Sunday, August 19, 2018

Politics – August 2018 – Shana Tova

There can be no peace without justice and respect for human rights.


~Irene Khan

The Hamas Charter plagiarizes the Protocols of the Elderly of Zion. It copies ideas from the Protocols and integrate them into an ideological-religious Muslim manifesto
~ Charles Small

The trust between the Jewish community and Labour is broken. Very few Jews will vote for Labour under its extreme left, anti-Semite leadership.
~Jonathan Arkush


The triumph of humanity is to recognise diversity and difference yet having the ability to bring people together and to create bridges between them.
~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

British Labour allowed a marginal person, with terrorist sympathies, unsophisticated black-and-white view of the world, and deep-seated prejudices, to take over the party. This shameful stain will be remembered as its low point for many years to come, and will continue to hunt Labour. Corrective mechanisms are urgently needed.
~Raphael Cohen-Almagor


Old anti-Semitism, based on racist and religious pernicious sentiments, cannot be redeemed. New anti-Semitism, based on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can be redeemed if and when the conflict is resolved.
~Raphael Cohen-Almagor


I sense winds of war.
I hope and pray that I am mistaken. I hope Egypt will come to the rescue. More below.


Reflections on Last Newsletter

Israel’s Motto

MESG Recent Achievements
The Middle East Study Group (MESG) Annual Appeal - 2018

Israel-Egypt-Hamas

Decline in Palestinian Support for Violence

Ronald S. Lauder’s NYT Article


Congratulations and Mazal Tov to Lonah Chemtai Salpeter
Congratulations and Mazal Tov Artem Dolgopyat

British Labour’s antisemitism

Benny Morris on the De-Christianization of Turkey

Public Support for Two-State Solution is Eroding

Haaretz

Poland – Two Court Cases

Poor prospective memory, researchers report, may be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease

My New Article - Cyberterrorism”, in Barney Warf (ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of the Internet (Thousand Oaks, CA.: SAGE Publications Inc., 2018), pp. 169-171.


New Books - SAGE Encyclopedia of the Internet


Switzerland


Seeking London Accommodation


The Medieval Oxford Synagogue


Gem of the Month - Oxford
Gem of the Month – St Catz
Gem of the Month – St John’s College
Gem of the Month - John Locke's Writings
Gem of the Month - JS Mill's Writings
Gem of the Month – Bodleian Hebrew Collection


Monthly Poems – Blessing for the New Year


Did You Know? The First Coffee House in England

Light Side - Dreams


Reflections on Last Newsletter

Hi Rafi - As I’m sure you know, the hot weather is unusual and this is a consequence of global warming.  The ten hottest years since record keeping began in 1881 are:  2016 (hottest), 2015, 2017, 2014, 2010, 2005, 2013, 2009, 2007.  2018 is on track to also be one of the hottest years.  So far this year:  Unusually high temperatures in the Arctic; heat waves in Australia, Argentina, Japan; drought continues in Kenya and Somalia; many devastating wildfires in the western USA.    I’m reading yet another good book about global warming:  “Unprecedented Crime” by Peter Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth.  It argues that the fossil fuel industry’s global warming disinformation campaign harms all life on the planet and should be prosecuted as a crime against humanity.  –
Professor Art Hobson, USA

Israel’s Motto

In my last Newsletter I made a proposal: Israel has no official national motto and here is an opportunity to introduce something new that reflects Israel of today, a motto that celebrates the mosaic of Israeli cultures, that celebrates diversity and pluralism, and that would unite all citizens around one unifying slogan with which all could identify. The motto should preferably be selected from pertinent Arab proverbs, along the lines marked above regarding the beauty of pluralism and the need to create bridges and emphasize unity. United we stand. United is our strength. Any of the following values -- peace, tolerance, power, freedom, truth, justice, charity and righteousness -- may also be accentuated.

For instance: "Do not turn away a poor man…even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you". Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376


MESG Recent Achievements

The Middle East Study Group (MESG) published its latest report that compiles the major achievements of its members.


The MESG is a hub of scholarship of people from diverse disciplines who are all interested in the Middle East and in human rights. This report is a testimony.


This and previous reports are at http://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/activity-reports/


The Middle East Study Group (MESG) Annual Appeal - 2018


The Middle East Study Group (MESG)


Current events in the Middle East are in turmoil; the refugee crisis, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, ISIS, to name a few. It is crucial that we are educated in an unbiased way on the current state of affairs to offer a better understanding and possible solutions for use by NGOs, world-leaders and the media. The Middle East Study Group (MESG) brings together scholarly leaders in this area, to share their expertise on Middle East affairs in a safe and collaborative environment. It is a ground-breaking project which we are passionately proud to host at The University of Hull.


We would be able to increase our level of activities and to provide valuable information to interested parties in England and beyond. We are also interested to construct relationships between our organizations and Israeli and American institutions.


Further information is available on our website at http://mesg.wordpress.hull.ac.uk/about-us/


Project summary
The MESG is a think-tank that brings together people from different disciplines, academic and non-academic, to discuss ME affairs. Believing that universities should be an integral part of the community, the MESG is open to all people who are interested in and engaged with ME politics and history. The Study Group conducts research in ME affairs, delivers high quality, relevant academic insights through public presentations, provides forums to consolidate and promote understanding of current affairs, serves as a meeting point for people of different nationalities to converse and debate, and supports social justice, freedom of expression, academic freedom and accountable leadership. The Group meets once a month to discuss pertinent topics. The topics converge with the faculty research themes of ethics and applied ethics, leadership and strategy, and socio-economic development and policy. It is impossible to understand power politics without exploring the economics of the region, primarily oil.


The group is interdisciplinary. Presently it has some eighty members from different departments (Law, Politics, Business, Philosophy, Psychology, Drama, Biology, Theology and History). It includes lecturers, students, administrators and members of the public who frequent our activities. They come from Hull, Beverley, Scarborough and East Riding at large.
Members of the MESG published many important books. They also published dozens of articles in very prestigious forums. Only in 2014-2018, MESG members published dozens of articles and 23 books.
The MESG has helped in making people more aware of ME conflicts, of the idea and theory of conflict resolution, of power politics, and of the different compelling interests of the main actors. 
Further information at


Future outcomes
We would like to continue the excellent work of the Group, expanding the activities to develop relationships with similar centers in the UK and abroad, to establish channels of communication and collaborative research with other organisations, to raise a voice for peace, and to host an exchange of scholars and students.

Cost of the project
To expand the Group and ensure its work continues we need to secure:   

  • Inviting 5-6 guest lecturers per year from the United Kingdom (£2,000 per annum)
  • Inviting one or two lecturers from abroad (£3,000 per annum)
  • The Annual Lecture in Middle East Studies (£2,000 per annum)
  • The Ambassador Forum (£3,000)
  • Members’ New Book Celebration (£2,000)
  • Enabling MESG members to attend pertinent conferences in the UK and abroad (£7,000 per annum)
  • Supporting Members’ research activities (interviews, questionnaires, computing needs, publications) (£20,000 per annum)
  • MA Scholarships in Middle East Studies (£20,000 each)
  • One Post-Doc (£30,000 per annum)
  • Two Visiting Scholars (£10,000 each per annum)



Thank you


Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor
Chair in Politics and Director, MESG
School of Law and Politics 
The University of Hull


Israel-Egypt-Hamas

Away from the public eye, in secrecy favoured by all concerned, Egypt is mediating a deal between Israel and Hamas. Both sides understand that they reach a crucial point. Winds of war are in the air. Both sides are reluctant to reach a point of no return. Egypt and Israel are in one of the closest highs of their relationships. They have much in common, in terms of their geopolitical interests. Egypt can influence Hamas due to its geographical proximity and importance in the region. Soon we will know whether Israel and Hamas will enjoy hudnah or clash in yet another futile war.

 
Decline in Palestinian Support for Violence

A new survey by the Palestinian institute Arab World for Research and Development reports a 12% decline of those who support armed struggles against Israel, from 57% in April to 45%. 58% of Gaza residents said they supported armed struggle, compared to 37% in the West Bank. The survey shows that 70% of Palestinians see US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” as the end of the “dream of the establishment of a Palestinian state,” with 78% of Gazans versus 65% of West Bank residents having these sentiments. About half of the surveyed Palestinians support PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah movement, 18% support Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas, and 27% believe another path should be taken.

Source: Jerusalem Post


Ronald S. Lauder’s NYT Article

On August 13, 2018, the President of the World Jewish Congress published in the New York Times an incisive article titled “Israel, This Is Not Who We Are” in which he wrote that this has been a challenging year. In the summer of 2017, Israel’s government withdrew from an agreement that would have created an egalitarian prayer area at the Western Wall and proposed a strict conversion law that impinges on the rights of non-Orthodox Jews. The Knesset also passed a law that denies equal rights to same-sex couples. A day later came the nation-state law, which damages the sense of equality and belonging of Israel’s Druze, Christian and Muslim citizens. Last month, a Conservative rabbi was detained for the alleged crime of performing a non-Orthodox wedding ceremony in Israel. In several municipalities, attempts were made to disrupt secular life by closing convenience stores on the Sabbath. These events are creating the impression that the democratic and egalitarian dimensions of the Jewish democratic state are being tested.

