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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Amar’

Rav Ovadia Calls Tzohar Rav Stav ‘Evil’; Tzohar Replies: Repent

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Revered Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a spiritual head of the Shas party and a former Chief Rabbi, castigated Chief Rabbinate candidate Rabbi David Stav in unprecedented terms Saturday night, calling him “evil” and a “danger to Judaism.”

The Tzohar rabbinical group responded by calling on Rav Ovadia, who by all accounts is one of the most brilliant Torah sages today, to “repent” and “ask for forgiveness.”

The epithets  by Rav Ovadia may boomerang and give Rabbi Stav sympathy support that could make him Israel’s next Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi.

They also give anti-religious Jews, both inside Israel and in the Diaspora, plenty of ammunition to fire back in their campaign against leaving authority for Israel’s religious affairs in the hands of orthodox Jews, Haredi or not. One can hear the refrain already, “And you call these people spiritual leaders?”

Rabbi Benny Lau, a national religious rabbi and the nephew of former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, told Voice of Israel public radio that despite Rabbi Ovadia’s constant antagonistic comments in  his weekly Saturday night sermons, he once realized the greatness of the man when he spoke  with him in person.

But Saturday night’ wild attack on Rabbi Stav left Rabbi Lau without any explanation for his behavior.

Rav Ovadia’s weekly speeches are often geared for his Sephardi audience, many of whom see themselves as having been discriminated against for decades under the domineering thumb of Ashkenazi rabbis for years.

Even taking that into account, Rabbi Lau’s inability to explain Rabbi Ovadia’s venom points in one direction: Aryeh Deri, the Rav’s favorite political leader and who rules the Shas political party.

Deri has been trying to torpedo a bill that would allow Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar to seek a second term. The reasoning is that since he is Haredi, his selection would create more pressure to accept a non-Haredi Ashkenazi rabbi.

Deri, a crackerjack if not ruthless politician, simply had to turn to his trusted rabbi, Rav Ovadia, to help make sure Rabbi Amar will not be selected and thereby prevent the election of Rabbi Stav.

It is open to question how much Deri and other aides close to Rav Ovadia have sheltered him from reality and have fed him the news they want him to read.

Regardless of who is to blame, when a  rabbi, especially one as distinguished as Rav Ovadia, states that appointing another rabbi to the Chief Rabbinate is like bringing idolatry in the Holy Temple, it only takes a look at the calendar to realize how deep and slimy the pit into which the campaign for Chief Rabbi has fallen.

Next week, Jews being the tradition “three weeks of mourning” that concludes with Tisha B’Av, marking the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

The Second Temple is said to have fallen because of “loshon haRa,” literally the “evil tongue” by which Jews slander other Jews.

The Tzohar rabbinical organization accused Rav Ovadia of doing just that and accused Rav Ovadia of incitement.

When respected rabbis feel the need to call on a rabbi as revered as Rav Ovadia to “repent,” it is clear something is not kosher.

Rabbi Stav has conducted an unprecedented self-promotional campaign to become Chief Rabbi, but it can easily be argued there is no other way to change the outward face inward soul of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel that has managed to distance secular Jews instead of drawing them closer to Judaism.

In a pitiful understatement, aides to Rabbi Amar have charged that political elements are sowing the seeds of hatred between Torah sages.

The group of Tzohar Rabbis protested what they called the incitement of Rabbi Yosef against “another great rabbi in Israel whose entire life has been dedicated to love of the Torah by the People of Israel.. [His comments] prove the need for an urgent change in the Rabbinate of Israel.”

Shas officials insisted on the last word, which gets worse every time they speak. They  said it is “not respectful to respond to words of a heretic by people who call themselves rabbis but are worse than non-Jews.”

One Shas source, compared Rabbi Stav with Korach, who challenged  Moses’ authority and whose followers died when the ground opened up and buried them alive. ” When Rav Ovadia says he [Rabbi Stav]is evil, there is no need to explain,” said the source. Now , it is clear that all of them [Tzohar rabbis] are evil.”

Israeli Chief Rabbi Visits Girls Seminary

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, the Rishon L’Tzion,Rabbi Shlomo Amar, visited the Chaya Aydel Seminary in Hallandale Beach, on Thursday, January 21. Rabbi Amar spoke about the seminary year and blessed the students and teachers. 

 

The rabbi also visited the new Mei Menachem-Mikvah Israel, and toured the Elana Leah Women’s Mikvah, the Yoseph Mordechai Men’s Mikvah, and the Kelim Mikvah. 

 

All these facilities were built to be accessible to the physically challenged community. After the tours of the mikvaos, the chief rabbi visited the Chai Tots Preschool, and blessed the 70 children and 15 teachers of the school.

 

Rabbi Yosef Galamidi, who hosted the rabbi’s five-day visit to Florida, escorted Rabbi Amar. Rabbi Galamidi is the spiritual leader of the Safra Synagogue in Turnberry. Rabbi Yossy Lebovics, principal of the Chaya Aydel Seminary, accompanied Rabbi Amar and translated for him.

 

For more information about the Chaya Aydel Seminary, call Rabbi Yossy Lebovics at 954-746-5533, or 954-826-7979.

How Some Extraordinary People Saved Our Pesach

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I’ve long been familiar with the saying “Man proposes and G-d disposes,” but the depth of its meaning was recently brought home to me suddenly and unexpectedly. 

 

If I had been asked in the early part of 2009 where we would be spending Pesach, I would have answered, “with the Chevra in San Diego.” Instead, I found myself in the Sephardic Nursing Home/Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn.

 

As a result of the sudden onset of a medical emergency, my husband was unable to fly, and in need of therapy. And I wanted to be by his side. After the initial shock of my husband’s situation wore off, I found myself in uncharted territory. I had to find a nursing/rehabilitation home for my husband, and the only ones I had ever seen were far from appealing to me. It was also hard for me to make decisions at that time, as I was still having trouble coming to terms with the whole situation.

 

The name Sephardic kept coming up in discussions with family and friends and I finally went to check it out. That is when a whole new world opened up to me. Angela Villanella gave me a tour and I was very impressed — so much so that I chose it for my husband. The place is beautiful and clean and very welcoming. There is a very special garden in the back with a small waterfall that flows into a pond with Koi fish. It is a joy to sit out there.

 

            Most impressive was the rehabilitation floor, which is top notch. But all the tours in the world could not have prepared me for the exceptional care and rehab my husband is given by the people who work there, and that makes all the difference. All the nurses and aides on his floor are wonderful, but as with all things, some are outstanding and deserving of mention. Barbara the evening nurse is in a class by herself. Nurses Lisa, Angela and Valerie are also very much appreciated. Aides Carmen, Townsend, Jennifer, Esther, Ms. Smith and others go a long way toward making a big difference in the day-to-day care of a patient. 

 

           Of course, Sephardic runs as well as it does thanks to its very able director, Michael New, who is hands-on at all times. I have found a level of caring — and a desire to help — at Sephardic that was lacking at the world-famous hospital my husband was in before he transferred here.

 

But there is one more thing about Sephardic — and it’s something no other place has. The secret weapon is Rabbi Avraham and Mrs. Dina Amar. I met them for the first time in the beautiful shul at Sephardic. I had expected a social hall/makeshift shul, so I was unprepared for the beautiful sanctuary with furnishings from Kibbutz Lavie in Israel. Both the men’s and women’s sections are large and comfortable. The bimah has ramps on both sides so that wheelchair-bound men can still get an aliyah to the Torah (my husband got the aliyah before Az Yashir on the seventh day of Pesach).

 

Rabbi Amar runs the shul and all religious services. He makes it his business to know everyone residing at Sephardic and he sees to it that anyone who wishes is brought to services. He davens and reads the Torah in his beautiful voice and gives divrei Torah that are appreciated by all. Rabbi and Mrs. Amar go to great lengths to see to the smallest details and they give everyone a sense of being needed.

 

So there we were for Pesach. Rabbi Amar led the two sedorim and gave special meaning to all the rituals. Everything was very festive and beautiful. By that time we already had friends who were also patients there. We sat with Helen and Sam Sherman and they felt more like family than friends. Suddenly I realized I didn’t feel sorry for myself anymore.

 

By the last days of Pesach I didn’t think I could be more impressed than I already was, but then again, I had never experienced a Yizkor service at Sephardic. Rabbi Amar went over to every man and woman and said the Yizkor prayer for their mothers and fathers. Yes, it took some time, but old and younger alike felt the satisfaction of knowing their loved ones had not been forgotten.

 

Meanwhile, the weather had turned spring-like and we went out to the beautiful garden in the afternoon. We got seats under an umbrella and it was easy to forget our circumstances and imagine we were in the garden of a resort hotel.

 

What made it possible for me to spend Pesach with my husband? The wonderful Bikur Cholim of Bensonhurst, which maintains an apartment for women and a second one for men, just down the block from Sephardic. The apartments are beautifully furnished with three bedrooms in each and a living room and kitchen. (The family that takes care of the apartments tries to accommodate everyone and can be contacted at 718-234-1067.)

 

My husband is slowly regaining his health and we are both very grateful to everyone at Sephardic and at Bikur Cholim of Bensonhurst. Most of all we give thanks to Hashem for putting us in the hands of such wonderful shlichim (messengers).

Exclusive Interview: Chief Rabbi Amar: Sharon Was Emphatic On Conversion Issue

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

JERUSALEM – Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar took the time last week to speak with The Jewish Press at his home in Jerusalem. As members of his family buzzed about in preparation for the wedding of a daughter just a few days away, Rabbi Amar outlined his views on some of the burning issues facing Israel and world Jewry today.


Rabbi Amar spoke about the assimilation that is plaguing every country where Jews live, and how the Israeli Law of Return, which recognizes non-halachic conversions, accelerates the rate of assimilation.


The rabbi said he had met with Ariel Sharon two days before the prime minister’s stroke in order to invite him to the wedding. This was the last meeting the prime minister held in his capacity as minister for religious affairs.


Rabbi Amar said that over the course of time he and Sharon had developed a close relationship, and that in their meeting two weeks ago the prime minister voiced his concern about the rate of assimilation throughout the Jewish world.


“The prime minister looked weak but spoke very clearly and firmly about the assimilation phenomenon, calling it ‘the biggest blow of our generation,’ Rabbi Amar said. “[Sharon] asked me why Jewish leaders and heads of communities have not taken emergency measures to eradicate the assimilation plague.


” ‘I don’t understand why they are silent and no one is doing anything about it. How can one remain complacent to such a plague?’ Sharon asked me.”


Rabbi Amar said he asked the prime minister to be honest and give him his true and clear-cut opinion on the conversion issue. “He told me very emphatically and in no uncertain terms that he favors only giur k’halacha (conversion according to Jewish Law).


Rabbi Amar told me about what happened during a meeting of government ministers last year.


“I had come to discuss with the prime minister and the ministers what the government’s response would be to an appeal in the Supreme Court by members of the Reform movement to force the government to recognize Reform conversions performed in Israel.


“Participating in this meeting besides myself were the prime minister, former [Shinui] ministers [Tomy] Lapid, [Avraham] Poraz and [Yossef] Paritzki, the former head of the Jewish Agency, the attorney general and others.


“Unfortunately most of the speakers were in favor of recognizing Reform conversions. Then Sharon gave me the floor. I spoke very emotionally and told them: ‘Gentlemen, do you think we are discussing another ordinary law that will solve a problem? We are discussing the future of the Jewish people! Do you want to split the Jewish people into two nations? Do you want to tear the nation apart?’


“Prime Minister Sharon spoke after me and summed up the discussion. He spoke against the majority at the meeting and declared that the government’s response to the appeal by the Reform members would be that conversions are valid only if performed according to halacha and would be implemented only by recognized rabbinical courts.


“Minister Poraz interrupted the prime minister three times and spoke in favor of Reform conversions but the prime minister ignored him and was determined that the government’s reponse would be only giur k’halacha.


“I, however, knew that the Supreme Court would act as it has done until now and would reject the government’s response; therefore, I asked the prime minister to change the Law of Return once and for all to read that conversions will be recognized only if performed according to Jewish Law. The prime minister smiled and said ‘I understand your concern but in the present political constellation I don’t see that we would be able to pass such a law.’



“When I met Sharon two weeks ago I raised the issue again and he promised me that in his new party, Kadima, he would [seek to] preserve the Jewish character of Eretz Israel.”


Rabbi Amar mentioned that at present there are seven additional appeals by Reform members in the Supreme Court to recognize their conversions.


“In their recent ruling the Supreme Court had already hinted what their position is on this issue. If one examines their rulings on this matter he will find that since the appeal by the Reform movement to the Supreme Court during the days that Rabbi Yitzchok Peretz was interior minister (in the mid 1980′s) until today’s appeal, the Supreme Court justices are consistently advancing, stage by stage, to recognize non-halachic conversions too.


“I alerted a senior member in the Attorney General’s office and he told me that the only solution to the problem is to change the Law of Return by adding the word k̓halacha.”


“In my speech to the Sixth General Assembly of the Orthodox Leadership that was held in Jerusalem in December, I warned that the Supreme Court is doing everything possible to legitimize Reform conversions and it appears they will not cease until they have succeeded.”


I also asked Rabbi Amar what the chief rabbinate plans to do about Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s request that the chief rabbinate take disciplinary action against Rabbi David Drukman, chief rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin, for speaking out against the disengagement from Gush Katif.


Rabbi Amar said the matter would be discussed at the next board meeting. “I am sure we will find a way to deal with the matter appropriately,” he said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/exclusive-interview-chief-rabbi-amar-sharon-was-emphatic-on-conversion-issue/2006/01/18/

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