web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Thanks to The Jewish Press!


In the old days, with Rabbi Yehuda Hazani in New York.

In the old days, with Rabbi Yehuda Hazani in New York.
Photo Credit: Tzvi Fishman

In those days, the newspaper was run by the Gaon, Rabbi Shalom Klass, of blessed memory. He was a fiery, passionate lover of Torah, the Jewish People, and the Land of Israel. His son-in-law, the energetic Rabbi Yehuda Schwartz, was the managing editor, and Arnie Fine put everything together and got the papers out on the street from his small kingdom downstairs in the boiler room.

Entering the fortress-like building, the security guard directed me to an upper floor where the volunteer project was headquartered. The large room was deserted and a dozen telephones were insistently ringing on all the desks. Quickly, I began answering the calls and writing down the names and numbers of the people who were calling to volunteer to help Israel in its time of war. Not knowing what to tell them, I promised that someone would call them back soon. After several hours of frantic activity manning the phones all alone, Rabbi Hazani and Meir Indor appeared in the room and asked who I was. Rabbi Yehuda, on his first trip to America, didn’t talk in English. He absorbed things quietly, like a true talmid chacham, tying to figure out the nature of this strange beast called America. He let Indor do all the talking.

After surviving an interrogation that reminded me of Mossad stories that I had read, they left me with the ringing phones while they hurried off to a side room to watch the news on TV. How Rabbi Hazani cheered when Israeli jets appeared on the screen, dropping their bombs on Beirut. And how his whole body collapsed when the anchorman reported that there had been Israeli casualties in the fighting outside of the city. “Now this was a Rabbi!” I thought to myself, weaned all my life on action movies and heroes with giant Technicolor emotions. Instinctively I sensed that he could be my spiritual mentor and guide.

In the old days, with Rabbi Yehuda Hazani in New York

As Shalom Aleichem would say, “b’kitzor,” to make a long story short, I kept answering the telephones for the first two years of the program. Having saved up some money from my novel and screenplay sales, I had free time to donate to the Israel recruitment drive. Before I knew it, Hazani and Indor made me the U.S. program director. Week after week, I sat with Rabbi Klass in his spacious office as he threw the full influence and weight of The Jewish Press behind the emergency campaign. When the time came for the first charter plane to fly off to Israel filled with volunteers, Rabbi Hazani asked me to cancel my ticket and continuing running things in New York, including arranging for added publicity, dealing with El Al, and convincing all the nervous volunteers that things were completely organized in Israel – which of course they weren’t at all. Rabbi Hazani and Indor returned to Israel to make sure somebody was at least waiting at the Ben Gurion Airport when the first contingent of Americans arrived. It turned out that Indor brought along a few of his kids as a welcoming committee and gave bouquets of flowers to some girl soldiers he found outside the terminal building, hustling them inside to greet the newcomers. He himself played “Hava Nagila” on his small plastic flute. While the first enthusiastic group was sent off to moshavim in the Golan, Indor’s ingenious plan was to send subsequent planeloads to work in army bases around the country, sensing that the quickest way to de-Americanize the Americans and make them feel like Israelis was to get them into green Tzahal uniforms and let them take pictures standing alongside real Israeli soldiers with guns.

So I spent the greater part of that first summer working 20 hours a day at The Jewish Press, often sleeping on a mattress in the office so that I could call Israel in the wee hours of the morning to receive the constant barrage of instructions that Hazani and Indor kept sending on how to create more publicity for the project. It was truly an adventure. For me, it was an accelerated course on how to be an Israeli without passing go. I could write a book about the tumult we created, trying to get the tired and rusty wheels of the Jewish Agency into action. In six months we succeeded in sending more Jews to Israel than the Sachnut had sent in the past several years. The two unpredictable Gush Emunim activists from Jerusalem got the Jewish Agency careerists so fatumult, the slow-motion bureaucrats went so far as to kick Rabbi Hazani and Indor out of the fancy Park Avenue building on their next trip to Manhattan. Not having arranged for a place to stay during their two-week visit, they crashed out in my studio apartment in Gramercy Park. Finally, after two years running the show in New York, I couldn’t stand being in America any longer.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." For the past several years, he has written a popular and controversial blog at Arutz 7. A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

2 Responses to “Thanks to The Jewish Press!”

  1. Ruth Cohen says:

    wow what a movie that would make, great story -glad that you are in israel and whatever you do in the future will be blessed and go well for you.

  2. Liad Bar-el says:

    The Screen Writer of screen writers (HaShem) has written a scene in our present day lives, the geulah, which you can help us understand as it unfolds before our eyes, little by little. I’m looking forward toward reading more of your blogs here.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Blogs Stories
The 32

These are the photos of our soldiers (and a citizen) killed in action during the current IDF ground operation in Gaza.

Happy soldiers with pizza

Jameel went on a pizza run down south, and translated a letter from a soldier on the border, along with some of his own personal observations…

Rabbi Meir Kahane at the National Press Club ~ 1985

Rabbi Kahane spoke of transfer, because it was what the Torah spoke of.

.Into Gaza!

Her message to her soldier son on the battlefield: “Complete the Mission! Sayyem et HaMissimah!”

JoeSettler contemplated some new El Al slogans like: “El Al – Our pilots are trained in evasive maneuvers”…. Let’s hear your new El Al Slogans…

IDF volunteers come to Israel just to serve are the true idealists; Sean Carmeli was one of them.

And he whispers one last time, I love you mother.

It’s absurd, in this war places like Ariel and Shiloh are among the safest in the State of Israel.

Why aren’t American Jews coming s to Israel for the summer; Are they scared because of the war?

Ruthie Blum reveals just how hard it is for a Jewish mother to be a patriot at the time of war. Maternal cognitive dissonance On Thursday night, after 10 days of aerial warfare between Hamas terrorists and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a ground incursion into Gaza. It was a move that much of […]

JoeSettler takes on the IDF Spokesperson’s tweets that he believes are morally wrong and negatively affect the war we are fighting…

The 7 Decisions that changed author Andy Andrews’ life and how they can guide you towards success.

Not asking the world for the right to defend ourselves; such a right is obvious to anyone with a spine.

Where has all the billions of Euros and dollars that have been poured into Gaza over the years gone?

One wishes the PA would distance itself completely from Hamas now for the sake of peace and development in the region.

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/thanks-to-the-jewish-press/2012/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: