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Posts Tagged ‘Holy City’

A Monumental Distortion Of History

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently continued a long tradition of attempting to question a Jewish link to Jerusalem by expressing his mendacious notion that “Jerusalem’s identity is Arab, and the city’s and Christian holy sites must be protected from Israeli threats.”

The same scholar of history who wrote a doctoral dissertation that questioned the extent and truthfulness of the Holocaust was now making his own historical claim that there has never been a Jewish presence and history in the world’s holiest city.

Israeli archeology and a Jewish biblical connection to Jerusalem, specifically the Temple Mount, “will not undermine the fact that the city will forever be Arabic, Islamic and Christian,” Abbas crowed, adding that “there will be no peace or stability before our beloved city and eternal capital is liberated from occupation and settlement,” suggesting that even Jerusalem itself is in fact occupied and that it was, and still is, the capital of a putative Palestinian state.

This airbrushing out of a Jewish presence from Jerusalem – in fact, all of Palestine – is not a new message for Abbas, of course. In 2000 he expressed similar contempt for the idea that a Jewish temple had ever existed on the Temple Mount, and argued that, even if it had existed, the offenses committed by Israel against the Palestinians negated any claim Jews might have enjoyed, absent their perfidy.

“Anyone who wants to forget the past [the Israelis] cannot come and claim that the [Jewish] temple is situated beneath the Haram,” he asserted in a 2000 article in Kul Al-Arab, an Israeli Arabic-language weekly newspaper. “They demand that we forget what happened 50 years ago to the refugees…while at the same time they claim that 2,000 years ago they had a temple. I challenge the assertion that this is so. But even if it is so, we do not accept it, because it is not logical for someone who wants a practical peace.”

In characterizing East Jerusalem – or any part of Jerusalem, for that matter – as territory that Israel “occupies” but over which it enjoys no sovereignty, Abbas (and the Obama administration’s State Department, too) is misreading, once again, the content and purpose of 1967’s UN Security Council Resolution 242 that suggested an Israeli withdrawal “from territories” it acquired in the Six-Day War.

Critics of Israeli policy who either willfully misread or deliberately obscure the resolution’s purpose say the Jewish state is in violation of 242 by continuing to occupy the West Bank and Jerusalem, including what is mistakenly now referred to as “Arab” East Jerusalem. But the drafters of Resolution 242 were very precise in creating the statute’s language, and never considered Jerusalem to have been “occupied” by Israel after the Six-Day War.

* * * * *

Former U.S. ambassador to the U N Arthur Goldberg, one of the resolution’s authors, made this very clear when he wrote some years later that “Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem, and this omission was deliberate…. At no time in [my] many speeches [before the UN] did I refer to East Jerusalem as occupied territory.”

Along with their unwavering and various demands, including a “right of return” of all refugees and sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the Palestinians now insist that Jerusalem must be divided to give them a capital in its eastern portion. That view is troubling because it reveals a pattern in which Arabs endow Jerusalem with intense significance to serve purposes of political expediency.

In fact, as Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes has observed, a “historical survey shows that the stature of the city, and the emotions surrounding it, inevitably rises for Muslims when Jerusalem has political significance. Conversely, when the utility of Jerusalem expires, so does its status and the passions about it.” When Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank and purged Jerusalem of its Jews from 1949 to 1967, for example, Jerusalem’s stature declined. But Israel’s recapture of the territory in 1967 changed the political landscape, including an Arab desire for Jerusalem, suggesting to Dr. Pipes that “the Muslim interest lies not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it does in denying control over the city to anyone else.”

Dore Gold, Israel’s UN ambassador from 1997 to 1999, noted in his book The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City, that many in the Muslim world, and even some individuals in the West, have begun a sinister process aimed at establishing a spiritual as well as political presence in Jerusalem for Islam, while simultaneously diminishing Jewish historical links to the city.

Does Israel Have A Capital?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

The U.S. presidential campaign is upon us, and one of the central issues – at least based on a perusal of recent press reports – is none other than the Jewish people’s right to their own capital.

One might have thought this issue had been put to bed decades ago. The Jewish nation, one of the world’s oldest peoples, long ago had a thriving state, with its capital in Jerusalem, known also as the City of David. There it built its holy Temples, from there the Prophet Isaiah promised that Torah would come forth, and to there Jews from all over the world made pilgrimage three times each year.

After this holy city was razed and emptied of most of its citizens, it spent centuries in destruction and desolation. The exiled Jewish nation, too, spent this period in bleakness, placing on hold its dream of regaining its capital while it concentrated on surviving pogroms and expulsion.

When the Jewish nation finally began returning to its homeland over a century ago, and finally merited to re-establish its state over 60 years ago, its birthright claim to its capital city should have been a no-brainer. Yet the U.S., the country that was first to recognize its renewed existence in 1948, only minutes after it was declared, simply refuses to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Make no mistake: We’re not talking about the areas liberated in 1967, sometimes known as “eastern Jerusalem.” The reference is to the western portion of the city, which Arabs do not even pretend to claim (other than as part of their general claim on the entire Land of Israel). Yes, it is western Jerusalem that the U.S. cannot bring itself to call the capital of its loyal ally.

Pressed to comment on why the Obama Administration cannot connect Jerusalem with Israel and the Jewish people, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said clearly: “It’s the view of this administration that the capital should be determined in final status negotiations between parties.”

This statement must be carefully analyzed, for it has significant ramifications. Just as a man attracts a dog by holding a bone just out of its reach, and continually moving it away as the dog nears him, so too, President Obama renders Israel’s choice of its capital city dependent on the elusive and ever-distancing goal of successful “final status negotiations.”

In other words, the Arab parties have the final say on whether the U.S. recognizes our capital. Only if they agree not only to enter the final-status stage – unlikely enough – but also to acknowledge, at any point, that they can be termed “successful,” will the Obama administration agree to say, “Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

What parts of its homeland will Israel have to forsake, and how many Jews will it have to expel, in order to reach this goal?

Obama’s stance on Yerushalayim may not be the official American position for long. Republican candidate Mitt Romney seems to feel that Israel need pay no additional price for the privilege of determining its capital. During his recent visit to Israel, he stated several times that Jerusalem is clearly the capital of the Jewish state. “It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” he said in one speech.

Emergency Committee for Israel executive-director Noah Pollak writes that “Romney’s position has implications far beyond the status of Jerusalem: It is a pledge to stop subordinating American policy and conforming America’s treatment of her allies to the desires of the ‘international community.’ ”

We should be thankful that at least the U.S. has not determined that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital, as the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain recently attracted notoriety for doing. When White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was recently asked by a reporter whether Israel’s capital was Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, he did not answer at all – even though he was asked a number of times. Instead, he merely repeated with discomfort, “You know our position, it has not changed.”

The future of Yerushalayim as Israel’s united and complete capital is far from assured – at least in terms of the position of the United States. Efforts to promote this cause are thus more important than ever.

Why Move The Embassy?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

While Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich vie with each other in expressing ever-stronger support for Israel, polls show Romney has a better chance of unseating President Obama in the November election. It is for this reason that many Israel supporters would like contender Rick Santorum to withdraw from the Republican race to ensure Romney is chosen over Gingrich.

Be that as it may, it would be enlightening to briefly review the main point on which the two leading candidates agree regarding Israel, the U.S., and Hamas-Fatah. Romney said, “The best way to have peace in the Middle East is not for us [the U.S.] to vacillate and to appease, but to say, we stand with our friend Israel…. I think [Obama] has time and time again shown distance from Israel, and that has created, in my view, a greater sense of aggression on the part of the Palestinians.”

Gingrich expressed it like this: “[W]e’re in a continuous state of war where Obama undermines the Israelis.” He also reiterated that the formation of a Palestinian people “was technically an invention of the late 1970s.… Prior to that, they were Arabs. Many of them were either Syrian, Lebanese, or Egyptian, or Jordanian…”

“On the first day that I’m president” Gingrich added, “I will sign an executive order directing the State Department to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” Why would that be beneficial? “To send the signal we’re with Israel,” he concluded.

There are other, more substantial reasons why Israel deserves to have its capital recognized. The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by massive majorities in the 104th U.S. Congress in October 1995, states that every country has a right to designate its own capital – and that Israel has chosen Jerusalem. The law calls for the city, which it deems the “spiritual center of Judaism,” to remain undivided and recognized as the capital of the State of Israel – specifically, by relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999(!). It has repeatedly been “waived,” however, in accordance with its own provisions, by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.

Despite 1,300 years of Muslim Arab rule in the Holy Land, Jerusalem was never the capital of an Arab entity, nor was it even built up in accordance with the importance Islam today ascribes to it. In 1867, Mark Twain described the city as “mournful, and dreary, and lifeless.” 100 years later, the PLO drafted its National Covenant – and did not even mention Jerusalem. (It added Jerusalem later, after Israel regained control of the site of the Holy Temple and the rest of the Old City in 1967).

It often has been claimed that by rights Jerusalem must actually be internationalized, and that the UN’s famous partition resolution of 1947 recommended doing just that. However, this resolution was non-binding, and required acceptance by all concerned parties. The Jews of what became the state of Israel were willing to accept it, but the Arab parties not only rejected it, but unlawfully took up arms against Israel in an effort to render it moot.

Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, founder of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the Law Faculty of Cambridge University, wrote back in 1968 why the plan to internationalize Jerusalem is no longer a legal option: “During the period 1948-1952, the [UN] General Assembly gradually came to accept that the plan for the territorial internationalization of Jerusalem had been quite overtaken by events.”

In addition to the active Arab opposition and attempt to forcibly expel all Jews from Jerusalem, Judge Lauterpacht noted that following Jordan’s denial of Jewish access to the city’s holy sites, in violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreement, “the UN accepted as tolerable the unsupervised control of the Old City of Jerusalem by Jordanian forces.” This not only showed the UN no longer supported internationalization but, Lauterpacht noted, “the presence of Jordanian forces west of the Jordan River was entirely lacking in any legal justification.”

Israel’s liberation of Yerushalayim in 1967 was clearly a miracle, in that Israel had no plans to do so – and even told Jordan it would not attack unless Jordan attacked first. However, the miracle also has significant legal implications, as the authoritative judge noted:

“On 5th June, 1967, Jordan deliberately overthrew the Armistice Agreement by attacking the Israeli-held part of Jerusalem. There was no question of this Jordanian action being a reaction to any Israeli attack. It took place notwithstanding explicit Israeli assurances, conveyed to King Hussein through the UN Commander, that if Jordan did not attack Israel, Israel would not attack Jordan. Although the charge of aggression is freely made against Israel in relation to the Six Day War, the fact remains that the two attempts made in the General Assembly in June-July 1967 to secure the condemnation of Israel as an aggressor failed. A clear and striking majority of the members of the UN voted against the proposition that Israel was an aggressor.”

Return to Sender: Knesset Speaker Rivlin’s New Years Greeting ‘Biased,’ ‘Political’

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Tahar Al-Massri, Jordan’s Speaker of Parliament, returned a New Year’s greeting from Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Sunday, claiming that it is “biased and political,” and racist for calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

Rivlin had sent a letter to parliamentary speakers around the globe honoring the 2012 New Year. The letter began with Rivlin stating that he was writing from “the Holy City of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

Al-Quds? Jerusalem? No, Yerushalayim

Thursday, July 7th, 2011
Israel has taken a significant step this week toward enhancing the Jewish national character of the country. The Cabinet voted to appoint a ministerial committee to approve a uniform Hebrew naming system – not Arabic, not English – for all Jewish locations in the country.
For instance, though Arabs have taken to calling our Eternal City “Al-Quds,” the name of Israel’s capital will no longer be left to the political-nationalist whims and machinations of various ethnic groupings. Instead, the eternal Holy City must be known forevermore by its biblical, Hebrew, Zionist name: Yerushalayim.
As of now, street signs for Jerusalem say Yerushalayim in Hebrew letters, Jerusalem in English, and Urshalayim-Al-Quds in Arabic. Once the new plan is adopted, all three languages will read “Yerushalayim.”
Not only Jerusalem will be affected. The name Tiberias, for example, will no longer appear on street signs or maps; instead, the city – one of Judaism’s four holy metropolises – will be known only by its Hebrew appellation, Tverya. (The rules state that even if the Hebrew name ends with “h,” as do Tveryah, Ofrah, Kiryat Shmonah and others, the official English spelling will not end with “h.” Go figure )
The changes will affect cities, towns, intersections and historic sites, and will be manifest on street signs, maps, school books, and all official publications.
The new system was initiated by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz of Likud, who explained, “Decisions regarding the uniform, official names must be made based on Zionism . Names have significance in terms of national awareness and the national narrative. If someone wants to use street signs to turn Jewish Jerusalem into Palestinian Al-Quds, it won’t happen under this government. Just as Arab towns don’t want to give Jewish names – the Palestinian Authority has issued an order to erase all Hebrew signs – Jewish towns need not have Arab names.”
The importance of the move can be gauged by the extent of the Arab opposition to it. Arab MK Ahmed Tibi said, “Minister Katz is mistaken if he thinks that by laundering words he can erase Arab ties to the land . Al-Quds will remain Al-Quds, Yaffo will remain Yaffa, and Shfar’am will stay Shfa-Amar.” (Shfar’am, in the Galilee, is mentioned in the Talmud, hundreds of years before the Muslims came into being and conquered parts of the Holy Land.)
Al-Quds, which is Arabic for “The Holy,” is simply an attempt to erase the city’s Jewish name and rewrite history. This strategy is not the first time the “name game” has been attempted as a way of wresting away Jerusalem from the Jewish people.
 The Roman emperor Hadrian rebuilt the ruined city in the 130′s, and gave it a thoroughly Roman-pagan name: Aelia Capitolina, after himself and Jupiter. His goal was to ensure that Jews never again live there – yet within a relatively short time, his descendants and countrymen all but forgot that there had ever been a Roman presence in Jerusalem (the Byzantines took over the city in 324).
Jewish generations, on the other hand, never in history severed their national, religious, and emotional ties with the Holy City. Hadrian would have been mortified to see the more than half-million Jews now living in the city.
Today, another attempt is being made to “capture” the Jews’ holy city by giving it a new name. Ironically, Al-Quds is actually an abbreviation for a previous Arabic name used for Jerusalem, “Bet Al-maKDeS” – referring to none other than the Beit HaMikdash, our Holy Temple. Thus, the name the Arabs use for Jerusalem for the purpose of “Arabizing” it is actually one that perpetuates its Jewishness!
The Arab world is now preparing for the convening of the UN General Assembly this coming September, at which it plans to demand recognition of a PLO state with Jerusalem as its capital. The non-viability of this idea – in terms of security, demographics, municipal government, history, religion and modern-day politics – has been explained at length in our previous articles and elsewhere.
Logic and justice notwithstanding, however, it is likely the world body will not be convinced, and will in fact vote to recognize a Muslim state on the Jewish homeland. Now, therefore, is the time to strengthen our own bonds with Israel and Yerushalayim. What could be easier than to call it by its Jewish name, whether in private conversation, e-mails to friends, acquaintances and Congressmen, blogs, letters to the editor, and wherever else?
When Arab spokesmen use the name Al-Quds, we cringe as we sense their pompousness in claiming a city that was never theirs. How much more so should we be justifiably proud, and earn points on the international PR scene as well, to call the Holy Eternal City by its real name: Yerushalayim.
For more information on how to participate in keeping Jerusalem Jewish, via updates, bus tours of critical parts of Jerusalem, and more, send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.
Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel is senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7 and an author. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.

Their column appears every other week.

Flashpoint: The Shepherd Hotel

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
As we focus on Jerusalem as the central issue of the on-again, off-again – but always looming – negotiations with the PA, let us take a look at the latest flashpoint in our holy city: The Shepherd Hotel.
The essential details are these: The Shepherd Hotel stood for 81 years overlooking Shimon HaTzaddik‘s gravesite in a neighborhood that was once very Jewish but is now predominantly Arab; a Jew purchased it in 1985; the world is aghast at the prospect that a new Jewish neighborhood of 20 apartments is to be built there.
Of course, there is more to be told – and it explains the historical justification for the presence of Jews on the site: The land in question was originally owned by Hajj Amin el-Husseini, who, as mufti of Jerusalem, forged close ties with the Nazis. In 1929, when his anti-Jewish incitement led to Arab riots and over 120 Jewish deaths across the Land of Israel, he had a spacious house built there – later to be known as the Shepherd Hotel.
The mufti later rented the house to a Christian Arab historian named George Antonius, another enemy of the Jewish people. Antonius helped the Arabs create many myths of “Palestinian Arab nationalism” and, together with his wife, Katy, rendered the building a meeting place in which top Arabs and like-minded British officials often socialized.
On April 16, 1948, with British forces standing by, a Jewish convoy to Mount Scopus was attacked and 78 Jews were brutally murdered. This infamous incident occurred just down the block from the site of the Shepherd Hotel where British forces were stationed.
In terms of historical justice, then, it is a no-brainer that this symbol of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish nationalism make way, legally and above-board, for the Jewish nation’s return to its eternal homeland and capital.
Recently, in accordance with plans by owner Irving Moskowitz to build a Jewish neighborhood there, the hotel was demolished. A few days later, a stop-work order was issued when the “Muslim Committee” complained that a historic Muslim site was being destroyed. Three days later, the Interior Ministry rejected the complaint and work resumed.
In light of disapproving noises by world leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Prime Minister Netanyahu has noted repeatedly that the project is a private venture – and that the construction is an expression of democratic values: “The State of Israel cannot be expected to forbid Jews from purchasing private property in Jerusalem. No democratic country in the world would impose such a ban on Jews, and it cannot be expected that Israel will be the one to do so.”
“Just as Jerusalem’s Arab citizens are allowed to buy or rent assets in Jerusalem’s Jewish-majority neighborhoods,” Netanyahu added, “Jews are allowed to rent property in a Jerusalem neighborhood with an Arab majority.”
Just below the Shepherd Hotel site is the holy site of the grave of Simon the Just, of the Second Temple period, where Jews study, pray and visit all day long. Just across the street lies the Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood – houses that one by one are being restored, after protracted legal proceedings, to their original Jewish owners. Some ten Jewish families currently live there.
Radical left-wing groups such as Ir Amim have called for a halt to Jewish construction plans in the area and a “freeze” on the evictions of Arab residents from the area. Such organizations want the borders between the Jewish and Arab parts of the city to remain as distinct as possible, in order to facilitate the “negotiated process [regarding Jerusalem] between Israel and the Palestinians” that Ir Amim’s website calls for.
Since the Arab side insists unyieldingly that such negotiations give them nearly complete control over all of eastern Jerusalem, it is clear that those who oppose Jewish construction in Shimon HaTzaddik and the Shepherd Hotel site actually want nothing less than the division of Jerusalem.
It must be made crystal clear: Opposition to a Jewish Shepherd Hotel means support for the division of our holy eternal city of Jerusalem into two: A Jewish city, on the one hand, with the Knesset, Central Bus Station, Supreme Court, luxury hotels, and the like – and on the other hand an Arab city that includes the Old City, Mt. of Olives, City of David, Mt. Zion, etc.
On a practical level, it may well be asked: Do Jewish enclaves in Arab-populated neighborhoods work? The answer is yes, though they have 24/7 protection – similar to many buildings in New York City. An example of this co-existence is the Maaleh HaZeitim project at the foot of the Mount of Olives in the Ras el-Amoud neighborhood, a 15-minute walk from the Western Wall. Dozens of Jewish families, the first of whom moved in eight years ago, live there with barely a hostile incident recorded.
Not far away live some 75 families in the City of David, amid thousands of Arabs – many of whom live in illegal structures. The area was the site of some clashes recently, but the 20-plus years of the Jews’ renewed presence on the site of ancient Jerusalem – the seat of King David’s kingdom – have made basically little news on the security front.
In future columns, we will elaborate further on some of the above points. Meanwhile, we have seen that expanding Jewish life in all of Jerusalem is safe, legal, historically correct and politically wise.

We invite you to visit Jerusalem and take part in our bus tours of critical but little-known parts of Jerusalem and environs, and see for yourselves the implications of dividing our Holy City. For information, send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit our website at www.keepjerusalem.org.

 

Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel is the senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7 and an author. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.

A Call For Help From Jerusalem

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Special Note: The author of the following letter is well- known to me. He is a trustworthy young man who had an impressive secular education in the States and gave it all up when he became a ba’al teshuvah and decided to pursue a life of Torah learning in Jerusalem. His wife, who comes from a fine American family that made aliyah many years ago, is equally committed. I know them and can vouch for them. I also know for a fact that this young man is a serious, sincere “learner” whose parents experienced tremendous financial reversals and are not in a position to help in any way, shape or form.

The yeshiva at which he is studying, as most mosdos, yeshivos and tzedakos nowadays, is struggling just to keep afloat. So when I received his plea for help, I decided to publish his letter on the chance that one of our readers might be able to come to his assistance. Stranger things than this have happened in the past.

Over the years people have written to me with the most unusual requests. After publishing their letters, volunteers came forth and signaled their willingness to help. Our people are truly amazing. Just consider – the very fact that this young man feels confident in making such a request is surely testimony to the unbelievable chesedthat prevails within our people.

Over the millennia, we traversed the globe, we encountered many civilizations, many societies, many cultures…. we knew persecution, oppression and torture as well as assimilation and alienation. But the chesed with which our Father Abraham endowed us is so deeply ingrained in our souls that even the most trying experiences cannot destroy it. May Hashem grant that, in this merit of chesed, we be zocheh to behold the redemption of our people speedily in our own day.

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

This is _________ from Jerusalem. I hope that you and the entire Hineni Kehillah had powerful and productive Yamin Noraim. When I spoke to you last in August, I mentioned that, with no support from my parents, my wife and I were having trouble getting by. We are happy to be moser nefesh for Torah, but with the outrageous rental prices for even a 25-meter studio apartment (over 800 dollars a month when my wife’s salary is barely $18,000 a year), we can’t make it.

Additionally, there are virtually no stipends in yeshivas (support for young married men who learn full-time). We couldn’t cover our bills if it weren’t for the help that my over-extended parents-in-law provide on a constant basis. Again, we have very low material standards, but we have trouble meeting even those.

When I spoke to you, I didn’t dare ask for financial help because I know the economic situation, and I am sure that Hineni, like other tzedakos and kiruv organizations must be feeling the pinch. However, I realize that there is something I can ask for your help with, and it is the following:

Baruch Hashem, Sukkos is a magical time in Eretz Yisrael, and especially in Ir HaKodesh – the Holy City of Yerushalayim. What is particularly nice to see is so many people from out of the country, making a modern-day aliyah l’regel – pilgrimage for the chag. It occurred to my wife and me that many of these people have apartments in Jerusalem, and these apartments sit empty with the exception of Yamim Tovim or a few weeks in the summer. What a lifesaver they could be for couples such as we who are struggling just to survive.

There are entire neighborhoods that remain empty for the majority of the year. The families that own these apartments return to their homes Chutz La’Aretz, while many young kollel couples, who have made Yerushalayim their permanent home, are desperately searching for a place to live.

Please do not think I am asking for an outright gift. Of course we would want to pay something, but as things stand now, even with the greatest sacrifice, we cannot meet the inflated rental prices that landlords are demanding in Jerusalem. So, though it may be brazen to make such a request, I was hoping I could ask you to look out for me to see if there is anyone you might know or come into contact with that might be willing to rent their apartment to us for a low price. It goes without saying that we would accept the responsibility of leaving the apartment in perfect condition.

Of course we would be happy to vacate for all Yamim Tovim or any other time of the year. I am certain that you can understand that a fifteen-meter machsan is fine for a week or a month, but for a whole year it is a little bit difficult to function with no kitchen facilities and barely a bathroom.

We would be happy to pay a subsidized rent. Additionally, since my father-in-law is a very competent contractor, he would vouch to fix any potential damages that they might worry about or make improvements in the apartment.

Overall I am, Baruch Hashem, unfazed by our problem. I have emunah and I know that Hashem will help us. The outer trappings of gashmius don’t bother me. I want nothing more than to focus on my learning. We are not naive and are ready for sacrifice. My wife is ready for the commitment that such a kollel life entails, but the basics we need -to live in an apartment with a working stove and not just a one-room machsan.

Up until now, we have been relying heavily on my parents-in-law, and while they are really amazing and very giving we basically cook every meal in their house, use their house for phone calls, laundry and everything else. It is not good for my wife to have essentially never left home – although relations between my parents-in-law and us remain excellent, in a certain way, we don’t feel the independence of marriage and it obviously bothers my wife.

Please forgive me for burdening you with my personal needs, but it occurred to me that perhaps, just perhaps, someone might respond to this plea. I would like to add that we are not seeking this help on a long- term basis. We would just like to have the opportunity to save up some money so that my wife and I can obtain a residence in a Jerusalem suburb where apartments are much less expensive and mortgages are more affordable.

I would like to express my appreciation to you for considering my letter and bringing my request to the attention of your many readers. May I ask you to please omit my name?

Chag Sameach & Gut Yom Tov

My Dear Friend:

As you can see, of all the letters and e-mail that came across my desk this week, I gave your letter priority and am pleased to publish it. I hope that, B’Ezrat Hashem…. as a result, something good will occur. Please be assured that if I have any positive responses, I will be in touch.

With every best wish and brachos

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/a-call-for-help-from-jerusalem-2/2009/10/14/

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