Thursday, May 25, 2023

From Ian:

Terror-supporting NGO advises Facebook on Israel content moderation
Organizations that celebrated terrorist attacks against Israelis and support boycotting Israel have advised Meta, Facebook’s parent company, on its content moderation regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A report from NGO Monitor, which researches the activities and funding of organizations active in relation to the conflict and Israel, found that Meta and BSR, a company hired to evaluate its policies, had extensive interactions – regarding making decisions about what constitutes incitement against Israel – with organizations such as Human Rights Watch and 7amleh (pronounced “hamleh”) that have documented histories of anti-Israel campaigning.

The result is a report by BSR recommending, among other things, that more leeway be given for posts praising the terrorist group Hamas.

Emi Palmor, former Justice Ministry director-general and the only Israeli on Meta’s 18-member Oversight Board – which is meant to be the company’s “supreme court” – said “there is no doubt [that Israelis’] voices are not heard,” in part because pro-Israel organizations and figures don’t take part in the process even when they are invited to do so.

HRW and 7amleh, however, are well organized in the effort to influence Meta, leading an effort accusing the social media giant of silencing Palestinians and demanding a change in content moderation. They also appealed to the Oversight Board, which led the board to recommend that Facebook commission an independent report on the matter.

The company undertook a review of its policies following the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists and rioting in mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel. Facebook removed content promoting violence and supporting Hamas that was in violation of its community standards, which the NGOs said means they were silencing the Palestinians.

7amleh calls itself an “advocate for Palestinian digital rights,” but regularly celebrates terrorists and attacks against Israelis. It also advocates for boycotts of Israel and campaigned to have Palmor removed from the board. 7amleh is a “trusted partner” of Meta when it comes to content-related decisions in the region and a member of Twitter’s “Trust and Safety Council.”

7amleh has a history of supporting terrorism against Israel
The NGO and its officials have repeatedly and publicly supported terrorism against Israel. 7amleh criticized Zoom for canceling an event hosting Leila Khaled, a hijacker and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is designated a terrorist group in the US, EU and Israel. The group lauded Sabri Khalil Al-Banna, leader of the Abu Nidal terrorist organization, and deceased PFLP leader Ghassan Kanafani as “distinguished Palestinian personalities.”

Board member Neveen Abu Rahmoun called the barrage of Hamas rockets on Israel in May 2021 “the popular uprising,” saying that “all Palestinians have come together.” When the operation ended, Abu Rahmoun praised “Gaza the powerful... with their combative action, [they] surpassed the political leadership and returned to us the meaning of Palestinian togetherness.”
At High School Debates, Debate Is No Longer Allowed
My four years on a high school debate team in Broward County, Florida, taught me to challenge ideas, question assumptions, and think outside the box. It also helped me overcome a terrible childhood stutter. And I wasn’t half-bad: I placed ninth my first time at the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) nationals, sixth at the Harvard national, and was runner-up at the Emory national.

After college, between 2017 and 2019, I coached a debate team at an underprivileged high school in Miami. There, I witnessed the pillars of high school debate start to crumble. Since then, the decline has continued, from a competition that rewards evidence and reasoning to one that punishes students for what they say and how they say it.

First, some background. Imagine a high school sophomore on the debate team. She’s been given her topic about a month in advance, but she won’t know who her judge is until hours before her debate round. During that time squeeze—perhaps she’ll pace the halls as I did at the 2012 national tournament in Indianapolis—she’ll scroll on her phone to look up her judge’s name on Tabroom, a public database maintained by the NSDA. That’s where judges post “paradigms,” which explain what they look for during a debate. If a judge prefers competitors not “spread”—speak a mile a minute—debaters will moderate their pace. If a judge emphasizes “impacts”—the reasons why an argument matters—debaters adjust accordingly.

But let’s say when the high school sophomore clicks Tabroom she sees that her judge is Lila Lavender, the 2019 national debate champion, whose paradigm reads, “Before anything else, including being a debate judge, I am a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. . . . I cannot check the revolutionary proletarian science at the door when I’m judging. . . . I will no longer evaluate and thus never vote for rightest capitalist-imperialist positions/arguments. . . . Examples of arguments of this nature are as follows: fascism good, capitalism good, imperialist war good, neoliberalism good, defenses of US or otherwise bourgeois nationalism, Zionism or normalizing Israel, colonialism good, US white fascist policing good, etc.”
"US Angry at 65% Tax on Hostile Israeli NGOs Receiving Foreign Contributions"
On Sunday, the Ministerial Legislative Committee will debate a bill submitted by Likud MK Ariel Kallner that takes away the tax credit from Israeli donors to NGOs that receive donations from a foreign entity, and in the two years before or after said donations promoted a public cause by appealing to the court, the Knesset, the government, the municipalities or bought advertising space.

In addition, the NGO will lose its not-for-profit status and be taxed at a rate of 65% of its income. The bill is part of Otzma Yehudit’s coalition agreement with Likud, which committed to enacting it within 180 days of the formation of the Netanyahu government.

On Thursday, MK Kallner tweeted his reason for the bill and mentioned Sven Kuehn Von Burgsdorff, Head of “the delegation representing the EU in West Bank and Gaza and to UNRWA,” who last August participated in the reopening of Addameer, which Israel had declared to be an arm of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP was designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel, and according to a 2021 NGO Monitor report, many individuals employed at Addameer have links to this terror group (Addameer Employees’ Violent Social Media Accounts).

“We’re putting an end to foreign political subversion!” Kallner tweeted, adding, “The fact that the head of the European Union delegation, Mr. Sven Kuehn Von Burgsdorff, thinks that the Jews are occupying the land to which they have returned, is the small problem in the story,” although, as he puts it, saying this about the remnants of European barbarism and mass murder is a tad insolent.

“The problem is that in addition to taking the position, foreign countries, mainly from Europe, do not stop acting within the Jewish state by funding civil society organizations,” and he mentions the anti-Zionist NGOs Yesh Din, Emek Shaveh, and Peace Now – to name but a few.

This did not go over well with US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Committee, Michele Taylor, who said publicly that “Israel must ensure that human rights organizations and other non-governmental organizations can operate freely, without economic or legal pressures being applied to them that would harm their activities.”

Ambassador Taylor should consult her government’s Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, requiring the registration of, and disclosures by, an “agent of a foreign principal” who, among other things, solicits, collects, disburses, or dispenses contributions, loans, money, or other things of value for or in the interest of a foreign principal.

CAA writes to cinema chain calling for the cancellation of Roger Waters film screenings
Campaign Against Antisemitism has written to a leading cinema chain calling for it to cancel its screenings of Roger Waters’ new film.

Our letter to Everyman Cinemas, which is due to screen Roger Waters: This is Not A Drill, Live from Prague, comes in the wake of the former Pink Floyd musician reportedly beginning a recent concert in Berlin by announcing that he is not antisemitic, shortly before making comparisons between the Nazis to Israel.

At one point during the concert, various names are displayed on large screens. A journalist at the concert reported that Anne Frank’s name was prominently displayed, alongside the statement that her “punishment” for the “crime” of “being Jewish” was “death”.

In an identical format, the name Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist who was shot last year, was displayed next to text that states her “punishment” for the “crime” of “being Palestinian” was “death”.

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.”

His announcement that he is not an antisemite arrived in the wake of a court ruling which stated that the city of Frankfurt, which made headlines after it labelled Mr Waters “one of the most widely known antisemites in the world,” was not able to cancel his concert.

This is not the first time that Mr Waters has felt the need to proclaim that he is not antisemitic.

Jeremy Corbyn favourite to become Mayor of London if Sadiq Khan quits race
Jeremy Corbyn is the favourite to become the next Mayor of London if Sadiq Khan pulls out of the race.

Recent reports have cast doubt over whether Mr Khan will stand in the election in 2024, opening the door for Mr Corbyn to win as an independent.

The former Labour leader lost the whip in 2020 and has been barred from standing for the party in the next general election, but the latest odds from bookmakers suggest he has a high chance of winning against Labour or Conservative candidates.

Mr Khan remains the favourite right now at 1/4, but Mr Corbyn is catching up as the election approaches and is currently 8/1 to enter City Hall according to Ladbrokes.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: "It still looks like Sadiq Khan will win the London Mayoral election race, but Jeremy Corbyn is slowly closing the gap on the favourite, and if Khan is to pull out, the latest odds suggest the former Labour leader will get the gig."

Likewise, Betfair suggests that Mr Khan and Mr Corbyn will lead the race to be London Mayor, with odds of 1/3 for the incumbent and 8/1 for the former Labour chief.

Last year Huff Post reported that allies of Mr Corbyn had urged him to run for London Mayor to gain a strong platform for his politics, but so far he has yet to make an announcement on his political future.
Antisemitic Palestinian photographer exploits Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
Earlier this year Al Jundi published a story on her website titled “Cacti – A visual statement against the silencing of Palestinian voices in Germany“. The story is accompanied by a series of staged photographs, including this truly horrible image taken at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. The image is captioned “Together, we rise in spite of your history“ and depicts, according to Al Jundi, “Palestinian symbols of resistance“. She is thoroughly exploiting and abusing the memory of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust to advance her politics. This is utterly disgusting and unacceptable. Al Jundi uploaded the same image to her Instagram page.
In April 2023, Rasha Al Jundi also published an antisemitic text titled “The art of protesting – Resisting the systemic silencing of Palestinian voices in Germany through photography and illustrations”. This piece was also shared on The Left Berlin website. The article includes the same offensive image above, but also downright falsehoods about the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) consensus working definition of antisemitism, Nazi comparisons, and stereotypical and mendacious statements about Jews:

Left targets Israeli professor at Princeton
An Israeli professor at Princeton University says he has become the target of a BDS-like campaign, only with a twist since the attack on him has come from other Israeli professors on campus.

His detractors paint him as a fascist—“anti-democratic, anti-academic”—and lament that someone whose views they see as beyond the pale has been installed as a “scholar and lecturer,” a position that bestows legitimacy and access to freshmen students whom they suggest he will corrupt with his “hateful agenda.”

The target of this broadside, Ronen Shoval, was invited to Princeton for a year starting last September by the school’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. His response to the attack, which appeared as an op-ed in The Daily Princetonian on April 25: “There are some things so ridiculous that only an intellectual can believe them.”

“I’m a strong supporter of democracy. I promote those values, which I believe are important for the survival of Western civilization, in general, and Israel in particular. I am disgusted by fascism. I’ve been fighting against it all my life,” Shoval told JNS.

Shoval said the real issue is that he’s a political conservative. “That’s why they try to label me a fascist. A fascist to them is a conservative who is winning an argument.”

He said his opponents want to create “a progressive echo chamber. It completely contradicts the whole concept of a university as a place to discuss a diversity of views.”

Yoram Hazony, a well-known Israeli conservative thinker who attended Princeton as an undergraduate, tweeted on May 2 that “the purpose of the attempt to cancel Shoval is obviously much broader: It is to make sure that conservatives will not be hired to teach anything at institutions like Princeton.”
‘Unapologetically Jewish’: First Shabbat Observant Student Body President Elected at University of California Santa Barbara
As college students across California prepared to close the book on another academic year, a deluge of antisemitic incidents swept across the state’s campuses in May, with students celebrating the birthday of Adolf Hitler at UC Santa Cruz and graffiting swastikas on the walls of a bathroom at UC San Diego. But amid the darkness, students at UC Santa Barbara made the historic choice to elect the school’s first ever Shabbat observant student body president.

Tessa Veksler, a third year political science major, was elected on April 27 as president of UCSB Associated Students (AS) with 51 percent of the vote. She will begin her tenure on Wednesday and over the next year will act as a liaison between UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Land and the school’s 23,000 undergraduates.

“I hope that students realize that they can advocate for themselves and that the more there are observant Jews in the workplace, the more changes there will be to accommodate people like us,” Veksler told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

Veksler, 21, explained that becoming president had always been a “far-distant” goal of hers. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, from which her family emigrated in the 1990s, compelled her to run.

“When the conflict started, I was one of the only Ukrainian students within student government, and so many students turned to me for advice,” she said. “In working to help international students in Ukraine I realized how very few resources were available and that the ones that were available were not well known.”
CNN Promotes Anti-Israel Propaganda for Children
Children’s author Ibtisam Barakat wants to use children’s books “to keep the Palestinian dream of a homeland alive.” Featured in the recent CNN article “A gift to my ancestors’: Meet the Palestinian-American authors bringing their culture to the heart of children’s books,” (Alaa Elassar, May 21), Barakat expresses her dream of a time when “those displaced . . are finally free to return.” It obviously troubles neither Barakat nor CNN that a “return” of as many as eight million people who claim status as Palestinian refugees[i] (only a fraction of whom actually fit the commonly accepted definition of “refugee,” which does not include the descendants of refugees) would wipe out Israel as a Jewish state, though that’s exactly what a Palestinian return would mean.

Elassar and CNN promote four children’s authors whose books feature Palestinian culture but also promote anti-Israel propaganda to young readers.

Pushing the victim/exclusion argument that “Palestinian-Americans, along with other Arab-Americans, are still woefully underrepresented in books,” Elassar cites a study claiming that “less than 1% of children’s and young adult books released by US publishers were about Arabs.” Underrepresented? Palestinians comprise only 0.1% of the American population; Arabs come in at 1.2%, so if we’re aiming at proportionality, US publishers aren’t doing badly.

American children should certainly read lots of books about the cultural origins of their fellow Americans; this will expand their world. The problem is when the books move from cultural exposure to political indoctrination.

Elassar opens with Hannah Moushabeck’s Homeland: My Father Dreams of Palestine. Moushabeck is a formidable figure in the multicultural children’s book world. As acquisitions editor of Interlink Publishing, she released Wafa’ Tarnowska’s Amazing Women of the Middle East (under the Crocodile Books imprint) in 2021 to considerable controversy. That book’s colorful map of the Middle East erases Israel (replacing it with “Palestine”), and, though Jews originate from the Middle East and Jewish and Israeli women have contributed enormously to Middle Eastern culture,[ii] the book includes no Jewish Middle Eastern women. [iii]
Guardian corrects false claim over Palestinian water use
We recently posted about a grossly misleading Guardian article, written by Bethan McKernan, which included the claim that 100 litres a day is “minimum per capita, per day, minimum water requirement set by the World Health Organization (WHO). If true, that would mean that Palestinian water consumption in the West Bank (at 85.6 liters per capita per day) is significantly less than the minimum requirement.

We complained to Guardian editors, noting that WHO in fact states that the minimum is between 50-100 litres per capita per day – meaning that Palestinian water consumption is within the standard.

Editors upheld our complaint, amended the relevant sentence accordingly and added the following addendum.

Holocaust Researcher Who Outraged Poland Has No Regrets
Prof. Barbara Engelking, 61, non-Jewish founder and director of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research in Warsaw, was awarded an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University on May 18. While the Polish government marked the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April, presenting a narrative of brotherhood between the Jews and the Poles during the Holocaust and the assistance that the Jewish resistance fighters received from their Polish counterparts, Engelking provided a different view in an April television interview.

She said, "The Poles had the potential to become allies of the Jews....People who decided to help Jews really were heroes, but there were very few of them....There was no atmosphere conducive to hiding Jews." Immediately after the interview, Engelking was met with a torrent of criticism from the prime minister and the Polish press.

She told Ha'aretz: "I didn't say anything controversial or inaccurate in that interview. All of these things have been known and written about for a long time. I myself wrote on this disappointment that Jews felt toward the Poles in my 1993 doctoral thesis....We need to know and understand our past in order to participate as a mature nation in the life of modern Europe."

Her honorary doctorate was awarded for "her courageous determination to counter Holocaust distortion and expose the complexities of Polish-Jewish relations during World War II, regardless of personal cost."

