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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘establishment’

Report: Abbas, Mashaal Agree to Unity Government

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

According to a report published by YNet News, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and outgoing Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal have agreed on the establishment of a unity government.

The two have been discussing the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement in Qatar, and are reported to be discussing the composition of the interim government.


Jewish Press Staff

Q & A: Biblical Blue Fringe: Will the Real Chilazon Please Stand Up!

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

In February we conducted a thorough discussion of the mitzvah of techeilet. The following guest piece by Baruch Sterman, marking 20 years since the establishment of the Ptil Tekhelet Foundation (www.tekhelet.com), is a follow up to that discussion.

For the last 20 years, the Ptil Tekhelet Foundation, under the leadership of Rabbi Eliyahu Tevger, has worked to spread awareness of all areas of study relating to techeilet, as well as to make techeilet strings available to the public. Techeilet is the sky-blue wool that was worn by the Kohen Gadol, whose garments included a robe (me’il) that was completely techeilet and a band worn on his forehead from which the golden tzitz with the name of G-d hung. The regular priests also wore a sash embroidered with the precious blue wool.

Each Jew is commanded to tie a thread of techeilet to the corners of his garment to remind him of all the commandments. Tzitzit, the emblem and uniform of the Jew, is his everyday priestly garb that signifies his bond to the Almighty and his membership in a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

Techeilet was fantastically expensive and one of the most sought after treasures in the ancient world. Often worth as much as twenty times its weight in gold, the blue dye was a driving economic commodity in the Mediterranean domain. The source of the dye was a sea creature called the chilazon by the Talmud, porphyros by the Greeks and murex by the Romans and has been identified as the species of mollusk named Murex trunculus.

Shellfish dyeing dates back 5,000 years; the first mention of “takhiltu” predates the written Torah and is found in the Tel el Amarna tablets in Egypt from the times of Abraham. The murex snail is depicted on coins from Tyre (the capital city of the Phoenicans, who were expert dyers, located in what is now Lebanon) .The Tanach records that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent his best craftsmen and dyers to help Shlomo build the Beit Hamikdash.

The demand for techeilet, and its sister dye argamman (knows as Tyrian Purple), and the status associated with those who could afford to wear them, led to state monopolies in the dye production, and severe restrictions were placed on their use. In Roman times, only the emperor and the governing elite were permitted to own and wear shellfish dyed robes and to disobey this regulation was “an offense similar to high treason.”

Though Jews tried their best to produce and wear techeilet on their tzitzit, the expense, difficulty, and danger associated with obtaining it prevented most of them from fulfilling the commandment. In the turmoil and tragedy of the seventh century in Israel, when the holy land was conquered by Persians, Christians, and finally Arabs, the secrets of dyeing techeilet were lost, and the Midrash (in approximately the year 720) laments, “and now we have only white, for the techeilet has been hidden.”

For the next 1,300 years techeilet would remain lost, not only to the Jews but to the secular world as well. The exact details regarding the identity of the chilazon faded into obscurity, and only a few vague descriptions or other clues remained scattered throughout the Talmud. In the mid-nineteenth century the first attempts were made to renew the mitzvah of techeilet. Within the secular world it was generally accepted that the source of the ancient blue and purple dyes was some sea snail, although the exact species was unclear. The Tiferet Yisrael, Rav Yisrael Lipschitz, considered that option, but rejected it since the color produced by those snails was purple-blue or violet. Techeilet, according to halachic tradition, had to be sky blue.

Influenced by the Tiferet Yisrael, the great hasidic Rebbe of Radzyn, Gershon Henokh Leiner, devoted his life to searching for an alternative candidate, and after a trek across Europe to the newly opened aquarium in Naples, he settled upon the cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis, as the true chilazon. Using a bit of chemical magic to turn the black sepia ink into blue, the Radzyner began to produce techeilet, and within a year tens of thousands of his followers wore the blue strings on their tallitot. Most contemporary rabbinic authorities, however, rejected the Radzyner techeilet.

The final blow to the identification of the cuttlefish as the chilazon would come in 1914, more than 20 years after Rabbi Leiner’s death. That year, Rabbi Yitzchak Halevi Herzog, later to become the first chief rabbi of the State of Israel, wrote his doctoral dissertation for the University of London on the topic of Hebrew Porphyrology (the study of purple – a word Rav Herzog invented). He requested samples of the dyed strings from the Radzyn dye masters and sent them for chemical analysis in laboratories across Europe. The conclusion was that Radzyn techeilet was a synthetic dye known as Prussian Blue, and that the color in fact came from the chemicals added to the mixture as part of the process, and was not based on the ink obtained from the cuttlefish. It was inconceivable, argued Rav Herzog, that the Talmud would insist on the dye coming from the chilazon, if that creature did not provide any essential ingredient to the color forming process.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Knesset Plenum Votes Down Proposed Bills by MK Ahmad Tibi

Monday, January 16th, 2012

The Knesset voted Monday to block two controversial anti-Jewish bills introduced by Raam-Taal MK Ahmed Tibi.

The first sought to have Jerusalem recognized as the capital of a proposed Palestinian state. The second would ban the term “gangs” to describe Arabs who fought Jews before Israeli independence, and replace it with the word “fighters” in school books.

Likud MK Danny Danon voiced his outrage over the second bill, saying that approving “a law that accords honor to the murderers in the Arab gangs that tried to prevent the establishment of the State of Israel, by defining them as ‘fighters’, would demean the founders of the State of Israel and the Knesset.”

Jewish Press Staff

Christian Supporters Of Israel Deserve Our Respect And Love

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

In recent times we have witnessed increasing support for Israel on the part of evangelical Christians. They view the establishment of the State of Israel as the miraculous fulfillment of the vision of the biblical prophets.

The Jewish nation returns to its land and the soil yields its produce. “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of the Lord (Isaiah 51:3).”

Bible-believing Christians see the settlements and vineyards and are deeply moved. “And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them” (Isaiah 65:21). “And I will bring back the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink their wine; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them” (Amos 9:14).

While many countries support the Arabs out of economic interests or fear or false beliefs, the evangelicals are clearly on our side. Their point of view is very important, for they are a significant and influential group in the United States, the strongest country in the world.

Many Jews wonder how we should we relate to Christians who love Israel. After all, for nearly two thousand years the Jewish nation was persecuted, plundered, forced to convert, expelled and murdered in the name of Christianity. Advertisement

The most severe sin of Christianity was its teaching that Israel was no longer God’s Chosen Nation, and that all the prophecies of Redemption now pertained to the Church rather than the Jews.

But then came the return of the Jews to our Land after all the centuries of dispersal and mistreatment culminating in the Holocaust. Israel’s agricultural miracles, along with its ability to withstand enemies all around it, have inspired many Christians.

As they understand from the Bible, Israel is still in a covenantal relationship with God, and the Jews must return to their land, settle it, and occupy themselves with Torah and mitzvot.

Those Christians who believe God chose Israel, and who are not working to convert us, are righteous gentiles, and God will reward them. Because of their faith in the Bible and their ethics, they are closer to us than are secular leftists.

Some Jews will still ask, “What if among our friends there are some missionaries who want to convert us?”

Indeed, if and when such a thing is proven, they must be fought. However, any supporter of Israel who is not a missionary must be treated with respect and love.

As Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook wrote, “Love of creation should spread to all mankind, despite all the differing opinions, religions and faiths, despite all the differences of races and climates ”

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, one of Israel’s most outspoken religious-Zionist leaders, is dean of Yeshiva Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish law.

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed

Religious Zionist Outreach Takes Israel By Storm

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Something different is happening in Israel. It’s been going on for a few years already. Now it’s just about everywhere: The presence of Dati Leumi kiruv movements.

Israelis are used to seeing Chabad of course, and some attend lectures by Arachim and Aish HaTorah. But this is new. For the first time, you can find Jewish outreach stands manned by individuals wearing kippot serugot at shopping malls, bus stations and major intersections throughout the country.

“Our goal is to make the depth of Jewish learning and Jewish living accessible to the common Israeli, preferably through a learning relationship, a chavrusah,” says Avichay Boaron, general manager of the Ma’aynei Hayeshua kiruv movement in Jerusalem.

“We don tefillin and distribute Shabbat candles to people passing by, of course, but what we really want is to nurture this brief initial encounter with Judaism into a deeper, steady acquaintance.” Advertisement

But what makes these kiruv movements different from the ones we’re used to?

First of all, Israelis are more likely to share their spiritual needs with those who went to elementary school with them, served with them in the Israel Defense Forces, and work side by side with them at the office. In other words, with those religious Jews who are familiar faces in the secular Israeli world.

Second, the ideological foundation for Dati Leumi kiruv stems from Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook’s philosophy concerning the very roots of Jewish secularism, Zionism and post-Zionism.

