Conversations With Naomi: Hindu Internet Defence Force

India has the third largest number of Muslims in the world. That makes it a natural for some to rise up in India against a domination that can only mean trouble for the Hindus. An alliance on Twitter between Hindus and Jewish conservatives is a natural association, both expected and appreciated.  A combination of a rich Jewish history in India, the recent slaughter at the Mumbai Chabad House in November 2008, and the promising India-Israel friendship and joint technological efforts make for some especially interesting discourse. 

Gadaffi the Gadfly Travels to Italy again ...

Libya's long time leader Gadaffi recently traveled to Italy. This is his fourth time this year visiting Rome. The Libyan Foreign Investment Company is building up a humongous portfolio in Libya and also abroad while some try to play down suspicions on Arab money.  This time the Libyan troublemaker ruffled the feathers of Pro-Vatican politicians. And how, pray-tell did Gadaffi do that? Well, he tried his own brand of proselytizing.

Conversations With Naomi: Brian Singer - Armed and Jewish

Recently I met Brian Singer, a modern day American GI who describes himself on Twitter: I'm a US Army NCO interested in liberty, gun rights, Austrian economics and occasionally cooking.

I asked Brian if he had seen any antisemitism during his time in the military. Brian has generously agreed to go on record here to discuss issues relating to being Jewish in the military.

Famous relatives: Jerome Lettvin first to utter expletive on TV: 1967 debate with Timothy Leary

Every family has its legends. My father's family, known as the Litvin/Lettvin clan includes Jerome Lettvin, who is the nephew of my paternal grandfather, Baruch Litvin, known as the Mechitza Warrior from Mount Clemens, Michigan, who took his case for keeping our shule Orthodox to the Michigan Supreme Court.
"Legal battles were fought in the 1950s in America, as Jews used the civil courts to force one or the other practice. One of the most famous cases was the Mount (Mt.) Clemens case, in which one man, Baruch Litvin, sued his congregation for depriving him of his rights by changing the seating to mixed pews. The court ruled in his favor and the mehitzah remained. This case was an important element in the hardening of the Orthodox posi­tion. Litvin collected various rabbinic sources, statements, and responsa in the book, The Sanctity of the Synagogue. Though Ortho­dox responsa forbidding mixed pews had been written before, after the publication of Litvin's volume, all Orthodoxy became defined by this one practice. Today, an Orthodox congregation is largely defined by the pres­ence of a partition."    from  Mehitzah: Separate Seating in the Synagogue by Dr. Norma Joseph.

But I should get back to my Zeide's nephew, second cousin Jerry, who is Jerome Lettvin (born Chicago, February 23, 1920.) Jerry is a distinguished cognitive scientist and professor Emeritus of Electrical and Bioengineering and Communications Physiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.) What he is best known for in our family, is that he was first person to utter an expletive (bullshit) on television, during his famous debate with acid-head Timothy Leary. Leary, infamous for coining the phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out." Here is the part of that debate.

Libya Jewish leader goes home

I have a secret friend. He is Libyan. We communicate through Twitter DM  (Direct Message). I was suspicious of his motivations in the beginning and feared him. Over time, I have learned that he is a caring family man with a soft spot for the Jewish people. I won't mention his name here, so that he doesn't suffer any backlash from enemies of Israel. Today he sent me some hopeful news that Libya may be softening on their stand toward Jewish people, at least as far as visiting the country. Here is what was published today on Middle East Online, among other anti-Israel news. This is likely a puff piece and propaganda, but what is important here, and poignant, is what one Libyan man, who dares to be different, said after I asked him if it was a recent story:
"Yes, this was only last week. Just wait and you will see dramatic changes, well as we say " blood never turn to water,"  our beloved Libyan Jews will get back and  be compensated for every thing.  I'm happy for this. P.S. The departure was on 1967 before Gad'dafi came 2 power 1969."

Blog soup turns poisonous

Eager to prove myself and succumbing to flattery, I became a blogger with David Horowitz' NewsRealBlog. The entire story is not that complicated. I knew David Swindle from Twitter and was following him because he is an editor for David Horowitz. One day I received an email from Swindle, with an offer.

Conversation With Veteran Ken Jones on military suicides leads to discovery: plot to use 'veterans' magazine for viral online anti-Israel/Jewish hatred

The other night I watched NBC Nightly News and was terribly shocked by Brian Williams' story about military suicides. I thought about my Twitter friend Ken Jones, known as @akvet who is a fellow author. He has free ebooks for our troops and veterans. His Twitter bio says: Life After Combat and When Our Troops Come Home. He boldly and honestly speaks of his own experiences and trauma and is a dedicated warrior in the fight to help our veterans transition to civilian life.  I couldn't stop thinking about the military suicides and therefore sent Ken a tweet asking him about the situation. Here is part of our conversation...

Conversations With Naomi: Pamela Siegel Zarte

It is a pleasure to introduce my friend, Pamela Siegel Zarte, whose Twitter bio states: "Jewish vegetarian, aspiring chef and backyard naturalist, crazy about my family." In getting to know Pam I have seen a deeper part of her Jewish soul that is evidenced by her tweets and emails.

Fly On The Wall Recommends Some Books

In Our Hearts We Were Giants; The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe: A Dwarf Family's Survival of the Holocaust
by Yehuda Koren, Eilat Negev
 Carroll & Graf, Publishers:
"In this remarkable, never-before-told account of the Ovitz family, seven of whose ten members were dwarfs, readers bear witness to the best and worst of humanity and to the terrible irony of the Ovitz's fate: being burdened with dwarfism helped them to endure the Holocaust. Through dogged research and interviews with the youngest Ovitz daughter, Perla, the troupe's last surviving member, and other relatives, Israeli authors Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev weave the tale of a beloved and successful family of performers who were famous entertainers in Central Europe until the Nazis deported them to Auschwitz in May 1944. Descending into the hell of the concentration camp from the transport train, the Ovitz's--known widely as the Lilliput Troupe--separated from other Jewish victims. When Josef Mengele was notified of their arrival, they were assigned better quarters and provided more nutritious food than other inmates. The authors chronicle Mengele's experiments upon the Ovitz's and the creepy fondness he developed for these small people, even the songs he composed and sang to this family of singers, dancers, and klezmorim. Perla explains the irony of their survival in the hell that was Auschwitz: "If I ever wondered why I was born a dwarf, my answer would have to be that my handicap ... was God's only way to keep me alive." Finally liberated by Russian troops, the family returned to their deserted village in Transylvania and eventually found their way to a new home in Israel. They resumed their careers, overcame their handicaps, and became wealthy and successful performers. A unique book that is a powerful testament to the human spirit, In Our Hearts We Were Giants is a triumphant tale thatno reader will forget."

We Never Lost Hope: A Holocaust Memoir and Love Story~ Kirkus Discoveries Review

Five relatives narrate their harrowing World War II experiences in this family chronicle. It could be said that rather than writing this affecting and effective book, Litvin sculpted it. Her breezy but vital narrative provides the shape and overall historical context for her family’s story, but her relatives are the ones doing the real work. Using the first-person accounts of her parents, an aunt, an uncle and a friend of the family, the author offers a nuanced and multifaceted look at the plight of Jews in mid-20th century Eastern Europe. From a small Angora farm in Satu-Mare, Romania, to the horrifying grounds of Auschwitz and finally, to a new life in America, the five distinct voices of Edith, Hilda, and Mendi Festinger, Nate Litvin and Kurt Meyers provide a powerful and intimate journey through one of mankind’s darkest hours. Litvin does well not to mute her sources with an authoritative filter. The book’s undeniable authenticity comes from the life events retold by each narrator—while most historical texts offer one individual’s take, We Never Lost Hope presents five survivors working through their memories. Litvin augmented the book with photographs, news articles and other ephemera (telegrams, maps, etc.) that support the sense of intimacy and reality. Since some accounts can occasionally run long, it may have been helpful for Litvin to provide more editorial insight and direction. Still, the book is a soaring testament to the strength and adaptability of five remarkable people. A wonderfully executed, powerful family chronicle.

Litvin, Naomi WE NEVER LOST HOPE: A Holocaust Memoir and Love Story BookSurge (228 pp.) $16.99 paperback December 18, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4392-0421-4 Kirkus Discoveries, Nielsen Business Media, 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

Naomi Litvin: Gadhafi on dissolving Switzerland, his sons, Israel, and the African refugees: His interview with Der Spiegel

Recently the Arab Israeli representatives to the Knesset shocked the world by being  picked up in  Muammar Gadhafi's private jet and whisked off to the 'undeclared enemy' country of Libya. Once there, of course, they couldn't get their passports stamped, since Israelis are banned from entering Libya. But they enjoyed a gala dinner and schmooze which included Libya's ambassador to Jordan, who joined them from Amman. They all pow-wowed inside a giant Bedouin tent. On their return to Israel, the Arab Israeli's encountered some tzuris.
In related news, I have reached 2,000 names on my URL shortener awareness list which draws attention to the infiltration of Libyan sharia law into the world wide web. Coincidentally, in a rare media interview, Gadhafi waxes eloquently about his views on various topics. I am directly quoting the interview from Der Spiegel below.

