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July 23, 2016 / 17 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘July’

The Fourth of ‘Jewlie’ – Who Cares?

Monday, July 4th, 2016

One of the great things about Israel is that when Christmas time comes around you don’t notice it at all. Sure, if you go to Bethlehem, you’ll see Christmas decorations and maybe a manger, but what Jew goes to Bethlehem anymore? The same is true with the Fourth of July.

True, I saw somebody driving around today with American flags waving from his car windows, but I didn’t think of the Fourth of the July. My wife, who is Israeli, asked, “Why would anyone want to drive with American flags flying out of his car?” Only when I noticed a post on the Internet did I realize that the Fourth of July was on its way. In Israel, we have more important things to deal with. Who cares about the Fourth of July?

The truth is that not many Americans really care about it either. It’s a day off from work, maybe a barbecue, a chance to do some discount shopping, and see some fireworks on TV. I am sure there are still a few patriotic Americans who get misty when they hear the Star Spangled Banner and see Old Betsy wave in the wind. But for a Jew to celebrate the Fourth of July? It is as absurd as an American Indian going to a baseball game to honor the day.

Therefore, to all you Jews in America, if you want to drink beer and eat hot dogs on the Fourth of July because America has been good to the Jews, then drink your Buds and eat your mustard buns. But after you finish your meal and thank G-d for the food and the land, don’t confuse matters and think that the land in the Birchat HaMazone blessing is referring to America. The Torah wants a Jew to praise G-d for having given him the Land of Israel, not for the old US of A. In formulating the blessing, our Sages wanted a Jew to remember Jerusalem, not Washington D.C. or New York. Go ahead and eat your hot dogs, if they are kosher. Drink your beer. But don’t think that the Fourth of July is your Independence Day. If you are a You’re your Independence Days are Pesach and Yom Haatzmaut. If you are a Jew, your nation is Israel, not America. You should be saluting the Star of David, not the Stars and Stripes. Remember that you are only there temporarily because of the curse of galut. Perhaps you were born there, but it isn’t your home. When a baseball sails into the bleachers for a game-winning grand slam, the American cheering next to you may give you a brotherly smile, but he really hates your guts.

So have a happy Fourth of July if you wish. But don’t pretend it is Independence Day for you. If you still identify with your Jewishness, the “land of the free and the home of the brave” is in Israel. Hope to see you here soon!

Tzvi Fishman

Community Currents – July 1, 2016

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Jewish Press Staff

Trump May Come to Israel in July to Visit the Southern Wall

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Donald Trump is planning to visit Israel before the Republican national convention in July, according to persistent reports, although his campaign is denying it. New York Magazine on Wednesday cited four sources who say Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, together with associates of Sheldon Adelson are working on the trip. Trump was planning to visit Israel before the start of the primaries and was hoping for Netanyahu’s endorsement, but then Bibi said he wasn’t planning to endorse anyone. Perhaps the fact that Adelson is involved this time around means that the Israeli PM will at least give the candidate the royal treatment he expects.

“This is a typical time frame when a general-election candidate has an opportunity to flex his foreign-policy muscles,” a Trump staffer told NY Mag.

Some Internet news sources have suggested that Trump may be coming to Israel not for the endorsements, and not to gain favor with the hard-line pro-Israel crowd—he’s got them already. Instead, Trump is going to see the wall. Not the Western Wall, but the 150 mile fence Israel has erected along its border with Egypt, which caused the number of illegal African migrant workers getting through to drop from thousands to single digits annually.

Jewish Insider quoted Trump’s recent book “Crippled America,” where he states, “Walls work. The Israelis spent $2 million per kilometer to build a wall – which has been hugely successful in stopping terrorists from getting into the country. Ironically, some of the same people who claim we shouldn’t build a wall cite the success of Israel’s wall. While obviously we don’t face the same level of terrorist threat as our closest Middle East ally, there is no question about the value of a wall in the fight against terrorism.”

The Negev security fence, which is supported by a heavy military detail, has also been remarkably effective at preventing the ISIS affiliates in the Sinai from infiltrating. Of course, Israel did not ask Egypt to pay for the wall, the way Trump promises to do with Mexico, and the US southern border is not 150 but 1,989 miles. Otherwise, though, Trump could gain points by pointing to the Israeli approach to sealing the border and smiling victoriously in the desert sun.

Of course, if liberal folks live up to their word and flee to Canada after a Trump win, Israel could be cashing in on its border fence technology from two countries.

David Israel

Goodbye Columbus, Goodbye America

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Columbus may have outfoxed the Spanish court and his rivals, but he is falling victim to the court of political correctness.

The explorer who discovered America has become controversial because the very idea of America has become controversial.

There are counter-historical claims put forward by Muslim and Chinese scholars claiming that they discovered America first. And there are mobs of fake indigenous activists on every campus to whom the old Italian is as much of a villain as the bearded Uncle Sam.

Columbus Day parades are met with protests and some have been minimized or eliminated.

In California, Columbus Day became Indigenous People’s Day, which sounds like a Marxist terrorist group’s holiday. While it’s tempting to put that down to California political correctness, in South Dakota it was renamed Native American Day.

The shift from celebrating Columbus’ arrival in America to commemorating it as an American Nakba by focusing on the Indians, rather than the Americans, is a profound form of historical revisionism that hacks away at the origins of this country.

No American state has followed Venezuela’s lead in renaming it Día de la Resistencia Indígena, or Day of Indigenous Resistance, which actually is a Marxist terrorist group’s holiday, the whole notion of celebrating the discovery of America has come to be seen as somehow shameful and worst of all, politically incorrect.

Anti-Columbus Day protests are mounted by La Raza, whose members, despite their indigenous posturing, are actually mostly descended from Spanish colonists, but who know that most American liberals are too confused to rationally frame an objection to a protest by any minority group.

About the only thing sillier than a group of people emphasizing their collective identity as a Spanish speaking people, and denouncing Columbus as an imperialist exploiter is Ward Churchill, a fake Indian, who compared Columbus to Heinrich Himmler. Ward Churchill’s scholarship consists of comparing Americans in past history and current events to random Nazis. If he hasn’t yet compared Amerigo Vespucci or Daniel Boone to Ernst Röhm; it’s only a matter of time.

The absurdity of these attacks is only deepened by the linguistic and cultural ties between the Italian Columbus Day marchers and the Latino Anti-Columbus Day protesters with the latter set cynically exploiting white guilt to pretend that being the descendants of Southern European colonists makes them a minority.

If being descended from Southern Europeans makes you a minority, then Columbus, the parade marchers, the Greek restaurant owner nearby and even Rush Limbaugh are all “people of color.”

Italian-Americans are the only bulwark against political correctness still keeping Columbus on the calendar, and that has made mayors and governors in cities and states with large Italian-American communities wary of tossing the great explorer completely overboard. But while Ferdinand and Isabella may have brought Columbus back in chains, modern day political correctness has banished him to the darkened dungeon of non-personhood, erasing him from history and replacing him with a note reading, “I’m Sorry We Ever Landed Here.”

But this is about more than one single 15th century Genoan with a complicated life who was neither a monster nor a saint. It is about whether America really has any right to exist at all. Is there any argument against celebrating Columbus Day, that cannot similarly be applied to the Fourth of July?

If Columbus is to be stricken from the history books in favor of ideological thugs like Malcolm X or Caesar Chavez, then America must soon follow. Columbus’ crime is that he enabled European settlement of the continent.

If the settlement of non-Indians in North America is illegitimate, then any national state they created is also illegitimate.

It is easier to hack away at a nation’s history by beginning with the lower branches.

Columbus is an easier target than America itself, though La Raza considers both colonialist vermin. Americans are less likely to protest over the banishment of Columbus to the politically correct Gulag than over the banishing America itself, which was named after another one of those colonialist explorers, Amerigo Vespucci. First they came for Columbus Day and then for the Fourth of July.

The battles being fought over Columbus Day foreshadow the battles to be fought over the Fourth of July. As Columbus Day joins the list of banned holidays in more cities, one day there may not be a Fourth of July, just a day of Native Resistance to remember the atrocities of the colonists with PBS documentaries comparing George Washington to Hitler.

These documentaries already exist, they just haven’t gone mainstream. Yet.

We celebrate Columbus Day and the Fourth of July because history is written by the winners. Had the Aztecs, the Mayans or the Iroquois Confederation developed the necessary technology and skills to cross the Atlantic and begin colonizing Europe, the fate of its native inhabitants would have been far uglier. The different perspectives on history often depend on which side you happen to be on.

