Showing posts with label Persecution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Persecution. Show all posts

May 2, 2019

Beautiful Anne Frank


In Remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Observance) today:

This is a beautiful Hebrew song about Anne Frank who at age 13 went into hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis.

For two years, they stayed in the attic...not being able to make a sound or open a window.

But she kept an amazing diary that preserves for us the life and suffering they went through. 

After 761 days, they were discovered and Anne Frank was was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 

Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.

This child was beautiful and her story lives to remind us of the evil that we face and the survival that we all must.  ;-)

___
Song:

Anne Frank's Diary

Lyrics:

A bookcase hides me. 
And what, what a fear.
My father, my mother and my sister,
With the neighbors together.
We are all in silence and quiet,
With only the heart whispering whispers.
Here they hide from the soldiers,
Which our soul seeks.
My diary, my precious,
Oh Kitty, my friend.
Will I ever see a sunrise?
Will I find my death?
In the tiny rooms, From a suffocating feeling.
Cold days and clouds.
Nights of terror and silence.
It's not true, it's not right,
I want to laugh out loud.
Dance, sing and play,
I'm a child, all in all.
My diary, my precious ...
There are terrible moments,
In our relations.
So crowded here in the apartment, Everything is closing in on us.
Food is also very lacking, The war within the city.
Will I live? Will I survive?
Do you still love and sing?
My diary, my precious ...

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April 27, 2019

Barking And Biting

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, "We Must Take Every Bark Seriously."


Sometimes, when they bark, they don’t bite. But other times, the bark is the prelude to the bite. I don’t think you can judge intentions by the bark, and I am certain you need to always be ready for the bite. Dogs and people are not really that different. Over millennia of history, Jews have been threatened and persecuted–barked at and bitten, and they have not been mutually exclusive.

The Jewish people are few in number and with a small but miraculous and wonderful country--we know that rabid dogs that bark against us, also can bite ferociously, and we must take every threat seriously for our very survival. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 22, 2017

UN Is Plagued With JEWPHOBIA


IT'S AN EPIDEMIC AT THE UNITED NATIONS.

It's a most evil disease of the mind, body, and soul. 

And it's called--Jewphobia!

And it's taken many forms throughout history...

- Hateful Anti-Israel Resolutions

- Terrorism

- Wars

- Boycotts, Divestitures, and Sanctions

- Genocidal Holocaust

- Death Camps

- Crematoria

- Gas Chambers

- Forced Labor

- Human Medical Experiments

- Kristillnacht

- Iron Curtains

- Persecutions

- Pogroms

- Discrimination

- Blood Libels

- Torture Chambers

- Inquisition

- Expulsions

- Occupations

- Destruction of the Temple (2x)

- Plundering

- Masacres

- Sieges

- Infanticide

- Slavery

WHEN IS THE HATE AND JEWPHOBIA GOING TO STOP?

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal with source background photo here)
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March 8, 2017

Women's War

Today was International Women's Day. 

But this guy was protesting something else.

WAR.
"War is chaos, War is lawless
War ignores our civil rights
Land it poison and our rivers
War inspires both rape and murder
Death of children go uncounted
War betrays all Women's Rights"
Not sure how he connects this all up with women's rights at the end, but might as well try, right?

For women to have the rights that they should, they need to fight the good fight too.

That type of war does not betray them, but bolsters their cause. 

Everyone who has been abused, enslaved, and discriminated against needs to free themselves of the shackles of oppression.

What we do know is that "war is hell!"

And certainly war is an option of last resort. 

At the same time, war can restore the peace and right the wrongs of despots and tyranny and violence and persecution. 

War is something to be feared and avoided, until it can't.

At which time, hell on earth is released, so hopefully peace can ultimately prevail once again. 

In war, everyone loses, but with the hope that at the end, good wins!

For woman, today is also the continuance of that war and fight for equality, respect, and proper treatment in every way they completely deserve.

That's a war worth fighting for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 25, 2017

The Great Trump Wall

So today, President Trump signed the executive order to start the process of putting up the border wall with Mexico. 

Generally, I don't think anyone with a heart seriously questions the need to continue robust immigration for those in need that are seeking asylum or refuge from all sorts of persecution as well as for humanitarian reasons...of course, we must continue to have empathy and be kind and compassionate to people, period. 

However, the Great Trump Wall needs to go up to secure our borders.

We have over 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and roughly 400,000 crossing the border and settling here illegally on an annual basis. 


With human trafficking, illegal drugs and weapons, criminals and terrorists, and others just coming on over willy nilly, this is not the way to secure a nation's border or run a country. 


We have the right and responsibility to create safety and security for people. 

Running across the border, catch and release, or just illegally staying is not a policy, but rather immigration chaos. 

We and our families all came to this country seeking a better life and are so fortunate to be here, and we should and must pay it forward.

Immigration should be based on well-thought and sound policy that genuinely helps people in need and advances the interests of the nation.


In terms of freedom, equality, and human rights, we definitely want to tear down the walls the separate us!


However, for border security, catch me if you can is not a strategy or policy--just plain neglect and chaos. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal--funny pic because I was actually pretending to tear it down.)
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January 22, 2017

Ambassador of Redemption and Peace

Thought this was so cool...

One of my friends from synagogue has an amazing replica of the letter From President Harry S. Truman recognizing the the State of Israel (with the President's last-minute hand-written edits on it):

It reads: 
"This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof.  
The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel." 
Harry Truman 
Approved May 14, 1948"
 And hence the Jewish people went from almost 2,000 years in exile and persecution--culminating in the genocidal Holocaust that wiped out 6,000,000 Jews--to be followed by the founding of the State of Israel and the keeping of G-d's promise in the Bible:
Genesis 15:18: 
"On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates."
Deuteronomy 30:3 
"Then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you."
We are living through historic times!

Now the Headquarters of the State Department is named the Harry S. Truman building...how fitting for all our diplomacy to be called for the President that recognized the State of Israel, as the Bible said. 

Then this weekend, I was truly surprised and humbled when another friend from synagogue said that he thinks with all my passion and caring for the United States, Israel and G-d that I could be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel...I couldn't have be more moved by these lovely sentiments.

As a child of Holocaust survivors and a person of faith who believes deeply that we are witnessing the prophecies of the Bible literally being fulfilled and that we are in the time of the great redemption, I have a vision that we are ushering in the coming of the Messiah and that there will be peace in our lands and enlightenment of G-d upon the Earth. 

I hope and pray every day for it to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2016

Did You Know You're A Sinner

So walking down the street here yesterday, I ran into a sign and was handed a postcard, declaring:
"Sin Awareness Day"

Then I was confronted by a gentleman (or not so gentle) who proceeded to explain to me that I--and everyone else--are sinners!

Innocently, I ask, "Well, what have I done?"

The missionary answers with a stern face, "I'm sure you have lied!"

I said, "I don't think so," but then to play alone, I smirked and said, "Well what if I did?"

He answers and says, "You'll need to repent!"

Thinking that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is right around the corner in a couple of weeks, I thought to myself, hey that's right in line with where I'm going anyway...

The guy continues--of course--to try to enlist me to his "savior" that he believes can save us from all our sins. 

I challenged and said, "Well, how about Moses?"

He roars back, "Moses?!!!" and starts railing on about "convert, convert, convert." 

Uh no, thank you, I am fine with the faith of my father, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers, etc. 

And I appreciate if we can avoid the forcible conversion parts of yesteryear from various empires, caliphates, crusades, and inquisitions, with no shortage of associated torture, executions, and expulsions. 

Then breaking this historical context and glancing at the back of the postcard that he handed out, I did like this one thing that it said:
"Sin is not primarily a measure of how bad you are, but a measure of how good you are not."

Heck, why be negative about ourselves (we are not inherently bad); instead see that we not living up to our potential and try, always, to do better. 

In that I am definitely a believer!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 2, 2015

Am Yisrael Chai!


"For in every generation there rose up those to destroy our people.

In antiquity, we faced destruction from the ancient empires of Babylon and Rome.

In the Middle Ages, we faced inquisition and expulsion.

And in modern times, we faced the pogroms and Holocaust.

Yet the Jewish people persevered.

And now another regime has arisen swearing to destroy Israel.

That regime would be wise to consider this.

I stand here today representing Israel a country 67 years young, but the nation state of a people nearly 4,000 years old.

Yet, the empires of Babylon and Rome are not represented in this hall of nations.

Neither is the thousand year Reich.

Those seemingly invincible empires are long gone.

But Israel lives.

The people of Israel live.

Am Israel Chai!"

- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  United Nations, 2015
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August 2, 2015

Self-Perpetuating Immigration For All The Wrong Reasons

So this is the prevailing misguided logic by some for more immigration. 

We need immigrants to "reduce the ratio of retirees to workers."


Why? 


Because the birth rate has fallen to below replenishment rates (roughly 2.1 births per women). 


And since our "trust funds" for social security, medicare, pensions, and the like have NOT been been kept in trust, BUT INSTEAD have been squandered on other things...


Therefore, according to this warped thinking we now need a wave of immigrants to come save us--have lots of babies and grow our economy--to pay for what we should be able to, but can't--because of gross mismanagement and corruption with the money that was taken out our payroll all our lives supposedly to care for us in our elder years. 


The wrong reasons for immigration are expressed by Charles Kenny in Bloomberg Businessweek.


- According to Kenny, "More immigration is both the cheapest and most effective response to the challenge of a shrinking, aging population," which he frets is "ominous for pension and health-care costs."


- Kenny's approach to immigrants is that they are not vital and talented human beings, but rather basically baby machines with higher birth rates for population replenishment, as he states, "Although immigrants rapidly adopt the fertility patterns of their new countries, they still tend to produce more children to begin with."


- And he says, because most come over as adults, we have the benefits of the workers "without the expense and delay of rearing...[them as] children."


- Oh, and by the way, Kenny says, "Some newly arrived workers help provide cheap child-care options."

Wow, how biased, cold, and condescending is that!


Not once does Kenny mention or advocate for immigration for any of these truly worthy reasons:


Shelter from persecution 


- Political asylum


- Promote diversity


- Bring in needed skills, investment, and innovation 


- Rejoin families


And what is the result of bringing in immigrants to pay our way?


Well, we'll need to bring in yet another and another, wave after wave of immigration, because we can't balance of budget and spend rationally, responsibly, and with an eye toward the future--it's self-perpetuating immigration for the sake of deadbeatism. 


Sweet land of liberty is being thrown out for a bunch of economic opportunists who feel we need "immigrants to [come to] the rescue" rather than join together with us in being great in terms of compassion, humanitarianism, and mutual respect. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 19, 2015

It's Not Working

So it's human nature to want to leave the world a better place than before we got here.

But you wouldn't know it by how things are looking the last number of years.


Here's just the latest from reports this week:


1) The Global Peace Index: "World is less peaceful today than in 2008...Last year alone it is estimated that 20,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks up from an average of 2,000 a year only 10 years ago."


2) A Record Year In Misery: "The world has never seen a refuge crisis this bad...last year saw the total number of forcibly displaced persons rise to 59.5 million, an all time high." This is due to world conflict, general violence, human rights violations, and persecution."


3) Climate Apocalypse: "A child born today may live to see humanity's end...[as a result of] overcrowding, denuded resources, and climate change...dangerous climate change is already here. The question is can we avoid catastrophic climate change."


4) Americans Have Lost Confidence In Everything: "It not just Congress [and the President] and the economy that have Americans concerned these days...All in all, it's a picture of a nation discouraged about its present and worried about its future, and highly doubtful that its institutions can pull America out of its trough.


Maybe the worst thing is that many people are deluding themselves that everything is hunky dory. 


But isn't it time for some real wins again? 


To do that we need genuine good old fashioned elbow grease--that means we start with a strategy that actually tackles the issues rather than kicking the can down the road. We need honesty, not political upmanships and swell soundbite cliches. 


What good is appeasement to the masses now, if it means their utter despair or demise later--for example, why should we be Greece on the brink of national bankruptcy, if instead we can be Norway with the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world? 


Then comes the hard work, fortitude, and commitment to turn the tide on the bad news and losses. This mean personal and national sacrifice now in order to have better times for our children and grandchildren. 


G-d is watching us, our children are questioning us, the needy are looking to us. 


We are working hard, but it's hardly working! 


Maybe we need to make this real simple: "Little Johnny, now take your medicine, and stop fighting Mommy, p-lease!"  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 29, 2014

From Holocaust To Nation State

This is a really beautiful representation of the historical developments of the Jewish nation.

Where the Jewish people went from the fiery depths of the Holocaust to the rise of a modern democratic nation state of Israel. 

We are the same sons and daughters of Israel, but no longer exiled from the Holy Land and paraded like sheep to the slaughter from the hate mongers de jour. 

On the right are represented generations, who with the rise of every crazy demagogue that needed to blame their religious, political, social, and economic problems on a scapegoat, the Jewish people suffered at their bloody hands, discriminatory expropriation and expulsion, tax and torture, rape, pogrom, and slaughter.

On the left are shown the Jews from a free democratic State of Israel who are proud to seek a life of peace and security from persecution and who can chart their own course for their people and be a light unto nations for doing what is right and moral and contributing to the world in every significant development and advance of humankind. 

As the Jews went from slavery to freedom many thousands of years ago with the Exodus from Egypt and settlement of the land of Israel, so too today, we can count on the miraculous transition from exile to promised homeland and from persecution to self-determination. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Eliyokim Cohen)
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February 19, 2014

Jewish History At A Glance

I really like this poster graphic outlining Jewish history and key figures from Genesis until modern times. 

While there is already a lot of information on here such major events in Jewish history, world events, Jewish historical figures, Jewish literature and Jewish population, I would suggest adding major Jewish contributions to the world from Einstein to Freud, from Columbis to Salk. 

Also, I found that 23% of all Noble Prizes (or 193 people) between 1901 and 2013 were awarded to people of Jewish descent--and the awards were across the fields of chemistry, economics, literature, peace, physics, and medicine. 

We are not a very large people--just .2%--in terms of population, but we have a very rich history--a mixture of persecution and contribution. 

Thank you Minna Blumenthal for sending me the link to this!

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Odyeda)
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February 5, 2013

From Holocaust To Holograms


My father told me last week how my mom had awoken in the middle of night full of fearful, vivid memories of the Holocaust. 

In particular, she remembers when she was just a six year-old little girl, walking down the street in Germany, and suddenly the Nazi S.S. came up behind them and dragged her father off to the concentration camp, Buchenwald--leaving her alone, afraid, and crying on the street. And so started their personal tale of oppression, survival, and escape. 

Unfortunately, with an aging generation of Holocaust survivors--soon there won't be anyone to tell the stories of persecution and genocide for others to learn from.

In light of this, as you can imagine, I was very pleased to see the University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and the USC Shoah Foundation collaborating on a project called "New Dimensions In Testimony" to use technology to maintain the enduring lessons of the Holocaust into the future.

The project involves developing holograms of Holocaust survivors giving testimony about what happened to them and their families during this awful period of discrimination, oppression, torture, and mass murder.

ICT is using a technology called Light Stage that uses multiple high-fidelity cameras and lighting from more than 150 directions to capture 3-D holograms. 

There are some interesting videos about Light Stage (which has been used for many familiar movies from Superman to Spiderman, Avatar, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) at their Stage 5 and Stage 6 facilities. 

To make the holograms into a full exhibit, the survivors are interviewed and their testimony is combined with natural language processing, so people can come and learn in a conversational manner with the Holocaust survivor holograms. 

Mashable reports that these holograms may be used at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. where visitors will talk "face-to-face" with the survivors about their personal experiences--and we will be fortunate to hear it directly from them. ;-)

(Photo from USC ICT New Dimensions In Technology)

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October 1, 2012

First They Came For...


This was a short film/music video that my daughter brought to my attention. 

It reminded me of the famous quote about how anyone can be targeted and if we do not speak out, who will be there to speak for us. 

"First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me."

- Martin Niemoller

Warning: Graphic images--nudity and violence.

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June 30, 2012

What Number Are You?


This is an amazing video that has won 15 awards and was translated into 27 languages. 

It is an animation film and moves a little slowly from my perspective, but the message is terrific!

The short film is about us--all people--we live in the ever present "caste" society, not of yesteryear, but of all time. 

It is about where people are (or aren't) in the pecking order of life and that despite our "place," we can still find success. 

Some are born "Zero's" and live a life of prejudice, persecution, bullying, and torment. 

Others are born high numbers, and they are the elites in society--given the best educational and professional, materialistic, and networking opportunities. 

Many in our age have recognized that this trend continues unabated--only now it's called things like Occupy Wall Street and referred to as the 99% and 1%.

In the past, it was variations of slaves and masters; fiefs, vassals, and lords, and now-a-days even average workers and the C-Suite.

In the video, "A Zero is a zero"--he is bullied in school, and thrown into the gutter as an adult by "the higher numbers."

I am certain that many of us can relate to this...in fact, this video has been viewed almost 1.3 million times on Youtube already.

Only when Zero meets another zero and has a baby--who is born an "infinite," does everyone else stop and literally bow down. 

While I believe that we all need to work hard and contribute and in no way, believe that anyone who is able to contribute should be given a "free ride," I do believe firmly that we are all human beings, G-d's children, and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. 

Everyone has a value in society and from nothing (or Zero) can come something amazing, if we only give people a fighting chance.

Personally, I am a child of Holocaust survivors, and my family came over with nothing. My grandmother cried that they didn't have a chair to sit on when they came to this country.  

The Nazis took everything, lives and things. As the presumed high and mighty "Aryan race," everyone else was zero fodder for the ovens in the concentration camps or to be shot through the head while begging for mercy on their knees. 

Like my grandparents, my uncle by marriage and his brother came over on a children's transport train, alone and completely on their own, to try and "make it," after being orphaned by Nazi murderers.

In the holocaust, the Nazis treated all their victims as Zero's by tattooing numbers on their arms to dehumanize them.

This is part of a long historical plot of the strong and the weak, the haves and the have nots--the high numbers and the zeros in this world.

When as a 10-year old, we moved to Riverdale, New York, a very affluent neighborhood in the Bronx bordering Westchester, most of my classmates lived in million-dollar mansions, while we lived on "the other side of town."  

I grew up understanding that I had to be determined, work hard, and pray hard to try and climb up the ladder and it's numbered stairs--in fact, like "Rocky," I used to run the stairs--hundreds of times!

But to me, determination and hard work seem to come natural--thank G-d--but even more important to me was not monetary success but decency, integrity, speaking truth, and working for the advancement of all on as level a playing field as we can get. 

I will not bow to "infinity" as the others in the movie and in real life have done, but I will try and help make infinity a place that we all can aspire to.

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