40 Chilling Facts About The Titanic You Wouldn’t Fathom


The Titanic was a feat of engineering unlike anything the world had ever seen. It was considered unsinkable and was an incredibly sought after cruise liner. The ship was a British passenger liner that started her maiden voyage in Southampton and was headed to New York City. This was the second of three Olympic class liners which was operated by the White Star Line.

Built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, it was looked at as the flagship of the fleet. The architect of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews died during the sinking of the ship on April, 15th 1912. After the collision with the iceberg, the death-toll was one of the deadliest in modern peacetime maritime history. Of the approximately 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, somewhere around 1,500 died. There is much debate about the actual numbers, but most come in somewhere between 1,497 and 1,517 that did not survive the sinking.

This was not because of the ships lack of safety features. In fact, it had some of the most advanced safety features of all ships. These included watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors. The issue was that the outdated maritime safety regulations only required enough lifeboats to carry about half the number aboard.

The Titanic took 2 hours and 40 minutes from collision to sinking. As an unsinkable ship, this was a shock to the world and the following facts talk about the people, the experience and even some facts that are nothing more than shocking.

The question, though, is how did we become so arrogant? Why do we feel that we can create things that are claimed to be immune to the laws of nature? We live on this world and we have to play by its rules. There is never a surefire thing. The Titanic is proof of that. While the disaster could have been mitigated or even prevented as you will learn in the following pages, the fact that we were so sure that we could create something that could not be destroyed by nature was what doomed the ship from the start.

This story, as heartbreaking and fascinating as it is, is a story that can be learned from. The individuals that boarded this ship expected nothing but luxury and safety. Much like when we leave our house each day we expect to make it home that night without issue. The true lesson of the Titanic is that we can not take any one moment for granted. They are all just moments away from our last. Those moments may be decades from now or minutes from now. There is no way to tell. Remember that we are just a speck of dust in this universe and our time is short, so we have to enjoy it and understand that we have no control over what the world will throw at us. That is to say, live every moment as if it were your last.

40. That Is Some Anchor

Via NPVM.org.uk

Via NPVM.org.uk

The main anchor for the Titanic was so large and heavy that it required 20 horses to pull it. These aren’t just any horses either, they were Clydesdales. The procession that followed the anchor started towards Dudley Railway Station on April the 30th of 1911. From there, the anchors and chains would travel via rail to Fleetwood, located in Lancashire. It was late afternoon when the anchors arrived. It took some time after that, until May, for the anchor to arrive at the Titanic. The center anchor was the largest anchor ever hand-forged at the time.


39. Accepting Fate

Via Alchetron

Via Alchetron

Benjamin Guggenheim was an American businessman that died during the sinking of the Titanic. He was both an American and German citizen. After his father died, he inherited a great deal of money, which seems to have allowed him to launch his own career. He boarded the Titanic with his mistress, his valet (Victor Giglio), and a few others. When helping two of his party onto Lifeboat No. 9 he spoke to his maid in German, saying, “We will soon see each other again! It’s just a repair. Tomorrow the Titanic will go on again.”

He knew better, though, to what his fate was at this point. He and Giglio returned to his cabin to change into formal evening wear.  He was heard to say, “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.” The last anyone saw of Guggenheim and Giglio was of the two sitting on deck chairs in the foyer of the Grand Staircase. There they sipped brandy and smoked cigars as they awaited their fate.

Trump wings it on Middle East peace

If he wants a regional deal, there has been one on offer for 15 years


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The casual way Donald Trump set aside two decades of US and international policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as so often with this president, raised more questions than it answers. His announcement he was “looking at two-state and one-state” solutions startled even Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister and a fan.

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Mr Trump spoke of a “much bigger deal” that could “take in many countries and would cover a much larger territory”, suggesting he wants a region-wide formula to replace the quest for two states. Talks to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and create an independent Palestine living alongside a secure Israel, have so often tantalised only to disappoint. The Trump White House is now floating a so-called “outside-in” solution. Instead of “inside-out” — whereby Israel reaches a deal with the Palestinians as the precondition and springboard to peace with all Arab states — the idea appears to be to build an alliance between Israel and Sunni Arab nations against Iran. This would be used as leverage to settle the Palestinian question. If only it were that simple. Mr Trump seems to believe this has never been considered, and that he has hit on an almost Copernican change. There is, of course, a need to involve the leading Arab states, and bring a desperately needed element of stability to a region in flames. That is different to pushing for a single state. There is nothing to object to about a single state in which Israelis and Palestinians enjoy equal and democratic rights, secure land ownership, and a high degree of autonomy under some confederal pact. Lots of Palestinians, fed up with the corruption and fecklessness of their leadership, would jump at it. But there is no conceivable coalition in Israel remotely interested in such a deal. Mainstream Israelis fear Jews will be outnumbered by Arabs in the cramped space between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean, where the two populations are now almost equal at about 6.3m each. Yet this is happening in lieu of a two-state solution that would allow Israel to remain predominantly Jewish and democratic. The de facto single entity disfigured by the occupation is a demographic time-bomb that erodes Israel’s legitimacy. It is bad enough that Mr Netanyahu’s government is deepening the occupation with a big new push to settle more Jews on Arab land. His far right cabinet colleagues want to use the US policy shake-up to pre-empt the outcome, annexing swaths of the West Bank. Some exponents of this Greater Israel talk of somehow unloading the Palestinian populations of Gaza and the West Bank on Egypt and Jordan. The right regional approach would be to revive the Arab peace plan, on the table since 2002, which offers Israel peace and normal relations in exchange for its withdrawal from all Arab land captured in 1967, and the creation of a sovereign Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel has never wanted to discuss this. But now it has much more in common with the Arabs — provided it commits to a just solution for Palestinians. Abandoning a two-state framework permits deeper Israeli colonisation and subjugation of the Palestinians, leading to one state by default, but with first and second-class citizens. That will leach away at Israel’s international legitimacy, boost the campaign to boycott the Jewish state and provide a new spur to extremism in a region where fanatics are plentiful. That would not be the “really a great peace deal” vaunted by Mr Trump — for anybody.


Iraq Starts Offensive to Retake Western Mosul From ISIS

Iraqi forces advanced toward western Mosul on Sunday. CreditKhalid Al-Mousily/Reuters



ERBIL, Iraq — Iraq opened the next chapter in its offensive to drive the Islamic State out of Mosul on Sunday, preparing an assault on the western half of the city. Overnight, planes carpeted the ground with leaflets, directly appealing to the group’s fighters to surrender.

“To those of you who were intrigued by the ISIS ideology,” one of the leaflets said, “this is your last opportunity to quit your work with ISIS and to leave those foreigners who are in your homeland. Stay at home, raising the white flags as the forces approach.”

On state-run television, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq announced the beginning of the offensive, describing it as “a new dawn” and calling on his troops “to move bravely forward to liberate what is left of the city.”

The assault is taking place amid new concerns about the condition of hundreds of thousands of civilians still trapped in the western part of the city. Food, water and cooking fuel have all been reported to be in short supply, and residents have described increased harassment from Islamic State fighters preparing for the attack.

Continue reading the main story

The overall push to free Mosul, once Iraq’s second-largest city, began in October, with local troops pushing from the east into the city’s geographically larger but more sparsely populated eastern half. In late January, they reached the banks of the Tigris River, which bisects Mosul, and declared the city’s eastern section liberated.

The operation took longer than expected and took a high toll on civilians and the Iraqi forces, but much of the city’s infrastructure was preserved and a sense of daily life has returned. That is in contrast to the operations to take back other cities from the Islamic State, including Ramadi and Sinjar, which were laid waste by airstrikes. More than a year since Sinjar was freed, even its mayor has not been able to return.

The fight for Mosul’s western half could be even more protracted than for its east. The west is home to neighborhoods of narrow streets, some so small that it will not be possible for Iraqi troops to enter in their fortified Humvees. That may make the Islamic State’s signature suicide bomb attacks even more effective.

Because all five of the bridges spanning the Tigris have been bombed, Iraqi troops will trace a circuitous path to western Mosul, initially approaching it from the city’s south.

Officials said the first objective would be Mosul International Airport, just south of the city. By midday on Sunday, Iraqi forces had captured a string of nearby villages, advancing within six miles of the airfield, officers from the troops said.

American forces are supporting the operation. “The U.S. forces continue in the same role as they did in East Mosul,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters traveling with him on Sunday, adding that the rules of engagement for American troops in Iraq had not changed: “We are very close to, if not already engaged in, that fight.”

He said that the American-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State would “continue with the accelerated effort to destroy” the group.

Anticipating the offensive, the Islamic State damaged the Mosul airport, carving wide trenches onto the runways and adjacent taxiways and aprons, leaving no paved portion of the airport usable by aircraft, according to an analysis of satellite imagery by Stratfor, a global intelligence company.

While the airport may be unusable, taking it would be a milestone for the offensive, as would taking the adjacent hilltop village of Abu Saif, which sits at a higher elevation than Mosul. Because of the Islamic State’s heavy use of snipers, securing high ground is crucial, and Iraqi forces were nearing the base of the hill by Sunday afternoon.

The troops’ push into western Mosul will be further complicated by the Islamic State’s vast network of tunnels throughout the city, allowing fighters to hide from overhead surveillance. And the group is also increasingly using armed drones, allowing them to spot and remotely bomb advancing Iraqi troops.

Yahya Salah, whose neighborhood in eastern Mosul was liberated in November, described how Iraqi troops were just streets away when Islamic State fighters forced their way into his home, armed with a jackhammer. They herded Mr. Salah’s family into one of the bedrooms. From behind the closed door, Mr. Salah said, he then heard a deafening sound and realized the fighters were drilling a hole.