To Americans, the Alamo is a shining moment of heroism. To the Mexicans who are the heirs of a colonialist empire far more ruthless than anything to be found north of the Rio Grande, the war was a plot to conquer Mexican territory. And neither side is altogether wrong, but choosing which version of history to go by is the difference between being an American or a Mexican.

A nation’s mythology, its paragons and heroes, its founding legends and great deeds, are its soul. To replace them with another culture’s perspective on its history is to kill that soul.

That is the ultimate goal of political correctness, to kill America’s soul. To stick George Washington, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, James Bowie, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and all the rest on a shelf in a back room somewhere, and replace them with timelier liberal heroes. Move over Washington, Caesar Chavez needs this space. No more American heroes need apply.

This is how it begins. And that is how it ends. Nations are not destroyed by atomic bombs or economic catastrophes; they are lost when they lose any reason to go on living. When they no longer have enough pride to go on fighting to survive.

The final note of politically correct lunacy comes from a headline in the Columbus Dispatch about the Columbus Day festival in the city of Columbus, Ohio. “Italian Festival honors controversial explorer with its own Columbus Day parade”.

Once the great discover of America, Columbus is now dubbed “controversial” by a newspaper named after him, in a city named after him .And if he is controversial, how can naming a city after him and a newspaper after the city not be equally controversial?

Can the day when USA Today has a headline reading, “Some cities still plan controversial 4th of July celebration of American independence” be far behind?

Daniel Greenfield

US, Setting Example For Israel, Releases Taliban Terrorists

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

On 28 July, Jonathan Tobin asked, at Commentary, if the U.S. would release terrorist killers as a precondition for talks – the measure Secretary of State John Kerry was demanding of Israel.

A couple of days later, in an almost supernaturally handy turn of events, we had the answer: yes.  The U.S. did exactly that at the end of July, agreeing to release five Taliban terrorists we’ve been holding at Guantanamo, in order to jumpstart the initiative – mainly ours – for talks with the Taliban.

Daniel Greenfield points out at FrontPage that in June, the Taliban offered to exchange U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for the five Taliban at Gitmo.  The Haqqani network of the Pakistan Taliban has been holding Bergdahl since late June or early July of 2009, shortly after he went missing close to Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

But the Gitmo Five were released without an exchange for SGT Bergdahl taking place.  This will have to be a blow to his family in Idaho (not to mention a blow to Bergdahl).

It will also be another blow to U.S. credibility, already on the ropes.  It certainly dents the credibility of detention as a deterrent to terrorism.  Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, had a hilariously timed oped in Friday’s Washington Post online in which he argued that the Obama administration should declare that the “war against al Qaeda” – yes, that al Qaeda; the one that has our embassies shut down across the Muslim world this weekend – is over.  Instead of acting on a war footing and killing terrorists, says Mr. Roth, we should be going with President Obama’s own expressed preference to “detain, interrogate, and prosecute” them.

Now, I have been a critic myself of Obama’s overreliance on drone killings as a method.  And detention and interrogation, while important for intelligence gathering, are not methods of deterrence, nor is prosecution.  I don’t argue for them as a substitute for drone attacks.

I’m getting those points out of the way so we can focus on what matters here, which is that detention is as close to meaningless as makes no difference, if we’re just going to turn terrorists loose anyway, to everyone we might have a yen to have “talks” with.  The Obama administration, just a few days before his oped appeared, provided Kenneth Roth with a conversation-stopping answer to his proposition that we should kill less and detain more.  The answer leaves Roth in the dust:  whether we stop killing terrorists or not, we should release the ones we have detained in order to get terrorists to have talks with us.

I guess, technically, there would be a purpose for detaining a few from time to time, on the assumption that we may want to have talks with their comrades in terror in the future.  This kind of preemptive hostage-taking is gang-and-guerrilla behavior, of course.  The degrees by which the mode of thinking shifts from “responsible statesman” to “mob boss” are not subtle here.

In any case, we can reassure Mr. Roth that the U.S. ended the war on terror in 2009.  Perhaps that’s not the same thing as the “war against al Qaeda,” but in the latter regard, Roth would do well to try and keep up:  al Qaeda has been “decimated” and has been “on the path to defeat” for a year or more, according to the Obama administration.

The die seems to be cast; we can at least hope that God really does watch out for fools, drunks, and the United States, because our president certainly isn’t doing it.  Given the reigning jumble of confused soundbites and incoherent actions that now masquerades as U.S. policy on the global threat of terrorism, we may justly ask, with our former secretary of state: what difference, at this point, does it make?

J. E. Dyer

Will the New Israel Fund Also Fight Anti-Jewish Incitement?

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

The New Israel Fund recently announced that it “is undertaking a comprehensive survey to identify those most involved in inciting racism and violence.”

Incitement to violence and intolerance is a particularly troubling problem plaguing Israeli society today. This problem is all the more severe when the incitement comes from respected public figures and political leaders.  But will the New Israel Fund will also include anti-Jewish incitement which comes from the Israeli Left?

A brief online search unearthed a myriad of following examples which should be included in the NIF’s survey – all from the Israeli Left.

Incitement against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria: 

“Fascism cannot be stopped with rational arguments. This can be stopped only by force, and when there is willingness to risk a civil war.  When necessary, we shall have to forcibly deal with the settlers in Ofra or in Elon Moreh.  Only those ready to storm Ofra with tanks will stem the fascist tide, which threatens to engulf Israel’s democracy.”
— Prof. Zeev Sternhell, Davar, April 4, 1988.  Sternhell was later awarded the Israel Prize.

“My true contribution would be if I grabbed a sub-machine-gun, instead of a pen and pencil, and killed them.”
— Artist Yigal Tumarkin, Hadashot, September 28, 1988.  Tumarkin was later awarded the Israel Prize.

“It a messianic junta, closed-minded and cruel, a band of armed gangsters, perpetrators of crimes against humanity, sadists, pogromists, and murderers, who crept out of some dark corner of Judaism… from out of cellars of bestiality and defilement… in order to impose their a bloodthirsty and insane blood worship.”
— Writer Amos Oz, Yediot Aharonot, June 8, 1989.

“The time has come to bury them.”
— “Peace Activist” and Gush Shalom founder Uri Avnery, HaOlam Hazeh, November 1988.

“They are not my brothers…  [There] will be a civil war, [and] I will run to it… and I will crush their flesh with mighty blows, to rout them…  I will go forth to the foe in order to fight, for once, a justified war…  Much blood will be shed.”
— Editorial, HaKibbutz newspaper, August 1995.

“The Palestinians aren’t the first we drove insane.  Look what happened to the Germans…  What brought the Germans and brings the Palestinians to such hatred of us? …  We have a tough history.  We came here out of a Jewish experience and the settlements are messing it up.”
— Author A. B. Yehoshua, Ma’ariv, June 20, 2002.

In response to a question about what to do with settlers who refuse to willingly evacuate their homes:  “I will say this in clear words:  There is more than one ‘Altalena’ in the life of every state or nation…  The political leadership in the State of Israel has already taken difficult decisions when the alternative was clear, and in the future the political leadership will have to take difficult decisions when the alternative is clear.”  (Note: In the ‘Altalena’ incident of June 1948, the Irgun ship ‘Altalena’ was sunk by the Palmah, and 16 unarmed survivors who jumped overboard were then shot to death while trying to swim from the ship to shore). 
— Former GSS chief Ami Ayalon, interview, Yedioth Ahronoth, November 14, 2003.

“If a settler child or two get killed, the settler parents say:  ‘No problem.  We’ll make four instead and all will be OK.'”
— Artist Yigal Tumarkin, February 13, 2004.  Tumarkin was later awarded the Israel Prize.

“When I fashioned a pig wearing tefillin, I merely meant to display a fetish to deride those settlers, because settlements are idolatry.  Because of them we’re in trouble with the whole world and our neighbors.”
— Artist Yigal Tumarkin, April 22, 2004, on why he sculpted a pig wearing tefillin.

“They should not try to frighten a nation — tens of thousands of whose sons were killed in wars to ensure its very existence — with [the prospect of] the shedding of blood in the cause of peace.”
— Journalist Yoel Marcus, Haaretz, “Don’t Try and Frighten Us with Bloodshed, July 9, 2004.

“If, heaven forbid, they will force us, we will be compelled to open fire [against the settlers]…  It will be necessary to pull the trigger, slowly, responsibly, coolheadedly, and intelligently.”
— Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan, interview with Ari Shavit, Haaretz, September 5, 2004, discussing the prospect of a civil war against the settlers.

