Monthly Archives: December 2015

United Nations Recognizes Yom Kippur As Official Holiday

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By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

New York, NY — December 20, 2015 … It’s not a joke. The one international organization which loves to bash the Jews and their tiny democratic state – Israel – has declared Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, an official holiday.

Last Thursday the UN officially recognized Yom Kippur as an official holiday for the first time in its seventy year history. UN employees who are Jewish will have the day off and no official meetings are to take place on Yom Kippur.

The UN recognizes Christmas day and Good Friday as official religious Christian holidays and Eid al- Fitr and Eid al Adha as official Muslim holidays. Efforts for the UN to recognize Yom Kippur as an official holiday began three years ago by Ron Prosor, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN.

US Ambassador Samantha Power also played a crucial role in preventing the anti-Israel majority from blocking the resolution.

Tens of thousands of Jewish people gather for a mass prayer for forgivness (slichot) at Western Wall in Jerusalem's old city, at night before Yom Kippur, September 24, 2012. Jewish Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, is a 25-hour period of fasting and intense reflection and prayers where the central theme is atonement that begins on Friday after sunset. Photo by Oren Nahshon / FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** ëåúì úôéìä äîåï òùåú éåí ëéôåø äëðåú öéìåí àåøï ðçùåï

“Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, and the U.N. should have recognized this holiday many years ago,” said Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon. “Today we finally have an official place for the Jewish religion in the world’s Parliament.”

The holiday is a day set aside to atone for sins and reflect on the year past and the year ahead. Yom Kippur lasts 26 hours, and many Jews choose to fast for the entire time. Many Jews also don’t bathe during Yom Kippur, and many abstain from cosmetics, deodorant and wearing leather shoes.

No mention was made by the U.N. that the ancient Yom Kippur ceremonies took place at the Temple in Jerusalem which is the capital of Israel.

A Facebook page was created for the promotion of making Yom Kippur an official holiday at the UN and in the US. Today, we ask that you join and share this page in our quest to have the Jewish New Year – Rosh HaShana designated as an official holiday in both the United Nations and in the US workplace.

Jewish Republicans Urge Trump To Support United Jerusalem, Reject Muslim Ban

trump_rjcRepublican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican
Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, Dec. 3, 2015.

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

By Morgan Winsor
International Business Times

Joel Leyden, 56, is by all accounts an avid Donald Trump supporter. The international media consultant and journalist, who splits his time between New York and Israel, has even started a Facebook page called “Jews 4 Trump,” which has more than 7,000 likes, along with a Twitter handle that has more than 1,300 followers.

“He’s done a fantastic job. The man is a marketing genius,” Leyden said during a telephone interview this week.

But for Leyden and many other Jewish-Americans, the Republican presidential front-runner’s recent remarks about Muslims echoes the earliest days of Nazi propaganda in 20th century Germany. The controversy could jeopardize Trump’s following in the Jewish community, a small but promising voting bloc for the GOP.

“[Trump] does not have a racist bone in his body. I believe he really means well,” Leyden insisted. “But he is doing some things almost in a reckless manner.”

Trump has made a number of incendiary statements along the campaign trail about Hispanics and women. But Trump’s campaign press release Monday “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on” struck outrage among people of all races and religions around the world. And his refusal to call Jerusalem Israel’s undivided capital at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s presidential forum last week offended Jewish voters in the U.S. even further.

Several Jewish groups and leaders have spoken out against the proposed ban. Rabbi Gary Atkins, president of the Greater Hartford Rabbinical Association in Connecticut, wrote a letter Wednesday signed by 14 other members of the group condemning and rejecting Trump’s call to bar entry to all Muslims as “bigoted and offensive.”

For decades, the Jewish community has been a reliable voting bloc for Democrats. In recent elections, however, the Republican Party has stepped up efforts to corrode that allegiance. In the 2012 presidential election, Jewish support for the Democratic Party plunged 9 percent while support for the GOP increased by the same amount. Unless he modifies his statements on Muslims and Jerusalem, political strategists said Trump could chip away at any and all support from Jewish conservatives.

“The Republican Jews who are very involved in the political process that I know and work with – I don’t know anybody that’s supporting [Trump], especially after some of his comments. His statements are not consistent, I believe, with Jewish values,” said Lee Cowen, a GOP political consultant. “The irony is that there are still Jews out there who will support him despite what he says.”

Leyden, who has volunteered extensively for Trump’s campaign in New England, has posted on the “Jews 4 Trump” Facebook page and Twitter account, urging the businessman-turned-politician to clarify his proposed ban, as well as his position on Jerusalem. Leyden also raised the issues in the “New Hampshire For Donald Trump” Facebook page, which he created specifically for Trump’s campaign. The campaign on Thursday took down the New Hampshire page, which had reached nearly 10,000 likes, saying the posts questioning the remarks on Muslims and Jerusalem were “trashing Trump,” Leyden said.

Leyden commended Trump for postponing this week a planned trip to Israel, which has a sizeable Muslim population, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned his proposal to ban U.S. travel for all Muslims. Trump must now retract or revise his remarks on Muslims and Jerusalem, Leyden said, otherwise the presidential hopeful will lose his vote and those of many other Jewish-Americans.

“We can’t wait to embrace the guy and have a beer once he states that, one, Jerusalem is the united capital of Israel and, two, that there will be no ban of all Muslims,” he said. “I think Trump is advocating for a safer and more secure United States. But you can’t discriminate against a religion.”

Other Jewish-Americans are taking Trump’s comments less seriously. Brian Sherman, a member of the “Jews 4 Trump” Facebook group, dismissed any parallels between Trump’s invective against Muslims and Adolf Hitler’s hatred for Jews. Sherman, who said he has many Muslim friends, argued Trump often says things he doesn’t mean or fails to clarify his statements. The California resident said he was particularly drawn to Trump because of his fiscal policies, which vow to slash taxes for the poor and the wealthy.

“From a Jewish business perspective, Trump is the one I’d say who has the most knowledge about taking $1 million and turning it into $2 billion,” said Sherman, 32, a registered independent in San Dimas who tends to vote right. “But he spends too much time on nonsense than on the actual aspects of his policies. He needs a lot of damage control.”

Although he also disagrees with the proposed Muslim ban, Sherman said he plans to vote for Trump if he wins the Republican nomination. Trump’s positions on immigration and national security are not meant to be hateful, Sherman said, but rather aim to enhance anti-terrorism efforts.

Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg in Edison, New Jersey, said comparing the presidential hopeful to Hitler was “ridiculous.” Rosenberg recently stepped down from his congregation to build support for Trump in the Jewish community, launching his own “Rabbis for Trump” campaign.

“A lot of what [Trump] is saying is hype,” Rosenberg, whose parents survived the Holocaust, told NJ.com Tuesday. “What Hitler said was reality.”