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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘judaism’

Rabbi Binyomin Klein, Member of Secretariat to Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt’l, 79, Passes Away

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Rabbi Binyomin Klein, 79, long-time aide and member of the secretariat of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt’l passed away on Friday morning in Brooklyn, New York. He will be remembered as the “Rebbe’s Ambassador” to Israeli officials.

Rabbi Klein also served on the boards of several major governing bodies of Chabad, including Machneh Israel, the social service arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.

Rabbi Klein was the liaison for Israeli diplomats, political, military and other leaders from Israel who came to see the Rebbe. During the 1977 visit of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Rebbe introduced Rabbi Klein to the Prime Minister as “my general.”

Rabbi Klein was born in 1935 to Menachem and Rochel Klein. His mother died in childbirth and he was raised by his father, who headed the Jerusalem Chevra Kadisha, the Jewish burial society. As a teen he studied in the Chabad Torat Emet school in Jerusalem. In 1956 he traveled to New York to study in the court of the Rebbe.

After his marriage to Laya Schusterman, the couple moved to Australia where Rabbi Klein was among the founders of Yeshiva Gedolah of Melbourne, Australia and New Zealand. In 1963, the Kleins returned to the United States where Rabbi Klein joined the Secretariat of Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Rabbi Klein spoke little about his work in the Rebbe’s office. He was beloved by so many who interfaced with him as they corresponded with the Rebbe. He was also the person with whom many others spoke as they brought their precious tzetlach, their notes and letters to the office in “770” to be handed sometimes immediately to the Rebbe as he sat in his office just a few feet away.

Upon occasion, Rabbi Klein would tell a visitor to wait for a response, rather than the more common written or telephoned reply that often came later — hours or even days later. Despite his high position, One of the Rebbe’s main secretaries, he never forgot a face; he was also unfailingly courteous, gentle and kind.

Rabbi Klein kept long hours, often returning home at 2 a.m. Yet his home was famous for its hospitality, open always to guests and visitors. It was a second home to countless young women who came to Crown Heights as they began to learn about Judaism and return to their roots. It was here that they found a welcome place for meals, a listening ear, some good advice.

The funeral passed by Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway late Friday afternoon before Rabbi Klein’s body was brought to the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.

Rabbi Klein was laid to rest near the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt’l and that of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, z’tl, in the Chabad-Lubavitch section of the cemetery.

Baruch HaDayan HaEmes. May his memory be for a blessing.

MK and Police Discussing Making Marijuana Legal

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Outgoing Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino has been discussing with a Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Knesset Member major changes in the laws concerning the use of marijuana.

MK Yinon Magal freely says he has smoked grass and wants to change the laws that ban marijuana, except for medical uses.

Israel has one of the highest rates in the West when it comes to issuing permits to use marijuana for medical purposes. Danino noted that the number has grown from only 400 years ago to 20,000 today.

He was quoted by the Hebrew-language free newspaper Yisrael HaYom as saying during a speech at the Beersheba and Negev Trade Bureau:

What will eventually happen here is that anyone with money will be able to get a permit, and anyone who doesn’t have money will be trying to get [cannabis] on the streets. Things are happening in the world, so we can’t stick our heads in the sand. We need to deal with this issue\

Throughout the world, this has been a method of making [cannabis] legal. In California you can walk around in plenty of places and see signs offering a fake permit for medical marijuana for $50. We in Israel don’t want that. Because if we really want to change the law and decriminalize [cannabis] use, or make some drugs legal, let’s do it properly.

It is not a foregone conclusion that marijuana is good medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated, “Marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”

The Anti-Drug Authority is not thrilled over Danino’s readiness to re-examine the laws.

Eitan Gorni, acting director of the Israel Anti-Drug Authority said that “the police commissioner’s recent statements are beyond the authority and responsibility of the police to make,” according to Haaretz.

The WeedBlog.com pro-marijuana website wrote:

How cool would it be if Mr. Danino joined Law Enforcement against Prohibition? Get this guy an application maybe? Anyhow, this is great news. Anytime a sitting leader of a law enforcement agency says that he or she wants to have a candid discussion about how to improve marijuana laws, that’s a good thing.

Endless studies have been carried without conclusive evidence whether smoking marijuana leads to getting hooked on harder drugs, but there also are moral implications because smoking marijuana often is accompanied by cult rituals that lead to idleness.

It will be interesting to hear what rabbis in Israel have to say on the issue. Many rabbis have ruled that smoking cigarettes is not “kosher” because although it does not violate dietary laws, it is dangerous to the health.

Rabbi Moshe Elefant, of the Orthodox Union’s kosher certification agency said earlier this year that the OU “would not have a problem certifying” medical marijuana, but most rabbis frown on smoking grass for “recreational” use.

It sounds “cool” to make it legal for people to smoke pot, but when the grass starts growing too high, it is a good hiding place for snakes.

 

Report: Rabbinate May Be Plotting to Dump Rabbi Riskin of Efrat

Monday, May 25th, 2015

The Chief Rabbinate met in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss whether to extend the term of Efrat’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, but it postponed a decision until he appears personally for another hearing.

An extension of Rabbi Riskin’s term requires a special meeting because he is now 75 years old, but the Kipa website reported, “Senior officials in the Rabbinate plan to hold a discussion on his term of office and not automatically renew it in order to block his re-appointment because of his opinions. If there will be another discussion of the entire Rabbinate, a majority will vote against Rabbi Riskin.”

Rabbi Riskin supports establishing more religious courts to oversee conversions, a move that is stiffly opposed by the Hareidi establishment. He also has been active in promoting women’s rights in the Orthodox world, another move that the Hareidi establishment considers near blasphemy.

Rabbi Riskin’s office told The Jewish Press that it was not aware of the report by Kipa, but previous rabbis over the age of 70 have been asked to retire, regardless of their opinions. The spokesman for the Rabbinate told The Jewish Press that there have been cases where the term of a rabbi over the age of 70 has been extended, depending on his health.

Nevertheless, Monday’s discussion raises several questions to which the spokesman for the Chief Rabbinate said, “I don’t know.”

He said that Rabbis Riskin will be asked to appear personally, probably in the next several weeks, to answer questions about his health.

If that is the case, why didn’t the Chief Rabbinate ask for his medical records?

I don’t know.

Why didn’t the Rabbinate invite Rabbi Riskin today?

I don’t know.

Will Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion be discussed in the upcoming hearing?

I don’t know.

However, the spokesman did confirm that the issue of conversion was not discussed today.

A decision to retire Rabbi Riskin, the founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side of New York City, without any other basis than opposition to his views could spur a legal battle in the Supreme Court. The Religious Affairs Ministry is now under the control of the Shas party, which may influence the Rabbinate’s decision in favor of ousting Rabbi Riskin.

Shas party leader Aryeh Deri is close to Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, son of the late Rav Ovadia Yosef who founded the Shas party and was its spiritual leader until his death less than two years ago.

Hopefully, this report by The Jewish Press.com will arouse public opinion, influence the Rabbinate, and pave the way for the distinguished rabbis to extend Rabbi Riskin’s term.

Read: TZOHAR’s statement on the upcoming hearing.

Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

De facto  Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Israeli diplomats Thursday that her policy is to deliver  a message to the world that “this land is ours” because God gave it to the Jews.

Hotovely official is Deputy Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu officially has the title of Foreign Minister. In practice, he has placed his trust in her to deal with foreign diplomats.

An Orthodox woman and mother to a baby girl, Hotovely somewhat shocked several Israeli diplomats with a “Dvar Torah,” Hebrew for a short lesson from the Torah. She quoted in brief the Torah commentator Rashi, who cited the interpretation of the  first word of the Torah:

Rashi wrote:

Said Rabbi Isaac: It was not necessary to begin the Torah except from ‘This month is to you, (Exod. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites were commanded. Now for what reason did He commence with ‘In the beginning?’

Because of [the verse] ‘The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations.’ (Psalms 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, ‘You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],’ they will reply, ‘The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us.’

Hotovely added, “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country,” she said. “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

Her comment that no apologizes are necessary is right out of election campaign of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and its chairman Naftali Bennett.

Hotovely also quoted Rabbi Yehuda Ashkenazi:

If Jews will convince themselves when facing the world that they are right in their ways, they will get along fine.

Haaretz reported that one diplomat said, “This the first time we have been asked to deliver a Dvar Torah to explain Israel to the world.”

It’s about time.

Her speech to the diplomats represents a radical change – a real revolution – in the Israeli government.

Hotovely, a darling of the national religious movement, has shown herself to be a brilliant politician, and she has won the full trust of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which is not easy.

One of the main reasons Netanyahu named her as Deputy Foreign Minister is because Hotovely never has lashed out at the Prime Minister like other Likud politicians.

She and Moshe Feiglin, whom Netanyahu maneuvered out of the Knesset, believe that the national religious movement is better off working through the Likud party instead of a smaller and ideologically defined faction, such as the old National Religious Party (Mafdal).

Hotovely has succeeded where Feiglin failed. He tried to go one-on-one against Netanyahu. Hotovely plays the game the way politicians are supposed to play it.

Even when the government carries out expulsions of Jews from the homes in Judea and Samaria, she politely disagrees but carries on with the attitude, “He is the Prime Minister, and I respect that,”

Netanyahu can trust Hotovely, who speaks excellent English, to represent the e the government, and she has stated that she will do so even if she personally disagrees.

Foreign media are aghast that Israel has a de facto Foreign Minister who is against the two-state illusion but Netanyahu has brilliantly made Silvan Shalom responsible for the non-existence “peace process” that Israel has to pretend is alive.

Obama Reaching Out to (Liberal) Jews in Sermon at Synagogue

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

President Barack Obama will speak at the Sabbath Eve services Friday morning at Adas Israel, Washington’s largest Conservative synagogue.

Move over Muslims, now it’s the Jews’ turn. President Obama’s “reaching out to Muslims” speech in Cairo in 2009 raised Arab expectations for a New Muslim Order. Three years later, the Arab Spring rebellions in the Middle East showed the White House which Muslims were listening.

This time around, Obama is reaching out to the liberal Jewish community whom he sees as the most powerful Jews in the United States.

Adas Israel is in the political and religious center. Its best description might be “pareve,” the Hebrew word for foods that are not dairy and not meat. Another description would be “politically correct.”

Obama doesn’t get along well with Orthodox Jews because most of them are right-wing. They also are “too Jewish.” They are not politically correct. He loves J Street and has given the left-wing group an open door to the White House, but their penchant for “engaging” with Hamas is too far out in space even for Obama.

Obama also does not get along well with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to make a gross understatement. The truth is he would not get along well with Yitzchak Herzog or Tzipi Livni if they were leading the Israel government because even they know that the Palestinian Authority is an enemy and not a “peace partner.” They can’t say it now because they are in the Opposition, but they have mumbled it enough times.

The ones who count in American politics are the rich  and influential Jews. Some of them are Orthodox.  Some of them are way out in left field. Many of them are wary of Obama because of his publicly harsh treatment of Netanyahu and his reckless driving towards a deal with Iran over its nuclear facilities.

He needs American Jewish support, and preaching to the Conservative synagogue in Washington is his key. Virtually every Israel ambassador attends Adas Israel. Current Ambassador Ron Dermer does not because he does not drive on the Shabbat.

Norman Eisen, Obama’s former ambassador to the Czech Republic, told The Washington Post:

The president is probably the last person in the White House who hasn’t been to Adas.. So I guess he wants to see what it’s all about.

President Obama’s speech comes during Jewish American Heritage Month. Obama will bowl over the audience tonight with quips. He probably will remind them that he holds a Passover Seder every year. Strictly kosher.

We can expect him to pull a phrase from the Torah and then deliver his own interpretation, based on his ignorance of Talmud.

That is just what the liberal American Jews want to hear.

“Love they neighbor as thyself” becomes “make peace with your enemies,” and “We were slaves in Egypt” becomes “free the poor Palestinians from the Occupation” so they can have the freedom to choose between a terrorist state and anarchy, or perhaps both.

Obama will find some way to argue that the Torah supports the “two-state solution.”

Obama’s support from the Jewish community has dropped sharply. A Gallup poll last month revealed that only 54 percent of American Jews – they usually refer to themselves Jewish Americans just so the non-Jews don’t suspect them of disloyalty.

President Obama is scary because he is one of those good American Gentiles who adopt certain Jewish principles for their own personal, social and political objectives. The difference between Reform Judaism and Obama’s view of Judaism is that he is not Jewish, although the Reform community rapidly is erasing that distinction through intermarriage.

Martin Indyk, former Ambassador to Israel, former “peace process” pusher and a model of  the liberal American Jew, told the Washington newspaper:

 The president himself feels a little Jewish, in the sense that he identifies with Jewish values,

The Washington Post added:

But on a more fundamental level, according to several of the president’s confidants, Obama is pained by the perception that he has not done enough for Israel. The president has had close Jewish friends for decades and inaugurated the tradition of holding an annual Passover Seder at the White House. Indyk said.

Bad news. The liberal American Jews, and their non-Jewish friends, want to “help” Israel by modeling the Jewish state after America.

A Night of Revelation and the Musical Spirit of Israel

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Why does Shavuot (Festival of Weeks or Pentecost) have so many themes running through it? Agriculture, Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments, the Book of Ruth, King David, the Baal Shem Tov, the consumption of dairy products and more all come together on this holiday, that begins Saturday night. Yishai is joined in-studio by Rabbi Mike Feuer to make sense of it all, ahead of the great “revelation.”

Then, Yishai is joined in-studio by Nachman and Sruli — the Solomon Brothers — who created their own band of bluegrass music, infused with spiritualism and folk rock, influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Their special blend of music has gained them numerous TV appearances and rave reviews. Their live performance at VOI will blow you away.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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New Torah Scroll Gifted to Nevatim Air Force Base

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Israel’s Nevatim Air Force base was the recipient of a beautiful new Torah scroll this month in a Hachasat Sefer Torah ceremony that lit up the entire base.

At least 60 hareidi-religious IDF soldiers now serve at the base in a special Nachal Hareidi battalion.

The Sefer Torah itself was donated by Victor Abayev, a Jewish business owner and senior member of the Caucasus Jewish community in the United States.

Abayev donated the Torah in memory of IDF soldier Almog Shiloni, z’l, who served in Nahal Hareidi. The soldier was stabbed to death in a terror attack at the train station in Tel Aviv last November.

Participating in the festivities were Shiloni’s parents, as well as base commander Brigadier Lihu HaCohen, who also spoke at the event.

Nevatim is one of the largest Air Force bases in Israel, with the greatest number of squadrons. On the base there are advanced, highly strategic radars as well as various transport vehicles and other equipment used for intelligence and other purposes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-torah-scroll-gifted-to-nevatim-air-force-base/2015/05/18/

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