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Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority

October 24th, 2014

TruthRevoltOriginals, October 15, 2014

Ben Shapiro takes on Ben Affleck and the myth that only a tiny minority of Muslims worldwide are radical.

Christian Mother of Five Death Sentence for Blasphemy Upheld by Pakistani Court

October 22nd, 2014

The Christian Post
By Stoyan Zaimov, October 17, 2014

Protesters demand release of Asia Bibi, in Lahore, Pakistan, November 21, 2010.

Protesters demand release of Asia Bibi, in Lahore, Pakistan, November 21, 2010.

The death sentence of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman and mother of five children, was upheld by the Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Thursday. Bibi has been convicted of blasphemy for drinking from the same bowl of water as Muslims and making derogatory comments about the prophet Muhammad.

“The case against Asia Bibi is a great example of how Christians and other religious minorities are abused in Pakistan by fundamentalists wielding the controversial blasphemy laws. The blasphemy laws were originally written to protect against religious intolerance in Pakistan, but the law has warped into a tool used by extremists and others to settle personal scores and persecute Pakistan’s vulnerable religious minorities,” said International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark.

“Sadly, the vast majority of blasphemy accusations brought against Christians and others are false. Unfortunately, pressure from Islamic radical groups and general discrimination against Christians in Pakistan has transformed trial courts and now appeals courts into little more than rubber stamps for blasphemy accusations brought against Christians, regardless of the evidence brought to bear in the case.”

Bibi was sentenced in 2010 following an incident in 2009 where she was harvesting berries with a group of Muslim women in Sheikhupura. The Muslim women accused her of drinking from the same water bowl as them, which was considered unclean as she is a Christian. Following an argument, the women went to a local cleric and told him that Bibi had blasphemed against Islam.

BBC News noted that the sentencing sparked global condemnation from several human rights groups, who criticized Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws. ICC and other critics of these laws say that they are often used to settle personal scores and unfairly target minorities, especially Christians.

Bibi’s appeal hearing was initially scheduled to take place on March 17, but was delayed and rescheduled, before finally taking place on Thursday. The Christian mother’s lawyers have said that they will take the case to the country’s Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim was spared the death penalty and allowed to go free by the court in Sudan, after having initially been found guilty of refusing to identify as a Muslim and for marrying her Christian husband. Ibrahim’s freedom was won in part thanks to a huge international campaign that petitioned for her release, which included pressure on Sudan from several American politicians, such as Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Israeli prof.: US lagging behind on Ebola precautions

October 18th, 2014

Times of Israel
By Times of Israel Staff and AP, October 17, 2014

Screening passengers using infrared cameras is a no-brainer, says BGU’s Leslie Lobel, who has been working on cure for a decade.

Emergency crews stand next to a plane, carrying 163 people, at the Madrid Airport, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. An Air France plane was isolated at Madrid's airport on Thursday because of a suspected Ebola case after a passenger was reported to have a fever and shivers, officials said. (Photo credit: AP/Antoni Manchado)

Emergency crews stand next to a plane, carrying 163 people, at the Madrid Airport, Spain, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. An Air France plane was isolated at Madrid’s airport on Thursday because of a suspected Ebola case after a passenger was reported to have a fever and shivers, officials said. (Photo credit: AP/Antoni Manchado)

The airport screening of passengers for Ebola using infrared cameras to detect temperatures is a simple, obvious precautionary measure, said an Israeli expert in the field.

According to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Professor Leslie Lobel, “the world has been asleep for 50 years regarding infectious diseases and Ebola is the wake-up call.”

Lobel is a world-recognized virologist who has studied the virus and others emanating from the African continent.

“Fifty years ago, we were dealing with eradicating polio, smallpox and yellow fever which had similarly high mortality rates. Today, most of the world seems to understand the need to screen passengers in airports using infrared cameras for elevated temperature as a simple precaution — the US is lagging behind,” said Dr. Lobel.