Following action from CAA, former barrister Ian Millard to be prosecuted for five offences contrary to Communications Act
Following action from Campaign Against Antisemitism, the former barrister Ian Millard is set to be prosecuted for five offences contrary to section 127 (1)(a) Communications Act 2003 in relation to the posting of grossly offensive material relating to his assertions regarding the Jewish race on his blog.

In October 2016, the Bar Standards Board found Mr Millard to be guilty of professional misconduct due to his extensive use of Twitter as a vehicle to publicise his antisemitic and extreme right-wing views, leading to him being banned from the profession.

In April 2021, Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Director of Investigations and Enforcement handed a dossier of evidence collected from Mr Millard’s blog to Hampshire Police.

Nine months later, we were informed that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would be taking no further action. This decision was challenged via the Victims’ Right to Review scheme.

In April of this year, fifteen months after the submission to the scheme was made, we were informed that the CPS intended to prosecute Mr Millard.

Florida mom behind poem restriction says sorry for promoting 'Elders of Zion'
Months before a Miami-area mother persuaded a local school to remove an Amanda Gorman poem from its elementary-aged library, she was posting antisemitic memes on her Facebook page.

Now, Daily Salinas is apologizing for one of those things — and unrepentant about the other.

“I want to apologize to the Jewish community,” Salinas told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday. She was saying sorry for a Facebook post she shared in March offering a summary of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious antisemitic forgery written more than a century ago in Russia.

“I’m not what the post says,” Salinas said. “I love the Jewish community.”

The post came to light this week after the Miami Herald identified Salinas as the Miami Lakes, Florida, mother who petitioned her children’s school to limit students’ access to the Gorman poem. Gorman read the poem, called “The Hill We Climb,” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Salinas also petitioned the school to restrict children’s books about the Black poet Langston Hughes and about Black and Cuban history. After a committee reviewed her challenges, the Miami-Dade County school district opted to restrict all but one book about Cuba from grades K-5, while leaving them available to middle school students.
Hitler’s birth site to become human rights training center for Austrian police
The house where Nazi Germany’s leader Adolf Hitler was born will be turned into a human rights training center for police officers, Austria’s Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

The facility will be incorporated into the 17th-century building in the northwestern town of Braunau am Inn. Austria already said in 2019 that the site would be used as a police station.

The Interior Ministry said the decision to add the training facility was taken at the recommendation of an interdisciplinary expert commission focused on countering the site’s “mythical appeal to extremist circles,” CNN reported.

“It will be an office for the largest human rights organization in Austria – the police – and it will also be a center for training in this fundamentally important topic,” said commission member Hermann Feiner in a statement.

Converting the 800-square-meter (8,600-square-foot) property — which also has several garages and parking spaces located behind the main building — will cost an estimated 20 million euros ($21.5 million) and is expected to be completed in 2025. Police will enter the building the following year.

The local town council decided that a memorial stone in front of the building, engraved with “For peace, freedom and democracy – never again fascism – remembering the deaths of millions,” will remain in place, The Guardian reported. Initial plans called for it to be removed and placed in a museum.

Israel Is Humane, Diverse, Democratic
As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know how blessed I am to call America home - but also the importance of Jews' restored ancestral homeland. The birth of Israel represented the fulfillment of a yearning for Jews to be able to return to the center of their religious and historical saga - but also of their right to independence, defense and equality. Israel's aspirations are our aspirations.

As a critical partner in the fight against terrorism, a foremost center of technological innovation and a bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, Israel is an indispensable ally to the United States. It is also the rare Middle Eastern country where minorities, including Christians, enjoy fundamental civil liberties and have grown continually.

Israel is one of the world's only parties in a conflict whose adversaries seek a country's complete destruction. This is the explicit doctrine of Iran, which has sought nuclear capabilities and supports groups with the same goal. By contrast, Americans, Irish and Indians sought independence from Britain - not its eradication.

Israel has made incomparable overtures and sacrifices for peace. It has established peace and partnership with every willing Arab interlocutor, including Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. But Palestinian extremists have answered every Israeli peace proposal with rejection and relentless violence.

Some allege that Israel is guilty of "ethnic cleansing." Yet since 1948, the Arab population in Israeli-controlled land has increased by millions. Israel's values are our values. Its quest for acceptance is vital to the interests of America and our world.
‘Jewish Matchmaking’ star Aleeza Ben Shalom urges people to take action against antisemitism
help of Aleeza to help them find a partner – appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where she spoke about the role that antisemitism played in the show, and urged people to take action against Jew-hatred.

Cindy, one of the women on the show, revealed that one of the motivating factors behind why she wants to marry someone Jewish is because of the antisemitism that her family has had to endure. She went on to say that her grandfather had survived the Holocaust and that her great-grandmother fled Libya with gold in her bra in order to preserve her Judaism.

Ms Ben Shalom said on the podcast that it was “tremendous” that Cindy was willing to speak candidly about her family’s experiences with antisemitism. However, Ms Ben Shalom noted that she was not surprised that these were motivating factors for Cindy, as she has come across similar sentiments throughout her career.

The matchmaker said: “I work with people from all over the world, so I will often hear things like ‘Of course I need a Jewish partner. Around here, who else is going to marry you? I’m not in a place where it’s safe to even marry outside of being Jewish. I have to.’”

Speaking on how the rise in antisemitism has impacted Jewish singles’ dating preferences, Ms Ben Shalom noted: “I think now people have an awareness of ‘I may not be accepted by somebody else’s family because I’m Jewish, and so it’s probably going to be easier for me, instead of walking into another culture or another background, and trying to explain myself and why it’s okay and why it’s okay that our kids are going to also be Jewish…’ People have all of these thoughts.”

Arkansas State Lawmakers Approve Strategic Partnership with State of Israel, Including Judea, Samaria
The Arkansas House of Representatives has approved a bill to “encourage the State of Arkansas to enter into strategic partnerships with the State of Israel and Israeli companies.”

The bill was drafted and sponsored by Republican State Representative Mindy McAlindon, who spoke with Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, to explore possible cooperation with Judea and Samaria.

“It is an honor for me to promote one of the first decisions in America that recognizes the importance of Samaria,” she said. “I wanted to address not only the legal status of the settlements in Judea and Samaria, which is self-evident, but to focus on our special connection with Judea and Samaria that so many citizens of Arkansas recognize from the Bible.

“The decision was an expression of how many residents of Arkansas feel towards Israel and especially towards the biblical regions throughout Judea and Samaria. Arkansas is a friend of Israel, we have a governor who is a friend of Israel, and I look forward to seeing how this decision promotes more meaningful cooperation.”

The text of HR 1086 notes that Arkansas and Israel “have enjoyed cordial and mutual beneficial relations since 1948, a friendship that continues to strengthen with each passing year.”

“The State of Arkansas, which lies in America’s heartland, has a special kinship with Judea and Samaria, Israel’s biblical heartland,” the text goes on.

“Cities across Arkansas bear the names of biblical cities throughout Judea and Samaria, such as Bethel, Hebron, Shiloh, Salem, and numerous others.

“In the words of former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, supporting the State of Israel is “a fundamental part of American culture, history, and of the ties that we have between Judaism and Christianity” and is “a friendship that helps keep America safe.”

Yeshiva University honors Iron Dome inventor
New York’s Yeshiva University has bestowed its highest honor on the inventor of Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system.

IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Daniel Gold, head of Israel’s Defense Research and Development Directorate (DDR&D-MAFAT), was awarded the university’s Presidential Medallion at its 92nd Annual Commencement Ceremony this week at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“As Israel celebrates its 75th birthday, it is particularly fitting for us to host one of the heroes who stands as a role model for our students for his deep dedication to the Jewish state and impactful leadership in safeguarding its vitality and security,” said YU president Rabbi Ari Berman.

“I am proud to be here today with the next generation of bright minds,” said Gold. “It is my privilege to witness what brilliant young people are capable of. Their creativity, innovation and drive result in cutting-edge technology developed thanks to their talent, but more importantly according to their values.”

The university also bestowed an honorary doctorate on Holocaust survivor, philanthropist and visionary Emil Fish.

Fish survived the horrors of Bergen-Belsen, and after becoming a successful businessman in Los Angeles dedicated himself to remembering the victims of the Holocaust.

He founded YU’s Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, which educates today’s teachers to effectively transmit the history and lessons of the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective—vital to combating the alarming rise of antisemitism and Holocaust distorters and deniers, the university said in a press release.
Israel showcases innovations of the future in Ecomotion Fair

Special needs soldiers break down stereotypes, fulfill dreams
It's midweek at a military base in central Israel. Prior to the evening, trucks arrived at the base's gritting facility, carrying thousands of hard drives and disk-on-key devices containing highly classified information from the prestigious Unit 8200. The mission: to delete and destroy any piece of information existing on these chips.

Those in charge of the mission: seven soldiers with special needs responsible for the destruction of classified materials in the 8200 branch, overseen by Chief Warrant Officer David (not his real name), in a unique and particularly moving collaboration.

"We are the storage facility for the entire Unit 8200," declares David, pointing with his hand to the factory behind him, where heads are bent, hands are busy and the sound of drills fills the air. "We also receive the equipment purchased by the unit, store it, and transfer it to the various units' branches. But our main task is to conduct the scrapping process for equipment that needs to be decommissioned and destroyed." "When I arrived here as a child in '87, I was also assigned to the scrapping chain. When classified equipment arrived, we would take the equipment south and bury it there. With time and advancement, and with the need to care for the environment, the IDF was asked to find a smarter solution. The additional solution was to outsource the scrapping process to external companies. However, as the intelligence and equipment became more problematic and classified, they wanted to keep everything within the IDF, including the destruction process. So, what do we do? Store it? Try to destroy it ourselves? There was always a lack of manpower. Initially, I and a small team from Unit 8200 did everything with old machines. We would work tirelessly, finish late and the machines would often break down. Eventually, while we were thinking about a solution, the NGO Akim came with a request to the IDF: to integrate people with special needs into army units," David explains.

Love to disassemble things
The pilot for integration set off 10 years ago. "We worked hard to succeed in integrating them here. Today, I have an amazing team, of professionals, friends and family. Soldiers who come here independently or with the help of their families and contribute everything they can to the army," according to David. And then he gives us a very emotional and secretive glimpse into the "Equal in Uniform" project's activities. We follow David through the gates of the scrapping factory. Piles of shiny equipment pass by us behind huge signs labeled "Classified" and "Top Secret." Behind the stack of equipment, in a modest and particularly noisy room, the soldiers sit in David's office . They are very excited about our arrival but they don't stop working for a second.

I take a hard disk drive in my hand and start going through the the intricate dismantling process, one by one. "Nice to meet you, I'm Shai, 33 years old from Tel Aviv," a volunteer on the autism spectrum, holding a large screwdriver, introduces himself. "I live with my mom and dad. I really love taking things apart, and that's why I love being here, and I also love playing on the computer, which goes along with what I do here. Come, let me teach you. First, we need to remove all the screws from the computer drive and search for the hard disk that contains everything we're not supposed to keep."
App that can generate 64,000 kosher cheesecake recipes pitches AI to Orthodox Jews
Sara Goldstein’s regular cheesecake recipe is like the rest of the kosher food she makes and shares on her Instagram account — “straightforward, and I wouldn’t say too adventurous.”

But she tried something special this year ahead of Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that begins Thursday night, when dairy foods are traditionally on the menu. In honor of the holiday, she whipped up a bourbon caramel cheesecake, with candied pecans on top.

Goldstein’s baking shakeup was spurred by an online tool that, using artificial intelligence, allows users to mix and match ingredients that can be made into more than 64,000 different cheesecake recipes. For Goldstein, a chef and kosher recipe developer who lives in Lakewood, New Jersey, CheesecakeWizard.AI offers a welcome challenge.

“You have to be extra creative in the kosher world because it’s very limited,” she said. “And I think it definitely opened people’s eyes to what’s possible. I mean, saying there’s 64,000 combinations that are kosher — it’s really, really cool.”

The app’s creator, Brooklyn marketing executive Abraham Bree, doesn’t just want to push the bounds of what gets served on Shavuot tables. He’s also looking to prove to clients his value in a world of AI-generated press releases — and to show his fellow Orthodox Jews that ChatGPT and other AI tools can be a boon to Jewish observance, not a threat, despite concerns about internet use in his community.

“Not everybody who is going to go to this website is actually going to actually bake the cheesecake,” Bree said. “They’ll futz around with it, and they’ll push a couple buttons and it’ll make us all meshuggeneh [crazy] trying to come up with the craziest flavor… While they’re doing it, the company that’s sponsoring it, their logo and their name is there.”
This Bronx bakery and its Holocaust survivor founder have been making cheesecake the same way for 63 years
Near the northern terminus of the 1 train, just south of Van Cortlandt Park, an unassuming Bronx storefront has been producing thousands of dense, delectable cheesecakes each day for more than 60 years.

Adorned with a simple red-and-blue sign and occupying the same storefront throughout its history, S&S Cheesecake has become the stuff of legend: Though other spots — say, Junior’s — may have better name recognition, many in-the-know New Yorkers consider S&S’s cheesecakes to be the best in the city. What’s more, its cheesecake recipe hasn’t changed one bit since Holocaust survivor Fred Schuster, 98, first opened the kosher bakery in 1960.

Though Schuster remains a regular presence at the bakery, these days S&S Cheesecake is operated by one of his daughters, Brenda Ben-Zaken, and her husband Yair. But other than a few nods to modernity — an espresso machine and a small cafe for dine-in enjoyment; upgraded equipment to increase output to 2,000 cheesecakes a day — little has changed in the past six decades.

“The secret is to bake with love and serve with pride and passion,” Yair Ben-Zaken told the New York Jewish Week of the shop’s success. Since its founding, S&S has supplied cheesecakes to countless restaurants and shops, from as far away as Alaska to as close as the iconic Upper West Side grocery Zabar’s. Their products are available for nationwide shipping via their web site or Goldbelly as well.

Ben-Zaken and Schuster spoke to the New York Jewish Week on a sunny, temperate morning just a few days ahead of Shavuot — a holiday when Jews traditionally eat cheesecake and other dairy food. (Shavuot begins this year on Thursday evening.) Ben-Zaken was busy packing up hundreds of cheesecakes that he is shipping around the country, as well as several that S&S donates to the Riverdale Jewish Center, the Orthodox synagogue where he and Schuster are members.

“It gets busy with Shavuot, [but] there is a lot to celebrate with summer and graduations this time of year as well,” Ben-Zaken said. “We are feeling [the busy season] now, but it’s not the same as Christmas and Thanksgiving — those are the real cheesecake holidays for us.”
KKL-JNF unveils photos of Shavuot festivities in British Mandate era
The KKL-JNF unveiled this week photos of celebrations of the Shavuot festival in pre-state Israel under the British Mandate.

During the Mandate era, Shavuot was celebrated with vibrant costumes, parades, and dancing in the streets of major cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. Starting in the 1920s, KKL-JNF, through the teachers' movement for KKL-JNF, imbued Shavuot with a new significance, symbolizing the return to the homeland and the deepening connection to the land of Israel.

The so-called "bikkurim" Shavuot ceremonies "were revived in cities and villages across the country. In Jerusalem, the bikkurim were brought to the KKL-JNF building, while Tel Aviv featured grand stages, and Haifa celebrated with vibrant parades and street performances," director of the archives, Efrat Sinai, said. "The KKL-JNF photo archive serves as a captivating testament to the Jewish people's presence in the Land of Israel in the early 20th century. As a tribute to Shavuot, we are delighted to unveil nostalgic photographs capturing the bikkurim celebrations in the major cities during the British Mandate."

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