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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Yaakov’

42 Teams, 4 Planes Fighting Zichron Yaakov Fire through the Night

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

The fire that raged throughout the town of Zichron Yaakov on the Carmel Mountain Tuesday erupted again around 4 AM, fanned by unusually strong gales, and four firefighting planes, 30 civilian and 12 IDF firefighting teams went in to push it back once more, Israeli media reported. Meanwhile, new spots burst in flames around the town and residents who had been permitted to return to their homes had to be evacuated again. Altogether, some 3,000 people had to stay out of their homes overnight.

On Wednesday morning police blocked access to several affluent neighborhoods where estimates are that the blazing fires are likely to return. Police sources have estimated that no one would be allowed back into the homes in Zamarin, Vilot Ba’horesh, and Givat Eden. Schoolchildren have been assigned to new schools in town, while public transportation in the risky areas has been stopped.

A series of fires erupted in several parts of Israel, on both sides of the “green line,” leading to the evacuation of dozens of families from their homes. According to police, in Zichron Yaakov, which was the focal point of several large scale blazes, 23 people were hurt, three remaining in hospital overnight; and 30 homes were damaged.

In the community of Dolev, Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, 17 miles north-west of Jerusalem, the fires continued to rage overnight, the result of several gas tanks catching fire. Some 20 homes were evacuated as 21 firefighting teams dealt with fires that reached a hight of 60 feet.

The fires have been put out in the Lachish forest, near Kiryat Gat, and in Revadim, a kibbutz east of Ashdod. Some 40 families were evacuated from Revadim due to heavy smoke pollution.

Up north, firefighters managed to control the fires that erupted in Naharia, a coastal city just south of the Lebanese border, and in Kfar Vradim in western Galilee.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan referred on Tuesday night to the 2010 “Mt. Carmel Disaster,” which claimed 44 lives and led to the evacuation of some 17,000 people. Erdan suggested the lessons that have been learned from that traumatic experience are reflected in “the communication between all the entities involved, the quick decision-making regarding the evacuation of residents and closing down major traffic arteries, and the risk evaluations being issued every few hours.”

According to weather reports, eastern winds are expected to reach 55 MPH speeds in the north and be in the 40 MPH range in central Israel. Such strong winds are not unusual this time of the year, but they rarely continue for a week and more as they have done this year.

David Israel

Vichna Kaplan: America’s Bais Yaakov Pioneer: An Interview with Rebbetzin Danielle Leibowitz

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Although Sarah Schenirer – the founder of the Bais Yaakov movement – is a legend in Orthodox Jewish circles, the woman responsible for bringing her vision to the United States, Rebbetzin Vichna Kaplan (1913-1986), is relatively unknown.

A book recently published by Feldheim aims to correct this state of affairs. “Rebbetzin Kaplan: The Founder of the Bais Yaakov Movement in America by Rebbetzin Danielle Leibowitz (with Devora Glickman) runs close to 600 pages in recounting the life of this pioneer in Jewish education for girls in America.

Rebbetzin Leibowitz was an early student of Rebbetzin Kaplan and the wife of Rabbi Yehuda Cohen, z”l (principal of Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway for many years), and, after Rabbi Cohen’s passing, of Rabbi Henoch Leibowitz, z”l (rosh yeshiva of the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva).

The Jewish Press: Where did Rebbetzin Kaplan grow up?

Rebbetzin Leibowitz: She was born in Slonim in Poland in 1913 and was orphaned as a little girl. She was brought up in Baranowitz by her uncle, Rabbi Yisrael Yaakov Lubchansky – who was the mashgiach of Rav Elchonon Wasserman’s yeshiva – and his wife, Rebbetzin Faiga Malka Lubchansky, who was the daughter of Rav Yossel Horowitz, the Alter of Novardok.

How did Rebbetzin Kaplan wind up at Sarah Schenirer’s Bais Yaakov teachers seminary in Krakow?

Well, the story goes like this. In her small town of Baranowitz, Vichna saw an ad for the Bais Yaakov seminary and wanted very much to become a teacher of Yiddishkeit because many girls were going off the derech at the time. She approached her uncle, but he said, “You can’t go to a big city like Krakow. ‘Kol kevudah bas melech penima – The glory of a woman is within’ [Psalms 45:14]. A girl has to be in the house.”

She was very disappointed but she was determined, so she went to Rav Elchonon Wasserman. He approved of her plans, so Rabbi Lubchansky let her go.

What happened next?

