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Walmart Awards $25,000 to Met Council to Feed Hungry New Yorkers

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With the recent news surrounding the dramatic increase of Jewish poverty numbers across New York City, organizations like the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) are faced with serving more clients than ever before. In response to the need for community support, the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program has awarded $25,000 to Met Council’s Kosher Food Network.

“We are extremely grateful for Walmart’s ongoing support of Met Council’s mission. By awarding us these funds, Walmart is creating greater opportunities to get food directly to the New Yorkers who need it most,” said Met Council CEO William E. Rapfogel. “With the combination of greater client need and fewer government resources, we heavily rely on donations and grants from community organizations like the Walmart Foundation. Their unwavering support is invaluable.”

“The Met Council is helping to feed thousands of hungry New Yorkers each year,” said Steven Restivo, senior director of community affairs for Walmart.  “At Walmart, we’re always looking for ways to make nutritious food more accessible and provide long-term solutions to eradicating hunger.  We hope this contribution plays a role in helping the Met Council meet its goals in New York City.”

Met Council’s Kosher Food Network is the largest in the United States distributing nearly five and a half million pounds of food at 35 neighborhood sites each year to low income families and individuals. Food packages are distributed to over 15,000 families monthly, with an even larger number distributed during the holidays. Met Council also provides food vouchers, meal delivery to senior citizens, and three free kosher community restaurants. The new Met Council Food Rescue Program distributes excess food, that would otherwise go to waste, to families in need.

Seven Arrested in British Terror Plot

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British authorities arrested seven people last week after finding a cache of firearms and other weapons in the trunk of a car impounded earlier in the week during a routine search.

Police said they arrested three of the men last Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and one on Thursday. The car had been stopped on a major highway earlier in the week and impounded for not carrying insurance. According to the police, they discovered two unloaded, non-automatic guns and a small amount of ammunition hidden in the vehicle along with “offensive weapons and other material.” This led the police to trace and arrest the driver, passenger and other suspects. The detainees are being held on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks.

Police said the seven arrests are not connected to the previous arrest of six people who were also suspected of planning attacks. Authorities say neither group had plans to attack the upcoming Olympic Games, which begin in London later this month.

The arrests took place just after transport officials implemented special “games lanes” on prime London roads that will be utilized only by Olympic athletes, officials and VIPs, heightening the public’s awareness that the long-awaited Olympics is about to begin.

The terror alert in Britain is currently set at “substantial,” meaning there is a strong possibility of a terrorist attack as London prepares to host the Olympics. Security officials say they have no specific intelligence saying the Olympics will be targeted.

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron insisted there was no unusual cause for concern due to the successive arrests in the immediate period before the Summer Games. “We have been looking at the issue of security at the Olympics for some time and we have robust plans in place,” he stated.

Voice of America contributed to this report.

Report: Iranian Tankers Idling with Unsold Oil

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 A commercial oil tanker (illustrative example)Sanctions Slash Iranian Exports by Almost Half

A new report says Iran has maintained high levels of crude oil production even as it is largely unable to sell the commodity due to stringent Western sanctions. As a result, a fleet of Iranian ships loaded with oil are idling off the country’s coast with nowhere to go.

“We have never seen so many just waiting around,” a fisherman who has seen the stalled vessels offshore, said in a New York Times article.

The European Union imposed an oil embargo and a ban on insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil that took effect July 1. Analysts say the measures could slash Iran’s foreign sales of oil – its largest source of revenue – by more than half. In the meantime, the U.S. Congress is completing legislation expected to pass this month that would further tighten sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.

Iran, which has foreign currency reserves of $60 billion to $100 billion, stands to lose about $4 billion a month, experts said in a Los Angeles Times article.

“They are getting squeezed,” Sadad Al Husseini, a former executive vice president for exploration and development of Saudi Aramco, the state oil company told The New York Times. “It’s too much trouble to buy Iranian oil. Why alienate the United States and Europe? And the rest of OPEC is not very happy with Iran either.”

Two-thirds of the Iran’s fleet of tanks are storing the unsold oil while the country continues to produce about 2.8 million barrels a day to avoid potential damage to its oil wells infrastructure. Iran has been able to find buyers for slightly more than half of that amount, according to the New York Times report.

