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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish community’

Movers and Shakers

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I am flattered. Elliot Resnick has put me into a group of people that I am clearly not qualified to be in. But it does feel nice to be considered a mover and shaker. Although I am probably more of a shaker than a mover.

I of course realize that Elliot also does not consider me to be in the same league as say, Lord Jonathan Sacks another one of the 60 interviewees he included in his book. But I understand why he included me… and it is not because I stand anywhere near the likes of a Lord Jonathan Sacks. Still, it feels good.

The book I am speaking about was just released and is called Movers and Shakers. It consists of a collection of interviews Elliot has done with 60 prominent and not so prominent people in different facets of Orthodox Jewish life that have helped shape the public discourse. He has divided the interviews into separate categories as chapters. They vary from from the philosophical to the mundane. From the business world to the world of entertainment. He has chosen my blogging colleague Rabbi Gil Student (who has included a table of contents in his announcement of this book) and me to represent the blogging world.

By asking the right questions Elliot was able to capture at least in part the essence of each of his subjects in just a few brief paragraphs. He did so in an organized fashion that he describes in the preface.

For example in the interview of Professor Marc Shapiro he was able to ferret out some of the key elements of his philosophy. Included are things like his considered opinion of how the Seredei Aish (Rabbi Y. Y. Weinberg – the subject of Professor Shapiro’s first book) would have viewed today’s Orthodoxy and his views on the Agudah; How certain rabbinic visionaries balked at the conventional rabbinic wisdom of their day; His views that the 13 Maimonidian principles of faith were not always the way Judaism was defined; How the Shulchan Aruch is not always followed even among the most stringent Charedim; and his views of today’s Gedolim – both Charedi and Modern Orthodox.

The combination of brevity and thoroughness with his subjects is evident through much of his book.

At the risk of being accused of personal bias – I highly recommend this book. It is an easy read and each interview is independent of every other making it easy to pick up and read in a bio in a matter of minutes. Or you can read the entire book in one sitting as one of the reviewers quoted said she did. Among those commenting favorably that are listed on that back cover are Rav Hershel Shachter and Rabbi Berel Wein.

There is one thing I want to make clear about my own interview. Elliot has subtitled my interview as representing the views of my Rebbe, Rav Ahron Soloveichik on the blogosphere. While it is true that this interview does include Rav Ahron’s Shitos (positions) as I understood them and I often will state what I believe are his views on various issues of the day, I can’t honestly say that his views and my views are identical. I therefore would not claim to represent him.

What I would say is that it is Rav Ahron that helped shape my views the most. And that his Hashkafos are the ones I mostly adhere to. But as my bio on the right margin of this blog will tell you, Rav Ahron is not the only one who helped shape my views.

People as disparate as Rav Mordechai Rogov, a great Charedi Gadol of European vintage, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the current head of Agudath Israel and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits, whose views on many important Hashkafic issues were in direct opposition to Rav Ahron’s also influenced me. As did my studies of Rav Ahron’s illustrious brother the Rav… and a great many other people including my parents, friends and teachers along the way. Some of whom are mentioned in my bio.

But this does not diminish the value of this book. It will provide the reader a wide variety of views on important issues of the day in as brief a method as possible. And as I said – I highly recommend it.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

US President Barack Obama Issues a Statement for Hanukkah

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

President Barack Obama’s statement for Hanukkah:

Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Hanukkah around the world.

This Hanukkah season we remember the powerful story of the Maccabees who rose up to liberate their people from oppression. Upon discovering the desecration of their Temple, the believers found only enough oil to light the lamp for one night. And yet it lasted for eight.

Hanukkah is a time to celebrate the faith and customs of the Jewish people, but it is also an opportunity for people of all faiths to recognize the common aspirations we share. This holiday season, let us give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, and remain mindful of those who are suffering. And let us reaffirm our commitment to building a better, more complete world for all.

From our family to the Jewish Community around the world, Chag Sameach.

Miami Heat To Host Jewish Heritage Night

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The NBA champion Miami Heat and the Florida Jewish community will gather on Wednesday, December 12at American Airlines Arena for Jewish Heritage Night and to celebrate the 5th night of Chanukah. Several thousand tickets are being made available exclusively to the Jewish community.

The national anthem will be sung by Chazzan Yossi Lebovics. A grand menorah lighting will take place in the arena between the first and second quarter. Other festivities will include a halftime concert on the East Plaza featuring singing sensation Yossi Bayles.

Glatt kosher food will be available and a postgame Chanukah party will take place on the court.

Jewish Heritage Night is being organized through Chabad of South Florida, which has over 140 centers throughout the Sunshine State.

“We hope to demonstrate with our wonderful fun-filled and inspiring event that there’s no conflict with being a sports fan, celebrating Chanukah and being proud of your Jewish heritage,” said Rabbi Chaim Lipskar of the Shul of Downtown.

Organizer Rabbi Pinny Andrusier of Chabad SW Broward added, “It’s guaranteed to be a fun evening for everyone and hopefully a Chanukah victory for the Miami Heat.”

Tickets are available for purchase at www.jewishheritagenight.com or by calling 305-373-8303.

Lubavitch Rabbi Escapes Unscathed from Totaled Car in Icy Birobidzhan

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Fellow Chabad emissaries in the Commonwealth of Independent States called it a clear Holiday of redemption miracle – as Lubavitch emissary and rabbi of the Jewish community of Birobidzhan Rabbi Elihau Riss, 22, escaped unharmed after the car he was driving was crushed under the wheels of a heavy truck that slid on the icy road, at -8 degrees Fahrenheit.

The accident took place today, Tuesday, in Birobidzhan, which was established by Soviet Tyrant Joseph Stalin as a Jewish Republic. Rabbi Riss, who had worn his seat belt, stayed in his grotesquely crushed car after it had been hit directly by the swerving truck. Rescue teams released him completely free from injury.

Pics: Egged Bus Attacked by Arab Jerusalemites on Mount of Olives

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Following a stabbing incident in which a visitor to the Jewish community of Maale HaZeitim adjacent to the historic Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery was attacked by Arabs in the Ras Al-Amud neighborhood, an Egged bus transporting Jewish residents to and from the enclave was smashed by rock-throwers, who committed the attack from the same place at which the stabbing took place.

Damage to the bus indicates that the projectiles were large, and hurled at a high rate of speed by more than one perpetrator.

Despite a meeting between leaders of the Jewish community and leaders of the Arab community, and urgent phone calls from Jewish residents to the Jerusalem police, neither have attacks been minimized through pressure by local Arab residents , nor has an increased security presence been put into place by Jerusalem’s municipality.

Jewish residents of Maale HaZeitim and the adjoining Jewish neighborhood of Maalot David have expressed their anger and concern that mayor Nir Barkat and Jerusalem police chief Yossi Friyanty have not responded to threats on their lives.

Abraham’s Legacy Still without Boundaries in Hebron

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Abraham’s legacy, still alive and well, is the crux of our existence, not only in Hebron, but as a people, in Israel and around the world.

A few years ago, following one of his last visits to Me’arat Hamachpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs, as Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu entered his car, the other door opened and two people literally pushed their way into the vehicle, one civilian, the other in uniform.

The civilian, a senior employee at the holy site, said, “Rabbi, I’m sorry to do this, but this man, a border police officer, works here very hard and greatly helps the Jewish people. He has a problem. He and his wife have been married many years and have yet to be blessed with children.”

Rabbi Eliyahu looked at the man and responded, “He should continue to help the Jewish people and next year he will be witness to salvation.”

A year later his daughter Miriam was born. The border police officer’s name is Shuchralla Morav.

Much has been written about Hebron’s relationship with security forces, be it police or IDF. As much as we say about our good, positive relationships with them, we are unfortunately generally not believed.

The roots of our national essence, in Hebron, begins with Abraham and Sarah. They were known as people of chesed, that is, overwhelming loving-kindness and generosity. Our sages have taught that we must express the attributes of our Creator: as He is kind, so too we must be kind. The primary examples of kindness are Abraham and Sarah.

