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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘cabinet’

Tal Law Will Not be Brought to Cabinet Vote

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced Thursday that the Tal Law will not be voted on by the cabinet next Sunday, despite statements last week to the contrary.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu had said that the law, which expires in August 2012, would not be extended for another five years. However, following internal disputes within his Cabinet, he later announced that the law would be extended for another five years.

Officials at the PMO said that there is no need for a government debate on the matter, as it will be discussed in the Knesset ahead of the vote over its five-year extension.

PM Netanyahu Condemns Jerusalem Mufti’s Anti-Semitic Speech

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu inveighed against the comments made by Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein that glorified the killing of Jews.

“These are heinous words that the world needs to condemn,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting. He called on Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to investigate the PA religious leader for incitement after quoting an Islamic text attributed to Muhammad that calls for the killing of Jews.

In response, Hussein denied inciting the killing of Jews, saying he was merely quoting the Islamic text. “I can’t change the Hadith,” he retorted.

Energy minister and Yisrael Beiteinu MK Uzi Landau, reminded the cabinet that “this is not coming from Hamas, which we are used to – this is coming from Palestinian Authority television.”

Cabinet To Extend Law Denying Citizenship to Palestinians Who Marry Israelis

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet is expected to approve a one-year extension of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which bans Palestinians married to Israeli citizens from residing in Israel.

The preamble of the resolution that the cabinet will be discussing cites an Israel Security Service (Shin Bet) assessment that the law should be extended because Palestinians applying for spousal unification constitute “a heightened potential security risk.”

Since it is a temporary order, the Citizenship Law must continually be extended in order to remain in force.

Earlier this month, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected three petitions which claimed that the Citizenship Law is unconstitutional.

Forward-Looking Photographs

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward


Edited by Alana Newhouse


$39.95, W.W. Norton, 2007


http://www.wwnorton.com/  


 


  


         The smile is as unmistakable as the pointed white beard, long flowing side curls, black hat, robe and thick white socks. The rabbi, with his hands clasped behind his back, turns his head to his left and looks over his shoulder at the camera, as if amused to see a photographer present and curious why anyone would deem his presence a worthy photo op. The caption reads: “The grand rabbai of Satmar Hasidism, Joel Teitelbaum (right), standing at the railing of the deck of the Queen Mary at Pier 90 in New York. From the back of the photo: ‘This is the only picture taken of Teitelbaum on his journey from Israel.

 

         The photograph of the Satmar Rebbe is one of more than 500 photographs collected in Alana Newhouse’s A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward. In the book’s introduction, Newhouse, arts and culture editor at the Forward, uses the paper’s filing cabinet as a symbol of its significance to Jewish history and journalism.

 

         While conducting a reporter’s version of dumpster diving, Newhouse discovered a letter then Vice President Harry Truman wrote in February 1945 to his friend, former fellow soldier, and short-lived business partner Edward Jacobson. “Sixty years later I found a copy of the letter in a folder at the back of a metal filing cabinet drawer,” writes Newhouse. “The note, written by one of the most powerful men of the last century, had been filed under ‘Jacobson.’”

 

         As Newhouse explains, Jacobson is said to have influenced (at least in part) President Truman’s decision to recognize the State of Israel in 1948, though “one might fairly assume ‘Truman’ would trump ‘Jacobson’ in any filing system. But the metal cabinet in which I found that note is part of the archives of perhaps the most famous Jewish newspaper in the world. And to its staff and readers, the buck stopped at ‘Jacobson.’”

 

        


Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt (bearded), pictured with other cantors. According to the photo caption, Rosenblatt turned down a $100,000 offer from Warner Brothers to play Al Jolson’s father in The Jazz Singer, “because he believed it would demean his sacred calling. Nevertheless, he agreed to play a small part as himself, singing a Yiddish art song, for which he received star billing.” Image courtesy: W. W. Norton.

 

 


       The Forward‘s photo archive dates all the way back to the newspaper’s inception in the late 19th century. The book also collects more contemporary photographs, from pop singer Madonna at the Kabbalah Center’s 2003 release party for The 72 Names of God: Technology for the Soul to a flooded synagogue in New Orleans, a “Bark Mitzvah” (a canine Bar Mitzvah) and a chassid from New Square holding a fish reputed to have spoken and to have been possessed by the soul of a Canadian chassid.

