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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘grandfather’

Winston Churchill’s Granddaughter on Art and Israel

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

On a recent visit to Israel, legendary sculptress Edwina Sandys, toured the country looking for an appropriate location for her next project, called Circle, a monumental sculpture which celebrates the advancement of women. It will be Sandys’ first sculpture to stand in Israel.

Sandys’ planned sculpture for Israel contains a larger commentary on the status of women worldwide. Her monumental sculpture will entail a circle of upright stones, in black and white, cast in the shapes of women, connected by a lintel across the top.

In an exclusive interview with Tazpit News Agency at Jerusalem’s Inbal Hotel, Sandys explains that Israel is one of the most suitable places in the world for such a sculpture. “Israel is at the forefront of women being treated equally, relative to other areas of the world.”

“There are shining examples of women advancing here, if you  look at the army, politics—prime minister Golda Meir. The responsibilities that women have here are impressive. I look at Israel as a forward, progressive country which has done much in the advancement of women’s rights in all stations of life,” notes Sandys.

During her trip, Sandys met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who she says was “very pleased with her project.”

“The Prime Minister knew a lot about my grandfather. He’s read all the books about Winston Churchill– I’ll have to find a book that he [Netanyahu] hasn’t yet read about him,” she adds jokingly.

“One particular sculpture that the Prime Minister liked of mine was my War and Peace sculpture which portrays a jet fighter plane with the shape of a dove cut out inside. It’s an allegorical piece that explores the concepts of strength and peace.”

Born in 1938, Edwina herself grew up in the post-World War II era.  “My grandfather [Winston Churchill] was the first artist I knew,” she explains.  “As a young girl, I used to watch grandfather paint and I liked watching him make his magic on the canvas.”

“But Grandad never thought of himself as an artist, as he was so busy doing other things.”

Raised in London, Sandys has been creating art that has reached the wider public for the past 30 years, much of which explores the human state in family, society and world affairs. Her work can be seen in UN centers located in Vienna, Geneva, and New York as well as the Brooklyn Museum of Art and New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Her internationally acclaimed work encompasses a wide range of political and social themes. In 1989, Sandys used 32 feet of dismantled sections of the Berlin Wall to create a sculpture called Breakthrough, which is permanently sited at Westminister College in Fulton, Missouri, the site where Winston Churchill, her grandfather, gave his historic “Iron Curtain” speech. Forty-four years following her grandfather’s warning of the Cold War, Sandys conceived and created Breakthrough  to symbolize the end of that era, which former Soviet Union President, Mikhail Gorbachev later viewed himself during his visit to the US in 1992.

For Edwina, becoming an artist wasn’t something she initially dreamed of doing as a child. “I became a wife at a young age and then a mother. Later on, I realized I wanted to do something more than tend the house.  I started writing, but then discovered that painting was easier than writing. I got into sculpture sometime later, which I found required a lot more thinking and organization.”

Today Sandys lives in Soho, New York with her American husband. In addition to sculpting, she also enjoys painting and planting flowers.  One of the highlights of the trip for Sandys was viewing the horticulture and visiting the beautiful parks in Israel.

“So much has changed here since I last visited in 1968. It’s been amazing to see how much Israel has developed as a country, to see so much growth and vegetation with so little water.” said Sandys.

Although Sandys’ work is often inspired by political and social themes, she says that much of it is also personal, reflecting her own journey and that of the world during her lifetime. “’As an artist, I am still trying to fulfill my own potential,” she explains at age 74.

The Love For The Torah

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Many inspiring stories emanate from the Lubavitch chassidic movement. One of the stories published in Di Yiddishe Heim bulle­tin describes the early years of Rav Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, known as the Tzemach Tzedek. This year marks the 146th anni­versary of his passing.

The Tzemach Tzedek was orphaned at an early age, and spent most of his childhood years in the household of his most eminent grandfather, the founder of the Lubavitch dynasty — Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (known as the “Alter Rebbe”). Some of the discourses and talks that the Alter Rebbe fre­quently gave were open to all chassidim who cared to come and listen. However, there were times that the Alter Rebbe would call into his private room a few of his greatest followers, all of them of giant intellectual and emotive capac­ity, and teach them a “Maamar,” a Chassidic discourse of the greatest depth. On those occa­sions the Tzemach Tzedek (then 8-9 years old) was not admitted to the room, which caused him much frustration. He desperately wanted to hear every word of Torah that fell from his holy grandfather’s lips. Even though he knew that much of his grandfather’s words would be far beyond his comprehension, he hoped that he would be able to grasp at least a few words that might have meaning to him.

