Tag: Hebrew renewal

CIJR HONOURS THE UNIQUE, VITAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF JUDAISM, ISRAEL, & THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO HUMANTY

The 400-Year-Old Foundation of the Unique US-Israel Ties: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Jan. 25, 2017— 1. According to Prof. Robert Bellah, a leading sociologist from UC Berkeley, there is “civil religion” in the US: separation between religion and state, but not between religion and society. 

When Gatekeepers of Justice Leverage the Law to Abet Injustice: Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Huffington Post, Mar. 11, 2017— In keeping with democratic Germany’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism, a court in Essen ruled last year that chanting “death and hate to Zionists” at a demonstration was an illegal anti-Semitic activity.

Zion’s Mother Tongue: Visions of a Promised Land: Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 17, 2017— The other day, I took some American visitors to the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem to see the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Montreal Poet Seymour Mayne Remembers his Friend Leonard Cohen: Seymour Mayne, Jewish Quarterly, 13 Feb. 2017— Leonard was holding court at the front table unit of the café on upper Stanley Street one Sunday in 1960…

               

On Topic Links

 

For U.K.’s Holocaust Memorial, a Canadian Architect Envisions Light in a Personal Darkness: Paul Waldie, Globe & Mail, Mar. 10, 2017

Converted Masters; World Famous Masterpieces With a Jewish Twist: Lori Samlin Miller, Jewish Press, Mar. 20, 2017

Archaeological Discoveries in the Holy Land Could Provide Clues on how Jesus Lived: Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, Mar. 20, 2017

Natan Alterman or Amos Oz? The Six-Day War and Israeli Literature: Liam Hoare, Fathom, Spring, 2017

 

     

 

THE 400-YEAR-OLD FOUNDATION OF THE UNIQUE US-ISRAEL TIES

                                                            Yoram Ettinger

                                                     Jewish Press, Jan. 25, 2017

 

1. According to Prof. Robert Bellah, a leading sociologist from UC Berkeley, there is “civil religion” in the US: separation between religion and state, but not between religion and society.  Civil liberties are Bible-driven, reflecting more responsibility than rights. 2. For instance, on December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts chose to recite Genesis 1:1-10, the Creation, in their a special broadcast to earth upon entering the lunar orbit. 3. President Lincoln referred to Exodus, Chapter 20, the Ten Commandments, as the summation of his theology. 4.  President Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount….”

 

5. On June 27, 2005, the US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 6-foot-high Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. According to Chief Justice Rehnquist: “Acknowledgements of the role played by the Ten Commandments in our nation’s heritage are common throughout America…. Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the south frieze [of the US Supreme Court….] Representations of the Ten Commandments adorn the metal gates lining the north and south sides of the Courtroom as well as the doors leading into the Courtroom.  Moses also sits on the exterior east façade of the [US Supreme Court] holding the tablets of the Ten Commandments…. Since 1897, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building.  A medallion with two tablets depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the National Archives.  Inside the Justice Department, a statue entitled ‘The Spirit of Law’ has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments lying at its feet.  In front of the Ronald Reagan Building stands another sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments. So too a 24-foot-tall sculpture, outside the Federal Courthouse, depicting, among other things, the Ten Commandments and a cross. Moses is also prominently featured in the Chamber of the United States House of Representatives…. Moses was a lawgiver as well as a religious leader, and the Ten Commandments have undeniable historical meaning….”

 

6. A February 25-27, 2005 Gallup Poll shows that 76% of Americans were in favor of displaying the Ten Commandments monument on the ground of the Texas State Capitol.

 

7. On March 29, 2006, the California State Senate approved bill SCR 108 stating: “This measure would recognize and acknowledge that the Decalogue, also known as the Ten Commandments, ranks among the influential historical documents that have contributed significantly to the development of the secular governmental and legal principles and institutions of the USA and the State of California…. The integral secular role played by the Decalogue in the legal history of Western civilization, from the time of England’s King Alfred the Great, through the era of William Blackstone and the American Framers…. In the history of American institutions, no other book – except the Bible – has played so great a role…. The American Revolution preserved the Biblical seven-day week, dictated by the Ten Commandments, with the seventh day – a day of rest…. Members of the US Supreme Court have noted the foundational role played by the Ten Commandments in the development of our legal system….