 

 

        In one photograph (image one), a young man wearing a bowtie and suit with a drawing board over his knees sits on the right side of the photograph, happily engrossed in the moment. His bored-looking model, whose intense stare and wide eyes are only rivaled by the lion-shaped knockers on the door behind him, uncomfortably crosses his legs and locks his fingers together tightly, trying to hold his pose. The setting is regal, with a Roman bust in the corner between two handsome doors, and the artist has made himself right at home with a half smirk on his face. Perhaps the artist, Elias Grossman, who worked for the Forverts (the Yiddish Forward), smiles because he is aware of the mischief he is unraveling. His drawing of the sitter Benito Mussolini would later become an etching and appear in the New York Herald Tribune with the caption, “What Price Mussolini?” Upon publication, Grossman fled the fascist Italian ruler’s wrath.

 

 


Forverts employee, Elias Grossman sketches Benito Mussolini. Image courtesy: W. W. Norton.

 

 

         In Living Lens, Grossman’s photo sits on a double page spread beside another picture of a Jewish artist, sculptor Carl J. Longuet standing at a 1933 exhibit in Paris beside a bust he created of his great-grandfather Karl Marx. If one offers Marx’s receding hairline to Longuet and imagines him growing a bushy moustache and beard, the resemblance is apparent, particularly in the brows. (Incidentally, Marx was at one point a London correspondent for the Herald Tribune, so the two photographs are distantly related.)

 

 


Israel Rokeach, founder of the kosher food company which bears his name. Image courtesy: W. W. Norton.

 

 

         Another photograph (image two) portrays Israel Rokeach, who founded the kosher food company that bears his name. Rokeach wears a large black yarmulke and long white sideburns and beard. He sits writing with a pencil at his desk, surrounded by a phone and stacks of papers. A large framed canvas (the head of the portrait is cropped out of the image, but it might depict Rokeach himself) hangs over his chair. The photograph, which is catalogued in the section “From a Series on ‘Industry,’” illustrates how Jewish immigrants brought their traditional attire and appearances to a new country and managed to cling steadfastly to the old, even as they achieved a great deal of success with the new.

 

         Image Three captures Henrietta Szold (1860-1945), the founder of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Szold was a very accomplished woman, who taught three languages (French, German and Latin), history, mathematics and science at the Baltimore-based Misses Adams’ girls’ school for 15 years. Having studied Hebrew and the Talmud with her father, she taught at his synagogue in Baltimore. Somehow, she also managed to find the time to organize a night class for newly arrived Eastern European immigrants in American history and culture and to help start Hebras Zion, which might have been America’s first Zionist organization.

 

 


Henrietta Szold, former president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Image courtesy: W. W. Norton.

 

 

         Szold, who is pictured as a firm, serious woman in the Forward photograph, though she allows a bit of a smile to invade her face, worked for 23 years at Jewish Publication Society (JPS), and later traveled to (then) Palestine in 1909. Upon returning to New York, she immersed herself in American Zionist activism, ultimately forming the Hadassah Chapter of the Daughters of Zion (1912), which became simply Hadassah in 1914 – named for Queen Esther, identified in the Megillah as Hadassah. A 1920 trip back to Palestine saw Szold fundraising for what would become the Hadassah Medical Organization. She would later die at the Jerusalem-based Hadassah-Hebrew University Hospital she helped create.

 

         Living Lens presents a treasure trove of images that capture moments and figures fundamental to the American Jewish experience and the Jewish experience at large. The images capture the sacred and the secular side by side. A full page photograph of Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook, the first chief rabbi of Israel, mixing flour for matzos in Jerusalem in 1925, sits beside another full page photograph of folksinger Isa Kremer aiming her pool cue as the world champion of billiards, Jack Schaefer looks on. Many other images in the book attest to the Forward‘s Socialist youth, from protests to members of the Workmen’s Circle. There was only room in this column to highlight a few of the photographs in the book, but it ought to be clear that it is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of photography, journalism and the American Jewish experience.

 

         Menachem Wecker is a painter, writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. He welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com.

 

         I graciously acknowledge the comprehensive biographies on Encyclopedia Britannica ( http://www.britannica.com/), which I used to research this article.

Parshat Vayechi

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

December 1862 was a terrible month for Abraham Lincoln. General Robert E. Lee at Fredericksburg had just defeated his principal army, the Army of the Potomac. As a result, the Radical Republican senators felt that now was the time to force Lincoln to push the war more vigorously. More importantly, they wanted to replace Secretary of State Seward who was viewed as the power behind Lincoln.

Based on information, sent to them by Secretary of the Treasury Salmon B. Chase, they felt that Seward controlled the President, prevented the cabinet from helping the President and, “hindered Lincoln’s intention to make the war a crusade for emancipation” (Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Simon and Schuster New York, 2005, p.486).

In letters to the senators, Chase implied, among other things, that had the members of the cabinet, especially himself, been consulted by Lincoln the country would not be in the bad situation it currently found itself in. Based on Chase’s information the senators felt Seward had to be replaced in order for the Union to win the war. To press the issue, the senators selected a Committee of Nine to visit Lincoln and demand Seward’s dismissal. The Committee arrived on December 18.

