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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘night’

Elie Wiesel: From ‘Night’ To Faith

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

In his seminal Faith After the Holocaust, Eliezer Berkovitz argued that only those who experienced the Holocaust can authentically respond to it; only those who were there may properly express what he characterized as “authentic rebellion” or “authentic faith.”

Elie Wiesel was there. And he expressed both.

This column not going to be about Wiesel’s biography and life’s work, which are already well known and in the wake of his passing well-covered by hundreds, if not thousands, of obituaries and articles. Suffice it to say he is best known as a Holocaust survivor who, as unofficial spokesman for Jewish Holocaust survivors, dedicated his life to implanting the Holocaust into the world’s consciousness and keeping the memory of the Six Million alive.

Rather, we will attempt to highlight Wiesel’s philosophical and theological voyage – his journey from rebellion against belief in God because of the Holocaust to his embrace of faith in God notwithstanding the Holocaust.

This transition may perhaps best be demonstrated through a comparison of Wiesel’s black despair and anger at God in the very bitter Night, his first book, with his ultimate acceptance of the eternity of the Jewish people as a manifestation of Jewish faith in God, as expressed in Ani Maamin, his lesser-known masterpiece.

Night, which establishes the basis for all Wiesel’s subsequent work, is a dark memoir based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. He describes his loss of faith arising out of the ashes of the crematoria and, in one of the rawest and most often quoted paragraphs of the book, he concludes:

Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

Singer-071516-Ani-MaaminThe story of Wiesel’s Ani Maamin, however, begins with the great codifier of Torah law and Jewish philosophy, Maimonides (the Rambam), who compiled the Shloshah Assar Ikkarim, or the Thirteen Fundamental Principles of the Jewish faith, which he characterized in his Mishnah commentary as “the fundamental truths of our religion and its very foundations.” The Principles include belief in the existence of God as the perfect Creator who is absolutely unique, non-corporeal, eternal, and omniscient; a God who alone must be worshipped and who communicates with man through prophecy and who created a Torah that is divine and immutable and a just system of reward and punishment. The final two principles are the belief in the arrival of the Messiah and in the resurrection of the dead.

Many Jews recite each of the Thirteen Principles beginning with the words Ani Maamin – or “I believe (with a perfect faith…),” a formulation that constitutes the basis of Wiesel’s cantata, Ani Maamin: A Song Lost and Found Again. Written as a poem to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Wiesel emphasizes the Twelfth Principle – the coming of the Messiah and of the Messianic Age – and dramatically frames that belief against the devastating historical reality of the Holocaust.

After writing the poem, Wiesel presented it to composer Darius Milhaud, who wrote the music. He actually met with Milhaud only once, when he went to Geneva to see him and sang the chassidic version of “Ani Maamin” to him because Milhaud, the descendant of a Sephardic family, had never heard the chassidic rendition of the famous song. The completed work was performed in Carnegie Hall in November 1973.

Saul Jay Singer

A Soldier’s Mother: Six Children…TWO Only ONE WEEK Old…Could Have Died Last Night

Monday, July 11th, 2016

This is a man who went for a drive with his family. His wife and six children last night after Shabbat ended…perhaps he was on his way home, I don’t know.

The two youngest of his six children are ONE WEEK OLD twins, the oldest a boy of 7. Eitan Finkel and his wife saw a terrorist with a gun directly in front of him. For some reason he will never understand, the terrorists hesitated long enough not to fire directly into a car with 8 people in it, six of them children.

They hit the side of the car, wounding Eitan in the leg. He managed to keep driving until he reached safety.

I keep writing that peace will come…it will come when things like this don’t happen. When families can drive safely without being shot. One week ago, in another attack like this one, the father was murdered, the mother critically injured, two children hurt.

This week there was a miracle…the car didn’t overturn, no one else was hurt.

No one was killed…and so there is little outrage here in Israel–none in the world.

Paula Stern

NYC World Trade Center Goes Blue-and-White For Elie Wiesel

Monday, July 4th, 2016

New York’s World Trade Center was all lit up Sunday night in blue and white — the colors of the Israeli flag — to honor the memory of Holocaust survivor and renowned author Elie Weisel.

The gesture by the City of New York was made as the body of the Nobel Laureate was laid to rest at the Sharon Gardens cemetery in Valhalla, New York, in Westchester County.

The Nobel laureate passed away in New York on Saturday at the age of 87 after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Marion and his son Elisha, a partner at Goldman Sachs.

Wiesel, who dedicated his life to ensuring future generations would never forget the Holocaust, lived to see and enjoy his two grandchildren after having survived the Auschwitz death camp.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Leaders Bid Farewell to Holocaust Survivor and Writer Elie Wiesel

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Several top Israeli officials expressed their condolences on the passing of author, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, speaking of his untiring work on behalf of the Jewish people, the State of Israel and humanity.

“Elie Wiesel was the collective moral compass of the Jewish people,” said Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet refusenik and Prisoner of Zion. “He was the first to break the silence surrounding the plight of Soviet Jewry, and he accompanied our struggle until we achieved victory. We will miss him deeply.”

In his 1966 book The Jews of Silence, Wiesel wrote of the struggle of Jews living in the Soviet Union, which he had observed during a visit to the USSR the previous year. Many believe this work was one of the main factors that led to American Jewry’s call to action on behalf of Soviet Jewry.

“This was a sad evening for the Jewish people,” said Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem. “Only a few months ago I had the honor of bestowing the Honorary Citizen of the City of Jerusalem award upon Professor Elie Wiesel.”

The Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem award is given to distinguished people who have made significant contributions to Israel’s capital city.

“In your Zionist, principled, and moral mission, your numerous writings and your public activities, you have contributed greatly to the State of Israel and to its capital city of Jerusalem,” Barkat told Weisel during the award ceremony in December 2015. “You are a faithful ambassador and true friend of our city, and through your work you have demonstrated uncompromising support for those who dwell in Zion, as well as a truly shared destiny.”

Wiesel replied to Barkat: “In my life I have published more than sixty books, but believe me when I tell you, Mr. Mayor, that Jerusalem is the heart and soul of my work. I am moved to receive the title of Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem, and I will continue to act for Jerusalem and for the State of Israel.”

In response to the news of Wiesel’s passing, Mayor Barkat said last night: “When I bestowed the award upon Wiesel in an emotional ceremony, I said it was a great privilege to express the deep appreciation Jerusalem has for his heroism and his life’s work. Elie Wiesel was a loyal ambassador and a true friend of Jerusalem, and has demonstrated unwavering support and empathy with the people of the city.”

Elie Wiesel was known for speaking out not only about Jewish suffering, but also on behalf of oppressed groups throughout the world. Noting this, the Nobel Prize Committee described him in 1986 as a “messenger to mankind.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Through his unforgettable books, moving words and personal example, Elie personified the triumph of the human spirit over the most unimaginable evil. His life and work were a great blessing to the Jewish people, the Jewish state and to all humanity.

“The State of Israel and the Jewish people mourn the passing of Elie Wiesel.”

President Reuven Rivlin said, “[Wiesel’s] life was dedicated to the fight against all hatred and for the sake of man as created in the image of God. He was a guide for us all. Tonight we bid farewell to a hero of the Jewish people and a giant of all humanity.”

In November 2013, during his term as Israel’s president, Shimon Peres awarded Israel’s Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel’s highest civil medal, to Elie Wiesel for his for his work commemorating the Holocaust and promoting tolerance in the world. In his address to Wiesel at the ceremony, he said, “You are waving the flag of humanity, preventing bloodshed and challenging racism and anti-Semitism, as well as preventing war. You personally went through the most atrocious horrors of humanity, and as a Holocaust survivor you chose to dedicate your life to deliver the message — never again.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Security Cabinet Meets Sat. Night on Answers to Terror [video]

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

The security cabinet is meeting Saturday night following the two murderous attacks on Jewish civilians in Judea and Samaria last Thursday and Friday. Two ministers, Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) and Gilad Erdan (Likud) have pointed a finger at one of the culprits in the wave of terror — Facebook, or, rather, the entire Internet and its social networks. Bennett plans to present a plan to take care of “viral terrorism,” including a demand to deny the use of Facebook and the Internet throughout the Hebron Mountain area, where so many terrorists have originated.

Appearing on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press,” Internal Security Minister Erdan attacked Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg, saying, “Facebook is sabotaging police efforts to capture terrorists.” He even added that “the blood of the murdered is on Zuckerberg’s hands,” and called for a citizen’s rebellion against Facebook.

Bennett plans to demand at the cabinet meeting tonight the arrest of every Hamas activist in Judea and Samaria released in the Gilad Shalit deal who have since committed any violations. This has been done once before during the “Return, oh brothers” operation to locate the three Israeli boys kidnapped exactly two years ago, an act that preceded the 2014 Gaza War.

Bennett also insists on a full-scale military operation in areas A and B which are under PA control officially. He also demands blocking Arab traffic on Route 60, where the drive-by murder of Michael Mark was carried out Friday. “We can no longer continue with the old program,” he said, “we must switch the disc.”

The government meanwhile has ordered several steps in response to the attacks. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman approved a bid for 42 new housing units in Kiryat Arba, the late Hallel Yaffa Ariel HY”D’s home town. The bid had been frozen 18 months ago and thawed on FRiday.

The IDF has imposed a complete closure on Hebron and neighboring villages, which includes roughly 700 thousand Arabs. In addition, the IDF has moved two paratrooper units and one infantry unit to the Hebron area.

David Israel

Negev Loses Airport Night Trains

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Residents of southern Israel – particularly those living in the periphery communities in the Negev – will no longer have the option of taking the train to and from the airport after 11:00 p.m.

A spokesperson for Israel Railways told The Jewish Press on Thursday morning the service just didn’t pay for itself. “The government and the railway company made the decision together,” said the spokesperson, who added the figures totaled only an average of five or six riders per night on the line. “It wasn’t cost effective.”

Instead, it was decided the Metropoline Bus Service will take over the route, she said. Bus #469 will begin at the Arlozorov station in Tel Aviv and then make a stop at the airport, travel to Kiryat Gat and then go to the central bus station in Be’er Sheva.

That’s a solution for folks who live in the city of Be’er Sheva itself, perhaps – but what about those who live in the small periphery towns where bus service doesn’t exist overnight?

“Tough luck, baby,” said one consumer. “We’re stuck with paying hundreds of shekels for travel after 11 pm, just like we always have – and that after first spending hours traveling to the other cities just to get a little closer. Instead of paying NIS 600 to get home, I end up paying NIS 300 from Be’er Sheva, but spend three more hours after a 12-hour flight and another hour or more in baggage claims. Forget it.”

The Negev region comprises 60 percent of the nation’s land mass – but its travel network has yet to be developed to the point that even half of its communities have any access to railway service at all.

When asked why there is still no railway branch route to Arad, for example — while Dimona, a city of similar size and population, has had one for several years – the spokesperson for Israel Railways could not find a reason. Arad, a ‘clean air’ resort town located about 45 minutes east of Be’er Sheva and 25 minutes west of the Dead Sea, is in the midst of a major development boom due to the expansion of Route 31, which runs between the two points.

The Nevatim air base is located near Route 31 – described in Hebrew media as ‘death road’ due to the high number of motor vehicle fatalities that have occurred along the highway — as is the Nahal army base at Tel Arad.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/negev-loses-airport-night-trains/2014/06/12/

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