 

8. Eight sculptures of Moses are featured in the US Supreme Court and a bust of Moses faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Moses and/or the Ten Commandments also feature in the US Federal Courthouses in Cleveland, OH and Indianapolis, IN; the Supreme Courts in Harrisburg, PA, St. Paul, MN, Lansing, MI and Knoxville, TN; the County Courthouses in Cleveland, OH, West Chester, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Ft. Wayne, IN and Jackson, MS; the Appellate Court in Brooklyn, NY; the Boston Public Library and the State Capitol in Lincoln, NE; etc.

 

9. On April 8, 2015, Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, signed into law a bill instructing the state to erect a privately-funded Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol in Little Rock. The Arkansas State House and the Senate approved the bill 72:7 and 27:3 respectively.

 

10. The Ten Commandments have been an integral part of the legal, cultural, religious and political fabric of the American people and their representatives on Capitol Hill, highlighting the 400-year-old Judeo-Christian foundation of the US-Israel covenant. This foundation has transcended transient politics and geo-strategic considerations, catapulting US-Israel cooperation to unprecedented levels.

 

 

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WHEN GATEKEEPERS OF JUSTICE LEVERAGE

THE LAW TO ABET INJUSTICE                                     

Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein

Huffington Post, Mar. 11, 2017

 

In keeping with democratic Germany’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism, a court in Essen ruled last year that chanting “death and hate to Zionists” at a demonstration was an illegal anti-Semitic activity. Unfortunately, however, there are other German judges today who subvert that commitment by ignoring common sense, morality, and history.

 

We refer to a decision by the Wuppertal court, recently upheld by a regional court, found that the three Muslims who set fire to a synagogue did so as an act of political protest against Israel’s actions in the Gaza War, and therefore could not be convicted of anti-Semitism. As Prof. Alan Dershowitz put it, “The idea that attacking a synagogue can be justified as an anti-Israel political protest rather than anti-Jewish hate act, is as absurd as saying that Kristallnacht was merely a protest against poor service by Jewish store owners.” Or, we might add, torching a mosque could be considered a protest against ISIS. Or desecrating the Cologne Cathedral might be dismissed as a consequence of long-simmering discontent over the medieval Crusades.

 

Common sense and Jews are not the only victims of this court. It has twice dismissed charges against a group of local Salafists who enjoyed patrolling the streets with jackets announcing themselves as Sharia Police, and warning locals not to defy Islamic practice though music and alcohol. The court found their actions not “suggestively militant,” and lacking “intimidating effect.” One of the accused was on trial for supporting a terrorist organization. Had they beheaded someone, that court undoubtedly would have ruled that they were merely testing their shaving apparatus.

 

At a pivotal moment in German and world history, German jurists—far from using the law to protect the persecuted, first turned a blind eye to the way laws that destroyed millions of lives were made, then eagerly confirm Nazism’s absolute evil as binding law. From the outset of the Third Reich in 1933, German judges formulated and presided over the Rassenschutzgesetz, which allowed Jews, Roma, Poles, Russians and other untermenschen to be legally recognized as less than human. The judiciary perverted the old Rechtsstaat, meant to protect the citizen against the power of the State, and turned it into the legal basis for the eventual murder of millions. It became a willing vassal of an empire of death and destruction, quickly dispatching Stauffenberg, Bonhoeffer and any other German who resisted to quick and painful execution – all under the banner of the law.

 

In the aftermath of WW II, the very same judges maintained their moral perch above postwar society. While many sectors of public life worked to prevent the stain of Nazi thought from blackening the German future (including purging Party members from teaching social studies in German schools), the legal sector often protected Nazi criminals from prosecution again and again. The numbers confirm this. A full 77 percent of senior Justice Ministry officials in the late 50’s were former Nazi Party members, exceeding the percentage during the War itself. In fact, according to the recent Rosenburg Project, between 1949 and the early 1970s, 90 of the 170 top ministry officials were former Nazi Party members. Absent were judges who had belonged to the Resistance, or who had spent the War in exile.

 

Many friends of Germany are worried that some gatekeepers of German law may once again be using the law to open the gates of hell. The target today is once again the Jews. Providing a moral and legal free pass to attack a synagogue is quintessentially anti-Semitic, and seen as such by the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the National Democratic Party, despite embracing positions opposed by Germany’s Constitution, could not be banned because it was not a threat to democracy. The rest of the world – and many Germans – looks on in horrified disbelief, remembering that this was exactly what they said about the Nazi Party and Hitler in 1933…

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

                                                                       

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ZION’S MOTHER TONGUE: VISIONS OF A PROMISED LAND

                                     Benjamin Balint

                                    Wall Street Journal, Mar. 17, 2017

 

The other day, I took some American visitors to the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. My guests were struck not so much by the parchments themselves as by the sight of a group of Israeli fourth-graders, their noses pressed to the display cases, reading aloud from texts that were two millennia old.

 

In “The Story of Hebrew,” Lewis Glinert, a professor at Dartmouth College, aims to track the fate of the Hebrew language “from the Israelites to the ancient Rabbis and across two thousand years of nurture, abandonment, and renewal.” The most ambitious attempt since William Chomsky’s groundbreaking 1957 study, “Hebrew: The Eternal Language,” Mr. Glinert’s biography of Hebrew succeeds in representing the language not just as a vehicle of communication but as a crucible of national cohesion.

 

Mr. Glinert’s narrative, related with impressive sweep, begins with the classical Hebrew of biblical literature. The Bible’s sublime idiom is marked by stylistic suppleness and breadth, he says, that could encompass “narrative, prophecy, law, proverbs, philosophy, elegy, romance” and much else. The era of biblical Hebrew reaches as far back as the second millennium before the Christian era, and Mr. Glinert suggests that the spoken language survived the Jews’ exile to Babylon, their return and their struggles under Roman rule.

 

Spoken Hebrew seems to have died with little fanfare around A.D. 200, more than a century after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. But throughout the diaspora, Jews used written Hebrew to scaffold elaborate edifices of religious and legal interpretation. Though stateless, Hebrew would flourish as a written medium of cultural continuity. If the Jews safeguarded Hebrew, it was said, the holy tongue safeguarded “the people of the Book.”

 

The first of these edifices, the Mishnah, was compiled in the second and third centuries. This record of religious teachings and laws “created a rich lexical heritage that could be passed on to future generations,” Mr. Glinert writes, “and that Hebrew poetry and prose would draw upon long after Hebrew had ceased to be a spoken language.” The Babylonian Talmud—another great edifice of interpretation, setting out the authoritative commentary on rabbinic law—expanded Hebrew’s expressive possibilities by inflecting Hebrew with Aramaic, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East.

 

In the ensuing centuries those who standardized Hebrew’s grammatical architecture and honed its philological precision saw the language not just as a precious possession in itself but also as a fulcrum of Jewish life. “It must constantly be on our lips,” the Egyptian-born linguist and sage Saadiah Gaon wrote in the year 902, “for it affords us an understanding of the Divine Law.” While Hebrew commingled with Arabic in Islamic Spain, it preserved a separate reservoir of expression in the realms of law and liturgy. During the golden age of Hebrew literature, roughly the 10th to the 13th centuries, Andalusian poets like Judah Halevi and Solomon ibn Gabirol wielded a Hebrew of astonishing allusive density in order to blur the lines between sacred and sensual.

 

In a pair of chapters on the neglected story of how Hebrew figured in the Christian imagination, Mr. Glinert tells how Christians learned Hebrew both to access “hebraica veritas,” or Hebrew truth, and to monitor the Jews in their midst “with the goal of mastering the mischief and the falsehoods of the Jews,” as a 14th-century writer put it. Martin Luther’s call for “sola scriptura,” or “only the Scriptures,” led Protestants back to the original texts of the Hebrew Bible. In the 15th to 17th centuries, Christian Hebraists—including Johannes Reuchlin in Germany, Guillaume Postel in France, and John Selden in Britain—put Hebrew at the center of Western humanism.

 

In the 18th century, leaders of the Jewish Enlightenment sought, through Hebrew, to emancipate Jews from the confines of the ghetto; by making Hebrew an aesthetic equal to European languages, they hoped to open the doors to modernity. Their efforts, while incomplete, prepared the ground for a small group of secular Eastern European writers in the following century to dig channels through which Hebrew’s hidden vitality could course once more. These cultural Zionists brought about a rebirth of Hebrew, an achievement, Mr. Glinert writes, “without precedent in linguistic and sociopolitical history.”

 

In its early stages, this revival didn’t seem to have much prospect for success. For the pious, Mr. Glinert says, “using the holy tongue for everyday speech smacked of desecration.” For pragmatists, resurrecting a bookish tongue that lacked words for tomato, theater, microscope or fun seemed either ridiculous or inconceivable. Even the father of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, envisioned a Jewish state of German speakers…

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

 

                                                                           

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MONTREAL POET SEYMOUR MAYNE REMEMBERS

HIS FRIEND LEONARD COHEN

Seymour Mayne

Jewish Quarterly, 13 Feb. 2017

 

Leonard was holding court at the front table unit of the café on upper Stanley Street one Sunday in 1960, when our mutual friend, the poet Henry Moscovitch, ushered me forward to meet him. He was twenty-six that spring, the lion of the McGill University arts crowd, and I was a high school student aged sixteen. I had just entered the Canadian literary world, small as it was then, having published several poems in The Canadian Forum. The first sight of the debonair figure, with two beautiful young women who flanked him on his left and right side, remains framed in my memory. He must have said something encouraging to me. And that is how our long friendship began. As he grew older, the strength of affection and respect he inspired in his old Montreal friends increased in depth and intensity. When he left us this November, he was still that gracious Davidic figure.

 

How Jewish was Leonard Cohen? He had no way not to be, born into the unique Montreal Jewish community, sandwiched as it was between the French-speaking working-class quartiers to the east and the English-speaking middle-class suburbs to the west. While Yiddish was the first language of many Jewish immigrants in the working-class neighbourhoods of Montreal, it did not have the same currency among the wealthier members of the community. Leonard’s home was not suffused with the expressive language. At school he studied mainly in English, with French added as a second language. In synagogue he heard biblical and liturgical Hebrew, which echoed and strongly resonated for him right up to his last album, You Want It Darker. In his middle years, he ranged out from Biblical texts to studying the Kabbalah, which fascinated him to his last days.

 

In a province defined by linguistic and religious affiliations, our Jewish community was an almost autonomous city-state of its own, with health facilities, its own hospital, and school system. Every writer and artist who emerged from Montreal in those first decades of the last century was shaped by these communal influences, and Leonard was no exception, even though he was raised in the upper-class neighbourhood of Westmount. Leonard never forgot nor could he forget that he was Jewish. He carried it as a mark of honour all his life while he alluded to and punned on his priestly name, Cohen, in poem, song and fiction. Called to the Torah by his Hebrew name, Eliezer, he nevertheless published exclusively under his English name, like almost every Jewish boy in Montreal who bore two names, double identities. Although he passed through a Buddhist initiation on Mount Baldy, in his last years his Jewish heritage took more and more of his observance, to the point that he was returned at the end to be buried, not in Los Angeles, but in one of the Jewish cemeteries of Montreal, alongside generations of his noted family…

 

At this juncture, A.M. Klein (1909–1972)—a member of this Montreal group and, later, by general consensus, one of Canada’s major poets—proudly affirmed a strong Jewish voice. Klein unashamedly celebrated his roots and tradition while exploring the bilingual Canadian milieu. Such was the older poet’s abiding influence on the younger poet over the years, that Leonard dedicated a number of poems to him, including the resonant “To a Teacher”, which later became a song in the album, Dear Heather. The Montreal dynasty of Jewish poets continued from Klein to Irving Layton (1912–2006), with whom Leonard maintained a close and special relationship for decades. The Jewish lineage in Canadian poetry, then, begins with Klein, continues with Layton from the 1950s on, and finds new force in Leonard’s poetry and lyrics.

 

While I am beholden to Leonard for the inspirations of his writing and friendship, he remains indebted with an unfulfilled promise, made over a half-century ago in the apartment of his friend, Robert Hirschhorn. We made a bet one day in 1963, as a group of Leonard’s friends sat in a circle in Robert’s living room and Leonard strummed his guitar, offering us song after song. Impetuously, as the youngest enthusiast in that room, I predicted that he would easily make a million with his then-unrecorded songs. Leonard quickly responded that he would present me with $10,000 for my little magazine, if that indeed materialized.

 

Over the years and on various occasions, I would remind him, with a smile, of his pledge, and he would aver, with an even more winsome smile, that he still hadn’t reached that magic million-dollar figure. Over time, of course, I let the matter slip. And then came Leonard’s difficult years, when he discovered that his manager had availed herself of his pension fund, which meant that he had to go out on the road again, a wandering minstrel even in his seventies.

 

Given his recent successes, this past summer, for fun, I was thinking of writing him one more friendly reminder. But his emails began to reveal a darker edge. He was “out of the loop for a while”—in his own words, “dealing with some disagreeable visitations from the Sitra Achra”, those fearful Kabbalistic presences from the dark and shadowed side of existence. Who under such circumstances could have the heart to raise the issue of an amusing wager made decades earlier? Along with his innumerable fans and followers, I would have to remain satisfied with the ample offerings of his prolific works. You got away, Eliezer, and the $10,000 was never paid out. But you left us a legacy which, contrary to your expectations in the rebellious years, I along with all your friends and devotees recognize as rich and bountiful. Your songs and name call up an abundance of blessings. Wager met and copiously acquitted. We’ll miss you, chaver.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents                                                              

On Topic Links

 

For U.K.’s Holocaust Memorial, a Canadian Architect Envisions Light in a Personal Darkness: Paul Waldie, Globe & Mail, Mar. 10, 2017—Jack Diamond has long been considered one of Canada’s best architects and he’s designed award-winning landmarks around the world. But few projects have touched him as deeply as the one he’s working on now: Britain’s National Holocaust Memorial.

Converted Masters; World Famous Masterpieces With a Jewish Twist: Lori Samlin Miller, Jewish Press, Mar. 20, 2017—Why would an observant woman with a talent for drawing and painting publish a book with images of her canvas creations of reworked masterpieces? What, in addition to her obvious artistic abilities, is she expressing?

Archaeological Discoveries in the Holy Land Could Provide Clues on how Jesus Lived: Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, Mar. 20, 2017—When a revamped highway into Jerusalem fully opens in coming months, it will be just the latest makeover of a road that has served Holy Land travelers for centuries.

Natan Alterman or Amos Oz? The Six-Day War and Israeli Literature: Liam Hoare, Fathom, Spring, 2017—In the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War, poetry and song captured the moment in Israeli history when the people, as Natan Alterman, said were ‘drunk with joy’. Naomi Shemer’s addendum to ‘Jerusalem of Gold,’ a song penned, as the legend has it, while Israeli troops celebrated at the Western Wall, groans with the sound of ram’s horns echoing round the Old City. ‘We have returned to the water cisterns, to the market and to the square,’ Shemer sang. ‘We shall return and go down to the Dead Sea by the Jericho Road.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOUNDED ON THE “ROCK OF ISRAEL”, THE JEWISH STATE ROSE PROVIDENTIALLY LIKE A PHOENIX, DEMONSTRATING THE POWER OF JEWISH HISTORY

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing

 

Contents:                          

 

 

Israel, 65 Years Young!: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Apr. 16, 2013—On Friday May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar 5708) the State of Israel came into being with a population numbering 650,000.  Immediately the young state had to weather the assault of five regular Arab armies actively aided by one million Palestinian Arabs.

 

Israel's Declaration of Independence: Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs, May 14, 1948—The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. 

 

Israel’s Resurgence: A Spiritual Calculus: David M. Weinberg, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2013—Press reviews of the state of this country on its Independence Day commonly miss the spiritual, meta-historic significance of Israel’s achievement. They tend to calculate a balance sheet of successes and failures in defense, economy, democracy and peacemaking, but fail to fathom the processes at work behind the curtain of current affairs.

 

Independence Day and the Zionist Vision: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Apr.14, 2013—As we launch into our 65th Independence Day celebrations it is timely to review and rationally assess the extent to which our Zionist objectives have been achieved. When the Jewish state was proclaimed in 1948, the 650,000 Jews who constituted the Yishuv were totally engaged in a desperate battle to repel the combined military forces of our Arab neighbors, who from the outset were determined to deny Jewish sovereignty.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

65 Years of Innovation, from Rummikub to the ‘God Particle’: Marcella Rosen, Times of Israel, Apr. 15, 2013

Independence Day For The Secular and Religious: David Newman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2013

In Israel We Feel at Home: Raanan Shaked, Ynet News, Apr.16, 2013

Israelis Overwhelmingly Proud of Their Country, New Poll Shows: Aharon Lapidot, Israel Hayom, Apr. 15, 2013

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL, 65 YEARS YOUNG!

Israel shall endure forever!
Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Apr. 16, 2013

In memory of Malca z”l

 

In memory of all the victims of Israel’s wars, who gave their lives against unending Arab aggression.

 

On Friday May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar 5708) the State of Israel came into being with a population numbering 650,000.  Immediately the young state had to weather the assault of five regular Arab armies actively aided by one million Palestinian Arabs. It must be remembered that the Jewish State, the State of Israel, was born of a strong desire for sovereignty, independence and freedom and was won by the Jewish People, who had gathered their power and their strength against the onslaught of her enemies! Never again would there ever be another Holocaust.   Israel’s population today is eight million and growing. The State of Israel is here forever!

   “And I will give you peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid.” (Leviticus 26:6)    Am Yisroel Chai! Hag Sameach!

 

Arthur Szyk from his hagaddah.

 

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THE DECLARATION OF THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL

Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs, May 14, 1948

 

On May 14, 1948, on the day in which the British Mandate over  Palestine expired, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum, and approved the following proclamation, declaring the establishment of the State of Israel. The new state was recognized that night by the United States and three days later by the USSR.

 

 

ERETZ-ISRAEL [(Hebrew) – the Land of Israel, Palestine] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma'pilim [(Hebrew) – immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation] and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.

 

In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.  This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.

The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people – the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe – was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the comity of nations.

 

Survivors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Eretz-Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland. In the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom- and peace-loving nations against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who founded the United Nations.

On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.

This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

 

Accordingly we, members of the people's council, representatives of the Jewish community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the united nations general assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the state of Israel.

 

WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called "Israel".

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL is prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.

WE APPEAL to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.

WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

WE EXTEND our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream – the redemption of Israel.

Placing our trust in the "Rock of Israel", we affix our signatures to this proclamation at this session of the provisional council of state, on the soil of the homeland, in the city of Tel-Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the 5th day of Iyar, 5708 (14th may,1948). 

 

 

 

ISRAEL’S RESURGENCE: A SPIRITUAL CALCULUS

David M. Weinberg

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2013

 

Press reviews of the state of this country on its Independence Day commonly miss the spiritual, meta-historic significance of Israel’s achievement. They tend to calculate a balance sheet of successes and failures in defense, economy, democracy and peacemaking, but fail to fathom the processes at work behind the curtain of current affairs. It’s valid to apply temporal yardsticks of measurement to Israel, but such evaluations undershoot the deeper challenge: to understand the resurgence of Israel in grand historical terms; to discern the mystic movement, the divine drama – if you will, at play.

 

It cannot be otherwise. There is nothing global, or even massive, about the State of Israel in political terms. This is a small piece of earth. We Israelis are but a tiny fraction of the human family. In the sweep of history, there have been greater battles, larger transfers and emigrations of populations, bigger construction and technological projects, more eminently impressive displays of might. So in secular terms, Israel is not all that a big deal. But as vindication of spirit; as validation of tenacious faith; as proof of the Jewish People’s, indeed humanity’s, power to overcome – Israel’s establishment and advancement is a very big deal indeed.

 

History knows no parallel to the prophecies of the Bible, which foretold the break up of a people into a thousand pieces across the world, yet one destined to persevere for centuries and return to their indigenous homeland. This is a defy-all-odds saga of metaphysical union spanning centuries between a people, their G-d, and a land. This, wrote the late ambassador Dr. Yaakov Herzog, “is the celebration of a nation who, at the moment of ultimate nadir, of devastating Holocaust, rose from the ashes, armed with little more than conviction and a historical consciousness that promised renewal, to stake claim to their ancestry. This is redemption, providential consolation.

 

“The still small voice of Israel reborn has a significance overreaching the criterion of material capacity, extending beyond the boundaries of geographical dimension and the gradation of international status. Israel represents a vindication of faith and prayer through the ages; it is a symbol of revival, a message of hope, indeed a lasting evidence of the integrity of the spirit,” Herzog said.

 

At the 22nd Zionist Congress in 1946, Chaim Weizmann said: “[We] stand today six hundred thousand strong, with steady vision and unwavering courage… drawing sustenance, spiritual and material, from a grudging and neglected soil…. testimony to the irresistible force which drives our people to become free men and women once again on the land of our forefathers.”

 

This belief in the power of Jewish history, animated by ancient faith, explains much about Israel today. It explains our willingness to sacrifice so much for independence. It explains our drive to succeed in the arts and sciences and to share our advances with the world. It explains our attachment to Jerusalem. It explains why we sometimes stubbornly refuse to accept rational calculations of diplomatic cost and benefit politely impressed on us by well-meaning allies. It explains why those who consider history only in terms of national politics and international relations underestimate or misjudge us. They fail to understand that Israel is guided by an astral calculus that is not always perceptible. Our deep sense of historical mission blurs the lines between imagination and reality, between the possible and the feasible.

 

Not everybody in this country is religious in terms of the practice of traditional Judaism. But just about everybody is religious in the sense of feeling part of a grand meta-historic journey that is connected to spiritual powers and a moral heritage invested in the Jewish People that has sustained us and returned us to the Land of Israel. Consider the Talmud’s metaphor for the resurgence of Israel. “The Lord your God will turn your captivity… and gather you from all the nations,” speaks Deuteronomy 30:3. Read not “turn your captivity,” says the Talmud, but rather “return Himself” from captivity. In other words, G-d is returning to the Land of Israel too, bit by bit, along with us. His presence in the Land of Israel, and His protection, grows with every new immigrant stepping off the plane and every house we build.

 

Regrettably, many of us seem to have lost the capacity to think in providential terms; to discern historical movement, not momentary difficulty; to see the forest, not the trees; to disregard the mud and focus on the magnificent. On Independence Day, it is time to remind ourselves (and our global friends) of this prophetic perspective on the meaning and success of Israel.

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INDEPENDENCE DAY AND THE ZIONIST VISION

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Apr.14, 2013

 

As we launch into our 65th Independence Day celebrations it is timely to review and rationally assess the extent to which our Zionist objectives have been achieved. When the Jewish state was proclaimed in 1948, the 650,000 Jews who constituted the Yishuv were totally engaged in a desperate battle to repel the combined military forces of our Arab neighbours who from the outset were determined to deny Jewish sovereignty.

 

In their wildest dreams, the founders of our state fighting a war of survival could never have envisioned the dynamic and thriving nation of eight million citizens that would emerge from that maelstrom. Indeed, by any benchmark, taking into account numerous wars, failures and disappointments, this extraordinary Jewish nation-state will indisputably be recorded in the annals of history as one of the greatest successes of the past millennium.

 

There is no historical situation which remotely compares to the Jewish people’s renaissance and transformation into a Jewish nation. After being exiled for 2,000 years to all parts of the globe and having suffered endless cycles of discrimination, persecution, exile and mass murder culminating in the genocidal horror of the Shoah, we reconstituted ourselves into a nation state.

 

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, an ingathering of the exiles took place with Jews from all over the globe flocking to find haven in the newly established Jewish state. There, against all odds, they bonded together into a melting pot of Shoah survivors, refugees fleeing persecution in Arab countries, Jews escaping from the underdeveloped societies of Ethiopia, and from discrimination in the former Soviet Union – and succeeded in creating one of the most vibrant and resilient societies in the world.

 

The ancient and sacred Hebrew language has been revived as a living, pulsating cultural force and lingua franca for Jews, uniting those from totally different cultures. There has been a renaissance of Torah study with greater numbers of Jews familiar with the traditional texts and teachings of Judaism than at any period in our history.

 

Who could possibly have imagined that a people, subjugated and powerless for 2,000 years, would emerge in a very short space of time, as a dominant regional military superpower able to deter and defend itself against the vastly numerically superior military forces of its combined regional adversaries? Who could have dreamt that this tiny, arid strip of land would become the fulcrum for a dynamic economy and emerge as the second-largest hi-tech start-up nation in the world, exceeded only by the United States? And as a special gift, on the eve of our 65th anniversary, this country, devoid of the oil reservoirs which have empowered some of our adversaries, virtually overnight became energy self-sufficient and is now even exploring markets to export its surplus gas resources.

