Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jews of Hungary and the Neturei Karta versus Theodor Herzl

Nadene Goldfoot                                              

Let me start by saying that I am Jewish, raised in a conservative home on the West Coast of the USA.  Born in 1934, I realized belatedly that we had a home again named Israel for our original home, and was created May 14, 1948.  As a teenager, I saw how difficult a time Jews were having there.  In 1980 I made aliyah and lived and worked in Israel, receiving dual citizenship, staying until my family in the USA needed me back.  I even found and befriended a 3rd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot, former Chief of Intelligence for the Stern Group, those that fought for Israel before 1948.    I believe Israel has all the rights in the world to exist.  My involvement with Orthodoxy has been with Chabad, who also are supporters of Israel.  Our rabbi here is from Hungary.  So to find a small group from Hungary that is not a supporter of Israel, who tells others it should not exist, has been brought to my attention.

To have 2 opposing religious Jewish opinions come from one European country calls for more exploration into the history of that country, Hungary.  The Hassidic movement,  started  in 1699-1761 by the Baal Shem Tov in the areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Poland (Pale of Settlement under Russia)  and  was a breakaway from the serious movement of the Mitnaggedim out of Lithuania (also a part of the Pale of Settlement),  led by the Gaon of Vilna, Elijah Ben Solomon Zalman (1720-1797),  where my grandparents came from.  These anti-Zionist Hungarians are of the Hassidic movement that also embraced Hungary.

"Starting in the late 15th century, the Ottoman Empire ruled the Romanian provinces of Moldavia, Walachia, and Dobruja.  Austria and Hungary controlled Banat, Bihor, Maramures, Satu Mare, and Transylvania. Austria took over Bukovina (northwestern Moldavia) in 1774.  For those doing genealogy searches, If your town was in Austro-Hungary before 1920 (i.e., if the town is located in Banat, Bihor, Maramures, Satu Mare, or Transylvania), you should also consult our fact sheet on Hungary. (  Cities changed with the country who had ownership at certain times.  Countries that have taken over Jewish homes give it a certain attitude.  

 Hungary was not a part of the Pale of Settlement started by Catherine II,  which meant Jews were permitted to live in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Crimea and Moldavia (Bessarabia),  Belarus, and Latvia which had all been taken over by Czarist Russia.  From 7th century to 1117, eastern Crimea was controlled by the Khazars.

The first Jewish grave found in Hungary found dated back to the 2nd century CE.  It didn't take too long for Jews from Jerusalem's destruction in 70 CE to arrive there.   "The early Magyars (Hungarians)  arrived in the land of Hungary from the east in the 9th century. At one time they were in alliance with the Khazars."

From 1235 to 1270, Jews had settled in Hungary during the reign of Bela IV as his property. They enjoyed good relations with their neighbors, and were often the minters of coins, some of which bore Hebrew inscriptions.  The Pope was putting pressure on the country, but the position of the Jews remained good until 1349.  From 1349 and again in  1360, Jews were being expelled from Hungary.  The edict was revoked in 1364, but many had moved to neighboring countries, so they moved back again.

The 15th and 16th centuries were marked by constant charges of Ritual Murder, and Hungarians would cancel the debts they owed to Jews.

When the Ottoman Empire took over the land in 1541, and until 1686, the Jews of Buda and southern Hungary enjoyed a large measure of civic equality and religious liberty under the occupying regime, though they had to pay heavy taxes.

Then the Hungarian sovereignty was put back in place, and that brought back more expulsions and the exclusion of Jews from agriculture and the professions.  Even so, there were nobles who protected the Jews whose numbers were augmented by refugees from Vienna in 1670.  Jews from Moravia and Poland in the first half of the 18th century  had immigrated there, for no place was really secure for Jews.

Polish immigrants brought in the study of of the Talmud and they established important centers of learning.

During Maria Theresa's reign, many new methods were created to exact money from the Jews.  The rule of Joseph II (1780-1790) brought the right of Jews to establish schools, lease lands, and engage in all trades and professions, and live in the royal cities.  The Jewish badge was abolished., and the Jews had to adopt German surnames. Usually they were for sale.   For genealogists, this is an important fact.  When Joseph died, all this good work was nullified.

From then on there was a struggle for legal rights as Magyarization of the Jewish community increased.

