Isolation is followed by dehumanization followed by annihilation.

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My physics teacher Mr. Stimson said a wise thing: a fight turns to punches when the two sides run out of words. Thus to cut off all words is to ensure that there will be punches.

It took a long time for Hitler to condition Germans to hate Jews.  Because Germans and Jews lived and worked together side by side, since the enlightenment allowed equal rights to all Jews, Germans now considered Jews to be as one of them and for conditioning to dehumanize had to take a long time and a lot of effort.

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Obituary for Abraham

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It has come to my attention that Abraham, one of the founding members of Kechene community in Ethiopia passed away this week. He was large part of the Kechene community, a radiologist and electrical engineer. May his memory be a blessing.

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Re-thinking Tikun Olam

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The longest pier

A photo posted by seomka08 (@seomka08) on

 

Tikun Olam, repair the world,  a saying in the Talmud that many Jews and Jewish organizations take to heart. It is a noble cause, a great thing to say but as I was out there surfing in the Pacific Ocean, I pondered: what does it mean?

To repair means that something is broken. It means it broke on its own or someone could broke it. But the world by itself is perfect. Whatever suffering is in it, whatever is broken is not the fault of the world, but of humans. Meaning humans broke it.

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Jewish Children in Ukraine Go Hungry, But Refuse To Bend To Putin’s Will

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Monument to the Jewish children massacred in Kiev's Babiy Yar. Kiev

Monument to the Jewish children massacred in Kiev’s Babiy Yar. Kiev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: I am sad to report that Chabad suspended the campaign. I apologize profusely and hope that in the near future we will be able to take up the issue again.   Thank you.

 

Two bucks. What’s two bucks? Well, that’s how much my lunch cost: two fish tacos. I’m working on a start-up which means I don’t eat great; but that’s by choice. On Shabbat, I’ll go to schul and I’ll probably give tzedaka. I’ll also do that on June 22nd, I’ll give to Chabad. Because Chabad is going to give my two bucks to feed a Ukrainian Jewish kid for a day. A kid just like me, because 23 years ago, I was a Ukrainian Jewish kid.

 

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Jews and Restitution

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Restitution is taking things to the way they were. During World War II, millions of lives were destroyed, their possessions looted and appropriated by thieves pretending to be upstanding citizens. In Nazi Europe Jewish people were not humans, they were no longer people and as such they had no rights to their belongings or even their life. That is why people felt no qualms about taking away their things, the the law upheld them. The movie “Woman In Gold” is the first movie I have seen which truly humanized the Holocaust victims, the mark left on them years later and the difficulty of being equal under the law, even today and when they do, just how amazing it feels to be recognized as a human, as a person with equal rights with ability to work and own things and have society see to it that you are able to do that just as a non-Jew.

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Soviet American Passover

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Passover with my family is a little bit like going to a three act play. In fact any family gathering is like a Woody Allen movie. Which is something I am beginning to love and recognize because it is never boring.

Every year we have a cast of characters and guest appearances. This year was my Aunt and Uncle. My mom had just had surgery on her foot, which means she took the day off from work to cook all day, hobbling with the foot in the giant shoe while my dad fielded interviews from his office. He had a dry spell after Microsoft took over Nokia and fired all engineers but it looks like things are finally becoming on the up and up. After every interview he would run down the stairs as he usually does, making way too much sound for the 150lb 5’5″ frame and begin telling us about the joke he told during his interview and try helping mom to her dissatisfaction. The quibble for a bit and then he goes back up to the office.

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San Diego’s Jewish Prince of Pork

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“Oh! You’re Jewish? Does that mean you don’t eat pork?” is a question Jews often hear when they surprise someone with their Jewish background. But Hanis is the Carnitas King, the Prince of Pig, the undisputed master pig chef of San Diego. He will not only eat pig but he makes pig so good that I’m willing to bet that Bal’ Shem Tov’ himself would say what I said at first bite: ” Oy that’s good,” (I didn’t say oy) and then for the first time in his life would eat the rest of the bacon, pulled pork triple decker without a twinge of Jewish guilt. I mean the fried pork over pulled pork under bacon topped with pickle on that soft bun… My mouth is watering and I just ate that!
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