German Jewish council urges end of Iran-Germany trade

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 4 hours 28 min ago

In a statement to 'The Jerusalem Post', Dr. Josef Schuster, the head of the Central Council, did not mince words: “I endorse an immediate stop of any economic relation with Iran."

US Ambassador: “No Reason to Evacuate Settlements”

Breaking Israel News - 12 hours 2 min ago

According to reports, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman stated that in a U.S. brokered agreement with the Palestinians, there would be “no reason to evacuate settlements.”

Likud Knesset Member Rabbi Yehudah Glick told the media that Friedman made this statement during a meeting with leaders from Judea and Samaria to discuss Israeli-Palestinian economic ventures.

Har Hebron Regional Council chairman Yochai Damari, who was present at the meeting, commented on the U.S.-brokered negotiations.

“The reality of recent decades has taught us that any attempt to impose political solutions by people who aren’t on the ground and don’t breathe the conflict every day is doomed to fail, and the past two bloody decades are proof of this,” Damari said in a statement following the meeting. “Happily, reality has changed in our favor. Today there are people in the White House and in the embassy who really care about the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Rabbi Glick supported the business proposals as a path to coexistence consistent with the U.S. vision which  “is working toward building peace rather than destroying communities.”

“The population here in Judea and Samaria understands that no one is going anywhere. We do not choose our neighbors, but we are here,” said Glick, a resident of Otniel in Samaria. “Neither the settlers nor the Palestinians will be disappearing so fast.”

At the meeting, Rabbi Glick was joined by prominent Palestinian businessman Muhammad Nasser in presenting plans for an industrial zone in Judea that will employ thousands of Palestinian and Jewish workers and a medical center.

“We are talking about a project between Israeli settlers and Palestinian businessmen who are going to develop it together for both populations and they will be raising the funds,” Glick said.

A spokesperson for the US embassy declined to comment on the meeting.

There has been much conjecture as to what form the long-awaited U.S. peace plan will take. Palestinian Authority officials have refused meet with representatives from the Trump administration since the announcement that the U.S. will open an embassy in Jerusalem.

A tweet by Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations, seemed to imply that Israel may indeed have to evacuate settlements.

— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) August 15, 2018

Israeli Woman Killed in Alleged Ramming Attack; Driver in PA Custody

Breaking Israel News - 13 hours 8 min ago

A Jewish woman was killed in a ramming attack near the town of Havat Gilad in Samaria. The Palestinian driver initially fled the scene but later surrendered to the Palestinian Authority Police.

Hava Roizen, a 42-year-old resident of the religious Jewish town of Emmanuelle, was hit by a taxi registered in the Palestinian Authority as she crossed the street. The driver, a 63-year old man, abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot to the nearby Arab village of Jit where he turned himself in to the Palestinian Authority police, claiming the incident was an accident.

The driver is in the custody of the Palestinian Authority Police and his case will go through the Palestinian Authority justice system.

After the incident several dozen Jewish residents protested at the site of the attack.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan told the media that the attack was clearly an act of terrorism.

“From the point of view of the military commanders in the field, and from our point of view as well, this is a terrorist attack for all intents and purposes,” Dagan said. “The junction is lit by street lamps, and there were no skid marks or other signs” that the perpetrator had attempted to stop the car to avoid hitting his victim in any way.”

“From our point of view, this is another terrorist attack, a cold-blooded murder of a Samaria resident on a central road in the State of Israel,” Dagan said.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

The chapter head of Samaria United Hatzalah, Yehuda Hess, was one of the first responders at the scene.

“United Hatzalah EMS volunteers performed CPR on a woman who was critically injured in a car ramming incident near Havat Gilad,” Hess said. “Unfortunately, following a lengthy resuscitative effort paramedics at the scene were forced to pronounce her death due to the severity of her injuries.”

Roizen, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, was a photographer and travelled a great deal for her job.

This is the second act of terrorism Havat Gilad has suffered this year. In January, Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a 32-year-old father of six, was killed in a shooting attack very near the site of last night’s ramming attack. He was a resident of Havat Gilad. His murder was praised by Hamas, leading to a rebuke of the terrorist organization by U.S. Ambassador David Friedman.

Jews have struggled to continue living in Havat Gilad since the town was first established in 2002. The land for the community was originally purchased from Arabs by Moshe Zar, a political leader in Samaria. The Arabs then contested the sales in court, putting the status of the town on hold. A few months later, before the court case was settled, IDF bulldozers razed the structures. In 2011, the Israeli government destroyed more structures. Throughout its history, there have been low-level hostilities between the Jewish residents and the Arabs of the surrounding villages, culminating in the murder of two Jews this year.

Afghan president congratulates armed forces for Ghazni victory

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - 14 hours 9 min ago

"I am here to help all those who have suffered losses, I am committed to build the city and also do everything to protect Ghazni.a"

Egyptian Intelligence Chief in Israel to Finalize Gaza Truce

Breaking Israel News - 14 hours 18 min ago

Egyptian efforts to broker a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip shifted into high gear over the last two days as Egyptian intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Abbas Kamel held talks on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lock down the deal, though Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet him Thursday.

Abbas is reportedly furious at the deal, fearing it will concertize and give international legitimacy to the split between the West Bank and Gaza, and make extending the Palestinian Authority’s control over the coastal enclave even more difficult.

Reuters quoted an Egyptian security source as saying that Cairo was “putting the final touches to the terms of the truce that will be signed by all sides, and we expect to announce the terms next week if Fatah helps us to do so.”

According to the source, the cease-fire will include a period of calm for one year, “during which contacts will be held to extend it for another four years.” Negotiations over the return of the bodies of the IDF soldiers, and the two Israeli civilians held by Hamas, would be held during those talks.

In lieu of any of any authorized information on the arrangements coming out of Jerusalem, much of the information about the nature of the deal on Thursday came from the Arabic media.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

For instance, Beirut’s Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen TV reported that the deal involves a Cyprus-Gaza sea corridor, which would be under Israeli supervision.

In addition, the report said Qatar would help pay both Hamas salaries and for the Gaza Strip’s electric bill, payments that were in the past borne by the Palestinian Authority, but which Abbas cut off in an effort to pry Gaza free of Hamas control.

The next 48 hours, according to the report, will be critical.

An earlier report in the London-based pan-Arabic Al-Hayat newspaper said that Kamel’s discussions in Israel centered on Israel’s approval of the truce, the approval of humanitarian projects in Gaza, and later indirect negotiations with Hamas over the return of the bodies of the soldiers and the release of the civilians.

The report also said Kamel’s visit comes as two high-level delegations from Hamas and Islamic Jihad were in Cairo, along with delegations from a number of smaller Palestinian factions.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post

Central America’s Bnei Anousim Get First Rabbi in 500 Years

Breaking Israel News - 14 hours 41 min ago

Rabbi Elisha Salas is Shavei Israel’s new emissary to the crypto-Jews of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala

The Bnei Anousim – descendants of Spanish Jews forced to convert to Catholicism more than 500 years ago – who live in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala will get a full-time rabbi to serve their spiritual and educational needs. The appointment was made possible due to the efforts of the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization.

Rabbi Elisha Salas, 61, who served as Shavei Israel’s emissary to Portugal for the past eight years, will shortly take up his new post as the organization’s envoy to Central America. Rabbi Salas will be based in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, where Shavei Israel has been working for many years. The city is home to a thriving community of approximately 300 Bnei Anousim – all of whom practice Orthodox Judaism – and will also work with crypto-Jews in neighboring Guatemala and Honduras.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

“We are delighted to be sending Rabbi Elisha Salas to reach out to the Bnei Anousim of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala,” said Michael Freund, founder and chairman of Shavei Israel. “There are thousands of Bnei Anousim throughout those countries who are conscious of their historical connection to the Jewish people. We owe it to them and to their ancestors to reach out to them, embrace them and welcome them back home. Shavei Israel will continue to intensify its efforts to assist the Bnei Anousim wherever they may be.”

Salas will guide the communities and teach Torah, Jewish culture and tradition and will conduct a wide range of educational and social activities. He will also organise social events in addition to Sabbath and holiday prayers. Salas will give lectures on Jewish law and will teach both young and old to correctly read from the Torah and conduct prayers.


Breaking Israel News - 14 hours 53 min ago

The produce of the Land of Israel is a direct response to the behaviour of its inhabitants. Hashem (God) makes this point very clear in the Bible, specifically in Deuteronomy, in which He links the concept of reward and punishment with the successful produce of the land. If the Children of Israel veer from God’s path and turn to idolatry, Divine anger will arise and the land of Israel will fail to yield produce. This Divine reaction is actually a blessing, since the inhabitants of the Land of Israel are granted a barometer for their spiritual behavior. If there is famine and drought, they know that Hashem is angry, and they must inspect their actions. If there is planety, God is happy with His nation and will continue to bless the land.

Thousands Ask for Forgiveness at Western Wall

Breaking Israel News - 15 hours 25 min ago

The Hebrew month of Elul, is one in which the entire Jewish people prepare for the coming High Holy Days. In the Sephardic tradition, Jews gather at midnight to recite selichot – prayers for forgiveness. Here, one or two of them show up at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

AMAZING: Thousands of people prayed at the Western Wall this week and asked God for forgiveness.

The month of Elul is a special month in the #Jewish tradition.

— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) August 16, 2018

Parashat Shoftim: Surround Yourself with Cleanliness

Breaking Israel News - 16 hours 39 min ago

When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them, for you may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Is the tree of the field a man, to go into the siege before you? Devarim 20:19

“Cleanliness is not next to Godliness nowadays,

for cleanliness is made an essential,

and Godliness is regarded as an offence.”
– G.K.  Chesterton

Throughout most of history, religious Jews’ hygiene standards were far more advanced than those of most other people. Indeed, Jewish law dating back thousands of years contains a far-reaching codex for personal and environmental cleanliness that would seem novel and forward-thinking to many twenty-first century lawyers, environmentalists, and public health-care workers.

Besides numerous laws that prohibit needless destruction of the natural environment and its resources, as well as pollution in its various forms, Jewish Law also seeks to preserve animal life and maintain clean and pleasant conditions both in the home and in the public domain.

The Torah of the Bathroom

In a fascinating narrative, the Talmud tells of the great Rabbi Huna who asked his son why he was not attending the lectures of Rabbi Chisda, a brilliant, younger colleague. Rabbi Huna’s son, in his innocence, answered that he wanted “to hear words of Torah and not about worldly matters.” Taken aback by this response, Rabbi Huna asked his son which “worldly matters” Rabbi Chisda actually discussed. The son responded that the sage lectured about cleanliness and appropriate behavior in the bathroom. After hearing this, Rabbi Huna exclaimed in wonderment, “Here are matters of health [and thus of Torah], and you call them worldly matters!?!”

On another occasion, the Mishna states that “it is not permitted to soak clay in the public highway…. During building operations, stones [and other building materials] must be deposited immediately on the building site [and not left on the road].” The Talmud also forbids other forms of litter, such leaving shards of glass in the public domain. The purpose of these laws is to protect the public against injury, and also to ensure a minimum standard of cleanliness in society.

With their keen insight into human nature, the Jewish sages understood the direct impact of these laws on the society’s psychological well-being. The Talmud quotes a source that states that if a spring serves as the water supply for two towns, but does not provide sufficient water for both, the town closer to the source takes precedence. The other town, in such a case, would need to find other ways to get sufficient water. However, when it is a choice between the farther town’s drinking water and the nearer town’s laundry water supply, the farther town’s drinking water should come first.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

The Cause of Depression

To our surprise, Rabbi Yossi objects to this ruling and states that the closer town’s laundry water will take priority over the farther town’s drinking water! The Talmud, explaining Rabbi Yossi’s reasoning, refers to a statement of the famous authority, Shmuel, who says that constantly wearing dirty clothes causes depression and mental instability!

In other words, clean garments are not a luxury. Jewish law considers cleanliness a necessity. The great Halachic authority, Rabbi Ahai Gaon (8th century), ruled that the law is decided according to Rabbi Yossi’s opinion.A wealth of similar laws and observations are to be found throughout traditional Jewish literature.

Unfortunately, these laws do not seem to be of great concern within many orthodox communities today. Though litter does not pollute the streets of orthodox communities any more so than in some secular communities, one still wonders why rabbis and religious leaders who are so genuinely committed to the Torah and Tradition do not speak out on these issues to ensure that the relevant laws receive the attention they deserve. Indeed, given the spirit of Jewish Law, we would expect that the streets in orthodox neighborhoods would look remarkably cleaner than anywhere else.

