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June 25, 2016 / 19 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘city’

Felder-Cusick Bill Foils City Council Efforts to Force Additional Taxes on New Yorkers

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Following a lively debate Tuesday, the New York State Senate, led by Majority Leader John Flanagan, voted to overturn the NY City Council’s recent passage of a plastic bag tax.

Championed by Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn, caucuses with Republicans) and Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island), Senate bill S.7336 will amend the general city law, to prohibit the imposition of any tax, fee or local charge on carry-out merchandise bags. The bill was introduced by Felder after what the Senator considered an unjust effort by the City Council to impose its will on a majority of New Yorkers who disagreed with the measure.

“The last thing New Yorkers need is another regressive tax,” said Felder when he introduced his bill. Standing with Assemblyman Cusick and flanked by his colleagues in the Senate, including Senators Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn), Roxanne Persaud (D-Brooklyn) and Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), Felder introduced his bill at a press conference last month and initiated an online Stop the Bag Tax petition, which allowed his constituents and other New Yorkers to weigh in on the issue. Felder and the Senate’s Cities Committee also held a public hearing in Manhattan. The Senate’s Cities Committee voted unanimously in favor of moving the bill forward.

Felder began fighting the bag tax as a member of the NY City Council, when the measure was introduced in 2008. “I’ve been disgusted every time I’ve heard the absurd plastic bag tax legislation introduced,” he said. “New York City has to stop nickel-and-diming New Yorkers. This tax placed an undue financial burden on countless low- and middle-income residents who already struggle.”

Following Tuesday’s vote, Felder thanked his colleagues in the Senate for passing his bill. “I appreciate the support that we had today, but I wasn’t surprised by the outcome because my colleagues have followed this issue closely and heard the concerns of New Yorkers far and wide,” he said. The Senator noted that Assemblyman Cusick is now leading the charge in the Assembly where the bill has already passed the Cities Committee. “I’m hopeful that the bill will now pass in the Assembly,” he said.

Jewish Press Staff

Jewish Response to Murder: Yet Another Building Acquired in Old City

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Last October, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, 41, his wife and their seven children were having the third meal in their rooftop sukkah in the “Muslim Quarter” (which used to have an even mix of Jews, Muslims and Christians until the 1929 Arab riots) of the Old City of Jerusalem when they heard a woman’s cries for help from the street below. Rabbi Lavi, an officer in the IDF Reserves, grabbed his gun and ran downstairs, where an Arab terrorist, who had already murdered 22-year-old Aharon Bennett and seriously wounded his young wife Odel, repeatedly stabbed Lavi in the chest and neck, killing him, too. Then the Arab took the rabbi’s gun and shot the Bennetts’ toddler in the leg. Odel, with a knife in her shoulder, managed to run to an Israeli police outpost fifty meters away before losing consciousness. The police shot and killed the terrorist.

In what they dubbed a “true Zionist response” to Arab hatred and terror, Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli Jewish organization with a yeshiva and about 1,000 Jewish residents in the “Muslim Quarter” of the Old City of Jerusalem, recently helped facilitate an acquisition of another building located not far from the Flowers Gate, near the site of the murders, continuing the Jewish return to this part of the Old City.

New building acquired in Old City by Areret Cohanim - interior / Courtesy

New building acquired in Old City by Ateret Cohanim – interior / Courtesy

The building (yet to be named) will be home to 3 or 4 Jewish families and some Yeshiva students. Ateret Cohanim is also involved in the revival and strengthening of Jewish life in the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach (Silwan), which has doubled over the last year; in the Jewish neighborhood of Maaleh HaZeitim (near Ras al’Amud on the Mt Olives); and in Kidmat Zion, at the eastern border of Jerusalem.

Ateret Kohanim issued a statement Monday morning saying, “Arab terror and ongoing Arab incitement and violence, aim to drive Jews out of Jerusalem, to keep Jews away from the Old City, the Temple Mount and even the Kotel, and also intend to weaken the resolve of the Jewish people, especially of the families and students in and around the Old City. However, the Arabs are mistaken on all fronts. We will not be driven out of ‘our Jerusalem’ and such acts of violence have only strengthened our resolve, conviction, faith and fortitude.”

JNi.Media

Israeli Ambitious Project Launching First New City in Decades: Harish

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

(JNi.media) Israel will invest more than $250 million in turning the community of Harish into the first new city to be built since the 1990s, Israeli media reported Wednesday. According to a multi-year plan to be submitted to the Netanyahu cabinet at its next meeting, Harish will be defined as “a national priority community” for the next four years. A special hub will be established to serve the tens of thousands of new residents, and the Ministry of Construction and Housing will boost the size of the personnel assigned to the new project. Harish will be connected to the main transportation routes and will have a new transit system.

To get an idea of the sheer ambition of the new project: currently there are about 300 families living in Harish, and the plan calls for more than 50,000 residents there by 2020.

Harish is a municipality in the district of Haifa in Israel, located in northwestern Samaria, on a par with Hadera, just west of the “green line” where the northern belly of Judea and Samaria pushes in to about 15 miles in from the coast. It was founded in the 1980s as Kibbutz Harish, at an altitude of 330 feet above sea level, which makes for a refreshing breeze each afternoon. The kibbutz was abandoned in 1993, except for a Border Guard detachment that camped there. On the lands of the abandoned kibbutz the Housing Ministry established a new community, also named Harish, of about 300 dwelling units. The Ministry of Housing has invested heavily in the local infrastructure and in planning, but the development endeavor has failed. Most of the streets are empty, and the local population is weak.

The cabinet’s decision requires government offices to weigh Harish’s entitlements not based on its demographics at the beginning, but rather at the end of each year, greatly improving the new city’s ability to manage the absorption of new residents before they actually arrive.

Among other things, the plan calls for the establishment of 400 classrooms and day care centers; a new community service center; family health centers (MCHC); a crisis center that will include a police, fire and rescue station, as well as an emergency operating center; reinforcing social services to strengthen the community and dealing with the difficulties of transition; developing and promoting transportation access to Harish via connections with highways 444, 65 and 9, including interchanges and grade separations, and paving route 611; and developing and promoting public transport, including increasing bus routes to employment centers and adding a station on the railway.

Prices at this point are very attractive, according to commercials: around $200,000 for 4-room apartments with the kind of view of the Mediterranean that’ll make you cry in your Chardonnay on your terrace.

JNi.Media

Livni Team Thinking Outside the Box: Swap Israeli Arabs for Settlers

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

A senior Israeli source close to the peace negotiations has told Maariv that Israel has proposed to the U.S. a population exchange with the Palestinian state that will not require a physical transfer.

The idea is to turn over the “Arab triangle,” where about 300 thousand Israeli Arabs live today in the eastern Sharon Valley (near Netanya), in return for the “block settlements” in Judea and Samaria, which include Gush Etzion, the Shchem area, Maale Adumim near Jerusalem and possibly the Hebron area. Such a swap would also most likely include the Jordan Valley.

The proposed swap would not include the “outposts,” which are more scattered and whose legal status is in dispute.

From the tone of the official speaking to Maariv, it appears that the idea could catch fire at this point in time, because it is far more likely to be embraced by a majority of Israeli Jews. It’s greatest claim to fame is the fact that it “only” removes 100 to 150 thousand settlers from their homes, a number which many Israelis could live with. This number has been bandied around by Science Minister Yaakov Perry in recent days, as the unavoidable “painful sacrifice” the Jewish state must endure for the sake of peace.

Kerry might be tempted to entertain this idea in public, even if he does not end up actually endorsing it, because it would appeal to the right wing in Israel as well as in the U.S. Fewer people get hurt, Israel is rid of part of a significant ethnic minority that can threaten the Jewish character of the state (Remember the ticking demographic bomb? It ain’t ticking so much, as Arab birthrate has been declining, but it still sounds good).

Last time this idea was contemplated, by current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, it evoked a very negative, even angry response from the left, and from the Arab Israelis, who accused Lieberman of racism.

Hard to tell why physically uprooting Jews is not racism, but merely redrawing the border to the west of an area rather than its east is racist.

Of course, the main reason the Triangle Arabs hated this proposal, and no doubt will despise it again, is because they’re nobody’s fools: why move from a Western democracy to a third world PLO (and later Hamas) dictatorship?

Also, the 100 to 150 thousand settlers and their loved ones will not be enamoured with the expulsion part.

And, of course, the Palestinian negotiators will hate it because, to be fair, it kind of favors Israel, legitimizing upwards of half a million Jewish settlers, while at the same time helping it unload an ancient security problem—the Arab Tiriangle.

In my humble opinion, while I remain certain of the hopelessness of the Kerry effort, beginning to end, I must admit that this is just the kind of out of the box thinking that would boost the near-defunct 2-state solution.

Did you hug a released Palestinian terrorist today?

Yori Yanover

Book Review: Simon Sebag Montefiore’s ‘Jerusalem: The Biography’

Friday, October 18th, 2013

By Henry Goldblum

At first glance, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s best seller Jerusalem: The Biography is surely impressive. Media critics as well as Henry Kissinger have showered it with praise, and the BBC devoted a timely three-part TV series to the author, providing invaluable publicity. Indeed, the book is not dull by any standards. Drama abounds – be it in chapter headings (take chapter 5, “The Whore of Babylon”) or in the description of events, such as the Moloch ceremonies in the days of King Menasseh, “the sacrifice of children at the roaster…in the Valley of Hinom…as priests beat drums to hide the shrieks of the victims from their parents” (p. 39). The Muslim invasion is depicted in graphic detail, particularly the battle of 636 CE, which took place “amidst the impenetrable gorges of the Yarmuk River” (p. 172) – although the area through which the Yarmuk flows is in fact more of an open plain.

Renouncing Uniqueness

Sebag Montefiore has clearly invested much effort in conveying his vision of Jerusalem – past, present, and future. The result reflects thoughtful study of many sources relating to different features of the city, and the author certainly recognizes its special status. However, in his apparent desire to deal evenhandedly with the various local religions, he fails to make it clear that it is only for Jews and Judaism that Jerusalem is, was, and has always been the sole spiritual center on earth. This omission is unacceptable. The author rightly refers, if only en passant, to Midrash Tanhuma and the writings of Philo of Alexandria as two examples of this basic, constant belief, unlimited by time or circumstance. The intensity of Jerusalem’s sacred status for Judaism is such that later monotheistic faiths have attempted at various times to gain a foothold in the city, despite their having other, holier places (Mecca and Medina, Rome and Bethlehem). Perhaps recognizing the significance of capturing the “chosen status” of Judaism, they have utilized diverse strategies to prop up their variant “histories,” including reinterpreting Muhammad’s miraculous night visit to the “Farthest Mosque” on the outskirts of Mecca to include a stopover in Jerusalem.

It has always been fundamental for the Jew to appreciate this imbalance, and it cannot be overlooked in any attempt to describe Jerusalem. Sebag Montefiore has downgraded this uniquely Jewish aspect of the city; as far as he is concerned, Judaism’s monopoly on Jerusalem is limited to part 1 of his book, extending until the year 70 CE. Parts 2-8 belong primarily to other faiths and peoples, and the final section of the book, dating from 1898, is titled “Zionism,” as if the re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty is a separate chapter in the history of the city rather than the restorationof a violently interrupted continuum. Significantly, he neglects to emphasize thata Jewish majority has dominated the citywhenever circumstances have permitted,including from the early 19th century onwardwithout interruption; nor does he remind thereader that only when Jews have ruled thecity have all other faiths enjoyed full rights ofworship there.

Historically Dubious These omissions are partially explained by the almost complete absence of references to classic Jewish works compiled in the Land of Israel – despite their obvious relevance in terms of place, time, and subject. Thus, the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds are together accorded a mere four quotations; the output of Jewish historians from Graetz to current Israeli scholars not of the revisionist mode is similarly glaringly absent. In contrast, detailed descriptions of events and individuals taken from non-Jewish sources abound – even when their relevance is historically uncertain or unsound – notably the passages on Jesus in chapter 11. The sole reference to Jesus in Josephus (Antiquities, book 17, 63-64), whom Sebag Montefiore cites among other non- Jewish sources as confirmation of his existence as a historic character, is widely regarded as being of dubious authorship (see Emil Schürer’s History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus, vol. 1, p. 428ff.).

The reliability of the author’s statement at the opening of the Islam section is similarly questionable: Muhammad is said to have come “to venerate Jerusalem as one of the noblest of sanctuaries” (p. 169). With all due respect, the Koran never mentions Jerusalem, and by beginning his discussion of Islam with the reinterpretation of the passage regarding “the furthest place of worship,” Sebag Montefiore creates a false impression, especially since in Sura 2, the Prophet commands that prayer be directed exclusively to Mecca. The other quotes on page 168 are all from later Muslim sources. The term “Iliya,” a corruption of the pagan name Aelia Capitolina coined by Hadrian, continued to be used by the Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem for a generation or more following Muhammad’s death, with examples from as late as the end of the 10th century. This is the name of the city appearing on the milestones of Caliph al-Malik, who built the Dome of the Rock in the 690s. The name Al-Quds, “The Sanctuary,“ came into common use only in the 11th century, in the context of the struggle between Crusaders and Saracens for dominion over the Holy Land (see Moshe Gil, The Political History of Jerusalem in the Early Muslim Period, p. 10). The anecdote concerning Caliph Omar’s tour of the Temple Mount (p. 175 in Sebag Montefiore’s book) only reiterates the secondary status of Jerusalem in Islam – the caliph rebukes Kaab, a converted Jew, who suggests praying in the direction of the Temple on the mount rather than toward Mecca. As Bernard Lewis has stated in The Middle East, “Much of the traditional narrative of the early history of Islam must remain problematic, whilst the critical history is at best tentative” (p. 51). Why, then, has Sebag Montefiore adopted Islamic accounts regarding this period so readily? Is he perhaps playing to Muslim sensibilities? All this leads us to an epilogue that looks forward, as might be expected from the previous sections, to a permanent division of the city into two capitals for two states, in accordance with current liberal and revisionist dogma. The hope of witnessing such a chapter in the history of Jerusalem rankles coming from a scion of the illustrious Montefiore family, whose philanthropy was once invested in the furtherance of a quite different destiny for the city.

Admittedly, Jerusalem: The Biography provides an enjoyable ride. A more appropriate destination and a less controversial and dangerous route might be preferable, but that, presumably, would require a change of driver.

Dr. Heny Goldblum is a lawyer and a scholar of history

Visit Behind the News in Israel.

David Bedein

A September Evening

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

For a while, the eyes still seemed to see them there, perfect straight lines rising into the sky, an empty space on the horizon that your mind filled in without even thinking. You walked past, and thought, “Of course they’re there. They’re always there” and you saw them as they were, grey ghosts of steel rising above the rubble. You saw the city as it was and then you remembered that city is gone.

New York, the old grimy bustling city, has made way for two cities. The Bloombergian city of the yuppie toting a bag of organic groceries to her Citibike and the miniature Detroits of housing projects and endless grievances.

The old imaginary city still exists in the countless movies being filmed on every block where space aliens, monsters and superheroes regularly rampage past stereotypical cabbies with Brooklyn accents, but that city is fading away.

The tourists flock to see the shadow of that city which lingers on like the shadow of the towers.

On September 11, Ground Zero was New York. Today you can see Mexican and African vendors peddling commemorative patriotic knickknacks made in China and on a bad day the Truthers show up howling their contempt for the site. Tourists stop by and pose for snapshots with their families. Office workers walk by without thinking. The site, like the towers, is just something that’s there.

Tonight and the night before as the towers of light cast blue beams across the sky, we remember but memory is a destructive medium. Each year the memories grow fainter. People ask each other where they were that day but the stories grow fainter each year and the memories of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, stumbling through the ash or handing out sandwiches to rescue workers have dimmed.

To walk through the darkness toward the towers of light is to pass through a city of shadows. In a stray glimmer of light reflecting from a storefront or a puddle you can still see the old MISSING posters covering every face and dark trucks filled with grim men tearing apart the street asphalt. You can catch glimpses of a city reeling from the incomprehensible.

New York City is used to tragedy. Terrible things happen here all the time. The oldest photos of the city show the same stunned faces, legs lying in a puddle of blood, gawking children and stern cops frowning at something we cannot see. And relentlessly the blood is washed away, the tears are dried and the city moves on. September 11 left behind more blood, more legs and more frowning police… but the ashes have still been dumped in a landfill, the tears dried and the city moved on.

September 11 has become a tragedy and tragedy is an experience, not an explanation. It is a bonding experience that gives way to catharsis. The dead are mourned, the grief is expelled and the horror of it takes on the faint tinge of memory. It is no longer what is, but what was. It is not how we live now, but how we lived then. There is no longer a need for answers and that for many is also a relief.

“It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story,” Agatha Christie said.

Most people who live here have given up on solving the city’s detective stories. The weathered New Yorker is expected to meet the  inexplicable with a shrug of the shoulders. Everything is strange, but the strangeness is the point. Everyone is living in a postmodern detective story with no solutions and no need for them.