She went to Krakow and became the star pupil of Sarah Schenirer. Later she moved to Brisk. The Brisker Rav – Rav Velvel Soloveitchik – had written to Sarah Schenirer asking for a teacher for his daughters and Sarah Schenirer sent Vichna. Vichna taught in Brisk for five years, and became very close to the Brisker Rav’s family. When she was there she would give public lectures and the whole town – both men and women – would come to listen to her because she was such a powerful speaker.

How did she wind up in America?

A shidduch with an American boy, Boruch Kaplan, was suggested to her. Rav Yaakov Yosef Herman, the hero of the book All For the Boss, had a great influence on Boruch and sent him to study in Rav Yehudah Heschel Levenberg’s yeshiva in New Haven and then later in the Chevron Yeshiva. He was there during the Chevron Massacre in 1929, and was saved by an Arab who hid him.

After that, Boruch learned in Mir and Brisk, and that’s where the shidduch was made. Vichna’s uncle, Rabbi Lubchansky, opposed her moving to America – it was a “treifa medinah” – but the Brisker Rav told her, “For a boy like Boruch Kaplan, you have my permission to go anywhere in the world.” So she left Europe and came to America in 1937 on the same boat as Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky. She married Boruch in Yeshiva Torah Vodaas with a wedding meal consisting of salami sandwiches.

The following year she started the first Bais Yaakov in America with seven girls.

Why was she determined to found a Jewish girls school so soon after her arrival in America?

Because she wanted to continue Sarah Schenirer’s ambition and she knew girls in America didn’t know anything about Yiddishkeit. She wanted to teach what it meant to be a bas melech, what the Torah was all about, what a Jewish girl’s ambitions should be.

Most of the parents she approached about starting a school didn’t want their girls to be “old-fashioned” ladies. They wanted them to be Americanized and make a good living. So the beginning was very, very difficult. Rebbetzin Kaplan had seven girls in her first class. Two of them were the daughters of Rav Shraga Mendlowitz [the founder of Torah Vodaas].

The first class met around Rebbetzin Kaplan’s table. They were a bunch of American girls who weren’t initially interested in being there. They went to public high school, and after high school they worked to help supplement their family’s incomes. They went to Rebbetzin Kaplan at 7 o’clock, four nights a week. And then on Sunday and Shabbos Rebbetzin Kaplan had a bnos group.

What was the state of Jewish education for girls in America at this time?

Negligible. Girls had very little knowledge. There were Talmud Torahs and girls learned a bit from their parents. There were also Shulamith and Ramaz, but these were elementary schools. Bais Yaakov was the first full-day Jewish high school for girls in America. It started off as an after-school program, but it became a full high school in 1944.

You note in the book that in the early years of Bais Yaakov, students came from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Yes, there were all kinds – litvish, chassidish, the daughters of roshei yeshiva and girls who weren’t even shomer Shabbos. Rebbetzin Kaplan took them all in. If they wanted to learn Yiddishkeit, she welcomed them. Her whole mission in life was to teach these girls. And she succeeded. When I entered Bais Yaakov in 1947, many of us wore very short sleeves. She said we should wear longer sleeves, so we did. Many also started wearing sheitels after they got married. Rebbetzin Kaplan was a very charismatic person and when she spoke we wanted to listen because it came from her heart and we wanted to be good.

She believed in us and only saw the good in us. To me, her aura was one of goodness and kindness, and she gave us a feeling of what we should do with our lives – that we should want to be Jewish and we should want to have a Jewish home and bring up Jewish children. She taught us Yiddishkeit and that we were princesses. And we wanted to do what she wanted because she gave it to us with such sincerity, truthfulness, and goodness. You didn’t want to disappoint her.

Elliot Resnick

Update: Lockdown Removed After Suspected Infiltration into Kochav Yaakov/Tel Zion [video]

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

At 11:00 PM on Monday, security reported a suspected infiltration into the town of Kochav Yaacov in the Binyamin region. A figure was seen hopping the fence near the Tel Zion neighborhood.

Security forces were called out and residents were told to stay locked indoors.

As of midnight, the searches are continuing, though residents not in the Tel Zion area have been allowed in to the town, which is still under lockdown.

The town’s air raid siren is sounding every 10 minutes as part of the warning to the residents to stay indoors.

12:50 AM (Tuesday) The army is going house to house in Tel Zion.

After the terror attack in Efrat last week, the IDF will continue to maintain a presence and search the town throughout the night.

7:30 AM IDF troops stayed the night and continued to search, but it is now believed there was no infiltration through the fence.

The town was removed from lockdown at around 2:30 AM.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Life at Rachel’s Tomb

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Yes, it’s true, the Arabs are repeatedly attacking Rachel’s Tomb to destroy it like they do Joseph’s tomb and keep the Jews away, but that’s not stopping Jews from visiting Mother Rachel at Fortress Rachel in Bethlehem.

The 11th of MarCheshvan (yesterday) was the yahrzeit of Rachel’s passing and masses of Jews are visiting.

Rachel was the wife of Yaakov, and mother of two of the tribes of Israel: Joseph (Ephraim & Menashe) and Benjamin.

Photo of the Day

Shwekey in Hebron… Dedicates Song to Gal Koby

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

I’m not there – I wish I was… but today, there are over 30,000 Jews in our ancient and modern city of Hebron, beside the Cave of the Patriarchs. It is documented in the Bible, perhaps the longest living real estate transaction in history.

Abraham bought the cave as a burial place for his wife; there he was buried. His son Isaac is buried there, as his wife Rebecca. Their son, Yaakov, is buried there… and his wife, Leah. Most years, going to Hebron on the joyous holiday of Sukkot. We have so many holidays that are serious, that brings us to tears…this is one of fun and joy and most Jews just love this holiday.

And each year, tens of thousands of Jews take one of these days and go to Hebron… it is an incredible journey to our forefathers – and they are there waiting for us.

This year, there were tears as Shwekey, a popular and incredibly talented singer came to perform. He dedicated this song, Tateh, Tateh – Father… to Gal Koby, who was murdered in Hebron just two days ago.

Here’s the video from Hebron – where Shwekey changed some of the words and it was accompanied by pictures of Gal…below this video – another video with the English translation…



Just part of this amazing song….

This is my home, my request
Where our forefathers rest
For our father, Avraham
Answer us, in the credit or Yitzchak (Isaac) and Yaakov
I beg of You
And in the credit of our mothers
He pours out his soul
To our Father in Heaven,
The anguish of your children knows no end
Reach out to us with Your helping hand
How much more can the people of Israel take
Remember the compassion of our fathers, for our sake

May the memory of Gal Koby be blessed. He was, according to so many, a precious and pure soul. Gal died protecting his people…and the resting place of our forefathers. Today, 30,000 people were there – so many with tears in their eyes…but more, today Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka, Yaakov and Leah and Rachel…all cry for Gal and for our people.

May his blood be avenged and may his killer never have a day of peace for the rest of his miserable life.



Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Paula Stern

For Better or for Worse

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

It’s time to move out of our homes and into our holy humble sukkahs. Now is the time when we renew our relationship with God, who has chosen us to form an inseparable eternal union – a marriage between the children of Yisrael and the Master of the Universe.

The Torah portion of Nitzavim, which is read just before the New Year, reveals to us that Hashem is our personal “husband,” for better or for worse. Rashi explains (Devarim 29:12) that we were presented with a covenant and a curse: “Since we are forever bound together, let Me teach you how to make Me happy.”

Nitzavim goes on to prophesize everything that has transpired during these thousands of years. This is highlighted by non-Jews gasping and stating, “Why has God caused this land to become desolate? Because they have forsaken God’s covenant.” Thus, on Rosh Hashanah we think of our past year’s sins. The sound of the shofar awakens our emotions. Then ten days of introspection and repentance bring on the great and awesome day of Kippur, of Atonement.

Consider: our God is perfect, and we are anything but. We may have been envious or lustful, or worshipped money, status or a host of other vices. Now we humbly return home to our Love. If we repent out of fear, our sins are forgiven. But if we repent because we truly love our Maker, he gives us an amazing reward – our sins become mitzvahs!

Hashem simply goes beyond the letter of the law in His love for us.

The Holy Ben Ish Chai points out that if you go beyond the four letters of the Hebrew word hadin (the judgment), you get to the Hebrew word sukkah. (The four Hebrew letters that come after the letters in hadin are the letters in the word sukkah). The sukkah is where we arrive after Yom Kippur, free of sins, under the wings of God’s Holy Presence.

Note that the first time sukkah is mentioned in the Torah, it is referring to the stalls our forefather Yaakov built for his animals. Why? Because when Yaakov arrived in Shechem with his family, he built a beis medrash for himself for Torah learning, but for his animals, his “wealth,” he built simple huts.

Yaakov took his children to the window and said, “Look at how I treat my wealth, dear children. Wealth is temporary; like the sukkah, it doesn’t go with you to the next world. But here in this house of Torah, we accumulate the mitzvahs that stay with us – which are eternal.”

We have now received our “new heads” for the coming year, as implied by the words Rosh Hashanah, head for the year, and Yom Hazikaron, a day of resetting our memory apparatus. We are cleansed of our sins on Yom Kippur, after which we enter, with our entire body, into our sukkah. We enter this mitzvah where we achieve oneness with our Lover – Hashem, Blessed be He.

What is it about the Nation of Israel that attracts the love of the One God Who rules the universe?

I came upon an answer on Rosh Chodesh Elul as I prayed the silent benedictions. We bless the day in the following way: “Mikadesh Yisrael v’roshei chodoshim – He sanctifies Israel and the first day of all months.” But it can literally mean “He sanctifies Yisrael and “brand new heads.”

Our nation is forever ready to admit our mistakes and begin all over. With the coming of each new moon, we are aware that we may start afresh.

This is also evident in our morning declaration of Modeh Ani, the origin of which is in the book of Eichah (3:23) which states, “Hashems kindness is new every morning – great is Your belief [in us, to improve in the coming day]. One of the reasons Hashem loves His people is that they are always willing to start over.

Two small examples that are actually big were related to me by Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein, shlita, head of the Diaspora Yeshiva on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where I am currently studying.

The first: A man survived hell in a concentration camp only to discover that his entire family had perished – parents, siblings, wife and children. Everyone.

Dov Shurin

Kerry’s Dream and Abbas’ Nightmare Meet in Biblical Beit El

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

The Israeli government has announced a new step in plans to build 300 new homes in Beit El, in  northern Samaria, just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to convince Mahmoud Abbas to return to talks if Israel slaps a freeze on building for Jews in Judea and Samaria.

Reports from Israeli sources earlier this week stated that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has buckled under pressure from Kerry, and probably President Barack Obama, to freeze construction to bring Abbas back to the so-called negotiating table.

“Negotiations” in Arab Doublespeak means that Israel must accept Palestinian Authority territorial and political demands or they will be forced down its throat, either by the United Nations or by “resistance,” another Doublespeak word, which means terror.

No government  official has denied the reports of a “de facto” building freeze, and Prime Minister Netanyahu is conveniently in China.

Kerry hosted the government’s unofficial Minister for the Peace Process, Tzipi Livni, in Washington last week and continued discussions with her in Rome this week, where he said he will return to Israel in two weeks.

Journalists covering the State Department asked why he is returning after having been here last month, but the reports of the unofficial freeze provide the obvious answer.

But smack in the middle of Kerry’s Big Momentum – run as fast as you can with the ball so that everyone is too dazzled to see that the ball is a bomb – the government announced the next step for building 296 more homes in Beit El.

The town is not just another community in Samaria. More than 6.000 national religious Jews live there. Beit El is a symbol of the national religious movement in Judea and Samaria. A yeshiva bearing the town’s Biblical name has wide influence across the country. It is home to two of the most prominent national religious rabbis in Israel, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, head of Yeshiva Beit El, and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who is widely respected and consulted by many Jews who are not part of the “club.”

After the announcement of the preliminary approval of the homes, the Palestinian Authority immediately said everyone can forget about trying to dig up the bones of the peace process.

As with almost every announcement of building new homes, the one in Beit El refers only to one of several bureaucratic steps before the bulldozers can start digging, not less than a year from now.

Israel has been through this time after time, the most famous incident being the announcement of another bureaucratic stage having been completed for building homes in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

The news broke just as Vice President Joe Biden was landing in Israel, causing high tension between Jerusalem and Washington for a long time.

Coincidental or not with Kerry’s dream for resumed direct talks between Netanyahu and Abbas, the Beit El housing project proves that Israel is trying to “sabotage” Kerry’s efforts, according to senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat.

“We condemn this new decision which is proof that the Israeli government wants to sabotage and ruin the US administration’s efforts to revive the peace process,” he said. “This is a message to the American administration and a blow to the peace process. This aims to drag the region into violence instead of peace and stability.”

Violence.

Erekat did not even have the diplomacy to say “resistance.”

It is out-and-out violence, and obviously Kerry would blame Israel if the Arabs kill more Jews. Otherwise he would have to go back on his statement earlier this year that the proof that Abbas is such a great peace partner can be found in the fact that not even one Jew was murdered by Palestinian Authority terrorists in 2012.

What about 2011? Well, that is history. Let’s look at the present and not the past and talk peace.

And what about the present the year 2013? Uh, yeah, well, sure, a Palestinian Authority terrorist stabbed to death a father of five, but that was an isolated incident, and after all, the murderer was not a member of a known terrorist gang.

Kerry does not have to defend himself. He has Livni to do that for him. Both of them desperately need a peace agreement, Kerry because he wants to be president and Livni because she needs something to justify her being politically alive. The latest polls shows that her party would win zero seats in if elections were held today.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/kerrys-dream-and-abbas-nightmare-meet-in-biblical-beit-el/2013/05/09/

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