Is Columbia University Promoting Violence Against Israel and Jews?

Columbia University has claimed to be a champion of free speech. It was in that spirit that it invited the noted anti-Semite Malaysian Prime Minster Mahathir Mohamad to speak on campus in September 2019. Mohamad has called Jews “hook-nosed,” said they “rule the world by proxy” and questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. He has even said he is “glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.”

That same week, seemingly to make the Jewish students on campus feel particularly unwelcome, one of Columbia’s professors, Lis Harris, released her book “In Jerusalem.” The student-run Columbia Spectator magazine reviewed the book in its Winter 2019-20 edition.

The review was shocking in seemingly endorsing the author’s contentions that Israel is an oppressor of Palestinians without adding any facts or context.

The article is set up to inform the reader that the book will have a natural “pro-Israel” tenor, as the author Lis Harris “grew up in a secular Jewish family in the United States fully alert, she says, ‘to the wrongs done to the beleaguered Jews across the ocean,’ but with little sense of the ‘wrongs done to the Palestinian people.’” Ah, if someone with a pro-Israel bias can see how terrible Israel is, it certainly must be true. The birth of a woke anti-Zionist is a cause for a progressive party.

Facts in the review and/or the book were seemingly few in the offering.

We are told that the book tries to look at the conflict through the lens of two families, a Jewish one living in “West Jerusalem” and a Palestinian one “living across the border wall in East Jerusalem.” This is fiction. There is no “border wall” between “West Jerusalem” and “East Jerusalem.” In 1967, Israel tore down the fence that divided the Jerusalem after Jordan illegally attacked Israel, and reunited the holy city. There is no West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, and the fence which had existed from 1949 to 1967 was explicitly declared to NOT be a border by Israel and Jordan in their Armistice agreement. The “security barrier” which Israel began to erect in 2002 to stop the terrorism of Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank is to the east of unified Jerusalem.

Perhaps the facts make the author’s shuttle diplomacy seem less daring, but it’s a sad intro for a writer “who spent more than ten years gathering research and interviews for the book.” The book established zero credibility from the outset.

The review then moves from the gross inaccuracies to ignoring Jewish history and blessing Arab terrorists.

We are informed that the stories in the book are told by “accomplished women” and intelligent and respected family members who “want peace and a fair solution to the conflict.” The Jewish woman’s aunt escaped Nazi Germany who found asylum in Mandatory Palestine “as a refuge from violence.” There is no mention that Mandatory Palestine was designed to REESTABLISH the Jewish homeland years before Nazis came to power. Jews were not dumped into Mandatory Palestine in a reaction to the Holocaust; the land of Israel has been the Jewish homeland for 3,700 years. Modern Zionism pushed for Jewish sovereignty in that land decades before the State of Israel came into being. That’s why Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since the 1860’s, all facts not covered in the review and presumably not in the book.

This Jewish aunt “is juxtaposed with the experience of Niveen’s [the Arab’s] aunt. At twenty-one, Rasema Odeh was accused of terrorism, illegally tortured, and served ten years at the Ramla prison… Rasmea’s story is shocking, but the chapter devoted to it is one of the book’s best.” The review made it sound like Odeh was a poor victim, unjustly “accused of terrorism.” It neglected to state that she was convicted of terrorism in which she placed a bomb at a supermarket killing two civilians (her accomplices openly admitted such on Palestinian TV). It failed to state that Odeh lied about the events in getting a visa into the United States in 1994 and was stripped of her citizenship in 2017 and deported. It failed to note that many countries – including Germany in 2019 – banned her from speaking in public and denied her a visa as she calls violence against Israel. The mayor of Berlin said about Odeh that “anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic resentments, wrapped up in liberation rhetoric, have no business here. I am glad that we have found a way to stop this propaganda.

This “juxtaposition” of a Holocaust survivor finding refuge at the expense of Palestinian Arabs seems to take a page out of the book of pathological liar U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who claimed she found comfort that her ancestors created a safe haven for Jews when they actually did everything they could to kill the Jews and/or keep them out of Palestine.

The article continues with more inanity such as “Harris is clear-sighted and firm in her own view that the Israeli government is more oppressor than victim. She does not condemn the Palestinian people fighting to live in their occupied home of East Jerusalem (but neither will she excuse the violence of Hamas).”  No commentary that the Arab population in the eastern part of Jerusalem has grown FOUR TIMES since 1967, a rate that surpasses the population growth of Arabs in any neighboring country. It also neglects to mention that Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem have the option of becoming Israeli citizens and thousands have opted to do so. Palestinians aren’t “fighting to live;” they are fighting to evict the Jews and destroy the Jewish State.

The Spectator adds that “Harris was able to comment on President Trump’s rash recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Rash? Was President Truman’s recognition of Israel in 1948 also rash? The snide comment didn’t even attempt to hide the reviewer’s bias.

In summation, the review states that “through the people she comes to know in Israel and Palestine, Lis Harris sees hope, and this brave new book ultimately helps us see it too.” Palestine? The United States recognizes no such country. And to the extent that it recognizes “Palestinian Territories,” those are limited to Gaza and Areas A and B, and certainly not “in Jerusalem.”


Columbia University has chapters of anti-Israel hate groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace as student-run groups on campus. Their voices seem to have penetrated not only the student-run paper and magazine but the University itself which includes a faculty with anti-Israel authors and promoters of boycotts of Israel, and enabled the invitation of proud anti-Semites like the Prime Minister of Malaysia onto its campus. Beyond the student agitators, maybe the university’s anti-Israel platform was purchased by foreign donors like Saudi Arabia who pumped more than $193 million into Columbia between 2011 and 2017.

In October 2019, a report entitled “A Hotbed for Hate” produced by the Alumni for Campus Fairness listed over 100 anti-Jewish incidents at Columbia and Barnard since the 2016/7 academic year. In addition to the on-campus activities like a swastika painted on a Jewish professor’s office, the report listed numerous faculty members who deny the history of Jews as well as peddle forms of Holocaust denial.

At the very moment when antisemitism is on the rise, the murder of Jews is becoming commonplace and the demonization of Israel is accepted, it is a travesty that New York City’s only Ivy League school gives credibility, honor and an open mic to such vile sentiments.


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The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

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Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

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“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

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Bernie Sanders is Less Sophisticated Than Forrest Gump

The King of the Democratic Socialists, Senator Bernie Sanders, continues to show off his stupid ideas. His latest – capping pay of private companies.

The current salvo is part of Sanders’ “Stop Walmart Act” in which he wants to limit CEO’s pay to 150 times that of a typical employee. Somehow, raising the quality of life for poorest Americans is not sufficient via increases to the minimum wage and work conditions. Sanders is intent on putting the breaks on income inequality by limiting what the top brass earn. So if the average employee made $50,000 per year at a company, the CEO pay would be capped at $7.5 million.

Think about applying the logic to the movie business.

Tom Hanks earned roughly $60 million for his work in Forrest Gump. Taking his pay and dividing by 150 would mean that the average worker for that movie – including hair and makeup, lighting, sound editor, key grip (whatever that means) – would earn $400,000. Needless to say, the average worker on the movie made nowhere near that total. If the average person made $75,000, should Hanks have his pay capped at $11.25 million?

In baseball, Mike Trout earns $33.25 million a year playing for the Angels. The ecosystem in baseball is vast and includes groundskeepers, umpires, gate and parking attendants, people in concessions and advertising and marketing. Does the average person who works in Major league Baseball make $221,667? If they don’t, then Sanders believes that Tout shouldn’t make as much as he does. His perception of fairness trumps the value of his contribution as determined by the free markets.

People can readily appreciate the performances of actors and athletes, and pay money to see them perform. But the management talents of corporate executives is not easy to comprehend or see. A bad CEO could cost a company billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Their work is not simply to amuse people for a few hours, but has dramatic impact on shareholders, employees and customers.

But for new era of American Socialists, income inequality is inherently evil. As freshman member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saida system that allows billionaires to exist… is wrong” and “immoral.


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders

The start of this thinking in the Democratic Party can be traced to 2012, when President Barack Obama made the remark “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” While there is a kernel of truth to his broader commentary that most businesses are built with many employees and an ecosystem which enables wealth creation, the current alt-left version of that thinking is that ALL people who have a hand in wealth creation inherently deserve a good portion of that wealth. In the example above, Sanders does not only think that a grounds-keeper at a stadium should get a large raise when the baseball players get huge paydays, but Mike Trout’s Little League coach when he was ten years old should also be entitled to some of Trout’s salary.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is another presidential hopeful from the left-wing who is hyper-focused on income inequality. She has proposed forcing large companies to have almost half of the boards of directors be representatives of the employees. Such efforts are meant to curtail the efficiencies and cost-savings which companies like Amazon utilize to pass cost-savings onto consumers, and instead ensure more employees are hired and make more money relative to shareholders and management. The goal is for unskilled labor to get shielded in a world of automation while trimming Jeff Bezos’s wealth; a double win for progressives. For the people who maximized efficiencies and created new companies, not so much.

Big progressive government is trying to launch the biggest takeover ever – of the entirety of the American business community. It promises to be heavy-handed, very intrusive and punitive as it devalues the contribution of those who innovate and lead.

Bernie Sanders proudly adopted one of the mottoes of Forrest Gump, that “mama said there’s only so much fortune a man really needs… and the rest is just for showing off,” as he pushes to pass laws preventing highly skilled people from making “too much” money. In truth, the Democratic Socialist motto is “stupid is as stupid does.


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Purim 2019, The Progressive Megillah

Roughly 2,500 years ago where the patriarchy reigned,
Jewish history was made in a failed coup, bloodstained.

Far from the destroyed Temple, in the Persian vicinity
A ruffian named Haman was imbued with toxic masculinity.

He used his privileged status to easily befriend the king,
And set in motion a plan to set the palace right wing.

Haman targeted the snowflakes and anything intersectional
And demanded that every Jew position themselves genuflectional.

Yet the Jew Mordechai would not bow or quake
And later mansplained to his niece Esther the actions to take.

But Esther was already woke to Haman’s weaponized speech
And with Mordechai hatched a plan to have Haman impeached.

She asked the Jews in the kingdom to start fasting in the morning
In the first biblical example of a community trigger warning.

She burst into the king’s party, uninvited and quite disheveled
‘Attempted mass murder!’ through clenched teeth, at Haman she leveled.

The microaggression forced the king to seek a safe space in the garden.
When he returned to see Haman toppled on Esther, Haman lost his chance for a pardon.

Haman screamed in anguish in a curse filled with misogyny
And soon hanged from a tree with all ten of his male progeny.

The tables had turned and the streets were turned red
As the Jews attacked their enemies with 75,000 dead.

The Jews were not vanquished on Purim, aligned with the elites
Capped with handing money to the poor and giving each other treats.

Today’s alt-left progressives might find this ending bittersweet
And reject the story’s conclusion or find religion obsolete.

But antisemitism’s continuing roar from the extreme right and the left
Shouldn’t leave our whole community with a wide sickening cleft.

Hand your blue friends some red treats, and the conservative something blue.
Be joyous and celebrate wholeheartedly with each and every Jew.

The Last of the Mo’Kichels

Moishe’s Kosher Bake Shop has closed.


Moishe’s Kosher Bake Shop

The wonderful kosher bakery on 115 East Second Avenue off of 7th Street had been an institution for decades. Seemingly from the era of the nearby Yiddish Theater and Second Avenue Deli (in its original location), the 42-year old bakery continued to produce it’s famous baked goods in the same old-world style until closing it’s doors at the end of February 2019.

The inside of the bakery always maintained its same appearance. There was no digital signage, no sign offering wifi and no credit cards accepted. The yellow paper and doilies that lined the shelves were seemingly of the same count as they were 75 years ago.

But beyond the appearance was the food. The enormous hamantaschen always filled the front glass windows. The classic “bowtie” twisted kichel as well as those with a hint of chocolate were straight towards the back of the store, piled high. Moishe’s special version of the large round kichel with just the right amount of crunch and bite, and the perfect sprinkling of sugar on top made them easy to inhale. The other items like the cheese strudel (plain, cherry and blueberry) were also amazing, while many of the chocolate items were tasty, though not exemplary.

But it was the superb large round kichels which Moishe’s perfected that will leave the largest hole in New York’s history of great kosher eateries. It is sad to think that I have consumed the last of the Mo’kichels.

Related First.One.Through article:

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The Beautiful and Bad Images in Barcelona

The museum housing the works of the 20th century painter Joan Miro (1893-1983) is found in Barcelona, Spain sitting high in the hills of Montjuic, or “the Jewish Mountain,” so named for the historic Jewish presence there in medieval times, before the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of the Jews in the 15th century. The museum contains many beautiful works by Miro including paintings, sculptures and tapestries.

The Beautiful

Many of the abstract paintings have no titles, but one beautiful painting does, called “The Gold of the Azure,” painted in 1967.

The painting shows the planet Earth as a large blue oval surrounded by a white halo. It is set against a gold sky along with other planets as smaller black blobs, a distant red smear of a sun, and large but faint black stars represented by four intersecting lines. Across the middle of the painting is a soft black line, the sole element that cuts against the dominant blue image of the painting.

Despite the dominance of the blue orb, the painting is balanced like a mobile by one of Miro’s contemporary artists, Alexander Calder (1898-1976). However, unlike Calder’s physical mobiles that needed to operate in gravity, Miro’s painting of the solar system needed no practical constraints. The thin black line is wavy and did not attach to any objects as opposed to Calder’s taut black wires connecting the objects of the art. Miro’s connective element floated against the gold sky just like the 4-lined stars. The work presents harmony of suspended disparate elements in the universe as visualized by a man who despised the fascism that dominated his country from the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) through the Nationalist government led by Francisco Franco (1939-1975).

The Bad

Adjacent to The Joan Miro Museum is a small tranquil park called Jardines de Laribal. The pretty garden is a quiet place for a nice short stroll.

The garden has just a few entrances, each flanked by two columns. On a sunny day in February 2019, one of the columns to enter the park contained a large black swastika.

Entrance to Jardines de Laribal
(photo: FirstOneThrough February 28, 2019)

The crude image on the right column was balanced by a large green map on the left welcoming visitors to the garden. A harmony of hatred for those pleased that the garden was built atop Jewish cemeteries. Spain, happily Jew-free since 1492.

The symbol of Nazism, fascism and racism may bear passing resemblance to the simple stars in the paintings of Joan Miro located a hundred meters away, but the message could not be more different. In the art inside the museum, the faint images of the smaller and different bodies coexist peacefully with the dominant orbs. But outside the museum, in the real world built atop the graves of Jews, European racism and antisemitism still demands a purely Catholic order.


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The Shrapnel of Intent

“The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the howl of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making
a circle with no end and no God.”

“The Diameter of a Bomb”
Yehuda Amichai (1924 – 2000)

 

Yehuda Amichai moved to Palestine from Germany in 1936, as the Nazi war against the Jews was emerging in Europe, and the Arab war against the Zionists was gathering steam in Palestine. He would fight together with the British army in World War II and with the Jewish Defense Forces in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948-9. He would later become one of Israel’s most treasured poets, winning the Israel Prize for poetry in 1982 for his collection of works he penned in Hebrew. He died at the age of 76, at the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000.

Like all living things, Amichai’s life had a beginning and end. However, his works touched upon deeper truths which surpassed both time and geography. In a life framed by antisemitism and rejection, his words brought the Jewish people a mixture of bitterness, longing, anger and comfort about the hatred and violence they all endured.

The poem above is such an example regarding how the diameter of a bomb doesn’t begin to explain the sphere of its impact. While the scars are physical, the trauma is mental; the explosion may be ephemeral, but the shock is eternal.

Amichai’s words resonated deeply for the small global Jewish community which suffered from constant attacks both in Israel and in the diaspora. In Europe and Russia during the 20th century, millions of Jews were slaughtered while the Jews in Arab countries were expelled. The physical pain experienced by one Jew touched their cousins around the world. The grief was shared.

But the pain experienced by the Jews in Israel from multiple Arab wars and countless terrorist attacks carried an extra burden for world Jewry. While the emotional trauma of fellow Jews slaughtered and maimed reinforced the constant haunting echo of antisemitism, the attacks on the Jews in Zion also compromised the Promised Land. A place of holiness became a house of mourning. The collective Jewish inheritance bestowed by God was being ravaged in an unholy assault.

Since the beginning of the rebirth of the Jewish State in the early 1900’s, Jews and pro-Israel people around the world have been emotionally connected to the terrorism and wars inflicted upon Israeli Jews. Amichai’s poem noted that local Israeli tragedies encircled the world in grief. The bombs severed limbs and cut lives short, yet they connected everyone.

But something changed drastically over the past dozen years. The tragedies befalling Israeli Jews are now perceived through different lenses for both Israeli Jews and the Zionist community around the world.

The Changed Israeli Perspective: The Bombers

The beginning of the altered Israeli perspective began as the Second Intifada was born at the failure of the Oslo Accords.

The September 1995 Oslo II Accords were scheduled to reach a conclusive peace agreement in five years, in September 2000. However, when the Palestinian Arab leadership under Yasser Arafat was not able to secure 100% of his desired goals, he launched waves of attacks against Jewish civilians, killing hundreds of people over several years.

The ramification of the Second Intifada was not only the hundreds of murdered Israelis, but the penetrating shock waves that rippled through Israeli society which left permanent scars. Israelis internalized that the conflict was not about land as they had hoped, or about Palestinian “refugees” as they had been told. Israelis concluded that people who would intentionally slaughter children because they did not get a 100% of their demands, would never allow the Jewish State to exist on even 1% of the land. The Second Intifada scorched the psyche of Israelis that the Palestinians rejected the basic presence of Jews and the existence of the Jewish State. No enduring peace could ever be achieved with such Arab sentiment.

The shrapnel of intent of the bombers of the Second Intifada entered the minds of Israelis altering their views of the Palestinian Arabs, while the heat of the blasts incinerated the Israeli doves. The dream of peace with such murderers was reckoned a fantasy too dangerous to pursue and impossible to achieve.

In light of their new perspectives, the Israelis altered direction in dealing with the Palestinian Arabs. They erected a security barrier between the Arabs in the West Bank and Israel, and have elected a series of right-of-center governments. All to the chagrin of the liberals in the diaspora.

The Changed Diaspora Perspective: Untouched

Yossi Klein Halevi, an American-Israeli author who works at the left-of-center Shalom Hartman Institute recently wrote a book called  “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor,” which captures some of the divide between the American left-wing and Israelis. In describing the book, he talked about the anguish of his dream of peace with Palestinian Arabs being destroyed by the Second Intifada.

“The Second Intifada brought the right back to power and nearly destroyed the Israeli left, something the international community still hasn’t internalized.”

For Israelis, the Second Intifada was different than the wars and terrorism before 2000. The Israelis felt that they had stretched far to achieve peace and were rewarded with the massacre of innocents. Even after the Second Intifada, when the Palestinians got to hold open elections for their parliament for the first time in 2006, they elected the terrorist group Hamas to a 58% majority. When Israel left Gaza in 2005, it was rewarded with wars in 2008, 2012 and 2014. And regarding people living and working side-by-side, the coexistence was paid for with stabbings and car rammings – literally funded by the Palestinian Authority.

Unlike Yehuda Amichai’s poem, liberals outside of Israel were not deeply touched by the Second Intifada. The Jewish diaspora didn’t see the pizza store and bus bombings of the 2000’s as markedly different than Palestinians shooting up schools or hijacking planes in the 1970’s: the Palestinian Arabs were still seeking 100% of their demands and the Israelis were not compromising nearly enough. The Israelis concluded that the counter-party was forever false, while the international community was occupied counting refugees and square kilometers of land.

While Israelis became convinced that the Palestinians rejected any enduring peace with the Jewish State, the left-wing diaspora was certain that the Israelis were never going to give the Arabs everything they demanded without external pressure. The viewpoints were different; the near term objectives were different; and one party was going to force the other to adhere to its terms.


Amichai’s poem concluded with a bond of empathy that surpassed boundaries: deeper truths surpass raw figures. While Israelis gained clarity of their relationship with the Palestinians in witnessing their pathological reaction to minuscule gaps in an agreement, the international community and liberal diaspora Jews were tracing the invisible 1949 Armistice Lines.

The difference in reactions opened a wide divide in the relationship.

Since the Second Intifada, the diameter of Palestinian bombs no longer encircles and binds Israeli Jews and liberal diaspora Jews. Until the shrapnel of intent penetrates the minds of the international community, the chasm in the relationship is only likely to widen.


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Brooklyn’s Holiday Donuts

Okay, so my family has a bit of an obsession about food. It’s a statement that’s always true, and it gets worse on holidays.

On Chanukah, we make an annual pilgrimage to different areas of Brooklyn, NY to sample the great donuts. Well, not really “sample” as much as devour. Here are the highlights so you can participate in the fun.

Sesame. 1540 Coney Island Ave.

The store is located on the diagonal corner from the large Pomegranate kosher food store. The donuts are simply delicious. The shelves are often wiped clean and people must wait for the fresh donuts to be brought in from the oven around the corner.

Ever eat a lemon jelly donut fresh from the oven? It’s out of this world. The hazelnut? Amazing. The Lotus and regular jelly donuts were also terrific.


Selection of jelly donuts from Sesame

Grab a cardboard box for six when you enter the store. It’s easier to handle than the large box for a dozen as you try to grab some fresh donuts as the store workers bring in the next batch. (We had two six-packs and another plastic container for two more).

Bagels N Greens. 1379 Coney Island Ave.

This store is for people looking for elaborate donuts with multiple and complex toppings. Excellent flavor at a steeper price. They also have a nice lunch menu and chairs to sit – unique among the bakeries listed here. I suggest factoring in some healthy food somewhere in the donut crawl so your kids don’t think you’re totally insane.

Ostrovitsky’s. 1124 Avenue J

Nice, clean and well lit, the holiday donuts are just one of many great things to sample here (also try the chocolate horn – yum). The Rosemarie chocolate donut was marvelous. The place is often busy, with an organized line, but definitely worth the wait.


Line at Ostrovitsky’s worth the wait

Gombos Heimishe Bakery. 328 Kingston Ave

Gombos is in Crown Heights. Over the holiday, it is ALL about the donuts; there is nothing else really going on here. Prices are the cheapest and the selection and taste is quite good. They have a good mix of dairy and pareve donuts. The place is a bit of a balagan (crazy disorder) but a required stop if you have kids and/or buying dozens of donuts.


Some of the donuts at Gombos


Those are the top four bakeries if you’re looking for exceptional donuts and a great holiday experience. Here are some others that were sampled and worth visiting:

Weiss Bakery. 5011 13th Ave

Excellent bakery. Try the rugelach or chocolate horns. The donuts are okay, not required eating during the holiday.

Taam Eden Bakery. 4603 13th Ave

Right down the block from Weiss Bakery is Taam Eden. Very nice selection of donuts at good prices.

Schreiber’s Homestyle Bakery. 3008 Avenue M

Quite close to Sesame, is a small (not as clean as one would like) but definitely delicious bakery called Schreiber’s. In addition to the pretty good and very tasty selection of donuts, are lace cookies which among the best in Brooklyn.

Mansoura Bakery. 515 Kings Highway

Mansoura is a Syrian bakery and does NOT carry donuts. They do carry some amazing baklava and other Sefaradi dishes. Note that it’s not so close to the other bakeries.


Baklava at Mansoura

Enjoy the holiday AND the food!


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Ben & Jerry’s New Flavor: Milano Zio

A satire.

Ben & Jerry’s unveiled its latest ice cream called “Pecan Resist,” a flavor that pays homage to the anti-Trump movement. The company’s founders announced that proceeds from sales of Pecan Resist will go to benefit four progressive groups including the Women’s March. The cover of the ice cream packaging includes illustrations of the organizers of the Women’s March, including those whom are fiercely anti-Zionist and proudly associate with antisemites including Louis Farrakhan.

Being progressive capitalists at heart, Ben & Jerry’s has opted to sell yet another flavor trying to appeal to progressives who aren’t antisemites. It is called “Milano Zio,” named after Alyssa Milano who refuses to be associated with the Women’s March until its promoters Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory condemn Farrakhan.

While Pecan Resist was mostly dark with chocolate ice cream and included an assortment of nuts, Milano Zio will be made of vanilla ice cream with pieces of Milano cookies to add a drop of color and crunch. A small sliced carrot will sit atop the ice cream, as a shout out to gefilte fish.

Asked by reporters why they decided to launch a new flavor trying to appeal to Jews and Zionists, the ice cream makers directed them to look at the message on the container. It reads:

“Together we can build a more just and equitable tomorrow. Just as Pecan Resist can foster a future that values inclusivity, equality, and justice for people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, refugees, and immigrants, we believe that there is a place in the world for Jews and a Jewish State. However, as progressives, we dare not include these people with our general message of inclusivity.”

Asked for clarification on what the statement meant, the Ben & Jerry’s spokesman said: “The Black Lives Matter and Women’s March were completely against the Jews and Zionists being included in our peaceful message so we needed to handle them separately.

Like the small number of Jews and tiny State of Israel, the Milano Zio flavor will only be sold in a new quarter pint size.

Proceeds from the sale of Milano Zio will go to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital’s new center for lactose intolerance.


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The Hidden Side of the Moon

The weekly Torah reading of the first chapter of Genesis, Bereishit, always occurs during the week of a new moon. The coupling seems to contain a hidden message.

On the fourth creation day, God made the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:14-18)

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֗ים יְהִ֤י מְאֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהַבְדִּ֕יל בֵּ֥ין הַיּ֖וֹם וּבֵ֣ין הַלָּ֑יְלָה וְהָי֤וּ לְאֹתֹת֙ וּלְמ֣וֹעֲדִ֔ים וּלְיָמִ֖ים וְשָׁנִֽים׃

God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as signs for the set times—the days and the years;

וְהָי֤וּ לִמְאוֹרֹת֙ בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן׃

and they serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth.” And it was so.

וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִ֔ים אֶת־שְׁנֵ֥י הַמְּאֹרֹ֖ת הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים אֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַגָּדֹל֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַיּ֔וֹם וְאֶת־הַמָּא֤וֹר הַקָּטֹן֙ לְמֶמְשֶׁ֣לֶת הַלַּ֔יְלָה וְאֵ֖ת הַכּוֹכָבִֽים׃

God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars.

וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בִּרְקִ֣יעַ הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם לְהָאִ֖יר עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth,

וְלִמְשֹׁל֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם וּבַלַּ֔יְלָה וּֽלֲהַבְדִּ֔יל בֵּ֥ין הָא֖וֹר וּבֵ֣ין הַחֹ֑שֶׁךְ וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃

to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that this was good.”

The “two great lights” refer to the Sun and the Moon that dominate Earth’s sky during the day and night. Each serves as a source of light to “shine upon the earth,” and as a way of separating “light from darkness” which had been mixed together earlier in creation. While the Sun remains a fixed source of light always dominating the daytime, the Moon’s light comes and goes over the course of a month, generating – or more accurately “reflecting” – light during the night. The Moon’s dominance ebbs and flows.

The changing nature of the Moon’s light is directly related to its position in the sky relative to the Earth and Sun. When the Earth is between the Sun and Moon, the full light of the Sun reflects back on the Earth displaying itself as a “Full Moon.” However, when the Moon is between the Sun and Earth, no light reflects off the Moon’s surface that is visible to Earth. From the perspective of Earth, the moon is completely dark, known as the “New Moon.”

The Moon itself does not spin. It has one side that always faces Earth known as the “near side” and the other side known as the “far side.” Some people call the far side the “dark side,” but this is inaccurate. As described above, the Moon’s light and dark sides change throughout the month. A more appropriate definition for the far side would be the “hidden side.”

So while God created the “greater light” as a fixed item to always dominate the daytime sky which people could see every day and from all sides throughout the year, He created a lesser light that would have a varying amount of light during the night, and a hidden side that could never be seen from Earth.

Man’s Moon for Signs and Holidays

The Sun was established for “the days and years,” permanent and marked regardless of the introduction of man at the sixth day of creation. The Earth’s vegetation and animals need the Sun as much as Man; the Sun was a gift to everything on Earth. But the Moon was different. The Moon was for לְאֹתֹת֙ וּלְמ֣וֹעֲדִ֔ים, for “signs and holidays.” It was specially designed for mankind.

In Exodus 12:1-2, God gave a commandment to the Jewish people:

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לֵאמֹֽר׃

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם רֹ֣אשׁ חֳדָשִׁ֑ים רִאשׁ֥וֹן הוּא֙ לָכֶ֔ם לְחָדְשֵׁ֖י הַשָּׁנָֽה׃

This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.

Rabbis learned from the superfluous words of “for you” that it was for the leaders of the Jewish people to declare when a new month actually began. People set the beginning of the month and consequently, when all Jewish holidays would fall out, such as Passover and Sukkot. The Bible foreshadowed in Genesis 1 that the Jews would use the lunar calendar for their months and holidays. To this day, Jews around the world do not only enjoy the light of the moon, but also track and celebrate the darkening phase to mark each month and set the calendar.

Are there other messages to be learned about the Moon?

Total Solar Eclipse
(photo by Ari Mendelow, August 21, 2017)

Man’s Role with the Near and Hidden

The Bible does not discuss the nature of the Moon having a single Earth-facing side and another hidden side. It strictly relates to the Moon’s qualities regarding light. God encourages man to use the changing night sky of the Moon and stars to chart holidays and perhaps navigation. The changing nature of the light sources were meant to serve as useful tools.

Yet there are items that are unseen by Man in the night, such as the far side of the Moon. Did God want these hidden items to be discovered and used as well? Were the hidden mysteries of space something for mankind to discover?

Some rabbis have opined that the answer is no. They note that King David sang in Psalms 115:16

הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם שָׁ֭מַיִם לַיהוָ֑ה וְ֝הָאָ֗רֶץ נָתַ֥ן לִבְנֵי־אָדָֽם׃

The heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth He gave over to man.

Some rabbis have condemned space travel on this basis. They note that Jews have been punished for space travel, including Judith Resnik, the first Jewish American in space who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli in space who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

But many others feel differently. God is clear when things are forbidden to man.

God set clear boundaries once He set Adam in the Garden of Eden. He made two trees in the garden which were declared off-limits for Man. If God did not want Mankind to explore and discover the hidden items in his creation, He would have spelled it out.

Chapter 1 of Genesis laid out the days of creation of the world and provided a foreshadowing of Man before his creation in noting the importance of the Moon. Perhaps God’s directing Man to look up to the Moon meant much more than simply observing its light.

First Man and The Hidden

While Genesis recorded the world’s first person, the new movie First Man describes the first man on the Moon. The movie captures the excitement of discovery of a new world, seen but untouched.

There is another part of the story as it relates to astronaut Michael Collins who navigated the Columbia command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were on the Moon. As the pair were on the near side of the Moon for 22 hours, Collins orbited the Moon, navigating the module around the far side of the Moon. He was there for roughly 47 minutes all alone – without his fellow astronauts beside him in the module, and without the ability to communicate with mission control on Earth while on the far side. His only companion was the mysterious side of the Moon, while he was hidden from mankind. Since Adam, there was probably never a human more alone than Michael Collins for those 47 minutes.


God created the world, giving a special role for mankind to play regarding the Moon, even as He placed the first man in a protected corner of Earth. It would take thousands of years for another man to be first on that special celestial body.

Discovering God’s creations is often noted for the thrilling moments of engagement like walking on the Moon, but it can also be found in quiet moments, such as seeing God’s hidden mysteries. Hopefully the great explorations will continue.


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Abu Mazen Balls

Recipes

 

There are a number of dishes that are recognized as Jewish food such as gefilte fish and matzah ball soup. A personal favorite is related to the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Roughly 2,500 years ago in Persia, an evil politician named Haman tried to kill all of the Jews, but failed in his attempt. The holiday of Purim celebrates the day that Haman had chosen to kill the Jews but instead became the day of his downfall.

To celebrate the day, Jews made a sweet dessert called Hamataschen. The cookie has three corners designed to resemble Haman’s three cornered-hat. The middle of the cookie is filled with something sweet such as apricot or prune jam. While people may eat the delicious dessert all year, the day of Purim when Jews celebrate the inversion of their fate, is when they are mostly consumed.

Today, there are additional sweets to enjoy named after other evil people who wanted to harm the Jewish people.

On August 18, 1988, the terrorist group Hamas published its charter. The vile charter was replete with anti-Semitic invective. It called for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel by all Arabs and Muslims around the world and invited more people to participate. It was a manifesto for jihad and terrorism which fueled the murder of thousands of people.

Unfortunately, Hamas did not disappear on that August day. It won parliamentary elections in 2006, securing 58% of the seats. It evicted the rival Fatah group from the Gaza Strip in 2007 and launched three wars against Israel from there in 2008, 2012 and 2014. In 2018, it has chosen to use arson balloons to destroy Israeli fields and terrorize Israelis.

But perhaps it is time to negate the hate.

Israel has effectively blocked Hamas from implementing its charter of genocide. In the 30 years since the screed was published, Israel has become an economic and military powerhouse, while the territory Hamas controls has become a dreary backwater. The Israeli army has eliminated thousands of Hamas terrorists, thereby saving many thousands of Israeli lives.

It is time to celebrate the reversal of Hamas’s calls for the death to Israel, to a celebration of the Nation-State of the Jewish People.

Introducing two new Jewish treats: Abu Mazen Balls and Te’ay’nog.

Abu Mazen Balls

Abu Mazen is the nom de guerre of the ineffectual acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. Abu Mazen began his four-year term as President of the Palestinian Authority on January 10, 2005, but he has refused to hold elections again. His PA government has celebrated the murder of Israeli Jews, called for the death penalty for any Arab that sells land to Jews, demanded a new country of Palestine be free of any Israeli Jews, and blamed Jews for their own Holocaust. He refuses to recognize the history and rights to Jews in their homeland and threatens them on the global stage.

But the Jewish people are thriving while he disappears from history.

Abu Mazen Balls are the tasty treat named for him.

Directions:

Take three pounds of almonds (or hazelnuts if preferred) and place them in a bag. Pound the nuts with a mallet until they are fine. Place into a bowl.

Add three tablespoons of silan, a date honey (one of Judaism’s special seven species). Add a 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into a small ball. Abu Mazen Balls are very small – roughly four equals a full regular full sized meatball.

Bake in an oven for 35 minutes at 325 degrees. Once cool, pour a significant amount of confectioners sugar to bury the balls like Abu Mazen’s grey mane.

The recommended serving size is four balls, but no one ever pays heed to anything regarding Abu Mazen.

Te’ay’nog

Te’AyNog comes from the Hebrew word Te’ayna, which means date. The sweet dessert if a mix of dates and cream cheese which serves as a filling in filo dough. The sweet dish is baked briefly before being flambed in brandy. The fiery finish is meant to recall the Hamas arson attacks which ultimately resulted in more Hamas deaths than Israeli injuries.

Directions:

Combine three pounds of pitted dates and 8 ounces of cream cheese and mix thoroughly in a bowl together with ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon.

Place the mixture onto buttered filo dough and roll the contents. Heat for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Flambe in brandy before serving.

Date of Celebration

There is a debate about when to celebrate and eat these treats. Some people argue that it should be on November 29 to mark the date that the United Nations General Assembly voted on Resolution 181 in favor of a Jewish State, and which continues to be marked by Palestinian Arabs as the Nakba. Others suggest May 15 when five Arab armies came to destroy Israel in 1948 but failed. Or June 4, when the armies of Syria, Egypt and Jordan attacked Israel to destroy it in 1967, but instead lost even more territory.

Others have picked August 18, to mark the vileness of Hamas’s publication of the most anti-Semitic and war-obsessed charter ever written by any government. And yet another group has chosen July 19, when the Israeli government finally declared itself the Nation-State of the Jewish People in 2018.

Whichever day you choose to celebrate the inversion of the stated history of anti-Semites with the survival and success of the Jewish State, enjoy the desserts and savor the modern miracle that blooms beautifully despite being surrounded by dark fields of hate.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

The Undemocratic Nature of Fire and Water in the Middle East

The “Unclean” Jew in the Crosshairs

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

“Mainstream” and Abbas’ Jihad

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