A Jewish Architectural Gem in Boise, Idaho

Built in 1895, Ahavath Beth Israel is the oldest synagogue in continuous use west of the Mississippi River. Its grand original structure was physically relocated in 2003 so it could be expanded to accommodate a growing congregation. Dan Fellner writes:

One of the original members of Beth Israel—as it was [originally called]—was Moses Alexander, who became the mayor of Boise and later was the first practicing Jewish governor in the U.S. He served two terms, from 1915 to 1919. There is a display at a museum inside the Idaho State Capitol in downtown Boise trumpeting that historical distinction. To this day, Alexander remains the only Jewish governor in Idaho history. Today, more than 120 years later, Moses’ grandson, Nathan Alexander, is still a member of the congregation. . . .

The interior of the synagogue still features the original wood columns and stained-glass windows. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. . . . Despite [a handful of anti-Semitic incidents] in Idaho, the synagogue’s director describes Boiseans as “welcoming” and interested in learning more about their Jewish neighbors.

“We’re constantly hosting tour groups and church groups,” she said. “They want to visit the synagogue. They want to know about Jewish history. They want to learn about Judaism.”

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: American Jewish History, American Jewry, Jewish architecture, Jewish World, Jewish-Christian relations, Synagogues

Israel Has Survived Eight Years of Barack Obama’s False Friendship

Jan. 20 2017

In his speech justifying America’s decision to allow passage of the UN Security Council resolution declaring it a violation of international law for Jews to live in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Golan Heights, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “friends need to tell each other the hard truths.” John Podhoretz comments:

The decision in December by President Obama to abstain on the UN Security Council vote . . . marked the moment he crossed the finish line in the course he had charted from 2008 onward. The turn against Israel was complete. And, as he had when he began it, in farewell interview after farewell interview he characterized his assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish presence in the Holy Land as an act of tough love. . . .

Which raises the key question: why [only] abstain [from the resolution]? If “hard truths” define friendship, then by all means they should have made the truths as hard as possible. If Barack Obama and John Kerry truly believe the Jewish presence in east Jerusalem is illicit, then they should have voted for the resolution. Instead, they took the coward’s way out. They opened the vault to the criminals and placed the jewels in their hands while wearing white gloves so there would be no residual trace of their fingerprints. The abstention was in some weird sense the mark of their bad conscience. They wanted something to happen while maintaining some historical deniability about their involvement in it.

In the eight years of the Obama presidency, war broke out twice between the Palestinians and the Israelis and nearly broke out a third time. In each case, the issue was not the West Bank, or east Jerusalem, or anything near. . . . The idea that the settlements and the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem are the main barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was proved to be a lie right before Obama’s eyes in 2009, and 2012, and 2014. And he didn’t care to see it, because he is blinded by an antipathy he wishes to ascribe to Israeli action when honesty would compel him to find it in his own misguided leftist ideology—or within his own soul.

Israel has survived the horrendous blessing of Barack Obama’s false friendship.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Barack Obama, Israel & Zionism, John Kerry, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations