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7 hours 28 sec ago

In verses 16-17 of this chapter, Hashem (God) promises that although He has exiled the Children of Israel and scattered them among the nations, in the future He will gather and redeem them: “I will gather you from the people and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the Land of Israel.” In this verse, Yechezkel (Ezekiel) shares Hashem’s promise with the Children of Israel in captivity, giving them hope for the future. The Hebrew word for exile is gola, while the term for redemption is geula. These two words are spelled almost identically, with only one letter difference! The Children of Israel must remain steadfast in knowing that Hashem has the ability to redeem His children from exile with just the switch of a letter.

Russian Military Plane Shot Down By Syrian Missile; Kremlin Blames Israel

8 hours 33 min ago

Syrian anti-aircraft systems shot down a Russian airplane with 14 people aboard moments after an alleged Israeli airstrike against a Syrian military installation on Monday night. Russia is blaming Israel, claiming that the Israeli government’s warning did not come in time to remove their forces away from the area of the attack.

“We view the actions of the Israeli military as hostile,” Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian state television. “As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian service personnel perished.”

“We retain the right to an appropriate response,” Konashenkov concluded.

The incident comes in the wake of an attack on a Syrian military installation in the Latakia region of Syria at 11:00 PM local time. It is believed they were attacking the Syrian Organization for Technological Industries, a Syrian military facility responsible for the majority of Syria’s chemical weapons and missiles. Russia claims four Israeli F-16 warplanes carried out the attack. Syrian surface-to-air missiles responded and it is believed they downed the Russian aircraft.

The Russian military said Israel notified the Russian side about the planned operation only a minute in advance, and that Israeli controllers would have seen the Russian plane, which was coming in to land.

The Russian plane, an Ilyushin Il-20 turboprop used as a maritime patrol and electronic intelligence aircraft, went off radar while flying 22 miles off the coast of Syria. Search and rescue operations are underway.  

At the behest of the Syrian government in 2015, Russia has a large military presence in the country to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his seven year civil war against rebel forces. Russia currently has two military bases in the country, including an airbase in Latakia.

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Russia also claimed that at concurrent with the Israeli air-strike, France launched a missile strike at targets in the same region.

“At the same time Russian air control radar systems detected rocket launches from the French frigate Auvergne which was located in that region,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying.

France denied launching any missiles into Syria.

Syrian media reported the attack on their base as a missile strike coming from the Mediterranean.

“Our air defences repelled enemy missiles coming from the open sea towards the city of Latakia and intercepted several of them before they could reach their targets,” Sana news agency reported, citing Syrian military sources.

Israel has not commented on the allegations. As a rule, Israel rarely makes official statements on military operations carried out outside of Israel. In a surprise announcement earlier this month, an Israeli military official said the IDF had hit more than 200 Iranian targets in Syria over the past 18 months.

Julian Röpcke, an editor and political commentator currently working for BILD, Germany’s largest newspaper and leading online news portal, conjectured on Twitter that the incident indicates shocking failures in the Russian military hardware.

Röpcke also pointed out that anti-aircraft systems routinely have a friend-or-foe identification system built-in to prevent precisely such cases of friendly-fire.

Same is true for #Assad's Soviet-made S-200 wich actually SHOULD have a friend-or-foe identification system …
Or did the Russians *forget* about re-programming it while being in Latakia since 2015?! …

— Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) September 18, 2018

In this case of a Russian military airplane being shot down by a Russian built missile system sold to the Syrians and used in joint operations, this accident seems like the result of a catastrophic failure of essential systems.

Impact of Hurricane Florence; Before and After

9 hours 35 min ago

Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas earlier this week. Strong winds and very heavy rainfall have left a trail of devastation in their wake. The full impact is yet to be felt. However, there are fears that the stagnant water will bring diseases.

Temple Mount Achieves New Heights

9 hours 59 min ago

As the new year begins, a look back shows that the multi-year trend of Jews ascending to the site of the Jewish Temples is growing even stronger. Perhaps more significantly, many respected rabbis and leaders are joining the grass roots return to the Temple Mount.

Yer’aeh, an organization that tracks Jews ascending to the Temple Mount, announced this week that 28,800 Jews ascended in the Hebrew calendar year, 5778. This compares to 22,552 the previous year. This year’s record more than doubles the 14,094 Jews who ascended two years ago. In 2014, fewer than 10,000 Jews ascended the Temple Mount throughout the entire year.

No less impressive is the growing number of influential rabbis who ascended, setting an example for their disciples. More than 100 rabbinic leaders ascended to the Temple Mount for the first time this year, signifying a change in their policy concerning the holy site. Some rabbis have ruled that it is forbidden to ascend to the Temple Mount due to concerns that visitors may enter areas that are forbidden by Jewish law.

Yaakov Hayman, the head of Yishai, an NGO dedicated to reinstating Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, believes that the emerging rabbinic interest in the Temple Mount is a step toward resolving the halachic (Torah law) issue.

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“It is a new phenomenon to have rabbinic authoritative rabbis ruling that not only is it permitted to go up to the Temple Mount, but that we are required to go up,” Hayman told Breaking Israel News. “The real shame is that since 1967 when the Temple Mount was returned to the Jews, this important issue has never been fully discussed by the Chief Rabbinate or by rabbinic authorities in any organized fashion.”

“The facts are that by not approaching this in a true halachic manner, the rabbis who object to going up to the Temple Mount have removed themselves from the decision making process. The Jewish people are voting with their feet.”

Israeli law mandates freedom of religion and universal prayer at holy sites, but Israeli police have chosen to abide by restrictions that prohibit Jews from praying in the Temple Mount so as to avoid a violent Muslim backlash.

“As the number of Jews going to the Temple Mount grows, the police claim that violating their rights is justified becomes less tenable,” Hayman told Breaking Israel News. “There is no way the police can prevent thousands, or even hundreds of Jews from praying on the Temple Mount. We haven’t yet achieved that critical mass but it is clear to everyone that we are well on our way to get there. When the Nation of Israel decides they want to pray to God on the Temple Mount, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will be able to stop us.”

In his professional life, Hayman manages building projects and his approach to the Third Temple reflects that.

“The Temple Mount is not a historical site. It is a future construction site,” he said. “We are pouring the foundations by bringing the hearts of Israel there.”

Heal O’ Israel, Fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease

10 hours 20 min ago

I know someone who suffers from ALS, and it’s terrible. Is there any promising new research coming out of Israel? I.C.W., Canada

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich replies:

ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease – is indeed tragic and terminal. The initial symptoms can vary from person to person. One sufferer may have trouble holding a pen or lifting a glass of water, while another person may experience a change in vocal pitch when speaking. ALS is typically a disease that involves a gradual onset. In addition, the rate at which it progresses in sufferers also differs. Symptoms can begin in the muscles that control speech and swallowing or in the hands, arms, legs or feet.

Not all people with ALS experience the same symptoms or the same sequences or patterns of progression. However, progressive muscle weakness and paralysis are universally experienced.

