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Volume X1, No. 4,154 • Oct. 4, 2017 • October 11, 2017

Jewish World

 

 

 

SIMCHAT TORAH: THE UNYIELDING SEFER TORAH

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Jewish Press, Oct. 11, 2017

 

Simchat Torah presents us with a rare paradox. On no other occasion do we celebrate our relationship with the Torah as we do on this day. We dance with it and sing love songs to it as if it were our beloved bride. Even after the holiday is over, huge festivities take place in Israel and the Diaspora when thousands of people turn to the streets carrying the Torah scrolls, while children holding lit torches accompany the festivities. Musicians leading huge parades turn it into a nearly mystical experience.

This, however, is most strange: The scrolls that we carry in our arms do not at all fit the times in which we live. They are completely outdated.

 

We live in a world of sophisticated technology. We walk on the moon, travel through space, communicate via satellite, and make use of the Internet – all without batting an eye. Physicians transplant people’s hearts, and replace or repair other parts of the human body with the greatest of ease. Any time now we will witness more scientific breakthroughs that will utterly surprise us, and before we know it, even more amazing inventions will usher us into a world we never dreamed was possible. Everything is moving and changing so rapidly that the term “speed” no longer has any relevance.

 

Yet here we are, dancing with a script that is totally oblivious to it all. The text in this archaic scroll has not changed since the day Moshe received it at Mount Sinai. Furthermore, according to tradition, even the manner in which the Torah scroll is written has not been altered. It is still the human hand that must write the text. No word processor can take over. The quill has not been replaced, and nothing dramatic has happened to the formula used to produce the special ink. The parchment, as well, is prepared in the very same way as it was in the days of the prophets. If someone looked at the scroll we carry in our hands, and didn’t know better, he would think we had discovered it in a cave where people thousands of years ago used to preserve their holy texts, such as the Dead Sea scrolls.

 

Jewish law always encourages integrating the latest scientific knowledge into our lives and has no problem with the newest developments in treating infertility, flying a spacecraft, and using technical devices to make it easier to observe Shabbat. Yet, when it comes to the writing of a Sefer Torah, no technological improvements are appreciated. They are basically rejected (*).

 

Ours is a future-orientated religion. We are not afraid of the latest technologies because they allow us to fulfill, in ways unimagined by our forefathers, the divine mandate to cure diseases, create more pleasant ways to live our lives, and make the world a better place. All this is beautifully expressed by our Sages, who direct us to become partners with God in the work of creation. But the very text that demands this does not allow for any changes in its content and bars us from making use of the latest technological devices when it comes down to the physical preparation and writing of this same text!

 

What is the message conveyed by this paradox? While living in a world that is constantly in a state of flux and where matters can change overnight, there must be a place of stability where we can take refuge. We need unshakeable foundations that won’t shift like quicksand. Without such footing we would be lost and dangerously overwhelmed by the very technology we have created. While we benefit from all these new inventions, we also pay a heavy price and become the victims of great confusion. Technology and science often create moral problems that overwhelm us. We then begin to wonder whether it would be better to reject our moral standards in order to accommodate all the new possibilities that have opened up. Though many of us know this will only lead to more problems, others are calling for such radical steps, thinking it will bring improvement…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

Contents: | Weekly Quotes | Short Takes   | On Topic Links

 

On Topic Links

           

Simchat Torah: The Unyielding Sefer Torah: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Jewish Press, Oct. 11, 2017

Mr. President, Don't Put America at Risk With Flawed Iran Deal: John Bolton, The Hill, Oct. 9, 2017

Holocaust Denial in Canada: Bradley Martin, Washington Times, Oct. 10, 2017

Harvey Weinstein’s Money Shouldn’t Buy Democrats’ Silence: Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 6, 2017

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTES

 

“I’m not necessarily saying that Congress should impose sanctions in that 60-day window…I’m saying that we need a new and broader approach that looks at fixing the problems with the deal and confronting Iran’s campaign for imperial aggression in the region. That may involve re-imposed sanctions, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t give some time for diplomacy to work.” — Sen. Tom Cotton (R). U.S. President Trump plans to tell Congress that the Iran nuclear deal is not in America’s national interest, but he will stop short of urging lawmakers to re-impose crippling economic sanctions on Tehran. The move would put both Iran and European allies on notice that the Trump administration will insist on a new agreement with Tehran to address what it sees as shortcomings in the original 2015 deal. Additionally, the administration is concerned about Iran’s destabilizing role in the region, and especially its continued development of long-range missiles. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 7, 2017)

 

“If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world.” — Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Mohammad Ali Jafari. Tehran is firing rhetorical warning shots at the U.S. as Trump prepares to announce what is expected to be a tougher policy toward Iran, including possibly declining to 're-certify' the 2015 nuclear deal and designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization. In the run-up to the decision, Iranian officials have threatened consequences if Trump targets the IRGC. (Fox News, Oct. 10, 2017)

 

“It should be clarified that when Iran, the IAEA, and the heads of the parties to the JCPOA reiterate that there is robust, intrusive, and unprecedented inspection, they are perpetuating the false depiction of the section of the JCPOA concerning inspection. This is because the inspection procedure takes place only at sites where Iran has agreed to allow inspection, that is, sites Iran itself has declared as nuclear sites, but not at any other sites in Iran, including military sites. The Obama administration and the countries party to the JCPOA designed the JCPOA in a way that on the one hand they can claim that a robust inspection is being applied while on the other hand they allowed Iran to evade inspection in all other sites.” — Yigal Carmon and A. Savyon of Middle East Media Research Institute. While Iran has agreed to inspections, it did so only in an Additional Protocol to the agreement, and “Iran’s agreement to accept the Additional Protocol was voluntary, and it can exit it at any time without this being considered a violation of the JCPOA.” This, they said, has compromised the IAEA’s ability to police Iranian compliance with the deal.  (Algemeiner, Oct. 4, 2017) 

 

“The (Nobel Prize Committee) said it “wishes to emphasize that the next steps towards attaining a world free of nuclear weapons must involve the nuclear-armed states,” which is convenient since Kim Jong Un and the Ayatollah Khamenei aren’t going to oblige. All of which makes this year’s prize another case of folly in Oslo. Ample history shows that the regimes whose weapons pose the greatest threat to world peace are the least likely to honor whatever treaty commitments they cynically make to disarm. The U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons would end up disarming only those nations whose nuclear deterrent makes a nuclear attack less likely.” — Editorial. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican). In July, after pressure from Ican, 122 nations backed a UN treaty designed to ban and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons. But none of the nine known nuclear powers in the world - including the UK and the US - endorsed it. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 7, 2017)

 

"If we can make peace between the Palestinians and Israel, I think it'll lead to ultimately peace in the Middle East, which has to happen." —President Trump. Trump said that he wanted to give a shot at achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians before moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In June, Trump signed a temporary order to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, despite a campaign promise he made to move it to Jerusalem. In an interview with former Governor Huckabee, Trump noted his administration was working on a plan for peace between the two sides. "I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem," he said. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 8, 2017)

 

“At a time when people say that ‘I’m not an anti-Semite, I’m just anti-Zionist,’ it is important that we should say no, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” — Michael Gove, a UK senior cabinet minister. As the country approached the centenary celebrations of the Balfour Declaration, Gove said: “At a time when people are casual, cruel and callous towards the fate of the Jewish people it is time for all of us to say that over the last 100 years if we have learned anything we have learnt one thing, which is that when there is prejudice and hatred directed towards the Jewish people darker times will follow, and it is our moral duty to say that what begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews. We stand with Israel. We stand with the Jewish community.” (Times of Israel, Oct. 3, 2017)

 

“When someone attacks a French citizen because of his background or his beliefs…he attacks France and what it holds most precious: its way of life, its values, its heritage... And when you insult a French citizen for these reasons, you insult the memory of those who have given their life to ensure that these values prevail.” — French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. Philippe announced “a new plan to combat antisemitism” during a speech at Paris’s Buffault Synagogue. One of the key objectives, he explained, is to fight online antisemitism. In particular there is a need to counter hate that has “overrun social media.” “A sustainable fight against antisemitism necessarily calls for prevention, through education and culture,” said Philippe. In recent years, France has suffered a wave of Islamist terrorist attacks, including several targeting Jews. Philippe mentioned the kidnap and murder of Ilan Halimi in 2006, the killing of four Jews outside Toulouse’s Ozar Hatorah school in 2012, the attack on the Hyper Casher kosher supermarket in January 2015 and the murder last April of Sarah Halimi in Paris as examples of “the ultra-violence of Islamist terrorism and barbarism.” (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 4, 2017)

 

““If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Good advice. We just never thought it would apply to Justin Trudeau and his Liberals in their attempts to memorialize the Holocaust…Nazi Germany’s campaign to annihilate European Jewry? The murder of six million Jews, along with millions of other supposedly impure ethnicities, gay people, and disabled individuals. These facts are extremely well known and disputed only by hateful deniers. So why do the Liberals keep screwing them up? Last year it was on International Holocaust Memorial Day, when Trudeau’s generic statement proved rather too generic. “On this day, we pay tribute to the memory of the millions of victims murdered during the Holocaust. We honour those who survived atrocities at the hands of the Nazi regime, and welcome their courageous stories of hope and perseverance.” You might have noticed he failed to mention the very people who were targeted specifically by the Nazis, those brutally persecuted for being one thing: Jews. It was an error, the government insisted. An embarrassing oversight. Lesson learned! Only … it wasn’t learned. This week, the prime minister dedicated Ottawa’s National Holocaust Monument with a plaque commemorating “the millions of men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust and … the survivors who persevered and were able to make their way to Canada after one of the darkest chapters in history.” Notice something missing? Again?! ...The Liberals have had the plaque removed to be replaced by something that — hopefully — actually mentions Jews and enduring anti-Semitism. Until then, can we suggest the prime minister keep a cheat sheet handy? Something simple, like “Remember: Holocaust = Jews,” stitched into his embroidered socks.” — Editorial. (National Post, Oct. 6, 2017)

 

“(Harvey) Weinstein seemingly admits sexual misbehavior while simultaneously denying responsibility. His statement in response is a succinct example of everything wrong with modern liberalism. He alternates between quivering and conniving, invokes Jay Z, references his mother and Bar Mitzvah, and ends by vowing to bring down President Trump and the National Rifle Association. What sounds like a smorgasbord of raw emotions is a calculated reminder that he’s a longtime lefty who should get a pass. Besides, the sordid mess is not his fault. “I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different,” he writes. He admits to “my demons,” but has hired a lawyer to “tutor” him and “I’ve brought on therapists.” He insists he’s remorseful, wants to apologize and knows he has to change — so now he’s going to “channel my anger” by attacking Trump and the NRA. To its credit, the Times doesn’t let him get away with the song and dance. A stinging editorial calls on Democrats who took his contributions, including the Obamas and the Clintons, to condemn him…Dirty Harvey should take a hint. It’s time to roll the credits, his show is over.” — Michael Goodwin. (New York Post, Oct. 8, 2017)

 

Contents

 

 

SHORT TAKES

 

CANADIAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TERRORIST CHARGES IN NEW YORK (New York) — U.S. authorities said a 19-year-old Canadian pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges in connection with what they call an I.S.-inspired plot to target landmarks in New York City, including Times Square and the city’s subway system. The Canadian, identified as Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, of Mississauga, Ont., has been in custody since the FBI arrested him in 2016. The arrests were first announced following a court’s unsealing of federal terrorism charges against three men. U.S. authorities allege the three men communicated through the internet, allegedly plotting to carry out bombing and shootings in New York City during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in 2016. (National Post, Oct. 6, 2017)

 

ISRAEL STRIKES HAMAS TARGET IN RETALIATION FOR ROCKET FIRE (Jerusalem) — The IDF struck a Hamas target in the Gaza Strip on Sunday after a rocket was fired at Israel from the Hamas-controlled enclave. The rocket fired from Gaza was aimed at Israel but exploded within the Gaza Strip. Siren alerts sounded in some communities bordering the Gaza Strip. In response, an IDF tank destroyed a Hamas watchtower in the south of the Gaza Strip. The exchange of fire comes after a spell of relative quiet on the Israel-Gaza border. (Jerusalem Post, Oct. 8, 2017)

 

MURDERERS OF ELDERLY JEWISH MAN CAPTURED, TERRORISM SUSPECTED (Jerusalem) — Security forces captured two Arab residents of the PA suspected of murdering 70-year-old Reuven Shmerling last week. The two suspects, residents of Qabatiya, were arrested last week. While police initially suggested the murder may have been the result of a business dispute between Shmerling and employees of his factory, authorities now say the evidence suggests the murder was a premeditated act of terrorism. Shmerling, a long-time resident of the town of Elkana in western Samaria, was found dead in his factory in the nearby Arab town of Kfar Qasim last Wednesday. (Arutz Sheva, Oct. 10, 2017)

 

HAMAS LEVELS AN ANCIENT CANAANITE ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE (Gaza) — Archaeologists report that Hamas leveled a 4,500-year-old community in the Gaza Strip that dates to the Bronze Age. Excavation of the site of Tel Es-Sakan (hill of ash) began twenty years ago by a team of two archaeologists on a hill top in Gaza City. It is described as the largest Canaanite city between the Palestinian areas and Egypt and is a thousand years older than the pyramids. But AP is reporting that the last remnants of the city are being flattened by Hamas bulldozers to clear the way for construction. Although Tel Es-Sakan is a protected site, the ministry of antiquities was unable to prevent the land authority from destroying it. (Media Line, Oct. 9, 2017)

 

BELGIUM SUSPENDS PA CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS AFTER PALESTINIAN SCHOOL RENAMED FOR TERRORIST (Brussels) — The Belgian government is suspending any efforts to construct or furnish Palestinian schools, after one built with Brussels’ aid was renamed in honor of a mass-murdering terrorist. Located in the southern West Bank, the school’s controversial name pays homage to Dalal Mughrabi, who led a massacre of 38 people — including 13 children — near Tel Aviv in 1978. Its logo also includes a map erasing Israel, while its Facebook page has posted pictures glorifying Palestinian attackers. A plaque at the school, which was first identified by the monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch, notes that it was established with Belgian support. (Algemeiner, Oct. 7, 2017)

 

ABBAS REITERATES VOW TO PAY TERRORISTS, ‘MARTYR’ FAMILIES (Ramallah) —PA leader Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his vow on Sunday to continue to allocate salaries to “families” of terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons, and those of “martyrs” who die while trying to kill Israelis. Speaking to the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Abbas described the payments as a “moral, national, political and humanitarian obligation.” Meanwhile the PA leader – who also serves as chairman of Fatah – also spoke about the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that led to the establishment of the State of Israel. Abbas again asked Britain to apologize for the “long injustice against the Palestinian people,” and called on Britain to “recognize the State of Palestine,” (Jewish Press, Oct. 8, 2017)

 

CANADIAN-IRANIAN SENTENCED TO 5 YEARS IN IRAN FOR ESPIONAGE (Tehran) — Iran's judiciary has confirmed that Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, a member of Iran's team of nuclear negotiators that struck the 2015 deal with world powers, has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of espionage. The report by the semi-official Fars news agency quotes a spokesman for the judiciary as saying that Esfahani will serve a 5-year prison term since he was "linked to two intelligence services." The report did not elaborate. Esfahani, a Canadian-Iranian, is the latest dual national to be arrested in Iran, which does not recognize dual-nationality. (CTV, Oct. 8, 2017)

