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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Bar Ilan University’

The New Israel Fund, Jewish Values And Atonement

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In its September newsletter, the New Israel Fund (NIF) urged Israelis to examine their behavior (“cheshbon nefesh”), declaring “We have been telling you for some time about the upsurge in hatred and incitement in Israel…”

But in Jewish tradition, the processes of introspection and atonement for sins of commission and omission begin at home, including for the NIF.

As the most powerful political and social framework in Israel outside of the government, NIF exerts major influence through its funding, providing millions of dollars every year to dozens of organizations.

The founding donors and officials sought to promote important social objectives in a Zionist framework. But over the years, the Zionist commitment became blurred, and money from pro-Israel donors was channeled to extreme anti-Israel organizations, including key supporters of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns.

NIF’s network also played a central role in the discredited Goldstone report, which falsely accused the Israeli military of systematic war crimes. In addition, while claiming to promote liberal, progressive Jewish values, a number of NIF-funded groups push highly intolerant and polarizing agendas, amplifying the impact of radical fringes in Israeli society, at the expense of the democratic consensus.

As a result, NIF is viewed with increasing suspicion by many Israelis and in a number of diaspora communities. In response, in September 2010, the NIF leadership belatedly adopted guidelines to prevent funding for groups that work “to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel.”

In some important cases, these guidelines have been implemented, and in 2011 the NIF ended funding for three NGOs – Mada al-Carmel, Al-Qaws, and Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) – that promote demonization of Israel.

Unfortunately, NIF failed to publicly acknowledge the reasons for ending support, or to explain how these extreme groups were funded in the first place. Indeed, NIF remains a highly non-transparent organization, without the checks and balances or democratic processes that are necessary to prevent abuses and highly damaging mistakes in judgment.

While belatedly cutting off those three grantees, NIF continued to fund groups involved in global demonization campaigns such as Adalah, Breaking the Silence, Machsom Watch and Yesh Din.

In 2011, NIF also began funding for three additional divisive NGOs, including +972 Magazine, a blog pushing a radical fringe agenda. A number of +972’s bloggers have invoked the immoral and false “apartheid” analogy, and in a February 2012 interview in The Nation, Noam Sheizaf, +972’s editor-in-chief, referred to Jerusalem as an “apartheid city.”

In May of this year, +972 published a cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raping President Barack Obama and eating his limbs. And in September, Sheizaf used his twitter account to refer to critics as “the Jewish KKK” and “fascist” – reinforcing the image of the NIF network as exploiting a “progressive” and “liberal” façade for extreme polarization and hate speech.

In contrast to the actual behavior of the grantees, NIF has justified its funding for +972 as support for a “progressive view of domestic issues and Israel’s foreign relations” and of “broad public discussion and constituencies.” However, this English-only site is unknown to the “broad” Hebrew-speaking Israeli public. Rather, its targeting of an international audience with a message that demonizes Israel and attacks opponents (real and imagined) is entirely inconsistent with NIF’s stated aims and principles.

Another new grantee, Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF), also raises many concerns regarding NIF’s decision making. HRDF is administered by Lizi Sagie, who was forced to resign from B’Tselem in April 2010 after she referred to Israel’s Memorial Day as “a pornographic circus” on her personal blog. She then had a short stint as a co-director of ICAHD, a fringe Israeli NGO that supports a “one state” political formula – meaning the end of Jewish national sovereignty.

Michael Sfard is a key part of the HRDF operation, advising the board on “application of Aid Criteria when reviewing aid requests” and monitoring the “performance of attorneys receiving aid.” According to reports, Sfard is the lawyer for a group of defendants involved in a private libel suit and receiving funds through HRDF. These activities appear to contradict the NGO’s mandate, and create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

In addition, NIF authorized $162,430 for Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement (SJSM) in 2011. This organization’s main activities revolve around confrontational protests in the Negev, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank. In March 2012, a very crude and offensive poster was posted on the official Facebook page of SJSM, and then removed after harsh criticism from some of its members and women’s rights activists.

Bar Ilan Breaks Rank, Quitting High Court Petition to Kill Ariel University

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Monday night, Bar Ilan University president Professor Moshe Kaveh informed lawyers representing the committee of heads of Israeli universities that he is withdrawing Bar Ilan University from the petition to the Supreme Court to annul Ariel University’s accreditation, Walla reported.

The Committee responded that it was sorry that Bar Ilan gave in to political pressure.

The petition was submitted after all the university directors, including Professor Kaveh, who met at the beginning of the month and agreed to pursue it. But, according to an inside source, Bar Ilan’s directors have been under pressure by right wing political figures as well as supporters of the university to retract their name from the petition.

The committee of heads of Israeli universities said it was “very sorry that political pressure caused Bar Ilan University to remove its name from the petition which had already been approved by the university’s president and rector. We are sure that the defense minister will wait for the Supreme Court decision on the matter and will not give in to coalition pressures.”

The universities are planning to continue to advance the petition.

“After it became clear that the university heads were required to sign on a separate power of attorney for each university to submit the petition, Bar Ilan’s president Professor Kaveh announced that he is opposed to it and will not sign the power of attorney for two reasons: Bar Ilan University helped to establish the institution in Ariel and provided it with academic sponsorship for many years; and Bar Ilan signed an academic cooperation agreement with the institution for joint guidance/training of Ph.D. candidates at Ariel university.

A Salute To Migron

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I do not like to give advice to people in times of distress. Every time a settlement facing destruction begins to debate whether to take the “offer” (in other words, the extortion) to leave or to cling to its principles and its place, I adopt our Sages’ advice to not judge others until I am in their place.

These days it is easy to dish out militant advice to the residents of Migron, but they – not I – will be paying the price. So I remained silent. But when I saw their ad campaign last weekend, determined ads that emphasized that they have no intention of accepting the “cut-and-paste” compromise being proposed to them, I stood at attention and saluted these heroes from the bottom of my heart.

I read in the newspaper about all the pressure being applied on them from within. I read all the articles that called upon them to accept the “compromise.”

So, residents of Migron, because you have already made your decision and publicized it, I am writing about why you are so right.

I will begin from the bitter end. Your struggle is not for your home in Migron or in Givat Asaf. If you do not accept the compromise, and if Prime Minister Netanyahu, God forbid, acquires the hegemony that he wants in the upcoming Likud primaries, and if the Likud MKs will no longer be able to stop him, there is definitely a chance that the legislation to legalize the outposts will not pass and your homes may be destroyed, God forbid.

But you are not fighting for your homes; you are fighting for all the settlements. You are fighting for my home in Karnei Shomron and for the homes of all the people in the settlements who are now trying to convince you to evacuate. They do not understand that they are next in line.

Israel is withdrawing into the Green Line. That is the strategic picture. They have already built the wall, the border, and the international border crossings that we pass every day. The prime minister has already declared his endorsement of two states, and he insists on keeping the settlements’ favorite guy, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in a position of power. When the wind is at your back, you can set out your sails and let it take you in the right direction. But when the wind is blowing against you, you have to crouch down and keep a firm hold on the ground.

When Ehud Olmert replaced Ariel Sharon as prime minister, he understood that expulsions erase the indiscretions of the past and bring the unrestrained support of the media and justice system. Olmert decided to outdo Sharon and dreamed up the Convergence plan that schemed to do to Ofra what the Disengagement did to Neve Dekalim.

And what saved Ofra? Amona.

After the bloody pictures from Amona, Olmert’s popularity took a nosedive and he eventually lost the premiership.

Netanyahu cannot allow those pictures to be played out again. If he will clearly understand that you are not going to willingly go, he will do all that he can to make sure that the legislation legalizing the outposts is passed.

There is no reason to wait for destruction. Until January 31, the day that the primaries for head of the Likud will be held, there is a political way to make Netanyahu run after you and authorize the new law. We need to enlist all of our energies, just like we did in the referendum on Gush Katif, to get people to vote for the candidate running against Netanyahu for the party chairmanship.

Netanyahu wants to attain complete supremacy over the Likud, a control that will allow him to claim that he got an open check from the party members to carry out his plans for the future. (He spelled out those plans in his speeches at Bar-Ilan University and the U.S. Congress.) That is why every percentage point is so critical to him. That is why these elections are the only effective political weapon available for the settlements. If there were no primaries now in the Likud, Netanyahu would not have prevented Barak from destroying Ramat Gilad.

