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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘built’

What If They Built a $24 Million ‘Palestinian Museum’ and There Was Nothing to Show?

Monday, May 16th, 2016

The $24 million Palestinian Museum is slated to open on Wednesday this week in Bir Zeit, about 15 miles north of Jerusalem, a dream that has come true after it had been first initiated in 1997 by the London-based Welfare Association to commemorate the “Nakba,” that fateful gamble local Arabs have taken against the 1947 UN partition resolution, which ended up with them getting nothing at all. But, as the NY Times put it on Monday, the new museum has a stunning, contemporary new building; soaring ambitions as a space for “Palestinian” art, history and culture; an outdoor amphitheater; a terraced garden — and no exhibits.

There was going to be an inaugural exhibit, named “Never Part,” about artifacts belonging to Arab refugees, but it will not be happening, because there was a disagreement between the museum’s board and its director, Jack Persekian, and the director was sacked. Or, as a spokeswoman announced on Sunday: “There will not be any artwork exhibited in the museum at all.”

The NY Times commented that the fate of the exhibition says more about the realities of Arab society than any art collection could have done. The defunct exhibition “Never Part” was going to feature artistic interpretations of keys and photographs that Arab refugees around the world have kept from their old homes in Israel.

The ousted director Persekian told the NY Times the museum’s senior management informed him they no longer liked his project, but never explained why. Persekian said he had collected images of countless artifacts from “Palestinians” around the world for “Never Part,” which he intended to make available to artists who could have interpreted the objects as they saw fit. But the folks in charge of the museum were uneasy about his plan. “Maybe they didn’t want to take a risk with something that is so unpredictable and so uncontrollable,” he said.

All the museum people would say is, “We didn’t feel that what was delivered was up to scratch.”

Now, without any exhibition at all, other than a virtual show starting May 25, which it borrowed from a museum in Beirut, the Palestinian Museum building, designed by Irish architectural firm Heneghan Peng, will host the Wednesday opening ceremony with nothing to show inside. The official version is that the ceremony will only celebrate the completion of the building.

David Israel

For Better or for Worse

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

It’s time to move out of our homes and into our holy humble sukkahs. Now is the time when we renew our relationship with God, who has chosen us to form an inseparable eternal union – a marriage between the children of Yisrael and the Master of the Universe.

The Torah portion of Nitzavim, which is read just before the New Year, reveals to us that Hashem is our personal “husband,” for better or for worse. Rashi explains (Devarim 29:12) that we were presented with a covenant and a curse: “Since we are forever bound together, let Me teach you how to make Me happy.”

Nitzavim goes on to prophesize everything that has transpired during these thousands of years. This is highlighted by non-Jews gasping and stating, “Why has God caused this land to become desolate? Because they have forsaken God’s covenant.” Thus, on Rosh Hashanah we think of our past year’s sins. The sound of the shofar awakens our emotions. Then ten days of introspection and repentance bring on the great and awesome day of Kippur, of Atonement.

Consider: our God is perfect, and we are anything but. We may have been envious or lustful, or worshipped money, status or a host of other vices. Now we humbly return home to our Love. If we repent out of fear, our sins are forgiven. But if we repent because we truly love our Maker, he gives us an amazing reward – our sins become mitzvahs!

Hashem simply goes beyond the letter of the law in His love for us.

The Holy Ben Ish Chai points out that if you go beyond the four letters of the Hebrew word hadin (the judgment), you get to the Hebrew word sukkah. (The four Hebrew letters that come after the letters in hadin are the letters in the word sukkah). The sukkah is where we arrive after Yom Kippur, free of sins, under the wings of God’s Holy Presence.

Note that the first time sukkah is mentioned in the Torah, it is referring to the stalls our forefather Yaakov built for his animals. Why? Because when Yaakov arrived in Shechem with his family, he built a beis medrash for himself for Torah learning, but for his animals, his “wealth,” he built simple huts.

Yaakov took his children to the window and said, “Look at how I treat my wealth, dear children. Wealth is temporary; like the sukkah, it doesn’t go with you to the next world. But here in this house of Torah, we accumulate the mitzvahs that stay with us – which are eternal.”

We have now received our “new heads” for the coming year, as implied by the words Rosh Hashanah, head for the year, and Yom Hazikaron, a day of resetting our memory apparatus. We are cleansed of our sins on Yom Kippur, after which we enter, with our entire body, into our sukkah. We enter this mitzvah where we achieve oneness with our Lover – Hashem, Blessed be He.

What is it about the Nation of Israel that attracts the love of the One God Who rules the universe?

I came upon an answer on Rosh Chodesh Elul as I prayed the silent benedictions. We bless the day in the following way: “Mikadesh Yisrael v’roshei chodoshim – He sanctifies Israel and the first day of all months.” But it can literally mean “He sanctifies Yisrael and “brand new heads.”

Our nation is forever ready to admit our mistakes and begin all over. With the coming of each new moon, we are aware that we may start afresh.

This is also evident in our morning declaration of Modeh Ani, the origin of which is in the book of Eichah (3:23) which states, “Hashems kindness is new every morning – great is Your belief [in us, to improve in the coming day]. One of the reasons Hashem loves His people is that they are always willing to start over.

Two small examples that are actually big were related to me by Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein, shlita, head of the Diaspora Yeshiva on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where I am currently studying.

The first: A man survived hell in a concentration camp only to discover that his entire family had perished – parents, siblings, wife and children. Everyone.

Dov Shurin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/dov-shurin-columns/for-better-or-for-worse/2013/09/18/

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