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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘play’

When I Murdered Rabin

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The outspoken statements we cited here, at the Jewish Press, by Hagai Amir, brother of Rabin’s assassin Yogal Amir, took me back to my own personal encounter with the Rabin assassination. It didn’t exactly change my life, but it taught me several crucial lessons.

On that fateful Shabbat in November, 1995, when rumors reached Manhattan’s Lower East Side that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had been wounded by an assailant’s bullets, we were at the Seuda Shlishit (third meal) in the Chassidic shteibel where I davened for more than two decades. (I also belonged to another, more left-wing, modern Orthodox shul. I’m a difficult person to classify.) Between conversations and nibbling, one of my neighbors bent over and whispered, smiling, “At least in this shul we know no one is going to recited Tehillim for his speedy recovery.”

My immediate, totally uncalculated reaction was to open a siddur (prayer book) and begin to recite Tehillim. I couldn’t behave otherwise. That‘s my nature – if someone will tell me NOT to jump off a bridge, I’m already up on the railing, hat in hand.

Even if I had known on that Shabbat that Rabin’s murder would mark the end of my career in Hebrew language journalism, I definitely would have continued to recite those chapters of Tehillim, and not just to be different than the other Jewish guy who said whatever he said.

Still, if on that Shabbat you would have asked me if I supported Yitzchak Rabin’s politics, I would have certainly replied in the negative. There are even those that claim that Yitzhak Rabin himself already didn’t completely agree with his government’s course of action, and was possibly even considering how to change direction, when the murderer’s bullet stopped him.

However, it’s not those old arguments that I want to relate, rather my inconspicuous and non-dramatic connection to the big story. Maybe one day some historian will come across this article and I will merit having my name mentioned in a footnote in some important book about the murder.

I have already gone over broad details of quite a few accounts of Rabin’s murder, and considering the fact that I am a peaceful individual by nature, even a bit of a coward, certainly not the type to run ahead and climb all kinds of barricades, I have been incredibly close to several high profile murders.

One Shabbat afternoon, when I was 6 years old, in Ramat Chen, Zhurabin shot his cousin over something the cousin he had done in the Irgun. It was a dark Shabbat in 1960, I believe, about 35 years before the gloomy Shabbat of the Rabin murder. I was looking out my bedroom window on the second floor on HaSeren Dov Street and I saw the wounded uncle limping down the sidewalk to Dr. Gorelick’s house at the corner of Aluf David Street.

He left a trail of big, thick beads of blood on the gray, cement sidewalk, tiny red puddles that turned brown, but didn’t disappear for many years. Red and gray were the colors of the Zhurabin murder attempt. I think he was put into a mental institution and after that we were told not to mention the whole affair in front of his children, even though they were bullies and occasionally deserved pushback. (If they didn’t pick you to play little-goal soccer—the soccer equivalent of stickball—you didn’t play.)

When I was 16, I hung around with some friends in Bat Yam, among them Rachel Heller, a thin, shy, teenage girl. I really have nothing significant to say about besides her name and what she looked like. Several years later, when I was already in New York, distributing Ma’ariv and Yedioth newspapers every Friday night, I suddenly saw that a guy named Amos Barnas admitted to murdering her seven years before. I didn’t remember this entire affair until 1981, when I saw Heller’s picture and did a double take.

Before this, in 1980, I was driving a yellow taxi cab and I left off a passenger at the Dakota Building at 72nd Street and Central Park West, just a day before Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon on the very same sidewalk.

By the way, does anyone know why all American assassins have two first names? Lee Harvey Oswald. James Earl Ray. John Wilkes Booth. Charles Julius Guiteau (killed Garfield).

Yori Yanover

Democrat Convention Plan Shows Obama will Lose the Election

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

The Republican convention, whatever your critique of it, was designed to show that this is not a group of scary horrible people and that even if it is conservative this is also a moderate, rational group in the conservative solutions it proposes and in its broad appeal. Of course, the mass media did all it could to distort that fact but, of course, the terrible economic situation favors the opposition party.

The information released about the Democratic convention seems to show it is designed to prove how radical the party is, to play to the most limited possible sector of the population. There will be hatred and vicious character assassination. Of all the imams that could have been chosen, one with a radical background was picked to lead services while—from what I’ve read—Catholics were almost deliberately dissed. This is a convention featuring Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. There will be a lot of scary people and nasty rhetoric, sort of like a Keith Olbermann film festival.

I estimate that two-thirds of the Democrats in Congress are really moderate though they lack the courage to speak up. But will any of them be allowed to make any moderate statements that truly differ with the far-left line? No. Lots are staying away because they know this to be true; others will smile on the outside and be totally depressed knowing that the iceberg is on the way.