A generally painless, gradual muscle weakness that gets worse is the most common initial symptom in ALS. Other early symptoms vary but can include falling over things, dropping things, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps and twitches and/or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying. When the breathing muscles become affected, ultimately, people with the disease will need permanent ventilatory support to assist with breathing.

It was named for the great New York Yankees baseball hero, Lou Gehrig, because he contracted the disease and was forced to retire in 1939, at age 36. He died just two years later. While there is no cure yet, Israeli researchers have been prominent in efforts to fight the disease. A breakthrough that offers hope for the treatment ALS was made by researchers at Tel Aviv University, who identified a previously unknown mechanism involved in the development of the debilitating, fatal neurological disorder.

The researchers found that the motor neurons of ALS patients are destroyed by muscular toxins. They have also found an innovative approach that is the basis for a possible future drug – a specific microRNA molecule silences the genes that cause toxin secretion. The research focuses for the first time on a specific microRNA whose levels were found to decrease as a result of ALS-causing muscular mutations.

The study was led by Dr. Eran Perlson of the physiology and pharmacology department at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and conducted by TAU doctoral students Roy Maimon and Ariel Ionescu. Their work was published this year in the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience. While they do not claim they have brought and end to suffering from ALS, they have certainly moved the field forward.

Researchers have had much difficulty understanding the specific underlying mechanisms of ALS. Some have focused their efforts on the metabolism of microRNAs (miRs) – small molecules that regulate the translation of proteins and play an important role in many other cellular processes.

Recent work has shown that the alteration of miRs is involved in many neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS. The TAU study identifies a new mechanism related to ALS pathology in which the muscle secretes toxic molecules that kill axons and neuromuscular junctions and thus leads to muscle atrophy. They showed in lab work and on mouse models that they could successfully alleviate ALS symptoms using this miR as a potential drug.

Another Israeli team that has been working on ALS for years is Prof. Dimitrios Karousis of the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem and of Brain-Storm Cell Therapeutics, a company working on the use of injected stem cells. The company’s experimental product, NurOwn, has been proven safe and well-tolerated, slowing progression of the disease and improving the conditions of a relatively small group of patients.

So while ALS has not yet been defeated, there is hope coming from Israel.

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I have not had any success with medical doctors telling me about the proper way to get rid of heavy metal mercury out of my body,  and I don’t believe in taking any kind of toxic prescription drugs. It seems to me that I have read that dark green leafy vegetables could help to chelate or reduce the heavy metal mercury in my body. Is this true? Are there other kinds of foods such as essential oils, herbs or spices, that can help me? W.N., Nahariya, Israel.

Veteran Israeli pharmaceutical consultant Howard Rice answers:

I assume that W.N. has had his body mercury content assessed, and that his doctor recommended a treatment because of the inherent danger he faced. If this is the case, despite his apprehension, I would advise him to abide by the proven protocols of EDTA, (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), DMSA (Dimercaptosuccinic acid -succimer,) or DMPS (2,3-Dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid), since otherwise the results of mercury poisoning can be very difficult, certainly more so than the treatment.

These products are chelating agents that bond ions and molecules to metal ions. They are sometimes used in combination that combine with heavy metals, form water soluble complexes. Chelates can be easily and successfully eliminated from the body despite the sometimes-unpleasant abdominal pain and disturbing bowel effects.

If, on the other hand, he just feels it may be necessary because of the concern over mercury in fish, formerly used injection preservatives or dental amalgam for example, he could try a diet of foods rich in folates (vitamin B6), such as chickpeas, spinach, avocado and broccoli, and sulfur such as garlic, onions, walnuts kale and eggs. All of these are thought to help eliminate heavy metals, including mercury, from the body.

I would like to emphasize that eating a well-balanced diet is always helpful for keeping the body free of toxins. So is a good night’s sleep.

If you want an Israeli expert to answer your medical questions, write to Breaking Israel News health and science senior reporter Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at with your initials, age, gender and place of residence and details of the medical condition, if any.

Yad Sarah: From a Borrowed Vaporizer to an Adviser to the UN

12 hours 34 min ago

It all began over 40 years ago when a religious Jewish high school teacher in Jerusalem named Rabbi Uri Lupolianski and his wife, Michal, borrowed an electric vaporizer from a neighbor when one of their children suffered from a winter cold.

Upon hearing that such items were hard to obtain in those days, the rabbi decided to start his own charity by buying a few vaporizers to lend to others. People who heard about his project began dropping off other items that are used only temporarily by sick people such as crutcheswalkers and wheelchairs.

With seed money from his father and guidance from Prof. Kalman Mann, director-general of Hadassah Medical Center, Lupolianski turned the lending activity in his small apartment into a nationwide non-profit organization and named it Yad Sarah (Hebrew for “Memorial to Sarah”) in memory of his grandmother of that name who had died in the Holocaust. Lupolianski later served as mayor of Jerusalem for five years, after which he returned to Yad Sarah as its president.

The organization based in Jerusalem now has more than 7,000 volunteers and 110 chapters around Israel, providing a wide variety of free and subsidized services to Israelis and foreign visitors. According to an independent survey, one out of every two Israeli families has been helped by the organization, and a million people were assisted by it in the past year.

Its lending of medical equipment gradually expanded to include equipment repair shops that employ new immigrants, an oxygen balloon and oxygen-producing machine service, a national emergency-alarm system, services for the homebound, legal aid for the elderly, geriatric dentistry, gardening clubs, day rehabilitation centers, a play center for special needs’ children, and an education and recreation club for retirees.

Yad Sarah has provided cooked and frozen meals through a catering company and delivered them to the home for a nominal fee. A laundry service picks up soiled bedlinens and bedclothes from the homes of incontinent patients and returns them cleaned and ironed. Volunteers even teach the elderly how to use computers and the Internet, to be in contact with the world and in touch with their families.

Vans with equipment to take wheelchairs are available to transport disabled people doctor’s appointments, Yad Sarah center activities, social occasions and errands. These vans also bring disabled individuals to and from polling places on election day and to the largest military cemeteries on Israel’s Memorial Day for the Fallen.

A very unusual project is documenting and recording more than 1,000 personal stories of Holocaust survivors in a race against time. The life stories, heard by volunteers with journalistic skills, are then edited, printed and given to the survivors and family members.

Unique in the world when it was established, Yad Sarah has attracted the interest of numerous countries, including AngolaCameroonEl SalvadorRussiaSouth Africa and Jordan that sought to establish their own such facilities. A recipient of the Israel Prize, Yad Sarah has also been awarded advisory status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Yad Sarah assisted the rehabilitation center in Cameroon following the request of that government, sending dozens of medical items. It was also asked by the International Red Cross and the Angolan ministry of health to teach locals how to rehabilitate medical equipment and set up a local workshop. In Uzbekistan, Yad Sarah established a community center in Tashkent to serve 10,000 special needs’ children. In South Africa, it helped set up medical equipment-lending centers in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

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In Jordan, it helped set up a lending and presentation center at Amman’s Jordan Red Crescent Hospital. A research project for the recruitment and operation of professional volunteers for the control of disabled persons was initiated by Yad Sarah at the Yansai University Nursing School in Seoul.

