Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Epic Chronicles of Hope: Rafi

My Brother's Keeper - providing lunches for Jerusalem schools



            It's almost inconceivable that a mere 67 years after the Holocaust, the ugly face of international anti-Semitism is again rearing its head.  A recent study of this phenomenon was done by the Belgium author Joël Kotek.  Kotek, in studying political cartoons, has outlined ten “motifs” which he discovered has characterized the reemergence of this pernicious evil.  In capsule form, these ten motifs are:

1.      The first theme is the oldest – characterizing the demonized Jew as “an inferior human”. This is especially effective in Muslim countries which have the concept of dhimmi – or second class citizen. However, it is not only Jews who fall under this rubric.  Any non-Muslim is a dhimmi in an Islamic controlled country.  Characterizing the Jew as sub-human was also the tactic used during the beginning of the Nazi genocide in Germany.
2.      The second theme is that of “God-killers”.  This is a particular favorite of the Church – especially those denominations steeped in “Replacement Theology”.  The Jews are thus characterized as being responsible for killing the Messiah, and have therefore been rejected by God, who has, in turn, replaced them with the Church.  This is the theme of an entire article (or two) all its own!
3.      Israel as a Nazi state is the third motif being seen more and more these days, especially by the liberal world news media.  News outlets like the BBC, CNN, and the Huffington Post (to name only three) practically bend over backward to make the Israeli government look like the cold-blooded Gestapo whenever Israel attempts to defend itself against one form of terrorism or another.
4.      The forth strategy is called “zoomorphism” – that is, changing a hated enemy into a horrible beast.  Examples are picturing Jews as vampires sucking the life blood of other nations or characterizing the Jews as an octopus with tentacles circling the globe and strangling the world's economies.  Zoomorphism lends itself especially well to anti-Semitic cartoons of all types.  Snakes, pigs, and cockroaches are used extensively as caricatures of Jews.
5.      A fifth common anti-Semitic technique is to picture Jews as Masters of the World.  In other words, everything that goes on in the world today is all part of an enormous Jewish conspiracy.  Either the Jews are (a) attempting to control the world, or – in some circles – (b) they already do control the world.  American anti-Semitism (such as the neo-Nazi groups) is especially fond of the latter.  This is particularly fascinating when one considers motif #1 above.  It baffles me how one can see the Jew as both an “inferior sub-human” and at the same time, as a master of the world.  The sheer stupidity of such mental gymnastics boggles the mind.
6.      Seeing the Jews as a Corrupting Force in world politics is a sixth motif.  American presidents (especially Republican presidents) are seen as connected to Jewish organizations such as AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) or the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) who in turn give huge amounts of money to their campaign funds.  The fact that most American Jews are liberal and vote Democratic seems to be of no consequence when it comes to this particular brand of anti-Semitism.
7.      The “Blood Libel” is another very old characterization of the Jews.  They are portrayed as blood loving or blood thirsty, a belief that also has its origins in the Church.  The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches taught their congregations that the Jews required the blood of Christian children to drink during their Pesach (Passover) Seder services.  Such beliefs were responsible for many of the terrible pogroms which took place in Russia and the Eastern-Block countries during the Easter season.  Muslim countries, such as Egypt, have also taken up this caricature in recent years.
8.      The eighth anti-Semitic ploy is one which should also be broadened to be called anti-Zionism.  This is the statement that it is the Arabs who want peace, but Israel does not. This motif is gaining favor and supporters from sources which would otherwise seem to be “strange bedfellows”.  Clearly the Islamic world likes this one, but amazingly, so does Hollywood, and even denominations of the evangelical church.  The anti-Zionist rhetoric that can be seen in such such songs as “Freedom for Palestine” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NA19FpmvQ4 or during the recent “Christ at the Check-Point” conference in Bethlehem this past March, are but only two examples of this insidious perversion of the truth.
9.      Calls for the murder of the Jews, and the total elimination of Israel, especially in the Arab Muslim countries, are being seen in songs, speeches, and even in Arab children's textbooks. In fact, in Jerusalem, at an Arab Children Center and a health care facility where I made a visit on behalf of Christian Friends of Israel, I personally saw – in their “art therapy room” – a map of Israel, made by a Palestinian child in art class.  The map was the outline of modern Israel and the West Bank – but it was entirely filled in with the colors of the Palestinian flag.  Israel had been entirely eliminated!  And this travesty was hanging proudly on the wall outside the art room!  Worse yet, this is an organization supported by many Christian denominations!
10.  The most hideous and extreme of the anti-Semitic themes is that of Infanticide.   This demonic theme claims that the Jews are not only blood-thirsty murders, but that they actually delight, and prefer the murder of children.  World propagandists ignore the hundreds of thousands of children killed in Sudan, Bosnia, Chechenia, Algeria, the lake countries of Africa, and focus on the Palestinian children.  To be sure there have been children inadvertently killed in the cross-fire of the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.  But to depict the Jews and the IDF has gleefully killing children is unconscionable and reprehensible!  During the recent Israeli counter-strike into Gaza, following the launch of over 200 rockets from Gaza into Israel during the weekend of Purim, the Western media coverage was telling.  One article I read was accompanied by two photographs – both of destroyed building in Gaza and children walking helplessly through the rubble. Were there any photographs of the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage caused by the 200 terrorist rockets into Israel – which were the reason for the retaliatory strike in the first place?  Where there any photographs of terrified Israeli children quaking in fear outside their bombed out school building or their totally destroyed playgrounds?   Not a one!

            Mr. Kotek concludes his report with these chilling words:  "In the collective sub-conscious of many Christians, and now Arabs, anti-Semitic myths cannot be eradicated. They present the Jews as 'the Eternal Jew,' a warmonger and a danger for the world. This is no longer just an Arab concept. Many recent polls in the European Union confirm how strong these prejudices have permeated this continent."
            And I might add, they have permeated the Church in America as well.  John Hagee was in Jerusalem recently and he summed up the situation very well.  He said, “It's time for the Church to get off the fence” concerning its position with Israel and the Jewish people.
            God's Word is unambiguous.  He will bless those who bless His people.  He will curse those who do not.  The choice, and the consequences, are entirely up to each of one of us.

            Dr. Bill Duerfeldt
            Asheville, NC

For further reading: Cartoons and Extremism -- Israel and Jews in the Arab and Western Media, by Joel Kotek, is available on Amazon.com   http://www.amazon.com/Cartoons-Extremism-Israel-Western-Media/dp/0853037523

Epic Chronicles of Hope: Amitza

My Brother's Keeper - providing food program for Jerusalem kindergarten.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Shabbat - Shabbath ceremony

Article below by Dr. Bill Duerfeldt

Shamar Shabbat – Keeping the Sabbath

In Deuteronomy 5:12 we read -- “Keep (or observe) the Sabbath day
to keep it holy…” In Hebrew this sentence reads --
Shamar et yom
I want to direct your attention to the first word of Deuteronomy’s
passage above. The word is
is often translated “keep” as in the example above. However,
picture of a watchman in a watchtower guarding a field, or guarding a
fortress or city. Why is this distinction important?

Let me share just two brief points, as to why
to the Sabbath.
First, it is the one day which God devoted to
Life! It is to be a day of renewal and refreshing. Remember that the
weekly day of rest had no parallel in any other ancient civilization.

In ancient times, leisure was for the wealthy and the ruling classes only,
never for the serving or laboring classes. The very idea of rest each
week was unimaginable. The Greeks and the Romans thought Jews
were lazy because they insisted on having a "holiday" every seventh
seven and He created the Sabbath.

Jesus said it this way – “
The second point is one I’ve mentioned before – the Hebraic concept
of the “sanctity of time”. The Sabbath may have been the last thing
created, but it was the first thing that God sanctified and called “holy”.
In the Ten Commandments, there is only one thing that God calls
שמר . Pronounced “sha’mar”, the wordshamar” could more appropriately be translated as “guard”. It is the“guarding” is so aproposלחים (“L’Chaim” ) – to. But God knew man must rest from his toil at least one day inShabbat was made for man; not man for Shabbat.” (Mark 2:27).

