The scene at Hagafen Cellars after wildfires raging in Northern California burned land, vegetation and equipment, Oct. 10, 2017. (Courtesy of Hagafen Cellars)
(J. The Jewish News of Northern California via JTA) — A kosher winery in Northern California sustained widespread damage from a wildfire still raging along the southern part of the Silverado Trail in Napa County.
Ernie Weir, owner of Hagafen Cellars, the North Bay’s only kosher winery, said Wednesday that all employees are safe and the main winery building is intact, but that the fire destroyed fencing, all of the agricultural equipment, a guest house, nearly an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon vines and all of the property’s trees.
“What this all will mean for vintage 2017 is yet to be determined,” he wrote in an email. Weir said he is “reasonably certain” that the winery will be able to recover from the destruction “and continue” in business. The winery was founded in 1979.
As wildfires continue to rip through the North Bay Area, the Jewish community is reaching out to help those most affected by the devastation — including Jewish families who have been evacuated, some of whom have lost their homes.
There have been 17 confirmed deaths, dozens of injuries, and more than 2,000 homes and structures destroyed. The majority of the fatalities are from Sonoma County, where the city of Santa Rosa sustained heavy damage.
Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky of Chabad of Sonoma has been fielding calls from members of his community and with his wife, Altie, has been visiting those affected. They are making the rounds of nearby shelters that are housing people displaced by the blaze and handing out home-cooked meals.
“There are people in our community who have lost their homes, who have lost everything they have,” he told J. “We have been visiting with them, comforting them, seeing what they need, making sure everyone has proper housing.”
“A lot of Jews live in the Fountaingrove neighborhood,” he said, referring to an area of Santa Rosa that has been heavily damaged.
Congregation Beth Ami in Santa Rosa is canceling its Sukkot celebration planned for Wednesday evening, and instead will hold a healing service at 6 p.m. in the synagogue. Four member families have lost their homes in the fires, according to an email sent to the community.
Chabad of Sonoma’s Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky has been out visiting shelters, bringing food, comfort and other necessities. (Courtesy of Wolvovsky)
The B’nai Israel Jewish Center in Petaluma is holding a joint Simchat Torah celebration Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with Congregation Ner Shalom of Cotati. In an email sent to the general community, Rabbi Ted Feldman of B’nai Israel noted that several Ner Shalom families have taken shelter in the B’nai Israel building, not knowing whether their homes are still standing.
“This is a good time to bring our communities together to celebrate Simchat Torah and express our yearnings for healing in these difficult moments,” he wrote. “Even if Simchat Torah has not been on your agenda, I would propose your participation as an opportunity to help find each other’s strength as our community members struggle.”
The Jewish institution most affected so far by the wildfires was the Reform movement’s Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, where most of the buildings were reported destroyed on Monday afternoon. On Wednesday, the staff tried again to reach the property and assess the damage, but could not get near enough to tell.
“We couldn’t get within five miles of the property,” said communications director Alaina Yoakum. “The fires are still very active, and the roads are blocked.”
This Friday night, a number of congregations in the Bay Area and Los Angeles will be holding what they are calling Camp Newman Pop-Up Shabbat services.
“We told the clergy we reached out to that it can be whatever they want it to be,” Yoakum said. “Many will sing ‘Hashkivenu,’ which is about spreading a shelter of peace over us. I think that’s so beautiful, a temporary shelter of peace over the community.
“It’s a testament to the love in our community, their willingness to come together to support and help one another. I’m sure camp music will be playing this Friday in all corners of the Bay Area.”
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.