Samuel L. Jackson As Princess Diana On ‘The Crown’

A bit of humour.

The entertainment industry is having both a bit of fun and mired in controversy regarding its choices of actors in movies and plays.

‘The Lehman Trilogy’ played on Broadway and featured three British non-Jewish actors – one Black – portraying three German Jews. TV’s ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ about a female Jewish comedian is played by a non-Jewish actress. The upcoming movie about Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir will similarly not star a Jewish – or Hebrew-speaking – actress.

The Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman called this practice “Jewface,” taking a lift from the term ‘Blackface’ in which a non-Black actor paints their face Black (something Silverman has done). While some actors object to the practice (only for Jews; it is universally condemned for Blacks), others think that the nature of acting should allow anyone to play any part.

In the show ‘Hamilton’, the founders of the American revolution were cast as Black and Hispanic, to show how the story would be told from a different perspective (considering Hamilton himself as a Black-ish figure) using rap music. The musical ‘1776‘ took this approach a step further, and recast the founding fathers as all female or non-binary, as well as non-White. The directors thought that doing so would make the discussion about slavery and “patriarchy” ring louder.

With such “progressive” approaches to reenacting historical drama, I was disappointed that the latest season of the TV show ‘The Crown’ opted to cast a milky white woman in the role of Camilla Bowles. In light of the charges of racism that former Prince Harry and his multi-racial wife Meghan Markle made against Queen Elizabeth and the royal family, it would have been an interesting twist for the redhead to hate the usurper of his father’s love, had Prince Charles run off with a Black woman.

Perhaps better still, a strong Black man, like Samuel L. Jackson, should have played Princess Diana. It would have been a meaningful commentary on proper British society for the future king of England to marry a Black man, and have the English consider racism, homophobia, the demeaning objectification of a princess, and the importance of an heir, all at one time.

Samuel L. Jackson should have played Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, in ‘The Crown’


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Brooklyn Chanukah Donut Crawl 2022

The annual Chanukah tradition of tasting sufganiyut (filled donuts) at local bakeries returned us to Brooklyn this year. We decided to focus on Flatbush and Williamsburg, and skipped the usual run in Boro Park. Below are the bakeries we went to in order, in case anyone would like to replicate the tour.

Ostrovitsky’s, 1124 Avenue J

Our first stop was Ostrovitsky’s which scored well in prior visits. Unfortunately, the selection this year was beautiful but not good. The flavors looked great – Hazelnut, Napolean, Lotus, Oreo, Chocolate Mousse and Rosemary – but the dough tasted like it was a few days old. The filling flavor was still good but the amount of filling was very different depending on which donut we sampled (yes, we taste everything).

Pomegranate Supermarket, 1507 Coney Island Ave

We made an exception for the strictly bakery locations for Pomegranate, because of the store’s great reputation. There were basic flavors to try – jelly, chocolate, custard and caramel – and the jelly was really great. Dough was light and tasty and just the right amount of jelly and flavor. The $4.00 each for non-fancy seemed steep, but they were good.

Sesame, 1540 Coney Island Ave.

Sesame was packed as usual with a line to get in the store (and Chanukah didn’t even start until that evening!) The bakery always has a great assortment of flavors and they are usually terrific. This year, we found the dough and filling excellent once again, however a bit sweeter than past years. We are biased towards flavor over sugar, and this year, there was a complete lack of subtlety. Pistachio is always a favorite but now it comes complete with a sugar rush. We tried hazelnut and peanut this year too, and picked up a couple dozen for people in our neighborhood who crave them.

Taste of Israel, 1322 Avenue M

We heard good things about TOI but were then told that they only took pre-orders. We may stop by again next Sunday.

Schreiber’s Homestyle Bakery, 3008 Avenue M

Schreiber’s simply has the best lace cookies so we go every year. While not a complicated dessert, they have a great crispiness in a single layer and a generous dipping of excellent chocolate. Make sure to pick some up along with the sufganiyut.

The majority in the store are pareve. They have pre-boxed assortments and we picked up a few to bring to a dinner party (see below). The dairy ones which we ate on the spot had amazing dough – very light and tasty. Please go to the back to pick these up. The strawberry had the perfect amount of filling and also a really nice light flavor. The cheese was a little too light on flavor.

We took a short break to watch the World Cup finals and got to see the end of the second period of extra time and the shootout with Argentina beating France. I’m not sure how many families watched the end of the amazing 2022 game in a hair salon in the middle of a Chanukah donut crawl, but to those who did – wasn’t it great?

Oneg Bakery, 188 Lee Avenue

We drove to Williamsburg which is a hike I do not recommend. If you are going to the neighborhood anyway, that’s fine but not together with Flatbush which can be 45 minutes away.

Oneg is rightfully famous for its heavy babka, among the best in the world. They are huge at $45 for a half and $90 for a whole. We actually get the large and cut it into three, as they freeze well.

The store is very small and old school. The donuts aren’t fancy but the classic jelly was excellent, maybe only slightly behind Pomegranate’s in terms of flavor and consistency of filling.

Black and White Bakery, 520 Park Ave

B&W was a real disappointment. We had a good experience there in the past, and the chocolate horn was indeed very good. However, the donuts are too expensive ($6.50), almost all dairy, and lacking a variety of taste. Every donut seemed to have the same cheese filling, just with a different topping. While the toppings were attractive, they lacked in flavor. On the plus side, you can daven mincha at the Yeshivat Viznitz around the corner with over 100 Satmar students.

Below is the ranking for this year’s donut crawl. If you visit, please tell them about the review on the blog First One Through. As Chanukah covers two weekends this year, we are likely to make a second run next weekend, possibly visiting Boro Park and Crown Heights bakeries.

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The Last of the Mo’Kichels

When Our History Begins

Most people likely start their history at their birthday. Others might consider the important impact of parents or grandparents, and therefore mark those births or perhaps a significant milestone in their lives like moving to a country, as the symbolic beginning of personal history.

For individuals who strongly associate with a collective, whether as citizens of a country or members of a tribe, the origin story varies.

In Art in Mexico
Diego Rivera (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park)

Diego Rivera (December 8, 1886 – November 24, 1957) is one of Mexico’s most famous artists. His murals of Mexicans and Mexican history adorn the walls of government buildings, famous hotels and business headquarters. One of his wives, Frida Khalo (married to her twice, 1929-1939 and 1940-1954) was also a famous painter who shared (and surpassed) his passion for Marxism, which often infused both of their art.

Rivera was a descendant of conversos, Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism under penalty of expulsion or death by the Inquisition. While his Mexican heritage dominates most of his work, he did share in 1935 that “Jewishness is the dominant element of [his] life,” and it can be seen in one of his famous murals.

Rivera had already painted many of his great works when he was commissioned to paint a mural for the Del Prado Hotel in Mexico City in 1946. At 60 years old, he spent a year painting Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park, a famous park in central Mexico City, frequented by high society.

Diego Rivera’s Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park (1946-7)

The mural was enormous, measuring 51 feet long by 15 feet wide. It told the story of the history of Mexico City chronologically, from the earliest period at the far left, to the modern city on the right.

Rivera placed himself in the painting, slightly left of center, even though he clearly did not belong there chronologically. He held an umbrella in one hand and the other grasped the hand of the “dapper skeleton.” Frida Khalo rested one hand on his shoulder while the other held an orb.

Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo and La Calavera Catrina, “the dapper skeleton”, in Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park

Curiously, Rivera portrayed himself as a young boy, begging us to consider the various messages he was conveying.

The dapper skeleton was originally conceived by Jose Guadalupe Posada, a lithographer who mocked upper class Latin women for dressing in French clothing and whitening their skin, seemingly ashamed of their native origins. Rivera painted himself looking up at the skeleton, acknowledging that despite his strong nativist roots, perhaps he too was pulled into that worldview, as he was celebrated by high society around the world.

But that is just part of the message.

Rivera was a foot taller, three times the weight and twenty years older than Khalo. Yet here, Khalo acts as a mother figure, protecting a young Rivera. Why does Rivera have Khalo towering over himself and from what does he need protection?

Khalo holds a yin yang, a Chinese philosophical concept that binds opposite and interconnected forces. She too had become famous in western society and dined at the finest establishments. Perhaps part of the message was that Khalo was keeping the couple grounded in their populist Mexican roots, even as they enjoyed high society.

There is more.

Rivera’s tenth birthday coincided with the 300th anniversary of the execution of the Carvajal family in Mexico City, on December 8, 1596.

The Carvajal Conversos

The Carvajal family were Hispano-Portuguese conversos. The patriarch of the family, Luis de Carvajal the Elder (1539-1591) was a sincere convert to Catholicism who won the favor of King Phillip II of Spain, while many in his family kept their Jewish faith hidden from the Spanish Inquisition.

The king granted Luis the Elder a governorship in the northern parts of New Spain (today’s Mexico to Texas), and in 1579, authorized Carvajal to bring 100 people with him to the new world. Most significantly, the king’s royal charter included the anomalous provision that such individuals need not be subject to the investigation of ancestry, with which the crown typically tried to keep New Christians out of its colonies, as the king had brought the Inquisition to Mexico in 1571. Luis the Elder, knowing of his family’s hidden crypto-Judaism, likely thought that his career could advance, and his family would be safe in the new world.

It would not protect them for long.

In 1589, the viceroy of New Spain arrested Luis the Elder for a commercial matter, and in the investigation, it came out that Luis knew of, but did not report on his family’s secret Jewish faith. He was thereby transferred from the royal prison to the prisons of the Inquisition.

The whole family became implicated, including Luis the Younger (1566-1596), his sister Isabel and mother Francesca. At the auto da fé on February 25, 1590, inquisitors sentenced the entire family to various penances and wearing of sambenito, penitential garb. Not long after, Luis the Younger, his mother and sisters resumed their forbidden practices in hiding. They were caught again after a friend gave them up in February 1595. This time, they did not get off. Francisca, Isabel, Leonor, Catalina, and Luis the Younger were all burned at the stake at the auto da fé of December 8, 1596, as relapsos, or recidivist Judaizing heretics. This history was detailed in the diary of Luis the Younger, an important document in the history of Mexico.

Rivera chose to mark this slaughter of the Carvajal family as the beginning of the history of Mexico City.

Torture and burning at the stake of the Carvajal family in Rivera’s Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park

Four members of the Carvajal family can be seen in the background with pointy hats tied to the stake with flames around them. The mother, Francesca, with head shaven, is before them being lashed by one Inquisitor while a member of the church sticks a cross in her face.

Rivera was deeply impacted by this story. In another section of the mural, he painted Ignacio Ramirez, a Mexican politician, holding a sign that read “God does not exist.” Catholic officials viewing the mural were offended by the line and asked Rivera to remove the text. He refused to do so and the painting was covered for nine years until he relented.

The Carvajal story elucidates the reason Rivera painted himself as a young boy.

While the history of Mexico City did not start in 1596, his personal history of the city began then due to his connection to conversos in the past. His tenth birthday was likely marked with the 300-year commemoration of the burning of the famous Jews at the stake. It impacted him deeply and he became sickened by religion. Painting about history in the shadow of the European Holocaust in 1946-7, demanded particular attention.

In the mural, Rivera is comforted by his non-Jewish wife who protected him both from the Inquisition as well as from capitalism and high society. While he was a product of many worlds, Jewish-Catholic-agnostic and socialist-capitalist, he relied on his spouse to secure him. On his own, he was left holding a folded umbrella, even while others around him held fancy canes, as he continued to fear various storms. He stood emotionally vulnerable in the nativist past, as he felt the pull of the modern bourgeois.

Rivera could have painted himself as a grown man, just as he could have started the city’s history when the Spanish came in 1521 or with the indigenous people who lived there for centuries. But that would have undermined his message that he was deeply insecure, and his personal view of the beginning of the city’s history.

In Schools in America
European (1776) and African Slavery (1619)

Proud Americans have historically viewed the beginning of their history at the Declaration of Independence in 1776. They appreciate the country’s founding fathers pulling away from England and establishing a new system of government with the Federalist Papers (1788) and the U.S. Constitution (1789). The native Americans and the first Europeans who started the colonies 150 years earlier are glossed over in favor of the first American citizens.

A new approach towards the beginning of American history is being fostered among Black Americans. The “1619 Project” has cast America as founded on slavery, a system of prejudice which Blacks continue to experience to this day. They see the start of history as African-Americans as beginning at that time, which directly feeds their orientation as Americans today.

School systems in California and elsewhere are no longer solely teaching the European view of history and are including coursework like the 1619 Project. They want all Americans to understand the various beginnings of the citizens of these United States.

In Middle East Propaganda
Palestinians (Canaanites) and Jews (Balfour 1917)

The Arab-Israeli Conflict has been ongoing for a century. Palestinian Arabs consider themselves as the indigenous people of the region and the Jews as new European interlopers. They tell themselves and the world that they are the only rightful claimants to the land based on a false spin of history.

Regarding Jews, Arabs negate the 3,300-year history of Jews in the land and the centrality of the land in Judaism. Palestinians falsely claim that today’s Jews have nothing to do with the Israelites in the Bible and are merely converts from Khazar. The Arabs absurdly assert that even the Jewish Temples in Jerusalem were located somewhere else. They lie that it was the British who launched the Jewish presence in Palestine with the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

Unsatisfied with only negating Jewish history to bolster their supposed higher claim to the land (or nervous that the anti-Semitic smears are too obviously false), the Palestinian Arabs have also changed their own history. Rather than admit that Arabs first came to the holy land en masse with the Islamic invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries, they claim that they are descendants of Canaanites and Jebusites mentioned in the Jewish Bible. Some college professors have even spun the idea of “Palestinian Hebrews”, completely stealing Jewish history and identity.

The Arab propaganda battle is very much about the beginning of their own history and of their perceived enemies, the Jews. It is an instrumental tool in their view of themselves and their position today, and an enormous obstacle to coexisting with the truly indigenous Jews.

In Meals in Religion
The Passover Seder for Jews

Jews have a unique approach towards infusing the beginning of their collective history.

While some Jews look to their forefathers of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the founders of monotheism and Judaism, the view of the start of Jewish history is the exodus from slavery in Egypt. It was at that time that they emerged as a nation and received the Torah, the laws to live by.

To cement the story in collective consciousness, Jews have a feast every Passover to mark that specific time in history. They have a seder, which revolves around telling the story of leaving Egypt, accompanied by a Haggadah which has been used for centuries. The meal is geared towards the children at the table, to instill a common past which ensures a uniting bond in the present.

Memory and History
Personal and Communal

Melissa Fay Greene authored a piece in April 2021 called “You Won’t Remember the Pandemic the Way You Think You Will.” She made several observations about memory including the strength of the “primacy effect”, remembering firsts, and the “narrative effect,” being able to recall dramatic events. She quoted Robyn Fivush, a psychology professor at Emory University who said “we use our memory in part to create a continuous sense of self, she [Fivush] told me, “a ‘narrative identity’ through all of life’s ups and downs: I am a person whose life has meaning and purpose. I’m more than the subject of brute forces. There’s a Story of Me.

Greene also quoted Richard McNally of Harvard in discussing memory. “Trauma gouges deeply into our minds, engraving painful and long-lasting memories. “Whether they are rape victims, combat veterans, or earthquake survivors, people exposed to terrifying trauma typically retain vivid memories of the most central aspects of such experiences, often for the rest of their lives.”

On top of firsts, stories and trauma as means to retain memories, Greene discussed the idea of “collective memory,” an idea advanced by the 20th-century French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs. “We don’t shelve a pristine first edition of an experience in a dust-free inner sanctum; we sloppily pass the memory around, inviting comment. The consolidated edition, with other people’s fingerprints all over it, is what we put on the shelf of long-term memory, unaware that we’ve done so.”

The idea that our best recalled personal memories are tainted by outside influences can be set against what that does to the view of a collective event, such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11. “To tell it [a collective event] is to become part of the community, to share the moment, to work together to understand an event that’s difficult to grasp. If we recall and talk about something often enough, it will become a ‘cultural narrative.’… Narrative-memory experts call this “the social construction of autobiographical memory.” While a personal memory has the fingerprints of others, a collective memory is an amalgamation which we accept as truth to fit into the community.

Consider extending Greene’s view of personal and collective memory towards history.

A person cannot remember the beginning of their history; it predates their ability to have memories. However, the way they conceive of themselves in the present – personally and as part of community – identifies the story in the past which made them who they are today.

Diego Rivera took a traumatic event in Mexico’s history as an important early influence on his life. Black Americans have a collective narrative of racism in America and see the slave trade as the start of their persecution. Palestinians are actively constructing an autobiographical memory to understand their lack of a state while the most persecuted people in the world which was almost wiped from the planet in recent memory, managed to create a leading first world liberal society in their backyard.

Collective history is not collective memory. The latter includes a first-person account of an event, unknowingly reformulated with the contribution of peers. It twists a reality without a person realizing that their memory includes various external inputs.

But everyone readily understands that collective history they discuss is imperfect, relying on stories told through the generations. People use their lived experiences – their successes and failures – to identify when that path was set, and simultaneously choose what history is part of their tribal worldview.

Many Americans of European descent object to the 1619 Project as undermining the remarkable accomplishments of America’s founders. While not denying the history of slavery, the slave ships do not anchor the beginning of their history. They strongly object to it being taught in public schools as destroying common heritage. Black Americans cannot fathom that objection if people acknowledge the history of slavery. Conversely, Arabs understand that if they acknowledge that Jews predate them in the holy land, the basis for demanding a country free of invaders is revealed as outrageously anti-Semitic.

Everyone tries to impart collective history to young people. The Passover seder has Jewish children engaged in questions to cement memory and history together. American and Palestinian schools teach revised histories to impart a preferred collective history. And Diego Rivera made clear that his understanding of the beginning of his city’s history was determined when he heard of a horrific story that touched him personally as a child, a trauma he considered as he learned more stories of the European Holocaust as an adult.

Communities seek to build foundations in the youth with the beginning of their histories. The narratives are crafted in schools, family dinners and what kids see in society.

Certainly our past set our current reality, but we choose our origin story based on how we define ourselves today. When our history begins is both about a point in time and our collective memory adapting the story of our collective history.

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Now Is The Time For Sabra, An Israeli Superhero, To Join Captain America

In December 1940, a full year before the United States of America entered World War II in response to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, two young Jews created a superhero.

Joe Simon and Jack (Kurtzberg) Kirby were young artists who were looking to create a new superhero in the golden age of superheroes. The genre had many Jewish artists and writers, including Superman in 1938 (created by Jerry Siegel and Joe (Shusterowich) Shuster) and Batman in 1939 (by Bob Kane and Bill Finger). Those characters were created at the dawn of the European Holocaust of the Jews, and fought against fictitious bad guys generally.

Simon and Kirby opted for a more direct approach.

In an interview in 2011, a 97-year old Joe Simon relayed that they didn’t need to create a fictitious villain, “We both read the newspapers. We knew what was going on over in Europe. World events gave us the perfect comic-book villain, Adolf Hitler, with his ranting, goose-stepping and ridiculous moustache. So we decided to create the perfect hero who would be his foil.

First issue of Captain America published in December 1940, featuring Captain America punching Adolph Hitler on its cover

At that time, there were many Americans who proudly considered themselves Nazis. Groups like the German-American Bund marched proudly through public streets and even held an enormous rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City in February 1939. They chanted “Stop Jewish Domination of Christian Americans” and demanded that “our government be returned to the American People who founded it.

The American Nazis began to lose some popularity when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 which launched World War II, with Great Britain and France declaring war on Germany. Still, Americans did not want to go to war in Europe, some being isolationists and others harboring Nazi sympathies.

American Nazis took aim at Simon and Kirby for “propaganda” advocating for America to get into the war to fight Nazi Germany. They accused Jews of wanting to sacrifice Christian blood to save Jews in Europe, a passive-aggressive blood libel. They saw the “Jewish media” controlling America’s foreign policy as puppet-masters.

Much of the same rhetoric is happening today.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a brutal regime. It is the leading state sponsor of terrorism, backing groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. It hangs gays in public squares. It kills its own Iranian women who do not cover their hair.

This extremist regime has called for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel, as the Islamic country builds ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Yet the world says nothing and does nothing.

In contrast, the radical jihadists in the Palestinian Authority territories get active global assistance. Even with an anti-Semitic foundational charter lifted from Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the political-terrorist group Hamas won the majority of parliament. The active incitement to kill Jews with a pay-to-slay program is ignored (or possibly appreciated) as countries pour money into the terrorist enclave. The United Nations even states that it wants Hamas to join a unity government, praising the recent Algiers Declaration.

The radical jihadists have supporters across the United States. On over 200 college campuses, Students for Justice in Palestine have targeted Jews and the Jewish State. Members of Congress like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar spew anti-Semitic venom reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Entertainer Kanye West calls out Jews who control Black America and threatens them with violence.

The mainstream media echoes their sentiments, that congress is controlled by Jews. It bemoans the ‘powerful Jew‘ in sick arguments while simultaneously claiming only White supremacists make such anti-Semitic smears.

In this caldron of anti-Semitism and calls for violence against Jews and the only Jewish State, Marvel Comics announced that it will feature a superhero named Sabra, an ex-Israeli Mossad agent, to be featured in a new Captain America movie.

Marvel superhero, Sabra

The timing seems very appropriate as Israel faces genocidal fanatics in the Middle East, and anti-Semitism is spreading like wildfire in the United States and around the world.

As in Captain America’s release in 1940, many Americans are upset by a superhero with real world political roots.

Anti-Zionists fear that if an Israeli is a superhero, Palestinian Arabs will be portrayed as the genocidal villains. Isolationists and jihadists fear that the movie will advocate attacking the Islamic Republic of Iran, launching the United States into another war against a Muslim country. Run-of-the-mill anti-Semites don’t want to see a Jew infiltrate what they perceive as a cohort of Christian American superheroes.

Lost on all of them is that Captain America himself was created by Jews to attack a real genocidal anti-Semite before the magnitude of Hitler’s evil was manifest. Captain America’s relaunch in the 1960’s to a newer audience was also led by a Jew, Stan (Martin Lieber) Lee. The inclusion of an overtly Jewish superhero now, when the United Nations acts like Marvel’s evil Hydra organization seeking to destroy the Jewish State is both warranted and timely.

Alas, the Jew-bashers may yet win. Their loud shrill voices made Marvel issue a statement: “While our characters and stories are inspired by the comics. They are always freshly imagined for the screen and today’s audience, and the filmmakers are taking a new approach with the character Sabra who was first introduced in the comics over 40 years ago.

Will Marvel give Sabra a new backstory in which she may be Jewish but not Israeli? Only fight against liberals’ perception of the “right kind of anti-Semites” who are Male White Supremacists but not those Brown, Female or Muslim? It remains to be seen.

Jews and the Jewish State are under attack from all sides, and while it would be nice to see a superhero come to their aid in the world of fantasy, we need people and governments in the real world to fight back against the genocidal intentions of today’s growing anti-Jewish war machine.

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Reuters Can’t Spare Ink on Iranian Anti-Semitism

Hamas And Harvard Proudly Declare Their Anti-Semitism And Anti-Zionism

11 Hours in Colleyville, 7 Days in Entebbe

Sabbath broke, so the phones turned on to check emails and the news of the prior 25 hours. The horrible reports coming out of Colleyville, Texas were not just disturbing but unsettling. Yet again, Jews were targeted by anti-Semites/ anti-Zionists to free other anti-Semites / anti-Zionists.

Between calls and community tehillim, I opted to find some strength in a historic hostage situation – when the Israeli army rescued passengers from an airplane hijacking at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda. I had seen movies relaying the exciting rescue attempts made in the 1970s, but had not seen the newer version produced in 2018 called ‘7 Days in Entebbe,’ so watched it while my thoughts were with the Jewish hostages in Texas.

It’s a very peculiar take on the story. Rather than highlight the daring rescue operation by the Israelis, the writer/ director team of Gregory Burke and Jose Padhila took a completely different approach. They told the story of two German “revolutionaries” who joined the Palestinian hijackers; explored the Israelis through the lens of a political battle between Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin; and littered the story with performances by the Bat Sheva Dance Company.

The Left Wing Embrace of Palestinian Terrorism
(and in a good way)

The movie opens with a distorted pro-Palestinian view of history with statements to set the background and tone of the film:

  • The United Nations created Israel in 1947
  • The Palestinians then fought to get their land back
  • They were backed up by left-wing groups around the world
  • They called themselves ‘Freedom fighters’ while the Israelis called them ‘terrorists’

The distortion needs multiple levels of unpacking.

  • The UN voted to create BOTH a Jewish State and another Arab State. The Arab world refused to accept the vote as they stood firmly against any Jewish country and wanted the entire region to rule. Israel was created through its own declaration in 1948.
  • The Palestinians did not have a country where they had self-determination so there was no fight for “the return of their land.” Five Arab nations waged a war against Jews who had just survived the Holocaust, to expunge the survivors from their historic homeland.
  • The “left-wing” groups from the 1940s, 1970s and today have morphed in mission and focus. In the telling of this story, one senses that the writers believe that “social justice” requires actions like the taking of hostages – perhaps even today if nobody listens.
  • This view was cemented by the concluding lines of how the “left-wing” viewed themselves as “freedom fighters” while the Israelis called them “terrorists.”

The “left-wing” which rallied to the Palestinians’ side, dominate the story’s focus. The movie is a platform to state how these new Germans were “not Nazis” who hated Jews like the prior generation, but fought for “social justice.” They were “humanitarians” who saw how wrong it was for the Palestinians to suffer, and therefore sought and fought for a “life of meaning,” sacrificing on behalf of others.

I think Senator Bernie Sanders may have consulted on the film.

Israeli Politicians Care About Politics, Not People
But Rabin Knew That Palestinians Deserve Negotiations

The film took a very cynical view of Israeli politicians who simply were dueling for power. While Peres may have stated that one never negotiates with terrorists, the script made clear that Peres was a political opportunist who wanted the Prime Minister to look bad so he could gain the upper hand. Even when the movie relayed how the Israeli and Jewish hostages were separated from the other passengers reminiscent of the concentration camps, there was less emotion in the scene than when a small child needed to use the restroom on the plane moments after the hijacking.

While the Israeli public was hysterical about the hostage situation, Rabin remained calm. Even after the successful rescue operation, he shared with Peres that at some point the Israelis need to talk to the Palestinians and not just fight them. The writer/director were clearly paying more attention to the future when Rabin pushed forward the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, for which he paid with his life. But it is completely ahistorical when the action happened in 1976.

The Arabs fought two wars to annihilate the Israeli Jews, in 1948-9 and in 1967. Having lost both wars of attempted genocide, they adopted the Khartoum Resolution which declared three no’s: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel.

The refusal to talk and make peace was a uniform Arab policy from the 1920s through that hijacking in 1976. The movie completely inverted facts and made the Israelis the party that was holding back on negotiating peace, rather than acting in a defensive capacity against neighbors determined to kill them.

Secular Israelis Have Evolved, While Traditional Jews Have Become the New Nazis
as told by the Bat Sheva Dance Company

The movie opened and closed with performances by the Israeli troupe, the Bat Sheva Dance Company. Aside from being a constant break in the flow of the movie, most movie viewers likely just found the snippets annoying and bizarre. Let me offer my take on why these scenes were in the film.

The first time we see the performance, we see a semi-circle of dancers dressed seemingly like Hasidic Jews, sitting on chairs performing before an empty auditorium. They dance to a song “Who knows one?” traditionally sung at the end of the Passover seder. Each dancer jumps in his chair except one, she falls to the ground, exposing shocking red hair. We assume at first it is a mistake, that the dancer was not supposed to fall. Or perhaps we think we understand the message since we are familiar with the Entebbe story – that one Israeli soldier dies in the rescue attempt.

I think that scene is a retelling of the Holocaust. The Jews jumping on the chairs one after the other were European Jews shot before a firing line. The one who fell to the ground was the old Jew in the ghetto, a community forever vanquished. The shock of red hair is meant as an anchor for the viewer, much like the girl in the red coat in the move “Schindler’s List.” It happens before open chairs, as to one did anything to stop the genocide of the Jews.

We see the dancers in a similar scene later in the movie. However, this time the dancers – except for the one falling with red hair – remove an article of clothing after each wave of shots. At the end, they are all standing in their underwear while the one sitting is still garbed in the Hasidic attire. This is a reflection of the new Jew which has shed religion and its past, except for a lone holdout. These are the new strong Jews who come in and shoot the hijackers. The packed auditorium loves the performance. But are these killing Jews, like a Palestinian hijacker states, the “new Nazis”?

At the very end of the film, the stage is set with only two dancers remaining. In the background is the re-haired dancer running continuously and going nowhere. In the front of the stage, the stripped down modern Jew goes from a creeper-crawler to dynamic dancer. This evolved Jew commands the stage – until abruptly exiting. We are then only left with the dull and distant Hasidic Jew, forever repeating the same actions and going nowhere.

The audience in the end is only us, the viewer, left to decide what to make of Jews: the evolving, modern, beautiful and appreciated Jew who dominates the scene and then disappears, and the traditional Jew, in the background who endures.

The failure of the movie (not just from critics and Rotten Tomatoes) is the notion of choice. The allegories of the dancers interspersed throughout the film attempt to parallel the tension and options of modern and traditional Jews with the Israeli-Arab conflict, and consequently, why secular leftists attach themselves to the Arab cause for a Palestinian state.

The orientation of the film is that Israelis and Jews have a choice as to whether to be modern or traditional, and whether to make peace with Arabs or to fight them. To set such worldview (which is perhaps a worthwhile discussion today, over a coffee) in a movie about hostages in 1976 is highly offensive and illusory. The Jewish hostages had no choice. Saving them is not an option (and certainly not simply a matter of politics). It is the Arabs who have always had the option of making peace with the Jews, and opted each time to fight.

There are two sides to a conflict, and one party may view themselves as “freedom fighters” while the other views them as “terrorists.” It is clear where you and society stood on an issue by how each party was portrayed.

The end of the Texas synagogue stand-off is a cause to celebrate. Not only were the Jewish hostages saved, but all Americans came together to clearly identify with the besieged Jews. Regrettably, that is not always the case.

The western world is fracturing when it comes to other dead and persecuted Jews, such as the recent movie retelling the story of the 1976 Israeli hostages in Entebbe from the hijackers perspective, and an opera showing the 1985 Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking in a manner which highlighted the “humanity in the terrorists,” as general manager of the Met, Peter Gelb said about the performance “The Death of Klinghoffer“.

Will society focus on providing security to Jews or evaluate the merits of the cause of the terrorists?

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Singing of Joy and Jerusalem on Foreign Land

Many people are familiar with the Jewish tradition of breaking a glass at the end of a wedding ceremony. It has become the marker for when people go from sitting quietly to screaming “mazel tov!” for the new couple.

The shattering of the glass traditionally is accompanied by a few lines from Psalm 137 (5-6) which are sung in a subdued manner:

אִֽם־אֶשְׁכָּחֵ֥ךְ יְֽרוּשָׁלָ֗͏ִם תִּשְׁכַּ֥ח יְמִינִֽי׃

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither;

תִּדְבַּֽק־לְשׁוֹנִ֨י ׀ לְחִכִּי֮ אִם־לֹ֢א אֶ֫זְכְּרֵ֥כִי אִם־לֹ֣א אַ֭עֲלֶה אֶת־יְרוּשָׁלַ֑͏ִם עַ֝֗ל רֹ֣אשׁ שִׂמְחָתִֽי׃

let my tongue stick to my palate if I cease to think of you,
if I do not keep Jerusalem in memory even at my happiest hour.

One would imagine that keeping “Jerusalem in memory even at my happiest hour” would imply making such memory very festive at a wedding ceremony. That is when the bride and groom are at their “happiest hour,” and as they burst for joy, they should sing about Jerusalem in that same boisterous spirit, not one of solemnity capped by broken glass.

The entirety of Psalm 137 must be internalized to appreciate how Jews incorporate these few lines of song at a wedding. Here are the opening lines (1-4) which precede the wedding song:

עַ֥ל נַהֲר֨וֹת ׀ בָּבֶ֗ל שָׁ֣ם יָ֭שַׁבְנוּ גַּם־בָּכִ֑ינוּ בְּ֝זׇכְרֵ֗נוּ אֶת־צִיּֽוֹן׃

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept, as we thought of Zion.

עַֽל־עֲרָבִ֥ים בְּתוֹכָ֑הּ תָּ֝לִ֗ינוּ כִּנֹּרוֹתֵֽינוּ׃

There on the poplars we hung up our lyres,

כִּ֤י שָׁ֨ם שְֽׁאֵל֢וּנוּ שׁוֹבֵ֡ינוּ דִּבְרֵי־שִׁ֭יר וְתוֹלָלֵ֣ינוּ שִׂמְחָ֑ה שִׁ֥ירוּ לָ֝֗נוּ מִשִּׁ֥יר צִיּֽוֹן׃

for our captors asked us there for songs, our tormentors, for amusement said “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”

אֵ֗יךְ נָשִׁ֥יר אֶת־שִׁיר־יְהֹוָ֑ה עַ֝֗ל אַדְמַ֥ת נֵכָֽר׃

How can we sing a song of the LORD on alien soil?

The nature of the Psalm is one of sorrow. Tormented in diaspora, the local nations taunted the Jewish people to sing, but the joy of song could not be completed while on foreign soil. The “right hand wither[ing]” and “tongue stuck on my palate” are expressions that no harp can be played nor song uttered about Zion and Jerusalem while stuck far away.

With such orientation, consider the following wedding celebrated during the COVID pandemic:

A young man made aliyah and joined the Israeli army as a lone soldier. He completed his study at a Hesder yeshiva and his army service, and then met a beautiful girl. She had also made aliyah, albeit more recently, as she waited to hear from graduate programs in the U.S. They fell in love and got engaged with plans to marry in Israel together with their new community of friends. Unfortunately, as they spent a semester in the United States to take courses, they got stuck due to COVID restrictions and could not have the wedding in Jerusalem. They hastily made arrangements to get married in the diaspora, despite their best efforts and plans.

With the unexpected backdrop, the bride and groom finally stood beneath the wedding canopy. The chazan – who himself had made aliyah but happened to be in the U.S. for another affair – sang Psalm 137 verses 5 and 6 and then paused, as is the custom in Israel, for the groom to repeat the two sentences.

As the groom recited those words, everyone in attendance was pulled by this couple’s longing to be in Israel, and internalized line 4 from the Psalm which was unsung but deeply felt: How can we sing a song of the LORD on alien soil?

Hopefully this new couple will be blessed to share many happy anniversaries in the land in their hearts, the Jewish holy city of Jerusalem.

Related articles:

Humble Faith

Shtisel, The Poem Without an End, Continues

Jerusalem Donut Crawl 2021

This year’s Chanukah donut / sufganiyot (filled donuts) crawl took us around Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem and surrounding suburbs. The selections were plentiful and the quality varied significantly.

There are a number of observations to share before reviewing each location. First, many places emphasize toppings and appearances which often do not correlate to taste. Second, out of the way and unpopular places were amazing. Lastly, some places that had great reviews had long lines and sometimes ran out of any donuts (and thus were not reviewed).

Roladin (Mamilla Mall)

Roladin is a big chain with locations all over Israel. They have a large selection of fancy sufganiyot on Chanukah. However, the quality and taste varied depending on the selection, and generally, the taste did not live up to the hype or presentation.

The sufganiyot looked really great and the chocolate truffle seen above had great flavor. Unfortunately, most of the others like pistachio had little taste other than sugar. The cookies and cream, while tasty, relied too heavily on the Oreo cookie on top.

Kadosh (Ben Yehuda Street Area)

The food at Kadosh is amazing so don’t just stop in for the donuts and stay for breakfast or lunch. The problem is that there is a long line to get in – even just for donut pickup – as they have a great reputation. The donuts basically met the high expectations: excellent dough, nice flavor while not being too sweet. They were differentiated in presentation from many places, as it placed a dollop of filling on one side and had a sugar coating.

Gourmandises by Yoel (Ben Yehuda Street Area)

Go through the Friends of Zion Museum to locate a nice cafe in the back run by a French couple with amazing desserts. Gourmandises makes wonderful light sufganiyot which were tops in regards to flavor and texture of the dough. The icing and filings were light and tasty and avoided the heavy sugar found in many others. Try the pistachio and roses. Or the lemon. Or just about any of them – I had six! Remarkably, there were no lines at all.

Boutique Central (Ben Yehuda Street Area)

The small cafe was recommended to us but the sufganiyot were more of a pastry with no filling. The dough was tasty but disappointed overall.

Boutique Central donut had no filling

Uri’s Pizza (Me’a She’arim)

One can easily miss this place on a side street, and, as it’s not a classic bakery, one would imagine an easy skip for a donut crawl. Not so. While the donut was simple and not beautiful, the dough was light and the filling was just right.

Brooklyn Bake Shop (Me’a She’arim)

Brooklyn sells out fast and we did not get to sample their donuts but heard they were amazing.

Brooklyn Bake Shop with sign in green that they were sold out of donuts

Brizal (Me’a Shearim)

Brizal is near Brooklyn and there’s a reason they had donuts while Brooklyn did not. They looked nice but are inedible. Sweet and artificial. We threw the two we purchased out after the first bite.

English Cake (Mahane Yehuda)

English Cake supplies the sufganiyot found in many of the small stores located around the city. Like Roladin, they look pretty but rely too heavily on sugar as a substitute for taste.

Sweet Nation (Mahane Yehuda)

Like English Cake, Sweet Nation has a beautiful presentation as a cover for a sugar fix. Most of the flavor comes from the fancy toppings. Very festive, but not for a foodie.

Beautiful sufganiyot at Sweet Nation relied heavily on the toppings

Delicases de Paris (Emek Refa’im)

After the great experiences of the French bakeries of Gourmandises and Kadosh, hopes ran high for the two French bakeries on Emek Refaim. Both were disappointments. Delicases sufganiyot had heavy dough that resembled a challah roll – dense and completely off.

Moulin Dore (Emek Refaim)

Moulin Dore was probably the biggest disappointment. The heavy dough was coupled with a spoiled filling. Simply horrible and tossed in the garbage.

Ne’eman (Emek Refaim)

The third stop on Emek Refaim was not a French bakery but a tried and true location. Unfortunately, Ne’eman’s donut simply had little flavor, even while the top and icing were quite good.

Pat BeMelach (Efrat)

Outside of Jerusalem is a great cafe with tasty food and great sufganiyot. The icing, filling flavor and dough texture were all great in every flavor we sampled – and there were many!


Here’s a table summarizing our review of the sufganiyot of Jerusalem for Chanukah 2021.

BakeryDough textureDough flavorfilling amountfilling flavortopping flavorpresentationoverall
Gourmandises by Yoel101010778.59
Pat BeMelach8798.5778.5
Uri’s Pizza996 7NA57.5
English Cake65757.58.56.5
Sweet Nation5584786.5
Boutique Central970NA66.57
Delicases de Paris1284564
Moulin Dore1280462
Results of the Jerusalem 2021 Donut Crawl

Israeli sufganiyot are quite different than those found in Brooklyn, NY and varied widely in terms of quality. Top scores go to Gourmandises, Pat BeMelach (in Efrat) and Kadosh. We understand that Brooklyn is very worthwhile as well, although it was sold out of donuts when we arrived. Roladin donuts are fine and are easily found throughout the country. We hope you enjoyed the holiday!

Related articles:

Brooklyn Chanukah Donut Crawl 2020

Chanukah Donuts: Brooklyn 2019

Brooklyn’s Holiday Donuts

Humble Faith

“The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”

– Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

For thousands of years, people thought of themselves as the center of the universe. People believed that they were the most sophisticated animal and assumed that Earth was the only planet to house life, let alone intelligent life.

Religions encouraged such beliefs. The story of Genesis made humans the pinnacle of God’s creation and center of His plan, as the master of all other life forms. As late as the early 17th century, when Galileo posited that the Earth rotated around the sun, not the other way ’round’, the Catholic Church called him a heretic, banned his books and sentenced him to prison.

Religion appeared vain, anchored in self-absorption, and in opposition to science.

Map of world with Jerusalem in the center by Heinrich Bunting (1581)

As science became widely accepted over the following hundreds of years, people came to appreciate how small the Earth is in a remote edge of the galaxy. Mankind shifted from writing mythology about Gods in the stars, to scripting stories of alien life traversing the universe. Man seemingly embraced science and eschewed religion.

But people remained equally as arrogant.

Beyond the wave of science fiction books and movies over the past sixty years, sci-“fact” shows like the new “UFO” documentary have considered that aliens from other planets have come to Earth. The guise of awe for the unidentified flying objects at first conveyed humbleness in considering that humans are neither alone nor the center of the universe. Yet that premise fell completely flat. What kind of unbridled arrogance must someone have to believe that in the vastness of space, an alien managed to find earth and visit that one special person. Such remarkable conceit!

A profound faith in either religion or science could mask the same egotism with a different veneer of humility.

Carl Sagan, an astronomer and popular author about space strongly believed in science and of life on other worlds, and also believed in religion. He once said that “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” Despite the appreciation for both belief and science, he nevertheless acknowledged the issue with fundamentalism in his book ‘Contact‘ and how religion and science could be at odds for those with profound faith.

At its worst, profound religion acts as a cudgel, enabling those who believe they speak with divine authority to dictate demands. Deep faith facilitates massacres like the Christian and Muslim crusades as well as the Inquisition.

This stands in sharp contrast in humble faith. Humble religion serves as a guide for people to act towards one another with kindness. The belief in a powerful God who judges people’s seen and unseen actions is designed to shepherd society with humbleness as a check on power.

Faith can act as rein or a weapon. It depends on whether it is embraced with humility or conceit.

Jews have often been accused of arrogance as they believe that much of the bible is particular and not universal. Yet it is a unique monotheistic religion in believing that all people can ascend to heaven: Jews need to follow 613 commandments while non-Jews only need to follow the seven Noahide Laws related to universal morality. That is why Judaism does not try to convert people as their souls do not require “saving.”

Judaism encourages a humble faith in God and science, pursuing both knowledge and coexistence.

The notion that there is a dichotomy between religion and science is widely touted and deeply false. The divide is between profound faith and humble faith. The latter will serve to the betterment of all mankind.

Related First One Through articles:

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The Relationship of Man and Beast

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‘Her Unorthodox Brand’

The Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities are extremely upset about their depiction in the Netflix show “My Unorthodox Life.” People have accused the show’s star, Julia Haart, of maliciously slandering the lifestyle of thousands of women as outrageously “fundamentalist” in nature. One woman said in a local newspaper that “Monsey is home to thousands of women who are thriving religiously, professionally and personally. We are wise, we are proud and opportunities abound. We come in all different flavors. While some of us have chosen to be stay-at-home wives and mothers, many of us have pursued careers as CEOs, doctors, lawyers, nurses, authors, artists, business owners, computer techs, professors, therapists, accountants — and pretty much anything else out there.

While undoubtedly true, Haart’s story has its own message and it has so much less to do with Judaism than it does about the brand she is building and the money she hopes to make.

Julia Haart in Netflix’s “My Unorthodox Life”

Haart is the CEO of a modeling agency called Elite World Group and a clothing line named “e1972.” In the competitive world of modeling and apparel, brand message is everything and critical to success.

Haart elected to build her brands around the central theme of “giving women a voice,” and the entire “Unorthodox” show was developed to burnish that image.

The thrust of the “voice of women” message is found throughout. Haart specifically states that she is focused on helping models build their own personal brands as influencers on social media and elsewhere to extend their careers. In one episode, Julia spends time with a model helping her to launch her own line of sauces with flavors from her hometown and an image of herself on the label. One of Haart’s daughters builds her own social media presence, which she then tries to use on behalf of other models.

The underwriter of Julia’s modeling empire is her husband who built and sold a communications company years earlier. He is virtually invisible throughout the show, as his presence would undermine the message that this is a woman’s company showcasing women’s voices. The husband represents the “creepy old men from the fashion industry,” which Julia has promised to purge.

While marketed as a reality TV show, it is heavily crafted. That the women wake up in bed with an hour’s work of makeup on their faces and two-inch eyelashes in place, is but one tell-tale sign.

The storylines are all orchestrated with “the voice of women” message. Women – and Julia in particular – come off as assertive and powerful, while the men are feckless and timid. The women have successful or budding careers, while the men are faltering (there is deliberately no discussion of what Julia’s successful husband does). The women have active dating lives while the men cannot even talk to women without assistance of a female family member. There are repeated scenes of women keeping men waiting at restaurants or not showing up for appointments because the women are too busy, in a poor attempt to show the women as more important than those kept waiting, when it just made the women look rude and exposed the scriptwriters’ choreography too blatantly.

Of course, everyone comes to Julia for advice and she’s always the one with the right answers to solve each problem. She is the mascot of the brand and her voice and message must be the strongest.

It is through that lens that one has to consider the depiction of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism in the show.

Religion is just a tool in the script. To be a true inspiration to others, Julia must have broken away from a terrible past that had suppressed her. The darker and more fundamentalist her background, the greater her star shines in her new brand. In the past she was just a baby machine and unable to wear what she wanted; now she stops her children from having kids and walks around showing as much cleavage as she can while keeping the show PG. She had been limited to kosher and now enjoys shrimp and non-kosher restaurants. She had lived in her husband’s shadow in a male-dominated cloistered society, while now she is the star and bread-winner in the world, supporting the entire family.

The Orthodox community watches the Haart show from their particular vantage point, rightly insulted by the commentary on their lifestyle but cannot fathom that despite the show’s title, it has nothing to do with Judaism. “Unorthodox” is just a multi-hour long EWG “voice of women” infomercial, and the various over-the-top portrayals are simply gimmicks to keep everyone talking to burnish the brand.

Related First One Through articles:

Orthodoxy in ‘Shtisel’ and ‘Nurses’

Shtisel, The Poem Without an End, Continues

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‘The Maiming of the Jew’

Joseph Borgen, a 29-year old Jewish New Yorker, was walking on his hometown’s streets on a sunny May day, when a gang of Arabs surrounded him, beat him to the ground and sprayed his face with mace for a minute. The police apprehended one of the assailants, Waseem Awawdeh, 23, from Brooklyn who saidIf I could do it again, I would do it again.

Palestinian supporters call for violence against the Jewish State amid days of conflict between Israel and HAMAS, in Brooklyn, New York, US, May 15, 2021. (photo credit: RASHID UMAR ABBASI / REUTERS)

The unprovoked hate crime happened amid various pro-Israel and pro-HAMAS protests in New York City in the aftermath of a 10-day fight between the two forces. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted after the attack on Borgen “Anti-semitism has NO place in our city.

But it very much does. Attacking Jews because of Israel is celebrated on the stages of New York’s opera house and loudly defended in the liberal New York media.

In October 2014, the Metropolitan Opera House put on “The Death of Klinghoffer,” an opera that explored the killing of an elderly wheelchair-bound Jew vacationing on an anniversary cruise around Greece, by Palestinian terrorists. The New York Times wrote that the general manager of the Met, Peter Gelb, noted that the composer “John Adams said that in composing ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ he tried to understand the hijackers and their motivations, and to look for humanity in the terrorists.” The Times editorial on June 19, 2014 offered its disapproval that “bowing to the wishes of Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters and other Jewish critics,” the Met cancelled the global telecast of the show so the whole world could not watch the spectacle. The New Yorker magazine wrote that “when Adams walked onstage, during the curtain calls, he received a huge ovation. I imagine that a similar roar would have greeted Gelb had he appeared,” and added “the opera is not anti-Semitic, nor does it glorify terrorism.

If Jews would only read the local progressive rags, they would know not to be offended and let the masses enjoy their re-education that Palestinian terrorists have rightful grievances to attack Jews – ambulatory or otherwise – around the world.

Alas, those powerful Jews ignored their enlightened teachers and tried to stop a production that explored “the humanity of the terrorists” in killing an American Jew who had absolutely nothing to do with Palestinians. This became another reason to hate Jews, again of their own making: because of Israel and because of their powerful control on society. Don’t take the progressive press’ word for it: ask New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo about their oversized clout.

For the past decade, the liberal media has systematically ignored, minimized and excused anti-Semitism. For example, when their champion President Barack Obama said in February 2015 that “vicious zealots… randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris,” not one liberal media outlet challenged the absurd assertion that the attack was not rooted in anti-Semitism and that the killer was not targeting Jews.

In March 2016, the New York-based United Nations passed resolutions to ban the usage of religion when tied to terrorism in an effort to curb “Islamophobia.” Yet less than a week later, it called out “Jewish extremists.” The Arab and Muslim-dominated global agency acted to “protect” the honor of 1.8 billion Muslims but had no concern about vilifying a few million Jews at the same time.

In early 2019, the leaders of the U.S. Congress could similarly not condemn Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a freshman member who repeatedly spouted anti-Semitic bile, and instead called out generic hatred (which Omar called a victory for Muslims). Some months later, the same members of Congress – including New York Senator Chuck Schumer – knelt on the floor wearing African Kente cloth to specify that Black Lives Matter in a moment of solidarity he could not find for fellow Jews earlier.

In September 2019, New York’s only Ivy League school, Columbia University, invited Malaysian Prime Minster Mahathir Mohamad to speak on campus, even though it was widely known that he referred to Jews as “hooked nosed” and was “glad to be labeled an anti-Semite.” Shortly thereafter, the Columbia Alumni for Campus Fairness produced a report documenting 100 anti-Jewish incidents at Columbia and Barnard over the prior three years including a swastika painted on a Jewish professor’s office and various faculty members who promote Holocaust denial.

Perhaps not wanting to be outdone, New York University awarded the President’s Service Award to Students for Justice in Palestine, an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish group.

The reality is that Jews have always been the most targeted victims of hate crimes in the United States – more than Blacks, Muslims or the LGBT community. They’ve been attacked when there have been fights in Israel and when it has been calm, when the Democrats ruled as well as when Republicans were in charge. The anti-Semitism is a disgraceful constant.

What is also undeniable, is that physical attacks on Jews have skyrocketed as politicians call Jews both powerful and dangerous while the liberal press anoints Victims of Preference which cannot be Jews. The daily headlines and editorials in The New York Times serve as propaganda material for HAMAS, inverting cause-and-effect, by repeating lies about “ethnic cleansing” and refusing to mention the anti-Semitic genocidal foundation of HAMAS. To cleanse any appearance of anti-Jewish animus, it allows Jews to join the fray.

New York’s cultural and educational scene welcomed anti-Semites to the stage, and liberal politicians and press took box seats. As the world democratized content, the play moved outside. It’s called ‘The Maiming of the Jew,’ and features real New Yorkers.

Related First One Through articles:

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The Holocaust Will Not Be Colorized. The Holocaust Will Be Live.

WHY The Progressive Assault on Israel (and Jews)

The Joy of Lecturing Jews

Where’s the March Against Anti-Semitism?

Ramifications of Ignoring American Antisemitism

The War Against Israel and Jewish Civilians

Eyal Gilad Naftali Klinghoffer. The new Blood Libel.

25,000 Jews Remaining

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