Monday, September 12, 2016

From Ian:

Why Islamists and feminists avoid confronting each other
From the standpoint taken by Owen Jones above, making sure the correct victim groups and oppressor groups keep their places is a vital function – and it is a function that you can see him and others repeating again and again in what they say and do, almost as if by clockwork. It is a presiding perspective. It gives protection to the favoured groups, including by protecting them against criticism, while directing criticism either to broad generalities about society or to the unfavoured identity groups – of which ‘white men’ is a favourite given that it incorporates at least two unfavoured identity markers – of white skin colour and male sex (and also implies a third, of non-Muslim).
We can see this protective stance in how liberal-left institutions like the Labour Party and the Guardian choose what to highlight and what they do not, but it also feeds out into general society through taboos of what we should all talk about and avert our eyes from. For us here, the point about Islamists* is that they benefit from this protection as the representatives of Muslims, including through representative organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Association of Britain and Islamic Human Rights Commission. The administration of diversity treats Muslims as a victim group (indeed with double victim status due to Muslims generally being non-white). So whenever these organisations and others speaking on behalf of Muslims claim victimhood – by crying ‘Islamophobia’ for example – they can expect the liberal-left to respond and support them, as with their opposition to the Government’s anti-extremism strategy ‘Prevent’.
These organisations and others routinely segregate women from men at events and invite speakers who preach about curtailing women’s rights in public life and against homosexuality. But they rarely if ever directly confront feminists who take the opposite standpoint. The reason is structural – for the protection and support they receive from administrators of diversity is at the very least allied to feminists if not actively feminist in character itself (as with Owen Jones). Any challenge to feminism directly would bring into question their place in the system and right to support and protection.
So it’s in the interests of Islamists to maintain that protection and access to wider public life and not remove themselves from the system which provides it. This means not offending those who preside over it or challenging the right of other favoured groups to favouritism. In consequence, rather than attacking and ridiculing feminists publicly, they stick to attacking broad generalities in their public pronouncements, like British society, the West, white racism and British foreign policy – keeping to the victimhood narrative. By doing this they do not challenge those who provide support to them, the system remains robustly intact, and politics can continue as it did before.

Corbyn thought Hebrew was 'too Zionist', says former aide
British Labour leader Jeremy Corbin asked to remove a Hebrew greeting from his Passover message because it made him sound “too Zionist”, his former policy adviser claimed over the weekend.
The Labour leader’s office denied the claim, however, saying it was categorically untrue, according to a report Sunday in The Independent.
The allegation was made in a newspaper article on Saturday in which the former adviser, Joshua Simons, wrote, “After six months working as a policy adviser for Jeremy Corbyn, it was clear to me that the way Corbyn and those around him think about Jewish people is shaped by a frenetic anti-imperialism, focused on Israel and America.”
“Without a hint of irony, one senior aide asked that I remove the greeting 'Chag Kasher VeSameach' from Corbyn’s Passover message, for fear that Corbyn’s supporters might think the use of Hebrew 'Zionist'”, charged Simons.
France: On Its Way to Being a Jew-Free Nation?
During the past 15 years, it is estimated that tens of thousands of Jews have fled France.
Of these, approximately 40,000 have fled to Israel, according to Israeli figures. Many thousands of others have fled to Canada, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. France is increasingly becoming a nation in which it is no longer safe to be openly Jewish.
To explain why so many Jews are leaving Europe, it helps to understand the increasingly toxic context developing in France for Jews.
Synagogues and Jewish schools across France are regularly guarded by police officers and soldiers. Jews in Europe see their holy sites and places of worship under threat.
In December 2015, 14 Jews were poisoned by a toxic substance which had been smeared on to the keypad to access a Paris synagogue. No one was killed by the poison, but "25 firemen rushed to the synagogue, where they treated congregants and traced their condition to the daubed lock."
Another Paris synagogue was vandalized and a window smashed. Synagogues seem to be one of the targets in a new wave of anti-Semitism rising across France and Europe.
On the way to a synagogue, a 13-year-old boy was called a "dirty Jew" and then seriously assaulted. The attackers are said to have attacked the boy because of he wore a skullcap. Only 71 years after the end of one of the darkest periods of European history, after which we pledged "never again," it seems to have become open season to hate and persecute Jews.
