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May 4, 2016 / 26 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘rabbi’

Rabbi Binyomin Klein, Member of Secretariat to Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt’l, 79, Passes Away

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Rabbi Binyomin Klein, 79, long-time aide and member of the secretariat of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt’l passed away on Friday morning in Brooklyn, New York. He will be remembered as the “Rebbe’s Ambassador” to Israeli officials.

Rabbi Klein also served on the boards of several major governing bodies of Chabad, including Machneh Israel, the social service arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.

Rabbi Klein was the liaison for Israeli diplomats, political, military and other leaders from Israel who came to see the Rebbe. During the 1977 visit of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Rebbe introduced Rabbi Klein to the Prime Minister as “my general.”

Rabbi Klein was born in 1935 to Menachem and Rochel Klein. His mother died in childbirth and he was raised by his father, who headed the Jerusalem Chevra Kadisha, the Jewish burial society. As a teen he studied in the Chabad Torat Emet school in Jerusalem. In 1956 he traveled to New York to study in the court of the Rebbe.

After his marriage to Laya Schusterman, the couple moved to Australia where Rabbi Klein was among the founders of Yeshiva Gedolah of Melbourne, Australia and New Zealand. In 1963, the Kleins returned to the United States where Rabbi Klein joined the Secretariat of Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Rabbi Klein spoke little about his work in the Rebbe’s office. He was beloved by so many who interfaced with him as they corresponded with the Rebbe. He was also the person with whom many others spoke as they brought their precious tzetlach, their notes and letters to the office in “770” to be handed sometimes immediately to the Rebbe as he sat in his office just a few feet away.

Upon occasion, Rabbi Klein would tell a visitor to wait for a response, rather than the more common written or telephoned reply that often came later — hours or even days later. Despite his high position, One of the Rebbe’s main secretaries, he never forgot a face; he was also unfailingly courteous, gentle and kind.

Rabbi Klein kept long hours, often returning home at 2 a.m. Yet his home was famous for its hospitality, open always to guests and visitors. It was a second home to countless young women who came to Crown Heights as they began to learn about Judaism and return to their roots. It was here that they found a welcome place for meals, a listening ear, some good advice.

The funeral passed by Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway late Friday afternoon before Rabbi Klein’s body was brought to the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.

Rabbi Klein was laid to rest near the resting place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt’l and that of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, z’tl, in the Chabad-Lubavitch section of the cemetery.

Baruch HaDayan HaEmes. May his memory be for a blessing.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Organizations Raise Relief Funds after Houston Flood

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Jewish organizations are raising disaster-relief funds following the devastating flooding in Texas earlier this week, during which Houston’s Jewish community sat at the center of the damage experienced by that city.

Countless Jewish homes and multiple synagogues were among the structures damaged following rain that exceeded 11 inches in some areas on Monday and Tuesday.

The Orthodox Union, which is raising flood-relief funds, sent its senior managing director, Rabbi Steven Weil, to help assess the damage on site in Houston.

B’nai B’rith International opened its Flood, Tornado and Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund in the city following the Houston flood.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is raising flood-relief funds in Houston, noting that “many in our community have lost everything” in the hardest-hit neighborhood. Other Jewish Federations around the country are raising relief funds for Houston.

At the same time, local Jewish community is trying to focus on the positive, and Rabbi Barry Gelman, the leader of a heavily flood-damaged Orthodox synagogue, wrote to his congregants:

Let us focus on repairing what was ruined and rededicating ourselves to what makes UOS (United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston) so special, the community. After all, what is really special about us are the people that make up our community. That is what is indispensable—the building can always be fixed.

JNS News Service

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.

Hana Levi Julian

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

Moshe Herman

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.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

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.”

Hana Levi Julian

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.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/father-idf-buddies-search-in-nepal-for-missing-israeli/2015/04/30/

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