Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yom Hazikaron in New Jersey

Israel is now commemorating Yom Hazikaron, a day of remembrance.  It's a solemn day that begins with sirens throughout the country calling the nation to stand at attention for 2 minutes in remembrance of Israel's war dead and victims of terror.

Our local Jewish federation, UJC of MetroWest, New Jersey, held its annual Yom Hazikaron last night.  It was a program that combined a mixture of song, prayer, poems and reflection, to make a meaningful evening.

As the father of a terror victim, Alisa Flatow, I was asked to say a few words.  I called my remarks, "A Father Reflects."  Here they are:

20 years ago the words Yom Hazikaron would have been unknown to American Jews. Today, due to the experience of American families shared in common with Israelis 6,000 miles away, Yom Hazikaron has a place on our calendar, too.

Over the past 20 years, unprecedented numbers of young and not so young Americans have travelled to Israel to study, to tour, and volunteer in the IDF. Some go for as little as a week, others for 10 month programs at yeshivot and universities, and others for longer periods. Some decide to stay.

They ride the buses; they go the same resorts, restaurants, theaters and museums as Israelis. They learn the language or brush-up on the intricacies of dik-duk. They learn the bus system.

They learn that yehi b’seder is not just a way to brush off a problem but a core belief that no matter how dark they are now things will work out for the better.

Most importantly, they learn daily what it means to be a member of an ancient people made modern in the past 100 years.

Sometimes they pay the ultimate price for being in Israel—they die. But whether the victim is a Michael Levin, a lone soldier from Pennsylvania, or a Joan Devanney, a teacher spending a year on a special program for Jewish educators; or a Marla Bennett or Ben Blutstein, studying at Hebrew University, or an Alisa Flatow, studying the texts that make Jews what we are, their families never blame them for being in Israel as the cause of their loss.

And while we may tempted to blame their loss on being in the wrong place at the wrong time, we know in our hearts that because our daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, nephews and cousins were living a dream, in the land they loved, among the people they loved, they were in the right place.
* * * *

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

From Jeff Jacoby - 'Victims' who persecute

Jeff Jacoby's latest column deals with recurring anti-Semitism, or as it may more properly called, Jew-hatred.
HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY always falls during the week that follows Passover. At first glance, the two would seem to have little in common -- one memorializes the millions of European Jews annihilated by Nazi Germany; the other commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Yet for all their obvious differences, a fundamental similarity links these two crucial chapters in Jewish history. Both were attempts at genocide, and in both cases the perpetrators justified their savageries by claiming that they were the real victims, threatened by the people they intended to wipe out.
Will Jew-hatred ever go away?  I don't think so because the world's weaklings need someone to blame for their weakness.

Read the full column here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What's going on here? Israelis standing up for Palestinian? Yes.

Sounds a little strange, doesn't it, that Israelis would be protesting on behalf of a Palestinian who has been sentenced to death.  Well, it's not strange because the man sentenced to die is a Palestinian whose horrible crime is that he sold land to Jews in Hebron. 

Yet, with all the shouting about Israeli apartheid, about discrimination, about a lack of civil rights, the Israelis of Hebron seem to be the only people who care about Muhammad Abu Shahala.

David Wilder and Noam Arnon, on behalf of the the Jewish Community of Hebron, have mounted an international campaign to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to rescind the death sentence.

You can read the full story here.

Israeli Police detain 'flytilla' activists. Why not try Syria?

So called pro-Palestinian activists do not not have the courage to challenge dictatorships, so they are determined to invade Israel.  The movement arriving by air is called a "flytilla" and I tip my hat to the flexibility of the English language for coming up with that phrase.

Seriously, does any country have to allow entry to folks calling for its demise?  I think not. What do you think, I'd like to know.

Read the full article from JPost Police detain 'flytilla' activists

Alisa Flatow Memorial Scholarship Fund

A terror victim’s legacy: ‘This is how we go on’

Alisa Flatow
On the flight back from a recent trip to Israel, my wife Rosalyn reminded me that Purim was six weeks away. Jews, my wife included, seem to mark many things by their proximity to holidays.
So begins my latest article about Alisa's impact on the life of her family.  It's a story common to the families of many terror victims--a refusal to surrender to the forces of evil in this world.

To read more, go to "A terror victim's legacy: 'This is how we go on'" in the New Jersey Jewish News.

From the murderers of Islamic Jihad, a tribute to the April 9, 1995 terror attack that killed Alisa Flatow and 8 others

Even the murderers of Islamic Jihad use the Internet.  A depiction of the April 9, 1995 terror attack near the Jewish community of Kfar Darom that killed Alisa and 8 others has appeared on the Internet.  The story and video appears on Israel National News.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Organ donation, a look back after 17 years

Immediately following Alisa's death on April 10, 1995, her parents authorized the donation of Alisa's organs for transplant.

Not all the transplants were successful, as this Jerusalem Post story revealed a few days after Alisa's death.

 Two who receive Alisa Flatow's organs die