The UN’s theater of the absurd

The UN’s theater of the absurd, Israel Hayom, Ron Prosor, November 30, 2014

(Please see also Ambassador Proser’s recent address to the U.N. General assembly. — DM)

In 1975, after repeated attempts to kick Israel out of the U.N., the General Assembly succumbed to the pressure exerted by the Arab countries and determined that Zionism is racism. The decision was the cornerstone of the institutionalized factory of discrimination against Israel at the United Nations. The U.N. waited 16 long years before retracting its “Zionism is racism” decision. The protocols have been updated, but even with no official reminder, the stain remains on the walls of the general assembly hall and the stench is still in the U.N.’s corridors today.

Of the 193 states that belong to the U.N., only 87 are democracies — less than half. The countries that are taking advantage of the democratic process at the…

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Question of Israel boycott divides Concordia campus

Montreal Gazette

The smouldering question of whether or not to boycott Israel has proved to be too hot to handle on the Concordia University campus.

The ballots for question No. 8, the most controversial referendum question asked to Concordia undergraduate students this week, will remain sealed for the time being because the issue of endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been so explosive on campus.

It is the second time in a month that an issue concerning Israel has gone unresolved on a Montreal university campus because it causes such division.

After three days of voting on a series of referendum questions — most of which concerned student issues such as fees and housing and daycare — the chief electoral officer for the Concordia Student Union (CSU) sent out a letter late Thursday afternoon saying he has been “overwhelmed with complaints and issues relating to the conduct of both the ‘Yes’ committee and the ‘No’ committee.”

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Finding Faith and Beauty in the Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women

TIME

“For some people, if you’re religious, you’re ugly,” says Federica Valabrega, an Italian photographer who for the past four years has been documenting Jewish women across the world. Her fascination with these “Daughters of the King,” as she calls them, comes from her own religious background. “My mother isn’t Jewish, but my dad is and so is his mother and all of his family. When I was born in Rome, the chief rabbi back in 1983 accepted to convert [to Judaism] kids from mixed [religious] marriages, so my sisters and I did it.”

While Valabrega was raised in a liberal, non-religious Jewish home, her fascination with her adopted religion grew over time. “I was attending a workshop with Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey in Brooklyn in 2010 when I started my ‘Daughters of the King’ project,” she says. “The workshop lasted one week, which meant that we had to shoot…

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How Gratitude Can Change Your Life This Thanksgiving

TIME

My family emigrated from Russia to the United States when I was 13 years old. Refugee camps, city housing projects, food stamps, wearing donated clothes, being made fun of endlessly for everything from not speaking English to eating weird things for lunch (hot dogs apparently need to only be consumed inside hot dog buns, not sliced and slipped between pieces of dark brown bread): that’s the patchwork of memories my early life here is made of.

While we were almost entirely dependent on the kindness of strangers during that time, the stress and trauma we felt obliterated any notion of gratitude: when you’re just trying to survive, thankfulness seems like a luxury, not a coping strategy. For me, surviving the pain of that experience was all about coping, and my coping strategy was laser-focused on one goal: becoming happy. Really happy. It was an immigrant’s dream: The American Dream. Achieve…

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The Many Iranian Obstacles in the Way of a Strong Nuclear Deal

The Many Iranian Obstacles in the Way of a Strong Nuclear Deal, The AtlanticJeffrey Goldberg, November 23, 2014

(Assuming an eventual bad nuke deal, will the U.S. Congress be able to kill it? In a reasonably bipartisan fashion?– DM)

I just want this much‘I just want this much enriched uranium’ (Reuters)

It will be near-impossible, especially after the immigration debate, to sell the Republican-controlled Congress on whatever Iran deal Obama negotiates. But the Democrats won’t be an easy sell, either.

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The other day I fell into conversation with a very smart congressman named Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Florida, about his minimum requirements for an Iran nuclear deal. Deutch, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is—like a large number of Democrats—fairly-to-very dubious about the possibility of a true breakthrough with Iran, and fairly-to-very worried about the consequences of a bad deal. (It seems likely, at this moment at least…

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Applause: TD Bank Group gives $50,000 to Jewish Public Library in honour of its centenary

Montreal Gazette

A gift of $50,000 from TD Bank Group in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Jewish Public Library has meant the library could improve and expand its young adult collection and to make renovations to accommodate the expanded collection.

The newly improved collection was officially launched with a presentation on Nov. 16 at the library’s 10th annual Girls’ Night Out, which brings together mothers and daughters to meet writers for the young-adult crowd. This year’s event featured Gayle Forman, Emily Lockhart and Sarah Mlynowski.

The gift also provides for an endowment to permit the library to continue to expand the collection, the library said in a statement announcing the launch of the TD Young Adult Collection at the Côte St. Catherine Rd. library.

Michael Crelinsten, the library’s executive director, said the gift “will play a large part in inspiring a lifelong love of reading for the JPL’s young patrons … TD’s work in promoting…

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Lies and incitement in Jerusalem

Anne's Opinions

Anyone keeping up with the news, or anyone just reading this blog, will know that this subject is unfortunately a recurring one. It is a vicious circle, where the Palestinians, specifically the Palestinian leadership including Palestinian “President-for-life” Mahmoud Abbas, deliberately impute not only the worst possible motives to Israeli actions, but invent the worst possible motives, for the sole purpose of inflaming passions and inciting yet more violence.

This habit has by now become ingrained, so that even a simple accident or a suicide is immediately interpreted as murder, a lynching, and more often than not blamed on everyone’s favourite bogeyman, “the settlers”.

We saw this last week when a mosque caught fire in the West Bank. Despite the fact that it was probably an electrical fire, and no other source for the fire has yet been found, settlers were blamed for arson.

Yesterday, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem…

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To Give Is to Receive: Lessons on Jewish Hospitality From the Book of Genesis

LISTEN ISRAEL

Eliezer-Rebekahsquare

Two of my favorite characters in the Book of Genesis are Avraham and his daughter-in-law Rivka. Avraham is one of my heroes, and I want to marry someone like Rivka.

Both Avraham and Rivka are famous for their hachnasat orchim, which means welcoming guests. Avraham is the first Jew, he thinks for himself, questions authority, and even argues with God. He is willing to be himself and do what he believes even if the whole world thinks he is crazy, which is why he is known as an Ivri, which means “he who stands on the other side.” According to the Kabbalah, Avraham represents the character trait of chesed, which translates as “loving kindness.” According to the midrash, Avraham had an entrance on every side of his tent so he could welcome guests from the four directions.

There is a story that after the third day of…

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