We must firmly cling to our land, while uniting to empower the faith-based force in the Likud. This is what must be done now to save Migron, and to ensure the continued growth of the settlements.

Bar Ilan University Makes Key Stop In South Florida

Monday, December 5th, 2011

The founder and director of a new gap year program at Bar Ilan University has made South Florida a key stop on a tour of North America promoting the new program that is intended to buck the trend in falling gap year numbers.

Rabbi Tully Bryks visited high school students across South Florida on November 17 to 20, making stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and North Miami Beach as part of a tour of North America that will take him to more than 20 cities.

Bar Ilan Campus

Rabbi Bryks was formerly regional director for NCSY in South Florida for 15 years, leaving the post in 2008 to open ‘Israel XP’ at Bar Ilan University’s Ramat Gan campus near Tel Aviv.

“The new program Israel XP is designed to appeal specifically to students looking for more of a balanced year in Israel, where students can embrace Jewish studies in a relaxed campus setting,” Rabbi Bryks explains. There are regular tours around the country as well as professional internship options accessing different sectors of society. To address financial and career pressures, students can also earn around a year’s worth of academic credits that can be transferred to most universities across North America.

“An inspiring year in Israel strengthens Jewish values ahead of college years and helps unlock a young person’s potential. We don’t want any Jewish students to have to miss out. The idea for this program was really born in South Florida and I’m excited to promote it to students in the area.”

For more information on Rabbi Bryks’s speaking dates or the Israel XP program, e-mail rabbibryks@israelxp.com or visit www.israelxp.com.

Bar Ilan’s Blood-Libel Scandal

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

        By now just about everyone in the Jewish world has heard about the blood libel affair that has emerged from Bar Ilan University in Israel. It involves a professor of history there, Ariel Toaff, who claims that Jews used gentile blood for ritual purposes in Italy in the Middle Ages.
 
         Last week, The Jewish Press ran a letter by Prof. Toaff in which he wrote inter alia: “In light of the false and distorted interpretation given to my recently published book, I have requested the Italian publishing house El Molino to immediately stop further distribution of the book in order that I may re-edit those passages which comprised the basis of the distortions and falsehoods that have been published in the media. I was astounded by the sheer force of these misrepresentations, which turned what is a research book into a vehicle used to harm Judaism and the Jewish people and, God forbid, as a justification for blood libel.”
 
         He added that he apologizes to those who have been offended by his “research” and offered to donate royalties from this book to the Anti-Defamation League.
 
         All very nice, except that Toaff has not really repudiated any of his false claims. The real scandal in all of this has to do with academic fraud, pseudo-scholarship and lies. Toaff’s posturing notwithstanding, the problem is not that the media have “distorted” Toaff’s claims, but rather that Toaff made fraudulent claims in the first place, based largely on “confessions” made by Jews being tortured in Inquisition courts.
 
         It was Toaff who assigned the decidedly undistorted title to the book that states everything needed to know about it: Pasque di Sangue, or Passover of Blood. His promise to send any royalties to the ADL that he may or may not receive is a worthless gesture.
 
         To put this matter into perspective, let me emphasize that Toaff would not be the first academic in Israel to produces anti-Jewish materials that are picked up and utilized by anti-Semites. Israel has scores, if not hundreds, of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel radical faculty members. Many of these are documented at www.israel-academia-monitor.com. What is unusual in the Toaff affair is that it comes out of Bar Ilan University, a school established mainly to serve Orthodox Jewish student and that is now refusing to take disciplinary action against a professor publishing fraudulent material about Jews.
 
         There are numerous precedents from all over the democratic world of universities firing tenured professors for fraud and for open promotion of lunatic, obviously false “theories.” Several Holocaust deniers have been fired from tenured jobs, with France’s Robert Faurrison perhaps the most notorious. (Of course, there are open Holocaust deniers who have been allowed to retain academic jobs.)
 
         Professors promoting offensive ideas or exhibiting behavior offensive to their employers have been fired in the U.S. Professors have been stripped of tenure for the mere expression of crackpot ideas in American universities. The University of Colorado’s Ward Churchill, who justified the 9/11 attacks and called the victims inside the WTC towers “Little Eichmanns” was removed from a number of campus positions and may well be fired altogether.
 
         Similarly, academics caught committing explicit fraud have been fired and dismissed from academic positions. Luk van Parijs was fired from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for fraud, as were a professor in the UK and an economics professor in Northern Kentucky. Even people willing to defend the most offensive campus opinions in the name of “academic freedom” generally agree that a professor should be fired if he commits fraud. Professors in Western countries who have endorsed or collaborated with terrorism have also been fired.
 
         Within Israel, there have been some well-known cases of blatant fraud in research by Israeli academics. The most famous is the notorious Tantura story pushed by Dr. Ilan Pappe and his MA student Teddy Katz. Katz fabricated a massacre of Arabs in the town of Tantura south of Haifa, supposedly perpetrated by the Palmach Jewish militia in 1948.
 
         Not a scrap of evidence of any such massacre exists. Katz was sued for libel by the veterans association of the Palmach unit in question. In court and under counsel from his attorney, Katz confessed that he had fabricated the massacre, but later renounced his own confession.
 
         Pappe, for his part, continues to tout the non-existent massacre in anti-Israel propaganda outlets all over the world.
 
         There is some precedent for firing tenured faculty in Israel when fraud has been committed. An associate professor of anthropology was fired by the Hebrew University when it was discovered that she’d published fraudulent research. A half-hearted but unsuccessful attempt was even made within the University of Haifa, where Ilan Pappe is employed, to get Pappe stripped of his tenure and fired.
 
         All of which brings us back to the case of Toaff. Had these merely been the charlatan claims of an Islamist extremist or some other garden variety anti-Semite, no one would have paid them any attention. But as every neo-Nazi website on the planet has already publicized with jubilation, here we have an Italian-Israeli “scholar” who has published a book that claims Jews in the Middle Ages engaged in ritual murder and used Christian blood for religious rites.
 
         True, Toaff says the Jews in question were heterodox sectarians from outside the established Jewish community, but that is not exactly a serious reason for treating Toaff with any leniency.
 
         Toaff’s book is a complete fraud, at least the sections in it about blood rituals (and they raise serious doubts about all the rest of Toaff’s “research”). Of course, no Jew has ever used blood, human or animal, for ritual purposes, other than animal sacrifices in the Temple of Solomon. Nevertheless Toaff writes: “Over many dozens of pages I proved the centrality of blood on Passover. Based on many sermons, I concluded that blood was used, especially by Ashkenazi Jews, and that there was a belief in the special curative powers of children’s blood. It turns out that among the remedies of Ashkenazi Jews were powders made of blood.”
 
         Toaff claims that “a black market flourished on both sides of the Alps, with Jewish merchants selling human blood, complete with rabbinic certification of the product – kosher blood.” Here is the son of a rabbi who apparently does not know that blood of any sort can never be kosher.
 
         Toaff’s fraud has been universally denounced by Jews and Christians. Even Israeli secularists were outraged. Writing in Yediot Aharonot, Sever Plocker (a leftist) wrote: “Professor Toaff’s book has nothing whatsoever to do with academic freedom. The man raised an unfounded argument, which was rejected outright by the world’s finest historians and experts on the period the book refers to. The blood libel against the Jews has remained an evil plot.
 
         Meanwhile, Bar Ilan University officials, facing a worldwide explosion of rage, have politely distanced themselves from Toaff. But they have not taken any serious action against him, have not stripped him of his tenure for fraud nor fired him, and in fact have been going out of their way to circle the wagons and defend Toaff’s “academic freedom.” Suddenly lies and fraud are protected academic scholarship at Bar Ilan.
 
         As noted, Toaff has offered to pull the book off the shelves for a little while in order to insert some “clarifications.” The problem is not deficient clarity but rather all-too-clear anti-Semitic lies. His duplicitous “apology” aside, Toaff is sticking to his guns about his main claims, and told the Jerusalem Post he would not repudiate them even if it means “he gets crucified” (his words). Accusing Jews of being behind crucifixion is of course entirely consistent with his brand of scholarship.
 
         Toaff’s shenanigans illustrate perfectly why Israeli universities are sinking into a quagmire of mediocrity and how the unwillingness to act against charlatans and fraud is destroying Israeli academia.
 

         Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at www.stevenplaut@yahoo.com.

