Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai, Zionism’s Sephardic Father

October 25, 2012
(EOZ) This is extraordinarily cool. From Michael Freund in JPost:

This month’s anniversary of the passing in October 1878 (4 Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar) of Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai, a Sephardi Jew from Serbia, presents an opportunity to correct the record and restore the Sephardi impact on Zionist renewal to its rightful place.
While his name may not be overly familiar to most Israelis, his intellectual legacy laid the groundwork for the modern rebirth of Israel.
Though he was born in Sarajevo in 1798, Alkalai’s formative years were spent in Jerusalem, where he delved into ancient Jewish texts and became steeped in Jewish mysticism.
At the young age of 27, he was offered the post of rabbi in the town of Zemun, which is today part of the Serbian capital of Belgrade. At the time, however, it fell within the boundaries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and straddled the border of Turkish-occupied Serbia.
[…]
Within a decade, in 1834, he produced a booklet called Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel) proposing something which at the time was considered radical: to create Jewish colonies in the land of Israel as a prelude to redemption.
In other words, Rabbi Alkalai advocated that man take action to bring about Jewish national emancipation.
This notion ran counter to conventional wisdom, which primarily believed that Jews should wait passively for Messianic deliverance.
Nonetheless, he developed the concept further, writing additional books and pamphlets and traveling throughout Europe to spread his message.
IN HIS 1845 work Minhat Yehudah, Rabbi Alkalai wrote, “In the first conquest, under Joshua, the Almighty brought the children of Israel into a land that was prepared: its houses were then full of useful things, its wells were giving water, and its vineyards and olive groves were laden with fruit. This new Redemption will – alas, because of our sins – be different: our land is waste and desolate, and we shall have to build houses, dig wells, and plant vines and olive trees.”
“Redemption,” he wrote, “must come slowly. The land must, by degrees, be built up and prepared.”
To accomplish this, Rabbi Alkalai offered novel, and highly prescient, suggestions, which included the launch of a national fund to purchase land in Israel, the convening of a “Great Assembly” to oversee Jewish national affairs, and a redoubling of efforts to revive Hebrew as a spoken language.
At a time when many Jews were beginning to despair after centuries of persecution, Rabbi Alkalai offered concrete hope.
More importantly, by highlighting practical measures that Jews could take, he empowered people throughout the Jewish world to become involved in a national act of self-redemption which would engender Divine mercy. In 1874, at the age of 76, Rabbi Alkalai and his wife made aliya, settling in Jerusalem to fulfill his life-long dream. He passed away four years later.
[…]
In one of those curious twists of fate that even the most inventive novelist could not contrive, one of Rabbi Alkalai’s faithful congregants and most ardent disciples was a man named Simon Loeb Herzl, whose grandson Theodor would later alter the course of Zionist and Jewish history.
Is it possible that Simon Loeb came home from synagogue on the Sabbath, fired up by the rabbi’s sermon about the need for Jews to head to Zion, and shared this passion with his offspring?…
“We, as a people, are properly called Israel,” he once wrote, “only in the land of Israel… Though this venture will begin modestly, its future will be very great.”

Here is a passage from one of Rabbi Alkalai’s works:

Now we pray every day: Let our eyes behold Thy return to Zion in mercy, and if we believe our own words, then upon whom will the Divine Presence become manifest? Upon the trees and the rocks?
Therefore, as the first step to the beginning of redemption of our souls we must return to the Land twenty-two thousand (Jews), the Holy One Blessed Be He to cause the Divine Presence to descend upon them. This most certainly will be followed by His showing us and all of Israel beneficial signs.
Such an idea is hinted at in the Torah: And Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem... and he bought the parcel of ground where he spread his tent. Why did Jacob buy the land if his only intention was to rest there for a time and then continue on to see his father, Isaac? It is apparent that this act was realized to teach his descendants that the redemption would come about by purchasing the land from its inhabitants. Because he bought the parcel of land it was as if he lived (permanently) on it.
More so, the redemption from Egypt brought the people of Israel to a good and spacious land, one whose wells were already dug, and whose vineyards and olive groves were already planted. Yet, because of our sins, the Land is now empty and desolate and we must, for this redemption, build the houses and dig the wells and plant the vineyards and the olive groves.

According to this article at The Jewish Agency, the town of Ohr Yehuda near Tel Aviv is named after Alkalai.


Yglesias’ strange definition of Jewish

May 27, 2011
Media_httpuploadwikim_atexgMany of the non Ashkenazi Jews I know are not as Zionist as the European ones and when they come to America they are not so much against Israel as they come to America to survive and make a buck to bring back home… what is more many really don’t want to go back to the army. It isn’t so much that they don’t support Israel, they do and they support it strongly, but they might not want to become career soldiers and coming to America is their chance at opportunity. If anything the born American European Jews have a home here and are more apt to become politically involved. I come from this background for instance and it was assumed that my political allegiance was to the left, but that was just the stereotype that people like Yglesias push. It is hard for Jews now to not support Israel, since the U.N. Goldstone Report was proven to be a fraud. there are Sephardic Jews like my father’s family who were here for hundreds of years before the Eastern European Jews started showing up. Those Sephards were loyal to George Washington, Israel did not yet exist. Jews such as Harmon Hendricks and Washington’s friend Rabbi Sextius. Other Sephardic Jews in my family would be Emma Lazarus, the poet and activist for both women’s issues and other social ills of the era. She also was a staunch Zionist. Lazarus was the fourth of seven children of Moshe Lazarus and Esther Nathan, Portuguese Sephardic Jews whose families had been settled in New York since the colonial period. She was related through her mother to Benjamin N. Cardozo, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. Her writings attracted the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He corresponded with her until his death. She argued for the creation of a Jewish homeland thirteen years before Theodor Herzl began to use the term Zionism.  In the winter of 1882, multitudes of destitute Ashkenazi Jews emigrated from the Russian Pale of Settlement to New York; Lazarus taught technical education to help them become self-supporting. Her most famous work is “The New Colossus”, which is inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Not exactly what Yglesias is talking about. I don’t think Yglesias knows WTF Yglesias is talking about.

Wondering why most Israelis don’t think like him anymore, Matt Yglesias claims that Israel is afflicted with ‘post-Jewish Zionism.’

The existence of Christian Zionists is, of course, not new. But what is new is that Israeli politics has drifted toward the hawkish right over the past ten years even as Jewish Americans remain on the progressive left. That change in Israeli politics, meanwhile, has been in part driven by a demographic shift away from the kind of secular ashkenazi Jews who predominate in the American population. At the same time, Christian Zionist sentiment has boomed in America and the Palestinian cause has never been less popular among America’s overwhelmingly non-Jewish population.
This is all part of what I’ve called the trend toward post-Jewish Zionism. That’s not to say that there are no Jewish Zionists in the United States (or Canada, etc.) but merely to observe that Jews as such are decreasingly relevant to the politics of Israel. In Europe, too, we’re seeing a boom of far-right parties (True Finns, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the Danish People’s Party) with strong pro-Israel stands.

But look at whom he is defining as ‘post-Jewish.’

Daniel Levy’s article on Israeli demographics is also relevant to this. If you’re a typical Jewish American, this is quite literally not your father’s Israel. The Palestinian, Haredi, “national Orthodox,” and Russian immigrant shares of the population have all grown substantially.

While it’s true that the Haredi, national Orthodox (by which I assume he means National Religious) and Russian immigrant (by the way, most of whom are not religious and many of whom are not Jewish at all) populations have grown, that does not explain why Israelis have become what Yglesias calls ‘hawkish right,’ nor does it explain why fewer and fewer Israelis are sympathetic to the ‘Palestinian’ cause.
The Likud gets very few Haredi votes and probably not a whole lot of National Religious votes or Russian immigrant votes either. What’s driven Israel to the right is not changing demographics but changing perceptions of the possibility of peace (without scare quotes) with the ‘Palestinians.’ Most Israelis have realized the truth over the last 6-11 years (look up those dates): That it’s not peace or a state that the ‘Palestinians’ want. It’s that they want to destroy the Jewish state. We won’t roll over and play dead for them.
Some people would call that kind of shift democracy.
And by the way, those Haredim and National Religious Jews are more Jewish (in practice) than Yglesias will ever be. I would definitely not call them ‘post Jewish.’ That’s absurd.

