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Volunteer, Jewish War Veterans organize and deliver Christmas morning gift-bags for V.A. Hospital patients, despite pandemic limitations

The hallways of Veterans Administration (V.A.) Hospitals on the morning of Christmas are typically bereft of people - except for essential staff. Christmas Day can be a lonely time for aging, hospitalized veterans. While most families find gifts under their trees for all to open, most hospitalized see none.

Commanders Sam Yudin (left) and Mat Millen (center) coordinate
volunteers bringing the gift bags to the Vets' health facilities

This Christmas, the 
Jewish War Veterans, the oldest (founded in 1896) veterans' organization in America, continued their 76-year tradition of preparing and delivering a "Gift for a Yank" to hospitalized V.A. patients in cities around the country. Hollywood star, Eddie Cantor originatedhis non-sectarian project in 1946 for World War II veterans in Los Angeles. L.A.-area Jewish War Veterans (L.A. and Long Beach) are among those around the country who keep it going. 

The commander of the JWV's Allan Katz Post #118 in Santa Monica, Matthew Millen, and his colleague, Sam Yudin of the Tibor Rubin Post #786 in Long Beach procured various gift items which are useful for the hospitalized veterans. This year, they (with volunteers they coordinate) stuffed gifts into 1200 bags. While they typically also coordinate volunteers to personally deliver the gift bags to the patients in their rooms, this year, like in 2020 and '21, pandemic concerns restricted  outside volunteers from the patient rooms, so the bags are distributed by hospital (and rehab facility) employees a
round the V.A. hospital campuses.  In 2018, when volunteers did it, Mat Millen explained the procedure to us: 

Concert on former BLM-looted street- Where's our Maccabee defense? (Includes event footage)

Los Angeles' new Mayor Karen Bass, who during the B.L.M. riots of 2020 wouldn't disavow Marxism) was welcomed by Chabad leaders to kindle a menorah on a street (in her Congressional district) which B.L.M. looted Jewish shops on - an action that she didn't speak out against.
Newly inaugurated mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass (fFormer chair of the Congressional Black Caucus) is welcomed to light the first menorah candle on the streets in her former district that suffered a pogrom of looting by the Black Lives Matters rioters that she didn't condemn

L.A. Timesstaff writer Laura Newberry and .18 Dec.

Mayor Karen Bass and other community leaders celebrated the beginning of Chanukah on Sunday, 18 December lighting the menorah at sundown at a citywide ceremony on L.A.'s Westside.

The ceremony, which began at 4:45 p.m., was held on Pico Boulevard between Doheny and Wetherly drives.

Chabad of the Valley's Rabbi Mayer Greene describes how the annual tradition of public concerts were conducted during city health restrictions. Also, when are the the Menorah Lightings concerts in L.A this week besides Pico-Robertson? Universal CityWalk and The Grove.  

Chanukah Menorah-lightings continue at the Santa Monica Promenade nightly at 6:30 (recorded music and horas) through Sunday.

The Pico lighting was part of a larger celebration that ran through the afternoon and featured a street fair, carnival and evening performances that include Benny Friedman, Yoni Z and the Cheder Menachem Boys Choir.

Pico Blvd was closed between Doheny and Livonia Avenue for the celebration, which was hosted by Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin and Chabad of California. 
Criminals robbed and ransacked the clocks and jewelry
shop of Persian-Jewish,
Hooshmand Talasazan in
L.A.'s orthodox, Pico-Robertson neighborhood

Along this street around Shavuot 2020, Black Lives Matters rioters looted Jewish-owned stores among their 'pogrom' in and alongside then Rep. Karen Bass' district. Did she condemn that? The election hopeful merely objected to B.L.M's "defund the police" initiative.

Chanukah, also called the Festival of Lights, is celebrated over eight nights and marks the Jews’ recapture and rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC, following their victory over Hellenist Syrians.

Chabad Lubavitch, a movement whose work is rooted in orthodox Judaism, reaches out to educate secular Jews, philosophically and culturally. They offer programs to help needy people regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. The organization’s representatives have joined with mayors and city officials to illuminate the menorah on Hanukkah each year since 1985.

Daniel Greenfield, who writes and edits "The Point" section of Frontpage Magazine online, characterized as "a pogrom" the Black Lives Matter riots that looted stores on this street and desecrated synagogues & ransacked Jewish stores nearby in June 2020.

In consideration of the recent upsurge in antisemitic expressions of animosity from Black supremacists and White supremacists, ought Jews be demonstrating their culture on public streets, in a way which might invite trouble in most large cities in America and Western Europe?

Mr. Greenfield voiced his view of Jews asserting their cultural pride, with the need to prepare for action for circumstances that contrast with fairs in the streets. J.E.T.S. vocational boys high-school students provide the example.

JooTube: What do you think about the level of vigilance that's being taught?

Greefield: It's very important the reality is it's dangerous out there and it's easy for students to become subjected to feel like they're a persecuted minority, that there's nothing good about being Jewish - and this shows the opposite! It shows students the important part that is being Jewish is worth fighting for.

Question: Do you think the kids should be learning more than just Torah? Should they be learning self-defense? 
Answer: I mean that's part of it, obviously, you need to actually be able to defend yourself. You need to be able to defend your Jewishness. When they were building the Beis HaMigdash, the Second Beis Hamigdash there were people who had spears half of the time - and they were building the Beis HaMigdash during the other half of the time! 
Question: How good are we doing at preparing our warriors today?

Answer: There's a lot more we need to do. But people are starting to wake up - which is very important.


Mayor Bass also attended a Hanukkah event Thursday in downtown Los Angeles, appearing with the Los Angeles County Supervisors and other elected officials.

During that event, she spoke about growing up in the heavily Jewish Fairfax District and pledged to combat antisemitism in the city.

Benny Friedman sings "Malachem" ("Angels") at public concert on Pico Blvd  

 Benny Friedman sings "A Yid " like an anthem. 

 Benny Friedman & Yoni Zee rock out

Teen students of J.E.T.S. in L.A. embrace to ballad "Baruch Nafshi" (Bless My Soul) by Benny Friedman

Benny Friedman rocks Chanukah in Hollywood with the JETS guys

Benny Friedman and JETS teens sing Matisyahu's "One Day;" "We Are Not Afraid," "Hashem Melech"
These songs are also easy to share in this playlist.

The Mensch Int'l Foundation selected JooTube for a 2022 Mensch Award for providing 17-years of educational service to the Jewish community, Israel, and liberty. Please contribute a gift to sustain our multimedia-production driven, social-networks publishing into 2023! Get the mitzvah!

Artist adapts Chanukah story (and other Jewish scripture) impressively into gifts and cards sold at I.A.C.'s Celebrate Israel Fest in L.A.

At the Israeli-American Council's revived Celebrate Israel Festival in May, we discovered Jewish-American micrographer, Rae Antonoff exhibiting her adaptations of various Hebrew scripture into contextual designs. 

She writes the letters to fit with the context stories of her painting. Antonov. She sells finished prints as posters and greeting cards on her website "RaeAn Designs" and also takes-on custom design projects.

Handwritten menorah

Here, she handwrites the Hebrew scripture of the Scroll of Antiochus (Megillat Antiochus) which provides an historical account of the Maccabean revolt commemorated by Chanukah. Chanukah cards are like Christmas cards. Chanukah begins at sunset December 18th for 8 days til Boxing Day, December 25.

Rae says of the pomegranate tree (below): "When I lived in Israel there was a pomegranate tree outside my balcony so I studied it intently - while I was trying to avoid doing homework!" 

Question: What kind of words or what phrases did he spell? 

Antonoff: This one is it I started at the beginning of Psalms so it's Psalms 1 through 18. and I just started at the beginning and I wanted to see how many Psalms I could fit in as I edit just ended up being 18 and it was too perfect because that's chai!"


A look at how Rae's cursive Hebrew
becomes menorah candles

RaeAn Designs produces both calligraphy and micrographic imagery. She sell directly through her website.

Palestine-born Prof. Judea Pearl leads 75th-anniv teaching about the UN partitioning British Palestine for Jewish & Arab states

November 29, 1947 the UN Gen. Assembly ratifies partitioning
British Palestine to establish both a Jewish and Arab state.

UCLA A.I. Professor Judea Pearl initiated a public U.S. commemoration of the 1947 U.N's Partition of British Mandate Palestine on its 75th anniversary. General Assembly Resolution 181h divided the geographical area west of the Jordan River into land for two states: a Jewish state and an Arab state.

The educational ceremony, coordinated with the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, Rabbi Pinchas Dunner, and the Mensch Foundation's Steven Geiger was held with the participation of the Los Angeles Consulate Corps at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance.

Attending international diplomats from the Los Angeles Consular Corps (UAE 2nd from right)
join Israeli Consul General Hillel Newman (6th from left) and Rabbi Pinni Dunner (far right)

This documentary video was screened to explain the historic context of the declaration - including eyewitness testimony from those who were involved.

Dr. Judea Pearl, whose family resided in British Mandate Palestine, explains in this exclusive video interview why he feels 75-yrs ago today, November 29th, was so significant in modern Jewish history.  "It was the first international recognition of the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own. Here the word "State" is mentioned, unlike the Balfour Declaration, which mentions only a "Jewish National Home" and for good reason. There were only 60,000 people in Israel in the time of the Balfour Declaration - not enough to justify statehood. By the 1947, there were 600,000 Jews. The UN Commission could not say no to partition - for three reasons: First, the demography in Palestine. 


Second, the 250,000 Jews who were stranded in Displaced Persons' Camps. Third, the fact that Jews already had a state on the way - a medina ba'derech - a fully functioning state in Palestine - which impressed every committee that was sent to the area and made the idea of Two States as a viable option, ready for a vote. Without the last factor, they wouldn't have done it. That's why I'm stressing the role of the Yishuv - the Jewish community in the Mandate Palestine (pre-independent Israel) which called "the Yishuv". These these were the original Zionist pioneers who put together a state on their own initiative! Of course, with the help of world Jewry. They built roads, drained the swamps, created socialized medicine, built kibbutzim and moshavim, organized self-defense units, and established three top universities. I went to a high-school that was formed only one year before I enrolled!"

Jihadist-kidnapped reporter, Daniel Pearl

When in Jan. '02, Prof. Pearl's journalist son, Daniel, was kidnapped by Islamic terrorists, his last words "I am Jewish" shook the world.  Those words inspired a number of notable Jewish people to contribute essays about their identity for publishing in a book by that title.

Dr. Hillel Newman, Consul General to Pacific Southwest US addressed the UN Partition Plan for Palestine to the audience, which included community members, students from Shalhevet High-School, as well as his peers in the Los Angeles Consulate Corps. 

"The official recognition of the historical inherent rights of the people of Israel to their Homeland was at last endorsed by officials in the modern era. First in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and then by the U.N resolution which are we are marking today. By that act, Israel was reborn into the family of nations. For that support we will be eternally thankful to the international community and those countries. We remember those who did justice unto us and justice unto history.

Well, we cannot praise the U.N for everything they do. In today's world the structure of the U.N does not allow impartiality and truth. The U.N suffers an ingrained majority-bias which expresses itself in resolutions against Israel in comparison" discrimination against Israel. If you just count the amount of resolutions against Israel in comparison bias is clear to see to all the nations of the world this bias is clear to see. Persecution of a Jew for being a Jew is . . .
Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez said himself that these actions are nothing less than modern day anti-Semitism. This is true. Classic anti-Semitism still exists and is even on a rise. Yet classic anti-Semitism - discrimination against the Jew for being a Jew - or persecution of a Jew for being a Jew - is in an anti-Zionism less-accepted today in official social practice. So many cloak their anti-Semitism in an anti-Zionism.  International Community including the . . . They attack the one and only majority Jewish state. We hope for the day when this bias will be eradicated from the world and no longer tolerated. My friends, when Israel was re-established it extended its hand in friendship and peace with the entire international community including the entire Arab and Muslim world Arab League endorsed its historical of Israel will find our hand extended in peace. Sadly,at the time this hand was rejected.

'Til today the majority of the Arab League and many in the Muslim Block in the U.N refused to even recognize the existence of the state of Israel. Yet the vector is positive. We have finally normalized relations with Egypt, Jordan, UAE (whose representative is here proudly), Bahrain, Morocco, and even with Sudan - where the Arab League endorsed its historical resolution of rejection of Israel. brought the votes to the world stage 75-years ago. There is a growing acceptance of Israel.

The biggest obstacle to peace has always been the rejection of Israel. Any country that comes to terms with the existence of Israel will find our hand extended in peace the same goes for Iran and the Palestinians. At this time, we should also remember that Israel's rebirth was of long labor. It was through the tireless efforts of individuals - Jewish and non-Jewish - from across the globe who never lost sight of the dream of a Jewish homeland and brought the votes to the world stage 75-years ago."