Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rabbis to US Ambassador: Biblical Solution the ONLY Solution for Israel


I love this! FINALLY SOMEONE SAID IT!!! If you follow what G-d says, if you follow the BIBLE, if you pay attention to the scriptures, you can’t possibly think the pretend “palestinian” people have anything resembling “rights” to our land.

The true path to peace is in the Word of G-d, not in the lies of diplomats and politicians.

I just wish that the rabbis had answered the ambassador's question a bit differently. When he asked, "So what is your solution to the problem?"

They should have answered, "It is not our solution, it is G-ds!"

In Bamidbar 33:53, Hashm says:


Rabbis to US Ambassador: Time to 'Go Biblical' with Arabs
by Gil Ronen

( A delegation of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP) met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Mr. James Cunningham, today and called for a reassessment of the entire U.S. policy vis-à-vis the Israelis and Palestinians. The rabbis told Ambassador Cunningham that it was time to try the Biblical approach to the dispute over the Land of Israel.

"The past 17 years have proven without a shadow of a doubt that every square inch ceded by Israel to the Palestinians was transformed into a platform of hatred and terrorism," RCP Director Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin told the ambassador. "In other words, the 'land for peace' formula in the Israel-Palestinian context, besides being a formula that goes against the Divine will, is ineffective, obsolete, and an exercise in futility. Most of all it is a dangerous policy that only leads to bloodshed and instability in the region and harms vital American interests in the region as well," Lewin said.

'Land for peace doesn't work'
The delegation was headed by Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, Chairman of the RCP, who is also the Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv where the US embassy is located. Rabbi Gerlitzky presented the ambassador with the Halachic (Jewish legal) ruling signed by over 350 prominent rabbis in Israel that it is forbidden to give up even one inch of territory controlled by Israel today because it will bring bloodshed and instability to the region.

"In the name of the overwhelming majority of rabbis in Israel," he said, "we request of you Mr. Ambassador, to convey our Halachic message to President Barack Obama that it is time for a complete reversal and reassessment of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The 'land for peace' policy never worked and harms U.S. interests in the region and the world at large."

The Rabbis handed the ambassador a Halachic Ruling signed by over 350 rabbis in Israel that forbids giving up land controlled by Israel today.

The ambassador was visibly moved by Rabbi Sholom Gold, a leading rabbi in Jerusalem, who described the suffering that the Jewish People have endured ever since the implementation of the Oslo Accords and the agreements that followed. "It's all a play of words, there is no peace process," he said. "From the day that we started conceding and withdrawing we did not have one day of rest and peace. Why should our enemies want to make peace with us when they see that with terrorism they get what they want? Even the U.S., Israel's supposedly best friend, sides with them in demanding a freeze and evacuation of settlements. Is the triumph of Arab terror one of American interests?" Gold asked.

Going Biblical
"Who knows, Mr. Ambassador, maybe this is your defining moment."

Rabbi Dov Lior, the Rabbi of Kiryat Arba-Hevron, said: "G-d gave the US the power and influence to affect the rest of the world and supporting Israel is the key to America's success."

Ambassador Cunningham told the rabbis that he does not see how the problem can be solved “without taking into consideration the Palestinians,” to which Rabbi Gold remarked: "Ever since we started taking the Palestinians into consideration the situation only worsened."

The ambassador asked the rabbis, "So what is your solution to the problem?"

Rabbi Gerlitzky replied: "You must switch the entire approach to the situation. We all believe in the Holy Bible and up until now we tried every formula except for that which is delineated in the Bible. Let's try it and who knows, Mr. Ambassador, maybe this is your defining moment, that G-d Almighty has placed you in this capacity in order to precipitate a new course which will bring a true peace to the entire region."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hundreds of Greek Christians Stand in Solidarity With Greek Jews Against Neo-Nazi Attacks


I was touched by this simple, beautiful, and very human extension of support and kindness between two strong groups of faith.

Deeply religious people, no matter their creed, understand the significance of the sanctification of G-d, and the dignity of Human life.

Those without G-d, or those who have twisted G-d's image into something that represents hatred and evil, cannot comprehend the significance of a religious artifact, a religious holiday, or a sacred space.

There is no agenda here beside that of one group of religious people supporting another group of religious people against the evil actions of neo-nazi thugs.

G-d bless them.

Christians Rally to Support Greek Jews
by Hana Levi Julian

( A week before what is arguably the most lucrative and religiously important event in the Christian calendar, hundreds of Christians in a small Greek town turned out in the winter cold to express support for their Jewish neighbors.

Joining hands in a “human chain against racism and violence,” Christians in the small northwestern Greek city of Ioannina, surrounded the city’s Jewish cemetery to protest repeated acts of neo-Nazi vandalism there. In the past 12 months Ioannina, not far from the Albanian border, has seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents perpetrated in the Jewish cemetery by neo-Nazis in town – a trend the protest organizers decided was intolerable.

'Duty of Every Citizen'
“The Jewish cemetery is not only the religious space of the Jewish community but also a cultural monument of our city, the protection of which, like other historic monuments of our city, is the duty of every citizen… Let the world know that we value our Jewish presence, one of the oldest in Greece, and will not allow callous, hateful acts to define us as a community or as a people,” the organizing committee said in a statement.

“Letters and emails of anguish, hurt and recrimination” were sent to local and national Greek authorities over the incidents, said Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos, president of the Association of Friends of Greek Jewry and director of the Kehila Kedosha Janina Museum. “Our intention was to bring to worldwide awareness what had happened.”

That appeals succeeded brought immense joy to the community, she said. “Our pleas did not fall on deaf ears… What then can be more emotionally rewarding than to pass on the news of a recent mass demonstration against anti-Semitism?” Ikonomopoulos commented.

Many of those who showed up for the demonstration held public office, she noted. Organizers stressed that politics was not the issue, and public officials were not identified by their political parties. “All major parties were represented,” she noted. “Let us all applaud the good citizens of Ioannina who organized and took part in this historic event.”

Ancient Jewish Community Dates Back to Second Temple
The Jewish presence in the small Greek town goes back thousands of years, to the destruction of the Second Temple, according to the Kehila Kedosha Janina Museum web site. Those who lived in the city were Greek-speaking Jews who had absorbed the Hellenistic culture of the time.

The community was not a wealthy one; sons succeeded their fathers in their trades, and daughters married and became wives and mothers. If they worked at all, it was in the professions deemed acceptable for the women of the time, such as seamstresses. Education ended at high school or even earlier.

