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

Hamas Won’t Compromise with the Palestinian Authority, and Gazans Won’t Overthrow Hamas

July 24 2017

Since the terrorist organization Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, much of Israeli strategy toward it has stemmed from the belief that, if sufficient pressure is applied, the territory’s residents will rise up against it. Yaakov Amidror argues this is unlikely to happen, and he also doubts that improved living conditions for ordinary Gazans would deter Hamas from terrorism or war:

The hardships experienced by the Strip’s residents, no matter how terrible, will not drive them to stage a coup to topple Hamas. The organization is entrenched in Gaza and is notorious for its brutality toward any sign of dissidence, and the Palestinians know there is no viable alternative waiting for an opportunity to [take over].

[Therefore], it is time everyone got used to the idea that Hamas is not about to relinquish its dominant position in the Gaza Strip, let alone concede to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas. . . . [Yet the] assumption is also baseless that if Gaza experiences economic stability and prosperity, Hamas would refrain from provoking hostilities. This misconception is based on the theory that Hamas operates by governmental norms and prioritizes the needs and welfare of its citizens. This logic does not apply to Hamas. . . .

[Hamas’s] priorities are to bolster its military power and cement its iron grip. This is why all the supplies Israel allows into Gaza on a daily basis to facilitate normal life have little chance of reaching the people. Hamas first and foremost takes care of its leaders and makes sure it has what it needs to sustain its terror-tunnel-digging enterprise and its weapon-production efforts. It then sees to the needs of its members, and then—and only then—what little is left is diverted to rehabilitation efforts that benefit the population.

This is why the argument that Israel is responsible for Gaza’s inability to recover from its plight is baseless. Hamas is the one that determines the priorities by which to allocate resources in the enclave, and the more construction materials that enter Gaza, the easier and faster it is for Hamas to restore its military capabilities. Should Israel sacrifice its own security on the altar of Gazans’ living conditions? I don’t think so.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security