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Tens of thousands expected at DC March for Israel today; organizers announce livestream

(JTA) — Tens of thousands of Jews and pro-Israel activists are arriving in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday for a mass pro-Israel rally that will feature senior Israeli and American officials and that aims to bolster support for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, as well as the fight against antisemitism in the United States and beyond.

Tuesday’s rally aims to demonstrate broad support for Israel’s war effort and to call for the release of the hostages, in addition to condemning antisemitism. The rally’s organizers — the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — applied for a permit for 60,000 people, though more may come. Buses and flights organized by Jewish schools, community centers, synagogues and other organizations are bringing groups to the rally from across the country.

The organizers have announced that the event will also be livestreamed.

The rally, beginning at 1 p.m. on Tuesday on the National Mall, will include speeches from Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, a Republican, as well as Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. Joni Ernst. Other members of Congress and the Senate are also scheduled to speak, as is Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the State Department’s antisemitism envoy.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will also speak, as will Israeli Ambassador Mike Herzog, his brother. No members of Israel’s right-wing government, which has been deeply unpopular within Israel since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, are scheduled to speak.

Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and past chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel, will also speak. Sharansky is perhaps the only speaker on Tuesday’s lineup who also addressed the two previous mass Jewish rallies in Washinton, D.C. — in 1987 on behalf of Soviet Jewry, and in 2002 to support Israel during the Second Intifada.

No leaders of large Jewish organizations are scheduled to give major speeches. One segment will feature relatives of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, including Rachel Goldberg, the American-Israeli mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin. Another will include college students discussing campus antisemitism.

Another portion includes non-Jewish speakers, including John Hagee, the conservative evangelical founder of Christians United for Israel; President Rochelle Ford of Dillard University, a historically Black university in New Orleans; and Anila Ali, a Pakistani-American activist and president of the American Muslim & Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council.

The lineup also includes Israeli pop singers Omer Adam and Ishay Ribo; the Maccabeats, an Orthodox men’s a cappella group; and Jewish actors Debra Messing and Tova Feldshuh. CNN commentator Van Jones will also speak.

The roster of speakers has drawn some criticism. Rabbi Jill Jacobs, CEO of the liberal rabbinic human rights group T’ruah, expressed dismay that Hagee and Johnson will be speaking from the podium. And there have been complaints that the rally does not include more religious Jewish elements, though some haredi Orthodox leaders have encouraged their followers to attend. Some attendees held prayers services on Tuesday morning in Washington.

The rally was announced last week, roughly a month after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, killing and wounding thousands and taking more than 200 captive. Since then, Israel has fought a war in Gaza aiming to depose Hamas, an aim the Biden administration has vocally supported. The war has sparked mass pro-Palestinian protests around the world decrying the thousands of civilian casualties in Gaza and calling for a ceasefire. The fighting has also led to a spike in antisemitism in the United States, Europe and around the world.


The post Tens of thousands expected at DC March for Israel today; organizers announce livestream appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Online Live Chat Service for Jews to Connect With Rabbis Sees 300% Increase Since Oct. 7 Attacks

A protester wrapped in an Israeli flag at a rally against antisemitism at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

A live web service provided by Aish.com that allows users to speak directly with one of the Jewish organization’s leading rabbis has seen a 300 percent increase in usage since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.

More than 5,000 chat responses (over 225 per day) are received each month, according to Aish, which added in a press release that many of the chats turn into extended conversations, sometimes on WhatsApp, in which rabbis help unaffiliated or disconnected Jewish users reconnect with their Jewish identities and form bonds with other Jews.

The Jewish organization said it believes the increase in usage of its live web chat service is due to the global rise in antisemitism and a newfound curiosity about Israel following Oct. 7, as well as a “yearning for meaning and community in the face of life’s uncertainties, and a desire for deeper meaning and spirituality in the face of a fast-paced modern culture where spiritual needs have been put on a backburner for too long.”

“We’re hearing from so many Jews who feel profoundly disconnected, whether due to living in areas with little Jewish community or lack of affiliation growing up,” said Rabbi Tzvi Broker, who oversees Aish.com‘s Live Chat. “The personal nature of these interactions, coupled with their anonymity, creates a safe space to ask questions and begin exploring. Having a live rabbi to connect and share with, has been a draw for many, and we’re seeing lives transformed as a result.”

Among their efforts, Broker and his team have helped people on the chat slowly incorporate Jewish rituals and traditions into their lives, and have connected them with peers through the organization’s new online community Aish+ so they can continue learning and engaging with other Jews.

“It’s amazing to witness lives being transformed in such profound ways,” said Broker. “Jews around the world are finding threads of connection to their heritage, and tapping into the depth and wisdom of our tradition to find meaning, community, and resilience in these challenging times.”

Bob Diener, the founder of hotels.com and the seed funder of Aish.com’s live chat, added in a statement: “The chat has been a powerful way for people to connect one-on-one with a spiritual leader and have their unique questions answered in a non-threatening and non-intimidating way. The chat’s rabbis are connecting so many people to their roots who otherwise don’t know where to go for guidance.”

“The chats have had a deep impact on many disconnected from the Jewish community,” said Aish CEO Rabbi Steven Burg. “Each of the people we connect with demonstrates a broad yearning to explore Jewish spirituality, peoplehood, and identity and that is why they have been turning to Aish for connection and guidance. We are happy to provide both while connecting them with local Jewish communities in their area, if there is one, to continue their journey.”

The post Online Live Chat Service for Jews to Connect With Rabbis Sees 300% Increase Since Oct. 7 Attacks first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Jerry Seinfeld Ridicules Anti-Israel Heckler Interrupting His Show in Australia: ‘You Moron, Get Out of Here’

Jerry Seinfeld attends the premiere of Netflix’s “Unfrosted” at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, California, US, April 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/David Swanson

Jewish comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld roasted an anti-Israel protester who tried to disrupt his comedy show in Sydney, Australia, at the Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday night.

Videos from the scene showed a male heckler in the audience repeatedly shout, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a slogan that has been widely used as a call for the destruction of Israel.

While the disruptive audience member continued to chant in support of Israel’s extermination, Seinfeld ridiculed him, sarcastically telling the audience:  “We have a genius, ladies and gentlemen! He’s solved the Middle East! He’s solved it: It’s the Jewish comedians, that’s who we have to get! They’re the ones doing everything.”

“Go ahead, keep going,” Seinfeld told the anti-Israel heckler as the audience laughed and cheered. “They’re gonna start punching you in about three second so I would try and get all of your genius out so we can all learn from you. It’s a comedy show you moron, get out of here.”

The heckler was eventually escorted out of the arena by security personnel and as he walked out of the venue, Seinfeld mocked him some more by sarcastically saying: “You’re really influencing everyone here. We’re all on your side because you have made your point so well and in the right venue. You’ve come to the right place for a political conversation. Tomorrow we will read in the paper: ‘Middle East, 100 percent solved thanks to man at the Qudos Arena stopping Jew comedian.’ They stop him and everyone in the Middle East went, ‘Oh my god, let’s just get along.’”

The “Seinfeld” creator then jokingly suggested that to solve issues with “indigenous Aboriginal people and the white people” maybe he should harass Australian comedian Jim Jefferies during a comedy show in New York because “if this works, that will work.”

“You have to go 20,000 miles from the problem and screw up a comedian. That is how you solve world issues,” Seinfeld quipped.

Seinfeld had a number of his comedy shows recently disrupted by anti-Israel activists because of his support for Israel since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. Seinfeld’s commencement speech at Duke University was also interrupted by similar protesters, who staged a walk-out shortly after he was introduced on stage.

During an interview last month, Seinfeld addressed protesters by saying: “It’s so dumb. In fact, when we get protesters occasionally, I love to say to the audience, ‘You know, I love that these young people, they’re trying to get engaged with politics … we just have to correct their aim a little bit.”

The post Jerry Seinfeld Ridicules Anti-Israel Heckler Interrupting His Show in Australia: ‘You Moron, Get Out of Here’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Ratted out: Phoebe Maltz Bovy on the end of feeling a need to ask if every contrived pop-culture trend is good for the Jews

As an expert (self-proclaimed) in the female heterosexual gaze, I took note of the trend of the “hot rodent man.” Does this mean you’re attracted to the friendly mascot from Orkin Exterminator Co.? Maybe you do, maybe he’s tremendous, but no, “hot rodent man” refers to what is essentially the male equivalent of jolie laide, […]

The post Ratted out: Phoebe Maltz Bovy on the end of feeling a need to ask if every contrived pop-culture trend is good for the Jews appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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