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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘rabbi’

Rare 1,000 Yr Old Ketubah on Exhibit in Jerusalem

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

An extremely rare 1,000-year-old ketubah inscribed in Aramaic is now on exhibit in the National Library in Jerusalem.

The Jewish marriage contract dates from November 28, 1023 (CE), according to Dr. Yoel Finkelman, curator for the National Library’s Judaica section.

Written by a scribe named in the ketubah as Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov, the document was inscribed in what once was the town of Tzur for a couple named Natan HaKohen, son of Shlomo, and Rachel. Both were from Tzefat (Safed.)

An ancient ketubah written in Aramaic in 1063 CE in the town of Tzur, part of Tzefat, by the scribe Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov Hakohen.

An ancient ketubah written in Aramaic in 1063 CE in the town of Tzur, by the scribe Yosef HaKohen, son of Yaakov Hakohen.

The document is especially significant as it provides concrete evidence of a Jewish community in the city of Tzefat (Safed) in the 11th century (CE).

Although all ketubahs – including those written to this very day – list a section detailing the obligations of the husband to provide for the wife, and her rights in the event of divorce, some have additional sections as well. In fact, ketubahs have not changed much at all over the past 2,500 years; they still are written in the same format, more or less, and with the same intent: to list the obligations of the groom towards his bride, to list the contents of the dowry, and the amount of money the groom is providing to the bride as security should the marriage fail and end in divorce, as well as any other conditions that might apply.

The Tzefat Ketubah is one of these, commented Finkelman, noting an additional section in this case. “For instance, if the woman has expensive jewelry or her parents give gifts in honor of the wedding and then the couple divorce, those items are returned to her,” he explained. In the ancient document, there is indeed a list of Rachel HaKohen’s jewelry, household items and clothing – including the weight and monetary value of each item. Moreover, the disposition of each item is discussed, should various events take place – even should the wife become “mentally unstable.”

Regretfully, in today’s world, the ketubah is sometimes disregarded when marriages become fractured. Some Jewish husbands reverse the document, forcing the wife’s family instead to pay a bribe in order to win a divorce contract that by Jewish law can only be granted by a husband. In other, more rare cases, sometimes an estranged wife refuses a divorce contract, likewise holding a disenchanted husband hostage as well.

In any of the above scenarios, expert rabbinic negotiators are usually sought in order to resolve the conflict. In severe cases, the struggle can sometimes take years.

Obama’s Adas Israel Speech and Keeping Kids Kosher

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai rejects what he sees as the “Israel-is-to-blame” narrative of President Obama’s speech at the Adas Israel synagogue in Washington DC.

Then, Yishai is joined in-studio by Orthodox Union senior managing director Rabbi Steven Weil and director of leadership development Rabbi Ari Rockoff to discuss the future of American Jewry. They discuss their latest initiative: meeting with 18-year-olds spending a gap year in Israel, to encourage them to involve their counterparts in the US, who have grown distant from their Judaism.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Report: Rabbinate May Be Plotting to Dump Rabbi Riskin of Efrat

Monday, May 25th, 2015

The Chief Rabbinate met in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss whether to extend the term of Efrat’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, but it postponed a decision until he appears personally for another hearing.

An extension of Rabbi Riskin’s term requires a special meeting because he is now 75 years old, but the Kipa website reported, “Senior officials in the Rabbinate plan to hold a discussion on his term of office and not automatically renew it in order to block his re-appointment because of his opinions. If there will be another discussion of the entire Rabbinate, a majority will vote against Rabbi Riskin.”

Rabbi Riskin supports establishing more religious courts to oversee conversions, a move that is stiffly opposed by the Hareidi establishment. He also has been active in promoting women’s rights in the Orthodox world, another move that the Hareidi establishment considers near blasphemy.

Rabbi Riskin’s office told The Jewish Press that it was not aware of the report by Kipa, but previous rabbis over the age of 70 have been asked to retire, regardless of their opinions. The spokesman for the Rabbinate told The Jewish Press that there have been cases where the term of a rabbi over the age of 70 has been extended, depending on his health.

Nevertheless, Monday’s discussion raises several questions to which the spokesman for the Chief Rabbinate said, “I don’t know.”

He said that Rabbis Riskin will be asked to appear personally, probably in the next several weeks, to answer questions about his health.

