Showing posts from December, 2015

Uniting Church, Jesus and Palestinians

A blog written by MICHAEL VAN DER GALIEN came across my screen tonight. It's here In this piece Van Der Galien affirms that Jesus was in fact a Jew, and that he was not in modern terms a Palestinian. He even cites Peter Wertheim who as executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry sent a letter asking for help from the Uniting Church, Australia's third largest Protestant denomination. Wertheim is quoted as writing,

"The proposition that Jesus was a Palestinian and that the Palestinian Arab population of today are his “living descendants” is so absurd and offensive that it deserves an immediate and substantive rebuttal."

In response the Uniting Church president Stuart McMillan wrote a general letter to the public saying,
"I would like to assure you and the Jewish community that the Uniting Church does not accept the view that Jesus was Palestinian. We affirm that Jesus and most of his early followers were Jewish. We note that Jesus was born…

Explosives and Australia

New Years Eve is just a day away and all eyes will be on Sydney's Harbour Bridge and fireworks extravaganza. Each year the projections climb about the numbers of people who will be watching either or both of the 9 pm or the midnight shows. Another million will be at the foreshore and millions around the country and around the world will see the scenes of fireworks up and down the Parramatta River. It will be a jubilant and festive time.

Today though is Wednesday 30 December and many in Melbourne awoke to news of a tragic explosion near Altona on the Princess Freeway. The news of this explosion is not festive or jubilant at all. Two teenage boys are dead and questions are still flooding in about the causes of the accident. We are up to 256 dead nationally in this holiday period. Hardly a holiday.

That's not all the bad news from Melbourne. In Footscray yesterday a gas tank exploded being carried in the back of a truck and killed the driver which then sent his truck into a num…

The coin toss and the captain who chooses

The coin flip at the beginning of overtime in today's New England Patriots vs New York Jets is controversial. Not that the coin landed on its side. The call by special teams captain Matthew Slater #18 may have been the weirdest call in history. I watched the replay several times. Referee Clete Blakeman said after Slater chose 'heads' and it landed 'heads', "You want to kick?" And then the response by Slater was almost parroting. "We want to kick" When Slater argued "We won, don't we get to choose?" it appeared that Slater tried to fix things, but Blakeman wouldn’t let him. The commentators wondered if it was 'muscle memory' as the Patriots often when winning the toss at a game's beginning will choose to defer/ kick and take the kickoff at the 2nd half. This whole ending was odd.

Right now, there is discussion in cricket to scrap the tradition of the coin toss, and when we say 'tradition' we are talking sinc…

Can we say "Christmas"? In public?

I check snopes so often it's not funny. Here's the one I check this time of year from Jewish actor Ben Stein and his confessions for the holidays . He says, "I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are — Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they're slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we're all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year." This is in reaction to the overreaction of so many to the "Christ" references in the holiday celebrated by Christians and with his obvious commitments to the Jewish religion.

Down in Victoria, the education guidelines are hardly clear. In fact the guidelines could have been drawn by a primary school kid with a new crayon. Here is the article by The Age reporter Henrietta Cook . She reports, "State school students can sing Christmas carol…

Can an airline really do this?

Apparently this whole thing is legal. I'm shocked. And saddened. It's that Kuwait Airlines will not allow people of a country they don't like fly on their airplanes. What? This sounds like something from another era, but not in 2015. But read this article from the New York Post here

Yes, the airlines which now no person of good will should ever fly, has admitted that Israelis cannot fly on their planes. How dare they!

This from Wikipedia
"Kuwait Airlines was accused of discriminating against holders of Israeli passports, for refusing in 2013 and 2014 to sell tickets from New York to London to people holding such passports.

In response, Senator Richard Blumenthal, along with five other USA senators, wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in May 2015 urging him to investigate the allegations. In October 2015, at the conclusion of an investigation, the US Department of Transportation issued Kuwait Airways an order to “cease and desist from refusing …

'Twas the Friday before Christmas... (around the JFJ Book Shop)

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore: (And with 18% off all day Friday in mind)

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the shop
all the creatures were stirring, especially Bob.
The stock list was read by the staff with great care,
in hopes that the customers soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their prams,
while mothers drank lattes swirled in cups in their hands.
And James with his coffee, and I at the till,
had just settled the latest purchaser's bill.

"Now Rosen! Now Brickner!
Now, Levitt and Mike Brown!
On, Rosenthal, Cahn And Edersheim's down!
To the cards and DVDs!
To the music on the wall!
Now sale away! Sale away!
The [18% off] sale's on for you all!"

