Malhereusement, la folie sera télévisée...

Music by Burt Bacharach
Lyrics by Hal David
Performed by Diana Lee and Bobby Van

The world is a circle without a beginning,
And nobody knows where it really ends.
Everything depends on where you
Are in the circle that never begins.
Nobody knows where the circle ends.

La la la...la la-la la la-la.

And just because you think you're small,
That doesn't mean that you're small at all.
And just the way a tiny branch is like a tree to a twig,
To someone else you are big.

The world is a circle without a beginning,
And nobody knows where it really ends.
Woooa! Everything depends on where you
Are in the circle that's spinning around.
Half of the time we are upside down.

La la la...la la-la la la-la.

And just because they say you're weak,
That doesn't mean you've a weak physique.
And even if they're partly right,
At least they're partially wrong.
To someone else you are strong.

And just because they say you're slow,
That doesn't mean that you're slow, you know.
And even if you're never first,
Compared to someone who's last,
They're sure to think you are fast.

The world is a circle without a beginning,
And nobody knows where it really ends.
Woooa! Everything depends on where you
Are in the circle that never begins.
Nobody knows where the circle ends.

La la la...la la-la la.

The world is a circle that never begins.
Nobody knows where the circle ends!

Entrevista con Miembros de la Comunidad Judía desalojada de Sololá.

A Las 8:45 - Entrevista judíos from Canal Antigua on Vimeo, September 7, 2104.
Interviewers: Paola Hurtado and Juan Luis Font.
Members: Uriel Goldman and Misael Santos

Human Kindness is Overflowing...

I agree completely with the decision made by the two Jewish communities, Lev Tahor and Toiras Jesed, to leave San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala. Despite the protestations and interventions of the Procurador de los Derechos Humanos and the support of some other individuals who have decried the expulsion, these communities have made the wisest decision to put the safety of their families and children above all else, even though it is their right to remain and they would have had the law on their side if they had chosen to do so.

Some have been calling the conflict "a clash between civilisations". In this clash however, these Jews were at a serious disadvantage. They are people of peace and they do not preserve their religion, culture, families or homes by threatening others with violence or engaging in violence. They preserve it by separation and mass exodus and so far some of the adult members have left behind Israel, the USA, Canada [two provinces] and now San Juan La Laguna. Over the past two years especially, the upheaval to which they have been subjected has been especially intense. They may exist, but I am not aware of another example of yeridah t'tzorich aliyah being experienced currently by an entire Jewish community that has over a relatively short period of time been as emotionally, physically and financially punishing. Yet, the optimist in me is determined to focus on the ascent.

As for those residents of San Juan La Laguna who were responsible for the eventual exodus, they alone know the whole truth about what they hoped to achieve by their actions. I do not know enough about their community or culture to be able to comment further than I already have. Until I have better information, I will make the generous assumption that perhaps they also just wanted to be left alone.

Sometimes the thing or event that appears to be misfortune is the impetus to push us in the direction of fortune. It depends on the perspective you cultivate. One group of Christians will swear that Judas was a traitor who delivered the Christ to his executioners. Another will tell you that Judas was simply destiny's tool, that the Christ was destined to be sacrificed and He had to be betrayed by someone so that God's plan would be fulfilled. The ascent of something often hinges upon the descent of something else.

Misael Santos, standing in the ruins of the life he thought that he would be continuing to build in San Juan La Laguna, still would not condemn the entire population. He was gracious enough to acknowledge that they would be leaving behind friends that they made during their six years of residence in the town. Uriel Goldman, spokesman for Lev Tahor, has also remarked with gratitude on more than one occasion that there were villagers who had been kind to them. I do not doubt this. Thanks to the work of photographer, Jorge Dan Lopez, we have some pictorial evidence.

A woman from the Lev Tahor community bids farewell to villagers
while preparing to leave San Juan La Laguna. (Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters)

A man from a Jewish community (R) receives help from a villager
while carrying a mattress as he and fellow members 
prepare to leave the village of San Juan La Laguna.  (Jorge Dan Lopez/ Reuters)

A villager offers oranges to children of a Jewish community 
on a street in the village of San Juan La Laguna. (Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters)

Without any hesitation, I can only conclude that human kindness is overflowing. Sometimes the gratitude of the recipient is the ingredient that stimulates the flow of the kindness. As the eye of the beholder calls beauty into being, human kindness and Divine mercy will find their way to those who have not lost the ability to recognise these gifts and be grateful.

I am thinking that Misael Santos and Uriel Goldman have fully understood that if we are to survive, we cannot let any benediction pass unacknowledged. In the midst of turmoil and suffering, they are the beacons that will steer us away from soul darkening cynicism and despair. God is also to be found in the ugliest of details.

33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.
34 The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt:
I am the Lord your God.

33 “Cuando un extranjero resida con vosotros en vuestra tierra, no lo maltrataréis.
34 “El extranjero que resida con vosotros os será como uno nacido entre vosotros, y lo amarás como a ti mismo, porque extranjeros fuisteis vosotros en la tierra de Egipto;
yo soy el Señor vuestro Dios."

--Leviticus 19:33-34 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Shir La'ma'alot | A Song of Ascents. [Psalm]

Uploaded by molayem 26

Sung by Yosef Karduner

Shir lama`alot. Esa einai el heharim: me'ayin yavo ezri?

I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains:
from whence shall my help come?

Alzaré mis ojos á los montes, de donde vendrá mi socorro.

Ezri me'im Hashem ose shamaim va'aretz.

My help cometh from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Mi socorro viene de Dios, Que hizo los cielos y la tierra.

Al yiten lamot ragleicha al yanum shom'recha.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved;
He that keepeth thee will not slumber.

No dará tu pie al resbaladero; ni se dormirá el que te guarda.

Hineh, lo yanum velo yishan shomer yisrael.

Behold, He that keepeth Israel
doth neither slumber nor sleep.

He aquí, no se adormecerá ni dormirá El que guarda á Israel.

Hashem shom'recha

The Lord is thy keeper;
Dios es tu guardador:

Hashem tzil'cha al yad yeminecha.

The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
Dios es tu sombra á tu mano derecha.

Yomam hashemesh lo yakeka veyare'ach balailah.

The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night

El sol no te fatigará de día, ni la luna de noche.

Hashem yishmor'cha mikol ra'ah yishmor et nafshecha.

The Lord shall keep thee from all evil;
He shall keep thy soul.

Dios te guardará de todo mal: El guardará tu alma.

Hashem yishmor tzetcha uvo'echa me'ata ve'ad olam.

The Lord shall guard thy going out and thy coming in,
from this time forth and for ever.

Dios guardará tu salida y tu entrada, desde ahora y para siempre.
---Psalm 121

...and miles to go before we sleep: Toiras Jesed and Lev Tahor in Guatemala.

Translation of the article: Judíos: “Es el alcalde, no la población. Por Sergio Osegueda | Diario Digital | August 22nd 2014.

Jews: "it is the Mayor, not the population." By Sergio Osegueda | Diario Digital | August 22nd 2014.

The Council of Elders of San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, decided to expel from its territory, the Jewish community which had been located in that place for eight years. The Jews claim to have nowhere to go.

Misael Santos, Toiras Jesed Community
With less than a 24-hour deadline, the Council of Elders of San Juan la Laguna, Sololá, approved the expulsion of 200 Jews from their municipality this Friday, considering that they are a risk to the population, since through social networking they have made accusations against the inhabitants of San Juan la Laguna.

Before the decision, Toiras Jesed community representative, Misael Santos, stated that "they have no place where to go and, if we do not leave today, they have threatened to come to cut water and electricity".

The Jewish community, which has been living for eight years in San Juan la Laguna, is concerned, mainly for the children. More than half of Toiras Jesed are minors. "We as adults, we are up and ready to take to tents, but what of the children and their needs?", said Santos.

Political problem

The problem is not the population of San Juan la Laguna, according to Santos, since many are against their departure from the place. "It is a phantom Committee set up by the Mayor, when they held the meeting. This group notified us  and the notes have no stamp, or signature or anything," he said.

The representative of the Jewish community expressed the view that "it is the mayor, who since several months ago is pressing to get the community out of the village as it has no political party to support it."

The Jewish community said that they have detected that part of the population that supports the Chief Mayor is being coerced. The threats are the dispossession of their land or their homes; they end up supporting out of fear.

Diario Digital tried to establish communication with the Mayor Rodolfo López, but calls were not answered.

Racist messages

"Unfortunately have detected in the speeches of the Governor of Sololá and the Mayor of San Juan la Laguna, racist messages against this community," said the Presidential Commissioner against Discrimination and Racism, María Trinidad Gutiérrez.

A month ago was the creation of a roundtable dialogue was initiated to find a solution to a possible social conflict, according to the Commissioner, since part of the population supports the Jewish community and the other wants it to go.

"We have to determine what their immigration status, and then who accuses them of dishonest acts. Meanwhile, we should also not be subject to discriminatory attitudes", said Gutiérrez.

However, while it is expected that they will be evicted today, the Commissioner said they still hope to be able to engage in the roundtable dialogue. "We are following the problem very closely and if we detect racist and discriminatory acts, we will submit appropriate complaints," she concluded.

Translation of the article: Judíos expulsados denuncian discriminación. POR JOSÉ M. PATZÁN | Prensa Libre | 29/08/2014.
Expelled Jews denounce discrimination. By José M. Patzán | Prensa Libre | 29/08/2014.
Members of an ultra orthodox Jewish group expelled from San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, due to differences with the villagers were relocated yesterday temporarily in a building in Zone 9 in the capital, while awaiting the progress of two complaints of threats and discrimination brought to the Public Prosecutor against the Council of Elders of that town.

Representatives of Toiras Jesed community lodged two complaints with the Attorney, in which they argue that they were subjected to situations, such as threats, disconnected piped water and electricity.

They relocate

During yesterday morning, team members relocated to a building in Zone 9 which years before had accommodated the Directorate General of Immigration.

Uriel Goldman, one of the representatives of the group said they will remain temporarily in the building while finding an area outside the capital, because it is not an appropriate site for 30 families. He added that they had rented six floors and an adjoining house, where they will locate 200 people, including adults and children.

Goldman explained that the rent will be paid with their savings and donations from people who have even provided them with vegetables and other foods.

About what happened in San Juan La Laguna, he said that they are at peace and grateful to the people of the community who supported them. "We had the right to stay, but we did not want to fight, we are men of peace," Goldman emphasised.

The group held a meeting last Wednesday with the Council of Elders of San Juan La Laguna and delegates from the Office of Human Rights, but did not reach an agreement, so they decided to leave.

Neighbors claim that Jews behaved so arrogant and were bathing naked at the public beach.

The Office of Human Rights had published a statement in which it rejects the threats against the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and describes the events in San Juan La Laguna as "humiliating and discriminatory."


230 people from the Jewish community were expelled from San Juan La Laguna.


Update on Toiras Jesed community in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala.

About the intention to expel the Jewish community of San Juan La Laguna, Sololá. Communication. Ombudsman of Human Rights, August 22nd 2014.

Your true enemy lives in your own house.

Statement of the Association of the Jewish Community of Guatemala, regarding the situation in San Juan Laguna, Sololá.

Lev Tahor: Coming in from the cold.

Lev Tahor Refugees: The Guatemalan Experience.

Update on Toiras Jesed community in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala.

Update:  August 29th 2014

Matthew 10:23 "When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next..."

Contrary to what I described in my post below as positive developments caused by the intervention of the Human Rights Ombudsman, Al Jazeera AmericaCBC News, The Star and the National Post are all reporting today that the situation in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala continues to be increasingly stressful for the Jewish community, with some reports stating that members of the Lev Tahor community have actually begun leaving for the capital. According to The Star,
"The edict to leave was delivered Wednesday after Lev Tahor and the Council of Indigenous Elders, representing the majority Christian population, were unable to negotiate a solution to their clash of civilizations."
No mention was made of Toiras Jesed in the reports and this is confusing since sources on the ground have said that the two communities were separate entities and that Lev Tahor was not located in San Juan La Laguna. Previous reports have given the impression that it was the Toiras Jesed community that had been under attack and had been given the expulsion order. Perhaps both communities have now decided that the area is not suitable and that their prospects may be better in the capital.

"The move was denounced by another prominent Jewish leader in Guatemala. Rabbi Shalom Pelman, who leads the Chabad Lubavitch congregation in Guatemala's capital city, said it is the type of activity that brings to mind the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany.

This is not typical in the world I live in. Even in Iran, Jews are not expelled,” he told the Star in a telephone interview." SOURCE

Rabbi Pelman, a 15-year resident of Guatemala, said he has never before heard of such an edict being applied in the country.

Even if they are the most problematic group . . . the expelling of a religious group or ethnic group from one place to another is not acceptable,” he said. “That's why we have laws, we have judges, we have police. They are the ones qualified to deal with problematic issues.”

He is calling on the Guatemalan government and the international community to come to the defence of Lev Tahor.

It's less than 70 years since the Holocaust. If that can happen again it's a wake up call for the international community to see what we're doing wrong and how we can fix it sooner rather than later.” SOURCE

See updated post on the situation with Toiras Jesed in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala. The Human Rights Ombudsman has intervened and the process of mediation has begun. The expulsion order by the Mayor has been revoked by the Council of Elders and a meeting between Toiras Jesed and the municipality has been scheduled for today. See the original strongly worded and inspiring communication in Spanish from the office of the Human Rights Ombudsman  or read my translation [second item on page]. B'ezrat Hashem, human kindness will prevail.