In Oven

One day he thought of a plan. He would conceal himself in the large empty heating oven whose wall fronted with the wall of the Alter Rebbe’s room and whose opening was in the adjoining room. By pressing his ear to the thin oven wall, he might be able to hear a few words of his grandfather’s maamar. The next time one was scheduled the Tzemach Tzedek crawled through the aperture of the oven in the adjoining room and, pushing himself far into it, pressed his ear to the wall and listened with bated breath.

Meanwhile, the gentile janitor, whose task it was to heat up the ovens on those days that the weather warranted, came to stack up the oven with pieces of wood. The young boy and future Rebbe was so intent on listening to the maamar in the next room that he was completely unaware of the wood being pushed in the oven. The oven being duly stacked with firewood, the janitor set fire to the wood, however, since the Tzemach Tzedek’s body was blocking the chimney, the proper ventilation was not attained and instead of bursting into flames, the pile of firewood emit­ted a cloud of dense smoke. The janitor tried to push the mass of smoldering firewood deeper into the oven only to find that there was something blocking its path. He withdrew the wood piece by piece and spied the small body of the Tzemach Tze­dek lying in the oven — overcome by the fumes and smoke. He hastily pulled him out of the oven and with some difficulty managed to revive him.

Later, the young lad’s grandmother, the Rebbetzin of the great Alter Rebbe, admonished her husband for not letting his own grandson satisfy his thirst for Torah. The Alter Rebbe replied that such was the true path of Jewish education — one must have mesiras nefesh — self sacrifice — for learning Torah.

A Meeting In Miami

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Huge crystal chandeliers sparkled with points of light that shone like diamonds. Hundreds of ornate, gilded chairs had been arranged on the ballroom’s thick, blue and brown carpet in the palatial Miami Beach hotel. This elegant space had been converted into a temporary synagogue for the holiday.

Guests marking the first day of Passover packed the shul and vacant places were quickly becoming scarce, especially on the men’s side of the mechitzah.

In unison my husband Abe and the stranger seated to his right greeted a slight, older man who was attempting to locate an available chair somewhere closer to the front, perhaps because of a hearing problem.

“A Polisher,” the neighbor, dressed in a black silk coat, casually mentioned to Abe. He lifted his chin to indicate the seat-seeker. “I myself am a Galicianer,” he said smiling.

“Oh, really?” my husband asked, gazing at the man with greater interest. “From where in Galicia?”

Abe is president of the Chrzanower Society, and he is always attuned to the possibility of meeting landsleit or their children.

“I’m Henri R.,” the man continued, extending his hand. “I was born in Belgium after the war, but my mother and father came from Chrzanow.”

“I am from Chrzanow,” my husband declared, his voice rising. “What were the names of your parents?” Abe turned sideways to face this newly discovered kinsman with a smiling, friendly face.

Henri quickly supplied two familiar names.

“You’re kidding!” Abe exclaimed in delighted amazement. “Your grandfather, your mother’s father, was my rebbe during the war!”

This erudite scholar had taught in the famous Yeshiva Keser Torah before the Shoah. During the German occupation, when the great yeshiva was shuttered by the Nazis, Rabbi Chaim Tobias taught small groups of young boys. My husband still remembered how they had studied Gemara and commentaries, and had learned from the great teacher who was later martyred at Auschwitz.

What were the chances, except through hashgachah pratis, that in this vast sea of white talleisim Abe would be seated next to his rebbe’s grandson, and that this Chrzanower einekel would be able to hear about the greatness of his grandfather directly from one who had been privileged to bask in the light of this brilliant scholar? What were the odds that Abe would have the zechut to behold a descendant of his teacher, and to joyously ascertain that he had followed in the path of his illustrious grandfather?

On Pesach, a holiday of miracles, one can only conclude that as we come closer to Hashem, many wondrous happenings are possible.

New Gifts for New York Hospital-Cornell Bikur Cholim

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Until his unexpected death three months later on January 9th 2012, Stefanie Leavitt would regularly visit her grandfather Norman Leavitt, who was being treated at New York Cornell Hospital. Every day in school, her fellow classmates at Moriah Yeshiva in Englewood, NJ would daven for him to get well.

During those visits, eight year old Stefanie would occasionally visit the Bikur Cholim room of the hospital, but was disappointed by the scarcity of children’s books the hospital had to offer. So when her grandfather passed away Stefanie decided she wanted to do something in his memory, and she knew what she wanted to do.

Stefanie decided to collect some books from her friends and donate them to the Bikur Cholim room in her grandfather’s memory.

But after being informed of the idea, Rabbi Daniel Epstein, the hospital’s rabbi got involved too, telling Stefanie about “6 North”, the pediatric unit of the hospital.

Stefanie then composed a letter to her teacher Morah Chaya Devorah and to her class (3-3) describing the hospital, the pediatric unit, and her idea of what she wanted to do in her grandfather’s memory.

 

Over the past few months my class and I have been saying tehilim for my Zeide, Norman Leavitt. Every Sunday I would go visit him and he was always so happy to hear that all my friends were davening for him and wishing him a refuah shelama. Even though we davened so hard for him, my mom explained that sometimes Hashem just wants to have that special person in shamayim with him to help watch over us all.

On Jan 9th, my Zeide went up to Hashem and started his new job of taking care of us from shamayim.

I thought of one last thing that would make him so happy and I hope everyone in my class can help me. My Zeide loved kids and he loved making us smile and laugh. I tried to think of what chessed project that could honor his memory. We called the Rabbi at the hospital that my Zeide was in for a while. The Rabbi thought that a project box filled with games, crayons, coloring books and fun things for kids to do would be a great idea. It would make all the sick kids in the hospital smile and it would have made my Zeide happy knowing he was helping all the sick children.

I am asking the kids in my class to help me with this mitzvah. Please bring in a small toy or markers, crayons, coloring books, cards, anything that the kids can play with when they’re feeling well enough to go to the play room. This special box of toys will be donated in memory of my Zeide. In Morah Chaya Devorah’s classroom there will be a big bin to drop off your toys. It would make me so happy to have my class share in this last mitzvah that I can do for my Zeide. I would like to drop the box off at the hospital in the next few weeks so please bring in something a soon as you can.

Thank You,

Stefanie Leavitt

The letter sparked the imagination of her friends, and soon the Chessed project took on a life of its own.

A bin was set up in her third grade classroom, and very quickly it filled up with books, toys, puzzles, coloring books and crayons, art projects, and more. And it wasn’t just her classmates who filled up the bin, but also parents, and other adults who heard about Stefanie’s grandfather and the project.

In February, the hospital graciously received the bin, and the contents were delivered to the Bikur Cholim room and to 6 North.

In the Gemorah Nedarim 39b, it’s written, “He who visits a sick person takes away a sixtieth of his pain“. There’s no doubt that with this mitzvah, the students of Moriah Yeshiva helped take away some of the pain of all the children in the hospital, whether visiting or being treated – in the memory of Stefanie’s zeidi, Norman Leavitt.

Peres to AIPAC: ‘Iran Will Not Develop a Nuclear Weapon’

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Israeli President Shimon Peres used his speech to the AIPAC Policy Conference to declare that Iran “will be stopped” and insist that Israel has “a friend in the White House.”

In a wide-ranging speech, Peres also spoke of Israel’s unremitting duty to continue pursuing “a peace based on a Two State Solution,” despite the fact that the Middle East was being rocked by a “storm” of change. He said that the principle of the “The Two State solution” was “a paramount Israeli interest.”

The dovish President also peppered his speech with harsh words about Iran, continuing the rhetorical battle that has picked up frequency and intensity in recent months. He spoke of “Iran’s ambition is to control the Middle East, so it can control a major part of the world’s economy.”

“It must be stopped. And it will be stopped.” Peres proclaimed.

“Peace is always our first option,” he continued. “But, if we are forced to fight, trust me, We shall prevail…The United States and Israel share the same goal – to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. There is NO space between us. Our message is clear: Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”

Peres also spoke reassuringly about US President Obama, saying that his “commitment to Israel is deep and profound.” To the audience, Peres insisted: “We have a friend in the White House.”

On a personal note, the Israeli president reminisced about his grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Melzer, who had accompanied Peres to the train station on his way to Israel. Peres said that his grandfather “whispered in my ear only three words, ‘Shimon…. stay Jewish.’” Not long after, his grandfather and the remaining Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

“What remained was my Grandfather’s legacy, His last words to me ‘Stay Jewish.’”

Elie Wiesel Wants Romney to Denounce Mormon Posthumous Baptisms

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

The Boston Globe wrote Saturday that Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel wants Mitt Romney to speak out against the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing Jews.

“He is a Mormon, and since he’s running for president – the highest office in the world, not only in America – he should know what is happening, and he should have said simply, ‘It is wrong,”’ Wiesel, a professor at Boston University, said in an interview.

Wiesel’s comments could put Romney in the uncomfortable position of defending one of his church’s rituals that is little understood outside the world of Mormonism and has been the source of controversy with Jews in the past.

Romney’s campaign said yesterday that any questions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be directed to the church.

The church acknowledged earlier this week that Wiesel’s name and the names of his late father and grandfather had been entered into a genealogical database as candidates ready for posthumous rites.

Thoughts From the Throne

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we try to answer any questions that you send in at any time. And we do mean any time. This month, in honor of Purim, which is actually next month (shortly before the next edition of this column), we’re going to answer some questions that were sent in about 2,400 years ago.

Okay, so our turnaround isn’t that bad. This column is actually a rerun. The original version ran in The Jewish Press on March 10, 356 BCE, right next to the Arnold Fine column.

 

Dear Mordechai,

I’m in the process of building a throne with ornate lions and steps, and the lions keep getting up and attacking the contractors. What should I do? I’ve been king for over 2 years now, and I have nowhere to sit.

Standing, Persia

Dear Standing,

You don’t have to use real lions. No one’s gonna know. I’ll tell you what: Don’t use real lions, but don’t let anyone near enough to see that they’re fake. Like maybe you can have some kind of rule where no one can approach the throne without permission.

 

Dear Mordechai,

I’ve been invited to a party at the palace for an entire year, but I might have some scheduling conflicts. Should I go?

Conflicted, Media

 

Dear Conflicted,

Do you really want to go to a party that’s a year long? You go to a party that’s three hours long, and halfway through you’re looking around for your wife. What do you think they’re going to be doing there? You eat a course, you get up and dance, you eat the next course, you get up and dance, you eat another course… Remember how sick of food you are after a three-day Yom Tov? Plus, I bet there’s going to be speeches. And imagine how much you’re going to have to pay the babysitter. But on the other hand, I hear there’s an open bar.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

I summoned my wife to my party, and she’s been in her dressing room for like an hour, and she still hasn’t come out. Should I have her beheaded, or what?

Plastered, Shushan

 

Dear Plastered,

I’d give it time. An hour is nothing. Come back to me when it’s been several hours and she’s yelling through the door about how she doesn’t even want to go in the first place, and it’s just going to be your friends, and how her grandfather was right about you.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

How does one cover up a whole bunch of pimples?

Red-faced, Dressing Room

PS — I also have a tail.

 

Dear Red,

Maybe if you put some ribbons in the tail, no one will notice the pimples. I would also suggest growing a huge horn in the middle of your head.

 

Dear Mordechai,

Me again. It’s been a few hours, and my wife is yelling something about her grandfather. Can I have her beheaded NOW already?

Beyond Plastered, Shushan

Dear Beyond,

I’d say. The next thing you know, women are going to wear the pants, and we’re going to have to carry their shopping bags, and listen when they talk, and every time we want to go out, we’re going to have to be like, “Honey, I’m going to be home at eight. Is that okay?” I would say that you should find whichever one of your advisors has the scariest wife and listen to his unbiased opinion. Especially if he has a near-sighted daughter that he’s hoping to marry into royalty.

 

Dear Mordechai,

I just woke up with the hangover of my life, and I can’t remember a single thing that’s happened in the past year. My palace is in shambles, I have a pile of bills, my wife’s been beheaded, I can’t find my scepter, and there’s a camel in the bathtub. What happened?

Confused, Location Unknown

 

Dear Confused,

If you’d like, you can get up to speed by going to www.jewishpress.com/archives

 

Dear Mordechai,

I have a question about shidduchim. I’m currently in the parsha, but I’m getting a little sick of the whole dating scene. It’s always the same restaurants and the same lounges, and everyone there knows me already, and every girl is like, “Wow, you’re a king? I’m going into O.T.!” and I always get stuck with the bill. Also, people keep looking into my background, and finding out about my questionable yichus, and my drinking habit, and the fact that I behead wives. I’d love to just bypass this whole step.

Texting, Dougies

 

Dear Texting,

Have you tried speed dating? Force all the women in the kingdom to line up outside your palace, and you’ll get through all of them in like a perek.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

I’m getting married, and I’m Jewish, but my husband is not a big fan of the Jews. Should I mention it? I feel like it might be too late.

Anonymous, Shushan

 

Dear Anonymous,

No, don’t mention it. He’ll love that, actually. If I know your husband, his previous wife was the type to never stop talking about her lineage. (“That’s not how my grandfather used to rule a kingdom!” “That’s not how my grandfather used to get drunk!”) And if there’s one thing a man loves, it’s never having to meet his in-laws.

 

Dear Mordechai,

I’m trying to learn Torah at the palace gates, but it’s very noisy over here. “Ooh, I hope the king marries me!” “I wonder if he’s going to throw a big party like the last time!” “Hey, let’s poison the king!” These people do not stop talking. What should I do?

Frustrated, Palace Gates

 

Dear Frustrated,

If you hear something, say something. Best case scenario, the situation will take care of itself, and you can go back to learning.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

I have reason to believe that some of my servants are trying to kill me. But when I ask them, I don’t understand a single word they’re saying. Should I just have a drink and try to forget about it?

Paranoid, Location undisclosed

 

Dear Paranoid,

Maybe you should ease up on the drinking for a second.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

There is this one guy at work who just does not bow down to me. What should I do?

Haman, Amalek

 

Dear Haman,

That’s a first-world problem, dude. You’re on your own.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

There’s a new law that everyone has to prostrate themselves in front of Haman. What is “prostrate”, and is it covered by my insurance?

Worried, Shushan

 

Dear Worried,

Just try to avoid him.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

I can’t decide which day to kill all the Jews. Should I just pick a date out of a hat? I have a new hat.

Haman, Taschen

 

Dear Haman,

I cannot suggest killing whole groups of people in a family newspaper. But it’s nice to know that, as an elected official, your schedule is so wide open that you literally do not care which day you’re going to do this.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

I had a brand-new four-cornered hat, and my daughter cut off one of the corners. Should I hang her on a big tree?

Fuming, Taschen

 

Dear Fuming,

People aren’t really hanging their kids anymore. Maybe you should punish her with extra chores, like putting her in charge of emptying the chamber pots for a week.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

My wife invited me to a party that’s just her and me and one other guy. Is that weird?

Hungry, Shushan

 

Dear Hungry,

It’s hard to say.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

I need to build a gallows to hang my coworker, and according to my wife, who by the way does not wear the pants, it absolutely must be 50 amos high. My question is this: Why can I never find anyone to help me at Home Depot?

Lost, Home Depot

 

Dear Lost,

Um, I might have told people to avoid you.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

What on earth should be done to the man whom the king wants to honor?

Sleepless, Shushan


Dear Sleepless,

I’d say you should pay him in kind. Like if he saved your life, you should maybe try not to sign any decrees that would end his. But if it’s too late for that, then maybe a nice horsie ride.

 

 

Dear Mordechai,

I have to go to a party with the king and queen in about five minutes, and I’m totally covered in garbage, which is the only thing covering up the horse smell. What do I do?

Dripping, the foyer

 

Dear Dripping,

Again, first-world problems.

 

 

Got a question for “You’re Asking Me?” We’ll try to answer it within 2,400 years.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/thoughts-from-the-throne/2012/02/10/

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