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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘David Wilder’

Arab Attacks 60 Year Old Man at Abraham’s Well in Hebron

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

A video uploaded to YouTube by English Spokesperson for Hebron David Wilder shows a stream of blood on the rocks of the Abraham’s Well underground spring, following a near-fatal rock attack by a local Arab on a 60 year old Jewish man who came to immerse in the spring.


Jewish tradition connects the Patriarch Abraham – the central figure connecting Judaism and Islam and one of three great Jewish patriarchs buried in Hebron – with the small natural spring, saying it was the place where Abraham and his wife Sarah would go to purify themselves.

On Wednesday, a 60 year old resident of Kiryat Arba went to perform a cleansing immersion at the site, and when he reached the bottom of the stairs, was attacked by an Arab who threw a large rock at his head.  The man was found unconscious on his back at the bottom of the stairs leading to the well.  He regained consciousness at a Jerusalem hospital, to which he was evacuated by paramedics.

Tombs of Patriarchs, Rachel, Rejected for Heritage Funding

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

The absence of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem from a list of sites to receive funding as part of Israel’s National Heritage program has raised the ire of MKs in support of Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) and MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) expressed disapproval that the two sites – the burial places of the Jewish foreparents Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah in Hebron, and Rachel in Bethlehem – were absent from a renovation funding list presented at a ministerial committee meeting on Tuesday.

Eldad defended the importance of the sites, and warned that withholding funding from the sites is equivalent to removing them from the National Heritage Program.

In February 2010, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced a NIS 500 million investment plan aimed at rejuvenating sites of importance to the Jewish People and the State of Israel.  Israel was criticized by the US and the UN body UNESCO for including the two sites on the list.

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to concerns by saying the renovations necessary at the sites were not critical at this time, and that not receiving funding was no indication that the sites had been removed from the National Heritage list.

“Hebron wasn’t funded this time around, but we’ve been assured at the highest levels that in the near future, we will be”, said David Wilder, Spokesman of the Jewish Community of Hebron in an interview with The Jewish Press.  “It wasn’t taken off the list.”

Tel Shiloh, the site which housed the Mishkan (Tabernacle) prior to its installation in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, will likely be picked for immediate renovation by the committee.  It is located north of Jerusalem in the community of Shilo in Samaria.

Jerusalem’s Old Young Israel

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Recently my wife and I spent Shabbat in Jerusalem with some friends. They made aliyah a year and a half ago and invited us to spend the day with them in the Holy City.

On Shabbat morning Ken and I, with two of his children, made our way to the Old City, to the Muslim Quarter, about a 35-minute walk. The Jerusalem winter air was crisp, cold and clear. Just as I remember it from when I first lived in Israel, in Jerusalem, some 37 years ago.

As the sun rose, lighting up the sky with a seeming sanctity that might only be sensed in the holiest city in the world, we walked briskly down the street, onto Aza Road, and then down Agron. Crossing the main street we entered an area I’d never visited, the Mamilla promenade. It is really a combination of the old and the new. Externally it has a kind of quaint atmosphere, but the storefronts are far from old-fashioned, selling anything and everything you can imagine, at prices I’m sure aren’t from the Middle Ages.

The walkway led to narrow stone stairs, directly in front of Jaffa Gate, leading into the Old City. As we crossed from the twenty-first century into a time warp going back about 2,000 years, I recalled the first time I’d crossed that threshold, back then. The day after we arrived – it was probably late Friday morning – I stood outside that huge stone wall, waiting for all the group to arrive so that we could all go in together. I remembered the excitement, the anticipation, knowing that in a few moments we’d be marching to the Kotel, the Western Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

It’s a little different today. The “gate” is no longer there, just a big opening, like a hole in the wall. But walking through an almost empty Arab market, down the smooth stone stairs, under arches people are used to seeing only in pictures, it was quite a feeling.

We didn’t make a right turn toward the Kotel, to pray at the Wall. Rather we turned left, into the Muslim Quarter. We walked past a memorial to Elchanan Atali, a young yeshiva student murdered there some 21 years ago. And then, on the left side of the road, we came to a door with a sign hanging on the wall: “Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem.”

Young Israel, of course, is an association of Orthodox synagogues, located primarily in the United States. There are some here in Israel as well. This particular Young Israel is located about 5 minutes from the Kotel, in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Walking up the stairs in what must be a fairly old building, I came to the sanctuary, a small haimish room, with a few people already in attendance. It was then about 7:10.

Standing in the middle of the room, by the pulpit, was an older, scholarly, kindly looking man studying the weekly Torah portion. I introduced myself, telling him we have a mutual friend living in Chicago. He asked if I was from there too; I told him I’m from Hebron. He told me he has a son there. I responded that his son was my youngest son’s teacher in the yeshiva high school in Kiryat Arba.

Then I sat down and listened to his Torah shiur.

Rabbi Nachman Kahana really is a great Torah sage. He has authored well-known books, is an accomplished speaker and a leader of the Jewish presence in the Old City, and here, in the Muslim Quarter, where the Jewish presence has grown by leaps and bounds over the past years, thanks to people like Rabbi Kahana.

And if the name rings a bell, yes, he is the brother of the murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane.

One theme repeated itself in Rabbi Kahana’s talks on Shabbat – the need for Jews to live in Israel. Most of the people attending the rabbi’s synagogue are former Americans who came to live in Israel, some many years ago, others more recently.
There were some young men also in attendance who perhaps hadn’t yet made that fateful decision to stay in Israel rather than return to the U.S. I’m sure his words, which he spoke in both English and Hebrew, didn’t fall on deaf ears.

Whenever he’s in Israel, my friend Jack from Chicago usually turns down my invitations for Shabbat, saying he prefers to be with Rabbi Nachman Kahana in the Old City. Now I know why. It’s an unbelievable experience.

Actually, the Young Israel of the Old City isn’t really so young; it’s a segment of the chain of Jewish history, culture and Torah, adjacent to the holiest place in the world, the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Kahana and his congregation are helping to ensure that this site will remain Jewish forever.

David Wilder is a longtime activist, writer, spokesman and lecturer on behalf of Hebron’s Jewish community, where he resides.

An Unforgivable Sacrilege

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Several days ago, Hebron’s police chief showed up at the home of Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba. The officer informed Rabbi Lior that an arrest warrant had been issued. Should the rabbi agree to be interrogated, the warrant would be cancelled. On the spot Rabbi Lior responded, telling him that such questioning represented a “disgrace to the honor of the Torah” and that he would not cooperate with such humiliation.

Why are the police and prosecutor’s office chasing this 77-year-old righteous man? Born in Poland, Rabbi Lior arrived in Israel in 1948, shortly before the creation of the state of Israel. He studied under Rabbi Abraham Kook’s student Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neria at Kfar HaRoe and later at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem under Rabbi Kook’s son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He was considered one of the yeshiva’s most important students. During festive dancing on the Simchat Torah holiday, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda changed the words of a popular song; instead of “tov li, tov li, Toratecha” (Your Torah is good for me), he recited “Dov li, Dov li Toratecha,” paying his young student a great compliment.

In 1976 Rabbi Lior moved to the newly founded community of Kiryat Arba, where he was appointed rosh hayeshiva of the Kiryat Arba-Nir Yeshiva, working side by side with Rabbi Eliezer Waldman. Over the years the rabbi became known as a prominent Torah scholar. However, his teaching involved more than dry rabbinic rulings. He became an active leader in the movement to repopulate Judea, Samaria and Gaza. He spent many summer vacations in Gush Katif. With the rise of the left and the advent of Oslo and the Hebron Accords, he became an outspoken leader, blasting attempts to delegitimize the Israeli right.

He worked tirelessly against the Gush Katif expulsion, making frequent trips to that beleaguered area, giving hope and strength to the local population. He participated in prayer rallies and protests while providing Torah support via various rabbinic rulings needed during those struggles.

Some 25 years ago he was elected chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba. Later, he formed the Rabbinic Council for Judea and Samaria and was appointed its leader. He is widely considered be the preeminent rabbinical figure of the Nationalist-Zionist movement and one of the most significant scholarly rabbinical figures in Israel.

Frequently rabbis are requested to write a hascama, an approbation of a Torah book by a younger rabbi. Rabbi Lior, himself the author of thousands of Torah responsa as well as his own books dealing with Torah law, is also approached to write short introductions to Torah books.

So it was that a couple of years ago he agreed to write an approbation for a book titled Torat HaMelech. This scholarly work, written by two young rabbis, deals with relationships between Jews and non-Jews, particularly during situations dealing with life and death during war and other conflicts. Specifically, it details rulings by many Torah giants, from the Talmud down to the present.

Rabbi Lior was not the only Torah scholar asked to write an approbation for this book. Others include Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, also considered an authentic Torah giant; one of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s sons, Rabbi Ya’akov Yosef, a leading Sephardic Torah expert; and the well-known Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburg.

Among other comments, Rabbi Lior praises the authors for writing such a comprehensive book and including the opinions of so many Torah commentators. He clarifies the significance of understanding Jewish law to its fullest, even when dealing with sensitive topics such as life and death.

As a result of his approbation, Rabbi Lior was accused of incitement and ordered to appear for police interrogation. In a filmed presentation to yeshiva students, Rabbi Lior explained that a rabbi must be able to freely express da’at Torah – that is, the Torah ruling on any given subject – even if that expression is not popular with others. He stressed that a rabbi must never fear to express Truth as it appears in the Torah, even if such a ruling could cause him damage:

“Limiting what a rabbi may say is comparable to Bolshevik regimes of Soviet Russia which would decide what people could think and what they could say . There are certain elements in society who lately want to oppress rabbis, ordering investigations and interrogations, in order to silence them from expressing Torah opinion and this directly contradicts what is known as democracy and freedom of expression. If there is freedom of expression, it must be for everyone. We haven’t heard of those preaching from mosques, inciting against the state of Israel, being arrested and interrogated “

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/an-unforgivable-sacrilege/2011/02/09/

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