Category Archives: Judasim

The Souls in the Land are the Only Reasons for the Land

Juda Engelmayer March 8th 2012
Salim Joubran
Salim Joubran

It was May 7, 2004, when Salim Joubran was given a position on Israel’s Supreme Court. The day that he became the first permanent member of the Court from the Israeli Arab community should have been the day the world realized that Israel was in fact a democracy like none other in its region. Justice Joubran knew that as well, and he also knew what Israel was why it was formed and how he managed to rise through its ranks as a Christian and not a Jew.

It would seem odd, or possibly some act of defiance, when the New York Times carried a story about Justice Joubran earlier this week, presumably refusing to sing the Israel national anthem because the words “Nefesh Yehudi homiyah,” which means “A Jewish soul still yearns,” do not apply to him.

The anthem was not new to him when he became a lawyer, nor when he became a Supreme Court judge. It may indeed be an uncomfortable concept to sing, let alone believe by one who is not Jewish. It highlights the delicate tightrope Israel walks in its pursuit of peace and prosperity through the promotion of democratic statehood.

For Jews, living in Israel ironically removes Jewish identity from the everyday life of the average Jew. Unlike most places, where for many, Jewish identity is worn on our sleeves so to speak; on our heads actually for some, but also with the often uncomfortable vacation requests at work, among the other unique aspects of Jewish life. In Israel, Jewish holidays are the State holidays and no one really feels out of place donning a skullcap. With Judaism all around, maybe the overtly Jewish words should, or maybe other ubiquitous Jewish symbolisms should be removed to make those not of one of the 12 Tribes feel as comfortable.

There is a movement among a growing group of secular Israelis, Jewish ones mostly, to eliminate the Jewishness from the State itself. The fights between the ultra orthodox and those less so have been growing to the point where they have made the front pages of some of the world’s most antagonistic-to-Israel media venues. These differences only enhance the calls by the secular Israelis, as they see the belligerence of the right toward Zionism, secularism and modernity growing, and an unyielding intransigence when it comes to economic or social contributions beyond their own communities.

In the efforts to highlight the extremist nature of Israel, as they print their political opposition to such issues as Judean and Samarian expansion and retaining defensible borders, leftist media take the truly offensive nature of the assaults on women and secular Jews by these pockets of Hareidim and promote them as the mainstream occurrences of the Jewish state.

That serves Israel’s detractors as it equates the Jewish state with the radicalized Islamic countries that purport to see her smothered. The fact is that when relatively small extremist activity perpetuated by Jews occurs it is often promoted to a grander degree and with more international disdain than the malignant fanaticism that everyday Arab men, women and children face each day in many of the countries that challenge Israel’s existence. Those nations often get a free pass from criticism, as Israel is held to a different standard. Yet, I digress into a whole other topic altogether.

Jewish identity is so prevalent in Israel through its population and character that the argument is made asserting Jewish identification markers built into its government and national themes, like the Hatikvah are not needed.

The debate rocks between Israel’s left and right. While some want to make it harder for non Jews and non-believing Jews to participate, some on the left urge making Israel more inclusive; essentially, making it nothing more than the United States on the Mediterranean.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence ensures “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” The irony, however, is that this issue was sparked over an Arab judge from Haifa who has a permanent seat on The Jewish state’s highest court. Some would argue that he has been treated as Israel declared it would. The judge, for his part, just stood quietly while others made the issue of his choice.

These are difficult considerations and the resulting answers are not clear, nor do they follow conventional logic. To be a true democracy, Israel would needs to cede its Jewish identity, but to do so, would make it impossible for Israel to remain a Jewish homeland, safe from future persecution and expulsion. As history keeps repeating, majority populations will at some point turn on its Jewish citizens.

Jews have been pushed in every location on earth, and treated as pariahs throughout history. They have been jailed, tortured, forced to renounce their religion and beliefs or just killed for being Jews. Yet, they endured as a people and have outlived their ancient enemies, and are poised to face their new ones, whoever they are.

Born from the Levant where the G-d Abram had worshiped offered to make him a great nation if he left his home and family, the Jewish religion and the specific land are unequivocally tied to one another. This makes the Jewish yearning for Israel not just a slogan, but a compulsion as strong as the belief in G-d itself. It is the main reason why when Theodore Herzl were searching for a land the Jews could emigrate to, escaping the Russian pogroms in 1905, the Seventh Zionist Congress rejected the Uganda Program, believing that only in Israel could Jews truly be free.

Israel is, therefore an anomaly and needs to be treated as one. It is not as any other country, because it is not merely about acreage and capricious borders, but an ancient calling said to be made by the G-d of the oldest monotheistic religion in the world.

Fanatical Hareidim aside, for secular Jews to feel that the religious nature of the country is too cumbersome, for non Jews to feel that the Hatikvah is too Jewish, or for both to want to make Israel a secular sanctuary, the only answer has to be no.

One can be irreligious in Israel and still be its prime minister. One can be an Arab in Israel and be a Supreme Court judge, weighing in on the most important matters affecting the internal working of the country. Yet, if the Judaism is taken out of Israel, Jews may as well be in Florida and not suffer, struggle, fight, and not remember those who died creating, defending and living in the land where Jews are destined to call home.

Israel devoid of the Soul of the Jew is nothing more than soil and sand, and certainly not worth the blood, sweat and tears of the countless who have poured all three into its building; creating the hope for the Jews and an oasis in the gloom of the Middle East.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR

 

Leave a comment

Filed under anti-Semitism, Choices, Crisis Management, Cutting Edge News, Israel, Juda Engelmayer, Judasim

When the greater good isn’t good enough

When we hear comments such as, “Mussolini made the trains run on time,” or “Madoff was a prominent philanthropist,” does anyone today take those as actual excuses for bad behavior? As a world, should we slap them on the wrist and say the greater good was served, making the evils inconsequential?

In this day and age it is hard to imagine anyone real throwing these two a lifeline. So why in some circles, and often Orthodox Jewish ones, do we allow “He may be guilty at times of what I would consider ‘tough love’ … perhaps going overboard and embarrassing people, but … he cares deeply about the students and wants to keep them on the straight path,” to be an excuse when it comes to our children and Torah education?

When I was a child in yeshiva on the Lower East Side, we had rabbis who hit us. Second grade was known for the yardstick knuckle smack down, and parents never complained when their kids came home with bruises on their hands. For me, it wasn’t until fifth grade when our rebbe, known for smacking his students, whacked me so hard that someone in my family took notice.

My mother probably thought the rabbi was doing her a favor, and never said a word. My uncle, at the time, a charming looking Burt Reynolds type, with a thick mustache, chest hairs coming out of his 1970s collared shirt, mirrored aviators – you get the picture, walked in to class one day and called the rabbi outside for a minute.

(Read More in the Jewish Star)

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR

Leave a comment

Filed under Juda Engelmayer, Judasim, Life, Religion

Iron clad isn’t necessarily rock solid: How Israel fares to America

January 26, 2012
By Juda Engelmayer

Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.” — President Barack Obama

This 19 word sentence contained within the 6992 word State of the Union address, President Barack Obama practically singled out Israel as if to highlight to his Jewish supporters and detractors alike, that he is the best friend the Jews have had. Other nations, or nation’s capitals were mentioned as allies, but only Israel was assured such an “Iron-clad commitment”.

For all the accolades and loud cheers in the House Chamber, however, the words that the President chose were quite careful and maybe even telling. Unlike Europe and Asia, which he called America’s “oldest alliances,” and the “Americas”, with which he said our ties “are deeper,” America, he said, is committed to Israel’s security. We accept that and know it, and have seen the “closest military cooperation between” Israel and the United States in history take shape in the iron-clad Iron Dome mobile missile defense system that the U.S. has helped build in Israel.

The President’s security and military assurances might imply a harsh acceptance of the present and future. Is it easier to arm a nation and prepare it for a battle than it is to resolve the root cause of the threat in the first place? Not to make a perfect comparison, , but when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani saw some of New York City’s more dangerous neighborhoods, he did not put guns in the hands of the decent people living there, but eliminated the dangers, locked up the criminals and took the streets back. The same strategies are being deployed in cities like Newark, Compton and others across the country, where law enforcement and public leaders seek to eradicate crime and eliminate the root causes of the danger.

Of course crime is not the same as ideology, and the issues that affect dangerous cities and those that drive the forces in the Middle East are not the same, but the essence of the argument is no different. Sure Israel needs better weaponry for the time being, as she needs to have a strong deterrent for her enemies, but wouldn’t the prudent course be to help clean up the neighborhood rather than, or in the case, along with, arming the decent people who are stuck in the middle. Israel is indeed in the middle of a world of nations seeking to destroy it.

The right thing to do is for the President to call the issues as they are and boldly condemn those who would seek to harm Israel. He should pound the point of the unyielding cries within the “governments” of Hamas and Hezbollah to destroy Israel. He should decry the hypocritical comments by people like Maen Areikat, the PLO “Ambassador” to the United States who said Jews would not be allowed in the Palestinian State, while Palestinians demand access to all of Israel. He should acknowledge that the divide separating Jews and Moslems in the Middle East is not about land, but about a true and deep seeded belief among many in positions of influence that the G-d of Islam wants his adherents to stamp out the Jews and erase all traces of Israel. Only then can we begin to discuss the terms of any “peace,” and try to find land agreements that would keep the distance sufficiently

Instead, this President and his administration have chosen to ignore the true cause of the problems in the region; the ideological hatred that will not be negotiated away. In his third State of the Union the President declared that “a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli,” but left out the inconvenient truth that the fundamental Islamists are winning the hearts and minds of the people and miring those lands deeper into trends of intolerance, violence and hatred. Liberty is not coming; tyranny is rising, and that will not bode well for Israel or the United States.

On May 19th, 2011, President Obama said that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines.” This sentiment is nothing new; those words have been spoken by many before – Jews and Israelis alike.. However, it seemed to have belied what many thought the President had learned to appreciate – the need for defensible borders. Four month later, when he stood before the U.N. General Assembly on September 21, he said,

Let us be honest with ourselves:  Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses.  Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them.  Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, look out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map.  The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution, and fresh memories of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they are.  Those are facts.  They cannot be denied.

Then in November, the administration was so harsh with Israel over building in Jerusalem and the West Bank, it was as if the President’s words to the U.N. – only two months prior- were delivered to placate Jews after the May 19th debacle.

As soon as the pressure was off, he went back to the old routine of chastising the Jews and making moral equivalences to the plights of the two peoples living alongside each other. One people are the startup nation who built a burgeoning society that has contributed so much knowledge and value to the world, and the other is a people hell-bent seeing the former destroyed.

The President, in his speech, devoted most of his attention to the economy, jobs, taxes and government reform and he spent very little time on foreign affairs. That’s actually a good thing. Yet, in that small allotment of time, he gave Israel a shout-out and emphasized how the U.S. cares for her security. For his supporters, they will say that proves what a friend he is, but a real friend cares enough to help make sure that the use of the war machines are the very last resort.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR

This article was written for the Jewish Star

Source:
www.opednews.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing, Islam, Israel, Judasim, Media, New York City, Obama, War against Israel

New Short Film/Video, Rainbow in the Night, Expresses Triumph and Hope

January 27, will mark the 7th annual UN Holocaust Remembrance Day. The purpose is to honor the victims of the Holocaust and establish recollections of the tragedies for future generations from preventing genocide from ever occurring again.

In coordination with UN Remembrance Day, director Daniel Finkelman recently filmed one of the first scripted and reenacted music videos, set during the Holocaust entitled, “Rainbow in the Night”.  The video offers viewers an emotional and visual outlook into life in Poland, 1939.

“Rainbow in the Night” was filmed in multiple locations including Crakow, Poland, New York and the crew was even given special permission to tape in the Majdanek concentration camp.  By filming the scenes in Poland, Mr. Finkelman envisioned that viewers would better understand the conditions and treatment the prisoners experienced. Mr. Finkelman designated the slogan, “The Last Survivor,” as the main concept for the music video. Once the final Holocaust survivor passes away, younger generations will have to refer to books and documentaries to learn about the tragic events.

Leave a comment

Filed under Judasim, Music, Video

Israel’s Challenges ahead as 2012 is already filling up its plate

2012 has thus far brought a lot of activity to Israel that could be indicative of the year it is expected to have.  The growing internal strife that has become very public between the religious right and most others to the left of them is threatening the foundation of Israel’s society.  In addition to the social difficulties it poses, the squeeze of the widening financial burden on those who produce income and those who rely on the State for services is taking its toll on the patience of the general society.

Adam Kaufman, of Adam B. Kaufman & Associates, PLLC and longtime Woodmere resident said, “What’s been happening between the religious and secular communities is disheartening.  Israel and Jews have enough people wishing harm without us wanting to harm one another.  Sadly, at times we can be our own worst enemies.” To Mr. Kaufman’s point, the internal conflict would be enough to keep such a small society busy.  Yet, that could be viewed as a minor bump in the road when looking at it in the context of the world it exists in.

Read the whole article at The Jewish Star

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR Jewish Star

Leave a comment

Filed under Islam, Israel, Judasim

Can Jack Lew do for Obama what AmeriCorps did for Clinton?

When the son of an Israeli Irgun member, left the White House to run for mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel left a void not quite filled by his replacement Bill Daley. In many respects Daley was not able to fill the shoes for the President. He could not get the respect of those he needed on the Hill and even within the Administration to be an effective advocate for Mr. Obama. So when Daley seemingly abruptly resigned this week, there was no hesitation before New Yorker and perennial Washington insider Jack Lew, an Orthodox Jew, was called on to step in.

Lew makes for an interesting choice for Mr. Obama, as he is one who has the respect of both sides. He comes with impressive credentials stemming from his days working for Democratic Congressman Joe Moakley and the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill. More recently, he was an executive at Citicorp where he ran a group that made alternative investments, such as hedge funds, credit swaps and other creative financial mechanisms that people such as the President say has hurt the economy.

Read More at Yahoo Contributor Network or the Jewish Star

Juda Engelmayer is an executive with the NY PR agency, 5W Public Relations and a contributor to the Cutting Edge News. This article was adapted from the Jewish Star

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel, Judasim, Obama, Religion

Obama – Good for Israel, Even for those who don’t think he is

By Juda Engelmayer

For anyone who may have not been paying attention lately, President Barack Obama has been making greater attempts to demonstrate just how dedicated he is to Israel and therefore, for Jews in America.  The debate rages on as to whether Obama has been the best or the worst president for Jews as far as Israel is concerned, and in this election year we can be assured of one certainty; both sides will make the claim that benefits their own candidate for the White House, but what is the true and what is hyperbole?

To best answer the question, first we need to separate how good Obama is for the Jews versus how good he might be for Israel.  The two need to be divided, as without Israel Jews have little else to set themselves apart as Americans and voters as any religious group or any national group within our union. (read more in the Jewish Star)

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel, Juda Engelmayer, Judasim, News and Views

Cain’s exit: The kishke of the ‘9-9-9’ candidate

When he first began talking about his 9-9-9 plan, immediately the thought of kishke and hot dogs came to mind. Here was a man who built his career on, and amassed his wealth in the food industry.
What could be better for the Jewish community than to support a businessman who not only openly touts Israel, but also knows good food?

Presidential Candidate Herman Cain was a solid option for Jewish voters for many reasons. The first being, he is a stated friend of the Jewish community and of Israel. Although coming late to the Israel game, once Cain entered politics he realized the importance of understanding the landscape of the Middle East and Israel’s predicament.

He found a deep spirited belief in Israel – likely emanating from good sense and his Southern Baptist religious beliefs. Prior to his joining the Republican debate series Cain might have in passing felt that Israel was being sold short by the Obama administration, but after his August visit to the Holy Land, he took it up as cause.

Read more in the Five Towns Jewish Star

2 Comments

Filed under Israel, Judasim, News and Views

Gilad Shalit is Home and that’s all that Matters…

Israel did something very difficult this week.  It struck a deal with the terror organization Hamas to free over 1000 of its terrorists for one of Israel’s citizens and soldiers – Gilad Shalit.  Many people are debating the wisdom and strategy of this move, as it lends both credence and victory to the terrorists.  Yet, Israel’s sacrifice for one man is not new and should make a very clear statement to the world at large sitting in judgement of Israel ever day; Israel values life and it values the sanctity of humanity.  Hamas does not, the terrorists do not.  Shalit is perhaps the first prisoner kept alive by the Palestinian terrorists, whereas Israel has exchanged many healthy people for the dead remains of its own in the past.

Israel is not weak  – she is compassionate.  Don’t let this incident allow you see it any other way.

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel, Judasim

38 Nobel Laureates Call for Rejection of Anti-Israel Boycott and Divestment Initiatives

A group of 38 Nobel laureates signed a letter opposing the push by the art, research and academic boycott movement Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS).

Their statement, organized by Nobel Laureates, Roger Kornberg, Stanford University, and Steven Weinberg, University of Texas at Austin, was signed on October 28, 2010. In an initiative supported by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) the Nobel winners are encouraging students and faculty of institutions across the world to “promote and provide opportunities for civil academic discourse where parties can engage in the search for resolution to conflicts and problems.” (Read More)

As posted on The Cutting Edge News

Leave a comment

Filed under Islam, Israel, Judasim, Uncategorized, War against Israel