web analytics
January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Rabbi Porush’s Noble Legacy


The passing of Rabbi Menachem Porush in Jerusalem on Sunday night brought to mind many memories of my childhood. He was a close friend and working colleague of my father, Simcha Unsdorfer, z”l, who served as secretary general of British Agudah.

Always impeccably dressed in kapota and cufflinks, Rabbi Porush had an almost regal bearing and was a frequent visitor to our London home.

I particularly remember him being with us in the week before the start of the Six-Day War in 1967. I recall him sitting with my father watching the somber news bulletins on our black and white TV. A map with three thick black arrows was on the screen, each arrow representing a massive Arab army pointed toward the tiny sliver of Eretz Yisrael.

I watched as my father, an Auschwitz survivor, became ever more stressed with each bulletin. In contrast, Rabbi Porush’s measured tones and kindly features exuded a reassuring calm that was rooted in a belief system greater and stronger than is the case for most people.

The sad news of his petirah also reminded me of a piece I had written for The Jewish Press some years ago. Titled “Joseph – The Second Betrayal,” it was about the preservation of Jewish rights of access to our patriarchal burial sites. The following extract is particularly apt to reprint as a tribute to the life and work of Reb Menachem of blessed memory:

It was during the summer of 1995 that a fateful encounter took place in the Knesset, outside the office of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Rabin’s government was putting the final touches on the second Oslo agreement that was to hand over a further tranche of West Bank towns to the new Palestinian Authority. This included Bethlehem, site of Rachel’s Tomb, at which Jews have prayed for thousands of years. National Religious Party member Hanan Porat realized that the tomb was slated to fall into “Area A,” that is, under full Arab civil and military control. He decided he must speak with Rabin and try to change his mind.

Another MK, Jewish Press columnist Rabbi Menachem Porush, happened to walk by and saw his friend standing outside the prime minister’s office carrying a large aerial photograph of the tomb compound and the Bethlehem-Gilo border.

“What are you doing here?” asked Porush.

“I have come to lobby for Rachel’s Tomb,” Porat responded.

Porush asked if he could join him at the meeting and Porat agreed.

For the greater part of the meeting, Porush sat in silence. He listened to Porat, who drew lines on the aerial photograph and illustrated how short was the distance and shooting range between Gilo and Bethlehem. Porat also asked Rabin if he would be willing to give the Palestinians the grave of Ben Gurion or that of his Palmach commander, Yigal Allon.

Rabin was preparing to respond when Porush stood up and embraced him. Addressing him as “Reb Yitzchak,” Porush tearfully beseeched him not to give up Rachel’s Tomb.

“It was beyond words,” Porat recalled in a later interview. “Reb Menachem sobbed, crying real tears onto the prime minister’s shirt. Rabin begged him, ‘Reb Menachem, please calm down.’ Reb Menachem retorted: ‘How can I calm down? You are planning to give away Mama Ruchi’s grave. The Jewish people will never forgive you if you abandon Mama’s tomb.’ ”

Rabin relented and promised the two Knesset members that he would re-examine the issue. Just a few days later, the 463 meters separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem were restored to their “Area C” status under complete Israel security and civil control. The Palestinians agreed to be compensated with other territories.

On the last morning of Reb Menachem’s life, the usual Sunday cabinet meeting took place in Jerusalem. On the agenda: a discussion and vote on a proposal to provide government funding to specially designated sites of Jewish heritage. Reb Menachem would have been delighted and touched to hear Prime Minister Netanyahu add Kever Rachel to the list.

Some would call it a happy coincidence; others an irony. But sooner or later most Jews come to realize there are no coincidences in the Land of Israel. This was a parting gift to a remarkable human being – a rabbi who devoted his life to the defense of Torah and the upholding of a plethora of educational institutions and charitable causes.

About the Author: Zalmi Unsdorfer is chairman of Likud-Herut in the UK


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 “Rabbi Porush’s Noble Legacy”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS murderers threatening Obama
ISIS: We Will Behead Obama, Make US Part of the Caliphate [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Berel Wein

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Sheldon Silver

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists

Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose

Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t

There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.

Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.

More Articles from Zalmi Unsdorfer

Next month I am due to participate in a London debate on the question: Is it OK for Jews to criticize Israel? One of my opponents is a leader of the Peace Now movement who, in a previous debate about the UK’s academic boycott, steered the discussion to his own army service (as an IDF spokesman, no less) and promptly branded Israeli border guards as “paramilitary thugs.”

Just like an office fire alarm, the Gaza flotilla affair sent thousands of Jews all over the word into a well-practiced drill.

For American taxpayers, the devil is in the details of the new health care law. But for the Jewish people and the State of Israel the devil is in the comparison between Barack Obama’s steamrollering of health care legislation and his developing Middle East policy.

The passing of Rabbi Menachem Porush in Jerusalem on Sunday night brought to mind many memories of my childhood. He was a close friend and working colleague of my father, Simcha Unsdorfer, z”l, who served as secretary general of British Agudah. Always impeccably dressed in kapota and cufflinks, Rabbi Porush had an almost regal bearing […]

It is hard to imagine a scene as joyous and religiously charged as Machpela on the Friday night of Parshat Chayei Sarah. Every year, many thousands of Jews from all over Israel, and hundreds more from Europe and America, flock to the tomb of our patriarchs, which Abraham purchased for Sarah’s burial nearly 4,000 years ago.

The British government’s ban on Moshe Feiglin from entering the UK is symptomatic of a deep and institutional prejudice against Israel. Feiglin, a Jewish Press columnist, is best known for running second to Benjamin Netanyahu in the last Likud leadership primary.

The throngs of tourists passing Big Ben are unaware of the tunnel beneath their feet, which connects the parliamentary committee rooms in Portcullis House to the British House of Commons. When the division bells ring, members of parliament sprint along the passage to cast their votes in the chamber. It was in one of those committee rooms last Thursday evening that a group of MPs met with foreign lawmakers to discuss boycott, divestment and the indictment of a sovereign nation with the arrest of its officials for breach of international law.

Did you hear the one about Nelson Mandela, the pope, Mother Teresa and the Jew? Turns out they are the only non-Americans ever to have received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congres-sional Medal of Honor. The Jew? None other than our own icon of freedom, Natan Sharansky, the former refusenik and prisoner of conscience who earlier this month received his Medal of Freedom at the White House.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/rabbi-porushs-noble-legacy/2010/02/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: