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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘honor’

A ‘Spontaneous Minute’ Will Speak Louder Than IOC’s Roaring Hypocrisy

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games get underway in London in two days and three hours [check it here]. An online petition calling for sixty seconds of silence at the opening ceremony in memory of the eleven Israeli Olympians murdered in the Munich Olympic village exactly forty years ago by Palestinian Arabs has gotten more than 107,000 signatures. But it has failed to move the Olympic games organizers.

The families of the Munich 11 have tried for four long and lonely decades to obtain appropriate and respectful recognition of the Munich massacre from the International Olympic Committee. [We wrote about this earlier: “20-Jul-12: The Olympics, terror, cowardice and wisdom“] Now that it is clear they have finally and absolutely failed, the widow of one of the Munich dead says people sitting in the stadium at Friday’s opening ceremony should stand up and observe what she calls “a spontaneous minute when the IOC president begins to speak”. She’s absolutely right. The rest of us who will not be there should be doing everything we can to spread the word.

How did the organizers articulate their objection? Insensitively.

“We feel that the Opening Ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said Saturday. [Source: CNN]

How did the widows object to the objection? Determinedly, and with admirable dignity.

“If you believe that the 11 murdered athletes must be mentioned, stand for a spontaneous minute when the IOC president begins to speak,” said Ilana Romano, wife of Yossef Romano, a weightlifter who was murdered in the 1972 attack. The media, she said, should follow the lead of NBC sportscaster Bob Costas [it’s explained here], who has pledged to hold his own on-air minute of silence. “Silence your microphones for a minute in memory of our loved ones and to condemn terrorism,” she said… The IOC, led by president Jacques Rogge, has steadfastly refused [the request for a minute of respectful silence]… [The widows behind the petition] were in London to present the petition to Rogge in a last-ditch attempt to get him to agree. They were due to meet on Wednesday night, after Rogge postponed a Tuesday meeting. [Source: Times of Israel]

It’s not as if we lack a precedent. The victims of 9/11 were honored by the IOC at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah:

Sixty thousand people stood as one in respectful silence at the start of the program when the tattered American flag, recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center disaster, was carried into the stadium by eight U.S. athletes accompanied by three New York Port Authority police officers. The silence continued as the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed the national anthem with a kind of haunting dignity seldom heard in an age of embellishment. [Source: 2002 report in the San Francisco Chronicle]

So  why, really, is the IOC opposed to remembering the Israelis? Their deaths, unlike those of the tragic victims of 9/11, were integrally bound up with the Olympics, after all. There’s a deeply disturbing answer. According to Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee vice-president

The threats to boycott the opening ceremony made by Arab states in the event of an official minute of silence have led the IOC to mark the 40 year anniversary in other ways, including a minute of silence on Monday inside the Olympic Village, led by IOC President Jacques Rogge. The Arab boycott “had been a possibility, according to some of our advice”, Bach said according to Israel’s Channel 2 news. [Source: Algemeiner.com]

Craven is not a strong enough word for the IOC’s conduct in this affair. If, as appears to be the case, this is why the IOC has decided what it decided, then those of us who understand the reasoning behind an “Arab boycott” and the hatred it represents must do everything we can to take back and publicly honor the memories of the Munich dead: stand for a spontaneous minute when the IOC president begins to speak.

Like many things in life, this is far too important to be left to the officials. If we’re not on the side of the victims, then we are giving our support to the killers and those who stand with them. 

Frimet and Arnold Roth

The Moment of Silence Revisited

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/a-moment-of-silence-at-olympics.html

A while back I expressed my doubts about whether a moment of silence at the Summer Olympics was worth all the angst being expressed about it by our own community. I felt then as I do now that there are a lot more important things to concern ourselves with than this.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to not hold a moment of silence on the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre of 11 Israeli athletes may have been a poor decision – but it was theirs to make and not particularly anti-Semitic.  Appeals to reconsider led by Ankie Spitzer, widow of slain Olympic athlete, Andre Spitzer have thus far been unsuccessful.

I recall being just about a lone voice for this perspective. I nevertheless still feel that we ought not make a big deal about something that makes us appear as though we are being paranoid… that the only reason the IOC does not want to hold a moment of silence is because it is for Jews and that had this massacre happened to athletes from any other country there surely would be a moment of silence. I do not happen to believe that.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t admire non-Jews for picking up the cause. I therefore have to admire Bob Costas. From The JewishPress:

One of the best known sportscasters in America may soon make history by defying the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decree that it would not honor the memory of the murdered 1972 Israeli Olympic team, and conducting an on-air memorial of his own.

Bob Costas, famed NBC sportscaster and regular frontline broadcaster of the Olympic games, told The Hollywood Reporter that he would not stand behind the IOC’s “baffling” decision to deny Israel’s request for a moment of silence to acknowledge the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists 40 years ago at the 1972 games in Munich, Germany, and that he would take it upon himself to highlight the injustice during his broadcast of the London games opening ceremonies on July 27.

If officials of the Olympics continue to refuse to honor the victims with a moment of silence, Costas says “I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he tells THR. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive.  [So] Here’s a minute of silence right now.”

Costas intends to take his stand for the slain Olympians as the Israeli delegation enters the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

I don’t know how many people will be watching the Olympics via NBC’s broadcast. But I suspect it is among the most watched events on broadcast TV. And the opening ceremonies is the most watched part of it. Bob Costas is not Jewish. But he does represent the American spirit.

Americans are a people who care about their fellow man. When they see a group being slighted, they will stand up and say so… and ‘call out’ those who have done so. This is what Bob Costas has done. My hat is certainly off to him.

This is yet another example of why I love this country so much. They truly are a Medinah Shel Chesed…  a country of generous spirit whose credo of tolerance is more than just words.

It seems that in this instance Americans are not alone. 100,000 signatures from all over the country were collected on Change.org  supporting that moment of silence. And 140 members of the Italian parliament signed a letter urging the IOC to have a moment of silence.  Even the President is on board with this, saying through a spokesman, “We absolutely support the campaign for a minute of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich.”

It is being reported that full page ads will be placed in major newspapers across the country urging the IOC to observe that moment of silence. In an unusual of moment of true altruism one of them will be accepting it without charge. And there has been a whopping 1.1 million “likes’ on a Facebook page urging people to stop for a moment of silence on the morning of the opening ceremonies.

While a lot of effort is being spent on this issue that I think could be better spent on more important issues – for example to free Yaakov Ostreicher from a Bolivian prison – I can’t help but feel good about a worldwide effort to see this slight to the slain Israeli athletes be corrected. Maybe it isn’t only America. Maybe the rest of the world doesn’t hate us after all.

Harry Maryles

Rebbetzin Chave Hecht And Camp Emunah To Be Honored

Friday, July 20th, 2012

On Sunday, July 22, Ulster County Chabad, in association with the Ellenville Jewish community and Camp Emunah, will hold the 10th Annual Empowerment Breakfast at Congregation Ezrath Israel on Rabbi Herman Eisner Square in Ellenville, N.Y. The program will start at 9 a.m.

Every year, the Jewish community of Ulster County centered in Kingston, N.Y., gathers to give respect and honor to elected public servants and law enforcement officials.

This year, the committee has chosen three prominent individuals who have “shown selflessness, diligence and professionalism in their various leadership roles in the community.” Captain Bob Nuzzo of New York State Police Troop F Zone will receive the Public Safety Award; Assemblywoman Jeanette Provenzano, who is an Ulster County legislator, will be presented the Public Service Award, and New York State Assemblywoman Claudine Tenney will receive the Community Service Award.

In addition to the local public officials being honored at this program, a very special milestone in New York State history will also be noted. The summer of 2012 marks the 60th Anniversary/Jubilee of Camp Emunah, in Greenfield Park, N.Y. A special honor and recognition will be given to the person who has devoted her life to the ideals, the goal and principles of Camp Emunah and to the thousands of young Jewish children who have attended Camp Emunah over the last 60 years.

Camp Emunah was established in 1953 by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Hecht following the directorship of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rebbetzin Chave Hecht assumed the role as director when there were just a few dozen campers, four bunk houses, a main building and a beautiful 40-acre Lake. Over the years that her late husband, Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, served as executive director of Camp Emunah, the camp expanded to three divisions, three swimming pools, multiple sports fields and courts, dozens of bunks, staff houses, dining room and kitchens and activity buildings. Today, more than half of the 300-acre property is being utilized for the exciting programs and healthful activities for the children of Emunah. In addition, Camp Emunah sponsors a Travelling Teen Camp that operates on the West Coast from Vancouver to the Mexican border for a four-week program.

For the 60 years of Rebbetzin Hecht’s leadership, she has always emphasized her personal involvement with every child under her care. During her years as director, she has actively developed the programs, the guidelines, the framework and the activities, as well as designed the special trips and outreach programs which Camp Emunah has been famous for.

Rabbi and Rebbetzin Hecht were pioneers in summer camping, and many camps that later followed have often approached Rebbetzin Hecht for her guidance and mentorship in helping developing their camps.

The Empowerment Breakfast will provide the opportunity for all those who wish to show their respect and thanks to Rebbetzin Hecht to join the Kingston and Ellenville Jewish communities in bestowing this honor. The program is free of charge and there will not be any solicitation of funds at the program. A catered brunch will be served.

Jewish Press Staff

The Tremendous Heart Of Pinchas Daddy

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

We’ve just read the Torah portion about Pinchas, an amazing tzaddik who performed an unusual act instinctively and for the sake of Hashem and His honor.

About two weeks ago I was tidying my desk area and the shelves above it. Suddenly, on the floor, seemingly out of nowhere, I saw an old article from a major Hebrew daily, written the day after Sergeant Pinchas Daddy was stabbed in the heart by an Arab who had crept up and attacked him from behind.

Pinchas Daddy. How I loved him; how everyone involved at the Kotel loved him. I had a kiosk near the Kotel and he always greeted me – as well as all the Arab shopkeepers – with a gleaming smile. He was 38 but seemed older – wise and fatherly.

He was like a television cop, twirling his nightstick and helping children cross the street. I’m telling you we all cried, Jews and Arabs alike, when our Daddy was suddenly, and ruthlessly, taken from us.

I picked up the old yellowed article, looked at the photo of that beautiful man and said to myself, “I must call his family and tell them how much I loved and miss him.”

I dialed information and asked for the Daddy family in Talpiot. Moments later I was speaking to Mrs. Daddy. I immediately started crying and told her how I found the little article and picture. She probably couldn’t believe that out of the blue someone on the line was crying for her tzaddik husband.

She told me his 20th yahrzeit – this Thursday, erev Rosh Chodesh Av – will be marked by a ceremony on Mount Herzl. I assured her I would be there.

“Did you ever get remarried?” I asked.

“No,” she replied.

“Yes, I understand,” I said. “Who could ever replace a husband like yours? Pinchas was so gentle, so loving.”

“Our oldest son is a ramach [the abbreviated term for head of a division] at the Russian Compound police station,” she said, “and believe me, he emulates his father’s ways. Pinchas, I’m sure, is very proud of him.”

And now, in his honor, I present the secret power of Pinchas.

When we read in the Torah that Pinchas took the romach, the spear, with which he stabbed Zimri and his idol-worshipping girlfriend, the word romach is spelled without the Hebrew letter vav. Therefore it can be read as ramach, which we use for the number of positive commandments in the Torah.

Ramach is spelled resh (numerical equivalent: 200) mem (40), ches (8), which corresponds to the 248 organs in the body. Each positive commandment fixes and nurtures a different organ.

So the verse hints to us that Pinchas’s meticulous keeping of all 248 positive commandments gave him the strength to do what he did.

But I still didn’t have a proof for my theory until I walked into the Diaspora Yeshiva on the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz and heard Rav Goldstein, the rosh hayeshiva, quoting the famous Mussar sefer Shaarei Teshuvah, which deduces from a pasuk in Devarim that keeping all the positive commandments makes a person a yorei Shamayim – someone who properly fears Heaven – while a person who tramples even one positive commandment is not a yorei Shamayim.

Now it was clear to me that the verse reveals to us the true power of Pinchas – that it was his careful observance of the positive commandments that gave him the strength to avenge God’s honor.

Returning to our Pinchas, of the Daddy family, let’s remember that Rebbe Akiva declared that loving your neighbor like yourself is klal gadol b’Torah – equal to all the positive commandments and all the negative ones too.

Even though the human body contains 248 organs and 365 arteries that are fixed and nurtured by each of the 613 positive and negative commandments, the heart is essentially the most vital organ in the body, without which nothing will work. In police terminology, as mentioned above, the ramach is the chief of the department. So certainly the great mitzvah of loving your neighbor like yourself is klal gadol b’Torah – the heart of all 613 mitzvahs.

A year before he was killed, Pinchas Daddy had suffered a heart attack at the young age of 37. He recovered and was stationed at the holy Kotel, where he shared his heart with every human being, appreciating the importance of the heart to the body and to the mitzvah of loving your fellow man with all your heart – regardless of his color or religion.

Dov Shurin

Honor Violence in America

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Aiya Altemeemi, aged 19, suffered a punishment last February that none of her schoolmates in Phoenix, Arizona could have imagined: her father cut her throat with a kitchen knife. When she escaped to her bedroom, her mother and sisters followed, tied her to her bed, taped her mouth shut, and beat her. And this was not the first time: previously, when Aiya had expressed reservations about marrying the 38-year-old man her parents had chosen as her husband, her mother had shackled her to the same bed and burned her with a hot spoon. Despite such treatment, Aiya, who arrived from Iraq with her parents around three years ago, soon after announced to stunned reporters that she understood why her mother had assaulted her: “Because I talked to a boy, and that is not normal with her, that is not my religion. My religion says no talking to boys.”

Alhough Aiya’s was among the few to receive media attention, stories like hers are far more common than most people would imagine. In what is known as “honor violence,” mistreatment includes not just beatings, but acid attacks, setting a woman on fire, severing her nose from her face — particularly in Pakistani and Afghan communities — and other forms of mutilation.

Such incidents, which occur mainly in Muslim and Hindu families, have been the focus of attention in Europe for several years — largely thanks to the efforts of Somali-Dutch activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who first brought the problem to light some ten years ago in the Netherlands. Since then, research has uncovered disturbing statistics: 400 to 600 incidents of honor violence are recorded annually in the Netherlands alone, with around 12 honor killings a year each in Germany and the Netherlands. And in England, where the directors of one center say they receive 500 calls for help from victims of honor violence every month, and where police estimate there are between 3,000 and 17,000 incidents of honor violence each year, a recent report contends that one-fifth of all South Asian immigrants believe that “certain acts thought to shame families were justification for violence.”

Americans, however, have been reluctant to accept the notion that honor violence occurs on US soil, just as – until recently – they insisted that the radicalization of Muslims in Europe was not a problem that could confront Americans. But with events such as Nidal Malik Hassan’s 2009 attack at Fort Hood and the would-be Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, we’ve learned otherwise: radical Islam is alive and well in these United States and with it, religious and culturally-based violence against women.

CBS News has reported that, “According to a survey, the [Virginia-based] Tahirih Justice Center conducted of more than 500 social service, religious, legal, educational and medical agencies last year, 67 percent responded that they believed there were cases of forced marriage occurring among the populations they serve, but only 16 percent felt their agency was equipped to deal with the situation.” Yet no one had ever investigated the problem.

Now Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) has introduced a bill that promises to make clear just how big the problem is, and – if necessary – to develop programs to address it.

Those who have experience with the issue say that such programs are sorely needed: while Americans are growing more aware of honor killings, they are less conscious of honor violence — a more insidious but even larger phenomenon. Moreover, domestic violence shelters and services are not adequately suited to handle the problem, which encompasses more complex and dangerous situations, and which often require a different kind of outreach: honor violence victims are often immigrants with little or no understanding of the resources available, few outside contacts, and in the case of Muslims, are often not even allowed access to the outside world except when accompanied by a male family member.

More significantly, in cases of honor violence, the entire family –- even the entire community –- is involved. Where a domestic violence victim can often find shelter with a friend or family member, such refuge is usually impossible for these women. “What do we do with a teenager runaway? Ninety-nine percent of the time, we take her home,” Peoria, Arizona, Detective Chris Boughey told CBS. “But some of these girls end up getting killed.”

Abigail R. Esman

A Unanimous Senate Awards Wallenberg Congressional Gold Medal

Friday, July 13th, 2012

The U.S. Senate voted unanimously to award Raoul Wallenberg the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress.

The vote was part of an effort to confer the honor upon Wallenberg in time for the 100th anniversary of his birth in August. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved awarding the medal in April. The measure now goes to President Obama for his signature.

“Raoul Wallenberg’s courageous actions were a shining example of selfless heroism at a time when others stood mute in the face of unimaginable horror,” said Kathy Manning, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, which had led advocacy for the medal. “That this legislation passed with such broad bipartisan support is a reflection of how deserving Raoul Wallenberg is of the Congressional Gold Medal.”

The legislation was introduced in September by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.).

Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat in Budapest during the German occupation in 1944, issued Swedish travel documents – known as “Wallenberg passports” – to at least 20,000 Jews, and also set up more than 30 safe houses for Jews. Other diplomats from neutral countries collaborated in the effort.

The details of Wallenberg’s fate have remained a mystery. He disappeared while being escorted out of Hungary to the Soviet Union. The Soviets claimed that he died of a heart attack in 1957, but other evidence indicated that he was killed in Lubyanka prison or that he may have lived years longer.

The Congressional Gold Medal has been conferred since the American Revolution to honor “the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.” It was first awarded to George Washington.

Awardees need not be Americans. Past honorees include Simon Wiesenthal, Natan and Avital Sharansky, the Dalai Lama, and Burmese democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

JTA

Pinchas: Zealous For Hashem

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

In a moment of zealousness, Pinchas earned eternal honor for himself and his family. As Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains, such is the power of zeal in the service of Hashem and His Torah.

“Pinchas Ben Elazar Ben Aharon the kohen turned away my wrath from upon the sons of Israel by his zeal for my sake in their midst; and I did not bring destruction upon the sons of Israel because of my jealousy. Therefore, say, behold, I give to him my covenant of peace” (25:11-2). This is a special proclamation of acclaim. Though Moshe certainly approved of Pinchas, Hashem here teaches the necessity to render public recognition to the righteous.

“And they shall justify the just, and they shall condemn the wicked” (Devarim 25:1) actually means that the just shall be held up to public view as men all should admire, and that the wicked must be held up as examples of scorn and public shame. Thus, in the rare instances when a prophetic Bat Kol was heard during the Second Sanctuary era, we find an instance (in the Gemara in Sanhedrin) when this miraculous phenomenon was used to point out the excellence of Hillel; and similarly, a Bat Kol came forth later to proclaim the excellence of Shmuel the Little (ibid.).

“Hashem encourages the meek” (Tehillim 147:6) (i.e. the righteous) “but He lowers the wicked to the ground” (ibid.). “Condemning the wicked, and justifying the righteous” (I Kings 8:32): this is a principle of all the narrations of the Scriptures concerning the righteous.

Against every good man (or good deed) there will always be detractors and opponents, or at best the people will fail to appreciate properly the worth of the righteous and their deeds. Here in these verses Hashem supplies a model of how to react to the deeds of the righteous and how highly we should admire their personalities and publicize their importance.

Pinchas is commended for being jealous (i.e. his zeal) for Hashem, and this jealousy was especially commended for being performed in their midst, meaning in open public demonstration. This quality of public open speech or action on behalf of Hashem is especially prized. Moshe became angry when he saw any infraction of Hashem’s Torah and was constantly commended by Hashem; we understand that Moshe was protecting the sons of Israel from the consequences of Hashem’s wrath.

When Moshe, during the episode of the golden calf, broke the Tablets, it was a monumental deed of jealousy for Hashem’s honor, and this prepared the way for the final pardon that was granted for that transgression. Similarly, when Abraham prayed that Sodom be spared destruction, Hashem consented if there would be ten righteous men, but the condition was made that they be righteous men in the midst of the city (Bereshis 18:26), meaning that they openly and publicly demonstrated their disapproval of the sins of the city. Just as the ketoret brings forgiveness from Hashem’s retribution, even more does public action for the honor of Hashem and His Torah bring forgiveness. This is the highest ketoret of all.

In the following verse, a covenant of priesthood is bestowed upon him and his posterity. But the covenant of peace for Pinchas himself is a separate covenant whereby he is assured of peace throughout his lifetime (Bamidbar Rabbah 25:1). Why was Pinchas granted an assurance of peace throughout his lifetime? Because he brought peace to the sons of Israel. This is twice stated: 1) He turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel and 2) he was zealous for his G-d and atoned for the sons of Israel (25:13). The second statement is added to explain the priesthood was bestowed upon him because he atoned for the sons of Israel, therefore he and his posterity shall atone for Israel as kohanim. Thus we learn that the man who is zealous for Hashem and His Torah is considered as one who brings peace to Israel and protects them against misfortune; and therefore he deserves a long life of enjoying the fruits of his deeds.

Pinchas was active even in the days of the War of the Concubine at Giveah (Shoftim 20:28). Similarly, though Eliyahu Hanavi departed from men (II Kings 2:11), he was rewarded in not having to die like other men (ibid.) because he was zealous for Hashem (I Kings 19:10); and in our tradition the deathless Eliyahu appeared to the Sages numerous times. Men such as these have brought upon Israel the assurance that our nation would continue deathless.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/pinchas-zealous-for-hashem/2012/07/12/

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