In 1848 there was a revolution with wholehearted support but  this brought on severe reprisals by the Austrians.  By 1867 the Jews finally had full civic and political rights.

Shortly afterwards, the Jewish community itself became divided in its religious life into 2 opposing camps, the orthodox and the liberal Jews.  Jews were rapidly being integrated into the country's  life and received a setback with the rise of the 19th century anti-Semitism culminating in the Tiszaezlar Ritual Murder libel.
Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), founder of Political Zionism, was born in Budapest, Hungary.  A writer, he was working as a Paris correspondent for the Vienna Neue Freie Presse and became very interested in the "Jewish Problem."  He was not Orthodox.  Advocating for assimilation was his way of solving the problem at first.  The Dreyfus trial changed his mind.  This occurred in France where a Jewish serviceman was accused of being a spy which was not true.  Anti-Semitism was on the rise there.  Herzl, in trying to solve this Jewish problem, wrote "THE JEWISH STATE"in 1896 as an answer to it.  He realized that Jews needed to return to what was then being called Palestine, but in essence was actually the ancient empires of Israel and Judea.   He founded the World Zionist Organization and was president of it till he died.  He had influenced the German kaiser William II in Constantinople in 1898 and again in 1901 he was received by sultan Abdul  Hamid.  The sultan even offered him Jewish settlement in Turkey, but he turned that down as it was outside of Palestine.  That's when he started dealing with England, which finally wound up with them having the mandate after WWI.  It's too bad he lacked the backing of Jewish financiers, so achieved nothing except he did start the ball rolling.

We have a few orthodox Jews, the Neturei Karta,  who left Hungary to settle in Jerusalem.   "For the most part, the members of Neturei Karta are descended from Hungarian Jews that settled in Jerusalem's Old City in the early nineteenth century (1800s). They were tradesmen and craftsmen, who devoted most of their time to studying the Talmud and other sacred texts. Most of their livelihood was based on the halukah, or distribution of charitable donations from wealthy Jews in the Diaspora. In the late nineteenth century, they participated in the creation of new neighborhoods outside the city walls to alleviate overcrowding in the Old City, and most are now concentrated in the neighborhood of Batei Ungarin and the larger Meah Shearim neighborhood." 
Neturei Karta Hassid holding Palestinian flag in support

Strangely, though they were living in Jerusalem in 1938 when Jews were being threatened in Germany and needed to get to Palestine, were themselves against Zionism and resented Jews arriving.  In fact, many Hassidic Jews felt the same way, that Israel couldn't be created unless the Moshiach came and did it.  Then, some groups had a change of opinion.   "This switch of allegiance by Agudat Israel caused a radical shift in the ideology of Neturei Karta, which felt betrayed by their Orthodox Allies.Another large and influential Hassidic group,  Satmar, under the leadership of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, (1886-1979) born in Sighet, Austro-Hungary,  started his career in Krooly, Hungary in 1929, and later of New York City, as well as other Hassidic groups,   Some in Israel and others in the Diaspora joined Neturei Karta's anti-Zionist opinions.  Those Neturei Karta Jews living in Israel "became a self-contained community within Israel, refusing to pay taxes,  with few formal ties to the surrounding political infrastructure." 

"A fringe element took proactive steps to condemn Israel  and bring about its eventual dismantling until the coming of the Messiah. Chief among these is Rabbi Moshe Hirsch, Neturei Karta's self-proclaimed "Foreign Minister," who served in Yasser Arafat's cabinet as Minister for Jewish Affairs. They believe the Palestinians should have the land and that Jews can be a minority living in it".  They want to see all the Palestinians returned to the land.  Their goal is:  " To reside as loyal and peaceful Palestinian citizens, in peace and harmony with our Muslim Brethren. Just as our ancestors lived in Palestine for centuries before the usurpations of this tragic century.  
Arab leader conferring with Hitler about getting rid of Jews in Palestine

Abbas, Yasser Arafat's successor,  has since stated that when he creates Palestine, which is now called the West Bank by Jordan and others, but Judea and Samaria, its original name,  by most Israelis, he will not have one Jew living there.  It will be Judenrein-free of Jews.   "I've been told that the Neturei Karta  website claims that the Zionists deliberately condemned thousands of Jews to die in Nazi gas chambers, rather than allow them to emigrate to destinations other than Palestine, in order for the Zionists to claim a Zionist State."  

This is completely false information and harms Israel.  To me this is like this Jewish group had become turncoats,  a 5th Column.  "fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group—such as a nation or a besieged city—from within. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. This term is also extended to organized actions by military personnel. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.  Turncoats are  persons who desert one party or cause in order to join an opposing one.
synonyms:traitorrenegade, defector, deserter, betrayer;

Evidently, a  Neturei Karta  rabbi sent an email to a Muslim from Pakistan who sent it to me 
with questions saying:

 "Secondly, not all jews are Shemetic they are reverts and according to the law of genetics, an in law is not real family just as a convert to Judaism is not a real Jew. 85% of jews are Ashkenazim and these are historically proven to originated from Khazaria and Khazaria is Souther russia, Georgia, Hungry, Poland, yugoslavia."  

 What he doesn't realize is that many Hungarians carry the haplogroup of R1a1, which could be what some Hungarian Jews carry as well, and this is thought to be from Khazaria.  Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.  This rabbi doesn't know what his deep DNA ancestry is.  He's also Ashkenazi and it's possible he came from converts.  Oh my!  

Sadly, this group has not left the Middle Ages in my mind.  Somehow they have been left stunted, led on by their rabbis so affected.  I do not wish to argue their religious beliefs, being I am also Jewish, but when it comes to bringing on harm to Israel, to Jews who have a different viewpoint about living in Israel, they are actually doing acts that can cause their deaths, and this is not a Jewish thing to do, no matter what level of understanding one has. I know how the President of Egypt feels about having IS in their Islamic family.  One wonders how they can come to such conclusions.  Interpreting what G-d expects has some surprising results. Besides the group in Jerusalem and New York City , "They live as a part of larger Haredi communities around the globe."  We have 6 million Jews living in the USA, but not all, certainly, are Haredi Jews.  

The cultural life of Hungary had Jews playing  a prominent part before World War I only they suffered because of the disproportionate participation in the Communist Revolution of 1919, then the Bela Kun regime collapsed, and discrimination of many kinds was instituted against them.

Nazism in Germany raised its ugly head from 1934 to 1939, and the scope of anti-Jewish measures enacted by the government increased.  It also affected the 300,000 Jews in territories which Hungarians annexed from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania during WWII.

By 1944 the Nazis overran Hungary and imposed ghettos, concentration camps and deportations to extermination centers.  Of Hungary's 725,000 Jews, about 400,000 were slaughtered.  Communists took over in 1948 leading to the nationalization of Jewish institutions, and religious organizations were centralized under one authority.  Some 200,000 fled Hungary after the 1956 revolution.  80,000 Jews populated Hungary in 1990, but the count was actually higher.  This was those who had registered.

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

Friday, April 24, 2015

100 YEARS AGO; Armenia 1915's Genocide By Turkey

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                       
Turkey after WWI on October 8, 1920

There is never an excuse for causing the genocide of a people. This means an extermination of a race.   A country may give their reason, but it only shows that they did not have the humane capacity to think of a good solution to an easy problem .  Turkey is still in denial. they had tried to exterminate all the Armenians living in Turkey.   There were foreign  people living in the Ottoman Empire.  It covered much of the world.  Jews were in Palestine and Christians of Armenia were actually then living in Turkey.  The Turks are Muslims. 1.2 million Armenians were killed from 1915 to 1918 in an ethnic cleansing.

                                         HERE ARE EVENTS LEADING UP TO THEIR DEATHS

The Turks occupied the Greek city of Salonica in 1430.  Salonica, and after 1492 when Jews were seeking new lands in lieu of having to convert to Catholicism and immigrating to Constantinople (Turkey)  were centers for Jews.  The Greeks took back Salonica in 1912, just before WWI.  With 80,000 Jews, it was mainly a Jewish city.

Turkey was represented by the Ottoman Empire.  Jews were in Salonica when it was taken by the Empire in 1430.   They were in Constantinople (Istanbul) when it was taken in 1453.  After 1492 when Spain made its ultimatum that Jews were either to convert or leave the country quickly,  the Sultans opened the gates of the Ottoman Empire generously to the refugees from Spain, and later from Portugal and other places. and the Turkish Jewish community, mainly of Sephardi Jews, were very important community members.  They were favored as a trading and artisan asset.  They acted as the counterpoise to the possible disloyal Christian minorities.

Palestine became part of the Empire in 1517.  So was Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and others.  Jews had the normal Muslim code held on them, but not always strictly.  Jews such as Joseph Nasi and Solomon Ashkenazi were able to use their influence in the state.
Ottoman Empire
Then things changed and became harsher for the Jews.
The Ottoman Empire became the 3rd largest Jewish community  after Russia and Astro-Hungary Empires with a. 350,000 population by 1900.  From there on the Ottoman Empire faced gradual disintregration and Jews slowly came under other authorities, which was worse.

With the 1st Balkan War and WWI, the Ottoman Empire was destroyed. They went through all their money as well.
Turkey had the Armenian War from 1915 to 1923.  The Ottoman Empire had rounded up and arrested 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders living in Constantinople on April 24, 1915, the middle of WWI.  The Empire had sided with Germany in the war and were a part of the Axis.

They also then took many men for forced laborers through army conscripts.  Then they deported the women, children, elderly and infirm and had them in death marches leading to the Syrian desert.  They were driven forward by military escorts and were deprived of food and water.  Along the way they were robbed, raped and then massacred.

Other groups such as Christians, Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks were also targeted for extermination by the government of the Ottoman Empire.  Their treatment was part of the same genocidal policy.  Armenians were suffering from being wiped out in many communities.

The total number of people killed was between 800,000 to 1.5 million.  This was picking on non-Muslims. The Armenians' deaths were done in  an organized manner, meant to eliminate them all.   23 countries have officially recognized the mass killings as a genocide, but Turkey refuses to accept this.  It seems to have showed us early on what man is capable of doing to another different group, a prelude to the Nazi actions.

                                     England's Mandate in Palestine started after WWI in 1920.
Jews in Palestine were siding and fighting with England in WWI when under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, but being in Palestine were in the clear as far as coming under pogroms from the Ottoman Empire.  The Jewish Palestinian population in 1915 was 83,000.  In 1896 the Jerusalem Jewish population was 28,112, and by 1922, after WWI, it was 33,971.
For 3,000 years, Armenians had lived there in what is known as Anatolia which is the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa.  They were ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and Mongols.  Mount Ararat was part of their kingdom that came into being in 600 BCE, later than the Israelite Kingdom.  Their choice of being the first Christian kingdom probably caused this rift with the Ottoman Empire, though they had accepted Jews.
Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Ottoman Empire 1876-1909
Fighting started between 1894 and 1896, just when Jews were still coming to Palestine.  The Sultan was ordering pogroms against the Armenians.  They slaughtered 100,000.  By 1908, the younger Turks got the older ones to stop such practice and become more in tune with the times.  It didn't last long.  There was a coup in 1913 and the War started in 1914 with a new batch of Turks that were power-hungry. 1915  to 1918 saw 1.2 million Armenians killed by Turks.

This genocide was an example to Hitler who copied it and used the taking of Poland as a need for space.  Seeing no one bothered when the Ottoman Empire killed off all the Armenians, he decided to do the same thing to the Poles.  Isn't this like all the nations?  Monkey See-Monkey do.  They learn by example.  If there's no punishment, they will continue to get away with the same behavior.

However, Turkey's side of the issue  was:  
1. "Rather, they point to an empire at the verge of collapse fighting for survival on various fronts, 
2. major European powers strategizing, at least since the 1870s, to exploit the spoils, including the manipulation of ethnic groups like the Ottoman Armenians, 
3. politically-motivated missionary activities within Ottoman Turkey (possibly coming from the Armenians) , 
4. radicalization and militarization of nationalistic Armenian groups, some of whom joined forces with the invading Russian army in the hope of creating an ethnically homogenous Armenian homeland.  
In other words, the Armenians were seditionists, a 5th column working against the government.  They had their own agenda in the fight and were taking advantage of the situation the Ottoman Empire found themselves in.  

An Armenian leader of that time, Katchaznouni, who became the first Prime Minister of the short lived independent Armenian Democratic Republic stated the following in 1923: “In the fall of 1914 Armenian volunteer units organized themselves and fought against the Turks…We had no doubt that the war would end with the complete victory of the Allies; Turkey would be defeated and dismembered…”   So within Turkey they had Armenians who were helping the enemy, and this brought on their total slaughter.  The Ottomans could not think of ways that were humanitarian to stop their help, evidently.  Their lack of humaneness.  

German soldier 1914

Why did the Ottomans side with Germany August 1914

1. 1913's German military mission organized the Turkish army and navy and brought in the Turco-

German alliance.  
2. The Turkish Minister of War, Enver Pasha, was an opportunist.  He was one of 5 people in Turkey who knew that they had signed a secret treaty with Germany on August 2, 1914.   The Turkish people never knew what was going on.  

Enver Pasha (1881-1922)  

3. Germany had put pressure them to join by dangling their early victories.  Turkey was having problems with the Triple Entente.  
4.  Turkey joining caused Romania and Bulgaria to join the Axis team.  
5. Allies had interests in the Turkish Straits but didn't plan a defense of Turkey from Germany

Resource: Armenia-Turkey

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Female Position of Jewish Women

Nadene Goldfoot                                              
Four Matriarchs, Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel
Jewish women have been equals to men in our Jewish society since the very beginning. We have 4 women in our history who are considered matriarchs and are the ideal types of women for us to emulate.
Rebekah (model Noa Tishby) 
Sarah (singer Ofra Haza) was niece of husband
Abraham, mistaken for sister and taken into harem for
her beauty, then released.  Abraham was told by G-d
to listen to her.  

Rebekah  was the wife of Isaac, and of course Isaac was Abraham's 2nd son, son of Sarah.  She was the mother of the twins, Esau and Jacob.  She was known for her kindness that attracted the match-maker in the first place.  She later supported her son,  Jacob in his struggle with his twin, Esau.  Our 4 matriarchs, Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel,  are  recognized as co-founders of Israel equal in stature to their more renowned husbands, respectively Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Leah (Jennie Goldstein)

Rachel (model Bar Refaeli)

 Leah and Rachel were sisters who married Jacob.  Jacob fell in love with the younger one, Rachel, first but it was the custom of the land to marry the oldest first, so he married Leah, and then had to wait 7 years to marry Rachel.  He had only 2 children with Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin,  but 6 including Dinah, with Leah.  Leah was described as having weak eyes and Rachel was the beautiful one.  
Joshua, of tribe Ephriam, appointed leader after Moses in about 1271 BCE, Judge
Israelites entered Canaan 3,286 years ago and stayed as Jews.  
Before the settlement in Canaan, the elders of the community acted as judges. Joshua was the first after Moses.   Afterwards, the soldier-leader, priest, or prophet assumed, in addition to his chief function, that of judge.  Usually a judge just took care of their own tribe.
In about 1150 BCE-over 3,000 years ago, Rebekah's nurse was considered a prophet.  She was Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth.  She became something like a General in fighting against the Canaanites.
What she did was to instigate the 12 Israelite tribes to revolt against the Canaanite King, Jabin of Hazor and his ally and commander, General Sisera, who had 900 iron chariots, and he had oppressed the Israelites forcefully for the past 20 years.
Deborah telling Barak what to do
 Deborah, known to be a prophetess and one of the Israelite judges,  would sit under a date palm tree between Ramah and Bethel on Mount Ephraim, and Israelites would go up to her for judgments.  She sent for  Barak Ben Abinoam, son of Abinoam of Kedesh-naphtali, the commander of the Israelite tribes to go to war against the Canaanites. She directed him to take 10,000 men of the tribe of Naphtali and from the tribe of Zebulun!.  She then told him that she herself would cause Sisera to move towards him .  It took place by the river Kishon. Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh.  He told her that if she would go into battle, he would do this, but without her, he wouldn't.
  He led the forces of Naphtali and Zebulun and these two tribes defeated the army of Sisera. Sisera was told that Barak had gone up to Mount Tabor.  It was G-d who caused Sisera to panic  along with all the chariots and the entire camp by the edge of the sword before Barak.  Sisera got out of his chariot and ran away with Barak chasing after the chariots and the men as far as Hsarosheth-goliim.  The entire camp of Sisera were slaughtered in sword fighting;   not even one was left.
Jael  slew General Sisera of Hazor in Canaan
Sisera was defeated and then killed by Jael, the Kenite, in whose tent he had sought refuge. He went there because there was peace between Hazor and the Kenites.     Jael was the wife of Heber, the Kenite.  After the forces of Jabin of Hazor were defeated by the Israelites, the fleeing commander, Sisera  sought refuge in Jael's tent. She told him to turn aside from her, and she covered him with a blanket and gave him some milk to drink.  He asked her to stand at the entrance and tell anyone who might come that no one was there.  When he fell asleep, she took a tent peg, and using a hammer, drove the peg into his temple and it went clear through into the ground.   She killed him in his sleep.   It's all recorded and documented in (Judg.4) and (Judg.5)  The song of victory is attributed to her and is regarded as one of the oldest compositions preserved in Hebrew.
Deborah, the prophetess and Judge (Barbara Streisand) 
Deborah was a singer, and so wrote a song and sang about what had happened.  I think of her as the first Barbara Streisand.   At this time in the Israelite's history, there were no kings, but they had lawgivers who circulated among the people tirelessly in their time of degradation (living under and fighting the Canaanites) , teaching them to bless G-d.  It was a hard life, as they had to even fear ambushes at their wells.  They had to run from danger in their unwalled cities.

The Kenites were descendants of Jethro, Moses's father in law who lived in the Negev and Sinai deserts.  They were loyal friends and allies of Israel, and the Jews reciprocated this friendship by evacuating the Kenite families whenever they might be caught in the crossfire of war.  The Kenites had settled in Jericho, then called the City of Date Palms, and when the battle for the city took place, they left it and settled with the tribe of Judah.  Eventually, it's thought that the Kenites were absorbed by the Israelites through marriages.  Jael's husband, Heber, was one of the leaders of the Kenites who had led many northward from where they had been living.  It was Jethro's son, Hobab, who had guided the Israelites in the desert, and after the conquest had settled with part of his tribe on the borders of the city of Arad.
Huldah was another Prophetess in Jerusalem who lived at the time of Josiah, King of Judah (637-608 BCE). He became king at age 8 because his father, Amon (638-637 BCE),  had been murdered by conspirators  after being king for only 2 years.   When Josiah   became an adult, he started religious reform and removed foreign cults which had taken hold in Judah and re-established a pure monotheistic religion.  Huldah had foretold the catastrophic fall of Judah and also that Josiah would die prior to the calamity.  The Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar and people were taken away as captives.

Beruryah/Beruriah was an educated woman who lived in the 2nd century CE.  She was the wife of Rabbi Meir and daughter of Rabbi Hananiah ben Teradyon.  She happens to be the only woman in the Talmud who participated in legalistic discussion.  Her opinion on one occasion was decisive.  She was very strong and brave and admired because of suffering severe family misfortunes.  Her parents were murdered and were martyrs for being Jewish.  Her two children died on the same day.

What is meant by education in Judaism is not well known.  Education in Hebrew is: hinukh.   This means formal  schooling as well as consecration which is training a child for living, not just for a livelihood.  They are to learn:
1. Moral and ethical values of their Jewish heritage
2. Torah's commandments of doing mitzvot
3. Learn-gain knowledge of Torah, Talmud and other writings
4. Develop sense of identification with and for all Jewish people

Then they can work on broad secular fields of study and prepare for a career.  Much of the above should be developed at home by copying their parents' behaviors.

Though Hebrew must have been affected by oriental standards and outlook towards women in Babylon where Jews had been exiled in 597 and 586 BCE, the role of Jewish women in early Jewish society as reflected in the Bible is often one of importance. Women had more freedom in their own land of Eretz Yisrael, and even later in Palestine than they had in Babylon.  Interestingly, the Babylon Talmud was of a higher quality than the Palestinian Talmud, though.   This is seen in the 4 matriarchs.  It is also seen in the women  besides Deborah, such as Mirium,  queens Jezebel of Israel and Athaliah of Judah. and  Golda Meier.

Our writings tell of women's wiles and the woman of worth who is the mainstay of her household.  In the 2nd Temple period, we had Queen Salome Alexandra who ruled Judea.This was after King Solomon had died and when Israel's southern section had ceded to become Judah.

In Hellenistic days, Jewish women's status was higher than the Greek women.  She was an independent legal personality permitted to own property when single or widowed.  She could keep certain property even after marriage, though increments went to her husband.  This was written in talmudic law.   Talmudists were very aware of sexual power that we women have.  

