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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘rabbi’

Rabbi Maurice Lamm, ZT”L

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

We join Klal Yisroel in mourning the death, at age 86, of Rabbi Maurice Lamm, noted alumnus of Yeshiva University, musmach of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and longtime rabbi of such synagogues as Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills and the Palm Springs Desert Synagogue.

The author of several highly informative and significant books, he was perhaps best known for two that have become staples in countless Jewish homes.

The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning provides an exhaustive but entirely readable treatment of the requirements of Jewish law and custom regarding death and bereavement. It is a topic most people try to avoid until they are suddenly confronted with urgent questions of what to do next.

Consolation is a study of how our sages targeted certain underlying emotions with particular bereavement prescriptions. Parenthetically, he reviews how those Talmudic insights have been validated by later psychiatrists and psychologists.

An inspiring writer, illuminating teacher, and revered pulpit rabbi. So many accomplishments in a life well lived.

May his memory be a blessing.

Editorial Board

Rabbi Maurice Lamm – Prominent Spiritual Leader, Author, And Teacher – Passes Away

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Rabbi Maurice Lamm, a major presence in the American Orthodox rabbinate in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, as well as a teacher to hundreds of thousands through his immensely popular Jewish books, died last week. He was 86.

Rabbi Lamm authored The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, on the laws and practices of burial, shiva and mourning, which has sold over 750,000 copies since its first printing in 1969.

Additionally, he wrote The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage, The Power of Hope, Becoming a Jew, and Consolation. Each of these was also a best-seller in the Jewish world.

From 1972 to 1985 Rabbi Lamm served as head rabbi at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, Calif., one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in America. He also connected with and influenced the Orthodox community at large through his affiliation with the Rabbinical Council of America, the journal Tradition and several other boards and organizations. He was also recognized as a first-class orator, lecturing abroad and overseas, from Israel to Australia to several countries in Europe.

Maurice Lamm was born in 1930, the second of four children to Sam and Peppy Lamm in Brooklyn. Lamm studied for many years at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, and then at Yeshiva University under Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, from whom he received semicha in 1954. Later in life he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University, from which he held bachelors and masters degrees.

Rabbi Lamm was very close with Rabbi Soloveitchik, of whom he frequently asked many halachic questions. Rabbi Lamm used to recall that when he would ask Rabbi Soloveitchik a particularly strange question, the latter would reply, “They do things in an interesting way in California.”

Rabbi Lamm married Shirley Friedman, the daughter of Rabbi and Mrs. M. Friedman of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1955.

After receiving semicha, Rabbi Lamm served as a chaplain first lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After his discharge he served as rabbi in Puerto Rico and then Floral Park, New York. It was there that Rabbi Lamm started his writing career by publishing And I Shall Glorify Him, an 89-page companion work to Herman Wouk’s This Is My God.

In 1966 Rabbi Lamm assumed the pulpit at the Hebrew Institute of the Bronx. It was around this time that scores of Orthodox Jews were moving out of the South Bronx, to Riverdale and elsewhere. The Lamms moved out as well, to Yonkers, but Rabbi Lamm continued to walk to the Hebrew Institute every Shabbos.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Welfare Board asked Rabbi Lamm to became its field director of military chaplains with the civilian equivalent of major general. He started traveling to meet, bring aid, and comfort and teach U.S. chaplains in countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

In 1972, Beth Jacob of Beverly Hills came calling, and the family – Shirley and Maurice and their three children, David, Judith, and Dodi – moved to Los Angeles. The Lamms bought a home in Beverly Hills and fixed it up. Shirley felt they should purchase their own home rather than have the shul buy it for them. She decorated it herself. One of their first guests was Elie Wiesel, who came to lecture at a shul event.

After 13 years at Beth Jacob, during which time the synagogue’s membership rose from 400 to more than 1,000, Rabbi Lamm established The Desert Synagogue in Palm Springs, Calif., where he served as the rabbi for several years. He then retired from the rabbinate to the East Coast. But his career continued to thrive; for many years he held the chair in professional rabbinics at YU’s rabbinical school, RIETS, as well as serving on the faculty at Stern College for Women. He also continued to write and publish books. His last one, Consolation – in some ways a sequel to The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning – has been one of his most critically acclaimed and popular volumes.

Shlomo Greenwald

Tzohar Condemns Nullification of Rabbi Lookstein’s Conversions as Chief Rabbi Reverses Ruling

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Following a meeting in New York with Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar rabbinical organization on Tuesday expressed his full support for the rabbi after the Petach Tikva Rabbinical Court had nullified conversions which had been performed by Rabbi Lookstein.

Also on Tuesday, Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi David Lau, overruled a decision by the lower rabbinic court, officially accepting the conversion performed by Rabbi Lookstein.

Rabbi Lookstein, the spiritual leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and for many years principal of the Ramaz School, also converted Ivanka Marie Trump, daughter of Republican party preumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump.

However, because in 2009 Rabbi Lookstein participated in the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the primary American modern-orthodox rabbinic association, took exception to his presence, stating that “participation in a prayer service held in the sanctuary of a church is prohibited,” ruling that “any member of the RCA who attends such a service does so in contravention of this policy and should not be perceived as representing the organization in any capacity.”

Last month, a woman who was converted to Judaism by Rabbi Lookstein was refused recognition as a Jew by an Israeli Rabbinical Court in Petach Tikvah, which stirred up the ongoing international controversy over who outside the Israeli Rabbinate is allowed to perform conversions to the Jewish faith. The Israeli court simply couldn’t find Lookstein’s name on the RCA list of accredited conversion rabbis.

“This decision causes three several major problems which cannot be ignored,” Rabbi Stav said in a statement. “First, there is an explicit halakhic ruling that we should not oppress a convert. The conversion that has been nullified by the court was of a clearly well-intentioned, ‘righteous convert,’ and it is inconceivable that simply because of outright bureaucratic considerations a conversion would be nullified.”

“Second, this decision further deepens the already troubling divide between Israel and the Diaspora,” according to Rabbi Stav. “And, most troubling of all, it leads to a situation where assimilation, both here in Israel and in the Diaspora, is allowed to go unchecked. Because when we have a situation where well-intentioned converts are being disregarded simply because their conversion was officiated by a nationalist and modern Orthodox rabbi, what message does this send to those interested in converting according to halakha?”

The rejection of conversions performed by Lookstein was condemned by the Jewish Agency for Israel, which is the world body “responsible for the immigration … and absorption of Jews and their families from the Diaspora into Israel.”

Rabbi Lau said in letters to key Israeli politicians that the Chief Rabbinate Council, due to convene on Wednesday, will hear an appeal of the Petach Tikvah rabbinic court decision, adding he was confident the Chief Rabbinate’s position would clear away all the concerns regarding conversions by non-Israeli Orthodox rabbis.

David Israel

Thousands Attend Rabbi Mark’s Funeral; President, Mossad Chief and Chief Rabbis Deliver Eulogies [video]

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) — Rabbi Michael (Miki) Mark, who was killed on Friday in a terrorist shooting attack, was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon in Jerusalem. Thousands attended his funeral, which began in his home town of Otniel and ended with his burial in the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Givat Shaul.

Rabbi Mark was the director of the Otniel Yeshiva and a teacher at Yeshivat Torat Shraga, Yeshiva University’s post-high-school yeshiva for American students in Jerusalem. He is survived by his wife, Chava Rachel Mark, who sustained serious injuries in the attack and remains hospitalized, and ten children, two of whom were also wounded in the attack.

“When he started as principal this past year, he took a real interest in the overseas students,” Phil Katz, the head of the overseas program at the Otniel Yeshiva, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “He would constantly speak to us, and he put a major effort into improving our learning experience in Israel. It’s a terrible loss.”

The funeral service began at the Otniel Yeshiva, where many current and former students came to pay their last respects. President Reuven Rivlin, a distant cousin of Mark’s, delivered a eulogy.

“I stand here today before your bier, Michael, Miki, in sadness and pain. With me stands an entire grieving nation,” President Rivlin said. “You were a pillar of the Otniel community and the whole Hebron hills region. The Hebron hills region, the historic cradle of Jewish civilization, keeps losing the best of its children to terrorism. But our roots here are strong, and terrorism will not defeat us.”

Once the eulogies at the Otniel Yeshiva were completed, the Mark family, accompanied by hundreds of mourners, supporters, and an army escort, traveled in a funeral procession to Jerusalem, where Mark was laid to rest.

On the way to Jerusalem, the family stopped at the site on Route 60 where the terror attack took place.

