Go Cubs in Judea and Samaria

Michael Rich displaying his Chicago Cubs cap at his house in Karnei Shomron

Michael Rich displaying his Chicago Cubs cap at his house in Karnei Shomron

Andrew Tobin

KARNEI SHOMRON (JTA) — The Chicago Cubs are facing the Cleveland Indians in a historic World Series, and most of Israel could not care less. This Jewish community is different.

The Neve Aliza neighborhood of Karnei Shomron is overwhelmingly American. Among the some 200 families from the United States or Canada that live here, about two dozen have roots in Chicago and Cleveland, according to residents. A main street is even nicknamed “Chicago Road.”

These families left behind their lives in the United States to participate in a controversial version of the Israeli dream. But seeing their home teams in Major League Baseball’s deciding series is stirring old American passions.

“I think there’s something about baseball more than any other sport that transcends generation to generation,” Doug Mandel, who has been waking up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the World Series live from his house in Neve Aliza, told JTA. “There’s nothing more exciting than a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.”

Neve Aliza was originally part of a separate community called Ginot Shomron that was founded by American and Canadian families in 1985. The leafy suburban-looking neighborhood merged into the municipality of Karnei Shomron, located near Kfar Saba in the Samaria region, in 1991.

Karnei Shomron, home to about 7,000 Jews, is among about 120 communities recognized by the Israeli government, in contrast with about 100 unauthorized outposts. But most of the world does not make such distinctions and considers all Israeli “settlements” illegal under international law.

Some 60,000 American Jews live in communities in Judea and Samaria, where they account for 15 percent of the “settler” population, according to a forthcoming book by Oxford University historian Sara Hirschhorn. Even as Americans “settlers” have become part of Israeli society, they have retained some of their American heritage, she said.

“Americans do not abandon their history, culture and values in moving to the “occupied territories” to create a city on a hilltop, whether that be a baseball mound or a settlement,” she told JTA in a nod to her book, “City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement.”

Rabbi Sidney Gold’s values brought him to Neve Aliza from Chicago in 1985, along with his wife and four children. They have since had three more. It is important to him that his family be in Judea and Samaria during these “pre-messianic times.”

“I always wanted to be part of Jewish history, not just a footnote of Jewish history,” Gold told JTA. “By living in Samaria, I’m trying to influence Jewish history in a direction I believe in, and I want to lead others to do the same.”

For Gold and his wife, that has meant being educators. After leading the local modern Orthodox synagogue, Young Israel, for 15 years, Gold, 60, stepped down this year and is teaching at a local elementary school and providing counseling. His wife, Karen, teaches English at a high school in Kfar Saba.

Their children followed a typical path for modern Orthodox Israelis. They went from religious schools to hesder yeshivas, which combine Jewish study with army or national service, and on to university. They are now marrying and having babies.

Cubs baseball may be a world apart from his family’s life in Israel, but it’s part of Gold’s personal Jewish history. He grew up going to games, sitting in the bleachers and betting on the outcome of each inning. He has been watching the World Series live at 2 or 3 a.m. when it airs on Israel TV because of the time difference. Since the only TV set is in the bedroom, Karen Gold has been watching, too.

“When the screen is 42 inches and blaring in your face and your husband is screaming, you don’t have much choice,” she said, laughing.

The children are spared watching the games live. But the sons have to be ready to take part in postgame analysis. His son, Harel, a 26-year-old electrician who was born in Israel and was wearing a Cubs T-shirt Friday, said he is following the series mostly for his father.

“Talking about the Cubs gives us quality bonding time. I support his passion,” Harel Gold said in Israeli-accented English.

Asked if he thought Cubs fandom would survive another generation in his family, Harel Gold said he would try to inculcate the sons he expects to one day have with his new fiance. If that failed, he said, they could always bond over soccer.

Around the corner from “Chicago Road,” Mandel, a 64-year-old retired podiatrist, has been spending nights rooting for the Indians. Fortunately for his wife, Iris, the TV is in the living room.

The couple settled in Neve Aliza with their four children in 1993. Three years earlier they had left their spacious house in Cleveland for a trailer in a Judea and Samaria immigration center.

Iris Mandel, an English teacher who works with Karen Gold, said they were attracted to the neighborhood’s tight-knit English-speaking community.

“Our attitude was that making aliyah was a huge sacrifice. We left our family. We left our culture. We left everything we knew,” she told JTA. “We didn’t have to be 100 percent Israeli, but we were proud our children were 100 percent Israeli.”

