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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Analysis: Jerusalem Chief Rabbi’s ‘Protest Prayer’ May Be Just What Reform Campaign Needed

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

On Tuesday morning, Jerusalem Chief Rabbi, the Rishon Lezion Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar conducted a heartfelt prayer with a few dozen supporters in the remote area of the Western Wall known as the “Israelite Section,” which had been designated by the Israeli government for the mixed prayer services of Reform and Conservative visitors.

The chief rabbi’s followers erected an improvised mehitza-divider to separate men and women, in defiance of the government program. After the morning service, Rabbi Amar spoke tearfully, saying “there’s no such thing as the Reform Kotel, there’s only the Holy Kotel.”

“No one can revoke this holiness,” Rabbi Amar continued, “not the government, not the court, you can’t, it’s a hekdesh-sanctuary, it’s the Temple Mount. Not the goyim, not the UN, no power can revoke it. We stand guard and declare that our entire purpose is for the sake of God’s honor, only God’s honor, and the Shechina-emanation of God, and the people of Israel and the Land of Israel.”

Rabbi Amar’s prayer service reflected a perception on the part of many Haredi leaders that the Reform and Conservative movements are making inroads in Israel through the Supreme Court and certain government officials, and are threatening the classic status quo, whereby secular Israelis did not go to shul, but the shul they didn’t go to was Orthodox. Most Israelis are not interested in these American imports, but the fact that the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem went out of his way to condemn Reform access to the Kotel probably gave those two-minute movements a new lease on life.

For the record, the idea for the mixed prayer area by the Kotel came from an Orthodox Jewish politician, then Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), who in 2013 announced the creation of a new prayer area, south of the Mugrabim Gate and north of Robinson’s Arch, an area of 4,844 sq. ft., which is a non-contiguous extension of the Kotel Plaza. It was Bennett’s attempt at solving a 28-year long dispute between the Women of the Wall, a group of largely non-Orthodox Jewish women who have been praying in the Kotel’s women’s section on the first of each Jewish month as well as on select holidays, singing and donning talit and tefillin—all acts which have been provoking ultra-Orthodox Jews since the early 1990s.

While a broad section of ultra-Orthodox public figures attacked the Bennett solution, going as far as to dub it “tzelem ba’heikhal” or a statue in God’s temple, the Women of the Wall group also rejected the minister’s peaceful solution, accusing Bennett of aligning himself with the “extremist” views of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the government-appointed Kotel Rabbi, and of Israel’s chief rabbis (of course, when one accuses the mainstream religious and political leadership of extremism, it would be difficult for her to claim the center).

The WOW also called the special fenced wooden platform Bennett provided for mixed prayers a “sundeck overlooking the Western Wall,” which, come to think of it, could be the name for a bangup real estate bonanza. And the Reform movement over in the US, where they dominate Jewish life, at least on paper, with some two million members (in largely Orthodox Israel they may be noisy but their numbers are puny), announced that the Kotel must be open and accessible to all the Jews and men and women must be treated equally there. In other words, why can’t you all be more Reform, like the rest of us.

The fact is that the Bennett solution, while acquiescing that Israelis who are Reform and Conservative have the right to use a state-owned and funded religious facility, resolves the conflict in a peaceful way, which is not something the Reform and Conservative movements want. Since the platform has been erected, it has been standing empty, first because very few Reform and Conservative Israelis have the time or inclination to regularly fight Jerusalem traffic to go pray at the Kotel when most of them hardly ever pray in their own synagogues during the week; and second because without the opportunity to provoke the Orthodox, what’s the point of schlepping all the way to Jerusalem?

Now, the pushback from the Jerusalem Chief Rabbi has revived the non-Orthodox, whose fundraising and membership largely depends on being the victims of Orthodox “repression.” And so, once again, spokespersons for both movements have condemned the aging rabbi, whose salary is provided by the taxpayers, and who attacks the principles of equality, freedom and the American way.

Perhaps the good chief rabbi of Jerusalem should have taken a hint from the fact that he and his followers were the only ones praying on the Reform “sundeck,” because no one else ever prays there on any given day, and even the Baha’i movement in Israel represents a bigger threat to Orthodox Judaism at the Kotel than do the Reform and Conservative.

The best cure for the WOW phenomenon is probably to let them have their way until they get bored with it. The most recent new month celebration of the WOW, a week ago, attracted fewer than 90 women, and the only coverage it received was a provocation by its CEO, who showed local cops at the end of the service that she had “smuggled” a Torah scroll into the women’s section. Otherwise even she couldn’t get arrested by a largely disinterested police, and couldn’t get covered by the media which is inundated with much bigger stories.

JNi.Media

Uruguay Introduces Prayer for Israel Independence Day

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
May 9, 2016, Montevideo, Uruguay — The Chief Rabbinate of Uruguay announced that on Israel Independence Day, the Jewish community of Uruguay will hold a community-wide celebratory prayer on the evening of May 11th, coinciding with the celebrations in Israel. At that service, a new prayer will also be introduced besides the additions suggested by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

The prayers will be held at the Hebraica-Macabi sports complex of Montevideo and is being organized by the Zionist Organization of Uruguay, under the leadership of their president Sami Mylsztejn. “I am extremely happy that we have been able to bring together the entire Uruguayan community for this special event,” stated Mr. Mylsztejn. “This is what gives our people strength. Unity.”

At the communal service an additional prayer will be recommended for the festive liturgy. The prayer, titled “Al Hanisim le’Yom Haatzamaut” (meaning, For the Miracles for the Day of Independence), is a new prayer that was composed by Chief Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz, together with Dr. Avi Shmidman of Bar-Ilan University in 2009.

The prayer follows the style and form of other prayers of thanksgiving, specifically those composed for the Jewish holidays of Hanuka and Purim. In the years since Spitz and Shmidman composed the prayer it has made its way to individuals and communities around the world who recite it on Israel Independence Day. However, this is the first time it has been embraced by the Jewish community of an entire country.

“It is a great honor that so many people have found meaning and an articulation of spiritual joy through our prayer,” Rabbi Spitz explained. “The formation of the State of Israel is nothing less than a modern-day miracle for the entire Jewish people. It is our obligation to thank God for his overt involvement in its creation, for returning us to our homeland after our exile of two thousand years. We are witnesses to a historic process, and for many Jews, observant or otherwise, they connect with the words of our liturgy on this day of celebration either as a stand-alone prayer, or as a part of the prescribed liturgy.”

The full text of the prayer as well as translations into English, Spanish and Portuguese can be found at http://alhanisim.blogspot.com

English translation below:

And for the miracles, and for the salvation, and for the mighty deeds, and for the victories, and for the battles which You performed for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
 In the days of the ingathering of the remnant of Israel from the lands of darkness and the shadow of death to their beloved inheritance, pioneers of the nation arose, raised the flag, composed a declaration, and claimed the right of the nation to be established with its own consent, as a Jewish government in the land of its birth. With song and dance, women and children, the old and the young, celebrated on the streets with joy and rejoicing. At that same time, their enemies converged forthwith, to eliminate all trace of Israel from the land, and to push into the sea all the keepers of its faith. But You hurried forth to rescue your nation. You strengthened the hands of their defenders, and destroyed the weapons of their enemies. A revival of glory you made, a country of beauty you established, the beginning of the longing of the generations, a refuge and a fortress for the return of all Your people.
al hanisim

 

Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz

Cave of the Patriarchs Closes to Jews for Muslim Holiday

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The administration of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron has announced it will close its doors to Jews on Wednesday (May 4, Nisan 26) due to the Islamic holiday of Lailat al Miraj.

Both Jews and Muslims pray at the site, where it is believed the Biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried, as well as Adam and Eve.

The holiday of Lailat al Miraj commemorates the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s nighttime journey from Mecca to the ‘farthest mosque’ in Jerusalem, from where Muslims believe he ascended to heaven, was purified, and was given the instruction for Muslims to pray five times a day.

“Prayers and visitation will take place on the Seventh Step,” the administration said in its statement.

The Temple Mount will also be closed to Jews on Wednesday for the same reason.

On Thursday the Cave of the Patriarchs will reopen to Jews beginning at 4 am as usual.

Hana Levi Julian

8 Jews Ejected from Temple Mount, Passover Day 4

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

For the third day in a row, Israel Police removed eight Jews from the Temple Mount, five of them by 10 am Tuesday, the fourth day of Passover. Every day so far this week, Jews have been thrown out of the grounds of the Temple Mount by Israeli security forces. On Tuesday, eight were arrested by midday.

Two were removed and arrested for bowing during their tour of the grounds in a manner that resembled the ancient prayers of the holy Temple times, according to a statement by the Honenu legal aid group.

“During visits to the Temple Mount groups the security forces removed three Jewish visitors who violated the rules for visiting the site,” an Israel Police spokesperson said in a statement shortly after 9:30 am. “Visitation hours will continue as planned.” The next two Jews were arrested shortly after.

There have been numerous summary detentions and ejections so far this holiday. Occasionally, a police spokesperson has told media that one or more of the Jews was caught “praying.”

Some Jews actually have been seen dramatically covering their eyes and reciting the “Sh’ma” prayer to the heavens and earth. It is an unusual occurrence these days, and one that is a real act of utter defiance.

The “Sh’ma” is Judaism’s call to the faithful, and a warning to those who are not: “Hear O Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One. Blessed Be His Name Whose glorious Kingdom is forever.”

To a Muslim Arab, it is tantamount to the jihadist’s “Allahu Akbar!” – The Arabic shout of ‘God is Great!’ – yelled just prior to holy war. But most of the time, a Jew recites the Sh’ma prayer as part of routine services three times a day, in addition to every night just before retiring to bed.

However, the Sh’ma is also said on one’s deathbed – and in life-threatening situations, including war – so it is in this respect the prayer parallels the “Allahu Akbar.”

Clearly the Muslims on the Temple Mount are well aware of this, although some of the hapless Jewish tourists who ascend to the site may themselves not be aware of the prayer’s deepest ramifications.

Some of the Jewish tourists are so moved by their experience they murmur recite the only Hebrew prayer they have ever learned, the one passed down to them by their ancestors: the Sh’ma.

Imagine their shock when they are grabbed roughly by an Israeli police officer and dragged away off the grounds and into a precinct, all the while either in silence or with a scolding in Hebrew which they often don’t even speak or understand … Israeli hasbara at its best.

Hana Levi Julian

Polish Man Passes as Orthodox Jew, Bakes Challas, Leads Prayer, Disappears

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Alicja Kobus, an official of the Poznan, Poland, Jewish community, last Thursday reported that her community had been fooled by a Polish Catholic man who pretended to be an Orthodox Jew, AP reported. The man, who said his name was Ya’akav Ben Nistell, an Israeli from Haifa, wore a beard and sidecurls, and lead the congregation in Hebrew prayers. His real name is Jacek Niszczota, a cook from Ciechanow in north-central Poland.

The hoax was revealed when Niszczota’s neighbors in Ciechanow saw him on television in an ecumenical ceremony of with Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders, and told local journalists how their Jacek had become Ya’akav.

The Poznan community has since posted a warning on its website, saying Niszczota “deceived not only the community members but also other people with whom he cooperated on behalf of the Poznan Jewish Community.”

“He won our trust with the good things that he was doing: he baked challahs for Israel Independence Day ceremonies, he helped with maintenance of Jewish cemeteries, he had the right knowledge,” Kobus told AP.

His knowledge was deep enough to lead prayers and give lectures on Jewish tradition that were flawless. And when people addressed him as “rabbi” he did not correct them, Kobus said. She believes Niszczota picked up all that good information, including his Hebrew, by listening to Israeli Radio — which shows you what good-quality radio can do for you if you only pay attention.

Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich said he knew Niszczota and found him to be “very sweet and smiley.” The chief rabbi also noted that the entire affair is an indication of the growing clout of things Jewish in Poland, which only 70 year ago helped annihilate millions of its Jews.

“Who 30 years ago in this country would have pretended to be a rabbi, to say nothing of 70 years ago?” Schudrich noted.

It should also be noted that despite the shock expressed by the community leader about the deceit, she, too, had nothing bad to say about Jacek Niszczota, who has disappeared since his outing.

JNi.Media

On A Wing And A Prayer

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Erev Pesach marks the 6th yahrzeit of the indomitable and legendary Clara Chaya Hammer a”h, the Chicken Lady of Jerusalem who, from the age of 70 until she returned her pure and happy soul to her Maker, trading in chicken wings for angel wings, a month short of her 100th birthday, fed hundreds of families and performed countless acts of kindness for the people of Jerusalem and its environs.

Her daughter, Rebbetzin Chana Homnick (not a spring chicken herself), and her great granddaughters, Elisheva and Shira, continue the legacy of Clara’s unremitting (and mostly anonymous) kindness.

Due to her tremendous charisma, Clara’s chicken fund continues to thrive and Chana says that miraculously she is still able to maintain it. The fund needs about NIS30,000 shekel (about $8,000) a month to feed all the families who rely on it. The fund regularly provides for about 200 families a month, more on Rosh Chodesh and holidays. All donations go straight to the fund. Chana underwrites the cost of envelopes, stamps and notes (not chicken feed) herself.

“I get notes thanking and blessing me,” says Chana, “But they’re really blessing my Ima.”

Modest and always devoted to her mother’s memory, Chana Homnick works hard to keep the fund alive. “I’m getting all the compliments now,” she chuckles warmly.

Clara used to give anyone who visited her home two towels – one for milchig and one for fleishig. The milchig one had a picture of a cow and the fleishig had a picture of a chicken. Recently, Chana got a note from someone who said she treasures those towels. Clara was known for giving many gifts (and getting many gifts), all chicken-themed. Clara was always keen to make sure that if she sent money to a needy person, a personal note accompanied the check so that the recipient felt respected.

Clara didn’t wait to be asked. One time she was on her way to the butcher when she saw tattered laundry hanging in a yard. She knocked on the door and offered help and the family gratefully accepted. There are so many people knocking on our doors in these beleaguered times asking for donations, but Clara stood out as the woman who was always looking to give. Looking being an active verb. She would notice when people needed, and what they needed, and she did everything she could to fill the void with energy absent in women half her age.

When a friend of her granddaughter heard that Clara had died, she said mournfully, “Who am I going to go to now for moral support?” This woman who had experienced post-partum depression had gone with her new baby to visit Clara. Clara started dancing with her and singing her signature song, Ashreinu ma tov chelkeinu and raised her spirits.

Today, Chana scans the news and when she hears of someone who has experienced a tragedy and needs help, she contacts the person and offers to add him or her to the fund’s list of grateful recipients.

Chana also continues her mother’s custom of sending out warm letters (and I mean letters, not notes) of gracious gratitude. And the people she sends her letters of gratitude to are often children and grandchildren of the original donors who are continuing the family tradition of supporting the Chicken Fund. Donations come in from all over the world.

About 20 years ago, a couple from Florida who were contributors to the Chicken Fund and were getting married sent Clara money to take some new olim for a night out. She took them out to a restaurant and they had a wonderful time. This couple continues to send contributions to the Chicken Fund to mark special occasions like anniversaries. Recently, this couple’s son became bar mitzvah and in honor of the occasion they sent Chana money to make a bar mitzvah celebration for some underprivileged boys. Chana contacted an orphanage and took 10 boys who had just become bar mitzvah out to a restaurant decorated just for the occasion. It was night filled with music and dancing those boys will never forget. From generation to generation, donation to donation, celebration to celebration, the Chicken Fund helps spread joy and make memories.

Chana Homnick commissioned a book about her illustrious mother. Written by C.B. Gavant and published by Feldheim, The Chicken Lady of Jerusalem – A Life of Giving tells Clara’s story, beginning with her years as a little girl in the Ukraine tending to chickens, having no idea how much they were going to dominate her life and help her contribute to the lives of others. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to the fund.

On this 6th year without the Chicken Lady we pay tribute to her entrepreneurialship, her singing talent, her dedication as a teacher, her charisma as a speaker, her vivaciousness, her love which she gave to four generations of progeny, her love for Eretz Yisrael, but most of all for her life’s work as a chesed lady. Lords and Ladies will come and go but there will always only be one Chicken Lady.

May the memory of Chaya bat Meir serve as a blessing.

 

Contributions can be sent to:
The Clara Hammer Chicken Fund
POB 18602
Jerusalem 91185

Contributions can also be deposited at:
Bank Leumi
Branch 905
Ramat Eshkol
Jerusalem
Acct no. 4341-94

Rosally Saltsman

American Jew Arrested for Murmuring Prayers, 2nd Warned to Close Prayer App

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

An American Jewish man was arrested on the Temple Mount on Sunday morning after it was noticed that he was quietly murmuring a prayer, according to a TPS report. At this time it is unknown if the arrested man is an Israeli citizen or a tourist.

A second Jew was warned by the Israeli police that he would be arrested if he didn’t stop looking at the Siddur app on his cellphone. He was not arrested as he wasn’t yet praying at that point.

Prime Minister Netanyahu can relax, his status quo has been upheld.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/american-jew-arrested-for-murmuring-prayers-2nd-warned-to-close-prayer-app/2016/04/17/

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