Approximately 2,000 Jews lived in Ioannina at the beginning of World War II, but it came under direct German control in September 1943. The Nazis, on Greek Independence Day just before Passover in March 1944, rounded up the community's Jews and deported them to Auschwitz-Birkenau, almost all of whom were murdered.

Their names are engraved in stone on the walls of the community’s synagogue.

Iraq's "Restoration" of Tomb of Ezekiel Destroys All Connection To Jewish Roots, Replaces Jewish Holy Spot with Mosque


You had better be sure that Obama and his administration know about this abomination, and they have signed off on it.

I don't believe there is one thing going on in Iraq that the US government doesn't know about and hasn't approved.

Where do you think the Iraqi government has gotten the money for such a project? Obviously, the American people are paying for the Islamic rape of this Jewish site.

I would say, "Turn to your congressman and senator" about this, but I am so discouraged by anything coming out of that cavity of courage, that cestpool of citizenship, that I fear such an action is practically useless.

Perhaps turning to AIPAC, to the ADL, to the JDL is the right action right now. Maybe if we can convince our elected idiots that this is important to the Jewish people, and that it could cost them some campaign cash, they will wake up and smell the Baklava.

Meanwhile, I feel like I have been kicked in the stomach.


Islamists Erase Jewish Identity from Ezekiel's Tomb in Iraq

By Shelomo Alfassa


NEW YORK (December 29, 2009) - The Iraqi news agency Ur News has revived fears that under pressure from Islamic political parties, the original Hebrew inscriptions and ornamentation on the walls around the tomb of Ezekiel are being (or have been) removed, this under the pretext of restoring the site.

According to sources, the Antiquities and Heritage Authority in Iraq has been pressured by Islamists to historically cleanse all evidence of a Jewish connection to Iraq--a land where Jews had lived for over a thousand years before the advent of Islam.

Four months ago a German-based Iraqi journalist tipped off the Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq in Israel that plans were afoot to build a mosque on the site of the shrine of the Jewish prophet Ezekiel at al-Kifl, this was first reported on the "Point of No Return" news blog.

The rumours were investigated by a philo-Semitic Iraqi Shi'a, Dr. Jabbar Jamal al-Din, a lecturer in Jewish Thought at the Kufa University. They were denied by the shrine's director.

Now a report by Ur News revives fears that in the absence of Jews on the ground, nothing, not even UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), stands in the way of politically-motivated plans to erase all Jewish traces of this ancient holy site.

Drastic changes taking place currently at the tomb of Ezekiel will change its character and prompt UNESCO to delete it as a protected site on the World Heritage List, similar to what happened to the historic city of Babylon, where old buildings were demolished and new layers of construction added.

Prof. Shmuel Moreh, the Chairman of the Association of Jewish Academics from Iraqi, Israel Prize Laureate in Arabic Literature and emeritus Professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has indicted that the Arabic news stories have tipped him that the Archeological Authority in Iraq has started a campaign to erase the Jewish aspects of the tomb of the prophet Ezekiel and the original inlay Hebrew inscriptions have been destroyed and covered by new Arabic inscriptions and Islamic symbols.

Here is an extract, paraphrased from an Arabic translation of the Ur News agency report:
  • The officials of the Department of Antiquities and Heritage say that their restoration programme will continue until 2011 and is designed to carry out essential maintenance and prevent the dome and roof from collapsing. But their hidden purpose, sources say, is the removal of features that emphasize a historical connection with the Jews who built the shrine and lived in the city for hundreds of years after the Babylonian exile.
Hebrew writings will or already has been erased from the site and from the room that houses the shrine.

Restoration work includes skimming the walls, 3 metres high in the yard, 2 metres high inside the shrine.

Sources say that the media are not allowed to take pictures and visits to the shrine are limited to pilgrims.
The city of Kifl contains tens of thousands of acres of land belonging to the Jewish community before their displacement from Iraq in the last century.

The majority of tenants' shops around the shrine still pay rent to their original Jewish owners through accredited mediators.
Iraq - the Biblical Mesopotamia -is almost as rich in Jewish history as the Land of Israel.

The tomb of the prophet Ezekiel dates back to the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BCE. It was there in Iraq that Abraham discovered monotheism, and it is where the prophets Ezra, Nehemiah, Nahum, Jonah and Daniel are all buried.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What is the difference between extremist Jews burning down a Mosque and extremist Muslims burning down a synagogue?



What is the difference between extremist Jews burning down a Mosque and extremist Muslims burning down a synagogue?

When extremist Jews burn down a Mosque, Israel condemns the act, Jewish leaders apologize and express remorse, and Jewish citizens come out to support those who have been harmed.

When extremist Muslims burn down a Synagogue, Muslim leaders congratulate the extremists, Imams call for more violence, and Muslim citizens dance in the street and hand out candy.

Israel Condemns Mosque Vandalism
by Hillel Fendel

( Condemnations from Jewish leaders continue to stream in of the vandalism perpetrated against a mosque in the Shomron late Thursday night - though it is not yet known who did it.

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said on Sunday, “I was shocked. Burning mosques is not our way, this is not the proper way to fight, and we condemn this in every sense.”

Rabbis of Judea/Samaria towns, such as Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Elon Moreh, Rabbi Avi Gisser of Ofrah, and others, also condemned the vandalism, saying that mosques and religious sites are not legitimate targets in our national struggle.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Places, similarly said the vandalism is "contrary to all values of Judaism and is worthy of condemnation. Places that are considered holy by followers of all religions must remain outside the framework of political conflict. This is a serious matter that must be investigated, and its perpetrators must be found quickly.”

Many cabinet ministers, including Prof. Rabbi Herskovitz (Jewish Home), Yisrael Katz (Likud), Eli Yishai (Shas), Uzi Landau (Israel Our Home), and Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) also condemned the vandalism, but Edelstein added: “Let’s not take things out of proportion. Not a day passes that a Jewish target is not attacked somewhere around the world, yet we don’t hear condemnations from Foreign Ministries. We’ve been hearing about the mosque all day on the radio – but hardly anything about the Jewish girl who was stabbed by an Arab in Gush Etzion.”

A group of Jews from Gush Etzion plans to visit the site of the targeted mosque in the village of Yasuf in the Shomron on Sunday afternoon. They will meet with village leaders and express their opposition to such acts of vandalism.

A carpet in the mosque was burnt in several places, as were some holy books. Graffiti reading “Price tag – Regards from Effie” was written on the floor. Price Tag is the name of a Jewish protest campaign in which unknown elements respond to the increased law enforcement against Jews and the freeze on Jewish construction by lashing out at Arabs in the area.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the security forces to seek out those responsible for the vandalism. “This is an extremist act,” Barak said, “designed to block the government’s efforts to promote processes for the sake of Israel’s future.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Bostoner Rebbe, May His Memory Be a Blessing!

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This is a beautiful write-up in the Jewish Week about the Bostoner Rebbe. I didn't know him myself, but I had friends in the Boston area who attended the colleges around Boston, and many of them owe their observance to this man's very grounded and loving view of Judaism.

In a time when Hassidim are increasingly attacked for their non-Zionist, judgemental ways, the Bostoner Rebbe reminded them all that you could be Hassidic, Zionist, and encouraging to non-religious Jews to up their observance level. He did it with a light touch (as recalled in this article), and he did it with humor and humanity.

He practiced Kiruv beautifully with a non-judgemental, open, welcoming, and firm view of what was right, wrong, and moving in the right direction (as recalled by my friends).

He was also not afraid to stand up for Israel. He knew Israel was important, and he made a great effort to perform the Mitzvah of Aliyah, finally completing his move last April (even though this reporter gets this one fact wrong it is still a great story).

I am sorry I never knew him.

The Rebbe With A Common Touch by Steve Lipman
Staff Writer

A story has circulated in Orthodox circles for a long time about a chasidic rabbi who was invited to speak to an auditorium full of Jewish students at a major American university. The bearded rabbi, according to the story, stepped up to the lectern, outfitted in typical chasidic garb – shtreimel fur hat on his head, and long black coat — and began droning about the Talmud in Yiddish.

The uncomprehending students, most from secular backgrounds, looked at each other, totally confused — until the rabbi stopped after a minute and asked, in English, “Had you worried, didn’t I?”

Then he had a captive audience.

The story sounded apocryphal — until Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Horowitz, the chasidic figure in the story, confirmed it.

I had the opportunity to escort the rabbi between two New York wedding ceremonies where he was officiating two decades ago, and related what I had heard.

He smiled. All true, he said. He shrugged. “I knew I looked foreign to the students,” he explained. “I had to show them I understood.”

Rabbi Horowitz, better-known as the Bostoner Rebbe — the first American-born leader of a major chasidic group — died Dec. 5 at 88 in Jerusalem, where he had lived for a decade after splitting time for several years between Israel and his home in Brookline, a Boston suburb. He had been in ill health since suffering a heart attack this summer.

The rabbi, who won over the university students that day, was a pioneer in the kiruv, or outreach movement, in the United States, opening his home and his Beit Pinchos New England Chassidic Center synagogue to Jewish students from the Boston area’s universities, and to other members of the non-Orthodox community. In one-on-one encounters or in group settings, he proved false the stereotypes of a cloistered, unworldly chasidic leader. He was a serious Boston Red Sox fan, and he spoke English eloquently, albeit with a Boston accent. His shul, named for his late, European-born father, offered the same combination of personal warmth and erudite education that he did.

The rabbi was the scion of a chasidic dynasty that originated in Eastern Europe.

Upon becoming head of a small group of followers in 1944, after his father’s death, Rabbi Horowitz developed a chasidic community in the United States that featured a uniquely American flavor – rigorously observant, but open to the culture, sports and pastimes familiar to most American Jews. Under his leadership, branches of the Bostoner chasidim opened in Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey and Israel.

Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, called Rabbi Horowitz “a transition between the European model and the American model” of a chasidic leader.

The most visible sign of this was Rabbi Horowitz’ decision to be known as the Bostoner Rebbe, not to adopt the name of the European town whence came his forebears, as other chasidic communities have done.

Rabbi Horowitz had a significant influence in many Orthodox circles; he remained accessible to his congregants and students and members of the wider Jewish community, discouraging the type of cultish behavior found in some other chasidic groups.

Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, who met the Bostoner Rebbe while studying in Boston four decades ago and became a prominent professor of philosophy and Jewish educator, said: “He told me once that being a rebbe meant that you were there when someone needed to make a big decision and needed spiritual guidance.

“There were times when I was motivated in my religious life by false piety and he always insisted on clear logic,” Rabbi Gottlieb told the Jerusalem Post.

Rabbi Horowitz was the founder of Rofeh International, a Brookline-based organization that offers free medical referrals, support services and home hospitality to the infirm and their families.

A member of Agudath Israel’s Council of Torah Sages, he held right-wing political views that sometimes deviated from many haredi leaders’ more apolitical positions. He served as a prominent Orthodox proponent of maintaining a Jewish presence in the West Bank, and took an outspoken position against Israel’s disengagement from Gaza three years ago.

A leading figure in the part of the Orthodox community that usually favors tacit, back-channel approaches to controversial political issues, he was a participant, as a recently married rabbinical student, in the 1943 White House march of 400 Orthodox rabbis, who urged President Roosevelt to rescue Jews from the Holocaust.

The demonstration took place three days before Yom Kippur. “Going to Washington that week certainly made it more difficult for everyone but we all understood how important it was to do something in that situation,” the rabbi said in an interview with Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

In 1967, after the outbreak of the Six-Day War, Rabbi Horowitz organized buses to bring Jews from Boston to Washington for a rally urging the U.S. government to support Israel.

Rabbi Horowitz maintained conciliatory relations with representatives of other Jewish denominations.
He and Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, the late spiritual head of the Modern Orthodox movement who also lived in the Boston area, were “part of the reason why there is very little political divisiveness among the Jewish groups in Boston,” said Rabbi Waldoks, whose “independent” congregation is not Orthodox. “They both were people who understood that there was nothing to gain by Jewish sectarianism.”

I got a glimpse of this while escorting Rabbi Horowitz that afternoon two decades ago. A clean-shaven, newly Orthodox stranger, I was made to feel immediately accepted. Sharing a ride for more than an hour, he asked about my life and my career. I didn’t hear a single negative word about my secular interests or my non-Orthodox writing assignments.

I understood how he had captivated those nervous university students.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just for fun: The Jewish Husband Store

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If you are a regular reader, you might have noticed I haven't posted for a few days. I'm a professor, and it's finals week! EEK!

I need something light, so I have revised the widely circulated “New Husband Store” e-mail for a religious Jewish audience. I hope you like it!


Michelle Nevada
The Jewish Husband Store

A store that sells new Jewish husbands has opened in New York City , where a Jewish woman may go to choose a Jewish husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are seven floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights.

The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but she cannot go back down except to exit the building!

So, a Jewish woman goes to the Jewish Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor 1 - These men are well learned and pray with great kavona.

She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 2 – These men are well learned, pray with great kavona, and Have Jobs.

'That's nice,' she thinks, 'but I want more.'

Floor 3 - These men are well learned, pray with great kavona, have jobs, and Love Kids.

So she continues upward. The forth floor sign reads:

Floor 4 - These men are well learned, pray with great kavona, have jobs, love kids, and are extremely Good Looking.

'Wow,' she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

She goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 5 - These men are well learned, pray with great kavona, have jobs, love kids, are good looking and Help With Housework.

'Oh, Baruch Hashm!' she exclaims, 'I can hardly stand it!'

Still, she goes to the sixth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 6 - These men are well learned, pray with great kavona, have jobs, love kids, are good looking, help with housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the seventh floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 7 - You are visitor 31,456. There are no Jewish men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that Jewish women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Jewish Husband Store.



To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a New Jewish Wives store just across the street.

The first floor has wives that are all under 25.

The second floor has wives that are all under 30, but have fathers with money.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Very Special Wedding! Mozel Tov to a Trailblazing Couple with Downs!

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This is a beautiful and touching story of how love can triumph over the "advice" of "specialists." These two very special people love each other, they are religious, and they wished, more than anything in the world, to live together as husband and wife.

May Hashm bless them, their families who have worked so hard to make this happen, and all the friends, neighbors, and relatives who shared this beautiful simcha with them.

May this couple lead the way toward a full understanding of the importance of a respectable, independent, and responsible life for all those who can fulfill this mitzvah.

Shalom and Ronit head to the huppa
Nov. 26, 2009

Nearly 2,000 years ago the Talmud recognized that finding a partner for a happy marriage is a miraculous feat. "To match couples together is as difficult as the splitting of the Red Sea," it tells us.

For young adults with disabilities, even splitting a sea does not capture the difficulties they must overcome in order to marry. One determined couple tackled them bravely.

Shalom is unaware that he is a trailblazer. This, he says, is just "the fulfillment of a dream of mine." When asked for how long has he wanted to marry, he responds, "From age zero."

Bearded, casually groomed, handsome and self-possessed, he is forthcoming about his engagement to Ronit. She is "smart, wise, serious, full of self-confidence and pretty," he assures us. His indistinct speech is overshadowed by its articulateness. Both Shalom and his fiancée have Down syndrome.

Shalom's mother Bina sits beside him detailing the upcoming event, at times reverting to English, which he does not understand. Unperturbed, he waits for the conversation to return to Hebrew.

The couple first met many years ago at summer camp, but then lost contact. Several months ago they bumped into each other again at the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. From there followed dates at cafes and flowing conversations. "We have tons to talk about," Shalom says. "She loves to laugh and sometimes I make her laugh." She has dubbed him "Matzhikon" (funnyman), he adds.

There was no formal marriage proposal. Once both sets of parents understood that their children were in love, they met and decided to arrange for them to marry. Handling the logistics of an event for the 950 invitees has been the easy task. Planning for the couple's life afterward is more challenging.

Shalom's mother, Bina, is well aware of what she now faces. His and Ronit's welfare will, no doubt, always remain a source of concern. "Shalom knows that all these years I didn't want him to get married," she relates, turning to him for agreement.

"He's a pleasant, easy boy, not problematic, and I like having him at home. But he wanted to marry because he is searching for a partner like everyone else, and I understood that the right thing is to let him marry and develop."

The families have only roughly outlined the couple's living arrangements. Shalom and Ronit will remain at their current jobs - she as a photocopier at a primary school for learning disabled children in Jerusalem's Romema neighborhood, and he in paper recycling at the Givat Shaul offices of the Ministry of Education. The parents are looking for a rental apartment near Shalom's parents.

Ronit has lived in an Alei Siach sheltered home for the past 15 years. She and Shalom will be the third married couple among the 360 Jerusalemites who are assisted by the organization's network of hostels, workshops and clubhouses.

Chana Bransdorfer, spokeswoman for Alei Siach, says that Ronit attended weekly therapy sessions for several years. It was there that the idea of marriage arose and then took root. The sessions primed her for the undertaking, along with her family's support and in consultation with outside professionals.

All residences and activities sponsored by Alei Siach are gender-segregated, so Ronit never met boys there. The other Alei Siach couples were arranged through matchmakers, in accordance with haredi protocol. Marriage is clearly a goal that Alei Siach champions for those of its charges who are capable of it.

SHALOM NAMES three married Down's friends, and his mother adds two more couples she knows who live together. Yet, Rivka Sneh, a founder and director of Yated, the nonprofit serving 1,500 families of Down's children around the country, paints a bleak picture of marital opportunities. She says that despite impressive strides in the areas of education, employment and community living, progress in this area has been minimal - it is the last frontier.

In an effort to conquer it, Sneh lectures throughout the country about the sexual and marital needs of Down's adults. According to her records, there are only five married couples in the country. A sixth has been engaged for more than a year and is awaiting subsidized marital quarters from the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services. They will become available, she says, once another couple materializes to join them in a sheltered apartment. Only parents with the finances to rent their children an apartment can sidestep this obstacle.

Sneh argues that acknowledging the right of Down's adults to form relationships and marry is not enough. Most of them need to be taught how to socialize with the opposite sex. Currently there is one national center in Tel Aviv that provides counseling and instruction in forming relationships. Local branches exist in Haifa, Afula and Beersheba, and a new one will soon open in Jerusalem. Through various exercises such as psychodrama, participants acquire social skills that include making eye contact, initiating conversation, asking appropriate questions and listening attentively. Sneh claims that these few centers do not meet the needs of all.

Sneh, who knows Shalom, emphasizes that he is unique: He never needed any such guidance. In fact he tells us that he has many friends and even a string of past girlfriends, the first of whom he met in primary school. Since then he has enjoyed several other relationships. His mother explains, "He was always warm, giving, knew how to dote on others and how to give love." Shalom adds, "And how to give respect."

Shalom radiates an enviable inner peace. Sneh points out that many Down's individuals are denied that by dint of their sexual frustration. They are rendered so tense, restless and even aggressive that caregivers frequently administer medication just to calm them down. Sixty percent of those institutionalized and 40% of those in community-based residences receive psychiatric drugs. Sneh says that according to the chief psychiatrist of the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, only 10% of that sector have conditions that actually require such treatment.

The promotion of sexual and marital relations may be appropriate for Down's adults. However its suitability for the general mentally disabled population is hotly disputed. [MORE]

Jewish Students in Brazil Barred from College by Saturday Test Date

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Please write to the Counsel General of Brazil immediately
<>. This is a horrible tragedy for the religious Jewish community of Brazil, and Brazil should know that the world is watching what they do.

Here is a copy of the letter I sent:


November 29, 2009

Dear Consul General de Brazil, <>

It was with a heavy heart that I read a news article about how the national examination in Brazil will be held on a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, and how religious Jewish students in Brazil will not qualify for college in Brazil because of the test date.

Jews have always been an important and respected group in Brazil, and Brazil has always been known as a place for them to live and succeed. I have included a list of famous Jews from Brazil and their accomplishments. These are only a few of the Jews who have contributed to the growth and prominence of Brazil.

I would like to politely remind the country of Brazil that it is not the Jews who would suffer the most under this misapplication of the law, it is the country of Brazil. If Jews cannot attend colleges in Brazil, you will lose the potential of those bright students. They will never be able to assist Brazil with her growing economy.

Do you want to sacrifice your country’s success on behalf of a test? This is a small matter, easily handled, but the world is watching.

We want to see Brazil do the correct thing by allowing Jewish students to take the test on a day that is not set aside for the sanctification of the Almighty. Perhaps, if the government is concerned with the fairness of the test, the date can be arranged to fall on a weekday, when all Brazilians can take the test in equality.


Michelle Nevada

  • Clara Ant, political activist and presidential adviser
  • Jom Tob Azulay, film director
  • Hector Babenco, film director
  • Leoncio Basbaum, physician and political activist
  • Moysés Baumstein, holographer, film/video producer, painter, writer
  • Manoel Beckman, colonial leader
  • Adriana Behar, beach volleyball player
  • Samuel Benchimol, entrepreneur and Amazon pioneer
  • Abraham Bentes, army commander
  • Daniel Benzali, TV actor
  • Claudio Besserman Vianna, comedian
  • Joel Birman, writer
  • Eva Altman Blay, sociologist and politician
  • Debora Bloch, actress
  • Nilton Bonder, community leader and writer
  • Waldemar Levy, field marshal
  • Boris Casoy, journalist
  • Otto Maria Carpeaux, literary critic
  • Moyses Chahon, army commander
  • Juca Chaves, comedian, composer and singer
  • Victor Civita, journalist
  • Deborah Colker, dancer and choreographer
  • Gilberto Dimenstein, journalist
  • Alberto Dines, journalist
  • Tufi Duek, fashion designer
  • Dina Dublon, director
  • German Efromovich, entrepreneur
  • Benny Feilhaber, professional soccer player[19]
  • Fortuna, singer and composer
  • Vilém Flusser, philosopher
  • Marcelo Gleiser, physicist and writer
  • José Goldemberg, educator, physicist and minister
  • Mario Haberfeld, racing driver
  • Alexandre Herchcovitch, fashion designer
  • Wladimir Herzog, journalist
  • Marc Horowitz, trader
  • Luciano Huck, TV show host
  • Roberto Justus, advertiser and TV host
  • Isaac Karabtchevsky, musician and conductor
  • Jacques Klein, pianist
  • Samuel Klein (businessman), entrepreneur
  • Samuel Kicis, army commander
  • Ithamara Koorax, jazz singer
  • Miguel Krigsner, entrepreneur and environmentalist
  • Celso Lafer, diplomat
  • Cesar Lattes, physicist
  • Jaime Lerner, politician (governor Paraná state), urban planner
  • José Lewgoy, actor and director
  • Clarice Lispector, writer´
  • Gerson Levi-Lazzaris, ethnoarchaeologist
  • Carlos Maltz- Drummer of rock band Engenheiros do Hawaii
  • Salomão Nauslausky, army commander
  • Noel Nutels, public health physician and human rights activist
  • Carlos Nuzman , sportsman and president of Olympic Committee
  • Ivo Perelman, jazz saxophonist
  • Flora Purim, jazz singer
  • Sultana Levy Rosenblatt, writer
  • Ricardo Rosset, Formula One driver
  • Edmond Safra , banker
  • Joseph Safra, banker
  • Ricardo Semler, entrepreneur
  • Moise Safra, banker
  • Silvio Santos, (Senor Abravanel), TV show host
  • Mario Schenberg , physicist
  • Moacyr Scliar, writer
  • Lasar Segall, artist
  • Amir Slama, fashion designer
  • Henry Sobel, Rabbi, community leader
  • Mauricio Waldman, sociologist and politician
  • Yara Yavelberg, political activist
  • Mayana Zatz, geneticist
  • Benjamin Zymler, auditor-general
Brazil Jews decry 'exclusion' from college entrance exam
By Cnaan Liphshiz

Brazilian Jewish teenagers this week protested what they called their "exclusion" from a national exam for high school graduates set to take place on Shabbat, after a Brazilian court said providing Jews with an alternative date would "undermine equality."

"In some areas in Brazil, such a Rio de Janeiro, observant Jewish students cannot apply to some of the leading universities," said Alex Kingel, 17, from Sao Paulo, who will not be taking the test.

Kingel explained that because Rio de Janeiro's leading university is a federal one - funded by the central government - applicants must take the test, known locally as ENEM. The exam, which is not mandatory, is not necessary for applying to locally-funded state universities.

Simone Janovich, also 17, from Higienopolis, Sao Pualo, said: "If I have to, I will go to college even without taking the ENEM."

Last week the Brazilian supreme court reversed a ruling by a Sao Paulo court, which determined that the country's education ministry needed to provide an alternate date for Jews. The test is set for December 5.

The supreme court said Jewish students could take the test after sundown Saturday, calling this a "reasonable" solution. It remains unclear whether Jewish students will be given an extension after sundown.

Supreme court president Gilmar Mendes said giving the Jewish minority an alternative date would harm equality.

"We lost this time but this is not over," said Alberto Milkewitz, who heads the education department of the Jewish community of Sao Paulo. "I consider this a battle for the defense of democracy."

Milkewitz and the Sao Paulo-based Center for Religious Jewish Education had sought the alternative date. "The minority should not have to bend to the majority and democracy does not mean the two should be homogenized," he said.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stooping to a New Low in Wussitude, Bibi's "Security Cabinet" Approves Building Freeze In Judea and Samaria


A great way to reward those terrorists for their terrorism. Thanks Bibi!

We suspected you were still the wuss we remembered you to be, and now we know we were right.

Why don't you join your friend, Obama, and start bowing to every arab you see. After all, like Obama, you have accepted dhimmitude, so you might as well admit it and start acting like a dhimmi in your own land.

But don't expect the rest of us to follow you. We will not bow our heads. WE WILL NOT FORGET TO WHOM HASHM HAS GIVEN THIS LAND.

You are a disgrace to Israel, Bibi. Go apply for a job working for CNN. You are done in Israel.

Cabinet Approves Building Freeze
by Hana Levi Julian

( The Security Cabinet approved a request by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday night for a 10-month construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.

In a statement released to the media, Netanyahu said he was making the proposal "as part of the efforts to give momentun to the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority" and to "advance Israel's comprehensive national interests."

The freeze includes a 10-month suspension of new residential construction permits and all new residential construction starts in Judea and Samaria, which could include peripheral areas around the capital as well. This also means construction as simple as building a fence around a yard, a balcony on the second floor of a home, or an extension to the back of a house -- or even something as simple as a porch or pergola over the front steps of a home, if it is located anywhere in Judea and Samaria.

"In the international circumstances that have been created, this step will promote Israel's broad national interests," he told the Cabinet at the start of the meeting. "This is neither simple nor easy, but it has many more advantages than disadvantages. It allows us to place a simple fact before the world: The government of Israel wants to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians, is taking practical steps in order to do so, and is very serious in its intentions to promote peace," he said.

Leaders of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are refusing to meet Thursday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who came out in support of Netanyahu's proposal. "The aim is to open a window to renew negotiations with the Palestinians," he said in justifying his backing the plan. "I hope the Council of Judea and Samaria Communities leadership, which is patriotic, responsible and serious, will understand the need for this decision at this time," he added.

"The Defense Minister has been harrassing Jewish communities for a long time before the decision to freeze construction and for the sake of narrowing the pace, things have gotten to the point that he even he refuses to allow the building of classrooms and nurseries for toddlers," Council members said.

They also pointed out that "the address is the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu -- he is the one that received the decision on the freeze, he is the one who broke his election promise to the voters."

National Union Knesset members are furious over the prime minister's actions; party chairman MK Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz said Netanyahu is "spitting in the face of those who were promised only a year ago that he would lead a change from the expulsion policies of [former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon." He called on Likud members to turn in their party membership cards and join the National Union instead.

MK Dr. Aryeh Eldad added bluntly, "The people of Judea and Samaria who were
coaxed into voting for Prime Minister Netanyahu should tar and feather everyone who urged people to vote for the Likud."

His colleague MK Uri Ariel compared the proposed building freeze to the infamous British White Paper of 1939, which restricted Jewish immigration to Israel. "Malcolm MacDonald, author of the White Paper, can be proud. Seventy years after he published his anti-Semitic document, here comes the Israeli government and tries to follow in his footsteps," Ariel declared.

Breaking Some Myths of Orthodox Singlehood, A Study


This is another great article on the reality of religious Jews and their relationships which has appeared on Rabbi Angel's excellent website for his Organization of Jewish Ideas/Ideals. The first one, on Sex and the Married Orthodox Woman, was a wonderful study which looked into how the concept of family purity plays out within the married relationship.

This article, by Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld, respectfully asks the question, "What Myths Exist With Orthodox Singles? How Do Those Myths Contribute/Explain the "Shidduch Crisis"?

She discusses five myths in the singles community and what her study found out in relationship to those myths. Those myths include:
  1. Everyone/No One is Shomer Negiah,
  2. Anyone who engages in pre-marital sex is fine with it,
  3. Singles are happy the way they are,
  4. Anything the Orthodox community does to "help" the Shidduch Crisis only perpetuates the problem, and
  5. Pre-marital contact can cause psychological/spiritual damage.
I think this is a very important article for anyone dealing with singles issues--singles, their parents, their friends. It helps to discuss these issues and deal with the reality of the situation. Until we understand, fully, what is behind the "shidduch crisis," we cannot really deal with it.

It is obviously not a simple problem or we would have already solved it. Even if you disagree with Dr. Rosenfeld's conclusions, her study is just one more piece to fit into the puzzle which is orthodox singlehood.

Orthodox Singles: Breaking Myths
By Jennie Rosenfeld
Posted November 24, 2009 - 2:56pm

Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld holds a PhD in English from the CUNY Graduate Center. She is currently a Junior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, where she is working on a book, Between Law and Desire: A Modern Orthodox Sexual Ethic. The Myth-Breaking section of this essay has been excerpted from the book. Prior to making aliya, Dr. Rosenfeld was the co-founder and director of Tzelem, a Special Project of Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future, whose mission was to bring educational resources in the realms of intimacy and sexuality to the Orthodox community. This article originally appeared in issue 5 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

I'm smart, successful at my career, and fun to be with. I've worked out many of my "issues" in therapy. Here I am, eminently eligible and ready for a relationship, but somehow all of the guys I meet just aren't there yet. I feel like prescribing them a course of therapy, life-skills, and relationship-skills, and telling them to return in a few years, though hopefully I'll have found someone by then...
Sarah, age 27

I really want to get married and build a "bayit ne'eman b'yisrael" and all that other good stuff, but sometimes life gets in the way. I'm struggling really deeply with my conflicting sexual and religious needs, while trying to move forward in my career, and still make it to minyan-all this under the watchful and critical eye of my parents
and community. Spending Shabbat with my parents is the opposite of relaxing. I wonder whether they would have gotten married as young and as happily as they did had they had the same challenges to contend with when single as I do.
Avi, age 31

I hesitate to take up my pen and write about the broad topic of Orthodox singles. It's a topic on which much ink has been spilt and to little effect. I generally confine myself to the topic of singles and sexuality/religious conflict, which has been much less explored and where there are perhaps more constructive things to be written. However, I want to write briefly about some of the broader challenges faced by singles and by the Orthodox community. The issues are manifold and complex-spanning the religious, psychological, phenomenological, existential, physiological, and halakhic realms, among others-and my goals are limited. If I can succeed in making you question your assumptions about singles, or in breaking some of the myths that you hold dear, and shaking your sense of certainty about anything relating to singles and their place in the community, then I will have done enough. Deconstruction is easy compared to reconstruction, but it often needs to come first-I leave the rebuilding to the future.

We often hear mention of the "Shiddukh Crisis" or "Singles Problem" that currently plagues the Orthodox Jewish community. Various groups, organizations, synagogues, and individuals have given much thought to finding the "solution" or a range of "solutions" to this "problem." I don't want to enter into the fray of searching for solutions, partly because some of the "solutions" I've seen have been worse than the problem itself and have augmented the problem rather than solving it, and partly because I disagree with the entire construct of problem-solving that has been set up around Orthodox singles.

Let's start with some definitions: Many today would define the "Shiddukh Crisis" as the fact that today, more than ever before, large numbers of Jews are remaining single for longer, marrying later, or not marrying at all. This definition assumes that the mere status of married or unmarried is how we define success, and the quality of a person's married or single life doesn't matter to us. For many people, the "Singles Problem" is something that needs to be solved simply by getting everyone married as quickly as possible.

I want to suggest a different definition of the "Singles Problem": the crux of the crisis is, on the one hand, deeply personal, surrounding the individual issues that prevent people from either desiring or achieving a meaningful and committed relationship. And on the other hand, there is a wider communal dynamic in which the Orthodox community simply doesn't know how to include the unmarried individuals in its midst and often alienates singles, forcing them to either form their own singles communities or to leave Orthodoxy.

In this article, I want to focus on the intersection between the single and the community and on some of the myths that prevent mutual understanding.

Beginning the Myth-Breaking

The line between straining at truths that prove to be imbecilically self-evident, on the one hand, and on the other hand tossing off commonplaces that turn out to retain their power to galvanize and divide, is weirdly unpredictable. In dealing with an open-secret structure, it's only by being shameless about risking the obvious that we happen into the vicinity of the transformative....
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick,
Epistemology of the Closet, p. 22

Before we can move toward a productive conversation about singles and their place in the community, I need to clear the ground from some of the many and often contradictory myths that currently prevail regarding singles. The very act of generalizing-of making statements that are relevant to "all singles" or "everyone"-does violence to the individual and his or her experience. Individuals come in different shapes and sizes; physically, emotionally, intellectually-and they relate differently to this period in their lives. We simply can't make any general assumptions about people.

I have chosen five common myths that I want to break systematically, though there are many more. I begin with the sexual realm because I think that it is the proverbial elephant in the room, which often hovers in people's consciousnesses but is not mentioned in polite conversation. Since halakha does not permit pre-marital sex or any physical contact with the opposite sex ("negiah"), singles either are not sexually active, or their sexual activity is illegitimate. Therefore, they are either grappling with sexual denial or repression, or they are violating the halakha. Either way, their situation is one that the wider community cannot easily identify with. The prevalence of assumptions and dearth of real information about people's sexual beliefs and practices-the confusion between myth and fact-may contribute to suspicion mixed with awkwardness in interactions between singles and members of the wider community. In this vein the myths can be especially damaging.

Myth #1: Everyone is "shomer negiah" /No one is "shomer negiah."

These myths, though they contradict each other, are both quite prevalent within the Orthodox community. Each comes from a totalizing perspective that seeks to reduce all singles to the same experience so that we don't need to give the matter further thought. If all singles are shomer negiah, then the system works-everything is fine, there is no conflict to be reckoned with, and we need not concern ourselves with the personal toll that this halakhic observance may be having upon the individual. On the other hand, if no singles are shomer negiah, then there is also no conflict-singles simply don't care about the halakha and thus they aren't part of the community. Each of these totalizing perspectives is detrimental and each ignores the uniqueness of the individual and the fact that people are different and that they cope with singlehood in different ways.

Although sex and sexuality are universal phenomena, they are experienced differently by different individuals and even by the same individual in different stages of life. For some, sexuality is a major challenge during the single years. For others, sexuality is a non-issue, or a minor issue. Some observe negiah with ease, others with difficulty, others not at all. Some are shomer negiah in some relationships and not in others or with some people and not with others. For others, the status changes . . . [MORE]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Her High-Jump Record Restored was after 73 Years, But Feisty Margaret Bergmann Lambert Wasn't Waiting On It


I love this story because it shows what is really important in life. Here we are, all excited that Germany restored her record, and she replies that the honor "doesn't bother me one way or another. If it would never of happened I wouldn't have killed myself either," she said.

What is important in her life is her husband of 71 years and her children—but she doesn’t mince words: "To tell the truth, I used to sit there and curse my head off when the Olympics were going on," she said. "Now I don't do that anymore. I've mellowed quite a bit."

I’m glad you didn’t mellow too much, Mrs. Lambert! Your clear insight is a beautiful thing, your feisty words are inspiring.

To be married for 71 years is an accomplishment greater than all the Olympic medals in the world!

Be well.


Margaret Bergmann Lambert, 95, gets Olympic record back after '36 Nazi team replaced her with man

BY Samuel Goldsmith
Tuesday, November 24th 2009, 6:52 AM

Germany has restored the 1936 high jump record to a 95-year-old Queens woman who was kicked off the Nazi Olympic team because she was Jewish.

Margaret Bergmann Lambert was banned from the Berlin Olympics despite matching the high-jump record of 5 feet 3 inches to qualify and having spent two years on the team, starting in 1934.

"I was a person nonexisting because I was a Jew," Lambert told the Daily News on Monday night from her home in Jamaica.

"I equaled the German record at age 22," she said.

"I never thought this was so amazing. I was just a very good athlete. It came to me very easily. I didn't even train much."

The German track and field association has recognized Lambert, born Gretel Bergmann, several times over the years but never went as far as restoring her record.

While the honor "can in no way make up" for the past, it serves as an "act of justice and a symbolic gesture," the committee said Monday.

Lambert said the honor "doesn't bother me one way or another. If it would never of happened I wouldn't have killed myself either," she said.

She still remembers the anger she felt when the Olympic team told her she couldn't compete in the 1936 games.

"I had so much fury," she said. "I went home and planned to come to the United States."

Adding to the insult was the athlete who the Nazis selected to replace her: a jumper named Dora Ratjen-- who was later revealed to be a man whose real name was Horst Ratjen.

Ratjen was kicked off the team in 1938 when a doctor took a look at his genitals.

Lambert fled Nazi Germany in 1937 and landed in New York. She moved in with her brother, who was already living on the upper West Side.

"All the Jewish immigrants were scattered on Broadway and 80th and 90th," she said. "We all lived together there and helped each other out."

She worked as a house cleaner and met her husband, Bruno Lambert, 99, who still lives with her in Queens. They had two sons and have been married 71 years.

Lambert became an American champion in women's high jump in 1937 and 1938 and women's shot put in 1937. She decided to give it up when war broke out in 1939.

As a young woman she swore to never go back to Germany, but she changed her mind as life went on.

"I finally realized that the younger Germans - you couldn't blame them, since their fathers and grandfathers committed the crimes," she said. "It's not a nice thing to hate all the time."

Now she's a Yankees fan, but she won't watch the Olympics now because it's too upsetting.

"To tell the truth, I used to sit there and curse my head off when the Olympics were going on," she said. "Now I don't do that anymore. I've mellowed quite a bit."

Asked if she would pose for a photograph on Monday night at 7 p.m., Lambert replied: "Listen, I'm 95 years old. I have to go to bed."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Iranian Sympathizing 101 Bought and Paid for at Columbia, Rutgers


I am really not surprised that Columbia and Rutgers have accepted money from a pro-Iranian group to sponsor radical anti-Israel professorships. I am even less surprised that those colleges are now accused of helping Iran launder money through that "charitable contribution."

These are the schools that would be the winners for "most likely to be a terrorist hotbed."

Wasn't it only two years ago that Columbia University invited Ahmadinejad to speak at the campus? Wow. This sure puts Columbia University's President's comments to the press at that time in a whole new light! Remember his defense of that speech, delivered in such flowery academic prose that we all almost believed him? Remember this appeal by President Bollinger to the higher cause of learning about the world:

This new knowledge about The Alavi Foundation's $100K "gift" to Columbia for allowing the dictator to speak was probably an even higher "academic purpose" than "confronting ideas--to understand the world as it is and as it might be." The Alavi foundation is a charity that law-enforcement officials believe is a front for the Iranian government (Surprise! Surprise! I would have NEVER guessed).

At Rutgers University, Jewish students have long felt threatened for any pro-Israel, pro-Jewish sentiments (by the way, "pro-Jewish" includes wearing a kippah or hanging a flag). Study abroad programs in Israel were cancelled by Rutgers in early 2009.

But it is more than just the anti-Jewish, anti-Israel vitrol that comes from these schools, it is also the fact that they are training our scholars of the next generation. For example, Alavi gave A LOT of money to Rutgers to fund their Persian Language programs. Can you imagine what students, bought and paid for by the Iranian Regime, might "translate" for our news media, our spy agencies, and our academic communities? Everything they do would be questioned--even if they were giving a true translation!

And who are our next generation of professors? They are the graduate students, the radicalized nutcases in our colleges today! They are going to be teaching your children the "truth" about Israel.

Oh my G-d.

This is an extremely disturbing story, and, as it unfolds over the weeks to come, I'm sure we will learn a whole lot more about what is going into the classrooms in Columbia and Rutgers.


Columbia, Rutgers on 'spy' group gift list
2:21 PM, November 22, 2009

Anti-Israel, pro-Iran university professors are being funded by a shadowy multimillion-dollar Islamic charity based in Manhattan that the feds charge is an illegal front for the repressive Iranian regime.

The deep-pocketed Alavi Foundation has aggressively given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to Columbia University and Rutgers University for Middle Eastern and Persian studies programs that employ professors sympathetic to the Iranian dictatorship.

"We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation," said Adam Kaufmann, investigations chief at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

Federal law-enforcement authorities are in the midst of seizing up to $650 million in assets from the Alavi Foundation, which they charge funnels money to Iran-supported Islamic schools in the United States and to a syndicate of Iranian spies based in Europe.

In one of the biggest handouts, the controversial charity donated $100,000 to Columbia University after the Ivy League school agreed to host Iranian leader and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to the foundation's 2007 tax filings obtained by The Post.

Rutgers professor Hooshang Amirahmadi, former head of the school's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and president of the American-Iranian Council, a nonprofit advocacy group, unabashedly has touted Hezbollah and Hamas as legitimate organizations and not terrorists.

Between 2005 and 2007, the Alavi Foundation donated $351,600 to the Rutgers Persian language program, a spokesman for the school acknowledged. The university would not comment further.

Alavi's Web site says its mission is the "promotion of Islamic culture and Persian language."

"This is all about Iran laundering their policies through academe," said Michael Rubin, an Iran expert at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. "And the ivory tower is prostituting itself for money."

But Amirahmadi disagreed. "Grants from Alavi are made to the universities, not to the professors," he told The Post.

Columbia spokesman Robert Hornsby said Alavi's donations rarely topped more than a few thousand dollars and that the $100,000 donation was its largest single gift. Hornsby added that the school was surprised the foundation had direct ties to the Iranian government.

The Alavi foundation declined comment.

Additional reporting by Brad Hamilton


The Alavi Foundation — a charity that law-enforcement officials believe is a front for the Iranian government — has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund professorships at Columbia and Rutgers universities. These professors have been apologists for the Iranian government:

Gary Sick, professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia: He [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] made it very clear that, whether he is talking about ‘wiping Israel off the map,’ or ‘erased from the pages of time,’ or whatever the quote is, what he means is that there should be a free referendum among the peoples of the Palestine that existed to the partition in 1948 to vote about the kind of a government they should have. He is confident that, in a free vote, Israel and Israelis would lose that vote and it would turn out to be something else: a unitary state, probably run by the Palestinians.

Hooshang Amirahmadi, director, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers: Unfortunately, a large part of the problems between Iran and the US are not based in reality, but are based on myths. The problem of terrorism is a true myth. Iran has not been involved in any terrorist organization. Neither Hezbollah nor Hamas are terrorist organizations . . . The Iranian president’s problem is with Israel, not with America.

Hamid Dabashi, professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature, Columbia: That monstrosity that [director Zack] Snyder pictures [in his film “300”] marching towards Thermopylae is the American empire — and that band of brothers that stood up to that monstrosity are those resisting this empire: They are the Iraqi resistance, the Palestinians, Hezbollah.