,

Mazal Tov: Tigers Pick a Jewish Manager

Many know that I am a Detroit baseball fanatic and was crushed at our loss this season to the Red Sox in the American League Championships. But all the mourning and soul-searching has come to an abrupt end on the news that former Detroit Tiger Brad Ausmus — and most importantly former coach of Team Israel — will be the new Tiger’s manager.

This was a very bold move. “I was taken back with how impressive he was,” Dombrowski said. “Every time Brad’s name came up, it was effusive with praise.”

Of course how Ausmus will work out with the most accomplished team in the MLB remains to be seen. The fact that he is Jewish doesn’t really impact that much on the team. We all hope that he has an

ability to motivate a team that has had its spirits crushed by two post-season meltdowns. He will have to be part motivational speaker, part sports psychologist, part manager, and part Detroiter. Not an easy gig.

His Jewishness may indeed play a factor on the season. Look to see matzah this Passover at Comerica Park. And what number has Ausmus chosen to wear? #7, in honor of Shabbos I am sure.

What a great early Chanukah present!

, , ,

Divide Over Kotel Prayer Highlights Racism of Palestinian Authority and Muslim Waqf

old har habayit
Jewish communities might be fighting about fair access to the Kotel, but what is missing from the discussion is Jewish use of holy places in Jerusalem. The Muslim Waqf and the Palestinian Authority’s opposition to the Kotel compromise demonstrates their intense racism. Instead of infighting, the Jewish community needs a bold and unified approach regarding access to the holiest Jewish sites and exposing injustice.

A newly released compromise for access to the Kotel calls for development of the Southern part of the Kotel wall for the creation of a mixed prayer area. The plan faces many hurdles. However, it is considered by many to be a fair solution to what seemed not long ago to be an intractable situation. Hopes are high around the world that those who most vehemently seek representation of their religious beliefs, and respect for their prayer choices at the Kotel, will accept the plan.

Even if there is a brokered settlement between opposing Jewish factions, there is a fundamental and historical challenge ahead. The most contentious front against the compromise at the Kotel will be from the Muslim Waqf and the Palestinian Authority which regularly launch protests against any development of Jewish access to places near the Temple Mount.

Jews may be able to reach a compromise, but the Waqf and the PA will not. The PA and Waqf will wage an international campaign claiming Jews are trying to destroy the Temple Mount just as they have alleged in the past. Whatever solution is eventually created, the Waqf and Palestinian Authority will decry it as encroachment on Muslim holy sites.

PA religious affairs minister said recently [http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/PA-objects-to-Israels-Western-Wall-construction-plans-316375] that that creating a Southern Kotel Plaza in order to add an egalitarian/mixed section may “push all of us to new conflicts”. Clearly these statements are intended to be threatening. He is promising a violent and organized reaction against Jewish access to our holy site, and Israeli sovereignty.

Instead of proposing a plan to create the mixed prayer plaza, Israel needs to start negotiations about a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount itself and development of access to the Temple Mount for Jewish worshippers. Jewish worship on the Temple Mount is currently illegal. In May a group from Canadian B’nai Brith, hardly a radical or religiously extreme organization, were met with intense racism, cries of “Allah hu Akbar,” and harassment when they tried to visit the Temple Mount.

“You don’t have to send delegations to Hungary to witness raw antisemitism,” said Frank Dimant, a man known for diplomacy and moderation, “Jews are treated as second-class citizens in the Jewish state.” Ironically one of the leaders of the mission to Israel, Eric Bissell, president of B’nai Brith Canada, was also a delegate to the Global Forum on Anti Semitism taking place that same week in Jerusalem.

The problem of Jewish access to the Temple Mount is of paramount importance to the future of Jewish access to other holy sites of Jerusalem some of which, like the Temple Mount and the Kotel, are clearly outside of pre-1967 borders. A future Palestinian State might make Jewish prayer there illegal. Successive Israeli governments have refused to address this racism over desires to avoid a provocation. The Kotel compromise negotiations have drawn this conflict out in the open and presents an ideal opportunity to bring to the world’s attention the intense racism of the Waqf and PA.

The Israeli position could be spelled out clearly for the West:

Israel seeks to provide all their citizens freedom of religious practice— something that the PA and Waqf are clearly against. Israel stands for tolerance of different religious beliefs and unhindered religious practice. Religions can live side-side and Muslim and Jewish worshippers deserve equal access to the Temple Mount. Israeli proposals could include a Jewish prayer area which does not encroach upon the two mosques on the Mount.

The promised outcry from the PA will present the Jewish community with the undeniable fact that they do not control the destiny of their holiest places.

If the Waqf and the Palestinian Authority succeed in making those hard won plans for compromise and fair access to the Kotel obsolete through their threats of violence, the Jewish community in America, and Israel will face a serious test.

Therefore it is in Jewish and Israeli self-interest to reach a compromise over prayer at the Kotel. Israel and Jewish communities abroad need to stand together in solidarity to ensure fair access to the all Jewish holy places like Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb, rather than be bogged down in intense infighting over mixed prayer at the Kotel. Energy needs to expended upon fair prayer and fighting racism not denominational antipathy. Dueling over who decides what is authentic prayer distracts Jews from historic milestone of unfettered access to the Kotel denied for so many generations by successive occupying powers. It was not so long ago that no Jew could pray at the Kotel at all.

The debate must be change from the narrow question of fair access to a universal one – from “who prays where” at the Kotel, to “who prays where” in Jerusalem.

, , , ,

UC Irvine MSU Suspended For Multiple Violations

MSU gets a “red card” and are out for one year.

One of 11 Muslims Students being escorted from the room after disrupting Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine, January 8, 2010. (Photo OC Register)

Today the Jewish Federation of Orange County released documents to the OC Register which reveal that in fact UC Irvine has suspended the Muslim Student Union for one year, effective Sept. 1, 2010. One might expect that I would be thrilled at the news. And for a while today, I savored the news. After all, I have been calling for the University to take action against this group for inciting hated against Jews since May 2006, when I called for UCI to ban the MSU.

The decision, a MUST read, is a very detailed account of what happened and the school laws that were broken during the Oren incident. This includes:

Other forms of dishonesty including … fabricating information, furnishing false information, or reporting a false emergency to the University….Disorderly and lewd conduct. Participation in a disturbance of peace or unlawful assembly, obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures or other University activities…

According to the documents, the MSU refused to answer every time they were asked about their actions. They took the 5th. The University has hundreds of pages of documentation, testimonies, and hours of video footage they reference. There are 31 pages of emails and notes from their meetings where they planned the disruption, and instructed their members to lie to the school if asked if they planned it as a group.

This is a very serious issue, and for a moment I want to focus on this part of their violation of student codes. The MSU was emboldened for years because they were impervious to punishment. We documented numerous other occasions where they broke University rule. This is the first time that Chancellor Drake, himself, was present for their conduct.

If the MSU felt they needed to lie to the University about their actions, what else are they lying about? The leadership of the MSU at UCI, the flagship Muslim group on the West Coast, has now been caught in the act of a conspiracy to violate university, student, and possibly civil codes. The MSU believes that any act is permitted for their goals of delegitimizing Israel.

If they will lie to the University, risking serious academic consequences, how much more so will they be willing to lie to the campus where threat of academic suspension doesn’t exist? A group that will engage in a conspiracy of lies in order to further their goals of delegitimizing Israel, will not hesitate to defame Jews to the student body. They will not hesitate to spread egregious lies and accusations against anyone that disagrees. The same maybe true of other campus groups affiliated with the MSU and MSA.

Now back to why the satisfaction that I feel that the group was finally punished is muted. While the University has in fact banned the MSU for one year, the University failed its students, the community, and all universities…again.

The suspension of this hateful group should have been accompanied by a major press conference where the Chancellor outlined the reasons for the suspension. Drake had a chance to show moral leadership explaining that these activities will not be tolerated on UC Campuses. He could clearly outline the reasons they were suspended, condemn their behavior, and send a clear message that this kind of group has no place on ANY campus.

Instead, the letter written May 27, 2010, was supposed to be kept a secret.

UCI released the documents only through the Freedom of Information Act. They planned on keeping this entire episode a secret. Why does the University continue to protect this group of students? Til today – no University representative has EVER publicly condemned the MSU, or distanced themselves specifically from the MSU.

The suspension says that no current executive officer of the MSU can register another group during the year. However, it does not preclude non-officers of the MSU from creating a new Muslim group at UCI in the fall.

The students are appealing the decision, according to Husam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Predictably, he called the university’s actions “unprecedented, heavy-handed and draconian.” CAIR blames the suspension on politics, “It appears to be politically motivated to silence any future peaceful and legitimate criticism of Israel’s brutal practices”.

Apparently, the MSU students learned their dishonesty from more seasoned professionals.

Read more on the OC Register. Download the letter here.

, ,

Mayor Bloomberg: Arrest Ahmadinejad

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall, New York, NY 10007
PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
FAX (212) 788-2460
E-MAIL:http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

On Monday, yet again, your city will be hosting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Dictator of Iran, one of the most evil men on earth. Just a peek at his portfolio:  Ahmadinejad has crushed his people and opponents, kept Americans hostage in 1979, and promises to wipe Israel off the map.  His actions and his words speak volumes about his intentions to build and use nukes.  He sends guns, ammo, land mines, missiles, money and bombs to Hamas, Hizbollah, and those killing American soldiers in Iraq.  He is a murderous madman like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

Imagine the suffering that could have been avoided if anyone of them had been apprehended, tried and sentenced before they were allowed to institute their evil plans?

Do the right thing— and the world will thank you. It will raise your profile and your moral standing.  It will be a mitzvah.

The world wants this madman off the streets.

Your sincerely,

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

SIGN OUR PETITION!