Dr. Leslie Lobel in the lab

Dr. Leslie Lobel in the lab. (photo credit: Dani Machlis/Courtesy Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)

The American-Israeli professor has been researching a cure for hemorrhagic fever viruses, including Ebola, for a decade, the university said in a press release.

The US and other countries started implementing screenings at airports earlier this month, weeks after the outbreak began in West Africa.

On Friday, Israeli officials conducted an Ebola identification training exercise at Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv.

As part of the drill, officials administered first aid and evacuated anybody with a high temperature — and who arrived from countries where the Ebola virus is active — to the Sheba Medical Center, near Tel Aviv, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

A meeting of top Health Ministry officials decided this week that should any Ebola cases be detected in Israel, they will be quarantined and treated either at Sheba or at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a conference call Thursday to review the exercise procedures with Health Minister, Yael German; Health Ministry director, Prof. Arnon Afek; and director general of Ben Gurion Airport, Shmuel Zakai.

Netanyahu ordered increased preparations at all points of entry into the country, including taking the temperature of travelers arriving from affected areas in West Africa.

Earlier Friday, the World Health Organization admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

Hamas Threatens Jews to Leave Israel — Or Else

October 15th, 2014

Arutz Sheva
By Dalit Halevy and Tova Dvorin, October 12, 2014

“We will not keep you [Jews] in our country,” Hamas political official warns, ahead of Cairo conference.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza

Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Flash 90

Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya insisted that Hamas “would not abandon its weapons” on Saturday, boasting that the group is allegedly closer to defeating “the Israeli entity and its leaders” more than ever.

“We say to those who brought the Jews [to Israel] from all over the world, we are now confident and believe more than ever in the implementation of the promise of Allah – that we will not keep you [Jews] in our country,” Al-Haya threatened. “The option available to you is to leave the country for its native residents [Palestinian Arabs].”

Al-Haya added, in this context, that Hamas is “paving the way” for the success of the Palestinian “unity government,” noting that Sunday’s talks for international aid for Gaza in Cairo legitimizes the terror group politically and proves that war works.

He expressed confidence that the process of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip will be accelerated due to the conference, and that the “armed resistance” is not a burden, but rather a boon to the Palestinian Arab PR war on Israel.

Hours earlier, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri threatened to wage war against Israel once again, unless the international community forcibly intervened in Israel’s foreign policies to remove travel and import restrictions on the terror government.

“If the international community wishes that the situation will not blow up again, it must step in and resolve the situation and handle it through a real and serious removal of the siege,” Abu Zuhri stated.

This is not the first time that the Palestinian Arab world has threatened Jews – publicly and in official media – with exile or even death.

In May, Hamas threatened the wide Jewish world with genocide pledging to kill immigrants to Israel in a cartoon published in its official Palestine (Arabic: Falastin) daily. The publication was later among many shut down by the Israeli government.

The Jews can save Columbus Day

October 14th, 2014
Rabbi Barbara Aiello is the first woman and first non-orthodox rabbi in Italy.

Rabbi Barbara Aiello is the first woman and first non-orthodox rabbi in Italy.

The Times of Israel
Blog post by Barbara Aiello, October 11, 2014

“In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-Two…”

Everyone can finish the first line of the famous poem with “Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

The Columbus poem, whose official title is “The History of the U. S.,” was written by Winifred Sackville Stoner, Jr., a child prodigy whose mother pioneered the Natural Education Movement, an innovative pedagogy designed to make learning fun. Using rhyming couplets to remember important facts, little Winnie, Jr. penned the poem whose first two lines almost any American can recite.

But it’s not just Winnie’s poem that celebrates the famous explorer. Columbus Day was celebrated unofficially as early as the 18th century and finally became a federal holiday in 1937. Yet even though the poem ends with the disclaimer, “The first American? No, not quite. But Columbus was brave, and he was bright,” a number of groups nationwide want the holiday abolished. Some would like to deep six Columbus Day and replace it with one that recalls that Native Americans were here first and didn’t need discovering, thank you very much.

Anthony J. Baratta, National President of the Order of the Sons of Italy in America feels differently. In a recent memo to OSIA members Baratta writes, “More than five hundred years ago, a strong man with an unmistakably Italian name took a world divided in half and made it whole. When Cristoforo Colombo crossed a huge, dark ocean, he joined the Old World of Europe to the New World of what was to become America. His voyage changed the world forever.”

Opponents would agree but not for the same reasons. For example, Nadra Kareem Nittle, in an article “The Argument Against Columbus Day,” writes “…the Italian explorer’s arrival in the New World ushered in genocide against indigenous peoples as well as the transatlantic slave trade.” Nittle and others feel the holiday should be abolished.

So as the argument rages on, I propose a solution. Since Columbus was most likely an Italian Jew, organizations that represent these two minorities could join forces and celebrate Columbus for the hero that he was — an Italian Jewish explorer whose devotion to Judaism impacted lives and saved many.

Yes, Columbus was Jewish.

In a 2012 CNN opinion piece, Charles Garcia summarizes what historians had long suspected and recently corroborated — that Cristobol Colon` was a secret Jew, a maranno, who worked to save his fellow Jews from the horrors of persecution brought on by the Inquisition authorities who were determined to rid Spain of its Jewish population.

Garcia tells us that, according to Spanish historians and scholars, among them Jose Erugo, Celso Garcia de la Riega and Otero Sanchez, along with British historian, Cecil Roth and linguistics expert Estelle Irizarry, Columbus wrote and spoke in Castilian Spanish or Ladino that was the “Yiddish” of 15th century Spanish Jews. Columbus used Hebrew words and phrases in his correspondence, among them a Hebrew blessing meaning “with God’s help,” that most Spanish Jews used as well.

But it was Columbus’ actions that merit the most praise. At the time that he set sail, Jews routinely suffered horrible persecutions at the hands of the authorities of the Spanish Inquisition. Under threat of arrest and torture, Jews were forced to accept Christian conversion. Those who refused were often rounded up, driven to the center of town, tied to posts and burned alive. Thousands were driven from Spain after their homes were looted their businesses burned and their livelihood destroyed.

In his book, “Sails of Hope,” Simon Wiesenthal wrote about Columbus’ motivation for his voyages. Ironically, Wiesenthal writes that Columbus ultimately wanted to stem the tide of Jewish genocide by finding a safe haven for his Jewish brothers and sisters.

October 12, 1492 is important for two reasons. Obviously that was the day that Columbus set sail. What is not as well known is that October 12, 1492 was also the exact same date that Spanish Jews were, by law, given the choice of accepting forced conversion, leaving Spain or, if they remained they could be arrested, tortured and eventually killed.

Charles Garcia concludes that “As we witness bloodshed the world over in the name of religious freedom, it is valuable to take another look at the man who sailed the seas in search of such freedoms — landing in a place that would eventually come to hold such an ideal at its very core.”

I agree. Columbus Day can be saved and given this man’s remarkable history, it seems that we Italian Jews are uniquely positioned to do just that.

German Nationals Join Kurdish Army Fighting ISIL – video

October 14th, 2014

Genuinely Moderate Moslems
MEMRI.org

In late September, France 24 TV aired a report (posted below) about German Kurds returning to Iraq in order to join the Peshmerga forces fighting ISIL. According to the report, hundreds of European Kurds have already joined the fighting. The following is a transcript of the video.

Reporter: “When the sun goes down, the Peshmerga patrols return to base. Hussein and Lukman resemble the other fighters, but their story is different. They are Germans who came here three months ago to fight the Islamic State [in Syria and the Levant (ISIL)].

“50-year-old Lukman lived for 19 years in Germany where he worked as a truck driver. His wife and five children stayed behind in Munich.”

Lukman: “We heard that the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State was attacking our brothers. That’s why I decided to return and fight them. Many have returned (to fight), not only from my city, but from Cologne as well. Two of our men were killed in the town of Jalawla.”

Reporter: “Hussein Muhammad is from Cologne. Leaving behind his Kurdish orchestra, he exchanged his violin for a rifle. These two men both have battle experience. At the beginning of the 1990s, they fought in the Peshmerga against the Iraqi forces commanded by Saddam Hussein.

“Lukman shows us gruesome pictures – which we cannot show here – of corpses of ISIS fighters, which he took himself. He also shows us the explosives that awaited him and his comrades in a village.”

Lukman: “Look at the mines and explosives that they left in a village we attacked. The engineers managed to defuse them.”

Reporter: “Hundreds of European Kurds have returned to fight here. Another group awaits its turn.”

Hussein Muhammad: “Thank God [Allah] for the modern media in Germany, which enabled us to follow events here in real-time. We get calls every day from young men still in Germany asking how to get here to join us in battle. They are ready and willing to defend Kurdistan.”

Reporter: “When night falls, it is time to relax. Another day has gone by for Lukman and Hussein, who say that they will not return to Germany until the war is over.”

THE VIDEO
German Nationals Join Kurdish Army Fighting ISIS
France 24 Arabic TV (France) – September 28, 2014 – 02:22 (#4522)

Israeli Leader Says Iran Nuclear Program, Islamic State Twin Threat

October 13th, 2014

The Wall Street Journal
By Laurence Norman and Joshua Mitnic, September 29, 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Warns Focus on Tehran’s Nuclear Program Is Blurred by Islamic State

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a photo said to be of a Hamas rocket as he addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a photo said to be of a Hamas rocket as he addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said defeating the radical group Islamic State but allowing Iran to move to the brink of nuclear weapons would be akin to losing the war against Islamic extremism.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Netanyahu equated Islamic State, also known as ISIS, with Hamas, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Iranian regime and al Qaeda.

“The Islamic Republic is now trying to bamboozle its way to an agreement that will remove the sanctions it still faces and leave it with a capacity of thousands of…centrifuges to enrich uranium. This would effectively cement Iran’s place as a threshold military nuclear power,” he said.

Israeli PM has berated world leaders who condemned Israel for the conflict with Hamas, while praising the U.S. president for attacking Islamic State. WSJ’s Mark Kelly reports

“Make no mistake—ISIS must be defeated,” he said. “But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle but to lose the war.”

Iran is negotiating a comprehensive nuclear agreement with six powers to constrain its nuclear activities in exchange for a phased lifting of sanctions.

Tehran, which has been supporting the Syrian regime and the Iraqi government in their fight against Islamic State, denies it is seeking nuclear arms.

Mr. Netanyahu and Israeli officials have expressed concern in recent weeks that Western powers will make concessions to Iran in talks to gain its support in the battle against Islamic State.

The six-power group—the U.S., Germany, France, the U.K., Russia and China—have already accepted that Tehran should have some kind of future uranium enrichment program. In recent weeks, they have floated solutions to Iran, according to Western diplomats, which could leave some additional centrifuges in place but remove the infrastructure that makes them work.

U.S. officials have insisted any agreement must significantly lengthen the time it would take Iran to obtain enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.

Israel has long demanded a solution that would leave Iran with no enrichment capacity and without the infrastructure of a nuclear program.

The international community shouldn’t be “fooled by Iran’s manipulative charm offensive,” Mr. Netanyahu warned.

“Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charms and all the smiles will suddenly disappear. And it’s then that the ayatollahs will show their true face,” he said.

“There’s only one responsible course of action to address this threat: Iran’s nuclear capabilities must be fully dismantled.”

Mr. Netanyahu argued that Islamic State, Iran, and the Palestinian militant group Hamas should all be considered part of the same “indivisible” threat of extremist Islam, which he said aims to spread throughout the globe like a “cancer.”