“They worked without stopping — when one got tired, another took over, and they dug a hole that was 1.5 meters wide,” said Mr. Salah, who said his family was locked in the bedroom for three days. “When we said we were thirsty, they threw water bottles at us,” he said.

He said the fighters had left at noon on the final day. The Iraqi Army arrived at sunset, unlocking the door. When the family stepped into the rest of their house, they found ceiling-high piles of dirt in three of their four bedrooms and a hole in the living room floor. The tunnel the fighters had dug stretched for dozens of yards, allowing the terrorist group’s foot soldiers to slip away.

Residents have shown reporters similar tunnels throughout the eastern part of the city, and officials expect the same in western Mosul. A photo essay published this weekend by the Islamic State titled “Life of Fighters South of Mosul” shows their soldiers cooking a meal on a kerosene stove, reading the Quran and praying inside a tunnel wide enough for five men to stand side by side.

At the same time, the Islamic State has become better at the use of small drones, which are available off-the-shelf in malls across the region, including in Erbil, the nearest major city to Mosul. They use the drones to pinpoint army positions and to target them, and recently recovered Islamic State documents show how the group has cobbled together its own drone program. Iraqi forces describe how they frequently see the twoto-four-foot-long aircraft overhead, whining like a lawn mower. Then 30 minutes later, they will take incoming fire at that location.

“Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world, and the Iraqi forces have risen to the challenge,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of the American-led effort against the Islamic State, said in a news release from United States Central Command announcing the beginning of the operation. Some of the 450 American advisers on the ground in Iraq are helping Iraqi officers plan and execute the offensive.

Reached by telephone, residents in western Mosul described the elation they felt at the approach of government troops. “All we have left to eat is tomato paste. We are eating it with salt,” said Umm Anwar, 41, who asked to be identified only by her nickname. “We are ready to kill ISIS ourselves with knives, or by biting them, because we are in so much pain.”

Astronomers Snap Supernova’s Baby Pictures

Images of an exploding dying star taken just a few hours after its detonation are revealing new details of stellar death


Supernova remnants—like this one first observed more than 400 years ago—are typically only noticed by Earthbound researchers well after the initial explosion of the progenitor star. Now, astronomers have caught and closely studied a supernova when it was merely a few hours old. Credit: NASA, CXC, SAO

Baby pictures of a newborn supernova have captured this stellar explosion after the first half-dozen hours of its life, shedding light on how these giant explosions happen, a new study finds.

This newly discovered cosmic baby is the type of supernova that occurs when a giant star runs out of fuel and explodes. Supernovas are so bright that they can briefly outshine all of the other stars in their home galaxy.

Astronomers have previously seen glimpses of supernovas within the first minutes after they explode. However, until now, researchers had not captured light from a newborn supernova across the so many wavelengths—including radio waves, visible light and X-rays. The new images add to evidence that suggests that these dying stars may signal their upcoming demise by spewing a disk of material in the months before their deaths, according to a paper describing the finding. [Know Your Novas: Star Explosions Explained (Infographic)]

Much remains unknown about how and why dying stars can detonate with such violence. Studying the final years of a star that is destined to die as a supernova could reveal key details about the way in which these explosions happen, but stars in these brief, final stages are rare—statistically, it is very likely that none of the 100 billion to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxyare within one year of dying as a supernova, according to the new paper.

Now scientists report the discovery of a supernova just 3 hours after it exploded, helping them capture “the earliest spectra ever taken of a supernova explosion,” said study lead author Ofer Yaron, an astrophysicist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. A light spectrum is essentially detailed look at the wavelengths of light emitted by an object. Because chemical elements can absorb certain wavelengths, stellar spectra can be used to reveal the composition of a star.

“Until several years ago, catching a supernova a week after explosion was regarded as early,” Yaron told Space.com. “This is not the case anymore.”


The astronomers detected the supernova known as SN 2013fs on Oct. 6, 2013, using the data from the Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) based at the Palomar Observatory in California. Its star was likely a red supergiant about 10 to 17 times heavier than the sun and several hundred times wider than the sun, Yaron said.

The supernova detonated about 160 million light-years away in a spiral galaxy called NGC 7610. This galaxy is relatively close to the Milky Way, making it easier for scientists to aim more telescopes at it and detect signals from it that span almost the entire the spectrum of light, from radio waves to X-rays. Observations of the supernova were made with telescopes at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii and NASA’s Swift satellite starting about 6 hours after the explosion, Yaron explained.

SN 2013fs was the most common variety of supernova: a Type II. This kind of supernova happens when the core of a massive star runs out of fuel, collapses to an extraordinarily dense nugget in a fraction of a second and then bounces and blasts its material outward.

The astronomers captured pictures of the newborn supernova early enough to spot a disk of matter the star expelled just before its demise. Normally supernovas are seen after the shockwave from the explosions have swept away such material and any secrets that the disk might have contained.

The researchers found that a year or so before this star died, it rapidly spewed out vast amounts of material, equal to about one-thousandth of the sun’s mass, at speeds of nearly 224,000 mph (360,000 km/h). Previous research had seen cases where such early eruptions occurred among unusual subgroups of Type II supernovas, but these new findings suggest that such outpourings also precede more common kinds of Type II supernovas.

“It’s as if the star ‘knows’ its life is ending soon, and puffing material at an enhanced rate during its final breaths,” Yaron told Space.com. “Think of a volcano or geyser bubbling before an eruption.”

These findings suggest that a star may be unstable months before its turns into a Type II supernova. As such, “the structure of the star when it explodes may be different than that assumed so far,” Yaron said. For instance, the core of a star may experience upheavals during its final days, causing strong winds to travel from the depths of the star all the way to its surface and beyond.

New, automated surveys of the sky such as the iPTF have begun capturing supernovas a day or less after they explode.

“With the help of new sky surveys coming up in the very near future, we expect to significantly increase the number of supernova events for which we are able to obtain early observations within hours and maybe minutes from explosion,” Yaron said.

The scientists detailed their findings online Feb. 13 in the journal Nature Physics.

Ceramic Pottery Reveals an Ancient Geomagnetic Field Spike

The magnetic field surrounding Earth is constantly fluctuating in strength.

Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

More than 2,500 years ago in the ancient Near East, the Earth’s geomagnetic field was going gangbusters. During the late eighth century B.C., a new study finds, the magnetic field that surrounds the planet was temporarily 2.5 times stronger than it is today.

Researchers know about these fluctuations thanks to the bureaucracy of Judah, an ancient kingdom situated around what is now Jerusalem. Pottery jugs from between the eighth and second centuries B.C. bear administrative stamps that changed with the political situation. Unbeknown to the people firing these jugs, the act of heating locked information about the Earth’s geomagnetic field into minerals present in the clay. Because the stamps provide precise information about when the pots were fired, the study allows a detailed look at geomagnetic changes over 600 years.

“This was the system of the king in Jerusalem to be able to collect tax efficiently,” study author Erez Ben-Yosef, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, said of the stamps. “We are actually benefiting from a good bureaucratic system, the ancient IRS.” [7 Ways the Earth Changes in the Blink of an Eye]

The Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that arises from the motion of iron in the liquid outer core. Direct observation of the field has been possible for only about 180 years, Ben-Yosef told Live Science. In that time, the field has weakened by about 10 percent, he said. Some researchers think the field might be in the process of flipping, so that magnetic north becomes magnetic south and vice versa.

The new study reveals much faster changes in intensity. There was a spike in intensity during the late eighth century B.C., culminating in a rapid decline after about 732 B.C., Ben-Yosef and his colleagues reported today (Feb. 13) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. In a mere 31 years beginning in the year 732 B.C., there was a 27 percent decrease in the strength of the magnetic field, the researchers found. From the sixth century B.C. to the second century B.C., the field was generally stable, with a slight gradual decline.

“Our research shows that the field is very fluctuating,” Ben-Yosef said. “It fluctuates quite rapidly, so there is nothing to worry about,” as far as the current decline, he said. (This doesn’t mean that the magnetic field isn’t going to flip in the near future; the new study looked at only strength of the field, not directionality. The findings do suggest that there’s no reason to worry that a 10 percent decline in the field strength over more than a century is abnormal, Ben-Yosef said.)

At least in the Levant, that is. All of the pottery in the study came from this region, which encompasses what is now Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and nearby areas. That means researchers can’t be sure whether the same fluctuations were happening elsewhere. Because the scientists also don’t know for sure the precise locations within the Levant where the pottery was fired, they can’t say anything about the direction of the geomagnetic field at the time, only its strength. [Photos: Ancient Burial and Metal Tool from Southern Levant]

The clays in ceramic pots contain ferromagnetic minerals, or minerals containing iron. When the clays are heated, the electrons in these minerals align according to the Earth’s magnetic field — imagine a series of iron filings lining up in arcs around a bar magnet. Once cooled, the magnetic patterns are locked in for good. The same process occurs when lava cools, so researchers can also detect changes in the magnetic field by studying volcanic rocks.

A stamped pottery handle from the Israel settlement called Ramat Rahel. The magnetic minerals used in the pottery were sealed in during heating and are revealing the history of Earth's magnetic field.

A stamped pottery handle from the Israel settlement called Ramat Rahel. The magnetic minerals used in the pottery were sealed in during heating and are revealing the history of Earth’s magnetic field.

Credit: Courtesy of Oded Lipschits

Understanding the ancient magnetic field has implications for many fields of research, Ben-Yosef said. Archaeologists would like to develop a new system so they could look at the magnetic properties of heated materials and date them according to what the magnetic field was doing at the time. Earth scientists want to better understand the deep structures in the core that create the magnetic field. Atmospheric scientists want to understand the interactions of the magnetic field with cosmic radiation. Biologists are interested in cosmic radiation, too: Because the magnetic field protects the planet from damaging cosmic rays, Earth owes its flourishing life to the existence of the geomagnetic field.

