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President Carter, on The Daily Show, Links Parisian Massacres With Israeli Arab Conflict

President Jimmy Carter has done amazing work with building shelters for homeless people, and curing diseases in third-world countries. He is a humanitarian, and has helped millions.

Yet, his Carter’s assertion on the Daily Show (see video below) that the Israeli-Arab conflict played “a role” in the massacre of newspaper writers in Paris loudly calls attention to the fact that Carter is completely off-balanced on Islam, terrorism, and the Arab-Israel conflict. Charlie Hebdo was revenge for Mohammed cartoons and much more. But not the Arab Israeli conflict.

The Jewish supermarket massacre, however, was revenge on Jews and certainly connected to the Arab-Israel conflict. But Carter never distinguished between the two. (The Yemen based terrorists who took responsibility for Charlie Hebdo don’t even take responsibility for the massacre of the Jews.)

There has been no doubt since Carter published his book against Israel, Peace not Apartheid, that his legacy will be forever linked with his anti-Israel stance. He not only blames Israel for the conflict, he even blames Israel for things that Israel is not even doing: like apartheid and occupying Gaza.

I will never forget that when President Carter spoke at UC Irvine in May 2007, during my tenure as there as campus Rabbi, he told an arena full of students about Jewish control of congress which prevents peace in the middle east.

In this video below President Carter also reiterates

the Israel should withdraw from East Jerusalem – which is saying to the Jews, “hey you don’t really want that Western Wall anyway.”

All President Carter’s work fighting disease in the third world has not rid him of the disease of antisemitism.

(Stewart’s line that these murderers in Paris use religions as a pretext is also simply wrong, but he is a TV show host, and not a world leader.)

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A Kabbalist’s Feast: New Edition of the Tu B’Shevat Seder

Years ago in the ancient city of Safed, a group of Kabbalists uncovered the mystical secrets of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish holiday referred to as the “New Year of the Tree.”

The secrets this group revealed were compiled in the 18th century into a ritual ceremony patterned after the Passover Seder and observed on the night of Tu B’shevat, the 15th of the month of Shevat, which coincides with the full moon.

The seder features four cups of wine, a ritual text, various fruits, cakes and other delicacies. In place of the story of the Exodus from Egypt the Tu B’Shevat seder uncovers the inner dimensions of reality as revealed in nature. In place of matzah and chicken soup with matzah balls, there are a dozen kinds of fruit. In place of Seder plates, there are plates piled high with fruits.

What you will need for your seder: Red wine, white wine, beer, cake, olives, dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates, walnuts, almonds, carob, apples, pears, and if you can, candied etrog rind. In addition, bring other fruits with inedible shells or peels, fruits with edible skins, but have seeds, fruits that are totally eaten, and fragrant fruits. Use as many different kinds of fruit as you can find, especially exotic fruit that you rarely eat.

How to make it happen: Gather a group of friends, and ask each to bring something for the feast. Set the table with a fine tablecloth, candles, flowers etc. Have a good time – there is really no “wrong” way to do the Seder. You can use my Seder guide as a roadmap and feel free to improvise, make additions, sing and dance!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Contact me if you have any difficulties with the download and we will email it to you!

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#JeSuisJuif

As we read this past Shabbat in synagogue from Parsha Shemot, God says to Moses, “I will be THAT I will be.” Rashi teaches that God wants Moshe to reassure the Jewish people that “I will be with you during this time of distress in Egypt and in future times of distress.” Moshe isn’t so happy with this. Why bother them with the news that there will be still other times of distress after this slavery!? “You’re right, says God, tell them…”

Moshe didn’t want us to hear the news then, and it is hard to hear the news now.

Our hearts grieve as one over the tragic deaths of our brothers and sisters, and a dozen others in Paris in the last two days.

You know what? God is also heartbroken. So heartbroken. Just as God promised to Moshe, God is with us in our distress now.

But we cannot afford to be silent, to sit in sorrow or fear in the darkness, because now is the time to turn on the light and bring blessing and goodness to the world.

Outpourings of kindness, mitzvoth, love for one another are needed. And prayer. Pray with all our hearts to God to protect our people around the world, in Israel, and bless us with peace.

God, you took us out of Egypt, to be your people. Don’t forsake us and don’t abandon us. Please comfort our mourners, and do not let their deaths be in vain.

#JeSuisJuif

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Po Żydowsku: Telling our Story of Jewish Poland 1991-2001

Here we are back in Warsaw after 13 years. We returned to to participate in events marking the 25th anniversary of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Poland. Thanks to Ambassador Lauder, the foundation that he built, his rabbi, and the naive idealism that we shared, Rachel and I spent nearly all of the first years of our marriage, from 1996-2001 in the complex, paradoxical, humorous, tragic, hopeful, ironic, and ultimately lovable universe of post-communist Jewish Poland.

Our lives were so inextricably tied to the future of Polish Jewry that we even celebrated our honeymoon in a Polish Carpathian village so that we would be able to work the rest of the summer at Oboz Laudera, the Jewish Summer retreat where the future of Polish Jewry was rekindled – or as our dear friend Kostek Gebert said – resuscitated by defibulator.

We don’t know how long it will take us to tell our story on Po Żydowsku, a blog that will dedicated to this oral history. I suppose that doesn’t even matter. We are opening the pandora’s box of memories for ourselves and for our children, for the Jewish Polish world of today and for you the reader. Everything is from our perspective, and others might remember things differently. It’s ok. We are not seeking to retell the entire story of Jewish life in Poland. We are offering what we know and our experiences.

I remember when I asked Prof. Ezra Mendelsohn, who was in Oxford lecturing about American Jewry, why after such amazing work on the history of interwar Poland he stopped writing about Poland altogether. He replied, “I couldn’t take one more meeting where a Polish Jew would get up in the room emphatically waving their hand and saying – I’m from Poland at it wasn’t like that!”

If you feel compelled to wave your hand and say, “it wasn’t like that, I know, because I was there.” Please remember that we were there too.