By implementing the Torah’s laws in this realm – which should really not be too difficult, for after all, we’re only talking about throwing garbage in bins rather than in the streets – orthodox communities will take away much of the ammunition in their secular detractors’ arsenals, and in so doing, will make a tremendous kiddush Hashem, which is in fact the purpose of being a Jew.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Times of Israel

Peter Beinart’s Latest Publicity Stunt

Breaking Israel News - 17 hours 39 min ago

There has been a lot of hand-wringing in official Israel over the brief questioning of anti-Israel author Peter Beinart at Ben-Gurion Airport this week. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on the episode calling it “an administrative mistake.”

Netanyahu added, “Israel is an open society which welcomes all – critics and supporters alike.”

Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy Michael Oren said Beinart’s questioning is grounds “for an immediate examination of all policy towards the entry of political activists.”

Speaking to Israel National News, Oren said, “Detaining American Jewish reporter Peter Beinart is an example of how acting unwisely causes both strategic and PR damage.

“Beinart is a top-rate American media person. Most of his opinions about Israel disgust me, but he does not support BDS, and in fact defines himself as a Zionist.”

Oren’s position is problematic first and foremost because it is factually wrong.

Beinart is a major supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Indeed, he is a central figure in the movement. This mere fact renders Beinart’s protestations of Zionism disingenuous, to put it mildly.

In 2012, Beinart published an oped in The New York Times calling for the boycott, divestment and sanction of all Israeli goods produced by Israeli Jews in Judea and Samaria.

His crass insensitivity towards Israeli Jews in Judea and Samaria was striking: “If moderate settlers resent being lumped in with their more ideologically driven counterparts deep in occupied territory, they should agitate for a two-state solution that would make possible their incorporation into democratic Israel. Or they should move.”

Beinart described the boycott as part of an overall political warfare strategy that American Jews should undertake against Israel and its American supporters.

“We should lobby to exclude settler-produced goods from America’s free-trade deal with Israel,” Beinart said. “We should push to end Internal Revenue Service policies that allow Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to settler charities. Every time an American newspaper calls Israel a democracy, we should urge it to include the caveat: only within the green line.”

Even Beinart’s most fervent admirers viewed his call for BDS against Jewish products in Judea and Samaria as a transparent means to facilitate BDS against Israel as a whole.

Jane Eisner, editor of the far-left The Forward newspaper wrote, the “optics of Beinart’s proposal” are “dangerous,” because they provide “implicit support for the broader BDS movement.”

But as has since become clear, that was his goal.

Beinart devotes great energy to mainstreaming anti-Israel activists who reject Israel’s right to exist.

For instance, in July 2016, Beinart joined a group of radical Jewish anti-Israel activists in staging a confrontation with the IDF in Hebron. The group entered a closed military zone and trampled the land of a Palestinian farmer to film themselves looking brave. The farmer called the army to have them removed. A group of soldiers answered his call and removed Beinart and his comrades. They filmed themselves looking brave as they were being ejected from the land they trespassed on.

Speaking to the JTA reporter who joined them in their stunt, Beinart gushed, “I feel like I’m seeing the emergence of a new leadership. People will try to write these guys off as lefties that don’t have a connection to the Jewish community. But… these kids actually come from the bosom of the Jewish community.”

But as JTA noted, Beinart’s characterization of his comrades was false. They did not come from the “bosom of the Jewish community,” they came from its radical fringes. Members of four groups took part in Beinart’s stunt: J Street, the New Israel Fund, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow.

All of the four groups support BDS to one degree or another. The New Israel Fund funds BDS groups. J Street provides BDS groups with platforms to spew their views and so serves as a gateway to membership in them.

IfNowNow is one of the most radical groups in the American Jewish community. An offshoot of J Street, not only does it support BDS, it works to subvert pro-Israel groups and institutions to indoctrinate American Jews to hate Israel and view its existence as illegitimate.

Jewish Voice for Peace is one of the most virulent antisemitic groups in the US. It serves as a fig leaf for BDS groups like Students for Justice for Palestine which have proven links to Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

And Beinart is working to facilitate these anti-Israel and anti-Jewish radicals in their efforts to take over leadership positions in the American Jewish community.

To understand just how hostile Beinart’s actions are, it is necessary to take a step back and understand the nature of the BDS movement.

This week AMCHA Initiative, a group that monitors antisemitic and anti-Israel activities on US college campuses published a groundbreaking report. Unlike AMCHA’s previous AMCHA reports, and reports by other American Jewish groups that monitor campus antisemitism, AMCHA’s latest report discusses campus antisemitism from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. That is, the report doesn’t merely count the number of antisemitic incidents. AMCHA developed and applied a methodology to measure the actual harm the incidents caused to their victims.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

The results are alarming.

AMCHA analyzed antisemitic incidents on US campuses between 2015 and the first half of 2018. It divided anti-Jewish attacks into classic antisemitic attacks and Israel-themed antisemitic attacks. The former category includes incidents such as Nazi graffiti and vandalism. The latter category includes anti-Israel related harassment and other attacks.

The report shows that anti-Israel incidents are less directed against Israeli academics and Israel than in previous years and increasingly directed against Jewish students and student groups.

AMCHA’s report showed that while classic antisemitic attacks were nearly three times more frequent than Israel-related antisemitic incidents, (205 to 71), 94 percent of Israel-related antisemitic incidents demonstrated an intent to harm Jewish students and groups on campus. Twenty-five percent of the classic antisemitic incidents demonstrated such an intent.

Consequently, the report concludes that “Israel-related antisemitic incidents are considerably more likely to contribute to a hostile campus atmosphere for Jewish students than are incidents which involve ‘classic types of antisemitic expression.’”

As Professor Miriam Elman from Syracuse University wrote in a summary analysis of the AMCHA report published at Legal Insurrection website, the report found as well that “Israel-related incidents are becoming ‘significant and flagrant,’ and are increasingly characterized by a shift from a focus on anti-Israel boycotts and divestment campaigns to actual boycotts of Jewish students and student groups.”

One such incident occurred last April at New York University. Spurred by Students for Justice in Palestine and Beinart’s comrades from Jewish Voice for Peace, 51 student groups signed a pledge that endorsed BDS and committed them to “boycotting NYU’s pro-Israel clubs, Realize Israel and TorchPAC, by not co-sponsoring events with them, as well as boycotting off-campus pro-Israel groups such as Birthright-Taglit, the Maccabee Task Force, Mosaic United, Zionist Organization of America, American-Israeli [sic] Political Action Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.”

