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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘coming’

Coalition Chair: No Coming back from Netanyahu Vs. Transport Minister Crisis

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) admitted on Saturday that the crisis between Prime Minster Netanyahu and his Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) has reached an irreversible phase, which could mean that the PM will fire his Minster in the coming days. The rift between the two Likud politicians is not new, and the last few months have seen several attempts by Katz to attack Netanyahu on a variety of issues, some personal (Katz has been promised the foreign ministry which Netanyahu is keeping to himself for now), others have to do with actions by Katz that are threatening the stability of Netanyahu’s government.

Last week, Katz forced a confrontation between his PM and the Haredi coalition partners over massive works in the Israeli train infrastructure that were scheduled for Shabbat. The protests from the Haredim resulted in Netanyahu ordering his minister to limit the Shabbat works to only those projects which could result in danger to the public should they be carried out on a weekday. In the end, the railroad and Tel-Aviv’s main urban highway, Netivey Ayalon (Rt. 20) were blocked to traffic throughout the last Shabbat in August, with heavy traffic jams that ended only when the works were concluded around 8 PM Saturday.

Last Friday, Sept. 2, five minutes before the start of Shabbat, Katz ordered the cancellation of all the projects that received special dispensation, pushing them off to Saturday night and Sunday. The order for the technical teams to abandon the work sites was given after they had taken apart some of the rails, so that there was no way to resume service Saturday night. In fact, as of Saturday night, train passengers have been told the service would only be renewed Sunday night.

Both sides, Netanyahu and Katz, are blaming each other for the crisis, with Meretz and Labor siding with the transport minister and urging their people to demonstrate in front of the shut down stations. Only a few hundreds have arrived at those rallies Saturday night — which blame Netanyahu for capitulating to the Haredim. In addition, the opposition parties have collected 25 MK signatures to call a special session of the legislature to debate “the desecration of Shabbat and the harm to soldiers and civilians by the train crisis.”

Sunday is the day thousands of IDF soldiers who spent Shabbat at home are riding the trains back to their bases, many of them for free. Now the IDF is working overtime rustling up buses for these soldiers. In a small and tense country like Israel, messing up with the schedule of our kids going back to the Army does not make one a popular politician. Which is why Meretz Chair Zehava Galon has already appealed to the Supreme Court against both Netanyahu and Katz, demanding that they be compelled to terminate their decision to cut Shabbat railroad works.

Netanyahu issued a statement Saturday saying, “This is an initiated and unnecessary crisis on the part of Minister Yisrael Katz designed to undermine relations between the Prime Minister and the ultra-orthodox public or alternatively to damage the image of the Prime Minister among the general public. From the outset there was no need to initiate work on Shabbat. It would have been possible to carry out the work on other dates that would not have harmed the ultra-orthodox public, passengers or soldiers. For example, it would have been possible to combine the work with the eight-day shutdown of the railroad – which has the approval of the Transportation Ministry – in the coming weeks. Israel Katz is holding passengers and soldiers as hostages in an unnecessary and artificial crisis that he initiated after having failed in his attempt to take over the Likud institutions. The Prime Minister is outraged over Minister Katz’s cynical attack on passengers and soldiers and is doing his utmost to minimize the damage to these publics in the next 24 hours. To this end, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister have agreed to place buses at the disposal of soldiers over the next 24 hours. The Prime Minister has also instructed the Transportation Ministry to boost public transportation between Tel Aviv and Haifa with additional buses.”

Yes, Katz tried and failed to take over the Likud institutions, about two and a half weeks ago, he got a huge majority (95%) of the Likud Secretariat, which he happens to head, to agree to the narrowing of the absolute power the Likud Chairman, one Benjamin Netanyahu, had enjoyed in personnel appointments and distribution of party funds. Katz apparently assumed Netanyahu was experiencing a weak period, what with police looking into his and his wife’s use of public funds, and figured the prime minister would shy away from confrontation with the third strongest man in Likud. He was outrageously wrong. The PM called him to his office at 9 AM the next day and, reportedly, handed him an unsigned letter of resignation, which he expected Katz to sign unless he issued a statement walking back the entire secretariat vote from the day before.

Katz capitulated, but apparently did not stop sulking and looking for new ways to force a showdown with the PM. The reason for his combative stance has to do with Netanyahu’s inviting Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) into his coalition government, which boosted his hold on his government and reduced the ability of any individual coalition member to get his way. Katz is aware that his days in this government are numbered, Netanyahu will never keep his promises to him regarding the foreign ministry, so, frankly, he might be better off outside the tent than inside.

Meanwhile, the Likud is splitting up between Katz and Bibi supporters, and the fact that several Likud ministers have thrown their weight — albeit politely — behind Katz, may be enough to avoid an actual showdown. Meanwhile, for the next 24 hours or so, Israeli train passengers remain in dire need of transportation alternatives.


Coming Home: Jewish Secondary Schools Opening in Düsseldorf, Munich

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

A Jewish secondary school will open in the city of Düsseldorf in western Germany on Wednesday, and a Jewish high school will soon open in Munich, bringing the total number of Jewish high schools in the country to three, the World Jewish Congress reported. Until now, Germany’s only Jewish high school has been in Berlin.

Out of the 522,000 Jews who lived in Germany in January 1933 only 214,000 remained by the end of 1939. On May 19, 1943, Germany was declared Judenrein (clean of Jews), with no Jewish high schools. Now we’re back to three, and counting.

Some 40 fifth-grade students will make up the inaugural class of the newly founded Albert Einstein Gymnasium in Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine Westphalia. For now the new school will be housed in temporary accommodations, with a new school building scheduled to be completed in five years. Some 90% of the new school budget is funded by the North Rhine Westphalia state government.

“We are convinced that Jewish life has a firm place in Germany,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the news agency DPA. Whenever there are enough students to open such a school, that’s “a great gain for the Jewish community,” Schuster said.

Schuster, a physician, was born in Haifa in 1954. His father David Schuster emigrated to Palestine in 1938, and both of his mother’s parents died in Auschwitz. The Schuster family returned to Germany in 1956. Josef went to school in Würzburg and studied medicine at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. He became a specialist in internal medicine after training at the Juliusspital. Since 1988 he has maintained a private practice in internal medicine in Würzburg.

Josef Schuster is well aware of the risks Jews living in Germany are facing. He told the newspaper Welt that many refugees seeking to live away from the ISIS persecution nevertheless come from “cultures in which hate toward Jews and intolerance are fixed components,” and that as a result, “sooner or later we will not be able to avoid [setting limits]” on refugee migration into Germany. He said he feared that if the influx of refugees in Germany continues at the present rate, it will become “increasingly difficult” to integrate migrants and “pass on our values.”

Meanwhile, the 7,000 strong Jewish community of Düsseldorf, Germany’s third largest, after Berlin and Munich, have established the new school as a way to pass their values to the next generation of German Jews. The school will offer eight hours a week of Hebrew and Jewish subjects, which non-Jewish students will also be allowed to attend.


Coming to Jerusalem: Louis C.K. and his Jewish Root

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

The paternal grandfather of Louis Székely (pronounced se-kei), a.k.a. Louis C.K., Dr. Géza Székely Schweiger, was a Hungarian Jewish surgeon who immigrated with his family to Mexico, where he met C.K.’s paternal grandmother, Rosario Sánchez Morales. Morales was Catholic, and Schweiger agreed to raise their children Catholic, but, according to C.K., his grandfather remained “quietly Jewish.” C.K. is Catholic on his Irish American mother’s side. On August 18 C.K., possibly the most influential American standup comedian living today, will give two back-to-back concerts in Jerusalem’s Payis Arena. According to the show’s promoters, demand has been so great, they added more seats to the arena, with tickets going for as much as $180.

The gifted comic, whose capacity for self-deprecation and intimate exposure is extraordinary, is not focused on Jews and Jewish issues, but he has included enough comments over the years about Jews and things Jewish to reveal an intriguing understanding of both being and observing the most tense minority group in America.

In his 2010 special, “Hilarious,” Louis C.K. noted that the word “Jew” is “the only word that is the polite thing to call a group of people and the slur for the same group. … It’s the same word, just with a little stank on it, and it becomes a terrible thing to call a person.”

One of C.K.’s funniest Jewish-related jokes has him watching Schindler’s List on TV, at the point where the Warsaw Ghetto Jews are marched through the streets, and a little girl yells out at them: “Good bye, Jews!” C.K. is convinced the vignette was real, someone had probably told director Steven Spielberg about it and he decided he wanted it in the movie. And so, knowing how films are made, C.K. is convinced there’s an auditions tape out there, of fifty adorable little girls yelling “Good bye, Jews” at the camera.

At the 2011 Louis C.K. concert Live at the Beacon Theater, the comic opened with a lengthy request that the audience not use their flash cameras during the show, and as he is making these pre-show requests, he adds, “What else… No Jews, I think they said that earlier, but they told me I have to say it. Jews aren’t allowed. If you’re Jewish, this is a good time to leave, If you see someone Jewey looking, please tell an usher and they will…” at which point he turns to a member of the audience, saying, “Sir, come on, let’s go…”

Like all comedy, context here is everything: while the very same lines from French Black anti-Semitic comic Dieudonné M’bala M’bala could land him in jail, no one suspects Louis C.K. of anti-Semitism, despite the obvious edginess of his material. Because C.K. does not single out Jews for his poking, his references to things Jewish are part of a rich tapestry of social and personal references. In fact, one has to dig far and wide to come up with actual Louis C.K. Jewish jokes.