If that is the case, why didn’t the Chief Rabbinate ask for his medical records?

I don’t know.

Why didn’t the Rabbinate invite Rabbi Riskin today?

I don’t know.

Will Rabbi Riskin’s views on conversion be discussed in the upcoming hearing?

I don’t know.

However, the spokesman did confirm that the issue of conversion was not discussed today.

A decision to retire Rabbi Riskin, the founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side of New York City, without any other basis than opposition to his views could spur a legal battle in the Supreme Court. The Religious Affairs Ministry is now under the control of the Shas party, which may influence the Rabbinate’s decision in favor of ousting Rabbi Riskin.

Shas party leader Aryeh Deri is close to Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, son of the late Rav Ovadia Yosef who founded the Shas party and was its spiritual leader until his death less than two years ago.

Hopefully, this report by The Jewish Press.com will arouse public opinion, influence the Rabbinate, and pave the way for the distinguished rabbis to extend Rabbi Riskin’s term.

Read: TZOHAR’s statement on the upcoming hearing.

Rabbis Honor French PM in Fight Against Anti-Semitism

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

European rabbis honored the prime minister of France on Tuesday for his role in fighting anti-Semitism in the country.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls received the Lord Jakobovits Prize at the annual Conference of European Rabbis, held in Toulouse.

Both Chief Rabbis of Israel attended the gathering, as did others from nations across the European continent.

Conference organizers chose Toulouse as the venue for the gathering in order “to commemorate the attacks” where a rabbi and three Jewish children were murdered at a Jewish day school by a radical Islamist terrorist in 2012.

Valls was chosen to receive the award shortly after he announced a 600-million Euro nationwide drive to fight the rising incidence of anti-Semitic attacks in France.

Violent anti-Semitic attacks have skyrocketed by 40 percent worldwide during the past 18 months — but in France alone, 164 such incidents were recorded in 2014, in contrast to 141 in 2013.

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said the decision to honor Valls was made after his “decisive” action to “protect the Jews of France from the mobs who were about to make a pogrom against our people and our synagogues.”

Goldschmidt told more than 200 rabbis at the annual event, “There are some voices asking if there is a future for the Jewish people in Europe.

“I say this question can only be answered by the European governments themselves – and if that answer is to be a positive answer, then they must follow the example of Prime Minister Valls.”

Father, IDF Buddies Search in Nepal for Missing Israeli

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The father of a young Israeli backpacker has flown to Nepal to search the shattered nation for his missing son, Or Ashraf.

The 22-year-old hiker was last seen in Langtang a week ago just prior to setting out to hike a trail on Mount Everest, hours before the first 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck.

Israel Ambassador to Nepal, Yaron Meir, told IDF Army Radio on Thursday there is no concrete information about the whereabouts of Or Ashraf. “There is some room for concern,” Meir said.

The trekker last told a friend last Thursday that he might attempt to hike one of the trails alone.

The elder Ashraf brought along some of his son’s IDF colleagues from the Egoz combat unit. Ashraf is the sole Israeli who has not made contact after the quake hit the area.

On Thursday, search and rescue teams planned to attempt a helicopter rescue of 20 Israelis located on a remote mountainside in the Himalayas, officials said.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, co-director of Chabad of Nepal with his wife, Chani, personally joined a helicopter mission to pick up stranded Israeli trekkers. Hours later, 25 were airlifted to Kathmandu; another 20-25 were still waiting for another airlift.

Bad weather has played a role in delaying helicopter rescues in the mountains. One rescue mission intended to deliver food and a satellite phone to stranded Israelis by motorcycle failed after 10 hours due to blocked roads.

While trekkers wait, cold and hungry, others continue to arrive with homeless villagers at the Chabad House in Kathmandu. Volunteers led by Chani Lifshitz are serving up to 2,000 meals a day to Nepalese. The Lifshitz children, meanwhile, are being hosted at the home of Israel President Reuven Rivlin.

Chabad of Nepal has stayed in touch with some 50 Israelis who have been stuck in remote villages with no food, electricity or water with satellite phones. Israelis are stranded in mountain regions like Dhunche and Syrabrubesi; but they’ve been in touch with Lifshitz thanks to the satellite phones they took with them. They were provided by the Chabad House and donated by the family of Nadav Shoham, an Israeli hiker killed last year in a massive, freak blizzard.

More than 5,500 people are known to have died in the earthquake and the devastating 6.7-magnitude aftershock hours later. More than 100 aftershocks followed, and others have continued to rock the region. The quakes affected areas and killed people in areas as far away as Tibet, India and Pakistan.

Even as life ends for so many, a new baby boy weighing 2.1 kilograms came into the world, according to Major (res.) Michal Peres, a midwife and member of the Israeli delegation at the IDF Field Hospital set up in Nepal. The mother was being treated at a local hospital damaged in the quake, but went into labor and required a Caesarean section due to the size of the baby and the physical circumstances of the mother, IDF Major Gil Dar, an obstetrician/gynecologist confirmed. “The feeling is a good one,” he said.

From Segregation to Confrontation – No Nostalgia for Baltimore

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The riots in Baltimore are symptomatic of a world-wide disease that has been spreading for decades: Violence.

I have good memories of a good life in the Golden Ghetto where I grew up in Baltimore but I have no nostalgia, not for the Orioles, not for the peace and quiet in our white-only and Jewish-only neighborhood, not for segregation, not for our black maid and not for integration.

Not even for the Orioles when they beat the Dodgers in the World Series, believe it or not.

Yes, I did write “segregation.” Before 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled against school segregation in the Plessy vs. Ferguson suit, I never questioned the practice. What do you want from an eight-year-old?

Those were the days of law and order, but the deep white hatred of blacks in the south was superior to the rule of law, and it took years of protest marches and the assassination of Martin Luther King before integration in school was accepted.

Jews in my youth in Baltimore, like elsewhere in the Diaspora, always were worried about being politically and socially acceptable. The rabbis, especially the modern Orthodox, Conservative and Reform leaders, always spoke out for the blacks, the same people who rented from Jewish slumlords and worked for minimum wages from Jewish employers who were lucky if their employees showed up for work without being drunk.

Our rabbi marched in Washington in a huge rally for integration. Somehow, he always managed to connect it to the Torah.

Listening to King, one would think that God told the whites in the south, “Let my black people go.” That is what happens when Jews desecrate the Torah to co-exist with non-Jews.

Those were the days of the Limousine Liberals, the rich Jews who were in favor of integration, on condition that it was not in their neighborhood.

Those were the days of peaceful protests. They worked.

Today, they don’t.

There were many blacks in my high school class who studied hard, went to university and became part of the “haves.” Many remained with the have-nots.

When the United States declared “war on terror” after the 9/11 attacks, it was a bit late. It should have started years before and should have been called a war on violence., because violence has been working for decades.

Everyone can come up with his or her own reasons for excuse – liberalism, social media, television, movies and drugs, among others.

Underneath all of them is the undercurrent of “gimme, and if you don’t “gimme,” I will kill you.

Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens has been seen all cross America this week for his rant against violence:

No way. No way. No way can this happen in our city. No. Young kids you got to understand something, get off the streets.

Violence is not the answer. Violence has never been the answer. Freddie Gray, we don’t do nothing for him doing this….

You don’t have any right to do what you’re doing to this city. Too many hard-working people build this city… We know what’s going on. We know the problems. We know there was wrong done. We know we’re not getting the right justice. We know all these answers.

But rioting in our streets is wrong. It’s dead wrong.

 

Lewis is speaking of values. He stated, “It takes a whole village to raise one child. We have to redefine what this looks like. We have to redefine what rebuilding Baltimore looks like. Cause there’s too many people putting real sweat, real tears to make our city a better place.”

His values are not “their” values. “Their” values are violence. “Gimme or violence, take your pick.”

Former Chief Rabbi of Rome Dies Two weeks before 100th Birthday

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Former chief Rome Rabbi Elio Toaff died on Sunday the age of 99, two weeks before what was supposed to be his 100th birthday.

He served as chief rabbi of the city for 51 years until 2002 after having served as the chief rabbi of Venice.

Rabbi Toaf once prayed with Pope John Paul II, who paid an unannounced visit to the Tome Synagogue, and the rabbi co-officiated at a papal concert commemorating the Holocaust.

He also praised Pope Pius XII after his death.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/former-chief-rabbi-of-rome-dies-two-weeks-before-100th-birthday/2015/04/20/

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