Photo Credit: courtesy, Sivan Rahav Meir
Sivan Rahav Meir

The person you see in the photo is Dr. David Magerman. He is deeply deserving of our gratitude.

David is a highly successful businessman and philanthropist and one of the first donors to announce that he will cease supporting the University of Pennsylvania. Following the shameful hearing before Congress in which the president of the university, Liz Magill, could not bring herself to condemn the calls for Jewish genocide on her campus, David decided to withdraw his support from the university (which is also his alma mater). Furthermore, he called on all other self-respecting Jewish donors to follow his lead. It takes great courage to sound a voice of such moral clarity in our confused world of today. It is worth noting that Liz Magill has since resigned her post.


Last weekend, we both participated in a panel discussion at the Project Inspire Convention in Connecticut. There David recalled a second brave step that he has taken. Like so many of our brothers and sisters in the diaspora, he did not receive a Jewish education.

“I was a “twice-a-year Jew” – on Yom Kippur and Pesach,” he explained, “but Judaism didn’t mean anything to me. I also didn’t understand anything about it. I had completed my doctorate and achieved great financial success. One day, I received an invitation from my relative in Israel to come to his son’s bar mitzvah. And so, several years ago, I found myself on Shabbat in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. And I fell in love. So many people live such an isolated existence today and there I saw a community coming together to celebrate with a bar mitzvah boy, and it was pure joy. And in an era of ignorance, I met little children who knew much more Torah than I did. This experience moved me greatly. When I returned to the US, I arranged a study partner (chavruta) for myself. I started to learn Torah. My life was transformed. My children are now learning in a Jewish day school.”

And then came his third brave move.

In front of about 1,000 people who were in attendance at the Project Inspire Shabbaton, David announced:

“The time has come for us to make aliyah. I’ve already purchased a home in Israel. I did not merit for my children to be born there, but I do hope that my grandchildren will. This is the direction our history is headed and it is the right place to be. Not only because of antisemitism but because it is our home.”

Three courageous moves and so much for us to think about. What can we learn from this?

Thank you, David.


5 Matters Pertinent To The New Month Of Adar II

  1. “When Adar enters, we increase in joy.” It enters today. Today and tomorrow, even during these challenging times, we celebrate Rosh Chodesh, the new month of Adar II.
  2. The source of the word “Adar” is Babylonian, but the Hebrew can also be read as A-dar: the Lord (A) dwells (dar). In other words, G-d is uniquely present during this month.
  3. One of the expressions identified with the month of Adar appears in Megillat Esther, the book of Esther: “Venahafoch hu”; that is, everything flips. Just as in the Megillah everything is suddenly turned upside down as impending doom is displaced by salvation, similar surprises can happen in the world today and even in our own lives when, at the last minute, evil gives way to good and darkness is driven out by light.
  4. Our joy during this month is heightened when we recall that Adar was the last month of the Egyptian exile prior to our redemption, since the Exodus occurred in the following month of Nissan, when we celebrate Pesach.
  5. Today and tomorrow, as on every Rosh Chodesh, in addition to the usual morning prayers, chapters from the book of Psalms are recited in the Hallel prayer, followed by a Torah reading and the Mussaf, an additional Amidah prayer service. We also insert the beautiful words beginning with “Ya’aleh VeYavo” into the Amidah and Birkat HaMazon prayers on Rosh Chodesh, as follows:

“Our G-d and G-d of our fathers, may there ascend, approach, and reach, be seen, accepted, and heard, recalled and remembered before you, the remembrance of Moshiach the son of David, Your servant, the remembrance of Jerusalem Your holy city, and the remembrance of all Your people the House of Israel, for deliverance, well-being, grace, kindness, mercy, good life and peace on this Rosh Chodesh.”


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin and Janine Muller Sherr.

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Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Translation by Yehoshua Siskin.