And the more the mass media gushes over this carnival, the more it will discredit itself and increase the cognitive dissonance (a fancy word for: What, are you guys nuts!) among a lot of Americans. When you are a wolf dressed up in a sheep suit you don’t want to unzip it, step out, and bare your teeth.

This is typical of a pattern often seen historically in democratic countries around the world, in which a party drifts so far to the left or right, is so dominated by ideologues, so arrogant in believing it is the only possible ruling party that it collapses.

I might be wrong but I think the design of the Democratic convention shows why Obama and his congressional supporters are going to lose the election big-time.

Visit Barry Rubin’s blog, Rubin Reports.

Barry Rubin

White Sox Jewish Third Baseman Will Play for Israel at World Baseball Classic

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis said he will play for Israel at the World Baseball Classic.

Youkilis told Israel Sports Radio Wednesday that he would play for Team Israel if he is healthy. This season, the three-time All Star is hitting .241 with 15 home runs and 47 runs batted in. He has been hampered by injuries for much of the past three seasons.

Israel is one of 16 countries invited to play in next month’s qualifying round, and the top four teams advance to the 2013 classic.

Youkilis also said there are other Jewish Major League Baseball players who want to play.

Diaspora Jews are eligible to play on behalf of Israel.

Former MLB player Brad Ausmus has signed on as coach and retired players Shawn Green and Gabe Kapler have agreed to assist as coaches and players for the Israeli team.

JTA

Through The Ages In Jewish Song: Itzhak Perlman on His New CD Collaboration with Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Internationally renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman and acclaimed Chazzan Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, chief cantor at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue, have collaborated on a forthcoming CD titled “Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul.”

The Jewish Press recently interviewed Perlman at his summer home in the Hamptons.

The Jewish Press: The combination of you on violin and Cantor Helfgot singing will be a unique treat to listeners. How did this collaboration come about?

Perlman: Someone close to my family kept telling my wife and me that we must go hear Cantor Helfgot. Last year we were in Israel and we found out he was performing, so we went to hear him. It was extraordinary. A voice like that comes around once in a generation. After hearing him sing I knew I wanted to do something with him. We contacted him and he was equally excited at the prospect of collaborating on a CD.

Is the music on the CD related to the upcoming High Holidays? And have you done any High Holiday instrumentals in the past?

I have never done High Holiday instrumentals. There are three selections for the High Holidays on this CD. We do Kol Nidre. As you know, there are many different tunes for Kol Nidre. Helfgot is a devotee of the late Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt and he models his tunes after his.

But these are not just compositions for the High Holidays. “Eternal Echoes” takes one through the ages in Jewish song, and people will relate to all ten pieces.

Who chose the pieces?

I did. We discussed them, and Helfgot would tell me if he wasn’t comfortable with something, but for the most part he appreciated everything I suggested.

Do you play your Stradivarius on this CD?

Yes, of course.

You were born in Israel. Is that where you first started violin lessons? How supportive were your parents?

I started playing violin at the age of four. When my parents saw how much I wanted to play, they helped me accomplish it. By the time I came to America I had been studying in Israel for quite a few years.

There is more consideration and public accommodation today for people with physical disabilities than was the case years ago. Was it very hard to manage then?

It isn’t as easy today as people imagine. With all the laws that have been enacted, there still are many places I cannot enter, even in Manhattan. But when I was growing up in Israel I didn’t think I needed any special accommodation. My music lessons were up a flight of stairs and my father carried me up. I did whatever I had to do and didn’t think about it.

Itzhak Perlman performing at a White House state dinner in 2007.

Today when I travel all over the world it can still be hard to find a hotel with wheelchair-accessible rooms. Let me tell you a story about the time I was performing in Santiago, Chile. The hotel was supposed to have rooms that were suitable. When I got to my room, it was indeed all right, but the bathroom had a big step up to enter. I called the manager and he told me he would take care of it. When I returned to my room many hours later, workers had chiseled the step away and in its place was a smooth surface. Of course, that doesn’t always happen.

Did your children inherit your talent?

My three daughters all play musical instruments and are very talented, as is my wife, who also is a violinist. My two sons have talent but are not at the present time doing anything in the music field.

Do you spend the summer in the Hamptons?

My wife started the Perlman Summer Music School out here. We take about forty students each summer and I teach them and they have the chance to devote themselves to their music during this time. In fact, on the new CD there are some pieces with orchestra backing, and it is these students who are performing.

I have granddaughters in Israel who have been playing violin since they were very young, and a few years ago when you were in Israel you had an evening in Tel Aviv for students of violin to come onstage and play with you. These two granddaughters were among them. And it was a wonderful experience for them.

Naomi Klass Mauer

Writer Profile: Elke Weiss

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Karen Greenberg: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

Elke Weiss: I grew up in Manhattan Beach, in Brooklyn. I now live in downtown Manhattan by the Hudson River. I really like living by the water.

What do you do for a living?

I am finishing a Masters in Urban Affairs and a law degree at New York Law School. I’m looking for a job in policy, but I do dream of a fiction writing career.

How did you get started in writing?

I was born talking, as my mother would say. I always had something to tell others, and deeply felt everyone was entitled to my opinion. My parents hooked me on books to help me shape my opinions. I would read amazing stories like the Chronicles of Narnia, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and A Wrinkle in Time and I would make up stories where I had joined those adventures. I soon realized that I could write those stories down and it grew from there. When I was little, I wrote a poem that made it into my school paper, and I decided, this was the place for me. Journalistic writing and essays followed. I think the amazing part of being a writer is being able to reach people I never met.

What types of readers do you hope to reach?

I hope to reach young Jewish teenagers. I remember how lonely and confusing being a teenager was, and I want to give them the advice I wish I had known. Besides that, I have a lot of interesting readers, from grandmothers to young professionals to my wonderful cousins in the Israeli army whom are nice enough to pass my articles around.

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing? What message do you want to send?

My message is pretty simple. There is so much to learn about oneself and that is the greatest joy in life; to change to become the best person you can be. I’m still finding that out for myself and I am happy to share the journey with others.

What do you usually write about for The Jewish Press?

I just give advice and thoughts from my heart; in my writing I try to speak to people they same way I would in person. I write about what is close to my heart – finding one’s place in college, choosing a major, dealing with internships, etc.

I do write about Israel quite a bit, because it’s an enormous part of me and I think it’s a cause every person should know about, and hopefully embrace. I’m a third generation Zionist. My incredible grandfather, Jack Mikulincer, fought in the War of Indpendance and liberated Afula. My parents marched for Soviet Jews to have the right to make aliya. I’m taking a stand against anti-Israel bigotry.

After I graduated from high school I asked Mrs. Mauer if I could cover a rally. She has been a great mentor since, always encouraging me in my writing. I share her vision of constant self-improvement and a love of Israel and she has been wonderful in letting me develop my voice.

Do you have any plans to write a book?

I do plan on writing fiction books, in both history and fantasy. I am currently working on a series of short stories, as well as a historical epic. If I wasn’t already doing law school, graduate school, Hasbara work, seeing friends and family and volunteering for student organizations, I’d have already finished one.

Have you gotten any reactions/ feedback about your writing? How has it been?

I have gotten a lot of amazing feedback from my writing, which touched me so deeply, expressing how much my articles meant to them. I treasure each e-mail and hope my readers feel comfortable being in touch with me through The Jewish Press with questions, comments or for advice. I adore hearing from readers!

Do you plan to continue to integrate writing into your life in the future?

I will always be a writer, until the undertakers nail the coffin shut. Whether it’s blogging, writing fiction, contributing essays or writing legal briefs or proposals, I’ll always have something to say and will be putting it down on paper. My next big project is a play about Israel, which I hope will be bought or published.

Karen Greenberg

I Surrender…

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

I try not to be defeatist; not to give up hope. I try to believe that it will all be okay. I really do. I do believe I have faith and I do trust God. And having said all of that, I hate to introduce a “but” in there…but…

I surrender. I just give up. I’ve been reading about the Munich massacre in 1972. Only weeks before, I had come to the conclusion, at 12 years old…the age my youngest daughter is now…that I wanted to live in Israel. I watched the Israelis march into the stadium with the Israeli flag and my heart soared – that was my flag! I was proud of the American flag; I really was, but my heart was already Israeli.

And then the report of an infiltration in the Olympic village. The Israelis. The hostage situation and the bungled rescue. A report that the Israelis were safe…and such relief…and then utter and complete shock that not one had survived…not one of the hostages. It would be only later we would learn of the incredible, criminal incompetence of the German police and “rescue” squad.

For weeks now, I’ve been posting and writing about the International Olympic Committee’s pathetic, disgusting and disturbing decision not to grant one moment, sixty seconds, of silence in memory of the Israeli athletes murdered in Munich – not once…in forty years. And today, I read an article about the heightened security concerns. Days after Israelis were attacked in Bulgaria, I surrender.

“In London, Israel’s Olympic team of 38 athletes is training under tight security at the Olympic village, and British forces have even placed surface-to-air missiles at six locations.”

–Reports Israel National News

“More than 17,000 troops and 7000 private security guards will protect the London Olympic Park and 26 other venues, with a further 12,500 police patrolling city streets in a series of ‘rings of steel’.”

— The Australian

Tight security; 24,000 guards and an additional 12,500 police. Is it worth it? If this is what we need to have these games, does it truly represent the great gathering of all nations? Where is the peace and brotherhood that should be symbolized? I surrender – it just isn’t worth the risk. I don’t want the Israelis to go to London. I don’t want to spend my time checking the news to make sure they haven’t been attacked.

I don’t want to trust those guards, those police and those missiles. I don’t ever want to feel what I did back when I was 12 years old watching as the world moved on and continued their games while I watched them loading coffins on planes that flew home to Israel. I couldn’t bring myself to watch them play while we cried.

Let them play – let them play among their missiles; praying they can finish before they are attacked. Let them watch the skies for missiles, the buildings for snipers, the roads for explosives. I know the Israeli team will go; I know they will play. I know others will hope they bring home some gold, some silver, some bronze.

I just want them to come home safe so that we never have to beg the International Olympic Committee’s cold-hearted members for sixty seconds to remember them. Go in peace, I’ll pray to each one…and most important, come home in peace.

A Soldier's Mother

Let’s Connect…Diversely

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Living in 2012 means being ‘connected.’ We are ‘connected’ to our cell-phones, our emails, our Facebook ‘Friends’ , and various email lists of interest.

In a world of so many ‘connections’, it’s hard to believe that connecting to our own family- our fellow Jews, would be such an elevated challenge. Indeed, on one such email list, the following story was posted on a few days ago:

” ….my grandchildren, who look quite obviously Haredi, came to visit me in my town, which is overwhelmingly of a National Religious character. My 13 year-old son took them to the park and immediately, the resident children at play, began to shout epithets at my grandchildren, ‘Stinky dirty Haredim,’ they cried. ‘Go play in your own parks.’…grandchildren who immediately left the park and returned to my home to spend the rest of their visit indoors and safe from the hatred extended toward them during what should have been a pleasant visit to Grandma.”

While kids will be kids (and yes, kids can be cruel even if their parents are far from it), and while the same has happened in (so-called) Haredi communities to those not complying with their local fashion of dress, and while these may just be isolated incidents in a park that usually portrays unity and friendliness, I am still profoundly appalled and disturbed to read of such an event.

“Why bad things happen to good people” is the cardinal question to which even Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t get a clear answer (according to one opinion in Tractate Berachot 7a). Thus, I am not about to say that the above incident is a ‘heavenly sign’ of sorts. However, when bad things occur, all will agree (ibid, 5a) that it’s a good time for a wake-up call – to ask if our actions, deeds, educational system, and general behavior is where is should be.

While I feel remain deeply privileged to be part of such a special community, “perfection” is a word that only exists in the dictionary. As we head deeper into these Three Weeks of mourning, a time still upon us due to the “Sinat Chinam” – senseless hatred – that dominated the eve of the 2nd Temple destruction (Tractate Yoma 9b), allow me to bring up three issues that I humbly believe should be reiterated, and refurbished in our actions, when such an event can transpire during such a sensitive time of the year:

Tolerance to some – Jews have usually been tolerant to groups that stand far from their own vantage point and lifestyle. Thus, I can naturally see the very same kids in the park acting cordially to secular Jews, and even to non-Jews as well. Ironically, the “challenge” of tolerance begins when we meet a group of people who share 85% of our own lifestyle; they daven thrice daily, they keep kosher homes, they devote time to learning Torah, they adhere to a standard of modesty and of course, they are Shomer Shabbat. It’s here that, for some reason, we don’t have the same “tolerance” that we bestow upon those that seem far our own lifestyle! Is it a sense of danger, lack of self-confidence or something else, that naturally allows us to be “tolerant” towards groups far from where we stand, and yet so judgmental and intolerant towards ones that are so similar? If we are to be tolerant, then it should be directed to all sides of the spectrum, especially those that are within the realm of Shemirat Torah Umitzvot. Yes, the 15% of dressing differently, our relationship towards the State of Israel, secular endeavors, joining the army and more, will still be “dividers” between our respective communities, and strong debates will yet go on. But will our level of tolerance towards groups who have passed the 15% mark be extended to those closer to it?  If we believe in Tolerance, it can and should run the entire gamut.

Diversity is not a dirty word – Beyond the need for tolerance towards those closer to us, I believe a deeper challenge lies before our communities, one that is not being spoken about enough in the “heat of the debate” in Israel of late; diversity is not a “b’diavad” – it’s not an Ex Post Facto of “three Jews, five opinions,” or the hardships of our long exile! Rather, it’s my view that, after accepting and fulfilling the “Yoke of Heaven,” – the dictates of Jewish Law -that God never intended for all of us to be the same:

Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/lets-connectdiversely-2/2012/07/19/

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