Yad Sarah sees its mission as making it possible for the chronically ill, disabled, infirm, lonely and terminally ill people of all religious, ethnic backgrounds and races to to live at home either on their own or in the care of their families or caregivers, with dignity and as independently as possible. This is for most in these situations preferable to being kept in a hospital.

Keeping patients at home and out of the country’s crowded hospitals saves the Israeli government – which does not provide Yad Sarah with any funding – a great deal of money.

So that people can see what medical equipment Yad Sarah lends out and how they are used, it has established several exhibition centers.

Friends of Yad Sarah helps arrange services for tourists with special needs and guided visits to Yad Sarah House, the organization’s headquarters in Jerusalem.

There have been many foreign delegations coming to Jerusalem to learn how to adapt Yad Sarah’s services to their own country. Recently, eight people from Taiwan came for this purpose. As some of the guests didn’t understand English, one member of the group translated the conversation into Mandarin.

Yad Sarah has expanded its assistance to disabled tourists by setting up a one-stop shop that helps them coordinate all arrangements at the airports, accommodations, transportation, hospitality and specially trained guides used to catering to tourists with movement and function difficulties. Yad Sarah can even supply the hotel room with a bed and an electric crane, breathing equipment and more. One can reach the Yad Sarah Tourist Services Department at (02) 644-4618 in Jerusalem; by e-mail to or via its English website at

Not long ago, a group of Jewish tourists from abroad, all aged 18-30 as part of Birthright tours to see Israel needed help from Yad Sarah, as all the participants had disabilities. Prior to the visit, the organizers contacted Nadia Alalo, the director of its tourist service and asked to borrow medical equipment that would accompany them during their stay in Israel. She arranged for seven wheelchairs and four bathing chairs that they used during the visit.

Shiri Rosenbaum, an Israeli who joined the group, wrote: As a guide in the project for disabled visitors, I always felt that something was not fair in that it was impossible to bring handicapped young Americans to Israel. They read the words: ‘And you will come to the land which God gives you,” and now they too can use their right to come to the land for the first time.”

A Red Heifer!…?

13 hours 7 min ago

Word has come from Israel that a (tentatively) spotless red heifer has been born. IF it is the long-awaited red heifer, huge prophetic implications are in place. Of course, in order for the New Temple to be dedicated, a spotless red heifer will have to be sacrificed in Jerusalem. Such has not existed for millennia (and Jews are considered impure until this is done).

According to a report, the Temple Institute has made the announcement:

“Last Tuesday, the Temple Institute’s Red Heifer program was blessed with results; an entirely red female calf was born, paving the way for re-establishing the Temple service and marking the final stage of redemption.

“Almost three years ago the Temple Institute inaugurated its Raise a Red Heifer in Israel program. Due to laws restricting the importation of live cattle into Israel, the Temple Institute imported frozen embryos of red angus, implanting them in Israeli domestic cows. The pregnant cows were raised on cattle ranches in different locations throughout the country. The cows are giving birth this summer with several calves already having been born.

“One week after it’s birth, the newborn red heifer was certified by a board of rabbis as fulfilling all the Biblical requirements. The rabbis emphasized that the heifer could, at any time, acquire a blemish rendering it unsuitable. They will be inspecting the calf periodically to verify its condition.”

Well, this is news indeed!

The red heifer was perhaps the key element in a biblically mandated purification ritual.

You can read for yourself the description in Numbers 19.

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The three main criteria for establishing THE red heifer are 1) no spot or blemish (actually, the heifer can have no more than two “non-red” hairs) 2) it hasn’t been used for labor and 3) it has never been pregnant.

The whole story is one of fascinating details. The report goes on to say that such red heifers are extremely rare and in fact, Moses prepared the first one and from that time until the destruction of the Temple, only nine heifers were prepared (the amount of ashes needed is very small).

Now here’s where it gets especially interesting. According to Jewish tradition—tradition, not Scripture—there will only be a total of 10 red heifers in history, with the tenth ushering in the Messianic Age.

I have heard for years that THE red heifer had been born, but each eventually became unsuitable for the ritual. This one might pass from the scene as well, but if it does not, then we are privileged to live in this Age in a special way.

As our dear friend Tommy Ice likes to say:


Reprinted with author’s permission from Rapture Ready

Only Trump Could End Palestine

14 hours 8 min ago

The Soviet Union had a perverse genius for convincing the United States to not only adopt its most destructive ideas, but to also become their chief sponsor under the delusion that it would somehow stop the destruction that its old Communist enemy had unleashed around the world.

It’s fitting that President Trump struck at two terrible red birds with one stone by dumping the UNRWA. Both the UN and Palestinian nationalism were the brainchildren of Soviet Communists that the leftist American foreign policy establishment adopted under the supposed guise of fighting Soviet influence, and was then in turn quickly picked up by a clueless Republican foreign policy establishment.

Republicans embraced Arab nationalism since President Eisenhower sided with Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Hitler admiring military dictator and his nationalization of the Suez Canal, over the UK, France and Israel. In what he would later describe as his greatest mistake, Eisenhower threatened his former British allies with economic warfare to keep Egypt’s Arab Socialist regime from going over to the Communist side.

It didn’t work.

But every Republican administration until now had embraced Arab nationalism and its ugly malformed terrorist stepchild, Palestinian nationalism.

Even the Reagan administration.

All the Soviet Union needed to do was adopt a bunch of Islamic terrorists and the United States would show up like a jealous rival to shower them with love, flowers and chocolates. After the Soviet Union collapsed, its old Arab Socialist client states, the Islamic oil kingdoms that first corrupted our foreign policy, and domestic Muslim Brotherhood lobbies continued successfully playing this game of Br’er Rabbit and the Briar Patch with the American Br’er Fox. With no more Soviet Union to compete against, the rationale for supporting terrorists was to convince them to turn moderate or to stop them from allying with more “extreme” terrorists. The only way to stop the terrorists was to adopt them.

Late in the first decade of a new century, the Clinton administration’s normalization of Yasser Arafat and his PLO terrorists had become almost nostalgic reminders of a more innocent time. In its heyday under Obama, the foreign policy left was glutted with a wish list of Islamic terrorist groups to normalize.

Weapons were flowing to Islamic militias from Syria to Libya: Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen were handed on a silver platter to the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies, Iran was getting billions in cash, its Iraqi PMUs were using our air power for air support, Boko Haram was being kept off the list of sanctioned foreign terrorist groups despite its genocide of thousands of Christians, there were talks with the Taliban and support for a Hamas-PLO unity government in the Terrorist Occupied Territories in Israel.

Then President Trump showed up and, unlike so many establishment Republicans, showed no interest in the received wisdom that the Republican establishment had picked up from the left which had picked it up from the Soviet Union in the great rummage sale of the worst ideas in human history.

The failed foreign policy in which the United States curried favor with its enemies to moderate their positions,  fought terrorism by supporting it, served everyone’s values and interests but its own, went out the door faster than a tweet. Diplomacy would no longer be about assembling stakeholders in the international community in fancy New York restaurants. Nor would it suffice for American interests to be served in some indirect fashion, dependent on the goodwill of its enemies, and in ways unlikely to ever materialize.

