Shalom. The first two items are my favorite.
For the first time since the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, a descendant of forcibly-converted Spanish Jews will return to Spain to serve as a rabbi. Rabbi Nissan Ben-Avraham, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, has been appointed by Shavei Israel – a non-profit organization that seeks to strengthen ties between Israel and descendants of Jews around the globe – as its new emissary to the Bnei Anoushim community in Spain. The Bnei Anoushim – referred to by historians as Marranos – were Jews who were forced to convert Catholicism and stayed behind in Spain after the expulsion of 1492. The Bnei Anoushim continued to preserve their Jewish identity and to practice Jewish tradition covertly. Rabbi Ben-Avraham was born in 1957 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, into a Chueta family. The Chuetas were descendants of Mallorca’s Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism in the 14th and 15th centuries. They were never fully accepted by their Catholic neighbors, who referred to them as Chuetas – the Catalan word for “pigs” – and rejected them. – HAARETZ
She’s 178 cm. with red hair and blue eyes, a former supermodel with a figure to die for and the owner, founder and CEO of a $1.4 billion lifestyle business: Kathy Ireland might just be Israel’s perfect public diplomacy ambassador. “I love Israel, it’s very close to my heart,” says the 46-year-old born-again Christian. “Because of my faith it’s very special to me.” “As Christians, we have such a debt of gratitude to Israel and the Jewish people,” she explains. But, Ireland adds, there is also another kind of debt owed by the Christian world. “I’ve just come from Yad Vashem, and it’s horrific to think that this [the Holocaust] could happen just a few generations ago. … Look at the present dangers today and what could happen today if threats are not taken seriously, and what responsibility the rest of the world has.” LOOKING OUT over Jerusalem’s Old City from the business lounge at the David Citadel Hotel, Ireland explains that she became a Christian after her mother put a Bible in her suitcase when she had just started out her modeling career. “Out of jet lag and boredom [I started to read it], and my life was forever changed,” Ireland confesses. “Sadly, I’ve remained a baby Christian for so long, and I’m still such a baby. It’s a lifelong journey, but what’s very clear to me is God’s love of Israel and His chosen people. They are the apple of His eyes, His chosen people, His bride, His beloved, His firstborn etched on the palms of his hands. The Abrahamic covenant is unconditional and it is forever. As a Christian, it is a privilege to be of service whenever one can.”– JPOST.com
OPINION — Longstanding antisemites now embrace “anti-Zionism” as a cover for their Jew-hatred. The desire to destroy Jews is reconfigured as the desire to destroy or dismantle the Jewish state.The latest antisemetism denies to Jews the rights that it upholds for other, comparable peoples. It adheres to the principle of national self-determination, except in the Jews’ case. It affirms international law, except in Israel’s case. It does not understand that supporting the cause of Palestinian nationhood is one thing, while denying the right of Jews to live in their own state is quite another. It is outraged by the Jewish nature of the state of Israel, but is untroubled by, say, the Islamic nature of Iran or of Saudi Arabia. It regards as racist the social inequalities between Jew and Arab in Israel, while being indifferent to the legal inequalities between Muslim and non-Muslim in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim states. – THE JEWISH CHRONICLE
Last Friday, the Obama administration argued in federal court for the right, without a court-ordered warrant, to gain access to cellular provider records documenting the time and location American citizens place cell phone calls. The Obama administration is advocating that, “Warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that ‘a customer’s Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records’ that show where a mobile device placed and received calls.” — NEWS REAL BLOG
Twenty years ago, the Voyager 1 spacecraft captured a radical view of Earth. Shot from a distance of 4 billion miles, the “pale blue dot” image showed our planet as a tiny speck amid the vastness of space. Carl Sagan, who lobbied for the photo, said it reduced our entire world to “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” – NPR.org
A man in a deeply unconscious state for five years has been able to communicate with doctors using just his thoughts in a study scientists say is a game changer for care of vegetative state patients. British and Belgian researchers used a brain scanner called functional magnetic resonance imaging to show the man, who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in a road accident in 2003, was able to think “yes” or “no” answers to questions by willfully changing his brain activity. The fMRI method used can decipher the brain’s answers to questions in healthy people with 100 percent accuracy, but it had never been tried before in patients unable to move or speak. — REUTERS