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February 6, 2016 / 27 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Orthodox 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.

Rabbi Riskin on Tension with the Chief Rabbinate, and Rabbi Feuer on the Priestly Blessing

Friday, May 29th, 2015

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi and co-founder of the Judean settlement of Efrat, rubs Israel’s Chief Rabbinate the wrong way. His liberal stance on conversion, women’s involvement in religious rites and other issues is now causing the rabbinate to threaten not to renew his contract, as he has turned 75. A slew of rabbis and public officials have come out in support of his continued tenure. Riskin joins Yishai to discuss his relations with the Chief Rabbinate and his positions on Jewish law.

Then, in this week’s Torah portion in the Book of Numbers, “Naso,” God gives direction to the Jewish priests on how to bless the Jewish people: “May God light His face unto you.” But does God really have a face? In preparation for Shabbat, Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Yishai to discuss the Priestly blessing, the Nazarite and the seemingly repetitive offerings of the tribe leaders.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Jewish Agency’s Natan Sharansky Speaks Up for Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

A groundswell of support for Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin is growing around the country, with the latest outcry coming from Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky.

Forces in the Israeli Chief Rabbinate are reportedly attempting to pressure Riskin into an early retirement from his long-time position. The rabbi is one of the founders of the Judean city of Efrat, which was built in Gush Etzion in the early 1980s, about ten minutes’ drive south of Jerusalem. Riskin is deeply popular with the city’s residents.

“The Jewish People, and particularly the people of Efrat, deserve the continued service of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, a Jewish leader and Israeli patriot,” Sharansky said in a statement released Wednesday.

“Rabbi Riskin’s contributions to Aliyah, to building the State and Land of Israel, to connecting the Jews of the Diaspora to their homeland, and to connecting all Jews to the Torah, are of historic proportions.

“In view of these outstanding and unparalleled achievements, there should be no questions about his qualifications for his continued service,” Sharansky said.

The agency leader is known throughout the Jewish world for his history of maintaining his intention to move to Israel, despite major government persecutions by the Soviet Union.

Once freed from prison, Sharansky immediately made good on his public claim and moved to the Jewish State.

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.

Rivlin Tells Bnei Akiva, ‘We Must Not Let This Happen Again’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

President Reuven Rivlin expressed deep concern Thursday over an attack on a Bnei Akiva building containing a synagogue in northern Israel after learning about the desecration from an Arutz 7 reporter who called asking for a comment.

Vandals torched a Bnei Akiva synagogue in the northern Israeli city of Nazereth Illit this week, just before the start of the Shavuot holiday that marks the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai.

Siddurim and other holy books were torn apart, burned and desecrated in other ways. Elsewhere in the Bnei Akiva building, Israeli flags were defiled, cabinets were upended, paint was splattered all over the place and flourescent lights were smashed.

Bnei Akiva has long been a source of pride in the community; the religious Zionist movement has maintained a branch in Nazareth Illit for 40 years. Five years ago, a hesder yeshiva for Torah scholars entering army service was added to the program there as well.

According to spokesperson Naomi Toledano, President Reuven Rivlin has expressed his shock over the attack to Bnei Akiva Secretary-General Danny Hirshberg.

Rivlin expressed support for a plan by Bnei Akiva to hold a meeting between the young members of the branch and neighborhood Arabs immediately following the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which begins at the close of the Sabbath, on Saturday night.

“Only dialogue will lead to closeness and understanding,” Rivlin said. “We must not let harsh and shocking incidents like this one happen again.”

He praised plans by the branch to hold its traditional all-night Torah study session for the Shavuot holiday despite the attack.

Although it is not yet clear who perpetrated the damage and desecration, there have been numerous incidents of harassment of the Bnei Akiva youths by local Arabs in the past.

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.

Power Blackouts, Supply Shortages Hampering Rescue Efforts in Nepal

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

“It’s 2:30 am and we’ve had a busy day here,” writes Chabad-Lubavitch co-emissary Chani Lifshitz together with her husband, Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz from the Kathmandu Chabad House. “After two aftershocks here in the past few hours people are trying to get some sleep in the hope the rest of the night will pass quietly.

“In the morning, God willing, we plan to go out to the villages where Israelis definitely are located, according to the information we have.

“An updated list of the Israelis with whom we have made contact will be posted here at the Chabad House during the morning hours Tuesday. We want to thank all of our dear supporters from near and far; we feel it and deeply appreciate it!!”

The number of Israeli missing has now dropped to 50 who have yet to be tracked down or check in with family and friends, Israel’s foreign ministry has told media.

Chabad has been serving hot meals to all arrivals every hour on the hour. Electricity, phone service and water has been cut off, according to Chani Lifshitz. “Little by little, our staples are [also] running out,” she told Chabad.org. There is an urgent need for donations and supplies.

“Every effort by each and every one of you to help in any way will be greatly appreciated, whether it be materially or spiritually.”

Five of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites crumbled to the ground in Nepal after the worst earthquake to hit the region in 80 years struck the country. The government has issued an urgent appeal for body bags, tents and water as the death toll tops 4,000 locally and nearly 100 in neighboring countries.

There is a desperate need for more helicopters for rescue operations in rural areas, a home ministry spokesperson told AFP.

One Israeli aircraft has already landed in Nepal with 200 IDF Home Front Command officers, medical and rescue personnel. Four more are expected to arrive within the coming hours.

At least 7,935 people more are known to be injured in the wake of two earthquakes that struck the region on Saturday and Sunday. The first registered 7.8 on the Richter scale, the second – an aftershock – was nearly as strong, a 6.7-magnitude temblor. There have been more than 100 aftershocks since.

Hospitals in Kathmandu are overflowing with patients, and rescue teams are bringing in more from the remote areas where they are reaching other inured.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged $10 million in relief to help the victims on behalf of the American government. Kerry said he was “shocked” by the “gut-wrenching” images of death and destruction. The United Nations has allocated $15 million in aid.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/power-blackouts-supply-shortages-hampering-rescue-efforts-in-nepal/2015/04/28/

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