 

Our spectacular success far exceeded the expectations of our idealistic founders. By any rational benchmark it would be deemed a modern-day miracle. And yet despite this, there are those in our midst who constantly whine about our failings and transform self-criticism into masochism. Instead of celebrating they predict doom and gloom. There is also a tiny, but highly vocal minority who disparages our achievements and complains about the sacrifices required to ensure our security and existence, some of whom even mock Zionism and challenge the merits of Jewish statehood.

 

Also there are some young Jews, never having experienced the dehumanizing impact of powerlessness on the Jewish psyche, who take the State of Israel for granted. They never underwent the chilling experience of their European antecedents in Europe who in the 1930s desperately sought – mostly unsuccessfully – to obtain entry visas to countries to escape the impending Nazi genocidal onslaught. And nor do they appreciate the soul-destroying impact of living in an environment of anti-Semitic incitement where Jews are considered pariahs and the mainstream media shamelessly promotes frenzied anti-Israel and anti-Semitic stereotypes.

 

However, despite the prevailing belief that after the revelation of the horrors of the Shoah, anti- Semites would become an extinct species, the world’s oldest hatred has returned with a vengeance, particularly in Europe, whose soil had been drenched in Jewish blood only a few years before Israel’s independence. The extent of the current European malaise is exemplified by youngsters in some public schools seeking to hide their Jewishness in order to avert torment or social exclusion. In many European cities there is also a growing reluctance to outwardly wear Jewish symbols like kippot to avoid random violence from hooligans in the street.

 

In Europe, especially in France, the UK, Scandinavia, Hungary, Greece, Ukraine and throughout South America there are daily reports of increasing anti-Semitic violence, of incitement and even murder. Whereas, in North America, where public opinion is strongly pro-Israeli, the campuses have been transformed into launching pads for visceral anti- Israelism and anti-Semitism….And yes, there are still many problems in Israeli society which must be overcome. There are too many poor people and we suffer internal divisions between religious and secular and between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. We all agree that we must continue striving for a better society to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming “a light unto the nations.”

 

But today, almost half the Jewish people are happily domiciled in Israel. The word happily should be stressed because despite our masochistic self-criticism and endless complaints, all polls show that Israelis are numbered amongst the happiest and most satisfied people in the world. Our numbers will increase and an ever-growing proportion of global Jewry will return to live in its homeland, increasingly out of choice rather seeking a haven.

 

Thus, as we celebrate Israel’s 65th anniversary, notwithstanding all the challenges and threats confronting us, we should remind ourselves of our humble origins and give thanks to the Almighty for having enabled us to be the blessed generation that is privileged to live in freedom in this extraordinary country, our ancient homeland.  Chag Sameach!

 

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On Topic

 

 

65 Years of Innovation, from Rummikub to the ‘God Particle’: Marcella Rosen, Times of Israel, Apr. 15, 2013 —While a great deal of international and media focus has been placed on Israel’s military conflicts, the country quietly has become an energetic, ambitious incubator of entrepreneurialism and invention. What follows is a timeline chronicling some of the most important and interesting innovations produced by Israelis during their country’s 65-year existence.

 

Independence Day for the Secular And Religious: David Newman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2013—Tonight there will be an assortment of celebrations to commemorate Yom Ha’atzmaut. Most of the country will watch the official transition from Remembrance Day to Independence Day in the impressive ceremony which takes place on Mount Herzl and the lighting of the six torches by Israeli citizens representing different walks of life. That will be followed by a night of partying and fireworks.

 

In Israel We Feel at Home: Raanan Shaked, Ynet News, Apr.16, 2013—It's been 65 years and we haven't gotten used to it yet, huh? Sixty-five years, and it still seems like a big deal to us, that there is an entire country here that is totally ours, in our hands, under our control, without a responsible adult to actually tell us what to do.

 

Israelis Overwhelmingly Proud of Their Country, New Poll Shows: Aharon Lapidot, Israel Hayom, Apr. 15, 2013—Some 92% of Israel's Jews say they are very proud or somewhat proud of their nationality • A clear majority say they are Jewish first and only then Israeli, but sense of bond with Diaspora drops slightly • Israel's population reaches 8,018,000, a 4.8% increase from last year.

 

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