The Palestinian nation building project, one of the insane hubs around which American foreign policy had senselessly spun, is one of the first casualties of the Trump era in foreign policy.

The peace process with the terrorists had been underway for a generation with nothing to show for it except terrorism. The UNRWA had been around for generations, a special UN agency dedicated to perpetuating a war on Israel while acting as an employment agency and rocket storage firm for Hamas.

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But getting rid of either one was unthinkable. “Just imagine the consequences,” the entire spectrum of foreign policy experts, thought leaders, bureaucrats, media pundits and the rest of the gang of Chauncey Gardiners who represent the Republican establishment would chorus in unison.

And President Trump shrugged.

The PLO strategy of alternating threats with flattery, playing the victim, then throwing a tantrum, promising to make a deal while demanding concessions up front, has played very badly with Trump.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry’s meddling by urging PLO officials to attack Trump personally while allegedly promising them that Trump would soon be gone and Kerry might replace him, backfired badly.

Instead of getting a payday, the Pallies are getting pressured. Defunding the UNRWA, like the recognition of Jerusalem, is a warning. Ending the UNRWA terror cash pipeline doesn’t just save money; it’s another sign that the United States is losing interest in the Palestinian nation building project.

The United States had adopted the Soviet Union’s Palestinian nation building project as its own. Time and bureaucracy had made it a Washington D.C. fixture like one of those obscure statues on a side street off the city’s hub whose purpose no one remembers, but which no one can get rid of.

Now President Trump is playing iconoclast.

The Palestinian nation building project was invented by the Soviet Union to destroy Israel, and to spread terror around the region and the world. Every effort to neutralize it, to buy off its leaders and fulfill their demands has only brought it closer to its goal.

But President Trump has never accepted the central premise of appeasement. He has never believed that buying off our enemies while getting nothing in return will turn them into friends. The more determined he and his team are to get something out of the PLO, the more the terror group falls back on its usual array of threats and victimhood, the closer the terrorists come to losing their biggest backer.

The PLO is already a historical artifact, a relic of a bygone Arab Socialism as dated as its Soviet -trained leader, a relic of 90s Clinton diplomacy, unpopular with its own people and other Arab States.

The left has moved on to BDS and Hamas. Democrats and Republicans clung to the PLO’s Palestinian Authority because they couldn’t think of anything else to do. Trump’s people can and are.

The PLO exists because we fund it and support it. And without the United States, the PLO is history.

But the Palestinian nation building project is only one of many falling dominoes. Subsidizing a terrorist group in exchange for a peace it has never made is one of the more absurd entries in our foreign aid ledger. But it’s been on the books for so long, that no one dared to touch it or question it.

A warm wind of change is blowing through the halls of power even as fall touches Washington D.C. And that wind doesn’t only bear bad news for the PLO, but for all the bad ideas that the left borrowed from the Soviet Union and that the Republican establishment then decided to fight to the death to defend.

The left planted bad ideas like viruses in the echo chamber of our policy machine. What frustrates the left and the establishment is that Trump appears immune to the viruses infecting Washington D.C.

Only Nixon could go to China, the apologists once said. But only Trump could cut off Palestine.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Frontpage Mag

Why Did the Clintons Share a Stage with Farrakhan?

15 hours 8 min ago

Imagine President Trump being invited to speak at the funeral of a white singer whom he admired (say Ted Nugent, if he were to pass), and he saw that David Duke was on stage in a place of honor. Imagine the reaction of the media if Trump actually gave a speech in the presence of David Duke. Well, former president Clinton gave a speech in the presence of Louis Farrakhan. (Hillary Clinton was sitting off to the right but did not speak.)

Why would Bill Clinton, a good man and a friend of the Jewish people, do this? There are several possible answers:

1) He was taken by surprise at Farrakhan’s presence and didn’t want to do anything that would disrupt the service. But the shoe-on-the-other-foot question remains: Would he have acted similarly if it had been Duke rather than Farrakhan?

2) Clinton doesn’t believe that refusing to sit alongside a bigot is the proper response to bigotry. Again, the shoe-on-the-other-foot question: Would he sit alongside Duke?

3) Clinton doesn’t regard Farrakhan as comparable to Duke. But that is simply wrong – Farrakhan is a blatant antisemite with an enormous following.

(4) Farrakhan’s antisemitism is not as serious a problem as Duke’s white supremacy. But without getting into comparative assessments of bigotry, antisemitism is surely a serious and growing problem.

Farrakhan is at least as bigoted as Duke. This is a man who only last year called Jews members of the “Synagogue of Satan” and claimed that Jesus called the Jews “the children of the devil.” Farrakhan is also a homophobe who claimed that “Jews [are] responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.” In the past, Farrakhan delivered similar remarks, claiming, “When you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door” and calling Hitler “a very great mean.” He’s also a racist, claiming, “White people deserve to die.”

Many younger people on the Left may not know the extent of Farrakhan’s bigotry, or they may condone it by claiming that he did a service to black communities.

FOR EXAMPLE, Tamika Mallory, co-founder of the Women’s March, called Farrakhan “GOAT (greatest of all time).” And Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison once called him “a role model for Black youth.”

Earlier this year a picture of Barack Obama smiling with Farrakhan emerged. (Although I supported Obama both in 2008 and 2012, I would not have campaigned as enthusiastically for him had I known about this suppressed photograph then.) Keith Ellison, who may become Minnesota’s next attorney-general, later distanced himself from Farrakhan but, like Mallory, claimed that Farrakhan’s contribution to black empowerment is “complex.” Would we accept this kind of complexity and nuance if a white singer’s family had invited David Duke?

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Liberals need to make unequivocally clear that the Democratic Party tent will never be big enough for antisemites and anti-Americans like Farrakhan (just like Republicans need to do the same with sympathizers of the so-called alt-right.) There are not “good people” on the side of antisemitism any more than there are “good people” on the side of white supremacy.

There is no place for a double standard when it comes to antisemitism. Black antisemitism should not get a pass account of the oppression suffered by so many black people.  Neither should “progressive” tolerance of antisemitism of the kind shown by Bernie Sanders’s support for Jeremy Corbyn, the antisemite who heads the British Labour Party and may well become the next prime minister of America’s closest ally.

Just contrast the Aretha Franklin memorial service with the current controversy surrounding the decision of The New Yorker to invite Stephen Bannon for what promised to be a critical conversation with the journalist David Remnick. After many prominent liberals, such as Judd Apatow, Jim Carrey, and Patton Oswalt announced that they would not attend lest they “normalize hatred,” Bannon was disinvited. Chelsea Clinton tweeted, “For anyone who wonders what normalization of bigotry looks like, please look no further than Steve Bannon being invited by both @TheEconomist & @NewYorker to their respective events in #NYC a few weeks apart.”

To that I would add, look no further than the Clintons sharing the stage with Farrakhan. I hope they will take this occasion to distance themselves from, and strongly condemn Farrakhan’s antisemitism.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

Ten Days After Creation Concert, Conductor Passes Away

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 10:39

Ten days after conducting the first World Creation Concert in Jerusalem, Dr. Mordechai Sobol passed away.

As was his annual custom, Dr. Sobol travelled to the U.S. to conduct music for the Jewish High Holidays. After the prayer services last Tuesday evening, he fainted. He was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered a brain aneurysm. He died on Sunday.

As director of the Yuval Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Dr. Sobol was recognized as a leading force in Jewish liturgical music. Sobol was born in Hadera, Israel in 1951 to Polish Holocaust survivor parents. He began his cantorial studies at the age of eight and became a cantor at a very young age. In addition, he was also a composer, orchestrator and arranger for cantorial works for soloists and choirs. A popular performing and recording artist, he received several prestigious awards for his work, including the Jerusalem Prize and the President’s Prize for Education.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Sobol conducted the World Creation Concert at the Jerusalem Archaeological Park – Davidson Center held to commemorate the day on which Jewish tradition states the world was created. Intended to unite all the nations in praise of the Creator, invitations were sent out to world leaders and several were in attendance. The Temple Mount – or as close as it was possible to get – was chosen as the location because, according to Jewish tradition the creation of  the world began at the even shtiya (foundation stone) that lay under the Holy of Holies in the Temple.

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“It was a great privilege and a gift from Heaven to attend the last concert conducted by Mordechai Sobol, of blessed memory, ten days before he left the world” Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin and one of the organizers of the concert, told Breaking Israel News. “The concert took place in the courtyard of the Temple and was nothing less than a universal thanksgiving and praising of God for His creation. The concert was the foundation for peace, truth and justice according to the Torah of Israel and the prophets of Israel.There can be no greater legacy for a musical conductor.”

Mordechai Persoff, head of the Mikdash Educational Center and a concert organizer of the concert, said that Dr. Sobol was enthusiastic about the Creation Concert, taking it on as a personal mission.

“As the time approached for the performance, he told me that such a concert was suited for an audience of tens of thousands and not just the 1,000 who attended in Jerusalem,” Persoff told Breaking Israel News. “He was pleased that so many more saw the concert, and will continue to see the concert, via the Internet.”

Persoff noted that Dr. Sobol had a meaningful personal connection with the Creation Concert.

“Dr. Sobol had his son, Ophir, conduct the last three pieces of music in the concert,” Persoff told Breaking Israel News. “The Biblical commentaries say that the death of Aaron the Priest was made sweet because he saw his son’s consecrated to replace him.”

Take Aharon along with his sons, and the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread. Leviticus 8:2

“It must have been equally as sweet for Dr. Sobol to see his son conduct his final concert,” Persoff speculated.

The concert can be viewed in its entirety online.

The Israel Bible Hits the Road, Inspiring Israel and Bible Engagement in America

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 10:16

Last month, “The Israel Bible” hit the road, inspiring Jewish and non-Jewish Americans alike as Rabbi Tuly Weisz set out to further promote his 70th anniversary edition of “The Israel Bible” – already a bestseller on Amazon.

Traveling from New Jersey to Miami from August 12-25 and many cities in between – Weisz promoted the world’s first Tanakh centered around the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the dynamic relationship between them, complete with the original Hebrew text, transliteration of select Hebrew verses and the New Jewish Publication Society translation.

Weisz, an Ohio native, immigrated to the Jewish homeland before publishing “The Israel Bible” and becoming the director of Israel365, hoping to engage Jews and Christians with the Bible and the land of Israel in the context of the golden age of Jewish-Christian relations.

With a clear goal in mind of educating Jews and Christians on their shared biblical heritage and the role Israel plays in the Torah, “The Israel Bible” was showcased at a Barnes and Noble bookstore, synagogues, Christian television shows and churches. According to Weisz, the diversity of his hosts speaks to the wide audience of “The Israel Bible” – produced and read by Jews but also inspiring the Christians public that, according to Weisz, does not often hear about Israel.

His tour brought a vital part of Israel to the United States.

“It was special for me to be back at the Easton Barnes and Noble store with “The Israel Bible,” Weisz told Breaking Israel News, recalling fond memories of his hometown bookstore.

Weisz also led a bible study at the Beth Jacob Congregation in Columbus Ohio, where he previously worked for five years as a Rabbi.

In addition to the in-person book signings and community visits, Weisz appeared on various television programs, including an interview with Dante Thompson, CEO of Dove Broadcasting in Greenville, SC and on Club30 TV with Earl Cox of Israel Always in Augusta, GA.

Also in Augusta, Weisz presented Dorothy Spaulding, president of Watchmen Broadcasting WBPI, with “The Israel Bible” alongside Cox, Dr. Cary Summers, CEO of the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC and IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yechiel Gozal, CEO of Yachad L’man Hachayal.

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Summers, whose goal included “sharing about the Museum of the Bible and the story of Israel as denoted in the Bible,” spoke of the harmony between his mission and the mission of “The Israel Bible.” “We both want to engage all people into the study of the Bible,” he told Breaking Israel News.

“Tuly’s mission is to enable the students of the bible to look deeper into the Hebrew text while the mission of Museum of the Bible is to engage all people with the Bible through its history, stories and impact,” said Summers.

He voiced his concern that “in the United States, we are at one of our lowest times in history in Bible knowledge.”

What’s at stake, he said, is society at large, and the solution lies in the most influential book in the world: the Bible.

“When hope is gone societies turn into chaos,” he maintained. “The Bible has been the most burned, the most banned, the most debated book of all times and it is still the bestselling book year after year. There is something very powerful about that book, and it is the one book in the world that can provide hope.”

Based on the response of “The Israel Bible” tour, perhaps the book is doing just that.

Weisz and Summers maintained that the great response they received illustrates that they were able to meet their shared goals.

“In the program with Dorothy Spaulding, she was so enthusiastic about what “The Israel Bible” represents, she began pitching it for me,” Weisz said, referring to Spaulding’s support for the Bible as physical manifestation of the burgeoning unity between Jews and Christians.

“Television and radio hosts in the Bible belt were appreciative of having guests from Israel, because they love Israel and the Jewish people – they talk day in and day out about Israel on their programs, educating viewers on the importance of Israel,” posed Weisz.

“Seeing that they have allies in Israel was encouraging to them and even more encouraging to me to see such a response in areas where there is no Jewish community,” he said. “Being so far from Israel but feeling the love was a wonderful experience for me.”

Hatikvah Sung Around the World

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 08:37

Hatikvah (The Hope) is Israel’s national anthem. In celebration of its recent 70th birthday, Jews and Israel’s supporters from around the globe sang the song. Communities from afar as field as South Africa, Argentina, Lithuania and the Philippines took part.

Rabbi Helping Christian Arabs: "Covenant Land, Covenantal Responsibility"

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 08:19

Two rabbis are working hard to help the Christian Arabs of Bethlehem, the oldest Christian community in the world. Their efforts are based on the Torah imperative “to help the stranger in your midst,” or, as one rabbi puts it, “Covenant land requires covenantal responsibility.”