“This is related to various different phenomena, from biology, Earth sciences, geophysics, atmospheric sciences and archaeology,” Ben-Yosef said.

The researchers are now trying to expand their study of this time period to see if the fluctuations they observed were a regional phenomenon, or more widespread.

More about 9/11 RELEASED

It has been over 15 years since the tragic day of 9/11 and many who have survived that horrendous day are still having a hard time coping with everything that happened. One of those people affected is Ricki, a survivor who lived through the worst of that day and is still suffering physically and mentally from the trauma.

He has explained to us the shell shock and post traumatic stress he goes through almost everyday that made him close off and not develop the photos that he took that day. In an exclusive interview he gave WeAreChange, Ricki has entrusted us with those photos and told us to publish them.

We are releasing all the photos that we were given for you, 14 years later that no one else has seen. Ricki still has other photos that have not been released, these are the photos that we are given and we are letting you make up your own mind about them. Please also note Ricki is not a professional photographer and grabbed what he could to take these photos.


Physicists Forge Impossible Molecule That Chemists Failed To Make


There’s a bunch of physicists out there that are feeling a little bit pleased with themselves right now, and no wonder – they may have just made all of chemistry redundant. Okay, that’s not really true, but they’ve certainly beat chemistry researchers at their own game.

You see, a team of IBM physicists have managed to forge a new type of molecule, named “triangulene”, that chemistry researchers have been long hoping to synthesize themselves. This suggests that physical processes can be used to make molecules that are essentially impossible to make any other way.

This particular molecule is, unsurprisingly, triangular shaped. Triangular-shaped molecules are fairly rare due to a phenomenon known as “ring strain.” The tight angles of their molecular bonds mean that they are unstable and highly reactive, and don’t last long in a wide range of environments.

Triangulene has been hypothesized to exist by chemistry acolytes for several years now, as a single-atom layer of carbon with the triangular shape being formed from smaller hexagon forms – but no conventional chemical process seemed to be able to create a stable version of it.

Enter IBM, who decided to use a device that could manipulate atoms on an electron scale. First, as reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, they nabbed a precursor molecule from chemists in the UK. This molecule looks a lot like triangulene, but it came with two additional hydrogen atoms.

A sketch of triangulene imposed onto the image of the real deal. IBM Research

They placed this precursor on a range of copper and insulating plates, and used a combination of carbon monoxide and gold to probe the molecule – on the smallest of scales – using a unique atomic imaging device.

This device had previously been used to look at weird molecules like olympicene, one that’s shaped like the official logo of the Olympics. Although the images are blurry, individual atomic bonds can be seen.

The device uses changing voltages to “poke” around the molecule by interacting directly with its electrons. The interaction allows the researchers to view its intricate structure, but the team wondered if they could also use it to actually change the chemistry of the molecule itself.

Using some precisely-aimed, set-voltage “bolts,” they managed to remove the two additional hydrogen atoms, and the precursor molecule transformed into the fabled triangulene. It lasted for four days before reverting back to a more stable form – long enough to prove its existence.

“Triangulene is the first molecule that we’ve made that chemists have tried hard, and failed, to make already,” Leo Gross, who led the IBM team at the firm’s laboratories in Zurich, told Nature.

Far from just trouncing cutting-edge chemistry, the team noted that the two free electrons left over from the physical manipulation could “spin” in two separate directions. This is a key feature of molecules used in quantum computing, in that this type of molecule could have one segment of it representing a “0” and the other a “1”.

By being able to represent both states at the same time, more digital information could be stored on a system made of these molecules than ever before. That, of course, explains why IBM is so interested in the forging of triangulene.

So they didn’t just score a victory over chemistry, but one for the future of quantum computing. That’s pretty damn impressive.

These new molecules could be a vital component of future quantum computers. Jurik Peter/Shutterstock

If you want to be a modern day alchemist, then, forget Breaking Bad – have a look at Cosmos instead.

A Jewish Reporter Got to Ask Trump a Question. It Didn’t Go Well.

Jake Turx, an Orthodox Jewish reporter for Ami Magazine, a weekly published in Brooklyn, began to ask President Trump a question regarding bomb threats at Jewish centers. Mr. Trump, apparently believing he was being accused of anti-Semitism, reprimanded the reporter.

Jake Turx is a newly minted White House correspondent for a publication that has never before had a seat in the White House press corps: Ami Magazine, an Orthodox Jewish weekly based in Brooklyn. He is a singular presence in the briefing room: a young Hasidic Jew with side curls tucked behind his ears and a skullcap embroidered with his Twitter handle.

Dear @PressSec @seanspicer,
Please call on me at the next press briefing. I’m the guy w/ the words “Jake Turx” on my kippa.
(RT this y’all!)

When President Trump called on him at a news conference on Thursday, saying he was looking for a “friendly reporter,” Mr. Turx was prepared. He had spent an hour crafting a question about a recent surge of anti-Semitism, with a preamble that he hoped would convey his supportive disposition toward Mr. Trump.

But the exchange did not go the way he expected. A few hours later, with the clip replaying on social media and Jewish groups issuing news releases, Mr. Turx, 30, was still reeling. He said in a telephone interview, “Regretfully, today was a day I wish we could have done over.”

His editor, Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, watched aghast from the magazine’s offices as his young correspondent received a tongue-lashing from the president: “It was a very disheartening moment for us, to watch him being berated.”

Continue reading the main story

The exchange began with Mr. Turx standing up from his third-row seat and gesturing slightly toward his fellow reporters:

“Despite what some of my colleagues may have been reporting, I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. We understand that you have Jewish grandchildren. You are their zayde,” which is Yiddish for “grandfather” and often a word of great affection.

At that Mr. Trump nodded slightly, and said, “thank you.”

“However,” Mr. Turx continued, “what we are concerned about and what we haven’t really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There’s been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to——”

At that, Mr. Trump interrupted, saying it was “not a fair question.”

“Sit down,” the president commanded. “I understand the rest of your question.”

As Mr. Turx took his seat, Mr. Trump said, “So here’s the story, folks. No. 1, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. No. 2, racism, the least racist person.”

Mr. Turx tried to interject, realizing how the encounter had turned. He said he had wanted to clarify that he in no way meant to accuse Mr. Trump of anti-Semitism but instead intended to ask what his administration could do to stop the anti-Semitic incidents.

But Mr. Trump would not let him speak again, saying, “Quiet, quiet, quiet.” As Mr. Turx shook his head with an incredulous look on his face, Mr. Trump accused him of having lied that his question would be straight and simple.

Mr. Trump said, “I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me. …”

He went on to say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, during his visit to the United States on Wednesday, had vouched for Mr. Trump as a good friend of Israel and the Jewish people and no anti-Semite.

Mr. Trump concluded that Mr. Turx should have relied on Mr. Netanyahu’s endorsement, “instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that.”

“Just shows you about the press, but that’s the way the press is,” Mr. Trump said.

At the news conference, Mr. Turx was referring to a rash of incidents that have shaken many American Jews since Mr. Trump was elected. On three separate days in January, Jewish synagogues, community centers and schools across the country received what seemed to be a coordinated wave of telephone bomb threats that led to evacuations and F.B.I. investigations. Other Jewish institutions have seen an uptick in vandalism and graffiti in the last few months.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement on Thursday that said, “It is mind-boggling why President Trump prefers to shout down a reporter or brush this off as a political distraction.”

David Harris, chief executive of the American Jewish Committee, said, “Respectfully, Mr. President, please use your bully pulpit not to bully reporters asking questions potentially affecting millions of fellow Americans, but rather to help solve a problem that, for many, is real and menacing.”

Surveys show that Mr. Trump was not the choice of the majority of American Jews, who tend to vote for Democrats and came out in force for Hillary Clinton. Many Jews have been critical of Mr. Trump for not more forcefully denouncing anti-Semites and racists like David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who endorsed Mr. Trump during the campaign. Many Jewish leaders are also wary of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s White House strategist, because of the close affinity between Breitbart News, which he once ran, and the white supremacists in the movement known as the alt-right.

But Mr. Trump was popular among many Orthodox Jews. They were reassured to see the Orthodox Jews in his family and attracted to his hawkish line on Israel, his support of vouchers for religious schools and his promise to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the country.

Rechy Frankfurter and her husband, Rabbi Frankfurter, founded Ami Magazine more than six years ago to serve a conservative Jewish audience. It circulates in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia and is one of several English-language news publications serving the ultra-Orthodox community. Ami Magazine comes out weekly and has three sister publications: one for women, one for teens and a cooking magazine called Whisk.

The magazine interviewed Mr. Trump before he declared he was running for president and did so again during the campaign.

“We didn’t do a political endorsement of him, but I really wanted the president to be elected, and I do want him to succeed,” said Rabbi Frankfurter, the editor in chief.

Mrs. Frankfurter, the magazine’s senior editor, said it was clear that Mr. Trump was not an anti-Semite and that Mr. Trump “must have misheard the question” from the magazine’s reporter. “The president is very sensitive to such an accusation, and we find the fact that he’s sensitive to it reassuring,” she said, because it means he understands how awful it is to be thought of as an anti-Semite.

Rabbi Frankfurter, whose parents survived the Holocaust, said, “Perhaps the president should speak out more vigorously than he has. He’s got a bully pulpit, and he should use it for good reasons.”

After the news conference, Mr. Turx, a pen name, said that he had had conversations on Thursday evening with White House staff members and that he and members of the Orthodox Jewish community were “extremely confident” that the White House would give “the proper help, guidance and collaboration” on anti-Semitism.


American Jewish Leaders Call Trump’s Ideas on Israel ‘Terrifying’ and ‘Bizarre’

The ZOA’s Klein says Trump and Netanyahu might be discussing the possibility of a confederation with partial Jordanian rule over West Bank Palestinians.

US President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands during a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC.

US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands during a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House on February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN/AFP
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NEW YORK – Liberal American Jewish leaders responded with concern Thursday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting, calling the president’s willingness to drop the two-state solution “terrifying” and even “bizarre”.
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However, others like the Zionist Organization of America’s Morton Klein, struck a different tone and found it cause for optimism.
Netanyahu said at the press conference, “For the first time in my lifetime and in the life of my country, Arab countries in the region do not see Israel as an enemy but increasingly as an ally,” the prime minister said. “This change creates an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen security and reach peace.”
What he meant, claimed Klein, is “the possibility of having some sort of confederation of Jordan with the Palestinian Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria.”
“With other Arab states deeply worried about Iran, it’s a potential opportunity to have other Arab states support this type of federation,” Klein told Haaretz. “Especially when you heard President Trump say ‘we don’t have to be committed to a Palestinian state, we’re committed to peace.’ You never heard any other president say that.”
Trump said he is not wedded to a two state resolution and is happy to go with whatever the parties themselves prefer. “I’m looking at two states and one,” he said. “I am very happy with the one both parties like. I thought for a while that two states were the way to go. But honestly if Bibi and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy.”
>> Trump Did His Homework on One Touchy Issue Before Meeting Netanyahu // Explained: Two-state Solution – What Exactly Did Trump Say? // Trump Blew the Chance to Denounce anti-Semitism. Netanyahu Bailed Him Out With a Kosher Stamp // A Wounded Trump Hurts a Wounded Netanyahu. And the Israeli Right Smells Blood
Reaction to the joint press conference came swift and strong from other American Jewish organizational leaders. And far less positive than the ZOA’s Klein was.
“I’m not sure Trump understands the implications” of a one state solution, said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “It is a very dangerous suggestion.”
Americans for Peace Now spokesman Ori Nir called the press conference “terrifying” and “a squandered opportunity” to “signal to Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and the world a clear commitment to peace.”
It was a chance to “chart a constructive way forward for U.S.-Israel relations and for Israel’s future, for its security and its wellbeing as a democracy and a Jewish state,” Nir said.  Instead, “the two leaders are not only depriving Israel of the very possibility of reaching peace but also undermining Israel’s own future as a democracy and a Jewish state” when they discuss a one-state possibility. He added, “they are delivering a huge victory to extremists on both sides.”
The Reform Movement’s Rabbi Rick Jacobs said he views Trump’s statements as “an abdication of the longtime, bipartisan support for a two-state solution.” The one state possibility discussed “is potentially devastating to the prospects for peace and Israel’s Jewish, democratic future. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s endorsement of such a policy change is no less ill-advised,” wrote Jacobs in a statement from the Union for Reform Judaism, which he heads.
Still, Trump asked Netanyahu to “hold back” on settlements. The URJ wrote, “we welcome that statement, and note that it shows just how broad the consensus against new settlement in the West Bank is.”
What about anti-Semitism?
When an Israeli reporter asked Trump directly about his administration’s role in the spike in anti-Semitic incidents since his presidential campaign, the president evaded a direct answer, instead meandering through discussion of his margin of victory in the electoral college vote, pointing out that his daughter and her husband and children are Jewish, and saying that the U.S. will “see a lot of love” over the next four or eight years.
“His response was baffling,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told Haaretz.  The issue “is not electoral votes. It’s about the wave of hate crimes since the election and the spike in anti-Semitism across the country,” he said. “President Trump seemed uninformed about this issue and missed an opportunity to decry the rhetoric of hate that seems to be surging online and in the real world.  Intentional or not, this emboldens anti-Semites.”
T’ruah’s Jacobs called his response “so bizarre.”
“Over and over he has empowered white supremacists and he did the same thing today,”  she said. “He’s never said straight up one word that anti-Semitism is not acceptable. Even when he was straight out asked. How hard would it have been for him to say ‘I’m really disturbed about the uptick of anti-Semitism and any of my supporters should cease any anti-Semitic behavior,’” asked Jacobs.

Steve Bannon, chief strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump, listens during a news conference with Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli’s prime minister, not pictured, in the East Room of the WhitPete Marovich/Bloomberg
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn in Congress, noted that Breitbart News – which he called “the flagship publication of the alt-right” – was given a front row seat at the press conference. That “should be a terrifying signal of the associations being made by this Administration and questions must be asked of the policies and directions coming from this White House.  Mr. Trump’s silence earlier today in the face of these questions shows a sickening disregard for the safety and rights of not just Jews, but all minority groups across America.”
ZOA’s Klein interpreted Trump’s response far more benignly.
It was “a newly formed politician’s way of avoiding a question he didn’t want to answer. That’s my speculation but people have told me that they are concerned about it,”  said Klein, referring to anti-Semitism. “I would assume that they’re talking behind the scenes about what can be done about this, and assume he didn’t feel it appropriate to talk about actions they’re thinking of taking.”
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat who represents areas just north of New York City that include Hasidic municipalities like New Square, said “a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only means to ensure Israel’s long-term security and enable Palestinian aspirations for their own state.
Lowey, who is Jewish, wrote in a statement, “that is why presidents from both parties, the vast majorities of the House and Senate, and the American people have consistently supported this objective, and why President Trump must as well.”
Asked if she believes the regional paradigm briefly presented at the press conference could lead to peace, Jacobs said, “I don’t see any way that this team will attain peace. Neither of them wants it. Netanyahu clearly wants a continuation of the status quo forever, and we don’t now to what extent Trump understands the issues involved. He says on the fly that he is open to one or two states, but it’s not clear that he understands the implications of either.”
What’s more, added Jacobs, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who he has said will steer the Israel-Palestine peace process, “no matter how many years Jared spent at Jewish summer camp, there’s no evidence that he has knowledge about how to broker a deal.”
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.772061

You Can Now Read The Whole Talmud Online – For Free

Given that it’s is one if not the most essential Jewish texts, the Talmud can be surprisingly hard to come by. But not anymore: The Jewish start-up Sefaria just released a free digital version into the public domain.

The William Davidson Talmud is an edition of the Babylonian Talmud with parallel translations into English and Modern Hebrew.

The interactive online version of the text is also interlinked to major commentaries, biblical citations, Midrash, Kabbalah, Halakhah, and an ever-growing library of Jewish texts.

And you can also use it beyond Sefaria’s website. The Talmud was published with a Creative Commons non-commercial license, which means that it is part of the public domain and everyone can use and re-use it, as long as you don’t make money from it.

“The Talmud will now belong to, and be freely accessible by, all people in the two languages spoken by 90% of world Jewry,” Sefaria co-founder Joshua Foer told the Forward.

“Experts we’ve talked to believe this is the most significant work of intellectual property ever transferred into the creative commons philanthropically,” he added.

The whole project was years in the making.

Sefaria is a non profit that was started in 2011 by author, Joshua Foer, and Google alum Brett Lockspeiser, with a mission of putting the entire Jewish canon online. (The name Sefaria is a play on the Hebrew word for library, sifria.)

The two childhood friends had lost touch for many years, but reconnected over a “shared frustration” that the Talmud and other important Jewish texts were not accessible online.

“At that point, if you were to google the English Talmud, you would find pdfs from the Soncino edition published in England, you would get an anti-Semitic website and you would get a partial 1918 translation,” Foer told the Forward. “That by itself was kind off pathetic.”

So they quickly got to work, and have since amassed almost 1,600 Jewish texts and commentaries that are all available online.

“But we always knew the linchpin of the whole project would be whether we could get an English translation of the Talmud,” Foer said.

Currently, there exist only three English translations in the world. After years of negotiations Sefaria (with a grant from the William Davidson Foundation) bought the rights to one of them – from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.

Steinsaltz, a rabbi from Israel, spent 45 years of his life translating the Talmud from Ancient Aramaic to modern Hebrew and English.

He was only 27 when the project began, and finished in 2010, after releasing a new section of the translation approximately once per year.

“I did it because it is necessary,” Steinsaltz told Israel’s Army Radio in 2010. “The Talmud is the spine of our culture … I wanted to restore to the Jewish people their heritage.”

As of now, Sefaria published 22 Talmud tractates in English (Berakhot to Bava Batra) online. The Modern Hebrew translations will start appearing online later this year, and the remaining English tractates will follow as soon as their are finished.

“We think that the Talmud is not just the life blood of the Jewish people, but one of the great works of Western civilization that has basically been inaccessible to a large number of people,” Foer told the Forward.

His co-founder, Brett Lockspeiser, who runs Sefaria’s technological operations, called the online release “fantastic.”

“It’s a real accomplishment for us, and the Jewish people in the world to now be able to access this,” Lockspeiser told the Forward.

All the texts on Sefaria are not only texts, they are also interconnected data with lots of fancy features and visualization tools.

“The Jewish canon is not really a collection of books on a book shelf, it’s like this gigantic un-ending conversation,” Foer told the Forward. “We wanted to return that text to the original modality of being fully interconnected and in conversation with each other.”

“And in doing in way, that you can take the conversation form text to text to text, from commentator to commentator to commentator,” Foer said.

A team of 15 engineers works daily to create new ways to create these interconnections – for example to show the connections between Tanakh and Talmud or to highlight all the times that text is being repeated in the Jewish canon.

Users can create their own source sheets to collect and connect texts, sort of like a Torah mixtape. So far 60,000 users created sheets – many of them students.

If possible, all the texts on Sefaria have a public domain license.

“For the Jewish people, our texts are our collective inheritance,” said Sefaria CEO Daniel Septimus. “They belong to everyone and Sefaria wants them to be available to everyone,”


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