Turning to Hamas and Israel’s recent war with the Islamist rulers of Gaza, he lashed out at the United Nations Human Rights Council, which recently commissioned an inquiry into allegations of war crimes by the Israeli army. Holding up a poster-size picture purporting to show rocket launchers near Gaza children, he charged that the U.N. body was ignoring violations committed by Hamas, making it a “terrorist rights council.”

The picture reflected Israel’s repeated allegations that Hamas shielded its weapons and fighters in civilian areas of Gaza during the war.

With peace negotiations with the Palestinians mothballed since the breakdown of U.S.-mediated talks in May, Mr. Netanyahu suggested that pushing rapprochement between Israel and pro-Western Arab states could serve as a new paradigm.

“Many have long assumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace would facilitate a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world. But these days I think it may work the other way around,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

“Namely that a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace. And that to achieve that peace, we must not only look to Jerusalem and Ramallah, but to Cairo, Amman, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh and elsewhere.”

The overture to the Arab world echoed Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks during Israel’s fight with Hamas that the conflict had opened new possibilities for cooperation and even a “diplomatic horizon” with other countries in the region opposed to the militant Islamist rule of Gaza.

However, such a development would require Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to depart from their long-standing practice of shunning open normalization of ties with Israel before progress is made with the Palestinians.

Egypt was the only Arab state to make peace with Israel with no progress on Israeli-Palestinian ties.

Mr. Netanyahu’s proposal to overhaul Israeli-Arab peacemaking efforts mirrors an initiative for a peacemaking overhaul by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

During a strongly worded address to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, Mr. Abbas called on the Security Council to impose a deadline for talks on the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza—an effort to pressure Israel on withdrawal and a step away from U.S.-led mediation.

Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said Mr. Netanyahu’s outreach to Arab countries was an effort to sidestep the need for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Ms. Ashrawi added such a move would mean “buying more time to create facts that will destroy the chances of peace for the foreseeable future.”

Mr. Abbas accused Israel of waging a “war of genocide” in Gaza. He said Israel had committed war crimes during the seven-week conflict and warned that without a clear timeline for talks in place, there was little point in resuming peace talks.

Mr. Netanyahu responded on Monday to Mr. Abbas by calling the allegations “shameless.”

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Mr. Abbas’ remarks were “counterproductive” and included “offensive characterizations” of Israel.

Satellite photos reveal massive damage at suspected Iran nuke facility

October 11th, 2014

Times of Israel
By Times of Israel staff and AFP, October 8, 2014

After Monday’s mysterious blast at secretive Parchin plant east of Tehran, images show collapse of some buildings on the site

2004 satellite image of the military complex at Parchin, Iran (photo credit: AP/DigitalGlobe - Institute for Science and International Security)

2004 satellite image of the military complex at Parchin, Iran (photo credit: AP/DigitalGlobe – Institute for Science and International Security)

Following Monday’s mysterious blast at a suspected Iranian nuclear facility east of Tehran, satellite imagery obtained by Israel’s Channel 2 and Israel Defense magazine Wednesday claimed to show extensive damage at the site.

Images of the facility taken Tuesday, a day after the reported explosion which killed at least two people at the secretive Parchin plant, showed that several buildings at the location sustained heavy damage and some even collapsed, Channel 2 reported.

The photos “clearly show damage consistent with an attack against bunkers in a central locality within the military research complex at the Parchin military compound,” Israel Defense wrote.

The images were taken by the French satellite Pleiades the morning following the blast, the source of which remains unknown.

Screenshot from Israel Defense showing satellite images of the Parchin site east of Tehran before and after Monday’s explosion at the suspected nuclear facility on October 8, 2014.

Screenshot from Israel Defense showing satellite images of the Parchin site east of Tehran before and after Monday’s explosion at the suspected nuclear facility on October 8, 2014.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported Monday that the explosion occurred at a defense ministry plant east of Tehran for the production of explosives.

The Defense Industries Organisation, quoted by IRNA, said the fire broke out at the plant on Sunday night but it gave no further details.

The BBC, citing a report from the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), reported on Monday that the incident happened in an “explosive materials production unit” at the site south-east of the capital Tehran.

According to ISNA, the blast was so powerful it shattered windows up to 12 kilometers away and the glare from the explosion lit up the night sky.

Several arms facilities and military bases are located east of the Iranian capital, including Parchin. UN nuclear inspectors have been seeking to visit the site to answer concerns about Iran’s atomic program.

The base lies at the center of allegations of past Iranian research into sophisticated explosives that can be used to detonate a nuclear warhead.

Tehran, which has denied inspectors access to Parchin since 2005, insists its nuclear program is for purely civilian uses. Israel and the West fear Iran is seeking to attain nuclear weapons.

In August Iran reiterated that it will not allow IAEA inspectors to visit the site.

Sukkot: History of a Jewish Harvest Festival

October 8th, 2014

International Business Times
By Katie Spicer, October 8, 2014

Etrog, silver etrog box and lulav, used on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Gilabrand (Wikipedia Commons)

Etrog, silver etrog box and lulav, used on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Gilabrand (Wikipedia Commons)

Sukkot, an important Jewish festival known for rejoicing and celebrating life, begins on 8 October and will continue for the next eight days.

Sukkot was originally a Jewish harvest festival, sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif. However, over time it was given a new significance to commemorate the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the desert and living in temporary shelters.

The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which usually varies between late September and early October, and five days after Yom Kippur. It then lasts for seven days within Israel and for eight days for those in diaspora (those outside Israel), with no work permitted on the first two days.

The festivals of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah immediately follow, and are considered to be connected to the spiritual aspects of Sukkot, yet separate festivals in their own right. Within Israel, they are celebrated on the same day, and outside Israel, on two separate days.

Sukkot is also one of three pilgrimage festivals known as Shalosh Regalim, along with Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), when the Israelites would make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.

History

The original purpose of Sukkot is believed to be a harvest festival. It is commonly referred to in the bible as the ‘festival of ingathering’, meaning harvest, and probably evolved from ancient agricultural and religious practices.

The holiday’s new significance came from the story of the Israelites, when they were released from slavery and began the Exodus from Egypt, to find their new homeland.

The story, taken from the book of Leviticus, states that God gave the command to Moses that his people should build sukkahs, small shelters covered in plant materials (of which Sukkot is the plural).

“On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook,” it states.

“You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt”.

On their journey, the Jewish people had a pillar of cloud to protect them during the day from the sun, and a pillar of fire to guide them at night.

It is believed the story of the Israelites’ journey became part of Sukkot, when the tabernacle, the mobile sanctuary that Moses built for the Ark of the Covenant, arrived in Jerusalem during the month of Sukkot.

Modern Customs and Traditions

In modern times, Sukkot is observed by building a sukkah out of any material, such as wood or metal, just as long as the roof is made of organic material, known as s’chach, which can be things such as leaves or branches.

Special prayers are said inside the sukkah every day of the holiday, including reading from the Torah, and all meals are to be eaten there. The men will often sleep in the sukkah as well, but this is no longer a requirement if it is raining.

The inside of the sukkah is decorated with the four species, the four plants used to celebrate the harvest festival: etrog (a citrus fruit native to Israel); lulav (a palm branch); hadas (a branch from a myrtle tree); and arava (a willow branch).

Each day there is a waving ceremony, where the four species are bound together and waved in all directions, north, south, east, west, up and down. This is to symbolise that God is found everywhere and not just in one place.

Sukkot is known to heavily contrast with Yom Kippur, which takes place five days before. Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, where Jewish people cleanse themselves of their sins from the previous year. Sukkot is about rejoicing and celebrating life, and all great things that can come from harvesting and growing crops.

Stop Israel Occupation of Gaza?

October 2nd, 2014

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