While Lincoln dreaded the meeting, he heard them out. At the meeting’s conclusion, despite being depressed, Lincoln realized he had to work this problem out himself and do it in a creative, non-confrontational manner. He had to demonstrate that his cabinet was both consulted and united. Additionally, he had to expose Chase’s duplicity and prove Seward’s indispensability. Not one to feel sorry for himself, Lincoln got to work.

Lincoln invited all the members of the cabinet other than Seward to a meeting at the White House on December 19. Unbeknownst to them he also invited the Committee of Nine. Among the cabinet members present was Salmon Chase. When Chase saw the joint session he panicked, “since tales of the malfunctioning cabinet had originated largely with his own statements to the senators” (p.491). In front of the senators, Lincoln asked his cabinet members whether major issues had been discussed with them. All of them concurred – even Chase.

Additionally, Chase was forced to publicly concede, that Seward did not object to the Emancipation Proclamation and was not soft on slavery. Rather, in actuality, “Seward had suggested amendments that substantially strengthened it” (p.492). Forced to admit, in front of the senators that he had been disingenuous, Chase felt compelled to resign. Lincoln accepted his resignation and placed it in a drawer. Lincoln let Chase know that for now his job was safe, but if he ever showed disloyalty again (which he eventually did) he would be dismissed from office.

Lincoln, by rebounding from his depression and creatively tackling the crisis he faced, achieved firm control of his cabinet and silenced the attacks by the Radical Republicans. “For Lincoln, the most serious governmental crisis of his presidency had ended in victory. He had treated the senators with dignity and respect and, in the process, had protected the integrity and autonomy of his cabinet” (p.494).

In this week’s parshah Yaakov blessed Yehudah and assigned him the leadership of Bnei Yisrael. As part of the blessing the Torah states (49:9): “Judah is a lion cubhe crouches and lies down like a lion” Many works quote a beautiful insight in the name of the first Rebbe of Ger, the Chiddushei HaRim. The Torah’s choice of words captures the essence of Yehudah’s character. Although at times he is forced to crouch down and deal with setbacks, he ultimately responds like a lion and gets back up with renewed vigor and strength. As leaders, Yehudah and his descendants had to deal with local failures and disappointments. However, as leaders they also knew that they had to move on and exploit the opportunities such setbacks presented. People of lesser character would have surrendered to circumstance.

We can discern a second leadership character trait of Yehudah when we contrast him with Reuven. When Yaakov blessed Reuven, the Torah described (49:4) Reuven as being “hasty like water.” In other words, Reuven often acted impulsively. While impulsivity is called for at times (e.g. jumping into save a life) it is a bad character trait for a leader who must think things through. Yehudah, although capable of acting when necessary, always acted deliberately and after careful evaluation. Whether it was by patiently judging Tamar, waiting out Yaakov during the famine, or approaching Yosef, Yehudah always had a plan.

Rabbeinu Bachaya learns an additional important leadership lesson from the letters of the blessing. Within the text of Yehudah’s blessing every letter of the Hebrew alphabet is used except the letter zayin. When viewed as a word zayin means weapons. In light of this, Rabbeinu Bachaya explains that the Torah is teaching us a critical lesson. Yehudah’s leadership will ultimately succeed due to G-d’s providence and not because of Yehudah’s military prowess. Although as leaders, the children of Yehudah will at times need to resort to military force, the absence of the letter zayin is a permanent reminder that G-d is the source of all successes and failures.

Based upon Rabbeinu Bachaya’s explanation, Rav Avraham Korman in his work HaParsha L’doroteha offers an interesting addendum. Although, leaders must be prepared to use force, the Torah, by avoiding using the letter zayin, is instructing leaders that if they want their leadership to be truly effective, they should rely on approaches based on persuasion and inspiration. Force should only be used as a last resort.

Abraham Lincoln intuitively understood these important leadership lessons. All leaders should heed them as well. Leaders must learn to bounce back, plan perfectly and influence ingeniously.

Rabbi David Hertzberg is the Principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division. Questions and comments can be e-mailed to him at Mdrabbi@aol.com.

Parshat Vayechi

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

         December 1862 was a terrible month for Abraham Lincoln. General Robert E. Lee at Fredericksburg had just defeated his principal army, the Army of the Potomac. As a result, the Radical Republican senators felt that now was the time to force Lincoln to push the war more vigorously. More importantly, they wanted to replace Secretary of State Seward who was viewed as the power behind Lincoln.
 
         Based on information, sent to them by Secretary of the Treasury Salmon B. Chase, they felt that Seward controlled the President, prevented the cabinet from helping the President and, “hindered Lincoln’s intention to make the war a crusade for emancipation” (Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Simon and Schuster New York, 2005, p.486).
 
