To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.
Marking the 200th anniversary of the yartzeit of the Alter Rebbe – Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi who founded the Chabad movement – the Jewish Press’ Yishai Fleisher interviewed one of the special emmissaries who have become the hallmark of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement to talk about the man who started it all, what his passions were, and where Chabad is headed.
Rabbi Danny Cohen is not just one of the hundreds of inspiring, dedicated, courteous and enthusiastic rabbis of Chabad who give themseles in service to the Jewish people across the globe. His is a mission under fire, serving not only his community, but the hundreds of visitors – and soldiers – who descend on his historic city each year, standing as a beacon of stability and spirituality in a place which puts up a daily fight for survival. Rabbi Cohen is the Chabad Rabbi of Hebron.
Listen here for the full interview from the Mittler Rebbe’s/Menucha Rachel’s shul, including how a boy from Brooklyn who became an IDF soldier came to be a Chabad rabbi and Hebron “settler”, as well as the history of Chabad in Hebron.
Fleisher and Rabbi Cohen spoke about the imprisonment of the Alter Rebbe, who was imprisoned for 53 days in Russian prison, to be freed on Yud Tet Kislev.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman was accused by the Russian government of treason for sending money to the Land of Israel, to support Jewish settlement there. At the time, Russia was at war with Turkey, which maintained control of the Holy Land, and Russia accused the Alter Rebbe of sending money to support the Turkish government, which he later proved to the authorities was untrue.
“What’s fascinating is that [supporting the Land of Israel] was the main accusation that brought him to jail in the first place, … and not only doesn’t he say ‘maybe modify that action, maybe tone it down’, being that he was the founder of Chabad and the one that planted and started the whole Chabad philosophy, maybe he would be thinking spiritually this is not what he should be doing, he should be doing something else,” Rabbi Cohen said. “But not only does he not stop and tells his chassidim to continue, but he writes in the Tanya that what saved him from jail and what took him out was the fact that he gave tzedaka to Eretz Yisrael.”
According to Rabbi Cohen, the Alter Rebbe had a great love for the Land of Israel, and considered moving there, but decided to forego the opportunity due to his obligations to his chassidim. “When the Maggid passes away, the Alter Rebbe is appointed as the leader of Chassidim in that area, and even though he had a strong urge and wanted very much to make aliyah, to move to the Land of Israel, being that he was responsible for [Lita], that’s why he stayed there,” Rabbi Cohen said.
Rabbi Cohen credits Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the Baal HaTanya with developing a philosophy by which Jews develop their own personal and unique connections to God. While the great rabbis are charged with teaching and guiding their followers and adherents, “I’m not going to do it for you, this is up to you,” Rabbi Cohen said.
Finishing with a “dvar Torah” – a word of Torah – Rabbi Cohen said: “Two hundred years is definitely a day to be marked, it’s a day of completion… It says that Yaakov Avinu didn’t pass away – the Gemara asks, what do you mean he didn’t pass away, there was a funeral, eulogies. Was that for nothing – no! It means that if his children are alive, he is alive. When 200 years later, you see that Chabad, despite all the obstacles and challenges of recent years and throughout the years… going through communist Russia and going through the fat of America, and the fact that today in a physical way Chabad does not have a Rebbe to go and visit and see, but yet, that it’s just increasing… thousands of people are … going out to the four corners of the earth, 200 years from the Alter Rebbe, and it’s all based on his teachings and his ideas, we know we’re on the right way for [redemption], with G-d’s help.”
About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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A pre-Thanksgiving speech for Americans. Obama, are you listening?
Murderers have upgraded their weapons from rocks and firebombs to guns.
Thanksgiving is an American secular holiday that most Jews have no problem celebrating due to its lack of overt religious symbols (unlike the American holidays right before and after it). Still, there are always holdouts for some reason or another. Let’s hear what you do…
Maybe he thought those white hoods are prayer shawls although they are closer to being burkas.
As the expression goes, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”
Hamas snipers fired from Gaza at an IDF routine patrol operating along the security fence early afternoon on Thursday. No injuries were reported, and the vehicle was damaged. The IDF responded with an artillery shell aimed at the source of fire.
Jacob Richman found this amusing mistake in the store. Do we eat these “extra crispy” soap nuts, or wash the dishes with them?
For every terrorist cell Israel announces it has captured, there are many more kept under wraps.
On Monday evening, tTwo Arab MKs hurled epithets at MKs David Rotem and Feiglin from the podium. Here is Feiglin’s response.
Most significantly, both sides made progress until they talked about the status of Jerusalem.
If the Shin Bet had not stopped the terrorist cells in its tracks, they would have caused a mass catastrophe.
MK Miri Regev said the law is a difficult and complicated one, and it requires a serious discussion about its downsides, and therefore shouldn’t be rushed into implementation.
The Navy has selected Captain Or Cohen to become the first woman appointed as an IDF Navy ship’s commander.
Three Gazans were captured overnight when they crossed over the security fence into Israel.
A green bell pepper affectionately dubbed “Godzilla” by the children of Moshav Ein Yahav in the northern Arava desert has won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Rabbi Yitzchok Moully, youth director at the Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, will be introducing a new art installation in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of Trees, inspired by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.
More than 2,000 people have made contributions in memory of the young victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut to plant a grove of trees in Israel.
Shoshana Hebshi, a half-Jewish, half-Arab woman from Ohio is suing Frontier Airlines, the FBI, TSA and other governmental agencies after she says she was forced off a flight, strip-searched, and imprisoned on the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.
Women may enter military combat in the United States, following the lift of a military ban on women in combat by defense secretary Leon Panetta.
The Jewish National Fund will reconsider a plan to forest parts of the Arava desert, following the request of environmental organizations to consider the impact of trying to alter the native ecosystem.
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