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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘eulogy’

FULL TEXT: US President Barack Obama’s Eulogy for Israel’s 9th President, Shimon Peres, z’l [video]

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his eulogy on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 with members of the Peres family, Israeli government leaders and several other world heads of state who bid their fellow statesman a final farewell from the podium. Below is the full text and a video of his eulogy.

Zvia, Yoni, Chemi and generations of the Peres family; President Rivlin; Prime Minister Netanyahu; members of the Israeli government and the Knesset; heads of state and the government and guests from around the world, including President Abbas, whose presence here is a gesture and a reminder of the unfinished business of peace; to the people of Israel: I could not be more honored to be in Jerusalem to say farewell to my friend Shimon Peres, who showed us that justice and hope are at the heart of the Zionist idea.

A free life, in a homeland regained. A secure life, in a nation that can defend itself, by itself. A full life, in friendship with nations who can be counted on as allies, always. A bountiful life, driven by simple pleasures of family and by big dreams. This was Shimon Peres’s life. This is the State of Israel. This is the story of the Jewish people over the last century, and it was made possible by a founding generation that counts Shimon as one of its own.

Shimon once said, “The message of the Jewish people to mankind is that faith and moral vision can triumph over all adversity.” For Shimon, that moral vision was rooted in an honest reckoning of the world as it is. Born in the shtetl, he said he felt, “surrounded by a sea of thick and threatening forests.”

When his family got the chance to go to Palestine, his beloved grandfather’s parting words were simple: “Shimon, stay a Jew.” Propelled with that faith, he found his home. He found his purpose. He found his life’s work.

But he was still a teenager when his grandfather was burned alive by the Nazis in the town where Shimon was born. The synagogue in which he prayed became an inferno. The railroad tracks that had carried him toward the Promised Land also delivered so many of his people to death camps.

And so from an early age, Shimon bore witness to the cruelty that human beings could inflict on each other, the ways that one group of people could dehumanize another; the particular madness of anti-Semitism, which has run like a stain through history. That understanding of man’s ever-present sinfulness would steel him against hardship and make him vigilant against threats to Jewry around the world.

But that understanding would never harden his heart. It would never extinguish his faith. Instead, it broadened his moral imagination, and gave him the capacity to see all people as deserving of dignity and respect. It helped him see not just the world as it is, but the world as it should be.

What Shimon did to shape the story of Israel is well-chronicled. Starting on the kibbutz he founded with his love Sonya, he began the work of building a model community. Ben Gurion called him to serve the Haganah at headquarters to make sure that the Jewish people had the armaments and the organization to secure their freedom.

After independence, surrounded by enemies who denied Israel’s existence and sought to drive it into the sea, the child who had wanted to be a “poet of stars” became a man who built Israel’s defense industry, who laid the foundation for the formidable armed forces that won Israel’s wars.

His skill secured Israel’s strategic position. His boldness sent Israeli commandos to Entebbe, and rescued Jews from Ethiopia. His statesmanship built an unbreakable bond with the United States of America and so many other countries.

His contributions didn’t end there. Shimon also showed what people can do when they harness reason and science to a common cause. He understood that a country without many natural resources could more than make up for it with the talents of its people.

He made hard choices to roll back inflation and climb up from a terrible economic crisis. He championed the promise of science and technology to make the desert bloom, and turned this tiny country into a central hub of the digital age, making life better not just for people here, but for people around the world.

Indeed, Shimon’s contribution to this nation is so fundamental, so pervasive, that perhaps sometimes they can be overlooked.

For a younger generation, Shimon was probably remembered more for a peace process that never reached its endpoint. They would listen to critics on the left who might argue that Shimon did not fully acknowledge the failings of his nation, or perhaps more numerous critics on the right who argued that he refused to see the true wickedness of the world, and called him naïve.

But whatever he shared with his family or his closest friends, to the world he brushed off the critics. And I know from my conversations with him that his pursuit of peace was never naïve.

Every Yom HaShoah, he read the names of the family that he lost. As a young man, he had fed his village by working in the fields during the day, but then defending it by carrying a rifle at night.

He understood, in this war-torn region, where too often Arab youth are taught to hate Israel from an early age — he understood just how hard peace would be. I’m sure he was alternatively angry and bemused to hear the same critics, who called him hopelessly naïve, depend on the defense architecture that he himself had helped to build.

I don’t believe he was naïve. But he understood from hard-earned experience that true security comes through making peace with your neighbors. “We won them all,” he said of Israel’s wars. “But we did not win the greatest victory that we aspired to: release from the need to win victories.”

Jewish Press Staff

President Reuven Rivlin’s eulogy at the funeral of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres

Friday, September 30th, 2016

“Laugh and play with my dreams, I am the dreamer who wanders. Play because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.” So wrote the poet Shaul Tchernichovsky, and so you played, our dear President, during the uplifting moments of elation, in times of difficulty and crisis, and with the small joys of day-to-day life, “because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.”

I am speaking to you today for the final time Shimon, “as one President to another”, as you would say each time you called to offer strength and good advice. As I speak, my eyes search for you, our dear brother, our older brother, and you are not there. Today you are gathered to your forefathers in the land which you loved so, but your dreams remain, and your beliefs uninterred. As one man you carried an entire nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. The “Brave son”, was the pseudonym you chose as a youth, as the name of Isaiah the Prophet, a visionary. Yet, you were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds. Like you, I was also born into the Zionist Movement in those decisive years between vision and fulfillment. I was fortunate to look up to you as a partner in the building of the State of Israel from its very foundations. For both of us, the State of Israel could never be taken for granted. However, with much thanks to you Shimon, for our sons and daughters, for our friends – and yes for our opponents – the State of Israel is an indisputable fact.

You had the rare ability, Shimon, to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition. Your eyes saw far ahead, while your feet covered great distances on the landscape of Jewish and Zionist history. You always walked onward and upward, as a skilled mountaineer who secures his hook before ascending ever higher to the peak. This is how you lived your life. At first you would dream, and only when in your mind’s eye could you truly see the State of Israel reaching new heights, would you then begin to climb, and take us all with you towards the new goal. You succeeded in moving even the most stubborn of politicians, and to melt away even the hardest of hearts of our opponents. You strived until your final breaths to reach the pinnacle of the Zionist dream: an independent, sovereign state, existing in peace with our neighbors. Yet you also knew that true peace could only be achieved from a position of strength, and you were sure to secure the path to this goal. Few among us understand, and much more will be written about how many mountains you moved, from the days of the State’s establishment and till today in order to ensure our security and our military qualitative edge. How deep was your belief in the sacred combination of ethical leadership and military prowess, that Israel must act not just with wisdom, but with justice, faithful at every moment to its values as a Jewish and democratic state, democratic and Jewish.

My dear Shimon, you were the only one in the history of the State of Israel to serve in the three most senior positions in government: Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and Finance Minister. You are the only one to have served as Prime Minister and as President. It is no exaggeration to say that: more than you were blessed to be President of this great nation, this nation was blessed to have you as its President. In all these roles you were our head, but even more so, my dear friend, you were our heart; a heart that loved the people, the land, and the State. A heart which loved each and every person, a heart which cared for them.

Your stubborn faith in mankind and the good of people – in the victory of progress over ignorance, in the victory of hope over fear – was your eternal fountain of youth, thanks to which you were the eternal fountain of youth for all of us. The man of whom we thought time could never stop. With all your love for history and tremendous knowledge of history, you despised wallowing in the past, or being entrenched in a sense of self justice at the cost of the possibilities and opportunities that tomorrow brings. “The future is more important than the past” you said. “What happened yesterday does not interest me, only tomorrow does,” you would say. The love you received, which transcended political divides in the later years of your life – from your supporters and opponents – was an expression of the yearning of all us to be infected by your unequivocal optimism. Even when we did not agree with you we wanted to believe that perhaps you were right. Believe me, it was not easy to refuse your optimism, and at times your innocence.

Who more than you knew the heavy price of innocence, and yet, who more than you believed that heavier still was the price of mediocrity and being of little faith?

Shimon, I unashamedly confess, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, at your graveside among the graves of the leaders of our nation, also your forgiveness must be asked. We will ask your forgiveness. It was permitted to disagree with you. Your opponents had a duty to express their opinion. However, there were years in which red lines were crossed between ideological disputes and words and deeds which had no place. You always acted according to what you believed with all you heart was best for the people, whom you served.

As President, you were for us an honest advocate. You taught many around the world to love the State of Israel, and you taught us to love ourselves, not to speak ill, and see the good and the beautiful in everything.

This is a sad day, Shimon, this is a sad day. The journey of your dreams which began in Vishnyeva, comes to its end in Jerusalem our capital, which is also a dream which became a reality. Your death is a great personal and national loss, as it is also the end on an era, the end of the era of giants whose lives’ stories are the stories of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. This is our profound feeling today. A feeling of the end of an era in the nation’s life, the end of a chapter in our lives. Our farewell to you is also a farewell to us from ourselves. When we see world leaders – our friends from near and far – who have come here to bid you their final respects, we understand that not only here but across the world you will be missed. And all of us already miss you. Farewell Shimon. The man whose ‘ways are pleasant, and all of his paths peaceful’. Rest in peace, and act (in Heaven) as an honest advocate for the people of Israel whom you loved so. “Because my soul aspires for freedom, I did not sell her for a golden calf. Because I will also believe in man, in his spirit, his spirit of strength.” Farewell Mr. President.

Jewish Press Staff

Netanyahu Eulogizes Minister Uri Orbach z’l – ‘We Loved Him Tremendously’

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Israel’s government cabinet started the weekly meeting on Sunday with a tribute to the late Pensioner Affairs Minister Uri Shraga Orbach, z’l, a member of the Bayit Yehudi party.

Orbach was not only a politician, however; he attended hesder yeshiva and served in the IDF Armored Corps and then became a journalist, writing for Yediot Ahronot and hosting a show for Galei Tzahal Army Radio. He also wrote children’s books, including “Donkeys on the Roof and Other Stories.”

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogized Orbach, who passed away last year at age 55 due to blood disease. Family and friends went together to visit his grave on Friday to commemorate the one-year anniversary in accordance with Jewish custom.

“Uri was a wonderful minister who worked tirelessly to bring Israeli culture and heritage to every citizen of the country,” Netanyahu said.

“He initiated new projects in order to help the elderly citizens of the country and he maintained an attitude that was proud and nationalist from one standpoint, and open to all members of society from the other.”

“I can attest to the fact that every time that he spoke during the cabinet meetings, and he always spoke towards the end, everyone listened to him, as he had both wit, understanding and a true love of every Jew.

“We are all pained by his passing. We loved him tremendously.”

An official memorial ceremony will be held in honor of the late minister on Sunday night in Jerusalem, led by President Reuven Rivlin and attended by Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett, party member and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and other friends and family of the minister.

Hana Levi Julian

Rabbi Menachem Froman: Not What You Thought

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

First and foremost, Menachem Froman was a community rabbi who dealt with questions of what is permitted and what is forbidden.  Although he seemed to exist beyond time and space, he refused to permit anyone who arrived after sunset to hold Mincha prayers in his synagogue.

The many young people who flocked to Menachem, thinking him a great reformer, ought to take note: you can’t take home only the easy things.

When Menachem participated in Shabbat camping programs, he kept a copy of Keeping Shabbat in hand for reference when dealing with any problems that came up.  He received his ordination from two great luminaries who were exacting regarding things great and small: Rabbi Shlomo Goren and Rabbi Avraham Shapira.  And as Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who went to visit Menachem during his illness, said, Menachem was a skilled halakhic decision maker. During that visit as on many other occasions, the two old friends found themselves in a political argument.  I can imagine that was said: I had often had such arguments with Menachem in the past, ever since he went to the Madrid Conference, calling for a compromise with the Palestinians, while we terror victims took the opposite position, calling against talks with terrorist organizations.  But it was impossible to argue with Menachem for very long.  He put an end to any disagreement with a bear hug.

In Rabbi Levinger’s words, Menachem was not a great politician, but he had a big heart, which is why Rabbi Tvi Yehuda Kook loved him so much.  Because of his good heartedness, he refused to believe that it was impossible to find some good on the Palestinian side.  Menachem thought that through love and planned encounters he could reduce the tension, forgetting that one does not go to the political marketplace with love.

The Palestinians have political aspirations that do not mesh with ours, aspirations that do not allow for Jewish statehood in a place where they and Sha’ariah law hold sway, but only for individual Jews living under protection.

Those on the other side shook his hands and kissed him as is customary in the East, and some truly respected him—but they made no concessions to him.

There also were times when Menachem adopted a more hawkish stance.  He worked against the Schalit Deal with me in my capacity as head of Almagor, both in talks with politicians and with prayers.  When the deal did go through, he took it hard.

So where did his good heartedness and daring make a difference?  Among Jews.  Menachem’s approach brought to Judaism the young, the estranged, people from one end of the ideological spectrum to the other.

At his funeral, Yehuda Etzion, one of the heads of the Jewish Underground and a leader of Gush Emunim, stood side-by-side with Naftali Raz of Peace Now, who was heard to join in the singing of “A Woman of Valor,” which Menachem had instructed be sung at his funeral as a final thank-you to his wife, Hadassa.  At the words “Her children rise up and praise her,” the assembled joined his children in applause for their mother as they shouted “bravo” mid-verse.

At how many funerals have we seen a husband being lowered into his grave leave a final song to his wife, thanking her for all her long, loyal years with him?  For one who knew Menachem, it stands to reason that it was the practice at his home every Friday night to shout “bravo” for his wife: one of many novel customs that he instituted in Tekoa.

Another was to pause prayers in the synagogue for whatever comments, dancing, and hand motions came to his ever-active mind and warm heart in his very personal relationship with God.

Odd, you say?  Strange?  Menachem wouldn’t have cared.  He’d have dismissed you as “meshuga.”  Menachem transcended all that.

And what about some dignity?

That came in the form of a kind of eccentric, theatrical costume that he made out of white robes and a white shtreimel.

Theatrical, you say?  So what?  Who said it’s not appropriate to put on some theater for God and his people?  You want us to be serious all the time?  He is our father, after all.

Menachem made it legitimate for young people to experience both rises and falls in their personal and religious lives.  As one of them said to me, “His brand of religiosity allowed us, the second generation of settlers, to connect.  We became his chassidim and he became our rebbe: the rebbe of Tekoa!” So it was that last Hoshana Rabba eve, the Tekoa basketball court filled with thousands of national-religious and formerly religious Israelis of various stripes and all jumped around energetically along with him and his music stars, roaring, clapping, jumping, as Menachem moved about contentedly on the stage.

Meir Indor

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/rabbi-menachem-froman-not-what-you-thought/2013/03/13/

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