SPIEGEL Interview with Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi

SPIEGEL: Mr. Gadhafi, for years you repeatedly got into shouting matches with the Western world before making your peace with arch-enemy America four years ago. Now you have declared a holy war on tiny Switzerland, of all countries. Why?

Gadhafi: Switzerland is one country among many; sometimes you have trouble with one country, sometimes with another. We never had difficulties with Switzerland before. We used to appreciate it as a holiday destination. We used to appreciate its companies and its watches. But then Switzerland began to treat us badly. For example, the minaret issue and the publishing of nasty portrayals of the Prophet. It was necessary to draw a line with the Swiss. That is what I did in my speech in Benghazi to mark the Prophet's birthday.

Tamara Olaniyan Book Review: We Never Lost Hope: A Holocaust Memoir and Love Story

I consider myself to be somewhat of a mild history buff, always on the lookout for a good read. I’m always looking for ways to understand and get a better 'over'standing of the issues that affected mankind throughout the years. I purchased your book solely to get more knowledge about what happened during the Jewish Holocaust. What I read, in turn was a beautifully woven story of love between two people in the midst of one of the most horrific human events in world history. I’ve seen and read about the Holocaust, seen pictures, and even attended lectures and listened to survivors of the Holocaust speak about their lives in concentration camps. We Never Lost Hope was a reading that gave me the opportunity to make this dark period more 'real' to me by the narratives given by the family members of their lives before, during, and after the Holocaust. Each family member was able to give his/her story about their lives in a version that is seldom seen in history books. I felt like I was at a lecture given by a survivor but this time, it was on paper. The difference being I have not only the memories etched into my mind but now the written word that I can reread and take with me. I cried reading the book, never imagining a story that I read about so many times would become so real to me. The narratives of your family make it personal because it is a horrible reminder how under the worst conditions genocide can destroy us but a testament on the strength of the human will for the most basic things: survival and love. My son is nine now and I plan to pass this book to him on his 12th birthday. Thanks for writing such a beautiful book.
follow Tamara on Twitter

EXCLUSIVE SHOCKER: anti-Jewish email from South African racist published here

Spring cleaning of my Outlook mail has produced an extreme piece of nauseating racist and anti-Semitic garbage. So much so, that I let this trail of emails languish in the box since December 2009, not knowing what to do with it. Now, I have decided that it needs to be seen.

The fellow that is behind this crud is Jan Lambrecht, from Johannesburg, South Africa, with correspondence with his cronies. He wants to put the "Jewish issue to bed" and says "the Jewish question is an ongoing and never-ending complete nuisance..." He starts out praising certain things about Jews, but you'll see further into it, his rant includes, "...clever, rich, argumentative, difficult, and understands why the Germans became angry with the Jews." In the end, he states his belief that all Jews should be 'relocated' to Israel.

I am not pretending to know a thing about South African affairs and politics. All I know is what I read, and how I feel after I read it. So go ahead and read this, and please comment back on how you feel. And then get the sage out, because you will need a good smudging after you read it.

Naomi Litvin: The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 3

This is Part 3 of my series: The John Birch Society. Click the links below to read my previous posts.

The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 1
The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 2

I was frustrated and also a little worried about Part 3 of this John Birch Society series. The whole subject was starting to sound old and boring, with CPAC grinding along. I was monitoring tweets in two search columns on Tweedeck: one was John Birch Society, and the other was CPAC. All I was getting was hysterical tweets from lefty baby boomers who had suddenly sobered up and realized that the JBS has co-sponsored the conservative's CPAC convention. Seeing Rachel Maddow shmoozing it up at the John Birch Society Booth only revealed a few silly items, like JBS had a nice shiny booth and Rachel was acting like an idiot.

