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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Pesach Lerner’

Rabbi Pesach Lerner on Pollard and Western Wall Tensions

Monday, November 18th, 2013

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai broadcasts from the General Assembly of the United Jewish Federations, for this segment, he kicks off talking to Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the Executive Vice President Emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel. Rabbi Lerner is the personal Rabbi of Johathan Pollard, a Jew who has been held in captivity in the United States for over 25 years and Rabbi Lerner gives an update on the condition of Pollard and special insight on his life. Yishai and Rabbi Lerner end by talking about Lerner’s participation in ensuring that tradition is upheld at the Western Wall.

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JCPA: ‘We’re The Voice of American Jews,’ But Many Beg to Differ

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

As we conclude the somber observance of Tish B’Av, the time when so many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people are recalled, it is perhaps not irrelevant that U.S. secretary of state John Kerry has returned to the Middle East.

Official reports claim Kerry has no plans to visit Israel, but, as Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu reported in The Jewish Press, Kerry met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas while in Jordan.  It turns out he is also meeting with various Arab leaders who, according to al Jazeera, Kerry believes “are essential to his push to get Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks.”  That’s right.  Arab leaders to push – who? Who else, but Israel, to restart the “peace talks.”

Yes, although the entire Middle East is in turmoil, Egypt has just gone through a second revolution, nearly a100,000 have died in Syria’s ongoing civil war, one into which Lebanon is increasingly being drawn, Turkey is nearing the boiling point, Iraq continues to unravel and Iran is approaching nuclear weapons capability, leave it to a group of professional Jewish professionals to sashay into D.C. and tell the relevant congressional committees that now is the time for Kerry to kickstart the Arab-Israeli “peace talks.”  And that’s what happened, just before Kerry left for the Middle East.

The Jewish group making the possibly worst-timed suggestion ever is the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA).

According to its website, the JCPA has a tripartite mission: first, “to safeguard the rights of Jews here and around the world”; second, “to dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel”; and third, “to protect, preserve and promote a just American society, one that is democratic and pluralistic, one that furthers harmonious interreligious, inter ethnic [sic] interracial and other intergroup relations.”

From their mission, you might think that the safety and security of Jews and the Jewish state would be the primary focus of JCPA’s activities.  But you might be wrong, as a quick look at their website makes clear.  The JCPA’s focus is on liberal domestic issues. Israel and Judaism play a minor role.

JCPA CLAIMS TO REPRESENT THE ORGANIZED JEWISH COMMUNITY

Nonetheless, the JCPA can prioritize as it wishes and make whatever suggestions it wants to members of congress.  But when the JCPA leaps over its goal to be something and starts proclaiming it is something, that is when people begin to bristle.

You see, on the JCPA Facebook page, and on its Twitter homepage, it states, with no qualifiers, that “the JCPA is the representative voice of the organized Jewish community.”

That’s news to a whole lot of American Jews who shared their response with The Jewish Press.

Because when the JCPA decided to meet with the House and the Senate foreign relations committees, asserting that the American Jewish community wants Kerry to focus on restarting the peace talks, that claim may have been heard as if it had far more weight than warranted.

Let’s put aside for the moment that when the JCPA went to congress to make its claims, it was double-dating with the American Task Force on Palestine.  That’s something they do a lot.  Again, whatever JCPA does is its own business.

But The Jewish Press asked a broad geographical cross-section of American Jews who are knowledgeable about the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, whether, as the JCPA asserts, it is the “representative voice of the organized Jewish community,” and if it spoke representing them when it went to congress urging the restart of the “peace talks” at this time.

In a word, no.

People in California, Chicago, Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York were asked to comment.  Rabbis, architects, businesspeople, financial wizards, intelligence analysts, and Jewish communal leaders were asked to comment.  They all said no, the JCPA does not represent them.

“They don’t represent me,” said Jeff Ballabon, the president of a New York consulting firm and the founder of the Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, a consortium of two dozen national pro-Israel groups.

“Israel has stated very clearly: there are to be no preconditions for starting the peace talks, so I have to wonder, why are these groups putting pressure on Israel?  I don’t see how any American Jew who cares about Israel’s safety and security would be pushing this now,” Ballabon said.

Right-Leaning Pro-Israel Organizations Join Voices in D.C.

Monday, January 7th, 2013

The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) and the National Council of Young Israel announced on Friday, January 4, that EMET will serve as the NCYI’s voice on Capitol Hill for purposes of addressing foreign policy.  Both organizations are right-of-center and resolutely pro-Israel.

EMET is a small Washington, D.C. think tank which conducts weekly one-on-one briefings with Congressional offices, and hosts frequent talks by leading policy experts which are attended by members of congress, staffers, and others interested in Middle East policy.

According to Sarah Stern, founder and president of EMET, the collaboration between the two organizations makes sense

because of the strong symmetry in foreign policy views shared by the two organizations.  EMET’s policy focus will remain, as always, preserving and defending the national security of the United States, and its ally Israel, in the joint struggle against the forces of radical Islam and emphasizing Israel’s unique role as the eastern outpost of Western democratic values.  EMET currently does this with the backing of over 25,000 Americans throughout the United States.

The issues that EMET focuses its attention on educating members of Congress about include the need for Jerusalem to remain undivided; the need to demand of Islamist regimes that unless they meet required policy thresholds, U.S. military and financial assistance will be curtailed or even terminated; the dangers of a nuclear Iran; the dangers of a failed “land for peace” policy in dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the recognition that the path to peace is blocked by Arab Palestinian intransigence; and the need for American leadership in obtaining the release of unjustly jailed Jews around the world, including Jonathan Pollard.

The NCYI is an organization that grew out of the needs of Torah observant Jews to meet the challenges of a non-accommodating diaspora world, especially during the early decades of the Twentieth Century. Young Israel has 146 branches throughout North America, and it currently focuses not only on Torah observance, but on the needs and aspirations of its community, including various kinds of focused political action.  Obtaining the release from prison of Jonathan Pollard is a particularly important issue for Young Israel.  Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the executive vice president of the organization until his recent retirement, was one of Pollard’s most fervent advocates.

NCYI President Farley Weiss said in a joint press release about the arrangement between the two organizations, “NCYI is very excited to have EMET represent NCYI on it matters of foreign policy concerns.  I personally have admired for many years the tremendous job Sarah Stern and EMET has done and accomplished on Capitol Hill and their sterling reputation.  We are confident that partnering with EMET will be a win-win situation for both parties and will give the National Council of Young Israel a much stronger voice on issues of concern to our members.  We look forward to a great relationship with EMET.”

Shiur On LIRR Completes Shas, Again

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

       As I parked my car in the lot and prepared to cross the tracks and board the 7:49 at the Inwood station, I thought back seven-and-a-half years. It was like yesterday that I attended a Siyum HaShas with a group that rode each day on the LIRR and used the valuable time to learn the Daf Yomi. I recalled vividly the singing and joy of those who accomplished something day after day instead of wasting time on the sports reports and whatever. Then I wondered, “Could it really be happening again?” As I got close to the platform and saw everyone bringing the boxes of T-Shirts, the snacks, and the sound system, I was sure that the answer was yes, another Kiddush Hashem was in the making.

 



The train approached the station on time, and was ready to make a milestone journey.


 

     

      Fifteen years ago R’ Aryeh Markovich, a businessman and rider on the LIRR came up with the idea to learn on the train and what better to study than the daily Daf. He spoke to Rabbi Pesach Lerner, and the rest is history.

 



The LIRR Locomotive siyum participants waiting for the train and the shiur.


 

    

      Each day on this train, about 30 participants board the last car. Some get on at the other Five Towns stations. They settle in their seats and out come the Gemaras, and Rabbi Pesach Lerner – who in his other job, is the executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel – leads the shiur. The shiur concludes just as the train pulls into Penn Station. When Rabbi Lerner has to be out-of-town, there are substitute teachers. (There are other shiurim on other trains given by Rabbi Dovid Kadosh and Rabbi Shmuel Bloom. For women on the 7:49 train, there is also a Tehillim group.)

 



Rabbi Menachem Adler and Chazzan Yitzchok Freund followed along with the daf.


 

      Railroad personnel are well aware of the class, are proud of the positive publicity it has generated and do everything possible to help. In recognition of their assistance Rabbi Lerner and the group presented a plaque of appreciation to Bob Dunaj of the LIRR.

 

      This morning was no exception, as an extra car was added to accommodate the extra people and allow the festivities to go on.

 



Rabbi Pesach Lerner completing the daf and making the hadran.


 

      The car quickly filled to capacity. The back section was reserved for women. Many had to stand in the aisles. Once everyone was on the train, Rabbi Lerner learned the last daf of Masechet Sukkah. He recited the Hadran of the mesechta and all of Shas, followed by one of the teaching substitutes, R’ Eliezer Cohen, who began the first mishnah in Beitza. R’ Eliezer’s father has a uniform business and donated beautiful T-shirts especially designed for the siyum.

 


David Lesnick and Sholom Rothman holding up the beautiful T-shirts.

 

 

      Ironically, the founder of the shiur, R’ Aryeh had to miss the first siyum, because his dear mother Rebbeca bas Aryeh had just passed away. So it was very apropos that he would be the one to recite the special Kaddish after the completion.

 


Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, Rabbi Lerner, and R’ Aryeh Markovich

were joined by all in singing Siman Tov U’Mazel Tov.

 

      Now the mazel tovs and singing began. One of the participants, R’ Yitzchok Freund, is the chazzan of Cong. Shaarei Teffilah. He led a number of songs and everybody joined in. Although the aisle was very narrow, it didn’t stop the people from getting up and dancing.

 

 

Krisher, one of the original participants had the pleasure of his sons

Yehuda and Shimmi with him. His wife and daughters were in the back of the car.

 

      Rabbi Lerner thanked all the participants who helped make the siyum happen, including Tzvi Blech and Chezky Teller and B&H Photo for the sound system. He gave his gratitude to the Altman family for dedicating the shiur in memory of Tzivyah Michal bat Shraga Feivel and thanked all those who allowed him to have the zechus of teaching Torah. Lastly he gave the ultimate thanks to the Ribbono Shel Olam, for giving us His Torah, and allowing us the opportunity to serve Him through learning.

 

      As the train pulled into Penn Station, everyone was completely uplifted by the day’s events. Perhaps “MTA” Railroad actually stands for Marbitz Torah Association?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/shiur-on-lirr-completes-shas-again/2006/11/01/

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