A Nosh from the Rabbi's Table: 1 Nisan - 29 Iyar, 5770 (March 16-May13 2010) - April 6, 2010
A Nosh From the Rabbi’s Table
“He sat at the table with them, and He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them, and their eyes were opened and they knew Him.”
(1 Nisan – 29 Iyar, 5770)
[March 16 – May 13, 2010]
News From the Community
On December 11, 2006 the "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust" in Tehran began and Mahoud Ahmadinejad declared that “the Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom” (1)
Two years later on the anniversary of Israel's 60th Birthday, Ahmadinejad gave a speech, in which he declared: “Those who think they can revive the stinking corpse of the usurping and fake Israeli regime by throwing a birthday party are seriously mistaken. Today the reason for the Zionist regime's existence is questioned, and this regime is on its way to annihilation." During that same speech he quoted as stating that Israel "has reached the end like a dead rat after being slapped by the Lebanese" (a reference to the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah). (2)
In May, 2008, Reuters quoted another of Ahmadinejad’s speeches, where he stated: "The Zionist regime is dying," and that if the given even the smallest chance the nations of the region "will destroy (it)". (3)
In 2008, in a speech given before foreign guests, on the 19th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as stating that: "You should know that the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene." (4) One day later, the official Iranian presidential website quoted Ahmadinejad as saying: "the Zionist Regime of Israel faces a dead end and will under God's grace be wiped off the map….the Zionist Regime that is a usurper and illegitimate regime and a cancerous tumor should be wiped off the map." (5)
Yet again, in an address which aired on the Iranian News Channel IRINN TV on June 2, 2008, Ahmadinejad stated: “The Zionist regime has lost its raison d'être. Today, the Palestinians identify with your name [Khomeini], your memory, and in your path. They are walking in your illuminated path and the Zionist regime has reached a total dead end. Thanks to God, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off. (6)
All of these words, emanating from the mouth of Iran’s President must be seen as real threats to the security, indeed to the very life of the State of Israel, especially given Iran’s inexorable push to obtain the status of a nuclear power. It seems odd then that Vice President Joe Biden would give a warning to Israel concerning its “plans” for taking action to prevent this from happening.
While visiting Israel, and meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden denounced Israel’s plans to build new housing in disputed sections of Jerusalem. He stated: "The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel." (7)
Until this decision by the Jerusalem District Planning Committee, working with the Interior Ministry and the city of Jerusalem, Biden’s trip seemed to be moving along without a hitch. He had said that there was “no space”(8) between Israel and the United States when it came to Israeli security. However, it is reported that after a two hour meeting with Netanyahu, Vice-President Biden warned “Netanyahu not to order a unilateral strike on Iran, and worked to get him on board with allowing U.S.-backed increased sanctions to have time to work (9).
It is time to realize that U.S. sanctions against Iran have by-in-large failed to have their desired effect. In fact, two things are happening simultaneously.
First, a number of our “allies” who have in the past supported those sanctions are now questioning their effectiveness, and countries like China and Russia are refusing to have anything to do with increasing pressure on Iran through further sanctions.
Second, the Iranian government is playing us like a fiddle. It mouths “Peace! Peace!” while it continues to enrich uranium with its eye on the development of a nuclear arsenal. Truthfully, there can be no peace with a regime like that in Iran, and as we watch President Obama, Vice-President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, and many others within this administration treating with Iran we are reminded of Chamberlain treating with Germany in 1938.
Israel is clearly being threatened by the possibility of extermination, and the United States is warning her not to do anything about it. There are times when a preemptive strike against an enemy seeking your destruction is wisdom, and if Prime Minister Netanyahu, working with the IDF and the Knesset, believes that the only way to insure Israel’s survival is to act unilaterally then so be it. It says in Perkei Avot: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” In this case we be for ourselves, and we must stand strong, declaring in a united Jewish voice: “Never Again!”
(1) Jerusalem Post, December 12, 2006
(2) AFP, May 8, 2008
(3) Reuters, May 14, 2008
(4) Reuters, June 2, 2008
(6) MEMRI, Clip No. 1784, June 2, 2008
(7) JTA, “Biden blasts housing starts as undermining trust”, March 9, 2010
A Deepening Crisis
I was recently sent this article concerning this very situation. I thought it so well done I decided to let you read it for yourselves. The author is Ari David, a candidate for Congress from California’s 30th District. I will encourage you to contact Mr. David to let him know how much you appreciated the article, and asking what you might do to help support Israel.
A PENNY FOR YOUR POLITICAL CAPITAL
Putting it mildly, President Obama has no affection for the State of Israel and no apparent understanding of its importance to the national security of the United States and the free world. He has concocted a phony crisis over the permitting of housing units for Jews in the capital of the Jewish state. By the time this crisis is resolved—if, indeed Obama sees an end in sight, and whether he does or not is, lamentably, debatable—by the time this crisis is resolved to his satisfaction, Israel will have been weakened by the necessity of placating Obama, and the interests of her enemies will have been advanced. But, Israel's enemies are also the enemies of the United States. They hate not only Jews but Christians. Christians are under siege in every Muslim country in which they live as a minority. But, Israel is expected to cede land and uproot its citizens in favor of a jihadist aggressor whose aim is world domination.
Obama's deplorable rudeness and contempt displayed toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his White House visit is only a signal of the radical sea-change in Israel/US relations. Obama is seriously considering a request by Qatar's foreign minister that the US not veto an upcoming Security Council vote condemning Israel for building in its own capital.
Until now, only the US stood between Israel and the hostile resolutions passed against her in the United Nations. With Obama at the helm, Israel will no longer be able to count on American friendship as a buffer to international sentiment that is increasingly threatening to Israel and the Jewish people.
One of the most powerful Democrat members of Congress is Representative Henry Waxman of Los Angeles who is Jewish. As Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, Waxman was instrumental in writing the health Care Reform Bill and cracking skulls to get it passed through Congress.
Waxman constantly sites his Jewish background as the source of his cultural pride and where his liberal values come from. He has always voiced public support for Israel even if his actions don't live up to his rhetoric. The district Waxman represents is 14% Jewish and this large politically active Jewish population is one of the reasons he has been in office for over 35 years.
Considering the amount of work that Waxman did to get Obama's landmark Health Care legislation passed, it stands to reason that President Obama would lend Waxman his ear because of Waxman's role as a valuable ally and strategist. It also stands to reason that Waxman would be both concerned about Israel's position in the world today and Obama's treatment of Israel. This being the case, it should be a mystery to Jews who live in Waxman's district why he remains silent about Obama's clear antipathy toward Israel.
Waxman's blind loyalty to President Obama and the Obama agenda is disturbing but when one notices Waxman's complete silence on Obama's treatment of Israel, America's only democratic ally in the Middle East, it calls into question not only Waxman's love for his own people, but his concern for the security of the United States.
Throughout history, Jews who stood up for their people against the forces of tyranny were heroes and advanced the cause of freedom for all people just as the State of Israel must do now. By not standing up to Obama and by not spending even a penny of political capital for his people, Waxman is next to useless as a protector of the Jewish people and an ally of the State of Israel.
Waxman's inaction on behalf of our people speaks volumes of his need to be liked and accepted by our president in order to have a powerful position for himself in our government without regard to the long term ramifications this silence will have on the future security of Israel and the United States and the safety of Jews and Christians worldwide.
Waxman must publicly demand that Obama continue to exercise the US veto in the UN Security Council when it votes to condemn Israel. Moreover, he should strenuously criticize Obama for daring to bar Jews from living where they choose in their own eternal and undivided capital. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 was passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995. It affirms the status of Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital. Obama, in condemning Israel for building in Jerusalem, is disregarding US law. Since he is owed a favor from Obama for his work on the health Care bill, the least that we should expect from Waxman is the temerity to remind Obama to enforce the law of the United States with regard to Jerusalem. And while he is at it, he should demand that the US move its embassy to Jerusalem as the Jerusalem Embassy Act requires. Waxman should not treat this as a favor or quid pro quo, for it is not a favor to enforce the law, nor is it a presidential prerogative to ignore it. Obama is not above the law but a servant of the law and Waxman owes it to the Jews who favor him to remind Obama of his responsibility as Chief Executive to faithfully execute and carry out the laws of the United States.
We know that Obama is angling for the re-division of Jerusalem and he propounds the lie that there is an East and a West Jerusalem and that so-called East Jerusalem is traditionally Arab. This vicious, balled-faced lie was concocted by Israel's enemies in order to deny the Jewish connection to Israel's capital and the land of Israel itself. The truth is that so-called Arab East Jerusalem was Jewish until 1948 when Jordan either expelled or massacred the Jews living there. Jordan blew up over 100 synagogues, Jewish schools and other institutions and desecrated whatever remained. Israel liberated Jordanian-occupied Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six Day War after being attacked by 5 Arab nations intending to destroy her and drive all the Jews into the sea. People of all faiths and nationalities live in freedom there now which was not the case during the 19 years of Jordanian occupation. These facts must never be forgotten. They are our defense to the false claims of Israel's enemies that Obama is endeavoring to advance at Israel's expense.
Passover is the Jewish holiday that celebrates our Exodus from bondage and our journey to the Promised Land. The story of the Exodus is our deed to the land of Israel and 100 years ago, every Christian nation in Europe recognized that it was so. Today, the Arabs zealously defend their claim to Jewish land, though their claims are based on lies. Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran but is the center piece of the Hebrew Bible and the heart and soul of Judaism. In failing to advocate the Jewish claim to the land, he is defending the Arab right. Why should he support the Arabs in their zeal and deny the Jews in theirs? If Waxman continues to go along with Obama, he will be doing just the thing that may lead our people right back into bondage…or worse.
Moreover, the destruction of Israel and even a weakened Israel that is unable to defend itself would not herald the world peace and harmony that our short-sighted President seems to imagine. Certainly, the absence of Jewish housing units in Jerusalem would not contribute to peace and stability—no matter how forcefully Obama insists that Jewish building projects undermine peace. Obama does not recognize that Israel's enemies and the enemies of the United States are identical and share precisely the same goals for world domination and the destruction of the free world. Since Obama harbors a persistent blind spot for Arab intransigence, aggression, terrorism and hatred for all things Jewish and Christian, it is up to Waxman, one of his closest political allies, to set him straight.
The security of the United States is at stake here, unless, of course, the jihadist paradise advanced by our enemies is as appealing to Waxman as it seems to be to Obama.
I therefore call upon Henry Waxman to step up to the plate, to do the right thing and speak out against the injustices toward Israel already perpetrated by Obama and those that he plans to carry out in the near and long term. Henry Waxman, I implore you! It is the right thing to do.
From the Reading Desk
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
(Numbers 28:19-25 & Exodus 13:17 – 15:26)
The Festival of Matzot is to last for seven days, and on the seventh day we are told that the congregation of Israel is to have a holy convocation. We must consider the reason for the celebration of Chag haPesach (the Festival of Passover) as well as that of Chag haMatzot (the Festival of Matzah or Unleavened Bread). Our traditions tell us that they commemorate two different happenings.
Chag haPesach is the celebration of the Passover itself, and the elements of the celebration are meant to be a reenactment of the events that took place on the 14th of Nisan, when G-d broke the back of Pharaoh’s will to resist setting us free. It is in reality pre-exodus.
On the other hand, the celebration of Chag haMatzot marks our actual departure from Egypt, which is concluded with the crossing of the Red Sea. As a result of this the reading for Chag haMatzot tells the story of the exodus itself, and concludes with the Song of Moses in Exodus 15.
The celebrations of these two Chagim allow us to recall the deliverances of our G-d. All too often we celebrate Passover, the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the last day of the same feast by having a seder, and reading the Haggadah. However, it is really important that we recognize G-d has brought about two separate deliverances.
In the first, using the plagues, He slowly but surely brought Egypt to its knees. In doing so He reminded us that He is our G-d, and He taught Pharaoh how to bend his knee, if not his heart, to the G-d of the Universe.
In the second act of deliverance G-d deliberately brought us to a place where we were once more confronted with the seeming might of Egypt. We wept, and cried out because we had not yet learned that our G-d is able to be trusted. As a result, when all seemed lost G-d gave us our next lesson by commanding:
“Do not be afraid! Stand and you will witness the salvation of the L-rd that He will give to you this day; for the Egyptians whom you see this day you will not see again in this age.”
And we did indeed behold G-d’s salvation. The Sea was split, we walked though it upon dry ground, and when the Egyptians were finally allowed to pass they were drowned, never to be seen again. At first we stood open mouthed at the wonder that G-d had done on our behalf, then realizing the enormity of what had just happened we began to sing a song to the L-rd who had “triumphed with triumphantly”.
This year, as we celebrate the days of Chag haMatzot, let us rejoice that over, and over, and over again we have witnessed the saving power of our G-d. Let us join our voices with those of our people, and sing the words of their wonderment as they stood at the Sea: “I will sing unto the L-rd, for He has triumphed triumphantly; horse and rider are cast into the sea!”
From the Kitchen of…
So, what would a nosh be without a bit of something to eat? Jewish foods, both for Chags, Yom Tovs, Shabbatons, and everyday meals run the gamut of the communities from which they originate. I this section we will be trying to include workable recipes from all over the Jewish world. If you have a favorite please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be sure to include it in one of the future Noshes.
Rosemary and Garlic Roast Leg of Lamb
1 leg of lamb (5-7 lbs)
1 large head of Garlic
3 T of dried Rosemary
3 T Kosher Salt
¾ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One large Onion (sliced)
15-20 fingerling potatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Separate all the cloves of garlic from the head and crush them with the flat of a blade.
- Put at least half of the crushed cloves into a small bowl, and add 2 T of the Rosemary, 1 T of the Kosher Salt, and ¼ C of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Mix to make a course paste.
- Take a paring knife and make deep slits in the leg of lamb.
- Push some of the garlic paste into each slit/hole. (Try to get this mixture into the meat on all sides of the roast.)
- Mix the remaining garlic, Rosemary, Kosher Salt, and Olive Oil together and spread this paste onto the Roast itself.
- Put the sliced Onion on the bottom of a large roasting pan and place the roast on top of the onions. Add at least 1 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. (The water will act as the base for your gravy.)
- Put in oven, and roast uncovered for 20-25 minutes per pound. (This should give you a medium-rare meat. (Cook longer if you NEED your meat like cardboard!)
- Season the Potatoes with a little Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and add them to the roasting pan during the last 35 minutes of cooking.
- Periodically baste the Lamb with the remaining Olive Oil.
- When cooking time is finished remove the Roast to a plate and allow to rest, for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
- Strain the liquids at the bottom of the pan and prepare the gravy.