By the time the procession reached Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery, thousands of mourners had arrived. A police spokesman told TPS that in his estimation, at least 4,000 people attended Rabbi Mark’s burial.

According to Hadassah Medical Center spokesperson Hadar Elboim, Chava Rachel Mark remains in serious but stable condition, though she is breathing on her own.

The Marks’ 14-year-old daughter, Tehila, who also sustained serious injuries in the attack and is confined to a wheelchair, was released from the hospital to attend her father’s funeral.

Both of Israel’s chief rabbis eulogized Rabbi Mark at the burial, as did Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, Mark’s first cousin.

“I swear in the name of the Israeli defense establishment to keep the State of Israel, which you loved so much, united within and protected from without,” Cohen said. “Farewell, my dearest Miki. You were a man of peace, and I loved you with all my soul.”

Michael Bachner and Tzvi Yedidyah Lev contributed to this article.

Video of the Day

Rabbi Roy Feldman: From Manhattan’s KJ To Albany’s CBAJ

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Roy Feldman, the assistant rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is leaving a synagogue with a membership of 1,100 congregants to be the spiritual leader of a 100-member synagogue in Albany, Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob (CBAJ).

Feldman, 29, has signed a two-year contract to replace Rabbi Binyamin Lehrfield, 30, who served CBAJ as its spiritual leader for four years. During that time, through programming aimed at a younger population, Lehrfield turned around synagogue membership from mostly elderly to more youthful and vibrant. (Lehrfield is moving on to become senior rabbi at the Baron Hirsch Congregation in Memphis, Tenn., replacing Shai Finkelstein.)

Feldman is a baal teshuvah who grew up in a secular Jewish household in New York City. “I was born in a Hebrew-speaking home, not a shomer Shabbat home but nonetheless a traditional home, one that acknowledged and celebrated all the holidays and had Shabbat dinners, stuff like that, but not fully observant in the sense of halacha,” Feldman told The Jewish Press.

“When I attended Columbia University, that’s when I really began learning Gemara and other Jewish [texts] very, very seriously,” said Feldman. “There’s a very large Modern Orthodox community at Columbia. The fact that I was fluent in Hebrew was a tremendous asset which allowed me to learn precipitously from the beginning.”

Feldman is married to Rachel Minkin, a graduate of the Flushing-based Yeshiva of Central Queens and currently a kindergarten teacher at Ramaz. They have a five-month old daughter, Charlotte.

While Lehrfield implemented many positive changes during his brief tenure at CBAJ, more still needs to be accomplished. Feldman says he has many reasons for wanting to move to Albany.

“I think there is tremendous potential in Albany, part of it is because of the job market,” Feldman told The Jewish Press. “The low cost of living in Albany is unique, I think, to a metropolitan area with a Jewish community that’s still close to the tri-state area and New York City. I was not interested at all in going more than a two- or three-hour drive from New York City because my family and my wife’s family both live in New York. The fact that it’s a short drive from Albany is something that can be attractive to other young Orthodox families who are looking for their next career move or for a way to buy a house rather than rent and still be close to family.”

That said, he acknowledged that “one of the limitations on Orthodox families in Albany is that there is no Jewish secondary education currently in a full-day school form. The Hebrew Academy and Maimonides (Hebrew Day School) both effectively end at the eighth grade. Most students either go to Albany High School or go out of town to boarding school or something like that.”

Right now he’s looking to build on the work of his predecessor. “My focus would be on making the synagogue a center of both Torah learning and pastoral activity rather than the programming aspects,” he explained.

“I want people to know they can turn to the synagogue for their learning needs and for their life-cycle needs and make it a central communal location for the Orthodox community in Albany. I understand the value of programming; what brings people to step in the door in the first place is the programming – but what keeps them there is knowing they have a warm, welcoming community that will guide them through the happy and sad times in life.”

Feldman, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in linguistics and history from Columbia University and a Master of Arts in Jewish philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate School, studied at Yeshivat Petach Tikva in Israel where he was ordained by Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of Jerusalem and at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). Feldman is also on the Judaic studies faculty of the Ramaz Upper School.

Marc Gronich

Rabbi Asher Weiss Calls on All of Klal Israel to Support his Holy Work [video]

Monday, June 20th, 2016

R’ Asher Weiss has dedicated his life to continuing the quest started by his holy father and the Klausenberger Rebbe. As they survived the fires of Auschwitz, to rise up and rebuild Torah after the war, so too is R’ Asher Weiss creating a new army of Torah leaders.

Today Jews around the world have the opportunity to join with him to continue this holy work.

Join him in his life mission to inspire, teach and spread the light of Torah.

Hear R’ Asher Weiss tell in his own words the experience of his father in Auschwitz and how he fought to keep the light of Torah alive.

Jewish Press Staff

About “Rabbi” Lerner

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Editor’s note: Crawling out from under his rock, “Rabbi” Lerner emerged to address the nation to eulogize Muhammad Ali. Instead he used the moment as a platform to defame Israel. This is nothing new for Lerner. His claim to fame is being an anti-Semitic//anti-Israel “Rabbi.” Steven Plaut, recognized this “Rabbi” as a fraud a decade ago. The following is an article from 2006:


Is Tikkun’s Michael Lerner an Orthodox Jew?

Ok, I admit, this is not the most important news item, but you may
nevertheless find it of interest.

You know how Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun Magazine, claims to be an Orthodox Rabbi? And you know how we have been pointing out that he never graduated from any Rabbinic seminary and was never ordained a Rabbi at all.

Well, put all that aside for the moment. The question I want to raise is whether Lerner is Orthodox, as he always tells anyone willing to listen.

Well, I decided to put the matter to a test.

Let me explain.

Jewish holidays in Israel, such as Passover or Succot, last one day, but last two days everywhere in the Diaspora under Jewish law. In addition, there is a ten hour time zone gap between Israel and Berkeley, where Lerner nests. I decided to conduct an experiment to see if Lerner is religiously observant, or Orthodox.

On Passover, it was the evening after the holiday when I sent Lerner an email inquiry from Israel under a fake name. Let me make this clear: it was no longer holiday in Israel when I sent it out, but was still the first day of the two-day holiday in California. My plan was to see if Lerner would respond to the letter on the second day of the two-day holiday. (Some Reform Jews in the Diaspora only celebrate the first of the two-day holidays.)

As it turns out, I was wrong. Lerner responded to the letter when it was still the FIRST day of the two-day holiday! From the timing of the letter, he wrote it even while it was still the first of the two days of “Yom Tov”. Now “Yom Tov” or the holiday of Passover is when all work (other than cooking food) is prohibited by Judaism and – specifically – writing and operating electronic equipment is prohibited, including computers. But “Rabbi” Lerner was spending his holiday playing with his computer and conducting correspondence. No doubt his sabbath is spent the same way.

Let me emphasize that it is not my place to tell non-religious or
non-Orthodox Jews how to spend their holidays or how to live their lives. It is not my business if some Jew wishes to live his life as a secularist and play with his computer on the sabbath or on holidays.

Indeed I only mention this matter simply because of the hypocritical gall and outright dishonesty of this buffoon Lerner pretending to be an Orthodox Rabbi.

In my letter to Lerner under the false name, I asked him if he would be willing to silence all those questioning his “rabbinic” credentials by agreeing to take a spot quiz in Bible and Talmud. Personally, I am of the opinion that he has never read the Books of the Prophets in the Bible whose “ethics” he likes to cite when he promotes his New Age pro-LSD “liberation theology”. He wrote back (while it was still Yom Tov) that he would NOT agree to this and that he had no need to do so because he had been admitted
as a member of the California Board of Rabbis.

Here are his words:
>From : Rabbi Michael Lerner rabbilerner@tikkun.org
“Absolutely not. They are already sinners spreading *lashon hara (hearsay)*, so there is no possible reason to believe that they would be satisfied by anything. I am a member of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California, which did its own careful assessment of my qualifications as it does with every applicant.”

Now, as a matter of fact, the California Board of Rabbis does NOT check out anyone’s credentials who applies for membership. Membership is automatic and hardly constitutes proof that someone is a Rabbi. A few years back, a friend of mine and I began to register his goldfish as a “Rabbi” in the California Board of Rabbis, to prove the point. But we decided it would tarnish the name of the Board and embarrass the actual Rabbis who are members, so we called the prank off. The above statement by Lerner however does show how thoroughly dishonest he is.

In short, Michael Lerner is neither Orthodox nor a Rabbi. We DO know that he is an anti-Semite though, one who claims that Jews themselves are to blame for anti-Semitism!

Steven Plaut

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/about-rabbi-lerner/2016/06/15/

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