I had been reading books about the John Birch Society from 'special order' at the library. They were interesting, albeit pretty musty smelling, and chock full of Bircher material from the 1960's. I needed something fresh, something to get my juices flowing, something that I could get some shock and awe out of. Nothing much was happening. Yes, Glenn Beck likes the JBS. And yes, Ron Paul won the straw vote and he is a JBS man, too. Nothing much was jumping out at me, if you know what I mean.

Naomi Litvin: The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 2

This is Part 2 and the continuation of
The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 1 
The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE Part 3

Sarah Leah Lawent had something to share about the subject of The John Birch Society in the USA. This is what she said: 
"I remember in the late '60s and early '70s, in Connecticut, there was a 1-800 number you could dial that was hosted by The John Birch Society (and also connected to the DAR).  We used to call it the dial-a-hate number, because it spoke of the Socialist/Communist conspiracies, supported by the Jewish Zionists, Negroes, and other enemies of the free, white, Christian values that America was based upon.  It was shocking, and as teenagers, we just couldn't believe anyone would really take this drivel seriously.  Then we discovered that Welch's - the Welch's that put jelly on our PBJ's we had taken to school all those years - was a major player in this.  Needless to say, I switched brands."
 Peddlers of fear: The John Birch Society
" would be folly to laugh off the danger to democracy represented by the John Birch Society. There are clear differences, of course. But there are also remarkable similarities between the early Nazi movement to Germany and the John Birch Society in the United States..."- Milton A. Waldor

Naomi Litvin: The John Birch Society: SPIN CYCLE: Part 1

Ever since I interviewed and posted my January 23rd Paul Brenner: Exposed - Conversations With Naomi, something has been nagging away at me. A little voice in my head keeps saying 'John Birch Society.'

I remember as a small child hearing the adults whispering about the John Birch Society. In those days, in the Detroit suburbs, grown-ups had dreams of being accepted into country clubs and if you were Jewish, and you drew too much attention to your community it could affect your chances of getting in. There weren't too many that you could join. I have just asked my mom if she remembered the John Birch Society, and she said "achhhh."

Naomi Litvin: Psst! Image by Phil Frank

Phil Frank was the creator of "Farley", the classic comic strip in the San Francisco Chronicle. Phil's daughter Stacy Frank, has granted me permission to use Psst!, one of Phil Frank's creations, which I am using as a caricature of myself for this blog and also on Twitter, as my avatar.


Conversations with Naomi: Paul Brenner Exposed

I met Paul Brenner on Twitter where he is known as @prbrenner. He appeared darkly mysterious, difficult to identify, and a man of few words. As time passed, he began to respond to my tweets more aggressively, and I admit that I was somewhat astounded. I was not afraid of Paul, it was just that I felt a power beneath his tweets that I perceived as feral. What better candidate for my Conversations column, than this man of mystery? Let us now unravel some of what went into the making of Paul Brenner. This man is not a figment of your imagination, he is real.

Conversations with Naomi: Sarah Leah Lawent #RIP

I have a wonderful new friend, Sara Leah Lawent, also known as @SaraLeah770 who I am getting to know on Twitter and through email. Many people are unclear about what living in Israel is all about, including me, and I am excited about having a friend in Israel. I admire and respect Sara Leah for living in Jerusalem and hope that I will meet her soon in our Land.

We Never Lost Hope: A Holocaust Memoir and Love Story ~ The Book Trailer

We Never Lost Hope: A Holocaust Memoir and Love Story ~ A book review from Sighet, Romania

Naomi Litvin:American Writer
Johnny Popescu
Sighet-Online Romania

"...I like jazz and classical music and your book is built up as a jam session; with voices singing around a theme, adding something of their own personality, flooding memories;and then withdraw to give room to another voice who pick up the thread and goes on... it's an entirely new approach of writing. I don't like comparing but if needed, I'd say We Never Lost Hope is somewhere between Virginia Wolf's Waves and Dokotorow's Ragtime. You have that rare quality to taking the reader and simply walk him through the events, with no pathetism. I felt like you being here, in Sighet and Satu Mare and we walked along the streets and you talk to me... By the way, in Sighet there are Festingers still living. Relatives of yours? If you don't mind, I presented your book at the radio I work at..."

*Update Johnny Popescu has died. He was a Romanian journalist  involved in writing and recovering Sighet's pre-war Jewish community. He is working on a documented history covering seven hundred years of Jewish history and culture in Romania. #RIP Johnny

Image result for johnny popescu
Sighet, Romania