Uncategorized

So Many Hamans- Anti Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head

Hamans

Shalom Y’All:

As you all know by now, since the election of President Trump, the number of anti semitic incidents in the United States has risen dramatically. In the ten days following the election, for example, there were more  anti semitic incidents. Since then headstones at Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Rochester have been overturned; more than 100 Jewish institutions, mainly  JCCs, in at least 26 states and one Canadian province have received bomb threats; synagogues and Jewish schools have been vandalized; swastikas drawn in New York City subway cars; and Jewish families harassed by neo-Nazis. Anti Semitic incidents on college campuses are also on the increase.

In New York City, the NYPD, reported that anti-semitic incidents were up 94 percent over this time last year. 35 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in January and February of this year.

President Trump finally spoke out against anti semitism, but that does not seem to have made any difference.Despite the arrest of an alleged perpetrator of eight of the JCC calls, most likely a copycat caller, yesterday at least ten Jewish Community Centers and four Anti Defamation offices received threats.

But the increase in anti semitic incidents cannot be blamed on Trump followers alone. In both 2014 and 2015 there were more far more hate crimes in the U.S. targeting Jews than any other religious group. An ADL study in 2015 found that about 9% of the U.S. population harbors anti semitic views. There was a 45% increase in campus anti semitism during the first half of 2016.

 There were more anti semitic incidents in the UK last year than any year since 1984, when they first started keeping records, a whopping 1309 anti semitic incidents (an average of over three incidents daily).

While France’s 450,000 Jews are less than one per cent of the country’s population, over 50% of racist attacks in the country are against Jews.

However, a recent survey by the Pew Research Center designed to gauge Americans’ feelings toward various religions showed that Jews elicit the “warmest” feelings of any religious group. The finding held true across all groups — Catholics,  Protestants, atheists and members of all age groups, although among millennials, Buddhists were regarded more warmly than Jews. Too few Muslims were interviewed to accurately determine their feelings towards Jews. 

Acts of kindness and concern followed many of the anti semitic attacks. Muslims raised money to restore a vandalized cemetery and the Senate sent a unanimous letter to the White House urging it to boost security measures at Jewish institutions and assure that hate crimes  were investigated and punished.

So what’s going on here? Here are a few possible explanations.

2014 was the year the Gaza war took place and anti Israel rallies often contained heavy anti semitic overtones. In Seattle, posters depicted a Jew eating a gentile child accompanied by a cup of blood to wash it down.

The election of Donald Trump who was supported by the alt right has apparently given some people the mistaken impression that, after years of political correctness, it’s now OK to publicly display racism and anti semitism.

The far left also suffers from anti semitism, as has been demonstrated at various college campuses throughout the country and its support of the BDS movement.

So are these recent incidents the work of a crazy biased individual or group of individuals, or are they symptomatic of a larger problem?

The constant barrage of anti Israel propaganda coming from both the media and the United Nations has contributed to creating the mistaken feeling that Israel is a bully that harms poor, innocent Palestinians who just want freedom and their own state. (This Palestinian propaganda could not be further from the truth). Some of this has been generalized to include Jews everywhere, who are all seen as supporters of Israel, though this is, alas, not the case.

Trump’s support for Israel may have angered a few anti semitic individuals who have decided to act against Jewish institutions.

But whatever the cause, Jews should not fear. The vast majority of American citizens like Jews and Jews are not in imminent danger. Because there is no state sanctioned Anti Semitism does not mean that Anti Semitism in America is not a reality.  Those who truly want to live a fully Jewish life without the need to hide their identity or Jewish practices, should move to Israel. Those who choose to remain here and in other countries of the world should remain vigilant, but secure in the knowledge that, should the situation worsen, Israel is waiting for them.

Purim is almost here- Sundown March 11-Sunset March 12. As we will read in the Megillah, Purim is the story of an anti semite who tried to destroy all the Jews in the Persian kingdom. His plan was foiled by Queen Esther and he and his followers were ultimately killed. The Jews united then and the Jews should unite now, and make sure to be there for each other and to help one another.

Let us pray that, as we were saved then, the Jewish people should continue to be saved, our enemies should be defeated, and the State of Israel should continue to prosper.

To see the JewTee collection of Purim shirts and gifts, click JewTee Purim Shirts and Gifts.

Happy Purim!

Categories: Anti Semitism, Jewish, Jewish Holidays, Purim, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The 2016 Election-Final Thoughts

hillary-donald    In the final hours before the the majority of the electorate goes to the polls to elect the 45th President of the United States, I thought a final analysis would be in order.

First, the campaign itself. One of the most hotly contested races ever, the two candidates have very different views and the views of their supporters reflect this.

Here are some of the major differences between the Clinton and Trump supporters interviewed and reported on by PEW:

Over 80% of Trump supporters believed that America is worse today than it was 50 years ago. Only 19% of Clinton supporters agreed.

Most of the Clinton supporters interviewed,(72%) believed that it is harder for women to get ahead than men, while only 31% of Trump supporters agreed.

Close to 80% of Clinton supporters believed that white people have advantages that Black people do not and 57% said it’s much more difficult to be black than white in the United States. Only about a quarter of Trump supporters agreed with white advantage and just 11% believed that it’s more difficult to be black.

This trend is also evident in the amount of Clinton supporters who felt that undocumented immigrants are no more apt to commit serious crimes than citizens (84% vs 43%). Of course Trump supporters were far more likely to favour a wall between the US and Mexico (79% vs 10%).

A majority of Trump supporters (57%) felt that Muslims living in the US should be subject to additional scrutiny, while just 15% of Clinton supporters agreed. 66% of Trump supporters thought that terrorists have greater ability to launch a terror attack against the US now than in 2001, while only 24% of Clinton supporters agreed.

The vast majority of Clinton supporters (72%) believed that government should do more to help the needy even if it meant that the US would assume greater debt, while only 21% of Trump supporters agreed.

83% of Trump supporters felt that government is wasteful and inefficient, while only 31% of Clinton supporters agreed.

Other polls show that support for Clinton is much greater among those with a college degree, while Trump is favoured by those with a High School diploma or less. Rural citizens and gun owners tend to prefer Trump, while urbanites favour Clinton.

Most Americans do not trust either candidate or share their values. But tomorrow, they will have to choose.

Tomorrow, the American people will let their voices be heard. No matter who wins, there will be many very unhappy people. The fact that Bernie Sanders was able to seriously challenge Hillary Clinton and that his supporters were so enthusiastic, means that the Democratic party is split between those who like the status quo and those who wish the party were more “progressive” or as some say, more socialist and to the left. If Hillary is elected, she will have to adopt some of these views.

The Republican party is a mess. Many within the party do not support Trump and some are even voting for Hillary. However, the fact that such a large swath of the party support Trump indicates that there is serious dissatisfaction with mainstream Republicans and that party members are looking for an outsider whom they believe will bring about change.

If Hillary wins, I fear the reaction of Trump voters. Trump has indicated he would not accept the final tally, but contest it. Such an action would be disruptive, but America has gone through something somewhat similar in the Bush Gore election of 2000. In that election, Florida ballots were recounted, and the outcome of the election unknown for more than a month afterwards. It also required the intervention of the Supreme Court to rule on the balloting procedures. However, while people were not happy during this period, there was no civil disobedience. Life went on as usual. I’m not sure things will be equally as calm should Hillary win.

Should Trump win, Hillary supporters will be very upset, but I don’t believe the unrest will be as great.

However, no matter who wins, America is now deeply divided and there is a large core of very angry people. My hope is that the election will go smoothly and that supporters of the losing candidate will graciously accept the results. During these last few years, American prestige around the world has plummeted. I only hope that the aftermath of this election will not be another step in its decline.

Let’s join together as Americans and strive for unity, or as a minimum, mutual respect.

Categories: 2016 Election, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel At 68

Shalom Y”all:

Beginning last night and ending nightfall this evening, Israelis celebrate Yom YaZicharon- the Day of Remembrance. This is Israel’s Memorial Day, the day on which Israel commemorates and pays tribute to Israelis who sacrificed their lives for their country or were killed by terrorists. Unlike America’s Memorial Day which marks the unofficial start of summer and is celebrated by going to the beach and barbecuing, Remembrance Day in Israel is a solemn affair. Sirens sound, the media tells stories of the fallen, and people visit graves of soldiers killed in the line of duty and people felled by terrorist attacks. It may be that the reason Israelis take this day so seriously is because since most Israelis serve in the military or have relatives who do so, death through conflict is not as remote a possibility. Furthermore,  since Israel is such a small country, many many Israelis know someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice, or was injured in conflict, or through a terrorist attack.

