web analytics
September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 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.

For individual Jews, we make a kiddush Hashem whenever we do a chesed/act of kindness and whenever we respond to attack with restraint, understanding and love for our fellow Jews.

At the end of the evening, David Glatt presented several prepared questions from the audience, on a range of topics including anti-semitism, technology & children, and the possibility of a global conflict between Christians and Muslims (which Rabbi Sacks dismissed, saying the next global-scale conflict is likely to be Muslims against other Muslims).

The evening was a tremendous success, giving us all a welcome boost in troubled times, and much kudos goes to the organisers and sponsors.

In my brief face-to-face with Rabbi Sacks, I asked him “What would it take to get you to move to Israel?” Rabbi Sacks replied “Time!”.

We will wait patiently – as Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ presence would surely be a major asset in the State of Israel – and particularly for the embattled Anglos he was addressing.

Truly the Very Best of British, Beit Shemesh!

Visit Tzedek-Tzedek.

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.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion 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.

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

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Why would a Jew want to join the ISIS?
Good Jewish Boy from Israel Tries to Join the ISIS
Latest Blogs Stories
Palestinians attack an Israeli soldier during clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters, Aug28, 2015, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah.

Despite many IDF soldiers jailed for defending themselves, families say,”Rather jailed than dead.”

Someone should alert this man: Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council.

Why won’t the gov’t finally annex YESHA & Jordan Valley formalizing their status in State of Israel?

Jewish Press Blogger, Selena Chait

Both “Half-Shabbat” & R’ Yosef’s opinion champion an extreme. There most certainly is a happy medium

Trump

Trump’s slogan and story gives American restores hope to dream to: “Make America Great Again”

Is GDP outdated an measure of prosperity? Are there any alternative methods of assessing $ growth?

In their attack on Ban Ki Moon, Hamas admitted to committing a different war crime.

The ideal of Modern Orthodoxy should be not be viewed as a compromise the way most Charedim view it.

Israel shouldn’t rely on US; It has an awful record in protecting allies.

The Halacha of shmirat einayim (guarding one’s eyes) is incumbent on the MAN; it’s his obligation

Dem. presidential candidate Doug Shreffler talks about his campaign & its motto “as good as it gets”

I’ve decided to move away from my safety net-and I wouldn’t change that decision for anything.

Was “Jerusalem” the song Matisyahu planned to perform? It was the PERFECT response to BDS campaign

If the world’s winds of hatred bring Jews to Israel we are ready, joyfully offering them a home here

At what age should the realization start setting in for kids that we live in an uncertain society?

Spain’s SeaWorld canceled Zionist-spy dolphin’s performance unless it supports a Palestinian state

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: