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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Independence Day’

It’s My Opinion: Celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

            Reading through one of our local Jewish newspapers, I was delighted to see a full-page advertisement publicizing a celebration for Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day.  The 62nd anniversary of the resurgence of the Jewish State is certainly worthy of a party.  In fact, after 2,000 years of bloodstained exile, it is an incredible, modern-day wonder.

 

A local supper club in Aventura, Florida was organizing the event.  Live music would be provided.  Two Israeli singers were scheduled to perform.  The evening seemed to be planned as a gala affair.

 

My eyes scrolled down the page and then stopped.  I was horrified to see the rest of the agenda for the evening.  A “Hot Bikini Contest” was proudly touted as part of the festive program. And to think the hot debate in many communities is whether or not to say Hallel on this special day.

 

One does not have to be a haredi rabbi to understand that a competition like the one planned to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut was unsuitable.  A bikini contest is a totally inappropriate way to observe the commemoration of such a miraculous time in Jewish history.  In fact it was bizarre. 

 

This lack of insight to the fundamental order of life is quite disturbing.  What is wrong with people who are so out of sync with the basic concept of appropriate boundaries? Unfortunately, this behavior is endemic to a segment of secular culture.  It is a tragic problem.

 

Certainly, those who organized the Independence Day program meant no harm.  They simply wanted to create a happy and upbeat party atmosphere.    Nonetheless, we are once again reminded of the truth of the adage, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” 

The Day He Moved The Pope’s Heart An Interview with Cantor Chaim Adler

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009


He certainly didn’t waste any time. Cantor Chaim Adler began his chazzanut career at age 10; today, he is known as “the chief cantor of Tel Aviv” and one of the most prominent cantors in the world.


Sometimes called the “suitcase cantor” because of his many travels for performances, Cantor Adler also serves as chazzan at Congregation Ahavas Torah in Englewood, N.J. for the High Holidays.


Next week, Cantor Adler will be one of twelve people honored to light an Independence Day Torch on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.


In an interview with The Jewish Press, Cantor Adler talked about the honor, but first, in response to a question, he related an interesting meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.


The Jewish Press: Are there any unusual experiences you’ve had during your performances?



Adler: Well, one interesting episode occurred some four years ago with Pope Benedict XVI. It was several months after he was elected to succeed John Paul II. He expressed a desire to maintain a warm partnership with world Jewry and chose to visit the main synagogue in Cologne, Germany where I was invited to perform.


After my performance the pope came over to me and introduced himself as “Benedict the 16th,” so I responded “Adler the First.” Then he said, “Zi haben mir gezingen gleich in hertz arein” (you sang straight into my heart).


I was shocked. I never dreamed that I could move the heart of a pope. I told him that I believe in the words that come out of my mouth and then I dress them with music. First I pray and then I sing. He was amazed.


The leaders of the Jewish community in Cologne also told me that when they had met with representatives of the Vatican to prepare the event they told them they were inviting a cantor from Israel. The Vatican reps asked for his name, and they said Chaim Adler.


“Oh, Chaim Adler, we know him,” they said, “we hear him every year at the Memorial of the March of the Living at Auschwitz.”


You will be lighting a torch next week on Mt. Herzl in honor of Independence Day. What is the significance of the ceremony?



The first time that we find significance in lighting torches is in the Talmud, Meseches Rosh Hashanah, where it describes how the Sages would determine the appearance of a new moon in order to designate Rosh Chodesh.


So years ago the government decided to light torches in honor of Independence Day and every year they honor 12 people, corresponding to the 12 tribes, to light them.


How do they choose the 12? 


Every year a committee chooses a theme to highlight on Independence Day. For instance, one year it may choose to highlight the Israeli Air Force so the twelve people chosen to light the torches are individuals who contributed to the development and growth of the air force. Or if the theme is “aliya” the twelve people are connected with aliya.


This year the theme is 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv, so the twelve people who will be lighting the torches are individuals who contributed to the culture of Tel Aviv. I was chosen to represent the religious community in Tel Aviv.


Why you?


Because I am the cantor of Tel Aviv. This is the first time that the religious community is being represented in such a ceremony. They want to underscore that Tel Aviv is not like Jerusalem where there is constant friction between the religious and secular communities.

Tel Aviv is a city where there is tolerance between the two groups, no one throws stones or burns garbage cans, etc.


Out of curiosity, who is your favorite cantor?



Today my favorite cantor is Cantor Adler [chuckles].

Disengagement From Reality

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004

As we see from the reactions of many of the Israeli government ministers, Arik Sharon negotiated with himself and decided that his plan for disengagement was a reasonable plan. He then went to sell it to Mr. Bush and when Pres. Bush endorsed Sharon’s plan, Sharon returned to Israel to sell it to his party. So far he has been pretty successful and anyone who depended upon Livnat or Netanyahu to oppose the plan was sadly disappointed.

As Israel has learned in the past, unfortunately once the plan is implemented it will be practically impossible to undo the damage. Just like former PM Yitchak Rabin’s infamous
statement when he gave guns to Arafat’s police – “If they use the guns against us we will take them back!” There is no easy way to undo the damage of capitulating to the terrorists and it
would take a major upheaval to retake the land.

Last week we celebrated the Holocaust Remembrance Day (which in Hebrew is called – the Day commemorating the Holocaust and the Bravery). We experienced the Holocaust but
Israeli leaders are sadly lacking the bravery. The ceremony in Hashmonaim ended with the singing of the national anthem, “Hatikvah”. It brought tears to my eyes as I sang the words -
“Our 2,000 year old dream, To be a free nation in OUR land…” and to realize that we still was not truly free and that Sharon and other leaders were giving away parts of Israel and putting
the rest in jeopardy of increased terror. Sharon claims that we must take unilateral action and expel Jews from their homes because we have no partner to negotiate with. How foolish!

Some may ask, instead of expelling Jews from their homes, why doesn’t Sharon move even one Arab village that preaches genocide and harbors terrorist murderers? The Arabs are screaming for revenge and planning the murder of “a large number of Jews”. Why not unilaterally move all of the Arabs into one autonomous area. Why not displace the Arabs of the Negev, Jaffa and the Galil and allow the Jews to live free from local terror? Unthinkable? Why is it then thinkable to displace Jews from their homes?

As we celebrate Israel’s 56th Independence Day, Israel still must suffer with aging leaders who may have been brave when they were young, but who have lost their spirit along with their youth. It really is time to return to the age of spirited young leaders who are not too old to fight for justice and common sense. It is time to put the old leaders like Sharon, Peres, Netanyahu and Olmart, out to pasture. These old men fear everything – America, Europe, Arafat, trade, boycotts, etc. With so much fear it is no wonder that they are willing to capitulate to Arab terror.

What exactly is the goal of this capitulation by disengagement? Will terror move further away or will it move closer? Will any Arab leader develop a spirit of compromise and goodwill or will this disengagement not look to the Arabs as the successful outcome of terror? Will it not harden the hearts of the terror leaders as did the sight of Israeli soldiers fleeing from Lebanon? Will it make the work of the security forces and the gathering of intelligence information easier or will it make it doubly difficult? Will it bring quiet and peace to the world or will it embolden the violent forces? Just what benefit does Sharon see in this move? Who has accepted this “gesture” as a peace gesture?

The terrorist leaders have denounced disengagement as an act of war. Other Arab neighbors have all been strongly critical. What is the benefit? Europe has denounced the plan. The U.N. has criticized the unilateral action. The Arabs are preparing their attacks on the Israelis as they retreat from the Gaza Strip. The terrorist centers will move that many miles closer to Israeli towns and cities. Hamas is still there. Arafat is still there. Terror has not been reduced. Just the Jews are being torn from their homes.

Sharon is negotiating with himself and his plan is a flight into fantasy land. No Arab has even considered accepting a compromise solution. President Bush made what many believed was a pro-Israel declaration and his staff immediately struggled to back-peddle and mitigate. Israel has a long history of experience with American presidents who promised but were unable to keep their word.

Is the Likkud so tired of defending Israel that its members will just run away and pray that no one will run after them? We forget that when America targets Bin Laden and his officers no one complains. Yet when we target Hamas, everyone complains. Maybe it is time to ignore them all and do whatever needs to be done to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in the
Middle East!

As we celebrate Israel’s 56th Independence Day, I again offer any reader who does not have the prayer for the State of Israel and its soldiers in his Siddur to send a stamp addressed
envelope to me at The Jewish Press.

Independence Day

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2002

Most married couples face the problem of maintaining both independence in their marriage and a relationship with their parents. Can the partners achieve a degree of detachment and at the same time reassure their parents that they will remain loyal, respectful and affectionate? Can you as partners shift loyalty from your parents to your spouse and leave your childhood with its remembered mixture of pleasure and pains? As hard as the transfer of loyalty may be to achieve at the outer level, it can be even harder to achieve at the psychological level. Your defensive self may lash out at your partner’s attempt to help you set better boundaries with your parents. The wife’s mother maybe very sensitive to the way in which her daughter is treated because the daughter symbolizes herself to some degree. In some cases, she becomes a mother-in-law at the time her own child-rearing career has practically ended. She may perceive that her role of helpfulness may not be needed or appreciated and the failure of her newly acquired son to express gratitude may only enhance her own emotional reaction.

In Pre-Marital Counseling, it becomes obvious that preparation for marriage is a joint process of counseling and instruction; enough counseling to bring understanding and awareness and enough instruction to bring appreciation and acceptance. When a couple realizes that making changes in the parental family in not the purpose, but rather increasing their own understanding and changing their own feelings about perceptions, tension is relieved. With Hashem’s help, the couple will come a long way from total dependence upon parents to a stage of independence; to live a life of self-sufficiency and shalom bayis.

CPC – Center for Pre-Marital Counseling, is endorsed by Rabbi Pikus of COJO of Flatbush, and leading rabbonim and Torah authorities in the NY community.

Moishe Herskowitz MS., CSW, is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education. For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 435-7388 or at Ladino23@aol.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/independence-day/2002/01/23/

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