web analytics
January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


British Lord Visits Beit Shemesh, Locals Behave

"Over 2.4 billion Christians and over 1.5 billion Muslims, all tracing their inspiration and origins to the rather smaller Jewish people - most of whom seem to be in this room today..."
Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (L.) with a friend.

Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (L.) with a friend.

With the news so full of negative revelations  & allegations about Beit Shemesh – it was a great pick-me-up to hear Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the retired Chief Rabbi of the UK & Commonwealth, speak last night at the Feigenson shul in Nofei Aviv, a community of English speaking immigrants in Beit Shemesh.

I knew that this was not going to be an Israeli-style spontaneous bustling first-come-first-served event, when we were required to book online, with email reminders and clear instructions about location, parking, timing et al. The organisers were clearly organised.

I had the privilege of attending a classy reception beforehand with Rabbi Sacks, and had my few seconds of face-time, introduced to Rabbi Sacks by host & fellow Brit, Jacob Jackson. MK Rabbi Dov Lipman was also there, his US origins notwithstanding, and engaged Rabbi Sacks in a private discussion in a side room.

The Feigenson shul was packed to the rafters, with an overflow crowd downstairs watching on live video screens. Organisers estimated the attendance at 700 people. (The police said there were 17 people; however, over 1400 votes were counted afterwards – sorry, in-jokes for Beit Shemesh).

Rav Eliezer Schenkolewski, the Rav of Feigenson gave words of introduction and greeting – introducing the evening’s topic of “Kiddush Hashem in a Complicated World” – the sanctification of God’s name.

Rabbi Sacks was eloquent, profound, witty – an absolute professional. Among his witty one-liners were:

When Rabbi Sacks was asked by Leung Chun-ying, the new Chinese administrator of Hong Kong, “what did the Jews do during the first thousands of years of their history, without kosher Chinese take-aways?”, Rabbi Sacks answered, “we complained about the food!”

Rabbi Sacks described himself as often more successful working with non-Jews, than with the Jewish community itself. Rabbi Sacks told of someone who introduced him on an occasion, saying that “I agree with the Chief Rabbi about absolutely everything – thereby proving I am a gentile!”

Rabbi Sacks explained that the whole world looks to the Jews. Over 2.4 billion Christians and over 1.5 billion Muslims, all tracing their inspiration and origins to the rather smaller Jewish people – “most of whom seem to be in this room today!”

Whereas the one-liners kept the audience entertained, the substance of the evening was very serious. Rabbi Sacks was not unaware that Beit Shemesh is associated with strife between the various communities.

Rabbi Sacks reminded the audience that whereas almost every global power had endeavoured to attack the Jews, we have survived – and the super-powers of history have not. “The only people who truly have the capability to destroy the Jewish people are the Jewish people”.

Rabbi Sacks pointed out that “Shem” in Hebrew has two meanings: “Name” and also “reputation”. Hashem is therefore “God’s reputation” – how He is perceived by humans.

Chilul Hashem is where God reputation is sullied; and kiddush Hashem is where His reputation is enhanced in the eyes of people.

Rabbi Sacks said the ultimate Chilul Hashem is galut – exile – of the Jewish people. In our defeat, humiliation, degradation, slaughter and dispersion, God Himself looked weak, apparently either unwilling or unable to protect His own people.

By the same account, the establishment of The State of Israel is a huge kiddush Hashem.   Indeed, in Rabbi Sacks’ private discussions with world leaders, he said they all immediately recognise and acknowledge the open miracle of Israel’s establishment, development and strength – God’s reputation has been enhanced and glorified through the State of Israel.

Rabbi Sacks also pointed to the rebirth of Torah in Israel, on a scale never seen throughout Jewish history, is also an open miracle and kiddush Hashem.

At the local level, here in Beit Shemesh, the city of strife between various groups of Jews, Rabbi Sacks raised the challenge to the audience, primarily Anglo national religious, that we can be a kiddush Hashem in Beit Shemesh, by bridging between the secular, on the one side, and the ultra-orthodox on the other.  He drew the parallel to Jacob’s ladder between heaven and earth – and that we can be a ladder – even though this involves being stepped upon to make progress, and is highly uncomfortable.

Rabbi Sacks urged the audience to avoid getting into conflict with either side in these disputes, even when we ourselves come under attack. Our function should be to inject love, respect and healing, into the community popularly characterised as fraught with dispute and friction.

About the Author: David Morris has been nominated for the President of Israel's Prize 2010. He is an entrepreneur in the fields of charity and electro-optics; Established Lema'an Achai ("For My Brothers"), the innovative community social services charity in Ramat Bet Shemesh, "Magen", the Bet Shemesh Child Protection Agency, and "Yad LeYedid" (A Hand to a Friend) charity helping impoverished families in Jerusalem. His day-job as Owner/CEO of Scitronix Ltd is marketing sophisticated electro-optical products to high tech industries in Israel. David is the proud dad of six amazing children, and luckiest-husband-in-the-world of Julie Morris.


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.

No Responses to “British Lord Visits Beit Shemesh, Locals Behave”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The IAF reportedly hit a Syrian military target in Damascus around midnight.
IDF Retaliates Against Syrian Military Targets, Sets Off Rocket Alarms on the Golan
Latest Blogs Stories
Doug Goldstein

Distinguishing between manipulating and influencing people + 3 steps towards positive communication

Netanyahu wants more room on the table for the military option to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Despite “excuses” about not wanting to influence Israel’s election Netanyahu’s views should be heard

palestineRecognition6001

Israeli leaders deny reality: Nothing we can do will make the Arabs accept a viable Jewish state

Auschwitz Entrance

How do we make sure the Holocaust is relevant to new generations?

In 2006, Amona kids saw their teachers and rabbis being thrown from windows as if they were garbage

No money should go to terrorists or their families; anyone involved in terror must pay the price

Responsible Jewish outreach encourages BTs to retain and to enhance their relationship with parents

Israelis will vote for Likud because of Caroline Glick, but she’ll just be Right window dressing.

What are the dynamics of running a family business and what are its impact on family relationships?

The Hareidi paper HaMevaser wanted to have their cake and eat it too: use the photo; lose the women

Producer Chuck Wang explains how you can learn from mistakes and move on towards success.

Chareidi women who want to run for political office don’t suit the full definition of “chareidi.”

France inviting Abbas to the “anti-terror rally” makes me doubt it takes Muslim terrorism seriously

How could a Jewish family hide on the 3rd floor of a hotel where the Germans were on the 1st floor?

No Charedi leader has suggested a change that would make a difference to a failing paradigm

What is the “rookie mindset” and what can new trainees offer to the workplace?

More Articles from David Morris
jude-anti-semitism-300x203-oztorah.jpg

Of course, our enemies will try to use Holocaust references in their attempts to condemn Israel’s activities and policies.

None of the security fences around the world look like this fence which can barely contain livestock.

The charedim and the Zionists in Beit Shemesh are contemplating a “divorce.”

In the universal contest between the blues and the reds, one side will invariably win, the other lose.

Eli Cohen is now the nationally-known face of electoral integrity and honesty in Israel.

The voice of the middle ground is more important than ever, yet perhaps too soft to be heard at all.

Eli Cohen, the challenging candidate for mayor, recently announced at a campaign meeting in Beit Shemesh that “this time, the dead won’t vote!”

As if there was not enough drama in the re-called contentious Beit Shemesh municipal elections!

Moshe Abutbul has taken the knee-jerk response to all criticism and perceived threats.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/tzedek-tzedek/british-lord-visits-beit-shemesh-locals-behave/2013/11/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: