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October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘rabbi’

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Influence In America (Part I)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Editor’s Note: This column contains excerpts from Dr. Levines “Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch and America – an Historical View,” which appeared in The World of Hirschian Teachings, An Anthology on the Hirsch Chumash and the Hashkafa of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch (Rabbi Dr. Joseph Breuer Foundation, Feldheim, 2008, 199- 210).


Much has been written about Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch’s influence on German Jewry, and he is justifiably credited with having saved Orthodox Judaism in Germany. However, Rav Hirsch’s influence was not confined to Germany and did not end with his passing in 1888. His legacy continues to this day and is felt all over the world.

It is my intent to sketch how Hirschian ideology has fostered the flourishing Torah life we see today in America by indicating how a number of rabbis utilized this ideology. Such a sketch cannot, of course, be comprehensive. Nonetheless, it does provide perspective on how far-reaching the influence of RSRH has been on the American scene.


Rabbi Dr. Bernard Drachman (1861 -1945)

In 1899 Rabbi Dr. Bernard Drachman published the first English translation of Rav Hirsch’s Nineteen Letters.[i] Rabbi Drachman’s life story is an interesting one and is told in his autobiography The Unfailing Light: Memoirs of an American Rabbi.[ii]

Raised in a non-shomer Shabbos home, he went to public school in Jersey City, New Jersey, and then Columbia College. While in high school and college, Rabbi Drachman also attended the (Reform) Temple Emanuel Hebrew Preparatory School of New York City for six years. In 1882 he graduated Columbia with honors and decided to study for the rabbinate. Temple Emanuel granted him a scholarship to pursue rabbinical studies with the idea that he would prepare for the Reform rabbinate. He went to Germany, studied at the University of Breslau and the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau, and earned his rabbinical degree. In addition, he matriculated at the University of Heidelberg and obtained the degree of Ph.D. Magna Cum Laude in 1885.

As a result of his studies in Germany, Dr. Drachman became completely committed to Orthodox Judaism. Temple Emanuel had sponsored his studies with the understanding that when he returned he would become its assistant rabbi. But given his commitment to Orthodoxy, Rabbi Drachman was forced to make it clear to the congregants of Temple Emanuel that he would only serve an Orthodox congregation, despite the fact that Reform rabbis usually earned considerably more than their Orthodox counterparts. The result was that “he speedily became known as an enthusiastic and energetic champion of Orthodox Judaism, one of the then very few English-speaking representatives of the ancient faith in the America of that time.”[iii]

During his summer vacation in 1883 Dr. Drachman visited Frankfurt-on-the-Main. His recollections of this visit show what a deep impression the community that Rav Hirsch had established made upon him.

In the latter place [Frankfurt] we [Rabbi Drachman and his cousin Solomon] not only saw a beautiful city but also a most wonderful Jewish community, the like of which was even then difficult to find anywhere else in the world. In size the city was not so very impressive, numbering not more than approximately twenty-five thousand souls, but in spiritual and cultural quality and importance to Judaism it was most exceptional and noteworthy.

Frankfort-on-the-Main was the city of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, inspired and inspiring leader in Israel, man of God if ever there was one. His soul glowed with profound love and loyalty to the ancient faith. From his lips poured streams of eloquence to convince the doubting, to strengthen the wavering, and to satisfy and delight the already convincedly devout. The impress of his mighty spirit was upon the whole Jewish life of the queenly city. The number of business establishments closed on Sabbaths and Jewish holy days, the large and beautiful synagogues and the throngs which entered them to worship, even on ordinary days of secular occupation, and a dozen other indications, all gave unmistakable testimony to the fact that here was a city of enthusiastically loyal Jews.

The Orthodox Jews, however, were not the majority of the Jewry of Frankfort. Rabbi Hirsch’s congregation did not even belong to the official Jewish community. Legally and technically it was not even a congregation but only a private society, Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft, “Israelitish Society for Religion,” but in numbers it was not greatly inferior to the main community and in zeal and religious fervor it was so superior, that its impress upon the life of the city was far greater and more significant.

The Judaism which Rabbi Hirsch taught, and for which he had gained thousands of adherents, in Frankfort and out, while unswervingly loyal to the Law and the traditions of Israel’s past, was yet something different, something new. It was the religion of the ghetto without the mannerisms or the world-estrangement of the ghetto. It was indeed a wondrously perfect synthesis of the ancient and the modern, of the Oriental-Sinaitic-Talmudic precepts of faith and the life and the speech, the culture, and the demeanor of the modern time and the Occidental world. It was fittingly designated by understanding observers as Neo-Orthodoxy.

Solomon and I met a number of members of the Hirsch community and they all measured up to this standard. Among them were the brothers Jacob and Julius Strauss, who were relatives of Solomon, cousins of his mother, whose maiden name was Strauss. They were wealthy people, bankers doing business in a large way under the firm name of J. and J. Strauss. They were, however, more interested in Jewish religion and culture than in their business affairs.

As their guests on Friday evening, we met in the synagogue, which was filled with devout worshippers. After service we walked together to the Strauss residence, a fine and beautifully furnished apartment in one of the best streets of Frankfort. It was a memorable evening, a remarkable combination of fervent Jewishness and aristocratic demeanor, a perfect illustration of what the rabbis of the Talmud meant when they spoke of “Torah and greatness in one place.” Everything was in accordance with the rabbinical precept that the best which the Jew is and has shall be reserved for the Sabbath. Such was the Friday evening in the Strauss home. Herr Jacob Strauss chanted the Hebrew prayers with dignity and reverence, and Frau Strauss was a most gracious hostess. After the sumptuous repast was concluded, and thanks duly given to the Giver of all good, we passed an hour or so in pleasant, informal conversation. Many questions about America were asked of me, and my answers were received with great apparent interest.[iv]

Dr. Yitzchok Levine

IDF Demolishes Home of Rabbi Mickey Mark’s Murderer

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

By Tzvi Lev

The IDF on Tuesday demolished the home of the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Michael Mark in front of his wife and two of his ten children. The operation was carried out in conjunction with the Border Police and the Civil Administration.

Mohamed Fakih, 29, from Dura village, gunned down Rabbi Mark on July 1 while he was driving with his family on Route 60. His wife was seriously injured, and two of his children were lightly injured.

Fakih was killed in a gun battle with IDF and police units on July 27, after they had closed in on his hideout in Surif, near Hebron. Fakih had barricaded himself inside the house, and security forces responded by shooting nine anti-tank missiles, causing a significant part of the building to collapse. Troops found several weapons next to Fakih’s body, including an AK-47 assault rifle and hand grenades.

The demolition operation was conducted in line with the Israeli government’s recently reinvigorated terrorism deterrence policy.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Soul Talk With Rabbi David Aaron & Leora Mandel – For G-d’s Sake: When Religion Inspires Evil [audio]

Monday, August 29th, 2016

How can we comprehend evil done in the name of G-d? We hear about this too often in the news. Evil acts are committed preceded by the call “G-d is Great.” Do we believe in the same G-d that is inspiring so many murders and acts of hatred? What does G-d really want from us?

Listen to Soul Talk with Rabbi David Aaron and Leora Mandel to get a better understanding of evil done in the name of G-d, how we should think about it and what we should do about it.

We welcome your questions. Send us an e-mail at Soultalk@israelnewstalkradio.com.

Soul Talk 28Aug – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Supreme Court Denies Appeal to Halt Rabbi Mark’s Killer’s House Demolition

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

The Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday denied an appeal against the demolition of the Dura village house belonging to one of the terrorists who carried out the drive by shooting that killed Rabbi Miki Mark and injured his wife and children.

The appeal was submitted by The wife of Mohammad Majid Amaira, 38, from Dura, a member of the Palestinian security forces. Amaira was detained for questioning three days after the murder and confessed he was the driver during the attack, while Mohammed Jabarah al-Fakih, 29, also from Dura, fired at the Mark family car.

Amaira’s wife, his daughters and HaMoked, an Israeli NGO assisting PA Arabs in their troubles with the Shabak, filed the appeal jointly.

According to NGO Monitor, Hamoked’s annual budget as of 2014 was $2,617,980, provided by Norway, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (jointly fundded by Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), UNDP (one of whose officials has just been indicted for being a Hamas agent), Finland, CCFD (France), Misereor (Germany), Trocaire (Ireland), Oxfam-Novib (Netherlands), and AECID (Spain).

Rightwing movement Im Tirtzu praised the Supreme Court’s decision to authorize the home demolition, and condemned the “torrent of judicial appeals” submitted by HaMoked on behalf of terrorists.

Im Tirtzu CEO, Matan Peleg, said in an email statement: “Im Tirtzu welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to authorize the home demolition of the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Miki Mark. This decision sends a clear message to European governments, which fund radical Israeli NGOs to submit appeals to Israel’s Supreme Court aimed at damaging the IDF’s deterrence capabilities.”

Peleg added: “Im Tirtzu will continue leading the fight against this phenomenon. The Israeli public has a right to know who’s defending terrorists.”

David Israel

Soul Talk With Rabbi David Aaron & Leora Mandel – How To Mourn For A Temple I Never Saw [audio]

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Tisha B’Av, the ninth of Av, is the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day on which mourn the loss of the temple.

How can I mourn over something of which I have no concept, as I never experienced what it was within my own lifetime?

Join Rabbi David Aaron on Soul Talk to get a deeper understanding of what the Temple was and how its loss affects us today.

Send us an e-mail with your questions: soultalk@israelnewstalkradio.com.

Soul Talk 14Aug – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Jews are Helping Arab Hero Fired for Rescuing Rabbi Mark’s Family

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Mt. Hebron Council Head Yochai Damari posted on his Facebook page a call to help two Judea and Samaria Arabs who were directly involved in rescuing the late Rabbi Miki Mark from Otniel, who was murdered in a terrorist drive-by shooting on Route 60 in Mt. Hebron. The two Arabs were able to save the lives of Mark’s wife and two of their children who were in the car.

“Inside the darkness of the terrorist attack, two Arab residents acted and supported the rescue of the family until the arrival of Israeli forces (about ten minutes), and these actions contributed significantly to prevent an even more tragic harm,” Damari wrote.

According to Damari’s account, the first rescuer arrived seconds after the attack and started prying the doors open with a jack, releasing and bringing out the children, and freeing the mother from the stranglehold of her safety belt. He then stood guard to make sure no one hurt or kidnap them, despite the dozens of drivers who stopped, threatened him, and demanded that he stop caring for the Jews.

Damari noted that this Arab rescuer was later fired from his job as a reprimand for saving Jews.

Moments later, an Arab doctor who was on his way to Jerusalem stopped at the attack site and provided first aid to the injured. He left only after the EMT units had arrived.

“I met with [the first rescuer] and he asked me to help remove the rejection of his work permit request,” Damari wrote. “I sent a letter this week to the Defense Minister, asking for his assistance in providing work permits to both men. I’ve met them, and I’m familiar with the objective difficulties [in issuing them the work permits], but I believe that it is our duty as a Jewish nation to show our gratitude to people who behave like human beings as expected of them in such cases.”

“This time, more than any other, we must boost the positive forces and deliver a clear message that a positive and normative behavior will result in a positive and normative reward on our part,” Damari added.


Rivlin Denies Pardon to Rabbi Pinto

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday denied the pardon plea by Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto who is serving a prison sentence in a medical prison in Ramlah. Pinto based his request for a pardon on his bad health.

Rabbi Pinto entered white-collar Ma’asiyahu prison in February, and two months later submitted his pardon plea. Rivlin adhered to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s recommendation to deny the plea.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rivlin-denies-pardon-to-rabbi-pinto/2016/08/04/

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