“It didn’t even didn’t even cross my mind that we were going across the Green Line [Israel’s 1949 Armistice Lines], because in my mind it’s just Israel.”

The Mandels’ son, Mitch, has been watching the World Series from bed on his smartphone. He is living in his parents’ house with his wife and two sons until his apartment in one of the Karnei Shomron’s new housing developments is finished (over the objections of anti-settlement activists).

Mandel was 8 when the family made aliyah, by which time a love for Cleveland sports, and the Indians in particular, had already taken hold. In Israel, he grew up playing in the Israel Baseball Association. He anticipates his sons, aged 5 and 2, will one day do the same.

They have already learned to shout the Indian’s rallying cry, “Go Tribe.”

A block away, Michael Rich has been recording the World Series games. A 76-year-old retired math professor, he and his wife made aliyah with their four children in 1990. They “fell in love with Israel” during a year they spent in the country while he taught at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, he said.

Neve Aliza, which they moved to in 1997, offered the appealing prospect of helping to start a new community on undeveloped land. Rich said he was not motivated by an ideological desire to settle the “Land of Israel,” but believed the Judea and Samaria communities gave Israel more strategic depth.

Having grown up selling newspapers and scorecards at Wrigley Field, he never stopped being a Cubs fan, which he said is like being a Zionist, “a bug that gets you.” But he did not pass on his obsession to his four children, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren don’t know a balk from a bunt.

“Baseball is not holy to me, and there’s absolutely no reason why I should impose it upon them,” Rich said. “It’s a craziness of mine. I don’t have to pass on my craziness to other people.”

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His leadership and television interviews have gone trough out the world. Luden Centeno of Converso Marano Jewish background from Spain resides permanently in Jerusalem. His analysis of Middle Eastern events as they relate to Israel is regularly broadcast through internet radio and television through out the world, especially the USA. Luden has given close to 500 television interviews in Israel Jerusalem and broadcasts live from Jerusalem Israel on the radio. On our last 6 radio programs we have had over 500,00 listeners listening in. Our main goal is to educate the world about Israel and its right to protect herself from any form of terrorism that comes out of Ramallah and the occupied territories that belong to Israel. Israel faces many challenges and dangers since a very long time. There is an unprecedented propaganda campaign initiated by the Arab League to demonize, discredit and delegitimize the Jewish people and their state, within their own land! The efforts of the Arab League were recently seen in the UN Resolution 2334 text as follows, adopted by the UN Security Council at its 7853rd meeting, on 23 December 2016. Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008), guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions. In order to achieve their goals, the Arabs have for more than 30 years resorted to a deliberate misinformation campaign. This propaganda campaign by the Arab League – both in their own countries and for the last three decades exported to Europe and North America has caused Israel what would seem irreparable damage and indeed, it was the main culprit in the reawakening of dormant European anti-Semitism. Israel continues to suffer many attacks from terrorists and should not bow down under the pressure imposed by the USA, the EU. the Quartet, nor the UN. The former Obama administration was working behind the scenes to get UN Resolution 2334 to pass. even while allowing Iran to continue to develop their nuclear facilities by using John Kerry and others to fulfill their hidden agenda. On December 23rd 2016 the US abstained from exercising its veto to UN resolution 2334 which allowed it to pass. Then John Kerry immediately blasted Israel over the presence of Israeli settlements within Israel's own land. The Obama Administration's hidden agenda came to light. The former Obama administration was trying to force Israel to give up more land for false peace as we have seen in the past. Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley were on the negotiating table. For perspective, if the so-called Palestinians obtained Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley, Givat HaRoe’eh in the Samaria community of Eli, Ramat Gilad and Giv’at Assaf (also in Samaria), and Mitzpeh Lachish, near Nehogot outside Hebron. they could easily rain down rockets towards any city within Israel, leaving without defensible borders. We say no to land for false peace as we have seen in the past. By former President Barrack Hussein Obama who had a hidden agenda against Israel who will face many difficult challenges ahead (see Tehillim / See Psalms 83) As we have seen what happened with Gush Katif where almost 9,000 Jews were forced out of their own Jewish land due to US pressure, now Bet El Almuna and Migron and Judea and Samaria face the same threat. More than 17,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel since Israel uprooted 9,000 Jewish families. Over 11,000 were fired from Gaza towards the southern Israeli city of Sderot by Islamist extremist whose end-game is the total destruction of my people Israel. Hamas terrorists are supported by Iran and now Hamas has joined hands with Fatah. The Iranian Lebanese proxy Hezbollah who also operate in Syria are committed to the total destruction of Israel and has over 100,00 rockets aimed at Israel .Now Al Qaeda and ISIS who are operating in Syria Egypt and the Sinai Desert they will do anything in their power to destroy my people Israel and all Jews. Judea and Samaria (the heartland of Israel also known as the West Bank) face many challenges in the days to come as Abu Mazen will try to pressure the entire world and former US President Barrack Hussein Obama the UN the EU and the Quartet into giving more land for false peace. We saw what happened after the Oslo Accords were signed, dramatically increasing Islamic terror against Israel. Abu Mazen the fake Palestinian Authority leader approached the United Nations many times and has petitioned to be declared as a recognized nation within Israel's known borders. The time has come to tell the entire world the real truth about the enemies of Israel. We speak on the Quran using a Power Point video presentation. We have been aired on CNN, German TV, Finland TV, CCTV, China Al Jazera, Al Arabiya Turk TV and many radio stations on the current issues of Israel. Luden Centeno has a heart for his people Israel and will continue to inform the entire world the real truth as many News Media outlets throughout the world hold anti-Semitic views and won’t tell you the real truth. Centeno, a former police officer who studied Political Science at Temple University USA was born in the USA and currently lives in Jerusalem Israel, knowing karate and boxing having played semi-pro baseball. He has two children, a girl and a son, both born in Jerusalem. Centeno discovered in 2004 that there were possible Converso Marrano Jews from Spain whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the time of the Inquisition in 1492. The family names Centeno and Perez are registered in El Libro Verde De Aragon in Spain. The Roman Catholic Inquisitors maintained all the names of all Jewish families who were forced to convert to Catholicism during that horrible time period in Spain. Since 2004 Centeno has been flying intercontinentally to the USA speaking to the nations on the current issues of the the state of Israel (see Psalms 83′ as the nations gather against Israel.) He has spoken on Al Arabiya TV, Dubai TV, Holland TV, German TV and also on American Family Radio which links up with 700 radio stations. His goal is to educate the entire world that Israel has the right to self-determination and the right to defend itself from terrorism. The Moslem Arabs in that area started calling themselves “Palestinians” merely only 40 years ago. “Palestinian” refers to people who live in Palestine: Arabs (“Arabic speaking peoples”), Bedouins, Druze, Christians, and Jews lived in then the British Mandate of Palestine. No people or nation called Palestine ever ruled as a sovereign national entity on this land. There is no Palestinian language or culture in past history. Palestine, as a country does not presently exist. No Arab nation has their historical roots on the land and no one had laid claim to this territory other than the Jews. The Jewish rule of this land extended over a period of over 2000 years. Israel became a nation in the land in 1312 BC. God gave them the land in a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20) and they lived there. See the following Quote from the Quran, "Death to the enemies of Allah! Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in the hereafter: except those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is..." This is what radical Islam says about us Jews’ “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim) Psalms Chapter 83 תְּהִלִּים א שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף. 1 A Song, a Psalm of Asaph. ב אֱלֹהִים אַל-דֳּמִי-לָךְ; אַל-תֶּחֱרַשׁ וְאַל-תִּשְׁקֹט אֵל. 2 O God, keep not Thou silence; hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. ג כִּי-הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ, יֶהֱמָיוּן; וּמְשַׂנְאֶיךָ, נָשְׂאוּ רֹאשׁ. 3 For, lo, Thine enemies are in an uproar; and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head. ד עַל-עַמְּךָ, יַעֲרִימוּ סוֹד; וְיִתְיָעֲצוּ, עַל-צְפוּנֶיךָ. 4 They hold crafty converse against Thy people, and take counsel against Thy treasured ones. ה אָמְרוּ–לְכוּ, וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי; וְלֹא-יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם-יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד. 5 They have said: ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.’ ו כִּי נוֹעֲצוּ לֵב יַחְדָּו; עָלֶיךָ, בְּרִית יִכְרֹתוּ. 6 For they have consulted together with one consent; against Thee do they make a covenant; God’s word says in Zechariah 8:23 "Thus saith the LORD of Hosts: In Those days it shall come to pass, That ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."

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