Tuesday, December 27, 2011


In the city of awe-inspiring sites, the most imposing is The Dome of the Rock. The Dome covers the Rock from which Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven to receive a message from Allah. The Jews believe the rock is the Foundation Stone, from which the world was created. On it, Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac and the Ark of the Covenant stood when the Temple occupied the Mount. The Mount and Temple was enlarged by Herod, during the lifetime of Jesus.

Jews pray at the retaining wall, The Western Wall, which survived the Temple's destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D. The bottom four rows of stones date from Herod, below current street level, there are 17 more layers.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
is west of the Temple Mount. The first church was built on the site in the 4th century. Christians believe the church encompasses both the sites; where Jesus was crucified, and also buried and rose from the dead.

reproduced from molovinsky on allentown

Friday, November 4, 2011

Night of Broken Glass

In 1938, on the nights of November 9 and 10, the Nazis whipped up anti-Jewish riots in a pogrom now known as Kristallnacht.

During these two nights, synagogues were set on fire and thousands of Jewish shop windows were broken.

Ninety one Jews were killed. 30,000 were arrested and taken to camps, a harbinger of the Holocaust.

reprinted from molovinsky on allentown, November 2010

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Light Unto The Nations

While Polish soccer fans taunt a visiting team from Tel Aviv, and a doctor from Bethlehem joins a flotilla to Free Gaza, Israel is releasing over 1000 of it's avowed enemies to free one soldier. The soldier was abducted in Israel in 2006, and dragged into Gaza, while his two comrades were killed. His abductors will also be released, along with dozens of others, who pride themselves on how many Jews they have killed. In that group is a bomber, who alone blew up 30 Jews. Israelis know that some of these terrorists will return to Israel, and kill more Jews. The Israeli soldier was 19 when captured. He has not been seen since 2009. While the Polish fans jeer, and the doctor rants, the light shines.

photo: Israel attempts to rescue besieged Jews in Jerusalem, 1948

reprinted from molovinsky on allentown

Monday, October 10, 2011

Newspaper Safari

People occasionally contact me when they're exasperated with the city, but a gentleman I spoke with yesterday was fuming at the newspaper. A column on the front page of the sports section glorified shooting a lioness on an African Safari. If that didn't offend this guy enough, the hunter planned to return to Africa, to shoot an elephant. The hunter's only concern was that killing deer in Pennsylvania just wouldn't do it for him any longer. He says that in Africa, if your check book is big enough, you can kill anything. Hope that doesn't include bloggers, but back to the upset newspaper reader. I think he can accept the misguided hunter, but he wonders what processed the columnist and his editor. I should mention that the paper included a photograph of the Great White Hunter and the dead lioness. Perhaps to the reporter, who covers both sports and outdoors, bagging a lion hunter is a bigger catch than the usual teenage boy shoots first deer story. Anyway, for us Babar fans, it was offensive.

reprinted from molovinsky on allentown

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Boxing's Giant Era

In California these days, everybody walks around with a yoga mat strapped to their back. That certainly wasn't the case in the 1930's, when heavyweight contender Lou Nova studied yoga. Nova was the World Amateur Heavyweight Champion and a proponent of clean living. He won his first twenty two fights as a professional. His promoters said he perfected the Cosmic Punch. Only 6'2", he fought in the era of giants. He handed giant Abe Simon his first defeat after thirteen victories, eleven by knockout. Nova knocked out 6'4'' Max Baer twice. The 1939 knockout is one second away, in the above photograph. Baer himself had won the championship by knocking out Primo Carnera, the Italian giant who was 6'6" and weighed 284 lbs. Baer lost the championship to the Cinderella Man, Jim Braddock. Joe Louis took the belt from Braddock and held it for twelve years, being arguably the best fighter in history. Clean living didn't serve Lou Nova so well with the notorious dirty fighter Two Ton Tony Galento. Galento almost gouged his eye out, putting him in the hospital for weeks. Nova got his shot with Louis on September 29, 1941, but fell in six. Nova would go on to act in movies and even was a write-in candidate for President of the United States. He dropped out of the campaign because his mother was afraid he would catch a cold shaking so many hands. She wasn't afraid of him being in the ring with some of the toughest men in the world.

reprinted from molovinsky on allentown

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Mighty Atom

Years ago, at the Allentown Fair, as one would push through a sea of carney delusion, tucked back by the 4H animals, was an island of reality. There, in an old battered truck, an ancient Jewish strongman performed incredible feats of strength, to sell only homemade kosher soap. Standing on a platform on the rear of his truck, flanked by photographs from his performing youth, he would bent horse shoes and bite through nails. Many years earlier, my mother as a little girl in Bethlehem, saw him pull a truck uphill with his hair. Even as an old man, like a reincarnation of Samson, his grey hair was still long.
In the summers of 1964 and 1965, myself and a friend,(Fred Schoenk, retired Allentown art teacher) made and sold printed tee-shirts at the fair. We had the honor to know Joseph Greenstein(The Mighty Atom) and his wife. For those interested, there are various articles on the Mighty Atom and even at least one book.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tel Aviv, the Bauhaus Period

Urban planner Patrick Geddes had a unique opportunity in 1925, design a city which would actually be built. After the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which supported the concept of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the pace of Zionist immigration picked up. In the early 1930's, threats from the Nazi Party accelerated immigration to the British controlled Palestine. The British Mandate extended from the defeat of the Ottomans in 1917, to the Israeli Independence in 1948.
Among those fleeing Germany were students of Bauhaus movement in architecture, the unity of form and function, expressed in ways that were modern, simple and sparse. The reinforced low-rise concrete buildings curved around traffic circles and corners.

