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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day’

Alternative Reality – Destabilizing Morality on Memorial Day

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This Wednesday marks Israel’s Memorial day for those who fell founding and defending the State of Israel, as well as civilians murdered by Arab terrorism. It is one of the most solemn days in Israel, even known as the “secular Yom Kippur” — and most of Israel’s population observes the day and respects it. Israel collectively embraces the families of the fallen, and air raid sirens commemorate the day with a gut piercing sound as Israel grinds to a halt and we recall those who gave their lives fighting against the Arab enemies of Israel.

And yet, there exists a new type of Israeli, who sees a moral equivalence between Israel’s fallen, and those of the enemy. The IDF soldiers who died defending Israel and Israel’s civilians who were brutally slaughtered by Arab terrorists are now commemorated in a morally-agnostic “Memorial Day Alternative Ceremony” — sponsored by “Combatants for Peace”

“For the last 6 years “Combatants for Peace” has been holding a joint memorial event, to commemorate the Israeli and Palestinians victims of the conflict. This memorial service is attended by bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families and accompanied by artists.” (CFPeace)

This “alternative ceremony” intertwines the truth with lies, fact with fiction, and morality with evil, by jointly memorializing the “Israeli and Palestinians victims of the conflict,” and disgraces the memory of those who fought for the Jewish State.

Contorting history to “morally understand” the “Palestinian Narrative” for the sake of a possible peaceful dialogue is bad enough. Jointly memorializing IDF soldiers and victims of Arab terror, with “Palestinian victims of the conflict” is simply too offensive to comprehend.

Those who wish to create such an alternative reality have no moral compass whatsoever.

Intoxication Tests, Traffic Control, Part of Israeli Police Preparations for 64th Independence Day

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Tel Aviv District Police has completed its preparations for Memorial Day and the 64th Independence Day of the State of Israel. County units will operate with reinforcements of Police, Border Guard officers and Civil Defense volunteers, increasing normal security arrangements, easing traffic flow and preventing criminal activity.

Police and volunteers will conduct foot and motorized patrols in crowded areas, markets, shopping centers, transport stations, and cemeteries (on Memorial Day), as well as in resorts, parks, museums and beaches (on Independence Day).

The traffic system will be supplemented by volunteers who will be utilized in maintaining the flow in main traffic arteries, in parks and outside cemeteries. Independence Day will see a stricter enforcement of the laws against driving under the influence of alcohol, and intoxication tests will be conducted.

Around public entertainment stages, clubs and pubs, Police will act to prevent violence and drug use, as well as selling alcohol to minors, using detonators and gas sprays, as well as unlicensed peddling.

The public is being asked to obey by Police and security guards, and to report any suspicious person or object. Personal weapons should be left at home.

A hotline center will address questions related to traffic on Memorial Day, starting at 6:30 P.m. Israel time, at 03-6801982.

Vandals Attack Historic Ammunition Hill

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill museum and memorial were vandalized Sunday night with anti-Zionist slogans, two days before Israel’s Memorial Day.

“Gunter Grass was right” and “lousy Zionists” were spray painted on the famous Six Day War battle site, as well as epithets against President Shimon Peres and Interior Minister Eli Yishai.

The battle of Ammunition Hill, hard fought in trenches and ultimately coming to serve as a symbol of Israeli bravery and yearning for Jerusalem, cost the lives of 36 Israeli soldiers.  Jordan lost 71 soldiers in the battle.

Site manager Katri Maoz told Army Radio that there was also an attempt to burn the large Israeli flag flown at the site.  A Biblical verse engraved in the stone at the Memorial of the Sons, a memorial to soldiers who fell in other battles who were the children of soldiers who had fought at Ammunition Hill, was painted over in black.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the attack and commissioned a special municipal team to clean the site in time for Wednesday’s Memorial Day ceremonies.

A Time Of Sadness And Joy, A Time To Remember

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011


This time of year in Israel is a time of sadness and a time of joy. We commemorate the murder of six million Jews in Nazi Europe and we commemorate the deaths of our children in times of war and the terrorist murders of our people during periods of “peace.” When our sadness reaches a crescendo as the sun sets on Memorial Day, we pause, raise our flag from half mast to its highest height, and joyfully begin to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day.

 

These past weeks have given us much to be thankful for. The execution of Osama Bin Laden, yemach shemo v’zichro, was a victory for the entire free world. The reticence of President Obama to release the photos of Osama Bin Laden is hard to believe, especially when the photos of those he murdered are always publicized. This fear of the Arab reaction is embarrassing to most Americans. As one friend commented on Facebook, “What an upside-down world we live in. The photos of a family slaughtered in their sleep and a baby decapitated were released and not even a sneeze was heard from the world. But G-d forbid they should make public the photos of a murdering evil Arab hate monger, and the world will be up in arms. G-d help us.” Another friend commented, “The world at large is afraid to stand up to the Muslim extremists, and this just gives them more power by making a media mountain about the photo. Al Qaeda didn’t need a photo to incite them to blow up the Twin-Towers, or to carry out any other suicide bombing mission. I couldn’t care less about the actual picture – it’s just the sentiment behind it.”

 

The fact that Hashem delivered Osama Bin Laden close to Holocaust Memorial Day was noted by our yishuv rabbi. Rabbi Auerbach did not mince any words at the Holocaust Memorial ceremony when he spoke, and he made clear how we should react. “When I was a child,” he explained, “children never went to cemeteries. Children were meant to play and enjoy and were considered out of place at a funeral. The Nazis, by murdering more than a million Jewish children, changed this. We must remember the Holocaust with our children, but maybe we should also ask their forgiveness because springtime is such a beautiful time of year in Israel, and we should not burden them with such painful experiences.”

 

The rabbi went on to explain that we must remember, and we are not permitted to forget. “Six million Jews were butchered by the Germans and their willing helpers from other nations. This most sophisticated and cultured nation in the world viciously murdered the weak Jewish people of Europe.” The rabbi quoted the sentence from Ha’azinu (32:43) telling us to rejoice when Hashem renders vengeance “for the land and for His people.” Our hearts must be filled with joy whether Hashem sends an earthquake, a financial crisis, a Tsunami or any other special punishment against evil doers. It is proper to rejoice when evil ones are punished.

 

Holocaust Memorial Day should fill us with a great love for our fellow Jews and we should be very grateful towards those non-Jews who saved Jews during that dark and terrible time. We should honor those who survived, especially those who came to live in Israel to build the land and fight for freedom. The rabbi recalled the story of Noach, who, despite being a righteous person, after the destruction of his community, drank himself into a stupor because almost every one of his friends and family had been lost in the flood. We would have understood it if the Holocaust survivors had withdrawn from society, and filled their bodies with drink and drugs. Instead, these survivors who came to Israel were great heroes. Despite being alone and depressed, they did not drink or take drugs or run away. They lifted themselves up, built up the land and were a driving force in the birth and success of Israel. They were driven to build and to repopulate and to never lose hope. We, too, will never lose faith. We will rise up and continue to build all of our land, and we will gather the exiles of our people and hopefully will witness the rebuilding of all of Jerusalem in our time.

 

We pray that the Jewish people will experience a complete redemption in the very near future.

 

As I do each year, if you are interested in receiving a copy of the prayers for the State of Israel and for Israel’s soldiers, please send me a request containing a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Jewish Press (or an e-mail to me to receive e-mail copies).

 

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com

‘I’m A Chazzan, But I Don’t Put On A Broadway Show’: An Interview with Lincoln Square Synagogue’s Cantor Sherwood Goffin

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Sherwood Goffin has had a storied career. The cantor of Lincoln Square Synagogue since 1965, Goffin started his musical career as a folk singer. From 1961-1995, Goffin sang on major stages worldwide, recorded six albums, and was known as the “Voice of Soviet Jewry,” singing at all the major Soviet Jewry UN Solidarity Day rallies from 1964-1991.

Today, Goffin is a faculty member at Yeshiva University’s Belz School of Jewish Music, principal of the LSS Feldman Hebrew School, and honorary president of the Belz School-affiliated Cantorial Council of America (CCA) – the only exclusively Orthodox cantorial organization in the world – which will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary with a Shabbos Chazzanus on Memorial Day weekend.

