Maqam Class Series: First Class – October 29th, 2013

From Michael Harari:

Dear Class,

I am truly speechless. I’ve always heard of the amazing congregants of Kol Israel, but did not imagine that I would be teaching a group of such smart, talented, and musical people, nor did I think I would be able to cover so much ground in a single class. You kept me on my toes and it seemed as though you all really grasped the important concepts.  And most enjoyable for me was to hear you all right on key when we sang Maqam Bayat together.

I am committed to sticking with you all while we all learn about Continue reading

Israeli Govt Ad Campaign

I recently came across an article in the times talking about a recent ad campaign by the Israeli government aimed at getting Israelis in America to move back home. Here is one of the videos:

These commercials seem to suggest that Israelis should move back before they assimilate too much into American culture. As you can imagine, many American Jews were angered by the implications, suggesting that they risk assimilation in America, and that they will lose their Jewish identity in America.

Here’s a quote from the ADL:

Abraham H. Foxman, the national director for the Anti-Defamation League, called the commercials, “heavy-handed, and even demeaning.” He added: “While we appreciate the rationale behind the Israeli government’s appeal to its citizens living in the U.S. to return to Israel, we are concerned that some may be offended by what the video implies about American Jewry.”

NYT Article

I personally am not offended by these advertisements, and feel that they are solely a comment on Israeli culture. To me, these commercials have nothing to do with American Jews at all and completely support efforts to encourage people to move to, or move back to Israel. But it does raise questions about Jewish identity and Jewish nationalism in the US versus Israel.

Demonstrations In Flatbush

Have a look at this video. It seems like someone from Neturei Karta incited some of the syrians demonstrating on Ocean Parkway and Avenue L today. Not sure if this is related to the car burning early on Friday morning, or something else. How would you have reacted if you were there?

Credit to FailedMessiah for the video

Questions on Noah

  1. Which particular sin sealed the fate of the flood generation?
  2. Why did Hashem tell Noach to build an ark, as opposed to saving him via some other method?
  3. The ark had three levels. What function did each level serve?
  4. What indication do we have that Noach was familiar with the Torah?
  5. Why did Hashem postpone bringing the flood for seven days?
  6. Why did the first water of the flood come down as light rain?
  7. What did people say that threatened Noach, and what did Hashem do to protect him?
  8. What grouping of creatures escaped the punishment of the flood?
  9. How deeply was the ark submerged in the water?
  10. What did the olive branch symbolize?