web analytics
September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Union’

Living In Terror In The Soviet Union: An Interview With Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

“Persecution of the Jewish people.” When young Orthodox Jews hear these words, they tend to think of events like the Crusades, the Inquisition, or, more recently, the Holocaust. If you were to tell them that the 1950s and ‘60s were also years of dark persecution, many would no doubt regard you with a certain degree of puzzlement.

And yet the fact is that while Jews in postwar America were living in the lap of luxury, their brethren in the Soviet Union were still being terrorized for such “sins” as keeping Shabbos and teaching Torah. In his memoir, “Samarkand: The Underground with a Far-Reaching Impact,” Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman, a 76-year-old Lubavitcher chassid, provides insight into the struggles he and other Jews experienced trying to observe Judaism under a government that considered the practice of religion counter-revolutionary.

Rabbi Zaltzman, who left the USSR in 1971, is currently president of Chamah, an organization devoted to helping Jews from the former Soviet Union. He is being honored this week in Washington, DC, as part of American Jewish Heritage Month.

The Jewish Press: You grew up Samarkand, the third largest city in modern-day Uzbekistan. How did your family wind up there?

Rabbi Zaltzman: I was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, but when the Nazis approached Kharkov in World War II, we were told on the radio that we should escape. So my parents decided to go to Samarkand and Tashkent, which is where many Jews found refuge.

You write that your defiance of the Soviet Union began as a boy when it came time to attend school. How so?

The schools in the Soviet Union wanted to build a personality. They used to call it a “Homo Sovietica,” a Soviet personality. No religion, no beliefs, no parents – if you saw your parents practicing religion, you had to tell to the school. There was no private education. The whole Soviet Union was based on Marxism and Leninism, which is against any religion. So my father was scared I would lose my Yiddishkeit if he enrolled me in school.

He hid me and my brother at home so that the neighbors shouldn’t see us and tell the government. For years, I’d walk out with a school briefcase in the morning and go to a friend’s house and then come back in the afternoon after school.

How long did that last?

Until I was nine. Local school officials used to go from house to house looking for children, and one day the neighbors reported there was a child in our home. The government found out I wasn’t going to school for religious reasons, so they told my father, “We’ll take away your son and send him to a foster home for reeducation.”

My father went to a school in a neighborhood with no Jews and told my teacher, “My son is a sick boy who must relax two days a week – Saturday and Sunday.” He also gave her a gift, and that worked for a year until they realized something was wrong and demanded that I come to school on Shabbos.

Did you?

No, never. My father tried to convince me. He said, “You’re not bar mitzvah yet. They’re going to arrest me and take you to a foster home. It will be much worse. Just go. You won’t be forced to write.”

But I didn’t want to go. I woke up early Shabbos morning and went to my friend’s house. So my father decided to take me to another school. It’s a long story, but after a few years I managed to stop attending school without the government noticing.

Elliot Resnick

Air France Female Crew Fights Mandatory Shari’a Dress Code in Tehran

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Female flight attendants on Air France are fighting an internal management edict mandating a Shari’a-compliant (Islamic) dress code on routes to and from Iran.

The Paris-Tehran route which was suspended eight years ago when international sanctions were imposed against Iran, is to resume April 17 with flights three times a day. The renewed flights were authorized in light of the nuclear deal signed last July between Iran and the six world powers, which included lifting sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

All female crew members have been informed they must cover their hair with veils or head scarves, wear slacks and don loose-fitting jackets before leaving the plane in Tehran.

The airline staff and union groups have strongly condemned the new dress code and cabin crews are saying they will strike when the route resumes. They called the requirement an “ostentatious religious sign” that goes against French law and an attack on individual freedom.

Union leader Françoise Redolfi was quoted by French radio station RFI as saying, “We have to let the women choose what they want to wear. Those who don’t wish to, must be able to say they don’t want to work on those flights.”

Redolfi added that female flight attendants told her that it is “out of the question” to wear head scarves because “it’s not professional” and they view it as an “insult to their dignity.”