Between 1930 and 1939 both the migration and construction continued at a steady pace. The population had reached 200,000.
There was a unity in the planning and architecture seen no where else. Like any modern growing city, the the buildings have changed. Smaller, older buildings have been replaced with modern skyscrapers. Tel Aviv still remains the largest collection of Bauhaus buildings in the world.
Bauhaus architecture was concerned with the social aspects of design and with the creation of a new form of social housing for workers. This may be just another one of the reasons it was embraced in the newly evolving city of Tel Aviv, at a time when socialist ideas were so prevalent. This style of architecture came about (in part) because of new engineering developments that allowed the walls to be built around steel or iron frames. This meant that walls no longer had to support the structure, but only enveloped it – from the outside. Called The White City, because of the white painted buildings, it is now a World Heritage Site.

Background and Coverage of the Tel Aviv Soccer Derby
reprinted from molovinsky on allentown

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Promise Kept

Irena Sendler was 30 in 1940, when the 400,000 Jews of Warsaw were herded into the ghetto and sealed off in the first step of the plan to exterminate them. In late 1942, after 280,000 had been deported to the death camp Treblinka, Sendler and others formed Zegota, a Polish underground council to aid the Jews. Sendler's heart-rending mission, was to explain to a Jewish mother, that the only possible way to save her child was to give the boy or girl over to her. She promised that after the war she would try to reunite the families. The children were secreted in convents, orphanages and with Polish families. Captured by the Nazi's and tortured, she was freed by the underground on her way to be executed. She had put the name of each child on a slip of paper, and buried them in a jar for safekeeping. After the war she did attempt to reunite the families, but almost all the parents had perished. Irena Sendler's remarkable courage has become widely known because of ninth grade school project in Kansas, Life in a Jar.

reprinted from molovinsky on allentown, May 25, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Stamp Collector

While the world politicians are doing their best to split the globe apart by means of iron curtains and brute force, the world postal services are demonstrating - in their quiet, unobtrusive way - what is required to bring mankind closer together: a specific purpose cooperatively carried out, serving individual goals and needs. It is the voices of individual men that stamps carry around the globe; it is individual men that need a postal service; kings, dictators and other rulers do not work by mail. In this sense, stamps are the world's ambassadors of good will.
Ayn Rand

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is It Time to Pull Out of Afghanistan?

By Bernie O'Hare

Right now, there are approximately 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. By the end of the year, there will be 90,000. And next year, another 23,000 troops will come home, right before the election.
“America, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home,”says President Obama.
But that's not why we're there. Anybody who thinks we're in Afghanistan to raise the standards of living or improve the status of Afghan women, is nuts. We're there because we perceive it to be in our interests to be there. And for good reason.
Let me lay it out. We screwed up the balance of power in the Middle East the second we set foot in Iraq, and now there's no turning back. We've done a fine job driving that country into the arms of Iran, and while doing that, completely forgot about Afghanistan, the one country that should have worried us. As a result, the Taliban has strengthened in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
So what? Who cares what they do, right? Wrong.
Pakistan has been completely destabilized. Things are so bad that Obama decided against telling its leaders he'd be dropping by with a Navy Seal team for bin Laden. And right after that, the Taliban waged a 12-hour attack on a Pakistan military base.
Did I mention that Pakistan has nukes? A Taliban resurgence almost guarantees that some of those nukes will fall into Taliban and al-Qaeda hands.
So what? They can't launch missiles that can reach the U.S., so who cares, right? Wrong again.
It would be amazingly easy to launch a nuke at the U.S. from a scud mounted on something as unsophisticated as a fishing trawler off the Atlantic coast.
That's why we're there. The soldiers who die there are saving countless lives here.
But there's an election coming.

LV Congressman Charlie Dent, in a statement released late last night, wants to know what the military thinks. Noting that President Obama's surge was motivated by the recommendation of military commanders, he questions whether Obama's decision is politically motivated. "I hope the President’s decision to begin drawing-down our troop presence in Afghanistan, with the goal of returning to pre-surge levels by the end of 2012, is similarly based on changing conditions on the ground and the recommendations of American commanders, rather than political advisers." Dent wants to hear from the military. "I am eager to be briefed by Department of Defense officials on today’s decision by the President and expect to receive regular updates on the effect the drawdown is having on American and Afghan security.”

Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate, echoes Dent. "This decision should not be based on politics or economics. America's brave men and women in uniform have fought to achieve significant progress in Afghanistan, some having paid the ultimate price. I look forward to hearing the testimony of our military commanders in the days ahead." But there are GOP presidential contenders, like former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who want us pull out now. "We need a safe but rapid withdrawal which encourages Afghans to assume responsibility, while leaving in place a strong counter intelligence and special forces effort proportionate to the threat."
written by Bernie O'Hare, and reproduced from his blog, Lehigh Valley Ramblings

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Last Jews of Egypt

There are only a few dozen Jews still living in Egypt, all in either Cairo or Alexandria. The number of remaining synagogues outnumbers the remainder of Jews. Many of these synagogues are magnificent structures, and to the credit of the Egyptian government, they are protected and some are being restored. Prior to 1948, well over 80,000 Jews lived in the two cities. The current Ben Ezra in Cairo dates from 1892. The site, once a Coptic Church, became a synagogue in 882.. Tradition marks this as the spot where the prophet Jeremiah gathered the Jews in the 6th century after Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed the Jerusalem temple. The adjacent spring is supposed to mark the place where the pharaohs daughter found Moses in the reeds, and where Mary drew water to wash Jesus. It was here that the famous Philosopher Maimonides studied. Last century a collection of ancient manuscripts was discovered in the compound.

reprinted from molovinsky on allentown, June 10, 2010

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mount of Temptation

The Palestinian Authority unsuccessfully tried to increase tourism to Jericho last year, no rush, the town might be the oldest inhabited city on earth, 10,000 years. In 1895 the Greek Orthodox Church built the Mount of Temptation Monastery, where the devil tried three times to tempt Jesus during his forty days of prayer and fast. Steeped in both the Old and New Testaments, next to Jerusalem, it is the most excavated city in the Holy Land.

reprinted from molovinsky on allentown, December 12, 2010

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Legend Begins

On July 4th, 1934 Joe louis made his debut as a professional fighter. Thirteen months and nineteen straight victories later, most by knockout, 62,000 fight fans would jam Yankee Stadium to watch the new sensation fight the giant, Primo Carnera.
New York, New York - Primo Carnera, giant Italian boxer and former heavyweight champion of the world, and Joe Louis, hard-hitting negro heavyweight from Detroit, Michigan, weighed-in this afternoon at the offices of the New York State Boxing Commission for their fifteen round bout tonight at the Yankee Stadium. - 6.25.1939
Although badly battered from the first round, Carnera would gamely stay in the fight till it was stopped in round six. The legend of the Brown Bomber was clearly established.

photo of Primo Carnera
reproduced from molovinsky on allentown, August 20, 2010

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Jews and Sarah Palin

The media is pouring over thousands of emails from Sarah Palin's time as governor. Huffington Post wants readers to help, and point out anything unusual they discover. Perhaps they can find grammar mistakes, or better still, some incorrectly stated geography.

The local rabbi and I began corresponding about some insensitivity toward Jewish matters expressed in the hometown paper. A young man with a growing family, he hopes eventually to live in Israel. When McCain picked Sarah Palin in 08, he lost the rabbi's vote. Despite long term associations with outspoken anti-Semites, Obama captured 78% of the Jewish vote. The rabbi, and other Jews disturbed about Reverend Wright and other red flags, couldn't accept Palin's lack of sophistication. They joined the media elite in questioning her intelligence. After all, wouldn't she be one heart beat away from the presidency? Soon enough Joe Biden would be in Jerusalem telling Netanyahu where Jews could live. Not surprisingly, Obama would come to tell Netanyahu where he must begin negotiations. After all this, the rabbi might vote Republican in 2012, but only if they put up a good candidate. For Jews, it's apparently important, that Israel be compromised in an articulate fashion.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Newspapers Pluck Fruit of Bloggers

In this internet age, information gleaned by bloggers appears to be tempting low-hanging fruit for the remaining short staffed newspapers. Back in April, The Morning Call, failed to properly attribute a story on the school district to my local blog, molovinsky on allentown. The reporter did reference my blog, but the editor removed my name and inserted "local blogger" instead. In a subsequent back and forth email, the editor defended his action by claiming the reporter verified all information himself. In my post and subsequent comments, I had both a comment from a school board member, and an email from the superintendent. Although the reporter did subsequently contact both gentleman himself to verify the information, nevertheless, the story originated with me. The newspaper's columnist joined the fray and defended the editor's position. In this era of struggling newspapers, the editor is boss of reporters who are understandably more interested in their jobs, than my ego. Other editors, of bigger newspapers , see the issue differently. Marcus Brauchli, of the Washington Post, says “Taking information without attribution is unethical and not in keeping with The Post’s standards of journalism. There are no mitigating circumstances for plagiarism.” The reporters at The Morning Call have told me that they read my blog. I would urge them to insist that I and other bloggers receive proper attribution when our material is sourced. Other bloggers who had material expropriated in a similar way, please add your testimony by comment. Welcome to The Morning Chronicle.
Bernie O'Hare contributed to this post