I have heard it said by theologians that “mankind was God’s purpose of creation”. Mankind may have been the “purpose”, but Shabbat was the climax! To theShabbat is a Palace of Holiness in Time. God’s “Mo’edim” (His
Appointed Times
Leviticus 23 without that truth coming through loud and clear.)

) are very important to Him. (One cannot read
important even than Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. To those
who observe
joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when one can set
aside all of one’s weekday concerns and devote one’s self to higher

In Jewish literature, poetry and music,
bride or queen. In fact, there is a popular Hebrew
that says
beloved to meet the [Sabbath] bride.” And what husband does not
want to protect and “guard” his bride? What monarch does not want
to “guard” his palace? Likewise, God admonishes us to
is the most important ritual observance in Judaism; moreShabbat, it is a precious gift from God, a day of greatShabbat is also described as aShabbat hymnLecha Dodi Likrat Kallah which translates, “Come myשמר שבת
The Bread
“challah”, you can easily make your own using Pillsbury refrigerated
bread dough. Challah is braided bread and typically looks like this:
Here in Israel you can get “challah” made with a wide variety of
ingredients – white flour, whole wheat, oats, rye, etc and similarly with
a variety of coatings – egg wash, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and
so forth. This link will tell you more...
. If your community does not have a bakery which makes
The challah is traditionally covered, when sitting on the table before
the blessing, with a special “challah cover” – often with the word

The Wine
or other kosher wine is preferred, but at home we often will use a
berry wine such as Blackberry Merlot. Grape juice, of course, can be
used as well.

: A red table wine (such as Manishewetz or Mogan David)
The Candles:
traditional, although any two candles will do. In Israel many folks buy
the small flat throw-away “votive-type” candles in their own individual
aluminum holders and use those for
The woman's shawl:
during the candle-lighting ceremony, is fine.

Any type of shawl, to be placed over the head
The Ceremony
When all are gathered at the table, the mother or oldest woman
covers her head with the shawl and proceeds to light the candles.
She then stretches her arms around the candles and brings her
hands back toward her face, as if she is gathering the light toward
herself. She does this three times.

Finally, she brings both hands up to her face, covers her eyes
and says the following blessing:
“Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the Universe,
who has sanctified us with Your commandments,
and instructed us to kindle the candles of Shabbat.

In Hebrew the blessing is...
“Baruk atah ADONAI Elohaynu, Melek HaOlam,
asher kidi'shay'nu be'mitz'vetov vitzi'vaynu
le'hawd-lick nair shel shabbat.”
Everyone at the table responds with “
 “Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King
In Hebrew the prayer is:
“Baruk atah ADONAI Elohaynu, Melek HaOlam,
ha motzi le'chem min ha'eretz.”

Everyone at the table responds with “
 “Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the
In Hebrew the prayer is:
“Baruk atah ADONAI Elohaynu, Melek HaOlam,
bo ray pre ha'gafin.”
Everyone at the table responds with “

The husband then takes a large piece of the challah, breaks it
into smaller pieces and passes the pieces to each person at the
table. Each challah piece is dipped in salt and each person eats his
or her portion together with the others. (Salt is used to commemorate
the grain offerings in the Temple, which were always required to be
used with salt. – Leviticus 2:13)

Finally, the husband lifts his glass of wine and recites the
following blessing:
Universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.”
Next, the husband or oldest man lifts the challah bread and
says the following prayer:
of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.”

Two tapered candles in matching candlesticks isShabbat.
Shabbat” in Hebrew is on the cover – but this is also optional.
One needs only a few things to perform the Sabbath service as we do
it...(1) a loaf of bread (preferably “challah”); (2) red wine (or grape
juice); (3) two candles; and (4) a shawl or similar head covering for
the woman. (A prayer shawl (tallit) or other head covering for the
man can also be used. I have one, but as I understand it, for a non-
Jewish man, such a head covering is optional.)

Shamar Shabbat) – to guard the Sabbath and keep it holy.
qadosh” – holy – and that is Shabbat.

Congress condemns Iran for sentencing Christian pastor to death

Congress condemns Iran for sentencing Christian pastor to death

Published March 01, 2012
| FoxNews.com
Congress unanimously approved a new resolution condemning the Iranian government for sentencing to death a Christian pastor accused of renouncing Islam. Youcef Nadarkhani's sentence has been affirmed at the highest levels of Iran's legal system and could be carried out at anytime, according to his supporters. The sentence shows that Tehran has again "failed to uphold its obligations to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," reads House Resolution 556.
The resolution, drafted by Pennsylvania Republican Joseph Pitts, calls for Iran to immediately exonerate and unconditionally release Nadarkhani as well as any other people who are being held or charged for religious or political beliefs.

"In Iran today, Pastor Youcef Nadharkani is in a high security prison wondering whether he will be executed for his faith," Pitts told FoxNews.com. "The government of Iran should abide by the agreements they have signed at the United Nations, which call for religious freedom. The House is asking the highest authorities in Iran to let Pastor Youcef return to his family and worship in peace."

Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said the lawmakers' stand sends a powerful message. "The truly bipartisan support in the House to stand up for Pastor Youcef and demand his release is extraordinary," Sekulow said in a released statement. "Iran is violating international law with its detention and promised execution of Pastor Youcef. We're grateful that so many members of Congress -- from different political and religious backgrounds -- understand the importance of standing up for religious freedom, for human rights."

Nadarkhani, who also held house church services in Iran, was facing execution after being convicted of apostasy in November 2010, but appealed his conviction all the way up to the Iranian Supreme Court.  He refused to renounce his Christianity and was sentenced to death.

Amid widespread condemnation, the Iranian court introduced new charges of rape and extortion, charges Nadarkhani's supporters say are false and trumped up merely to justify his execution.
Nadarkhani has been detained for nearly two and a half years.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/03/01/congress-approves-resolution-condemning-iran-for-sentencing-christian-pastor-to/#ixzz1nzVN3e9z

Israel Women's History Month - March

“The Egyptians could run to Egypt, the Syrians into Syria.  The only place we could run was into the sea, and before we did that, we might as well fight.”  Gold Meir

March is Israel Women's History Month

Contact: Zachary ScheinermanTel: 301-565-3918Email: aicepublicity@gmail.comWeb: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ 

CHEVY CHASE, MARYLAND - This month is Israel Women's History Month according to the new Israel Calendar (http://www.israelcalendar.org/). March is a time for Jewish communities and campus organizations to discuss the progressive steps Israel has taken to uphold the rights of women and the many women who have played an important role in the nation's history.

Israel was one of the first countries to have a female Prime Minister. For three years, Israel had a female Foreign Minister, Speaker of the Knesset and Supreme Court justice. Today, 24 women serve in the Knesset. Three out of twelve Supreme Court Justices are women, including the chief justice. The leaders of two of the three major secular parties, Kadima and Labor, are both women. Three women are in the cabinet. 

"Women have played a key role throughout Israel's history," noted AICE Executive Director Mitchell Bard. "Hannah Senesh sacrificed her life to save Jews in World War II while Golda Meir worked diplomatically to establish the Jewish state and later led the country as prime minister. Today, women are leaders in every sphere of life, from politics to business to social activism."

Women also play an important role in defending the state. Service in the Israel Defense Forces is compulsory for both men and women: women serve for twenty-four months and many make the military their career. Today, women take active roles in all units of the IDF, including in combat units. In addition to preparing for war, women also are active in the pursuit of peace. In addition to women's activism in peace organizations, legislation was adopted in 2005 mandating adequate representation of women in the government's peace negotiating teams.

The Israel Calendar highlights a different aspect of Israeli history, politics, or culture each month. The calendar is designed to provide the pro-Israel community with a clear area of focus to structure Israel activism on college campuses and in Jewish communities. "One goal is to create opportunities for cooperation and collaboration across campuses, communities and countries," Dr. Bard said. "We want to encourage everyone to talk about the role of women in Israel this month to help people better understand not only the remarkable accomplishments of Israeli women but the common interests we have in women's issues."

The Israel Calendar is a project of the AMERICAN-ISRAELI COOPERATIVE ENTERPRISE (AICE), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1993.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

House Set to Vote on Iranian Pastor Resolution

House Set to Vote on Iranian Pastor Resolution

Lawmakers in Washington are set to vote soon on a resolution to condemn Iran for violating the religious rights of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. The 34-year-old Iranian Christian leader has been imprisoned since 2009 on charges of apostasy, and now faces death by hanging because he refuses to recant his faith.
The U.S. House of Representatives will discuss a bipartisan resolution, Wednesday, to draw attention to Nadarkhani's case and pressure Iran to release him. A full vote is expected by Thursday. The measure was introduced by GOP Rep. Joe Pitts, an evangelical Christian, and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim. So far, 61 members of Congress have signed the resolution.

**Call your representative in Congress.  You can also call the House's switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

The American Center for Law and Justice has also started an urging lawmakers to act on Nadarkhani's behalf. More than 170,000 people have signed.

"In just one week, your voice moved Congress to action," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said.
The ACLJ has also started a Twitter campaign to spread the word about Nadarkani's case. @CBNNews has joined the effort.

The increased media coverage of Nadarkhani's plight is starting to put Iran on edge. Now, the Islamic regime is releasing conflicting reports on why the pastor is still being held. One report by Iran's Press TV even claims an execution order was never issued against Nadarkhani.

"Iran's Supreme Court has not yet handed down its final verdict ... in order to allow authorities to further investigate the file and reach the best decision," the Feb. 24 report read. Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ's executive director, said this is Iran's usual way of "backtracking."

The ACLJ warned Feb. 21 that the execution order had in fact been signed and Nadarkhani could be killed any day. As of Tuesday, the group could confirm that Nadarkhani is still alive.

Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 while protesting Islamic lessons being taught at his sons' school. At the time, he was leading one of Iran's most popular house churches. Since being imprisoned, authorities have pressured Nadarkhani to say he's a Muslim or face death. Each time, the pastor has refused to deny his Christian faith.

Stormy weather in Israel to continue through weekend - Haaretz.com

Stormy weather in Israel to continue through weekend

Strong winds and heavy rains uproot trees in Tel Aviv, sleet falls in Jerusalem; coldest day of the year expected on Friday.

The cold and stormy weather sweeping through Israel since Tuesday is expected to peak today and continue throughout the weekend, with Friday expected to be the coldest day of the year.
Snow will continue to fall on Mount Hermon and the northern Golan Heights, with a chance of snow in the center of the country as well. Possible flooding is expected in the south of the country, while in Jerusalem temperatures are expected to reach zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
Merom Golan  - Liki Azaria Kibbutz Merom Golan
in the snow,
March 1, 2012.

Photo by: Liki Azaria
Snow fell on Mount Hermon and at high elevations in the Golan Heights and the Galilee on Wednesday, as well as in the central mountains. In some locations, the winds exceeded 100 kilometers per hour.
A 70-year-old man in Netanya was lightly injured on Wednesday when he was struck in the head by a glass door that was blown off its hinges. Elsewhere in the city, on Yehuda Halevi Street, a tree fell on a car, but no injuries were caused.

On Tel Aviv's King George Street, traffic was disrupted when a large tree was uprooted by strong winds, tearing down power lines, ripping a bench out of the ground and blocking the street. Traffic lights and signs were blown down around the city. In south Tel Aviv's Levinsky Park, the city erected a new tent to provide shelter for the homeless.

Aviation traffic was also disrupted yesterday. A Dutch KLM jet scheduled to land at Ben-Gurion International Airport was forced to land in Cyprus instead. The Israel Airports Authority went on a state of alert for other possible disruptions in airplane traffic.

Both Safed and Jerusalem received some 40 millimeters of rain, according to the Meteo-Tech meteorology firm, while Netanya had 30 millimeters of rain. The Mediterranean was particularly rough, with waves reaching up to nine meters.
The level of Lake Kinneret rose three centimeters over the past two days. Air pollution levels in the south were higher than average.