As night falls over Israel, the celebration shifts from one of solemnity to one of jubilation- Israel Independence Day has begun. The juxtaposition of the two days reminds all that freedom is not free; it is achieved only through the sacrifice of others.

Although the current State of Israel is only 68 years young, about 3,000 years ago King David defeated the Jebusites and established the capitol of  the first independent Jewish kingdom in Jerusalem. Jews ruled Jerusalem for over five hundred years. They lost their independence when the Romans conquered the city in the year 66 (over five hundred years before the birth of Mohammed) and did not regain it until 1948.

What’s happened to Israel during the last 68 years? Israel has been involved in 13 military conflicts, eight of them  wars. These repeated military actions have resulted in the deaths of  23, 447 Israelis. This past year alone there were 68 Israeli casualties of terrorism. Israel today has 9,000 families who have lost a loved one to war or terrorism, including close to 5,000 war widows. Israel is currently threatened by Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Iran and the Palestinians.

In efforts to make peace, Israel uprooted 2,500 people from the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula (Yamit) as part of the peace treaty with Egypt. As a peace offering to the Palestinians, about 9,000 Israeli citizens were expelled from their homes in Gaza and in four towns on the West Bank,

How has the world reacted to Israeli’s presence in the family of nations?  For the most part by trying to: isolate Israel, delegitimize it and ultimately end its existence. It has even resorted to rewriting history. For example, UNESCO’s executive board recently adopted a resolution ignoring the Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall and pronouncing these and two other biblical Jewish sites,  Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs, to be Islamic holy sites. It referred to Hebron and Bethlehem as, “Palestinian sites.” 33 countries voted for this resolution, while only six countries- Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States-  voted against the resolution. Among the countries supporting the resolution were such Christian countries as France, Spain and Sweden. How they could do so when they know that the New Testament speaks of the  Jewish Temple in Jerusalem  and that  Jesus the Jew preached in Jewish Jerusalem hundreds of years before Mohammed was born, speaks to the lack of concern for truth and the power of Islamic constituencies within these countries.

Israel is also plagued by countless NGOS within its borders whose sole purpose is to harm Israel. For an in depth look at what these NGOS and some countries are doing to besmirch Israel, read Catch the Jew, by Tuvia Tenenbom.

Why the wish for Israel’s demise? The existence of the State of Israel is an anathema to those who hate Jews. Instead of Jews being totally subject to the whims of the governments in the countries in which they reside, 43% of the Jews in the world now reside in Israel, a country which is economically stable and has its own defense forces. So to try to bring about the downfall of Israel, the Jew haters criticize virtually every Israeli action. In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions against Israel, but only 3 resolutions against all the other countries in the world- one against the Syrian regime, which has already murdered 200,000 of its people, one against Iran and one on North Korea. No resolution was adopted against human rights abuses in China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, etc.

The BDS movement is alive and well and continues to gain new supporters. Since  criticizing Israel is accepted, it’s not very far from there to anti semitic rants against Jews everywhere. One has only to see the signs carried by protestors in Seattle during anti Israel demonstrations during the Gaza war to see how this has translated to raw anti-semitism. http://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2014/07/16/shocking-anti-semitic-hatefest-in-seattle-appalling-must-see-pictures/

Anti-semitism is now espoused by many groups on the left, including Britain’s Labor Party. Anti Semitism is also on the rise in Europe and Islamic terrorists now routinely target Jews in places such as France. Therefore, among the 36, 000 people who immigrated to Israel last year, about 8,000 were from France. This number is expected to rise.

The Palestinians continue in their efforts to get Israel to make dangerous concessions by using the power of public relations to tell tales that aren’t  true, which most of the world is all too ready to accept.  France and others will soon try to force Israel to make dangerous, one sided, concessions at the Paris “Peace Conference” which, if adopted,  will result in strengthening Hamas and creating additional threats to Israel and the moderate Middle Eastern countries.

So on this 68th birthday, why should Israel celebrate? All this misery, loss of life and hatred are depressing at best. How has Israel reacted? By adopting an attitude of life must go on and let’s live life to the fullest. Israel has become the  “Start Up Nation ” and has invented many of the world’s most innovative products and services such as: amniocentesis, drip irrigation, desalination, drones, baby monitors, office printers, instant messaging, Pillcam, flash drives, Centrino computer ships, Waze,  and Get Taxi. Israel’s concern for others has led it to participate in many humanitarian efforts including being the first on the scene to give relief after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, and among the first to send aid to Japan after its 2011 earthquake. Almost daily, Israel rescues wounded Syrians from the war in Syria and treats them is Israeli hospitals. These Syrians are probably enemies of Israel and many may be members of Al Quaida affiliated groups. Since 2013, more than 2,000 Syrians  have been saved. This despite the fact that Syria has no diplomatic relations with Israel and has fought against it.

Israel’s military is among the strongest and most moral armies in the world, even notifying civilians in targeted areas (“roof knocking”) of upcoming attacks. ( The United States forces have now begun to do this in Iraq). Ultra Orthodox Jews and Arabs within Israel, especially Christian Arabs, are beginning to volunteer for the Israeli Army. (Like Jews, Druze Arabs are conscripted into the army and are truly loyal Israeli citizens.) Israel’s economy is robust. And, of course, unlike most Arab countries who refused to accept Palestinian refugees and now Syrian refugees, Israel absorbed millions of Jewish refugees, many from underdeveloped countries. Finally, polls indicate that Israel is one of the happiest countries in the world.

So let’s celebrate Israel’s miraculous existence and wish it a true peace with all its neighbors.

Categories: Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish Blog, Jewish Holidays, Middle East, Politics, Pro Israel Post, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Passover Seder and Passover Pillows

Seder Elijah Cup

A Seder Tradition

As you all know, Passover is almost here. It begins at sunset on April 22 and ends nightfall April 29.

The highlight of Passover, Pesach in Hebrew, are the seders- one on the first night and one on the second night (In Israel there is a seder only on the first night. Everywhere else two seders are conducted.) The seder is a  festive meal, attended by family and friends, whose order and rituals and described in the Haggadah, the book which is read during the seder.

Before the seder we set up three matzohs, one on top of the other symbolizing the three categories of Jews-Priests, Levities, and the Israelites.

Then we arrange the  seder plate, which is placed next to the seder leader. The plate consists of six items- a shankbone or a piece of roasted meat, (Zero’ah) , a roasted hard boiled egg (Beitzah) , bitter herbs (Marror), bitter greens (Chazeret), the Charoset mixture, and a  non bitter vegetable (Karpas).

Here’s the explanation for these items:

The shankbone or roasted meat- Zero’ah-   represents the roasted lamb that was eaten on the eve of the exodus from Egypt.

The egg- Beitzah- symbolizes the Holiday offering brought by the Jews to the Temple. It was eaten as the main course of the seder meal. We use a  hard boiled egg, traditionally a symbol of mourning, to remind us of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Marror and the Chazeret-bitter herbs- symbolize the bitter life lived by the enslaved Jews in Egypt.

The Charoset- the mixture of nuts, apple, wine and cinnamon- brings to mind the bricks and mortar the Jews had to make when they were enslaved by Pharoah.

The Karpas-Vegetable- alludes to the very difficult work done by the enslaved Jews. The Hebrew letters for Karpas can be rearranged to spell to form an acronym for the Hebrew- samech perech, meaning 600,00 [performed} hard labor. It also symbolizes the spring harvest. This is the vegetable which is used to dip into salt water.

The Biblical book of Exodus commands each Jew  to tell their children the story of the liberation from Egypt at the beginning of Passover. The Haggadah is the way we perform this commandment. The Haggadah was originally put together by members of the Great Assembly, a group of Jewish leaders who lived between 410 BCE and 310 BCE. However additions continued to be made to it through the Middle Ages. The first known printed Haggadah containing the version we use today was published in 1485 in Venice Italy.

The Haggadah tells the story of the birth of the Jewish nation. It principally discusses the events in Egypt, from slavery to liberation, but it also covers the period from Abraham to the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Haggadah means to tell and the Haggadah is set up as a dialogue between parent and child. The child asks the four questions in the beginning of the Haggadah and the adult answers them throughout the Haggadah. Also, many of the activities performed during the seder are meant to stoke the child’s curiosity and lead to additional questions. However, all present- adults and children- are urged to ask questions and discuss the exodus from Egypt. It is a time of great joy and happiness and feelings of togetherness and everyone should participate.  The last part of the Haggadah consists of songs which were mostly added during the Middle Ages.

The Haggadah consists of 14 sections:

The first is Kiddush- the blessings over the first cup of wine

Urchatz- We wash our hands, but don’t make a blessing.

Karpas- We eat a small piece of a non bitter vegetable.

Yachatz- We break the middle of the three matzohs on the seder plate. The bigger piece is used for the Afikoman, which is hidden and eaten at the end of the meal.

Magid- We tell the story of the Exodus.

Rochtzah- We wash our hands to eat the matzah.

Motzi Matzah- We recite blessings over the Matzah.

Marror- We eat the bitter herbs.

Koreich- We make a sandwich of the bitter herbs and Charoset.

Shulchan Orech- We eat the festive meal.

Tzafun- We eat the hidden Afikoman.

Bareich- We say the Grace After Meals.

Hallel- We recite Psalms of praise to the Lord.

Nirtzah- Concluding songs. Many Sephardic Jews do not recite this section.

We drink four cups of wine during the seder, a cup for each of the four expressions used to describe our redemption from Egypt.

It is also a custom to lean to the left during the Passover seder. This is how the ancient royalty, nobility and the wealthy ate. Poor people ate while seated on the floor. Reclining during eating indicates a person of leisure who can afford to dine without worrying about interruptions that would necessitate him getting up. Since we are now free, we follow the custom of the nobility who ate while reclining on a sofa or on cushions.  We lean to the left as so doing frees the right hand for eating and prevents the choking that may occur when leaning right.

For the seder, the table is usually beautifully set, with many people using their best china. Everything looks so lovely. The tablecloth, flatware, dishes, serving pieces, Seder Plate, etc. All is picture perfect. But look at the pillows. The pillows used to lean on are just regular pillows taken from the bedroom. Classy, they don’t look.

Now JewTee.com and its sister site, http://www.cafepress.com/passoverpillows have a solution for that. They feature unique Passover themed throw pillows and pillow shams. Here are a few examples:

szyk_haggadah_passover_woven_throw_pillow

Szyk Haggadah Cover Reproduction

The Wise Daughter

Say it like it is!

 

Celebrate Freedom Passover Pillow

How Sweet It Is!

 

To see the entire collection, click here and here. Satisfaction guaranteed.

HAPPY PASSOVER!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Passover, Passover Throw Pillows, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Many Hamans Only One Purim

Shalom Y’all:

Purim is less than two weeks away. It begins after sunset on March 23 and ends after nightfall on March 24. In Jerusalem, it begins after sunset on March 24 and ends nightfall of March 25.

Still don’t have a Purim costume? Here are some t shirts, bibs and onesies to solve the problem.

Purim Queen Esther T

A real beauty.

 

My First Purim Long Sleeve Onesie

It’s Purim. Let’s Party.

 

#QueenEsther T Shirt

A Beautiful Woman Is a Joy To Behold.

 

Only One Purim T Shirt

So Many Hamans!

This year, Israel and the Jews are faced with many Hamans- those overtly Anti-Israel and Anti- Semitic, those who soft pedal their Anti-Semitism, and self hating Jews who aid these two groups.

Those calling for the destruction of Israel and Jews include: Iran’s leaders, Ali Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani; Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh of Gaza and Khaled Meshal of Qatar; Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah and ISIS. Of course, the members of the groups they lead are firm adherents to this Judeo hatred.

In the second category are those who preach a softer form of anti Israel and anti Jew hatred. These include, but are certainly not limited to: Mahmoud Abbas, who incites his followers to murder Jews and not only refuses to condemn the murder of Jews, but bestows honor on those who do so. Furthermore, his vision of a Palestinian state is one which is Judenrein- free of Jews.  Members of the United Nations who hold frequent hearings on Israel’s “human rights violations,” but refuse to condemn Palestinian violence and the thousands of United Nations workers who teach hatred of and incitement against Jews in the Palestinian refugee camps and schools are also part of this group, as are NGOs whose reason d’être is the dissolution of the Jewish State.  Members and supporters of the BDS movement whose real aim is to rid the world of the State of Israel are also included here.

