News behind the news. This picture is me (white spot) standing on the bridge connecting European and North American tectonic plates. It is located in the Reykjanes area of Iceland. By-the-way, this is a color picture.
This was posted on my Facebook feed by Sivan Rahav Meir:
“Shalom, Sivan. I must tell you about something that we experienced during the last few days. The White House invited my mother to a Hanukkah party with Trump. My mom, the Holocaust survivor Zehava Unger, 88 years old, refused to go. She had long scheduled on that day an annual Hanukkah party with the entire family, and this was supposed to be her chance to meet her more than 90 descendants! For her, this is the biggest victory over the Nazis. Only after heavy pressure from the family, did she agree to change her priorities and said ‘yes’ to the White House. It was an amazing party. I’m surprised that it wasn’t covered in the Israeli Media. Trump decided to invite 8 Holocaust survivors, one for every Hanukkah candle. It was moving to see him call the seven female survivors and one male survivor to the stage, one by one, by name, and among them – my mom. He spoke about the heroism of the Maccabees and about them continuing that heroism, since they fought against the worst kind of evil in our time, and prevailed. He turned to them and said: ‘For you I moved the embassy to Jerusalem. I did it for you.” My mother handed Trump a personal letter, and this is what she wrote there:
‘On Hanukkah of 1944 I was languishing in Auschwitz; alone, freezing and hungry; not knowing how many more seconds the Nazi beasts would allow me to live. I was only 14 years old at the time. Ironically, a delegation of Jewish Rabbis couldn’t even make their way into the White House to plead for us… Miraculously, I survived, without anyone helping me and I had no family and no home to return to. Seventy-four years later it is again Hanukkah, and the pages of history have fortunately turned. Today, I am a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to scores of lovely children. I am privileged to be invited to the White House, which is now occupied by the greatest friend the Jewish people has ever had among the leaders of the free world'”.
Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article about the recent Hanukkah celebration at the White House. Not only did the Rabbi speaking totally ignore the historical significance of Hanukkah, he insulted the Jewish people who were celebrating the holiday. Somehow the press neglected to comment on that particular part of the story.
And I know we bring many people here with us, each and every one of us.
I stand here today with my 90-year-old father, whose parents fled the Ottoman Empire. And as they passed by Lady Liberty they planted within us the promise that the gates would stay open for all immigrants and all refugees who would come to build America.
And I also stand here with my fierce family of clergy and Black Lives Matter activists who took to the streets of Ferguson to stand firm until all members of the community would see God in the face of the other.
I stand here for two groups of St. Louis moms, one working to get the guns off of our streets, and the other working to get help clean up the fires of the toxic nuclear waste that are threatening our lives in St. Louis and throughout the country.
And, of course, I stand with my sisters who lit these lights at the Kotel this year.
I stand here to light these lights that say no to the darkness of Islamophobia, and homophobia and transphobia and racism and anti-Semitism and all the other isms that dare to dim our hope.
And I stand here, like President Rivlin said, the Maccabees of old who defied the culture of their time that said that destiny could not be changed, and instead they jumped in to write a new story that demanded freedom and equal opportunity for all.
And today, friends, we stand with the President of the United States and the President of Israel, who today stand together in this critical moment in history when we must do everything to ensure security for Israelis and justice for Palestinians as allies committed to a lasting peace for all people.
In a world of political correctness, when did it become appropriate to praise Allah at a Jewish celebration? This is a new degree of insensitivity on the part of the Obama Administration–I realize that President Obama was not the speaker, but he should have responded to the remarks.
In case you are ready to accuse me of cherry picking, here is the full video. The insensitive remarks begin at about the 8:49 mark.
“a school district may educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ and ‘happy holidays…“a school district may display on school property scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas tree, if the display includes a scene or symbol of more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular scene or symbol.”
It is sad that we need a bill like this to protect the religious rights of all students, but we do. Thank you, Governor Perry, for signing this bill.