Along the lines of the antisemitic ostracism of student groups and national Jewish organizations that represent the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community at NYU, AMCHA found that the most common form of Israel-related antisemitism on campus are activities designed to suppress pro-Israel expressions and ostracize and marginalize Zionist students.

“44 percent of Israel-related incidents involved behavior intended to silence expression, including shutting down, disrupting, defacing or other attempts to interfere with Israel-related events, displays or trips,” the report said. “76% involved behavior that directly and personally targeted students or groups for denigration or discrimination in order to ostracize and exclude them from campus life.”

Not only are bids to ostracize, silence and marginalize Jews and Jewish groups on campus now the most common form of Israel-related antisemitic attacks. They are the fastest growing type of antisemitic attacks. Whereas in 2015 there were three incidents that included “calls to boycott any and all interaction with Zionist students or groups, and… open calls to expel these students or groups (like Hillel) from campus,” in 2017 the number jumped to 14 and there were 18 such incidents in the first half of 2018 alone.

Unlike classic antisemitic incidents, which are generally quickly addressed by campus administrators, AMCHA found that “administrators have generally been far less likely to adequately address these Israel-related incidents than they have acts of classic antisemitism.”

AMCHA partially attributes this failure to protect Jewish students to the fact that “university administrators rarely recognize anti-Zionist harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination, because they see it as motivated by political considerations rather than ethnic or religious ones.”

Elman notes that the upshot of the AMCHA data is that “Jews are being told that they must disavow a huge chunk of their identity before they can participate in campus life.”

Which brings us back to Beinart.

As the AMCHA report shows, Beinart’s anti-Israel activism, including his support for BDS, empowers the most dangerous and rapidly growing antisemitic campaign in the US. This campaign which seeks to trample the basic freedoms of Jews who support Israel, is the gravest threat to the future of American Jewry. It is antisemitic in both character and effect. And Beinart and his comrades are right at the center of it.

Whereas campus administrators view this behavior as part of a legitimate political debate, last year the Knesset recognized it for what it is: a virulent type of antisemitism that needs to be fought. The Knesset understood that while the BDS movement pretends to engage in political discourse, its actual goal is to disenfranchise of American Jews by denying them their constitutional rights of freedom of speech, religion and assembly.

Acting on this insight, in March 2017 the Knesset passed a law barring BDS activists from entering Israel. The prohibition on entry includes BDS advocates who support the boycott of “all areas under[Israeli] control.”
As an activist who spearheads a drive to boycott Israeli Jews and Jewish businesses operating in Israeli controlled Judea and Samaria, Beinart is legally barred from entering Israel.

And as he wrote in an article in the Forward this week, Beinart knew he was barred from entering Israel. He came anyway. And just as his stunt in Hebron two years ago was a provocation geared towards harming Israel’s image, so his trip to Israel – made with full knowledge that at a minimum he would be questioned upon landing – was a stunt geared toward harming Israel’s image and empowering his admirers to escalate their anti-Israel activities.

Israel’s apologies and hand-wringing were out of place. Like his comrades on campuses, Beinart’s behavior shouldn’t be characterized as political speech. He is no mere “critic” of Israel. He is an activist who devotes himself to supporting an anti-Jewish campaign whose purpose is to constrain the freedom of American Jewry and cause lasting harm to the Jewish state.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

Omarosa and Peak Trump Bashing Hits Publishing

Breaking Israel News - 18 hours 40 min ago

Did a major publishing firm waste seven figures on Unhinged, Omarosa Manigault’s fake book?

A parody tweet featuring a faked except from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury book created the Gorilla Channel meme as media types quickly fell for the idea that President Trump spent 17 hours a day watching an imaginary cable channel where gorillas fight each other.

But that’s nothing.

A Simon and Schuster subsidiary paid Omarosa Manigault a reported seven figures for a book in which she claims that Trump wanted to take his oath of office on a copy of The Art of the Deal instead of the bible. The source of the story appears not to be Trump, but a popular Trump impersonator.

Someone should have noticed that. But when fake news meets fake books, there’s no time to check the stories that are too good not to print. The seemingly endless appetite of lefties for Trump bashing touched off a gold rush in the media and its allied publishing companies to mint new bestsellers.

Unhinged, the Omarosa book in question, was apparently sold in July and published in August.

That’s a ridiculously quick turnaround that would have made any serious fact checking impossible. Nor, apparently, was any serious fact-checking attempted, according to subjects like Frank Luntz and George Conway, who are named in the claims that she makes about President Trump using racial slurs.

Simon and Schuster is a subsidiary of CBS. The entanglement between fake books and fake news is a phenomenon that pervades the various sectors of the media as reporters write and report on books.

Simon and Schuster, like many other publishers, has been cashing in on Trump Derangement Syndrome. Samples include Bob Woodward’s ‘FEAR: Trump in the White House’ to be published on 9/11, ‘It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America’, a book whose title just doesn’t know when to stop, and Michael Ian Black’s ‘A Child’s First Book of Trump’. “The beasty is called an American Trump/Its skin is bright orange, its figure is plump,” Black clumsily rhymes.

Simon and Schuster had also published Hillary Clinton’s ‘What Happened’.

Woodward’s FEAR is an obvious answer to the success of Wolff’s Fire and Fury. Both are similarly themed pseudo-journalistic insider accounts. Book sized volumes of the type of fake news that have made lots of money for Bezos’ Washington Post and Sulzberger’s New York Times.

FEAR comes out in September. Before Woodward’s FEAR, though there was more fear at Simon and Schuster with the July release of The Monarchy of Fear by Martha C. Nussbaum. But the pop philosophy attack on Trump misfired. And the two S’s had a hole in August between Monarchy of Fear and FEAR.

So the publishing giant quickly signed a deal with Omarosa and filled its August hole with her crazy claims. Like Fire and Fury, and FEAR, Unhinged plugs into the fake news cycle. Even as the Manafort trial is petering out, leading to snide media attacks on Judge Ellis for restraining the prosecution’s antics and denying them the show trial that their ratings and Chartbeat graphs so badly needed, Unhinged arrived.

The titled of Unhinged could easily refer to Omarosa and the bizarre claims that a major publishing house decided to pay her seven figures for. Aside from the quest for a tape of Trump’s racial slur (Omarosa had spent enough time around media lefties to know that even hinting at the existence of such a thing would unleash a feeding frenzy that would make sharks chasing bloody meat seem sedate), and the suggestion that Trump wanted to take his oath on The Art of the Deal, there’s her claim that Melania uses her fashion choices to “punish” her husband. That’s yet another media conspiracy theory.

Unhinged really isn’t a crazy book. It’s a deeply cynical one. It takes media conspiracy theories and feeds them right back into the media. Omarosa was flushing fake news into the media’s fake news sewer. Omarosa cashed a seven figure check by giving lefty conspiracy theories, no matter how bizarre, the stamp of approval of having an ‘insider’ in the Trump White House tell them their beliefs are really true.

That’s why Simon and Schuster signed the deal and made Unhinged its August anti-Trump pick. Unhinged is unhinged nonsense. But what’s better for fake news than a fake book?

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

And why shouldn’t Omarosa work the same side of the street as Michael Wolff? Despite his journalistic credentials, Wolff’s narrative was full of holes, his claims dubious and his credibility shot. Fire and Fury contains an admission early on that the book is probably full of lies, but blames those lies on Trump associates. When he tried to extend his 15 minutes by using the same strategy to accuse Nikki Haley of having an affair with Trump, while blaming her for his own implication, even the media turned on him.

And then stopped inviting him on.

Omarosa is working her way through the Wolff slime trial, making dubious claims, invoking a journalistic journey, contradicting herself, blaming the contradictions on everyone else and distorting the events that she supposedly witnessed to make bizarre and inflammatory claims about President Trump.

Meanwhile she keeps dropping illegally recorded tapes that only address her own egotistical careerism.

And that’s where the misfire began.

Instead of getting a #1 bestseller, Simon and Schuster had to settle for #5. As CNN notes, even Rick Wilson’s anti-Trump rant made it to #2. Pro-Trump books by Jeanine Pirro and Gregg Jarrett got to #1. And that’s despite the millions of dollars in free media coverage lavished on Unhinged.

Without the backlash from the White House, Omarosa might not have even gotten to #5.

What went wrong with Simon and Schuster’s seven figure investment?

Unhinged is a self-serving book. Omarosa’s tapes were her big ticket item but they’re there to back up her own narrative of being unfairly fired. The left-baiting claims are just the chocolate coating for the creamy center of her own careerism. And in her past, she had alienated the media badly enough that plenty of big media talking heads were eager to pounce. Not all were as hysterical as April Ryan, who dubbed Omarosa “evil”, but no one in the media was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Instead the media has been unhelpfully calling Omarosa out on the contradictions in her story.

The media isn’t investing too much in Omarosa. But like Wolff, she feeds the fake news media cycle, doling out the material that the media will amplify in its daily hysterical coverage for a Democrat demographic that is obsessed with Trump and has even less selectivity about what it consumes.

Simon and Schuster’s August anti-Trump bid appears to have misfired. The publishing giant is no doubt hoping that the misfire had more to do with Omarosa’s personal qualities than the end of the gold rush.

Bob Bender, a Simon and Schuster VP, predicted back in May that the Trump rush in publishing is about to fade. “Nobody’s going to do that for the second year—assuming there is a second year.”

If Bob Woodward’s FEAR misfires, then the era of fake books may be fading. And that’s bad news for fake news. Both fake news and fake books were a media gold rush fed by Trump Derangement Syndrome. But the golden age of Trump bashing may be ending. And then the soaring sales of the Washington Post and the New York Times, not to mention the few reporters still writing political books who weren’t named in #MeToo scandals, will crash down to earth as the golden age dies.

Omarosa’s Unhinged may be the fake book that broke the fake publishing camel’s back.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog

Mother-Daughter Baking Workshop Empowers Israel’s Neediest

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 23:43

Eliminating hunger sounds like a lofty goal. But starting small – and throwing in a little fun – is a good start. In Migdal Ha’Emek, a town in Israel’s North, social worker Dafna Hassan recently led a mother-daughter baking workshop at Ooga-Ooga Bakery. The workshop is part of Colel Chabad’s nutrition security program, designated by the Israeli government to take charge of eliminating hunger among Israel’s neediest.

During the baking workshop, 25 mothers and daughters learned together how to make three different types of healthy cookies and met with a nutritionist lecturer who explained proper nutrition, quantities and distribution of the food groups at each meal and their importance. At the end of the workshop, each participant received a recipe booklet and a box of cookies.

“Using ingredients such as tehina, brown sugar, sesame, and buckwheat, we made healthy cakes and discussed the importance of understanding health to improve one’s life,” Hassan told Breaking Israel News.

For those struggling with poverty, good dietary habits is seldom a major priority but can contribute greatly to one’s health and confidence that translates into many aspects of life.

Explaining the focus on workshops specifically for women, Hassan, who had previously led the baking workshop for 50 women and girls, said, “Women are instrumental to building a community. They are the ones who give security, so we decided to hold this workshop for women and their daughters, strengthening their connection in a fun and educational experience.”

The workshop also afforded the mothers an opportunity to meet other women from different walks of life – both religious and secular.

When asked about the impact that the workshops have in the lives of the women, Hassan became emotional, noting that even a short activity can have a life-long impact “so they can fight both hunger and all challenges in life.”

Colel Chabad offers 243 families food security, maintained Hassan, with other community-building programs including workshops on tzitzit (fringes on the corner of a Jewish prayer shawl) making for dads and sons, couples workshops and cooking classes for Shabbat and daily life.

The organization, she said, also has a growing network of daycare centers in which children of working parents – including many single mothers – can go during working hours, as well as afternoon programs for older children.  

In addition, Colel Chabad runs a network of 22 soup kitchens, food cards, discounted supermarkets, and delivered meals on wheels for the homebound, elderly, and disabled.

“Programs like this truly improve the lives of Israelis in need, giving them tools to live a good life and build community,” said Hassan. “I feel like I have been sent on a mission from God to help people in poor economic situations, to help them and offer workshops that can add a lot.”

According to Hassan, the response that she sees to her workshops shows how meaningful and powerful this work can be. “I receive a lot of hugs, thanks, and many tell me how these simple nutrition workshops have made people the authors of their own lives.”

This may not solve all of one’s challenges in life, but for many Israelis living in a cycle of poverty, it is a great first step.

To help Israel’s poor, please visit here.

Written in cooperation with Colel Chabad.

Yazidi leader killed in air strike by Turkey four years after genocide

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 23:42

Ankara: He was one of most wanted PKK terrorists

Sanhedrin Invites Christians to Inaugurate Universal Rosh Hashanah

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 10:26

A concert held at the base of the Temple Mount in three weeks will inaugurate a “new Biblical holiday:” a universal Rosh Hashanah (New Year) commemorating the creation of the world.

The nascent Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center are hosting the World Creation Concert on September 3, the 23rd of the Hebrew month of Elul. According to Jewish tradition, the world was created on the 25th of Elul. The concert will be held at at the Jerusalem Archaeological Park – Davidson Center and the Hulda gates adjacent to the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem.

“We are not calling on the non-Jews to observe a Jewish holiday,” Rabbi Hillel Weiss explained to Breaking Israel News. “We are creating an entirely new and unique holiday that is relevant to everyone on the planet. There are global threats that bind us all together: ecological and political. It is precisely for these situations that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob established a House of Prayer for All Nations in Jerusalem.”

“This concert is a way to bring all of the nations together to praise God,” Rabbi Weiss said. “This is an event organized by Orthodox Jews but it does not ‘belong’ to any one religion. We are acting in our prophesied role as a Kingdom of Priests, serving the nations in order to enable them to serve Hashem.”

The organizers of the concert sent out invitations to representatives of every country around the world and several have responded, saying they will attend. In addition to specific nations, the Sanhedrin appointed Pastor David Decker, a self-professed “passionate Evangelical Christian who is a lover of Zion,” to act as the ambassador to the Christian world.

Decker has accepted the commission with enthusiasm though he acknowledges it will not be easy given the difficult history between Judaism and Christianity.

“This concert is an opportunity for Christianity to take a step beyond all that and take a step closer towards fixing what has been broken for 2,000 years,” Decker told Breaking Israel News. “Anyone who believes the prophecies has to acknowledge that Israel is back in the land and it isn’t so they can build high tech companies. God called the House of Israel back to the land to build his House of Glory. Our job as Christians is to help them in this holy mission. Part of this may be to wake the Jews up who aren’t yet aware.”

“The Sanhedrin is inviting us as Christians and all the nations to do that. This is a direct blow to the New Age and Mother Earth movements which are paganism. This is all about the Bible and the God of the Bible.”

“The Christians are supposed to be the support group for the people god chose to bring his Holy Word into the world. If Christianity were, God forbid, to disappear from the earth, the Jews would still have to do what they were assigned to do according to God’s covenant. If, God forbid, the Jewish people were to disappear from the earth, Christianity would be lost. This is why we, as Christians, need to discuss this among ourselves and also with the Jews. There are many Christians who don’t even love Israel. How can this be?”

Decker described the concert as a “new Biblical holiday.” He explained that despite not being explicitly mentioned in the Bible, the concert would hopefully become an annual event in which the Christians and the other nations could actualize their prophetic roles.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

“The Sanhedrin knows that Christians have an important role to play in fulfilling Biblical prophecies,” Decker said. “To do that we need to understand our older brothers, the Jews, and to respect them. We need to learn how to work with the Jews the way we were supposed to 2,000 years ago. We will always disagree about some things but certainly there is enough common spiritual ground in our shared Bible.”

Decker believes that the concept is especially relevant to Christians and they should therefore be the first to step forward.

“When our Christian rabbi, Yehoshua, prayed, he wasn’t praying to himself,” Decker said. “He was praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Christians and Jews certainly can agree on praying to this God.”

“This is not an attempt to water down the Christian faith or change it in any way. Our Lord and Savior was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi. He was circumcised eight days after he was born and his parents brought a sacrifice of doves to the Jewish Temple to redeem him as the first born.  We may not agree on many things about the Messiah, but when he does come, he will be heading for the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and not for the First Baptist Church of Texas.”

To facilitate the universal aspect of the concert, the organizers have arranged several different manners for people to participate. A limited number of tickets are available to attend in person. Several television stations around the world will broadcast the event live. If this is unavailable, people can obtain a link to the live broadcast for a small fee on the concert’s website.

But the most interesting option is available free of charge. People can sign up to be what the organizers refer to as “Points of Praise.” Individuals and organizations can sign up as representatives of a local group of like-minded friends and families who will gather and watch the live broadcast together online. Their goal is simply to have God be praised by all nations around the world.

Young couple trying to prove human kindness among cyclists killed by ISIS

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 09:45

“Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own."

There IS a Doctor in the House

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 09:23

On a day in August, annually for the last 12 years, physicians and ordinary citizens take off for a face-to-face discussion of the latest in Israeli medicine. Some 1,500 people, most of them Jerusalemites, filled Teddy Hall (named in memory of the city’s legendary mayor Teddy Kollek) at the city’s International Convention Center for a full day that began with a videoed message of greeting from President Reuven Rivlin.

The highly varied agenda ranged from discussions of nutrition to providing healthcare to the elderly and saving wounded soldiers on the battlefield.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Turgeman, who is head of the military’s technology and logistics branch, wowed his audience with a video of a non-piloted vehicle that evacuates up to two wounded soldiers on the battlefield and flies them to a safer place where they can be treated.

Turgeman, who was commander during a difficult battle during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict Operation Protective Edge, said that troops, if wounded by gunfire, expect that they will be evacuated as soon as possible. “We do everything we can to save them. It’s difficult to continue fighting if there are wounded soldiers lying there; they lose faith.

When there are fewer dead and wounded, we have more time to fight, and decision makers have more time to fight and less pressure to make decisions,” said the senior officer. “This is also part of the battle to make it clear who won – us or the enemy.”

The IDF has made great efforts, especially in the past few years to minimize the number of preventable deaths among battlefield soldiers. In the 1948 War of Independence, 46% of the wounded died. This was reduced to 15% in the First Lebanon War in 1982 and 9.2% in Operation Protective Edge. The main cause of death in soldiers who suffered preventable deaths is bleeding. About 83% of fallen soldiers die within an hour of being wounded, said Turgeman.

To prevent soldiers from being hurt, the IDF has in recent years introduced much advanced and expensive equipment, including flak jackets with ceramic plates, many-layered helmets, protective goggles and even a unique protective device that prevents the wearer from being stabbed in the neck from behind (developed when Palestinian terrorist stabbings in Jerusalem and elsewhere some four years ago were commonplace). The IDF even developed dry plasma that can be turned, with the addition of water, into precious liquid for transfusions on the battlefield.  

Brig.-Gen. Tarif Bader, a Druse pediatrician and professor who is IDF surgeon-general, added that “we have treated not only Israeli soldiers and civilians, but also people in faraway lands hit by earthquakes and other natural disasters by setting up mobile hospitals to treat them.” He also proudly noted that a quarter of IDF military corps officers are women.

Israel is less successful with regard to childhood and teenage obesity – ranking sixth worst in the world, said Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, “Our consumption of sugar is among highest in world. Diabetes is a world epidemic, and it exists here as well.” But steps can and are being taken to minimize the problem. School vending machines will not be allowed to sell junk food; chocolate milk, very popular among Israeli children, is being made without sugar; and in 18 months, food products will have to show a green or red icon signifying whether they have healthful or excessive levels of sugar, salt and fat.

Prof. Jonathan Halevy, director-general for the last 31 years of Jerusalem’s 116-year-old Shaare Zedek Medical Center, told the audience that the hospital is booming, with 1,000 beds and delivering more babies per year – 22,200 – than any other hospital in the world. “Thirty to 40% of our patients come from outside our catchment area. We choose personnel not only for their medical skills but also for their empathy towards patients. As a voluntary hospital that depends on our income from patient care and without getting government subsidies, we still have the lowest operating deficit of any Israeli hospital.”

Director-General of the Hadassah Medical Organization, Prorf. Zeev Rotstein, said that it “won’t take long before cancer is treated like a chronic illness and not a disease that kills. Personalized medicine with treatment – even on single receptors — based on the genetic background of patients will become the norm.” He unveiled a new feature of its My Hadassah smartphone application – the first of its kind in Israel – in which every user can enter his disease and/or symptoms and find immediately the Hadassah physician, clinic and department that are most qualified to treat him based on experience, specialty and publications. This is the first such app in an Israeli hospital, he said, with more than 60,000 patients registered so far.

Although the Israeli population is relatively young compared to that in Europe, it is aging. Dr. Yuval Weiss, medical director of the Jerusalem region of the Meuhedet health maintenance organization. “In a decade, there will be 600,000 people over the age of 75. Already today, there are hospital internal medicine departments near collapse in the winter flu season. The HMO has thus decided to launch home hospitalization, whenever possible, with nurses and doctors coming to homes to install medical equipment and give proper treatment. A pilot program will begin in the fall. Physicians have to keep on their toes, said Weiss, as many ordinary patients come in with printouts from “Dr. Google,” listing treatments published in The New England Journal of Medicine or other journals relating to their conditions.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Even in periods of terrorism and war, Israeli hospitals are “islands of sanity,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which raises funds abroad for many Israeli causes. “In hospitals, the walls that divide us collapse, especially with its mixed population. Suddenly, everybody helps everybody else. Despite the power struggles, Israeli society must learn from you doctors, and nurses on how to be better, to care for people.”

The food industry here is changing rapidly, said Prof. Eyal Shimoni – vice president for vision and technological strategy at the Strauss Group food conglomerate. “People eat differently, at different times of the day than they used to. I don’t believe in trends. The demand for healthful food will continue. We at Strauss stopped using trans fat 15 years ago. We have cut sugar without telling customers so they don’t suddenly say the food is less tasty. In recent years, 120 of our products have undergone revision for better health. If we had sold chocolate milk without sugar four or five years ago, the produce would have failed. Today, there is more awareness.”

Zeev Pikovsky, chief scientist of the Israeli food conglomerate Tnuva, said there will be 10 billion people in the world by 2050, but there will be less usable land and water. “Global warming, the aging population, changes in family structure and different consumer views based on science and personal beliefs will cause a shakeup.” While most people will give up animal products, many more will be “flexitarians” eating less meat, more vegetarians and more vegans. Food company labels will have to be clearer, and their products will be less processed with less synthetic compounds.

The Mediterranean diet of vegetables, fruit, olive oil, nuts, pulses (beans), whole grains, fish and poultry – eaten in family meals, perhaps with a siesta during the day – is the best diet in the world for health, said Prof. Jacob Klein, head of cardiovascular rehabilitation and prevention at Shaare Zedek. “There is a direct connection between heart diseases and diabetes on the one hand and poor diet, smoking and inadequate physical activity on the other.”

Various international studies have shown that heart disease mortality differs by country, with much lower rates in Mediterranean countries like Israel, Italy and Greece, compared to the US, for example.”

Fatty liver – hepatic steatosis, a reversible condition in which large amounts of triglyceride fat accumulate in liver cells – exists in a quarter to a third of all people in the world, said Prof. Rifat Safadi, head of the liver unit, gastroenterology and liver diseases at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem. “Fatty liver can lead to cirrhosis and even liver cancer. If you lose 3% of your body weight, you will be much better off; if you lose 10%, you will be much better and reduce scarring of the liver,” he said. He recommended eating much less processed carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup high protein, high fructose corn syrup, soft drinks and red meat as much as possible. Processed sugar, he added, is “more violent than sugar from fruits.” Espresso coffee, by the way, can improve fatty liver.

Israeli hospitals perform the highest rate in the world of in-vitro fertilization to produce pregnancies, said Shaare Zedek fertility and IVF department director Prof. Hananel Holzer. The national basket of health services pays for IVF to produce two healthy babies in women up to the age of 45, he said. Most countries do not cover such costs. Every year, 43,000 IVF cycles are performed in Israel, more than in actual numbers than in many other countries, because of the desire here for offspring.

The IVF success rate over 43 years is only about 3%, but the Health Ministry has not decided to reduce the maximum age, even though the money saved could be spent on other medical needs, said Holzer. In addition, two embryos are returned to the womb after IVF here. When he worked in a leading Montreal hospital, the rule was to return only one because of the increased risks in multiple pregnancies.

This year’s Israel Medical Conference was the most interesting so far; it is hoped that organizer Prof. Avi Rivkind of Hadassah will make the next one even better.

To ask a medical question for an expert to answer, email Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at, giving your initials, gender, age and place of residence.

Analysis: The Islamic State's push for a new caliphate

Jerusalem Post - Middle East News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 08:06

New reports suggest the terror group is recovering in Iraq and Syria; Khorasan Province is eyeing a new caliphate in Afghanistan.

Israeli Scientists Implant First Knee Replacement That Regrows Cartilage And Bone

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 07:37

Israeli scientists have implanted the first knee replacement that can regrow cartilage and bone. A 30-year-old Jerusalem woman attempted to fix her knee cartilage multiple times. Despairing, she turned to CartiHeal – established in 2009 in conjunction with Ben Gurion University.

PSALMS 104:35

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 07:13

Jewish tradition tells a story about a remarkable woman name Bruriah, who lived in the Land of Israel shortly after the second Temple period with her husband, the great sage Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Meir had been abused by vagrants, and prayed for their destruction. Bruriah quoted this psalm, and noted that the above verse should be understood as saying, “May sins disappear from the earth,” and does not wish for the actual destruction of the sinners themselves. Once their evil behavior ends, they will no longer be sinners, for they will return to Hashem (God). Rabbi Meir accepted his wife’s advice and prayed for his enemies to repent. Hashem accepted his prayers and the sinners returned from their evil ways.

Month of the Shofar

Breaking Israel News - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 07:01

The month of Elul marks a period of preparation leading up to Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and, ten days later, the holiday of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). The primary tool to aid Jews in preparing for repentance is the shofar, a specially prepared ram’s horn, which is blown every weekday of the month during morning prayers. It is the focal point of the Rosh Hashanah service and is blown at the end of Yom Kippur.

Biblical Sources

The first case of a shofar being used to awaken the Jews to serve God preceded the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

On the third day, as morning dawned, there was thunder, and lightning, and a dense cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud blast of the shofar; and all the people who were in the camp trembled. Exodus 19:16

Rosh Hashanah is referred to in the Bible as zikaron teruah (a memorial of shofar blasts).

Speak to B’nei Yisrael thus: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts. Leviticus 23:24

The shofar was also unique in being used to announce the jubilee, once every 50 years.

Then you shall sound the shofar loud; in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month—the Day of Atonement—you shall have the shofar sounded throughout your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year. You shall proclaim release throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: each of you shall return to his holding and each of you shall return to his family. Leviticus 25:9-10

The shofar was also blown in times of war, most notably when Joshua besieged and then conquered Jericho.

When Yehoshua had instructed the people, the seven Kohanim carrying seven shofarot advanced before Hashem, blowing their shofarot; and the Aron Brit Hashem followed them. Joshua 6:8

In recent times, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the chief rabbi of the IDF, blew a shofar after the battle in the 1967 Six-Day War in which Israel conquered the Temple Mount.

According to Jewish tradition, Elijah the prophet will re-appear just before the Messiah. Elijah will anoint the Messiah and announce his arrival with blasts on a shofar. The Yochanan Ben Zakkai Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City has a shofar and flask of oil on a high shelf waiting for Elijah’s use. This pre-Messiah shofar blast is prophesied to also awaken the dead.

All you who live in the world And inhabit the earth, When a flag is raised in the hills, take note! When a shofar is blown, give heed! Isaiah 18:3

Making a Shofar

In preparation for Rosh Hashanah, Breaking Israel News visited Kol Shofar in Givat Yoav in the Golan, where Shimon Keinar has been making shofarot for 17 years.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); });

Animals Kosher for Shofar

All animals that are kosher to be eaten (i.e. split hooves and chew their cud) can be used for making a shofar if they have horns. The only exception is a cow, whose horn may not be used as a shofar. Coincidentally, horns from permissible animals are not solid bone but have cartilage inside making it possible to hollow them out. One explanation is that a cow’s horn will remind God of the Sin of the Golden Calf. A ram’s horn is traditionally used on Rosh Hashanah as a reference to the Binding of Isaac.

When Avraham looked up, his eye fell upon a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. So Avraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. Genesis 22:13

Yemenite Jews traditionally use a shofar from a Kudu, a type of African antelope, with a particularly long and twisted horn.

Other horns that are commonly used come from antelopes, gazelles, goats, and Rocky Mountain goats. The animal does not have to be ritually slaughtered in order for its horn to be used as a shofar.

Several examples of different shofarot. (Credit: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz)

The horn needs to be dried out to separate the cartilage from the bone.

After drying, the shofar needs to be boiled in water for between two and five hours. Add a bit of  washing soda can help with later cleaning. The cartilage can then be removed using a pick.

Use a flexible wire to check how far the hollow inside the horn extends. Make a mark on the outside of the Shofar about one inch further along than where the hollow ends. Cut off approximately one inch from narrow tip with a saw. It is important to make sure that the horn is completely dry before cutting it.

Drill into the sawed-off end a hole of 1/8 inch using an electric drill until the bit reaches the hollow of the horn.

Use the rounded drill bits to carve a bell-shaped mouthpiece at the end of the shofar. The edge of the mouthpiece can be smoothed. Keinar tunes each shofar, adjusting the tone and timbre by shaping the mouthpiece.

What makes a Shofar Unfit for Ritual Use

There must be no holes or splits on the sides of the shofar. Paint or metal adornments render the shofar unfit for ritual use. The shofar may not be fitted with a mouthpiece. Shofarot appeared prominently in the Temple service and for some uses were fitted with silver mouthpieces, though for other purposes this was not allowed.

The outside of the shofar may be polished or engraved but nothing can be glued or attached to it, even if it is made from the same material.

It is forbidden to blow the shofar on Shabbat and it is, in fact, muktzah (forbidden to pick up or carry). This is true even when Rosh Hashanah falls on the Sabbath, in which case the shofar service is read but without the shofar being blown.

For ritual purposes, only one shofar may be sounded at a time.

Buying a Shofar

Keinar, a religious Jew, makes thousands of shofarot each year, selling most of them from his showroom in the Golan. He runs tours in which he explains his craft. He noted that in recent years, many shofar suppliers have chosen to import from Morocco and other countries rather than from Israel.

“Though a shofar made by a non-Jew or non-observant Jew is entirely kosher, I believe that it is better when a shofar is made by a Sabbath-observant Jew,” Keinar said. “The voice of the shofar is intended to pierce into the inner depths of the heart and soul. This is highly personal and is best done by a God-fearing Jew.”

In recent years, Evangelical Christians have become enthusiastic customers for Keinar’s wares.

“I don’t understand this but I certainly don’t object,” Keinar said. “There is no prohibition in the Torah that prevents non-Jews from blowing the shofar and if it wakes them up to serve Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’), it can only be a good thing.”