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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Hebron Jewish’

Rabbi Danny Cohen – The Soldiers of Chabad meet the IDF soldiers of Hebron

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

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Rabbi Danny Cohen (Director of Chabad of Hebron) joins Yishai in honor of the 200th year anniversary of the yarhzeit of the founder of the Chabad movement, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (known in Chabad as the Alter Rebbe and around the world as the Baal HaTanya).  Together, Cohen and Yishai start off by discussing Cohen’s background and how his unique experience helps bring IDF soldiers to Judaism. They move on to talk about the history of the Avraham Avinu synagogue in Hebron.  The synagogue at one point was used as a pen to hold goats until it was lovingly restored by Professor Ben-Tzion Tavger and other great Jews. The segment ends with a focus on the history of Chabad’s presence in the city and the importance of Hebron to Chabad.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Radio: End of Chanukah, Tension in Hebron, Update on the Petting Zoo, and Turmoil in Syria.

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

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Yishai and Malkah discuss the end of Chanukah and the feelings the holiday’s end leaves behind.  They move on to talk about the ever-tense situation between Arabs and Jews in the city of Hebron along with an update on the herd of goats that Malkah tends to in the Fleisher’s neighborhood petting zoo and they end the segment by discussing the capture of American journalists and Syria.  Don’t miss this segment!

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Rock Throwing and Israeli Sovereignty

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

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Friend and colleague Baruch Widen joins Yishai. They talk about Yishai’s recent experience with being assaulted by Arab youths that threw rocks towards Yishai and his family.  Because of the assault, Yishai missed a conference that took place in Hebron where alternatives to the two-state solution were discussed.  Widen talks about the environment of the conference and some of the ideas that were discussed.  They move on to talk about how Israeli sovereignty needs to be extended across Judea and Samaria and at 20:30 Yishai presents a piece of the speech that American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave in Jerusalem this week.  They wrap up by providing commentary to Clinton’s time in Israel.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Darchei Noam

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Many years ago, an Arab called a friend of his. “They’re after me, they want to kill me and my family. No one will help us. What can we do?” His friend, realizing the seriousness of the situation, quickly answered. “Come to my house. I’ll keep you here until it’s safe for you elsewhere.” The Arab and his family lived with his friend for quite a while.

 

He had been cooperating with the Israeli security forces, feeding them information over an extended time.  When he was ‘discovered,’ the security forces abandoned him. The ‘friend’ who refused to leave him to his fate, and instead saved his life was Noam Arnon, and the place was Hebron.

 

 Sitting in an office next to a person for almost 15 years, and living upstairs from him for almost 11 years, provides you with a perspective about that someone which other people don’t normally have.

 

            There are several traits that stand out when thinking about Noam. The first is a habit that most people (at least most that I know) don’t have. He listens. He hears what other people have to say. And many times what he hears influences what he does, even if it means changing his mind.

 

 Our Sages teach that it is supremely important to have a lev tov, a good heart. Noam Arnon certainly qualifies for this distinctly positive attribute. It is written that a lev tov encompasses several different qualities: A “good eye” – through which a person sees most everything through a positive looking glass. This is vintage Noam. Despite his extremely high standards and ideals, he almost always observes events, including personal affronts, from an optimistic and constructive viewpoint.

 

 This can be, for people like me, working with him, very frustrating, as I do not always see people and events with that same “good eye.”

 

 The same above-mentioned teaching also speaks of being a “good friend and neighbor.” I can attest to Noam’s adherence to both of these attributes. There are few people I know who are as loyal as he is to his friends, sticking up for them whatever the situation may be. And as a neighbor, I think he would bend over backwards and give the shirt off his back, should the situation so demand.

 

 The fourth trait mentioned is a person who knows how to ‘plan for the future,’ and understand ‘what’s coming next.’ Advanced planning is always recommended, but not always easy to do. Planning ahead doesn’t just mean setting up next week’s schedule. Rather it entails vision; it necessitates thinking not only about tomorrow, but also about next year, a decade from now, and even further into the future.

 

 Perhaps one of the best examples of Noam’s vision was his founding of Midreshet Hevron. Initiated some 30 years ago, this organization has utilized tours and lectures to reach out to thousands and thousands of people, children and adults, teachers and tour guides, tourists and Sabras, introducing them not only to Hebron, but to the wonders of the Judean Desert, the southern Hebron Hills, and many other sites. When the Midrasha was founded, it would have been impossible to foresee its influence on so many thousands of people. But it has left an indelible mark on all those it has educated.

 

 Lastly the teaching speaks of the most complementary trait, that of a “good heart.” Probably the best example of Noam’s “good heart” is related in the first paragraph of this article. Another instance I remember is when a group of gentiles visited Ma’arat HaMachpela. Some of the Jewish people present at the Ma’ara began acting in a repulsive manner. Noam reacted quickly, rebuking them, asking, “Is it not written that Abraham is the father of many nations? Why shouldn’t others have the privilege to visit here too?”

 

 Noam Arnon is a man of many talents. He has toiled as a leader within Yesha for decades. For many years he was the official spokesperson for Gush Emunim and continued as spokesman for Hebron’s Jewish community. He is a superb tour guide, whose tours of Hebron have international prominence. A more recent project has included taking hundreds of Israelis serving in the IDF, on historical tours – from privates, to fighter pilots, to high-ranking officers. Many of the people had never before been to Hebron and their opinion of the city was based solely on what they read and saw in the media. Following their tour of Hebron, a visit which includes absolutely no politics, just history, many of them than begin to comprehend the significance of Hebron to the Jewish people. This is due to Noam’s extraordinary efforts, showing them Hebron as the roots of the Jewish people.

 

 On one hand, Noam has a poetic neshama, and is the regular leader of the Shabbat Carlebach services Friday nights at Ma’arat HaMachpela. It is not an exaggeration to say that Noam is spiritually bonded to Judaism’s 2nd holiest site.

 

Very rarely does he miss praying at the Ma’ara, almost three times a day, seven days a week.

 

 On the other hand, Noam Arnon is an authentic intellectual, a man who continues his formal education to this very day; a man who is well-read, and whose dream it is to write. He has already authored a number of books and pamphlets about Hebron, including a short history of Hebron and Ma’arat HaMachpela, the relationship between Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook and Hebron, and a compilation of Jewish sources dealing with Ma’arat HaMachpela. This is surely only the beginning. The future will definitely see major publications pumped out of his printer. Frequently he tells friends, “let me just sit and write, that’s all I really want to do.”

 

 Anyone who knows Noam and his abilities is not about to allow him to “just” sit back and write. His leadership, which has included participation on the Hebron Jewish community’s local council for many years, is still vital. Perhaps when one day he retires, he’ll be allowed the luxury to “just sit and write.” But not yet.

 

 It is quite fitting that Noam Arnon was awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism. The Moskowitzes, Dr. Irving and Cherna, are paradigm Zionists, who will be remembered in the annals of Jewish history, as are the Rothchilds and Montefiores.   There are many people in the world who are willing to express opinions and mouth support for the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael. There are very few who are willing and able to bestow the type of support the Moskowitzes have provided over the years. The decision to award the Moskowitz Prize to Noam Arnon is doubly important. Of course, it recognizes his life’s work for Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Hebron. But it also recognizes the fundamental importance of Hebron to the Jewish people. Nothing could be more natural than Noam Arnon, Hebron, and the Moskowitzes coming together as one, binding them as links in a chain, giving honor to all three: the bestower, the bestowed and our common roots: Hebron.

 

 Many times I’m asked what Noam’s like. My answer is very short and simple; Noam is, as his name implies. In English, I guess the best translation of noam is pleasant, conveying relaxation and quiet, or perhaps best put, peace of mind. This best describes Noam and his personality. Personally it is an honor to call him a friend and colleague. On behalf of the Hebron Jewish Community, it is a pleasure to wish him a hearty Mazal Tov on reception of this worthy distinction.

 

 He should be privileged to continue working “his way”- “the way of noam” or in Hebrew, darchei noam.

The House That Morris Built

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

            By  A professor from Bar Ilan University, an expert on ancient affairs, investigated the value of silver of thousands of years ago. He concluded that the price of 400 silver shekels that our Patriarch Abraham paid for Ma’arat HaMachpela, the caves where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried is worth, in today’s value, some $750,000. That’s just a little less than what Morris Abraham and his father Mickey paid for Beit HaShalom in Hebron.

            Beit HaShalom, (the “Peace house” in English) is a huge, 40,000 square foot structure, just above the main road leading from Hebron to Kiryat Arba. When it became known that the Arab owner of the building, some five years ago, was putting it up for sale, and the Abraham family heard about it, it was a done deal.

            Well, not quite. It took a few years to actually complete the transaction. Jews purchasing property from Arabs in Hebron is not an everyday occurrence, and is not easily accomplished. It is a task that requires, among other things, a tremendous amount of money, fine attorneys, much time, nerves of platinum, and most of all, a huge quantity of Divine assistance.

            Thank G-d, it all came together, and about 20 months ago, having received a green light from the lawyers, residents from Hebron’s Jewish community moved in.

            It wasn’t easy. From literally the moment we moved in, there was someone trying to have us removed. Some claimed that we “stole the building” from the Arab owner. Others said, “We don’t care if they bought it legally. Jews shouldn’t be in Hebron, period. Throw them out!”

            However, we had a lot going for us. First of all, the building was purchased legally. At one point the community released a film of the Arab counting the cash he received.  (When he later denied the sale during a police investigation, and the police showed him the video, he exclaimed, “I later cancelled the deal and gave them the money back!”)

            Hebron’s commanding IDF officer was ecstatic about the purchase, since the building is located at a very strategic position. It’s situated overlooking all of Kiryat Arba just across the road, and most of Hebron.  And an initial police investigation of the documents was positive. The documents were authentic.

            But facts don’t necessarily mean much in Israel. A court ruled that there was enough apparent evidence to prevent us from being evicted, but too many question marks to allow “life as usual.” So a status quo was ordered. We could stay, but without making any major changes in the building. This meant, for example, that windows could not be installed in the empty spaces in the walls. Nor could the building be hooked up to the Hebron electric grid.  So, as winter approached, the people inside were a little cold.

            A small generator was running, providing minimum electricity to power the heaters. But a building without windows in a snowstorm, is quite a bit to weather.  Big sheets of plastic in place of glass don’t really do the trick.

             Finally, in the midst of a snowstorm, and as a result of massive public pressure, cabinet ministers started pounding on Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s desk, demanding that the government allow windows to be installed immediately. The pressure worked, and finally windows were brought in. They refused to allow window shades or shutters; that was too much. But glass windows were okayed. 

            The left refused to give up, however, and they intensified efforts to have the Jewish residents expelled from the building. Police “suddenly decided” that many of the documents of sale were counterfeit, but refused to reveal which ones were “faked.” Finally the court forced them to allow the community an opportunity to defend itself and they had no choice but to divulge which papers were suspect. The community, via a former police officer, an expert on such affairs, was able to easily dispel the doubts as to the authenticity of the documents.

            At a recent Supreme Court hearing, the judges, (two of the most left-wing members of the court together with an Arab judge, hearing the case), accused the community of “taking the building by force” from its Arab owner. In response, the community gave the court new, startling evidence: an audio recording of the Arab owners saying, in plain language, that he sold the place and received full compensation for the building. He also declared that he had come under great pressure from Palestinian authority intelligence forces to “change his story.”

