Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

Support for Israel

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Dear President Obama,

When Palestinians kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers, Palestinians danced in the streets, and the terrorists were praised by PA officials. Rather than helping capture them, the PA facilitated their escape; they still have not been apprehended. Palestinians who expressed regret over the kidnapping received death threats.

In contrast, when Israelis kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian teenager, the act was universally condemned by Israeli leaders, and Israelis and Jews all over the world. The Israeli police quickly apprehended suspects and promised to bring them to justice. The families of the SUSPECTS received death threats.

THIS is why there is no peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Not because of new housing built by Israel in “settlements.” Not because Israel defends itself. Not because of the security wall which shut off suicide bombings almost like a light switch. There is no peace because Israelis want to live, and Palestinians want to kill them.

Of course, that is a simplification. There are Israeli extremists, and there are Palestinian doves. But they are the exception that prove the rule.

My wife and I lived in Israel in 1995-6. We experienced first-hand the threat of violence experienced daily by Israelis: Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated and there were six suicide bombings during our time here.

I say “here” because I am currently vacationing with my family in Jerusalem. Last night, as the air-raid siren blared, we huddled with our five children in the safe room of our apartment, comforting them and praying silently for our safety and for that of the millions of others within reach of the rockets, as well as of the tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers who defend Israel and its people against these barbaric attacks.

Some day, a Palestinian leader will emerge who recognizes that only a lasting peace with Israel will secure the future of the Palestinian people. In the meantime, since peace is not being offered, Israel can do only one thing: defend itself and its citizens.

I call upon you and the entire U.S. government to clearly, consistently, unequivocally, and without hesitation condemn the ongoing attacks against Israel by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad; acknowledge and support Israel’s undeniable right to defend itself against those attacks; and provide Israel with the political, diplomatic, and material support it needs to put a stop to them.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Kamens

[Also sent to Senator Warren, Senator Markey, and Representative Capuano.]

Some truths about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

I know there’s probably no point, but I finally snapped and dished some truth to some Israel haters in my Facebook feed. What finally set me off was this comment: “I find it inescapable that the Israelis took Palestine from the folks who were living there in 1946. Out of that injustice springs the current strife. I think the Israelis need to (1) apologize and (2) foot the bill for building a viable Palestinian state (a la the Rand plan), and (3) pay reparations. That would be a solid start to ending the conflict.”

Here’s what I wrote: (more…)

Unwelcome at Stoddard’s Pub, Boston

Friday, October 12th, 2012
To: Jamie Walsh, Manager, Stoddard’s Pub
Subject: Poor experience at Stoddard’s

Dear Jamie,

I dined at Stoddard’s last night with six of my Quantopian coworkers. It was not a positive experience.

Our outing to Stoddard’s was one of our regular team dinners, which are about much more than just eating and drinking. They are about solidifying relationships so that we can do our jobs better and be successful as a company. Being at these dinners is therefore important both to my own career and to Quantopian’s success.

However, I maintain a strictly Kosher diet for religious reasons, so I can’t eat any of the food that Stoddard’s serves, or for that matter any of the food served by any of the restaurants where we eat.

In the more than two decades I’ve been a working professional, I’ve attended many such dinners; I’ve brought my own food to most of them; and it has never been a problem — in fact, no employee of any restaurant has ever said a single word to me about it — until last night.

Halfway through our meal, our server informed me that the restaurant could not allow any outside food to be consumed on the premises. (more…)

“Jew” is not a bad word

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Computershare is WAY better than BNY Mellon

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Recently, I wrote about BNY Mellon’s inept handling of 2010 1099-OIDs for Israel bonds, my relief that the State of Israel had decided to replace BNY Mellon with Computershare as the fiscal agent for Israel Bonds purchased in the U.S., and my hope that Computershare would be better than BNY Mellon.

Less than 12 hours after I posted that blog entry, I received email from someone at Computershare:

(more…)

Thank God Israel Bonds kicked BNY Mellon to the curb

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

My wife and I own a number of Israeli Bonds purchased over the course of many years (typically after annual High Holiday appeals). Many of these bonds are Original Issue Discount (OID) bonds. Dispensing with all the technical details, the general idea of an OID bond is that you get a 1099-OID statement every year showing how much you have to report to the IRS and pay taxes on as income, but you don’t actually get the money you’ve thus reported until the bond matures and you redeem it.

Until very recently, Israeli Bonds sold in the United States were administered by BNY Mellon. They’ve been the agents for some other stock I’ve owned, and they have been consistently difficult and unpleasant to deal with.

(more…)

Shaving a Redhead for Israel!

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Israel National News interview about “Shave a Redhead for Israel”

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Do a good deed and get a good laugh!

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Here’s your chance to donate to the relief efforts after the Carmel fire in Israel and get something more than just a sense of satisfaction from having done a good deed and helped people in need. You can also get a good, hearty belly laugh from seeing me with no hair, half a beard, and only one eyebrow.

Sound intriguing? Well, then, click here to find out more!

Thoughts on Miketz for 5771

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

(This is not a typical post for my blog. Those of you who aren’t Jewish can feel free to skip it.)

My bar mitzvah was December 18, 1982, the second Shabbat of Hanukah, parashat Miketz. Each year on the anniversary of my bar mitzvah, I read part of the Torah reading (the first four aliyot is all I’ve managed to learn in all these years), and each year, I see something new in this remarkable parasha. This year I noticed two things I’d never noticed before. (more…)