Friday, March 26, 2021

From Ian:

Polish Catholic family, killed by Nazis for helping Jews, on path to beatification
Early on March 24, 1944, a Nazi patrol surrounded the home of Józef and Wiktoria Ulma on the outskirts of the village of Markowa in southeast Poland. They discovered eight Jewish people who had found refuge with the couple and executed them.

The Nazi police then killed the pregnant Wiktoria, who was 32 years old, and her 44-year-old husband. As the couple’s children began to scream at the sight of their murdered parents, the Nazis shot them dead too: Stanisława, 8, Barbara, 7, Władysław, 6, Franciszek, 4, Antoni, 3, and Maria, 2.

It is thought that Wiktoria went into labor during the massacre as a witness later said that he saw a newborn baby beside her body.

Now, 77 years later, the sainthood causes of Józef and Wiktoria -- known as the “Good Samaritans of Markowa” -- are advancing.

Polish Catholics marked the anniversary of their deaths at a morning Mass in the parish of St. Dorothy in Markowa, in Przemyśl archdiocese. Archbishop Adam Szal of Przemyśl presided.

The liturgy also fell on the National Day of Remembrance of Poles Rescuing Jews under German Occupation.

The archbishop expressed delight at the progress in the causes of the couple, who are currently known as Servants of God, a title used at the start of canonization processes.

“We give thanks for the example of the Ulma family’s life. Their gift of life is a sign for us that sometimes we have to sacrifice our lives to save other people. Today we are asking for the gift of their beatification,” he said.

In his homily, Fr. Witold Burda, postulator of the causes, praised Józef and Wiktoria as a model for Christians.

“The Ulmas put God’s law in the first place every day,” he said.

Referring to surviving photos of the family, he said: “The smile of the children in the photos touches me. These children felt safe, loved by mom and dad.”
Google Maps found to be hosting over 150 anti-Semitic reviews of Auschwitz
Google was found to be hosting over 150 anti-Semitic reviews for the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp on Google Maps, according to a report by the Guardian on Thursday. The tech giant has since removed most of them.

The report said 153 anti-Semitic comments were found for the memorial site on Google Maps, 93 of them made anonymously.

Posts such as “Heil Hitler” and “It’s a shame the SS was disbanded so long ago,” had been hosted for months and in some cases years, the Guardian said.

For instance, “Showers were a great experience, Anne Frankly I’m glad I came” and “Good place to go if you want to lose weight fast” had been on the service for four and nine years respectively, according to the report.

Many of the reviews were left by accounts posing as infamous Nazi leaders, such as Adolf Hitler and SS commander Michael Wittmann.

The Guardian said it attempted to use Google’s “flag as inappropriate” function, yet more than 24 hours later, the majority of the 153 offending reviews remained online. After the paper contacted Google, all but two were removed.

There are nearly 7,500 reviews of the site on Google Maps. Most are respectful.

A spokesperson for Google told The Guardian that the company was “appalled by these reviews on our platform and are taking action to remove the content and prevent further abuse.

“We have clear policies that prohibit offensive and fake reviews and we work around the clock to monitor Maps. In this case, we know we need to do better and are working to evaluate and improve our detection systems,” Google added.
Canadians Who Exploit the Holocaust as a Rhetorical Cudgel Deserving of Contempt
In the wake of the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust against European Jewry in 1945, activists and educators around the world committed that “never again” would the world witness such an inhumane massacre of innocent civilians, regardless of their faith, ethnicity, colour, orientation or any other factor. In fact, even the term “never again” became a phrase widely associated with the Holocaust, imploring future generations to never let genocide re-occur.

And while, tragically, the 1994 genocide of nearly one million members of the Tutsi ethnic group in Rwanda is a reminder of humanity’s failure to act on “never again”, here in Canada, even more fundamental lessons of the Holocaust have been forgotten, barely 75 years after it ended.

One of the most fundamental lessons of the Holocaust is, of course, the commitment to never let it happen again, but one of the key ways for that to happen is for the Holocaust to be trivialized, analogized and appropriated, efforts which serves to diminish what took place and dishonour the memories of those who perished.

Unfortunately, far too often, and in a number of recent incidents in Canadian political discourse, the Holocaust has been bandied about to score political points on a number of different political issues. In so doing, the sheer magnitude of the largest genocide of human beings – the murder of six million Jews – is reduced to false analogies.

On the Internet, Godwin’s law prevails when an online discussion plays out for a prolonged period of time, increasing the probability and likelihood that a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler becomes more likely.

In Calgary, Vancouver and elsewhere throughout Canada recently, COVID-19 protestors, wore yellow Stars of David with the words “mask exempt” and t-shirts were being sold online saying “COVID Caust”. The Nazis forced Jews to wear the Star of David to single out Jews from society and to easily identify them in a multi-pronged plan to systematic murder.

In early March, the Globe and Mail published a column originally titled “I’m channeling Anne Frank’s spirit in lockdown,” before it was changed to “Lessons in Living from Anne Frank,” where contributor Debra Dolan drew criticism for what some felt was a comparison of the difficult restrictions under semi-lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, to Holocaust victim Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis in the Holocaust and who died in a concentration camp.

UK professor who called Jewish students ‘pawns’ of Israel may have committed crime
A British university professor may have committed a hate crime when he labeled Jewish students “pawns” of Israel during a lecture, a police spokesperson said.

Avon and Somerset Police made the statement on Thursday — an unusual case of police action on matters that many Britons say fall under academic freedom.

In a Feb. 13 videoconference titled “Labour Campaign for Free Speech,” University of Bristol sociologist David Miller endorsed the “end of Zionism as a functioning ideology.” He also called protests by the university’s Jewish Society, a union of Jewish students, over his previous fulminations against Jews and Israel proof that there’s “a real question of abuse here — of Jewish students on British campuses being used as political pawns by a violent, racist, foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing.” He cited the Jewish Society’s support for Zionism.

In 2019, Miller suggested that British Jews were using interfaith events with Muslims, including a chicken soup cookout, to increase the acceptance of Zionism among Muslims.

His February remarks sparked calls by many British Jews for Miller’s dismissal.
Arrested anti-Zionist compares himself to the Suffragettes
The anti-Zionist activist Tony Greenstein has compared himself to the Suffragettes after he spent time in prison charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage.

The 67-year-old made the comment in a blog about his experiences in HM Prison Birmingham after his arrest — along with five other supporters of the Palestine Action group — in the early hours of 9 March.

Outlining how he was interrogated, Mr Greenstein claimed: “Another series of questions concerned whether I was an extremist!

“I had much pleasure pointing out to the warder that all those who have fought for democratic rights in the past, such as the Suffragettes, were called extremists in their time.”

Mr Greenstein wrote that he and the other five pro-Palestine activists “were all charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage and going equipped to cause criminal damage”.

After appearing in court in Wolverhampton, he revealed he was “given conditional bail, a curfew and reporting weekly to the Brighton police”.

He alleged his arrest was, he wrote, “part of a coordinated attempt by the police to crack down on any action directed at the operation of Israeli arms company Elbit”.
University of Iowa Student Government Rejects Motion to Form ‘Jewish Senator’
The Undergraduate Student Government at the University of Iowa recently voted against legislation that called for the creation of a Jewish constituency senator to help tackle antisemitism on campus.

After almost three hours of debate, 24 members of the government voted “yes” and 15 “no” with one abstention, reported the student-run publication The Daily Iowan on Wednesday. Legislation requires 27 votes to pass.

At present, seven constituency senators represent the school’s diversity. Those who voted against the motion claimed that due to the diverse student body, not all marginalized groups can be represented by a senator.

Jewish senior Kendall Michaels testified at the meeting and shared her experiences with antisemitism on campus.

“I grew up where everyone was Jewish, people knew what a Jew was, and I came here and I had people asking me if I had horns and other crazy questions because they had never met a Jew before,” she said. “At the end of my freshman year, I came across somebody that I knew who was a year older than me that posted a Snapchat story where he had drawn in a swastika and the caption was ‘I hate all Jews.’ ”
The J Street and SJP hybrid Haggadah: A parody
The events that led to Passover unfolded centuries before the advent of Islam and its conquest of the Middle East, when the ancient Israelites were once slaves in a land where the natives were polytheists, and the language was Egyptian, as were the ruling elite. Pharaoh enslaved the Jewish people, the Israelites, until Moses led them to their escape into the desert, where they were forced to withstand 40 challenging years on their way to freedom. But freedom they did find.

As a guide to reliving this story, a millennia old annual tradition among the Jewish people, The J Street Haggadah presents, “Fifteen Steps to Freedom.” If only our ancestors enjoyed the simplicity of the J Street Haggadah approach, well, we certainly wouldn’t be struggling with the Israel that we have today.

So, as an ode to the cooperative alliances (examples here and here) between J Street’s university branch and the erroneously named Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), I offer a few suggestions for a hybrid Haggadah, in the spirit of J Street’s current one.

Kadesh of the first cup needs very little adjustment from the J Street Haggadah version, which astutely points out that, “The shorter the occupation lasts, the better for us . . .” It doesn’t matter that Israelis know that too many Palestinians have been indoctrinated with hatred and historical misinformation and have internalized that a violent death during jihad is cashed in for an eternity of paradise (and lifelong financial rewards for family members from the Palestinian Authority).

The sJp Street Haggadah, just like it’s J Street predecessor, should communicate that those facts don’t justify such restrictive security measures. What Israelis know is not as important as what the writers of the J Street Haggadah know which is, “our people have power,” (page 6).
The Washington Post Uses Polls and Pundits to Push an Anti-Israel Narrative
The Washington Post has outdone itself. In a mere twenty-four hours the newspaper published two stories littered with omissions and anti-Israel bias. Like many other mainstream news outlets, the Post pretends to—as its own guidelines stipulate—“tell ALL the truth, so far as it can learn it.” But, in a single day, the Post proved that standards, like facts, can be disregarded.

A March 22, 2021 report, “Jewish leaders protest Israel critic’s VCU speech,” offers a case in point. The dispatch, by freelance writer Abby Seitz, aimed to inform readers about mainstream Jewish organizations protesting the appearance of pundit and author Peter Beinart at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Unfortunately, the article omitted relevant details about Beinart and his record.

Beinart, the Post told readers, is “critical of Israeli policy” and “was previously known for his strong support for the two-state solution,” only to make “international headlines in July 2020 when he revealed through pieces in Jewish Currents and the New York Times that he no longer believes a two-state solution is possible and instead supports a single, equal democratic state for both people.” This, the Post stated, “is considered a ‘red line’ among many Jewish groups which often interpret a one-state solution as a threat to Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.”

There is a lot to unpack here.

Annihilation isn’t ‘criticism’
First, Beinart is not merely “critical of Israeli policy.” Rather, as the newspaper glosses over, he doesn’t believe that the Jewish state should exist. Opposing the right of Jewish people to have self-determination in their ancestral homeland goes beyond simply being a “critic.” Indeed, within the Jewish community itself it is way outside of the mainstream.

A 2019 Ruderman Family Foundation survey of American Jews found that “eight of ten respondents identified as pro-Israel,” as the Times of Israel noted in February 2020. Curiously, the Post’s report cited the Ruderman poll, but chose to put a different spin on it, writing that “only 23 percent” of respondents “said they were pro-Israel and supportive of Israel’s government, while 57 percent identified as pro-Israel with ‘certain’ or ‘heavy’ criticism of the Israeli government.”

Muslim media chief forced to apologise for ‘Nazi’ Israel tweet
The spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has had to apologise for an online post that compared Israel to the Nazis.

Miqdaad Versi, director of media monitoring for the MCB, deleted his tweet and insisted he had made a mistake after he provoked anger with the controversial post.

Tweeting about the death of activist Denis Goldberg, Mr Versi described him as a “strong supporter of Palestinian rights who called Israel an apartheid state & compared the Palestinians’ oppression (by Israel) to that of the Jewish people (by the Nazis).”

A leading campaigner against South African apartheid, Mr Goldberg was sentenced to life imprisonment alongside Nelson Mandela and spent 22 years in jail. He never made a comparison between Israel and the Nazi regime.

Challenged about the post, Mr Versi first changed the tweet to remove the offensive analogy then later issued an apology.

“I am genuinely sorry,” he said, “I had misunderstood what was meant in this video & have deleted the tweet as a result of the error.

“I didn’t make the comparison but made an error in interpreting this video.”
Fact checking the BBC’s ‘fact checking arm’
The article fails to clarify that in the days between the beginning of that vaccination drive on March 8th and March 18th, over 105,000 Palestinian workers received the first dose of the inoculation and that administration of the second dose is set to commence on April 4th.

Neither are BBC audiences told of the PA prime minister’s attempt to claim that those 105,000 Palestinian workers were vaccinated by the Palestinian Authority ministry of health rather than by Israel.

“…Israel has vaccinated 105,000 Palestinians who work in Israel or Israeli settlements. Shtayyeh claimed in his remarks, however, that the PA had vaccinated them.

“Over the last two weeks, we have undertaken the inoculation of over 105,000 Palestinians who work in Israel. Health Ministry teams administered their shots,” Shtayyeh said.”

Subsequent reports that the Palestinian Authority is charging money for vaccination certificates have likewise not yet been mentioned by the BBC.

Like all previous versions of this article, the latest one includes a final section headed “Whose responsibility is it to vaccinate Palestinians?” which has barely changed since its initial publication and continues to promote claims made by “UN experts” without clarification of who they are and the highly relevant political agenda of one of the two.
Guardian vilifies Jewish extremist, but gives Arab extremist a pass
However, today the Guardian published an article by Holmes on the Arab Islamist Party ‘Ra’am, which similarly crossed the electoral threshold, that completely omitted any mention of the party’s extremist views.

The piece (“A small Islamist party could decide Benjamin Netanyahu’s fate”, March 26) framed the article thusly:
He built a hugely successful career scaremongering among Israelis about politicians from the country’s Arab minority presenting a threat from the inside. Now, Benjamin Netanyahu’s rhetoric might have come back to haunt him: election results suggest the leader’s fate may have fallen into the hands of a small party of Islamists.

Holmes noted that neither Netanyahu or the opposition have a clear path to a majority, and that the Islamist Ra’am’s four Knesset seats would be needed for either side to form a government.

Remarkably, though, this is all Holmes has to say about the views and ideology of Ra’am’s leader Mansour Abbas:
Mansour Abbas, 46, the group’s leader, is a conservative Muslim politician but also a pragmatist. Seeking to improve the lives of Israel’s victimised Arab minority, Abbas has not ruled out joining the hardline prime minister if it brings him influence.

A “conservative Muslim” and a “pragmatist” who’s “seeking to improve the lives of Israel’s victimised Arab minority”. He seems quite reasonable, doesn’t he?

No, not really.

Abbas, let’s remember, hails from the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, affiliated – like Hamas – with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist movement that’s anti-democratic and seeks nothing less than the implementation of sharia (Islamic law) under a global caliphate.
Mobilized by Yom Kippur Shooting Outrage, German Teenagers in City of Halle Tackle Antisemitism Past and Present
Eighteen months on from the attempted Yom Kippur massacre at a synagogue in the German city of Halle that claimed the lives of two victims, a group of local teenagers is using the harrowing experience as the basis for a new campaign against racism and antisemitism.

Calling themselves the “New Contemporary Witnesses,” the purpose of the group is to research and commemorate Jewish families deported from Halle and its environs by the Nazi regime, as well as combating modern manifestations of racism.

Among the members of the group is 18-year-old Max Hirsch — whose best friend, Kevin Schwarze, was murdered during the Oct. 9, 2019 murder spree carried out in Halle by a neo-Nazi gunman.

The gunman, Stephan Balliet, chose the occasion of Yom Kippur — the holiest day in the Jewish calendar — to attack the synagogue in Halle. As more than 50 worshipers were huddled inside the sanctuary, a heavily-armed Balliet tried repeatedly but failed to blast his way through the building’s security doors. He then shot dead Jana Lange, a 40-year-old female passerby who remonstrated with him, before speeding away in his car to the Muslim-owned Kiez-Döner restaurant. It was there that Balliet shot Kevin Schwarze, a 20-year-old painter’s apprentice who was visiting the restaurant on his lunch break, on the racist assumption that Schwarze was a Muslim. Following a harrowing four-month trial in 2020, Balliet was sentenced to life imprisonment last December.
Anti-lockdown protestors in Ukraine don concentration camp uniforms
Anti-lockdown protestors in Kiev have been seen dressed in concentration camp uniforms and donning yellow stars.

The 20th March ‘Rally For Freedom’ in the nation’s capital city was organised by the ‘Stop Fake Pandemic’ group, which claimed that more than 1,000 people participated.

The Ukrainian Jewish Committee called the use of the costumes in the protests “a cynical and shameful desecration of the victims of the Holocaust.”

Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination networks have become known as hotbeds of antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes.
Anger after Argentine soccer fans chant about ‘killing the Jews to make soap’
Fans of a Buenos Aires-based soccer team chanted about “killing the Jews to make soap” before a game against a team with a history of Jewish fans.

The Argentina umbrella Jewish organization DAIA filed a criminal complaint Tuesday against the fans of Chacarita Juniors based on a video from March 16 that went viral on social media in Argentina. An often debunked rumor from World War II involved the Nazis making soap from dead Jewish bodies.

“Chaca is coming along the road, killing the Jews to make soap,” the fans chanted in the video.

Chacarita was preparing to play Atlanta, two teams based in Villa Crespo, a Buenos Aires neighborhood with a traditionally large Jewish population. Founded in 1904, Atlanta has historically received support from Jewish fans and featured several Jewish players and administrators.

The teams have been fierce rivals in the second tier of professional Argentine soccer for decades.

“The episode is an incitement to violence, to persecution, to hate, and represents a threat against the Jewish community as a whole,” DAIA wrote in a statement.

DAIA showed the video of the chants in federal court in the Buenos Aires area where the incident occurred.
Saxony legislator observes that antisemitic crimes are rising but prosecutions remain low
A legislator in the German state of Saxony has observed that, while antisemitic crimes are rising, prosecutions remain low.

Kerstin Köditz, of Die Linke (The Left Party), told journalists that 173 antisemitic crimes were recorded in 2020 – a fourth year-on-year increase – but only fourteen were successfully prosecuted.

Ms Köditz said: “The prosecution pressure is not even close to sufficient.”

She added: “One thing is clear: every act is one too many, no matter what area it comes from – hatred of Jews cannot be justified, there can be no tolerance whatsoever for antisemitism.”

Harvard University president: Israel acts as a ‘magnet for human capital’
Harvard University president Lawrence S. Bacow said “Israel has demonstrated to the world that a country or a region doesn’t need to be rich in natural resources in order to be a wealthy country.”

Israel does this, he continued, “by creating, aggregating and acting as a magnet for human capital. We live in a world right now where the only truly scarce capital is human capital.”

Bacow’s remarks were made upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa on March 15 in recognition of his global leadership in higher education, redefining the critical role that universities play in developing and sustaining communities and his advocacy for the importance of diversity within education.

The two universities have been collaborating for more than a decade in areas such as marine sciences, archeology and environmental studies.
In historic first, Israel to host World Judo Championships in 2024 or 2025
The success of the three international Judo tournaments ever hosted by Israel – most recently the Tel Aviv Grand Slam in February, which ended with zero infections at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and included Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei's historic participation – has not gone unnoticed by the International Judo Federation.

Just before the start of the Passover holiday, the Israel Judo Federation and Israeli athletics in general received a historic gift: The World Judo Championships for 2024 or 2025, depending on the Israel Judo Federation's choice, will be held in Tel Aviv.

The IJW was deliberating whether to host the prestigious event just prior the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris or wait one year so that the world's best judokas will be able to attend.

The event, regardless, will likely take place at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv.

In 2023, the World Judo Championships will be hosted by Qatar. Hence, the International Judo Federation wanted the event to be held in Israel the following year to mark the two countries' cooperation, with athletes from both countries competing on each other's home turf.
Forgotten pre-war Nazi girls school on UK coast inspires chilling new spy film
Since the 1890s, hundreds of independent schools have operated in the English seaside resort town of Bexhill-on-Sea. But among all of Bexhill’s schools, one stands out for shocking reasons: Open from 1932 to 1939, the Augusta Victoria College (AVC) was a Nazi school for teenage girls and young women ages 16-21.

Located on the south coast of England in the county of East Sussex, the town of Bexhill has been historically considered a healthy and safe place for British and foreign aristocrats, diplomats and wealthy parents to place their children while they worked or traveled abroad.

Among AVC’s students were chief of German police Heinrich Himmler’s goddaughter, the daughter of Nazi Germany’s foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, the daughter of Hitler’s representative at the Vatican, Diego von Bergen, and the niece of German ambassador to Britain Herbert von Dirksen.

The unique college, named for the last German empress, provides the historical basis for the cinematic espionage thriller, “Six Minutes to Midnight.” Opening in theaters and on demand in the United States on March 26, the film’s excellent cast includes Judi Dench, Carla Juri, and Eddie Izzard, who co-wrote the screenplay with fellow actor Celyn Jones and director Andy Goddard.

Izzard, who has deep family roots in Bexhill and spent 11 years of her childhood there, told The Times of Israel in a recent Zoom interview from her home in London that she was amazed to learn about AVC. (Izzard, who identifies as gender fluid, prefers female pronouns. Whereas she may be in “girl mode” while doing standup comedy or in everyday life, she plays only male dramatic roles.)
Steven Spielberg to gift $2m. toward racial, economic justice
Genesis Prize Laureate Steven Spielberg announced Thursday that he and the Genesis Prize Foundation will gift $2 million in grants to 10 non-profit organizations working on the front-lines of racial and economic justice in the United States.

Spielberg was named a Genesis Prize honoree in February. The grants will be funded by his $1 million prize award, as well as a matching $1 million contribution made by Spielberg and Kate Capshaw.

“America is facing a crisis and our responsibility is to act now – so that America can be ‘America again, The Land that has never been yet, And yet must be,’” said Spielberg, quoting the poet Langston Hughes. “Judaism and Jewish history begin with two narratives: Genesis and Exodus, stories about creation and liberation from oppression, about the discovery of the moral voice and of human dignity.

“From these accounts come the ethical precepts commanding us to work for a more just and equitable world,” he said.

The following organizations will receive the grants: Avodah; Black Voters Matter; Collaborative for Jewish Organizing; Dayenu – A Jewish Call to Climate Action; Jews of Color Initiative; Justice for Migrant Women; National Domestic Workers Alliance; Native American Rights Fund; One Fair Wage and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

“We admire these organizations for their honesty and moral imagination and urge all those who share this vision to join us, so that the work of these non-profits may continue and grow,” Spielberg said.

Lost tribe in India prepares for Passover
The Bnei Menashe community in the remote northeastern Indian state of Manipur began preparing for Passover earlier this week, including by baking matzah at the Shavei Israel Hebrew Center in Churachandpur.

The Bnei Menashe, or sons of Manasseh, claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the borders of Burma and Bangladesh.

Throughout their sojourn in exile, they continued to practice Judaism just as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity.

"Passover symbolizes the Jewish people's deliverance, and it is a festival that resonates deeply for the Bnei Menashe," said Shavei Israel founder and chairman Michael Freund.

"In the far-flung regions of northeastern India, thousands of Bnei Menashe will sit down on Passover eve to conduct the traditional seder, which embodies the hope they have been nurturing for generations: to make aliyah and return to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel."

Israel has helped more than 4,000 Bnei Menashe make aliyah in the past two decades.

Jewish Comedian Elon Gold Spoofs ‘Ten Plagues as Told by Ten Celebrities’ in Passover Face Swap Video
Jewish comedian Elon Gold posted online a Passover video Tuesday featuring cameos from a series of celebrities reciting the Passover Seder’s parade of plagues — or so it seemed.

In the YouTube clip, “The Ten Plagues as told by Ten Celebrities,” Gold uses celebrity face swap technology to impersonate well-known personalities while he mimics their voices, riffing on the 10 plagues that are recounted during the Passover holiday. “Featured” in the video are Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin, David Schwimmer, former US Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Fallon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Caine and Dustin Hoffman.

Along the way Gold pokes fun at some of the actors’ best known roles, such as the Schwimmer character’s nod to his part on the TV series Friends: “Rachel, we were on a break!” As Caine, who starred in the Batman film “Dark Knight Rises,” describes the plague of darkness, he jokes, “On the bright side, when darkness falls and Master Wayne heeds his call, I then have Wayne Manor all to myself. And there’s nothing more precious to me than my bubble bath.”

Tech App Clubhouse Hosts Virtual Passover Seder With Jewish Celebrity Guests and Blockchain Afikoman
The invitation-only social media platform Clubhouse will host a star-studded Passover seder on Sunday night.

“Night of 1,000 Jewish Stars” will take place in the Hot on the Mic Club on Clubhouse and will be jointly aired on Buzzfeed Tasty‘s YouTube channel.

The event will be co-hosted by Hot on the Mic’s Leah Lamarr and media personality Nicole Behnam, with Sinai Temple’s Rabbi David Wolpe and Rabbi Sandra Lawson officiating. The program will benefit the non-profit organization Value Culture and raise funds for COVID-19 relief, anti-hate, food security, and mental health awareness.

Jewish actors, comedians, cookbook authors, musicians, social media influencers, Holocaust survivors, philanthropists, and others will join the program. Special guests will include Jeff Garlin, Tiffany Haddish, Jake Cohen, Chloe Fineman, Mayim Bialik, Michael Rappaport, Noa Tishby, Kosha Dillz, and the Black Jewish Alliance.

The night will also include a “21st century blockchain experience” that uses a collectible, digital token created for the event, to represent the afikomen portion of matzah that is traditionally hidden on Passover. The artwork will be auctioned off during the seder, with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting Value Culture, while guests will have to find another that will be hidden in the Clubhouse audience.

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