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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘rabbis’

Fear of Muslim Hate Scaring US Jewish Leaders from Pro-Israel Rallies

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

In a growing number of U.S. towns, Jews whose hearts ache over the terror faced by Israel and who are desperate to express their support, are starting to fear Arab hatred and the terror of radical Islam even more.

JewishPress.com has been asked to tell this story by an American rabbi who provided the information on condition that all identifying details be omitted “for the safety of those involved.” In particular, he requested that the location of the congregations involved be “blurred,” as he put it, in order “not to put Jews at risk.”

How scary is that?

“One of my congregants spoke to a friend whose son lives in a major Midwestern city where they had an Israel rally. They were greatly outnumbered by Palestinians,” he said. “That woman’s son called it a big disaster because it turned out to be great PR for the Palestinians, instead of support for Israel.”

As a matter of fact, the city in question had “10,000 Muslims show up to their rally,” according to the city police estimate.

Concerned rabbis who followed up raised the following question: “Without advertisement, we have no way to let those concerned citizens express their solidarity. With advertisement, how do we prevent this kind of fiasco?”

The rabbis also receive updates and security assessments from the Department of Homeland Security, which to its credit maintains contact with countless Jewish leaders and institutions.

“Clearly, I can’t give you a simple ‘it’s safe’ or not,” wrote one DHS official to the inquiring rabbi who asked during the summer of 2014 about the wisdom of joining a solidarity march for Israel.

“But, given the current situation in Gaza, it’s my opinion if the march was widely publicized prior to holding it, I wouldn’t be comfortable at all. If the group simply shows up, marches and departs, the risk would be much lower. As you know, there’s always a risk,” he wrote, adding that if the march is publicized “during or after, you also raise risk on existing Jewish facilities from retaliatory attacks.”

And that quiet warning was officially being transmitted more than a year ago, not in Europe, the Middle East or Scandinavia, but rather in the United States!

Below is a letter received by the same rabbi, who is among those who encourage their congregations to attend demonstrations of support for Israel. Note the emphasis on safety.

Dear Rabbi X:
As you know, these are tough times for our beloved Israel.
The Friends of Israel is having a public rally this Sunday, ______ , in the afternoon at the corner of _______________.
As you also may know at many other Israel rallies, scores of confrontational Palestinians have shown up, intimidated and stolen the PR. It becomes their hate fest instead of our peaceful rally in support of Israel’s right to self defense.
Will you please send this flyer out to your email contacts, call people and urge them to attend. Please speak about the rally at Shabbat services. Put this on Facebook, tweet, etc.
This is the time for all those who love and support Israel to come together; it is our responsibility!! Please do what you can to mobilize people. Even though people may only see Palestinian suffering, which ultimately Hamas has caused, on the news, we all know Israelis are suffering and being terrorized. My own family and several other friends have terrible stories.
We have a permit and police protection. This should be the safest place to be in _________ from ________ on Sunday! Thank you in advance for your support.
Rally for Israel

Rally against Violence Bars Religious MKs and Boos Right-Winger

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Those who blame others for the stabbings of homosexuals last week are tolerant – as long as you agree with them.

Organizers of last night’s Tel Aviv rally against violence and for support of the homosexual movement barred speakers who did not sign a pledge that they support the cause of homosexuals and lesbians.

They advised Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Naftali Bennett, who asked to speak, that it would be wise for him to stay away.

The reason was clear when right-wing Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke, or at least tried to speak. His call for non-violence was drowned by catcalls from the crowd.

One of the preachers for tolerance and non-violence was arrested by police when he surged toward the Steinitz as he was speaking.

Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Knesset Member Yinon Magal, who strongly identifies with the national religious movement, also was scheduled to speak. However, when he arrived at the rally, he was told he had to sign a statement saying that he supports the homosexual movement. Magal said he does not speak “on condition,” refused to sign and was barred from addressing the crowd.

There were several religious leaders, such as Rabbi Benny Lau, who did speak, but the requirement for signing a pledge illustrates the rally organizer’s understanding of “tolerance.”

The rally originally was called in memory of the murder of a homosexual in Tel Aviv several years ago, but the stabbings of several people by a known psychopath at the parade for homosexuals in Jerusalem Friday, along with the arson-murder of a Palestinian Authority baby gave the organizers plenty of ammunition to preach non-violence and tolerance.

Preaching is one thing, Practice is another.

The organizers don’t want right-wingers and religious people to tolerate homosexuals. They demand acceptance and approval.

And if you don’t approve, you cannot be tolerated.

Orthodox Rabbis to Lobby near Rosh HaShanah against Deal with Iran

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Rosh HaShanah marks the beginning of the “Ten Days of Repentance,” perfect timing for Orthodox rabbis to work on the conscience of Jewish Congressmen who have not joined the opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran.

The Orthodox Union, better known as the OU for its symbol on foods it approves as kosher, sent out a letter to its affiliated rabbis and the Rabbinical Council of America that urged them to arrive in Washington on Sept. 9, less than a week before the Jewish New Year and Tens Days of Repentance leading to Yom Kippur begin.

The letter stated:

We are confident that hundreds of rabbis traveling to Washington on the eve of this vote and just days before Rosh Hashanah will have a highly visible and real impact upon this fateful vote in Congress.

We will only have this impact with your participation.

MK and Police Discussing Making Marijuana Legal

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Outgoing Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino has been discussing with a Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Knesset Member major changes in the laws concerning the use of marijuana.

MK Yinon Magal freely says he has smoked grass and wants to change the laws that ban marijuana, except for medical uses.

Israel has one of the highest rates in the West when it comes to issuing permits to use marijuana for medical purposes. Danino noted that the number has grown from only 400 years ago to 20,000 today.

He was quoted by the Hebrew-language free newspaper Yisrael HaYom as saying during a speech at the Beersheba and Negev Trade Bureau:

What will eventually happen here is that anyone with money will be able to get a permit, and anyone who doesn’t have money will be trying to get [cannabis] on the streets. Things are happening in the world, so we can’t stick our heads in the sand. We need to deal with this issue\

Throughout the world, this has been a method of making [cannabis] legal. In California you can walk around in plenty of places and see signs offering a fake permit for medical marijuana for $50. We in Israel don’t want that. Because if we really want to change the law and decriminalize [cannabis] use, or make some drugs legal, let’s do it properly.

It is not a foregone conclusion that marijuana is good medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated, “Marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”

The Anti-Drug Authority is not thrilled over Danino’s readiness to re-examine the laws.

Eitan Gorni, acting director of the Israel Anti-Drug Authority said that “the police commissioner’s recent statements are beyond the authority and responsibility of the police to make,” according to Haaretz.

The WeedBlog.com pro-marijuana website wrote:

How cool would it be if Mr. Danino joined Law Enforcement against Prohibition? Get this guy an application maybe? Anyhow, this is great news. Anytime a sitting leader of a law enforcement agency says that he or she wants to have a candid discussion about how to improve marijuana laws, that’s a good thing.

Endless studies have been carried without conclusive evidence whether smoking marijuana leads to getting hooked on harder drugs, but there also are moral implications because smoking marijuana often is accompanied by cult rituals that lead to idleness.

It will be interesting to hear what rabbis in Israel have to say on the issue. Many rabbis have ruled that smoking cigarettes is not “kosher” because although it does not violate dietary laws, it is dangerous to the health.

Rabbi Moshe Elefant, of the Orthodox Union’s kosher certification agency said earlier this year that the OU “would not have a problem certifying” medical marijuana, but most rabbis frown on smoking grass for “recreational” use.

It sounds “cool” to make it legal for people to smoke pot, but when the grass starts growing too high, it is a good hiding place for snakes.


The Voters’ Prayer: May the Almighty Save Us from our Politicians

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Dear Eternal and Almighty God, Who brought Avraham Avinu out of a burning furnace, Who saved Daniel in the den of ions, Who brought your People out of slavery, gave us the Torah and brought us into the Promised Land, Who gave us the Holy Temples and led us not only to survive 2,000 years until the re-establishment of the State of Israel but also survive the harsh decree of having to suffer political leaders, many of whom are in prison and even more who should be behind bars, may You save us as this time of peril;

May you grant us protection from politicians who lead us into folly while they imagine it is they and not You leading us to peace and prosperity;

May you grant them the wisdom to know they are puppets being pulled by their own egos;

May you speedily bring us through this period of danger and have pity on our souls; apparently we have sinned because how else can one explain being oppressed with stupid campaign commercials that are beneath the dignity of apes You created;

May the God of our forefathers  grant Tzipi Livni the wisdom and vision to realize she is an idiot;

May you grant Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the understanding that his wife needs a better psychologist than she is;

May You, the Creator of heaven and earth, grant a speedy recovery to Bujie Herzog and return to him his marbles, and while You are it, please wake up his grandfather and former Chief Rabbi Yitzchak HaLevi Herzog to tell his grandson to repent;

May you teach several learned rabbis that living in Judea and Samaria does not make them or me any holier than someone living in Tel Aviv, even if he is Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer, may he return to sanity;

May You, our Eternal Protector, drive some sense into the minds of national religious voters who cannot bear to be represented by a party such as Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) because its leader wears  a small kippa, no beard and thinks that a secular nationalist Zionist is not treif, even if she is a woman;

May You have mercy on the chronically ill left-wing and remover their suffering and pain in their final days and bring its soul to eternal rest;

May you put a few grey hairs on Naftali Bennett’s balding head so he doesn’t look like a little kid acting as a grown-up;

And lastly, dear God, Who split the Red Sea and kept the sun from setting for Joshua, could you possibly make March 17 come a bit sooner, like tomorrow?

Jewish Home Unity Overcomes the ’Yesha Faction’

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

The “Tekuma” faction, headed by Housing Minister Uri Ariel, decided Saturday night to remain in the Jewish Home party and not join forces with Eli Yishai’s new party or run separately in a move that saves the right-wing from another weak if not useless party based on Judea and Samaria.

Ariel, whose integrity and intellectual honesty often place him in contradiction with the art of compromise in politics, has been upset with the Jewish Home party and its chairman Naftali Bennett because of the ostensibly democratic system of primaries, which is susceptible to wheeling and dealing even more  than a party’s central committee decision to decide who will be candidates.

Ariel last week met with Eli Yishai to discuss the chances of running on Yishai’s new party, following his leaving Shas.

Ariel left the decision up it his rabbinical advisers, who were split. The Tekuma Central Committee decided Saturday night to make the smartest decision and remain with the Jewish Home party.

A split would have been disastrous both for Tekuma and for the Jewish Home party.

The decision also leaves the “Yesha” rabbis and their followers weaker than ever, another blessing for a right-wing faction that has been hampered by decades with the mentality that a Jewish presence in the Judea and Samaria and that national religious yeshivas are the only issues that are important for Israel. They have tried to make Judea and Samaria the most important region in Israel and have tried to establish Beit El, dominated by prominent national religious rabbis, as the capital of Yesha.

The establishment of the Jewish Home party, which incorporated the Tekuma faction and the old-guard National Religious Party (“Mafdal”) was a political revolution because it finally made Yesha, the acronym, for what once was known as the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, a part of the country and not apart from the country.

The Yesha platform of “Greater Israel” in practice was concerned only with Judea and Samaria and yeshivas and not with the rest of the country. It operated on the principle “if you are for Yesha, or you are against the country.”

Bennett, who is religious but lives in metropolitan Tel Aviv, changed that. He also brought in a secular MK, who, horror of horrors to some rabbis, was a woman. Her name is Ayelet Shaked, and her presence helped the party win 12 seats in the Knesset. All polls show the party will win at least 16 as of today.

If Tekuma had split, it would have taken seats away from the Jew Home but also might have made it itself extinct, wasting tens of thousands of votes.

Joining with Yishai’s party became problematic because his rabbinical adviser decided that a woman’s contribution to the country is cooking in the kitchen and not making trouble by being a Knesset Member.

That was a big problem for Ariel, whose Tekuma colleague MK Orit Struk was anxious to bolt the Jewish Home and follow Tekuma.

Ariel, too well-rooted in the kibbutz movement to ostracize women, would not have accepted keeping Struk out of the new party. If he had set up a new party, it is questionable if he and Struk could have garnered the minimum number of votes needed to enter the Knesset.

The inability of his rabbis to take a unified stand on the future of Tekuma shows indicates how much the “Yesha bloc” no longer is in charge.

Their correct rulings of Jewish law that Judea and Samaria are part of Israel, and that it is a mitzvah to live there, only enlarged the black image in the eyes of Israelis that all settlers are religious and robots to rabbis.

MK Yuli Edelstein Tells Chabad Rabbis Why He ‘Lost It’ Over Tefillin

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Sometimes it takes an Israeli politician to tell a rabbi about how precious a pair of tefillin can be.

Thousands of Chassidic rabbis are still trickling out of the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn in the wake of the worldwide Chabad Lubavitch movement’s annual international convention for its emissaries.

At least 5,200 of the rabbis from more than 80 countries around the world gathered for the 31st annual International Conference of Shluchim which ran for five days. The closing banquet was held Sunday evening at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein featured as guest speaker.

A former Soviet refusenik, Edelstein was sentenced in 1984 to three years in a labor camp.

Edelstein told the those at the banquet that for him, the pivotal moment in his life came when a guard in a labor camp tried to break his tefillin boxes over his knee. That, he said, was when he “lost it” and fought back — earning himself 15 days in solitary confinement.

“You would do the same if something so dear to you was being taken away,” Edelstein explained. It is ironic, he added, that today when no one is taking away tefillin, many Jews no longer know what they are.

“This is a different world, a dangerous world,” the Knesset Speaker said. “Less dramatic than being in a prison corridor with five guards,” but the mission of Chabad Chassidim remains the same — teaching Jews to know what tefillin and Shabbat candles are for.

It was for this purpose a small group of Chassidim embraced the challenge of the Lubavitcher Rebbe about 70 years ago, to become agents of transformation.

Today, some 4500 couples are dedicated to continuing that mission in 87 countries. “The Rebbe was looking to make radical change,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, chairman of the conference committee and a leader at Chabad-Lubavitch world headquarters. This year alone, 400 new emissaries took up their posts and 200 applicants are pending.

Rabbi Dovid Dubov, Chabad emissary to South London, serves the Jewish community of Wimbledon and delivered “love” as the banquet’s keynote address.

“In tennis, love equals zero. But at Chabad of Wimbledon we say that if you want to raise a racquet, serve with love,” he said with a smile.

Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, one of the Rebbe’s former aides and chairman of Chabad’s educational and social services division, noted the importance of the movement’s adherence to truth in Torah values, even above political correctness.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mk-yuli-edelstein-tells-chabad-rabbis-why-he-lost-it-over-tefillin/2014/11/26/

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