Connect with us
Israel Bonds RRSP

RSS

How Olim Are Helping Israel’s War Effort, Part 3: Providing Meals for Displaced Families and Soldiers

Citrus & Salt founder Aliya Fastman prepares meals for Israeli soldiers, evacuees, and bereaved families in Tel Aviv. Photo courtesy of Aliya Fastman.

Since the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre, immigrants who moved to Israel (olim in Hebrew) have been helping the Jewish state’s war effort in crucial ways beyond the battlefield. The Algemeiner has spoken to several of these individuals — natives of the US, Europe, and elsewhere — gathering their stories of courage and resourcefulness to help Israel prevail over Hamas in Gaza. Over the coming weeks, The Algemeiner will share some of these stories as a new series on how olim are helping Israel’s war effort. To read part two, click here.

Like other olim, Aliya Fastman launched her volunteer-run operation within two days of the Hamas attack. Overnight, the Berkeley, CA native repurposed Citrus & Salt, her Tel Aviv-based studio for cooking lessons and culinary tours, into a community kitchen for meal distribution.

Fastman made aliyah in 2010 to join the Israeli army as a lone soldier. She started Citrus & Salt from her home kitchen while pursuing a master’s degree in conflict resolution and mediation.

To date, Citrus & Salt’s newly coined Citizen’s Kitchen has provided more than 20,000 meals to soldiers, bereaved families, displaced families, and synagogues that are hosting meals. According to Fastman, $36 is enough to cover five full meals, including distribution costs.

The volunteers, who in addition to preparing the food also transport them to the beneficiaries, are all olim. Many olim experienced feelings of helplessness, despair, and loneliness after Oct. 7, Fastman said, so establishing a hub to help the oleh community “find a way to connect” became a second goal for her.

“So many of us are without families, and it was so helpful for us to be together in that time of trouble,” she told The Algemeiner.

To that end, Citizen’s Kitchen has also hosted Shabbat dinners and Hanukkah events for her volunteer olim community, and Fastman is hoping to further formalize that angle of her initiative moving forward. In addition, she said, she will be pivoting its efforts as the needs of the war evolve.

One initiative Fastman is working on is providing cooking classes to visiting volunteer tourists in a bid to “connect them more with the local food culture,” she said. She emphasized, however, that the bread and butter of Citizen’s Kitchen — providing meals to those in need — would still continue.

Fastman hailed the widespread mobilization by Israel’s civil society in the wake of Hamas’ butchery as a counterpoint to both victimhood and antisemitism.

“It’s been unbelievable to see and it does strengthen our community that people aren’t Jews with trembling knees, but rather standing taller, and shining brighter in order to get through this,” she said. “I hope that people who are against us can see that we’re not willing to back down. Every day that we’re volunteering and giving back is our message to the world that we’re strong, but we’re even stronger when we’re united.”

The post How Olim Are Helping Israel’s War Effort, Part 3: Providing Meals for Displaced Families and Soldiers first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

RSS

What the Torah Teaches Us About Modesty

A Torah scroll. Photo: RabbiSacks.org.

Many years ago, I was told a story about my father by somebody who belonged to the same congregation as his family in London. My father was, from a young age, a very confident speaker. In his little community of Notting Hill in West London, he was often asked to give a Derasha (a sermon) on Shabbat. What attracted the attention of the public was the fact that the sermon he gave was entitled “The Priests’ Pants.”

In England, this meant underpants, unlike in America, where pants mean what we call trousers. It was obviously an oratorical device to attract everyone’s attention right away — something I have often used myself, although not at such an early age.

This is relevant because the Torah reading on that occasion happened to be the same one as we read this week, Tetzaveh. This parsha is concerned almost entirely with the special garments Aaron the High Priest and his sons wore when serving in the Tabernacle, and that succeeding priests would wear in the Temple (Exodus 28:42).

In all temples, then and now,  priests of all religions, pagan and monotheistic, all dressed up in special clothes as an obvious sign of importance, designed to generate respect and awe. Indeed, even to this day aristocrats, diplomats, military officers, and clergy wear formal uniforms from top to toe, as a sign of importance.

But why mention the unmentionable underpants? The word used here in Exodus 28:42 is Michnasayim, which in modern Hebrew means trousers or pants. But it also means “to cover up.” And that’s what the Bible was instructing priests — and us — to do.

The truth is that sexuality plays a very important part in our lives, and certainly sexuality played a very important part in Pagan worship. The very first episode of human interaction in the Torah is the story of Adam and Eve realizing that nakedness is something that can be misused as well. And requires covering.

One of the important themes of the Torah is the idea of modesty. Some of our bodily functions may be perfectly natural and necessary such as reproduction or using the bathroom. But they are things that traditionally had to be treated differently and privately, and not in the public domain. Not all societies agree with this. Nowadays many of us live in societies where the definitions of modesty are changing and loosening. As important as modesty in every area is, the Torah never tries to define it. Probably because it is too variable to legislate specifically for, which is why in different religious communities the customs are so varied, and each one sets its own standards.

You may wonder whether this was an appropriate message for a 13-year-old boy to hold forth upon. And I might be inclined to suggest within an ideal world that my father might have chosen another topic. But given that rabbis or their representatives are expected to speak about the reading of the Torah each week, frankly, it is hard to imagine what else he could have chosen as a topic that would have inspired some interest amongst his audience. So, he took a risk. Something I unconsciously must have picked up on from my father.

The author is a writer and rabbi, currently based in New York.

The post What the Torah Teaches Us About Modesty first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

RSS

A Letter to Candace Owens on Israel and Jews

Candace Owens. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Dear Candace,

The last time we chatted (OK, I wrote to you), you were defending Kanye West for his antisemitic tirades. It was unclear whether you were doing this as his friend, or because you agreed with him (though your obnoxious tone suggested the latter).

The past four months have made everything much clearer. Most recently, in a podcast and three rants, you accused a segment of Jews of being dishonest, disgusting, manipulative, thugs, and Marxists.

So, to use your favorite expression, let’s be honest here:

Sure, there are Marxist Jews. And they’ve caused a lot of problems. But they don’t like Israel any more than you seem to. They are not the ones defending Israel against the incessant attacks from some Democrats, whom you have proclaimed to hate. In fact, some of those Marxist Jews have helped to create terrorism-friendly campuses and are taking part in the daily, violent pro-Hamas protests.

You go after “DC Jews” and call them a fringe element, a “rot” in the Jewish community, comparing them to Black Lives Matter activists. Again, you’re a little confused. Pro-Israel Jews do not “use” antisemitism the way some BLM activists use the cause against racism to advance an agenda. Since Oct. 7, antisemitic incidents in the US have risen 400%. The reason all your “best friends” growing up didn’t call out antisemitism is because it wasn’t as big of a problem then as it is today.

Or maybe your friends are status leftists who prefer to be silent on these issues precisely because of people like you, who would use it against them.

Regarding the two ads the Israeli government took out for the Super Bowl: Those ads were meant to remind Americans that Hamas still holds 134 hostages — five of whom are Americans. Hamas is not the “government” of Arabs who identify as “Palestinian,” as you claim. They’re terrorists. Are you now pro-terrorism — or just when it comes to Jews?

Yes, the US gives Israel aid — but the vast majority of it must be used to buy American weapons. They’re called Foreign Military Financing grants, meaning they simultaneously give Americans jobs. Maybe if your new best friends like Hamas stopped trying to destroy Israel, these grants would not be needed.

Despite all the nasty things you have said about us, let’s assume for a moment that you do like Jews — that many of your “best friends” have in fact been Jewish — and you don’t hate Israel. Let’s assume all of your problematic views are coming from the neo-isolationism that Tucker Carlson and the Freedom Caucus espouse. (Though Carlson has shared antisemitic tropes during a discussion with you, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who believes Jews use space lasers to control the world, was a key member of the Caucus.)

There are numerous problems with this neo-isolationism, but since being “America first” is key to who you claim to be today, let’s just look at one of America’s enemies: Iran. You may not be aware of this, but Iran doesn’t like America. Iran calls us the “Great Satan.” Iran is also part of the new axis of evil — Russia, China, North Korea — that Carlson doesn’t want to acknowledge.

Which country has the best intel on Iran? That tiny homeland of the Jewish people. Why? Because Israel is “Little Satan” to Iran. Why does Israel have better intel on Iran than the US? Because they’ve had to. Maybe you don’t know this, but both Hamas and Hezbollah are Iranian proxies.

You talk a lot about “emotional manipulation” — indoctrination, brainwashing — on the part of Democrats. But you do the same. Because I don’t think you’re lacking in facts as much as you pretend to be. On the subject of Israel, you seem to want to believe leftist/Marxist lies.

But many of your followers are not smart enough to see through your emotional manipulation. And they don’t want to. Most are ultra-nationalist white Christians who don’t like Blacks or Jews. They’re willing to overlook your skin color because you incessantly attack Blacks and Jews. What do you think they would do if you stopped?

As you repeatedly say, all your life Jews have been very good to you — both as friends and employers. But you’ve now attached yourself to the ultra-nationalist/neo-isolationist wing of the GOP, and they, like their parents and grandparents, don’t like Jews. Instead of trying to reconcile this, as an honest person would, you’ve taken the antisemitic way out: blaming Jews for antisemitism.

Hitler, for whom you have expressed great admiration, would indeed be proud.

Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor in chief of White Rose Magazine. A different version of this article was originally published by The Jewish Journal.

The post A Letter to Candace Owens on Israel and Jews first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

RSS

Media Distort Israel’s Refusal to Be Bullied Into Rewarding Terrorists

Displaced Palestinians, who fled their homes due to the war provoked by Hamas’s terror attacks, shelter in a tent camp, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, December 29, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Shadi Tabatibi

Following indications by the likes of the United Kingdom and France that they could formally recognize a Palestinian state without Israel’s approval, the Israeli government issued a statement in response:

Israel outright rejects international dictates regarding a final status agreement with the Palestinians. The agreement, in so far as it will be reached, will be solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.

Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would give a huge reward to unprecedented terrorism and prevent any future peace agreement.

Israel’s message was explicit: it will not stand back and allow the perpetrators of the October 7 massacre of Israeli civilians to be rewarded with what effectively amounts to legitimacy.

What Israel’s statement about unilateral recognition did not do, was oppose Palestinian statehood in general. That is, Israel did not outright reject the idea that a Palestinian state could be formed as part of a larger peace agreement.

Why, then, did some media outlets distort the contents of Sunday’s announcement to suggest that Israel had said it would refuse to accept a two-state solution to the conflict?

The Telegraph, for example, characterized Israel’s position as Israel declining outright the possibility of two states existing side by side in a misleading headline that also hinted at Israeli aggression by linking the supposed rejection to a ground offensive in Rafah.

The Israeli cabinet rejected an imposed two-state solution from outside without Israeli agreement.@Telegraph‘s headline is disingenuous and fails to make this clear.#HeadlineFailhttps://t.co/QBt1o1tFKb pic.twitter.com/5eba0rWwSY

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) February 19, 2024

Taking a similar line was LBC News, which led with Israel’s plan to root Hamas from its last stronghold in Rafah — painting it instead as effectively an assault on the 1.5 million people sheltering there, and tying it to Israel’s allegedly stymying Palestinian aspirations for a sovereign state.

The New York Post chose to obscure what had occurred to suggest that the Israeli government was rejecting “all calls” for a Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, the Irish Times, the Financial Times and Voice of America all produced vague headlines that claimed Israel is opposed to a state as part of any resolution after the war against Hamas in Gaza, without noting that its objection was to unilateral recognition.

Irish Times:

Financial Times:

Voice of America:

The fact is, Israel has shown time and time again that is willing to negotiate with Palestinians and is not opposed to the actualization of a Palestinian state.

Indeed, one only needs to look at the many occasions over the years in which Israel has come to the negotiating table offering the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state — only for the Palestinians to, invariably with violence, reject its creation.

From the UN partition plan to the Camp David proposals, Israel’s willingness to accept Palestinian statehood is etched in the history books.

For the media to suggest otherwise is just historical revisionism.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Media Distort Israel’s Refusal to Be Bullied Into Rewarding Terrorists first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News