Monday, April 19, 2021

Celebrating Israel's 73rd Independence Day

Audio Visuals celebrating Israel's birth, ingathering of exiles,and highlights from the opening of the celebration at Mt Herzl

Enjoy our 73rd Israel Anniversary Program 

I also shared my own experiences in Israel. I had been a graduate student in Judaic studies at the Hebrew University, 1969-70 and 1972-73, under the auspices of the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 1986, I came back for a trial year, where I worked with the Deputy Attorney General of the State of Israel, Prof. Nahum Rakower, on a translation of an academic text, and at the Jewish Theological Seminary's branch in Israel/

In 1986, I was called upon by the Secretary General of the Histadrut to lead the Labor union's  Central Institute for Jewish Studies at Bet Berl College. Here's a description of my activities:

Central Institute for Jewish Studies of the Histadrut  at  Bet Berl College, Kfar Sava, Israel

Director (1987 to 1990)

·         Provided programmatic and operational leadership to this education center serving adults seeking to learn about Jewish heritage and values, and to facilitate mutual understanding across religious and ethnic lines.

·         Operated under the auspices of the Israel Federation of Labor (Histadrut) in conjunction with the Israel Ministry of Education and the Israel Labor Federation.

·         Represented the Institute in meetings with former Prime Ministers and national labor leaders.

Here are some pictures of that period:

Brochure for our programs p 1

Page 2

English brochure for US distribution

Page 2

Newsletter in Rishon Letzion announcing our program

Preparing for Seder at Bet Berl. Newspaper would report it as "among "ha'adumim",the Reds ( socialists)

Conference of Science and Religion

With guest speaker Dr Yeshayahu Leibovitz

Anti-Semitism Today with Richard Hirschhaut

 Follow our conversation on Anti-Semitism Today with Richard Hirschhaut, Los Angeles Director of the American Jewish Committee

Follow this link for the recording

Yom HaShoah  Shabbat April 10

Guest speaker: Richard Hirschhaut

Richard S. Hirschhaut, Director of American Jewish Committee, Los Angeles, chief strategist and principal spokesperson in advancing AJC’s global advocacy mission in Southern California.This is considered the “ dean of American Jewish organizations.” He has been involved for over 30 years in civil rights, humanitarian, and Jewish communal advocacy, serving in senior professional roles across the U.S. with the Anti-Defamation League, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and American Friends of Rambam Medical Center.


His wife, Susan, together with her sister , Shirley Jaspar, are well known to us at HTBE, through their late father, Alex Satmary, Z’L. Alex used to grace the front row of the chapekl, right in front of me, every Shabbat. He had the unique, if troubling , distinction, of being treated as a Jewish slave laborer by the Hungarian Army during WWII, and then as a Hungarian enemy prisoner of war by the Soviets. Damned this way, damned that way-which may be a metaphor for the Jewish condition through much of history.


My first area of concern would seem to be very innocuous. Several years ago, the State of California decided to introduce the study of California ‘s ethnic minorities as part of required Academic curriculum. What should have been a fairly benign study of the manifold communities that make us this state, it turned into a minefield, especially for us as Jews .It seemed, at least in the initial version, as if we were, like Alex, prisoners of both sides

Q. Rabbi: Just a month ago, Richard,,, you gave a talk online for the American Jewish University, addressing just this issue, and the tile forms my questions: Is There a Place for Jews in an Ethnic Studies Curriculum?


A: Richard:


Q. Rabbi:

Back in 2019, while we were were moving about freely, without masks, and the economy was strong, we Jews were very nervous.

Your own organization produced the following report:

AJC Survey of American Jews on Antisemitism in America

AJC’s 2019 Survey of American Jewish Attitudes about Antisemitism, conducted by the research company SSRS, is based on telephone interviews carried out September 11 - October 6, with a national sample of 1,283 Jews over age 18. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2%. Just to summarize, 88% of us thought it was a problem.

Now,. We have gone through more than  a year of  lockdowns, quarantines, vaccinations- no surprise to anyone, that there are those that consider it a Jewish plot-nothing new at that. The question is- what parts of the American population, and at what percentage, really by into this idea of the Jew as the “umgluck”, as the Nazis would say, that dangerous cabal. In the milder form, how much of the American population buys into the idea that Jews are part of the oppressive system, responsible for keeping down other minorities down?





Final Question:

Under the previous President Trump, there were significant breakthroughs on the diplomatic front between Israel – relations with the Gulf States and other Moslem countries, Iran put on notice regarding nuclear weapons.

Now, with the new President Biden, are we going to see more of the same kind of support, or a return to the cold relation that prevailed under President Obama. And, as a corollary, are we seeing a realignment of the two parties, where there is no longer solid bi-partisan support for Israel?

A, Richard







Enjoy the sights & sounds of our Seder 2021

The link to our Seder 


Enjoy our 2nd Night Some Enchanted Seder 2021 Here is the Haggadah we used: