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Monday, August 10, 2020

A manuscript sheds light on a 16th-century tale of Jewish love and betrothal

by ANN BRENER





There has been no shortage, over the centuries, of rabbinic literature grappling with questions of Jewish law on marriage and divorce, but the 16th century has been especially generous in this respect. 

The spectacular story of Tamar bat Joseph Tamari, a Jewish heiress in 16th-century Venice, and the feckless adventurer who betrothed her, captivated the Jewish world in its own day and is still eagerly discussed by historians in our own time. 

That controversy produced no less than four collections of documents published at the height of the scandal in 1566, one on each side of the issue and two by the fiancé errant himself.

Now a manuscript housed in the Hebraic Section of the Library of Congress offers us another case of a 16th-century betrothal gone wrong, this time from the island of Crete. 

This is a manuscript of 72 leaves, written in several different hands on thick, high-quality paper and bearing the signatures of several well-known rabbis from the 16th century, among them Moses ibn Alashkar and Elijah ben Elkanah Capsali, the latter also the author of important Hebrew chronicles on Venice and the Ottoman Empire.

LC Hebr. MS 18 [collection of responsa from circa 1538-1545]. The letter shown here was sent by Moses Alashkar of Jerusalem to Elijah Capsali of Crete [Candia], who had copied it ‘word for word’ on the first page of the manuscript. Note Capsali’s stylized signature at the very bottom of the page. (Hebraic Section, Library of Congress.)

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What’s So Great About the New Israeli Thriller ‘Tehran’?


The opening scenes of Tehran, the new thriller from the Israeli public broadcast corporation Kan 11, tell the story of two Israeli backpackers who decide to take a cheap flight from Jordan on their way to India, and find themselves in trouble when their plane must make an emergency stop in Iran. 

It is a tight and tense opening, yet it also carries a somewhat unintentional hilarious subtext. An Israeli viewer is likely to giggle at the throwback to the good old days, less than a year ago, when Israelis could actually board an airplane and travel around the world, convinced that the Iranian nuclear program was the biggest threat to their safety. In fact, during the show’s run on Kan 11, reality met fiction when a mysterious explosion occurred in an Iranian facility, attributed to Israel’s secret war against the country’s nuclear program. 

But few Israelis cared: With no end in sight to the COVID-19 crisis, most of them were worried about other, more immediate problems.

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Rare Wedding Video of Rabbi Steinsaltz



Rare footage of the wedding of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz z"l with with his wife Chaya Sarah...
Also seen is Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin.
Video was taken on a 8mm film camera by the Kallah's cousin, R' Zusha Rivkin

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Vatican Marks Life of Jewish-Born Saint, Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, Who Was Murdered at Auschwitz


The Vatican on Sunday marked the life of a Jewish-born saint who was murdered during the Holocaust.
Highlighted as a “Saint of the Day” on the Vatican News website, St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross was born Edith Stein into a Jewish family in 1891, but became an atheist at the age of 14.
Despite being a woman and a Jew in Germany, Stein extensively studied philosophy and hoped to become an academic. After meeting a friend whose husband had recently died, however, she had a mystical experience in which her “unbelief collapsed.”
After reading St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography, Stein converted to Catholicism in 1922 and eventually became a Carmelite nun, but remained involved in Jewish issues. As the Nazis rose to power in Germany, she wrote, “I had heard of severe measures against Jews before. But now it dawned on me that … the destiny of these people would also be mine.”
Realizing that because Nazi antisemitism was racial and not religious, she would be a target of it, Stein decided to present herself as a sacrifice, saying, “Every time I feel my powerlessness … to influence people directly, I become more keenly aware of the necessity of my own holocaust.”
As persecution intensified, she fled to Holland, once writing, “I never knew people could be like this, neither did I know that my brothers and sisters would have to suffer like this.” When the Nazis came for her, Stein told her sister, “Come, we are going for our people.” She was murdered at Auschwitz in 1942.
When she was beatified as St. Theresa in 1987, Pope John Paul II said, “We bow down before the testimony of the life and death of Edith Stein … a personality who united within her rich life a dramatic synthesis of our century. It was the synthesis of a history full of deep wounds … and also the synthesis of the full truth about man.”
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‘Shtisel’ Shares First Official Photos From Season 3