 

N. KOREA TO TEST MISSILE CAPABLE OF HITTING U.S.: RUSSIAN MEDIA (Moscow) — North Korea is preparing to test a long-range missile which it believes can reach the west coast of the U.S., Anton Morozov, a Russian lawmaker just returned from a visit to Pyongyang was quoted as saying. “…They even gave us mathematical calculations that they believe prove that their missile can hit the west coast of the United States,” Morozov said. Tensions over North Korea‘s nuclear program have been running high in the past several weeks since Pyongyang staged a series of missile tests, and conducted a text explosion on Sept. 3 of what it said was a hydrogen bomb. (Global, Oct. 6, 2017)

 

TURKEY, US BLOCK TRAVEL BETWEEN COUNTRIES AS TENSIONS RISE (Ankara) — Tensions between Washington and Ankara spiraled downhill as Turkey and the US both blocked tourist and business travel between the two NATO-allied countries. Passengers holding Turkish passports traveling to the USA and passengers holding American passports flying to Turkey between through Oct. 31 can seek relief. Passengers transferring to a connecting flight in Istanbul shouldn’t be affected. The shutoff of non-immigrant visas started last week when Turkish authorities arrested an employee – identified as Metin Topuz — at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish authorities accuse the U.S. employee of having links to Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher exiled in the US and blamed by Ankara for the 2016 failed coup to overthrow the government. (New York Post, Oct. 9, 2017)

 

TURKEY SENTENCES FORMER SOLDIERS WHO PLOTTED TO ASSASSINATE ERDOGAN (Ankara) — About a year after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, a court in the country handed down sentences to some of those involved in the plot. The judge found 42 of the 47 defendants guilty of being involved in the attempt on President Erdoğan’s life during the attempted coup. The court handed down life sentences to 40 of the defendants. The judge also decided that 34 of them will receive aggravated life sentences, which is the worst punishment sanctioned by Turkish law and significantly reduces their chance of parole. Three additional people, including Fethullah Gülen, were also on trial along with the former soldiers but the judge eventually separated their cases from the trial. (Jerusalem Online, Oct. 5, 2017)

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Readers Chag Shameach! Happy Simhat Torah holiday!

No Daily Briefing Will Be Published Thursday or Friday

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Simchat Torah: The Unyielding Sefer Torah: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Jewish Press, Oct. 11, 2017—Simchat Torah presents us with a rare paradox. On no other occasion do we celebrate our relationship with the Torah as we do on this day. We dance with it and sing love songs to it as if it were our beloved bride.

Mr. President, Don't Put America at Risk With Flawed Iran Deal: John Bolton, The Hill, Oct. 9, 2017—President Trump will address U.S. policy toward Iran on Thursday, doubtless focusing on his decision regarding Barack Obama’s badly flawed nuclear deal. Key officials are now briefing Congress, the press and foreign governments about the speech, cautioning that the final product is, in fact, not yet final.

Holocaust Denial in Canada: Bradley Martin, Washington Times, Oct. 10, 2017 —Last week, Canada became the most recent industrialized country to officially commemorate the Holocaust by dedicating its first National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. However, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unveiling of the monument also unveiled the glaring omission of any mention of Jews, anti-Semitism or the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the genocide.

Harvey Weinstein’s Money Shouldn’t Buy Democrats’ Silence: Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 6, 2017—For years, Harvey Weinstein, a film and television producer at the apex of the American entertainment industry, has lavished money and attention on the Democratic Party’s biggest names and causes.

 

 

 

EDITORIAL BOARD

Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Prof. Harold Waller Prof. Harold Waller (McGill University)

Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman (Department of Religion, Concordia University)

Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research) Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

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