JBuzz Features July 14, 2013: Observing Tisha B’Av to rebuild Jerusalem – morally and spiritually




Observing Tisha BAv to rebuild Jerusalem – morally and spiritually

Source: Haaretz, 7-14-13

Eicha? How? How could this have happened? This is the question that pervades the liturgy of Tisha B’Av – the annual fast commemorating the destruction of the Temples – which we mark this coming Tuesday….READ MORE

JBuzz Features July 9, 2013: How Tisha b’Av Turns Into A Holiday




How Tisha bAv Turns Into A Holiday

Source: The Jewish Week, 7-9-13

We give credence and added strength to Zechariah’s prophecy by changing and lightening the foreboding character of Tisha b’Av (the ninth day of the 10th month), rising from our shiva stools (we must sit on the ground on Tisha b’Av) at mid-day….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 20, 2013: Jonathan Marc Gribetz: Telling Jerusalem’s story through its many conquests




Telling Jerusalem’s story through its many conquests

Source: NJ Jewish News, 5-20-13

Professor Jonathan Marc Gribetz questioned whether permanently holding the city of Jerusalem is an attainable goal. 

	Photo by Debra Rubin+ enlarge image

Professor Jonathan Marc Gribetz questioned whether permanently holding the city of Jerusalem is an attainable goal. 

Photo by Debra Rubin

“The history of Jerusalem is the history of conquest,” said Jonathan Marc Gribetz, “and that past has demonstrated that it is a place where religion and politics are almost inextricable.”

Gribetz, assistant professor of Jewish studies and history at Rutgers University, spoke May 6 about the conflicting identities of Jerusalem during a program at Highland Park Conservative Temple-Congregation Anshe Emeth….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 10, 2013: Women of the Wall: Standoff at Kotel / Western Wall Over Praying by Women




Standoff at Western Wall Over Praying by Women

Source: NYT, 5-10-13

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews joined a protest at the Jerusalem holy site, creating a standoff with a group of women praying there in garments traditionally worn by men….READ MORE

JBuzz News April 30, 2013: Pope Francis and Israeli President Shimon Peres: Hopes for resumption of peace talks




Pope and Israeli President : Hopes for resumption of peace talks

Source: Vatican Radio, 4-30-13

Pope Francis on Tuesday received in audience at the Vatican the Israeli President Shimon Peres and held talks on a variety of issues concerning the Middle East. President Peres also met the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertoni and Archbishop Dominque Mamberti, Secretary of Relations with States.

Please find below an English translation of the official communique on the talks released afterwards by the Holy See’s Press Office:

“During the cordial talks, the political and social situation in the Middle East—where more than a few conflicts persist—was addressed. A speedy resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians is hoped for, so that, with the courageous decisions and availability of both sides as well as support from the international community, an agreement may be reached that respects the legitimate aspirations of the two Peoples, thus decisively contributing to the peace and stability of the region. Reference to the important issue of the City of Jerusalem was not overlooked. Particular worry for the conflict that plagues Syria was expressed, for which a political solution is hoped for that privileges the logic of reconciliation and dialogue.

A number of issues concerning relations between the State of Israel and the Holy See and between state authorities and the local Catholic communities were also addressed. In conclusion, the significant progress made by the Bilateral Working Commission, which is preparing an agreement regarding issues of common interest, was appreciated and its rapid conclusion is foreseen.”

Following Tuesday’s meeting between Pope Francis and President Peres, Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Zion Evrony spoke to Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges about their talks and in particular about the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Syrian conflict and the long-standing bilateral talks between Israel and the Holy See on tax and economic issues.

Listen to the extended interview with Ambassador Evrony by Susy Hodges: RealAudioMP3

Ambassador Evrony says Israel “really hopes” for an early resumption of the stalled peace process between the Jewish state and the Palestinians. “There’s nothing that that the people of Israel want more than peace … peace with our Palestinian neighbours is one of our main goals,” he says.

Ambassador Evrony also talks about Israel’s concerns over the Syrian conflict, saying the crisis there “is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis.” “It is tragic,” he continues, “to see the bloodshed and human suffering and see a brutal dictator massacre his own people.” The Israeli Ambassador also spoke of his country’s concern about the issue of chemical weapons in Syria and said he is worried that “these chemical weapons could end up in the wrong hands.”

Turning to the question of the bilateral discussions between Israel and the Holy See over various economic and tax issues, Ambassador Evrony said “there was reason to be optimistic” concerning these long-standing issues although he added “there is still some work to be done” before a final conclusion can be reached.

JBuzz News April 25, 2013: Jerusalem Court Upholds Ruling in Women of the Wall Case




Jerusalem Court Upholds Ruling in Women of the Wall Case

Source: NYT, 4-25-13

Rejecting an appeal by the police, the court ruled that five women detained for wearing men’s-style prayer shawls and singing at the Western Wall were not disturbing the peace….READ MORE

JBuzz News September 10, 2012: Michael Rosenzweig: Former Jewish History museum leader gets new job at Pardes Institute




Former Jewish History museum leader gets new job

Source: Bizjournals.com (blog), 9-10-12

The former head of the National Museum of American Jewish History has a new post in Israel. Michael Rosenzweig will be president and CEO of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, he announced in a press release Sunday….READ MORE

JBuzz Feature May 20, 2012: Was Christopher Columbus secretly a Jew?




Was Columbus secretly a Jew?

Source: CNN, 5-20-12
Christopher Columbus bids farewell to his son Diego at Palos, Spain, before embarking on his first voyage on August 3, 1492.
Christopher Columbus bids farewell to his son Diego at Palos, Spain, before embarking on his first voyage on August 3, 1492.
  • Sunday marks the 508th anniversary of the death of Christopher Columbus
  • Charles Garcia: Columbus was a Marrano, or a Jew who feigned to be a Catholic
  • He says that during Columbus’ lifetime, Jews became the target of religious persecution
  • Garcia: Columbus’ voyage was motivated by a desire to find a safe haven for Jews

Today marks the 508th anniversary of the death of Christopher Columbus….

Recently, a number of Spanish scholars, such as Jose Erugo, Celso Garcia de la Riega, Otero Sanchez and Nicholas Dias Perez, have concluded that Columbus was a Marrano, whose survival depended upon the suppression of all evidence of his Jewish background in face of the brutal, systematic ethnic cleansing.

Columbus, who was known in Spain as Cristóbal Colón and didn’t speak Italian, signed his last will and testament on May 19, 1506, and made five curious — and revealing — provisions….

The evidence seem to bear out a far more complicated picture of the man for whom our nation now celebrates a national holiday and has named its capital.

As we witness bloodshed the world over in the name of religious freedom, it is valuable to take another look at the man who sailed the seas in search of such freedoms — landing in a place that would eventually come to hold such an ideal at its very core….READ MORE

York University ‘may tie with Hebrew University’




York ‘may tie with Hebrew University’

Source: The Jewish Chronicle, 11-24-11

Students at York University will vote next week on whether to link up with Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

A referendum was initiated by politics student Jacob Campbell, who said he wanted to stand up for Israel and curb anti-Israel and antisemitic activity on British campuses.

If students vote in favour, York University Students’ Union (YUSU) will “work to build links with students at the Hebrew University” and will encourage York University itself to twin with the Israeli institution.

Mr Campbell said he decided to launch the twinning initiative earlier this year when the National Union of Students adopted a number of anti-Israel policies, since dropped. Last year a window in his student house was smashed after he displayed an Israeli flag.

Mr Campbell, who is not Jewish, also cited fellow students’ negative responses to the resignation of Lawrence Binitie, YUSU racial equality officer, who quit following an argument with a local councillor.

Mr Binitie was discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Jewish York City Council member David Levene when he told Mr Levene: “I would be ashamed if I were from Israel, or even Jewish”. He later added that he believed Israel’s “atrocities… are as severe as apartheid South Africa”.

The possible twinning will be debated at YUSU on Tuesday, with voting running from the following day until December 5.

2,000-year-old bell found in Jerusalem rings again



Source: AP, 7-25-11

2,000-year-old bell in Jerusalem: a 2,000-year-old bell has been discovered by Israeli archaeologists and rang for the first time in as many years.

2,000-year-old bell found by Israeli archaeologists in Jerusalem, Monday. The bell, dating back to the Second Jewish Temple period, was discovered in IAA excavations in a drainage channel, carved along the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

A sound last heard 2,000 years ago is audible again.

A tiny golden bell preserved in a Roman-era sewer underneath Jerusalem’s Old City has been recovered by Israeli archaeologists.

The tiny orb, just one centimeter in diameter, was likely an ornament on the clothes of a wealthy resident.

The Book of Exodus mentions tiny golden bells sewn onto the hem of the robes of Temple priests, though it was not known if this bell was one of those.

Archaeologist Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority says the bell likely fell off and rolled into the sewer as its owner walked by.

Shukron said it was a “very rare” find.

When he shook the bell Sunday, it emitted a faint metallic sound between a clink and a rattle.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft: Jerusalem: The heart of Israel, the heart of the Jewish people

Source: Washington Post, 11-29-10

We all have our lines in the sand. One of mine is the insidious historical revisionism – akin to Holocaust denial – that seeks to undermine and negate Jewish claims to and rights in Jerusalem. This campaign is part and parcel of a broader international campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel whenever and wherever possible.

In yet another step in the attempted political and spiritual dejudaization, for lack of a better term, of Jerusalem, Al-Mutawakel Taha, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information, writes in a recent study that the Western Wall “was never part of the so-called Temple Mount,” but rather “is in fact the western wall of Al-Aksa Mosque.” Jews, Taha contends in the study posted in Arabic on the Ministry’s Web site, have no claim on the Western Wall which he unilaterally seeks to convert into “a Muslim wall and an integral part of the Aksa Mosque.”

In Taha’s fallacious rewriting of history, the Jewish religious attachment to the Western Wall only dates back to the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Never mind the overwhelming archaeological evidence that the Western Wall is indeed a retaining wall of the Second Temple, and that the Al-Aksa Mosque was built atop the Temple’s ruins. Never mind that according to Christian sources, Jews have regularly come to the Temple Mount to mourn the Temple’s destruction and have prayed at the Western Wall since at least the third century of the Common Era.

Never mind that, as Karen Armstrong wrote in Time magazine in 2001, “In the 16th century, Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent permitted the Jews to make the Western Wall their official holy place and had his court architect Sinan build an oratory for them there.” Never mind that less than 100 years later, according to a contemporaneous account by a Jerusalem Jew, “The City of God contained more of our people than at any time since the Jews were banished from their country. Many Jews came daily to live in the City, apart from those coming to pray at the Western Wall.” Never mind that in his 1837 book, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea and the Holy Land, American explorer John Lloyd Stephens described how “the chief rabbi of Jerusalem . . . accompanied by a Gibraltar Jew who spoke English” took him to “what they call a part of the wall of Solomon’s temple . . . . I saw that day, as other travelers may still see every Friday in the year, all the Jews in Jerusalem clothed in their best raiment, winding through the narrow streets of their quarter; and under this hallowed wall, with the sacred volume in their hands, singing in the language in which they were written the Songs of Solomon and the Psalms of David.”

Just so that we all sing from the same hymnal, the Western Wall is not the only vestige of the Temple. In September 2008, archaeologists announced the excavation of remnants of the Southern Wall on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion. And Robinson’s Arch, located near the Western Wall and where non-Orthodox Jewish groups are allowed to pray, is another very concrete Temple relic.

But the Jewish people’s attachment to Jerusalem far transcends its archaeological dimension. During an 1891 visit to Palestine, the Zionist thinker and theoretician Ahad Ha-Am wrote to his family that: “I am now in Jerusalem. I cannot express to you, even in a small way, my emotions at being here. Every step, every stone speaks to me of our history. Mount Zion, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives. Only when one is here does one realize how foolish it is of our opponents, the Arabs, to think that we will ever give up on Jerusalem. It is the heart of the Land of Israel, the heart of the Jew.”…READ MORE

Tiny shard bears oldest script found in Jerusalem

Source: AP, 7-12-10

Archaeologists say a newly discovered clay fragment from the 14th century B.C. is the oldest example of writing ever found in antiquity-rich Jerusalem.

Dig director Eilat Mazar of Hebrew University says the 2-centimeter (0.8-inch) long fragment bears an ancient form of writing known as Akkadian wedge script.

The fragment includes a partial text including the words “you,” “them,” and “later.”

It predates the next-oldest example of writing found in Jerusalem by 600 years, and dates roughly four centuries before the Bible says King David ruled a Jewish kingdom from the city.

Mazar said Monday that the fragment likely came from a royal court and suggested more could be found in the most ancient part of Jerusalem, located in the city’s predominantly Palestinian eastern sector.