Rabbi Pesach Wolicki and David Nekrutman of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) launched Blessing Bethlehem in 2016 to help the persecuted Christians living in the city of Bethlehem and its surrounding areas. As part of their work, they distribute food and food vouchers to 120 Christian families in Bethlehem. Christian Arabs transport the parcels to a central location in Bethlehem and directly to the elderly. Much of their work must remain secret in order to protect the recipients.

The problem is acute as Arab Christians are an oppressed minority in Muslim controlled areas of the region. Christians make up about two percent of Israel’s population. Approximately half of Israel’s 120,000 Christian Arabs are part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Before Hamas took over Gaza, approximately 5,000 Christians lived in Gaza. Under Hamas rule, that number has dwindled to fewer than 1,000. Living under radical Islamist rule, the remaining Christians are sorely oppressed. In Judea and Samaria, about 70,000 Christians live under Palestinian Authority rule. Both Bethlehem and Nazareth – key New Testament towns – which were once overwhelmingly Christian, now have Muslim majorities.

When Israel was founded in 1948, about 80 percent of the population of Bethlehem was Christian. Today, approximately 12 percent, or 15,000 Christians, live in the area of Bethlehem. Though Christian families are the largest landowners in Bethlehem, their property has often been subject to theft.

In 2012, Pastor Steven Khoury was interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network, (CBN). Pastor Khoury refuted claims that the exodus of Christians from Bethlehem was due to pressure from Israel. He claimed that the Arabs who claimed their ancestors were among the first followers of Jesus were leaving his birthplace due to systematic discrimination and persecution at the hands of the predominantly Muslim population and Palestinian government aimed at driving their population out of their homeland.

“Bethlehem is controlled by the Palestinian Authority but it is still in the Holy Land, making it part of the covenant. Covenant land comes with covenantal responsibility,” Nekrutman told Breaking Israel News. “God said that as a Jew living in Israel, I have the requirement to love the non-Jew living in the land with me. And that means to make sure he is not religiously oppressed.”

Much of the harassment is informal. Several months ago, a priest was stabbed while trying to protect a young woman from sexual harassment at the hands of Palestinian youths. Palestinians, Christian and Muslim, who advocate co-existence with Israelis are frequently attacked in what is termed the ‘Anti-Normalization Movement.’ This is openly encouraged by Palestinian Authority officials.


David Nekrutman visits a Christian Arab family in Bethlehem. (Credit: CCJUC)

“The PA claims there is religious freedom under their rule but the reality is that there isn’t, at least not in the way we understand freedom of religion” Nekrutman said. “The Muslims can’t be blatantly anti-Christian in Bethlehem since Christian tourism is a major source of income. But unemployment is much higher among Christians than Muslims. They are forced out of their houses and the demographic statistics reflect this.”

Nekrutman explained that the role of the Christian Arabs in the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is complicated.

“Christian Arabs are frequently caught in an identity crisis that pits ethnicity against religion,” Nekrutman explained. “In Judea and Jerusalem, Christian Arabs generally live in the Palestinian areas.They are generally tolerated under Palestinian rule so long as they don’t flaunt their Christianity. As Arabs, they ethnically associate with the Palestinians. In the north of Israel, in areas like Haifa, you have Jews, Christians, and Muslims living side-by-side.”

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“Their identity as Christian Arabs separates them ethnically from the Jews and religiously from the Muslim Arabs. This makes the Christian Arabs the clearest minority in the region and they are caught in the middle of the regional conflict. Because of their identifying with Arabs, they rarely experience love from Israelis.”

This is a clear case of returning a favor, or, in Biblical terms, of those who bless Israel being blessed.

“This is a community who are Evangelical Arab Christians, which is a rarity in Israel,” Rabbi Wolicki said to Breaking Israel News. “This is important to Israel since even the Christian Arabs who live in Israel do not have a favorable perception of Israel. The Evangelical Arabs are beginning to change that.”

Rabbi Wolicki explained that even though this persecution is aimed at Evangelicals, Jews should treat it as if it was being directed at Judaism.

“They are being persecuted but if the Jews were standing right where they are, we would be persecuted just as well,” the rabbi said. “These people are suffering because they are our friends. This makes it a Jewish problem.”

The Blessing Bethlehem project has opened doors, allowing Christian Arabs a rare experience of Jewish love for the stranger among them. Rabbi Wolicki related a powerful example of this. As part of his project, the rabbi decided to visit the recipients at a Christmas gathering. Since the 1995 Oslo Accords, Bethlehem has been administered by the Palestinian Authority and it is forbidden for Israelis to enter. Rabbi Wolicki decided to visit nonetheless. An Arab friend drove him into the city and to a venue.

“There were 600 people in the room that even though they were born and raised in Bethlehem they had never connected with Jewish Israelis before. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they had never seen a rabbi before,” Rabbi Wolicki said. “Several told me that until that Christmas Eve, their only experience with Israelis was facing IDF soldiers at security checkpoints.”

The initiative also collected money from Orthodox Jews to help Pastor Khoury purchase land for a church in East Jerusalem. His ministry, Holy Land Missions, preaches the gospel to Muslims but not to Jews. Pastor Khoury’s ministry was evicted three times from rental properties in east Jerusalem. Blessing Bethlehem stepped in. In 2016, they raised money from Orthodox Jews for Pastor Khoury to purchase a property.

The project was unsuccessful because pressure from the Palestinian community dissuaded prospective sellers. As an Evangelical, Pastor Khoury also encountered resistance from the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches who see him as attracting their congregants.

“Since my imperative is Biblical, we have also tried to work with Catholics and Greek Orthodox,” Nekrutman explained. “They refuse to accept any aid from us because of the political implications of dealing with Jews in Judea.”

“Pastor Khoury preaches from the Old Testament, which the other Christian Arabs view as a Jewish book. They aso reject replacement theology, which gets them in trouble with the Catholic and Eastern Churches as well as the Palestinian Authority.”

“The people suffer discrimination in their lives but this is focused on the religious aspect,” Rabbi Wolicki said. “People have rocks thrown at them on their way to church. Their church in Bethlehem has been firebombed 14 times. Pastor Khoury has been shot four times and his brother was murdered.

Rabbi Wolicki explained that Blessing Bethlehem perfectly fulfills the requirements for a charity.

“It checks all the boxes. It increases love between Jews and Christians, it supports Israel, it supports the downtrodden, and it is giving sustenance to the poor,” Rabbi Wolicki said. “When presented with such an amazing opportunity for charity, I couldn’t resist.”

Spirituality in Early Life, Connected to Better Health Later On

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 07:33

Being religiously observant as a child and teenager can make you a healthier adult, according to a new study from Harvard University’s Chan School of Public Health. Ying Chen, the lead author, said that people who attended weekly religious services or practiced daily prayer or meditation in their youth reported greater life satisfaction and a more positive attitude in their 20s.

They were also less likely to subsequently have depressive symptoms, smoke, use illicit drugs or contract a sexually transmitted infection than people raised with less-regular or no spiritual habits. This is an important benefit, as adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the attraction of pursuing thrill-seeking behaviors.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices,” said Chen, who recently completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the school. “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being,” said Chen, who is now a research scientist with the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science’s Human Flourishing Program. The study was published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Previous studies have linked adults’ religious involvement to better health and well-being outcomes, including lower risk of premature death, but they did not look at the effects on children and teens.

For the study, the team examined health data from mothers in the Nurses’ Health Study II and their children in the Growing Up Today Study. The sample included more than 5,000 American youngsters who were followed for between eight and 14 years, while controlling for many variables such as the mother’s health, socioeconomic status, and history of substance abuse or depressive symptoms; this made it possible to isolate the effect of a religious upbringing.

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The results showed that people who attended religious services at least weekly in childhood and adolescence were approximately 18% more likely to report higher happiness as young adults than those who never attended services. They were also 29% more likely to volunteer in their communities and 33% less likely to use illicit drugs.

Those who prayed or meditated at least daily while growing up were 16% more likely to report higher happiness as young adults, 30% less likely to have started having sex at a young age and 40% less likely to have a sexually transmitted infection compared to those who never prayed or meditated.

“While decisions about religion are not shaped principally by health, for adolescents who already hold religious beliefs, encouraging service attendance and private practices may be meaningful avenues to protect against some of the dangers of adolescence, including depression, substance abuse, and risk taking. In addition, these practices may positively contribute to happiness, volunteering, a greater sense of mission and purpose, and to forgiveness,” said senior author Tyler VanderWeele.

The authors noted that unlike Western Europe, “America is highly religious… It is a common practice for parents to raise their children based on their own religious beliefs. There has, however, been a continuing decline in religiosity for decades, for the most part due to lower rates in younger generations. Despite the general trends of declining religious participation, there is still considerable intergenerational religious continuity in the US.”

For instance, recent estimates of the rates of intergenerational transmission of religious affiliation in the US were 82% in Jews, 85% in Muslims, 62% in Evangelical Protestants and 43% in Catholics; 59% of parents who attended religious services at least weekly had children who reported frequent service attendance.

The authors concluded that religious participation in adulthood is, in many cases, a function of religious upbringing in early life. “Intergenerational transmission of religious values and practices occurs largely through parental modeling and is likely facilitated by close parent-child relationships. Although decisions about religion are not shaped principally by health, for adolescents who already hold religious beliefs, encouraging service attendance and private practices may be meaningful avenues of development and support, possibly leading to better health and well-being.”


Mon, 09/17/2018 - 06:38

Since we know that Hashem (God) is good, sometimes we assume that bad things happen despite Him. This verse reminds us that everything, even that which we perceive as evil, was created by God for a purpose. Though the reason is not always clear, we must look for the good that comes forth from every situation. The slavery in Egypt, for example, led to the formation of the Nation of Israel, the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and ultimately the acquisition of the Land of Israel. With this verse in mind, we can rest assured that Israel’s many enemies and the threats facing the Jewish state today are also part of God’s plan and will lead to the greatest good.

Thousands Mourn Ari Fuld – PM, Government Ministers Attend Funeral

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 06:24

In a highly-charged and deeply emotional ceremony, Ari Fuld, the American-Israeli “hero” who was murdered yesterday, was buried in the Gush Etzion cemetery.

His funeral service took place at 11:00 p.m., but despite the late hour, drew thousands of mourners – from all backgrounds – to honor his memory. In addition, thousands of people from across the world sent messages of condolence to the Fuld’s family – many via social media. Those in attendance at the funeral ceremony included Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said “We are alive because of the heroes like Ari.” Education Minister and Jewish Home party leader, Naftali Bennett and the Speaker of the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) Yuli Edelstein also attended.

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Fuld’s wife, Miriam, spoke of her husband’s achievements in every part of his life, adding that she was not sure how to continue on without him.

“My dearest Ari, this is my last chance to say all the things that need to be said, so you better be listening,” she said. “You were a good man. I am not sure how to go on without you. We were born less than 24 hours apart and it seems that we lived our lives side by side.

Fuld’s brothers spoke of him as a “superhero.” One of his brother’s, Moshe, his voice cracking with emotion asked, “Who else could manage, after sustaining a fatal injury, to draw his pistol, jump a fence and shoot his attacker to make sure that his attacker would not hurt anyone else? Only my brother, only my brother.”

As he left a supermarket Sunday, Fuld was stabbed repeatedly in the back by a teenage Palestinian assailant. Khalil Jabarin from the village of Yatta near Hebron, had apparently had an argument with his father earlier in the morning prior to the murder. Although he was mortally wounded in the incident, Fuld managed to draw his weapon and incapacitate his attacker – who was later treated at a Jerusalem hospital.

Jewish Value of Life Enshrined in High Holiday Liturgy and Israeli Nonprofits

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 06:13

On the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the haunting poem Unetanah Tokef  (We shall ascribe holiness to this day) is sung as one of the most central prayers, describing the Day of Judgment on Rosh Hashanah – considered to be the most solemn day of the year.

The poem says, “On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed and on Yom Kippur it is sealed. How many shall pass away and how many shall be born, who shall live and who shall die […] But repentance, prayer and righteousness avert the severe decree.”

Jewish tradition maintains that the heavenly court of judgment keeps a Book of Life, where the names of the righteous are kept, as well as a Book of Death, with the names of the wicked. Both books are opened on Rosh Hashanah, and names can be moved from one book to another. Ten days later, on Yom Kippur, these names are sealed.

However, one can remove the evil decree through repentance, prayer and righteousness – particularly in the form of giving charity. In other words, charity can free one from sin, purifying one’s name and guaranteeing life.

As man is made in the image of God, it is no surprise that the words of Unetanah Tokef lead into the next prayer, the Kedushah, Jewish liturgy sanctifying God’s name. The message is clear: through charity, man is given life and brings honor, respect and glory to God.  

As such, giving charity is one of the most important mitzvot (commandments) – considered an act of justice rather than a generous act, as it ensures the future of Jewish life and community.

Helping an individual in need is a righteous act that can ensure the life of the needy, and in the context of Jewish High Holiday liturgy, it can also ensure the life of the person giving charity.

As the Talmud teaches, “He who has saved just one life it is as if he has saved the entire world,” one can conclude that the righteous who give charity have the power to save the world many times over. And according to the daily Aleinu prayer, the goal of the Jewish people is to “repair the brokenness in our world by the work of our hands and our hearts,” also called Tikkun Olam.

This sanctification of life, in short, is the central value and goal of the Jewish people, and in the Jewish state, this value and liturgy come to life through charity work.

“We are aware that life can be very fleeting and we can come and go, only given a certain amount of time to accomplish good in the world,” said Bini Maryles, director of the boutique Israeli non-profit Just One Life. As its name suggests, the organization is named after the aforementioned Talmud quote about the magnitude of saving just one life.

“Our key goal is to provide an empowering opportunity for women to make good, smart, educated life-enhancing choices in often in difficult circumstances that ultimately provide for a better circumstances for themselves and their families,” said Maryles.

Such circumstances may include when a mother finds out that her baby may be ill, the life of the baby will not be sustainable, women in financial crisis with no way of supporting children, single mothers, married women who did not plan for another pregnancy, those who are emotionally or psychologically suffering and in need of therapy or support systems.