Abraham’s compassion was not limited to “his own.” Numerous stories are told of his assistance to strangers, many of whom worshiped idols, the very antithesis of his life and ideology. Yet this did not prevent him from offering them food, drink and a place to sleep.

The present Jewish community of Hebron tries to continue walking in the footsteps of our illustrious Forefathers, learning from their deeds, and acting accordingly. Therefore, when Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, then director of the Machpela authority, realized he had an opportunity to seek a blessing from one of our generation’s most righteous people, he did so, without thinking twice.

And the rabbi’s blessing was received and came to pass.

Morav, as he is called, served at Me’arat Hamachpela for 17 years. Living in the north, several hours from Hebron, he wasn’t able to spend enough time with his wife and young daughter. Recently he was transferred to a position much closer to his home, allowing him to enjoy his blessings.

But, after 17 years of service, we couldn’t allow him to leave without a proper parting. So a few days ago, a large group from Hebron, as well as a few of his former commanders, surprised Morav at his home for a farewell party. All facets of Hebron’s community were represented: Rabbi Hillel Horowitz and Noam Arnon, Baruch Marzel, Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, and others.

The celebration began with a number of speeches recognizing Morav’s contribution to dozens of Hebron events, including mass gatherings of tens of thousands of visitors. Everyone present articulated words of gratitude, which was expressed also in several gifts presented to him: an original painting of Me’arat Hamachpela by Hebron artist Shmuel Mushnik, and a certificate of appreciation, signed by all present as well as Hebron’s mayor, Avraham Ben-Yosef, Hebron’s director-general Uri Karzen, and the director of the regional religious council, Yosef Dayan.

How did Morav relate to his years in Hebron? In his words, “It was an honor… the sanctity of the site was above any and all other considerations.”

Shuchralla Morav is not the first and only officer honored by Hebron’s Jewish community. A long list of police , IDF soldiers and officers and commanders are among those who are tangibly appreciated as a result of their tireless efforts to maintain a safe and secure Hebron, allowing hundreds of thousands of people, of all races and religions, to visit Israel’s first Jewish city and holy sites.

Surely, we do not always see eye to eye, but then again, neither do husband and wife always agree. You learn to agree to disagree. However that doesn’t prevent mutual care, respect and love. So too with the courageous men and women whose presence, hard work and shared esteem lead to positive, fruitful relationships which can last for many years.

Jewish Support for Obama Dropped, Just Not Far Enough

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

In a series of exit polls conducted during Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012, the Republican Jewish Coalition found that Jewish support for the President dropped from 78% in 2008 to 69%.

Matt Brooks, the executive director of the RJC said, “The results demonstrate that President Barack Obama and the Democrats saw a significant erosion of support from 2008, while Republicans continued their trend of the last several decades of making inroads in the Jewish community.”

According to the RJC, there was an increase by nearly 50% of the number of Jews choosing the Republican candidate to run this country.  The percentage of Jews voting Republican jumped from 22% to 32% nationally.  This ten-point gain is the largest leap from the Democratic party by Jews since 1972.

In a call today to members of the media, former White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer pointed out that while the percentage of young and of Blacks voting for Obama dropped by three or four percentage points, the 10 % drop amongst Jewish voters is conspicuously large.

The survey, a national sample of 1000 Jewish voters, as well as a 600-person sample of Jewish voters in Ohio and a 600-person sample of Florida Jewish voters.

“The RJC is encouraged by the gains we made in 2012 and by the continuing movement in the Jewish community toward the GOP. Despite the discouraging election results, we’re pleased by the gains we have made in the Jewish community,” said Matt Brooks.

Of the 1000 voters in the national poll, 48.9 % said they are Reform Jews, and only 11.9 % are Orthodox, while about 20 % said they attend synagogue at least once every week.  Almost 14 % said they never attend synagogue, even for the high holidays.
For 21.5% of those polled, a full 21.5 % said that Israel is of no importance to them, while 76.5% said they consider Israel to be either very or somewhat important.
Only respondents who said they were Jewish were included in the poll results.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-support-for-obama-dropped-just-not-far-enough/2012/11/07/

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