Rav Kook, zt”l, explained that our brethren left a Torah lifestyle en masse about 150 years ago because they demanded depth in their day-to-day Jewish routine and no one provided them with it. This convinced them that Torah lacked real depth, chas v’shalom. Our job is to learn together about the intrinsic connection between lofty Jewish ideals and routine Torah living, whether it’s about keeping Shabbos and Taharas Hamishpacha, or the Torah’s outlook on Medinat Yisrael and Tzahal. These encounters are friendly, non-condescending, and very exciting.

Ma’aynei Hayeshua is one of the more veteran Dati Leumi kiruv movements. Founded in 2000 by a group of dedicated Hesder yeshiva graduates and volunteers with proactive backing from prominent rabbis such as Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l, Rav Yaakov Ariel and Rav Shlomo Aviner, they began by circulating informative fliers and divrei Torah about Dati Leumi kiruv. Once the idea caught on in the community, they quickly began building a nationwide network of volunteers.

“We feel it’s about time the Religious Zionist community had its own grassroots movement,” says Boaron. “If we’re going to have an impact on the Israeli scene – a real, tangible impact on the Israeli mentality – we must reach out with a widespread movement to infuse Jewish meaning in the individual and national Israeli orientation, and we must present a significant Jewish cultural alternative as well.”

And “Jewish meaning” is certainly on his agenda. Boaron’s Ma’aynei Hayeshua runs 100 manned Jewish outreach stands throughout Israel every week; 500 activists implementing weekly kiruv activities; 2,000 annual chavrusah matches with 50 new requests for chavrusahs every week; a year-round Outreach Training Course with 300 graduates; distribution of 10,000 Jewish outreach publications; production and distribution of Jewish books, booklets, and a widely acclaimed music disc; two 24/7 Religious-Zionist outreach centers of Jewish activity; an all-day bet midrash for ba’alei teshuvah; and a popular 16-page weekly magazine circulated every Friday among 70,000 religious and non-religious Jews throughout Israel.

“You wouldn’t believe how many stories we get from the volunteers,” says Yehoyada Nizri, director of activities at Ma’aynei Hayeshua.

“One was about an activist from an antireligious organization who approached one of our outreach stands. The polite and learned person behind the counter spoke to him at length, and the prospect even agreed to a chavrusah – and the chavrusah he got happened to be the rosh yeshiva of the Ma’alot Hesder Yeshiva, Rav Yehoshua Weizman. Today, this person is a happy, fully committed, frum Jew.”

In the past year alone, Nizri adds, the number of chavrusahs has doubled from one thousand to two thousand pairs. The outreach stands too are twice as active as they were last summer.

“Israeli society is changing, coming closer to Yiddishkeit,” says Nizri. “You can feel it in the air.”

Rabbi Binyamin Schwartz

Chanukah 1917

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Nearly two decades into the 20th century, Jews were suffering the horrors of pogroms, mass expulsions, starvation and disease in Eastern Europe while Jewish soldiers in various armies were enduring the carnage of the battlefield. Amid the horrors, however, a glimmer of hope appeared.

During the First World War, two powers fought over control of Palestine – the ruling Ottoman Turks of the Central powers and the British along with their allies of the Triple Entente. The outcome of the contest brought the ancient Jewish dream of the re-establishment of Jewish statehood in the Jewish homeland a little closer.

The situation in the land of Israel was grim. The Ottoman Turks oppressed the Jewish community. Thousands of Jews were exiled to Alexandria, Egypt, which was then under British control. In March 1917, Djemal Pasha, the local Turkish governor, ordered the deportation of all Jews in the Jaffa region and threatened a wholesale massacre against the Jews, openly declaring he would make the Jews share the fate of the Armenians. Before the war, 55,000 Jews resided in Jerusalem; by 1917, due to persecution, just 24,000 remained.

But the tide started to turn when British General Edmund Allenby led his outnumbered troops around Turkish forces in Gaza and on to victory at the strategic southern city of Beersheba in the Negev. As the campaign’s success became ever more likely, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917, which called for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The document was sent by British foreign minister Lord Arthur Balfour to Edmund De Rothschild, the great Jewish financier and a supporter of Jews living in Palestine.

On December 9, as Chanukah approached, Turkish forces surrendered. In the battles for Jerusalem some 20,000 Turkish soldiers and 3,600 British and allied troops lost their lives. Two days later, on December 11, the second day of Chanukah, British troops marched into Jerusalem. Allenby humbly entered its walls by foot through Jaffa Gate as the city’s 34th conqueror.

The London Jewish Chronicle headlined the event as “The Rising of Jerusalem,” describing the allied conquest as an “Epochal event.” Rabbi J.H. Hertz, chief rabbi of the British Empire, forwarded a telegram to Allenby that read, “British Jewry thrilled by glorious news from Palestine, sends heartfelt congratulations on historic entry into Holy City.”

With Jerusalem under British control, the campaign continued and soon Turkish forces were ousted from the entire Land of Israel. The Jewish Legion, headed by Lieutenant Colonel John Patterson, participated in the completion of the conquest.

Soon after, however, the initial euphoria faded. While the overall situation for the Jews improved under British control, hostilities with local Arabs intensified. Arab leaders in Palestine petitioned the British Foreign Office to halt the flow of Jewish immigration. British military authorities began to express disagreement with the aims of Zionism. The British commitment to the establishment of a Jewish homeland began to wither.

Within a few months of its release, British military authorities banned the Balfour Declaration’s publication in Palestine. By 1919, the British military administration pushed for an outright revocation of Balfour. Hebrew was not recognized as an official language and the British even banned the public performance of the Zionist national anthem, “Hatikvah.”

Yet Zionist hopes were again raised in 1920 when a British civil mandate replaced the military administration. A Jew sympathetic to Zionism, Herbert Samuel, was appointed high commissioner and the gates were opened to Jewish immigration. By the spring of 1921, 10,000 new Jewish immigrants had reached the shores of Palestine.

These developments triggered a violent reaction from the opponents of Zionism. Arab rioting soon broke out. Samuel succumbed to the pressure. Restrictions against the Zionists were again imposed, and the virulent anti-Zionist Haj Amin Al-Husseini was appointed mufti of Jerusalem.

Following Arab riots in 1929, the British set up the Shaw Commission which recommended more restrictions. In the wake of renewed Arab violence in 1936, the British Peel Commission recommended the partition of the land as a solution to the conflict, with the Jews apportioned a miniscule sliver of territory on the coast extending into the Galilee.

The Arabs, however, continued to oppose any partition. In a final act of capitulation, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain issued the MacDonald White Paper of 1939 which severely restricted Jewish immigration to a total of 75,000 over the next five years and called for the eventual establishment of one state with an Arab majority – a devastating blow not only to the Zionists but for the Jews of Europe who would be denied sanctuary in their greatest hour of need.

Larry Domnitch

Title: There Are No Basketball Courts In Heaven

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Title: There Are No Basketball Courts In Heaven

Author: Dovid Landesman

Publisher: Diamond Press



   Rabbi Dovid Landesman jokes that one of his former students used to refer to him as General Eclectic because he could never safely predict how he would come down on various issues. Another talmid reminds me that the rabbi was sometimes referred to as the “adderaba” (Aramaic for “on the contrary”) because he could usually be counted upon to present a viewpoint that never feared challenging the establishment. The most cogent appreciation, however, is that offered by a ninth grader who, after listening to a talk on parashat hashavua, approached him and said, “Rebbi, I don’t like the way you speak!” Somewhat taken aback, Rabbi Landesman asked him to explain his criticism. The student replied, “You always want us to think!”


   And that is precisely what this book does. It challenges you to consider the issues as carefully and critically as possible before reacting. It expects you to think about your responses before you release them. How different from the standards and practices we have become used to in our educational institutions. How refreshing and how invigorating.

Small wonder that Rabbi Landesman, director of education and administration at Aish Tamid of Los Angeles, was so popular among his students. I know because I was one of them.


   The book contains 25 essays on a variety of subjects: is there a definition of da’as Torah that all sectors of Orthodoxy can or should accept; why do we pray in a language that we find so difficult to understand; earning vs. learning; shidduchim; shomer negiah; going off the derech; drinking in yeshivas; and many others. All are written with a rare combination of wit and candor that is refreshing and unusual in our community.


   I enjoyed a number of the essays: “A.Y. Karelitz M.D.” on whether theChazon Ish might have made a greater contribution to humanity had he used his singular talents to study medicine – a question, posed by a student, which he uses to explore the mitzvah and definition of kiddush Hashem; “Shulchan Aruch – Three Ring Binder Edition” challenges both the ultra-Orthodox and Modern Orthodox worlds for deviating from the parameters of halacha; while “The Day That Satmar Went Mainstream” deals with the attitude of the rightwing community toward the State of Israel.


   Unafraid of leveling criticism, the author is never strident and never pompous. And one appreciates the honesty and respect for the reader that Rabbi Landesman demonstrates. He is a gifted writer with a clear point of view that you might not always accept, but will be grateful for as you reach your own conclusions and choose the path and direction of your own life.

D. Heyman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-there-are-no-basketball-courts-in-heaven-2/2010/05/05/

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