Sunday, August 14, 2016

Beneath A Stormy Cloud: Moving on Without Her ~ Featuring The Edith Litvin Collection


I was liberated April 13, 1945. But was I really?
Those who perished are sound asleep. We that survived are condemned to live. 
To have my poems published is a dream worth living for. Only then will I rest my soul. Only then I’ll know why I of all have survived. 
Please G-d; remember me as you have forgotten my family. Grant me this wish that I may build a tower in Heaven for the martyrs. Please!
April 13, 1979
As I raced toward the edge of the world in a runaway train
You plucked me from empty caverns of unspace
And then I was born

Eighteen months after my dear mother left this physical world I struggle with a multitude of brimming boxes of her journals, poems, original music, drawings, photographs, cassette tapes, movie reviews, and other miscellanea.
She was prolific, that is for sure. She sought to be recognized for her talent. I wonder if these physical goods are symbolic of my emotional struggle. I can’t seem to move on with my life. Or I should say that all of my valiant attempts to move on seem to pale next to the huge emotional cloud bogging me down. I feel as though I am in quicksand, if I move forward just a bit, I will be sucked into an abyss of wet concrete.
I know this is craziness; she wanted me to have a good life and be happy. I feel comfort but also the duality of desperation as I still live in our house, sleep in her bed, and wear her t-shirts and wonder what I am without her.
I can smell her perfume, the Nina Ricci she loved so much. And her Jean Nate bath powder. Those two items were as important to her as food.
She is gone. But is she? If I publish her work, read her lines, see her pictures, and hear her voice I am able to go on living without her. This is as important to me as food.
That is what this book is about. Her, always her. And me, moving on without her, but keeping her close, too. This book fulfills a promise I made to her. There is a post-it note on a picture in my room that I look at each night before I turn off the light and each morning as I get up. It says:
“My Love My darling Naomi…
 Good luck with the book. The second one I mean.
Forever Yours, Editke”
I can’t let go until I do this. And so I present to the world my favorites of her poems and family photos. As I set her words into motion once again, it is unbearable for me to think of her as bones in a grave. So I must set her free, in that way that her freedom meant so very much to her, with pen and paper.
After each of her poems I will write something. What it means to me, what it might mean to anyone that may read it. And what it meant to her? That will remain a mystery and something for you, the reader, to speculate.

Naomi Litvin

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The USS Liberty Incident: History & Overview by Mitchell Bard

The USS Liberty Incident:
History & Overview

(June 8, 1967)
by Mitchell Bard

via Jewish Virtual Library

On June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the Six-Day War, the Israeli high command received reports that Israeli troops in El Arish were being fired upon from the sea, presumably by an Egyptian vessel, as they had a day before. The United States had announced that it had no naval forces within hundreds of miles of the battle front on the floor of the United Nations a few days earlier; however, theUSS Liberty, an American intelligence ship under the dual control of the Defense Intelligence Agency/Central Intelligence Agency and the Sixth Fleet, was assigned to monitor the fighting. As a result of a series of United States communication failures, whereby messages directing the ship not to approach within 100 miles were not received by the Liberty, the ship sailed to within 14 miles off the Sinai coast. The Israelis mistakenly thought this was the ship shelling its soldiers and war planes and torpedo boats attacked, killing 34 members of the Liberty's crew and wounding 171. Ships from the Sixth Fleet were directed to launch four attack aircraft with fighter cover to defend the Liberty, but the planes were recalled after a message was received at the White House that the Israelis had admitted they had attacked the ship.The Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was a grievous error, largely attributable to the fact that it occurred in the midst of the confusion of a full-scale war in 1967. Ten official United States investigations and three official Israeli inquiries have all conclusively established the attack was a tragic mistake.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Anti-Israel BDS at Portland State University

StandWithUs Northwest ALERT!
For all StandWithUs supporters and followers in the Portland area, this Monday, May 23, the Portland State University student government will debate and vote on an anti-Israel BDS resolution. The resolution, based on grotesque misrepresentations of Israel, would have PSU divest from companies doing business with Israel. 
The meeting will take place at 5 pm in Smith Hall. The Portland Hillel interim director and Israel fellow, is asking for everyone who can to attend and provide support. 
You are needed. Members of the wider community can sign up to speak.We expect that there will be a large turnout of anti-Israel students and anti-Israel community members. 
It is extremely important that we show up and rally behind our Jewish and pro-Israel students.

I am a Stand With Us supporter so I attended the meeting of the Portland State University student senate for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions resolution reading. I arrived with trepidation, as I had been told there would no security. The anti-Israel crowd all had 8.5" x 11" copy paper signs that said Equal Rights for Palestinians on one side and #PDXDIVEST on the reverse side.

As I grabbed a chair in the second row from the front (that's me wearing glasses, seated next to the guy in the blue shirt standing) I noticed the woman in the pink shirt in the row behind me waving her “Equal Rights for Palestinians” sign. Another woman in the row behind her grabbed that sign and crumpled it up. The Palestinian protester 'lady' in pink socked her in the arm, yelling “I am Jewish” and the victim of the punch, the paper crumpler, simply sat down without fighting back. I thought, Wow, if that had been me, I would have reacted differently.

                                Media preview
The public debate was aimed at boycotting four American corporations (Caterpillar, HP, G4S, and Motorola) that do business in Israel. The scruffy Boycott Divestment of Israel crowd waved their "Equal Rights for Palestinians" signs and finger snapped during each pro-Israel speaker.

Many of the pro-Palestinian speakers professed their movement to be non-violent. They insisted that their cause does not target the Jewish people but only speaks for the misery of the Palestinians as it applies to these four companies aiding Israel in “human rights violations.” For me, it was impossible to believe that such venom displayed by the anti-Israel crowd could not be targeting a Jewish Israel.

The speakers went back and forth with two minutes allowed; one pro-Israel, then one pro-Palestinian. As each pro-Israel person spoke the BDS crowd waved their signs and finger snapped. I had never seen this finger snapping form of disrespect but that is what I would call it.

There was a lot of comparing Israel to the apartheid state of South Africa. A pro-Israel speaker who is a medical doctor that was born and raised in South Africa spoke up about the ridiculous comparison of apartheid, as in Israel there is no segregation of buses, restaurants etc. In two minutes he made a good case regarding the actual integration of Israelis and Palestinians in Israel society. Others also spoke up about the misappropriation of the apartheid comparison.

One pro-Israel speaker said, “Hate is a strong emotion.” As I saw it, every pro-Israel speaker basically begged for dialogue and was met by the finger snapping and sign waving of the BDS crowd.

As disturbing as it was hearing these young people speak against Israel, it was the Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Christian anti-Israel people that disturbed me the most. The hatred seemed to ooze from them.

I am glad to see that the pro-Israel students went out and had a good time afterward.

Posted on Facebook today:
"The perfect way to end the evening! Eating great Israeli food after a first BDS resolution was a crazy long night and thank you everyone who came out to support us!!! Shout out to all the members of the Jewish and Israeli community who showed up tonight in stood in solidarity with our students. A special thanks to Andy Gitelson and the students of The Oregon Hillel Foundation that stood with us against this resolution. We are so grateful to be part of such a wonderful supportive community!!!
Updates on the results will soon follow.
תודה לכולם!!!