Artur Schnabel: Pianist and Teacher

We here at Stand for Israel love music, and love sharing stories of musicians and the music they gave the world. Today, April 17, marks the birthday of the renowned Jewish pianist, Artur Schnabel. Born in 1882 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (in what is now part of Poland), Schnabel gained fame in Berlin as one of the great players of classical music’s piano repertoire — he was the first pianist to record all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. His playing did not focus merely on his technical prowess, but dove into the emotional and spiritual depths of the pieces he played.

Schnabel was also known as a teacher of great pianists — among the many he taught included Alice Herz-Sommer, whose own life and career was recently remembered in an Oscar-winning documentary.

Aware of the growing anti-Semitism in Germany and Europe as Hitler rose to power, Schnabel left Berlin behind in 1933. Sadly, his mother would not be so lucky, as she was murdered in Theresienstadt concentration camp. Schnabel would never return to Germany, famously telling a fan, “I don’t want to go to a country to which I am only admitted because it has lost a war.”

A man who witnessed both the beauty and horror in this world, Schnabel found these things in the wonderful music he championed and performed. Enjoy the above recording of him playing the wonderful second movement of Beethoven’s Sonata Pathétique.

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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 11:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

Violent Clashes Between IDF and Palestinians Break Out in Hebron

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As many Jewish people traveled to the Cave of the Patriarchs and other holy sites around Jerusalem in order to celebrate Passover, and as many Palestinians gathered to demonstrate for the release of Palestinian prisoners, violence erupted in Hebron:

On Wednesday evening, the IDF injured seven Palestinians in Hebron when a riot broke out in the city.

The IDF said that dozens of Palestinians demonstrated and threw stones at an IDF post situated between the Jewish settlement of the city and the rest of the Palestinian city.

During its attempts to disperse the demonstrators using riot dispersal methods, seven Palestinians were injured, the army confirmed.

We pray for the safety of the IDF troops protecting the Holy Land, as well as the protection of those celebrating Passover, God’s liberation of His people.

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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 10:16 AM  | Stand For Israel

Flyers Call for Jews to Register with Pro-Russians in Ukrainian City

(Photo: JDC)

(Photo: JDC)

In the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, documents were passed out this week calling for Jews to pay special taxes and to register with the pro-Russian separatists now controlling the government. The flyers – carrying the signature of Denis Pushilin, leader of the separatists who have taken over government buildings and declared secession from Ukraine – were the latest of many troubling anti-Semitic developments and actions in the chaotic region:

Several anti-Semitic attacks, including a stabbing and the attempted torching of a synagogue, have occurred in Ukraine since the eruption in November of a revolution over the perceived pro-Russian policies of former President Viktor Yanukvych. He was ousted from power in February.

Many supporters of the revolution blamed pro-Russian provocateurs for the attacks.

The flyers in Donetsk said all Jews who are 16 years old and above should register at the government building, which separatist protesters are occupying, and pay a registration fee of $50 by May 3.

Again, we pray for peace in Ukraine, and for the safety of the country’s threatened Jewish population.

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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 9:02 AM  | Stand For Israel

I Interviewed the Accused Kansas Gunman 33 Years Ago

(Photo: Johnson County District Attorney)

(Photo: Johnson County District Attorney)

33 years ago, Robert Satloff was a journalism student at Duke University. Today, the Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy recounts the story of an interview he did with the man who would go on to shoot three people on the Jewish community campus in Overland Park, Kansas:

When I met Miller, his first words were, “Are you a Jew?” No, I said. He went on: “I don’t let Jews on my land, so you’d better not be lying to me.” I held my ground and we started the interview. For about 10 minutes, I asked typical background questions: hometown, education, military experience, etc. I thought we had pulled it off. Suddenly, a man with a medium build wearing a Nazi uniform motioned to Miller. They went off for a discussion in the kitchen. When Miller returned, he began to sniff. “I smell a Jew,” he said. Again, I denied it. But his mind was made up.

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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 8:39 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Palestinians Are to Blame for the Failed Peace Talks, But Not for the Reasons You Think

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

Lee Smith, writing at Tablet, says that the real reason Mahmoud Abbas wants out of the peace talks – or wants to be seen as holding a hard line should he remain at the table – is due to internal Palestinian politics. Specifically, Abbas fears that his rivals will use any concessions he makes against him. We’ve discussed this problem before and Smith’s piece is another example of the poisonous nature of Palestinian politics:

For Abbas, staying in power requires keeping his rivals at bay. In particular, there’s Mohamed Dahlan, the former Gaza-based Fatah strongman who’s been licking his wounds ever since Hamas routed his men from the Strip in 2007. At just 52, Dahlan is still young. For the past four years, he has been living in the United Arab Emirates; my sources in the region tell me he recently spent a month in Marrakesh with Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington, who was in Morocco recovering from shoulder surgery.

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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 8:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

Rabbi Eckstein’s Seder with IDF Lone Soldiers

Before celebrating Passover with his own family, Rabbi Eckstein attended a Fellowship-funded seder for IDF lone-soldiers — who came to Israel as immigrants and have no family with whom to share such holidays. We wish a joyous Passover to these brave men and women, as well as all those around the world preparing to celebrate God’s protection and deliverance.

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Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 4:29 PM  | Stand For Israel

Prayers for the Families of Kansas City Shooting Victims

(Photo: JCC of Greater Kansas City)

(Photo: JCC of Greater Kansas City)

As more details are revealed about the horrific shootings yesterday at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, we learn more about the three victims:

Reat Griffin Underwood, 14, and his grandfather, William Lewis Corporon, 69, were killed about 1 p.m. outside the Jewish Community Center, where Reat planned to audition as part of a contest. Reat was a freshman at Blue Valley High School. His grandfather was a physician.

Terri LaManno, 53, of Kansas City was killed at the Village Shalom assisted living facility in Overland Park. She went there every Sunday to visit her mother, a resident of the facility, authorities said.

Reat and his grandfather were Methodists. LaManno was a Catholic.

The Kansas City Star reports that not only were the three victims Christians, but that Corporon was a doctor and that LaManno was an occupational therapist at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired. Violence and terror — motivated by what Catholic scholar Edward Flannery once called “the longest and deepest hatred of human history,” anti-Semitism — have once again taken the lives of innocent victims, and of those who used their lives to help others. We remember them and their families in our prayers, and we ask that you do so as well.

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Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 2:26 PM  | Stand For Israel

Breaking News: Terrorist Attack Near Hebron Kills 1, Injures 2

Hebron Checkpoint (Photo: wikicommons/Friends123)

Hebron Checkpoint (Photo: wikicommons/Friends123)

An Israeli family was shot by Palestinian terrorists at a checkpoint near Hebron today, The Jerusalem Post reports. The family was attacked while in their vehicle:

A 40-year-old man, presumably the father, was pronounced dead, while the mother was in serious condition, and the child suffered only light injuries, reported Channel 2.

IDF security forces, police, and Border Police were carrying out a search for the shooters. According to various media reports, shots were initially fired at an army post before they were fired at civilians.

Our prayers go out to this family, as well as for the protection of those searching for the killers, for any other innocent people in the area, and for peace and safety in the entire region.

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Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 11:21 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Racism of the Israel-Bashers

(Photo: Flickr/ Takver)

(Photo: Flickr/ Takver)

Anthony Hardy Williams – a state senator, civil-rights activist, and leader in the African-American community – takes the BDS movement to task. While BDS would like to see itself as progressive, it too often resorts to prejudice, as in its recent attacks on Chloé Simone Valdary, an African-American undergraduate student who is also the founder of a pro-Israel organization:

Just as Jews stood with African-Americans during the fight for civil rights in the 1960s, so too must we as leaders of the Black community stand together today with Chloé Simone Valdary, on the one hand, and the Jewish community, on the other hand.

Don’t dismiss this incident as a one-off. It represents a deeply troubling trend in an anti-Israel movement that goes way beyond honest criticism of Israeli policy to dehumanize and vilify Israel, Israelis and anyone who supports the Jewish state.

We applaud Ms. Valdary on her stand for Israel, and Mr. Williams on his stances, as well, for Israel and against unjust and racist ideologies.

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Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 9:10 AM  | Stand For Israel

Standing Firm – To Blame Israel

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

Elliott Abrams, writing at the Council on Foreign Relations, dissects an open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry from a handful of American foreign policy elites including former Carter National Security Advisor (and frequent critic of Israel) Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Congressman Lee Hamilton, and others. The letter, predictably, gets a lot of the facts and recommendations wrong:

There is no “enlargement” of Israeli settlements. There is population growth, especially in the major blocs that Israeli will obviously keep in any final agreement. But enlargement, which logically means physical expansion, is not the problem and is rare in the West Bank settlements. The authors don’t seem to know this.

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Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 8:42 AM  | Stand For Israel
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State of Israel"

Rabbi's Commentary
God Is Present This Holy Season

Even as efforts for peace seem to be at an impasse all around the world, the Passover story can give us hope and affirmation that God is always present in our lives, and even when situations seem impossible, He is working in ways we cannot imagine.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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