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July 24, 2016 / 18 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Western Wall’

Police Arrest Women of the Wall Director for Torah Scroll Violation and Catch 22

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Police arrested Lesley Sachs, Executive Director of Women of the Wall, as she was exiting the Western Wall plaza with a Torah scroll Tuesday morning. Sachs was detained for “disturbing the public order,” although, according to the WOW’s own report, the prayer service of about 80 women at the Kotel was “relatively quiet and uneventful” on Rosh Chodesh Sivan. Apparently, Police accused Sachs of smuggling a Torah scroll into the women’s section.

According to the WOW email, the incriminating Torah scroll was lent to WOW executive board chair Anat Hoffman by Peter and Lawrence Michaels from Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento, California, in memory of their parents, Ann and Rudy Michaels. Hoffman, who flew from Sacramento to Israel with the Torah scroll in her arms, related that on her journey she ran into her flight’s all-female team of pilots, Captain Wendi Shaffner and First Officer Katrina Mittelstadt, who were moved by the small Torah. The email did not specify what or where they were moved to.

“Though we believe that the Torah was handed down to women and men equally at Mt. Sinai, and though women and men both sacrificed their lives and loved ones for the reunification of Jerusalem, in 2016 Women of the Wall struggle for access to Torah scrolls at the Kotel,” the WOW statement lamented. Of course, these dear women could access as many Torah scrolls as they wished anywhere else, including at the Reform section of the Kotel a few yards away, but over at the Women’s section of the Kotel it was No Torah for you, ladies, which, apparently, defied the equality promised to women at Mt. Sinai. Not the one on Fifth Ave., the one in Sinai.

The email also accused Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the state-appointed administrator of the Kotel, of creating a “Catch 22” for women: “he prohibits entrance with private Torah scrolls and refuses women access to the 100 scrolls he holds at the Kotel for public use in the men’s section.” But that’s not a catch 22, which was described by Joseph Heller in his 1961 novel by the same title via the character Doc Daneeka, an army psychiatrist who invokes “Catch 22” to explain why any pilot requesting mental evaluation for insanity—hoping to be found not sane enough to fly and thereby escape dangerous missions—demonstrates his own sanity in making the request and thus cannot be declared insane.

Rabbi Rabinowitz simply doesn’t want women to read out loud from the Torah at the Kotel because he interprets this as a desecration of halakha. As the WOW email confirms, he has the right to interpret it this way because he is the state appointed official in charge of interpreting Kotel-related issues.

The real question, not asked by WOW, is how come Sachs was picked up at the end of the Rosh Chodesh prayer session in which she openly defied the law, and not while she smuggled it in, or while the women were reading from it?

In a final episode of Heller’s book, the Catch-22 rule is described to Yossarian, the main protagonist, by an old woman recounting an act of violence by soldiers: “Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”

Wow.

David Israel

Have You Ever Seen So Many Jews in One Place? [video]

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Ari Fuld, standing on the roof of Yeshivat Netivat Aryeh, gives us a top-down view of the Kotel plaza, with tens of thousands of lovers of Jerusalem overflowing the square.

Next year on the Temple Mount.

Video of the Day

Thousands Flock to Western Wall on Jerusalem Day

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Thousands upon thousands of people flocked to the Western Wall on Sunday to celebrate the 49th year of the unification of the heartbeat of Israel, the holy city of Jerusalem.

Nearly half of the city, and all of the ancient Old City of Jerusalem was occupied for 19 years by Jordan after it was captured during the 1948 War of Independence.

The Israel Defense Forces restored the seized portion of the ancient Jewish capital to the rest of the city during the 1967 Six Day War.

Israelis have since streamed into the capital to celebrate the day by praying at the Western Wall and with other festivities, including the Jerusalem Day Flag Dance Parade.

This year the parade will march as always from the Damascus Gate through the Muslim Quarter to the Western Wall, but marchers and participants will only be allowed through the gate from 5:30 pm until 6:30 pm.

After that time anyone who wishes to enter will be redirected to the Jaffa Gate.

Tonight also begins the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, and Muslim worshipers will be hurrying to attend prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, right next door to the Western Wall.

Jerusalem District Police and Israel Police have adjusted the scheduling in order to minimize the likelihood of clashes between the two celebrating populations.

