Photo Friday: Hanukkah in Germany, 1932

(Photo: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Shulamith Posner-Mansbach)

(Photo: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Shulamith Posner-Mansbach)

This week, the Jewish people are celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. This photo, taken in Kiel, Germany, in 1932 – and generously provided to us by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – tells the story of a Hanukkah during another time:

The window looks out on the town hall, in front of which a Nazi banner hangs. The menorah belonged to Rabbi Akiva Posner, the rabbi of Kiel.

Shulamit Mansbach (born Shulamit Posner) is the daughter of Rabbi Dr. Akiva Baruch Posner and Rosie Wurzburg Posner. She was born on April 12, 1927 in Kiel, Germany where her father served as the town’s rabbi. Her older sister Gitta was born in 1925 and her younger brother Avraham Chaim was born in 1929. On April 1, 1933, a Jewish boy, from out of town, visited his parents who owned a store in Kiel. This was the day of the boycott. He found the store surrounded by Nazis but decided to enter anyhow. The Nazis murdered him on the spot, and Rabbi Posner buried him that evening. After the funeral, members of the community urged Rabbi Posner to flee warning him that his life was now in danger. Rabbi Posner was reluctant to leave his congregation but eventually was persuaded. The family left Kiel for Antwerp Belgium two months later. Rabbi Posner opened up a store for Jewish religious articles and a Jewish lending library. The family lived behind the store. In the meantime, Rabbi Posner’s sister immigrated to Palestine, and she urged him to join her there. The Posners immigrated to Palestine in mid 1935, and Rabbi Posner worked first as a librarian for the Mizrachi Seminar and then became the head librarian of Hechal Shlomo.

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 1:08 PM  | Stand For Israel

Cement for Rebuilding Gaza Used for Hamas Terror Tunnels

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF put an end to many of the terror tunnels that Hamas had built in order to attack Israel. Since the end of this past summer’s war, international efforts to help rebuild Gaza after the devastating conflict have begun. However, The Times of Israel reports that cement intended for civilian reconstruction is instead being used to repair the terrorist organization’s tunnels:

The Hamas terror group has been redoubling its efforts to restore the cross-border offensive tunnels that were destroyed by Israel during last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported Friday morning.

According to the reports, some of the cement and other materials being delivered to the coastal Palestinian territory, as part of an international rebuilding effort, has been diverted to the tunnels.

Hamas has realized that the tunnels, which were used to stage attacks on Israeli military targets during the war, provide it with a psychological edge over residents of Israeli border towns in the area …

The Gaza group has also begun restocking its depleted rocket arsenal, the Hebrew media reports said. Some rockets are imported through smuggling tunnels from Egypt and others are manufactured in the Strip. Many of the smuggling tunnels — one of Hamas’s main sources of revenue — were still open for business, despite massive efforts by Egypt to crack down on them.

According to the reports, Hamas has acknowledged the limited efficacy of its mid- and longer-range rockets, many of which were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system during the war, inflicting very limited civilian casualties. Meanwhile, Hamas has recognized the deadliness of mortar shells, which fall short of Iron Dome’s range.

One new approach that Hamas has been considering in an effort to extend its effective range is to launch large volleys of rockets that would challenge Iron Dome’s ability to fire interceptors in rapid succession, the reports said. It has also been conducting tests, lobbing dozens of rockets into the Mediterranean Sea in recent weeks, according to Ynet, which cited Palestinian Gaza sources in its…

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 11:39 AM  | Stand For Israel

True Candles in the Darkness

(Photo: flickr/ Robert Couse-Baker)

(Photo: flickr/ Robert Couse-Baker)

This week, the Jewish people are celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. While it is a time of family and love, not every child is able to share in these blessings. The Fellowship’s Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein writes of the foster parents who care for those children whose lives would otherwise be without the love of a family:

Lighting the Hanukka candles with my husband and children brings up so many emotions. I have vivid nostalgic memories of lighting the candles as a little girl and dancing with my sisters and parents as we sang joyful Hanukka tunes. I smile each time I recall the brilliant scene in Jerusalem of beautiful menorahs glimmering outside every door. But my heart weeps as I look at my children’s smiling faces, illuminated by the light of the menorah, and think about thousands of precious children in Israel who cannot be raised by their parents …

Just a short while ago I met a family who showed me the deepest meaning of love, commitment and values. The lessons they taught me are endless.

Rita and Jay are foster parents who took in an infant boy and twin two-year-old girls who had been abandoned by their single mother. “Foster families in Israel are volunteers with religious and moral drive,” explained a social worker who deals with such families. “Unlike in America, they receive no monthly income, and the government barely covers the basic needs for the children in their care.” It was amazing for me to see the dedication and love of these dedicated foster parents, despite the financial hardships they face.

Sitting in Rita and Jay’s small two-bedroom apartment, surrounded by warm colors, stuffed animals and a baby-proofed dresser in the living room, I listened as the social worker explained that, without philanthropic assistance, this family and hundreds of others like them would not be able to pay for the medical expenses, therapy, diapers and food that their foster children require. “We rely on others to…

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 10:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Fellowship Lands in Ukraine to Aid Jews in Distress

(Photo: IFCJ)

(Photo: IFCJ)

The Fellowship will be flying hundreds of Ukrainians to their new home in the Holy Land on December 22, in a historic aliyah (immigration to Israel). Israel Hayom reports that Rabbi Eckstein and a Fellowship delegation have landed in Ukraine to help those who so need our aid:

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 8:52 AM  | Stand for Israel

Countdown to Next Gaza Conflict Has Begun

(Photo: flickr/  l_suddenly)

(Photo: flickr/ l_suddenly)

In today’s Daily Dispatch we report on two alarming incidents – a rocket from Gaza landed in Israel today, and Hamas is using the building materials meant for Gaza’s reconstruction in order to repair their terror tunnels. As Yaakov Lappin writes for Gatestone Institute, it looks like the next conflict in Gaza may be on its way:

More than three months have passed since the end of the fifty-day conflict between Hamas in Gaza and Israel this past summer, yet all of the catalysts that helped spark that war remain in place and are pushing the sides into their next clash.

One of the reasons Hamas launched a war in July this year was to try to end its strategic isolation, which became severe after the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in next-door Egypt. Hamas also sought to improve its crumbling economic situation as the ruler of the Gaza Strip; its dire situation was illustrated by Hamas’s inability to pay 40,000 of its Gazan employees their monthly salaries.

Hamas could, with a fair amount of ease, cause Israel to end its security blockade by accepting the terms of the international Quartet. These would include recognizing the state of Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by previous diplomatic agreements. Of course, those would contravene Hamas’s ideology of Islamist jihad and move it away from its current trajectory of organized violence and religious hatred, the foundations upon which it was established in the 1980s by Palestinian members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Today, however, the same problems that plagued Hamas prior to the summer war have become worse. Gaza is hemmed in to the south by a hostile Egypt under the rule of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Egypt is systematically cutting off the smuggling tunnels that linked Sinai to the Gaza Strip. This means that Hamas is no longer easily able to smuggle either weapons or goods it can tax before they enter Gaza’s market …

Hamas has, since the moment that hostilities ended in…

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 8:39 AM  | Stand for Israel

Rocket from Gaza Lands in Israel

(Photo: Israel Police)

(Photo: Israel Police)

This summer’s conflict saw numerous terrorist rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. Since the end of Operation Protective Edge, however, rocket attacks have tailed off (terrorists have attacked using other means, such as vehicles, knives, and guns). But The Time of Israel reports that for the third time since the summer, a rocket from Gaza has been fired into Israel:

Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket at an Israeli community in the Eshkol region near the Gaza Strip on Friday morning.

The rocket fell in an open area, causing neither casualties nor damage.

It was the third time that Gaza terrorists have fired rockets at Israel since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

IDF soldiers swept the area and found the remains of the rocket.

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Friday, December 19th, 2014 at 8:28 AM  | Stand for Israel

Palestinians Prepare U.N. Resolution to Force Israel from West Bank

iitnWhile several European powers have recently voted to recognize a Palestinian state — a vote that is largely symbolic — Palestinians are getting ready to ask the U.N. to vote on a resolution demanding that Israel vacate lands that they claim as theirs. If passed, the resolution itself would also be symbolic, but could allow the UN to dictate negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Also this week in Israel in the News:

• The Israeli embassy in Greece was attacked this week in a drive-by shooting, but no one was injured in the attack.
• Unrest in the West Bank continues as Palestinians respond to the death of an official during a demonstration at an Israeli settlement building last week.
• Russia’s economy is on the brink of crisis — all because of Western sanctions due to its actions in Ukraine.

This week’s Israel in the News Perspective features The Fellowship’s Ami Farkas on the pending elections of a new government in Israel.

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Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 8:16 PM  | Stand for Israel

Coming of Age

(Photo: flickr/alison_taylor)

(Photo: flickr/alison_taylor)

Given the fact that I am the youngest child in our family and among the youngest cousins, it has been well over a decade since anyone in my family has had a bat mitzvah. Although it feels like so long ago that they took place, some of my fondest childhood memories are of my sisters’ and cousins’ bat mitzvahs. I still vividly remember the way all of my cousins would sit together in excitement at a beautifully set table and laugh for hours. I’ll never forget the pride I felt while watching my loved ones read from the Torah for the first time. And the feeling of being part of something bigger – something deeply holy and sacred – which was instilled in my young soul at these family occasions, is a feeling that has remained with me to this very day, and has very much formed me into the person I am.

A bat mitzvah (or bar mitzvah for a boy) is a special ceremony to celebrate the biblical “coming of age,” when children are traditionally recognized as adults and assume all of the biblical responsibilities that this entails. The day a girl turns 12 and a boy turns 13, they are obligated to follow the same biblical laws and commandments as adults. In Genesis 21:8 it says that “the child [Isaac] grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.” Bible commentators clarify that the celebration Abraham made for Isaac was on the day that Isaac turned 13. On this day, Isaac was “weaned” from being recognized as a young child, and thereafter was recognized as an adult. In other words, in Genesis 21:8 we learn about Isaac’s bar mitzvah.

And just as Isaac’s family threw a feast and welcomed him into adulthood over 2,000 years ago, in keeping with that tradition, this past weekend my family was blessed to celebrate the bat mitzvah of my oldest niece, Eliana. Shabbat (the Sabbath) is a…

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Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 4:02 PM  | Stand For Israel

The Second Kristallnacht

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alina Zienowicz)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Alina Zienowicz)

While the Palestinians have submitted a U.N. resolution to the U.N. Security Council that sets hard deadlines for Israel, on Wednesday European Parliament approved an anti-Israel resolution of their own – one supporting the recognition of Palestinian statehood. Israel Hayom’s Dan Margalit likens these attacks from all sides on the Jewish state and its people to anti-Semitism of the past:

There was a second Kristallnacht in Europe on Wednesday. It didn’t happen at night, but during the day; it did not involve violence, but words; there was no burning of synagogues or attacking of Jews, but there was a trampling on the noble words “never again.” From all sides, they pushed toward something alarming, painful and unnecessary. The Europeans came equipped with a cynicism that feeds off the minority of extremist Muslims in their countries, and the Israelis came equipped with ambivalence, filled with helplessness and problematic considerations.

The European parliamentarians sided with the Palestinians. They drew a permanent border and set a deadline, and now there is nothing left to discuss in negotiations. They even wiped away Hamas’ stain of terrorism. We should just thank God they didn’t sign the resolution with the words “Allahu akbar…”

A tsunami of unfairness is blowing hard toward Israel from Europe … The Palestinians presented their proposal — the highlight of the campaign against Israel — to the Security Council on Wednesday night.

It is certainly very late to prepare, but it is not too late.

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Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 9:27 AM  | Stand For Israel

Israel Should Submit Its Own Resolution to the UN

(Photo: wikicommons/ Patrick Gruban)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Patrick Gruban)

The Palestinians submitted a draft to the United Nations Security Council today that calls for a 12-month deadline for a peace deal and set 2017 as the deadline for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In light of this resolution, Dr. Emmanuel Navon writes that Israel should submit its own U.N. draft demanding that the Palestinians drop their “right of return” and that the UNRWA be disbanded:

Rather than lobbying the United States to veto the PLO resolution, and rather than trying to convince France to drop its own supposedly more benign draft, Israel should submit its own resolution to the UNSC.

The Israeli resolution would demand a Palestinian renunciation of the so-called “right of return” and a UN commitment to dismantle the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) within two years. This way, UNSC members would have to vote on two resolutions: one that demands an unconditional and total Israeli withdrawal (the PLO proposal), and one that demands an unconditional and total end to the cynical perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee problem (the Israeli proposal). UNSC members that claim to support the two-state solution will then have to explain why they are willing to impose one ingredient of that solution (i.e. ending Israel’s partial control of the West Bank) but not the other (i.e. ending the Palestinian claim, clearly incompatible with the two-state solution, that six million Arab “refugees” should be granted the option of becoming residents and citizens of Israel).

The PLO’s refusal to end all claims against Israel (including the claim that the descendants of the 1948 refugees should have a “right of return” to Israel) is the reason Yasser Arafat rejected the December 2000 Clinton proposal (which would have granted the Palestinian state 96% of the West Bank) and the reason Abbas rejected the September 2008 Olmert proposal (which would have granted the Palestinian state 99% of the West Bank, after land swaps). Abbas admittedly has said that he does not intend…

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Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 8:45 AM  | Stand For Israel

"informing, equipping and mobilizing individuals and churches to support the
State of Israel"

Rabbi’s Commentary
Answering His Call, Faithfully and Joyfully

2014 has certainly been a year of struggles. But those challenges have been answered by God, and by His faithful followers. The Fellowship and our generous friends have been able to offer assistance to those who need it most, from the Holy Land to the former Soviet Union, and we look hopefully to the coming year as one of peace, prosperity, and repairing the world.


Read Rabbi Eckstein's message »

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