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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Chief Rabbi’

A Gay Rabbinate

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Meretz activists chalked a LGBT flag at the entrance to the offices of the Jerusalem Rabbinate. In addition they hung up an LGBT flag above the door.

It was in response to remarks by Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, where he spoke, during an interview, against the act of homosexuality, calling it a cult of abomination, and the act being against the Torah.

In the same interview the Rabbi also unequivocally condemned the murder of Shira Bank at the gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

Rightwing lawyer Itamar Ben-Gvir demanded the government treat this as a price-tag attack against the Rabbinate by leftwing activists, and act as they do towards rightwing suspects.

Not gonna happen.

Photo of the Day

Selichot

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat seen praying for forgiveness (Selichot), at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on October 8, 2016 prior to the upcoming Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

‘Selichot” the prayer for forgiveness, is a prayer usually recited before dawn in the lead-up to the Rosh Hashana (New Years) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) high holidays.

Photo of the Day

A Pillar of Torah Lost as Haifa Chief Rabbi Sha’ar Yashuv Cohen Passes Away at 89

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Israel has lost a pillar of Torah and interfaith dialogue with the passing of Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef Sha’ar Yashuv Cohen, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Haifa, who left this world Monday (Sept. 5, 2016 / 2 Elul 5776) at the age of 89.

Born in Jerusalem to “Rabbi David the Nazirite,” he was the 18th generation descendant of Torah scholars and rabbis. But the younger man who grew up to become a chief rabbi in Haifa decided not to follow his father’s footsteps and instead, although he lived his life as a vegetarian, relinquished the Nazirite vow as a teen.

His mother, Sarah Etkin, was one of the founders of “Omen,” a religious women’s organization that was the predecessor to the Emunah Women international organization.

The rabbi’s family tradition hearkens back to a long history of social activism: The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson of righteous memory, hid in Rabbi Cohen’s grandfather’s house after the Bolshevik Revolution.

The young Torah scholar became one of the finest students of Israel’s first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi during the British Mandate, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook — the founder of the Religious Zionist movement.

His formal schooling took place at Talmud Torah Geulah, and he studied at the yeshivot “Torat Yerushalayim,” “Mercaz Harav,” and “Etz Hayyim.” But in his youth, he played the violin at the melave malka celebrations after the Sabbath in his family’s home, to the great enjoyment of Rabbi Kook, who attended the weekly events.

While a student at the Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav in 1948, Rabbi Cohen also participated in ‘the Hasmonean Covenant” underground that fought the British occupation. He was also an active member of the Hagana, and helped found religious Zionist fighting units.

He served during the War of Independence with the Etzel military group and fought in the defense of Gush Etzion and the Old City of Jerusalem, during which battle he was seriously wounded and taken prisoner by the Jordanian Legion. In captivity he underwent surgery on his foot — an incident that left him permanently disabled.

Upon his release from captivity, the rabbi returned to military service and remained in the IDF for the next seven years, rising in status to become the Chief Rabbi of the Israel Air Force and Rabbi of Military Command. He served as chaplain of the IDF Brigade that crossed the Suez Canal during the 1973 Yom Kippur War as well.

But Rabbi Cohen also attended secular university, earning a Masters Degree in Law, with honors, at Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Law. He was serving as the deputy mayor of Jerusalem during the liberation of the occupied portion of the capital from Jordanian hands in the 1967 Six Day War.

The rabbi was appointed in 1975 to the post of Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Haifa, serving in that role until 2011 and as head of the city’s Rabbinical Court system. He also founded the Ariel Institute in Jerusalem, a training program for rabbonim and rabbinic judges, and served as chairman of the board at the Harry Fischel Institute for Talmudic Research. The rabbi was also recently appointed head of the Committee for Dialogue between Judaism and Islam, and headed a similar committee that fielded dialogue between the Chief Rabbinate and the Vatican.

Unlike his father, Rabbi Cohen was not a Nazirite although as a child his hair was not cut and he wore canvas shoes. At age 16, a special rabbinic court of Jerusalem rabbis convened at his home to release him from the Nazirite vow. Nevertheless, even as an adult, he refrained from drinking wine and eating meat and fish his entire life.

Soft-spoken and gentle in manner, Rabbi Cohen fought vigorously for his beliefs — including his opposition to the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza, calling it an unforgiveable act for its cruelty to the Jews living there. He pointed to the dragging of Israelis from their synagogues and the destruction of Jewish holy places of worship, and said this came in addition to the prohibition against relinquishing sovereignty over any part of the Land of Israel.

The Rabbi is survived by his wife, Dr. Naomi Cohen, a scholar who taught Torah classes in her home. The couple had a daughter, Eliraz Kraus, six grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.

Boruch Dayan HoEmes.

Hana Levi Julian

Pope Francis Blesses Righteous Christian Polish Gentiles at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Pope Francis visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp this weekend, a powerful experience made even more meaningful for the pontiff by his meeting with 25 Righteous Gentiles Among the Nations — Christian Poles who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust.

The meeting was arranged for this past Friday by the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, a New Yorker whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from Poland.

The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous offers financial support to the 200-plus “Righteous Among the Nations” who are still alive in Poland.

For some time, Schudrich has contemplated what kind of spiritual gift he could give these precious people who were so willing to risk their lives for the souls of Jews.

“I thought a special blessing from the pope would make them feel honored because of their unbelievable morality and humanity,” he told Associated Press.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkish Chief Rabbi, Muslim, Christian Leaders Condemn Coup

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

The head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate, Mehmet Gormez, Orthodox Christian Patriarch Bartholomew I and Hakham Bashi (Chief Rabbi) Ishak Haleva on Saturday issued a joint declaration condemning the coup.

“From wherever and whomever it comes, terror and violence cannot be displayed as a legitimate thing and it cannot be supported,” their statement said, adding that “those who have faith within them cannot approve any killing, as murdering a human being is no different than murdering the whole humanity.”

“We hope terror will be wiped out from Turkey and the world,” the statement concluded. “May God protect our country and all humanity.”

Rabbi Haleva was the deputy to Rabbi David Asseo for seven years and became the new Hakham Bashi after his death in 2002. As a 7-year-old, he came with his father to Istanbul from Edirne, near Turkey’s western border with Bulgaria and Greece, to study in a Jewish school. As a teenager he studied in a yeshiva in Israel to become a rabbi. According to his acquaintances, Haleva was a prankster in his youth, and he still maintains a humorous, informal manner, peppering his words with folksy Hebrew and Turkish sayings.

David Israel

Analysis: Ignorance, Malice Join Forces to Derail IDF Chief Rabbi’s Nomination

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

In yet another vivid proof that Israel may be the state of the Jews but is most definitely not a Jewish state, certainly not your grandfather’s Jewish state, Israeli media have drawn and quartered Col. Eyal Krim, the current candidate for the post of IDF Chief Rabbi, not over any black spot on his stellar resume, but over his views, which also happen to be the mainstream Orthodox Jewish views. It turns out that over the years the popular military rabbi has been asked many controversial questions, online and in person, to which he provided to the best of his ability what he believed was the Torah’s views on all these issues. Those views have been archived online, and so, when reporters were given their marching orders to dig up the dirt on the man who would be the next IDF chief rabbi, they came back with a treasure trove.

Many, if not all these “controversial” responses by Rabbi Krim can be easily explained within the context in which they were provided, but Israeli media, possibly among the top five most vicious on the planet, were not interested in context, they wanted hot quotes, and so, armed with ignorance of Torah learning and the flame of hate for religious Jews burning in the heart of every self-respecting leftwing reporter, hot quotes they dug up: homosexuality is a sickness; women don’t make credible witnesses; all terrorists must be killed on the spot; it’s OK to segregate against non-Jewish workers; in special war circumstances it is permissible to rape a captive woman.

If you spent even one year in a Jewish school where they took out the Talmud a few times a week and taught you Jewish tradition, you’re probably aware that every one of the above issues should be learned in the context of life in an agricultural society some 3,000 years ago; vast differences in definition between Torah and modern terminology; the common rabbinic belief that a Jewish court should be invested in acquitting rather than convicting in capital cases; and an across the board rabbinic recognition of the supremacy of state law over Torah law in most issues. But if you work for, say, Ha’aretz, you’d much rather ignore all of those important subtleties and go straight for the kill.

Such as in the case of the “Yeffat Toa’ar” – the beautiful enemy captive, whom the Torah sets rules for dealing with (Deut. 21:10-14): When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

Rabbi Krim explained that rather than to attempt to set impossible limits on a soldier in a time of war, the Torah compels him to follow a set of rules to be able to marry her. This was described in a headline in the Days of Palestine website as: “Israeli rabbi: Israeli soldiers can rape Palestinian women.” And leftwing pundit Yossi Gurvitz elaborated: “[Krim] came up with a new military doctrine, which replaces Napoleon’s: an army marches on its phallus. According to this logic, perhaps the IDF should appoint to each unit not just a supply officer, but also a Comely Woman Officer (CWO), to make certain no soldier is left unsatisfied.”

The facts that everything Rabbi Krim wrote and said had been offered with the understanding that Jewish halakha bows before the law of the land, and that a discussion of Torah laws does not a fatwa make, were lost on the left, and so the usual leftwing suspects took umbrage: Zehava Galon (Meretz) said that his “horrific, racist and violent expressions which permit the blood of women would not have passed in any case where a person is appointed to a senior position…” especially not the IDF.

And Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp), that intellectual oracle, told Channel 2 News: “The fact that the appointed chief rabbi even dealt, even if theoretically, with the possibility of raping women and advocating against women’s military service (he wrote on that, too) disqualifies him from service in the IDF.”

You got that? Even a purely theoretical engagement in a debate of a PC-locked isue such as rape should not be allowed in the IDF, “the most moral army in the world.”

It isn’t clear as of Wednesday afternoon Israel time whether or not the chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot will bow to the incredibly intense, relentless pressure on him from the left to dump Col. Rabbi Karim. Krim has been endorsed by just about every rabbi in Israel, including by one Reform rabbi. But the gap between Krim’s willingness to fearlessly entertain theoretical Torah issues and the leftwing media’s heated investment in seeing him dead may prove too much for the leader of that otherwise still very moral army.

JNi.Media

Analysis: Jerusalem Chief Rabbi’s ‘Protest Prayer’ May Be Just What Reform Campaign Needed

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

On Tuesday morning, Jerusalem Chief Rabbi, the Rishon Lezion Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar conducted a heartfelt prayer with a few dozen supporters in the remote area of the Western Wall known as the “Israelite Section,” which had been designated by the Israeli government for the mixed prayer services of Reform and Conservative visitors.

The chief rabbi’s followers erected an improvised mehitza-divider to separate men and women, in defiance of the government program. After the morning service, Rabbi Amar spoke tearfully, saying “there’s no such thing as the Reform Kotel, there’s only the Holy Kotel.”

“No one can revoke this holiness,” Rabbi Amar continued, “not the government, not the court, you can’t, it’s a hekdesh-sanctuary, it’s the Temple Mount. Not the goyim, not the UN, no power can revoke it. We stand guard and declare that our entire purpose is for the sake of God’s honor, only God’s honor, and the Shechina-emanation of God, and the people of Israel and the Land of Israel.”

Rabbi Amar’s prayer service reflected a perception on the part of many Haredi leaders that the Reform and Conservative movements are making inroads in Israel through the Supreme Court and certain government officials, and are threatening the classic status quo, whereby secular Israelis did not go to shul, but the shul they didn’t go to was Orthodox. Most Israelis are not interested in these American imports, but the fact that the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem went out of his way to condemn Reform access to the Kotel probably gave those two-minute movements a new lease on life.

For the record, the idea for the mixed prayer area by the Kotel came from an Orthodox Jewish politician, then Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), who in 2013 announced the creation of a new prayer area, south of the Mugrabim Gate and north of Robinson’s Arch, an area of 4,844 sq. ft., which is a non-contiguous extension of the Kotel Plaza. It was Bennett’s attempt at solving a 28-year long dispute between the Women of the Wall, a group of largely non-Orthodox Jewish women who have been praying in the Kotel’s women’s section on the first of each Jewish month as well as on select holidays, singing and donning talit and tefillin—all acts which have been provoking ultra-Orthodox Jews since the early 1990s.

While a broad section of ultra-Orthodox public figures attacked the Bennett solution, going as far as to dub it “tzelem ba’heikhal” or a statue in God’s temple, the Women of the Wall group also rejected the minister’s peaceful solution, accusing Bennett of aligning himself with the “extremist” views of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the government-appointed Kotel Rabbi, and of Israel’s chief rabbis (of course, when one accuses the mainstream religious and political leadership of extremism, it would be difficult for her to claim the center).

The WOW also called the special fenced wooden platform Bennett provided for mixed prayers a “sundeck overlooking the Western Wall,” which, come to think of it, could be the name for a bangup real estate bonanza. And the Reform movement over in the US, where they dominate Jewish life, at least on paper, with some two million members (in largely Orthodox Israel they may be noisy but their numbers are puny), announced that the Kotel must be open and accessible to all the Jews and men and women must be treated equally there. In other words, why can’t you all be more Reform, like the rest of us.

The fact is that the Bennett solution, while acquiescing that Israelis who are Reform and Conservative have the right to use a state-owned and funded religious facility, resolves the conflict in a peaceful way, which is not something the Reform and Conservative movements want. Since the platform has been erected, it has been standing empty, first because very few Reform and Conservative Israelis have the time or inclination to regularly fight Jerusalem traffic to go pray at the Kotel when most of them hardly ever pray in their own synagogues during the week; and second because without the opportunity to provoke the Orthodox, what’s the point of schlepping all the way to Jerusalem?

Now, the pushback from the Jerusalem Chief Rabbi has revived the non-Orthodox, whose fundraising and membership largely depends on being the victims of Orthodox “repression.” And so, once again, spokespersons for both movements have condemned the aging rabbi, whose salary is provided by the taxpayers, and who attacks the principles of equality, freedom and the American way.

Perhaps the good chief rabbi of Jerusalem should have taken a hint from the fact that he and his followers were the only ones praying on the Reform “sundeck,” because no one else ever prays there on any given day, and even the Baha’i movement in Israel represents a bigger threat to Orthodox Judaism at the Kotel than do the Reform and Conservative.

The best cure for the WOW phenomenon is probably to let them have their way until they get bored with it. The most recent new month celebration of the WOW, a week ago, attracted fewer than 90 women, and the only coverage it received was a provocation by its CEO, who showed local cops at the end of the service that she had “smuggled” a Torah scroll into the women’s section. Otherwise even she couldn’t get arrested by a largely disinterested police, and couldn’t get covered by the media which is inundated with much bigger stories.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-jerusalem-chief-rabbis-protest-prayer-may-be-just-what-reform-campaign-needed/2016/06/15/

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