Hana Levi Julian

Trump May Come to Israel in July to Visit the Southern Wall

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Donald Trump is planning to visit Israel before the Republican national convention in July, according to persistent reports, although his campaign is denying it. New York Magazine on Wednesday cited four sources who say Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, together with associates of Sheldon Adelson are working on the trip. Trump was planning to visit Israel before the start of the primaries and was hoping for Netanyahu’s endorsement, but then Bibi said he wasn’t planning to endorse anyone. Perhaps the fact that Adelson is involved this time around means that the Israeli PM will at least give the candidate the royal treatment he expects.

“This is a typical time frame when a general-election candidate has an opportunity to flex his foreign-policy muscles,” a Trump staffer told NY Mag.

Some Internet news sources have suggested that Trump may be coming to Israel not for the endorsements, and not to gain favor with the hard-line pro-Israel crowd—he’s got them already. Instead, Trump is going to see the wall. Not the Western Wall, but the 150 mile fence Israel has erected along its border with Egypt, which caused the number of illegal African migrant workers getting through to drop from thousands to single digits annually.

Jewish Insider quoted Trump’s recent book “Crippled America,” where he states, “Walls work. The Israelis spent $2 million per kilometer to build a wall – which has been hugely successful in stopping terrorists from getting into the country. Ironically, some of the same people who claim we shouldn’t build a wall cite the success of Israel’s wall. While obviously we don’t face the same level of terrorist threat as our closest Middle East ally, there is no question about the value of a wall in the fight against terrorism.”

The Negev security fence, which is supported by a heavy military detail, has also been remarkably effective at preventing the ISIS affiliates in the Sinai from infiltrating. Of course, Israel did not ask Egypt to pay for the wall, the way Trump promises to do with Mexico, and the US southern border is not 150 but 1,989 miles. Otherwise, though, Trump could gain points by pointing to the Israeli approach to sealing the border and smiling victoriously in the desert sun.

Of course, if liberal folks live up to their word and flee to Canada after a Trump win, Israel could be cashing in on its border fence technology from two countries.

David Israel

I Witnessed a Miracle Last Night [video]

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Yesterday, I witnessed a miracle and I want to share it with you.

Before I tell you about yesterday’s miracle, I want to give you a little background. 23 years ago, I enlisted into the IDF as a Lone soldier. I still remember the chills I felt the first time I put on my IDF uniform. Those chills were caused by 1% excitement and 99% was due to some kind of subconscious flash of 2000 years of history and me, the Jew, in Israel, in an IDF uniform. WOW!

I remember thinking about my grandparents on my father’s side who jumped every time a glass broke because they were scarred for life from Christalnacht or my grandma from Ima’s side who survived Auschwitz 70 years ago with no certainty about the future and then thinking, here I am, their grandson, in a Jewish country that has been miraculously revived after 2,000 years, in an IDF uniform ready to protect the Jewish people in the Jewish homeland Israel.

Can you feel the chills?

Tonight my family was at the Western Wall in Jerusalem along with tens of thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends. We stood at a wall that for two millennia stood empty waiting for us to come home. A wall that stood as a memorial to a golden age of a Jewish Jerusalem that was burned to the ground. A wall that stood silent as we were expelled from one country to another, burned, gassed, shot and beaten as we cried for 2,000 years from homesickness. A wall that has known many bitter tears for way too many years. Tonight as I witnessed my extended family (tens of thousands of them) crying as their sons stood proudly dressed in IDF uniforms at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I realized, the tears are no longer tears of pain and suffering, these tears are tears of pride and joy.

Considering there was a time, not so long ago, that Jerusalem was limited to a word in our daily prayers and the idea of the Jewish nation returning to the Land of Israel was considered biblical fantasy, tonight’s sight was miraculous.

To think that not so long ago, we were the subjects of a final solution where our extinction was the goal and our nation was almost systematically destroyed. It’s hard to believe on a national, historical and religious level that I am here watching my nephew, who is standing proud wearing the IDF uniform, with a gun in one hand and our Tanach in the other and swearing that he will do his best to make sure NEVER AGAIN!.

As I looked around and witnessed the tens of thousands of Jews, who gathered from all 4 corners of the Earth and are here, now, standing in Jerusalem, at the Western Wall, across from the Temple Mount, watching their sons being sworn in as IDF Paratroopers to defend the Jewish State of Israel, I realized I was witnessing a modern day miracle!

שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה! Good luck Eli Fuld and Mazal Tov to Moshe and Deborah Fuld

If you want to help some IDF soldiers you can do do at these links:
http://www.stogether.org/donate/coffee-campaign/
http://www.stogether.org/water-packs-for-idf-soldiers/

Ari Fuld

Analysis: MK Yehuda Glick Just Keeps On Glicking

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

For a newly appointed Member of Knesset, American-born Yehuda Glick (Likud) is not exactly keeping his head down in the back benches. Since before his swearing-in, Glick has been engaged in a seemingly endless monologue, over his Facebook page and through the media, about his belief system and political agenda, which—to everyone’s surprise—is much more liberal and centrist than one would have expected from a “rightwing extremist,” the tag the media had tied to his big toe.

So he started posting very mainstream, rational, even slightly left-leaning messages, including his shock at the behavior of that IDF soldier who shot and killed a terrorist who was already lying on the ground. That statement made him some favorable headlines, and soon enough he became a kind of pet-rightwinger, sharing his views on everything to the amusement of the readers everywhere.

Yehuda Glick is a serious man, despite his disheveled red hair and rumpled suits. He has been a consistent voice in favor of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, and almost paid for it with his life when an Arab terrorist tried to assassinate him at point-blank. But he should probably be more careful when he gives interviews to, say Ha’aretz, spewing what sounds like radical observations without the benefit of historic or scholarly context. It’s difficult to overestimate the ignorance of the average Israeli leftwing reader of traditional Jewish sources, and so one probably should refrain from making the following observation:

“The Kotel is important to me just like the whole Old City is important to me,” Glick told Ha’aretz on Tuesday. “There’s no difference between the Western Wall and the eastern wall, the southern and northern walls. The Kotel is important to me because millions of Jews raise their eyes to it. But the Temple Mount is the only holy site. The Kotel doesn’t have that. It is a heaven and earth kind of difference. It’s like your parking garage is important to you, but you won’t compare your parking garage to your bedroom. So I’m not comparing the Kotel to a parking garage, but it does not have the same holiness as the Temple Mount.”

The fact is, Glick is absolutely right. The Temple Mount is where two Jewish temples have stood, while the Kotel was a supporting wall built by King Herod around the year zero, during the renovations of the Temple. As someone who shares Glick’s love for the Temple Mount, I understand his frustration when he looks down on the multitudes gathered like working ants by the Kotel, when all they have to do is walk up twenty yards and with their sheer numbers break through the police barricades, the Arab threats, everything, and stand in an earth-changing Amidah prayer where it counts.

I would venture that very few of Glick’s readers in Ha’aretz Tuesday understood that this is what he meant. Because this is what he said further on in the interview: “This is a place that causes harm, because people think it’s a holy place, and they think it’s a substitute for the Temple Mount. People come to the Kotel and feel they’ve reached the summit. It’s not a summit, it’s nothing. People are enjoying the substitute, which in my eyes is a desecration of God.”

Again, Glick is not so far from the truth, although he does step on the toes of literally millions of good Jews who have flocked to the Kotel over the centuries, and especially since 1967. And next, to the delight of the left, Glick outright condemns good Jews who pray at the Kotel:

“God said that He chose one place and people come and say, ‘that’s not true, we decided You picked a different place.’ It’s almost tantamount to the sin of the gold calf, when the whole nation said, ‘This is your god, Israel.’ It’s a huge desecration of God. … It’s almost similar to if the Zionists had gone to Uganda despite the fact that God said the Land of Israel.”

And so, in three paragraphs, MK Yehuda Glick removed his covers of a liberal democrat, protector of fallen terrorists and lover of every person, and revealed the raging fundamentalist within, unable to contain his ire at the multitudes who just won’t listen.

The fact is, Yehuda Glick is not that kind of a fundamentalist, although he is willful and persistent. He is kind and sweet, and probably the best representative the lovers of the Temple Mount have found in many years. Former MK Moshe Feiglin was also a persistent advocate for Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount, but his style is too precise and restrained to appeal to the masses the way Glick has been doing.

Glick should beware, though, of his newly acquired power, and avoid delivering to the unschooled messages they cannot truly comprehend. By telling the Ha’aretz readers that the Kotel is just like the gold calf (he said no such thing, but I’ll bet you, that’s what they took away) he did not advance the cause of Jewish redemption. Let’s hope he didn’t harm it much.

David Israel

Saying Thank You

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Following his swearing in ceremony at the Knesset, Israel’s new Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman went to the Kotel to thank and pray to God.

Avigdor Liberman at Kotel

Avigdor Liberman at Kotel

Avigdor Liberman during his swearing in ceremony in the Knesset. May 30, 2016.

Avigdor Liber during his swearing in ceremony in the Knesset. May 30, 2016.

Photo of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/saying-thank-you/2016/05/31/

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