The production company behind the popular Israeli series “Shtisel” shared on Wednesday the first official photos from the show’s third season, which is currently filming on a set in Jerusalem in accordance with local COVID-19 regulations.
Israel’s Yes Studios posted on Facebook the images, which featured the characters Ruchami, Akiva and Shulem, played by Shira Haas, Michael Aloni and Dov Glickman, respectively.
Also featured in the photo is a baby, revealing a new plot twist that will be in the third season.
“While we are experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 in Israel we are taking every possible precaution with the production of ‘Shtisel,’ said the show’s producer Dikla Barkai, as reported by Deadline. “This has added both time and expense and includes extensive and consistent testing of the cast and crew, keeping safe distances whenever possible, separated work and rest areas and everyone is, of course, wearing masks other than when ‘action’ is called. It’s certainly an adjustment but we are committed to filming in real locations in order to preserve the authenticity of the series and the world of the show.”
Yes Studios previously shared behind-the-scenes photos showing the “Shtisel” crew and cast in masks during production for season three.
Yes Studios Managing Director Danna Stern said, “We have been in awe of the love showered on ‘Shtisel’ globally, as well as locally, and are thrilled to be working on the new season which is everything viewers have come to expect: touching, gentle storytelling and characters which we all adore.”
The show, which is about a family living in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem, had been scheduled to begin production of its third season in April, but all filming in Israel was postponed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Filming finally got underway in July.
The third season will pick up four years after the events of the previous season, and will air on Yes TV in Israel later this year, Deadline reported.
Netflix began in December 2018 streaming the two seasons of “Shtisel” that ran on Israeli television in 2013 and 2015-16. It has not been announced yet when or if Netflix will pick up the show’s third season.
Haas also talked about filming the show’s third season while adhering to COVID-19 regulations in a new interview with Variety.
“To be Ruchami again is amazing. I gave up the idea of a third season, and suddenly it came back,” the Emmy-nominated actress told the publication during a conversation from her home in Tel Aviv. “You’re seeing all the people you know, but you can’t hug them. There aren’t a lot of people on set, and everyone is very careful. Definitely weird; it’s definitely different. But yeah, you know, the things we do for art!”
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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Scene from the Next Episode of "shtisel"


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Trump Mocks Media For Complaining About Packed Room With COVID Guidelines: ‘It’s A Peaceful Protest’

President Donald Trump mocked the media during a news conference on Friday evening for complaining about a room packed full of people that they claimed violated New Jersey’s COVID-19 guidelines, saying that it was a “peaceful protest.”

“Just in this room, you have dozens of people who are not following the guidelines in New Jersey which say you should not have more than 25 –,” the reporter stated before being loudly booed by many in the room.

“You’re wrong on that,” Trump shot back, “because it’s a political activity. They have exceptions, political activity, and it’s also a peaceful protest.”

The room erupted in laughter and cheers.

“To me, they look like they all, pretty much all have masks on,” Trump continued. “You have an exclusion in the law, it says ‘peaceful protest or political activity,’ right?”

“You’re wrong on that,” Trump shot back, “because it’s a political activity. They have exceptions, political activity, and it’s also a peaceful protest.”

The room erupted in laughter and cheers.

“To me, they look like they all, pretty much all have masks on,” Trump continued. “You have an exclusion in the law, it says ‘peaceful protest or political activity,’ right?”

Trump looked down at a sheet and said, “In fact, it specifically, yeah, it says exactly, ‘political activity or peaceful protest,’ and you can call it political activity, but I’d call it ‘peaceful protest’ because they heard you were coming up and they know the news is fake, they understand it better than anybody.”

The room again erupted in cheers.

“They asked whether or not they could be here, like the question about Russia,” Trump continued as he pointed at the reporter. 

“He doesn’t mention Iran was in the report, he doesn’t mention, or he mentions very late that China was in the report, because that’s the way they are.”

“If the press in this country were honest – it wasn’t corrupt, if it wasn’t fake – our country would be so much further ahead, but we’re doing really great,” the president said as he ended the news conference.

Trump’s remarks appeared to take a jab at the fact that the media largely gave leftists a pass when they have gone protesting over the last couple of months, which have often spiraled into violent riots.
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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Hezbollah wanted Beirut’s ammonium nitrate for Israel war

Hezbollah apparently planned to use the ammonium nitrate stockpile that caused a massive bast at Beirut’s port this week against Israel in a “Third Lebanon War,” according to an unsourced assessment publicized on Israel’s Channel 13 Friday night.
The report was broadcast hours after Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a speech “categorically” denying that his group had stored any weapons or explosives at Beirut’s port, following the massive explosion there Tuesday that has claimed over 157 lives and wounded thousands. “I would like to absolutely, categorically rule out anything belonging to us at the port. No weapons, no missiles, or bombs or rifles or even a bullet or ammonium nitrate,” Nasrallah said. “No cache, no nothing. Not now, not ever.”
Israel has not formally alleged that Hezbollah was connected to the Tuesday blast.
Ammonium nitrate is used in the manufacture of explosives and is also an ingredient in making fertilizer. It has been blamed for massive industrial accidents in the past, and was also a main ingredient in a bomb that destroyed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Last year, reports in Israel claimed that the Mossad had tipped off European intelligence agencies about Hezbollah storing caches of ammonium nitrate for use in bombs in London, Cyprus and elsewhere.
The Channel 13 report noted that “the material that exploded in the port is not new to Nasrallah and Hezbollah.”
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Friday, August 7, 2020

Not Enough Shuls In Israel ... They Had to Build One in Dubai


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Jews Don't Know It .... But Boro-Park Is Still Galus




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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz passes away at age 83


Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, an Israel Prize laureate best known for his translation of the Babylonian Talmud, has passed away, at the age of 83.

Rabbi Steinsaltz had been hospitalized at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he was being treated for a lung infection not related to the coronavirus.

Along with his translation of the Talmud into modern Hebrew, Rabbi Steinsaltz was also well-known for his writings and commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and the Tanya.

A member of the Chabad Hasidic movement, Rabbi Steinsaltz was president of Yeshivat Makor Chaim and Yeshivat Tekoa.

Born to a secular Jewish family in 1937, Rabbi Steinsaltz, a native Jerusalemite joined the Chabad Hasidic movement as a teenager. He studied at the Chabad yeshiva Tomchei Temimim in Lod, while also studying math, chemistry, and physics at Hebrew University.

In 1965, Rabbi Steinsaltz began work on what came to be known as the Steinsaltz Edition of the Talmud, translating the entire Babylonian Talmud into modern Hebrew and adding technical notes and explanatory material.

The translation was completed in 2010, and has since been translated in part to a number of other languages, including Russian and English.

Rabbi Steinsaltz cofounded the Mekor Chaim yeshiva in 1984 and Yeshivat Tekoa a decade and a half later.
In 1988, Rabbi Steinsaltz won the Israel Prize for Jewish Studies; in 2012, he won the President's Medal; and in 2017 he was awarded the Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem Prize.

During an attempt to reform the ancient rabbinic court known as the Sanhedrin, Rabbi Steinsaltz was tapped to lead the court.

In 2016, Rabbi Steintsaltz suffered a stroke.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah, their three children, and their eighteen grandchildren.

The Tzohar organization released a statement Friday morning mourning Rabbi Steinsaltz's death.

"Tzohar was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, an exceptional leader of both Torah and love for the land. His life’s work opened countless doors for people to study and helped bridge the diverse communities within the Jewish world. He will be forever remembered as a teacher defined by passionate caring for his people and spreading the beauty of Judaism all across the globe."

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Remembering Yaakov Meidad a Mossad Agent Who Murdered the ‘Butcher of Riga,’

On August 1, I posted a story about Herberts Cukurs ym"s, who murdered 30,000 Jewish men, women and children..... 
Below is an interview with the late Yaakov Meidad..

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Zera Shimshon Parshat Eikev




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Massive Belzer Wedding Under Criminal Investigation


So the Holy Rebbe actually said that "the wedding" will "destroy the virus," (see the notice below that was sent to the Belzer community....) and his naive sheeple believe him...
Just two weeks ago, a rav of that community died of the virus, and in Israel, the Belzer community has unfortunately the highest number of infected people, but the Rebbe could care less... he knows better than anyone else... I sincerely hope, he does .... but he better start questioning the hashgacha of the Jail system, since he or some of his close cronies may have to spend some time there.
Police on Thursday launched a criminal investigation into a mass ultra-Orthodox wedding in Jerusalem held in violation of coronavirus regulations limiting gatherings.
Some 2,000 people are estimated to have attended Wednesday’s wedding for the grandson of the spiritual leader of the Belz Hasidic sect, with images from the event showing thousands of people sitting next to each other, indoors, without keeping distance or wearing masks.
The celebrations began outdoors, where participants were filmed wearing masks. The event then moved indoors. Channel 12 reported that organizers attempted to bar people from filming the indoor celebrations, but the footage leaked out.
An investigation was also opened into suspected licensing offenses.
“We view severely the blatant violation of the regulations in a way that endangers the public’s health, and we’ll continue to enforce the regulations for the well-being of the public and its health,” police said.
The police announcement of the investigation came as Channel 12 news reported that United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler, a member of Belz, attended the wedding.
He refused to comment.
The network also reported that organizers had asked on Tuesday for permission to hold a protest gathering in support of police, but the request was denied after it turned out the planned demonstration was meant to serve as cover for the wedding.
Under the current government rules, weddings are capped at 20 people outdoors; protests are exempt from limitations, though social distancing must be observed.
Earlier Thursday, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion pushed back against criticism of the wedding, claiming ongoing protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside his official residence in the capital pose a graver danger to public health.
Israel has struggled in recent months to contain the coronavirus outbreak, confirming close to 2,000 new infections a day. The country had 25,285 active cases as of Thursday night, according to Health Ministry figures.
The protests against Netanyahu’s alleged corruption and handling of the pandemic have grown in recent weeks, with some of the demonstrations drawing over 10,000 people.
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Thursday, August 6, 2020

American Israeli Eli Rozenberg gets initial gov't okay to purchase El Al

Kenny Rosenberg Father of Eli

The Israel Corporations Authority said on Tuesday it will allow Eli Rozenberg, an ultra-Orthodox 30-year-old immigrant to Israel from the United States, to purchase more than 40% of El Al Israel Airlines.
It was a dramatic turn of events because Rozenberg's bid hasn't been considered seriously and it wasn't clear who his financial backers are.
Rozenberg resides in Jerusalem and is the son of businessman Ken Rozenberg, owner of one of the largest chains of nursing homes in the United States, and founder and CEO of Centers Health Care.
To show his seriousness, Eli Rozenberg initially deposited $15 million into a loyalty account and even offered to immediately transfer another $75 million to El Al in exchange for 44.99% of the company, which would give him a controlling stake in the company.
"I would like to thank the Corporations Authority for its professional due diligence. My offer is the only way to rehabilitate El Al and march it forward to its rightful place. [Israelis] are desperate for their national airline to be stable," said a statement on Rozenberg's behalf.
Three weeks ago, Rozenberg told Israeli financial portal Globes that he is not so concerned about El Al's current financial crisis, due most recently to the coronavirus pandemic, and is looking towards the future. The global pandemic forced the shutdown of regular services for the airline.
However, according to the report, it is not clear whether the airline's parent company, Knafaim, which owns the controlling shares, will be willing to sell. So far, it has rejected the bid.
El Al reached a $400 million bailout agreement earlier this month, which is likely to result in its being nationalized.
According to the terms of the deal, the airline will receive a $250 million government-backed loan, and raise another $150 million by selling shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, with the state purchasing any unsold stock.


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Dumb Jewish Group "IFNOTNOW" Endorses Somalian Anti-Semite Ilhan Omar



The Jewish group IfNotNow has endorsed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for re-election in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District.

"As American Jews, we're proud to support Representative @IlhanMNin her re-election campaign. In her first two years in Congress, despite unrelenting attacks, Ilhan has remained steadfast in advocating for progressive policies, and opposing Trump's authoritarian agenda," continued IfNotNow, an organization that has been a vocal critic of Israeli policies toward Palestinians.


Omar will face four opponents in her district's Aug. 11 Democratic primary. Her top opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux, outraised Omar between April and June with $3.3 million to Omar's $470,000.
Omar has perpetuated anti-Semitic tropes on Twitter and introduced a resolution in Congress that promotes boycotts of Israel, likening them to boycotts of Nazi Germany.
n February 2019, a month after being sworn in, Omar accused AIPAC of paying members of Congress to back Israel, saying it was "all about the Benjamins."
The following month, she pointed fingers at her "Jewish colleagues" for attacking her and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for labeling their criticisms as anti-Israel because of the Muslim faith of the two congresswomen, in addition to slamming her critics regarding "the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country."
This led to the passing of a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred that did not call out Omar by name.
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Laura Loomer is Looming Large for Trump in Florida

A Jewish warrior is looming large in President Trump’s home district in Florida.

Laura Loomer came striding into the political arena because she is concerned at the American drift to a place she rebels against. She decided to take a stand. In fact, she has taken several stands as an angry individual who has attracted media attention.

Loomer was angry at the staged assassination of President Trump in a Central Park leftist adaption of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in which the Roman emperor was replaced by a lifelike Donald Trump. The bloody mock assassination of Trump on stage incensed Laura Loomer.

American presidential assassinations are nothing new and Loomer considered this public presentation an incitement, giving license to murder Trump, so she protested the event by leaping onto the stage and interrupting the production to much media acclaim.

Like too many conservative voices, Loomer has been banned from social media including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for pointing out Ilhan Omar’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic slanders which Loomer rightly claims emanate from Omar’s personal background as an Islamist. I have written extensively about this in the past. Facts are on Loomer’s side, despite the ban.

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