Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The only truly-effective way to stop Islamic terror

Someone recently sent me a video entitled “Where are the Moderate Muslims?” by Hussein Aboubakr.[1]

The video makes the case that the Muslim world is dominated by “bad ideas and bad beliefs.” It argues that the only solution to Islamic terror is Islam reforming itself.

“Until we tell the truth about Islam, the only solution to Islamic terror will never take place,” the speaker asserted.

Notwithstanding Mr. Aboubakr’s good intentions, I disagree with this message, or at least the way he communicated it in his closing statement.[2]

First of all, why single out Islam? Much of the world is dominated by “bad ideas and bad beliefs.” Perhaps there is a much higher prevalence of “bad ideas and beliefs” in the Islamic world, but by focusing on those and ignoring others, we aren’t doing justice to the cause. It appears that we’re only calling out the evils of some and not the evils of others, and suggests subjective bias. To accurately define ideas and beliefs as “bad,” it needs to be addressed with objectivity, especially if one hopes to effectively communicate the message to those who need to hear it most. He ought to have protested “bad ideas and beliefs” that exist everywhere, but with special emphasis on those that exist within the Muslim world, due the alarming statistics that he invoked.

Secondly, “Islam reforming itself” isn’t really a solution. People must reform themselves, both individually and collectively. Islam all along has only been a symptom of the problem, not the root cause. The root is the weakness of the human condition.

Lastly and most importantly, we don’t have to “tell the truth about Islam.” We need to tell the truth about absolute moral values and ethics, i.e. the seven universal principles that were enjoined on all the children of Noah. It’s not our place to try to find those truths within Islam, or Christianity, or any other religion, for that matter. We just need to teach the truth about life.

If a Muslim person wishes, he or she can go find those ideas in Islam, if those ideas do indeed exist. And if they don’t, then they are free to adapt or reinterpret their religious texts, whether through exegesis or eisegesis. They’re also free to simply ignore those indefensible/reprehensible aspects of their religion, or even to repudiate their religion altogether. But that’s none of our business, or is it even necessary for Islamic terror to stop. In fact, if we involve ourselves with that, it is counterproductive.

In other words, we need to teach fellow humans the universal laws of morality. We don’t need to enter into religious debate or encourage religious reform, or point out how flawed their religion is. There’s no reason for us to comment on their religion altogether. I need to teach humans about the sanctity of human life, for example, one of the Seven Laws. If someone counters, “But Allah said in the Quran such and such,” I don’t need to address the Quran at all. Instead, the correct response is: “Allah commanded all mankind not to murder for any reason. This commandment predates all other religious codes or books. Allah despises murder, and cherishes all human life, women and men, young and old, of all races, sizes and colors, irrespective of whether they even believe in Him and his prophets or not.” This is sacrosanct. It transcends religion, culture or social norms. It transcends human logic too, as we have no permission to rationalize and justify murder under any circumstances.

(That’s just one example, but it applies to all the Seven Mitzvot and their applications.)

When an Islamist commits an act of murder or mass murder, it is important to point out first and foremost that this is a fragile human being who committed this nefarious and depraved act. His motive is secondary. The fact that he was indoctrinated (by other fragile human beings) to embrace a false belief system that justifies or glorifies murder is only a symptom of the problem. If we confuse or conflate it as the main problem, we are missing the forest for the trees. It’s like blaming murder on lax gun laws, but then the murderer will drive a pick-up truck or use a machete. Shall we ban pick-up trucks?

(I agree with the presenter that politicians and media mislead people when they rush to assure everyone after a jihadist attack that the atrocity doesn’t represent the true nature of mainstream Islam. Radical Islamic beliefs need to be identified as the obvious motive. Agenda-driven white washing is deplorable and dishonest. However, we ought to be less concerned with motive and more concerned with the moral and ethical vacuum that allowed those depraved motives to fester in the first place.)

When will finally realize that the root problem isn’t the truck, or the gun, the knife, or even the incitement or indoctrination. The underlying problem is that this individual is bereft of absolute moral values and was never taught to appreciate the infinite and sacrosanct worth of human life. Had he been, then he would have soundly rejected anyone else’s attempts to incite or indoctrinate him. Instead, he would have endeavored to educate the misguided inciter. Surely he would have had no tolerance for any “bad ideas or bad beliefs” which the presenter deplores.

We need to teach these Divinely-ordained principles to all mankind, not just to people of Muslim faiths. Plenty of Christians (and people of other religious or non-religious beliefs) need to learn these laws too. Everyone, young and old, irrespective of financial or social or racial status. Even people who are mentally or emotionally impaired or challenged need to learn these universal principles too (as their lives are infinitely valuable and meaningful as all others).  They apply to everyone. They apply equally to Hollywood, to Wall Street, to Main Street, in Rome or Ramallah, Mecca or Manhattan, churches, mosques and post offices, on land, sea or in the air.

And that is how we can truly create a solution to Islamic terror, neo-Nazi terror, and other forms of terror, murders, crimes, and all other societal ills. That is how we can bring healing and redemption to our fractured world. This is how we will bring Moshiach NOW!



[1] Produced by “Prager University.” Link: https://www.prageru.com/videos/where-are-moderate-muslims
[2] I interpret the presenter’s use of the word “Islam” as a name of a religion or religious identity. However, if “Islam” refers to society as it exists in predominantly-Islamic areas, then there is some merit to his message. But my critique is still relevant. We should not be attacking anyone else’s religion, but just teach truth. We can criticize behaviors, irrespective of religious or cultural motivation, and teach the correct behaviors.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Persecution of Jews in the Muslim World – a Historical Timeline

(Note: this is just a rough sketch, and is by no means complete. Please comment if you notice any events that should be added)

Persecution of Jews in the Muslim World –
a Historical Timeline
Date:  Event:
624     After Jews of Medina refused to accept him as a prophet and rejected his new religion, Mohammad became openly hostile toward them. He instructed his henchmen to murder and decapitate a renowned Jewish poet and chief of the Banu Nadir (date farmers tribe), and ordered his followers, “Kill every Jew you can.”
          Muhammad expelled the Jewish tribe of Banu Qaynuqa.
625     Muhammad banished the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir.
627     Muhammad orders 600-900 Jews of Banu Qurayza beheaded (except for the few who chose to convert to Islam), all women and children enslaved, and their properties confiscated.
632     Muhammad expels Jews from Northern Arabia. Since then, Jews have never been allowed to live in parts of Arabia.
634     Jews expelled from Khaybar.
661     Muslim caliph of Jerusalem confiscated Jewish property throughout the Land of Israel and distributed it to Arab settlers.
717     Jews persecuted under Umayyad Caliphate.
789     Increased persecution of Jews under Abbasid Caliphate. Jews subject to oppressive taxes and humiliating laws.
850     Muslim Arab rulers require Jews of Iraq to wear yellow patch.
945     Jews persecuted by fanatic Shiite Buwayhid dynasty.
987     Jews deported from Fez, Morocco.
1004   Arab Muslim leaders forcibly convert Jews in Eretz Yisrael. Synagogues burnt down. Jews of Egypt forced to wear “Jew Badge.”
1013   Berbers kill Jews during their conquest of Cordova.
1035   6,000 Jews massacred in Fez, Morocco.
1066   Jewish population of Granada massacred by Muslim Mob. Yosef Hanagid crucified. 4,000 Jews killed.
1148   Jews of Cordova attacked and forcibly converted by fanatical Islamic sect, Almohades. Many were forced to flee the country. Almohades kill 150 Jews in Sijilmasa and many more in Tiemcin and elsewhere in the Maghreb.
1061   Jews banned from Marrakesh.
1165   Forced Islamic conversion in Morocco.
1169   Jews violently persecuted in Yemen, forced to choose between Islamic conversion or martyrdom.
1198   Jews of North Africa were required to wear humiliating dress.
1244   Jews of Jerusalem massacred by Egyptian and Turks while trying to flee the Holy City.
1250   Jews of Tunisia required by their Muslim rulers to wear “Jew badge.” Jews persecuted in Egypt.
1275   Jews of Morocco attacked by fanatic mobs.
1291   Jews massacred in Persia. Jews of Acco killed and imprisoned by Sultan of Egypt .
1293   Forced Islamic conversions in Iraq.
1303   Forced Islamic conversion in Egypt. All Jews there required to wear yellow turbans.
1392   A Jew was burned alive in Damascus, and many others imprisoned and tortured, after local Jews were falsely accused of setting fire to a mosque.
1442   Jewish women raped in Sale, Morocco. Widespread robbery and plundering of Jews in Alcazarquivir.
1465   Entire Jewish community massacred in Fez, Morocco.
1493   Jews fleeing Spain were attacked and persecuted upon arriving in Morocco. As many as 20,000 Jews died there due to attacks and famine.
1502   Increased persecution of Jews in Persia under Safavid rule.
1517   Property of Jews in Tunisia destroyed by Turks. Jews required to wear a yellow patch on their headgear.
1518   Jews of Hebron massacred by Muslims. Jews were attacked, beaten and raped, and many were killed as their homes and businesses were looted and pillaged
1521   Jews of Jerusalem blamed by Muslim rulers for a severe drought, and were required to pay heavy fines.
1524   Jews of Cairo were threatened with massacre and forced to pay an exorbitant tax.
1535   Jews killed in Tunis, and many were captured and sold to slavery.
1625   Jews of Jerusalem oppressively taxed, imprisoned and tortured, by Ottoman Pasha.
1628   Jews forced to wear Jew badge in Persia.
1630   Increased persecution of Jews in Yemen.
1640   Many Jews forcibly converted to Islam in Persia.
1656   All Jews expelled from Isfahan. Many were forcibly converted to Islam.
1668   Jews expelled from parts of Morocco.
1670   Jews publicly burned in Marrakesh. Synagogues of the city were torn down. Many Jews expelled from the Berber region of Sus. Enormous taxes imposed on Jews.
1678   Jews expelled from Yemen, and synagogues destroyed. Most died of starvation or disease due to expulsion.
1741   Jews persecuted in Morocco.
1789   Jews massacred in Morocco.
1805   Jewish community of Algiers attacked and massacred by Turkish soldiers. 300-500 victims.
1828   Jews massacred and expelled from Baghdad.
1830   Jews of Tabriz were massacred. Jews of Shiraz forcibly converted to Islam.
1839   Jews of Meshed, Persia, attacked and killed, and the remainder forcibly converted to Islam, continued to observe Judaism secretly.
1840   Blood libel in Damascus. Many Jews arrested and tortured, including over sixty children (in order to extract confessions from their mothers). Two Jews died of torture, a number confessed, and one converted to Islam.
1844   Pogrom in Cairo.
1847   Pogroms in Dayr al-Qamar and Jerusalem.
1848   Pogrom in Damascus.
1850   Pogrom in Aleppo.
1857   A Jew was attacked and killed by Muslim mob in Tunisia for allegedly insulting Islam.
1860   Jews of Tetuan, Morocco, were massacred. Jews of Hamedan, accused of mocking Islam were fined. Some had their ears and noses cut off as punishment.
1862   Pogrom in Beirut
1866   Jews of Barforush were forcibly converted to Islam. 18 Jews of Barforush killed by Muslim mob. Two of them were burned alive. Pogrom in Kuzguncuk.
1864   Jews massacred in many North African cities, including Tunis and Tripoli (on Yom Kippur). Pogrom in Buyukdere.
1868   Pogrom in Eyub.
1870   Pogroms in Istanbul and Alexandria.
1871   Pogrom in Damanhur.
1872   Pogroms in Edirne and Izmir.
1873   Pogrom in Damanhur.
1874   Pogroms in Istanbul, Izmir and Beirut.
1875   Pogrom in Aleppo.
1877   Pogroms in Damanhur and Mansura.
1878   Jewish settlement in Petach Tikva attacked by Arabs.
1882   Jews attacked in Algiers and throughout Algeria in numerous anti-Jewish riots. Many Jews were killed, synagogues plundered, Torah scrolls desecrated. Pogrom in Alexandria.
1890   Pogroms in Damascus and Cairo.
1891   Pogrom in Damanhur.
1897   Jews attacked by anti-Jewish rioters in Mostaganem, Algeria.
1901   Pogroms in Cairo and Alexandria.
1902   Pogrom in Cairo
1903   Pogrom in Port Said.
1907   Thirty Jews were killed (and 250 women and children abducted) in Morocco. Porgrom in Alexandria.
1908   Pogrom in Port Said.
1910   The Jews of Shiraz were accused of ritually murdering a Muslim girl. Muslim dwellers of the city plundered the whole Jewish quarter, the first to start looting were the soldiers sent by the local governor to defend the Jews against the enraged mob. Twelve Jews, who tried to defend their property, were killed, and many others were injured.
1920   Jews attacked and killed by Arabs in northern Eretz Yisrael. Five Jews killed by Arab attacks in Jerusalem.
1921   Forty-seven Jews killed in Arab riots in Yaffo, and four Jews killed while defending Petach Tikva from an Arab attack.
1929   Many Jews killed in Arab Pogrom. Sixty-seven Jews (including women and young children) were massacred in Hebron, and the Jewish community destroyed.
1934   Twenty-five Jews killed (and many more wounded) in Constantine, Algeria, in attacks by local Muslim population.
1936   18 Jews killed in Arab riots in Tel Aviv. Over the next three years, Arab terror attacks claimed the lives of almost 500 Jews. Three Jews murdered in Iraq. Iraqi synagogues bombed.
1941   Jews massacred in Baghdad (Farhud). 200 were killed.
1947   Arabs begin attacking Jews in protest of United Nations vote to give Jews a partitioned are in Eretz Yisrael. 75 Jews of Aden killed in Arab anti-Jewish riots. Jews of Aleppo, Syria, attacked and all synagogues destroyed. 6,000 Jews fled the country. Jews persecuted and arrested in Iraq.
1948   Many Jews killed by Arab bombings and attacks in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Eretz Yisrael. A few hundred Jews were killed in the fighting with Arabs after the British withdrew.
          Armies of all the Arab countries surrounding Israel (i.e. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq) invade, joined by Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
          20 Jews were killed in Arab attack in Cairo, and over 100 Jews killed in subsequent sporadic riots.
          A prominent Jew was publicly hanged in Basra to terrorize Jewish population.
          Hadassah convoy massacre.
1949   Sporadic Arab attacks on Jews in Eretz Yisroel continued for many years.
1950   Synagogues bombed in Iraq. Jews had been persecuted in Iraq for several years prior, were finally given permission to leave Iraq, but were not permitted to take any possessions. 110,000 Jews (almost the entire Jewish population of Iraq) left for Israel, leaving behind possessions worth $200 million.
1956   Increasing number of Jews in Eretz Yisrael killed by Arab infiltrators from across the border, many from Egypt. Egypt closes Suez canal to ships sailing to and from Israel. In response to Israeli military action to open the canal, the Egyptian government expelled almost 25,000 Egyptian Jews and confiscated their property, and sent approximately 1,000 more Jews to prisons and detention camps.
1964   Terrorist organizations P.L.O. and Al Fatah established with goal of carrying out murderous attacks against Jews in Eretz Yisrael.
1967   Increased terrorist attacks against Jews in Israel. Egypt and Syria arm, mobilize and deploy forces to border, Egypt closes Suez to Israel-bound ships, openly calls for annihilation of Israel and death of Jewish inhabitants. Nasser stated his goal to “throw Jews into the sea” and soak the soil with Jewish blood. Israel launches preemptive attack. 777 Jewish soldiers killed in conflict.
          Jordan occupied eastern Jerusalem and expelled all Jews from the Old City. 58 synagogues were desecrated or demolished in the Old City, resulting in the de-Judaization of Jerusalem. Jews were barred from the Western Wall, in defiance of UN armistice agreement. 38,000 Jewish graves in the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives were systematically destroyed, and Jews were not allowed to be buried there.
1969   Nine Jews publicly executed in Damascus. Egypt began war of attrition against Israel with daily shellings across the Suez Canal.
1970   Libya confiscates Jewish property. The P.L.O. begins hijacking planes.
          Avivim school bus massacre. 12 killed (9 victims were children), 25 wounded.
1972   Lod Airport massacre. 26 killed, 80 injured.
          Eleven Israeli athletes taken hostage and killed by Arab terrorists in the “Munich Massacre.”
1973   Egypt and Syria attacks Israel on Yom Kippur. 2,522 Jewish soldiers killed in the conflict. After their defeat, Arab nations threaten not to sell oil to countries that support the Jewish state. Israel becomes isolated (particularly in the United Nations).
1974   Four Syrian Jewish girls were abducted while trying to flee from Syria to Lebanon (and eventually to Israel). Their bodies were found raped, murdered and mutilated. Remains were found of two Jewish boys, victims of an earlier massacre. Syrian authorities deposited the bodies of all six in sacks before the homes of their parents in the Jewish ghetto in Damascus.
          Ma’alot massacre. Arab terrorists attacked an elementary school in Israel and took over 115 people hostage, including 105 children. After a two-day stand-off, the hostage-takers killed children with grenades and automatic weapons. Ultimately, 25 hostages, including 22 children, were killed and 68 more were injured.
          Kiryat Shmona massacre. Arab terrorist killed 18 (including 8 children) and injured 15.
1976   Arab terrorists hijack plane and take 100 Jews hostage.
1978   Coastal road massacre near Tel Aviv. 8 people were killed on bus. Victims include 13 children. Other people killed nearby. 71 wounded.
1982   Arabs bombard Jewish towns near Lebanese border and launch other terrorist attacks. Arab terrorists attack and murder Jews throughout the world.
1983   Blood libel accusation claimed publicly by Syrian government official. “The Matzah of Zion” published, and re-printed several times.
1989   Bus 405 suicide attack. 16 killed.
1991   Iraq fires 29 SCUD missiles at Israeli cities, damaging 4,000 buildings in 18 waves of attacks, but miraculously only kill one or two Israelis directly (not counting people who died of heart attacks during the terror of the SCUD attacks).
1993   Two suicide bombing attacks in Israel. 2 killed, 39 injured.
1994   Dizengoff Street bus bombing. Suicide bomber blows himself up in a bus during the morning rush hour in Tel Aviv. Killing 22 people and injuring 50 others. Numerous other suicide bombings throughout Israel, resulting in 16 deaths and 13 injuries.
1995   Beit Lid massacre. 21 killed, 69 injured. Three other bombing attacks, resulting in 18 more deaths.
1996   First Jerusalem bus 18 suicide bombing. 26 killed.
          Second Jerusalem bus 18 suicide bombing. 19 killed.
          Two more suicide bombing attacks, killing 14.
1997   Island of Peace massacre. Jordanian soldier opened fire on a large group of Israeli schoolgirls, killing seven.
          Three separate suicide bombing attacks in Israel, killing 24.
1998   Two suicide bombing attacks in Israel, killing 3 and wounding 20.
1999   Two suicide bombing attacks in Israel.
2000   Five suicide bombing attacks in Israel, killing 6 and wounding 4.
2001   Sbarro restaurant massacre. 15 killed (7 of whom were children),130 injured.
          Dolphinarium discotheque massacre. 21 killed, 100+ wounded.
          Forty suicide bombing attacks in Israel in total, killing 85 and wounding hundreds.
          Ramallah lynching.
2002   Egypt's government-sponsored television aired a miniseries based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is widely accepted as fact and printed in school textbooks throughout the Arab and Islamic world.
          In Netanya, Israel, Arab terrorist murders 30 Jews and injures over 140 at a Passover seder. Some victims were Holocaust survivors.
          Bat Mitzvah massacre. 7 killed, 33 wounded.
          Yeshivat Beit Yisrael massacre. 11 killed (including 7 children and 2 infants).
          47 suicide bombing attacks in Israel in total. 236 killed and scores wounded.
          Hebrew University Massacre.
          Lyon car attack in France. Wave of increased attacks on Jews and Jewish targets in France.
2003   The blood libel was featured in a scene in a popular Syrian TV series.
          Tel-Aviv central bus station massacre. 23 killed, over 100 injured.
          23 suicide bombing attacks in Israel in total. 145 killed, scores wounded.
2004   17 suicide bombing attacks. 98 killed, dozens wounded.
2005   9 suicide bombing attacks in Israel. 33 killed. Scores wounded.
2006   Young Jewish man kidnapped, tortured and killed by Islamic radicals in France.
          Three suicide bombing attacks in Israel. 15 killed, 99 wounded.
2007   Three killed in a suicide bombing attack in Israel.
2008   Mercaz HaRav massacre. 8 killed, seven of whom were students.
          Two suicide bombing attacks in Israel. 1 killed, 22 wounded.
2011   Itamar attack. Both parents and three young children of one family stabbed to death in their home, one infant decapitated.
2012   Algerian terrorist attacked a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France, killing a teacher and three children, and wounding a teenager.
2014   Jerusalem synagogue massacre. Five killed. Three teenagers kidnapped and killed. An Islamic terrorist opened fire at the Jewish Museum of Brussels, Belgium, killing four people.
          Rocket attacks launched toward Israel from Gaza increased dramatically, killing numerous victims.
2015   Hypercacher Kosher Supermarket siege in Paris. At the height of pre-Shabbat shopping, Islamic terrorist took hostages and killed four Jews. Numerous other attacks on Jews throughout France.
          One suicide bombing attack in Israel.
2016   Tel Aviv shooting. Four killed.
          One suicide bombing attack in Israel, injuring 20.
2017   Jewish woman murdered by Islamic terrorists in France.
           Halamish stabbing attack – a father and two children stabbed to death in their home by Arab terrorist.
          According to recent figures, 1332 people have been killed in Israel by Arab terrorists since 2000, including 21 Israelis killed abroad in terror attacks directed specifically against Israeli targets. (Not included are 9 IDF soldiers killed during the ground operation against Hamas terror in Gaza 2008-2009, or any of the IDF soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge 2014).

Persecution of Jews in the Christian World -- a Historical Timeline

Today, I came across this list detailing persecution of Jews at the hands of Christians. A friend of mine had posted it to Facebook. While the list is by no means complete, it is truly a shocking indictment on humanity. I took the liberty to add a few dates and events that I noticed were missing, including the 1919 Ukrainian pogroms during which my great-grandparents were murdered, and which my grandmother narrowly survived. I'm sure that there are innumerable more dates missing from list.
(I do not know who compiled this list. If you know author, please notify me so that I may give credit.) 

Jewish Persecution | Timeline of Judaism | History of AntiSemitism
(an Abbreviated sampling)
DATE PLACE EVENT
250 C.E. Canhage Expulsion
224 C.E. Italy Forced Conversion
325 C.E. Jerusalem Expulsion
351 C.E Persia Book Burning
357 C.E. Italy Property Confiscation
379 C.E. Milan Synagogue Burning
415 C.E. Alexandria Expulsion
418 C.E. Minorca Forced Conversion
469 C.E. Ipahan Holocaust
489 C.E. Antioch Synagogue Burning
506 C.E. Daphne Synagogue Burning
519 C.E. Ravenna Synagogue Burning
554 C.E. Diocese of Clement (France) Expulsion
561 C.E. Diocese of Uzes (France) Expulsion
582 C.E Merovingia Forced Conversion
612 C.E. Visigoth Spain Expulsion
628 C.E. Byzantium Forced Conversion
629 C.E. Merovingia Forced Conversion
633 C.E. Toledo Forced Conversion
638 C.E. Toledo Stake Burnings
642 C.E. Visigothic Empire Expulsion
653 C.E. Toledo Expulsion
681 C.E. Spain Forced Conversion
693 C.E. Toledo Jews Enslaved
722 C.E. Byzantium Judaism Outlawed
855 C.E. Italy Expulsion
876 C.E. Sens Expulsion
897 C.E. Narbonne Land Confiscation
945 C.E. Venice Ban on Sea Travel
1009 C.E. Orleans Massacre
1012 C.E. Rouen, Limoges & Rome Massacre
1012 C.E. Mayence Expulsion
1021 C.E. Rome Jews Burned Alive
1063 C.E. Spain Massacre
1095 C.E. Lorraine Massacre
1096 C.E. No. France & Germany 1/3 of Jewish Population Massacred
1096 C.E. Hungary Massacre
1096 C.E. Ralisbon Massacre
1099 C.E. Jerusalem Jews Burned Alive
1100 C.E. Kiev Pogrom
1140 C.E. Germany Massacres
1146 C.E. Rhine Valley Massacre
1147 C.E. Wurzburg Massacre
1147 C.E. Belitz (Germany) Jews Burned Alive
1147 C.E. Carenton, Ramenu & Sully (France) Massacres
1171 C.E. Blois Stake Burnings
1181 C.E. France Expulsion
1181 C.E. England Property Confiscation
1188 C.E. London & York Mob Attacks
1190 C.E. Norfolk Jews Burned Alive
1191 C.E. Bray (France) Jews Burned Alive
1195 C.E. France Property Confiscation
1209 C.E. Beziers Massacre
1212 C.E. Spain Rioting and blood bath against the Jews of Toledo.
1215 C.E. Rome Lateran Council of Rome decrees that Jews must wear the "badge of shame" in all Christian countries. Jews are denied all public sector employment, and are burdened with extra taxes.
1215 C.E. Toulouse (France) Mass Arrests
1218 C.E. England Jews Forced to Wear Badges
1231 C.E. Rome Inquisition Established
1236 C.E. France Forced Conversion/Massacre
1239 C.E. London Massacre & Property Confiscation
1240 C.E. Austria Property confiscation. Jews either imprisoned, converted, expelled, or burned.
1240 C.E. France Talmud Confiscated
1240 C.E. England Book Burning
1240 C.E. Spain Forced Conversion
1242 C.E. Paris Talmud Burned
1244 C.E. Oxford Mob Attacks
1255 C.E. England Blood libel in Lincoln results in the burning / torture of many Jews & public hangings.
1261 C.E. Canterbury Mob Attacks
1262 C.E. London Mob Attacks
1264 C.E. London Mob Attacks
1264 C.E. Germany Council of Vienna declares that all Jews must wear a "pointed dunce cap." Thousands murdered.
1267 C.E. Vienna Jews Forced to Wear Horned Hats
1270 C.E. Weissenberg, Magdeburg, Arnstadt, Coblenz, Singzig, and Erfurt
Jews Burned Alive
1270 C.E. England The libel of the "counterfeit coins" -
all Jewish men, women and children in England imprisoned. Hundreds are hung.
1276 C.E. Bavaria Expulsion
1278 C.E. Genoa (Spain) Mob Attacks
1279 C.E. Hungary & Poland The Council of Offon denies Jews the right to all civic positions. The Jews of Hungary & Poland are forced to wear the "red badge of shame."
1283 C.E. Mayence & Bacharach Mob Attacks
1285 C.E. Munich Jews Burned Alive
1290 C.E. England King Edward I issues an edict banishing all Jews from England. Many drowned.
1291 C.E. France The Jewish refugees from England are promptly expelled from France.
1292 C.E. Italy Forced conversions & expulsion of the Italian Jewish community.
1298 C.E. Germany The libel of the "Desecrated Host" is perpetrated against the Jews of Germany. Approximately 150 Jewish communities undergo forced conversion.
1298 C.E. Franconia, Bavaria & Austria Reindfel's Decree is propagated against the Jews of Franconia and Bavarai. Riots against these Jewish communities, as well as those in Austria, result in the massacre of 100,000 Jews over a six-month period.
1306 C.E. France Expulsion
1308 C.E. Strasbourg Jews Burned Alive
1320 C.E. Toulouse & Perpigon 120 Communities Massacred & Talmud Burned
List Continues .........
Continued......
1321 C.E. Teruel Public Executions
1328 C.E. Estella 5,000 Jews Slaughtered
1348 C.E. France & Spain Jews Burned Alive
1348 C.E. Switzerland Expulsion
1349 C.E. Worms, Strasbourg, Oppenheim, Mayence, Erfurt, Bavaria & Swabia Jews Burned Alive
1349 C.E. Heilbronn (Germany) Expulsion
1349 C.E. Hungary Expulsion
1354 C.E. Castile (Spain) 12,000 Jews Slaughtered
1368 C.E. Toledo 8,000 Jews Slaughtered
1370 C.E. Majorca., Penignon & Barcelona Mob Attack
1377 C.E. Huesca (Spain) Jews Burned Alive
1380 C.E. Paris Mob Attack
1384 C.E. Nordlingen Mass Murder
1388 C.E. Strasbourg Expulsion
1389 C.E. Prague Mass Slaughter & Book Burning
1391 C.E. Castille, Toledo, Madrid, Seville, Cordova, Cuenca & Barcelona
Forced Conversions & Mass Murder
1394 C.E. Germany Expulsion
1394 C.E. France Expulsion
1399 C.E. Posen (Poland) Jews Burned Alive
1400 C.E. Prague Stake Burnings
1407 C.E. Cracow Mob Attack
1415 C.E. Rome Talmud Confiscated
1422 C.E. Austria Jews Burned Alive
1422 C.E. Austria Expulsion
1424 C.E. Fribourg & Zurich Expulsion
1426 C.E. Cologne Expulsion
1431 C.E. Southern Germany Jews Burned Alive
1432 C.E. Savory Expulsion
1438 C.E. Mainz Expulsion
1439 C.E. Augsburg Expulsion
1449 C.E. Toledo Public Torture &. Burnings
1456 C.E. Bavaria Expulsion
1453 C.E. Franconia Expulsion
1453 C.E. Breslau Expulsion
1454 C.E. Wurzburg Expulsion
1463 C.E. Cracow Mob Attack
1473 C.E. Andalusia Mob Attack
1480 C.E. Venice Jews Burned Alive
1481 C.E. Seville Stake Burnings
1484 C.E. Cuidad Real, Guadalupe, Saragossa & Teruel
Jews Burned Alive
1485 C.E. Vincenza (Italy) Expulsion
1486 C.E. Toledo Jews Burned Alive
1488 C.E. Toledo Stake Burnings
1490 C.E. Toledo Public Executions
1491 C.E. Astorga Public Torture & Execution
1492 C.E. Spain Expulsion
1495 C.E. Lithuania Expulsion
1497 C.E. Portugal Expulsion
1499 C.E. Germany Expulsion
1506 C.E. Lisbon Mob Attack
1510 C.E. Berlin Public Torture & Execution
1514 C.E. Strasbourg Expulsion
1519 C.E. Regensburg Expulsion
1539 C.E. Cracow & Portugal Stake Burnings
1540 C.E. Naples Expulsion
1542 C.E. Bohemia Expulsion
1550 C.E. Genoa Expulsion
1551 C.E. Bavaria Expulsion
1555 C.E. Pesaro Expulsion
1556 C.E. Sokhachev (Poland) Public Torture & Execution
1559 C.E. Austria Expulsion
1561 C.E. Prague Expulsion
1567 C.E. Wurzburg Expulsion
1569 C.E. Papal States Expulsion
1571 C.E. Brandenburg Expulsion
1582 C.E. Netherlands Expulsion
1593 C.E. Brunswick Expulsion
1597 C.E. Cremona, Pavia & Lodi Expulsion
1614 C.E. Frankfort Expulsion
1615 C.E. Worms Expulsion
1619 C.E. Kiev Expulsion
1635 C.E. Vilna Mob Attack
1637 C.E. Cracow Public Torture & Execution
1647 C.E. Lisbon Jews Burned alive.
1648 C.E. Poland 1/3 of Jewry Slaughtered
1649 C.E. Ukraine Expulsion
1649 C.E. Hamburg Expulsion
1652 C.E. Lisbon Stake Burnings
1654 C.E. Little Russia Expulsion
1656 C.E. Lithuania Expulsion
1660 C.E. Seville Jews Burned Alive
1663 C.E Cracow Public Torture &. Execution
1664 C.E. Lemberg Mob Attack
1669 C.E. Oran (North Africa) Expulsion
1670 C.E. Vienna Expulsion
1671 C.E. Minsk Mob Attacks
1681 C.E. Vilna Mob Attacks
1682 C.E. Cracow Mob Attacks
1687 C.E. Posen Mob Attacks
1712 C.E. Sandomir Expulsion
1727 C.E. Russia Expulsion
1738 C.E. Wurtemburg Expulsion
1740 C.E. Liule Russia Expulsion
1744 C.E Bohemia Expulsion
1744 C.E. Livonia Expulsion
1745 C.E. Moravia Expulsion
1753 C.E. Kovad (Lithuania) Expulsion
1757 C.E. Kamenetz Talmud Burning
1761 C.E. Bordeaux Expulsion
1768 C.E. Kiev 3,000 Jews Slaughtered
1772 C.E. Russia Expulsion
1775 C.E. Warsaw Expulsion
1789 C.E. Alsace Expulsion
1801 C.E. Bucharest Mob Attack
1804 C.E. Russian Villages Expulsion
1808 C.E. Russian Countryside Expulsion
1815 C.E. Lubeck & Bremen Expulsion
1820 C.E. Bremes Expulsion
1843 C.E. Austria & Prussia Expulsion
1850 C.E. New York City 500 People, Led by Police, Attacked & Wrecked Jewish Synagogue
1862 C.E. Area under General Grant's Jurisdiction in the United States Expulsion
1866 C.E Galatz (Romania) Expulsion
1871 C.E. Odena Mob Attack
1887 C.E. Slovakia Mob Attacks
1897 C.E. Kantakuzenka (Russia) Mob Attacks
1898 C.E. Rennes (France) Mob Attack
1899 C.E. Nicholayev Mob Attack
1900 C.E. Konitz (Prussia) Mob Attack
1902 C.E. Poland Widespread Pogroms
1904 C.E. Manchuria, Kiev & Volhynia Widespread Pogroms
1905 C.E. Zhitomir (Yolhynia) Mob Attacks
1919 C.E Bavaria Expulsion
1913 C.E. Beilis Affair (Kiev Blood Libel)
1915 C.E. Georgia (U.S.A.) Leo Frank Lynched
1918 C.E. Widespread pogroms throughout Ukraine. 525 communities attacked. 60,000 Jews killed.
1919 C.E. Prague Wide Spread Pogroms
1920 C.E. Munich & Breslau Mob Attacks
1922 C.E. Boston, MA Lawrence Lowell, President of Harvard, calls for Quota Restrictions on Jewish Admission
1926 C.E. Uzbekistan Pogrom
1928 C.E. Hungary Widespread Anti-Semitic Riots on University Campuses
1929 C.E. Lemberg (Poland) Mob Attacks
1930 C.E. Berlin Mob Attack
1933 C.E. Bucharest Mob Attacks
1938-45 C.E. Europe Holocaust
1946 C.E. Kielce Pogrom
1953 C.E. Doctors’ Plot (& Soviet persecution of Jews)

Jewish persecution source:
P.E. Grosser & E.G. Halperin, Anti-Semitism: Causes and Effects, New York: Philosophical Library, 1978


Thursday, November 2, 2017

"Violent incidents" or "massacres?"

Words are important.

Please let's not use terms like "violent incident" to describe yesterday's or last month's mass-murderous rampages.

"Massacre" is more like it. A violent incident is when two drunkards getting into a fist fight at a bar.

“Violent” is an understatement. Here we are discussing horrific loss of life. Let's not take that lightly.

Also, "incident" is repugnant. Mass murders are anything but incidental. They are premeditated and planned-out well in advance. They aren't minor occurrences that are incidental to (or liable to happen as a consequence of simply) living in today's world.

“Violent incident” seems like a semantic attempt to minimize, sideline, or even trivialize an unspeakable atrocity. “Incidents” are just to be expected. Don’t be outraged, the term suggests. It’s just an isolated incident.

Well, forgive me, but I cannot help but be outraged. And it is deeply troubling that media or Facebook describes them merely as “violent incidents.”

Shall we rename other massacres of the past?

Is the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre now to be called the “S. Bartholomew’s Day violent incident?” Shall we call it the “Babi Yar violent incident” instead of massacre?

Does it have to do with numbers of victims? If that’s indeed the case, then let’s rename “Boston Massacre” and “Columbine High School massacre” too.

What occurred in San Bernadino, Las Vegas, Lower Manhattan, Orlando, Charleston, Oklahoma City, Newtown, etc., were nothing more than “violent incidents.” They just happened coincidentally.

This is not about political agendas. The point here isn't whether most perpetrators were Muslim immigrant jihadis, White Supremacists or unhinged teenagers. It's not about whether we ought to ban immigrants, guns or Home Depot rental trucks. It's about honoring innocent human lives that were senselessly lost at the hands of a depraved (or disturbed) mass murderer.

"Violent incident" sounds like an attempt at social engineering. It puts genocide on equal footing with any other garden-variety form of violence.

This expression has bothered me for years.

Here is my original article on the topic, regarding the horrific slaughter of the Fogel family and the beheading of their 10-month-old baby girl, all of which was dubbed by the media a mere "incident." In the article, I make the case that this cynical word game was eluded to in the Torah with regards to the nefarious nation of Amalek.

You can click here to read it.

Monday, September 18, 2017

More Views on Tattoos

Last year I published a blog post here entitled "No Tattoos for Jews."

Since that time, I received lots of feedback. For sake of clarity, I'd like to follow up:

My article addressed the question of someone who was considering whether to get tattooed, so I responded with a resounding NO.

However, I did not intend to state that it is forbidden for a Jew to KEEP a tattoo once it has already been inscribed. There is no such prohibition. In other words, the Torah does not obligate a tattooed person to remove his or her tattoos, even in modern times when tattoo-removal is indeed possible. That's why survivors of German concentration camps in WWII are not required to remove the numbers that the Nazis tattooed onto their arms.

Several years ago, a dear friend of mine from Massachusetts, who returned to Jewish observance in his adulthood after a somewhat tumultuous youth, once attended a synagogue in New York City. It was a large synagogue with people of strictly observant backgrounds. My friend rolled up his sleeve to don tefillin. Several young yeshiva students couldn't help but notice the prominent tattoo on his shoulder, and stared at it conspicuously.

Needless to say, my friend felt ashamed and related the incident to me later. I shared the story I had once read in a book by Hanoch Teller. A returnee to Judaism was standing in the vestibule to a men's mikva and his tattoo was exposed. Onlookers stared at him silently. An older man, a Holocaust survivor, broke the silence and showed the numbers on his forearm. "See?" he said, "I also have a tattoo."


The story is telling indeed. Just as the survivor's tattoo was a testimony to his survival of a physical Holocaust, and the baal teshuva's tattoo is a testimony to his survival of a spiritual Holocaust of sorts. It serves as a constant reminder of how distant he had been from Torah observance, and how far he's come in his return.

The fact that others might view it with disdain or contempt is irrelevant to halacha. To the contrary, it ought to encourage the baal teshuva and embolden his resolve. It indicates that his return to Torah isn't because he seeks to conform or belong, but because it is the objective truth. Even if he will stick out like a sore thumb among other Jews of lifelong observance, that does not deter his conviction. That is something for which to be proud, and it's not to say that one is necessarily proud of his tattoo. Instead, he acknowledges that the tattoo is an undesirable consequence of his distance from Torah observance in the past, yet rejoices that it has absolutely no bearing on the present. His return to G-d is complete, irrespective of the scars that remain. A Jew's bond with G-d is quintessential, inherent and unalterable. Marks or blemishes on the outer shell that is the body are merely temporary, just as the body itself is temporary.

It's wrong and foolhardy to judge someone because of his or her tattoos, just as we do not blame Holocaust survivors for their numbers. Just as the survivor's tattoo was involuntary, so too a Jew who tattooed himself or herself due to lack of education, societal pressures, or just because of the yetzer hara (evil inclination), all that is considered involuntary, against the true wishes of one's Divine soul. 

Someone recently asked me, "What can I do to atone for the transgression of having gotten a tattoo? If there is no obligation to remove it, how else can I achieve a tikkun*?"

I recommended:
  1. Reach out to fellow Jews and encourage them to increase in Torah observance, especially mitzvot that pertain to the Jewish body, like the mitzva to not get tattoos, and the mitzva of brit milah, the indelible mark that truly reflects a Jew's bond and covenant with G-d.
  2. Tattoo is called "כתובת קעקע" in the Torah, literally "sunken writing." Since one erred with a prohibited form of writing (i.e. sunken in one's flesh), perhaps the tikkun is to add special emphasis in observance of positive mitzvot that pertain to the correct type of writing. For starters, there is a commandment for each Jew to write one's own Torah scroll. This is fulfilled nowadays by purchasing your own letter in a communal Torah scroll. Another important commandment that relates to writing is mezuza. The Torah states: "וכתבתם על מזוזות ביתך ובשעריך" -- "You shall write (these words) on the doorposts of your home and on your gates." For Jewish males, there is a daily mitzva to don tefillin, which contain parchments that are carefully handwritten by a qualified scribe. Lastly, one can purchase Torah books for one's home. In addition to increasing in all these mitzvot yourself, you can also encourage and assist others to do so.
  3. Maimonides (Laws of Idol Worship, 12:11) writes that the reason for the prohibition against tattoos is related to the Torah's prohibition against idol worship. In ancient times, it was customary for idol-worshipers to tattoo themselves as a sign of commitment to their deity or object of worship, much like an animal that is branded by its owner. The Torah forbids practices that emulate pagan customs like this one, since pagan rites such as these is a first step towards subscribing to their idolatrous belief and worship. So perhaps a fitting tikkun would be the reverse, to distance oneself from the slightest notion of polytheism. This is accomplished by studying chassidut in great depth, particularly the sections that deal with belief in the Oneness of G-d. "The Gate of Unity and Faith" by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, (שער היחוד והאמונה), which is the second section of the Tanya, is a great place to start.
The above relates to tattoos in general. However, if the tattoo depicts an image of something explicitly idolatrous, immoral or licentious, then a competent rabbi should be consulted as to whether there is an obligation to get it removed or keep it covered.

Also, it should be added that modesty is a virtue, and the less skin we flaunt to others the better. So while one may not be required by Torah law to remove a tattoo on one's shoulder, let's say, there's no mitzva to expose one's shoulders in public either. To the contrary, modest attire is always praiseworthy and appropriate when in public. But that's a topic for another time...

Wishing you a sweet new year!

(Click here for my original blog post, "No Tattoos for Jews.")


* tikkun, תיקון in Hebrew, means a rectification or expiation.