“Recently, a woman with a high-risk pregnancy came in where in-utero surgery was necessary. The family had no social support or people to talk to, to simply be there for them. Because of our support and services, they were able to make the right decision for themselves and their unborn child. That was a life-saving situation,” Maryles told Breaking Israel News.

Through providing direct services or a referral to provide help – no matter the mother’s circumstances or subsequent medical decisions – Just One Life has saved many more than one life (and an entire world). According to Maryles, more than 16,000 families have been helped through their programs, which include a 24/7 call-in service, parenting and self-help classes, home visits, clothing distribution, therapy, counseling and up-to-date resources for pregnant mothers.

“As Jews, we put human life above everything else,” maintained Maryles. “Human life is primary – it’s paramount and we aim to protect life as long as we can and live as long as possible – life is perhaps the most important item in Judaism,” he said.  

He added, looking toward the coming high holidays, “it’s certainly clear that part of what we are praying about and for in the New Year is to have an additional year to complete our life mission – imploring God to give us that opportunity.”

According to Maryles, Just One Life captures the value of life and chances to live life to its fullest. “When we pray for life, begging for more time, that’s what we are also trying to do – being a servant to that value and providing that opportunity.”

Written in coordination with Just One Life.

Second Temple-Era Seal Archive Discovered at Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 04:19

Approximately 1,020 clay seals (bullae) dating back to the Hellenistic period – which coincides with the time the Second Temple stood in Jerusalem – and which may have belonged to the letter archive of a wealthy landowner, were found in August at the Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park in central Israel, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority recently announced.

A team of archaeologists led by  Dr. Ian Stern, who works in cooperation with the Hebrew Union College, as well as the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority,  discovered the bullae collection made of clay while trying to photograph a side room in an underground cave.

The sealings were gathered for preservation, storage, and analysis.

The bullae were attached with cord to thousands of papyrus documents that did not survive the 2000 years in the cave, and were impressed with a unique sign to provide tamper-proofing.

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Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, Coin Department head at the Israel Antiquities Authority, and a leading world expert on seals, examined a group of 300 bullae and found that the seal prints depict Greek gods such as Athena, Apollo, and Aphrodite, as well as horns of abundance, erotic scenes, animals and more.

“This archeological finding indicates that a large archive of ancient private documents existed on the site and may have belonged to wealthy landowner” said Ariel. “It seems that the archive was abandoned suddenly – this fact is particularly interesting in light of the events of the period, during which John Hyrcanus the Maccabean conquered the Edomites who lived in this land and forced them to convert.” Hyrcanus’ ultimatum was extremely rare, as Jews were not in the habit of forcing their subjects to convert to Judaism. One of those who did convert was Antipater, father of Herod the Great.

Maresha, part of the national park was named a World Heritage Site in 2014 by UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations.

Israeli Engineers and Surgeons Collaborate to Make Artificial Implants

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 03:41

God created Adam, and then Eve, with perfect bodies. Thus He didn’t provide spare parts. But in recent decades, due to aging and people’s abuse of their own bodies because they are obese, smoke and do not exercise or eat properly, researchers have developed 3-dimensional (3D) printers to create some artificial parts to extend human life.

3D printing is based on “additive technology” in which layers of materials are gradually placed to create 3D objects. It’s a rapidly evolving field in the medical industry as well as in most sectors of our lives. Since there are different 3D printing techniques, the public and even physicians are confused about the differences between them.

Doctors in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Rambam Medical Center and at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel recently wrote an article in the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal to explain the latest in 3D printing for medical uses.

The technologies are classified according to the basic material used to make the artificial parts – solid, liquid, and powder. The implants make it possible to accurately reconstruct parts and efficiently restore their function.

The technology, which started as a method used for rapid prototyping, was first patented by Charles Hull in 1984. Hull is considered the inventor of the stereolithography (SLA) method, which is based on solidifying layers of photopolymer resin. Historically, 3D printing was developed for industrial and engineering use.

Today, many people know that the technology exists. When applied in “personalized medicine,” 3D imaging is used for planning and creating solutions based on the physical structure of a specific tissue, the authors write.

Liquid-based printed implants are the oldest form and is based on an ultraviolet laser that polymerizes light-curable resin, with successive layers cured on top of each other.

The next type is based on solids for printing. In this method, layers are created by the deposition of a heat-softened thermoplastic material. This method is utilised in the least-expensive 3D printers used in homes.

Powder-based selective laser sintering, which is more advanced, is based on a powder bed in which a high-powered laser heats the powder particles to a point that the powder can fuse on the molecular level – forming a solid layer. The tray then descends and a new layer is fused on top of the previous one. A variation that enjoys rising popularity is electron-beam melting that uses an electron beam instead of a laser.

Many of the materials used to create surgical guides are sensitive to heat because of their low melting point, so they require special sterilization methods.

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Many surgical departments in the Western world have tried using 3D printing in one way or another, starting from visual-tactile aids for planning surgery in advance and even complete virtual planning of the surgery and customized surgical guides, as well as implants specifically printed to stay permanently in the individual patient’s body

3D printing can use used to make models, surgical guides or the implants themselves. Printing life-size anatomic models can be used to educate young surgeons, including the possibility of mock surgeries for practicing, cutting down the time operations take and improving outcomes on patients.

Vascular surgeons have already used 3D printing to create artificial blood vessels, repair aneurysms (exploded blood vessels), replacing tissue that had developed malignant tumors and even treating trauma injuries.

At Rambam Medical Center, doctors used 3D printed models in craniomaxillofacial surgery for making titanium plates on a 3D model of the skull so they could restore the correct position of the remaining bones accurately while reducing the time the operation took. The greater accuracy is very beneficial, because when metal implants are used, it is extremely difficult to change them during surgery.

3D printing has already been used at Rambam for planning and making guides during surgery of rib grafts and for corrective surgery to restore the proper anatomic and functional relationship in patients with misaligned jaws and other abnormal facial parts.

Computer-aided design makes it possible for surgeons to use software for virtually designing operations to create and implant 3D objects. Cutting guides made with a 3D printer can be used to plan drilling holes, shorten or lengthen bones or change their alignment.

Engineers are today involved in the planning, since most of the computer-aided designs available today were meant for the industrial fields and are not user-friendly for the surgeon who did not study this field. Another reason is that engineers – who may live and work in a different country and speak in different languages than the surgeons – have to analyze the structure of the implants and their biomechanical strengths. So they have to communicate when preparing for the surgery.

As time goes on, the Rambam experts wrote, planning of operations with 3D implants will be simplified and become more user-friendly; this will shift the planning process to the surgeon and save the time-consuming, expensive dialogue between engineers and surgeons.

Bio-printing, they conclude, will eventually become the ultimate tool to reconstruct missing tissues. “We are far from the day when this method will be part of our toolbox, yet it will completely change how we think and operate when we get there.”

Trump Blasts Kerry’s Secret Iran Meetings

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 02:45

U.S. President Donald Trump has taken aim at another political foe. Former Secretary of State John Kerry’s clandestine meetings with Iranian officials, drew Trump’s ire. Were these secret meetings illegal and what do the meetings mean for Iranian-American relations?