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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Simchat Torah’

Orthodox Shul Will Keep LGBT Shabbaton Despite Neighborhood Rabbis’ Objection

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

The members of the Stanton Street Shul community on Thursday night received an email from their board announcing that the inclusive event of hosting Orthodox LGBT in an Eshel Downtown Shabbaton. This despite a warning letter from neighborhood Orthodox rabbis who declared that “No Jewish institution that allies itself with such a group can rightfully claim to be Orthodox.” (See: Lower East Side Rabbis Hint at Excommunicating Orthodox Shul for LGBT Shabbaton)

The Stanton Street Shul board wrote: “We want to take this opportunity to affirm our commitment to hosting the Eshel Shabbaton this Shabbat and to being an Orthodox shul where all Jews can feel safe praying, learning Torah, and finding fellowship with each other — a place where all are welcome and all feel welcome. We are proud of our members, our rabbi, and the Sixth Street Community Synagogue for fostering the kind of inclusive community that respects the dignity of all people, recognizing that we are all created b’tzelem Elokim, in God’s image.

“We encourage you to show your support by coming to shul this Shabbat for services and for the Shabbaton programming, and we welcome your feedback, questions, and notes of support.”

However, the Stanton Street Shul website’s page announcing the Eshel Shabbaton has been removed.

For its part, the Eshel organization, whose mission is to integrate Orthodox LGBT in the community, started a petition online titled: Support Rabbi Bodner and Rabbi Bellino (the spiritual leaders of the Stanton and Sixth Streets shuls). The petition reads:

“Dear Rabbi Bodner and Rabbi Bellino,

“We are Orthodox LGBTQ Jews, parents and family members of LGBTQ Jews, and allies. We believe in inclusive Orthodox communities that welcome LGBTQ Jews and their families.

“We are disheartened to learn that both of you have been attacked for hosting Eshel in your synagogues. However, we want both of you, and your synagogue members, to know how much we support you and appreciate your efforts on our behalf.

“We thank you, Rabbi Bodner and Rabbi Bellino, for giving us hope with your commitment to Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests). We thank the leadership and membership of both synagogues for agreeing to host us. You are a model for what warm, compassionate, and inclusive leadership should be.”

As of Friday morning, the petition has received 259 signatures.

In our original story, JNi.media referred to the local Lower East Side rabbis’ letter as hinting excommunication of the “erring” shul. But in the reality of a diminishing Orthodox Jewish presence on the Lower East Side, which comes with the weakening of the Orthodox “establishment” in the neighborhood, it’s hard to imagine what steps the local rabbis might take to make good on such a threat. The relationship between the shul and the neighborhood Orthodox leadership (as opposed to the neighborhood rank and file Orthodox Jews) has always been tense, with the Haredi leaders being critical of the Stanton Street Shul’s egalitarian policy regarding women (the shul maintains women’s minyanim several times a year; shul women dance with the Torah on Simchat Torah; the shul invites women scholars in residence for Shabbat lectures). The dispute over the LGBT Shabbaton may just fizzle away without any tangible negative consequences. At the same time, as has been expressed several times in online debates over the story Thursday, there’s also little chance of an honest dialog between the Stanton Street Shul community and the neighborhood rabbis over the serious issues facing the declining Orthodox community on the Lower East Side.


Arab Riots Spread to Northern Israel

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Arab riots in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria have spread to the Galilee in northern Israel and to the Arab city of Taibeh near Netanyahu. In Nazareth, home city of anti-Zionist Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi, Arab crowds shouted anti-Israeli slogans in a protest against Israeli security forces’ response to terror.

Rioters in Taibeh, near Netanya, burned tires on a major highway and forced part of it to be closed,

Arab violence also spread to the highway linking Pisgat Ze’ev, in northern Jerusalem, with the French Hill intersection. Magen David Adom reported that medics treated a 35-year-old man for wounds caused by glass splinters in his back after rock-throwers smashed a window in his vehicle.

He was evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital for treatment, along with three others who suffered shock.

Palestinian Authority media reported that two people were killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers, including a young teenager in the area of Bethlehem in an incident that the IDF has not confirmed.

The Arab Red Crescent medical organization claimed that nearly 500 people were wound by soldiers, and Radio Palestine reported that 36 Arabs were hit with live fire and 136 by rubber bullets.

They also said that the IDF has closed a village east of Hebron because of wide-scale rioting.

Rock-throwing was reported on Highway 60, south of Kiryat Arba-Hebron, where dozens of buses are taking people Monday night for the “traditional “Hakafot” that are staged throughout the country, primarily for secular Jews who want to dance with the Torah but do not attend synagogue on the day of the holiday that ended this evening.

On Sunday, before the Shemini Azeret-Simchat Torah holiday began, combat soldiers from the Shimshon unit caught two terrorists who were hurling rocks at drivers near the Gush Etzion-Jerusalem tunnels.

In Samaria, terrorists threw an explosive device at a Jewish motorist, but no injuries were reported.

Egoz and Rotem combat soldiers operating near Shechem uncovered a cache of weapons, including two guns or rifles, 10 cartridges, five knives and assorted ammunition,

In Jerusalem, the Light Rail was closed between Pisgat Ze’ev and Shuafat because of rock-throwing, which damaged a train.

Only five soldiers have been wounded, all of them lightly, in the past three days of rioting.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Netanyahu: We Will Defeat This Wave of Terrorism

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Monday night for the arrests of the murderers of Rabbi and Naama Henkin last week and vowed, “Just as we defeated previous waves of terrorism, we will defeat this one as well.”

The Prime Minister stated:

I would like to commend the ISA personnel who solved the terrible murder of the Henkins near Nablus [Shechem]. They acted very quickly and also apprehended the murderers. We are acting with a strong hand against terrorism and against inciters.

We are operating on all fronts. We have brought an additional four IDF battalions into Judea and Samaria, and thousands of police into Jerusalem. The police are going deeply into the Arab neighborhoods, which has not been done in the past.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Security Cabinet are meeting in emergency session Monday night, after the Shemini Azeret-Simchat Torah holiday, to approve strong measures that reverse previous orders that restricted soldiers trying to protect themselves and civilians from terrorists, armed with everything from rocks to rifles and bombs.

He said:

We will demolish terrorists’ homes.

We are allowing our forces to take strong action against those who throw rocks and firebombs…. We are not prepared to give immunity to any rioter, inciter or terrorist anywhere;

Therefore, there are no restrictions on the action of our security forces. We will also lift restrictions regarding action against inciters. We will act against the Islamic Movement which, together with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, is the main source of incitement.

We are in a difficult struggle but one thing should be clear – we will win. Just as we defeated previous waves of terrorism, we will defeat this one as well.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Solidarity Suggestion for Diaspora: Alter Simchat Torah Celebrations

Monday, October 5th, 2015

In the multitude of articles and emails responding to the horrific murders of Jews in Israel that have taken place over the past few weeks, one struck out because it suggested a useful response for Diaspora Jews to express their solidarity.

The email came from Dr. Rafael Medoff. He is the founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

Medoff wrote of an effort by one Brooklyn rabbi to respond to the horrors of the holocaust.  He learned about this effort during an interview he conducted with the daughter of a rabbi of a Brownsville, Brooklyn congregation.

In 1942, when the initial reports about the mass murder of European Jewry was first confirmed, Rabbi Baruch David Weitzmann, imposed a condition on his congregation.

The condition was that “if somebody wanted to get married–and there were a lot of these situations, involving boys who were about to go into the army–they came to our house, there was a little chuppah, some cake and soda, nothing more. No celebrations, no dancing, just the chuppah. He explained to us that you cannot celebrate at a time when other Jews are dying.”

Rabbi Weitzmann’s daughter explained that her father “wanted us to feel the tsa’ar of the Jews who were being killed in Europe.”

Medoff points out what a departure such a condition was from the usual Jewish response to wild celebrations for marriages:

“Consider, for a moment, how drastically this deviated from normative Jewish practice. The mitzvah of making a bride and groom happy at their wedding is considered so important that it is one of the few commandments which supersede the obligation to study Torah. Normally stoic rabbis set aside their books to take part in wild dancing and assorted ribaldry to entertain the newlyweds.

“The Talmud (Tractate Brachot 6-b) declares that one who gladdens the hearts of the bride and groom at their wedding ‘merits to acquire the knowledge of the Torah.’ One Talmudic sage compares making newlyweds happy at their wedding to bringing a sacrifice in the Temple in ancient Jerusalem; another says it is the equivalent of rebuilding some of the ruins of Jerusalem.”

Medoff explained that Weitzmann believed it was imperative for Jews to feel the pain of other Jews. The Brooklyn rabbi wanted to raise Jewish awareness of the mass murder of European Jewry, and in doing so, galvanize his congregants to take action.

Medoff wisely reminds us that the

very existence of the American Jewish community, after all, is based on the premise that Jews should care about, connect with, and assist each other. We are not merely a haphazard mass of individuals who happen to practice similar religious rituals in our private lives. We join together–in prayer, in celebration, and in other activities of communal partnership. The classic United Jewish Appeal slogan, ‘We are one!,” resonated deeply precisely because it spoke to the essence of Jewish peoplehood.’

And then Medoff built upon Rabbi Weitzmann’s extraordinary injunction to call for a similar response by Diaspora Jewry to the ongoing brutal murders of our fellow Jews in Jerusalem. “Two rabbis stabbed and shot to death in the streets of Jerusalem. A young couple gunned down in front of their four children.”

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, in his seminal book “Were We Our Brothers’ Keepers?,” confronted the painful fact that most American Jews in the 1940s failed to respond in meaningful ways – if at all – to the plight of Europe’s Jews.

Medoff recounted Lookstein’s observation that there were no signs “American Jews altered some aspect of their lifestyle to indicate their awareness of the plight of their European brothers [and] keep the matter at the forefront of their consciousness and to generate feelings of sympathy and solidarity….The Final Solution may have been unstoppable by American Jewry, but it should have been unbearable for them. And it wasn’t. This is important, not alone for our understanding of the past, but for our sense of responsibility in the future.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Showers Expected Day after Prayers for Rain

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

The first rains of the winter season are expected on Tuesday, one day after Jews around the world begin adding to daily prayers that God “brings the wind and rain.”

The change is made during the prayers on Shemini Azereth, the same day that Simchat Torah is celebrated in Israel. In the Diaspora, the two holidays are marked on separate days, ending Tuesday night.

In Israel, a special request for rain is added to prayers two weeks later, while Jews in Diaspora make the change on December 4.

Precipitation is expected to begin after noon in the north and center of the country on Tuesday and spread to the Negev at night and on Wednesday. The heaviest rainfall is predicted for the Galilee area, in the north.

Weather models indicate another warming trend at the end of the week, but is may be followed by a longer respite from the long hot summer, one of the hottest on record.

Temperatures will rise on Friday through next Sunday, according to longer term indications, but cooler weather is possible from next Monday through the entire week.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Chief Rabbis Urges Jews to Go to Western Wall and Pray for Peace

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has called on Jews to arrive en masse at the Western Wall on Hoshanah Raba and Shemini Azeret-Simchat Torah to pray show their strength and faith in the face of terror.

Rabbi Yosef’s message was in response to the murder of two Jews and wounding of two others in the Old City Saturday night by a Palestinian Authority terrorist.

He asked Jews “to perform the commandment of the holiday and to pray for the peace of the wounded.” and added:

The situation in which the blood of Jews is spilled like water in the land of Israel, day after day, when their only sin is their being Jews, is unbearable.

We can’t allow a situation in which Jews are afraid to go to the Western Wall,” continued Rabbi Yosef.

The rabbi called on “all the sources involved in the matter to bring about a situation in which Jews will feel secure in all parts of the land of Israel.”

The prayer rally at the Kotel parallels mass protests elsewhere in Israel, including opposite the official residence of the Prime Minister in Jerusalem.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israel Police Limit Access to Old City of Jerusalem

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Israel Police began limiting access to the Temple Mount early Sunday in the wake of a massive wave of terror this weekend in and around Jerusalem.

Access to the area is to be limited for the next two days, the period spanning the Jewish holidays of Hoshana Raba and Simchat Torah, the final days of the first Jewish festival of the Hebrew calendar.

Two Israeli rabbis were murdered, and a young mother and her 2-year-old toddler were gravely wounded by a teenage Arab terrorist as they were walking back from the Western Wall on HaGai Street near the Lion’s Gate.

At around 3 am Sunday morning, a 15-year-old Jewish teen was stabbed in the chest by a Palestinian Arab terrorist outside the Old City. Police saw the attack, and the terrorist with the knife in his hand, and shot him dead.

Following the attacks, Israel’s government “agreed to proposals by Israeli security services and police to limit access to the Old City for the next two days,” according to a government statement.

Access to the Old City is to be restricted to Israeli citizens, residents of the Old City, tourists and business people who work in the Old City, and students who study in the Old City.

The murderer who carried out Saturday night’s terror attack was a resident of al-Bireh, an Arab village near the Palestinian Authority capital city of Ramallah, in Samaria.

Access to the Temple Mount for Muslim prayer is to be limited to males aged 50 and above, although there will be no age limit on female Muslim worshipers. That access will be through the Lions Gate, where Saturday night’s terror attack took place.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-police-limit-access-to-old-city-of-jerusalem/2015/10/04/

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