Equal prayers for Jewish women in Israel?


This 20 July 2017 video is a satiric animated cartoon from the Women of the Wall movement in Israel.

It says about itself:

Bibi froze The Wall

Give us a couple of minutes, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Kotel Agreement, and make you laugh in the process.

It is about Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu reneging on an earlier plan to give women more praying rights at the Kotel (Western wall) in Jerusalem.

Jewish Dutch poet Jacob Israël de Haan, theatre play


This February 2017 video is the trailer of the Dutch theatre play Salaam Jeruzalem, by theatre organisation De Nieuw Amsterdam, about Jewish Dutch author Jacob Israël de Haan.

On 25 March 2017 I went to see this play in Leiden.

Jacob Israël de Haan (1881-1924) was from an Orthodox Jewish family. He broke with that religion and became a socialist journalist. In 1903, he collected money for the children of railway workers who had been sacked because they had gone on strike. He was also a gay rights pioneer, writing novels like Pijpelijntjes. He is seen as a predecessor of Amnesty International. Because of his activity, inspired by a meeting with exiled Russian anarchist Kropotkin, against human rights abuses in pre-World War I czarist Russian prisons; jointly with socialist poetess Henriette Roland Holst.

De Haan himself wrote poetry as well.

This video shows some of his 1919-1924 poems.

He had contacts in the Dutch literary avant-garde around De Nieuwe Gids magazine. And he wrote works about laws; he was a Legum Doctor.

De Haan’s experiences in czarist Russia made him aware of the evils of anti-Semitism. That contributed to De Haan’s re-conversion to Judaism. He also became a Zionist. In 1919 he emigrated to Palestine, then a British colony.

In the video at the top of this blog post, one of De Haan’s poems, written in Palestine, is recited. It is (my translation):

Unrest

Who in Amsterdam often said, “Jerusalem”
And was driven to Jerusalem,
He now says with a dreamy voice:
“Amsterdam. Amsterdam.”

As the poem shows, De Haan had become ambivalent about emigrating from Amsterdam. Zionism as practiced in Palestine turned out to be different from De Haan’s lofty ideals when he had been in Amsterdam. De Haan became an advocate of negotiating with Palestinian Arabs so that Jews and Arabs might live together peacefully.

That made him an enemy of the Zionist paramilitary organisation Haganah. On 13 June 1924, Haganah fighter Avraham Tehomi murdered De Haan, as ordered by Haganah commander Itzhak Ben-Zvi (later the second president of the state of Israel). A crowd of 5,000 people attended De Haan’s funeral in Jerusalem.

Left Zionist Moshe Beilinson reacted to the murder:

The flag of our movement must not be tarnished. Neither by the blood of the innocent, nor by the blood of the guilty. Otherwise – our movement will be bad, because blood draws other bloods. Blood always takes revenge and if you walk down this path once, you do not know where it would lead you.

A line from a De Haan poem is inscribed in the monument in Amsterdam for LGBTQ people murdered by the 1940-1945 German nazi occupiers of the Netherlands. The line is ‘Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen’; ‘Such a boundless desire for friendship’.

A review of the play is here. Another review is here. And here.

There are five actors in the play. Two of them play Arab music. Egyptian Dutch actor Sabri Saad El Hamus plays both De Haan and, at the end, an Arab singer. Ludo van der Winkel plays the cynical antagonists of De Haan; like Arnold Aletrino (named in the play only by his pseudonym Sam from De Haan’s gay novel Pijpelijntjes), the older fellow author who betrayed Jacob Israel when Pijpelijntjes caused a scandal in homophobic public opinion. And P.L. Tak (named in the play), newspaper chief who sacked De Haan because of Pijpelijntjes.

Randy Fokke plays both De Haan’s wife and Carry van Bruggen, De Haan’s sister and also a famous Dutch author. Carry van Bruggen never got over the murder of her one year younger brother.

This English language video is about De Haan.

In the play, by Dutch playwright and director Gerardjan Rijnders, there are several allusions to happenings after the death of De Haan; including recent ones. When talking about De Haan joining the marxist Dutch Social Democratic Workers’ Party, actors say: ‘the predecessor of the Dutch PvdA labour party … or what is left of it’. In the recent 15 March 2017 Dutch elections, the PvdA went from 38 to 9 MPs because they had been junior partners in a right-wing coalition government. The play also mentions French playwright Jean Genet’s solidarity with Palestinians in the 1980s. This is followed by a xenophobic, Geert Wilders-like rant by Ludo van der Winkel.

The play includes a theory about right and left halves of the human brain, supposedly linked to the origins of religions. It is unclear what this has to do with De Haan. I think it is one of the weak sides of this interesting play about an interesting person.

British rabbis condemn Trump, ‘remember Hitler’


This video from the British parliament says about itself:

Dennis Skinner compares Trump to Hitler & Mussolini

31 January 2017

The Beast of Bolsover‘s back and recalls bombs “raining” down in the UK during WW2 and hits out at the government being “hand in hand with another fascist”.

From RT.com:

48 British rabbis cite Holocaust in condemnation of Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’

Published time: 31 Jan, 2017 16:50

Almost 50 British rabbis have condemned US President Donald Trump’s travel ban as “inciting and legalising hatred” against Muslims just days after the world marked Holocaust Memorial Day.

In a letter to the Times, 48 British rabbis declared their solidarity with their “Muslim cousins” and said the Holocaust reminds the world what happens when “institutionalised hatred goes unchallenged.”

The Jewish leaders called on UK Prime Minister Theresa May to teach her American counterpart “the lessons of history,” when the “tools of state” are directed against minorities.

Trump has become the object of protests around the world for signing an executive order over the weekend which indefinitely bans immigration from Syria and temporarily blocks immigration from six other Muslim-majority nations.

May has been criticized for failing to condemn the order and for apparently jumping at the opportunity to invite Trump to Britain when she met the president in Washington on Friday.

Writing in The Times, the rabbis said: “Last week, Holocaust Memorial Day reminded us what happens when institutionalised hatred goes unchallenged.

“This week, we stand alongside our Muslim cousins as they face the consequences — both direct and indirect — of President Trump’s executive order. By effectively banning many Muslims from entering the United States, Donald Trump is inciting and legalising hatred.

“We urge Theresa May to convey to the president the lessons of history, and the potential consequences of deliberately directing the tools of state against a minority.”

The letter was signed by 48 Jewish faith leaders, including regular broadcaster Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Rabi Alexandra Wright, the first female senior rabbi in England.

In a separate incident, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged MPs to stop comparing Trump to Adolf Hitler, despite the minister himself having compared French President Francois Hollande to a Nazi prison guard just weeks before.

“I do find it distasteful to make comparisons between the elected leader of a great democracy and 1930s tyrants,” he said.

Detroit Son: My Mom Died Waiting In Iraq Because Of Trump. “I went with my family; I came back by myself. They destroyed our family.” 02/01/2017 12:13 am ET: here.

MORE IMMIGRATION BAN FALLOUT Nearly 900 State Department employees signed a cable against the immigration ban, which is “18 times as many as signed onto a ‘dissent cable’ last summer against President Barack Obama’s policy on Syria.” A draft executive order is circling that would deport immigrants who rely on welfare.

Ancient Jewish scroll now legible


This video says about itself:

How to open an ancient scroll without touching it | Science News

21 September 2016

Researchers describe the digital steps it took to unwrap a charred, roughly 1,700-year-old scroll and read its ancient Biblical text.

Credit: Seth Parker, Univ. of Kentucky.

From Science News:

Digital rehab exposes Biblical roots of ancient Israeli scroll

Virtual unwrapping reveals Hebrew text inside fragile artifact

by Bruce Bower

2:00pm, September 21, 2016

Researchers have digitally unwrapped and read an ancient Hebrew scroll that’s so charred it can’t be touched without falling apart. It turns out the document contains the oldest known Biblical text outside of the roughly 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, the investigators say.

Archaeologists discovered the scroll’s remnants in a synagogue’s holy ark during a 1970 excavation in Israel of En-Gedi, a Jewish community destroyed by fire around 600.

In a series of digital steps, slices from a 3-D scan of the En-Gedi scroll were analyzed to bring letters and words into relief on a pieced-together, virtual page. Those images revealed passages from the book of Leviticus written in ink on the scroll’s disintegrating sheets. Radiocarbon results date the scroll to approximately 300, making it the earliest copy of an Old Testament book ever found in a holy ark, scientists report September 21 in Science Advances.

This computerized recovery and conservation process can now be used to retrieve other ancient documents “from the brink of oblivion,” the researchers say.

How to read a book without opening it. Radiation technique can aid studies of ancient texts. By Emily Conover, 6:00am, October 19, 2016: here.

Jews, Christians support Muslims threatened by nazis


Nazi letter to mosques

Translated from Dutch daily Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant, 28 February 2016:

The Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism wishes the Muslim community strength required after threatening letters last week have been delivered to various mosques. ‘We need each other’.

In the letters are depicted a swastika and the eagle of Nazi Germany, accompanied by the text ‘Soon, you will get important visitors!! Pigs. Anti-Islam. Islam is a false and diabolical religion.’

Solidarity

‘The Jewish community knows where this may ultimately lead to. It again shows how Muslims and Jews need each other,’ the progressive Jews write in a letter to Muslim communities and mosques. ‘The threats with swastikas and pigs are offensive, insulting and lead to feelings of solidarity among Jews.’

In the letter the Jews show solidarity with the Muslims. ‘We wish the Muslims in our country strength and resistance against these unacceptable attacks,’ they write.

The Union for Progressive Judaism is a denomination in which ten progressive Jewish communities are united. It was established in 1931.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Central Jewish Board strongly condemns the recent threats and physical violence against Dutch mosques. ‘This will create a climate in which freedom of ideas of personal belief is becoming increasingly difficult,’ according to a statement.

Translated from daily De Gelderlander in the Netherlands, 27 February 2016:

The Council of Churches of Nijmegen and the Council for Values and Religion Nijmegen are shocked by the threatening letters received by several mosques. ‘We immediately expressed our solidarity to known contacts in the mosques in Nijmegen’ Paul Oosterhoff, diaconal minister in Nijmegen, said.

Muslims, Jews commemorate Paris victims together


This video from the USA says about itself:

‘Why Don’t Moderate Muslims Condemn Terrorism?’ – They Do.

10 January 2015

Every time an extremist who is Muslim commits an act of terrorism, people ask where the moderate Muslim voices condemning violence are.

(Interestingly, as a Jew, I don’t usually get asked to condemn extremism when it is perpetuated by Jewish fundamentalists like Baruch Goldstein, who shot 29 praying Muslims do death, and injured 125, at the Cave of the Patriarchs, or Yigal Amir, who killed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.) And the same thing is happening following this week’s deplorable, pathetic, and tragic killing of 12 people at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Read more here.

NOS TV in the Netherlands reports today that this afternoon, 14:15, a demonstration to commemorate the victims of the Paris violence will start at the Al Kabir mosque in the Pijp neighbourhood in Amsterdam; it will finish at Casa Migrante. Amsterdam synagogues and mosques organise this demonstration together.

In The Hague today, Muslims and Jews will together present flowers at the French embassy.

Analysis of the Paris violence by the Angry Arab blog: here.

Lebanon observed a day of mourning Friday for 43 people killed in a a pair of suicide bombings that rocked the southern Beirut working-class suburb of Bourj el-Barajneh on Thursday evening. The savage bombings, which targeted a busy commercial and residential street at the peak of evening rush hour, also left at least another 239 people wounded, according to the Lebanese Health Ministry, and the death toll is expected to rise. The first bomb was detonated outside the entrance to a school. The street surrounding it was filled with families gathering after the end of the workday. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack, which included a third suicide bomber who was killed in the blasts before he could detonate his explosives. It was the bloodiest attack that has been seen in Lebanon since the end of its 15-year civil war in 1990: here.

Women banned from driving, after Saudi Arabia, London


This September 2011 video from the USA is about women in Saudi Arabia.

Do I really have to point out to those ultra-orthodox rabbis in London, that, just like the ban on women driving cars is not in the Quran (not even in the Saudi royal family‘s copies of the Quran … well, it is not Saudi law either … but still, Saudi women get flogged and jailed for driving), it is not in the Torah, or in the Talmud, either …

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Leaders of Jewish Hasidic sect in Stamford Hill ‘ban’ women from driving

Letter signed by Belz rabbis also reportedly said children driven to school by women would be banned from classes

Heather Saul

Thursday 28 May 2015

The leaders of an Orthodox Jewish sect in north London have reportedly declared that women should not be allowed to drive in a letter sent out to the community.

Rabbis from the Belz Hasidic sect in Stamford Hill have said women driving cars contravenes “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp” and goes against the conventions of hasidic institutions, according to a report by the Jewish Chronicle (JC)

The letter, which was signed by Belz educational leaders, also said women would be banned from their schools if their mothers drove them there from August.

It cited increasing numbers of “mothers of pupils who have started to drive” which it said had led to “great resentment among parents of pupils of our institutions”.

Stamford Hill’s residents are predominately Hasidic Jewish and only New York is believed to have a larger community of Hasidic Jews outside of Israel.

Dina Brawer, UK Ambassador of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, confirmed she had seen a copy of the letter to The Independent.

“The instinct behind such a draconian ban is one of power and control, of men over women,” she told JC. “In this sense it is no different from the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia. That it masquerades as a halachic imperative is shameful and disturbing.”

Pupils at illegal ultra-Orthodox Jewish faith school almost drowned after being taken on hiking trip in Dover. Exclusive: Documents from local authority Hackney council, seen by ‘The Independent’, show they have known about the illegal school since 2011 but have not acted to successfully shut it down: here.