Lauder notes that Theodor Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, Zeev Jabotinsky, David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir always emphasized the need to combine Jewish nationalism with universal humanism. So now, when Israel’s government appears to be tarnishing the sacred value of equality, many supporters feel it is turning its back on Jewish heritage, the Zionist ethos and the Israeli spirit. For over 200 years, modern Judaism has aligned itself with enlightenment. The Jews of the new era have fused our national pride and religious affiliation with a dedication to human progress, worldly culture and morality. Conservatives and liberals, we all believe in a just Zionism and a pluralistic Judaism that respects every human being. So when members of Israel’s current government unintentionally undermine the covenant between Judaism and enlightenment, they crush the core of contemporary Jewish existence.

If present trends persist, young Jews might not acquiesce to an affiliation with a nation that discriminates against non-Orthodox Jews, non-Jewish minorities and the L.G.B.T. community. They may not fight the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, they may not support Israel in Washington and they may not provide it with the strategic rear guard that Israel so needs.

Lauder, as a loving brother, asks Israel’s government to listen to the voices of protest and outrage being heard in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. As president of the World Jewish Congress, he calls upon Israeli leaders to rethink their destructive actions during this summer of disharmony. Lauder summarized by saying: “This is not who we are, and this is not who we wish to be. This is not the face we want to show our children, grandchildren and the family of nations. Let us work together to change course and ensure that Israel will continue to be the Jewish democratic state it is meant to be.”


Congratulations and Mazal Tov to Lonah Chemtai Salpeter


Lonah Chemtai Salpeter became the first Israeli woman ever to win a gold medal in any discipline at a European Athletics Championships when she won the 10,000m in dominant fashion on a hot and sticky evening at the Berlin Olympic Stadiu.  Salpeter, 29, who switched her allegiance from Kenya to Israel in March 2016, controlled the pace from gun to tape and clocked 31:43.28, a comfortable nine seconds ahead of the Netherlands’s Susan Krumins (31:52.55). Sweden’s Meraf Bahta was a distant third in 32:19.34.


Congratulations and Mazal Tov Artem Dolgopyat



Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat won the silver medal­čąłat the 2018 European Championships men's floor finals in the Men's Artistic Gymnastics Championships taking place in Glasgow.
Dolgopyat reached the finals of the European championship after finishing first in the qualifying rounds, with a score of 14.666. In the 2017 European championship Dolgopyat finished fourth, thereby missing out on the medal due to a penalty that cost him half a point. The bronze medal went to his teammate, Alex Shatilov.
This is the first time that three Israelis make it to the finals of the European championship. Other than Dolgopyat, Shatilov reached the finals as well, as did Andrey Medvedev in vault.



British Labour’s antisemitism


Second Labour MP faces disciplinary action amid row over antisemitism.
The British Jewry is active to expose antisemitism in the Labour Party.


On July 25, Britain's leading Jewish newspapers, @JewishNewsUK, @JewishChron and @JewishTelegraph, all carry the same front page on the community’s anger and anxiety over @LabourUK rejection of international anti-Semitism definition. Jews united against antisemitism.




Google trends shows what people are searching. You open it, write code word, say Jeremy Corbyn, and Google shows you what words are associated with the term.


Among the nine searched topics associated with Corbyn is antisemitism.


Israeli leaders disserve the fight against antisemitism by promoting the perception that any critique of Israeli policies is a form of antisemitism. Blurring the lines between racism and hatred, on the one hand, and legitimate criticism of the Israeli government, on the other, help our enemies because then the legitimate and justified claims about the danger of antisemitism are dismissed as exaggerated and are not taking seriously.


Benny Morris on the De-Christianization of Turkey


I greatly appreciate Benny Morris’s scholarship, considering him as a very serious historian. When I teach the Arab-Israeli conflict, his books are obligatory in my courses. Thus I was happy to meet him and to learn about his activities, and his views about the questions that trouble me regarding the conflict.


Benny Morris is writing a book on the De-Christianization of Turkey. In a recent lecture, Morris said that it is unclear how many Christians were killed by the Turks in Turkey. The Turkish Christian population used to be twenty percent of Turkey. 1.0 to 1.5 million Armenians died in a period of thirty years in the hands of Turks. Hundreds of thousands Greeks were killed between 1914 and 1924. One million Greeks were expelled. Hundreds of thousands of Christian Syrians were also killed. Churches were destroyed. Their property was taken.




Morris’ thesis is that what happened in Turkey was direct de-Christianization. During 1919-1924, under Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk, the Turkish regime murdered and deported hundreds of thousands of Christians. 


Atat├╝rk is the George Washington, or the David Ben-Gurion of modern Turkey. He is known for launching a programme of revolutionary social and political reform to modernise Turkey. These reforms included the emancipation of women, the abolition of all Islamic institutions and the introduction of Western legal codes, dress, calendar and alphabet, replacing the Arabic script with a Latin one. Abroad Atat├╝rk pursued a policy of neutrality, establishing friendly relations with Turkey's neighbours. In his new book, Morris is attacking a “sacred and revered cow”. His claims will provoke much attention and debate.


I asked Morris why the Armenian were subject to such horrific treatment by the Turks. Morris explained that they were perceived as a threat because they demanded reforms. There were hundreds of thousands of rape cases of Armenian women. The result of those pregnancies were Muslim babies. They were all raised as Muslims.


The killing of Greeks was followed by a population exchange. 150,000 Greek Christians moved to Greece, and some 300,000 Muslims moved to Turkey. To describe what happened as population exchange is wrong because hundreds of thousands of Greeks were also killed as part of the de-Christianization of Turkey.


The Greek and the Turks stopped fighting each other after the populations were separated. The only place where there were fights between Muslims and Christians is Cyprus where the population is mixed. But once separated, no more wars and clashes.


The Jews were not harmed.


I asked Morris about his sources. The Turkish archives regarding the Armenians in 1919-1924 is closed. Morris thinks that incriminating documents about murder were purged. There is a cover up with softer documents. The Turkish state archives regarding other, related issues are open and Morris is writing the book with a Turkish colleague. Both are also using books and writings of foreign councils and diplomats who served in Turkey during this period and sent regular reports back home. The French, British, German and American reports are most useful. There is a question who was feeding information to the councils. Morris responded that the Germans were on the Turkish side, so if they said that there was a massacre, this is a most reliable information. Another very useful source were the missionaries’ reports. They must have had sympathies to the Christians but these were reports to their superiors, not for mass production to the media. Thus Morris thinks these are also reliable sources.


Morris was asked about similarities and dissimilarities between the Nazi Holocaust and the Armenian genocide. He responded by saying that much of the murders was done in Turkey by civilians. In Nazi Germany, mainly soldiers did the genocide.


War brutalise. War leads to increased brutality and to willingness, even eagerness of people to involve in murder.


Fog of war was used by Turkey and by the Nazis to hide the genocide. Both were state planned.


Both were denied by the governments of the time. Turkey denies genocide until today.


Use of deception. Both Turkey and Nazi Germany spoke of resettlement in the east.


There were death marches of Armenians. The intention was to kill the Armenians in those marches, and at the same time the Turks claimed: we just relocate them as we wish to save them from war zones. “We do this for their own good”.


Public Support for Two-State Solution is Eroding

A new poll says support for a two-state solution among Israeli Jews and Palestinians is at a two-decade low. The joint poll conducted by Tel Aviv University and The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research determined that just 43 percent of both sides support a vision of peace that would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The survey says the reasons for this are doubts over the possibility of implementing the plan and a lack of trust in the other side.

I remain convinced that two-state solution is the least violent of all possible solutions, and that it is an Israeli interest to pursue this option. Public support for this sensible and just solution is eroding due to peace-minded leadership on both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples. Both think that they may gain more by pursuing other solutions. The Palestinians continues to speak about the right of return for Palestinian refugees to Palestine (Israel) while Israeli leaders are intent to populate the West Bank with settlements and thereby leaving very little territory to the Palestinians. Both sides are unwilling to give up on their dreams for greater Palestine/Greater Israel. The result: Continuation of bloodshed. Sad indeed.


Haaretz

I criticised the Israeli government. An Israeli professor immediately challenged me in a deriding and dismissing voice: what is your source, Haaretz newspaper? Once upon a time, Haaretz was the credible darling of Israeli academia. Times are changing. Now the free newspaper, Israel Today, is THE source.


Poland – Two Court Cases


From Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias I learnt that there are two civil law procedures in Poland, representing two Holocaust survivors for violation of their personal rights, human dignity, right to historical truth regarding one's past, and their right to ethnic and national identity. The legal grounds are Polish prohibitions of Holocaust denial and propagation of Nazi propaganda. The plaintiffs demand printed apology, ban on further publications, and financial compensation. 


I eagerly awaiting the court’s decision. Aleksandra estimates that this may take 1-2 years.


Poor prospective memory, researchers report, may be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease

Have you ever been shopping and returned home to find that you have forgotten to buy the very item you went shopping for? Have you known it was going to rain yet left your umbrella at home? Have you gone out and left the television on?

All these instances are examples where prospective memory has failed – you have not remembered to take the action you had planned. While these examples are comparatively trivial, poor prospective memory can have serious consequences – forgetting to take medication, or leaving the stove on, for example.

A failing prospective memory can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to University of Chichester psychologists, and new therapeutic methods are being used to utilise levels of prospective memory as a means to accurately diagnose diseases of cognitive impairment. Such methods can be effective non-invasive alternatives to traditional clinical methods such as the extraction of cerebral spinal fluid.

In research published in the journal “Neuropsychology”, a team led by the University of Chichester has studied prospective memory performance of 96 participants including patients with mild cognitive impairment aged 64 to 87 years, healthy older adults aged 62 to 84 years and younger adults aged 18 to 22 years.

The study, which also included members from Radboud University Nijmegen, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Lisbon, looked at prospective memory performance before the introduction of an enhancement technique and compared it with performance after the enhancement technique. The technique used was encoded enactment, where subjects were encouraged to act through the activity they must remember to do.

All age groups reported improvement in prospective memory, but it was particularly marked in those older subjects with mild cognitive impairment, that is, potentially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The study suggests that encouraging people in this category to adopt enactment as a means to enhance prospective memory could result in them leading independent, autonomous lives for longer.

For further information, see https://neurosciencenews.com/action-task-memory-9651/


My New Article - Cyberterrorism”, in Barney Warf (ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of the Internet (Thousand Oaks, CA.: SAGE Publications Inc., 2018), pp. 169-171.

The digital revolution has affected all spheres of life. Society’s infrastructure relies heavily on technology and computers. Extensive and vast communication networks enable the production, distribution, and use of digitized information in all formats. In 2011, Science magazine advised its readers that some 95 percent of all information existing in the planet is digitized and most of it is accessible via computer networks.
  Thus our society is called “a network society”: a society constructed around personal and organizational networks powered by digital networks and communicated by the Internet. Because communication networks are global and know no boundaries, the network society is a global network society. The design of the communication networks and their raison d'├¬tre are open architecture, freedom of expression, and neutral network of networks. But technology is open to use and abuse. It can be utilized to promote good and it can be exploited to enhance harmful and anti-social interests. Freedom is both an asset and vulnerability. The digital world makes vast amounts of information available to all, including sensitive matters of personal knowledge. Certain information that is publicly available or loosely controlled can become a weapon by terrorists. Llewellyn Kriel, CEO and editor in chief of TopEditor International Media Services, predicted that in 2025 digital criminal networks will become realities. Terrorism will be daily reality. Cyberterrorism will become commonplace. Kriel says: “The world will become less and less safe, and only personal skills and insights will protect individuals.”
Cyberterrorism is a growing global concern. Since computers control the majority of the developed world’s infrastructure, it is easily penetrated by dedicated hackers. Cyber-attacks can create enormous damage at very little cost to terrorists. Cyberterrorism concerns activity that utilizes electronic communication networks to further unlawful and violent ends.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=293806


New Books - SAGE Encyclopedia of the Internet Thousand Oaks, CA.: SAGE Publications Inc., 2018).


The SAGE Encyclopedia of the Internet addresses cyberspace, email, the World Wide Web, and social media.  Entries range from popular topics such as Alibaba and YouTube to important current controversies such as Net neutrality and cyberterrorism.  The goal of the encyclopedia is to provide the most comprehensive collection of authoritative entries on the Internet available, written in a style accessible to academic and non-academic audiences alike.



Switzerland


I am about to leave for Switzerland to conduct research. My visiting position is with the University of Zurich but I intend to travel around during my three-week fieldwork. I will be happy to meet colleagues and friends.


Seeking London Accommodation

I received The Distinguished Visiting Professor to the Faculty of Laws at University College London (2019). I am looking for an accommodation for the period of my UCL Visiting Professorship. I plan to arrive in London on 4 February 2019 for a period of five months until 3 July 2019 and appreciate any advice you may have.



The Medieval Oxford Synagogue


I have passed Christ Church hundreds of times without being aware of its Jewish history. The ground under the northern most corner tower of Christ Church Tom Quad was the site of the medieval synagogue. The synagogue was one of only nine Oxford properties still in Jewish ownership at the time of the expulsion from England of all Jews in 1290. Soon after, it belonged to Balliol College until Wolsey demolished the whole site in 1525 to build Cardinal College, the predecessor of Christ Church.


Gem of the Month - Oxford


It is always good to return to my alma mater. Whenever I enter the gates of Oxford, my heart rejoices and enlarges. It always feels like home.

It was good to see Charles, Itzhak, Ruvi and David, and to make acquaintance with many colleagues from a dozen countries.

 




Gem of the Month – St Catz


It was good to visit my beloved college. It changed a lot since the 1980s, when I was a student. More buildings. More security. These are the times in which we live. The college looks and feels great. I receive its regular reports from the Master and the alumni office and know it is in a wonderful shape. A superb supportive college.


I Love St Catz!


Gem of the Month – St John’s College

I spent two weeks at St. John’s, participating in a workshop on racism and antisemitism and preparing a new course provisionally titled “Racism and Anti-Semitism”. Although I have been researching these issues for more than forty years, I have never taught a course on these issues. I never wanted to. Now I feel ready to do this.



St. Jon’s provided a very convivial atmosphere. It is a beautiful college, perfectly located in Oxford, in proximity to the city centre. This experience reminded me of my Oxford days. I became nostalgic, even emotional, recalling events from the 1980s. some of my life high points, and the low points, occurred in Oxford.


Gem of the Month - John Locke's Writings



I was happy to hold, and read, the original writings of John Locke whom I teach from time to time when asked to deliver the Introductory Course on History of Ideas. Locke was a don in Oxford and after his death he donated his personal writings to the Bodleian Library.


Gem of the Month - JS Mill's Writings


Mill is one of my heroes. Oxford Library keeps the diary Mill wrote when he toured the Lake District. Like most people who have visited this corner of the U.K., Mill was impressed and liked the region.

 


Gem of the Month – Bodleian Hebrew Collection

The Bodleian has a large collection of Hebrew, Yiddish, Aramaic and Judeo-Arabic texts. The most important are the Huntington Collection of 1692, the collection of Chief Rabbi Oppenheimer of Prague, and over 5,000 Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts from the Cairo Geniza.


Monthly Poems


Blessing for the New Year


May the sky be blue and clear
And your heart always filled with joyful tear


May peace and tranquillity prevail
Keys for resolving conflict unveil


May you create more than destroy
Making dreams a reality to savour and enjoy


May your mind be free of worry
No need to hear or say “I am sorry”


May you have time to delight in museums and parks
And mind to glee when adventure embarks


May you sleep like a log
And captivate listeners like a funny cat or dog


May you wish to sing as you wake up with a laugh
Love what you have and your second half


May you visit only the maternity ward
And hear your doctor’s concerns when the other team scored


May you surround yourself with people you love
To enable growth and see all thrive


May you add one true friend to your life
Be with you at moments of strife


May you know what your loved ones wish and pray
Before a word is uttered, knowing what they want to say


May her lips be welcoming and red
Embrace and ready when you are sad.


Raphael Almagor


Did You Know? The First Coffee House in England

According to the Oxford Jewish Heritage, the first coffee house west of Venice was opened in Oxford in 1650. Its proprietor was Jacob the Jew, a Lebanese, who brought his coffee from today’s Turkey. Not only that, the second coffee house in England was also in Oxford, opened opposite the first in 1654 by Cirques Jobson, a Syrian Jew. It is now called Queen’s Lane coffee, one of my favourite places in Oxford, and the very first coffee house I visited upon arrival to Oxford in 1987.

Light Side

Dreams
Upon waking, a woman said to her husband, "I just dreamt that you gave me a necklace of pearls. What do you think it means?"
The man smiled and kissed his wife. "You'll know tonight," he softly whispered.
That evening, the man came home with a small package which he gave to his wife. She jumped up and embraced him, and then settled on the couch to slowly and delicately unwrap the package.
It contained a book entitled, 'The Meaning of Dreams'.

May I wish you all Shana Tova, Good Health, Peace and Love, always.


Yours as ever,

Rafi

My last communications are available on http://almagor.blogspot.com/
People wishing to subscribe to this Monthly Newsletter are welcome to e-mail me at r.cohen-almagor@hull.ac.uk

Follow me on Twitter at @almagor35