Women were exempted from many performances of many precepts, although the domestic religious rites connected with food, were  left mainly in their hands.  One reason is that they were busy caring for small children most of their lives.                                                                                                                                                 
It wasn't until the year 1,000 CE that monogamy was established and enhanced the position of the women.  Polygamy remained legal in the oriental countries.  Of course it is illegal in Israel today.  Rabbis had healthy attitudes towards sex and that the woman's dignity was recognized, but their education was neglected.

In eastern Europe it was a tradition for the woman to work in order to facilitate the husband's studies.  It should be stated also that a couple married very young, which biologically figures.  It is only today that this is ignored and that both received an education first before marriage if at all possible.  With the type of work that women could be involved in our early history, it was very realistic to have women work, and they could accomplish this at home with their children.

"There is some evidence that early Palestinian sources interpreted the word banekha more broadly and believed that women could also acquire merit by studying the law (M. Nedarim 4:3; Tos. Berakhot 2:12; P. Shabbat 3:4). However, the Babylonian scholars strongly disagreed."

It was Rabbi Akiva in the year 50-135, and was uneducated until age 40 when his wife Rachel, daughter of the rich man, Kalba Sabbua, was able to devote himself to learning and became the greatest scholar of his time.  Rachel worked, allowing him to study.  He had thousands of students at his school, and you can imagine that his children learned there as well.  It was just that women had to be separated from the men due to women's mensus period, for there were/are strict laws about coming into contact.  The Romans prohibited the study of the Law which he ignored.   For that he was arrested, imprisoned and executed at Caesarea.

Rabbi Benjamin Slonik of Poland (1550-1620) printed and published a book in Yiddish just for Jewish women to read and learn from called  Seder mitzvot hanashim (The Order of Women’s Commandments).  Evidently they had been taught to read Yiddish.  This tells us something of public education of the day.  Studying of the day for men was in rabbinic studies of the law of Moses.  Since women rarely, if ever, attained the level of rabbinic scholarship necessary to pare the details of these complicated laws, they were not expected to be on a par with the education of men then.  This goes along with the fact that Jews were to be a nation of priests; not used car salesmen or scientists.  But not to worry; our learning developed curiosity along with a sense of fairness, and within our time frame Jews have held more Nobel prizes in all fields  than other people.  

The tendency of some families to be less concerned with the Jewish upbringing of their daughters than with that of  their sons is wholly contrary to the spirit and expectations of Jewish family life.  Most of the goals of Jewish education apply equally to women.  The Jewish woman shares full responsibility with her husband for the many religious observances that are centered in the home.  She and her husband are called upon to answer the questions of young children and guide the development of this next generation.  

Every parent is obligated to train his children in the observance of the commandments, the mitzvot- in accordance with the age and the capacity of the child, for it is written "Train a child according to his way" in Proverbs 22:6.  They are taught from the time they begin to talk and understand a little.  When their behavior is under control, they are to be taken to the synagogue regularly.  The parent is required to teach his children Torah and see to it that they receive formal instruction in Jewish religious studies.  This comes from the Biblical precept, "And you shall teach them to your children..Deut. 11:19.  No parent should be satisfied with a superficial smattering of such knowledge, but should make every effort to provide his children with quality Jewish education.  It is the obligation of the parent to provide a child with the education or skills needed to earn a livelihood for himself when he grows up.  This injunction was based upon ethical considerations.  He who does not do so, teaches him to steal.   None of this was broken down to refer to boys only.  

It is customary for Jewish families to have books in a bookcase in their living-room.  Books and reading them are something to be proud of.  

The New Jewish Standard Encyclopedia
Book:  To Be a Jew, by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, page 130

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why Fighting in Yemen: Sunni Against Shi'a WHO ARE THE PLAYERS?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                             
Saleh today
Young Saleh

Yemen is the Arabic name of SW Arabia which is or was an independent state.  

It all started with the old president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the one before the present President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has resigned and then not resigned his position.  
First, in early 2011, there was the Tunisian revolution that overthrew their overly long-time president.  Opposition parties tried to do the same thing in Yemen.  The opposition started by leading the protesters and demanding that Saleh, president then, had to end his 3-decade long rule because of his lack of democratic reform, widespread corruption and supposed human rights abuses carried out by him and his allies.  Things were rotten in Yemen. 

As it turns out, Saleh is a Zaydi (non-Hashimi)" Shi'a.  This means he is not a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad's grandfather and so is actually ineligible to rule under the Zaydi Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen that has ruled the country until 1962.  Yemen is 99% Sunni/Shi'a and an Islamic State of about 23,580,000 people.  They follow the main figh of Shafi'i and Zaidi.  

Saleh (March 21, 1942) who is a Shi'a Muslim politician ,  was President of Yemen from 1990 to 2012.  Before that he was President of North Yemen from 1978 until the unification with South Yemen in 1990.  His education has been less than an elementary school education. and then he joined the North Yemeni armed forced in 1958.  

Because he had been in a seat of power for many years, he signed the Gulf Cooperation Council agreement in November 2011 so that his vice president could be the next acting president until February 21, 2012. It was in 2011 that there was an assassination attempt on his life in June.  He went to Saudi Arabia for hospital treatment and they took oout fragments of shrapnel.  He received gifts by kings, presidents and world leaders over the course of his rule.   On January 22, 2012, the Parliament passed a law that granted Saleh immunity from being prosecuted (being he was ineligible) and he left Yemen for medical treatment in New York City..  He had stepped down and formally ceded power to his deputy, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi at the Palace  on February 27, 2012.                                           
Young Hadi

Hadi of today

 Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi (September 1, 1945)  is a Sunni Muslim Yemeni general and politician.  He took over as president of Yemen since February 27, 2012. and was the Vice President from 1994 to 2012.  

During 2011, Hadi  was the acting President of Yemen when Saleh was undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. after an attack on the palace during the 2011 Yemeni uprising.  On November 23rd, he became the acting president again, after Saleh moved into a non-active role pending the presidential election in return for immunity from prosecution.  Hadi was expected to create a national unity government and also call for early elections within 90 days while Saleh was the president in name only.  

Saleh has been a behind-the-scenes leader of the 2014-2015 Yemini coup d'etat led by Shia Houthi forces.  Tribesmen and government forces loyal to Saleh have joined the Houthis in their march to power.  Evidently Saleh didn't really want to lose his presidency.  

On January 22, 2015, Hadi, the newest president,  resigned.  Then the Houthis seized the palace.   They  placed him under virtual house arrest. A month later, he escaped to his hometown of Aden, rescinded his resignation, and denounced the Houthi takeover as an unconstitutional coup d'├ętat. The Houthis named a Revolutionary Committee to assume the powers of the presidency, as well as the General People's Congress, Hadi's own political party. On 25 March 2015, Hadi reportedly fled Yemen in a boat as Houthi forces advanced on Aden.   He arrived in  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,  the next day, as Saudi Arabia began a bombing campaign in support of his government.  Saudi Arabia wouldn't support Saleh as he is not a descendant of Muhammad.  

"The Houthis on Wednesday called for a return to U.N.-sponsored peace talks to resolve the conflict. In New York, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the United Nations stood ready to play any role to facilitate the peace negotiations."  This is because the Saudis are still bombing the Houthis in Yemen.  "Yemeni officials said coalition forces on Wednesday struck at Houthi rebels in Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city. The rebels had seized control of a military brigade headquarters near the old airport to the city's southeast.
Airstrikes also hit the southern port city of Aden, blasting rebel forces in outlying districts there."
Houthis are The "Shi'a Supporters of God."   They are a Zaidi group operating in Yemen. The group takes its name from Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, who launched an insurgency in 2004 and was reportedly killed by Yemeni army forces that September.  "As of April 2015, the Houthis retain control of Yemen's capital, Sana'a, and the parliament.  They have 100,000 fighters.  
Houthi leaders such as Issam Al-'Imad stated as early as 2011 that they were religiously and ideologically influenced by Iran,  and as of 2014 it has been observered that “The Houthi group's approach is in many ways similar to that of Hizbollah in Lebanon. Similarly religiously based and Iran-backed, both groups follow the same military doctrine and glorify the Khomeini revolution in Iran”.

1. Saudi Arabia and President Hadi (Sunnis)

2. Houthis and former President Saleh and Iran (Shi'as)

Where do the Jews come into play?  They don't, but in 1992 there were about 1,400 Jews still 

living in Yemen.  Most were taken out in 1949-50 in Operation Magic Carpet.   However, what 

goes on in Yemen doesn't stay in Yemen today.  Yemen can adversely affect what goes on in

 Syria which can affect Israel.  

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia