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February 23, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 23, 2018 PAGE 5.A By Rachel B. Gross SAN FRANCISCO (JTA)-- At a time when more than three-quarters of American Jews say they do not keep kosher, should we be shocked when Jews gather together and eat non-kosher food? American Jews have always gone beyond the restrictions of Jewish dietary laws, eating non-kosher (treif or trefa) food Sometimes this has been a deliberate choice. Other times it has resulted from the challenge of acquiring meat slaughtered according to Jewish ritual law and other foods consistent with the dietary requirements. Accord- ing to Pew, only 22 percent of American Jews say they keep kosher in their homes. So why was there a public outcry among some Jews fol- lowing a private networking event where non-kosher food was on the menu? After local and national news sites re- ported on last month's Trefa Banquet 2.0, a networking event for Bay Area Jews in the food industry, letters to the editor equated the event with "trampling on a Torah scroll or burning an Israeli flag," and suggested that the event would logically be fol- lowed by "mocking 'don't kill' with mass slaughter of the homeless and less fortunate." I was the keynote speaker at Trefa Banquet 2.0, a reference to the most infamous meal in American Jewish history. That historic dinner, known as the Trefa Banquet, was organized in 1883 by Reform leader Isaac Mayer Wise to celebrate the first ordination of Reform rabbis in the United States. The modern occasion was a semiannual gathering of the Illuminoshi, a"not-so-secret" group of Jewish food profes- sionals. The Illuminoshi's meeting recognized that the majority of Jews in the local food industry prepare and sell non-kosher food. For many members, this professional networking group is the only Jewish organization in which they participate. The tongue- in-cheek name Trefa Banquet 2.0 provided an opportunity for those present to learn about the occasion's historic name- sake and reflect on their own food choices and those of the broader Jewish community. As I said in my speech, the original Trefa Banquet took place in Cincinnati, Ohio, with 215 guests, including the most influential Jewish leaders in the United States and non-Jewish dignitar- ies. The elaborately printed menu featured nine courses of French dishes like pigeon "vol au vent," little neck clams and"salade of shrimp," paired with five alcoholic beverages. According to American Jewish lore, several rabbis expressed their shock at the non-kosher food placed before them, rushed from the room and immediately sped off to establish the Conservative movement, whichwould pres- ent itself as a happy medium between the stringency of Orthodoxy and the radical changes of the Reform move- ment. Although the truth is slightly less dramatic, the banquet did inspire events leading to the creation of the Conservative movement's Jewish Theological Seminary. Historians argue that the Trefa Banquet was probably not intended to be radical, but instead reflected the eating habits of Jews in the late 19th century. Many Jews would have eaten shellfish but not the more taboo-seeming pork, even though neither is kosher. Their public events, however, generally adhered to dietary law. This trend contin- ues today: Despite the highly diverse personal practices of American Jews, many Jews expect public Jewish events to be kosher. The original Trefa Banquet broke American Jewish con- vention by conforming public behavior to personal prac- tices. As reports surfaced in Jewish newspapers, descrip- tions of the event changed over time and outrage grew Wise first blamed the Jewish caterer, then later admitted that he had approved the menu. His defenders labeled his critics "ignorant fanatics" whose views were best left be- hind in Europe. An anti-Wise Jewish newspaper publisher suggested snidely that not only did Wise not know the laws of kashrut, he also did not know that one should only eat oysters in months with an R in them--accusing Wise of Food on page 15A By Sarah N. Stern (JNS)--U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made headlines on Jan. 2 by saying that President Donald Trump has decided to stop funding UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, until the Palestinians agree to come to the negotiating table. On Jan. 16, the president--on the advice of U.S. Secretary of State RexTillerson--agreed to transfer $60 million for now, as opposed to slashing all of the funding overnight. But the other $65 million of this usual installment has been held in reserve. The total amount of money paid to UNRWA by American tax- payers is approximately $370 million per year. UNRWA was established in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 to handle the Palestinian refugee problem, set up to deal with the imme- diate crisis resulting from the Israeli War of Independence. It has camps in Judea and Samaria, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. The other refugees from World War IIwere taken under the U.N. High Commission of Refugees, whose mandate calls for immediate resettle- ment in their host nations. The Arab League, however, rejected that for the Pales- tinian refugees because they wanted them to be a constant thorn in the side of the newly established Jewish state. This is the only refugee agency in the world whose mission is not for refugees to be resettled, integrated and re-entered into the workforce of their host countries, but whose mission is to instill in the minds of their population that they will one day return to their grandfathers'--or rather, great-grandfathers'- orchards and vineyards in Haifa and elsewhere. In the absence of a solu- tion to the refugee problem, UNRWA continues to redefi ne the word "refugee" to mean anyone who is a descendant of the 1948 war. Thus, from the original 700,000 refugees, UNRWA now claims to service approximately 5 million Pal- estinian refugees. This agency's conduct, although dressed in the benevolent clothing of a wel- fare agency, borders on the immoral because it implants within this population an unrealistic expectation that only serves to keeps the conflict alive. Not only does it perpetuate a psychology of victimhood, it entraps those being served into a perpetual state of poverty. Rather than getting on with their lives, they are trapped into perpetu- ally reliving a conflict that happened 70 years ago. A study of the new UNRWA textbooks, recently published by the Center for Near East Policy Research, found that for decades now, UNRWA has used textbooks that delegiti- mize and demonize the state of Israel and the presence of Jews there, and advocate for violent struggle as opposed to peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state. In fact, inside UNRWA schools are pictures of Is- rael depicted as "Palestine," posters praising the "brave shahids" (martyrs) who have killed civilians and an educa- tional curriculum consisting of constant brainwashing for a violent jihad to despise and even murder Jews, and to liberate all of "Palestine." Pageants involve children as young as 4 years old, dressed in military garb, with rifles in hand. These children are being systematically pro- gramed to die for "AI Quds" (Arabic for Jerusalem) or any other part of"Palestine." They are brainwashing an army of jihadists who keenly await the first opportunity to kill innocent civilians. This is the worst sort of child abuse and exploitation imaginable. They are con- demning these children--and any unfortunate civilian who might cross their paths--an early grave. This comes in total conflict with the U.N. General Assem- bly Resolution 54/263's own "Convention on the Rights of the Child: Optional Protocol on the Prohibition of Children in Armed Conflict," barring the use of children under the age of 15 in combat. Yet when it comes to this egregious practice, the United Nations chooses to look the other way. This directly conflicts with an institution whose very charter speaks about prac- ticing tolerance and living together with one another as good neighbors; reaffirming faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of every human person, and of all nations, great and small; establishing condi- tions for justice and respect for international treaties; and employing international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples. How these UNRWA camps and their hate-infested educa- tional system can be an agency of the United Nations, with its lofty founding principles, continues to baffle me. Given the deeply en- trenched institutional biases of the United Nations against Israel, we can expect that UNRWA will soon find other donors. But that doesn't mean that the United States, which had by far been the largest donor nation, has to continu- ously foot the bill. The American taxpayer has other priorities than continu- ing to fund this corrupt and hypocritical agency. Sarah N. Stern is founder and president of the En- dowment for Middle East Truth, an unabashedly pro- American and pro-Israel think tank and policy shop in Washington, D.C. an mlso a pass aln By Stephen M. Flatow (JNS)--A senior Palestin- ian Authority official this week declared that "Nikki Haley needs to shut up." He's referring to the U.S. perma- nent representative to the United Nations. Ifa represen- tative of any other regime had used such language against a female American diplomat, feminists everywhere would be up in arms--and rightly so. But for some reason, Pal- estinian misogyny gets a pass. The P.A.'s Saeb Erekat made his ugly remark aboutAmbas- sador Haley in an interview with the Palestinian website A1-Watan Voice on Feb. 3. It came soon after another mi- sogynistic remark, this time by P.A. chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who told the Palestin- ian Central Council on Jan. 14 that Haley "wears high heels not for elegance, but to use to hit anyone who attacks Israel." If anybody thinks that all these hostile remarks about women are somehow a response to the Trump administration, think again. The Palestinian leadership's practice of making demand- ing remarks about female U.S. diplomats has been going on for years. When Condoleezza Rice was secretary of state, an of- ficial P.A. newspaper, A1-Hayat Al-Jadida, called her (on June 23, 2002) "the dark-complex- ioned lady," "the Black Lady" and "this pitiful woman." On Nov. 3 of that year, A1-Hayat AI-Jadida railed against Rice for "her loose way of sitting, when she puts one leg on top of the other." The writer then alluded to Bill Clinton's af- fair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Another official P.A. news- paper, A1-Ayyam, referred to Rice (on June 22, 2003) as a "black widow," a "single black lady" and a"black raven," and patronizingly compared her to African-American super- model Naomi Campbell. The P.A.'s problem with women is not limited to Re- publicans. In its Oct. 3, 1997 issue, Al-Hayat A1-Jadida's editor in chiefdenouncedArab leaders whom, he said, "would have sung love songs'to then- Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "were it not for her advanced age and the fact that she has passed her prime." Imagine the reaction if an American or an Israeli official declared that some female Pai- estinian representative"needs to shut up" or"has a loose way of sitting" or "has passed her prime." Angry denunciations would flood the op-ed page of The New York Times. The U.N. Security Council would meet in urgent session. J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace would issue fiery press releases. Yet for some reason, the "feminists" in the Jewish peace camp have said nothing about the Palestinian leader- ship's latest verbal abuse of a female American diplomat. At least they're consistent, I suppose. After all, J Street and Jew- ish Voice for Peace were silent when female candidates in the last P.A. municipal elec- tions were prevented by the P.A. from putting their own names on the ballots. The P.A. authorities listed them only as "sister of" or "the wife of." And they were silent when the Palestinian women's rights group TAM reported that 18 Palestinian Arab women were murdered in "honor killings" in 2016. ("Honor killings" are homi- cides in which men murder female relatives whom they suspect of violating Islamic fundamentalist morals, such as premarital relations, dress- ing "provocatively" or being seen in the company of an unauthorized male.) And they were silent when Amnesty International re- ported that women and girls living under P.A. rule during the past year "continued to face discrimination in law and in practice, and were in- adequately protected against sexual and other violence, including so-called 'honor' killings." True peace will come to the Middle East only when the Palestinian Authority adopts democracy, pluralism and tolerance, including an end to its mistreatment of women. Instead of harassing Israel to make more concessions, J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace should be campaign- ing to reform the Palestinian Authority. Is this asking too much? Palestinian misogyny Dry Bones should be no more accept- able than any other kind of misogyny. Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestin- ian terrorist attack in 1995.