In the third category are such groups as J Street, Break the Silence, Rabbis for Human Rights, etc. These groups seek to besmirch Israel in all ways possible and champion the Palestinian cause. They either don’t understand, or care, that the Palestinians do not trust or like them as Palestinians have pride in their heritage, while these Jews obviously don’t like theirs. These groups too would, despite their rhetoric to the contrary, like for Israel to disappear as a Jewish state.

Furthermore, some Arabs who are Israeli citizens and many who are permanent residents of Israel do not support the country in which they live.

In short, the world is currently a very dangerous place for Israelis and Jews everywhere. Many Jews, especially from France and Russia are emigrating to Israel and the numbers will only continue to rise.

So what can Israel do to improve the situation? Further relinquishment of its land and the establishment of a Palestinian state would only lead to additional territory controlled by Hamas and extreme danger for the existence of the State of Israel and neighboring Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan.

Israel should revoke the tax exempt status of the many foreign funded NGOs who work against Israel’s interests and prevent these groups from being in Israel.

Israel should, and is, blocking the transmission of incitement over its air waves.

Israel can and should try to improve the lives of the loyal Arabs who live within its borders. Those Arabs who serve in either the military or perform National Service should be rewarded and all attempts should be made to integrate them fully into Israeli society.  For example, recently a group of Christian Arabs who served in the military were awarded scholarships by the International Conference of Christians and Jews in conjunction with the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum.

The towns of the Druze, Muslim Arabs who are required to serve in the Israeli army and serve with distinction, should be upgraded and all attempts should be made to fully integrate the Druze into Israeli society. The needs of the Bedouins should be addressed and attempts made to carve out a livelihood for them which is in concert with their heritage.

I believe that all Israeli citizens should be required to perform National Service. This, of course, will be very unpopular with many Arabs and Haredi groups. However, the program can be tailored to allow participants to work within their cities and society engaging in needed services which will help their communities. Performing national service will give all groups a feeling of being part of the State in which they reside. Those not wishing to serve should be asked to leave the country.

Everyone living in Israel should be required to sign a loyalty oath. Those unwilling to sign should be asked to leave Israel. It’s unfortunate that this should be a requirement for all Israel’s residents and citizens, but the presence of a fifth column in Israel is a fact of life.

Finally, Israel should do more to encourage Jewish emigration from all parts of the globe and make it easier for immigrants to integrate into Israeli society. Artificial barriers, such as excessive paperwork and failure to accept foreign credentials, should be removed and additional housing should be built throughout the country to allow both Israelis and immigrants to live within their means.

I also hope that the good Lord will see fit to quickly eliminate the threats that face us now and allow Jews everywhere to live lives of peace and tranquility.

HAPPY PURIM!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Anti Semitism, Israel, Jewish, Jewish Holidays, Middle East, Purim, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Passover Thoughts

Shalom:

As you all  know, Passover is tonight.  Pesach, 2015, begins at sunset on April 3 and ends at nightfall on April 11. I hope you were able to find Passover t shirts and gifts that you liked at JewTee.com and at our sister Passover shop, Passovergfitshop.com.

Putting aside all the cleaning and cooking, have we really stopped to think about the true meaning of Passover?

Passover celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation. The Lord took the Jews out of their slavery in Egypt and made them into a free nation with a high moral code as elucidated in the Torah. After wandering in the desert for forty years, the Jews conquered and settled in Eretz Yisroel, Israel. They were a sovereign nation for a while, then split into two and subsequently driven from their land. The Jews remained stateless for almost two thousand years.

In the intervening years, many of the ancient peoples disappeared. The mighty Philistines are no more. Neither are the Babylonians and the Assyrians and other powerful nations.

While living in exile, Jews were attacked, killed and driven from the countries they were inhabiting.  The Crusaders, inquisitions, pogroms and the Holocaust wiped out large numbers of Jews. Stateless as they were, Jews were still a readily identifiable people whom other nations sought to destroy. But through their religion and shared values, they continued to exist. Miracle of miracles, after almost being totally destroyed, they returned to their land and built a vibrant Jewish state.

As we will read in the Haggadah during the seder, in every generation people rise up against us to annihilate us, but G-d always saves us.