Matt Yglesias, at Think Progress, writes about the Daily Caller op-ed in which Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Gevalt) castigates American Jews for not being his kind of American Jew. (Next up: Joe Walsh wishes wimmin were still ladies!)
I won’t pile more on Walsh — it seems gratuitous at this stage — but Yglesias seems to have contracted Walsh’s unseemly “they’re all alike” affect in this passage:

Israeli politics has drifted toward the hawkish right over the past ten years even as Jewish Americans remain on the progressive left. That change in Israeli politics, meanwhile, has been in part driven by a demographic shift away from the kind of secular ashkenazi Jews who predominate in the American population. 

Say what? Ashkenazim have a genetic predisposition toward liberal democracy?
Let me put it this way: Vus?


The Franklin Prophecy

June 24, 2010

here is my ancestor Soloman Isaacs. 

Solomon Isaacs was related to the most powerful, respected Sephardic families in America through his marriage to Elkalah Kursheedt, granddaughter of Gershom Mendes Seixas, “The Patriot Rabbi,” and his sister Frances’s marriage to the copper magnate Harmon Hendricks. (Seixas was one of the few clergymen invited to officiate at George Washington’s inauguration and was a trustee of Columbia College.) Apprenticed to his brother-in-law, Isaacs learned all aspects of copper manufacturing, from appraising foreign metals to understanding the processes of refining and rolling. His expertise and ability to supervise engineers and mill hands led to a partnership with Hendricks, who reactivated the defunct Soho Copper Works in New Jersey. Isaacs was entrusted with Hendricks’s longstanding account with Paul Revere & Sons. The firm also supplied Robert Fulton with copper for his pioneering steamboats and the United States Navy with copper sheathing for warships.

via thejewishmuseum.org

Without my family the Revolution would not of had any metal.

so my Jewish ancestor was friends with George Washington and Paul Revere.  This painting was in my family when I was growing up.  Sol here married the granddaughter of the rabbi during the Revolution.

…but now my enemies in the Arab world are changing documented U.S. history.  BTW… Jewish geneology is well documented. 

“The Franklin Prophecy”, sometimes called “The Franklin Forgery”, is an antisemitic speech falsely attributed to Benjamin Franklin, warning of the supposed dangers of admitting Jews to the nascent United States. The speech was purportedly transcribed by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, but was unknown before its appearance in 1934 in the pages of William Dudley Pelley’s pro-Nazi weekly magazine Liberation. (Pinckney wrote that he had kept a journal of the Convention, but it has never been found, and Pelley’s claims that it was printed privately, and that the Franklin Institute has a manuscript copy, are unsubstantiated.)
Despite having been repeatedly discredited since its first appearance, the “prophecy” has proved a remarkably durable canard, returning most recently as a popular internet hoax promulgated on Usenet groups and antisemitic websites, where it is presented as authentic. On February 18, 1998, a member of the Fatah Central Committee revived this myth and mistakenly referred to Franklin as a former President of the United States.[1] Osama Bin Laden has even used this canard briefly in his October 2002 “Letter to the American People.”[2] While its author is not known, many who have investigated the “prophecy” suspect Pelley of having penned it himself.
The U.S. Congress report Anti-Semitism in Europe: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on European Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations (2004) states:

This article, which thoroughly documents the history of
the transparent fraud known as the Franklin “Prophecy”, appeared almost forty-five years ago in the April-May 1954
issue of Facts, a publication of the Anti-Defamation League. At the time, the authors wrote “This 20-year-old anti-Semitic hoax is circulating again.” Today, more than sixty-five years after it was manufactured, the “Prophecy” it is still circulating, a staple of anti-Semitic propaganda. It can be found on a number of web sites maintained by haters and hate-groups. The article is, therefore, still timely and instructive

Another anti-Semitic hoax on history, of a piece with that incredible forgery, The Protocols of The Learned Elders of Zion, but not as widely distributed nor as successful in creating the pogrom atmospheres that were the achievements of the Protocols, is a speech attributed to Benjamin Franklin during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The anti-Semitic movement, which founded the hoax, calls it the Franklin Prophecy — ascribing to Franklin a dire warning that unless Jews were expelled from the new nation by Constitutional decree they would ultimately immigrate in great numbers to the detriment of the Christian population.

