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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘city’

Red Alert in Be’er Sheva, 10 Rockets Fell

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

At least 10 rockets were fired at Be’er Sheva in the Negev this evening. Several sirens were sounded in the city

Throngs of Israeli student pack the Be’er Sheva train station, due to the closing of Ben Gurion University. To accommodate the masses of students, Israel Rail Road is sending extra long trains to evacuate the students looking to escape northward.

One of the Kassam rockets fell in a shopping mall in the city. A building was damaged but there were no casualties.

Two of the rockets were blocked by the Iron Dome system.

The City that has Problems with Synagogues

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

My congressional campaign is over, but one of the main reasons I ran remains. What first impelled me to seek public office was the feeling of powerlessness to stop Muammar Kaddafi from coming to stay in the home immediately next door to me in Englewood, N.J., in the autumn of 2009.

And though we ultimately succeeded, with God’s blessing, in pushing him out, I could not persuade my city to challenge the tax exemption of an international terrorist which forced me, and all the other residents of Englewood, to be complicit in evil in having to subsidize a murderous government’s compound in our midst. (The staff living there did not have the decency to even once lower their flag to half-staff in the wake of the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.)

If only my city were to treat me with the same courtesy they accorded Kaddafi.

For the past year my congregants and I have been locked in a bitter struggle with Englewood to get our home properly zoned as a Synagogue. We have hosted prayer, religious services, and educational events for more than 13 years, but the city continues to cite us as requiring a variance in order to host communal worship. The same city that could not, for three decades, muster the courage to challenge the Libyans’ tax-exempt presence in our town has obstructed a fair hearing of our congregants’ right to establish a house of worship. As the Chairman of our Board, Michael Fromm, has put it, “It’s an outrage. We have had hearings canceled for nefarious reasons, the rules have been changed mid-game, city officials have abused their power to thwart us, board members have publicly displayed prejudice against us, and we have been held to a higher standard than international terrorists.”

The city’s efforts to block our Synagogue application have been brazen. First, they canceled our hearing at the Board of Adjustment – for which we had prepared for months at considerable expense – on the very same day it was to take place on October 24, 2011. Then, after having our hearing unlawfully canceled by one Board, we spent thousands more to ready ourselves for a hearing at the Planning Board, appointed and overseen by the City’s mayor, Frank Huttle. Unbelievably, they too found a legal loophole to deny us from even being heard. The full video of the hearing is available here and you may draw your own conclusions as to the fairness of their arguments and vote.

So, thousands of dollars later we were back at the Board of Adjustment for a hearing scheduled for May 21, 2012. Then, just a week before the hearing we were forwarded a letter, authored by Ken Albert, the City Engineer, dated March 27, 2012, that demanded, for the first time, a host of new improvements in order for us to even qualify for the hearing. Bizarrely, the city stamped his letter April 24th, 2012, suggesting they had sat on the letter for a full month prior to forwarding it, thereby making it impossible for our hearing to go ahead as planned.

We acquired a new date of June 25, 2012 only to have that hearing canceled by Chairwoman Rosemary Byrne a mere four hours before it was scheduled, wasting thousands more of our organization’s money. Was the city’s strategy to have us squander all our funds without even a hearing so that we would throw in the towel?

We finally decided to go public about the many obstacles and cancellations thrown in our path for the creation of a House of Worship, while leaving the Libyans to live peacefully at Englewood taxpayer expense. We also prepared a Federal lawsuit against the city under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Once the newspaper reports appeared, we were granted a hearing.

We’ve had two since. Unfortunately, the hearings have been characterized by what would seem to be a predetermined outcome. A simple read of the transcripts provides a great deal of illumination, with one board member in particular, Harry Reidler, seeming particularly vexed by our application.

Reidler, who is a member of the local Democratic Municipal Committee, several times raised my Congressional bid in the district (Republican) even though it was never germane to our Synagogue’s application. When, for the first time, he brought up my race for Congress he was interrupted three times by the Chairwoman and told, “Wait.” Still he objected, saying ‘…I mean, we know that this Rabbi is running for Congress.”

‘Because It’s Ours’ – Tent City Rises in Hebron on Shabbat Chaye Sarah (Video)

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Shabbat Chaye Sarah in Hebron isn’t a normal Shabbat. It’s an experience.

Yesterday, according to conservative estimates, over 20,000 people visited this holy city. Here in our offices, this event began weeks ago; planning for the multitudes. Many man hours and much money are invested to ensure that the day will be a success. And as much as we want, and need rain, we sort of hope that this day will remain dry.

My Chaye Sarah began on Friday, wandering around, hoping to get some good photos. Being that the main events are on Shabbat, I have no way to photograph the occasion. (That’s really my only regret about this wonderful day.)

Toward early mid-afternoon the tents start popping up on the lawn in the park across from the Cave of Machpela. Men, women, kids of all ages, can be found camping out. I spoke to people who’d come from Netanya and Akko to sleep in a tent on the ground because “this is the city of the Patriarchs. It’s ours.” On Friday night, walking back from amazing evening prayers at Machpela, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Families pitched tents on the road, between parked cars and opened up small tables from which to enjoy their Shabbat meal. Young children, swathed in winter jackets, sat around such tables, eating, singing and enjoying the festivity.

Evening prayers are unbelievable. Various minions – prayer services – spring up on the lawn outside, in the courtyard, and inside the building. Thousands upon thousands descend on Herod’s 2,000 year old structure to offer Shabbat prayers. These worship services include song and dance, true joy. More than one group includes dozens of people who have flown into Israel from the United States and Europe, for 48 hours, to participate in this massive celebration. It is indescribable.

During meals, huge tents were filled to capacity. People hosted, some more, some less. In my apartment, aside from filling our bedrooms (in one, three older married women slept together), our living room floor contained four guys and the couch bedded my friend Moshe Goldshmid, whose family has been coming to us for about 14 years for this Shabbat. Moshe’s grandfather, Rabbi Moshe Goldshmid, was murdered in Hebron during the 1929 riots. For meals, another visiting family joined us.

Others hosted literally dozens, eating in shifts (and maybe sleeping in shifts too). After evening meals many participated in political panel discussions, including numerous Israeli MKs, ministers and Rabbis. Visitors toured all day and all night. Saturday afternoon my friend Noam Arnon led a huge tour in the Casba. Simcha Hochbaum guided a huge group throughout the Jewish neighborhoods. I had two tours of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, showing the uninitiated the wonders of ancient-new Hebron.

I must also mention: Friday afternoon we dedicated a memorial room to our dear friend, Herb Zweibon, founder and director of AFSI, Americans for a Safe Israel. Herb was a genuine friend of Israel, and especially of Hebron’s Jewish community. AFSI’s executive director, Helen Freedman led a group of about 25 friends from the US for a week-long visit in Israel, and to Hebron for this Shabbat. We all gathered at the new “Zweibon Hall,” at the entrance to the ‘Hezkiah neighborhood,” here in Hebron to dedicate this room in Herb’s memory.

Late Saturday afternoon I participated in the ‘3rd meal’ with our friends attending via Hebron’s US branch, the Hebron Fund. The fund’s new director, Rabbi Dan Rosenstein, asked me to speak with the group for a few minutes. I asked them to take their “Hebron Shabbat High’ back home, to convey it to others, and to be ambassadors for Hebron’s Jewish community, getting the word out, letting other know what Hebron is really all about. They are all, as much as we are, ‘keepers of the keys,’ insuring Hebron’s Jewish future forever.

By the time Shabbat ended, everyone was exhausted, but the day hadn’t yet concluded. I sat with my AFSI friend in our Beit Hadassah apartment, answering questions and discussing various issues common to all of us for about an hour. Only later did I have the luxury to collapse.

20,000 Jews in Hebron for Chayei Sarah

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

At least 20,000 Jews from all across Israel, and some coming in from around the world, converged on the biblical city of Hebron this shabbat to honor the memory of the Matriarch Sarah, whose burial in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron – Maarat HaMachpela – was chronicled in this week’s Torah portion.

Considered the first piece of land purchased by the Patriarch Abraham in the land of Israel, Sarah’s burial place later became the final resting place of her son Isaac and his wife Rivka, and her grandson Jacob and his wife Leah.  Jewish tradition teaches that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is also the burial place of Adam and Chava (Eve), and even Moshe and Tzipporah.  It is also believed to be situated at the entrance to the Garden of Eden.

Despite threats of inclement weather, today’s descendants of Sarah arrived en masse in Hebron and Kiryat Arba, and were hosted by local residents.  They also participated in tours, two political panels, open houses, and the dedication of a community hall.  Videos from the events can be viewed at www.hebronvideo.com.

I Love Hevron

Friday, November 9th, 2012

As part of our effort to attract our beloved, Diaspora readers with honey, rather than to smash them repeatedly over their heads – in the next few blogs, we will travel the length and breadth of Eretz Yisrael, just like our forefather Avraham did in obeying God’s command, “Arise, walk about the Land through its length and breadth! For to you I will give it!”

Based on a Gemara in Baba Batra 100A, the Ramban explains that Hashem commanded Avraham to walk through the Land out of His love for him, that his offspring might more easily conquer the country, since walking the length and breadth of the Land signified Avraham’s taking possession of it.

So, in honor of the week’s Torah portion of “Chaya Sarah,” let’s start our love affair with the Land of Israel in Hevron. I love Hevron. It’s so powerfully “Biblical.” That’s the best word to describe it. Whenever I’m there, I feel like I’ve traveled 5000 years back through time. The transcendental holiness of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs still saturates the air. The kedusha is so thick, you feel that you can actually reach out and grasp it. Not only is Hevron the gateway to Gan Eden, our Sages teach that all of the Land of Israel is mystically folded up, like a roadmap, under the city. That’s one of the reasons why the Tomb of the Patriarchs is called “Maarat HaMachpelah,” meaning “the Cave that is doubled” or “folded up.” That is also why Jewish settlement in Hevron is so strategically important – whoever possesses Hevron, possesses the Land.

Just like Hevron was a city of giants in the past, so it is today. The Jews who live there are giants. What can I say? Boro Park and Monsey belong to a completely different world. A totally different planet. On my second date with my wife, I took her there, to see how she would react. In addition to praying in the Maarat HaMachpeleh, we visited my good friend, Baruch Marzel, and Rabbi Moshe Levinger. She passed the test with flying colors. I wasn’t surprised – her brother was learning in the yeshiva there.

Before, Rosh HaShanah, I took my two youngest boys to Hevron to ask Hashem to inscribe all of the Jewish People into the Book of Life, in the merit of our holy forefathers. One of our boys studies in a high-school yeshiva in Maale Hever, just ten minutes away, so I visit Hevron often. What a blessing to live so close to this Heavenly place, just a 50 minute drive from my house!

Here are some photos I took on recent visits. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Enjoy! And Shabbat Hevron shalom!

PS – There are a few photos of giant banners hanging on the Peace House during the struggle to prevent the government from ousting its Jewish residents. I made the banners and hung them up with my dear friend, Noam Arnon, spokesperson for the Hevron community. Now that the court has sanctioned our ownership, with G-d’s help, the Jews will be moving back soon!

 

 

 

Sandy!

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Hurricane Sandy ploughed through the eastern seaboard, leaving devastation in its wake: mandated evacuation, flooded houses, power outages, uprooted trees, and smashed cars. The storm also raised serious questions regarded rented properties: Does a tenant have to pay rent for the time his house was affected by the storm?

Rabbi Dayan’s yeshiva was forced to remain closed for a few days due to lack of electric power. When it reopened, the students were bursting with questions, sharing the experiences of their families, spread across the affected region.

Some felt tenants should not have to pay for the time they were unable to use the house and should even get a refund if they prepaid. Others thought they should still have to pay. The dispute raged vehemently in the class.

Rabbi Dayan quieted the students. “Circumstances vary, so that it is impossible to provide a single ruling on this complex question,” he said. “The answer depends on whether the premises were unusable because of evacuation guidelines, actual damage due to water, loss of electricity due to major shutdowns, or trees falling on individual wires. If the house was rendered completely unlivable, the tenant likely does not have to continue paying rent [C.M. 312:17]. However, even if not so, it is important to introduce the concept of makkas medina, a calamity of widespread damage.”

“Where is this concept found?” asked Aryeh.

“The Mishnah [B.M. 105b] addresses the case of a person who leased a field and the grain was devoured by locust or shriveled by an intense heat wave,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “If the devastation was makkas medina, widespread devastation, he is entitled to a deduction from the rent. However, if the plague was not widespread, he must pay the full amount.”

“What constitutes a makkas medina?” asked David.

“The Gemara defines makkas medina when the majority of fields in that plain were damaged,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “The Shulchan Aruch, citing the Rambam, writes, ‘The majority of the fields of that city’ [322:1]. The rationale appears to be that if the majority of the region was affected, we cannot attribute the loss to an individual’s misfortune; otherwise, we attribute the loss to the misfortune of the renter. In a vast city, such as New York, we might treat individual neighborhoods separately.” (See also Aruch Hashulchan 312:36: “If the whole city was burned, not literally, but there was a great fire, Heaven forbid…”)

“How much of the rent can be deducted?” asked Shlomo.

“The Mishnah does not specify,” replied Rabbi Dayan. Rama [312:17] indicates that the loss is borne completely by the landlord; some suggest that it should be shared between landlord and tenant [See SM"A 321:6]. Regardless, if one person’s fields were damaged more severely than most others, we deduct more from his rent, since the event, as a whole, is determined a makkas medina.” (SM”A 322:3)

“What about fact that the tenant didn’t cancel his rental and continued to keep his possessions there?” asked Moshe.

“This is subject to a dispute between Maharam Padua and the Rama,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Maharam Padua limits the application of makkas medina to situations where the loss is already done, such as locust. However, regarding future inability to use, the renter has the right to retract; if he doesn’t, he cannot demand to retroactively deduct from his rent. The Rama, however, disagrees. He maintains that in a makkas medina the tenant is entitled to a reduction retroactively, even if did not retract [321:1]. A number of later authorities, though, side with Maharam Padua’s opinion.” (See Pischei Choshen, Sechirus 6: 29 at length.)

“What about people who evacuated, but no actual damage occurred to the houses?” asked Ephraim.

“Ketzos [322:1] cites the case of people who fled from a city because of danger but the houses were left intact,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Maharam rules that the landlord does not have to return the full amount since the house is intact and another tenant may have chosen not to evacuate. Machaneh Ephraim also rules that in such a situation, if the rent was prepaid, the tenant is not entitled to a refund. Others dispute this point.” (See P.C., Sechirus 6: 30.)

“And what about workers who were unable to work during this time?” asked Yigal.

American Elections, Attacks on the Mount of Olives, and Jews in Hevron

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai and Malkah kick off this week’s show by discussing the American elections and how it could affect Israel. They move on to talk about the stabbing of a young man in their Jerusalem neighborhood of Maale Hazeitim and how the stabbing affects the Fleisher’s day-to-day life in the neighborhood. They end the segment talking about the current situation for Jews in Hevron and an upcoming trip to the city.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Bayit Yehudi Primaries Conflicting with US General Elections

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Coinciding with the American elections Tuesday, the National Religious – Bayit Yehudi primaries to determine the Party chairman will take place in Israel. 54,000 registered members of this united right-wing party will decide between Naftali Bennett, former director of the Council of Judea and Samaria, Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev, or the relatively unknown candidate Yehuda Cohen, an educator from Jerusalem.

The primaries headquarters will be in the city of Holon, where the votes from the 168 polls throughout the country will be counted. The polls will open at 3:30 PM and will close at 10 PM

MK Zevulun Orlev will vote at the Yemenite synagogue in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood. At night, he is due to arrive at his headquarters in the town of Yahud, where he will await the final results.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bayit-yehudi-primaries-conflicting-with-us-general-elections/2012/11/05/

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