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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘seek’

Grass Roots Supporters Seek To Boost Trump’s Popularity With Jewish Voters

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

With the presidential election just two months away, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are pulling out all the stops to win over as many key demographic groups as they can.

Though relatively small compared to other groups, the American Jewish community, due to its outsized influence in politics and American culture, is seen as a significant factor by both campaigns.

Outside the official channels, some Trump supporters are seeking to make their own impact on the election and promise not to remain silent when it comes to Israel’s security and future.

The grass roots group Jews Choose Trump was formed in late July by financial adviser Carol Greenwald along with several partners, including Jewish activist and founder of JCCWatch.org Richard Allen.

Greenwald has a long history of Jewish community activism and says she lives by the biblical verse Isaiah 62:1, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent.” She said she was motivated to start the website JewsChooseTrump.org after becoming fed up with accusations by liberals that Trump was anti-Semitic.

“Trump is someone who’s worked with the Jewish community his entire life and…his daughter and son-in-law…are both observant Jews,” Greenwald said. “The smearing of Trump as anti-Semitic is just outrageous.”

Greenwald said JewsChooseTrump.org has steadily grown, with Jewish supporters of Trump from across the country signing up to express their solidarity and looking for ways to get involved.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the velocity of social media in getting out our message of Jewish support for Trump,” said Allen, who’s been handling social media for the group. “We have over 40 states with activists who stand for Trump in their communities. Our Jews Choose Trump Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and website are on fire with activity. The use of this alternate unbiased network of social media sites has changed the dynamic in reaching Jewish Trump supporters.”

The support the group has gained comes despite some early negative issues for Trump.

During the Republican primary season, many prominent politically conservative Jews were hesitant about supporting Trump. In particular, some were concerned over statements Trump had made such as saying to a group of Jewish donors in December 2015 that he’s “a negotiator like you folks,” a remark some said played into Jewish stereotypes, and that he would be “neutral” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But after securing the nomination, the Trump campaign has focused on raising its level of support in the Jewish community with promises to overturn the Iran nuclear deal, recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and oppose any measures to impose or dictate borders on Israel.

“The Republican platform has [more] pro-Israel statements in it than any platform in American history and a lot of those changes were pushed by the Trump campaign,” Greenwald said.

Most troubling to Greenwald is Hillary Clinton’s support for the Iran nuclear deal, which was a key foreign policy goal of President Obama’s and in which Clinton played an early role when she was secretary of state.

“Most Jews love Israel and they worry about the security of their children and grandchildren. The Iran deal endangers this security,” she said.

The Iran deal apparently is a deal breaker for many, though not all, Jewish supporters of Israel who may not be crazy about Trump but who refuse to support Clinton.

Republican fundraiser Kenneth S. Abramowitz, a major Israel supporter, is backing Trump. “Anyone who supported the Iran deal [should be] automatically disqualified from political office in this country,” Abramowitz told JNS. “Negotiating with terrorists and providing them money during our state of war was providing material support for terrorism.”

On the other hand, Jewish billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman, a major giver to pro-Israel causes who backed Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio during the primary season, has announced his support for Clinton.

While historically the American Jewish community has been heavily Democratic, presidential election trends in recent years indicate a small shift in support toward the Republican Party. In 2008, Barack Obama garnered 78 percent of Jewish voters, according to exit polls. Four years later, that number fell to 69 percent.

However, the decline of Jewish voter support for Obama may have been largely due to his personal clashes with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and may not directly translate into success for Trump.

Tevi Troy, a presidential historian and White House aide in the George W. Bush administration, said that while there has been a gradual increase of Jewish support for Republican presidential candidates, he’s “not sure what the Trump effect will be.”

A survey conducted by polling firm GBA Strategies among 500 Jewish voters in Florida from Aug. 4-8 found 67 percent support for Clinton versus only 23 percent for Trump. According to GBA Strategies, these voters prioritized “the economy, the environment, immigration policy, and the Supreme Court by large numbers over the issues of Israel or Iran.”

Despite the uphill battle in gaining more Jewish support for Trump, in a close election even a small number of voters in important states could swing the election to either candidate.

Of the more than 1,000 names registered on JewsChooseTrump.org, roughly 15 percent are from the area around Boca Raton, Florida, Greenwald said.

Home to one of the country’s largest Jewish communities, Florida is likely to play a key role in determining who wins in November. Greenwald says her group plans to contact people on the list in important battleground states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and encourage them to speak out in favor of Trump by writing op-ed articles, handing out literature, and speaking at Jewish events in their community.


Sean Savage

Seek Not Revenge

Friday, August 19th, 2016

It is very easy for a person to be good and kind to those who are his friends. It is much more difficult to act this way towards those who have hurt or have angered him. This is why the Torah reminds us, “You should not seek revenge” and “You should not hate thy neighbor in your heart.”

When you see the goodness repaid to a former wife, who had made life miserable for him, the greatness of Rabi Yosi Haglili is even more apparent.


A Difficult Marriage

Rabi Yosi Haglili was a great scholar with hundreds of talmidim and a very righteous man who lived during the time of the Talmud. There was only one thing that marred Rabi Yosi’s life. He was married to a woman who went out of her way to make life miserable for him.

One day, as he was sitting with his students, she suddenly burst into the room and publicly shamed him before their very eyes. The students were terribly embarrassed for their teacher but said nothing. However, when it continued happening on a regular basis, they finally spoke up.

“Rebbe, forgive us for speaking, but we cannot bear to see you shamed in this manner. Why do you continue to bear these insults? Would it not be better to divorce her?”

Rabi Yosi only sighed and answered: “Would that I could! I am a poor man, and do not have the money to pay the amount written in her kesuvah.”


The Guest

The days passed and Rabi Yosi continued to suffer the taunts and evil tongue of his wife. One day, Reb Elazar ben Azarya came to visit Rabi Yosi and hear words of Torah from him.

When the lecture had ended, Rabi Yosi invited Rabi Elazar to stay for dinner. Going to the kitchen, he told his wife:

“I have invited a guest for dinner, the great Rabi Elazar. Please serve him with us.”

His wife began to rave wildly and said: “Is that all I have to do, to feed uninvited strangers?” And with this, she turned to leave the house.

“I beg of you not to shame me in front of this man,” cried Rabi Yosi. “If you do not wish to serve him, tell me what we have to eat and I will serve him myself.”

“We have nothing but vegetables,” she said, as she stormed out of the house.


The Miracle

Rabi Yosi went to the stove and lifted the cover off the pot. He was shocked to see that there weren’t any vegetables inside. Instead there were roasted chickens.

Rabi Elazar, who had heard everything, laughed and said: “It appears that the Almighty has been good to us. He has turned vegetables into chickens!”

Then, turning serious, Rabi Elazar said: “Rabi Yosi, why do you allow this woman to torment you so? Divorce her.”

Once again, Rabi Yosi explained that he lacked the money for the kesuvah. When Rabi Elazar heard this, he asked: “If, by chance, you were able to find a man who would loan you the money, would your wife accept a divorce?”

“The woman hates me. Many a time she has said that if only I would give her the amount of money in her kesuvah, she would gladly be free of me.”

When Rabi Elazar heard this, he laid the required money on the table and said: “Here is the money. Give it to her together with the divorce decree and be free of her forever.”


Bad Times

And so, Rabi Yosi divorced his wife and he began to know happy days again. However, his former wife was not so lucky. Because of her nature, no one wanted to have anything to do with her, and her sharp tongue prevented her from finding means of employment. Thus, her money quickly dwindled until it was gone.

Rabbi Sholom Klass

‘Seek Hashem When He Can Be Found’

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Seek Hashem when He can be found. Call upon Him when He is near.”Yeshiah 55:6

So begins the haftarah we read at Minchah on fast days.

Let’s try to understand what happens on fast days. During Shacharis we say special tefillos recalling terrible events that took place on that date. By Minchah, the shock of contemplating these events has begun to be digested by our intellect. It dawns on us that we have gone through all these events and miraculously survived.

At that point we begin to understand that fast days provide us with a great gift: the chance to become close to the King of the Universe.

I find it amazing that the Holy Ark contains the broken luchos, the Tablets Moshe Rabbeinu smashed after the incident with the golden calf. Why should the holiest spot on earth contain a vivid reminder of Am Yisrael’s rebellion against Hashem, a reminder of our degradation, our embarrassment, our ingratitude?

That may be exactly the point. Only when we remember our utter degradation can we rise to the heights. Only when we are broken can we cry out to Hashem. When we are filled with arrogance, we have no room for Him. Only when we are crushed are we ready to beg Him to save us. It’s not that we desire to be crushed, God forbid, but this is a fact of life.

Let him put his mouth to the dust – there may yet be hope.”Eichah 29

A few weeks ago, I was driving near a Jewish neighborhood. I saw a car mount the sidewalk and park in front of a store. In America this is unusual, so I watched as the door opened. A “religious-looking” Jew got out and entered the store. This is dangerous. The perception exists among non-Jews that we believe ourselves to be above the law and above other people.

Dina d’malchusa dina – the law of the land is the law(Gittin 10b; Nedarim 28a). But more than that: it is just plain stupid to antagonize the surrounding culture, especially at such a violent time in history, when nations are looking for excuses to attack us.

A fast day comes to remind us that our only hope for greatness and redemption is to humble ourselves and cry out to our Father in Heaven. Every day we begin our tefillos with the words:


Master of all worlds, not in the merit of our righteousness do we cast our supplications before You, but in the merit of Your abundant mercy. What are we? What is our life? What is our kindness? What is our righteousness? What is our salvation? What is our strength? What is our might? What can we say before You, Hashem, our God and the God of our forefathers? Are not all the heroes like nothing before You?


We really must try to incorporate this into our being.

The Three Weeks are not only the most tragic days of the year, they are perhaps our greatest opportunity to come close to Hashem. This is how we can turn tragedy into simcha. Tisha B’Av is called a moed (Eichah 1:15), which implies that its intrinsic identity is positive. It should have been the day on which our eternal entry into the Land of Israel was assured, but it became twisted into a day of tragedy.

The nature of the Jewish people is that we do not give up, even under conditions of deepest grief and catastrophe. We use these events – even if they arose through our own errors – to elevate ourselves to a level that would not have been possible without them. The lowest day becomes the highest day; that is exactly the nature of Redemption.

At the very beginning of history, Adam and Chava had every reason to give up. As I put it in my book Worldstorm: Finding Meaning and Direction in Today’s World Crisis:


How could Adam and Chava live with the burden they had introduced into the world? How, I ask, did they live? For quickly they knew. Quickly they sought clothing because suddenly their innocence was not good enough for them. Before their rebellion they had nothing to hide because they had no guilt. But now no amount of clothing could cover their guilt. Where could they run to escape from God? Nowhere! It is God’s world.

So the banishment was self-inflicted; they had sealed their own doom. Can you imagine their burden on that day, the hot tears flowing as their feet walked out of that perfect world and passed the sword of the angel guarding the entrance through which no man has ever returned? Can you imagine what rested upon their shoulders? Already then they must have felt the guilt of thousands of future generations of their own children, the accumulated pain which was to befall every individual who would ever exist in the future world. It would all come about as a result of their one “tiny” error in Gan Eden.

How could they bear it? How could anyone bear the responsibility for such untold suffering? The truly amazing thing is that they did bear it. Their greatness is shown perhaps more by the way they bore their exile than by their actions inside the Garden.

Adam and Chava did not commit suicide. That same Adam and Chava – whose introduction to life outside the Garden included the murder of one son by another – walked onward through life. They did not give up! They lived to become the parents of yet another son, Seth, who carried the knowledge of God onward to the next generation and through whom the hope of the world was to survive.


Generations later, Avraham and Sarah did not give up. Even though Avraham was one man against the entire world, he did not waver in his belief in the existence of Hashem and from his quest to learn Hashem’s Torah. When they were already “too old” to conceive children, they gave birth to a child who changed the world.

Am Yisrael was released from slavery in Egypt at precisely the moment we reached the lowest level, “mem tes sha’are tumah.”

At the Yam Suf we had every reason to give up, surrounded as we were by the sea on one side and the Egyptian army on the other. But Nachshon ben Aminadav trusted Hashem, entered the water and Am Yisrael was saved.

When we as a nation wandered through Midbar Sinai, we perpetrated rebellion after rebellion against Hashem. We were our own worst enemies and – because of our own stubbornness – had every reason to give up, but we did not. Because we did not give up, we were saved.

The list goes on and on. “Ani ma’amin b’emunah sheleimah.” When you are desperate, you cast all your hope on Hashem, and only then are you going to find Redemption. If you know there is nothing else besides Hashem Echad, your life is going to change.

Min ha meitzar…from the straits I called upon God; God answered me with expansiveness. Hashem is with me; I have no fear; how can man affect me?”(Tehillim 118).

Hashem was with Dovid because he called “from the straits,” when there was nothing on earth that could help him. Hashem took Dovid out of the straits, but he had to hit rock bottom first.

* * * * *

I will recall for you my personal story. On January 10, 1966, my life was falling apart. I did not believe in God and I did not want to believe I was Jewish. My marriage seemed to be disintegrating. I was in graduate school and couldn’t concentrate. I woke up at 2 a.m. crying. It was all over. I had tried “everything” and nothing worked. It looked to me as if I would spend the rest of my life in a mental institution, God forbid.

But wait! Maybe there was something else other than the pit. Only then, under the terrible pressure of a decree of death, did I come to realize that if I was going to survive, I had to believe God is real. And that’s where it all began. That moment of absolute despair was the moment that changed my life. It was God or Gehennom.

I was so stubborn that it took that terrible moment to force me to humble myself enough so that I could believe I was not God.

The Three Weeks is that period of excruciating pain through which we are reminded that Hashem Echad is the One Source of Life. If we want to live, we have to surrender ourselves to His guidance and mercy. The secret and the seeds of Redemption lie in the pain we feel as we plummet to the utter depths during these terrible days of tears and tragedy.

In our own time, the suffering is prodigious. In Eretz Yisrael, Jewish blood is flowing. Outside Israel, tzouris upon tzouris. Each day, you think you have heard the ultimate – until the next day, when you hear something worse. How far can we be from mem-tes sha’are tumah, the straits from which we are going to cry out to God (Tehillim 118) “Ana Hashem hoshia na – please Hashem, save [us] now!”

Our son told us a beautiful thought from the Chofetz Chaim. Why did the miraglim become despondent? They knew Hashem was able to bring them into Eretz Canaan, but they felt they and their generation were not worthy of His help because of their sins. Their sense of shame caused them to doubt they had the merit to enter the Land.

This is the way of the yetzer hara: to try to cause us to forget our innate nobility and focus instead on what we did wrong. Hashem is waiting to help us, but we feel unworthy. (Based on Sefer Shmiras Haloshon, chelek beis, Parshas Shelach.)

* * * * *

Just this morning, as I was writing this article, I did something so stupid. I began to berate myself and feel as if I were hopelessly dumb with no hope whatsoever. Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over again? This is the same thought many people have before Rosh Hashanah, when they tell themselves it is hopeless to do teshuvah because “each year I regress after all my promises to improve.”

In general, the present generation is extremely depressed. We are so steeped in the ways of the surrounding culture that the innate meaninglessness of its lifestyle has affected us deeply. But we really do not want to give up.

This morning, after my stupidity, I spoke to a trusted rabbi who gave me a way out. I started to feel that – perhaps – there is hope for me, and that is what we need to know: even though the yetzer hara will tempt us endlessly to become depressed and hopeless, there is hope and help from Above that will never desert us. Hashem loves us and will certainly bring Mashiach. No matter the problems that weigh down on us, Hashem will surely fulfill all His promises.

We begin every day by saying, “My God, the soul You placed within me is pure. You created it, You fashioned it, You breathed it into me, You safeguard it within me….” Contrary to the belief systems of other cultures, we know that Hashem created us with intrinsic kedushah.

The fast day haftarah continues: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways…. As high as the heavens over the earth, so are My thoughts [higher] than your thoughts.”

We are being guided by a Power infinitely higher than we can comprehend.

During the Three Weeks, the rejuvenation of Am Yisrael begins, because we are not going lower than this. This is the end … and the beginning. On Tisha B’Av, Mashiach is born. We read in Midrash Eichah Rabbassi 1:59: “On the day the Temple was destroyed the Messianic Savior was born. What is his name? Menachem [Comforter].”

Midrash Eichah explains: An Arab passed a Jewish farmer plowing his field. The Arab heard the farmer’s ox mooing. The Arab, who understood the language of animals, told the Jew that meant the Holy Temple had been destroyed. While they were conversing, the ox mooed a second time. The Arab told the Jew this meant the Redeemer had been born.

Amazingly, the news of Mashiach’s birth came through the mouth of an Arab. Today the Arabs are also telling us something. Their activity shows they are, on some level, aware of how little time they have before their power is nullified by the arrival of Mashiach.

The ArtScroll commentary to this Midrash is illuminating:


Before the Temple’s destruction, it was not possible to have Mashiach, as that which is already perfect cannot perfect itself. It is only from the imperfect state of a destroyed Temple that this nation may ascend and eventually merit the Mashiach…. All seeds in the ground first disintegrate and decay and only afterward begin to grow into new plants…. A similar principle exists in the spiritual realm: sprouting must emanate from decay. The sages teach that us that only one who mourns over the…destruction of Jerusalem will merit to see its consolation. This, explains Maharal, is because the eventual rebuilding of Jerusalem and the rebirth of the Jewish nation can only come about after there existed a state of destruction…. But how will we be consoled? We will realize that all those years of pain and travail were not for naught and were not purposeless. They were part of the process of decay that caused the brilliant light of the Mashiach to shine.


May we see it soon in our days.

Roy S. Neuberger

Bennett to Spend $140 Million on Haredi Integration

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor will allocate 500 million shekel ($140 million) to the integration of Haredim in the labor market, Minister Naftali Bennett announced today during a debate at the Knesset State Control Committee, ma’ariv reported.

“Integrating Haredim in the labor market is an acute national mission for the state of Israel,” the chair of the Jewish Home party said.

According to Bennett, “the dominant dynamic here is poverty. People who do not possess the economic ability to study Torah from morning till night would naturally seek a job. This is a blessed thing, and we must start working [to encourage it].”

Bennett added that his ministry is developing several axes along which to test the best way of integrating Haredim. “We want to direct Haredim to seek employment in areas where the market needs workers,” he said. “The current situation is that people are going to study and become proficient in areas the market doesn’t need. There’s a lack of coordination between what is and what’s needed.”

He gave one example: “Everybody is studying Law, instead of programming. There aren’t enough programmers out there, and any reasonably proficient programmer will be hired. The manufacturers are crying out, the hi-tech market is crying out for a workforce. That’s why we work all the time with the field and receive feedback. And the people in the field know well what works and what doesn’t, and we base our investment on their impressions.”

Bennett said the process will necessarily be one of trial and error, but his aim is to see in ten years the majority of Haredim integrated into the market.

Michal Tzuk, a Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor official in charge of employment, told the committee about a plan to create a prestigious program to prepare Haredim looking to work in hi-tech, which will include academic education and promoting Haredim as skilled workers.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bennett-to-spend-140-million-on-haredi-integration/2013/08/06/

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