Friday, April 24, 2020

From Ian:

Prof. Efraim Karsh: How the Jewish National Home Entered International Law
The San Remo conference in April 1920 appointed Britain as mandatory for Palestine with the specific task of "putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the British Government [the Balfour Declaration], and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." This mandate was then ratified on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations - the UN's predecessor.

The importance of the Palestine mandate cannot be overstated. Though falling short of the proposed Zionist formula that "Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people," it signified an unqualified recognition, by the official representative of the will of the international community, of the Jews as a national group - rather than a purely religious community - and acknowledgment of "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" as "the grounds for reconstituting their national home in the country."

It is a historical tragedy that 100 years after this momentous event, the Palestinian leadership and its international champions remain entrenched in the rejection not only of the millenarian Jewish attachment to Palestine but of the very existence of a Jewish People (and by implication its right to statehood).

Rather than keep trying to turn the clock backward at the certain cost of prolonging their people's statelessness and suffering, it is time for this leadership to shed its century-long recalcitrance and opt for peace and reconciliation with their Israeli neighbors.
Melanie Phillips: Israel overcomes virus of political, moral collapse
One hundred years ago this Sunday, the four principal allied powers involved in World War I signed a resolution at San Remo. Next week, Israel celebrates Yom Ha'atzmaut, the 72nd anniversary of the state's declaration of independence.

Typically, the world thinks that the key step towards the establishment of the State of Israel was the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the statement in which the British government committed itself to work for the establishment of a Jewish home in what was then called Palestine.

Relatively little attention has been paid to the more important milestone in that story: the San Remo resolution signed on April 26, 1920.

For it was at San Remo that Britain, France, Italy, and Japan turned the Balfour Declaration into an internationally binding treaty to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine, with Britain being given the mandate to facilitate Jewish immigration there.
A few months after the San Remo conference, for reasons of realpolitik, Britain hived off some three-quarters of Palestine to create Transjordan.

The scope of what was left for the Jewish national home, however, is something that Israel's enemies don't want to acknowledge – and is the reason that San Remo is conspicuously ignored. For in that resolution lie the roots of Jewish legitimacy, not just in Israel but also in the disputed territories.

That's because the Palestine within which the Jews were legally entitled to settle as their designated national home included not just the Israel that emerged in 1948, but also Judea and Samaria. That legal right given to the Jews to settle the entire land of Mandatory Palestine has never been abrogated.

During the war of extermination mounted against Israel at its rebirth in 1948, some of that designated territory was captured by the Jordanians.

As the international lawyer Eugene Kontorovitch has noted, when Israel eventually recovered this land as a result of the Six-Day War in 1967, much of the international community pretended that its own earlier guarantees didn't exist.

Far from acknowledging the legal, moral and historical right of the Jewish people to live in Judea and Samaria, the international community has consistently claimed that the areas Jordan ethnically cleansed of Jews in 1948 must indefinitely remain Jew-free zones.
Caroline Glick: American Jewry's organizational crackup
Last week an event occurred that will be remembered as a key moment in the disintegration of organized American Jewish support for Israel and American Jewish organizational life itself.

Last Friday, the leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations announced that the Conference's nominating committee had selected Dianne Lob, the former president of HIAS to run unopposed for the position of chairman of the Conference's Executive Board. Her election is scheduled to take place on April 28.

The Conference of Presidents – an umbrella group that comprises 53 Jewish American organizations – is widely viewed as the most important Jewish organization in the United States.

Why is Lob's selection important? On the face of things, it was unremarkable. People who have known Lob for decades describe her as a garden variety New York Jewish liberal whose views on Israel are in keeping with the views of the vast majority of American Jews.

Members of the Conference of President, for their part, claim not to know her at all. During her term as chairman of HIAS, from 2016-2019, she didn't participate in major Conference events like its trips to Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Lob's selection is an earthquake in American Jewish organizational life is not because of anything she has said or done, but because of her organizational affiliation with HIAS.

HIAS was established at the end of the 19th century under the name Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, to assist the hundreds of thousands of penniless Eastern European Jews who were immigrating at the time to the US. The last major group of Jewish immigrants HIAS was involved in resettling in the US were the Jews who left the Soviet Union between the 1970s and 1990s.

In 2014, HIAS officially set its Jewish roots aside. It abandoned its full name in favor of its acronym. HIAS CEO and President Mark Hetfield claimed that the world "Hebrew" is exclusionary.



Ronald S. Lauder: The Jewish Imperative for the Post-Corona World
For many weeks now, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our civilization, and the Jewish people have once again found themselves at the forefront of the struggle against a worldwide calamity.

New York City has been an outsize victim of the pandemic - and some of its Jewish communities have been especially hard hit. London, too, has suffered badly - and in some of its Jewish communities the number of cases has been especially high. So, too, in other major European cities, chief among them Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Moscow.

From Borough Park to Golders Green, from Williamsburg to Stamford Hill, Jewish communities are experiencing loss, panic, hardship and pain. But these same communities are demonstrating exceptional fortitude and cohesion. Their difficult hour is also their finest hour.

Today more than ever, it is clear just how dependent we are on one another. And it is doubly clear that we must overcome that which divides us, rediscover what unites us - and above all support one another. The imperative to nurture a strong, unified Jewish community grows exponentially in the face of the dangers surrounding us.

In the last few years, we have witnessed a new outbreak of one of the oldest and most odious plagues the world has ever known: hatred of the Jews. Today, there are those who blame the Jews for the spread of coronavirus, and there will be those who will blame the Jews for the coming severe economic dislocation.

On this front, there is absolutely no room for compromise. We must stand as one against those who would destroy us. We must protect every Jew and every Jewish community that comes under attack.

Above all, we must re-embrace our age-old ethos of mutual responsibility and love-of-Israel. In the post-coronavirus world, globalization will wane and nationalism will rise. Thus, we must act now, fostering the Jewish spirit of enlightened, generous, humanistic and democratic nationhood.
Phyllis Chesler: Palestinian Lies Never Die; Wikipedia and Google Keep Them Alive
Occupation is a word that dominates most debate about Israel, but the truth is that pro-Palestinian propagandists are occupying Google and Wikipedia to keep debunked narratives alive.

This was recently confirmed when I attended a webinar featuring a physician who worked in Israel's undercover "Dudevan" unit, which is the basis for the popular series Fauda. She talked about her work in Gaza and on the West Bank during Operation Protective Edge.

"I thought nothing would surprise me. But many things did," she said. The physician told the story of trying to save the life of a 2½-year-old West Bank boy accidentally run over by his father. They rushed the boy to an Israeli hospital, providing treatment along the way.

"Despite all our efforts," she remembered, "the boy died. When I asked this father if he would donate any of his son's organs to another child, he said: 'Only to an Arab Palestinian child, not to an Israeli Jewish child.'"

This was a father who had just seen the enormous effort that Israeli Jews had undertaken to save his son's life; it was a very dramatic and emotional moment. Old prejudices might have died on the spot, at least momentarily. Instead, this man's Jew and Israel hatred kicked in immediately. The doctor was stunned by the sudden appearance of such "political realities."

This is the kind of psychological enemy Israel is up against. And then there are the Palestinian terrorist leaders, who indoctrinate their own people and use them to carry out terrorist attacks against civilian Israelis. This fact is minimized by Western media and global leaders.

Given the world's diabolical double standards, Israeli soldiers stand accused of atrocities they did not commit, while Palestinian terrorists—Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Palestinian Liberation Organization, Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—who torture, kidnap, hijack, use human shields, including children, are still viewed as innocent victims.
New U.S. Law Allows Terror Victims to Sue PA
Legislation passed by the United States Congress in 2019 came into effect this week, exposing the Palestinian Authority to potentially disastrous lawsuits over its support of terrorism,

The legislation is the latest in a series of steps seeking to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for the incitement its propagates.

One of these steps included the enactment of The Taylor Force Act in 2018, which state that Congress will withhold American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA ceases paying salaries to terrorists jailed in Israel and stipends to the families of terrorists who were killed while carrying to attempting to carry out terrorist attacks targeting Israelis.

The practice, known as the PA's "pay-to-slay" policy, amounts tens of millions of dollars every years, making up nearly 10% of the Palestinian Authority's annual budget. In the past, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud has vowed to continue paying stipends to terrorists even if its costs the Palestinian Authority "its very last dollar."

The legislation that came into effect this week – the Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act of 2019 - seeks to impose US court jurisdiction on Palestine so that American citizens can target the PA with lawsuits for suicide attacks in the early 2000s.

The law was passed following the PA's refusal to pay damages to family members of hundreds of Israelis and Americans murdered or wounded in terrorist attacks in Israel.
To our readers: Everything has its season. It is time
Everywhere we have seen the devastating impact of COVID-19. It has attacked every aspect of life as we know it, and we are all struggling to cope with the upheaval. We had hoped that The CJN could play some small role to inform, console and distract our readers as we all isolate at home, worried about our families, our friends, our medical caregivers, all those risking their lives to provide essential services, our businesses and livelihood, our community, our country, our world.

It is with great regret that we have realized that we will be unable to do so. Unfortunately, we too have become a victim of COVID-19. Already struggling, we are not able to sustain the enterprise in an environment of almost complete economic shut down. It is with deep sadness that we announce the closure of our beloved CJN, both in print and online.

In the spring and summer of 2013 we saved The CJN from its announced demise. At that time, I consulted with a number of community leaders, including my mother, Rose Wolfe, a longtime board member of The CJN and community leader. Her response at the time surprised me. She said: “It had a good run. Everything has its season. It is time.”

That response did not sit well with me, as I was not satisfied that we had done everything possible to save The CJN, especially given our family’s 40 year association with the paper. I was not willing to give up without another try. With the support of the board of directors, we re-organized, restructured and created a new version of the paper and website to serve the Canadian Jewish community. Against all odds, our friends, advertisers and readers recognized how important it was to maintain The CJN as a platform to inform and engage Canadian Jewry. (h/t L_King)
Disgraced former MP Chris Williamson to launch new ‘grassroots movement’ with inaugural ‘Resist Festival’ featuring Lowkey and Noam Chomsky
The disgraced former MP, Chris Williamson, has floated the idea of launching a new ‘grassroots movement’.

Mr Williamson, who was embroiled in scandals over antisemitism when he was in the Labour Party, has said that with the election of Sir Keir Starmer to the Labour leadership, many feel “politically homeless”.

He intends the new movement to use “culture, alternative media and street protest” to achieve its aims, with a ‘Resist Festival’ originally planned for June but now postponed to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Resist Festival is due to feature controversial speakers including the rapper Lowkey, the outspoken academic Noam Chomsky, the activist Max Blumenthal and representatives from the ‘yellow vest’ protests in France.

Mr Williamson resigned from the Labour Party inmate 2019 after learning that he would not be allowed to stand for the Party in the general election. His extraordinary letter of resignation from the Party read like a manifesto against Jews. He ran in the general election as an independent and, in a rarity for an incumbent MP that demonstrates the depth of his rejection by his Derby North constituents, got so few votes that he lost his deposit.

He has described his erstwhile Party’s institutional antisemitism as “manufactured” and part of an “assault on our democracy” by a “hostile foreign government” to “normalise Zionism in the Labour Party”.
Anti-Israel Group JVP Hosts Online Call With 1983 US Senate Bomber
The New York City chapter of the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) hosted on online call earlier this week with a woman who served 14 years in jail for her role in a 1983 bombing at the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

In a tweet promoting the event, JVP referred to Laura Whitehorn, now 75, as an “activist and former political prisoner.”

Since her incarceration ended in 1999, Whitehorn has been involved in public advocacy for a number of far-left causes.

Recently, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, she has been calling for the release of sick and elderly prisoners.

No one was killed or injured in the blast that occurred outside the US Senate Chamber on November 7, 1983.

The attack — motivated by US military activities in Grenada and Lebanon — was perpetrated by the Resistance Conspiracy of the May 19th Communist Organization, of which Whitehorn was a member.


A major Jewish organization does “Interfaith” with Muslim Brotherhood
Despite antisemitism featuring prominently in Islamic doctrine and liberally disseminated and promoted by Islamic institutions and mosques throughout the United States, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) recently established a partnership with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). It is troubling that this major Jewish organization would join hands with a known affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in an “interfaith” venture they say is meant to fight both antisemitism and anti-Muslim bias.

A growing problem in America, the recent rise of antisemitism can be traced back to 1991. The FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Act report of 2018 revealed that in every single year since then, Jews and Jewish institutions were the primary target of religious hate crimes. They represented nearly 60% of all victims of hate crime attacks compared to 14.5% against Muslims and 12.3% against Christians.

Against this alarming backdrop of physical attacks, verbal attacks by Muslims fuel antisemitism. In 2019, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit organization that monitors, analyzes and translates Arab and Muslim media content, monitored sermons by imams across America. In a random sample of more than 100 U.S. imams, they found evidence of support for the global jihad and incitement to kill Jews. Attempting to inform Jewish leaders, MEMRI founder Yigal Carmon took his disturbing findings to major American Jewish organizations. Remarkably, Jewish leadership declined to act out of fear for their safety and concern over being accused of “Islamophobia.”

Investigative reporter and author of Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington, Paul Sperry, cited several virulent examples of the call to American Muslims to attack Jews. He described a Houston imam calling for Muslims to “fight the Jews;” a Raleigh, North Carolina imam invoking a Jew-killing hadith from the Koran; and a Garland, Texas imam beseeching Allah to “destroy the Zionists and their allies.” In New Jersey, an imam prayed for the annihilation of the Jews, calling them “apes and pigs.” An imam in Northern California called for the genocide of the Jews, accusing them of contaminating Muslim shrines with their “filth.”
P.E.I Guardian Publishes Antisemitic Letter Blaming Israel for Coronavirus’ Spread
Since time immemorial, the virus of antisemitism has spread in times of great conflict, poverty, natural disasters and indeed, worldwide pandemics.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been no exception. In its path of death, destruction and illness, the malady of Jew hatred has gone viral with hatemongers attempting to scapegoat world Jewry by linking the Jews and the Jewish state to the virus’ existence and spread or for claiming that the Jewish people fabricated the disease entirely.

As acclaimed New York Times op-ed writer and editor Bari Weiss observed in her book: “How to Fight Antisemitism”: “In the 1300’s, the real culprit of the bubonic plague, which swept through Europe and killed tens of millions of people, were rats that had come to the continent via ship from Crimea. But Jews were blamed for spreading the disease by poisoning drinking wells.”

Fast forward to present day, this age-old discrimination has found fertile ground in bigots worldwide and those based domestically seeking to spread antisemitism, a disease without a cure and whose contagion cannot be stymied by social distancing and efforts to bend the curve. The rise of antisemitic hatred during COVID-19 led Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, to say he’s “Extremely concerned to see that certain religious leaders and politicians continue to exploit the challenging times during this pandemic to spread hatred against Jews and other minorities.”

True to form, Stanley Bridge resident and anti-Israel activist Richard Deaton used the COVID-19 pandemic and The Guardian as a platform to incite hatred against Israel and Jews. Deaton took to the pages of the Guardian on April 20 (see his letter in full at right) to blame Israel for the virus’ spread to Palestinians, outrageously claiming that Israel imposed a “death sentence for thousands of Palestinians” and has therefore committed “crimes against humanity”. His letter was also published to the Saltwire.com and Journal Pioneer’s website.

Deaton also claimed that Israel has been occupying all of Jerusalem ostensibly since Israel declared its independence in 1948, which is equivalent to claiming that the world’s only Jewish state and a sovereign UN member country, has no right to exist. For Deaton to outrageously imply that the birth of the Israeli state in 1948 was a historical mistake in need of rectification, he’s engaging in the disease known as antisemitism.

What Deaton did not mention was that tiny Israel has been regarded as the safest country in the world to live in now due to the drastic efforts its undertaken to fight the pandemic’s spread. Also ignored was how the pandemic has actually resulted in unprecedented cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian officials, to the point that even the anti-Israel United Nations praised their efforts to contain the epidemic.
NY man claimed Jews responsible for coronavirus, charged with harassment
Claiming Jews are responsible for the coronavirus, a New York City man has been charged with bias intimidation and harassment following two confrontations with a Jewish man at a Dunkin’ Donuts in New Jersey.

Afrim Haxhaj, 30, of Queens, told the Jewish man at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Fort Lee on Monday to leave while saying Jews are responsible for the coronavirus, the Fair Lawn-Glen Rock Daily Voice reported. He also told the Jewish man not to come back.

Haxhaj allegedly confronted the Jewish man again the next day at the same store, saying “he does not want Jews in his neighborhood and bumping his chest into the victim,” state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said, according to the Daily Voice.

The Jewish man left the store and called police, according to the report.
Infinity Foods applauded for swiftly removing part-time employee who reportedly threatened to identify Jews to far-right organisations
Infinity Foods has been applauded for swiftly removing a part-time employee who reportedly threatened to identify Jews to far-right organisations

Jewish shoppers made the Brighton-based retailer aware that one of its employees was making the threats over Twitter.

On the same day, Infinity Foods announced that it was investigating, and later that day removed the employee and issued a statement saying: “We were made aware of allegations of online threats made by an employee. Infinity Foods does not and will never tolerate or condone antisemitism or racism of any kind. As of this afternoon the person in question is no longer an employee of the company and we hope that this demonstrates that this kind of behaviour in no way reflects the values of Infinity Foods and its workers.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism joins the consumer and others who brought the matter to light in applauding Infinity Foods for its swift implementation of zero tolerance for antisemitism.
German drugstore chain shows ad with antisemitic conspiracy rapper
The giant German drug store chain Rossmann sponsored an advertisement with a rapper who has advocated an antisemitic conspiracy theory against Israelis during the jihadi plane attacks on 9/11 in New York City.

Rossmann is the second largest retail drugstore in Germany, with a total of 4,088 stores and 56,200 employees.

The German rapper Wasiem Taha, who is of Palestinian origin, circulated on social media a statement that “On September 11, 2001, 4,000 Israelis did not show up for work at the World Trade Center.” A caption under the statement and a picture of a passenger plane about to strike a WTC tower reads “More facts about Islam.”

Taha wrote above the social media post: “Weird, isn’t it.”

Taha fantasized in a song a number of years about a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv with a bomb belt.
CAA to write to National Registers of Communication Professionals about member who repeatedly compared Israel to Nazis on social media and promoted Holocaust denial
Campaign Against Antisemitism is to write to the National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD) over a member who has repeatedly compared Israeli policy to that of the Nazis on social media.

An activist in the Jewish community has discovered that Tariq Mahmood, a Birmingham-based hearing professional and BSL interpreter who is registered with and regulated by the NRCPD, made extensive use of Twitter to disseminate antisemitic views from 2015 until earlier this year when he deleted his account.

These include: the promotion of an article entitled The Israeli Holocaust Against Arab Children. Israeli Child Killers: Documentary Proof; numerous other comparisons of Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, in breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism; the promotion of an article on a Holocaust denial website where the murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime is liberally referred to as “the Holohoax”; and an image with the caption “The Holohoax: a LIE in 1936, a LIE in 1945, and STILL a LIE today!”

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “NRCPD’s code of conduct requires its registrants to behave with professionalism and integrity and to ensure that their behaviour justifies public trust and confidence. It also cautions against unfair discrimination. It is clear that, through his use of social media to promote anti-Jewish hatred, Tariq Mahmood has demonstrated appalling prejudice that can only serve to bring the NRCPD into disrepute. We trust that after reviewing the material included with this letter, the NRCPD will terminate his association with the organisation.”
Israeli researchers say they can make disinfectant from tap water
Researchers at Bar-Ilan University have developed what they say is a new way to make strong and environmentally friendly disinfectants to kill bacteria and viruses by using just tap water.

The method, which has not been submitted for peer review or yet published in a journal, was developed and patented by Dr. Eran Avraham, Dr. Izaak Cohen and Prof. Doron Aurbach, head of the electrochemistry group, of the Department of Chemistry and Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University. Peer review is a standard check for research and is a key step in validating a discovery.

The disinfectant materials were recently tested by researchers in the virology labs of Prof. Ronit Sarid of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at the university and at the Poriya Hospital in the north of Israel, and were “proven effective” in neutralizing microbes, fungus and corona-type viruses, Aurbach said in a phone interview.

he disinfectants are created by an adjustable, gentle electrification of water, he explained. “Usually water always contains the usual salt – sodium chloride” he said. “When you apply electricity to water you cause electrolysis — decomposition of water that forms the elements hydrogen and oxygen as gases.”

When the water contains also sodium chloride above a certain level, its electrification, or electrolysis, produces in addition to hydrogen and oxygen also chlorine gas.
Mechanical pollinator helps Israeli farmers cope with declining bee population
A mechanical hum replaced the buzz of the bees in one Israeli almond orchard this season as farmers, concerned over the global decline of bee populations, tried a new method to pollinate their crops.

Through the blooming almond trees near the ancient site of Tel Arad in a desert plain in southern Israel, a tractor pulled a mast equipped with about a dozen small cannons that precisely shot pollen at the trees, allowing them to fertilize.

The job is usually done by natural pollinators, particularly bees, but there has been a drastic fall in the number of bees around the world, largely due to intensive agriculture, pesticides and climate change.

Most crops rely on pollination, so the trend has worried groups like the UN Food and Agriculture Organization as it looks to fight hunger among a rising human population.

"We see a crisis in 15 years where we don't have enough insects in the world to actually do pollination and most of our vitamins and fruits are gone," said Eylam Ran, CEO of Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture.

His company says its artificial pollinator can augment, and eventually replace, bees. It mirrors the work of the honey bee, beginning with a mechanical harvest of pollen from flowers and ending with a targeted distribution using LIDAR sensors, the same technology used in some self-driving cars.

While bee researcher, Dr. Victoria Soroker is doubtful that honey bees can ever be replaced, she welcomes any agricultural technology that can ease the burden on the insects that are often harmed by massive hives gathering to pollinate huge monoculture fields for pollination, such as California's over a million-acre almond orchards.

Edete has been working on a small-scale trial in several orchards in Israel and Australia and has agreements to do the same in the United States and Spain. The company hopes to scale up and be market-ready for 2023.
Jewish spy during Holocaust has socially distanced 100th b-day bash
The 100th birthday of a Holocaust survivor and former French-Jewish spy who went behind German enemy lines was feted with an appropriately socially distanced parade of cars.

Marthe Cohn sat in her driveway in Los Angeles wearing a face mask and gloves as cars full of people drove by wishing her well, shouting through rolled-down windows and sun roofs. A banner hanging on the garage door behind her read “Happy 100 Birthday Mrs. Cohn.” Neighbors also stood in their driveways holding signs bearing well-wishes.

A letter of congratulations from President Reuven Rivlin was read over a bullhorn and Cohn later received a phone call from both Rivlin and the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as hundreds of emails.

A new documentary, “The Accidental Spy,” tells her story, and Cohn co-wrote a memoir in 2002, “Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany.”
IDF: Israel's National Anthem Through The Ages
Israel's national anthem — "HaTikva" — is song that grew from the depths of despair to the heights of a new hope.

This is the "HaTikva" then and now.


Dad’s Torah reading of ‘Goodnight Moon’ goes viral
Simmy Cohen has hardly read from the Torah since his bar mitzvah. When he’s not working at his marketing job from his home in Queens, New York, Cohen spends far more time these days reading children’s books to his 13-month old daughter.

But with a spark of comedic genius and perhaps a little quarantine-induced imagination, he put the two together in a video of himself reading — no, chanting — the classic board book “Goodnight Moon” set to the Torah trope.

“For those missing the sound of leyning,” he wrote in his post of the video to Twitter, using the Yiddish word to describe the vocalization used when reading aloud from the Torah.

Cohen hoped the video would resonate with other Orthodox Jews whose access to live Torah reading ended when their synagogues closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.


But the video quickly found a broader audience with over 40,000 views and several hundred retweets, including one from the actor Joshua Malina, who shared the video with his 281,000 followers. Inspired by the original video, another Twitter user created his own version using the Sephardic and Moroccan vocalizations.

Cohen said he was surprised by positive reactions from Jews spanning the religious and cultural spectrum. But in retrospect, he said, it’s not shocking.

“I actually think people do miss the sound of leyning,” Cohen said. “That was the joke of the caption, but I think it’s kind of true.”



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