In Murder on the Orient Express, Poirot arrives at the solution by realizing that only in America could such an unlikely collection of characters have met. By America, he means New York, and the city is still the ideal place to find unlikely collisions of characters.

There is still a murder to be solved  and the suspects come and go in the streets below. The crime did not end with the murder of 3,000 people and the destruction of two towers. New schemes of mass murder are hatched every day across one river or the other. Maps are studied, charts are drawn up and the tools of the trade are gathered up by men who during the day sell papers or drive food trucks.

The murderers are still on the loose and what happened that terrible day was not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern of attacks taking place in a clash of civilizations. New York, the crossroads of civilizations, is a natural target for the attacks. New York is to the world what Mecca was to Arabia and the new Mohammeds are eager to do to it what Mohammed did to Mecca.

Bin Laden is dead, but the Muslim Oilsphere is full of other wealthy sons warring against the West. His backers are alive and the drone attacks that kill Al Qaeda leaders don’t touch their money men in the Oilsphere. The clerics who teach young Muslim men about the glories of martyrdom can rest easy. They can even open up a mosque at Ground Zero.

This conflict of ideologies and collision of cultures is nothing less than the perpetuation of the great Islamic crusade against the Other. And where better to wage that war than in the places where others meet others every day? What better target than a World Trade Center for a violent ideology built on merchants turned robbers and robbers turned merchants?

In a city where everyone is different, it can be difficult for some to understand that the attackers were motivated by those differences. Their war against us is an attack on people who are fundamentally and incomprehensibly different than they are.

Islam is xenophobia written into unholy writ, a long chain of conquest, subjugation and cultural destruction by desert nomads who know how to drive a sharp bargain, but despite their claims of golden ages and scientific discoveries, have never been anything more than the jackals sniffing around the ruins of greater civilizations.

It is as natural for them to attack us as it is for us to wonder why we were attacked.

Americans hold the peculiar belief that life need not be a zero sum game. That we can learn from other people without turning them into our subjects. That we can make more of something instead of stealing from a finite amount that someone else has and then destroying them so that they can never get it back.

That is the great creative power of American Exceptionalism. It is a transcendent force that turned a land full of refugees into a world power brimming with technological wonders.

New York, that strange part-Dutch, part-English, part-Everything-else city, runs on the creativity of the impossible. Starving artists, aspiring actors, failed musicians, flailing poets, real estate mavens without a dime and brokers trading thin air gamble on the impossible. New York always seems on the verge of total anarchy and destruction and yet keeps going on in that strange half-mad creativity.

For Islam, the game is zero sum. If American civilization thrives, then their civilization is shadowed. If people are happy here, then they cannot be happy. If there are two towers in New York, that detracts from the glory of Islamic civilization. Islam is the bitter beggar forever looking to steal what it cannot have, worrying over the imaginary history of its own greatness and cursing the upstarts in the streets of a foreign city for taking the glory was rightfully theirs.

The American who shares his good fortune with the rest of the world cannot understand that there are some people who would rather steal than accept a gift, who would rather destroy than build and who would rather drown the world in darkness than accept someone else’s light.

With some difficulty he might accept the existence of a small number of people who think this way, but an entire civilization built in this mold is too obscene an idea.

As with so many other strange things that wash up in the concrete streets of a strange city, it is easier to leave the mystery unsolved, to let the blanket fall back over the clash of civilizations and go on forward. It is the way that things have always been done in the city and as twin rays of light bisect the sky, they remind New Yorkers of their own fortitude, and not of the enemy waiting outside the light.

Outside a shadow war is waged with drones and hackers, spies and journalists, men in mosques speak quietly of terror and other men listen over the phone. There is little truth in this shadow war, but in some moments the light pierces the darkness and those who have forgotten why we are doing this, remember. And then they remember to forget.

Daniel Greenfield

Weeping for Jerusalem

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

I’m in Jerusalem, the city every Jew should be in love with. The world has become a very small place; in the blink of an eye we can cross continents. We belong to the generation that can visit so many cities, so many villages, so many vacation sites. After a while we become immune to them all. But Jerusalem is different.

If you are a Jew, Jerusalem is in your blood. It’s a city engraved upon your heart. Centuries ago Yehuda HaLevi wrote, “My heart is in the East while I am in the West.” No matter where life has taken us, our hearts have forever remained in the East, in Jerusalem.

When I was a little girl in Hungary I may not have known where Paris or Rome was but I did know the location of Jerusalem. My parents of blessed memory, HaRav HaGoan Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, and Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, a”h, nurtured us with the milk and honey of Yerushalayim. Nowadays, few still thirst for that sweetness. And yet, with all the distractions of modern life, Yerushalayim tugs at our hearts.

I just saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears the veracity of this connection between the Jew and this Holy City.

I was speaking at the Great Synagogue. There was no spare seat to be had and despite the lateness of the night people kept coming. Many lingered after I finished my speech. Some sought advice and guidance. Others just wanted to talk.

Above all they asked for berachos – for shidduchim, for health, for sustenance. And then a tall, lovely, blond-haired girl stood before me. She was crying. Something prompted me to ask, “Are you Jewish?” Her voice cracking with tears, she whispered, “I’m a convert. I came to Yerushalayim to become part of the Jewish people.”

She explained that she came from a country where Jews had been beaten and tortured and maimed and killed during the Holocaust. But her soul whispered the message, “Go, join the people who stood at Sinai; go to Jerusalem!”

I naturally assumed she sought a blessing for a good shidduch. “No, no,” she protested, “that’s not why I’m here. You just related a story that entered my soul. Please bless me with the ability of not forgetting.”

And then she repeated one of the stories I had told in my address.

The story was about a mother who lost her husband and eleven of her children in Auschwitz. She made aliyah but still had no peace. She couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t work. She couldn’t come to terms with her fate.

She sought out a rebbe – perhaps he would offer her some consolation. She spilled out her heart and described each and every one of her children. The rebbe listened and wept with her. And then he said something amazing. “I think I saw someone among the newly arrived children now settled in a kibbutz who fits the description of your Dovidl.”

The rebbe told her he would try to trace the lineage of that child.

A few days later the rebbe called. “I may have some good news for you,” he said. Heart pounding, she returned to the rebbe’s home – and there was her little boy.

“Dovidl, Dovidl,” she shouted. “Mama, mama,” he sobbed as he ran into her arms. When the little boy caught his breath he asked a painful question. “Where is my father? Where are Moishele and Rochele?” As Dovidl enumerated the names of all his brothers and sisters, he and his mother cried uncontrollably. They continued to weep long into the night.

As I told that story, I remarked to the audience that it occurred to me that Dovidl’s children and grandchildren have no memory of those who preceded them. Similarly, we come to Israel, rush off the plane, pick up our luggage and make our way to Jerusalem. And what do we think about?

We’re busy asking ourselves and each other, “Where is a good place to eat?” “Any new restaurants around?” “Did you try out that new hotel?” “Is it worth it the price?”

But do any of us ask, “Where is the Beis HaMikdash?” Does anyone really miss the Beis HaMikdash? Does anyone search for it? Does anyone even think about it? Does anyone even want to remember?

The girl who stood before me begged with tears, “Please, Rebbetzin, give me a berachah that I should never forget to cry for the Beis HaMikdash. I’m so afraid I will forget and become oblivious to its loss. I do not want to be like Dovidl’s children.”

I could only look at her. She had taken my breath away. I couldn’t recall anyone ever asking me for such a berachah – to be able to remain constantly aware of the Beis HaMikdash and, yes, to weep for it.

For thousands of years we prayed, wept and hoped for Yerushalayim. To see Yerushalayim again, to behold the rebuilt Beis HaMikdash, has always been the center of all our prayers. At our weddings, in the midst of our joy, we break a glass to remember our Temple that is no more. When painting our homes we would leave a small spot empty to remind us that no home can be complete if the Beis HaMikdash has not been rebuilt.

We have a thousand and one reminders in our prayers, in our traditions, in our observance, that constantly recall to us Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. And yet, now that we have Jerusalem again we have somehow forgotten our dream – our Beis HaMikdash that we prayed for and continue to pray for.

Sadly, our prayers for the Temple have become just words recited by rote. And here comes a young woman new to our faith and she seeks a blessing not for shidduch, not for parnassah, not for good health, nor for personal happiness – but for the ability to shed tears and yearn to see the Beis HaMikdash rebuilt. Should that not give us all pause? Should that not make us think and consider?

Should we not ask again and again and still again, “Where is the Beis HaMikdash?” I miss it so. I’m in Jerusalem but the shinning crown of the Holy City is absent and my joy cannot be complete until I see its glory restored.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/weeping-for-jerusalem/2013/08/22/

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