Freedom is not free. Unfortunately, many people have died to enable us to live in freedom. But today, Jews persecuted in other lands know that they have a place to go, that Israel is there for them. It’s ours. It is the homeland of the Jews,  a place where every Jew can feel free to practice Judaism. And this freedom of religion is not just for Jews. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries, all people in Israel worship their religion freely.

So as you sit down to enjoy the seders, think about freedom, the price of freedom, the many sacrifices others made so that we can be free. Thank the Lord that you are free, that you are not celebrating the seder in hiding as a Marrano, in fear of anti Semitic mobs, or in secret in a concentration camp barrack. Thank the Lord that you have a Jewish homeland. Enjoy the freedom, and value it.

HAPPY PASSOVER EVERYONE!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Chanukah Gifts and Hunger

Shalom Y’All:

We light the first Chanukah candle on December 16, two weeks away. To help last minute shoppers, I’d like to suggest a few Chanukah gifts from JewTee.com.

The Sweatshirt of Champions

The sweatshirt for winners.

A funny Hanukkah shirt for kids

A funny Chanukah shirt for the younger set.

Latke Chefs Apron

These Latke men are hot.

Woe to the World.

The World Is Really Messed Up!

Happy Hanukkah baby.

Celebrate the Hanukkah Holiday and the baby.

Check out these and many other Chanukah and Jewish designs on shirts, t shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, hats, pajamas, mugs and novelty gifts at JewTee.com.

Did you know that the distribution of Chanukah gelt is also part of the Hanukkah Holiday? Chanukah gelt these days is packaged as pieces of chocolate in gold foil in the shape of coins. It is usually given to kids. However, gelt means money and in the 17th century money was given to the teachers of Jewish students on Chanukah. (For a further discussion of Chanukah gelt see my previous Chanukah Q&A post.)

Many parents still give their kids actual money on Chanukah, but the kids are encouraged to give this money to charity.

Speaking of charity,  I recently learned that one in five New Yorkers does not have enough to eat. One in four children are hungry. A 2011 study of New York’s Jewish poor revealed that one in four New York Jews do not have enough to eat. That’s heartbreaking!

In a country as rich as ours, in a city with so many millionaires, in a city with so many Jewish institutions, for so many people to be hungry is outrageous.

Here are some additional facts:

As of 2011,more than 333,000 people in Jewish households in New York City were poor—a 50 percent increase since 2002, and a 100 percent increase since 1991.  One in ten Jewish households were near poor- not earning enough money to meet their needs, but above the poverty guidelines.  Jewish poor and near-poor include Russian-born immigrants, seniors on fixed incomes, members of the Orthodox community , and the unemployed/underemployed.

Soup kitchens, including Kosher soup kitchens, exist to feed the hungry, but they generally serve only one meal per day. That leaves lots of room for hunger.

So this Chanukah enjoy the festivities, but remember the Jewish poor and all those who are hungry. Give generously to the reputable charity of your choice, but be wary of telemarketing calls, even those that  seem to be from a reputable charity. You don’t know who’s on the other end of the line and these days giving out your credit card number to a phone caller might result in the hijacking of your credit card and even identity theft.  So be generous, but careful.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pro Israel Rally NYC

New York Stands With Israel Pro Israel Rally

Thousands Of Israel's Supporters Rally Across from the United Nations

Thousands Of Israel’s Supporters Rally Across from the United Nations

10,000 to 15,000 pro Israel supporters spent their lunchtime today attending a animated two hour pro Israel rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza opposite the United Nations.

Speakers included: Israel’s Consul General in NY, Ambassador Ido Aharoni, UN Ambassador Ron Prosor, U.S.Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressional representatives Elliot Engel, Steve Israel, Nydia Velazquez, Grace Meng, and Hakeem Jeffries, and local politicians and clergy. New York City’s Comptroller and Manhattan Boro President also addressed the crowd. New York City’s Mayor was not present.

Speakers stressed the right of Israel, as any country has, to defend itself from rocket attacks and tunnels and criticized the unfair and biased coverage of Israel’s actions in the war on Gaza.

Congressman Israel announced that over 100 members of Congress had sent a letter to the United Nations telling it not to investigate Israel’s actions in Gaza. “If you want to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes, give it up! Investigate Hamas instead.”

Congressman Engel criticized the media’s biased reporting of the Gaza war. The crowd cheered when he announced that he will introduce legislation to help Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Congressman Jeffries eloquently pointed out that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood, and as such, needs to forcefully defend itself, since strength is the only thing that Israel’s neighbors understand. He energized the crowd by forcefully saying, “Israel has always prevailed and Israel will prevail this time too. Israel today, Israel tomorrow and Israel forever.”

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, the highest ranking elected city official present, urged the crowd to defend Israel on social media.

Other speakers pointed out the cowardice of Hamas military leaders who command their troops from the safety of fancy hotels in foreign countries. By contrast, Israeli commanders personally lead their troops. Furthermore, as Hamas “fighters,” aka terrorists, do not wear uniforms, the distinction between civilian and terrorist is blurred. Is a man who wears jeans and a t shirt, but fires a weapon, a terrorist or a civilian?

Hamas’ decision to use concrete to build underground tunnels, rather than houses and bomb shelters was denounced. While sympathy was expressed for the innocent civilians on all sides who have been killed, blame was placed on Hamas’ doorsteps for fighting from congested areas, instructing people not to heed Israeli military warnings, and using civilian buildings, such as hospitals, schools, and mosques as weapons storage facilities and points from which to shoot.

Speakers expressed thanks to the United States government and its people for their staunch support of Israel and the Iron Dome project.

The Maccabeats, a Jewish acapella group, entertained the crowd with a number of Jewish songs.

Attendees included Jews from all streams of Judaism, as well as many non Jewish supporters.

A small number of pro-Palestinians held a rally across the street.

Categories: Gaza War, Israel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My First Hanukkah Chanukah Onesies

Shalom Y’All:

Chanukah Hanukkah is getting closer by the day. There are only 25 days left till the lighting of the first Chanukah candle.

Everyone’s all excited about Thanksgivukkah. That’s understandable since it’s a once in a lifetime event. But while Thanksgivukkah falls on the first day of Chanukah, the first Hanukkah candle is actually lit the night before , on Wednesday, November 27.  Furthermore, Thanksgivukkah is one day while Hanukkah is eight days. So starting with this post, I’ll be featuring JewTee’s collection of Chanukah Hanukkah t shirts and gifts.

(To see our Thanksgivukkah collection, click here.)

For Chanukah Hanukkah we mainly buy gifts for the kids. So I’d like to start by featuring a few of JewTee’s most popular My First Chanukah Hanukkah onesies. Here they are:

My First Hanukkah onesie

Light the lights.

My FIrst Hanukkah Onesie

Do the Dreidel Dance!

My First Hanukkah Onesie

Home Sweet Home

Like these designs? They’re also available on infant t shirts, sweatshirts, hats, blankets, bibs and gifts for babies and kids.  See our entire Hanukkah baby and kids collection here.

Remember. all JewTee products come with a 30 day money back satisfaction guarantee.

 

Categories: Chanukah Hanukkah T Shirts and Gifts, Chanukah Onesies, Hanukkah onesies, Hebrew Gifts, Jewish, Jewish Baby and Kids T Shirts and Gifts, My FIrst Chanukah Gifts, My First Chanukah Onesies, My First Hanukkah Gifts, My First Hanukkah Onesies, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgivukkah T Shirts and Gifts Part 4

Shalom Y’all:

This is the last post I plan to devote entirely to Thanksgivukkah products.  The next posts will focus on Chanukah Hanukkah designs.

Here are three more Thanksgivukkah designs from JewTee:

Happy Thanksgivukkah

Enjoy Thanksgivukkah!

Happy Thanksgivukkah 2013

Eat, Drink and Light Candles

 Thanksgivukkah Baseball Jersey

Go Dreidel GO!

Like these designs? They’re available on t shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, hoodies, pajamas, hats, mugs, aprons and novelty gifts, in both adult and children’s sizes. They’re also available on dog shirts.

Want to see additional JewTee Thanksgivukkah designs? See our entire collection here.

To see JewTee’s  Chanukah Hanukkah collection, click here.

Remember, all JewTee products are backed by a 30 day money back guarantee.

Categories: Thanksgivukah Cards, Thanksgivukah Shirts and Gifts, Thanksgivukkah Aprons, Thanksgivukkah Gifts, Thanksgivukkah Shirts, Thanksgivukkah T Shirts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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