Last Friday night, at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY, C.K. talked about being revolted by his uncircumcised non-Jewish father. Also that night, according to the NY Daily News, C.K. did minority accents which were pretty insulting, about which he commented: “Stereotypes are harmful, but the voices are funny.” And it’s that quality of being an equal opportunity ethnic insulter that permits C.K. to include Jews in his circle of often dark humor.


Not Where You’re At But Where You’re Coming From

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

“Count the heads of the congregation of Israel according to their families, according to their fathers’ houses, by the number of the names, every male according to the head count.” – Bamidbar 1:2


Less than a year after the giving of the Torah, Hashem told Moshe to again count the Jewish people. The Sforno points out that this counting was unique as it counted each person by name, whereas thirty-eight years later, when the Jews were about to enter the land of Israel and were counted again, there is no mention of counting by name. The Sforno explains that this is because the generation that left Egypt was made up of unique individuals, each worthy of being singled out. The next generation, however, wasn’t on that level, so everyone was counted only by number and not by name.

It is clear from the Sforno that the generation that left Mitzrayim was greater than the generation that entered the Land of Israel. This concept is very difficult to understand. The people who left Egypt were slaves their entire lives. They had almost no education or opportunity to learn. From the time they were children they had little time to focus on anything other than survival.

The generation that entered the Land of Israel had a very different upbringing. They were all born in the desert. Daily they observed the Glory of Hashem encamped on the Mishkan. On a regular basis they watched the clouds of glory ushering them from place to place. Each morning, they saw mon being delivered to their doorstep. They experienced the miracle of a rock providing them millions of gallons of water daily. But even more, they weren’t engaged in earning a living; their entire focus was on learning Torah. Clearly they knew more Torah than the people who had left Mitzrayim. How could the earlier generation have been greater than this one?

The answer to this lies in recognizing the ultimate measure of greatness.

It’s Not Where You’re At

It is said in the name of the Gra that when a person leaves this earth he will stand in front of the heavenly tribunal and be shown a picture. It is a picture of a great person – an individual who changed himself and changed the very world he lived in. And they will say to this man, “Why isn’t that you?”

“Me? Little me?” he will respond. “You want me to be that great man? A talmid chacham? A tzaddik?”

And they will answer, “That is you – had you lived up to your potential, had you become what you were destined to be.”

The point is that they hold up a picture of that man. Not a picture of the Chasam Sofer. Not a picture of R. Akiva Eiger. A picture of that particular individual. The only question they ask is, “How much of his potential did he reach? How much of him did he become?’

This seems to be the answer to the Sforno. Surely the generation that entered Israel had learned more Torah than the generation that came before it. They were far greater Torah scholars. But they were born into it. From their youth, that’s all they knew. That was all that was important in their world, so of course they amassed great fortunes of Torah knowledge. The generation that left Egypt didn’t have those advantages. They didn’t study Torah until late in their lives. Their growth required them to give up everything they had been exposed to. They had to leave behind the world they had known. So while objectively they may not have been on the same level, actually they were far greater, because based on where they had come from and the level they reached, they had grown far more.

This concept has a very practical application.

We live in amazing times, and one of its outgrowths is the baal teshuvah movement. Thousands of Jews brought up with nothing have returned to a Torah-true life. Their sacrifices are huge, and their personal growth is extraordinary, as they leave behind everything to reclaim the heritage of their fathers. They then marry and bring up the next generation, and their children, who enjoy a yeshiva education, often rank among the finest bnei Torah.

But wondrous though this is, it sometimes creates a disparity. As intelligent as the parents may be, they began their Torah education late in life. And while their sincerity may be impressive, their skills and actual knowledge are often lacking. Their children, on the other hand, attend the finest yeshivas and from a tender young age are steeped in Torah learning and mitzvos. It can happen that by 6th grade the child knows more than the parent. As the child matures, the gap widens and this may lead him to look down at his parents with an attitude of, “My father, he’s a good guy and all that, but what does he know? He’s an am ha’aretz.”

This Sforno may be a guiding light on this issue. What we see is that a person’s stature is defined less by who he is now than by how much he has grown. The scale of measure is where he is coming from. How far has he gone? How much of that change is because of his fortitude and will, and how much the environment he was in, simply going with the flow? So it may well be that your father doesn’t know as much as you, yet in the World to Come he will tower over you. It could be that his Chumash and Rashi are more valuable than the fact that you’ve learned all of Shas.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Things Haredim Do

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A volunteer at the Tachlit center are busy dividing hordes of food into boxes, to be distributed to needy families before Shabbat and before the coming Jewish new year in Jerusalem.

Tomchei Shabbat (supporters of Shabbat) organizations like Tachlit flourish throughout the Haredi communities, each with its unique, local flavor, but all of them with one, central goal: feed the needy.

Most of them also deliver the food boxes quietly, so as not to shame the recipient. In many places there’s also a feedback system in place, allowing recipients to indicate which goods they like and which they’d rather not receive. It prevents waste, and also makes the proces look more like shopping than like charity.

Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/things-haredim-do/2013/08/23/

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