recalled: "[...] because we took up arms, we were in a position to put them down with credibility."  Now, with John Kerry, he is thinking he's in the driver's seat and has demanded that Israel free all their killers of Jews from their prisons or he won't talk about any peace agreement.  Why he sat down and agreed to spend almost a year to discuss peace and then changed his mind and brought this up hasn't been questioned.  In mid stream he has demanded this, and is getting it.  Whatever was said to Netanyahu has forced him to release horrible killers no country would even hold.  They would have been given the death sentence elsewhere.  Israel has no death sentence.  The future Palestine will have not one Jew in it, so they say.  Israel's citizens include about 1.7 million Arab citizens.  What a difference of philosophy and morality!  

Resource: Palestinina Media Watch, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=10030  by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik.
Wikipedia, on Grandiose delusions.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jewish Life Under the Roman Kings and Emperors and Later from : 31 BCE- 632 CE

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                 
                                                                       Roman Emperor

The last Jewish  king of Judah was Zedekiah from 597 to 586 BCE.   Judah was the southern partition of Israel that took place in 933 BCE after the death of King Solomon.  The northern partition remained as the kingdom of Israel.  It included the tribe of Judah and most of Benjamin and also absorbed Simeon which had been rather isolated in the south.    Judah kept Jerusalem as their capital which had the Temple.  In 586 the Babylonians attacked and Judah succumbed.  Large numbers of people were deported then.  10 of the  12 original tribes had been stolen by the Assyrians earlier.  They mixed in together so that the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar wound up with a large Jewish population.   The remaining people tried to be a subject state under Gedaliah, a member of the former royal house but he was assassinated in 582 BCE.  Gedaliah was appointed the governor of Judah  by the Babylonians .  His center was at Mizpah, but was murdered by the commander Ishmael ben Nethaniah and his followers.  They had been planning a revolt against Babylon  with the help of powerful neighbors.  Gedaliah's supporters then fled to Egypt.  

Cyrus II, king of Persia in 538 allowed the Jews to return from Babylon after he had overrun the Babylonian Empire which had included Palestine.  He even told them to rebuild their Temple.  . The descendants of the exiles in Babylonia kept their national and religious ideals so after 539 BCE when they returned  they had a renewal of Jewish life.  Cyrus died in 529 BCE.  
                                     *   *     *     *    *      *    *    *     *     *     *  
1. Augustus: (27 BCE-14CE)  Roman Emperor ruled from 31 BCE to 14 CE.  He was not friendly towards Jews.  This emperor was the one that confirmed Herod as king and returned to him the areas that had been taken away through Cleopatra's influence.  Herod in turned named the cities of  Sebaste (Greek name for Augustus) and Caesarea in his honor.  When Herod died it was Augustus who carried out his will and divided his territory among his 3 heirs; Archelaus, Philip and Antipas.  Later he converted Judea into a region governed by a procurator living in Caesara.
                                                 Temple that  Herod had rebuilt

Herod I, known as the Great, was the crowned king of Judea and ruled from 73 BCE to 4 BCE.  He was the son of Antipater the Idumean from Idumea, originally called Edom,  and his mother was a Nabatean. Herod's sister was Salome (Shulamit) who died in 10 CE.  Herod left her the town of Jabneh in his will.  She was always saying bad things about Herod's wife, Mariamne which caused Mariamne to be executed for adultery.  Nabateans were people of Arab extraction who lived in Edom in the 6th century BCE.  Their capital was Petra.  They were originally typical nomads and soon learned to develop agriculture under almost desert conditions by water conservation.  They had a chain of agricultural settlement across the Negev Desert.  They were subdued by the Romans in 63 BCE and their country was annexed in 106 CE and became the Provincia Arabia.

Antipater was the ruler of Judea from 63 to 43 BCE and had a lot of influence by supporting Hyreanus in his war against his brother Arisobulus. Later he helped the Romans.  He joined Julius Caesar after his victory over Pompey and recruited Jewish and Nabatean troops for his army.  He came financial administrator of Judea in 47 and was an effective ruler of the country.  He appointed his sons, Phasael and Herod to the chief administrative posts.  He was poisoned during a carouse.  This man had grown rich from trade with Arabia.

 Herod I  had been appointed governor of Galilee by his father when he was just a teenager and showed he had a strong hand by executing dissidents.  The Sanhedrin called him up on that and was only saved from death by the intervention of Hyrcanus and Sextus Caesar, governor of Syria.  When Herod's father died, he overtook the attempt by Antigonus, son of Aristobulus II, to take over his position in the Galilee.  The Parthians made Antigonus King in 40 BCE.  That's when Herod escaped to Rome and was appointed king of Judea by the senate.  He captured Jerusalem in 37 with the help of a large Roman force and because Antigonus was put to death.  Earlier that same year, he had married Mariamne, the Hasmonean, who was the granddaughter of  Hyrcanus, the high priest.  Herod then had a free hand in internal affairs but was kept from conducting an independent foreign policy.  The people loved the Hasmoneans, and he was merciless in suppressing this opposition.  He was extravagant in spending, so taxed the people heavily.  Mark Antony demanded large sums from the government as well.  Herod turned against the Nabateans that he had defeated, enlarging his territory, so he murdered all possible rivals  including his brother-in-law, Aristobulus III, the last Hasmonean high priest.  Then he put to death his wife Mariamne, their 2 sons, Alexander and Aristobulus, and even his firstborn, Antipater.  On the positive side, he had increased the wealth of his state, rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem on a great scale and built the 2 cities.  The land had been dubbed "Palestine" in about 135 CE by the Romans, and outside of this area, he was regarded as a generous patron and a spokesman and protector of the Jews.  When he died, his will said he divided his kingdom among his remaining sons of Archelaus, who ruled Judea from 4 BCE to 6 CE whose mother was Malthace the Samaritan;  Herod Antipas (20 BCE-39 CE) whose mother was also Malthace of Samaria, and became tetrarch of the Galilee and Perea.  He named the sea "Tiberias" for the Emperor.  He married Herodias, wife of his brother Herod.   Philip was the 3rd son of Herod who died in 34 CE.  He was educated in Rome and was appointed tetrarch and received the territories of Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, and Bashan and the city of Paneas, which he renamed Caesarea Philippi.  He had an equable termperament, different from his family that way and administered his territories justly.  His wife was Salome.  .

Note:  Edom (Idumea) was a country in SE Palestine, also called Mount Seir.  It was a mountainous country and easily fortified and was fertile.  It lay south of the Dead Sea and bordered on the Red Sea at Elath and Ezion Geber.  The Edomites were Semitic, traditionally descendants of Esau, and lived by hunting.  They were the traditional enemies of the Israelites and had fought against King Saul and were defeated by King David who partly annexed their land.  They got their independence under king Jerhoram, but wars between the 2 states were frequent.   

A grandson of Herod, Agrippa I (Marcus Julius or HErod Agrippa I, was king of Judea from 10 BCE to 44 CE.  He was the son of Aristobulus. Agrippa I was beloved by his Jewish subjects because of his respect for the Jewish religion and showed this by carrying his first fruits to the Temple.  He caused the governor of Syria to be suspicious of him by convening several other subject kings in Tiberias and by his efforts to strengthen the fortifications of Jerusalem.  He died suddenly while watching the games in Caesarea.  After his death, his kingdom was again converted into an annex of the province of Syria.

His son was Agrippa II.  (Marcus Julius or Herod Agrippa II) and lived from 28 CE to 93).  He was the last king of the house of Herod.  However,  when his father had died, Judea reverted to the rule of the Procurators. They were governors of Judea under the Roman emperors from the year 6 CE to 66 CE.  There were altogether 14 of them; 7 between 6 and 41 CE and the others between 44 and 66 CE.  They were subordinate to the Syrian legate.  The Syrian could exercise his authority over the Procurator if he was charged with abusing his office.  The Procurators of Judea had the administrative status of members of the Equates class.  They governed in place of the legate of Syria.  They acted as independent governors armed with full administrative authority.  They had full powers to punish including the death penalty.  Usually they lived in Caesarea.  If they were in Jerusalem, they lived in Herod's palace.   In the year 50 CE, Agrippa II received the principality of Chalcis, and was made responsible for supervising the Temple in Jerusalem.  Emperor Claudius gave him the title of king.  He was not a king of Judea but enjoyed royal prestige there, but he quarreled with the priests and inscribed coins with heathen emblems, so the people were hostile towards him.  when the Jews revolted against Rome in 66, he went to Jerusalem to restore calm, but had to flee for his life.  Then he went along with Titus during the siege of Jerusalem.  He was rewarded by receiving extended dominions outside of Palestine.  His sister was Berenice, the Judean Princess.

2. Tiberias, Roman emperor, ruled from 14 CE and died 37 CE. In 19 CE he expelled Jews from Rome because of a fraud on a Roman lady sympathetic to Jews.  4,000 young Jews were sent to Sardinia to fight the brigands.  Judea was harshly administered under his rule, the time when Jesus was crucified.

3. Caligula/Gaius, Roman emperor ruled from 37 CE  and died by assassination in 41 CE.  He gave Agrippa, grandson of Herod, the tetrachy of NE Judea and the title of king.  He insisted on being worshipped as a god and this caused huge problems for Jews which caused anti-Jewish disturbances in Alexandria when Agrippa visited in 38.  Philo headed the Jewish delegation sent to intercede with Caligula.  His assassination prevented serious consequences in the Jewish world.

4. Claudius, Roman emperor, ruled from 41 CE, poisoned in 54 CE, at once had issued edicts reaffirming Jewish religious autonomy in Alexandria.  In 44 had placed Judea under a procurator, but in 49, gave Agrippa's son, Agrippa II, regions of N. Judea to rule.  In 49-50 he expelled a number of Jews from  Rome, probably as a result of Jewish-Christian conflict.

5. Nero, Roman emperor, ruled from 54 CE to death, commits suicide in  68 CE , Turmoil going on in Judeaa culminated in the outbreak of the war against Rome.  His wife, Poppaea was sympathetic to Judaism.  Nero is mentioned in talmudical legend as being unfavorable towards Jews.

6.   Galba 68-69
7.  Otho 69
8.   Vitellius 69

9. Vespasian, Roman emperor from 69-79 CE.   He was sent by Nero in 67 to subdue the Judean rebellion and by 68 had conquered the Galilee, Transjordan and the Judean coast.  In 69 he became emperor.  He patronized Josephus and the Talmud speaks of his favorable treatment of Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai, a 1st century teacher, somewhat like a living library,  mentioned in the Mishnah or Baraita in this "Tannaitic Period" who was a pupil and intellectual heir of Hillel and a leader of the Pharisees. He engaged in many debates with the Sadducees and decided a number of halakhic rulings.  Many of his sayings are found in the Aggadah and ethics, showing his nobility and humility.  During the rebellion against Rome from 66 to 70, he was in the peace party in Jerusalem and was conveyed from the city by his pupils in a coffin.  He then came to Vespasian and predicted his rise to the Imperial throne.  As a reward he was allowed to continue teaching.  He founded the yeshivah (school)  at Jabneh which became the spiritual center of Judaism and the seat of the Sanhedrin after the fall of Jerusalem.  Under his influence, Judaism survived the cessation of the temple cult.  He set up another yeshiva at Eror Hayil.  He was the most admired rabbi of his time and was dubbed the Rabban.  His pupils included Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Joshua who were the leaders of Jewish intellectual life in the  following generations.

10. Titus, Roman emperor 79-81 CE, son of Vespasian, took command of the Roman army in Judea from his father in y0 when he destroyed Jerusalem after a 5 month siege.  He tried to preserve the Temple according to Josephus, but other sources say it was a deliberate destruction.  He wanted to eliminate the national religious center of the Jews.  He is called Titus the wicked.  He held this bitter battle in Jerusalem but did not mess with Jewish rights in other places.  His mistress was Berenice, a Jewish princess.  She may have had something to do with his attitude.

11. Domitian, Inp. Caesar Domitianus Augustus 81-96
12. Nerva , Imp. Caesar Nerva Augustus 96-98

13. Trajan, Roman emperor, ruled from 98 CE to 117 CE, Roman empire extends to Mesopotamia, Arabia, Balkans,  he wasn't known to be personally hostile to Jews, but his oriental policy led to a major clash.  In 105/106 he annexed the Nabatean kingdom including the Negev and Transjordan.  In 115-117 Jewish risings occurred in Cyrenaica, Egypt and Cyprus while he was involved in the Parthian war.  In Alexandria the Greeks attacked the Jews.  So in 116 he ordered a massacre of Jews in Mesopotamia where many of the  Babylonian Jews chose to remain.  Judea was kept under firm control and this bloody suppression was led by his general Lucius Quietus.  This suppression of various Jewish uprisings  ended the prosperity of the Jewish settlements in Egypt, Cyrenaica and Cyprus.

14.  Hadrian, Roman emperor rules from 117 CE to 138 CE, codifies Roman law, Jews revolt under Bar Kokhba from 132-135 in 3 year war, final diaspora/dispersion of Jews begins from 150-199 CE.  He had an eastern policy of the removal and execution of the savage governor of Judea, Lucius quietus and supported the Egyptian Jewry in disputes with the Greeks caused the Jews to think he was pretty good.  But, he had a prohibition on circumcision, thinking it was sexual mutilation.  This was a fundamental rite of Judaism.  He visited Judea in 130 and dealt with an implacable attitude of the Jews about this, so decided to start the Hellenization of the country by turning Jerusalem into a Roman colony to be named after himself, Aelia Capitolina.  The Jewish leader, Bar Kokhba (meaning son of the star, Ben Kosiba Simeon) ,  rebelled and thus the 3 year war of 132-135.  After Hadrian won, he received the title of Imperator.  Judea became a consular province called Syria-Palaestina.  The ruins of Jerusalem were reconstructed as a pagan city and a statue of Hadrian on a horse was placed on the site of the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place of the Temple, destroyed in 70 CE.

15. Antoninus Pius, 138-161
16.  Marcus Aurelius,  Roman emperor, 161-180.
17. Lucius Verus 161-169
18. Commodus, 176-192
19. Pertinax, 193
20. Didius Julianus, 193
21. Septimius Severus, 193-211
22. Clodius Albinus, 193-197
23. Pescennius Niger, 193-194
24. Caracalla, 198-217
25. Geta, 209-211
26. Macrinus, 217-218
27 Diadumenianus, 218
28. Elagabal, 218-222
                                              Goths invade Asia Minor 220 CE They were an east Germanic tribe made up of the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths.

                                              Persian Sassanids empire re-established in the East.  They were heirs of the ancient Achaemanean Empire.  These Sasanids controlled both sides of the Caspian Sea, the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent, and the whole territory between the Tigris and Indus Rivers.  Their winter capital was at Ctesiphon on the banks of the Tigris, and their summer capital at Ekbatana, the modern Hamadan.  Their religion was Zoroastrianism, and their language was called Pahlavi, or middle Persian.

29. Severus Alexander, 222-235
30. Maximinus, 235-238
31.. Gordian I, 238
32. Gordian II, 238
33. Balbinus, 238
34. Pupienus, 238
35. Gordian III 238-244
35. Philip, 244-249
36. Decius, 249-251
37, Trebonianus Gallus, 251-253
38. Volusianus, 251-253
39. Aemilianus, 253
40. Valerian, 253-260
41. Gallienus, 253-260
42. Claudius II, 268-270
43. Quintillus, 270
44. Aurelian, 270-275
45. Tacitus, 275-276
46. Florianus, 276
47. Probus, 276-282
48. Carus, 282-283
49. Carinus, 283-285
50. Numerianus, 283-284
51. Diocietian, 284-305
52. Maximian, 286-305
53. Constantius, 305-306
54. Galerius, 305-311
55. Severus, 306-307
56. Maxentius, 306-312

                                             Roman Empire invaded by Franks and Goths
 57. Constantine the Great, Roman emperor rules 307-337 and reunites eastern and western Roman empires with the new capital of Constantinople on the site of Byzantium 330, issues EDICT OF TOLERATION (Edict of Milan)  legalizing Christianity in 313, BY 315 decrees very anti-Jewish, converts to Christianity when dying 337, council of Nicaea 325.  Example of his extremism was in the city of Constantine in Algeria, Jews had settled there in 1st century CE but in 4th century the advent of Christianity forced Jews to leave and not to return until the local Nefzaona bedouin tribe adopted Judaism.
                                            Huns (Mongols) invade Europe 360.
58. Theodosius the Great, Roman emperor, rules 392-395

                                            Roman Empire now divided between West (ruled from Rome) and East (ruled from Byzantium/Constantinople.) Called the Byzantine Empire, controlled all of the Balkans and Asia Minor, the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, Egypt, and parts of North Africa.  Their official religion was Eastern orthodox Christianity and its language was Greek.  .

 Weak emperors, disintegrates.
                                             Alaric, King of the Visigoths, sacks Rome 410 CE
                                             Attila, the Hun, chieftain, attacks Roman provinces in 433.
                                             Vandals destroy Rome in 455.
59. Romulus Augustulus, Last  Roman emperor,   Western Roman empire ends in 455 CE with German chieftain, Odoacer, overthrowing him and the German chieftain becoming the king of Italy in 476, establishing the Ostrogothic kingdom by Theodoric the Great in 493.
                                                       *   *     *    *   *   *    *    *
I.  Clovis, ruler of the Franks, converts to Christianity in 496.  Schism between western and eastern churches 484.
II. Justinian I, the Great 483-565, Byzantine emperor 597, issues his code of civil laws in 529, conquers Italy, part of Spain, plague spreads through Europe in 542,

III Arthur, king of Britons killed.
IV Mohammad, founder of Islam 570-632;   plague kills half the population of Europe, subsides 594.
                                                Muslims conquer Jerusalem 637, Persians in 641
                                            3  Jewish tribes in Medina, Arabia who settled there in 2nd century CE after fall of Jerusalem  forced to convert to Islam or were expelled, Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Qurayza, and Banu Nadir.  Some probably converted by their own volition.
Resource:  http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001209.html
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Textbook:  2nd edition, Middle East, Past  & Present by Yahya Armajani and Thomas M. Ricks