We spoke out The Word, this is truly our work,
and filled all the orders, then turned with a jerk.
And prayed up to Heaven, sweet smell in God's nose,
and giving His nod, in a moment we rose.

We sprang to our friends, the whole team gave a whistle,


This may seem an odd blog, but we want to let you know that THIS FRIDAY, 18 December in Sydney at our book shop, we are selling EVERYthing in the shop at 18% off. 18 on 18 The address is 257 Oxford Street, across the street from where we used to be for 9 years, and where we have been for 18 months already. We are 100 metres from the BEACH end of Westfield and if you take the bus or train, we are less than 5 minutes from the Bondi Junction interchange. We open at 7 am and close at 5:30 pm this week... see you for GREAT deals all day. This includes books by Fruchtenbaum and Katz, Rosen and Brickner, while supplies last. Jewish holidays, the Feasts of the Lord, books on Israel and the Holocaust, even classical Hebrew studies.

Also every candle and oil, all the CDs and DVDs, EVERYTHING is on sale. We welcome you and your mates. Tis the season to buy gifts; why not get a godly gift to give? Y tenemos libros y discos en español también!

On the 6th day of Hanukkah...

We are more than halfway through the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and maybe this Vox Pop with Jewish people from a few years ago says what you think about the holiday. YouTube 2009. But then maybe it's more about sitting at a table and eating like some think on this one from THIS year says it better VoxPop2015 .

But then again, it's possible that you haven't really pondered the real story of Hanukkah. This quick synopsis might help.

Jews were not very significant in the world of 168 BCE and the real powers in the Middle East were the Syrian/Greeks and the Egyptians. They used what we call Israel as a venue for fighting. Who wants to fight in their own backyard? The Syrians were the dominant force. One day they came into Jerusalem and desecrated the Jewish Holy Temple with idols set up to the Seleucid king Antiochus IV and also with sacrificing of a pig. Doubly bad! Judah Maccabee and his little family stood up and asked for volunteers to withstand the Greeks and to wage …

Who are Messianic Jews?

In the wake of the tragic shooting in San Bernardino, literally thousands of articles have emerged about one of the victims, Nicholas Thalasinos. Those reports have identified Thalasinos as a Messianic Jew. They also say that he got into heated discussions about the nature of Islam with co-worker Syed Farook, who authorities say carried out the attack along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

New York Daily News columnist Linda Stasi is now saying that Thalasinos shares the blame for the attack because of strongly-worded posts on his Facebook page.

In a balanced and informative article today, Jewish Telegraphic Agency [JTA] writer Uriel Heilman noted that Thalasinos was actually a “Gentile supporter of Israel.” He noted that “Thalasinos apparently identified as a messianic Jew, but not as Jewish.” As recently as September, Thalasinos wrote to a friend, “As a gentile who loves HaShem, I know my place is to support Israel and the Jewish people.”

We mourn the death of all fourteen victims…

Rabbi Heir and Jesus...which one is true?

I've been watching YouTube videos for the last few days, not trolling, but amazed at what my computer recommends for me to see. On Larry King Live, a CNN TV interview show, Larry often entered religious considerations and especially the "who goes to heaven" debate. On this episode Larry King is interviewing several religionists including Rabbi Marvin Heir, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Larry at the 35 minute mark asks Rabbi Heir who he thinks Jesus is. The rabbi's answer is fascinating.

Larry: "How do you view Jesus, rabbi?"
Heir: "I would say that Jesus was a great teacher. I do not believe that he was divine. I do not believe that he was the son of God."

Here's a problem, Rabbi Heir. The 'great teacher' actually taught that he was divine and that he was the Son of God. So here's the rub... can a man be a great teacher and a liar? Can a man be considered great and fool billions of people over c…

Is it time to share what I believe?

One reader asks, “You want me to talk to Mr. Goldberg….about Jesus? And during Christmas?”

In October, Myer and David Jones began to feature Santa themes throughout their stores. It’s hard to miss the rush of the silly season and the requisite purchasing. Holidays in view are Hanukkah, Deepavali, and Christmas, each of which reminds us to spend so that people can be fulfilled. The madness compounds and money tightens whilst wallets splurge. All to say—capitalism rages.

150 years ago Christmas was a quiet holiday without all the spending. Similarly, Hanukkah was a very minor holiday for Jewish people. The holiday celebrates the military victory of the few (the Maccabees) over the Syrian-Greeks and their leader Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BCE. There is a legend of a small amount of holy oil lasting eight times its usual, lasting long enough to allow a new batch to be produced before it ran out. Hanukkah means “dedication” and represents the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerus…