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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘TORAH’

Daniel Mandel: The Joy, the Lone Oak, and a Special Torah Scroll

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

{Reprinted with permission from the Israellycool website}

Thirteen years ago, on April 15,2003, Lt. Daniel Mandel, of the Nahal Brigade, was murdered by a terrorist. Only three weeks later, Daniel’s sister gave birth to a son. Daniel’s mother Cheryl told the young parents, “Don’t call this baby ‘Daniel.’”

Cheryl’s son in-law said, “No one is going to tell me what to call my son.”

The boy was named Gilad, a name which, when sliced in two (Gil and Ad) means “eternal joy.”

His name was like a show of faith, a symbol. This was a family that would grow and continue in spite of an enemy’s hate. There would be joy in spite of the harsh blow dealt them. There would be this son. And there would absolutely be joy.

Thirteen years have passed since that sad and terrible Passover Eve, thirteen years since Daniel’s young life was stolen away forever. Now it is time for Gilad, the boy who came to life in the wake of an uncle’s tragic death, to celebrate his bar mitzvah. This is a boy with the weight of a family legacy on his young shoulders. A boy who must (and does) bring joy.

Just as Gilad’s birth and name are symbols of hope and continuation, joy and eternity, so is the famous Lone Oak Tree that stands as the very symbol of Gush Etzion where the Mandel family and Gilad live. This famous tree is hundreds of years old and remains at the center of a story of bravery and longing. The story begins only a few short weeks before David Ben Gurion declared the independence of the State of Israel.

Back then, Gush Etzion consisted of four kibbutzim. The families who lived there were under constant siege by the Jordanian Legion and by Arab guerrilla fighters. As the British Mandate was winding down to its inglorious end, the attacks became a near-constant fixture of life in the Gush. It was decided to send the women and children of the Gush to Jerusalem to wait out the war. It simply wasn’t safe for them at home any longer. Around 130 men and a small number of women stayed behind to defend their homes and all that they had built, hardscrabble, with their own two hands.

Just three days before Ben Gurion’s declaration of statehood, the Gush Etzion defenders were overpowered by the Jordanian Legion.  The Jordanians gathered the fighters together, claiming they wanted to take a photograph of the rout for posterity. Instead of photographing the group of defenders, the Jordanians murdered them in cold blood: shot them dead.

Gush Etzion had come under Jordanian control.  But once a year, the families of the Jewish fighters who had been so cruelly slaughtered, would gather on a high hilltop in Jerusalem where they could see the Lone Oak Tree in the distance, that 700-year-old-tree. That tree meant everything to them. Reaching that tree, returning and rebuilding the Gush, all of it was tied up in the symbolism that was embodied by that one lonely tree.

Lone-Oak-Tree-1068x801

Finally, in 1967, during the Six Day War, Gush Etzion returned to its rightful owners, the Jewish people. Today, instead of four kibbutzim, there are 22 communities and a total population of over 70,000 people: men, women, and children. The Lone Oak Tree watched it all unfold, remaining steadfast, and most of all, there, where we yearned to be, until we too, were there.

It makes sense then, that the Lone Tree and Daniel Mandel and Gilad have had their fates intertwined. Gilad has begun to lay tefillin, Daniel’s tefillin (phyllacteries). And in order to commemorate the 13th year since Daniel’s murder, his parents are dedicating a Torah scroll in Daniel’s name, to the Sephardi synagogue they attend.

It is from this Sefer Torah that Gilad will read his Bar Mitzvah portion, continuing a link in the chain of the Mandel family in Gush Etzion, and bringing joy to his people, never forgetting the great sacrifice of his Uncle Daniel, HY”D, may God avenge his blood. The new Torah scroll, and Gilad’s bar mitzvah bring everything full circle for the Mandel family and in many ways, for the people of Gush Etzion.

Lone Oak Torah Cover by Batsheva Arad of Bat Ayin.

Lone Oak Torah Cover by Batsheva Arad of Bat Ayin.

Already, the last letter was inscribed in the scroll, since one doesn’t write letters on Pesach. And on Wednesday of this week, on Chol HaMoed Pesach, at 4 PM, the Mandel family will hold a dedication ceremony for the new Torah scroll. That is when everyone will see the beautiful Torah cover created by Batsheva Arad who lives in Bat Ayin, a community in Gush Etzion. The Torah cover depicts the Lone Oak.

Then too, the crowd might notice the wooden rollers of the Torah, each known as an “Etz Chaim” or “Living Tree.” These rollers are also filled with symbolism, made as they were of wood trimmed from the Lone Oak Tree, and lovingly crafted by Gidi Kelman of Neve Daniel,  also a community in Gush Etzion.

Cheryl, Daniel’s mother and Gilad’s grandmother, is expecting a crowd. She had 200 labels made up, depicting that Torah cover with its stately Lone Oak. The labels are for the 200 water bottles purchased for celebrants at the dedication ceremony (she hopes you’ll be among them).

18 Boys Named Daniel!

Cheryl didn’t want Gilad’s life to be forged in mourning in the shadow of his uncle’s death. And so she wasn’t prepared for him to be named after her murdered son so soon after his death. But here too, there is parity and meaning. Thirteen years on, there are exactly 18 babies who have been named Daniel, after Daniel Mandel. Eighteen as you probably know or might have guessed, is the numerical value of Chai, the Hebrew word for “Life.”

Because the Lone Oak still stands and life goes on in Gush Etzion. There may be times of sadness and mourning, but joy will always win out in the end.

 

Varda Meyers Epstein

Torah Ohr – A Thriving Shul In Boca Raton

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Boca Raton boasts one of the fastest-growing congregations in the U.S. In an area of burgeoning communities, Modern-Orthodox Torah Ohr is not a typical family synagogue but a congregation of 900 members ranging in age from 60 to 90. Located in the beautifully landscaped enclave of Boca Century Village West, Torah Ohr welcomed nearly 150 new members last year.

Congregation Torah Ohr in Boca Raton

Congregation Torah Ohr in Boca Raton

“We are a huge welcoming community with people from all over the United States and elsewhere, coming together to pray, learn, and socialize,” said Josh Samborn, president of Torah Ohr.

This past season, from late November to early April, full-time residents, snowbirds (seasonal residents), and snowflakes (residents who travel back and forth from their northern homes) enjoyed up to five Shabbat morning minyanim. The shul building buzzes with learning activities that include daily daf yomi, chumash, Mishna Berurah, and classes on such topics as the parshah of the week, hilchot Shabbat, and ethics in the Bible. There are also various women’s educational programs.

Guest speakers visit frequently to share their knowledge and experiences while social activities fill the calendar. Sisterhood events include hat shows, boutiques, a pushka party, annual luncheon and fashion show, and catered seudot for Chanukah, Purim, and other occasions. The men’s club is known for its fascinating book review and lecture evenings and the social action committee has an active agenda. Bikur Cholim and a hospital volunteer group are essential for helping the sick.

This past winter was notable for the dedication of two sifrei Torah at Torah Ohr. One was loaned by Pinny and Ann Davidman. The other, presented by Jerry and Shelly Abramson, was inspired by a trip to Lithuania in 2012. Jerry, the son of Holocaust survivors, and his wife were deeply moved on witnessing the remnants of centuries of what had been a thriving Jewish life. The Abramsons commissioned a Torah to honor the six million who died in the Holocaust as well as his mother Miriam and their children.

The Sefer Torah, written by sofer Rabbi Sholom Michalshvilli of Jerusalem, weighs only about 12 pounds. Mr. Abramson says this was intended to make it easier for older congregants to be able to lift the scroll and continue to participate fully in davening.

With all the excitement comes a challenge: the shul is running out of room for all its activities. After exploring various options, shul president Josh Samborn announced, “To accommodate our growing community, we have design committees working with architects and planners on an important expansion plan to the kehilla.”

The congregation is located at 19146 Lyons Road in Boca Raton. For more information, visit www.torahohrboca.org or call (561) 479-4049.

Helen Garfinkel

Torah Academy Of Boca Raton Holds Anniversary Dinner

Monday, April 25th, 2016

The Torah Academy of Boca Raton Raton held its 17th anniversary dinner on March 31. A crowd of over 300 joined in the celebration. The beautiful ambiance was set by shimmering gold tablecloths, pink florals, and candlelight. The school paid tribute to benefactors Leon and Leona Brauser and Yanki and Lauren Hofstatter. In addition, the yeshiva proudly welcomed several members of the Boca Police Department, in recognition of their ongoing assistance with improving school security.

Rabbi Reuven Feinberg, dean, began the night with a heartfelt thank you to Torah Academy’s generous donors and community supporters. He asked the teaching staff to stand as the attendees acknowledged their daily dedication to each of their students.

Emphasizing the Jewish imperative of hakaras hatov, expressing appreciation, Rabbi Feinberg thanked the Boca Police Department for its close partnership and careful guidance. Chief Dan Alexander praised the Torah Academy’s commitment to the safety of all students and staff, and thanked the yeshiva for acknowledging their efforts to “protect and serve” at the highest possible level.

 

Boca Police Department receives special recognition at Torah Academy Anniversary Dinner.

Boca Police Department receives special recognition at Torah Academy Anniversary Dinner.

All in attendance were treated to Rabbi Netanel Chait and the Boys Middle School Choir’s sweet-sounding performance that added a special touch to the evening.

The formal dinner program concluded with an energetic video montage of the learning, special programs, friendships, warmth, and mission that all create the hallmark of a Torah Academy education.

This year, over 300 students are enrolled across four divisions, ranging from age 2 to eighth grade. Torah Academy features a comprehensive Judaic studies curriculum as well as a secular studies program fully accredited by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). For more information, visit www.torahacademybr.org or call 561-465-2200.

Shelley Benveniste

Thousands of Kohanim Gather at Western Wall to Bless the People of Israel

Monday, April 25th, 2016

On the second morning on the intermediate days of Passover, tens of thousands of descendants of the Biblical Aharon, the High Priest, gathered at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem to bless the Nation of Israel.

Thousands more came to be blessed, and millions around the world viewed the events via the “Kotel Kam” that was set up to allow yearning Jewish worshipers at least virtual access to the site.

As in the days of old, so too in present times, the descendants of the Tribe of Levi gather during each of the Biblical holy days and festivals at the material remnant of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem to bless the Jewish People.

The event is called ‘Birkat HaKohanim’ – the Blessing of the Priests – and it takes place several times a year.

A live feed of the events taking place throughout the day at the Western Wall may be viewed by clicking here.

This year more than 3,000 police and other security officers have been deployed in and around the area to ensure the safety of those who came to be blessed, and later on, to pray.

“Security forces and the Police and Border Guard officers around the city, including the Temple Mount (ed. note.: adjacent to the Western Wall) are there to manage with professionalism and sensitivity [the protection] that characterizes the uniqueness of the place and the need to serve the public in a fair and equal basis,” explained the police.

“We will continue to guard the status quo on the Temple Mount to benefit all and to act decisively against anyone who tries to disturb the public peace and safety.”

On the second day of Passover — in Israel, the first intermediate day — 12 Jews were ejected from visitation to the Temple Mount grounds after being accused of violating the rules at the site.

One Jewish boy was questioned by police on suspicion of having prayed within the Temple Mount compound, which is forbidden for Jews under the rules of the status quo guidelines agreed upon by Israel with the Jordanian Islamic Waqf after Israel won the 1967 Six Day War and restored the site to the rest of Jerusalem.

The Temple Mount — upon which both ancient Jewish Holy Temples were built — is the holiest site in Judaism. It is also the third holiest site in Islam. Several hundred years ago, Muslims build two mosques there to mark the sacred events in their tradition that took place on the site.

Hana Levi Julian

Anti-Semitic Protesters Demand Kremlin Outlaw Chabad in Russia

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

In the city Perm, about 870 miles east of Moscow, a crowd of 100 people gathered last weekend to demand that Moscow outlaw the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Russia. It’s not the first time anti-Semites in Perm have tried to rid the city of Chabad, and Jews.

The event that ignited this particular protest was the grant of a plot of land to the local Jewish community, headed by a Chabad emissary, by the government. No fees were charged for the transfer of land.

Last Saturday, the protesters appeared with picket signs that read, “Liberate Us Russians from Chabad” and “Chabad Out!” Another protester held a sign that showed just how deeply ingrained his anti-Semitism really is: “Chabad Settlement Is Over The Line: 1547.”

The reference is to the Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan the Terrible, who rendered a decision in 1547 to ban all Jews from living and/or even entering his kingdom, because they “bring about great evil.”

In 2013, unidentified vandals hurled a firebomb at the synagogue in Perm in attempt to torch the Chabad-affiliated Jewish house of worship.

That attack came just a day after a popular Russian blogger had written a vicious post slamming a ceremony bringing a new Torah scroll to the local Perm synagogue. “Lubavitcher Chassidim will host a torch parade in Perm and demand to close the streets to traffic,” the blogger wrote, as translated and related by the Shturem website.

“Three hundred guests are expected to attend, including guests from the U.S., Israel and Russia. Economist Mikhail Doliagin stressed that these are Lubavitcher Chassidim who sued Russia in the United States, and managed that the verdict with a monetary fine for holding the Schneerson Library in Russia. Instead of giving Chabad privileges, all Lubavitch activities should be banned throughout Russia.”

The talkbacks on that article reflected the virulent anti-Semitism that is usually masked by politically-correct public diplomacy.

“All pro-Russians must band together. They all the intellectuals out, now they want the books as well.”

“Chassidim are a religio-political sect that worships the dollar, meaning the USA. Their agenda is to destroy Russia, through lies and deceit that they propagate in the media.”

During a meeting in Moscow with World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder this past Tuesday (April 19, 2016) President Vladimir Putin said,“Russian Jewish organizations are making a substantial contribution in the cause of domestic political stability in Russia, for which we are very grateful.”

Putin has been directly and indirectly responsible for the allocation of land grants – free of charge – to numerous Jewish, Christian and Muslim community and faith groups. Some of those grants came as restitution for property stolen during the Soviet era.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish State Police Arrest American Who Gave D’var Torah on Temple Mount [video]

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

If we were to describe the following scene as having taken place anywhere else on the planet, the report would have been followed by several news cycles involving angry Jewish organizations, rabbis, Israeli rightwing politicians and, undoubtedly, Prime Minister Netanyahu, condemning the blatant act of anti-Semitic repression on the part of police, carrying out the anti-Semitic policies of the national government. (See American Jew Arrested for Murmuring Prayers, 2nd Warned to Close Prayer App)

On Sunday morning, a Jewish American tourist wearing a yarmulke stood with a group of fellow Jewish tourists and spoke about the meaning of a biblical verse. A group of black-uniformed police converged on him and accused him of engaging in Jewish prayer, which is against the law in that country. The Jewish man tried to defend himself, arguing that he was merely explaining a biblical verse, “Please, God, save [us], Please God, give [us] success” (Psalms 118:25).

The cops rushed to the man and his group as soon as they heard the words “Please, God” pronounced in Hebrew. The rest of the lecture was in English. The man insisted, in English, that he was merely explaining the verse and not praying. The cops had no patience for lengthy arguments with a Jew and arrested him.

Several other Jewish tourists tried to intervene, explaining that it was a misunderstanding, they wouldn’t have even dreamed of praying there, in a country that punishes Jews who engage in public prayer, it was merely a mention of a verse in the context of a talk. At which point the arresting officer declared:

“On the Temple Mount I decide what’s prayer.”

Yes, the entire scene took place in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish State, where black uniformed police decide what’s prayer and what’s not. On Temple Mount, as part of decades of government policy, state police violate the human right to free worship Jews are entitled to like all the other humans on the planet.

The legal aid society Honenu said in a statement: “The conduct of the State of Israel and Police regarding the suspicion of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is, first of all, ridiculous, and in addition it is discriminatory and predatory. It is inconceivable that a law-abiding man would be arrested like the lowest criminal for explaining a verse from Psalms. In any other country such an arrest would have been called anti-Semitic.”

We now begin waiting for the angry condemnations from Jewish as well as from human-rights organizations demanding an apology and a quick mending of the gross violation against Jews by the local government.

JNi.Media

UNESCO Decides Rachel’s Tomb and Patriarchs’ Cave Are – Muslim Sites!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization decided on Wednesday that Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel) and the Patriarchs Cave (MaHarat HaMachpelah) are Muslim sites.

Yes, that is what UNESCO says, contradicting the Bible that states that the forefather Avraham bought the Cave in Hebron and denying history that shows the tomb was built before Islam existed.

UNESCO refrained from listing the Western Wall as a Muslim site, but still managed to get in its anti-Israel licks by accusing Israel, and not Arab terrorists, of “aggression and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship,” referring to the rights of Muslims and not to Jews.

It also repeated what the Israeli government has documented as a lie by alleging “Israel’s attempts to break the status quo since 1967.”

The vote on the UNESCO Executive Committee was 26-6.

There were 25 countries that were too cowardly to vote one way or the other.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/unesco-decides-rachels-tomb-and-patriarchs-cave-are-muslim-sites/2015/10/21/

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