Meanwhile, a meeting between Iranian and international experts in Istanbul on Tuesday failed to yield a new agreement on halting Iran’s nuclear enrichment, though a statement said there would be another meeting soon.

Iranian envoys and the P5+1, the six-nation negotiating group that comprises Russia, China, France, the U.K., the United States plus Germany, failed to make progress on the issue in Moscow two weeks ago during the third round of major negotiations since January.

Iran Elected to Top Post at UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference

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Human Rights Group Urges Ban Ki-moon to Condemn ‘Scandalous’ Election

Iran was elected to a top post on the UN Arms Trade Treaty conference, according to a report released Sunday by UN Watch. The Geneva-based human rights group is calling on UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who addressed the conference on the same day, to condemn the selection of the Tehran regime.

Although the U.N. conference website and summary fail to name the 15 members elected to the bureau on July 3rd, UN Watch has discovered that the countries elected to the five regional groups include Iran, Japan, and South Korea for the Asian group; Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria for Africa; Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Ukraine for Eastern Europe; Australia, Netherlands and Switzerland for the Western Europe & Others Group; and Mexico and two others for Latin America. The United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which opened late last month and runs until July 27, promises to deliver a new agreement to regulate the transfer of arms.

“Right after a UN Security Council report found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to Syria, which is now murdering thousands of its own people, it defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to now elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“This is like choosing Bernie Madoff to police fraud on the stock market. And the U.N.’s scandalous choice of Iran is exactly why we fear that Syria’s declared bid for a U.N. Human Rights Council seat is not impossible.”

UN Watch called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who addressed the conference on the same day as the election, to condemn the decision to give Iran a position of responsibility in regulating the arms trade.

“He should remind the conference that the Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its prohibited nuclear program, and that Iran continues to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments to the murderous Assad regime,” said Neuer.

“Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers,” the Security Council report recently found, citing the discovery of Iranian shipments to Damascus of assault rifles, machineguns, explosives, detonators, 60mm and 120mm mortal shells and other items.

Neuer expressed concern that the UN’s election of Iran “injects ambiguity about the U.N.’s position on illicit Iranian arms transfers, fuels Iranian propaganda, and grants international legitimacy to a regime that tortures student activists, hangs gays and subjugates women.”

Iran is already boasting about the UN election in its state-controlled media.

IRNA announced that Iran was elected “as deputy for the talks to regulate global arms trade treaty. Some 193 participating countries unanimously voted in favor of Iran during the 4th day of the meeting.” ISNA also ran the report. The Tehran Times declared that Iran “is assisting the president of the Arms Trade Treaty Conference in the general conduct of the business of the conference.”

Former Mossad Chief Regrets Calling Strike on Iran a ‘Stupid Idea’

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Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has expressed regret over a statement he made last year calling a possible Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities “stupid.” In a recent interview in the Lochem (“Warrior”) magazine, Dagan said he still opposed the idea of Israel’s attacking Iran, but his statement was unfortunate and the result of his being distracted.

Last year, asked what he thought about a potential Israel Air Force attack on nuclear facilities in Iran, Dagan said he thought this was “the stupidest thing I have ever heard.” Dagan said an effective attack on Iran would be difficult because Iranian nuclear facilities were scattered and mobile, and warned that it could trigger war.

Use of the term “stupid” by Dagan prompted Likud Minister Without Portfolio Benny Begin to call Israeli public debate about a possible strike on Iran “reckless abandon.” Begin lashed out at Dagan and said his comments were a “betrayal of trust and an abomination that stem from illusions of grandeur.”

Israel Hayom, courtesy of JointMedia News Service

YU and OU to Present Moving Tisha B’Av Video

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Film produced by Orthodox Union and YU’s Center for the Jewish Future to be screened at synagogues worldwide on Tisha B’Av, July 29

Thousands of Jews in more than 100 communities around the world will join together this Tisha B’Av to view an inspirational video presented by Yeshiva University and the Orthodox Union (OU). The video, titled “Making Tisha B’Av Meaningful to Us Today,” is a project of YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) and the OU, and will be screened in some 250 synagogues across the United States, and internationally in Australia, Canada, Israel, Poland, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

“As our generation is so far removed from the devastation of Tisha B’av and the loss of our beloved Beit Hamikdash, developing this type of accessible video is a critical means to help our community uncover, confront and relate to this darkest of moments in Jewish history,” said Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director of the OU and NCSY’s International Director.

The video features renowned scholars and personalities of the Jewish community including Rabbi Kenneth Brander; David Mitzner, Dean of CJF; Rabbi Burg; Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, NCSY’s Director of Education; Dr. David Pelcovitz, Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Psychology and Jewish Education at YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration; Professor Nechama Price, instructor in Jewish studies and Bible at YU’s Stern College for Women; Rabbi Steven Weil, Executive Vice President of the OU; Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the OU; and Rabbi Mordechai Willig, Rosh Yeshiva at YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.

“It is particularly appropriate to work with the OU in sharing Torah with the international Jewish community,” said Rabbi Brander. “Such cooperation allows us to convene our intellectual resources in a most effective and productive fashion. I look forward to next year when we will jointly sponsor a festive Tisha B’Av experience in Yerushalayim.”

For more information on participating synagogues or to request a DVD, visit www.yutorah.org/tishabav/video. Tisha B’Av programming will also include live kinot webcasts featuring Rabbi Weinreb and Rabbi Weil at www.ou.org/tishabav and Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter at www.yutorah.org/tishabav.

The Jewish Hamptons

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A house overlooking the waterway in Westhampton, New York, part of the region known as “The Hamptons” which is known for celebrity summer homes. (Photo credit: Albert Herring)Long known as the land of summer homes for A-list celebrities and Wall Street tycoons, New York’s “Hamptons” also have significant Jewish character.

The villages of Westhampton Beach, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Sag Harbor, all located along the Atlantic shore on the east end of New York’s Long Island, have long been known as the summer home of A-list celebrities and Wall Street tycoons.

In recent years, they have also attracted a large number of Jewish weekend and summer residents who have established thriving institutions and created an oasis of Jewish learning with a vast array of cultural diversions.

While all the Hamptons share many characteristics such as wide sandy beaches, leafy residential neighborhoods—some with ostentatious “McMansions” facing the ocean or hidden behind high hedges on multi-acre, immaculately manicured lots, and others with more modest but nonetheless cozy shingled homes—each village has its own, individual personality.

Heading out from New York City, the first “Hampton” you reach is Westhampton, some 75 miles from Manhattan. Due to the enormous following developed by Rabbi Marc Schneier, the founding rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue, this village has attracted a very large Jewish population, many of whom are observant. As a result, there are kosher markets and kosher restaurants and there has been much controversy concerning the installation of an “eruv.”

While The Hampton Synagogue’s worship services are modern Orthodox, its summer programs are of universal interest and include a wide variety of speakers, authors and performers. Among the highlights this year is a series of so-called “Shabbat Diplomat Dinners” which feature speeches by the Ambassadors to the United Nations from Panama, New Zealand, Madagascar, the Czech Republic and Uruguay. Among the authors who will speak on Thursday evenings are Stuart Eizenstat—an ambassador for three U.S. presidential administrations—who will discuss his new book, The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces are Impacting the Jewish People, Israel and its Relationship with the United States, and Yehuda Kurtzer, author of Shuava: The Future of the Jewish Past.

Monday nights in Westhampton are dedicated to a Jewish Film Festival. Additionally, concerts of jazz and choral music are scheduled from time to time culminating with “Yiddish Masters in Concert,” produced by the National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene on Labor Day.

Southampton, about a half-hour drive from Westhampton, is the largest of the Hamptons and also the most patrician, possibly exemplified by the fact that David Koch recently hosted a $50,000-per-plate dinner here for Mitt Romney. Its principal Jewish institution is the Chabad Jewish Center, which offers a variety of programs and classes including a Gan Israel children’s camp. Whereas visitor accommodations in the Hamptons are mostly in B&Bs and motels, Southampton is also unique in that it has a full-service resort hotel, the Southampton Inn, which Chabad occasionally uses to host large events. Among the leading cultural attractions in Southampton are the famed Parrish Art Museum on Job’s Lane and “Pianofest,” a summer program directed by concert pianist Paul Schenly, who conducts master classes for some two-dozen outstanding young pianists from the world over. They give public recitals on most Monday afternoons at the Avram Theater on the campus of Southampton College.

Some 10 miles further east is Bridgehampton, the smallest of the “Hamptons.” Due to its proximity to East Hampton, only about seven miles further east, it has no specifically Jewish institutions. The annual Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, this year from July 26-August 19, is now in its 26th season and features some of the world’s foremost musicians in concerts held mostly in the historic Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church.

Like Westhampton, East Hampton has a large Jewish community and several institutions, the most prominent being the Jewish Center of the Hamptons (JCOH). Its centerpiece is a magnificent synagogue designed by the late Norman Jaffe that has won accolades as one of the most outstanding houses of worship of any religion in the U.S.

Each year, the JCOH organizes a Summer Institute that presents outstanding scholars and speakers. This year they include, but are not limited to, President Frederick Lawrence of Brandeis University; Dr. Rick Hodes, Medical Director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Ethiopia and the subject of the HBO film Making the Crooked Straight; Michael Arad, the Israeli-American architect of the World Trade Center Memorial and Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News and World Report and publisher of the New York Daily News.

Additionally, the JCOH presents movies of Jewish interest every Monday night and a number of musical evenings highlighted by “Tutti Suonare,” a concert featuring students and faculty of the Chamber Music Workshop from the Perlman Music Program.

Virtually directly opposite the JCOH is the Chabad of the Hamptons, which also offers a variety of educational programs including “Challah Time” each Thursday afternoon, when kids create their own Shabbat challah. The Chabad has the only mikvah in the area and also offers for purchase a selection of kosher take-out meals.

Among East Hampton’s many attractions are Guild Hall, a combination art museum and theater; countless art galleries; the Long House Nature Reserve; fashionable boutiques and restaurants.

Sag Harbor, while technically not one of the Hamptons, is a fascinating village some seven miles north of both East Hampton and Bridgehampton that has the look and flavor of a New England fishing community similar to Nantucket. It was a 17th-century whaling port and among its many historic buildings is America’s first customs house, now a whaling museum. Sag Harbor is home to the oldest synagogue on Long Island, Temple Adas Israel. Though it was originally Orthodox, it is now Reform, offering weekly Friday eve services and Shabbat morning Torah study. Sag Harbor attracts yachts of all sizes and its Bay Street Theater presents Broadway-quality productions throughout the season.

Some will argue that the best way to enjoy the Hamptons is as the houseguest of a friend, preferably one with golf and tennis club membership, a private pool and other similar conveniences. But, lacking such a host, there is a good selection of excellent B&Bs, motels and a number of resorts in nearby Montauk.
JNS.org

New Attorneys Appointed for Missing Millionaire’s Estate

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A judge in Broward County, Florida has appointed two new attorneys to manage the $100 million estate of still-missing millionaire Guma Aguiar, which has been the subject of dispute between Aguiar’s wife and mother.

Judge Mark Speiser selected Tom Panza to serve as the conservator of Aguiar’s financial assets and properties in the United States. Speizer also gave Panza the authority to function as conservator in transactions involving Aguiar’s millions of dollars in holdings in Israel, pending any challenges or other requirements by Israeli courts. “At some point, the case will be resolved and the assets had to be maintained during that period, that’s what the conservator does,” Panza explained.

Speiser appointed another attorney, Jack Seiler – who is also the mayor of Fort Lauderdale – to the role of conservator of Aguiar’s lawsuits. Seiler will act in the millionaire’s best interest in a range of lawsuits that have been filed in county and federal courts with regard to both business and domestic matters.

Speiser’s ruling did not fully satisfy Aguiar’s wife, Jamie, or mother, Ellen. “There is a conflict,” said Ellen Aguiar’s attorney Ilene Lieberman. “There is clearly a conflict between Ellen Aguiar and Jamie Aguiar.” The conflict is rooted in the question of who is legally entitled to serve as overseer of Aguiar’s multimillion-dollar estate until he is found.

Following the business mogul’s disappearance on June 19, his wife and mother filed a series of legal motions, each requesting that they be designated as conservator of his fortune. “He hasn’t been declared dead yet. He issued three documents making his intent very clear that he wanted his mother, he didn’t want his wife,” Lieberman revealed.

Jamie Aguiar’s attorney, Al Frevola, argued that those legal claims should not have validity. “It’s remarkable that the same people that are trying to grab control of his assets are saying that when he was in a psychotic state in a mental ward, that those assets, that those documents that were signed are a competent representation of what his true intent is,” Frevola said. Insisting that Aguilar’s wife has the legal upper hand in the case, Frevola added, “The trust agreement and the will make it clear that my client and her children are the overwhelming beneficiaries of Mr. Guma Aguiar’s estate.” Frevola opined that the judge’s decision represented a victory for his client because it effectively blocks Ellen Aguiar from having a potential decision-making role in Guma Aguiar’s business affairs.

Prior to the judge’s appointments, Aguiar’s mother and wife agreed to designate attorney Glenn Goldstein as a conservator, but he relinquished the role due to previous responsibilities.

Aguiar sold the Texas-based energy company he founded together with his uncle several years ago for $2.5 billion dollars. Aguiar’s assets include his $5 million Fort Lauderdale home and $2 million yacht. The legal proceedings were set to begin again this week so that the attorneys could itemize Aguiar’s Israel-based assets, which include more than a dozen properties and two sports teams.

Fla. DNC Member Resigns After Anti-Israel Remarks

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A member of the Democratic National Committee has resigned after apologizing for statements she made saying Israel’s West Bank policies were akin to acts of apartheid and enslavement.

Emails Evelyn Garcia sent in 2011 were leaked this week and discovered by South Florida Democrats. In one email, Garcia claimed “Slavery was ended, apartheid was ended and so this occupation must end.”

In another email, Garcia said the Palestinians were burdened with a “guilt trip” for the Holocaust.

“Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust and it’s about time this guilt trip was taken off their backs,” she wrote, according to World Jewish Daily.

“I deeply resent U.S. taxpayer funds being used to continue Israeli aggression,” she said, the Cleveland Jewish News further reported.

The recipient of Garcia’s emails was not identified.

Garcia herself is a Haitian American and was elected to the DNC in 2008.

She apologized for his words in a resignation statement to the DNC, and in a general message to the Palm Beach Post.

“In passionately advocating my position supporting the rights of people I felt were being harmed, I used language that I now regret,” she said in her letter to the DNC. “The gist of the conversation had to do with my concern for innocent people being oppressed, but such support for the oppressed does not diminish my support for the good people of Israel.”

“I apologize to anyone I offended and to my friends in the Democratic Party, in particular, members of the Jewish faith whom I have worked with for years,” she wrote to the Post.

Garcia is still one of the four remaining candidates for a House seat in her Florida district, which includes West Palm Beach and Rivera Beach. Palm Beach contains a large Jewish community.

German Court Crosses Line With Circumcision Ban

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So, one Islamic circumciser botched a procedure, and now the District Court in Cologne, Germany, has thrown out the baby with the bathwater, as it were, banning religious circumcision altogether.

 You may remember when, a few months back, Nazi-turned-poet laureate Günter Grass decided to become the world’s conscience, and warn us all (through poetry) how a nuclear-armed State of Israel, with their stated goal of continuing to exist, is clearly at least as big a threat to world peace as a nuclear-armed Iran, whose stated goal is the annihilation of Israel. Back then, this editor said: “If you were a Nazi Stormtrooper, you don’t get to be taken seriously for anything you write or say involving Jews. Ever.” I think we can apply that same principle here.

It shouldn’t be terribly shocking that the country that once made it a crime, punishable by death, to be a Jew, should one day make illegal the very act by which newborn boys are counted among the Jewish people. And so, if we may say one thing to our brothers and sisters in and around the City of Cologne, it is this: Resist! Fight this with every fiber of your being!

By Torah law, every Jew is obligated to be a good and loyal citizen or subject of the nation in which we find ourselves. This isn’t limited to open, democratic regimes, but it does refer to relatively benevolent societies – those in which our ability to practice our faith unmolested is, at the very least, tolerated. When the Seleucid Greeks conquered Judea, they banned three things (there were others, but these were the “last straws,” so to speak): Shabbat observance, Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon), and Brit Milah (circumcision). The Jews, pushed too far, finally pushed back, in what we now know as the Maccabean Revolt, which we recall as part of the Festival of Chanukah.

If you’re not from Germany, and you’re having a son, go visit beautiful Cologne to celebrate his brit milah. This is a matter of principle, and we must present a united front. The line must be drawn here. On this, we cannot compromise. It is our duty as Jews to fight this at all costs, sacrificing our very lives if, chas v’shalom, it ever came to that.

The Third Reich is dead and gone. Men and women of conscience must stand together now, that we may never know a fourth.

UN Gives Iranian Foxes the Keys to Arms Control Henhouse

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Reaffirming its moral bankruptcy and strategic ineptitude once again, the UN has commenced this year’s Arms Trade Treaty Conference. The conference, as the name suggests, has been assembled in the hopes of putting together a treaty that would allow for the effective regulation of the international arms trade, and to prevent unlawful weapons transfers. And who do they elect to help lead the conference? Why, Iran, of course!

In related news, the U.N. has elected the representative of Transylvania (a high-ranking nobleman, I think he’s a duke, or a count) to administer the new international blood bank. Also, Ronald McDonald has just been named the U.N. High Commissioner for Health and Fitness.  And Syria is running for a seat on the UN’s Human Rights Committee. Wait, what? That last one is actually happening? Well, I guess the UN has finally done it; they’ve made political satire obsolete. Honestly, that thing about Syria would be great comedy, but thousands of dead civilians make for a decidedly unfunny punchline.

Directing our attention back to Iran for a moment, it doesn’t take a PhD in International Geopolitics to understand why letting Ahmedinejad’s henchmen play a role in regulating the international arms trade is a bad idea. They persist in an illegal nuclear arms program, and we make them an authority on conventional arms? Not to mention that they’ve been feeding a steady supply of munitions to the Assad dictatorship throughout the uprising.

Hillel Neuer said it best: This move by the UN “defies logic, morality and common sense.” But then again, since when has the United Nations been known for any of those things? Must have been before our time.

Jewish Voice Now Available in Queens and the Five Towns!

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Good news, everyone! The Jewish Voice print edition (if you’re holding this in your hand as you read it, that’s the one you’ve got… unless you’re reading us off of a smart phone, iPad, or other mobile device), is expanding its horizons! In addition to our distribution in Brooklyn, Manhattan, South Florida, and the Jersey Shore, we’re extending our New York presence. Starting this week, we’ll be available for purchase at hundreds of newsstands, including locations in Queens and the Five Towns.

That’s right – the best Jewish newspaper on the East Coast is just got even better.

Is this your first time reading an issue of the Jewish Voice? If you like what you see, subscriptions are available (see page 20). Be sure to “like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/JewishVoiceNY, and tell us what you think (about the paper, or about anything, really) by writing to Editor@JewishVoiceNY.com. The most poignant and/or thought-provoking letters are published in future issues.

We welcome all of our new readers, and urge you to make your voice a Jewish Voice.

Iran, Syria Crises Closely Connected

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The third round of talks to end Iran’s nuclear program ended in failure last month, and a much broader embargo on Iran’s oil exports took effect this week. In this context, the six world powers that have been negotiating with Iran must consider what to do next.

At the same time, the leaders of these six countries – the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – are also grappling with how to end the intensifying bloodbath in Syria. In fact, the two crises are unavoidably connected. Iran is the Syrian government’s best friend and ally in the Middle East.

Last week, a UN Security Council committee published a report that Syria remains the top destination for Iranian arms shipments, which are illegal. (The report also found that Taliban fighters in Afghanistan were a destination for Iranian arms.)

Documents leaked earlier this year show that Iran has given the Syrian regime more than $1 billion to help it overcome sanctions imposed on it by the international community.

Iran has officially confirmed that it is helping Assad’s regime, prompting the U.S. to reproach Tehran for “bragging” about the relationship. The U.S. State Department said that Iran’s hand was clearly discernible in the killing of hundreds of people, including children, by a Syrian militia group, the Shabiha, which closely resembles an Iranian militia (the Basij) notorious for brutally suppressing peaceful demonstrations by the Iranian people.

The European Union leveled sanctions against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard last year for providing “technical assistance and support to the Syrian security services to repress civilian protest movements.” Syria is the only country where the Iranian military holds annual joint staff meetings.

There have also been numerous reports out of Syria of Farsi-speaking commandos helping to crush anti-government demonstrations. Yet Iran blames “foreign interference” for the massacres of Syrian civilians, specifically blaming the United States and other Western powers for creating the chaos there.

What’s more, through Syria, Iran is able to easily deliver military and financial support to Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based terrorist organization and political party whose goals are the destruction of the State of Israel, including “liberating Jerusalem,” plus “the establishment of an Iranian-style Shiia theocracy in Lebanon following the Iranian model; and the eradication of Western influences in Lebanon and the greater Middle East.” Iran’s control of Hezbollah greatly strengthens its influence in the region.

Hezbollah has approximately 50,000 missiles aimed at Israel’s civilian heartland. With funding and training from the Iranians, it runs training camps in Lebanon on how to conduct assassinations, suicide bombings and kidnappings. Thousands of Hezbollah fighters have trained in Iran. Iran has been training and funding Palestinian terror organizations, including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for many years.
The reach of the Iran-Syria axis is not confined to the region. Since the 1980s Hezbollah has been responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks around the world in which many Americans were killed. It is widely believed to have international terrorist cells in the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Africa. And just this past year, U.S. and government officials around the world linked Iran and Hezbollah to assassination attempts against diplomats in seven countries, including the plot to murder Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. in a Washington restaurant.

Iran’s support of terrorist groups is not likely to change, no matter what the outcome of talks with the six world powers. But Tehran’s connection to terrorism and its continuing support of Assad’s brutal regime should send warning signals to the international community about Iran’s long-term intentions.

Laura Kam is the executive director for Global Affairs at the Israel Project, a nonprofit educational organization headquartered in Washington. This op-ed originally appeared in The Washington Examiner.

Israeli Scientists Celebrate Discovery of Higgs Boson

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According to the Jewish Chronicle, Israeli scientists played a significant role in the discovery of the Higgs Boson.

The particle has been dubbed the “G-d particle,” as it is allegedly responsible for giving matter mass and holding particles together.

Among the Israeli scientists who contributed to the discovery is Eilam Gross of the Weizmann Institute, who organized one of the two experiments that yielded the exciting new results, according to the Chronicle.
“When I walk around now and see the trees, I feel better connected to nature,” Gross said in an interview from Geneva moments before the Wednesday press conference announcing the find, the Chronicle reported.

Gross was involved in research operations at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) since 1987. He told the Chronicle that investigations leading to the discovery of the Boson began in November 2011.

The Higgs Boson has been hailed as a scientific achievement on par with the American landing of the moon. It is a particle named after Peter Higgs, a University of Edinburgh physicist who was among six scientists to have posited the existence of the Boson in 1964.

In Geneva last Wednesday, CERN Director-General Rolf-Dieter Heuer announced the groundbreaking findings.

“We have a discovery. We should state it,” he said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “We have a discovery! We have observed a new particle consistent with a Higgs boson.”

Though it has yet to be confirmed if the particle is precisely the one scientists have been yearning for—the one that will complete the “Standard Model”—either way, the latest discovery is expected to generate paradigmatic shifts in theoretical physics.

Scientists from The Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, and Technion-The Israel Institute of Technology also contributed to the discovery.

China and Israel to collaborate on solar energy

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The heads of China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., the world’s largest maker of solar panels, met with executives of Israel’s solar energy industry in an effort to increase the dialogue on solar energy between the two countries.

The meeting, which comes in the wake of the signing of another agreement between Israel and China to build the Eilat railway, was arranged by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute and included executives of Pythagoras Solar Ltd., Solaris Synergy Ltd., Watts and More Ltd., bsolar Ltd., and SolarBead Ltd.

“Israel is a growing market in the solar energy industry, and we hope to deepen the dialogue with Israeli companies in the field to better understand their technologies and expand our activity and bring it to new levels,” said Suntech CTO Dr. Stuart Wenham, according to Globes.
JNS.org

‘Orthodox’ Gay Activist Sues Eichler for Abuse

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Orthodox gay activist Chaim Levin celebrates his lifestyle in front of a landmark establishment within the Greenwich Village gay community.A self-styled Orthodox Jewish gay activist is lodging a lawsuit against his cousin, a member of the family that owns a large Brooklyn Judaica store, for allegedly committing acts of sexual abuse against him when the two were children.

Chaim Levin, who maintains an Internet blog on which he discusses his pride in being a homosexual while maintaining his religious affiliation, is claiming in a Brooklyn Supreme Court civil lawsuit that Sholom Eichler abused him on a weekly basis between 1996 and 1999 both in shul and at Eichler’s home. Levin was six years old in 1996 and Eichler was approximately six or seven years older. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Eichler, who works for the family business in Flatbush as the store’s website manager, did not offer any comment on the charges. While Levin asserts that he approached prosecutors with the matter last year – and that they did not take any action – a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office was unable to confirm that.

Levin’s lawsuit comes amidst a spate of news stories focusing on the controversial issue of child molestation within the Orthodox community and an internal dispute over how to deal with suspected cases. Responding to charges that his office has been too lenient regarding alleged intimidation by community members of Orthodox individuals who seek to report such incidents to government authorities, Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes recently arrested four Chassidic men on the charge of intimidating a witness to prevent her from testifying against a well-known community member who had allegedly abused her for an extended period while counseling her.

In a recent entry on his blog, Levin discusses his triumphant feelings about being allowed to march in the Celebrate Israel parade this year as part of the group known as “Jewish Queer Youth,” which publicly claims that one can be both Orthodox and identifiably gay without any feelings of inner contradiction.

“I was proud to march and represent LGBTQ Jews in the largest event in the world,” Levin wrote in an essay, “transcending movements and politics and representing Jewish solidarity.”

Within the same composition, Levin demonstrates the extent of his extremely liberal mindset by expressing his concern for the plight of Palestinian Arabs and their alleged mistreatment by the Jewish state.
“I am ashamed to know that some of my own relatives had been involved in anti-Palestinian violence in the rebels’ uprising before the state of Israel was established,” Levin writes.

“Some in my family take pride in this heritage — a legacy of cold-blooded murder of innocent women and children in a town called Deir Yassin. For me, it’s a stain of intolerance, heartlessness, hatred and murder.” Levin neglects to mention the acts of Palestinian violence toward the stateless Jews that preceded the Deir Yassin incident and – while not necessarily justifying the vengeful acts at Deir Yassin – clearly inflamed tensions between the two groups.

“Despite what many try to deny, Palestinian people, who have lived in the region long before the nation of Israel was recreated, have suffered oppression, hatred, pain and denial of basic human rights simply because they are different and declared intolerable and not to belong,” Levin continues. “A woman recently argued to me, ‘There are 27 other Arab countries in the Middle East, why can’t any of them take in these Palestinians?’ Essentially, her argument was that everyone living in Palestine who doesn’t belong should move to another country.”

Here too, Levin neglects to mention the relentless campaign of terror waged by Palestinians against Israelis from 1948 to the present, the aberrant propensity of many Palestinians to willingly sacrifice their own lives and the lives of their children as suicide bombers, and the repeated failure by Palestinian leadership to accept generous peace offers by the Israeli government.

Levin also does not mention the fact that “Palestinian Arabs” were never actually a historically distinct nation, thus rendering their quest for their own state essentially illegitimate – especially given the likelihood that such a state would be at the expense of Israeli security and territorial integrity.

Eichler’s Judaica in the heart of Flatbush has been an area landmark for many years, highly popular for its wide range of Jewish books and gift items. The store is apparently unrelated to the Boro Park outlet with the same name. In addition to the Judaica operation, in 2005 proprietor Meyer Eichler opened Liberty Pointe Bank in New York, in conjunction with prominent real estate developer Shaya Boymelgreen. Eichler’s goal was to run a financial institution that fully complied with Jewish law in all relevant aspects.

Despite an aggressive marketing campaign and high hopes for its three branches – two in Brooklyn and one in lower Manhattan – within five years of opening, Liberty Pointe Bank was unable to remain financially afloat. Taken over by federal authorities, it was placed under the ownership of Valley National Bank.

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