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West Papua donates gold for Temple

papua.pngThis story has so many layers.

West Papua Delegation Donates Gold For Holy Temple
25 Tishrei 5768, 07 October 07 07:00
by Ezra HaLevi

On Wednesday, the last day of the Sukkot festival, a 34-person delegation from West Papua presented a large amount of gold to be used in the building of the Holy Temple.

The delegation, including representatives of the nation’s government, explained that they study the Bible regularly and recently came upon a verse in Zecharia (6:16) reading “And the distant ones will come and build the Temple of G-d.” They discussed the passage among themselves and decided that their faith obligates them to fulfill the verse.

West Papua, located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, is rich in gold mines, so the delegation thought it natural to donate gold for the Holy Temple. The Holy Temple will be built in the place where the First and Second Temples once stood – on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

The group heard of the Temple Institute in Israel, which deals with advancing the building of the Temple, and on Hoshana Raba – the 7th day of Sukkot – the delegation arrived at the Institute’s headquarters in Jerusalem’s Old City and presented the gold to Rabbi Yisrael Arie

l, a founder of the institute, and Yehuda Glick, its director.

The group presented a kilogram of gold and a large sum of money. They requested that the gold be used to construct vessels for the Temple and that the funds be used by the institute for any purpose it sees fit….

Meanwhile if we would consider giving Trump naming rights, we could have had the thing built already.

Tip to LM

The Tibet Lobby



From The Tibet Lobby
Honoring the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold medal was yet another saga in the Tibet Lobby’s stranglehold on common sense in our foreign policy. This medal angered one of our best allies, one billion Chinese, for a tiny minority group that has its tentacles wrapped around congress. The authors, Shmearsheimer and Dolt, argue that Tibet’s Foreign Policy has replaced American Foreign Policy. Unless Tibet’s influence is mitigated, America is bound to go down the road to self-destruction.

Publisher’s Weakly:

Starred Review. Expanding on their notorious 2007 article in the Bejing Review of Books, the authors increase the bang of their firecracker claims about the malign influence of the pro-Tibet lobby on the U.S. government. Shmearsheimer and Dolt, political scientists at the University of Chicago and Harvard, respectively, survey a wide coalition of pro-Tibet groups and individuals, including American Tibetan organizations and political donors, Buddhist fundamentalists, ultra-liberal officials in the executive branch, media pundits who smear critics of an independent Tibet as anti-Buddhist and the American-Tibet Public Affairs Committee, which they characterize as having an unchallenged hold on Congress. This lobby, they contend, has pressured the U.S. government into Far East policies that are strategically and morally unjustifiable: lavish financial subsidies for Tibetan strongman the Dalai Lama despite his occupation of Indian territory; needless American confrontations with Tibet’s foes China and Outer Mongolia; uncritical support of Tibet’s 1959 militant uprising, which violated the laws of war; and the Cold war, which almost certainly would not have occurred had [the Tibet lobby] been absent. The authors admit heavy conspiracy mongering, noting that the lobby’s activities constitute quasi-legitimate, if misguided and immoral, interest-group politics, as American as obesity. Considering the authors’ academic credentials and the careful reasoning and meticulous documentation with which they support their claims, the book is bound to rekindle the controversy. (Nov.)
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Slingshot 07/08

slingshot_0708_cover_WEB.gifThis week I represented Jewlicious at the Launch Party for Slingshot 07/08: A Resource Guide to Jewish Innovation. Slingshot is an annual compilation of 50 of the most inspiring and innovative organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community today.

In a trendy NY dining destination, the launch had loads of buzz and energy. The party itself was low key and not flashy. Jewpros of all kinds, board members, philanthropists, friends, all there to celebrate the release of the third edition of THE bible on programs and organizations that redefine and build Jewish life in North American Jewish Life.

And there was Jewlicious. Yes, Jewlicious. Jewlicious is listed as number 33 in the guide (listed alphabetically), and we are honored and proud to be part of Slingshot. Download Slingshot as a PDF and check out the amazing diversity and quality of the 50 groups.

Let me share one of the evenings highlights: when Dr. Jeffrey R. Solomon, President of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, told me that he has Jewlicious as a quick link. The evening also maintained the simcha from the Holidays, it was an after party of Simchat Torah, a Simchat Tochnit, a festive and joyous time to celebrate Jewish life and commitment to the Jewish people.

And we met a lot of people!

Met Limmud NY’s new Director, Sara Shalva, and we chatted blog-talk. LimmudNY 2008 is on MLK weekend. Spotted Rebooters and spoke with the legendary Roger Bennet, great friend of the blog and festival, who introduced me to Alana Newhouse, Arts and Culture Editor at the Forward. We just received as a gift her amazing book, A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward. Esther Safran Foer explained the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue community project for young professionals in DC. Put on list of Must See Jewish Institutions.

Dava Schub, the new associate executive director, programming at the Manhattan JCC let me talk all about our festivals. I just missed her in Irvine where she went for the JCC Maccabi Games ®. Dr. Ruth Pinkerson Feldman, Director of Early Childhood Services of the JCC’s of North America told me about An Ethical Start – which is a novel program introducing Pirkei Avot for Jewish family education at JCC’s nationwide, and here in Long Beach. Bumped into our friend Michael Dorf — Oyhoo, Knitting Factory, Downtown Seder — who I last saw on another rainy NYC night last year. Oyhoo Jewish Music Festival which has really expanded, is in Slingshot (and a Natan!)

Encountered the citizen peace-building effort Encounter. Met Malkie Schwartz who founded Footsteps, helping ex-chassidic brothers and sisters adjust to life on another planet. Matt Levine’s Four Seasons Lodge film and Holocaust education project will be a must see in January. Chaim Motzen (panelist at the third Jewlicious Festival) was there on behalf of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, where he serves as a board member.

Aaron Bisman and Jacob Harris from JDub (perennial sponsors of the Festival) told me that Socalled’s new video [see below] has over 300,000 views. Sick! [Ed-It has over 800k now] JDub received one of the eight surprise instant grants from the new Slingshot Fund, that has over 400k for innovative program available to the groups in Slingshot. Mazal Tov!

The new Publisher of New Voices from the Jewish Student Press Service, Elizabeth Alpern (McGill grad, and friend of the Jewlicious Ghetto Shul Hunderts) and their new Editor, are funny, dynamic, and passionate. They are certain to take New Voices – the only nationwide magazine for Jewish college students – to new heights. [Liz- did you fin my old articles ☺?]

Went online with Judith and Jordan from the Jewish Women’s Archives to see their Jewesses Blog from my cell phone. Jordan Namerow, communications specialist, was stationed in Poland with the JDC a few year’s ago – so we conversed in a little Polish for fun.

On behalf of Jewlicious, we want to thank the organizers and the coordinators who make Slingshot happen, and the committee that picked us out from the large haystack of great Jewish stuff happening all over N. America. We wish them continued success in their work at Grandstreet, 21/64 and beyond, as they support Jewish creativity and continuity.

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Al Gore, Noah and the Great Flood

Every year on Parsha Noach for the last few, I discuss the prophetic teaching in the Torah regarding global ecological catastrophe. While in the story of Noah, we are told that human immorality caused God to wipe the slate clean, and start over, most people don’t believe the story. They think it is all myth and legend. They cannot fathom the accuracy of the entire world being flooded, and a small remnant of earth surviving on a wooden life-raft, until the water subsided.

At best, say the biblical critics, the story reflects an ancient flood of the Mesopotamian region, between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. After all, this is the cradle of civilization, and there are floods in other ancient culture’s historical record (i.e.Gilgamesh). There are least a dozen other strong theories as to why so many cultures have flood stories from around the world, including North America.

Leaving the reality of the flood aside for a moment, the story of Noah and the Great Flood have been ingrained into the Jewish imagination and our culture for eons. As a people, we have lived until recently with a strong belief that our actions could alter the world in a catastrophic way. God didn’t like what was going on, and that was that. Humans were punished. Animals punished. The world was cleansed, like a mikvah, of the impurities, and God started over. God made a covenant with Noah that such a devastation would never occur again. Furthermore, we learn in the Torah that the rains and fertility of the Holy Land, depend on the righteousness of the people. That is to say, Jews have lived with a deep cultural belief that the world’s livability and sustainability were dependent on human actions.

Now back to Noah and his ark-building scheme. What is Noah’s response to widespread ecological devastation and destruction that was predicted for the world? To preserve not only his family, but also every variety of animal and plant species on Earth, lest they become extinct by the Flood. Noah cared about the bio-diversity of the future world, and knew that without bio-diversity, the Earth would not be capable of sustaining human life either. Yes, he was following orders to build the ark, and to preserve the species, but he chose to do it. Noah endured years of ridicule and harassment for his extreme-weekend-warrior ark building. Noah had no friends, and was certainly considered an eco-freak, a survivalist, a religious-doomsdayist, an extreme eccentric, or some combination thereof. He was unmoved.

Which brings us to today’s parsha, the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Al Gore, and the concrete evidence that the world is undergoing massive environmental change caused by human activity. There are many systems on the planet that have been disrupted by human activity. Species extinction, pollution, deforestation, desertification, are just the tip of the iceberg. Humanity, while printing billions and billions of copies, have not hearkened to the words of the opening chapters of the best selling book in the world which commands humanity to steward and protect the natural world. Al Gore received the Nobel Peace today, along with a panel of scientists, for their efforts to alert the world to the threat of global warming. There is much criticism directed at Gore. He is not perfect. But was Noah perfect either? Is it necessary for a person to be perfect to make a lasting and important contribution to the world? No.

The nature of Noah’s righteousness has been discussed and debated across Jewish history. “These are the chronicles of Noah: Noah was a righteous man, faultless in his generation. Noah walked with God. (Gen. 6:9)” As Rashi wrote:

“in his generations.” Some of our Sages expound this to his praise: all the more so had he lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more righteous. And there are those who expound it to his defamation: by the standard of his generation he was righteous, but had he lived in the generation of Abraham he would have been considered as nothing.”

While the Nobel committee itself has been criticized, never more so than when it awarded a Peace Prize to Arafat, they too do not need to be perfect, to get something right. More often than not, the Nobel Peace prize has been given to people that have truly made great contributions to the betterment of humanity. While Gore might not be a perfect, Gore deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to make us stop and think about the devastation that human activity is having on the planet that God gave us as an Earthly home. From Kyoto in 1997 to An Inconvenient Truth, Gore has been highly effective at changing conventional wisdom about global climate change, and educating millions of people about the devastating effects that Global Warming is and will have on our planet.

Noah didn’t do much to stop people from sinning when God told him that the gig was up and that humanity was to be drowned. And yet, he was called a tzaddik. Why? Because in a time when so many people would rather ignore what they are doing to the planet, Noah did something to preserve life. He took action. He built a bio-diversity life-raft which would sustain the world after the waters of the flood subsided. He listened to God and withstood the humiliation.

Today, humanity as a whole is still ignoring the results of their actions and refuse to take the necessary measures to protect life on Earth, much as it was in Noah’s time. However, this time around we have scientific committees and researchers, environmental groups, even politicians and others spanning the globe trying to improve and harmonize our way of life, our means of production, and human activity with the eco-systems that sustain life on the planet.

Al Gore continues to endure heavy ridicule and criticism. Still, Gore perseveres with his quest to educate the world about Global Climate Change. He pushes governments to adopt strict measures to help curb emissions and other detrimental practices that are causing the current rise in global tempretures. He has done more than any single person to raise the red flag of danger. With the Arctic icecap melting, glaciers fading away, permafrost shrinking and disappearing, widespread species extinction, whole regional and micro-climates changing in front of our eyes, we are not unlike the generation during Noah’s days. We see first hand the results of our actions, yet we continue. Noah didn’t think he could change the way people live and think.

Al Gore thinks he can.

A half an hour talk from 2006 at the serious issues raised by the story of Noah and the Ark.

MP3 File

PS: Apparently even Oprah is calling Al Gore, the new Noah.  Sadly, Oprah, Noah never did anything about the flood but  build himself an ark!