         In letters to the senators, Chase implied, among other things, that had the members of the cabinet, especially himself, been consulted by Lincoln the country would not be in the bad situation it currently found itself in. Based on Chase’s information the senators felt Seward had to be replaced in order for the Union to win the war. To press the issue, the senators selected a Committee of Nine to visit Lincoln and demand Seward’s dismissal. The Committee arrived on December 18.
 
         While Lincoln dreaded the meeting, he heard them out. At the meeting’s conclusion, despite being depressed, Lincoln realized he had to work this problem out himself and do it in a creative, non-confrontational manner. He had to demonstrate that his cabinet was both consulted and united. Additionally, he had to expose Chase’s duplicity and prove Seward’s indispensability. Not one to feel sorry for himself, Lincoln got to work.
 
         Lincoln invited all the members of the cabinet other than Seward to a meeting at the White House on December 19. Unbeknownst to them he also invited the Committee of Nine. Among the cabinet members present was Salmon Chase. When Chase saw the joint session he panicked, “since tales of the malfunctioning cabinet had originated largely with his own statements to the senators” (p.491). In front of the senators, Lincoln asked his cabinet members whether major issues had been discussed with them. All of them concurred – even Chase.
 
         Additionally, Chase was forced to publicly concede, that Seward did not object to the Emancipation Proclamation and was not soft on slavery. Rather, in actuality, “Seward had suggested amendments that substantially strengthened it” (p.492). Forced to admit, in front of the senators that he had been disingenuous, Chase felt compelled to resign. Lincoln accepted his resignation and placed it in a drawer. Lincoln let Chase know that for now his job was safe, but if he ever showed disloyalty again (which he eventually did) he would be dismissed from office.
 
         Lincoln, by rebounding from his depression and creatively tackling the crisis he faced, achieved firm control of his cabinet and silenced the attacks by the Radical Republicans. “For Lincoln, the most serious governmental crisis of his presidency had ended in victory. He had treated the senators with dignity and respect and, in the process, had protected the integrity and autonomy of his cabinet” (p.494).
 
         In this week’s parshah Yaakov blessed Yehudah and assigned him the leadership of Bnei Yisrael. As part of the blessing the Torah states (49:9): “Judah is a lion cubhe crouches and lies down like a lion” Many works quote a beautiful insight in the name of the first Rebbe of Ger, the Chiddushei HaRim. The Torah’s choice of words captures the essence of Yehudah’s character. Although at times he is forced to crouch down and deal with setbacks, he ultimately responds like a lion and gets back up with renewed vigor and strength. As leaders, Yehudah and his descendants had to deal with local failures and disappointments. However, as leaders they also knew that they had to move on and exploit the opportunities such setbacks presented. People of lesser character would have surrendered to circumstance.
 
         We can discern a second leadership character trait of Yehudah when we contrast him with Reuven. When Yaakov blessed Reuven, the Torah described (49:4) Reuven as being “hasty like water.” In other words, Reuven often acted impulsively. While impulsivity is called for at times (e.g. jumping into save a life) it is a bad character trait for a leader who must think things through. Yehudah, although capable of acting when necessary, always acted deliberately and after careful evaluation. Whether it was by patiently judging Tamar, waiting out Yaakov during the famine, or approaching Yosef, Yehudah always had a plan.
 
         Rabbeinu Bachaya learns an additional important leadership lesson from the letters of the blessing. Within the text of Yehudah’s blessing every letter of the Hebrew alphabet is used except the letter zayin. When viewed as a word zayin means weapons. In light of this, Rabbeinu Bachaya explains that the Torah is teaching us a critical lesson. Yehudah’s leadership will ultimately succeed due to G-d’s providence and not because of Yehudah’s military prowess. Although as leaders, the children of Yehudah will at times need to resort to military force, the absence of the letter zayin is a permanent reminder that G-d is the source of all successes and failures.
 
         Based upon Rabbeinu Bachaya’s explanation, Rav Avraham Korman in his work HaParsha L’doroteha offers an interesting addendum. Although, leaders must be prepared to use force, the Torah, by avoiding using the letter zayin, is instructing leaders that if they want their leadership to be truly effective, they should rely on approaches based on persuasion and inspiration. Force should only be used as a last resort.
 
         Abraham Lincoln intuitively understood these important leadership lessons. All leaders should heed them as well. Leaders must learn to bounce back, plan perfectly and influence ingeniously.
 

         Rabbi David Hertzberg is the Principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division. Questions and comments can be e-mailed to him at Mdrabbi@aol.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshat-vayechi-2/2007/01/03/

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