The terrorist attacks on Jews in France are the culmination of years of Jew-hatred tolerated with little official criticism. In 2014, supposed anti-Israel protesters attacked a Paris synagogue and trapped the congregants inside. The attackers' chants apparently included "Death to the Jews," "Murderous Israel," and "One Jew, Some Jews, All Jews are Terrorists."
‘No future for Jews in Western Europe,’ says French prosecutor
As for Baccouche, the BNVCA’s volunteer lieutenant president, he doesn’t wear a yarmulka or a Magen David necklace.
“I put tefillin (phylacteries) on and go to synagogue since I was young,” he says, matter of factly.
When asked why, his simple answer is “Because. It has no connection to anti-Semitism,” he says. “I feel myself as a Jew from North Africa but I decline to say what country I’m from. For me, it’s not important.
“I’m not a prophet or a prince but there is no future for Jews in all of Western Europe. Not only because of the war in the Mediterranean basin but because anti-Semitism is part of the Koran. I don’t think there is a future for Jews in France. There will be a day when all of Israel will be gathered back in our country,” Baccouche says.
Despite his negative predictions of Europe, Bacchouche says, “We are not going to our deaths. We live. Jews are more and more living amongst ourselves. There are always interactions with non-Jews but all our social interactions are with Jews, more and more. For example, ‘Elisheva’ has to remove her Jewish symbols but it’s a shame. She doesn’t bother anyone.”

David Collier: So this is Yachad (UK) – part two: a borrowed ideology
For those who missed the first part of this research into Yachad UK, you can catch up with it here. In the second part of the series, I will look at the core politics and activities of Yachad, and analyse the reason for the frustration and hostility the group generates amongst mainstream British Zionists.
In many ways attacking Yachad is exactly what Yachad want you to do. They thrive every time they are accused of overstepping the mark. Such attacks allow them to play the role of the oppressed ‘peace-seekers’. In turn they paint all criticism as emerging from the camp of warmongering extremists. I can do little but fall into that trap. Despite my politics being ‘left of centre’, Yachad will simply suggest I am a closet Kahanist.
Yachad UK, core politics
Yachad have marketed themselves as a moderate left wing group. ‘Liberal Zionists’. Their core principles, two states built along the 67 lines (with border adjustments), and a negotiated denial of the Palestinian ‘right of return’, are the classic stance of the post Oslo Israeli Left position. Compromising, but Jew centric, and with a heart of Zionism. More Peres than Rabin.
So how can it be, that a movement that appears to push the politics of dovish elements in Israel’s Labour party, seems to raise such anger amidst British Jewry? More to the point how can this occur at the same time as Yachad are claiming that they have ‘majority support’ from mainstream British Jewry?
Boycott BDS to prevent discrimination in California
While protecting free speech, the legislation will help to safeguard equal rights for Israeli-Americans, Jewish-Americans and others who have a connection to Israel and now face discrimination on campus, on the job and in their communities.
It will send a clear message: singling out a minority group is unacceptable. Whether the group is from Israel or India, discrimination and enmity have no place in our discourse or our economy. The legislation is comprehensive and far-reaching, applying to all cities and counties, as well as the California State University and University of California systems – consistent targets of BDS campaigns.
Our representatives have made it clear that the state’s taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize discrimination. Those who engage in the BDS movement are not only acting against America’s values and longstanding interests in the Middle East; they also threaten the long-term economic health of our state.
California and Israel have vital business, academic and trade partnerships that must be nourished. From collaboration on stem cell research to fight cancer, to professional exchanges that advance solutions to California’s drought, to business partnerships that have created remarkable companies like Waze, California and Israel are working closely together in ways that benefit both states – and others around the world.
California needs to lead by example and demonstrate to other states how to create a more inclusive environment in the face of BDS lies and bigotry. Similar bills have surfaced in other states including South Carolina, Illinois, New York, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania – the makings of a strong counter campaign against the BDS movement. Together, we can stand up to this wave of hate – and give voice to those now facing discrimination. By voting yes on California Combating BDS Act of 2016, our leg- islators can help to ensure that our state serves as a role model, not a cautionary tale.
Campus Watchdog: San Francisco State U’s ‘Deafening Silence’ Over Ties to Radical Palestinian Counterpart Reflects Complacency to Anti-Israel Behavior (INTERVIEW)
The “deafening silence” of a US university following public outcry over ties to an extremist Palestinian counterpart reflects complacency to anti-Israel behavior, a campus watchdog representative told The Algemeiner.
Cinnamon Stillwell, from the Campus Watch bureau of the think tank the Middle East Forum (MEF), was referring to a recently launched petition by her organization urging San Francisco State University (SFSU) to end its cooperation with An-Najah University in the West Bank, calls which have been widely ignored by SFSU.
“This disregard for public opinion and outside input reflect a pattern at SFSU where the administration has consistently failed to address the longstanding problem of anti-Israel activity on campus,” she told The Algemeiner, adding that she herself is an SFSU graduate and witnessed similar anti-Israel and antisemitic behavior while studying at the school.
The petition, Stillwell said, was the outcome of “numerous efforts to contact SFSU President Leslie Wong to answer our questions” about its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Palestinian university in 2014.
Playing Defense vs. Going on the Attack Against BDS
One of the longest-running and least productive conversations we have as a pro-Israel community is over the efficacy of positive campaigning vs. “going on the offensive.”
Both sides in these debates actually begin from perfectly reasonable foundations. For example, advocates for positive campaigning (sometimes referred to as “Israel 21c campaigns,” named after a website that “goes beyond the conflict” by presenting inspiring news from the Jewish state in areas such as technology, medicine and the environment) point out that these sorts of stories “move the needle” with regard to the opinions of crucial “undecideds” (such as students who have no stake in either side of the Arab-Israeli conflict).
By “move the needle,” they usually mean that hard data – often in the form of survey- or focus-group-based research – provide scientific evidence supporting the argument that negative messages (such as those playing up faults in Palestinian and Arab society) turn off undecideds while positive, 21c-style messaging (especially that highlighting Israel’s desire for peace) moves opinion in the right direction.
“So what!” claim advocates of “going on the attack” (or words to that effect). Our enemy is on the assault, always attacking, constantly smearing the Jewish state using a social-justice vocabulary that easily negates 21c-style rhetoric. When fighting such an opponent, stories of Israeli drip-irrigation don’t cut it. And pretending otherwise, they sometimes argue, is just another example of the Jewish community (especially its leaders) burying their heads in the sand to resist unpleasant reality and avoid doing what has to be done.
The Netherlands’ so-called anti-Zionism
During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to The Hague on Tuesday, The Jerusalem Post quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the Dutch government is “friendly, but unable to ignore public criticism of Israel over the Palestinian issue that has grown in the Netherlands in recent years.”
The excuse of “public criticism” has been employed for many decades in the Netherlands. The ministers and heads of government will smile and apologize. There are always others in the coalition government who oppose Israel. Or public opinion is unfortunately against Israel.
However, public opinion in the Netherlands is to a great extent formed by the very same government.
I have worked as a journalist and/or followed the Dutch press closely for some 35 years. Most Dutch journalists do what they are told. The underlying problem is anti-Semitism and “anti-Zionism,” not some large stream of “public opinion.”
Anti-Israeli feelings are closely intertwined with the Holocaust, since the Netherlands has never admitted guilt and has been hushing up its past for more than 70 years.
Jewish Father Says Antisemitic Bullying No Longer Confined to College Campuses After Daughter Forced to Switch High Schools Over Harassment
Antisemitic bullying is not confined to college campuses, a Jewish father cautioned in a New York Daily News op-ed on Thursday, after his daughter was forced to switch high schools when she came under vicious attack for connecting radical Islam with extremist behavior.
Marco Greenberg — president of a New York-based public relations firm — revealed his daughter’s experience while she was a student at Manhattan’s Beacon High School, warning of how “politically charged” disputes about Israel and Jews have “seeped down” to lower education institutions.
According to Greenberg, a mere two weeks after last November’s ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, his daughter became the target of her peers after stating, “Religion in the extreme can cause violence and war. Just look at radical Islam.”
“You say that in front of people of color,” one student challenged her. Another told Greenberg’s daughter, “I’m going to rearrange your face.” Shortly after that, her phone “exploded with a flurry of texts expressing revulsion [and] demands for apologies and ends to longtime friendships.”
Within 24 hours, Greenberg’s daughter’s Facebook page was flooded with antisemitic and anti-Zionist postings, such as “You white privileged Jewish b***h,” “Zionism is racism,” “We’re not your Arab slaves,” and “I’ve never hated someone in my life as much as you.”
Facebook officials visit Israel amid incitement claims
Senior Facebook officials are in Israel to meet with government representatives and civil servants in an effort to jointly stem the online incitement that the Israeli government says leads to terror activities.
“The aim is to increase cooperation against incitement, incitement to terror and murder on social networks,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, where he announced the Facebook delegation’s visit to Israel. “Terror groups use the internet to hurt humanity. We are determined to fight this phenomenon so I welcome this cooperation, or at least the willingness to cooperate, that Facebook is demonstrating which we hope will yield better results.”
The Facebook delegation is headed by two senior officials, Joel Kaplan, vice president of Global Public Policy and a former deputy chief of staff for policy at the White House, and Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy and counterterrorism, a person familiar with the matter said.
The social media giant and other global social media operations have been slammed by Israeli officials for hosting Palestinian incitement that they claim leads to terror activity.
Israel, Facebook to set up joint anti-incitement teams
Israel and Facebook have agreed to set up joint teams to reach an agreement on how to fight online incitement.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan met Monday morning with senior Facebook officials in an effort to jointly stem online incitement that Israel claims leads to terror activities.
The Facebook officials included Joel Kaplan, vice president of Global Public Policy and a former deputy chief of staff for policy at the White House, and Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy and counterterrorism.
“The meeting took place under the assumption that Facebook has the capability, the responsibility and the willingness to help mitigate incitement and terror from the network,” a joint statement issued by Shaked and Erdan said.
The recent spate of terror attacks Israel has witnessed was characterized by a number of terrorists who admitted, in their interrogation, to have been influenced by incitement on social networks, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other platforms, the statement said.
“Israel is at the forefront of a battle against terror and also in a war against network incitement,” Shaked said. “Particularly in the week in which we remember 9/11, an event that changed the face of the US, it is clear that there is a joint interest among all parties that are in a position to fight terror.”
BBC R4 and WS inaccurate on Western Wall yet again
Unfortunately, that otherwise accurate and impartial report is marred by a rather basic – but for some reason not uncommon – inaccuracy in its introduction.
“This is the Wailing Wall and it’s Tisha B’Av: a day of mourning in the Jewish calendar. And thousands of Jews have gathered here to remember the destruction of the Jewish Temple in this very place 2,000 years ago. There are many here pushing up against these stones. This is the wall that was the original Temple which was destroyed here in 70 AD.
And – as noted last year in an article documenting inaccuracies in a filmed guide to Judaism provided to journalists by the BBC Academy:
“Standing in front of the Western Wall, Buchanan tells viewers:
“This is the remains of the outer wall of the Jewish Second Temple, built by King Herod the Great.”
No – that is a retaining wall of the Temple Mount plaza: not a remnant of the Temple itself.”
It is perhaps not surprising that journalists, producers and editors making content for the BBC repeatedly promote inaccurate information when one of their references on this topic is in itself inaccurate. The BBC Academy has however done nothing to correct the inaccuracies in its filmed guide to Judaism.
BBC News amplifies PA’s spin on Abbas KGB story
However, the report also promotes irrelevant linkage between that story and a completely unrelated topic.
“The [PA] president’s spokesman described the claim as an absurd Israeli “smear”.
He suggested it was made to derail attempts to re-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. […]
An adviser to the [PA] president told the BBC the allegation was made up by Israel.
He said Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained reluctant to meet Mr Abbas in a potential new round of peace talks organised by Russian President Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB staff member.””

Readers of the article are not told how “Israel” supposedly “made up” documents in the Cambridge University archives and despite uncritically amplifying the spin of PA officials, the article does not adequately clarify that the academic researchers have no connection to the Israeli government.
Towards the end of the article, readers are told that:
“Mr Abbas was born in 1935 in what was then British mandate of Palestine. After the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 his family fled to the Syrian capital, where he was educated.”
In fact, historical record shows that it is more likely that Abbas’ family decided to leave Tsfat (Safed) before Israel declared independence on May 14th 1948.
UK Media Watch prompts correction to Sunday Times’ Israeli “atrocities” claim
A Sunday Times article published on Sept. 11th (“Jewish group to set out stall at SNP conference”) focused on a stall to be manned by Scottish pro-Israel activists at the upcoming Scottish National Party (SNP) conference in an effort to counter hostility towards the Jewish state within the party.
The article included the passage below, noting that the new pro-Israel initiative was launched by a group run by an American Jew (who teaches at Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University) named Joe Goldblatt:
However, the sentence in question runs counter to a fundamental rule of journalistic accuracy and professionalism – codified in the Editors’ Code of Practice – which demands that reporters clearly “distinguish between comment, conjecture and fact”. As we wrote in our complaint to Sunday Times editors, though the Israeli “atrocities” referenced in the sentence clearly represent only the allegations of anti-Israel campaigners, the wording suggests to readers that it’s indeed a fact.
The Sunday Times agreed, and revised the sentence to add the word “alleged” to the sentence:
Guardian contributor: diaspora Jews have a special obligation to criticize the settlements
However, despite his generally strong grasp of the nature of modern left antisemitism as it pertains to Israel, Simons evidently fails to understand the significance of his reference to the relationship between diaspora Jews and Israeli settlements.
There is one important difference between these two manifestations of antisemitism. Few on the British left, including Corbyn, will openly admit to believing in an association between Jews and money. By contrast, many will openly admit to feeling differently about Jewish people because they have a special association with Israel, no matter how critical they may be of Israel’s policies. That was exactly my experience. As a Jew, I had a special obligation to criticise Israel’s settlement policy, but when I did, it was never quite believed.
The belief by Simons that non-Israeli Jews have a special obligation to criticize Israeli settlement policy rests on a premise that is antisemitic according to widely accepted understandings of what precisely constitutes anti-Jewish racism – that is, holding Jews around the world collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
Though his analysis of antisemitism in the Labour Party is largely accurate, by suggesting that Jews (and only Jews) must pass a special ideological purity test regarding Israel and the Palestinians to be accepted into the progressive community, Simons is singling out Jews for different treatment and thus legitimizing a fundamental element of the very racism he’s ostensibly opposing.
German politician under fire over call to rehabilitate Nazi race term
A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated.
Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday that words such as “völkisch” should be given “a positive connotation.” Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race.
Petry’s remarks to weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag prompted a swift backlash from politicians, commentators and historians. They warned that her party is trying to legitimize ideas that once were at the core of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi ideology.
In an editorial Monday, daily Neue Westfaelische called Petry’s comments “disgusting,” while Green Party lawmaker Volker Beck described them as “dangerous arson.”
Trial underway in Germany for SS medic who served at Auschwitz
A former SS medic who served at the Auschwitz death camp has gone on trial in the northern German city of Neubrandenburg, although questions remain about whether the 95-year-old is fit enough for the proceedings to continue.
The trial of Hubert Zafke, scheduled to start in February, already has been postponed three times after presiding Judge Klaus Kabisch determined Zafke wasn’t well enough to participate based on a doctor’s assessment.
On Monday, Zafke was pushed into Neubrandenburg state court in a wheelchair, holding a wooden cane in his hand. The dpa news agency reports he made no comment after the charges against him were read.
Zafke is charged with 3,681 counts of accessory to murder for allegedly helping the Nazi camp function. His attorney says he did nothing criminal.
Suspected neo-Nazis vandalize Holocaust memorial in Hungary
Suspected neo-Nazis over the weekend allegedly vandalized a vigil dedicated to Hungarian victims of the Holocaust, local media reported Sunday.
According to the Hungarian Free Press, the grassroots 'Living Memorial' in Budapest's central Liberty Square was desecrated Friday night by unknown perpetrators, weeks after an article threatening to destroy the monument was published on a neo-Nazi website.
The assailants apparently tore down photographs and shattered and stole items placed at the site that serves as testimony to the nearly 600,000 Hungarian Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
In 2014, activist group established the memorial site that commemorates the victims with photographs of victims, votive candles and rocks that are traditionally placed on Jewish graves. Hungary boasted a large Jewish population until more than half of the community perished in the Holocaust.
Holocaust denial film unveiled at Toronto International Film Festival
British Jewish actress Rachel Weisz hit the red carpet on Monday to unveil her latest film Denial at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The film dramatizes American Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt’s real-life legal battle with prominent Holocaust denier British historian David Irving in the 1990s.
British playwright David Hare adapted Lipstadt’s book “History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier” for the screenplay. Both book and film recount how Irving sued Lipstadt for libel in England for calling him a “Holocaust denier.” Because English libel law puts the burden of proof on the defendant, Lipstadt essentially had to prove that the Holocaust happened to win the case.
Mick Jackson directed the film. Timothy Spall co-stars as Irving.
Citi invests NIS 1.5 million in Israeli-Arab program
The Citi Foundation said Sunday it will invest approximately NIS 1.5 million in PresenTense Israel, a company that encourages social entrepreneurship, business and technology among Israel’s minority sectors.
The grant will go toward funding PresenTense’s flagship programs in Haifa and Jaffa, and additional work in Baka al-Gharbiya outside Haifa.
“Entrepreneurship has the power to advance populations and even generate comprehensive social change,” said PresenTense CEO Guy Spigelman.
The goal of these programs is to break the “start-up nation” out of the “Tel Aviv bubble” and make it more accessible to Israel’s Arab minority.
The grant, Spigelman added, would allow the group to bring dozens of additional Arab entrepreneurs into its programs, and generally promote Israeli-Arab entrepreneurship.
PM sends Eid al-Adha greeting to Israel’s Muslim, Druze citizens
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his best wishes to the Muslim and Druze citizens of Israel for the Eid al-Adha festival that began Sunday night.
“On the occasion of the Festival of the Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, I am happy to offer my best wishes to our Muslim and Druze citizens with wishes for a happy festival,” Netanyahu said in a statement released to the media. He offered the traditional festive greeting, “May you be well every year.”
“This festival praises the values which the Jewish religion also values, fear of God, family values and helping others. This is another example of the many things which unite us in our shared life in the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “I wish you and all your families a great and happy festival.”
Itzhak Perlman announces recipients of his Genesis prize money
Nearly three months after being awarded the Genesis Prize, maestro Itzhak Perlman announced the major recipients of his prize money, which has been tripled from $1 million to $3 million by donations from other bodies.
Perlman, 70, is the third recipient of the Genesis Prize, an award created by a trio of Russian Jewish philanthropists. The previous two winners of the “Jewish Nobel” were former New York mayor and business mogul Michael Bloomberg and actor-director Michael Douglas.
For the second year in a row, the proceeds of the Genesis Prize award were doubled to $2 million by a $1 million contribution from tycoon and philanthropist Roman Abramovich.
An additional $1 million will be raised through a matching funds program administered by the Jewish Funders Network, bringing the total amount to $3 million.
Prizewinners are expected to donate the funds to projects and organizations they support.
Mislabeled epitaph turns out to be 1,700-year-old Jewish obituary
A third century epitaph for a Jewish woman living in Egypt has recently been translated, after its discovery in a Utah library.
The limestone tablet had been labeled as a Coptic artifact for years until it was translated by Lincoln H. Blumell, an associate professor at Brigham Young University, who published his findings this month.
“In peace and blessing Ama Helene, a Jew, who loves the orphans, [died]. For about 60 years her path was one of mercy and blessing; on it she prospered,” the epitaph reads.
This document is unusual, because it describes the woman, Helene, as a Jew, but also uses the honorary title “Ama” which was normally only used to describe nuns and other distinguished Christian women in ancient Egypt, according to Blumell.
“I’ve looked at hundreds of ancient Jewish epitaphs,” Blumell said, “and there is nothing quite like this. This is a beautiful remembrance and tribute to this woman.”
In contributing to Australia's welfare, the Jews found theirs
Australia's Jewish community has always understood that its fortunes will rise and fall with the fortunes of the nation.
And so, when Jews gather in their holy places, they pray for the welfare of this country in a tradition that originates in 594BC, when the Jews lived in exile in Babylon.
"Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile," wrote the Prophet Jeremiah, "… and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."
These words, contained in a letter sent from Jerusalem to the leaders of the exiled community in Babylon, came at a time when the Jews faced a profound dilemma. Now also a people of the diaspora yet a distinct nation with enduring ties to their homeland, the Jews would need to reconcile their longing to return with their new reality of living as foreign subjects in distant lands.

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