Raoul Wallenberg, Unforgettable Hero
Few if any individuals in history saved as many Jewish lives as did Raoul Wallenberg. He is credited with the rescue of more than 100,000 Jews – many of them saved one by one. In 1981, the late congressman Tom Lantos, who was among those rescued by Wallenberg, sponsored a bill making Wallenberg an honorary citizen of the United States. Wallenberg is also an honorary citizen of Canada, Hungary, and Israel and was designated by Israel as one of the Righteous among the Nations. A postage stamp was issued by the U.S. in his honor in 1997.
On Sunday, December 9, 2012, through the efforts of political consultant Ezra Friedlander and several elected officials, 13th Avenue, Boro Park’s main thoroughfare, was co-named Raoul Wallenberg Way. Boro Park is home to many Holocaust survivors as well as to individuals who are alive today only because of Wallenberg. The 100,000 Jews Wallenberg saved during the Holocaust rebuilt their lives, married, led productive lives, had and raised children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Last year Congress unanimously passed the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration act, conferring on Wallenberg a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The bill was signed into law by President Obama.
The legislation was shepherded through Congress by Ezra Friedlander, representing the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission. Friedlander is a grandson of Rabbi Yoizef Friedlander, zt”l (1918-1971), Liska Rebbe, one of those whose life was saved by Wallenberg.
Now that the Wallenberg Gold Medal has been approved by Congress, it must be designed and minted. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recommended to the secretary of the treasury that Ezra Friedlander be the “liaison to the United States Mint for the purpose of determining the design for the Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Gold Medal.” If anyone has an original Schutzpass (protective passport) used by Wallenberg to save a Jewish life, which can be used in helping design the obverse of the medal, contact Friedlander at 212-233-5555.
Grand Satmar Visit To Israel
On Motzaei Shabbos Bo, January 19, at 8 p.m., thousands of chassidim will convene at the home of Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe, on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg to give him a grand sendoff on his trip to Israel.
He will be escorted by a large group of chassidim to the airport as well as on the trip itself. All meals and lodging for the visitors to Israel have been organized by special hachnassas orchim committees organized in Williamsburg and in Jerusalem.
The plane carrying the Rebbe is scheduled to land at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday at 4:45 p.m., where he will be met by a delegation of Satmar leaders. The Rebbe will then proceed to Jerusalem, where he will be received by Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, chief rabbi of the Eidah Hacharedis, and by the other members of the Eidah Hacharedis beis din. The Rebbe will then receive petitioners at Beis MedrashOhel Rochel on Yoel Street in Meah Shearim.
On Monday the Rebbe will be visiting the homes of leading chassidishe rebbes and rabbis in Jerusalem. Early Tuesday morning the Rebbe will daven Shacharis at the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Miron and then visit holy sites in Tzefas and Teverya. Everyone will return to Jerusalem at night.
On Wednesday, January 23, the chassunah of the Rebbe’s granddaughter will be held in Beit Shemesh. The daughter of the Rebbe’s firstborn son, Rabbi Chaim Zvi Teitelbaum, serving as Yerushalayim Satmar Rav, will be married to Moshe Chaim Labin, son of Rabbi Yeshaya Labin, Zidichover Rebbe in Williamsburg.
The engagement was celebrated in Williamsburg in April. Coach buses will continuously ferry guests from Jerusalem and Bnei Brak to the wedding throughout the afternoon and evening. The first sheva berachos will take place in a gigantic tent erected in front of the Satmar Beis Medrash on Thursday, sponsored by the Satmar Kehilla in Jerusalem.
Shabbos Beshalach, January 25-26, will be celebrated in Jerusalem. All tefillas, tisch, and sheva berachos will take place in the tent in front of the Satmar Beis Medrash. Motzaei Shabbos sheva berachos will be hosted by the Toldos Aaron Rebbe in is beis medrash. On Sunday, the groundbreaking for a new Satmar community will be celebrated jointly with a sheva berachos. On Thursday, January 31, the Rebbe will leave Jerusalem and return to Williamsburg.