A Joyous Sound: Hava Nagila, Texas Style

A Canadian friend, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, married to a New Zealander, who now lives in the United States, sent me this video. She describes it as “a hoot, hootenanny style.” The email she forwarded to me with the link included this anonymous comment:

WE CAN CELEBRATE EACH OTHER’S CULTURE, EACH OTHER’S ACHIEVEMENT, NO MATTER IF WE AGREE WITH THE PERSON’S POLITICS OR NOT. WHERE ELSE YOU CAN HAVE AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT, A LATINA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, AN AUSTRIAN IMMIGRANT BODY BUILDER FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA, OR A TEXAS CHRISTIAN CHURCH SINGING “HAVA NAGILA” WHILE DISPLAYING BOTH THE AMERICAN AND ISRAELI FLAGS? GOD BLESS THE USA.”

Here is the rendition of Hava Nagila by the CUFI Cornerstone Singers, performed at the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.

Cornerstone Church was founded in 1975 by Pastor John Hagee. Under his leadership, the congregation has grown from 1,000 members to over 19,000. Pastor Hagee is also the founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

The statement on the CUFI web site reads, in part:

During the Holocaust, too many Christians were silent, and we were left to mourn the slaughter of 6 million Jews. Today, Bible-believing Christians must speak up and stand up for Israel. We must act to do whatever we can to protect Israel’s 6 million Jews from the second Holocaust. We must get it right this time. Our faith demands it. The times require it. Silence is not an option.”

Madonna’s Second Date in Israel

Madonna will resume her international Sweet & Sticky Tour in London on the 4th of July. The tour will end in Israel. After the September 1, 2009, concert in Tel Aviv quickly sold out, a second performance date was added for September 2, 2009. It has been 16 years since the pop diva last performed in Israel, although she has been a visitor to the country a couple of times since then.

While in Israel, Madonna plans to go to the Wailing Wall with her children, including her newly adopted Malawi daughter Mercy, age 3 or 4, and adopted Malawi son David Banda, 3.

The Israeli tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth reports that Madonna’s friend Justin Timberlake will be joining her in Israel. The two share an enthusiasm for Kabbalah. Mr. Timberlake has been studying the esoteric Jewish mysticism at the London Center with Madonna.

There have been no announced plans that Mr. Timberlake will perform on the Sweet & Sticky Tour, but it is rumored that there may be some onstage surprises.

I Am A Jerusalemite

Stanley Goldfoot, the founder and editor of The Times of Israel, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. At age 18, he packed a bag and moved to Palestine. The British police sent him back to South Africa, where he was drafted into the army.

Mr. Goldfoot returned to Tel Aviv. He worked as a journalist and participated in activities in opposition to the British Mandatory Power. He officially made aliyah to Israel in 1956. On November 24, 2006, he passed away at the age of 92.

In 1969, Mr. Goldfoot published his controversial Letter to the World from Jerusalem in the first issue of The Times of Israel. However, the Letter remains as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. (The entire text is printed at Israpundit.)

Aish.com has produced this poignant film from Mr. Goldfoot’s words:

See Also:
A JEWISH HERO IN OUR TIME

Nazi Looted Art Returned on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Max Stern did not live to see the day. In 1937, the Jewish art dealer was ordered by the Nazis to sell his collection of 228 paintings. He then fled to England and later moved to Canada.

One of the paintings from Dr. Stern’s collection was a 1632 Dutch Old Master called “Portrait of a Musician Playing a Bagpipe.” Lawrence Steigrad, a New York art dealer, had purchased it from a London dealer, who called him at the end of March and told him of the paintings origins. It was seized on April 2, 2009, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, to be returned to the estate of Max Stern, who died in 1987. Philip Mould Ltd., the gallery that sold the painting to Mr. Steigrad, has reimbursed the dealer for his purchase.

The painting will be returned in a ceremony April 21, 2009, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. Dr. Stern’s estate was left to to McGill and Concordia Universities in Montreal and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

See Also:
U.S. Seizes Old Master Lost in Nazi-Era Forced Sale (Update1) [Bloomberg.com; April 21, 2009]
Another painting stolen by Nazis recovered by Montreal art dealer’s estate [Canadian Press; April 21, 2009]

Arnold Schwarzenegger Returns California’s Nazi Loot

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was on hand on April 10, 2009, when two paintings belonging to the state were returned to the grandchildren of their original owners. Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer, who owned a gallery in Berlin, fled to France in 1933 to escape Nazi persecution. The Nazis auctioned off 100 paintings from the Oppenheimer’s collection in 1935, to raise money for Reichfluchtsteuer, a “flight” tax designed to strip Jews of all of their assets.

Two of the paintings, “Portrait of Alvise Vendramin” and “Portrait of a Bearded Gentleman,” ended up in the collection of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. They were on display at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, which was deeded to the state of California in 1972 to become part of the state park system.

The families of the Oppenheimers two daughters fled Germany in 1940. Jakob Oppenheimer died in France in 1941. His wife Rosa was taken from France by its German occupiers to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where she died in November 1943.

The father of Austrian-born Governor Schwarzenegger was a member of the Nazi Party. Returning the paintings on the second day of Passover to Peter Bloch, 73, of Boynton Beach, Florida, and Inge Blackshear, 73, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the governor said, “”I am humbled to play a role in undoing this terrible wrong for the heirs of Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer,” adding that the Holocaust was “one of the darkest crimes against humanity in the modern era.”

See Also:
Hearst Castle paintings given to owners’ heirs [SF Gate; April 11, 2009]
Calif. returns art to heirs of Holocaust victims [AP; April 11, 2009]