The Jewish Press recently spoke with Cantor Goffin about the CCA and the fascinating history of Jewish liturgical music.

The Jewish Press: What is the CCA’s mission?

Goffin: To educate the Orthodox world on the proper way to daven.

What do you mean by “the proper way to daven”?

There are halachos and traditions that must be maintained.

The modern idea is: If a guy knows two Carlebach niggunim, he’s a chazzan and can do whatever he wants. But imagine if a guy got up on Kol Nidrei night and, instead of singing the traditional tune, sang the latest Carlebach melody. How would you feel? It would destroy your entire kavanah, and that is assur. The Shulchan Aruch rules that one cannot change a community’s customs, even its melodies, because the people will become confused and upset.

Most people know better when it comes to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but the same halacha also applies to the shalosh regalim, Shabbos, even weekdays.

But is there really one “proper” way to daven? Aren’t there many different variations of traditional tunes among different communities?

Yes, there are variations. But, as you go up in kedushah – from weekday to Shabbos to shalosh regalim – there are more and more things that are fixed. In Ne’ilah on Yom Kippur almost every paragraph has to be done a certain way.

Are you talking about specific tunes or something else?

We have seven modes of music. Modes are like colors or textures, and every single paragraph of tefillah has its own musical mode. Each mode gives a certain feeling and aura. For example, you can’t do Kaddish before Mussaf in minor; it has to be in major.

If you know how to daven properly, you raise the level of the tzibbur’s kavanah. I tell all my students that the kavanah of your tzibbur rests on your shoulders.

Where did today’s tunes for davening come from?

From the Maharil, Rabbi Jacob Moelin (1365-1427), who was the chief rabbi of the Rhineland, where the majority of Jews lived at that time.

He was concerned that the melodies of the Troubadours, Minnesingers and jongleurs – early European folk singers – were infiltrating into shuls and that chazzanim were copying church melodies. He was afraid that a whole tradition that went back to the Beis HaMikdash was getting lost. So he took it upon himself to standardize the nusach, and we follow it to this day. (If you look at Hilchos Tefillah in the Shulchan Aruch, you will see the Rema constantly citing the Maharil.)

The Maharil took this matter very seriously.

Yes. One of the Maharil’s students records that the Maharil once went to another city or country and changed the nusach. The local people said to him, “Rabbeinu, we don’t do it this way here,” but he didn’t listen. Two months later he went home and found that his daughter had died while he was away. According to the Maharil, his daughter’s death was punishment for changing the nusach in that city. That’s how strongly he felt about it.

You said earlier that the Maharil believed traditional Jewish music to have originated in the Beis HaMikdash. But wouldn’t the music in the Beis HaMikdash have sounded more Middle Eastern?

Yes, but it became Europeanized. Did you ever play telephone when you were a kid? You line up ten kids, whisper something in the first kid’s ear, and it comes out different the other end. But there’s a chain that connects them. The Maharil was trying to maintain that chain.

I should add that among the musical modes we use in davening is Freygish – the Arabic Hijaz – which you don’t find it in any Western mode in the world. It’s Oriental [which demonstrates a linkage to our Middle Eastern roots].

How do Sephardim daven today? Do they also use different musical modes for different paragraphs?

No. They have one mode for each Shabbos, depending on the parshah. If the parshah is sad, it’s a sad mode; if the parshah is happy, it’s a happy mode.

So whose tradition is more accurate: ours or theirs?

Probably theirs. For instance, the Yemenites were shut away for 15 centuries and were forbidden by their rulers from having any communication with the outside world. So they really kept their minhagim [faithfully], and they claim their niggunim go back to the Beis HaMikdash. Now we can’t prove that, but it’s interesting: The Gregorian melodies of the Catholic Church – standardized between the years 400 and 600 – were also reputed to have come from the Temple in Jerusalem, and Professor Avraham Tzvi Idelsohn, the great Jewish ethnomusicologist [died 1938], found in quite a number of places that Yemenite melodies and Gregorian chants were almost note for note the same.

Switching topics slightly, what do you say to those Orthodox Jews who dislike chazzanus because they view it as a performance rather than tefillah?

Look, I’m a chazzan, but I don’t put on a Broadway show. I don’t repeat words and I don’t sing long cantorial recitatives. That world has gone. Even the most professional chazzanim today don’t do more than one or two long pieces on a Shabbos. When I was a kid, Moshe Koussevitzky did maybe 12 or 15.

What changed?

The chazzan is a reflection of his shul. Koussevitzky davened until 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon because that’s what his congregants wanted. It developed in Europe when the Jews couldn’t go to the opera. So they brought the opera into their shuls by asking their chazzanim to expand and become more elaborate. But that world has gone.

Is that good or bad?

I don’t know. But the most important thing is the nusach – the proper way to daven – not the cantorial recitatives.

Why, then, is the CCA holding a Shabbos Chazzanus on Memorial Day weekend?

The chazzanim are going to reflect the CCA’s philosophy; they will daven properly. People will certainly hear chazzanus, and there is a grand concert Sunday evening, but the davening won’t be overly repetitious or over the top.

The rest of the convention – Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday – is dedicated to education about nussach ha’tefillah and sessions on congregational singing, the future of the chazzan, and other matters.

75th Anniversary Reunion

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Israel Independence Day is a national holiday in Israel. This year it falls on Tuesday, April 20th and is celebrated either publicly or within the family circle. The ceremonies begin eight days earlier with Holocaust Memorial Day. One week later, we commemorate Israel’s fallen soldiers and terror victims on Memorial Day. As the sun sets, the national flag is raised from half-mast, the music begins to play, and the festivities begin in honor of Israel’s 62nd anniversary.

 

In Zionist religious communities, a festive Ma’ariv prayer service begins with special prayers thanking God for the establishment of the State of Israel, and concludes with the Hallel prayer. Groups in many communities gather for programs of nostalgia and Israeli songs. Peace and friendship reign throughout the country.

 

In the morning, after the special Israel Independence Day morning prayers, many families join together for picnics and hikes. Some families travel in search of an open piece of grass on which to set up their grills and beach chairs and sit with friends and family telling stories, playing ball and eating grilled meats.

 

This year, a special event is being planned for the families of the thousands of Bnei Akiva graduates who attended Camp Moshava in the USA and who came on aliyah to Israel. We plan to meet in the Neot Kedumim Nature Preserve near Modiin for a day of friendship, special events and nostalgia.

 

Dozens of American yeshiva students from all over Israel will serve as guides and supervisors. Shiurim are scheduled throughout the day, to be given by well-known rabbis who were former Moshava campers. Ball games, competitions and special children’s activities are planned, as are nature walks and tours in the nature preserve. It should be a very exciting day for former campers, their children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren.

 

The massive Machanot Moshava reunion will be celebrating the following milestones:

 

It’s My Opinion: Taking Responsibility

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

South Florida was recently inundated with weeks of torrential rain. The downside was that the weather ruined the much-anticipated Memorial Day weekend. The upside was that the storms made a dent in the terrible drought conditions that had plagued the area. Sometimes it is easier to see the wisdom of the old adage, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

 

I escaped from the weather by shopping at a store that was having a huge sale. I stood next to a woman and the line was very long.

 

The boredom of standing for 20 minutes propelled her into conversation. She confided in me that she used to be an “A personality” who would have gone crazy at the delay we were experiencing. She offered that she was diagnosed with a chronic neurological disorder two years ago, and the finding had actually changed her life for the good. 

 

She told me that she no longer got bent out of shape by delays and hindrances.  She shared that she now has a very different take. She enjoys every day. She stops to watch a sunset or a butterfly. She no longer sits on her horn in a traffic jam. Her life is qualitatively improved. Her sense of gratitude and joy was actually palpable.

 

Every life is filled with challenges. Terrible stuff does happen. It is often very hard to extract any positive from the ordeal.   

 

We often have no option in the circumstances of life. The skies can be stormy and the prognoses can be grim. Sometimes the only real choice is to see the silver lining. 

Israel At 56: Still Under The Oslo Delusion

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

This week Israelis observed Memorial Day and celebrated Independence Day. I have believed for years that the best way to commemorate these days is by turning them into a battle against the loss of perspective.

Memorial Day is the more troubling of the two days. The problem is that Israelis have lost their sense of Jewish perspective to such an extreme extent, and this becomes glaringly evident on Memorial Day. Israelis are incapable of viewing their problems and that of the state within the perspective of Jewish history, in large part because of the efforts of the secularist Israeli Left, which dominates civil discourse, the media, and academia and seeks to detach the state from Jewish history and deny any connection between “Israeli-ness” and Judaism.

This is reflected in a defeatism that is blindingly apparent on Memorial Day, whose atmosphere resembles that of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah, in nearly all things: the same siren, the same closing of cafes and restaurants, the same conversion of the media into
official mourners. The timing is also suggestive – Memorial Day is a week after Yom Hashoah.
If anything, Memorial Day is the more dramatic of the two days, as there are two sirens sounded on Memorial Day but only one on Yom Hashoah. And this is not because the loss of soldiers is more recent. The bulk of the soldiers killed in Israel’s wars, more than half, died in the 1948-9 War of Independence, only three years after the Holocaust.

All sense of proportion has been lost. If you add up the numbers from all of Israel’s wars,
roughly 21,000 soldiers and civilians have been killed. That’s similar to the number of Jews
murdered every two days at Auschwitz at the height of its “efficiency.” In other words, had
Auschwitz operated just two days longer than it actually did, the loss of Jewish life during that
two-day period would have equaled all of Israel’s military and civilians losses over more than
half a century. (The soldiers killed in Israel, of course, died in valor, defending their people and
country.

Here we are, 56 years after the Holocaust, and Israel is still operating under the Grand
Oslo Delusion, still trying to “negotiate” with the Palestinians instead of achieving total military
victory over them. In modern Israel, the fact that one or two soldiers were killed per week in
Lebanon was cause for a panic-stricken retreat out of Lebanon to Israel’s “international border.

Two deaths a week of soldiers in Lebanon – deaths that could have been prevented but for the lack of courage among the country’s leadership – were thought to be sufficient reason for
abandoning all rationality and determination, and for putting all of northern Israel under threat of massive bombardment. On the other front, Palestinians tossing rocks at soldiers in the 1980′s was sufficient reason for Israel to fall for the Oslo swindle of the 1990′s and invite an Islamofascist terrorist army to sit in the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Oslo Israel is post-survivalist Israel, defeatist Israel, exhausted Israel. Oslo was based on a total loss of the ability to reason rationally, a loss of historic proportions, a relinquishment of reality for a make-pretend imaginary universe, and a complete loss in the Jewish determination to survive as a nation.

First and foremost, it was a complete loss in Jewish self-respect and dignity in Israel. Here we had the spectacle of Israeli leaders meeting, back-slapping and kissing the same Arab
fascists who murdered Jewish children and only yesterday denied there had ever been a
Holocaust, but at the same time insisting that if there had been one, the Jews deserved it.

The Israeli media continue to be the occupied territory of Israel’s extremist Left; the
Independence Day issue of Haaretz a couple of years back featured a banner op-ed by columnist Akiva Eldar entitled “To the Glory of the States of Israel and Palestine.” Eldar explained that Israel will never be truly independent until Palestine has pushed Israel behind its 1949 borders and liberated East Jerusalem.

In Oslo Israel, defeatism became the greatest form of triumphalism, cowardice became the highest form of courage, and McCarthyism was the greatest expression of democracy, at least
in the first few years after the Rabin assassination.

The Israeli military was as blinded by the loss of perspective as the rest of the country. The military leadership has been McClellenist since 1992, and was if anything ahead of the rest
of the country in saying amen to the vision of Oslo and backing the suicidal ambitions of Israel’s surrender-at-all-costs Left. The military brass was even louder than the media in demanding the unilateral, unconditional surrender of Israel in Lebanon and the abandonment of the Golan to Syria.

Meanwhile, now it’s Ariel Sharon who’s trying to capitulate his way into tranquility. Just
what does he think the PLO-Hamas terrorists will do in Gaza once Israel has ethnically cleansed it of Jews and abandoned it?

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at
Amazon.com. He can be reached at steven_plaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/israel-at-56-still-under-the-oslo-delusion/2004/05/26/

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