But such a requirement is apparently not as new for the airline as union members might make it out to be: Air France said the rules already apply to cabin crew during stopovers in Saudi Arabia, where female staff are required to wear an abaya to cover their body.

Iranian women have been forced to wear a hair covering since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

But in France, there has been a severe backlash against veils and even head scarves since the terror attacks that were carried out in Paris by radical Islamist terrorists. The same full-face veils that might obscure a woman’s identification in Tehran are now banned in public places; head scarves covering the hair are also banned in schools and state offices.

In its response, Air France commented, “Iranian law requires the wearing of a veil covering the hair in public places for all women present on its territory. This obligation is not required during the flight and is respected by all international airlines serving the Iranian Republic.”

Hana Levi Julian

Histadrut Strike Averted, Deal Reached

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Overnight talks between representatives of the Histadrut Union and the Finance Ministry, along with the threat of a country-wide strike, resulted in a deal, averting the strike.

Workers will receive a 7.5% raise. Half of the raise will be redirected to financially weaker members, giving them a larger salary boost. In addition there will be a NIS 2000 bonus.

The deal will apply 2 years back retroactively, and stay in effect for the next 3 years.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Netanyahu Exploits Elections to Raise Minimum Wage

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet meeting Sunday the minimum wage for approximately 700,000 Israel will rise by 15 percent to $1275 a month.

“This morning, I met with Histadrut [labor federation] Chairman Avi Nissenkorn and Manufacturers Association of Israel President Tzvi Oren,” the Prime Minister said.

“I informed them that I have instructed the Finance Ministry to enable the Cabinet to raise the minimum wage to NIS 5,000. This is in continuation of our raising the minimum wage from NIS 3,800 to NIS 4,300, which we did in 2011, and now we are raising it from NIS 4,300 a month to NIS 5,000 a month,” he added.

Netanyahu issued the order two weeks after he fired Yesh Atid leader and coalition nemesis Yair Lapid as Finance Minister.

Raising the wage by 15 percent all at once will  have an inflationary effect, but no one will notice it so quickly.

Aren’t elections a great way  for getting things done?

Actually it is a terrible way but it seems to be the only way that works.

 

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israel Postal Workers Declare ‘Victory,’ End to Strike

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

The postal workers’ union has reached an agreement with Israel’s Finance Ministry, ending weeks of uncertainty for 1,500 permanent employees.

An agreement was announced Tuesday with early details including a reduction in the number of days mail carriers will be sent on rounds by two and a half every two weeks.

Thousands will gain tenure in the deal, announced at a 1 pm news conference.

“Today not only prevented the dissolution of the postal company, but we made sure that we anchor the agreements in a way which improves service for Israeli citizens,” said Histadrut labor federation leader Avi Nissenkorn.

“The way we’ve approached the last few weeks is a fundamental part of the struggle to return the human dignity of workers in Israel,” he said.

Numerous sectors of the labor force in Israel participated in work slowdowns and other job actions in solidarity with the postal workers, who were facing massive layoffs and replacement by contract workers instead.

The cutbacks in service at the post offices throughout the country has affected Israelis in many ways, since in Israel, the post office also functions as a bank as well as a center for bill paying and document transfer and ratification.

Hana Levi Julian

Hebrew Union Pres. Pulls Fast One in Non-Jewish Rabbi Debate

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Earlier this week, we ran a story about a reform cantor and rabbi whose father was Jewish but her mother was not, and who is serving in her two very Jewish sounding roles without the benefit of a proper—or even a Reform—conversion (It’s Official: You Can Be a Non-Jewish Rabbi). To me, it seemed like the ultimate, end-of-the-line kind of illustration of how far the Reform movement has strayed outside the rabbinical tent, although over the heated discussion that ensued by our readers it was mentioned that the lady in question is not the first non-Jewish Reform rabbi since the Reform movement enacted the doctrine of patrilineal descent to determine who is a Reform Jew.

We now received a response letter from David Ellenson, President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, protesting our article. I was conflicted over whether we should run the article as is, and expect our readers to debate it, or add my own running commentary. The reason I decided to do the latter, which, I admit, is taking advantage of my position as editor, at the expense of the author, is that the letter is rife with misleading information.

I debated this with our editor in chief, and we decided that, in the name of fairness, we’ll run only complete paragraphs of the Ellenson letter, in sequential order, and add comments only between paragraphs, much the way some people do when they respond to a long email. So, here we go:

To the Editor:

I recognize that the editors and authors of The Jewish Press have a different stance towards Judaism than we at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and in the Reform Movement do. Indeed, I do not question your right to approach Judaism and the issue of conversion as you deem proper even as our own principled position is distinct from yours. However, no less a rabbinic personage than Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer of Posen, the famed author of Drishat Tsiyon, referred to children of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers – even without conversion – as zera kodesh. He asserted that “gdolei yisrael” could well spring from among these children.

The citation from Rabbi Kalischer of Posen (who vehemently rejected the Reform movement of his day, see Hertzberg, Arthur, The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader) is misleading, and a little bit offensive.

It suggests that Rabbi Kalischer—a student of Rabbi Akiva Eger and one of the most noted Zionist Rabbis of the early 1800s (he called for the redeeming of all of Eretz Israel and for the renewal of the Temple sacrifices, both values that I would love to see adopted by the Reform movement) supported the recognition of the offspring of Jewish men and their non-Jewish wives as Jews, without a halachic conversion.

Throwing such a ludicrous claim without proper citation does not befit the president of an academic institute, mostly because it forced yours truly to spend hours online in search of the cite. But I did. Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz, affiliated with the RCA beit din in Montreal, told Paul Lungen of CJN (New standards possible for Orthodox conversions) about an 1864 case when two German rabbis, Zvi Hirsch Kalischer and Azriel Hildesheimer debated the standards to be applied to child conversion:

“Responding to a query from a rabbi in New Orleans, Rabbi Kalischer argued that if the child was brought up in a home where there was potential for him to grow in observance – even where the mother was gentile – the conversion should be approved. Rabbi Hildesheimer believed conversions should not be approved unless the parents were observant.”

In other words, the honorable president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is trying to pull off a dishonest shmear, suggesting that by his sweet comment that those children of Jewish fathers and gentile mothers are “holy seed” (zera kodesh) – he meant they could become rabbis without a proper conversion.

No, no, no. The debate was over whether a guy who marries a non-Jew can ask for a halachic conversion of their children, even though he is so outside the Jewish fold that he went and married a Jew.

In our own time, Rabbi Haim Amsalem of Israel, in his Zera Yisrael, has offered a broad survey of halakhic writing on this question and has made the same point as Rabbi Kalischer concerning the offspring of intermarried Russian families who have made aliyah to Israel. Rabbi Amsalem has written that such children, who share in the fate and destiny of our people, should be embraced.

This one is not merely a lie, but a stupid lie, because the rabbi in question is alive and well, and can speak for himself, which he did. Here, for the record, is rabbi Chaim Ansalem’s view on the conversion of children of intermarried Russian families (the text was shortened, the full version is available here):

Yori Yanover

Airline Strike Ends after Deal with El Al

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The Histadrut national labor union has called off its planned shutdown of Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday morning, and workers of Israeli airlines have ended their strike following a special agreement between the government and El Al.

The agreement was signed Monday evening in Israel, less than two hours before the Labor Court was to meet on a petition to issue an injunction against shutting down the airport.

Flights of El Al, Israir and Arkia airlines have been grounded since Sunday because of the Open Skies agreement that the Cabinet approved at the beginning of the week.

The Finance Ministry agreed to reimburse El Al for almost of all of its extraordinary security expenses, which make it less competitive against European airlines that can fly more planes to Israel under the Open Skies agreement.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/airline-strike-ends-after-deal-with-el-al/2013/04/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: