As the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas continues to hold, Jewish communities in Israel and around the globe face two other fronts: deepening tensions between Israeli Arabs and Israel's Jewish residents and a surge in antisemitic incidents worldwide, including across North America.

 These and other related issues will be addressed at two special briefings early next month. Journalists are welcome to attend both virtual town halls, hosted by JCC Association of North America in partnership with Virtual J and the Office of the Consul General of Israel in New York.

 At the first briefing, set for 7:30 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, June 1, Dr. Sharon Nazarian, senior vice president of international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, will moderate a conversation with Israel Nitzan, Israel’s acting consul general in New York; Dr. Mark Weitzman, director of government affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. They will discuss the increase in antisemitism across North America and how Jewish Community Centers can best respond.

To attend the June 1 event, titled “Perspective From Israel Part 1: The Rise in Antisemitism Across North America,” please visit and complete a brief, online registration form.

At the second briefing, set for 7:30 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, June 8, noted speakers, including Bassem Eid,  a Jerusalem-based Palestinian political analyst, human rights pioneer and expert commentator on Arab and Palestinian affairs, will address challenges in Israel at a time of growing domestic tensions. Please visit to learn in the coming days about additional participants and to attend the June 8 event, titled “Perspective From Israel Part 2: Coexistence Between Jews and Arabs in Israel – Can We Mend the Rifts and Return to Living Side-by-Side?”

The Virtual J provides an online platform for communities to stay connected and engaged.

JCC Association of North America leads and connects the JCC Movement, advancing and enriching North American Jewish life. With 1.5 million people walking through the doors of more than 170 Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Community Camps each week, the JCC Movement is the largest platform for Jewish engagement on the continent. JCC Association, the convening organization of this dynamic network, partners with JCCs to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the entire JCC Movement, including 12,000 full-time and 41,000 part-time and seasonal professionals. By supporting them, together we enhance and strengthen Jewish life throughout North America. Learn more at or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



SACRAMENTO – Gov. Gavin Newsom reappointed Lisa Silverman, 54, of Pilot Hill, Executive Officer for the Office of Public School Construction at the Department of General Services, where she served in that position since 2012. Silverman was Deputy Executive Officer at the Office of Public Instruction from 2010 to 2012. Silverman served as Senior Management Auditor and Chief of Fiscal Services at the Office of Public School Construction from 2006 to 2010 and was a Business Tax Specialist and Associate Tax Auditor for the Board of Equalization from 1997 to 2006. She was an Associate Tax Auditor and Hearing Officer for the Franchise Tax Board from 1984 to 1997. Silverman is treasurer for Latino Sports Outreach and a parent volunteer for the Oak Ridge High School Soccer Program. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $141,432. Silverman is a Democrat.

                                                                                                    RABBI'S CORNER



The Torah reading focuses on the dispute between Moses and Korach. Both came from the same tribe of Levi, but dissension bitterly divided them. The Torah clearly sides with Moses and has a poor opinion of Korach and his henchmen. You would think that what divided them was ideology but that did not seem to be the problem at all. Both sides believed in G[-]d, both regarded Israel as a holy people, both had their ethical priorities. Had they all agreed on everything it would have been "shalom al Yisra'el".

The problem was that the Korach company were not clamouring to be themselves but to be interchangeable with Moses and his men (Num. 16:10), whereas G[-]d had given each group its own place, its own priorities, its own purpose.

G[-]d said, as it were, "Korach, I don’t expect you to be Moses; I expect you to be Korach. You have a role to play, but it is your own role. You must not steal Moses’ task but perform your own. Let Moses be Moses – the best possible Moses he can be. Your task is to be the best possible Korach!"

There is a Chassidic saying that in time to come no-one will ask why I was not Moses or why I was not Abraham… what they will ask is why I was not myself!


The sages point out that some of Korach’s camp deserted him and some of his sons regretted their support of their father. They repented – but Korach didn’t.

The Torah does not spell out the details, but one can read between the lines that Korach remained adamant (though some of the rabbis say that on the spot where the earth opened and swallowed Korach, a voice may be heard saying, "Moses and his supporters have the truth, and Korach and his company are liars"). It is a good thought for this time of the year as the calendar moves on towards Ellul and Tishri, the months of the Three Rs – remorse, repentance and return.

Being adamant and stiff-necked is the sign of the sinner who cannot move out of his rut. Blessed is the man whose children are sorry for their father’s lapses. Blessed is the man whose children repent on his behalf.

This suggests the true interpretation of the verse in the Ten Commandments that is usually understood as saying that "G[-]d visits the sins of the fathers upon the children". Actually what the verse may be saying is that G[-]d recognizes in the children the repentance they perform for the sins committed by the fathers.


Though Korach and his henchmen were swallowed up by the ground, "the sons of Korach did not die" (Num. 26:11). Two questions: Why did Korach’s children escape? And why does it matter?

The first question can be answered on the basis of Rashi’s comment derived from earlier sources (Sanhedrin 110a), that originally they joined in the revolt but then withdrew before it was too late.

Why this is important is that it explains why and how they are able to figure in later history when they were "inspired singers of the nation", as Samson Raphael Hirsch describes them – they are listed as authors of twelve chapters of the Book of Psalms – and Temple officials (the Books of Chronicles name them as musicians, gatekeepers and even bakers).

Korach’s descendants included Samuel, which shows that even villains can have good children (cf. Talmud Gittin 57b). The sages said that Haman’s descendants taught Torah in B’nei B’rak, Sisera’s taught children in Jerusalem and Sennacherib’s included scholars such as Sh’mayah and Avtalion.

People can rise above their ancestry. They can say, "I can throw off the baggage I came with and make my own positive contribution".

Of course it can happen the other way too; one can be weighed down by the baggage and never escape the jinx.

The rabbis say, "Your own deeds will bring you closer to people: your own deeds will distance you from them" (Eduyot 5:7). The Mishnah warns people not to remind anyone that their ancestors were wicked people (Bava M’tzi’a 4:10). Everyone must be given a chance to make their own way in society.

Rabbi Raymond Apple, Jerusalem, Israel


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                                      11-17 Tammuz, 5781                                                   June 21-27, 2021 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES--652nd Web Ed.


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