            Last week the Supreme Court announced its decision. They decided to ignore the facts in the case, not letting them get in the way of their own political biases. They announced that they would not get involved in the previous government decision to expel the building’s residents until the question of ownership was decided in a lower court. They gave the people living there 72 hours to leave of their own accord. If they did not voluntarily evict themselves, the government would then have legal permission to expel them.

            As of this writing, new families and many youth are moving into Beit HaShalom, in order to reinforce Jewish presence at that building, which clearly belongs to Hebron’s Jewish community. One family, Nahum and Revital Almagor and their 15-year-old daughter came from Brooklyn to participate in the struggle for the building.

            Last week, a retired judge, Uri Struzman, harshly criticized the Supreme Court ruling, calling it political and a sham. Another retired Supreme Court judge, Ya’akov Turkal, said that the Supreme Court decision did not demand that the families be removed from the building, rather that the government could remove them, if they so desired. In other words, the decision of expulsion is in the hands of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

            At the moment, the building’s many families: men, women and children, are willing to put up with a cold winter; (we expect that the cost to heat Beit HaShalom this winter to be over $150,000 – money which the community does not presently have); but they have no intentions of leaving their beloved home – Beit HaShalom – the building that Morris Abraham gave to the Jewish people of Hebron.

            A representative council of men and women from Hebron and Kiryat Arba, and other activists, has announced that the group will not initiate any violent acts against Israeli security forces, but should those forces attempt to expel them, there will be fierce resistance. However, the level of violence will be determined by the expulsion forces. MK Uri Ariel, speaking at an emergency community meeting last week, with over 1,000 people present, clearly stated that should those in the building be attacked and beaten, that they have a right to defend themselves.

            This past Shabbat close to 25,000 people visited Hebron, hearing the Torah tell how Avraham Avinu purchased the Caves of Machpela some 3,800 years ago. Many of those people also visited Beit HaShalom, showing their support and encouragement. How fitting that a family named Abraham should buy a building for almost the same price Avraham Avinu paid for Ma’arat HaMachpela, a piece of property just five minutes from the first Jewish-owned land in Eretz Israel. 

The House That Morris Built

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

            By  A professor from Bar Ilan University, an expert on ancient affairs, investigated the value of silver of thousands of years ago. He concluded that the price of 400 silver shekels that our Patriarch Abraham paid for Ma’arat HaMachpela, the caves where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried is worth, in today’s value, some $750,000. That’s just a little less than what Morris Abraham and his father Mickey paid for Beit HaShalom in Hebron.


            Beit HaShalom, (the “Peace house” in English) is a huge, 40,000 square foot structure, just above the main road leading from Hebron to Kiryat Arba. When it became known that the Arab owner of the building, some five years ago, was putting it up for sale, and the Abraham family heard about it, it was a done deal.


            Well, not quite. It took a few years to actually complete the transaction. Jews purchasing property from Arabs in Hebron is not an everyday occurrence, and is not easily accomplished. It is a task that requires, among other things, a tremendous amount of money, fine attorneys, much time, nerves of platinum, and most of all, a huge quantity of Divine assistance.


            Thank G-d, it all came together, and about 20 months ago, having received a green light from the lawyers, residents from Hebron’s Jewish community moved in.


            It wasn’t easy. From literally the moment we moved in, there was someone trying to have us removed. Some claimed that we “stole the building” from the Arab owner. Others said, “We don’t care if they bought it legally. Jews shouldn’t be in Hebron, period. Throw them out!”


            However, we had a lot going for us. First of all, the building was purchased legally. At one point the community released a film of the Arab counting the cash he received.  (When he later denied the sale during a police investigation, and the police showed him the video, he exclaimed, “I later cancelled the deal and gave them the money back!”)


            Hebron’s commanding IDF officer was ecstatic about the purchase, since the building is located at a very strategic position. It’s situated overlooking all of Kiryat Arba just across the road, and most of Hebron.  And an initial police investigation of the documents was positive. The documents were authentic.


            But facts don’t necessarily mean much in Israel. A court ruled that there was enough apparent evidence to prevent us from being evicted, but too many question marks to allow “life as usual.” So a status quo was ordered. We could stay, but without making any major changes in the building. This meant, for example, that windows could not be installed in the empty spaces in the walls. Nor could the building be hooked up to the Hebron electric grid.  So, as winter approached, the people inside were a little cold.


            A small generator was running, providing minimum electricity to power the heaters. But a building without windows in a snowstorm, is quite a bit to weather.  Big sheets of plastic in place of glass don’t really do the trick.


             Finally, in the midst of a snowstorm, and as a result of massive public pressure, cabinet ministers started pounding on Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s desk, demanding that the government allow windows to be installed immediately. The pressure worked, and finally windows were brought in. They refused to allow window shades or shutters; that was too much. But glass windows were okayed. 


            The left refused to give up, however, and they intensified efforts to have the Jewish residents expelled from the building. Police “suddenly decided” that many of the documents of sale were counterfeit, but refused to reveal which ones were “faked.” Finally the court forced them to allow the community an opportunity to defend itself and they had no choice but to divulge which papers were suspect. The community, via a former police officer, an expert on such affairs, was able to easily dispel the doubts as to the authenticity of the documents.


            At a recent Supreme Court hearing, the judges, (two of the most left-wing members of the court together with an Arab judge, hearing the case), accused the community of “taking the building by force” from its Arab owner. In response, the community gave the court new, startling evidence: an audio recording of the Arab owners saying, in plain language, that he sold the place and received full compensation for the building. He also declared that he had come under great pressure from Palestinian authority intelligence forces to “change his story.”


            Last week the Supreme Court announced its decision. They decided to ignore the facts in the case, not letting them get in the way of their own political biases. They announced that they would not get involved in the previous government decision to expel the building’s residents until the question of ownership was decided in a lower court. They gave the people living there 72 hours to leave of their own accord. If they did not voluntarily evict themselves, the government would then have legal permission to expel them.


            As of this writing, new families and many youth are moving into Beit HaShalom, in order to reinforce Jewish presence at that building, which clearly belongs to Hebron’s Jewish community. One family, Nahum and Revital Almagor and their 15-year-old daughter came from Brooklyn to participate in the struggle for the building.


            Last week, a retired judge, Uri Struzman, harshly criticized the Supreme Court ruling, calling it political and a sham. Another retired Supreme Court judge, Ya’akov Turkal, said that the Supreme Court decision did not demand that the families be removed from the building, rather that the government could remove them, if they so desired. In other words, the decision of expulsion is in the hands of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


            At the moment, the building’s many families: men, women and children, are willing to put up with a cold winter; (we expect that the cost to heat Beit HaShalom this winter to be over $150,000 – money which the community does not presently have); but they have no intentions of leaving their beloved home – Beit HaShalom – the building that Morris Abraham gave to the Jewish people of Hebron.


            A representative council of men and women from Hebron and Kiryat Arba, and other activists, has announced that the group will not initiate any violent acts against Israeli security forces, but should those forces attempt to expel them, there will be fierce resistance. However, the level of violence will be determined by the expulsion forces. MK Uri Ariel, speaking at an emergency community meeting last week, with over 1,000 people present, clearly stated that should those in the building be attacked and beaten, that they have a right to defend themselves.


            This past Shabbat close to 25,000 people visited Hebron, hearing the Torah tell how Avraham Avinu purchased the Caves of Machpela some 3,800 years ago. Many of those people also visited Beit HaShalom, showing their support and encouragement. How fitting that a family named Abraham should buy a building for almost the same price Avraham Avinu paid for Ma’arat HaMachpela, a piece of property just five minutes from the first Jewish-owned land in Eretz Israel. 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/the-house-that-morris-built/2008/11/26/

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