Of course, no such speech was ever made. But the hoaxers sought to impart an aura of historical credibility to the fake by claiming that the speech is quoted in a “private diary” of Charles Pinckney, Revolutionary leader who was delegate from South Carolina to the Constitutional Convention. They also maintain that the diary is now in the possession of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, a bald lie which Henry Butler Allen, director of the Institute, has often refuted. Allen says that “historians and librarians have not been able to find [the diary] or any record of it having existed.”

A copy of the forgery was anonymously circulated through the mails this month [May 1954] on stationery captioned WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF. The envelope bore a May 3 postmark from Atlanta, Ga. This is the latest in a series of recent incidents that suggest another revival of the Prophecy. A copy was picked up earlier this year at a Tampa, Fla., bus stop, and there have been recent distributions of it in Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Alabama.

The Franklin “Prophecy” is a classic anti-Semitic canard that falsely claims that American statesman Benjamin Franklin made anti-Jewish statements during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. It has found widening acceptance in Muslim and Arab media, where it has been used to criticize Israel and Jews…[3]

Franklin was, in fact, a friend to the Jews of 18th-century America,[4] and contributed toward the building of Philadelphia’s first permanent synagogue.[5]
There have been similar false antisemitic quotations attributed to George Washington which have been debunked. In fact, in 1790, in a marked sign of religious tolerance, Washington sent a letter to the Jewish community in Rhode Island, writing “May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.


here are what  jewwatch.com says Benjamin Franklin said about George Washington.

“I fully agree with General Washington, that we mustprotect this young nation from an insidious influence and impenetration.The menace, gentlemen, is the Jews.
“In whatever country Jews have settled in any greatnumber, they have lowered its moral tone; depreciated its commercialintegrity; have segregated themselves and have not been assimilated;have sneered at and tried to undermine the Christian religionupon which that nation is founded, by objecting to its restrictions;have built up a state within the state; and when opposed havetried to strangle that country to death financially, as in thecase of Spain and Portugal.
“For over 1,700 years, the Jews have been bewailingtheir sad fate in that they have been exiled from their homeland,as they call Palestine. But gentlemen, did the world give it tothem in fee simple, they would at once find some reason for notreturning. Why? Because they are vampires, and vampires do notlive on vampires. They cannot live only among themselves. Theymust subsist on Christians and other people not of their race.
“If you do not exclude them from these United States,in their Constitution, in less than 200 years they will have swarmedhere in such great numbers that they will dominate and devourthe land and change our form of government, for which we Americanshave shed our blood, given our lives our substance and jeopardizedour liberty.
“If you do not exclude them, in less than 200 yearsour descendants will be working in the fields to furnish them substance, while they will be in the counting houses rubbing theirhands. I warn you, gentlemen, if you do not exclude Jews for alltime, your children will curse you in your graves.
“Jews, gentlemen, are Asiatics, let them be born wherethey will nor how many generations they are away from Asia, theywill never be otherwise. Their ideas do not conform to an American’s,and will not even thou they live among us ten generations. A leopardcannot change its spots. Jews are Asiatics, are a menace to thiscountry if permitted entrance, and should be excluded by this Constitutional Convention.”

 …every document refutes this.  Our founding fathers loved the Jewish people.  In fact Hamilton was a Jew from the Bahamas… who was probably related to Sol.  Thomas Jefferson was no Christian himself and followed a world view that was deist.  Thsee types of guys were enlightened minds.  Jefferson even read a Quran and knew exactly what kind of hate was in there so he could understand the Barbary Pirates.  There founders of America would of never said such things.