“The desirable thing here is that there be a civil war between Left and Right — a war between the settlers and leftists…  Civil war is the way to solve the problem we face.  We’ve tried all other means and none worked… long live death.”
— Filmmaker Judd Ne’eman, Ma’ariv, July 7, 2011.
Incitement against various Religious Jewish Communities in Israel:

“The settlers are lunatics, I get angry even if I only hear about them…  I cannot tolerate small children with peyot [sidelocks], that they have a mori [traditional Yemenite teacher], who teaches them to be Yemenites and not Israelis.  I wanted to grab their mori and break his bones.”
— Actor Shaike Levi, Yedioth Aharonot, November 2003.

“The knitted kippot on the heads of IDF soldiers remind me of the swastikas worn by Nazi soldiers.”
— General (Res) Shlomo Gazit, public speech, March 1998.

“Secular Israel is the occupied territories of the religious parties.  If the secular desire to live here, they have no choice but to start an intifada.  Yes, I am prepared to throw the first stone.”
— Poet Yonatan Gefen, Maariv, May 1998.

“The hareidim should be hung from electric poles.”
— Editorial, Hadashot newspaper, October 1992.

“Only if we succeed in wiping out this terrible evil thing, the taking over of our life by the black devil, can we nurture all that is good in the state.”
— Former Meretz MK Naomi Hazan, Humanist Judaism Federation convention, 1992.

“When I see the hareidim, I understand the Nazis.”
— Artist Yigal Tumarkin, Tel Aviv Magazine, November 4, 1988 (see above).

“We have established anti-haredi reconnaissance units that will knock off the heads of the hareidim.”
–Tel Aviv-Jaffacity councillor Michael Roeh, Meretz party faction meeting, June 1998.

“The hareidim should be hung from an electric pole.”
— Professor Uzi Amnon, interview, Kol Ha’ir newspaper.

“The hareidim suck from the same sinister passions which nurtured the Nazis.”
— Meretz founder Shulamit Aloni.

“We have to storm Meah Shearim with machine guns and mow them down.”
— “Peace Activist” and Gush Shalom founder Uri Avnery.

“I would take all those weird people from Shas, Aguda, Degel HaTorah, tie their beards together, and light a match.”
— Journalist and Ma’ariv Editor, Amnon Dankner.

“Hareidim are dancing outside my house in central Carmel.  Is it possible to ask Hitler to return for just an hour to help? …  My hatred for hareidim such as they are is no different from to the hatred of Hitler for the Jews.  I do not intend to apologize for this, nor I do not intend to understand, to include, or to accept them.  So long as they are sucking [the blood] of this state — it is best that they should die.”
— Orly Mizrachi,Haifaleftist activist, on Facebook, June 4, 2012.

Incitement against Israel’s Prime Minister:

“I was angry, and I wrote that I had a wet dream that I shot Bibi Netanyahu twice.  They didn’t print this.  And why is it permitted to print… while they continually reject my wet dream about rubbing out Bibi Netanyahu?”
— Poet Yonatan Gefen, Maariv, 1996.

“We need to take a political decision and start fighting in an organized way.  We should stop being so stately.  We should cut off Netanyahu’s head.”
— Labor MK Ephraim Oshaya, Labor party faction meeting, August, 6, 1997.

“We should roll up our sleeves and shoot in all directions.  I agree with Oshaya, who said we should behead Netanyahu.”
— Labor MK Eitan Cabel, Labor party faction meeting, August, 6, 1997.
Miscellaneous Incitement Against Jews: 

“The Jew’s outward strangeness and the pretentious notion that God chose us… caused violent surrounding cultures to clash… with this arrogant minority…  The image of the cunning, ambitious scoundrel, lending money at exorbitant interest, turned the bent, hook-nosed, bearded Jew into the enemy of civilization… which didn’t help belatedly-enlightened Jews.”
— Artist Yigal Tumarkin, op-ed, Hadashot, November 14, 1988 (see above).

“There is no doubt regarding the legitimacy of the armed resistance in the territories proper [as opposed to inside the Green Line].  Were the Palestinians wiser, they would concentrate their attacks against the settlements…  instead of placing bombs on the western side of the Green Line.”
— Prof. Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz, May 11, 2001.  Sternhell was later awarded the Israel Prize.

“If you want to picture what true peace is, then picture the head of Ehud Barak impaled on a stake…  The only thing good about the wall is that one day we will be able to stand up all the people from the Labor Party and the Likud, and all those sons of bitches who man checkpoints;  we can stand them all up in a row and simply shoot them all, one by one.”
— “Anarchists Against the Wall” leader Federico Gomes, Tel Aviv, Channel 2, September 2008.

“I call on the world to come and help break these scoundrels’ necks.”
— Dr. Eyal Nir, lecturer in chemistry at Ben Gurion University, Facebook, June 11, 2011, on people who marched through Jerusalem with flags on Yom Yerushalayim.

“There is little difference between Hebron youth and Hitler Youth, between the motivation and conditions of service in some of the IDF’s elite units and that of the Waffen SS, between Israeli soccer fans and those of the Third Reich, and between the Old Testament and Mein Kampf.”
— Hebrew University Professor Moshe Zimmerman.

“The common and well-worn motto is that the greatest part of the justification for the establishment of Israel lies in the Holocaust.  If that is so, then we owe thanks to Hitler.”
— Hebrew University Professor Moshe Zimmerman.
So again, will the New Israel Fund will also include anti-Jewish incitement coming from the Israeli Left?

Moshe Matitya

Expressing Ourselves Inside And Outside The Walls

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Editor’s Note: In our July 13 front-page essay, “Birth of a Leather-Kippah Jew,” Mordecai Bienstock described his personal journey on the path to becoming what he called a “Leather Kippah Jew.” Here he elaborates on that vision.

Two centuries ago Napoleon’s armies swept through Europe, tearing down ghetto walls along their way. A river of Jewish souls flowed out, washed out to sea in the roiling waters of enlightenment and assimilation.

Today we have rebuilt those walls. They stand strong. From the simple brick of Brooklyn and Lakewood to the gold and platinum of Long Island and Northern New Jersey, the new ghetto walls provide not only shelter from the excesses of modern society but also space for us to develop, create, and express our own values.

Life within the walls is a model of modesty, virtue and justice.

But all of us travel, in one way or another, outside of those walls. We vote, we pay taxes, we earn our daily bread. We read the newspapers, travel the buses and drive the highways. We search the Internet.

Some of us find ourselves, entirely by accident, walking alone and late at night outside of the walls’ protection. Others willingly seek the world outside, feeling trapped by the walls around them.

On the other hand, many millions of Jews live entirely outside the walls, with no means of understanding or accessing the wonders within. In a generation, these millions will be entirely lost to the Jewish people.

I do not propose that we change the world within the walls. The opposite is true. I propose that we channel the same zeal and dedication that has invigorated our lives within these walls to shine brightly to the world without, so that it infuses our broader relationships with society.

I do not propose that we reduce the role of Torah in the world. I propose that we expand it, using established Torah models to express our values as citizens and members of society.

Orthodox Judaism it today triply blessed.

First, we have created extraordinary institutions of Torah study and observance. The depth of Torah learning and quality of Torah observance in the frum community is unprecedented on this continent.

Second, we live in a unique period of history in which Orthodox Jews are unusually welcome to participate fully in American society. Orthodox Jews have served as leaders across every avenue of society – including as a vice-presidential candidate and a White House chief of staff.

They hold these positions not because of their religious identity and not despite it, but rather because of the kind of people their religious identity has enabled them to be.

Thus, the second pillar is that, as Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch taught, living a life of Torah and mitzvahs can create Jews who are the greatest of citizens; Jews who participate in society at the highest levels.

Third, we live in a period in which Orthodox Jews are free to pursue professions and trades and interests that are particular to their own identities. We can be truly ourselves in all of our pursuits, expressing the wonderful individualistic neshamahs Hashem has granted us through the application of our special natures in the physical world, what the Ba’al Shem Tov and his disciples discovered as the basis for avodah b’gashmiyut.

In other words, we live in a world where one can combine the learning and diligence of the Lithuanian yeshiva with the social consciousness of the German-Jewish tradition and the spiritual intensity of chassidus. We can be Litvish chassidish Yekkes.

We live, as the Chinese curse has it, in interesting times. A technological revolution is increasingly bringing the world outside to us, even as challenging economic conditions are forcing us back out into the world.

We live in danger of discovering one day that our walls are not really built of bricks or stone or precious metals at all; they are only virtual walls. No army will be needed to breach them – only a few clicks on a smart phone or some suddenly insolvent fathers-in-law.

As the walls are threatened, it may perhaps be useful to have at our disposal a more fully developed model for expressing our Torah values as part of society, not only apart from it. That, in my view, is the role of the Leather-Kippah Jew.

Mordecai Bienstock

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/expressing-ourselves-inside-and-outside-the-walls/2012/10/17/

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