True Role Models (Part Fourteen)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

This is the 14th part of a series on Aliyah and Klita (absorption) stories of American Jews who came to Israel for ideological and religious reasons in the past years. The purpose of the series is to emphasize the quality of the early Olim to Israel and to tell the stories of these true role models for American Jewry.

Unfortunately, the question as to where to raise your children and where you and they should live is not a hot topic in the American Jewish community. There is a great deal of inertia despite the open signs that Hashem wants you to go to live in Israel today. All of the standard excuses of money, job, family and convenience are important, but the need of your souls to live in the Holy land should not be ignored.

Eric Zimmerman was raised on the values of Bnei Akiva. He and his wife, Sharon, made aliyah in 1988, with their four-month old daughter, Dafna. Prior to their aliyah, Eric worked at the World Zionist Organization, assisting others to make Aliyah, and his wife was on the VP-track at Chemical Bank.

Their first stop in Israel was Kibbutz Ein Zurim, where they spent five great years, Eric as a farmer and Sharon in a variety of jobs, while bringing three more beautiful children into the world. They left kibbutz in 1993 and settled in Oranit – by all accounts a beautiful bedroom community of the Sharon region. Since then, Eric has served as the research grants coordinator at Bar-Ilan University and Sharon worked in the medical and R&D worlds. Sharon now works for a Europe-oriented technology-transfer company affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as well as for a non-profit educational organization.

Eric and Sharon came to Israel in order to make a difference; to contribute in words and action to the building and strengthening of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel. Both are convinced that they are realizing that dream. Though it certainly has not always been easy, they have no serious regrets. They live in a vibrant mixed community of mostly single-family homes (villas) where they have many friends and many of the services found in bigger cities. Actually, come to think of it, they are living the American Dream, but in Israel. (see family picture)

* * *

Esther Rechtschafner, after her senior year in high school, attended the Bnei Akiva Hachshara in 1962. She came from a very Zionistic family and had always planned on coming on Aliyah. She wanted to stay after Hachshara, but went back to America, because her parents wanted her to. She was determined, however, to come on Aliyah as soon as possible. After having her back in America for exactly a year, her parents agreed that America was no longer for Esther, and she succeeded in coming on Aliyah.

Her parents had also been planning Aliyah for many years, and they joined Esther a few months later. Esther married Mordechai Rechtschafner, from Bnei Akiva, Australia, on Lag BaOmer 1965 and decided to settle in Ein-Zurim, one of the youngest Religious Kibbutzim, for they thought that Kibbutz was the best way to contribute to the welfare of the country. When the 1967 war broke out, Esther’s husband served in the unit that liberated Jerusalem.

Esther received a BA in Israeli and Jewish History from the Israeli Open University and a degree in Library Science from the Hebrew University. She has received much acclaim for her articles about the places in Eastern Europe that her grandparents came from:

1. “Reezekne, The City of My Roots” (The Latvian city that her paternal grandmother (z”l) came from)

2. “The Connection Between Rezekne and Ein Zaitim” (The Jews of Rezekne bought land near Safed over 100 years ago)

3. “Research on Cherkassy” (The Ukraine city that her maternal grandmother (z”l) came from)

4. “Sveksna” (The Lithuanian town that her paternal grandfather came from)

Esther and her husband have three daughters, all of whom served in the army. Idit is married to Koby, whose parents are also American, and they have six children. Idit works as a special education teacher in Bet Shemesh. Ayelet, the mother of two children, is the head nurse in Betar Elite and is married to Zachary, a Russian doctor, who works as a nurse in Hadassah and is finishing his Masters Degree in Judaism. They live in Zur Hadassah. Doria is a student in the Hebrew University.

Esther has been working for the past 20 years as the “house-mother” in Yeshivat HaKibbutz HaDati, Ein Zurim, and enjoys her work very much. Many of the students are children of former Anglo-Saxons.

Esther feels that it is important to add that they have never received financial help from their parents. They just never needed or wanted it. Her parents were never actually “well off”. Her father’s wealth was in his knowledge, and in his love for Israel. (Her father was a descendant of the family of the Vilna Gaon).

* * *

Chani Lior came from Brooklyn right after she completed high school. She left behind her family and friends but came because this is where she wanted to spend her life. In Israel, she studied Education and worked as a teacher for eight years. For the past 12 years, she has been working together with her husband to build up their family business. They were part of the founding Garin of Yishuv Beit Haggai where they and their family have lived for the past 18 years.

* * *

Barbara Blum and her husband Alex came on Aliyah from New York in 1968 for Zionistic reasons. Like many other Olim, they left behind their parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends, and gave up much of their financial security. Alex received his PhD in philosophy from N.Y.U., and was an assistant professor of philosophy on his way up. Barbara was a tenured teacher.

In Israel, Alex taught philosophy at Bar Ilan University. During his years of teaching, he was also the Head of the Department and Dean of Humanities. He co-founded Philosophia, the first international philosophical journal in Israel.

Barbara studied art at the Avni Art Institute and received a scholarship from the Israeli Ministry of Education and was accepted as a member of the Tel Aviv branch of the Israeli Artist Association. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions and three one person shows. She has also been writing, and has published a cookbook.

Alex and Barbara made their greatest sacrifice to Israel – the life of their first-born son, Moshe. He was injured in the Israeli Air Force in April, 1990. He received a spinal cord and brain injury and was left paralyzed from below the shoulders. He is in need of support from a breathing machine for at least several hours daily. They cared for him at home for 13 1/2 years as he fought valiantly to have a ‘normal’ life. He attended classes in university, painted with a brush in his mouth, had an exhibition of his works, and gave them and those working with him the strength to continue. He succumbed to complications stemming from his injury in August of last year. May his memory be blessed.

True Role Models (Part Two)

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

This is the second part of a series on Aliyah and Klita (absorption) stories of American Jews who came to Israel for ideological and religious reasons in the past years.

 

Olim in those days left behind all their friends and much of their family, and, unlike today, found it expensive and difficult to be in contact with them. In America, they had often held high-paying jobs and lived in spacious homes. They were often willing to take entry-level jobs at 20% of their former salary and live in small apartments, in order to be able to live in Israel and contribute to the growth of the country. Unlike the Olim of today, the Olim who came to Israel 10, 20 and 30 years ago could not easily commute or tele-commute with America.

Unlike today, they could not get the clothing, cereals, electronics and other products in Israel that they had become accustomed to in America. Napkins were like wax paper, and toilet paper was like newsprint. They had to learn a new language immediately so that they could work, and there was no one to reduce the bureaucracy for them. People came anyway, because they believed, because they were Zionists, and because they wanted to live in Israel. Here are a few additional examples of those who should serve as the true role models for American Jews.

Yehuda and Becky Pinsky came on Aliyah 20 years ago. Prior to coming on Aliyah, Yehuda served as the Orthodox Rabbi of Allentown, Pa., which made him a very significant force in the Jewish community on all levels. He was also a member of the executive committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.

Since coming on Aliya, Yehuda has held several important positions and has contributed to Torah education in Israel. He served as the supervisor of informal Torah education (Tarbut Toranit) in the Ministry of Education, as the assistant director of the department for deepening Torah education in the Israeli school system, as the vice-mayor of the Binyamin municipal council (in charge of education and culture), and as the assistant director of the directorate for value-oriented education (Judaism, Zionism and democracy). He is currently the director of the department of in-service teacher training in the Ministry of Education.

Becky Pinsky was an active rebbetzin in the Jewish community of Allentown. She gave shiurim to the women and established the Allentown branch of Emunah Women. Since coming on Aliya, Becky has worked as a kindergarten teacher for 15 years, and is currently the district supervisor for early childhood education in the greater Jerusalem district.

Yehuda and Becky have been very happily married for over 34 years, and have much nachas from their children and grandchildren, all of whom, B”H, live in Eretz Yisrael and continue to fulfill the ideology of Torat Yisrael and Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. Their family photo is on this page.

* * *

Cissie Green Jacobson came on Aliyah in 1968 from W. Hempstead, Long Island with three children, ages eight, five, and two. Their sabra daughter was born in Israel. Cissie was a teacher and her husband, Binyamin Green (z”l), was an electrical engineer at Sperry Gyroscope, earning a very good salary. They lived in a beautiful private house with a basement, backyard and garden. With their combined salaries, they lacked for nothing. Cissie and Binyamin came on Aliyah because they believed that Israel was their real home. They left parents and close family behind in America.

After their Aliyah, Cissie became an English teacher and taught for 30 years, helping improve English instruction in Israel. Her husband Binyamin, z”l, until his death worked at Tadiran and helped develop many important military and consumer products.

Their family is their major contribution to Israel. Their oldest child, Yehudit, a mother of four, is a graduate of the Hebrew University with a B.A. in Economics and Statistics and an M.A. in Business Administration. She works for the Bank of Israel in a very responsible position. Their second daughter, Sivia, the mother of four, has a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and after having worked as a nurse for several years, has studied for a Masters and Doctorate in Genetics. She teaches in the nursing school of Tel Aviv University. Their son, Noam, a father of four, is getting his Masters in Jewish Studies and Philosophy at the Hebrew University. He works as a high school teacher in two Jerusalem schools. Their youngest daughter and only sabra, Shlomit, is a mother of five and is a social worker in Kiryat Malachi.

* * *

Menachem Bloch made Aliyah in 1949, soon after the end of the War of Independence. He grew up in Philadelphia and in New York. During his student days, he taught in his Alma Mater, Yeshiva University’s Talmudical Academy and in the Yeshiva of Flatbush (where he was offered a steady teaching position and much more). After six summers of camp counseling [including four in the Hebrew-speaking camp "Massad"], he was offered a job as the director of a summer camp and the post of principal of a school in Cincinnati. He turned the job down when the armistice was signed in Palestine in 1949.

He had wanted to go to live in Israel for many years, but his parents had objected to allow him to go to a war-torn country. In 1949, his parents could no longer oppose his making Aliyah (although they beseeched him not to go, but rather to “view the land from afar” and to content himself with helping raise a generation who would identify with their brethren, their tradition and their culture).

In Israel, after completing his two-year army training, he served in many positions. He was the academic secretary of Mishlav and then became the registrar at Bar-Ilan University, from its opening in 1955 till the first class received its BA diplomas in 1959. He was the executive secretary of the Association of Hebrew Book Publishers, and the Director of the Yachdav Publishing House. He also served as a senior teacher of English at Bar Ilan University, and is the author of a series of textbooks.

* * *

Reuven Werber lived in New York and earned a BA from Brooklyn College. He served as the national director of Bnei Akiva and is happily married to Linda Goldstein from Chicago. He and his wife moved to Israel in 1970. Reuven and his wife became members of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion 29 years ago, and he served in the early years as a shepherd, metal worker, kibbutz secretary, education chairman and the religious committee chairman. Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, their home for the last 29 years, lies in the heart of the Hebron hills in Israel. The mountains around breathe the history of the Jewish people from the days of the Biblical Patriarchs until this very day.

He calls his wife, Linda, his “best friend and companion.” She is primarily responsible for the success of their family, the functioning of their household, their marital bliss, and the health of Kfar Etzion’s members. (She is Kfar Etzion’s public health nurse.). They B”H have six children. Tehila and Salit are their two married daughters – Tehila and her husband, Arik, are kibbutz members and have four children. Salit and her husband, Menachem, have just recently left the kibbutz and have two children. Moshe is presently visiting the USA, and Didi is serving in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Reuven is a PhD Candidate in Information Studies at Bar Ilan University. During the last 15 years, he has been working at the Neveh Channah Torah High School for Girls in Gush Etzion, where he serves as the Ed Tech Coordinator. He teaches Oral Jewish Law and Jewish Thought.

In the last few years, he has also devoted a great deal of time to developing the Information Literacy – Technology Program. The Neveh Channah Torah High School has entered AT&T’s international web construction contest for schools. Together with their partners from Pasco, WA, USA and Aberdeen, Hong Kong, they are working on researching and presenting a media-politics project. Reuven is also an instructor of technological pedagogy at the Herzog Teachers’ College.

* * *

Susie Cohen came on Aliya in 1963 from Brooklyn, NY. She finished her B.A. degree in Brooklyn College, came to Israel and studied librarianship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

She has devoted 39 years to serving as a senior bibliographer at the Jewish National and University Library. Susie also edits the bibliography on anti-Semitism for the Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University. This bibliography is available on the Internet and in 17 published volumes to date.

(To Be Continued)

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/true-role-models-part-two/2004/12/15/

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